Daaga: Compulsory service can temper race relations

Daaga made a rare public appearance yesterday as he delivered a presentation on the social history of the East/West Corridor during Citadel’s National Service initiative at City Hall in Port- of-Spain.

The social activist had first taken issue with the word “National” in the title of the concept, saying it contradicted the premise upon which the initiative was conceived.

“But, if you go on the East/West Corridor and you go between La Brea and Point, you are going to leave out the majority of the second most active race in this country,” he said.

“I think you are going to have very, very serious problems if you are going to ask Government to invest money in something in which the entire Opposition party would be against. I see plenty trouble in that respect.”

Daaga said, however, the measure, when fine-tuned, had the potential to unite the races.

“I believe that if it is one measure that this entire project can correct, it is that of the race problem in this country. “My dear brothers and sisters, we have absolutely nowhere to go unless we can find answers to the race problem in this country,” he reasoned.

“And, I believe that there could be no better programme to try to indulge people of all the races together, to find some sense of unity and united effort than a programme like this.”

Daaga also urged the management of Citadel to keep the programme away from the Government’s hands.

“The other thing that I want to suggest very strongly is that you use all your influence to keep this programme out of Government control,” he stressed, amid loud applause from the audience.

“But, if you leave this under Government control, especially if it is Government-funded, it would not surprise me if after a period of time to get stories what I heard with Cepep and URP where supervisors are saying, ‘Don’t go down to the Square, and you won’t get pay.’”

Daaga suggested that the project, if accepted, be funded by both the Government and private sector.

He also felt if citizens were given the opportunity to contribute a dollar to the project, Citadel would get “ a fantastic response.”


"Daaga: Compulsory service can temper race relations"

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