Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072147/00114
 Material Information
Title: Tapia
Physical Description: no. : illus. ; 43 cm.
Language: English
Publisher: Tapia House Pub. Co.
Place of Publication: Tunapuna
Creation Date: June 16, 1974
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: UF00072147:00114

Full Text

Vol. 4, No. 24

NEW YORK 21. t, X~
[rJr N


of the



page 2

Why this


is such

a humbug



1 7
1 S 1te






THIS week, Mr. Justice
Georges -ordered an in-
vestigation into alleged
brutality in Her Majesty's
Prison. In appearing be-
fore the judge in the High
Court on a charge of
larceny of a motor-car
the prisonerIsaac James
complained about beat-
ings which he and several
others have suffered as a
matter of routine at the
hands of prison officers
whose names he disclosed.
The immediate reaction of
the newly-formed- People's
Freedom Committee, consist-
ing of UNIP, URO, NUFF
and the Council of Progressive
Trade Unions, the expressed
aim of whom is to win release
for all political prisoners, was
that the learned judge was in
some way lending support
to their cause.
The widespread acceptance
of such a view, which might
have the effect of casting
doubt on the integrity of the
judge, is just what the Govern-


ment has hoped for by allow-
ing so many of the cases of
great constitutional relevance
to fall under the jurisdiction
of Mr. Justice Telford Georges.
The new Group in peddling
such a view suffers from an--
inflated opinion of its own
importance, and it underrates
the strength of the voices
which have aheady been raised
in condemnation of the Gov-
ernment's treatment of poli-
tical prisoners and of
prisoners in general.
One of the most consistent,
respectable and resounding
voices in defence of the liberty
of the citizen (not the subject.)
has been that of this judge,
who has also been a member
of the Constitution Commis.
Both Raffique Shah and
Thomhill, members of the
newly-formed Freedom Group
have benefited from judge-
ments delivered by the learned



THE National Execu-
-tive of Tapia has okayed
a DAC programme to
widen the basis of joint
action among the parties
and groups seeking politi-
cal change. In a June 7
letter, signed by Adminis-
trative Secretary, Allan
Harris, Tapia has agreed
;on collaboration:
;* to secure rights of
freedom of assembly;
to win access to
radio and TV time for all
political groups;
to effect the reduc-
tion of the voting age to
18 years.
The letter was in response
to a DAC letter of May 8
which followed on a move
taken by Tapia on April 25,
proposing joint opposition ac-

ition to secure radio and TV
time alone.
Chairman of the DAC Sec-
retariat, Emil de la Grenade,
Wrote that the DAC found
'the Tapia platform "limited
in its appeal and too remote
from the ordinary citizen's
Against this, Tapia now
urges that:
The people of this country
are well aware that if all.
political groups enjoyed
access to Radio and Tele-
vision the issues of bread
and butter would be sub-
ject to a far swifter justice."
The letter concludes that
Tapia is confident that the
nation would' support any
concrete programme of joint
action to remove restrictions
on the media.
It is also made clear that

Tapia is not prepared to permit
any implementation of the
recommendations of the Con-
Sstitution Commission along
the lines advocated by the
The Tapia plan is for the
citizens to discuss the Wood-
ing Report at a Constituent
Assembly and for an all-party
Commission to decide on final
proposals on the basis of one
vote for every bona fide
These proposals are being
put to all political groups
willing to throw their weight
behind the programme of col-
laboration. They have come
at a time when other initia-
tives are being taken to pro-'
mote joint opposition resist-
ance to the oppression of
of the 1956 regime.



ex-Chief Justice of Tanzania.
In hearing of the appeal
from the Mutiny Trials pre-
sided over by Danjuma, the
judge took the view that if
the procedure of the Court
Martial was -, ng, justice
was, to that extent, mis-
And in the -recent motion
by Terrence Thornhill, he
made the prouncement that
to .deprive the accused of
counsel is a breach of his
fundamental right.
It will also be recalled
that in the lawsuit (not yet
concluded) of A.N.R. Robin-
son against the Crown this
judge has uttered a dictum
which threatens the constitu-
tionality of the Summary
Offences Amendment Ordin-
ance. He seemed to be taking
the position that freedom of
assembly is of too funda-
mental importance to be so
easily brushed aside..
The independence of the



A call has been made
to the citizens of Trinidad
and Tobago to "raise their
voices in indignation"
against the injustices com-
mitted on political oppo-
nents by the Government
now in office.
The call has come from
Terrence Thornhill, Committee
Secretary of the newly-formed
People's Freedom Committee.
In a circular letter, the
Committee urges "that you
petition the Government of
Trinidad and Tobago indivi-
dually and through your or-
It is also proposed that
statements and protests be
forwarded to all local media.
The focus of the campaign
is on the political trials now
coming before the Courts.
The Committee reconm-
mends thatt work he com-
menced immediately."

judiciary has been a stumbling
block to the Government
Since the appointment of
Isaac Hytali as Chief Justice
not too long after he reported
on the Neville Clarke Affair,,
it has been clear to the obser-
vant that the Government:
intended to silence all those,
justices who checkmated the
attempts of the ex-Attorney
General Karl Hudson-Phillips
to penalise the leaders of the
February Revolution.
Justice Clement Phillips has
been by-passed; Justice Aubrey
Fraser has gone to the Law
School and Justice Georges
:is soon to follow.
Justice Malone, who in
'71 told solicitor Jack Kelshall
to go from his court as a
free man, has served notice
that he will be leaving shortly.
In the absence of these
legal stalwarts on the bench,
the machinery of justice is
certain to be very much im-.
The significance of the
order which Justice Georges
has now given for an investi-
gation into the state of the
prisons is that it comes at a
time when there exists side
by side a Prison Reform Com-
mission, headed by Bishop
Clive Abdullah, and a Comn-
mission, led by Seemungal,
which, for the past six months,
has been probing the cause
of the Fire which broke out
in the Royal Goal on January
1, 1974.
Desmond Cartey, erstwhile
sociology lecturer at St. Au-
gustine, now professor return-
ed to advise the Government
on prison reform, is a member
of both investigating bodies.
The overlapping of the
functions of the two is there-
fore clear. What is not so
clear is why two of the three
members of the Review Tribu-
nal which is really a revised
version of Mbanefo's Com-
mission to enquire into Sub-
versive Activities -.have been
searching for the origin, of
that -fire for so long.

25 Cenis


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-- -I ~- ---- --~I --a --------ra~----~-~ ~- ----I -- 1110- -~1


SUNDAY JUNE 16, 1974

Mick ey Mat th ews s u g gets a rol e for



WHEN we speak of the
Mass Media of Communi-
cation, we speak of Radio.
Television, the Press and
and of course the Cinema
industry. We call these
the mass Media of com-
munication because in-
formation emanating
from them can reach large
numbers of people.
There are at the imomenit
ninety-one thousand (9 1,000)
T.V. sets in the country, a
radio in almost every home
and almost every taxi: the
peak circulation figure for
the dailies are one hundred
thousands each: the cinema
houses are the most popular
pleasure time attraction.
These represent powerful
instruments. They can influ-
ence people one way or the
other. A strong case can be
made of the degree to which
the mass Media has nurtured
in our society a love for vio-
lence, drugs and fantasy. The-
llmn "The Harder They Come"
nade this point quite clear.
But even with more strik-
ing lucidity the film makes the
point that our Mass Media,
in this case the cinema indus-
.try can be meaningful, educa-
tional and entertaining if it
involves our people.
The business community
has been the first interest
group to understand the power
of the mass Media and they
have been exploiting it
through their advertising
Government too, has not
failed to see the significance
of the Mass Media as an
instrument of power; directly
it controls six-ten radio and

Trinidad and Tobago Tele-
/ision; indirectly, but effec-
lively it controls Lord Thomp-
son's Trinidad Guardian. Tihe
Express is entirely in the claws
of the advertising agencies.
Government control of
the Media is so tight, personal
and selfish that lic biggest
bone of contention in the
political arena today is the
use of radio and TV time.
Once what is described
above is the system of control
there is little room for free-
dom of expression for the
people working in the Mass
Media. The road to freedom
in the Media is through popu-
lar control, as distinct from
Government control.


Popular control in the
type of Senate that Tapia has
been espousing, a Senate
which is a reflection of all
the popular interest group in
the country and is qu'te in-
dependent of executive ap-
Once this is-established
we can now see the role of
the Media as an instrument
for education, and involve-
ment and employment of our
artists, and even as a tool for
Caribbean political unity.
The establishment of popu-
lar control is the task of a
popular Government -- possi-
bly a Tapia Government. What
we can deal with now is the
men in Media. These men
have to strive at professional-
There is an abundance of
evidence of a lackadaisical
approach to the job. Pro-
grammes are hastily conceived

and poorly executed; news
reporting are not clinical and
sometimes deliberately de-
ceitful. Trivia makes the news.
All over the country, in
the village councils, the com-
munity groups the churches
and the sporting fields, peo-
ple are putting up tremendous
battles against an order that
continues to brutalise them.
The.Media must report these
activities, in times of peace
when there is no confronta-
tion and sensationalism is out.
I know that the job be-
comes difficult without sensa-
tionalism, but it would bring
out all the skills of the pro-
fession to communicate by
share mastery of the Medium.
If this professional approach
is adopted results would be en-
couraging. Journalist would
win respect from all sectors
of the community. a genuine
bond of friendship would be
created between programme
director and artist..
The programme directors
will say that the advertising
agencies leave them little
room to use their initiative.
This is true. But 1 have seen
'umteen chances go a begging.
Once there was a product


to- be advertised, I think it
was butter or ice-cream, and
the programme director can
find no better way to ad-
vertise it than through a pro-
gramme called "Fun and
Trever Smith of the Bomb
did the programme. He
brought pairs of families on
the tube; most of them were
upper class and one or two of
the dispossessed, any how it
was an odd mixture.
For the better part of
half and hour they played
childish games, dolly play and
at the end of it walked off
with money prizes.
How can we tolerate this
when our dramatists, play-
wrights,dancers and musicians
are working so hard day in
and day out to get a hearing?
and they can't be heard be-
cause our society is not ar-
ranged for them.
Our people are so brutal-
ised by the past and their
tastes so tailored by the pre-
sent the Mass Media -that
their appreciation for native
workofart isn't what itshould
There is a need for colla-
boration of Media people
both on the national and
regional scale, not to talk
about freedom in the vague
and abstract way that is

Power to the People
Tapia's New World
Tapia Back Numbers
Tapia Constitution
Democracy or Oligarchy?
Reform of the Public Service
Foreign Investment In T and T
Central Banking
Non-Bank Financial Institutions
Foreign Capital in Jamaica
Post War Economic Development
of Jamaica
Underdevelopment and
Persistent Poverty
Readings in The Political Economy
of the Caribbean
Political Economy of the English
Speaking Caribbean
The Dynamics of W.I. Economic
The Adjustment of Displaced
Workers In A Labour Surplus
The Integrated Theory of
Development Assistance
Cuba Since 1959
Caribbean Community
The Caribbean Community
- A Guide

known but to deal with con-
crete problems and to plan
programmes for regional
Broadly speaking the road
of the Mass Media is two-fold.
The first is the universal one
of disseminating the news so
that people can make judge-
ment based on the facts.
The second is in the con-
text pf this crucial moment
of our history. It is to distil
the simmering consciousness
of our people which leads to
self discovery. Given the pre-
sent administration I doubt
these would evei be the role,
but the professional approach
can go a long way.


- C.V. Gocking
- Denis Solomon
- Mc Intyre & Watson
- C. Y. Thomas
- M. Odle
- Norman Girvan

- 0. Jefferson

- ed Norman Girvan)
- George Beckford

- N. Girvan & O. Jefferson

- W. Demas

- Brewster & Thomas

- Roy Thomas

- Davidson L. Budhoo
- James Millette



$ 3.60














NAM ------------------------


- .- - ---- ---

I enclose $ ....... as per rates listed below

T&T............ $12.00 TT
CARIFTA....... 18.00 WI
CARIBBEAN...... 12.50 US
US/CANADA...... 15.00 US
UK ............. 1- 8.00 UK
W. EUROPE ...... 10.00 UK
WEST AFRICA.....12.00 UK
INDIA............ 12.00 UK
AUSTRALIA...... 12.00 UK
EAST AFRICA..... 15.00 UK
FAR EAST......... 5.50 UK

All ovn sseas deliveries airmail
Surface mail rates on request.

RETURN TO: Tapia House Publishing Co. Ltd.,
91 Tunapuna Rd. Tunapina, Phone: 662-5126.
Trinidad and Tobago.

At the Tapia House, 82-84 St. Vincent St. Tunapuna, Trinidad & Tobago.
Phone: 662-5126


SUNDAY JUNE 16, 1974

How much of soap is


ARE manufacturers, pub-
lic utilities and construc-
tion firms, serious about
establishing or maintain-
ing local standards?
This is the question which
members of the Standards
Bureau must be asking them-
selves following a mailed ques-
tionaire sent by the Bureau
requesting information on the
standards on codes of prac-
tices which were used in
checking on raw materials,
processing, and the, final pro-
duct or service offered the
consumer or user.
According the to News-
letter of the Standards Bu-
reau, the questionnaire was
mailed in November last year.
The deadline was set for the
end of January this year. By
this date, in spite of a re-
minder sent out in Deccnber,
the Bureau had received only
38 replies from firms, out of
260.included in the survey.


The Bureau charitably
states that some questionnaires
may have been lost in the
post, and-persons may not
have understand how the ques-
tions were to be answered,
but did not contact the Bureau
for the assistance that was
By mid-February, after
telephoning many firms who
had not replied, the News-
letter states that 14 more re-
plies were collected.
This means that a total of
52 concerns replied or 20
per cent of the total ques-
tionaires sent out.
The Newsletter thanks
those who answered for realis-
ing that industry has an inter-
est in setting and using stand-
ards. The Bureau expresses the
hope that those firms which
did not reply will sqon do so,
or it will appear that they are
concerned neither with the
quality of what they buy,
nor with the acceptability
of what they sell.
The Newsletter also re-
ports that consumers can be
easily deceived at present as

to how much soap is sold in
each tablet of toilet medi-
cated soap.
This follows a survey con-
ducted by the Government's
Chemist's laboratory for the
Bureau between August and
November last year.
The survey entailed an
analysis of forty-three sam-
ples of nineteen brands of
toilet and medicated soaps,
obtained from retailers all
over Trinidad.
The analyses revealed that
most soaps met the composi-
tionalstandards, but the labell-
ing voluntarily used varied in
informative value.
A "regular" or "toilet"
size tablet of soap can be
anything between 2.3 ounces
and 3.66 ounces, depending


AS part of its Con-
ference of Black Women
of the Caribbean staged
in Trinidad and Tobago
between 6th and 9th June
the NJAC women staged
a cultural rally at the
JUGFW building opposite
the jail on Frederick
The women who attended
were treated to African drum-
ming and singing, drama and
dance by the NJAC sisters,
and the reading of revolu-
The rally was addressed
by NJAC's sister Olabisi, who
rapped on the struggle of
black women in the Caribbean
tracing the situation of the
African and Indian women
from their traditional societies
into slavery and indenture-
ship; she also discussed the
many problems of women
in the society today: prosti-
tution, sexual exploitation, em-
ployment, denigration in Kaiso
and the media.
The media came in for
particularly heavy attack for
its role of pushing white values
and attitudes in the society
and reflecting very little of
what is relevant either to our

on the manufacturers' whim.
The analyses were done
by methods set on British
Standards. There are no legal
standards for toilet soap or
medicated soap in Trinidad
and Tobago, but the Bureau
of Standards Newsletter points
out that these could be set
under the Food and Drugs
Ordinance, these products
being the definition of
"cosmetic" and "Drug".
No attempt was-made to
examine the soaps for skin
reactions, lathering, dirt re-
moving ability or to prove or
disprove claims made in ads,
since these are complex mat-
ters which the Newsletter ex-
plains, will require more re-
sources of time and personnel
that is presently available.



roots or present existence.
The women were t6ld that
they should strive after new
values and self development
'She should stop letting herself
up on "off' scenes the
endless amassing of things she
really does not need: the
"threads scene".
It was stressed that poli-
tics is what women do every
day the clothes they wear,
the kinds of schools they
send their children to, the
foods they eat. Women were
told that they are the back-
bone of the society and come
to the fore to take a positive
hand in decision making in
the country.
Sr. Theresa Weekes, wife
of OWTU boss George Weekes,
gave a short and inspiring
address. She asked the wo-
men present to move at all
times with strong spiritual
Tluee of the Caribbean
delegates addressed the gath-
The Conference passes res-
olutions concerning the Sixth
Pan African Congress, the
Family Planning Programme,
Sexual Tribute and Cultural
Oppression by puppet Carib-
bean Governments.

of the Closed Season from 1st
April to 30 September; ap-
pointment of turtle, protec-
tion officers, proclamation of
two sanctuary areas for breed-
ing turtles Matura Bay, and
initiation of a three-year re-
search project on stocks and
management of sea turtles
under the Fisheries Division.


The unacknowledged re-
port was present to the Minis-
try early last yc:.,.
The present regulations
permit the capture and mar-
keting of turtles, their eggs
and all other products, from
1st October in any year until
31st May in the following
year. The closed season there-
fore extends fiom 1st June to
30 September. The convic-
tion for breaking this law is a
fine of $48 or two months
The Bacon Report calls
for the closed season to be
declared from the 1st April
to the 30th September and
that the fine be increased to
S500 or 6 months imprison-
The Report points out
that there is a worldwide fear
of the extinction of the various
species of title and that
several' attempts are being
made at conservation includ-
ing some Caribbean countries.
Bacon quotes a statement on
the world marine turtle situa-
tion issued by the Interna-
tional Union for the Conser-
vation of Nature and Natural
Resources (IUCN):


'But the scientific evidence is
o verwhelhing that after a long
period of slow decline we are

now at a time when this de-
crease is accelerating into a
catastrophic depopulation.
Like many species once seem-
ingly inexhaustible, the seven
surviving species of sea turtles
are now faced with massive
depletion and extinction in-
side this century".
The fact is that man
through indiscriminate hunt-
ing, "development" and pol-
lution habits is threatening
not only the extinction of
many species of animal life
but of the supreme animal


The turtle situation may
seem only a dro"lin this
bucket of insanity but other
neighboring countries rang-
ing from Mexico to Cuba,
Colombia, Venezuela and
(,uyana have taken steps to
protect the species. The local
Ministry does not even reply
to voluntary suggestion on
work which should have been
done by the Fisheries Dept.
in the first place.

The Report does not call
for total banning but regula-
tion which will ensure the
continuation of the species.
As Ishmael Samaad pointed
out in his article in TAPIA
of June 2, "there can be
nothing moredestestable no-
thing more revolting to the
humani spirit than the killing
of mothers while in the very
throes of birth".
And this is what is happen-
ing on the beaches of Paria.
Maturna and elsewhere where
persons for gain or just for
kicks hack to bits the laying
mothers, sometimes leaving
the meat and eggs.

I I 1


of The Madonna

29 Agra Street. St.James
AGES: Two and a half to seven
HOURS: 8.30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M.
FEES: S90 per term
For details contact (live Johnlat F:aliina College.or dial
62 44357, 5425 1. or call at 204 Jaspci Ave.. Diamond Vale.
M. Cockburin, Monlcssori trained.
H. Jolh.Rcgistcred lcaichcir. i,A. SPAN (lions)
|--_ ,,







Denis Solomon
IN ITS efforts to give'
rapid effect to the severe-
ly-criticised Draft Plan
. for Development of the
north-western peninsula,
the Government has run
into a serious obstacle. Its
reaction to the discovery
of this obstacle is typical'
of what we have cQme to
expect from a government
that is at once too weak
and too inflexible to deal
with problems in an open
and honest way, especial-
ly when the problems
arise out of its own inepti-
tude and where the inter-
est of the citizen as against
that of the State is in
The reaction has been an
attempt by the Minister of
Petroleum and Mines (speak-
ing in the Senate when the
Development plan was being
adopted) to obfuscate the
issue by quoting a figure of
$1.7 million, representing the
"cost of acquisition" of the
lands. 520 claims, he said,
were made "in respect of'
this acquisition.


This statement was mis-
leading on two counts. First
of all, legal researchers work-
ing on behalf of the Back to
iChaguaramas Action Commit-
tee are now certain that
though the lands were taken
from the owners and incor-
porated into the American
naval base, they were not
acquired in the legal sense -
in other words they were not
paid for. Nor, afortiori, were
they legally conveyed to the
Government: the deeds, de-
posited in the Red House, are.
still in the names of the pri-
vate owners (I have seen one
of them myself).
The money paid to own-
ers was not paid in respect of
acquisition (i.e. purchase) of
the lands but was paid in
compensation for buildings,
crops and livestock.
Secondly, Prevatt's state-
ment is misleading in that it
sounds as if the amounts paid
to the owners were substan-
tial. $1.7 million is a lot of
Money, especially at 1941
prices, eveny"In respect of'
1520 claims. The fact is that of
jthe $1.7 million$1.5wa paidto
owners. of the large Huggins
estate. The original compen-
*sation to Huggins was one
million dollars; Huggins ap-
pealed and in 1943 was award-
ed additional half million.
And the most conclusive
'proof that the money paid
was not for purchase but for
compensation is the fact that
Huggins was not the owner-
of the land. He was a tenant
the land was owned by
Tucker after whom the Tuck-

Claims and 8,486 acres (in fact
.both figures are probably
much too low there were
more likely a thousand odd
landowners and the area was
probably closer to 10,000
acres) one is left with a figure
of $247,164.50 "In respect
of' 3,500 acres, since the
Huggins estate alone was

about 5,000 acres. An average
"price" of $70.00 an acre!
Even if one claims (as the
Government has not claimed)
that the owners were paid in
part by the lands which they
were offered at Carenagc, the
claim does not stand, for the
Carenage holdings are far from
being equal to the Chaguara

inas ones. For that reason,
several of the owners did not
accept them. Those who did
received lots of 5,000 square
feet, not even freehold but on
99-year leases.


iTe malnner of the
''acquisition", too. was al-
mosi ccailinly illegal. It was
".. 11 carried out under
the pi ovisiuns of the ..dand
Acquisition Ordinance 1V925
41, uii:er tihe provisioq of

aspire to acineve

Malcolm Buggeridge
SOME thing is stirring in
the state of Trinidad and
Tobago. Some-thing crea-
tive. As the old and cor-
rupt, the superficial, the
schemers are relentlessly
exposed, as criticism of
theneo-colonial structure
proceeds apace, some of
the creative youth at home
are getting together to
stir our bones and our
spirits, -our bowels and
our intelligence.
The performance of the
ISWE group, the issues of their
journal Kairi are signs. ISWE
with their vitality,with youth-
ful confidence their drive
called to mind, someone, said,
the early fifties and the sense
of excitement created by
young Sam Selvon, George
Lamming, even Vidia Naipaul.
One recognizes ISWE's aim
with hope and perhaps a little
trepidation. With hope be-
cause they aspire to continue
at that task which is so neces-
sary in Trinidad, namely to
break through the class bar-
riers which are threatening
to harden around us.
They aspire to a popular
movement, which does not
intend to let the word popular
exclude anyone with the
right spirit, anyone who is
tuning in. One has that hint
of trepidation because the
forces of negativity are being
broken down so slowly and
are either indifferent or hos-
tile to youthful vitality. We
must support the effort.
There have been other
signs. The return and the ef-
forts of Astor Johnson and,
within the last few days, the
return of a young profes-
sional dancer, Noble Douglas.
From what she said, she has
returned to stay, to teach
dance to the youth and no
doubt to perform.
On 'Mainly for Women',
viewers were given a small
opportunity of seeing the kind
of talent that we have, the
kind of talent we must hold
here. Miss Douglas was fluid.

first class female dancer. Those
of us who have had to be
content with the girls of the
Jamaica Dance Group when
we wantedto see a disciplined,
exciting performance are in a
position to recover the feeling

thaf the talcnt has always
bcn there.
',iss DougL is: and this is
v .- iiioing, mentioned her
interest in working in Tobago
as .T!. 'llus slows tmat she
has the right instincts.

_ --.a -u.~__~lirosl~E~rX~ur;V~~YYCME~IYllsY-~U

v o to any.

Length to do

We installed suspended ceilings on two of AMOCO'S
offshore p.,duction 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 Shutter-s, and apply the-- -
ultra mu.d,-an 'Flecto finish' to walls and'floors
1i .: .,ll,,,li1 N t ',...n51_ G hb ons Ir.-rn-rin gei ry
.vorl1, -jiiuiI E E' ,-. Sti, 525 ,dhi,-sI\.e ,rnd R, u .SIN.W vi odwofk- '. "~-C
hesv i ad A b-. ....... rsr.-,. -hc r,-tnqg and. Ibi A.ce-
:I.: ). e, eUild u e glve-usa 'call al:2.-'W-
W'/e'll yU t.,,,-,y I-rgr h .elp you.!I ". .. .

S"' "' -" -
," ., .


.- V i,-'- ,. .'-

;-,,. n

-TO CHAG I --. g T~


--- --- ------- -------------------k

\,, i lii c ., ci n,, r ihad first
to p)ihlish notice of his inten-
tion in the Royal Gazette,
then to serve notice on the
owners requiring them to sub-
mil claims, and then to nego-
tiate these claims..

The Gazette notice was
published; but, say the mem-
bers of the Action Committee,
subsequent steps were a little
more abrupt than the Ordin-
ance envisaged. No notice
was served: landholders were:
given between aeyenty-two
hours and a week to leave;
the Warden and the Crown
Surveyor turned up and hand-
ed out a few hundred dollars
here and there; and the bull-
dozers moved.in.


One's enthusiasm always
led to the blank wall repre-
sented by the absence of Arts
Centers. For at least four
Centers are needed in Port-
of-Spain, in Central Trindiad,
in the South, in Tobago.
We have only one com-
fort, namely that the present
Government has not yet
agreed to the idea. For had
they done so, the ubiquitous
Ivan Williams might have been
put in charge of the project.
Imagine then the incomplete
construction, the one man
Commission of Inquiry.

ISWE :youtth whoQ




'Those miseries I know you, cultivate arertiie, a well as.
vots, or do you 'think the impartial, ubiul6 eares.whose .
(and is ploughed?"
(Fromn "After One Year".(Martin Cafter)].
YEATS once wrote words- to the effect that
gut f quarrels with others we make rhetoric,
While bu of quarrels with ourselves we pro-
duce poetry. My reason for writing what may
well seem to be a quarrelsome article is that
Wayne Brown, who normally quarrels neither
with others nor with himself,. has suddenly
Chosen to quarrel with those who a few weeks
ago wrote in TAPIA Vol. 4, No. 17, (April
28 1974) on the death of Eric Roach.
tis response to what he called their
eulogies was an appropriately unnamed poem.
which was published in TAPIA .Vol.
4, No. 31, (May 26, 1974).] I have interpreted
this poem and other. statements by Brown on
West Indian poets and poetry as an extension
of the debate on West Indian poetry which
Sbegan in 1971 'with the publication of
SAVACOU 3/4, whose editor was chiefly Ed-
ward Brathwaite.
SThis debate involved Eric Roach, Syl Lowhar,
Roger Mc Tait and myself. The issues were raised so
fundamental to West Indian poetry that it was always
likely that the debate would continue in disguised
form.- Brown, as I hope -to show, has reopened some
of these issues, and has in the process of so doing
commented'on the work of" fellow-writers such as
Brathwaike, Me Neill and-Walcott, and provided us
with statements on how he creates poetry.

With the

death of

Eric Roach,

the debate on

West Indian

poetry bursts

wide open

S* The burden of the passage is the well-kniown
.6ne: .tat while the complacent make -a.ritial of heir; .
petty mishaps, they, do nothing tor the artist who-,as'
crucified man takes en, if even he cannot take away
the sins and pain of the group. The artist is the truly
conscience of the society. There. is only one problem,
here, thougli, and that is that in making such a claim
for the artist, the poet may be indulging in the same
self-flagellation which he decries in the complacent.
The tersest warning against this sort of tendency on
the part of the hyper-sensitive once came from the
mouth of a man on the street: "When you thinkyoU
ketching you ass, you neighbour ketching-'emudder-


Here, Gordon Rohlehr reacts

sharply to Wayne Brown's untitled

poem in Tapia of May 26, 1974

0 ,

The first seven lines-of his poem for Eric Roach
set'the tone with a clarity unusual in Brown:
Roach gone, the carrion.
who drove him, hurt hawk, from the echoing air
with their hunger for bloodbath, their shrill caws.
of treachery,
shriek with excitement
Dead, and to them he is Herb. *
Carrion-like them dead.
From. this one gathers that .Brown is. accusing .:
the society as a whole.and Syl Lowhar and myself in -
particular .of-having isolated Roach by popularising a
new rhetoric of revenge and bloodbath, and by accus-
ing him of treachery in not joining the blue blacks'
klan. The difficult phrase 'shrill caws" indicates that
Roach's eulogisers are at. one and the same time
keskidees (shrill) and vultures, .(caws) who somehow ~'
have succeeded in harrying a hawklike spirit to death.
* Worse,' having killed him they trivialise his death,
make it -a topic for excited chatter. "Dead, and to
them he is Hero". The society prefers its heroes and
*poets dead. Dead people bury-the dead with dead
praise. "Carrion like them dead". Not "Carrion like
US", for Brown is somehow exempt from whatever
communal responsibility a society fieeds to bear when
its artists Ibsehope in'life. His own position as poet
places him among the crucified rather than among the
.philistines,- among the connoisseurs of suffering
rather than ainong the indifferent:
Brown's reaction to anything is normally a
weak echo of Walcott's and one senses'behind and
beneath the poem those sections of Part 4 of Wal-
cott's Another. Life, which contains his reactions to
the. suicide of his friend, mentor and fellow-artist,
Harold Simmons; to another friend's contemplation
of it; to the traditional indifference of the society,to
the lives or deaths of its artists; to-the twisted politics
of the" contemporary West Indies and to the penury of
our intellectual death-in-life. In Chapters 19 and 22
of Another Life everyone is accused in the now
tragic Assizes of Makak's schizophrenic mind. 'All
are guilty and condemned, except, of course,- Wal-
coft himself, .who is Grand .Inquisitor here, not

Is it deliberate that the opening lines of Chap-
ter 19 sound like a grim parody of robber-talk, a
:ounter-rhetoric whose aim is to show the vitupera-
tive what violence of the tongue really is?
I enclose, in this circle of hell,
in the stench of their own sulphur of self-hatred,
in the steaming, scabrous rocks of Soufriere,
in the boiling pustular volcanoes of the South,
all o' dem big boys, so, dem ministers,
ministers of culture, ministers of development,
the green blacks, and their old toms,

and all the syntactical apologists of the Third World
explaining why their artists die,
by their own hands, magicians of the New Vision.
Screaming the same shit.
... ........... ".. .... .... .. ... ... ..

and the academics crouched like rats
listening to tambourines
jackals and rodents feathering-their holes
'hoarding the sea-glaSs of their ancestors' eyes,
sea-lice, sea-parasites on the ancestral'sea-wrack
whose god is history. PAX.
Who want a new art,
and their artists dying in the old way.
Those whose promises drip from theit mouths like pus.

The people being tried and condemned include poli-
ticians, academics, historians who indulge in' the
horrors of the past, the .literary critics who "pro-
" nounce their measure of toms, of traitors, of tradi-
tionals and Afro-Saxons." Tapia, I'm afraid, isn't
they measure each other's scores
to boast who has suffered most,
and their artists keep dying, -
they are the saints of self-torture ...
Walcott's bitterness here has grown out of all the
broken promises of the sixties when he made constant
unavailing appeal for the recognition of the'artist by
state and people as "citizen, rather than as ruin
revived for a season". It is the explosion of a
deferred hope, which has stubbornly refused to
wither, bui can as yet ascertain little possibility of
fulfilment. His angry outcry is also the responseto. the
tidal wave of 1969&70, when politics invaded thi
private life, and the rhetoric of Black exclusivism
forced him to counter the stereotype of the noble
suffering savage with what he no doubt imagined to
be the more viable stereotype of the tragic mulatto.

Brown has, as usual, caught the echo of'.W.--
cott's passion. What he has not caught, howev~i$t
the range and complexity of Walcott's response to bur
milieu. In Walcott, anger so rawly expressed is'uh-
usual. Contempt is usually contained by a capacity
for praise and wonder, irascibility by wit and a.o4
humour which helps him maintain a sense o6;l,
portion. Were it otherwise, contempt, Which 'is as'
double-edged a weapon- as fiatred, wild eventually
paralyse the artist's sensibility and reinforce'the
disease it was meant to cauterise.

If one wants to see a quotidian woikaday
Walcott, one should go back to well over '500r
arucles essays and reviews on painting,cinema,calypso,
carnival, drama and literature which were produced
between 1960 and 1967, when Walcott worked as
journalist for the Trinidad Guardian.Those articles ,
however their author may disparage them as.being
merely "a hack's hired prose", reveal a rich, various,
witty and scrupulous intelligence in which generous
humour counterpoints acerbity. Knowledge of'this
aspect of Walcott's work is indispensable to any
serious assessment of his poetry and plays, and it is
time for a collection of these essays and articles to
be compiled and published.
Brown's self-righteousness is as yet unearned.
Intimations of real pain do exist in his work, but
what he has made of his anxiety is as yet vague and
blurred. I believe, indeed, that Brown's'reaction to
my "Blues for Eric Roach" may have been prompted
more by what I said in 1971 about the mediocrity of
Brown's exploration of his angst than by anything
he imagines me to have said, to, for, about or against
Roach. At that time I was commenting on the fact
that Roach in his review of Savacou 3/4 had praised

continued on page 6

.1- I sdBaWb---~efr- ~Rae~ --~s~Ps~- L I _-

- 1 (


From Page 5
the poetry, of Walcotlt, lendricks, Scott and Brown
without mentioning the work of Tony Mc Neill:
although the latter is as gentle, i ticent aind
careful of craft as they come, and certainly a poet of
deeper feeling than either Dennis Scott or Wayne
Brown, whose, work would hardly lose were it to
include a deeper anxiety. a truer pain.
Rohlehr. C., "West Indian poetry: Some Problems of
Assessment, TAPIA. Vol. 1. No. 20, (August 29,
1971) pp. 11-14.
This statement, together with the fairly con-
sistent effortwhich I've been making to identify the
presence of a rich Oral Tradition in the West Indies,
and to present it as spiritual acreage to be reclaimed
by poet, playwright and novelist, would be, I think,
sufficient evidence for Brown to number me among
the naive who are insensitive to "craft": craft being,
of course, what he defines as such. But a close
reading of his essays and poetry soon reveals that the
poet for Brown is a man who descends into the fish-
pond of his private silence and emerges sounding like
Derek Walcott.
This parasitic apprenticeship of Walcott incapa-
citates him when he tries to respond to an entirely
different talent such as Brathwaite's, in whose work
he cannot recognize the presence of a shaping mind,
a different sculpture, "carefully carved craft" and
.massive architecture.
Here, for example, is Brown's brief comment on
Brathwaite's Trilogy:
Edward Brathwaite's ISLANDS, the third part of his
trilogy of poems, appeared at the same time as THE
GULF. It too was a great improvement on Brath-
waite's earlier work, much of which was flat and
only thinly disguised prose, ISLANDS, in the terms of
one reviewer "resonates more consistently" than tlhe
earlier books, and it is apparent that Brathwaite in
this book has begun to reap the fruits of his experi-
nents with form and fiction.
[Brown, W., "W.I. Literature of the Past Year",
Trinidad Guardian (August 31, 1970) ]
Although Brown here speaks of Brathwaite's
development and his early "experiments with form
and fiction", he cannot find anything positive to say
about the whole of Rights of Passage or Masks. No
mention is made of Brathwaite's use of jazz, from
which he draws a whole network of allusions: to how
oral considerations have directed him to break his
words and lines at particular places, which direct the
reader quite naturally to place the correct stress on
the correct syllables; or to Brathwaite's establish-
ment of dialect as a medium of serious poetry
especially in "Wings of a Dove" and "The Dust".


Brathwaite's remarkable use of Akan symbols,
oral poetry and ancestral elements of which the Nige-
.rian critic Asein has devoted a long essay [Asein, S.,
"The Concept of Form: A Study of Some Ancestral
Elements in Brathwaite's Trilogy", ASA WI Bulletin,
No 4, (Dec 1971, pp. 9-38]; Brathwaite's close
reference to African theology .and philosophy to
which Maureen Warner Lewis has devoted 48 pages
of the most recent Caribbean Quarterly [Lewis,
M.W., "Odomankoma Kyrema Se," Caribbean Quar-
terly, Vol 19, No. 2, (June 1973) pp. 51-99]; are
dismissed by Brown who neither knows nor cares
about such things. Thus the experiments are con-
demned without even having been named, while
their mature fruit in Islands is commended as a
great improvement.
Like Roach in his review of Savacou 3/4,
Brown can find nothing positive to say about the
pioneer efforts of those who are seeking ways of
building on the fundamental models and structures
which exist in the folk-oral tradition. These writers
are simply noisemakers to be avoided like the plague
by the serious poet. The voice of the true poet must
arise out of the depths of the sub-conscious otherwise:
everything you write is going to sound like polemic
and harangue. I mean you see it all over the West
Indies today: all these multiplying anthologies that
we are told constitute a new poetic awakening and
that are really vehicles for noise. By that I mean, that
in most of them you will look hard to find a really
authentic depth-voice speaking. It's as if people were
mistaking frenz' foi emotional authority.
S one has to avoid like the plague all this chest-
beating in bad prose chopped into lines, and nick-
named "verse"'. You have to refuse to be trapped into
making noise yourself. You have, I think, to be
attentive; and silent.

[Brown, W, interviewed by Basil Mc Farlane,
"The century of Exile," Jamaica Journal, Vol 7, No.
3 (Sept. 1973) p. 42]
Most of what is said here echoes Roach's
review of Savacou 3/4, in which too, the speaking-
voice points to the emergence of a dramatic poetry,
the necessity for audience, chorus and a stage for
periornance. Brown as poet is a product of thle romantic,


The Savacou debate

Brown :A

existentialist aesthetic which began with the emerging
individualism of the Renaissance period and fulfilled
itself in the desperate moral isolation of modern
man. As such he places less stress on direct communi-
cation than on descent into private silence.
It is no new thing to see the Caribbean artist as
a kind of alienated Western man. This. for example,
was how Lamming saw him in his first major state-
To speak of the situation of the Negro Writer is to
speak, therefore, of a problem of Man, and, more
precisely of a contemporary situation which sur--
rounds us with an urgency that is probably un-
precedented. It is to speak, in a sense, of the universal
sense of separation and abandonment, frustration and
loss, and above else, of some direct experience of
something missing.
[Lamming, G., "The Negro Writer and his
World", Presence Africaine (June Nov. 1956)
p. 329]

Having thus described the Negro writer as
archetype of alienated man, Lamming went on to
describe the process of creating in terms quite similar
to those Conrad used in his Preface to The Nigger of
the "Narcissus", and to those used by Brown in
describing how he creates. ("Century of Exile").
According to Lamming the artist's primary loyalty
should be to:
the world of the private and hidden self, a world
which turns quietly, sometimes turbulently, within
one man, and which mightonly be known after that
man has spoken. Each man who becomes aware of
himself as a separate existence shares this solitude;
each man has had an experience, momentary or pro-
longed, of the meaning of being alone. I do not mean
loneliness or any similar illness of certain self-import-
ant natures. I am speaking of the experience pro-
ceeding from the depths of one's being, of existing.


It is a moment marked by silence. ibidd., p. 330]
Given a universe of alienated people. art naturally be-
comes the product of'the disinherited mind, the ex-
pression of private tensions after the descent into
private silence. The artist's task then becoines one of
rescuing experience from the turbulence within, and
investing it with verbal shape.
But Lamming is equally concerned with what
happens when the artist ascends from the recesses of
self to "the world in which he moves among other
men". If his ascent is successful then art becomes an
intersection of the private with the public, a marriage
of the surreal with the concrete and the quotidian,
and a blend of the unconscious with the conscious.
Each artist works out for himself what is to constitute
the relationship between these complementary poles
of his experience.
In Lamming both exist, and yet they remain
curiously separate. There are the vast public themes
of history and politics and national possibility on the
one hand, and the private desolation which seems to
overtake most of his. people, even, or moreso the
committed, on the other. Private desolation, the
inability of the individual (especially the leader of
men) to transcen the barriers which separate him
from others and even from himself, often leads to
despair, madness and ultimately to suicide.
It was Brathwaite who in his 1960 essay, "The
New West Indian Novelists", pointed out the growing
atmosphere of solipsism and silence in which Lan-
ming's people were moving; the breakdown of con-


of Derek

says Gordo

versation and communion, which he interpreted as a
symptom of the failure of Lamming the artist to make
the necessary journey back from psyche to society:
As Lamming's work goes forward, we come to
understand that the title of that first book [i.e. IN
THE CASTLE OF MY SKIN] is not a signature of
colour, but a symbol of personal isolation. Standing
alone in his isolation, the individual, Lamming says in
THE EMIGRANTS is unable to communicate with
his fellow man. The harder he tries, the more com-
pletely is he misunderstood. Misunderstanding is the
[Brathwaite, E., "The New West Indian Novel-
ists", Part II, Bim Vol. 8, (Jan-June 1961) No 32,
p. 273].
Lamming, according to Brathwaite, was arriv-
ing at "the logical conclusion to the journey of the
self-regarding mind", ibidd. p. 274]. The sense of
alienation has intensified in later Lamming, as the
metropole ceases to provide the spiritual sustenance
necessary for the artist. In Water with Berries a group
of West Indian artists try to erect a frail sense of
community against the incursions of London's grey
wilderness, a crippling poverty, and the sense of their
own irrelevance both ,to-the islands they have left
behind and the wilderness of their adoption. Each
artist desperately needs the other, though each is
locked in on himself. Teeton is the only one who has
a personal and political commitment to the future of
the island where he once failed. But this is a commit
ment which he is destined never to fulfil.


What I am interested in here are the images of
disaster and failure, of death by violence, fire, and
suicide. Is suicide a result of a loss of commitment, or
a loss of contact with community of a solipsist
approach to art and life, or the original barbarity of
life in the West Indies? Or is it the ultimate result of
the shattering of any illusion that life elsewhere has a
special fineness which it lacks in the West Indies; that
psychic integrity may be won without grounded
[For a discussion of the theme of suicide in W.I.
Literature see John Thieme. "A Style of Dying",
The Sunday Chronicle (May 5, 1974) Guyana, p. 7.]
Brathwaite, in most of his essays from 1957
to the present and in his own poetry, has sought to
define the nature of the relationship between the artist
and society in terms other than that of Renaissance
Romantic/ Existentialist theoretics. He summarises the
issues quite well in a 1971 essay entitled "Art and
For a long time now, we have been accustomed to
see 'the artist' as a lonely, talented individual (Keats,
Shelley, Mozart, Kafka), more or less alienated from
his society (Gaugin, Von Gohg, Dostoevsky). A man,
in a sense, who was wiser than his society and who was
misunderstood, even hated, because of this. A man,
too, who was compelled to be an artist, whateverthe
pain, disease, circumstances (Charlie Parker); who
needed painft, pen, piano, not money: who 'could -
and did starve in the garret. Then there was the
picture of the exiled artist (Joyce. Rimbaud, George
Lamming, Naipaul), who for a multitude of socio-
cultural and socio-economic and/or political reasons
and pressures could not exist within his own society.
[Brathwaite, E., "Art and Society; Kape; A
Context", Jamaican Folk Art, Institute of Jamaica,
1971, p. 4].
Brathwaite regards these ways of looking at the
artist as being intimately linked with "a way of seeing
that conceives of society as a community of the elite;

Ld~B~ ~c~pS~ ~cl~ri~C~E~s~

I I ~L ~s I I ~ a I L I I I

- 16, 1974


1971) continues...





inheritors of a Great Tradition". The artist thus has
to be "elaborately and expensively trained in the
graces of the inheritance". Art becomes a "very
learned and self-conscious procedure", and the artist
eventually becomes, in the words of one "under-
ground" poet, "an academic talking to academics".
Brathwaite then goes on to suggest alternative
ways to seeing both society and the-artist, and to
suggest the possibility of a diffePat relationship be-
tween them. Using Kapo, a Jamaican sculptor, painter
and cult-leader as his example, Brathwaite writes:

But there is another way of looking at the artist and
at society; and this is a view which begins by looking
upon society as made up of elite and the masses (the
people or folk); in according them an equality of
consideration, an equilibrium of attention. Within
this more balanced framework, priest, politicians,
-judge, critic, artist, inhabit the fulcrum of our
consciousness, mediating that gap and gulf between
the one and the other, creating a continuum between
elite and folk, requirement of a healthy society,
ibidd., p 5]
The artist here becomes not isolate but mo-
Sderator, mediator, and medium, bridging the gap be-
tween psyche and society, and between the elite and
the folk. He becomes "both participant and director.
shepherd and servant," whose aim is to render equal
justice to the visible and the interior universes, to
explore both individual and social tensions. He be-
comes preoccupied not only with descent into pri
vate silence, but with the journey back fron-
"eternity to season" (Wilson Harris), from the secret
chaotic forest of the heartland's unconscious of the
"domesticity and lights" of conscious waking life and
There is a third type of writer who sees his role
as being purely social, and whose writing grows out of
direct, and often disastrous contactwith politics. He
generally aims at immediacy, the poet becoming
both priest and politician, the audience congregation
and brotherhood. Poets such as Winston Daniel
(Lasana Kewesi) Giving Back to my People and
Abdul Malik (Delano De Coteau) Black Up, both
products of NJAC and 1970 fall into this category.
So did the early Martin Carter, who used to recite his
poems at street corners in the early 1950's.


According to Brown, such naked encounter
with politics leads only to frenzied polemic. But that
will depend on the poet, on how deeply he realises
that every experience needs to be given shape; on
how conscious he is of the existence of working
models in the Oral Tradition throughout the region.
Malik, for example, makes brilliant use of Shouter-
Baptist sermon technique and rhythm and imagery
derived from the steelband, in his "Pan-Run" poems
and is at present working on new ways of exploring
antiphonal- call-and-response patterns fundamental
to the Oral Tradition. He works as hard at shaping his
poems, and has as exact a notion of how they are
supposed to sound (which one cannot predict until
one hears the man read his work) as Brown has of his
work. He also aware of the shortcomings of
rhetoric and of the necessity for form. No one can
predict what will emerge from his experiments.
Brown, however, can See only the limitations of
this sort of writing. He regards commitment to a
cause as dangerous to the poet, since such commit-
ment may lead to the falsification of ruth, and pre-
vent the poet from making that all too necessary en-
counter with self. While Brown does not completely

dismiss history, political science and economics, he
nevertheless finds the iypes of reality they offer to be
extremely limited. In his poems, he says, he tries to
deal with something more basic, primal and instinctual,
something fundamental to human response and be-
haviour. All writing, in order to exist for Brown, must
contain this honesty of encounter. Even his own
prose pieces which are mainly literary criticism, fill
him with disgust soon after he has written them, be-
cause they are evasion of inner truth, a kind of lying.
He doesn't feel that way, however, about his poems.
[Brown, W., "The Century of Exile", op. cit. pp. 40
It may be also that other people's prose, es-
pecially when it can come to no real terms with
Brown's poetry, fills him with an even greater
disgust than his own. In his opinion, far worse than
the poet whose work is directly related to politics
must be the critic who ventures to relate aesthetics'
society. Such a person Brown calls and. here he at
least creates his own expletive a diarist, Hence, in
reproaching Lowhar and me for our eulogies on Eric
Roach, he declares:
DIARIST, there are matters
best left to these birds and the sand's blowing.
Walk softly here

M 0

The "diarist" in this context, is a kind of newspaper
reporter insensitively jotting down his notes on each
personal tragedy a dead, unfeeling man whose aim
is to excite a public hungry for scandal as an antidote
to the boredom of their lives. He is the opposite of
the suffering, silent, alienated poet, (Roach, Brown)
and the ally of the public (bad) poet bawling for
"bloodbath". Both the gutter-journalist and the poet-
politician trade on the automatic stock-response of
the mob, and are thus the servitors of decay (carrion).
It is these people who murder the impulse to true
statement in theCaribbean, as typified by Eric Roach.
I hope that I am not doing Brown an injustice
by attributing too great a dimension of meaning to his
lines. If, however, my interpretation is accurate, then
my next problem is where did Brown get the idea that
I, who once saw my own city disintegrate, (George-
town, 1962-1964), am possessed ofa vampiric lust for
bloodbath? The answer must be sought once more in
the debate over Savacou 3/4, Mr. Roach had singled
out Bongo Jerry's "Sooner or Later" and "Mabrak"
as examples of the worst things the anthology had
to offer. Both Roger Mc Tair and I had pointed out
that the poems related to the vocabulary, sermons,
music and symbolism of the Rastafari bretheren,
and that their failure or success should be determined
in relation to this fact.
It may well be that Brown identified me as
sharing inJerry's beliefs in the Apocalypse and
Black redemption, simply because I had stressed as a
first principle of criticism an understanding of the
context of what one intends to criticize. The notion
that those who opposed Mr. Roach in the Savacou
debate need to satisfy their quite ordinary lusts with
blood may have come to Brown from a mis-reading
of two lines of "Mabrak".

for the white world must come to blood bath
and blood bath is as far as the white world can reach.
Brown evidently has taken these words as an expres-
sion of the conventional desire among Black People
to see the destruction of the "white oppressors".
While this meaning is no doubt present, it is not what
Jerry is stressing in the poem. I take these lines to

" I C I -C i, Il r ~sa ~"

mean that the white world will inevitably destroy
itself "come to blood bath") and will then be un-
able to transient such self-destruction.
In England during the rid-sixties, most of the'
caimpaigners against nuclear weapons probably be-
lieved the same thing. They saw themselves as being
engaged in a struggle to save the white world from
itself. Bongo Jerry chooses the Rastafarian way the
way which requires first, the disentanglement of the
Blacks from the lunatic perversities of Western civil-
isation; secondly, a grounding of self in roots and
rhythms, sights and sounds; and thirdly, a movement
away from the egotism and alienation implied in "I"
towards the acknowledgement of an identification
Interestingly enough, Brown himself senses the
need for such roots as protection against the cerebral
loneliness of Western intellectualism. Commenting on
the growing loneliness and coldness of Naipaul, Brown
I think this kind of alienation is a peculiarly Western
invention (if one can no',, generalize about the
Western World), and perhaps it's the corollary of
conquest: the notion of man as the usbjugator of
nature. Now, there are certain things going on in the
world today that are swinging the philosophical foun-
dations back towards the sort of position I have been
maintaining. Sciences like ecology and anthropology
are all working in the direction of highlighting our
inter-connectedness with the planet and its non-
human life.
Which, of course, ought to direct Brown towards
Carpentier, Mittelholzer, Harris (from whom he
derives the idea in the first place) and Brathwaite,
(who was making this same point since 1957); as well
as towards Afro-Caribbean and Indo-Caribbean reli-
gions with their secretions of mythology, and towards
the grounded sensibility which the Rastafarians have
been talking about for decades now. There are many
imore ways of illustrating the inter-connectedness of
life iian exploring the imagery of the sea-scape,'.;i-.:.h
D-owni. a poetic skin-diver, combs for his images.

In his own way, Bongo Jerry is on a quest fo a
different and more inter-connected life. "Mabr-k"
is a protest against cerebralisation of the word. Mabrak
is defined as .1.. lightning", a strange concept in a
world which has for so long denied the possibility of
light coming out of darkness. It is the Black world's
rediscovery of its vision. Mabrak is a retreat from am-
biguity, word games, "'l,.lng behind language bar"
and "crossword speaking when expressing feeling".
It requires a quality which Brown claims to value
highly inner honesty, a "straightening" of the
tongue, an abandoning of:
delusion, name changing, word rearranging
ringing rings of roses, pocket fill of poses.
a reclaiming and re-creation of "sight, sounds and
meaning to measure the feeling of Black hearts -
Here Jerry's desire to disentangle- the Black
psyche from the cerebral distortion of psyche which
Brown describes as a "peculiarly Western invention",
is most evident. The urge towards cultural separatism
is much stronger than any desire for revenge. Although
the poet ends up by praying for the destruction of
"Babylon" and the desolation of "Jezebel", these
words should be seen as carrying the same metaphor-
ical weight as they did for Milton, Bunyan and the
Puritan millenarists. "Babylon" is a portmanteau
word which conveys the notion of an urifair system
of distribution; commercialism, and the subjection
of human value to market value. "Jezebel" represents
the whoredom of sensibility which is the inevitable
result of the presence of Babylon. Brown himself
would probably like to see the end of such things.
So much, then, for carnage. Brown's other great
point was that Roach 'was cast out by the younger
breed with their "shrill caws of treachery". Now, it is
quite true that in a general sense youth in Trinidad
have been rejecting the senior generation, and that
there is a dreadful lack of continuity between genera-
tions. This is an illness which I observed for myself
soon after I arrived in Trinidad in 1968, and whic: I1
tried to identify in my very first article entitled "T he
Generation Gap" and published in Moko No. 2
(Nov. 15, 1968). 1 have,in one way or another wr iien
a fair amount about it since. But it is not true that
Roach the individual was singled out for any special
rejection by the younger generation. His dissilluion-
ment with public affairs dated much further back.
His private despair which is probably more relevant to
any discussion on his death, is something that he kept
well hidden.
If his poems are any clue, his "public" pain
started when the Federation collapsed in the early
sixties. He resigned as a PNM journalist, losing his
faith in the 1956 movement. This happened around
the same that time C. L. R. James was forced to return
to metropolitan exile. Both within the-P,irvy an
throughout the Archipelago whose fusion Roach had

Continued on Page o

I d i bE~I~JI

SUNDAY JUNE 16, 1974

The Savacou debate

A start on the way

towards his own sound?

From Page 7

dreamed ("I Am the Archipelago" and "Fuge tbi
Federation",) schism reigned. Wlh.: Brown, quoting
Roach, writes:-

Love overgrows a rock
hl- not a raftload of schli''"-

even a slight knowlce. .. the poliicis lie condemn
snouia have taught him that ioda;i'sscuhsmin are tlhe
results of yesterday's failures. Roach. who had been
teaching primary school in -ural Tobago when lie was
asked by the Party to write' for them, was right there
in 1961 when the people learned the new mathe-
matics of division ''one from ten leaves none"
Roach's rage was more against the .failure of his
generation than against the confusions of ours.

I. I

Nor was he outlawed by a younger generation
crying "Treason". On the contrary, those who did
recognize him at all, regarded him as being more com-
mitted than Brown to changing his world. He used to
attend meetings of the short-lived "Pivot" which grew
out of the New World movement sometime in mid-
1968. A group of the younger members of New'
World became tired of the economic/political line of
the parent group, wnich had recently emerged from
the Carifta debates and publ meetingss. They decided
to form a group which would place more emphasis on
literature ani cultural forms in general.
Pivot inculded Dion, Colleen, and Roger Mc
Tair, Lloyd Taylor, Victor Questel, Syl Lowhar.
Alfie" Fraser, Dave Murray. Dave Darbeau, myself and
occasionally Anson Gonzalez. Looking back at Pivot's
cvclostvled news-letters. I realized how innocent those
times were gentle debates on Art and Morality;
lectures on Drug Abuse, Naipaul and Sparrow; vague
ill-researched articles on the negritude poett, the state
of the nation, and the relevance, if any, of Black
Power to the Caribbean. We were little different from
a 1930 or 1940 debating club. Even those characters
whom I now know to have been police or political
informers wore an aura of benignity in those amiable
Sunday morning meetings in the old wooden building
rented by New World which stood opposite Lord
Harris Square until someone burned it flat in
November 1968.

The current of politics from the Rodney Affair
of October 1969 to the Bus Workers' Strike of 1969,
caught many of the youths in its tide. It was their
;emu. ),rbeau, Murray and Fraser were swept up, the
jaz7. reggae and kaiso sessions ending. They became
foundation members of NJAC in 1969, and Murray
and Fraser edited the UWI campus newspaper,
Embryo during the Academic year 1969/70. Taylor
and Lowhar helped form Tapia after the New World
split late in 1968. Questel and Gonzalez were to
become the best and most stimulating editors of
Embryo in the crucial 1970/71 period. I became co-
editor of the first 18 issues of Moko, whose first
phase of publication ended on July 4, 1969.
Pivot could-not survive the remu, though it
continued to arrange pubW: poetry-reading sessions
in 1969, and the Pivot idea persisted well into 1971.
Earl Lovelace, a good reader of his own work. partici-
pated in some of oui programmes,and tested his new
and still unpublished novel, Every Step is a Station,
before appreciative audiences. Many of Qucstel's
poems were first heard at Pivot sessions. Alfic Fraser's
exceedingly abstract yci strangely compelling utter-
ances.- Roger Mc Tair's blues, stood chcck-by-jowl
with Cliff Sealey's short stories, and. iin one reading
at Ile Puhli- I.ihrary. wilh Marguerite Wykc's poems.
and Bairncy Raiioi-loi inec's short stories. The
p)coipll,' who haidl h.cen riding in Seailcy' Voices inl
Ithc miil-ixlics wecre :'iinllin, wihvi Ithe youngerlll voices
I'roilI Pivoil.ail they sp;iiii d nearly Ihrec .' iiie: ii ns.
I wv, n. otl il ;11 hi hinw lit'. ic 'roilp v v as Irail ;nd

inconsistent; but it did exist for a short while.
Kouch generally contributed from the floor at
Pivot Sunday morning sessions. Only once did- he
read, and that was at a programme 1 arranged at Tapia
House on Sunday August 29, 1971. By that time the
House had become an open forum for this sort of
thing. Since 1970 we had started blending poetry
with related music, and by 1971 a number of us were
aware of the unity of perception which existed
among our musicians, singers, poets and raconteurs.
Nowadays, after Ken Corsbie's and Marc Mat-
thews "Dem Two" and Waicott's dramatisation of
Brathwaite's "Wings of a Dove" and "The Dust",
the idea of performed poetry is rapidly gaining
currency. The gap between the short story, the one-
act play, dramatic monologue and the oratorical
poem, is closing. Again, this was anticipated by
Walcott's Theatre Workshop. which dramatised Sam
Selvon's short stories (ballads and episodes) in 1969.
But it was also anticipated by Kissoon's popular


Roach gone, the carrion
who drove him, hurt hawk, from the echoing air
with their hunger for blootlbath, their shirll caws
of treachery,
shriek with excitement
Dead, and to them he is Hero.
Carrion like them dead.

But if or for how long, he tread
that narrowing have, observing
the sheer light of those first words fail
in their fustian heaven,

Nobody knows,
or will, Iow.
Love overgrows a rock,
but not a raftload of schisms.

At Quinam Bay, when the tide goes,
the ocean upholds itself
still, without contradiction -
And it is the sky thct shatters.

Diarist, there are matters
best left to these birds and the sand's blowing
Walk softly here.

And do not talk of the hawk on the air,
or of the plankton's release from its drifting.
Spare him the folk he could not save.
Leave out the landscape he loved
However green the shoreline,
however blue the sky,
force down he came to the beach

But rest him, in cadence unadorned
as bread, there, where the ocean fed
him back to the shore he turned from;

Not free, free at last, Carrion,
but locked
in his tiring dream of destruction

Within his head full ofsalt,
his lost craft,

nothing, his destination.


Published in TAPIA, May 26, 1974

soap-opera type plays which were taken to the people,
by all those excellent variety concerts in S,.n
Fernando, which are generally ignored by the ;Press
and by the vast all-day NJAC rallies, which bring a
variety of talent to the stage and provide them with
one of the most serious of audiences in Trinidad.
The Kairi group, the latest descendant of the
Pivot idea, have brought together a team of amateur
writers and singers who call themselves "ISWE", and
have successfully dramatised their first programme,
"Tanti Go See We". Questel is the only survivor of
Pivot in Kairi, but "ISWE" can be seen as an exten-
sion of the 1968 idea. "ISWE", like "DEM TWO"
have chosen poems from all over the region, and
have seriously tried to study the style of each island.
The poet as an academic speaking to academics is
being asked to share the stage with the older figure of
the poet as a man talking to men, or as people talking
to people. In our islands, communal catharsis has
always been as important as individual.silence.
In looking back over all those meetings and
readings, it seems to me that collectively, the people
I have been naming have done more to rehabilitate,
not only Roach, but Carter (whom I included on the
W.I. literature syllabus at UWI from the very first
time that we did the course here), Louise Bennett,
Sam Selvon, Don Drummond (who was unnkown in
Trinidad until we introduced rmm on tne radio, at
readings ana at liming sessions); the forgotten work
.ot countless calypsonians; and established figures
such as Walcott, Naipual and Brathwaite. Members of
the French Department at St. Augustine introduced
some of the writers from the French-Speaking Carib-
bean on the air in 1970. Lloyd King has been writing
regularly in Tapia on Spanish Caribbean and Latin
American literature. Anson Gonzalez has done several
radio programmes on the background to Trinidad
writing, and earlier this year organized a seminar in
Tobago, in which special focus was placed on Eric
Roach and Harold Telemaque. Victor Questel is
emerging as a sensitive reviewer of current and new
writing; Denis Solomon is a regular reviewer of plays.


Our work hfs been to integrate, not to separate.
When we chastise each other, it has generally been for
the good of the group, not for the sake of promoting
schism. For example, I was able to have a long dis-
cussion with Eric Roach after my 1971 article, in
which we exchanged points of view, and when I did a
26-week radio series in 1973 on the calypso From
Attila to the Seventies, Roach, an established com-
mentator on the Calypso was one of the first to tell
me that the programme had enabled him to see
trends in the society, and in the shifts of style,
humour and serious commentary which he had never
noted before. Our work of rehabilitation is slow and
arduous. Cheryl Williams who wrote the long essay
on Roach (Tapia, Vol. 4, Nos. 17 & 18. Apr. 28 &
May 5, 1974) copied out in longhand what became
60 type-written pages of Roach's poems from the
Central Library's collection of Bim. She did not
intend in doing so to pay respects to a dead man,
though Brown's poem seems to suggest this.
Contrast, however, her painstaking effort with
Brown's treatment of Roach in his series of articles
entitled "West Indian Poetry of the Forties", which
were published in the Trinidad Guardian during
October 1970. Brown wrote:-
And finally, and perhaps most importantly, the poor
mann, the underdog, becomes in many of the poems of
this period, the new hero, The peasant, who had almost
never appeared in \est Indian poetry prior to this, is
now the focus of Cecil Herbert's "Lines Written on a
Train"; of Roger Mais' "Road Menders"; of George
(ampbell's "History Makers"; of Eric Roach's "Home-
stead". which contained one of the simplest and finest
lines of the period: "His life was unadorned as
bread" and a host of other poems.
That and no more Irom Brown who considers us
"carrion": Iroi thlis deficient diarist whose home-
work on the period was clearly confined to the poems

Continued on Page 11


SUNDAY JUNE 16, 1974








SO FAR THE discussion
on constitutional possi-
bilities has missed the
central point which is that
the current (1971) Par-
liament is illegitimate.
That is to say, while the
Parliament was legally
elected, it lacks the moral
authority to bind the citi-
zens to obedience to its
- The IRA is only the most
obvious of the casualties. There
are others of infinitely greater
constitutional importance.
And there may be more which,
economically, we can ill af-
ford. Certainly the radical le-
gislation required now to
bring national control of our
oil resources is something we -
dare not monkey with; and it
is a fact that .at least since
1970, the unrepresentative-
ness of Parliament as well as
the weakness of the Govern-
ment has been a maddening
handicap in our dealings with
the giant corporations.
We do lack a legitimate.
Parliament and that is the
most striking outward sign of
the enduring constitutional
crisis. It could be a very
costly error if we obstinately
refused to acknowledge this
revolutionary consideration
which could have been dis-
cerned since October 1969


and which by May of 1971
became clear for all to see.
Parliament is supposed to
be that assembly-wherever or
whenever it may be which
brings together the political
representatives of the people
to inform the business of go-
vernment. The constitutional
crisis persists because, after
the 1971 election failed to
produce a valid Parliament,
there has been no way open
to us short of constitu-
tional reform by which to
convene a representative as-
sembly acceptable to the na-
tion as a whole.
Before 1971 perhaps
as early as 1971 Parliament
was already unrepresentative
of the country's political align-
ments. By 1966, neither the
Government nor the Opposi-
tion- nor even both together
- spoke for the wishes of the
people. Both voter registra-
tion and voting by registered
voters began ominously to
fall off. Voter participation
fell 25% between 1961 and
1966 from 88 to 66%.
More revealing perhaps was
the, erasure of every comma

in the ISA, in the turbulent
years immediately following
Still, as late as 1970, most
people saw the decline of
Parliament as merely an acute
political, problem. The large
majority still cherished the
false hope that an election
would have restored just and
effective representation. It
took the election of May 1971
finally to shatter'those golden
illusions, to usher in the age
of acknowledged. constitu-
tional crisis and to point to
those fundamental reforms of
the State machinery which
Tapia first anticipated and
demanded as eariy as Novem-
ber 1969.


When the large majorii\
of law-abiding citizens took
the extraordinary step of boy-
cotting the 1971 election, it
was because the electoral sys-
tem, like Parliament, had
lost the legitimacy it formerly
enjoyed. The result is that
we have been stripped of all
possibility of convening a

House of Representatives by
the rules now on the books.
Before we can hold an elec-
tion we must first settle the
question of proportional re-
presentation; of voting ma-
chines, the voting age, the
adequacy of registration; the
electoral boundaries, the ar-
rangements for supervision of
thepoll; the access to radio
and television by the forces
of opposition.


This means that while the
most important step must be
to convene a representative
and valid Parliament by hold-
ing a fresh election, the more
urgent requirement is electoral
reform. However, in the ab-
sence of a valid Parliament,
electoral reform demands a-
simultaneous constitutional
There seem to be two
possible ways out of this con-
stitutional impasse. The one is
military, the other political.
Both have been strong candi-
dates ever since April 1970.
The extra-parliamentary
street demonstrations by poli-
tical opposition were coun-
tered not by an election but
by a State of Emergency fol-
lowed by Public Order legisla-
tion and the rise of the armed
police. This attempt at a mili-
tary solution was to remain
popular until the bloody exL
cesses late 1973 brought
us rudely to our senses.


In the midst of this State
of Nature. Tapia has been the
lone -voice calling for the un
conventional politics of free
discussion, sadly alien to our
violent and now-for:now poli.
tical culture. We first called
for a Coiistittient Assembly
and for National Reconstruc-
tion on March 19 1970 and
we have been consistently'call-
ing for it ever since. We have
insisted on it in tnc tace o'
the manipulative convention
politics of provoking street
confrontation as a prelude to
participatIion in hli next elec-
tion contest.

THE Petroleum Staff As-
sociation has called for
"radical new approaches",
and has called upon every
member to become "in-
volved in the shaping and
carrying out of the new
The call was made in the
most recent issue of the Asso-
ciations quarterly newsletter.
The Association admitted
that their-record thus far "is
not a proud one", and that
" members are entitled to ex-
pect more".
The newsletter listed three
main reasons why radical new
approaches are called for. In
the first place it indicated
that "the present prospects
of meaningful and productive
discussions being opened with
Texaco are negligible under
existing circuist ances".
Further than this the As-

soc;ation feels that they have
been deadlocked too long on
their demand to be recognized
as the bargaining unit for the
monthly salaried employees
of Texaco.
The Association now, feels
that the time has come to
move beyond the question of
recognition and that the main
issues are now more pay and
better conditions.
The newsletter did not
specify what these radical
new tactics were but iii
another article in the news-
letter entitled "UNITY -IS
STRENGTI the Association
makes the point that "there
would be no continuation of
operations without monthly,
weekly or daily paid employ-
ees and the prospect of con-
certed action is the one cir-
cumstance which really frigh-
tens the company".

The article goes on to
claim that two and a half
years ago, the "senior staff
collectively made fools of
themselves". This was at the'
time of a strike by -weekly
and daily paid employees, who
are represented by the power-
ful and progressive OWTU.
On that occasion, the ijr-
ticle claims that Company
used the monthly paid staff
as strikebreakers by paying
bonuses to those who had
helped to keep the refinery
In addition, it-is claimed
tihe Company has always tried
to encourage divisions within
the work force as a way of
weakening the voice of la-
bour. For tills purpose it ias
been freely distributing the
status ot "managerial emplo-
yee" to iis monthly paid

ine significance of the
present constitutional discus-
sion is tHat it has now,become
clear to' all the -world what
unconventional politics really
is; and that the summoning of
a Constituent Assembly of the
Citizenry is the most peace-
able of all the genuine and
valid options.
A Constituent Assembly
is simlIly a temporary Parlia-
ment convened for the speci-
fic purpose of making rules
for a more permanent system
of political representation.
Such an assembly becomes a
political necessity whenever
the old State breaks down
and a new one must be erected
in its place. This remains true
whether the change has been
brought by war or whether, as
in our case, so far, the change
has been wrought in peace.
In either case, there comes
that crucial moment when
the people must come together
and settle the social contract
by which they. will thence-
forth consent to be governed.
The .alternative is another
totalitarian arrangement ofthe
1962 Queen's-Hall variety
where an irrelevant and un-
workable Constitution is im-
posed on the people from


A Constituent Assembly
is not to be confused with a
National Consultation. Con-
sultation is a device open only
to a valid Executive (Cabinet),
deriving authority from a legi-
timate and valid Parliament.
Legally, the current Govern-
ment is of course entitled to
consult. Morally and there-
fore politically, such consulta-
tion on the constitution ques-
tion would have no signifi-
cance whatsoever. It is clear
that this Parliament is being
permitted to govern by the
country only in matters of a
routine administrative kind.
If the Government does not
believe so, it will put it to
the test at its peril.
When there is a consutu-
tional crisis, the ultimate issue
is the issue of sovereignty
which poses the basic ques-
tion: who, finally, is in charge
of the State? Is it the Queen,
the Prime Minister and their
Cabinet? Or is it the little
people in their preponderat-
.ing numbers, represented by
their political parties and
If sovereignty is the issue,
there can be no question of
the people assembling to give
advice to an Executive that
has sp dissipated the trust of
the people and so mis-managed
the affairs of the nation as to
have brought Parliament and
the State machinery into a
total disrepute. Any attempt
at such a phony consultation
will draw no response from
significant political forces and
the result will simply be
another Industrial Relations
Act with more damaging con-
sequences by far.-
The Constituent Assembly
mds't simply be a Conference
of Citizens where every poli-
tical voice is equal, no less
and no movie than the voice of
th; ucling party. The only con-
ceivable decision-making body
must be an Executive Com-
mittee legitimate and vali-
dated by the actual work of

* Continued on Back Page

Petroleum staff body

calls for radical move


SUNDAY JUNE 16, 1974

The slickest

con of them all

SEVEN Academy awards
have proclaimed The
Sting, the movie of 1974,
and many of us will agree
that it probably deserves
that honour. After all,
the movie is innovative
and certainly a work of
art; in fact, it is presented
asaseries of titled episodes
of moving pictures which
may be likened to the
chapters of- a novel. The
Stingis brilliantly directed;
Paul Newman, Robert
Redford and Robert Shaw
are extremely convincing
in their respective roles,
and, though the plot is
simple, its execution is
slick and there is a good
deal of suspense generated
largely by the withholding
of information, as well as
a surprise ending. More-
over, we, the audience
leave the cinema thorough-
ly satisfied that the nice,
funny, brainy, slick guys
have won they -have-
beaten the big, bad, hu-
morless mafia boss.
All is not so well with the
movie, however. A close
examination will reveal that
it is too slick, so slick that, by
the end of the movie, the
audience has been completely
taken in to the extent that it
overlooks the essential dis-
honesty- and unchecked im-
morality that is so important
to the success of the movie.


What is most impressive
in The Sting is the slick execu-
tion of plot. The plot itself is
simple. Redford wants revenge
on Shaw, the mafia boss, be-
cause he has killed his friend.
In order to do this, he
(Redford) approaches Paul
Newman (who is also a friend
of the dead man) with the
idea, and the two of them
begin to work out ways and
means. Newman is the planner
and he decides that it is
necessary to organize.
The kind of organization
he sets up to conquer Shaw,
however, is nothing short of
incredible. Newman succeeds
in getting the best con-artists
in the country together and
plans his moves one by one in
order to trap Shaw into playing.
his losing hand.
Shaw's weakness is gambl-
ing and Newman intends to
take him through gambling -
for half a million dollars. In
the end, Shaw is taken -
beaten without hope of re-
covery and the movie ends;
and the audience is pleased,
very pleased.
The problem is, that the
movie is-just too damn slick.
Everything is clockwork.
It is just too easy, this
movie! Many of the plans in-
volve-complex problems such
as setting up a phony F.B.I.

office, complete with staff and
equipment, and, setting up a
phony racing pool with phony
races and results, where, it
never occurred to Shaw, por-
trayed throughout the movie
as a perceptive and cunning
individual, that the clientelle
was always the same no matter
what day or time he came in
to place his bets.


My argument is, that it is
superficial to see the plot as
slick. On close examination,
one finds, that it is unreason-
able to expect any -thinking
person to take the plot
Perhaps, that is why The
Sting gets away with so much.
The audience despite the mo-
ments of suspense, never
really takes the movie
seriously. The movie has to
be taken seriously though,
since it is, at once, dishonest
and immoral and the audience,
in spite of this, finds it easy to
digest. It is dishonest in the
way-it uses black people in
order to provide a noble mo-
tive for Redford's revenge and
it is immoral to the extent
that it stresses the idea of
winning above and beyond
everything else.
The Sting begins with a
"con" and ends with the "big
con". The movie is about
con-games and con-artists, and
the bulk of the story centres
around the struggle between
Newman and Shaw to "con"
each other. This is the "big
con" because each one intends
to destroy the other com-
The whole thing, then,
can be percieved as a deadly
game and, in fact, the charac-
ters are introduced to the
audience as "the players".
Right down to the end, the
plot involves a series of moves
and counter-moves on the
part of Newman,-assisted by.
Redford and others on one

side, and Shaw and his hoods
on the other.


It is a tradition in this
type of movie, in which one
group is pitted against another,
that the relationship be es-
tablished such that one group
representing among other
things law, order, the right,
morality etc. good, triumphs
bver the other, usually de-
picted as lawless, seeking to
destroy institutions, property
etc. without morals, bad.
It is from this tradition
that the western and the de-
tective movie comes; the good
guys always win and the bad
guys always lose -- a straight
case of black and white (as
these colours have been tra-
ditionally used to denote evil
and good respectively).
The Sling follows in llhis
tiadition bhut it is nmoue a

situation of black and grey
and very dark grey at that. For
Newman is and was a criminal
and the movie does not deny
this, nor does it deny that his
organization will have to in-
dulge in illegal activities to
achieve their goal.
There is nothing really
wrong with this since it could
be seen as a case of fighting
fire with fire. What I detest
however is the attempt in the
movie to make us think, that
in spite of everything that we
know, Newman, Redford and
friends are in fact "good guys";
and this is where race is
hypo,;itically used to advant-
age in the movie.
How does Redford be-
come a good guy? Because he
is upset over the death of his
black friend and is seeking to
avenge his death. Why is New-
man a good guy? Because he
knew the black man and
thought he was a fine fellow
and would therefore, also like
to avenge his murder.


It should be noted here,
that, throughout the movie,
after the big game begins, the
black man's murder is for-
gotten and, the game becomes
a battle for power and supre-
macy.If the movie had dealt
only with the struggle between
Newman and Shaw, it would
have still been a good movie.
But the black man's murder is
strategically used to provide
a righteous "cause" and a
noble motive for Redford and
Newman. This is what 1 con-
sider dishonest.
I find it hard to believe
that any white man in Chicago
(and in this case there are
several white men) in the
1930's would be that upset
over what he would consider
"a goddam ni3er".To use the
black man in this way to lend
righteousness to Redford's
revenge and nobility to his
motives is nothing short of




hypocrisy and outright dis-
honesty. Later on in the mvoie
when the game is in full swing
and the black man has been
completely forgotten, the
ghost of the dead man is con-
jured up again when Redford
decides to betray Newman,
who has been a big brother to
him,ever since they met,rathet
than let a black woman go to
prison. We learn later, of
course, thatthis is part of the


But that does not matter,
since at the point in r the
movie when we see it, we are
supposed to be sympathetic
to Redford and recognize his
nobility of character and his
commitment to his black
friends. This is nothing- but
sentimental slop. And I'm
pretty sure that black ameri-
cans who have seen the movie,
share my view..
But I suppose this kind of
thing would be very palatable
to the guilt-ridden consciences
ofcontemporary white middle-
class America. And perhaps.
because of our remoteness
from the black american ex-
perience and in many ways,
ignorant of the historical dis-
tortion winch the movie pre-
sents as fictional fact, some of
us are willing to accept it too.
Don't get me wrong. I am
not saying that the black/
white relationship portrayed
in the movie is an impossibili-
ty. What I am saying is that I
find it hard to believe that.
such a relationship could exist
ior so many, in Chicago in
the 1930's.
In addition to being dis-
honest the film is devoid of
any moral considerations. In
The Sting the most important
consideration is winning, no-
thing else matters. In this big
game that is being played, it is
not how you play the game
that counts but whether you
win or lose. It may be argued


that il lthe dog-Cat-dog, totally
corrupt, imalia-co strolled so-
ciety that is depicted in the
movie, one cannot expect mo-
ral considerations to be sign
can tly important.
1 would agree, with this
aiguement except for the fact
that (1) the movie attempts
to portray Newmai, Redford
and the boys as "good guys"
(2) the movie tries to suggest
that they have a "cause" and
that their motive is justified
(3) the movie attempts to
overwhelm the viewer, so
much so, that he ceases to


In the absence of these
three considerations, men-
tioned above, the situation
would merely be one which in-
volves a struggle for power
and control between rival
hoodlum organizations. In
such a case the movie would be
taken on face value and
morality would hardly come
into play at all. One of the
implications of this movie,
however, is that, in a society
in which immorality, graft
and corruption are all-perva-
sive, one is forced to play the
game andsurvival depends on
one's ability to win the game.
The only way one can
win, of course, is to out-play
the opposition, which means
being more immoral and more
corrupt, if necessary. This
seer- to me a very pessimis-
tic and severely limited view
of the world. But even this
would be all right if the
implications -of the movie
ended here: (after all, one
has to respect the artists view
of things, even if one does not
subscribe to it) but it does


In The Sting subtle dis-
honesty, and the lack of a
moral sense become easily
digestible because of the antics
of likeable con-men with
handsome faces and genial
dispositions who overwhelm
us because they are crafty
con-men and smooth opera-
tors. Some may see this as a
major coup for director George
Roy Hill. I, somehow, can't
help but feel however, that
The S-ing exudes a kind of
honeyed poison which is gent-
ly but systematically poured
down the throats of those
who leave the cinema so
thoroughly entertained.



/SPStep I en


SUNDAY JUNE 16, 1974



From Page 8

anthologised in Caribbean Quarterly, Vo 1 5, No. 3,
(1958); from this connoisseur of fine responses who,
having himself lumped Roach with other poets who
spoke of the poor folk, now commands:-
And do not talk of the hawk on the air,
or the plankton's release from its drifting.
Spare him the folk he could not save
Leave out the landscape he loved.
Brown has shifted from his 1970 ground, and is
off on a pseudo-existentialist scene. "I have no home"
while the insane pattern of repression, reaction and
revenge continues throughout the world, says Walcott
in the title poem of The Gulf and Other Poems
(1969); "I have no home", period echoes Brown in
the title poem of On the Coast (1972) three tired
years later. Walcott doffs the castaway-mask after
1965, Brown dons it in 1972.
And I am an orphaned islander,
on a sandspit of memory
in a winter
of bays. I have no home.
Homelessness is, of course, one of the persis-
tent themes of West Indian literature, and Brown is,
perhaps, predestined to travel the same road as to
many of his predecessors. The condition of exile
often brings out for six years or so, the best in a
writer. I therefore expect that Brown's poetry would
soon improve. Already his criticism has done so. His
review of Anthony Mc Neill's Reel from the Life
Movie (Savacou 6), which he calls "Lyricism and the
Anguish of the Clown", (Tapia Vol. 3, No. 13,. Apr. 1,
1973, pp. 6-7) reveals a deeper and more genuine
response than any of his poems in On the Coast I
prefer to think of him as diarist, writer of that fine
essay, than as echo.
One of his more striking points is the distinction
which he makes between responses to pain and
responses to grief in Mc Neill's work, and in the pro-
cess of making this point, he discloses a fact of which
I was unaware: that political militants fumbling
towards vision, were laying claim to the poetry of
Me Neill, one would have thought, was an eminently
bad choice for this sort of purpose. Brown, however,
offers an explanation:-

For pain contains (what the figure of the Clown also
contains) incomprehension. It is therefore accompa-
Snied by (what the Clown is helpless to will) the
rejection of itself, and what follows is anger. (While
grief, based as it is on a notion of acceptance, which
in turn arises out of a mythology of the world as
orderly, of the ,iesater Plan, is manifestly non-

Power to the People
Tapia's New World
Tapia Back Numbers
Tapia Constitution
Democracy or Oligarchy?
Reform of the Public Service
Foreign Investment In T and T
Central Banking
Non-Bank Financial Institutions
Foreign Capital in Jamaica
Post War Economic Development
of Jamaica
Underdevelopment and
Persistent Poverty
Readings in The Political Economy
of the Caribbean
Political Economy of the English
Speaking Caribbean

Out of one's perception of pain, he says, will spring
rebellion; out of one's knowledge of grief, acceptance.
Perhaps. But out of the perception of both excessive
pain and excessive grief also spring lunacy, paralysis,
doubt, despair, contempt when one has failed to con-
trol pain and grief, self-righteousness when one begins
to believe in the exclusiveness of one's suffering, and
ultimately intellectual, moral or physical suicide,
when one can see no resolution of pain or derive no
catharsis from having endured it.
Suicide rather than rebellion is the direction
in which Mc Neill's work seems to be inoving. The
image of the trapped animal and of the incipient
suicide, is even more frequent than the image of the
Brown is clearly fascinated by this suicidal
streak, though he never really places the object of
his fascination. "Who'll See Me Dive", one of the
poems which he cites as an exmaple of Mc Neill's.
exploration of pain conveys a sense of desperate
incipient suicide. Other poems where the suicide
theme recurs are "The True Gage", "Suicide's Girl-
friend" and The Compassionate Spider".
Brown glosses over this tendency with catch-
phrases the only weak point in his essay:-
If I say that Mc Neill seems to me to be the first
truly 20th Century, Western poet these islands have
produced, it is this experience of pain, the experience
of that time and that place, to which I am pointing.
(This sense of pain surfaces in Walcott's poetry see
for example "A Map of Europe" or "A Village Life;"
but he is finally rooted, and in a real landscape, while
the sense of pain in Brathwaite's trilogy,is to my
mind, more often rhetorical than enacted).
So the sense of pain is connected with an ultimate
sense of alienation; its opposite is the sense of roots
and a real landscape which Brown finds in Walcott,
not, it appears, in Brathwaite. Towards the end of the
essay Brown associates Mc Neill's poetry with the
extremist anxiety of alienation, and contemplates
that the hysterical madly sane Clown-figure will
become archetypal, and his tragi-comic mask crucially
necessary as our societies'continte to face the lunatic
music of the future.

What is fascinating about all this, though, is that
Mc Neill has penned two tributes to Brathwaite as a
lonely innovator, who hlas rejected the "goggles of
borrowed sight", and tried to use',his'own basic
material ofkaiso and reggae, "daring the sharks with a
lonely reggae" ("Spring Poem: Brown's Town", for
Edward Brathwaite, Breaklight, ed. Salkey A., p.
209) Far from glorifying "the great illusive fish-
bowl" of the Western megalopolis, far from deriving
any fulfilment from being "the first truly 20th
Century. Western poet these islands have produced",

- C.V. Gocking
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- C. Y. Thomas
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- Norman Girvan

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- ed Norman Girvan
- George Beckford

- N. Girvan & O. Jefferson

- W. Demas

$ 3.60





Me Neill, caught in his careful circle of 'cage of snow.
longs for the assurance of roots towards which
Brathwaite has worked his way in the journey from
the early placeless poems Bim 1950-1964) through
Rights of Passage, and Masks towards Islands.

Tonight, circled by snow
in a foreign country,
I praise one of the children
who stood alone,

hearing old drums
under the bam-bam bangarang,
who passed into man-
hood through the eye of the sun,
and smelted
lonely calypsoes & soul
against the long morning of English rule.
("The Children," Breaklight, p. 221)
The'"Jong morning of English rule" refers here
more to the tyranny of form, concept and tradition
than to political overlordship. Mc Neill understands
the need for bridges to be built between the privacy
of pain and a rooted sense of community, between
the artist who borrows his goggles from the alienated
West, and the other kind of artist who tries to work
among the sharks with what he finds right in his own
backyard. Brown, I believe, for all his talk about the
inter-connectedness of experience and the critique of
pure reason which he attempts in his interview with
Basil Mc Farlane, is at present fascinated with aliena-
tion, and its alternatives of desperate stoicism and

I suspect that this is why after having less than
four years ago presented Roach as a poet of the folk,
he now wants us to see Roach as a man ultimately
without context, "Spare him the folk he could not
save" -; a martyr whose life has, and whose death
will bring no redemption to the unredeemable.
Roach, dead, has become the man that Brown
now imagines himself to be, a man without-context,
in his lonely drift towards becoming the. second
twentieth-century Western poet that these islands will
have produced; locked in the suicide which is the
existentialist neo-romantic dream..
Not free, free at last. Carrion.
but locked
in his tiring dream of destruction
Within his head full of salt,
his lost craft.
nothing, his destination.
These are the best lines Brown has ever penned,
capturing as they do the tired eternal cadence of the
sea, the slack, tideless drift, the exact sensation of
one's (dead) body floating on waves. Thus Roach's
death becomes the death of Brown, poetic skin-diver.
lover of the sea, and by implication ours, a dreadful
intimation of our own drift into nothingness.
Yet even here one detects an echo of Walcott's
voice as he imagines his own movement towards

.. I wanted to grow white-haired
as the wave, with a wrinkled
brown rock's face. salted.
seemed, an old poet.
facing the wind
and not thing, which is,
the lo-.d world in his mind.

(Another Life, p. 148)

Here Walcott is communicating grim heroic accept-
ance, rather than drift into amnesia. Though Brown
echoes the passage, the difference in rhythm and
cadence between the two passages suggests that lie has
begun to find a way towards his own sound. This is
something gained. Roach's death may have meant
the birth of Brown. If so. I only wish that Brown
would come back to his "no homee: li Roach's
death is simply one of aboul twenty. which, if lie
cares, lie can blame on the politics of independence
and the enduring philistinisni of' the purblind \Vest
Indian intelligentsia. And if one adds the victims of
polio, typhoid and uastio-enteritis to those of imdif-
fcrence, philistinism and pohlics, one would i:a':c:
good five hundred corpses or so between 19)70 .d1
1974 alone. What better fare for a self-rihlilleolis poet
than such a fair field of carrion'?



- I I-- 'I ~I mb

--I I~__I


.Research Institute for
Study of Man,
162, East 78th Street,
SNE' YORK, I".Y. 10021,
Ph. Lehigh 5 8448,



Sunday, June 16

Sunday, June 16

Wednesday, June 19

Thursday, June 20

Tuesday, June 25

Sunday, July 7

Council of Representatives Meet-
ing. The monthly meeting of the
Council takes place at the resi-
dence of Assistant Secretary,
Paula Williams, UWI Field Station
at 10.00 a.m.
Four members of the group will
be featured on the Sunday morn-
ing TV programme Youth
Talks Out. The programme be
Talks Out. The programme begins
at 10.40 a.m. and taking part
will be Augustus Ramrekersingh,
Esther le Gendre. Dennis Pantin
and Allan Harris.
Political activity switches to the
South Fyzabad to be exact,
where Labour Day celebrations
wdl be held. Members are invited-
to, take part in the sale of pa-
pers, pamphlets etc.
Open House series continues at
Tapia House, beginning at 8 p.m.
The discussion will be on the
role of the media. Alfred Aguiton
will be one of the panellists.
Secretary Lloyd Best will be the
main speaker at a meeting at
Port of Spain, the Public Library.
on the subject of Constitution
Reform and the Wooding Com-
Members of the Fyzabad group
stage a Regional Assembly in
their locality.

Parliament. h

Continued from Page 9.
the Conference. There are
choices to be exercised about
the manner of arriving at
*such a Committee-but there is
no denying that if the 1971
Parliament is to act as that
Committee, only the Consti-
tuent Assembly can so decide.
Tapia is going to insist on this
even if it means that the
head of a king must fall.
The final question which
needs to be answered is whe-.
therl a representative and
valid Constituent Assembly
is capable of being convened.
-There is certainly no recipe
or formula to be readily in-
voked; it depends only our
faith in the democratic pro-
cess and the trust you place
in the wisdom of our. people.
In terms of concrete mea-
sures, all that is required is
machinery for bona fide poli-
tical parties to 'prove that

they have a valid existence
entitling them to an equal
politicalvoice. Itis not beyond '
our wit to design appropriate
machinery and Tapia has long
since submitted proposals for
Yet, in the end, a peace-
ful solution depends on whe-
ther or not the significant
political interests perceive the
danger of boycotting a Con-
ference at which all parties
would have an equal political
voice; and on whether we all
see the danger of substituting
a National Consultation for a
National Conference of Citi-
And then the parties must
agree on a method of making
decisions that could bind the.
entire country. Will they be
able to summon up such wis-
dom? .
Admittedly, on the evi-
dence of other countries, the
more likely outcome is inten-
sified civil strife. So explosive,

Eastern Main Road are
fed up to the tonsils.
Last Week they expec-
ted that the completion
of the Special Works west
of the St. Joseph Hospital
would have relieved the
chronic morning conges-
The jams are more mad-

Best Speaks
at Public
THE Tapia Educational
platform will be going to
Port of Spain on Tuesday
night June 25. The Group
will eb putting on a pub-
lic session on the political
crisis in the Public Library
bordering on Woodford
Speakers are Chairman, Syl
Lowhar and Secretary, Lloyd
Best.- Theme of the evening is
"Violepce or Constitutional
Reform? How is the change to
Purpose of the evening is
to show how economic hard-
ship, social injustice and cul-
tural disadvantage are all tied
up with one-man control of
The Wooding proposals will
be assessed and attention will
'be drawn to what the country
ican now do to save itself from


are the frustrations bred by
inflation and economic hard-
ship in the midst of a tantaliz-
ing oil bonanza, that the
slightest incident one of these
mornings could be transform-
ed into a lighted fuse. And
there is an abundance of mis-
chief makers willing to fan the
flames of military confronta-
Still, Tapia trusts the in-
stincts of Trinidad & Tobago.
If the decision were up to us,
we would hasten to call the.
assembly, knowing full well
that due process requires time
and time puts a strain on this
nation's limited patience.
We prefer to risk a demo-
cratic conference which may
fail because it thinks too high-
ly of this country than to take
those short cuts which, be-
cause they are so conterhpt-
uous of our people, are cer-
tain to precipitate us into
civil war.



dening than ever. "They have
three jams now. The one caused
by those leaving early to beat
the jam, the one caused by
those leaving late to beat the
jam, and then the jam itself.
I eh able", a driver told Tapia.

He was talking about Tues
day mornings exceptional and
unexplainable snarl-up. "It had
no special cause, was just a
natural jam no flood, no,
accident, no nothing".
In 1973, the Tunapuna
Taxidrivers' Association took
.up the matter with the Minis-
ter of Works. They co-opted
Tapia Secretary, Lloyd Best,
and proposed to Victor Camp-
bell that a series of emergency

measures be adopted.
More one-way streets on'
and off the Eastern Main
Road to ease entry and exit
especially in Laventille, Sani
Juan, Barataria, Curepe and
No right-turn off the
Main Road
Lay-bys to aid taxi-stop-
Staggering of working
hours like in Jamaica where
there has been marked im
Last Tuesday morning, one
driver reminded Lloyd :Best
of these proposals. As .he,
passed the Tapia Secretary
in the traffic: "What about,
them plans Tapia had? Oh'
Gawd Best, do something!"