Wednesday 23 September, 2020

THA Chief urges citizens to speak out against racism and promote unity

The Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) has expressed sadness over the racial comments that have been shared via social media in the aftermath of the August 10 general elections. 

Ancil Dennis said he was let down by the deep rooted hate and divisiveness based on ethnicity or ethnic heritage. This, as he sought to remind the population that we all belong to the human race.

“I have been truly disappointed to see the onslaught of negative racial exchanges and expressions on the social media platforms, post our recently held National Elections. Platforms ideal for unity, camaraderie and positive expressions, have been mishandled and misused as persons have chosen to convert them into their personal vehicles of hatred, venom and bigotry.  Why have we chosen this path?  I have made a personal commitment to do some introspection, to ensure that I too address any areas of conscious or unconscious prejudice within me. We must each take personal responsibility in this situation that exists today.”

The THA Chief added that such racist comments must never be accepted as a consequence of T&T’s election process which he deemed free and fair for all eligible persons to partake.

“The right to freely exercise our democracy remains one of our greatest privileges as a country and should never be marred by the cancer that is racism. Therefore, we all have a civic duty to strongly condemn it whenever it rears its head, regardless of the season.  At no time should racism ever be allowed to exist comfortably among us as a people.  We must never allow the ranting of a hateful few to pretend to be or occlude the voice of a sensible majority.”

Furthermore, Dennis said it was time for each individual to consider if they have somehow contributed to the problem or the solution. He also applauded those who have not hesitated to take a stance against any form of racism or prejudice, noting that it has its roots in the past but threatens the present. Dennis said the latest incendiary remarks serve as a stark reminder that deep healing still needs to occur within our multi-ethnic society.

“This is not a time to sit unconcerned, unperturbed or unbothered. The future of our Nation depends on your voice...each and every voice.  Silence only makes us complicit observers to a problem currently plaguing our Nation and which has the potential to destroy what we have worked so hard to build.”

The THA Chief reminded that the elections are over and asserted that the populace has been blessed with the privilege of choice, being active participants in a democratic process since 1946. He said all forms of racist, hateful and bigoted rhetoric must be condemned. 

“I encourage all of us to make a concerted effort to live in love, peace, harmony and unity.  It must be a personal responsibility. We must all have a personal interest and desire to see better and therefore be challenged to do better. It is my hope that the current climate disturbs us to the point where we feel obligated to break our silence and make contributions of racial unity and togetherness to the public discussion on the various platforms.  Let us dare to be different and not join in the negativity that is seemingly pervading the atmosphere. As Trinbagonians, the time has come for us to show the world how to truly be multi-cultural and multi-ethnic whilst respecting and appreciating our differences, for we are one people. ‘Here every creed and race, finds an equal place.’”



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