Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Letter: Time to correct Parliament's ethnic imbalance

Before I migrated to colder climates in 1973, I used to follow Parliament debates via the radio. 

Living and working in deep south, the Radio Guardian summary of those debates was the closest to Parliament I could make and it was a joy because my not being there personally allowed my mind's eye to take over and form a picture of a Parliament that was a sacred, created specifically so all of Trinidad and Tobago could be properly represented through everything it did. A recent trip to Parliament convinced me that is not the case at all.

Like I said, I migrated in 1973. In the cold, a number of television stations carried Congress debates live. No access to hometown radio always made me pine because I had no means to tune in to our Parliament. When Parliament Channel began streaming online, I was obviously very delighted.

But, I retired last year and returned home. Soon enough, everybody learnt not to touch my TV. It stays fixed on Channel 11 whether I'm home or not. (Smile.) Barring the odd occasion, the quality of our parliamentary debates has impressed me. I particularly enjoy the picong. The same happens with spirited debates.

Through all those years, I never personally went to take in any proceedings. However, on learning the Electoral College was meeting on Friday last to deal with southie Anthony Carmona's election, I decided to make my first ever visit to Parliament.

It's a darn good thing I went! 

It opened my eyes to the outrageous lie being said about this government. From what I saw in and around Parliament last Friday, there's no way this government could be classed as racist.

If this government was racist, then how come every single Parliament employee, from Clerk of the House, to marshall, to note-takers, to orderlies, is of African descent? Has a boat from the Congo offloaded on our House of Representatives when no one was looking?

Mind you, I'm no racist, but, fair is fair. Ours is a multiracial society. Why aren't the other races represented in the makeup of personnel employed by the Parliament?

Staffed as it is now, Parliament runs the serious risk of being identified as a place where non-blacks cannot get work. It's a stain and a red flag. It must be speedily corrected.

Whoever is responsible cannot be left to continue. It's obvious whoever he or she is, they have no sense of our national psyche and have been doing their do for a long while.

In the interest of balance, I'd like to use this medium to call upon the incoming President to deal with the situation. 

He must take a stern approach and insist our Parliament implements and adheres to a policy of mixing the crew so the final composition would reflect the parts of our Anthem which say, side by side we stand and every creed and race find an equal place.

Grantley McNaughton, Retiree,
Coora, Siparia.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai