Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072147/00084
 Material Information
Title: Tapia
Physical Description: no. : illus. ; 43 cm.
Language: English
Publisher: Tapia House Pub. Co.
Place of Publication: Tunapuna
Creation Date: November 11, 1973
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: UF00072147:00084

Full Text

Vol 3 No 45




S- --T- -H I





I agree that THE TIME REACH


THIS issue of TAPIA invites members, friends,
associates and well-wishers to our fifth anni-
versary Assembly. This Assembly follows the
one on September 23, which was a decisive
turning point in the history of the Group. In
the following and further installments of an
article inside the paper, Keith Smith, Special
Rapporteur, gives an account of how he saw
the Assembly.


I HAVE been influenced in my life by many
things and by many men. Pat Chookolingo,
George John and Owen Baptiste gave me an
appreciation for the written word, C.K. John-
son, that tormented, intelligent and percep-
tive man, a Kittitian turned Trinidadian, was
the first to give me an objective opinion of
our people. You have so much here, he said,
what are you doing about it? Lennox Grant
who traded with me a friendship that resulted
in our lives running an uncanny parallel.
Cecil Gray and Ciive Belgrave, two of my
teachers whom even though they now regard
me as a kind of intellectual contemporary, I
persist in revering. Bertie Marshall whose life-
style it is easy to romanticize. Terry Julien,
who was to become a different kind of priest.


But the real turning point, for me, was a copy
of TAPIA in which Lloyd Best, defending the usual
charge of arrogance, said that the real question was
not whether he, Williams or Granger was arrogant.
The country, because of its history, traditionally
threw up arrogant men, he said. And what was
important was that we recognize this and set up
systems to control the arrogance of such men.
Now I had seen this arrogance often on the
blocks, and I saw it in every single revolutionary
leader. Without exception. Even those who left the
movement of 1970 because of the alleged arrogance
of the leader, when I met them in private conversa-
tion displayed the very arrogance that they said they
were escaping. At the time it scared me because it
threatened once again to deny the ability of our
people to contribute, to deny the ability that I knew
shimmered under the tonguelessness that was the
final refuge of thousands of my disadvantaged coun-
trymen. Indeed, I had dismissed Tapia on the score
of Best's supposed arrogance and here was this man
urging on us a set of institutions that in the final
analysis would serve to limit him.


Once that hole had been made in the dyke of
my resistance, Taoia came like a floodtide. Well, not
really. One allows the sweep of the metaphor to get
away with one. The commitment was much more
gradual. I began to read more about Tapia, fitfully to
attend meetings, to be plagued again by doubts. Only
now there was Best, Laughlin, Lowhar, Solomon,
Taylor, Ramrekersingh and others to answer them.
So while it was gradual, it has been none-the-less
a progressive conviction. And it has had its final
consummation on that day, September 23, 1973
when Tapia called its people together for a Special
Assembly, when everything I had heard was put into
a cohesive whole and I felt an upliftment, the nearest
perhaps that I will ever come to that joy which some
of my brothers tell me they felt when they realized
that, for them, Christ was the answer. I tell you it was
like a sheet of lightning.

15 Cents

I~he goriou mornng .cme- ei t Smit

- -1 1


THE NEXT 90 days could well see the climax of the
February Revolution in a Constituent Assembly of all
community and political groups whether registered for
elections or not.
Everyone of us is seeing now that the crisis will be resolved
neither in an election called to destroy Hudson-Phillips and to acco-
mmodate Robinson and Williams nor in a consideration of the
Wooding Report by the illegitimate 1971 Parliament.
Ever since April 21, 1970, Tapia has insisted that when the
machinery of the State breaks down the one and only solution is to
common the sovereign citizens who alone can put it together again.
Whatever they may be advocating and whatever may be their reasons,
everybody appreciates this now. The IRO is simply riding a popular
wagon set in train by the Tapia Movement and powered by the
objective revolutionary situation.
In some ways, we have reached where the English were in
the 1640's, the French at the turn of the 1790's. The fundamental
mental issue is the same: where
does the sovereignty lie? Does
it lie with the King and his
troops? Or with the moral
authority inherent in the citi-
zens of every State? Every
Trinidadian and Tobagonian has
been forced by the upheaval of
the last five years to ask himself
the question. c ] 1 1
We know that to make a
reality of our independence
thereisa leap which history now the Cabinet, the Prime Minister
dictates for us. The sovereignty and Parliament. Both the con-
must be rooted in the people, tent and the method of consti-
power must come from below. tutional reform must make that
We must reverse the priorities clear or we could be back with
assigned at Queen's Hall in the parallels of England and
1962. And if the Executive France.
stands in the way of that This brings us to the Con-
reversal, we will simply have to stituent Assembly again.
brush it aside. Granado and others seem
to think that the Assembly
must be subordinate to the
BRUTAL Legislature and that in the
Chair we must have the Chief
In Perspectives for the New Executive or his constitutional
Society, the governing party and political agent, the Gover-
has itself made the brutal point. nor General. This must be
"It is generally not un- exactly the Williams plan.
derstood that the consti- Acolyte Clarke has duly
tution and democratic entered the political arena -
form of government in helped by the DAC. Robinson,
the United Kingdom that notorious for his lack of judg-
the privileged groups so ment, fails to see that under
admire as 'The Mother the present Constitution, the
Country' was the result Governor-General will be more
of a bloody civil war in usable by the Prime Minister if
which the King ofEngland we make the error of encourag-
was decapitated". ing Clarke in a new political role.
Dr. Vernon Gocking remind- Williams must be thinking
ed us that in the Perspectives of employing Clarke to esta-
the PNM conveniently neglected blish himself as a Gaullist Mon-
to identify all the privileged arch. But we must insist that
groups which make up the Wooding take the Chair and
oligarchy of 1956 and after, that the Constitution Com-
But since Williams' Convention mission play the part of Secret-
Speech of September, develop- ariat to the Assembly.
ments inside the party have
bared the fangs of that grasping WOODING
elite which dresses up Hudson-
Phillips as Face-Man No 1.
After all the false doubts
In his Address, the Political expressed by the opposition
Leader sought to denounce this forces, Wooding has established
parasite elite as corrupt, in- his independence of the Govern-
competent, "bent on total re- ment. Tapia went to Arima to
pression and susceptible of help him after we had engaged
"external interference." in a dialogue to help the Com-
For a long time now he has mission acquire its bona fides.
preferred to hold himself aloof We went to Chaguaramas
from it and to practise a direct and helped Wooding to alter
docracy with his rank and file the Crown-Colony Commission
through the Medium of Meet of Enquiry stance he adopted
The People Tours and National at the start. He alone is mani-
Consultations. festly ready for the job. He
Now that the country is up must sit in the Chair and let
in arms against the government, the nation speak.
he is hoping to make a clean His Report is only a starting
and final break with the aim of point, it does not bind a soul
settling a new constitutional because constitution-making is
form in which the party would a political matter for the people
become more expendable. He not the responsibility of any
probably has wind that Wood- Committee.
ingis coming with Proportional In practical terms, this does
Representation and, realising means is the only thing on
that with groups like Tapia on which the Constituent Assembly
the scene, his methods have can formally decide is the re-
been rendered obsolete and in- form of the electoral system
adequate to the coming struggle, so that elections can thereafter
he is resigned to the fact that be organised to produce a Par-
the party is going to disappear liament authorised to institute
in any case. constitution reform.
Whatever constitutional re- This only sounds like what
form he has in mind, Tapia is the DAC has been calling for.
going to force him to acknow- The crucial difference is that
ledge the sovereignty of the the Tapia proposal sets up
citizens over the Government, machinery for the citizens -

,e o ciizens..

not the Prime Minister or the
Governor General to bring
about electoral reform. The
DAC and Robinson have been
cool on the Constituent Assem-
bly for reasons similar to those
of Williams.
Not one of them has the
confidence that they would
prevail in a free and democratic
debate where all community
organizations will be free to
speak their minds. Both the
PNM and DAC are bent on
some slick electoral reform,
slanted to win them easy ad-
vantage. Both know that their
electoral stances would wilt
under the glare of the citizens'
At'a Constituent Assembly

Williams, Robinson and all the
old-world Parliamentary per-
sonalities, full 17 years in the
business, will be on no higher
level or lower footing than
George Weekes, Joe Young,
Geddes Granger or Alan Hare-
Only moral authority will
tell not title or Cabinet
history. Mimic men will be
ignominiously exposed to the
world. All those who accept
the Madison Avenue idea that
not money and business power
made J. F. Kennedy President
but publicity and images in the
media, will discover that leaders
in real power situations must be
comfortable in dirty clothes.
Williams understands that

both Robinson and Hudson-
Phillips are competing front
men for an empty cocktail
party world. He was not afraid
to sweep Robinson aside in
1967 nor to dress-down Hud-
son in October gone.
At that level his judgment
cannot be faulted. Where he is
wrong is in failing to grasp that
the interest they represent is
real though new. The party
has traditionally relied on the
Leader's popular political base
but now that its fortunes have
declined its elitest wing has
acquired a new importance.
Williams' resignation man-
oeuvre clearly assumes that his
rank and file will prevail but
that is only another error. Doc-
tor Politics is no longer viable
and the middle ground cannot
hold. While Hudson and Robin-
son are batting for the right,
a gigantic, young, new, con-
stituency has arrived on the
left. Only the DLP's share that
collapsing centre.
The Tapia Constituent As-
sembly will now consolidate
the two new political camps
and create revolutionary nation-
al parties. Wooding's Report
in this particular political and
military climate will force every
group to take alignment. The
impending consummation of
the February Revolution will
eliminate the so far healthy
and democratic fragmentation.
The demands of survival will
make it so.
The Granado-IRO offers tempt-
ing Williams to make a bid to
re-occupy the middle-ground.
History demands that Tapia
warn him that nothing
could cost him dearer.

5th Anniversary




Sunday Nov18,1973


* Foreign policy

* Constitutional reform

= Social and economic reorganization

* National political mobilization


82-84, St Vincent Street, Tunapuna (front)
91. Tunapuna Road, Tunapuna (back)

Members and associates who need or can assist with transportation to and
from the Assembly, are askcd to advise the Administrative Secretary, Allan
Harris (fel. 662-5126) ;iot later than Wednesday. November, 14



greater faith

MY GREATEST handicap is doubt. It is rare indeed
that my mind is free from warring alternatives. And
while there is much to be said, I am told, for healthy
scepticism there are times when all these alternatives
become translated into a kind of paralysis of
What makes this constant state of doubt even
more tormenting is the persisting fear that, perhaps, I
am unconsciously throwing up these doubts as ,a
coward's excuse for opting out of any definitive
It may well have been that I would have con-
tinued until death in this state of agonized inaction
but for the developments of 1970 which we in
Laventille had foreshadowed when we went into the
canals with hoe and shovel, literally trying to clean
the mess that had accumulated under 14 years of PNM
rule. The disenchantment that followed our trying to
make ,change in a vacuum, and the sweeping turbu-,
lence of the 1970 demonstrations, when I saw the
frustrationsof tens of Laventilles being played out on
the national stage, forced me to look at the country
in a very real way.
Now, we were not poor by Laventille standards.
'My father was then' and is, now, a civil servant-
unionist on the Docks. We never had our own house
but there was always enough to eat and my father
who is a Grenadian moved in a circle of teachers who
were living here but who were born in his homeland,
so that school and education was a constant topic at
our house.


SI was given an education, but because the
alienating effects of that education were counter-
pointed by the fact that I was an integral part of the
Laventille community, it was possible for me to
bring: whatever abilities of analysis I had to bear on
what was being said on the platforms in the light of
the darkness that was the life of the people with
whom I lived and who accepted, unquestioned, my
love.giving me theirs in return.
The events of 1970 dramatized all that I knew
was wrong,,so wrong that for the first time in my life
I saw doubt as a luxury ifit did not eventually lead
to decision. I began my search in what I thought,
then, was the most fundamental fashion. I started
by asking myself "just what was possible?" in a
country which Naipaul tells me, matters not a candle.
to the rest of the world.
I lived with that question during the marches in
the streets and the gatherings in the Square, finally,
giving up under a fresh onslaught of doubts. But out
of it all, one certainty emerged and it was that "more
was possible" than the promise held out by the
brothers on the platform whom I knew well. So
there I was, caught up in the'movement, hearing the
Sdrums, of change but fretting because I felt we were
setting our sights too low. I felt much that they felt
.and when I raised my clenched hand I was part of a
moment of emotional truth.
,But in the nights, in the long, and, for one of
my restlessness, the crucifying hours of an imposed


With cap, standing third from left, is KEITH SMITH, former Presidentof UWI Students Guild. The occasion is the launching of
Bertie Marshall's invention, the "Bertfone" in 1971, under the auspices of Tapia St Augustine. KEITH SMITH'S report of the
September 23 ASSEMBLY continues on this page and on Pages 4,5,6,7 and 8.

curfew, I couldn't help but reflect on the direction
the movement was taking. Because I knew the leaders
off as well as on the platform, I was aware even then,
that among the vanguard presented to the population,
there was a serious difference about the road along
which we were to travel. I knew that there were those
who saw the crisis in terms of class and in terms
of colour, and I.had been listening to Pinetoppers
beating drum at the corner of Prince and Piccadilly
Street one night in the company of one of the
leaders who, on hearing the term "Black Power,"
snorted bitterly that the only power he knew came
from the barrel of a gun.
Later I was' to see him linking hands on the
NJAC platform. It was not simply a marriage of
convenience. The men had genuine contacts and their
differences, serious as they were, were kept in check
by the emotional:headiness of the moment and the
practical need to demonstrate a common front. Later
in quieter times would come the parting of the ways.
But long before that I had come to reject analyses'
based on both class and colour because I felt they
had come like gifts from overseas aind ours was too
unselective and ready an acceptance. I could not for
the life of me travel either of these roads because they
both contradicted one of the few certainties that was
mine one that I had salvaged out of my daily
immersement with those people me and my friends
that the marches and the other demonstrations
*promised to change.


You see, for me, revolution has always been a
personal thing. I lived the tragedy that was the lives
of the dispossessed, I could see the great harm that
had been done, I knew that there were thousands
living in Laventille and the urban slums who were
either growing old on the corners or fleeing in that
final act of desperation to the sickly cold of North
America. And while I knew that they had no jobs,
that days passed whenthey didn't have the price of a
Solo, that they lived crammed into houses and when
we sought relief in the air that even England couldn't
steal fromus. We meet the suspicious gaze of the po-
lice that was later to turn into arined harassment.

that the Trinidad they knew was a Trinidad of canals
that smelled for years and pipes through which
water seldom flowed although I knew these things
J was conscious, that, together they had an even
greater cost than personal suffering. I saw that what
all these afflictions were conspiring to stultify for all
time was the brilliance that daily blazed on the
blocks the intelligence, the wit, the humour, the
imagination,, the skills, the courage and the appetite
for long hours of hard work. I-saw all the physical
suffering but I felt more the denial of the spirit. And
it was this greatness of spirit, about the existence of
which I was certain, I felt the 1970 movement at the
time was denying both in its methods and in its
goals, I felt.
I knew we "had something here" and because
of that "so much was possible". So for me revolu-
tionary excitement is the thought of what, given
the chance, our people could do. That, for me, was
unyielding certainty, an article of faith, really. This
was my base and it found emotional expression in
the rallying cry of the movement of the 1970's
S"power to the people". Doubts persisted, however,
Less intense than before, to be sure, I was not
satisfied that the brothers on the platforms were
not equating their desires with what they felt should
be the desires of the- people. I couldn't help.but feel
that the leaders were not doing the necessary 'pro-
ijection to translate the cry into practical organization,
one that would continue even after we had won and
when the people's power might very well be turned',
against them, in time, and even under the new dis-
pensation. I felt then, and it must be said, that the
brothers were selling us short. felt I had a greater

Tapia meeting

In our five years
public meetings.

Tapia has had only 41

Auzonville Park 2
ITunapuna Road 1
Maingot Road 1
El Dorado Road 1
Dinsley Corner 1
Pasea Road 1
San Fernando Band Stand 3
Palms Club 1
Independence Sq 2
Good Samaritan Hall 1
Woodbrook 1
St James 1
Belmont 1
Diego Martin 3
Diamond Vale 1
Sangre Grande 2
Arima 1
Chaguanas 1
Couva 1
Balmain 1
Princes Town 1
Laventille 2
San Juan 1
Point Fortin 2
Matelot 1
Guayaguayare 2
Mayaro- 2
New Lands 2
Fyzabad 1
On October 1, 1973 we appointed as
Campaign Manager, Michael Harris, of
St James.


The mind runs in strange directions. I
remember on the morning of that Meeting
looking around at the people scampering in
out of the streaming rain and thinking how
many of them I did not know. It seemed to
me that only a short while ago I knew every-
body in Tapia and while I understood that what
'1 was/seeing was evidence that the group had come of
age --that, in fact, we were achieving what we had
set out to achieve, I must confess that for a brief
moment I felt a fleeting nostalgia for the kind of
intimacy that we would never know again; when
there were only a few of us held together by a com-
mon view and a common fellowship and the know-
ledge that in time we would discover other men shar-
ing that same view. And, today, many of those men
had come.
S I. suppose I am a dreamer. And I used to
apologize for it until Ken Parmasad told me one day
that "the world needed dreamers". So, I now say,
without apology, that 1 "go off' at times, as my
friends in Laventille tell me with amusement. The
mind just blanks odt what is actually happening be-
fore my eyes,and I am in a different world. I think
about all' kinds of things during these periods my
brother who was drowned, something that I had
heard or had read, or something that I was planning
to do. And so it was just before the Meeting started,
I found myself thinking about that first Tapia editorial
Written four years ago and which I read a full two
years after it had been published.,


The words reeled in my mind ... "the solutions
Which the Tapia House is espousing are not feasible
for a movement which simply controls the instru-
ments of the State. The Movement must also enjoy
.pbwer and moral authority in the community. It must
have the trust, the confidence and the support of
large sections of the population, of all classes, races,-
ages, and colours. It must not take.office just to get
rid of the old order; it must also be clear about what
it wants to do. It must be united on the programme
of change ':
The question in that editorial was: How do we
create such a movement? And the answer came back
out of the four-year past as a kind of canvas against
which this present Meeting was silhouetted:
"The experience of the last 15 years holds the
answer. lWe know now that movements in office can
only achieve what they have prepared themselves to do"
beforehand. How you make up your bed so will you
lie down. It .is an illusion to think that we can be
slackersand dullards, fat-heads and duncy-heads now
and that the mere taking of office will somehow
transform us into dedicated, hard-working, compe-
tent and seasoned users of power. It'is clear that the
Country cannot be re-organized by one man and his
dog not even if he begins with a large and sym-
pathetic following".
You, who understand that I had come into the,
struggle for change knowing that all that we had to do
was ,to unleash and channel the brilliance of the
thousands, must know what this assertion means to
me thatchange could not be brought about by one
individual or even one group, of individuals but by
the combined efforts of a whole set of people.


The editorial in September of 1969 said that we
were laying foundations. Looking around at the
people crowded into the Tapia House "that wuk had
built," I knew that those foundations had been well
and truly laid, that we were no longer an intermediate
political institution but had moved on in five years
to becQme a full-fledged organization, one inci--
dentally, that had survived in its essential entirely in
spite of the hammering-that we had received from the
very culture that for so long had prevented us from
knowing our own minds. In a sentence I felt "the
glorious morning come".
And as Ivan Laughlin prepared to speak to us I
thought how, almost singlehandedly, this white man
had forced so many to question their blanket con-
damnation of whiteness; of how Tapia had sent him
as the Community Relations Secretary and, in oppo-
sition to the opinions of the conventional experts,
into the fieldqn the blocks and into the communities.
Over the years we had seen th? essential worth
of the man; how he had managed ,to emerge from the
castle of his skin to deal with men like men; and how
thle brothers responded as I knew they would because
part of the brilliance of the blocks is that they under- -
stand, instinctively, a lot of things, and have it whhin
themselves to deal with men as men because we are

W. -Ay




Ivan Laughlin has emerged from the castle of his
skin and forced many. to question their blanket
condemnation of whitemen.

not a racial people, in that sense. Precisely because,
"we," as Best says, "who are at the bottom of the
heap have had to learn to love". It is that that has
gotten us through these 400 years.
I can see and hear Ivan now as I write, becoming
redder and redder as he gave vent to the fires of his
"We have been five years building an organiza-
tion so that we have a set of committed men, men
committed to the same dreams and hopes who have
come to Tapia, not because they have been paid or
bribed, but because they have a view of Tapia. They
understand that we are asking people to dedicate
their lives to the struggle for change '"


I was one with him as he sketched the group's
development, showing how in its political method the
group had remained true to MY faith in the existing
but so'far suppressed worth and ability of Trini-
"We have been involved with unions, taxi-,
drivers associations, teachers, groups of one, kind or
the other over the last'five years, but we have never

,.once attempted to form a union for them, or form
an organization for them. Our view is that people who
are involved in an industry, the teaching service and
so on, have to resolve their problems on their-own
steam. That is the Tapia way. We have involved our-
selves politically in the ways we can to assist those
organizations to build on their own steam, by their
own resources and develop the leadership from their
own men".
That is the Tapia way and I said it was my way
because since Tapia is not an organization that de-
mands of people "the impossible, inherent in this
method is the knowledge that people are capable of
all these things.


I know that political method well. I had seen it
operate in the group via, as Ivan was saying, the
Council of Representatives which meets every fort-
night, bringing together people from all over the
'country; the Thursday night work sessions where we
make ready our newspaper for the road and bring our
thoughts to bear on the problems of the country as
they_ become' from time to time, the issues Nof the
day; on the groundings in Port of Spain, Diego
Martin, Belmont, Morvant, San Juan, Laventille,
when Tapia went with the Vigilantes into the canals
resulting in a commitment by the majority of the
Vigilante vanguard to the Tapia way, the Arima
By-Pass where we participated in a road-building
exercise, andin Arima proper where with the Afro-
Arima Ideas Incorporated we got our fingers burnt;
Corosal where -we discovered a Co-Operative (and
they discovered us) that had developed, as Ivan said,
"out of the specific needs of the area" and was
working "to revitalize the life of the community'"; ir
the sugar industry, with professional groups; in San
Fernando, Fyzabad, the scene of so.much military
activity these days, Point Fortin, Guayaguayare,
New Lands,,Mayaro, etc.

At times; it seemed to me that progress was
, painstakingly slow. But Ivan explained why: he said
that this organic growth was a necessary condition if
,,-we were preparing not simple to take power rbut in
make fundamental- change "to revamp the entire
social structure, to come to terms with economic
problems, to deal with the question of the political!.;
system, the operation of government and so on ...
The brother. however felt the inood' of the
times. True, he had taken time to chart Tapia's
beginning, starting from its foundations in New
World, where men took time to analyse our historical
experience and from which, such was the complexity
of that experience, men were to emerge, following
different roads.


But this was September 23, 1973. And in
August the thirteenth say of that month Ivan
had used the phrase "the crucial sixty days". A few
days after the special meeting on September 23,
Williams was to make his calculated play of non-
acceptance and the country was to see how right Ivan
and the group (because we were one with.him on the;
pace of developments) had been. The time had come
for an even more heightened urgency.
"The military dimension is escalating in this
country and the only way in which we can deal
with the rapid decline is if the political initiative
remains supreme".
But the other side was thinking too a\point
that we seemed, to forget when we telegraphed to
Williams our intent. And now, "that whole group
which is intent on keeping this country back is trying
to continue that at whatever cost and by whatever
means necessary. But if we are serious about changing
the society, about bringing into being a new'world
then we had to re-double our efforts".
But change hard. Look into the eyes of the
older people. Listen to the talk of the younger people.
Four hundred years is along time. Seventeen years
is a damn long time. So it will take total commitment
if our spirit is to be renewed. And it will. I know we.
Soonbecause as Williams said in 1969 it was,"a
fight to the finish".
I do not know which member of the group
responded with the phrase "finish it now". Ivan,
perhaps. Or me, or Lloyd or Syl. No matter, Some-
'dy in Tapia always capturing the country's mood
i. .,hrase. Time 'passes, and it becomes a .literary
too, lhe group.
'sh it now".,


b'~-;-. ~f' s-~~-':~


Are we going


put a jester?

Syl, who I feel should have been a philoso-
pher, except we can't allow him the luxury
of that, in an address remarkable for its
oratory so raised our sensibilities that we, at
least I felt quite ready to finish it then.
Lowhar, Chairman of the group, When
they talking about "Tapia's middle class
background" they call fellers like Syl name.
Syl could tell them about ketch-arse. But he
ent have that time. Particularly not now that
we "had begun to reap the whirlwind".
Like me, Syl know plenty people. We always all
over the place. We talk to the brothers in the different
camps. Because we have different views doesn't
mean we have to stop talking to the fellers. Is now we
have to talk with them. Supposing we could persuade
them. Supposing they could persuade us. How can we
who only now have begun to seek out new truths feel
that our views are dogma. Once we are one in the
sincerity of purpose, anything can happen.
So when Syl spoke of how
Hudson-Phillips' vicious laws
had driven the movement un-
derground I knew the people
about whom he was talking.
Harewood, whom I did not
know as a guerrilla, but knew
well as a friend. Lime. Fete.
Talk. He did not have to go in
the hills for me to recognize in
him qualities of leadership. A
quiet man, but deep, Beverly
Jones whose house I used to
haunt in my youth. Is real
people they killing in those
hills, man.
All of them, declared guilty
by the police and the press, and
summarily executed.
"But supposing they are
wrong, these police. As wrong -
as they were when they said" "
that it was Blanchfield who
had shot Guerra, as wrong as
they were when they said that
the body of the dead guerrilla SYL LOWHAR... kn
was that of Harewood". Christ!
And who or what send them in the hills in the
first place. In 1970 Syl had warned that the repres-
sive laws would end in just the kind of bloody situa-
tion. We beat that law back. Or thought we had until
they slipped it back on us piece by piece. That should
teach us about underestimating the enemy. The
Firearms Act, the Sedition Amendment Act (that
piece of legislation that forced Sparrow, as Gordon
Rohelr said, "back in the mainstream"), the Sum-
mary Offences Ordinance Amendment Act. So there
we have the "what". And the who is, today, clowning
about, thinking that we are going to put another
jester centre-stage. He, of whom Lowhar said, "a
guiltier and bloody hand is yet to be uncovered".
When they came for Syl in 1971 they came with
guns in the night. So he knows the score well:
"We have reverted to a state of nature in which
the only law is the law of the jungle," he said, de-
claring that Karl Hudson-Phillips would be forever
identified with the issue of the "General Warrant"
which had put the country in chains.


"The warrants with which the police have been
"barging into homes" to search for ammunition,
marijuana, and subversive literature are so general as
to be "no warrants at all".
"A warrant must be specific in its citation; it
must stage what it is after, where and from whom it
came. It cannot be a blanket cover for official crimes.
It is lawful to issue a warrant to gain entry into a
house ....
"It is obvious that the police in their pande-
monium are moving from place to place to see what
they can find. If they pick up a book on Mao they
say that is justification for their entry. It cannot work
in this way".
Writing about the night when they came for
him, Syl had said they met his children sleeping. "They

ow plenty people.

sleep to dream. I dream to change the world" in
what, for me, is an immortal line. But since Syl is
not an idle dreamer or phrase-maker how is he seek-
ing to transform that dream into concrete action.!
Armed revolution? Constitution reform? Elections?
Oratory made analysis:
"Those of us who advocate constitutional re-
form had our consciousness disturbed by the move-
ment of '56 which culminated in the disillusionment
of Chaguaramas. Because we understood how states
were set up with constitution being the rules by which
we were governed, we placed greater emphasis on
constitutional reform and unconventional politics,"
Lowhar said.
This category included the "leaders of the
Rodney March, the Transport Strike and the Michener
blockade whose agitation culminated in the 1970
February Revolution".
For these the Constituent Assembly was the
start of the "reconstructive phase of the revolution"
and spontaneous rebellion and uprising" was only the
the beginning of consciousness.
Armed revolution, however,
seemed to be more attractive to
those who had been turned on
by the February Revolution and
its antecedents and who placed
more emphasis on rebellion and
violence as a vehicle of social
and political change.
Different strategies, yes, but
same struggle. So who we go
S put? "Stupidness is what Syl
called the current complaint
about a lack of leaders capable)
of bringing about change.

"There may be no Political
Leader," he asserted, "but thero
is leadership and organization,
Organization of the kind that
we have in Orange Grove where
.- the workers are seizing control
of the factory and overthrowing
the yoke of bureaucracy
. all over the place. "Soon if not before -
our leadership and organ-
ization will knock the tyrant from his throne".
With Tapia, I have always disliked that ques-
tion, rooted as it is in the hope of some infallible
magic-man. Rather ask, which way we will go?
"Some," as Syl said, "say they want the whole
bread. We say we want ownership and control of the
resources. The sentiment is the same. Some say power
to the people. We say power to that. But we say that
these people are really clamouring for direct demo-
cracy since they distrust representative systems. We
say the way to give the people power is to allow wide
range of ordinary people of all walks of life to
speak for themselves in a big macco upper house
which will be the guardian of the new constitution,
the embodiment of power to the people". And let
any government try to govern in opposition to that


Before this, however, we had to clear the decks,
somewhat. We had to wipe the slate clean, knowing
all that we know. It was the government who, by
clamping down on legitimate political activity, had
forced people to resort to methods which it had
branded as subversive.
"It is pushing the country on the verge of civil
war. We have to move to avert this military crisis,
this rising costin human life. "Lowhar urged amnesty
and the cessation of inhumane treatment to prisoners
like Andrea Jacob. But was this government capable
of "the quality of mercy?"

The Chairman noted that in its final spasms the
regime was clawing wildly about, and daily the
repressive net was encircling new victims. Its eye
were trained on Tapia, but let them tell this country
that we are engaged in subversive activity to over-
throw the state. We knew all the time that free
discussion would be the death of them.


CHOKO, September 1973
as a party, Tapia sounds tooo good to be
true ... a collection of bright young
people who have ability and hope for
the future ... they don't have a clue
about politics...
By contrast watch the front rank
of any PNM Convention ... and you
see reflected there tough powerful
men who exude an air of cold ruth-
lessness, men who are looking after
their own interests, ambitious men
who want to get ahead...
THE TIMES, London, August, 1973
The radical opposition is now in six or
seven bits although the moral lead is
given by the Tapia House Movement...
Dedicated to ridding Trinidad of
Dr Williams, and to ending the grip of
his party on its political life ... Tapia
has taken advantage of the setting up
of the Wooding Constitutional Com-
mission to put forward plans for
a "participatory democracy". ... Ta-
pia accepts a parliament but has an
elaborate scheme to check party abuse
of a small parliamentary set-up ...
THE BOMB, June 1973
S. the only party around these parts
which has put a lot into planning and
has not been just an election wonder.

Tapia's aim is nothing less than a com-
plete political and social revolution -
"a breaking away from the degrading
conventions of the past ... It is not
violence, it is not by any means an
attack on democracy. It is hard work
and solid building. It is Power to the
people "
OXAAL, 1972
These forces represented, in no un-
certain terms, a post-Afro-Saxon, post
mimic-men consciousness...
THE BOMB, September 1973
Best and company should know that
no cause can prosper on idealism alone,
not at any rate in a country like ours
where the people are not all nice
people. There are people in this coun-
try who will sell their birthright for a
dollar and their vote can be bought as
cheap as a drink of rum I am
satisfied that Tapia is a dead party.

THE GUARDIAN, Manchester.
.. Tapia's emphasis is
on a kind ofgrassroots Moral Rearma-
THE BOMB, August 1973
Tapia comprises a well knitted, intelli-
gent and ambitious group of men ...
S Tapia as a political party
can keep PNM on their toes and
expose wrongdoings... The existence
of Tapia is necessary in a society like
ours. Tapia is our educational political
long-term grass-roots education
line which has set it apart from the
more-impatient and power-hungry
THE BOMB, June 1973
Tapia does not seem to have much
support because it is operating in a
society where people are still very
greedy, concerned with what they can
get out of it more than what they
can put into it.






I joined the applause for Syl. Saw it
merge into a welcoming hand for Best, who
swinging confident as usual, captured the
euphoria of the Meeting:
"Let the cocks stand up and crow like
bugles, ring the bell and call the people we
are not going to have a second chance. "Now,
I have been called a minion of Best. Even if
minioning was my thing, I would certainly
have to attach myself to some other fish.
Minioning is just not possible in Tapia. I
don't know how, but it seems to me that the
men and women who are attracted to Tapia
are those who long ago rejected the authora-
tarian tradition. As such, we are certainly not
looking for another Messiah. And this, per-
haps, is why we don't feel the present despair
over the question of "who we go put?"
"That kind of leadership is over," said Best,
And when our friends in HATT say there is no
Leader of the people, or those who are calling for
Ashford Sinnanan or for a "Prophet of Peace", they
are living in an old world. Which is not to say any-
thing about their intentions; they are expressing their
view precisely because they want change.


"But they are so bound by the culture of yes-
terday that they are looking for phenomenon that
will never again appear". And Best doesn't become a
different man off the stage. What Tapia preaches
comes from a particular kind of behaviour, a mode of
operation that, as Laughlin earlier had pointed out,
it had taken us five years to acquire.
So how could I be a minion of Best who told
me one time that a leader is not to "show his
colleagues how bright he is, but how bright they
are". And "the duty of leadership is to make itself
obsolete". To so awake men to the possibilities in
themselves that they will deliver more than they
thought possible. I
Men in Tapia are finding this out all the time.
You say you can't write and Lloyd asks '"Who say
so?" "I can't talk before a crowd"."Howyou know
that?" So the writers and talkers have come. The
leaders came even easier since they are all over the
place if only we had the confidence in ourselves to
look. How come we have leaders on every block in
this country and when it comes to the national stage
we suddenly feel we have none.
We in Tapia have been lucky. Leaders come
into the group from all about and Lloyd welcomes,
glories in the raging battles that take place wherever
Tapia men gather. Arguing through the night, some-
times, until the other side is persuaded. And if the
discussion is not resolved at that time, it crops up
again and again.


Sometimes I find that I don't have the words.
Somebody in the group is bound -to have them,
expresses your case beautifully for you, and then
turns around and argues against it. And men like how
they accustom talking. Some have read more books
than some, but sense make before book, and since we
don't feel that either Lenin or Mao or anybody is
right all the time, it is rare for any of their "hallowed
quotes" to enter a discussion. Sometimes, in a
particular situation, men may see similarities and we
explore the past. Men learn and from there make
their own analyses of the present. So whether you are
from the university or from the blocks, is punto-punto
down the line.
But Best didn't become leader of the group by
pulling his name out of a hat or by election to the
office and title of Chairman or Political Leader. Men
simply recognized his experience, the breadth of his
vision, the energy and the command. And he un-
sparingly shares these qualities. So much so that at
times I am driven up a wall wondering "what this
man trying to do with me at all". But he continues
thrusting burdens on you and you find yourself able
to bear them much more easily than you thought.
And turn around to question his vision, his experience,
his grasp of the situation. But you have to come good
since they are not calling him "the foremost radical
thinker in the CAribbean" for nutten.
That's another thing. It came as a surprise to

me that so many commentators recognized the
qualities that drew me to Tapia where Best and myself
became friends. He's only eight years older than I
am so we have much in common, including a love for
table-tennis that these days have to go unfulfilled,
caught as we are in the urgency of the times.
As I said I am always surprised when I come
across literature that pinpoints qualities in Tapia and
in Lloyd Best which I have long appreciated.


"Because he is such a rationalist and will not
compromise his position, Best has lost a lot of support
among the young radicals who he .says, tend to a
politics of rhetoric and slogans. But in many ways
he is more radical than they. But whether Best would
ever be a success in politics is doubted by many
people. To be forthright, sincere, capable, and al-
truistic are all very well wrote one of'his
readers "the only effective action depends on'
the sagacious use of ignorance". In other words, the
Montreal Star continued, the effective political
leader has to know how to play on the ignorance of
the masses. Best rejected the argument with contempt
claiming that messiahshipp can only lead to con-
tinuing crisis".
I could have written that. I have said that I felt
the movement in 1970 was setting its sights too low.
The consciousness of the movement was not radical
enough. I wanted something that was fundamentally
radical since I perceived that without this, change was
bound to be superficial. So I came to Tapia. More-
over my idea of the place our people would have in
the revolution and in the new society certainly
couldn't blend with this business of "playing with the
ignorance of the masses". Early in the game I told
you how, for me, the excitement of the revolution,
was the thought of unleashing the energy, talent and
skills in this country so that we could make our
rightful contribution to the-world. So when the
"Star" talks about Lloyd Best refusing to play on the
ignorance of people, they are really pinpointing one
of the key reasons for my presence here. Ignorance,
Smay be one of the affliction of the kind of politics
we have had over the years, but it certainly is not an
Inherent condition of our people. And Tapia is going
to prove that.


Here again at this Meeting Lloyd was hammer-
ing the point:
"We have to understand that we have inherited
a culture of impotence, an attitude that assumed that
"all ah we is dog", that our participation did not
count and therefore we wail for deliverance".
But the revolution, if it was about anything at
all, was about the need to turn that attitude inside-
out and upside-down. True, the last 17 years of PNM
rule had done much to re-inforce that feeling of
"In a sense the PNM was the culmination of the
strategy of education used by the Africans to pull
themselves from the bottom of the social heap.
Williams was one of the "brightest sons" and the
people pinned their hopes on him as the Messiah
who had come at last.
"And the PNM has stood on the stage for 17
years. And when it exposed its entrails what did the
people see?. corruption, incompetence, incapacity,
lack of judgement, lack of discretion, brutality of
every kind, inhumanity".
So that it was understandable that our people
should have little faith in themselves. But the revolu-
tion was about the renewal of spirit. All right, so we
made a necessary error of judgement in Williams. Let
us get on, then, with the job ourselves or in the phrase
that Tapia has made its own, "take up thy bed and
walk". And that is why we have to let our people
run their own communities and the industries in the
land. That is why we need this huge Senate that will
ensure that for the first time there is a body com-
posed of ordinary citizens who would exercise moral
authority over the ,small group who, out of practical
necessity, must be the executives over the country's
So, in fact, Tapia was putting its money where
its mouth is. Out of an abiding faith in the worth of
the population, the group was calling upon it to
reverse the tide. A tremendous demand, to be sure
but,as Best was saying, "the country is young beyond

description, young and ready to move, if we don't
move it now and it settles down, we are in real
"If we don't fight this juggernaut now, if we
don't get the people of this country to stand up and
fight, if we don't get this country to commit itself to
a new social order, then we are going to be in a
Latin American bag for the next 100 years," he
And the kind of dictatorship we would find
ourselves crushed under would be much different
from the dictatorship metaphorically attributed to
Williams, who really is "a liberal gone sour".
"Williams doesn't have the stones to be a
dictator," Best said. But others have. The' Caribbean
has been throwing\ them up for years Duvalier,
Machado, Gomez and any Moses that this country
was to throw up now would be in that precise mould.



: What


WILLIAM DEMAS, November 1971
Perhaps the foremost radical thinker in
the region

Best has emerged as the leading source
of ideas for reforming the political and
economic system

THE BOMB, June 1973
Out of the maelstrom of Trinidad
politics, out of the morass of confu-
sion .in this country that passes for
democratic process, one man is emerg-
ing who shows that he knows what he
is doing...
That man is Lloyd Best... Best is
the exponent of "hard wuk" and he
has not flinched from this'. Best has
been organising at the grass roots level
hoping to build an organisation that
will right all the mistakes that Dr
Williams made...
It is going to be difficult for
people in this country to accept Best
or what he stands for. .. We are still
far from the stage where Jesus slippers
and dashiki could lead us to great
It will take a long time for the
Chamber of Commerce types and the


Jaycee types to see
answer to their drea

Among this galaxy
tionalist scholars LA
founding and repre
this post-colonial tei
Best personifies a n
tent, savvy and egali
generation. .

. the person me
new integrated Wesi

. one of the fort
of the region ..
movers of the New I
working now for a ba
in political attitude
stressing community



'"" ~~Y~-r





The only people with whomI find difficulty in
talking are those who feel that we are really are a
worthless people. Carnival mentality is the phrase the
Prime Minister of Singapore and our own Prime
Minister have made popular.
The idea finds varied expressions. There are
those who say that what this country really needs is a
dictator; some think they are lessering the pain of
the word by using the word "benevolent". Some talk
about a select elite. And there are again the others
who have imported ideologies arid who want us to
guide our lives by what they call "tested and scientific
truths". And I wonder if they are not all saying the
-same thing..
I have, however, infinitely more patience with this
last named group, for I feel they mean well.It says a
Slot about the insidiousness of the colonial tradition
* that some of our noblest and brightest minds should

Jeysay c bout' him


\oyd Best as the

f major new na-
'd Best would be
native figure of
cncy ... Lloyd
v highly-compe-
ian West Indian

Sapt to create a
Indian state...


lost intellectuals
,ne of the prime
rld Group who is
1c transformation
;in Trinidad by
building .

Waiting in the wings is the extra-
ordinary economist Lloyd Best who
can be found every Saturday morning
in Port of Spain on the street comer
selling Tapia. Though still only 36,
Best has heen one of the main intel-
lectual influences in the Caribbean
for 10 years.
He was the Founder of the New
World Movement whose chapters up
and down the Caribbean, in Canada
and the United States, have been dis.
cussing and examining Caribbean so-
ciety throughout the 60's.
Best is a supreme rationalist: he
does not believe you can change any-
thing by just setting up a political
party or electing a new team to office.
Change must be based on analysis,
work education and organization .

Probably his (Williams') most dangerous
opponent ....the mainspring of Tapia
(literally "grass roots") which he des-
cribes as the biggest political move-
ment.in Trinidad.
comes over as a formidable person-

now be trying to urge on us a European solution, even
if it is from the European left.
I .do not feel that the world is universal in the
sense that what might be the way in one place is the
way in another. But for me, the urge to be part of a
Trinidadian idea is not based on chauvinistic intel-
lectual arrogance.But I am not satisfied that Marxism,
for instance, has either supplied the answers to the
problems of social, economic, and cultural interaction
in Europe or will supply them for us.


I do not have that Marxist faith that can dismiss
S"1984" in terms of it being "a reactionary book". I
feel that while we may be asking the same questions
as Marx, we are arriving at different answers.
And it is not, Best, meanwhile was saying."that
we don't see privilege and we don't see the phenome-
non that Marx tried to see. when he talked about
class, when he divided the world into those people
who had power and.were using it to their own ad-
vantage we make the same distinction, but we have
Sto make it in terms that get people to understand how
we relate to each other in the West Indies.
"When you look at the political behaviour of
people, when you look at the evidence, you cannot
say that people are doing so and so because they
belong to this class or that class.
"There exists in this country problems of
power of people who are prepared to hold on to the
reins of power and not give it up. And these people
cannot be defined in terms of simple class analysis.
"They were in fact drawn from every class and
Every race and what had to be done was to devise a
philosophical and .theoretical statement of the posi-
tion which could rally all those people who wanted
to go in "Tapia's direction" and that, as I have been
trying to tell you, is. in the direction of a freedom of
self that we have never known.
But first' we have to make our own analysis of.
our historical experience. Because there, as that first
Tapia editorial said "we Would find much needed .
knowledge about ourselves, our past frustrations, the
hopes we have cherished. There we will discover the
basis of our divisions, the source of our degradation
and with those, the understanding and insight for
forging real unity and for elevating the community


"By searching into what has shaped us arid by
exploring the success and failures of the men and
movements who went. before us, we will learn both
how to take opportunity and to respect limitation.
Above all, by putting past achievements into historical
context, we will learn charity, humility, tolerance,
and even generosity".
From this search, we have found answers,
New. solutions is what we were advancing. Our his-
tory was ours so the pre-packaged, categorized
labels "the masses", "the bourgeoisie", "working
class," "white power structure", nationalization
couldn't help us.
We had to find ways of describing graphically
the various phenomena that our analysis of the past
Sand the present and unearthed. Ivan, it was, who
spelt them out the day of the Meeting: Doctor
Politics, Unconventional Politics, Afro-Saxon Culture,
Industrialisation by invitation, Localisation, Partici-
patory Politics, February Revolution.
.This has caused problems. A real problem of
communication existed, but it was the cost we had to
bear if we were not simply to peddle imported otho-
dorxy. In times people understood, as we knew they
would. And this in spite of men who deliberately
went out of their way to deliberately confuse people
about us.
We wouldn't say "nationalization" so that they
said we were reactionary. But what they didn't say,
either because they could not or didn't want to see;
was that our "localization" was an even more radical
proposition than the "nationalization" they spoke
about. For we ask : after nationalization what?
Who was in control then? The State? But what does
that mean in real terms? And, besides, what was
revolutionary about that as far as people were con-
cerned. The tradition has been precisely that kind of
control. And all the time they have been told it is
"in their name".

So it took me some time to discover Tapia
because there were confusions. We were trying to
battle what Lloyd. called "the politics of gossip" at
that Meeting. It is only now that, sensing the shift in
the wind, are attempting to deal with what we have
been saying and doing.
Before, we were either CIA, in the pay of
Williams, or in the pay of businessmen. The thing
that staggers me is that all this, they knew, to be not
S true. No matter. Truth will out, as they are learning
everyday. Their own truths, too.
S Africasia, a Paris newspaper, has declared that
"Best is the person most apt to create a new inte-
grated West Indian state. Lloyd Best is convinced of
the need to forge a single entity out of the West
Indian islands; he never ceases to travel the neigh-
bouring islands and publishes a paper which is popular
in all the English-speaking islands".
I have done some travelling in the Caribbean,
and understands that Best means when he says that the
real reason for Caribbean integration is far more than
economic it is that "culturally we are the same
people. Kingston, Kingstown, Bridgetown, Roseau -
forget the accents and some of the characteristics
brought by location and size and I am in Trinidad.
The personality mix is the same, the gestures, the
humour ....


Castro ignored this West Indianness, "Cuba
failed to appreciate that at the correct historical
moment and the other Caribbean countries failed, as
well, to appreciate that at the correct historical
"We have to understand that because the time
is coming when we have to start looking abroad for
allies. We are talking about power very seriously and
we know we are dealing with two sets of forces. We
are dealing with "forces in the country and its
either them or us and we are dealing withtheir
allies outside the country, Best said.
He emphasised that Cuba was a Caribbean
country with Caribbean institutions: "We failed to
see it in 1960 and we made the historical blunder of
running off to Washington to get the sugar quota
when the Cubans were in trouble.
'"We should have declared for Cuba. Every
Caribbean citizen would have understood. Castro was
talking sugar just as the workers in Orange Grove are
talking sugar now".
Best went further to argue that it was up to
us to bring back Cuba into the fold, since we got
that northern island in the Soviet bag in the first
place. Such is the vision.
Charity, however, begins at home. And we had
problems of unity right here. At that Tapia Meeting
you wouldn't have believed that there exists this
historical cleavage between Africans and Indians. We
Shad become over the years a genuinely multi-racial
organization, and the evidence was there in the


And we nadn't played on anybody's ignorance
to reach where we wcre.
Best said it: "The organization has resisted attempts
both from within and outside the movement to play
for particular races. Tapia was not making any special
effort to get Indians or Europeans or any particular
race for that matter.
"We started where we were and we are sayingwhat
we believe and people have to come here because they
make a vital connection with us because they believe
what we believe.
"You cant' go to Barrackpore or Felicity or some
place like that and say something to whip up Indians
and feel that Indians so foolish that you go win them
on that basis because you talking things that Indians
want to hear they must see through that as phony.
"People must come here because they see people
doing things that they would like to do, achieving
intentions that are theirs, leaders will emerge in this
context its the only way".

Continued on page 8


Ring the bell and call the people

From Page 7
Best noted, as well, that
the group 'did not have to
organize any youth league. It
couldn't if it tried since the
whole thing was a youth league.
Looking around at the Meeting
and seeing its youthfulness,
had to laugh.
Five years ago it was. Some
of the men here today must
have been just out of their
teens. These last five years were
enough to make them men, I
can tell you. Maturity comes
quicker these days: ask the
children fending for themselves
and their families in this coun-
try where real joy never mind
the fetes and. Blocko-ramas it
at a premium;


But now we were ready.
The sun was still bright, rays
filtering into the cool of the
Tapia house when Best wound
up by reminding up of the
sequence of events that led us
to that point on September 23,
1973 October '68 to Febru-
ary '70 he called the tuning up
of the Revolution, then the
high season in the weeks fron
February to April, the reaction
that came after in the form of
Public Order Bill, and the boy-
cott of the elections that took
away legitimacy from the Par-
"And now we are in the
second to last phase where
reaction has re-doubled itself
- police etc and the popula-



BER 7, 1968. New World
Meeting breaks up in Port of

* NOVEMBER 14, 1968.
Tapia is founded at 91 Tuna-
puna Road, Tunapuna. Forty
(40) people present include
Lloyd Best, Syl Lowhar, Lloyd
Taylor, Arthur Atwell, Ivan
Laughlin, Augustus Ramreker-
singh and Paula Williams all
still members. Also present are
Patrick Knight, David Murray,
Dave Darbeau, Philip Nunez
and Krishna Bahadoorsingh.
* September 28 f969. First
issue of TAPIA appears. Issue
No 3 proposes measures for
Constitutional Reform.
* APRIL 1970. Tapia calls
for Constituent Assembly.
Tapia Chairman, Syl Lowhar,
* JANUARY 1971. Tapia
joins URO Forum to oppose
fresh elections without prior
electoral and constitutional re-
* MARCH 28, 1971. Maya-
ro Seminar turns out to be
first General Assembly of Tapia
leading to establishment of a
National Executive and a Tapia
Constitution in April 1971.

* SEPTEMBER, 17, 1972,
Tapia acquires own printing,
* NOVEMBER 4, 1972.
TAPIA goes weekly.

tion has stood up-against it in
every way it knows, the guer-
rillas being the last and most
significant' expression of that
because the political culture
puts a great emphasis on simple
solutions .
"The country is ready for a
new movement and Tapia is
that movement. What we haye
to do is to intensify the work
- expand the scale, widenr the
scope ard let it grow we
cannot miss.
Other people know that,
too. Our opponents even.
Even when they begin to see
with our proposals, they deny
us the credit. No matter, again,

They can use all the terms they
know to escape saying that we
were right all the time about
the need -for a Constituent
Assembly A Conference of
Citizens, A Meeting of Groups,
naine any variation. The popu-
lation knows, and they have
the horfesty to admit that over
the years we have approached
the country with clarity and


But we have not held our-
selves up as master builders
and thinkers of all time. But

we know that we had to think
to build this country. So we go-
out into the streets and we tell
people what we think and urge
them to take their positions
after having listened to what
others are saying, or not saying,
and having made their own
analyses in their own minds.
And it is not that we do not
aim to get the majority of
people on our side. It is simply
that we have confidence in the
strength of our position.
I have that confidence.
Not in solutions, simply. But
in the men who make up and
are drawn to this organization
that will not pass away. In the

humanity and commitment
of so many. I know them since
Tapia, for me, is one of my
blocks. The block that, I hope,
will change the level of life on
those other blocks in sprawling
Laventille and in the other La-
ventilles that make up this
country whether you call them
Caroni or Fyzabad, Belmont,
Lambeau, Plymouth or Diego
Martin. Yes, and those other
blocks strung out in the Carib-
bean, too.


So come November 18; I
will be there at the Fifth
Anniversary Assembly. I await
it will all kinds of emotional
and intellectual excitement be-
cause I feel .that this time, the
"kingdom is at hand". Family
and friends toute bagai.
Time was when I would have
trouble to get them to come.
Not now. It's going to be a
rehearsal for that "glorious
morning". I feel "we have
somethinghere" but my feelings
are nothing like my Marxist
and NJAC friends who project
their ideology as infallibility.

That is a degree of certainty
that I will never have, and
there are times when I envy
them that fixedness of spirit.
But, on the other hand, I am
doing my own homework and
I long for the time when they
will come to know what kind of
intellectual and ideological
On; the blocks we have a
cry, that once again demon,
states the knack our people
have of capturing the mood of
the times. "Yuh think it easy"
has come and is going. It has
been replaced by a much more
positive affirmation that has
arisen from that veryquestion.
"Tempo" is that cry, so with
Tapia they agree on the urgency
of the situation. Tempo, now!






Independence Square P.O.S .
51-53 Queen Street ,-




IN 1970, he used to pride
himself on his self-pro-
claimed title Engineer/
Baker. Since 1968, he has
been a member of the New
World Group, of Moko and
U.N.I.P., of N.J.A.C. Now,
Earl Lewis is a top member
of the I.D.C. and member
of an organisation called
the "Voice of the People",
calling for Williams to re-
main in office. Lewis has
now reverted to the jacket
and tie which he discarded
in 1970 for the dashiki and
"radical" talk.
When the New World Group
split, in November 1968, over
the question of strategy for
change the Tapia strategy of
slow, patient building in the
communities, or the Moko
strategy of forming a party
immediately to "take the
power", Lewis was involved.


At this time Lloyd Best.
complained about the lack of
free, fair and frank discussions
at the New World meetings.
Earl Lewis, at this time, was
backing the Moko or Millette
strategy of instant party, taking
the "radical" stance that we
can't wait anymore, we must
form the party now, take the
power, and then talk about the
fundamental issues.
In fact, he made it very
difficult for the New World
meetings to be conducted in
any calm and rational manner
- as some one put it afterwards,
he really came to mash up the
meeting. Lloyd Best in his
statement explaining the ideo-
logical 'reasons for the split,
made special mention of the
behaviour of Earl Lewis:
"On the question of the
personality conflict between
Lewis and myself I willingly
enter a plea of guilty. I have
been implacably hostile to this
man. He consistently expresses
views on racial issues and re-
veals a conception of people, of
politics and of the world from
which I want to ddissociate
myself completely. Others will
have to judge whether or not
this attitude to Lewis raises
any doubts about my concep-
tion of people and to infer
what it impliesabout my con-
ception of politics. In reaching
their conclusion, they will have
to take account of my relations
with the entire world. I can
only say that I am not afraid
of the consequences of my
way of life"


That was 1968. But Lewis
had all the trappings of being
"radical" he had beard, wore
dashikis, and spoke violently
and loudly about the need for
change. He was to become in
turn, a member of UNIP and
NJAC, as his speech got more
"radical" and his clothes more
"black". When the 1970 State
of Emergency was declared
Lewis disappeared from sight
to reappear, in a jacket; as a
top IDC employee. Today he
is now calling for Williams to
remain as P.M.
Lewis by himself is of no
consequence. He may just be a
man who was sincere about
change but who succumbed to
the blandishments of the regime.
He would not be the first, nor


'Voice of the people' calls

for his master's voice

the last and in these hard days
one must have compassion on
men who fall by the wayside.
S What is important, how-
,ever, is the way in which Lewis
has been able to fool so many
persons and progressive organi-
sations. The point is that Lewis
is not a freak, an exception, he
represents a category of smart-
man and robber-talker, who
gets away with anything by
simply walking around with a
beard and a fat-head, talking
loud about "radical" change or
"violent" change and attempt-
ing to shout down anyone who
tries to raise the fundame~iail
issues. That he gets away with
this most times, is not the
fault of those who actually
oppose him but to the mass of
people present who accept a
man's radicalism on a passport
of talk and gambage.
What could organizations
which consider themselves pro-
gressive do about men who are
always trying to mash-up a dis-

cussion,a rap,with phoney state-
ments like "the time for talk
dun, is time for action, to dis-
agree is to keep back the
struggle". In other words, that
type of political animal, who
no matter whether he terms
himself progressive or not is in
fact reactionary by advocating
a mode of change which puts a
premium on dictatorial and
totalitarian measures. And if
you achieve change by these
measures then you will con-
tinue to use them afterwards
when the same people who
fought for that change oppose
or dissent in any way from the
"establishment" view.


SThe Lewis affair, raises the
whole question of the function"
of the dailies which have given
Lewis's group front-page pro-
minence when many hard-
working, bigger, serious organ-

isations car hardly make a one-
inch column. The dailies, if they
were doing their homework,
should have traced Lewis's po-
litical involvement over recent
years. They should also be
making the connection with the
New World split.
At that time, Lloyd Best,
and the founding members of
Tapia, came in for heavy cri-
ticism, for mashing-up New
World when Millette seemed on
the verge of making the Group
a political party. Best was even
accused of working for the
PNM, or more ridiculously, the
CIA. But these are mis-concep-
tions which some people still
have in their minds. And yet
at no time has the Press come
out to explain that the split was
over the question of strategy.
Nor does it trace the lives
of those persons who were the
biggest "radicals" in 1970 and
are now back in their jackets
and ties after accepting the


cushy jobs in the Civil Ser-
vice, Teaching Service, Statu-
tbry Boards, and Private Enter-
-prise. Nor does it look at the
political organizations and
personalities who jumped on
the Black Power wagon in 1970
and are today bad-talking Black
Power and NJAC to the marrish
and the parrish.
Tapia was the only political
organisation that publicly ex-
pressed its reservations about
the tactics employed by the
Movement- in 1970. It is im-
portant that the criticisms were
offered at a time when the
Movement was up.
It will also be important
for persons attracted to radical
politics and who are concerned
about fundamental change to
get behind the physical appear-
ance of being, radical, the vio-
lent talk, and look at those
persons and organizations who
claim to belong to -the radical
camp, in relation to the way in
which they operate.
Is there freedom to raise
objections and to put forward
counter proposals? Are these
received openly, or ignored? It
is very easy to make a "radical"
speech using all the catch phrases
but one has to ask what is going
to replace the "now". If men
propose total obedience today
for the cause of the struggle,
there is not going to be a change
when we take-the power.How
we make up our beds, so will
we lie in them. [.Dennis Pantinl

tO any ,
.e O tao,

length to do

our job!

We installed suspended ceilings on two of AMOCO'S
offshore production platforms over twenty miles out at sea some
time ago. It was a new experience for us, but it was all part of
our job The Industrial and Building Products Division of
L. J. Williams Limited.
Apart from installing suspended ceilings, we also construct
shop fronts and partitions for business places, install NACO
Louvre Windows and custom built Roller Shutters, and apply the
ultra modern 'Flecto finish' to walls and floors.
Also, we supply Kwikset locks, Gibbons Ironmongery.
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,L. J. Willi'

in'dt B.uildinq i. ...
r..-. i_ v..isi o

:" -
:s -T~

oauxoRn wo


THE PRIME Minister of
Guyana in a recent state-
ment has said that ihe
Guyana Government plans
statement were modified
to read that the practice of
Obeah would no longer be
illegal it would make much
more sense. To legalize
Obeah would necessitate
the establishment of well
controlled training pro-
grammes for Obeah-men,
similar to the rigid pro-
grammes of training and
the careful selection of
practitioners in traditional
African societies.
To rescind the Colonial
laws that outlawed Obeah
would be a less difficult step
to take, and would mean offi-
cial recognition of the fact that
the Colonial regime had mis-
interpreted and maligned tra-
ditional African healing prac-
tices as part of their deliberate
program to discredit African


In recent years anthropo-
logists have clearly recognized
that African healing practices
were by no means simple and
primitive.In most African secret
societies, such as the Poro in
West Africa highly specialized
branches of the society were
developed, to deal with the
healing of physical and mental,
illnesses. In the Njei order of
the Poro society 'in Sierra
Leone candidates were chosen
on the basis of psychological
and mental characteristics and
exposed to years of training in
psychology and in a mastery
of the extensive African phar-
mocopeia, consisting of a wide
range of medicinal herbs.

African hbeling ptcfi ce

in modern W.I. society

African medicine was not
based on the empirical princi-
ples of Western medicines in
which therapy is directly re-
lated to pathology. Western
medical science asks the ques-
tion: What is the cause of the
disease and therapy is directed
against the immediate cause.
In African medicine the
question is the more funda-
mental and by no means illo-
gical question. Why me? Why
do I fall victim to a particular
disease and not my neighbour?
The African understands the
straightforward principle of
causation but believes that a
greater cause behind the cause
has rendered the individual
susceptible to disease. Indeed,
modern medical therapy has
come to the realization that
root of the illness is not always
to be found solely in patholo-
gical factors but is often tied
in with deep psychological dis-
turbance of the individual.
Traditional African medi-
cine involving witchcraft prac-
tices was an important agent
of social rehabilitation in the
society. Allow me to illustrate
this point 'with a case study
reported by one of my students
in Sierra Leone.
In the! Temene town of
Lunsar, a carpenter proudly
displayed newly acquired tools
to his trade competitor. On
the following day the tools
were stolen. Knowing well that
only one individual in the
town .could make use of the
tools the man who suffered the
loss consulted a Ragbele (tra-
ditional practitioner). The
practitioner took out a very
elaborate swear calculated to

"eat out the guts" of the
The following day the thief
came down with severe stomach
pains that were killing him. He
consulted his own practitioner
who enjoined him to confess
and return the tools and gave
him medicine that effected an
immediate cure. The wrong
doer was soon, a well man;
through his confession he
gained complete rehabilitation,
there was no stigma attached
to the theft and harmonywa,
restored to the village. The
practitioners functioned as ef-
fective agents in the main-
tenance of social cohesion.
Working in collaboration
with the psychiatrist at the
Kissy mental hospital in Sierra

Leone, I quickly realized the
extent to which African prac-
titioners particularly the so-
called Alpha men were capable
of differential diagnosis in men-
tal health. Africans in Sierra
-Leone fully realized that West-
ern trained doctors are well
equipped to treat symptoma-
tically. Patients were allowed
byf their families to stay in the
mental hospital until their con-
ditions were stabilized by
medical treatment. They were
then taken to the African
practitioners for the treatment
of the cause of the disease,
namely the sources of evil.
The Alpha men would un-
dertake the cure of psychotics,.
who they termed E wuni bame
kontho mixed up in the
head, but would leave severely
alone patients whom they diag-
nosed as E wuni peyek -
namely those suffering from
severe pathology of the central
nervous system such as re-
suited from Trypanosomiasis
(sleeping sickness), and ad-

vanced syphilis.
The point is that the African
practitioner is by no means a
simple primitive medicine man,
but a well trained highly per-
ceptive individual who plays a
vital part within the frame-
work of his society.
The African practitioner
would not function in a society
with totally different belief
I sympathize with the senti-
ments underlying Mr. Burn-
ham's recent statement insofar
as it means recognizing that the
African cultural heritage is one
of which West Indians can be
justly proud.
Obeah could be declared to
be no longer illegal without
legalizing it. Obeah practice
would not meaningfully fit in
to modern West Indian society
but should no longer be out-
lawed. As a closing note let me
state that in South Africa many
non-African consult obeah-men.
It is no secret that the late Dr.
Malan, prime minister of South
Africa and architect of South
African apartheid policies, dying
from cancer of the jaw and
given up by his doctors, called
for a Zulu Inyanger (Obeah



/Sm^ s\s^B SU^HHw~BS^^^


The El in Jones Quintet
at |

St. Mary's College, Pembroke Street, P.O.S.
Thursday, November 15, at 8.30 p.m.
Widely acclaimed "America's leading exponent in
modern drumming", Elvin Jones has also been voted
the world's best drummer by DOWNBEAT Magazine
for 1973. I
Tickets:- $5, $4, $3
U.S.I.S. Cultural Section, 2 B Marli St., P.O.S.
tel. 62-25979
AB Architects, 9 Dundonald St., P.O.S. Tel -
Y. De Lima & Company Ltd., Frederick St.,
Mr. Ossie Morris, c/o Texaco T'dad. Inc.,
Pointe-a-Pierre Tel. 65-81358
U.W.I. Extra-Mural Branch Office, Y.W.C.A.
Building Harris Promenade, San Fernando
Tel. 652-3197
Proceeds will benefit the U W.I. Guild of Graduates Educational

SYou always
Wanted her to

S" sew...


Si, makes it easy-

and an ideal

Gift too.




Motor BikeRider

No matter what your game is, fin,' all the threads you need at Habib's
- Cheap Jeans in plaids, Prince Igor shirts and jerseys, outstanding
Platforms and Heels. Habib's, Port-of-Spain and Pantcity San Fernando.


_ I



ijrs. Indrea Talbutt,
Research Institute for
162, East 78th Street,
I~m YORKC, NY. 10021,
Ph. Lehigh 5 8448,

THE PRESENT Government of our country has established a record of proven incompetence, sustained over an extended period and
attested to
by mounting frustrations for our citizens in education, sport and housing
by the perpetual threat of breakdowns in health and sanitation services with the attendant promise plague and epidemic
by the seemingly inexorable degeneration of standards of expectation in regard to such public utilities as water, telephones,
and transport and to such cultural amenities as parks, botanical gardens, savannahs, theatres, museums, libraries, archives,
and newspapers
by the persistent scare of runaway inflation, and of the escalation of shortages into hunger and famine
by the progressive deterioration of industrial and race relations against a background of chronic unemployment and under-
employment, increasingly inequitable distribution of income and wealth, continuing metropolitan domination of the economy
and only limited diversification of activity with the aim of feeding, clothing and sheltering our citizens out of the materials of
our own land
by the paralysis of administration which renders the public service a burden on the backs of the people for which there are
few compensations in the form of social comforts
and by the utter degradation and demoralisation of the young and the complete disenchantment of the mature to such an
extent that our chief political response has been to abandon democratic and humane idelas and opt either for cynical with-
drawal or for indignant if not violent confrontation.
The regime of Government and politics instituted in 1962 by conferences at Queen's Hall and Marlborough House which by-
passed the interests of the people, is indisputably unviable and incapable of retaining the confidence of the people of Trinidad &
Tobago for the Army, the Police, the Courts, the University, the Public Service, the Houses of Parliament or the Cabinet of Govern-
A just and democratic regime cannot now be installed until there has been a reform of the Constitution acceptable to the large
majority of law-abiding citizens of Trinidad & Tobago
A reform of the Constitution acceptable to the large majority of law-abiding citizens can in no just way be effected by a Parlia-
repudiated by the overwhelming majority of electors
composed exclusively of candidates put up by the ruling party,
and elected in defiance of a widespread call by citizens for a change of rules
Fresh elections cannot hope to be free, fair and trustworthy under a Parliament devoid of the moral authority to effect electoral
reforms or to supervise polling arrangements in a way which would be acceptable to the large majority of law-abiding citizens of
Trinidad & Tobago,


the people of Trinidad & Tobago

1 Call a Constituent Assembly of citizens and invite-all
groups including NUFF

Appoint Sir Hugh Wooding to the chair,adopt
2 the Commission as Secretariat and accept their
report as the Working Papers

3 Charge the Constituent Assembly to

Dissolve Parliament and announce a date for
fresh elections
elect a Provisional Gov't

4 Charge the provisional Government to
Free political detainees and offer amnesty to

Repeal all restrictive legislation passed by the 1971
Parliament andopen up the broadcasting media

launch a short- term programme for fuller employment,
national service and restoration of the public service