Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072147/00026
 Material Information
Title: Tapia
Physical Description: no. : illus. ; 43 cm.
Language: English
Publisher: Tapia House Pub. Co.
Place of Publication: Tunapuna
Creation Date: April 2, 1972
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: UF00072147:00026

Full Text

Sunday, April 2, 1972

FOR Tifi- TU*





!n rpliytg ,hn aba-t
nurab,, god do,, of
1,00, tclv rould to

S... 0..L.. I...L ~ ... ...... Dndpa, ,(
St. Vincent Street,
.... .... .at ... a .....

Dear Mr. Best,
Press Conference to be held b
aia Group. in Woodford S uare
I have read in the "Expresol of 24th Harch,
1972, that the Tapia Group will hold a press
conference in Woodford Square at 10.00 a.m.
tomorrov- S?>.t ii ;- ) 1i 1 17, fo?, (or the
rurro;'*' o t u U 1OO l L .for
arresting the trend to military government and
for an early return to parliamentary opposition'
I am addressing thin correspondence to you
in the belief that you and members of your group
are not aware that such conference constitutes
a public meeting under the Summary Offences
Amendment Act, No. 1 of 1972. Such meetings
are prohibited unless the written approval of
the Commissioner of Police is given for
holding same. A person guilty of an offence
of this nature is liable to a fine of $1,000
or to imprisonment for 12 months.
Yours faithfully,

Mr. Lloyd Beat,
91, Tunapuna Road,

Commi owner of -
Commifsioner of E-i!s.


We maintain that this country
has the intelligence and the energy
to salvage ourselves by our own
-e -tions.-We find it impossible to
take the cynical view. Tapia can-
not drag Trinidad & Tobago into
the mud. And we will insist on
this position to the end,
We will insist that the problems of
this country are soluble a hundred times
over. And we are proposing that we
start to tackle them now. We are out-
lining one possible solution to the con-
stitutional crisis this year and we see it
as one step towards solving the at-
tendant problems of the economy and
the culture, of national identity and
national integration of our peoples.
In the midst of the cynicism and the
pessimism being bred by the experience
and the mistakes of yesterday, we re-
solved to make these solutions public
on Saturday March 25 in Woodford
We decided to make our statement in
the open air as a challenge to recent re-
pressive law. We wanted once again to
illustrate how important the Police
Service has become, to submit the legis-
lation to open political test and to show
how much arbitrariness it permits.
As we knew was very likely, the
Commissioner of Police duly intervened
and made the point we wished to have
him make..
The letter establishes that the Police
are intending to enforce the Summary
Offences Amendment Act, No. 1 of
1972. This Act requires the Com-
missioner's permission for a wide range
of public meetings in as well as out of
However, the Commissioner seems to

Tapiamen deliberating in Woodford Square

be enforcing the legislation only when
for some reason or other, it suits him so
to do. This defines an arbitrary mode of
government. Tapia has held indoor
meetings which certainly fall within the
definition of those required to have
prior permission from the Com-
missioner. At these meetings we have
specifically announced that our refusal
to get permission for them had been de-
liberate and was motivated by our belief
that the law would fail to stand the test
of constitutionality in the Courts. Al-
though the Commissioner must also
have learnt of these meetings in the
media, we received no communication
whatsoever from him.
We therefore took it that the Police
were being guided by the stipulations of

the Prime Minister and the Minister of
National Security under the Emergency
Regulations. These specifications do not
restrict indoor meetings of any kind.
Now the Commissioner's letter
makes it clear how the co-existence of
the two sets of rules has endowed the
Police with the luxury of being able to
choose their authority for regulating
meetings. The Commissioner did not
warn us under the Emergency Regu-
lations but under the Summary Of-
fences Amendment Act. To give the
Police such an option is to confuse the
citizen and to license arbitrary beha-

Cont'd. on Page 3

CALL a Constituent
Assembly of Citizens at
Chaguaramas within a

FRESH general elections
before the year is out.

3 SALVAGE the Constitu-
tional Commission by
appointing it as the Sec-
retariat to the Consti-
tuent Assembly of

SCHARGE the Constitu-
tional Commission with
the duties of the Elec-
tions Commission and
the Boundaries Commis-

STHE Assembly of Citi-
zens be open to all indivi-
duals and groups who
wish to participate.

THE Assembly of Citi-
zens begin by confirming
the Acting Chief Justice
in the post.

7THE Assembly then dis-
cuss the following:

Constitutional reform
with special reference to
Local Government, the
Judiciary, the Army and

Electoral Reform with
special reference to the
voting Age and the
Voting Machines

Economic reorganisation
with special reference to
local and popular control
of industry.

Social equality with
special reference to racial
discrimination, colour
prejudice and religious in-

Cultural Revival with
special reference to the
part played by the media
and the schools.

National Identity with
special reference to the
B ritish Commonwealth,
Caribbean Integration
and Foreign Policy.

STHE soldiers be freed,
the detainees released
and the State of Emer-
gency ended imme-


t "A person is guilty of an offence
who holds any public
meeting without notifying the
Commissioner of Police;"

"A public meeting" means any
meeting held in any public place..

"public place" means any highway,
street, public park or garden, any
beach and any public bridge, road,
lane, footway, square, court, alley
or passage, whether a thoroughfare

or not; and includes any open or
enclosed space to which, for the
time being, the public have or are
permitted to have access whether
on payment or otherwise."

t "I wish to repeat the assurances...
that the emergency will not ex-
tend to indoor meetings of any
sort." 9
Minister of National Security

Summary Offences Amendment Act

25 cents

- I I I




SINCE the February Revolution one thing has been becoming
clearer to the country each day. Civil government in Trinidad &
Tobago is in serious jeopardy. We are no longer able to maintain the
rule of law. There is a total lack of trust in due process. The tradi-
tional institutions have broken down; they cannot cope with the
burden of new demands. We can see it in the Army, the Church, the
University: in the Judiciary, in the Trades Unions and in Parliament.
The resulting anxiety on the part of the Government and among the
citizens leads therefore to settlements in which force and direct
action are not the last but the first resort.
In a word, we are on our way to a
military state; belligerence has the
status of being our normal day-to-day
stance. Not only is this true among the
youth, unemployed and workers in
low paid occupations, it is now also
equally true among the well-to-do
housewives, academics and pro-
The Government has been living by TH E W
Emergency Regulations, by draconian
legislation in the form of the Firearms
Act. the Sedition Amendment Ordi- reform.
nance and the Summary Offences N2ither UNIP nor ACDC initial
Amendment Act, and by mounting the boycott ... UNIP once specific
insisted that it was for conventti.
police intimidation of the populace, insisted that it was for conventiono
On our side, we have now adopted that is to say, electoral politics
.marches and demonstrations; sit-outs but in the end, they both came ro
and sick-outs; strikes and lock-outs as to lend it their support. The cult
the normal response to quite ordinary resurgence started by the Black Po'
disagreements and differences. Suasion Movement was greatly instrument
and conversation are now at a terrible inducing this change of position
discount. giving our nation more self-confide
to do what it regarded as unortho.
yet right.
The election itself deepened
This state of affairs is what defines crisis even further and brought m
a constitutional crisis. What is at issue clarity still. As the conventional op
is not so much the irresponsibility and sition parties joined Tapia and NJ
incompetence of the government or in rendering the election a no-cont
the impatience or immaturity of those the effect was to carry the crisis ri
of us who are in opposition, but the into the corridors of Parliament its
inadequacy of the framework of rules The election exposed the abse
and institutions with which we have
been saddled by the past. The crisis is
a necessary one; it is above person- POEM
alities and partisan interests. It is a
crisis which could not be avoided once
we had gained our formal political in- Dying, the serpent's
dependence from 450 years of metro- writhing in its coils,
politan control. tombing itself
The incompetence of the old in fold on fold
PNM/DLP regime has lain not so much of its cold quivering flesh;
in their lack of a technical command
of the solutions to the community awful the death throes.
problems of the '70's as in their lack
of an imaginative grasp of what the Who struck the coup de grace?
crisis is about. No one, no one.
As early as the middle of 1969, The thing undid itself:
Lloyd Best was defining the crisis in
the Express as a basic constitutional Threshing in torments
one and Tapia has been holding the of guilt, of fear, of folly,
position unswervingly ever since, its spine slipped discs;
Thinkers and readers of the old regime anguished, it wrings its life
kept insisting that our stuff was in-om the erotic rope.
comprehensible; that they did not
know what we meant to say.
Well, let it die.
BLACK DREAM Who grieves a serpent's death?
No one, no one.
It was the new movement of youths ruined paradise
and blacks and unemployed which in- I ried paradise,
tuitively recognized the diagnosis as despoiled our virgin innocence
valid. It was that movement which and will devour
took up the prescriptions for a com- each pure Utopia
plete economic reorganisation and a we may dream.
sweeping political and constitutional
change. The University leaders of that Eric Roach
movement translated it into a black
dream and sought to make a revolu-
tion without any further delay. They of genuine party politics in
dramatised the message of a new world country and revealed that the effec
free from dispossession and put the opposition was unconventional,
message straight through thetothe refused to organise itself into o
nation. Trinidad and Tobago owes night parties, and was deliberal
them an immeasurable debt. standing outside of the Houses of
In contrast UNIP and ACDC joined liament. Yet its different wings w
the PNM, the two DLP's, and the calling the tune for the Governmen
sundry splinters of the conventional Tapia in the field of ideas
political parties in seeking a solution in policies for change, NJAC in the fi
the traditional politics of merely of popular support.
changing a government. It took the The effect of this exposure of
ordeal of 1970 and their unprepared- harsh new political realities was
ness for the general election for these force constitutional reform on a PF
conventional opposition parties to Government which had been tern
shift from this very dangerous posi- rising and dilly-dallying all along.
tion. It was not unit the eleventh Dr. Williams once more revealed tl
hour, so to speak, that some of the fear of change by making the sa
conventional opposition forces finally error of imagination which they
opted to boycott the election and un- first perpetrated in the February Re
equivocally to embrace comprehensive lution of 1970.



al in


t .

The Government simply refused to
put itself at risk: it was determined not
to give the opposition forces an equal
chance to gain control of the State.
The PNM showed that in 14 years they
had not acquired the culture of a de-
mocratic political system.


If they had acquired such a culture,
in April 1970, Dr. Williams would have
been instructed by the party to call a
general election instead of imposing a
State of Emergency. The statesmanlike
thing to do when there is a crisis of
trust is to ask the country to decide
and re-affirm the sovereignty of the
people. The authoritarian thing to do
is to impose restrictions on free ex-
lression .
In 1971, after so many had refused
to participate in the election, the
statesmanlike thing to have done was
to call a Constituent Assembly of Citi-
zens. For 48 long agonizing hours the
Government tacitly acknowledge the
constitutional crisis. But it lacked the
self-respect and the self-confidence to
put the larger interest of the nation
above the smaller interests of the
Instead of inviting a Constituent
Assembly of Citizens which would
have acknowledged the primacy of
politics Dr. Williams appointed a tech-
nical Commission of experts which
only emphasised the importance of
government. On top of that, the Prime
Minister failed to give the undertaking
that the Report of the Commission
would be binding on the Government.
So it was that the Government
threw off the last vestiges of the moral
authority it had once enjoyed with the
country. Unable to regain the respect
and the trust of the citizens, the PNM
Government has since had no choice
but to govern by repression, terror and


Yet it would be wrong to assume
that the designs of the Government
have been necessarily dishonourable or
evil. There may well be among them
men whose motives are perhaps un-
equal to the demands of honour but
that can never be true of the large
majority, We know only too well in
Tapia that most of the government
leaders and supporters are simply
trapped in a situation from which they

have no choice of ever retreating.
Many people have thrown in their
lot with the government for the simple
reason that, once upon a time in the
past, the PNM did elevate their per-
specti\es. Others continue to give their
support because, they can see no con-
ventional party which could tempt
them to risk a change of loyalty. In
good faith, these citizens keep
supporting individual measures of
partial repression as a means of
keeping the nation stable, or so they
would like to think.
They expect the restrictive
measures to affect only "extremists"
and "subversives" and they assume the
government to be sure of what it is
doing. They hope that each succeeding
measure would resolve the crisis once
and for all. And then they find that
just one more new measure is needed
to deal with just one more set of
trouble-makers in the country. And
before they appreciate what has been
happening they have been hopelessly
compromised as partisans of a re-
pressive order; they are unable to with-
draw from their commitment with
Many of the people who are sup-
porting the government have been
caught like this and do not know what
they can do. With every crisis, a cer-
tain number of them defect. But even
those who have not yet done so are
now painfully aware of where the
nation is heading. We are heading for
what has been mistakenly called a Re-
public, We are entrenching a lawless
military state; the February Revo-
lution has most certainly altered the


But if we understand what has been
happening there is only one conclusion
we can draw. We must alter the regime
once more and reverse the trend
towards chaos. And the only way of
doing this is by avoiding the govern-
ment's mistake: we must now put the
interest of the whole country first.
This means that the citizens must
offer the government yet another
chance of a truce to arrange a peaceful
settlement. On the morning after the
election of 1971, a Guardian Editorial
called for a meeting of citizens. In
appointing his own Constitutional
Commission, Dr. Williams threw away
a possible initiative the nation might
have had. Now only the new move-
ment has the moral authority to start
afresh and re-open the gate to civil


Cookeen Golden Rev
Vim -Sqezy Drive
Sunlight Lux Lifebuoy.





.34 Pembroke Street P.O.S. Tel: 35842 38434.



From Page 1

Moreover, if the Commissioner were
to accept the Emergency Regulations
alone, it would mean that the Police
would have a wider power to restrict
(indoor) meetings when there is not a
State of Emergency than when there is.
The reason for this situation is that
the Government still wants to have it all
ways. They have passed compre-
hensively repressive legislation and yet
they have refused to bring the State of
Emergency to an end. It is important
that we understand why.


One immediately obvious reason is
that the PNM leadership has always had
a mania for overkill; there is a totalita-
rian streak which the party has never
been able to disguise or control. On
every important occasion in the past,
the response to stress has been dipta-
torial. Yet it wAuld be both untrue and
unprofitable to see this as merely a
question of personalities and political
culture. It is also a matter of urgent
political necessity.
The State of Emergency is indis-
pensable to the Government if they
wish to keep Weekes, Nunez and
Granger in detention; and politically, it
is vital that they do. This is not because
the NJAC or the OWTU poses any
threat but precisely because they do
no t. But the PNM hopes to gain more
mileage by distracting attention from
the real issues and the real opposition.


The ruling party is directing the
country's attention to the past, to the
time when, for quite ordinary human
and political reasons, our movement was
still largely at sixes and sevens with it-
self. The Government needs the country
to remember the days when we had just
begun and when we were necessarily
emphasising protest; when our organ-
isation was so weak that we had to live
mainly by marches and demonstrations;
when the country was only just learning
about itself and about the politics of an
independent and democratic state:
when the movement was mobilizing it-
self and acquiring a new political con-


The Government does not dare to
face that fact that since 1970, we have
been quietly regrouping and that we
have now graduated to an altogether
new stage of the movement. The
citizens who are going to come into the
public place this time are going to be
kept there by plan and purpose until we
resolve the crisis once and for all. Our
rulers have secretly made this calcula-
tion. In fact, they shared Tapia's view
that the Day of Judgment could
possibly have come before the end of
Their recourse was to invent new pre-
texts for greater repression; the result
has been the impositi on and extension
of the State of Emergency. And it is on
the psychology behind this development
that we in the opposition must now be
crystal clear because this psychology is
the surest prescription for the entrench-
ment of a ganster-military government
for good. We have 150 years of South
American experience to prove it.


If we are to put the nation first and
save the game we cannot afford to
miss the trend. And if we understand
it we must treat the government as if it
were a wounded beast, likely to
commit the very worst excess. In this
situation, the most irresponsible thing
that we could do would be to court
another confrontation. Instead, we
must now contrive an opening for a
peaceful settlement because the new
movement alone has the moral
authority for this.
Some may take this proposal for
appeasement but it is in fact just the
opposite of that. The alternative
would be to continue on the reckless
road to a confrontation in which the
movement has an excellent chance to
score a military and political victory
precisely because the Government is
isolated and has to contend even with
sundry non-political professionals
housewives. In this context, the armed





St. Augustine gro
TAPIA St. Augustine members re-
tained three top posts on the UWI
Students Guild Council as a result of
the Guild's annual general elections on
February 29.
Four of the eight candidates (not
10 as reported in Tapia No. 24) put up
by Tapia St. Augustine were elected to
office after a campaign that was
keenly contested by three parties.
The Tapia St. Augustine members
now on the Guild Council are Keith

Police are largely irrelevant because
they are not dealing with any small
group of subversives who are ad-
vocating and planning to take power
by the barrel of a gun.


But what is the point of scoring a
military and political victory if in the
process we engender so much bitter-
ness and hate and violence as to make
it impossible thereafter to live in
racial, social and religious harmony?
The lesson of the past is that too much
stress breeds a dangerous irrationality
and emotionalism; it generates need-
less antagonisms, makes generosity imn-
possible, kills off old heroes, reveals
"enemies and traitors" everywhere. If
this is the cost of victory, may it not
be too high a price to pay?
The Government must ask itself
this question and we must ask it too.

Tapia has asked the question and our
answer has been to propose an early
settlement before we reach a point of
no return. The settlement which we
are now proposing gives the Govern-
ment a chance to salvage its own Con-
stitutional Commission while con-
ceding the new movement's demands
for a political Assembly of citizens and
The proposal means that whoever
succeeds in persuading the country in
an open discussion will be the group to
carry the day. But both the Govern-
ment and the opposing forces will have
an equal chance as fair democracy de-
mands that it should be.


The Constitution Commission is
well placed to hold the ring for an
open political debate before the
country. Their job can be to provide
the Speaker for the Assembly, to pro-,
vide amenities, record proceedings and

up retains

top posts

Smith, President; Anthony Bartholo-
mew, Treasurer; Dennis Pantin, Ex-
ternal Affairs Commission Chairman;
and Ken Marshall, Social Science Re-
In picture, Dennis Pantin addresses
an election campaign meeting in the
Students Union Hall, UWI.

arrange publicity.
The Assembly itself will have no
organisationall problem" as the Ex-
press once feared when it gave our pro-
posal for an Assembly its conditional
support. The Constitutional Com-
mission is politically in a position to
call the Assembly now that the
Government has made Wooding's first
plan of work unfeasible.


Nor should there be any problem
about which groups and citizens
should attend. The Assembly must be
thrown open.to one and all. This does
not mean it will become unmanageable
because the continuing political crisis
has made perspectives very clear. Most
of us know now where we stand on
the fundamental issues; the country
has learnt to judge what is solid poli-
tical organisation, which groups are

TAPIA Page 3

working and which are not.
Once the discussion starts, indivi-
duals and groups are going to com-
promise and align themselves in which
ever way will give them the largest in-
fluence on the course of things. The
result will be that we will get.genuine
political coalitions of interest -
parties, so to speak instead of the
conventional followers behind a
Doctor or the unstable marriages of
convenience that we know so well.


We will for the first time have to
adopt the politics of principle and not
of personalities plain and simple.
This would prepare the country for
the election which we are also pro-
posing that the government should call
before the year is out. Because the
parties will be founded in this way
they will be able to hold to their
ideologies and programmes whether or
not they win or lose.
The immediate effect of these pro-
posals is to place the initiative in the
Government's hands. Our assumption
is that they are sensitive enough to
wish to create a new political climate
in the country. If they are, the steps
that they must take are clear. They
must free the soldiers, revoke the
Emergency and release the detainees
to pave the way for different politics.


We submit these proposals so that
the nation may reflect. Some will say,
as usual, that Tapia is idealistic and
naive; others that we are laying down
the law and serving only our own part-
icular interest. Perhaps there is truth in
all of that. But one question still de-
mands an answer: if some proposals
such as these are not accepted will we
not be swept into more troubled
waters still?



For Cars, Trucks, Tractors
156A Eastern Main Road
Barataria 638/322:3
500 Eastern Main RoaG
Ar(uca 664-5256
102 A Sutton St.
San Fernando 652-3104

64Mucurapo Rd. St. James
records, tapes, books, magazines
Open till 8 p.m. weekdays
Tel: 62-24157

_ __


& TOB ,- 3. J1.*'-.' -
.VUA.- ;-___ _. _I d," .,
- - - - -... . 7'



^ +'i iimmm

lllR'l JunR's

"-.-l-----* ... i^
r~ff n, CMliCKEN N C'iPS Q

Al rD_.. _

- *'*r-9 iA

vo/ ,

things in this place is
the fact that mobile
food vendors after so
many years of opera-
tion still live a kind
of will-we or won't-
we existence?
Take those on Inde-
pendence Square, for in-
stance. From the original
chicken and chips van
the trade has grown until
today a number of vans
vie with each other in an
attempt to attract cus-
tomers whose presence in
increasing numbers is a
sign that the service is
badly needed in a Port-
of-Spain where it is im-
possible to get anything
to eat after ten o'clock in
the night.
But every day each



vendor must ask himself:
"Will we or won't we?"
"Will 'we be able to sell
today or will we be stop-
ped by the powers-that-


If it is curious that
this question has still to
be asked after all these
years even more curious
is that the said powers-
that-be have two atti-
tudes towards these van
vendors. That is, if one is

to judge from the actions
of two of the Govern-
ment's agencies.
Tae mobile vendors
are given legitimacy by
the City Council who in-
sist on vendors being
issued with food badges
and who have the autho-
rity to haul in any ven-
dor anytime for a medi-
cal check-up. As such,
the Council, at least
recognizes the existence
of the trade and the fact
that the trade is between
vendor and public.

On the other hand if
one is to believe the
Police Service the ven-
dors park merely by the
grace of whatever police-
man is patrolling the
Independence Square
area. The food-badges,
the medical check-ups
are not, it seems, a sign
of the Government's
recognition of the trade
and steps taken to pro-
tect the public but mere-
ly an exercise to contain
people who are out to
make a living and like un-
appeased spirits refuse to
just curl up and die.
As it stands, the ven-
dors have no guarantee
that when they turn up
at their various positions
on Independence Square
their pelau, or chow
mein or chicken will be
left unmolested. And in
the absence of this gua-


rantee they are at the
mercy of people-police-
man, sanitary inspectors,
and people who claim to
be one or the other-who
acting on the principle
that the vendors are
allowed to park or sell by
their grace-demand and
invariably receive their
regular box of chicken,
chow mein, pelau, or de-
pending on their whim of
the night, a conglomerate
of all three.
It should be obvious
to anyone that mobile
vendors cannot sell their
foodstuff unless they'
have somewhere to park
their vans. And it should
be equally obvious that if
the Council is prepared
to charge the vendors for
licences, some regard is
due them.
Instead of this regard
they get disdain and
harassment. Yet they are

Bajan Litan




among the last of a dying
breed of people who are
self-employed. A govern-
ment that cannot pro-
vide jobs for 15% of its
population must be pre-
pared, or rather eager to
accommodate any from
the ranks who have the
wherewithal to set them-
selves up in business.


Of course, the vendors
are part of the larger
question of unemploy-
ment and government's
attitude towards innova-
tion. In the meantime,
however, instructions
must be given once and
for all to the police an
area for parking clearly
marked out and the park-
ing regulations clearly
spelled out. That way,
the vendors will have a
more assured existence
and the policemen will
not succumb to the
temptation to that arbi-
trariness of behaviour
which has become ende-
mic in regulatory institu-
tions in the country.


Follow pattern kill Cadogan
America got black power?
We got black power
Wuh sweeten goat mout bun 'e tail
Bermuda got tourism?
We got too.
De higher monkey go, de more he show 'e tail.
Jamaica got industry?
We got industry
Jamaica got bauxite?
Jamaica got bauxite?
Choke 'e collar, hang 'e tie, trip 'e up trousers,
t'row 'e deown boots.
Trinidad got army?
Trinidad got army?
We got too
Stop friggin' spiders fuh twice de increase.
England got family planning?
We got too.
Wuh in ketch yuh en pass yuh.
Follow pattern kill Cadogan
Lord, Lord.
Lookah we tho' nuh
We heading fulh trouble!
0 Lord!

Yes, Lord.
0 Lord.
Yes Lord.
0 Lord.
Yes, Lord.
0 Lord.
Yes Lord.
0 Lord.
Yes Lord.
Yes, Lord

0 Lord.
0 Lord.
Yes, Lord.
0 Lord
Yes. Lord.
0 Lord?
Yes. lord.
0 Lord.
Yes. Lord.
O, Lord.?
Yes, l.ord'
0. Lord'

Bruce St. John



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Rio Claro: Prime Minister's

Special Neglect

THE Eastern area
of Trinidad, most of
which has been op-
posed to the PNM
since 1956, has been
paying a heavy price
for this opposition.
Despite the rich
potential of the area
oil, cocoa, coffee,
bananas and timber -
the unemployment
rate for non-party
members continues
to be high; and the
roads are now worse
than they have been
for many years.
Williams' threat to
bulldoze those who
dare to oppose his
steamroller tactics
has been applied to
the region with de-
vastating conse-

The hospitals in the
area, for example, are
woefully inadequate. The
Mayaro "hospital" can
deal only with minor
cases; serious illness or
injury have to be sent
either to Sangre Grande
or to San Fernando.
Both of these places are
more than thirty miles
distant; San Fernando
separated by some of the
worst landslides and pot-
holes in the country. To
the government Rio
Claro is like Cedros, part
of another country.


The transport
situation is no better. It
is not uncommon for stu-
dents of the 1o Claro
Government Secondary
School to be forced to
sleep on the school
premises because the
buses failed to turn up.
On February 17 this
year the Parent-Teac hers
Association (PTA) of this
school wrote the Trans-
port Commission about
this situation but they
got the usual government
response: not even an
acknowledgement to
their letter.
If one were to choose
an example of this neglect,
the Rio Claro Government
secondary school is about
the best. This school was
set up in 1961 with an
emphasis on technical and
vocational education
which was best suited to
the needs of the region.
But from this stage all fall


The building was
erected on undulating
land which had a history
of landslides. Subsequent
tractor work on the site
worsened the situation.
Today there are sections
of the building with
cracked floors, leaning
walls and eroding found-
One teacher told us
that parents who expose
their children to such
constant danger must be
either very brave or very


The school building was erected on undulating land which had
a history of landslides.

Now the floor is cracked in places...foundations
are being eroded...

desperate in their need to
have their children edu-


But this is not all.
Government policy
towards the school seems
so vague and indefinite
that the emphasis has
been changed from tech-
nical and vocational to
grammar-school type of
education. Yet very half-
hearted attempts have
been made to introduce
the accompanying faci-
lities like library and lab-
This bad planning is
reflected in examination
results. In 1966 for
example, out of the 153
students who wrote the
'O' Level examination no
fewer than 142 failed En-
glish language and only
three obtained five or
more passes. Despite the
presence of a cookery
teacher in the school and
of a principal trained in
home economics, the
school has this year de-
cided against sending up
students for the cookery
exam. The reason: inad-
equate facilities for the
teaching of this subject.


The frequent change
of principals at this
school has also contri-
buted to the present
state of disharmony and
staff frustration. In the
nine-year period 1961 to
1970 there have been no
fewer than seven princi-
pals or acting heads. No
accommodation was pro-
vided for these people
who came from distant
places like Diego Martin
(Mr. Beddoe), Port-of-
Spain (Mr. Callendar) or
Carenage (Miss Nichol-


Rio Claro seems to be
a place of punishment
for teachers who offend
the lords of the land -
people like Tony
McFarlane who comes
from Tobago has been

banished to Rio Claro for
his role in the uprising of
Or it is a staging-point
for Principals who are
being prepared for higher
things like Mrs.
Thompson who spent a
term as head before
being sent to greener
pastures in San Feman-
do. Or Mr. Chatoor who
also spent a term as head
before going on study
leave to London.


In rural communities
like Rio Claro there is
need, not for such tran-
sients, but rather for re-
sident, dedicated princi-
pals who would provide
the intellectual example
so badly needed in these
forgotten places. There
are competent teachers
who live in and around
Rio Claro. Is it not time
that such people be given
a try?

The list of grievances
at this school is endless.
Parents, students and
staff are so frustrated
that they have taken to
writing letters to the
press. A delegation from
the PTA called on the
Ministry of Education on
13th December last year
but nothing came of this.
The students last
year, went on a demon-
stration to draw public
attention to the fact that
sanitary facilities are in-
adequate (for over nine
years the boys in one
block had to use the
nearby bushes). They
tried to focus public at-
tention on the lack of
stationery for setting
exam questions or for
writing answers, on the
availability of wood for
the woodwork classes, on
the inadequacy of the
library. For 1972 only
$550 was allocated for
library books, records
and films in a school of
590 students!
One parent told us
that even though there is
provision for the employ-
ment of a school farm at-

tendant (to supplement
the work done in the
classroom), such a person
has not been appointed
for the past 18 months.
Not surprisingly, only
three out of 14 students
passed Agricultural
Science in 1971.
The central adminis-
tration's attitude to these
complaints has been
shameful. Their response
to the demonstration of
February was not an in-
vestigation of the causes
of student unrest but the
questioning of staff
members and a pros.
pective staff member as
to who led the demon-
stration or which stu-
dents or staff members
were "revolutionaries."


As if to add insult to
injury the Principal told
a PTA meeting that some
of the teachers were lazy
and more interested in
playing cards than in

The staff requested an
enquiry into this allega-
tion. A delegation from
the Education Ministry
visited the school on
January 9 this year. The
staff objected to the
Principal's engagement of
legal counsel; the dele-
gation postponed the en-
quiry pending legal ad-
vice from the Attorney
General's office.
A letter from the staff
requesting information
regarding the fate of this
enquiry met with the
now-usual government
response: silence.
The results of all this
inefficiency and neglect
are very serious. Teachers
no longer hide the fact
that they work only for
their salaries but that
they are deeply con-
cerned about the plight
of their students. Parents
are worried.

Possibly the worst
effect of all of this is the
very serious cleavage that
now exists between the
staff and the Principal.
Both sides seem to be
caught in a vicious circle
and communication bet-
ween them has broken
down completely.
There is no consult-
ation on matters like the
re-admissio n of the
many students who fail
the '0' levels. The Prin-
cipal is The Doctor. In
cases of indiscipline the

Rio Claro police are
called. The Tapia team
witnessed one such
police patrol on the
afternoon of March 7.
The teachers complain
that students are admit-
ted who have not passed
the Common Entrance
examination. We later
read in the PTA minutes
of October 21, 1971 that
17 such students had in-
deed gained admittance.
On March 3, this year
things seemed to have
reached such a sorry
state that the PTA passed
a resolution calling for
the present Principal to
be removed and replaced
by "a competent and
conscientious Principal
who would be com-
mitted and dedicated to
the upliftment of the
About 170 parents
and 20 out of 26 staff
members' signatures were
appended to this re-
solution which has been
sent to the Permanent
Secretary in the Ministry
of Education.
The fact that a peace-
ful community like Rio
Claro can unite to stem

inefficiency and political
victimisation is indicative
of the new awareness
that is rapidly sweeping
our rural communities.
Now Tom, Dick and
Harrilal are coming into
their own and are asking
questions. And dedicated
sons and daughters of
those communities are
returning home to pro-
vide the new movement
with informed leader-
ship. The planks are
being laid for serious
local government in Rio
Claro like in Tunapuna,
Laventille, Sangre
Grande and everywhere
The folk of Tabaquite
and Gasparillo and
Marabella who have to
wake up in fore-day
morning to send their
children to far-off Rio
Claro are now beginning
to see the politics of the
thing; experience is still
the best teacher. And
when the rising of the
peoples comes to pass,
they too will have to be
heard, and the rulers of
the land will have to
answer to them.

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Brinsley Samaroo

DURING the period 1845 to 1917 about
143,000 East Indians came to Trinidad as in-
dentured labourers. Of this number only
about one quarter availed themselves of the
f'ee return passage to India offered up to
1895 or of an assisted return fare after that
time. That such a small proportion of East
Indians returned to India is indicative of the
fact that from the late 19th century most of
them had elected to remain in Trinidad as per-
manent settlers.
This East Indian desire to make Trinidad his
permanent home is further supported by the evidence
that the British found that by 1881 they could re-
duce their offer of a five pounds or a 5 acre settle-
ment incentive to five pounds alone. Nine years later
even this five pound incentive was stopped. The East
Indians had by this time decided to remain here, land
or no land, money or no money. Trinidad offe.-d
better economic opportunities than British-ravaged
However, despite this East Indian willingness to re-
main here the rest of the society, even the planters \\ ho were
the direct beneficiaries of East Indian labour, displayed a
marked unwillingness to accept the East Indian as a full parti-
cipant in the affairs of Trinidad and Tobago. The East Indian
was no more than a "bound coolie' fit only to toil on the
plantations. Newspapers. books, and even letters of the 19th
and early 20th centuries are replete with examples of this
rejection of these strange people who were so different from
the rest of population in dress, in food, in religion and in
their sense of values.
Donald Wood in his book Trinidad in Transition
points out that from the 1850's many Africans looked dos\n
on the East Indian as the new slave and taunted him with the
remark, Slave, where is your paper? By the 1870's the term
"coolie" had become one of insult.
from the early 20th century African and mulatto
leaders agitated for an end to East Indian immigration on the
ground that the East Indian was being used to depress wages
in a colony where there existed a sufficient supply of African
labour. And many of these leaders' followers, unable to
make the distinction between East Indian immigration and
the East Indian person, or unable to vent their anger on the
planters who had indeed brought the East Indian to Trinidad
attacked the visible symbol, the East Indian. In November,
1911 for example, Algernon Burkett wrote in The Trinidad
Review that:

the sooner these people of false religions are made to
stay in their native, country' and sully their owin
history, the better for e erybody.
Even the planters who if any should have beenothe bene-
factors of these immigrants had a hardly better opinion of
them. Count L.A.A. de Verteuil a leading French creole
wrote in his book Trinidad published in 184 that:

A distinctive trait in the character of the coolie is
insincerity; one cannot depend on what he says. The
private life of those who have not yet been '. .'
by civilization is generally depraved and di s gusting.


In both the Express and the Trinidad Guardian of
Saturday llth March, 1972 there were reports of a speech
given to the Jaycees 23rd annual award ceremony by a
prominent Muslim leader and government minister. In this
speech the leader lamented what he called the 'ambivalent
attitudes' of some people towards religion law and order.
Because of this holistic attitude to life both Hindus and
Muslims have found meaningful participation difficult in a
system which seeks to make this differentiation between
State and Church.


There is another dimension of the East Indian attitude
to politics that requires some examination. And this is the
manner of political organisation in rural Northern India
from \which the majority of Caribbean East Indians come.
In the thousands of villages in the Indo-Gangetic
Plain the basic unit of group organization is the panchayat.
Orignally a five-man council made up primarily of village
elders but sometimes including younger men who had distin-
guished themselves in war or in some other endeavour, the
panchayat is the matrix, which in the holistic Indian way of
looking at life, catered for most of the needs of the rural
Indian. It'would arrange marriages between families; it was a
court of justice; it managed the village school; it shared the
common lands. Jawarharlal Nehru called them India's village
The panchayat, functioning for many centuries before
the British came to India had become like a womb, pro-
te.ting the rural Indian and giving him the sense of belonging


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The local press was never found wanting in its condemnations
of these "heathens" and "barbarians" and their alleged ten-
dency to be riotous and unruly. This stereotype of the East
Indian \\as widespread. Even governors of thie colony
accepted it. In 1849 for example, Lord Harris lumped the
East Indians and the Africans together:

Their' are not, neither Coolies nor Ajficans. fit to be
placed i: a position which the labourers of civilized
countries must t once occupy. They' must be treated
like children and wayward ones too; the former from
their habits and religion: the latter f Jroi the utterly
savage state in which they anrie.

What couple failed to understand they condemned and so the
society generally tended to leave the East Indians by them-
selves. apart from the general political process. Left to him-
self therefore, at least in political matters, tle East Indian
has not been an in itiator of political change but in most cases
his political behaviour li..s been one of reaction to the politics
of tle wider society. Most often this reaction has been of a
defensive nature.
But if the Eat Indian lihas been normally a reactor to
political change xc imuis bear in minild also that evenM when
opportunities arose for him to initiate change lic has rfeuscI
to do so. One of tile reasons for this can be found in the I:ast
Indian attitude towards politics. There is a fundamental
difference iln the political attitude of the Western-Christian
person uad that of the Oriental Non-Christian.
\'estern-Christian man is tlie inheritor of the dicho-

tomy that arose in Christendom during the Reformation.For
more than two centuries previous to the Reformation there
was in Europe an intense conflict between the two swords of
the Church and the State. It was largely because of his in-
willingness to accept any demarcation between these tswo
spheres that Thomas Becket fell victim to Henry's swords-
men. But the reformation did much to clear the air: the
Church's concern from thenceforth was with the spiritual life
of the man, the state's his temporal affairs. And Western
political development since that time has recognized this
Such a demarcation of spheres of influence never took
place in Oriental lands. For the Hindu and for the Muslim
the good life here or the achievement of spiritual salvation
or of a higher reincarnation in the hereafter depends on tihe
totality of one's actions: whether in one's daily work.
in one's social relations or in one s political activities. There is
no separation between the religious and the secular in this
In the Caribbean there have been some modifications
in this attitude, especially among Christian East Indians, but
by and large the norm m remains. Political leaders among tlhe
Hindus have in m ost cases been Brahmansii and or pundits
who are also thie religious leaders in this community: and one
of the major criteria for political leadership among tihe
Muslims continues to be the degree of the aspirant's
religious fervour

FROM THIS brief examination of East Indian
attitudes let us move to a view of the actual responses
of this group to constitutional changes. This must be
seen, first of all. in the context of the constitutional
agitation that was raging during the 19th century.
After its conquest in 1797 the British set up a system
of Crown Colony government, that is. one in which
the controlling influence over legislation rested with
the Crown and not with any elected representatives
of the people. And one of the first things that the
new wave of British merchants and planters requested
was representative government. However, until the
late 1930's there was no intention on the part of the
agitators to include the majority of the \African and
East Indian population in these desired constitutional
Like Plato's republic there were to be actiNe and non-
active citizens. the latter to be kept out of tlie political pro-
cess by high income and property qualifications. Tins t.ialc of
affairs greatly hurriedd thie \Arician population who. from the

that he needed in a land where life is often precarious. And
more than two centuries of British dominance failed to dis-
place this method of rural organization.
The East Indians brought with them this method of
organization and sought to establish panchayats in places like
Penal and Princes Town. But the system of rural local govern-
ment -- the Road Boards set up by the British in the
1840's and the institution of Wardens to administer the
affairs of Trinidad's villages allowed little room for the
functioning of the panchayat.
So that in areas where the panchayat remained it
existed as no more than a shell of it s former self, catering
mainly to petty disputes among families. And the rural East
Indian, who forms the majority of the nation's East Indian
population, deprived of this one institution to which he
could effectively relate has never really found his feet again.
In this void he either remains outside of the political
s vstem or if he does enter he votes men of his race especially
if these men, in addition to showing religious fervour, can
demonstrate that they have made it in this hostile society.
And the best proof of having made the grade in a material-
istic society such as ours, is the possession of considerable
\calth or of the means of acquiring such wealth. namely
education. It'is hardly surprising therefore, that the ambition
of the average East Indian parent is to have his child become
a doctor or a lawyer.

late 19th century started to organise themselves into groups
like the Workingmen's Association (1897) which combined
both trade union and political pressure-group functions.
Until the early 20th century the East Indians on the
other hand. seemed hardly bothered by their exclusion from
the political process. As late as 1910 a Royal Commiss:on
which visited the colony commented on the "quiet con-
tentedness" of these people and reported that the East In-
dians showed 'a natural indisposition to take any active part
in political controversy.

Perhaps an important reason for this East Indian indis-
position to take active part in political controversy lay in the
f'eeliin, of helplessness wxith \which so many of them came to
Trinidad. A series of famines in I;dia had decimated some
four milli on people during tie 19th century and Indian up-
risings amaint British imperialism (in Poona in 1822 and
1827, in Kerala in 1847 and in 1851. in Bengal in 1831 and

Cont'd on Page 8





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revival of this agitation for constitution.il change in Trinidad
as well as in other West Indian islands that the Wood
Commission was despatched to the region in 1921 to give a
first-hand report to the British government on conditions


-..' .

Sarran Teelucksingh
1847 and in the revolt of 1857) had all been bloodily sup-
pressed. Now, even those who had fled to Trinidad to escape
punishment for their part in the events of 1857 or had been
sent here as punishment for the said "offence," refrained
from political activity in Trinidad until the early 20th


If before 1910 the East Indians were not taking any
active part in political controversy what then were they
doing? Firstly, under the tutelage of the Canadian Mission-
aries, they were acquiring Western-type education which was
gradually enabling them to participate more actively in the
general life of the society. Secondly, they were seeking to
establish themselves economically in the society through the
setting up of their own cultivation and small business. They
were also assiduously accumulating capital: in 1899 for
example 12, 549 of them had deposited no less than
253,928 in the local banks. One year later a group of them
were awaiting government permission to set up a co-operative
In the third place the East Indians unable to relate to
the political system that predominated, had formed their
own associations: The East Indian National Congress which
centred at Couva and The East Indian National Association
which had its headquarters in Princes Town. These two asso-
ciations remained the major East Indian pressure groups until
the 1930's and through them the East Indians approached
government and other agencies (like plantation owners)
whenever the East Indians had particular problems, such as
the non-recognition of Hindu and Muslim marriages, harsh
treatment of labourers by overseers or difficulties in ob-
taining shop licences.

The first East Indian to gain a seat on the purely no-
minative Legislative Council, in 1912, was George Fitz-
patrick. But Fitzpatrick's nomination was hardly due to East
Indian agitation for constitutional reform. It came largely as
a result of the African and mulatto-led constitutional agi-
tation from the 1890's. A word of explanation is needed
here. The agitation for constitutional change in the direction
of mass participation in the electoral process, undertaken by
groups like the Workingmen's Association and continued by
the Trinidad branch of the Pan-African Association and the
Ratepayers' Association culminated in the "Water Riots' of
1903 during which the Red House and nearby buildings were
burnt, 16 people killed and 43 injured by a police firing. A
Royal Commission sent down from England to investigate
the Riot reported that there existed a cleavage between the
government and the people and recommended that this could
be rectified if the government included more local persons at
the colony's higher levels of decision-making.

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The initial result of this recommendation was the
nomination of an African lawyer Cyrus Prudhomme David in
the Legislative Council in 1904. In accepting the govern-
ment's recommendation of David, the Secretary of State re-
commended that sooner or later an East Indian must also be
included in the Council. By 1912 the Colonial government
felt that they could no longer leave the East Indian com-
munity, which by this time formed 35.42% of the popu-
lation, without a representative on the Council. It is also
likely that the Colonial Office was influenced by the India
Office which in 1907 had sanctioned the inclusion of two
Indians in the Secretary of State's (Indian) Council and one
in 1909 in the Governor-General's Executive Council of
Fitzpatrick's presence on the Legislative Council en-
couraged an increased East Indian interest in the political
process. This was reflected in the increasing numbers of East
Indians in Local Road Boards and in the San Fernando
Borough Council. In fact when the island-wide agitation for
constitutional reform was revived in 1919 after a lull created
by the First World War, this agitation started in San
Fernando and one of its leaders was C. H. Gopaul, San
Fernando's deputy-Mayor. It was largely as a result of the

The East Indian responded vigorously to the prospect
of constitutional changewhichthe Wood Commission raised.
There was much debate as to the advisability of demanding
representative government. Participants in this debate could
not agree on a common platform and so two delegations
made their views known to the Royal Commissioner.
The first delegation was made up primarily of
members of the East Indian National Congress under the
leadership of Rev. C.' D. Lalla who had obtained nomination
to the Legislative Council in 1921. This group wanted repre-
sentative government but under conditions that would allow
East Indians an equal chance with the rest of the community.
And so they asked Wood to recommend a system of propor-
tional representation on a racial basis. They argued that the
East Indian population formed only about one-third of the
general population and that East Indians were scattered all
over the island. In any election, therefore which was con-
ducted on a non-proportional basis the East Indian vote
would be swamped. That they had this fear is indicative of
their feeling that that the non-Indian population would
hardly vote for an East Indian candidate. As later events
proved, this feeling was not without foundation.

The Congress delegation argued further that propor-
tional representation had been successfully tried in India,
Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium and Sweden which had heter-
ogenous populations like Trinidad and they stated finally
that everyone who paid taxes should be allowed to vote but
that.if there was to be a literacy test this should be in any
language. The second group, which seemed to have been a
splinter of the Congress opposed any change from Crown
Colony government. They contended that the then existing
system of nomination was the most effective means of guar-
anteeing East Indian representation on the Legislative

Colonel Wood accepted the Congress request for repre-
sentative government. This request had also come from a
number of other groups. But he rejected the demand for
communal representation. He suggested that such represent-
ation would divide rather than unite the society and hoped
that local statesmanship should aim at the development of a
homogeneous society. He never bothered, or perhaps did not
think it necessary to define the basis of this homogeneity.
Was this to be Indian, African or British? A homogeneous
society based on Indian or African values seemed most re-
mote from the Commissioner's mind.
Ofi the basis of Wood's recommendations Trinidad
held its first elections to the Legislative Council in 1925.
There was to be a Legislative Council of 25 members (ex-
cluding the Governor) twelve of whom were to be officials
and thirteen, unofficial. All but seven of this number were
to be nominated. In other words a colony with a population
of 365,913 out of which 21,794 were registered voters, were
to elect seven representatives. The other eighteen were to be
the King's men.


Of the seven members elected in 1925 one, Sarran
Teelucksingh was an East Indian and he came, not sur-
prisingly, from County Caroni. In those days there was an
honest recognition of racial cleavage in the society. Possibly
we were then not sufficiently politically sophisticated or did
not have scholars who could coin phrase like "multi-
racial' solidarity.'
Originally there were three candidates in Caroni: two
East Indians, namely Teelucksingh and Gobin, and an English
creole, E A. Robins on. The East Indians realizing that if
Teelucksingh and Gobin contested they would split the East
Indian vote and enable Robinson to win, called the two con-
testants together and secured Gobin's withdrawal. The press
of the day reported this meeting without any attempt to
camouflage the issues and the participants in the drama wer e
hardly ashamed to acknowledge their positions on the
matter. This attitude contrasts remarkably with our post -
1956 attempts to hide our racial antagonisms under a carpet
of high-sounding cliches.

The 1930's witnessed the emergence of a group
known as the "Young Indian Party." This group included
people like F. E. M. Hosein a former island scholar and a
graduate of Oxford and of Lincoln's Inn, Adrian Cola Ricnzi
(formerly Krishna Deonarine) another lawyer and of busi-
nessmen like C. B. Mathura. These men saw no benefit in
ritualizing what they considered the East Indians' "dead
past" and with the possible exception of Mathura, felt that
there was nothing wrong in the "creolization" of the East
Indian. loscin summarized their point of view when he
claimed that he was not aware that the East Indians needed
any special provisions for their protection. A Christian East
Indian from San Fernando who agreed that the East Indian
should become more Westernized, George D. Mahabir wrote
in a letter to the Port of Spain Gazette in January 1937 that
the Hindus must put aside their traditional habits and
customs and make "a complete break with the past."


Selwyn Ryan feels that these East I ndian radicals of
the '30's "sought to mobilize the Indian masses for what they
viewed as a class struggle which cut across racial and creedal
lines." Yet this attempt by these "Young Turks" to redirect
the thinking of their fellow East Indian into the wider poli-
tical process succeeded in attracting no more than a group of
mainly Western-educated East Indians like Timothy Roodal
and C. B. Mathura. The rank and file of the East Indian
community continued to remain within the pale of the pre-
dominating political order, but estranged from the ideas upon
which that order was based.


THE NEXT important event in terms of the
East Indian reaction to constitutional change was the
general election of 1946. This election was important
because firstly the number of elected members was to
be increased from seven to nine members. Even more
important, secondly, was the fact that these elections
were to be conducted on the basis of universal adult
The prospect of an election based on every adult's
righ to vote should have been grasped as a means of finally
incorporating the East Indians who had so far lived mainly on
the periphery of the political process. But those who formed
the pre-election Franchise Committee to determine, inter
alia, the voting qualifications for the proposed election were
so much the products of colonial dispossession that they
proved hardly capable of raising themselves to the liberal
outlook which makes one capable of seeking other people's
Instead of opening the gates to the East Indians they
sought to effectively leave them out by insisting that com-
petence in English should be made a condition for regis-
tration as a voter. So marked was East Indian dissatisfaction
with this recommendation that even an unorthodox East In-
dian and a "Marxist' like Rienzi felt sufficiently angry to
hint at communal representation:


POLITICAL developments in 'India, had con-
siderable influence on the East Indians in Trinidad.
The formation of the Indian National Congress in
1885 with the avowed intention of winning indepen-
dence for India did much to reduce the feeling of
helplessness which had earlier characterized East In-
dian behaviour in Trinidad. When the East Indians
asked Wood for proportional representation in 1922
they were fully aware that separate representation
had been granted the Muslims in India in the Morley-
Minto reforms of 1909.
Yogendra Malik points out that from the late 1920's

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If this discrimination is persisted in, Trinidad Indians
would be justified in appealing to the Secretary of
State for the Colonies for the protection of their rights
as a minority community and to ask for safeguards to
ensure that they are given adequate representation as
their population and interest would justify on all
Elective and Representative bodies.

Nevertheless the Franchise Committee persisted in its in-
sistence of a language test and the Secretary of State had to
stop in and disallow this recommendation. But the damage
had already been done to the cause of Afro/Indian harmony,
especially at the leadership level. It was not surprising there-
fore, that in the elections of 1946 two of the three major
parties that contested the election could find no more than
one East Indian each to contest on their slates.
The only "party' to which East Indians seemed fa-
vourable was the British Empire Workers and Citizens Home
Rule Party led by Butler. Out of the five Butlcrites who
contested the election three were East Indians. The East In-
dians preferred Butler party because he had not been asso-
ciated with the Franchise Committee, partly because his
party stressed the common economic exploitation of East
Indians and Africans and partly because Butler spoke in a
style and language that the ordinary people understood. In
addition Butler's personal bravery in challenging the colonial
government during the strikes of the late '30's did much to
endear him to the workers of both races.


public meetings held in predominantly East Indian areas ;n
Trinidad were begun and ended by the singing of India,
patriotic songs and the Indian national anthem Vande
MAatram, and that from the early 1930's there were island-
wide demonstrations in support of India's demand for free-
dom. But the events in the Indian sub-continent during the
1940's, culminating in the separation of Pakistan from India
and in the achievement of independence by these two nations
had even more momentous consequences for the Caribbean.
On the one hand, Hindus and Muslims in the region
shared in the exhilaration of freedom that their brothers on
the sub-continent were now experiencing. And this gave the
Caribbean East Indian a feeling of great pride. Now he could
assert himself with the confidence that his ancestral home
had at last come into its own. Yet in the absence of general

,. .---- -- .

over-all direction this euphoric feeling had dangerous divisive
tendencies. On the one hand it served to strengthen East
Indian separateness vis a vis the other races and on the other
it encouraged a cleavage between Hindus and Muslims: the
Hindus now related to India, the Muslims to Pakistan. The
Hindus revived the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (Great
Assembly of Eternal Religion) as well as a number of smaller
sects and now actively sought to establish their own edu-
cational and other institutions. The setting up of the Islamic
school at El Socorro in 1949, perhaps the first non-Christian
school to be set up in Trinidad, and the visit of a Muslim
Scholar/missionary of great eminence, Abdul Aleem Siddiqui
in March 1950 marked the beginning of this separation.
The former Hindu/Muslim co-operation that had cha-
racterised such groups like the East Indian National Congress
and the East Indian National Association now virtually
ceased and there were increased visits from Hindu and
Muslim missionaries. It was in the logic of things, therefore,
that the predominantly Hindu People's Democratic Party
(which later became the Democratic Labour Party) offered
little attraction to the Muslims in the land.

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There were those who could see what was happening
and where it would lead to but whose genuine ignorance of
the under-currents that operated prevented them from
making any really constructive attempts to bridge the inter-
religious or inter-racial gaps that were gradually widening.
One such person was Dr. Patrick Solomon who in 1949
founded the Indo-Caribbean movement but could go no
further than clearly defining the problem:
We have got to face this fact, that the Indians and
Afro-West Indians form the largest sections of our cos-
mopolitan community and whether we like it or
whether we do not, whether the Indians like it or
whether they do not, there will and there can be no
harmony and no progress in this country as long as
these two groups are suspicious, one of the other.
To Albert Gomes and his colleagues, equally unable to
fully comprehend the problem, the solution lay, as John La
Guerre points out, in drawing up a nationalist programme to
which the East Indians would subscribe as a matter of
course. Eien as noted a political analyst as C. L. R. James
could say in 1959 that since the East Indians suffered no
legal disabilities there was no problem. The 1961 elections
proved how wrong James was, after which he conceded that
East Indians were a separate social category and had to be
viewed differently. Williams and his PNMites were part of a
tradition. Politics in Trinidad and Tobago was, in their view,
British politics and in British politics one did not meet with
this Oriental dimension.
The Afro-Saxons were prisoners of the British
tradition and could not cope with anything outside of this.

Albert Gomes

And Williams, from the 1960's made the same mistake as his
19th century predecessors; what he could not understand, he
too condemned. In one speech he called East Indians "a
hostile and recalcitrant minority" and when Winston
Mahabir, then a party member, arrived during the course of
the said speech the Doctor sought to differentiate between
good and bad East Indians. One more example of this atti-
tude will suffice. In: a pamphlet Responsibilities of the Party
Member published in 1960 Williams told party members that:

The Indians as a group may not be with us and may be
against us. So what? We beat them in 1956 and we will
beat them again,
As the country neared independence and as the pros-
pect of power became real, the racial antagonism between the
two groups, kept in ,'heck singe the 19th century by the
restraining presence of the British, now began to surface. As
discussions regarding the future of the nation were held both

in Trinidad and in London, fear of African domination
seemed uppermost in the East Indian mind. The Indian Asso-
ciation which sent a lobby to London expressed this fear in a
document entitled The Hammer and the Anvil (1962):

The Indian community in Trinidad and Tobogo is
placed in dire peril at this phase of thie history of the
territory. The peril is so great that the whole Indian
community is in danger of suppression and ultimate
destruction. This state of affairs has come about as a
result of a sinister design by certain over-ambitious
politicians whose aim is to reduce members of the
Indian community to the status of secondclass
citizens. The essential features of the design can be
seen in the policy of the ruling Government Party in
the fields of government, employment, housing, edu-
cation and the granting of scholarships.

This fear of victimisation of the East Indian community
seemed even stronger than Bhadase Maraj's usual loyalty to
the government. This was seen in his strong opposition to the
idea of a Republic mooted by the government in 1969.


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WE MUST look finally, at the East Indian re-
action to the last serious attempt at political change
in Trinidad and Tobago, namely the uprising of 1970.
Most of us who are here today were also here in 1970
.. d were either disgusted or thrilled by these events,
," **:, depending on our view of society. So that it would
not be necessary to recount those events in detail.
Our primary concern here is with the East Indian
'.. response to the Black Power movement.
Despite the movement's laudable attempt to unite
East Indians and Africans on a platform of their common
economic exploitation, the movement came too late to
achieve the immediate results then desired. We cannot wipe
away the animosities of a century in one month especially
; when there are people in the society who have a vested
. interest in preserving these animosities. Nor could the very
name of the movement or the upriased fist, importations
from North America, commend themselves to the East In-
dian community. Hence the much-needed uprising of the
East Indian masses never materialised.






:. ; This is not to say, however, that the East Indians have
not reacted to the Black Power movement. A large number of
them have seen in the belligerent attitude of some of the
less-informed brothers in the Movement a threat to the East
Indian way of life. And the East Indians are now reacting to
this threat. This has taken the form of a kind of cultural
Renaissance among this group. Attendance at Hindi and
Arabic classes have markedly increased; there is a renewed
pride in and support of Indian radio and television pro-
grammes and yo ung professional East Indians are embarking
on assistance projects in the depressed and depressing back-
lands where the majority of the East Indians live.
The Black Power movement, however, has also made a
far more positive impact than most other groups which
sought East Indian support. This impact has been significant
because it squarely posed to the East Indian the problems of
identity and the racial factor in Trinidad politics. Anti this is
an additional reason why the East Indian community is going
Through its own "Black Power" phase the revival of rituals,
' increased religious fervour, name-changing (back to Indian
names) and a return to Indian forms of dress. The political
implications of this revival can be dangerous.as in the '50's or
S can, depending upon direction, lead to increased inter-racial


SIn conclusion, an attempt will be made to reiterate
some of the major theses postulated in this paper. The East
Indian has traditionally seen himself on the defensive in a

society which, nurtured on the Western tradition, made little
allowance for the holistic Indian view of life or the Indian
pattern of rural organisation. Thus disadvantaged, he sought
fulfilment in the religio/cultural activities which he brought
to the region and in building up himself economically. Even
today he either tends to withdraw or take a conservative
position whenever any issue of national importance is being
discussed Federation, Independence, Republicanism or
racial discrimination in the private sector.


At the same time we must note that the so-called East
Indian "problem" is equally that of the wider society and is
as much an economic as it is a political problem. In a society
that equated whiteness with wealth and social prestige the
East Indian like his African brother had to fall back on
his on ingenuity and resourcefulness as he sought upward
mobility in a white-dominated world. As both groups strove
to find a place in a society that belonged to neither of them
they kept a su..picious eye on each other's advances. And this
mutual envy was re-enforced by their cultural strangeness to
each other. Ironically, it.was the era of self-government and
independence ushered in by the PNM which drove further
apart a traditionally polarised society. Instead of using their
newly-won political power to unite the races against the
colonial economy, the PNM concentrated in capturing the
administrative machinery leaving economic control in the
hands of the traditional masters.
The result of this has been the frustration of the
African population. F'br political power without economic
power leads to a feeling of insecurity. And many Africans
laid the blame tor their powerlessness not on the colonial
economy but on the lEast Indian community who were
"taking over the country." Anyone who cared to look at the
real economic situation or to read Lloyd Best on income
levels based on race would see the falsity of such a charge.
But in an attempt to "redness" this "imbalance" post 1956
governments have made advancement for East Indians in
most major public institutions (civil service, statutory
authorities, communications, defence force and the judiciary)
very difficult. Barred in large measure from both the public
and private sectors the East Indian has had to depend on his
own resources to advance himself; hence the tendency of a
number of East Indian firms to employ mainly East Indians.
Politically he has had to form his own organizations to de-
fend his group interests (hence the formation of the late and
present D.L.P.'s).
If our history has any warning for us, it is possibly
that our administrators and past politicians have attempted
to separate cultural and economic considerations from
politics. But this attempt to draw a line where none can be
drawn, to see society only in terms of black and white has
clouded so many of tile substantive issues and has contri-
buted much to the presence of alienated groups within the


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SANTIAGO DE CHILE /'-'s. '.1"1.

MORIF than one \ear has passed since I)r.
Sal\ador .llende became president of Chile and
since the members of the People's Unity coalition
formed ai go\ erinent.
Iheir pr.og'r.imn'll of structural changes made cxtriordin-
.ir\ progress in 1071. The big copper mines, the nitrate,
iron. siecl. coal. and cement of Chile were nationalized,
thus gniing the Chilean state control of the nation's basic
industrics. complementing already state-owned sectors,
such as petroleum. electric power, railroads, a large part of
urban transport. etc.
.\lso nationalized were 16 private commercial banks,
both n.iational nd foreign, giving the S ate control of more
than SO percent of credits. Placed under State control \were
miny industrial monopolies, such as textiles, beer, copper
nianu!3ft-itures electronics, etc.; in all more than 70 indusL-
rial companies were expropriated, intervened or national-
ized. and now constitute part of the social ownership area
which will take the lead in developing the nation. Also
created was the National Distribution Enterprise which will
rationalize wholesale trade.
The .Agrarian Reform advanced swiftly in 1971 with the
expropriation of some 1,300 latifundia, with a total area ot
2.3 million hectares.
With regard to foreign trade, the Central Bank of Chile
totally controls the foreign exchange
supplies of the country, in addition to
85 percent of exports and 45 percent of
In another important field of econo-
mic policy developed by the Allende
government during 1971, in the raising
of the living standards of the great
masses of people, and the more com-
plete satisfaction of their social needs,
no less important triumphs were regis-
Compared with 1970, when the cost
of living rose by 35 percent, in 1971 it
decreased by 22 percent. The only indi-
cator that marked an important de-
crease is the gross national investment,
which dropped by eight percent com-
pared with that of 1970. This clearly
reflects the reaction of managerial sec-
tors to the policy of nationalizing re-
sources and the strategic productive
sources of the country.


According to the Planning Office of
the Presidency of the Republic, "the
essential aims of the economic plans
designed for 1972 consist in developing
and strengthening the revolutionary
changes begun in 1971 and, at the same
time, to continue the expansion of the
national economy."
To consolidate the social ownership
area, several lines of action are being
planned. On one hand, to complete the
expropriation of the remaining latifun-
dia, scheduled before June this year,
and to give preference to the creation of
Agrarian Reform Centres. On the other
hand in the financial field, plans are to
complete the nationalization of private
banking and put into operation a new
banking structure.
In industry the intention is to liqui-
date the industrial monopolies, defining
three areas of activity, state, mixed and
private; in the field of trade activity, to
eliminate the distribution of monopolies


When you bu
refrigerator yo
never be sorry
chose the b
You'll neve
sorry you cl
with Westingh<
you get fam
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The nationalized banks will permit the State to control 80 percent of credit

in 1972 via the transfer of wholesale
companies to the national distribution
enterprise; in the field of foreign trade,
to, advance the nationalization of this
sector in order to allow the State con-
trol of foreign exchange and to plan and
control foreign trade.
Finally, and as a result of the growth
of the social sector of the economy, the
plan is to begin to create a planning

system for production and inv(
with full participation of the
The opposition through the
mists had no alternative
accept the global statistics abst
dealing the economic results of
of People's Unity Government.
Of course, these results are
ing them happy. To resolve th
diction in favour of their o0

you can be

sure if its


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you ,-


No better terms



policy and to win public opinion, they
have asked their own economists for an
analysis aimed at coming to conclusions
in agreement with the opposition's
According to those economists, the
economic policy of the Allende govern-
ment has not created the conditions
necessary for the "free" functioning of
national and foreign private companies,
and of the state companies controlled
by the representatives of private com-
panies, in short, "economy" to them
demands "margins of security."


The right is confronting a constant
process of nationalization of resources
and of the country's large companies.
This is the will of the immense majority
in the country and the rightwing had no
alternative but to support publicly the
nationalization of the U.S. owned cop-
per mines and industries. Nor can the
right openly oppose the nationalization
of the monopolies. However, they are
launching their "scientists" to the
The right is preparing the conditions
for an eventual return to power, to re-
take control of the companies now in
the hands of collectives, to retake con-
trol of all economic resources and those
of their imperialist partners, even if it
requires the use of violence. History has
given us many examples to confirm this


The plans drawn up for 1972 indi-
cate that in all probability the situation
will become critical in certain sectors,
especially in the situation between the
availability of goods and services and
':.>. the new needs created by a larger pur-
Y. chasing power. The policy of raising
S wages and salaries on an average of 54%,
on one hand, and treasury expenses, on
the other, will lead to a greater income
for the population. Until now, this
phenomenon was countered by the in-
crease in supply, especially by industry.
Even if the private sector and especi-
ally the state sector respond to growing
demand in 1972, by means of invest-
ments aimed at expansion and establish-
ing new plants, it is probable that
:; relative shortages will take pla.e. How-
ever, the shortages will be caused by a
people eating and dressing better, living
and educating themselves better.
The decrease in copper prices on the
ts. world market, which curiously took
-place after Chile nationalized the U.S.-
estments, owned mines, is another adverse ele-
workers. mnent in the economic situation for
ir econo- In short, the resources necessary for
but to
but to greater consumption and greater invest-
eracly re- meant could face limitations in regard to
one year satisfying demand. There could also be a
not mak- tendency for prices to rise.
e contra-

The technocrats in the administra-
tion of the state sector, confronted with
economically difficult and politically
defining situations which will have im-
portant effects on the development and
speed of the Chilean revolutionary pro-
cess, are beginning to preach retreat and
moderation. Evidently, one must have
courage and audacity to face and over-
come the break in the political balance
and to advance along the road of revolu-
For the Chilean economy in 1972 it
will not be an easy year. The implemen-
tation of the line announced by the
Planning Office of the Presidency will
very probably lead to tensions in the
political situation.



L'..l1. Road. San,,re (;r:lmc.

lonene: 66S-2583



Minty Alley by C. L. R. James BOOK REVIEW Merle Hodge

THE novel Minty Alley des-
cribes an encounter between West
Indian working class and West In-
dian middle class. James rather la-
bouriously arranges such an en-
counter, in an exposition which is
far too elaborate. The novel might
safely have begun at Chapter Two.
The straightforward, unabashed
filling in of background detail and
character explanation place the
book in a tradition of more self-
conscious writing than we are used
to today. But then James' literary
models, as revealed in Beyond a
Boundary, were not the moderns.
I do believe however that if James
were to sit down in 1972 and
write his second novel it would
still be a little pedantic in flavour.
But this is the only major
defect of the work. Minty Alley is a
very successful novel, despite the ele-
ment of over-selfconsciousness in it, due
on the ne hand to the peri od in which
it was written (when James left for
England in 1932 it was already com-
pleted), and due on the other hand to
the fact that James is essentially an in-
tellectual, a theorist.
We may blame the period for the
occasional disconcerting "footnote" ex-
planation jolting the flow of-the nar-
rative and suggesting that the whole
effort might be addressed to an
audience of foreign students of Carib-
bean sociology:
At the next stop someone came into
the tram and, as is the habit in the
West Indies, started to tell the con-
ductor all about it. (p. 161).

Today's Caribbean writer, although the
greater part of his reading public is of
necessity abroad, does not write about
our peculiarly Caribbean experience in
quite the same-instructive tone.

Ramchand in his introduction
supplies the necessary details of the his-
torical perspective into which the novel
is to be placed. Minty Alley belongs to a
school of innovation in Caribbean
writing the introduction of the Carib-
bean working-class into Caribbean
writing, at a time when our working-
class was far from being accepted as a
respectable subject of literature.
It may have been this controversy in
the ranks of the literary (who were by
definition the educated, and therefore
of the middle class) which prompted
James to write a 'working-class novel'
whose essential theme would be the
coming together of middle class and
working-class. But Haynes, the repre-
sentative of the middle class, is cer-
tainly not only a part of James' theme;
he is also the result of James' need to
take his due intellectual's distance from
his subject, the better to theorize upon


Ramchand deems Haynes "a plaus-
ible character," and considers that he is
"not merely a narrative device." 'But
Haynes is precisely the one character
in the book who does not emerge as a
person. He is quite formless and un-
interesting. James sets out to chart
Haynes' road to self-knowledge, to show
his personality unfolding at this contact
with a vital, robust level of society, this
encounter with "real" life. James for
example shows the highly educated
Haynes benefiting from the common-
sense advice of sixteen-year-old Maisie
who surely left school in Sixth Stan-
Since the day when Maisie's advice had
proved so successful and he had felt
himself a stronger man than old
Carritt, Haynes had always borne it in
mind and used it at critical moments.
(p. 199)

But the progress of Haynes does not
really excite our interest. It is the life of
the yard, James' superb presentation of
this slice of Caribbean reality, that
makes it an acutely interesting novel.
Haynes remains an abstraction, a sound-
board against which the real person-



alities of the novel are revealed. He is
merely the seeing-eye of the whole
action. One retains a picture of him in
the fixed position of peeping through
the chink in his wall at the activity of
the yard. The humanization of the
cloistered, alienated Caribbean
middle-class by the working-class
remains in the novel only a stated

Little by little she was making a human
creature out of him. (p. 202)


But the thesis best illustrated in
James' novel, and unwittingly so, is that
of the schizophrenia of the black Carib-
bean middle class. Often it is difficult to
believe that the same person who com-
posed the pithy, vibrant speech of the
yard could be responsible for the so fre-
quently stilted and superfluous language
of the commentary. There is the same
contrast between Haynes speech and
the speech of the yard. Haynes' very art-
ificial expression often descends into
unbelievable coziness. In his first and
long-prepared attempt at intimacy with
Maisie, when he makes a pass at her by
taking hold of her shoulders and pre-
tending to move her aside out of his
way, his words ate a classic in unwitting
"Come on, Maisie," he said heartily,
"you are impeding my progress." (!)
(p. 146).

James' failure to "make a human
creature out of" Haynes, exposes, I
think, the myth of the black West In-
dian middle class, the superficiality of
their middle class formation. Their roots
are working-class. They have been
hoisted into the middle class by edu-
cation an imposed English classical
education. Their working-class back-
ground is not far away.


James' portrayal of the yard cha-
racters is utterly compassionate, utterly
realistic he writes of them from a
position of'perfect familiarity and sen-
sitivity. He writes of them comfortably.
But when he tries to be the detached,

middle-class observer, when he takes the
commentator's stand to look upon the
lower class, he becomes artificial and
pedantic; and when he tries to create a
"middle class character," his resources
fail him.
His "middle class character" is de-
void of character he is flat and tone-
less, he does not come to life: because
James does not know him as he knows
Maisie and Mrs. Atwell and Benoit, for
the simple reason that such a middle
class personage does not really exist.
Haynes is a creation of theory. He does
not have the same vibrant existence as
the others, rooted in reality. It is hard
to imagine, for example, that Haynes
could be of such middle class rigidity as
to be incapable of ever lapsing into dia-


James describes the inter-relations of
the characters of the yard with a sure
touch, with deep psychological insight.
But his portrayal of the relationship bet-
ween Haynes and the other tenants is
unrealistic. The extreme awe in which
he is held by the entire yard is quite
unlikely. Surely the ordinary worker is
more self-possessed than this, even be-
fore the "middle class," and especially
when the middle class encounters him
on his own ground. James lets the whole
yard fall at the feet of this young and
obviously inexperienced man, makes
them accept him as confidante, arbi-
trator, guide and mentor, all on account
of his perfect English, it would seem,
for this is about all there is in the
situation to distinguish him from his co-
tenants in these shabby lodgings. It is
like old European mythology the
Princess and the pea, royalty asserting
itself under all circumstances, patron-
izing, commanding respect.
At times one wonders whether
James, in the novel, does not share
middleclass ideasof inherent superiority.
Haynes' condescension is quite distaste-
ful at times he is a paragon of
"manners" and "good breeding," a
shining example to the yard, in his pre-
sence they put on their best behaviour
and their best language.
The intended thesis of the novel is
that the meeting between middle class





ant lower class is mutually beneficial -
Haynes' experience of life is enrichened
by his sojourn in the yard, and Haynes
in turn brings his superiority to the
service of the plebs solving their pro-
blems, preaching sermons, dishing out
advice. In one scene enlightened middle
class in a few words dispells pernicious
superstition of befuddled masses: Mrs.
Rouse admits to Haynes that she em-
ploys the services of a clairvoyant, and
immediately has her life-long belief in
his powers shaken by a gentle scolding
from Haynes (p. 241). At their
Christmas dinner, where Haynes is auto-
matically given a position of honour, he
rises readily to address the table because
he is "confident of his intellectual su-
periority" (p. 150). One is happy to
have been spared the text of his dis-


But is is in fact the characters of the
yard who emerge superior. In Haynes'
conversations with them, for example
the contrast between the richness and
the dramatic range of their expression
and the humdrum sterility of his
grammar-book English is a delightful re-
versal of literature in which the pro-
tagonist who is white or upper-class
speaks a superior language, English,
while the natives or backdrop characters
communicate their simpleton thoughts
by means of a rudimentary pidgin I
am thinking for example of Mittel-
holzer's slaves and their owners.
James' strongest point in this novel is
perhaps his masterly handling of the
modulations of our dialect. In this field
his powers of observation are acute. The
dialect allows of a whole spectrum of
expression, and the best of our Carib-
bean writers use this to advantage.
James is fully aware of the flexibility
and subtlety of Trinidadians speech, for
example the varying degrees of ad-
mixture with standard English according
to character mood, situation.

There is the admirably recorded
speech of Mrs. Atwell and Mrs. Rouse,
translating a stubborn dignity daily
bruised by the ignominy of their
situation. Miss Atwell's battle to keep
head and shoulders above her circum-
stances is well brought out for example
in one of the many quarrel scenes of the
yard, when, having entered to take the
part of Mrs. Rouse against Benoit, she
retreats to salvage her pride after Benoit
has coarsely insulted her:
"Let me keep far from you, man," she
said. "God goin' to strike you down.
'Cause you see me as I am here you
think I am your sex. In my day, you
think I would have looked at anything
like you? You has had no upbringing. I
has been brought up good education
and religious training' in my Sunday
school. I know what's what. I know
what's respect. If Jesus Christ come
down! When God take a turn in your
skin you going' to knbw something.
Dragging the name of the Saviour into
your dirty goings-on. I am a sinner, but
I know my place. Go on, Mr. Benoit,
go on rejoicin' in you' evil deeds. You'
Calvary is awaiting' you.' (p. 81)
Her speech strains up into a comic (and
pathetic) hypercorrectness which is her
assertion of her social superiority over
Benoit, but which of course cannot be
maintained in her agitation. She is
better able to maintain her language of
dignity in another situation, where she
again makes reference to her edu-
cational standing, but here in a tone of
deference. She has come to borrow a
book from Haynes (her reading is part
of her struggle to pull herself out of her
"Mr. Haynes, the last one was good, a
little high for me, but good. I is not a
person of much education and I knows
nothing about stories and so on. I used
to be a great reader of novels in my
day. That is a long time now. And
novels isn't serious books. Though
some of them has good morals. But I
pass through the Universal Spelling
Book at school, Mr. Haynes, and when
you pass through that you knows
something, you can take it from me.
High, high class. But how do men thing
of these things, Mr. Haynes? Edu-
cation. That's what it is. Education. If
I had a child I would sacrifice anything
to give him education. Thanks very
much, Mr. Haynes, I'll take every care
of this one." (p. 152)

Cont'don PAGE 12


From Page 11

Miss Atwell's speech is a triumph of ob-
servation on the part of the novelist.
James has registered it without a flaw -
semi-educated but pompous, striving for
correctness and overshooting the mark,
liberally flavoured with maxims and
quotations, often comically stilted and
cliche-ridden, though not in the manner
of Haynes.


James in fact achieves great heights
of comedy in the speech of the yard,
whereas his attempts at humour and
tongue-in-check from the com-
mentator's stand often fall flat into
facetiousness. Maisie's language, in parti-
cular, is irresistible -her tongue is sharp,
her repartee instant:

"You want cooling down, you," said
Benoit, good-humourcdly. "I notice
that since the other day."
"Maybe. But you bet I not going to
give you the job, said Maisie and
walked away. (p. 76)

Maisie is invincible, self-possessed, and
this is reflected in her uninhibited, un-
affected speech she is utterly devoid
of any hint of sycophancy, she is a law
unto herself:

"the days of slavery past. My tongue is
my own to say what I like." (p. 217)

James' characterization is strong. His
characters (with the exception of
Haynes) show a great complexity and
depth. These are no creations' oftheory
- they are living, observed people. They
have a robust, autonomous existence.
James draws them with sympathy but
no sentimentalization. His social con-
science, his obvious commiseration with
the deprived does not lead him to
idealize them, to make suffering inno-
cents of them. He portrays with equal
honesty distasteful aspects of their per-


Maisie, for example, who is heart-
warming and entertaining, perhaps the
heroine of the novel, is capable of the
most devastating cruelty and dis-
honesty. Her inhuman treatment of Mrs.
Rouse and of the inoffensive and sweet-
natured Philomen is quite shocking. Con-
versely, Benoit, a thoroughly unpleasant
character, the 'villain' of the piece, can
also be presented in a sympathetic light
- he is allowed to expose the main-
springs of his behaviour, his unfaithful-
ness and cruelty to Mrs. Rouse. In a
scene where he chats with Haynes he
seeks to explain away his deserting Mrs.
Rouse for the nurse. He reveals to
Haynes that the nurse once saved his life
by,"turning" a stroke he had suffered;
and his explanation ends on a kind of
plea for Haynes' understanding and

".. if wasn't that the nurse was on
the spot and do everything, I might
have been a dead man or a cripple. I
can't forget the nurse, man and
you can see for yourself that she is a
nice woman." (p. 63)


James' sensitivity, his perfect obser-
vation, make the novel a masterpiece of
realism.The picture he presents of this
social milieu is an accurate one. He de-
picts with great insight and truthfulness
our male-female relationships, relations
between adults and children, racial atti-
tudes, the peculiar blend of lip-service
to Christianity and belief in occult
"science" which constitutes our reli-
gious life.
Minty Alley is a successful novel.
After the slow opening chapter it moves
forward at a satisfying tempo, moving

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to its very effective climax the final,
irreparable clash between Maisie and
Mrs. Rouse. Benoit's "retribution"
follows, as a subsidiary climax, part of a
well-prepared denouement to the nar-
rative. One by one the conflicts of the
yard come to a head, the population of
the yard is depleted by death and de-
parture. There is no, deus ex machine -
Benoit's history of strokes has been an
important element of the plot, and so
this very dramatic turn is no artifice;
Philomen's mysterious departure is plau-
sibly explained. Maisic's departure is en-
tirely in character she is leaving the is
land on a bold venture. ostensibly as
assistant to a ship stewardess:

SShle likes to get young coloured girls
who are nice. The white officers like
"So you mean, Maisic
"Mr. Haynes. 1 want a job and I am
going to get it. The captain and the
whole crew can't get anything from me
unless I want to give them. The boat is
in and if I get the job I am going. You
have to sign papers that you are
coming back. 'But when that boat hit
New York and I put my foot on shore,
if it wait for me before it leave, it's
going to wait a damned long time."

The end of the novel (for the last
chapter is as superfluous as the first) is
the very touching scene in which the
three remaining tenants sit together in
subdued light, a very fitting moment for
a slow curtain fall or dimming out of
The three of them sat and looked at
one another and were silent. All the
turmoil and passion which had raged
and stormed in No. 2 during the past
year seemed to have come to a final
conclusion, leaving them as if stranded
on a high beach.
Mrs. Rouse sat in an upright chair, her
fingers clasped in her lap, her shoulders

bent and leaning forward, very tired,
but no sign of mental conflict on her
face, only a clam determination. Miss
Atwell sat in a rocking chair, but up-
right and sharp as a terrier on watch.
Haynes sat in another little wooden
chair by the door. An old kerosene
lamp flickered on a small table in the
centre. The room contained nothing
else. All the neat furniture Haynes had
seen on the first day had been sold or
pawned. (p. 237)

The whole scene is handled by the
writer in a sensitive but controlled
manner, never descending into mawkish-
ness, attesting to James' descriptive
genius. For he handles with equal skill
and realism other episodes which might
easily have lent themselves to over-
description, over-reaction, such as the
nurse beating her child, or the pitched
battle between Maisie and Mrs. Rouse.
James achieves a perfect balance bet-
ween Haynes' horrified reactions on the
one hand and the author's own un-
emotional but vivid descriptions of
these harrowing scenes.


And it is in fact the episodic cha-
racter of the novel, its progress from
one vividly-described situation or event
to another, that makes for its distinctly
dramatic quality. For in addition a large




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place is given to dialogue, and the
"actors" move on and off the stage in
quick succession. as if taking up cues:
Mrs. Rouse had not left a minute when
Maisie came in. (p. 191)
Then Miss Atwell appeared as timely as
if she was a character in a play. (p. 87)
The impression one gains of a drama
being performed on a stage is also the
result of the entire action taking place
within one confined space, the yard, or
moretprecisely within the vision and
hearing of Haynes. Almost everything
that happens outside the yard we know
of only by report, and the reports are
usually made to Haynes. The first and
last chapters at once become extraneous
appendages prologue and epilogue.
The physical structure of the yard is a
perfect set, with doors and windows
opening out onto a central area, and the
audience sharing Haynes' vantage-point.
The reappearance of Minty Alley
must be hailed as a literary event, and
due credit must be paid to John La
Rose and his New Beacon Venture for
their valuable work in bringing back
into circulation a number of crucial
texts by Caribbean writers, helping us to
fill in the background of a now
vigorously-growing Caribbean literary
Minty Alley was written 40 years
ago, and James has declared it to be his
"prentice hand" (Beyond a Boundary,
p. 119), which was to have been
followed by another novel, his "real
magnum opus" (op. cit.). James
possesses an instinctice novelist's touch
in many areas, and as part of the tribute
we pay to Minty Alley on the occasion
of its reprinting, might we not also ex-
press the hope that the promised second
novel has not been shelved forever.

111 Frederick St., & Campus St. Augustine




7his report from PRI/'.\S. L..1TI\'A, the Cuban news agency, is by Lionel Martin, an America;r jornalist who has spent a decade in Cuba.


LAST YEAR was a watershed year for Cuba as regards the national
economy, what is called the "mass line" and foreign policy.
In each of these spheres there were clearly defined approaches which indicated
Cuba had entered a new period. In each sphere one can clearly see the policy lines that
will probably continue to develop deep into the present decade.
The general feeling of Cubans is that the down-to-earth policy on all fronts led to
positive gains which augur greater successesinthe future. There is little bragging about
success, however. It is recognized that the achievements of 1971 will have to be
consolidated in the years to come.
After the over-emphasis on the 10 million ton harvest in 1969-70 which hurt most
other branches of the economy, there was a general re-evaluation of policy in this area.
It was decided that the sugar harvest would have to be accomplished with a much
smaller work force than the 500,000 used in the 10 million ton effort so that other
sectors of the economy could develop in accord with the nation's needs.
Last year's harvest (1970-71) used considerably fewer workers and production
dropped to 5.9 million tons. This year's harvest (1971 72), using an even smaller
work force, will be even less, perhaps by as much as a million tons. Luckily for the
Cuban economy the price of sugar on the world market is high this year, which
compensates somewhat for the mediocre output.
The drop in sugar production was
not a surprise. It was actually projected
after the self-criticism follow wing the har-
vest for the 10 million tons. The idea is
to consolidate the industry on a more
efficient basis. During the two harvests
since the monster one the kinks have
been removed from the new equipment
in the sugar mills which had been rushed
into service prematurely.
In the sugar mills, stress has been put
on improving the technical skills of the
workers. More rational methods of
organization for cane cutting have been
worked out. Last year for the first time
the Australian method of burning and
cutting was used extensively.

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-< "" -"" "- -- ""\ *"'A "- -, ,

... .. -.

Since the 1969-70 harvest Cuba has diverted labour considerably from the sugar
industry to other sectors of the economy so as to stimulate development all round.

j i1972


In the light industrial sphere, produc-
tion rose a little above its 1966-1970
average. IHow ever it was a full 20o' over
1970. Recuperation in this sphere has
been evident, although not in a dramatic
way, in the availabilityof more consumer
products on the shelves.
Although no statistics have been
given, it is obvious in Cuba that food
production has risen also. Cuban homes
have more root vegetables, bananas and
fish than in the previous three years.
The improvement is also seen in the
thousands of workers' cafeterias (50
cents a meal) and in the restaurants
where there is a greater variety of foods.
Because there is more food in the home.
Cubans will tell you, it is now easier to
get a meal in the restaurant where lines
this year have shorter than in previous


The improvements in food and in-
dustrial production last year were in
large part due to the introduction of
more efficient managerial methods plus
a higher degree of worker participation
in the solution of production problems.
Production in thousands of work
centres has been studied and work
norms have been established for each
worker, an idea which Che Guevara ad-
vocated and applied years ago when he
was Minister of Industries. Also, a
national policy has been applied which
prevents workers from leaving their
essential jobs for voluntary work in the
countryside if it would mean hurting

Overall, one observes that sufficient
workers and materials were in the right
place at the right time more often than
before, an indication of increased effi-
cacy of planning as well as in supply and
workforce logistics.
Problems of labour discipline still,
exist and this hurts production on many
fronts. In light industry, the average ab-


More food, of a wider variety, is now available in homes, restaurants and workers' cafeterias.

senteeism was 12ou last year. This reflec-
ted an improvement it was even
higher in 1 70. Absenteeism has been
fought in various w. s. The most effec-
tive w.is has been the establishment of
worker-elected labour courts which have
the power to smntion their fellow work-
ers for breaches of l.bour discipline.

In 1971. the v.igrancy iw aio called
the "anti-lo.ifing" lw. w. s pp!ied for
the first time. This l.w re' uires .iil men
of working age to have % lob. I : applica-
tion succeeded in ferreting out into pro-
ductice \ ork tens of thousands of
Last \C er, the government began
instituting the still incompletely defined

industrial equipment repairs
21 Mathura St.
St. James

ALSO: Fishing nets and Co ids.
42 Indepeniaence S. Phone o2-37424. 5 Cnarlotte St. P.O.S.

"policy of prices". The consequences of
this policy are evidenced in two exam-
ples : on the substantial increase for
rum (from four to 20 pesos), a non-
essential item, and on the introduction
of moderate payment for certain essen-
tials such as snacks or meals on the job
which in some places had been given
Raising the rum prices resulted in
creating a kind of rationing by price.
Since rum prices have risen, for in-
stance, it has become available in the
stores at all times. Another reason for
the policy of prices is to take some of
the excess money out of circulation.
Most homes have at least two people
working and there are just not enough
items in the stores to absorb all the in-
come. Excess money also encourages
the development of a black market.
Still another reason over which there
is a great deal of speculation is the idea
that the Cuban government wants to be-
gin giving money back its value.


If indcd the policy of prices is ex-
tended all along the board. money will
begin to gain more value in the eves of
the consumer. It will, in fact. become
more necessary if one wants to enjoy
ceft.tn luxury items or entertainment.
Sone observers have said that this

would amount to an introduction of
material incentives in contrast to the
Cubans' previous tendency to encourage
moral work incentives based on political
The face is, there has always been a
degree of material incentive, more so in
some spheres of the economy than in
others, among small farmers for instan-
ce. The Cuban position has been that
consciousness should never cease to play
a leading role, but it has never put forth
the idea of an abrupt and utopian end
to the money system.


I he fact that rents were not totally
abolished for all housing in 1970 as had
been expected was an early harbinger of
the policy of prices. I however, at the
same time, it is totally unlikely that bus
fares will rise (fare is a nickel), that
rents will go up (the highest is 10% of
salary and in many cases there is no rent
payment at all) or that tipping will be
There is a broad margin for man-
oeuvring on the frontier between
material and moral incentives. Any
changes in the relative weight given to
one or another of these will become
clear as 1972 progresses.
It is unlikely the Cubans will ever
permit a situation in which material
incentives become the only driving force
of the economy.


eI at:

J: I

25 & 87 E.M. Rd., T'puna.

Suitings, Clothing Footwear.

Tel -662-4909, 4873.


i .:.



Page 14 TAPIA





EVEN as the Guardian readers
on the morning of March 17 read
Owen C.Mathurin's review, "Two
Years of Tapia," the police were
searching the home of magistrate
Neville Clarke.
If Mr. Mathurin's warrant for a
search of 23 issues of Tapia spanning'
over two years was to "make an assess-
ment," then it appears he abused his
pundit's privilege and showed up the
hollowness of his reputation as the
grand old man in journalism. This was
most instructive to me at least, who as a
callow young "apprentice reporter" was
once beholden to the sage in his status
as "Editorial Adviser" in the Express.

Fortunately, we don't at this time
need to hold a Commission of Inquiry.
If it has been doing anything at all over
the two years of its existence, Tapia has
been investigating the society in which
we find ourselves. Our findings have per-
haps been long-winded "for what they
had to say," but though we may not
have shown the journalist's flair for con-
ciseness of expression, we have not tried
to get away with the sketchiness and
superficiality that could pass in the
Guardian for a "review."
Certainly we don't need to make any
excuse for saying what we believe is dis-
coverable from the evidence. Tapia has
seen it as its responsibility to present
the population with the analyses and
discussions on important issues that
does not begin with the contemptuous
assumption that the people want to be
"entertained" which is another way
of saying they don't want to read long
articles or anything serious. Our evi-
dence is that more people are reading
Tapia (our circulation has grown three-
fold in the two years) and back issues
are always in demand.


Lennox Grant

them so. In any case at least one ot the
',fictions" was offered in Tapia not as a
fact but as an opinion. But to clear a
line of retreat from this position he next
suggests they might be only "trivial in-
accuracies." Yet he considers them
worthy of note because, presumably,
Tapia's readers would be misinformed.


A carping, pedantic attitude is sub-
stituted for thought. Even with those
articles with which he found favour, he
could say nothing positive "there
were undoubtedly some of interest and
merit"; he found "special interest" in
Brinsley Samaroo, Fitz Baptiste, and" it
would have been interesting to get a re-
buttal of Solomon's views"... This kind
of gratutitous appraisal in colourless,
safe, terms is really a kind of intellectual
laziness, a proof that the reviewer did
not understand what he read.

But with all this the article is laced
with a kind of petty nastiness precisely
because it deals with nothing substantial
in the two volumes of Tapia Mathurin
had "rapidly read." Through innuendo
and sneer, or dead-pan comments, he
has tried to make it appear that Tapia is
hard to read but evinces certain distaste-
ful characteristics if ever one takes the
trouble. The most inexplicable charge is
that "Tapia is not above a touch of mis-
chief." This mischief as it turns out was

in a statement attributed to Arthur
Lewis about which Mathurin himself'
had "his doubts."
But a closer reading would indicate
not that Mr. Mathurin did not know
better, or did not suspect he could be
challenged on several grounds. He makes
sure to cover himself by conceding a
point or two here and there, and when
he pronounces on something as
',fiction'. he does not himself essay to
correct the record, perhaps for fear of
being proven wrong later.


He admits Lloyd Best had given a
definition of "Doctor Politics" but com-
ments quite irrelevantly that "his
reiteration of the term does not do him
any good.'. The issue here would be to
see whether, according to his own defi-
nition, Best himself qualifies to be
called "Doctor", but Mathurin skirts the
issue altogether with characteristic in-
Without attempting to articulate the
concept of the unconventional press,
Mathurin falsely implies that we claim
to be unprecedented in the field. He
goes on to describe the unconventional
press as "gadfly publications" purveying
"propaganda." Being forced to admit
though that such "propaganda" had
found a steady readership, he suggests
that it has been satisfying a need. He
does not however answer the question
what has created this need and what sus-
tains it?
Indeed he could not attempt to
answer that question because this would
lead to an examination of himself and
his own position in the conventional


Owen C. Mathurin begins by ex-
plaining how he came to do the review.
He had been asked a favour it seems.
Altogether apart from the fact that how
he came to do it is irrelevant, it is a
fundamentally dishonest technique un-
worthy of any journalist with half as
many years in the business. For what it
does is to leave the writer with the loop-
hole to escape attack "I said I had
been asked to do it" and "I said it had
only been a rapid reading."
The fact that he was away when
Tapia was launched is uninteresting to
anybody and a cheap excuse for not
doing the work. After all, Mr. Mathurin
himself described how he saw his assign-
ment "This involved not only taking a
look at the paper but also at what it
says about the organisation of which it
is the organ." And he had after all been
passed two bound volumes of Tapia be-
fore writing.


But this is the tone of irresponsible
breaking that is maintained throughout
the article. By approaching the material
through using the technique of what he
found interesting or noteworthy,
Mathurin excluded large areas from his
consideration. Conveniently so, for
these parts he did not see fit to mention
could have contained the evidence to
disprove his conclusions.
So the review is riddled with non-
sequiturs, unsupported opinions, out of
context quotations and a continuing
failure to distinguish between fact and
interpretation. For all of which one
would have thought the journalistic tyro
would be hauled up before his editor.
Because of the frequency with which
Mathurin noted the name "Williams", it
appeared to him that "Lloyd Best's con-
suming ambition is to replace Dr. Eric
Williams as Prime Minister" After a
"rapid survey" he spots a number of
"fictions" but does not say what makes

Who has investigated the kind of organisation

The Old Testament is obsessive with the
dream of messianic delivery, because the
sense of impotence and frustration in
real life fathers the hope that Somebody
Up There must Love Me.
Essentially, that is the psychology
behind what we have been calling Doctor
politics the politics of the lame and the
dispossessed, of those who have been
intimidated and discouraged into the
conviction that they could never hope to
help themselves and must depend on the
ministry of an omnipotent Redeemer.

TAPIA is to start a
book club among its
members. This is one of
the proposals discussed
and accepted by the
March 5 Tapia general
meeting of members at
the Tapia House.
The meeting was a
five-hour working
session attended by
members of Tapia
groups from different
parts of the country.
Also considered were
proposals for the
amendment of the

from TapiaNo.3

Asmen are differentially endowed by birth
and experience, some who have
developed special skills or insights
inevitably give leads to other men within
the areas of their.competence. ... To

the extent that his leadership is successful
the leader expects to be superceded,
precisely because he understands that the
basic condition of his success is the active
participation of those whom he leads.

Tapia to


book club

Tapia constitution to
allow for the establish-
ment of a permanent
organ of representatives
from local groups.
The book club was
suggested as part of a

programme of political
education for members.
Committees were ap-
pointed to study
existing and projected
economic enterprises.
The April 9 mem-
bers' meeting will con-
sider and decide on
action under the heads
of constitution reform.
political education and
economic enterprises
reports on all of which
have already been circu-
lated to members.


What this means in terms of political
action is the absolute necessity of
"playing for change," of resisting the
temptation to force a change which can,
in the end, be no change at all. "Playing
for change" does not mean inaction or
hopelessness; it is the only mode of travel
that offers any real hope.
The immediate task of political action,
after all, is precisely that reform of the
imagination which makes it possible for
institutional change to take on flesh.
Talking, in this sense that is, significant
discussion and analysis, persuasion by
argument and exposure, conversion by
the common imaginative effort to define
the reality of ourselves and our
condition- is itself an indispensable
mode of action.
It follows that if we are serious about
making a better world there can be no
question of presuming on ignorance and
backwardness, there can be no question
of seeing the people as "the masses" to be
pulled about by a ring in the nose.

The way in which we proceed is
everything to what we will become.
If the ministry of Dr. Williams has
taught us nothing else it should have
taught us that.


press. Pleading time and space and the
tedium of the job, Mathurin set out
to do what purported to be a "review"
and what was in fact a political lambast.
Time and again the conventional
press lends its columns to these sup-
porters of the old regime to take broad-
sides at the opposition under cover of
reportage or punditry. The standards of
journalism which allows articles to
appear that are obviously inadequately
researched and contain such fallacies of
thought and dishonesty as Mathurin
shows are the ones which have been de-
bunked by us in Tapia. We have to go
on doing what we have been doing, de-
veloping a tradition of research and
attempting to raise standards generally.


We have felt that discussion and
analysis were a continuing necessity in
the important business of promoting
clarity of vision and deepening under-
standing. This has been reflected as
much in our approach to journalism as
in our approach to politics. Indeed the
distinction between the two is only
notional, and that is why the uncon-
ventional press belongs to unconven-
tional politics in the same way that the
conventional press really expresses the
old regime.
Indeed the people "are suitably kept
in ignorance by the media", and the
irony is that Mathurin's article was one
of the best examples how it is done. By
refusing to expose the population to in-
formation that is available, by shirking
in fact what is the responsibility of the
press, the Mathurins in the senior
editorial offices in the conventional
press create the climate in which char-
latanry and shoddiness, incompetence
and idiocy, trivia and tra-la-la find a sus-
ceptible public.


It is because we have appreciated the
power of the media to form people's
opinions, to condition their minds that
we have felt the role of the press vital in
the process of change. But an
"occasional kick to the conventional
media" is not enough. To do that alone
would be to zig-zag after the fashion of
the conventional press.
Just as we have set ourselves the task
of creating in miniature the kind of
society we want to have, so we have
been developing too its key institutions.
The "unconventional press" of Tapia
accords with an expresses our vision of
the new society.
On our way to this, of course, we
expect to make mistakes both in journa-
lism and in politics. But surely what is
important for the critics to probe is not
only whether we're succeeding, but
whether our effort is honest and
whether we are consistently doing our


. ''


Prensa Latina
THIS year even more than last,
"mass participation" is a dominant
political theme in Cuba.
Cuba began strengthening popular
participatory institutions last year. What
the Cubans call the mass line was con-
sciously stressed on all levels and in all
Mass organizations received more
attention from the party and govern-
ment, prospective legislation was discus-
sed by millions of people and men and
women in the work centres met in
assemblies to discuss pressing problems.
In the years preceding the 10 million
ton harvest (1969-1970), there has been
a tendency to move away from the mass
line and toward "administrative
methods" in policy making and execu-
tion. This minimized the role of inter-
mediate institutions standing between
the party and the workers.


In many areas, the party took on the
role of administrator. At the same time,
the role of the mass organizations was
In retrospect, it is easy to understand
why administrative methods became
Cuba was looking for the fastest
manner of assuring production and
guaranteeing the efficient movement of
the workforce and productivity.
The goals were known by the Cuban
people through the speeches of the
leadership, newspapers and dissemina-
tion in the work centres. And it had
been demonstrated in practice that the
party, which had within its ranks the
best organizers and leaders, could move
most quickly to make policy and direct
its execution.
The administrative method went
hand in glove with what the Cubans
themselves called "semi-military" forms
of work organization and discipline.
Given the ambitious tasks at hand, these
forms were used as a way of maximizing
labour discipline, which was not up to
the required level.
The use of administrative methods
instead of the mass line did not mean
the imposition of an unpopular line or a
schism between the party/government
and the Cuban people. All during this

THE MASS LINE IN ACTION Unions, youth, student and women's groups have been revitalized to make for community
participation in decision making.

CUBA From party

1972 to 'masslin



The people have their say

period the party maintained its ties with
the people.
On the part of the people, there was
an understanding of. the goals and
methods chosen by the government and
party. A great spirit of enthusiasm reign-
ed during the 10 million ton harvest. It
was part of an all out war against under-
What was missing during that period
was the positive feedback that would


01,D OAX\,4

C __ BOA

I 0T4l

have resulted from a greater participa-
tion of the people in the decisions and
solutions to problems.
The drive for the 10 million tons,
perhaps even more so because it failed
to achieve the goal, was a great lesson
for the Cuban people and its leadership.
This leadership, capable of objectivity
and self-criticism, became aware that
the administrative method of leadership
did not give enough room for the initia-
tive of the people themselves and thus
neutralized the great critical and crea-
tive talents found among the working


The first indication of the preoccu-
pation of the country's leadership with
the question of the mass line was the
work of Armando Hart, national or-
ganizational secretary of the Communist
party, in the sugar-producing Camaguey
province. In May and June 1970, even
before the end of the harvest, Hart
moved into the region with selected
cadres to improve the organizational
style of work in the area.
During his stay, workers' assemblies
were held and mass organizations reviv-
ed. Open-ended meetings were held with
people in the area. On the basis of the
criticisms and recommendations of the
people the party was completely re-
organized and the mass organizations
came to play a bigger role in policy and
problem solving. Shortly afterwards,
Premier Fidel Castro told the nation the
mass organizations had to be strengthen-
ed. He gave priority to the trade union


The union movement was not the
only one that had been weakened over
the previous years. The Committees for
the Defense of the Revolution and the
Women's Federation had continued to
function actively but leaned heavily
on administrative methods. The mass or-
ganization of secondary school students
had been dissolved, leaving only the
Young Communist League in that
realm. The Federation of University
Students, a highly political mass organi-
zation, had been completely absorbed
by the YCL.
The revitalization of the mass organi-
zations and the application of the mass
line began in 1970, increased in 1971
and continues into 1972.
The trade union movement has been

completely overhauled. Since then, local
leadership elections have been held
twice. In October, the national council
of the trade union movement was held
with 350 delegates representing the two
million members.
A new organization of secondary stu-
dents was founded and in November
1971 held its second congress with 700
delegates in attendance.
The Federation of University Stu-
dents was organically separated from
the YCL and now plays a leading role
on campuses.
Elections were held on all levels in
the Committees for the Defense of the
Revolution and in early December a
national assembly was held with 660
delegates representing the three million
In mid-December, the Women's
Federation held its ninth national plen-
ary meeting with 300 delegates repre-
senting its 1.5 million members.

Later that month, the National
Association of Small Farmers held its
fourth national congress, where its
200,000 farm families were represented
by 1,700 delegates.
At the present time the Young
Communist League is carrying out meet-
ings on local, regional and provincial
levels in preparation for its second
national congress in March or April.
Preparations are also underway for
the first national trade union congress in
more than six years.
The mass line is evident in other
ways also. The new labour law concern-
ing work discipline was discussed at the
grassroots in all work centres before it
was passed into law.
Under it the workers themselves
choose labour courts to interpret and
apply the law.
The strengthening of the mass organi-
zations and especially the coming labour
congress will very likely be followed,
perhaps in 1973, by the first congress of
the Communist Party of Cuba. What is
clear is that Cuba is going toward a form
of socialist democracy in which the
mass organizations as well as the work-
ers' assemblies will discuss important
legislation and other matters.
The party, of course, is destined to
remain the vanguard force. But its role
is seen as a guide that reaches the masses
through the mass organizations and at
the same time learns from the ms'

Sunday, April z, 1972




"THE East Indian has had
to depend on his own re-
sources to advance himself
S. he has had to form his
own organizations to de-
fend his group interests .
" The statement was
made by Brinsley Samaroo
at the Third Seminar on
Contemporary Issues held
at UWI, St. Augustine, on
Saturday March 18, 1972.
The Seminar is open to the
public and is organised by
the Faculty of Social
Dr. Samaroo's paper was en-
.titled 'The East Indian Res-
ponseto Constitutional
Changes in Trinidad and
Tobago. The paper is repro-
duced in full in this Issue of
Tapia. It provoked a great deal
of inconclusive discussion on
whether or not Indians should
organise on their own and the
contribution that proportional
representation could make to
their political betterment.
It was suggested that
Indians had resolved to be
more vigorous on the economic
front because of being marginal
to the politics of the country.
In opposition, it was argued
that Indians had not been mar-
ginal and in any case, did not
really have the choice of opting
out of politics and concen-
trating on economic solutions
alone. For nearly 40 per cent
of our people, political partici-
pation was a must.
The other address presented
at the Seminar was by Lewis
Bobb on The Westminster
Mode and Its Relevance to
Constitutional Change in
Trinidad & Tobago. Mr. Bobb
thought that an uncritical
attachment to the Westminster
model "might result in the
frustration of trying to carry
through a progressive recon-
struction with a reactionary in-
He feared that the Wooding
Commission might have been
putting more emphasis on the
structures of government
"than on investigating the
society for which the struc-
tures may be designed." We
could end up with a 'Franken-
stein monster," having no cor-
respondence with our con-
ditions and our experience.
The paper outlined the main
features of the Westminster
Model and asked how that
model had come to be adopted
in Trinidad & Tobago. It then
went on to examine how far
the social and political under-
pinnings of the British system
were in fact present here in this
Mr. Bobb did not think that
the idea of a nation had pene-
trated very deeply into our




Adrian Cola Rienzi,


Krishna Deonarine,


one of the


connected within

the Young

Indian Party.

political thought. The educated
class talked nationalism but
emphasises communalism on
grounds of being "realistic." In
this context personalities
rather than ideas command our
attention. Leaders can do-
minate their groups by
threatening their followers
with the choice of "them" or
"us." The result is that "the
racial characters of parties
seem to predominate.
"And it cannot be seriously
contended that our two-party

system provides the electors as
a whole with an effective
choice between two points of
view; that the two parties
clarify the real issues before
the country, provide a link bet-
ween informed opinion and
public opinion and then leave
the electors to vote as they
Commenting on the paper,
Lloyd Best said that in
examining the relevance of the
Westminster model to Trinidad
& Tobago, we need above all,


Sunday April 9, 1972
The third Annual Tapia elections are
to be held in April under new constitu-
tional arrangements. This decision was
taken at the General Meeting of Tapia
members held at the Tapia House on
Sunday March 5, 1972,
Outgoing Officials are:
Chairman ............. Ivan Laughlin
Secretary ............... Lloyd Best
Treasurer ....... .Calylsle Constantine
Education Secretary .Denis Solomon
Community Relations Secretary .....
...................; Syl Lowhar
Research Secretary...... ..................
Augustus Rarrrekersingh
Director of Tapia Enterprises ........
..................... Arthur Atwell
Administrative Secretary Lloyd Taylor
Warden of the Tapia House .........
.................. Ruthven Baptiste
Director of the Moonlight Theatre ...
................Michael De Verteuil
Members without Portfolio ......
...... Brinsley Samaroo
....... Frank Solomon
..... Christian Maingot
Secretary for Amenities Ernest Massiah
Editor ............... Lennox Grant
The new elections will for the first
time involve the choice of a Council of
representatives from the Tapia Groups
all over the country.

to examine the specific ex-
perience of the political system
here in the West Indies. Our
system was founded and main-
tained as an autocratic, subor-
dinate system and this at once
raised questions about the
system whose creation it was.
He did not believe that a demo-
cratic system could easily have
created an undemocratic one
and this led him to ask some
searching questions about the
British model.
He was persuaded neither
by the Lockean foundations of
the Westminster model nor by
the actual experience of the
British people with democracy.
Locke's philosophy was riddled
with notions of class and the
principle of constituency repre-
sentation at bottom assumed a
squirearchy and not too much
popular participation in all the
affairs of the country.
In spite of the reforms of
1832 and 1867, it was not
until after 1944, that the
British people began to get the
kinds of social and econuoit.
reforms that could begin to
make democratic participation
a reality. Perhaps the most
interesting thing about West-
minster is that it has not been
working all that well ..it has
been throwing up both racism
and manipulative personalities
It was interesting to see
what the British have been
doing with the House of Lords
to make it a permanent forum
of diverse community opinion,
a locus of expertise, and a limit
on the professional represent-
atives in the Commons. West-
minster probably needs the
same kind of "Senate" reforms
we are proposing here in

Trinidad & Tobago.
At any rate, Best added, if
we looked at our own expe-
rience of politics, we would
know exactly what changes are
now required by way of consti-
tutional reform. Our system
had left the large majority
without power. This has forced
us back on racial solidarity,
had emphasised leaders, and
had played down organisation.
So long as we were not in-
dependent, competent leaders
were unnecessary; so long as
the economy was not con-
trolled by the people, to or-
ganise political opposition was
to risk our livelihood. The
trouble was not therefore racial
parties but no genuine parties.
S. only the electoral machines
of Doctor Leaders.
Now that we are inde-
pendent we need constitutional
reform to encourage organ-
isation, limit the power of the
central government, control.
the part of leaders, and free
community opinion. We should
make a concrete examination
of each measure to see how it
could help us to achieve these
For example, take the case
of proportional representation.
As proposed, this measure
would make the country one
constituency would destroy
local politics, and would focus
attention even more on leaders.
It would also tend to entrench
the position of minority groups
if it encouraged people to per-
sist in and extend the pattern
of voting by race. It could be a
very dangerous thing for the
Indians, Best concluded,

Morning Session 10


Reform of the Tapia House Constitution
Proposals for a Tapia Sou-Sou Investment Trust.
Preliminary Proposals for a Tapia Agricultural Co-
operacive, a Tapia Book Club, a Mobile Book-Stall and Juice
Other Business
Afternoon Session 14. 30 16hrs.

Election of Officers 1972 73
Working Papers for the Meeting have been for-
warded by mail. Associates are reminded to pay-up
in order to secure their voting rights. Registration will
take place between 9.30 10.00hrs.
Ivan Laughlin

Printed by Vanguard Publishing Company, San Fernando, for the Tapia House Publishing Co., Tunapuna.

Tapia members


April 9