Material Information

Place of Publication:
Tapia House Pub. Co.
Creation Date:
April 13, 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


IN 1973, Easter fell on a Sunday, December
2, to be exact. This year it is Wednesday
April 9. In another dramatic resurrection, the
Doctor has saved his people.
Amidst a chorus of appeals from hither,
and yon, the Prime Minister finally broke
his deathly silence. Amidst the most strident
protestations of enduring loyalty from strate-
gic party groups, the Cabinet invoked the law
and imposed a martial order.
Under the Trade Ordinance Order 1975
relating to the Acquisition and Disposal of
Petroleum Products and Sugar, Mr. Mahabir,
the Minister of Industry and Commerce,will
make these,products available to the general
public, priority to taxi-drivers, especially co-
operative associations.

Defence Force and Police Service person-
nel will carry out these orders.
The Minister of Finance along with the
Attorney General, the Minister of Petroleum
and Mr. Mahabir will study the financial con-
trols and regulations needed to govern these
arrangements and report to the regular Cabi-
net Meeting on Thursday April 10.

Needless to say, these mercy measures
anticipate relief for many thousands of ho use-
By command also, schools will open on
schedule, Monday April 14 and the Common
Entrance Examination will be held on May the
9th in the interest of parents children and
On Friday April 11, by special request
from the constituency party, the Prime Min-
ister will address the nation from the heartland
of the Oilfield Workers' Union, the perform-
anceto be repeated:at a public meeting in San
Fernando the industrial capital of the South
on Sunday April 13.
The Little Sun-King has emerged again.
What a beautiful scenario for trouble?

-.77 I

,THE Archbishop of Port-
of-Spain has been quoted
as saying that we have
learnt too little from 1970.
We certainly have failed to
see that in the conven-
tional politics of mere
crowd-manipulation the
Williams Government is
bound to score the victory
- for two reasons.
For one thing, Williams,
like Stalin, is famous for
his infinite capacity to
wait while his opponents
live in a world of immedi-
ate short-term solutions
which they never fit into
any long-term cohesive
At the moment, the
Government is being
regaled with proposals
from the Chamber and the
OWTU alike that Shah be
recognized, without any
clue as to how that would
make any serious differ-
ence and without any idea
that in a genuine power
struggle, the Government
will not simply capitulate
before the forces of oppo-


At the same time,
Panday is calling for power
to the workers and farm-
ers to appoint Directors
to the Caroni Board and
the United Labour Front
is requesting a Round
Table from the Governor
General, as if the G-G has
any independent status.
In this confusion
Williams simply waits for
the inevitable contradic-
tions which always add up
to and end up as supplica-
tions to the Colonial
Office to make concessions
to poor black people.
His opponents are in-
capable of seemg Williams

as another political com-
petitor to be demolished
by superior political force.
They treat him as a
Colonial Governor who
should listen to their pleas
of woe because a large
crowd happens at "the
particular moment to be
supporting their current
Crowds, said Napoleon,
disperse in response to "a
whiff of grapeshot". Wil-
.liams knows that the
crowds which are not
organised for long-term
politics, can always in
time be dispersed by
the calculated intervention
of the State Machine.
His control of the State
is the second reason why
he normally looks forward
to victory over the con-
ventional, "charismatic",
crowd-manipulating, oppo-
sition leaders.
The State has publicity.
Notice how on Wednesday
afternoon all the disc
jockeys were touting the
return of gas and sugar
every minute on the
minute as we went gaily
rolling home.
Notice the Guardian
Editorial on Thursday
morning insisting that the
Government "had no
Notice even the Express
which fancies itself to be
in the opposition headlines
its front-page story "Cabi-
net Orders Gas and Sugar
for the People."
And all the media con-
duct a parade of party
announcements as if they
came from the Govern-

ment and the Doctor re-
enters with a fanfare of
People's National trum-
The State has patron-
age. The Board of Caroni
wishes to see Shah but
the gravy so sweet, that
everybody kowtows be-
fore Cabinet fiat and
nobody resigns.


The State has police,
civil and military. At the
drop of a hat they cutting
people back-side in San
Fernando today and to-
morrow they driving
trucks and delivering sugar
and gas. And if the ULF
were to make the mistake
and wild them, now that
the Doctor is determined
to use scabs in "a provoca-
tive act", they would
shoot and maim and kill
and put in Nelson Island
as the situation demands.
The only thing to stop
the police would be a
polit i c a organisation
nobler in purpose than the
current one, superior in
capacity to govern for the
benefit of the entire
Only when such an or-
ganisation appears out of
the blood and sweat and
tears of honest building
will the State machine
become useless to the in-
cumbents because the
military will be forced to
cross the floor in response
to pressure from their
wives and their children
and they gran-gran and
they tan-tan.

The ultimate power of
police is opinion in the
country that the new
movement is better than
the old. Such opinion is
not enjoyed by the ULF;
all they have is a bewilder-
ed crowd hoping for the
magic of a conjurer's
There will be no such
magic because the Gov-
ernment also has legality
on its side. They .put
down the Industrial Court
and the IRA and the
Summary Offences
Amendment Ordinance
and all the other restric-
tions precisely in order to
be able to confront opposi-
tion with the Law as
in the case of the march.


When you control the
State, you need no special
resourcefulness to be able
to commandeer supplies
and use troops to break
After solid political or-
ganisation, the State is the
biggest trump in the
deadly game of power and
those who do not under-
stand that must choose
some other pastime.
On the evidence of 20
years, Williams is a totally
unimaginative and un-

resourceful poli-tical per-
son, a Great Destroyer of
retreating colonial power,
incapable of rallying his
people to build a new
Spiritually, he has added
nothing to us, only drained
us of our manhood.
Materially, his every move
has been negative and
defensive Tesoro, Trin-
toc, NCB, Caroni; he never
takes a forward step until
he is cornered by crisis.
His great and only
strength is his capacity to
play on the weakness of
his people. All his abun-
dant energies and his
technical talents for many
years have been used for
that and that alone, to
beat the people down with
the power of the State
behind a smokescreen of
a "people's charter" and
"perspectives for the new
society ".


This time as always, he
has had three options, to
be taken separately or in
combination to taste. The
first is more repression,
only judiciously employed
to crush the march in San
Fernando. We may hear
more of that before lone.
The second option is a
genuine accommodation
of opposition interests. To
this e:d. 11ih Cl ,'.'%-"e'*
\ n ".: 'i .rs'. t c C
meais orf distilling the
Continued on Back Page.


ivy Ek? e Will Be Ann islC r-led y y


Vol. 5 No. 1I;

30 Cents




In Banana Isle

WHEN Patrick John
camp to power last July
in the island of Dominica,
the poorest of Britain's
Caribbean possessions, he
set himself a mission.
It was, as he put it, to
stamp out the "pseudo
intellectuals" and "Age'nts
of international communism"
who he said were "Eating
through the region's or-
ganisations and institu-
tions like cancer, sowing
the wild seeds of vio-
lence, revolution, deceit
and possible usurpation."
Since then, the 37-year-
old Premier, a former teacher
Sand trade union leader, has
been as good as his word.
There are now on the statute
books laws banning strikes
and "subversive" literature,
censoring telegrams, outlaw-
ing anti-white "racism," and
above all, giving citizens the
legal right to shoot dead on
sight suspected radicals.
On March 20, the Supreme
count of the Associated
States of the Caribbean, of
which Dominica is one,
upheld the evidence of a 16-
year-old barmaid and con-
firmed a death penalty on a
leading left-wing opponent of
Mr. John's government.
Four days later, solidly
backed by the densely-
forested island's establish-
ment of plantation owners
and merchants, he and his
party, whose electoral sym-
bol was, appropriately, a
boot, suspiciously easily won
re-election to continue fuel-
ling a confrontation which is
well on the way to making
Dominica a new and serious
Caribbean trouble spot.
The man sentenced to
hang is Desmond Trotter, a
22-year-old member of The
Movement for a New Domini-
ca (MND), which advocates
an end to the domination of

the 29-square-mile island's
economy by foreign interests
and accuses the government
of totally failing to tackle the
real social and economic
problems of Dominica, which
lives mainly off exports of
bananas and citrus and calls
itself "The Fruitbasket of the
Caribbean "
Mr. Trotter expounded
his ideas among the army of
unemployed young people in
the island's capital, Roseau,
and in the country areas,
edited the MND's paper,
"Twavay," and has long been
a thorn in the government's
A civil servant, it was
ironically while working as a
clerk in the central police
station in Roseau that he was
arrested last year and charged
with the murder of an elderly
white american tourist shot
dead during the island's
carnival celebrationL.
The barmaid, Camella
Francis, who was given bed
and board at police head-
quarters before and during
the trilong trial, was the
prosecution's chief witness.
Mr. Trotter's alibi and evi-
dence by the secretary of the
Caribbean Bar Association
that Miss Francis had con-
fessed to him she was lying
on the orders of her police
guardians were discounted.
The accused's lawyer was
expelled from the island, and
Mr. Trotter was found guilty
by a jury of men whose
wealth and influence made
them less than sympathetic
to him and his ideals, in or
out of court.
An appeal to the Privy
Council is now being pre-
pared, associations of Domini-
cans in Britain and else-
where, who say Mr. Trotter's
conviction is a frame-up,
have called on the british
have called on the British
government to intervene and
have won the sympathy of

several M.P.s.
What has frightened Mr.
John into the present con-
frontation is the general
atmosphere of unrest in
Dominica, the third biggest
island in the Commonwealth
Caribbean and the home of
Rose's lime juice.
Eighteen months ago, a
general strike over the sack-
ing of a popular anti-govern-
ment radio announcer led to
A State of Emergency. A
takeover by angry peasants
of a British-owned Estate and
the formation of a co-opera-
tive to run it was followed
by the sacking and burning
of a farm belonging to one of
the island's richest Syrian
A month ago, hundreds of
citizens in Portsmouth, the
second largest town, en-
couraged by the MND, began
to build by themselves a
much-needed bridge at the
entrance of the town and to
carry out other such projects
which they said the govern-
ment and its obedient local
council had done nothing
about for decades. Mr. John
dismisses these activities as
These insurrections have
been accompanied by a
number of isolated attacks
on and killings of white ex-
patriates and tourists -
violence which the MND has
condemned and theappear-
ance of a.loose fraternity of
discontented jobless youth
who wear their hair in long
braids after Jamaica's rasta-
farian sect, preach vegetarian-
ism and a return to the soil,
and themselves Dreads.
It has been these last two
developments which Mr. John,
overwhelmed by Dominica's
serious economic plight, has
seized on as an excuse for his
problems. It is the Dreads,
who agree with the MND's
social analyses, that Mr.
John has given Dominicans

the right to gun down, and
the courts the obligation to
pass mandatory jail sentences
on anyone simply wearing
their hair in braids. There is
also a rapidly-fattening file
of incidents of police beat-
ings and torture, shootings,
intimidation and raids. Many
of the Dreads have fled into
the mountains.
The repressive laws he has
had passed have been in the
name of defending the fickle
Tourist industry. Tourism in
the caribbean is an easy
money-spinner, but the MND,
and progressive politicians in
power in other islands, point
out that it conveniently post-
pones the need for action on
the region's profound social,
economic and political struc-
tural problems.
These are not questions
which Mr. John and the
leaders of other unimaginative
and slowly-crumbling tradi-
tional trade union based gov-
ernments of the area seem
very interested in. Their
critics say they are still
mesmerised by the old atti-
tudes and methods of the
colonial authorities who
handed over effective power
to them less than a decade
Stepping into this breach
in Dominica, the MND has
already published its own
revealing surveys of the
island's housing and un-
employment crises and the
activities of foreign banks.
The disintegration over
the past five years of Mr.
John's own Dominica Labour
Party, which has been in.
power for more than 14

years, has added to the
Premier's feeling of in-
The authority of his gov-
ernment was hardly bolstered
either last year when copies
of a book called "Chains or
Change ", by Dominica's most
prominent radical "Black
Power" advocate, Mr. Rosie
Douglas, appeared on the
streets of Roseau.
Dominica's young people,
who are the majority of the
72,000 population, and a
growing number of older
people, want more effective
and more positive govern-
ment and economic policies.
So far however, Mr. John
has gone little further than
making symbolic gestures,
such as announcing a 10
percent pay cut for himself
and his ministers "until the
economy improves, "declaring
1975 "economic recovery
yearr" and appealing for
more money from Britain to
help him eradicate "crime
and (anti-white) racism. "
He and the other tradi-
tional politicians who were
his token rivals in the March
24, General Election would
also like to see Dominica's
youth working for the good
of the island under a national
service scheme. They will
have little chance of success
however, until they make
some attempt to curb the
power and wealth of the en-
trenched light-skinned oli-
garchy, stronger in Dominica
than in most other islands,
which has increasingly be-
come the violent target of
popular frustrations.
(Greg Chamberlain)


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CONTRIBUTION CARDS for exchange immediate-
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the law.



IT is nice to have been reviewed
by Tapia(Vol. No.lDat length.
Especially by a researcher who
gave himself more than a year,
during which he uncovered clues
to my poems in snippets of my
prose and (strangely enough) the
reviewing prose of Mr. Gerald
Moore. (Mr. Questel should have
inspected, before borrowing, Mr.
Moore's suggestion that I often
write iambic pentameters: it isn't
Uncharacteristically (according
to the profile Mr. Questel has drawn),
I am taking the risk of making
public comment on his review. I do
so because his review was undoubtedly
serious; and because some of his
criticisms are based on manifest mis-
readings or on inaccurate deductions
about me and my opinions. I want to
set the record straight.


I am not mulatto: I am black,
as were both my parents. For me The
Pond is not "an attempt to explore
the mulatto's attempt to choose his
side." Many choices aren't racial; and
one need not be mulatto to be in-
terested in the difficulty and the
consequences of choosing or of
hesitating to choose.
Mr. Questel displays a naive
tendency to ignore the personae of
my poems and to read all of them as
simply me. This unsubtle approach
might, I suppose, have been less mis-
leading if applied to all the poems.
But Mr. Questel, having evidently
decided that I am less than sympathe-.
tic to blackness, conveniently omits
to mention such poems as "I am the
man", "Rasta Reggae", "Case-History,
Jamaica"; and he gives such poems as
"To an Expatriate Friend" and
"Valley Prince" the limiting inter-
pretations which suit his thesis. When
Mr. Questel is specific about particular
poems he isn't often adequate.
Take "Greatest Show on Earth",

I[Wn an


Mervyn Mo is Replies To

Victor Quesfel's Review

,In Tp VL5N.
TaiaVOS .1

for example, According to Mr. Questel,
the poem suggests that "the concern
of the intellectuals of the Caribbean
with the emotional aspect of black
awareness is one ridiculous circus act."
But where does the poem allude either
to intellectuals or to black awareness?
- Mr. Questel provides no evidence in
support of his very particular reading.
More importantly, the main
point about the apparently daring
circus people in the poem is that
their daring is faked, not real: The
Great Majumboes "feign danger", for
they swing "above the safety nets";
The Mighty Marvo dominates "well-
drugged tigers". A more than casual
reader might perhaps have noticed

that the dwarf also is doing an act.
In "Valley Prince" the woman
"with fire in her belly" is primarily
Don Drummond's common-law wife, a
rhumba dancer: Drummond was
charged with her murder and found
guilty but insane. "Valley Prince" does
not support Mr. Questel's assertion
that "Mr. Morris sees himself as a
victim of a hostile and betraying
society which he once loved." And,
for the record, Mr. Morris does not.
Mr. Questel's extension of
"Journey into the Interior" is instruc-
tive about Mr. Questel's own pre-
occupations in the review. After trying.
to deal with the poem's very evident
concerns, he adds, gratuitously, that

the poem "also summarizes Mr.:Morris's
attitude to the mental journey back to
Africa that many thinking people in
the Caribbean see as important."
Which seems to imply,however vaguely,
that I do not see the mental journey
back to Africa as important. But in
fact 1 do; as some of my verse and
much of my prose attest. (Whether I
would agree with Mr. Questel or any-
body about the personal meaning of
the trip is quite another thing.)
It is a basic weakness of Mr.
Questel's article that, having made a
biased selection from the half a dozen
or so black/white poems in The Pond,
he reads other poems darkly through
the glass of his chosen few. Perhaps
that is why he is the first reviewer to
have had trouble deciding "what The
Pond is all about."


Another basic weakness is that,
although he mentions form (all those
iambic pentameters), Mr. Questel fails
to present in the course of a long
review any of the close analysis
necessary in support of his opinions.
Given his judgement that I am
too often "settling for the more
accepted forms", it might have been
helpful, for example, to have had
some demonstration of the particular
ways in which "Lecture" (which he
says is an attempt "to write .
without some of the well-tried techni-
ques") is a failure.
But such a demonstration might
conceivably have led Mr. Questel to
reflect on whether I seem actually to
have either the talent or the tempera-
ment to write the sort of poem he
would prefer. Then perhaps Mr.
Questel might have had more scrupul-
ously to consider whether The Pond
has achieved anything worthwhile
within its particular limitations.
The cover of The Pond is by
Errol Lloyd. Acknowledgement is
made on the dust jacket of the hard-
cover edition; it was unfortunately
omitted from early copies of the
paperback; later copies make ack-
nowledgement by way of an eye-
catching sticker inside the front

Take Your Stand

On A

Conference Of Citizens

Dear Sir,
ONE of the fundamental
factors setting our country
off balance today is that it
has to suffer a leadership
which (because of the way
it came into power) con-
stantly looks for a quick
solution to every problem.
Mr. Prevatt in the Senate on
1st April highlighted this
when he had the nerve to
cooly dismiss the Tapia pro-
posals as being too long-
The significant point here
is that the problems we face
today are exactly the same
ones we have faced since
1969-70 but only differently
displayed by every sector of
the society in turn since the
beginning of the February
The short term solutions
used since 1970, the States of
Emergency, the attempts at
repressive legislation, the
Prime Minister's Crash Pro-
grammes, the big announce-
ments and billion dollar

budgets have all failed.
And we have to conclude
that pushing a whole series of
short term solutions to try
and' solve what is essentially
a long term problem is
irresponsible government. It
also reflects a degree of
irresponsibility on all of us
citizens for staying silent for
so long.
As I understand it Tapia
is calling a Conference of
Citizens wherein the leaders
in the country can meet and
talk. This means the problems
of the country will first be
outlined, defined, narrowed
down and pinpointed and
that is the first step to the
solution of any problem. (And
what is more, Mr. Prevatt,
that is a short term proposi-
Frank talk is what this
country needs, not double
talk. Man to man talk is what
this country needs, not snip-
ing and bickering and bad
I see the Conference of
Citizens as being a fantastic

forum where (with good un-
censored communications)
the entire country will be
able to follow the proceed-
ings, the debate, the clarifica-
tion of issues, the statements
of differing view points in a
clear and definitive way for
the first time.
Then and only then will
the whole country understand
what is the matter with us,
what the issues really are,
People will decide freely and
frankly which side they are
on on the basis of the pro-
posals put forward and the
country should then be ready
to move ahead with a sense
of confidence in the future.
That sense of confidence
in the future is only attain-
able through free and frank
discussion. Let every man
declare his position, crystal-
lize his feelings and then we
will have light, dismissing the
darkness that now prevails.
All for a Conference of
Citizens, speak up.
Claude Guillaume
St. Anns

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Anson Gonsalves...
I IM %I__I L I I

Over the past five years, we have seen a
number of films produced ih the Caribbean. After a
great deal oY hullabaloo from the Censors, the film
'Bim' opened recently in Port-of-Spain, and this
morning to discuss the film we have in the studio
Gordon Rohlehr and Denis Solomon of the U.W.I.
and Anson Gonzales, writer and teacher. Gordon,
what struck you as the most important aspect of the


Well first of all, there was the question of the
Indian presence in the West Indies, which struck me
very forcible in the opening scene the use, it
seems to me, of genuine pundits; I don't know if they
were genuine but it seemed quite genuine. The way in
which just the realism of the scene came across im-
pressively; it was as if one was recognizing something
which one had been seeing around' one all the time,
or not quite looked at ..... you know; it hadn't
struck one's sensibility in the impressive way that it
came across in the film. This struck me.


Did you find that this was maintained through-
out the film? This sort of authenticity?


No, I feel that the film moved away from
that, because the story was about a movement away
from a relative rural coherence and the movement
away from Hindu society on the sugar plantation.


Denis, perhaps you would like to come in here
on the feeling of the authenticity of the film?


Yes, I think that the film misrepresented the
historical period in which it was set, in an important
way. Now this does not mean that it was a deliberate
misrepresentation, because I think that one of the
great characteristics of this film was its sincerity,
particularly in comparison with things that have
been made in the past, and which shall be nameless;
but I think that there was a fundamental mis-
representation of the conflicts existing in the sugar
belt in an Indian rural society and it was a serious
error because of the fact that everything else, all the
rest of the artistic purpose of the film depended on
it. Now, specifically, it showed that the reason for
which the young man, Bim, was exiled from his own
people and his own area of the country was a con-
flict, a gang-type conflict for control of a sugar
union. I don't believe it was made clear whether it
was a sugar workers' union or a sugar farmers' union.
Now the history of Trinidad, I think, shows that this
is something that could not have taken place:
the Mafia style conflict with shot-gun murders in the
middle of wedding ceremonies and so on, not only
has an unrealistic impact but I don't think can even
be justified in terms of artistic licence, because of the
fact that history has shown that there is so much
impoverishment precisely in the rural areas and in
the sugar industry that this kind of battle just
couldn't take place. I think history has also shown
that the unions, or rather the sugar workers and the
sugar farmers, have been manipulated and have been
exploited from the outside; and that the overall
political struggle even though that in itself is quite
empty in the nation as a whole has to some extent
tried to make use of the sugar unions. Now, the
point is, that it is that kind of disposession and not
that kind of battle for something that is apparently
valuable that causes the kind of dislocation that a
chap like Bim would suffer. It is true that .there are
people who are destitute and young women who
turn to prostitution because of the dislocation and
impoverishment that exists in the country areas; but
the film didn't show it as a sort of structural disposes-
sion; it showed it as the sort of fortuitous result of a
battle between what amounted to gangsters for
control of a union. And I think that this is a serious
misrepresentation of the mores of the Indian com-
munity, and if one is to give Commissioner May his
due, I think that this may have been partly in his
mind when he worried about the effect of the film.


Yes, but I'm wondering whether it is true to

Robert Henry...


(Proceedings From G.B.U Program Foce

A Second Look

say that this type of struggle was not possible in the
period that the film represents; without really wanting
to call names, it is possible to see that there were
feuds, family feuds; they may not necessarily have
had to do simply with the power struggle or a struggle
for a union, but they were definite family feuds or
gang feuds which have ,taken place in Trinidad and in
the sugar belt; and I could see it as being possible for
somebody to have been outlawed from his area
because of this. I mean the question is how seriously
should we take the film only as an attempt to illus-
trate in a realistic way what took place in Trinidad in
a particular period of time.


Actually, for me, bearing in mind that the film
is suggesting things and not 'actually stating, the
realism of that depiction of the violence of the era
comes across quite strongly. There are many incidents
in the film which are repeated history, and to me it
didn't seem at all like fiction. I'm not unduly put out
by that aspect of it, the impoverishment of which
Denis speaks led certain fellas to rise to the top of the
heap and to exert a certain type of power, and these
kinds of conflicts and the ultimate situation, came
out several times from situations like these.


Well, I don't know whether the writer started
off doing a documentary-type film, I'm not sure
whether he said now, 'I want to paint an accurate
picture of what went on 15 or 20 years ago'. But did
you find the situations credible? Were they believ-


Well, no. This is what I'm saying. I am taking
into account the obvious need for exaggeration when
you present something in a film. What I'm concerned
about is not whether he presented a realistic political
picture; what I'm concerned about is the artistic
coherence of the film. And it seems to me that since
everything, every psychological issue that was discus-
sed in the film, every social issue, every political
issue in other words the life of this young man-
depended on a basic realism, a basic historical and
political realism in the depiction of the Indian situa-
tion at that time. I feel that in spite of the obvious
need for exaggeration in a film, this realism was not


Well, if you are to look at the nitty-gritty of
the thing, does it have anything to do with the
dialogue, for instance the dialogue in the film? You
have the writer, you have the actors and you have
the dialogue through which they communicate. Was
the dialogue believable and accurate, as far as the
West Indian situation in Trinidad is concerned?


For the most part I would say yes. When con-
stitutional advancement is coming, great conflicts
took place, and these statements were actually made.


Yes, I think that the dialogue was very accurate
in parts, and not necessarily in the parts that related
to the depiction of the East Indian way of life. But
at the same time I think that the dialogue, taken as a

functional element in the film as a whole, was rather
lacking in sparkle. I think that, for example, the fun-
damental characteristic of dialogue in a film should
be to put the audience into the position of an eaves-
dropper; and it is quite awkward when dialogue takes
place between two individuals in the story about a
subject which they both know very well. In other
words, they are telling each other things of which
they obviously must know, in order to let the audience
in on the secret, and this, I think, is a lack of experi-
ence on the part of the writer. But film is also a very
important artistic medium in this society, or it will
be, for two reasons: one is that people are brought
up on films, it's their mother's milk, and anything
else ..... well not anything else (I'm not talking
about dance and music, I'm talking about theatre,
the legitimate, live theatre) is unreal in this country;
it is unreal anywhere, but it is really characteristic of
a different society. And the thing that makes the
difference between the two media is that film is visual
and that the dialogue is considered tremendously
secondary, whereas in the theatre dialogue is primary.
Now the issues that are likely to be explored and the
stories that are likely to be told in dramatic presenta-
tions, including film, in this country, have to do with
underprivileged and uneducated people, and there has
always been a problem of writing dialogue, of finding
a tone of voice and a language for such people to
speak so that the problems can be explored. This is
not something that is confined to Trinidad; I can
find a quotation even from Bernard Shaw who said
it was impossible. He said flatly, it was impossible.
Now it may not be impossible, but the point is that
you are dealing fundamentally with inarticulate
people, not inarticulate in a certain way, but inarticu-
late in the language that has become the language of
drama; so that it is for this reason that film is very
important for Trinidad & Tobago; and will continue
to be important.


As I see your point of view, from the linguist's
point of view. Could we get your opinions, Gordon,
as far as perhaps, the simpler creative writing point
of view? What did you think of the dialogue of the


Yes, I will agree that it was sufficiently in-
teresting and it had sufficient sparkle to keep one
awake and alive throughout the film, because one of
the things I listen for especially in films like this is
the reaction of the audience and one looks around
to see when they get bored; and if they do get bored,
you get it in terms of comments from all over the
cinema; and there was sufficient interest to keep
people silent. I don't know whether it was the rapidity
with which one switched from one thing to the
other, the way in which the film was in fact a sort of
documentary of somebody's life in which the vignettes
were meant to illustrate a thesis, the thesis being that
the kind of society which we have produced is
likely to produce the kind of person that Bim eventu-
ally turned out to be. Now I will accept Denis' point
that sufficient was not said about Bim's background.
We didn't get the full picture of his life in the
country. We got a very selective picture. The
violence was highlighted, the hypocrisy too because,
in the midst of all of the splendour of the wedding,
we get a murder being planned.
We get this, and then we get flashbacks to r
rural innocence where he is on a donkey with this
girl and so on. I think that inonr- naede ( ,o be given

_ 1 61111 ___


4PIRL 13, 1975

Gordon Rohlehr

is On Arts)


of that background if we were to appreciate the
kinds of changes that the people who made the film
wanted us to appreciate from Bim's impact with the


I would like to comment on that question of
dialogue. I think what weakened it for a lot of us and
what made it lose a lot of its sparkle was the delivery
of the majority of the actors. There were a few
actors who were quite outstanding and yet their
delivery was credible; like Ralph Maraj himself, I'd
say; but we had quite a number of actors saying lines,
and this would weaken a dialogue if you had found it
not quite strong enough for itself, then for the actor
to put it across badly.


Yes, but at the same time, you ask any actor,
and he or she will tell you that there are some lines
that you just cannot say.


There seemed to be quite a large number in
this one.


That's my contention ....

What I would seem to sense from this is that in
fact Maraj seemed to have found more skill in
handling his lines. Would you say this is his experi-
ence as perhaps compared to some of the girls, for
instance, who clearly didn't have the kind of experi-
ence that Maraj had?


I don't know that it was the girls in particular.
I don't recall any girl who did a bad job of speaking.
As a matter of fact, I don't remember which charac-
ters were that much worse than the others; because,
as I say, my contention is that parts of, the dialogue
were bad; but the thing is, I don't think it is really
important to dilate on this, because you must expect
that a film which is a new thing for us, especially
one which requires a large cast and so on you must
expect that there will be a certain amount of amateur-
ism, because we only have an amateur theatre it's
an excellent amateur theatre, but it's amateur so
that I don't think that any critic ought to dwell too
long on the fact that there were certain examples of
amateurism. But what I would like to emphasise is
the fact that they were minimised, and I think that
the director, Hugh Robertson ought to be praised
for this.


It's very interesting you raise the point about
the film being a series of vignettes. I've heard it said
that the continuity in the film left something to be
desired you know, the continuity could have been
a little bit better, it seemed to have been a little bit
patchy in parts. Any comments on this?


Well yes, it may have been that they wanted to
get through a certain amount of material in a certain

...Denis Solomon
Im J


given time though one can argue that in 90
minutes of fairly carefully thought out, worked out
sequences, one could seem to get through even
more, one can seem to cover more ground if one
had worked harder on the business of continuity -
but there were definitely abrupt shifts.
We are asked to accept that Bim could have
become a union leader just like that, because he
assassinated the former wielder of power in the area.


I agree with that, but I think that there are two
sides to this picture. One is the sort of technical
shortcomings of continuity, and I think that was one,
because, after all, a film is a medium in which you
expect that you will make a shift of ten or fifteen
years, provided it is properly managed and I agree
with you that it wasn't properly managed, And there
was another small, technical point I remember in
the nightclub, or rather when he is working for the
captain, Bim tells about how he fell foul of a gangster,
Goldteeth, and he claims that he cut off Goldteeth's
finger. Then you are shown a flashback in which he
is terrorised by Goldteeth. It is a good little sequence
because Ralph Maraj used it very well to show the
remnants of the radiance of boyhood, because he is
caught unawares looking at a show, and Goldteeth
comes and taps him on the back, and he has a beauti-
ful smile on his face and so on; and he is prepared to
be friendly with the whole world, and then he is
suddenly shoved back into this gangster milieu.
It's a good scene, but it's the only scene; at no
other point do you see any indication that he in fact
got his revenge on Goldteeth, which he claims that he
has had he claims that he has cut off his finger. I
think this is just a technical slip. But the other'
question which I think Bob was talking about when
he mentioned continuity was the fundamental deci-
sion that the film-maker had to make as to whether
he was in fact talking, dealing, at a symbolic level or
at a personal level. And this, I think, is a crucial thing
in any artistic production whether in fact you put
enough of the personal in there to make the symbolic
In other words, it is all very well to talk about
films or plays or novels that present, say, the Russian
people,like Boris Godunov, or some large idea. But
the way in which this is presented fundamentally is
always through the identification of people, the
emotional reaction of people to individuals, and, I
believe, they fell down on this.
They couldn't make up their minds whether
they had put in enough of Bim as a boy, as a young
man, and as a man, and enough identification with
the audience with his problems and sufferings to
bring across whatever general points they were trying
to make.


I would say in relation to the general points,
that the general notions of the society as being
capable of defeating the individual is something which
has occurred over and over again in West Indian
literature; and it seems to me to have been the thesis
of the scriptwriter. You'll find it to a large extent in
Roger Mais' "The Hills Were Joyful "Together",
Orlando Patterson's "The Children of Sisyphus",
Naipaul's "Miguel Street", and excellently so in
Naipaul's "A House for Mr. Biswas", where he leaves
the question open to us as to whether this has suc-
ceeded or failed; whether he is a hero or a fool, and
we have ~his thesis. We have a fii:; i k'e "Theh Hard:r
They Come", which seemed to illustrate a similar
thought of thesis, and in the case of Bim this has

been set out. And everything in Bim seemed to me
to be directed towards the end of proving.that this
is what happens.


This is quite an interesting point, because when
I was speaking of continuity, it had also to do with
the shape of the film as an artistic production, and
one or two people have said that it seemed to them
that the film was not coming to grips with the con-
flict, and for the first time Bim was facing a decision,
what was he going to do. Now did you find that the
climax in the film was really a climax? Or, was it
simply in fact an anti climax? Did you find it satis-


I found it more of an anti-climax. It seemed
quite improbable at that time that Bim would have
done what he actually did. The question about this
violent reaction to colonialism there, and calling for
immediate change, which resulted in all this frustra-
tion, didn't seem to me to result in something like
virtual suicide although the Director did not let us
know it is suicide either, but it seemed to me a bit
anti-climactic and a bit unbelievable at that point.


I agree with that. I think that this is tied up
with the concern of the film makers to be making a
serious film. And I believe that somewhere at the
back of their minds was the view that for a. film to
be serious they had to be pessimistic. Now the ques-
tion of pessimistic versus optimistic is one which
cannot be resolved in a film, and to the extent that a
film is a good film, then it is going to leave that
question unanswered.
And I believe that the ending, you know, Bim's
cry of despair which is meant, it seems to me, to
show that he had been defeated by the society or
even to mean that the hope for genuine racial har-
mony is also defeated; I don't know, it depends upon
which level you look at it at that this ending was
not necessarily.justified by the events which had led
up to it. And I believe that this sort of figured in the
minds of the makers of the film as a way of showing
that this was a serious film; and this is also tied up
with an attitude to the society which is not a
justified one that in fact colonialism and neo-
colonialism must batter down-the individual. Now I
think that they could perhaps have had the same
kind of ending which was mechanically and technic-
ally more justified by events in the story, but ironic-
ally that would have meant that it would not neces-
sarily have been so out-and-out pessimistic. There
would have been possibilities that the audience
would have left with in their minds, unresolved
possibilities, and that I think would have been the
criterion of whether the film was really a 'good' film.


I don't know. You see that, again the ending
was part of the thesis, and thesis being that Bim was
virtually bred in an era of bloodshed and this was his
background. Remember when he shoots the gangster,
Baba Charlie, he recalls his father's death. 'Ihis is the
revenge motive, but the idea is that he was nurtured
on this thing and that it cmnes out spontaneously.
The idea, too, was that he retained this single dream
of innocence, namely, this girl whom he didn't want
to see become a prostitute. But, you see, if you do
not give us a Bim who is sufficiently complex, suffi-
ciently various, sooner or later he just becomes the
illustration of this notion that the violence which
you imbibed as a child is going to come our perhaps
spontaneously a little later on. So that it seems from
that point of view it followed from what had gone


Is there any comparison here with "The Harder
They Come'? I mean is it a similar sort of thing?


It is a similar sort of thing, but I think they do
a little more in 'The Harder They Come' to fill up the

Continued on Back Page.

_~L ~ CF~p~adl ~ --rp--~ I II



Another Joker

Scanda ...
Stone ...

A sower;

ah drummer

feel its thunder
in your wrist,

hear the serpent hiss;

so you better watch

better watch yourself
as the eye squints,

the vision becomes less.certain.

It is harder to focus

How each curtain call
contains it all:
the anarchy
the heresy
the republic of lost smiles
and empty eyes,
the waves of enthusiasm
endlessly, endlessly ...

each joker

bread, peace and justice

a piece of the action

new circuses
and fresh bread,

Yeah, fresh
as the wink
hoods know well.

Whisper drummer,
tell the
one track river
of man
the sea's mouth too wide,
what yawns there is
the final grin -

The joker of Civil -
The vision becomes less certain.
It is narder to focus

we learn to dread each
as this theatre eats
our lives.

Feel the bite of another Sharc
as The Joker laughs
the bolom laughs,
the little king
is silent.
The Ace is hood -

he squints again,


here where
hoods and habits

coining and coming
the small folk
in the small hours
for a larger money belt.

watch yourself old man

as you move from
to rag-bone man
the ace, the arse
the dead
learning stumbling tricks
to sell cut-cloth,
and broken-glass.

the joke could be
on you
on me;

it is harder to focus now
Let me wipe those
jumbie beads of
as you join
that bill-board
with its fine sweat
of stars.

Canga must speak no word.

but those hooves,
listen you ace,
those hooves.

Whose pledge the
knights of Burundi
keep now

The Joker
appears on the horizon,
and the lil'sun-
.cracks his funny silence?

Victor D. Questel.


The Joker

Of Seville

Dear Sir,

I AM still not sure whe-
ther to take the play
seriously or merely to
allow my body to con-
tinue to absorb the
the contents of my experi-
ence at the Little Carib
Theatre, while attending
the Joker of Seville.
It is as if I am compelled
to sit here and write as I
think through the experience
provided by Derek Walcott,
Gait MacDermot, June Nath-
aniel, Carol LaChapelle, Nigel
Scott and the whole cast oi
Actors, Dancers, Musicians
and Audience which has made
the experience almost immor-
tal No! 'We cannot
believe that death is champ-
ion ... .' in this experience.
It is one of those moments
which will live on in my life
and which will continue to be
a source of joy for me! In
truth the 'Joker is really the
boss .. for he: can
change to elation each grave
I am not a qualified
artist, and so I feel incom-
petent to truthfully assess the
quality of a Music, Poetry,
Dance and Action which had
gripped me for one of the
swiftest and most comfort-
able three hours on a bleacher
seat ever!
When a person enters an
experience and is asked to
give his whole self to what he
is experiencing it is not likely
he will be able to do so.
When, however, after the
experience he has discovered
that he had given his whole
self and is just as exhausted
and fulfilled as the actors or
the musicians or the dancers
..he is silent! he can't
speak! He utters nonsense!
Upon reflection he may
be tempted to say with Don
Juan 'for once around is
ground enough ...' but he
soon realises that the only
maiden he has pleased is his
own insatiable desire for
satisfaction and fulfillment
However, this is one

maiden from whom we can-
not be separated.
The poetry of Derek
Walcott has always been a
mystery to me he has a
way of using words to speak
about realities in a form that
almost no other Caribbean
poet has as yet surpassed:
'... they
Say Columbus find this place
By accident, he lucky, same
accident in our case
except all drown, but not me,

He is able to touch the
features of the external land-
scape of our society and the
inner spirit of our people with
an accurateness that compels
the other to attention and


And so natural is his art
and so precise his touch that
it is only long after does the
other realise that he had
listened and responded.
His interpretation of
themes like Religion (christi-
anity), Colonisation, the Don
Juan Mentality, the concept
of Freedom and our people's
relationship with the dead are
all gems of a literature that
is now coming out of its
womb and finding its own
They represent the clas-
sical poetry of a man whose
grace is wisdom and 'whose
heart has a right to its own
It represents a tradition
that will forever be handed
down through endless genera-
tions by a people who cannot
accept that death is champ-
ion and whose belief that
resurrection will come is
matched by their effort to
immortalise a prophet and a
sage of the calibre of Derek
I cannot say much for
Gait MacDermot, except that
his relationship with Derek
Walcott will make him into
one of the greatest com-
posers of our area.
The genius of the musical
direction of June Nathaniel

is again a haunting experience
S.... She has the capacity
to bring the best out of musi-
cians who are subject to the
ordinary feelings of tiredness
and exhaustion night after
night and the majesticall way
she controls the time to
allow our bodies to move in
Rhyme' makes me realise
that in this woman we have
a treasure beyond price!
The Dancers! ... Carol La4
Chapelle seems capable of
almost a miracle Is she La
Divina Pastora who can take
a person's heart to that peace
that leaves emotion far
Their movement is like
to the river Manzanares -
while they are there you are
there with them and once
they are gone . there is
no turning back!
They seem to reach out
of their bodies as if to watch
and supervise their own move-
ments with a completeness
that goes 'beyond correc-
tion and points to the
promised land'.
The actors represent the
trancendence of reality as
Don Juan indicated in the
play they don't seem
to be real and all souls night
is not the best night to be
acting anyway! The way they
participate in what they are
acting out is a challenge to
the audience to become as
equally involved in what is
Nigel Scott must have a
share in some hypostatic
union by which the nature of
a realm is completely one
with the nature of the part
he plays.

I have said little...
there is much more to be
said .. ..
We are on our way ....
and like the river Man-
zanares ...
we have one track...
into the promised land...

Christian Pereira




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_ _



In Trinidad & Tobago

When speaking of Multi-
national Corporation and
their roll in Trinidad and
Tobago, many people even
those fighting for profit
sharing and ownership do
not seem to know for sure
the real benefits gained by
our people and our country
from these Corporations and
also the true benefits derived
by these Corporations from
our country. I do not know.
Do you?
If you do please inform
the nation before it is too
late. Mr. Jimmy Bain, Chair-
man of State owned Board
of Directors of Trinidad and
Tobago Television and 610
Radio said in parts: We have
to import $500m worth of
food we consume; at the
moment there is only an
additional 250,000 acres of
lands in which to produce it
and this cannot produce it;
therefore we must have a very
big food bill.
Texaco has said that "Texaco
pays high wages with good
fringe benefits and job
security and invest more in
the country than the profits
made here. Are these state-
ments true? What do you
think? If you think different
can you tell the nation? One
of the main point here is why
it must be Mr. Jimmy Bain
telling us these things and not
those more involved? What
do you think? What have you
got in mind to do or say
about this?
In the light of all these
what is really gained from
"State Ownership"? In this
struggle for Ownership by the
workers or Profit sharing or
demands for 147%, go-slow,
strikes work to rule etc., will
continue or stop? If they
continue what benefits will
be gained if any. Can you
explain this? If so do so to
the Nation.
There is a great deal of
responsibility lacking in our
workers and also those in
authority. The Politicians are
spurring this on instead of
curbing it. Many of our
subordinates believe that
there should be a better ex-
ample coming from people in
authority. They believe that
those in authority do not
show responsibility. This
produces a reaction which
makes subordinates do mini-
mum and expect the maxi-
If we can try to create a
truely just society our sub-
ordinates will find themselves
as being part of the society,
whose welfare is sought and
respected. To day the com-
mon man (The Public) tended
to be over individualistic and
follow the example of the
person in authority, not
realising the importance of
their responsibility and con-
tribution to society and to
the country.
What is your and your
organisation responsibility
and contribution with regards
to the "State of our Notion"
at this time? Those of you

who are Poli icians must do
more. By yourselves you are
not doing enough to make
your presence felt and there-
fore you must get together
quickly before it is too late.
Time is short and so is life so
if you want to beat time and
help lives act now.
To the Inter Religious Or-
ganisation I am appealing to
you mostly because you have

Sintr ern ionl


more souls to save than any
other organlisations, in fact,
you are dedicated to the
saving of souls and if you
fail in this you will be failing
God. You as anyone else
must step in and do some-
thing tangible about the
C Clarke
79 Cedar Drive

SUNDAY APRIL 13, !1975

Call For

The National
Commercial Bank
of Trinidad & Tobago

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For Consciousness
Old plantation wither,
factory close down,
brothers of the country
raising cane in town.
And now them in the city
sweating blood them find
is just like the same system
then mean to left behind:
but agents of the owners them
is harder now to sight -
plenty busha don't ride horse,
and some don't think them white.
In the new plantation story
first thing that have to know
is who and who to tackle
when the call to battle blow.
Mervyn Morris



a a m Amh AMA


IN one of his most ruth-
less power-plays to date.
Williams has risen from
the dead. Meanwhile the
obscurantists and prota-
gonists of infantile dis-
order were busy dreaming
that he was under the care
of -a psychiatrist, that he
was unable to contain the
opposition from the Board
of Caroni (front which
oddly, not a single resigna-
These political infants
have been approaching
Tapia with the fanciful
notion that the entire
Cabinet stood in opposi-
tion to the Prime Minister
and wanted him to settle


up with Shah. They con-
veniently forget that only
a few short weeks ago
their ardent rumour was
that the same Cabinet had
declared a State of Emer-
gency only to be blocked
by Ellis Clarke.
The plain fact is that
conventional political op-
position has been out-
manoeuvred by Williams
again. The United Labour
Front is neither united nor
labour but largely an


S'O I'~

From Page 1.
national consensus.
Without such means,
the flowering of com-
munity opinion, so marked
in the newspapers since
the current crisis has
broken, can find no outlet
in decision to bind the
nation and avoid continu-
ing (if not escalating)
The Prime Minister's
handling of constitution
reform has made it
patently clear that he has
no interest in national
In the struggle for a
new world in Trinidad and
Tobago the present Gov-
ernment is clearly aligned
with the Multinational
Corporations as evidenced
by the sinister plan to
bring in Tenneco and
Kaiser and all the rest even
to take over agriculture
and the land.
When the common
people no longer hear you
gladly, the State Machine
and Corporations seem so
much more attractive as
the pillars of power.


There will be conciha-
tion on the fundamental
constitution questions
only as a matter of ex-
pediency in little driblets
of controlled participation.
There will be no honest
room for the involvement
and participation of other
opinion on an equal basis
with that of the Doctor.
That is not how the Gov-
ernment's bread is but-
The third option will
therefore be the one
chosen by the Govern-

ment: tactical alleviations
of popular distress and
waiting for opposition to
make mistakes. In the
meantime The golden rule
is that possession is nine
points of the politics.
The Government will
hold on to the State for
dear life in the hope that
the conventional opposi-
tion will prevail. The
political pot will boil from
time to time with an
audience of eager crowds.
It will boil over every time
in futility and debility
and impotence.
And the corporations
will see how the natives,
huff and puff as they
may, will in the last
analysis be disciplined now
by a whiff of grapeshot;
now by thirty sheckles of
silver, now by more gas or
more sugar; now by new
perspectives for a new
And the corporations
will know that their em-
pires are safe and there
will be no need to call the
marines whenever the
Fe bruary Revolution
threatens to overthrow the
That is the plan to
manage these powerless
blacks. And come Friday
and Sunday, we will doubt-
less hear the details elabor-
ated by the Doctor of
Laws. It is a beautiful
One rider. Standing in
the way is permanent,
professional, political or-
ganisation; rational, secu-
lar, unhysterical; enjoying
no vast multitude, making
no large claims but crystal
clear on the options. Will-
ing, able and ready to
fight to the finish; to
battle the Death.


attempt by extremely con-
ventional political mani-
lators to find a short-cut to
political office by
gambling with the
yearnings of the workers
in oil and sugar for justice,
peace and bread.
So far there has been
no attempt at a clear and
honest statement of the
valid connection between
the industrial disputes and
the wider political struggle;
there is an abundance of
agitation but not much
discernible political educa-
Too much of the
operation is an exercise in
manipulation by some
who are trying to organise
another quick-quick politi-
cal party before the end of
the sugar crop. Consulta-

tion with the workers iS
merely a matter of
extorting acclamation
from Sunday morning
crowds as against educa-
tion and organisation at
the level of Union
The political method is
a combination of agitation,
confrontation and brink-
manship with little con-
cept of, or interest in,
disciplined long-t e r m
struggle based on perma-
nent political organisation
of a genuine and open
labour party. Such a party
requires community life in
the Unions and service to
the workers in between'
the three-year bargains for
Lacking a genuine base
in the organised politics

of labour, the United
Labour Front has adopted
a completely incoherent
political platform on
which all kinds of political
wagon-riders have found it
possible to jump -
Millette, Robinson, Jama-
dar and even Ashford
Sinanan it seems.
What Williams has been
able to outmanoeuvre is
but another example of
colonial protest politics,
devoid of any idea of how
to mobilise for inning
political office and there-
fore capable only of be-
traying faceless crowds.
This is the kind of
politics from which the
present government will"
always emerge the winner
because it is the politics
of which Williams is clearly
the acknowledged master.

From Page 5. A Second Look At


Is this the difference then?


I think there is that differ-
ence, and there is another
difference in 'The Harder
They Come', in that 'The
Harder They Come' is very
very realistically rooted in the
business of the evolution of
music in Jamaica in the sixties,
and we had the creativity, in
other words, of the term 'The
Harder They Come', growing
out of the whole ethos of
violence. Take the steelband,
for example, see it in a one-
minute vignette in 'Bim'. You
don't have any real focus-on

this thing as something which
grew out of the pressures of
the urban violence. It some-
how seems to be there for no
particular reason. Now in 'The
Harder They Come', this is a
very central feature of the
thing, so we can expect, we
can understand the frustration
of the hero, and we can under-
stand why he has to turn to
fantasy, in a way in which it is
never quite made clear in

Yes. An interesting point
about the music. What do you
think was the function of the
music or how did it perform

on film? Was it obtrusive, was
it good, was it acceptable?

Well, I really couldn't com-
ment. I wasn't particularly im-
pressed by the music, in thal
I had this major problemabout
knowing all the actors.

Finally, do you think this
film has been a step forward,
as far as Trinidad and Tobago'
is concerned?

Definitely. No question of