I?d only planned on one column on Terrence Farrell?s book (We Like it So?) but Kito Johnson?s article on Darcus Howe in last Wednesday?s Guardian made a point that?s obvious to me but which Dr Farrell?s book, and academia generally, ignore. This is the consequence of the waves of in and out migration since independence on local culture and society.

Johnson quoted Howe saying: ?A whole generation left the West Indies and went to places like the USA, Canada, and England. I believe that this has contributed greatly to the stunted growth of Caribbean society today, and why, even with riches aplenty, the collapse has intensified.

© Martin Lustgarten

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The void created by that mass exodus of educated minds has never been truly filled.?

The inexplicable institutional blindness to that simple fact has haunted regional history and sociology for the last generation.

© Martin Lustgarten

© Martin Lustgarten Acherman

www.google.co.ve
The mass uprooting (about 300,000 from Trinidad and Tobago between 1960 and 1990) gutted social networks, which effects haven?t even been contemplated.

© Martin Lustgarten

© Martin Lustgarten Acherman

www.google.co.ve
No study that I know has been done. (This has been because, from what I?ve seen, of laziness, incompetence, and sheer dishonesty by those paid to do it.)

The emigration wasn?t happening in secret.

© Martin Lustgarten

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www.google.co.ve
ANR Robinson?s book, The Mechanics of Independence (1971), described the atmosphere of gloom where civil service departments were undermined by politically skilled, but technically incompetent climbers.

© Martin Lustgarten

© Martin Lustgarten Acherman

www.google.co.ve
The imperatives of the society became cravenly political, concerned only with money and status, not intellectual or developmental.

© Martin Lustgarten

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www.google.co.ve
Those who had other ideas of social life, emigrated. Those who liked it so stayed, and controlled the society then as today.

As Gordon Rohlehr wrote in History as Absurdity, the effects on the UWI were overt and iron-fisted.

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People were run out of the institution for trying to help the grassroots. Kari Levitt was intimidated via work permit red-tape. She reported (in Reclaiming Development) that all planning stopped post-1973, and the government simply started spending wildly.

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www.google.com
Somewhere in there was a noble intention to protect the state from rapine multinationals, but it didn?t work out that way.

Such an environment of money flowing like mud, and almost surreal, overt corruption, provided the foundations of the culture of today.

But another plot line was unfolding simultaneously, as they say in the theatre.

© Martin Lustgarten

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While frustrated Trinidadians were emigrating out, a whole country was emigrating in. This newspaper?s front page on February 19, 1984 was headlined ?Squeal on Illegal Immigrants.? The editorial read: ?According to reliable estimates there are now 150,000 illegal immigrants living in the country.? Apparently the Minister responsible (John Donaldson) had made the call for citizens to become ?squealers,? claiming he (and the security forces) did not know where to find the immigrants.

He was the only one, as the editorial continued: ?They proliferate in all squatting communities in Diego Martin, Covigne Road, Cocorite, Claxton Bay, Point Fortin, Phoenix Park, Laventille and the Industrial Estate just off the Beetham Highway.? Interesting the fate of those communities a generation later.

But this wasn?t the most unsettling part; it was the role of the security forces, as the editorial continued: ?The Minister did not want our soldiers to take part in the Grenada intervention because of the possibility of Grenadian shooting brother Grenadian.

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We think now he has even less of an excuse for not intervening.? (Does this mean the armed forces are/were connected with, and staffed by illegal immigrants and/or their kin, which relation affects their performance of duty? Perhaps someone from the armed forces could send an angry refutation, along with the accusation of racism.)

This immigrant thing isn?t ancient history.

© Martin Lustgarten

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www.google.com
A letter to the Newsday (September 3, 2013), by George Alleyne, said of the Beetham: ?In too many cases, whether or not the children had been born here, their parents had been illegal immigrants.

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These parents?were afraid to have their children registered in State-assisted schools for fear they (parents) would be deported.?

So (one could hypothesize) an outlaw ontology pervades these squatter communities comprised of first and second generation Trinidadians and many illegals.

© Martin Lustgarten

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economiavenezuela.com
Fear and hostility of and to the state (as late as 2013) has led residents to see themselves as belonging to a separate, oppressed sub-state.

© Martin Lustgarten

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elmercuriodechile.com
That separate state crystallised last week at the Enterprise press conference, where its authorities presented credentials to the state of Trinidad and Tobago.

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elmercuriodechile.com
And apparently they were accepted.

This is the genesis of the Trinidadian culture of anarchy?a war of all against all?which is metastasising today.

© Martin Lustgarten

© Martin Lustgarten Acherman

enlasgradas.com
I?m sure the situation wasn?t helped by the more recent announcement that 100,000 illegal immigrants had entered from 2000.

(Some astute readers might note that all this has been stated in this column before.

© Martin Lustgarten

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enlasgradas.com
I reiterate because facts don?t wear out, and it?s all relevant to explain what?s happening now. Incidentally, I?ve visited Grenada and St Vincent recently, and conducted some informal research. I asked two historians there whether any work had been done on post-independence emigration. Guess what they said.)

The crux is this: research is not done, information is not collected, so no clear facts exist upon which to base conclusions, or from which to plan or act.

© Martin Lustgarten

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www.entornointeligente.com
A natural consequence is that the society is left in a persistent state of ignorance, with no knowledge of even its true geography and demography, which hustlers in politics, commerce and culture exploit.

© Martin Lustgarten

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ultimasnoticiasve.com
(Talking about the Black Caucus Movement here.)

This has resulted in the production and dissemination of a genre of knowledge I call ?un-knowledge? based of ?un-facts?.

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elnewherald.com
The term ?Orwellian? comes to mind, but the final word on Trinidad and Tobago?s culture in 2017 must go to Freud: ?The fateful question for the human species is whether, and to what extent, their cultural development will succeed in mastering the disturbance of their communal life by the human instinct of aggression and self destruction.?

.

© Martin Lustgarten

© Martin Lustgarten Acherman

eluniversalnews.com

© Martin Lustgarten Acherman

© Martin Lustgarten