The exciting story of a simple Jehovah’s Witness named Winnifred Williams started on Charles Street, Cobeaux Town, Port of Spain where this enterprising woman who had run from her jealous Indian husband in Couva, took care of her three children by Pressing and Curling the hair of neighborhood customers while writing stories in a copybook and submitted them to “True Confessions” magazine in the USA.
As her two sons grew into working young men whi visited their old home regularly, Winnie would show off her stories and make them read her stuff aloud.
One of the most significant acts she did at this time was to inscribe short messsge at the lower edge of this photo of her self whuch simply stated “Say hello to Rudy”, her grandson from Rudolph Williams who had left the city to wotk in Point Fortin but had also been bitten by his mom’s writing bug
Consider the kind of sumptuous political treat which a diverse Trini audience, always hungry to gleefully lap up a tasty presentation, can really enjoy if UNC Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and PNM Women’s League President Camille Robinson-Regis could together cut to the chase and focus on key issues as they affect our people at the core – such as they did with Climate Change on a recent CNC3 programme?
As big and small leaders all over the world cut through cumbersome barriers to come up with solutions for problems such as the Green Economy and the Carbon Footprint, there’s a surge of optimism all around as innovators like
Elon Musk and Ray Kurzweil respond positively with answers and solutions intended to make this world a healthier, cleaner place than the dirty, weakened one which we ourselves so recklessly created.
In that expansive context therefore, how big a deal can it be if someone calls you by the name Sushilla in a tone that may touch on your raw-nerve of being regarded as an inferior on your arrival to this land of milk and honey – especially when the authorities had to isolate you in Chacachacare for fear that they would get your lice?
And how painful for you to hear someone who arrived here in similar circumstances, call you the daughter of a slave in public when that’s the eternal story in our history books, complete with photos and drawings so well etched into our mind-set The Mighty Sparrow was able to create a gem of a calypso based on this horrible experience?
Is this the best material that we can find – as leaders, parents and 21st Century role models in a wealthy democratic republic where most people have been given the opportunity of higher education – can dish out to our gullible children from a public platform, and still pretend to be shocked at their gangsta and bandit behaviour?
Come on people! Surely, it’s time to cut out the bull-crap and start over on a clean new page or face the danger of deteriorating into a whole big mess which, at this rate, we may not ever get a firm handle on in the future.
Coolie! Coolie! Come for Roti!…and ….
Nigger! Nigger! Come for Jigger!
These were lines we sang while fondly making jokes at one another as boys in school in the 1950s.
When Dr Eric Williams entered the political era in 1956 to start us on the road to Internal self government and then Independence, it was just plain fun to run singing alongside the few election vehicles to the tune.
Run yuh run, Eric William run your run
Run yuh run, Eric William run yuh run
Yuh hear what the doktah say
Cheer! Boys, Cheer!
Wit ah piece ah rope and ah mango tree
We go F- up DLP.
In the meanwhile, somewhere on the outskirts of the exciting mix, you could hear Lord Kitchener singing :
Don’t come back again, nigger man
Don’t come back again!
The biggest tragedy for people like myself, amidst this tendency to keep Dazzling Them with Brilliance and Baffling Them with BS may very well be in the way how we, as the only original people charged by natural right to lead our people into a bright tomorrow, left our people in such a molasses pool of political and ethnic despair that leaders like Camille and Kamla can still be found today wallowing there together like hog love mud.
Or: Same Khaki Pants!
Ironically – as the historical records suggest – it might have been that we let this golden opportunity of actualizing a true synergy in living together as one in a manner that sets an unfollowable example for the rest of the world.
That’s because evidence in the past has shown how a game-changing force we can become whenever we raise our noses and smell victory in the wind – all for the higher cause.
This was the heavy price paid for cutting down on the energy which needed to be duly expended on the vital exercise of nation building needed to avoid the divisiveness that could only pull us deeper and deeper down into the political gutter.
For those who are too young to remember the past, let the seniors remind them of leaders who cut to the chase for the benefit above their own interests, by coming together at crucial points in our history to save the day.
In the 1930s, Tubal Uriah Buzz Butler – a Grenadian immigrant of African descent, joined forces with the East Indian Adrian Cola Rienzi and the European Arthur Andrew Cipriani in a gathering of the forces of Oil, Commerce and Sugar to start the movement that would bring Labour to the forefront of our national decision-making process.
In the early 50s, a Portuguese businessman named Albert Gomes triggered the imagination of the masses by his championing of causes for the common man, including the move to recognize the ostracised African Shouter Baptists.
Gomes went on to be elected the first Chief Minister in the British Colonial Legislature established here.
In 1970, the Black Power Movement made an attempt to achieve the same objective when Army Mutineers Raffique Shah and Rex a Salle sided with University radicals which included Geddes Granger and Khafra Kambon who teamed up with Labour leaders in the person of George Weekes and others, combined with a band of sugar workers in central Trinidad.
Full scale success in routing the PNM finally came in 1986 when the East Indian based United Front led by Sugar Trade unionist leader Basdeo Panday in central Trinidad, teamed up with the Oilfields Workers Trade Union led by George Weekes and the business, middle class and “mixed” people who were emerging as a major force, in addition to Tobago where two seats were in contention.
The political consortium named the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) swept into power with a resounding 33-3 victory and Basdeo Panday was elected as the first Prime Minister of East Indian descent in Trinidad and Tobago.
They lost the next election which quickly came up when Tobago leader ANR Robison started having difficulties with the Panday faction and used his position as President of the Republic and the controller of the two Tobago seats to manoeuvre Panday out of office after a stalemate result.
This again, was yet another example of how Cuts could help in the positive development of the young nation.
Another most urgent example is no rearing its head now that Energy Minister Stuart Young has announced plans to drastically cut fuel subsidies for motorists, many of whom seem to insist on thinking that as long as world gas
prices are high – as they currently are – the consumer is supposed to experience the same or a similar benefit.
In this argument, these citizens conveniently to cut out the fact that the government has been subsidizing fuel sales at the pump for the past 30 years ago, much to the delight of these same citizens who simply refuse to acknowledge the facts of the matter.
Unless the Prime Minister and his PR people can convince citizens that they must cut their cloth to suit their pockets or else all fall down therefore, the PNM government faces a real chance of seeing a significant amount of their tradition support severely cut by the time elections come around later this year (Local Government) and in 2025 (General).
Which suggests that – despite any rationally based decision to push the hard economic line in theory – the government itself can find itself reeling under the impact of so much socio-political pressure, that Rowley and his Balisier posse may very well find themselves cutting back on taxes and, as some people would advise Camille and Kamla:
Wheel and Come Again!
To the southern tips of Trinidad that Winnie’s grandson, Rudolph Williams, continues to write in reverence to that note she worked so joyfully hard to tell him her beautiful story that will always continue – whether with the last stroke of an old pen or yet another tippy tap on the latest laptop.