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FOR THE STUDY 0
ELECTION SPECIAL No. 1 & REGIONAL SUPPLEMENt1.2 Y,- INUARY 31,1971.
Age Ladder: 1971 Birthdays
- Williams (PNM)
52 Bhadase Maraj (DLP)
S Lequay (DLP)
Mohammed (PNM) Robinson (ACDC) Dhanny (UNIP)
3 Chambers (PNM)
40 Mhabir (PNM)
9- Young (TIWU)
- Padmore (PNM) Millette (UNIP) Phillips (PNM)
3- Best, Solomon (TAPIA)
S Cartar (ACDC) Granger (NJAC)
35 Lowhar (TAPIA)
2 Mrcano (UNIP) Nunez (NJAC)
31 Suite (UMROBI) Singh (UNIP)
30 Mottley (ACDC)
29 Laughlin (TAPIA)
-7 Maraj (NFO)
2 Taylor (TAPIA) Ramrekersingh (TAPIA) Als (YP)
24 Darbeau (NJAC)
DLP & PNM P.6-7
Confrontation No.3 P.2
PM's Power P.3
People's Demands P. 3
In the homes and on the streets! Up and
down the land, we face the question Who it is
we going to put? And that means the old regime
is now a living dead. It is the wrong question but
that is what it means. The PNM is done for in
the public mind; Williams is now a Right
Honourable Dead Doctor, C.H. After 15 years of
trying with him and ten years of duplicity,
deception and brambling, it is time; time for
But who we go put? such is the question as we ask
it. And though it is so wrong a question, we ask it
because it is the only politics we know: Doctor politics.
The colonial system has so deprived us of our manhood
that time for a change has always meant the coming of a
new Messiah to change the rules.
In 1919 Cipriani arrived to do just that and by 1925
the barefoot man had got a spokesman. Butler arrived in
1937 and by the 40's organised labour had won a voice
and Adult Suffrage was in the bag. In 1956, Williams in
turn appeared heralding an age of Cabinet Government,
political independence and party politics.
Through the eyes of our colonial history this is the
way we've always seen it. We see ourselves as powerless
and impotent; it's not our contribution which counts. So
each time what we remember is not the movement in the
ranks, but the halo of the man.
For good reason. We have remembered the man
because his politics alone was full-time politics. We also
counted, yes; but only at the time of crisis as the crowd
support. Our normal part was to be the faceless cast of
thousands. In between the crises, we simply stayed at
home and hoped. We were equipped it seemed, for
nothing else. We had no economic independence, we had
no social status, our way of life was dog.
So the Messiah made the difference in our minds. But
even he was not the key to change. "Government" did
not belong to us; it was ours to influence only through
the leader; it was not a thing we could control.
The conventional politics therefore has required one
man and only one: the leader, doctor and messiah. The
men around him did not matter. He was the only
politician holding the vital life-line to the crowd and
commanding the skill to wring concessions from the
system. The other men were his to make or break.
So whenever came the time for change, we looked to
see who'd let his bucket down. So even when, with
Williams, we were offered plan and party, we paid no
attention to the team; here was a man that we could put.
It is a measure of the Williams' impact that we've let
the plan and party go this way. It is a measure of how
powerless we feel up to this very day, that once again we
pose the age-old question: who is it we're going toput?
We're looking for the new messiah to declare a day of
deliverance in the square. After 1970, the Williams thing
is done; there is an opening at the top.
It's there fore now a season of adventure for
messiah-makers in the media. They are busy wrapping
charismatic gifts for sale. Out of tired hardback jamettes,
they're busy making dashing princes. For crowd support
they're constructing mergers out of kingdoms without
people, entire worlds of grand illusion.
But the world in which we have to live is a world of
actual people. And that is what we have to put... a
government of people. The party and the programme are
what must count; the men must take the second place.
We must discard the conventional politics of exchanging
messiahs in the square. To continue as before is to tread
the old and dangerous road to terror. For when the
charismatic excitement fades, bribery and intimidation
come next. The Williams failure is a failure not of motive
or of skill; it is a failure of messianic method.
One man would do when government has no people's
work. But once there's work, there must be team and
plan and party. Otherwise, corruption and terror become
political needs- not personal failing.
The unconventional politics then is not the politics of
violence; it is a politics that insists on participation and
involvement. It is a politics that departs from looking for
a man and seeks instead to change the system.
The issue then is not who must we put but how to
change the system to let people into power. Reform ...
constitutional, economic and electoral reform. After the
upheaval of 1970, therecan be no election without the
fullest representation of the people at the polls, And
after the election there can be no government without
the fullest participation of the people in the process.
The vital link between the present and the future is
thus a National Meeting of the people to discuss reform
and change. A Constituent Assembly of the 1970
Revolution. The regime is dead; it is broken down.
Neither Army, Church nor Parliament is working. We
have to put up something new. And for that we have to
talk as man.
The action now is therefore clear..... convene this
meeting of the people. The Williams Government should
resign and make room for the Assembly and for the
Interim Government that the Convention would surely
call. But no doubt politics is standing in the way. We the
people may therefore have to call the thing ourselves.
And it may well come to that one of these mornings.
The alternative is P.N.M. and chaos.
I I' '
Page 2 TAPIA ELECTION SPECIAL No. 1
STATE OF EMERGENCY
21 Apr.- arrest of several NJAC leaders.
Private Bailey killed at Teteron.
Showcases of 32 stores and 5 ban ks smashed.
One hour battle between police and people in
Schools closed at 2 p.m.
Students close UWI.
Dawn to Dusk curfew imposed.
22 Apr.- Camp Ogden destroyed by fire
22 persons arrested in Tobago.
Venezuelan troops on stand by at Williams's
U.S. battleships heading for Trinidad waters.
2 top Jamaican military officers arrive to assist
23 Apr.-Non-Violent Committee for the defence of
Democratic freedoms founded at UWI.
Indoor Teach-in held.
Granger arrested at Guaracara.
2 Factories destroyed by fire.
1 Killed, 1 wounded by police.
25 Apr.- Govern rrint bans the storing of gas.
27 Apr.- High Court hearing 7 detainees contest the
validity of the detention.
Open Air Teach-in by Non-violent committee;
first Pamphlet, calling for Constituent
UWI student shot.
8 detainees lodged at the Royal Jail.
Police call on those with unlicensed firearms to
give them up.
29 Apr.- Review tribunal announced.
30 Apr.- WIGUT protest detention of UWI lecturer, Pat
1 May- Ex-sergeant shot dead by police.
Williams on television-radio hook up. He
'reveals' plot to overthrow the Government.
Police Comissioner announces relaxation of
7 May.- 12 Black Power leaders charged with sedition.
8 May- Preliminary hearing into charges of treason
against soldiers starts. Press coverage of political
trials restricted by Gov't.
9 May- TAPIA Special No. 2 appears Call for a
10 May- Williams announces several Cabinet changes and
13 May- Justice Hassanali declared detention orders
invalid. New detention orders served
14 May- Police seize OWTU books. Sedition cases in
26 May- Sedition cases in San Femando postponed. AG
arraigns 31 more soldiers on charges of treason.
29 May- 12 persons apply to Review Tribunal
4 June- Best sees Chambers re political detainees. 29
more soldiers charged with treason.
6 June- 1 soldier freed
15 June- 12 soldiers freed;
19 June- Syl Lowhar the first detainee freed.
24 June- Jamadarasks to visit political detainees.
29 June- 5 soldiers freed.
30 June- Williams National Reconstruction speech.
3 July- 4 political detainees freed.
15 July- Jamadar's request to see detainees refused.
22 July- Blackwood and Andelcio arrested.
7 Aug.- Public Order Bill tabled in Parliament
9 Aug.--TAPIA No. 8 appears, advertising continuing
Tapia meetings. Tapia announces terms on
which it will permit elections.
11 Aug.- 4 more detainees released.
25Aug.- PNM publishes "Perspectives for the New
Society" and holds get-together of 2,000 at
13 Sep.- Government withdraws the PO Bill.
14 Sep.- Hudson Phillips resigns? Williams refuses
20 Spe.- Robinson resigns from PNM.
28 Sep.- Emergency regulations relaxed.
30Sep.- PM tells OWTU of discovery of large arms
6 Oct.- 3 soldiers, 8 prison officers injured in clash at
15 Oct.- 5 more detainees released.
16 Oct.- Arrival of Colonel Danjuma.
19 Oct.- Williams announces the anti-corruption laws are
27 Oct.- Court Martial begins.
1 Nov.- Police Assoc. requests Ministry of National
Security to make a service revolver part of a
3 Nov.- Appeal Court frees 2 jailed for breach of
17 Nov.- Granger, Darbeau, Weeks etc. released.
19 Nov.- 'Official' end of the State of Emergency. NJAC
interview. Adoption of unconventional politics-
we are fighting against a system, not simply to
remove Williams. Lt. Shah's Condonation plea
20 Nov.- Dedicated Citizens, DLP, UNIP etc. hold joint
mass meeting in POS.
23 Nov.- Jagan tells UWI students that NJAC should
enter conventional politics.
27 Nov.- 13th Annual Convention of PNM begins. 3,000
attend NJAC meeting in People's Parliament.
29 Nov.- PNM Convention ends.
10 Dec.- ISA will be replaced by IRA.
12Dec.- NJAC Rededication march to San Juan
13 Dec.- PNM youth convention. ACDC Convention fails
to come off.
The Regime must fall
EVERY NOW AND THEN in the history of a
civilization there is an upheaval which shakes the
system to its foundations and shapes an al-
together new order of things. We are now living
through one of these periods; the European
stranglehold is broken.
Because we in the Caribbean have been the
most perfect creation of the imperial civilization
of the last 500 hundred years the 3rd world of
the 3rd world it is we who are in the vanguard
of the movement. Because we in Trinidad have
been the most complete expression of the Carib-
bean condition what with our hotch-potch of
unsettled, migrant peoples from here and there
and everywhere it is we who are in the fore-
front of the rising. It is sheer poetry and ro-
In these little islands here one thing has be-
come clear in recent months: we are poised to
finish off the old regime. You can see it from
the way the personages are ritually strutting
through the most ridiculous routines while all
institutions are tumbling down. So Williams, Ro-
binson and Jamadar are dutifully playing police
and thief while parliament stands without mean-
While Rome is burning thus, the press is
fiddling frantically on. It is the highest season of
cheap sensation...higher far than the golden days
of the Camacho festival and higher even than the
dizzy peaks of the 1970 Revolution. We go
along without even recounting facts let alone get
at their meaning. This incredible irresponsibility
is the surest pledge of coming trouble.
Back in the communities, the revolution is
gaining strength from day to day. As the gap
widens between private and public versions of
the truth and as official incompetence parades
on stage, we are sharpening our political judg-
ment, learning our own strength and developing
confidence to act.
We are ready now for confrontation No. 3.
In April we had confrontation No. 1 and lost.
THE PUBLIC ORDER BILL.
24 Jun.- AG says that PO Bill almost ready.
7 Aug.- PO Bill tabled in the House.
13 Aug.- PO Bill goes on sale.
14 Aug.- MOKO opposes PO Bill.
15 Aug.- Manswell in an interview opposes the Bill
16 Aug.- NUGFW Bill threatens workers' rights.
17 Aug.- The VANGUARD calls upon the population to
oppose the PO Bill.
22 Aug.- TAPIA Special devoted entirely to implications
of the Bill.
22 Aug.- Rep. Bharath calls the Bill a threat to citizens'
25 Aug.- 6 lawyers openly oppose the Bill.
Jamadar calls for scrapping of Bill and
challenges PM to go to the polls on the issue.
26 Aug.-OWTU executive calls the Bill "a piece of
27 Aug.- Fr. Reid says Bill can cause bigger trouble.
28 Aug.- Bar Association urged to meet to discuss Bill.
29 Aug.- Martin Sampath opposes' Bill in the press.
Robinson condemns PO Bill in talk to SWWTU.
2 Sept.-Medical Association calls for withdrawal of the
3 Sept;- Deadline for comments extended to 30 Sept.
SWWTU withdraw the Bill or we shall act to
4 Sept.-Students' Guild opposes Bill.
10 Sept.-Algernon Wharton the Bill is an affront to all
11 Sept.-Editorial in Catholic News supports PO Bill.
The NATION supports PO Bill.
12 Sept.-Labour Congress studying motion for general
13 Sept.-Cabinet meets in emergency session and
withdraws the PO Bill
We lost because our strategy was wrong. A
crowd in the square was not enough. We let the
King from off the hook; we let reaction through
But the pussonal nonarch also learnt. He
learnt that a massive crowd means a regime
which cannot last without the aid of permanent
terror. So we got the Public Order Billand con-
frontation No. 2.
And that victory taught us other things again:
that we could win the game on points. That po-
litical confrontation could score without the
barrel of a gun. And that we dare not place our
future in the keeping of this gangster Caesar.
Tapia has always felt this way. We have
sprung from a movement which has consistently
opposed Williams and the PNM since 1960. We
have been part of a movement which relies on
intelligence, wit and organization as against over-
simplification, angry outbursts and crowd mani-
pulation. Our response to the barbarities of
April was to found a Committee for non-violent
defence of freedom, to continue publication and
discourse in defiance of the tyrant's laws and to
call for Community Councils and a Constituent
This policy is beginning now to tell. The po-
pulation is beginning now to see. A Constituent
Assembly is on the way; a radical party is in the
making. And the act of mobilization is a public
act, the act of conducting free discussions.
Nothing is more subversive here than free
reporting of the facts, then free appraisal of the
options. Nothing is more reactionary here than
mauvais langue and scandal mongering, than the
revelations which keep us backward.
The Press would drag us in the gutter; but let
it carry on as usual. Tapia knows what it is doing
and at Auzonville we explained it to the people.
We reject all oversimplification on the question
of race;we reject any muzzling of the people -
even if they are civil servants under neo-colonial
restrictions; we reject the promiscuous and op-
portunist politics of overnight mergers.
We insist that the regime must fall; that it
must fall by due process and that power must go
to the people. We are determined to abandon
the conventional politics of leader-parties in the
papers for participatory parties in the local
areas. We are certain that the ingredients of
serious politics are available now to the country
and that we all have only to bring them together
in public. We think that the time has reached to
found a national political system based on real-
istic alignments and compromises, and we can
feel that such a system is coming with radical
unity as one result.
But all this lies a little way ahead beyond
confrontation No. 3.
nature, corts no gIreat publicnity. 1Besides,
TAPIA ELECTION SPECIAL No. 1 Page 3
Williams has too
Independence has not brought any real
curtailment of the excessive power which
the Chief Executive has always had here.
The Prime Minister controls the House of
Representatives. In this House their can
be no check on him unless his colleagues
in the majority party have an
independent base in the constituencies or
in business. There is no outside check on
him unless dissenting opinion in the
country is free to express itself.
But free opinion is almost non-existent
except in the University. The local
business class is small and too much of it
either does not see the danger of
repression or is happy with it. The foreign
corporations are bound to play ball with
whoever is in power. And the Central
Government is both the largest employer
and the largest source of new jobs. The
Prime Minister therefore has a great deal
of influence over other men's jobs.
Besides, he has an extraordinary
amount of direct control over
appointments under the Constitution. As
Her Majesty he appoints the Governor
General and as the Governor General he
appoints the Chief Justice. He appoints
the Public Service Commission and the
Police Service Commission; the Elections
Commission and the Boundaries
Commission; the Auditor-General; and
three out of five members of the Judicial
and Legal Service Commission not
counting the Chief Justice. Finally, he
appoints the principal representatives of
the country (the Ambassadors).
On top of all this the Prime Minister's
consent is required when the Electoral
and Boundaries Commissions confer
powers on public officers for the purpose
of discharging their functions. He also has
the power of consent over appointment,
acting or permanent, to the posts of
Permanent. Secretary, Head of
Department, Director of Personnel
Administration, chief professional
Adviser and all the respective Deputies.
His agreement is required for transfers
and promotions as well. And still more, he
must assent to the appointment of the
Deputy Commissioner of Police.
In our context, these arrangements are
ready-made for a totalitarian State. They
require an angel as Prime Minister if the
controls the Upper Branch of the
m uch pow er Legislature the Senate. He appoints 13'
of the 24 members directly and through
the Governor-General a further 7 after
e of p r i to be avoided The question before us therefore is not
abuse of power is to be avoided. Well, Monarchyor Republic? It is: who should
Williams is not an angel, and we are not be in charge here? The State? The
anticipating any intervention by Heaven c
in the appointment of his successors. Cont'd on Page 4
Nor is that all. The Prime Minister even
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Abandon the Monarchy. Establish a
Participatory Republic with a
Governor General as Ceremonial Head
of State and a Prime Minister as Head
Establish an island-wide system of Local
Councils in Trinidad. Give them real
Establish a specially powerful Local
Authority in Tobago.
Change the basis for selecting the Senate
and increase the size of that Assembly.
Enhance the power of the Senate in
appointments and strengthen its
influence on State opinion.
Establish a National Panchaiyat of both
Houses and give it influence on
appointments and on legislation.
Entrench Congressional power of
Constitutional Review every two
generations (30 years). Maintain
Give Congress power to review
representation in the Senate every five
years. Members can be included or
excluded by simple majority. The
Senate will keep up with the times.
Abandon the Privy Council and establish
a Local Court, preferably a West
Reform the rules of the Civil Service to
grant more freedom.
Reform the rules of the Teaching Service
to grant more freedom.
Establish National Service to help
Shift tli Capital out of Port-of-Spain
to help decentraiz/ation.
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I aI .
Page 4 TAPIA ELECTION SPECIAL No. 1
THE KEY REFORMS The Senate and Local Gov't
Government? The Prime Minister? Or the
Our proposals are designed to place the
people in charge. We are preparing full
statements on all aspects of these
proposals. Here we present summaries on
the Monarchy, the Senate and the
Panchaiyat and on Local Government.
The case for the Monarchy is
that many Europeans, conservatives
and older people are afraid to
change the symbols of the old
order. It is not that the Monarchy
helps them in any concrete way. It
does not. The.Prime Minister is the
real king; the burden of the case
against the Monarchy is that we
must unmask him. The proposals
made here will limit him but it will
still leave him strong which he has
The rest of the case against the
Monarchy is that its supporters are
in the minority. Sixty-two percent
of the population is under
twenty-five years old. The
Europeans must now accept
symbols of the change to
independence and to sovereignty of
They are right to, seek re-assurance;
they must have a dignified place here.
They must find those assurances in the
Constitutional and political system as a
whole. We must persuade them by our
whole way of behaving that cutting the
navel-string with London is important to
us but that we will not use it as an
occasion to turn the tables. The
Constitution and the Government must
be for all the people.
The Senate must represent all
organised interests in the country. This is
necessary to bring popular opinion onto
the public stage and to give it
parliamentary protection. The Senate
must help the people to think seriously
about all aspects of the national life, to
see the range of their interests, and to
grasp the need to be organised and
The representatives must be selected
and paid by the community interests
themselves. They must not be under the
control of the Prime Minister because of
nomination. Nor must they be elected -
they may then challenge the other elected
body. What is needed is an Assembly
more to inform the State and the public
and less to exercise power.
The following interests spring to mind:
* Unions, Steelbands, Indian and other
* Municipal and Village Councils;
* Professional Associations including
calypsonians and artists;
* Representatives of commerce, industry
* Religious associations;
* Public Corporations;
* Communications media including
radio, TV and the press;
* Teachers including the University
* Student and Youth Organisations;
* Sporting Associations;
* and, as occasional members,
representatives of the Caribbean
diplomatic corps and of foreign
investors operating in Trinidad &
At the moment, this scheme should
yield about 250 members of which 100
could be village Councillors, 25 Municipal
Councillors and 20 each for sporting,
cultural and trade union organizations.
There will be plenty of ordinary people.
This is the best part of the scheme.
These are the people who need to be
heard systematically. The scheme will
also throw up a lot of expertise and it will
force some to account in public for their
Besides, interests can change their
bowlers from time to time. Changing
attitudes will be reflected in the House
even between elections, and governments
will be better able to keep in touch with
The Senate must be charged to select
the Governor General from among its
own Members. This would mean that
both the Head of State and his electors
will be un-elected. Neither will have a
basis for challenging the elected
representatives of the people, and the
Prime Minister, as Head of Government
will still be the king-pin of the system.
But this Assembly must have power in
addition to its opportunity to mould the
opinion of the' State. It could quite
properly and conveniently be given power
to appoint the Auditor-General, the
members of the Electoral Commission
and the members of the Boundaries
Commission. These appointments need to
be taken out of the hands of the
Executive and the elected legislators.
These are controls on the State and
should be exercised by the Central
Agency which is most sensitive to popular
The senate should also have power
* to initiate legislation
* to establish Commissions of Enquiry.
* to supervise the State's interest in the
Radio, Television and Newspaper
These are powers in the field of
information and they will service the
moulding of State opinion. To initiate
legislation is to tell the State about the
needs of the people.
This is a Congress of "Elders"
composed of the members of the House
of Representatives and the Senate. It
should enjoy influence on legislation but
not decisive power. The sovereignty must
lie clearly with the Elected House. One
way to do this is to allow Congress to
vote on the first reading of all non-money
bills. The elected representatives must be
unbridled in matters of raising money.
The second reading will be in the
Lower House and will be decisive. But the
Government will flout the decision on the
first reading only at its peril. In other
words, it must cairy the country with it
and try always to secure a majority ill
If it docs not, it i nay still go ahead
with its interili.iis But to do that it must
enjoy enornu,. i moral authority if it is to
give the people leadership in an unwanted
direction. The presence of the elected
representatives in Congress will present
opportunity tor the ex-officio
representatives to study their men and to
be persuaded by oratory, and by
man-to-man argument as well as by
information and analysis.
That is moral power for the Senate.
Legal power is also necessary. In matters
of appointment, where the initiative
needs to be left with the Prime Minister,
but whereehe iceds to be curbed, the
Congress will serve well.
The Elected representative will again
have the chance to persuade their
colleagues in debate. The Congress can
therefore be given power to reject the
Prime Minister's nominations to the posts
of Chief Justice and to the Public Service
and the Judicial and Legal Service
About 25 such Councils are needed in
Trinidad at the moment.
Rio Claro Toco
Port of Spain
The purpose of this arrangement is to
cicate units small and intimate enough
for real participation. We have been kept
out of government for centuries. We need
units which are close to the people. The
country is small enough for the number
of agencies to be manageable.
The Municipal Councils must enjoy
greater tax revenues, some of which will
be collected by the Central Government.
They must however, have more tax power
and must be given greater responsibility
in housing, health, education, sport,
banking, police control, etc.
This proposal may well involve some
technical difficulties in the field of public
finance and may raise certain awkward
issues on such questions as industrial
location and administration of public
utilities. But the obstacles are not
insuperable; we will deal with them at
From the response that we have twen pettinj, III seeills that a large
.section of the population is quite tired of' the neo-colonial arrangements
anti is now readv to ditch them. We may not therefore he biting off more
than we can Chew.
Certainly. far reaching reform Nvill have many unintended
Consequences, and will therefore create problems wljiClj Ae krojjl(j 1joj
have anticipated. But that is precisely the point. Ihis nimement is
anchored in the confidence that the population can handle anv problems
which may arise.
We are not -afraid. Throwing off the colonial condition mealls
embarkim, on a road without the sli-litest fear of %%hat lies alicad. 'lo
worry about w-hether wv are "mature enotwh- is to doobt oursehes. And
that we must leave to the Tonis.9
TAPIA REGIONAL SUPPLEMENT Page 1
OUR FRENCH WEST INDIAN Mic l
Like most of the other islands of the Caribbean, Guadeloupe and
Martinique are engaged in the struggle for their national identity. But until
quite recently two opposing attitudes separated the political outlooks of
the French-speaking and the English-speaking islands. The former sought,
and obtained in 1946, assimilation to France -- the status of Department
Francais The latter carried on the struggle, renewed after the 1929 crisis,
for national independence, which they achieved in the early 1960's.
This divergence of outlook between societies closely related
geographically and historically is, nevertheless, disturbing. These islands
are geographically close: they have the same history of colonisation -
plantations; slavery; importation of
Africans, Indians and saltfish; anti-colonialist forces in the islands
exportation of sugar, coffee, unanimously demanded assimilation.
tobacco. In them, parallel Those who sought assimilation (among
ideological currents have them was Aime Cesaire) were for the
developed: the ideology of the most part members of the Socialist and
white planters, founded on Communist parties. It cannot be doubted
economic interest and directed that their demands sprang from a certain
toward the maintenance of the desire for assimilation on the part of the
plantation system: the ideology of population. This desire was motivated to
the free coloured, educated and a considerable extent by the wish to
seeking equal rights with whites; identify with newly-liberated France, and
and finally the ideology of the to see the application to Martinique and
lavsG aimed at the o of uadeloupe of the new legislation
slaves, aimed at the removal of establishing social security, retirement
white domination, benefits, family allowances, minimum
In both cases, too, a middle class basic wage, and equality of
developed at the beginning of the remuneration as between metropolitan
twentieth century, but while in the case and local civil servants.
of the British colonies the middle class Cesaire himself, the champion of the
fought for political power, for cultural and human values of
independence, the middle class of the Negritude,was the spokesman of
French colonies demanded assimilation. assimilationism, for he wished to see
This difference of outlook is extended to Martinique and Guadeloupe
disturbing, and one needs to explain it the social benefits enjoyed by workers in
before attempting any description of the France.
present state of the nationalist movement But ten years after the achievement of
in Martinique and Guadeloupe. the status of Departments, it was among
Three factors present themselves for these same men that the advocates of
analysis: the assimilationist orientation of autonomy (political independence with
French colonialism, the solidarity existing retention of certain economic ties) were
between the struggles in France and in to be found.
the islands for the republican ideals of Assimilation had not brought to the
liberty and equality; and the political French West Indies the transformations
situation in the period immediately
We will not dwell on the first factor,
since it is one which is well known and
which has figured for a long time in the
arguments of those who even today
refuse to recognize that, for all its
assimilationism, French colonialism is no
whit less colonialistic. It is sufficient to
note that the assimilationist character of
French colonialism appears on two levels,
the institutional level, where it is
expressed in the tendency toward
administrative centralisation, and the
individual level, where it tends toward the
integration of the colonised into French
society and citizenship.
The first of these tendencies
characterises, in particular, the policy of
authoritarian governments such as the
Monarchy, the Empire, and the Gaullist
regime; the second tendency is
characteristic of revolutionary and
republican governments such as the
Convention, the Second and Third
Republics, the Popular Front and the
As for the second factor, it must be
noted that in the course of three
centuries the attention of coloured
people in the colonies, fighting against
racist and pro-slavery whites for human
dignity and the Rights of Man, has
constantly been focused on the ideals of
equality proclaimed by the French
Republic. Thus it is that from the
Convention (1795) to the Fourth
Republic they frequently obtained from
French republicans the help they needed
in order to win equal rights, free secular
education, equal pay and so forth.
In the years immediately preceding
1946, the Popular Front (1936), the Free
French Government (1944), and then the
Fourth Republic the last named
constructed from leftist majorities had
won a number of substantial social
reforms. The Caribbean territories had
only just emerged from the Vichy
occupation with its attendant privations
and afflictions. It is not surprising
therefore that the progressive and
for which its advocates had hoped. Civil
servants, it is true, had managed to carve
out for themselves a favoured place in the
system, but only by dint of repeated
strikes and a struggle that went on
unceasingly until 1955. Other workers
obtained only very slight benefits. The
application of social legislation was
constantly retarded. The level of the local
basic minimum wage was constantly
below that of the basic wage in France.
Family allowances came very late, while
all the time the cost of living rose steeply
(by between 5% and 10% a year).
In 1956 Aime Cesaire resigned from
the French Communist Party, and in
1958 formed his own party, the
Martinique Progressive Party. At about
the same time the Martinique and
Guadeloupe sections of the French
Communist Federation took the names
"Communist Party of Martinique" and
"Communist Party of Guadeloupe"
respectively, and adopted the slogan
"Autonomy". This change of outlook
between 1956 and 1960 marked a
turning-point in the political history of
the French-speaking islands.
Meanwhile the people themselves went
into action in a different way. The issue
of slavery, of the struggle of blacks
against white domination, was
reactivated, and in1959 in Martinique it
burst into flames. An incident in
Fort-de-France between a black man and
a white man was followed by three days
of rioting which resulted in three deaths
and considerable destruction. That year
saw the beginning of a period of
spontaneous agitation and revolt. The
most serious incident occurred in 1967 in
Guadeloupe, where fifteen people died. It
is unnecessary to analyse in detail the
causes of this revolt as in the rest of the
Caribbean they derive from the increase
in the numbers of unemployed youth
whom the economies are incapable of
The French authorities reacted with
hasty measures. A law was passed on 15th
October 1960 allowing the Governor to
remove to any part of France any West
Indian civil servant thought to be
endangering public order. In 1961 three
Communist leaders fell victim to this law,
and refusing to be exiled, were left
jobless. Police stations were hastily built,
and in them were stationed a number of
pieds-noirs who had been thrown out of
Algeria and for whom no use could be
found in France. An emigration
programme was drawn up. On the one
hand young men were made to do their
military service in France or in French
Guiana, where they were employed in the
construction work preparatory to the
installation of the Kourou
missile-launching base. On the other hand
a bureau (BUMIDOM) was set up to
provide workers with free passages to
More than 4,000 people left the islands
in this way every year, and the operation
was all the more useful in that the French
economy, in the early sixties, was
experiencing a shortage of unskilled
labour. At the same time a programme of
construction for the development of
infrastructure, financed from public
funds, was instituted. The construction of
roads, highways and public buildings
absorbed part of the hitherto
unemployed labour force, and provided
at the same time additional business for
metropolitan construction companies.
To strengthen assimilationist
propaganda, a State-subsidised newspaper
was founded. Television, established
during the middle 1960's, wyas given the
task of bringing the islands into step with
Paris (with the traditional West Indian
delay, however, since the programmes
had to cross the ocean first).
But while repression was being
strengthened in the Caribbean, West
Indian students in France were
organizing. In 1962 the Martiniquan
students' Association played a part in the
foundation of an Organization of
Anti-Colonialist Youth (OJSM). In 1963
eighteen OJAM members were arrested
and brought before the Court of State
Security in Paris. The trial was designed
to achieve the decapitation of the
movement, and five of the accused were
convicted and sentenced to prison terms.
But it served also to bring before
metropolitan and international opinion
the problem of the French West Indies.
Guadeloupean students adopted the
slogan of "National Independence" in
1965 and some of them played a part in
the creation of th Group of Guadeloupe
National Organization Group (GONG).
After the 1967 riots in Guadeloupe, 19
persons accused of being members of this
organization were arrested and sent to
France for trial. All were acquitted.
Meanwhile, in Martinique and
Guadeloupe themselves, new groups
appeared, basing their demands on a
policy of outright nationalism and
adopting the slogan of Independence. In
addition to GONG, the Martinique
Liberation Movement (MLNM) was
founded; some members of the
Guadeloupe Communist Party met and
established a group called Truth (Verite),
keeping the slogan of "Autonomy", while
the Communist Party of Martinique
experienced considerable internal strains
as a result of the growth of radical
tendencies within it. Finally, the principal
founders of OJAM joined the Progressive
Party at its 1967 Congress, and helped to
intensify its nationalist demands. In the
1970 elections two young leaders of this
party won seats in the General Council
(the principal legislative body of
It is obviously difficult to give a
complete and precise account of all the
factors and options in the present
situation in the French-speaking West
Indies. But it is possible to affirm that
since the early 1950's we have seen the
growth of a political orientation
characterized by the adoption of the
slogan "Autonomy", an orientation
which the French Government and the
conservative parties have opposed with an
intensification of their repressive policies.
In the face of this hardening of
repressive forces, the progressive
organizations have shown both strengths
and weaknesses. The Communist Party
controls the municipality of
Pointe-a-Pitre as well as several other.
good-sized town in Guadeloupe, while in
Martinique it controls several peripheral
municipalities. The capital,
Fort-de-France, is under the control of
the PPM, the party of Aime Cesaire. In
addition, the chief labour unions (the
General Confederations of Labour of
Martinique and of Guadeloupe) are
controlled by these two parties. The
principal weakness of the progressive
forces springs from their differences in
philosophy. Some of them, like the
Communists, lay stress on the class
struggle, other, like the PPM, emphasises
Discontent is increasing daily among
the large majority of the population,
especially the young, who have suffered
most cruelly of all from the results of
colonial administration. Young people
between the ages of 15 and 25, of whom
50% are unemployed, are receptive to the
most radical and most emphatically
nationalist slogans. Most of them are not
organized into political movements, but
one can discern in their sports clubs and
other associations the glimmerings of a
determination to win responsible status
for West Indians. Evidence of this is to be
found in the severe crisis which the
Martinique League of Football
Associations underwent this year, and in
the strikes and demonstrations carried
out this year in the two capitals by
college and university students.
Alongside these parties, unions and
groups that have sprung up in the French
West Indies, are also organizations of
emigrant workers -- the Organization of
Re-unified Martiniquan Emigrants (REM)
and the General Association of Antillean
and Guianese Workers (AGTAC). These
organizations support, in France, the
demands of Martinique and Guadeloupe
for self-rule and independence.
Without doubt there is still a long way
to go before a form of organization is
achieved that will bring these claims to
fruition. But it is now certain that the
journey has begun and that no
declaration of indissoluble attachment to
the mother country made by conservative
parties or individuals in the islands can
halt this historic movement.
I FRENC W.I.
a 2 TAP
I., I' Fl I. IKR,'
I CONVENTIONS AND
LAST MONTH the two established Jamaican Political Parties held their
annual conventions -- the 27th for the J.L.P. governing party, and the
32nd. for the Opposition P.N.P. On the conference floors, representatives
of significant sections of Jamaican society were present.
In the case of the J.L.P. there were the rural peasantry and parts of Kingston's vast
working class, mainly organised by Edward Seaga, the Minister of Finance. In the case
of the P.N.P. there was a more assorted collection -- skilled workers, self-employed
tradesmen, school teachers, shopkeepers, cane farmers, and middle executives.
From observing the attendance at the
ConTerences of the Island's 'mass parties' looked on while the bauxite companies
nobody could infer the real composition stole land from the country people and
of the Jamaican people urban, while housing for the poor degenerated;
semi-urban, unemployed and Manley's government gave education to
semi-employed, subordinate and clerical the middle-class, persecuted Rastafari and
workers with local and central encouraged in the first post-war invasion
Government; employees in the city's of North American capitalists.
factories and utility services. For a good Today the PNP led by the younger
reason: these forces, born in the 1940's, Manley is a fitting heir to this record of
semi-educated in the 1950's, were not at bankruptcy. It raises no new issues e.g.
the Party Conferences. They are now fed community control of the police,
up with the impotence of the established majority share ownership for workers in
parties against the imperialist cultural, main plants, government pricing of land
economic and military system. purchased by bauxite companies. On old
There have been many confirmations
recently of this impotence. On the
cultural level, the failure of the
Government to meet the demand of the
Sixth Formers that African history be
introduced into all curricula of a Nation 9
out of whose 10 inhabitants are full or
part African. On the economic level, the
poor see and feel the inability of
Government to hold down the cost of
living -- rents, food, and especially
clothing to guarantee stable prices to
farmers by breaking up of the imperialist
marketing and production system, to
cope with unemployment and land
On the Military level, the alienated see
the British and Canadian troops, invited
by the Jamaican Government,
familiarising themselves and their
instruments of war with the Jamaica
countryside; some even know of the 1963
U.S. treaty with Jamaica for the provision
The Opposition is recognized as no
different from the government.
The youth know that the PNP started
and developed the system of oppression
which the JLP is now perfecting.
Manley's government between 1955-1962
A FORUM FOR NEW POLITICS
issues it sides with the government e.g. on
the suppression of civil liberties in
October 1968; on the retreat from the
Income Tax Bill in the face of capitalist
pressure in April-Oct. 1970. Or it remains
silent e.g. on Burham's localisation of
Demba. In fact, the PNP's strategy is a
befriend all, alienate none especially
not the merchants, executives and
professionals who pick up enough crumbs
from imperialist relationships to give the
party some finance.
The youth know that the PNP started
and developed the system of oppression
which the JLP is now perfecting.
This strategy ignores at least two
factors. Firstly, the government controls
the means of making and breaking
alliances patronage and victimisation.
The reward of friend and punishment of
enemy inherent in two party politics in a
Third World country means mounting
frustration for known PNP people. This
means that the leader's statements must
threaten a fight in the face of the
victimisation of the party 'grass-roots'
and government manipulation of electoral
boundaries. But talk of civil disobedience
and confrontation (such as in Manley's
speech at the last PNP conference) scares
the party capitalists who fear the opening
and/or the example which this would set
to the 'masses.' Manley and the PNP's
dilemma is that to keep alive they must at
one and the same time threaten war as
well as promise peace. The second thing is
that the stance of "friend to all people at
all times" places the PNP firmly among
the enemies of the poor. The opposition
offers no hope to the oppressed.
But the antagonism of the poor to the
established parties goes further -it is also
antagonism against the constitutional
Successive PNP-JLP regimes followed
the colonialists in using the constitution
to control rather than to represent.
Denial of parliamentary and civil liberties,
especially to third parties of which there
have been over a score since 1944, police
brutality against the people,
unemployment all these have either
been allowed by the constitution or
sanctioned by officers of the
constitution. This means that successive
Jamaican governments will rest on an
annually declining percentage of the adult
population (not necessarily of the
registered voters); secondly that these
governments themselves have created
conditions which discourage any
'constitutionalist' challenge to their
Nevertheless, these have arisen and
shall continue to arise. Today this shows
itself on two fronts the party political
and the trade unionist. In the first place,
the African Political Party of Marcus
Garvey Jr. will challenge the PNP-JLP in
the 1971 general election. Among the
likely points of Garvey's programme are
the creation of an African Republic in
Jamaica, application for admission to the
OAU, nationalisation of all foreign-owned
enterprises. This challenge is unlikely to
make serious headway however, primarily
because most of its potential support is
antagonistic to electoral politics and
because the party if likely to find both
streets and the media effectively denied
On the trade union level, the
established system faces another, more
formidable, if longer term, threat.
Increasing exploitation of working class -
through a spiralling cost of living and
sluggish wages encourages greater
militancy at the same time as the
politicians and managerial classes are
demanding that the BITU-NWU exercise
greater control over the members.
The resistance of the workers to
control by these unions and their salaried
middle class officers has encouraged a
widespread consciousness favourable to
worker-controlled unions. Already major
sections of the Kingston working class
e.g. street-cleaners and transport
workers,are effectively outside of the
control of the unions attached to the
political parties. Among the bauxite
workers, crucial because of the high dues
income extracted from them by the
party-political unions, there is also
disquiet at the mishandling of the
workers' interests by the BITU-NWU
bureaucracies. The tendency toward
working class organizations eroding the
union bases of the established parties is
therefore growing even if the existing
federation of worker-unions (the
Independent Trade Union Action
Council) is small, ideologically
uninformed and organisationally
Among the unemployed, throughout
the country community groupings are
developing. The main activity at the
present time is crime, hustling or simply
'reasoning'; the main inspiration comes
from Rastafari and Black Power; the main
class consciousness is race consciousness.
These are the groups who hate and use
politicians, whose development is marked
by the changing nature of crime, e.g.
from petty theft to bank robberies, who
hunger to understand oppression and
liberation, who are not available to
'opportunist' politicians, PNP, JLP or
otherwise. Daily reinforced by peasants
dispossessed by imperalist land capture,
by agricultural workers displaced by
mechanisation, by casual laborers
contemptuous of starvation wages
these are the forces, together with the
independent workers, most dreaded by
imperialism and its local agents.
This is why the real issue in Jamaica's
politics is not who will win the next
election to office but at what pace will
the organisational forms of the mass
movement develop in the struggle for
survival and power. For the next round
here, as elsewhere in the region, is going
to be a round of unconventional politics.
THE ST. LUCIA FORUM emerged late last year out of a general
feeling among some young people that the values which informed
attitudes in St. Lucian society were outdated. The failure of the
party system also inhibited the free articulation of ideas on a
variety of political and social issues.
Before the emergence of the Forum, political attitudes in St.
Lucia were formed around the allegiance ot either the ruling United
Workers Party or the Opposition St. Lucia Labour party. There is
little clear-cut ideological difference between the two parties, and
party preference turned more on general confidence in the ability of one group
of men as opposed to the other.
In this entrenched party structure
issues became simply a question of
party loyalty without a systematic
attempt to inform the public of the
arguments for or against the issue.
The Government governed with
insufficient concern for the general
public while the opposition opposed
in a manner which suggested that their
only consideration was toppling the
governing regime. The Forum's role was
conceived as operating outside the party
system in a non-partisan manner, but
stimulating as much discussion and
comment as possible on vital issues in the
The aims and objectives of the Forum
as outlined at their First Public Meeting
on Columbus Square (renamed The
People's Parliament) in October 1969
were as follows:
* To recreate St. Lucian society in a
manner which would reject the
outdated values of colonial society and
replace them by our own values.
* To eliminate foreign ownership and
domination of the means of
* To instil a sense of pride and dignity in
the black people of St. Lucia and to
demonstrate the importance of the
cultural heritage of their race.
* To bring about a more equitable
distribution of the wealth of St. Lucia
so that the neglected and oppressed
sections of the country would so share
in the economic benefits as to be able
to realise a fuller development of their
* To encourage our people to think not
as happy-go-lucky "calypso" children,
but as responsible people who are
willing to take up the problems of
their country and solve them, instead
of depending on outside forces to
perform tasks which we can ourselves
To demonstrate our commitment to
the island by active participation in
"grass roots" community projects as a
means of fostering the spirit of
To consider the problems of the
society in an objective and detached
manner and in a spirit of independent
enquiry which bears no allegiance to
any political party.
*To promote and protect the general
interest of the people of St. Lucia by
considering any issues which might
arise from time to time.
In implementing these objectives the
Forum encountered pockets of criticism.
One area of concern was the fact that
many Forumites were civil servants and
the idea of civil servants standing on
public platforms discussing issues of a
political or administrative nature came in
for widespread criticism. Both parties
felt that this was a fundamental weakness
in the Forum which could be exploited to
advantage of discrediting the movement.
Before long the Opposition party made
open calls to the Government to curb the
civil servants concerned. The Executive of
the ruling party also pressurised the
Government to take action against civil
servant Forumites. Some administrative
pressure was brought to bear on these
Forumites but this did not hinder the
growth of the movement.
The Forum has been operating over
the past year as a high-powered pressure
group in the community. Our effectiveness
depends to a large extent on the popular
appeal of the group, and this in turn
depends on the technique, of public
meetings. However, this very device gives
the Forum a kind of political party
flavour, despite the fact that the group
dissociates itself from conventional party
politics which it refers to disparagingly as
"Pappyshow Politics." To a certain
extent the success of the Forum has
exposed even more the bankruptcy of the
existing political parties and people are
increasingly looking to the Forum for
leadership and guidance in the years
The role of holding the ring between
the two parties on controversial issues has
made the Forum the butt of much abuse
from both sides. On one occasion when
the Opposition Party called for mass
Cont'd on Page 4.
TAPIA REGIONAL SUPPLEMENT Page 3
NEW FORCES ON THE HORIZONS Miles Fitzpatrick
GUYANA, like her Caribbean sisters, is at a crucial stage of her
historical development. Clearly, however, it would be dangerous to
generalise our experience to the wider West Indian context. What
we prefer to do, therefore, is to set out the salient aspects of our
own development, hopefully to clarify those popularly held Indian middle class and the solidarity," "West Indian
misconceptions which crop up all too often even among those disenfranchisement of the Indian solidarity," and so on.
who ought to know better. masses together with the bankruptcy i
One major development has been the growth (although not at and irrelevance of the PPP have the rising disco ntn by
created a vacuum which is inevitably
the phenomenal rate of say, Trinidad) of black consciousness and of being filled by the angry and more restraining strikes (a Trades
mass economic discontent. To this already explosive situation, we find that the artilate ynger generationy ndian Disputes Bill is being introduced)
abuse of the political process has created a new elite, black in hue only, articulate younger generation of and by strengthening the
dedicated to the ultimately youths. The primitive accumulationrepressive capacity and
irreconcilable objectives of selftheelite and their flair confidence of the police.
aggrandisement and mass leadership, discontent within the society. There is con as oo a heir naily consider further consolidation of
no doubt that the ordinary man in
SMARTIN CARTER the tt s (to ernar to cope with the problems of its formal political monopoly by
MARTIN CARTER the street is (to use the phrase of testing' the response to the
Martin Carter who recently resigned unemployment, underemployment, the 'testing the response to the
cost of living, and low incomes, and suggestion of a one party state.
The abuse of the electoral process, from the Cabinet) "catching arse, as incomes, an
beginning '53 with the suspension of the menace of unemployment looks are leading to internal stresses both move for increased 'participation'
the Constitution, and continuing with for new victims, and the cost of within the governing party and in thgelarge concerns, especially
proportional representation in '64 and living spirals, between it and its allies, bauxite (without of course
proxy voting '68, has in 1970 been Whilst the demise of the "old" involving the people in any
extended to the local government political parties has revealed the RUMOURS meaningful sense).
elections -- and now it knows no uselessness of the old election- move to meet the rising
limits. With local government a fiction oriented parties (it only takes a The result? a new flock of dissatisfaction particularly over
and vain fantasy, and with the central few people to cook an election), rumours every month. All of this corruption in government and its
government a farce, no one knows for the face of the Guyanese "middle against a background of unchanged agencies by either buying off or
sure how LITTLE real support any class" is changing. Always selfish, suspicion and contempt between the muzzling the press.
political group has. The minor seldom socially conscious, and never major races, a legacy of the past
incident, be it a contemptuous or radical -- what little base it once which has become semi-institutionalised DISCO NTENT
lukewarm response to the Prime possessed, is fast disappearing down not only through the usurpation of
Minister's appearance on the screen by the gulf created by the fears of the power by the PNC but also through In any such a discordant situation
the audience of a Georgetown cinema, old bourgeois commercial and the response of the official Opposition anything can happen. The problem is
or be it a brawl between soldiers and professional elites and the greed of to this phenomenon. As a result the that even as the emerging new elite
police, is magnified to apocalyptic the African arrivistes and their Indian Indian religious and cultural acquires more and more power at the
proportions. Significantly, it provides toadies. Those Indian members of the organizations are either Government top, it loses such grip as it once had
the only real measure of political old middle class that have not made fronts (the Maha Sabha) or sterile on the masses at the bottom. The
their peace with the powers that be, adjuncts to the old PPP. destruction or corruption of the old
are either living in, or leaving for, or In these circumstances, there can structures has meant that at the level
dreaming of, Canada and Xmases truly be no status quo to maintain; and o the va the wa and of
white. ALL the old alliances come under of the village, of the ward, and of
the family, a vacuum exists.
strain. For example, the attempt by Discontent is there, met by empty
INDIAN YOUTHS the government to contain' the rising Dises and all toore l threats; but
wave of mass discontent has led it to: promises and all too real threats; but
the problem of how we should
This has resulted in a situation that organize ourselves to meet the threats
is full of potential, but an dress itself in all the most and promises of the future remains
undetermined potential which can lead recent and effective radical largely unsolved. Clearly the old rules of
either to tragedy or fulfilment. Rising slogans, some playing to its conventional politics are discredited. The
economic discontent and the racial mass support, others to a old style party, the parliamentary game,
reverberations of the world wide more general audience: the false excitement of election time, we
struggle for black dignity are creating "co-operative republic," need no reminder that they are dead and
a highly volatile and expectant city "meaningful participation," gone, never to return. The new forces are
population. The disappearance (both "black power'. (this for private therefore turning their attention -
spiritually and physically) of the old circulation), "pan african WHAT NEXT?
too late to make an impression on the
electorate, and many Antiguans will agree
that at this stage of its development it
poses no serious threat at the polls. The
real fight is between the ALP and the
Whatever the ALP means by "standing
not to sell tickets to Antiguan nationals to the idea of local involvement in the on its record", the PLM will contend that
attending a Black Power Conference (in economic development of the island. after 20 odd years the record includes no
Bermuda). The regime has brought Antigua proper sewerage system, no sanitary
When Bird sacked George Walter (as through one change from British system, shortage of medical clinics, a
General Secretary) and Donald Halstead colonialism to American Neo-colonialism, poor hospital with notoriously
from the ATLU in 1969, little did he giving aid and comfort to American inadequate equipment, no positive
realise that this was releasing forces which imperialism. Tourism is the mainstay of educational system and a failure to instil
he would later be unable to cope with. the economy while agriculture, fisheries in citizens a sense of national purpose.
This act triggered off a series of and any meaningfulindustrialisation have They will contend equally strongly that
demonstrations and meetings culminating been neglected. The larger hotels are the Government has an overloaded police
A NEW POLITICAL DAWN in the massive anti-Government nearly all owned by foreigners. The foods force with an abundance of all types of
demonstration in 1968 during which one used by these hotels are nearly all modem arms.
Meg Roberts third of the Island's population took to imported from North America and Puerto
Antigua is no different from the streets. Rico. No Antiguan holds a position THE BEGINNING
most o the other Caribbean Islands Out of this demonstration was born higher than Assistant Manager or head So this is how it is. Signs of decay are
in that the Premier is the the Progressive Labour Movement (PLM), barman or receptionist at these hotels, everywhere. The big question is will the
Government and all the other of which George Walter is the leader. Antigua receives less than 20% of the New Government be able to do anything
mini ers and members of r This party offers no profound change money made by the hotels. Hotel workers to improve the situation, especially in the
ministers and members of for Antigua. Even its most optimistic have not been taught the significance of face of national debts of over $50
parliament are merely quasi-advisers supporter cannot honestly expect an their role in the industry. None of these million? Antigua is as Fanon wrote in
or strap-hangers, overnight transformation; but its things appears to be of concern to the The wretched of the Earth: "The
The ruling Antigua Labour Party manifesto shows glimpses of brilliance Government. As the General Election greatest wealth is surrounded by the
(ALP) has been in power since and reveals that it may be able to induce approaches they say boldly that they greatest poverty, the army and the police
1951. Premier Vere Bird has a change of consciousness and turn its stand on their record, constitute the pillars of the regime.........
towered over the political and resources into machinery which will work .The strength of the police and the power
Trade Union scene since he became systematically towards the achievement GENERAL ELECTIONS of the army are proportionate to the
involved in the peoples' fight", to of objectives. And it is immensely stagnation into which the rest of the
use his own words. Both the ALP popular. Under the constitution, the General nation sunk........"
and its industrial arm the Antigua Election must be held before February There is no turning back now.
Trades andria Labour Union EXPOSURE 1971. The parties have been in top gear Antiguans must look forward to the
(AT&LU) were one and the same in for several weeks now, and for the dawning of a new political day, and with
S one d the same i Antiguan politics had for many years first time the ALP faces sizeable corn- it a new order in their country.
theory and in fact until tree years been in the gutter, with benefits going petition at the polls. In addition to This is the beginning which her
ago. Now they are separate in only to the ruling party's members and the PLM, there is also the Antigua citizens and future political parties will
theory only. stalwart supporters. With the advent of People's Party headed by wealthy have to exploit if Antigua is to return
The regime has worked within the the PLM came the exposure of these barrister/businessman John Rowan from the Valley of the Dogs, where cups
framework of Caribbean Politics malpractices. Henry, and including local capitalists. run over with aimlessness and frustration,
isolating itself from the people, passing its The regime has invited North It claims to be theonly"pure" political and the bitterness of unemployment
restrictive laws, curtailing fundamental American and other foreign investors to party as it has no alignment with any produces a sense of going nowhere fast.
freedoms of the individual, imposing bring their money into Antigua and grant trade union. Its main claim to distinction Never in the history of this 160 square
legislation to cramp the style of the trade lavish concessions to these foreigners so far is that it is the first party to have mile State of Antigua and Barbuda has so
union (AWU) and banning "subversive while making no real allowances to local published its election manifesto, but it much depended on the positioning of so
literature." It has even ordered airlines entrepreneurs though giving lip service made its appearance on the political scene many 'X's.
Page 4 TAPIA REGIONAL SUPPLEMENT
COMMON SUBJECTION TO
IMPERIALISM Franklyn L. Wilson
THERE HAS BEEN in the past much debate in the Bahamas as to
whether or not the Bahamas was a part of the Caribbean. Without
fail, during such debates, those who upheld the affirmative, would
advance arguments of similarity in the inheritance of political
institutions, cultural experience, geographic associations, etc. Equally
those who held the negative would parade the fact that history
did in fact, in certain instances, affect us differently. For example,
there is no large Indian population in the Bahamas as in say,
Trinidad; and there are real differences in orientation between the
Bahamian economy and say, the Jamaican economy.
But to a large extent the debates
would turn on academic matters. For
from a practical viewpoint the restaurants. The proliferation of hotel
following facts can hardly be denied, rooms and related construction to
* The Bahamas was never a part of keep pace with the phenomenal strides
the ill-fated Federation. In fact made by tourism has long been for
whether or not the Bahamas should the politicians one of the key
join was never really raised as a indicators of economic "growth.
serious election issue. But who are the owners of this
* The Bahamas' has never been a part capital? Certainly not black Bahamians
of integrationist movements like who comprise approximately 85% of
CARIFTA. the population. For black Bahamians
* The Bahamas was not one of the own none of the thirty largest private
countries that founded the financial institutions; none of the
University of the West Indies and twenty largest hotels; none of the
was quite late in making any sugar factories; none of the salt
substantial financial contribution to producing factories; no shares in the oil
that body. refining company; etc.
Various hypothesis can be advanced
to explain this isolationist posture.
However, one such hypothesis would
likely be that the white "Bay Street
Boys" who ruled the Bahamas until
January 1967 consciously directed the
country away from any association
with the Caribbean. This was in their
interest. For any such association
would have contributed to an
acceleration of the process of political
awareness by Black Bahamians. For
during this time, a number of Black
West Indian political leaders were
uttering strong nationalist rhetoric and
directing some clearly nationalist
However, the downfall of the "Bay
Street Boys" and their replacement by
the essentially Black, supposedly
nationalist, Progressive Liberal Party
Government under the leadership of
Lyndon Oscar Pindling, has helped to
point out that the imperialism which
many recognize throughout the
Caribbean is very much present in the
One can hardly argue that the
Bahamas does not attract large
amounts of capital. Nassau must be
one of the few tourist resorts where,
along the main streets, there are more
banks and trust companies than
34 PEMBROKE ST. P.OS.
But who are the owners OT tnis
The Bahamas is not richly endowed
with natural resources like gold,
bauxite and petroleum. But there are
significant amounts of salt and acres
of pine forest, both of which are
valuable raw materials.
Two American companies now
control our salt resources. In
connection with our pine forests, a
team of economists from the
University of the West Indies had this
to say in a recent survey:
"pine for pulp is now being exploited
in Great Abaco by Owen-Illinois but
the problem created by exhaustion
while replanted stands come to
maturity is a recurrent problem where
multi-national corporations have
control of a country's
resources----whereas it may be in
the private interests of Owens-Illinois
to wait for a regrowth, while it
obtains supplies from elsewhere it is
Throughout the ages, \vehene\ er a fa
preoplc, h.i\ r turniedl teu.
The best teas in the world come fro
I)arjltclm. NihSiris and A.-ana are r
iLine InJinr tLeas.
DARJEELING grown on the
ionsiJcredJ b\ cnnnioisseur "the ch
NILGIRIS cultivated on the
sparkhlii teal famous for its rich umn
ASSAM is o strong tea celebr
bodN\ .ini punrcgncy.
You can Irew them individually or
colin tlnll n jre limitless, these tine
blcinJIJ to complement und enhane'
Yoiu ill relish the results. Tea-d-'m
ualeu Ikc the same. An enchantnm ne
asuii \tou when you try Indian tea.
It's the perfect cupcpa
Availhuhle f/rm Kirfpluni'. Sores naiion.
not in the social interests of Abaco
and the Bahamas for this to happen."
The town of Freeport on Grand
Bahama Island mushroomed after the
passage, some fifteen years ago, of the
Hawksbill Creek Act. This piece of
legislation and related resolutions by
the political bosses guaranteed a
tax-free haven for virtually one
hundred years; gave away large tracks
of lands for nominal amounts; and,
among other things, exempted persons
in certain areas from various other
laws which applied to Bahamians
Then there are the gambling casinos
at Freeport and on Paradise Island.
The rate of tax in these casinos is
significantly less than the fifty percent
or fifty-two percent charged in Canada
and the United States respectively.
There are those who would argue
that these concessions were granted
during the era of the Bay Street Boys
and would not happen under the new
government. There may be some truth
to this. However, it does not reckon
with the tactic of "fronting". By this
means foreign investors select a few
black Bahamians with influence in the
right quarters and have them act as
agents or maybe even owners. These
individuals get, as a reward, a small
by-product of the process of making
money. This does not intend to deny
that some investors make some
genuine contributions and can be
classified as "good corporate citizens."
There are unquestionably some that
can be placed in this group. However,
they are too few to change the basic
The extent to which others would
go to maintain the self interest of the
foreign element in the Bahamaian
society was driven home to us when
a high ranking officer of one of the
most powerful countries in the world
emphasized that the government of
that country would not allow the
Bahamas to adopt any economic
system which was not essentially
capitalistic. Thus even if the political
leaders were to decide on a radical
change they would not be allowed to
carry that decision out, regardless of
whether they were honest and fully
committed to the view that the
change was in the interest of their
people. Beyond a certain point,
foreign intervention designed expressly
to protect and advance the interests
of foreign investors could be
expected. Thus on review of the
conventional patterns of imperialism, it
is apparent that the Bahamas is by no
means exempt. The same is true for
Of course, this is only part of a virtually all of the Caribbean
much larger question involving countries. Thus it is reasonable to
attitudes towards foreign investment, conclude that one thread which
In the Bahamas, Cabinet Ministers and should bind us is the common
government policy makers often speak subjection to imperialism. Widespread
of the need to maintain the recognition of our condition should
confidence of the foreign investor, of serve to kindle a will to find a way
keeping a favourable investment to effectively and radically alter this
climate, of not upsetting the unfortunate and inhumane situation.
applicant, etc. The country shows a
profound respect for the rights of the
foreign investor. The usual justification
for this attitude is the sensitivity of
capital. In return there is usual talk
about the foreign investor helping
Bahamians and "developing" the
Bahamas, Sight is often lost of the
fact that the investor's prime concern From Page 3.
is profits and his prime responsibility
is to his shareholders, who are in the demonstration, the Forum stoutly
main absent from the local scene. To defended the right of the Opposition to
help Bahamians is incidental, a may-be demonstrate but rejected the validity of
the charges on which the demonstrations
ae were based.
a a a On another occasion when the
Government published a bill involving
exorbitant sums for pensions and
gratuities for politicians the Forum itself
called for public demonstrations resulting
in the withdrawal of the Bill. But the
... ^ following week a controversial Education
SBill establishing an Education
/ Commission to effect appointments,
strong opposition from religious bodies
Culminating in a mass demonstration
against the Government. The Forum
spoke in favour of the bill almost against
the tide of popular opinion and helped to
reverse the hostility to the Bill.
SThese issues over a period of time has
helped to establish the independence of
the group although the Opposition's main
Charge is that the movement is a secret
t" -T arm of the ruling Party.
On the community development side
the group engaged in a road repairs
project and the construction of a small
house for a needy old lady. On both of
So ut r tea these projects the objective was to involve
of, the people of the area concerned in this
ist "pick me up" ,.'a need, type of cooperative self-help effort. The
group also runs a weekly newspaper
in Indlia ,andsl sl Indian teas, which provides a means of expounding
enowned as. the finest of the
Forum ideas and inculcating new values,
sloptr ,,f the Himalay.as, is but most of the basic "grounding" work
hampani c w ; f .t ,
RhCne MXumt, ini Kerial. is a l, is done in the rural areas where meetings
ber huc ; intertitas onMolsUr take the form of instruction in economic
,ated t,r its rich brightness, recomlendthesesllelticr.p organisation, agriculture, health and other
mix them the Rins ,, t , CHOT Ih ht at,, social problems.
srei e ptn ctly Pou ,, hnor,n bg It is not easy to foresee the long-term
e., anot~her. ttreina Pour Inifie from h t aler on
king will never S ,n. 0ournn future of the St. Lucia Forum but its
ew taste experience ICEDTEA members are confident that the
SRln teapot of 01 of uap ity wilth
hot ..ar Pu I~ 3 i ~s.nd no, ,. movement is firmly within the midstream
b tg Pour b hnif fuesh aei t
as, Iu. s, o .1i ,rllr ,,, of new Caribbean thinking and will play a
widerstce cubes Serve with sugar vital role in the eventual integration of
e d1-norl'....... the region.
THE COMING ELECTION
Fresh political movements are everywhere abroad in Trinidad & Tobago
today. We shall see how they develop. The question for the moment is:
what will Williams do?
The popular answer is that he will call an early election and win. Some
pundits, not distinguished for the power of their analysis, have suggested
that if the PNM were to survive the next election, the new movements will
simply fade away for lack of energy and patience.
That is an illusion. The elders of the new generation are between thirty and
thirty-five. They are at the height of their powers. They have considered the offer to
get to hell out of here and have decided who will be the taker. They are not going a
place. Nor is the country going to run
away. The game has only just begun. LLOYD BEST
Williams is unlikely to be taking any
over-simple view of the future. It is true has to reward them. It also has to
that he lacks judgement and cool he calculate what the deal means. I am
panicked over the Federal election of calculating where the majority of the
1958, over Chaguaramas in 1960, over Civil Servants stand and I am not crying.
the truculence of the labour movement in The ironic thing about the dispensers of
1963, over the Solomon affair in 1964, political favour is that it is difficult for
over James in 1965, and over the Finance them to judge their support. Everybody
Act in 1966. It is also true that he has skins teeth with them.
few insights into the movement of Carib- The programme has gone, the patron-
bean society he not only bungled age is problematic Only the charisma is
Chaguaramas and Federation and esta- left was left. We are fast eroding what
blished an incredibly inapposite State at remains of it as we expose the incapacity
independence, but also persists in denying of the PNM to cope with the problems of
local initiatives at all levels: in the Civil the country.
Service, in education, in community de- On the other side, the DLP would be
velopment, in regional affairs such as
BWIA, and so on. "
Williams does not understand what the
colonial past means to the Caribbean
people. If his policies at home and in the
West Indies leave room for doubt, his
handling of Cuba settles the dispute. He
has dismissed the Cuban leadership as a
bunch of middle class misfits these men
who have generated impassioned res-
ponses throughout the world. He does
not see that the Cuban predicament is
also his and ours, and that the mistake of
Chaguaramas has led us all into the. same
trap: East or West? We ought to be look-
ing at neither.
Yet Williams is a political animal. He
must have a good nose. He must scent the
change of wind. We can assume therefore
that he is calculating as indeed, we all are.
He may not have the technical com-
petence to run this country and retrieve
his difficult situation, but he can surely
master the plain facts.
What will he deduce from an analysis
of political trends? Since the tunes have
got to be called, I will answer for him. He
has to conclude that every day he waits,
the enemy is entrenching further; the
population is forging new loyalties.
He has no party to speak of. His
stunted organisation has had to be "re
-organised" many times over -right up
to the Convention of 1968. It is rather like
being able to give up smoking easily and
doing it every week.
The party was founded on two pillars:
the leader's charisma and the programme
for Federation, Independence, political
education and morality in public affairs.
The programme has long gone by the
board and has been replaced by the
patronage of the Government.
Some see this patronage as decisive
especially since it lends the appearance of
community organisation. There is no
question that it is important. A Govern-
ment in office has many levers to pull -
levers which Gomes did not, have when
Williams arrived. We did not then have
responsible government; the Governor
was still in charge.
Yet the receivers of patronage know
that in the algebra of politics, favours are
.a constant. If this administration has it,
the next administration will have itstoo.
Couteau pharmacie! Cuts both ways.
Patronage does not win more than the
illusion of political support. Those who
receive benefits have their political
loyalties. It is when their loyalties are to
something else that the administration
Constituency % of votes % electors
for PNM for PNM
Diego Martin E. 51.7 30.4
San Juan E. 50.8 30.4
P.O.S. Cen. 54.6 31.0
Fyzabad 50.0 37.6
Point Fortin 53.4 35.9
Tunapuna : .: 53.8 36.2
better off if, within the limits of its
theatrical and nonsensical politics, it
played its cards close to the chest. That
party had two assets. The first was
Capildeo's charisma which contrary to
much popular patter, survives. It survives
precisely because he is not undertaking
any concrete political tasks. He does not
put himself to the test. The genius of
science is not exposed.
The second asset of the DLP is Maraj's
religious apparatus. It is this and not so
much race, which has held Indians to-
gether. The Muslims have been more flex-
ible. Maraj's organisation resembles the
organization which Cipriani created and
Butler along with men like Rienzi,
O'Connor and even Rojas, later de-
The religious network is like the
labour union network. It is ideal for
politics in which control of the State is
not on the cards whether because the
rules exclude responsible government as
before 1956, or because the party is irres-
ponsible as with the DLP. Religious and
labour organisation is ideal because it has
to exist in any case for other than
political purposes. But it is permanent, it
is available for political use from time to
time. Groups which are interested mainly
in elections posess there the perfect in-
Political parties are full-time political
instruments. Their business is to remain
alive in the constituencies whatever may
TAPIA ELECTION SPECIAL No. 1 Page 5
TAPIA POLITICAL MEETINGS
* ARIMA RACE STAND SUCCESS VILLAGE, LAVENTILLE
Friday 29th January Sunday January 31st
Lloyd Best, Syl Lowhar
Denis Solomon, Ivan Laughlin
be happening to the government and to
the elections. The PNM made a move to-
wards such organisation but James has
made it clear that the child was doomed
from early and none of Williams' bran-
dishing surgery has ever suggested that
the poor infant will be saved.
There has been a lot of old talk
about the case for a new party. But the
fact is that there exists no political party
in this country now. If Williams does not
know that, the new movement certainly
does. But he must know it, it is safe to
assume. With the new movement organi-
zing, he must strike early. The plan is to
buy time in which to reorganize the party
once and for all, to get the Civil Service
and the country working, to introduce a
programme more suited to the new gene-
ration and of course, to put the new
movements to the test of survival.
On the surface, that is a reasonable
strategy. Politicians, like engaged couples,
are inclined to believe that after the
marriage, things will work out. But they
seldom do. The legacy which the PNM
will carry into the future will hardly
permit reorganisation of the Civil Service
or the party or any winning of the youth.
More likely it will lead to a tougher
The regime will become more tough
because it will become more self
righteous; and because it will meet more
resistance. We therefore risk a trend to-
wards Duvalierisme especially since the
attempt to attract the youth could lead
the PNM to adopt a sort of inauthentic
The trends in these directions are
already clear. The Third Plan has made a
shift towards policies of national
economic independence on paper; it talks
much of the language of the new move-
On the other side, we cannot forget the
Commission of Enquiry into Subversive
Affairs, Massa Day Done and Get to Hell
Out of Here. There is an ominous ring to
these incidents. Under stress, Williams has
revealed some extraordinary attitudes. We
must remember them.
A trend towards a tough regime. It
might be argued that the coming oil
bonanza might so ease things up as to
arrest any' such trend. It seems a fair
But while pamphleteers might jump to
the conclusion that it is hope for the
administration, historians will recall how
many governments even regimes have
fallen when the economy has recovered
from a long.period of jogging along. The
PNM itself came in on the oil boom of
the 50's. With money in its pocket, the
population feels freer to abandon the old
horses and more willing to mount the
In any case, it will take another seven
years or so before oil starts to yield real
gold. Presumably the government can
mortgage the future by borrowing today
on the collateral of tommorow. Presum-
ably. But the problem of immediate sur-
vival remains. We must therefore anti-
cipate the early election.
What are the chances of stopping the
Figures presented in this paper suggest
that the hard-core support of the PNM
may not be sufficient to see Williams
home even if he called the election now.
Popular ignorance of electoral trends has
admitted the view that the PNM is un-
beatable. But with the clarity we are now
getting, it is possible to make sounder
Williams was booed in his own con-
stituency during the election of 1968 and
felt the need to call off the campaign for
a while. What seems like hard-core sup-
port amounted to only 17.9% of the
electorate. This is admittedly a low figure
because of popular disregard for the
County Councils. Let us therefore double
Trouble, even then; 36%. But that is
not all. It needs to be pointed out that a
shift of only six seats would be sufficient
to prevent the PNM from continuing to
govern this country.
What are the prospects of shifting six
seats? The data reveal that there are
enough marginal constituencies to war-
rant an optimistic view particularly since
the young people are likely to play a
decisive role in the outcome of the
On the basis of the 1966 statistics,
there appear to be 6 marginal con-
stituencies held by the PNM.
There is another type of "marginal"
constituency those where there are
clear signs of defection since 1966.
Laventille for one is definitely swinging.
Due to the gerrymandering, the effects
will be distributed between Port of Spain
South, Laventille and Barataria. The first
two will probably take the shock easily
but Barataria must surely now be in dis-
Then there is St Joseph, homeground
of the Tapia House and source of much
discontent in Champs Fleurs. The indica-
tions are that St Joseph is lost.
Above all, there is Tobago. The quarrel
between Robinson and Williams may well
place the two Tobago seats out of PNM
reach. Williams has clearly been attempt-
ing to create Tobago figures to rival
Robinson. But Tobago loyalties are
different from Trinidad loyalties. After
Emancipation that island was not a new
plantation economy. Loyalties there are
extremely stable and Robinson is the
island's most distinguished son though he
has gotten no medal. Pitt may not be able
to match him. At any rate, one Tobago
seat will go with Robinson.
Totting up, there are nine to ten
possibles. However, the DLP are only
precariously perched on Naparima North,
Pointe-a-Pierre, Siparia and Tabaquite.
Cancelling then, there remain at least five
to six seats that the PNM may lose. The
future of the movement is jumping up in
steelband. Jump high, jump low, it seems
like the last lap.
But we must not call the shots too
soon. There are the machines. Both the
DLP and WFP claim that they were rigged
in 1966. The argument does not per-
suade me. It fails to persuade because it
lacks a sense of politics.
A serious new movement
will have levers that these "parties" can
never hope to have. If there is to be rig-
ging, the question is to be asked: who will
the riggers cry for? Who give them the
ring? Or who give them the thing? The
Doctor shop-knife keeps coming back like
a song. Williams must know that this is an
island with curious loyalties. Trinidad is
No, I am not worried about the
machines. Let Williams do the worrying.
If If the road is going to be rough for the
PNM in the long run, it is going to be no
smoother in the short. To call an election
now is jumping from the frying pan into
the frying pan!
Page 6 TAPIA ELECTION SPECIAL No. 1
Failure to organise its supporters into a political party; continued
dependence on race and religion; inability to work out a coherent and
relevant policy for the country; that is the story of the DLP. Wrangling,
faction and ruction; dwindling support and massive electoral defeats; such
the sorry consequence.
The DLP draws its strength almost exclusively from the Indian
community more precisely, from the Hindu community. In 1960, there
were 301,946 East Indians in a population of 827,957. Sixty-eight per cent were
Hindus, an important fact for the DLP and the PDP, its earliest expression.
The racial and cultural cleavage
between Africans and Indians is basic. It
is the legacy of the years 1848-1917
when the East Indians were brought in to
work the plantations as indentured
labourers. Indian labour depressed wages
for West Indians and divided the people
against their will. And then the British
allowed the Indians to keep much more
of their religion and way of life than the
Africans. The Red House also gave the
Indians land on easier terms than the
ex-slaves had been permitted.
In the 1920's the Cipriani movement
tried in vain to close the gap. Though the
common experience in the place has been
bringing the peoples together slowly, not
even Butler succeeded. He worked in the
countryside and the South but his main
Indian followers were professionals:
Rienzi and later, the Sinanans, Stephen
Maharaj and the like. The rank and file
remained a group apart and formed the
nucleus of the PDP in 1954.
Adult Suffrage in 1946 had already
drawn the threads together. At the centre
of the organisation was the Maha Sabha.
The Leader was Bhadase Maraj, its
President and also a powerful Trades
Unionist at the time. Voting for the PDP
was in a sense voting for religion and for
the Eastern way of life: In the
momentous elections of 1956, the PDP
gained five seats all in predominantly
Hindu areas. It gained 20.3% of the votes
cast, 16.3% of the total
After the elections, the political
groupings began to sort themselves out.
Williams had made a real contribution to
the country by aiming at party politics.
Everybody then had to fall in line. At any
rate, to go into the Federal Election, a
national party was a must. Manley and
Bustamante were in charge. Party politics
is what they understood.
The DLP was founded in 1958. It had
to be a loose coalition, one section of
Busta's loose Confederation. It drew on
the PDP, the TLP, the POPPG and even
on the Butler Party whence came
Stephen Maharaj. As boss of the
hard-core PDP, Bhadase assumed
.In the Federal Elections, the DLP won
six of the ten seats in Trinidad & Tobago
but polled 36 votes fewer than the PNM.
Both parties were credited with 47.424%
of the votes cast or 34.9% of the
electorate. Characteristically, Williams
misjudged the significance of the result.
But it was less a victory for the DLP than
a victory for the PNM. The PNM had
gained on their 1956 position. The DLP
was now a coalition of all the anti-PNM
forces. These forces had lost ground.
100% -- -
S DLP SUPPORT
6 % OF ELECTORATE
40 -- -
1N TAPIA, No. 2, Oct. 1969
19H iT 1 5-I(1'2 hI (I i
In 1958 the Hindu community had
already been cautious about the
under-current of Negro nationalism in the
PNM. Now it moved to open revolt. The
basic cleavage between the Indian and the
creole way of life always made this
conflict possible. But the immediate
cause was the injudicious conduct on the
part of Williams. The attack on the Maha
Sabha Education programme and on the
Hindu linguistic movement, Massa Day
Done and the reference to the Hindu
community as "a recalcitrant minority"
after the Federal Election, all these made
a short-sighted appeal to African
sentiment; but they also fanned the
flames of Indian suspicion. In the County
Council Elections of 1959, the DLP won
33 seats to the PNM's 34. It polled 38.8%
of the votes cast or 21.65% of the whole
electorate. The Indian reaction to the
nationalist movement was fast taking
1960 and enter Rudranath Capildeo.
Williams had established himself as the
Negro Doctor and charismatic Leader of
the PNM. He did bring competence as
well; but it was the transcendental magic
of the Doctor which was being stressed.
Against this, the idea of an Indian Doctor
gained increasing favour. In defeat, the
Indian was rejecting himself as helpless
and impotent, as entirely dependent on
Messiahs for salvation. After the disaster
of Chaguaramas, the Negro was to do the
same. The idea that popular participation
counted was to dissolve in the bitter brew
of Doctor Politics.
Capildeo had returned in 1959 and
had taken up Headship of the
Polytechnic. He gave no evidence of
having practical political skills but the
popular claim was that he had
out-einsteined Einstein. He was therefore
"fit to rule" and that was one trump. In
1960, Bhadase handed over the other: the
religious organisation. The stage was set
for the battle of Doctors.
Capildeo made his entry on May 1,
1961. After accepting the Leadership,
Georgy-Porgie had run away. But the
nation could not then know that he had
embarked on the road of the naughty
boy. His re-entry was therefore seen as
high drama; the audience received him
with unbounded expectancy.
On May 13th 1961, the STATESMAN
"And then came Rudrairath Capildeo
A man with a mission. His
punctuated by deafening cheers. In
language which showed the poetry of the
man's soul, in words that revealed a
fearless and inexorable desire to follow
the path of truth, in a manner which
showed that principle would not be
sacrificed for expediency ..."
In spite of organisational difficulties
and continuing internecine strife, the
DLP seemed set to offer a spirited
challenge to the PNM in the elections of
1961. After the climax of April 22, 1960
the March on Chaguaramas the PNM
was dodoing. Party politics was playing
itself out, and giving way to the "stunted
party politics" which the new movement
has now to re-habilitate. But as things
turned out, the stagnation did not help
the DLP any.
Yet it might have, In 1961 the big
question was: which Doctor? The
hostility generated by the campaign
reached its high point on a fateful Sunday
afternoon in mid-October. Speaking at
the Savannah, Capo was visibly shaken by
the ignominiess" meted out to the DLP
during the contest. He lost his cool and
made a disastrous call on his listeners to
"Arm yourself with your weapons..."
Whatever chances the DLP had had,
dissipated on that afternoon. It was not
the last wound which the Doctor was to
inflict on the DLP but it-was a big gash.
Perhaps the largest crowd in the nation's
political history had gone to hear words
of wisdom; what they had gotten for all
their pains was largely brash invective.
And so the "floating vote" was
decimated and with that, was lost much
possible Negro support for the DLP. The
business classes also hesitated. No longer
was the DLP the party of law and order.
The rest was sheer anti-climax.
The DLP campaign was driven indoors
and in the wash, only ten of thirty seats
were won in the poll. The party gained
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41.66% of the votes cast, 36.699% of the
electors. This last figure is deceptive for
being close to the proportion of Indians
in the country. Race had been at the
forefront of campaign but it had not been
a straight case of race. It was Doctor
Politics and the two Doctors had both
~Ilillcd the focus away from party and
progrannme. At each party's base was a
Messiah-nian and it was the dependence
on Saviours which let the racial skeleton
out of the cupboard.
The DLP's first response to the
election result was mere diatribe. We were
robbed, went up the shout, in that tragic
unpolitical way of ours. The issue was
contested not in the constituencies but in
the Courts; seven writs were duly laughed
out with costs. Meanwhile, Capildeo
solemnly ordered his Parliamentarians not
to attend the new Assembly. Just when
the nation needed to confront the new
administration, Her Majesty's
distinguished Opposition went dead out.
UP AND DOWN
And then began the naughty comings
and goings. Absentee-leadership became
the form. Up and down. In between his
travels, Capildeo found time to lead his
team to the Independence Conference at
Marlborough House. Together with
Williams, he accepted independence as a
gift all wrapped in the tinsel and string of
During the period 1962-1966, Capo
lectured at London University while still
enjoying the perks of the Leader of HM's
Opposition. He made eight visits home
during this period. For him, politics had
become a vacation job. That created an
intolerable situation for some. Defections
'produced the Liberal Party and the W.F.P.
The DLP thus went to the 1966
elections against three parties. Capildeo
returned for the fete. The Daily Mirror of
17th July reported his famous lines. "If,
he said, I lose the elections, I am finished
with Trinidad for good.." He lost the
The DLP won 12 of the thirty-six seats
largely by salvaging a substantial part of
its Indian supporters. Capildeo's surviving
charisma and Hindu solidarity had seen to
that. Yet the party's share of the popular
vote was now only 33.98%, a drop of 8%
from 1961. It sharerof the electors was
22.3% a drop of 14.4%.
The ritual of complaining about the
voting machines was again religiously
Cont'd on Page 7.
UNDER GROUND DRAINAGE
AGRICULTURAL AND FARM
SEWER & WATER/MAIN
DEMOLITION OF BUILDINGS
I LODGE RD.,
m %-IRA --- --A"-- Aa- ^ v- A~r
TAPIA ELECTION SPECIAL No. 1 Page 7
of the old order
Cont'd on Page 4.
acted out and cast in legal (not political)
terms. Capildeo announced sundry
grandiose projects for the country and
duly returned to the metropolitan capital
"to write books" (and to nourish the
Doctor magic.) For this he was awarded a
two-year scholarship by the party. But by
now the other Doctor was riding high in
the comedy and the Governing Party
invoked the rule to depose the absentee
from his Parliamentary seat.
In the resulting by-election Bhadase
won Chaguanas in a low poll. His arrival
in the House helped to end another
pathetic DLP silence on the
From London, Capo continued to
send directives. He ordered no
participation in the Local Government
Election of 1968. But by now it was
straight farce. The DLP contested after
Bhadase had bluffed by threatening to
put up candidates only to withdraw his
threat on the eve of Nomination Day. "I
want, he had said, "to prove conclusively
to the public that the DLP comprises a
bunch of incompetent men."
In the election, the DLP received
40.024% of the votes cast; of the
electorate it received 14.2%, a drop of
8.1% from 1966, one of 22.5% from
1961. Not that it was much worse than
And in 1969 the bacchanal reached
altogether new heights. Instead of
abandoning Doctor Politics and seeking
to build a programme and an
organisation, the DLP has been playing
musical chairs with possible Doctor
Leaders. As early as April 1968,
negotiations were going on for' a new
world of Doctors. But nothing came of it
for reasons which will one of these days
In 1969, the Party succeeded in
making the Chair vacant by ending
Capildeo's leave on scholarship. A special
Party Convention in July ratified this.
But the main result of this
ground-clearing has been to split the
party further. Bhadase has risked getting
a cattle-boil by taking back the
traditional Hindu faction; Jamadar has
contented himself with some second-best
Doctors: and the Young Socialists have
made off with the plum.
As it was in the beginning, so it is in
the end. The politics of impotence;
alliances of expediency; musical chairs.
But no; the young Indians are not in
that. And the older Indians are tired of
being out of power. Like the Negroes and
the other Creoles, they too, must be
evaluating the new movements. For they
know that the politics of the PNM is the
politics of Government and the politics
of the DLP is the politics of doom.
After one time is another. The PNM was founded in January 1956.It rode to power
on a nationalist wave in an ocean of seemingly revolutionary fervour. In the thirteen
years, the wave has dissipated in foam. The golden promise was mere rhetoric. It is all
over bar the shouting.
Let the figures speak. It was such a
critical moment in 1956 that 80.1% of
the electorate went to have their say.
Willliams and the PNM emerged with
38.7% of the votes, 31% of the voters
eligible. On neither reckoning was a
majority achieved; but it was only a start.
A good start for a new movement.
The Federal Election of 1958 brought
a temporary setback but only in the sense
that the Movement did not win,73.6% of
the electorate voted, an excellent turnout
for such an election. Interest was alive;
the movement was moving.
The PNM gained 117,445 votes, 36
more than the DLP. This was a virtual
dead-heat with each party getting 47.4%
of the votes cast or 34.9% of the electo-
rate. But the PNM had increased its
support by 8.7% in terms of votes and by
3.9% in terms of electors.
The upswing reached its high point in
the General Election of 1961. Against a
background of tense emotion and racial
stress bordering at times on open vio-
lence, a record 88.11% of the electorate
participated. Williams and his party
gained 20 of the thirty seats and 56.97%
of the votes cast. The DLP received
41.66%. The PNM's share of the electo-
rate was 50.198%, an overall national
majority; the DLP had 36.99%.
It was a big leap. Support had jumped
by 9.57% in terms of votes and by 15.3%
in terms of electors. For the first time,
here was a clear majority of both actual
and eligible voters.
It was the first and last. By 1966, the
tide had turned with a vengeance. "Ten
Years of Progress", the boast of the
party, had precipitated the nation into a
trough of despond. More than anxious
about its prospects, the Government
openly gerrymandered, fixing the bound-
aries good and proper. The PNM obtained
24 seats, the DLP 12. The result was
hailed by the media as a triumph for
parliamentary democracy and the two-
Let us not dispute such empty
rhetoric. Triumph or no triumph for dem-
ocracy, the facts reveal great losses for
the PNM. And that is what is relevant.
The country wants to know the trends;
the population wants to average the
chances for the coming round.
The emergence of a rash of new parties
was ominous. All was not well in Iere.
Little interest could be kindled among
the people. Only 65.79% of the eligible
voters turned out, a fall of 22.32% from
the glorious heights of 1961. This was
indeed the lowest turnout since the first
General Election under Adult Suffrage in
1946. Then, the participation had been
52.9%; in 1950, it had reached 70.1%.
A low turnout. Yet the number of
electors for this 1966 election had in-
creased by 81,328 persons over 1961.
However, people were so fed up that
30,964 fewer persons voted in 1966.
There is more. The decline in political
interest was matched by a decline in the
support for the major political contest-
ants. The PNM gained 52.41% of the
votes cast, a drop of 4.6%. The DLP
slipped even more to 33.98%, a drop of
7.7%. In terms of the whole electorate,
the PNM lost its majority. Support drop-
ped steeply from 50.2% to 34.4%, a loss
of 15.8%. The DLP plummetted to 22.3%,
13.7% loss. An odd vote of confidence in
the two-party theatre.
The worse was still to come. In 1968,
the Local Government Elections were
held. They so confirmed the downward
trend in voter interest and revealed such
badly flagging fortunes for the surviving
"parties" as to have been a disaster for
the political system."
I I I I I J
% OF ELECTORATE
TAPIA, No. 1, Sept 1969
a 6 7 U UM a U U a U U a
Only 34.85% of the registered elec-
tors bothered to vote. This was a drop of
20.4% on 1966 in spite of the fact that at
least 30,000 persons had attained the
suffrage in the meantime and might
ordinarily have been glad to exercise it. It
is interesting to note that even in 1953
the participation had been at 47%, 12.1%
higher than 1968. In 1956, the figure was
10.3% higher; in 1959, higher still by
The actual number of votes cast in
1968 was 57.85% less than in 1966 which
must be some kind of super record. The
PNM received 49.854% and the DLP
40.024%. But these figures have little
meaning in the light of popular apathy.
The voting probably reflected hard-core
support. In terms of the whole electorate,
for the PNM this represented only 17.9%,
for the DLP, 14.2%. These are figures to
watch. They may tell something about
the real prospects.
Let us revert to the figures. If elections
were held at Xmas 1969, 145,000
electors would be thirty-four and under;
if they were held in 1970, 170,000 or
so will fall in the group; if in 1971, about
195,000. In 1969 some 70,000 new
voters will have come onto the list of
eligibles since 1966. In 1970 the figure
will be about 90,000; in 1971, about
With the ferment in the country, these
people are far less likely to stay away
from the polls than the disillusioned
middle-aged partisans of the PNM and
DLP. The question is: who will they vote
The pointers are strongly suggestive.
145,000 young electors can be decisive at
this point, what with the die-hard, hard-
core, split among the old partisans. A new
movement is emerging. The sands are no
longer just shifting from under the old;
they have already shifted.
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Page 8 TAPIA ELECTION SPECIAL No. 1
IS TH NEW ORLD OMING
WE HAVE NOW reached the year
of the people 1971 and the new
world is at hand. You can see the
country moving steadily into two
opposing camps. This is inevitable.
In a revolutionary situation such as
we're in now, there is never any
middle road. Either you are for the
new world or you must take your
stand against it.
The old-worlders, oblivious of
the meaning of 1970, are ritually
mouthing stable two-party demo-
cracy. The limit of their ambition is to
move Williams and change the men in
charge. They want Tweedledum for
Tweedle-dee. They have the insolence to
offer this country the jamette association
of DLP and Robinson. Their only con-
cern is the election. They are mortally
afraid of radical constitutional and econo-
mic reforms which might set our people
free; they are scared stiff of the uncon-
ventional politics of people's participa-
But Williams, Robinson and Jamadar
will deny radical reform over the dead
body of the movement of the 70's.
During the 1960's we have spent our time
preparing for this confrontation with the
neo-colonial regime and its Afro-Saxon
agents. In 1959/60 we saw that Castro,
Williams lacked three vital ingredients for
the victory: workable political alliances in
the region; independent political philo-
sophy free of the contusions of Liberal
and Marxist thought; solid community
organisation among the common people.
After 1970, we are almost ready. The
issue must now decide itself for once and
It is no accident that the first place of
contest is right here in T & T. Conditions
could not be better. We are a small and
compact country, our people are younger
and more open-minded than they have
ever been, our communications are excel-
lent and our institutions have no roots in
this the newest of the sugar plantation
island colonies. And of course, as a centre
of migration for Spanish, French and
English West Indians we are the crucial
country here for radical politics...the
fuse to this explosive tinder-box.
The little king knows all this only too
well...and he knows that we know it too.
He is the one man who cannot afford to
believe the rubbish that appears in the
morning papers. He understands very well
that real opposition cannot be fabricated
in the media that rats from old move-
ments cannot somehow conjure up brand
new movements from a hat.
No; when the army and the church
are suspect; when the political parties and
the police are out of touch; when the
public service and the courts do not com-
mand our trust; when institutions every-
where are crumbling under stress; it's not
the time for dilettantes and charlatans.
For sure these irrelevancies do at times
arrive on stage ..........as comic relief be-
tween the acts.
Revolution is not a game for movie-
stars; its not a game for boys. It requires
not publicity but toughness andorganisa-
tion and understanding of how power act-
ually works. That is why Williams is
working desperately noon and night; not
to counter any conventional merger but
to reconstruct a power base.
What he has to fear like very death is
the rising tide of history. His world of
neocolonial civilization is now under
mounting pressure. Right in the lion's den
itself the youth and blacks are carrying
on the fight. And what we're doing here
is just our own little part.
So a snap election is neither here nor
there. Williams will remember 1967.
Within five short months of victory he
was busily parrying blows in April. This
time the attack would be from the people
and we will have organisation and plan as
well. But rather than deal with him after
the poll we may as well deal with him
The Revolution of 1970 brought to-
gether the militant unions, the commun-
ity organizations, and all the local group-
ings. It put them into psychic contact
with their brethren in the region. And
since April, we have been developing
organization and plan.
We are ready now for victory. Some
are hanging back because they think that
to win we must rely on arms and vio-
lence; they think that the people are still
unready for serious politics. But nothing
would be more subversive of this corrupt
conventional politics than the unconven-
tionality of due political process, nothing
could be more reactionary than civil war.
We have only to stand up for our
rights.......our rights to electoral, con-
stitutional and economic reform now.
And that spells one thing and one thing
.A ;: A National Meeting of the Groups.
INVITES YOU TO A
ON FRIDAY, JANUARY 29,1971.
APIA POLITICAL MEETING
AT THE ARIMA RACE STAND AT 7.30 P.M.
BAKE/CREOLE COCOA/BLACK PUDDING
.........the review of the new politics
Surface: Trinidad and Tobago $ 5.00 Tr
Overseas $ 6.00
Air: Caribbean $ 8.00
North America $10.00
Name.. ...................... .... ................
I encloses........for ........yr(s) Air/Surface mail
Return to The Tapia House Puhlising (Co Ltd.,
91, Tunapuna Road, Tunapuna, Trinidad and Tohbgo.
DETAINEES' FUW ^ -OF 4-1-'71
To Other Groups
at 8.00 pm
FREE AND OPEN DISCUSSION
9)1 TUNAPUNA ROAD,
THE PUBLIC IS INVITED
Printed and Published by The TAPIA HOUSE Publishing Company Limited, 91 Tunapuna Road, Tunapuna.
I lie -,eneration ... has nm% come of' uw. Its elders, thirty or
thel-cabollk. stand oil tile threshold of, a decade %Nllell ... they will
'Ittaill the hel'uht ot, their creatke powers. Its cadets. perhaps the
sillde age-group yet to attaill tile S111,11-ra'-w. are Conlin" to
political coll"clou slie,,s ill a flood. I'llel.W men Constitute tile deciske
collm-1 1*()I* tile lle\1 roillid.- Lloyd Best. Neii 11)(Wd Quarlerly.