Material Information

Place of Publication:
Tapia House Pub. Co.
Creation Date:
March 2, 1975
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

r' ,p ';`

25 Ce,.s

S Fifth Anniversary Of The February Revolution

COME this Friday the
workers at T.T.T. are
prepared to shut down
the station if they can
get no satisfaction from
management on a number
of outstanding grievances.
The long-simmering dis-
content of the workers was
brought to a boil with the
recent publication in the
Express of extracts from the
James Report which the
workers themselves have not
SThe Report is the work of
Mr. C'yde James, a Director
of the Management Develop-
ment Centre who had been
requested by Government to
make an investigation into the
state of the Television
Indus try.
The investigation followed
a breakdown in worker-
management relationships
early last year following
which a public appeal by the
workers was made to Prime
Minister, Dr. Eric Williams
for his intervention,
The report was handed in
to Cabinet over nine months
ago. Since that time Cabinet
has taken no action on the
report. While the report was
of a confidential nature and
copies were not submitted to
the workers, they claim that
as early as September 1974 it
was obvious that the contents
of the report were known to

In a second memorandum
to the Prime Minister on
October 21, the workers
stated that in a meeting
called by the Programme
Director at which there were
four employees present, the
Director, Mr. Farouk Moham-
med made "knowledgeable
reference to a page and
subject item of the James
The workers in their
memorandum went on to
state that "this specific refer-
ence to the subject matter"
"by a person whose attitudes
and managerial style con-
tributed to the events leading

to the investigation did
nothing to increase the
employees faith in the
investigation and subsequent


The mishandling of the
Report and the Governments
total failure to take any
action on it have served only
to crown a long list of
grievances the continuous
presence of "which have led
to a lowering of the workers
morale and increasing resent-
men t of management.

The workers led by Holly
Betaudier, the producer of
the Scouting for Talent show,
and by Lancelot Sarjeant a
supervisor, have charged that
the Television Company, of
which Government controls
90%, is run like a private
fiefdom and thatmanagement
policy is authoritarian, discri-
minatory and above all, in-
They claim that there has
been no change in the
Station's policies since those
days when it was a foreign
owned private enterprise.
Government ownership has
made absolutely no difference

to those internal and unjust
policies which were the
practices of foreign manage-
ment personnel.
They point out for example
that the Company still'con-
tinues the practice of provid-
ing certain top personnel with
new cars every three years,
as well as additional perqui-
sites such as television sets.
As contrast they point to
the fact that reporters and
cameramen who go out on a
assignment are not provided
with any fixed expense allow-
ance and oftimes were not
reimbursed for any expenses
incurred in the course of their
According to the extracts
of the Reported released in
the Express many of the
workers claims have been
found to have some basis in
fact. The report among other
things recommends that T.T.T
adopt a "programming philo-
sophy" which reflects "the
social, economic and psychol-
ogical development of the
The Report also recom-
mends the establishment of a
Personnel Department, the
reorganization of its structure,
the reconstruction of-the
Board of Directors.
One fact of particular
interest to the workers was
that T.T.T. made profits in
1973 of close to half of one
million dollars. They would
really like to know what has
happened to this money.

TO get the National Education
Plan off the ground, four new
elements are needed, according
to Lloyd Best.
Last Tuesday (March 5).
The Tapia Secretary put this view
to the Speech Day gathering of
the San Fernando Government
Secondary School.
Best said that the solution to
the education crisis lies in;
Experimental Schools
National Service.
The necessity for these would
become clear, he claimed, once the
nation found political inspiration and
the collective will needed for
sacrifice and dedication.
The Press Summary of the
Address follows:


THERE can be no happier
occasion in the life of a school or
of any institution, or for that
matter any group, nation, or
country than the celebration of
a year of work faced and finally
completed. I should like to con--
gratulate the school on the
splendid effort, not so much i.i
the examinations but where it
matters most in the field of
cuTTural activity.

At a Speech Day, it is the custom
to rejoice and to reflect; to distribute
the bouquets for tasks attempted and
tasks accomplished; to contemplate
the failing of yesterday and the
promise of tomorrow.
Above all, a Speech Day is a
time when the entire college of pupils
and teachers, of parents and patrons
when the whole community of con-
cerned educators, administrators and
citizens, corne together to be born
again in rededication to a task that
has no season and knows no end.
Education, like Tennyson's
brook, runs on forever. There is no
staunchlng of die flow, no quenching
of lie thirst to adapt and adjust our

formal training to the demands of
living in a world that rings the changes
every morning, as it were, in technol-
ogy, in culture, and in organisation; in
art, and science; in economics and
politics; and even in religion.
The annual pause to refresh is
obviously a routine, though a welcome
one of course, Yet some, at critical
points of history, are necessarily less
routine than others.
At moments of crisis and up-
heaval, when a nation somehow
reaches crossroads, when the cosmic
forces in a country are witnessing
convulsion, when the land 'is torn by
strife and conflict, when the citizen
longs for peace and love and order
and finds only war and fear and dread,
then it is the time for deep reflection.
You will forgive me if I am so
candid as to say that that's exactly
where we are today. It is a time for
sober, sane, if blunt, appraisal.


Anyliow we look at it, there is a
whale of a crisis in education in our
country. Put It this way: if you reaping
guerrillas, you ent plant corn. (That is
how I put it last year at the Speech
Day of Sangre Grande Secondary).
We made thie funda.."nntal error
of playing politics widi cducation and
aninouLiinlg that we were going to
provide free Secondary Educationr
when we were meicly maikint available

secondary education free and embark-
ing on a programme of expansion and
adaptation of curricula to the needs of
our times of trouble.
What has been the result of the
pressure of false expectations? The
promised land of free educatidh has
become a land of promises unfulfilled,
a wilderness of broken dreams.
In statistical tenns, the unem-
ployment figures tell the same story
very plainly. Just before the frustra-
tio is of the youth exploded like a
powder-keg in the February of 1970,
Now turn to page 3

A GRAND Cake-O-Rana has been
announced by the Tapia Fund Raising
Committee beginning on Saturday
March 1 at Valpark Supermarket and
Hi-Lo Maraval. The sale will spread to
other centres throughout North, South,
Central and East Trinidad at dates to
be arranged.
The general public is invited to
purchase a wide variety of cake,
sweet-bread and creole confectionery
all made at home and with love by
Tapia people.
Members, associates and friends
who wish to help by contributions of
cash, materials or finished items, are
requested to leave a message for Pat
Downes at the Tapia House, 82, St.
Vincent St. Tunapuna. The Telephone
is 60 2-5 1 2(.

Vol. 5, No. 10

A th Ae O Th F ebrar Ry S, Ii




TODAY we join with all
the other groups in the
new movement in mark-
ing the Fifth Anniversary
of the February Revolu-
tion. It is important in
so doing that we recognize
so doing that we
recognize just : how far
we have come since those
explosive days in '70 and
just how much more
needs to be done.
Two events we feel tell
the story dramatically and
effectively. The first is the
mammoth labour rally which
the United Labour Front
recently staged at Skinner
Park in San Femando. The
second event was less notice-
able but just as significant.


It is simply that last
Wednesday, February 26, the
day of the anniversary itself,
the popular and vital radio
programme Newsmakers
failed to come over the air-
waves. The result of a direc-
tive on the part of the
Management of the Station
to the News team, not to air
the voice of certain people.
Taken together these two
events demonstrate quite
clearly that the revoluuon-
ary situation which mani-
fested itself with such force
and vibrancy in 1970 and
which has evidenced an in-
exorable progression since
then, is now drawing to its
climax. Judgment day is at
The significance of die





Labour rally is not difficult
to determine. The Rally
embraced die two major
productive sectors of the
economy; it embraced some
of our largest unions, and it
brought together in
"Freedom's call" the Africans
and the Indians.
Moreover it is quite
apparent that the union
leadership which brought out
their followers in such
numbers are at last beginning
to perceive that the solutions
to their particular sectional
problems can only be found
within the wider political


The exciting promise
inherent in the situation is
that it becomes possible now
to move beyond a united
labour front to a united
national movement. The
formidable challenge of the
moment is whether we can
summon out of ourselves that
combination of courage,
capacity and humility neces-
sary to the creation of such
an alignment.
Whatever the oitcomie,
we must understand that we
are here today only because
of where we were yesterday.
The year 1970 marked a
w.itershed in political percep-
tion in this country, i1 only
because Black Power marked
a revolt agaiis t a Governinen t
and a clique of conventional
politicians who had for years
previously kept diemselves in
office and the nation in
backwardness by the ruthless

exploitation of the racial rift
in Trinidad and Tobago.
The signal and unerasable
achievement of N.J.A.C. was
that they dramiatised this
psychological revolution. If
since that time they have
been devoting their energies
to solving the problems of
our country by way of an
African cultural renaissance,
this does not make them
any less a part of the general
forward thrust.
For the dream they tried
to live in 1970 when they
travelled under the banner
of "Africans and Indians
unite" became a living reality
at the Labour rally in San
Fernando. And now we are
once again in a position to
pick up the threads of the
Butler movement which had
tried, so very long ago, to
found a political organisation
to unite the dispossed and
the disadvantaged across the
yawning chasm of race.


If it has taken us five
years to move from the
yearnings of 1970 to the
brave demands of 1975, to
move from dte blind trustra-
tions of 1970 to the more
clinical and enlightened per-
ceptions of 1975, we cannot
regret the long and painful
No one can dictate die
pace of revolution. XWe have
suffered but we have learnt.
We have learnt that we
cannot confuse social revolu-
ton with a military coup, we
have learnt that politics is

more than agitation, and we
have learnt that victory can
come to no section unless it
comes to the whole nation.
Nonetheless it is inpor-
tant to recognize that we the
forces of change have not
been the only one preparing
ourselves for victory. The
forces of reaction have been
doing so as well. And this is
the significance of the preg-
nant absence of.the News-
makers programme on the
National Broadcasting Service.
In a fight to the finish, when
the finish is drawing near, all
the stops are pulled.


This Government is still
enjoying office, and the
Dying Regime still holding on

only because they control
the resources of the State and
with them the avenues of
Let no one imagine that
they will hesitate to clamp a
throttle on the voices of the
media so as to engulf us- in
resounding silence.
The not so subtle pressure
on 1he Newsmakers means
that the final round has
begun. From here on, all
their resources shall be
thrown into the effort to
strangle the voice and the
will of the people.
Yet they shall only
succeed, can only succeed, if
we in the movement for
change fail to forge, before it
is too late, the political
weapon needed to consum-
mate the February Revolt,
tion in freedom.


Our coverage of


is unsurpassed anywhere

for focus and point.

Keep abreast of the

real currents in the

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From Page One

27% of the age-group 20-24 were un-
employed; and of the group 15-19 no
less than 32% of very nearly one in'
As the revolt was tuning up in
1967, 4% of University graduates were
unemployed, 6% of those with a GCE
certificate. For those who had left
school with no education, the figure
was also very low at 5%.
In other words, at the two ends
of the education system, the picture
was not so very grim though it has
since deteriorated and there are prob.
ably twice as many unemployed
graduates of the University and the
GCE now, as there were in 1967.
But even 8 years ago, the picture
in the middle. of the education system
was already ominously grim. For those
who left kindergarten or introductory
9% were unemployed; first or second
standard 10%; As you go up in the
world of education for some reason,
things get not better but worse.
For leavers in third to fifth
standard, the rate of unemployment
was no less than 14%; sixth and
seventh standard, 18% and if you went
to secondary school and failed to get
the that coveted GCE, 20%. Crapaud
smoke you pipe. You digging horrors.
Getting close to the certificate
without actually getting it is the worse
possible thing to do. And which parent
these days has the courage to peruse
Sthe daily news and contemplate that
by 1983, if we are to employ all the
school leavers and the unemployed,
this country is going to have to create
an additional 200,000 jobs at some-
thing like $30,000 each.


That is the crisis in a nutshell;
that is the explanation of the social
and political unrest in the schools and
in the country, among the youth.
What is the cause of this seem-
ingly enduring crisis? More than ever,
we need honest answers to this ques-
tion. Fortunately, in a school such as
this and on an occasion such as this
we are in a position to afford them.
There is certainly no need after
going on nearly 25 years of virtual
self-government, 18 years of a national
movement and 12 years of indepen.
dence, to lay the blame at the door of
colonialism and the colonial legacy,
important as the latter undoubtedly is.
In any case, if we want to
remain in a rut and to attack colonial-
ism, there are Great Destroyers on the
scene, far more practised in the art
than we,
NorLgcnr-we'blame the Church
-ife clerics and the denominations
since the Church and the State are
concordially agreed, both on the evi-
dence, being equally unequal to the
If we had to choose, the Church
seems to have been more successful
than the State in coaching people for
examinations which is the policy the
State has inherited from the colonial
past and has continued unabated to
pursue with colossal expenditures on
buildings and grandiose announce-
ments and declarations of plans,
The result has been to equip
Trinidad and Tobago with more certifi-
cates than all the CARICOM coun-
tries put together. It has been educa-
tion for examinations with a ven-
geance. Education for life and work
has literally been something else.
But the cause have not been any
of the following, symptoms:
denominational diversity and
parental attitudes and pre-
confusion of class-room curri-
cula with legitimate extra-
curricula activities
the bewildering conservatism
of the secondary school
the resistance put up by the

Church schools to conversion
the delays in construction and
the rise in building costs.
You will doubtless appreciate
that I am quoting directly from the
Horse's Mouth. It is true that our
education system is still dominated
by "the anachronism of the talented
tenth and the prestige professions".
It is true that education in Trinidad
& Tobago is elite education, selecting
horses for courses from the word go
in the ]primary' school.
From flagfall to finish, at the
expense of the vast multitude of
students, we arrange our schooling to
select the exhibitioners and the
scholarship winners, the candidates
for high status and lucrative jobs and
title and privilege. The only important
graduates from the schools are the
future big-shots.
No wonder that according to
the Household Budget Survey of
1971/72, the top 10% of he house-
holds took home 38%.of the iiational
income while the bottom 60% took
home only 23%. All of that is very
true and morally indefensible as well.
But to examine that problem'in
terms of a comparison of the records
of different schools and different
types of schools in regard to GCE
passes, is to wander aimlessly in a
maze, a labyrinth of statistical irrelev-
ance and illusion as officialdom seems
to have been doing now for donkey's


The contradiction in official
statement is that we continue to
measure our failure and success by
reference to the numbers racket. The
failure has been most recently diag-
nosed as "an oversupply -of geniIo
secondary place .
"The target of a 37% intake
into the Senior Secondary School for
1983 erred, we are told, "if it did err,
on the side of generosity."
We are short of 37,000 crafts-
men, 3,000 technicians, 5,000managers
and professionals while we have a
surplus of no less than 12,000 clerks
and shop assistants.
But that hardly can be the long
and short of it. Simultaneously, we
boast that Trinidad & Tobago have
more GCE graduates than the world
and his brother, that we are enrolling
43,000 in the Secondary Schools
which are still geared to the GCE, a
metropolitan examination; that the
Common Entrance ritually increases
its intake year by year to a current
level of 15,000; that we"are spending
$15m on capital works in education
and well over $50m on recurrent
services in schools,
The education policy-makers
have been living on a trip. Such is our
adventure in statistical excursion, we
are so overwhelmed by the grandilo.
quence of the figures that we fail
completely to perceive the central
issues And the issues, I find myself,
are very simple.
I would like to insist, if I may
talk in such strong language, that
there is nothing fundamentally wrong
with the Draft Education Plan as a

statement of objectives for the country.
Let us be reminded of the basic
pillars of that plan as it was lucidly
repeated in the Third Five Year
Development Plan.
1. the elimination of the Com-
mon Entrance Examination in
15 yrs so as to provide a general
education in Primary and Junior
Secondary Schools for all up to
age 14.
2. The adoption of a shift
system in Junior Secondary
Schools and the conversion of
some Secondary Schools to
junior, some to Senior.
3. Accommodation beyond 14
for not more than 40% of the
Junior Secondary graduates in
full-time Senior Schools, the rest
to be provided for by an educa-
tion extension service, by ex-
panded facilities for higher level
technical training, by Technical
Institutes such as the Donaldson,
the San Ferando Technical
.and the Centeno Farm Schools
and by provision of widespread
amenities for informal education.


4. Establishment of craft-
training centres; a National
Library,, a Schools' Library
Service, a comprehensive rural
Library Service, a school for
library training; adequate accom.
modation for national archives
and a National Museum;Cultural
Art Centres.
5. Refurbishing of the admin.
istrative structure in the Ministry
of Education; improved school
supervision; revision of ihe
initrnal organisation of schools;
improved facilities for teacher-
training; a Publications Branch
of the Ministry; expanded.
Schools' Broadcasting; and Edu-
cational Testing Service. ,
I find it hard to imagine a more
attractive rainbow or a richer pot of
gold. As always the plan seemed
good, the implementation posed the
problem. Lacking was the sense of
strategy and marching orders and
operations. And without these, every
good plan necessarily turns into grand
illusion and sometimes into nightmare,
as now seems to-be the case.
We could not simply order the
teachers to implement it by directive
from the Ministry of Education, We
could not just expect the Churches to
jump to attention and alter their
habits in response to a National
Consultation. We needed, love, hope,
trust, involvement, a climate of com-
mitment, of experimentation, of give
and take, trial and error; a spirit abroad
in the land urging and prompting the
citizens to rise up and fight for glory.
We needed inspiration; sensitive,
tolerant guidance to raise the princi-
pals, and the teachers, and the students,
and the inspectors, and the parents,
and the planners in the Ministry, to
higher effort, to bolder and more
daring endeavour and initiative to
stretch their wit and their resources
and their ingenuity; to find means and
ways they did not know exist; to make





blood out of stone, in fact. That, I nI
satisfied is the missing ingredient and
absolutely the only one, Vision, ideal-
ism, love; a vital spiritual link to com-
mit our country to sacrifice.
That is what we now must find.
But we cannot buy it in the market
Sunday morning. We have to win it
'with an exercise in collective will. When
we find it, the practical solutions to
the education crisis will immediately
thow themselves.
Such a solution, I suspect, will
add four concrete projects to the
Draft Education Plan, all of which are
already implied by the objectives there
The first must absolutely be a
project for Decentralisation of educa-
tion to involve the local community
in planning. We need a local municipal
structure to relate the school to tbe
local area and to embrace local
interests in a systematic way. Every
School must be run by a Board,
properly constituted to stand between
the Ministry and national policy and
the community and local policy to be
implemented by the teachers.


Decentralisation within national
?rane of radical reconstruction.
Secondly, a project for Experimenta-
tion. There Ihasi to be a vanguard of
experimental schools. Why have we
not attempted to make the Senior
Secondary schools carry technical and
vocational programmes of a status
equal to the old academic interest? Not
because of conservatism which exists
but because experimentation is very
costly unless it is organized.
Thirdly, a major shift to
Apprenticeship as an avenue of educa-
tion. Part-school, part in-service train-
ing on the job. This means proper
organisation and registration of the
tradesmen and the crafts en in any
local area by the local municipality;it
means proper certification stage by
stage in school and at place of
apprenticeship to give acknowledge.
ment to skills acquired and work
An essential precondition for
apprenticeship is the abandonment,
the rapid abandonment of the metro-
politan GCE examination and the
substitution of a Caribbean examina-
tion that would give the equivalent of
O and A levels for both academic and
technical pursuits. This implies further
a policy of greater equality of income
amongst the occupations. A Master
Carpenter should not receive less than
a Professor of Economics.
Finally, we need a
large-scale National Service. The
biggest issue of all is how to launch
off into the scheme of fundamental
reconstruction of education and
indeed, of every other aspect of the
national existence.
What we must see is a period of
primitive accumulation, a stage of
planned transition while the founda-
tions are being established. The only
way such a transformation can be
organised without a totalitarian gov-
ernment is by way of large scale
national service which would allow a
measure of voluntary sacrifice,
Sacrifice is the issue which we
have not yet succeeded in raising with
the people of this country, the issue
of building a nation in Trinidad &
Tobago, But it is not an issue which
our educators can avoid much longer.

Edward Brathwaite


Cultural' diversity and integration

in the Caribbean

AS the new military 302,250 square miles,
junta of Lisbon, which occupies a strategic position
staged a successful and among the newly indepen-
apparently bloodless dent states in Africa. It faces
apparently bloodless the Indian ocean on the east
"coup" on 25 April 1974, and south-east, and is separ-
it not only freed eightople- ated from the island of
and a half million people Malagasy by the Mozambique
in Portugal itself but l channel, 250 miles at its
also set in motion a .narrowest width. On the
process in many of her north it is bounded by
African colonies, kept Tanzania, on the west by
under an iron heel and Malawi and Zambia and
bondage for centuries southern Rhodesia, on the
tgethe Since the south-west and south by
the Portuguese SN A FR IC \ racist south Africa, and on
"coup", the Portuguese the south by Swaziland.
are testing freedom of Mozambique's economy is
the press for the' first mainly dependent on the
time. in nearly half a income from railway transit
century. Some of the services to the countries in
Portuguese colonies in ber in Lourenco Marques. the interior and on agricul-
Africa are as old as The Lusaka agreement ture.
Vasco da Gama's epoch- brought to an end nearly The relatively long coast-
making voyage into the 500 years of Portuguese rule line of Mozambique is well
chartered o c e a n in the east African territory, provided with deep-sea har-
unch ar tereds o c a n Not unexpectedly, elements bours. Johannesburg and
d the Snnta M a i of Mozambique's white min- Pretoria in the Transvaal
1492. ority showed immediate were linked to Lpurenco
rOn the timed table ofi opposition to the deal. They Marques by rail in 1885;
granting freedom, the first seized the main radio station Blantyre in Malawi and Bula-
was Guinea-Bissau. Portugal at Lourenco Marques and wayo in southern Rhodesia
formally ended its 343-year- called for resistance to the were linked to Beira in
old rule on 10 September Frelimo. 1893. The most important
over Guinea-Bissau which The settlement, has now export crop is the cashewnut.
has a population of 600,000. radically changed the map Cotton, which also provides
Guinea-Bissau had earlierpro- of Africa, increasing the about a fifth of the export
claimed its self-independence isolation of the white-ruled total, is, like sisal mainly
on 24September 1973 having Rhodesia and south Africa. grown in the north, where
freed two-thirds of its terri- Frelimo, in a rare gesture, groundouts and other oilseeds
stories by a successful guerilla has made it clear that the are also cultivated.
movement. The declaration territory's estimated 250,000 The Portuguese founded
ended 13 years of fighting on 25 June next year. Mean- bearded, shy, unarmed free- white settlers would be settlements along the Mozam-
in which an unknown number while, a transitional govern- dom fighter, he is a practical welcome to stay on. bique coast in the 16th
of African -and Portuguese ment headed by the Mozan- revolutionary, a man of Events in Portugal's century, and in the 17th
soldiers died. Officially, bique liberation front action and well versed in the "African provinces" have century their numbers were
solduinerBss haas been -te n moved much faster than i a d b te r
Portugal agreed to grant (Frelio) has been philosophy of the struggle moved much fastr than increased by slave-traders
independence to all of its established, for freedom. It was expected south Africas four million from Angola. In 1891, the
African colonies on 4 August. As an agreement on by many inside and outside ,whites had anticipated. The Mozambique company was
The colonies named are: Mozambique's liberation was Mozambique that following possibility that these "pro- given a charter, to control a
Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, initialled in the non-aligned the death of EdwardoMond- vinces" will have African large area that included
Angola, and the islandsof capital city of Lusaka in the lane in 1969, the liberation majority governments before Beira, and in 1893 the
Sao Time and Principe. presence of the Zambian movement might languish and long is being given serious Nyassa company another
So swift was the pace of President, Dr. Kenneth die. But those prophets of consideration by Mr. John large area. These territories
events that by 25 August Kaunda, the guns of the doom have been disproved, Vorster's government in reverted to Portuguese direct
some 100 countries had Frelimo were silent after a as Mr Machel took over the Pretoria. South Africa has control in 1942 and 1929
as Mr, Machel took over the control in 19 e d of
given recognition to Guinea- bloody ten-year-old warfare, leadership of Frelimo and little interest in what has respectively.
Bissau, described as a"silver" A cease-fire came into effect gave it a new life, steering happened in Guinea.Bissau on The hydroelectric poten.
of west Africa sandwiched from 8 September as part of Mozambique to ultimate the west African coast. This tial in Mozambique is con-
between Guinea and Senegal, a wide-ranging independence freedom. small province is too remote siderable, There is a 500S
Guinea-Bissau has also been settlement between the Both Machel and Aniures from south Africa to give foot.high dam in the Cahora
admitted to the United Frelimo leader, Mr. Samora signed a 19-point protocol cause of concern. Bassa gorge on the river
Nations. Machel, and the Portuguese spelling out the future set The two "provinces" Zambezi to supply electric
Perhaps the biggest and deputy prime minister, Mr. up of Mozambique. The which interest south Africa power to Zambia, Malawi,
most significant move for Melo Antures, salient features of the agree- most are Angola with a southern Rhodesia and the
decolonisation was taken on One of the heroes of ment axe the appointment of population of 5,223,000 eastern Transvaal as well as
8 Septei r~d-Frelimo is Mr. Machel who a high commissioner by the (about 600,000 whites) and Mozambique, The project
Mozambique which will led the t Portuguese President, a transi- Mozambique with a popular. also irrigates a large area near
become an independent state in Mozambique. A lean, ,inion i ntnd joint tion of 7,040,000 (about thy Zambian frontier.
military committee T 300,000 whites). For, as There is no doubt that
transitional government's lg ritories have the- developments in Mozam.
Prime Minister will be been under the control o----- ue will bring the day of
appointed by the Frelimo, the Portuguese dictatorship, free domo prpEe 1,in Ziim-
Subsequently, Mr. Joaquim they acted as buffer states, babwe much nearer, and will
Alberto Chissano, a top protecting south Africa from greatly accelerate the struggle
Frelimo leader, was sworn guerilla attacks, for complete eradication of
in as the Prime Minister of The mineral-rich Mozam- racialism in south Africa as
Mozambique on 20 Septem- bique, covering an area of well,


* S




Tapia House 82-84 St. Vincent Street Tunapuna




OVjUiq'~ I lVA~~I.-AI -, l

ow r ses.On Rodneyp e-

"RODNEY has boiled
down a hell of a lot," a
brother who graduated
from St. George Williams
University said to me
after the final lecture on
Black Power, "In Canada
I heard him say that the
only good white is a dead
But to be fair we must
relate that statement to its
time and circumstances. It
might have been uttered in
the'mood of the Black Writers'
Conference which we are told
by Lloyd Best will long be
remembered for the elegant
exposition of CLR James and
the oratory of another well-
known Trinagonian Stokely
Of Stokeley we are told
of his hypnotic effect.
"One doubts that there
was any whom he left so
detached and indifferent to
his cause. Not even the
distortion of fact and the
oversimplicity of formulation
could impair the moral
cogency and force of his
statement a coherence and
power derived from the harsh
facts of black degradation in
North America and the im-
peratives of revival among an
entire people.
We laughed with Stokeley
and sighed with him. Some
no doubt, even wept. In
empathy we accepted that for
the black minority fighting a
rearguard action in North
America it is wholly reason-
able to divide the world into
two simple categories ofblack
and white. We agreed to
forget Nigeria and Biafra, to
ignore Tshombe and
Lumumba. "


Black assertion was so
strong that I understandsome
whites in the audience were
swept outside. One can
imagine the hostility which
greeted Best who was so
candid and arrogant as to
challenge the tone and temper
which prevailed, particularly
just after Abdul Malik
(MichaelFX) had delivered his
four-letter brainstorm, bitch-
ing and blasting and damning.
James is reported to have
said that the moment he saw
Best enter he knew that he
would have opposed the
current. The presentimept is
interesting, In the late '50s
James was instrumental in
winning the support of many
writers and intellectuals for
Dr. Williams and the PNM'
for whose organ, the Nation,
he served as Editor.
For James, Best was recal-
citrant. The press here went
so far as to publish the
untruth that Rodney had
branded Best an "Uncle
Rodney is now approach-
ing a path, trodden by Luther
King, and indicated by Fanon
and the later Malcolm X.
Although the black man must
take the responsibility for his
own liberation, whites can
make a contribution if they
are prepared to identify with
the struggle and act in the
interest of the disadvantaged.
majority which comprise
Atricans and Indians in our

Walter Rodney
Walter Rodney

Syl Lowhar


3' IN

In our incestous society
we are all cross-bred Race is
determined not by purity of
blood, out by skin colour and
hair texture. Whiteness here
has a particular cultural con-
In addition to Europeans
there are Syrians and Chinese
and other half-breeds who
would be rejected as whites
elsewhere but who pass as
whites here, Included in this
group are many Indians who
behave as though they were
The few whites who are
prepared to join the common
cause are suspicious, and are
held suspect by most of their
colleagues, This is their
Middle Passage, Despised by
blacks whom they and their
ancestors have oppressed and
exploited for generations,
they seek asylum in a white
world that cannot accept
This is the tragedy of
Gomes as it was of Cipriani
before, him. They therefore
look outward, occupying a
narrow fox-hole, a Chamber
of Commerce between the
rest of the country and the
sea. They are untouched by
the plight of the suffering
masses. Whenever they
identify with the popular
culture it is always with a
vengeance, with ebullience.
It is as though they have
to be excessive in their effort
to atone for their guilt.
Whites do not fit easily
in the movement, and it may
be, as Albert Gomes has
hinted that this suspicion and
this very sense of insecurity
induces them to act treacher-
ously at the critical moments.
So although Cipriani was
a defender of the popular
culture, of calypso and carni-
val and the barefoot man,

and Gomes was a rabid
champion of the steelband,
both betrayed Butler and the
popular movement at crucial
junctures. It is as though there
are larger historical forces at
Hero or villain, Cipriani
and Gomes were distinguished
not so much for the substance
of their contribution (others
who are unremembered have
done more) but by their
colour qualification to be
heard, and by the surprising
brief which they held.
It was refreshing to hear
Rodnly define revolutionary
as a person whose duty it is
to make revolution in his own
country. This predicates that
he has now located his con.
cept of Black Power in the
home environment,
It also indicates a com-
mitment to abandon the role
of the peripathethic, the
revolutionary in exile abroad
for that of the revolutionary
in active struggle in the heart-
The new role is certain to
clarify his vision and to earn
him greater respect because
as Toussaint has pointed out
so long ago, the acid test is
the risk of personal safety in
the interest of the Republic,
Another reason why
Rodney has changed his
attitude towards whites in
the struggle is that he has
now become a socialist, Class,
therefore, not race, has now
become the proper subject
of political analysis.
These are dangerous
straits. Scylla and Chrybdis
threaten. Class leads to the
Dictatorship of the Proletariat,
the insistent need to guard
against the return of the
instincts of the race to be
acquisitive, and sentimental.
Race leads to Fascism,to

the atavistic urge to nolu
dominion overall others.Now
that Rodney has shifted from
Marxist Internationalism to
the Leninist praxis of Social-
ism in One Country he must
always be wary of the rise of
In mentioning the names
of eminent West Indians who
have contributed to the libera-
tion of the black man the
audience was warm in its
applause when he referred to
"one Williams Sylvester that
It was an invitation to
deny the heritage, and it was
accepted. This left a bitter.
taste. It savoured ot a style ot
which Eric Williams as a his,
torian is adept the tendency
to flush his mentors down

sewerage lines.
The truth is Eric Williams
has undoubtedly made a
contribution which in a fun-
damental sense exceeds that
of Padmore and Sylvester
It is that he let his bucket
down to build a party which
offered noble perspectives, a
party which has come to grief
because of personal drives for
power, and the colonial fear
of the rough-shod of the
master. Nevertheless he
fought among the people. We
must accord him his place in
the pantheon.


The people tend to forgive:
It is the politician who looks
back in anger. Many say in
condemnation that we have
short memories. Perhaps this
is to the good otherwise
Gomes would not have en.
joyed the freedom of the
city 20 years after the invec-
tives of Williams. His ghost
would not have been allowed
its resurrection from the
Yet it is amazing how the
old regime flexes its muscles
at every opportunity. Over
the air, and in the pages of
the press, on his own admis-
sion, the blandisments were
there for Gomes to re-enter
the political stage. It seems
that the media cannot help
reverting to the worship of
idols and the golden calf.
I remember when Dr.
Williams returned from his
retirement the fuss that was
made over his recall by the
Inter-religious Organization
(IRO) and other nebulous
groups for him to stay in.
office and continue the work.
But everyone with political
instincts knew that that was
not the authentic voice of
the people. And it is to
Gomes' credit that he
listened, and got the true
We have not forgotten his
mistakes, but compared with
the filthy lucre and blood on

the hands of those in power,
their monumental guilt, he is


A symbol of security

SFor all citizens who
strive towards a better
life for themselves
& their children.


PHONES; 31421.


qTThTnAV MARCH 2- 1975

ON Reading Albert Gomes'
Through A Maze Of Colour
I find myself moving through a
series of shifting styles. At times
Mr. Gomes is ponderous as he
hammers us with his polysyllabic
words, at other times he is more
concerned with description for
its own sake, or he lectures to us
or he simply is repetitious so
that we do not miss the particular
point he is making at that
I find the work jerky, and this
jerkiness is further compounded by
careless proof-reading and grammatical
errors. The indifferent reading of the
proofs certainly makes nonsense of a
crucial point Mr. Gomes attempts to
make on the last page of his chapter
on Federation, where he intends to
state that the people were not asked
if they wanted federation or not, but
just the opposite appears.


It is important and significant
that Mr. Gomes has made available to
us an account of his early years in
Trinidad, as well as insight into his
involvement in the literary, cultural
and political spheres of this country,
from 1930 to 1962. As he states in
his introduction to the book, an
introduction incidentally which is
dated 1968, and suggests that it took
Mr. Games some five or six years to
get a publisher:-
The book, in its final form, com-
prises a record of personal participa-
tion in a crucial phase of West Indian
history the immediate years of
transition from colonial to indepen-
dent. status. Incidents are recorded
as remembered: I have not attempted
to reinforce them with research, a
task which must be left to the
scholar, which I am not. (XVII)
But this is precisely one of the
major reasons why at times Through A
Maze Of Colour disappoints. It is too
much a record ofpersonal participation
without the much needed analysis
and explanation with respect to
people and events that have made Mr.
Gomes important. We keep on saying,
"yes, but certainly we need more


The fact is that too often Mr,
Gomes is over-anxious to introduce
us to his next shoot out with the Jesse
James'es of the Colonial government
For example he tells us that he
succeeded to the seat made vacant
by the death of Capt. Cipriani, by
defeating a Negro doctor who was
eminent in his profession but "politic-
ally without anything to his credit',
but he does not tell us the doctor's
Talking about that particular
victory he confesses that "with
Quintin at my side, I just seemed to
sail on a wave of popular enthusiasm
to dizzy heights of electoral supremacy
over my rival" Yet, at no time
does Mr. Gomes try to explain why it
was.that Ouintin had that kind of
influence, nor does he spend much
time in exploring the nature of his
relationship with Quintin O'Connor,
Again he tells us that a year after
joining the Executive Council he was
beaten at the polls, thus losing his
seat in the municipal council which
he held since 1938, but he does not
tell us the name of the man who
defeated him. It is forty nine pages
later that he tells us that he lost his
seat then "to a coloured candidate"
and consequently left Belmont and set
up house in the more elevated and less
hostile Maraval.
Once again, talking about the
crucial 1950's Mr. Gomes can say -:
The inscrutable caprice that
determines elections had brought to
the Executive Council five ministers

of different racial antecedence.
Portuguese, Chinese, Indian, Syrian
and Negro... (p. 121)
We are told nothing about these men,
not even their names! Surely Mr.
Gomes does not have to do research
or be a scholar to tell us such basic
Mr. Gomes' reference to events
with respect to when they occurred,
are at times without precision. Too
often we are given the year in which
an event occurred and nothing more.
Probably the most exact dates given
in the work and not without signifi-
cance, are Mr. Gomes' birth and the
birth of the West Indian Federation.
Born on the 25th of March
1911, in Port-of-Spain, his earliest
recollections are of the wooden house
in which he lived and of his father's
provision shop which was next to the
house. Gomes soon tells us about his
first contact with the poor and the
depraved folk of the barrack yards of
Colonial Trinidad. He says:-
Immediately at the back of our
home, separated only by a wooden
fence, were barrack-rooms where
some three large families, children
and all, were squeezed like sardines
into rooms a breeding ground of
promiscuity, vice and disease. Yet;

"the work ofa journalist

who longed to be a

novelist, whose facility

with words made him a

politician, in a society

in which




were very vibrant, of

which he understood

and exploited."

surprisingly, the people who had to
endure these degrading conditions
laughed, sang and danced, occasion-
ally appearing pleased with their
lives. (p. 5)
Very often when Mr. Gomes is
describing the dispossessed folk, or
scenes central to their existence he
writes more like a novelist or polemical
journalist, rather than as a politician
writing his autobiography, In fact this
is really why it is difficult to classify
Through A Maze Of Colour as
belonging to a particular genre of
writing, because it is really the work
of a journalist who longed to be a
novelist, but whose oral facility with
words made him a politician, in a
society in which several rhetorical
traditions were very vibrant, all of
which he understood and exploited.
This is.why, in fact, Mr. Gomes'
work is valuable to the literary his-
torian, since it is a good example of
the approach to language typical of
the men of the 30's and 40's in
Trinidad when sound was more impor-
tant than meaning. Such an approach
to language explains some of the
incomprehensible and circumlocutory
sentences that we meet as we read Mr.
Gomes' book.
For example, at one point Mr.
Gomes attempts to tell us that a
certain woman dies during pregnancy,
but he never really does. The word
'it' in the offending sentence refers
to the marriage between a black man
and a white woman. Here is the
sentence. "And when it ended tragic-
ally, because she elected to take the
worst consequence of pernicious
vomiting to,bear their child, his life
sank for a while into bleak futility."
(p. 154) Mr. Gomes' love of rhetoric
aiso explains why he, who fought
against all that Colonialism stood for,
should find listening to Sir. Winston
Churchill, "a stirring humbling experi-
ence". (p. 149)
When I asked Mr. Gomes, whose
novel Between Extremities has been

accepted in the,U.S.A. for publication
about his writing style, he related it
to his concern for the people at the
grass roots.
Gomes: Yes, well, one of the fears
that I had in mind when I wrote
this book was that I would succumb
to the, normal temptations of the
politician to sound, first of all -
pedantic, and even, even bombastic,
because I think this a tendency
among politicians, especially when
self-justification becomes the over-
riding concern; and my interest has
always been, strangely enough, more
in people, especially people at the
grass roots in this country, hence
many of the so-called novelistic
interludes. I wanted to give a picture
also of people and not merely deal
with abstractions, and I think people
who know me will appreciate the
fact that the prime motivation, so
far as I am concerned, through all the
years that I served the country was
a preoccupation not with abstract
ideas, not with ideologies, but with
people themselves.
As'Mr. Gomes tellshis story, we
learn about the intense opposition The
Beacon faced from the Roman
Catholic Church precisely because the
magazine was outspoken and was
attracting the attention of the man in
the street,
The Beacon magazine which
was founded and edited by Gomes
'when he was only twenty, had a short
but intense life from 1931 to 1933.
Though it was essentially a literary
magazine with regular contributions
from C.L.R. James and Alfred Mendes,
Mr. Gomes tellsus that he encouraged
as much controversy within the maga-
zine's pages as possible, and because of
his sensitivity to the social needs of
the times, the law was soon keeping
him under close surveillance.
I must stress that it was through
the tenacity and insistence of Mr.
Gomes' mother that the magazine was
able to appear as regularly as it did,
since Mr. Gomes' father had no
interest in books because he felt they
were unrelated to the more significant
task of earning a reasonable profit.


Today, 'The Beacon can lay
claim to having influenced the course
of our literature and of our politics,
This is how Mr. Gomes responded to a
question I asked him in relation to the
significance of The Beacon.
Gomes: as you know, several
observers both from this part and
otherwise they keep writing to me
and they keep telling me that
that pioneer effort of mine, really laid
the foundation for the entireliterary,
what shall we say, flowering in this
entire area. It was the first of them
all, and I think apart altogether from
the contribution to the literature
of the area it also contributed to
that social and economic evolution
Which eventually has led to inde-
pendence and all that it carries with
When The Beacon ceased pub.
location in 1933, Mr. Gomes' father
bought a pharmacy and placed his
son in it hoping that the rigorous
discipline of pharmacy work, some
thirteen hours a day for six days, and
lialf-day on Sundays, would absorb all
of his time and energy and thus keep
him out of mischief. That was a mis-
take, It was working in the pharmacy
that provided Mr. Gomes with an
opportunity to hear each day the
murmurs of popular discontent and
He tells us:-
lhrouch th e window of the pharmacy

^/ Albert




I only saw, I did not experience.
But I observed enough in the end
to persuade me that I could no
longer feed my conscience on a diet
of verbal protests, and that I could
only be at peace with myself as far
as this is possible to any of us if I
acted. But less generous motives
also impelled me. I yearned passion-
ately to be at the centre of things.
(p. 28).
As the story continues, itis this
passion to be at the centre of things
that plays a large part in the political
life of Albert Gomes from 1937 to-
1962, a period of twenty years in
which he moves from the trade union
movement to, the City Council of
Port-of-Spain, then to the Legislature,
then to the Executive Council, and
into Ministerial responsibility, then to
the House of Representatives of the
Federated West Indies and then into
voluntary exile in England,
Mr. Gomes' public political life
really began in 1938, a year after the
Caribbean wide riots of 1937. Mr.
Gomes says he was urged by a trade
union to contest a seat for the Munici-
pal Council of Port-of-Spain. He does
not tell us the name of the union, nor
does he tell us about its policy. Any-
way, he does tell us some significant

- I I II -- i-

_ I --I -- IL-

ad L ~ae-~a I I

- ~es~ __

ines -
a Maze


details about elections in the late
thirties in Trinidad, For instance we
learn about the power the professional
canvasser wielded and the degree to
which that power was related to the
indifference of the majority of the
electorate to elections,
Mr. Gomes' recording of a con.
versation in which the Chinese voters
were discussed, not only reveals the
absurdity of colonial politics but at
the same time, for a few lines, gives us
something thatcanmatchV.S, Naipaul's
fiction centred around colonial
I was asKed one day, 'what I intended
to do about the Chinese?'
I was puzzled.
'About the Chinese?' I inquired.
'What do you mean? What about
them?' ...
'You have to'have a special cam-
paign for them. They're several
Chinese votes in .our area. Plenty
shop-keepers. You have to get a
Chinese, someone who can speak
their own language, to approach
them. You'll have to pay him. I
know just the person you want. He
will even make a manifesto in
Chinese for you'.
'But how will I know he's not
saying something bad against me?' I
inquired half-jestingly.
'Oh don't make fun. You have

I I, I


- __ II I

to be serious if you want to win
this election. You have to do every-
thing, because if you don't your
opponent will and beat you. The
Chinese have to be specially organ-
ised. Some of them don't come out
to vote at all. And you have to know
who these are to take care of them'.
'What do you mean take care of
them'?' I inquired.
'But what's wrong with you? You
mean to tell me you so innocent.
You don't know what elections are.
You will have to get other Chinese to
vote for those that don't come out.
You can't lose those votes. If you
just leave it, the other side will see
to it that they vote. Look, I must
warn you, if you go on like this
you'll lose the election,yes.'
You mean that we must arrange
for others to vote for persons who
have the vote? But that would be
impersonation. They'd get in trouble
and we'd be in trouble too'.
'So what do you believe happens
all the time?' was the cynical reply.
'You think there's any election
when people don't vote for other
people. Even the dead vote.
And you have to guard against that.
See that you have a special list of all
the persons who have died since the
lists were made so that your polling
agents can keep a look out for any-
one coming to vote for them. But
.you will have to find persons to
vote for all those you know will not
come out to vote. Some of them
never do, but votes are always cast
in their names. Where the
Chinese are concerned of course,
it's easy, because all Chinese look
alike. You can pass of Sam Look for
Chin Fat without the slightest risk.
All you have to do is alter their
personal appearances a bit by a
change of jacket or hat'. (po. 34-5)
Mr. Gomes does not play it by
those rules and so loses. A few-
months later when another election
occurs, he places everything in the
hands of the men with the political
know-how, in other words he'drops
moral scruples, and he wins. He
becomes a municipal councillor.
By this time Capt. Cipriani,
because of his attempts to curb
revolutionary impulses among the
more radical members of the society,
alienates himself from the more pro,
gressive groups and individuals in the
colony. Quintin O'Connor, one of
Cipriani's close followers, leaves
Cipriani and joins forces with Gomes.
This is Mr. Gomes' sole comment on
the merger.

A compelling mutuality brought us
together. I could be of immense
value to him in his trade union
activities; his trade union activities
could be of immense value to an
ambitious young politician who
desperately needed as much mass
support as he could possibly gather.
i(p. 37)

'logetner, O'Connor and Gomes
take over the Federated Workers
Trade Union. Soon, they .begin to
undermine Cipriani's power in the
Council by bringing municipal work-
ers over to their side. They organize a
successful strike by the scavengers,
and this apparently greatly assists
both men in their politicking.
Mr. Gomes stresses that the
Trade unions in Trinidad at that time
were riddled with internecine strife,
and he praises the British Trade
Union C6ngress for the positive role it
played in promoting unity among the
unions. Dealing with the labour pro-
blems on the base at Chaguaramas in
1941 seems to be the high point of
Mr. Gomes' activity as a trade unionist,
and apparently it is during that-
period he learns the skill of bargain-

By 1946, Mr. Gomes becomes a
member of the ExecutiveCouncil and
therefore an adviser to the governor.
Mr: Gomes justifies this decision by
saying that he wanted to get closer
to the workings of the system, since
he felt that he was an outsider for too
long. His decision also appears to
have been taken after close consulta-
tion with Quintin O'Connor.
What finally tipped the scales in
favour of active participation in the
affairs of government was the feeling
we both shared that the time had
come when a presence of our own
at government level might exert a
restraining influence on our behalf.
(p. 117)
The fact is on the Executive
Council Mr. Gomes had responsibility
without power. Moreover, we learn
that his decision was not a popular
one, since a year after moving in to
the Executive Council he loses his
seat in the Municipal council; a defeat
which is accompanied by such hostility
that he leaves Belmont and sets up his
home in Maraval. It is also at that
time, as a member of the Executive
Council, Mr. Gomes tells us, he
realized "that the fundamental weak-
nesses of our economy had long
determined the poverty and social
backwardness of our people and
would perpetuate these cruel condi-
tions so long as the weaknesses
persisted." (p. 118)
By 1950 Mr. Gomes becomes
first Minister of Labour, Commerce
and Industry and as such faces a
dilemma. He says:-
I had not only to reconcile the
irrational expectations of employer
and employee, but soon realized
that instability in the ranks of
labour could be the most damaging
factor in the Island's economy .. I
was at the centre of the campaign
to attract investors to our shores.
But how does an ex-trade unionist
say to his former 'comrades' that
they must be less aggressive or voci-
ferous in their demands lest they
discourage much-needed capital
investment from coming to their
Island? (p. 50).
Mr. Gomes says his

piece without bitter-

ness. Such control and

restraint coming from a

polemicist who feels

that it was race that

was responsible for his

political decline,, is a

v er y praiseworthy


As Minister of Labour, Com-
merce and Industry Mr. Gomes at
that time looked towards tourism and
secondary industries to take over
from oil and sugar if those two major
sources of income failed Mr, Gomes
also tells us that it was the expatriate
Arthur Shenfield, Economic Adviser
to Trinidad and Tobago who drafted
the Aid to Pioneer Industries Ordi-
nance which attempted to promote
industrialization by concessions such
as tax holidays.
Mr. Gomes claims that as a
result of the ordinance they were able
to attract several industries, including
cement, beer, glass, textiles and fertili-
zers, Mr. Gomes goes on to outline
what he thinks are the several hazards
of industrialization. To him the most
outstanding hazard, "is the likelihood
of its being promoted largely for
show-window purposes and without
regard to its permanent value to the
economy." (p. 124)
Yet, many of his comments on
labour problems or economic theory
sound lame, unimaginative and ultra-
traditional, This is especially so when
he expresses his near contempt for any
attempts at the diversification of this
country's economy.

Finally, I should record that Mr.
Gomes states that he and his fellow
Ministers were working with several
restrictions. The most severe were a
restricting constitution, a constitution
he and his ministers drew up and too
limited a control over the budget.
Although we do not get suffi-
cient details about the constitution
that followed the 1950 elections, Mr.
Gornes does tell us that"it singularly
failed to provide- the coherence that is
the touchstone of truly collective
cabinet responsibility. The outcome
of our labours was too dependent on
the performance of the individual
minister, who may or may not be
distinguished in his special depart-
ment". (p. 121)
While telling us that he and his
ministers did not embark on any
extravagant scheme of slum clearance
or excessive welfare programmes, but
concentrated more on developing the
wealth of the country, we learn that
they were not in direct control of the
budget and so could not use it to
satisfy the day to day needs of the


Despite Mr. Gomes' close as-
sociation with the Shouters, the
Calypsonians and the steelpan men his
comments growing out of his relation-
ship with these people are not really
insightful He defended them it
would seem mainly for the political
mileage he then received.
It also seems that Mr. Gomes
enjoyed being different from his
middle-class bretheren. When he tells
us that he was attracted to the
ordinary folk because of his "in-
stinct for the literal and the unsophisti-
cated", (p. 171) the statement sounds
incomplete. What is worse, that
statement sounds like a complete
untruth when Mr. Gomes tells us that
"after nearly six years in England the
insular and claustrophobic life of a
West Indian community would drive
me to distraction after a few weeks".
(p. 77) Taste may change but never
instinct. I now begin to wonder if it
was solely the failure of dte federa-
tion that drove Mr. Gomes into exile
in England.
Mr. Gomes is undoubtedly a
victim of Coloni alism and demonstrates
and confesses the identity crisis
peculiar to the colonial. Mr. Gomes'
identity crisis is made more compli-
cated by the fact that he is now living
in the Mother country and happy and
"dohn intend to leave" (p. 229). He
tells us that as he grew older it
became more difficult for him to
deny that he needed what England
offered and in fact "wanted it more
and more", while at the same time he
resented that the need existed.
Today he states:-
I realise that it is the social
tidiness of the Anglo-Saxon that
attracts me despite its Joylessness,
its parliamentary humbug and its
sexual stupidity. (p. 109)
Mr, Gomes then lamely says:-
"If more dullness in our individual
lives is the price we must pay for
social orderliness then I am all for it."


Over and over he tells us that in
our attempt to achieve, total decolon-
isation me must not dispense with tdie
virtues of the colonial experience. He
emphasises that "the Trinidadian
must preserve some of his English.iess
to be ideally equipped", but alas he
does not define what he means by'
But fairly soon we realize what
is Mr. Gomes' real fear. He fears that
there is an undue preoccupation with
Africa, in the West Indies and he fears
that this could make us withdrawn,
inward-looking and xenophobic. Mr.
Gomes' fear is the fear of the noble
Cont'd on Page 8

LI -r


From Page 7

and liberal minded colonial, rather
than that of the benign and benighted,
retired but concerned politician for
which we might first mistake it.
Ib is a fear that is frighteningly
expressed In Prospero's terms, It is a
fear that is expressed through his
frenzied acceptance of popular Euro.
pean historiography with respect to
Hear Mr. Gomes:-
Haiti is my guide to the problem of
the West Indies. For there can be no
doubt that the cultural introversion
of that tragic island is in part
responsible for its dereliction. As a
nation it sought and fonnd its
national mystique in Africa. But at
what cost! It has found identity
by achieving the incongruous cha-
racter of all anachronisms The
countries of the West Indies face the
same danger. For there too, minds
are looking backwards nostalgically
to Africa for the identity that comes
with a sense of one's history and
ancestral attachments.
Can West Indians find these
without opting out of history as
Haitians have done? I believe that
the first thing they must do is rid
themselves of the illusion that what
has happened in Haiti cannot be
reproduced in the British Caribbean,
and instead circumspectly alert
themselves against the possibility.
(p. 105)


Besides repeating the inaccurate
but popular European response to
Haiti, including stating that it opted
out of history, clearly Mr. Gomes has
failed to understand the nature of the
current relationship of the Caribbean
people of African descent to Africa.
This relationship, as I understand it,
stresses the need to keep the memory
of Africa alive, as well as understand-
ing the contribution that Africa made
to us by acknowledging and" tracing.
;African-.survivals in the Caribbean,
while bringing such knowledge we gain
from that. exercise, to bear on 'our
attempts to greater. understand and
appreciate our cultural and geo.
political environment. This seems
.quily reasonable to me and would
cause paiic only to the illnfborimd or
the racially,.hypersensitive,
Talking "about some- ofhis'
experiences -in., England drlng -the
fiftes Mr, Gomes records ,a erzcial'
point.He tells us:-
I was surprised to find that in power
all British governments were much.
alike, -however different they
appeared as parties out of it. In
S practice the ideological positions
.with which they were associated
S- were meaninglas. I soon saw fit to
S abandon the cliche that represented
LabOur as more responsive-than-
.- Conservative to colonial demands.
S (p.'141y ..
SThus he soon, Idarnt to play the
positiono, whether, it be Labour or
Conservative, against the government
for his own ends,
At times though, Mr. Gomes
exaggerates the significance of- some
of his more successful negotiations
with the British. For example, after"
stating that he and his team 'secured
from the British government the
formula of 'guaranteed quotas at
reasonably, remunerative prices', he
concludes that without it."the past
fourteen years would have brought
economic ruin and, in its wake, wide-
spread unrest and violence," .(p. 142).
It does not even occur to Mr. Gomes
that failing to get 'guaranteed quotas
.,at :reasonably." remunerativ% prices'
migh-t well have forced ui during the
.last fourteen years to be more creative
Snid to rationalize our economy.
Once Mr." Gomes begins to live
in England with his family from
196.2 he.discovers fte reality of racial
Prejudice. Bit he stresses that he hopes
.that Britain- with her. traditions of
S moderation and fairplay, and what he
calls "the slow response" could.
.manage to impose some order on the

chaos that is racial prejudice.
Naturally, while in Trinidad Mr.
Gomes was always conscious of racial
prejudice. Apparently, he felt almost
intuitively, that one day the colour of
his skin would lead to his political
downfall, He says, "I was like a man
under sentence of death who knows
that it must be carried out sooner or
later but hopes vainly for the un-
expected reprieve", (p. 163)
It came in 1956 at the hands of
the P.N.M. led by Dr. Eric Williams.
Mr. Gomes feels that race was a
prominent factor in his defeat, This is
how he puts it; "the campaign
would have failed but for my skin
complexion and race )- and, of
course, the threat of Indian com-
munalism which was assiduously
exploited." (p. 174).
Just in case we missed,it, one
page later he repeats it. "The 1965
elections brought the racial question -
indeed the entire complex of racial
questions to the forefront in Trini-
dad, For the dismal fact is that ex.
ploitation of race had been the
decisive factor in the elections, a fact
'which every one recognized .. ,
p,. 175).
Yet eighteen months later Mr.
Gomes secured victory in the Federal
elections. The Democratic Labour
.Party, of which he was a member,
playedd the race game and won six of
Sthe 10"seats, As Mr. Gomes himself
confesses, with a candour that is
The Democratic Labour Party won
primarily because the bulk of its
following was Indian By and
largethe dnly politics in Trinidad and
Tobago is the politics ofrace. (p. 181).
Mr: Gomes' chapter on the
Federation is the one that is most,
carefully wtitten,:'He,looks at some of
the problems the Federation faced and
suggests why "it failed, One of the
problems it faced was opposition from
the Indians in Trinidad who at that
time were being led to believe by a
certain Commissioner of India (as usual
Gomes fails to elaborate on the
identity of this person) that federation
could mean their total out-numbering
by the Negroes, who were preponder-
ant in the other territories.
It seems that the Federation
failed mainly because of the attempt
to have Federation along with "insular
constitutional prbmdtion" as Gomes
terms it. Once the leaders tasted ppwer
They did not.want this sense of power
diminished by a Federation,
..In addition to separatism and.
insularity as.corroding. forces on the
Federation Mr. Gomes also traces the
impact of international recognition.
1He says-:--
I believe that the early and un-
expected international recogriitionof
the federation .as the- paramoun
political entity in .thg British. Carib-
Sbean, Whieh so' upset the calculations
S and offended the'p)litical.sel.esteem
Sof Manley' And.Dr. Williams, was the
main cause of the turbulence that
ultimately destroyed the federation.



(p. 211)
To him .the wrong siting of the
federal capital in Trinidad also con-
tributed to the Federation's early
death, since it was forced to struggle
against the strong P.NM, government.
He backed Grenada at the time,
because he states;-
A federal government gains momen-
tum slowly. If, therefore, in infancy
it is brought into juxtaposition with
a government that is capable of
overshadowing its importance its
chances of survival willbe diminished.
(p. 201).
The ineptitude of the British
Government and its tendency to take
sides also aided the Federation's early
demise. This is how he dismisses the
British Government,
If they had spent less time and
effort involving themselves in the
federation's palace intrigues and more
in policy decisions aimed at improving
its chances of survival, an entirely
different chapter of history might
have been written. But they spoon-
fed it with financial aid and nourished
the insular motives that were respons-
ible for its downfall, while at the
same time becoming more and more
entangled in its intrigues. (p. 218).
By the end of the chapter Mr.
Gomes emphasises that it was the
leadership that brought the disaster
upon us. He stresses that the people
were not asked whether they wanted a
federation or not; though of course as
I said at the very beginning, poor
proofreading throws that crucial point
into limbo. It is in my interview with
him that it is rescued.
Gomes: the federation failed,
because I think of a lot of monu-
mental blunders by the leadership.
The people of the West Indies have
never at any stage been asked
whether they wished a federation or
not. And as you know, one of the
things that I kept at during those
critical days that I repeatedly asked
for was some reference to the people
themselves. But, I am sure History
will record this that it was
frankly, leadership that failed, be-
cause it was leadership that was
insular, not the people themselves,
it was leadership that was chauvinistic,
it was leadership that was
willing to subvert the ends ot power
to the unity which was necessary
then and is even more necessary now
having regard o the fact that almost
inevitably, and I pat myself on the
back at this stage by saying that I
envisaged this, I envisage a rapid
deterioration both economically and
politically especially in the more
S vulnerable small territories, and
History is proving me right. Incident-
ally let no one believe that the fact
that I can now say "I told you so"
gives me any satisfaction at all
because my passionate concern with
the political health and economic
prosperity of these parts remains
Once the Federation fails Mr,
Gomes tells us he felt he could no
longer make a contribution to the
.' litics of the West Indies. He chose
evoluhtary exile in England; a decision
,hisi wife wanted him to make years
before 1962, since her daughter was
assaulted and she spat upon,
Mr. Comes ends nis book by

spelling out doom for these small
countries who refuse to federate. He
warns against the danger of the
centralization of governmental power,
which could lead to the exploitation
of the "feared and hated minority" in
the country, Finally he stresses that
private competitive enterprise is to be
encouraged since the public servants
in the public corporations lack the
necessary dynamism to build big
Through A Maze Of Colour
records the ambivalent attitudes of the
colonial, such as his love of England
and her orators, while at the same time
harbouring contempt for the colonial
system which makes him feel insignifi-
cant, and on the margin of culture and
Through A Maze Of Colour also
introduces to us the joy-the colonial
experiences at humiliating mass. It
also introduces us to the shock and
the hurt the colonial feels when he
discovers that the people in the Mother
country are not concerned with his
existence. Mr. Gomes' book tells us of
the dilemmas of a politician who
built up his popularity by supporting
the black masses of Trinidad, who
finally rejected him when their social
and political development demanded a
different brand of rhetoric and a more
coloured rhetoritician.


Moreover, the work significantly
captures the inflated style of the 30fs
and 40's. Its style, at times, exposes us
not only to the now dated journalistic
skills of Mr. Gomes, but to his flair for
novel writing, and his ear for the
cadences of our speech, Here is a
recording by Mr, Gomes of a con-
versation he had with a young steel-pan
beater waiting to be tried for the.
murder of a fellow steelbands man. It'
almost sounds like eariy Laimming,
Is true I lose me temper an'
commit a serious crime. But I was
plenty provoked, Mr. Gomes. The
man jeer at me; he cuss me; he
abuse' me mother; then he tell me I
dohn know nutting about steelband
or how to beat pan. After all, a
man is flesh an' blood. The blood
rise up in me; I couldn't control
meself. You know how it is. Every-
thing just go up in flames. You see
red and next thing you know you
kill a man. Then when you come
back to yourself you feel sorry. I
didn't kill him on purpose. (p. 98)
At many points Mr, Gomes'
testimony is too personal, and as such
lacks the details that would enhance
what is being related. Yet, we admire
the fact that Mr, Gomes can say his
piece without bitterness, Such control
and restraint coming from a polemicist
who feels that it was race that was
responsible for his political decline,
is a very praise worthy achievement.
Finally, when I asked Mr. Gomes
if he wanted to reply to Dr, Samaroo's
charge that in Through A Maze Of
Colour "there is no analysis of how
colonialism breeds a sense of void and
,a feeling of incompetence in the
colonized and the consequent futility
of his actions" (p, XVI), his reply
summarised the book.
Gomes: the life that I reveal in thost
pages, my own life, in itself reflects
all those aspects of Colonialism to
which Dr. Brinsley Samaroo refers.
Mark you, I could have perhaps
plunged into a sort of polemic about
it, but what would it really have
achieved. I think I have said all there*
I have dealt with the sense of.
cultural frustration, the fact that as
a native I found myself torn between
so many conflicting loyalties; after all
why should I talk polemically of
these things when the fact that I had
to defend the industries of the area,
I had to try to go.abroad representing
the needs of the citrus industry, the
sugar industry and several others.
That in itself is evidence of what
colonialism meant, and I think that
even my political enemies would
admit that I did contribute something
to releaving not only Trinidad, but
all the territories, of what my friend
Brinsley calls the burdens of




One always missed the turning, but found, in time
The broken sign that pointed crookedly, loth to
Allow another stranger here. Perhaps this Tom
Or Dick has plans for progress that will tow
The boats away and make them 'quaint'; that will tame
This wild coast with pale rheumatics who tee

Off where sea-egg shells and fishermen
Now lie with unconcern. Naked children
And their sticks flush crabs from out their holes
And a bare legged girl, dress in wet folds
wades slow towards a waning sun.

And/ the sea tossea angrily
For it knew that freedom here was short.
It remembered other coasts
Made 'mod' by small-eyed mnen in big cars.

And as before it knew she'd vanish
The bare legged girl; the children and their crabs
Would leave; a better world would banish
Them to imitation coconut trays.

But those small eyes reflecting dollar signs
Have not yet found the crooked finger to this peace;
And down the beach the women bathe their sons
Who'll never talk, like Pap, of fishing seasons past.

Only memory will turn down this way
When some old man somewhere recalls his day
On this beach where sea-egg shells once lay.

Tp S pports

'a u Fg

THE Tapia Council of
Representatives at its
monthly meeting held
today (Sunday 16) ex-
pressed solidarity with
the oil workers and the
sugar farmers and workers
in their fight for better
The Tapia Council, com-
prising members of the Tapia
National Executive and local
representatives, noticed
last week's High: Court deci-
sion-doeclaing unconstitu-
tional eertaiiTsec-tions of Act
I of 1965
The Council agreed further
that the free choice of union
representation was only the
first step towards total
national ownership of Caroni
Ltd. and the reorganisation
of the-industry to give greater
involvement and rewards to
both cane farmers and work-
ers. The need for landreform
was crucial, in the view of
the Tapia Council, to any
such reorganisation of the
sugar cane industry.
Turning its attention to
the oil .workers, the Council
felt that in the light of the
excess profits being generated
by the international oil com-
panies, and .the failure of the
Govt. to take full control of
the industry, the OWTU was
justified in its wage demands.
It was pointed out that
the rate of surplus and the
level of cash generated by
Texaco, Amoco and the other
oil companies in Trinidad and

Tobago were nearly $4 per
barrel higher than in the
OPEC countries which Trini-
dad & Tobago are about to
Tapia calculates that be-
cause of the Govt's tax oil
policy, we could lose no less
than $800mn. between 1974-
The OWTU has a duty to
retain some of this profit in
the country, the Tapia
Council feels. However, the
Union also has the respons-
ibility to share its gain with
the rest of the country which
.continues to be affected by
chronic- unemployment and
the rising tide of-inflation.
The Council reiterated pro-
posals made at an earlier
Tapia meeting in San Fer-
nando. for the OWTU to:
Maximise the wage
increase from the companies.
To distribute the gain
so that the gap is closed
between the lower paid and
the higher paid oil workers.
Tapia advocates a scheme of
across-the-board dollar in-
:reases, rather than equal per
cent rise for all workers..
To lead the way with a
graduated savings and invest-
ment scheme which would
systematically channel funds
towards Housing, Food Pro-
duction, Technical and Craft
Education and Small Business
Loans for ex-oil workers.
To clarify the urgent
need for full nationalisation
arid localisation of the giant
oil corporations.




And so, despite the whisperings
behind hands clasped in fervent unbelief,
despite the stale, old lady's scent
of righteousness that crawls from
under French soutanes;
despite all that, and more

that is yours, you, your claim on love.

They could have asked. They could have asked
the blue smoke hills, the country mandolins;
old trembling-nosed, broad-voiced chantwelles
they could have asked; they could have asked tracks lost
but for some village's dying song;
and belle-aire drums
and violons
and moonlit ragged choirs
could have told and would have told
of what they'd always known:
that like a hidden mountain stream
caught patient swirling past the ages of the land
nothing dims that vision waiting gently:
of calm clean pools below the waterfall.

And I
who share a common celibacy
that priests and poets must endure,
search thatpurity of syllable
seeking truths you've found;
incensed with love, I make too
that ritual of Word and Gesture,
wrists uplifted, fingers plucking
outward, scratching at this altar,
daring faith and hope changing them
into some clarity.



A Collection of Papers by
William G. Demas
Former Secretary-General, Caribbean Community Secretarlat


I IIC -r r~

Uu w:


SUNDAY MARMH 2, 1975 -


J-v. 7

To The Editor Letters To The Editor Letters To The Editor Letters To The
I 1 ... .=Cl~si~R~~o~--q ,7




IN 1969 70, after
years of frustration our
people mostly the
youths, were forced to
adopt the unconventional
method of taking to the
streets in mass demon-
stration calling upon the
government to seize con-
trol of our economic
resources from the ex-

ploiter, foreign capitalists
and bring about the much
needed change to provide
life for our people, like
the right for all to be
meaningfully employed.
This was done after the
government had stubbornly
persisted in turning its deaf
ear to the conventional cries
of our people,
The masses marched with

A case For

Kn- oleSde

IT is remarkable that
around the same time as
our Prime Minister is
making his election tour
around the world, our
Governor General, The
Ministers of government
with their Parliamentary
Secretaries are also
making tours to different
parts of Trinidad and
It would appear as though
something is lost and they
are looking for it. One
wonders what really are they
looking for?
It was reported that the
Governor General disclosed
during this tour that he will
have to resign to give way to
a new system. How long is
soon? One wonders.
Around 1970 we experi-
enced one of the greatest get-
together of the common man
or Grass Roots. These people
were crying for "Power to
the People" and for Change.
These cries came from the
Non-conventional Politicians
who dominated then. The
Conventional Politicians who
were placed in the back-
-ground, then, cried for New
Elections and Constitution
Reform .
At this time the Deputy
Prime Minister of our Nation
resigned to form his own
party in the Opposition to
fight against his other party
the P.N.M. In order to ensure
victory he joined with D.L.P.
the then Major Opposition
At this time also many
disenchanted P.N.M. mem-
bers spoke out openly and
many left the P.N.M.
One would have thought
that this was the kind of get-
together needed and solidarity
expected to topple the gov-
erning Party but Lo, and
behold this Get-together and

solidarity were used not to
vote and as a consequence
helped the P.N.M. to win all
36 seats to make all types of
Laws and Bye Laws, Deals,
Loans, Ownerships and do
all sorts of things which
makes it harder for any
Political Party to run this
government but Dr. Eric
Williams himself.
It is almost four years
this has been going on and
instead of people in the
Opposition are getting
together to stop this rot they
are dividing into smaller and
smaller bits to give the
P.N.M. the best chance of
winning all 36 Seats with a
smaller percentage of votes
and there is still talk of
competence. In my case and
on this occasion I am putting
courage before knowledge.
One wanders if all that
are said by Politicians can
be taken for granted or
Politicians keep-on putting
doubts into peoples' minds
all the time? Are we blaming
government for lots of wrongs
of which we should blame
ourselves? We blame govern-
ment for being inadequate.
How does the general
public stands in this respect
of whom we are part? We
blame government for being
too slow in dealing with
Make a proper comparison
and see how slow others are.
People cry out for a little
acknowledgment from gov-
ernment. What can be said of
you or others outside of gov-
Sometimes it is sad and
disappointing that organisa-
tions fighting hard for
"Freedom" and thert takes
away the freedom of others
who may not wish to go
along with them. It must be
borne in mind, that simple
things mean a lot.


dashiki, slogans and signs but
the government marched with
shortpants, SLRs, teargas and
masks. Although the both
forces marched side by side,
there was no dialogue or
The people were marching
for bread and the control of
their destiny for the good of
all, while the government was
demonstrating (for) power
and for the control of our
resources for the good of the
And whereas the govern-
ment was passive to the
demands of the people before
the mass demonstrations,
they were then active to the
cries of the people.
However, their action was
the use of teargas in massive
demonstrations, police bru-
tality, arresting and jailing
people, passing states of
emergency, imposing restric-
tive curfews and more repres-
sive laws. -
Because of the new laws,
the new guns and the attitude
of the police, the people could

no longer demonstrate for
their demands or even have
public meetings to voice same.
The government wasted down
all forms of communication
between them and the people
and further isolated them-
After the people demon-
strated for social justice, and
were frustrated and repressed,
they had to seek other ways
and means of making their
demands and expressing their
Beyond doubt, the situa-
tion was aggravated, their
demands not met; force and
violence was used to repress
them. However, the 1969-70
experience did not serve to
dampen the spirit and com-
mitment of the people,
particularly the youths.
In 1971-72, the "guerilla"
emerged. Who are these
youths? How can they who
are facing trial be judged?
These young men and women
represent a broad cross-
section of our young popula-
tion in the society. In other

words, not only the scrunter
was frustrated but the worker,
intellectual and youths who
will be the ones to inherit
the government of our
The guerilla was created
from the struggle between
the crying people and the
government. He was forced
underground by the methods
the government used to
suppress the mass movement
for social justice and bread in
the 1969/70/71 period.
In judging these youths,
therefore, let us judge the
government. Today, the
scrunt and frustration is
getting progressively worse,
We must-assert ourselves:to
see that justice can be done
in our society.
We of Imani Youth Move-
ment call upon all the voices
of justice and progress for
our people to demand justice
for our. youths. Lift our
voice and shout through the
government's deaf ear for
amnesty for these man and

Imani Youth Movement

Dear Sir,
I appreciate reading
Tapia weekly, note all your
problems, and feel sure you
are working on the right
lines. Keep on with the good
Yours faithfully
St. Augustine;

We go toany

length to do

our job!

We installed suspended ceilings on two of AMO.CO'S
;.. offshore production platforms over twenty miles out at sea some
time ago. It was a.hew experience for us, but it was all part'of
our job The Indusptial and Building Products Division of
L. J Williams Limited
.,.. Apart from installing suspended ceilings, we also construct
shdp fronts and partitions for business places. install NACO
.. Louvre Windows and custom built Roller Shutters, and apply the
ultra modern 'Flecpo finish' to walls and floors
Also. we supply/ Kwikset locks. Gibbons Ironmongery,.
S world -famous Evd-Stik 528 adhesive and Resin-W woodwork
x' aLdheswe, Ibiboard. laminated plastic sheeting and Ibi Ace
-'.decor ive plywo6d,'and more! -.
f ha'e a service'yo could Oiie. give us a o' .-8
-We llgato aiv i ngih help you
> >
SiY. -
.. '. ....



- L a ~i~a~t~




QUESTION: What sparked off the OWTU-
Rahamut dispute?
Answer: First I must make it clear that we
never set out to have any particular conflict with
Rahamut, The dispute arose out of the union's wish to
see an end to the great number of ills in the area of
contract work in the oil industry. The contract
worker suffers from low wages, bad working condi-
tions, insecurity of tenure, lack of pension rights,
lack of sick leave benefits, holidays etc.,
Justice Hyatali as president of the Industrial
Court, recommended laws to have all contract
workers unionised. The Gov't set up a Commission
of Inquiry which proposed that all contract workers
be unionized. This report was not published, and no
action was taken on the matter.
Our union has been trying to organise these
workers, but this proved to be difficult since these
workers could be hired and fired at wil. In fact there
was no permanent work force. OWTU workers then
decided that they would not work alongside non-
unionised workers. Some 230 contractors were
involved, we had peaceful discussions with some.
But Rahamut was adamant against the unionisa-
tion of their workers. The workers at the bond also
stood firm. When the workers openly declared OWTU
membership against the management wishes to have
another union the Co.ceased operations,.asswas
reported in the papers.

Question: Can you give a little more on the
contract work system?
Answer: It is a system which brings great
benefits to the Oil Cos. and the contractors at the
expense of the workers. It works like this: Let us say
that a Co. has decided on a project. Its engineers
estimate the job at let us say $50,000. It invites
tenders and accepts a bid for $25,000.
Contractors are able to make low bids because
they pay lower wages than the Companies., and
their workers do not enjoy the other benefits that
workers normally receive as Ihave already said, They
take advantage of the unemployment situation -
anybody who 'give trouble" is not employed.
The Oil Companies gain by being able to get
the work done cheaply, by getting along with less
permanent staff for whom they would have to
provide proper working conditions and fringe benefits,
and with less direct employment there is less union
The Contractors make a killing from exploiting
the unemployment situation to pay indecent wages
with no other benefits,
Now there are two different contract systems.
One is referred to as the "direct contract labour"
system, Here .the Companies provide all equipment
and supervision; all the contractor does is to provide
cheap labour, This is a particularly wicked system
which the Industrial Court said should be outlawed,
In the other, the contractor provides all equip-
ment and supervision. But in either case the Companies
and contractors gain heavily by shamelessly exploiting
the worker, They like the situation. We don't. We
have decided to do something about it.


Question: What is the basis of the Union's
80% demand?
Answer: nhe Companies ability to pay, In
fact 80% is not enough,* Texaco is not saying that
they cannot pay, their argument is that such an
increase will give oil workers a much higher wage
rate than other workers in the country that it will
make them an elite group, We think itis real farseness
for a foreign Company to be talking like this.
We have moved away from the old and out-
dated method of calling an arbitrary figure and then
being beaten down to about half of-it. We did exten-
sive research and on the basis of this made our
demands, The Company is to show that they cannot
pay; we will show that they can pay much more than
The Company is making super profits, the
Gov't seems to be afraid of securing the people's just
right as far as our natural resources are concerned,

We see it as our right and duty to keep as much of
our wealth as possible in our economy, rather than
allow it to be used to further develop highly
developed economies.


What in general are the other

Answer: Mainly health and safety improvement
- protection against occupational diseases. For
example at present if an employee dies on the job
his dependents receive te he equivalent of five years of
his present wage. This essentially means that the
Company sees a -worker as having no more than five
years of useful life ahead of him.
Another example The dependents of the men
who died and were injured on the Santa Fe badge
recently were offered compensation amounting to
about $100,000, our claims before the US courts
amount to more than $20 million. The defendants
have sought amount of court agreement of $7 million
which we have refused to accept.
The compensation laws of the country are very
inadequate. We need to negotiate conditions that will
force the Gov't. and business finns to put a premium
on the proper health and safety of workers.

Question: It is being argued that your big
demands would spur no inflation and aggravate
the situation of inequality of incomes in the
country. How do you counted this argument?
Answer: We have not got anything yet and
prices-are steadily going up. Why.does the Gov't not
seek to control excess profits? How can we talk
about curbing wages and not profits? It is excess
profits that cause inflation.
On the second part, we cannot expect some-
one running a small farm to be able to pay what
Texaco can. If your labour is more productive your
rewards must be greater. Itis madness to expect us to
accept small wages from the oil Companies especially
when they are foreign owned and controlled. It is a
matter of how the earnings of an industry should be
shared how much to the worker, how much for
the capitalist.

Question.If the Company were locally owned
and controlled, would your claims be as large?
Answer: Yes, The argument is in the last

Question: There have been accusations of
bad faith from both sides. Why do you think
that Texaco is negotiating in bad faith?
Answer: Texaco is hoping that Williams would
intervene with a state of emergency. That is bad
faith. They know that they can pay and that we have
a moral right to our claims, but they are prolonging
matters and antagonising workers.
Evidence the 1971 negotiations when an
emergency was declared and our top negotiators
were detained. The workers gained little from those
negotiations. Texaco is hoping for a recurrence of

Question: The OWTU now represents work-
ers in oil, petrochemicals, electricity, and
some agricultural workers. How do you justify
such a wide spread?
Answer: You need to call more, We are not
wide yet, There are far too many unions in the
country and far too many unions leaders who use
unionism to fatten themselves by selling out
workers, We hope to spread our ideas to at least 1/3
of the working force. Last year we had 12,000
members, today we have 16,000,
We respect a few other unions, among them
SWWTU, TIWU, ICFTU. In a few years few other
unions will be existing, The progressive unions are
growing stronger everyday and only under them this
can become a place where every creed and race find
an equal place,

Question: It seems obvious that the wages
you are asking for oil workers cannot be

obtained for the agricultural workers yop
represent. Don't you think that this may cause
internal problems in the union? Do you see
any conflict in representing workers of such
wide wage differences?
Answer: We believe in the socialist system.
Until we reach that stage of becoming a socialist
state, industries must pay according to their ability.
Workers must understand that. Under a socialist
system there can be a channeling of incomes among
the various industries to provide for equitable
This reinforces the need for serious unions to
expand. At present the bosses of the various indus-
tries are reaping what cannot now be channelled'
into other areas, this is why workers must demand
their full due now.


Question: What are the Union's ideas for a
better sharing of the 'national cake'?
Answer: A socialist state as I have stated. Where
workers have a share in the ownership and control of
the various industries, and strong sectors can prop up
the weak. Where there will be a more equitable
distribution of income, and every creed and race
really find an equal place.

*Question: You have stated that the OWTU
would resist any attempt by the gov't. to sell
shares in Trintoc to any foreigner. The OWTU
has also called for the nationalisation of
Texaco. Do you see any role for Multi-
National Corporation in the national econ-
Answer: No. There is no evidence to show that
the Multi-Nationals have operated in any under
developed country to the benefit of the country.

Question: How do you think the industry
should be owned and controlled?
Answer: By the Gov't. and the workers in the

Question: Do you think that we have the
necessary resources particularly human -
to properly run the industry?
Answer: Yes. All.


What about international reper-

Answer: International repercussions are un-
favourable if you make yourself weak and subservient.
If Cuba was weak bellied there would be no Cuba
today. And Cuba challenged Imperialism when world
opinion was different, Imperialism was much
stronger, and the Third World countries were far
Now everything is different, we cannot hope to
be in a better position to take over the control of our
resources. What we need is a spirit of independence.
If we do not have that and we continue in the weak
- bellied way we are going the repercussions will be
for worse,



Do you see a role for unions in

Answer: Trade unionism is politics. It is dis.
honest for anyone to suggest that we should not be
Inl politics, The businessmen's associations are in
politics; they always try to pressure the rest of the
society to obtain a climate that suits them, Workers
band themselves into unions to win certain benefits.
This is politics. Everything that happens in the
society influences workers, Workers cannot sit by
passively and not try to influence what is happening
around them.

* The O.W.T.U.has since increased its demand to 147%,

Mrs. Andrea Talbutt
Research Institut for
Study of Man,
162, East 78th Street, CACONIA
New York, N.Y. 10021,
Ph. Lehigh 5 8448.
/AI7L __i _

Annual General


ONE of the features of the
first session of the Annual
General Assembly in Port-of-
lunch." The Fund-Raising 1
Committee as part of its
activity has already arranged
to have hot lunches available
for sale to all those attending W
the session.
Friends and members 'are
urged to bring funds for thie I r ight o Road
purchasing of lunches and so
participate in donation with-
out pain. In addition to the
lunches the lunch period will
also be prime time for the Port. of Sp
information booth.
The booth will be devoted
to the sale of Tapia books,
pamphlets jerseys etc.
Members will also be avail-
able at the booth to provide
information on such questions
as registration, nomination
and voting at the second
session as well as on Tapia's
policies and programmes
gener y. 9.30 Registration

|, 10.30 Chairman's Address SYLLOHAR

11.00 Admininistrative Report ALLAN HARRIS
THE Council of Represent-
atives meeting for the month
of March takes place this 11.30 Comm unity Report IVAN LA UGHLI\
Sunday March 2, at the Tapia
House in Tunapuna. This
early meeting has been sche-
duled to make final arrange-
ments for the two sessions
of the Annual General
On the Agenda for discus-
sion at Sundays meeting are
Constitutional Amendments,
Resolutions, the finalsation 1.0paign R
of the Agenda as well as ampa n e MICHAEL HARRIS
registration information and
all other such activities.
Representatives from the
localities are reminded to
procure as far as possible the 130 Secretary's Address
numbers of those who will be 1.30 Secretary's Address LLOYD BEST
coming to the Assembly from
their districts so that some
decision could be taken on
the provision of Transport.

I d