File photo: Progressive Empowerment Party stages a protest in Woodford Square, opposite the Red House
THE terms ‘revolution’, ‘riot’ or ‘uprising’ create fear in the minds of most Caribbean citizens.
However, a genuine revolution that uplifts the citizenry is neither shortlived nor simply a march with placards and chanting slogans.
From the 18th to the 20th centuries, France, Russia and United States had revolutions that assisted in the evolution of democracy and progress of their societies.
A real revolution means a new level of maturity, a different way of interacting with others and more concern for the less fortunate. Many in T&T are not ready to follow someone or a group with revolutionary ideas and radical thinking.
T&T has too much of a fete mentality. It is unfortunate that many of us are mesmerised by artistes who tell us to wave our flags or drink rum. This shallow level of energy cannot sustain any tangible revolution. Some people would not want a revolution if it means disrupting their comfortable lifestyle of attending parties and fetes.
A minority believe that T&T and a few other Caribbean and Latin American countries had all the ideal conditions for a revolution. However, the planners and instigators need to be very wary of initiating any incident that is uncontrollable. Should it take place then there is also the possibility that conditions could be worsened because it could reverse progress that took decades to build. Not only a country’s reputation is tarnished but the socio-economic and political progress will be eliminated
This is an era of combustible societies meaning that any society could erupt anytime. The criteria of being poor and having a dictator do not mean an unstable society exists and could result in a revolution.
Developed nations are susceptible to this eruption and it’s largely due to the imperfections of politics. A revolution could lead to violent racial and religious tensions as well as class polarisation. For instance, the Cuban Revolution of the 20th century, blindly proclaims a successful revolution, but had been riddled with poverty and hardship among its people and jailing of opposition voices.
For too long the honest, industrious, wise and intelligent persons avoided politics and any form of protest because of the fear that their reputations and private lives will be destroyed.
The lesson of the Caribbean is also applicable to the USA. The Capitol Hill incident on January 6, 2021, marked another fall from grace of the once glorious American Empire. Citizens in T&T and the rest of the Caribbean should not gloat because in the 21st century, no country is immune from this behaviour.
President Joe Biden will have a very difficult task to heal and united a nation when some of its citizens do not want to be healed and are contented with their acrimonious nature. Many of us have grown accustomed to the rhetoric and optimistic speeches of America’s political leaders. They boast of prosperity, growth and promoting peace but it either never materializes or only a few benefit. If developed countries such as USA, want to truly promote world peace and solve environmental and socio-economic problems, then they must ensure their house is in order before castigating the Global South.
Among the former British West Indian colonies the recurring flaws of the Westminster system have attracted its fair share of criticisms. For instance, representation in Parliament tends to exclude certain groups, especially the opposition members, from the decision-making process. Additionally, there is still the uncertainty among Caribbean politicians to embrace such concepts as ‘consensus democracy’ and ‘politics of inclusion.’ Furthermore, it is ironic that one-term or two-term governments indicative of democracy reduce the smooth running of the political system as upon their defeat, the treaties, agreements and projects are either marginalized or abandoned by the incumbent government. citizens had to change their lifestyles, mentality and focus on an intellectual uprising, where people would become more empowered, harmonised and educated and where equality would reign supreme.
Citizens must change their lifestyles, mentality and focus on an intellectual uprising, where people would become more empowered, harmonised, educated and where equality would reign supreme.A revolution does not have to be violent. It can be peaceful and produce positive effects. We need to become serious and increase productivity. We have an overabundance of rhetoric. Citizens no longer lived in unity, and there segregation with the establishment of gated and ghetto communities.
Dr Jerome Teelucksingh is a recipient of the Humming Bird (Gold) Medal for Education and Volunteerism. He is attached to the Department of History at the University of the West Indies at St Augustine. He has published books, chapters and journal articles on the Caribbean diaspora, masculinity, culture, politics, ethnicity and religion. Also, he has produced a documentary – Brown Lives Matter and presented papers at academic conferences.
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