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Cordell Salandy

In the midst of an explosion of racial commentary on social media in the wake of the 2020 General Election result, an online petition for legislation against racism has been started and is circulating on social media.

Hurt and disgusted by a slew of racial remarks and subliminal messages before and after the General Election, attorney Cordell Salandy decided to set up the petition on Tuesday night.

By last evening, his petition on change.org that sought a target of 10,000 signatures had already garnered almost 9,000.

Seeking support for the petition, Salandy posted, “Following and prior to the 2020 General Elections, there has been a proliferation of racially charged hate speeches and or comments made public via several digital platforms and about in particular one racial group.

“Furthermore, particular political parties have used similar racial comments and even advertised what may be considered to be blatant racially devised subliminal messages about a particular race tending to lower their character and or class in society. These occurrences have caused severe emotional pain to me and to the society at large, evident in the shock and disbelief expressed against them, and there must be legislation to put an immediate stop to such forms of abuse and discrimination in any manner so as to preserve the inclusive nature of our beautiful country.”

In a telephone interview yesterday, Salandy said racism in all forms must not be tolerated. He said when a trade union leader could use the ‘N’ word publicly and then refuse to apologise, something was very wrong with that. He said the surge of racially charged remarks reminded him of when he was a child and there was distrust and dislike amongst neighbours because of race.

“This brings back that feeling of hurt,” Salandy said.

Salandy said he wants a law similar to the Race Relations Act in the United Kingdom. The Race Relations Act was first implemented in the United Kingdom in 1965 and made racial discrimination a civil offence.

Salandy said if T&T adopts a similar approach by way of legislation, people will be careful of their words as if they breach the act they will face serious penalties.