Material Information

Place of Publication:
Tapia House Pub. Co.
Creation Date:
December 31, 1972
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



TAPIA Rum Punch Fiesta


SO? PGS. 7,11&12


PGS. 8, 9 & 10


PGS. 4 & 5


It was

a very



See Page 3


Pgs. 8,9& 10




Eastern Main Road are talk-
ing about a "strike" early
in 1973.
"We grinding for years",
one driver from El Dorado
said, "and I don't know
how much longer we could
go on without doing some-
thing big."
TAPIA better warn them
because we have nothing

against the travelling pub-
lic. We only want the Gov-
ernment to know the con-
tribution that the taxi-dri-
vers making to the country
and the punishment we
taking in the bargain."
The problem is that, at peak
hours when taxi-drivers hope
to earn most of their bread,
traffic on the Eastern Main
Road is now down to snail's

"Passengers like peas and it
taking you 45 minutes to an
hour from Tunapuna to Port-
of-Spain with only $2.50 in-
side. By the time you take out
for oil, gas, tyres and other
wear and tear, how much you
could make, you tink it easy?"
With the congestion on the
roads, turn-around is too slow,
earnings too low, wear and
tear too high.
"And since they put a army
of police on the traffic beat, is
harassment, left, right, and
centre. This business putting





Attractive Rates Reliable Service





brother against brother, it go tant thing is to cut a road
cause a riot one of these days. through from Maloney Street
The other day a police charge to Fifth Street so that drivers
everybody in the line. When I could use all the roads in
tell him I only in the line like Barataria to get onto the Beet-
everybody else, he say tell the ham Highway.
magistrate that. Another driver said that they
They don't have any taxi- should build proper terminuses
stands and yet when you stop and taxi-stands in Port of Spain
they charging you with failing San Juan, Tunapuna Arima and
to obey police regulations. But Sangre Grande.
so long as your engine running "They also have to cut out
and you are within ten feet of all the unfair competition we
the car, you eh park." getting from P-H's and mini-
Drivers are saying that more buses. Is a shame how much
of the taxes should be spent on part-timers pointing finger and
improving the roads. "The taxi tooting horn in the open just
industry is a public utility, so and the police only standing
an essential service because the up behind the urinal on Inde-
fellas who running the PTSC pendence Square and setting
do not know A from bull-foot, trap for taximeri."
If they gie we the chance to Apparently, the taxi-drivers
run the service, the Government have been trying to get an
sure to have some bread left interview with the Minister but
over to help out taxpayers be- Mr. Campbell has so far man-
cause is we who know about aged to dodge them.
transport." They want to hold discus-
sions with the Government be-
CONTRIBUTION cause they realise that the pro-
blems cannot be solved unless
"We are making a bigger there is a fundamental reorgan-
contribution to employment isation of traffic, working hours
than all the crash-programmes. and everything to do with trans-
Work for upholsterers and for port.
mechanics; for tyre makers and The taxi-drivers in the East
dealers we changing tyres want to be represented as a
four times a year; work for car single unified body. They are
washers and repairers;-for the saying that they are against the
motor-car dealers and assem- old dog-eat-dog solution of just
blers; for gas stations and the raising prices as they were for-
parts-shops." ced to do in December 1970
And yet Government has and again in April this year.
been subsidising pioneer indus- They want national bargain-
try with duty-free and tax ing about the part to be played
holidays; as they subsidising by taximen and they want a
Crown Lands farmers; and bus- fair return for the contribution
es after throwing away millions they are making.
on the railway; they have been In February 1971, 84 taxi-
lining BWIA in gold. "Why we drivers got together and estab-
can't have a lower purchase tax lished a Provisional Taxi-Drivers
- standard for all hired cars?" Body in the East. They did not
taxi-drivers asked. know exactly what kind of
Asked by TAPIA what other association or union they wan-
solutions they wanted, one dri- ted, only something to protect
ver said that the most impor- their interests, that's all.
Continued On Page 2
Due to the Increase Cost and Maintenance of our Vehicles
We, THE TUNAPUNA TAXI DRIVERS are left with no Alternative
But to INCREASE OUR FARES Effective 26/4/72
From El Dorado, Tunapuna, Curepe & St. Joseph
To Laventille & Port-of-Spain 50c
To Barataria a"- 3rd & 10th Ave. 35c
To Morvant Junction 40c
From Champs Fleurs to Laventille
& Port-of-Spain 40c
The Above Fares Work on a Vice Versa Basis.
Thanking you for your co-operation
The Tunapuna Taxi Drivers


Vol 2 No 13

te ,,

i i
i I I

leak and, so we thought,
had prepared ourselves for
the rainy day. Then came
the showers, revealing sev-
eral more holes in the gal-
vanize, defeating our smug-
ness and providing as many
sobering reminders that it
ent easy.
The muddy footprints on
the floor; the surrounding bush
again reaching up to the win-
dow height; the casually stroll-
ing fowl-cock; and the heat,
collected by the roof a source
of solar energy, according to
Oliver Headley and Basil Spring-
er, but to us a drain on human
Poetic justice for us who
say we are philosophically close
to the earth. So it is not your
busy air-conditioned, urban, news-.
room where your Holden Caul-
field, like Paul the Apostle,
answers the call to the Ministry.
Up here on St Vincent Street,
Tunapuna, where a water cool-
er would be a blessing, no one
can phone his wife to discuss a
summons from the "The Very
Top" to come to the rescue of
public opinion and journalism.
We are behind God's back
in truth: no water, no phone,
half a mile of hot sun from the
main xoad. But they also gave
it to say that The Very Top
helps those who help them-


They still say that TAPIA
lacks "mass appeal", but the
really inside story is one we
certainly cannot depend on any
"Insider" to report.
Two months ago, for the
first time, we published a list
of references to go with Gordon
Rohlehr's "Forty Years of Cal-
ypso", the study we ran in
three instalments. It was a wor-
rying decision to take. After
all, TAPIA is a newspaper and
not a scholarly journal. Or is
Tabloid journalism seems to
dictate peculiarities both of
presentation and content: the
blown up headline, the drama-
tic layout, the short, snappy,
"hard-hitting" stories.
That is how we got it from
the big Western countries where
the conceptions of "elite" and
"popular" have long imposed
a rigid dichotomy on the press.
So that you are either writing
for the "masses" or for the
"elites" who differ from each
other in tastes, interests, edu-
cational attainments etc.
Of course, assumptions of
class underlay those ideas of


The inside story from



what journalism is all about.
In Trinidad, however, as Gordon
Rohlehr noted, Sparrow can
put "the language of the hooli-
gan/badjohn and anarchist of
the streets into the mouth of
the scholarly politician, indica-
ting that the society is unified
at deeper levels than it cares
to admit."
In Tapia where we have
serious reservations about "cl-
ass analysis", we could not
produce a paper that caters
for "elites" conceived of as a
people distinct for the "mass-
es". We push TAPIA to any-
body at all, quite democratic-
Our work is to prove that
the history of the calypso has
"human interest" as long as
you are willing to believe that
people have humanity and are
not simply mindless robots res-
ponding to manipulation by
the "elite" few.
And there is sufficient evi-
dence to show that the paper
is making an impact while main-
taining standards of good taste
and literacy, and an informed
focus on matters of signifi-

God back

Perhaps this is as good a
time as any to describe how
we set about to do this some-
thing that might be obvious
to regular readers. We try to
conceive of the paper in terms
of departments.
appears on page two giving
the up-to-date picture of the
movement in relation to the
political and other develop-
ments in the society at large.
Of course, every article aims
to do this from its own part-
icular point of reference but
either an editorial kind of state-
ment or a news story.
COMMUNITY covers news
of the local communities, news
of a kind that is seldom report-
ed in the national press, but
which we consider vitally im-
portant for the development
of self-reliant communities. Our
most notable story has been
the development of "Block-
orama", community efforts at
REVIEW reports events
in the arts; the reviews might
be either of new books or of

shows or anything worth re-
viewing, the point being to
breakdown distinction between
-the "fine arts" and other parts.
*SCIENCE seeks to open
up a field that receives too
little attention for its impor-
tance to countries like ours.
Especially in the light of the
shibboleth about our "techno-
logical backwardness", it is im-
portant to highlight the rele-
vant work of our scientists and
technologists, unappreciation for
whom has contributed to a
flooding of the brain drain.
sises the kindred struggles ar-
ound the world against imperia-
lism and highlights the con-
structive efforts made in the
process of self-determination.
Our efforts in this field have
been aided by PRENSA LA-
TINA, official Cuban news ag-
ency, and Afro-World Asso-
SPORT has seen the de-
velopment of coverage of com-
munity sporting activities and
particularly of the minor leagues
often denied the prominence
they deserve. This week, Keith

Smith who, with Ruthven Bap-
tiste manages this "beat", points
to the development of self-
help initiatives in developing
sporting facilities. Next week,
Ruthven Baptiste tells the story
of "Basketball on the Block"
in Tunapuna.
SENT opens our pages to the
fundamentals that Tapia has
long urged. This discussion has
started in Tapia and other me-
dia, contributing in small ways
to the general constituent as-
sembly of the nation.


HOME will appear more
frequently from now on as we
are moving to boost the cov-
erage. and discussion of issues
close to homemakers food,
prices, materials value for mon-
ey, standards etc. In particular
we hope to point to the bene-
fits derivable from imaginative
uses of local materials, and
to influence the very impor-
tant question of "consumer
*THE REGION is not se-
riously covered even by media
that purport to be regional
in character. Given the his-
torical orientation of the Carib-
bean towards the outside, this
is not surprising, but we hope
to be able to maintain a focus
on the region as a whole,
not as misdefined by the im-
perialists. Accordingly, we have
viewed the Spanish and the
French-speaking Caribbean as
part of THE REGION, and to
see as part of one movement
ours and the struggles, say,
of the Puerto Rican indeedn
denitistas" .-


By far the most exciting
gain has been the fact that
TAPIA has liberated real skills
among our associates: Readers
must have been noticing the
new writers in the paper. At a
time when the press is suf-
fering from a shortage of wri-
ters, TAPIA has been quietly
bringing new writers into print.
Since July, in fact, seven
new writers have appeared in
TAPIA, and in all I have count-
ed 18 members of TAPIA who
have written for the paper
over the last year. That is
distinct from non-members of
the organization who have felt
what we have been doing vital
enough to add their own little


From Page 1
When they went for help,
they got the run around from
officialdom. A Mr. Kangalee at
the Co-op Department sent them
to a Mr. Roach who advised
that they affiliate to the St.
Christopher's Co-operative, the
one the Prime Minister is sup-
porting these days.
Next thing they met the
Executive of St. Christopher's
at their Wrightson Road Head-
quarters and asked whether a
Branch could be set up in the
East. They were offered con-
trol from Port of Spain, no
Eastern Branch.
A driver with five years'
experience, clearance from the
Licensing Office and $2.00 en-
trance fee could become a
member and buy the minimum
(of three shares for $30.00.
A meeting was called to con-

sult the drivers. Of the 60
drivers who turned up, 40 de-
cided to fill in the forms. Five
months after they had paid
their $2.00, they had still not
heard a word from the Co-op.
When one of the Officers of
the Provisional Association went
to check he was told that
they were waiting for 100 ap-
plications to come in and then
they would acknowledge all the
.applications together.
In the end there was a grand
meeting of officers from the
Co-op Department, Executive
Members from the St. Christ-
opher's Co-op and the Provi-
sional Taxi-Drivers Association,
and individual taxi-drivers.
Certain monies were col-
lected and handed over. That
was in 1971 at the Tunapuna
Community Centre. Up to now,
not a word about membership
in the Co-op or about the

establishment of the Tunapuna
Now that the pressure of
inflation and a rising cost of
living are mounting on taxi-
drivers as on the whole coun-
try, you can hear the mur-
murings and the grumblings all
along the Eastern Main Road.
Every taxi-driver is calculat-
ing the price of the H-Rights
racket, counting the pennies
on parts, on gas, on oil, on
servicing and wondering where
it is all leading.
An owner-driver from Tuna-
puna is ready for desperate
measures. He is thinking of
selling his car and going to
the States "The Govern-
ment must act to clear the
Eastern Main Road for a de-
cent living. Otherwise we go
have to close down taxi-trans-
port for a few days and see
how the public go make out."

T&T.............. $12.00 TT
CARIFTA.......... 18.00 WI
CARIBBEAN........ 12.50 US
US/CANADA....... 15.00 US
UK ............... 8.00 UK
W.Europe.......... 10.00 UK
WEST AFRICA.......12.00 UK
INDIA............. 12.00 UK
AUSTRALIA......... 12.00 UK
EAST AFRICA...... 15.00 UK
FAR EAST......... 15.50 UK
All overseas deliveries airmail.
Surface mail rates on request.
Tapia House, 91, Tunapuna
Road Tunapuna, Trinidad &






MOBILE FOOD vendors have been threatened with
removal from the Independence Square, downtown Port-
of-Spain. Food health authorities at present questioning
the operation of these food vans in the city, feel that the
area is being polluted with the litter strewn by the vendors
and their patrons.
A check with some of the vendors revealed that they are ex-
periencing many difficulties even among themselves.
"The competition is strong and men are not as honest as they

will fight for


ought to be. Everybody trying
to cut up everybody else," says
Lennox Allan, a one-man op-
erator who owns one of the
fried chicken, chow mein and
fried rice vans.
There are in fact three types
of mobile vans in business in
the downtown area. About nine
sell chow mein, fried chicken,
fried rice. These are the newest
operators in the mobile business
and are located nearer to Broad-
way. There are about ten chic-
ken and chips vans and no-one
is quite sure how many roti
vans there are.
Some are in front of Sal-
vatori Building but roti vans
can be found as far east as
Charlotte and George Streets.


Competition exists among
all three categories although
the strongest competition seems
to exist between the fried rice
"People feel the Chinese
are the only ones who can
cook chow mein and fried
rice," says Irvine Best who

no-one questioned the Chinese
woman who, up to a short
while ago, was selling pelau".
No real unity exists among
the van owners. As one vendor
says: "I have no time for that.
I am too busy shouting down
would-be customers to think
about forming an association".
Vendors claim that they have
to appear early in the morning
if they are to get parking space.
That is, those who take away
their vans at night. They com-
plain that the private car owners
are robbing them of parking
space which they feel the City
Council should reserve for the
food vans only.


There is no running water
available for the vendors, all
of them have to be satisfied
with makeshift tanks and plas-
tic containers.
In fact, the only source of
running water available in the
area is a tap in the smelly
public toilets situated next to
the Eastern Main Road taxi
stand which seems unfit for
human use.
Almost all the vans are quite

F ,IUJP- & TOO -
g, ~rfrns aTOB_~ LI,.

d v.

Food vendors feel that the y ou sould reserve
Food vendors feel that the C"ty Council should reserve

well kept and clean, whether
or not this factor can be attri-
buted to the frequent visits
of the food inspectors. The
roadway and external area, how-
ever, is littered with rubbish.
"Look for yourself," said
one vendor, "see how many

of our food boxes you see in
comparison to the boxes and
straw strewn by the apple ven-
He was right. The familiar
folding boxes were few in com-
parison to the litter from the
apple vendors.


Vendors are most disturbed
by the lack of running water
available to them. Commenting
on the situation one fried rice
vendor says: "Can you imagine
me going into that filthy place
over there to collect water."
pointing to the small structure
obtrusive for its foul smell.
"What would my customers
think if they saw me emerging
from there? I would no doubt
be more dirty than when I
went in."
He feels that the City Coun-
cil ought "to set its business
right first before complaining
about the unsanitary condi-
tions, in addition to providing"
at least six public taps in the
Square usually reserved for the
Carnival stands.
When asked how they felt

about a possible decision by
the City Council to move them
to the old market area, all the
vendors expressed fears.
It would mean a definite
reduction in sales, and who
would follow us up there any-
- wa? sav .one. ins.4xan

In fact one or two fried rice,
fried chicken, chow mein van
owners feel that customers are
too "picky and choosy" when
they prefer to buy the Chinese
food from the Chinese van
owners. What actually happens
is that the Chinese van owners
arrive much later than the other
- mainly African van owners,
and sell their food in half the

parking space for them
In these vans, however, the
Chinese men and women are
there merely as a front, the
food being prepared by African
or East Indian cooks.
In addition to selling fried
rice etc., most of the non-

Chinese-owned vans also sell
pelau with fried chicken and
Salad which seems to sell out
almost as fast as the fried rice
itself. Competition-even exists
as to whose food tastes best. It
really is a dog eat dog business.
One young vendor, obviously
new, and a one-man operator
even complained about his not
being able to trust people who
had formerly worked with him
and about their lack of interest
in the business.


"It is very difficult to get
people to do business and work
with you, particularly honest
people. The only place from
where I could get people to
work with me was Mayaro and
the country districts and then
you have to get a place for the
man to stay as well."
"All that makes things hard-
er. Anyway, I don't intend to
stay in this business much longer,
the strain is too much."
Complaining about the food








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I WISH here to examine
as seriously as I can the
nature of the 'Wang Yu
film' and to deal in passing
with the main charges
which are thrown (hardly
levelled) at the genre by
cultural snobs much less
innocent than Bro. Pantin.

First however, I wish t
deal with the sophisticate
objection raised by Brc
Pantin when he accuse
Wang Yu of supplying
I will not dispute with tl
brother on the question as
whether Wang Yu is fantasy

Twelve thirty

When I come out of 12.30 brother
the whole world is a main street in China
and I is Wang Yu

When you see I come out of that 12.30 baby
I feel like dying
in a warm way

and the mid afternoon sun hanging
just waiting
for orders to reverse.

When the white light haze them other images baby
I feel good, its just for me
and a worldwide audience.

I walking sharp
checking for treachery
holing back as I tread.

When you see I come out of a 12.30
things does sometimes be more real
than usual
but I am the only one

As I cross the road the lights hit amber
is a signal
to get me
and I leap into action
with mi peepers on
and mi running shoes
I moving smooth
looking for a meaningful death
12.30 ain't cinema
is life!




with loving




1 ,,,,,, \

d not, my point is that the
question is neither here nor
g there. What is fantasy? What
is so bad about fantasy?
to I suggest that fantasy is a
sort of wish fulfilment in the
or mind. Social activists would
say that fulfilling wishes in the
mind discourages people from
getting into the streets and
taking control of their situa-
tion in such a way as to grant
themselves their wishes in the
material world.
This is probably the pers-
pective Bro. Pantin and others
operate on. This is a good
excuse for inaction or failure
but really is much too theoreti-
cal as far as I am concerned.


If we deal with the facts we
would have to admit that all
entertainment is fantasy of
some sort, even revolutionary
culture is culture which sup-
ports revolutionary ideals and
We have learnt to our cost
that West Indian politics is
fantasy, our press is fantasy
and so on. We all indulge in
fantasy when we communicate,
agreeing with another's opinion
is a form of wish fulfilment.
If this is such a universal
activity, it is not useful as a
critical comment. Wang Yu is
packing us in all over the
country. We are not clamour-
ing to see Walt Disney, 1930
musicals or the Opera. There
is fantasy and fantasy.
Why -Wang Yu? True our
choice is limited this is
another question, I -agree

- -

wholeheartedly with Bro. Pan-
tin's call for constructive al-
ternatives but still we come
back to the fact that Wang Yu
is more popular than many.
If this is a fact of our
society at the moment it
deserves close examination,
not the automatic disdain that
many show.
The clue to the popularity of
these films lies, of course, in
the definition of fantasy. Wang
Yu must be supplying fulfil-
ment for the dreams and
wishes of the people more
than any other film is at the
moment. Let -us try to
examine the typical Wang Yu
If we see what it supplies we
will see that the wishes of the
populace are not too much at
variance with the wishes the
intellectuals have for them -
which I suspect is what really
worried Bro. Dennis.


The usual plot they do
vary of course but I speak of
the majority is built around
the problem of oppression and
exploitation of the peasant by
a feudal lord or urban strong
man (who usually runs a gamb-
ling casino) plantation owner
or crooked politician? depen-
ding on the period in which it
is set.
The more recent films, e.g.,
The Big Fight, have been deal-
ing with stooges of Japanese
imperialism no need to spell
out that parallel. The hardships
of the peasant reach such a
level that after futile attempts
to fight for them against this
Here a similarity with a
recurring theme of the Western
crops up. The similarity is only
superficial, when the people
call on Wang Yu they do not
there hide in their shops and
homesteads until all is over
they join him.
The Hero is reluctant, again
this is similar to the retired
gunfighter who has promised
his wife not to take up the gun
again, but again the similarity
is only superficial.
Usually the Hero has not
retired. He, as a practitioner of
the martial arts has to be
absolutely sure of the rightness,

even the necessity, of involve-
The martial arts are a res-
ponsibility which have to be
borne with restraint and strength.
The Hero is not married, if
anything it is an aged mother
or teacher that restrains him
from involvement. He is essen-
tially a lone warrior, he is
often referred to as a "chival-
rous Knight" (Magnificent Chi-
valry) and his code of conduct
is as strict as any of the med-
ieval European courtly knights.
Charges of gratuitous sex
are absolutely unfounded in
the majority of these films.
Only one of the dozen or so
of Wang Yu's films shown lo-
cally has even the slightest
hint of sex. Usually the stric-
test approach is taken, even
holding hands means marriage.
(Deaf and Mute Heroine).
Further repression and often
personal tragedy is needed be-
fore the Hero will respond to
the call for help. When he does
it is singleminded, calculated
and furious. It takes on the
vengeance theme.


As in all revenge drama,
violence is an integral part of
the action. This usually com-
prises two stages: violence by
the villain against the helpless
and violence by the Hero against
the villain.
The former has to be atro-
cious otherwise audience sym-
pathy may not be so ready
to condone righteous murder
by the Hero.
In a society where there are
strong social restraints the pro-
vocation has to go to shocking
lengths. This happens in most
of the Wang Yu type films.
The callous slaughter of women
and old people is often the
mainstay of this stage, it is
liberally sprinkled with the tor-
ture of the defenseless peasants,
infanticide and implied rape.
I wish to emphasize here
that however sickening the vio-
lence may be, it is necessary
for the drama. There are few
more violent and grisly bitf

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or any branch: Nagib Elias & Sons Ltd.,

r I 1I 77~L17 7 111111111 If I fill17 I I I I I I IIT~1 I [III I; I 111M7

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of drama than the 17th Century
European revenge plays such as
The Duchess of Malfi, Hamlet
or Marlow's Edward II; there
is no such thing as a non-
violent Western and the tra-
ditional Japanese Samurai legen-
ditional Japanese Samurai leg-
ends are similarly permeated
with this type of violence -
e.g., Seven Samurai a film
by Kurosawa re-made into The
Magnificent Seven by Holly-
There is more blood on the
screen in films like The Wild
Bunch a first rate Western
than in the average Wang Yu,
especially his later films. Con-
sidering that the Chinese films
are about hand -to-hand fighting
are about hand-to-hand fight-
ing it is amazing that there
is not more blood sometimes.


The point is that the Wang
Yu genre of films is placed
squarely in a dramatic tradi-
tion and only the worst of
them stoop as low as the Italian
Westerns that came after the
"Dollar" films in their feasting
on violence and dirt.
There are good Wang Yus
and bad Wang Yus as there are
good and bad Italian Westerns.
They should not be scorned,
there is much that is admirable
in the best.
We have seen that the Hero
fights against oppression, ex-
ploitation and imperialism, he
is not the anti-hero of the
Italian Western. The Chinese
Hero is essentially a lone man,
incorruptible in a corrupt world,
forced to be ruthless by virtue
of his discipline and his need
to remain incorruptible.
It is in fact his skill which
keeps him form descending into
the anarchic chaos of European
Individualist as he may be,
he has a high sense of loyalty
and obligation to those he
respects (for their wisdom and
humanity, not for their power)
he does not always act alone.
rIn fact the ethic of the
,,martial arts demands a high
degree of co-ordination be-

tween alies, co-ordination
based on self-reliance and
mutual respect. Here we come
to the soul of the Wang Yu
type of film: the martial arts.
Wang Yu fights bare-handed,
with swords, spears, knives or
staves, many different types
of weapon. This is a clue to
the essence of martial arts:
resourcefulness. Under various
feudal lords and later under
the Japanese, the peasant was
powerless, he was thrown on
to his bare resources in order
to maintain his integrity.
He learnt to handle the
weapon that he had most
access to, not just to handle it,
but to carry its use to the
fullest of its potential be it
sword, bamboo or bare hands
to a stage where there was
nothing else that could be
done with that weapon; this
was the art.
The local strongmen resented
this power in the hands of the
ordinary person and would
find ways of making them
powerless. Some of these
strategies are recorded in these
The challenged contest was
the main method by which
the most promising fighters
were destroyed. The One
Armed Swordsman and its
sequel The Return of the One
Armed Swordsman are typical
in this respect. The best
fighters are attracted by a
challenge and the shame of
refusing it, by various methods
they are vanquished or black-
mailed into cutting off their
sword arms.


This does not stop them,
they learn "one-armed swords-
manship" and destroy the
tyrant. The Deaf and Mute
Heroine, though not one of
Wang Yu's, also shows this
spirit. The people made use of
what they had to the extent
that they could match any-
one, even the most powerful.
To this extent, Wang Yu's
talents are of universal in-
terest to the Third World. His
films show courage, resource-
fulness, discipline, respect for
his fellows and great skill -
not to mention equality of the
The heart of the film is the
fight sequence. Here the
audience is treated to a
choreography of posed pauses,
sudden rushes, sustained intri-

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cate combat action and
mounting drama.
In sword films, for instance,
the main swordsmen avoid
using their bare swords as long
as possible, it is their ultimate
weapon and their restraint is
another example of the discip-
line, ritual and dramatic sense
both of the practitioner and
the film's director.
When the swordsman (or
woman) sees that there is no
way out other than by the
sword, he or she draws it and
launches the combat onto a
higher plane. This act effec-
tively means a fight to the
death since anyone left alive
other than the swordsman
would know the secret of the
sword and thus decrease the
effectiveness of the swordsman
in the future.


Thus for his own future
effectiveness they must die. It
is the reality of their situation,
just as Bogart's turning in of
Mary Astor to the electric
chair in The Maltese Falcon
is an act necessitated by the
harsh reality of their times and
This is the tragedy of their
lifestyles and is posed so much
more poignantly than their
Western counterpart, the reluc-
tant gunfighter who is forever
plauged by people wishing to
gun him down for fame.
No Hollywood studio has
ever stages such dynamic,
graceful and minutely observed
fight sequences as the makers
of these films have. They are
unparalleled with out a doubt
and as such they are the

biggest factor in drawing us as
the audience.
The fascinating costuming
and set design adds to the
interplay of still pause and
dynamic movement. Most
directors of the Wang Yu type
film make the most of their
period props which have an
authentic look and real quality
which is seldom achieved in
American films though the
Europeans e.g. Visconti are


The standard of visual meti-
culousness in these films is at
the other end of the scale
from the ridiculous back pro-
jection facades and the same
quarry in every exterior scene
of the Djangos and Sartanas.
Cinematically, the films are
usually extremely competent,
one or two are outstanding in
their imagination. As an
example of this I think Furious
Slaughter deserves special men-
In that film not only does
the action take place in slightly
more modern times, which
allows Wang Yu to play a part
reminiscent of Bogart in the
'30s hat and Chinese spat-
like socks and all but also
the action sequences make the
most of overhead shots -
probably the most graphic way
of showing off the complexity
of the action.
A fight in a dyers is memor-
able for its use of torches and
another in a gambling hall
exercised a swinging lamp to
great advantage during the
All in all, the film techni-

ques remain straight and res-
trained, seldom are special
effects used and those usually
in the poorer versions of the
genre, though sometimes with
interesting results.
The sound track is probably
the weakest part of the film
but usually that is a dubbed-
on track with the characters
speaking in the now familiar
Hong Kong English and the
clash of swords sometimes
lacking synchronisation with
the action.
To sum up, the "Wang Yu"
type of film is usually the
story of an admirable Third
World character man or
woman fighting against in-
justice and oppression, ex-
ploitation and imperialism in
a way that preaches self-
reliance and respect for
honesty and bravery.


The story is treated with
great care and attention to
dramatic, visual and historical
This is the fantasy we like
best of the lot we are
allowed now. Until we are per-
mitted to see the fantastic
creations of our brothers in
in Jamaica, Cuba, Brazil,
Africa and other relevant areas
of film production, until we
develop our own film industry
to produce our first film like
Jamaica has (we can't call
Sookraj's home movies films)
our "critics" should not dis-
regard our present entertain-
It is a social fact and deserves
analysis; uniformed snobbery
widens the gap between us
and our commentators.

ff I I I I I I I I 1 1-1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1


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~* V.

available at





THE COST of living has risen
sharply in the last twelve months.
Few goods or services cost the
same as they did last year. Taxi
fares have gone up on most routes.
The prices of butter, milk and
sugar have gone up. Sno-cones
and sweet drinks now cost more.
Imported alcoholic beverages have
been further taxed, and a wide
range of consumer goods have
either had their purchase tax raised,
or a purchase tax imposed for the
first time.
In January 1971 the index of retail
prices stood at 136.4 and rose to 137.8
(just over one point) in August. How-
ever, by March 1972 it stood at 150.0
and by June had risen to 153.0. The rate
of price increase has accelerated to about
2 points each month, and since Septem-
ber 1971 we have been experiencing
severe inflation.
Production costs too have been ris-
ing. There have been substantial in-
creases in wages civil service salaries
have been substantially revised and a
series of wage settlements have just been
concluded in oil, sugar, public utilities,
the news media and the hotel trade. Im-
port prices have risen for a number of
commodities and shipping rates have
been subject to a series of upwards re-

RISING PRICES is nothing new. Neither
is it peculiar to Trinidad and Tobago,As
.the economic relationships.in___~ty
change the prices of goods and services,
the wages of labour, the rates of interest
on mortgages and loans, the rents on
lands and buildings, and the profits of
business should all be expected to
change. Since the price of any parti-
cular good seldom falls, what happens
is that some prices rise more rapidly
than others. Thus it may be accepted
that on average prices will continue to
What causes public outcry is where
prices are rising rapidly and at an in-
creasing rate. At such times of general
inflation the sharing of the national
cake is disturbed. Persons with the low-
est incomes are usually the hardest hit
since they have little room f o r
manoeuve. Persons on fixed or contract
incomes such as pensioners, wage and
salary earners and landlords, lose in
comparison with those who earn busi-
ness incomes and can protect them-
selves by quickly changing their prices
and rates. Inevitably in a rapid inflation,
some groups gain at the expense of
others. This raises the issue of social
Of no less national importance is the
impact of income redistribution on the
attempts by the country to raise national
income and generate full employment.
In general the proportion of savings
out of business incomes is greater than
that out of wage and salary incomes.
Thus, if inflation redistributes income
away from wages to profits, then to the
extent that these surpluses are saved
and re-invested, the rate of capital
formation can be increased and with
that the rate of economic growth. How-
ever, the shift away from wages can be
a disincentive to labour and can lead to
industrial unrest.
If we look at price movements since
1940, a number of features stand out.
With the exception of the two World
War years 1944 and 1945 when per-
haps price control measures kept the in-
dex constant, there are not two consecu
tive years when average prices remained
unchanged. Ingeneral the experience has
been one of a continuous upward move-
ment of average prices of the order of



3% per annum over the 32 years under
review. Put another way, the cost of a
certain basket of goods in 1971 was
about three or four times its cost in
In some years price increases were
more rapid than in others. Price in-
creases were relatively mild between
1948 and 1949, 1953 and 1954 and
again between 1955 and 1956. Relatively
sharp increases took place during the
early War years 1940-1944.
From 1946 to 1948 as price controls
were gradually removed.
From 1951 to 1953, the years of the
Korean War.
And again between 1967 and 1968,
co-inciding with the devaluation of the
Pound Sterling and our own TT dollar.

If our price increases following on the
devaluation of the Pound in 1967were
greater than that after the 1949 de-
valuation it may be partly because we
have lately been buying more of our es-
sential supplies in the North American
market and because there were very
strict controls on our spending in North
America after devaluation in 1949. It
does seem however that a great part of
our price increases has been closely as-
sociated with events in the international
economy which have adversely affected
the fortunes of the British Pound and
the Sterling Area.
A study of the price movements for
the eightsectorscontributingto the over-
all index for the years 1960 to the
present is also instructive. The overall
index has kept most closely over the
months to the index for food, a conse-
quence perhaps of the fact that food is
given 49% of the weight in the chosen
The index for drink and tobacco was
the fastest rising of all sectors. This may
reflect fiscal policy on the taxation of
these non-essentials.
The index for services also rose more
rapidly than the general index.
Clothing, household supplies, drugs
and toilets lagged far behind the gen-
eral index.
Rents and fuel and lighting also lagged
far behind the general index though the
index for house maintenance exceeded
the average.
A closer study of prices also suggests
that locally produced items may have
risen faster than imported items. Since
1966 bread prices rose faster than that
of flour while the prices of greens,
fresh furit, vegetables and fish, and
dental and medical services have led the
field by a wide margin. Thus food, drink.
and tobacco,and services, which among
them account for 71% of the basket.

may be regarded as the princiapl contri-
butors of price increases between 1960
and 1971.

The general index of wages rose
rather steeply between 1956 and 1965,
then for four years it matched the rate
of increase in prices, and since 1969
seems to have gone ahead.
Four sectors have led the wage in-
creases, Oil, Asphalt, Other Manufactur-,
ing which includes the petrochemical
firms Government, and Food, Drink

and Tobacco. Among those which have
lagged behind, Sugar stands out as hav-
ing grown only about sixty-six percent
as fast as the average. Services, Apparel,
and Construction also lagged behind.
The course of wage iate increases
has varied between sectors. Among the
leaders, both Other Manufacturing and
Food, Drink and Tobacco, exceeded the
average for the country throughout the
period 1956 to 1971. On the other hand
Oil kept close to the average until 1965
when it went increasingly ahead. Go-
vernment wage rates rose slower than
average up to 1961 when they rose
steeply and remained at that level until
1964 when they took another leap for-
By contrast Sugar lagged further and
further behind. The increases in Ser-
vices and Construction kept pace with
the average until about 1964 when they
began to lose ground. Wearing Apparel
gained little between 1960 and 1967
but since then rates have increased
rapidly although the sector continues to
remain well below the national average
for wage increases. Construction and
Transportation have kept close to the
national average for wage increases, but
since 1965 Construction has been losing
ground, while since 1970 Transportation
has been gaining.
From the pattern of change in the
wage indices, it is evident that the. wage
agreements are for three years. It would
also seem that in a number of cases
the level of wage settlements in one sec-
tor has influenced that in others.

IN ELEVEN YEARS 1956-66 the
index of earnings slightly more than
The leading sector was Mining and

Refining of Oil and Asphalt, closely
followed by Government Services and
Sugar Manufacturing.
The index for Sugar Manufac-
turing showed violent seasonal fluctua-
tions as between the High and Dead
Seasons, and further the years 1957 to
1960 seem to have been depressed. Thus
over the period of average gains in earn-
ings in Sugar might indeed have been
the lowest. Most other sectors kept
close to the overall average except for
"Services including Commerce" which
lagged far behind.
Between 1966 and 1967 earnings
rose from 80 to 100 points and between
1967 and 1968 the increase was from
100 to 105.
The medianmonthly income of all
employees had risen by 16.2% between
June 1965 and June 1971, and the med-
ian incomes for Government employees
continued to exceed those for non-
Government employees. Earnings have
clearly continued to rise.

A NEW import price index based.
on 1964 has been published quarterly
for the period 1966 to 1971, second
quarter. This index rose from 100 in
1964 to 114 in 1966 and to 115 in
1967. Between 1967 and 1968 it jumped
by 20 points to135, clearly the impact
of the devaluation of the Pound Ster-
ling.Thereafter it seemed to rise by
'normal' amounts to 141 in 1969 and
146 in 1970. Thus average import
prices rise by about 6 or 7 points a
year except in special circumstances
such as after a devaluation.



*Negative List *International Loans

eWage-push eHire Purchase Credit

* lm.port .Prices ol]d sp n ding

Govt Crash programmes

Retail Price

1940 38.6
1941 41.8
1942 47.5
1945 58.0
1946 61.1
1947 66.1
1948 67.6
1949 67.9
1950 69.1
1951 71.8
1952 79.0
1953 83.8
1954 84.3
1955 89.0
1956 89.5
1957 91.0
1958 95.0
1959 98.0
1960 99.6
1961 101.1
1962 104.1
1963 108.1
1964 109.0
1965 110.4
1966 115.4
1967 117.9
1968 127.6
1969 130.8
1970 134.1
1971 138.8
1972 152.1


LEROY CLARKE'S exhibition of paintings and drawings has come and
gone and nothing publicly has been said about it by our painters. Leroy's
work relies on folk myth and the painful evolution of his personal philo-
sophy. His vision is both fragmentary and epic, but not one of our
painters was prepared to collect the pieces and make a meaningful state-
ment about the exhibition.
Leroy's work is obviously a contribution to our search for a meaningful
philosophy for ourselves and was therefore also a political statement;you
must remember such works as"Apparition From masks","I WantWords",
"Lagahoo-poet At Crossroads", and Tyranne Never Sleeps'
The painters saw the political element, that is probably why they kept quiet, They
realize that since Leroy's work has a political dimension any review worth its salt
would have to contain that dimension as well, and furthermore, confess to the
nation the bleak absence of such a dimension in the work of most, if not all our
practising painters.
Given that situation the painters closed ranks; if Leroy was going to let his
head turn to a burning stone over Black people,then he could go dance to"the dawn
science", "the dawn-poetry" or "the dawn-life", they did not care; Black people's
business was not their business, Art was their business, and in Trinidad their business

It is obvious that in New York Leroy is not getting the kind of criticism that
would steady his hand and harden his vision, the kind of criticism that would tie
up with our politics and our history, and thus lend him the needed restraint,
the longed for precision. Yet,
Leroy will arrive; he is half-way there
and he got there is a short time, pro-
bably because of rather than in spite
of the pain.
Malik's (Delano de Coteau's) porter of the 1970 Black Power strug-
BLACK UP, a collection of poems, gle. For saying and doing what any
will not go by without a comment by self-respecting black man would, he was
one of his fellow poets.BLACK UP jailed; he found himself
is not to be commented on in terms
of imagery, tightness of line, reticence, with rage
scholariness of accuracy of vision. for being tried


To deal with the work one must
realize that one is dealing firstly with
drama. The drama of an individual in a
society which fills one with a growing
sense of uncertainty, helplessness and
Malik attempts to capture his per-
sonal drama within the drama of the
group, as well as the totality of the
group's drama. Put differently, he arti-
culates and defines a group experience.
His poetry can generally be called
the drama of the street, bearing in
mind that the street is an extension of
our backyard,the open-air court of
appeal, the battleground, the place of
recreation and the place for the literal
and metaphorical washing of dirty
BLACK UP is urban in location,
oratorical and conversational in style.
Moreover, his poems could have been
called 1970 Blues. Ralph Ellison in his
collection of essays entitled Shadow
And Act, s ays the following about
the blues.
The blues is an impulse to keep the pain-
ful details and episodes of brutal experi-
ence alive in one's aching consciousness,
to finger its jagged grain, and to transcend
it, not by the consolation of philosophy
but bysqueezing from it a near tragic,
near-comic lyricism. As a form, the blues
is an autobiographical chronicle of per-
sonal catastrophe expressed lyrically.
That is precisely what BLACK UP
is, a work of "near-tragic, nera-comic
lyricism". So first I must outline what
is Malik's "brutal experience" that he
is keeping alive.


Firstly, he is black, poor and a pro-
duct of John-John. Secondly, he has a
West-Indian vision which Dr. Williams,
"that head-ass/headmaster of the Arts"
is bent on defeating by his constant
banning of West Indians from Trini-
dad, and by his cloak and dagger
Thirdly, Malik as a Grenadian was
viciously socialized into Trinidad
society, that is life in Laventille, only
to hear
black like me
vomit sounds an bad
for bad english
row boat
did run aground
in ah Federal
(Motto Vision) p. 31.
Fourthly, Malik was an active sup-

for saying so little
about so much

as now


(The Bar) p. 22.

Fifthly, Malik realizes that the Trini-
dadian has lost his manhood again,
because of the betrayal of the pan-men
by "the were-wolf doctor". I will ex-
plain that statement later on. The sum
total of these five factors explain
Malik's "brutal experience", his anger
and his bitterness.
Malik's poetry, in part, attempts to
answer Earl Lovelace's bewildered
question asked in his first novel
While Gods Are Falling. The
question was, "What is wrong with
this city?" I will quote briefly from the
What is wrong with this city?...At nights,
on the Laventille hillside, down Quarry
Street, Bishop's Place, and even on
Webber, Nelson and George Streets, young
men rich with rhythm send music slaunt-
ing like frightened grasshoppers off steel
drums. At night, too, from these very
areas, young men, angry and evil, arm
themselves with knives, iron bolts, cut-
lasses and revolvers, and chop and smash
and shoot and riot, and sometimes some-
body is killed. How's this? There is some-
thing wrong in this city. (p.9)
Two things were happening in the
city. A struggle to create a new music,
a new instrument and thus a new self,
and the realization of the depth of their
The two factors are concerned.
Behind all this was the police brutality,
in the face of which there was a grow-
ing stoicism, a growing realization by
the pan-men of their sacrificial role.
George Lamming's Season Of Adven-
ture puts it best.
'Remember when the police confiscate
Jack o' Lantern tenor drum?: he said.
'Was like takin' the air he breathe'.
said Powell. 'Was a terrible shame
what happen when he murder that con-
stable man'.
SI remember the morning' they pass
death sentence, an' the same Judge
Benedit ask if he had any last words
to say'.
... 'Your Honour, he said, Your
Honour I don't care who make the
country's laws if they let me make
the country's music'. (p. 20).
What I'm getting at is that Malik
in his two best poems, Pan Run Part 1
and Pan Run Part11 is awarenot only
of the sacrificial role of the pan-man
not only of the role of violence, but
the pan-men were seeking out their man-
hood and finding it. It has been said that
Pan was created at a time when the na-
tion was economically pressed and was
forced to rely on its own initiative and
thus. the people were forced into being
creative. Such an example is inadequate
because the nation was economically
pressed before the depression years and
World War 11, and irrespective of the de-
pendence of the national economy, we
have always created.
The main factor was manhood.
The Yankees were on the Base, our

women deserted ourmen for the Yankees
and their dollars. If many men lived off
the earnings of the prostitutes, many
men gained employment on the base;
Massa had returned in theguise of the
gum chewing dollar generous American,
The circle was total, vicious and com-*
Ifthesemen were beating out their
frustration just to pass time, nothing
would have been created. My point is
that they channelledtheir energies into
a serious search for manhood, and dis-
covered a new instrument, a new self.


But the violence came partly be-
cause there had to be assertion against
the group as well .R a l p h Elli-
son's comment on jazz might help to
clarify my point.
For true jazz is an art of individual
assertion within and against the group.
Each truejazz moment ... springs from
a contest in which each artist challen-
ges all the rest; each solo flight, or
imprivisation, represents a defini-
tion of his identity; as individual, as
member of the collectivityy and as a
link in the chain of tradition. (p. 229.).
Pan in its early stage required im-
provision, and this led to faction within
and between pan sides. This does not ex-
plain all the violence but it isolates an
area of causation that has been ignored.
Passages from Pan Run Part 1 will
further explain the poet's vision.
Take she wallet
Prick she
good horse to ride,
in de yard
Poonchel Poonchel
Come quickI
Elli from Invaders
poun de pant
sink de pant
notes in he head
lissen -
bun de panel
bun itl bun itl
bun she cunti

ah stick dey
rubber on de end
dis is mih pan
carn leave shell
buss up de marn
fuh she get buss
up fun she,
blood is mih name,
walk in de jail
Carve out mih pan
on de wall,
pan is mih life. (p. 45).
Beating pan is shown as both a
substitute for sex and sex itself, a
road to manhood and a proof of it. The
pan and his girl become interchange-
able, separate but one totality.
Malik's pan man says "pan is men
life". Bertie Marshall says "pan is mih
gyul". They are both saying the same
thing. The pan-stick is both a phallic
symbol and a symbol of revolt against

Like a good dramatist Malik has
made his pan man symbolic of a larger
whole. The tragedy is that come the
PNM, sponsorship, and the pan men are
lynched by unkept promises, and the
tyranny of tourism.
This is why the ex-convict who
inspires Pan Run Part 11, comes up to
Malik "in a very hostile manner pro-
testing that he had no matches". Be-
trayed he found himself plunged in
darkness,with nothing to light his way.
But the pan men knew of the com-
ing trap. They knew from as far back
as the creation of the "spider web" pan,
which really symbolized their position of
being trapped, hemmed in, cornered,
somewhere behind the bridge of the na-
tion's conscience. No wonder.
... here Africindia
is displaced
and this land
is just a place
of landed
bitterness. ( Africindia p. 36).



Yet despite the perennial loss, of
manhood and the constant attempts to
regain it, whatever the means, Malik
makes the important connection be-
tween the manmen's ability to work in
iron and their African ancestors' similar
ability. Pan was no accident, "WE IN -
Who is me?
look ole man
ah come fuh
mih woman
Who is me?
I is she master
I is master
of Iron and
it in mih blood!
Who is me?
I is de blood
yuh raising
fuh 10 years
an woman
you is mih child mudder
and I is mih Mudder
child in nature
Since When?
Since from de Iron
cradle of Benin and Ife!
Yoruba thunder travel far
in wood an tight skin
like lightening in de storm
blast out sound from metal
in mih blood
in mih chile now -
like ah piano
(Pan Run Part 11 pp. 49-50).
But this recognition of ancestral
roots does not mean a back to Africa
movement at all. It means facing up to
the grim present, precisely because he
knows where he has come from, and
despite the changing face of Massa he
will survive. Furthermore, the panman
knows who he is and the importance
of everyone around him to come to
terms with him. Moreover, history is
alive in his head, since
mih blood
never stop running
cross mih middle passage.
In Pan Run(Part 1),,there is also
the realization that the bad John must

31, 1972

come the bard, the singer of his own
violent blues.
de fucking bad
Place, bad
bard Johns leaning up
Furthermore throughout the collection
there is a growing sense of badness.
"Bad" means hard times, stench, tough-
ness and violence. It does not have the
philosophical depth of "dread", but it
can be compared to "ruddy" in Jamaica.
ah bard!
want de craft
want she bad
she man ent bad
Pan Run Part 1 p. 44
So Malik's BLACK UP is a collection
of attitudes, screams, abuses, stances
and poses. The bad John pose is there,
for example.
So ah crossing over now
ah say ah crossing over now
clear de way
leh mih pass
please mih ass
dis is war.
Pan Run 11 p. 46.
Incidentally, much of the abuse in the
collection is hurled at the police, a
growing dimension in West Indian litera-
ture. As early as Selvon's A BRIGHT-
ER SUN we have:
Tiger was impressed with the Red
House but Boysie was more interested
in the Central Police Station opposite.
"Boy, de most ignorant police in de
world isde Trinidad police. Ah fuss dey
stupid! ... (p.89).
But we cannot limit ourselves to
the words on the page. The words must
be amplified by gesture, shifting tones
of voice, sheer energy and encourage-
mentfrom a sympathetic audience.
Much of Malik's peotry requires the
audience's response while the poem is
being read, in the form of shouts of
"Power". or repetition of key phrases.
Motto Vision, a poem dedicated to Pat
Emmanuel,Blackwood and other exiles,
is such a poem.


So how do we assess such poetry?
I feel we must assess it according to the
degree of audience response, and the
degree to which the poem easily en-
courages the audience to take part. In
fact I suggest that we use the term
"break-away" as a recognizable literary
term when assessing dramatic poetry
such as Malik's
'Break-away' is that abandon and
surrender of self to music, usually calyp-
so music, around Carnival time. If the
audience surrenders itself in the same
way to the poetry then the poem can be
said to contain and evoke the element
of "break-away".
The voice behind Malik's poetry
is the voice of Geddes Granger the voice
of the Baptist preacher. Geddes's style
of presentation is there, though Malik
naturally imposes his own powerful
presence on it. What I mean is that
structurally, the poems follow many of
the speeches I heard Geddes make. Ged-
des dramatized his presentations, he
structured his speeches on simple op-
posites playing against each other.
Africindia contains all that I am
saying, in terms of Geddes style as
structurally important to understanding
the rhythm of Malik's poems. Moreover,
it contains the opposites I speak of,
and the powerful pun, the most deadly
weapon in Malik's literary armoury.
Africindia's weary knees
bend to pray to
Jesus, Mary, Krishna
Jehovah, Allah
bending below behind
before the understanding
desire for release
before death,
and lost daughters
leaving milking cows
and cutting grass,
ripe tomatoes
Their jutting breasts,
restless nights urging
for the surging
juke box glamour,
and blaring bill-boards
make the country side
a Holly-wood passion,
the market place

The holy whores
now marketing flesh
feeling the white
weight screwing
from behind below bending before

"In God we Trust", bills
of living acid sperm
running tomorrow's
Yesterday's and Today's
pain like a raving

and borrowed looks
staring placidly
through wind shields
and the land scape
escapes again and again
the notice
of time passing
a donkey cart of grass
and the squatter's ass
shifting nervously
on Crown Land,
Africindia's mind
is yet to own the will
to ride away
and all those other
highway Robbers.
(pp. 37-39).
So the Africans and the Indians
find themselves ruined by the unholy
union of the Holy Bible and the Al-
mighty dollar, a shotgun marriage to be
dissolved by the shot-gun.
As would be expected, given the
type of poetry Malik.writes, his point of
reference is the Calypso and not the
paper splendour poetry of universally
acclaimed poets. In Pan Run (Part 1)
we have a reference to the 1948 calypso
by Pharoah "The Governor tall, tall,
tall", a calypso which was deemed by
the policeasa gross insult to the Crown's
There is also word play, adjectives
are usedas nouns, and there is repetition
of word and phrase to achieve rhythm
and impact. An example of his play with
words is his connection between rag-
time music and the rags of poverty, and
the rags worn at J'ouvert.
Trumpet blast
we win de war
so long we ent jump
Rag time, rags time
coming dong de road
watch dem bottom
grab something
ld on to de ottle
isy.J. day!
is V.J. day!
Pan Run Part 1 (p. 42).
A similar word play is made by the
Jamaican poet Louise Bennett in her
.poem De Royal Commotion.
T'oder day me go see a new pickcha,
De Alexander Ragtime Ban'.
It have muches mtsic an lots o' joke
An ah really tink sey it gran.
But it noh half fe go ketch fe me fancy,
An it noh meek me laugh more dan
De day Busta stroleupaConstan'Spring
Wid fe him Rag-time Ban',
De whole o' we dutty an tear up,
Dis like sey we did just gunfight,
An de Royal Commotion never know
Sey some o' we do it fe spite.
p. 118)
At times in BLACK UP we get
sheer energetic and dramatic descrip-
Casablanca All Stars -
Invaders Red Army -
Bar 20 sounding out still
every day
every night
dice game big
fingers snapping
Baptists by de comer
clapping dancing
shouting running
RAID! drop de pan!
drop de dice!
drop de bell! Run
Run Baptist
leff de candle lighting
only evidence fuh dem ...
(PanRun Prt 1)
As to be expected in such drama-
tic poetry as Malik's there is also the
use of the call and response tradition
de whe whe man
buss de mark
an dem Police an all
did play BALISIER -
an de shango man
beat de Babu man
out ah town
whu de smart man say?
whu de doctor say?
Grier man is
10 years and 12 strokes!
Crier man is
10 years an 12 strokes!
why de doc dod say!
Annnnnnnnnn .
(Pan Run Part 11)

The influence of children's games
is also, there in Malik's work.

Continued on page 10

fly away
come back Polio
fly away Malik
Come back Malik
fly away Massa
Come back Eric.

(Climb to freedom. p. 55.)
The situation is so sinister that child-
ren's games take on the grim repeated
features of Trinidad's physical and
political life. At the same time it is in
keeping with the apparent hate and
bitterness below the surface of the
poem, disguised or distanced by
In fact Climb to freedom, allows us
for the first time to see a smile playing
behind Malik's shaded eyes as shepuns
on such words as "dig", "arms" and
...Christ was de
answer AFTER
day tie up
he arms
an nail
dam down
on de cross
wid violence.
An if yuh cross
by de Shango
drum an feel
yuh arms free
is day yuh lorse
for Elder Pantin
an dem C.I.A.
ha day own
pass word too
so they bound to know
how to get we arms -
(Climb to freedom. p.55.
The message is that religion is not the
answer, and we got to watch our
association with the Shango cult, for
even there the C.I.A. and their connec-
tions have "they own pass word". We
just have to avoid the "heights" of
weed, and the hill-top shrine on Mount
Calvary, keep our head, and make sure
we don't lose our arms.
Malik's poems depend so much on our
hearing them read by the author him-
self that a recording of the four best
poems in BLACK UP is a must.
Appreciation grows once we hear the
poet dictating the rhythms of his work.


Not all of Malik's poems are for the
ear, though. His Art Projection
is written essentially for the eye. In
that poem there is a tender concern for
shaping words, as he records his grow-
ing appreciation of the Black woman.
The poem is dedicated to Val, a painter
who is responsible for the book's arrest-
ing cover design.
Poetry painted
of her nakedness
on the
Auction .Block
black studs
of stars crested
by the Master
mind of of slavery
the impotence
of our urge
to rape her
forms of
art -
the ad. -
vice value of
vital statistics
on parade
a Doll arise
white washed
sex machine
broken down
to nothing
in our manhood
and nothing
drawn for us
but the fraudulence
of this Capitalist Culture. (p.63.)
Ernst Fishcer in his The Necessity
of Art says
Tension and dialectical contraditlon are
Inherent In art; not only must art derive
from an intense experience of reality,
it must also be CONSTRUCTED, it must
gain form through objectivity. (p.9).
This is precisely the area where some
of Malik's poems fail. Some fail because
his anger is not controlled and shaped.
Afro Saxon falls into this category.


From page 9

There is too much screaming in the
poem; we must learn to talk about the
Afro Saxon without losing our self-
control. For one thing, the Afro-Saxon
has so far been defined in very simplis-
tic terms, while he is in fact a very
complex individual who in fact breaks
out of the limitations of the definition
imposed on him,more often than we
realize or care to admit.
If we are revolutionary and serious
we will not dismiss the Afro-Saxon with
the arrogance that we do. Furthermore
dramatic poetry like Malik's can easily
be marred by slackness born of relying
on a predictable audience response.
In terms of influence of contem-
porary poets on his work, I think I
hear the influence of Winston Daniel, a
poet who shared the platform with
Malik at several NJAC sponsored
Black Rallys. Incidentally, Malik's near-
excremental vision adds to the already
stock West Indian symbol of the rub-
bish dump.
To hell an back
to hell
behind d e bridge
an all ah we blood
crawling cross de City
like de dry river
an ah keep seeing
de La Basse picture
Kobo black like we
an shitting dong
white -
people up in Cascade,
(Pan Run Part II).
Or to take another example, we have,
An ah drink
like sea water
ah nearly drown
in dey Independence
Blood c-1-a-a-a-t
up politics
up prices
leh we see fuh weself
up to de
up side
shit house
left over
fuh rotten fish smell
in ah Carifta
poor effort
fuh de poor -
fuh de poor (Motto Vision pp.32-33).
One of the most disgusting features
of Trinidad society is the manner in
which a cultural phenomenon peculiar
to many other societies is observed to
be in Trinidad as if it is peculiar to us
alone, and as such we should feel guilty
about it. The tragedy is that we accept
the guilt.
Take the label "mimic nen" as
applied to Trinidadians. It is n over-
simplified observation but the society
embraces it as a truth. Let me draw
your attention to Jeff Nuttall's work
Bomb Culture, in which he com-
ments on the reactions of young Ameri-
cans after World War II.
...Our first reaction, as I remember,
was one of formalized stoicism
which we borrowed from the spivs,
from de mobbed soldiers, and
from Hollywood movies, which we
took andtransmuttedinto a romanti-
cism of toughness and aggression
and subsequently wore like a suit of
Popular culture,then, was the
culture of ...Betty Grable and
Veronica Lake; of Humphrey Bo-
gart and Alan Ladd ... a culture of


brashness, raw colours, hard gloss,
discord, cold eyes and cruel roughed
lips, a culture of the original comic
book super-heroes, of SPLAT and
BAM and Zowie...
We flew to this culture not our
own because at that time it provided
for two of our needs.
it protected and disguised our vul- -
nerability and provided a formalized
mode of behaviour to compensate
for our own directional poverty.
(pp. 20-21).
(My emphasis).
The reasons operating then are operat-
ing now in Trinidad. My point is, there
is copying in Trinidad's society (who
can escape the pressure of the mass
media?) but the masking is not the
whole man by any means, and we must
realize this. Furthermore a reading of
Alvin Toffler's Future Shock, will
show the degree to which such a fea-
ture as transience is peculiar to the
'twentieth century, where we are "all
citizens of the Age of Transience".
Andrew Salkey in his Georgetown
Journal, interviews an annoymous
Trinidadian at Piarco, who has, in part,
the following important comments to
make about his native country.
This country is a thing like mortgage
arithmetic, a piece of property develop-
ment, foreign investment playground. It
exists for profits, quick, slick ones, and
always the foreigners' profits, not our
own. We're only wage-earning caretakers.
A few people appear on the scene, buy
in, make it, and out out, again, or stay on,
invisible. The country hasn't started see-
ing itself as something permanent in itself
and for itself and for its people...Now,
history is such a thing, as I look at it,
that it has to be changed by you yourself
or it won't change itself for you, in no
way. Small people have to go out, hanImer
on the door, smash it in. No other way.
That is precisely part of the poet's
role, any artist in fact, to go out and
hammer on the door, smash it in.
Edward Brathwaite realized this and
posed the question of Rights of
Passage, thus,


Should you
shatter the door
and walk
in the morning
fully aware
of the future
to come?
There is no
turning back.
(Epilogue p. 86).
If the poet has a political role, he also
has a spiritual role. The poet absorbs
the madness, the chaos, the pain, chews
them all up into art and spits it out at
a poetry reading. He runs the risk of
going mad so as to save the nation's
sanity. George Lammingin Caribbean
Quarterly Vol. 5. No. 2 February,
1958 puts it this way!
A writer does not only use language, he
helps to make language...This perpetual
rage with words must seem a kind of
lunacy, and that judgement will not be
far wrong; for the writer is, in fact, a kind
of lunatic whose insanity is only kept in
control by his occasional triumph of
expression. p. 113.
The poet is not a leader, he can only
keep the nation's sanity, clarify its
vision and buy time. He can change
form and become any of our folk
heroes at will, that is his power the
power of suggestion.
The poet is prophet, high priest
judge, archetypal victim everybody's
instructor and nobody's master.
The Russian poet YeygenyYevtushen-
ko in his work A Precocious Auto-
biography quotes Kirsanov, another
Russian poet as saying:
A poet has only one indispensable
quality: whether he is simple or com-
plicated, people must need him. Poetry if
it's an ambulance rushing to
someone's aid. (p.74.)

Put differently, the poet's function is
more than "to purify the dialect of the
tribe", (see T.S. Eliot's Little Gidding).
His concern is with the totality of the
tribe wholeness, of which the dialect
forms just a part. It is not simply that
Words strain
Crack and sometimes break, under the
burden, Under the tension, slip, slide,
perish, Decay with imprecision, will not

stay in place, Will not stay still. (p.19
Burnt Norton)
(from T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets).
The point is, the individual's life has
to hold more strain than the language
he uses. The breakdown begins with
his life, then the language follows in
the decay; that is why in the underpri-
vileged areas communication is reduced
to stringing together words of abuse
and cursing purified into an art.
If the poet as near-martyr sounds
like yet another Christ-figure screaming
to the society to "tie men to the
cross", he differs in that he is prepared
to bear the nation's pain while the
political and religious messiahs are not,
as we know from personal experience,
and from Naipaul's Man Man or even
Wonder's Follow Me Children from
which I now quote.
We had an old preacher by the name of
Nose-gay Once said he going to die as
Christ to wash our sins away He say to
nail me, tie me to the Cross Don't use no
big stones use pebbles or stones Well
Peter hit he wid a poui He bawl out man
have some sympathy Help I ain't do no
wrog wrong
PAIN I ain't dying again.


The poet's attitude is that he will bear
every man's pain. Once he isin the
field, as Edward Brathwaite puts it,
"there is no turning back". As in
Latin America, the writer here is
emerging as conscience of his country.
But we have got to evolve standards
of judgment that reflect our native
knowledge and understanding of the
philosophical underpinnings and cultu-
ral references that produced the calypso
and the now current wave of "new
In the specific case of poetry, the
'--poet-will-have-to move towards unearth-
ing symbols that have been lost to
public-view, but symbols which meant
something or still do, to the Trinidad-
ian. It means exploring and using myths
of all kinds thrown up by this society.
Come what may, Malik has made a
vital contribution. It is to be hoped
that my plea for a recording of Pan
Run Part I, Pan Run Part II, Africin-
dia and Motto Vision will reach sym-
pathetic ears.
Finally, Rene Wellek and Austin
Warren point out in their book
Theory of Literature that the Rus-
sians see verse as "organized violence
committed on everyday language."

Bennett, Louise Jamaica Labrish.
Eliot T.S. Four Quartets. Faber.
Ellison, Ralph Shadow And Act.
Franco, Jean The Modem Culture Of
Latin America. Ch. 7.
Fisher, Ernst The Necessity Of Art.
Ch. I Penguin.
Hamburger, Michael The Truth Of
Poetry. Ch. 10. Pelican.
Hodgson, John ed. The Uses of Drama.
Ch. 1-12.
Jones, Leroi Black Music.
Marshall, Bertie Pan Is Mih Gyul.
TAPIA Vol. 2 Nos. 1-10.
Nuttall, Jeff Bomb Culture, Paladin
Rohlehr, Gordon Calypsoes Of Con-
flict, In The ,40's & '50's. unpublished
Wellek, Rene Theory Of Literature.







34 Pembroke Street P.O.S. Tels 35842 38434.





IN ORDER to examine the current
inflation in Trinidad and Tobago
it is essential to consider the struc-
ture of the economy. This is an
open economy.
In 1970 exports comprised
65% of gross domestic product
and imports 56%. The main pro-
ducts of the country oil and
sugar are produced mainly for ex-
The economy depends on
imports for its essential supplies
of food, finished manufactured
goods, equipment and tools, and
the bulk of the raw materials for
the\new industries. Our ability to
import is determined by how much
we sell abroad.
In 1971 oil (80%), sugar (5%) and
petrochemicals (6%) accounted for over
90% of total export. Because of the
nature of the markets for these products
to a producer like Trinidad and To-
bago, both the quantity exported and
the prices fetched are beyond our in-
fluence. The price of imports too can-
not be influenced by this country,
though sources of supplies may be
changed in time.
It may be safely concluded that
the level of economic activity in Trini-
dad and Tobago is heavily dependent on
the performance of the export sector.
Government revenues and the activities
and incomes of a large number of firms
depend heavily on exports.


The most obvious cause of the
higher prices of goods reaching con-
sumers is higher import prices. If the
price of essential imports rise, merchants
can be expected to pass on these in-
creases. This was the argument put for-
ward by the merchants for increasing
the price of butter. It seems that the
only way to avoid this cause of rising
prices, if imports are not replaceableby
5'-ji' hslut1t to cheaper sources
of supply. If New Zealand dairy prices
rise might it not be possible to buy from
Ireland or from Kenya where prices are
However, this may not always be
possible. International trade can become
tied up for one reason or another. It
appears, from a preliminary study of the
trade data, that over the past twenty
years or so there has been a substantial
shift away from British sources towards
American sources of supplies. Industriali-
sation policies since 1950 seem to have
brought us into a firm relationship with
the American market for some goods.
On average, price levels are higher in
America thanmost other countries while
inflation there has been no less severe
than elsewhere.
Moreover, this country imports all
its shipping and insurance services. Not
only have these been of late subject to
repeated upward revisions. The access to
shipping may determine sources of
supply! It is thus not surprising that a
substantialpartof the domestic inflation
has been a simple consequence of the
increased cost of our landed imports in-
cluding charges for insurance and

There is too an aspect of the cur-
rent industrialisation policy which is itn.
flationary- the measure of protection
afforded to "pioneer" businessmen. Pro-
tection has taken the form of duty free
concessions by itself not inflationary
- and quota restrictions or the Negative
List. By and large an attempt is made to
produce locally a formerly imported
item by use of imported machinery and
imported raw materials. The immediate
cost of such a policy is the Government
revenue loss while the benefits are the
added income and jobs and the stimulus
which may be given to local suppliers or
materials or to local users of the new
The Negative List restricts the
imports of certain commodities to a


part only of its former level, and in the
extreme case might prohibit its importa-
tion altogether. It is clear that the Nega-
tiveListcan beinflationary to the extent
that the costs and quality of the local
product reflect a lower level of effi-
ciency, Because the size of the local mar-
ket is small, scale of operations is likely
to be a continuing drawback, so that
even after the initial teething problems
are over the country can be committed
to support a high cost/high price indus-
Local costs of production too
may have contributed to the recent in-

The vanishing


1962 100 cents
1963 96 "
1964 95
1965 94
1966 90
1967 88
1968 82
1969 80
1970 78
1971 75
1972 68
1973 make a guess

flation. The main item here has been
wages. These have risen substantially.
It is not a simple question of Unions
pushing up wages as the argument has
been made for more self-sufficient eco-
nomies. Industrieswhere wage bills make
up a large share of total costs and
which cannot avoid granting wage in-
creases, can certainly be expected to
charge higher prices if they are to remain
in business.
Another possible contributor to
the inflationary process might have
been the shift in tax policy towards
indirect taxation. It would appear that
in an attempt to broaden the tax base
and to offset losses in revenues caused
by granting various tax holidays to
"pioneer" firms.-Government extended
the purchase tax to include a wide range
of consumer goods. These taxes have
been increased in 1972 and new goods
have been added to the list. The effect
of this has been to raise prices. To the
extent that workers succeed in winning
wage increases to compensate for price
increases, the policy could be inflation-
On the demand side the main con-
tributory factor in the inflation is the
growth in total spending in recent years.
In spite of the high unemployment in
the country and the retrenchment in oil
and sugar since the mid-sixties, employ-
ment has grown. Wage rates and earn-

ings rose rapidly and up to 1965 and
since 1969 the share of wages in the na-
tional income musthave risen since wages
rose more rapidly than prices. Private
consumption expenditure has been in-
creasing by something of the order of 8
to 10% each year.
The expenditure of the Central
Government has also been increasing.
Current expenditure has grown by about
9% per annum since 1956. It is to be
noted that personal emoluments ac-
counts for about 50% of current expendi-
ture. Capital expenditure has grown
even faster than current expenditure. The
size of the "crash programme" bud-
get has increased substantially, and
these expenditures, from common know-
ledge of special works programmes in
Trinidad and Tobago, must contribute
to personal incomes by almost the full
extent of the expenditures. It is also
a-. gued that special works programmes
raise the starting price of labour while
adding.little to output.


The method of financing the
growth- in total expenditure might also
have been inflationary. In principle if
there is a firm incomes policy, public
expenditures financed through taxes
and domestic loans should not be in-
flationary. Resources would have been
simply transferred to the Govenrment.
Where however Government finances
some of its expenditures from interna-
tional loans, to the extent that these
funds are not used to bring in to the
country goods which would otherwise
not be imported there is a net disburse-
ment of cash in the economy. This can
add to total spending. There have been
in the past five years a number of loans
notably from the IADB and the IBRD.
It would appear too that Private
consumption expenditure has in-
creasingly been financed by credit. This
could contribute to the growth in
spending. During 1969 individual (non
business)loans of commercial banks rose
by more than 60% over the 1968 level,
and continued to rise in 1970 and 1971.
This rapid expansion in commercial
bank credit has gone largely to finance
the purchase of consumer durables -
motor cars, refrigerators, cookers, tele-
vision sets and radiograms -all of which
are now locally assembled.
The lending policy of banks has
also shifted quite considerably with
the coming to Trinidad and Tobago in
the late fifties and early sixties of hire
purchase companies and consumer-
oriented North American Commercial
banks. As money incomes rise more
people meet the criteria for hire pur-
chase loans, and given the image of the
"good life" projected in the Press,
radio, TV and cinema, seem readily t<
avail themselves of credit facilities.
,The economyandsociety comprise
a number of socio-economic groups

differing as regards their abili
just incomes through wage ba
price adjustment and employment pro-
The foreign or metropolitan sector
consists largely of branch plant firms.
These engage in both staple export
production, e.g., the petroleum firms,
and in the assembly of manufactured
goods for import replacement, e.g.,,
household durables. By and large these
firms are indistinguishable from their
North American counterparts. They are
capital intensive and use a very high
level of technology.
Because they are foreign-owned
and controlled, they find that there is
a strong nationalist character in con-
frontations with trade unions. Their
bargaining position is politically weak.
Further, because of the automation,
wages are a small percentage of their to-
tal costs and so wage increases are re-
latively easily granted. Further, the larger
is their capital investment, the more
anxious-are these firms to avoid loss of
production through industrial unrest.
It is for this reason perhaps that rounds
of wage increases appear to start in the
petroleum sector and to spread else-


Within this sector the rising wage
costs in staple export industries do not
impinge directly on the local price level.
Rising wage costs may affect profits. But
bearing in mind the share of the wage
bill in total costs and the overall profit-
ability of the industry this is hardly im-
Those foreign firms producing for
the domestic market are a different
story. To begin with, wages are a larger
part of their costs than is the case for
export firms. Worse, as their costs rise,
because they enjoy a near monopoly
position in a captive market where there
is an intense demand for their products,
they adjust their price to keep up their
profit margins, In this sector, wage in-
creases will lead to price increases.
The next sector distinguishable
is the public sector, including the central
and local government and the public
corporations. This is a very large sector
in terms of employment and income
payments. It is important here to dis-
tinguish between the permanent
monthly-paid workers (represented by
PSA) and the daily-paid (represented by
NUGFW). Among the daily-paid workers
one can distinguish the regularly em-
ployed and the "crash programme" work
ers. These groups differ as regards bar-
gaining strength and ability to adjust to
changing prices. Their spending patterns
also differ substantially.


Monthly-paid workers are almost a
fixed charge on the public purse. They
enjoy security of employment. Their
bargaining powers very strong. They are
well placed to raise their incomes to pro.
tect themselves from price increases
and to share in the increasing prosperity
in the country.They enjoy-high incomes,
generally, and their consumption pat-
terns show a taste for imported luxury
type goods and for foreign travel. They
live mainly in the urban and sub-urban
The regular daily-paid workers are
strongly unionisedandare also politically
-strong. By comparison with workers in
the country as a whole, they are re-
latively well paid. They have succeeded
in protecting both their incomes against
price increases and their jobs. By and
large they are town dwellers, with a
high demand for basichousing, clothing,
food and services, and for semi-luxuries
such as consumer durables. One of the
criticisms levelled against them is that
they have pressed for increases in wages
and this has been at the expense of
the Government's ability to increase
Continued on Page 12


Who's Responsible

For The Vanishing

From Page 11
Because of the high unemploy-
ment in the country, there has been a
policy of providing occasional work
and income through special works
programmes. Typically, persons get 3
or 4 days' work in a fortnight. Their
bargaining position is weak, and it is
believed that their productivity is low.
The wage rate paid is the Government
rate. Where these 'crash programmes'
are undertaken in the rural districts,
estate managers complain that they
raise the price of labour and reduce the
willingness of workers to accept day
labour at the substantially lower wage i
offered by the estates. Income earned
on "crash programmes" is largely spent
on food, clothing and on entertain-
The agricultural sector falls into three
clearly distinguishable sub-groups. The
sugar industry is the largest and most
important of these both as regards
employment and contribution to out-
put. It is the second largest single
employer of labour in Trinidad and
Tobago. It is a labour-intensive industry
which provides highly seasonal employ-
ment. By comparison with world
standards, it is a high cost producer of
sugar and because of this is dependent
on the Commonwealth Sugar Agree-
ments for a protected market to keep
it viable. Wages are a high proportion
of total costs.
Because of these conditions there is
a struggle to keep wages down and to
raise labour productivity. The industry
has had a long history and is a very.
politically sensitive area. Workers here
are in a weak bargaining position since
they have also been concerned to pro-
tect their jobs. The industry sells only
15% of its output at home and needs
Govt authority to increase its price.

Estate agriculture (cocoa, coffee,
citrus) has not been buoyant for many
years. The bulk of the outpuut is sold

overseas, and world prices have been
falling. Protection in the British market
has maintained prices somewhat. Work-
ers in this sector are not unionised and
are in a very weak bargaining position.
Wages are very low by comparison with
the rest of the economy.
Market gardening and dairy farming
have in recent years become an in-
creasingly important part of the agricul-
tural sector. Farms are usually small
and organised with family labour with
some additional wage labour. Thus
wages are not a major element of cost.
However, price adjustment is easy. As
the urban employed increase their
demand for fruits, vegetables and meat,
and as prices generally in the country
rise, these self-employed persons are in
a strong position to protect their in-
comes by increasing their prices.


Finally, we may treat together a
variety of activities but which include
services, commerce and construction.
These are mostly locally owned, cater
for the local market, are labour inten-
sive andnot generally strongly unionised.
In the services sector, the merchants
have traditionally dominated the import
trade, which has determined the essen-
tial supplies to the economy. Their
pricing policy has been that of the
landed cost of the commodity, plus a
mark-up to cover the service provided
and a return on capital invested.
By their function in the import of
goods, they strongly influence the
types of goods consumed in the society.
Over the years they have come to enjoy
a level of income and a style of living
both of which have influenced the in-
come aspirations of other businessmen.
Because of the unchanging demand
for imports, their pricing position is
very strong.
Labour on the other hand has been
in a weak position. It is not strongly
unionised and unskilled, and the educa-
tional system produces vast numbers of
persons who see themselves as employ-
able only as clerks. The net effect of
inflation has been to depress the in-

comes of employees. Most other ser-
vices are similarly placed.
The construction industry, which is
currently experiencing a boom, has in
recent year become more capital inten-
sive. There has been an influx of foreign
firms and they have brought with
them their labour saving technology.
The rate of increase of wages has been
falling and consequently the share of
wages in output has gone down.
Against this background, an attempt
will here be made to establish approxi-
mately the chain of causationin the
inflationary process in Trinidad and
It would seem that over the past
decade or so that wage bargains have
been made on a three-year basis and a
series of 'wage rounds' are discernible.
These rounds might start in the petrol-
eum sector. The size of the wage in-
crease secured seems to set a compara-
tive standard by which unions in other
sectors bargain.
Following on wage settlements in the
petroleum sector, wage bargains in the
sugar industry and in the Government
sector (the two largest sectors by em-
ployment) ensue. Other sectors follow
It would seem that the strongest argu-
ments brought relate to parity of treat-

ment rather than ability to pay. The
sugar industry, until recently interna-
tionally owned, yielded large percentage
increases within the limits of their
large labour costs. The Government
sector moved in step. Thus although the
levels of productivity and productivity
increases vary widely between indus-
tries, the structure of the economy and
the society seems to cause high wage
increases everywhere. Staple export
agriculture usually lagged behind.
The immediate impact of increases
in income is to increase total spending
in the economy. On the supply side
local costs of production are also raised.
However since "basic goods" food
and clothing are largely imported,
and since the supply of our'goods are
largely exported (oil, sugar), there is no
simple link between rising local costs

and rising local prices. Rather it would
seem that the link between wages and
prices works partly through the import
trade and partly through those sectors:
of the economy which produce largely
for local consumption, viz., fresh fruit
and vegetables and services and locally
manufactured and assembled goods.
Higher wage income pulls up the price
of imports and push up the price of
domestic goods.
With rising income there is increased
demand for all goods but notably for
imported "luxuries", mainly consumer
durables, imported foods and clothing.
The import merchants simply bring in
the goods required. This is possible
since foreign exchange is not in short
supply the-proceeds from the exports
of oil and sugar determine the ability
of the economy to import and once
exports are rising, imports can rise.
Wage earners do not challenge the
price of these goods, once. they have
the money with which to buy them.
The importers operate on a mark-up,
however determined. Thus if import
prices rise, so will local prices. Simi-
larly, if total spending is buoyant, the
mark-up will be high and so will be
As wages, incomes and prices rise
in the export (or foreign) and Govern-
ment sectors, other sectors seek to
preserve their relative positions. Wage
earners seek to push their wages up.
Businessmen seek to raise profits. Both
these result in rising prices. Thus even
in the extreme case of producers selling
solely to the home market and using
only local materials the attempt to
protect real incomes leads to rising
rising prices and rising wages. Most of
the members of this group would be
small agricultural producers supplying
essential food items (vegetables, fruit,
etc.) and service industries (restaurants,
laundries, transport, etc.). People must
eat whatever the price of food. Thus
the quantity demanded is not adversely
affected by price increases, and con-
sequently persons-in-these -industries -
can protect their incomes.
High incomes are spent increasingly
on imports and that free spending and
rising import prices lead to rising local
prices. Industries attempt to protect
their income position by charging/higher
prices and paying higher wages as neces-
IT SEEMS that prices can be
expected to rise by some 'normal'
rate of about 2% per year brought
about partly by rising import
prices and partly by adjustments
in the prices of local goods and
services as supply/demand rela-
tionships change.
In order that the real worth of wages
should not fall, money wage rates
should rise on average by 2% and by a
further 2% or so to permit workers to
share in the increased .prosperity in
the country. These are average figures.
Because of the open nature of our eco-
nomy, we can also expect major dis-
turbances on the international mone-
tary scene to give a jolt to local prices.
However, the cause of this most
recent inflation cannot be explained
away by reference to the international'
economy. True the Pound went up and
the dollar went down by 7 to 8%. But
on our previous arguments,if the
downward valuation of the Pound in
1967 caused prices to rise, then the
upward valuation should at least cause
prices not to rise.
We know, however, that a number of
events have recently taken place all of
which could raise prices. Some import
prices have risen. Some import duties
and some purchase taxes have been
raised. Government capital and recur-
rent expenditure have increased. Pro-
fessional salaries have risen and more
recently a new series of wage rounds
have begun. Government, Business and
Labour might each wish to blame
the others as "causing" the inflation.
In fact all three, acting within the
context of our peculiar social, political
and economic system, are contributing
to the inflation. Eric St Cyr









six, a federal police inspec-
tor phones the newspaper
offices: "Not a word about
such and such."
Later, at midnight, a police-
man appears with the orders in
writing; the editor of the paper
has to prove that he has read
and understood the prohibition
by signing it at the bottom.
This is the everyday system
used to stop the spread of
information on taboo topics
in Brazil. But there are also
permanent bans, of which news-
paper editors do not require
daily reminders.
Since the end of 1968 the
newspapers, magazines, radios
and TV stations have had to
obey these "ten commandments."
Among other things they
cannot report torture or the
capture of anti-regime activists.
Nor, on any account, can they
criticise the military.
They cannot refer to the
student movement, nor to the
guerillas, nor to any occurrence
which implies political activity
or which threatens to disturb
"the financial and economic

Nothing about the poor per-
snectives of the stock exchange,

nor a word about the "militant
priest": Bishop Helder Camara
can only be mentioned to be
No statements or photographs
of the fifteen hundred students
deprived of their civil rights
after the 1964 coup can be
Even censorship itself is for-
bidden: it cannot be mentioned,
you can't say you can't.
Since September the censor-
ship has been growing and
becoming even tougher. The
federal police told all the media
that they could not publish
news, comment, interviews or
editorials of any type on the
following topics:
*possible democratisationn"
of the regime.
*amnesties and revisions of
political trials.
*criticism or comment or
editorials unfavourable to the
economic-financial situation"
*presidential succession.
On February 8, 1972, the
media published a strange piece
of news, both in Brazil and
abroad: David Cuthbert, a 20-
year old English sailor had been
-_ slhit death by Brazilian guer-
illas as a reprisal for events
taking place in Ireland.

The guerillas had distributed
leaflets admitting their respon-
But the whole thing was
nothing more than an invention
of the Brazilian regime's intel-
ligence machine.
The truth never got any
further than the narrow limits
of the editorial offices of a
Rio de Janeiro daily, one of
whose reporters had by chance
witnessed the incident.
The guerillas had nothing
to do with it. The English
sailor had been gunned down
by the marijuana dealers of
Plaza Maua when he ran away
with the drug without paying
for it. That night the papers
were warned not to print a
word about the incident. Two
days later the official version
had been "cooked up."
The control of information
means that the regime, which
feels constantly threatened by
truth, can lie with impunity.
Not even government members
escape censorship when they
talk too much.
There is censorship and cen-
sorship. The more explicit forms
of it spring to notice at once:
a police order, the closing of a
newspaper, the presence of a
censor in a newsroom.
But other forms, though
less apparent, are none the
less real. There is a form of
self-censorship whidh is efficient,
if not more so, than the list
of prohibition which shackles
the press, radio and TV in

The newspapers, magazines
radio and TV stations censor
themselves to avoid official pun-
ishment. This self-censorship
always goes beyond the for-
mally established repression.
In Brazil the media are pri-
vate companies, established to
make profits, and when they
censor themselves it is not just
because they fear direct poli-
tical or military sanctions.
The possibility of being left
without ads or credit is much
more serious than the prospect
of a jailed editor or a seized
Advertising and loans are
the means by which the system
shuts up whom it chooses and
transforms incontestable truth
into lies it wants published.
The state and the ruling
class are able to use several
coercion methods in both ad-
vertising and loans.


Advertising is the sole source
of income of the 54 TV chan-
nels and the 1,200 radio stations
in Brazil. And advertising is
the main source of income for
the 250 dailies, the 950 local
papers and the 50 magazines
published in the country. Some
6,500 people are employed in
Brazil's 250 advertising agen-
More than half of the ad-
vertising comes from state org-
anisms. The government's pres-
sure capacity can be measured
by the inches of advertising
space taken in the papers by
the ministries and public ser-
But really they have even

more power. The Brazilian state
spends incalculable sums on
"indirect advertising", the ads
which do not call themselves
ads and go disguised as news
reports or opinion pieces.
Two of the top Brazilian
magazines, "Manchete" and "O
Cruzeiro", are fundamentally
financed by the indirect adver-
tising of the AERP (Special
Advisory Service for Presiden-
tial Public Relations) and of
the ministries.
But even if a newspaper was
to face up to the risk of the
withdrawal of advertising, the
state has another very powerful
instrument for extortion: the
Central Bank.
The Central Bank gives limit-
less credits or refuses essential
loans, as it wishes, and besides
that, it can, by. means of a
simple circular, order the pri-
vate banks to cut off a news-
paper's means of subsistence.



The tores



From Page 3
health inspectors, another ven-
dor said that they sometimes
entered the vans without iden-
tifying themselves.
"If I lick down one of them
I would not be responsible
for that," he said, angered
suddenly at the thought.
Food inspectors were insis-
ting that vendors wear iden-
tification badges when they


themselves were being irrespon-
sible by not wearing identi-
fication badges.
One vendor took offence at
the request of the City Council
authorities that they wear white
"Why not red or green or
black or some other colour?"


he asked. "We should be free
to choose our own colours
as long as they are kept clean."
The price per box of fried
chicken, fried rice and chow
mein, pelau and chicken and
chips is $1.00, $1.25, or $1.50
reasonable when one considers
the price of vegetables in the


market and the shortage of
Even with the rise in the
price of chicken, the vendors'
prices have so far remained
the same. To have a fried rice
lunch, it is necessary otherwise
to go to an out of the way

Chinese restaurant.
A box of Famous Recipe
fried chicken, the cheapest,
sells at $1.45; Royal Castle
chicken and chips has been
raised to $1.90 and the chic-
ken is not even cooked on
the inside.

Most of the regular eating
places in town are usually crow-
ded at lunchtime and very
often it is convenient to take
a quick lunch in a box.
With the strong competi-
tion, it would be very difficult
for a vendor to sell bad food
and remain in business.
The vendors recognize the
service they are providing and
they intend to fight for their
lives and livelihood.





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Phone 652-2093



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West Indians, formed for the
economic upliftment of PEOPLE.
Growing from humble beginnings to one
of the largest financial institutions indigenous to
the Caribbean. Assets for the security of our
policy holders now total over


The Growth is UP


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St, Augustine.



Andrew Salkey
A book for all Republicans $3.95
111 Frederick Street & Campus St. Augustine




article continues from the
last issue of TAPIA '

EVER since 1961, the PNM
Government'has been creating
an unstable and divided society
and has considerably undermined
the rural peoples' confidence in
the "democratic" process.
If this is what democracy
means, they will have none of
it. And this is what is making
the task of genuine political
mobilization so hard.
In its haste to deny the non-
African population of any poli-
tical power, the PNM has also
denied power to the people
whom it sought to benefit.
For as East Indians began
to withdraw from the County
Council system those Africans
who succeeded them, have in-
herited these emasculated County
Councils where the civil servants
and NOT the elected represent-
atives have the real power.
And it is this situation which
Senator John Tyson was des-
cribing in his contribution to
the debate on the Throne Speech
(November 1972). He observed
that the local government repre-
sentatives had been reduced to
"sipping cocktails,shaking hands,
meeting visiting delegates and
giving jokes at parties".
Now it is not the East Indian
alone, but moreso, the power-
less African county councillor
who has to give a cut in his con-
tract to the CEO or the RO, it
is he who has to send his la-
bourers to sweep the Checker's
yard, it is he who has to send a
car to take the Engineer's wife
^ r ito shop. _..-.-
In other words, the PNM
policy has violently backfired
among its own supporters who
are now seeing the futility of a
r a c i s t-oriented political



Where do we go from here?
How is this massive web of over-
centralization and corruption to
be tackled? This is the debate to
which the nation must now ad-
dress itself.
In 1963 the New World As-
sociates, in recommending a
scheme for local government in
Guyana laid down a few broad
outlines along which local go-
vernment can be established:
*That the local authority
must be established on a basis of
universal adult franchise.
*That the local authority
must be set up as a productive
corporation in whicl every indi-
vidual has the right to vote and
the obligation to do National
Service. Each such person will
then be regarded as having one
share in the corporation.
*The rules governing the re-
lations between local and central
government must be clearly de-
fined and legally codified and
provision must be made for the
revision of these rules. Vigilance
must be exercised in seeing that
these rules are adhered to so as
to prevent abuse by the central
*The controlling rights of
the population over the local
authority must be part of this
legal agreement, and regulations
must be made for the legal exer-
cise.of these rights.
Stated more concretely, the
County Council system has to be
abolished and in its stead there
should be smaller local authori-
ties centering on large villages or
around small urban or suburban
Instead of having a County
Council for Caroni, as an ex-
ample, there should be local
councils at Chaguanas, Couva
and California. And each of these

local bodies, elected from among
the local population, must be al-
lowed to use a portion of the lo-
cal taxes for specifically local
projects like electrification, edu-
cation, road construction and
But in these councils policy-
making authority should be
clearly vested not in the Civil
Servants but in the elected repre-
sentatives. They are the ones
who must decide that a stand-
pipe should be here and not
there; that the setting up of a
library must take priority over
the clearing of a recreation
ground and that contracts for
scavenging shouldas a priority go
to men who live in the council's


These local authorities must
have the power to negotiate with
nearby local authorities in mat-
ters of mutual concern like
secondary education, hospital
facilities and other common ser-
vices. And they must be con-
sulted before the central go-
vernment takes any decision re-
garding any major industrial or
other project.
If the people of Guayaguarare
had been consulted before the
citingof the AMOCO installation
on the southeastern coast, they
they surely would have asked for
guarantees like the maintenance
of the road from Mayaro or re-
garding the employment of local
people on the site.
As it is, their opinions have
been counted for nought, the
roads are a nightmare and people
from other areas are being
brought in whilst there is un-

employment in the Guaya.
The role of the CEO or the
RO in this scheme must be no
more than that of a technical
expert to advise, to cite the
relevant rules, to arrange, when
necessary, for the securing of
help from the central govern-
ment, to manage the adminis-
tiative side of the Council's af-
And attempts must be made
to obtain from the higher ranks
of the Civil Service, people who
would understandthe attempt to
educate people in the running
of their communities and not
obstructionists who would as-
sume their job in the conviction
that no good can come from the
The main objection to this
translation of power into the
hands of the rural peoples is, that
these people would not be able
to manage their new responsibili-
ties; that country people always
have to be guided and told what
to do.
However, this objection fails
to take into consideration the
rapid spread of education in our
non-urban areas; it fails to con-
sider the increasing return of
technically-trained people to
their rural homes after gradua-
tion; it fails to take into consid-
eration the intelligence of the
average Trinidadian or To-
It fails to consider that the
local person, thoroughly familiar
with his environment can do no
worse than the man from the
Ministry, totally unacquainted
with the geography or culture
of the place.
Even if this argument of the
incapability of the rural person
were true, is this not additional
reason why he should be edu-

cated to manage his own af-
fairs? To be sure, there are going
to be many mistakes initially as
people feel their way to a new
kind of power.
But mistakes form a necessary
part of the road to maturity
and it is highly unlikely that
people are going to repeat the
same mistakes when such errors
have, in the past, wasted their
own money or have deprived
their constituency in any way.
In any event, when the elec-
torate KNOWS that their repre-
sentatives have real power but
are not using it well, they can re-
place this person at the next elec-
Under the present system
electors know fully that their
councillors are mere robots and
so theyhavelittle choice between
one candidate and another.
So the opposition to any
system ofdecentralization would
c o m e from vested interests.
Some civil servants would pro-
test because this would mean a
lessening of their power over the
local communities.


Contractors would object be-
cause many of them have grown
up in a system of bribery which
they know how to manipulate.
This system will be rejected above
all, by the politicians of the old
order who will see in semi-
independent local authorities a
great lessening of their power of
patronage and their participation
in the contract system which
they now use to their great gain.
But against these forces of
reaction there are political groups
that are slowly but solidly being
built up in the communities;
there are thinking young people
who are rejecting race as a quali-
fication for political support.
On top of everything there is
the general and widespread dis-
content over a system of local
government that is definitely not
workable and must be changed.


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WHAT is wrong with
the country's sport? Noth-
ing and everything. It dep-
ends on what you mean by
the question.
If the question conjures up
images of dispirited footballers
stumbling along the length of
King George V Park, or of
athletes being run or cycled
into the ground at Munich, or
of the same cricketers casting
the same old shadows along
the green of the Queen's Park
Oval, the darkening evening
unrelieved by the bright pro-
mise of some newly discovered
star, then the answer to the
question is everything.


If, on the other hand, by
sport you mean the clash of
youngsters in the alleys and
on the fields that they have
cleared with their own hands
- barebacked, old short pants,
displaying skills that the limit-
ations of the playing area has
forced on them; or of couples
crouched at either end of the
scores of table-tennis boards
that have been built through-
out the country; or of the
country's youth playing 'ball'
using basket-ball posts, that,
when the game is over become
common-place trees and lamp-
posts, then the answer to the
question is nothing.
In the unconventional world
of sport there is talent and
creativity in abundance and it
is this knowledge that caused
English coach Michael Laing
to shed tears when he dis-
covered three years ago that
the official administrators of
sport in the country were con-
cerned not with the nurturing
of this talent but with status
and socializing. Caught bet-
ween these two worlds, Laing
As did Leslie King. Hailed
as the fastest man in the West-
ern Hemisphere, King, with
much pomp and ceremony an-
nounced his retirement, bro-
ken by his dealings with a
soul-less administration. And
there are other Leslie Kings in
the sense that there are sports-
men who have quietly slipped
out of the various games, either
to stop playing completely or
hiding themselves in the various
Minor Leagues, bringing to these
Leagues a dash and vigour for
which there was no room in
the conventional leagues Eddie
Hart and the men who have
rallied around him is a case in


For all this, 1972 has not
been without its stars for such
is the wealth of ability in
the country that not even a
moribund system of sport or-
ganisation can prevent them
from shining.
Still the question remains?
What will happen to, say, Sam-
my Llewellyn, the Essex-Trini-
dad and Tobago player who
had scores of supporters, many
of them from St. Joseph Road
where he lives, coming to fat-
ten the TFA's pockets.
Will he go the way of Eve-
rard Cummings and Archibald

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Mrs. Andrea Talbutt,
Research Inst. for the Study of Mar
162 East 78th Street,
New York 10021, N.Y., U.S.A.

--- A-m -mm- r






whose skills and experience we
have lost to the United States?
Or will he like Jimmy Springer
become dispirited when he rea-
lises that the TFA has no
intention of meeting him even
half-way in bid to make
for himself a career in football.
What about young Mike Wil-
son who, by coming from be-
hind the bridge and defeating
all others to become the coun-
try's lawn tennis champion,
gave us what was easily the
local sport story of the year?
Are the officials simply go-
ing to pat themselves on the
back and preen that his victory
is the result of the introduction
of public tennis courts in Port-
of-Spain and not askthemselves
the logical question which is
whether the provision of more
public facilities throughout the
country would not produce
more Wilsons?
Or are they satisfied with
just this one crack in a sport
that has always been the do-
main of the rich and privi-
And the same questions can
be asked as regards swimming.
Must it always be the Ferreiras
and the Littlepages? Or are
there not the natural swimmers
in Tobago and the coastal vil-
lages of Trinidad languishing
for the want of facilities and
coaches who can give them a
scientific approach?
We lost the Shell Shield
this year. But we are going to
try to regain it with the same
team because nobody has both-
ered to look for new talent and
because cricket is played in
relatively few communities sim-

ply because there is nowhere
to play.
This was the "Year of Sports
and Culture" and its highlight
was the Village Olympics but
as in past years it is the villages
that have suffered most at the
hands of sporting officials in
this country.
Even Tunapuna, the winning
village is forced to make-do
with makeshift basket-ball play-
ing fields, running the risk of
having its youngsters carted
off to jail for playing in the
And what has this competi-
tion given us for the future?
Nothing, except the conviction
that sports in this country must
be liberated from the choking
centralization and be organized
along community levels.


For it is because there was
a modicum of organization al-
ong community lines that the
"Olympics" caught the imagin-
ation of some communities -
the imagination boggles, as Dic-
kens put it, when you con-
sider the electrifying impetus
sport in this country will get
if national football, cricket,
basketball, tennis, hockey, net-
ball and all the other sports
were organized: community
against community.
For what the complaints
and grouses of 1972 have de-
monstrated is that the recog-
nised agencies for handling sport
have not an inkling of an idea
either of the'hold that sports
has on the country, or indeed


even what kind
most suited to th
If not, how
there has not bee
to dot the natio
ball courts? Th
clause of lack o
be cited because
are plots of lan
converted into 1
netball courts.
Imagine Lave
hole, Chaguanas
beau, Plymouth
of these courts
boredom that
the unemployed
tainment to th
played and an
skills and talents
in the country
.... .. .- +1._-


Tii RIN aB~I I


Only two weeks ago, an ag-
onised Eddie Hart was asking
"Keith, you, me, Alvin, so
many people have ideas about
S how to correct sport in this
country, is there nothing we
can do?" And my answer was
that we have to keep ham-
mering away at the old-time
sport organization, to articu-
late what the many sportsmen
S in the country are saying and
feeling about sport, to involve
ourselves in the leagues that
are being organized in our com-
munities, to show in a limited
way what can be done on a
national basis.
YMITH And I added that what we
would be doing is involving

ernment had thrown away a
of sports are political tool and delivered a
e communities, tremendous blow to the young
come in 1972 in the nation in the process.
n a programme My argument did urge that
n with basket- there was no need for pessi-
he old escape mism; that this year had spot-
f space cannot lighted the gap between con-
all over there ventional and unconventional
id that can be sport; that more and more
basket-ball and young people are creating spor-
ting opportunities for them-
entille, Water- selves and that this phenomenon
,Couva, Lam- was bound to grow; that a
with a series country that produces the likes
relieving the of Learie Constantine, Shay
is the life of Seymour, Carl Thorpe, Wendell
L, giving enter- Mottley, Yolande Pompey and
ie listless em- Ralph Legall, will not allow
outlet to the
outlet to the its sporting instincts to be gr-
s that abounds wounded into the dust of of,
- and you be- ficial incompetence.

come aware tmat me absence
of such a programme amounts
to a lack of imagination that
is criminal.
And the neglect in 1972 is
not limited to basket-ball.
Guyana beat the arse off us
in table tennis in this year's
Caribbean Championships. In
Queen's Hall we found out
that the game had leaped ahead
of us but still our players
suffer from a lack of exposure
and a resulting lack of aware-
ness of the trends in a game
that, perhaps, more than any
other, is in the throes of a
revolutionary development.
Still on pieces of ply-wood
under houses and in the open
air, the youths are smashing
and chopping, most of them
doing it badly, because there
is no channel for Stephen Wade
or "Reds" Mulligan or Joey
Gonsalves or Derek Da Silva
to pass on the rudiments of


For in spite of the different
picture given by the Press,
sport is more than Jesse Noel,
Alloy Lequay, Eric James, Rawle
Raphael or Errol Dos Santos -
and in time all the things we
have been calling for pro-
fessionalism, community organ-
ization, coaching and training
facilities, school programmes
(what kind of government would
build a school and provide no
facilities?) will come.
So that in spite of our
Munich failure, our loss in
cricket and in table-tennis, our
stultified football programme,
the fact that we were cheated
with Pele in spite of all these
things, because it marked a
widening of the movement to-
wards a new kind of sport,
1972 was a very good year.





the game which they have all
That is why in 1972, as
indeed in the past years, it is
always the same players as if
they have somehow gained for
themselves a monopoly in the
game. It seems that we have no
sense of continuum here, so
that the Press instead of won-
dering why Maple and Malvern
have to resort to people like
Arthur Browne and Alvin Cor-
neal gush about the veteran
Not that Corneal, and in
some instances Browne, did
not star but surely implicit
in this fact is the inescapable
point that our football in 1972
was at the same level as when
both these players were in their