Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072147/00020
 Material Information
Title: Tapia
Physical Description: no. : illus. ; 43 cm.
Language: English
Publisher: Tapia House Pub. Co.
Place of Publication: Tunapuna
Creation Date: August 15, 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: UF00072147:00020

Full Text

TAPIA NO. 19 Sunday, August 15, 1971


I WENT to the Chaguaramas
Conference with an open mind,
ignoring all those people, bigots I
considered them, who ordered
boycotts and stayouts. Now I am
still recovering from having been
cooped up for days with a
convergence of bigots.
I pray that it was the "boycott"
that left us with a conference of
representatives who cheered for seconds
when a parent scolded the student
delegates for expressing their criticisms
in a manner which displeased him: "We
are bending our backs to let you
participate in this conference; it is not
because we give you an inch that you
will take a mile!" A conference which
disintegrated into giggling, talking,
shifting about in their seats when an
intrepid Indian Trinidadian thought fit
to preface his contribution with a
prayer of his religion.

Intrepid he was because the
Conference was conducted firmly under
the aegis of Christendom which is not
to say Christianity; the grand majority
of those who, when the various
Christian clergy prayed on our behalf,
bowed their heads and made their signs
of the Cross and then later displayed
gross disrespect and bad manners when
the Indian also said his prayers, were
registering their allegiance to more than

In the Tapia House on July 24, a
large crowd witnessed an authentic
display of African cloths, dress and
hairstyles put on jointly by the
African Studies Association of the
West Indies and Tapia.
Draped on the wooden beams of
the Tapia House and on the bodies of
ASAWI women was a variety of
original cloths and garments
.. creating the haunting presence of
the African past.
And that indeed was the purpose of
the display. It was not a fashion show
with a touch of exotica. It was a

FOp T f NS'rlTLUTE V7 -13 -71
26.2 MAN



a religion.
Nothing very revolutionary will
come out of the Conference. Those who
went away happy were.satisfied that we
had all let off our steam, harmlessly,
and were going back out to a world that
would remain its old familiar self, thank
God. Revolution had been kept out of
school. The God of Civilization would
continue to keep our children in check.


What one newspaper called a
"religious controversy" could hardly be
called that controversy implies
debate, contestation. What we'heard at
Chaguaramas was a foregone conclusion
which remained largely unshaken by a
few voices of dissent., Chaguaramas
exemplified an aspect of the established
order in the country as a whole.
Officially, the society still recognizes
only the norms of the white Western
"Christian" world, that is, the norms
overlaid on the society by its colonizers.
Those who do not necessarily subscribe

deliberate attempt to explore the past
of African peoples in the New World,
to ensure that the cultural renaissance
now taking place will draw sustenance
from real roots.
In the picture above Carol Warner
moves down the middle passage of the
Tapia House with appropriate poise
and balance a study in elemental
beauty. As Pearl Springer suggests -
and Carol Warner demonstrates it is
likely that folds and wraps are more
suited to the figure of the African
woman than some Euro-American
clothes. Carol Warner also wraps beads

in to to, that is, at least 40 percent of
the society at a modest estimate are
here on sufferance, or at best
occasional, condescending recognition.
The Conference applauded with a
kind of nervous relief every time a
delegate (and they were numerous) got
up and ranted that our children were to
be taught more religion so that they
would be better behaved. No one was
shocked when one lady demanded that
Christian ideals be taught in our schools.
Then we had the- irate parent who
upbraided us all for being so cheeky as
to go ahead with our conference
without asking God's permission.


So the next day we started with a
prayer. The Catholic Church was called
upon to intercede for us all. When
leaning over backwards do so in safety.
Lean over for the straight-wigged,
corseted Madams who demand that our
children's upstartedness be countered
with Christianity, that revolution be

and earrings without which the
African woman is never completely
The Tp"ia House is becoming a
focal point of cultural activity. Plans
,s -ovw afoot to establish at the
Houad a permanent calypso-jazz
workshop with sessions taking place
on 'Sunday mornings. Already
musicians like Clive Alexander,
Lancelot Layne, Andre Tanker and
others have begun rehearsals at the
More pictures of the African
clothes display on pages 4 and f;.

staved off with Religious Instruction.
Throw our doors open to the epidemic'
of preacLing businessmen from the
North welcome the evangelists, let
their tents sprout all over the
countryside, lt the people pour into
them to sing hymns of resignation and
patient suffering here on earth, and the
evangelists escape with their purses
heavy with collections from poor
people, for the evangelists serve the
country well.


I was greeted by cheupses (and
subsequently got called some medieval
bad-names like "godless", "agnostic",
"anti- religion") when I suggested to the
Conference that it was nothing short of
insulting in a society like ours to assume
on everybody's behalf that Religion
(and Morality and Ethics and Spiritual
Values) meant Christianity. At lunch
time I happened to sit near two student
delegates who were Hindu. The day's
fare was beef and one of them had been
shy to approach the catering staff; he
had resigned himself to eating plain rice,
until his friend, who was more
courageous, went and asked that they
be. given something else to eat. Courage
it takes, for even if your great
grandfather was a Trinidadian,
admitting too openly that you do not
subscribe to what passes for the official
ethos of the society is placing yourself
beyond the-pale.' .....


The atmosphere of the Conference
should have been one of excitement, the
air should have been thrillingly electric
with our sense of being about to change
the course of the country's history. The
calling of the Conference, I had
thought, presupposed the recognition
that our educational system was
unsatisfactory and needed to be
changed fundamentally.
Did we need a four-day Conference
of hundreds of delegates faced by the
entire Cabinet for our Ministry of
Education to discover that our school
toilets are sordid, and to take the
necessary action? There are tons of
paper on the subject letters from
principals piling up in the Ministry
over the years.


What we had was an atmosphere of
contained revolt, our very aware and
articulate youth heavily flanked by their
mostly conservative elders; an assembly
that jovially applauded speakers who
voiced strong protests against the
system or put forward proposals for
radical change, applauded them because
it was all so safe and under control; in
such a setting the maniacs were not
dangerous; their talk was so much hot
air, nothing would tome of it. Nothing
of it would get past the Regiment guard
at the gate with the American G.I.


So the Conference went away
calling itself a success. It had ruled out
forever the likelihood of any more
Woodbrooks occurring in Trinidad and
Tobago, by briefly condescending to the
youth fatuously applauding
everything they said and by giving
everybody, agnostics, maniacs and all, a
chance to air their views in a situation
where their views could do no real harm
to the system. The Conference had
forestalled revolution by staging a
revolution in a teacup. All in the Name
of the Father, the Son, the :Doctor,

Page 2 TAPIA NO. 19 Sunday, August 15, 1971



THE NATIONAL Conference on secondary education held at
Chaguaramas from July 26 to 29 had hardly ended before its convenor
and president announced that it had been a success.Hecould not have
waited to-allow either the participants orthe publicto assess the meeting.
Someone might have sAdi otherwise.
Yet -the-conference was an
important one: For one thing it has BRINSLEYSAMAROO
assisted the revolution by definingAin
still greater clarity the considerable gap
between many parents and a few the Teachers' section of the Public
principals who praised Williams' Service Association and the National
"statesmanship" and called for larger Youth Congress both of whom called on
doses of Christianity as an antidote to the government to hold a..conference.
revolution, and the majority of the The call from the teachers was
students who put the blame where it published on June 8 and four days later
should be on the government and a grateful government announced that
who clamoured boldly for things like at a special meeting Cabinet dad decided
the teaching of African and Indian to call the conference to consider the
history and culture in our secondary "current problems in secondary
schools. The conference was also schools. But even after it had been told
valuable in that it showed from the start what to do the government could not
to the finish of the schools' crisis the but bungle. Koonj Ramadhar, an
incredible bungling of an administration experienced teacher from the South,
that has become hopelessly out 9f touch wrote in the Express of Friday, July,
with what is happening in the country. 23:
On can't heln feeling too that the


The secondary schools' crisis came
to a pitch in June this year after the
students at Woodbrook Secondary
revolted against a syllabus that was
geared at producing Afro-Saxons, and
Indo-Saxons against the lack of toilet and
recreational facilities in the school and
against the lack of seriousness that
characterized the work of a number of
staff members. Ignorant of the fact that
what was happening at Woodbrook was
part. of a national .protest by secondary
school students, the Ministry of
Education acted with great indecision.
Not knowing whether to place blame on
the students or on the Principal, they
decided to blame both. And so they
suspended 46 students and arrested
three of them; they also removed the
Principal Talbot Paul.' Still unable to
read the message of what was
happening, the Ministry then claimed
there had been "infiltration".

But the appointment of Donovan
Palmer and the punishment of the
students did little to calm the turmoil.
Students, in secondary schools all over
Trinidad'and especially in the north
began forming their own revolutionary
groups in their various schools and
published news-sheets that were often
well informed, sometimes emotional.
Within a few weeks these students
banded together to form the Northern
Organization of Revolutionary Students
(NORS) and a surprisingly large number
of students joined. All the while the
Ministry was in a dither. One highly
placed official even tried to dismiss
what was happening as a prank in which
only a minority of students in a few
secondary schools was involved.
What really saved a department of
government that had become powerless
in a crisis was the direction provided by





proposed Seminar at Chaguaramas has been
a bit hastily planned and hastily conceived.
It has come too suddenly on us at a time
when there is so much to be done. 'Also,
there is an air of uncertainty about so many
facets of the Seminar.
The question of procedure comes up.
How is it being organised and what
arrangements are being made for delegates
from faraway places such as Palo Seco and
Point Fortin? Can these people travel every
morning and night to and back from
Chaguaramas and still be able to make
contributions consistent with their
What about the teachers! Today, they
are in the midst of correcting examination
papers and busily filling in reports, etc.
When would they get the time to reflect
meaningfully on the numerous items on the
This conference promises to be a
landmark in the history of education in our
country, yet the time allotted for
preparation for it has been inadequate.
Minority opinion and concerned people's
views will be absent from it.
The document prepared by the
Ministry of Education and circulated as
a basis for discussion underlines the
19th century educational planning that
we have. In a nation where there is so
much specific discussion of the need for
making education relevant to the
particular needs of Trinidad and
Tobago, this document was a collection
of very broad generalizations that could
apply as well to a student in Greenland
or to one in Australia. In the very first
paper entitled The Aims of Education
we are given such new-found gems of
wisdom like What qualities of mind and
character enable people to play effective
roles in our changing society? Could this
section not have dealt with the special
educational problems which colonialism
left which could have been the basis for
charting new directions of
In the section called Physical
problems no mention is made of the
inhuman over-crowding that takes place
in some of our private secondary

Royal Crown


bottled by




schools but we are all reminded in case
we didn't know, that Building and
maintenance work is carried out by the
Ministry of Works and private
contractors. And in the section that
dealt with The school as a society.
Those who think that life is all a
pleasant road are warned that There will
always be stresses and strains and great
problems will always arise, but in the
long run the truemeasure of the success
of a school is the extent to which it is a
healthy, happy society. On each of
these items Tapia has been speaking and
writing lengthily, so has the N.J.A.C.,
and the staff of the Institute of
Education have also noot been silent.
Yet, none of these groups was invited,
even as observers. Democracy at work!
Dialogue for sol

Those who took part in the
-conference and gave valuable
suggestions must not expect any
effective follow up of their ideas. They
must understand the politics of the
thing. In this year of National Dialogue
every device is being used by a minority
government to keep the people's
attention diverted from the real
problems of the nation; namely, chronic
unemployment and the consequent rise
in larceny, a spiralling cost of living,
large scale corruption, labour unrest and
a demoralised Civil Service. And so
participants must understand that this
was no more than an exercise and that
their presence gave validity to the
performance. This is why Williams

called it a success. Once more he has
succeeded in bamboozling the nation
... or so he thinks.
Even if the government, worried by
its unpopularity, decides to try to
implement some of the suggestions,
what guarantee is there that the
Ministries of Education and Works
would respond efficiently? Theirs has
been a record of inefficiency and
incompetence amounting to total
disinterest which has put the education
system in its present state.
Finally, for those who are still
hopeful that the various committees'
reports will be given attention, it would
be useful to point out the fate of former
committees. The Chaguaramas con-
ference set up a committee to review
school textbooks but Peter Hoadley
pointed out a tew days afterwards that
such a committee had in fact been set
up "some three years ago" but that he
understood that the committee never
met after the first meeting. We must also
bear in mind-the government's refusal
to make public reports that are allegedly
critical of it, like the Schoon report
or the findings of the Review Tribunal
or the Defence Force Report. We all
know too well also the government's
reputation for appointing committees
and never bothering with their reports -
witness the Sinanan report on local
government, the Lewis report on the
Civil Service or indeed the Maurice
Report on education.


TAPIA NO. 19 Sunday, August 15, 1971 Page 3

OPPOSITION UNITY has for years been a constant
preoccupation of those who want to see the PNM
removed. And the continued non-attainment of this
unity has been equally a source of lingering frustration.
Yet the dream remains alive though nowhere near
fulfilment even today. The hope that one day all the
fragments of opposition will join up and slay the PNM
giant has time and again been reanimated only to suffer
a subsequent, crashing relapse into disillusion.
Louder than ever was the cry for unity at all cost in
the months preceding the last elections, if only because
there was a real chance for a PNM defeat. And when the
curtain fell on the Empire Day theatrics the cry for
unity assumed even greater urgency. It didn't seem to
matter that the going thing the ACDC/DLP coalition -
was already cracking up, and that it subsequently
Nevertheless, it is believed that the PNM can only be
removed by due process when all the forces or at least
the majority of them unite. Those who hold that view
go on to assert that the present opposition disunity is
the PNM's insurance policy for a continuing monopoly
of state power. The opposition forces, once they remain
divided, are simply cutting each other's throats. so the
argument goes.
Now there is a lot of good sense in the call for unity.
Large numbers of people are articulating a long felt need
in the way they know, in the way the political culture
has conditioned them to articulate it. They are genuinely
convinced that unity is necessary. But we must be
careful not to miscue, as so many have done with
disastrous consequences. For what was lacking was not
sincerity of purpose.

We must ask ourselves why, in spite
of that, and in spite of the obvious value
of unity, all efforts to achieve this
among both conventional and
unconventional forces have failed. With
each failure has come a further blight on
the prospects for future unity, so that
the goal now appears more remote than
ever..before. Meantime, a moribund
PNM monolith still predominates.
-One, peculiarity common to every
initiative for unity so far has been an
inordinate reluctance not to rock the
boat which shows in an over-sensitivity
to criticism. When things seem to be
going well, anyone who is critical of the
kind of unity being attempted is
branded a traitor to the cause. Between
February and April last year, for
example, when the NJAC star was in the
ascendancy, Tapia's criticisms of the
way the movement was proceeding drew
the resentment and even the lasting
hostility of certain radicals. Similarly
with the ACDC/DLP alliance. For
decrying the "in thing" of the moment
as the gigantic hoax it was, I won the
undying hostility of many. But to
refrain from making honest criticisms
of movements on the ground of not
rocking the boat is morally degenerate,
expediency at the price of principle and
a most damnable abdication of


When 1 attacked the ACDC/DLP
thing it was not out of malice. It was
because I realized from early that it
lacked a solid base, that it would
collapse under stress and would so
disillusion well-intentioned people that
future attempts at unity would be
jeopardised. Too many are over-eager to
attribute validity to so-called
movements simply on the strength of'
declarations made by their initiators.
But we in Tapia can never countenance'
suspending judgment or not speaking
our minds to support a unity that must
be short-lived.
Overnight coalitions, shotgun
marriages, first love jingo, call it what
you' will. ..just can't make. The
excitement and bliss of a honeymoon


* *


do not create enough momentum to
guide a marriage through the thick and
thin of living after the honeymoon. For
a marriage to last it needs a solid
foundation. So too with politics and
political alliance. This is what Best was
saying in Chaguaramas To Slavery.
"However much the PNM may have
degenerated since 1960, it has without
question raised the level of politics
throughout the Southern and Eastern
Caribbean. It has set prohibitive
standards for any hastily conceived,
-overnight coalition, however well
.motivated, whatever its programme, by
whoever led."
Within two years the WFP fiasco
proved the point. The ACDC/DLP
calamity of this year was even more
telling proof. Some have said that
"personality" is at the root of the
disunity among the opposition forces.
But our understanding ought to be
clearer than the simple-minded punditry
served up in the daily press. It is not
that there is no "personality" element
involved. There is and there must be, as
in all human situations. The personality
conflict is therefore incidental, not
Quite recently, Millette -attempted
to resurrect this issue in a
characteristically unsubtle way when he
said he was quite willing to give up his
position of leadership in the interest of
unity and the nation. Millette's sudden
spasm of selflessness really cuts no ice.
It was the same position he took at the
New World Convention (early.1969) in
his Chairman's Report when he said he
was willing to give up the Chairmanship
of the Group to Best..But this was not
the issue at stake.
Nonetheless the New World "split"
of 1968 has often been interpreted as a








Best-Millette conflict, a clash of
personalities. But personality, as far as I
know, was involved only in so far as the
two men represented fundamentally
different points of view which have
come since to be crystallized as
conventional versus unconventional,
politics. That is to say, Millette
advocated a now-for-now party with the
immediate aim of winning political
office; Best argued for the organic
development of community
organisation and leadership as the basis
for a genuine, mass, radical party. If the
press was looking for bacchanal, the
personality interpretation suited its
purposes; and it was facilitated by
certain figures involved in the conflict.
As long, however, as we continue to
interpret genuine differences in terms of
personality conflict we will be
perpetuating disunity by obscuring the
real issues which either divide or bind.
If there is one fundamental reason
why none of the attempts at unity -
both real and phony has succeeded it
is that we have not yet settled down to

the task of working out a solid base for
genuine political unity. And until we
begin to do precisely that, we will get.
nowhere. But it demands a lot of trust
which I am afraid is so lacking now.
The clear definition of issues is the
first and vital step towards unity. This is
why the Constituent Assembly is so
important, for in it men will identify
themselves. Let us take some examples:
Are we for change or are we not
for change?f
If we are for change, what type of
change are we for ... ? Are we simply
interested in changing the present
government or are we interested in
changing the entire system which makes
the present government's inquities
If the objective of unity is only to
defeat the PNM important as that
obviously is its foundations will be
liable to collapse at any time. It is in the
process of overall change that the PNM
will be defeated. By simply exchanging
one elite for an other all we do is
strengthen the base of conventional
politics and make geunine change longer
in coming, harder to achieve.

If we are for change, where do we
stand on constitutional reform, on
economic reorganisation in its deepest
and widest sense. Where do we stand on
education reform, on foreign relations,
on race and so on?
It is only when these issues are
frankly and openly discussed that the
beginnings of any lasting unity will
come into being, when the basis of
politics here is transfromed from race
and personality into issues and ideas.
When such a discussion comes about is
not unlikely that some who are in
opposition now will swing to the PNM
since they woild find themselves
basically agreed on fundamentals and
committed to conventional politics. At
the same time there is likely to be a
parallel movement from the PNM camp
to the new politics.
At that point will be ready to found
a real radical party to initiate
fundamental change and make the new
society in which people of all classes
and races can live a dignified existence.
But the creation-of this radical
instrument will take more than a day, a
week,or a month. It would take years,
unless we settled down, as Tapia has
been doing, to the hard and patient
work involved. There, is no other way.













15 Henry St. P.O.S.

Page 4 TAPIA NO. 19 Sunday, August 15, 1971





The Finest In

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PHONE 65-84797.

Located in Marabella Next Door to Imperials.


The history of o


A GRATIFYING amount of interest ha!
been aroused by the recent
lecture/demonstration of African hail
styles, clothes and cloths put on at the
It would, however, be wrong tc
view what happened merely as a fashion
show with a touch of exotica; or the
advocating of a "Back to Africa"
movement, as has been suggested in
some quarters.
In the identity search that people of
African origin are experiencing, there
must be an effort to gain knowledge of
things authentically African and to
define our own connections with Africa;
(it is no coincidence that the hair-styles
displayed were West African in origin)
this would make us less susceptible to
versions of "Africanness" presented by
the American mass media for example
the "Afro". Syncretization after a gap
of almost 500 years is inevitable, but it
should be in the form of adjustments to
the needs of the new society we are
Each race has, over centuries,
perfected ways of highlighting its
particular forms of beauty and clothes
which suit climate and flatter form.
These we would like to see our women
adopt. The fact that so much scorn is
heaped on the "picky head" child canI


Starflakes fall
in the rosy midnight cup
as lovers meet to kiss
their cordial.
Oceans of bliss
roll on the littoral
as surges.break and hiss,
and the moon's needles
weave patterns in froth.

Moments of dappled wing
caught in the flight
of rainbow-colour'd hours
that flap and fold.
Be this delight
the deathbird that devours
I'd press my fingers
on the fluffy frizzle,
and with a slop and swizzle
would sing like a cock
on the rock gushing my shrill
song through the breaking day

Upon this slender snapping rod
I'd hinge my wonder world,
feeling the meteoric blood
burn through iny cinder flesi an./ ether soul.
I would suspend upon the weightless feather
that sizzles in the wind,
a willow-the-wisp in the weather,
a curdy peel whose pores exude the rind.

If, after midnight when the air is cool,
and millions of bulbs in the ceiling sky
shine on the chrome of the cutlery grass.
If through tile lattice of clustered leaves
the moonlight dance on the silken slip
that swishes t1J shade with the ball-bearing
swing ofr vweetlime wood in the peeling wind,
with the grooving love and the criss-cross pose,
and flashing knee and the lancing thigh,
know that I hold in my trembling hands,
goblets of song, celestial globes.


TAPIA NO. 19 Sunday, August 15, 1971. Page 5

ir peoples

directly be related to the fact that we
ape hair styles unsuited to our hair; and
one suspects the more that bodies of
our women folk would better adjust to
wraps and folds than to the minis. This
is not to say that Euro-American styles
should not be used where found
suitable. In fact, an examination of
these might reveal how much was
borrowed from other peoples and
adapted for use.
There have been many requests for
repeats of the show. If what has been
displayed can be popularized it will be
well worth the effort.


Grounding with the

IN HIS Chairman's Report To Tapia
Members' Seminar of July 25 Ivan
Laughlin described the intensified
programme of groundings being carried
out in different districts. Through, this
programme, directed by Community
Relations Secretary Syl Lowhar, Tapia
has established connections with
community groups in the following
areas: San Fernando, Mon Repos in
Morvant, La Seiva Village in Maracas
Valley, Sangre Grande, Diamond Vale
and Covigne Road in Diego Martin,
Waterhole, Champs Fleurs, Success
Village and several districts in the
Tunapuna area. In addition, we have
maintained a relationship with the
Northern Organisation of Revolutionary
Students based in Basilon Street, East
Dry River.
Since the temporary cessation of
public meetings, through which many
valuable contacts were made, this side
of Tapia's activities has received a
further impetus. All Tapia members are
involved, .working either through the
co-ordinated programme designed to
service our connections in a systematic
way, or on their own initiative in their
Community relations work
variously takes the form of house
meetings which have been proceeding
apace, block discussion sessions; joint
activities, including assistance in starting
self-help and self-education schemes.
Members have met continual requests to
discuss the Tapia position especially in
relation to proposals for local
government and decentralisation.
Otherwise, discussions in house
meetings ahd on the blocks have centred
on the strategy for revolutionary
change, raising questions of the
relevance of armed struggle in the

Trinidad context; the race question; and
the common local problems of
unemployment, health and sport
facilities, transport, police brutality etc..
Now the Tapia House is coming
into its own as a major instrument in
our Community Relations. The House
has become a sort of unofficial
community centre for the Tunapuna
area. Its facilities are in demand by
community groups for use as a meeting
place and for the holding of social
occasions. Saturday afternoons the
Blackpool Women's Club of Tunapuna
Road hold their meetings. Recently a
large crowd turned out to see a display
of African cloths and hairstyles put on
jointly by Tapia and ASAWI.
The possibilities of the unusual
setting of the Tapia House and its
Moonlight Theatre are being
increasingly appreciated as evidenced by
continuing requests for the production
of dramatic and other artistic
presentations. The Tapia Arts
Committee has drawn Up a long-term
programme" of dramatic and other
representations, but plans have been
held up because of a shortage of actors.
At the end of this month Slade
Hopkinson's "The Rose Slip" will have
a two-night run at the Moonlight
Theatre, and it is expected later to put
on Derek Walcott's "Ti Jean and His
Recent and projected activities
have served to push plans for the
development of the facilities of the
Tapia House. Soon the new entrance on
St. Vincent Street will be opened, and it
is hoped before long to complete
sewerage and electrical installations. The
aim we have, of course, is to develop the
centre or "parlour" as we called it in
Tapia No. 15 -" a lived-in place, rooted
in the folk culture, and equally suitable
for use as a theatre or a restaurant, a
dance hall or a clubroom..."


at 8.00 pm

Rain-Shine-Emergency-Without Fail




S....... the review of the new politics

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Page 6 TAPIA NO. 19 Sunday, August 15, 1971



THERE ARE few leaders in
Trinidad and Tobago who will'
quarrel with the goal of,
Afro-Indian solidarity. Every)
group or political party of any.
importance except, perhaps,, the-
African National Congress ,lnd
The Democratic Liberation Party
- subscribes, at least in public
utterance, to the 6bjectr.if.,
some measure of collaboration:
among Negroes and Indials.
Not everyone might share this view.
Some believe that by perpetuating the
division between the two major groups
in the society a Government can prevent
a united "working class" response to its
policies. This might be true, especially
during periods of electoral contest, as in
1956, 1961 and to a lesser extent in'
1966 and 1971. But the tasks of-
government begin where elections end;'
and some of them unemployment,
health and economic policy generally,
for instance are only amenable to
treatment on a national scale.


Afro-Indian solidarity
unfortunately has so far a better record
of aspiration than of achievement'. It is:
not because of a lack of exertion on the
part of leaders. The early years of this
century witnessed impressive efforts in
this direction, the most notable being
The Trinidad Labour Party under the
leadership.of Cipriani. Cipriani was able,
to carry with him some of the more,
prominent East Indians like Roodal
and C.B. Mathura because the T.L.P.
was a Trade Union first and a political
movement after. Nor was this all. There:
was hardly a question of a struggle for.
political power since we were a colony.
The introduction of universal adult
suffrage in 1946 for the first time:


brought the country face to face with
the implications of Afro-Indian rivalry.
The United Front, one of the major
parties to contest the elections, and its
outstanding theoreticians Gomes,
Solomon and Kelshall stressed the
ideology of "class" over "race"; while
Butler proposed a multi-racial leadership
at the top 4 Negroes and 4 East
Indians with himself as head of the
Government. Both attempts failed but
for different reasons.


The United Front, in the mind of
East Indians at least, became identified
with the negritude of Dr. Pitt and the
W.I.N.P.; whereas Butler was rejected by
the Negro middle-class and failed to
secure the backing of the industrial
proletariat. Ten years were to elapse

before the problem could reappear on
the agenda of political debate.
The People's National Movement in
1956 became identified with
constitutional advance, modernity and
"a new order". There was a heroic
response by the Negro middle-class to
one whom they regarded as a hero. The
P.D.P., on the other hand, was
associated with "dirty pundits",
reaction and backwardness; and both
these developments, in turn, were to
reinforce the stereotypes born of the
plantation. Two nations, paradoxically,
had been born in the surge of
nationalism, and out of this situation
emerged the misunderstanding that has
characterized political relationships
between East Indians and Negroes since
This is why the P.N.M. could not
understand its defeat in the Federal

What do you

get when you

Fall in Love

- '-

--~ ~ ~ --..---.--- -`

- C ,-.,n a~ I. .

elections of 1958; and why also its
political leader should react with the
anger of a disappointed man and brand
the East Indians "a recalcitrant
minority". For the P.N.M. never
understood the East Indians. This is
why Dr. Williams could declare before
1lhe assembled ideologies of negritude in
Rome in 1959 that East Indian temples
were little more than "rallying points
for racialism". This is .not to imply that o.
East Indians were absent either from
Parliament or the Cabinet.- But East
Indians like the Mahabirs and
Mohammeds were very much show
windows advertising the wares of the
P.N.M. rather than articulating East
Indian sentiments.
This was the mood that survived
into the elections of 1961 with its call
to arms, fears of "roti" government,
aggressive marches. Independence was
the crucial issue and the two major
groups. reacted as if the survival of one
or the other was at stake. Like posturing
gladiators the P.N.M. and D.L.P. faced
each other in 1961. Between 1962 and
1966, however, the D.L.P. succeeded in
convincing everyone that it could hardly
govern itself, let alone a country. As the
leader of the D.L.P. Dr. Capildeo
confessed in a talk in London, the
D.L.P. could not win a raffle.


This was the context in.which
second thoughts began to emerge..
After all independence was a. fact;
an "Indian" government was out of the
question; Parliament seemed irrelevant
and Government appeared bent on
going its own way. For- the generation
of 1956 this kind of politics might have
been satisfying enough. But other forces
were emerging. A new generation
spawned partly at the U.W.I. had begun
to revise their traditional roles. Had not
the founders of the U.C.W.I. (University
College of the West Indies) hoped that it
would be the cradle of West Indian
nationhood? Had not the West Indian
middle-class invited the professors to
leave their ivory towers and involve
themselves in the affairs of the
community; and had not the political
leaders of Trinidad in the rhetoric of the
drive to nationhood called for an end to


It is against this background that
the rise and preoccupations of "Black
Power" must be seen. The "Black
Power" movement has been
characterized as lacking programme as
nothing more than protest; that it is the
work of lunatics because we have been,
and presumably will always be, the
Third World's Third World. Views such
as these are pardonable from an artist
and understandable from someone who
has virtually written off the West Indies.
For every political movement must have
its battle-cry, its mythology and its
phantom enemies. Have not the
theoreticians of the "Black Power"
movement made criticisms and analyses
which find echo in the works of
Naipaul, Demas and Dr. Williams
himself? Who are the inveterate critics
of "mimic men" and "mimic societies"?
It is in their approach to the
integration of the East Indians,
however, that the Black Power
movement has made its most
conspicuous debut. Previous nationalists
had confined their attentions to the
towns and middle-class East Indians
with whom they had so much in
common. Not so the exponents of Black
Power in 1970. In identifying Caroni as
their target, they attempted to strike at
the heart of the historical legacy of
Trinidad of slavery and indentureship.


To many the march on Caroni
seemed a mere gesture an
afterthought that came too late. Yet it
was bound to be so. For the initial
impetus to the emergence of the Black
Power movement was external and
"African", born out of an experience
that is not easily convertible into the
Trinidadian situation. Like the
ideologies of a former generation little
account was taken of the particularity
of the East Indian as a social grouping,



1 -.7 '


~- -~.-Bk

- T..........APTA NO. 19 Sunday, August 15, 1971. Page 7

whose peculiar problems it wasbelieved,
would evaporate in the concept of
"blackness". And so followed the now
familiar pageantry of negritude the
Dashikis, the poetry readings and the
occasional retreats into African history.
The Indian was unimpressed and some
replied with a desperate search for
"oriental" culture., Negritude, in short,
had given birth to coolietude.
Like Fanon and Seale the
champions of Black Power were quick
to see the limitations of negritude; for in
its New-World version, at least, it was
capable of, and in fact, becoming, the
ideology of the colonial middle-class.
One has only to consider the
phenomena of state-sponsored
"Panthers", "people's culture", and the
performances of Makeba and Jackson to
appreciate the potential of negritude.
It is not that I am hostile to
attempts to "discover" a culture
relevant either to the West Indies or
Trinidad. In a country, like Trinidad
with East Indians 'and Negroes
comprising approximately 38 percent and
42 percent of the population respec-
tively a culture has to evolve. It cannot
be imposed. Nor is this to deny some
liberating function to culture; but it
must accompany, not replace, the pri-
macy of the economic question.

For what is being advanced is the
argument that priorities must be set
right; that a unified movement in
Trinidad could hardly emerge from the
womb of culture, and: thit the best
prospect of Afro-Indian solidarity rests
with a programme firmly anchored on
concrete economic issues. Economics,
however, is not a magic wand. There can
be differences over the role of sugar in
the economy and of the mainly Indian
labourers on them. But it is on this
front that the battle must be fought.
For if history has anything to teach, it is
that the closest partnership between
Indians. and Negroes has come with an
emphasis on economic issues.
An emphasis such.as this is not
vulgar .materialism which implies a
sweeping away of cultural questions and
an end to ideology. There would always
be need for artists, teachers of history
but 'their tasks would be
complementary; for the Negro of
Laventille and the Indian of Caroni
would have little patience with any
programme that does not strike a
responsive chord i.e. .that does not
point the way to employment, housing
and rising, standards of living. To
regurgitate at them the cliches of
liberalism or chant the slogans of
Marxism is to mock their condition.

Those who call for an end to
colonialism must realise that the
problems of Trinidad and Tobago are
sui generis and therefore not necessarily
amenable to strategies devised for
Jamaica or the U.S.A. Emphases on
cultural renaissance, more often than
not, will be divisive since it strengthens
the basic cleavage on which the society,
as we know it, was launched. It is far
more important that a common
programme embracing felt economic
pressures be elaborated than to have an
ideology, however well articulated,
soaring above the heads of those whose
betterment is being sought. Nor can
calls for a constituent assembly, even if
they are heeded, solve the basic problem
of mutual distrust; for as the Queen's
Hall Conference of 1962 demonstrated,
it would end with the domination of the
organizers over the unorganized. Nor
again will both groups, be united by
hasty mergers or issues like voting
machines or the arithmetic of age. They
may in the distant future (1976?) bear
fruit in victory at the polls. But after all,
elections are basically a means of
choosing political leaders; and the
problems posed by the need for unity
and partnership will arise once more.
Only when a Robinson can appeal on
his own merit to a constituency with a
majority of East Indians; and when a
Jamadar can speak to a Laventille
constituency without fear of being
called names could we claim to be on
the road to nationhood.

The Law And You

Legal Advice -A Tapia Service
Q. I recently agreed to sell my house about t
and the purchaser deposited it. The
$3,000.00 with my solicitor on impossi
S the purchase price. I have agreed out in t
to vacate the house in October. To
whom does the interest on the A. You ca
money deposited belong? for an
A. It depends bn the manner in excessive
which the deposit is paid i.e. in not eve
what capacity your solicitor was of smol
paid the money. If it is paid to a nuisa
him as a "stakeholder", you are up with
not entitled to any interest; your sort of
solicitor would be, since the have to
stakeholder is entitled to earn amoun
what he can with the money; in consider
practice, he won't be able to make strain
much use since he is bound to proceed
hand it over at a moment's notice. while:
If however, the money is paid to to pu
your solicitor as agent for the proceed
vender i.e. as your agent, you are the only
entitled to use it as you think fit.
Q. I pay
Q. My neighbour keeps lighting fires owner I
to burn dry leaves, rubbish etc. I on 31sl
have protested to her several times has nov
notice t

Radical forces A. No.Yo
come together give six
Th R in Decembe
,IM received i
We may,;
THE Movement for Puerto Rican a proper
Independence (MPI) and the Puerto on you,
Rican Independence Party (PIP) are to protected
hold a joint march in San Juan, the eviction.
capital of the island "Commonwealth"
in Associate Statehood with the USA,
on September 12, 1971. Leaders of the
two chief "independista" organizations
in the island are hoping that this will be
the biggest ever protest march of radical
forces. The protest is against a meeting
of US State Governors which is to be
held in Puerto Rico.
As the independence movement in
the island gains in strength, there is
increasing popular pressure for the
radical forces to get together. The MPI
has been the super-militant wing of the
movement, advocating only the most
direct methods of struggle.
Claridad,weekly organ of the MPI,
is to appear twice weekly from January
1972. In 12 years this "independista"
paper has developed from a
mimeographed weekly with a
circulation of 250 to a political
opinion-maker selling 40,000 copies
wherever there are Puerto Ricans at
home and abroad.

TAPIA Pamphlets

Nos. 4 & 5



Gov't and

Politics in the

West Indies


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on whether your land is building
land or agricultural land your
landlord would-have to go either
to court or to an agricultural
tribunal to put you out. There are,
however, special circumstances
which may make the land exempt
from these restrictions on the
landlord's right to possession of
Q. I have allowed my brother to live
in a house I own. He pays no rent.
NoW we have fallen out because of
his unreasonable behaviour and I
want to have the house back.
What is the procedure?
A. Th only thing to do is to make it
clear to him that his licence (i.e.
permission) to occupy the house is
at an end. (It is desirable to do
thiS by a letter to him, keeping a
copy of the letter, but it is not
necessary). Then go to court for
an order for possession.
No legal responsibility can be accepted
by the Tapia House Publishing Co. for
any answer given in response to
readers[ queries, whether such answers
are published or not. No charge of any
kind is made for this service. You may
send your questions by post to The
Editor, Tapia House, 91 Tunapuna
Road, Tunapuna.






Page 8 TAPrA NO. 19 Sunday, August 15, 1971

"One Community''

y1e NEewoemen


,iA U u L A" "a,

ONE DAY last month Aldwyn Francis, President of the Vigilantes,
was dismissed fromhis job as Works Inspector of the projects in the
Success Village area. Within hours the news had spread through the
large, sprawling district and angry Laventillians, spearheaded by the
Vigilantes, staged a "project go-
slow" ornthe following day.
Initially,-..the issue was simply
Francis' reinstatement. But as the
protest gathered momentum there was
heated discussion on the many aspects
of the Better-Village Programme that
are causing concern to the community.
Among them: the gradual reduction of lria
the labour force oi the projects, the
importation of "outsiders" to do the -
jobs that Laventillians so desperately i '
need and the corruption that is inherent
in government programmes of the.type.

Two: public meetings were held.
One on the afternoon of the go-slow
and the other on the same night. Both
were well attended primarily because.
the issue of Francis' getting fired is an
emotional one in the area. In addition,
many young people in the district saw
in the.meetings an opportunity to voice
their fears about the rumoured
slow-dowii anid eventual shut-down 'of
the project work.
Inevitably, the meetings 'veered
from: the. Francis issue since, every
speaker who came to thie mike used the
opportunity to hammer the
long-standing unconcern and indeed
contempt that the Government has
always had for Laventille. To make the
situation even more explosive, Francis
has long been regarded as a PNM
stalwart. Thus his dismissal, in the
context of the political nature of the
entire programme, was seen as the final
embarrassment in the long list of
embarrassments that his stewardship for
the PNM in Success Village has been. A
stewardship, incidentally, that he has
carried on virtually alone in his
fashion filling the slack created by the
perennial absence of Parliamentary

There.-are several interesting aspects
to the Francis affair. In the first place, it
was a revelation to hear villagers argue
that Francis as a PNM stalwart was
beyond firing. As indeed he was since
the system of appointment at Francis'
level is based on political patronage. It
was useless to argue that he was not
doing a good job since doing a good job
is not the criterion for retention on the
projects as anybody can see by
merely looking around, or if he wants
even more proof, by questioning the
foremen and supervisors about their
knowledge of road building or even
canal-cleaning. The point was, therefore,
that there were other PNM stalwarts
doing worse jobs than Francis (and that
is going to be the next project scandal
because too many people are being
allowed to get away with murder with
public funds) so why pick on Francis?
The attitude of the people of
Success Village was a revelation again.


They felt that Francis was dismissed
because he had outlived his usefulness
to the PNM. He certainly was not able
to deal with the scepticism in the area.
Indeed the people marvel that he can
still be a PNMite after! all that he has
been through. No matter,.there's not a
single person in the area who has any
doubt about Francis' sincerity to the
Laventille cause and, that, in the final
analysis is what saved him.
So you had the ironical situation of
people of varying affiliations in the

community -, Tapia, NJAC and
non-aligned, but militant individuals
fighting to get Francis back into his job
because he was a PNM stalwart the
reasoning being that it was too damn
unfair, 'since Francis was no longer
useful to the PNM through no fault of
his own but through 'the fault of the
Party. as a whole. Lord knows, he had
tried to .get the ears of: the PNM
hierarchy long enough. Today he is a
frustrated 'man. But he hangs on to the
PNM dream refusing to believe the
evidence of his eyes. That Success
Village fought for him is a tribute to the
indefatigable courage of the man he
.actually curses Prime Ministers as well
as being indicative of the immense.
reservoir of love that Laventille has for
the ageing "Franco."
That Success Village stood up for
him is also,..a sign of the growing "one
community" feeling that is pervading
the district and for this credit is due
to the Vigilantes and to NJAC's "black
call" both have had tremendous
influefice in the area.
Fragici claimed that he was fired
because he insisted that two Laventille
women b given jobs earmarked by the
Be t'er; Village authorities for two
"oaitsia is." The authorities in their
turn eldimed that it was no such thing -
the/'.man's job had merely become
redundant. And .quite tactlessly, they
sent him a note saying that he was


'Once, that would have been the end
of that. But now the authorities were
dealing with a new Laventille a fact
that they were quick to grasp. With
Parliamentary appointee Wilton Hinds
running up and down between
Laventille and the Ministry the
capitulation came on the very day of
the protest. Francis made a supervisor -

Puerto Rican 'Independistas'

move ahead

THE FAST growing: movement for
Puerto Rican independence is nowseek-
ing to establish ties with the new move-
ment in the rest of the Caribbean. .
TAPIA Secretary Lloyd Best, who
recently visited the island now under a
form of Associate Statehood with the
United States, reports considerably in-
creased interest among the Puerto Rican
"independistas" in the development of
the movement throughout the region.

While in Puerto Rico Best held dis-
cussions with the leaders of the two
main "independista" organizations, Juan
Mari Bras of the Movement for Puerto
Rican Independence and Ruben Berrios,
leader of the Puerto Rican Independence


Party (PIP), a law lecturer at the Univer-
sity of Puerto Rico.
Best also addressed students of the
university on the "February Revolution
in Trinidad and Tobago" and the Hato
Rey branch'of the Puerto Rico Indepen-
dence Party on the "Caribbean Inde-
pendence Movement."
The Puerto Rican "independistas"
are anxious to learn more of develop-
ments in the rest of the Caribbean and
to make contacts with other organisa-
tions in the new movement. Recently,
"Claridad", organ of the Movement for
Puerto Rican Independence (MPI), sent
one of its editors to Trinidad to report
on happenings in the oil industry here
and the Liberation Day Celebrations of
the OWTU.
The advances of the new movement
in Trinidad and Tobago and in other
parts of the Caribbean have helped to

promotion on his 1ld job. The trouble
ared had been kept quiet.
The point is, however, that the
projects in Laventille as.indeed the
projects everywhere continue to be
crisis-prone. It is more than the fact that
it has its fair share of the national
corruption. And it is more than the fact
that workers on the project have a very
unstable existence. The projects are
cr:isis-prone because the people"
employed there know only too well that
the jobs have been provided merely to
keep them quiet and not out of any real
concern for their condition. It is this
that has made the workers so sensitive -
and ready to explode at any attempt on
the part of the Government to renege
on the promise it made under "Black
'Power" duress.


And, of course, the Government
really cannot decide to reduce the
labour force far less to stop the projects
altogether. After the -February
Revolution the projects were institutad--.
as an ani-s-eto- the demands of the
unemployed many. It was a hopelessly
inadequate answer, of course, but it was
all that the Government, tied to its
15-year-old way of doing things, could
offer. It was the Government's way of
answering NJAC's call for a better way
of life.


As such Laventillians, like the rest
of the people employed on the projects,
do not see it as temporary relief that
can be withdrawn at the whim of
Whitehall. It is a long-term commitment
that the Government unwittingly has
made. For them to renege on that
commitment would be political madness
and the revolution that continues will
gain new impetus. Added furore, since
in addition to the general frustrations
large amounts of young people would
find it increasingly difficult to meet
their bread-butter needs. But, perhaps,
that is exactly what we need at the

raise consciousness in Puerto Rico and
to strengthen the independence move-
ment. Ever since the split in ihe ruling
Puerto Rico Democratic Party resulting
in the 1968 victory of Luis Ferre's
Statehood Party, the country has been
moving into two camps.


In the camp of the old order are the
PDP, for more than 20 years headed by
Munoz Marin, a one time close associate
of Eric Williams, and Ferre's Statehood
Party which advocates full Statehood for
the island within the United States of
Advocating a new order of independ-
ence for Puerto Rico, "Independista"
agitation has drawn establishment te-
action in the form of arrest and im-
prisonment of protesters and moves to
dismiss certain lecturers from the Uni-
versity staff. (See TAPIA Nos. 15 & 17).

TAPIA in bound volumes

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