Vol:7. No. 26
Mrs. Andrea Talbutt
5 Research Institute for
Study of Man,
162, East 78th Street,
New York, N,Y, 10021
Ph. Lehigh 5 8448
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PAGE 2 TAPIA SUNbAY JULY 3, 1977
THIS Edition of our Journal marks
another development in the media of
expression of the New World. Move-
ment now the Tapia House Move-
ment, in Trinidad and Tobago. It
marks a fresh arrangement of the
relations between the paper, the
politics and the poetry. From here on
we will have the Tapia Newsletter and
Trinidad and Tobago' Review, both
to appear at monthly intervals. When
we started 17 to 18 years ago at Mona,
Jamaica, we lived in much the same
way as most campus outfits do, on a
fare of turgid mimeographed outputs,
the outpourings of vague aspiration on
the part of an aspiring new generation
unable to saddle horse with those- who
then were making the road to the
West Indies Federation (and hopefully
thereafter, to a West Indian nation).
And then, in Georgetown, in
March, 1963, we were able to move to
a single production of the New World
Quarterly followed on October 30
of the same year by New World Fort-
nightly. which was to run uninterrupted
for two years until September 1966
when, pressed for resources, it changed
the interval to monthly. In the Dec-
ember 1966 Edition, a Statement by
the -Editors announced tersely that
"this is the last issue of New World
Monthly . . our decision has not
been taken lightly. . we hale been
so overwhelmed by the various tasks...
we have reached the point of exhaus-
"We hope",concluded the state-
ment, "that time will show that we
have contributed something ... .New
World Quarterly, printed in Jamaica,
will continue as a channel for West
New World Quarterly had come
into being in the Dead Season of 1965.
clearly / a result of Georgetown's
endeavours and.in the year, had col-
laborated withthe new Fortnightly to
bring together the regional resources
required to publish two splendid
ioumals of West Indian Writing, both
edited by the novelist George Lamming
brought home for the purpose, both
involving huge financial capitals and
both in celebration of our political
independence, the occasions being the
actual crossing by Guyana and Bar-
The hope expressed in George-
town's closing statement proved'to be
extremely well-founded. If a thing is
worth doing, C.V. Gocking always
reminds us, it is definitely worth
doing badly. For all the inadequacies
of the early efforts, the impossibly
turgid continuity from campus bloc-
notes that survived into the first of
the-New World Quarterlies and beyond,
the desperately limited coverage of
events, the failure to capture the.
support of the philistine West Indian
public, the. Georgetown pioneers had
lazed al trail; they had made a track
for gouti to run.
New World Quarterly not only
survived but endured and expanded;
it spread its wings far afield in the
Indies and America, enough to provide
by 1967-69 several local thrusts
towards independent thought and
Caribbean expression. Already by
1967, pamphlets were heralding the
arrival of new broadsheets and papers
and in 1968 November, Moko, emerged
in Trinidad under the' banner.of "a
serious review" and appearing on the
streets at fortnightly intervals. Within
th6 next year were to follow Abeng in
Kingston, Ratoon in' Georgetown,
Tapia in Trinidad, Forum in St. Lucia,
a whole series of kindred media.
This proliferation of papers'was
,as much an index to the mood of the
times as to the character of the Move-
ment, considerations that obviously
were a twin. The huge expansion of
post-war schooling culminating in the
implanting of the University of the
West Indies placed a whole new
generation on.the social map and now,
regaled by-the rhetoric of independence
and decolonization, we would have
our manhood or die ...
Here in Trinidad, decidedly the
most Caribbean of Caribbean coun-
tries, urban, compact, motorised, pro-
letarian, young, rootless, traumatised,
fragmented by race, and half-way
in, and therefore half way out, of Wes-
tern civilization, the thrust to glory
was necessarily more swift, less sure
than anywhere else and infinitely
more all-embracing. In the'years sur-
rounding the February Revolution of
1970, we produced papers and mimic-
papers on a scale for surpassing any
other West Indian island as we both
came more perilously close to the fall
of the old regime and yet reverted
more definitively to the habits of
reaction and tradition.
In the middle of all this,Moko,
Soon shedding its sheep clothing, Tapia
quietly in September of 1969, inherited
the mantle'f the New World Quarterly.
More cautious, more doubting of the
ways to change, we set out for the
long, hard haul at the level of the
Movement and equally at the Jevel of the
Paper and it was not until 1972 Nov-
ember that we graduated to a Weekly.
Today, five years later, we have-
reached the limits of that possibility.
Always the goal has been to construct
the foundations of a splendid Sunday
paper as the last step to a splendid
morning paper covering the whole
field of civic affairs, drawing on free,
responsible and sovereign individuals.
in charge of their land, in touch with
-their God and moved to spread the
message of their love and their living
by the device of literary articulation.
That has been the goal, the
objective from which we have never
flinched, persuaded as we are that the
cplgnial condition owes far more to
ideologicalcl submission than it could
ver owe to technological unddir-
l pmqt. The engiAe tells us, in
Edtition',that we. coild, always buy.
"If hardware from atHe civil nation
pT iAd culture- but the d l"ci6ns for free-
-dom we must malke'tioselves. We in
' Tapia have a'along -be motivated by
Our capacity therefore to win
the wherewithal for a splendid medium
of West Indian articulation has neces-
sarily been governed by the rate at
which we could win ourselves and our
people to the ways of freedom. The
paper has been the politics and the
politics the paper.-And the 'action
question about both was how exactly
to expand the circle? Of love and light,
of hope and faith and trust without
which you can never achieve a new
expression nor win the hardware, to
service one, nor even employ such
hardware if somehow you were to
chance upon it.
The needed ingredient of course
is the poetry and you cannot buy that
in the Sunday morning market., You
have to feel for it until it comes. What-
ever is that spirit which activates an
individual, a, people, a nation to speak
for itself from inside itself will come
to endure only when a threshold of
validity has been passed and if we
knew that threshold we'd then be God.
All the evidence is that our
paper and our politics and our poetry
still fall hopelessly short. So far
from taking up our beds to walk we
liave too often dropped the bed and
run. And since the elections, we have
been forced to assess what we have
gained from our efforts to the extent
that that can be properly measured in
P" At the level of both the party
and the paper we have been forced
to fall back on our nuclear resources.
Those are certainly not-equal to a
weekly paper appropriate -to, tlhe
demands of the mood and the Move-
ment. We need hard reflection, deep
investigation, full .reporting, wide
coverage and excellent presentation.
In a campaign there would have
been no choice but in a period of
reconstruction we had to choose
between a short interval and an excel-
lent output. We have made our choice
and now we will meet its full demands..
Doubtless our resources have fallen
short but nevertheless they are plenty.
I~~~~ ~ ~~-'
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PAGE 3 SUNDAY JULY 3, 1977 TAPIA
WEST Indian literature is saturated with images of building and construction. This is only natural in
societies which are involved in the process of giving shape for the first time to their destinies, in un-
N ravelling the mystery of an identity which has not been defined before, and which cannot be defined
until the people, through their representative figures and communal effort, consciously set about to
do so. At another and more immediate level, images of building, architecture or sculpture are the
direct result of our sense of being caught up in a phenomenal process of growth and change, which
has altered the physical architecture of our cities, and created in some places many of the ecological
problems which have caused such grave concern in
Beneath a great deal of the poetry which
has been written in the West Indies over the
past decade, lies a profound'response to the
amazing growth of our cities, and to the entire
process of modernization of which urbaniza-
tion is simply a single feature. A fair amount
of Edward Brathwaite's Pights of Passage and
Islands is devoted to tracing the relationship
, between contemporary disnomia and the his-
torical phenomenon-of uprootment from the
land. About three-quarters of his prize-winning
Black and Blues (Cuba, Casa de las Americas;
1976), focuses on the stark realities of con-
temporary urban Jamaica, the jagged spiritual
landscape of dread and reggae.
THE CALIBAN EXPERIENCE
S- In the "Caliban" sequence from Jnds, Brath-
waite muses on the bewildered attempt by econ-
omists, historians, politicians and people "our
mindless architects" to assume terrifying responsi-
bility for the shape of their islands' future, on a
stage where a new limbo is being danced to the old
imperial theme. Sections Two and Three of"Caliban"
are of particular interest to us, because they view the
Calypso and Carnival mentality against the back-
ground of "persistent poverty", which is kept alive
by the emergence of a new parasitic class of middle-
men, and the consolidated partnership in crime of
impotent and corrupt local caretaker politicians, and
the economic rapacity, of metropolitan corporations.
The interpretation of Shakespeare's The Tempest
as a parable of the colonial situation has appeared in
the works of commentators as different as Mannoni
(1), Fanon, who took issue with him on several
counts (2) George Lamming (3), Janheinz Jahn (4),
John Wain (5), Philip Mason (6), and Aime Cesaire
(7). Sylvia Wynter frequently employs the Prospero/
Caliban formula in her long polemical review article
on West Indian writing and criticism (8); while the
Cuban poet Roberto Retamar has recently published
a lengthy essay which analyses the emergence of
Europe and America.
Caliban as a major archetype in literature about the
colonial experience (9)
Thus by the time Brathwaite's Islands (1969)
appeared, Caliban had already become something of
a stock "figure in West Indian literature,
and Brathwaite was faced with the task of extending
the implications of the archetype. Brathwaite's Cali-
ban does n'ot appear until the second part of the
"Caliban" sequence, where he lurches on stage to
the jerky rhythm of a defunctive nightclub steelband.
His roadmarch is still the chorus of Caliban's drunken
songin The Tempest:
No more dams I'll make for fish
Nor fetch in firing
Nor scrape trenchering, nor wash dish.
'Ban, 'Ban, Ca-Caliban,
Has-a new master. Get a new man. (10)
What follows is Caliban's shout of "Freedom, high--
day! high-day, freedom!-freedom! high-day, freedom!"
Shakespeare's Caliban has just met Trinculo and
Stephano, the dregs and jesters of a debased colon-
izer culture. They introduce him to alcohol, and with
them he devises a plot to kill Prospero..scholar,.white
magician and political failure in Europe,who has con-
verted himself into easy-living philosopher and slave-
master in the tropics. Caliban bitterly resents his'
servitude, which he attributes to the superiority of
Prospero's magic. But even in the act of rebellion he
apprentices himself to a new master, so that the hey-
day of his freedom will turn out to be another kind
of slavery. While George Lamming focuses on the
protest of, Caliban in the late Crown Colony era,
Brathwaite is equally interested in the new post-
Independence phase of his servitude. Caliban's
masters in the last days of Crown Colony Govern-
ment were the British Colonial Office and the United
States marines, whose presence in the West Indies
during World War II, led to the modernization of the
night-club, gambling and prostitution industries.
Caliban's new masters in the post-Independence
period are the CIA, the American State Department
and the multi-national Corporations who have
entered into partnership with the "mindless architects"
of the modem West Indies.
Thus the poem "Caliban" begins with the poet's
reaction against politicians and economists who seek
refuge in a repetition of the tiresome statistics of
imperialist exploitation. He also denounces all those.
apologists, among them many of the suffering grass-
roots people,.who turn to the Bible for a theology of
captivity, exile and redemption, and thus equate the
Black situation in the New World with the trials
of the Israelites in the wilderness ("O Leviticus"). He
dismisses the pious lamentation, the prophecies of
doom ("O Jeremiah") and fine but futile rhetoric
which the situation often evokes from well-meaning
liberals and Marxists . ("O Jean-Paul Sartre"). The
poet's tone then becomes that of the oreacher/moralist
denouncing the decadence and crippledom of his
society. (One may compare some of T.S. Eliot's
"Choruses from "The Rock' ").
and now I see that these modern palaces have grown
out of the soil, out of the bad habits of their crippled
owners/the Chrysler stirs but does not produce cotton
the Jupiter purrs- but does not produce bread.(p.
Here, the Legba image extends to the nouveaux
riches of the Caribbean, who are the Jesus Christs
("Chrysler") and omnipotent mafia god/fathers
("Jupiter" i.e. "Deus Pater" or "God the Father") of
the nation. The Chrysler is inorganic steel, which can
never become organic chrysalis. Thus the rich produce
not bread, but dead concrete out of the "living
stone" of the people's labour and survival. The
phrase "living' stone" which is followed by the even
more explicit one "the living bone of coral", suggests
that the people have been growing slowly and. solidly
through centuries of building, even though they are
still in the grip of coral-killing parasites. This image
will be developed much more fully in "Coral", which
comes at the beginning of Chapter Four of Islands
Imperceptibly the liturgical tones of T.S. Eliot'
shade into the drier surrealist acerbity of "Beat" poet
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, whose A Coney Island of the
Mind (1958) was one of the first milestones in the
movement back towards the ancient concept of poetry
as oral message. Ferlinghetti's lacerating laughter is
directed against an over-fed, bored suburban America
of plastic, "cement skies", neon lights, ice-cream
beaches, whose people are like Goya's monstrous
They are the same people
"only further from home
on freeways fifty lanes wide
TRINIDAD A ttHOR, VS. NAIPAUL, HAS DESCRIBED MARA-
VAL ROAD, ON WHICH WHITEHALL STANDS, AS AN ARCII-
STECTURAL WONDER OF THE WORLD.
PAGE4 TAPIA SUNDAY JULY3, 1977
on a concrete continent
spaced with bland billboards
illustrating imbecile illusions of happiness
The scene shows fewer tumbrils
but more maimed citizens
in painted cars
and they have strange licence plates
that devour America. (11)
The god of these people, (Brathwaite's Jah), is a
stone statue, their. lives a circus menagerie where:
.... gay parading floats drift by
decorated with gorgeous gussies in silk tights
and attended by moithering monkeys
and baboons astride tame tigers
with ladies inside
while googly horns make merrygoround music
ahd pantomimic pierrots castrate disaster
with strange laughter (12)
One notes how many of Ferlinghetti's images have
appeared in Brathwaite; the dead god, the circus, the
zoo, the merrygoround, the painted 'cars, concrete
continent, the monkeys and the baboons and their
result: the "maimed citizens", and the perverted
American dream of democracy or Adamic renewal.
There is some of the dry wit, the constant allusive-
ness and the-shared affinity to the Blues/Jazz conti-
ntlum, which during post-war years used to be the
common ground of Black and White iconoclasts.
Brathwaite's concern in "Caliban", and later in
"Eating the Dead" and "Negus", is with the.archipelago's
chances of organic survival now that tutelage to
Europe's Prospero has been replaced by unreserved
prostitution to America's Trinculo the islands' new
master. Hence he improvises on Ferlinghetti's idea,
"a-coney island of-the mind, a kind of circus of the
soul" (13) which now becomes:
.. out of the coney
islands of our mind-
less architects, this death
of sons, of songs, of sunshine; (p. 34)
Our "mindless architects" are literally the chartered
architects who build the new concrete cities, and the
- political architects, fathers, founders and flounderers
of each mini-state. Absorbed in the abstract jargon of
metropolitan econometrics, they see as progress the
......... to fly to Miami
structure skyscrapers, excavate the moon-
scaped seashore sands to build hotels, casinos, sepulchres
("Negus", p. 66)
The result of such freedom is the wastage of
the islands'youth, ("this death/of sons"), the prostitu-
tion of its folk culture ("this death. . . of songs")
and the collapse of its creative idealism ("this death
.... of sunshine"), This is a restatement of the idea
that the Sun, which was once the external manifesta-
tion of Onyame, the Creator, is now associated with
tropic death. Brathwaite then cites pre-revolutionary
Cuba as an example of how the new era of economic
and military subservience to America is simply a
modern version of slavery. There the police with their
dead unseeing eyes ("wearing their dark glasses")
collect "tribute" from the gambling dens every morn-
ing. Mervyn Morris has pointed out the echo between
this passage and Tutu's address to the chiefs and
people of Asante, where the fact that "my people
cannot collect tribute" is one of the chief grounds of
complaint. (14). It is only necessary to add that Tutu
was talking about the proceeds from slave raiding
slave trading and the Asante domination of weaker
nations. The echo, then, suggests that all imperialism
is really the same thing. The only difference lies in
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the efficiency or inefficiency which the imperial
power is able to exercise in the bleeding of its victim.
The islands are offered the worst aspects of the
colonizer's culture: ("salute blackjack, salute back-
gammon, salute the one-armed bahdit"). "Black-
jack" echoes the self-derogatory cry of the spades in
New York, "This the new deal for we black grinning
jacks?", and suggests what Du Bois had so brilliantly
noted in his book Black Reconstruction, that
America's treatment of her own Black population
was as much imperialist as it was racist; and was the
surest index of American plans of imperialist hege-
mony throughout the Third World in years to come.
Afro-American "and Afro-Caribbean peoples are
equally the victims of Yankee economic/militarist
hegemony. Both are Jacks of Spades, lesser cards in
the international casino game. "Blackjack" also sug-
gests the continual reduction of Black people to the
beasts of burden (jackasses) of the capitalist system.
Moreover, a blackjack is a pirate's flag and a mugger's
kosh. The Stars and Stripes thus becomes associated
with the Jolly Roger and old-time piracy, 'while
today's international gangsterism is the natural off-
spring of yesterday's buccaneering.
The "one-armed bandit" is not only the slot-
machine of Las Vegas' gambling dens, but the maimed
consciousness and dismembered creativity of a people
reduced to the beggary and hoodlumism which are
normal features of today's Caribbean cities. The
triple-repeated command "Salute. salute. . salute"
is an allusion to the arrogance and cruelty which are
the shared qualities of all imperialism. The Roman
Caesar would not only enjoy the spectacle of cap-
tured slaves butchering themselves in the amphi-
theatre "to make a Roman holiday", but would com-
mand those who were thus doomed to salute him
PAGE 5 SUNDAY JULY 3,1977 TAPIA
ONE OF the main problems facing the West
Indian writer is how to write a novel about
houses. A house suggests clearly defined
boundaries: physical, emotional, traditional.
The traditional English/European novel is a
"house" and is usually, in one way or another,
about houses. In the West Indies we have had
Phyllis Allfrey's Orchid House (1954) about
the descendants of the white plantocracy,
living on their small island, at the top of a
hill, hidden away among the scents of flowers.
In its delicate and specialized way, this novel
exposed the sweet/sick decay of what was
once held to be "life".
More recently Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea
(1967) (like Mrs Allfrey, Jean Rhys was born in
Dominica) has very successfully demonstrated very
much the same thing. Then from The Children of
Kaywana (1952) and Shadows Move Among Them
(1952), through some 16 novels to his death in 1965,
Edgar Mittelholzer gave us a whole string of haunted
houses, haunted by ghosts, by memories of murder
and incest, by personal neuroses, by Nietzschean
dreams. John Hearne's Carl Brandt (Stranger at the
Gate, .1956) presented us with the house and confi-
dence of the new plantocracy
He was awake again before the first light, and out of
the bed almost before his eyes were open. The smooth
teak of the floor was cool under his feet as he went
out of his bedroom in his pyjamas to the big sideboard
in the dining-room..Inthe dark he'brushed his hand
confidently along the surface until his fingers touched
the glass-smooth side of the lignumn uitae fruit bowl
. (p. 9)
From the young narrator of lan McDonald's The
Humming-bird Tree (1969), there were similar reac-
I loved the house. My father had built it four years
before and it was the loveliest in the neighbourhood. It
lay in a great garden and orchard. It faced towards
the cool north towards Japon Hill rising a mile away
-and Mount St. Benedict towering above that hill. At
'night from the stone veranda upstairs you could see
the lights of the Roman Catholic abbey shining on
Mount St. Benedict, and just above that the north
star, unmoving all year. In my mind the house had
become defence against the world. In it I was safe
against the insecurity and embarrassment which con-
tinually plague a young'boy..I wasn 'itally comfort-
able anywhere else. In my heart I ijusly guarded
this fortress against aliens. Sometimes imagined a
thousand men besieging it, and I, the hbf repulsed
them every time... (p. 29)
'But it was not until Vidia Naipaul's A House for
Mr. Biswas (1961), about an-East Indian community
in Trinidad, that the house in West Indian literature
achieved symbolic stature. Of all the groups in the
West Indies, it is the East Indian community which,
more than any other, has preserved its identity and
its customs. Naipaul's "house" .is built on those
Though Hanuman House had at first seemed chaotic,
it was not long before Mr. Biswas had seen. that in
reality it was ordered with degrees of precedence all
the. way down, with Chinta below Padma; Shama
blow Chinta. Savi below Shama, and himself far
below Savi. With no child of his own, he had won-
ered how the children survived. Now he saw that
in this communal organizationrchildren were regarded
a assets, a source of future wealth and influence ....
tlut) it was not for thiN reason alone that his attitude
to Hanuman House changed. The House was a world,
more real than The Chase, and less exposed; everything
beyond its gates was foreign and unimportant and
could be ignored. He needed such a sanctuary ....
But thegreat mass of West Indian novels concerned
mainly with the black population of the island are
.about people without this sense of sanctuary; are
about people without "houses" in the John Hearne/
Vidia Naipaul sense. As Derek Walcott put it in
It is little I can do for those
Politics arnd prose
Do equally; my heart
Is soiled by their hurt,
Applause turns anger to sport,
And time judges the technique,
Not the continual knock
In the blood's moon-wrecked tides
I myself lived among them,
And in the brittle papered room,
I saw the wild candle
Of arson in her eyes
Her shame wants to burn
The paper house her sons earn
So for the have-nots
In brown villages with dry nets
There is no hope falls
In martyr drops from a dry wound ...
History is seen as "an absence of ruins",2 the
"Ruins of a Great House."3
In the majority of West Indian novels, the
house hardly comes into the picture at all. In Lam-
ming's In The Castle of My Skin (1953), the children
of the book spend most of their time talking and
dreaming on the beach, The little girls in Salkey's A
Quality of Violence (1961) are to be found under a
soursop tree. The young boy, Francis, in Michael
Anthony's The Year in San Fernando (1965) is very
rMuch involved with the grown-ups in whose house he
is staying, but he seems to.spenc most of his time
under it. 3a
This, we might say, is to be expected in books
written about the tropics hot sun, those lovely
trees, the scent of fruit and flowers .. But the
people in Orlando Patterson's The Children of Sisyphus
(1-964) live in "a cluster of cardboard, barrel sides, old
cod-fish boxes, flattened'tar drums and timber scraps.
A few, the more luxurious, consisted of the carcasses
of old cars" and this doesn't squarevery well with a
picture of the birds and the bees. But the trouble goes
deeper than this. Books written about the tropics by
Europeans (except for significant innovators like
Lawrence; Conrad and Lowry) still remain books
about houses. So the question still remains; why no
houses in the great majority of West Indian novels?
And it is not, either, that there is no black
West Indian "tradition". As long ago now as 1935,
C.L.R. James demonstrated in Minty Alley that the
barrack-yard was a living theatre and Roger Mais
confirmed this in The Hills Were Joyful Together
(1953) and Brother Man (1954). Andrew Salkey's A
Lady Nugent's House- Vale Royal
,i, 'w- iy ^--
:;" ~ ~ .* '.'*'<
; ^ W*.: ',;*';'
_ I L I g
PAGE 6. TAPIA SUNDAY JULY 3, 1977
Out of the black West
"tradition", have come
novels starting with C.L.R.
Minty Alley of 1935. .
Indian they all take place outside
several four walls of traditional house
living theatre of
is played out
the barrack-yard. Writers are suggesting
;s... an, alternative tradition, free from
the material hindrance of walls
the and corresponding to a Caribbean
in a sense of community.
/ .-. ,_
,. : .^ .<.'.....
Quality of Violence- (1959) carried the process still
further, and through a slow, subtle delineation of
conflict, achieved symbolic meaning out of this situa-
tion, creating a tragic drama out of it. Namba Roy's
Black Albino (1961) produced a somewhat romantic
but rounded world out of his Jamaican Maroon
background. Michael Anthony's The Games were
Coming (1963) makes good sense of the annual
Southern Cycle Races of Trinidad, and Jan Carew
has thrown light on the gold-digging frontier society
of Guyana. And they all take place outside the four
walls of traditional-houses. Yet the structures of
these novels (with the possible exception of Mais'
Brother Man), are not significantly different from
that of Mr. Biswas or the novels of Hearne, though
their emphases are. Their concerns, to put it another
way, are substitutes for houses, not alternatives.
Yet there is an alternative to the tradition of the
-novel of the house; and it is suggested in a statement
by Wilson Harris in a 1967 lecture:
Haitian vodun is one of the surviving primitive dances
of ancient sacrifice, which, in courting a subconscious
community, sees its own performance in literal terms
that is, with and through the eyes of "space": with
and through the sculpture of sleeping things which
the dancer himself actually expresses and becomes.
For in fact the dancer moves in a trance and the
interior mode of the drama is exteriorized into a
medium inseparable from his trance and invocation.
He is the dramatic agent of subconsciousness.4
Now vodun is a Caribbean creation-along with
pukkumina kumina, bongo, shango, the santeria, and
other Afro-Caribbean religious dance dramas. It is the
expression of a way of life, of looking, feeling and
seeing, similar to the matrix which produced macum-
ba, rhumba, samba and mambo in Latin America, the
blues and jazz of North America, but it has not been
secularized into entertainment forms as many of
these latter now are. It is the expression .of a folk
sensibility that owes more to Africa than to Europe.
From the point of view of the Caribbean artist, it is
the basis of a possible alternative tradition; another
way of exploring his world. Christophe of Haiti's
failure, Carpentier suggests in The Kingdom of This
World (trans. 1967), lay in his unfaithfulness to this;
"Henri Christophe, the reformer, had attempted to
ignore Voodoo. molding with whiplash a caste of
Catholic gentlemen,"5a (p.117. On the contrary, the
major development of the West Indian novel so far
has been the exploration, through George Lamming
and Wilson Harris, of this rejected, alternative tradi-
tion. In his most remarkable novel so far, Lamming,
in Season of Adventure (1960) has perceived in
modem terms the meaning of vodun and the
He wanted San Cristobal to forget that they were
free, and work towards enlarging, in their way, the
horizon of that vision which the present century had
exposed them to. They should not be afraid of taking
for no gift, whatever its size, could dislodge the
springs of life which made them who they were .
But the ma; problem was language. It was language
which caused the First Republic to fall. And the
Second would suffer the same fate, the Second and
the Third, unless they tried to find a language which
was no less immediate than the language of the drums
And earlier, in the tonelle:
The bodies seemed to stretch beyond this moment-of
the dance. Perhaps the gods were there, waiting-for
the dance to prove their presence in the tonelle..The
child's eyes revealed some terrible future. Body and
spirit had entered equally into what the women and
one child had seen. The dance was a kind of prophecy.
And after theARemony:
'It's Ciki who helped me to understand how the
ceremony is every man's backward glance' Only the
dead can do it and' the.living who are free.' (p.-49)
Or, to-eturn to Harris' lecture: 5b
Remember at the outset the dancer regards himself or
herself as one in full command of two legs, a pair of
arms, etc., until possessed by the muse of contradic-
tion, he or she dances into a posture wherein one leg
is drawn up into-the womb of space. He stands like a
rising pole upheld by earth and sky or like a tree
which walks in its own shadow ... All conventional
memory is erased and yet in this trance of overlapping
spheres of reflection a primordial or deeper function
of memory begins to exercise itself within the blood-.
streams of space . . That such a drama has indeed
a close bearing on the language of fiction, on the
language of art, seems to me incontestable. The com-
munity the writer shares with the primordial dancer is,
as it were, the complementary halves of a broken
The language and structure of the novels of
Lamming and Wilson Harris cannot be properly under-
stood, the far-reaching explorations of their experi-
ments cannot be fully appreciated, unless the nature
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Books written about the
tropics by Europeans
(except for significant
innovators like Lawrence,
Conrad and Lowry) still
remain books about houses.
The question is: why no
houses in the great majority
of West Indian novels?
In.the -majority of West
Indian novels the house
hardly comes into the
picture at all. .
The great mass of West
Indian novels are about
people without this sense
of sanctuary; are about
people without houses.
of this tradition is recognized. There is no linear
development in Lamming's work and in none of
Harris' novels is there a "character" in the Biswas
sense. Instead, there are transformations, continual
overlapping of consciousness, a 'free moving from
inner to outer reality and back again; and a general
dispersal and displacement of energy instead of
"development" ,or narrative:
Imagine a plough in a field. Ordinary as ever, prongs
and spine unchanged, it is simply there, stuck to its
post beside the cane shoot. Then some hand, identical
with the routine of its work, reaches to lift their
familiar instrument. But the plough escapes contact.
If refuses to surrender its present position. There is a
change in the relation between this plough and one
free hand. The crops wait and wonder what will
happen next, More hands arrive to confirm the
extraordinary conduct of this plough . ..(and) as
those hands in unison move forward, the plough
achieves a somersault which reverses its traditional
posture. Its head goes into the ground and the prongs,
throt-near, stand erect in the air, ten points of steel
Before the sun was much higher we were in the grip
of the straits of memory ...
Tiny embroideries resembling the handwork on the
Arawak woman's kerchief and the wrinkles on her
brow turned to incredible and fast soundless breakers
of foam. Her crumpled bosom and river grew agitated
with desire, bottling and shaking every fear and
inhibition and outcry. The ruffles in the water were
her dress rolling and rising to embrace the crew.7
It is in this sense of freedom, moving easily
between past and future, from one kind of reality to
another, without the material hindrance of "walls -
that some, at least, of our West Indian writers are
suggesting an alternative to the tradition of "the
house" In Derek Walcott's Ti Jean and his Brothers,
for instance, and in Dream-on Monkey Mountain,8
the action is in open space; time and characters inter-
change roles' as in dreams. Dennis Scott's Echo in The
Bone, first produced at Mona in 1974 and soon to
be published by the Oxford University Press, carries
this a stage further; while Anthony Hinckson, poet
playwright of the remarkable Barbados writers
Workshop, has for some time now been successfully
experimenting with role-exchange and improvisation
(Crisis: Forgive Us Our Debts: 1973; Meet Me
Tonight in Golden Square; 1974 with George Lam-
ming). The play, L' Essior9 by Daniel Boukman of
Guadeloupe, for instance, reflects a similar concern
and reveals the kind of conceptual revolution that
goes along with this.
With this accumulation of "source material", it
will soon be possible for us to conceive of a
genre entirely alternative to the "house", struc-
turally wall-less in a hierarchical sense but cor-
responding to our Caribbean sense of com-
munity. This, will be the literature of the yard
in which plays like Errol John's Moon on a
Rainbow Shawl10, Douglas Archibald's Junc-
tion Village,II Marina Maxwell's Play Masl2
Roderick Walcott's Banjo Man,13 Errol Hill's
Man Better Manl4 and Dance Bongo15 and
Roger Mais novels The Hills Were Joyful Toge-
ther (1953) and Brother Man (1954) (among
many others) will receive revised critical atten-
tion. The aesthetic basis for this new approach
is already being provided by Ema Brodber in
sociology 16 and Dell Lewis in literary -studies. 17
1. 'The testament of poverty' .im 12,p. 292, my italics.
2. See the epigraph to 'The Royal Palms' in Negro Verse (London
, 1974), p. 16. Orlando Patterson took the title of his second novel (1967)
from this. Here, too, the emphasis is on the lack: of social structure
and the sense gf desolation that the lack of houses suggests;
'The harsh, brown, dusty, aridity of everything. . seemed) to
meet some vague yet deeply embedded demand in me. It was
with difficult that I prevented myself from falling to the ground
and wallowing all over in it. Little dry lot of land hemmed in by
the thorny hedges. I thought to myself with tenderness. Some-
how I seem to have found a momentary security there, in the
bare, dry nakedness of everything.' (Orlando Patterson. An
absence of ruins, 1967.p. 13).
3. In a green night, p. 19, my italics.
3a. Frahcis spent his time under the house because he was shy and
also because he was a child in a world of adults. But access to or exclu-
sion from the house/can also be a sign of socio/racial differences;
Kaiser/Indian garden-boy/was to go and sweep the fowl yard at
once and afterwards prune the lemon tree which was growing
into the Aikmans. Jailin his sister/was to collect eggs, then go
and buy fresh vegetables in the market in Tunapuna. I was to
come irto lunch right away before it got cold. Kaiser and Jailin
went to the back bf the house where the kitchen and store-
rooms were. I continued up the drive round to the front and
came in to the drawing-room by the polished teak door
(McDonald, Humming-bird tree, p.2)
4. 'The writer and society', in Tradition, the writer and society,
London, Port-of-Spain, 1967), p.51.
5b.- Op. cit., pp. 51-52
6. George Lamming, The Pleasures of Exile (1960), p. 121.
7. Wilson, Harris, Palace of the Peacock (1960), PP. 72-73
8. ,Ti-Jean and Dream are published in Dream of Monkey Mountain
and other plays (New York 1970, London 1972) with an important
'prologue' by the author.
9. For a review of'a recent (1975) production of this in Guade-
loupe, see Inter Antilles, Mercredi 26 Mars/Mardi ler April 1975, p.1.
10. London, 1958.
11. In 5 West Indian plays, Dept. of Extra Mural Studies, UCWI, St.
12. Marina Maxwell, Play Mas and Hounsi Kanzo,Trinidad, Cipriani
Labour College, 1976.
13. Roderick Walcott, The Banjo Man in Errol Hill (editor) A Time
and a Season ; 8 Caribbean Plays, Trinidad, Extra-Mural Studies Unit,
14. Errol Hill, Man Better Man, in Three Plays from the Yale School
of Drama, New York, E.P. Dutton & Co. Inc. 1964.
15. Errol Hill, Dance Bongo in Caribbean Plays, Vol. II Trinidad
Dept. of Extra-Mural Studies, UWI, 1965.
16. Erna Brodber, ,A Study of Yards in the City of Kingston,
Jamaica, UWI, ISER, 1975.
17.. Unpublished thesis on "The Yard in West Indian Fiction" UWI
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PAGE 8 TAPIA SUNDAY JULY 3,1977
Everyman's spiritual home
MANY OF our people in and around the urban
centres still live "fused in misery" in overcrowded
and insanitary conditions. What Derek Walcott
images as "the unalterable groove of grinding poverty"
is realistically described in novels by Roger Mais,
C.L.R. James and Alfred Mendes: the original literature
of the yard never idealised overcrowding into being
an expression of community, and did not try to
make anybody believe that poverty, illiteracy and
crime represented either revolutionary virtue or
cultural authenticity ("our own thing"). Its purpose
was to abolish the degrading and warping conditions
Sof life in the yard.
This is not to say that the writers failed to
Celebrate the creativity beyond mere survival which,
"tempered in violence", produced our steelband
music, the theatre that is carnival, and various forms
of primitive and self-taught art. But these writers
knew that the miracle of spirit was a miracle in spite
of, not because of..
George Lamming'sIn the Castle ofMy Skin con-
tains a novelistic account of the dispossession of a
land-renting, house-owning peasantry, and -the crea-
tion of a land-less, house-less, job-less urban proletariat.
The novel's moving picture of the pleasures of con-
stitutional development and the pain of social change
includes a number of scenes dealing with the emer-
gence of the speculators in land and property whose
spiritual descendants multiply in our midst. An
altercation between one such and the village shoe-
maker whose rented plot he has bought up provides a
good example of a simple but strong feeling about
houses, the will to escape from the exposure and the
herding of the yard current in West Indian fiction as
in.West Indiai life:
'I'll tell you something,' Mr. Foster'said. He put his
face close to the man's. 'If there's one golden rule we
all on this land got, 'tis this: if the good God give you
health and strength, work till you can get yufself a
shelter over yut head by day, and a corner to restyuh
bones at night. And when once you get it, give the
good God thanks and never get rid of it.'
The-man didn't know what to answer, but he burned
'Tis so,' Miss Fostersaid. 'Take a look all round, and
poor and poverty-stricken as we all look, there ain't
many a one who ain't own the little hovel he live in.
It may .be different with the rest, but here on this
-same land, that's the golden rule.
'Your own,' Mr. Foster emphasised. 'Your own own
house. A man ain't a man,till he can call the house
he live in my own. And it ain't matter how small it be
once you can call it my own own house.'
An incident with a similar drift but in a differ-
ent tone takes place in A House for Mr. Biswas with
Mrs. Tulsi trying to convince her son-in-law that he is'
'Look,' Mrs. Tulsi said. They/were in the ganery now.
'You don't want an extra room at all. You could just
hang some sugarsacks on these posts during the night,
and you have your extra room.'
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images of building, architecture or sculpture,
found in West Indian literature, are at one
level a direct result of our sehse of being
caught up in a phenomenal process of growth
and change which has altered; the physical
architecture of our cities.
.' with the cry: "Ave Caesar! Morituri te salutamus"
"Hail Caesar! We who are about to die salute you."
Brathwaite thus links the American Jupiter (God/
Father) with the Roman Caesar (killer) a link which
will become more explicit in his as yet unpublished
X-Self and thereby indicts all imperialisms and the
myths of civilisationn", "culture" and "traditions"
which usually accompany them. They are all seen as
Sa straightforward smash and grab game of economic
start the chain of events which led to the second
significant Caribbean revolution; the first being
Haiti's. August 1, 1838, was the date of the Emanci-
pation, while October 12, 1492 was the date when
the islands first discovered Columbus. The islands
have progressed from Castro to Columbus, which,
strangely enough, is a reversal of the names of the
magna opera of two Caribbean scholar/politicians -
Eric Williams, Prime Minister and -ex-historian of
Trinidad, and Juan Bosch, historian and ex-President
of the Dominican Republic both of whom in 1970
published works entitled From Columbus to Castro.
This is a particularly happy coincidence, since
Brathwaite is in "Caliban" satirising the tendency in
the West Indies to employ history and the statistics
of impotence as escape from revolutionary responsi-
bility, a tendency which has been pronounced in
politicians such as Williams (15). Thus the tediously
repeated statistic. "Ninety-five per cent. .. ninety-
five percent . . ninety-five per cent" leads inevit-
ably to the reiteration of historical dates at the end
of the poem, "It was . . It was . . It was
S ...". Politics as self-indulgent impotence and
statistical protest leads to History as Absurdity. The
last line, "How many bangs ho.w many revolutions"
(p. 35) supports this interpretation of "Caliban" as a
downbeat satire on politics of the Arthur Lewis/Eric
Williams school by echoing the conclusion of "Trade
Winds" "How many men/how many generations."
(p. 10). "Caliban" is a more detailed picture of the
situation which was only skeletally outlined in "Trade
LIMBO LIKE ME
The second movement.of the "Caliban" sequence
focuses on the mas'-playing Trinidadian who is the
result and victim both of history and of crippled
uimic man politics. Here Caliban is the proletarian
equivalent of the masquerading politicia'/scholar. He
appears first as a drunken pan man, hiccupping his
freedom across the Carnival stage, triply debased by
his contact with Britain's-Prospero, America's Trinculo
and his new local masters, and hoping desperately to
shatter the silence of neo-colo.ial limbo by "prancing
up" grandcharge, robber talk and making style.
Behind and beneath the mask of gaiety and confidence
lies a fear of the overwhelming oppression maintained
by the "god" who rules his island-town the politi-
cian/businessman/scholar alliance. The Carnival is
depicted as an escape through descent into self, from
daily. encounter with the agencies of oppression:
("down/down/down/so the god won't drown/him")
S But such descent into "darkness", made ironically
with "eyes shut tight",.returns the masquerader, as it
did the Rastafarian in "Wings of a Dove", to ,the
reality of his own drowned (in the middle passage)
- freedom, and the images of the slave-ship prison, and
the sun, which ii Caribbean protest poetry has often
been associated with the overseer's whip. Compare
Brathwaite's phrase of the "whip light" with Carter's.
lines from "Death of a Slave":
Day passes like a long whip
S over the back of a slave.
Day is a burning whip
Biting the neck of a slave. (16)
Beneath this circle of the inferno, at a deeper
layer of consciousness are the "black' gods"; but
Caliban, who has not travelled deeply enough is over-
whelmed by the inescapable sea of troubles ("the
water's cries"). Thus the Carnival music becomes for
him a refuge and escape, rather than the sound of his
liberation: ("down/down/down/where the music
hides/hinf"). This use of music as escape leads him
back to "where the silence lies."
Section 3 is a counter movement; the whole of
the "Caliban" sequence paralleling the three-stage
movement through death towards regeneration which
we first 'saw in "Tano". The "him" of Section 2
SCHOLAR AND POLITICIAN
The involvement of the United States in Carib-
bean and Third World politics, such as theirfole in
keeping Trujillo and Batista in power, their interven-
tion in Santo Domingo, Cuba, Haiti, and Puerto Rico
in, the twentieth century, and their extension of the
-Monroe Doctrine to include not only Latin America,
but, .miraculously, Indo-China as well, is conveyed by
the juxtaposition of Batista's corrupt vice-squad collect-
ing tribute from Havana's whores and casinos, and
America's mafia tourists controlling the nightclubs and
gambling houses of the archipelago. Both diseases, the
local vice squad and the imperialist mafia, exist for
the benefit of "Wall Street and the social set", and
with the blessing of the U.S. Consulate whose decor-
ated Assistant is the big noise in the gossip columns.
Thus, "the wheel turns and the future returns,"
history turning back on itself like a snake.
It was December second, nineteen fifty six.
It was first of August eighteen thirty-eight.
.-t was the twelfth October fourteen ninety-two.
December 2, 1956 was the date when Fidel Castro,
SChe Guevara and the eighty-two landed inCuba to
Return to thb Circulation Manager, Trinidad and Tobago Reviei,
22, Cipriani Boulevard, Port-of-Spain.
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SUNDAY JULY 3, 1977 TAPIA PAGE
becomes the "me" of Section 3, as the poet accepts
SCaliban, the mas man, as another persona. At this
point the three meanings of."limbo", silent neuter
void, nightclub minstrel dance and symbolic resurrec-
tion ritual, intersect. Wilson Harris even sees here a
mergence of the limbo dancer with the Ananse/
Spider image (17) This may be implied, as"Harris
suggests, in the crawling spreadeagled movement of
the dancer under the stick, which, we are told,
represents the whip.
The backward horizontal movement of the
dance symbolises the backward movement in time, as
well as the deepening inward movement to roots. As
in "Shepherd", this implies the shattering of the
void or gulf ("stick hit sound"); the movement from
"dark deck" to "dark ground", where in the first
phrase tlhe word darkr" suggests the obscurity and
evil of slavery, while in the second it connotes the
rediscovered African ground of Afro-Caribbean, sensi-
bility. Making his last downward movement to the-
dark underground, he hears the drum ("down/down/
down/and the drummer is calling me"). From this
point the movement is upwards into sunrise, and the
"dumb gods" (the phrase links "Caliban"3, "Shep-
herd" and Masks) of his hidden-potential are
released and aid in his resurrection, granting him tem-
porary immunity from the scorched ravaged ground of
his history. One notes, though, how the sense of-
severe tension remains in the final words: "hot/slow/
step/on the burning ground". This is the contradiction
of the Blues, the soft fire of Billie Holiday, the cool
violence of reggae, the "hot as ice" dredtdness of the
SRastafarian, or the corrosive gaiety of the Calypso at
its best. N
(1) Mannoni, O., Prospero and Caliban: The Psychol-
ogy'of Colonization, Paris, 1950, New York, Praeger Books,
(2) Fanon, F., Black Skin: White Masks, Paris, Editions
deSeuil, 1952, London, Mac Gibbon &Kee,.1968.
(3) Lamming, G., The Pleasures of Exile, London,
Michael Joseph, 1960.
(4) Jahn, J., Neo-African Literature, New York, Grove
Press Inc., 1968.
(5) Wain, J., The Living World of Shakespeare, London
(6) Mason, P_. Prospero's Magic, London, OUP, 1962.
(7) Cesaire, A. Une Tempete: Adaptation de "La
Tempete"-de Shakespeare Pour Un Theatre Wegre, Paris
(8) Wynter. S., "Reflections on West Indian Writing and
Criticism," Jamaica Journal, II, No. 4 (1968) & III, No. 1
(9) Retamar, R. "Caliban: Notes towards a Discussion
on Culture in Our America," The Massachusetts Review, XV,
Nos. 1&2, (Winter/Spring 1974) pp. 7-72.
(10) ShakeSpeare, The Tempest Act II, Scene 2, Lines
(11) Ferlinghetti, L. A Coney Island of the Mind, New
York, New Directions, 1958, pp. 9-10.
(12) Ibid., p. 32
(13) Ibid., p.8,
S (14) Morris, M., "This Brokern Ground?" New World,
V, No. 3 (1971) p. 18. )-
(15) Rohlehr, G., "History as Absurdity," in Coombs
0., (editor) Is Massa Day Dead? N.Y., Doubreday/Anchor
1974, pp. 69-108.
(16) Carter, M., Poems of Resistance, London, Law-
rence and Wishart, 1954.
(17) Harris, W., "History, Fable dnd Myth in the
Caribb and Guyans" aribbean Quarterly, XVI, No. 2
(June 1970) -pp. 6-10.
PAGE 10 TAPIA SUNDAY JULY 3, 1977
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Reprinted: From Tapia
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ing company involving private
share-holders are due to be
announced on July 3.
The changes now underway
have, as their "major objective"
what Tapia 'Secretary and
Managing Editor Lloyd Best
describes as an improvementt
in the quality of our product."
Meanwhile, the next issue of.
Tapia, delayed by one week to
'assist the change-over, will be'
a bumper 40-page paper con-
taining a Supplement for
Tapia's .Construction Sympos-
ium carded for the Holiday
Inn on July 9. That Edition
will appear on June 30.
Cor. Edward Lee
PAGEI0 TAPIA SUNDAY JULY 3, 1977
SUNDAY JULY 3, 1977 TAPIA PAGE 11
Everyman's spiritual home
FROM PAGE 8
He looked at her. She was in earnest.
'Take them away in the morning,' she said, 'and you
have your gallery again.'
'Just six or seven. You wouldn't need any more."
'I would like to bury you in one, Mr. Biswas thought.
He said, 'you going to send me some of these sugar-
'You're a shopkeeper,' she said. 'You have more than
'Don't worry. I was just joking. Just send me a coal
S You could get a whole family in a coal barrel. You
didn't know that?'
She was too surprised to speak.
'I don't know why they still building houses,' Mr.
Biswas said. -'Nobody don't want a house these days.
They just want a coal barrel. One coal barrel for one
person. Whenever a baby born just get another coal
barrel. You wouldn't see any houses anywhere then.
Jusf- a yard with five or six coal barrels standing up in
two or three towns.'
Low-cost housing is a specialty in A House for
fr. Biswas. Mr. Biswas's first builder works for a week
and disappears, promising to return "when you get
some more materials,'; economises on mastic cement
-("A lot of people- does use pitch"); consoles Mr.
SBiswas who is unable to afford pitch-pine ("I know
.litch-pine nice. It does look nice, and it does smell
--.q: nice and it easy to keep clean. Butyou know it does
bum easy. Easy. Easy"); he substitutes tree-trunks for
rafters ("The rafters don't show from the outside
Only from the inside. And even then when you get a
ceiling you could hide the rafters"); and finally with
some second-hand galvanise Mr. Biswas buys at a
cat-price from the Tuli's: Mr. Maelean leaves the hero
with a new house that is in a state of dilapidation
even before it is furnished or peopled.
SWhen Mr. Biswas buys his house at the very
Sead, the author introduces us to the work of a builder
whose modus operandi surely isn't quite defunct:
S The house could be seen from two or three streets
away and was known all over St. James.. It'was like a
huge and squat sentry-box: tall, square, two-storeyed
S with a pyramidal roof of corrugated iron. It had been'
designed and built by a solicitor's clerk who built
houses in his spare time. The solicitor's clerk had
many contacts.- He bought land which the City
S -Council/had announced was not for sale; he persuaded
:.' estate owners to split whole lots into half-lots; he
bought lots of barely reclaimed swampland near
Mucurapo and got permission to build on them. On
whole lots or three-quarter-lots he built one-storey
houses, twenty feet by twenty-six which could pass
S unnoticed; on half-lots he built two-storey houses,
twenty feet by thirteen which were distinctive.
The preoccupation with houses and housing in
Mr. Biswas is connected with the hero's desire to
escape from the wretched conditions of his birth, "the
mud walls and the low, sooty thatch". The first solid
building to attract him in the novel is Hanuman
House, the headquarters of the Tulsi family:
Among the tumbledown timber-and-corrugated-iron
buildings in the High Street at Arwacas, Hanuman
House stood like an alien white fortress. The concrete
walls looked as thick as they were, and when the
narrow doors of the Tulsi Store on the ground floor
were closed the House became bulky, impregnable
and blank. The side walls were windowless, and on
the upper two floors the windows were mere slits in the
Mr. Biswas soon finds that the Tulsi people are
-as solid, narrow, and blind as their house; that this
fortress- is also a jail; and that Tulsi commtinal life is a
herding and an exploiting of the mass that reduces
the individual to anonymity and mindlessness.
In times of stress, notably in the period leading
to his nervous breakdown and the period immediately
afterwards, however, Mr. Biswas is ambivalent towards
Hanuman House, resenting its impersonal stomach arid
yet surrenderingintermittently to the comforts it-offers:
The darkness, the silence, the absence of the world
enveloped and comforted him. At some far-off time
he had suffered a great anguish, He had fought against
it. Now he had surrendered, and this surrender had
brought peace .Surrender had removed the world
of damp walls and paper covered walls and hot sun
and driving rain and brought him this: this worldless
room, this nothingness.
So A House for Mr. Biswas develops as a man's
struggle to avoid the hook, the in-pulling tug of a
false and ready-made sanctuary that is death, or a
return to the womb:
The house that Mr. Biswas seeks is not Hanup an
House. The house. that he buys at an exorbitant price
from the solicitor's clerk has value not because of the
quality if the material, nor because of the skill of the
builder nor because of the imagination and practicality
of the design. Near the end of his life, Mr. Biswas
thinks evaluatingly about the house he has purchased-
"How terrible it would have been, at this time, to be
without it: to havedied among the Tulsis, amid the
squalor of that large, disintegrating, indifferent family;
to have left Shama and the children among them, in
one room; worse, to have lived without even attempt-
ing to lay claim to one's portion of the earth; to have
lived and'died as one had been born, unnecessary and
unaccommodated." For Mr. Biswas's children, the
house comes to be a past they can remember and
"hold on to. ''From now their lives would be ordered,
their memories coherent."
Naipaul works paradoxically in Mr. Biswas.
Hanuman House, solid and impregnable is a menace
to the individual life; the jerry-built and over-priced
house on Sikkim Street is life-sustaining. The Tulsi
stronghold, priding itself on custom, ceremony and
tradition is exposed as a materialistic Mafia reaping
all it can from sham Hinduism and bogus brother-
*'hood: Mr. Biswas's rickety sweat-box, imbued with
the fighting spirit of its master stands at the beginning
of a living tradition.
Those in the building industry should take the
significance of the paradox, and of the antithesis if
the. two houses. The triumph of spirit signified by
the house on Sikkim Street should not be taken as
licence to build without beauty, imagination or
proper materials. In societies like ours, with so few
institutions to cushion us, and with a steady deteriora-
tion in public works and services; as the Mammonot
individualism eats down the hills and spikes the
valleys with iron and concrete and steel; as people
cease to know whether they believe in anything more
solid than solid cash, the house is potentially the
last resource of the spirit, the reflective centre from
which alone the true self, and a healthy communal
activity can issue.g
Angostura Old Oak Rum
A mellow blend of light
' MARINE FISHES
Queen and Abercromby Streets
And General Insurnce Agents
No. 5 foncession Rd. Sea Lots
I -. llilNIw
TAPIA SUNDAY JULY 3. 1977
THE major national Sport
Associations' are, for the most
part, still without their own
headquarters for the playing
of the sport that each con-
trols in the' country. The
Trinidad Cricket Council, the
Trinidad and Tobago Foot.
ball Association, the Trinidad
and Tobago Lawn Tennis
Association, the Trinidad and
Tobago Table Tennis Associa-
tion, the Hockey and Athletics
Association have for years
depended on the "private"
facilities provided variously at
the Queen's Park Oval, the
P.S.A. Grounds, the Tran-
quillity Club Courts, the
U.W.I., the Chinese Associa-
tion, Guaracara Park, the
Police and Regiment Barracks
Netball, however, nas the
Lystra Lewis Courts and close
by there are the Raymond
Reid Courts for Basketball, the
Public Courts for Lawn Tennis
and the -multi-purpose Queen's
Park Savannah. The public
facilities also include the
(latterly "Municipal Stadium")and an
ever diminishing number of play-
grounds all over the country.
,Thus, the. allocation of $100m.
for Sport in the 1977 budget was
received by the sporting community at
large with a kind of audible sigh of
relief. Doubtless there were visions of
some -magical solution to the age-old
problem of Sport's non-status in the
eyes of the national planners. But,
perhaps predictably, the eagerly
awaited disbursements were so long
in coming that scepticism began to
displace the earlier optimism which
had 'been steadily eroded by two or
three months of representation with-
Sothat in April "the Ministry of
Education and Culture ... announced
that Cabinet (had) released $627,846
from the Sports Fund for expenditure
on the hard courts programme, flood-
lighting of the Delhi Road Recreation
Ground. and development of the-Lange
Park Recreation Ground"; And hat(Fun
the heels of this announcement came
the news that work was about to begin
on construction of a National Stadium
on lands acquired for the purpose at
Mucurapo. The initial thrust of the
undertaking, we heard, would be,
towards ensuring that the facilities
necessary tor the Netball Association
Sto host.the 1978 World Champion-
ships will be provided by the deadline
The cynical view (albeit hard to
avoid) dismisses both announcements
-as more 'bread arid circuses', 'donkey
and carrot politics'. After all, every-
where one looks one sees playing
fields losing out to housing. in the
battle for land, even in new develoo-
ments approved by Town and Country
Planning. On more than one occasion,
TAPIA has highlighted the case of the'
Tunapuna area where, within the last
decade arid despite massive spending
on Honeymoon, Constantine Park has
become the only one of the many
grounds to remain in frequent use.
Honeymoon meanwhile remains
to Tunapuna what the George V Park
from Sports and Games
in quality football gear.
Internationally famous brand names.
GOLA. ADIDAS. PRO-KEDS.
RIANHA of Brazil.
The Complete football uniform...
NYLON JERSEYS, SHORTS,
SOCKS, JOCK STRAPS,
STUDS AND SOCKETS,
KNEE BANDS, SHIN PADS,
GOAL KEEPER'S GLOVES,
.... SELECT FOOTBALLS,
which are fully guaranteed.
Let our trained staff advise and
help you select equipment to suit your needs
and outfit you for a successful season.
Sports and Games
With over 31 years of experience and
expertise in the Sporting goods business
II s *I
mini-stadium is to the country. And
it is a consistent picture all round. In
Trincity, Eddie Hart continues to lose
playing fields to business offices; in
D'Abadie, a garment factory has-
spread outwards leaving one solitary
goalpost as a market of the football-
field that was; m iort-of-Spain, the
Queen's Park Savainah is already fast
becoming a W.A.S.A. pressure, inter
alia, and there are plans afoot, we
hear tell, to make it what Lennox
Grant once called "the bowels of the
city." Here, a school; there, a house;
everywhere Sport retreats as the nation
progresses, $100m. notwithstanding.
But we nust bring ourselves to
reject this cynicism since it is difficult
to disagree with the thinking that sees
the kind of infrastructural develop--
ment proposed by the Ministry as a
higher priority (that, I, presume, is the-meaning. of the order
of the announcements) than the construction of a National,
Stadium. Let us, therefore, take the announcements on face
value and try to determine what are the chances of a serious-
hard courts (and other) programme materializing in the near
Needless to say the proposed programme has got to be
viewed in the context of all else that is going to be takingS7
place in the same period. *
The demands of the school building programme alone
have, as many official statements hayv made. clear, put the 4
construction industry under strain. That programme is not yet
There is an on-going homes construction programme
which is increasing in intensity as crisis looms on the.horizon.
Furthermore, the insane rush'by the moitled classes
to barge in on the condominium business is evidently stretch-
ing to itslimit the industry's capacity to cope with the demand.
Moreover, the industry continues, understandably in
view of rapid expansion all round, to be plagued by shortages
- of cement in particular, the problems of the Trinidad
Cement Company having been unalleviated to say the least ,
- by Government's takeover of the company.
Finally, intensification of the road building pro-
gramme .with its demands on the resources of the construction
industry serves only to exacerbate the situation.-
And we have not yet considered the demands of
servicing all of these.programmes when construction will have '
Against'this background only, the proposal to provide
'hard surface courts ... in La Fillette, Sans Souci,.Mango Rose;:
Four Roads, D'Abadie, Manzanilla, El Socorro, Arima,Arouca
Princes Town, Curepe, Sangre Grande, Marabella, Sn Fer-
nando, Point Fortin, St. Barb s and River Estate' complete with
'seating accommodation, improved toilet facilities,. . flood-
lights (and) fencing (sic)' seems decidedly ambitious.
But even if we disregard the much-maligned 'special-
works' ethos and its decimation of productivity, to allocate
a mere $516,380 for a project of this:size seems hopelessly
unrealistic given our history of low productivity, high costs and
administrative centralization. And the final factor militating
against the expeditious completion of this hard courts pro- -
gramme are the people who hold that a National Stadium is a
higher priority than the proposed plethora of mini-stadia -
strategically located throughout the length and breadth of the i
Republic. These people will doubtless be clamouring for work
to proceed apace on the Mucurapo complex.
Vital resources of all sorts will thereby be diverted from A
the programme, further retarding the development of the
infra-structural prerequisites to high level performances in
THREE- IN-ONE TAPIA
ON JULY 31st 1977
PROCEEDINGS FROM SYMPOSIUM ON
'BUILDING INDUSTRY' .
,SUNDAY, JULY 3, 1977
VOLUME 1, NO 1 OFFICIAL PARTY ORGAN 25 CENTS
WHAT you doing now, Chief,
now that you unemployed?
Perhaps a -thousand people
'have asked me the question
sinceSeptember 13 last, cer-
tainly no less.
I know that 'the vast
.majority-ask it out of genuine
~concem, out of genuine com-.
passion even. "You don't think
you should go back to the
If everything were so
simple, I would have wanted
to answer quite directly by
drawing the necessary distinc-
tion in Trinidad and Tobago
between employment and
Perhaps our greatest tragedy
is' that when you are un-
employed, it'sthen that hardwuk
is your lot. Better put, when
you have a recognisable em-
ployment, you do not have to
Yes, these are the days of
Special Works with a venge-
ance, in the public and private
and political sectors alike, in
every brand, of employment.
To be working nowadays
means being sure of a salary
cheque when the week or the
month is done. It is therefore
inconceivable that a man could
be fully employed when he has
no obvious employer.
Or when his employer is a
political party. In fact, moreso
when that. is unfortunately his
case; and moreso still, when his
party, like mine, is only en-
gaged in politics but has no
share in the formalities of
government and public admin-
istration; when like Tapia, you
enjoy only your moral
authority and power but can
boast of no office or title.
"But what you and Allan
and Lloyd Taylor does be doing
every day?" Even Tapia people
keep posing the puzzled ques-
No, not even Tapia people
in many cases have much of a
concept of a permanent pro-
fessional party. Politics to
Trinidad and Tobago is almost
exclusively a-matter of elec-
tions. Once the voting has been
concluded, the off-season'from
then is on.
Of what use then, is our
party's Central Office? What I
will answer at the present time-
is that if you have to ask this
question 18 months from now,
then Tapia will have to think
seriously about closing up its
shop. In fact, the Tapia shop
will perforce have been shut'
up once for ,all.
A party Central Office is
not a magic wand but if it
exists, you cannot help but
feel it because it will reach
you regularly and systematic-,
ally, religiously almost, and in
many different ways.
It will give you information
and elicit information from
you: it will provide the peg on
winch the multitude of sup-
porters and sympathizers will
be able to hang their various
political hats, now and again,
according to their individual
Political education, political
agitation, mobilization, organ-
ization. Above all, professional
and sustained representation of
the kind that translates the
emotional demands of a crisis
into the rational programmes
of action and the steps to bring
That is what it does, the
Central Office of a professional
political party whether you are
dealing with issues electoral or
political, diplomatic or mili-
, Such an agency necessarily
has to be won by many rounds
of fresh initiative; it has to be
built by work. Brick by brick,
ours is being put together on
the foundations we have laid.
Today we-stand on Cipriani
Boulevard without leaning on
any Trades Union, on any
Church or on any (or all) of the
great Departments of State.
The only pillars of the Tapia
House Movement are those
sovereign people who, by their
individual conscience, have
come to value the professional
representation which we offer
and the new world in Trinidad
and Tobago that ii miniature
Monthly meeting July 3
MEMBERS are reminded that
your regular monthly meeting
comes off this Sunday, July 3,
at, the Port-of-Spain Centre. It
is expected that the meeting
will make final arrangements
for the Symposium on the.
Construction Industry and the
National Future, carded for the
Holiday Inn on Saturday, July
9. There will also be report
on the progress made in th
reorganization of the printin
and publishing activities, th
party training programme an
fund-raising plans, in addition
to reports from the localities
The meeting gets underwa
at 10.30 a.m. promptly.
they can discern in the way
we currently conduct our-
Tapia represents no particular
race, we represent no particular
class, we have no block of
captive voters. We only speak
for those Trinidadians and
Tobagonians who have chosen
to become deliberately in-
volved. It is still for me; a
source of wonder that so many
of these .people, from every
walk of life, rank responsibility
among the highest of- the
virtues: they hold themselves
responsible for whatever they
say they profess.
This brand of responsible
politics is still distressingly
remote from the experience of
Trinidad and Tobago. So when
people ask us what our Central
Office is doing, it reveals only
the inexperience of a people
and a party both searching for
In the fullness of time,
whatever validity we do possess
is sure to expose itself in our
capacity to endure. We at the
Tapia Central Office have no
more than the goodwill of an
enterprise which has survived
the ups and downs of nine
y SLOWLY and surely a flag-pole
is being raised in San Juan. It
is not that we were untouched
by the wave of pessimism that
ran through the Movement and
the country when the elections
returned business as usual.
Th difference in San Juan
was that our cadres in this
locale never succumbed to
The ten months since Sept-
ember have witnessed a gradual
construction of the regional
party. We started at the end
of last year by seeking out the
Tapia voters and supportersin
Then, widening the pool,
we began to draw on the com-
munity of San Juan rather
than on the simple electoral
district. Instead of a constitu-
ency we now have a region.
turbulent political years.
And no' our Central Office
has effectively come 6fage, not
in spite of but because of the
general election results. The
one and only basis on which
we are now rallying our sup-
porters, is an ever abiding hope;
we have absolutely nothing
The Movement will grow
now and continue to develop
only ,if by our working and
our living, we faf the flames of
faith -,the substance of the
things for which we hope.
STapia will prevail omny if
there dre enough people in
Trinidad and. Tobago who
really want it so.
Personally, I am confident
that the Tapia time will come.
That is what I spend every
day working for in the Central
Office with Loyd Taylor and
Allan Harris and all the other
Tapia people who lend ustheir
The strategic shift has
marked a second phase, and
in mid-June, we were able to
organise a Regional Committee
comprised of Leon Jeffry,
Michael Betaudier, Peter
Rajkumar, Roderick Wiltshire,
Cedric Toussaint, Judith Taylor,
Denzil Grant, Ivan Laughlin
and Iloyd Taylor.
Now all our people are
looking forward to a full
assembly of San Juan Tapia asl
a prelude to the mapping out
of a long-term plan of field
work in the community.
In the meantime,. our
women have been particularly
active and- have taken the
initiative to bring -a Tapia
Women's Ann into bejng.
On Saturday ly 16, they
are holding a meeting at
SALIBIA. TOCO ,
on AUGUS 1'21st, 1977
\ at $7.00 per head.
DEP,ARTURE TIME 8 40 a.. P.T S.C. Terminus
ET RN TIME 5.00 p.m
TAPIA SAN JUAN 'MOVEMENT
For Info. 2., Phone 638-4644
Sightseeing. Seabathing, Sports. Fan
BOOK NOW FOK THu PLiABOUILTRIP
rIN SAN. Ji~UA
ALLAN HARRIS, Admin:strative Secretary, review
home and argues that corruption is how old hat.
is what can we do about it?
Who will govern and how? Who will bell the
cat when Trinidad andTobago has never truly
changed a government? When our commitment
tochange within the constitution and the law
has been largely a theoretical affair?
We cannot wait for voting, he concludes
to exercise our influence; we must make a con-
tinuing commitment to the cause of change
in terms of personal resources.
"Our tradition has been passive, politics
QUESTION: Who filched the Prime Minister's
copy of the de la Bastide report? Stumped?
Then try this one: Who stole the cookie from
the cookie jar?
Got it? Yes, folks, aren't we having fun and
games once more? It's just like the Turban Brand
riddle or know-your-country quiz, Dollarword or the
Picture Puzzle Contest;
And isn't it absolutely fabulous how the news-
papers contrive to squeeze that extra-little ounce of
fun and suspense out of these otherwise drab affairs?
Since we are supposed to be a fun-loving people, that
must be why they play along with our government to
give us what we want.
Of course, we could think of some boorish
countries where, in similar circumstances, some over-
zealous newspaper wQuld have solemnly editorialized
something like this:
"The time has come to put a stop. Enough is
enough.- We refer, as you would have guessed, to the
Prime Minister's most recent behaviour. Not satisfied
with having given the impression of deliberately sup-
ws the political situation at
The real question, he urges,
pressingan important official report, the disclosure of
pressing an important official report, the disclosure of
which colld have enormously damaged his party's
interests in an election period, now, after four years,
the Prime Minister brazenly tells us that he knew
nothing of the existence, far less of the contents, of
the said report.
"Can we, as rational men, stomach this? Must -
we not, even ak the risk of appearing to play judge
and jury and prosecutor all in one, tell the Prime
Minister, loud and clear, that we think it all a paZk of
"Further, if there is even the slightest founda-
tion in truth to our grave suspicions, if the faintest
whiff of dishonour attaches to the Prime Minister's
person, then must we not ask him to resign, and, what
is more, do all that is inr-our power to see that he
Believe it or not, that sort of thing does happen
in some parts of the world. That is more or less what
those dreadful newspapers in the United States did to
poor, old Nixon, But then, the Americans-have
always been a self-righteous bunch, an unattractive
Yes, indeed, believe:it' or not, from the way
some people are carrying on, you would believe that
the most important political question of the day is -
who filched the P.M.'s copy of the de la Bastide.
But just suppose that one of our national
newspapers had in fact taken the line of our imaginary
foreign newspaper. Would it have made a difference?
Let's face it. Politically speaking, corruption is
now old hat. To say such a thing is not to fall prey to
a cheap cynicism nor to endorse an attitude of any-
It is merely to assert hat the. vast majority of
the citizens have long ago accepted that- the,ruling
party, and, indeed, the entire regime, is hopelessly
corrupt from top to bottom.
The real question is what can we do about
AFTER years of imperial train-
ing, our deepest instincts run
to the peaceful and orderly
transfer of power. No bad thing
But because, of the limita-
tions of that imperial training
we tend to lose sight, if ever
'at all we were aware, of how
difficult it is, and of what is
required of us, to effect a
peaceful and orderly transfer
When we were a crown
colony, the governor had the
power, in the shadow of which
lived the people we elected
to the legislative council. And
by 1962, when we had begun
to grumble more loudly than
before about that state of
affairs, the governor and his
people had grown tired, and
relinquished power without a
The fact is that we have
never really changed a govern-
ment; to do so would be an
entirely hovel experience. Our
commitment to change within
the constitution and the law
has been largely a theoretical
If might be argued that
even up to 1956, when by
voting we thought that we
were changing the holders of
power, we were in fact merely
changing the holders of office.
It is political independence
which has. radically altered the
basis of the game. Yet still we
tend to play by the obsolete
THE real question is the ques-
tion of power, of who will
govern and how? Once we
brush aside the current pre-
occupations of the commercial
press, we may begin to glimpse
what the issues really are.
We must dig below the
calculated diversions on the
surface of our public life in
order to get to bedrock the
really hard matters of state.
That is the way it has been
for perhaps more than a decade
now. Repeatedly, over the past
ten years, crucial events have
jolted us out of our stultifying.
routines and posed the issues
to us sharply.
It is a story that has often
been told, and one whose
meaning is as aeep as itFis
broad. Do we recall the high-
points, can we possibly forget
the seasons of dread Black
Power in 1970, the Bus Work-
ers' strike the year before that?
Outlaws guerrillas in
the hills, the shoot-outs of
1973? Or that time when we
ourselves, the law-abiding
majority, silently walked out
on the system in the elections
of May in 1971?
What was'the meaning of it
all, what might it still portend?
This vast mobilization of
forces on all fronts, from that
tiny band of tattered troops,
the maroons from Matelot, to-
the giant battalions of those
who toil, the united front of
And what was-the object of
Ceaseless work to unite
We continue to confuse t e fcf
office with power. We place
great faith in elections, by the forces of ch
themselves, as the means of
political change. Disappointed, appointment of those who lost, dissatisfaction with one aspect
we believe that loud grumbling But more significantly, we may or another of the prevailing
and vigorous protest will win understand why the euphoria arrangement of society.
a few concessions,for our part- of those who tasted success for For it was in the election
icular cause. Tacitly, we aban- the very first time, has 'so of 1966 that perhaps the first
don the quest for power. rapidly dissipated. unmistakable sign of a con-
Against such a background, Given the crucial role we stitutional crisis emerged, when
we may begin to understand expect elections to play, Sept- a full quarter of those of us
why -the outcome of the elec- ember 1976 represented for us who had voted five years
tions of September 1976 has the culmination of that -ten- before, chose to stay away
been so disappointing. Not year long period which we had from the polls.
merely the immediate dis- sought to register our profound The vear 19I martrel *ha
their attack? Whitehall? Some
"embattled fortress of goiem-
ment against the people"? And
with what success? Do not
Whitehall and the Constitution
HAVE we not gone on to
enhance the domination of
politics and,administraiion by
the Executive Branch of the
Government? Have we not res-'
tricted the House of Repre-
sentatives to a mere gathering
of yea-saying retainers and -
nay-saying entertainers? Have
we not created in the Senate a
Council of hand-picked admin-
istrators who are simply the
Prime Minister's men when the-
one change demanded by our
distress was to have fashioned
an assembly of community
voices to speak up for people?
changeover point from the
quiet, but steady,popular with:
drawal from the established
system of government and,
politics, to active protest in
the streets. The university stu-
dents initiated that phase,
which, in time, was to involve
almost every single section of
the national community.
.... ja i v marm lun u uIl
* ^ ,~ : .
.; .f '. .
, / ,
EVERYMAN'S HOME ON SIKKIM ST.
LOOe OTsORNET.ISU- UL 3
2Trinidad & Tobago
SUNDAY JULY 3. 1977
Vol. L No. 1
If There Is A
Plan, Who Has It?
__ ^_____ ___
.dPT~ :`~'~":~`-'-.:"'.'"*~S.~-:`"-I` ~ ~ r
PAGE 2 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW SUNDAY JULY 3, 1977
LEADERS bombard us with talk of economic deve-
lopment and industrial development but do we under-
stand what they mean?
Do they understand what THEY mean?
Our per capital income is the fourth highest in
the western hemisphere. We boast great riches. Yet we
have a shortage of adequate housing; transport and
the public-utilities are in chaos; our cultural activities
are stunted; we have few libraries and theatres, little
patronage of the arts and an almost complete neglect
of the environment in which we live.
Can we here discern any such thing as a rational
plan? Where do we fit in? Are we merely the pawns
Surely it is our right to be involved in devising
the plan and to be party to adapting it as time goes
Or is it that there exists no plan at all?
If there is a plan then it must be made clear to
us so we can approve, adapt or even reject it.
As a nation, we are witnessing today the out-
ward signs of a complete absence of any national aims:
low productivity, selfishness, extreme contempt for
the puouc environment; each man for himself and the
devil take the hindmost.
We do need, a clear national development plan
with which we agree and which we understand. In
relating to such a plan we should know what we can
and must do.
After all the attention given to education over
the years, and what with our high level of literacy, we
should be sufficiently equipped to understand our
Whether we deal in terms of five-year or 10-
year or 25-year Development Programmes, or whether
we deal with so-called strategies, we, as a nation,
should be fully committed participants sharing a
common perspective of where we intend to go.
The Town & Country Planning Division; docu-
ment, "The National Framework", indicated four
alternative strategies for the development of human
settlements in the country.
In fact, there were only three since the fourth
strategy was "laissez faire."
Our national leaders have failed to encourage
our population to deliberate on these alternatives so
that eventually we can arrive at a consensus.
The virtual neglect of these proposals has in fact
left the entire country in the dark.
Not even the planners can be certain which is the
best strategy to adopt. In the absence of any directive
we are indeed faced with a system of laissez faire,
meandering from one strategy to the next,
We are running a system of the most remarkable
WE don't know what to do with the hillsides and the
valleys of the northern range.
Valuable agricultural lands are under pressure
for sub-urban developments; non-fertile lands are
proposed for farming.
Urban areas suffer from decay; no programme
exists for rationalising and upgrading of the man-
Community life is disintegrating. If there are
no common goals and there are no accessible and
understandable means to achieve these goals then our
country must lose identity and be forced-to wander
in the wilderness.
Is this a new colonialism descending inadvertent3
upon us? Divide and rule by keeping plans aloof?
Is that then the plan?
We are today, as in every day-of our develop-
mental quest, laying the foundations for our future.
But if our foundations are arbitrary, then we
must necessarily reconcile ourselves with an arbitrary
future and casting ourselves to the wind.
OUR attitude towards land and its use is a good
-instance of this arbitrariness. We simply squander it.
Our magnificent fertile valleys in the northern
range are under serious pressure for urban and sub-
urban expansion. Already we have lost Diego Martin,
Maraval and Maracas Valleys. Tucker, Santa Cruz,
Caura and others are under heavypressure.
Once we occupy these valleys in large measure
we will have reduced our potential food supply.
Where are the limits?
Our population is growing; we need more food.
Yet we are reducing the acreages available for growing
food. Is that logical?
Our attitude towards land use is one imported
from the continents, especially North America where
land is plentiful.
We on our little island should have attitudes
more like the Japanese and the Dutch, nations that
have large populations with limited land resources.
We cannot afford to waste our land. We must
allocate and use every acre to maximum advantage.
This consideration alone should have a remarkable
influence on our decisions to locate urban expansion.
Present built up areas must be,re-examined and
re-structured to conserve urban sprawl, at the same
time ensuring that overcrCiwding does not take place.
For some' strange reason development seems
always to be equated with the putting up of struc-
tures. Thus every piece of open space in our urban
areas is under pressure to be "developed".
We should be creating much more urban open
space, developing'tension release zones and balancing-
such open spaces with more intensive use of land in
Belmont, Woodbrook, Newtown, St. James,
Barataria, San Juan, Curepe, Tunapuna are all areas
that need this kind of treatment.
When last did we establish a City square or a
Can the open spaces of our education centres.
not be planned for the overall benefit of the com-
Why not develop town houses around large
school playing fields? The economic advantage of
this in land use terms must be obvious.
Certainly vandalism would be minimised.
Take housing. Again the results here are one-
dimensional. We have not created communities. All
that has been created in the name of housing is
And I am not only alluding to the Beetham
Ghetto but also to the Goodwood Parks and West-
Smoorings and Diamond Vales and all those NHA
house and land developments established wherever
there was some open space easily' acquired..
Let us not fool ourselves, none of these develop-
ments (with perhaps the exception of Diamond Vale)
can boast a thriving community life.
Housing is not just houses. To solve the housing
problem we have to develop the kind of built fabric
that will permit and encourage the rational develop-
ment of integrated communities. N
Detached, semi-detached and terraced town
houses as well as apartments need to be considered,
not in isolation to, but together with and in an
identifiable relationship with communal facilities
from shops and factories and churches and parks and-
schools within, to adjoining communities adjacent
and to the nation as a whole.
We hear talk of the Point Lisas Port and Indus-
trial Developmeift. The emphasis is on MONEY,
HEAVY INDUSTRY AND JOBS,.
THEN CHOOSE FROM OUR WIDE
1 GATE CHAINS
SECURITY DOOR CHAINS
SLIDING DOOR LOCKS
But what about the com-
munity that needs to be planned
around the Port? Is -this a
secret? Or is there once again
Is the whole matter going
to be left in the hands of the-
speculators who will concern
themselves primarily with the
bread to be made and not-with
the overall community that
should be established?
And what of Couva? Is there
a development plan for Couva
in all this?
The ball has started rolling
and the influx of construction
workers in the area is the first
opportunity to start com-
Why think in terms of only
commuters from San Fernando
and Chaguanas instead of en-
couraging those who will build
the Port to settle there? Is this
once again going to be an
The concept of low cost or
low income housing is probably
the most farcical red herring to
be thrown our way and the
way of all so-called developing
It is this very concept that'
militates against the establish-
ment of true communities.
The fact of the matter is
that we should be concentrat-
ing our attention on the crea-
tion of adequate shelter in the
broader sense of the term
outlined earlier. No matter
what the price.
PAGE 3 SUNDAY JULY 3,1977 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW
HOSPITALS, schools, Gov-
ernment offices, houses;
roads, ports and airports;
vast new highway and
estates and petro-chemical
projects; law courts,
libraries, stadia and sports
galore, at a time of
Last Christmas, the
TAPIA Editorial Office
thought that we, might
bring out'a special
supplement to report on
conditions in the industry
which we knew to have
been experiencing a time
The articles we got in
response were not only
technically penetrating but
socially sensitive to the
point of lyrical appeal We
thought we heard a plea
that the problems of
construction deserved a
wider airing. We post-
poned the Supplement
and organised a
Symposium as well High
on the list of considera-
tions which prompted us
into that change of game-
plan was the following
ANNOUNCEMENT AFTER AN-
NOUNCEMENT. Priorities? No.
Not in terms of programme,
neither in terms of spending.
S But can everything be con-
structed all at once? If every
project announced is built at the
identical time theft every project
Swill suffer the debilitating effects
of drawn-out construction periods
and inexorably dropping stand-
Can't you see what is actually
happening?' Every building pro-
ject is competing with the next
in a play-off to sudden death. An3
one that dares default has lost its
place ih the line-up. What ordering
of priority is this?
And then there is the private
sector expanding helter-skelter
too. Land developments for hous-
ing and for sundry shopping
plazas-are everywhere erupting.
With sane appraisal, many
would fetch a high priority even
in competition with some of the
public projects. But as it is, it is a
straight case of first come, first
served and the devil. . etc.-
No control, no perspective,
'- no priority. No experiments, no
caution, no restraint. -It's but a
mad rush to disaster, a celebration
Development should be
towards some kind of order, an
order that is pre-conceived even if
not fully perceived. Our develop-
ment at present is from disorder
into chaos; it is nothing short of
anarchy, free enterprise gone riad.
What is the source of the
trouble? The fact that all these
projects are competing fiercely
with one another is indicative of
the fact that the decision-making
in the public sector is totally
unco-ordinated. The absence of a
programmed framework for 5,10,
25 years even, lies at the heart of
Not even crucial public ser-
vants are able to relate their
specialist activities, their decisions
and recommendations to a nodal
development perspective, Perforce,
they live by speculation and, con-
scious of the need to play safe for
personal survival, this speculation
swiftly turns to intrigue where a
shifting ambivalence and the pro-
verbial passing of the buck become
the order of the day.
Ambiguity and indecision at
the level of, administration gua-
rantee a lack of confidence in the
areas of implementation, that is to
say, in building and construction.
Projects announced today are
by tomorrow forgotten. This
repeated regularly, the industry.
soons learns to adjust to the
artificial stimulus- Now no matter
what is the announcement, it
evokes a snail's pace response.
Now, when -we have never
. needed prompter action, the res-
ponses we are getting are to the
The result of a shortage of skilled men is that contractors try to out id each other and labour costs in-
evitably spiral everybody grasping for a limited resource....
-4 -i -t -
The private sector is.expanding shelter skelter.
announcements of many moons
ago. The industry is hopelessly
under-geared to the demands of
the current moment.
All contractors are plagued
by the shortage of equipment,
materials, technicians and crafts-
men, management skills, above
all. Among both the contractors
and the professionals, the com-
petition is almost vicious.
There are not enough skilled
men available to satisfy all the
contractors, so each contractor
seeks to outbid the next. The
result? An inevitable spiralling of
labour costs with everybody grasp-
ing for a limited resource with
hardly a plan for expanding its
How much action is there on
actual training programmes? We
have a huge unemployment pro-
blem and still ,a desperate shortage
We enjoy a colossal potential
by way of domestic building
materials and yet supply is chronic-
ally short partly on account of
monopolies. The competition
amongst the contractors may mean
that only the big league, will be
able to survive.
The starkest example is gravel.
The small or even medium-sized
-contractor is hard pressed to find
supply even at the most extortion-
ate of'prices. And yet most of
the gravel deposits lie in the
province of the State, reportedly
committed to keeping prices down,,
The price of concrete has
risen from about $80 per cubic
yard poured in place to $1.40
over a period of 18 months, thanks
mainly to the arbitrary inflation
in the selling price of gravel.
In other areas of material
supply, the easy way to a solution
is to look to the import sector.
Cement is a case in point-Why
have we been so slow to expand
our cement capacity by expanding
the existing factory and/or by
developing new processes, new
product-substitutes, or even new
The worst possible solution
to our long-term problems is to
look to importation as the best
possible solution in the short.
X Hart Street
X Urban Re-develop-
Creative Arts Centre
Iron & Steel Project
X St. Joseph (Valsayn)
? Port Expansion
X Port-of-Spain Hospital
X San Fernando
X- Stadium and Sports
X Tairico Bay Hotel
X Aluminium Smelter
PAGE 4 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW SUNDAY JULY 3,1977
TOWN- AND COUNTRY
Planning for Development: The National
Framework for the preparation of
Regional, Sub-Regional and Local Area
Plans. (April 1974, June 1975. Town &
Country Planning Division)
by Donald Benjamin
IN Part II, Section 5, Sub-Section
(2) of the Town and Country
Planning Ordinance,. the Minister
for Planning and Development is
required to submit for the approval
of Parliament a development plan
consisting of a report of a survey
of the whole country together
with a plan showing the manner
in which he proposes that the
land in the Nationr may be used
and the stages at which develop-
ment may be undertaken.
The Town and Country Planning
Division regards development planning
as a continuing process and therefore
decided to publish a series of documents
to deal with various aspects of develop-
ment as well as with particular problems
of selected regions and local areas. The
SNational Frarhework provides the basis
on whicAl regional plans are prepared.
The Document is the result of
years of basic studies but the many
factors surveyed were not reproduced
in detail. The document further gives an
overview of the state of development
in the country and promises that major
development issues will be dealt with in
more detail in the regional and local
area plans which are being done.
The authors note that the principles
which are put forward in the document.
have been in use for a considerable time
in guiding decisions of a short-term
nature and are currently being applied
in the physical development process.
The Town and Country Planning
Division-anticipates that their approach
will provide a more flexible methodology
capable of adapting to changing circum-
stances, stimulating public comment and
responding to special challenge. It is
very definite that no single document
should be regarded as the-National Plan.
The document further declares
that the aim of physical planning at any
level national, regional or local is to
anticipate and so structure physical
development action so that the com-
munity will get the maximum benefits,
existing problems will be tackled and
future problems forestalled. However,
Town and Country Planning then
laments: "We live in a changing world,
when today's decision may not be
applicable to tomorrow's circumstances
and where aspirations are always rising
and changing in nature. We find, there-
fore, that traditional methods of planning
which are geared to one set of decisions
incorporated into a final master plan
depicting some future, hopefully ideal
state are not appropriate to our situa-
So then, what is to be done in
Trinidad and Tobago? It is suggested in
the National Framework that "what is
needed is a more flexible tool for
regulating present decisions, often
arrived at in an ad hoc, expedient
manner, so that they contribute to
desired goals and objectives and, what is
more, they do not jeopardise future
options for action."
To date, then; there is no National
Plan. However, it is clear that the
process being used is to produce a series
of regional plans and action plans which
would eventually, they say, constitute a
National Plan. A regional plan has a time
scale 10 to 25 years and in more
generalized in content than the Action
Plan-which has a time scale of five
the power to develop
the nation's resources and to
provide the necessities
of modern living
It took thousands of miles of
cable. It took years of planning
and relentless effort of our dedicated
staff fo bring the age of electricity
to the people of Trinidad and
In 1965 we vent to the ocean's
floor to lay miles of cable to provide
the most economical means of
electricity for Tobago.
SFrom our four power stations
we generate enough electricity
to supply-the nation's needs.
To us at T & T E C that's
progress. To provide the power
our nation needs to help develop
it's resources, to motivate industry
and to bring the con-forts of modern
living to all.
But progress is ever demanding
and tomorrow will bring increasing
demands for electricity.
Mindful of this we are
planning for that future, today.
Trinidid & Tobago Electricity Commission
PLANNING in Trinidad
and Tobago is a centralized
function. There is one
planning agency for the
entire country, the Town
and Country Planning Divi-
sion in the Ministry of
Finance Planning and
None of the towns and-
boroughs and indeed none
of the County Councils,
has a professional staff of
Town Planners and
Regional Planners. Why?
Planning practice has
always given towns and
cities the responsibility for
preparing their own plans
Why is it that Port-of-
Spain does not have its
own staff of City Plasnelis
to deSign and shape the
physical development of
the city? Why is this a
centralized Town and
Country Planning func-
Why is it that the town-
of San Fernando does not
have its own staff of quali-
fied planners- to do the
same? The question also
applies to Arima! And
indeed, the County Coun-
cils are responsible for large
areas. Why don't they have
Surely the overall
physical development of
these areas has an impor-
tant effect on health pro-
tection, building construo-
tion, road .development
and maintenance, which
are functions of these
local agencies and should
be their responsibility.
years. As examples, the Capital Regional
Plan is a regional plan while the Port-of-
Spain Central Business District Plan
and the Chaguaramas Development
Plan are Action Plans.
There are indications of very
thoughtful planning concepts. The
scope as outlined is to carry out relevant
surveys on a continuing basis, designed
to provide data inputs on those phen-
omena which affect the course of land
use and physical development on. the
National, Regional and Local scale.
Included as well are the analysis of
relevant data oriented to specific themes
on problem solving; the preparation of a
design for development at the regional
or local level in sufficient detail to
indicate solutions to problems; the
control of all forms of private develop-
ment and the-responsibility to guide
and influence development action by
public agencies; to formulate develop-
ment policies based on opportunities
for future change and long-term demands
The specific purposes as outlined
in the National Framework are to meet
the.requirements of the Town and
Country Planning Ordinance 1960 Part
II; to educate the public on planning
.and to demonstrate to them the benefits
to be derived from planned develop-
ment; to establish a more rational basis -
for development decisions both in the
public and private sectors; to initiate a
process which will ensure that by wise
use, intelligent forethought, and con- ,
scientious conservation and renewal, the
country's resources will be available to
support present and future generations
at high levels of satisfaction.
; t ,
SUNDAY JULY 3,1977 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW PAGE 5
Chartered Quantity Surveyor
IT IS SAID that change brings with it challenges
which test the mettle of the best of men. This
is as true of an individual as it is of a nation's
economy and'Trinidad and Tobago economy
is, today, a living example of dramatic change
with all its attendant challenges.
. At the beginning of 1973, the then Minister of
Finance in presenting his Budget of $586m. urged the
citizens of this nation '.to give up their unrealistic
expectations.regarding the level of income which the
country can count on from its natural resources in the
next few years . which, if they are to be met now,
will require an intolerable-increase, in debt and in the
money supply with the iattendant:adverse conse-
quences for internal prices and the'credit standing of
At the beginning of 1977, the now Minister;of
Finance and Prime .Minister, in presenting his Budget
of $2,431m., declared to the nation that "the
country's current financial standing does not necessi-
tate a recourse to borrowing. However. . establish-
ment of a country's credit-worthiness could most
Sfavourably be achieved at a time when, in strict
terms, debt financing is not specifically required,
because in the eyes of the financial markets the ideal
debtor is one with no need for money."
This dramatic reversal of the financial fortunes
of Trinidad and Tobago, over a five-year period, was
brought about by the country's windfall from its oil
resources. The 1973 revenue from oil amounted to
$109m. as compared with an estimated revenue of
approximately $1,500m. in 1977. This substantial
increase in revenue has been felt, in varying degrees, in
every sector of the national economy.
The impact has been, greatest, perhaps, in- the
Construction Industry which, as long ago as the
drafting stages of the 1969-73 Third Five Year Deve-
lopment Plan, was identified by Government as the
prime mover in the economy. Two reasons were then
advanced for so describing the Construction Industry
its stimulation of expansion in the manufacturing and
primary sectors of the economy and its high employ-
menit of the country's skilled, semi-skilled and
unskilled workers. This confidence in the Construction
Industry was shown to be justified by its performance
in accounting for 5o% of the Gross Domestic Product
An ailing industry is being
asked to cope, almost over-
night, with an additional
workload of some $1,000m.
- energy projects.. spin-
off projects. . housing
programme . private
sector building.. .
and by employing approximately 19% of the total
labour force employed in the country by the end of
that Five Year Plan.
THE SCALE AND SCOPE OF THE INDUSTRY
THE PUBLIC SECTOR'S increase in investment-
in the Construction Industry, through its Develop-
ment Programme during the last five years, speaks for
itself. In 1973, $112.5m. was budgeted forthe whole
Development Programme; in 1977, $1,265m. has
been budgeted for the short term and long term
Development Programmes, 10 times as much. *
This level of increased expenditure on the
Public Sector Development Programme, together
with a lesser, though not insignificant, increase in
investment by the Private Sector, has completely
changed the scale and scope of activity in the Con-
struction Industry. Two examples can illustrate this
(a) the total investment ($7,223m) required by
the Petroleum-based and energy intensive deve-
lopment projects only, over the next five years,
is more than three times the total Public
Sector spending during the period of the Third
Five Year Development Plan ($2,271m.); and
(b) the estimated expenditure on water and
electricity alone ($465m.) over the next three
years is nearly equal to the Public Sector expen-
diture in the entire Development Programme in
the Third Five Year Development Plan ($488m.).
This changed scale and scope of construction
activity has been clearly reflected in the sundry indi-
cators of -the level of activity in the industry. In
keeping with its traditional use as an index of the
economic buoyancy of the country, it is true to say
-that the "boom" conditions in the industry are in
evidence in' -rost other sectors of the national
Planning approvals for construction are being
sought on an unprecedented scale. Cement consump-
tion annually in Trinidad and Tobago has increased
from 159;605 tons in 1973 to an estimated 300,000
tons in 1977. Loans from the.fiiancial institutions to
the Construction Industry reached an all time high
during 1976. Tie industry's importation of construc-
tion materials and machinery has accounted for an in-
creasing share of national imports. The number of
foreign contracting firms and foreign personnel
-engaged in the Construction Industry is significantly
higher today than it has ever been.
The main categories of work in which the Con-
struction Industry is, or shortly will be engaged,
include the traditional infra-structural projects of
water, roads, electricity, telephones and port facilities;
the traditional super-structure projects in the field of
education, health, industry and commerce and
housing; and the non-traditional energy-based indus-
tries and theirattendant infra-structure requirements.
The main projects of the non-traditional con-
struction programme are as follows:-
1. Fertilizer Joint Venture with
2. Iron/Steel Complex
3. Polyester Fibre Plant
4. Furfural Plant
5. Fertilizer Joint Venture with
* PAGE 9
DOUGLAS & DOUGLAS
236 Eastern Main Road, Barataria Tel: 638-3697
*Windscreen Rubbers for all makes of vehicles
*Glass Run Channels for all makes of vehicles
I O I
PAGE 6 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW SUNDAY JULY 3,1977
Acquisition notices were
first served on the St. Vincent
Street lawyers in 1943. With
the removal of the Fire Brigade
Headquarters to Wrightson
Road, the way was cleared in
the late 1950's for the erection
of the Hart Street Offices-
In 1961 the Ministry of
Works exhibited the designs
for the Hart Street Offices a
nine-storey office block.
In 1967 another serious look
was taken at the designs but
the project was considered too
expensive for the Government
to undertake. The private
sector was then invited'to
submit a package deal to
include the designs, the finance
and the construction, the
STEP 1. Project is identi-
fied and the Cabinet
STEP 2.-The Client Min-
istry seeks advice from the
Ministry of Works.
STEP 3. Land has to be
STEP 4. Consultants are
to be appointed.
STEP 5. Money is to be
released to the Ministry of
STEP 6. By this' time, at
least one year has passed
and the budget has to be
re-done invariably with a
higher estimate of cost:
STEP 7. The new Budget
goes back to the Cabinet
STEP 8. The process starts
all over again.
By this route, it is good
going if a small Govern-
ment project is completed
within four years, starting
with the land. If the land
has to be acquired as
offices to be leased to the
State with an option to pur-
chase after 7-10 years.
In 1970, the Prime Minister
said that the Government
would build the Hart Street
Complex as part of the pro-
gramme of National Recon-
In 1975 a Consortium of
private -architectural practices
- was appointed to undertake
the designs and supervision
of the Hart Street Offices. In
July 1975, the Hart Street
Project was estimated to cost
$33m., according to evidence
published in the Trinidad
In November 1976, the
Honourable, Overand Padmore
was gazette as the Minister
responsible for the Hart Street
Project. In December 1976,
the Prime Minister, speaking
as Minister of Finance, referred
E.R.Rd Mt. Hope Tel: 638-4637
For Building &
type of "Sou-Sou" from
$40 per month
A Travellers Cheques
A Irnport Financing
,A Export Financing
A Letters of Credit
. Personal Financial Advice
A Business Finance Advice
A All other commercial banking
to the Hart Street Project as
one to be financed through
In June 1977, a check
made on St. Vinceilt Strt,<
revealed business as usual
amongst the lawyers who are
occupying the area earmarked
for demolition. *
Bank National Commercial Bank
of Trinidad & Tobago-
We.Bank with the
Nation's Interest -
Your Interest In mind.
-v -'-- -- r ~ -. -
150 E.M.R. 638-2586
Sj FOR ALL
- C-~-----~--------------' L
- c O....-...... i, . ,.-l A -." nr la Ai r Hinh aPpnihr Y< a Rsm l-
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW SUNDAY JULY 3, 1977 PAGE 7
FROM PAGE 2
The cost of creating a ghetto for low income
families may be small in terms of dollars and cents.
But at what eventual expense to the nation? Social
aberrations, lack of community, lack of purpose are
great costs for any nation to bear, especially over
No matter what the'cost we must build reason-
able shelter for our people in an integrated and
plannQd way. To create housing stock as a national
asset is as good as having gold in a Central Bank vault
or having large deposits of US Currency accruing
interest in foreign banks.
We have a duty to use the biblical "ten talents"
which Nature has bestowed on us in the form of OIL
and to convert these into SHELTER. If the price is
high today, it will be comparably low in five and 10
and 20 years time.
The more houses we build today is the more
low cost houses we will have in ten years time.
The quicker we convert oil revenue into a built
fabric for our communities the better. The sooner
we are able to produce all our building materials at
home, the more buoyant an economy we shall have.
This, together with adequate home grown food
should be a clear and easily understood goal.
To crown it all, to expand a construction
industry.is to expand a demand for labour and there-
fore overcome the unemployment problem. Surely if
we all saw this as a common goal, we would be will-
ing to work with great purpose.
If we have to build new communities and
regenerate existing ones, we have to be experimental.
The housing developments we have seen recently are
Ever since the original Trincity experiment
failed, the attitude has been to play safe. But one
does not abandon experimentation because one
experiment has failed.
On the contrary, that first failure should have
led to a series of new experiments after careful
analysis of the failure.
Experimentation in housing is a major need
today. We need experiments in house types,
house type mixes, whole community/neighbourhood
structures, hillside developments, self help housing,
development of already established squatter communi-
Endless experiments that will lead to all kinds
of novel solutions.
Failure in this kind of experimental context is
not total. That is what is so exciting.
We need to generate a pioneering spirit so that
all who participate will understand what it is to build
a nation. And the Government has to realise that
the onus is on them.
The National Housing Authority needs to be
completely restructured to meet these demands. We
must stop this senseless stereo-typed house-and-land
attitude towards housing and deal with whole com-
To say that stereo-typed housing or the destruc-
tion of our hillsides or the insensitive location of'the
La Basse is the price we have to pay for development
is to show a complete lack of understanding of what
development is all about.
The so called developed countries are only now
appreciating this, hence their great concern with the
environment today. They have realized, perhaps too
late, that development is an all round concept.
The development of a road should not come at
the expense of the destruction of a hill,for example.
STrue, we are "developing" fast. That is, a lot of
construction is taking place. We must be sure now
that all that we construct is not at the expense of
This attitude towards development needs'to be
understood by all if we are to succeed. Ours is a small
island with a delicate environmental balance. The
speed with which we can now destroy what nature
took centuries to build should be a sobering thought
for all of us.
What we destroy today we cannot retrieve
tomorrow. Ours should be an attitude of great envi--
We urgently need a full fledged school of the
environment. Our pre-occupation at the University
with the Social sciences should in part be re-directed
to studies of social behaviour in our physical and
Let social systems be examined as a means to
the ends but let us agree on the ends.
A school of the environment would provide us
with: artisans who can use the raw materials of
nature around us clay, wood, sand, oil even;
builders and technicians; architects, engineers and
other professionals. All with a sensitivity to the envi-
ronment as a whole.
So that the developer will also be the conserva-
tor. And with proper communications such sensitivities
should filter through to the overall national con-
Can we look forward to the day when a fish
kill in the Gulf of Paria, the destruction of a Savan-
nah, the demolition of a hill, the development of
housing ghettoes, and all such abuses of our natural
or built environment will meet with unanimous and
loud disapproval and be stopped?
Can we look forward to the day when a new
pioneering spirit will be born? When as a nation we
will embark on a great adventure?
Living and learning as we develop, always
exploring and experimenting, never accepting the
stereo-type and always jealously guarding against
abuse of our environment? We can start today.g
For the most elegant
cuts in gents
and ladies suitings
CHAIRS 0 TABLES STOOLS O SNACKCHAIRS DINING SETS
DRAWING ROOOM SETS PORCH SETS
* Grill Gates Expanding Gates
Steel Structures Truck Trays
221 Eastern Main Road Tunapuna, Trinidad, w.i.
* Steel Struses
- ?- -
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW SUNDAY JULY 3,1977 PAGE 8
SHELFORD REYNA ULD
THE building professionals
and technicians of Trinidad
& Tobago work within a
period of technological
transformation in which
they act as important cata-
lysts for change. Change in
the way that building pro-
blems are stated and solved
relative to our new
In this respect we differ
therefore from the technocrats
in a highly industrialized
country where transformation
of industrial techniques now
in progress will create the
changes in the building industry.
If therefore we adopt indus-
trialized building systems it
will not have evolved from an
improvement in our industrial
The building methods we
now practise may be described
Traditional building which
makes use of materials
immediately available. The
most commonly used are
local timber, earth, round
poles, baked clay, concrete
cogging, thatch or timet
leaves, galvanized iron sheet-
Conventional urban build-
ing which is based on well
established crafts in stone,
wood, claybrick or clay-
block masonry. To these
crafts have been added
knowledge of materials such
as in situ concrete, concrete
blockwork and -imported
sheet roof coverings.
Non conventional build-
ing: a method derived from
the international develop-
ment of new materials such
as advanced reinforced
technology; prestressed con-
crete steel frame structures
mass production of build-
ing components, prefabri-
cated walls partitions, patent
cladding systems etc.
These characteristic forms
of building have an influence
one upon the other. Traditional
building can be improved by
the application ,of scientific
knowledge to their design and
construction. Craft built build-
ings or conventional buildings
can benefit by the" use of
setting out devices, small
mechanical aids, improved mor-
tar mixes, quality control etc.
Non Conventional building
techniques are under constant
development from the pressure
for a more rational or indus-
trialized approach to mass
Industrialized building is
very new to developing terri-
tories and relatively new to
developed countries. Know-
ledge gained in the other
forms of building production
is set within a new framework
that results in new techniques
of building production. The
essentials in this building pro-
cess however are:-
The standardization of
sizes, dimensions, compo-
nents and manufacturing
Continuity of building
production. This requires a
more or less continuous user
demand and material supply.
Integration of the different
stages of the building pro-
duction process through
initiation, design, program-
ming and execution.
Complete site organiza-
tion and the transfer
of certain operations to off
None of these essential
conditions could be met in the
climate of our present develop-
ment. Some will take a con-
siderable period to develop
even if the need is ever recog-
Perhaps the greatest danger
is that industrialized building
may also help to stabilize the
position-of some of the mono-
polists that already exist.
May we not find the limited
choice one now has in the
selection of say, six-cylinder
motor-cars, being reflected in
the restriction of say, three-
bedroom building types?
What risk is there that the
questionable standards and
quality control which now
plague our local assembly
industries in general will be
perpetrated in the building
industry owing to inadequate
research, planning and develop-
These are questions which
must be squarely faced because
the general public could
scarcely afford it if building
costs were to soar as car prices
have done, way in excess-of
home and foreign production
Moreover, with industrial
building, the small traditional
builders, the vital class of crafts-
men, may rapidly disappear and
manufacturers, in the resulting
absence of competition, will
be able to extend their control
over our living standards.
- This is not to mention what
the disappearance of the class
of independent small craftsmen
and contractors might mean-
from other points of view.
Industrial building is un-
doubtedly very big business,'-
probably requiring output-bnr
the scale of 5,000 units per
year if it is to be feasible at all.
Big business and big companies.
It may not, at this point
in our development, be the
answer to our housing needs.
Perhaps we should explore -
the possibility of rationalizing
the traditional and conventional
building standards. We need a
National Building Code, a
National Physical Plan and,
National Standards in regard.
LO building materials.
MOOTILAL MOONAN .
Corner Streatham Lodge Road &
Churchill-Roosevelt Highway, Tunapuna
-- I -I I
SUNDAY JULY 3, 1977 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW PAGE 9
CAN THE INDUSTRY DO IT ?
The total infrastructure requirements related
to these projects are as follows:-
Point Lisas Port and Land
CAPACITY OF THE INDUSTRY
THE PRESENT planning of the energy-based indus-
tries anticipates the spending of the capital investment
over the next four or five years. Such a short time-
spread means that in, say, 1978, all of the non-
traditional projects and the traditional projects will be
under construction at the same time. This could mean
an annual turnover in the Construction Industry of
$1,000m. compared with its highest annual turnover
to date of approximately $500m. The question that
immediately comes to mind is: can the Construction
Industry cope with the increased workload it is
expected to carry?'
An examination of the performance of the
Construction Industry over the last five years shows
that it has performed very badly. Examples of short-
comings in the industry abound: late completion of
projects; cost overruns; shortages of essentialmaterials;
labour unrest; poor workmanship etc.
-Many published statements from reliable
sources also bear testimony to the industry's poor
performance during the last five years.Some examples:
1973: A preliminary study undertaken by the
UWI Faculty of Engineering found that "the
Construction Industry continued to be poorly
organised and that the productivity of workers
was very low. The situation has been worsened
by the energy crisis with the. resultant materials
Shortages, uncertainty of supply and escalating
1974: In his Budget Speech, the Minister of
Finance said: "A large part of our planned
expenditure is on construction. In this field we
encounter increasing difficulties and there is
concern that the large programme that is
planned is beyond the capacity of the local
"The fact is, Mr. Speaker, that the local con-
struction industry has not equipped itself to
undertake important construction projects
which require considerable technical and
managerial skill. In this country we have deve-
loped substantial capacity in certain specialised
fields such as earthmoving and road paving;
and our capability in design and consultation
work has also.been improving rapidly.
"But there are few locally owned construction
firms which have, within themselves, the
financial,managerial and technical capacity.to
organise and implement on a planned schedule
a large construction project involving an expen-
diture of more than $5m. Even in projects in-
volving expenditure of $2m. or less we continue
to experience considerable delays in completion
because of technical and managerial limita-
~~,~~L 7 ~b!
Plans for transformation of the economy will only partly succeed, or maybe fail, if the construction industry is
unable to cope with the anticipated workload...
"The result is that many of the important
projects in our development programme have
been executed by contractors from abroad with
local contractors working as the junior partners.
This is completely contrary to the objectives of
development policy which the country had
1975: At a three-day consultation called by
Government for the Private and Public Sectors
to discuss the best use of the country's
petroleum resources, it was reported that
"Delegates generally agreed that because of
historical reasons, the practices and procedures
as well as the capacity of the local Construction
Industry would prove inadequate to meet the
demands as projected by the various- develop-
ments". It was explained that the capacity
referred to was "men, materials, machines and
People in the industry are seriously
worried for it seems clear that what is
being asked of them by the industrializa-
tion programme is beyond the capacity
of the industry to achieve on its own
1976: At a Symposium on the Mobilisation of
Domestic Financial Resources, papers which
were prepared by the Government for the Sym-
posium made the following observation:
"There has been a sizeable increase in the
number of construction workers. Nevertheless
the construction sector is moving at a much
slower pace than construction requirements of
the economy demand.
Recent studies show that a major cause is the
manpower situation in the sector. Management
expertise is lacking to a large extent, skill
requirements at craftsman level are not met
and substandard workers are often hired as a
result. Such manpower bottlenecks have pro-
moted improper organisation of work, shoddy
results and have raised the cost of labour,
Properly trained manpower, is necessary for
road construction, buildings, homes, drainage,
"Inability to organise training in the sector will
seriously affect tife progress of development
projects. The availability of capital for financing
projects will be negated by the dearth of
trained manpower to implement the projects."
"It is evident from the delays in completion
of projects, particularly in the public sector,
that there is an under-supply of skills at profes-
sional, technical and supervisory level."
"There appears to be a serious shortage of engi-'
neers; supervisors/superintendent, technicians;
managers/directors; consultants; advisors; as
evidenced by the preponderance of these work
1977: Professor Kenneth Julien, Chairman of
the National Advisory Council told the press:
"Implementation really is a problem that all
countries are faced with. In our particular
instance, I think what is happening is, that'
we are not really geared up to undertake the
terrific amount of projects that are being called'
for. Our entire management systems of govern-.
ment, and even the private sector itseTf, is not
geared to works implementation."
The foregoing statements are only some, of the
many made during the last fiee years which tell of an
ailing industry, struggling under its peak annual
workload of about $500m. Yet, this is the same
industry that Government is asking to cope, almost
overnight, with an additional annual workload of
possibly $1,000m., based on the estimated cost of the
energy-based projects, the spin-off projects which
will result from the latter, the accelerated housing
- PAGE 10
WE SUPPLY & INSTALL
Frosted glass Aquariums.
Plain glass --+ --Mr r
Glass of al dimensins I Louvres 4" & 6' Sliding Doors
Groove and Polish Awning Windows
85 Eastern Main Road Barataria Phone 638 3797
FROM PAGE 5
6. Expansion of the Cement Plant
A I I .
PAGE 10 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW SUNDAY JULY 3,1977
Too many projects....
FROM PAGE 9 persons. Traditionally there has been, and today there
continues to be, very little co-operation between the
programme and the many other public and private operatives within each of the foregoing, groups, let
sector projects which the increased economic momen- alone between one group and the next.
tum will generate. Unlike some other industries, therefore, there
is no recognized forum within the Construction
Industry for discussing its problems. Because of this,
EXPANSION OF THE INDUSTRY the serious concern about the poor state of affairs
which exist in the industry, which has been felt for a
IN ORDER to meet the challenge of coping with long time by many who work in the industry, has
the expected workload, the Construction Industry remained simply a talking point among individuals, or
will- have to undergo considerable expansion and remained simply a talking point among individuals, or
icky Those persons who work in the industry the subject of an occasional seminar or study group
quickly. Those persons who work in the industry
are seriously worried about the situation because, topic.
even though the industry has more elasticity than
most, it seems clear that what isbeing asked of it, by No machinery has,yet been set up to tackle the
the country's industrialisation programme, is beyond Too many projects are chasing too little problems at a national level. So it is true to say that
its capacity to achieve on its own accord. -land, financial, material and human the ailing Construction Industry has still not had its
This fact must be faced squarely, now, because resources. . illness fully diagnosed, nor any remedial action pres-
the plans for the transformation of the national cribed; its condition continues to deteriorate every
economy (from that of primary producing and limited facilities and housing). Regrettably, however, these day.
light manufacturing industries to one of heavy manu- developments have found the Construction Industry In general, the industry is seen to be one
facturing industries with all the attendant linkage in a bad state of unpreparedness and urgent action is fraught with communication problems which result
industries) will only partly succeed, or maybe fail, if required to remedy the situation. in misunderstanding and conflict, delays, stoppages
the Construction Industry is unable to cope with the It is against this background of poor perform- and abortive work with the consequential unecon-
anticipated workload, ance that one must view the urgent need for a con-- omic use of the country's financial and human
siderable expansion of the Construction Industry in resources. This situation arises out of inherent con-
order to ensure that the country's development plans flicts within the construction team consultants and
ECONOMIC STRATEGY are carried out competently, economically and within contractors) iad uncertainty from without; there are
the time-frame set by the planners. doubts about planning permission, bridging and long
It is not an overstatement to say that the The poor state of the Construction Industry, term financing arrangements and availability, of
Construction Industry holds the key to the success today, is the result of mainly two factors: materials, equipment, labour and competent supervi-
of the Government's economic strategy. This is so (a) the organisational structure of the industry, sion.
because an examination of Government's objectives and The reason for the conflict within the construc-
and plans shows that the strategy to be used is the (b) the public and private sectors' investment tion team is clearly an organisational one. The
mobilising of- financial resources, domestic and pattern in the industry. members of the team see themselves as completely
foreign, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, These factors are also the main constraints to independent units, each performing a quite distinct
the putting of those resources into productive use in the orderly expansion of the industry. role which is his own preserve. They do not recognize
the several areas of the national economy, channelled (or choose not to recognize) that in each case, the
mainly through the Construction Industry. role was developed in response to social, economic
The Construction Industry, in a sense, is being THE STRUCTURE OF THE INDUSTRY and technical problems of a by-gone era and in a
used as the conduit through which our financial country very different from the Trinidad and Tobago
resources will be injected into the economy as a The Construction Industry is a very diverse and, of today, which is in the throes of rapid change
whole. Unfortunately there is no alternative to using usually, competitive one, made up of a series of towards modernisation.
the Construction Industry in that way. A necessary, mainly small operators in the areas of professional In effect, circumstances have changed dramatic-
pre-requisite to any economic development is the services (e.g. engineering, architecture and quantity ally but the definitions of roles have changed little, if
provision of proper infra-structure facilities water, surveying), contracting, sub-contracting, transporta- any at all. Further, the traditional definitions of those
electricity, telephone and roads) and super-structure tion, material manufacturing and supplies. Uver 90% roles are now entrenched in and protected by associa-
facilities plants, factories, offices; schools, medical of the firms in the industry employ less than 20 A PAGE 15
....chasing too little land
(1) Are We satisfied and
convinced that the traditional
roles of the professional Engi-
neers as defined by the institu-
tions of Engineering organisa-
tions in North America and
Europe, and even by our own OUR BU
Caribbean organizations are
appropriate and in the) best AFTER SI
interest of Caribbean develop- NO
(2) Are we satisfied that
Engineering technology being
used in the highly developed
countries is appropriate for
transfer wholesale to the deve-
loping countries of the Carib-
(3) Are we convinced that
the education and training of
Engineers at our own Universi-
ties accord with the needs and
aspirations of the Region? and
(4) Are we making the best
use of our human and natural
. (Carib. Devel. BankPaper) .
WELL AND TRULY LAID
ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS
life of Barbados
.* *"'^ ^ i '* -<1
YEARS OF OPERATION
WITH THE CONTINUED CONFIDENCE
AND SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLES '
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO AND St LUCIA
WE WILL NOW PROCEED
TO BUILD FOR YOUR FURTHER
Il f e
A GRADUAL awareness of the housmg situation
became evident in the late 50s. Developments such as
Shanty town and John John were the result of the
depression in rural agricultural incomes and the quest
for subsistence in an urbanised setting. There was
also a meteoric rise in the birth rate and substantial
immigration from other islands.
In the comparatively leisurely period before
World War II, Trinidad and Tobago had developed
along traditional colonial lines with the basic housing
types being the supervisor type or the worker type.
Wdrker housing consisted of s1he sugar worker
barracks and tapia houses associated with the rural
Indian population, and the urban terraced brick and
stone barracks associated with the African population.
The Indian worker further developed the
technique of the tapia house and in time when
mixed with cement and plaster, it became popular
as a counterpart to noggin for middle class dwellings.
The urban barrack continued to have the stigma
of overcrowded living conditions and the more
abominable of these -were declared slums and'
scheduled for redevelopment.
The statutory instruments used to control
development were the Town and Country Planning
ordinance 1939, the Restriction of Ribbon Develop-
ment ordinance 1942 and the Slum Clearance Act of
1950. These together with the Public Health ordinance
1950, and the Town and Country Planning Act 1969,
gave the Government the power to determine the
mode and'location of all physical developmentt in the
A report on housing pre-
pared by the Central Statistical
Office in 1966 pointed out that The Gov
40% of the units in the Country created the I
were in poor .condition and Authority in
would need replacement in 5 nised the need
years and 42% of all units 10,000 and
were overcrowded. annually for si
Of the some 192,000 house- in order to all
holds in Trinidad and Tobago housing shortaj
70% are without water borne
sewerage systems and 62% are
considered sub-standard for
housing and living conditions.
Thp criteria for sub-standard
housing were:- -
1) No water to the house;
2) No toilet;
3) No flush toilet;
4) Expenditure exceeds in-
come by 50% or more.
Eighty-six percent of the
households were not more than
four rooms, and this when set
against the average size of
household of 4.8 persons, indi-
cates a general pattern of over-
Sixty thousands units were
constructed before 1950 and
are therefore over 25 years old;
81,000 went up between 1951
and 1960 an annual average
of over 8,000.
Between 1965 1975
29,026 plans were approved
for new construction an
average of less than 3,000
units per year. If official NHA.
figures,, averaging under 1,000
per annum,i are added, then it
would appear there has been a
considerable slowing down of
the number of new households
HOUSING needs are being met by three basic sectors
in the community:
1) The Government via their executive housing
arm, the National Housing Authority;
2) The private sector consisting of commercial
banks, mortgage finance institutions, insurance com-
panies, private land developers, credit unions and
3) The individual provider who seeks privately
to obtain finance and build himself a home.
The "individual provider" is normally of the
lower income group. This housing is cheaply con-
structed and possibly provided through savings. The
Land on which the unit is placed may berented or
appropriated from the Government. By far the
largest number of units built in this group are built
illegally and therefore statistics of new units based on
approved plans would not take these into account.
The Private Sector finances housing through
loans from. commercial banks for interim finance and
from mortgage finance companies which take over
mortgage payments for periods normally ranging
between 15 and 25 years. The following estimates for
private sector housing are given for 1975:
Commercial banks $m. 32.6
Life insurance companies $m. 90.4
T&T Mortgage Finance Company- $m. 4.6
Building societies $m. 15.5
Credit unions $m. 13.1
ernment had Population projections for
National Housing the year 2,000 indicate
1962 and recog- 1,753,500 persons with the
to build between
15,000" units number of households expected
even to 10 years to be 365,315, an increase of
eviate the critical 173,497 or 52% more than at
Loans in: the private sector can be obtained for
80% and sometimes 90% of the cost of the property'
to be secured. A major constraint, however, is the
high rate of interest (8 -,9%%) arid the rate of
inflation of real estate prices.
The cost of lots in new development may range
between $5 and. $15 per square foot and the mini-
mum construction cost is $35 45 per square foot.
A',middle income family investment in a home
is, therefore, not likely to be less than $100,000 and
based on a Banking Norm of three to four times the
annual income, the family must have an income in the
order of $25,000 to $30,000 per annum to qualify
for a loan.
The Government through the National Housing,
Authority has been providing public housing in the
nature of subsidized rental of flats and apartments
and subsidy of sale of single family units.
More recently it has limited its policy to provid-
ing loans for the purchase of property for house
Since its establishment in 1962 the NHA has
provided 2,686 units as follows:
- 33 (924 units)
Thus the average of NHA units per annum
over the first 15 years is about 179.
The operating policy-of the NHA is to: Cater
chiefly to the needs- of persons in the lower income
bracket by making it possible for them to own
To persons who qualify for NHA help the
-, Page 12
SUNDAY JULY ., 1977 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW PAGE 11
Ruskin Punch reviews housing policy from 1950's
FA ALTTL POL'
VEN PRODUCTS MARKETING CO.LTD.
47 DUNDOWLD ST. PORT OF SPAIN. TEL: 62-51750/51755
AGE 12 TRINIDAD AND TOBAG
UNDAY JULY 3, 1977
From Page 11
1) Acquire premises, freehold or leasehold land,
and building contained on the land.
2) Purchase land for building purposes.
3) Make repairs to existing units.
Loans are given to the limit of 90% of cost,
the applicant having to provide the rest. Applicants
must be over 18 and under 65 years of age and the
age determines the amount loaned and the length of
the mortgage period.
The borrower must be gainfully and regularly
employed and be capable of meeting his mortgage
Loans offered by the NHA are limited to a sum
of $60,000, repayable over a period of 25 years.
Interest is charged at subsidized rates based on the
income of the applicant.
Loans of $30,000 carry a low repayment-rate
of 3%o; $40,000 six per cent' $60,000 a rate of
81%o. Applicants may, therefore, secure within this
limit up to 3 times their annual salary; $60,000 to
buy premises; $60,000 to buy land to build a house;
$50,000 to construct a house on land already owned
by the applicant; $30,000 to effect improvements or
repairs to houses owned.
Capital allocated for NHA Expenditure since
1971 is as follows:
1971 $15,276,000; 1972 $8,117,000;
1973 $6,500,000; 1974 $12,831,000; 1975 -
$13,710,000; 1976 $12,256,000.
A total of $68,690,000.
The total spent on units (Flats and Houses)
from 1971 to 1975 is as follows:
1971 $6,961,727;'1972 $10,005,331;
1973 $4,164,863; 1974 $5,198,199; 1975 -
A total of $68,690,00
N H8 tA
THE NHA previous to 1971 had performed a res-
pectable role as the Government's agency. It had
developed parcels of land, built units for sale or rent,
encouraged self help, and had succeeded by and large,
by selective use of small contractors, in keeping the
cost of units to the absolute minimum.
Its farm houses were constructed for $3,800,
and its three-bedroom units for $4,200.
The impact on the housing situation, however,
remained small and the Government's lack of over-
view on housing was perhaps the reason for the small
capital sum made available to the NHA. The IADB
programmes were on stream.
In 1970, the Urban Redevelopment Council
was formed to concentrate on redevelopment of urban
areas. In. 1969, the Town and Country Planning'Act
was proclaimed and it was envisaged that proper
approval would have to be sought for all development
In 1971 necessary' changes were made in the
structure of the Water and Sewerage Authority.
In the, "Nat:'nal Reconstruction" chaos that
followed the 1970 uprising, the NHA was called
Upon to perform impossible tasks such as the famous
"2000 decanting centres in six months."
The URC and the NHA immediately disagreed
on territorial responsibility, as Dr. Julien and Ivan
Williams vied to gain the favour of the Prime
It is perhaps for historians to determine the
reason for the total demoralisation and carelessness
which became evident in the years 1972-1975 in
respect of the country's housing programme. But the
results of the Scoon Commission, appointed in Sept-
ember 1975 and given 14 days to report to the Prime
Minister on certain aspects of the Government housing
programme, are revealing.
The terms of reference were:
"To make recommendations which would
ensure the distribution, within. a period of sbi
months, of Government constructed houses
which are at present in various, stages of com-
The report listed these problem areas:-
Lack of co-ordination between Government.
Agencies WASA, T&TEC, and Electrical In-
Limited staff resources of NHA;
Inadequate Financial Provisions and long
delay in release of Funds;
Difficulty in operating contract procedures;
Shortage of skilled labour;
Cost Inflation as a result of non-completion
in the specified time;
Inadequate preplanning and scheduling by
Non-performance of contractors;
Bad contract management by the NHA.
The IADB programme units were of particular
relevance. In September 1975, of the 345 units which
were in the field 328 were completed, all 345 were
allocated-and five were occupied.
In September 1-975, the problem of Emile Elias
v the NHA, on the IADB, objection to the use of
sewer bowls from non IADB countries, was resolved.
There appeared to.be other, problems such as
the incomplete infrastructure, and minor house
repairs. In every case, however, the selling price had
not been approved.
The Scoon report highlighted the legal implica-
tions of Government's increasing the selling price of
the units. This could only be done with approval
from the IADB and was subject to the contract
already made with purchasers who had paid their
As for the Government's housing programme,
directly financed by the NHA, 1,723 were on stream,
1,305 were considered complete, 1,381 were allocated,
334 were occupied.
The Scoon Report misleadingly list as com-
plete units for which infrastructure, service connections,
and repairs were necessary before people could move
For example, in Buccoo which was listed as
complete water, sewer, electrical connections and
sewage plants were still to be installed.
The report recommended that the Government
appoint a Housing Co-ordinator to deal effectively
with the conflicts between agencies; hire consultants
and technicians and, to give out houses.
This official was to be given complete autonomy,
subject only to ministerial check, and was to be given
a budget of $9.9m. to complete the programme.
Results were expected within six months.
Mr. Ronnie Walker of Trintoplan was given this
herculean task and dutifully failed to complete the
projects in the required time.
In June 1977 the newspapers carried a head-
line that keys, were now available for some of these
SUNDAY JULY 3, 1977 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW PAGE 13
-. unity as a large constructor of housesto rationalize
traditional methods of construction and to develop
modular co-ordination within the building industry.
All the successful low and middle income
housing estates have had a basic unity in approach
,- -. and architectural style. People later modify to suit
their tastes thus giving the estate character within an
overall framework. The problem here would be that
the housing plots if sensibly & economically distributed
would be too small to encourage people doing "their
own thing" without some basic design which is com-
mon. The current example of Fairways, an upper
income group area, on smaller than normal lots (for
that group) illustrates this point. In this development
the clash of styles and taste are so closely packed that
it has become a heap of architectural rubbish and
something a national joke. An outcome for persons
who bought and designed their homes with the best
BECAUSE of the difficulty experienced by the
National Housing Authority in the completion of
units from the 1970 period, some of which have still
not been completed and occupied, the Government
took the decision to discontinue direct construction
Instead it would develop and distribute land at
subsidized cost, allowing persons to build their own
units. It has, however, continued to provide directly
flatted accommodation in multi-storey housing units.
No distinction can be possibly made between
houses and flats in terms of the provision of units
to house the population. The Architectural distinction
is based on answering a particular localised housing
A multi-storied dwelling unit may be the solu-
tion to a tight urbaf redevelopment problem requir-
ing the rehousing of a large number of people at a
Conversely, the solution of single family dwelling
units of the house type, may be suitable for suburban
and rural development. By making this distinction
between houses and flats the Government has, per-
haps unwittingly, determined that their direct
involvement in Housing will be at the urban level
leaving the suburban and rural to the policy of land
distribution without direct building.
In Trinidad and Tobago this decision is a funda-
mental mistake which will be reversed in time for the
The public will prefer land ownership; thou-
sands of applications (8,000 until recently) will come
in; untold political pressure will be applied and
lobbies activated; a long waiting list will develop with
little prospect of satisfying the demand.
The development of large parcels of land into
standard lots is a planning error, encouraging suburban
sprawl with little sense of place. People should be
encouraged to live- at higher densities in an island
where space will become a critical factor and where
the physical planners have determined that only
10% of the land should-be developed.
A land distribution policy would require strin-
gent controls on resale and construction periods.
Failure to enforce these stringent controls will result
in land speculation with fewer units being built.
The owners who do build will be left on their
own to deal directly with contractors, financing, etc.,
Government would have ducked its responsibility to
attempt to organise construction on large estates.
Government would have lost the opport-
Because the cost of developing land is becom-
ing as expensive as the cost of the house, it
is proposed that more intensive studies be
made in urban areas of the allowable densities
of population in a given area so as to make
maximum use of land for housing which
would still provide the necessary amenities
and also be near the source of employment
and/or be serviced by mass transportation
One of the implications of size of labour force
and rate ofunemployment/underemployment for-con-
sideration in a housing programme, is the stock of
surplus labour which is available and may be utilized
in the scheme to solve the housing problem.
The unemployed may be conceived as human
resource to be trained and utilized in the process of
A look at income levels in Trinidad and Tobago
must also be made in considering housing needs and
provisions. The ability to acquire and pay for hous-
ing accommodation will be dependent upon how
much money is available from earnings to be spent
on housing accommodation, either in the form of
rental or acquisition of single units.-
SThe Central Statistical Office's Budgetary .Sur-
vey, conducted in 1971/1972, indicates that 27.3%
of the households in Trinidad and Tobago were earn-
ing less than $100 monthly.
Some 40.9% were earning within the range of
$100 $299; 17.5% between $300 $499; 9.1%
within $500 $899; 2.3% within $900 $1299 and
the remaining 2.4 % were earning S13000 and over.
The statistics give some indication of the exist-
ing incomes, a part of which has to be spent on
Studies will also be made of purchasing vacant
land for housing well in advance of the deve-
lopment of areas, especially where new indus-
trial, agricultural and tourist projects are to be
Steps will be taken to better institutionalise
the housing finance facilities so that all
income groups will become eligible for the
available commercial credits.
The survey has also provided estimates of actual
money spent on accommodation by households, the
general average being approximately S30. monthly.
Since this time, however, wages and salaries have
increased considerably and there is evidence that more
persons are allocating greater proportions of their
income towards housing accommodation.
The most recent wage statistics issued by the
Ministry of Labour give indication of the extent of
increase in wages since 1971.
Although, however, a substantial increase in
wages have occurred it is worthy to note that the
general economic trend of inflation, characterized by
the high price of land and property, rental for hous-
ing units and interest rates on mortgage loans, now
demands that quite a large proportion of.personal
incomes be spent on acquiring housing accommoda-
BOBBY LUTCHMAN-HEAD WELDER
Wrought Iron Gates etc
Wrought Iron Furniture
19 Eastern Main Road, San Juan Phone: 638-4310
PAGE 14 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW SUNDAY JULY 3,1977
HOUSING is recognized as a durable consumer item
and should be compared with food, clothing and
healthcare as essentials to human living. If a crude
deduction were made on the available statistical
information it would show that 62% of the house-
holds would require some sort of subsidy. Clearly
then the Construction Industry would need subsidy
and/or incentives to relate to the housing situation.
Direct subsidy could mean that the Industry would
become a generator of economic activity rather than
an indicator of economic growth.
With the need to build 15,000 units per annum
and all that this would mean in component manu-
facture, there is every reason to believe that the
economics, of the system would eventually become
self-evident. In a recent paper by the T.T.S.A. on
Housing, the material needs of 15,000 low income
units were defined as follows: Cement 135,000 Tons;
Aggregate 57,000 Truck loads; Sand 22,000 Truck
loads; Polythene Sheeting 135 Tons; Steel R.C. Fabric
BRC 16,000 Rolls; Blocks 30 million; Or, 90,000
blocks a day; Galvanise Sheeting 9 million 6' sheets;
Doors' and Frames 60,000 doors; 120,000 hinges;
60,000 locks; Windows 300,500,000 sq. ft; Sanitary
Fittings 20,000 w/c (60 per day); 20,000 W.B., 10,000
kitchen sinks, Piping for 600,000 feet of concrete
pipes; Bagasse Board 15-20 million sq. ft. The list is
endless when one considers the furnishing items neces-
sary as well.
Experience in other Countries has shown that as
people improve their surroundings or 'build new
settlements, and with mass concentrated programmes
of training, they develop construction skills in the
process, thus allowing them the opportunity to
advance their economic and social status at the same
time as their physical surroundings improve.
In identifying housing for social and economic
use it is not enough to specify numbers. The minimum
socially acceptable standard would, of necessity, have
to be quantified. For instance a conventional bed-
room can hardly get below 70 sq. ft., a living/dining
room below 100 sq. ft., or a kitchen below 40 sq. ft.
with the cost of labour and materials at-80% of the
cost of, a unit. The level of Capital Expenditure for
15,000 units will remain extremely high, perhaps
somewhere between $300 400 million. But seen in
the context of a totally localized material and labour
"solution the cost of the unit would take on a differ-
ent significance a social significance in terms of the
unemployment situation. Employment and wages will
help to generate the income and the savings with
which to pay for housing.
0 The objective of a Housing Policy in the con-
text of Trinidad and Tobago would be:
1) To make an Integrated Housing Policy a
major generator of Economic growth.
2) To house the entire population in a National,
Physical and Economic Framework.
3) To solve the problem, of unemployment.
A Housing Policy should be involved with
the total concept of population shelter and it should
indicate the precision areas of Government participa-
tion side by side with that of the Public Sector.
Performances should be critically reviewed
annually and further realistic targets established.
0 A Land Development Policy should be out-
lined by firstly examining the recommendation made
by the Town and Country Planning division that 10%
of the land area should be devoted to housing.
In respect of housing for the individual, a
number of Government lots should be bought on the
open market every year and disposed of in various
ways. In the case of the upper income groups, lots
' could be auctioned, for the middle income group
they could be sold at a small profit. This could be
handled by a lottery system with proper pre-qualifi-
cation of needs.
Lower income families should be given land as
part of a support occupation e.g. farming, or within
an integrated redevelopment proposal.
W Trinidad and Tobago is amongst the very few
countries in the world which does not have a Minister-
of Government ,whose primary purpose is that of
Housing. A strong executive housing body is essential
if any inroads are to be made on the critical housing
SITE AND SERVICE
0 The minimum provision for the population Site and Service.
This means the provision of a small site possibly less than
2,000 sq. ft., a concrete ground slab, a water tap, a sewage connec-
tion' and an electricity supply. A plan showing ways in which the
unit may *be expanded is available and the occupant may then
proceed to develop in his own time in accordance with the plan.
The Government must be prepared to give a total subsidy in this case
of site and service.
SSubsidized Low Income Units can be divided in 2 classes of
incomes. The very low and the low. In the case of the very low
incomes, the provision of a unit consisting of electricity, a toilet/
kitchen core and one or two rooms. Plans may be provided to show
expansion possibilities. In the case of the low income, units similar
to the very low income but with a designation of rooms and an
increased number of rooms. These units may also be in flats. The sub-;
sidy for this group will vary.
SA number of Architectural varieties may take place within
the Middle Income group and physical appearance may vary depend-
ing on location. It is important that a substantial number of units
in this category are built by government and by the private sector.
Experience has shown that it is this group more than others
which contribute to the future housing stock. It develops more
rapidly and contributes to the economic viability of secondary
mortgage markets and allows more investments for long term mort-
However, it is important that initial cost of these units be kept-
to the miftimum and long mortgage repayment times, at reasonable
but economic interest rates, should be encouraged.
SThe Upper income group may be handled by a simple Gov-
ermhent land policy, and development of housing units should be
left entirely to the private sector. The land policy is essential to
regulate runaway inflation and land speculation and it involves
Government bringing into the market annually a sizeable parcel of
land which it would use to regulate the sale of other land. A practical
example would be Flagstaff Hill, P.O.S. which can be sold by Gov-
ernment (on the basis of an open lottery) at the price of $3.00 per
sq. ft. This would have the immediate effect on the artificially high
cost of land in Port-of-Spain and Environs.
More and more
people are turning to
for top quality paints,
and expert service and
advice on paint and painting
You should too.
S13 Nelson St. P.O.S. Tel: 62-32753
S28 Cipero St. San F'do. Tel: 65-79103
. Silver Mill, San Juan. Tel: 638-3912
SUNDAY JULY 3, 1977 TRINIDAD AND 1UBAGO REVIEW PAGE 15
Govt planning in vacuum
FROM PAGE 10
tions and societies with international affiliations, so
that any suggestion of change is seen as a challenge
to the members' vested interests rather than as an
attempt to improve the performance of the Construc-
The first truth that must be faced, therefore, is
that the preservation, at all costs, of the independence
of the constituent units of the construction team has
been the main cause of the conflict and confusion
within the design team and the adversary position
between the design team and the contractor.
The very nature of the processes in the industry
shows that the several units are interdependent and
that the sharing of responsibility offers the best
chance for a successful project. Until this truth is
accepted, each group will continue to protect its own
self interest at the expense of an efficient Construc-
A recognition of interdependence among the
members of the construction team will see the con-
tractor influencing design and costing in a meaningful
way. In no otherjimportant industry is the responsi-
bility for design so far removed from the responsi-
bility for production as it is in the traditionally
structured construction team. To continue the tradi-
tional practice of designing for the contractor without
the benefit of early feed-back from him, is to con-
tinue to lose, during the important design stages, the
benefit of the practical expertise of the contractor.
On the other hand, acceptance of interdepen-
dence will, of necessity, require a flexible approach
by all the parties involved in construction activity so
that roles may be re-defined, if necessary, and con-
tractual arrangements evolved to suit the needs of the
The uncertainty which plagues a construction
project has been described earlier as being caused by
doubts about planning permission, bridging and long-
term financing arrangements and availability of
materials, equipment, labour and competent super-
vision. These problems and constraints to expansion
of the industry are mainly the result of too many pro-
jects chasing too little land, financial, material and
human resources. However, the situation in Trinidad
and Tobago has been compounded by other factors
In the case of doubts about planning permis-
sions, the situation is made worse by the absence of
published Development Plans to which ready reference
could be made. It has also been aggravated by under-
staffing of the Town and Country Planning Division
and inadequate office accommodation.
In the case of shortage of finance for investors,
the problem is sometimes the lack of competent staff
at the financial institutions to evaluate the proposals.
Many a good project has been killed or seriously
delayed for that reason.
In the case of material supplies, the unavail-
ability of the right types and quantities of construc-
,tion materials is a major problem. The international
supply and demand situation has made this a world-
In the home market, manufacturers who are
dependent upon imported components are faced with
the worldwide shortage. The other manufacturers,
who are not dependent on imports, have just been
overtaken by the size of the increased demand at
home and have not been geared to meet the new
levels of production cement and building blocks
are two cases in point.
In the case of limited construction resources,
the problem invariably starts with the under-capital-
isation of the contracting firm. This results in the
inability of the contractor to employ the right kind of
technical staff and supervisors who are required in an
Toco Comprehensive: long delays in school completion.
increasingly sophisticated industry. He is also not able
to purchase or hire plant and equipment which
would enable him to employ new techniques with
the aim of faster, and more economical construction.
Also, apprenticeship training on the job is a rarity,
today, so that the country's total stock of trained
workers is not being strengthened sufficiently.
INVESTMENT PATTERNS IN THE INDUSTRY
The public and private sectors' pattern of invest-
ment in the Construction Industry gives rise to great
uncertainty among those who work in the industry.
The Government's record of investment in the
industry has been one of a stop-go pattern, born
either out of a policy to use the industry as an
Our Engineers have been
trained by and large in institu-
tions of learning outside of the
Region where certain traditions,
attitudes and relationships of
people one to the other have
developed over the years and
where the training and practice
reflect such sociological deve-
On the one hand there'is a
reasonably highly developed
society in the technological
sense. While on the other.hand,
there is a large agricultural
population, high unemploy-
ment and relatively poor infra-
We must therefore not be
satisfied with the transfer of
technology from more devel-
oped areas to ourselves without
a very careful and fundamental
look at the development of
the systems so as to determine
whether we can really accept
the technology offered.
After 15 years, it appears
that we are locked into the
pattern, not because it is now
recognized that some of the
training is irrelevant but
because we say we cannot
afford to change and we say
we cannot afford to change and
we say that we must be careful
not to affect the reciprocity
with other Engineering schools.
In all of this, we are placing
the development of the Carib-
YCarib. DeveL Bank Paper)
PAGE 16 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW SUNDAY JULY 3, 1977
Industry needs a forum
e From Page 5 action in respect of the Construction Industry remains to the problems of the Construction Industry by the
too wide? lack of confidence they have sometimes shown in the
economic regulator or resulting from poor planning. Can the Construction Industry really plan its country's future. On every occasion that the Construc-
Time and again the industry has had to expand orderly expansion when the Government, as the tion Industry has slumped during the last 15 years,
to meet crash programmes only to have to contract a largest single spender in the industry, does not even the degree of slump was aggravated by over-reaction
short time after. The large number of short-lived attempt to communicate its plans to the interest of the private investor in reducing or stopping alto-
building booms, witnessed in this' country, has made groups in the industry before they are announced gether his investment in construction, while he sat on
the industry skeptical of all Government's pro- to the public and then become political embarrass- the fence and waited to see how the wind would
nouncements in regard to spending on construction ments when the industry is unable to bring them to blow.
projects fruition in the time required?
For how many years have "firm" plans being Government planners should be seeking an
announced for the early start of major construction informed feedback from the industry on its capacity
projects e.g. Government's Office Block at Hart and ability to perform before finalising their plans. Perhaps the worst example of this phenomenon
Street in Port-of-Spain, the new Piarco International Planning in a vacuum is bad planning, and, regrettably, was seen in 1970 when private sector investment in
Airport, Redevelopment of the Central Business it is the only type, the Construction Industry, has construction dried up overnight and the Government
District of Port-of-Spain, Urban Re-Devolpment in known from Government. had to provide the industry with a massive injection
South-East Port-of-Spain, Development of Chaguara- The private sector's investors have contributed of capital, to keep it afloat and reduce unemploy-
outh-Est Port-of-Spam Deeo e o haguara ment. A current example of the phenomenon is seen
mas, Re-development of Lower Scarborough, to name in the commercial banks' overnight freezing of credit
only a few? Where are these projects today? Some facilities for the construction or purchase of condomi-
are only now getting off the ground, while others niums. Admittedly, this country does not have a
have yet to see the light of day. The ailing construction industry has still Condominium Act (and in this respect it lags behind
Can the industry be expected to embark upon not had its illness fully diagnosed, nor Jamaica, Barbados and St. Lucia within (Caricom).
the recruiting and/or training of the human resources any remedial action prescribed; daily its Admittedly, the speculators were making a "killing"
machich these and building accommodation for its condition continues to deteriorate. on the sale of condominiums. However, these facts
machinery and building accommodation for its were known for a long time and neither factor justi-
,expanded organizations, when experience shows that fled the pressing of the panic button before other
the gap between the Government's intention and remedies were tried. o
_.do 40 d Admbh1h i
Barbados.. Grenada.. St.Vincent.. St. Kitts:: St. Lucia
Dominica: Anguilla.. Antigua: Guyana.. Jamaica
Trinidad and Tobago.Century Eslon serves them
all. From supplying electrical conduits to
Jamaica to providing pipe for waterworks
S" to the Governments of the Caiifta
._:r' -islands and Guyana and also for
Our PVC pipes and fittings are
in increasingly greater demand
Throughout the Caribbean
y Common Market area and at
Century Eslon we're geared to meet
Century Eslon Limited.. growing
...pipe for life
1 Century Drive, Trincity.
PAGE 17 SUNDAY JULY 3,1977 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW
gives nine steps to
improve tender procedures
THERE IS a tendency,
especially by the Govern-
ment, to insist on the
Fixed Price Contract with
a no-fluctuations clause
for a period of 12 months,
15 if yow include the three
months needed for the
awarding of the contract.
In effect, this forces the
- builder to price his items with
-a view to expected inflation
and similar imponderables, a
formidable task for the 'best
of economists, far less a humble
But what happens if, during
the execution of the contract,
the poor builder finds himself
exceeding his original estimate
Either he arranges for a
termination of contract or he
slows dowp the rate of work,
extends his contract period and
hopes to survive on cash
generated by newer jobs.
The latter of the two choices
is the one most often adopted.
You can find ample proof of
this in the universally slow
rate of work on most of the
Government contracts, moreso
in a time of runaway inflation.
Those Government contracts
which have been awarded at
totally unrealistic quotations
are simply encouraging contrac-
tors to run into the situation
where job must pay for job
and overdrafts begin to climb.
Too many builders reach
the stage where they do have
work on their books but are
desperately short of that flow
of cash needed to service their
The result is a shortfall in
the volume of output and a
break in the continuity of
There would seem to be
room for a great deal of im-
prwrement in some of the
procedures we now adopt.
Perhaps the following are
worth some consideration by
the Tenders Board.
1. -Experiment with other
forms of contract e.g. The Vari-
able Price Contract and the
2. Conduct more serious
study of prices quoted.
3. Pay more attention to
advice from consultants, archi-
tects and quantity surveyors
4. Insist on work Pro-
gramme Charts with a Timed
Material Schedule as part of
the tender documentation.
5. Make sure the above is
adhered to as part of a more
rigorous contract supervision
6. Effect the penalty clause
for unreasonable delays.
7. Stricter adherence to the
terms of contract.
8. More serious study of
building firms and of their
ability to manage large con-
tracts or several small ones.
9. More thorough examina-
tion of contractors' finance
and accounts prior to contract
by St.GEORGE COOPER
MATTERS .NOT whether
it's roads, houses or steel
plants. To the layman con-
struction conjures up a
picture of huge stacks of
cement, steel, galvanize,
sand and gravel, blocks and
tiles, lumber and glass.
In other conditions, mud
walls, mud floors and grass
thatch relate effectively and
harmoniously to incomes and
My only experience with
construction was 20 years'ago
when a friend bought a home
built on a steep incline of red
earth only to find, on examina-
tion after the purchase, that
the house had hollow founda-
tions, deep as caverns, filled in.
Sby motor-car chassis.
Perhaps nowadays motor-
car chassis are no longer used
as fill but I gather that sub-
sidence and cracks are still
common place in many
If you asked me I would
1. A large fleet of building
inspectors for the protection
of the consumer.
2. Compulsory information
to be supplied to buyers about
the foundations and the be-
haviour of the soil.
3. The wider use of mud as
a constituent element in build-
ing, proven in many low-
4. Considerable modification
in the' structure of the NHA
to create a special organization
for dealing with the problems
in their economic, engineering
and operational aspects.
5. Placing of our building
industry in the context of our
natural resources. For example,
the Study of. the South West
Region by the Town and
Country Planning Division has
not only established the sub-
standard nature of dwelling
units in places like La Brea
and Siparia; it has also pointed
to possible blending of refinery
bitumen with natural asphalt
to yield _a better road-surfacer.
Besides, such products as build-
ing blocks, roofing tiles and
water proof materials could be
produced with asphalt as the
key raw input.
6. Establishment of an In-
stitute of Housing and Road
Research to look for substitute
materials. There exists the
possibility of substituting
cement by porcellanite, a
widely occurring rock in the
South-West with total reserves
of over 700 million tons in the
7. An iOverall National
Study of the Construction
Industry beginning with an
Inventory of the National
Resources available for the
purpose; comprehending pro-
blems of land tenure, man-
power, etc; and focussing on
the issues of policy formulation
- about 12% to total employ-
ment in the country but if the
industry is properly linked and
integrated with the natural
resources of the country,
additional and continuing
employment should follow.l
Eaten ai oad,-E.Doad,. 9.un
FOR A BETTER BUY
PAGE 18 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW SUNDAY JULY 3,1977
Blended Brandy as you like it
STOKES & BYNOE (TRINIDAD) LTD.
by Donald Benjamin.
THERE ARE all kinds of planning. There is Economic Plan-
ning. The Government has prepared a number of five-year
economic plans. There are Financial Planning, Health Planning,
Educational Planning, Social Planning and so on.
If only all this planning could be implemented, it would
result in various physical improvements throughout the com-
munity. The process through which every effort is made to
ensure that these physical improvements are prepared and
undertaken with the interests of the people in mind is known
as Town and Country Planning or City Planning or just Plan-
For a long time planning was undertaken without any
real concern for people. It was dominated by architects and
engineers who were more concerned with designs and structures
and monuments. The human consideration was. nil or very
minimal. However during recent years, the field of planning
has been broadened so that now there are roles for the sociol-
ogist, the social psychologist, the economist, the ecologist, the
Every consideration is given to the social aspects of what
various alternatives in plans will do to the people and how
they will benefit or be harmed.
Indeed there are many stories of planning decisions
which resulted in the clearance of entire communities simply
because the housing had badly deteriorated and the areas had
degenerated into slums. These slni's were cleared without
any genuine consideration for the people who had lived there.
A great deal of hardship was created. Many people lost their
homes. Small businessmen were uprooted. Old people were dis-
placed. Solid communities were destroyed. So the role of the
social scientist in planning was now identified.
Similarly, we find now that the damage done to the
environment because of certain planning decisions has resulted
in the creation of the role of the environmentalist.
But the planning function itself has evolved into a series
of specialist areas. We now have urban planners, regional plan-
ners, policy planners, landscape planners, design planners,
environmental planners, and so on. Their basic purpose is the
same to create the best plan which will provide the greatest
good for the people in the community and allow them to share
in the good life.
The problem is how are they all relating to one another
in our present national context.
Eastern Main Road, Barataria
(Opposite Penny's Gas Station)
Permanent Side Cribs
' Junior Beds
Free Gold Bond stamps with
.-1- .- ...
SUNDAY JULY 3, 1977 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW PAGF 19
is a construction co-ordinating
which we have recently formed
execute building contracts.
Founded by nationals of Trinidad and
Tobago, Concord came into being after a
critical look at the construction industry and
with the aim of resolving some of the problems
which have been plaguing contractors.
Essentially, our business is management,
the management required to bring together
efficiently the diverse inputs needed in con-
struction now that the industry is facing
exceptional difficulties of supply.
We have found that some other
approaches to contracting court unnecessary
difficulties in coping with the complexity, the
volume and the scale of contemporary build-
As a Co-ordinating Unit, Concord acquires
contracts by tendering or otherwise and
executes these contracts by co-ordinating the
wide variety of activities on and off the site.
We choose our sub-contractors, we select
our specialist tradesmen, we lend them facili-
ties for upgrading the skills of labour and
technicians,-and we provide them all with
Concord also provides a Project Manage-
ment service to Architects, Engineers, Builders
and Clients as well as an Advisory service to
manufacturers of building materials and com-
Construction needs many new initiatives
if the industry is at all to come to grips with
its problems without recourse to magic.
The Construction Co-ordinating Unit is
not attempting magic. Concord simply offers
service, we offer efficiency and we offer them
both through management.
Our Directors include: -
A Construction Technologist who has
had extensive theoretical and practical
experience and who holds a Diploma in
Construction Technology and is a Licenti-
ate of the British Institute of Building.
* An Accountant and jnember of the
British Institute of Cost and Management
Accountants who has had a wide expo-
sure in and out of the building industry
both at home and abroad.
* A Barrister-at-Law and Senior Counsel.
* A Technical Information Specialist who
has headed the Technical Information
Department of a large architectural
practice in England and is versed in ten-
dering procedures, concrete technology
and other technical aspects of contract-
ing and construction.
....-~. ... :. , ....
P.O. BOX 1135
TRINIDAD, WEST INDIES.
TEL. : 62-26544
PAGE 20 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW SUNDAY JULY 3,1977
P.O.- BOX 929
SUNDAY JULY 3, 1977 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW PAG 21
EVEN more important
than the preparation of
plans and programmes is
the implementation of
these plans. It still is not
clear how implementation
takes place in Trinidad
Experience abroad might be
useful as a reference only. In
one country The City Planning
Staff is always reviewing and
re-examining various areas of
the city. The overall plan for
physical development has
already identified and estab-
lished the land uses, the quality
and condition of the areas, the
needs of the areas and so .on.
Some type of priorities are
The Region can afford to
buy detail-design from outside
We can certainly buy the
necessaryy computer to.analyse
complex structures but we
cannot afford to buy from
outside the Region the neces-
.sary expertise with the dis-
cretion in decisionanaking
that is needed for us to have.
How others manage it
established for taking corrective
action either by rehabilitating
the area or rebuilding it. So
that the decision is taken to
study area X in more detail and
come up with a plan and pro-
gramme which may be a
straight residential development,
commercial development or
industrial development or a
combination of all depending
on the already established land
A time limit is set for
preparing this study, plan
design and programme. Staff is
assigned and all resources allo-
cated. A programme of work
is outlined. Reporting periods
are indicated. Public involve-
ment is charted.
After several weeks the first
reports, charts, ideas, maps etc.
are presented to senior super-
visors for briefing. This same
material after amendment is
then presented publicly to the
community involved for re-
action and discussion. The
planners then go back to their
drawing boards and research
The entire process is done
several times so that by the end
of the design project the com-
munity is fully aware of what
is-being proposed. Indeed they
had a hand in developing it.
The proposal is now in final
form and arrangements are
made for a public hearing
before the City Planning Com-
mission. Public support is
guaranteed. Of course there
may be some minimum objec-
tion. In. any event the plan
and programme for the area are
The planners have completed
their work and the plan, etc.
are now forwarded to the
Development Office for imple-
mentation. Here the Develop-
ment Office arranges for all the
legal details, tendering and
selecting of tender, construc-
tion details, etc. All develop-
ment projects and controlled
by the Agency except for low
income public housing which
is undertaken by a separate
agency but which co-operates
with the Development Office.
The Development Office also
arranges the financing of the
development, mortgages, loans,
etc. and it is here that, the
centralized Planning Agency
plays its major role.
Financing development pro-
jects is a very important func-
tion. Rebuilding large areas of
cities which are worn out and
run down is an expensive pro-
position and cities do not
always have the finance to pay
for such projects. So, that the
Central Planning Agency pro-
vides guidelines and incentives
for citiesto take the initiative
to rebuild and renew their run-
real control of development in
-Technology since the 1940's
has been advancing at a very
The scientific research into
the nature ofthe atom led to
political-military decisions to
construct the atom bombs
which laid waste Hiroshima
However, this research has
led to what we call the peaceful
use of atomic energy. The deve-
lopment of sophisticated
weaponry has led to a further
development of the tool of
network analysis which now'
has a wide acceptance in the
In both of these instances,
the necessity for the develop-
ment of tools needed to"
respond to political decisions
has allowed the world to make
use of the- same tools in other
and ever expanding ways.
The Caribbean Engineers
therefore must recognize that
an important task is to assist
the decision-makers of the
community in arriving at
decisions which would lead to
economic development of the
Region and we must not merely
be satisfied that we can design
projects proficiently. "
We should endeavour to join
the ranks of decision-makers
and not to opt out of our
responsibility which by train-
ing we should accept.
Land to do what where?
IN ORDER to secure con-
sistency and continuity in
the framing and execution
of a national land use and
land development policy,.
and indeed in order to
have a more dynamic Town
and Country Planning
Division, a determined
attempt should be made
to prepare a National-
Plan for Physical Develop-
SThe Town and Country
Planning Division has been
attempting to develop such a
plan but it appears unlikely
that their approach will deal
with the problem as expediti-
ously and effectively as
The chief segment of the
National Plan for Physical
Development is the Land Use
Plan which shows the location
and amount of land to be used
for residential, commercial,
industrial, transportation, re-
creational, educational and
In the Plan it will be neces-
sary to determine what sort of
environment is to be created,
and why. JD.BR
I to respond to political Is l decisions I~~~ I~~ rIr;iI I
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PAUE 22 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW SUNDAY JULY 3,1977
That's why Colonial Life is making a contribution in-housing.
Over $27 million in mortgage support, for instance!
Clico is helping people build homes for themselves.
And build security into their future.
This security is possible because these mortgage loans
Share supported by life Insurance.
Re-payments are thus assured even if the head
of the household can no longer do so.
It does take more than hope....
And Clico has what it takes to make this contribution.
Colonial Life Insurance Company (Trinidad) Limted
29 St. Vincent Street, Port o Spain.
CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF SERVICE
TO THE COMMUNITY.
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PAGE 2 3 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW SUNDAY JULY 3,1977
WITH the alarming speeds
at which Thomson, Willis
and Pascoe sometimes
b6wled in the recently con-
cluded Test-Match between
England and Australia, the
BBC commentary team
were moved to hazard that
old' examination exercise
of compare and contrast.
Who, went the inquiry,
is the fastest and the fairest
of all those celebrated
members" of today's demoli-
Michael Holding's 14-
wicket display last year at
the -Oval was the fastest
and most devastating bit of
fast bowling ever perpe,
treated by the present day
blitz-men. So spoke Chris-
topher Martin-Jenkins and
They also agreed that,
in terms of speed, Daniel
Sand Thomson came closest
to Holding. Martin-Jenkins
moreover stressed that
Guyanese Colin Croft, who
during the tour of the West
Indies earlier this year and
who has so far laid out two
English County batsmen, is
a far quicker bowler than
most people. think.
experts, for all their specu-
lations," failed to. raise the
ticklish question as to
which of the current fast
bowlers qualifies as the
world's Number One?
The question is of course
a very difficult one to
answer. I suppose an Aus-
tralian would say it is
Dennis Lillee, a West Indian.
would say it is Andy
Roberts and a Jamaican
would not hesitate to enter
the claims of Michael
These are very fine fast
bowlers indeed and the
three undoubtedly fall in
the topmost bracket.
Lillee is certainly the
SQ -ns 1
27 FINLAND ST. ST. JAMES
finest fast bowler to have
come out of Australia since
the days of Lindwall and
Miller while Roberts is
unquestionably the classiest
opening bowler to have
come on the West Indian
scene since the immortal
Wes Hall returned to the
As to Holding, I can
never forget the words of
one English commentator
after that 14 for 149
against England last year.
"One of the present-day
fast bowlers", he said,
"who sends down the
perfect away-swinger at
top speed. All the others
have to slow it down a bit
in order to control it."
That is not the gift of any
ordinary fast-bowler. One
is left to wonder whether
Holding will be quite the
same again whenever he
returns from his lay-off
In contention, among
the present crop. of fast
bowlers are Colin Croft
and: Wayne Daniel but I am
hesitant to rank them with
the best if only on grounds
of their comparative in-
And then there is the
dynamic Thomson of Aus-
tralia, menacing to the
extreme and lightning
quick but far too erratic, I
find, to be put in the Al
Still more, there is
Pakistan's Imran Khan, 24-
year-old graduate of Cam-
bridge University. Clearly
Imran is not as quick as the
others but he does have
enough venom to be
termed above medium pace
and like Croft, he is at
times able to produce the
one that is exceptionally
Imran's big asset, how-
ever, is his uncanny ability
to bring the ball back from
miles, it seems, outside the
off-stump. At this, none
of his rivals is as proficient
as he and this gift has
accounted for a consider-
able number of the 43
wickets which he has
claimed in the eight recent
Tests against Australia and
the West Indies.
Vivian Richards will cer-
tainly be able to tell his
grandchildren of the two
deliveries he received from
Imran in the first of the
Tests in Trinidad. It will
be one of his saddest cric-
Imran ranks as a very
intelligent bowler able to
dislodge batsmen of the
highest class and needless
to say, he delivers his
bouncer with the shrewdest
Suddenly today's cricket
both at home in the West
Indies and farther afield is-
alive with the emergence
of a formidable array of
blitzmen endowed with
-speed, thrust and control.
It is an excellent and ver-
satile squad of pacemen.
But frankly, I would still
put Roberts and Lillee in a
realm by themselves on the
_ground that both consis-.
tently penetrate batsman
of the highest command,
in the finest knick, and
under any type of playing
Holding and Imran I
place next in the line with
Thomson following close
.... .. i I I
r ,. ..
SUNDAY-JULi a, i/7 TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVIEW PAGE 24
VICTOR HART CONCLUDES WITH A
IN SUMMARY, the problems of and the
constraints to change in the Construction
Industry can be said to result from two
The outdated organisational structure -of
the industry and the outdated practices and
procedures it follows; and
The uncertainty in the stability'of the
industry born of the stop-go pattern of
investment in the industry, and the frequent
unavailability of finance, manpower and
Others will address themselves to the solu-
tions to the problems of the industry and the
possibilities of change.
Such solutions, will, of necessity, deal with
the many aspects of the two basic problems. Short-
term solutions would presum-
ably touch on the following
and other areas:
The establishment of a
permanent forum compris-
ing thamajor interest groups
in the industry for discussing
the industry's problems;
The re-appraisal of pro-
posed projects with a view
to rescheduling priorities
and extending their imple-
mentation periods so as to
avoid the high incidence of
The search for\ new
sources of construction
materials and temporary
lifting of restrictions on the
importation of trained man-
power (especially from
within Caricom) while local
resources are developed.
Among the long-term solu-
tions offered should come pro-
posals for -fundamental change
in the relationships between
the major participants in the
construction team, change
which will emphasise teamwork
Whatever the solutions to
the problems may be, it is
certain, however, that if the
Construction Industry is to
achieve the level of efficiency
that it should attain and, in
view of the country's needs.
must attain, not only should
there be greater cp-operation
between its various indispens-
able elements, butthat the co-
operation should be based on
knowledge and not intuition.
In other words, serious re-
-search into the Construction
Industry is urgently required
to identify and quantify the
problems facing the industry
as the basis for formulating
meaningful solutions. The
research needs to be in depth,
unlike the superficial efforts
CALL TO END INDUSTRY SMUGNESS
of the past which have all come
The current Cariri/UWI
Study of the Construction
Industry, which is now nearing
in end, has been the best
effort at serious research into
the industry. Yet, without
wishing to pre-judge the quality
of the recommendations which
will come out of that study,
one cannot help but feel that
the researchers' terms of refer-
ence were too circumscribed,
and tle budget too small, to
tackle a problem of the size
the industry poses.
,The alternative to imple-
menting carefully considered
solutions to the problems
faced, is to permit uncontrolled
growth by the industry to
meet the challenge of the
increased scale and scope of
Such.growth will so weaken
the industry's structure that
there will be insufficient
resilence left in it to absorb
the shock of a recession in the
industry, should one come.
The history of the industry,
over the last 20 years, shows
only too well how quickly
recessions have followed
Admittedly, there is the oil
windfall now. However,.in the
same way that external events
(OPEC's decisions) brought the
windfall, so too they can take
it away overnight.
Even, without such an un-
holy event, reduced liquidity
in the banking system caused,.
by the banks' financing of the
energy-based projects, could
mean a rhajor reduction of
private sector construction
_ ' .. i zi ,
activity, especially sirice the
unending escalation, in cop-
struction costs is .putting con-
struction beyond the reach. of
It is necessary, therefore, to
shrug off the complacency
which might have set in as a
result of the current construc-
tion boom and face up to the
need for major change in the
Because old habits die hard '
and because of entrenched
vested interest groups in the
construction industry, change
is not going to come easily or
quickly. However, the conse-
quences of a failure to change
could be so severe for .the
industry and the country, that
the industry's decision makers
must resolve not to be found
wanting in the face of this
Even without the unholy event of a fall in oil prices reduced liquidity
in the banking system could end the building boom overnight.
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Those who ha
At election time in 1971,
the mood was still protest, and
what had been-a relative triclde
-in 1966, became a flood as an
overwhelming majority of
voters elected to boycott the
Yet, out of the maelstrom
of continuing agitation, were
emerging the elements of a
new, national movement. Those
constituencies which demanded
a new dispensation, even if
narrowly defined in terms of
their own interests, were gradu-
ally identifying themselves.
But if we were to succeed in
creating, a successful, over-
powering chorus of change,
some means of blending many
partial, sectional voices was-
-clearly called for. We had to
find a song which all could
S From early, Tapia had
identified such common ground
in the issue of Constitution
reform. What united all the'
disparate forces of protest was
the sense of being incapable
within the existing system, of
doing aught to better our lot.
Presumably, in the pursuit
of a more equitable distribu-
tion of power in the State,
hitherto distant, and even
antagonistic, forces might find
As it-turned out, some of'
the most significant elements
in opposition to the govern-
ment preferred to ignore the
entire issue of Constitution
reform. At least up until very;
And even when, in March
1976, the intentions of the gov-
ernment on the issue having
been made public, all the signi-
ficant elements of the political
opposition did manage finally
to sit down togetherit soon
became painfully clear
temporarily united as we
be in our apprehension
the draconian nature
tutional reforms, much
more pervasive and intr;
differences were to ke
In a sense, the oppi
could never agree on a cc
approach to the questi
Constitution reform, b
politically, we were diff
constituted. We might sa
some of us were attuned
political demands of the
could only respond
fashion of the outworn
tion of colonial politics.
Tapia proposed that w
a bold attempt to.provi
country with a clea
united political alterma
the ruling party; that w
out common ground in
ogy, programme and or,
We were speaking, in
and behind closed doc
politicians, who, we th
would understand that F
was about taking sides
that the business of poli
was to define those sides
Quite likely they did
the only kind of side
seemed to understand w
pick-up side of. an ove
appeared not to app
that, in the condition
independence, where wh
at stake was power, an
merely office, only for
proven consistence and
ence could successfully
- As we soon came to al
ate, the behind-the-
merger talks between th
and the DAC would evei
sabotage any possibility
serious, united oppt
emerging Those talks
to nought, and the UL
the DAC, neither ever
than the expression of rej
sectional interests and
ment, went their separate ways
V e to take office in the elections
of September 1976.
e They have both now learnt,
to their great mortification no
doubt, that office has nothing
to do with power, and that
being the Official Opposition,
major or minor, matters not
one whit to alter from its
course ne finger of State,
which moves on, having writ.
WHAT Panday led into the
elections wasin effect the DLP
in new guise. Events had
already belied the persistent
claims of the ULF to be a
Neither the rhetoric nor the
carefully balanced racial com-
position of the "leadership",
could hide the fact, that when
the chips were down, as with
the one day strike over the
proposed new Constitution, it
was in the sugar belt, and
That; almost nowhere else, that the
might new outfit gained its mass
n over support.
of the Panday's decision to settle
Consti- for the inheritance of the DLP,
deeper, was tantamount to forcing the
actable country back onto its old
eep us alignments. It was nothing less
than an act of alliance with
position the old regime, an agreement
on to offer the electorate a choice
ion of of "sides" drawn up on the age-
)ecause old basis of race.
erently Panday would go into the
ay that election as the new spokesman
Sto the for Indian sentiment in the
era of country, in full knowledge of
others the consequences of that role,
in the and, in fact, as his notorious
i tradi- motorcade demonstrated, play-
ing that role to the hilt.
ideol- If his tactiEs confirmed him
ganiza- m his new status, they also
confirmed the PNM, the incum-
public bents of African power, as the
ors, to masters of the State. In the
ought, resulting' polarization, both-
olitics Tapia and the 'DAC (in Trini-
s, and dad) were wiped out.
ticians After ten years of struggle,
. = therefore, the country was
d.- But back with the politics-and the
many alignments whichhad presented
ras the us with a Hobson's choice at
bright the polls, and against which we
They had begun to turn our backs
reciate election day in 1966.
Certainly Tapia, for all its
Ls of_ efforts, and for all the respect
at was it -had gained, failed in the
essential political task of acti-
vating and uniting all those
elements which could see no
future for ourselves in the pre-
vailing iniquitous arrangements.
In consequence, in the alleged
SPNM stronghold of greater
Port-of-Spain alone, nearly 60%
of the electorate stayed away
from the polls.
On any reckoning, there is a-
huge constituency still waiting
for political representation.
Within it Tapia should have
made, and must now make,
greater gains. We may surmise
that many of the youth and the
better-educated are among its
ranks. Yet so large is it in
numbers, that many- of the
more mature and the self-
educated must-be there too.
The only thing of which we
can be sure is that we are talk-
ing about people who are
independent of mind and who
are determined to see a new
and better Trinidad and
Tobago. And such people we
may expect to find among
every race and every class, and
They represent the forces of
change, for a new and just
social order. But we must find
them and politicize them. And
that requires unceasing, con-
stant effort. We must over-
come our fascination with the
"ghostly ballet of bloodless
categories" -' imperialists vs.
the working class, socialists vs.
capitalists, the black masses vs.
the white establishment.
The issue, of political power
and social change, will be
settled only on the basis of
how many of us, ordinary,
flesh and blood individuals,
choose to make a continuing
commitment to the cause and
to bear the costs to us in
terms of our personal
AS against the corruption, the
cynicism and the exploitation
of the old order, what we seek
is a world of humanevalues, of
justice and equality. But we
cannot wait until we get to
the voting booth to make our
We have to create our
options beforehand; and that is
what politics is about. It is a
new experience for the country
as a whole. We cannot describe
the sporadic protest or elec-
tpral activity of. our past as
politics.- Our tradition has been
passive, episodic, authoritarian;
politics is active, permanent,
participatory. They represent
two different worlds, and we
are called 'upon to choose.
TUNAPUNA steps up drive for funds
TUNAPUNA continues to
put the accent on fund-
raising with arrangements
now being pushed to bring
off a local raffle.
Fitz Baptiste reports a
period of recent quiet
except among the women.
Success after success
with the programme of
cake-sales has made it
possible to clear off old
party debts for jerseys and
The whole region has
welcomed the news from
Tapia Publishing that
business and production
activities are to be shifted
to Cipriani Boulevard,
Party 'Treasurer Ivan
Laughlin who lives in St.
Augustine and has
recently established his
surveying office in Tuna-
puna, has been urging all
along that the Tapia
House should recapture its
early garden setting and
make room for creative
dancing, fashion shows,
poetry readings, parties
and the moonlight theatre
When the industrial
activity dies down, says
one Tunapuna cadre, tie
local party should take
the responsibility for
rehabilitating the House
with a fresh leepaying and
a new layer of timet-thatch
Ishmael Samad of
Maracas has already begun
work on cleaning out the
stock-room, once a bar
and buffet area.
Good thing we know
how to go about raising
money, chuckled another
GROUP Secretary Anne
Hernandez of Loango
Village reports that plans
are afoot to bring "the
whole Maracas valley"
under one single umbrella.
Lloyd Taylor and Secre-
tary Lloyd Best learnt
that when they went to a
local meeting on Tuesday
June 20 to explain the
idea of an 18-month
period of "party reCon-
struction" ending with a
Tapia Tenth Anniversary
Assembly in November
march as one
For the next Loango
meeting carded for Tues-
day July 19 invitations
have gone out to Tapia
people in La Seiva, Cen-
tral, Guarata, Acono, La
Mango and La Baja.
Among items to be
discussed are participation
in the party training
course for cadres.
7- / . -. .. -S
1 6LE C IO
SAME' ="e OLD ..9i! o]
TRAINING TO DEVELOP STRONG
FREE from the pressures
associated with the 1976/77
election season, Tapia has
launched a far-reaching pro-
gramme of party reconstruction.
The ultimate aim of the
programme is the realization
of our long-standing dream -
that of establishing a perma-
nent, professional political
What that means in day to
day terms is that our party
must dispose of the resources
in man-and women-power,
finance, equipment and offices
to meet any political eventu-
ality that may arise.
The idea is that there will
be a sufficiently strong nucleus
of permanent organization to
service the ongoing needs of
the foot soldiers of our move-
ment up and down the local
communities of the country.
To that end, one of the
early, ventures in the pro-
gramme adopted by party
members is a training pro-
gramme for cadres, which, it is
hoped, will eventually equip
many party members with the
skills and. information to go
into their own communities to
carry forward the tasks of
At the national level, the
Symposium on the Construc-
tion Industry will underline
Tapia's long-standing commit-
ment to the serious and res-
ponsible politics of working
out and articulating plans for
It is expected that the
Symposium will be only the
first of many efforts aimed at
exposing critical areas of the
national life, for the benefit of
members, associates and the
public at large.
Our party's move into new
areas of communication and
contact with the national com-
munity goes hand in hand with
a reorganization of our publish-
ing activities, in which area
our educational work was con-
centrated in the past.
TAPIA weekly will be
phased out and its function as
a searching critic of the
national life will be taken over
by a monthly Trinidad and
Tobago Review. There will still
be a publication bearing the
name of -TAPIA, but it will be
published monthly, and will be
circulated to members as the
official organ of our party and
The publication of occa-
sional, longer studies in paper-
back form, will represent
further broadening of our
publishing activity. These in-
depth studies will relate to
crucial aspects of the national
and regional political, economic
and social life.
Appropriately, the revamp-
ing of our publishing activity
is to be accompanied by the
reorganization of our print shop.
We are aiming to establish our
printer as a commercially
viable operation, with adequate
working capital, a full range of
skills and equipment, and a
more convenient location.
Such a varied programme
oft party reorganization could
not be accomplished without
an improved flow of funds. We
are actively looking into fund-
raising projects of both a short-
term and a long-term nature.
While we await the success
of such projects, however, it is
expected that members and
well-wishers will maintain and
step-up their own financial sup-
port of their organization.
Again, pledges of regular con-
tributions are being solicited
as a source of income with
Family Name ........................ Given Name .... ..................... ....
Address. .... ....................................................... .. ...... ......
............................................... Telephone ....................
Occupation ............................................ Age .........................
Business Address ................................ ..... ... .................... .... .....
I enclose/pay the sum of $ ......... ........ as my Registration Fee and ...............
.................... for (fill in hame of Course, Assembly, Convention, Seminar) .... .........
to be held at (name vnue) ...................... ........ ................ ............
on (name date) .......... .... ................................................ ..
Signature ....... .............
For Official Use Only
Whether Paid Yes/No
Whether Member Yes/No.
Remarks.. .......... .........................
Date Received. .. . ...... .....
which to ,meet, in particular,
the heavy burden of servicing
In all these developments
the ordinary member remains
the foundation of our pro-
gress. That is why we urge all
'members, whether you have re-
ceived the recent circular out-
lining the status of your
membership or not, to make
every effort, to put your
te approved. ............. .....
ned .......... ..................
membership in order.
Your monthly dues will
help. And of far greater value
will be the constant statement
of support that its regular pay-
ment would mean.
PROGRAMME FOR PERMANENT POUTICS-
Part L 8 weeks.
World View for a West Indian
i) Does Tapia Have an Ideology?
ii) Capitalism: A Critique
iii) Socialism:A Critique
iv) Race Politics and Class Politics in The
West Indies: Jamaica and Guyana as
v) Party Politics in Trinidad & Tobago:
Race, Class and Nationality.
vi) The Tapia Manifesto: Elements of a
West Indian Ideology.
vii) The Idea of a Professional, Permanent,
RE SISTER NOW
Course begins July24. 1977
PART II. 8 weeks.
PUBLIC AFFAIRS IN THE CARIBBEAN:
Economics, Politics, History.
i) Government and Politics in the West
ii) The PlantationsEconomy of the Carib-
iii) Race a;nd Class in Caribbean: The
Plural Society Examined.
iv) Culture and Identity: A Caribbean
v) Models of Caribbean Change. The
Puerto Rican Experience.
vi) Models otf Caribbean Change: The
vii) RADICAL Reconstruction in the West
IndiesSINCE 1953. 1977
PART III. 8 weeks.
MANUAL FOR PARTY CADRES- ONLY
Duties of a Political Organiser.
i) A Permanent Party: Nine Years of
Tapia The Message and The Medium.
ii) Mobilization for radical reconstruction:
problems of winning cadres.
iii) Organisation for radical reconstruction:
Need for a Central Office.
iv) The Party Machinery: regional and
v) Duties of a Tapia cadre: selling the
message, building party groups, win-
ning popular support.
vi) Representation in a permanent party:
Council, Assembly, the Parliamentary
Party, the Executive, the constitutional
vii) Perspectives on the 1981 Elections.
SFor further information and Registration Forms contact Education' Secretary, TAPIA CENTRAL OFFICE, 22 Cipriani Boulevrd Tel: 62-25241.
r 1,v i. IIlI II -