Monday, March 14, 2011


As readers will be aware, for the last three and a half months I have been doing an afternoon radio program on Talk City 91.1FM every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The CEO of CNMG, Ken Ali (who is a friend of mine), had approached me to do the show back in November of last year. They really couldn't afford to pay me so I agreed not to charge the station anything for my services but told them that they were to pay whatever they could afford and whatever they thought fair to the Cancer Society in my name, an arrangement to which they happily agreed. I called my program "Counterpoint" and began to broadcast around the 25th November. My idea was to have a program in which I would air my views on any given subject, but that persons would be free to call in and give their own opinions. The only provisos were that all opinions had to be reasoned and not be defamatory. I couldn't (and don't) care less whether or not a caller agreed with me, but I insisted that every caller would have to answer quetsions that were put to him/her and not be allowed to waffle when the questioning got tough. I apllied the same rules to myself.

Well, although no survey was done, I believe that we had become quite popular. When we first started the program we had hardly any calls. By Carnival Wednesday (2nd March) when I quit, as soon as we would open the lines the switch board would light up. Many persons would call me in my office the next day to say that they had tried for the two hours that the show was on, but couldn't get through. Many, many other people would approach me just about everywhere that I went (from the beach to the supermarket and everywhere in between) to tell me how much they were enjoying the show. Clearly, it was becoming quite popular.

On Carnival Wednesday my producer suggested that we discuss the calypso that the Calypsonian Crocro sang at the Calypso Monarch semi-finals. I hadn't up till then heard the calypso, but agreed that we could discuss it. I had heard that it was terribly racist and very offensive. In any case, we played a large section of the calypso on the show and then began to discuss it. I was absolutely horrified by the calypso. It was offensive and racist in the extreme. In essence, its theme was that any black person who did not vote for Patrick Manning and the PNM was a traitor to his race!! Indeed, the Calypsonian called out the names of several prominent African-Trinidadians in the calypso calling them traitors to their race!

In my view this was awful. It was promoting racial division and strife in a society that does not need this, and was racist in the extreme. If you changed a few words and had a white person or an Indian sing that calypso he would be called (quite rightly) a racist. I see no reason why what is sauce for the goose should not be sauce, as well, for the gander. Racism is racism no matter from where it originates, and I said so quite clearly. I condemned Crocro for the song, and I condemned the judges who put him into the Calypso Monarch finals.

I am pleased to say that every single caller to the program that afternoon agreed with me. However, my co-host, Justin Dookie, who has the advantage over me in that he controls the switch board (even though it was my show), took the view that it was a calypso, and that offensive as it might be, the calypsonian had the right to sing it. I couldn't disagree with him more! Indeed, one lady caller quite intelligently pointed out that claypsonians couldn't sing anything they liked. A child molester, for example, should not be allowed to sing a calypso about how much he liked to molest little children! According to my co-host child molestation and racism were two completely different things and therefore her comparison was invalid.

When the show had about half an hour to go somebody came in and said that Crocro had been trying to call in but couldn't get through ... the lines were jammed. My co-host decided that we should call Crocro and give him a chance to defend himself. I disagreed completely. My attitude is and was that I will not share any platform with a child molester, a drug dealer, a murderer or a racist. And my definition of a racist includes a person who will sing a racist calypso. I don't care to be associated with anybody who espouses views that ought to be condemned by right thinking members of society, and I refuse to debate with such a person.

Well, my co-host called my producer who said that she saw nothing wrong with having Crocro on the show. I then left the station. It's their station, but it's my good name. Several persons from the station did call me the next day, but the bottom line was that they refused to agree to my demand that this was my show and as a result I had the ultimate right to refuse to have on it any person that I considered undesirable. Their argument was that as a State owned radio station they had to include all views. My view is that this is fine ... just not on my show. They could give that person any time they wanted on any of their other shows ... just not one with which my name is associated. I will debate with anyone whose views are different to or from mine ... whether it's about politics, religion, or the weather! And I genuinely respect persons who hold different views from me on any given subject. But I will not now or ever descend into debating (whether publicly or privately) with one who espouses racial views! I quit!


  1. Would that there were more people with similar morals. Congrats Robin. Like children, people have to"feel" to learn - hopefully, those in authority will. Do they not realise that they have a responsibility for nurturing "morals"?

  2. Good on yer Robin!
    If they want Cro-Cro to air his racist views, give him his own program. It does seem that black(African) racism is not considered to be racism. Pandays phrase "politics has its own morality" comes to mind.
    If the standard applied is not fair and just, and universal, it is only a matter of time before all hell will break loose.
    Oh dear,

  3. Robin - you aren't alone.
    In case you folks have not heard "Crow Crow's" "big" calypso for 2011, click on the first link below ... you should listen to the entire song to understand the little "man's" mission.......

    The four links that follow contain comments from various writers about the so-called "song."

    This is what many of our "people" and calypso judges pass as "Calypso" these days .... the "song" received thunderous applause amongst the large crowd at Skinner Park in the semi-finals, with calls for an encore (which could not be granted, as it was a competition) and the "calypsonian" was rewarded with a place in the finals, which included a financial award paid for by many of the taxpayers whom he threatened and insulted.

    The last link should also be of interest to all, regardless of political persuasion .... frightening, isn't it? ....... As they say, "Only in Trinidad"........

  4. Dear Robin,

    First, permit me to commend your principled moral stance. Second, accept my congratulations as one of a very few Trinidadians of your background and status who has not been corrupted by the assiduous legacy of Eric Williams. Tragically, neither your producer nor co- host has been so favoured. C'est la vie. Keep on 'keeping on'.

  5. I'm sorry that you left the show because I too enjoyed it immensely. However, I throughly agree with your stance and commend you for it. I hope we have the opportunity to hear your views on topical and relevant issues again soon on perhaps another radio station.

  6. Right on, Robin ...

  7. Hi Robin, this is Amanda from California. I heard the calypso for the first time and I didn't like it but I must disagree with you on this one. In my opinion you should be open minded because this person is voicing an opinion. We may disagree with Crocro but it is his right to put his opininon in song. I think he should be allowed to have a discussion with you about it on the radio if he chooses to do so. I think you have made a hasty decision in leaving. You have a platform whereby people can be heard, albeit, heated at times, but it can lead to change that is sorely needed. A child molester singing about child molestation and Crocro's song is apples and oranges.

  8. I totally disagree with the comment above yes we have rights to voice our opinion but if this calypso was coming from an "indian " you would have seen the reaction of the people..... i agree with you robin let him air his views on another program and not with you. by not having a discussion with him clearly shows ur views, morals and opinions........if Cro Cro wants to explain himself about his calypso you dont have to be the one to do it....

  9. what's the difference with someone singing about Child Molestation and Crocro's song .............NONE its just as degrading......

  10. I think the writers above misunderstood what I am saying. Robin leaving the show does not hurt Crocro, it takes away the platform for people to call in and discuss whatever is happening at the moment. He should have stayed on the show thereby giving the people a place to vent, explain or express their feelings on different matters.I disagree with Crocro but leaving the show was not the best way to go. I believe when you know better, you do better. Be it Indian or otherwise, racism is racism. This is what happens when you have a democracy, people are allowed to voice their opinions whether we agree or not. Maybe if Robin stayed on and discussed it, next year another person wil heed the voice of the people and think twice before he/she decides to sing a calypso such as this one. Sometimes you have to pick your fight and this one was not it. Just saying!!! - Amanda

  11. I listened to the calypso carefully. Now I must admit my Trini is a little dated. However, what I got from Cro Cro's rendition is not that he is being racist but that he is stating that the black man has so much hatred for himself and his race even after the gains from the civil rights and black power movements. What he would have explained if you had let him debate would have been that he felt that the other large group the East Indian still treat their late leaders with respect even though they may feel they did not deserve it whereas the blacks don't.I do believe that likening what he was saying to child molestation and stating that you would not talk to him was unfair. The calypso has always been the venue for making political statements. I do think that you should have given him a chance.

    You know very well that Trinidad has been a racially divided country. The world knows about the former government enforced apartheid that existed in S.Africa but little is known about the social apartheid that existed in Trinidad for years.

    Cro Cro is old enough to know all about that. The PNM may be derided now for a multitude of reasons but most importantly it did give the blacks in Trinidad their voice.
    It may be that Cro Cro believes the shift from Black to Indian control may be permanent this time...

    Nobody criticized Sparrow when he sang 'It's a shame It's a shame we have ourselves to blame...We asked for new government and they taking every cent...or even when he chanted about 'never having a white meat yet'...

  12. Crow crow! should ashamed to associate with blacks OR rather the other way around-they should be ashamed to be associated with him!he's a disgrace to the human race!Racism was practised by PNM for 50 years & the rest of the dominant race were left out to collect crumbs from the table--now that they are missing the Gravy train,they are upset--NEVER shall the pnm regain that feeding frenzy--free HDC houses,free scholarships,free SMART cards,freeness galore in every facet of society!We,the people who voted 70% for CHANGE are happy--the 30% who called for encore in Skinnerpark are the diehard racists who depended on freeness-those slimy blood sucking leeches shall continue to be vultures wherever they live!