Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072147/00187
 Material Information
Title: Tapia
Physical Description: no. : illus. ; 43 cm.
Language: English
Publisher: Tapia House Pub. Co.
Place of Publication: Tunapuna
Creation Date: November 9, 1975
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: UF00072147:00187

Full Text
Vol.5 No.45 SUNDAY NOVEMBER 9, 1975 30 Cents





Ur -77 r- ',> 7
SUNDAY, Nov. 9 Tapia people from all,over the country will gather up at
the Tapia House on St. Vincent Street in Tunapuna to celebrate the Seventh
Anniversary of the founding of the movement.
The Birthday celebrations will take the form of a blend of politics,
parang and general communion amongst members and friends.,
The politics will be led off on this occasion, as usual, by the Chair-
man's address. Only this time the address will be given by all the past Chair-
men of Tapia. .
Leading off will be our present Chairman Denis Solomon. He will be .
followed by Syl L-owhar, immediate past Chainnan and then Laughlin will
add his quota.
The Chairmen will be followed by Tapia Secretary Lloyd Best, who .
will turn the attention of the members and friends forward to Tapia's future,
as we leave, what he likes to call, "The Seven Lean Years."
After the Secretary's address, the floor will be open to any members '
to address the brothers and sisters on any question or issue they wish. This
part of the politics is expected to go on fonnally and informally for a long
Meanwhile the Parang music will be there for everyone to enjoy. The
music will be supplied by the'Old Oak Serenaders from the Maracas Valley.
The Fund Raising Committee has promised to have a well stocked bar
so that we can be sure that thirst is not going to be a problem. In addition
the Committee informs us that they will be providing light snacks for sale. ,
The Birthday celebrations begin at 2 pm. and go on till 6 pm. or for -
as long after that as people wish to stay and share in the fellowship.

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Michael Harris.

Solomon, during his
opening address at our
last Assembly, remarking
that if Tapia had not
existed the country
would have been forced
to invent it. As we cele-
brate, this week, the
seventh anniversary of
our existence, the full
implications of that state-
ment need to be
For the fact remains that
the country did invent Tapia.
It is no accident that the
seven years of our existence
have beer marked, as well,
by the complete disintegra-
tion and collapse of the Old
Yet this is not to claim,
for Tapia, the foremost role
in the activation of that dis-
integration. For when we
speak of the Old Regime we
seek to encompass in that
term more than just the
PNM Government. Although
the collapse of the PNM's
certainly the most significant
manifestation of the collapse
of the Regime itself.
But the Regime is more
than the Government which
represents it. It is the entire
system of ;government and
politics, of social, cultural
and economic life, of atti-
tudes and mores, of concepts
of self and country, which
dictate our pattern of exist-
ence and the directions of our
'Yet to say that we live
during the period of demise
of the Old Regime is not
enough to explain either the
enduring and deepseated
nature of the crisis which
afflicts us nor enough to
explain either Tapia's exist-
ence or its significance.
For systems of Govern-
ment and politics, and the
social structures which con-
tain them, will always under-
go stresses as they are forced
to change to accommodate
the historical advance, inevit-
able one might add, in the
objective conditions of the
people and countries they
were designed to serve.
And many countries
undergo this process of trans-

-h T [ 143 U m
O)In 1 i ii

IHQ^Bg g g!EI

formation without ,being
plunged into the nightmare
world of confrontation and
agitation, of crisis upon
crisis, of total breakdown and
incipient anarchy, whicl is
the condition in which we
have existed these past seven
Our situation can only be
explained by reference to the
unbridgeable gap between the
needs which now have to be
serviced and the systems
which are now in place.
For, with minor reserva-
-tions, it can truthfully be
said, that the Regime under
which we now exist, was not
designed to serve the needs
of the people of this country
at all.


The system of government
and administration,, which
now lies in such disarray
around us, is essentially the
same as that created by the
Colonial Power, and was
designed simply and exclu
sively to facilitate the better
exploitation of our country.
So that the laws of the
land, the administrative pro-
cesses and, above all, the
Institutions of State which
we have inherited, were never
intended to service the needs
or wishes of our people and,
most certainly, were not
designed to encourage either
our participation or our
The reality of our exist-
ence under such a Regime
was that we were bereft of all
responsibility and power. We
led our lives with reference
always, and in deference

always, to the near absolute
authority of the central
Under such conditions too,
not only did we never gain
any great experience of organ-
ising in pursuit of our own
interests, but our very con-
ception of those interests
was narrow, parochial and
Objectively, that is how it
could only be. That, after all,
is what the condition of
colonialism is all about.
The advent of political
independence, defined here
only as the withdrawal of the
active presence of the colonial
power, brought with it no
significant changes, except
in terms of our recognition
that our land was now sup-
posedly ours, and a corres-
ponding increase in the
demands that we made.
The problem, however,
was, that even as the demands
we made, grew larger, wider
and more vociferous, the
complete incapacity of the
institutions which we inherited
to answer those demands
became more and more
More important perhaps,
was the recognition that we
lacked completely, those
institutions, created and con-
trolled by us, which might
have been used to bypass the
moribund and hopelessly
inadequate institutions of
State in servicing, at least,
some of our needs. Moreover,
we lacked completely, any
experience in the creation of
such institutions.
Nowhere was this absence
of popularly controlled insti-
tutions and of our lack of
knowhow in founding such
institutions, more evident
than in the political sphere.
Tapia has never been
afraid to give to tie PNM
its due. Time and again we
have credited them with the
introduction of Party Politics

into our political system.
Yet it may be that in so
doing we have erred on the
side of generosity. What the
PNM certainly introduced was
the idea of Party Politics.
Their own disrepute today is
sufficient testimony to the
fact that the reality of Party
Politics was not achieved.
The point is, of course,
that the PNM, when it
arrived on the scene, could
not escape,'entirely, being a
prisoner of its times. Politics
under colonial conditions
existed at the mercy of Gov-
ernment, was was used simply
to influence Government.
So that under conditions
of self-government and Inde-
pendence the perceived rela-
tionship between politics and
Government did not change.
Government was still supreme
and politics merely the
necessary foreplay.

Hence to the PNM, and
indeed to most of the coun-
try at that time, a political
party was nothing more than
a vehicle to be used on the
highway to office.
Thus the most important
function that a political party
could serve in our context,
that of a training ground for
the people in the processes of
independent organization and
genuine participation, was
entirely ignored.
The consequence of that
ignorance is the revolutionary
struggle in which we are
involved today. For not only
are the inherited Institutions
of State incapable of meeting
the burgeoning demands" of
the people,but,as the history
of these past twenty years
should have informed us, it is
impossible to change those
institutions without the sup-
port and participation of a
population, experienced in

the processes of organisational
creation and organisational
Caught between their in-
ability to meet the demands
of the people with the instru-
inents they control, and their
inability to change those in-
struments without handing
over control to the people,
the Government has had no
choice but to use the system
for the very purposes for
which it was designed, the
suppression of the people.
In short, far from controlling
the system, the system con-
trols them.
in the face of this recal-
citrance, the people have had
to search, unaided, for their
own solutions. For the types
of organizations which would
take them past the obstacles
presented by the Old Regime.
Because we started with so
little experience, because
there are no blueprints for
the construction of genuine
popular institutions, ours has
been a slow and tortured
search, one fraught with.
frustration and repeated

Yet with each path that
fails, each dead-end we tread,
we add to our storehouse of
experience and knowledge,
volumes of precious infonna-
tion. And slowly, out of that
so-called "wilderness of no
choice"; clarity emerges.
So that the country did,
in fact, invent Tapia. Just as
it invented all the other
options, most of which have
been tried and found want
And if it took Tapia seven
long years to reach the center
of the political stage and to
make its bid for glory, then
it could not be otherwise.
Tapia could go no faster
than the pace set by the
Necessarily so, since ours
has always been, the only
option whose entire possibil-
ity, depended on the acqui-
sition, by our people, of the
bittersweet fruits of know-
And if today, as Tapia
moves forward into the final,
decisive round, we are not
afraid to blow our trumpets
loud and clear, completely
assured of success in our bid
to take control of the State,
it is only because, these past
seven years have guaranteed
that the State shall never
control us.



/S Ste hens

Christmas Shopping



Cor. Henry St. & Independence Sq.






Telephone 62-37861



Memorandum 82

Will not Sence
Will not Silence

Our Teachers

FROM its bag of repres-
sive measures, the gov-
ernment has pulled out
Regulations 69 and 70
of the Public Service
Regulations (1969) which
warns that an officer
may not publish or com-
ment "on any national or
local political or admin-
istrative matter" (Article
69 (1)). This time the
target is the 7000
teachers in Trinidad and
Circular memorandum 82
(E 32/1/1) which has been
sent to all schools, requests
rather stiffly, that Principals
"bring the above to the
attention of your staff and
request their compliance
No doubt the government
is merely seeking its own
interest when it attempts to
silence teachers in this
country. Men and women of
independent minds in the
teaching service have begun
to perceive that if the busi-
ness of education continues
to be handled in the present
fashion, one day soon, all
hell is going to break loose.
As such they have become
quite vocal.

They understand that a
major crisis in education
exists, and that the govern-
ment, interested only in short
term measures and election
gimmicks, has hardly begun
to tackle the critical pro-
blems, and has not concerned
itself, at all, with the long
term measures really necessary
to resolve the crisis, which
involves more than school
buildings and places.
Teachers are concerned
about the nation's youth.
They understand instinctively
that in order to save this
nation, our youth (40.1%
under 15) have to be rescued.
As such many are openly
critical of the sick joke being
played on the nation's youth
and which some insist on
calling education.
In the schools themselves,
teachers must cope with a
million problems each day of
the year. Schools in general
are in a chaotic and dis-
organised state. There is the
perennial problem of a
powerless school administra-
tion in the wake of highly
centralised power in the
hands of the Ministry of
Education in Port-of-,Spain
Then there are those
features which have come to
take on the character of
routine problems poor
toilet facilities, lack of water,
the absence of electricity,

substandard maintainance,
over crowding, understaffing
and so on. Not to mention
the arbitrary classification of
teachers, short pay, late pay,
in addition to general abuse
and contempt from the
Ministry of Education.
The general deplorable
conditions under which
teachers work without recog-
nition, without reward
(opportunities for advance-
ment are perhaps fewer ir
the teaching service than in
any other branch of the
Public Service) have helped
to make teachers in general
a most disgruntled lot.
Working from day to day
in an atmosphere of general
frustration, faced with an
unresponsive ministry and
the absence of any avenues to
voice protest,make proposals,
or ensure action, teachers,
like other segments of this
oppressed society have been
forced onto the road of
public protest and publicity
So that if there is a pro
blem of muddy roads in
Marabella Junior Secondary
or of non-functioning toilets
in Tranquillity, one's only
option is to bring it out in
the open,to focus public
attention on the problems in
the hope of getting prompt
The regime has encouraged
this approach because it
only responds to crises and a
problem only becomes a
crisis here, when it takes on
a political character.
Obviously Memorandum
No. 82 then, has been sent
out because there are very
real problems in both the
education system'as a-whole
and in individual schools,
which the government wishes
to play down in order to
avoid further embarrassment.

But'OMemorandum No. 82
raises larger issues.
The government, obviously,
has a 'series of repressive
laws, regulations, fine print
and what have you, which
they can use whenever it
becomes necessary.
In addition, the memo-
randum points quite clearly
to the fact that the govern-
ment is not the least bit
ashamed of using fear and
intimidation as weapons
against the people of this
The strategy of intimidat-
ing public servants, now
that the election campaign
is on in earnest, must have
become apparent to all and
sundry when the Prime
Minister unleashed his attack
on senior civil servants, about

Bhoendradatt Tewarie

in any way whatsoever in the
national life.
In addition there might
be some very practical reasons
why teachers have been
singled out for the recent
reminder as to the contents
of articles 69 and 70 of the
Public Service Regulations.

In the first place, the
memorandum establishes, lest
teachers forget, that they are
public servants.
Secondly the issue of
teachers' participation in
politics has been raised over
the last few months, in
several quarters.
Thirdly parent-teacher
associations all over the
country have been activating
their membership and organ-
ising themselves in order to
get some action from the
government now that it has
become evident that the

,government is embarking on
a grand fix-up campaign
before the coming elections.
Finally, precedent has
been set in this country
where teachers have taken
an active part in politics.
The PNM itself, in the
early days, used teachers as
a launching pad and many of
the most avid party workers
were recruited from the
teaching service.
There can be no doubt,
that the whole pattern has
changed. As things stand, the
government has negligible
support in the teaching ser-
Intimidation has only
become necessary now, be-
cause many teachers who
had supported the regime in
its early days of promise are
now totally against them.
The newer people in the
teaching service are also
against them.
This attempt to intimidate
teachers however is not a
move that will endear the
government to the teaching
service. Even if teachers
were to remain quiet over the
next few months, they are
never going to support a gov-
ernment that seeks, without
warrant, to keep them in
In addition those who
have been vocal in the past
are not going to be intimi-
dated now.
If any attempt is made to
enforce regulations 69 and
70 against me teachers of
this country, the government
is sure to find itself with
another crisis on its hands;
one which, from all indica-
tions at the present time, it
can ill afford.

a month ago.
For although the Prime
Minister was careful to state
in his address to the PNM
Convention on Friday
October 3rd that "I treat not
of the civil service in general
but of a small minority of
senior civil servants," the
attack on some ambitions
clique for their alleged trans-
gressions might have been
enough to cast a shadow of
fear over the entire Public
And perhaps it is no
accident that the reshuffling
of Cabinet and of Permanent
Secretaries, the throwing of
Frank Rampersad in the
bamboo, the revelations
about the "threat of a take-
over by a technocracy" and
die attack on senior civil
servants, all came in a flood.
All of these things, it
seems, help to foster an
atmosphere where a man or
woman employed in the
public sector would think
twice about involving himself

We go to any

length to do

our Job!

We installed suspended ceilings on two of AMO.CO'S
offshore production platforms over twenty miles out atsea some
time ago. It was a hew experience for us, but it was all part'of
our job The Industrial and Building Products Division of
L. J. Williams Limited.
Apart from installing suspended ceilings, we also construct
shop fronts and partitions for business places, install NACO
Louvre Windows and custom,- built Roller Shutters, and apply the
ultra modern 'Flecto finish' to walls and floors.
Also,'we supply Kwikset locks, Gibbons Ironmongery,
world-famous Evo-Stik 528 adhesive and Resin-W woodwork
adhesive, Ibiboard, laminated plastic sheeting and Ibi Ace
decorative plywood and more'
If we have a service you could use give us a call at 62 32866
We II go to an,, lengthjp help you

- "S

--L -~-i :i~~cc*

;," -I

.L.J. Williams-
Industrial & Building
Proclucts Division
"- -. F' '




I J yLi

The Kernel of


MR. LOWHAR: Mr. Chairman,
at the time of the inauguration
of the Federatiohl. I remember
the words of Father Manley. He
said, "Politicians, ever treading
the fine edge of popular favour
can never see too far into th e
I would like us to bear this
in mind when we are discussing
this Constitution, because I think
the best approach is always to
regard a constitution as it could
be used in the hands of our oppo-
nents rather than simply think-
ing of a constitution in relation
to the people who are at present
in power. I intend to draw a lot
from the findings of the Wood-
ing Commission which was
appointed by Parliament of
which you, Sir, are the Speaker.
I want you to listen to my plea
as a father would a son's because in my
youth you have been a sort of mentor
to me, and though we have been
divided by a gulf of generation and
political method, I earnestly hope
that love of country may yet span
that void. It was you who first
introduced me to T.S. Elliot. I there-
fore would like to begin with these

"April is the cruelest month of
the year

bleeding lilacs over the dead
In April, 1970 a Prime Monster
appeared on the scene here to crush
what we have called the February
revolution. Hudson-Phillips has called
it this rising of the people a
storm in a tea-cup. If so, it was a
Boston tea party and Basil Davis was
our Crispus Attucks. What happened
is now history and I would not like
to describe the atrocities. But the
Wooding report begins with an account
of its aftermath and I quote:
"As this Report is being written
the survival of constitutional,
parliamentary politics is being
challenged as never before in
Trinidad and Tobago. Many
believe that the institutionalized
channels of constitutional poli-
ties no longer respond unless
there is some dramatic gesture
of confrontation such as a
"sick out", a "go slow", a
boycott or a march to Whitehall
to see the Prime Minister. Some
groups have even called on citi-
zens to consider withholding the
payment of taxes. Secondary'
school children have begun to
adopt strategies of'confrontation
and non-negotiable -demands.
Others have carried this belief
into even more extreme action
by resorting to armed confronta-
tion. The society has painfully
to adjust itself to stories of
shoot-outs and killings and
wounding, of early morning
searches and of widespread
public fear of victimisation by
one side or the other.

There is danger that we may

become insensitized b y exposure
to the human tragedy in the
situation and accept this state
of affairs as part of our political
When the Prime Minister accuses
his own trusted public servants and
political colleagues of .corruption,
incompetence, and insensitivity; when
he hammers on the anvil of expediency
men whose ability and dedication he
had taken time off to praise in previous
budgets, these are the signs that this
danger has arrived.
In analysing the present constitu-
tion the Wooding Commission pointed
to three reasons why our population
has been so politically passive.
"In reality,"
they said:
"the Westminsterpolitical system
has a propensity to become
transformed into dictatorship
when transplanted in societies
without political cultures which
support its operative conven-

This statement needs no further
explanation. Any British Government
faced with charges of the kind which
the Prime Minister made at the PNM.
annual conventions of 1973 and
1975 would have had to resign because
they are tantamount to an admission of
The three reasons I want to
allude to are(l) The useofpatronageto
win or silence critics in a small society.
The Prime- Minister has extensive
appointive powers the chairmen
and members of the public corpora-
tions and government representatives
on the boards of companies in which
the State has acquired an interest are
all of them directly appointed by the
Prime Minister and his Cabinet.
He appoints or nominates for
appointment Ambassadors and High
Commissioners, most of the members
of the Senate, all public officers who
are required to reside abroad for the
proper discharge of their functions and
the holders of such offices in the
Ministry of External Affairs as he may
from time to time designate.
Further, it is in accordance with
his advice or subject to his signifying
that he has no objection that appoint-
ments are made toa number of offices.
The list is long and takes in the
Governor-General, the Chief Justice,
the Auditor General. Ido not want to
go through the whole list. I am sure
you have heard them many times
before. He now controls fifty percent
of the jobs in the country.
(2) The failure of the mass
media to develop public opinion..
What is happening at 610 and TTT is
now on the lips of all concerned. A
Government which cannot face the
people; which has abandoned the
once popular university and colleges,
now has to conduct its campaign
through the media to the exclusion
of all opposition.
If you look at the television,
almost every night, two or three min-

sisters appear in train, using the media
to campaign.
(3) The unwillingness of most
people to oppose persons in positions
of authority openly or to criticize
policies publicly. Not only is this the
cause of so many unsigned letters in
the press, or the refusal of much abused
public servants to open their mouths
(and, incidentally, one of the recom-
mendations of the Wooding Commis-
sion was that the requirements of the
Official Secrecy Act and the anonymity
of. the public service should be
relaxed to pennit officers to explain
the advice given by them for policy
forming and decision making).
But this bad habit is also the
cause of endless demonstrations and
confrontations. It is as though the
fear of freedom, as Fromm understands
it, causes men to discover hidden
strength by selling their souls to fascist
And since we do not have the
guts to stand up as individuals because
-of the colonial condition to state our
case as some of us are doing now,
the vast majority of the people find
it necessary to lose their identity in
crowds and demonstrations to make
their point.
"Where are free men"
asks the poet
"Where the endless streets,
A prison of air is worse than one
of iron. "


Media ineffectiveness and the
unwillingness to oppose or to criticize
results from our colonial past in which
our opinions never counted. We do
not have the political experience to
handle issues. We have never changed
the Government since independence. In
spite of all the abuse to which civil
servants are today exposed, not one
would dare to seek the protection of
Parliament by coming before this com-
mittee, in this august Chamber, to
defend himself. This is an index of the
state of fear which exists.
But, Mr. Chairman, there is a
fourth reason which is related in part
to the first. It is that public servants
and teachers are denied the right to
participate actively in politics. This is
really the subject on which I wish to
focus attention.
Let me read the relevant three
paragraphs of the Wooding Report on
the Public Service and Politics: 1 quote:
"We discussed a possible review
of the regulations governing the
participation of public officers
in politics.

Public officers now have the
right to join political parties.
They can take part in party
group activities and attend as
delegates at national conventions.

They are not supposed to cam-
paign publicly or engage in
activities involving identification

with any party at public func-

But the size of the community
and.the multiplicity of inter-
relationships are such that the
ban on public identification
seldom helps to conceal political
Besides, the fact that overt
participation is not officially
permitted helps to create a suspi-
cion that such an affiliation
exists when in fact it does not."
'The idea of a complete ban on
political activity by the public
officer seems to us unaccept-
able. "
Mr. Mohammed: I just want
to get a clarification on the sub-
ject. Is Mr. Lowhar still a mem-
ber of the staff of the Ministry
of Agriculture in the Public
Service? If the answer is in the
affirmative, then this would not
be a correct statement that
people are not taking part in
Mr. Lowhar: I am quoting
from the Wooding Report:
"It would be far too drastic
a curtailment of his fundamental
rights when regard is had to the
comparatively minor role most
public officers play in important
policydecisions or in supervising
policy implementation. We con-
sidered recommending that the
system be opened up completely
and that public political activity
be permitted for all public
officers save the comparatively
small group directly concerned
with the formulation of policy
and the supervision of its overall

The Public Service Association
through its officers did not
favour such a change. Since
they were the persons directly
involved we decided that the
matter should be left for the
time being as it is.

The area is one which seems to
us to call for detailed study."

"We recommend however..."

The report goes on:

that teachers should be
allowed to take active part in
politics and to stand for office.
In Jamaica they are granted
leave to contest elections and, if
successful, are allowed further

Continued on Page 9

The following is the statement made by Tapia Executive
member. Syl L owhar before The Joint Select Committee on Constitu-
tiotl Reforn.



T apa *subm s si-to 0 ontS le t om ite

AT the heart of the constitutional
crisis is the problem of limited
avenues for popular participation
in the affairs of State, with its
corollary of excessive concentra-
tion of power in the hands of
the Central Executive. Beneath
the enduring upheavals our
country has suffered for the past
seven years or more lie that
explosive polarization of extreme
power and extreme powerless-
Those are the harsh facts of
.political life which our people
have encountered in our search
for a more humane and equit-
able social order. We now under-
stand that the keys to economic
reorganization and to a cultural
revival, the means whereby we
might secure for ourselves a
more noble existence, remain
within the tight and unyielding
grip of a Maximum Leader and a
handful of professional politicians
who sit astride the machinery
of the State.
What is even worse is that,
without the means to defend our
interests, the position of the vast
majority of the citizens has been
deteriorating rapidly. At the very same
time, the prevailing political and con-
stitutional conditions have proved to
be favourable for the appropriation
of an ever larger slice of the national
cake by a privileged few.
Let the figures speak for them-
selves. The Household Budget Survey
of 1971-1972 showed that the top 20
per cent of households in the nation
were in receipt of 58 per cent of the
income, a gain of 8 per cent from
their position in the period 1957-
At the other extreme, the bot-
tom 20 per cent of the households had
lost 1.2 per cent of their share of the
income since 1957-1958 to fall to 2.2
per cent in 1971-1972. By 1971-1972
some 70 per cent of the nation's
households received less than the
national average of $290 per month.
The picture is one not only of
gross inequality but also of growing
inequality, a state of affairs which
ought to be, in Tapia's view, one of
the major considerations in the exer-
cise of Constitution Reform.


Tapia's position is that the
constitutional crisis is not simply a
matter of the adequacy or otherwise
of a particular arrangement of the
institutions of the State. The crisis is
all-embracing in its nature, and relates
to the facts of economic dispossession,
political impotence, social disorganiza-
tion and cultural dependence.
In our view, the crisis is of
revolutionary proportions. We there-
fore state that the specific exercise of
Constitution Reform, the search for a
more appropriate arrangement of the
institutions of the State, will make
sense only if it is seen as part of the
larger task of re-constituting the
society, that is to say, of dismantling
the entire apparatus of the Crown
Colony system we have inherited, and
of the neo-Crown Colony system
under which we have laboured since
In sum, the imperative of the
times is to anchor the sovereignty,
political, economic or otherwise, in


the vast multitude of the little people,
as opposed to the King, the Governor,
or indeed, the Maximum Leader.
If the end result of the exercise
in Constitution Reform is to confirm
the sovercignty-of the citizen over the
State, then the very method of seek-
ing that desired goal must from the
start, and at every stage in tie process,
affirm that sovereignty.
For this reason, Tapia has from
the start, as far back as 1969 when we
identified the crisis as being of an
all-embracing constitutional nature,
called upon the Government to sum-
mon the sovereign people together in
order to establish a lasting framework
for the government and politics of
the nation.
Tapia has insisted that, with
the complete erosion of trust in the
established institutions, only a Con-
stituent Assembly, a Conference of
Citizens, an Assembly and of all
the people's political spokesmen,
could conceivably possess the moral
authority to sanctify any new set of
arrangements for the running of the
The stubborn refusal of the
present Government to yield pride of
place to the sovereign will of the
people, therefore renders the present
exercise, and any document which
may emerge from it, illegitimate.
Tapia has repeatedly called on
the Government to desist from its
undemocratic course,-and having pur-
sued the matter even within the
precincts of Parliament itself, pro-
posed to the Government that there
still existed the possibility of opening
up the exercise to the participation
of the leaders of the community.
That the Government used its auto-
matic majority in the Senate to block
such a democratic proposal is now
In the light of the foregoing,
Tapia, therefore wishes to state that
it repudiates the present exercise, and
issues a warning that when we form
the Government we shall feel morally
bound to reject whatever Constitution
the Government seeks to impose on
the country by such illegitimate
As befits the undemocratic
method they have adopted in intro-
ducing Constitutional Reform, the
Government has presented to the
country a Draft Constitution which
seeks to perpetuate and to entrench
the existing undemocratic concentra-
tion of power in the hands of the

central Executive, and in particular,
the Prime Minister.


In point of fact, this Draft Con-
stitution is even more inimical to the
freedom of the citizen than the exist-
ing 1962 Marlborough House Con-
stitution. For by pretending to make
ccsoncessions to popular demands and
to the democratic principle, the Gov-
ernment is in fact attempting to
obscure the continued domination of
the administration and of the political
life of the country by the Central
Government, and within the Central
Government by Parliament, and
within Parliament by the Executive,
and within the Executive by the Prime
Minister. Nothing of substance of the
1962 Constitution has been altered, and
a great deal that is of a purely
obfuscatory nature has been inserted.
Without any attempt to come
to grips with the problems of popular
participation in the affairs of State,
without any attempt to securely
anchor the rights and freedoms of the
citizen, without any attempt to redress
the present imbalance of power
between the Central Government and
Local Government, and within the
Central Government, between Parlia-
ment and the--Executive, as well as
between the political arm 9f the
Government and the Public -Service,
then no number of Ombudsmen or of
Integrity Commissions can help the
citizen to win control over the Gov-
ernment, to protect himself against
its encroachments on his freedom or
to ensure the accountability of elected
The Draft Constitution fails to
deal with the Central issue of the
distribution of power in the country,
and instead attempts to bamboozle
the population with superficial, cos-
metic changes, the only possible
effect of which, as clearly is the case
with the proposed Integrity Commis-
sion, would be to augment the already
vast power the Prime Minister wields
over his Ministers and over the Public


Tapia's proposals for Constitu-
tion Reform have been designed with
two related aims in mind.Our proposals
seek to overturn the inherited colonial
order of things by placing the ordinary
citizen firmly in charge. Also, we are
proposing a set of constitutional
arrangements which we believe to be
appropriate both to the needs of a
period of revolutionary reconstruction
'and to the longer-term needs of a
society founded on the principles of
equity, justice and fair-play.
The first set of proposals relate
to the need for institutionalizing the
participation of the population in the
affairs of State. We are advocating an
expanded system of local Government
which will allow the citizen in his or
her locality to take complete control
over all those matters which affect
him or her directly.
Our scheme envisages that the
units of local 'Government will be
small enough to make participation
by the citizen a reality, but of suffi-
cient size to allow for the revenue and
other resources necessary to the
exercise of authority at the local
Alongside with this proposal, we
are advocating the restructuring of

Parliament to provide for greater
citizen participation at the level of
the central Government, Concretely,
we are proposing that the present
Senate be abolished, and that in its
place be put a Permanent Conference
of Citizens, which would comprise the
representatives of every conceivable
community interest, economic, social,.
cultural, religious or whatever, selected
and paid by their organizations and
subject to recall by them, together
with the representatives of local Gov-
ernment bodies and of public corpora-
Such a body will, we believe,
bring public opinion to bear on
decision-making at the central level,
give the citizen a voice in the promo-
tion and defence of his special.
interests, re-integrate the organs of
local Government at the central level
and assist in making public, semi-
public and private institutions more
accountable to each other and to the
general public.
Tapia's second set of proposals
relate to the urgent need to curtail
:the present excessive powers of the
Executive, over Parliament and over
the Public Service. With regard tp
Parliament, we are proposing the crea-
tion of a full range of Parliamentary
committees, with full powers to allow
them to act as indispensable watch-
dogs over the performance of the
Executive with reference both to
Ministerial responsibility and the
proper functioning of the career civil
As far as the Public Service is
concerned we have shaped our pro-
posals with a view to reducing the
present powers of patronage enjoyed
by the Prime Minister. We are propos-
ing that power to make certain
appointments be taken away from the
Prime Minister, and that the power to
make other appointmentsbe subject
to review by Parliament. We also see
the need for greater independence of
the Public Service Commissions.
Finally, there is the question of
the balance of power between the
individual citizen and the State. In
this regard, we believe that not only
should the Constitution clearly delimit
those areas where the rights of the
citizen may not be derogated from,
but that the chwi n should have the
opportunity to test any piece of
legislation or any Constitutional
amendment or any administrative ,'le
which he believes infringes his consti-
tutionally guaranteed rights or alters the
basic structure of the constitution in
such a way as to affect his enjoyment
of those rights.
Further, the citizen must have
the right to challenge the law without
having to break it., Tapia therefore
proposes that provision be made for
the establishment of a Constitutional
The proposals that Tapia has
reiterated here today, both for a new
arrangement of the State, and for a
method of arriving at such a new
arrangement, are addressed to the
citizens of the country.
Our philosophical position is
that the citizens are the sovereign
masters who must in the final analysis
decide between the alternatives pre-
sented to them. When the citizens, in
all their wisdom, do decide, then we
will know what kind of constitution
Trinidad and Tobago will have.
Until that supreme political
moment arrives, all such bureaucratic
and legalistic manoeuvres as those
which this Committee is engaged
upon are mere foreplay, titillating
perhaps, but hardly climactic.





**-: \

! I



Raffique Shah among the soldiers at the mutiny trials.

Could you outline briefly, the circumstances
of your early life?
I was .born in a small village in Trinidad's sugar
belt and, I grew up on a sugar plantation, the Brechin
Castle Estate. My father was and still is a worker in
the sugar factory, and in addition, he planted an
acre or so of sugar cane on tenanted land, did a little
vegetable gardening and was also a barber.
He did all of these things to ensure that I
didn't go to the field as a ritual, everyday, to assist
him and unlike many others I did not have to look
*for employment at the age of 10, which was normal
in the sugar belt at that time and to a lesser extent,
still is.
I attended primary and secondary school locally.
and in 1964 I was awarded a two year Sandhurst
Scholarship by the Trinidad government and left'the
country shortly after to pursue the officer's course
at Sandhurst.

You were sent to Sandhurst, I believe, to train
as a lieutenant for the Trinidad Defence Force,
What experiences would you extract from that
period as of importance?
It was my first time abroad. I was the son of a
labourer from a rural area of Trinidad; I had absolutely
no-connection with thebourgeois elements in modern
society and so, it was quite strange having tolive and
work at an academy dominated by them. -
The training from both the military and
academic stand-point was good good .in terms- of
developing oneself, particularly in the area of dis-'
cipline. I acquired a certain awareness of international

events which was not possible in Trinidad because
of the isolation.
It was also an interesting period in terms of
Third World politics. It was shortly after the Bandung
Conference; the conflict in Malaysia and Indonesia
was in progress with the British army playing an
active part. There were also the independence move-
ments in Africa and to a lesser extent fn the West
Indies. The black movement in the USA was emerg-
ing, the Arabs were fighting the British in Aden and
the Vietnam war was about to become a subject of
international importance.
There were cadets from most of these places
.at the academy and we would sit down together to
talk about these situations. Besides,we suffered the
nonnal discrimination albeit not as open as one
would find, say, in Brixton.
In tactical training; the enemy was always Arab,
African or Asian; I guess it is now the Irish. We, the
Third 'World cadets, approached these matters in
discussions and we began to see each other regularly,
forming in this case a loose Afro-Asian movement.
Progressives and militants met in this loose
movement, so called because it would have been
illegal to have an open organisation. It developed to
the point where we would attend lectures given by
the CIA, military historians, officers and the like and
occupy certain position in the room from where we
would,'ask questions of a political nature. In that
- way I wai politically active during my training at

You then returned to Trinidad to take up
your commission as a lieutenant in the

The "British Officers attitude "resented by the men in the ranks


Defence Force. Could you give us some idea
of what your remarriage with the local army
meant and how things developed after?
Those of us who were trained at Sandhurstat
that time had very high hopes on returning-.to
Trinidad and Tobago. We were trained in the run-
ning and the organisation of an army and we felt
that in our country we would really be able to give
of our best and serve the people of our country..
However, the reality was different. We found the,
situation even worse for us worse than it was irn

Can you give some example of what you
Firstly, the senior-officers had no military
background whatever. They were what one might
term political appointees who were appointed to such
positions because they were loyal to the ruling
party. They were the ones in command and they had
no idea of how to run a modern army.
SThe army itself was nothing but a glorified boy
scout troop. On our arrival back (those of us who
were trained abroad), we started by suggesting that
we organise proper training for soldiers; we wanted
the men trained to fight. We were not thinking about
fighting internally as we could not believe for one
moment that the army would be used against the
people-of the country.
We were thinking in terms of an external inva-
sion, in this case from Venezuela. You will remember
at the time, there was a lot of talk about a Vene.
zuelan invasion. All the efforts to have-the soldiers
trained fell on deaf ears and as -a result, a lot of
tension developed between junior and senior officers.

How did the tension express itself concretely?
Open rebellion by junior officers developed
around 1968. Let me give you an example As single
junior officers we were living in the Officers Mess.
The dining room was situated on the ground floor
and we were supposed to go down for dinner well
dressed, complete with neck-tie.
We set about to have them remove this colonial
rule and they refused. We felt that the compulsory
wearing of a tie in a tropical climate was absurd and
a colonial relic. We simply disobeyed the rule and
in the end would go to the mess in shorts and T.
There also developed a conflict of even greater
significance between the rank and file soldier and the
establishment as a whole. In fact at the forefront of
the rank and file movement were those soldiers who
were trained in the West India Regiment, (the army
of the now defunct West Indian Federation) by
British officers. They like us, were professionally
trained and could see and understand the incompe-
tence of the senior officers. They felt the same degree
of frustration at being stifled from exercising their
professional expertise.
Also, the Trinidad soldier rebelled against the
'British officer's attitude' of their seniors. The attitude
meant that a private is constantly kicked around by
his officer. In Trinidad, the private soldier knows the
officer. There is no ruling class from which the
officer comes, separate and distinct from the rest of
the society. He is just a man from down the street
who was a 'school teacher or simply a fairly clever
boy at school, that is all. They would have grown up
in the same area and therefore the private refused to
accept this kind of attitude. There were a number of
incidents in which there were physical clashes between
officers and the-men, and soldiers actually fired gun
shots at officers.

Were there any examples of organised forms of
Before going into that, 1 think we should men-
tion that at this time the black power movement






had established itself as a force among the unem-
ployed youth and was spilling over into the anny. It
was a common sight to find the soldiers reading The
Autobiography of Malcolm X, Soul on Ice by
Eldridge Cleaver and to some extent C.L.R. James'
Party Politics in the West Indies. So that there was
this important influence on the soldiers and in 1969
the Christmas dinner was turned into an organised
Now the Christmas dinner is in the British
tradition and soldiers from sergeant downwards sit at
the table and are served dinner by the commissioned
officers. The soldiers were saying that they were
oppressed by officers all year round and would not
tolerate the hypocritical Christmas smiles. 500 to
600 out of an army of 900, were gathered in the
dining hall and when served, they refused to eat. The
officers attempted to toerte tre men and fai'd. The
other form of rebellion ws called 'the soldiers

What was this weapon and how did they use
The thing among soldiers was to report sick,
pretending to be in need of psychiatry. And some of
them were actually going mad because of the atmos-
phere and conditions. In a day about one hundred
soldiers would be off sick. At the same time we, the
younger officers, used to meet and discuss the situa-
tion because it disturbed us both from the military
and political angle. When, however, people like
Lasalle and I proposed very radical changes, the
other junior officers were scared of it. At times they
would threaten to resign but they were not prepared
to take stronger action.
Meanwhile, Lasalle and I kept in touch with
what was happening in the population at large and as
a result of discussions, we came to the conclusion
that the one thing we could do, was to prevent the
government, which had obviously become unpopular
at that point, from using the army against the
When, therefore, on the morning of April 21st
a state of emergency was announced, following some
10 weeks of demonstrations and strikes, and the army
was summoned to act, Lasalle and I discussed the
situation briefly and took the decision there and
then to seize control of the army to ensure that it
was not used against the people of the country.

How do you take over an army?
Well, we moved around to certain soldiers in
whom we had confidence and told them what had to
be done. For instance, taking control of the ammuni-
tion bunker was the main target, then the communica-
tion system, some soldiers were detailed to ensure
that certain senior officers did not get out of line as
such and generally we took control of the barracks
by use of arms.
Having full control, we attempted to go into
Port-of-Spain and on the way there, were were fired
on by the Coast Guard. We then took a decision to
return to camp and from there, demanded that all
the political activists, who were detained in custody
following the state of emergency, be released; that
the government send a representative to work out the
setting up of a provisional government, comprising
all the political forces in the country and finally,
that the army be reorganised.
By the second day, we had changed our
demands as a result of the deliberations which took
place within the soldiers' committees that were set
up. The new demands did not include the original
political demands but were in fact totally confined
to the military.
The demands, as I remember them, called for
the dismissal of the commanding officer and the
reinstatement of Colonel Serette, who was forcibly
retired after he came into conflict with the govern-
ment minister responsible for the army.
Then we called for the phasing out of all
senior non-professional officers, promotion for the
rank and file soldier, based on merit. We also de-

9.R-: ) 1971

ri. A..
:' 9k;

handed -an immediate enqciry into tie role and
scope of the defence force, with a view to having it
transformed into a people's army.
Now, our concept of a people's army at that
time was different to what I believe a people's
army should be now. We saw the people's army as
still being a professional force which would operate
in terms of civil jobs, that is, the building of bridges,
assisting in agriculture and things like that.
The next demand called for the removal of the
army camp from Tetron which was sited in such a
position that there was but one route in and out of
the camp, contrary to all military principles. And
finally, we demanded amnesty for all the soldiers

What happened?
On that morning, the second morning, two
Venezuelan battle ships came steaming into Tetron
Bay. They actually came within yards of the army
camp in Tetron. We informed the Prime Minister
that the threatened invasion was not raised in discus-
sions and we were prepared to fight. The Prime
Minister, through an interpreter, ordered the Venezue-
lanm vessels out of our territorial waters.
This was followed by the appearance of
American naval vessels in our territorial waters. Out
patrols picked up evidence in Scotland Bay, which
is about one mile away from Tetron, of the presence
of US soldiers on the beach. It appears that they
probably landed a small group for reconnaissance
On the third day, the government sent the
returned Colonel Serette to meet with us and to
say that they had agreed to tie demands. On May
1st, Serette told us that we were wanted in Port-of-
%I .ad:tionl.at d wa would be returned to
ihetirmy.na ay or two. We eemplied and spent the
next 27 months in prison.

What were the charges laid 'against you and
how was the trial organised?
We were arrested and charged with treason
and mutiny. They brought in African officers to
preside at the court martial, and it seems the message
behind it was, 'Ok you are shouting black power, so
here are some blackmen from Africa to try you'.

Both you and Lasalle were sentenced to 20
years and 15 years imprisonment after making
unrepentant and revolutionary addresses to
the coutt.What response did you get from the
The response was tremendous and overwhehn-
ing, particularly on the day we were sentenced.
School children came out for the first time on street
demonstrations. The clergy mobilised their congrega-
tions to demand an immediate release. Sections of
the middle class came out as well.
You see what had happened was this the
government had controlled the propaganda machine
from the time we were imprisoned. They said we
were rapists, that we intended to kill, maim and loot
the civilian population etc.
We in turn at the trial exposed the state of the
army to the nation and precisely why we took over
at the time. It was the first opportunity we had to
mobilise support in the country. Eventually we
appealed to the Court of Appeal in Trinidad and our
appeal was upheld. The government in turn appealed
to the Privy Council and their appeal was thrown
out. We were released on the 27th July 1973 after
27 months in prison.

C.u ldU 1 n .tl.in) hn v u bt.ta -nmt y i ivlv dl

oua you oune acivow ye w became sua oaeC
in Trade Union activities with the sugar cane Continued on Page 8

Shah the ex-soldier turns to sugar and politics.

at -~. -- -
Winston Lennard, recently silenced by Shah.

farmers following your release from prison?
The sugar workers approached me before the
cane fariners did to assist them in their fight to rid
themselves of their union leadership. The Industrial
Relations Act however, made it difficult starting a
new union to challenge the established union. The
law entails that you must wait a period of three years
for recognition or something like that. Also, the
constitution of the union legitimised the dictatorship
of the union leadership.
With the cane farmers, it was a different kettle
of fish. I was aware as were many others, that there
was an intense struggle taking place within the cane
farming community against their union leadership
and Cu'roi o iniited. It is only when they approached
me, explaining what was going on, that I was able to
determine that the farmers were on par with workers
in their own way.
Because when one looks at cane farmers, what
do you see. We see a number around 9.200 cut down
from an original 14,000 because it had become
unproductive to plant cane under the conditions
demanded by the sugar manufacturers. 75% of the
9,200 fanners cultivate cane on tenanted land, under
five acres. Five acres would produce about 50 tons.
Only 79 cane farmers produce tonnage of over 500
tons 79 in the entire country.
The contractual arrangement with the manu-
factuies is most brutal. They tell you what kind of
cane to plant. dictate the tennis of sale,how the cane
is to be reaped, even whether they buy it at all. In
all, these farmers contribute 45% of all the cane
grown in lte country. The rest is supplied from the
estates of the manufacturers themselves.

Who are the manufacturers?
It used to be completely Tate & Lyle. In 1968,
when the Ferment in the country began, the govern-
ment acquired 5i% of the shares, and earlier this
year, they acquired an extra 5%. paying a high price
for it, I am sure. Other individuals have a further 5%





and Tate & Lyle retain a 40% interest. But of course,
Tate & Lyle control the shipping and marketing,
which are the most lucrative areas of the whole

What lype of representation did the farmers
have before your intervention?
In about 1957, the bigger farmers got together
and formed the Trinidad Island Wide Cane Farmers
Association (TICFA). They employed a solicitor,
Norman Girwar, as their legal adviser. Within a
matter of a couple of years, Norman Girwar pulled a
coup within that organisation and got himself instal-
led as the manager, which is an appointed, as opposed
to an elected, position.
At that time, it did not represent many
farmers. However, they got the organisation incor-
porated by an Act of Parliament. By 1961, this law
was revised to make certain other provisions; they
abolished the mass vote and substituted a delegate
system of voting. By then, farmers had become very
disenchanted with the leadership and a series of
moves were set in motion to replace Girwar.
By 1965, there were several incidents of vio-
lence against farmers who tried to remove him. At
one annual meeting, the farmers were prepared to
move against him and consequently, the meeting was
held in a small village on the north coast, with hardly
a root of sugar cane within 20 miles. It was simply
another attempt at frustrating the fanners.
Then also in 1965, another law, referred to as
Act 1 of 1965, was passed, stating that all cane
farmers are compelled to be members of TICFA. The
company deducts a levy from the proceeds of the
farmers' canes, passes the money on to the Account-
ant General who in turn pays it over to the union.
On December 30th 1970, the farmers regis-
tered the Island Wide Cane Farmers Association, a
new union. It was not successful at first and by 1973
a body of farmers approached a group of men includ-
ing myself to assist them in the organisation of the
new union. I accepted.

How did you go about organising the farmers
into the union?
We began by holding a series of meetings
throughout the 'sugar belt, both public and private
meetings. Farmers were cautious at first, simply
because they have so often been betrayed. But by
the end of 1973, we could call a strike, the first
strike of cane farmers in the history of the country.
Striking means withholding the produce which
is not much strength really, more so, because manu-
facturers grew their own canes, some 55% of the
canes going to the factories. The 'no cut' campaign as
it was called, was designed to secure recognition and
an increase in price for farmers' canes.
What needs tobe understood at this points the
importance of sugar workers to our struggle. The
sugar workers had got rid of their union leadership
who,. at the time of our 'no cut' campaign, called
them out on strike in a struggle for the recognition
of the new leadership. The government agreed to an
increase in price per ton but refused to recognize our
union. The farmers were determined to continue but
the government, by recognizing the leadership of the
sugar workers, successfully got them back to work.
We were then forced to abandon the campaign.

What was your next move?
We decided to operate from within the union
by attempting to take over the union branches
through the democratic voting process. It was impos-
sible to find out what and where meetings were held.
In fact they were being held secretly. We ambushed
one of those meetings and lo and behold it was said
that the gathering was not in fact a meeting.
It became clear that this activity would be to
no avail so we resorted to the second option, with-
drawal of membership from the union. We printed
revocation forms and collected 6,00 signatures-
demanding that no lev'ybe deducted. The government
and the company would no budge. We continued
with meetings, at this time,laying stress on the politi-
cal situation in the country as a whole.
We reached the point where we were discussing

Reprinted from

the total nationalisation of the sugar industry. At the
start of the 1975 cane crop,we again called a 'no cut'
campaign and we were 99% successful. To those who
scabbed we made it impossible for them to selltheir
canes at the scales. Our farmers would occupy the
scales and ensure that nobody could sell canes to the

What was taking place in other areas of the
working class?
The Oil Field Workers Trade Union had, in
1974, organised a series of seminars geared to bring-
ing the oil workers back into the mainstream of the
politics of the country. At the same time, the leader-
ship of the sugar workers was propagandising their
members with a view to participation in electoral
At the end of '74, the sugar workers demanded
a wage increase of 100%, the oil workers demanded
80% and their recognition as representatives of white
collar workers in the oil industry and, as I said, we
were seeking an increase in prices for canes and
recognition of our union.
The general councils of all three unions began
meeting. A fourth union, the Transport Union, also
joined us. The general council is made up of officers
from the branches of the union and so, is fairly
representative of the 40,000 workers and farmers.
The general councils agreed to unite under an umbrella
organisation. This was of great importance, particularly
in uniting the Indian workers and farmers in sugar
with African workers in the other unions.
Meanwhile, our 'no cut' campaign was biting,
with sugar workers in the factories refusing to handle
canes of the strike breakers, who were able to get
around the blockade at the scales by sending canes
directly to the factory. Oil workers had launched a
go slow in support of their claim. A go slow is illegal
under the Industrial Relations Act, so they called it
a withdrawal of enthusiasm.

At what point did you publicly launch the
umbrella organisation?
On February 18th, we called a mass rally of
oil and sugar workers and they launched the United
Labour Front under the slogan 'Peace Justice and
Bread'. Estimates of the crowds ranged from 25,000
to 40,000 workers. We started at 10 am and finished
at 6 pm. Both industries came to a standstill and
electricity workers left the power station to run at
minimum capacity. We passed the resolutions that
multi-national corporations be expelled and that we
should own and control our resources.

What response did you get from other sections
of the population?
The unemployed in the Southern area responded
We held the rally in the South of Trinidad. Support
from the middle class was building up. The middle-
class sits on the fence and when it appears that one is
on the point of success they will support.
The ULF, as an organisation, had posed the
greatest threat to the government in 20 years and
could very well come to power, so the middle class
camd in to support. So did the clergy of the Presby-
terian, Anglican and Catholic churches. Profes-
sionals like doctors and lawyers offered their services,
food crop farmers in the north, fishermen in the
south, all supported and were mobilised.

Did the oil workers and sugar workers opt for
strike action?
I think the .sugar workers went on strike
immediately after the rally. The oil workers changed
from a withdrawal of enthusiasm to an all out strike
and increased their demand from 80%. to 147%. The
country ground slowly to a halt and everybody was
calling on the government to do something.
The Employers Consultation Association, which
represents local business interests realising a threat to
their profits took a full page advertisement calling on
the government to recognize the TICFA. We have
reliable information that Caroni Limited called for
recognition of our union as well.
We decided to intensify the struggle. Demon-
strations are illegal without police permission, so

Shah the Romantic Revolutionary.

along with some local priests, we called a religious
procession beginning outside the OWTU headquarters
in the South, and destined to end outside the Prime
Minister's office 80 miles away.
Despite threats from the police, geared to
scaring people from me procession, some 10,000
workers arrived at the starting point. After a few
yards the police stopped the marchers and the Special
Services Squad, trained to maim and kill, went into
Despite the brutality and the arrest of the
leadership, some 5,000 workers arrived in Port-of-
Spain on the following day. The army was called in
to move oil and sugar to consumers and none of the
demands except the increase in wages for sugar
workers was settled. At this point we called off the

From what you have told us, the question of
power was posed with the ULF in the van-
guard of this entire struggle. What next?
The United Labour Front has been a very
useful organisation in tenns of bringing the races
together; each section supporting the other in their
respective struggles. But it has short-comings. It is
essentially a unity of trade union organizations and it
is a big leap from that point into political organisa-
We are also faced with the question as to
whether we enter electoral politics. There are differ-
ing views in the organisation on this; in fact, there is-
conflict not open and hostile, but nevertheless a
conflict of views within the leadership and to a
lesser extent among the membership. Workers have
been accustomed to seeing elections as one of the
methods by which some change comes about. It is a
question that still has to b.e resolved.

What is the programme and policy of the ULF?
We of the ULF have, as a minimum stand,
anti-imperialism. The workers have passed resolu-
tions at our first rally for ownership and control of
our national resources under workers control, for the
creation of a new revolutionary state. We will raise
the discussion on the form and organisation of the
new state.
So the ULF still has a long way to go; it is not
by any means a revolutionary organisation but it is
certainly one that represents the interests of the
working class and which has to be moulded in order
to achieve the aspirations of the people of the country
The question is whether one can seize power
with such a loose organisation. It has been proven
elsewhere that without a proper organisation it.is
almost impossible to seize power.
Whether it is by electoral means or otherwise
I can't say, but 1 personally see the need for us to
begin the task of building a solid working class
organisation with its roots in the factories, work
places, the communities, in schools etc., which
would be the basis for a revolutionary constituent
assembly of the whole working class.



From Page 4
leave if this is necessary for the
performance of their political

dTcere is a need to broaden the
.area of recnitment tforparticipa
tion in politics. The public ser-
vice and the teaching service
employ over 27,000 persons
most of whom are persons of
above average education. They
are expanding areas of employ-
ment. Politics could be improved
by the involvement of these

A curious thing, Mr. Chairman,
about this'report is that very often
the facts are observed, but the insight
is lacking.And if there is anything to
be said in criticism of this report, is
that it is lacking in insight and courage
as a result of which it has failed
signally in solving the problems of
citizen participation which one mem-
ber, Mr. Reginald Dumas, who sup-
ported our Senate in principle, saw
as the "kernel of discontent."


What is demonstrated here is
that a constitution is fundamentally
political in nature and therefore can
only be properly framed by men and
women in politics.
There is an instance of extra-
ordinary perception in the minority
report of Mr. Solomon Lutchman.
This is what he had to say on the
political rights of public servants.

"Civil Servants and Teachers
should be free to indulge in
political activities. In a country
like Trinidad and Tobago a great
part of the talent is in the Civil
Service and the Teaching Pro-
fession, and to stifle them politi-
cally is to rob the country of a
good portion of the ability

"Civil Servants, in particular,
have practical experience of gov-
ernment and are better able to
make a useful contribution than
the theoretical and other irres-
ponsible ones made by university
professors and inexperienced
professional people. Several civil
servants and teachers do in fact
indulge in political activity, and
the right should be extended to

"Civil Servants in "delicate"
positions may not wish to
participate in politics, but the
decision must be theirs, not one
imposed upon them. A civil
servant's political activities would
be taken into account by the
Public Service Commission when
the question of appointment or
promotion to a policy-making
or senior executive position

"Civil Servants or Teachers..."

He concluded:-
should be permitted to
retire from the service if they
wish to become candidates for
election, or if they are appointed
as Ministers. Persons who retire
to become candidates or Min-
isters should not be reabsorbed
into the Service although they
may be eligible for appointments
on contract or on a temporary

Mr. Lutchman had the facts
but he did not have the courage to
accept the reality which I shall explain
in a moment. To suggest that public

Our attention has been drawn to Circular Memo-
randum No. 82 (E: 32/1/1), sent in the name of your
Permanent Secretary on September 9, 1975 to All
SPrincipals (of schools). The subject matter of the
Memo is "Publishing of Articles in the Press".

We here advise you:-

1) That the Regulations 69 and 70 of the
Public Service Regulations (1969) with
which you are requesting compliance from[
the Teaching Service are, in our considered
judgment, in restraint of the inalienable
rights of citizens of Trinidad and Tobago,
mapy of whom are politically affiliated to

2) That there is neither good administrative
reason nor valid constitutional warrant for
your Memo, though there may well be
pressing political necessity at this particular
time when the forces of progress are mobiliz-
ing for the coming electoral struggle and
for the consummation of the February

3) That your Memo must therefore be regarded
as an act of intimidation deliberately per-
petrated against the sovereign people, an
act which, besides, is tantamount to treason
and punishable on that scale.

4) That this act of intimidation is viewed by

servants and teachers should retire in
order to contest elections is to miss the
point completely.

IT is precisely because they
cannot afford so great a risk that
they have not been active. I am
urging that they be granted leave
of absence for this purpose with-
out loss of service as a means of
encouraging the citizens to
improve the polity.
Mr. C.L.R. James has always
dreamt of our small island becoming
the Athens of the Caribbean, and Dr.
Williams began by showing great con-
cern for such an ideal state in which
not a section but all the citizens
would participate. Is this too far-
fetched a prospect for the victims and
inheritors of the Middle Passage?
You will recall, Mr. Chairman,
that in the 1956 Election in the Arima
constituency the two candidates of
the people's choice were John Brooks,
your pupil teacher, and yourself, just
retired as head-teacher. At that time
party politics was unconventional
politics which simply means a change
in the rules of political conduct to
meet the new demands. The days of
the individual were over.
Even Brooks' undoubted popu-
larity was unable to resist the on-
slaught of the PNM. Brooks lost his
job, was forced to relinquish a lifetime
of reputable teaching to labour on a
sugar estate in Woodford Lodge. I
believe that you were instrumental in
his eventual reinstatement; although
he might have lost valuable service.
Twenty years later, I think we must
become unconventional again.
Members will also recall that the
PNM was swept into power on the
crest of the Teachers' Education
Association and the Civil Service.
John Donaldson, DeWilton Rogers,
Hamilton Maurice and yourself, Mr.

us in the perspective of the avalanche of
repressions being visited on the citizenry
by the political branch of the Government
with the result that agitation, confronta-
tion and insurrection have become the
most attractive and the most effective
means of popular expression, and our
country, for most of seven years, has been
teetering on the brink of revolutionary

Mindful of the inflammable character of the
people's frustrations at this moment, we consider it
our solemn duty:-

a) to warn all branches of the Government of
the perils of further provocation;

b) to alert you in particular to the intention
of the Tapia members of the Teaching
Service, and such of their colleagues as
they can persuade, to resist any attempt by
your Ministry to enforce Regulations 69
and 70;

c) to advise you that it would be preferable if
you withdrew the Memo and desisted from
your intimidation of teachers;

d) to caution you that if you fail to take heed
of these warnings, we will have no choice
but to protect our people's rights from
further Executive encroachment through
action legal, constitutional, political or

Chairman, among many others whose
names are now forgotten welcomed
Dr. Williams and formed the PNM.
Paymasters in the Civil Service
were handing out leaflets while they
passed on the cash. Civil Servants
were leaking information to the new
movement. One member of your com-
mittee here who has at last found his
calling, Hugh Harris, organised the
Civil Service Association which said,
in its newsletter editorial, to vote PNM
in the column where each paragraph
The pattern has never ceased.
Look at the Cabinet today and see
how many public servants are there -
Robinson, Padmore, Joseph, Gomes,
Pitt to call only a few. Two of them
were actually in the Senate while
they held substantive positions in the
Public Service. Who would believe
that they were just patriots responding
to the call of duty? They must have
been active party men all along. The
lady Vice Chairman of the PNM,
Phyllis Mitchell, is a supervisor of
schools. Go into every office in the
Public Service; there you will find a
big party man.
I have faced persecution; and
victimisation for years. Only to be
horrified during the heights of the oil
and sugar crisis this year when I saw
one of my bosses on the front page of
the Guardian accompanying Mr.
Chambers, the Minister of Finance, on
their way to Balisier House to attend a
General Counc'; Meeting.
And onlythis week this very
name appeared in the Guardian as a
person appointed to the Central
Executive as it gears for its elections.
I have no quarrel with that that is
in order except to say that the days
of the dispensing orders have long
passed, and the law must touch on all
Mr. Chairman,even the Wooding
Commission has-made the mistake of

accepting PNM and PSA propaganda
on this question. They state and I
"We discussed a possible review
of the regulations governing the
participation of public officers
in politics. Public officers now
have the right to join political
parties. They can take part in
party group activities and attend
as delegates at national conven-
tions. They are not supposed to
campaign publicly or engage in
activities involving identification
with any party at public func-
This view institutionalizes
hypocrisy. It is calculated to penalize
those who participate in the open and
to reward those who participate
covertly and cowardly, I may say, in
the Public Service. It is convenient for
the PNM which controls the purse-
strings and the spoils of office. It is
those who want to change the regime
that must come out in the open.
Those who sought change from
within the party and the Public Service
like the names on the Siberian roll-call
- Cecil Dolly, O'Neil Lewis, Max
Fill, DeWilton Rogers; even Robinson
and Hudson Phillips know how cramp-
ing is this close embrace.
The fact is that according to the
fundamental law of the land as
enshrined in the constitution, every
citizen has the inalienable right to join
political parties and express political
views. This Government knowsind the
PSA knows. I think you will find that
there is legal interpretation to that
Others may be reluctant, but I
claim my right under the Constitution.
I say with Patrick Henry, "I do not
know what other men may think but
as for me give me liberty or give me
Continued on Page 10

Tapia Letter to Minister of Education

Set our Teachers Free

o-B -.



mes sel 'p.I U a] eq ~1 ~ a-

From Page 9.

For me freedom is an instinct
md whether I am a civil servant or
not, no politician, no subordinate
legislation, no administrative opinion
can attempt to deny me that right
without at the same time acting
treasonously by subverting the Con-
But if we understand what Dr.
Gocking has been trying to tell us
about the ruling oligarchy consisting
of churchmen,businessmen, politicians,
trade unionists and officials which
cuts across the boundaries of race,
class and colour, we will see that this
group is, in effect, the ruling party,
and not the PNM as such.
The PNM as a party has long been
ditched. There is no accountability to
it. It has no vitality. So that when the
Prime Minister reshuffles his Cabinet
and sends public servants to the dog-
house, he is really reorganizing his
party machine. We will also under-
stand why all authoritarian personali-


The Editor,
Since the beginning of
April to now this country
has grown accustomed to
the viciousness of the
Chairman N.B.S. Radio
610/T.T.T. This man has
been appointed to do a
job viz rid the elec-
tronic media of anyone
fosterun views of
an anti-Establishment
To date, he has featured
prominently in a number of
foolish views, sentiments all
programmed to hide the issue
of freedom of expression in
this society.
Within this context
N.J.A.C. views this series of
events at Radio viz the dis-
missals, as another attempt
by Gov't to stiffle free
thought in the society.
We say this because it is
clear that since 1970 Gov't
has been gradually eroding
fundamental freedom in the
First there was the in-
famous Public Order Act -
this was withdrawn only to
re-appear piece by piece in
the form of the Sedition Bill,
Summary Offences, Firearms
Then there was I.R.A.
National Insurance etc. All
of these have effect despite
the Section of the Law -
guaranteeing certain basic
The powers of the police
have been widened so the
Commissioner of Police now
has the power to decide whe-
ther a demonstration or public
meeting should be held. He
can lay down conditionsaas
he sees fit.

ties will have a vested interest in
public ignorance and in keeping public
servants in impotence.
I wonder, Mr. Chairman, I
wonder how many people are aware
that Geddes Granger was a civil servant
up to 1966, and for how many years
his undoubted political talent lay
muffled in the dark London Street
stores of the Works Department?
One would have thought that
after the February revolution and the
assurances given by the Prime Minister
about constitution reform that serious
attempts would have been made to
draft a constitution which comes to
terms with pressing realities, one of
which is that the politics which has
always gone on in the Public Ser-
vice needs to be brought out in the
Because of our colonial past of
slavery and indenture and the attend-
ant dispossession, a most articulate
and vocal section of the sons and
daughters of the disadvantaged races
finds itself in the Teaching and Public
Services and if we are to get rid of
stand-pipe politics and really have
power to the people, if we are to move

All of these are specifically
geared to limit the views,
actions of people who hold
opinions opposed to the
Status Quo. And recently we
had Senator Julien calling
for a Benevolent Dictatorship.
This situation if ever
allowed to exist would en-
compass a Media which is a
total mouthpiece of the
Soon after this, Gov't
introduced the Criminal Law
Amendment Bill which pro-
posed to place the onus of
proof on the accused -
thereby reversing a time-worn
principle of being innocent
until proven guilty.
Within this whole frame-
work N.J.A.C. places the
dismissals at Radio 610. We .
see these as representing a
culmination of Gov-'t policy
from 1970 onwards i.e. stiffle
free expression in the society
at any cost.


We see Jimmy Bain as a
part of this policy. This view
is confirmed by the constant
attacks upon the Press by
established pillars of the
society i.e. E.C.A., big
business interests and the
P.M. and- sections of the
Our view is further sup-
ported by the vicious manner
in which the Gov't attacks
anyone who tries to utilise
the media for the purpose of
projecting ideas compatible
with a just, equitable society.
Further proof of this lies
with the ease with which a
weekly scandalises and villifies
progressive elements in the
society, and is ever-willing to
project the views of the State
freely and without any inter-
ference even to the extent
where a former.secretaiy of

away from the donkey track of
colonialism which Dr. Williams spoke
about in the early days, then this sec-
tion must be encouraged to come
forward and serve the country in the
highest capacity.
But instead we have a draft
before us which is infinitely worse
than the 1962 Constitution in that it
sets out to entrench the 1962 Con-
stitution and to deprive the citizen of
those rights which he now enjoys.
To me the draft is a yellow
print for dictatorship. Whatever its
intention its effect will be to make the
president the Head of State as well as
the Head of Goverunent, to immunize'
him against court action, and to lift
above the law of the land.
I thought that these issues had
been settled since the days of Coke
and Charles I. It will deprive the
citizens of the right to life and
property, to privacy and free expres-
sion because it guarantees rights on
the one hand and takes them off later
in other sections.
It will facilitate states of emer-
gency and recognize preventive deten-
tion which is always based on a false

the Police Association was
forced to complain of leaks
to this weekly newspaper.
The initial acts of Jimmy
Bain are unbeatable evidence
that a policy of silencing the
opposition i s clearly in force.
For his first acts were to
confirm the ban on Raffique
Shah and extent it to Weekes
and Panday.


Then he instituted a one-
man policy which is clearly
restrictive of anti-Gov't senti-
Against this background,
N.J.A.C. maintains that the
issue is not really Jimnmy
Bain but is more centrally
located in a strategy of aggres-
sion aimed at stiffling pro-
gressive ideas in Trinago.
In our opinion Bain is a
willing and overzealous ser-
vant of the Poers-that-be
(Gov't and Big Business
alike) and he is simply an
expendable toy to be politi-
cally discarded at the appropri-
ate time.
All, the people barbarically
punished have contributed to
other efforts at the vision of
a free press and we say firmly
that the time has come for
brother journalists to do
serious thinking on this issue
and during the period of
furthermore, we totally
condemn those vicious acts.
Likewise, we condemnnthe
U.C.I.W. and remain con-
vinced that it is a tool of the
Gov't machinery and is hos-
tile to fundamental change
in the society.
For, its conniving silence
is enough evidence of the
part it has played in this trio
angle of conspiracy between
Gov't, Big Business and so-
called workers' representa-

Dear Sir,
The two teams for the
first trial match in prepa-
ration for this years Shell
Shield have recently
been announced. With
Deryck Murray, Bernard
Julien and Inshan Ali on
tour the captaincy of the
Trinidad cricket team is
wide open.
The selectors have named
Prince Bartholomew and
Dudnath Ramkissoon as cap-
tains of the two trial teams
and there is speculation that
one on these will be named
the captain of the Trinidad
Team selecting in Trinidad
has always been a peculiar
thing because of the Constitu-
tion of the Trinidad Cricket
Council which gives Queens
Park Cricket club control of
the selectors
*Even worse the constitu-
tion requires that the captain
of the Trinidad cricket team
(selected by a selection com-
mittee which Queens Park
controls) must further be
approved by the Queens Park
Cricket club.
It is not surprising, there-
fore, that the Trinidad cricket
captain has always been
someone who Queens Park
wants and with few excep-
tions has always been a mem-
ber of die Queens Park team.
It i' in this context that
we mnst view tile selection of
the new Trinidad cricket cap-
tain. If we compare the
credentials of Prince Barthol-
omew and Dudnath Ramkis-
soon what do we have.
The former is an experi-

Within the above frame-
work N.J.A.C. calls upon the
journalists to act now
Furthermore we call upon
tie' Black Masses to rise up
convincingly and smother this
basic attempt at eroding one
of the fundamenati right of

premise. You cannot penalize a man
simply because you believe that he can
be a threat to the State. A man must
be punished only for breaking the law;
for such offences and for nothing else.
It seeks to exonerate the Crown
from paying compensation, to compel
the accused to prove his innocence,
and more specific to my argument, it
seeks to entrench restrictions imposed
on public officers.
True to form, and to its lasting
condemnation the PNM has brought
back the Public Order Bill as its set of
proposals for a new constitution for
Trinidad and Tobago.
That Public Order Bill was
rejected by the country; and at a time
when it is fashionable to speak of
morality in public affairs, it is a great
usurpation of the sovereign rights of
the people to devise a constitution in
any other form which brings back in
large measure, that nefarious piece of
legislation. At that time we-thought
.that Hudson-Phillips was the architect,
but now we know much more.
Thank you very much, Mr.
Chairman, members of the committee,
for a patient hearing.

enced player (probably the
most senior player on the
Trinidad team available) who
has had a lot of experience
as club captain for Paragon
and as a player for Trinidad
in regional cricket. His record
is a good one both as bowler
and batsman.
Dudnath Ramkissoon has
captained the Trinidad colts
side and the West Indian
.youth team to England.
Since then he has been culti-
vated by Queens Park and
eventually made the Trinidad
team last year where he had a
good match against the
Combined Islands. However
he is yet to establish himself
on the Trinidad team.
Based entirely on merit
there should be no question
that Prince Bartholomew has
the credentials for the job of
captaining dithe Trinidad team
in this years Shell Shield
tournament and that they
are immeasurably better than
-those of Ramkissoon.
However, there is- always
the problem in the present
set-up of Trinidad cricket of
satisfying Queen's Park. Can
die selectors in the context
show some measure of inde-
Their choice is between
a seasoned established per-
former who is undoubtedly
experienced enough to captain
the side and a young "blue
eyed" boy of the established
club who could very well
become the "Mike Denness"
of Local cricket.

burss truly,
Selwy'n Taylor.

the society.
All Power to tdie Black
Oppressed Masses.
All Power to the People.

Anum Bankole
P.R.O. NationalJoint
Action Committee.

N.L.A.C. say Bain is Pawn in

Government's Repressive

Cricket Captain

must be selected

on merit alone!

_ ---,--

- -------------- -

DAr'f 10 TAPTA



This is Orchard juice, orange
and grapefruit.
It's full-strength fruit juice. So you
can mix it to suit your taste.
Comes only in the big 1 litre pack
Great for in-home family use.


4 4IL

This is the new Orchard drink.
We made this drink from the full-strength Orchard juice by pre-mixing it
- so you won't have to add water. Come to
Comes only in a small pack, /4 the size of the-big
1 litre pack.
So here's the new convenience you now
have from Orchard... r aste t at s a ks
BIG 1 LITRE PACK of for taste that sm acks
full-strength fruit juice for home (above left). Of the country
*SMALL 1 LITRE PACK of pre-mixed drink
(above) for when you're out, and need something all ready for on-the-spot.drinking.




~Pe~ ~



"The Bad Poet" begins its run

at Little Carib Theatre


ONE of the Caribbean's
greatest oral poets Malik
will be performing at the
Little Carib in the first
week of November, Kairi,
the group that has pre-
sented Iswe, Dem Two,
Bruce St. John and All
Ah We has now turned
their energies to produc-
ing this long awaited
Entitled The Bad Poet
the show will provide theatre-
goers with unique experience
of theatre. In performance
Malik is a combination of
poet, preacher calypsonian
and magician as he confronts
his audience with the force
of unaccustomed reality.
Malik, though relatively
unknown to many, has over
the past five years and two
books (Black-Up 1971 and
Revo 1975) built up an
almost legendary reputation
in the Caribbean. Works like
Pan Run 1 & 2, Africindia
and Mottovision have become

territories )


. $2.50 (Ja)

classics of their kind.
Like all oral poets, the
main strength of his work
lies in its performance and
thus Malik's exposure before a-
wider audience is long over-
due. Most of the items in
The Bad Poet are from his
latest publication (Revo) and
includes the haunting Litany
and Fireflies, the elaborate
Revo and the two tunes
which had people jumping at
a. recent performance, the
calypso-type sequel to Pan
Run, Tenor Girl and the title
tune The Bad Poet.
In this blending of music,
rhythm and language Malik
is supported by Trinidad
(formerly Curepe) Scher-
zando the 'Tempo' band
for 1975 and the only one of
the major steelbands to be
community sponsored.
Also supporting are The
New World Performers, a
group of energetic and versa-
tile performers who have
impressed 'audiences with
their talent and professional-

Other Caribbean:

USA 4Canada.


ism during the recent round
of Valentino'sPoet & Prophet
shows and their own highly
successful Who She.
The Bad Poet runs for
three nights at the Little
Carib Theatre, the 6th. 7th.
& 8th. of November. Tickets
are $5.00 and available at
Sealey's Mer Store, Frederick
Street, or, the theatre from
3.00 p.m. on the days of

$5.00 (U.S.).

$5.00 (U.S.).
L 1.50.



We've got what you
need at minimum cost.



EFFECTIVE 1st December, 1974.

Readers should note that there hls been a change in the MANJAK subscrip-
tion rates, with effect from 1st December, 1974.
MANJAK now offers rates for one (1) year, rather than for 26 issues of
the journal, as at present
Current subscribers should, however, note that their subscriptions for 26
issues of the journal remain in force.




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