“Too black to be Prime Minister”: the shackles of mental slavery

“Too black to be Prime Minister”: the shackles of mental slavery

image Mr Hinds’ statement about Dr Rowley rightly caused a stir in Trinidad and Tobago. Regrettably, it also attracted the attention of international news broadcasters, such as the British Broadcasting Corporation says Sir Ronald Sanders.

Sir Ronald Sanders

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday February 13, 2014 – Of all the offensive – and unintelligent – statements made in the politics of the post-independence Caribbean, an assertion, that Dr Keith Rowley, the leader of the Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago, is “too black” to be Prime Minister, has to rate as the worst.

It is a telling indictment of the person through whose mind the thought passed without perishing and from whose mouth the stupidity was uttered.  Fitzgerald Hinds, a former Senator of Mr Rowley’s political party, the Peoples National Movement (PNM), is the person reported to have made the statement to a party political meeting.  He is also reported to have said that “a group of businessmen and former PNM ministers have agreed that Dr Rowley was “too dark in complexion to become prime minister.”  

In the past, this asinine attitude has been expressed in other Carib bean countries.  For instance, in Jamaica, there was the claim that Norman and Michael Manley were not black, nor were Alexander Bustamante and Donald Sangster.  When P J Patterson became Prime Minister in 1992, some circles in Jamaica actually said he was the country’s “first black Prime Minister”.  Before he was elected, it was doubted that the Jamaican people were “ready for a black Prime Minister”.  As it turned out, PJ Patterson was not only a successful Prime Minister elected to serve at his country’s helm for 14 years; he was also highly regarded in the international community.

In the Eastern Caribbean, the same nonsense was whispered – not always quietly – in many places including St Lucia, St Vincent and Dominica.  The taint of blackness was used as a political weapon with the underlying inference that being of “too dark complexion” rendered any such person as unelectable even to other black people who constituted the majority in countries such as Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and Dominica.

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  • Thinker  On February 14, 2014 at 4:51 am

    The article is misleading since the Senator is endorsing the Opposition leader and criticising the opinion of unnamed PNM people and businessmen he had to deal with.

  • Tara  On February 15, 2014 at 5:48 am

    The legacy of colonialism has truly made a fool of many of us with a tinge of light skin. However, if truth be told, many will cower at the sexual inappropriateness against mostly Black women of that era. Unfortunately, these statements are truly poignant for an enlightened era, were educated men are making such thoughless statements and having no sense of history. “Where have these people gotten their degrees, diploma or certificates to govern.

    Please refer to the old classic ” Imitation of Life” and get a grip of reality.

  • Roger Gonsalves  On February 19, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    The comments regarding Jamaica and its Prime Minister’s is nonsense. Jamaican’s , unlike some other Caribbean people, do not relate skin tone to electability or competance

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