Citation
Solomon is valuable to our literature

Material Information

Title:
Solomon is valuable to our literature
Series Title:
Trinidad Guardian Reporting on Prime Minister, Dr. Eric Williams
Creator:
Phelps, Karen
Publisher:
Trinidad Guardian
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
1981
Language:
English
Physical Description:
Book

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Williams, Eric Eustace, 1911-1981
Caribbean
Trinidad Guardian
Solomon, Patrick
Mahabir, Winston
Newspapers -- Caribbean
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- Trinidad and Tobago -- Caribbean -- Trinidad -- Port of Spain

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
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Resource Identifier:
UF00085486

Full Text










Trinidad Guardian Reporting 1981 March 31
USED WITH PERMISSION





'Solomon' is valuable



to our literature


BY KAREN PHELPS
BIOGRAPHIES have
ways emod popularity.
Bde~aarstamd so, for ma
-
seade they are e ted
reveal intimate details
ant the subject's private
Swell as public life.
Indeed, since most of the
tbc ife might already be
Jll known and in any case
uld be available in records
id newspaper reports, it is
e private side of an
dividual that makes most
Bgraphies interesting.
Biographies of
inidadians are relatively
w, but we do have some to
* going on with. We have
4d "Inward Hunger" by
*. Eric Williams, "Through
Maze of Colour" by Albert
>mes, "In and out of
flitics" by Dr. Winston
ahabir, and now
;olomon" by Dr. Patrick
lomon.
It is not really surprising
at to date we have had
ree autobiographies from
at small clique which
unded the People's
ttional Movement, 25
ars ago.
Lf most politicians in the
ist, including Albert
>mes assume that their
'es are bound to be
teresting, then PNM
liticians must imagine
at their lives are larger
an life itself.
rhat Williams, Mahabir
d Solomon were on the
found floor, so to speak,
ien the PNM began,
makes their story all the


more significant, but their
membership of a party that
has left its mark on the life
of this comutry is not the
only iting tiese three
biographers have in
common.
When he wrote "Inward
Hunger," Dr. Williams
cleary intended that no one
should be left in any doubt
as to his brilliance. The
story was the classic one
with 'humble beginning sell-
ing bread for his mother,
and rising to the most
powerful position in the
Coming later with their
own stories, Mahabir and
Solomon were not to be
found wanting. Mahabir
suffered a childhood plagued
with bookworm and malaria
but grew up to become a
medical doctor and a
Minister of Government to
boot.
In relating an incident at
a certain political meeting
he recalls: "As I sat down
there.was an outpouring of
sustained applause. As I
walked away someone said


to me. 'Doc, .your silver
tongue is the greatest.."
Now we have Solomon
writing on Solomon.and we
learn that he escaped the
ravages of the malnutrition
diseases, although he was
one of nine children. Clearly
he was a cut above the
other two, for he got
pneumonia. There was no
question of selling bread or
cakes either, and Solomon's
father was.a "connoisseur of
wines, possessing many
social graces.'
In time, too, Solomon
achieved fame, if not
fortune or wisdom, and was
able to demolish his
principal enemy Norman
Tang, whom he described as
"a parish-pump politician."
The a~ Solomon
autobiographyT reveals a
great deal about the
personality of Eric Williams
and his dealing with his
colleagues, showing in many
instances a ruthlessness
that some might still find
surprising.
For example, Dr. Solomon
writes about that














Trinidad Guardian Reporting 1981 March 31
USED WITH PERMISSION



'Solomon' is valuable to our literature


BY KAREN PHELPS

BIOGRAPHIES have always enjoyed popularity. Understandably so, for in essence they are expected
to reveal intimate details about the subject's private as well as public life.

Indeed, since most of the public life might already be well known and in any case should be available
in records and newspaper reports, it is the private side of an individual that makes most biographies
interesting.

Biographies of Trinidadians are relatively few, but we do have some to be going on with. We have
"Inward Hunger" by Eric Williams, "Through Maze of Colour" by Albert Gomes, "In and out of politics" by
Dr. Winston Mahabir, and now "Solomon" by Dr. Patrick Solomon.

It is not really surprising that to date we have had three autobiographies from that small clique
which founded the People's National Movement, 25 years ago.

If most politicians in the past, including Albert Gomes assume that their lives are bound to be
interesting, then PNM politicians must imagine that their lives are larger than life itself.

That Williams, Mahabir and Solomon were on the ground floor, so to speak, when the PNM began,
makes their story all the more significant, but their membership of a party that has left its mark on the
life of this country, is not the only thing these three biographers have in common.

When he wrote "Inward Hunger," Dr. Williams clearly intended that no one should be left in any
doubt as to his brilliance. The story was the classic one with humble beginning selling bread for his
mother, and rising to the most powerful position in the land.

Coming later with their own stories, Mahabir and Solomon were not to be found wanting. Mahabir
suffered a childhood plagued with hookworm and malaria but grew up to become a medical doctor and
a Minister of Government to boot.

In relating an incident at a certain political meeting he recalls: As I sat down there was an outpouring
of sustained applause. As I walked away someone said to me. 'Doc, your silver tongue is the greatest."

Now we have Solomon writing on Solomon and we learn that he escaped the ravages of the
malnutrition diseases, although he was one of nine children. Clearly he was a cut above the other two,
for he got pneumonia. There was no question of selling bread or cakes either, and Solomon's father was
a "connoisseur of wines, possessing many social graces."











aj ian

Trinidad Guardian Reporting 1981 March 31
USED WITH PERMISSION


intriguing episode involving
his stepson and the police,
which led eventually to his
resignation from the
Cabinet, and the pressure
that was put on Williams to
bring him back.
And for the first time we
learn the circumstances
surrounding the return of
Dr. Solomon to the Cabinet.
At the time Williams had
given the impression that
he was bringing back
Solomon and "who don't like
it could get to bell out of
here."
Dr. Solomon's version of
events reveals that it was
strong pressure from
Solomon's supporters that
Williams yielded to.
There are revealing
comments on the famous
Cuban missile crisis, the
Civil Service crisis, the car
loans episode, the Public
Library quarrel, and before
all that the heady days of
the founding of the PNM
and the victory of 1956
which heralded the present
regime.
Dr. Solomon's biography is


perhaps more valuable than
either Williams' or
Mahabir's in that it goes
"back in time to the early
West Indian National Party
and the role of men like
A.A.Cipriani "Buzz" Butler
ad the fight against
colonialism and for adult
suffrage which is today not
only taken for granted, but
disregarded if one is to
judge by the poor turn out
of voters.
What emerges strongly
too is Dr. Solomon's
bitterness about Dr.
Williams.
But despite all this there
is a curious omission in Dr.
Solomon's autobiography.
In the foreword, for
example, he tells readers
that having made up his
mind to write, he decided on
an autobiography rather
than just his. political-
memoirs.
So we read of his birth in
Newtown, his schooling at
Tranquillity and St. Mary's
College (where the priests
seemed .somehow to resent


his winning 'an islandd
scholarship), aM'd. his
departure for the UK to
study medicine
.He ip telling as about his
life on campus,, when
suddenly on Page 26, there
is mention .'of ."both my
sons." Throughout te bo
there i4 no reference to a
marriage of any sort,
although there is aweddiag
photographs and 'one
assumes this must be his.
' This seems curious as it is
well known that Dr.
Solomon was married not
once, not twice, ,but diree
times. There are references
to "my family" and "my
wife," and pictures are seen
of three different women
each referred to -as "Mrs.
Solomon."
Apparently only one of
Solomon's wives had a first
name, as one-of the cations
speaks about Mrs.Valedrna
Solomon Dr. Solomon's
second wife. This absence of
any reference to marrae
or useof his wives' names a
peculiar particularly as the
names of- his 'parents, his
brothers and sisters, even
his step-daughter appear in
the text.
The reader must end up a
little confused. Overall,
however, the book is most
worthwhile and interesting
reading and is a valuable
contribution to the
historical literatureM of. ur
time.
(Solomon is an .Inprini
publication).















Trinidad Guardian Reporting 1981 March 31
USED WITH PERMISSION


In time, too, Solomon achieved fame, if not fortune or wisdom, and was able to demolish his
principal enemy Norman Tang, whom he described as "a parish pump politician."

The Solomon autobiography a reveals a great deal about the personality of Eric Williams and his
dealing with his colleagues, showing in many instances a ruthlessness that some might still find
surprising.

For example, Dr. Solomon writes about that intriguing episode involving his stepson and the police,
which led eventually to his resignation from the Cabinet, and the pressure that was put on Williams to
bring him back.

And for the first time we learn the circumstances surrounding the return of Dr. Solomon to the
Cabinet. At the time Williams had given the impression that he was bringing back Solomon and "who
don't like it could get to hell out of here."

Dr. Solomon's version of events reveals that it was strong pressure Solomon's supporters that
Williams yielded to.

There are revealing comments on the famous Cuban missile crisis, the Civil Service crisis, the car
loans episode, the Public Library quarrel, and before all that the heady days of the founding of the PNM
and the victory of 1956 which heralded the present regime.

Dr. Solomon's biography is perhaps more valuable than either Williams' or Mahabir's in that it goes
back in time to the early West Indian National Party and the role of men like A.A. Cipriani, "Buzz" Butler
and the fight against colonialism and for adult suffrage which is today not only taken for granted, but
disregarded if one is to judge by the poor turn out of voters.

What emerges strongly too is Dr. Solomon's bitterness about Dr. Williams.

But despite all this there is a curious omission in Dr. Solomon's autobiography. In the foreword, for
example, he tells readers that having made up his mind to write, he decided on an autobiography rather
than just his political memoirs.

So we read of his birth in Newtown, his schooling at Tranquillity and St. Marrs College (where the
priests seemed somehow to resent his winning an island scholarship), and his departure for the UK to
study medicine.

He is telling us about his life on campus, when suddenly on Page 26, there is mention of "both my
sons." Throughout the book there is no reference to a marriage of any sort,. although there is a wedding
photograph and one assumes this must be his.











tan

Trinidad Guardian Reporting 1981 March 31
USED WITH PERMISSION

This seems curious as it is well known that Dr. Solomon was married not once, not twice, but three
times. There are references to "my family" and "my wife," and pictures are seen of three different
women each referred to as "Mrs. Solomon."

Apparently only one of Solomon's wives had a first name, as one of the captions speaks about Mrs.
Valeriana Solomon, Dr. Solomon's second wife. This absence of any reference to marriage or use of his
wives' names is peculiar, particularly as the names of his parents, his brothers and sisters, even his step-
daughter appear in the text.

The reader must end up a little confused. Overall, however, the book is most worthwhile and
interesting reading and is a valuable contribution to the historical literature of our time.


(Solomon is an Inprint publication).




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