Professor Selwyn Cudjoe, president of the National Association for the Empowerment of African People (NAEAP), is predicting "turbulent times" for Africans in Trinidad and Tobago. Cudjoe said if current trends continued, the entire black population would degenerate into lower depths of poverty and despair. Cudjoe was speaking at the 10th Annual Emancipation Dinner and Awards Ceremony at Centre of Excellence, Macoya, last Saturday. This year's theme was titled: "A Society in Transition: A Community at the Crossroads."?To help address the problem, Cudjoe appealed to the Government to call a meeting of the "relevant Africans groups" to put together a ten-year plan.
The plan, he said, would allow Africans "to act in ways that are conducive to their own self-interest and the well-being of the nation.?"Unless we do this, the maddening killing will continue; the rising crime will continue; and those who can will continue to reproduce themselves without any serious consideration of what it means for the overall progress of the race and of the nation," Cudjoe said. "Whether we like it or not, there will be turbulent times ahead for Africans in this country...We are in a crisis." While calling on the Government to play a more proactive role in the advancement of black people in T&T, he said the former Patrick Manning-led administration should also shoulder some of the blame, as it failed to improve the quality of life of the local black community.
"We, in NAEAP, stand ready to assist the Government in any endeavour it wishes to undertake to transform the conditions of black people in this land," Cudjoe said. "The predominantly black government did not see it fit to endorse the idea of making a sustained effort to deal with the problems that affect black children and black youth." He said he was concerned that the African would become "irrelevant" in T&T, as many black men living in the "ghetto" did not expect to live until 30. He added that 40 per cent of the population is East Indians, whereas 37.5 per cent are Africans.?"This divide is likely to grow as time goes on...We might see the same pattern that has emerged in Guyana, in which the dominant group will hold power in perpetuity," Cudjoe said.