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It was MG Smith (1965, 1984,1991) more than any other social scientist in the post-independence Anglophone Caribbean who stressed over and over again the political and social dangers of the culturally and racially plural nature of our societies, however theoretically and empirically problematic his own work. By directing full and sole attention to the ethnic cleavages in the society, Smith had hit the proverbial nail on the head but his critics, mainly Marxist in orientation largely dismissed his focus, since for them class and class conflict was seen as the mother of all conflict, contradiction and ultimately revolution (Cross 1971; Robotham 1980; Beckford and Witter 1984). In Trinidad and Tobago today, and since the implosion of the NAR in 1988, we can perhaps now understand the forebodings of Smith as the African-Indian cleavage has more than ever superseded the formerly dominant white! African cleavage of plantation vintage though the latter still lives and lurks in certain spaces.
Copyright Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies