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TrinityCrossJudgement

MahasabahVSAttorneyGeneral
Saturday,June32006
TrinityCrossdiscriminates,butcourtcannotstrikedownthelaw
THETRINITYCrossthenationshighestawardisstrictlyaChristiansymbol,andasaresult,it
discriminatesinamultireligioussocietythatisTrinidadandTobago,accordingtoyesterdays
judgmentbyJusticePeterJamadar.
However,theOrderoftheTrinity,isthelawoftheland,andthemerefindingofitbeing
discriminatorydoesnotmeanthatthecourtcanstrikeitdown.ItisamatterfortheParliamentto
change.ThiswasthegistofJusticeJamadarsjudgmentinthematterbroughtbytheSanatanDharma
MahaSabhaofTrinidadandTobago,againsttheAttorneyGeneral.
TheapplicantsinthecasehadchallengedtheconstitutionalityoftheTrinityCrossonthegroundsthat
itscontinuedexistenceandawardwereinbreachoftheapplicantsfundamentalrightsasguaranteed
bycertainSectionsoftheConstitution.
TheyfeltthattheStateshighestnationalhonoraryawardwasdiscriminatoryandunfair,inthat
MuslimsandHindusbyvirtueoftheirreligiousbeliefsandexperienceswereunfairlyand
discriminatelyencumberedintheircapacitytonominatepersonsfor,benominatedfor,oracceptthe
honour,becauseofitsChristiansymbolism.
ThefollowingisthejudgmenthandeddownyesterdaybyJusticePeterJamadar:

HCANoCvS2065/2004InthematteroftheConstitutionofTrinidadandTobagoandInthematterof
TheGuaranteesofFundamentalHumanRightsandFreedomsPursuanttoSection14ofthe
ConstitutionandOrder55oftheRulesoftheSupremeCourtbetweenSanatanDharmaMahaSabhaof
TrinidadandTobagoIncSatnarayanMaharajIslamicReliefCentreLimitedInshan
Ishmael*ApplicantsandTheAttorneyGeneralofTrinidadandTobago*RespondentBeforethe
HonourableMrJusticePJamadarAPPEARANCESDrERamsahoyeQC,MrJHoranandMrA
RamloganfortheApplicants.
MrRMartineauSCandMsDPeake(nowSC)fortheRespondentJUDGMENTINTRODUCTIONIn
1962TrinidadandTobagoattainedIndependencefromEngland.NolongerwasTrinidadandTobagoa
colony.However,HerMajestytheQueenofEnglandremainedMonarch.
BytheTrinidadandTobago(Constitution)OrderinCouncil1962,towhichthe1962Independence
Constitution(the1962Constitution)wasannexedandmadeoperative(asfromthe31stAugust1962),
TrinidadandTobagowasgrantedfullresponsibilityforitsowngovernancewithinthecontextofthe
Commonwealth(seetheTrinidadandTobagoIndependenceAct,1962).Fromthatmomenton,
TrinidadandTobagohadindependentresponsibilitieswithrespecttolegislativepowersandnolawsof
theUnitedKingdompassedafterthe31stAugust1962wouldextendtoTrinidadandTobagoaspartof
itslaws.However,bysection22ofthe1962ConstitutiontheParliamentoftheIndependentTrinidad
andTobagoconsistedofHerMajesty,aSenateandaHouseofRepresentatives.Andbysection56of
the1962ConstitutiontheexecutiveauthorityofTrinidadandTobagowasvestedinHerMajestyand
couldbeexercisedonHerbehalfbyaGovernorGeneral.Further,theGovernorGeneralwasappointed
byHerMajestyandheldofficeatHerMajestyspleasureandwasHerMajestysrepresentativein
TrinidadandTobagoandtheCommanderinChiefofTrinidadandTobago(section19ofthe1962
Constitution).
Finally,bysection57ofthe1962ConstitutiontheestablishmentofaCabinetwasprovidedfor,with
responsibilityforthecontrolofthegovernmentofTrinidadandTobagoandwithaccountabilityfor
sametoParliament.
Onthe26thAugust1969(witheffectfromthe30thAugust1969)HerMajesty,ElizabethTheSecond

asQueenofTrinidadandTobago,actingontheadviceoftheCabinetofTrinidadandTobago,issued
LettersPatentestablishingasocietyofhonourinTrinidadandTobago,tobeknownastheOrderof
theTrinityforthepurposeofaccordingrecognitiontocitizensofTrinidadandTobagoandother
personsfordistinguishedormeritoriousserviceorforgallantry.SincetheinceptionoftheOrderof
theTrinitysomethirtyfiveyearshavepassed;andnowaformalconstitutionalchallengehasbeen
raisedagainstthehighesthonourthatcanbeawardedunderit:TheTrinityCross.Formanyyears
priortothischallengemurmuringshavebeensoundedabouttheproprietyofTheTrinityCross,ina
multiculturalandmultireligioussocietysuchasexistsandhasexistedinTrinidadandTobagosince
thetimeofitsintroductionin1969.
Since1976,withtheintroductionofthe1976RepublicanConstitution(the1976Constitution)andthe
creationoftheRepublicofTrinidadandTobago(byActNo4of1976,theConstitutionofthe
RepublicofTrinidadandTobagoAct),theprerogativesandprivilegesformerlyvestedinHerMajesty
were,asofthe1stAugust1976,vestedintheState(theRepublicofTrinidadandTobago)and,subject
tothe1976Constitutionandanyotherlaw,thePresident(oftheRepublic)wasgiventhepowerto
exercisethoseprerogativesandprivilegessection6(1)ofAct4of1976.
Bythe1976ConstitutionthePresidenthadbecomeHeadofStateandCommanderinChiefofthe
armedforces(section22)andexecutiveauthorityforTrinidadandTobagohadalsobeenvestedinthe
President.Thus,thePresidenthadgenerallyreplacedHerMajestyandHerMajestysappointeethe
GovernorGeneralintherolestheyplayedunderthe1962constitutionalarrangementsthathad
previouslyexistedinTrinidadandTobago.
TheApplicantsinthiscasechallengetheconstitutionalityoftheTrinityCrossonthegroundsthatits
continuedexistenceandawardareinbreachoftheApplicantsfundamentalrightsasguaranteedby
sections4(b),4(d)and4(h)ofthe1976Constitution.
TheApplicantsarguethatasaHinduandaMuslimandasrepresentativeorganisationsofHindusand
MuslimsexistinginamulticulturalandmultireligioussocietylikeTrinidadandTobago,withits
uniquereligious,cultural,historicalandsociologicalantecedents,thecontinuedexistenceandawarding
ofTheTrinityCrossastheStateshighestnationalhonoraryawardisdiscriminatoryandunfair,inthat
MuslimsandHindusbyvirtueoftheirreligiousbeliefsanddiscriminatelyencumberedintheircapacity
tonominatepersonsfor,benominatedfororacceptthehonour,becauseofitsclearandovert
preferentialrecognitionandrepresentationofChristiansymbolism,theologyandvalues.Itis
essentiallyonthesecontentionsthatthearguments,ofdiscriminationandinequalityarise,both
independentlyandinthecontextofthefundamentalrighttofreedomofconscienceandreligiousbelief
andobservance.
STRUCTUREOFJUDGMENT1.Thereligious,cultural,historicalandsociologicalcontext(pages5
18).
Discoveryandcolonialisation.
Christianexclusivity.
Indianarrivals.
CanadianChristianmission.
Marginalisation.
2.TheTrinityCross(pages1842)Recommendations.
Description.
VictoriaCross.

GeorgeCross.
Contemporaryconsiderations.
Hinduperspectives.
Islamicperspectives.
TheApplicants.
delaBastideCommittee.
3.Entitlementtorelief,1976Constitution(pages4246).
Likelihoodofcontravention.
Locusstandi.
4.Theequalityprovisions,4(b)and4(d),1976Constitution(pages4765).
Legislation.
Administrativeaction.
Fairness.
5.Religiousbeliefandobservance,4(b),1976Constitution(pages6571).
TheAmericanposition.
SecularState.
Stateinvolvementinreligion.
Understanding4(h)rights.
6.Synthesis/Application(pages7176).
7.Existinglaw,6(1),1976Constitution(pages7679).
8.Costs(page80)9.Disposition(page80).
10.Appendices.
RELIGIOUS,CULTURAL,HISTORICAL,SOCIOLOGICALCONTEXT.
Andattheendof17days,duringwhichtheLordgrantedmeafavourablewind,onTuesdayJuly31,at
noon,landpresenteditselftoourgaze.IhadexpectedthistheMondaybeforeandhadheldthecourse
uptothispoint,butasthefiercenessofthesunincreasedandoursupplyofwaterwasfailing,I
resolvedtomakefortheCaribIslands,andIsetsailinthatdirection.
AndastheLordonhighhasalwaysshownmercytome,oneofthesailors,aseamanfromHuelva,my
servant,namedAlonsoPerez,sawarangeofthreemountainstothewestward,about15leaguesdistant
.
..Whereupontherewasgreatjoyandmerriment,andwerecitedtheSalveReginaandgavethanksto
theLord.

ShipslogentrybyChristopherColumbus,31stJuly,1498.
TherespectedandreputablehistoriansMichaelAnthony,GerardBessonandBridgetBreretonnote
(seeFirstinTrinidad,2ndEd;HistoricalDictionaryofTrinidadandTobago,1997andTheBookof
Trinidad,3rdEd,atpages21,160and11respectively),thatColumbusonseeingthislandremembered
hisvowonleavingtheSpanishaftertheBlessedTrinity(lasantissimaTrinidad),thethreepersonsin
OneGodaccordingtotheRomanCatholicfaith...towhomhehaddedicatedthishisthirdvoyageto
theIndians(theWestIndies)andcriedoutLaTrinidad!TheislandwasthusnamedTrinidad
aftertheHolyTrinityoftheRomanCatholic(Christian)religion.
Fromthe31stJuly1498untilCapitulationonthe18thFebruary1797(byHisCatholicMajesty
theSpanishKingtoHisBritannicMajestytheBritishKing)TrinidadwasaSpanishCatholic
colony.
OneofthemotivesfortheexplorationoftheNewWorldbyColumbusandcatholiccoloniserswasthe
extensionofChristendom.In1492,ColumbuswritingtoKingFerdinandandQueenIsabellastated:
YourHighnessoughtnottoconsentthatanyforeignerdobusinessorsetfootthere,exceptChristian
Catholics,sincethiswastheendandthebeginningoftheenterprise,thatitshouldbeforthe
enhancementandgloryoftheChristianreligion,norshouldanyonewhoisnotagoodChristiancome
totheseparts.
[See,SourcesofWestIndianHistory,byFRAugierandSCGordon,atpage89].
Thisreligiousexclusivitywasnotlimitedtowouldbesettlersbutextendedtoallinhabitants:enslaved
indigenousIndians(Amerindians)wereconvertedtoChristianity.ToquotefromAcostasHistoryof
theIndies,1604:YetGodofhisbounty...hasmadethesubjectionoftheIndians,aperfectremedy
fortheirsalvation.ThepositionwithrespecttoTrinidadisdocumentedinTheRoyalCedulaon
Colonisationgivenonthe24thNovember1783bytheSpanishKing,wherebyinestablishingthe
underlyingpolicyforsettlementandcommerceinTrinidaditwasstated:Article1st.Allforeigners,the
subjectsofpowersandnationsinalliancewithme,whoaredesirousofestablishingthemselves,or
whoarealreadysettledin,thesaidIslandofTrinidad,shallsufficientlyprovetotheGovernment
thereof,thattheyareoftheRomanCatholicpersuasion,withoutwhichtheyshallnotbeallowed,to
settleinthesame;butthesubjectsofthesemydominions,orthoseoftheIndies,shallnotbeobligedto
adducesuchproof,becausenodoubtcanariseastotheirreligion.
Thus,for300yearsTrinidadwasanexclusiveChristianRomanCatholiccolony,withanovertpolicy
ofChristianreligiousexclusivism,andtheoriginsofthatpolicycanbetracedtothefirstsightingofthe
islandonthe31stJuly1498.
WithCapitulationthisreligiousexclusivitychanged.ByArticle11oftheArticlesofCapitulation,
signedontheIslandofTrinidadonthe18thFebruary1797,itwasdeclaredthat:Thefreeexerciseof
theirreligionisallowedtotheinhabitants.OfcourseallinhabitantsoftheIslandhadtoswear
allegiancetotheKingofEnglanduponpainincaseofnoncomplianceofbeingsentawayfromthe
Island(Article15).Andofcoursethisfreeexerciseofreligionwasinthecontextofatransferof
powerfromRomanCatholicismtoAnglicanism(EnglishCatholicism).PracticallythereforeTrinidad
remainedaChristianColony.InfacttheofficialBritishpolicywasthatonlyGovernorsandcouncillors
mustbemembersoftheChurchofEngland.Governorswereinstructedthattheyshouldinnoother
casesufferanymantobemolestedordisquietedintheexerciseofhisreligion;onlyweobligeyouin
yourownhousetothepossessionoftheProtestantreligion,accordingasitisherepracticedbyusin
England,andtherecommendingittoallothersunderyourcommand.[SeeAugierandGordon,supra
atpage91].
Itmaythusbefairtosay,thatwithandfollowingCapitulation,theofficialpolicyonreligionin
TrinidadshiftedfromoneofinsistencetooneofpersuasioninthecontextofChristianpluralism.
Butitisalsoclearthatgovernanceandprivilegeremainedlinkedwithadherencetotheacceptable
Christianreligioustraditions.

Thus,thoughtherewastoleranceasamongSpanishandFrenchRomanCatholicChristiansandthe
BritishandDutchProtestantChristians,theattitudetononChristianbeliefswasquitedifferent.
AsispointedoutintheGeneralHistoryoftheCaribbean,VolIII...
TheSlaveSocietiesoftheCaribbean(EdFWKnight),inthesectionentitledColonialstatechurches
andreligionsconformity(atpage293):Thecentrallyimportantfeatureoftheslaveworkersnew
religioussetting,however,wasconsistentthroughouttheCaribbean:nonChristianbeliefsand
practiceswereoutlawedandpractitionerspunishedwithtorture,transportationanddeath.
ThisthenwasthegeneralreligiouscontextinTrinidad,fromthetimeColumbusclaimedtheisland,to
theabolitionofslaveryin1834intheBritishEmpire(bytheAbolitionAct,1834,UK;proclaimedin
Trinidadin1838).
AfricanslaveryreallystartedinTrinidadwiththeCedulaofPopulationin1783.Beforethattherewere
onlyafewpeopleofAfricandescent,themajorityofthepopulationbeingAmerindiansalongwith
Spanishsettlers.By1797,whenTrinidadwasconqueredbytheBritish,therewereabout10,000
Africanslaves.However,between1797and1806,underBritishrule,theslavepopulationrosetoabout
20,000.In1806theslavetradetoTrinidad(oneofthenewlyacquiredcolonies)wasprohibited.By
1834whenslaverywasabolished,TrinidadhadbecomeaslavecolonyandAfricanslavesconstituted
themajorityofherpopulation.Itistobenotedthatthough1834markedtheformalendofslavery,
formerslaveswerenotfullyfree,asallsalves(oversixyears)hadtobeapprenticedtotheirformer
ownersandhadtoworkfortyfivehoursaweekunpaid.Thisapprenticeshipschemewasonly
abolishedonthe1stAugust1838,whenfullfreedomwasgrantedtoallformerslaves
Emancipation.[SeeBessonandBrereton,supraatpage99].
amatterofpublicrecord,indisputableandwellknown.Itformspartsofthenotoriouslocalhistoryof
Trinidad.Thefollowinginformationhasbeenrecordedbymanyhistoriansandanalysts;including
ProfessorBrinsleySamaroo(egInIndiaintheCaribbeanandPioneerPresbyterians.
OriginsofPresbyterianWorkinTrinidad);IsaacDookeran(eginAPostEmancipationHistoryofthe
WestIndies);IdrisHamid(eginaHistoryofthePresbyterianChurchinTrinidad,18081968);and
ProfessorJohnLaGuerre(eginCalcuttatoCaroni,TheEastIndiansofTrinidad)].
Itisintothishistorical,religious,ethnicandsociologicalcontextthatEastIndians(fromIndia)arrived
inTrinidadundertheIndentureshipSystem.
Priortotheabolitionofslaveryandtheintroductionofthefarcicalapprenticeshipsystem,Trinidadhad
becomeaplantationeconomybasedontheproductionofexportcrops,KingSugarandcocoabeing
themainexports.
Africanslavelabourwastheunderlyingbasisoftheislandssocialandeconomicstructure,bothof
theseexportcropsbeingheavilylabourdependent.
Itwasnotsurprisingthatinthetenyearspriortoabolition,theplantersinTrinidadpassionately
resistedthemovementtowardsabolition.
Abolitionwasseenasthedeathoftheirincomeandtheislandseconomy.
Itwasalsoagainstthisbackgroundofprotestandneed,especiallywiththefailureoftheapprenticeship
systemandwiththeEmancipationofformerslavesandwiththegeneralreluctanceoftheexslavesto
remainorworkontheplantations,thatalternativesourcesoflabour,cheaplabour,hadtobefoundif
theislandsplantationeconomiesweretobesustainedandeconomicdisasteraverted.
Thiswasthegeneraleconomiccontextinwhichindenturedimmigrantlabourwasintroducedintothe
BritishWestIndiancolonies(includingTrinidad)inthepostEmancipationera.

ThefirstEastIndianimmigrantship,TheFatalRazack,leftCalcuttainFebruary1845andarrivedin
Trinidadonthe30thMay1845.ThereweretwohundredandtwentysevenEastIndianimmigrantson
boardmen,womenandchildren.
ThiswasthebeginningoftheindenturedlaboursysteminTrinidad.Itcontinueduntil1917,bywhich
timesome143,939IndianimmigrantshadarrivedinTrinidad.
Thoughtheindenturedimmigrants(afterwhichtheycouldreturntotheirlandoforigin),thevast
majoritystayed.InTrinidadsome110,645Indianimmigrantsremained,mostofwhomcontinuedto
resideandworkontheplantationestates.
GiventhatthevastmajorityofEastIndianswhocametoTrinidadduringtheperiodofindentureship
wereoftheHinduandMuslimreligions,theirproportiontotheoverallpopulationisimportantto
understandingtherelevantcontextinwhichtheApplicantsargumentsarebased.
By1871therewereover27,000EastIndianimmigrantsoutofatotalpopulation110,000inTrinidad
(ieabout25%oftotalpopulation).
ThefollowingtableillustratestheratiosbetweenEastIndiansandthetotalpopulationinTrinidadover
time.
YEARNOEASTINDIANSTOTALPOPULATIONPERCENTAGEOFTOTALPOPULATION
(1871)27,000110,000251946195,747556,931351960301,946819,362371970373,538923,552
40ThepopulationstatisticspublishedbytheGovernmentCentralStatisticalOfficefor2002showthat
peopleofEastIndiandescentmadeup40.3and40percentofthepopulationintheyears1990and
2000respectively.
Thispublicationalsodemonstratesthatfortheyears1990and2000about24percentofthepopulation
wereHindusand6percentMuslims(thatis,attotalofabout30percentofthepopulation).Italso
appearsthatforthesetwoperiods,thetotalChristianpopulation(RomanCatholics,Anglicansand
Presbyterians)was44percentofthetotalpopulation.
WhatwastheattitudeofthegoverningagenciestowardsthenonChristianpopulationinTrinidadand
inparticulartowardstheHindusandMuslims?Infact,allimmigrantswhoreplacedtheexslaveson
theplantationsfellontothelowestrungofthesocialladder.
ProfessorSamaroodescribesthelotoftheEastIndianImmigrantasfollows:exploitedbythe
plantationownersandneglectedbytheGovernmentandtheAfricanresentedtheindenturedIndian
becausehisarrivalonthelabourscenedestroyedtheAfricanschanceofobtaininghigherwages.East
Indianswerefurtherdespisedasbeinginferiorinphysicalstrengthandwerealsoseenasthenew
slaveswhowereforcedtocarryapassbook.
OthersectionsofthepopulationalsohadantiIndianfeelings.
/somesawtheEastIndiansassemibarbarianswithatendencytobeunrulyandriotous.EvenLord
HarrisgavehisviewofthelastIndianswhomhethoughtwerehardlydifferentfromtheexslaves;
Theyarenot,neithercooliesorAfricans,fittobeinapositionwhichthelabourersofcivilised
countriesmustatonceoccupy.
Theymustbetreatedlikechildren,andwaywardonestoo;theformerfromtheirhabitsandreligion;
thelatterfromtheutterlysavagestateinwhichtheyarrive.Thuslargesectionsofthecommunity
rejectedtheEastIndiansbecauseofphysical,social,religiousandculturaldifferences.
MutualdistrustexistedbetweenAfricansandEastIndians.TheIndiansreciprocatedbynot
participatingfullyinthesociety.

BesidesregardingtheAfricanasbeingnotsohighlycivilisedashimself,hisreligionandcustoms
affordedacertaindegreeofexclusiveness.
Manyofthemfeltasocialandreligiousreluctancetohavetheirchildreneducatedwiththoseofa
differentfaithanddifferentrace.Thereforein1865,twentyyearsaftertheirfirstarrival,andwitha
populationofmorethan20,000or25percentofthetotalpopulation,notmorethantwentyIndian
childrenweretobefoundinthepublicschoolsoftheisland.
(InProfessorSamaroosPioneerPresbyteriansatpages78).ThenonChristian,EastIndianimmigrant
labourerexperiencedalienationandmarginalisationinTrinidad,basednotonlyonclass(labourerson
theplantations)butalsobecauseofcultureandreligion.
Placedinanentirelynewcontext,predominantlyEurocentric(whichmeantchristocentric)with
tracesofanAfrocentricnature,theindenturedIndiansstrivedtopreserveandpracticetheirreligious
beliefsandobservances,usetheirhomelanguages,dress,foodandmaintaintheircultureand
traditions.
Thatis,theIndianimmigrantssoughttoretaintheiridentities(see,ProfessorSamaroo,Indiainthe
Caribbean,atpage46).Thischoicetopreserveidentityandthisresistancetochangeandtothe
assimilationofthedominantcustomsandvaluessettheEastIndianimmigrantsapartfromtherestof
thesociety,aseparationthatcannotbedelinkedfromthetensionsthatexistedbetweenthedominant
ChristianreligionandthenewlyarrivedHinduandMuslinreligions.
WiththeintroductionoftheCanadianPresbyterianMissionintoTrinidad,whichtargeted
predominantlytheEastIndianimmigrantpopulation,thealienationandmarginalisationofthenon
ChristianEastIndianimmigrantssufferedafurthercomplication.
In1846JohnMortonvisitedTrinidadtorecoverfromanillness.
HewasfromNovaScotia,CanadaandwasthepioneermissionarytotheEastIndiansoftheCanadian
PresbyterianChurchinTrinidad.
AsIdrisHamidpointsoutinAHistoryofthePresbyterianChurchinTrinidad(quotingfromthe
bookJohnMortoninTrinidad,bySEMortin(hiswife),1916pages7and8),inreferencetotheEast
IndianImmigrantinTrinidad:TheoverridingconcernofJohnMortonwas:(i)Theburdenof...those
20,000heathenpeople,broughtintoaChristiancountry,andnonetocarefortheirsouls.Tothink,he
wouldsay,ofthosepeoplelivinginaChrtistiancommunityforyears,makingmoney,andreturning
toIndiawithouthearingtheGospelofChrist!WhatastainonourChristianity.(ii)Christianisingthe
massofimportedheathenism.(iii)Thatthose(HindusandMuslims)besavedfromtheirdark
idolatoryorMohammedandelusion.Itisindisputablethatthegenerallyprevailingattitudeofthe
governingclassinTrinidadwasthatTrinidadwasaChristiancountryandthatnonChristians,
certainlyHindusandMuslims,werebyreasonoftheirreligions,hethens,idolaters,deluded
inferiorinasignificantwayandsolessthanChristians.
ProfessorSamaroo,inThePresbyterianCanadianMissionasanagentofintegrationinTrinidad,
1972(atpage10),citingMorton1917,supraatpage232,makesthefollowingobservation:Evenifthe
EastIndianswerefellowAryans,theyhadintheopinionofthemissionaries,strayedfromthepathof
civilisation.
ToMortontheywereworshipersoffalsegods:Thecharacterofthesedecotas(gods)isfelttobea
mostvulnerablepoint.
Bramawasaliar,Vishnuanadulterer,Shivaadrunkard,Krishnashameless...Whilethecharacterof
Christisourstrongpoint.Ironically,thispreferential/discriminatoryattitudebythegoverningclassin
Trinidad,basedonreligion,wascontrarytotheattitudeofthefounderofChristianity,Jesus,whoselife
wasacritiqueofreligiousexclusivityanddiscrimination.

However,thispreferential/discriminatoryattitudeisimportanttonotebecauseitformspartofthe
collectiveancientmemoryandpsychologicalcontextofHindusandMuslimsinTrinidadandTobago
eventoday.
Itisnowalsobeyonddisputethattheindenturesystemwasreallyoneofsemislavery(see,for
example,DrEricWilliams,HistoryofthePeopleofTrinidadandTobago,atpages105106;andIdris
Hamid,supra,atpages4346).
Whatthewhipwastoslaveryjailandtheasylumweretoindentureship(IdrisHamidmsupraatpage
45).
ThegeneralalienationofandindifferencetotheEastIndianindenturedworkerinrelationtotherestof
thesocietyinTrinidad,isillustratedintheattitudeofthegoverningclassandoftheStatetotheir
education.
DrEricWilliamsnoted,inthisregard:Theworstvictimsofcolonialisminthisrespect(education)
werethechildrenoftheindenturedimmigrants.UntilthearrivaloftheCanadianMissiontotheIndians
inthe1860snoattentionwaspaidtothematall...
(HistoryofthePeopleofTrinidadandTobago,atpage211)And,theKeenanReportof1869records
inrelationtotheEastIndianindenturedimmigrants:Theirmoralandintellectualnecessitieswere
overlooked.Thecooliesmindwasleftablank.Noeffortwasmadetoinducehim,throughthe
awakeningintelligenceanddawningprospectsofhischildren,toassociatethefortuneorthefutureof
hisfamilywiththecolony.Itistherefore,that..collaterally,andIbelievelegitimatelyIconnectthe
magnitudeoftheperiodicalexodusoftheAsiaticswiththeeducationsystem,whichfailstoprovidefor
theirchildrenacceptableschools.
Icannotcalltomindanyothercaseofapeoplewho,havingvoluntarilycometoastrangelandwhich
theyenrichedbytheirlabour,weremorallyandintellectuallysocompletelyneglectedasthecoolies
havebeenduringthepasttwentyfouryears.
(InIdrisHamids,AHistoryofthePresbyterianChurchinTrinidad,supra,atpage64).
EducationwasusedbytheCanadianMissionasavehicleforevangelism.Assuchitssuccessmay
havebeensignificant.Butitwasatacostintermsofcreatingapervasiveattitudeofsuspicion,ifnot
resentment,amongEastIndianHindusandMuslimswhovaluedtheirnonChristianreligiousbeliefs
andobservances(see,ThePresbyterianCanadianMissionasanagentofintegrationinTrinidad;during
the19thandearly20thCenturies,1972byProfessorBrinsleySamaroo,atpage17).Indeed,Professor
Samaroopointsout(supra):(i)They(HindusandMuslims)oftenopposedthemissionaries
evangelisationefforts...and(ii)SomeHindusresentedthefactthatotherEastIndianshadbecome
ChristiansandtheyshowedthisbypreventingChristianEastIndiansfromattending,HinduReligious
ceremonies.HinduandMuslimfamilieswerethusdivided,whentheirchildrenwhoattendedthe
CanadianMissionSchoolschoosetobecomeChristiansagainstthewishesoftheirfamiliesand
communities(see,MortonKlass,EastIndiansinTrinidad:astudyofculturalpersistence,atpage4).
AsProfessorSamaroopointsout(inPioneerPresbyteriansoriginsofPresbyterianWorkinTrinidad,at
page24):TheconversionofHindusandMuslimsledtoacertainamountofdisintegrationinthe
society.Inordertosecurejobsmanyhadtoacceptbaptismandthisoftenledtoaschizophrenic
personality.
ThiswasasituationcreatedbytheChurchandwhichhasbeenhandeddowntoourgeneration(inthe
1990s).
Todayitisstillaproblem..anditiscreatingmanyunpleasantrelationships.
ProfessortSamaroomakesasimilarobservationinThePresbyterianCanadianMissionasanagentof
integrationinTrinidad,supra,atpage24,whenhestates:TheCanadianMissiontotheEast
Indians...possiblybelievingthatthecontrollinghandoftheBritishwouldbethereforalltime,seems

nottohaveenvisagedthedaywhenthecountrywouldbeunderthecontrolofAfricansandEast
Indians.
Hencetheysawnothingwrongwiththeracialseparationthatexistedandindeeddidmuchtopreserve
this.
Indoingso,theyreenforcedtheexclusivenessoftheEastIndianwhosedistinctivewayoflifemade
separationanaturalphenomenon.
Fromthemid20thcenturythisseparationwasdestinedtobedevilthefortunesofanemergingTrinidad
andTobago.