90 ---- -- -- -
80 PNM SUPPORT
70 % OF ELECTORATE
'56 '57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68
TIHF PNM SHIFTING SANDS
by AUGUSTUS RA
After one time is another. The PNM was
on a nationalist wave in an ocean of seem
years, the wave has dissipated in foam. Th
over bar the shouting.
Let the figures speak. It was such a
critical moment in 1956 that 80.1% of
the 'electorate went tfd Have their say.:
Williams and the PNM emerged with
38.7% of the votes, 31% of the voters
eligible. On neither reckoning was a
majority achieved; but it was only a start.
A good start for a new movement.
The Federal Election of 1958 brought
a temporary setback but only in the sense
that the Movement did not win,73.6% of
the electorate voted, an excellent turnout
for such an election. Interest was alive;
the movement was moving.
The PNM gained 117,445 votes, 36
more than the DLP. This was a virtual
dead-heat with each party getting 47.4%
-of the votes cast or 34.9% of the electo-
rate. But the PNM had increased its
support by 8.7% in terms of votes and by
3.9% in terms of electors.
The upswing reached its high point in
the General Election of 1961. Against a
background of tense emotion and racial
stress bordering at times on open vio-
lence, a record 88.11% of the electorate
participated. Williams and his party
gained 20 of the thirty seats and 56.97%
of the votes cast. The DLP received
41.66%. The PNM's share of the electo-
rate was 50.198%, an overall national
majority; the DLP had 36.99%.
It was a big leap. Support had jumped
by 9.57% in terms of votes and by 15.3%
in terms of electors. For the first time,
here was a clear majority of both actual
and eligible voters.
It was the first and last. By 1966, the
tide had turned with a Vengeance. "Ten
Years of Progress", the boast of the
party, had precipitated the nation into a
trough of despond. More than anxious
s founded in January 1956.It rode to power
ingly revolutionary fervour. In the thirteen
e golden promise was mere rehtoric. It is all
about its prospects, the Government
openly gerrymandered, fixing the bound-
aries good an'd proper: The PNM obtained
24 seats, the DLP 12. The result was
hailed by the media as a triumph for
parliamentary democracy and the two-
Let us not dispute such empty
rhetoric. Triumph or no triumph for dem-
ocracy, the facts reveal great losses for
the PNM. And that is what is relevant.
The country wants to know the trends;
the population wants to average the
chances for the coming round.
The emergence of a rash of new parties
was ominous. All was not well in lere.
Little interest could be kindled among
the people. Only 65.79% of the eligible
voters turned out, a fall of 22.32% from
the glorious heights of 1961. This was
indeed the lowest turnout since the first
General Election under Adult Suffrage in
1946. Then, the participation had been
52.9%; in 1950, it had reached 70.1%.
A low turnout. Yet the number of
electors for this 1966 election had in-
creased by 81,328 persons over 1961.
However, people were so fed up that
30,964 fewer persons voted in 1966.
There is more. The decline in political
interest was matched by a decline in the
support for the major political contest-
ants. The PNM gained 52.41% of the
votes cast, a drop of 4.6%. The DLP
slipped even more to 33.98%, a drop of
7.7%. In terms of the whole electorate,
the PNM lost its majority. Support drop-
ped steeply from 50.2% to 34.4%, a loss
of 15.8%. The DLP plummetted to 22.3%,
13.7% loss. An odd vote of confidence in
the two-party theatre.
The worse was still to come. In 1968,
the Local Government Elections were
held. They so confirmed the downward
trend in voter interest and revealed such
continued on back page
When over-centralized regimes crack-up and new movements begin to
arrive on the political stage, the rulers panic. If the new movements have
no capacity for organisation, they fade away as quickly as they come. The
Caesar then breathes a sigh of relief and reverts from his flutter of dis-
quiet, back to the vacuous rituals and the habitual claptrap.
If the new movements do have the energy, the will and the intelligence
to organise, the tin god cannot return to the settled routines. The com-
munities begin to stir, lighting flames throughout the land. Fire for the
Caesar to out.
For a time, the quality of new movements remains obscure. Bad
pennies and good pennies jingle gaily together as if all of vintage coin. But
soon the sterling must reveal itself in the test of common use.
The movement that will achieve
popular currency has to be articulate and
clear. It has to express the frustrations of
the past and command the hopes of the
future. Above all, it must perceive the
concrete possibilities of the present. If its
leaders call tunes, the Caesar must dance.
When they name the shots, their associ-
ates must play them. And so the game
In the early stages, there appears to be
rain, no play. Organisation by its nature,
courts no great publicity. Besides, new
movements do not simply play well, they
also change the rules. The less perceptive
observers therefore look in vain for the
new to re-trace the steps of the old.
That does not happen. When fresh
movements mimic has-beens, they be-
come by that fact, old movements. Cer-
tain figures and movements do re-appear
on the historical stage; the first time it is
tragedy, after that, farce.
Fresh political movements are every-
where abroad in Trinidad & Tobago to-
day. We shall see how they develop. The
question for the moment is: what will
The popular answer is that he will call
an early election and win. Some pundits,
not distinguished for the power of their
analysis, have suggested that if the PNM
were to survive the next election, the new
movements will simply fade away for
lack of energy and patience.
That is an illusion. The elders of the
new generation are between thirty and
thirty-five. They are at the height of their
powers. They have considered the offer
to get to hell out of here and have
decided who will be the taker. They are
not going a place. Nor is the country
going to run away. The game has only
Williams is unlikely to be taking any
over-simple view of the future. It is true
that he lacks judgement and cool he
panicked over the Federal election of
1958, over Chaguaramas in 1960, over
the truculence of the labour movement in
1963, over the Solomon affair in 1964,
over James in 1965, and over the Finance
Act in 1966. It is also true that he has
few insights into the movement of Carib-
bean society he not only bungled
Chaguaramas and Federation and esta-
blished an incredibly inapposite State at
independence, but also persists in denying
local initiatives at all levels: in the Civil
Service, in education, in community de-
velopment, in regional affairs such as
BWIA, and so on.
Williams does not understand what the
colonial past means to the Caribbean
people. If his policies at home and in the
West Indies leave room for doubt, his
handling of Cuba settles the dispute. H e
has dismissed the Cuban leadership as a
bunch of middle class misfits these men
who have generated impassioned res-
ponses throughout the world. He does
not see that the Cuban predicament is
also his and ours, and that the mistake of
Chaguaramas has led us all into the, same
trap: East or West? We ought to be look-
ing at neither.
Yet Williams is a political animal. He
must have a good nose. He must scent the
change of wind. We can assume therefore
that he is calculating as indeed, we all are.
He may not have the technical com-
petence to run this country and retrieve
his difficult situation, but he can surely
master the plain facts.
What will he deduce from an analysis
of political trends? Since the tunes have
got to be called, I will answer for him. He
has to conclude that every day he waits,
the enemy is entrenching further; the
population is forging new loyalties.
He has no party to speak of. His
stunted organisation has had to be "re
-organised" many times over-right up to
the Convention of 1968. It is rather like
being able to give up smoking easily and
doing it every week.
The party was founded on two pillars:
the leader's charisma and the programme
for Federation, Independence, political
education and morality in public affairs.
The programme has long gone by the
board and has been replaced by the
patronage of the Government.
Some see this patronage as decisive
especially since it lends the appearance of
community organisation. There is no
question that it is important. A Govern-
ment in office has many levers to pull -
levers which Gomes did not, have when
Williams arrived. We did not then have
responsible government; the Governor
was still in charge.
Yet the receivers of patronage know
that in the algebra of politics, favours are
a constant. If this administration has it,
the next administration will have itotoo.
Couteau pharmacie! Cuts both ways.
continued on page 3
FUND-RAISING DANCE POETRY READING MOONLIGHT THEATRE
91,Tunapuna Road, Tunapuna.
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ST A P IA is published by The Tapia House Publishing Company Limited, 91a Tunapuna Road, Tunapuna, Trinidad
The solutions which the Tapia House is espousing are not feasible for a
movement which simply controls the instruments of the State. The
movement must also enjoy power and moral authority in the community.
It must have the trust, the confidence and the support of large sections of
the population of all classes, ages, races and colours. It must not take
office just to get rid of the old order; it must also be clear about what it
wants to do. It must be united on the programme for change.
No such movement exists in the country today. The question is: how
do we create such a movement?What are the proposals for positive
The experience of the last fifteen years holds the answer. We know now
that movements in office can only achieve what they have prepared
themselves to do beforehand. How you make up your bed, so will you lie
down. It is an illusion to think that we can be slackers and laggards, fat
heads and duncy-heads now, and that the mere taking of office will
somehow transform us into dedicated hardworking, competent and
seasoned users of power. It is clear too, that the country cannot be
re-organised by one man and his dog not even if he begins with a large
and sympathetic following.
No, we have to beware of movements and men who canvass change
without tears. There is no easy way. The road forward is through
discipline, routine, unceasing initiative and patient slogging. Above all, we
need comprehensive organisation. Even then, there is no guarantee of
complete success. We can only play for progress, in the certain knowledge
that we too will make errors. In this perspective positive action seems to
suggest two parallel tasks. The first is hard thinking about the issues, the
second community organisation of practical projects.
We need analysis of what we are about. It is not enough to be
discontented and angry. Indignation may help; but it cannot by itself
yield clear objectives, adequate strategies and tactics, and feasible
programmes of action.
First, we need analysis of our historical experience. In that we will find
much needed knowledge about ourselves, our past frustrations, the hopes
we have cherished. There we will discover the basis of our divisions, the
source of our degradation and with those, the understanding and insight
for forging real unity and for elevating the community spirit. By searching
into what has shaped us and by exploring the successes and failures of the
men and movements who went before us, we will learn both how to take
opportunity and to respect limitation. Above all, by putting past
achievements in their historical context, we will learn charity, humility,
tolerance and even generosity. These are attributes we are going to need in
particularly large measure when we come to assume the responsibility.
Not least, we need analysis of the present. The Gods do set limits on
what men can do; but the world is still run by men. Men's actions have
consequences some intended,many not.We therefore have to study what
men are doing so as to unravel what is going on and to determine what we
can do about it. Unemployment, inequality, frustrated independence, all
have causes; they also have remedies. We must know the facts that are
bearing on them from inside and from outside. This calls for hard and
unrelenting vigilance, study, reading, listening, observation and reflection.
In short, there is no getting away from work, no substitute for industry.
Yet, intellectual insight is one thing, psychological and moral
engagement quite another. Understanding alone does not move men to act
though one suspects that to act wisely, it is vital. But to act at all, an
almost religious experience is essential.
One way of playing for such an experience is through the organisation
of community activity. There are concrete tasks to be undertaken in
solving community problems: in education, in sport, in drama, in public
affairs, in community improvement schemes. There are sou-sou
investment clubs to be founded and run; public baths and toilets,
television and washing-machine centres to be constructed; steelbands to be
organised. We can do with feeding centres for the unemployed, the old
and the destitute; community centres for the needs of the citizens as
distinct from the needs of the rulers; associations of parents and teachers;
indeed, the entire apparatus of informal local government. Our history
demands these efforts; our present circumstances impose them.
We need trades unions. We do have some which are powerful, energetic
and which are rising to the needs of the working people. But even these
are still in need of help; help not by imposing ourselves on them and
telling them what to do, but by advice and example.
The value of all this community organisation is that it will help us to
win our confidence in doing. This country needs that confidence. Our
continuing reliance on foreign help in every conceivable field has brought
us to a state of almost complete demoralisation. We have to regain and
then retain the initiative in our own affairs. We have to take charge.
Moreover, community organisation has the advantage of being
unostentatious. It requires no doctor pronouncements. Histrionics and
platform rhetoric do not cut any ice when there is work to be done.
Indeed, the kind of judgement which is formed by quiet work is precisely
what equips us to distinguish between authentic, instructive and edifying
analysis and mere rabble-rousing rhetoric. To make the choices that we
will soon have to make, we sorely need such discrimination.
What is more, community organisation lifts the spirit of the people. It
cannot be supressed by being defined as subversive, naive and idealistic.
The only thing it is idealistic about is the creative potential of the people.
The only thing that it subverts is the degraded consciousness formed by
centuries of imperial bullying and brutality and years of neo-colonial
domination and duplicity. The only way it can be controlled is by good
government, good government which will canalise these same energies into
collaborative effort and positive action on behalf of the entire nation. The
people of Laventille are right now demonstrating the creative power which
can be unleashed once the popular spirit has been emancipated and
popular resources harnessed for co-operation and re-construction.
But we are not now in a position to enjoy good government. The work
for that is only now being done. We at the Tapia House in Tunapuna have
been laying some of the foundations. We have meetings every Thursday
night when we discuss. We have built a Moonlight Theatre for drama in
the open air. We are associated with a steelband and a football club for
young men. We are organising a Sou-Sou Investment Club to raise money
to start business and create employment. We are establishing an
Examination Authority to break the strangle hold of the GCE. We are also
associated with similar groups in other parts of the country.
Our community work is based on two principles which we are
advocating for the nation as a whole. First, work must be directed towards
needs that are already clear to people at the grass roots. Secondly, it must
aim to build with resources which are already available. Our House
demonstrates that we have no grandiose schemes of waiting for outside
capital to promote our development. Utopia is out. The principle is to
start with what you have and expand by effort. That is how we started
less than a year ago.
The work to be done will vary from place to place and from group to
group. It depends on where you are, the kind of community you want to
service, the kind of skills you have and so forth. Organisation on this basis
rules out any attempt by Doctors to impose plans from above. Yet it
admits collaboration between groups. We welcome to the movement all
those community organizations which are committed to self-help and
prepared to take positive action.
THE TAP/A HOUSE GROUP: 8:00 P.M. THURSDAYS 91 TUNAPUNA ROAD, TUNAPUNA
THE TAPIA HOUSE
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continued from page one
Patronage does not win more than the
illusion of political support. Those who
receive benefits have their political loyal-
ties. It is when their loyalties are to some-
thing else that the administration has to
reward them. It also has to calculate what
the deal means. I am calculating where
the majority of the Civil Servants stand
and I am not crying. The ironic thing
about the dispensers of political favour is
that it is difficult for them to judge their
support. Everybody skins teeth with
them. Office provides levers but it also
erects blinds. The doctor-shop Knife
The programme has gone, the patron-
age is problematic Only the charisma is
left was left. We are fast eroding what
remains of it as we expose the incapacity
of the PNM to cope with the problems of
No party. The DLP would be better
off if, within the limits of its theatrical
and nonsensical politics, it played its
cards close to the chest. That party had
two assets. The first was Capildeo's
charisma which, contrary to much pop-
ular patter, survives. It survives precisely
because he is not undertaking any con-
crete political tasks. He does not put him-
self to the test. The genius of science is
The second asset of the DLP is Maraj's
religious apparatus. It is this and not so
much race, which has held Indians to-
gether. The Muslims have been more flex-
ible. Maraj's organisation resembles the
organization which Cipriani created and
Butler along with men like Rienzi,
O'Connor and even Rojas, later de-
The religious network is like the
labour union network. It is ideal for
politics in which control of the State is
not on the cards whether because the
rules exclude responsible government as
before 1956, or because the party is irres-
ponsible as with the DLP. Religious and
labour organisation is ideal because it has
to exist in any case for other than
political purposes. But it is permanent, it
is available for political use from time to
time. Groups which are interested mainly
in elections posess there the perfect in-
Political parties are full-time political
instruments. Their business is to remain
alive in the constituencies whatever may
be happening to the government and to
the elections. The PNM made a move to-
wards such organisation but James has
made it clear that the child was doomed
from early and none of Williams' bran-
dishing surgery has ever suggested that
the poor infant will be saved.
There has been a lot of jejeune talk
about the case for a new party. But the
fact is that there exists no political party
in this country now. If Williams does not
know that, the new movement certainly
does. But he must know it, it is safe to
assume. With the new movement organi-
zing, he must strike early. The plan is to
buy time in which to reorganize the party
once and for all, to get the Civil Service
and the country working, to introduce a
programme more suited to the new gene-
ration and of course, to put the new
movements to the test of survival.
On the surface, that is a reasonable
strategy. Politicians, like engaged couples,
are inclined to believe that after the
marriage, things will work out. But they
seldom do. The legacy which the PNM
will carry into the future will hardly
permit reorganisation of the Civil Service
or the party or any winning of the youth.
More likely it will lead to a tougher
The regime will become more tough
because it will become more self
righteous; and because it will meet more
resistance. We therefore risk a trend to-
wards Duvalierisme especially since the
attempt to attract the youth could lead
to the PNM to adopt a sort of inauthentic
The trends in these directions are
already clear. The Third Plan has made a
shift towards policies of national
economic independence on paper; it talks
much of the language of the new move-
ment. On the other side, we cannot forget
the Commission of Enquiry into Subver-
sive Affairs, Massa Day Done and Get to
Hell Out of Here. There is an ominous
ring to these incidents. Under stress,
Williams has revealed some extraordinary
attitudes. We must remember them.
A trend towards a tough regime. It
might be argued that the coming oil
bonanza might so ease things up as to
arrest any such trend. It seems a fair
But while pamphleteers might jump to
the conclusion that it is hope for the
administration, historians will recall how
many governments even regimes have
fallen when the economy has recovered
from a long.period of jogging along. The
PNM itself came in on the oil boom of
the 50's. With money in its pocket, the
population feels freer to abandon the old
horses and more willing to mount the
In any case, it will take another seven
years or so before oil starts to yield real
gold. Presumably the government can
mortgage the future by borrowing today
on the collateral of tommorow. Presum-
ably. But the problem of immediate sur-
vival remains. We must therefore anti-
cipate the early election.
PNM CHANCES 1970
What are the chances of stopping the
PNM if the vote is called before say, June
Figures presented in this paper suggest
that the hard-core support of the PNM
may not be sufficient to see Williams
home even if he called the election now.
Popular ignorance of electoral trends has
admitted the view that the PNM is un-
beatable. But with the clarity we are now
getting, it is possible to make sounder
Williams was booed in his own con-
stituency during the election of 1968 and
felt the need to call off the campaign for
a while. What seems like hard-core sup-
port amounted to only 17.9% of the
electorate. This is admittedly a low figure
because of popular disregard for the
County Councils. Let us therefore double
Trouble, even then; 36%. But that is
not all. It needs to be pointed out that a
shift of only six seats would be sufficient
to prevent the PNM from continuing to
govern this country.
What are the prospects of shifting six
seats? The data reveal that there are
enough marginal constituencies to war-
rant an optimistic view particularly since
the young people are likely to play a
decisive role in the outcome of the
On the basis of the 1966 statistics, the
following constituencies seem marginal
for the PNM:
Constituency % of votes % electors
for PNM for PNM
Diego Martin E. 51.7 30.4
San Juan E. 50.8 30.4
P.O.S. Cen. 54.6 31.0
Fyzabad 49.96 37.6
Point Fortin 53.4 35.9
Tunapuna 53.8 36.2
There is another type of "marginal"
constituency those where there are
clear signs of defection since 1966.
Laventille for one is definitely swinging.
Due to the gerrymandering, the effects
will be distributed between Port of Spain
South, Laventille and Barataria. The first
two will probably take the shock easily
but Barataria must surely now be in dis-
Then there is St Joseph, homeground
of the Tapia House and source of much
discontent in Champs Fleurs. The indica-
tions are that St Joseph is lost.
Above all, there is Tobago. The quarrel
between Robinson and Williams may well
place the two Tobago seats out of PNM
reach. Williams has clearly been attempt-
ing to create Tobago figures to rival
Robinson. But Tobago loyalties are
different from Trinidad loyalties. After
Emancipation that island was not a new
plantation economy. Loyalties there are
extremely stable and Robinson is the
island's most distinguished son though he
has gotten no medal. Pitt may not be able
to match him. At any rate, one Tobago
seat will go with Robinson.
Totting up, there are nine to ten
possibles. However, the DLP are only
precariously perched on Naparima North,
Pointe-a-Pierre, Siparia and Tabaquite.
Cancelling then, there remain at least five
to six seats that the PNM may lose. The
future of the movement is jumping up in
steelband. Jump high, jump low, it seems
like the last lap.
But we must not call the shots too
soon. There are the machines. Both the
DLP and WFP claim that they were rigged
in 1966. The argument does not per-
suade me. It fails to persuade because it
lacks a sense of politics. It was claimed
that in one constituency, a candidate was
sure of 2000 personal followers and that
he got less than 600 votes.
What did the personal following do the
morning after? Ought they not to have
been at the house of their candidate? If
there is rigging in Tunapuna the next time
round, we shall have a lot of political
lessons to learn. There is a music in that
place-name that only certain people can
play, only certain people can hear.
But it will never come to that. Neither
the DLP nor the WFP is a serious political
organization. A serious new movement
will have levers that these "parties" can
never hope to have. If there is to be rig-
ging, the question is to be asked: who will
the riggers cry for? Who give them the
ring? Or who give them the thing? The
Doctor shop-knife keeps coming back like
a song. Williams must know that this is an
island with curious loyalties. Trinidad is
No, I am not worried about the
machines. Let Williams do the worrying.
If the road is going to be rough for the
PNM in the long run, it is going to be no
smoother in the short. To call an election
now is jumping from the frying pan into
the frying pant
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This summary is provided for easy reference. We shall be exploring all these
matters at length in future issues of TAPIA. In the next issue
we shall present a summary of SOLUTIONS.
In 1967, 57,000 or 15% of the labour force had no jobs. In St. Patrick the figure
was 19%; Nariva/Mayaro 6%; St. George 17%; Caroni 11%; Tobago 10%; Port-of-Spain
18%; San Fernando 10%
In 1966, 32% of the age group 15-19 were unemployed; 27% of the age group
20-24; 13% of the age group 25-34.
In 1967, one of every four construction workers had to walk the streets without
hope; in 1965 one in three. For craftsmen, process workers and labourers, one in every
In 1967, 70,000 people or one of every five employed worked for less than 32
hours per week. Of these 26,000 worked for less than 16 hours per week.
To most people the employment situation seems to be getting worse. Better to get
out. In 1957, 880 people came into the country; in 1966, 5,140 left. In 1967 8,960
more left; in 1968, the figure rose to 11,320.
Of those who obtained permanent visas to the USA in 1967, 27% were professional
and technical workers, 26% craftsmen, 27% clerical workers. It is the Doctors, nurses,
teachers and the skilled workers who feel the need to go. Without their skills, it is
more difficult for the rest of us to manage.
According to the last Census, working Europeans were much better off than others.
95% of them were either employers or working for themselves. In these favoured
classes the order was European with Mixed Races near behind. Then, Africans
followed by Other Races with Indians last.
European males had a median income of $500 per month. Other (Chinese Syrian,
etc.) had $133, Mixed $113, African $104, Indian 77.
The median income of professional and technical workers was $240 per month in
1965. Administrative, managerial and clerical workers had $189, service workers $80,
agricultural workers $64. Of professionals 40% received over $300 per month. Of
agricultural workers, 78% received less than $100.
In 1965, petroleum yielded a median income of $254 per month; transport and
communications, $172; construction $148; commerce $140; services $131; manu-
facturing $109; agriculture only $67.
Females received a median income of less than 60% that of males. In services it was
less than half.
The country needs a genuine incomes policy to give equal pay for equal work, to
reward merit and hard effort, and to protect the less fortunate. The lottery of race,
colour, good hair, lucky breaks and "contact" must be done with. It is not a question
of industrial stabilisation.
In 1966, over one third of the housing in the country was only fair to poor. Nearly
75,000 living units could not be described as satisfactory. The worse than average areas
were Nariva/Mayaro with 56% below standard; St. Andrew/St. David with 48%; Caroni
with 43%; St. Patrick 42%. Some 45% or 450,000 people are living in grossly over-
crowded conditions. 165,000 three-bedroom houses are needed by 1980 if we are to
provide the kind of homes from which to tackle education, health, family planning,
Limited educational opportunity
At the last Cencus, about a quarter of the working European population had a Uni
versity education. Fifty-three per cent of the white working population fell in the class
with school certificates or above. Other Races (Chinese, etc.) had 2% with University
education and 12% with school certificates or above; Mixed Races had 1% and 10%
respectively. African and Indian workers had an insignificant proportion with Univer-
sity education and under 4% with school certificate or above. A quarter of the Indian
workers had no education at all.
The position is almost certainly improving. The Government is aware and is trying
hard. But is the improvement fast enough to satisfy the people's expectation? That is
the important political question.
In 1983, there will be 275,000 more people between the ages of 5-19 than there
were in 1965. Population is growing. Besides, overcrowding in primary schools is now
running at between 10-15%. 70,000 more children of the age 5-11 will be enrolled by
1977, 122,000 by 1983. To meet this demand, it is estimated that 119,000 new places
will be needed and 91,000 will have to be replaced. It costs $280 to provide a place,
$103 to service it. This is so expensive that it raises questions about the whole
approach. Money may be short for higher education and for other public services.
The plan is to raise the intake into Junior Secondary Schools from 22% of the 12
year olds in 1968 to 77% in 1977 and to 85% in 1983. What does this mean in terms
of better opportunity?
Quality of education apart, the intake of the 14 years olds in Secondary Schools is
planned to rise from 23% in 1967 to 37% in 1980. Which children are likely to get
these places? Can the plan discourage the teachers from migrating? If not, who will get
into the schools which manage to maintain some reasonable standards?
Will the kind of education we will actually provide as distinct from what we plan
and hope for equip graduates to live and work in the Caribbean as creative people,
able to create their own jobs? At the moment, about one person in five who goes to
Secondary School but fails to get a Certificate is unemployed. The nearer a student
gets to the certificate without actually getting it, the worse his chances of finding
employment. He or she will of course be relatively well placed if he does gain the
qualification; how many will? This is food for thought in a context where 200,000
new jobs will be needed by 1983 and where it costs over $20,000 to create one job.
Restricted political participation
The County Councils and the Municipalites are too much dominated by the Central
Government. They do not have sufficient power to be able to engage the interest of
the local communities.
The Senate is too narrowly based and is at the mercy of the Prime Minister. It
excludes too many articulate popular interests. Its role is too restricted and therefore
too much power of appointment to public office falls to the Chief Executive. This
concentration of power is obscured by the Westminster type State, nominally headed
by a Monarch.
continued on page 7
CARIBBEAN CERTIFICATE OF
YOUTH EDUCATION: A PROSPECTUS
The work of our TAPIA HOUSE GROUP has given rise to Adult Education Projects
in two Centres. In Laventille, on the outskirts of Port of Spain, and in Tunapuna,
adjoining St. Augustine, we have been called upon by many young people to organise
classes. At one of the discussions the question arose as to why we continue to prepare
students for the GCE when so many of us are advocating self-help.
Some of these perceptive young people, perhaps too independent of mind to have
succeeded in the College Exhibition Race, were more aware than we thought of some
of the contradictions in our position. We were now happily forced to implement an
idea which had been in our minds, and in those of many thoughtful West Indians, for a
long time: devise our own Certificate of Education. The action we took, and the plans
we outlined for the future, are as follows:
We began systematic teaching im-
mediately, using the resources that we
had while at the same time beginning to
plan a full-scale course. This is in accord-
ance with the Group's view that serious
community work in all fields must be
undertaken as early as possible.
The full-scale course should, we think,
be aimed to equip students to cope with a
Caribbean Certificate of Youth Education
and this Certificate should guarantee that
they are able to live and work as respon-
sible citizens in the Caribbean Region.
We need competent and imaginative
teaching, tight and efficient adminis-
tration, a curriculum and syllabuses ex-
pertly addressed to our objectives, and
legitimacy for the whole operation.
For all these objectives, save the actual
administration and teaching of the
Courses, what is required is an Examina-
tions Board composed of bone fide
scholars from the regional University
system. This can ensure appropriate curri-
cula and proper standards of testing and
marking; our Graduates should gain ready
acceptance by the regional Universities.
Scholars at UWI, the University of
Guyana and the University of Puerto
Rico have already agreed to serve on the
We think that the curriculum needs to
be directed to four main goals.
Students *must understand the work-
ing of Caribbean society and its place
in the world;
they must be equipped with the basic
tools of literate citizenship;
they must have a bridge to science and
They must be practised in taking initia-
tive and in exercising imagination.
Preliminary proposals, therefore, envis-
age four groups of "papers" to be taken
in examination for the Certificate:
Caribbean Social Studies. Two papers,
to cover History, Geography, Economics,
Sociology and Political Science. This
group of subjects is designed to close the
same gap that the old 'Civics' course in
the schools was intended to fill. It is to be
taught in a manner which will locate the
region, its resources, its problems, etc. in
the context of world society. Much work
is needed on amassing and selecting the
required teaching material and this need
is informing our plans for the Tapia
English Language and West Indian
Literature. The latter not in isolation but
within the context of the literature of the
English Language British, American,
Commonwealth. There will be no written
examination in Literature but one paper
in use of language, in addition to the re-
gular testing procedures that are a part of
modern language instruction.
Literature will be "taught" through
experience and practice of it there will
be discussions, poetry readings, creative
writing sessions, and dramatic product-
ions. For those purposes we have founded
the Moonlight Theatre of Tapia House.
Activity of this kind must have three
results if it is to be judged successful it
must, as far as method is concerned, be-
come a microcosm of the education
system; it must make literary experience
a part of the life, and not just of the
education, of West Indians; and it must
relocate creative West Indians novelists,
poets, playwrights within their own
country by providing them with a public
which appreciates them and knows that it
needs them a public they have not so
Either Western Languages and Western
Civilization or Afro-Asian Languages and
Civilization. The second option is not
feasible at present without external help
but we are going to try for this assistance
and certainly after some time the de-
velopment of regional University studies
in this field will enable us to draw on the
resources of UWI. For the first option, we
start with Greek and Roman civilization
and show the development of Western
Europe to the present. Comparative work
will give students a feel for the import-
ance of history and the background to
nations and languages.
There is not to be any examination on
this work. The test will be in either Oral
French or Oral Spanish. Languages will be
taught audiolingually, but at the early
stages there may have to be some exercise
in translation. One paper is involved here.
Mathematics and Bookkeeping. Two
papers. We will teach the New Maths but
we may not want to examine in pure
maths. Our tests will be in problems
which demand a practical mastery of
algebra, calculus, trigonometry,
geometry, etc.; we will also teach the
basics of accountancy with stress on
budgeting and bookkeeping. There will be
tests in these.
General Science and Technology. Two
papers and three practical. Some appro-
priate mix of Physics, Chemistry and
Biology. The orientation must be
practical and closely related to our en-
vironment. It must kindle curiosity about
the habitat and interest in experimenta-
tion and in do-it-yourself, and must em-
phasize scientific method and rational ap-
proaches to problem-solving.
An own-initiative project. Students
must undertake to organise and report on
a project of their own choosing. It does
not matter what they opt to do: stamp-
collecting, gardening, wood-work, metal-
work, paper-work, painting, sewing, sign-
painting, typing, learning to act, to dance
or to play an instrument, learning to
swim, baby-sitting, anything. But they
must make a plan for it early in the
Course and report on it systematically
over the two or three years up to gradua-
tion. They must budget for the time, the
money and the materials used up in their
project, they must consider strategies and
evaluate progress etc.; and all must be
written down lucidly and comprehensive-
ly as they go along.
We are persuaded that such a Course
would produce graduates equal (and pro-
bably superior) to any of those now en-
tering the U.W.I. Moreover, it will equip
the graduates to live in the West Indies of
today and will combat the so-called 'brain
drain'. Serious people will enter the
Course and there are many, many serious
young people unemployed in Trinidad
and Tobago at the moment. Some of the
best minds and the most dedicated
workers are looking for an opportunity
One problem is the teaching. We are
finding enough teachers for a small opera-
tion, to begin with. We will need con-
siderable volunteer but expert assistance
in the near future.
The Caribbean Certificate of Youth
Education is concieved of, initially, as a
complement to State-run education in the
Caribbean. The system of public educa-
tion is certainly in need of reform,
because of the slipshod way its develop-
ment has been planned and administered.
But it is difficult for even the best-in-
tentioned and most efficient Govern-
ment to pioneer the field of education.
continued on page 6
REPORT ON LAVENTILLE
The Vigilantes have organised work in Youth and Adult Education&Community Sports
Community Cleaning-UpeParent-Teacher Co-operation*Public AffairseSou-Sou Investment.
Youth & Adult Education
At the level of the GCE 'A', courses are offered in History, Economics and English.
For the '0' Level, teaching is in Mathematics, English, Spanish, French, History, Geo-
graphy, Biology & Health Science.
Post-Primary Courses are offered for those wanting to take the Primary School-Leaving
Classes are held to prepare eleven and twelve year olds for the Common Entrance.
All of the teaching is on a volunteer basis. University Students and during the vacation,
students of the St Joseph Convent, assist the teachers from within the community.
There are two severe problems: overcrowding and shortage of texts. The enrolment for
examinations of people who are not formally affiliated to schools has also presented some
Plans are afoot to establish a community text-book library and a second hand text-book
market. New accommodation is also being sought. There have been many offers from
Laventille residents but the available room is not appropriate for teaching.
With the help of the business community, a temporary building is to go up before the
end of the year. (At the moment the classes are held partly in the open air, partly in a
small shed on St Joseph Road). For the long-term, land is being sought from the State.
Money for materials will be raised from within the community and throughout the
country. Residents aim to provide the labour services.
A Football competition has been organised. Four matches are played every Sunday. Net-
ball coaching is also taking place. The main problem here has been a lack of competent
referees but offers have been forthcoming.
Every Sunday morning, some section of the community is cleaned up. Interest in these
activities fluctuates from week to week. Sometimes there is widespread participation, some-
times only hard-core members turn up. The Vigilantes are persisting with this activity as a
pledge of their seriousness.
The work in education has revived interest in parent-teacher collaboration. Meetings have
had up to eighty people on occasions.
Every Thursday night, there is a general meeting to take stock and discuss progress.
Meetings are marked by widespread participation in the discussions which are often quite
heated. A beginning has been made with the organization of sub-committees: for sports,
A plan has been drawn up for a Community Sou-Sou It is now being revised with
technical help from the economists. The aim is to encourage routine saving of small sums
by large numbers of people Each hand drawn will be subject to a savings levy. The
Sou-Sou therefore accumulates a loan fund which can be used in the fashion on the com-
mercial banks. The fund can be loaned out to participants at stipulated rates of interest
or can be channelled into community enterprise. The fund can also provide base-capital for
borrowing from banks & insurance companies. For this and other purposes, the Sou-Sou
will be run by a registered company.
The Vigilantes are political only in the sense that their activities are of public signif-
icance. As a group, they have no party allegiance though individual members do have
differing loyalties. The PNM is well represented. Many also share the political ideas of the
Tapia House and attend meetings of that Group. All members feel that they are working
to build Laventille and therefore Trinidad & Tobago. They insist on being independent.
Such a group is the salt of political democracy.
by DA VID MURRA Y
There is a stirring in the hearts and minds of the Africans in our population. It is
not an isolated phenomenon but part of the intellectual, artistic and political ferment
in the country. Nonetheless, it needs to be isolated for comment and clarification.
Largely inspired by the Black Revolu-
tion in the United States, black con- Instead of regarding the non-European
sciousness has quickly found specific peoples of the world as a backward, illit-
Trinidadian roots. Blackness has been crate, poverty-stricken, diseased and apat-
occupying many of the African youth as hetic mass, we see persons who are vic-
well as some more elderly brothers and tims of tyranny by repressive regimes at
sisters. home and servants of the international
Cynics and sympathisers alike have economic system of the metropolitan
confused the issues by labelling the move- countries.
ment Black Power after the North In Trinidad & Tobago black conscious-
American movement. But it is not simply ness has opened the minds of many
a case of our welcoming society import- young people. The youth are beginning to
ing another ideology. The truth is that at study and reflect. They are beginning to
last, significant sections of the con- understand their relation to the education
munity are embracing their blackness system, the economic system and the
with love and are beginning to appreciate political system.
the important role they must play in The adoption of new styles of dress
establishing an integrated society here. and personal adornment are a signal that
The assertion that black is beautiful a black renaissance is at hand. Simple as
has been useful in building confidence they are, they signify to the world that
and pride. The knowledge that Africa has the black man e and the black woman are
contributed as much as any other civil- relating to themselves as they are, and are
ization to the technology, the arts and finding meaning in their own culture and
the philosophy of the western World and their own environment. A fat-head, or an
that slave labour helped to finance the agbada, worn for whatever reason, can
industrial revolution is helping the become points of departure f eorexplora-
Africans to regain a sense of their own tion into the history of the black man, his
worth at a time when the whole nation art, his music, his world. This leads to
requires them to have self-respect. enquiry about the whole society and then
Black consciousness and not black about the world.
power is what attention must be focused The effect that a dashiki has on spec-
on; and black consciousness happens to tators goes sdeeper-than mere considera-
be a Third World consciousness. tion of style; it can mean that some
It means that Europe is being rejected; people are wearing clothes designed for a
that the more positive aspects of our own tropical climate. The same goes for
young civilization are gaining ground. It sandals and alpagatas.
means that people in the country are see- Music and other art forms are going to
ing cultural links with other countries of be radically affected by the upsurge of
the Third world and are identifying them- black consciousness. Our whole view of
selves with the movements for national what is beautiful is bound to change.
liberation in Vietnam, China, Guinea, Europe's astringent rhythms will find
Algeria and Cuba. It shows some concern themselves supplanted in the polar mind
for conditions in the ghettos of North by the native rythm of drum, steelband
America and the slums of Peru, Brazil and and parang. The precedent, as a matter of
Jamaica. fact, has already been set. Elvis Presley,
THE MACHINERY OF
GOVERNMENT by DENIS SOLOMON
The Public service of Trinidad and Tobago was not ruined by the P.N.M. It is true
that after thirteen years in power the P.N.M. has not only failed to build an effective
governmental machine but has on many occasions had the effrontery to attribute its
failures in governing to the shortcomings of that machine. But it is necessary to realise,
first of all, that when the P.N.M. took power, the Trinidad and Tobago Public Service
was a machine designed and run for almost none of the purposes of responsible
government; secondly, that such harm as has been wrought since that date is not due
to simple causes such as 'political interference' (of which there has of course been
plenty) but is, rather, incidental to an overall failure of the P.N.M in its method of
attack on the problems of government of an independent state.
The problems of independence are so
pressing, and so different in kind even
from those which confronted the
government between 1956 and 1962, that
even with the best of blueprints the
machine would not yet have been
operating at top efficiency. But the
blueprint was not the best: there was in
fact no blueprint at all. While claiming to
be building new machinery for new task,
the P.N.M. proceeded to use the Civil
Service in the same old authoritarian way.
Although the machine was not as
efficient as before having been stripped
of its more vital working parts and fitted
with inferior ones it was the plan for
change, not the machine, which was
basically at fault.
Granted, the Trinidad and Tobago
Public Service was more ill adapted to
reform than many other colonial public
services those of Jamaica or Barbados,
for example. This is why by 1962 it was
already a legend among administrators in
the region for its stupendous inefficiency.
One only had to attend a cocktail party
and hear the sniggers of expatriate
advisers to acquire a sinking feeling about
Trinidad and Tobago's administrative
prospects. The Jamaican and Barbadian
public servants who began to come into
working contact with their Trinidad and
Tobago counterparts during Federal days
were first bewildered and then
The reasons for the uniqueness of
Trinidad and Tobago in this respect are
well known and, indeed, documented by
the Prime Minister and others. Trinidad
and Tobago was not only a Crown
Colony, it was the prototype of the
Crown Colony. Jamaican and
Barbadian-born administrators were
operating within systems that, while
undeniably belonging to the colonial
model, allowed rather more local partici-
pation in significant operations. Trinidad-
ian senior civil servants were, and more-
over thought of themselves as, no more
than high-ranking clerks, for whom the
Colonial Secretary was God. After 1956
the Colonial Secretary gave place to the
Minister in this relationship. But the re-
lationship remained the same, even when
the high-ranking clerks became even
higher-ranking. Many still waited to be
told what to do. "No, Mr. Solomon" a
Permanent Secretary once said severely to
me, "our task is not to keep Ministers
from taking wrong decisions; it is to find
out what they want and give it to them".
And I was always fascinated by the way
in which one top Permanent Secretary
reached for his note-pad and pencil when-
ever he was summoned to the Minister's
Trinidad, too, had always had more
money than the other islands. Middle-
class youth in Jamaica and Barbados
aspired to a career in the Civil Service; in
this country if they went in it was for a
short time, in order to add enough to
the Beatles, and other pop musicians have
stolen the thunder of the black man's
music and made a killing.
If the Beatles could play who is we?
Edward Braithwaite, a powerful voice in
West Indian poetry, is placing the drum at
the centres of music; and as was shown
by the Haitian drummer here recently,the
Afro-Trinidadian drummer has a lot to
learn. At the same time, the vitality of
the dances taught by Lavinia Williams
shows what has happened in an Afro-
American culture which has managed to
remain largely pure.
As Stokeley Carmichael would say: we
have to come home
their savings to enable them to go abroad
and become doctors. "I'm going to work
for the Government for a year", students
still tell me, "and then go abroad." Even
now I know of only two Island Scholars
who entered the administrative service
after graduating; one is no longer there.
Those Trinidadians who entered the
service for life were those who couldn't
go abroad, or who gradually abandoned
their ambitions to do so. It was always a
last resort, never an ambition; and in
addition the private sector offered no
comparable opportunity for the achieve-
ment of status. A preoccupation with
status i.e. form at the expense of sub-
stance has always been characteristic of
Moulded by an education system that
killed initiative and imagination, and de-
prived of the chance of becoming a 'real'
professional, the Trinidadian civil servant
was by definition a person who opted for
form in a field where he thought no sub-
stance existed where the idea of pro-
fessionalism was non-existent. Even nowit
seems more highly important for most
senior civil servants to have the titles of
Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Secre-
taries and Minister-Counsellors than to do
what Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Sec-
retaries and Minister-Counsellors are
supposed to do.
These, then, were the men who
reached the senior administrative
positions in the early years of responsible
government. The middle range of admini-
strative positions had to be filled. The
P.N.M. filled them as best they could,
with the young graduates who knocked
on the Prime Minister's hotel door on his
various trips to Europe and exposed their
A European or an American can be
efficient and imaginative though unquali-
fied. Efficiency and imagination play a
constant part in his environment. Some
Trinidadians contrive to be inept even
with the most impressive string of
degrees. Few of the P.N.M. whiz-kids who
came into the Service at the level of Assis
tant Secretary and Senior Assistant Secre-
tary considered it part of their job to
examine the structure of the organisation.
They therefore knew less about it then
the registry clerks whose existence they
must only dimly have suspected. They
had not been called upon to show organi-
sational efficiency before and certainly
nothing forced them to do so now.
Genuine idealism, undeniably present,
was perverted by delusions of grandeur
resulting from excessive (and largely dis-
appointed) reliance on these force-ripe
administrators by the politicians. The Per-
manent Secretaries, even if they could
have imposed some structure on the hier-
archical and executive chaos, did not dare
to attempt it. "Touch not the Lord's
anointed", said a celebrated Knight
Administrator to me when I complained
about a particularly glaring instance of
bad planning by a member of the Young
Against this background the charge of
politicall interference' can be seen in the
correct light. 'Interference' implies re-
sistance, but that is precisely what there
was not. If the Permanent Secretaries
stoically accepted interference, some of
the young middle-range officers loudly
and enthusiastically welcomed it, vying
with each other as to who could be most
enthusiastic in his acclaim of the P.N.M.'s
right to control everything.
continued on page 6
continued from page 5
The Permanent Secretaries instituted a
"Permanent Secretaries' Meeting" which
took place every week. (This incidentally,
was the only trace of formal inter-
departmental consultative machinery I
was able to discern in four years' service.)
Although they seldom discussed any
matter more important than)say, rates of
travelling allowance, the Ministers
ordered the meeting to cease, presumably
in fear of a focus of opposition. On the
other hand, a Working Party of young
officers of middle rank set up to make
recommendations on the formation of a
foreign service did not wait to be told,
but recommended that posts of heads of
overseas missions should be inaccessible
to career officers. Some members were
even in favour of recommending that the
Ministry of External Affairs should be
headed by a Parliamentary Secretary and
not a Permanent Secretary.
What alternative did the Ministers
have? If they had waited for constructive
planning to come up through the system
they would have waited forever; but their
attempts to rely on individuals were just
as unsuccessful, while at the same time
subverting what organisational spirit and
atmosphere existed. The qualities of initi-
ative, imagination, discipline and industry
no doubt existed in the service; and even
if they did not, the policy of the P.N.M.
should have been to create, as soon as
possible, favourable conditions for their
development. But if those hired to ad-
minister did not know what administra-
tion entailed, how could the cabinet
members be expected to know, given
their political history?
The problem is clearly stated by
C.L.R. James He says:
"One result of living [under colo-
nialisml is that we have no experience
of any other way of life ... the only
type of government they know is that
of power and subordination."
The politicians, quite simply, could
not know what constituted a good civil
servant or a good civil service. Those few
ministers who, belonging themselves to
the authoritarian and unimaginative
world of the Trinidad clerical middle
class, rejected the young brigade as up-
starts, relied on senior administrators
whom they proclaimed, sometimes con-
veniently and sometimes innocently, to
be "excellent Civil Servants" but who
were, by and large, simply willing to play
The rest, led by the Prime Minister,
imagined themselves to be initiating a
new era of technocracy, setting aside the
old hierarchical principles within the
Service. ("We don't bother much
about seniority and juniority here", said
the Deputy Permanent Secretary of a
Ministry in which I worked).
What they did not set aside was the
old authoritarian political framework
within which the Service had always
existed. Initiative still came from the top;
but now communication by-passed the
upper levels. There were few members of
the Young Brigade who did not)while
their luck held, have a direct line to the
fountain of authority.
A hierarchical principle based on com-
petence and responsibility is an adminis-
trative necessity; direct authority and un-
integrated individual power is rapidly sub-
versive of efficiency. Cabinet decisions
now directed not that such-and-such be
done, or that it be done by such-and-such
a Department (even this should be un-
necessary), but that it should be done by
Mr. X. or Mrs. Y. Quite often Mr. X or
Mrs. Y was not an officer of the Depart-
ment where the work was to be found.
EDUCA TION... continued from page 4
The electorate, while often convinced
theoretically of the need for change, is
always reluctant to accept in practice
changes that affect its own children -
those in the schools at any given moment.
All over the world it has been shown that
it takes privately-run programmes to
demonstrate the value of particular in-
novations and induce public education
authorities to copy themE
Immediately prior to Independence,
when the Premier's Office had (illegally,
thought not entirely unjustifiably) taken
over from the Governor's Office the con-
duct of external matters, the officer who
for some months had been signing him-
self, without the authority of his Per-
manent Secretary, Head of External
Affairs Division", fell into disfavour.
Cabinet then directed that all matters
arising in all Ministries that had to do
with external relations must go to a
specific officer, not in the External
Affairs Division. Cabinet was apparently
unaware (though perhaps I am wrong)
that the officer in question was on
maternity leave; the Permanent Secretary
raised no protest, and twice a day all
papers having to do with the external re-
lations of Trinidad and Tobago were
despatched in a police van to her home
whence they returned in due course)and
in most cases had to go back to the
original department for action.
Though we were children then
I remember the fanatic struggle
when friends opposed one another.
I sometimes hear the sullen groans
and the triumphant cries
above the thunder and the distant splash
We were enchanted still
by the sprinkle of light on the twisted leaves.
We threw our voices at the hill
and they rebound in the bay below
like pebbles ricochetting from a cliff.
We were thrilled by the howl
of the terrier wind
that broke root and trunk
in that season of violence.
But now we are older,
our lips compressed with scorn
and bitter with betrayal.
The drum and pipe are silent;
and we are weary of waiting
while the enemy is entrenching.
So fettered are we by our consciousness,
never were we more free than in enslavement:
release brought self-imprisonment.
Each evening there is darkness at the door.
Each morning terror of the light.
So the problems, in a nutshell, are: in
the politicians, lack of a framework of
social reform within which to tackle the
problems of governing and building a
governmental machine; in the civil ser-
vants, lack of professionalism. I have been
speaking so far of the administrative
officer, not of the technician the
chemist, physician, teacher, veterinarian;
the professionalism of this group derives
largely from their occupation, and the
fact that they exercise it within a govern-
mental framework is to some degree in-
The administrators to whom I refer are
the purely administrative officers, the
"career civil servants", part of whose job
it is to provide the framework within
which the technicians can operate in
government; and the technocracy, or
technical planners. The work of the
latter, though requiring specialised quali-
fications, is administrative in nature be-
cause it has to do with policy formation,
execution and evaluation in a social con-
text. I mean the economists, sociologists,
educationists, public relations experts,
For these groups professionalism in
the organisational context has easily
enumerable components. A professional,
in my view, is a man who, apart from just
doing his job in the technical sense, is
conscious of, in fact thinks constantly
about, its utility to society and the con-
ditions within which that utility can be
maximised; who speaks a professional
language and discusses professional pro-
blems in the abstract with his colleagues;
who writes, edits and reads professional
journals, belongs to professional associa-
tions and attends professional con-
ferences; who provides himself with
means of continually increasing his pro-
In the institutional context, a pro-
fessional is a man who is conscious of
how his task interacts with those being
performed in other branches of the
organisation; who keeps the institutional
framework under continual review and
devises improvements; who programmes
his own work and that of his immediate
subordinates so that each task performed
improves the performance of future tasks
that is, keeps records, refines pro-
cedures and learns consciously by his mis-
takes. He does not refrain from action for
fear of making mistakes; but he knows in
each case what kinds of mistakes he
might make and plans the total operation
so that mistakes come out in the wash
and the whole operation is reasonably
proof against them. If he cannot do that,
then the job should be done by someone
more competent, and in a well-run organ-
isation this should mean more senior.
No doubt many more criteria could be
added, but in summary, these criteria
mean that the professional, whether he is
an administrator or anything else, is
someone who achieves satisfaction by
operating rationally in a socially useful
context. This is totally lacking in our
public administration. Examples are
legion. I have never taken part in, or over-
heard, a conversation about public admin-
istration between Trinidad civil servants.
The administrators, if they do not
actually have a vested interest in chaos, as
many of the Young Brigade did, have
totally renounced any right to attempt
the improvement of the organization of
the service. (The present Working Group
has already been told that the questions
they are asking are too wide in scope -
i.e. they are being nosy).
The C.S.A. is not a professional body
but a trade union; there is no journal of
public administration here and nobody
reads foreign ones. Far from being con-
cerned about coordinating work with
other Departments the Trinidad adminis-
trator keeps his nose clean by asking no
questions about what goes on outside his
own section. There is no standing inter-
department committee on any matter
whatever. I have known Cabinet to take
diametrically opposed decisions on the
same question in successive weeks, on the
basis of separate submissions from
separate Ministries. There is hardly any
machinery for devising, deciding among
the presenting projects for U.N. technical
assistance that affects different Ministries.
Executive and clerical grade officers are
never encouraged to make suggestions for
procedural improvements. The records
system is so chaotic as to merit an article
on that alone. The Organisation and
Methods branch is no more than a name.
And the solution? There are short-
term, detailed improvements that we will-
come to in due course. But the long-term
solution is nothing short of pro-
fessionalism at all levels of society. People
in Trinidad and Tobago in the entire
Caribbean must be persuaded, tempted,
cajoled into participating in the adminis-
trative process of planning and running
their own enterprises in a rational way; of
experimenting without waiting to be told
what to do, and benefitting from the
result of the experiments; of questioning
decisions on sensible grounds and not
resting content until satisfactory answers
For the politician, community work
aimed at an increase in popular participa-
tion is basic to these changes. From an
education system designed to develop
imagination, curiosity and initiative,
creative and organisational talent must
spread through society, among indus-
trialists and farmers, businessmen and
civil servants. In whatever area an indivi-
dual may be employed, he must in-
stinctively operate in a rational manner,
defining and re-defining for himself the
areas of his engagement and the frame-
work of his activity. He will have what
civil servants more than anyone else,
though not civil servants alone, lack now
a real rather than a fictitious pro-
fessional identity. But to free the civil ser-
vice, we will have to do a lot else with the
State, the Government and the com-
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THE PROBLEMS continued from page 4
A large proportion of the working population is disfranchised. At the moment
about 130,000 persons fall between the ages of 15 and 20. Less than half of them are
being trained. Should the rest not have the right to vote so as to influence public
policy? Should not some have the right?
Lack of inter-racial solidarity.
The position is not desperate. There are hopeful signs that the country wants inter-
racial solidarity. At the same time Indian and particularly African self-consciousness is
growing. The Europeans remain largely withdrawn from politics. Like the other small
minorities, they are considering whether or not they have a long-run future here.
Africans hold the key. But they lack confidence largely owing to the disappoint-
ments of independence. The failure to take local control of the economy has placed
them on the defensive. They are afraid of the Indians who appear to be doing better
economically. At the same time, the Indians fear African political domination. All
groups are therefore in a state of great anxiety. The problem is to find African
leadership capable of inspiring African confidence and therefore of assuaging the fears
of other groups. African confidence will mean African trust of Indians, Europeans and
others; it will mean multi-racial politics and inter-racial solidarity.
The problem of identity Continuing metropolitan tutelage.
This is not merely a matter of remaining nominally subject to an English Queen; it
is that we have not established our identity. We depend on metropolitan help as if we
have a right to it. We have not attempted to estimate how much capital we really need
and on what terms; we have not been selecting the technology we borrow. We have
made no serious attempt to give up Imperial Preference and protected marketing of
exports. We behave as if we were still part of a grand metropolitan family, as if we
were not on our own.
Continuing coolness towards Caribbean Federation. Our connections with the
outside world run through the metropolitan capitals. New York and London are more
important than Kingston and Georgetown. Because we refuse to stand on our own
feet, we cannot see our natural supports. Instead of combining with Cuba, Barbados &
St. Kitts to re-organise sugar, we are competing for quotas. Instead of joining with
Surinam, Guyana and Jamaica to reorganise the regional mineral Industry, we are
caught up in a side issue about manufacturing and tourism. With the competition for
capital and for tourists, it is dog eat dog.
CARIFTA and the Regional Development Bank are not serious undertakings. They
avoid the central task of getting control of the economy through regional collabora-
tion. They will certainly give some experience in working together. But they are also
generating conflicts similar to those of the West Indian Federation.
This country has to take a large part of the responsibility for the slow progress of
Caribbean integration. Politically, we are the key country in the region.
We benefit most from regional trade; Venezuela, the Guianas, Jamaica and the rest
of the Greater Antilles are bigger economies. But only Venezuela has a tradeable staple
akin to our own: petroleum. Because of the lack of unity we have most of the
petroleum trade because most of it is within the English-speaking Caribbean.
We also dominate trade in manufacturing. Again, there are bigger industrial
countries including Jamaica. But within CARIFTA, our share of the trade in manu-
factures was 59% as against only 18% for Jamaica in 1967. There is of course, very
little trade in agricultural goods. We are getting the gravy.
We are important too because of our historical associations. We have the biggest
Indian population. Naturally what we do affects Suriname and Guyana. We have close
ties to the Spanish territories because of our geographical and historical relation with
Venezuela. Our French creoles came from Haiti and Martinique. Our Africans came
largely from Eastern Caribbean especially Barbados and Grenada. We are the hub of
If the region is remaining apart, it is related to our failure at home. We have
zig-zagged from a-strident centralism to one from ten leaves nought. This curious
inconsistency is entirely logical. By failing to tackle the problem of local government
at home, we did not know how to approach the delicate problem of insularity on a
regional scale, We have no experience of balancing central with local administration.
By failing to pursue policies of self-help at home we have had no moral or practical
basis for regional economic planning.
Yet the population knows that our history and future demands an integrated Carib-
bean. The fact that we remain divided is the biggest single cause of our problem of
THE ROOT CAUSES
Under the conditions of plantation economy, the planters owned, we worked.
Senior Staff, Junior Staff. We worked to produce not for our own needs but for
export. We exported staple raw materials. We imported what we consumed including
the goods made from our own materials: refined sugar, sweeties, chocolate, cocoa,
The arrangement kept the lan-from the people. We were educated to be clerks and
labourers. We got wages, the planters got profits. It is more difficult to save out of
wages so we had very little capital. Even what we saved was difficult to invest in
business. Wage-earners do not have the time or the information to explore the possibi-
lities of making money. Besides, our own sou-sou banks were not given chance to
grow. The financial rules favoured metropolitan banks and insurance companies. Our
savings were deposited there but they were lent out to a privileged group of merchants.
So we never came to own much.
Both planters and merchants were interested mainly in export and import trade.
The economy could not be diversified to produce for home consumption because we
had no capital and little of the education required.
When we got more money from trade, we simply bought more imports. Taste in the
country became adapted to foreign goods. A local producer had difficulty in finding a
market. Moreover, government policy did not help him. The Government was planter
government. What he produced was sub-standard and further turned consumers
The taste for imports and the difficulty experienced by local producers meant that
new industry was usually started by businessmen coming from outside. Given their
interest in exports. We continued to be producers of staple.
But when the staple ran into difficulty over marketing the metropolitan business-
men could always appeal to their mother country for protection. We came to depend
on protected markets. Sugar is the main example but it is the same with petroleum. We
sell through the big companies with organized outlets.
When protection was no longer available, the metropolitan businessmen had to do
something to pull their hands from the lion's mouth. One thing they could do was to
start another line of business here. That is what people from here with children and a
stake in the country would try to do. But the metropolitan businessman who had no
stake could also choose to move to another country where he could continue the same
business under better conditions. This is what he often did. We were left to stagnate.
Even when the metropolitan businessman started new business here, he brought his
own technology. The popular tastes for imports meant that it was possible to produce
here what we formerly bought from abroad. The simplest way to do that is to take
over the metropolitan way of doing it. This means that local producers get little
chance to start business except in association with metropolitan companies. We simply
replace imports; we do not displace them with locally designed goods which use local
materials and local technology, local technicians, local expertise and local manage-
Even when we diversify, we have a heavy bill to pay abroad for materials, exports,
managers; in most cases we also pay handsome profits on capital. The country remains
dependent; we remain hewers of wood, drawers of water.
Crown Colony Government.
Crown Colony Government meant that the political system was not based on the
community. The Legislature did not represent the people. It was window-dressing; it
was dominated by the Executive. The Chief Executive, the Governor, represented
metropolitan power. Government dominated politics. Community organization was
not allowed to count; it was not allowed to specialise in politics. Religious organisa-
tions and labour organizations which had to exist for something else, had to form the
base of political action.
In this system, the population enjoyed no responsibility for its own affairs. Local
government was out of the question. T he Central Government dominated the local
councils and municipalities. In some cases, the latter did not even exist.
Next, the population was forced to think of change as if it were magic. Messiahs
had to come along and do something big that nobody could understand. Popular
support was readily given to bright and favoured sons who seemed to know how to
deal with the rulers.
Deprived of responsibility, we degraded our own capacity. We looked for "Doctors"
whether they were benevolent planters, or cunning labour leaders or our bright sons.
We relegated popular organisation and popularly worked-out programmes to a second
order. The key to change was for our favoured Doctor to win influence on or get
control of the Government.
The economy and the political system reduced us to nonentities. We were allowed
no responsibility for public affairs, so we could not learn the ways of responsible
people. Under slavery, we were not even allowed responsibility in our private affairs.
We ran little or no business, made no important decisions. We had little choice even
about what to consume. We did not produce very much that we used. We could form
no judgment about quality. We bought what the merchants placed on the shelves in
the stores and shops.
The educational system was designed by an Executive responsible to the metro-
politan country and influenced by the planters. We saw ourselves through other eyes.
The newspapers, the books, the comics, the cinema, all showed us ourselves as second-
class people. All the evidence said we were nothing.
To save our dignity, we yielded to pressure. We accepted a whole range of false
values about ourselves and the world. It made survival possible. But it destroyed us
inside because we knew we were people, equal to any. We became a sick people, torn
by conflict about ourselves, hating and loving our kind, hating and loving our neigh-
Wedressedup in other people's clothes. We tried to look like them. We tried in every
way to save ourselves by denying ourselves. We denied our music while we loved it. We
suppressed our art. We became Afro-Saxons; black skins, white masks.
This culture was formed first by those who came first: Africans and Europeans.
Those who came later fitted into it, saving the little they could of their own. So we are
all in it with slight differences of degree.
The society was founded as a business to produce sugar for export. The owning
planters were of one race, the working slaves of another. There was a clear racial
division between senior staff and junior staff.
In time there was mixing. A brown middle group emerged half way in between.
There was also a division of labour. Some of the Junior Staff got better jobs. This
created another middle group.
Later still, other races came in at the bottom. Economically, the Chinese and
Indians once held lower status than Africans and Coloureds. But the rules of dis-
crimination by colour, hair and "looks" favoured them. The liberalisation of education
and of restraints on religion also allowed them to keep more of their own.
The result is a society at once united by the experience in this place and divided by
colour, race, religion, culture. For most of the time all groups save some Europeans
were second class citizens, jealous and distrustful of one another. When, in the end,
political change placed the Europeans on the defensive, we got the curious situation
where the whole range of groups regarded themselves as second-class citizens. Respon-
sibility for the place, except in very formal terms, was accepted by no one. There was
no nation, only a segmented society. E
continued from page 1
badly flagging fortunes for the surviving
"parties" as to have been a disaster for
the political system.
It is true that Local Government had
been shut out by the old political order
and that elections at this level had never
attracted much notice. It is also true that
the DLP did not contest fourteen seats
and so removed some of the pressure to
vote. But, on the other hand, the respon-
sibilities of independence and of compre-
hensive economic planning ought to have
been engaging the localities. The PNM
had certainly been mouthing village
councils and popular initiative for some
time. Moreover, that party did treat the
Election as if it were a General one.
Yet only 34.85% of the registered elec-
tors bothered to vote. This was a drop of
20.4% on 1966 in spite of the fact that at
least 30,000 persons had attained the
suffrage in the meantime and might
ordinarily have been glad to exercise it. It
is interesting to note that even in 1953
the participation had been at 47%, 12.1%
higher than 1968. In 1956, the figure was
10.3% higher; in 1959, higher still by
The actual number of votes cast in
1968 was 57.85% less than in 1966 which
must be some kind of super record. The
PNM received 49.854% and the DLP
40.024%. But these figures have little
meaning in the light of popular apathy.
The voting probably reflected hard-core
support. In terms of the whole electorate,
for the PNM this represented only 17.9%,
for the DLP, 14.2%. These are figures to
watch. They may tell something about
the real prospects.
With these figures in our minds, let us
toy with the future. What is on the cards'
A boy or a girl?
Look at the forces at work. Young
people, African consciousness, Indian
The rapid population growth of the
last decades has been seen as a problem.
A problem for whom? The nation has
never been so young and alive and ready
to take on large tasks of reconstruction.
The inhibitions of the past restrict only
the Old Brigade. Some 62% of the popu-
lation is under 25.
This is a problem for the old order, for
the existing political regime and for the
two "parties", the PNM just as much as
the DLP. The men whose consciousness
dawned after 1937-1938, after Moyne
and after the transfer of power was set-
tled, are say, thirty-five and under.
The first election under Adult Suffrage
was held in Jamaica in 1944. The first
time Independence came and went was in
1962. The mid-point was 1954. The
people who were fifteen then and think-
ing of going to work, are thirty now.
These people must be thinking afresh;
they are sure to be throwing off Afro-
Saxon conceptions whether they be
European, Indian, Chinese, African,
Syrian, or else.
Education, the presence of the
University of the West Indies, the stand
being made by Caribbean intellectuals
brought up on theories of Caribbean
society, all of these have shifted the con-
sciousness of the youth.
There is great anxiety, besides. Nation-
al income is expected to grow to $1390
per head by 1973. The average family of
five should get $7000 gross per year or
$600 per month before tax. But that is
not likely with present policies of income
Nor are the employment prospects re-
assuring. 200,000 jobs are to be found by
1983 and it costs over $20,000 to create
a job with present policies. How much
strain will we have to hold?
In education, the outlook is equally
worrying. An average citizen of 21 years
now will have a child of eight in 1979.
That child will be 12 in 1983, 15 in 1985,
19 in 1989. What are the prospects, given
the heroic plans for Junior Schools,
Secondary Schools, and given the threats
to a West Indian University?
The younger people are worrying
about these matters. The elders, between
25 and 35 are facing related problems
now. Are they likely to back the PNM or
Youth consciousness is being stiffened
by African and Indian consciousness.
Black consciousness has lifted the spirit
of a large section of the young com-
munity and threatens now even to affect
those over 35 and those who are not black.
The growth of confidence is bringing
everybody out of their shells, ready to
build an integrated nation. Notice the
growing number of Chinese and European
in serious community work. All are join-
ing in a poetic dissent from North
Atlantic civilization, joining the countries
of the Third World in making the culture
The Indian and European youth, in
fact the entire non-African community is
tired of being out of power. They realise
that the false contest between the PNM
and DLP is responsible for this unhealthy
state of things. They are determined to
vote and change it. How will they vote?
Let us revert to the figures. If elections
were held at Xmas this year, 145,000
electors would be thirty-four and under;
if they were held next year, 170,000 or
so will fall in the group; if in 1971, about
195,000. This year some 70,000 new
voters will have come onto the list of
eligibles since 1966. Next year the figure
will be about 90,000; in 1971, about
With the ferment in the country, these
people are far less likely to stay away
from the polls than the disillusioned
middle-aged partisans of the PNM and
DLP. The question is: who will they vote
The pointers are strongly suggestive.
145,000 young electors can be decisive at
this point, what with the die-hard, hard-
core, split among the old partisans. A new
movement is emerging. The sands are no
longer just shifting from under the old;
they have already shifted.
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