Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072147/00246
 Material Information
Title: Tapia
Physical Description: no. : illus. ; 43 cm.
Language: English
Publisher: Tapia House Pub. Co.
Place of Publication: Tunapuna
Creation Date: December 28, 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: UF00072147:00246

Full Text


30 Ceits




THE 1976 Budget has
now been presented and,
as we predicted, it has
undoubtedly set all
kinds of records. The
most obvious, of course,
is its sheer magnitude.
Never before have we
had a $2,000 million
The most significant
record, however, is that
never before in budgetary
history, has one budget
said so little about any- reasonably
thing important. expected.
It is a fact which we ment, wh'
need to ponder with are concern
some care. It is not that operated
we-reasonably could have adage "wl
expected the elaboration corn feed
of any programmes which, And two
in the short run, that is in an elec
to say in 1976, could have lot of corn
done anything towards But in
relieving the onerous magnitude
burden of economic and and all the
social deprivation, which c
The mere fact of petro-indu
having more money to ral-caribbe
spend does not automatic- supposed
ally increase your com- we must d
petence to spend it nor sures of la
your concern for the n expects
an expect
welfare of your people. to be scant
We can
without q
ATTACKS G overnme
paciiy to
Nonetheless, the fact tasks of
remains that this was the social
last scheduled budget What this
before the next General
Election. Given this Gov-
ernment's bankruptcy of
any political resources
beyond their control of
the purse-strings of the
State, the fact that the
budget failed to excite
any degree of apprecia-
tion, and was attacked
most vehemently by
those institutions and
organizations in the
country who have tradi-
tionally been content to
play ball with the Gov-
ernment, is significant
In the first place, even
though the initial response
of many people was to
shout about "election
budget", the budget was
far from being that.
True, this is what most





y was to be
The Govern-
ere its budgets
ned, has always
lby the old
ho have more
More fowl".
billion dollars
;tion year is a
terms of the
of the budget,
e colossal sums
our longterm
an plans are
to cost, that
lecm the mea-
rgesse given to
ant population,
: indeed.
all accept,
Question, the
nt's total inca-
undertake the
economic and
Budget clearly

reveals however is that
the Government has now
lost even its competence
for manipulation.
This assuredly 's not
a question ofany ninety-
ninth hour or twentieth
year conversion to the
politics of integrity and
statesmanship. On the
contrary, it is but the
most salutary example
we in this country have
yet had of what might
be called the natural,
limits of chicanery.
These limits refer not
to the proclivity of the
Government for decep-
tion and subterfuge, for
lying and doubletaking,
for in fact they need
these tools now more
than ever before -and
there is no indication

-that they are any less
endowed for the craft of
graft than they ever
IThe limits are to be
found in the fact that
they have been pursuing
their policies of bribery
and bramble for ten years
or more and the dispens
stations of corruption are
no longer causes for grati-
tude but have come to
be regarded as something
very close akin to
inalienable rights.
So the question might
well be what does it
profit a corrupt Govern-
ment to continue with
its policy of giftcraft if
the population no longer
regards the distribution
of handouts as something
extraordinary but rather
as a nonnal feature of its
fiscal management.
The Government there-


A Comprehensive Review of


fore finds itself in what
must be" an acutely em-
barassing position. With
such vast sums to spend
it is~ -_,.ad to do any
good aj~,has been too
good at being bad to be
bad any longer. A straight
case of Jaws.

Of equal or perhaps
greater significance is the
vehemence of the attacks
launched against the
budget by Tommy Gat-
cliffe in the Senate and
subsequently by the
Chamber of Commerce
Moreover, while Gat-
cliffe was content to
expose the fictitious
nature of even the few
fiscal concessions the
Cont'd on Back Page

Agricultural Policies


1 I-------?-------------^ll-U-L- lii- .-~--~--a~- (1~-- -- _


Vol. 5 No. 52

Sldgmi th


IT is one of the classic ironies of
the 1976 Budget that some of the
ideas that are unfurled in the
supporting documents are so
progressive, in spite of some
glaring inconsistencies which they
contain, as to be totally out of
any relationship with the pro-
nouncements and details made
in the actual budget. This is not
unexpected since Williams wrote
his budget speech himself. Ana-
chronism had a field day on
December 12.
Hear the Supplementary Notes
to the Budget, "The Budget," it says,
"serves the purpose of explaining how
the policy objectives will be translated
into actual programmes of action
giving an insight into the direction
which socio-economic policies and
activities will take in the coming year,
thus serving as a programming tool, as
an indicator (as to)how public sector
outlays and activity are expected to
influence the propensity to save and
invest of the private sector, influenc-
ing the distribution of income in the
On reading and re-reading the
actual budget however one can find
no evidence of these criteria any-
where, suggesting that the Prime
Minister did not bother to read any
of the supporting documents himself
or is so contemptous of the population
that he feels he can recommend that
we read the supporting documents
without recognizing the inconsistencies
between them and hisbudget.


The area where there is the
gravest deficiency in the budget is with
respect to national welfare. Either in
terms of proposals for or at least
discussion of the~ in which man-
kind in this country is going to enjoy
better basic conditions of living. No-
where in the budget does the Govern-
ment address itself to the serious
unemployment problem that exists in
the country by either short-term or
long-term measures. At the present
time there must be some 70,000
people unemployed. When one adds the
20% of the labour force seriously
unemployed, working three days or
less per week, then some 25% pf more
of the labour force is unemployed or
Nowhere is there any examina-
tion of the contribution that past
measures of the Government have
made to the creation of productive
employment or of the new or addi-
tional measures to deal with the
problem squarely. Some figures are
dropped here and there like the 9000
new jobs expected in construction
over the period 1976-1979. A great
consolation for the morethan 90,000
unemployed and underemployed.
From the great silence of his masters
voice on the Employment Assistance
Act ve .can conclude that results have
been poor.


Another area which the Govern-
ment refused to attack frontally in its
1976 budget is the worsening of'
income distribution in the society. We

in Tapia consider a drastic reduction
in inequality to be one of the pre-
eminent tasks of the present time and
the technocrats in Trinidad House
seem to be aware of the enormity of
the problem.
The Government gets on as if
putting certain items under price
control is all that is needed to redress
the balance between rich and poor.
They give an increased allowance to
$300 to all participants in the labour
force. They give working wives at
long last the right to file separate tax
returns and to enjoy the same allow-
ance as their husbands. Fair enough
That could swing a few votes come
election. These two measures cost
$18.4 million.
But in order to keep constant
the distribution of income between
households the one where the husband
and wife work and the other where
there is only one spouse working it
would have been necessary to increase
the allowance for a wife or husband
who does not work. The little doctor
studiously avoids this. Thus the new
measure while good in itself for recog-
nising equality of the sexes, turns out
to be a half measure worsening further
the stark realities in income distribu-

On the general question of a
wages and incomes policy, we are
spared the grand charge this year. In
1973 we were told that consultations
were to be "resumed in the first half
of this year with the clear purpose of
arriving at early agreement on the
important national questions of
appropriate guidelines and ceilings for
wage and salary increases and for divi-
dends." We have heard no more about
Last year Mr. Chambers was'
again making noises about need for
restraint and suggesting some vague
intentions on the part of the govern-
ment. There is nothing, about that
in the 1976 budget. But indicative
of the way the government passes the
buck is a reference in the "supple-
mentary Notes" to the fact that
some countries tried exhortation and
failed to achieve wage, income and
price stability.
In other words we are so depen-
dent on the outside world that
nothing we can do here will reduce the
gap being created between organised
labour and the commercial and entre-
peneurial class on the one hand, and
unorganised labour, the poor and the
destitute on the other. It is a big free
for all with no holds barred and the
Government as refree looking the
other way.


One would have expected with
such tremendous resources they would
have at last made a serious effort to
redistribute income in terms of real
resources that are of benefit to the
poor along with improvements in their
money incomes. A good index of the
government's commitment to this task
is what it does for the destitute in the
society, the old age pensioners and
poor families on social assistance. On
that score we have absolute silence
this year. They thought they were
very generous last year when they
raised old age pensions by 50% from
$30 to $45.
The cost of living has risen by
some 13% between October 1974 and
October 1975. It means our old age
pensioners are now 13% worse off than
last year. It is estimated that an adult
needs about $90 a month just to keep
body and soul together. This is to take
care of food, rent clothing, fuel, lights,
and some household supplies. The least
the Government might have done was
to raise social assistance and old age
pensions by 13% in a twelve month
period. Small wonder that poor are
dying on the streets.


Worse than that for the un-
organised workers. Since 1973, we
have had a minimum wages bill that
was put out for public comment
supposedly like so many issues, the
government is continuing to keep the
matter "under study". Meanwhile is
endless scrunt for large sections of the
population. Tapia has always insisted
that money income does not tell the
whole story of income distribution.
We have to look at all the social or
public amenities and facilities that are
made available to the citizens and
more particularly to those at the lower
end of the income scale.
When we look at the public
goods sector there is nothing to sug-
ges an alleviation of the burdens
imposed on the poor. For example,
public transport is supposed to be
subsidized but the record shows that
while the number ofbuseshas increased
by 12% since 1971, the number of
passengers carried and the number of
miles travelled by P.T.S.C. buses have
both fallen by over 33% over the
same period. If you are a worker'

required to get to work by a particular
hour, the loss of time involved in
waiting for a bus makes that means of
transport very expensive.
With respect to hospitals, the
Central Statistical office has just pro-
duced a report showing that the
number of hospital beds per 1000 of
population has not increased since
1964 and was hardly any better than
in 1956. Health Fund or no Health
Fund is areal pain!


As for housing the same report
shows that some 65% of the population
is living in substandard housing in the
country. The Prime Minister could
try to mesmerize the population by
calling whole string of place names to
give the impression that the govern-
ment is doing so much for housing
accommodation. The Architects
Association have shown that with
15,000 housing units per year it would
take almost a decade to bring %bout
accommodation to the masses. In
recent years there has been a decline
in the number of new dwellings con-
structed and this has never exceeded
4,000. N.H.A. has not even touched
the surface of the problem.
On the story of water, the
Minister of Finance speaks fluently of
the water resources Fund and the urgent
needs of the community over the next
decade as if the problem does not
exist now. But hold strain, we will
bathe by 1985.


The Government has not only
failed to provide leadership in the
productive sectors of the economy
to ensure the rapid diversification and
balanced development of the country.
It has shortchanged the little people
of the country. It has shilly-shallied
shamelessly refusing to confront the
massive social ills of the country-
inequality, unemployment and depriva-
tion. The country is rich but the
people are poor in all the areas that
'And so we move on to Budget
Year 1976' the year of endless
special Funds. This Government is not
yet tired of playing fun with the people
of Trinidad and Tolago.

Our printing-plant is open at
The Tapia House 82-84 St. Vincent
Street, Tunapuna.

Kindly phone orders to: 662-5126.




National Welfare

ignored by G ov'ts

2 Billion Budget

- -

-- I----`...

...TA l-A-'



I i" I~-.d



State of






WHERE there are no priorities,
everything is a priority. In no
;ector is this more apparent than
Sthe agricultural sector. Every
ar the Government announces
inew measures, new support for
agriculture or re-emphasises old
p 'icies without any conscious
'tempt to put the little pieces
together ; the parts are greater
than the whole.
--- W-a-t--appears to-happen is-that--
the individual sections or departments
of the Ministry of Agriculture put
forward proposals to make the section
the most important. These are then
taken to the cutting room where an
arbitrary process ofbargaining eventu-
ally yields the final agricultural budget.
The annualbudgetary allocations
are in no way related to the longer
term plans for the sector: definitely,
the Third Five-Year Plan is not even
consulted. It follows that no attempt
is made to relate this year's allocations
as part of the achievement of ends,
five years hence. Nor are last year's
expenditure reconciled with the stated
aims then.


Thus year after year, financial
allocations are made for the provisions
of facilities and there is little or no
account or audit for recurring expen-
diture on the same items. (The result
is picked up elsewhere in the
Auditor-General's Report as over-
spending on projects and years taken
to complete 100-foot walls).
The immediate criticisms which
come to mind in assessing this Gov-
ernment's agricultural policy are the
failure to set priorities as part of an
overall plan, and secondly, the failure
to audit or reconcile expenditure
undertaken in the previous year with
the proposed projects.
Whatever reservations one may
have had about the agricultural policy
as established in the Second Five-Year
Plan and reaffirmed in the Third Plan,
the Government itself should have at
least reconciled the yearly budgetary
statements with this longer-term vision,
particularly in the agricultural sector
where the gestation period is normally
longer than one financial year.
Basically the Five-Year Plans
envisaged the continued production
of the traditional export crops
sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus but with
increasing yields per acre by measures

to include superior varieties and
On the other hand food crops.
for local consumption were to be
developed to "establish the basis for a
productive small and medium-sized
farming system geared to produce
increasing quantities of milk, eggs,,
poultry, green vegetables, root crops,
pork and pulses for the local market
and in some instances for export in
processed form." (3rd Five-Year Plan).
To assist this sector Extension
Services and officers would be pro-
vided, together with credit, production
subsidies, guaranteed prices and organ-
ised marketing. But the key instru-
ment was the Crown Lands Develop-
ment Programme which was designed
not only to expand production on the
organised settlements but also to
operate as a catalyst to encourage
investment in Agriculture by other
farmers and investors. (Third Five-
Year Plan)
That was 1969 named Agricul-
ture Year and soon to be followed by.
1970 dubbed the Year of Revolution.
Theoretically, the Five-Year Plans for
agriculture have been deficient. The
PNM Government based in the con-
crete jungle of the urban areas lacked
insight into the dynamic of agriculture.


Growing food is not a job which
one moves into or out of lightly. It is a
way of life which depends on a certain
cultural outlook and discipline. If one
is to develop agriculture, the Plan has
to concentrate, at least initially, on
the areas where the traditional agricul-
tural population is concentrated.
Instead, the Government allowed
these areas to remain in the grips of
the plantocracy and set about to
establish a new agricultural class on
the sands of Waller Field. In a sense,
the Crown Lands scheme was more a
Housing Scheme than an agricultural
project. It provided houses and space

for some.peoplc, among them party
carders and supporters.
The agricultural areas peopled by
a "recalcitrant minority" were allowed
to eat cake thrown down by Tate and
Lyle. Even more treasonable, some of
the best agricultural land in the
country in Diamond Vale, and
latterly Trincity and River Estate were
put under housing. The PNM Govern-
ment has used its terms of office to
alienate the scarcest of all resources in
this island-state: arable land.
Fundamentally, the PNM's agri-
cultural policy did not perceive the
essential conflict between export-
based agriculture and the production
of food primarily for local consump-
tion. There is a competition for
resources between the two sectors -
for land, capital, labour and technol-
ogy. In any such battle the Goliath
Tate and Lyle has a tremendous
advantage over the Davids among the
peasant tanners of the country.


The ;esult of this agricultural
policy has not only been felt in the
impoverishment of the agricultural
workers but in the high import bill
which this country has been faced
with. The food import bill of Trinidad
and Tobago skyrocketed from $103.3
million in 1970 to $250.1 million in
1974 and you could better your bottom
dollar that in 1975 the food import
bill could be anything like $300 million
and change. Alistair McIntyre, Secre-
tary-General of the Caricom Secretariat,
recently put the food import bill for
regional countries at $1 billion.
There are four crucial issues
which must form the background
towards the formulation of any agri-
cultural plan. The first has already
been mentioned the high and
increasing food import bill. What is
not so obvious is that inspite of this
huge importbillthe nutritional require-
ments of the people of this country
are not being satisfied and this is the

second issue to be borne in mind.
One would expect that the large
import bill indicates an agricultural
sector operating at maximum capacity
but limited by land and labour in its
ability to meet total food demand:
that the concentration on export
crops yields income and employment
greater than that possible with a con-
centration on the production of local
food crops.
In practice, the agricultural
workers exist at the bottom of the
income ladder. This is the thirdni con-
sideration in any agricultural plain -
the income and employment creating
effects in terms of an existing
scrunting agricultural sector. The
scrunt not limited to incomes and
employment but to housing, water,
electricity and toilet facilities.
Against this one nlas to note the
uneven distribution of land in the
country where a few planters control

It has .already been men-
tioned that the Food Import bill
more than doubled between
1969 and 1974. The major food
the bulk of ths are agriuereals (Wheat and

Rice), Livestock products and
Dairy products, and Fruit and
Vegetables a large proportion
this is the fourth consideration.


process industry.
It has already been men-
tioned that the Food Import bill

more than doubling of fd imporbetween

is only partially a result of the in-
1969 and 1974. The major foodwing
population are Cereals (Wheinflat and
sweeping the Westock products ande

last -few years has been reflected in
Dairy products, and Fruit and

Vegetable s a lae prood importion
Thusof which goes ing of the "alue of food

imports did not mean a doubling of
processing industry.

The doubling of food imports
usis only partially a result of the in-
creasing demand for food with growing

population anaring food incomes: the infpopulation
sweepinues the Western world over theional
last few years has been reflected in
higher unit prices for food imports.
Thus the doubling of the value of food
imports did not mean a doubling of
the volume of food imports.
Thus inspite of the large and
soaring food inmportbill the population
continues to suffer from nutritional
*'Continued on Page 4

A Comprehensive

Review of Government's

Agricultural Policies

From Page 3

deficiencies. A survey carried out in
1970 by the Caribbean Food and
Nutrition Institute in conjunction with
the T&T Government, came up with
some startling figures on the nutrient
state of the people of the country.


While area and overall averages
in nutrient intakes showed adequacy
in each of the nine nutrients for
which the diets were evaluated, on the
basis of the individual household
requirements only 61 per cent of the
households surveyed met their require-
ments for calories, 69 per cent for
protein, 68 for calcium, 66 for iron,
71 for vitamin A, 68 per cent for
thiamine and 88 per cent for ascorbic
acid. Only 49 per cent and 56 per cent
met with their requirements for ribo-
flavin and niacin, respectively.
That was 1970. Since then, the
price inflation has been particularly
severe in food. One can reasonably
estimate that since incomes for the
mass of the people are either low and
or have not increased pari passu with
price increases over the period that the
food intake has even gotten worse
particularly for the 70 per cent of the
population below the poverty line.



The farming community has
not been able to benefit from these
price .increases, which in most in-
stances, have been on imported food.
Income Studies carried out on the
1960 Population Census by Jack
Harewood indicated median incomes
of $500 per month for Europeans,
$133 for Chinese and Syrians, $113
for Mixed, $104 for Africans and only
$77 for Indians. The bulk of the
farming community comes from the
two latter racial groups, particularly
By 1965/66 the median income
for agricultural workers was still only
$67, as opposed to $254,for petroleum
workers and $148 for construction
A recent analysis of the 1971/72
Household Budgetary Survey also
revealed that not only were income
inequalities growing larger but that
the extent of poverty was much
greater in rural rather than urban,
Analysis of 1966 Household
data also indicated that rural areas
like Caroni, Nariva/Mayaro and Vic-
toria suffered from wholesale over-
crowding, poor housing, lack of
running water and lack of electricity.
While statistical surveys indicate
a. very low rate- of unemployment
among agricultural workers, at least in
comparison with the national rate,
this fails to pinpoint the high level of
underemployment particularly in the
sugar industry which operates, at
most, for 6 months of the year. It is
not known how the year-round
employment agreed to by Caroni Ltd.
will oper?ft.
The low incomes and under-
employment rates in the rural areas,.
matched by little social facilities, are
aggravated by the concentration of
land ownership in the hands of a few.


The last agricultural census
taken in 1963 showed that 93 per
cent of the total number of farms,
ranging in size from 1 24 acres, with
many 5 acres than less, shared 38 per
cent of the total farmland. At the
other end, the other 7 per cent of the
total number of farms, ranging in size
from 25 acres to over 1,000 acres
controlled 62 per cent of the total
farm land.
The only significant change in
agricultural ownership since then has



State of


been the purchase by the Government
of Orange Grove and of controlling
interest in Caroni Ltd. That, as every
Shah, Panday or Barsoti knows,
does not change the price of cocoa.
Some proportion of this land is
held by big corporations like the oil
companies or the cement factory as
areas reserved for future production.
The result is that fertile land remains
unutilised while farmers survive on
marginal lands; A story which the
residents of the Corosal area can well
relate with respect to the Cement

Despite all these difficulties some
15,000 peasant farmers continue to
eke out an existence. They suffer pro-
blems of access roads, extension
servicing, credit facilities but most
importantly, marketing of their produce.
The Central Marketing Agency,
established in 1966 to regularise the
marketing of local food crops has not
been able to assume this role. A 1972
survey by the Land Capability study
indicates that only 4 per cent of the
farmers interviewed sold their produce
to the CMA.
The complaints against the ineffi-
ciency of this Agency are too numerous
to recount.The failure to establish proper
marketing of local food crops results
in the absurdities of the transportation
of produce from the rural areas to the
urban wholesale market centres and
then back to the rural retail markets.
One result is the high level of
spoilage. A recent packaging study
indicates that nearly 45 per cent of
the total produce, reaches themarkets
in a near wilted condition, which,
within one or two days would become
These are the fundamental pro-
blems facing the agricultural com-
munity and the country as a whole in
its attempt to marry the desire for
food at the lowest possible prices,
fulfill nutritional requirements, while
providing a reasonable standards of
living for those who live and work in
agricultural communities. It is against
this type of background that one
must locate the annual and longer- -
term agricultural plans and proposals
of any Government.



leods Scheme

The major instrument for
the development of the agricul-
tural sector, as envisaged by the
Government, was the Crown
Lands Distribution Programme.
In 1965 the ruling regime an-'
nounced the Crown Lands
Project designed to establish
1,805 farm units on approxi-
mately 12,000 acres of Crown
land over a four-year period.
These farms, designed to play
a pivotal role in the Government's
agricultural policy, were to produce
dairy products mainly milk, pork
products, tobacco, tree crops and
vegetable and food crops.
Simultaneously, the agricultural
plan foresaw the continued production

of the major export crops sugar,
cocoa, coffee and citrus on existing
acreages but with increasing produc-
tivity per acre through use of superior
varieties and mechanisation of produc-
Typically, the Crown Lands
Scheme announced in 1965 did not get
underway until 1968. By 1972, the-
Minister ofFinance,George Chambers,
announced that the Scheme was being
phased out and merged into an
expanded effort to develop privately
owned farms.
While the original plan was to
establish 1580 farms, only 1189
farms had been established when the
Government decided to abandon the
Scheme; euphemistically cited as
having reached its targets of develop-
ing new forms of agriculture outside
traditional crops, demonstrating the
potential of of small and medium
sized farms to produce a satisfacotry
'income if properly managed and
supervised; increasing the agricultural
output and developing techniques
which private land owners can adopt
with the assistance of agricultural
officers to improve yields. (pg. 61.
1972 Budget Speech.)
The fact is that the PNM Gov-
ernment established the Crown Lands
Scheme to counter accusations of
neglect of agriculture and to "show
off' a new agricultural scheme which
would be a model for. other projects.
To this end, not only financial
resources were devoted to the new
scheme but the Extension Services
paid more'attention to this compara-
tively small project than the rest of
the agricultural community. Non-
political civil servants alvwys end up
being attentive to the desires of the
political bosses.
Political mauvais langue or the
grapevine has it that the Crown Lands
Scheme was settled by party members
with little or not interest in agriculture.
Rather than till the land they were
reporting to be driving taxis, trucks,
working in the Civil Service, or just
This is no doubt an exaggeration
of the facts. While these cases exist
for a fact there were no doubt a
number of hard-working people who
were given farms; some of them even
party carders. It is one of the tragedies
of this political culture that in order
to make a case against one's political
opponent all types of exaggerations
and excesses are felt tobe necessary.
The truth is that the most
experienced and hard-working farmers
would have been hard put to make a
success of the Crown Lands Scheme
which the Government saw as an ex-
pensive exercise in public relations
rather than a serious productive
The Waller Field settlement is
the typical.example of this approach.
Nothing can grow on these sands of
Waller Field: not even marijuana. Yet
the Government went about establish-
ing dairy farms, with cattle imported
from the temperate countries, part-
icularly Canada. The cows either died .
or reproduced or lactated at much
lower rates than in their natural
habitat. The farmers could grow no
grass and had to depend on imported

There was some increase in milk
production from 1.0 million gallons
in 1969 to a peak of 2.1 million

gallons in 1972. This fell to 1.1
million gallons in 1973 and to only
168,000 gallons in 1974. The drought
of 1973 can be put forward as a partial
reason for the drastic fall in produc-
tion in the last two years mentioned.
However, the high import con-
tent of the feeds utilised raises ques-
tions about the fullness of this explana-
tion. The 1973 Review of the
Economy predicted the fall in
production in 1974 as a result of'
international shortages and the high
cost of animal feeds combined with
adverse weather conditions; with
average milk yields per cow dropping
from 2-3 gallon per day to 1 gallon
per day.
It would be useful to establish
the total cost involved in the establish-
ment of these dairy farms. To the
initial cost of establishing the physical
farm units and the cost of importing
the high-grade cattle one would have
to add the yearly importbill for animal
feeds and also Government's subsidy
to milk farmers to allow Nestle's to
maintain its profit margins.
In 1972 Government's milk
subsidy consisted of $0.6 million. A
Committee was appointed during this
year to make recommendations for
the regulation of milk production
and marketing of milk and milk pro-
ducts in all forms. (pg. 14 1972 Bud-
get Speech). And that has been the
last heard of it.

The vicissitudes of the local
pork industry can fill many a Story
book. The establishment of pig farms
was another of the major promises of
the Crown Lands Scheme 70 pig
farms on 350 acres the Scheme
Pork production totalled 7.0
million pounds in 1969 but fell to 5.3
million in 1970. The 1970 Budget
Speech explained this away as due tc
difficulties with the pork processing
plant: the result glut in 1969, short-
age in 1970. The Budget promised
that "the whole question of pork
production and processing will be
examined by the Prices Commission
with a view to rationalising the situa-
tion in the near future." (pg. 13)No
morehas been heard of this since.
This "near future" may really
be the "distant future" since the oscil-
lations of the pork industry have
continued with a 3.0 million pround
production in 19714.4 million pounds
in 1972, 6.1 in 1973 (swine fever
affected the pig industry in 1973)
and falling to 5.0 million pounds in
The guarantee of firm prices has
never been established and pig farmers
have become frustrated with the calls
for increased pork production; soon
followed by cries of glut and fall in

It is difficult to establish the
impact of the Crown Lands Scheme
on the production of other domestic
crops since there is also widespread
production by peasant farmers in the
rest of the country. However it is a
fact that production of local crops,
in total, have shown no significant
increases. This is a partly qualitative
judgement based on experience, since
the existing agricultural statistics on
domestic agriculture are inadequate.
Tobacco is one crop \hicli has
definitely increased its ourpu t over




Agric ulture


the period but this is largely due to
the Extension services provided by
one of the large tobacco companies.
Tomato production has also
increased peasant farmers like
those of the Aranguez food basin have
been largely responsible for this
increase in tomato production as in
cabbage production, and this has been
without any governmental support and
often seeming discouragement from
the CMA.
By and large the production of
the other domestic food crops have
fluctuated over the period affected
byprices, access roads, credit, market-
ing facilities, extension servicing and
the other basic infrastructure neces-
sary for an efficient agricultural
;ector. The drought of 1972/73 and
Hurricane Alma in 1974 also had
deliterous effects on agricultural pro-
duction in the latter part of the
The major contention is that
the Crown Lands scheme which set
out to establish a model agricultural
project as the first stage of a "take-off'
in domestic agricultural production,
has been a failure beyond redemption
by pretty words.
It is only in poultry production,
despite its fluctuations over the'
period, that the increases were signific-
ant over the period, rising from 25
million pounds in 1969 to 50 million
pounds in 1974. Egg production also
shoWed corresponding increases from
a production of 36 million eggs in
1969 to42 million eggs in 1974.
However the increase in poultry
output has been matched by increases
in the importation of poultry feeds
since the industry is based largely on
such imported inputs. The inflation,
in the exporting countries has led to
rising import input prices and many
price wars and price fluctuations
over the period.
Copra productionhas continued
to fall over the period a result of
lack of incentive to upkeep coconut
grooves because of low prices for
copra and competition with the
market for fresh nuts. The major
industrial users of copra have also
been guilty of using the by-products
in the production of the expensive
fancy oils father than the cheaper and
price-controlled cooking oils.





The Government saw no
conflict between continued pro-
duction of export crops and the
development of a local food
crops sector, as already men-
tioned. It envisaged instead higher
yields per acre of export crop.

The actual experience has been
quite different. In sugar, the major
export crop, production has continued
to fall from a 1969 production of

23 7 000 tons of sugar to 181 00 tons
in 1973 (the year ofdrought). 167,
200 tons in 1974 aAd 144,800 tons
of sugar in 1975 the last two
.years being those of no-cut campaigns
by cane farmers and strikes by sugar
The recent history of the sugar
industry has been marked on the one
hand by the Government's purchase
of Orange Grove Sugar company in
1968 and by a 51 percent controlling
interest in Caroni Ltd.in 1970. On the
other there have been struggles for
leadership of the sugar workers union
following the death of Bhadase Maraj
and of the cane farmers union with
the involvement of ex-soldier Raffique
Shah is a new union ICFTU.
On the Government side there
has been the formation of the Bagasse
Particle Board Factory and the crea-
tion of a local Boards of Directors
and a $20 million loan for the modern-
isation of Caroni Ltd.
On the side of the two unions,
Basdeo Panday has been able to gain
some control over the sugar workers
union after being drafted by the lieute
nants of Bhadase Maraj as a suitable
replacement. The struggle for recogni-
tion by cane farmers has had many a
bitter turn but the very recent
decision of the Judiciary to rule Act
1 of 1965 null and void and Cabinet's
political decision to stand by this
decision leaves room for a proper
'count tobe taken among cane-farmers.--
The earnings of the sugar industry
have risen in the last two years as a
result of higher prices on-the, interna-
tional market. Caroni Ltd. however,
has begun to sound the alarm that the
honeymoon is over as prices are
falling dramatically on the interna-
tional market.
This history of rising and falling
prices is as old as the sugar industry
itself and the Corn Laws of the 1860's
introducing Free Trade in Britain. Yet
every momentary price rise is greeted
as a new Golden Age for Sugar. When
the bottom falls of the market, as it
always does, the industry predicts it is
only a passing downturn while the
workers and farmers, in particular,
band their belly for falling prices and
more pressure.
There is no understanding that
it is when prices are good that the
opportunity should be taken to
diversify into other food crops. Caroni
is now predicting losses from the
1976 sugar crop.


Cocoa production rose from
8.7 million pounds in 1969 to 13.4
million pounds in 1970 and then fell
to 8.3 million pounds in 1974. The
Cocoa industry has been victim of
many circumstances in recent years
including fluctuating prices and
In 1970, the cocoa cess was
abolished and the activities of the
Cocoa Board were merged with those
of the Ministry of Agriculture. The
Cocoa subsidy was replaced by perfor-
mance-oriented schemes of assistance.
However, these measures have not
been able to stop the downdrift in
Prices of cocoa per pound rose
from 58 cents to 68 cents between
1969 and 1970 and fell in 1971 and
1972 to 51 cents and 48 cents respec-
tively. By 1973, prices rose to 60
cents per pound and in 1974, cocoa
prices reigstered $1.00 per pound. A

significant number of cocoa estates
have been abandoned or purchased as
country retreats for the elite.

The Coffee Industry has been
affected by similar output and price
fluctuations like the Cocoa industry.
Coffee production rose from 6.5
million pounds in 1969 to 9.1 million
pounds in 1971 and then fell to 4.1
million pounds in 1974.
Coffee prices rose from 51 cents
per pound in 1969 to 63 cents in
1971, fell to 57 cents per pound in
1972 and then rose to 77 cents per
pound in 1974. Output has been
affected by adverse weather conditions,
particularly the 1973 drought and
Hurricane Alma while export earnings
have been affected by the changes in
average prices.

The Citrus Industry continues
to be effected by inefficient manage-
ment practices and outdated factory
equipment and location. Output was
particularly affected by the 1973
Production of Oranges rose from
25.3 million pounds in 1969 to 30.1
million in 1970; fell to 18.7 million
pounds in 1971, 27.5 million pounds
in 1972 and to 1.5 million pounds in
1973. Orange production increased to
26.6 nFimion pounds in 1974.
''Gapefruit production was 39.1
million gallons in 1969, 41.3 million
pounds in 1970, fell to 29.8 million
pounds in 1971, rose to 46.1 million
pounds in 1972 and then fell to 7.9
million pounds in 1973. In 1974
Grapefruit production was 42.8 million
Lime production was not part-
icularly affected by the drought
rising from 3.8 million pounds in
1969 to 5.1 million pounds in 1971
and then fell to 2.0 million pounds in
1974. The Lime Industry in particular
has been affected by management
and production problems at the Lime
factory which is outdated and unable
to absorb total lime production.
Prices of Oranges per crate
stood at $3.70 in 1970 and 1971,
rose to $4.20 in 1972, $5.20 in 1973
and $5 50 in 1974. Grapefruit prices
per crate remained at $1.70 in 1970,
1971, rose to $2.20 in 1972, $2.75 in,
1973 and $3.10 in 1974. Lime prices
per average pound rose from 57 cents
in 1970 to 60 cents in 1971 and then
fell to 48 cents in 1972. Prices for
later years are not available.
The entire citrus industry is
affected by prices offered to farmers
in relation to costs of production; as a
valuable export earner it requires urgent
rationalisation including the location
of processing facilities close to the
productive areas.

Need for



The prime requisite to come
to terms with the problem of
nutrition, income, employment
and importation of food is tlhe

rationalisation of agriculture en-
compassing land redistribution
and reform, to escape ite in-
equality picked up in the last
agricultural census. (This may
also be need for a new agricul-
tural census).
Land Reform will include the
choice of some appropriate farm unit,
large enough to allow efficient pro-
duction, yet not large enough for a
few individual to obtain a dispropror-
tionate control over thesector. This.
may mean co-operative ownership as in
the case ofthe sugar lands which are
already laid out for large-scale pro-
duction and where this will not be a
new imposition on long-suffering
agricultural folk. There will be need to
establish new agricultural communities
in the valleys of the northern range
for tree crop agriculture.
Land Reform will also mean
the use of soil tests as carried out by
the Land Capability studies and land
use plans as established by the Town
and Country Division to reserve
arable lands for agricultural produc-
tion and not housing estates.
Only recently the newspapers
reported complaints by agricultural
officers of tremendous pressure
coming from agricultural estate owners
who wish to dispose of their acreage
for housing-development. In many
instances prime agricultural land was
involved. (eg. Forres Park)
Reafforestation programmes
would also solve the problems of hill
erosion as experienced recently in St.
Barbs, and now the posh area of St.
Joseph Village. Thus the agricultural
land reform would overlap with
control over land speculation and


It will also involve Locta Gov-
ernment. In the case of Forres Park,
Tapia is proposing that Forx.a.Park
Estate and the country immediately
surrounding should be placed under
the jurisdiction of a Special Municipal
Authority. The factory site should
be reequipped as an agro-industrial
estate built around a modernised
machine shop and a food-chemistry
laboratory, a wholesale market and
possibly a Management Service as
The entire project to be
managed by a Board drawing repre-
sentatives from the sugar workers and
cane farmers association, from indivi-
dual and co-operative farmers, from
the Central Government, and from
the new Municipal Authority.
The impact of the agricultural
rationalisation mooted above would
be a tremendous increase in ite
output of the agricultural sector; the
corresponding resources required
,would include an enlarged marketing
service, including processing, to trans-
port, store and distribute this output.
The present marketing service
provided by the State the Central
Marketing Agency has been esti-
mated to absorb no more than 4 per
cent of the total outputof the 15.000
odd peasant farmers in the country.
(Land Capability Phase 2 estimate).
While private agencies like the
chain food stores do absorb an addi-
tional percentage there is no doubt
that the bulk of local food crop pro
duction is marketed very inefficient.
Efficient marketing would in-
clude the decentralisation of market-
ing facilities th rough the establishment
of Regional Trading Centres located in
relation to sources of supply and
demand of food crops, present and
It means the replacement of the
costly and highly inefficient scheme
of subsidisation of agriculture with
one of provision of infrastructural
facilities, proper and efficient market-
ing facilities close to the growers and

Continued on Page 6


From Page 5

minimumnu prices in relation to cost of
This will reduce the cost of
transportation to farmers, tilhe level of
spoilage froin fann gate to retail
market put at 45-50 per cent and the
time lost in marketing produce: time
which could have been spent in
further production or on leisure.
For exaunple it signifies
only the refurbishing of rice land but
the provision of an economic price for
rice paddy, without which the infras-
tructure will only go to waste. (This
implies the final location and establish-
ment of the ghost rice mill on the
high seas for die last two years.)
Any major increase in local-
output will also require preservation
and processing of these local food
crops for local consumption and
regional and international export. The
slow-coach and haphazard approach ol
the Government is already having a
cost on the local processing industry.
A superior variety of guava
developed by researchers of the Min-
istry of Agriculture is only now being
processed. Varieties of this guava sent
to neighboring islands led to the
establishment of facilities in one of
the French islands which is reported
to be doing a thriving trade on the
European market.
The Bay Oil estate in Tobago is
another example ofpoormanagement.
Bay Oil is an expensive and scarce
product in its derivate form on the
international market. Yet despite the
successful establishment of the proces-
sing technology by Cariri, commercial
production is no where near achieve-
A similar fate has befallen the
Sorrel project undertaken by Cariri
and Dr. Sammy of UWI. Commercial
production is still being "planned".
The Government is so unaware of the
possibilities that up to Budget Speech
in 1975, Mr. Chambers could say,
talking about the solution to the
processing dilemna: "The solution to
this dilemma lies in commencing the
processing facilities based in part on
supplies imported from the region or
elsewhere, and when additional sup-
plies are available from local sources,
the processing facilities can be
enlarged." (Pg. 40).





The task is to cut off the existing
sources of inputs into the processing
industry which come from non-
regional sources and cease this
assembling of food when there are
local crops available for processing

In Fishing, the possibilities
for the marketing of fresh and
process fish, locally, regionally
and internationally are quite
Fish is a vety valuable source
of protein food withl an average 4 oz.
providing enough animal protein, to
satisfy the daily requirements of the
average person. Fish is also 85-95 per
cent digestible a higher per cent
than competing productslike beef,
pork or chicken.
The retail and wholesale mar-
kets for fish, like those for food
crops must be upgraded and provided
with the requisite facilities for effi-
cient marketing,including cold storage

The in-shore and trawler fleets
require upgrading and expansion
including the provision of ship fac-
tories to process the many varieties
of fish caught. It is estimated that at
present that the shrimp trawlers dump
the approximately 85 per cent of
non-shrimp fish caught to the tune of
some 65,000 pounds of shrimp heads
and about 935,000 pounds of other
fish dumped per trawler, per year. This
fish can be utilised, in large, part,
either for human consumption or in
the production of animal feeds.
In- Forestry, the .present reaf-
forestation programmes must be
speeded up and the saw mills rational-
ised to provide lumber at an economic
price. The reafforestation programme
must combine aesthetic and economic
principles, to avoid the scarring of the
landscape while providing industrial
lumber. Ln this context, the role of
bamboo must be examined and re-
search funds made available to
estahlish the usefulness of ihis :auni-

dant stall-
The decentralisation of activity
necessary for the successful implemen-
tation of'the agricultural programme
sketched above must be backed up by
a highly co-ordinated, if not central-
ised research and development agency
to avoid duplication and encourage
wide dissemination of information.
The Extension Services must' be
serviced themselves by a highly
creative Research Division into food

crops, export, crops, fisheries, forestry
and processing.
In all instances the aim should
be increasing productivity per unit,
,whether the unitbe an acre of land or a
catch per fish trawler. At the base, it
means the reintroduction of annual
Agricultural Conferences of which the
National Consultation of agriculture
was a poor example, involving techni-
cal officers of the Ministry and
farnners' representatives to review
policy and progress over the last year

The wide-ranging proposals for
the agricultural sector requires a cor-
responding change in the archaic land
laws of the country; many a throw-
back to the 19 century where the
intention was to discourage land
ownership by a newly-freed slaves.
An immediate priority here is
the question of land tenancy to give
title to those persons who have been
living and working areas-for many
years, in some cases generations of a
family, as opposed to landholding
Mayors intent on speculation in
It follows naturally that land
speculations must be eliminated by a
number of measures. Among them
the reservation of arable land for
agriculture, the setting of price control
over land and the involvement of,
Municipal and Local Government
bodies in productive activity.

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I A amI I -


THE issue of Accountability has
been raised in recent times by the
Prime Minister himself who at
one point declared his assets.
The importance of a annual
I declaration of assets by the
political leadership is without
question; if honestly done, it
shows the change in the "worth"
of the individual which can then
be compared with his earnings
over the same period.
As useful a device as that may
be to ensure Morality in Public
Affairs, themore fundamental account-
ability necessary is that the Govern-
ment account fully for the actual
expenditure which it carries out as
part of its lawful functions.
If a declaration of assets ensures
personal integrity then an "audited"
account of public expenditure is
necessary to ensure efficiency and
competence of the Government in
handling the public purse.
The mechanisms for such
accountability at present are the
Auditor-General's Report and the
annual Budget statements. TheReview
of the Economy or The Review of
Fiscal Measures, and other related

The Issue of

Accountability in

The Public Sector


output, population, Money supply
etc. over the previous year, in no
ways links up with the Budgetary
statement. If the Government has
spent $10 million in the previous
year on the Pig Industry, then the
change in the production of pork and
pork products must in some way be
tied in with this significant expen-

------ As it is one gets the impression
that the Review of the Economy is for
The Auditor-General's Report one purpose and the Budget for
deals with the unavailability of docu- another; both being presented together
mentary evidence, like vouchers, to as a matter of convenience more than
match expenditure undertaken and anything else. A- perusal of the
deals only in passing with efficiency; Budget, Draft Estimates and Review
for example the time and money of the Economy is no guarantee of a
spent to construct a wall. full understanding of the Govern-
The Actual Budget statements ment's expenditure in the previous
briefly review, in some form, what year or years and of what is going to
has happened in the last year (the happen in the future.
emphasis is always on what happen in The present system of account-
Abu Dhabi and elsewhere), then ability by this Government would
outlirls Revenue estimates and con- have made many a Director of a
eludes with _Expenditure .estimates..----private firm either jobless-or incarcer----
This statement is normally accom- ated. There is no doubt that the
panied by a Review of the Economy many-faceted aspects of governmental
and a Draft estimate of Expenditure operations does present problems for
which provides some greater detail on the miniterisation of expenditure,
how the money will be spent in the greater than for the private firm, but
following year. this is no excuse for some of the
Every year the Agricultural slackness which passes for account-
Budget makes promises; in many ability in the books of the present
instances last year's promises are regime.
merely repeated, sometimes in the It has become more difficult
same words, sometimes with a change over the years in distinguishing be-
of words. The Budget statement does tween recurrent Expenditure and
not account for the promise made expenditure under the Development
last year; it does state whether a Programme. In terms of the direct
previously mentioned project is now. effect, the Development Programme
promised for the following year is the real indicator of the develop-
because itwasnotdone in the previous mental effort of the Government.
year, or was only' part-completed.

Sometimes, but not in any
systematic form, the Draft Estimates
state that money is allocated tor the
completion of n old project. Yet,
the lumpiness of the sub-Heads under
which Votes are appropriated does
not allow much sense to be made of
even this detail. In most instances
there are three or four projects to be
carried out under each Sub-Head with
no break-down of the amount to be
spent on each project. One cannot
tell whether a.,part-com)Ileted project
is half, quarter or three-quarter com-
pleted, what it cost to reach this
stage, and what it will cost to complete.
Nevertheless, the DraftEstimates show
that the. expenditure voted under the
particular Head in the previous year
has been used; yet the project is not
complete! So what happen to the
There are no doubt problems of
rising costs, particularly in the Con-
struction Industry, affecting some pro-
jects. But if so, say so and in specific
dollars and cents, not vague hints at
implementation. The task of auditing
the Government's books is not only
one of looking for missing vouchers
but of seeing what has been achieved
with the vouchers that exist.
The Review of the Economy
while a useful account of change in


A perusal of the Draft Expen-
diture tables reveal all types of recur-
rent expenditure and non-developmen-
tal expenditure. For example the
1971 Agricultural Development Pro-
gramme, under the sub-Head-Land
Acquisition lists "acquisition of lands
and buildings for the Industrial Court".
The only thing farmers could grow in
the Industrial Court, is old, as they
await long delayed decisions on their
The Draft Expenditure tables
on Agriculture also make good Nancy
story reading. There are some sub-
Heads under the Agricultural vote
which are recurring (not recurrent)by
definition: for example Crop Research,
or subsidies or mapping programme..
(Although there is no detail of what
crops were researched, what result
obtained, where the mapping is taking
place, the result, who gets subsidies,
when, how much?) Be that as it may,
conceptually, these sub-heads are
naturally recurring.
It is interesting to take a sample
of some of the other sub-Heads:
Marketing and Abattoir facilities -
1971 provision of $66900 for

Look at Agriculture

improvement to markets at San
Juan, Tunapuna, Marabella, Princes
Town, Sangre Grande and Siparia.
1972 -$151,200 same proposals
as above plus a promise to con-
struct a new market at Rio

1973 $266,400 Expansion of
Tunapuna and San Juanmarkets,
completion of RioClaromarket,
new market at Princes Town,
construction of new abattoirs
at Sangre Grande.

1974 $134,400 completion
of Rio Claro market, new
abattoir at Sangre Grande (con-
stituency of then Minister of
Agriculture, L.M. Robinson).

1975 -Completion of RIo Claro
market, new abattoir at Sangre
Animal Health:- -

1971 $108,900 for comple-
tion and equipment of animal
health laboratories.

1972 $73,800 construction
of additional lab oratory facilities.
administrative office, laboratory
for cattle, horses and poultry,
equipping laboratory, incinera-
tors and post-mortem facilities.

1973 $27,400 construction
of incinerator and post-mortem
room, completion of Vetinarary
Diagnostic labs, administrative
office and ancillary buildings
and facilities., construction
quarters for Vet. officers.

1974 $22,100 construction
of quarters for Vet. Officers,
additional lab. facilities and
animal lab. facilities for cattle,
pigs and poultry.

1975. completion of Vet.
Diagnostic Labs, Administrative
offices; equipping these facili-
ties; construction of additional
lab. facilities, equipping these;
construction of animal lab.
facilities to accommodate large
animals. e.g. Heifers.

Make sense of that!


There are several devices neces-
aryb for an improvement. The first is
a more detailed listing of expenditure
in the Draft to allow pinpointing of
expenditure on individual projects
rather than on groups of projects.
The second will be a review in the
following year, not only of productivity
changes, but of the implementation

of stated goals and promises with
some analysis of the link between
the two in so far as that is possible.
It will not be always possible to
give such information in the year
following implementation of projects
but the budgetary process should not
be considered a one and dunprocedure.
"vo years hence, or whenever, it is.
possible to give results the matter
should be brought to the attention of
the Parliament and the nation whose
hard-earned money jumping up in
steelban all this time.
An Annual review of the Agri-
cultural sector which could be carried
out later in the year than the Budget-
ary Statement, at a time when more
information may be available, can also
supplement the budgetary account-
ability and be tabled in Parliament
before the following Budget.


Any such statements should not
only account for money spent and
when and the final cost of completion
of a project but should also try to
establish some link between this
project and increased "output" in the
Economy. In other words, it should
show that the society is better-off for
the project, or worse off, or without
In summary this will involve
greater detail in the Draft Estimates,
less looseness in the Budgetary
promises and analysis in addition to
factual description in the Economic
Review. It also means the year-round
accountability through the Annual
Reviews of Agriculture and through
the tabling of reports, or at least the
recommendations of Reports, com-
missioned and mentioned in the


Eastern Main Rd.. Laventille
(Near to Trotman street)
Galvanise, Cement,
Blocks, Tiles,
etc, etc.

fArIA iAGL- '7


1irS. Andrea Ta28butt,
Research i fo
SStudy of an reet,
162, as 78h 1ree02,
New York, IY. g0021,
Ph. Lehgh 5 .


From Page 1
Government was pleased
to grant, the Chamber
based its attack on the
vital issues of social
For years the Chamber
has supported the Gov-
ernment, at first actively
and in later years pas-
sively, in the policies
they pursued.
That the Chamber
should now openly jeo-
pardise what has been a
mutually beneficial ar-
rangement between them-
selves and the Govern-
ment can only be taken
as an indication that
they have made a judge-
ment as to the political

future of the Government
and have decided not to
be caught in any death
Both of these factors
then, the failure of the
budget and the open dis-
affection of theChamber

7 /
This Christmas give a gift ot
security an insurance policy with
Head Office: 29 St. Vincent Street,
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
Telephones : 31421-7.

from its camp, must be
occupying the center of
the Governnent's atten-
tion, that is to say
Williams' attention, at
the moment.
The budget rep resented
the second but last of
their major trumps and
it was without doubt a
serious setback to have it
fail so ignominiously to
have any impact.

must be that the time
has come, more now than
before, when the Govern-
ment must seek to cut
its losses and to play
the opposition with the
few resources that it has
The last issue of
national importance
which the Government
still has to play with is
that of Constitution re-
form. Even here the
failure of the Joint Select
Committee to produce
its report by the middle
of December, as the
Government would have
liked them to do, is
something of a setback.
Only to a limited ex-
tent however. For if



Pt Stephens

Williams intends to play
the Constitution issue
then we can be sure that
the Report of the Select
Committee will only be
used as the darkness so.
that he can present his
already-prepared Constitu-
tional as the light.
Even if he intends to
play the Constitution
issue therefore we can-
not expect that it will

occupy anything more
than a month at the
most generous of estima-
tions. What this means
is that the prospect of
elections early in '76
is now more than ever
on the cards.
And we may be visit-
ing the polling booths
while jumping to the
sweet music of the steel-





Of people who know
-how to cope
with rising






r '" ELEIJ


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