Title Page
 Statement of Position
 Minority views and interests...
 Provisions in draft Constitution...
 Back Cover

Title: Memorandum submitted by The Indian Association of Trinidad & Tobago on the Draft Trinidad and Tobago (Constitution) Order in Council 1962
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00085550/00001
 Material Information
Title: Memorandum submitted by The Indian Association of Trinidad & Tobago on the Draft Trinidad and Tobago (Constitution) Order in Council 1962
Physical Description: 12 p. : ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Indian Association of Trinidad & Tobago
Publisher: Vedic Enterprises
Place of Publication: San Juan Trinidad
Publication Date: 1962?]
Subject: Indians of the West Indies -- Trinidad and Tobago   ( lcsh )
Constitution -- Trinidad and Tobago   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
General Note: Cover title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00085550
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001475906
oclc - 20841401
notis - AGY7730

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page 1
    Statement of Position
        Page 2
    Minority views and interests ignored
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Provisions in draft Constitution fail to meet minority needs
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Back Cover
        Page 14
Full Text


submitted by




The Draft Trinidad and Tobago
Order in Council


The Indian community of Trinidad and Tobago is placed in dire
peril at this phase of the history of the territory. The peril is so
great that the whole Indian community is in danger of suppression
and ultimate destruction. This state of affairs has come about as a
result of a sinister design by certain over-ambitious Politicians whose
aim it is to reduce members of the Indian community to a status of
second-class citizens. The essential features of the design can be seen
in the policy of the Ruling Government Party in the fields of govern-
ment employment, housing, education, and the granting of Scholar-
The Indian Community is as anxious as anyone else to achieve
independence for the territory. But it is perturbed by the threat of
destruction of its culture and heritage. A cosmopolitan society like
ours must, in the interest of peace and harmony, reflect mutual trust
and confidence as between the majority racial group and the minority
group or groups. It is expected that in times of rapid political,
economic and social changes that people's minds would reflect the
anxieties and uncertainties implicit in such changes. A Government
therefore, which means well and hopes to achieve goodwill and co-
operation of all sections of the community must make every attempt
to assuage such anxieties and uncertainties.
Our government has made little attempt to achieve such a satis-
factory state of affairs.
Not only members of the Indian Community, but members of
other minority groups as ours; have every justification in finding ways
of protecting their interests.
It was for this very reason namely, protection of its rights, that
the Indian Association was formed. T h i s association i s not
asking for any special privileges for members of the Indian Com-
munity. It is merely asking for justice and fair play. Many people
are not clear in their minds as to whether the Indian Association is a
political or non-political organisation. Let it be made quite clear
that this association is not intended to be a political organisation; it
was formed to protect and promote the interest of Indians. The
proposals submitted on its behalf in the form of a memorandum to
the Cabinet on the Draft Independence Constitution set out for all
the world to see what dangers the association is fighting against and
what remedies it recommends. It is felt that the whole country
should know about these proposals.
As President of the Indian Association of Trinidad and Tobago,
1 commend this memorandum to all those people of truth and good-
will who may be interested in facts and not prejudices.
3rd May, 1962.


Submitted by



1. The Draft Trinidad and Tobago (Constitution) Order in Council,
1962 is currently published for public comment and the Govern-
ment invites public comment on the said Draft Order.
2. We, of the Indian Association of Trinidad and Tobago take two
preliminary objections to the Draft Order and the invitation for
public comment:
(1) We object to the method adopted by the Ruling Government
Party in drawing up the Draft Constitution and suggest that
there be a bi-partisan committee representative of the people
to draw up the required Constitution.
(2) We object to the Draft Constitution in that it ignores com-
pletely the conditions and circumstances peculiar to this
territory viz :
(a) A population of 827,957 comprising various racial
groups, predominantly however, Negroes and Indians;
Negroes forming 358,588 43.31%, the Indians
forming 301,946 36.47%, the Mixed forming
134,749 16.27%, the Europeans forming 15,718
1.89%, the Chinese forming 8,361 1.01. %, the
Lebanese-Syrians forming 1,590 .19%, Others
forming 6,714 .82% and those not stated forming
291 -.04%. (These are 1960 estimates).
(b) The existence as shown in (a) above of a fixed racial
majority and minority.

(c) The absence of an informed public opinion.
(d) The absence (up to the present time) of professional
and other bodies watchful of the constitutional and
legal rights of the individual.
(e) The fact that voting in this territory as in all other
territories with a similar heterogeneity of people is on
racial lines.

3. Having raised the two objections above, it is nonetheless incum-
bent upon us, to state our position unequivocally in view of the
grave problems raised by the Draft Constitution.
4. We, of the Indian Association of Trinidad and Tobago wish to
state quite clearly and emphatically that we support the move
towards Independence of Trinidad and Tobago, but we do so on
the clear understanding that the legitimate fears and suspicions
of all minority groups, and in particular, those of the Indian
community be considered and genuine attempts be made to allay
the said fears and suspicions.
5. The Ruling Government Party cannot be unmindful of the
aforesaid fears and suspicions and behave as though they were
mere figments of the imagination.
6. Such fears and suspicions are not peculiar to minority groups in
Trinidad and Tobago alone, but are a feature of all emergent
countries which are about to embark on the road to Indepen-
dence, and which have a heterogenous population.
7. Before attempting to indicate how this problem has been handled
elsewhere and how it should be handled in this territory, it is
necessary to look more closely at the facts of the local situation,
facts which justify the fears and suspicions of minority groups
in general and of the Indian community in particular. Statistics
are not easy to come by (and cannot be relied upon 100%), but
we state the following figures which depict a fair picture of the
local situation in terms of the composition of the various govern-
ment departments and Services :
(a) Police Force: Of a Force of 2,000, only 50 (or 2.5%)
are representatives of the Indian community.
(b) Civil Service : Although the Indian community represents
over 301,946 of a total population of 827,957, (or
36.47%), yet its total share of jobs in the Public Service
is roughly 10 15%.
(c) Scholarships : Of every one hundred Scholarships awarded,
95 go to Negroes or people of African descent and others,

exclusive of Indians. The full figures are not available,
but of 52 Scholarships awarded in 1958 (figures in our
possession), 2 went to Indians or 3.84%; of 28
Scholarships checked for 1961, 2 went to Indians or
(d) Housing: Roughly 95% of all Government Housing
Schemes and or aided self-help housing projects go to
people of African descent or negroes.
(e) School-Building: The education of Indian children had
been sadly neglected, especially in rural areas until the
appearance of the various denominational education
authorities, e.g., the Presbyterian denomination, the
Sanatan Dharam Maha Sabha, etc. Even so, there are still
closed at the present time, 13 Maha Sabha schools, await-
ing the permission of Government. Of the total number
of schools built by the Maha Sabha, 24 were built with-
out any cost to Government. The various denominational
bodies accelerated the pace of education from the years
1951 1956. From 1956 there has been a marked
slowing down of this trend, due mainly to deliberate
government policy.
At the present time there is a serious grievance against
the policy of the Ruling Government Party with regard to
the location of both Primary and Secondary schools.
Little regard is had to the distance and inconvenience in-
volved in sitting schools far from the centres of pre-
dominantly Indian population. The result is that children
from Couva are made to travel all the way to Rio Claro
to attend a Secondary School.
Indian children have a right to education at both primary
and secondary levels without discrimination. This casts a
heavy responsibility upon the Ruling Government Party
to ensure that the rate of illiteracy among Indian children
is speedily reduced.
8. As already stated, the Ruling Government Party ignores the
legitimate interests of minority groups in general and of the
Indian community in particular. Several instances illustrative
of this attitude can be given. A few will suffice :
(1) On the occasion of the defeat in the Federal Elections of
the Ruling Government Party at the hands of the Demo-
cratic Labour Party, the Premier blamed the defeat of his
Party on the "recalcitrant Indian minority" who, he said,
"wanted to sink the Federal ship." The times have shown
the true wreckers of the Federation.

(2) The Ruling Government Party introduced a new system of
voting by voting machines. The whole system smacks of
a grand fraud to stifle the genuine expression of the will
of the electorate. It is designed to perpetuate the Ruling
Party in power.
(3) The "Trinidad Guardian" of 4th November, 1959 (Page 1)
carried a report of a speech made by the Premier on
the occasion of the victory of Mr. Louis Rostant. He
stated that Mr. Rostant's victory posed a problem for the
minority group which he represented 'in the community-
"an obscurantist group". The problem was what would
be their future in the country. Would:they be opposed
to a Nationalist Movement which preached inter-racial and
inter-religious solidarity and which was moving forward?
He warned that the P.N.M. bulldozers were digging deep
into the hillsides and "God help any minority group that
gets into the way."
(4.) In the course of, the political speech in (the Fyzabad area,
the Premier told his audience that they must not treat
Butler as they would the D.L.P.
(5) In the course of a speech atSt. James, the Minister of
Home Affairs, Patrick Solomon, told his hearers that he
had just come from planning; the, destruction of the D.L.P.
(0) At a meeting at Princes Town, the said Minister stated that
the Government was building more gaols in which to put
the members of the Opposition.
(7) Dr. Elton Richardson. was compelled to resign his mem-
bership from the Ruling, Party because he was seen lunch-
ing with the Leader of the Opposition. The Premier
accused him of "fraternising with the enemy."
(g) During the,recent general elections the Opposition's Prinsing
Press was smashed by fanatics ,of the Ruling Party. This
was cowardly attempt to silence the Opposition.
(9) The Parliamentary Opposition Which represents over 40%
of the electorate is paid" scant courtesy by the Riuling Gov-
ernment Party. The resultois that 40% of the electorate is
denied the opportunity, to air their views and ventilate
their grievances. The Ruling Party has arrogated to
itself, ample radio time but denies this facility to the
Opposition to enable them to present an alternative view on
matters of public importance.
(10) The Parliamentary Opposition which represents all minority
groups meets with constant frustration and if it is not allowed
to play it, constitutional, role, then the position of minority
groups will become, more insecure and precarious.

(11) The Ruling Government Party has shown clearly that it
has little use for the Parliamentary Opposition and evinces
every sign of tending towards a One-Party state which by
definition recognizes only One-Interest the Governing
Party's Interest.
(12) The Trade Unions which should be free and independent
of political influence are made pawns of Government
power. This is a dangerous situation in a democratic
society. The Trade Unions were encouraged to use their
power in a most irresponsible and reprehensible manner
during the last election. Disregarding the views of the
Indian minority of their membership, the Trade Union
Congress declared itself openly in support of the Ruling
Government Party. This is and will remain a most dangerous
precedent for the future.
Not content with this dangerous step the Unions staged
several marches as a sign of solidarity with the Ruling Party.
One Trade Union Seamen and Waterfroqt Workers'
Trade Union, went to ,the extent of marching into the
very heart of a predominantly Indian area during a very
tense period of the elections. This was a very provocative
act. There they committed acts of looting of Indian
shops, indecent assaults upon Indian women, and even
murder. Not a single word of admonition came from
members of the Ruling Party. By their silence they con-
doned and indeed instigated the dastardly acts and the
inspirers of these acts were handsomely rewarded for their
gallant efforts.
(13) The Ruling Party preaches inter-racialism and practises
racialism. One only has to look at employment in the
Public Service and the awarding of Scholarships to see the
truth of this statement.
A state of emergency was declared in three constituencies
viz : Barataria, St. Augustine and Caroni. These are all
predominantly Indian areas. One murder was committed
in Barataria and this was used as a justification for declaring,
a state of emergency there. Nothing of this kind and
nothing approaching civil disorder, occurred in the
other two constituencies, but a state of emergency was
declared just the same.
By way of contrast two murders were committed in the
Port-of-Spain area, with a predominantly negro population
and no such state of emergency was declared. In both
Caroni and St. Augustine the Police used their emergency
powers in a most shameful way.
They stripped Indian women naked and under the pretext
of effecting searches assaulted them. What is the explana-

Representatives which is elected for a period of five years
and has 50 members (35 Greek and 15 Turkish) elected
by universal suffrage of each community separately. The
Hiovse of Representatives exercises authority in all matters,
other than those expressly reserved to the communal cham-
bers. Any conflict of authority is decided by the Supreme
Constitutional Court which is composed of one Greek, one
Turk and one Neutral appointed jointly by the President and
the Vice-President.
2. Executive The Executive authority is vested in the Pres-
ident and Vice-President of the Republic, assisted by a
Council of, Ministers, composed of 7 Greek and 3 Turkish
Ministers, who are designated respectively by the President
and Vice-President. The President and Vice-President have
the right of final veto over legislation and decisions of the
lpuse, of 4pPX;q4Otivps.
3. Civil Service The Public Service is composed as to 70%
of Greeks and as. to 30% of Turks. This quantitative divi-
sion is to, be. applied as far as practicable in all grades. In
regions or localities where one. of the, two communities is in
ga. majority approaching 100- per cen, Civil Servants are
drawn solely frqo that community.
4. Defence An army of 2,000 men has been established of
whom 60.Q% will be Greeks and 40% Turkish.
5. Justice (Judiciary) Judicial power other than that
exercised by the Supreme Constitutional Court is exercised
by the. High Court of Justice whose Judges comprise Two
Greeks, One Turk and one Neutral, who acts as President
of the Court. There are other provisions, governing civil
and criminal matters e.g. disputes where the plaintiff and
the defendant belong to the same community, are triedby a
tribunal composed of judges belonging to that com muniy.
The total population of British Guiana in 1960 was 552,410
comprising Indians 279,560, African Descent 190,380,
Mixed -'66,180, Chinese 3,550, Portuguese 7,610 and
Europeans 5,230. The problem in British Guiana has arisen
partly because of Ideological reasons but mainly because of
racial conflict, particularly as between Indian and Negroes,
Having reached the threshold of Independence ,the Negro and
European minorities have become alarmed, lest they be
dominated by the Indian majority. To prevent the grant-
ing of Independence under the Indian majority, they are
prepared to stop at nothing, not even riot, murder and arson.
They demand the following before Independence is granted:
(a) a referendum, (b) elections and (0) proportional

representation. The situation is such that Mr. Hugh
Fraser, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the
Colonies has had to state: "one of the difficulties in
independence will be the position of the minority.
groups which has to be decided in the Independence
conference due to begin in May."
11. (a) The three countries mentioned above have been the
scene of conflict and bitterness either because of differeneces
of race or differences of tribe and show the nature of the
problems which normally arise in a plural society and the
attempts which were or are made to find satisfactory solu-
(b) The problems in this territory are not dissimilar to those
mentioned in the territories considered above and call for
serious attempts at finding a solution which will allay the
legitimate fears of minority groups. The Ruling Gov-
ernment Party fails to meet the said fears of Indians and
other groups.
12. Provision in the Draft Trinidad, and Tobagao (Gonstitution)
Order in. Council, 1962, indicate no attempt either ,to admit the
fears and suspicions as above-mentioned or to assuage. them.
13. Many examples indicative of paragraph 12 above can be
given, viz :-
(a) Sect. 57. Sub-Sects. 3 & 6 (Boundaries Commission)
Sub. Sect. 3 provides : The members of the Commis-
sion shall be appointed by the Governor-General, acting
in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.
We object to this one-sided and undemocratic way of
achieving the delimitation of constituencies. There is
nothing to prevent the Prime Minister from naming the
members of the Commission from persons other than
Representatives or Senators, e.g. from its own sup-
porters. The Jamaican provision, is more equitable and
democratic in this respect and should be followed. The
Boundaries Commission whichi:delimited the boundaries for
the last General Elections was..composed of >the, Speaker as
Chairman, two.Government, party nominees ands'one Oppo-
sition nominee. The consequences of the work of that
Commission are too, well known. to merit repetition here.
(b) Judicial & Legal Service Commission S. 82
This provides as follows:. The members of the Judicial
and Legal Commission.. (Service) shall be:
(a) The Chief Justice, who shall -be Chairman (appointed by

the Prime Minister).
(b) Such other judges of the Court of Appeal or the High Court
as may be designated by the Governor-General, acting in
accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.
(c) The Chairman of the Public Service Commission; and
(d) One other member, who shall be appointed by the Gover-
nor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the
Prime Minister.
This provision strikes at the very root of the Independence of
the Judiciary, which independence is the guarantee of the liber-
ties of the individual. It gives no protection against the danger
of political interference with the administration of justice. We
know too well the case of the gentleman, who, having been
defeated at the polls, went on to get an acting judgeship. The
danger under this Section is not all imaginary.
(c) The Public Service Commission. S. 91 (2)
This section provides: The members of the Public Service
Commission shall be appointed by the Governor-General
acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.
This provision gives no guarantee against discrimination and
injustice in the Public Service against persons who may, for one
reason or another be unacceptable to the Ruling Government
(d) Public Service Commission S. 96 (2) (a)
This section provides : The members of the Police Service
Commission shall be appointed by the Governor-General,
acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.
This provision is extremely dangerous in a plural society
like ours. This section gives no security of either terms of
service or appointment or indeed likelihood of promotion of
persons who may not be acceptable to the Ruling Govern-
ment Party. We know too much of Police methods as
experienced a short time ago, to welcome the vesting of
such powers in the hands of a single individual.
(e) Question of removal or suspension of Puisne Judges, S. 76
(5) (a) & (b).
Sect. 76 (5) (a) provides: If the Prime Minister represents
to the Governor-General that the question of removing a
Puisne Judge under this section ought to be investigated
(a) The Governor-General shall appoint a Tribunal which
shall consist of a Chairman and not less than two other
members selected by the Governor-Gneral, acting in
accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.
Sect. 76 (b) deals with the question of suspension by the
Governor-General acting in accordance with the advice of the

Prime Minister.
We shudder at the spectacle of seeing a person made
both prosecutor and judge in a matter under investiga-
tion. These provisions constitute an assault on the
principle of independence of the Judiciary and renders
the office of Judge most hazardous.
(f) The clauses entrenching individual freedoms are meaning-
less under the Draft Constitution, e.g. The Draft Con-
stitution proposes to keep in office for five years after
its commencement all the members of the House of
Representatives who were elected at the last General
Elections. The Government members total 20, or (two-
thirds of the House.
The Government can, if it likes, without the support of
Opposition and with its ability to command the neces-
sary two-thirds vote, delete from the Constitution all
the entrenched freedom clauses and if so minded,
re-write the whole Constitution to serve its own pur-
pose. There is, therefore, no real protection of the
freedom guaranteed in Chapter 2, of the proposals.
14. After five years of Government by the Ruling Party the alarm
and despondency of minority groups generally and of the Indian
minority in particular have increased. They cannot entrust
their future to a system which promises only abuse, discrimin-
ation and misery.
15. (a) We reject, therefore, the Draft Constitqtion proposals as
unworkable and incompatible with the requirements of
local conditions and as failing to ensure the protection of
the rights and interests of minorities.
(b) We, of the Indian Association of Trinidad and Tobago
urge that the constitutional proposals must ensure the
protection of the rights and interests of minority groups,
and in particular those of the Indian minority.
(c) We state that whereas the Draft Constitution follows the
Constitution of England in so far only as the powers of
the Cabinet are concerned, it completely ignores the checks
and balances of ,the said Constitution of England, e.g.
(i) an informed public opinion;
(ii) the conventions of the constitution which have the
force of law;
(iii) professional and other bodies ever watchful of the
rights of the individual;
(iv) political integrity of the English politician;
(v) an independent Judiciary in name and in fact.
(d) We state that the said Constitution of England works in
the context of English conditions and circumstances but is

unworkable in this territory because the prevailing condi-
tions and circumstances differ considerably.
(e) We call upon the Ruling Government Party to reconsider
its Draft Constitutional proposal in the light of the prem-
ises stated above, i.e., with a view to giving effect to a
system of proportional representation, which will gaurantee
and safeguard minority interests.
(f) We call upon the Secretary of State for the Colonies (to
whom a copy of ,this memorandum is being sent through
His Excellency the Governor of Trinidad and Tobago) to
discharge the sacred duty cast upon him, namely to ensure
to every section of the people of this territory, protection,
justice and peace.
(g) The question of Independence is a national one and as
such calls for National effort and National unity. By its
present attitude the Ruling Government Party cannot hope
to achieve such unity.
(h) We are determined not to allow our inalienable rights as
human beings and as citizens to be trampled upon; we call
for full discussions and proper safeguards of our interests
before entering it, cw ei.i of independence. Jamaica
stands as a clear beacon, indicating the kind of spirit which
should permeate discussions touching such a vital matter
as National Independence.
(i) We state the firm view that if conditions continue in this
territory as they have been during the past five years and
if Independence is granted on the basis of the present Draft
Constitution in disregard of minority views, then the danger
of racial conflict is almost inevitable.
(j) In the words of the Preamble to the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights :-"recognition of the inherent dignity
and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of
the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice,
and peace in the world"; and "everyone is entitled to all
the rights and freedoms set forth in the said Declaration,
without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex,
language, religion, political or other opinion, national or
social origin, property, birth or other status."

(Sgd.) H. P. SINGH


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