Material Information

Place of Publication:
Tapia House Pub. Co.
Creation Date:
August 9, 1970
completely irregular
Physical Description:
no. : illus. ; 43 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Politics and government -- Periodicals -- Trinidad and Tobago ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )
periodical ( marcgt )


Dates or Sequential Designation:
no. 1- Sept. 28, 1969-
General Note:
Includes supplements.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Tapia House Pub. Co.. Permission granted to University of Florida to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
000329131 ( ALEPH )
03123637 ( OCLC )
ABV8695 ( NOTIS )

Full Text



"Rush it and you'll land on you know what street."

National Reconstruction ? or Pussonal Resurrection ?

For 13 years both Williams and Robinson (as ministers
of Finance) have been bringing banks here. For 13
ominous years Williams has been temporising and
faltaying on the vital question of our relations with
metropolitan business. Now suddenly, we are localising;
hot and sweaty, we are acquiring shares at breakneck
But Speedy Gonzales, the creole wisdom warns,
is always much more hot than sweet. The Govern-
ment's proposals, in fact, do not in any way represent
a settlement with the metropolitan sector. Certainly,
it is better for us to own the majority of shares in
the corporations which dominate the main sectors
of the economy. But majority ownership is by no
means the same thing as actual control.

Real control comes from three things.
The first is technological mastery of the
intricacies of production, marketing and
research. The second is the organisatio-
nal capacity to translate paper plans into
bricks and mortar. And the third is the
moral authority to act in concert with
the demands of the People's-Parliament.

The case against Williams is that after
fourteen years, the government has none
of these; and that under his leadership,
there is not a kn of a chance of ever
getting them.
The little king cannot organise a
dance. He has promised at least six
re-organisations of the civil service and
countless re-organisations of the PNM.
But his over-riding need for sycophants,
flatterers and news-carriers, and his
insistence on perpetually demonstrating
who is head-boy have made any serious
improvement impossible.
It was only in 1967 that we had the
last crisis, the last crash-programme and
the last "re-organisation." ANR was de-
moted, Kamal shifted, and a super-Minis-
try of Finance, Development and Planning
created under the Super-King. The mini-
programme for national re-construction
was to create 5745 iobs for an expenditure
of $28.8m. We were to have brand-new
factories, brand-new hotels in Tobago,
and a 10-storey. block of flats on the site
of the old Fire Brigade Station.
Well, we did get the Ministry Of All
The Talents in Trinidad House. But the
reconstruction somehow got lost in the
corruption and incompetence which have
brought on the February Revolution.

The late Basil Davis
It was an ordinary April afternoon.Except
for the funeral and the sunset. Up the hill
behind the Croisee, the cemetery had sud-
denly become a point of vantage. We were
looking west by south, all of us, gaze fixed,
but not upon the sunset.


From where we watched, the valley
dropped away from the shade of the now
stingy-brimmed samaan which stood be-
hind the wall. We were watching the
thousands come.

On July 7, Police Corporal Joshua
Gordon testified at the inquest into the
death of Basil Davis, whom he had shot

So there's no organisation. Nor does
the government have the technological com-
mand required to take hold of petroleum,
sugar and banking. The talent andthe skill
do exist among Trinidadians and Tobago-
nians, but a climate of intrigue, favouri-
tism and witch-hunting and chronic or-
ganisational disorder have completely
frustrated the emergence of any solid
corps of professional technocrats.
Many of our best minds just leave the
country. Some stay and rot in the hope
for better times. A favoured few become
half-arsed politicians, accepting dozens
of chairmanships and assignments in which
they obviously can do no work save watch
the political interest of the Doctor-Czar.
So after 14 years we do not even have
a high-powered Techretariat for petrol-
eum, our very line of life. If the bungling
at the National Oil Company is anything
like at BWIA and the Transport Corpora-
tion, we're in real trouble. At the Hilton
arid the Telephone Company we are still
dependent on an anonymous who's-who of
alien experts. At Orange Grove, and now
at Caroni, we have had to beg Tate & Lyle
to continue management for us. This
amounts to allowing them to take their
cut even before the profits are computed.
Technically incapable of using its legis-
lative, administrative and diplomatic re-
sources to advantage, the government is
simply relieving London of putting up
capital while we are now taking the risks
No economic organisation, no con-
fident class of technocrats; no moral
authority either. The evidence of this is
that Williams is now living partly by

in the vicinity of Woodford Square on
April 6th 1970.

On July 8th Corporal Gordon leftTrini-
dad for the United States on long leave.
Barrister-at-law, Clyde Crevelle whohas
been watching the interests of the Davis
family, queried the departure of Gordon.
Magistrate Alcindor agreed that it was
desirable for the Corporal to remain until
the end of the inquest; but he said that the
Coroner's powers were very limited,-and
that it was a matter over which he had
no control.

So we've watched the Corporal go. A
quite ordinary occurence- except forwhat
the funeral may yet bring.

The Barbados House of Assembly on
May 29, passed a Public Order Act
introduced by the Government.
Under the Act, public meetings will be
held subject to certain conditions.
The organizer of the meeting, at least
two days before the proposed meeting,
must apply to the Commissioner of Police
for permission to hold the meeting.
The application must state the names
of people holding the meeting, the purpose
or purposes of the meeting, the place
at which the meeting will be held and the
name of every speaker who is to address the
The Act states that the Commissioner
of Police may refuse the application if he
has reasonable grounds for considering
that the meeting might cause a breach of
the peace or serious public disorder im-
mediately or at any time thereafter.
An appeal against the Commissioner's
decision may be made to the Minister of
Home Affairs.
Exempted from the provisions of the
Act are private meetings held on private
premises, meetings held during an elec-



6 4 .. .

Shanty Town: Speedy Gonzalez' Special Works
-^7, ^^.---- r- -.* ,-.
.... ..:..,, ..* ..
' '.- -.. ., .- -

hasty concessions to the echoes of the
People's Parliaments, partly by fudging
from the programmes of TAPIA. So na-
turally, his rag-bag of crash-programmes
cannot have any kind of coherence.
Take the National Commercial Bank
on which he has wasted $1.4 m. All he
has bought is a building. And his minions
are ludicrously boasting that they will
proceed just like London & Montreal. But
the Tapia plan for a "Sou-Sou Bank" was
precisely to start with nothing. Our aim
was to liberate banking from the shackles
of metropolitan prejudice. We were confi-
dent that the people would bring their de-
posits and that, for the first time. the
National Bank would have allowed small
savers and small borrowers to feel at
home in the corridors of the financial
world." When the wrong man does the right
thing, the right thing has the wrong con-

No wonder, even PNM, faithfuls are now
agreeing that the Williams regime is a
dead, deadhorse; that it has no chance of
resuscitating the fortunes of the country;
and that we must now decide to ditch
it. Mr Smith's ship sink.
But is is clear that Tom Thumb is
responding with his desperate best.
After the Fall of April and a momentary
dependence on Yankee reinforcements, he
has been battling hard to restore the pus-
sonal nonarchy.
Let us not underestimate his chances.
Doctors fight most bravely when there is
an identity between their own future and
the interest of the people. There was a
time, some 15 years ago, when the Uni-
versity of Woodford Square, it seemed,
was both a necessary private enter-
prise and a vital public utility.
Cont'd on centre pages

tion campaign, and meetings organized
by or on behalf of and infurtherance of the
lawful industrial objects of a trade union
In addition any person who desires to
organize a public march shall,at least
three days before the day on which the
march is to take place, apply to the
Commissioner of Police for a permit.
The application should include:
the name of the person organizingthe
the purpose or purposes of the march.
the point of departure, route and
point of termination of the march.
the hours between which the march
will take place; and an estimate of the num-
ber of people who are expected to take
part in the march.
The Commissioner may grantor refuse
the application.
Police corporals and those above that
rank may call upon the leader or one of
the leaders or organizers of a public
meeting or march to cause it to disperse
if the policeman considers the terms of
the permit to be contravened or if there
seems likely to be a breach of the peace.


Page 2 TAPIA


phrases we have bandied about in these last 10
years of sham democracy, this one too has the
constitutional ring. It is carrying a weight which
it does not in any way deserve. For while it is
legal, it is also patently illicit.
A State of Emergency is intended to deal
with an emergency: an earthquake, a hurricane,
an epidemic, an invasion from Mars. Of.more di-
rect political relevance, it may be used to deal
with subversion fomented from outside.
I It is also conceivable that political dissension
within the country could give rise to immediate
public dangers amounting to a genuine emer-
gency. This happens when the dissension sur-
rounds some particular issue and creates dan-
gers which cannot be contained by the normal
forces of order. But, in such a case, we expect to
see specific measures dealing with clearly iden-
tified risks; say, to protect a vulnerable power
plant or military installation; to calm an unset-
tled area or to cordon off an infected zone; to
cool-off a few trouble-makers; or to protect the
means of national subsistence.


It is quite a different thing when malaise is
general, widespread and continuing; when the
large majority of the people welcomes any inci-
dent which embarrasses an unwanted govern-
ment. When large and diverse sections of the com-
muntiy blacks, youth, students, intellectuals,
businessmen, sugar workers, utility workers are
all up in arms and spoiling for a fight, when the
government has desperately to be dousing bush-
fires in the dry season, it spells a crisis with
which no Emergency can possibly cope.
The powers conferred by Emergency legis-
lation are not designed for this. To use them to
protect a corrupt and incompetent government
is nothing short of a subversion of the demo-
The Williams Government can hardly per-
suade us that there exist dangers in the present
situation warranting the State of Emergency. The
Black Power marches and demonstrations did
create a climate of violence; yet, they were, by
all admission, remarkably free of incident. The
threat of a serious military confrontation arose
only when Williams and Montano decided that,
instead of resigning, they would set the troops
against the population. What could have been
better calculated to escalate unrest and violence,
to precipitate the country into a devastating con-
frontation, and to breed terror and uncertainty?
But even if we accept that there are real
dangers in the situation, what good is there in
maintaining a State of Emergency? In forestalling
the danger while leaving its causes intact?

The root causes of the danger are the loss
of moral authority by the Williams government
and a widespread lack of.confidence in the neo-
colonial regime. And there is no remedy in any
of the hasty and superficial concessions which
Williams has been contriving under the TAPIA
banner of "National Reconstruction". No Afro-
Saxon King can afford any real decentralisation
of power. And Williams clearly does not have the
machinery to embark on genuine economic re-
construction. So there is one and only one solu-
tion Dr. Williams and the PNM must resign to
make room and open the way to sweeping con-
stitutional and economic reform.
Without this resignation, the State of Emer-
gency reduces to a shameless political manoeuvre
by an insecure regime, by a government seeking
to maintain itself in office at all costs. It amounts
to a blatant infringement of the principles of
democracy. And that is why, though legal, the
State of Emergency is illicit. It is a clear case of
using law to make politics, of taking trick to
make luck.
In the period since. 1962, we have failed
consistently to define and agree upon the con-
ditions under which a Minister or the whole
government must resign for lack of. public con-


Government by Gun-Talk

fidence. Williams has taken full advantage of
this failure. Despite many situations in which
individual Ministers as well as the entire Gov-
ernment have clearly violated the assumptions
on which they were placed in office, there have
been no resignations for reasons of principle;
we have had only demotions, dismissals, de-
fections and banishments. In a crisis, Williams
condemns everybody and everything except him-
self; the Civil Service, the Parliamentary System,
the Party and his Ministers. Only the Chief Archi-
tect of the Disaster escapes without reproach.


Now we have reached a point where the
citizens must take a stand. We must assert the
primacy of politics over Government, of the
people over the State. In admitting that it cannot
govern by normal methods, the government has
made the most dramatic abdications possible
of its right to govern; it has completely discredit-
ed the regime. From here on, it is the rule of
might; we are in for a strongman. That is a de-
velopment which we need to reverse immediately.
And we can only reverse it by insisting on our
rights to replace the imperialist constitution with
which we were saddled in 1962.
The kind of constitutional thinking that we
now have to do is fundamentally different from
the superficial debates we have recently had
about the Privy Council and the Republic. The
discussion must focus on the conditions under
which each individual is prepared to subscribe to
a social contract. It must deal with the terms on
which the citizen is prepared to accept the rule
of governments and to allow the restriction of
his individual freedom in the interest of the
The discussion must also pursue the ques-
tion of how to alter the regime. The neo-colonial
state systematically discriminates against the
emergence of honest and effective official oppo-
sition. So that, for all the many parties and
mergers, there exists no real official alternative
to the PNM. The only real alternative is the new
movement, all sections of which have deliberately
refused to engage in conventional party politics.
The Movement has set its face against the cor-
ruption which will result from formal organi-
sation unless we have participation for the youth,
for the disadvantaged, and for the large number
of independent community groups which have
come alive to fight for popular dignity against
the brutalisations of the Williams regime.
The country cannot be stabilised until this
young new movement is acknowledged for the
alternative that it is. About 73% of the popu-
lation falls in the young age-group. We are still
only 8 years from Independence; and the Feb-

ruary Revolution has sharpened our perception
and taught all the sections of the movement
important lessons about political mobilisation.
We are now ready for Williams and the old
The country has to prepare for a peaceful
resolution of the coming confrontation between
the old and the new politics. The solution lies
in the convocation of a Constituent Assembly
which is widely representative of national
The Assembly must not only embrace all
the groups of the new movement; it must
also embrace Trades Unions, business groups,
cultural associations and of course, the PNM
and the official opposition parties. The discus-
sions must range over the fundamentals: con-
stitutional reform, the role of the State, the role
of foreign capital, social and racial equality,
economic reorganisation. As people take sides
and real interests come into the open, lasting
political alliances will emerge. We will surely
found viable political parties. And we will have
established an independent national and poli-
tical system of our own.

The discussion now must be about the
means of establishing and 'convening the Con
stituent Assembly. As part of that exercise,
we must insist on a return to normalcy so as to
clear the way for free discussion and political
activity. The State of Emergency must be lifted
now. We do not want to be party to the birth
of a typical Caribbean caudillo regime. Williams
may not be strong enough to the be General-
issimo; but he has two or three henchmen who
are thinking hard about their destiny.

Community Discussions
Tuesday and Wednesdays 7.30-9.30 p.m.

Explorations in the History of Africa.
The Rise of the Caribbean People.
Language & Literature in the West Indies.
Practical Economics and Personal Finance.

For details enquire at the TAPIA HOUSE or
return the registration form to Education Sec-
retary, 91, Tunapuna Road, Tunapuna.

N am e: ............................................. .... .......... *******

A address: ....................................... ......... .......

.. ..... ..................... ... .... ........ ........ ...............


TAPIA Page 3


The seven years' war
Some months ago the Leader of the
D.L.P., Mr. Jamadar, advised the
Governor-General to remove two
members of his party from the Senate
and to appoint two other persons in thei
stead. One day the report appeared in th
paper and the next day a picture wa
shown of the new senators looking a
their instruments of appointment.
It all seemed very routine. But the
smooth succession glossed over the fac
that this power of the Governor-General
to act in this way can, in a degenerating
political situation, be a factor of decisive
To illustrate my point, let us look a
what happened on the last occasion whei
the Governor-General was advised in thi
way by a Leader of the Opposition. I
crisis developed which led to th
Governor-General's decision bein
challenged, unsuccessfully, in th
Supreme Court.


This was in 1965. Then, the Leader o
the Opposition, Mr. Stephen Maharaj
who in the absence of the late Dr
Rudranath Capildeo was also acting Leade
of the D.L.P., advised the Governor
General to remove four disloyal senators
and appoint in their stead four c
his choosing.
The crisis began, at least, the
parliamentary mode of it, when the
Industrial Stabilization Bill wa
introduced. Although the D.L.P. opposed
it, three party members in the House and
four in the Senate voted with the P.N.M
Government in support of the Bill.
The representatives, of course, beinl
elected could not be dislodged, but the
Senators have no such independence. An
so, Mr. Maharaj, like his successor, Mr
Jamadar, in the interest of party
discipline, called upon the
Governor-General to revoke thi
appointment of these disloyal party
members and to appoint in their stead

- General


four other persons, among whom was Mr.
e C.L.R. James, who had previously been
o the editor of the P.N.M's weekly,The
e Nation.
r The constitutional position was as
e clear in 1965 as it was last week, but the
s personalities were different and the
t political situation less comfortable. The
Constitution provides that the
e Governor-General should make or revoke
t these appointments in accordance with
the advice of the Leader of the
g Opposition. He had, however, to use his
e judgement to determine who was the
Leader of the Opposition in the House of
t Representatives.
n The answer to this question, according
s to the Constitution, is the Leader of the
A party in the House which commands the
e largest number of members in the House
g in opposition to the Government. (Of
e course, the advisability of such a post in
the context of our own political practice,
is another matter). But, by one of those
fateful coincidences that intrigue the
historian, just at about the time of Mr.
Maharaj's request, the Governor-General
received from four members of the House
f a letter renouncing their allegiance to Mr.
Maharaj as Leader of the Opposition.
S This letter, or letters, we must assume,
r raised in the mind of the Governor-
r- General doubt as to the capacity of Mr.
s Maharaj to command the largest number
Af of members in opposition to the
government in the House. So, instead of
e revoking the appointment of the four
e the position of Mr. Maharaj in his party,
s the Governor-General turned round and
d revoked the appointment of Mr. Maharaj,
d himself, as Leader of the Opposition.
1. It is, of course, no part of the duty of
the Governor-General to strengthen either
g the Leader of the Party in the
e Government or the Leader of any party
d outside of the Government. But, looking
S back at these events, the distressing
y indiscipline of the parliamentary
e opposition, and its consequent weakness
e one cannot help wondering what would
y have happened had the Governor-General
d acted otherwise.

Did the Governor-General have a
choice in refusing to accept the advice of
the Leader of the Opposition, while he
was still Leader of the Opposition? And,
if he didn't have a choice, did the letter
of the four members constitute a vote of
non-confidence on the part of D.L.P.
members? After all, one expects members
of Parliament to indicate their support or
opposition by vote in the House, not by
letter to the Governor-General, who by
the way, is not the Speaker of the House,
and not a member of Parliament.

Whatever the motives of the four
parliamentarians who carried their
domestic party business to the
Governor-General, their action did not
succeed in strengthening or uniting the
parliamentary opposition, which in 1970
is divided in almost the same proportions
as it was in 1965.
Historians, I feel, will look upon this
decision of the Governor-General in 1965
as a factor of decisive importance in
delaying the development of responsible
political life in Trinidad and Tobago.

* The Revolution has given many black people confidence in themselves;
it has won many young people confidence in themselves. It has discarded
Afro-Saxon self-contempt.
* The Revolution has broken up the old Negro alliance which the PNM first
established after the Federal Election of 1958 and then consolidated during
the General Election of 1961.
* The Revolution has also broken up the old Hindu alliance behind the DLP.
Young solidarity and black solidarity deliberately crossed the line between two
races. We now have a basis for inter-racial tolerance.
* The Revolution has also destroyed the understanding between the Govern-
ment and the Official Opposition to divide-up the electorate by race. It has
in short, destroyed the racial basis of conventional party politics.
* The Revolution has forced non-black people to reflect on where they stand in
relation to the West Indian nation and to Trinidad and Tobago. By upsetting
the phony Afro-Saxon alliance, it hasforced all of us to take a serious position.
It has prepared us for nation-hood.
The Revolution has discredited Doctor Politics which thrives on popular
impotence and ignorance and on the herding of people into simple racial or
class or colour groupings.
The Revolution has discredited the Pappyshow Economy of the Plantation
and brought the metropolitan sector under fire. It has forced the Caesar to
move towards the programme of the new movement for full national and
popular control of the economy.

The Revolution has discredited Messiahship, pragmatism, ard the kind of
political spontaneity which leadsto the emergence of Strongmenand Dictators.

The Revolution has shown that all sections of the new movement need to
gather ourselves together, to get organized, to settle programmes, and to
prepare ourselves for the fullest popular responsibility.



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Page 4 TAPIA





Artistes in Trinidad and Tobago are blamed
exclusively for being despisers of the
indigenous culture. This is wrong and I
aim to show why. In doing so I'll mainly
conduct my argument from a local miusi-
cian's view-point.
The professional musician has had to
concern himself with his bread and butter,
that is, he has had to give less to being
a musical artist, and more to being a
commercial success. Consequently
through necessity he has had to more or
less prostitute himself musically, and
ignore almost entirely his natural crea-
tive resources. He has to eat.
This belittlement of one's profession
is further promoted by the idea of us
being utilizable conveniences. The attitude
has become accepted and universal within
our society, and is encouraged by the
present administration, which excels at
institutionalisation. For although we can
be seen at a few ineffectual and under-
sponsored programmes, we are 9 out of
10 times kept away from the Hilton scene.
When complaints are voiced a lot of
us repudiate them, saying that musicians
do not care to co-operate, and thereby
fail to stimulate the interest of the people
governing the nation...or that there are
too many musicians in Trinidad and To-


The problems in economic reorganization are simple
though the solutions may be complex. Two major acts
of policy are required. The first is a settlement with
oil. sugar and the banks; the second is the
.m-ncipation of national enterprise.
The biggest single problem here is that the
petroleum and sugar industries are in the hands of
foreign companies and that these companies have
interests which are in conflict with those of the nation.
We have to resolve this conflict once and for all by
localizing these companies and fitting them into the
framework of national planning. We have to make it
clear that we are intending to break up the huge
international corporations. We are not alone in this;
other countries are thinking the same way too.
There is no reason in the world why a Government
which enjoys the confidence of the people and which
disposes of moral authority cannot take over the sugar
industry at once.
The same holds for petroleum. Without question we
need to localise this industry. This policy must be
stated in public. At the same time, we know that to
maintain a national and viable oil industry is an
extremely difficult business. The failure of the regime
to establish a proper Secretariat to deal with Oil in the
last 15 years means that we may not even have the
information needed to embark upon a speedy and
satisfactory settlement.

Cont'd from page 1
Let us pause and play king for a
moment. How would we, in Williams'
shoes, mount Operation National Re-
contruction and Pussonal Resurrection?
Easy! "The State? that's me. Alone I'll
save it yet."
In other words, Williams' strength
for years has now become the weakness
that will finally destroy him. He can see
only two means of retrieving the near
First, there is himself...he can play
on memories of those halcyon days before
1960 when all was gold to his Midas-touch
and the chant in the street was follow the
Doctor Leader. Secondly, there is the
all-important machinery of State...t h e
Prime Minister enjoys power of the
purse, control of the forces of order,
and the right to time ( or perhaps never
to time) the forthcoming general election.
This dictates a strategy employing
the familiar stock-in-trade: gun-talk and
robber-talk. The gun-talk is meant to
intimidate and in some cases to sup-

It is therefore nec
minimum demands consi:
establishing national contre
The creation of a
personality for oil coml
0 a separation of Texm
shares in Texaco Trir
local market and made
Central Government, the
Public at large.
A schedule of job
nationals within a specif
The accounting praci
conform to national spe
0 All advertising, ban]
must be locally procure
Then there is banking
banks and insurance bank
cannot now provide for c
in the way of a rational n
system. They must t
integrated so as to establish
Consumer banks
pawnbroking and hire p
Commercial banking.
Industrial developme

press the rising new movement of op-
position. So when the State of Emergency
becomes untenable, we will surely have
a Public Order Act.
The robber-talk is once more meant
to bribe the unwary into another state
of euphoric expectation. "Jobs, houses,
participation! Urban re-development and
reconstruction." But this is too old a
trick to work. So in the end, it is the
gun-talk that must tell.
In Whitehall is a wolf, a wolf in wolf's
clothing! Yet, we have not quite reached
Duvalier. For one thing, there is still
a great deal of sweet-talk coming forth.
"Sign-up on the pen-pal list: who will
volunteer?" And there is a reason for
this. It is that Williams retains abso-
lutely no political base in this country.
He is certainly no longer the spokesman
for the Africans not even in his own
constituency. He has been so inept with
the army and the police that he still
does not know who they will cry for.
And then his friends in the Opposition
no longer control the large majority of
the Indians either.

bago, and not enough avenues by which
we could work. These arguments are partly
true but largely false, and will be proven
so in time to come.
Let's go back and concern ourselves
with a few root causes and consequences.
Lack of incentive:
This is caused by the knowledge that
a serious attempt; at searching for and
using innovations will be mei by a non-
interested entrepreneur. Recordings are
our fo'emo;.t medium, and sothe musician
has to fall right back "in line" re-
peating himself and of course copying.
A miseducated public:
Ours is a population conditioned to be-
lieve that the local product is an also ran,
and must remain this way. The big 'thing'
is one coming from a big world centre.
The artiste therefore then discards until
Carnival, or Christmas to a Isser de-
gree, his own ideas for doing things of
his own making. This is another kind of
slavery. At all costs, we must avoid the
urge to be other than ourselves, for it
is a futile effort. We must not relegate
what we have been born with to third and
fourth positionin our lives. Blame for doing
this has to fall on all Trinidadians and
Tobagonians, and so too must be the
responsibility to uplift our own.

with the down-to-earth price

4 e* "ec



precision electronic engineering...

tune in the world -any station, every wavelength,
picks up even the weakest signals



i __

TAPIA Page 5



Plight of the Local Artiste

Let us now look at the conunitted
against us artistes. A group of ten or
more men recording two sides of a 45 RPM
single is paid anywhere between $35 and
$70 for the whole group, so that after
deducting for the transport of instrument
to and from the studio, only a little re-
mains for each mal. Most recordings are
only passed as good enough for pro-
cessing after six or seven attempts are
made. Sometimes a recording is not passed
after tweaty 'takes'. It is either put off
for a while or discarded. Few recordings
succeed in one 'take'. In fact, by the time
the recording engineer gets a level read-
ing from the band on his tape meter the
musicians may already be exhausted.
A singer, whether of 'soul', calypso,
or otherwise, rmay find it difficult to get
together %\ith the band on the set, es-
pecially if they have never rehearsed
together (which is the case 99.9 per cent
of the time). In some cases he or she
has to compromise certain individualistic
innovations in interpretations so as to
'fit right'. The singer may have to make
four or five tries; already a tax on vocal
and physical stamina. He or she may
finish the recording and may then be told
that the money will not be ready until
next week, and the fee may be $30.

Take the case of steelbandsmen .who
after bearing the strain of on-loading
nad off-loading these cumbersome instrd-
ments, then going through the monotonous
recording routine, discovers that the $40
to $60 won't be forthcoming till 'next
week'. Up till recently the highest indi-
vidual payment a muw.ician got for record-
ing was $5, and this was in the cage
of a musician backing a calypsonian or
singer. Time is not considered. It has
been raised a little now in varying de-
Private hoteliers andnight club owners
too don't have a very admirable record.
Those who employ artistes overwork us,
deplorably so, and the others discriminate
against us by uaing foreign artistes to do
jobs that we could well fill. I know locals
to be turned back by managers with "We
don't employ local entertainers here".
I also know some people who have locals
and pay them three dollars a night; or
at most five dollars for a musician to
play form 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. This includes
backing singers, dancers, and making
background music for fire-eaters and
comedians. The idea seems to be to keep
artistes scrambling so as to keep them
always at hand.
Now that we have put our financial

plao ush Mrh10 1 9 7 0

ssary to formulate some
ent with our objective of

'nuinely West Indian legal
o (Trinidad) from Texaco

dad must be traded on the
available to the Unions, the
locall Authorities and the

which must be held by
Ad period.
ces of the companies must
ing and insurance services

and finance. The foreign
bring no facilities that we
rselves. In fact, they stand
management of the monetary
erefore be localised and
three types of banks:
dealing in mortgages,

t banks.

So like Gomes before him. he now
needs time. Time to cut himself free
from his entanglements with the PNM.
Time to work out the constitutional angles
for a de Gaulle solution. Time to con-
struct a personal base for a Strong-
man. He certainly cannot go to the country
with the old team of Mr. Smith's-hounds.
Even if he does win against the latest
paper coalition of cardboard Doctors, he
would be back in the frying-pan within
a week. The People's Parliaments and
the Tapia House would still be here to
stoke the fire under it.
So perhaps National Reconstruction
means no election. Frankly, that seems
the only road open to Williams now......
provided of course, that we are all still
playing king and confusing national re-
construction with pussonal resurrection.
But some of us are simply playing it
cool and not calling shots before we are
sure that we can play them.
On this basis the new movement needs
no longer leave the important national
decisions to Williams. The country knows
very well who have been calling the tune

Advertising and the media must pass to complete
national control.

The Guardian must be converted into a National

All advertising agencies must sever their
international lies so that all advertisements would be
locally produced and all decisions taken here.
To emancipate national enterprise six steps are
0 We cut down luxury imports. This will then open
opportunities for investment.
We shift the burden of action in agriculture,
industry and tourism more towards local private
initiative and away from foreign and government
We embark on a large-scale programme of house
building. People will then be able to buy houses
rather than imported household equipment. This is
why reorganization of mortgage banking is required.
We integrate the plans for employment' and
education and we tailor them to the concrete
possibilities which arise from the new policies in
agriculture, in industry, in tourism and in housing.
We establish National Service so as to introduce
some flexibility in the pattern of employment.
We adopt an incomes policy not only for
Organised Labour but for the entire nation.

of national reconstruction and who has
simply been dancing to them. At long last,
community requests are taking precedence
over Doctor demands and politics is carry-
ing the day over government.
This means that Williams had better
have the election. Just as I have publicly
warned him to lay off the civil servants
who are aligned with the new movement,
I am warning him here and now to hold
the election and to hold it on terms
which satisfy the legitimate demands of
the people of this country.

After the February Revolution it has
become crystal clear what the terms must
be: freeing of political prisoners; a Con-
stituent Assembly of all community
groups; a lowering of the voting age;
automatic registration of all who are eligi-
ble; and, last-minute drawing for posi-
tions on the voting machines.
Tapia and the new movement will
settle for nothing less. If Williams falls
short, I hope he can stand the conse-

dilemma in true perspective let's make
a hard try at bettering the situation.
This would mean moving to correct the
hotel and night-club situation in the way
it concern us; moving to get better deals
from recordings; moving to confront the
government mass-media, and their ri-
diculous subtle, anti-local programme.
I'll deal with the latter lower down. We
must have a certain portion of every
show presented at a hotel or night-club.
The system of paying would be worked
out among ourselves and presented to
them. The same must go for recordings.
We must also correct the government
mass-media situation as it affects us.
I stress this because I think that if we
must follow our leaders they must set
the example. Don't tell us to do one
thing while you do the other.
Relevant culture and education should
be played up on radio and television
so as to arouse initiative in our people,
but instead local material get snatches
here and there on radio and is given
very little time on TTT. We have had
to take Secret Storm, Peyton Place, Jane
Eyre, Love of Life, Portia, Doctor Paul
and This Man is Mine for years and
years. ...and we have remained beckward
all this time.
In other words we are encouraged
in our favourite pastime of wasting time.
Half these hours could have been de-
dicated to helping improve local music;
to local plays and poetry. There is also
a great need to bring to the people the
cultural ancestral groundings of our di-
verse populace. This music will go a

long way in putting at our disposal ma-
chinery never before given to us. We
have too long equated serious musical
study with one type of music the
European classic and we have suffered
greatly for such narrow-mindness. All
these are great mistakes. So you see
the local artiste's dilemma and his scorn
of his own is not solely to be blamed
on him, but on the society as a whole.
As a musician let me again offer
these few remedial suggestions: Let us
show the now free to-do-as-you-like re-
cording entrepreneurs that we can hold
out until they begin to satisfy us; We
must begin to build self-sufficient or-
ganisations composed of people working
tirelessly at allowing the artiste to con-
trol what is now denied him.
Let us agitate now for radio and
television recognition of our music and
Let us fit into the right context
the part that other types of music and
play in the development of ours, and in
increasing our versatility. Some types
of music which are now very much ne-
glected have contributed to the past de-
velopment of local music and should be
Let us throw off the feelings of in-
feriority and self-contempt and achieve
the liberation from colonial attitudes which
is indispensable to any drive for artistic
independence. At the same time we must
avoid the spell of glib demagogues pro-
mising the moon, make ourselves in-
dependent of unscrupulous commer-
cialists, and get down to work.

H, 'AI'E' ", '

4 Independence Srlure
12 Frederick Street;
48 Queen Street:
29 Frederick Strepl:


Page 6 TAPIA


TI A.EAN AND his Brothers is a folk
musical of powerful beauty.
It deals with two themes: The develop-
ment of national identity and the struggle
of a poor black mother and her three sons
to improve their lot in life.
The unborn nation, neither living nor
dead, still in a state of becoming is sym-
boli sed by a foetus.' "strangled by a mother
who hated its birth".
Its spirit was well captured by Belinda
Barnls whose unfolding from an ugly,
nasty. deformed creature with a "twisted
body, a mis-shapen head" into a full-
fledged mortal being, "shreiking into life"
is one of the most dramatic moments-of
the production.
Those who conceived of this con-
sciousness of freedom were the ones who
-went on to suppress its final deliverance,
a well-known phenomenon.
In revolutionary France for instance,
it was the ruling class who popularized
the notions of liberty, fraternity and
equality Yet they became reactionary
once the movement increased its momen-
It seemed that the foetus was con-
demned, to a low miserable existence
from which it could not be liberated until


the devil was confronted and defeated. In
the process, the mother, the roots of
Africa. had to die.
The moral seems to be that in the rise
of nationhood Afi-ica must remain a memory
and not a living force.
Significantly there is no father in the
family, a commonplace in plantation socie-
ties where slavery has stamped out all
original Gods. customs and blood relation-
It is therefore a matriachal family in
which the mother's will is dominant. The
sons had to defy this will in their search
for independence.
Now the three sons represent different
generations, different social movements.
The first is that of Gros .lean with all his
suppressed rage and muscle power. He is
outwitted by the devil in disguise.
He is reminiscent of Butler and the
rise of free labour in '3 .
The second is that of Mi Jean, the
intellectual, whose head is always buried
in a book 'Froud of his brains. "a student
of philosophy',, he is the typical Afro-
Saxon, anxious to display his scholarship.
He succumbs to the devil who takes the
form of the planter with superior learning
and experience. He is so m ich a prisoner

1. The Fund is administered by a Committee composed of:
The Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Tapia House Group;
The Secretary/Treasurer of the Tapia House Group; and,
The Treasurer of the Tapia House Publishing Company.
2. This Committee is charged to maiStain appropriate accounts and will
report monthly to the Tapia House Group and to the chain of Solidarity
Committees which have been established in the Caribbean and abroad. The
accounts are also to be published quarterly in TAPIA.
3. Grants out of the Fund are to be made to applicants in the following
order of priority:-

Associates of the Tapia Hpuse Group
Detainees recommended by any Associates of the Tapia House Group.
Other bona fide applicants for assistance.
4. Expenditures out of the fund are to be nide in accordance with the
following priorities:

Payment of legal expenses
"Breadwinning" expenditures
Other costs arising from political activity.
5. Any paid-up Associate of the Tapia House Group is free to appeal against
a decision of the Committee by raising the matter at a Thursday night
meeting of the Group. In such a case, the matter will be determined by
majority vote among paid-up Associates of the Tapia House Group, such
vote to be taken on the Thursday immediately followin the one at which
the appeal has been made.
6. In the event of a surplus, the outstanding balance is to be transferred to
the account of the Community Courses of the Tapia House Group.

JUNE 19, 1970.

OR BOK The Bookshop
AND RECORDS 111 Frederick St.
Tel: 38767.

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PHONE: 65-78236

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of his education that he actually allows the
planter to dictate while he takes notes.
This colonial is intent on becoming a
coloniser. He wanted to become lawyer.
Calm and a controlled temper is the
supreme asspt of the coloniser. lie is
never ruffled. and is adept at .wearing
down the patience of these whom he wi she's
to exploit and consume.
The devil is such a person- whether
he hides behind the mask of the foreign
exploited with North Atlantic habit, ac-
cent. whip and all; or behind the mask of
the creole l'apa Bois. the fox3. half-deaf
old man of the forest who bears the mark
of the beast a cleft cowfoot.
What is not general) understood about
him is that he is neither patient nor tole
rant. ;nd the moment he is challenged he
gets damn mad.
As a system of oppression Colonialism
organised to control violence since it is
itself a study in violence. It also creates
an immitative culture of paccotille and
The quality. which it cannot defeat, the
spirit it cannot break is integrity, deter-
mined innocence. It is therefore no acci-
dent that it was the frail Ti .lean who was
able to triumph o\er the devil.
This youth, typical we hope of an up-
and-coming generation is not self-
righteous. He knows that he is not powerful.
He does not pretend to have brains. He
loves the land, birds, frogs and crickets.
As he sets out on his venture he asks
his mother to pray for him, and chants a
kalinda rhythm, "I gobringdownGoliath!"
Thus resolved and protected, he deviates
from expected values, and asserts his
He does not obey the rules. Rather


than count cane and catch fireflies, he
sets the plantation on fire, and brings
the regime down.
The symbolism of the bleating goat is
complicated by the fact that in Greek
mythology Pan is the gpat-God. The goat
is also an object of sacrifice in Shango
Pan is also suggestive of a local
religious primate. Curiously enough, this
bleating goat, the property of the exploiting
planter, is continually being used to dis-
tract the movement forward.
It causes both Gros .lean and Mi .lean
to lose their temper. Ti lean however
ignores it completel\ and renders it
sterile by castration.
The silhouttes of Tankerandhis singers
loomed across the canvass. Their instru-
mentation, drumming and piping were
One is tempted to compliment Walcott,
the playwright and Tanker the musician.
But to do so would be to fail to appre-
ciate the necessity under which the artist
is forced to create, to perceive reality,
to express himself.
What has been demonstrated is how
effective the artist can be in a situation
in which the ordinary citizen is rendered
almost impotent.
The least we can do is acclaim their
As for La Veau he filled the triple
role of planter. old man and devil with
protean ease. In the end the deil was un-
This former God and fallen angel was
moved to some humanity and tears, and
yielded to the voice of youth to give mor-
tal life to the foetus of the new conscious-


The Tapia House Group has received
a copy of the reply by the Minister of
National Security to the queries of Amnesty
International concerning the detainees
uqder the Emergency -owers Act 1970.
Amnesty International made their re-
presentations to the Prime Minister fol-
lowing a request to them in May by Mr.
Lloyd Best. On his return from London
Mr. Best also made representations to
the Minister of National Security about
the condition of the detainees.
The Tapia House Group disputes the
accuracy of the Minister's reply. Itisnow
public knowledge that the detainees have
been moved from the dormitories men-
tioned in the reply into 'burglar-proof
apartments'. These 'apartments' are in

fact cells, complete with bars, each con-
tainind 10 detainees.
The Minister's claim that working
materials are given to the detainees is
largely meaningless considering that it is
almost impossible to work under such
Tapia insists that the Minister really
provide facilities consistent with his
claims. More important, Tapia demands
that the Minister publish in detail the
regulations he has issued to his staff.
It is all very well for the Government
to be concerned with preserving its inter-
national image, but its primary duty is to
the citizens of Trinidad and Tobagc,.
Ist. July, 1970

1I-7. .I --- fl77

IrI ~f~U














I -



Dear Sir,
Your paper in a feature entitled
See-through Politics, refers to two letters
from Girvan and Beckford, one
expressing disappointment and the other
satisfaction (if not elation) with Tapia.
You deemed fit to publish Girvan's letter,
but not Beckford's, and I am very
interested to know why. Was it one of
those well known cases where full
expression of support might have been
damaging both to giver and receiver,
whereas vague criticism was welcome as it
allowed you to appear "democratic" and
to score points in a rejoinder as well?
It is very interesting to see how our
radical intellectuals keep changing to
accommodate the changing circumstances
of their personal lives. One time no
advertisements at all in publications of
the new movement, then no
advertisements from foreign companies,
then advertisements from companies in
Trinidad, then "community
development". Of course sometimes the
changes are elegant, other times clumsy.
Some of us have the rhetorical skills and


Dear Sir,

Dr. Mervin Alleyne has kindly sent me
a copy of a letter which he submitted to
your paper which seems to require some
kind of reply from me. There is a lot in
Alleyne's submission which I would
normally deal with but which I now have
neither the time nor the inclination to
take up.
It seems strange that one should have
to begin with the following simple


the lack of self consciousness to explain
and rationalise the changes; others don't.
Beckford is apparently one of those who
haven't. So Beckford thinks that Tapia is
a first class paper and that Tapia is the
kind of paper he had hoped Abeng might
have been! That's the joke of the year! If
it is a tru-true joke, Beckford is guilty of
gross ignorance and has been living under
a veil for the past two years. Abeng was
never, at any stage of its development,
intended to be a journal like Tapia. In
conception, goals, composition of its
staff, in everything it is different. And
anyone who was associated with Abeng
from its very conception should realise
In October 1968, a lot of radical
rhetoricians finally became aware that
only a handful of the formally educated
elite ("doctors" with or without title)
were interested in subjects like Carifta,

propositions: first, each individual is
capable of different tasks. We are all not
equally good at doing all things. And,
second, that many different tasks are
necessary if we are to achieve meaningful
change in Caribbean society. Starting
from these propositions I can state my
own personal preferences about the tasks
I want to undertake and offer my own
views about the relative importance of
tasks. My own preference for tasks
involve doing properly the job for which I
am best fitted that is the very
important task of analysing black
dispossession in the Caribbean. I think
also that this job is important for

The madwoman of Papine


Four years ago
In this knot of a village north of the university
She was in residence.
Where a triangle of grass gathered the mountain road,
Looped it once and tossed it to Kingston, --
Where grampus buses, cycling students,
Duppies of dust and ululations in light
Vortexed around her, -
Ritualist, she tried to reduce the world,
Diagramming her violent formulas
Against a wall of mountains that her stare made totter.
Her rhythmic ideas detonated into gestures.
She would jab her knee into the groin of the air,
Fling her sharp instep at the fluttering sky,
Revise perspectives with her hooks of her fingers,
And butt blood from the teeth of God.
She cooked and ate anything. But being so often busy
She hardly ever cooked or ate.
Scholars more brilliant than I could hope to be
Advised that if I valued poetry
I should eschew all sociology.
Who could make anything literary of a pauper lunatic
Modelling one mildewed dress from year to year?
Scarecrow,just sane enough occasionally
To pick up filth and fry it on a brick.
Clearly something was very wrong with her
As subject. Too commonplace
For lyric literature.

I went away for four years. Then returned.

One loaf now costs what two loaves used to.
The madwoman has crossed the road
And gone behind the shops,
Nearer the university,
The light of scholars rising in the west.
She wears the same perennial dress,
Now black as any graduate's gown,
But stands in placid anguish now,
Perfects her introverted trance, --
Hanging arms, still feet,
Chin on breast, forehear a parallel
To the eroding, indifferent earth,
Merely an invisible old woman,
Extremist votary at an interior altar,
Repeatedly, rinsing along her tongue
A whispered, verbless, active incantation:
"Rass Rass Rass
In the highest."
NOTE: The word "Rass" is an obscenity frequently heard in both Jamaica and Guyana.
Some semantic investigators believe that it is a simple compression of "your arse". It should
also be noted that the original name of the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, before he
became Emperor, was Ras Tafarl, a name which certain black Jamaican nationalists, the
Rastafarians, still revere.


TAPIA Page 7


the role of the "intellectual class" (i.e.
"doctor" operations in the field of ideas),
the Economy of Trinidad and Tobago
1865-1938, the Poetic Images of Derek
Walcott. Some of these "doctors"
stopped trying to convert their
professional preoccupations into popular
issues and, instead, after some hesitation,
attempted, with endearing humility, to
join with the brothers and lend their skills
to the task of cultural regeneration (with
its economic and political implications).
Some men made serious attempts to give
up their doctoral (titled or untitled)
jargon. They stopped expressing
themselves and at last tried to
communicate. Others very astutely
watched the whole proceedings from afar,
saw that their personal and professional
interests could not be accommodated by
the new movement and they maintained
their so-called "non-activist" position,

revolution and reconstruction because (a)
we can't really mash up a system unless
we know how it works and (b) we need
to have some very firm ideas about what
will be required to make the new society
work. It also means that I place a high
premium on publications like TAPIA
which provide a forum for the kind of
thinking that I have indicated is
necessary. It does not mean that there are
no other tasks to be done. One such task
which I regard as important is the
business of heightening consciousness
about dispossession about the
discriminating effects of the existing
system on large masses of people in the
society. But this can only be done
effectively by people who feel these
effects strongly from day to day. We need
a forum for this kind of thing as well.
And ABENG provided it.
From what I have said, it follows that
both ABENG type publications and
TAPIA like ones are necessary. Indeed
they are complementary and not, in my
view, competitive. Were it not for
Tapia-like activity, ABENG would never
have become a reality. But that is not all.
All the brothers in the Abeng
constituency relied on and were always
expecting analysis from certain people
who had long been involved in that part
of the business. And the editorial elite
were rightly concerned that when the
paper moved from four to eight pages, it
should provide more than what it was
then doing i.e. being a forum for the
expression of one kind of dispossession
by the most dispossessed elements in
society. There are of course different
levels and degrees of dispossession. The
cultural dispossession is greatest among
the "educated" elite who have been
emasculated by white European culture;
but who because of this fit into the
existing order and are able to make a
bread. It is least among the "uneducated"
black man for whom material
dispossession is a stark reality. ABENG
exposed dispossession at both levels. The
brothers outside the University were
telling it like it is --police brutality, prison
conditions, material poverty, etc. The
brothers elite inside emphasized "cultural
strangulation" reproducing Garvey, the
Black Panters, etc. But analysis to link
the two was sadly lacking. If the
University brothers were doing their work
that would not have happened. But they
were not. The borthers outside were
experiencing and writing about official
violence and those inside, trained in
political science, could not produce an
article to explain the genesis of this
violence and analyse why it inheres in the
existing order. And so, on and on.
In the nature of things, the brothers
outside became increasingly suspicious of
those inside. And every one became a
little bored with the state of things.
Readership of the paper fell off
drastically and soon it was no more. I
suggest that if the paper had really struck
roots, it could never have ceased
publication. People just wouldn't allow
that to happen. And, as is implicit in
what I have said above, it couldn't really
strike. root without analysis. The same
thing is happening all over. Our brothers
in the United States rightfully attacked
the cultural strangulation of the
educational system. And they have won

creating by an exercise of rhetoric a
fictitious dichotomy between those who
were "clarifying issues" (the cowboys)
and those who were "taking action" (the
Red Indians).
I believe it came as a great shock to
those doctors who joined the brothers
that there was no reverence there for
them. In the pre-October days, what they
wrote sounded great, but was only
partially read and generally
misunderstood by the small group which
read it. For that they were held in awe.
When they spoke, people came to indulge
themselves in a bit of good-natured
inconoclasm. Their audiences went away
saying "The doctor was good today, boy!
He really mash them up!" These
essentially middle class audiences knew
that their sleep, far from being disturbed,
was going to be more sound as a result of
the performance they had witnessed. And
the audience felt that 'they were
participating, however vicariously, in
some great intellectual exercise. But after
October, the performers were no longer
stars. They were being asked to agree to
publish letters from simple
non-intellectual people explaining for
example how they were beaten by
Babylon (Police), articles without any
sophistication which were calling a spade
a spade, extracts from the writings of a
black philosopher (Garvey) whom they
knew nothing about, but who because of
their miseducation, they regarded as not
as weighty as the Canadian graduate
students whose term essays they had
previously sought to publish in the New
World Quarterly. They were being asked
to develop a new rhetoric based largely
on a feeling, a physical sense of
deprivation and injustice, an awareness,
not so much of economic and political
exploitation-, but of cultural
strangulation. They were being asked to
use "soul" in addition to "mind". They
were being asked to use personal
expressions such as "we, the black
sufferers", rather than objective rational
ones like "rural sub-culture" or "the
broad urban masses". This was difficult
for them. They were not economically
deprived; they were not politically
exploited (some even boasted that
ministers of Government, even Prime
Ministers, were making approaches to
them and that they could wield great
political influence if they wanted);
culturally they were very secure at
home in all the capitals of the Western
World (excepting of course Brixton and
Harlem), enjoying from Sparrow down to
Stravinsky, from roti down to Rock
Cornish hen. Their experience of
"problems" and "issues" was only
conceptual. Their experience produced
no anger, no anxiety, no personal
conflict. They remained cool, contented
happy people as they "clarified the
Some who joined the brothers have
Cont'd on Back Page

concessions black studies are now a
part of most University programmes here.
But the black students are all unhappy
about the black studies they are getting.
Again for the same reason, lack of an
appropropriate analytical framework. *
I am convinced that analysis is of
critical importance if we are to have
change. I also think that this is my line. I
have always thought so. Others have the
ability and the interest to do other tasks.
That is their business. But it does not
prevent us from doing things and working
together. I have consistently pursued this
objective. I was working on ABENG
while editing and seeing the current issue
of New World Quarterly through the
press. I appreciate the brothers efforts in
producing ABENG and I can at the same
time regard TAPIA as a first class paper.
And so far as my personal involvement is
concerned I can state that TAPIA is the
kind of paper I personally had hoped for
ABENG since I was indeed instrumental
in launching that paper. It is all consistent
with any personal interests in the
movement. I have no interest in office in
any revolutionary government that
emerges so I am not concerned with

Cont'd on Back Page


Page 8 TAPIA


Reflections from a Secluded Place

PATRIOTISM in its whiggish, kiplingesque, 19th Century sense is a dangerous
anachronism. I am on the side of people everywhere, of all races, who are fighting
for the liberation of the human spirit from old bogeys for tolerance, sophistication,
sane and humane government, for the creative and moral intelligence, the many-sided
"enlargement of man's imagination. If there are Trinidadians or Americans who fight
for thesethings, I am ontheir side. If there is anygovernment which makes alliances
against these things, I am bound to oppose it...
For 20th century man, any other loyalty is an act of convenience and, in the

Cont'd from page 7
Stuck with it. Others became
disappointed and yearned with nostalgia
:. for the. days when "reason" reigned; they
welcomed Tapia and hoped Abeng might
be like it. They returned penitently to the
former theology, to the worship of the
divinity "reason" where they were more
comfortable. And so once again issues are
being clarified (even if they are fake
issues); Tapia is again "starting from a
position free of restrictive doctrine and
arriving wherever its own uninhabited
reasoning carries it" (even if it is suffering
paradoxically from the most restrictive
stultifying doctrine rationalism).
Of course no one would have any
serious complaint if Tapia writers were
faithful worshippers. But the kind of
sycophant writing ("Best was right when
he wrote ..."), the peddling of half truths
(the so-called Best Millette split being
defined as a cow-boy/red Indian
encounter), the kind of cheap dishonesty
(glorifying the non-attainment of a Ph.D.)
that one sees in Tapia could hardly be
considered works inspired by the God,
Reason. Still, all religions have had the
most serious crimes committed in their
The cult of Reason is one of the most
reactionary and the most dangerous of
doctrines held by West Indian "doctors"
today. You see it around you everywhere
and more and more it serves as a cover for
preserving the status quo, as all these
intellectuals get fat off the status quo. It
is most evident of course at our
University, when people are incensed and
become impelled by the particular
conjuncture of forces at the time, the
cultists get up and invoke their God and
try to make people feel like animals, like
something less than human because they
have allegedly sinned against God. As if
"reason" was ever by itself more right
than intuition, than historical dialectic
than conjecture, than social-cultural
consciousness, than experience, than
There is a certain conjuncture of forces
taking place in the Caribbean that is
frightening a lot of people. Different
classes, different interests, different
personalities will interpret it, clarify it,
sidetrack it and react to it in different
ways; and will take action or will not take
action (which is itself a matter of very
positively taking action) according to
their interests, personalities, class, as
these things among others determine their
perception. Each person will try to
rationalise his behaviour and his life.
None will be able to stop the flow of
Mervin Alleyne

last resort, a kind of treachery.
I consider myself a moralist, a rather
strict and even rigid one with, in certain
aspects, even a puritan streak...
I am convinced of thenecessity of poli-
tics. For me, this amounts to a moral and
intellectual conversion, since the messi-
ness and uncertainty of politics are instinc-
tively repugnant to the romantic tempera-
ment. The romantic in politics longs for
some ideal of balance, order, certitude. He
tends to abandon politics for administra-
tion. This is why so many romantics -
the Coleridges, Carlyles, Lairences -
become conservatives, medievalists,
Politics, with all its infuriating un-
certainties, is the only and unavoidable
antidote to fascism. Politics is infuriating
because it depends onthequalityofpeople.
Therefore in politics polemical writing -
which seeks to change the quality of people
through reform of the imagination- is
essential and indispensable.
Attacks on the moral and intellectual
order amount to a defence of the people,
of the nation. They can never be seriously

Dear Sir,
For quite sometime now I have been
reading the TAPIA magazine and find it is
the most constructive magazine in rela-
tion to the political, economic and social
position of Trinidad & Tobago today. Its
reflection on the political scene could not
have been better, and its constructive
criticisms make one begin to realise how
important this ftagazine is. I think per-
sonally, this magazine is bringing about a
social and revolutionary change in the
minds of the citizens.
One criticism is that this magazine is
not properly well distributed throughout
the country so that everyone, despite his
or her political affiliation would be able
to read.

. I would like you to send for me "The
National Crisis, Part I", "Black Power &
National Reconstruction", "The National
Panchayat" and "The Constituent
I would also like to know something
about Tapia's comprehensive proposals
for local participation in political deci-
sions through effective community coun-
cils, about the localisation of sugar, about
a more vigorous policy to the oil industry
and about a Senate comprising as many as
250 members.
Sir, what is Tapia's attitude towards
the rice industry and green vegetables
such as tomatoes, cabbages, etc.?
Boodhoo Rooplal Lutchman

or honestly regarded as subversive' or
destructive of society. Who would now be
prepared to say that the writings of Voltaire
or Swift which struck at the very roots of
social assumptions and were regarded as
outrageous in their times were bad for
those times or destructive of society?
Democracy can in fact be protected
only by such "destructive" assaults. This
is the important insight that lies behind
Brendan Behan's confident assertion that
"the first duty of a writer is to let down
his country.' For democratic politics we
need a genuine sense of historical pers-
pective. To forgetthefunctionofVoltaires
and Swifts is to set out on a road dan-
gerous to society and nation.

Political writing is not philosophy:
it always has a tactical dimension which
is irrelevant to philosophy. Each has its
important function, and it is absurd to
demand philosophy of the political writer,
Absurd and dangerous, because the poli-
tical writer is an absolute necessity. If
all he does is to break eggs he still
serves a creative function- somebody can
always make omelettes of them.
Political philistinism, mortar-pestle
politics.., colonial primitivism... Even
the conditions of our detention reveal
the compulsive restrictionism of the
regime. It is clear that there is no
concept of political preventive detention,
as distinct from punitive imprisonment
for criminal violations.
The government is obviously em-

Cont'd from page 7
winning people to my point of view;
though as part of the movement I find it
necessary to let others know what I
think. Hence this reply to Dr. Alleyne. I
do have private views on how
revolutionary governments can accede to
office in the West Indies. These do not
coincide with those of Best, Millette and
others who have expressed a view. And
not being concerned with office I need
not express them.
On the whole I think that Alleyne,
Best, Girvan and others are all too
preoccupied with the question of
appropriate strategy for revolutionary
governments coming to office. This is
what causes the continuous bickering
about what needs to be done. The
movement does not needan Abeng or a
Tapia or a anything else. It needs all of
these things and much, much more. The
time for shouting at each other from both
ends of the Caribbean while white
metropolitan power openly removes our
bauxite, petroleum, etc. should be behind
us by now. Let us get on with the work
and hopefully analysis will forge the links
in good time to make reconstruction
meaningful. I am continuing to do my
thing. I hope that Alleyne and others are
doing theirs.
George Beckford


The Tapia House Group has received a
T -;ly to its request for police permission
L sponsor country-wide discussions on
constitutional reform during the State of
The Acting Commissioner stated that "I
regret to inform you that after having
carefully considered all the circumstances,
I am unable to accede to youi'ffl st.

harassed by political prisoners, but the
punitive intent in our detention is unmis-
takable,, One meets it first in the per-
sonal attentions and animosities of the
police a very bad thing, a very unpro-
fessional thing. And it extends to un-
necessary deprivations. Why are detainees
not allowed to receive their own ciga-
rettes, food and medicine, books and work-
ing materials? Administrative difficulties
cannot seriously be pleaded, since such
real ones as they can easily and cheaply
be overcome.
Indeed, it sometimes seems that the
government would rather spend more
than allow certain basic rights and com-
forts to detainees. In the circumstances,
one is bound to question the motives. One
would be more convinced, for instance, of
the sincerity of an operation carried out
with greater good humour and due regard
for private proprieties. As it is, it is
difficult not to feel that we have sown the
wind of intellectuals only to reap the
whirl-wind of intolerance.
This too-obvious inference is doing
incalculable damage among our younger
people the ones who are already poli-
tically conscious and who will be on the
stage for a long time. By the suppression
of dissent they are being led only to the
crudest forms of dissent dissent without
discrimination, a distrust and even hated
of intellectuals and intellectual processes,
ultimately a rejection of the richness of
culture all cultures.


The signs of this are all around us
already, and the ex-colony, with its long
tradition of narrowness and brutality, can
above all not afford this. The new State
needs its critics, as the new organism
needs anti-bodies to fend off disease when
it comes. Without the prophylactic work
of dissent the new society is threatened
by loss of creative and imaginative vigour,
loss of sanity and loss of health.
I am a critic, and I believe in the
functional importance of dissent, even
as a purely prophylactic exercise. If any-
thing, this is evidence of a disinclination
to resort toviolence, ratherthantheoppo-
site. As a matter of simple fact, I do not
like armies and I do not like guns (both
of which are, to me, manifestations of a
childish spirit). And I do not like the
side-effects of violent revolution. To infer
violence of intention from criticism and
dissent is dangerously to miss an impor-
tant point.


at 8.00 pm

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