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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072147/00092
 Material Information
Title: Tapia
Physical Description: no. : illus. ; 43 cm.
Language: English
Publisher: Tapia House Pub. Co.
Place of Publication: Tunapuna
Creation Date: January 6, 1974
Frequency: completely irregular
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Politics and government -- Periodicals -- Trinidad and Tobago   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )
 Notes
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: UF00072147:00092

Full Text

UQ1G-Li.,,R y
RESE.AR-H INSTITUTE
FPOC THE STUDY OF &
SUNDAY JANUARY 6, 1974162 EAST 78 STREET
rEW YORK 21, N. Y.
MNi 5 74


TRADITIONALLY the
New Year has been a time
for resolutions and fresh
departures, but such has
been the press of events
during 1973, that we seem
to have lost faith in the
possibility of any drama-
tic turn-around in our for-
tunes. A taxi-driver re-
marked to me, his lone
passenger at the time on
Old Year's day, "like the
year going out scrunting
and all".
A sentiment that was re-
flected, in more formal tones,
by the national leaders on New
Year's morning. Only Harri-
bance, the fortune-teller, saw
prosperity around the corner,
our Prime Minister preferring to
warn us, apropos the antici-
pated increased revenues from
oil, that "we must not behave
as if we have a windfall".
But, by all reports, the
citizens had been on good be-
haviour long before this parti-
cular piece of advice. In the
sure knowledge that, not only
was there no windfall, but that
there was not likely to be any,
we had engaged in a very judi-
cious and temperate bout of
Christmas shopping. And al-
most as if in retaliation for such
a shortfall, George Guy, Presi-
dent of the Chamber of Com-
merce, warned that we might
have to tighten our belts in
1974.

HELPLESSNESS

Of course, to cap a year of
troubles, there came the energy
crisis, so that in no time the
wags were letting out that there
was "no oil to throw on troubl-
ed waters". More importantly,
the crisis re-inforced our sense
of helplessness by seeming to
introduce into our daily lives
complex world-wide forces
which threatened us with short-
ages of kerosene and pro-gas,
and over which we could have
no possible control.
So that, at year end, leaders
and led, businessmen and work-
ers, were united in a sense of
foreboding. And yet, only a
few short months before, we
were at the pitch of political
excitement. There was our in-
volvement in the saga of Guy
Harewood, guerrilla, challenger
Continued on Page 2

TO OUR READERS

From this issue the price

of TAPIA is 25 cents.


Lennox Grant

SO THEY UP and burn
down the plantation. The
slaves, the hell-bent, un-
godly knaves, the despera-
does who fear neither man
nor God. That is the thanks
they give for our generosi-
ty in giving them plastic
cups and metal spoons.
They fling the cups
through the smoke and the
flames over the walls. And
they sharpen the spoons
into knives to cut fire hoses
and to attack fire fighters.
Burn, baby, burn. Remem-
ber that well-thumbed copy of
"Seize The Time" that was
being surreptitiously passed
round the prisoners? How could
they know that Bobby Seale
and the Black Panthers have
now been seized of a different
strategy? That Jesse Jackson
said in the film"WATTSTAX":
"We have shifted from burn
baby burn to learn baby learn"?
They couldn't know all
that. They couldn't know it
because the Royal Jail is not,
and is not meant to be, Hilton
Hotel, as the anti-prison reform
people always remind us.
So far from being able to
see black films, the prison in-
mates can't even get TV. Not
when so many precious law-
abiding citizens can't afford to
have it in their honestly-earned,
underprivileged homes.
The prisoners have been


ABI


JAIL


saying that there is still a lot of
room to play between the
sumptuousness of the Hilton
Hotel and the dehumanizing
squalor of the more than cen-
tury old Royal Jail. And hours
after spectacular flares and
hoarse hurrahs rose from the
scenes of poolside jollity at the
upside-down hotel, acrid smoke
and destructive flames were
reaching heavenward from the
block on Frederick Street.
Happy New Year.
One could presumably go
overboard in suggesting that
the jail uprisings which have
culminated in the glorious bon-
fire of New Year's Day should
be cast in the tradition of slave
revolts and,generally,resistance
of the oppressed.
I I
But the fact remains that
prison inmates are the ones
most severely under heel in this
time of unprecedented depri-
vation with the dire predictions
of even worse conditions for
1974.
For the prisoners the New
Year didn't start too badly,
though. How else would the
cause of prison reform provoke
an "emergency" Cabinet meet-
ing and the predictable decision
to "consider immediately ways
and means for exploring the
possibility of financing the ur-
gent expenditure involved in
the construction of the prison"?
That is as near as the go-
vernment couldgo to admitting
that by burning down the jail
the prisoners have forced their


hand. So now they must at
least "consider immediately"
and call the new prison expen-
diture "urgent".
They cannot indeed con-
cede anything like victory to
the prisoners. We hear instead
how magnificently the police,
the firemen and the prison offi-
cers responded to the emer-
gency. And all of that is very
good, if we are to give credit
where credit is due.
So that it must be men-
tioned that the government is
itself not unaware of the need
for prison reform. They did set
up a Commission of Enquiry
into the matter, and they had in
hand, before Independence last
year, the Commission's Interim
Report.
Yes, yes, yes, the govern-
ment knows all about it: that
men have been sleeping six to a
cell; that rehabilitation facilities
are inadequate; that sanitation
is unsatisfactory etc etc. But the
government knows about other
things that are unsatisfactory,
inadequate and urgent too.
That has been their posi-


tion. And if we on the outsidJ
ofthe prison walls have wanted
to press the case for prison
reform, we would have been
forced to say that the comfIrl
of adjudged scoundrels, mur-
derers, rapists, thieves must be
put before the needs of school-
children for Junior Secondary
Schools;ofeverybody for better
water supplies, bus transport
and food production.
"I ask my fellow citizens,"
the Prime Minister pleaded in
his last Independence message,
"if they accept the fact that
we cannot do all that is needed
at the same time, were we at
fault in giving a higher priority
to buses, junior secondary
schools, more water, or now
more food, before an admitted-
ly necessary reorganisation of
our prison establishment".
Sweetly reasonable. Mean-
while prisoners were to under-
stand that they must stew in a
mess which, after all, is of their
own doing, while the society
sets about making improve-
ments for its more deserving
members.


The one consideration miss-
ing, of course, is that men with
literally nothing to lose but
their chains settle just to m.sh
up everything including the
tidily ordered arrangement of
priorities designed to enhance
the quality of life of those of
us still within the pale.
If you had $6 million would
you spend it on those scamps?
That was the government's re-
ply even as the prisoners have
gone on showing evidence of
growing impatience with the
slowness of the process of
change.
Because the Prime Minis-
ter's reply was not directed at
the prisoners who may not have
heard it anyway. But it seems
that they understood it never-
theless, and were not prepared
to wait for those ever-receding
pearly days when "the better
sort" of society would have
the time and ampleness of
means to do something about
its most disadvantaged elements.
Now even the Guardian
remarks about the prisoners:
"It does seem that they too
have been caught up in that
growing radical tide".
Developments outside the
prison have been affecting con-
sciousness inside it, we can be
sure. But we have now to look
to things_ happening the other
way around.
The prisoners may well be
teaching the theorists of revo-
lution that the Bastille, this
time around, will have to be
stormed from inside.


Vol. 4 No. 1


25 cents


LOOKING


FOR


INSIDE

MICKEY MATTHEWS FYZABAD

IVAN LAUGHLIN COROSAL

ESTHER LEGENDRE Page 4

AUGUSTUS RAMREKERSINGH Page 2








PAGE 2 TAPIA


THE


TIME


IS


J.../ .Ib
Augustus Kamrelcersmgh
THE country has entered
1974 in a mood of great
pessimism. The conven-
tional leaders have all given
their Christmas and New
Year messages, all of them
painting a gloomy picture
of 1974. All of them lack-
ing in imagination. All of
them failing or refusing to
see that the series of econo-
mic crises which face us
must be turned to our
advantage.
If ever the moment was
ripe for dealing'with the foreign
corporation which are strangl-
ing the life-blood of this nation
that time is now. The energy
crisis, for example, to use a
clici_, is a blessing in disguise.
For one thing, it raises the
question of the localisation of
the oil industry. It raises, too,
the question of our undue
dependence on foreign sources
for many items which we can
produce ourselves or develop
substitutes or simply do without
in the interest of the national
economy.

BOAST

But imagination and bold-
ness, though necessary, are not
enough to take us out of the
hole. The policies needed here
demand a quality and degree of
moralandpolitical commitment
of which no existing political
party dares to boast.
Political commitment
means much more than large
crowds rushing into the public
square or into the polling booths
it election time. It involves
large numbers of peoOle organ-
ised in the communities on the
basis of a long term programme
for change, confident in their
ability to master the situation,
mindful of the pitfalls and the
sacrifices necessary, aware of
human limitations but at the
same time clear about the possi-
bilities.
This is what the political
crisis is about. The population
still does not see any organisa-
tion in which it can place its
trust. People have seen through
the failure of conventional poli-
tics but because of our limited
politicalBexperience and the fact
that old habits die hard, the
population as a whole does not
clearly see how the transition
to new conventions can be
made.
People are accustomed to
mere elections as the means of


selecting a government. They
do not see how the new forces
can win power. It is into this
gap that the conventional part-
ies interspluce, especially the
PNM (Williams' hint of elec-.
tions at the earliest possible
time) and its more reactionary
progeny, the DAC, with its
,chorus ELECTIONS NOW.
The DAC is hoping that the
country will take the shortest
and easiest way out' of the
crisis. And it is trying to rail.
road the country into an early
election. But this is under.
standable, for the DAC is organ-
ised only on the basis of quick
office. It is an opportunistic
movement of the worst kind. It
wants quick elections because
that is the only way in which it
can hold on to what support it
has. It has no coherent pro-
gramme. It is not organised for
sustained effort.

TRUST

Either the DAC does not
understand the political situa-
tion in which we are or it is
dishonest, attempting to bam-
boozle people. The political'
crisis-a nation bitterly divided,
the virtual breakdown of insti-
tutions, lack of trust, lack of
confidence cannot be re.
'solved merely by such simplis-
tic devices as elections.
Some kind of national con-
sensus is necessary as a prelude
to a meaningful election. This
would make the options clear
At the community level this
means political discussion and
organisation. At the national
level it means a coming together
of all the community and poli-
itical organizations a people's
assembly, a genuine national
conversation to reconstitute
the state.
Such a soluuon to ..-
crisis would be a reversal of
our entire history of domina-
tions by colonial officials and
their successors It would
for the first time open up the
gates of history to ordinary
people in this country. It is the
time when the country takes a
definite stand. But the conven-
tional political parties cannot
afford to tell their supporters
this because it is subversive of
their hallowed methods.

ECONOMY

We need to changethego-
vernment but we need to
change much more. Merely to
change masters will make little
difference, if any. We have to
change the entire apparatus of
state, society and economy.
This is the objective of our
political mobilisation.
The lesson of the PNM is
instructive. The PNM started
off in 1956, serious, compe-
cent and well-intentioned. Yet
the wave of expectation has
dissipated in foam. To explain
it simply in terms of incompe-
tence, corruption and intellec-


RIPE


SUNDAY JANUARY 6, 1974

tual bankruptcy is to give only
a partial explanation.
PNM's -failure was essen-
tially a failure of political
method, the failure of conven-
tional politics. PNM failed be-
cause,like the movements of
1919 and 1937 it emphasised
personal loyalty to a messianic
leader rather than commitment
to long term goals and com-
.munity organisation and parti-
cipation. The party-based on
the tradition of political im-
potence became increasingly
hostile to the idea of individual
and group participation and
independence, especially when
the structural flaws inthe party
left it with nothing save messiah-
ship to sustain the early mo-
mentum.

VALID

The conventional opposi-
tion parties do not differ in any
essential way. Philosophically
they are children of delinquent
parents. They are obsessed with
a quick takeover of the govern-
ment; they have neither pro-
gramme nor valid community
organisation. It is the old PNM
style all over. And the daily
press condones this. One of the
favorite DAC arguments is that
Robinson, by virtue of his
experience as the number two
man in government before his
defection, is the logical succes-
sor to Williams. The fact of
being a senior minister between
1961 and 1970 endows him
with fitness to rule.

If anything, tle argument
should point the other way -
because he was a senior minis-
ter in a government at the
height of its corruption, in-
efficiency and ideological bank-
ruptcy, he should be disqua-
lified as a contender for office
until he gives an honest ac-
count of his stewardship. More
important, though, is that the
emphasis is on who is to be the
next PM not on plan and
organisation. After Williams'
clumsy manipulations at the
last PNM Convention, even
the blind can see that one-man-
ship is over. The PNM has
killed Doctor politics.
In order to defeat the PNM
and bring meaningful change it
is necessary to devise an en-
tirely new strategy, one which
places a premium on participa-
tion, community organisation,
shared leadership, programme
and open discussion.
Many persons have told
me, "Allyuh have a good ting
going, buthow long it go take? I
might not be around by the
time". If the message is getting
home it will take much less
time than they think.


Tapia Meets


THE Tapia Council of
Representatives meets this
Sunday, January 6, at the
Tapia House.
Community Secretary,
Ivan Laughlin will open
the meeting at 10.00 hrs
sharp.
Deliberations will fo-
cus on the forthcoming
Wooding Report and the
political prospects for the
New Year.
Plans will also be final-
ised for the New Year
Assembly to be. held on
January 20.


of a corrupt order, in whose
struggle we participated vicari-
ously, and whose seemingly
invincible ability to elude his
hunters, took on for so many of
us magical, symbolic qualities,
as if in that one life was mir-
rored the hope of a million to
escape an oppressive and stifl-
ing regime.
And then, to crowd a year
already full to overflowing with
political events, the stunning
announcement of Dr. Williams'
plan to retire, the appeal by the
faithful for a stay of execution,
the blunt refusal, the forlorn
search for a successor, the rise
of Karl, and the fall of Decem-
ber 2. Did someone once say
that we were too easily excited?

HOUSEWIFE

By any standard, 1973 was
a remarkable year, and our
trepidations over 1974 bear
testimony to this. For the first
time in the memory of many
were we so subject to the
ravages of rising prices. And
which housewife could forget
the frantic searches for basic
foodstuffs only the older
ones, familiar with war-time
privation, could member simi-
lar shortages of rice, flour,
cooking oil and other staple
items.

Our political affairs took
an altogether unprecedented
turn, with the arrival of a
military dimension. The "shoot-
out" in the hills became almost
as commonplace as the vice-
squad raid of days gone by.
Armed bank robberies, said to


llan Hais
Allan Harris


he politically motivated, the
emergence of the political cri-
minal on the most-wanted lists,
and summary execution by
Police-Arnlry search parties,have
now entered the pages of our
history.
What more dramatic lesson
in the realities of power could
wehave asked forthan Williams'
cynical attempt at manipula-
tion of party, media and na-
tion his entirely stage-
managed departure and return?
And Arab Oil diplomacy pro-,
vided us with new insights into
the relationship of economic
power andinternational politics.

This year begins, as the
years now customarily do, with
us recovering from the diver-
sions of Christmas, and about
to plunge into the dictractions
of Cricket and Carnival. But
one of the lessons of 1973 is
that the old patterns no longer
persist. There are no longer any.
well-defined seasons for fete,
for politics and so on. 1974,
and perhaps many years to
come, will be one long season
of crisis.

DISORDERS

Such an unsettled state of
affairs is not simply the con-
sequence of disorders in the
wider world. The failure of the
1956 movement to come to
terms with the economic and
political legacies of imperialism
is plain to see. The political
institutions are unresponsive to
the legitimate demands of our
people. The economy is rocked
by.the most distant rumblings
and dislocations in the world.
Not the least consequence of
our history has been our stub-
born refusal to assume respon-
sibility for our own affairs.
The last five years have
been a period of painful un-
learning of such attitudes. And
.1973 taught us that large prob-
lems are not susceptible of
simple solutions it is not sim-
ply a matter of one man re-
signing.

BUDGET

There will be issues in the
year around which we will have
the opportunity to take posi-
tion. But it is not enough to
sit back and await the report of
the Constitution Commission,
or the Budget. And most cer-
tainly it will have nothing to
do with whether an election,
or even two, are called or not.
Unless we act as responsible
.citizens and develop the re-
quisite organisation and plan
we will never make our interests
prevail.
Our troubles, of course,
did not begin in 1973, nor even
in 1956. And yet, as those of
'us who have followed the story
in Tapia will know, they have
blown up into crisis propor-
tions in the most recent years.
And now, in 1974, the popular
movement which confronts the
neo-colonial order, finds that
the traditional external sup-
ports of the status quo are
themselves in serious trouble.
Independent Third World
power has intensified the al-
ready serious stresses in the
capitalist world. But there is no
automatic deliverance for us. It
all depends on what we do
now. If we play our hand right,
it could be 1919 and 1937 all
over again. 1974 could be a
very good year.








SUNDAY JANUAtRY 6,1 974


THERE COMES a time
in the course of repression
when 1he artist can no
longer express, can no long-
er create; when he ceases
to wonder why it is a book
like De Wilton Rogers'
"Chalkdust" or the writ-
ings of George Padmore,
revered all over the world
for his conception of Afri-
can Unity, could have been
suppressed for so long;
when he sees the richness
of the ore from the folk -
folklore flung before us
for hours on television
while those who labour
to mould that earthen clay
into ceramics continue to
languish in destitution and
obscurity. The Govern-
ment will not grant, the
businessmen will not spon-
sor lest perhaps, by foster-
ing a taste for the authen-
tic, they put an end to
their world of falsehood
and trash.
It is as well. Until that
final time comes the artist will
use his creativity to devise
forms appropriate to his pur-
pose. Derek Walcott will ply
his trade like a tramping ,art-
ist and the choreographer will
present his pieces wherever he
can without any fixedplace of
work.
SUBVERSIVE

The signs of .Inquisition;
are already on the statute books
here. Under the authority of
the subversive Literature Act,
the police have been known to
seize books entitled "Black
Beauty" and "The Industrial
Revolution". Soon the licen-
tious Flying Squad will have
the discretion to decide what
should or should not be read
or performed.
Perhaps the time is closer
than we think. Radical out-
pourings from political plat-
forms are galling enough to the
forces of law and order, but
when these doctrines take to
the street in the form of theatre
as was demonstrated by the
Caribbean Theatre Guild last
week-end, the instruction is
more lasting, and official re-
action more immediate.
Within hours of the per-
formances at the Independ-
ence Square Car Park between
Chacon and Abercrombyithe
police entered the home of
Pearl Springer at Leon Street,
Laventille, in search of arms
and ammunition.
What if some hired inform-:
er in the neighbourhood re-
ported seeing a bearded, bushy-
headed character enter the
house with a gift-wrapped box!
Was it not Christmas Eve?
And even if the authorities
have the right to pry upon
one's privacy, they certainly
do not have the right to dis-
turb that privacy with impunity.
They conducted the search
and -found nothing. Is that the
end of the matter? It is time
for us to put an end to this
abuse of power.

FEW TRAPPINGS

Pearl or Ainto as she is
called by members of NJAC is
a librarian at the General Hos-
pital and PRO of the Carib-
bean Theatre Guild which was
founded by the Guyanese poet-
playwright Slade Hopkinson
who teaches English at St.


Actress





Under


SYL LOWHAR


Police


Surveillance


Kwesi, in praise of the beautiful
woman who is black, or the
one lamenting that since he
small he didn't "fock away with
white power"?
Or was it the dramatisation
of Eric Roach's poem "Tribute
to Butler" which came over with
ferocious power? While Domi-
nic recited the poem we saw
the silhouette of the bearded
leader poised majestically on a
podium, hands outstretched as


ful struggle for manhood and
the unlimited possibilities of
freedom.

SOUCOUYANT
The intensity of these mo-
ments was approached in
another piece. That was when
Cheryl Byron did the soucou-
yant dance. Fluttering like a
dragonfly in a red skin-fit cos-
tume, she revealed the excoriat-


. c j.... .


.. .. .

T *":TA. FPRO"NIAS GRE W
THE THEATRE OF PORT OF SPAIN IN YEARS GONE BY: CORBEAUX TOWN 1865


George's College where the
.group rehearses. Slade, now in
Jamaica receiving medical treat-
ment, is.regarded as perhaps
the most accomplished actor in
the British Caribbean, and it
was very gratifying to see an
effort which began almost from
scratch at Bob Henry's gallery
at St. Augustine surviving with
such vigour in the absence of
the maestro.
On the street the trappings
were few a small partitioned
closet for a dressing room, a
stage mounted on six or eight
steel drums, some kerosene
flambeaux which were later
stolen by someone in need of
'fuel, a microphone loaned by
Radio 610 and a speaker
which on the spur of the mo-
ment was rigged on a car with
a rack belonging to Joe Young
of TIWU. The appreciative
audience included Daaga Gran-
ger, Darbeau, Gadaffi, Kasi,
Aiyegoro Ayesha and Licelli.
Nearby commuters and
taxidrivers were hustling at the
Cipriani roundabout, the drag
brothers were busy building
shoes, listening to classical
carols, others were playing
cards on the gravel opposite
the Lanks. They were unmind-
ful o' the revolution that was
takin, place .But the beggar had
come to the theatre. He sat on
the p; ch "directing" the Anansi
storp which was so familiar to
him watching himself por-
tra' ed.


What was there in the pro-
gramme that was so seditious?
Was it "Stone Sermon", taken
from Eddie Braithwaite, and
delivered with such frenetic
fervour to the refrain of the
shaking, clapping'"bretherinand
sisterin"who finished on bended
knees, possessed?
The spiritual transport was
from the promises of the al-
mighty to the wretchedness of
this here country. We no longer
scoff at the Jordanite saluta-
.tion. We greet our brothers and
sisters with pride.

POOR PEOPLE

Was it the exposure of the
Chinese shopkeeper who hid
.rice, flour and macaroni under
the counter, sold black market,
and gave preference to the city
restaurants rather than to the
poor people? "No lice, lice
done!" was all the customer
heard.
Or was it the television
programme on the rising cost
of foodstuffs, conducted by
"our popular interviewer"
Dominic Kalipersad? Cassilda
Joseph was delightful in this
sketch. She played the fashion-
able camera-conscious show-off
full of airs whose husband could
afford to give the servant the
extra money to meet the price
increases. Of course she used
propane gas not kerosene.
Was it the poems of NJAC's


his followers chanted, "Onward
Christian soldiers!" Suddenly
came Corporal Charlie King
ordering his arrest. At the point
of Butler's finger the police-
man was cruelly beaten and
burned to death. A British
officer suffered a similar fate.
There and then it occurred
to me why an unjust and un-
popular Government would
seek to control literature. Even
the ordinary history of the
people can be feared as sedi-
tious since it teaches how we
have solved similar problems
in the past.
Sedition is nothing; and yet
it can be anything which a
Government is afraid of. So the
same rhetoric which a party
uses in its bid for power .be-
comes an offence when that
party attains power.
The most arresting scene
was Astor Johnson's choreogra-
phy of the fettered slave broke
free. The living flames under
the overhanging tree, the St.
James drummers, and the pip-
ing of Andre Tanker revived
the memory of those secret
meetings in Coblenz and Cae-
nage in the days of Jacmal.
Astor's space for dancing was
restricted to the few planks
that made up the stage but by
sheer rhythm, sensitivity and
depth of expression he was able
to present in a brief spell the
emasculating torment and tor-
ture of bondage, and the pain-


ed flesh. Shrieking eerily she
sucked the victim's blood but
was trapped into counting every
grain of rice thrown by the
door before she could recover
her skin from the mortar.
"Skin a me, skin a me!"
she cried as daylight caught
her. What was remarkable was
how one sweep of her hand
converted the plaid wings of
the soucouyant into the re-
spectable headtie of an old
woman in the village.

BLACKNESS

The Caribbean Theatre
Guild should be encouraged
to carry this show around the
country. Critics might say that
this particular programme was
too assertive of blackness, and
lacked a cosmopolitan facet.
It might be urged that the
Third World has a human
dimension, extending beyond
the limits of race and place to
everywhere that mankind is
being degraded and dehuman-
ised. But we must bear in mind
that the programme was de-
signed specifically to depict the
black man's experiences in the
Third World. We perceive as
we feel. And this is why the
show ended,appropriately with
an Anansi story in which spider,
weakest of the animal king-
dom, and symbol of the black
man in the Caiibbeai had to
use his wit to succeed.


TAPIA PAGE 5

1-- lu -.il



As e l. r G ul 14'

TaesTo








PAGE 6 TAPIA


Notes


from


the


Secretary


on the


Coming


Struggle


1
Constitution Reform

"WHEN the Constitution Commission re-
ports, wrote a Guardian Editorial on Decem-
ber 25, "the struggle for power will begin in
earnest." Who understands the ways of power
better than that harlot, trampled by the armies
of authority from the Whitehall and the Red
House over and over for a million times?
Unlike so many of the political innocents in the
field of conventional politics today, The Guardian also
understands that nothing is more subversive in this
revolutionary situation than ,Tapia's unflinching in-
sistence on the constitution question.
The constitutional focus is subversive of the old
regime for the simple reason that it emphasises law
and order which, .although it is the indispensable
ingredient of survival for the office-holders is alas, the
one thing which the corrupted agencies of State
cannot deliver. Not now that 17 years of insensitivity
and incompetence have demoralised the public ser-
vice and the people and brought ,civil administration
to a virtual standstill.
It is a measure of the political illiteracy of the
pundits and the cynics that in Tapia's policy of prop-
ping Wooding up, they see a guage of how reformist,
liberal and British public-school we are. What they
think is flaming radical red is the policy of infant
confrontation when such idiocy can only sacrifice the
blood of those who lack the means to win. Now in
1974, these superficial soda-fountain commentators
will doubtless see the sterling value of the longer but
shortest constitution road. The Editorial mouthpiece
of the ruling Doctor party certainly sees it very plain.
It will not be long before the elections-now
people will become irrelevant unless they engage their
forces in the fundamental issue of how power in the
country should and could be organised at this particu-
lar historical moment. Elections cannot change the
shape of power merely by altering the team of men
who hold it. The failure of the PNM has taught that
lesson, especially since black people have felt it
necc;s;_-ry to revolt against an African racist party. To
redistribute power towards the people, elections must
also bring a change of rules in government and in
politics as well.
As a conventional store-front multi-racial party,
playing on traditional ignorance and prejudice, the
elections-now outfit is a snowball heading straight for
hell. Granger who once generated crowd excitement
incomparably more authentic than Robinson's antics
can ever hope to do, is there to witness how illusory
the numbers in the square can be. In this revolutionary
upheaval, necessary because independence requires us
to forge a political system of our own, only two
political assets have enduring meaning.
The first is control of the resources of the State.
Although, in Tapia's clinical estimate only 15-18%
of the country stands with Williams, he survives
precisely because he holds this lever and because the
large majority of opposing citizens are aware that he
won it when he first arrived by being infinitely superior
in technical capacity and will to work than all the
clowns and charlatans who imitate him. So long as
the method of Doctor Politics remains in vogue and
people confuse political organisation with announce-
ments, declarations, false promises and manipulations,
Williams, the past-master of those arts, will success-
Tully use the troops, the Treasury and the media to
retain his domination of the State.
The other relevant political asset is genuine and
therefore revolutionary community organisation. This
is the trump that Tapia holds. A revolutionary con-
frontation necessarily opposes the formal authority
of the State with the informal authority of the,
citizens. Sovereignty is the critical issue of life and
death. But the citizens will prevail over the King and
his troops, politics will prevail over government only
if the communities are organised so as not to shatter
under stress.


2
About Tapia
TAPIA'S opponents live in a magic world of self-
delusion. They kid themselves that we are a bunch of
starry-eyed armchair intellectuals, comfortably cloister-
ed while commenting on politics from St. Augustine
when in point of fact I a p ia is the most
r evo lutionary force inside the country
we are the only one of the groups of the
February Revolution whose motive force was dis-


i NIi

COSIU a.


"'Of *^i


LLOYD BEST: "TAPIA'S WHOLE WAY ASSUMES A NATIVE WISDOM IN OUR PEOPLE".


tinctly not student and professor campus-activism -
our .only involvement being in two hard-headed'
guild elections which we won.
* we are the only political organisation in the
entire country which has been doing systematic and
sustained community building from below providing
abundant evidence to establish a close relation between
what we do and what we say
* we are the only group with the insight, judg-
ment and self-confidence to write a script of political
projections in advance and to put our successive
forecasts to the test. In the campus incidents of
1968-1970, over the Transport Strike in 1969, in the
events of 1970 and 1971, right up to the recent crisis
of succession in the PNM, we swam resolutely against
the current because we had the objectivity and humili-
ty to respect the facts rather than the wishful thinking
of our impatient suffering people. Arrogance, these
pundits say it is, because we've had the strength of
character to lead and wait and let the facts of history
speak.
* we are the first professional political organisa-
tion to have arrived on the stage in this country. Pro-
fessional in the sense that we are not contusing go-
vernment or religion or cultural activities or business
organisation or intellectual life with politics. We are
professional because we understand the relation of all
these things to power for people and therefore our
perspectives and our preoccupations embrace them
all on a permanent and full-time basis. One hundred
years from now Tapia intends still to be on the scene
and we are organising with that vision.
* Tapia understands that power cannot be
bought with party group nominations one Sunday


morning at a Convention. We understand that elec-
tions only reveal the structure of power that exists
before they are held. It is only under conditions of
colonialism where the Governor and the Secretary
of State for the Colonies are the ultimate arbiters,
holding the ring, that power can be won by a man
and a crowd in the square. Under conditions of inde-
pendence, Williams is botha player and the referee and
he controls the linesmen in the bargain.
* The trump that we hold is that we have built a
solid organisation with a common interest forged in
the fires of the February Revolution. We have drawn
Tapia people from every race and creed and occupa-
tion and colour and class and the thing that holds us
together is not the prospect of an electoral victory or
a magical success by force but a passionate belief in
an ideology plucked from the collective history and
experience of the West Indian people, a manifesto
which has an organic connection with the land and
people in the local areas and which will therefore
be an unfailing guide to action when that moment of
truth arrives and the country makes that un-
avoidable bid for freedom.
If we have been slow to get this message over to
our people it is because we have been talking from
the future just as the PNM's increasing incapacity
to reach the country is because they are now talking
from the distant past.
I Tapia's strength is that we have discarded the
false notion, imported from Fascism and .Marxism,
that there is such a thing as an automatic constituency
which either God or capitalism has endowed you
with so you only have to name your race or class and
the consciousness will bring a Movement into being


SUNDAY JANUI








TAPIA PAGE 7


forever.
* The price of our method of professional
political organisation on a long-term basis has been
that we have kept away the opportunists. We have
remained small, growing in little measured steps. The
Political Reporter counted 200 faithfuls, the Nation
40 and the Truth 20. Whatever the number,.we are
the first to admit that it is not large though it has
started recently to grow by leaps and bounds. The
important thing is that it is real and, as a professional
political organization, it is almost certainly the only
one. As Lenin and Mao and Castro understood, at
the crucial historical moment, it will prevail.



3
On Revolution
WE have been talking revolution here from the
very beginning. Social Revolution as distinct from
violence and coup. Williams alone understands it and
he has been trying to align himself with it from early.
The grapevine reports that he was the first to describe
the Tapia team as a team of "heavyweights" and to
admit that we are "the only group capable of moving
the PNM". Just as we have never under-rated Williams,
he has never underestimated Tapia. People who are in
the struggle for power must be exact about the
estimates they make. All these half-literate jaycees
who think politics is about photographs in the morning
paper will be summarily dismissed to oblivion. Ask
Hudson-Phillips if you doubt this view. It is merely a
matter of time. And that time will come in 1974-75.
The Guardian speaks for interests which cannot
afford to dream. We in Tapia represent the aspirations
of the gutter; we cannot fiddle with its hopes. We
intend to demolish the colonial regime which has
kept our people in chains for centuries. The jaycees
only have to look at.us to know that if we have our
way in this country, the cocktail party game of un-
employment and inequality done.
Tapia has been talking revolution from the very
start of our existence. In 1969, when all kinds of
superficial interpretations of the political situation
were being offered by the pundits, we said the issue
was "Whose Republic"? (TAPIA No. 3, Nov 16,
1969).
We put the constitutional issue in front. When
the State'breaks down, it can only be because the
private institutions in the community are incapable of
serving the needs of the individual citizen. How can
Parliament and the Cabinet and the Prime Minister
have worked the way they have since 1961-2, if the
professional associations, the press, the University,
the Church, the Unions and the agencies of the popu-
lar will had been organized to do their job?
How can we have gotten into this mess if any
political parties existed? Political parties are the
bridge between the community and the government.
They must have plans that reflect the views of the
people, men to run the government and local organiza-
tion on a national scale. No such thing has ever
existed in Trinidad and Tobago. Williams certainly
talked about it but he ended up running a direct
docracy based on Meet-the-People tours and National
Consultations. Hudson-Phillips has just learnt this to
his chagrin and the country had better understand it
too. Tapia is the only party here and it is only a party
in embryo.
To focus on the constitutional crisis means
focusing on the breakdown of the private institutions,
on the absence of a basis for citizen participation, on
the lack of political parties. The issue of the constitu-
tion is the tip of a gigantic iceberg.
4
Conference of

Citizens

BOTH Williams and The Guardian therefore under-
stand the revolutionary significance of "free and
frank discussions of all aspects of the Commission's
report". Williams' call for "extensive and thorough
public discussion" was certainly a tactic to gain him
time but equally, it was a device to gain support by
being highly democratic.
The political scribes in the national editorial
columns, invariably the voice of the Democratic
Action Congress, can never be accused of seeing any
issue very clearly but their mentor has always known
the danger of the constitution question to those
whose only aim has been to change the faces of the
men in office. You can tell how mortally afraid of
Wooding's [lssue Robinson has been. You can tell it
from the desperation with which he is calling for


election at some early date when The Guardian has
told him bluntly how his bread is buttered:
"There was never any hope that the Prime
Minister, in whose hands the power lies, was
going to call an election because other people
thought this would suit their purpose". (Dec 25).
Serious political people know that so long as
elections are a matter of decision for the ruling party,
there is no .hope of them being called for the longest
while. Which is not to deny that Williams finds it
convenient for The Express and the DAC to go off on
that tangent. Knowing full well how incompetent
and wishfully sentimental are the jaycee politicians,
The Doctor has mooted elections at the earliest possi-
ble date, certain that their political reporter would
translate that into election at some date in June or
July 1974.
Like the man in Whitehall, we of the Tapia
House must fix our gaze on Christmas, Carnival and
Cricket and then the explosive constitution ques-
tion. All of this in political terms means time to put
The PNM house in order, time for the fly-by-night
electoral horses to fade away. That is how the Doctor
has it planned; and why The Guardian, while noting
that the DAC "will have obtained more from its
strenuous efforts than did the others", can say that
the struggle in earnest will only now begin.
The Guardian 'is, advocating that the Govern-
ment subsidise the cost of the Wooding Report to
place it well within the reach of citizens. The Express
anticipates "a great deal of discussion and inevitable
criticism." On paper, we are all agreed that the
reorganisation of the State must be politically deter-
mined by public opinion which is to say by acknow-
ledgement of the sovereignty of the citizens over the
Government and the State.
AS USUAL The Guardian betrays the fears which
the Establishment has. "There is already controversy,
we were told on Dec. 29, "over the manner in which
the subsequent discussions should be carried on ..."
"It is futile to talk of a Constitutent Assembly
if what is meant is a gathering of self-constitut-
ed groups or individuals".
The fly in the ointment. They want free and
frank discussion but they don't want the ordinary
man in the street to come and say what he pleases.
They do not trust the' country to organize itself
informally, line up behind leaders and'organizations
and bring the discussion to a positive conclusion.
They want a controlled Assembly, one which
"presupposes a body with a popular mandate which
can be obtained only by appropriate legislation follow-
ed by due election". Whatever that may mean.
The case for subverting our demand for a
Constituent Assembly, freely formed by citizens who
recognize their interest and organise themselves to
serve it, rests on the idea that the 1971 Parliament is
legitimate. Legitimate because the opposition refused
last time "to face the electorate who are the source of:
legitimacy".
The Guardian is true to form. The interesting
thing is that The Express, mouthpiece of the DAC, is
taking exactly the same position, only, as always, a
little more absurd.
According to the national newspaper, there
must not just be one election. These practical non-
idealistic, pragmatic, conventional jaycee people who
understand the Trinidad mentality, want to resolve
the crisis by polling on two separate and .distinct
occasions.


New


5
Elections

"The first will be the general election that
settles the question of which party has the
support of the people This is to be held
with ballot boxes and 18-yr voting .
"The second will be that associated with the
introduction of the new constitutional dis-
pensation itself".
What is the argument behind this? We are told
that the party which wins the first will almost certain-
ly win the second but two are necessary "because the
whole civic structure will have to change and this will
have to be legitimised through the electoral process .."
This totally obscure rubbish mirrors'the un-
willingness of the whole Afro-Saxon Establishment,
both PNM and DLP, to face up to the consequences
of the revolutionary situation which their incompe-
tence and inept rule have brought upon this blessed
country.
As far as Tapia is concerned, this current Parlia-
ment is dead. Robinson acknowledges this when it
suits him but he still wants Parliament to arrange for
him to win the next election.
Williams also, when it suits him, admits that we
are in a revolutionary upheaval. He respects Parlia-
ment and the Party Constitution only when he finds
it meets his own convenience.
Tapia has always been consistent. We demand a
Conference of Citizens with Wooding in the Chair,
the Commission as the Secretariat and the Report
(including Minorities) as the Working Papers. After
that the Assembly itself will tell us where we go.
In other words, the Assembly must be that People's
Parliament which the Revolution was demanding in
'970.
Wooding is independent and by calling for a full
discussion, everybody agrees that his report can only
be a guide.
After the discussion is over and the public has
seen the competing political choices, we must proceed
to hold elections. But in order to hold elections, we
first have to agree on the rules.
What this means is that the one final decision
which the Assembly itself must make is the decision
concerning the election.
Let the Assembled Citizens establish an Elec-
tions Commission and a Boundaries Commission
made up of representatives of all bona-fide political
organizations. The country is quite capable of decid-
ing which groups will be entitled to a place.
Let this all--party Commission run the elections
on rules to be decided by itself.
Let it name the earliest reasonable election
date. The organisation that wins the election will be
the one to translate the country's hopes into consti-
tution bricks and mortar.
The process by which that organisation will win
its pre-eminence will throw up people worthy of the
country's trust.Simultaneouslyit will set limits on any
abuse of power.
Or the Assembly could lead to civil war if this
country lacks the necessary wisdom.
I have no doubt which road the country wishes.
Tapia's whole way ,assumes a native wisdom in our
people.


Year


Assembly



Sunday Jan. 20

9a.m. Tapia House

P R S E T N G-


THE MANIFESTO


Part Two


I i


,RY 6, 1974








SUNDAY,JANUARY 6,1974


History of Our Peoples -A Translation By Lloyd King


ON THE first of December,
1699, a group of Indians at a
Spanish mission in Trinidad,
San Francisco de Arenales, re-
belled, killed few missionaries
and sought to run off into the
bush.

They no longer wished to
work for the priests or to
enjoy the blessings of the chris-
tian religion, they longed for
their old freedom and their
own cultural contexts. They
were able to hold off a con-
tingent of Spanish soldiers but
were hunted down by a Chris-
tian contingent of their own
people and punished with suit-
able cruelty.
The account given below
tells the tale from the Spanish
viewpoint. It was the last at-
tempt by a primal American


Indian group in Trinidad to
resist assimilation.
The missions in Trinidad
were a typical part of the
Spanish style of settlement of
a new territory, after military
penetration. Attempts at mili-
tary penetration had been made
on numerous occasions since
the time Colombus sighted the
island in 1498, and took two
forms:

.Spanish slaving expedi-
tions set out from Santo Do-
mingo to hunt out Indians
needed to work in the mines
* A number of adventurers,
such as Antonio Sedeno and
Antonio de Berrio, saw Trini-
dadas a possible source of gold
and more important as a jump-
ing off point to settle Guyana
andlocate the fabled El Dorado,


M massacre




Arenales


City of Gold.
In the process, missionaries
Were brought in (a) to save the
benighted souls of the Indians
and (b) to pacify and accultu-
rate them so that they might
leave off harassing Spanish
settlers and consider it their
duty to work for them.
The Indians were persuaded
to come together in villages
called missionss there to be
taught the elements of letters
and how to lead industrious
lives. Each indian cultivated his
own plot of land (conuco) and


also worked two hours a day
on the mission farm for the
support of the Church. The
day's work began and ended
with prayers and catechism and
the unmarried young men and
women were locked in at night.
There were five such mis-
sions in Trinidad with numbers
ranging from 300 1000 indians
each:
Naparima Hill,
Santa Ana de la Sabaneta,
La Anunciacion de Sabana
Grande
San Joseph de Carriero


At


San Francisco de los Are-
nales.
The account gives a fair
indication of a Spanish propa-
ganda sheet. The natives are
heathenishh, sacrilegeous and
vengeful, The Spanish priests,
ministers of the one true God,,
are saintly and forgiving but
are brutally murdered
The narrative of the uprising
at Arenales is presented below.
The translation, by Lloyd King,
is from Las Relaciones histori-
cas de las Misiones de Padres
Capuchinos de Venezuela.


THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN ST JOSEPH, THE OLD SPANISH CAPITAL CITY, DATES BACK TO 1815


THESE venerable Fathers (Fray
Estevan de San Feilu,Fray Marcos
de Vique, the Venerable Fray
Raimundo de Figuerola) lived in
the settlement of San Francisco
de Arenales instilling the faith in
the Indians, but although there
was a churchthere already, it was
too small for such a large number
of people.
They therefore decided to build a
more satisfactory one, and so they
blessed the site and began to lay the
foundations with the help of lieutenant
Thomas de Luna, an intelligent and
virtuous Spaniard, who also ended up
as their partner in death.
As it was right and just that all
should give a generous hand, seeing that
they were already Christians, Fray
Estevan de San Feliu who was helping
the workers on the building that day
the 1 of December 1699), ordered
seven Indians to carry a certain beam,
which had been prepared for that day's
task. But at his order, one of them,
boldly and like an ungrateful and angry
hornet in the face of his God, made a
most disrespectful reply to the vener-
able Father, saying that he was not
going to lift the beam and swearing
most blasphemously against God and
the Christian religion, for Satan had
already taken possession of his heart,
the Judas that he was.
Truth to tell, he had already deter-
mined to murder his Spiritual Fathers
and Teachers, abandon the faith with
others of like mind and escape to the
hills to live in primitive and barbaric


fashion and indulge in old, degenerate
habits.
The venerable and saintly man
bore the insults and harsh words, but
recognizing that to let the matter pass
would be to expose the others to bad
example, he reprimanded the man for
his ingratitude to God and exhorted
him to repent. And further to ensure
that the man's scandalous and diabo-
lic behaviour should not prevent the
others, he added that the Provincial
Governor was making a tour of the
missions, was near at hand and that he
would have him punished, and indeed
so would God because of his sins and
blasphemies.
But instead of becoming cowed,,
the man became even more violent. And
as he already planned to flee both the
place and the faith, he swung the hoe
with which he was digging at the
cleric's head, leaving him dazed and
bleeding on the ground.
The blessed cleric, seeing himself
bathed in blood and badly wounded,
sought to drag himself to the church
and give up his spirit to the Creator.
He knelt before the altar of Our Lady,
and offered up his blood and life as a
sacrifice, pardoning his sacrilegious
attackers, and begging God to have
mercy on them and to receive his soul
in peace.
While praying, the Venerable Father
saw four indians, fierce and cruel as
wild beasts, rush into the church armed
with staves and bows and arrows to
finish him off. One might have thought
that their fury would be tempered at
seeing the servant of God in such a
posture, which ought to have brought


to mind the many benefits they had
received from him, how he had brought
them down from the hills and made
Christians of them and cared for their
needs with true charity of heart.
But driven by an infernal fury, they
struck him to the ground, kicking and
beating him. And not content with
this, they fired arrows into his body
and cut his throat. When the good
priest was dead, to celebrate their
cruel deed, they tied his feet with
ropes and screaming fiercely they
dragged the body out and threw it into
the hole excavated for the site of the
new church.
After this, the same savage group
went in search of Fray Marcos de
Vique who knew nothing of what had
happened and was at prayer, it being
between the hours of nine and ten.
They rushed in onhimand broke his
skull, with blows. Then they stabbed
and ,beat him, took away his Holy
Crucifix and contemptuously threw it
on the :grand. They cut his throat
and, tying up the corpse, dragged it
through the street and flung it into the
hole beside his companion.
They disposed of the others
the same way ... then the majority of
those in the settlement began to dance
and celebrate their wicked deeds and
they went to the priests' house and
tore up their belongings, books and
papers.
After this they went to the Church,
threw out the sacred ornaments,
opened the sacred place where the
Host was kept and taking the chalice
and paten they drank the wine for
Mass. Then they shared out the sacred


ornaments among themselves, the
albs and amices, using them as G-
strings.
All this was done with much danc-
ing and festivity. Then they pulled put
the sacred images in the Church,
dragged and kicked them around most
disrespectfully, broke one of Baby
Jesus' fingers, cut off our Lady's nose,
and pulled out St Francis' eyes.
Then, armed, they lay in wait for
the Governor since they knew he was
on his way, and ambushing him, they
took his life and that of many with
him, badly wounding many others
who escaped to raise the alarm. The
Indians with their wives and children
then left the settlement and went up
on a hill. At this site (as they con-
fessed afterwards) the Devil appeared
to them in bodily form and said:
"What are you doing here. You
are already lost, so try and flee
to such and such a place where
you may defend yourselves
against the whites".
When word reached San Joseph de
Oruna, armed men were sent to cap-
ture and punish the Indians. But al-
though they located them and en-
gaged them in battle, they could
only kill 20, among them the instiga-
tor of the mutiny. The remainder, with
their wives and families, took refuge
on an islet called Coconut Beach,
where there is a lagoon near the sea.
There they began to feel safe, but
Antonio de la Cruz, a Christian Indian
and leader of the Christian Indian
settlements was dispatched with his
followers to seek out and capture the
fugitives from Arenales. He set out
with a hundred armed Indians and
tracked them down to Coconut Beach
now known as Point Galera.
Seeing that they were encircled
by General Antonio de la Cruz, many
mothers snatched their children and
threw them into the lagoon and they
and some of their husbands jumped
in after them, drowning themselves.
The rest were punished. Four were
hanged, 60 men were tied to a tree
and executed by arquebus. The wo-
men and children were 'sold intc
slavery.
(This incident took place on 1st
December, 1699, the bodies were not
dug up till 15th April, 1701).
They reached the pit where the
bodies of the good Fathers were
buried, and moving away the earth to
collect the bones, they found the
corpses intact, without a trace of
corruption or ill-smell, as if they had
just been buried. The bodies were
taken from the hole and fresh blood
then flowed from the wounds: An
amazing happening indeed and one
which led those present to give praise
to the Almighty who by such miracles
manifests the glory of his faithful
Servants.


PAGE 8 TAPIA






















The present Government of our country has established a record of proven incompetence, sustained over an
extended period, and attested to:
by the perpetual threat of collapse in health and sanitation services
by the persistent scare of runaway inflation of prices
by the escalation of shortages into hunger and famine
by the deterioration of education, sport and housing
by the utter neglect of parks, botanical gardens, savannahs,theatres, museums, libraries, archives and
newspapers
by the virtual paralysis of administration in many areas of the public service and
by the wanton dissipation of public funds in countless unproductive ventures and schemes


WATndi hera]


These problems have burdened the citizens of this country and led to:
The seemingly inexorable degeneration of standards of expectation
The progressive deterioration of industrial and race relations
The utter degradation and demoralisation of the youth
The complete disenchantment of the mature
The abandonment of democratic and humane ideals and
The glorification of simple or cynical or violent solutions


The Prime Minister insists on a method of politics and a manner of government
which reinforce ouw impotence, manipulate our ignorance and exploit our lack of political experience and
which are so incapable ot dedicating the citizens to zealous and disinterested effort that they dictate a regime of
bribery and corruption, intimidation and terror



Be it resolved that:



We, the people



of Trinidad and Tobago

1. Call a Temporary Conference of Citizens, that is to say, a Constituent Assembly of individuals, community groups
and political organizations

2. Appoint Sir Hugh Wooding as the Chairman and the Constitution Commission as the Secretariat
3. Accept the Majority and Minority Reports of the Constitution Comiission as the working papers of the Confer-
ence

4. Establish a multi-party Committee from the Conference of Citizens to set a date for new elections and to act as an
impartial and trustworthy Elections and Boundaries Commission

5. Repeal all restrictive legislation on political activity with special reference to public meetings, marches, posters
and loudspeakers advertisements
6. Open up the broadcasting media to all political groups and organizations
7. Repudiate the idea that we must continue to seek messianic deliverance through one-man Doctor Politics and
strive instead to save ourselves by our own exertions.


.. I' ., ,hra












3


KEITH SMITH
WE HAVE to understand
that we can be standard -
setters and not mere imi-
tators of the .wo.ld, an
agonized "Hawk" was say-
ing.


The man who had been in
exile for the past 10 years was
bewailing the musical strangle-
.hold that North American music
appeared to have on the coun-
try.
A calypsonian who left at
the height of his promise during
the mid-sixties, the "Hawk" is
remembered for memorable
calypsoes: "Never, Never Put
Yuh Mouth in Husband and
wife Business," "Patrick in
Trouble," "Jenny" "The Gene-
ral Hospital," "Bold Face Ten-
ant," to name just a few.
What was worrying the
Hawk, now, however, was that
he saw the active promotion
by the media and large sections
of the population of "soul and
funk" as symptomatic of a
serious ill in the society:
"From my observation since
I have been back it would seem
that we are yet to understand
what we can do. That we are a
.-eople of great ability and we
are by no means inferior to the
rest of the world in anything -
certainly not in our music.

I I

"Don't get me wrong, mu-
sic is universal and I am not
saying that we should not ap-
preciate blues, jazz, soul etc.
But these are music forms that
have come out of a particular
North American experience.
The experience that produced
calypso is as valid as any other.
"We must have the confi-
dence in ourselves to promote
our own music, knowing that it
can stand up to all the others.
I am asking for more than the
present tokenism. I am saying
that ours must come first. Or
would we prefer to be known
as the "Land of Funk" rather
than the "Land of Calypso".
According to the "Hawk"
we have to understand the
example of Jamaica which has
an aggressive pride in its reggae,
"to the extent," he said, "that
even in New York Jamaican
parties are total reggae affairs.
"You see," he added, "until
we stop rejecting and start
accepting what is ours the prob-
lems which we face here inour
cultural, social and political
life will not only continue,but
may very well become heart-
-rendingly insurmountable".
The man who has come to
sing with the "Regal" this year
argued that the lack of appre-
ciation for calypso is illustra-
tive of a serious defect in the
society.
"If we give calypso second
place, it means that we consider
ourselves second- class citizens,
and I have travelled in various.
parts of the world and Trinidad
is perhaps the only place where
such a paradox exists".
What has he been doing


"I've been away from Trinidad too long
"Now it's time for me to go back there
"My affection for that little island is strong,
"This homesickness I'll no longer bear,
"I've seen England, Hawaii, Australia, Scandinavia, Africa,
Lisbon, almost all of North and South America
"Trinidad will always be number One.

Chorus:
"T-R-I-N-I-D-A-D. Trinidad,
"I'm longing to see
"Land of beauty
"Heaven for me
"There's no place like la Trinity
"No, no,no, T-R-I-N-I-D-A-D.

"I can't wait to sit
"Before a tasty dish
"Of pound plantain, crab and calaloo
"Or some rice and peas with cascadura fish
"And a big, big drink of mountain dew
"I would do anything for a nice roti
"With some Old Oak or Vat 19 rum
"I miss fruits like pomme-cythere, peewah, grapefruit, sour-sop,
chataigne and chiney plum.
"I love New York,
"Yes, I think the life is sweet
"But this cold, cold weather wouldn't do
"Hanging out in Trinidad on Besson Street
"Is one of the things I am looking forward to
"I would like to see the old men playing stick
"And some singing and dancing and shango
"There's no substitute for steelband music or the
rhythm of good calypso."


THE


HAWK'S





BACK


over the last 10 years?
"Fleshing myself out. I feel
that one can only stand to gain
by exploring as many phases of
one's profession as possible. In
my case entertainment I
have been studying drama,
music, since I feel that with
dancing they are all part of the
performing arts.
"But I am a calypsonian
And the fact that I have gone
into all these things just shows
how serious I consider calypso
We have to reach, all of us, in
every field, the highest possible
standards.
"I feel I share the respon-
sibility to shout the value of
calypso,, even it if is against the
conventional tide, from the
roof tops. So it is not that
we must accept shoddy, un-
creative calypsoes simply be-
cause it is "we thing". It is
that we must force the calyp-
sonian to the height of his


creativity by showing him that
we are prepared to give him his
due if he gives us ours if he
composes and delivers to the
best of his ability. It is our
sacred responsibility".

II
Still, the "Hawk" was full
of praise for his calypso col-
leagues, whom, he pointed out
"in the face of adverse condi-
tions the perennial exploita-
tion by promoters and record-
ing companies, their difficul-
ties with the media etc have
brought the art form a long
way in the past 10 years.
"There is not the shadow
of a' aoubt that calypso con-
tinues to progress both in music
and in lyrics. If some people
cannot see that it is because,
psychologically, they are, af-
fected by the onslaught of
.foreign music which is made so


COME





HOME


accessible by the superior
technology that they have.
"Until some system is de-
vised where the local arts are
given at least equal exposure as
the rest, I am afraid we will
have problems. We will conti-
nue to be captive audiences of
the outside world.
"And, we,the calypsonians,
have to fight this. We have to
band together not only in our
common interest but in the
interest of calypso and the
country. We have to rise above
the cold war that exists among
calypsonians. The calypsonians
who have made it have got to
go out of their way to seek out
and make the road somewhat
easier for those youngsters who
are making the calypso their
medium of expression.
"And we have to use the
calypso, among other things to
promote those things that are
valid in our country. We have


to see that the calypso cannot
only denigrate it can build,
by focussing on the positives.
"True, we like to sing and
dance and there's nothing
wrong with that; But we are
also intelligent, talented, and
hard-working, given the proper
motivation. We have things here
that matter. As ordinary a
thing, as food, for instance.
What is so special about chicken
and chips and hamburgers?
I have been in the land
where these things are every-
where. But in my homesick
calypso about Trinidad, I had
to remind people that our cui-
sine, as part of our culture, is
important. Perhaps, you have
to detach yourself, to under-
stand the worth of this country.
What about plans for the
future?"l will just have to con-
tinue making my statements,
knowing that the change must
come", said the Laventille
boy who has c.,ume back home.


PRINTED BY THE TAPIA HOUSE PRINTING CO. LTD., FOR THE TAPIA HOUSE PUBLISHING CO. LTD., 91 TUNAPUNA RD., TUNAPUNA PHONE. 662 5126


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