|UFDC Home||myUFDC Home | Help ||
ALL VOLUMES CITATION SEARCH THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
ccI 4 'TO
TAPIA ANNIVERSARY & NATIONAL CONVENTION
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 28, 1975
Vol. 5 No. 39
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 28, 1975
By Lennox Grant, former TAPIA editor.
SEPTEMBER 15 passed
me quietly by. I remem-
bered at one point in the
afternoon that it was
the seventh anniversary
of my starting in
Journalism was where.
the action was in
September 1968, or so
it seemed. Just as in the
gate period when
journalism schools in
the USA were flooded
with applications from
-young, turned-on aspir-
ants, the newspaper.in
Trinidad, 1968 and
thereafter looked like
the place to be.
Earl Lovelace's story
that immediately he
returned to Trinidad he
walked into the Express
and asked for a job is
credible only in that
period. The Express
Represented a valiant
effort to raise a national
flag Iwo-Jima style: you
felt called upon to sup-
port the effort.
The image of struggle
conducted in tabloid.
journalism was attrac-
tive and catching. Not
that little papers had
not existed before, but
just then it seemed that
tabloid newspapers were
able to shoot straight
Into the vain of a new
audience, a reading
public with an exciting
new potential, as yet
So a family of papers
developed. Sharing type-
faces and layout styles,
at times, the papers
K eventually came to
share staffs. For all the
-pride now being taken
in distinctions, history
will probably recognize
only one set of people
who were involved in
the tabloid eruptions of
Sthe-late 60s and 70s.
MOKO came in '68,
offering"the other side".
TAPIA'S first issue was
September 28, 1969.
The Vanguard got a new
lease on life in the
period 1969-70. Libera-
tion managed a few
issues in orthoc.ax tab-
loid format in the same
Then the BOMB in
1970. The New Begin-
ning in 1971. The old
Catholic News under Fr.
Tiernan was regularly
read in the period 1970-
71 as a right-wing voice
(that once supported the
Public Order Bill). The
Mirror of 1973. Carib-
bean Contact of 1972
What, apart from'the
did all these initiatives
have in common? I think
that, each in its own
way, they represented
something- about the
stormy, shouting spirit
of the times, And there
was something else too:
There was hope at
least that the future
climate would allow for
their continuation in
print. So the invest-
ments were heavy in
terms of never plenti-
fully available resources.
The" "busy printing
presses of Trinidad"
which Oxaal remarked,in
1970 probably contri-
buted a decisive amount
to the 'development of
the printing and publish-
ing industry in this
country. The new pub-
lishing firms now
operating in Port-of-
Spain and the magazines
that appear and disappear
all the time also reflect
a perceived thirst for
the printed word.
Still, apart from the
BOMB, there hasn't
been much to encourage
the notion that this
"thirst" for the printed
word amounts to a
demand. BOMB editor-
founder Pat Chookolingo
is accustomed to com-
plain that too many
people have felt either
that newspapers are
THE BEST PLACE TO BUY BOOKS
ANY KIND OF
POR OF SPALN S177tfLNAtDO
cerns or that they could
be a Productive means
of mobilising people
His advice that you
could bust both financi-
ally and politically by
putting out newspapers"
has been taken by
The perspective of
bust and ruin is all-
pervasive these days. But
S remember asking
Andre Tanker for a com-
,nent on why so many
bands seem to come
and go, and he replied
:hat he didn't attach
oo much importance.
t:o that; the bands come
mad go, but the music
continues, he said.
I think it is fair to
say that neither MOKO
nor TAPIA has deve-
loped into the eminent
paper of "the other
side", but at this anni-
versary of TAPIA
towards that goal must
" JOIN THIS
Of people who know
how to cope
' KIRPALANI'S NATIONWIDE
_ -- __
PAGE 2 TAPIAA
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 28, 1975
A FRIEND of ours tells us that
he has stopped reading news-
papers and listening to the radio.
The world mash up, he says, and
there are times when the rain is
falling and the whole of Trinidad
and Tobago fidgeting in a traffic
jam that you really want to agree
with him and hold your head and
Nothing seems to be going
right in the world. Man has set
foot on the Moon,and right now
he is searching among the planets
to find out if there are people
living there life on Earth, how-
ever, remains a ball of confusion
with every group seeming to be at
war with each other.
Take your pick. Man and
Woman. Young and Old. Rich
and Poor. White and Black.
Employer and Employee. Student
and Teacher. Bishop and Evangel-
ist. Taxi-driver and P.H. Driver.
Madame and the Domestics. The
whole world mashing up.
Well, that's one way of
looking at it. But there aie times,
in the evening when thle iun gone
down and the place so cool that
you are able to take a back-step
and reflect, that you begin to
think a bit more positively and
you begin to see things from a
different kind of perspective.
Once you manage to squelch
your fears,to get on top of all
those frustrations and insecurities
without the help of rum or mari-
juana, you begin to understand
that there is a connection, and
the connection is freedom.
Yes, once you clear your
minas of terror, you begin to
understand that the struggle for
freedom is shaking the earth and
with this understanding you can
make of yourself and help others
make of themselves what is
called for in these dread, but
Even to perceive the on-
going struggle is an advance.
Look, man, there was a time
when the world sincerely believed
that Man would solve all hi:
problems simply by making
newer and better machines.
Everybody, it seemed, was hyp-
notised by Lechnology. Things
would be different, poverty
would be wiped out "Man
could make thing!"
The trouble is that it hasn't
worked out that way. And in
place of all the exultation and
the hopes there is now this wide-
spread bitterness and bewilder-
ment "Man, could ONLY make
And that's the point. The
people bowed and prayed to the
Neon gods they made and
there was no deliverance. Tech-
nology, for all the material
advances it brought, has not suc-
ceded in creating- a happier,
nobler world. Cars roaring, fur-
naces blazing, and people
blocking their noses to escape
the pollution. Billions of dollars
spent year after year, and human
beings still suffering famine
and war, unemployment and
undernourishment, greed and
oppression, murder, thiefing, kid-
napping, letter-bomb, bomb
under the Savannah stage, molo-
tov cocktail in. the bedroom,-
police shooting footballers point
blank where we really reach, in
truth? And more important than
that question is another: Where
are we gomg't
The thing is that you don't
even know whom to ask. What's
the answer? Christ, say some.
Capitalism, say some. And,
Socialism, say some more. The
first is too easy an answer and,
in any case, putting our hopes in
some kind of divine magic seems
to go directly against the free
will that Christianity teaches we
are supposed to have. Forget the
world you I... livn iA n anl
prepare for th% one to come after
you are dead. Glory, hallelujah!
And in both the capitalist
and socialist camps, ideas are
flying left, right and centre. The
capitalists boast that they have
created a "Free World," the
Socialists that they have created
an "Equal Society."
"You are not free"
"You are not equal."
The battle of words conti-
nues without a pause for breath
and in the countries on both
sides of the line, ketch-arse and
the boredom of routine takes the
place of any uplifting dream or
grand vision for the future. A
hunger of both body and mind
that's the contribution society
will be giving to the 21st century.
If, we make it.
If there were no signs that
people were not prepared to
fight against the kind of sterility
that passes for order then we
could well and truly join with
our friend and say, "the world
mash up." But, precisely because
thousands throughout the world
are standing up, precisely because
the world is raging and conflict
dominates .the newspapers and
the airwaves, a New World is in
And, for the first time, we
in Trinidad and Tobago, and in
the Caribbean-havea stake not
simply in participating in this
New World, but in shaping it.
The world cyar mash up. And
we should know because we,
perhaps, more than anybody else,
have suffered from the kind of
world into which we have his-
torically been cast..
It is a doubly difficult task
- one, the nature of the job,
itself, and two, the lack of
inclination, desire and confidence[
to tackle it that has come about -
boc ansc of the brainwash-iing tihal
has led us to doubt our compe-
tence to really do anything.
"The world mashing up -
and we can't do a thing about
it, "is really what our friend
wanted to say. How can we?
Look what the Europeans did -
they were masters of technology,
real "brain men," they travelled-
thousands of miles across the sea
in their ships, "discovered" new
lands, founded nations, invention
following upon invention, they
got the whole damn world in
their hands. Such was the popular
And, instead of asking -
having had the world in their
hands what did they do with it
it we went right on looking
in awe at these white gods,
humble before their scientific
achievements in spite of the fact
.that one of the crucial costs of
their expansion on the wings of
science was our own'elslavement.
To have so much "science"
at your command and yet not
be able to use the world's
resources efficiently or .to
organise the world's economy
and social order in the interests
of Man! Yet, these men looked
like they knew what they were
doing. Their expansion and domi-
nation of other, lands ..was rapid.
and complete. They came bound-'
ing over the Caribbean seas, can-
Snons booming in a saga of blood
and thunder, rape and plunder.
Whatever life-style, whatever
customs, whatever traditions they
saw, they mashed up. Their gain
was the industrializaion.:of their
countries. The cost was a total
and fatal disruption of the socie-
ties that they conquered.
Not the least, the Caribbean
society. The colonialisation
achieved here was based on
exploitation, pure and simple.
to man tilSir plantations tmley
proceeded to really blow our
minds, with- such lastig: effect
that even, today, weare-worship-
ping their big-city life, machines
that give you change for a dollar,
towering concrete structures,
plenty cars,'man. So many of us
leave our jobs and homes, jump
on a plane, really believing that
we are heading for a riew and
If that was all, it would be
bad enough. But the brain-drain
is but one of the horrors that
have come about because of
years of exploitation. Here, we
have a society rushing about like
a chicken -without a head -
people leaving the land to come
to town or to work on the
"Projects", family circles mash-
Con't on Page 4
TAPIA', PAGE 3'
PAGE 4 TAPIA SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 28, 1975
TAPIA'S WORLD OF TOMORROW
From Page 3
ing up, a dumping ground for
all kiis of religion and "smart-
man" religion all kinds of cul-
tures, :imported on a cassette,
and, as if to show that we don't
do things by half-tmeasures -
since 1950 we have been rushing
to invite multinational corpora-
tions to come and see how we
have fashioned our economy in
their image and likeness.
Nothing has been allowed
.to develop \here. Everything has
been transplanted overnight, as it
were. Trinidadians and Tobagon-
ians are yet to make a.connec-
tion, a contact with Trinidad and
Tobago. Tootoolbey with a
Looking around, what do
we see. Racism. Violence. Cut-up.
Distrust O God, when we go
get Laventille, together?- Dem
fellers up the road ent like we. As
soon as all yuh get in power, all
yuh go thief too. Shame and a
feeling of incompetence! Nothing
we produce can be good. So wail
and dance to James Brown and
sing calypso under your breath.
But what wrong .with Trinidad-
ians we blight, or what! Stick
up posters of the Jackson Five
and Marvin Gayein the tailor-
shops. O God, we seeing Shadow
and Shorty everyday.
Look around and what do
you see? Rebellion and Revolt.
Look beyond the woollen caps
and jeans and what do you see?
A people struggling to find their
real self no matter the mean-
dering, crazy roads they take.
Forget the sarcasm of the daily
newspapers and what is sand-
wiched between the lines of
type? A movement that believes
in life and its problems. Solve
them, says Shadow.Cool, is-the
reply. And they can't change we.
For we have come from a
long line of fighters. And the
movement to which we belongs
as old as European capitalist
-'eansion, itself. The North
tAmierican, French and Latin
American revolutions were all
attempts to break out of the
technological .strangehold. But
they went so far and no further,
leaving plenty work for we to do.
The North American Re-
volution did not destroy African
slavery, and, today, America is
still racist as so mrny of our
citizens are finding out once the
glow -f' the farewell parties have
worn thin. The French Revolu-
tion was bourgeois and the
Latin American independence
movements have' certainly not
resulted.in power to tie people.
Nor have the socialist move-
ments been any more successful.
Nobody questions the genuine-
ness of their desire to put on
the world stage a more humane
system, but the socialists made
the mistake of organizing as-if
the answer was in the simple
provision of material goods.
Man, they countered, does live by
Marxism led to Stalinism
and to the same sterile plan on
massive industrialization, econ-
omic imperialism' and guns, guns,
guns -.just like the United
States. Same khaki pants.
Now- we have had Young
Power, Black Power, the Civil
Rights Movement and Women's
Liberation. These are all 20th
century faces of the same coin -
the revolt against the kind of
gigantic industrial and political
organization which only succeeds
in excluding people, substituting
instead a routine of rules and
regulations. Tapia is part. of this
We plead, a special import-
ance because Trinidad and
Tobago is different in a special
way. First of all, we are at the
bottom of the international heap.
We have been conquered, en-
slaved, indentured, and have
been the work-horses in an econ-
omy built to enrich the landlords
Secondly, in the Caribbean
we are made up of small units.
This smallness is our biggest,
advantage. Face to face relation-
ships. You can watch, a man'
straight in the eye and tell him
what you think.
Add them all up. Since we
are at the bottom of the heap if
we move, everything else will
have to move. Since we are small,
young, and since it seems that
everybody's here, white, black
and sapodilla, we are in a position
to organise as a world experi-
ment a creative and humane
democracy. A New World!
In a sense, this is a frighten-
ing thought. In another it is a
heady one. Frightening only if
we allow ourselves to be brambled
by the preachings of the PNM
who insist on seeing us as a very
unimportant part of the world
simply because some of the big
,talkers of the world have told
us this. In fact there is no longer
any need fof them to tell us we
are shit-hounds since the Prime
Minister that we have had for
some 20 years does an effective
selling job for them.And since he
brighter than everybody else, he
bound to know what he saying.
We, in Tapia, continue to
remain unsold, We are neither a
nation of sheep nor one of trans-
ients. Ours is not the Third
'World's Third World. Our men--
tality cannot be summed up-as
"Carnival", and the letters we get
from Trinidadians abroad doing
two and three jobs make us want
to argue that "Trinidadians like
We have long ago abandoned
Naipaul's "fatigue" that we have
created nothing (which, more
and more begins to sound like
an ordinary piece of Trinidadian
mauvais langue) and embraced
Walcott's "there will be nothing
like what we createi' ,Tapia
urges that we should go ahead
now and create it just by deciding
to be ourselves.
SPeople keep insisting that we
provide them with a magic word.
Some word like equality and
freedom. We say that we take
both these words, but we add
Man is born free, equal and
responsible. As such we laugh at
the suggestion (and it has fast
become one of the easy truths
bandied about by people whose
future lies in Trinidad and Tobago
remaining exactly as it is) that we
are incapable of raising our head
from this mess of which the
Prime Minister's latest Cabinet
reshuffle is but one example.
And whenever somebody.
tells us that the people of this
country are grasping and greedy
wesimply ask: "Well, what about
you?" And since not a single
person to whom the question has
been put sees himself in that way
we are left to wonder who really
started that slur.
And to the Africans who
say that the Indians are not to
be trusted, and the Indians who
say the Africans are not to be
trusted, we simply point out the
exact similarity of the two
charges and point out that there
is an obvious case of misunder-
standing -.,so let us move on
Of course, we know that
race is an important question in
this country. In fact, we have
been in the forefront of those
groups who are genuinely striving
to show how the old-time politi-
cians thrive on racial divisions -
come to think of it, they have a
vested interest in ensuring that
we Never trust each other.
"But from our own living
experience we know that Indians
and Africans have here been
living face-to-face, dwelling
harmoniously in communities, at
least until such time as some
"Leader" who really owes loyalty
not to any race but to himself
comes around to point out dis-
trusts that both groups didn't
even know existed.
We are idealists, they say.
Or, as is becoming more and
more popular, dreamers. Well,
our idealism does not lie in over-
looking the problems of race.
Our dream lies in the realities
that we have seen the points
of harmony upon which we can
build that bridge that will bring
us close together.
If some still say this is
idealism, we plead guilty. Guilty,
without shame. The alternative is
ot continue to live without hope.
To run-about like cbckroach. To
indulge in that cynicism, pessim-
ism, and mamaguy which mas-
-querades as practicality (Boy the
doc is a smart, man, oui.) and
which can only exist in the
hearts of men who have no heart
for the struggle ahead and seek
an excuse in the mouthing of
the phrase.: Is so it is. As if
human beings are blocks of con-
crete. Once they set, they set.
And to those who argue
that it will never happen here,
we say it must. It is the only way
to salvage ourselves from doom
and, because we do not believe
that the mere saying of it will
make it happen, we are moving
our people to action, committing
them to work by sharing the
only possible dream for the
future and then transforming it
into a world of concrete and
specific objectives and targets.
We have built a House,
burnt our fingers in the cor-'
munities and emerged with an
idea, an organisation, a teamii-~iin
a commitment, all tested in the
furnace of the February Revolu-
tion. Among us there is no
racism, no violence, no "smart-
man", no "cut-up", no tying the
lachet of any man's shoes. And
since we are, not by definition,
brighter or nobler than any other
Trinidadian or Tobagonian, we
cannot see how, given our com-
mitment and motivation, the
people of this country will
behave any differently. Iih fact,
we are but the tip of the iceberg.-
So in the morning wrhenine
rain falling and the clouds black
in the sky, rather;than' say that
the "vengeance. of Moko fall on
the land", think instead about
those lines by Barbados poet,
from the trees
in the dawn;
in the morn-
opens a crack.
Shatter the door
in the morning
of the future
There is no
That is what Brathwaithe
said more than 10 years ago.
He said it better than we have.
But the point is the same. We
must because we must. The plan
now is to get ready to shatter
that door and walk out into the
raii, Only this time, we walking
with we umbrella.
SUNDAY,. S3EPTE,:3EV i 23. 1975
named after February
1970 has not yet ended.
In these its final phases
the nation tires at the
indecision and uncertainty
that describe the present
state. A final resolution
is longed for.
Yet we could not do
without this phase, just
as we could not hope to
escape the 1970 phase.
The worldwide revolt,
the contagious spirit of
rebellion, blew into our
Caribbean seas in the-
late 1960s. The alienation
of young people; the
challenge to authority
and established order;
the rising-up of oppressed
people: such were the
which joined with locally
produced causes to give
the unrest that has not
About that time too,
t--be-came more widely
dence which came ix,
1962 did not bring any
-change in the relation-
ships between ourselves
and those forces which
had historically dominated
our economy. Freedom'
was represented by tm,
trappings of nationhood
flag, anthem, a govern-
-ient composed of
nationals 'etc.. but
-bondage was rooted in
our dependence upon
and even subservience to
metropolitan power re-
presented by the interna-
tional enterprises which
still controlled our
The. more conscious of
our people called it a
-fraud and determined to
make good our indepen-
dence. These early
struggles were undertaken
by militant trade union-
ists, notably among
others, and it brought
from the Government a
reaction in terms of the
Act of 1965, the Com-
mission of.Inquiry into
Subversive Activity in
1')(4 and -the banning of
so-called subversive litera-
It'l in 196-7.
When tlie Jamaican
(Goverfient banned Dr.
Rodney in October 1968
the Caribbean-wide pro-
tests which ensued identi-
fied this as a highlight
among the succession of
mtiidents and issues which
marked the way to the
eruption of 1970. The
young people who had
by then given the protest
movement its distinctive
character were aware not
only of the disappointed
hopes of independence.
The youftgpeople counted
among their number the
largest group of un-
employed in the country.
In early 1970 only one
third of all under-19s had
any :chance of getting
work, and less than one
quarter of those under
25 had hope of finding
They bore witness to
the inequality whi< it
existed by race, by age
by sex and by region in
the country, and they
noted that it was the mass
of African and Indian
peoples who found them-
selves in the column.at
the have-nots. '- It was,
apparent, also, to those
'ainitng consciousness at
that time, that the racially
based DLP and PNM
parties within the
system had failed to give
adequate voice to political
opinion in the.country.
And then there was
the problem of identity.
Young African people,
throwing off the psychol-
ogical conditioning which
had been imposed over
the years, asserted Afri-
canness in the search for
self-discovery. This asser-
tion of the Black
personality was part of a
larger cause.- of. identity
as :f people, so that there
was proclaimed in 1970
the necessary unity of
Africans and Indians.
Through it all what
has emerged is a clearer
idea of ourselves as a
multi-religious a i multi-
cultural united' in a
desire to find our destiny
in these islands. Thus it is
now possible ,to perceive
a basis for organising,
people on a different
basis from that of race
To see how this is
feasible, however, we
must reject those cate-
gories and formulas which
were devised in the
different situations of
different countries. It
means addressing our
minds to the task of
developing our own
peculiar ways of seeing
,and thinking about our-
that the main supports of
the Tapia programme are:
is our means of taking
control of the leading
sectors of our economy
and placing such sectors
under the municipal and
popular direction of
people-in their local areas
not the central govern-
Political education is tlh
process of clarifying our
own ideas along the lines
regarded as appropriate
for our own situation.
Clarity, Tapia insists.
begins at home.
affords us the double
opportunity of providing
for the physical needs of
the community a~ \well as
the spiritual need1 '1 our
pecople toIl til'iftlmc'ni .mid
TAPILA PAGE 5
SEPTEMBER 28. 1975
THERE'S A KIND of glory in
the cry "Power to the People."
In Woodford Square we sounded
as if we were in a huge auditorium,
one big roar that contained all
the other roars. Roars of confi-
dence, exulting in the belief in our-
selves. Those were easily dismissed
roars but they held the moment.
De Leon dribbling Pele, the
King, leaving him straddling, sur-
prised in stride and shooting
straight and true to the far "V".
sticks across sweet note. paying
easy as if they laughing. Ending
with triumphant exclamation.
Thousands in the Siqare,
1956. Bell ring and the people ral-
lied,and the "doc" promising the
sun, tCe Qpjn and the stars Roar.
Capildeo in the Savannah,
backed in a corner, thousands
round him, hearing a call to action.
Vigilantes capturing the
imagination of Laventille, men
leaving their bed Sunday morning
6o cut bush, clean canal and talk.
All these roars now one roar.
In Woodford Square. The roar has a
rhythm. Not liberty or death, but
power to the people. All the skills
and talents, all the plans and
ideas, all the pride and confidence
now contained in that one single
roar.-Pfower to the People.
Everybody saying it. Every-
body promising it. Saying what?
Promising what? Heroes of War
means you win. Power to the
People means you now start, unless
you win tiready.
Roaring is not enough. Trini-
dad still lost, Scherzando did not
wiA Panorama, the "doc" now
complaining and Capildeo dead.
Saying What? Promising what?
Power to the People. But after
the roar comes the quiet question.
How? And right here troubel
start. Tapia trouble.
Because that is the question
we insist on. asking. Finding our-,
selves the odd men out among
the platform-people saying it.
Power to the people. Faith in
the people. Bread and cheese.
Roti and Solo. Shark and bread.
How to have the faith to give
power to the people? Well, the
faith you either have or you don't
have. You either blind or you
And since all the groups saying
it, faith in the people is not the
problem. Everybody believes that
Trinidadians "could do thing".
Cool, no problem.
So then, the rest is easy. Let
us begin to put down structures
that will bring into being a coun-
try. where the power that the
people have is in the power of
control and participation.
Any other kind is mamaguv.
Structures, mind you.
Not democratic men or sincere
m-n or men of the people or the
Party of Peace or the Party of
Love, or the Party of Blackness
or the Party of West Indianism
or the Party of Labour, not good
men or bad men, but structures.
You say you have faith in the
people and on the basis of that
Faith your organization-is com-
mitted to devising, forming a
society in which het people will
have real power.
You say you are engaged in
revolution and we naively take
you in your most literal sense.
Everything is locked up in one
man. That's the position, now
you say. O.K., we say, one of the
things the revolution must do is
to spread everything among many
No sweat, we agree that the
people are capable. Ready for
everything. Let's see the shape of
the pillars on which you are.going
to mount this magnificent' edi-
Show we yuh motion nuh,
man? Power to the People. How?
Well, you must begin by having
faith in the people's ability to
choose what is best for them-
You have to come out and
"push" your blueprint and have
the humility to realise that it is
not the people that are on test
.but you and your organization.
We, in Tapia, bold-face enough
to face that test. Man, we swing-
ing confident. Whatever plans
and programmes are being now
hatched, the people will pick
sense out of nonsense.
We shall pursue our utopia
regardless, knowing full well that
we will never find perfert beauty
and truth, but we will pursue
them still, confident that our
,people have the capacity to build
their own dream, to move away
from the brutality and inhumanity
now existing and create a fair and
just society on the strength, of
their own wit, and their own
And, as seekers after the poli-
tical power, we have a duty to
show how we propose to devolve
that power back to the people.
This, then, is our HOW.
Since it is the Constitution
that defines how power is to be
distributed, if there is to be any
redistribution of power, if you
are going to give people power,
you have to create a kind of Con-
stitution' that will make it possi-
ble. You have to put down a new
So that people can see and
understand what is being given
to and being demanded of them.
So that Power to the People
does not depend on a roaring
promise, but on the assurance
spelled out in the Constitution.
So we say, Reform the Con-
stitution. Let us begin this new,
fairer game by changing the rules
of the competition.
Our proposals fall very simply
under three headings. One: Rep-
resentation. This is one of those
"political" words that the con-
ventional politicians like to bandy
about in a vague kinda way that
normally means that they are
going to represent we.
Well you can't mean that and
mean Power to the People at the
We are luck i in Trinidad 1in
tha' every block, ever)' street,
every community is quite capable
of representing itself, although
we have been told that the people
"cyar make speech".
Making speech somehow is a
big thing, different from saying
what is on your mind, different
from making the point in a taxi
that if you give .a man three
ten-days a year on the Special
Works Project he bound not to
Surprising the kind of people
that make this point. Some say
they against Williams, some say
"the do e -w b t
they have in common is the feel-
ing that only them able to make
speech. Singular subject followed
by singular verb and a whole set
We can't be in that and say we
have faith in the people at the
same time. For us representation
means that all individuals, groups
and interests must be represented
at the appropriate levels directly
.and from day to day.
It shouldn't depend on the
party to which you belong and
.on whether it's election time.
--Every footballer in the Eddie
Hart League must-have an oppor-
tunity to have his thinking heard
on the way the Government
intends to organise sport in the
Tacarigua area, St. George West
and in the country on the whole.
Every taxi driver has to be able,
to pass on to the Village Council
in the area where he lives or on
the route where he works his
frsutrations with the pot-hole
that appeared overnig..; in
Immediately, we begitcr se
how Power to the-People begins
to work. Why should parentsin
Diego Martin have to marcht,
Whitehall to- see the Prime Minis.
ter to talk about stinking toilets
in a school.
You have a Village Council, a
Parent-Teachers' Association and
somebody from the area (how
can a man represent a place and
live somewhere else?) who has
been elected to serve as a link
between the villagers and the
machinery of State and among
them they do not have the power
and money readily available to
Continued on Page 9
TAPIA PAGE 7
PAGE8 TAPIA _
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 28, 1975
From Page 7
fix toilets! Everything is a Cabinet
What kind of participation you
expect people to have if all that
means is getting :-p- in- long,
boring Village Council Meetings
cussing like hell, and the next
week and the week after that, the
canals still clogged tup.
Rerpesentation and participa-
tion. You can't be serious about
Power to the People if you don't
ensure that people are represented
in a real way, that if they put a
man there to tell the nation how
they thinking about this and that,
about "the'cost of,rice and the
suggestion to bring back the rail-
way. and the man not doing
he wuk and you leave him there.
Look man, the thing that
wrong with this country is that
everybody feel that they helpless.
And they helpless in truth.
Nothing can't be done unless this
Minister or that Minister read
and spell and take years to come
But -wha-rally going on, in
truth? Big, gaping holes on the
pavement, one'out of every two
streetlights ent working, pipe
head break off and nobody in the
district able to say: look nuh,
man, that and that need fixing,
Jerry down the road supposed to
he-seeing about that and he erit
doing he wukl. John, you go and
give him ah piece.-of we mind.
Bet everything fix by the end of
The local community will
become the basic unit of govern-
ment and of citizen identification.
A system of genuine local
government bodies will be estab,
listed as a means of:
integrating the local coip-i
munities into the system ofi
national planning and
creating an essential part of
the institutional framework
for bringing the economy
under the control of the
We propose the establishment
of between 18 and 25 Municipal
Councils in Trinidad and Tobago.
These units will be small and
intimate enough to allow real
participation. The country will be
divided into municipalities on the
Man, if yuh living in Chaguanas,
you have to have not only some
say aobut how the district is to
be organized, but enough power
to maike-sure that your views are
taken seriously, and that the dis-
trict has the power to make
the moves necessary to make the
community's views concrete.
All of us in this thing and we
see already what happens when
you collect some "bright boys"
and settle back before your T.V.
expecting them to do everything
On the other Iaiid,, you- can't
expect people to leave their T.V.
if they know that whatever they
say is only so much ole-talk
ebcause no machinery, no way,
exists for them to organise their
own affairs, fix-up the break-
downs that do occur, man, run
en oy greater tax revenues, some
,ol winch can however be centrally
collected. They must have real
responsibility for police, fire,
education and health services,
housing, and banking.
These proposals do not
weaken central government but
rationalise government in general
by providing different functions.
The legislative, planning and
directive power of the Central
government in matters of health,
for example, will not be weakened
iut made more effective by the
involvement of local government
organs in the establishment and
running of clinics and hospitals in
their own areas.
Genuine local government will
involve more people in the task of
government and will secure the
accountability of Government to
the people. It will also mean that
communities which do not support
the party in power will run less
risk of being victimised or
neglected since the local councils
will have adequate powers.
That is the real test. When you
say you have faith in the people it
cannot mean that you have faith that
the people will pick you to run things
bfr them, but you have faith in the
people to run things for themselves.
And the truth is that it is only
Tapia who prepared to sink or swim
It is not something that you get
overnight. You just can't wake up one
morning and say "Ah-hah, ah have
faith in the people."
It has to come about because of
This country organised in a way
to prevent people from running things,
yet, in spite of that, you see people
.all over the place getting together and
organising this and that, some struggling
with co-operatives, village organisa-
lions, sports leagues, steelbands, block
competitions and so on and'so on.
You go on the blocks, fellers ent
working, but they know how this and
that should be done. Bright like if they
cut bulbs. No five G.C.E's but they not
nincompoops and they able to
They bound to since if they
were not able -to orgatfise the little
thli'lc have they eitirer tri td orthmey
All Tapia is saying is that give
them the funds and any methods of
which they might be- unaware, give
them full responsibility and account-
ability and let them spread! theirwings.
The leadership is there in spite
of those who feel that leadership is a'
rare thing existing only in offices and
universities. All kinds of Trinidadians
and Tobagonians, leading all kinds of
things and they saying the country has
noc'ladeaSM4v; .-,- .^ .. .'... *.
And if there are leaders on the
blocks and the streets and in the
Village Councils, how come when you
reach to the parliamentary level you
Suddenly there is a big gap.
Out of all the leadership material
in the district, the man that
emerges, as the representative in
Parliament comes from some-
where else and is incompetent
.Is almost as if they doing
this thing for spite. Keeping we
down so that their Party will
prevail forever. We say that you
must establish the controls under
which people should move and
let them organise and run their
own affairs. The country small
LOCALISATION is the third
heading. That is a nice-sounding
word, so everybody making mas
with it. But localisation can only
be effected by an organisation
whose overall philosophy is based
on confidence on the people's
ability to take and exercise con-
trol over the resources of this
Without asking we what we
mean they say that localisation
means Government acquiring 51%
in various industries. These
people farse, yes.
We talking about giving
people control of industry and
agriculture through their being
owned by the people most
directly affected by them. -
workers, trade unions, residents
of the area, where thle industries
are 'sited, and local government
organs and, where appropriate,
central government and private
enterprise. And they talking
Where is the participation in
The State taking control on
behalf of the people? So just how
does that give the people power?
If the factory producing
tinned breadfruit and the work-
ers feel it could easily be produc-
ing tinned mangoes as well, what
What does a Government-
appoinlcd Board of ^~irectors
LOCALISATION is the name we
give to the process whereby the
citizens of this country take.and
exercise control of the economic
resources ofthe country. Localisa-
tion does not mean the acquisi-
tion by Government of control-
ling shares in private industry. It
Control of industry and
agriculture through ownership of
--them by-the people-.bent d-irectl
affected by them, that is to say,
workers and trade unions, resi-
dents of the area where the
industries are sited, local govern-
ment organs, in a flexible pattern
of ownership including where
appropriate the central govern-
ment and private enterprise.
Incorporation in Trinidad
and Tobago of all foreign-owned
companies with management
centred in this country and shares
traded on the national market, so
that the effective direction of the
companies will be localised what-
ever the ownership arrangements.
A banking and financial
system that is fully national based
on the mobilisation of local savings
and designed to afford credit for
the development of small enter-
Development of a national
technocracy to enable the Gov-
ernment to deal from a position
of greater strength with metro-
politan and international indus--
National creation of all
know about the pain and possi-
bilities of an industry, the com-
position of the. work-force in
terms of the employment it gives
to a particular area, the concerns
of the employees, its place in the
social and recreational and cul-
tural life of the community?
Who makes the decisions?
What does it matter if the Gov-
-ernment owns 51% of an industry
and the worker-citizens in that
industry so hate the place that to
get up on mornings and go to
work is a horror?
What is there in a mere 51%
ownership by the Government to
galvanise people into action, to
make them eager to come to
work on time and make all the
extra efforts particularly if
they feel that whatever super-
profits the industry makes is
going to go into some big boy's
Why take charge on behalf
of the people? Why not let the
people take charge?
S That is why when we talk
about localisation of Texaco,
Shell, Fed Chem, Tesoro,
AMOCO and the rest, we are
talking about participation in a
very real way though localisa-
tion, nationalisation and munici-
pal and Union-participation. A
tangible ownership and control.
Which, of course, means
that we have ,jd' .ncd beyond
Continued on Page 10
TAPIA PAGE 9
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 28, 1975
From Page 9
the "socialists" and their "State
control on behalf of." You either
giving power to the people or you
taking power 'on behalf of the
people." You can't have it both
You either have faith or you
don't. Either you think we can
make or we can't. Maybe there
are people who are genuinely
making a different reading of the
evidence and they feel that we
really can't organise and .run
anything as a people.
Therefore, they may say,
you need a privileged elite to run
things for everybody. Fine.,
except that we have had that
experience, and since it obviously
hasn't worked, the only alterna-
tive must be decentralisation on
a large scale. And we are small
enough to do that.
Small enough, as we said
elsewhere, to embark on this
grand design. Everybody knows
REVOLUTION IN ATTITUDES
True, all this calls for a
revolution in attitudes. Which is
what frightens some people.
Not that they believe that
they are not capable of making
the required somersault, but that
the rest of the people aren't. In
the same way that we breed
leaders we breed arrogance.
The point is to control this
arrogance, to direct the attitude
that produced -it into positive
channels. And the way to do this,
the way to bring about this
revolution, this personal and
therefore lasting revolution, is to
lay down the material founda-
tions as the base from which this
new spirit will rise.
And this is politics, for
only the State can lay down
The essence of the thing is
hope. Somebody, some organisa-
tion, has to rally this nation,
lift people's noses:
but my people
that the hot
day will be over
that the star
cass that rots
in the road
in the gutter
in the butter-
flies of a new
We in Tapia have the hope
that our New World will prompt
a cultural revival and a revival of
the spirit among the new Carib-
That is what we are about,
a challenge to the ideas we have
of ourselves, a challenging of the
presumptions of western and
Look where we are position-
ing the Caribbean in the context
Digging up at a 19 73 Assembly under the spreading maizgo tree at The Tapia House
of its relation to the rest of the
world and tell us that is not
From being an object of
history we are setting out to be
one of the crucial subjects. And
what greater departure from the
past can you have than that.
Moreover, we are not living
in a world of "tampi" illusions.
We know only too well that this
world we are talking about can-
not be bought one Sunday morh-
ing in the Central Market.
It has to grow out of a
climate of optimism.
It has to flower in a land
where there are juster and more
humane relations between citizen
and citizen, between the govern-
ors and the governed, between
State and Nation.
WE ENVISAGE three building
blocks beneath the Tapia New
World. The first is a high-technol-
ogy sector, aimed at repairing
the fortunes lying fied-up in the
resources of the land.
This is an evidently crucial
area, but we have to be careful
lest in our attempt to survive in
the modern world we do not
embark on schemes that end up
restricting employment, widen-
ing the gap between those who
have and those who don't have,
entrenching a taste for all things
costly and foreign, and concen-
trating economic power in the
hands of the state.
And if that list of warnings
sounds familiar, it is only hepra~ca
the whole point of our proposals
is that they must ensure that
what has happened does not
So distinct from this high
technology export centre, we
must have a high-welfare sector
and a high-enterprise sector. In
the first, the goal will be to create
a gigantic public platform on
which will rest the equal treat-
ment of every creed and race.
You must have a high
technology sector, yes. We are
part of the modern world. But
the millions of dollars which will
come from the State's ownership
and control of this sector must
be chan-elled into maintaining
productivity elsewhere and into
providing welfare facilities on an
equal basis for all citizens -
household amenities, including a
pool of washing machines,
schooling including homework
centres, books, lunch and uni-
forms, transport and communica-
tions, cultural amenities including
community centres (not com-
munity barns), libraries, achives,
museums, theatres, savannahs,
parks, stadiums, gymnasiums,
This is but the core. The
individual, the family and the
group are still left with the free-
dom to do their own thing. So
you have the State and the Com-
munity working together, seeking
not simply material advancement
but spiritual fulfillment.
The better life in the most
genuine sense of the term.
The people must be able to
make their play. And in propos-
ing a high-enterprise sector, the
aim is to generate creativity. On
a scale small enough both to give
the individual citizen, group and
community an opportunity to
elaborate on the standard pattern
of general welfare and to give
them the challenge of forging
some path ior themselves.
Everybody is not going to
be content with a boundary,
some will want to hit a six. You
can't expect to give men the
basics for the good life and not
feel that there will not be many
who "like zante."
People in this country
always doing thing. Creating and
innovating. We can't afford to
PAr4E 10 TAPIA
buy silver jewelry, so we take old
forks and spoons and fashib-
them into pieces of elegant
decoration; shoes mashing up too
quick, so you take old rubber
tyres and put on a thick sole,
form following function as our
architect friends like to say.
If you lock people into one
specified area of activity, what
do you do with that spirit of
innovation that produced pan,
calypso, six-a-side football and all
How else are you going t(
produce a genuinely classless
society out to have a vast multi-
tude of little people, protected
from the giganticism, the soul-
destroying rewards of excessive
success, and from the dehuman-
isation of total tailure.
Capitalism is capitalism.
Whether capitalism practisedd by
various groups of individuals or
practised by the State. What we
are seeking is a way of breaking
out from the selfishness, greed
and inequalities that are inherent
in both forms and, yet allow
men-- the freedom to have some-
say in the carving of their own
The thing is not to tell men
that they can't go anywhere, but
to tell them how far they can go
without disrupting the lives of
everybody else in the society.
Once you are clear about
your political, social and econ-
omic philosophy, flexibility is
no problem. The river runs along
one course to the sea, the tribu-
taries merely flow into and swell
and enrich it.
The truth is that the real test
of the sincerity of Tapia's
insistence on Power to the
People is the fact that there is no
way their proposals.in the various
areas will work without it.
Everything branches off
from that concept. Local Govern-
ment is the base of our proposals
for participation, representation
We argue that we have to
decentralize governmental author-
ity, integrate the local com-
.nunities into a system of
national planning and administra-
tion, and put down the frame-
work for bringing the economy
under the control-of the people.
Power to the People. It's an
evocative slogan. Every opposi-
tion group say they believe in it.
Tapia has gone further and made
some proposals, outlined in a
number of easily available docu-
ments, as to how this can be
Surely, if the groups are
serious about the concept their.
the only barrier to opposition
unity must be differences as to
the methods of making the
The fact that there are no
other opposition formulations
but Tapia's says something about
their sincerity. In fact if all the
groups really wantedPower to
the People, sincerely wanted it.
sincerely were thinking about
programmes that would make it
a reality here, there would be no
With faith in the people as
the starting-off point, all other
differences can be reconciled. As
it is, however, all we can say is
we are expected to be fooled
once again by loud, empty roars
in Woodford Square. Like they
testing we faith, or what?
,.',fiiA PAGE Ji
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 28, 1975
AFTER the showing of the film "The
Harder They Come," the talk all over
Trinidad was that it could easily have been
made here. Feliers even pinpointed areas in
Trinidad that they felt were exactly similar
to the scenes shown in the Jamaican film,
and the characters, too.
It has to do, in part, with the way
people say things, different dialects but
same sentiments, same inamaguys, same
intensity of personalities, same crushing.
sometimes cruel humour, same hang-uns,
same walk, same spontaniety, same "brig'ht-
ness," same seriousness, same enjoyment of
the absurd, similar foods, same preoccupa-
tion with music, same hustle, same dread-
ness, same jokers on the blocks, same fears,
same hopes, same creativity, same sterility,
same smart-men, same brilliance. It's the
same lime, we swear.
That is why it makes infinite sense for
us to get together. Such strengths pooled
- ether! Imagination boggles, which means
that a Trr-politicians now preventing it,
and circumventing it, and delaying it simply
ha~e no imagination.
lhe time long gone for that. We pass
that stage. All of us in the Caribbean. That is
why one of the main tenets of Tapia's
foreign policy is the creation of a Caribbean
State by uniting all the English-speaking
countries into a single participatory dem-
True, we try that before, and the
Federation mash-up. But we didn't really
try. Because we felt that the leaders knew
best, we sit back and let them betray we.
And what did they proceed to do? Nothing
less than draw up a plan that was boundto
SIn the same way that they'not able
even now to see the opportunities right
here in Trinidad and Tobago before their
nose, the same way they couldn't see the
opportunities in the regional field. You
can't -veyn motivate democratic participa-
tion in your own country and you want to
organise Federation. If you want to run
Trinidad as if the people in Belmont,
Caroni, Couva, Fyzabad and Tabaquite
is a bunch of cay-a-coos, how else will
you organise a Federation but to behave as
if the people in Grenada, Barbados, Jamaica
and the rest are also a bunch of cay-a-coos.
Yuh playing the Messiah for people here so
you bound to play Messiah for the other
countries too. One from ten-leaves nought
you say when all fall down. Ha Ha. Big joke.
All the time everybody, the "experts,"
that is, talking about economics. Bigger
markets, more trade and so on. All of that
necessary, but it is for another,. deeper
reason, that West Indians hunger for Carib-
bean integration. Is the same lime, and we
have the same sense of dispossession, the
same confusion as to who and where we are.
Black people in the Caribbean have
never been sure of their place. We have been
uncertain about all the things other people
in other nations take for granted. And
while we might have found the answers if
we had been allowed to participate in a
true-true democracy, the leaders since they
were uncertain themselves never gave us
that chance. Instead, they running tight,
twisted, and tortured regimes, looking at
this book and that book, this expert and
that expert, it worked in that country there-
fore it bound to work here, it ent work in
that country, therefore it will never work
So everybody searching for the same
thi' ag an~' wve h've to search together The
Indians, too. Almost as if they vex because
the Indian people have their own song and
dance and religion and customs, the PNM
Government behave as if the entire Indian
population is not part of we. Because
Indians working on the land, they neglect
agriculture, so all ah we suffer. Afro-hair
We can't afford to make that mistake.
Africans-here have to be very clear about
that. In the West Indies we will achieve a
real Black Power. We will be in genuine
control and we have to use that power to
create a new and humane society, one that
affords the Indian a place of pride and
worth, not because we feel to do it but
because we want must if we don't to end up
pappy-showing we-self again.
We have such a lot to learn from and
share with each other, these two races. And
it's no use saying that you ent like -Indian
or you ent like African. Both here to stay.
And if the African the New World has made
And if the African in the New World .has
made a great impact on western civilization
is only because there.are many more of us.
The African with his force of:numbers'and
his mark on western. cultural.civilisation has
to cherish and nutrure and boast about the
contribution that the-Indians have made to
our domestic civilizations. It is the Indian's
right and the African's gain. To do other-
wise -would be to sow the seed, for decades
of strife, discontent and ill-will. O Gawd!
So we have to set about this business
of uniting the Caribbean quickly, all the
peoples. We have to give.people work, allow
people from the other countries to come
here if they want, abolish work permits
since you can't organise any Federation
SIt's not enough to say that simply
through CARICOM we co-operating in
trade. All that means is that you produce
what you have always been producing. We
produce what we have always been pro-'
ducing and we sell to each other. That
can't make any serious dent in funemploy-
-ment or in the general standard of living
in the various countries. All it means that
who have more to sell will get more. The
rich governments will-remain rich and the
poor governments will remain poor. It's'
like organising free. trade between Texaco
and the "Drag Brothers".
No man, we have to look at this thing
deeper than that. We have to re-organise produc-
tion. Who should produce what and why?
All of us by ourself small, but there is a
value in that, in intimacy, face to face relation-
ships. If we used to think that large-scale industrial
technology and large scale capitalist or social
organisation were the basis for human develop-
ment we can't think so now that we can hear the
cries of despair arising from both camps.
What we want and what the world must
have is a New World. Its nice to pun and play on
the term, but in.a real sense the literal meaning of
the term defines the Tapia-goal. The world mash-
up, and we have a duty to fling ov: hat in the
ring, in the same way that other civilizations
have been doing long before we. Well,'our time
reach. And if you feel that that is bold-faceness
then it just shows how effective foreign brain-
washing has been. Everybody must have their
piece to say, except we. Well, the Arabs done
with that. Black people great! Ethiopia will rise
again! The spiritual inheritance of the East!
Soul! The trouble with black people is that they
have too much love! Peace and Love. Love is the
answer! All the catch phrases. All the cliches. So
many attribues we have and we sitting on we arse
while dey mash-up the world.
We too small, we ent have no guns, so let
them do dey do. They have all the iea (but, we
thought, we Prime Minister was the third brightest
man in the world?), they. have all th answers -.
but -prices. jumping; killings mn'ouriting, "if: yuh
havioig.sex; they spying on you, government ly-
ing, government hiding, the world scrunting ..
-All we life we go coritinue dbing their -
bidding. Yes sir anda No, sir; They:say drink
cool-aid and we drink. They say cool-aid does give
cancer and we still drinking. Hundreds of years the
world in their hands and look what. h-appen! So
we so bazodee, we refuse- to -attempt to do some-
thing before they end-up blowing we.all to some.
o Is like-a -heap of mangoes. If you move the
one at the bottom, all the rest will move. We have
the wit and the plans. What we must get is -the
courage and confidence. Impossible to do worse,
we swear. Possible to do better, we know. Is the
people who- have to save the civilization. -So we
ent people, too? So many :peoples, so many
influences, so much pain and so much suffering,
and we don't feel we have some importance in
the creation of this New World? Tell we, then tell
we, what Ethiopia going to rise again?
Ir Ir. I-~a.~~~ea~~-,~3~8xaP~a~~l"~
I r "_-,~"d~~L~$BP"-~bc ,~J~G~RRllf~a~L~ ~ .
1 I It r C~r I Sp~a~ Ir r I --- --- ;7-~iemg- -- ----
ThiS Sunday 9.30 Registration
Sept.28 1975 10.30 The Chairman
S. W.W. T. U. Hall
Wr ightsonR dP O S
ith 11.00 Resolutions
1st ssemby General Debate-
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY THE TAPIA HOUSE PUBLISHING CO., 91 TUNAPUNA ROAD, TUNAPUNA. PHONE:662-5126.