Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072147/00018
 Material Information
Title: Tapia
Physical Description: no. : illus. ; 43 cm.
Language: English
Publisher: Tapia House Pub. Co.
Place of Publication: Tunapuna
Creation Date: June 27, 1971
Frequency: completely irregular
Subjects / Keywords: Politics and government -- Periodicals -- Trinidad and Tobago   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )
Dates or Sequential Designation: no. 1- Sept. 28, 1969-
General Note: Includes supplements.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000329131
oclc - 03123637
notis - ABV8695
System ID: UF00072147:00018

Full Text

TAPIA No. 17 SUNDAY JUNE, 27. 1971.

SEP '7








THE February Revolution is moving closer to its climax. As the plot
unfolds it is as if the new movement had prepared the script. Caesar and
the charlatans are walking planks of history like little puppets on a
string. And now the regime is out to tumble .... just peep and you will
spy the trouble behind this deceptive post-election calm.
The fact of the matter is that we're
moving swiftly towards confrontation are going at present, we'll finish this game
No. 4. In April 1970, No. 1 was lost; in before the year is out. We'll finish it
September and May we recovered to win because we have the numbers now for
No. 2 & 3. And if things continue as they that.


j-o.,- '^(fcLI T-I 7hac^-f,
The Tapia House Group is starting an Experimental School in August this yearin order
to consider practical ways and means of improving the education system in this country. It
is hoped that this experiment will advance the work towards designing a Caribbean
Certificate of Education to replace the London Cambridge G. C. E. The School will last for
one month.
We are starting with languages, mathematics, history and literature, and we will be
experimenting with new methods of teaching these subjects. For example, we propose to
teach literature and history with the aid of theatre, and in general our aim is to bring out the
students' initiative and native talent.
The School will be run free of charge, and all students arid teachers involved in work
from O'Level to University, including Polytechnic and Vocational Sch6ols, are invited to
We should be pleased if you would circulate this notice among your teachers and
students, and advise us of your interest in this project by completing and returning the
enclosed form. More details will be forwarded on receipt of your form, or upon your
We also enclose a few copies of Tapia for your information.

Education Secretary.

1. the end of government is the good
of mankind.

2.government can be based only on the
consent of the people, on the general will.

3.the legislature elected by
the people is the supreme power in the

4.if the legislature or executive
abuses its trust, the people have the right
to revolt and set up a new government. 9

What the Empire Day Election showed
was that hard core support for the king
cannot be more than 20% of all those
over 15. So even if there were no crisis
for the country there must be an
enormous crisis for the nonarch. So
Williams has had more desperately than
ever to try and douse the spreading flame.
As in all revolutionary situations, the
official remedy takes two natural forms:
bribery and corruption, intimidation and
terror. And as always, the particular
personality must stamp his style upon
them both. That means bombast and
braggadocio as well. So it's the mixture as
before: gun and sweet and robber-talk.!
At this particular moment, the
gun-talk is being conspicuously muted ....
.muted while the army is being
surreptitiously loyalized and purged and
while the hawks in the police are being
strategically located. The terror therefore
takes more subtle forms .... like
beating-up of private citizens, like
organized brinkmanship with fire and
arson, like letters appearing in the Press
in the sinister style of Security men.

Meanwhile the sweet-talk takes the
form of idyllic wooings on Action-Radio,
of seeming concessions to dissenting
voices, and of loud announcements of
national dialogue. Here is a gangster
regime which for 15 years, has refused to
grant radio or TV time to opposition
and which has maintained libraries and
archives and publishing facilities fit only
for slaves. And now, suddenly, there's
national dialogue everywhere. The better
to bramble you with my dear!
For behind all this elaborate facade of
new perspectives and people's sectors
lurks the wolf of continuing domination
by the Chief Executive. If there is an
education conference the Prime Minister
sits inevitably in the Chair and it is his
Cabinet which must appoint the
participants and it is his Civil Service
which must prepare the papers.

After our Constitutional Conference
of all the talents and all the freedoms, the
Executive would still be free to do what
e'er it likes. And it is the Prime Minister's
Garment Conference, and the Prime
Minister's Senate, and the Prime
Minister's Parliament, as it has been his
Better Village Programme and his Special
Works, and his Party and'his Constitution
and his country for nearly fifteen long
intolerable years.
In other words, as in all revolutionary
situations, when the institutions have
clearly broken down, the final problem
remains the King. Poor thing! He -does
not and cannot know that he will not
solve the problem with the problem. How
can Williams resolve this crisis by
inflicting us with more of Williams? Such
is the tragedy of our time.


And then there is the comic relief
between the acts. Alphabet parties, action
congresses, brittle mergers keep coming
up like jumbie-umbrella in the morning,
summoned by the magic wand of some
soothsayer, seer or obeah-man. But they
go as easy as they come like the winnings
of a gambler.
While these joker parties last, their
single function is to entertain the media,
which, like all institutions in the crisis,
are ill-equipped for serious work; The
charlatans know very well that it is
conventional politics which makes the
news. Better still, they know that
conventional politics is made by news.
Their stock-in-trade is then
announcement, declaration of intent.
Revelations and images and postures
become the substitute for work.
But revolutions are not determined by
such inconsequential pappyshow but by
political instruments which do not crack
up under pressure.
And the blows are coming sure
enough. The cat has now been cornered
and the people have the confidence to
bell it.


Page 2 TAPIA No. 17 SUNDAY JUNE 27.-





to establish a Constitutional
Commission and to make this a
year of National Dialogue re-
presents the height of Executive
impertinence. The decision could
not be more strictly in the
logic of Crown Colony Govern-
ment. It maintains the tradition
of Government from above and
therefore misses the whole point
of the February Revolution.
Dr. Williams is behaving as if the
Executive (the Governor-General, the
Prime Minister and the Cabinet)
stand above and outside of politics.
The Prime Minister seems to have
assumed that the Executive is "an
independent executive," not irespon-
sible to the political community in-
side the country. This was exactly
the assumption behind the Executive
especially behind the Governor -
according to the conventions and
rules of Crown Colony Government
before 1946. And according to these
rules, the Governor and the Colonial
Office were impartial; they were
patiently holding the ring. It
followed that whenever the political
system broke down, they could, and
did establish impartial Commissions of
Enquiry, to recommend the necessary


But under the unconventional rules
which are needed for an independent
country the Executive cannot be
regarded as in any way independent
and impartial. It is not above and
outside the politics of the country.
It is and must always be part of
the politics except where and when
the rules and conventions allow it to
exercise independent- discretion. Cer-
tainly Williams cannot disavow res-
ponsibility for the present political
In the current constitutional crisis,
therefore, there is no independent
discretion whatsoever which the Ex-
ecutive can be allowed to retain. The
Army, the Courts, the University,
Organised Labour, the Press, the
Church the political parties and Parlia-
ment itself are all in the throes of a
revolutionary crisis as we struggle to
establish an independent system of
government and politics and to cast
a free, tolerant, humane and multi-
racial society. Youth groups, racial
groups, intellectuals, workers, the
clergy are all desperately attempting
to chart a new course.


In a constitutional crisis of this kind a
resolution can be found only through the
intervention of all the people without
either Executive guidance or imperial
tutelage. This is what it means to found a
free and independent political system,
rooted in the support of its home
Between October 1968 and April
1970, Dr. Williams and the PNM
administration did have the opportunity
and the right to intervene to avert the
crisis. But Dr. Williams and his colleagues
lacked the insight and the humility to act
by facing up to the challenge of
constitutional reform before we reached a
total breakdown.
If at that time Dr. Williams had called
a Constitutional Commission, it would

have been quite feasible for the
Commission to initiate meaningful
reforms acceptable to the entire
population of Trinidad and Tobago. Now
it is too late because it is the bona fides
of the Executive which are the issue of
the day. The question now is: who is
ultimate sovereign? the Prime Minister or
the people?


By his own admission Dr. Williams
allowed the 1970 crisis to develop so that
people could put their finger in the
wound. The entire crisis has been handled
in a way which has placed political
advantage for the PNM government over
and above the safety of the people.
Because of this the Executive has
forfeited all its moral authority. And the
existence of a wholly PNM Parliament as
a result of Dr. Williams' intransigence
over electoral reform has only reinforced
the invalidity and the immorality of any
Executive action now.
The issue can now be resolved only if
the Executive has the humility to
reaffirm the ultimate sovereignty of the
people over the Government. The
Executive must bow. There can be no
escape from that. If there is to be a
Constitutional Commission, only a
Constituent Assembly or some kind of
Citizens' Conference can have the right to
appoint it. The one way in which it
cannot be appointed is by the Governor
General..... or his constitutional master,
the Prime Minister. Instead, a Citizen's
Conference must first debate the issues
and in the clash of popular involvement,
the people will surely decide on the desir-
ability, the composition and the terms of
reference of any Commission for Constitu-
tional Reform.


Nobody understands all this better
than Dr. Williams. This accounts for his
completely disingenuous declaration that
there exists no crisis and that indeed, he
does not even anticipate any.
But the proof that there does exist a
crisis stands revealed by the fact that the
Government has now given the
Constitutional Commission unlimited
freedom to act. This is not a case of a
slight constitutional amendment but of
fundamental reconstruction. If we are
considering so total a reorganisation then
there must either be a profound constitu-
tional crisis or the nation must have gone
stark raving mad!
What we are witnessing in fact, is an
attempt by Dr. Williams to bramble us for
yet another time. This is a straight case of
arrogance unlimited; it is yet another
instance of Executive insolence. It isone
more confidence trick.


As so often before, the Throne Speech
is meant to lend an air of reasonableness
.... a less arbitrary guise ..... to Dr.
Williams' insistence on keeping all the
initiatives to himself. The proposal for
National Dialogue Year and for
converting the Senate into a watchdog on
the Executive are all in the very same
vein. They appear to represent real
concessions. But national dialogue cannot
be arranged by a Government. Nor can
the Senate be an effective watchdog
unless it is appropriately independent of
the Executive.
These phony concessions are therefore
unacceptable to Tapia. As early as
November 1969, we saw the crisis for
what it was and it was then that we first
made our current proposals, which can be
read in Tapia No. 3.
In spite of the inability or the
unwillingness of the press to research the
issues properly and to keep the nation
informed, the country will come to know

that Tapia has had the insight and the
foresight to grasp the essence of what has
been happening. The nation will see that
we have had the courage to assert and
urge the fundamentals in the face of all
manner of now-for-now and soothsayer
politics on the part of both the
Government and the opposition side,
amidst both the old politics and the new.


Our stand is not based on a lack of
trust in the bona fides of the
Constitutional Commission. We are not
totally happy with that Commission, it is
true, even though there are men on it
who certainly reflect the temper and the
spirit of Tapia and the New World
movement. But we would not in any case,
wish to see a Commission picked just to
suit ourselves. At least, we hope that we
are not so self-righteous because if we
were, the country would have absolutely
no right to identify us as part of any
movement that is new.
Nor is it a question of denying the
good intentions of Dr. Williams and the
PNM. Tapia has always conceded them
their due; and we wish here and now to
restate that, in our view, our motives are
certainly no higher than those of the
But the problem with the Government
has been that for far too long have the)
been incapable of any genuine political
humility. Not of personal humility, or
humility in word and gesture, but of
humility whichshowsup in a willingness
to take it for granted that popular
opinion is not merely important but
should in principle be decisive.


Personal humility is not the issue here.
That is important only in a Doctor Party.
It is really quite irrelevant whether or
not Eric Williams or Geddes Granger or
Lloyd Best is arrogant.....they probably
all are since colonial society everywhere
breeds that animal. What is relevant is
whether or not the PNM or the NJAC or
the Tapia House is organised to ensure
that free opinion will curb any tendency
to personal arrogance on the part of the
political leadership.
So political humility is not a matter of
whether or not the leaders are employing
robber-talk; it is not a way of speaking or
presenting images in the newspapers. It is
a way of living which insists on methods
and procedures conducive to the fullest
possible popular participation at all times
and not simply when it is convenient for
the purpose of the political leadership.
That is why open discussion, reasoned
discourse and the recording of things on
paper are so terribly important to the
politics of popular participation.....they
set limits on the tendency of leaders to
arrogate to themselves the right to change
course anytime and to manipulate people
through purely emotional appeal.
The case against Dr. Williams therefore
is that he has now abandoned the
perspectives of his early ministry.

Whatever his failings at the start, Dr.
Williams' method of espousing plan,
programme and organisation did have the
effect of curbing personal whim. But it is
clear that he has now succumbed to our
old political culture; that he has settled
for rum and roti politics,or worse, that he
is positively engendering emotional
anxiety among the people by recurring
references to "bacchanal," "massacre"
and the like.
Whatever our own weaknesses in Tapia
and we are not better than anybody
else the fact of the matter is that we
have continued throughout this difficult
period to live and work for participatory
politics in every way that we know. Our
entire method is cast in this mould.....our
method of organising, our method of
cummunicatrifg, so profoundly
misunderstood even by some of our
friends in the media.


And now the government appears to
have made a reasonable concession to our
demands for popular involvement in the
re-shaping of the Constitution and in the
process of government and politics. So
many may well fall into the trap of
buying these overnight proposals. But
Tapia is urging the nation to reject this
easy way out.
The danger of this appeal is that
people may conclude that we are refusing
to join the stream of reconciliation just
for the sake of remaining
"revolutionary." But that is not at all the
case. If we now move to step up the fight
against the old regime it is only because
we see through this shallow stratagem
which is certain to perpetuate the crisis
and to block the real changes for which
the nation has been crying out in anguish
these last long months.


Unless the Constitution is seen to be
the creation of the Citizens, it cannot
tomorrow ever gain legitimacy from
future generations .... even if today it
won approval from the movement for a
never world. We the people would be
bound by a Constitution only if that
Constitution has been manifestly forged
and fashioned by our own collective will.
If Tapia now escalates the struggle
against conventional politics it is because
we feel that Dr. Williams has now thrown
away our last and final chance of
reconciliation by his refusal to admit that
the Executive has lost all the moral
authority it once possessed. The
Constitutional Commission cannot but
die a natural death in the shadow of an
Executive that is already as dead as a
This means that we have been
precipitated into an altogether new
dimension. Dr. Williams has refused to
bridle the Executive by acknowledging
the sovereignty of the people over the
king. It may seem like casuistry but we
the people are left now with one option
and one option only; we will now bridle
this king ourselves.

Experimental School

Please complete and return to: The Education Se cretary,
91 Tunapuna Road,

Name........ ........ ............... .............

School: ...........................................................

Home Address: ......................................... .................

Occupation: Student Q Teacher 0

Interested in: Lit. ] Math. Hist ,Lang.

Would you like to assist in the 0 planning and 1J execution of this project?

Any suggestions? ........................



FOURTEEN Puerto Rican nation.
\recently started a three-month jail
imposed on them by a US District
for taking part in a campaign to ge
U S Navy off the island of Culebra, p
nathe C agpnWeath.of Puerto Rico,
TAPIA No. 15

TAPIA No. 17 SUNDAY JUNE 27 Page 3
Heat is on at Puerto Rico University

IN PUERTO RICO, as in other parts of the Caribbean, the
university has been thrown into the forefront of the
struggle for national liberation and decolonisation. Indeed,
it is from the university that have derived some of the more
potent inputs of the movement for radical change.
Naturally the result of his has been to oppose to the
university the established interests of the old order.
Repression has been aimed directly at the university
community... banning, detentions, passport siezures,
harassments of one kind or another intended to silence
dissenting voices on campus be they student or faculty.
Lectures and students of the University of Puerto Rico
have been heavily involved in the movement to free the
Commonwealth from the neo-colonial political and
economic relations with the US to which the "pragmatist"
politicies of the Munoz Marin government have committed
the country. A few months ago, a UPR law lecturer who is

also leader of the nationalist Puerto Rican Independence
Party, was jailed for three months for protesting the US
Navy's use of the island of Culebra for target practice. (See
TAPIA No. 15)
Now moves are being made to have Berrios fired from
his job at the university together with Eulalio Torres,
another professor and former university dean.
The two professors are fighting to retain their jobs,
supported by their Staff Association, and they have
protested against the "irregular procedures" followed by
the university authorities in "investigating" their work. For
example, Torres has been asked to give a report on why he
was absent from class for one hour in April.

...'Where the interests of the community are sacrificed to
the interests of an individual or a group or a race, then it is
time for us to revive the famous slogan used by the
English revolutionaries to abolish absolute monarchy
and initiate the beginnings of English democracy,
'Salus populi supreme lex,'- the safety of the people
is the highest law...

(From 'The Idealism of Youth' by Eric Williams -
address delivered at the 1949 Congress of the Trinidad and
Tobago Youth Council.)


Why do I imagine the death of Mandelstam
among the yellowing coconuts,
why does my gift already look over its crouched shoulder
for a shadow to fill the door,
and pass this very page into eclipse?
Why does the moon increase into an arclamp
and the inkstain on my hand prepare to press thumb downward
before a shrugging sergeant?
What is this new odour in the air,
that was once salt, that smelt like lime at daybreak,
and my cat, I know I imagine it, leap from my path,
and my children's eyes already seem like horizons,
and all of my poems, even this one, wish to hide?

'Dream' at Tapia House Moonlight Theatre

THE film version of Derek Walcott's
play "Dream on Monkey Mountain" was
shown at the Tapia House on Thursday
June 10.
The drama won the Best Play of the
Year Award in New York last year.
A panel discussion followed the

showing of the film.
The next big occasion at the Tapia
House Moonlight Theatre will be the
production of Walcott's "Ti Jean and His
Brothers" to be directed by the
playwright himself.
Watch for further announcements.














TAPIA in bound volumes

Page 4 TAPIA No. 17 SUNDAY JUNE 27.

"THE ELECTIONS are over ... the
politics continues ...."
With that observation Tapia
Chairman Ivan Laughlin started the
group's first post-election public
meeting on Independence Square.
the night of Thursday May 27.
Minutes before, the Prime
Minister had announced the new
Government, giving no indication
of how he intended to deal with the
crisis about which people wanted to
So the politics continued. And
the issues, burning fiercely as ever,
were being discussed in groups all
over the Square in which about
1,000 people had gathered to hear
Tapia speakers on the theme "A
Constituent Assembly The Case
for a Queen's Hall Conference of
Citizens 1971."


The elections showed a rejection of
the old order, Laughlin said. Just as in
1970 the people had stood up against the
Public order Act, so in 1971 the
population stayed home and rejected the
elections, and indeed, the entire system
which made such elections possible.
It all meant, Laughlin continued, that
the country had reached a new juncture.
The people stood at the crossroads; one
raod led to dictatorship, the other to the
realization of those goals for which
people were working: real participation in
politics, fundamental change in the social
and economic order.
"We, not the Governor General, not
the Prime Minister,hold the initiative, the
destiny of Trinidad and Tobago in our
hands. As such it is a serious and critical
time when what is required is sacrifice,
commitment and dedication."

TAKING Laughlin's point about funda-
mental change in the social and economic
order, chairman of the meeting Janis
Paterson noted that youth were perhaps
the most dispossessed group in the so-
They had been most affected by
unemployment; they had been denied
political rights by the Government's
refusal to lower the voting age; and it was
they who most keenly felt the cultural
dispossession as they had come on the
scene at a time when cultural forms like
the steelband and calypso had become
alienated from the people.
She blasted the "arrogance" of the
Minister of Education who last year had
told St. Patrick youths either to join the
system at its own terms or to drop out.
Young people she said, had rejected the
system, and now the election showed that
most of the electorate had rejected it too.

SYL LOWHAR: "If I ever have to make
a choice between the freedom of Trinidad
and Tobago and my own personal safety
it is a foregone conclusion."

Ever since they had come to these
parts the people of the Caribbean have
been struggling for freedom. There have
been some successes, but the struggle was
still going on, Lowhar said.
He made the distinction between
Emancipation, the giving of citizenship
from above, and Liberation, the raising of
the human consciousness and the winning
of freedom in a struggle from below. In
1962 the people of Trinidad and Tobago
were granted freedom from above. Ellis
Clarke and Williams decided their fate in
Marlborough House when together they
drew up and imposed on the country a
monarchist constitution.
The Independence Constitution was a
contract whereby the people were
supposed to agree to give the government
certain powers in return for the
preservation of their well-being and their
protection. What had happened since,
however, amounted to a colossal breach
of contract. The Government did not
guarantee fundamental freedoms but it
retained the right to brutalize and to
dominate the people.

Whatever freedoms the constitution
guaranteed would have been eroded by
the Public Order Bill which would have
given the Government the right to ban





public meetings. But did the constitution
really guarantee our rights and freedoms?
"Politicians remember but the people
forget," Lowhar said.C. L. R. James had
warned us about the bastard constitution
that we have. In 1963 Patchett, a senior
lecturer in law at UWI, showed that the
fundamental rights the constitution
appeared to guarantee were only
conditional. One part of the constitution
gave. rights and another part took them
Lowhar recalled the occasion at UWI
when he asked A. N. R. Robinson, then
Deputy Prime Minister, whether it was
true that the constitution did not
guarantee fundamental rights. Robinson
replied it was no big thing; the
constitution could always be amended.
Robinson also admitted at the time that
many of the men who had to administer
the Subversive Literature laws were not
capable of making proper judgment of
what was subversive and what was not.
Just as Ellis Clarke, the man who
drafted it was the embodiment of the
monarchist philosophy, so too had the
constitution turned out to be the
embodiment of Doctor Politics. It meant
manipulation no decentralization, no
power to the people.

Those, said Lowhar, were the real
issues. Not electoral reform, not voting
machines, not rigging, but the
impartiality of the Elections Commission
which the Prime Minister appoints. The
fundamental problem was the

concentration of power in the hands of
the executive.
The elections were a great victory for
the people and no longer would factions
be quarelling over the spoils. But it must
be noted, Lowhar said, that history shows
at every decisive victory of the revolution
the old order reasserts itself in a different
"Beware of strange manoeuvres among
the opposition!" There are people in the
opposition, he said, who were calling for
a State of Emergency. "Let us have none
of it. Can youth be registered in 21 days?
What kind of election campaign can you
have in a state of Emergency?"
Lowhar urged his audience not to be
downspirited "even though some of us
may be disappointed and perplexed. The
darkest time is just before the dawn.
Great is the people of Trinidad and
Tobago and it must prevail!"

LLOYD BEST: "We know the score:
Two to one tor unconventional politics.
That was the revelation of the
elections. The people for unconventional
politics now knew their numbers. In 1970
people understood that it was the end
game for the old order. But people don't
change habits of mind easily. We waited
for the elections to confirm our
suspicions. And the elections showed that
the large majority stood resolutely against
the old order.
Another significant thing was that the
Africans and the Indians had united to
bring the old order down. The elections

showed that the poll was low in the
Indian areas. "Frank James and Jesse
James have been rejected."


There have been confusion and
charlatanry in the last few months but
now the game is clear: conventional
politics versus unconventional politics.
We will finish the game by the end of th6
year. It's a straight case of confrontation
between the old and the new.
New heads must be clear; we must be
precise about objectives. We must be
organised; our strategy has to be worked
out. Commitment must be durable. We
want to be clear about constitutional
reform. Voting machines have been put
on the stage, but we must not be carried
away by a lot of obscurantism. It doesn't
matter who you put. What you must
ensure is that the structure of government
allows for participation of the people.
And this means constitutional reform.
Our proposals are all in Tapia. The
headlines have been in the Express since
1969. The central matter is the relations
between the Executive and the
Legislature; the Senate and the Lower
But we need a long perspective on this
matter. We must see that Williams is not
fully responsible. He has some
responsibility and we will hold him
responsible for that. But what we must
focus on is & system of government,
politics and economy that has sat on the
backs of Caribbean people for centuries.
Concentrated power in the hands of the
executive started with the Charter King
James of England gave to the Earl of
Carlisle to govern the "Caribbee Isles" in
the 1620's.

The Earl of Carlisle had executive,
legislative and judicial powers. He
appointed a Governor and a Council to
advise him.
Then in the 1640's came the Planters'
Assemblies. The planters who owned land
and worked the plantations demanded
some measure of influence in
Now there is something to be noted
about this: that political changes in the
colonies can be made most easily when
developments pre-occupy the
metropolitan stage. This happened in the
1640's with the revolution in England
and it is happening now that the
civilization on which this political system
is premissed is breaking down.
The thing to be noted here is that the
system only changed when the imperial
powers changed it. And when freedom
for the slaves came it didn't bring a
fundamental change in the system. It
only had effects on the state and politics,
but how the community was organised
contradicted these changes.


Crown Colony Government that later
came to Trinidad with the British sat
upon the racial and other divisions in the
island. It was business as usual. C. L. R.
James wrote about Crown Colony
Government of which Trinidad was the
model case, and he described the
Governor as three in one and one in
three. The Governor had complete
control of the Legislature.
Williams saw Constitutional Reform in
1956 in terms of developments on the
metropolitan stage. Williams has so little
insight into the struggle of West Indian
peoples. It doesn't matter about the rest
of the world. We have to understand the
hopes, anguish and aspirations of the
people here.

In the mid 19th century the population
had to salvage beginning from Square
One. We had to win our manhood back
from the past. The Indians won theirs on
the land and the Africans in the city
through education. They say black people
have no business sense, but everybody
who knew the striving of African people
to win their manhood back through
education knows that the primary school
was a business; the headmaster a tycoon.
That was nigger people business school;
the suffering and slaving of mothers
washing shirts and ironing them overnight
to send them to school in the morning. It
was the system that produced
Woodbrook, and Williams is sthe most
complete expression of that system.
By the mid 20th century the game was

TAPIA No. 1' SUNDAY JUNE 27 Page 5






The Politics Continues
j ____ _________

brought to the stage where we could take
control. But Williams hasn't managed it.
tNow people know Williams made
enormous contribution to this country.
People want to see a reasonable way of
changing him, but they can't see how
they can save all that and move forward.
They know that building a party in six
week was good enough for the 50's.
Williams did it and he swept away the
imperialists. But when that was done he
was finished. Williams organised too
quickly and brambled people with simple
solutions. But what happened when the
charismatic excitement faded was that
there was nothing to hold the movement
(Best mentioned four steps which he
,envisaged would "reconstruct the
relations and let the people back into the
game." These were: reform of the Senate;
establishment of a Panchaiyat, a congress
of both Lower House and Senate;
reorganisation of the Civil Service; and
the establishment of West Indian Court to
save having to appeal to the Privy
The business of the new politics is to
establish organizations that work. Tapia
has made the issue of constitutional
reform by work. It is the work that
matters. If we never get power that
doesn't matter. What is important is that
the work is done. Power to the hardwuk.
Williams fudged the ideas for his New
Perspectives from Tapia. The Press knows
this yet they wouldn't say it, and give
Tapia the credit. The Press is afraid of
change and creates second rate
opposition. The Guardian has talked
about nationalisation, but we have never
used-the word. We have talked about
Localization involves way of
organising industry that places power in
the hands of the people. And a
reorganised local government system will
support that. The people of
Pointe-a-Pierre, private capital and the
central government must run Texaco.
All this talk about capitalism and
socialism is a lot of nonsense. The steps
that we need to put economic power into
the hands of the people avoids both of
those systems which really derived from
Western European experience. The key
issue in controlling the banks is putting
credit into the hands of the people so
that the small man can develop. It is not
taking 51 percent or buying a bank on
Independence Square.
Williams is technically incompetent.
Imagine after 15 years there is still no
technical Secretariat to deal with the


problems of petroleum. They are taxing
crude oil when the refinery is the
important thing.
There are some ignoramuses about the
place who say we are in the pay of
Williams just because we have given
him his due.
When I say a Jack will hang I mean it
figuratively. We have aces here. And if he
isn't careful we will hang the jack with a
queen. Or with a 10.
This is the last chance for Williams.
Everybody sees except the King. Williams
knows history. We are in a revolutionary
situation and we can't be stopped. The
West Indian people are reasserting
themselves. It's like a bushfire and you
can't stop it.
But we want to give Williams one last
chance to salvage his reputation for
history. What he has to do is to call the
Constituent Assembly. In 1962 Williams,
Hudson Phillips and Ellis Clarke
emasculated the Queen's Hall Conference.
They organised it how they wanted it.
Let us forgive Williams and start new.
Call the Constituent Assembly and put
before them the issues.

There are people to the left of us who
are calling for People's Assembly and
People's Parliament. People to the right
are calling on the Governor General to
act. There are other people who are
saying 'let it emerge.' But you can't.
Things don't emerge. Messiahs emerge
things. The only way to allow power to
come to the people is to let men of
goodwill and intelligence and wit sit
down and formulate the issues.
Some of our critics call Tapia
reformist. But you can't have a
completely new beginning. If you have a
new departure that the population
doesn't understand, people get lost along
the way and the highway robbers and
high priests appear. You have to graft the
new upon the old. As Gandhi said, the
leaders should be just one step ahead of
the people.
WE HAVE a legally elected government
but not one which is representative of
majority opinion. The truth of this
proposition was established beyond
doubt by an examination of the election
results statistics.
Augustus Ramrekersingh made this
statement on the basis of a detailed study
of the figures to show that:
1. The number of people who
participated in the election was the
smallest since the granting of universal
adult suffrage in 1946;
2. The ratio of non-voters to voters
was 2 to one;
3. The highest percentage poll in
any constituency was below the lowest
percentage poll in the 1956 elections;
4. The PNM's share of the votes
cast was the highest ever 84% but
this represented only 29% of the entire
electorate. (He calculated that if there
had been voting in the eight
constituencies the PNM had won by
default, their share of the vote would
then have been 25.6%. And if the 18-year
olds had been given the vote the PNM's
share would have gone down even further
to 18%.)
Ramrekersingh concluded that the
low poll amounted to a vote of
no-confidence in the electoral and
constitutional arrangements. He dealt
with the Prime Minister's claim that on

the basis of attendance at public meetings
the opposition which called for
constitutional and electoral reform did
not have majority support. The statistics
of the 1971 election do not bear out the
claim that the PNM has majority support.
Williams had said too that people who
did not want to vote could go and jump
in the Gulf of Paria, and Ramrekersingh
wondered whether it was Williams'
intention to reclaim the Gulf by throwing
67% of the population into it.
He urged that government put national
interest before party interest and seek to
bring the divided and potentially
explosive population together in a
Constituent Assembly.
DENIS SOLOMON argued that the
constitutional crisis did. not come about
with the PNM's complete victory in the
elections. The Constitution had been in
crisis ever since it was written.
And the situation had progressively
worsened to the present time.
He noted that the Guardian on the
morning after the elections had called for
a citizens' conference to discuss

constitutional reform. That the Guardian
had called for this was a sure sign, he felt,
that Williams was now favourable to the
idea and he saw the Assembly as a means
of keeping himself in power.
Any Constituent Assembly, however,
Solomon insisted, must contain the
possibility of the immediate removal of
Willaims and the present Government.
He said Tapia saw the Constituent
Assembly as meeting tdodiscuss, to plan
for our economic and constitutional
future. It was not an organ of
Government, but an assembly, a forum
out of which would come proposals for
the organs by which we would .govern
The Constituent Assembly had
actually begun in the pages of the Express
when the Public Order act was being
discussed and finally rejected, and the
debate had then started. Now citizens'
groups must meet on their own initiative
to discuss the problems.
The Constituent Assembly, Solomon
said, would help to clarify issues. It
would be the means of reconciling
interests and not of rejecting people for
being black or white etc.

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Page 6 TAPIA No. 17 SUNDAY JUNE 27.


THE WEEK after the elections ANR
Robinson called on the Governor General
* delcare a State of Emergency under
section 8 of the Constitution;
appoint an interim government
pending elections within one
* use his emergency powers to
introduce electoral reform
including voting by the ballot box;
ensure the proper conduct of those
* and use his influence to bring about
much needed peace and
reconciliation within the national
Not a word about constitution reform.
And Millette, according to the Evening
News of May 27 gave "general"
endorsement to those demands. Sir
Solomon "has to take the initiative," he
said, "but in what form I propose to leave
it up to him."

Abandon the Monarchy. Estab-
lish a Participatory Republic
with a Governor General as
Ceremonial Head of State and
a Prime Minister as Head of

Establish an island-wide system
of Local Councils in Trinidad.
Give them real power.

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 strength-
en its influence on State opin-


Cheddi Jagan would he the first to
admit that that is the colonial mentality.
He once left it up to Duncan Sandys to
settle a constitutional dispute between
Burnham and himself. That was how
Proportional Representation was imposed
on his country. You just cannot afford to
leave decisions up to imperial agents.
Especially after an Empire Day election.

To insist that the Governor General
must implement these measures amounts
not only to a misunderstanding of the
nature of the constitutional crisis, but a
betrayal of the general will of the people.
No sooner had the people won a decisive
victory than these political plunderers
began to scramble for the spoils.


Establish a National Panchaiyat
of both Houses and give it in-
fluence on appointments and
on legislation.

Entrench Congressional power of
Constitutional Review every
two generations (30 years).
Maintain flexibility.

Give Congress power to review
representation in the Senate
every five years. Members can
be included or excluded by


How can the Governor General be the
only person to save the nation when his
own ineffectiveness has led to so much of
the current crisis? It is widely held that
Sir Solomon was opposed to the State of
Emergency of 1970, yet he chose to
condone it by absenting himself. He did
not have the courage to stand up.
As Commander-in-Chief of the Army
his presence could have altered the course
of events at Teteron and at the Courts
Martial. As titular head of state and the
symbol of unity above the warring
factions he has the prerogative to call a
Constituent Assembly to bring about
"much needed peace and reconciliation
within the national community." As
symbol of our sovereignty he ought to
have placed theright interpretationon the
outcome of the elections. Instead he
continues to behave as the Colonial
Secretary that he once was, the
sabre-bearing, horse-riding, chief overseer
on the estate of Her Most Gracious
Majesty, Elizabeth II.

simple majority. The Senate
will keep up with the times.

Abandon the Privy Council and
establish a Local Court, prefer-
ably a West Indian Court.

Reform the rules of the Civil
Service to grant more free-

Reform the rules of the Teaching
Service to grant more free-

Establish National Service to
help community spirit.
Shift the Capital out of Port-of-
Spain to help decentralization.

What do you
get when you

Fall in Love

In fairness to Robinson and
Millette they have been consistent in
their demands for electoral reform,
and in the May 27 issue of Moko I
have been called a "regurgitator" of
Best's ideas, and accused by Kelvin
Singh of "political cannibalism" for
saying at a Tapia meeting in Sangre
Grande that "electoral reform is
rubbish, or words to that effect." I
am not one of that band of radicals
who subscribe even against their
wishes to a Doctor version of poli-
tics so that they cannot conceive of
ordinary people having viewpoints of
their own. Therefore I shall never
say that Brother Kelvin was insti-
gated by Millette to launch that
What I did say on that occasion
was that "electoral reform was a
red herring." It is a way of clear-
ing track for gouti to run, and if
we pitch our marbles in that ring
we go faats So fen that!"
The significance of the election is
that the people regarded it as a refe-
rendum. They voted or did not vote
in favour of the system, and the
system lost two to one. In Tapia
No. 15 we predicted the results:
"what is at stake is more than the
dishonour of office for which the
PNM, ACDC/DLP, and Bhadase Maraj
are running down the donkey track
of conventional politics. The real
struggle is between the old regime
and the new world a-coming."

For the last two election meetings
the PNM has not been a hot favour-
ite. But there was no alternative, so
it kept winning by default. This time
the people did not come out to bet.
They dug up the blasted track. The
system has to go. So when at Pica-
dilly the Prime Minister looked at
the tote and saw the few odds
against the PNM he should not have
staked his fortune on it. It was like
watching the last gallop of a great
champion. You do not bet heavily
against it. Although in your heart
you know that it is finished, you
still hope that it would have a
splendid laslap before it passes
gloriouly to the stud. The older
people did not want to see the old
tried, tired horse fall in disgrace. So
PNM got 27% of the 32% votes
cast, and Bhadase was severely pun-
ished for supporting the State of
Emergency last year; for risking no
representation for rural Indians for
upholding the foul system.
118,000 electors out of a possible
450,000 are not enough to support a
democracy. The fact that Jagan in
Guyana and Allende in Chile may
have gotten mandates of less than
30% is not so significant. What is
significant here is that the combined
votes of all the contending parties
are much less than 50%.
This 27% can hardly be a man-
date. And nobody knows this more
than the Prime Minister. Speaking in
1955 on Constitution Reformat the
University of Woodford Square, which
he once called the People's Parlia-
ment, this is what he said:
(1) The end of government is the
good of mankind
(2) The Executive should be sub-
ordinate to the legislative
(3) Whenever the Legislative and
the Executive abuse their power
the people have the right to
But history has shown that every time
the people have reason to triumph the old
order keeps reasserting itself, raising its
dragon's heads. Part of the constitutional
crisis is that there is no Leader of the
Opposition in the House. Yet Jamadar
resumes office, and insists that he is the
Leader of the Opposition. That being the
case there is no crisis. All the Prime
Minister has to do is to consult him. He is
therefore consulted by the Governor
General and he compounds the absurdity
by saying No! That the Governor
General could have decided to consult
him at all is something else.
Yet we must ask a few disturbing
questions. Could the 18 year olds and the
80,000 persons alleged to have been
excluded from the voters list have been
registered within one month? After
Cont'd on Page 7


II ~-3L I

TAPIA No. 17 SUNDAY JUNE 27 Page 7

San Fernando meeting of May 28.

The programme had to be shortened
because of the weather and only Brinsley
Samaroo and Lloyd Best spoke.
The crowd of about 200 people had
braved the threat of rain and sometime
after the meeting began faced the fact of
it. Some people sought shelter nearby and
others took the chairman's invitation to
come into the bandstand round the
In the enclosed space on the
bandstand, with the drizzle coming down
steadily outisde, an informal atmosphere
In outlining the stages of the
"deteriorating situation" which had
brought the country to the present
juncture Brinsley Samaroo, traced the the
history of the Williams regime from his
coming on the stage in 1956.
Williams had shown himself then to be
very bright, to have an understanding of
the Crown Colony system, and he
opposed the corruption of the Gomes
regime by declaring his party for morality
in public affairs.
The country had come to see,
however, that the corruption of the PNM
era was far worse than Gomes'. Williams
--hd-'lber come irrelevant after Independence
as he did not know then what to do. He
was a spent force.
Williams became the new governor in
what was essentially a Crown Colony
Samaroo recalled Williams' castigation


Task of

Round 4

of the Indian "minority" and his "get to
hell outa here" statement. The loss of
popular support was reflected in the
voting turn out which fell from 88% in
1961 to 65% in 1966 and then to 28% in

In the interim Williams had become
more dictatorial, surrounding himself
with yes-men and getting rid of no-men.
All decisions had to be made by him.
Now people were both fed up and
afraid. The vast majority had shown they
wanted nothing to do with such
The position was however that
Williams had refused to see the lesson of
1970. He had shown his contempt for the
people by carrying on a system of
Government by announcement which had
since changed to Government by
excursion .... to Mayaro, Los Iros and
Moruga. It was like giving sweets to
children to make them forget.
There were now two alternatives
facing the people. One was violence, a
result of people's frustrations, but which
was senseless and a bad example for
future generations. He argued against
spreading any campaign that called for
The second alternative was that of the
unconventional politics of hardwuk
which Tapia was espousing. This had to

be preceded by a close examination of
the problems and research to provide a
theory of action.
On the question of the racial divisions
Samaroo gave a brief outline of the
history of Indian-African relations in the
context of the colonial policy of
He said that Williams and Capildeo did
not create the racial situation in politics;
it was already potentially there. Where
they had failed was in making a
meaningful approach to solve the
The last 18 months, however, had
seen good signs for the prospects of
Indian-African unity starting with the
NJAC march to Caroni. Now, Samaroo
said, politics must stress a dependence on
programme, policy and ideology to bring
about progress in realtions between the


The task now as far as Indian-African
unity is concerned is to seek to explore
other areas with a view ot breaking down
the disharmony. Samaroo urged:
1. That people should learn more
about Indian and African history and
culture. People should pay attention to
such manifestations as Shango and
Phagwah and the wake.
"Only when you feel sure about
yourself can you look another man in the
eye," Samaroo said. People of both races
needed to build self-confidence through a
knowledge of where they came from.
2. That the history of different races
and the contributions they had made
should be taught in secondary schools.
3. That economic planning should
seek consciously to end racial
exclusiveness in any one occupation.
Africans should be taught to love the

Lloyd Best began by dealing directly
with the call made by A.N.R. Robinson
and later endorsed by Millette for the
Governor General to resolve the problem
by declaring a State of Emergency.
The issue is not the Governor General,
he said. The GG has no initiative; he is
the creature of the Prime Minister. He
reminded the audience that just one year

ago Hochoy had a choice; to stand with
the people or with the Czar. And Hochoy
ran; he left the country and passed the
ball to other stooges. The result was a
State of Emergency.
States of Emergency are for tyrants,
Best said. People who govern
democratically do not need States of
Emergency only Czars and Caesars. The
population must be let into affairs of
Government, and this meant
representative institutions.
What the country faced now was
government of the government for the
government by the government.
And the issue now had nothing to do
with voting machines. The only issue now
in West Indian government and politics is
how to limit the power of the head of
government, the executive. It is the
system which despoils the people and if
the system remains then it's business' as
The question now is how to introduce
the new conventions, the new politics,
that ensure government, not for
government, but for the people. What we
tried to do in 1970 was to replace the
system with a new kind of government
that the people understand and control.
But we lost Round One .
In September, however, we reasserted
our manhood and stood up against the
Public Order Act. We won Round Two.
For Round Three we fought
negatively on May 24 and victory was
The task of Round Four is to establish
the political instrument to deal the knock
out punch, to finish the game. We have to
discover how to put ourselves in a
position where no dictator can dictate.
The question of Constitutional reform is:
what kind of society are we going to
constitute?Jf we remove Williams and the
PNM what are we going to put back? Will
it be the same social and economic
We must now have some notion of a
system in motion one that we can
manipulate to suit our own needs. We
have to mobilize politically not behind a
man as in 1956.

--- a --- -m-0-m-0a aI -- -



From Page 6
arbitrarily detaining Balfour and Whiskey
in anticipation of a "massive vote" of
confidence in PNM "law and order,"
could the Government (or the Governor
General or the Commissioner of Police
for that matter) have been trusted to
preside over a "free and fair" election
campaign with 4,000 policemen armed
with the best weapons? Robinson must
know who the Governor General really is,
and what a State of Emergency really
means. In fact, he claims to have resigned
from the PNM on these ground.
We therefore cannot avoid the
conclusion that Jamadar, Robinson, and
others did not stay away from the polls in
pursuit of principle. They stayed away
because they knew that they could not
win. And they could not have won
because the people would have
rejected them as well. Blind as they are,
they see an opening to win a mock
election, now that Bhadase is no more,
and the PNM's support can hardly
increase. They know too that in any
contest of conventional parties under
emergency conditions to settle a
constitutional dispute the Representation
of the People Act which governs the
conduct of elections would put
unconventional groups like Tapia and
NJAC under serious handicap even to
voice protest.
They are therefore prepared to make a
deal to maintain the system intact. That
is the "reconciliation" that they are
talking about.
We cannot trust that any politician,
conventional or unconventional, will
change the structure of power after taking
office. Because it is the power itself that

corrupts. Once it is safe within their grasp
they may well turn deaf ears on the cries
of the people. Robinson and Jamadar
have been important parts of the system
for over ten years. They are both
architects of the Constitution. If they
cannot get the message now, will they get
it then? If they do these things in the
greenwood, what will they do in the dry?
These men do not surprise me. But that
'revolutionaries' who have suffered
detention could have sunk so low as to
call for a State of Emergency and have
the Prime Minister rebuke them is an

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Page 8 TAPIA No. 17 SUNDAY JUNE, 27.




And the future of

25,000 families is

jumping in steelband


Lp rnce Ton & hagana

"Minister of External Affairs Mr.
Kamaluddin Mohammed told newsmen at
Piarco International Airport yesterday that he
was not entirely satisfied that all that was
expected had been achieved from the recent
London talks on the European Common
Market issue.
"We are not entirely satisfied that we got all
we wanted," he said. "But what we achieved
was reasonable enough to put us in a more
positive position today so far as safeguards for
our sugar is concerned."
Trinidad Express, June 7, 1971

AND once again webreathe a sigh
of relief ... perhaps a little uneasily
this time, for not even the returning
angels -of mercy seem overly
optimistic about the success of
their mission. Once again we had
run up the S.O.S. flag -Save Our
Sugar and hurried off to the
Mother Country to gain another
short-term lease of life for an
industry that for centuries has been

the Liberal trap of unbridled giant
capitalism and the Marxist trap of central
government domination.
* Localisation is the New World
solution, appropriate to the
conditions of the New World. This
solution involves*
* Sweeping land reform;
* Zoning of crops on a Caribbean
* The abandonment of Crown-Lands
type development and the adoption
of schemes of agro-industrial
development on the sugar estates;
* Tighter import controls so as to
allow farmers to make real money;
* New terms of employment inthecivil
service, teaching service, and certain
sections of private industry in the
towns so that wage earners can have
a part time involvement in


The Ministers have exerted themselves, and rightly so, to
protecting the British market for sugar, first with the
British Government and more recently at the International
Conference on Tariffs and Trade in Switzerland. But,
remember this this is exactly the policy that has been
pursued by the British. West Indian sugar industry for the
past two and a half centuries. It is the philosophy of
colonialism... I

(From 'Economic Problems of Trinidad and Tobago' by
Eric Williams published July 19, 1955)

the anchor of the Caribbean's
dependence on the metropole.
Tapia believes that a permanent
solution to sugar is a radical one.
And two days before the "sugar
team's" arrival back home we
outlined it to the people of Princes
Town and to the nation in a public
These are the proposals for the
"New World" solution:
THE SUGAR crisis in the West Indies is a
permanent crisis. The industry is the
oldest infant industry in the world; it
refuses to grow up and stand on its own
feet. It continues to live by favours and
preferences and bounties. It keeps
hanging on to mother's apron. As a result
the future of over 100,000 people in this
country (and of many more still in the
West Indian nation continues to jump up
in steelband.
The deal which we have .just made
with the British and the European
Economic Community is yet another
attempt to side-step the issue. We have
simply swept the problem under the
carpet by once more settling for a
precarious hold on a market that is
slipping relentlessly away from us. We
now have another vague commitment
from Britain and Europe that our interest
is going to be protected, but we have
specified nothing about how .the new
arrangements are going to make our
agriculture viable in the long run. It is
business as usual ...... bad business. That
is why Tate & Lyle have been buying into
the European beet industry.
The real solution lies in localisation
and rationalisation of sugar. We have to
cut the navel string with Tate & Lyle so
that we can devise new forms of
organisation within which a large class of
small, independent farmers and rural
artisans can use their wits to make real
money. We have to be free to escape both

* Patterns of shareholding in
agro-industry so that the gains from
higher agricultural prices will
benefit all sections of the
and An abandonment of gangster
unionism in sugar so that the voice
of the workers can be heard in the
corridors where decisions are made.
Localisation of sugar in Trinidad &
Tobago is likely to mean that we will
gradually phase out about half of our
current sugar production and redirect our
energies towards the production of food
and materials.
We now import pretty nearly $100m.
worth of food and materials including -:


Dairy Products
Feeding stuffs



It is time to get busy and reorganise.
At home, this means fuller popular
participation through -:
* Constitutional reform New Politics.
On the international plane, it means:
a broadening of Carifta to
embrace rationalization of the staple
crop in all the islands including Cuba;
an international sugar agreement
that fixes the problem of marketing
within a perspective of rationalisation
and localisation.


Nam e: ...............................................
Address: ............. ..... ............... ..........

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i Sport

ading Drumming

Art including Posters Writing (drawing) for TAPIA.

I hereby subscribe to the rules of the TAPIA HOUSE GROUP and
enclose $1.00 as my membership fee.
Rules on request from the Tapia House.

Signed: .......................... Date: ...............

Printed by Vanguard Publishing Co., San Fernando for TAPIA HOUSE Publishing Co. Ltd., Tunapuna.

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