Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072147/00038
 Material Information
Title: Tapia
Physical Description: no. : illus. ; 43 cm.
Language: English
Publisher: Tapia House Pub. Co.
Place of Publication: Tunapuna
Creation Date: November 26, 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: UF00072147:00038

Full Text

NEW YORK 2.1, N. Y
DEC 13 '72



RECORD investment
Ltd. has announced a drop
in cinema prices because
of public outcry against
the present spate of old
and poor films.
These old and poor films are
being shown at all cinemas yet
Record Investment company
has only reduced its prices at
seven of the ten cinemas it con-
trols. Why not at the other
On examination one sees
that these three cineams are
Globe, Port of Spain, reported
to be the highest grosser in the
country, Zora, San Juan and
Globe, San Fernando.
On closer examination of
the reduction in prices at the
other cinemas, one sees that
the reduction is mostly on mid-
day shows, a hard time for
most cinemas.
In fact, it is unclear whether
these reductions apply to all
shows or only to the mid-day
The reduction in price will
be made in Tobago, at Rex
cinemas in Diego Martin and
Morvant, where the lure of the
city, added to easy transport
and better films and seating
accommodation tend to reduce
the take and at Royal, Radio
City and Globe San Juan,
where the competition is
intense from other nearby
Rivals suspect that Record
Investment Limited has been
losing money at these cineams.
The reduction is therefore in-
tended to increase the take by
under-cutting the opposition,
they claim.
What are the repercussions
of this for the public?
It seems that the film dis-
tributors, grouped in the West
Indies Film Board of Trade will
not budge from its threat to
cut-off the supply of films to

Seeds of India

on Caribbean

See Pages 6&7

Record Investment if it lowers
Sookrajh is reported to have
a large collection of old films
of his won which he is
prepared to use if his normal
supply of films is cut-off.
Thus cinema-goers are likely
to be seeing movies going back
close to the days of silent
pictures. For this he will pay
Incidence of L'ecole biche is
also likely to increase as
school-children will now be
able to pay the 15 cents for the
mid-day shows.
At other shows, when the
normal prices are being
charged, Peter will pay for
Paul, as the public will have to
pay normal prices to see old,
old shows.
In fact, Record Investment
will perhaps be able to under-
take a buy-one, get-one free
type of campaign in which the
cinema-goer is likely to pay less
to see even worse shows.
However, one may argue
that with the present situation


of all the shows being had it is
better to pay less rather than
One can also argue that if
Record Investment can lower
its prices and survive, the pre-
sent price structure must be
very high and cinema owners
must be making a killing.
This is in fact a call for the
Government to take up its res-
ponsibility and mount an in-
vestigation into the price
structure of the cinema in-
If it does not, and
cinema-goers flock to the
cinemas of Record Investment,
other cinema-owners are likely
to be long in taking up the
A situation may arise like
the gas station price war of a
few years ago, .with cinemas
offering door prizes and trips
to Tobago.
The cinema-goer can only
profit from any shaking-up in
the cinema industry where
collision between distributors
and exhibitors has led to a
situation where both will
attempt to get the biggest
returns, leaving me and you to

fl yWI

LONG HOURS of work,
short staff and the boredom
of an unchanging daily
routine are fast threatening
to bring conditions in the
Regiment back as they were
before April 1970.
The vendetta pursued by
the Government following the
1970 disturbances down Teteron
has succeeded in rooting out not
only the soldiers alleged to have
been involved but scores of
others as well.
Now the Regiment is
estimated to be as much as one
third short of its pre-April 1970
But the commitments have
not decreased. If anything, they
have become more what with a
half-hearted official policy to
make soldiers available for
social1 work", and an under-
standabl readiness to involve
them in searches and manhunts
with the police.
The gruelling duties of 24
- and 30 hour spells now
devolve on fewer and fewer men.
They end up with little time to
spend with their families, and in
any case a need to rest and
catch up on sleep.
Groaning under the strain
of working in some cases as many
as 140 hours per week, soldiers
are only promised time and
again that there will be re-
cruitment soon.
This is the story they have
been hearing for more than two
years. And they have watched
with accustomed rancour the
Coast Guard taking on new men
and acquiring boats, and the
police whom they are called
upon to assist being provided
with helicopters soon and re-
cruiting all the while.
What is really being cover-
ed under cloak of "security"
secrecy is that men are leaving

in increasing frequency, worsen- nobody seeming able to do any-
ing the workload on the thing about it. A lance corporal,
remainders, for example, is receiving less pay
The public doesn't know, than a private, theoretically his
for example, how difficult it was junior.
to get together a mere 96 men And in the face of every
for a short parade at the opening complaint about pay or over-
of Parliament on Tuesday. work, the Regiment officialdom
The volunteer force is throws its hand in the air and
reported to be little more than protests "the ministry. ."
a commander and a couple of While, predictably, it is the
officers since its ranks have been ordinary soldiers who are taking
raided to make up the strength the brunt of the pressure, the
of the Army proper. The officers too have their grouses.
Regiment band too has been With no expansion, or even
affected by its members being any intention to bring up the
called away to regular military Army to full strength, oppor-
duties. tunities for promotion have been
The only imprnvemez t almost eliminated. Promotion
since' 1970 has been in pay. to command whom?
PrivateTare now understood to In any case, nobody has
be receiving a starting salary been sent to Sandhurst or Mons
10% more than police constables, for full officer training for the

Yet anomalies abound,
frustrating many soldiers with

Turn to Page 2



The storm of protests now
sweeping through the sugar belt
has taken Usine Ste. Madeline
by surprise. And warning notices
have gone up on the factory
walls indicating that workers are
not to be paid for Monday and
Tuesday, and perhaps Wednes-
day as well.
This was the aftermath to
a meeting which was held on
Monday when a party of leaders
from Brechin Castle came to
inform sugar workers of how
they were sold out by the
present bunch of Union officials.
About 800 workers who

attended the meeting greeted
Norman Baxter and his party
with a wild ovation on their
arrival, and later pledged them-
selves to fight the Union and to
continue the struggle for a better
deal. Baxter however cautioned
temperance and persuaded them
to keep their protests on the job
rather than leave the factory
compounds altogether.
Wednesday saw new de-
velopments as the struggle
entered its third day. Company
notices went up then. And

Turn to Page 2

Vol. 2 No. 8




From Page 1

workers urged their Union
official Mr. Emery to take up
the matter concerning the extra
hours worked by them during
the last crop without compen-
Emery, instead, told them
that the Branch President was
present at the signing. And that
e should have informed the
workers that they were not going
to get any retoractive payments.
A worker replied that the
President could not sign without
the consent of the workers.

In the circumstances it
seems also that the workers
now have little choice beyond
taking the matter fully into
their own hands. The
November 8 deadline given to
the Union's Vice President,
Emery, and the Chairman of
the company's Board of
Directors, Barsotti has long
since expired without as much
as a single word being passed
on to the workers.
The wait and see policy con-

ducted by the workers ran for
another seven days by which
time it was hoped that the
authorities would report. But
none came either from the
Company or from the Union.
Nothing in facthappened,
until sugar work s at Brechin
Castle once again roused
themselves to action on
Wednesday of last week with
protests throughout the
Factory and the Tractor Shed.
These continued until Friday.

By then the factory officials
found it necessary to plead to
workers with assurances of
personal increases in salaries, to
ensure that the Company met
the December 4 deadline set
for the start of the 1973 crop.
Union official Emery was
immediately summoned to
execute thy promise of the
November 8, deadline. Re-
turning, so e hours later, and
with his tail hidden between
his legs he gave the usual sad

story: "Mr. Maingot say that
the Company can't do any-
thing about it."
Not disheartened the
workers are moving on their
own steam. In a bulletin calling
on "Sugar Workers to Unit to
Fight Injustice" they have
given further notice of their
complete loss of confidence in
the Union, and have "resolved
to demonstrate in no uncertain
manner" their stand relative to
our dissatisfaction."


The President in question
denied that he was witness to
any signing, whereupon workers
shouted: "All you sign under
the table". By this time the
tempo of the meeting had
considerably warmed up. Work-
ers unable to swallow the in-
formation that the Agreement
was signed walked up to Emery
pulled away his books and
completely tore them up.
A voice shouted, "You are
our President and you must
fight the battle". Emery, by this
time greatly humiliated, retorted
that he was not their President
and that they should let their
new President Baxter fight for
In the meantime conflict-
ing reports are appearing in the
Guardian both on behalf of the
Union, and its leaders Rampar-
tapsingh and Emery, as to the
true nature of the struggle.
Rumour has it that they are
being advised by certain com-
pany officials on how to fight
the battle against the workers.
Nevertheless, not dismay-
ed, workers push ahead with
phase two of the fight for a
better deal.

The protest, being
waged by sugar worked
dissatisfied with the Agree-
ment reached by Caroni
and All Trinidad, has now
spread to Usine, St.
Workers there on Monday
last, down the pace of work.
This occurred after a meeting
called by a party of workers
who travelled from Brechin
Castle in Couva to weld
workers into a striking force
capable of dealing with
Caroni's unjust practices.
All this seems to indicate
that workers are gearing for
phase two of the struggle as
promised by Norman Baxter
four weeks ago.



Tapia Secretary Lloyd Best returned this week from visit to
Santo Domingo where he took part in & Seminar organised by
the Autonoma University. Best reports that the political
situation in our Caribbean sister-island is much calmer than
when he visited in 1970 and 196i.
"Juan Bosch's party is organizing all over the country now and
the PRD appears to be a n: ch more effective political force."
In picture Jotin Curry Rector of the Autonoma University opening the
Seminar on Methods of Social Science Research.

Tapia House Publishing Company Limited,
91, Tunapuna Road, Tunapuna.

Please send TAPIA to me as checked:
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91, Tunapuna Road, Tunapuna,
Trinidad & Tobago.

From Page 1

last two years. All around the
camp stagnation, boredom,
frustration, overwork.
And from the looks of
things, a spirit of rebellion is
brewing too. Last week an un-
disclosed number of men staged
a "sick-in", reporting sick on
the camp.
It is reported, too, that a
group of men on being asked to
work extra hours flatly refused.
Of course, the top brass
got jumpy immediately. There
was immediately a high-level
meeting at which it was decided
to try to ease the strain some-
what. The disobedient soldiers
are said to have been disciplined.
They have had also to ease
up on the rigid discipline im-
posed since 1970, for, it was
correctly guessed, this would
only sharpen the discontent to
breaking point.


in army


-- I

- I

-~-~ --~- ~ -- ~-~





TAPIA Page 3


REMEMBER Audie Murphy and Dan Duryea
in "To Hell and Back"? Gary Cooper in "The
Fountainhead"? Kirk Douglas in "Gunfight at
the O.K. Corral"? Alan Ladd in "Shane"? Or
Marion Brando in "Mutiny on the Bounty"?
Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton in
"Becket". James Bond, agent 007, Jim Brown
in "Riot", Sidney Poitier as "Mr. Tibbs", or
Richard Rountree as John Shaft.
Today we going off on Wang Yu, the flying karate
expert with one hand.
Indeed, it is theeducationof a colonial at home. One
after the other they have come. We have wept with the
Yankees and celebrated the death of Geronimo.
Nothing stirred us more than Tarzan saving the
civilising white man from the pot of the African head
hunter, scattering and killing the painted African
savages. Later we cheered as agent 007 socked it to the


Times change however, and so does the face of
every imperial institution. So we got Sidney Poitier,
the super-kind, super-brilliant black man, exceptional
yes, but good enough to be, say, white.
And the times keep changing, so Jim Brown
appears, and then the "Cotton comes to Harlem'.
series, and now John Shaft, a cross between James
Brown, Sidney Poitier and the brother on the roof-top.
On the other side we see the sex films, sex above the
sheet as they say in the trade, straight from the
decadent film centres of Europe. Or the Django series,
through "Sartana," through Tony Falcon, 'and now
Wang Yu.
The fantasy increases and we keep hearing the quick
retort: "but dat is wha de people want."
In every institution, every area of our lives, the
new fights and endless battle to conquer the old in its
several faces. No less so in the cinema business.
There are nearly as many theatres as secondary
schools in the country. And I use the word theatre as
opposed to cinema because this exactly what it is,
Going to theatre in this country does not mean
going to see a good film or a bad film. It is this too, but

usual playing cat and mouse
with the public over the pre-
sent dispute with film distri-
The Minister of Finance,
Mr. George Chambers, in his
Budget Speech in January an-
nounced a 25 per cent pur-
chase tax on all films imported
into the country.
The American film distributors
in Trinidad refused to pay this pur-
chase price, and stopped the im-
portation of any new films, or even
of old ones.
These American companies,
Warner Bros. 20th Century Fox,
Paramount etc., argued that
they could not pay purchase tax on
an "intangible." '
In fact, one of the major
stumbling blocks has been the un-
certainty over the question of a 25
per cent purchase tax on what? On
the material value of the film, (as is
the case of film imported for
photographic purposes), or on its
estimated worth in terms of the
amount it would gross in the
country and so on. In addition, the
American companies questioned
paying purchase tax on film which
they do not buy but receive from
their head offices.
At present, Government charges
a duty of $1.20 per 100-feet of film
imported into the country.
With- the length of the average
film being 10,000 feet, Government
obtains approximately $120 per
print impo .ied into the country.




it is also a social occasion: an interlude of escape from
liming on the streets, or being cooped up in a small
apartment, or being bored by television, or radio, or
just for a change of scene.
The theatre is a place where we can be close to
people, to hate the villain with them and feel happy
together as the hero gets his man.
It is a place to wear those new threads we don't
have any other place to wear them.
Most of all it is a place where we come to either
participate or watch participation in the side show.
"Pit didn't like the picture." We all know what that
means: pit or stalls, rules supreme in theatre and if pit
ent like the picture then is a new show going on.
Fellas go climb on the stage, fart loud, cuss, ask
back for their money or just cheups throughout the
picture. Sheer theatre.
And if we don't go theatre where to go? Night clubs
expensive and they far if you don't have a car. They
also boring. A play? Where? A Variety Show? Is
The fact is, theatre has a hold over people's lives
because there are few if any alternatives. And it is not
that we want Wang Yu or the Libertines but because
there are no standards in the industry we will take any
With the present impasse with the American film
distributors over the 25 per cent purchase tax, only old
American films are being shown.
The small local distributors are interested in making
a quick profit so they are buying cheap films from
Europe, Asia and South America. They know that the
people will take, not what they want, but what they

These foreign firms also pay
income tax, corporation tax and
withholding tax on royalties.
A.t thi other end, there is an
Entertainment tax levied on
patrons, 10 per cent on entrance
fees up to 50 cents, and 20 per cent
on prices from 51 cents upwards.
The American film distributors
are reported to have counter pro-
posed that the government double
its present duty of $120 per
100-foot of film.
Government has also been
playing around with proposal that
the companies pay a flat $600 per
print of film in addition to the pre-
sent customs duty.


At present the Government has
before it a proposal by the cinema
exhibitors that it seek a $300 flat
charge instead of the $600.
All these discussions are taking
place behind closed doors with the
Government feeling no respons-
ibility to inform the public.
It is understood that the
American companies are
threatening to pull out of the
country entirely if the present
situation continues, cutting off all
American films from the local
The American companies are
reported to have made similar
moves in several South American
On the other hand, the other
small foreign and locally-owned
film distributors are reported to be
paying the purchase tax or some

similar increase in a secretive agree-
ment with government.
Unofficial figures show that
about 60 per cent of the films
shown in Trinidad and Tobago over
the last year came from non-
Hollywood sources.
This has been the result of the
growth of the small, locally owned
companies like Galaxy Films and
National, owned by people like the
These small companies, unlike
the American companies who
obtain films from their head
offices, buy film rights for several
These small distributors make
trips to places like Italy, ("Sartan."
"agent of death", etc.) The
Phillipines, (Tony Falcon series),
Hong Kong (Wang Yu), Mexico (the
Right to be Born), and Europe, the
mecca of sex films (The Libertines,
Helga, etc.)
These are the films which have
been flooding the market recently.
They come from new film-making
centres and are therefore cheaper,
in more ways than one, than the
American sources.
The war is therefore three-
pronged, the Government, the
American companies, and the
All the film distributors will unit
if they feel that they can force the
Government's hand on the purchase
tax issue.
However, the small companies
are not adverse to making a deal
with Government if they feel that
they can takeover the film market
totally. from the American com-

can get.
And we are getting it these days!
There is the possibility that the American
companies will pack their bags and leave if they cannot
reach agreement with the government. This will leave
the cinema market open to the small local companies
who will cut one another's throats and ours to make
Not that the American companies are different.
The Government has not said a word to the public
about the present situation while theatre-goers are
suffering a silent agony.
It is clear that what people want is entertainment.
Since the cinemas are the only cheap and accessible
form of entertainment available, we will continue to go
theatre. If there-are other avenues on the other hand,
we will be interested.


This is why night football at Pompeii has been such
a success. And government-sponsored "culture" in the
Better Village Competition. The people are crying out
for cultural expression and all they are getting is
canned mediocrity.
The situation, then, is not just a crisis in the cinema
industry but a crisis on culture. What we need are
several drama groups travelling around the country to
local community centres where people congregate not
to mind people business but to talk, to play, to study
and ot meet other people.
Night football should also be introduced in several
other parts of the country, r. t only Port of Spain. But
this no government can do for us, this we must do
In Tunapuna, youth groups have introduced
"Blockorama," where various steelbands and singers in
the area come together on Sundays. It is a practice that
can. be introduced in many other areas with
innovations to meet the peculiarities of the locality.
There are many drama groups in the country which
will like to perform more often but for whom? The
avenues are limited. Is ii not possible to convert some
of the cinemas into real theatre 'houses?
,There is also the possibility of bringing down
performing groups from the region including Cuba and
South America. The avenues are there, only
organisation will make them feasible. Organisation in
the communities by people who have thrown off the
,shackles of self-contempt and who are confident that
they can build a country.


The local cinema market is also crying for a local or
regional film industry to develop. The first feeble
attempts at such ar, industry were still-born because of
the self-contempt evident in the script and in the desire
for quick bread.
A regional film industry, like an active drama
milieu, can only develop on the basis of confidence and
willingness to sacrifi:; a quick gain for the long-term
In the short-run. the Government cannot be
allowed to hedge. The Government has found itself in a
position where it is caught between the American
distributors and the local distributors. It is clear that
it can't back down to the demands and threats of the
American distributors. What is less clear is
Government's position towards these small local
distributors who are, like the Americans, more
interested in th profit they can get out of the business
than in the quality of the film industry.
The thing to do now is to mount an inquiry to
determine costing and pricing in the film industry.
It would also be important to keep a check on the
quality of films coming into the country. Whether this
may mean, reaching a compromise decision with the
American companies or remaining firm, is a decision
that can only be reached after such an inquiry.
The Government, however, is is keeping the entire
issue quiet and the avid cinema-fan is left to suffer as
he scans the cinema guide intensely as he is faced with
old re-runs, sexually-perverted films and fantasy.

Reeling Hollywood film men

threaten to wind up locally


CHILE'S firm decision to develop its
economy and safeguard national
sovereignty seems to have made the U.S.
government change its "invisible'. block-
ade to an open attack on the Chilean

American hostilities against
Chile started virtually on the
morning of Salvador Allende's
electoral triumph on
September 5, 1970.
A few hours after the leftist
victory was confirmed, an
economic sabotage plan went
into effect.
The aim to provoke
financial chaos in this nation of
9 million and prevent the
Unidad Popular from esta-
blishing a socialist system.
The plan is being pushed
forward by the US Department
of State, the central Intelli-
gence Agency, the American
consortium with interests in
Chile, and the Chilean oli-
garchy whish is prepared to
resist a popular government
"come hell or high water."
The world now knows of
the dramatic moments the
Chilean people went through in
the last months of 1970. The
American press itself covered
the "behind the scenes" plot


against the Chilean government
in which the U.S. 'copper com-
panies and ITT participated.
The assassination of
Chilean Army Chief, General
Rene Schneider, the financial
panic and the failure of the
"putchists"'. also received
worldwide publicity.

But the continuing sub-
version has not received the
same international coverage.
And the plot against Chile still
persists in different forms.
The Chilean government has
defined these international
machinations as an invisiblele.
blockade which is perhaps even
more dangerous than an open
When their "p'itchist"
strategy failed, the Chilean oli-
garchy along withAmerican
intelligence agents in charge of
internal subversion in Chile -
changed tactics.


Allende, they decided,
could take over the presidency
but they would make the eco-
nomic situation so unbearable
for him that he would end up
being rejected by his own
The entire reactionary
strategy in Chile has been to
provoke an economic collapse
of the people's government and
they have succeeded in bringing
to a temporary standstill cer-
tain sectors of the Chilean
This plot has been aided by
the peculiarly Chilean pheno-
menon which allowed the
Chilean left to come to power
through an electoral victory in


They then gained control of
the executive branch while the
legislative and judicial branches
of government remained in the
hands of the opposition.
This initial duality within
the government which is
characteristic of certain revolu-

tionary processes has helped
the enemy and placed
stumbling blocks in Allende's
The plot against Chile has
two fronts. At the inter-
national level it is led by the
United States government and
American financial corpora-
tions and monopolies.

At the domestic level it is
led by the Chilean bankers,
latifundists, and monopolies.
This anti-leftist block is
structured along fascist
patterns, and has gained a
number of middle-class
followers and infiltrated the
Christian Democratic party,
polarizing the nation into two
irreconcilable blocks: the left
on one side, fascism on the
The penetration of fascist
ideas at the middle-class level
was encouraged by the econo-
mic difficulties Chile faced in
mid-1971 as a result of the in-
visible U.S. blockade.


When Allende took over the
government, all international
credits traditionally granted to
Chile by capitalist financial
agencies were cut off.
Since no replacement mech-
anisms had been worked out,
Chile's balance of payments
suffered and certain products,
consumed 'mainly by the
middle class, began to disappear.
Together with this first
foreign attempt to throttle the
Chilean economy, American
banks cut off their credits of
nearly $300 million, placing
enormous pressure on Chile's
foreign currency reserves.

In addition, the Unidad
Popular government had in-
herited an exorbitant foreign
debt of $4 billion the second -
highest in the world.
More than 30 percent of the
nation's income in foreign
trade annually goes to pay
foreign interests and
Chile found itself like all
dependent nations seriously
compromised by international
capital and interests and was
therefore extremely vulnerable
to restrictions.


And the Nixon government
took full advantage of the
situation. American interests
caused a brutal drop in copper
prices, costing Chile around
$200 million in 1971.
Simultaneously, Washington
encouraged the Kennecott and
Anaconda Copper companies -
nationalized by Allende in
1971 to demand compensa-
tion from the Chilean govern-
Kennecott and Anaconda
also brought about the
embargo of Chilean govern-
ment-accounts in the United
States and forced Chile to seek
copper-mining repair parts and
machinery in Canada,
Australia, Japan and the
socialist nations.
The initial U.S. escalation
against Chile culminated in
October 1972, with the
embargo of a $2 million
shipment of Chilean copper to
a French company.
Nevertheless, these last two
years have given .the Chilean
government time to elaborate .
an international strategy: to
fight the American encircle-
ment, which is becoming in-
creasingly aggressive.
Chile has, however, been
able to trade with Japan, West
Germany, Sweden, England
and even France despite the
embargo and to make them
take the place of the
Americans. And of course,
with the socialist block.
The government of the
Unidad Popular is fighting
against the enemy inside and
outside its borders and it
urgently requires the help of
the socialist world to move for-
ward during this period of trial.
(Prensa Latina),





Your mutual

company. All profits

go to policy holders

74 Independence Square, P.O.S.
19 30 High St., San Fernando, (Trinidad, W.I.)'




"AFRO" is not African; Afro-American soul music is certainly not in the interest of an
African battling against American cultural and economic imperialism.
"Hence Tanzania was right in November 1969 to ban soul music and to threaten to shut down night
clubs which disregarded the ban.
This case against Black American soul music has been bluntly stated by J.K. Obatala, a US-based
African academic, in a recent issue of Ramparts.
Recalling the tours.of Africa made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by the black Fisk
Jubilee Singers, Obatala saw them as starting a tradition of Afro-American culture imports that have
helped to spread a distorted picture about blacks in America.
"Today," Obatala writes, "the successors to the Fisk Jubilee Singers tour Africa, spreading a
similarly distracting message and tosome degree serving as advance men for American political and
economic imperialism."
The writer cited a James Brown TV show he had seen in Ghana in which the emcee in describing
the successful careerof James Brown had unctuously sermonized:
"Start from the bottom
and move to the top; that's
the American way!"
The job of such emissaries
of Afro-American culture,
;Obatala commented, "was to
drive home the basic syllogism A E U S
of US propaganda: America is
rich; 'Afros' as black Ameri-
cans are called live .in
America; ergo, Afros are rich
- and happy." R F I A PR.T AN


To the average African
black poverty, oppression and
exploitation in the US is in-
conceivable. Not understanding
the "escapist nature of the
soul myth", many Africans
have been seduced by
This shows itself in an
adoption of Afro-American
dances, mannerisms and dress.
There are demands for "Afro-
Clothes", "Afro-Food", "Afro-
Wigs", even "Afro-Khababs,
served in hip urban nightclubs
by teen-age waiters in Afro-
stencilled Sweatshirts".
The African "Soul Set",
Obatala notes, are serviced by
"frequent and vivid confirma-
tion" of the soul myth on TV
and radio. As to them it sym-
bolizes .affluence;; not the
reality of oppression in Ameri-



ca, they tend to see these dis-
torted images of Afro-
Americana as the ideal for
It is therefore, subver-
sive of the aspirations of Afri-
can countries like Tanzania
concerned to seek develop-
ment by their own exertions
and to define indigenous ideals.
According to the writer,
the US government has an in-
terest in cultivating the favour
of the African "Soul Set"

who are not only the largest
purchasers of radios, record
players, televisions and clothes,
.but "constitute the educated,
mainly non-socialist elite".
And if, he concludes,
this group who in time are
likely to be the ones making
the key decisions about Ameri-
can economic penetration in
the continent, can be bought
at the price of a Boogaloo, for
the US it is cheap at the price.




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SANOTHER Divali has come and gone and the LIGHT
that must triumph over the darlakess that threatens to
engulf us all still struggles for expression.
Another Divali has come and gone and the LIFE
FORCE of our people continues to be suppressed beneath
the heavy silt of the Caroni Plains and beyond.
But there is a stirring in the
wind and the rising conscious-
ness of our people is felt and
seen in every quarter. And in K.V. PARMASAD
that stirring there is hope; hope
for a new day born out of a
new evolving vision, conceived
and deeply felt in the hearts of
all our peoples of this land.
However, there, is a danger
that we must guard against, the
reality of which holds true not
only for DIVALI but for many
other spheres of our lives. We
must guard against placing our
religious festivals within the
s elf-destructive bacchanalian









Divali must not, for us, be
an excuse for another grand
carnival. Trapped within this
groove, the true message can be
strangled and lost and we
would have contributed little
or nothing towards the enrich-
ment of the society as a
The "Carnival mentality"
must not be made the
dominant feature of our lives,
clouding our minds and
robbing us of the seriousness
that the pressing realities of
the present deamnd.
In 1962, Lord Brynner
asked the Indian in this society
to shave his head and become
an African so "nobody would
guess your nationality."
The request is that the
Indian should "shave" himself
clean of all traces of his "native
self," that he must merge com-
pletely 'and totally into the
generally accepted groove and
must bring nothing along with
him but a useless lump of bone
and muscle, before he can take
his rightful place in this land.
This was the vision of
1962, the year when we were
told that independence meant
-that all our peoples had an
equal say in charting the future
course of our society. This was
the vision and not only of
Brynner. '


The year is 1972. And -the
vision remains the same with a
slight hint at a shift in position.
The spokesman is the Mightly
Chalkdust, and the crowd for
whom he sings cheers lustily as
he ends his chorus
"Is right here we go find we
identity" ...
So with Brynner as with
Chalkdust, after 10 years, the
theme remains the same the
"crisis of identity". And like so
many other things, funda-
mentally, the solution remains
the same and not only for
The famed calypsonian tries
his best to prove, going to
absurd and ridiculous lengths
to do so, that the Indian here
in Trinidad are totally un-
related to India.
Nothing worthwhile will
appear out of thin air. No
meaningful identity will fall
upon our laps. We are going to
find nothing meaningful here
which' we do not strive to
create and to forge in the fires
of selflessness, sweat and a
genuine humanity.
Chalkdust should have said
"Is right here we go forge
we identity".
Whether we realize it or
not, the peoples of this region.
are involved in the creation of
a new culture, a new
civilization. And to this end,
the elements we. bring into the
fixe are essential to the
direction that the process of

evolution takes.
In this respect, India cannot
be ignored by the peoples of
the Southern Caribbean region.
Her seeds. are numerous on
these shores.
No culture, no civilization is
created out of nothing. It has
always built upon the found-
ations and traditions laid by
those who went before.
It has always sucked milk
and nourishment from the
storehouse of experience and
wisdom of more mature and
tested cultures. For a new
society like ours, this fact is
especially relevant. It is in this
context that the role of Indian
culture must be seen here in
Trinidad and in the wider
To succeed, our peoples
must discover forgotten values
and reshape them according to
the needs of changing times.
This is why the task of pre-
serving, rediscovering and pro-
pagating Indian culture here in
this society is itself a revolu-
tionary venture.
This is why it is faced with'
so many reactionary responses
form those elements whse
greatest interest is to uphold
the shaking structure of the old
order, or from those whose
definition of revolution has
more to do with the mech-
anical overturning of external
structures than with the trans-
formation of the total con-

sciousness of a people.
Any attempt to propagate
Indian culture is an attempt to
redefine the society in new
terms. And the time is come
for this radical re-definition.
This is nothing short of a
defiance of the institution-
alised and individual,attempts
to perpetuate the inherited
colonial oriented order.


'It is an open challenge to
the whole system of values and
ideals of the present imposed
structures and forceful attempt
to inject into the social body
values, ideals, concepts and
pattern of thought and be-
haviour that undermine the
validity and relevance of those
now dominant. It is the re-
making of a total con-
This attempt will not, and is
not, tolerated by those
elements that now do all the
defining: those who feel that-
they have the sacred right to
dictate to us what we should
be, rather than allow us the
equal chance to shape this
society. This is understandable.
Such elements we will hard to
come to terms with when the
.time is ripe.
The culture and civilization
brought to these shores by our
own foreparents can serve as

important base and launching
pad that can bring about a new
dawn for our peoples. It is im-
portant in this regard that we
genuinely try to understand
each other, Africans and
But let it- be known from
the vary start that no one who
genuinely seeks to understand
the Indian, his role and place in
Trinidad and the Caribbean, is
doing the Indian a favour, and
vice versa. This is a sacred duty
we all owe to the entire
Our innermost creed
should be to find the one
humanity in the many. The
salvation of our peoples lies in
the unity not in the uniformity
of our diverse peoples.


We must not admit
differences to be conflict, nor
must we imagine an enemy in
every stranger. We must try to
find a place for all in a vast and
humane social order.
Yet, there are those who
think that the solution lies in
what they term "integration."
But "integration" for them
goes no further.than below the
In reality this can only
mean the perpetuation of the
syndrome of exploitation and
subjection of one group by


P91t~ kw

(~y/^y / /OY

Unless our vision extends
beyond the drives of our lower
natures and becomes all-
encompassing and unifying,
any mention of "integration"
would entail a superior-
inferior, master-slave relation-
Sship, something that no people
should accept or tolerate.
Integration, in its truest
essence has to do with the total
consciousness of a people. The
time has come in this society
'for us to extend our vision
beyond the limits acquired on
the plantations. We can be our
worse slave-masters.
There are many vital
differences between the
African and the Indian which it
is not at all possible to ignore.
However, if in our pre-occupa-
tion with our own sectional
needs we do not recognize
these differences and face up
to them honestly, never will we
realize our common needs.
However, the problem

iR 26, 1972





/A- r4'e

40 Y~? oe

I today is not how to unite by
wiping out all differences, this
is in itself impossible. The pro-
blem today is not how to go
about creating a society of
stereo-types. This has the seeds
of its own decay.
This is the real challenge of
our peoples. Indeed, a very
difficult task but not an
impossible one.
The" greatest store of
resources of the Caribbean
peoples is the people them-
selves young, eager, ideal-
istic, coming from many lands.
It has always been.
Today, this is still true, but
in a deeper sense, for there is a
new and more exciting dimen-
sion to the picture.
In the past the people have
always been mere masses of
bags of bones and muscles to
be harnessed and exploited by
agencies outside of themselves,
the masters of the plantations.
Today, there is a new
awakening and we are realising

that the individual, the race,
the group, is not merely a bag
of bones and muscles but
something more, much more,
unique, powerful, forceful and
We see in each individ,:-
carrying in him, as a matter of
fact he is, the collective con-
sciousness of his race, history
culture' and civilization ex-
tending beyond the dimmest
limits of time.

And as we look at him as he
walks the streets and as he
works the fields and we know
tha he bears a past that
stretches itself out countless
ages beyond slavery and in-
And we see him go and we
realize that it is only in this
context that he can truly con-
tribute towards the upliftment
of the society in which he now
finds himself, upon which he
must leave his mark.
Yes, we realize. that we can
contribute nothing other than
that which we have to offer,
arid the only 'and greatest
offering we can make is that of
offering ourselves.

And we realize that we are
not mere muscles and bones
but the receptacles and carriers
of an awakened and rising con-
sciousness that spreads its
LIGHT in all directions setting
others aflame as it moves and
For, in reality, this is what
DIVALI symbolizes, the
awakened SPIRIT of MAN re-
fusing to be enchained and en-
slaved by matter; the SOUL
triumphant over the gross
materialism that seeks to
suppress it.
Let us all keep the DEYAS
alight, always even after
Divali day.



I READ with interest you report in the
November 12 issue of TAPIA of the
dkcnssion at UWI on "The Role, Place, and
contribution of the Indian in Trinidad and
Tobago." I wish to comment on what was
Dr. Samaroo is of the opinion that Hindus place
too much emphasis on ritual. He is ignoring the fact
that ritual is part of life in society.
I myself think that negroes place too much
emphasis on ritual, as we see in Carnival, Christmas
and their politics. Dr. Samaroo might be surprised to
learn that there are some Hindus who think as he
However, what non-Indians and Indians do not
recognize is the fact that it is the adherence to ritual.
which has ensured the survival of Hinduism, and
which have saved it from the Mussulman, the British
and the Negro.
Those Hindus who want to
discard the ritual should m U
examine closely the I
chauvinistic, barbarian society

in which we live.
Dr. Samaroo is also mistaken
when he says that we are "apa-
thetic towards political deve-
lopments in the larger society".
He should know that for more
than a century the blacks and
the whites have combined to
suppress the Indian, his religion
and culture.


Even today the Indian has
few chances of voicing his
opinions. Even if we were in
control of the mass madia, the
myth of negro omniscience
would be hard to destroy.
Far from being apathetic
towards political develop-,
ments, Indian views them with
alarm. Our confidence in the
system has been undermined
by black chauvinism, the
voting machine and a blunder-
ing Indo-Saxon leadership. :
In the. fifties and sixties,
when black chauvinism was at
its zenith, Indians might have
despaired. lkut after the de-,
bade of 1970 the outlook has
changed considerably.
The negro has ruined the
economic, social and political
systems and he can no longer
feel as self-righteous as he once
did. This failure of Afro-Saxon
society presents the opportune
moment for a takeover by the
Dr. Samaroo's concern with
local government and decentra-
lisation is easy to understand.
It is part of Tapia's stock-in-
trade. It is a posture that
ignores the smallness of the
Those who know what
bureaucratic systems are in
practice will realise that they
have a centralising bias which
makes for efficiency and the
control of power.
The hardships and frustra-
tions suffered by the DLP
Caroni County Council is a
good case in point. You cannot
have power at the local level if
a hostile group controls the re-
sources at the central level.
When people begin to
suggest that we acquire control

The East

has failed

to save the


now '

st save itself

of the central government,
only then will we be convinced
of their goodwill.
But it was the Hindu Sena-
tor who gave the game away.
Like so many of his kind, he
assumes that the Indian must
be accommodated by the
This is what the whole
exercise seems to be about -
accommodating "the recal-
citrant minority."
One must have little insight
into this society to assume that
it can accommodate anyone or
anything, and little pride in
one's race and culture to even
want to be accommodated.-
But Panday is right when he
says that the Indians have
reason to fear. But it is not be-
cause there are no Hindu
judges or any such thing.
They should be afraid be-
cause the entire system of soci-
ety is biased against them, and
they will always lose out as
long as they are prevented
from changing the system.
Lloyd Best's statements
show how much a part of this
society he is. This is ironic
when one reflects how much
he would like to change it.
What the Indians require
from the societies in the South
Caribbean is a civilised re-
sponse to social reality.
. This might well be the last
thing we are going to get, if we
judge from the negroes' re-
sponse to the PPP Government
in Guyana or the political situ-
ation in Surinam.
Best's statement smacks of
patronage and this is the last
thing that we want. Underlying
it is the assumption that the
Indian is the black man's bur-
den, and this is the biggest lie
of all.
Perhaps Best is no longer
listening to Gocking who has
realized tha it is the negro and
not the Indian who is the
"This political inade-
quacy is the tragedy ,' the
negro in ghe English speak-
ing Caribbean... In the
English-speaking Carib-
bean the negro has been
ushering himself off the

stage of history... It may
very well happen in the
decades ahead that the
Indian in the Southern
Caribbean may take tip the
torch so recklessly thrown
aside by the negro..."
Express 13/10/72
Honesty is certainly re-
quired, but it is required to
face the failure of the negro.
And it is the Indians who must
have vision and passion to
deal with these tragic figures.
Best misreads the nature of
the society when he goes on to
.speak of the philosophical
foundations. Afro-Saxon socie-
ty is not a higher-level society,
just as Western civilisation is
not a higher-level civilisation.
No society can be that
places so much emphasis. on
frenzy and materialism. Indian
civilisation is a higher-level
civilisation ,insofar as it en-
courages purity of form, holi-
ness of aspiration, fidelity to
ritual, and a humane approach
to social organisation.
But like all such civilisations
throughout history it is an easy
prey to barbarian influences.
We see this in the Caribbean.
In his culture the Indian seeks
truth and meaning, while the
negro seeks frenzy from the
same forms.
This accounts for the barbar-
isation of hosay, Tassa and
Phagwa and the strange perver-
sions of Eid and Divali.
The absurd theatricals of
yoga and Hare Khrisna in the
West confirm that there can be
no mix of cultures and philo-
sophicai traditions. We cannot
ignore the teachings of Hindu-
ism that Hindus are born and
not made.
Because of its all-embracing
nature, and this is an aspect
that Best recognizes, Hinduism
cannot be divorced from its
social context. Perhaps this is
why bourgeois Hindus are bad
The crisis in the world to-
day, as Best rightly recognizes,
has to do with "the philosophi-
cal foundationsof the civilisa-
tion," that is, with its inability
to help people face the absurd-
ities of life in industrial socie-
He argues that "with the
mix of cultures and philosophi-
cal strains the Caribbean had
the opportunity to introduce a
new philosophical tradition in
the civilisation."
But he is mistaken in assum-
ing that there are two strains to
mix, or that they can be
mixed. East is east and west is
west, and never the twain shall
Finally, we should note that
Indian civilisation has given to
Afro-Saxon society and the
West all that it can give, all to
no avail. The East has failed to
save the West and must now.
save itself.


ONE OF the general problems among youth in this country
is employment. This seems to set most astray, especially in
the rural areas, where they turn to drugs and other means
of narcotics to escape from it.
In places like Guayaguayare where there are Texaco and
AMOCO the percentage of em-
ployment among youth is very G UA yA G UA YA
poor. It reads like 25% em-
ployed. The other 75% just
scrunting around most of the

time which is not all their
Texaco as one of the
leading industrial firms in this
country embarked on a plan to
help the situation. They showed
less interest in the contractors,

and started out on a plan
which was taking away the
frustration from the unem-
They employed bunches
for a period of 10 weeks, after
which they were laid off until
another term.At first it worked
fine with the help of OWTU.
But after a time the OWTU
showed its inefficiency inhelp-
ing the youth in on the 10
Things started to get.
from bad to worse since it
started around November '71.
Most of the work was handed
out to the older heads (over
34), and one must have some-
body to speak for him or pass
some bread under the table.
It then began to get em-
barrassing for the youths who
had to pay their passage to go
down to the yards three days a
week and depend only on the

'No hands this morning'


They heard from others,
or wait until the Sarge comes
up and says "No hands this
morning" and chases everybody



out of the yard.
Some go elsewhere, but
what about those who can go
nowhere else, and are depend-

Peace and love.
The unemployed
youths of


Dance of

the black

THE revolutionary history
ofHaiti's"Black Jacobins"
has inspired a presentation
by the newly formed Re-
pertory Dance Theatre.
The ballet item "De-
fiant Era" is one of the
highlights of the Dance
Theatre's annual perform-
ing season which have. run
through six showings at
main halls in the country
since the beginning of
this month.
The sketches of cer-
tain phases in the late 18th
century slave revolt are
based on C.L.R. James'
"The Black Jacobins".
Direction and choreo-
graphy areby Astor John-'
son, a former Julia Ed-
wards lead dancer, who
studied at the Washington
Modem Dance Theatre
and at Arthur Mitchell's
Dance Theatre of Harlem
in New York.
Repertory Dance
Theatre closes its season on
Saturday, November 25
with a performance at the
JFK Lecture Theatre,
UWI. Other dances on
this programme:. Victim,
Fusion, Trio, and For
Better or For Worse.
Admission: $1.50
(students) and $2.
In picture above are
Gerald Warwick and San-
dra Pierre.







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S- ing on a "10 weeks" for Christ-
SRumours are now spread-
ing that they are about to stop
the 10 weeks when Christ-
mas is right around the corner,
and once again try the con-
The contractors employ
a certain amount of men, and
retain them until the jobs they
S'do are completed. They em-
ploy men from places as far as
Penal and San Fernando and
leave the youths right here un-
What are we going to
do? Steal, or be forced to beg?
No one wants to end up on the
bad end of the line, so recon-
S sider and help the youths, so
that everybody could spend a
"song" Christmas.

miniscing, and me trying
to find words to put down
this history, when Spree
came calling at my two-
room house cluttered with
pieces of metal, tools and
the general confusion
made by my frineds who
insist on keeping the
drawing-room of the house
like a snackette and the
outside like the back of a
chinese kitchen.
Around me, men who
were with me from the very
beginning, and now that we
had reached the period of the
sixties everybody was remem-
bering some incident in which
he figured prominently and
which was deserving of a place
in this story. Voices raised to
screeching heights and I trying
to exercise control until I re-
minded myself once again that
Trinidadians does talk in gang.
Spree got paid to all this,
not with a threat of force as
he might have done in the old
days, but with an articulate-
ness acquired as a result of
touring so many different parts
of the world.
Much of his talk couched
in the terms of the 70's, show-
ing quite clearly that the old
man was aware that his 30-year-
old struggle with pan had con-
tinued in one unbroken line up
to the present time.
I have described him as
old. But I speak relatively for
the face in front of me and the
boys didn't bear out the years
of strain and excitement that
were the lot of he who was in
fact the father of all that is
So to hear him talk, to-
day, of the need he feels to
spread his talent "for the use
of black brothers and sisters",
is to sit and listen, straining the
ear -as he agonised over the
future of the art while offering
encouragement by recounting
the troubles and hardships of
the past, seeming to saythat if
we had reached this far, then,
the depressions of today were
but .detours in the path of an
already programmed future.
We talked about the six-
ties, the era that we knew best,
and he knowing them both -
the 40's and the 60's was
able to argue that the connec-
tions were there all the while.
Picking up the threads of
the past and weaving them
with the present, while we in
tent on the anecdotes, and in
deference to one who knew it
all, were silent. The gang, now
humbled to size.
Using as a springboard
the ensuing discussion of the
'65 riot in which we were in-
volved, he spoke of the fury of
the 40's and of his own stature
in that strange world of creati-
vity and destruction out of
which the modern pan was
Now for him the bad-
john days are over, but I felt I
caught more than a trace of
satisfaction in his voice as he
"Other bandleaders used
to run into a fight just so. Not
me. My band was divided into
two distinct divisions. On one
side the beaters themselves, on
the other my riot squad. Man, I
used to drill the men like
soldiers and that is why up to
-today Tokyo's reputation is
such that no band will trifle
with them."
"We fought among our-
selves and we fought the police.
We would roam the hills beat-









ing pan, knowing that police
were going to make a raid that
night, but the law didn't care
about us so we didn't care
about the law. And on these
same nights the preachers
would be out with their
'candles, bells and marked cir-
cles, prophets of doom, really,
telling us about dreams that
foretold destruction not in the
well-to-do-areas of St. Ann's
and St. Clair, but always in
"I wasn't selfish. I used
to show other panmen where
and how they should thief pan,
acting as guide and conductor,

"WOMEN'S Liberation is
a political philosophy that
grows out of individual
truth, out of women's
understanding of their own
most intimate problems.
It's a thing that says
women are hot objects or
'playthings' or sources of
cheap labour but that
women are full human
beings! That is what I feel
women should understand
by the term 'women's
Unfortunately for many
of us in this society, the term
has become synonymous with
extremes like Lesbianism and
total rejection of the male.

If we are prepared to
accept the quotation as a fair
definition of liberation, then
we must go on to ask, what
Iplacel there is for these ideas,
and hopefully, for a vibrant
woman's movement supported
by every facet of womanhood
in our country.
Any redefinition of atti-
tudes in the society must take
into account a revaluation of

showing them the narrow ledge
leading from the drum factory
to the stinking mud in the
La Basse, watching, shaking
with laughter as the panmen,
scared once by a watchman
shooting into the air, swayed
and scrambled on the narrow
ledge, trying to run along a
path, narrow enough for
"If that was adventure
it was only an extension of the
adventure of life, itself, that I
was living in 29 Old St. Joseph
Barrack-yard, panties
hanging on the line, the in-


evitable cussing and steam
'come from living too many in
a room, toilets and bathrooms,
makeshift things in the yard to
be shared, but the humour, too
and the friendships formed
that are preserved to this day,
borne as they were out of an
intimacy forced on us by years
of seeing each other in various
forms of nakedness neither
scars nor deepest thoughts be-
ing hidden.
"And if anybody hearing
me drumming on the pans were
to ask what I was looking for I
wouldn't have had the words to
tell them. All I knew that in my
heart I was looking for some-
thing and it was that looking
that produced the beginning of
the note range in pan today.


"And you talk about
your supporters. Which band
today has a supporter like Ab-
dul, Rouffs father who on the
night when worst in the first
island-wide steelband competi-
tion met me in the road and
cried in his high, lisping way:
'Pree, come here!'
'Wha happen Abdul?'
'Wha all yuh play in the
'Stardust, Abdul.'
'And who tell all yuh
play Sawdust'.'
"And using his stick he
destroyed every single one of
the band's pans.
"Characters like bush.
Like Thick Lip who when he
drink used to ketch a spirit.
And one time I see him with
. mih eyes, big, big, big, standing
like Odysseus and holding on
to the top of a young tree,
struggling with it and tearing
off the top, breaking it with a



the woman's role.
The man has been saying
that the woman's place is next
to him, fighting to achieve total
liberation; going off on her own
scene will fragment revolu-
tionary human resources in the
country. But usually in any
sort of total liberation struggle,
black or white, the woman is
merely the accomplice, a mem-
'ber of a "women's arm" to
raise funds and cook the pelau.
Even when she does fight
alongside her man, at the end
of the fighting she is relegated
to the kitchen, from which she
had been allowed, at the man's
pleasure, to emerge.
The woman is forever
being manipulated. She is not
given the chance to find out
what she is, she is told how she
should be. "Paternalistic capi-
talism" ide Beauvoir- calls it
The women in our society
must free herself from her pre-
defined role until she is a per-
son in her own right.

Paradoxically, if we look
at our history, it would seem
that the only time the black
woman was free as an individual,
was during slavery.
"In order to function as
slave, the black woman had to
be annulled as woman, that is,
as woman in her historical role
of wardship under the entire
male hierarchy.
The sheer force
of things rendered her equal to
her man." (Angela Davis in
Black Scholar).
That we have evolved
into the non-people that we
are is directly bound up with
the history of capitalism among
black people in the area the
urge to acquire, to ape the
white man's values. And be-
cause of our feeling of in-
feriority, to try to become as
much like his woman as possible
So we gave up our free-


"And with all your in-
tricate arrangements, we hav<
lost something. How many
steelbandsmen today are able
to improvise on the spur of
the moment. Like in the calyp-
so we have lost the ability to
get up and solo on the spot.
More skilful with their hands-
perhaps, but everybody stick-
ing to the lines that the
arranger draws for them."
We heard Spree say that
he couldn't be positive that he
was the first man to beat a pan.
All he knows is that he was the
first to put notes on it. But his
point when he elaborated was
that maiy people had made
many contributions, or as he
put it "there have been many
turning points in pan".
Spree, Elie Mannette,
Tony Williams, myself. And I
would have been less than
human were I not satisfied
that this giant of the 40's
approved my experiment with
the Bertfone to the extent
that he sees it as the single
greatest innovation in pan in
the 70's.
And when I come to talk
about that particular innova-
tion, and show those who have
been following me a step-by-
step description of the pan -
broken down into its various
parts and assembled together
again, I will do so, assured by
Spree that I am following the
course of adventure and ex-
periment started not by me but
the men who began it in those
"dread" but exciting times 30
years ago.


But Spree was out the
door and the house-was empty.
ing.The moment ended. Before
he left"Catano" who had come
with Spree showed us what he
could do. The younger steel-
bandsmen listened and from
the smile that played on their
lips it was clear that he had
made Spree's point about the
lost art of improvising.
And the discussion that
followed as to whether in fact
improvisation was really neces-
sary meant that the atmosphere
was as before.Screeching voices,
ashes on the floor and all the
men talking all at once in

dom to be kept things; to make
our men feel responsible for us;
to strive after the institution of
marriage -vicious in its present
form since legally "the two are
one", and the one not the
woman;and all this has brought
to the point of the "woman's
arms" instead of being in
ourselves a political force to be
reckoned with.
We abdicate to expatriate
women our duty of giving time
and finance to our deprived
and delinquent children.
We do not clamour for
social legislation to protect our
illegitimates; for divorce with-
out shame and lies; for legaliza-
tion of abortion to lesson the
number of scarred wombs and
minds that the abortionists
We reject our sisters who
have the strength to defy the
social taboos and snigger at
those who are too weak to up-
hold them. If we had resources
within ourselves to fall back on,
then we would not bear the
yoke of marriage and unful-
filled relationship so patiently;
for to most of us, life without a
man is a horrible vacuum to
which daily mental and physi-
cal abuse is preferable.


I II II I I-- ----





MANY highly-considered West Indian novels, caught up
as they are in literary self-consciousness cannot boast the
pace, humour, firmness of characterisation and sheer
interest of this unpretentious little book.
The secret is in the modesty
of its aims. Those aims are
political satire, though satire is nis Solomon
perhaps too strong a word, for Des olomon
there is little if any exaggera-
tion in events or character-
Perhaps the better term is
exposure. At all events, the ~. ''.,a ,
novel centres its sights on the ."."i
depiction of the preposterous Zp
and unprincipled world of "
small and perhaps not-so '
small) island politics, and in so '
doing refuses to be slowed or
Even the linguistic solecisms
one expects to find in all but
the most professional West
Indian writing (and sometimes
even there) only occasionally
mar the competence of
Thomas' language, which he
uses with a firm and econom-
ical touch and a good- ..
humoured detachment that is
more damning than the most
earnest indignation. -B -'--' -l


He seems not to be able to
decide whether "muffin" ends
in a "g" or not; his rendering
of any but West Indian dialects
borders on the ludicrous; and
he has chosen for the title of
the entire last section of the
book a word that simply
doesn't exist.
But these are marginal
faults. Not only are all his
"wills"; wouldd" and
couldd" in their right places,
but the entire impression con-
veyed is one of firm control
and manipulation of his means
of expression.
The novel tells the story of
the preposterous rise and ig-
nominious fall of a Windward
Island trade-union leader and
eventual Chief Minister. The
models for the character are all
too obvious.
Jerry Mole is a layabout
who cannot keep a steady job.
Ex-policeman, ex-teacher, ex-
oil-refinery worker in Aruba,
he turns to trade-union organ-
isation at the suggestion of a
stevedore friend, Joe Pittance,
whose practical idealism comes
gradually into conflict with
Mole's corruption and
Mole exercises these

qualities to great effect, but
after some years of undisputed
sway, in the course of which he
burns down the headquarters
of the arrowroot industry to
destroy the livelihood of his
political rivals, he is defeated
by a rival party organised by
the hard word and quiet
idealism of his former
associate, Joe Pittance.
Mole is finally disgraced for
good when, in his desperation
to avoid defeat, he is dis-
covered to have been practising
obeah. As a means of replacing
his lost revenues, he takes up
the challenge of a former white
planter friend to write, for one
thousand pounds, a completely
accurate account of his career.
He has previously obtained
the opinion of the Attorney
General that what is written in
a book, however true it is,
cannot constitute evidence for
The episode of the bet is a
clever gimmick on the part of
Thomas to explain how an
autobiography can admit its



author's crimes, and at the
same time to remind his own
readers of the value of the cus-
tomary statement that "the
characters and events in this
book are totally imaginary ...
The need for an uncluttered
presentation of the central
political theme, though by and
large it is admirably fulfilled,
has led to a degree of incom-
pleteness in characterisation
that perhaps detracts from the
potential psychological interest
of the book.
Mole 'and his wife Sonia,
who, for a large part of their
lives have existed in the same
state of squalor and poverty as
their rapidly multiplying neigh-
bours, have no children.
This is very strange, es-
pecially since their marriage
came about through Sonia's
unplanned pregnancy, a
symbol of improvidence that,
while completely realistic in
itself, is to the same degree an
indication of the possibility of
many more pregnancies.


Sonia has strong domestic
instincts and her dissatisfaction
with politics is an important
factor in the story; but no
desire for children or dis-
appointment at childlessness is
ever attributed to her. Not
only that, but Mole's childless-
ness detracts from the book in
that it is so obviously a device
to enable Mole's one-sided ras-
cality to seem less unreal.
A man with children, how-
ever rascally he is, might be
expected to be at least slightly
concerned about the future of
the society he leaves to them,
whereas Mole is shown as com-
pletely Without scruples at any
stage of the depredations he in-
flicts on his country.
In addition, the search for
simplicity has led to another
type of psychological un-
realism that will be particularly
glaring to those who know the
West Indies. Mole thas no
sexual interests at all out side
his marriage; he is depicted as
completely free from the com-
pulsive womanising that in real
life is so much a part of the
behaviour ofthe type he re-
This womanising is just as

much a reaction to the psycho-
logical emasculation inflicted
by our society as is the arro-
gant and indiscriminate use of
political power; and it is partly
responsible for the social
structure that perpetuates
colonial behaviour in the
So this omission in the cha-
racterisation of Mole has
political as well as psycho-
logical implications, which the
novel loses depth by ignoring.
There is indeed a half-
hearted attempt to justify this
omission by humourously pre-
senting Mole as something of a
Puritan (and this provides a
joke when he has to strip
for his bush bath).


He is made to say that his.
power hunger is so great that
he has no time to desire
women (even as rewards after
the achievement of power) but
this is more an acknowledge-
"ment of a fault in the book
than a justification. Besides, it
is doubly unrealistic for
another reason.
It is revealed that Mole is
the son of a lecherous white
man who raped his mother; at
the symbolic level this is an af-
firmation of the origins of pre-
sent political corruption in the
violence of the colonising pro-
But at the literal level it re-
quires us to accept a view of
heredity that explains Mole's
rascality and irresponsibility as
a legacy from his father; and if
we are to believe this, how do
we explain that he has not in-
herited his father's lechery as
The political optimism in-
herent in the novel's ending is
hardly justified by the present
political realityin the Windward
Islands; but this is no criticism,
for within the framework of
the book itself the optimistic
denouement is in perfect
keeping with the good-
humouredness of the style
and amply justified by the
development of the plot.
Although the events of the
story mainly concern the for-
tunes of Mole, Thomas makes
it clear that his rule is an unfor-
tunate episode from which



iiroona will move to better
things, represented by Pittance
and his new party.
Pittance, symbol of
Hiroona's aspirations, is the
begetter of both Mole's party
and the one that succeeds him
that is, the society is shown
as capable of correcting its mis-
The crux of the novel is the
scene where Mole sees the pre-
election candlelight procession
of Pittance's party, a true mass
demonstration including
middle-class as well as working-
class people, and avoid of all
the childish crowd pleasing
paraphernalia .that had charac-
terised the meetings of Mole's
party in its ascendancy.
In the parade, striding out
with manly confidence is the
half-witted boy called Penny
Farthing whom Mole has ex-
ploited and robbed in order to
launch his own political career.
Not only the chronological
immaturity, but the "con-
genital" helplessness of the
society is beginning to be con-
quered by the arousal of
mature political consciousness.


But what is the form of
this consciousness? The novel
is not altogether clear. Sober
and well-disposed leaders, yes.
Opportunity for these leaders
to arise from all stata of the
population, yes some of
Pittance's associates are
middle-class, and professional,
but one is an ex-police con-
stable, and Pittance himself is
But the means, the pro-
gramme of work whereby the
flow of leaders in specific fields
may be assured and the popu-
lace involved as well as
Only sketchy answers are
given. The rebuilding of the
cottage of the idiot boy and his
mother, a job which Mole has
not done in all his fourteen
years of power, is accom-
plished by Pittance's party
with the villagers' labour, but
the cottage is prefabricated in
the capital and transported to
the site; and this is evidently
meant to be an example of the
kind of efficiency such situa-
tions require.


At the meeting the
following day Pittance says of
his party: "what we have done
for Penny Farthing we will do
for you." The candidate of the
party is presented as "capable
of promoting your interest in
the Government and defending
your rights in the courts."
The emphasis seems to be
on still doing things for people,
on the idea of bounty handed
down from above.,
But this is perhaps a failure
of explicitness rather than a
fundamental shortcoming, for
in a story that is essentially a
chronicle of rascality Thomas'
faith in people comes through
loud and clear from the very
beginning, long before it is ex-
pressed by actual events in the
It comes through in the
good-humouredness of the
writing and in the fondness
with which the characters,
especially Sonia and Pittance,
are drawn. So it would be
unfair to criticise Thomas be-
cause his cottage is of pitch-
pine and not Tapia.


sarcastic rejoinder will be made
in calypso for the next season
by the Mighty Chalkdust, In-
dependence Calypso King, PNM
Buy Local Calypso King and
foremost political and social
commentator in song.
This way, the short, 31
year old calypsonian hopes to
have the final word and the
last laugh in the controversy
that developed over his political
position last week when the
PNM claimed against Chalky's
denial that he had applied for
"I don't think it will affect
my career", he said earlier this
week. "People know where I


At the Independence
Calypso King finals this year he
had stated his stand "for Black
Power" in his winning tune
"One more to go".
And earlier this week he
explained that he was for a "less
violent type of Black Power".
He felt that the message of his
calypsoes was aimed at pro-
moting "all that Black dignity
connotes knowledge of our
ancestry, pride in the culture".
But he does not
belong to any political group,
he stressed, nor does he intend
to join any.



It is a political philosophy,
however, that hangs easily with
his staunch Roman Catholicism.
"I don't miss mih mass and
thing", Chalkdust said.
Between Black Power and
Roman Catholicism he could
see no conflict. "The Church
has never been a racial organisa-
tion. It has never been against
black people asserting them-
selves, and it has always preach-
ed the dignity of the human
He admitted, though, that
the Church has not always
practised what it preached. And
he added.
"I don't think the Church
has been as active as it should
be. It has been too aloof. But
they are coming down fast -
changing, bending backwards to
adapt to local people, local
customs etc.", said Chalkdust
who has taken on the job of
writing calypso hymns.
While he would have liked
to see Archbishop Pantin join
the march to Caroni in 1970 he
felt that the Church head must
have had good reason for with-
drawing at the last minute.
Right now he saw that the
Church and State were "not
working side by side. Most of the
principal Church leaders have
attacked the government".

Dear Diana,

THE self-proclaimed
"National Newspaper" -
the Express has done it
again. The "Dear Diana"
column in the Expression
magazine of Sunday Novem-
ber 5, has told a young sis-
ter to fry her hair rather
than lose her job.
The sister had written to
Expression to say that she had
recently gone afro after join-
ing a youth club.
Her boss had raised a
noise saying that she could not
work in his store looking like
that. In her letter to Expression
the sister said that she felt that



The fact that the Church
had opposed the PNM in 1956
showed "the wisdom and fore-
sight the Catholic hierarchy
Chalkdust's disenchant-
ment with the PNM government
only started in 1964, however.
In his two Training College years
from '64 to '66 he became
convinced that his role had to
He used to have long and
bitter arguments with other
student-teachers. And the whole
experience changed him for
"Before I was just a
passiVe feller, but then I began
to think that my role had to
change. I just couldn't be a
teacher teaching r-a-t,b-a-t.
"I had to teach people
to take pride in themselves, to
know and have pride in their
ancestry. To understand that
what we have locally is much
more important than the foreign


A teacher for 12 years
now a third year UWI
nt on a government

bursary, Chalkdust has been
able to appreciate what he called
the "slow, negligible, inconse.
quential changes in the field of
Holding the view that
Trinidadians are generally apa-
thetic not caring much after
needs for food, clothes and
sheleer are satisfied, Chalkdust
is convinced that to move the
people they have first to be
entertained. Then they would
be willing to hear what you
have to say.
His mission has been
successful, he feels, because he's:
been able to get people to think
and be aware of the impro-
prieties and ills in the country.
And if he is branded for

your slip is showing

her boss was insulting her an-
cestry but she didn't want to
lose her job and asked what to
Diana's reply is so amaz-
ing that I quote in full:
"Is an Afro hair-do a
true sign of your ancestry? I
don't know you but I can bet
my bottom dollar you're a
born Trinidadian. Be proud of
that whatever the traces of an-
cestry from other lands you feel
you are entitled to claim.
"Sporting an Afro may
be the in-thing at the moment,
but I feel sure that you want
to wear your hair like that be-
cause your friends do, and it's

the fashion, and I don't blame
you. But is it worth losing
your job. A conservative boss
mayn't want a mod atmosphere
in his shop and as he pays the
piper he can call the tune."
In 1972, it is tragic that
the Express couid allow a
column like "Dear Diana" to
appear advising a young sister
not only to fry her hair but
also to bend to the whims of
the boss. Of course it may be
true that the sister is wearing a
natural because it is the fashion
The point is to show her
that to put chemicals in your
head to get "straight hair" is an
act of self-denial and a sign of

being totally oppressed. That
kinky hair can only be worn
natural, anything else will only
make one a mockery.
Again, to tell the sister
that he who pays the piper calls
the tune is one of the most im-
moral statements that can be
ever made in a newspaper whicl
one hopes has as one of its aims
to educate the public. In other
words, if the piper was trying
to exploit the sister, "Dear
Diana" would have made a
similar statement. Keep quiet
and keep your job.
Keep it up "Dear Diana"
you are showing your real

this as "radical" and "anti-
government" then it's all right,
says the man who Gordon
Rohlehr wrote has adopted the
mantle of Atilla.
Chalkdust feels, though,
that Atilla used to be more
direct in his political criticism.
His own pitch Chalkdust thinks,
is more subtle inviting people
to laugh at his picong and then
to reflect.
Nevertheless, he thinks his
outspokenness has had a power-
ful effect in hitting the govern-
ment where it hurts and
encouraging other people and
other calypsonians to show a
concern with what's going on
and to speak their minds.


"I make up mih mind to
make a jail", said the man who
sang "Ah Fraid Karl", "The
Answer to Black Power", "To
Hell With the Ministry",
"Massa Day Must Done" and
"One More To Go".
'"The PNM sorry they
didn't ketch me pelting bottle
on Charlotte Street. And they
feel in interfering with me for
singing as I do they would
lose out.
"They haven't touched
-me because I took the bull by
the horns. I believe the calypso-
nain has calypso licence by
traditional right. If they stop
calypsonians from singing as they
want they'll kill calypso".


He also insists on his right
as a citizen to speak his mind.
For the 1973 calypso
season Chalkdust will be singing
at the Original Regal Tent at
Legion Hall. This tent has been
organised by himself, Duke and
Superior without non-calypso-
nian capitalist involvement.
Apart from "PNM Loves
Me", he'll be singing "Juba-
Doobai" ("my war-cry"),, "Dr
Bharath" and "Get Involved".
And if at Dimanche Gras
come February his "Juba-
Doobai" does not win the
expected public acclaim, it will
not be for the want of praying.

The case forWomen's

From Page 9
No wonder the man
treats us so contemptuously.
Although he too is a victim of
economic exploitation, his "id"
is free to soar. He uses every
excuse (in these days politics is
fashionable) to stay away from
But we must take the
blame for this. It is we who
have borne and nurtured him;'
it is our attitudes he adopts;
our sickening martydom when
we serve the best of every-
thing to our husbands. He sees
us do it and will expect to get
the same.
We talk about "losing a
cook" and so encourage him
to feel he is born to screw and
breed indiscriminately. We give
him peace and quiet in which
to study while our daughter

washes the dishes.
All this must be changed.
Women here must come to-
gether strongly as a group to
wrest their social and civil rights
by vigorous protest not as a
pressure group, for these can
always be "handled" in some
way, but as a conscious political
We must stop being
adjuncts and become people.
But let us move away
from looking at the situation
as it is to analysing the reasons
for the present position of
women in the society, and
examining the benefits to her-
self and to the society at large,
if she could evolve out of the
mould that has been cast for




111 Frederick Street & Campus St. Augustine