Material Information

Place of Publication:
Tapia House Pub. Co.
Creation Date:
November 17, 1974
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

Vol. 4 No. 46

MOR THE STUDY OF5 4bA AOVLi~iL~EiR l* i, 1974
162 F.A;[ 78 STREET
NL'E YORK 21, Kf4 Y
_N0 '074

0 0 0 a = -n




THIS Sunday, Tapia people will be, gathering
in their number to celebrate our Sixth Anniversary.
Supporters, friends, associates and members will
be at the Tapia House to mark the advance of our
Community Movement into the final and political
Preparations have been in process since September
1973 when there began a sudden rush of large
Assemblies. In the last months, opinion up and down
the country has been calling on Tapia to oppose
the Government at every round, on every issue,
until the very end.
In recent weeks, Tapia has moved the battle
right into the Parliament that has for so long stolen
the political birthright of the people and kept us
all in bondage.
This weekend, our people will be coming out
.to have their say on that turn in our political fortunes;
they are coming to set out the policies, the strategies
and some of the tactics for the last and final assault
on the fortress of power.

The only thing that stands undisturbed is the
objective which, from the very beginning, moved
a few to huddle together in a Tapia House, under
a lantern; and which, over the years of the February
Revolution, has engaged the imagination of more
and more of our citizens in an ever rising stream.
That objective is simply a humane and just
Trinidad and Tobago, a kind and radical government
untiring in its service to the people, and a political
party participatory and popular down to its very
It is a goal which many Movements before Tapia
have honestly pursued. What we are bringing, for the
first time in this country, is a long history of
preparation for the beginning of the end.
We have been fifteen years laying foundations,
six of them laying community foundations.
If these years are to be worthy of the celebration,
looking back must point a clear way forward to
power for our people.

Eastern Main Road

ZL3 t-eits




Constituent Assembly or Civil war

THE stark alternatives
that face our Nation at
this point in history have
already lieen fully docu-
mented in Tapia. On May
18, 1972 we wrote in our
"And now, for the first
time, the entire country is
seeing that if we do not seize
the chance to conclude a
political soultion to the na-
tional crisis, the only alterna-
tive is violence.
Violence for two reasons.
In thefirst place, over the two
years since April 1970, the
Government has armed itself
fully with the means of coer-
con and repression ..
Secondly, neither the Govern-
ment nor the State can remote-
ly be said to have the con-
fidence of the country at
large ".
The political solution which
we advocated on that occasion
is the one which we have been
advocating ever since Novem-
ber of 1969. The only possible
solution, we said then, is a
Constituent Assembly. And
that is the call we have made
onr over forty-five different
occasions since that time.
None of the factors which
were observable then to the
discerning eye and which led
us to pose the alternatives in
,such startling terms have been
removed from the body politic
today. Indeed the frightening
truth is that the situation has
become much worse. And time
is running out.
The Government is not
only still well armed within,
but is now pursuing an econo-
mic policy designed to assure
the intervenon of its friends
Moreover, by its callous,
insensitive and intransigent ac-
tions since that time it has
demonstrated its blatant con-
tempt for the people, refusing
to yield one inch of political
space to the legitimate de-
mands of their representatives.


The latest expression of
this determined effort to abort
and strangle any possibility
of the opening of the gates of
political discussion and invol-
vement could be clearly seen
in its attempt to bury the
.Constitutional issue in the
morgue of its illegitimate
Only Tapia's swift and dra-
matic entry into the Senate
prevented what was otherwise
.certainly going to be a'closed'
family discussion followed by
a family constitution foisted
upon the Nation,
Even so, the diabolical im-
plications of its mere inten-
tions on that occasion should
alertus that the warning which
Tnpia gave as far back as 1970
still applies today with even
more desperate force. We
wrote then:
"Now we have reached a
point where the citizens must
take a stand We must assert
the primacy of politics over
Government, of the people
over the State ... From here
on, it is the rule of might; we
are in for a strong man. That
is a development which we
need to reverse immediately.
IN1962. "
There has been. however, with-
in recent months, one signifi-
cant development Tapia .is

The Chilling choice

no longer the lone voice in
the wilderness calling for a
Constituent Assembly. Today
other voices have slowly, but
very noticeably, joined the
chorus of advocates.
In this regard, it is in-
structive to note that of the
thirty-nine submissions which
were received by McKell on
the issue of procedures that
should be followed in arriving
at decisions on the final form
of the new constitution, fifteen,
from both organizations and
individuals, advocated some
form of a National Conference
of Citizens, while of these, six,
including Tapia, specifically
advised the convening of a
Constituent Assembly.
It is not difficult to under-
stand the reasons for this
increasing support for the idea
of a Constituent Assembly.
The total breakdown of the
institutions of the State, and
the dissolution of the fabric
of society are affecting people
from all walks of life.


The majority of the people
have been caught in this very
vicious slide for a long time.
But the nature and meaning
of a revolutionary situation
are now impinging on those
whose lives were previously-
7to well insulatedd for them to
care, and on those who are
articulate enough and promi-
nent enough to catch the ear
of the country. Listen to
the Chamber of Commerce:
"It is obvious that there is
widespread, uneasy concern
in our society, that leadership
is lacking at all levels, that
laws and authority are daily
being flouted with impunity,
and that many urgent problems
that face the community seem
to be either ignored or not
dealt with.
If this situation continues,
it can only lead to further
deterioration- and alternately
Or, if you prefer, listen to
Donald Granado, a man clear-
ly of PNM vintage, but a man
obviously moved beyond silence
as he urges his Prime Minister:
"Show how big you can
be now. Call a truce. Call all
opposing groups and organ-
isations together for a free
heart-to-heart talk about the
state of the country. "
"In other words bringcivil-
S isation back to the country,
and even let the most callous
feel convinced that we live in
a democracy where we recog-
nise that there are avenuesfor
settling problems and differ-
ences that do not necessitate
the use of methods ofdestroy-
ing human beings."
For those who still cannot
see from the evidences of the
present the nature of the
choices which we now face,
the lessons of history are very
clear. The concept of a Con-
stituent Assembly was not
invented by Tapia, it has an
old and venerable Revolution-
ary Heritage.
Constitutional Reform has
been the key issue of all the
major revolutions of the past.
It was the cry of the Third
Estate in the French Revolu-
tion as they demanded of the
King a more equitable repre-

sentation in the Assembly.
Tired of Royal intransigence,
they constituted themselves
a National Assembly or Con-
stituent Assembly, adopted
the Declaration of the Rights
of Man and proceeded to the
task of devising new founda-
tions of Government.
The issue of Constitution
Reform through a Constituent
Assembly also played a key
role in the Russian Revolution.
It was demanded first by the
Liberals, then by the Unions
and ultimately by the Soviets,
Neither the Tzar nor the Pro-
visionalGovernment could then
recognize the urgency of the
situation nor the consequences
of their inaction.
In both France and Russia
when finally the Constituent
Assemblies were convened, it
was too late. In France they
got the bloody nightmare of
the Terror and in Russia they
ot the bloody nightmare of
Pin's Cheka.

The history of the French
and Russian Revolutions tells
the tale of the part that the
Constituent Assemblies were
not allowed to play. There is
yet time to ensure that the
story of Trinidad & Tobago
tells the tale of the part it did
For clearly ift is the"-only
alternative now to the tragedy
of civil war. It represents in
the first place the only possi-
ble institution that can claim
Sthe trust and respect of the
people in a situation in which
none of the conventional in-
stitutions can command their
It does so by bringing
together every possible shadF
of political opinion within a
framework where all stand on
equal ground. It is this vitally

necessary representation of
the people in the process of
forging for the first time an
independent social contract
that shall give validity to the
Assembly as an institution.
Further, by the very act of
its creation the Constituent
Assembly will settle the funda-
mental question of sovereignty.
For the Constituent Assembly
demands that all participate
on an equal footing, King and
Commoner, Landlord and
Tenant,Prince and Pauper.
What such an Assembly
demonstrates vividly is that
all Government derives from
the people and that none can
stand above or beyond the
people otner than by their


This is why Tapia has always
been careful to make the
distinction between a Con-
stituent Assembly and a
National Consultation. A Con-
sultation admits the "more-
than-equal" nature of the
Executive and removes it from
the immediate control of the
people. This is feasible only
when the whole nature of
-thea relationship-betweenwthe.
Governor and the Governed
is settled and unquestioned.
The Constituent Assembly
therefore by bringing together
all the valid representatives of
the people across the land on
an equal footing sets into
motion a dynamic interplay
of forces, exposes in sharply
defined perspective conflicting
ideologies, separates the valid
movements from the charla-
tans, forces meaningful alliances

and forges genuine political
Any Constitution wrought
in such a political mould will
not only gain the trust of the
people but would have been
the product of the people and
therefore would be not only
eminently suitable but im-
mediately comprehensible and
workable. A living thing.
It is for all these reasons
that we must be careful as to
the construction of any Assem-
bly that must be convened.
The proposals put forward
by Tapia are eminently prac-
tical and reasonable. But we
are far from demanding that
they be adopted.
Indeed vre view the rich
variety of the proposals for
the construction of the
Assembly as proof positive
that the Citizens,of this coun-
try have the wit and intelli-
gence to devise arrangements
for our own needs.
We do insist however on
two points. In the first place,
any arrangements must recog-
nise that Trust is the most
vital ingredient of any Con-
stituent Assembly. So that
any proposals for the Assembly
must in no way seek to limit
'the- ..g..f i .. '
pation or in any way give ,
seem to give undue advantage
to any set of forces '
This means in effect three
things; all political and com-
munity groups must be given
the opportunity to participate,
discussion must be as free and
uncircumscribed as possible,
and whatever the final decision

Continued on Page 10

S --"..I O You always

wanted her to

^ w < sew ...


makes it easy-

and an ideal

Gift too.







The story of VIGIL ANTES

Hamlet Joseph

PERHAPS it was the
lack of real representa-
tion ever since 1956
which was responsible for
the. emergence of the
Vigilantes Organisation
in Success Village, Laven-
Or we can take it
further and say that the
Organisation arose as a
response by the com-
munity to the total
failure of the Government
to institute a system of
Local Government in the
communities which
would have enabled the
little people to take
charge of their affairs for
the first time.
In mt ulev. all thes-C
factors were responsible for
the rise of the Vilantesi
which came ,nto being o.n an
afternoon in Aprd !o0). SL\
brothers, Keith Siruth. Cecil
Vesprey, Anielmi de Coteau.
Neville Ma) nard. LJo d Bruce
and myself along wrlh
Aldwyn Francis came toge-
ther to formulate plans and
activities for improving the
Laventille Comnmunitt.
The \'lViuLnte" bec,:,me
involved in a ,j ii-i, i l '
activities in the aiea; Health
Education, employ ment and
Sports. We 'ere -,b!e 1to
commit re .1. .i iI ., .
s as '.ell as nthei
groups and individuals.
In the beginning \e had
asked for aid and ideas from
any person or group of
persons who were willing to
participate. We insisted how-
ever, that such help must
come without any strings


Two individuals and
three groupsrespondedtothis
call. Dr. Bharath of the
Democratic Labour Party.,
Mr. Earl Augustus, The
Chamber of Commerce. Tapia
and a group of Doctors. In
addition two schools res-
ponded to our call, St.
Joseph's Convent and Provi-
dence High School.
The two most successful
areas of activities were in
environmental sanitation, and
in education. As far as the
former is concerned the Or-
ganisation embarked on a
project in which members
and residents came out every
Sunday morning to clean up
a certain area in the Com-
The Chamber of Com-
merce provided us with such
implements as shovels, rakes,
pickaxes, barrows and boots.
In addition we were fortu-
nate in obtaining steeldrums
from a number of steelbands
both within and outside of
the Community and these
were painted and placed at
different points for use as
rubbish bins.
In the field of Educa-
tion the Organisation was
able to secure the assistance
of the members of the Tapia
Group who organised a group
of students from the Univer-



Hamlet 'Yaxsie'Joseph

sity as well as from St.
Joseph's Convent and Provi-
dence High School who
volunteered to help in the
teaching of classes.
The classes were run in
two evening sessions. Instruc-
tion was given in all levels of
school work from the Com-
mon Entrance to Advanced
levels. The response to the
classes was really enormous
and at one stage we had over
300 students from the area
This positive response
of the evening classes enabled
us to develop our activities
in two other areas. In the
first place we were able to get
our students to solicit from
their parents clothing and'
foodstuffs for distribution to
the very destitute people in
the area. The students them-
selves took over the distribu-
tion of those items and this
added greatly to the impact
of the Organisation in the

Secondly we were able
to organise regular meetings
of the teachers and the
parents of the students to
discuss the educational and
social problems in the area.
In the areas' of Health
and Sports our efforts were
attended with less success. We
had met on at least two
occasions with a group of
Doctors who had indicated
their willingness to work
with us in a programme
aimed principally at eliminat-
ing the conditions in the
community, which could give
rise to diseases, as well as
educating the community to
maintain proper Health
However, not too long
after this a Polio epidemic
broke out in Laventitle. This
was followed shortly after by
a Typhoid epidemic. The
situation had obviously gone
beyond the efforts of the

In the Field of Sports
we were able to organise both
a football competition and a
netball competition. In the
latter area we obtained the
assistance of Enid Browne and
a number of other women
who knew the game to act as
coaches. Both the lack of
money and of adequate play-
ing fields limited severely our
expansion in sports.
The Vigilantes flourish-
ed during the last half of
1969, and during these month
the enthusiasm on the part of
the people and the level of
their participation in our
activities exceeded anything
that the Community and
perhaps the country had ever
seen before.
Such enthusiasm testi-
fied to the urgent need that
existed in the community for
organizations designed to
service the needs of the com-
ihtuiiy ill lie absence of anyfl
Local Government and in the
light of the real neglect of the
area by the Government.
This neglect continued
even during the life of the
Vigilantes. Far from recognis-
ing the need for such an
organisation and far from
taking a lesson from the
response of the residents the

Government proceeded to put
obstacles in the way of the
They branded the or-
ganisation with all sorts of
labels, one day we were a
communist organisation, the
next day we were :a set of
"young power" advocates, or
a branch of the D.L.P. or a
branch of Tapia. And all the
while not a red cent was
forthcoming either from the
Government or from the
The decline of the
Vigilantes came with the
advent of the 1970 February
Revolution. With NJAC on
the national stage and political
agitation the order of the day
it became almost impossible
any longer to commit the
young people to community
The two States of
Emergency which followed
the February Revolution and
the passing of all sorts of
repressive legislation have
seriously prohibited the emer-
gence of any other genuine,
community organised and
controlled effort at self-help
and community improvement.
The lessons of the
Vigilantes however are not

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Beau Tewarie

"IN 1971-72. the in-
come of the average house-
hold amounted to $290
per month. No less than
70% of the households
fell below the average -
leaving a privileged oligar-
chy of at most 30% of the
It is difficult to argue
that all of the 30% of the
households that earn over
$290 per month are, in
fact, privileged. $300 in
this day and age, barely
allows one to survive.
But include d Lii -- 30,/
are the elites in business, in
politics and government, the
professional elites and last,
but by no means least, the
Trade Unions these are the
people who make up the real
privileged oligarchy in Trinidad
nmd Tobago.
Here, it night be appro-
priate to quote C. V. Gocking's
description of the composition
of the oligarchy from his
Democracy or Oligarchy.
"We should note that the
oligarchy is multi-racial.
Economics is more important
than race. Its membership is
drawn from all races, all reli-
gious groups and often from
all social strata and social
classes." (p. 5).
This widening gap between,
haves -and havenots is con-
firmed by the fact that the
60% of the households at the
bottom of Trinidad & Tobago
have had their share of the
national cake reduced by 4.2%
- which is to say, from 27.1%
to only 22.9% between 1957/
58 and 1971/72."
Those who see the problems
merely in terms of black and
white, capitalist and .worker,
African and Indian, capitalism
and socialism, and the ABC's
of Marxism are advised to
take note.
In his reply to Manswell,
Best quoted figures which em-
phasised the gap between the
privileged and the under-
privileged, the .haves and the,
havenots in this society.
"In 1971-72, the top 10%
of the households had 38% of
the income while the top 20%o
had no less than 57% of the
The other 80%, of course,
shared 43% of the nation's
In terms of solid cash (and
I quote Best) "the top 45
received more than $1,000
per month. At the bottom,
half of the households received

less than $200 per month and
over a quartet received less
than $100 per monthh"
Not only can the bulk of
the population be described
as deprived, not only is there
a vide gap between he pri-
viliged and the deprived but
even more significant than

'oA''rt 7/v eccict'l less

Ili !: 96 p r //i i /t
Li iil, // /1 iin,-diic.C 0 S2541 o

/1/ I/i -i/f' ci i///i c rcc $140;-
serrices I /; /1?~; 'iic'tt'i''iig

this, the gap between the I ',..s r c ;. ..
haves and havenots in this income of less 1 ,? th ('F", ,at
country is widening. of males. In services ir was
less than half:
Here we have a breakdown
RICHd & POOR of the..distribttion of income
in the country. It reveals dis-
"Since 1957/58," writesio oi e basis of
icre 1ace, sex and type of occuna-
Best, "the top 0 of 'icl tion. There is little or no
households have improved incentive to hard owrk and
-then- posia by q' *.-. !ec ,,v, is .. -.,-
8%. more of the national car, nation which is evident in the
while the hotto-, 22:i '',o" ,-:i
households lost 1.2'% as their ThT last part ( sectonl
share of the cake dropped subhdaded !n/qualit/! reads:
from a measly 3.4% to a "The ,ounrr ceds aq
chinkier 2.2%. gefinine inches uocy i.-ro
Those are thl facts and the give etal p .ayi' for equal work
figures. As the saying goehs, it 't reward ,oinir Ct .'ld hard
would seem that the rich, in ffjb .', /';'", IC ,cssx
fact, do get richer and tlie /\0rr 1iai T / !i: 0 race.
poor get poorer. cour.'. a ;'d lii, iuck h wre/is,
The existence of the haves ( nd "',oat" mus/ t b," done
and havenots and gross in- with.
equality in this society is not fThe victims of the licqu:il
something Tapia conveniently economic system and the un-
raised to deal with Manswell fair incomes policy obviously
in the debate, nor was it belong to the vast multitude
something merely calculated of the havenots as do.the
to gain political mileage. unemployed and the under-
As early as 1969 in Tapia employed in this country.
number one, Sunday Septem- Tapia has figures for un-
ber 28, (p. 4), .Tapia raised employment in Trinidad &
the question of inequality and Tofbago.
pointed to the need for a in 1967, 57,000 or I 5%of
rational incomes policy.- the labour force had no jobs.
Under the general heading
of The Problems and the
subheading Inequality, Tapia
number one states: St. Patrick 19
"According to the last cen- Nariva/Mavyao 6%
sus, working Europeans were st. George 17%
much better off than others. Caroni 11%
95% of them were either em- Tobago 10%
players or working for them- Port of Spain 18'%
selves In these favoured classes San Fernando
the order was European with
mixed races near behind. Then
Africans followed by other AGE GROUPS
races with Indians last.
15 19 32%
20 24 27%
25 34 13%

r p r-rA-1-- ---

European mates had a medu-
ian income of $500 per month.
Others (Chinese, Syrian, etc.)
had $133. Mixed $133,
African $104, and Indian $77
The median income ofpro-
fessional and technical workers
was $240 per month in 1965.
Administrative, managerial and
clerical workers had $189,
service workers $80, agricul-
tural workers $64. Of profes-
sionals 40% received $300
per month. Of agricultural

In 1967 70,000 people or
one of every four construction
workers had to walk the street
without hope. For craftsmen,
process workers and labourers
one in every five.
Government often quotes
unemployment figures uf 15%'
without mentioning the fact
of underemployment. But,
according to I967 figures,
70,000 people or one of every

five employed work for less
than 32 hours per wkk. And
of these 26,000 work for less
than 1 6 hours per week.
Not only are lhavenots un-
employed, tinderemployed and
underpaid, and thus undcli-
clothed and under-fed and
unequal to their economically
well off compatriots but as a
natural consequence of their\
economic deprivation, they
are limited in educational
opportunities, inadequately
housed, and are restricted in
political participation.


education has become n

tii;t a substantial po- cc'
of the school population
made up of children of
havenots, it is important
recognize that economic
privation, with its accomp
ing socio-cultural depiiva
ioes ha' e significant bea
on acaidemi'Lc peitornmanci
the haven.ots continue to s
at the hands of thie edtic;
More than that, the ec
tiotA system is still elitis
the extent that schools
as St. Mary's; Presenta
etc., remain prestige scl
where only the best (w
given the connection bet'
deprivation and poor
demic performance, mv
children who come from
off homes) enter.
in the education s,
itself, therefore, we perpe
a system of haves and
nIts. We are Inaking ni
tempt to change the pa
in the future.
There is nothing in
country that so vividly
lishes the wide gap bet
haves and havenots as
disparity in housing. The
trast between a $10
Ellerslic Park home a
little shack in the co
needs no comment.


"I1n 1966, over one
tof the housing in the co
was fair to poor. A
75,000 living units coul
be described as satisfac
The worse than average
were Nariva/MAayaro witi
below standard; St. An
St. David with 48%: C
with 43%; St. Patrick
Some 45% or 450,000 p
art living in grossly
crowded conditions".

Saddled with these injus-
tices, the havenots in this
country have no voice.
The political participation
of havenots in this country
has been extremely'restricted.
Tapia has long recognized
this fact and has, from the
very beginning pressed for a
greater political voice for the
Tapia has recognized the
domination of the county
councils and municipalities
by the central government and
this is why we have been so
un ,li:.iig in our demand for
a vibrant system of local gov-

crn eii)t .

lta .c on; ofi ci C o. :rnmuent
in is will gve the havenots in this
the country a voice for the first

t to time.
d it is to give the people a
a'y- e-,t ier sav in the running of
rion ;s cL> n'try that Tapia has
SinS ;ilso been pressing for the
oufte Big Mtac: Senate.
titon A Tapia-type senate will
ensure that, for the first time,
duca- havenots in this c in;try will
st, to be able to articulate their
such grievances, their interest, and
l ion,
iools lheir proposals to the country.
hlich, From ithe very beginning,
ween Tapia has sought the interest
aca- of the havenots in this coun-
leans try. We recognize that a gap
well between haves and havenots
does exist and that this gap
'stem is widening. Tapia recognizes
tuate that this is bad for the coun-
o ,a_ try and bad for the majority
ittern oF citizens who live and work
this Tapia accepts uncmploy-
estab- menit and underemployment
ween as harsh realities ,. :ich must
Sthe be dealt with. Tapia has pro-
Scon- posals to solve these cancerous
0,000 problems. We see fuller em-
untd ployment as the main means
of tackling the problem of
economic inequ;dity and social
Tapia recognizes the irra-
tional nature of the present
Mltrd system of wages and salaries.
MVearly That is why we have sug-
d not gested a more rational
'ton'. approach to the problem of
cases wages apd salaries; that is
Ih 56% why we have proposed, among
drew/ other things, annual wage bar-
7aroni gaining on a four-partite basis
42%. in the open.
icople Tapia recognizes the prob-
Continued on Page 9



Mr. Vice President, Senators,
citizens. Like Senator Julien, I
consider this to be a historic
occasion, but I also consider it
to be one of a series of historic
occasions in the entire discourse
and deliberations surrounding the
issue of constitution reform.
I certainly have no doubt as to
the sincerity and dedication of
those men who have produced
these documents which the Leader
of Government Business here in
the Senate has asked us to take
note of.
I have taken note of these docu-
ments 'and I note that the opening
sentence of the introduction to the
Wooding Report.on page 5 begins, and
I would like to quote:
"As this Report is being
written, the survival of constitu-
tiona, parliamentary politics is
being challenged as never before
in Trinidad and Tobago."
I note that the same introduction
on page 6, paragraph 25 of the report,
the commission stated and I quoted
"Although the present con-
stitution was discussed at Queen's
Hall for three days, there was
never any examination of the
basic issue as to whether or nor
it was suited to our needs. Some
of the delegates did perceive
that it could be operated so
as to be quite authoritarian.
Their criticisms were brushed
I further note that Mr. Reginald






in the footnote on page 133, points
out that:

Strictly speaking, we are
not yet a nation; we are only
a State. And in a State. "

And in a state, let me repeat.
Mr. Dumas is, of course, in that
statement echoing the vibrations of a
country torn by conflict and despair.
Industrial unrest is a fact of life in
Trinidad and Tobago. It is a norm.
The ISA before the IRA now, has no
meaning. In 1973 and 1974 industrial
turmoil has been raging mainly in the
State owned corporations, in TELCO,
T&TEC, WASA, Sugar. And that tells
a story, because the PNM state owner-
ship has brought no participation to
the workers. It has simply extended
Government patronage and political

Unemployment, by official figures,
stands at 14%. Of those employed, 205
work less than 31 hours a week: And of
that 20%, 37% work less than 16
hours per week.

The most important fact about
unemployment a fact that possibly
more than anything else exposes the
gravity of the - is that in the age group 15 to 25

Ivan Laughlin's Address to the
Senate on Constitution Reform

years, over 35% are unemployed: 35%
out of every hundred walking the
streets without jobs.
The lifeblood, the bloom of nation-
hood literally dying on the blocks of
despair. And add to that the 1970
census figures produced by the Ministry
of Education for the recent Consulta-
tion on Education whish show that
out of a secondary school age 'popu-
lation of 338,600 only 27,774 were
receiving secondary education by the
State less than 10%. -
Large scale unemployment in the
age group 15 to 25; little or no second-
ary education. I certainly sense an
emptiness to our existence a lack of
nationalpurpose. Government takes
over Shell or Caroni it evokes no
national fervor no national feeling
of pride. It all rings hollow to a people
outside the pale of participation.
Where are the institutions and forums
for discourse and political education
promised by the articulations of the
national movement of 1956 to lift
the perspectives of the national con-
sciousness and to imbue the culture

with pride and learning?
Where are they? The libraries. are a
scandal. As a matter of fact, we
understand that the Central Library
has now collapsed; the archives are
non-existent for the population; the
museum is a national disgrace and only
reflects the contempt the PJSM has for
our history.
After 12 years of independence, the
Government does not have, in fact,
has never had the self-confidence to
open up the media to the Opposition,
to allow the play of political opinion
to inform the process of political
education that they themselves promised
in their early days of enthusiasm
and hope. Rather they seek to restrain
by legislation, by intimidation, the
information media.
Destruction and degradation as far
as I am concerned in the libraries, in
the museum, in the media and last but
by no means least and possibly most
important, in the arts.
The vestiges of the folk that has
grown from slavery and indenture in
the villages, they have flung with
their mania for centralization onto
their national stages; over-exposing
the slim roots of the folk arts to the
glare of the most insensitive political
gimmick, the Prime Minister's Best
Village Competition; at a time when

we needed to coax and nuture it and
let it sink deep roots in the com-
Yes, I wonder if Mr. Dumas realized
how well he described the situation,
"We are in a state':
And that is why constitution reform
has to do with fundamentals; the
issue is not simply about Republic vs
Monarchy or about ballot boxes vs
voting machines. Constitution reform
has to do with the way the society
is constituted literally. It has to do
in our context with the hopes
and dreams and aspirations of a people
coming out of the impotence of the
old colonial period longing and search-
ing for a just and humane existence.
As a matter of fact, constitution
reform is a fundamental quest for
discovery of ourselves as a people.
And that quest is the responsibility
of our generation; it is the demand
of our time.
Everywhere you turn, anyhow we
look, we see decay. In the-courts
there is no trust. In Parliament there
is no representation; men just go
through the formalities of Parliamentary
procedures. The church is split. The
army is in upheaval. The police are
being used openly to terrorize our

Continued on Page 8

_b, We.,SZ6-1 der'- /n/ \







ATION has become one of the
major areas of controversy in
the discussion on constitution
reform. For those of us who have
eyes to see and ears to hear, this
was obvious as early as 1972
when the Wooding Commission
started to make its rounds of the
country. It became clearer at the
National Convention at Chagua-
ramas in April 1973.
Finally, its importance as an
issue was reinforced by the
publication of the Wooding
Report earlier this year. So that
for more than two years the issue
of Proportional Representation
has aroused passions, both among
its proponents and its opponents.
What we wish to do this evening
is to continue that discussion, but in a
less.emotionally charged atmosphere,
as far as possible above the level of
narrow, partisan politics.
Proportional Representation has
too often been portrayed by its
opponents as some hydra-headed
monster, bringing with it inevitable
and unmitigated destruction, division,
confusion, faction. It is above this
level that we need to raise the discus-

Proportional Representation is
'simply an electoral system with a wide
variety of forms. When we speak of
Proportional Representation in the
context of Trinidad and Tobago we
generally refer to two of the multi-
plicity of forms:
i. The pure List system
ii. The Mixed system.
The basic objective of all forms
of Proportional Representation is that
the electoral strength of political
parties should be accurately mirrored
in the number of seats which they
win. In the opposing electoral system;
which we call the first past the post
system, there is no necessarily accurate
relationship between the electoral
strength of the competing political
parties and the number of seats which
they win.
It is entirely possible, and has
indeed happened on many occasions,
for a party to win a plurality of votes
but to win only a minority of the
seats. The statistical information is
available in abundance. And I do not
think that I need to belabour the
point. Distortion is an inherent
characteristic of the first past the
post system.
Other arguments brought against
Proportional Representation by the
PNM and other persons and groups, as

for example, some of those which I
heard in the Senate a fortnight ago
may be classified as the typical
politi-al science text book reasons
against PR. Let me simply say that
what those text books lack is a sense
of politics.
The effects of Proportional
Representation both favourable and
unfavourable are on the whole
incalculable. In other words, most of
what we say about.the effects of PR
should be prefaced by the word MAY,
not WILL. PR has had certain conse-
quences in certain countries; the same
may or may not happen here; there is
no inevitability about the effects of
Proportional Representation.
First, let us deal with the argu-
ments against Proportional' Representa-
tion. The maior ones are:
i.PR leads to a multiplicity
of parties
ii.PR produces unstable
governments and unstable
iii.PR will cause or intensify
racial politics
iv.PR will create parties with
strong central control.
v.The list system eliminates
the idea of a constituency

PR. Produces a multinlicitv of


We do noy yet have pro-
portional Representation
and we have a large num-
ber of parties. The point
is that there is no necess-
ary relationship between
Proportional Representa-
tion and the number of
parties in a country. In
any case there are devices
es which may be intro-
duced to discourage the
wildcat proliferation of
political parties, as for
example, the 5 % limit
or the instance that
parties have to field at
least a certain number
of candidates on the

Moreover, the existence of many
political parties is symptomatic of
more fundamental problems in the
body politic. They are not caused by
PR, at most, they are assisted by an
uncritical application of PR. Italy has
more than 80 parties and it uses PR.
But it is not necessarily a cause and
effect phenomenon. PRis at best a
contributory factor.
The tradition of disunity and
the tendency to political splintering
have been characteristic of Italy for
centuries, long before PR was even
dreamt of. In his memoirs, the Aus-
trian Chancellor of the early 19th
century, Metternich, writes: "In Italy,
provinces are against provinces, towns
are against towns, families against
families and men against men". I
would agree that PR has not really
helped to bring about unity. But PR,
by itself cannot do this; there need
to be other ingredients.
Unstable Governments
and Coalitions

IT is true that in many countries
where PR has been used there has
been a frequency of coalition govern-
ments, unstable as in Italy or stable as
in West Germany. But surely, PR by
itself is not an adequate explanation
of the rise of coalition governments.
Essential to the explanation are:
i. the political climate and
culture of the -co-ntry-
ii. the inability of politicalI
parties to rally enough
people to support their
The last elections in St. Vincent
resulted in a deadlock and was tem-
porarily and amusingly resolved by a
:'o: lition. And the system of elections
,'as not PR but the first past the post
system. In fact, under the list system
the deadlock may not have arisen.
The St. Vincent Labour Party won
just over 50% of the votes but ended
up in opposition. Independent James'
Mitchell would have been of little
consequence. St. Vincent would have
had a majority rather than a minority
The first British elections this
year ended in a virtual deadlock with
a minority government holding office






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EMBER 17, 1974



we need to do is to encourage the
party leadership to be herding a pack
of fawning sycophants into the elected
In a political system in which
political parties are democratically
organised, in which the mass member-
ship has genuine levers of control over
the leadership, it is entirely possible to
use Proportional Representation with-
out the risk of central domination
within the party.
The Loss of the

iii. Greater political partici-

More equitable representation

for some months. The last elections
in Canada and Australia produced
indecisive results. In all these three
examples the system of elections was
the first past the post system not
Proportional Representation.
The point is that PR has led
in some cases to unstable governments
and coalitions. But ii has not been the
only factor in the situation,sometimes
not even the most significant. Propor-

-poly over such governments. It is
.possible under any electoral system.
PR nay or may not have the same
effects here. It depends on many
other forces in the political situation.
We do not have PR here and we
have profoundly unstable government.
It is quite possible under any form of
PR for a party to win power in its
own right and without using the
corrupt devices of the government ot
Guyana. We in Tapia, if I may be
allowed a brief partisan interjection,
entertain no illusions in this matter.
Proportional Representation
and Racial Politics
POLITICS in this country has been
based on race for a long time. Racial
politics here predates PR. PR may, in
fact, reduce racial politics cr it may
intensify it. I do not know. No one

can know for certain.
PR has helped to reduce tension
between the Walloons and the Flem-
ings in Belgium, admittedly there were
other forces at work too. PR has
failed in Northern Ireland for reasons
having little to do with PR.
The effects of PR are not
ordained by the gods. They are deter-
mined by men. The effects of PR on
race in this country depend on the
S-- -avp the

issues which are critical in the elec-
tions, the vision we have of the
society and so on.
Highly Centralised Control of
the Political Parties

THIS is my greatest fear about Pro-
portional Representation, especially
the list system. The kind of parties
which we have been accustomed to
have been so leader-dominated that to
place the party list under their control
is to give them absolute power over
the parties.
Men of independent judgement
and critical mind would be at the
mercy of authoritarian leaders. They
would either not find a place on the
list or would be placed so low down
that their chances of being elected
would be very slim, perhaps non-
existent. The very last thing which

tion, ils, to'- ofen bee- Of_

4 `3 Gg t I *
S t

leadership emerges at the
community level.
iii.a highly representative
The advantages of Proportional
Representation may be classified under
three broad headings:.
i. More equitable numer-
ical representation in
ii. The elimination of

Greater participation

THE advocates of Proportional Repre-
sentation suggest that in the first past
the post system a person whose party
has no chance of winning a particular
constituency tends not to vote; he
feels that his vote is wasted; similarly
a voter in a constituency in which his
continued on page 10

The closer you look,

the better we look.

Constituency Representative IT is an undisputable fact that Propor-
tional Representation, and the list
IF the constituency representatives system in particular, ensures the fairest
normally performed as the present set distribution of seats in relation to
do, then, their removal, far from votes.
being a loss, would be a definite gain. UNDER the list system of PR there is
But on the more serious side, I think no possibility of the gerrymandering
that the loss of the constituency of constituencies since there is only
representative has two disadvantages: one constituency. And may I point out
i. we need people to have that gerrymandering has been one of
specific responsibilities the regular features of the elections
for constituencies; people of 1961, 1966 and the so called
who are regularly called election of 1971. Even before roters
upon to give an account reach the voting machines the elections
of their stewardship, and are weighted against the opposition in
of their sewardh, a that the constituency boundaries are
who are removable from carefully manipulated.
office when they fail to The mixed system of PR does
perform satisfactorily, not avoid the problem of gerry-
ii. the possibility of leader- mandering. But it is possible to come
ship emerging from the to terms with the drawing of electoral
local communities is con- boundaries necessary in the mixed
siderably reduced. : system and the first past the post
S system by creating either a genuinely
insuperable. One may decide to settle independent Boundaries Co
for the mixed system of PR and have :or an all party commission.
two bites of .the cherry. But even Whatever the system used we
with the list system the problem may still need to confront the problem of
be satisfactorily resolved by; the conduct of the elections. Here,
i. mechanisms for genuine too, we need to remove the Prime
i. mechanisms for genuine Minister's control over the Elections
local government. Commission and place it instead with
ii. democratically organized either an independent body or an all
political parties in which party commission.





,s~Step ens
PO 01'F SPAIN n LhaD

-na -- ----

..... ,. .u- -- lI



--- --

,,, 1 -9.


Continued from Page .
people. The Government is literally
ruling by corruption, bribery and by
There is no trust, and nothing
more defines a revolutionary crisis
like when ,there is no trust in the
.institutions of State or in the political
leaders. When there exists a void
between the people and the Govern-
ment; between the people and the
institutions of state.
SThe happenings in this country
over the last years hnve made that
crystal clear. That is why more that
ever now we cannot fail to face the
basic issues. It is the signal demand
of our times. We have to write our
contract as an independent people.
We have to lay the framework of
nationhood. And we cannot shirk that
On the national stage today, we
are witnessing the demise of a political
movement that generated hope and
trust in the 1950's but unfortunately
failed to carry the population into
new realms of participation and human-
ity; a movement that fell victim to
the strictures of impotence and Crown
Colony rule.

But we are also witnessing on the
world stage the end of 500 yeats of
European domination. The indepen-
dence of those territories in Africa
from Portuguese rule is the end of
European hegemony over the entire
That period, those 450 to 500 years
of colonial domination, has enormous
and fundamental consequences for all
of us. Because it has built into the
entire world system three basic forms
of colonization.
I think it is important that we
examine that background to understand
the basic issues that our people have
been trying to come to terms with
since Cipriani began the attack on
Crown Colony rule.
It set up, in the first place, colonies
of large scale settlement of Europeans
in places like Canada, Australia, New
In another context, Europeans spread
into the New World, conquered indi-
genous populations in the New World,
and also in Africa and set up systems
of Government over those populations.


In the third and possibly the most
significant case for us, is that case in
which they destroyed the Indigenous
populations and literally set up a
system of Government, system of
society that was totally exploitative
of the people wohm they brought In
to replace the indigenous populations
that they destroyed.
That .example is richly illustrated
here in the Caribbean. And in terms
of the Caribbean, Trinidad is possibly
the most important single example
ot that type of exploitation. We have
literally been an experiment in society;
people thrown together, brought here,
some came, but thrown together on
the ravages of the plantation system.

It has. developed a social system
that had built-in conflict and engen-
dered discrimination. An economic
system that was totally foreign domina-
ted and in which participation for
the large masses at home was literally
non-existent, and most important of
all is that it generated a political
and governmental system in which
the rule was one man. The Governor
was the boss; it was Goernrt polities

That 1962 Constitution established a system which changed Governor Politics to Doctor Politics.


and that was all.
There was no participation in the
political system, in the governmental
system, under Crown Colony status
and we have never had the experience
here, of genuine participation in the
early days. And I want to say that
we do not have it now.
It said that we were not fit to
rule, a people treated with contempt
by the imperial power, not capable,
not responsible for our own destiny.
The tragedy of" itl,..t, .. 'ih.g r-
selves havo wallowed in that daitie kind
of contempt, self-contempt at home.
We have been a people literally
drifting in a.sea of irresponsibility,
manipulated from outside, huddled
in a corner of civilization in which
Naipaul has demeaningly referred to
us as the Third World's third world.
We have been on more than one
occasion referred to as the bottom
of the heap; the lowest rung of the
ladder; that was the psychological
dimension of imperial rule and colo-
nial domination. It was a situation
that forced us to look at ourselves
and cringe.
So that when the national move-
ment arose in 1956, riding on the
work and the attempts laid by Cipriani
in the twenties and Butler in the
thirties, to drive back that view of
ourselves, it offered noble horizons.
We have to understand that.

It articulated a set of feelings the
poeple had -morality in public affairs,
political education, federation, social
and economic equality, It engendered
hope. It gave our population something
to rally around and the call of that
period in the 1950's the 1 I' around
which people rallied for a new dis-
pensation, a new possibility was
from Slavery to Chaguaramas.
The crisis we are facing in Trinidad
is that that has' failed; that those
hopes, dreams and those longings have
failed. That is the fundamental issue
that we are looking at when we talk
about the need >o reconstitute. That
failure is embodied in this constitution
the 1962 Constitution of Trinidad
and Tobago.
That Constitution reinforced the
principle of Crown Colony rule and
attempted to halt the political advance
That Constitution established a system
of Government which only changed
the name of Governor the to that of
the Prime Minister. It changed Gover-

nor politics to Doctor politics. it
reinforced that whole view of ourselves
as a people not responsible enough,
to participate in our own destiny and
forge our own future. That is the
tragedy of that constitution.
It left significant and important
control in the hands of the Chief
Executive and it embodied the failures
of the PNM that were becoming appa-
rent as early as the late 1950's.
Certainly the independence that we
ushered in In 19<62 inno wy atr

the hopes and the aspirations of the
movement that started in 1956. There
was conflict with the population from
the very beginning of the 1960's.
The Wboding Report, in fact, on
page 5, states:

"The Constitution
which Trinidad and
achieved independence

in 1962

was in all its essentials a written
version of the constitutional
arrangements evolved in the
United Kingdom over many

The basic issue, as I said before,
was not raised at Queen's Hall as to
whether that constitution fitted the
need, the aspiration and the back-
ground of our conditions here in
Tri;rdudatJ d T~hl~aa
The conflict with labour was the
very beginning of that gradual trek
from Chaguaramas to Slavery. Labour
in the middle 1960's. In 1968, the.
students in all their number from
the University, the students from the
eco dlary schools. And in 1970, the
c'!:dnination of all those attempts by
.he population to face up to the
Continued on Page 9.






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From Page 4
lem of housing and because
Tapia has an integrated ap-
proach to the problems that
beset us, it has been proposed
that 165,000 three bedroom
houses are needed by 1980

Getting Richer

if we are to provide the kind
of houses from which to tackle
education, health, family plan-
ning and so on.
Tapia, recognizes that if
the havenots make up the
bulk of this country's popu-

lation, and if the havenots are
the ones who really need to
have their condition improved,
then the havenots must be
brought into the mainstream
of politics and must have a
greater say in establishing the

framework under which this
society is to operate.
This is why Tapia has been
the first to' call for constitu-
tional reform and this is why
we are now calling for a
Constituent Assembly.

When tlhe time comes to
choose, the majority of the
people will see tilis. All those
who want change, all those
who dream of a new world,
all those who love this coun-
try will march with Tapia to
bring the tired old regime

From Page 8

tragedy of the national movement
of 1956. It exploited in the upheaval
of 1970, and the reasons for that
upheaval are clear and need to be
stated if we are to understand the
juncture we have reached, and if we
are to understand where we must go
from here.
The consequences of the constitu-
tional stand of the PNM in 1962
have been to ensure that Parliament
continues to be non-representative of
opinion. It blocked the avenues of
expression. I often wonder when I
hear the Leader of Government Busi-
ness in the Senate say that 'the people
will express their views on these docu-
ments through the various channels'
what be means. I would like him to
identify what those channels are.
And when you couple with the
fact of non-representation in Parlia-
ment the economic facts of 1970, it
gives us a much more vivid story.
We always repeat this in Tapia.
My brother Senator has already
introduced those statistics here in the
House. I am zo0,, to repeat them
and we will repeat them over and over
again because we are dealing with a
U~9qyl-' __L-L- Au^f-

and Indian descent; well over 80%.

Look at the question of business
control taken from 1970 study done
by Camejo 53% owned by whites,
24% by off-whites, 10% mixed, 9%

Indian and 4% African. After twelve
years of independence and eighteen
Look at landholdings, we will see
.1% of the landowners owned 25%
of the land. A quarter of the acreage,
leaving out Crown Lands, were in
forty holdings of over 1,000 acres
and a half of the acreage was in
holdings of 510. Only 18% of the
land was held in parcels of under
ten acres.
In Trinidad and Tobago today, the
major sectors are still largely foreign
dominated, owned and controlled. We
have been operating a policy of in-
dustrialisation by invitation which has
encouraged and reinforced the domina-
tion of the economy from outside. We
have been carrying forward the colo-
nial view that we are not capable
of managing and operating and control-
ling our own economic enterprise.

What the figures indicate is that
between the years 1957 and 1965
inflows of investment capital averaged
86 million per year, but that was
matched and exceeded by outflows
which were somewhere in the vicinity
of one hundred and ten million per
VCkar, and in 1966 b l'. o,, ('' ws were
Oilne and h !f- E! s t hc i'-.lows.
So the investment we have been build-
ing Trinidad and Tobago with has
been generated largely from local
We have to see that the political

and Governmental systems and the
type of economy we have been opera-
ting is a consequence of the constitu-
tional arrangements that we decided
upon in 1962 when we institutionalized
neo-colonialism because it refused to
bring people constitutionally into the
corridor of governmental decisions,
into the process of political and eco-
nomic decision making.


That was the fundamental error
and people came out in their num-
bers and demonstrated and attempted
to articulate those feelings. People
attempted to say that we have failed
in our endeavours and we must look
in some way to build anew.
But the consequences of that im-
perial attitude was not to open up
the system, not to open the media,
not to open the problem and let
discourse rule. No, the Government
answered to our young people we
who marched in the streets for a new
dispensation with repressive legisla-
lation and political bribery.
In 1974 the statistics now show
that we have replaced the colonial
elite by a new elite. It is what
Vernon Gocking has called the oli-
gaiirchy ;onl I hl-,ca d may hIrotliLh i S.,ii or
refer to it when he asked whether
we will have a democracy or an
oligarchy. Gocking referred to that
elite as comprising leaders in politics.
in industry, in commerce, in unionized

labour and in the professions and
those who surround them and profit
from their activities.
The national movement has built
a situation in which you have a small
prospering a-.d the large majority of
the population living below the pover-
ty line. 70% of the people, the official
figures show live below, well below,
the average household income in Trini-
dad and Tobago.
That, Mr. Vice President, is where
we are today. That is where we have
reached after twelve yeras of inde-
pendence. That is the background
from where we must proceed in the
We know what it means when peo-
ple refer to conditions in Trinidad
and Tobago as conditions 'that are
being generated from outside. We un-
derstand that what we are attempting
here is bigger than ecah individual
or each Senator or each one in this
We know that we are living in a
period in which the entire civilization
is standing in decay. A people looking
for hope and longing for a new order.
We are here in Naipaul's Third
World's third world. We are here at
the bottom of the heap. De Gaulle
called specks of dust in the ocean. We
stand here in the year 1974 literally
naked, shorn of our manhood a
the bottom of the heap, at the base of
To be Continued






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Continued from'Page 7
party is in no danger may tend to be
In a system without constituen-
cies or where constituencies are not
the only importantthings such voters
tend to. exercise their right to vote
since their vote is neither useless nor
superfluous. This is a reasonable
argument in my view, as is another -
that under PR parties tend to cam-
paign all over the country because
every vote-counts.
But we must not confuse elec-
toral participation with political
participation; the former is only one
part of the latter. Merely having people
voting in large numbers every five
years cannot be equated with increased
political participation on a day to
day, month to month, year to year
basis. It is not sufficient to bring
people to political life once every
five years for five fleeting minutes.
Before presenting some kind of
balance sheet, permit me to make
some reference to the Wooding Report
and the question of Proportional
Representation. As all of us here know,
the Commission has recommended a

mixed system of PR.
The one thing that bothers me
about this recommendation, though, is
that I feel that one of the basic
assumptions of the Commissioners is
that PR is a useful defensive strategy;
that since it is almost impossible to
defeat the PNM in their view we need
to devise some instrument to limit
their majority or to force them into
sharing the government.
Let me say that I do not share
this assumption. 1 think that the PNM
can be beaten under any system as
long as the elections are fair and the
opposition is well organised and has a
programme which offers a noble vision
to a demoralised country.
Then. too, some of the Commis-
ioners have publicly said at various
times (and a couple of them to me in
private) that they do not see any party
winning 50% or more of the votes in
an election. I do not share this view

I have faith in the capacity of
our people to organise a mass move-
ment capable of winning a plurality of
votes. It has been done before and I
have no doul t that it can be done
again. The mein changing of an elec-
toral system is not going to give us a
new government, which we sorely
need. Much mo important are men,
plans, program ics, vision and organ-


IF the critical problem of the political
system is simply fair numerical repre-
sentation in Parliament, then the solu-
tion plain and simple, is Proportional
If, however as I believe, that the
central problem of the political system
is more than just fair numerical
representation, then we need something
more than PR or something in addi-

Rep res',ent', on

T e 0

Continued from Page 2
making process, all forces must
be represented on an equal
The second point is just as
critical as the first. It is simply
that the arrangements must be
such as to make it possible,
politically, for the Government
to call the Assembly or, alter-
natively, for the people them-
selves to do so.
It is on this basis that we
must reject the call made by
Georges and de Labastide for
an Assembly convened by way
of an election. We note that

they have labelled our propo-
sals that each group nave the
same voting power as the
PNM as unrealistic.
It can only be concluded
from this that Georges and
de Labastide do not fully
comprehend the nature and
function of a Constituent
Assembly. A Constituent
Assembly is an institution
designed expressly to deter-
mine the nature and to con-
struct the foundations of Gov-
ernment. There can be no
Government in a Constituent

We agree that it is no easy
thing for any Executive, be it
monarchic o0 doctorcratic to
voluntarily submit to the
sovereignty of the people. But
that is the critical test. The
people cannot be expected to
compromise; therefore the
executive must or face the

But it is precisely because
-o-tlh~se consequences that
the executive must be given
every opportunity to make
that decision graciously. Louis

invites you
"To take a sweat and cool it"
at our

on SUNDAY NOVEMBER 17, From 10AM 12 PM
at EIGHT AVENUE (By the bridge)

A Freeness with we food, we people, we music.

yi^>, r ~ Starting at 9.00 a.ik..

was given it and so too was
Nicholas. We cannot do less
for Williams, not for his sake
but for the country's sake.
A Constituent Assembly
that is convened by way of an
election does not do that It
must be obvious to anyone
that part of the reason for the
intransigence of the Govern-
ment, their fear of political
discussion and their incapacity
to. handle even the--most.ele--,
mentary of their duties is that
they have lost all support in
the Country.
It is certainly obvious to

SUNDAY coming -
November 17 will
be a "Day of West
Indian Expression" in
The "Day of West
Indian Expression" is
the presentation by
the dynamic Barataria
United Sports & Cultural
Club based on Eighth
Avenue North-
Highlight of the sport-
ing part of Sunday's
activities will be a walk-
ing rcae from Morvant
Junction to Eighth Ave-
nue. Later, there will
be road races, small
goalpost football
matches in a Round
Robin tournament,
greasy pole, hoopla and
other games.
The West Indian
theme will be marked
both in the music -
live and recorded, in-
cluding Sylvania East
Side Symphony, Ninth
Avenue Drummers and
Allahoo Drummers -
and in the food and
fruit to be offered for
And in the now well
known tradition of
blocko-rama, the day
of West Indian Expres-
sion will be rounded off
with a total party for
All of this On
Sunday Eighth Ave.,
North, Barataria just
by the Jumbie Bridge.

them. To demand that they
hold elections to convene an
Assembly is to ask them to
expose their decimated ranks
even before the battle is joined
in the Assembly. It is in short
to remove from them entirely
any hope they might have had
of making a come-back play
in the Assembly.
This hope we must hold
out to them unless we are
ar- r.o. e t: W ,ana. r, -- ,,-
sciences the chilling..
consequences of closing their
minds forever. For, as we
wrote in April 1972:

"What is the point of
scoring a military and political
victory f ir, the process we
engend-er so much bitterness
and h ,,i and violence as to
niake it impossible thereafter
to live in racial, social and
religious harmony? The lesson
of the psat is that too much
stress breeds a dangerous irra-
tionality and emotionalism;
.it generates needless anta-
gonisms, makes generosity im-
possible, kills off old heroes,
reveals enemies and traitors
everywhere. If this is the cost
of victory, may it not be too
high a price to pay?"









__ ___


tion to PR. Proportional Representa-
tion, however laudable its aims. is not
the complete solution to the crucial
problem of greater political participa-
tion. The proponents of PR need to
tell is what additional proposals they
have for inducing greater political

I feel that I speak for my col-
leagues at all levels in Tapia when I
say that we are not afraid of PR and
that PR is not inherently hostile to
our proposals for constitutional change
and further, that we would be
prepared to accept PR in either of
the two forms proposed if we could
be shown the accompanying instru-
ments to deal with the issue of partici-
pation. We are quite willing to talk and
to listen and even to be persuaded.
Simply-to accept Proportional Repre-
sentation in a vacuum is like using
purely external medication to cure
brain damage. The political system
needs more than a pill and plaster
prescription; it needs major surgery;
PR, at best, may only be part of the




WHEREAS the economic policies of the present Government have
wantonly failed to protect the country from the worst excessesof the
galloping cost of living increases in the world, and,
whereas the Minister of Finance has made no serious move either
to adjust the tax burden or to expand the level of welfare services so as
to secure the standard of living from erosion through rising prices, and,
whereas the level and the efficiency of the public services in
general have been deteriorating rapidly at a time when they most need
to be upgraded, and,
whereas some of the most essential services such as water,
sanitation, health, public transport, roads, telephones and secondary
schooling have now degenerated to a level perilously close to total
1. Be it resolved:
That Tapia present comprehensive proposals to.the country calculated to
relieve public distress.
(a) through measures of taxation relief with special reference to basic
family allowances, to women's incomes, and above all, to such indirect taxes and
subsidies which, affect the purchasing power of the 70% of the households whose
incomes fall below the national average;
(b) through the control of the prices of such strategic goods as household,
medician and educational supplies aided if necessary by stricter policing of and
wider State participation in the importation, wholesaling and retailing;
(c) through the adoption of nationwide incomes policy based on annual
bargaining and involving schemes to limit profits and dividends to close the unjusti-
fied gap between haves and havenots, and to curb inflation through compulsory
savings schemes on high incomes and compulsory reinvestment schemes where
profits are excessive;.
(d) above all, through positive steps to improve all the welfare services in
rapid stages special emphasis to be given to water distribution, the provision of
hospital beds and the expansion of public transport.

Cane prices

Wherrr s the farming areas of Trinidad and Tobago have never been
eIlpuI Wltml LIIeL lalMu, le ll a- ilU M tLteLnm al ~sistal',- needed to
._diversify their crops and raise their standard of living above the poverty
line, and
whereas sugar cane cultivation remains today the main source of
income for nearly 12,000 farming families, and
whereas the spiralling of costs since 1972 has reduc?-, the rate
of return in cane-farming to levels below what they were in 1972 in
spite of the price increases to $28.70 per ton in 1974 and
whereas high sugar prices on the world market and a freer
pattern of sales have increased the earnings and the profits of the
industry, and
whereas the rate of return on short-term bank loans is between
12-15% and the rate of return on commercial and industrial investments
even higher,
1. 'Be it resolved:
That, without prejudice to 2, below, the price for farmers cane in the
1975 crop be no lower than $36.00 per ton, and
2. Be-it further resolved-
That steps be immediately taken to improve the long-term economic
security of the sugar-belt by;
(a) the establishment of cane-farmer participation in the control of sugar
estates and mills;
(b) the early development of the cane-belt along agro-industrial lines and;
(c) the introduction of a just and workable income-stabilisation scheme in
regard to the international marketing of Trinidad & Tobago sugar.
3. Be it still further resolved:
That Tapia advocate and agitate for increases in the wages of sugar workers
on a level calculated to ensure that each income bracket in the sugar-belt achieves.
pay rises equal to their counterparts in the publicservice. public service.

Ten-year Plan

Whereas the increases export earnings of the oil industry have resulted
in colossal revenues to the government and,
whereas the onset of the world energy crisis and the shift in the
terms of trade betweenproducing and consuming countries have placed
Trinidad & Tobago in a strong position to take advantage of our re-
sources of oil and natural gas and,
whereas the dramatic increase in the export earnings of the oil
industry have resulted in. colossal revenues to the government in 1974
and are promising a continuing high level of tax receipts in the foresee-
ablefuture able future.
Be it resolved:
1. That Tapia make good the failure of the Government to deliver the
Fourth Five Year Plan by itself presenting the country with a 10-15 Year Long
Term Plan aimed to show how the oil revenues could best be used to the benefit of
Trinidad & Tobago and to create a society based on equal justice to all.
2. That the Tapia Plan for National Reconstruction pay special.attention;
(a) to the establishment of an energy-using sector capable of taking
advantage of high-technology and foreign markets but free from neo-colonial

domination by multinational corporations and other sectional interests;
(b) to the provision of opportunities for every citizen both to find gainful
employment and to practise their talent and their enterprise to the.full;
(c) to the creation of a welfare sector which would ensure a large mea-
sure of material equality amongst the citizens whatever the arrangements in the
high-technology sector and in the sector organised to create full-employment and
to encourage the free play or creative and innovative enterprise.
3. That the Tapia Plan for National Reconstruction explore the part to be
played by National Service and Municipal reorganisation in realising the objectives
set out in I ana 2 above.
4. That the Tapia Plan for National Reconstruction recognize that Tobago
cannot be relegated to the status of a County or even a region and that accordingly,
a special plan be drawn up for that island, taking into account the constitutional
reforms necessary for its implementation.

Constituent Assembly

Whereas Tapia knows that the constitutional crisis can only be resolved
by means which establish the sovereignty of the people over the Prime
Minister, the Cabinet, the Parliament, and the States, and,
whereas, in the curvent context, popular sovereignty can only
be established by a Constituent Assembly of Citizens, community
organizations, parties and groups with a decision-making body composed
of bona fide political representatives, and,
whereas, Tapia has called for such an Assembly no fewer than
44 times over the course of the last five years, and,
whereas that call had over and again fallen on deaf ears among
both the government and the opposition until recently, when public
and professional opinion begun to swing in favour of it, notwithstand-
ing the unwillingness of officialdom even to entertain the motion.
Be it resolved:
1. That the Sixth Anniversary Assembly of Tapia give the Council and the
National Executive a mandate to take whatever steps may be necessary for Tapia to
call the Assembly ourselves, and;
2- --- That every reasonable measure be adopted to encourage the collaboration
in this historical enterprise of all the political and community forces which stand
in resolute opposition to the collapsing old regime.

PSA Pay-claim

Whereas the industrial unrest in the country has been recurring system-
atically since 1961 and,
whereas this recurring industrial unrest has its roots in an
irrational division of the national income by race, colour, occupation,
sex, sector and region and,
whereas the interest shown by the public in the recent debate
on pay-claims in the public service,
Be it resolved:
That Tapia;
(a) re-open the question of an Incomes Policy with reference to the
possibilities of rational annual bargaining in the context of a participatory econ-
omy locally owned and controlled; and
(b) make special reference to the anomalies and the justifiable grievances
created by the Government's response to the Tapia intervention in the pay-claim
dispute with an ill-conceived patchwork settlement which confronts the problem
of inequality only by superficial and opportunistic concessions.

General Elections

Whereas the next general elections are within sight and, whereas the
emergence of Tapia as a constructive opposition has thrown the govern-
ment into panic, and,
whereas the impending Budget is certain to be 'used as an elec-
toral weapon by the discredited PNM oligarchy.
SBe it resolved:
That Tapia take all the steps necessary to put in place a fully equipped
and effective electoral alternative capable of offering the country a superior re-
placement for the present Government.

Tapia in the Senate

Whereas the presence of Tapia has (a) revived interest in Parliament
(b) breathed life into the issue of constitution reform (c) brought new
political hope to the country and (d) generated widespread controversy
in all political circles.
Be it resolved:
That the Sixth Anniversary General Assembly of the Tapia House Group
ratify the decision taken by the National Executive on October 25, 1974 and
endorsed by the Council of Representatives on November 10, 1974, to remain in
Parliament so long as public opinion so dictates and parliamentary conditions so



r I

r1rs. Andre. Talbutt,
Research Institute for
Study of Man,
162, East 78th Street,
E YOK, Y. 10021, T apia
Ph. Lehigh 5 i 448,

Annniversary Assem y
nn As

9.00 a.m.






2.00 p.m.



Free debate and








Main road

on the road


Tapia House


Press Conference

* RING 662-5126

* iu kcLr rcquircd.



The road we have come

From the Central Office

From the local areas



C- *-^

THE afternoon session of our
Sixth Anniversary Assembly
will be devoted to a free dis-
cussion by Tapia people on
the measures needed now to
build an independent, united
and prosperous nation.
It is anticipated that
many resolutions will be forth-
coming from the floor to deal
with the problems on which
Tapia people see the need for
collective political action, in
Parliament or outside.
At its meeting on
Sunday November 10, the
Council of Representatives
approved seven priority resolu-
tions as the core of Tapia's
policy in the months ahead
and as the basis for work by
the Tapia Research Com-
Four of these resolu-
tions deal with economics, two
with constitution reform and
one with preparations for the
coming general elections.
(See p. 11).

Paula Williams
Ass't Secretary
November 11, 1974.

1. THE Council of Representa-
tives endorses the decision
taken on Monday October 25
by the Tapia National
Executive to stay-im--t
Senate. -
2. The Council is satisfied
that the only reason why the
question of the leadership of
the Opposition in the House
of Representatives can have
assumed such an importance
and sizken such a long time to
sctite is Tapia's presence in the
3. The Council believes
that a politically impartial
decision, although it should
have been taken immediately,
could still be made.

Dennis Pantin,
Tapia House,
November 10, 1974.
i U


Tai i arinin,

2. Te 175 Bdge, th cot-w'~fiing nd~2x-fli

ac r~r -- -,y
-3 ndsrat.nrs~ndte S~' etl eh-t
4. Caeprce nl nin"pyclisj he195-co