Friday, 14 April 2017

Extract of a letter from Mr.
President Mackenzie to the
Duke of Portland dated Grenada
15th September 1795

                           I am honoured with your Grace’s letter of the 8th July, and was happy in being able to communicate the information that a very considerable Detachment of Troops was on the point of embarking for these Islands.
We are now in daily expectation of its arrival, and an additional Force in Grenada is become essentially important to the safety of the Colony. The great reduction which has taken place in the Militia from weariness and disease, has nearly annihilated some of the Regiments, and the guard for the protection of the Town is principally composed of Negroes.
No attempt of any kind has been made against the insurgents, since I had last the honour of writing to your Grace, and, fortunately for us, they have been equally inactive on
their  



their part- nor had the Enemy yet attempted to throw in succours from the other Islands (a very small vessel with Provisions and Ammunition expected) though we have several reports of a Force preparing at Guadeloupe and St. Lucia.
                     The Act for vesting the command of the Militia in the General Officer commanding His Majesty’s Forces in the Island, during the existing Insurrection, has passed the Legislature, and I have the honour to forward a certified Copy by this Packet.
                     In the Copies of correspondence with Brigadier General Nicolls, which I had the honour to inclose in my letter to your Grace of the 11th Ulto, notice was taken of a general order issued by the Brigadier forbidding any vessel to leave the Island without first obtaining his permission. The principal Officers of his Majesty’s Customs for the Port of St. George, have, since the…
of  


517
of that order, refused to give the usual clearance Papers to vessels quitting the Port until the leave on the part of the  Brigadier had been first obtained – Complaint                     199
having been made to me of this circumstance, I wrote to the principal officers a letter of which the inclosed is a Copy. It was delivered to the Collector, but no answer has been returned to it.- The temporary nature of my command has made me averse to the measure of suspending these Officers, but I am satisfied that your Grace will see the propriety of maintaining, in all those who by His Majesty’s Commission are placed as first in command in the Colony, that authority which is requisite for such a situation, and therefore I have thought it my duty to state this circumstance for the information of your Grace.







Copy                                                                             519
Grenada 4th September 1795
200
              Gentlemen,
It having been represented to me that, for sometime past, vessels, which have regularly cleared at the Customs House, and complied with the requisites prescribed by Law, have not been permitted to receive their Papers, until they had produced a permission on the part of Brigadier General Nicolls to quit the Port; I have to request that you would inform me whether the representation thus made to me, is correct in point of fact.
                            I am &c
                            K.F. Mckenzie

Principal Officers
of his Majesty’s Customs

              St. George’s

Thursday, 13 April 2017

The Memorial of Kenneth Francis Mackenzie Esquire Attorney General of the Island of Grenada and the Grenadines in America

To his Grace the Duke of
Portland, one his Majesty’s
Principal Secretaries of State
322
The Memorial of Kenneth Francis Mackenzie
Esquire Attorney General of the Island of
Grenada and the Grenadines in America

         After many years of Public Service in an unhealthy Climate, it is with much Concern that your Memorialist finds himself under the necessity of making the present application, in order to obtain redress in a matter where he apprehends Government and the Individual are equally interested, but your Grace’s disposition to promote Justice induces your Memorialist to trust that you will take into your Consideration the following short statement of facts and give such directions in consequence as you may think the circumstances require.
            In January 1778, Lord Macartney then Governor and Commander in Chief of Grenada and Tobago was pleased to appoint your Memorialist his Majesty’s Counsel at Law of the last mentioned Island. In November 1779 John Graham Esquire, then Lieutenant Governor, and by the Capture of Grenada, Commander in Chief of Tobago, was pleased to appoint your Memorialist Attorney General of Tobago; and soon after the arrival of George Ferguson Esquire who succeeded Mr. Graham as Lieutenant Governor and for the time Commander in Chief of Tobago, Your Memorialist was appointed a member of his Majesty’s Council in that Island.
The

The cession of Tobago to France, induced your Memorialist to quit the Island, and in the Year 1783 his Majesty was graciously pleased to appoint you Memorialist Solicitor General of Grenada and its dependencies. In the beginning of the year 1785 his Majesty was also pleased to appoint your Memorialist a Member of Council for the Government of Grenada. On the twentieth day of January 1791 Edward Matthew Esquire, Governor and then Commander in Chief of Grenada, was pleased to appoint your Memorialist in the place of Sir Ashton Warner Byam then lately deceased, Attorney General of Grenada until his Majesty’s Royal pleasure should be known—And his Majesty being pleased to approve thereof, was further Graciously pleased on the twenty fifth day of April 1791 to appoint your Memorialist Attorney General of the said Island of Grenada and the Grenadines, with authority to have and enjoy all the Rights fees profits privileges and advantages thereof. – Your Memorialist is in Possession of the Commissions and other documents which substantiate these appointments and he begs leave to add that he has uniformly and conscientiously to the best of his abilities performed the duties attached to each of them.
            The appointments of Kings Counsel, Member of Council and Solicitor General are in this Country attended with trouble and labour, but with no emolument whatever.—In like manner, the Office of Attorney General here, tho at all times laborious and troublesome and exposed to responsibility, furnishes nothing but Rank at the Bar, and thereby that
Chance


323
chance for professional success which knowledge and talents insure without it, for tho an Annual Salary of about Two hundred pounds, Sterling, payable by the Crown, is attached to the Office, on account of its precluding the possessor, from acting in any cause against the Crown, yet that sum iis not paid, and your Memorialist has never been able to recover any part of it, tho’ very inadequate either to the duties of the situation or to the loss of health which rarely fails to be the Consequence of residence in tropical Countries.
            Of the Principal of these facts, the Public Offices at Whitehall furnish authentick (sic) evidence; and of the others, your Memorialist, if necessary, is ready to produce the most unquestionable testimony. The only Comment which he will presume to make upon them is, that tho’ Government certainly may fix the Recompense for Public services, at whatever they may be deemed Worth, Yet when an office is given and accepted, with a specific annual Salary attached to it payable by Government, and the duties of that Office are performed, Your Memorialist humbly conceives the money becomes a debt of Right and that Good Faith and Justice have an equal Interest in seeing it paid.
            Your Memorialist is persuaded that the Circumstances as set forth in this address have not hitherto come to your knowledge; and he also hopes and trusts that notwithstanding the pressures of Public business of infinitely more importance, Your Grace will not Consider as misemployed the few Minutes which may enable you to honor to the engagement of the Crown, and Justice to the claim of the Subject.
                                                                                    K.F. M

Grenada Revolution 1795

Extract of a letter from Mr.
President Mackenzie to the
Duke of Portland dated Grenada
15th September 1795

                           I am honoured with your Grace’s letter of the 8th July, and was happy in being able to communicate the information that a very considerable Detachment of Troops was on the point of embarking for these Islands.
We are now in daily expectation of its arrival, and an additional Force in Grenada is become essentially important to the safety of the Colony. The great reduction which has taken place in the Militia from weariness and disease, has nearly annihilated some of the Regiments, and the guard for the protection of the Town is principally composed of Negroes.
No attempt of any kind has been made against the insurgents, since I had last the honour of writing to your Grace, and, fortunately for us, they have been equally inactive on
their  



their part- nor had the Enemy yet attempted to throw in succours from the other Islands (a very small vessel with Provisions and Ammunition expected) though we have several reports of a Force preparing at Guadeloupe and St. Lucia.
                     The Act for vesting the command of the Militia in the General Officer commanding His Majesty’s Forces in the Island, during the existing Insurrection, has passed the Legislature, and I have the honour to forward a certified Copy by this Packet.
                     In the Copies of correspondence with Brigadier General Nicolls, which I had the honour to inclose in my letter to your Grace of the 11th Ulto, notice was taken of a general order issued by the Brigadier forbidding any vessel to leave the Island without first obtaining his permission. The principal Officers of his Majesty’s Customs for the Port of St. George, have, since the…
of  


517
of that order, refused to give the usual clearance Papers to vessels quitting the Port until the leave on the part of the  Brigadier had been first obtained – Complaint                     199
having been made to me of this circumstance, I wrote to the principal officers a letter of which the inclosed is a Copy. It was delivered to the Collector, but no answer has been returned to it.- The temporary nature of my command has made me averse to the measure of suspending these Officers, but I am satisfied that your Grace will see the propriety of maintaining, in all those who by His Majesty’s Commission are placed as first in command in the Colony, that authority which is requisite for such a situation, and therefore I have thought it my duty to state this circumstance for the information of your Grace.







Copy                                                                             519
Grenada 4th September 1795
200
              Gentlemen,
It having been represented to me that, for sometime past, vessels, which have regularly cleared at the Customs House, and complied with the requisites prescribed by Law, have not been permitted to receive their Papers, until they had produced a permission on the part of Brigadier General Nicolls to quit the Port; I have to request that you would inform me whether the representation thus made to me, is correct in point of fact.
                            I am &c
                            K.F. Mckenzie

Principal Officers
of his Majesty’s Customs

              St. George’s

Sunday, 2 April 2017

The Water Riots of 1903

“De brave, de brave 
De brave, de brave 
Many were sent to eternity 
In the riots of 1903.”   
(Fijornel)

A large crowd gathers outside the Red House in Port of Spain in protest to the proposed bill.
Photograph—Mr. & Mrs. Peter Stone. (Book of Trinidad)

The southern wing of the Red House prior to the Water Riots. Photograph—Mrs. Hélène Farfan. (Book of Trinidad)


THE DAY OF THE RIOT 

The adjourned meeting of the Legislative Council was held at noon on Monday, 23rd March, 1903, His Excellency the Governor Sir Alfred C. Maloney, K.C.M.G., presiding… Admission to  the Council Chamber was from an early hour refused the general public, strong guards of police, armed with sticks being posted at all entrances. In addition to the usually provided accommodation, 150 chairs had been hired and ranged all round the room. As noon approached, some 50 to 60 of these began to be occupied, the large proportion being government officers. In the meantime an immense crowd of the general public filled Brunswick  Square and Abercromby Street, as well as the grounds to the west and along St. Vincent Street and, headed by the Committee of the Ratepayers Association, they proceeded to the main entrance to the building and demanded admission. The doors which had been closed against them were all guarded by strong bodies of police. Lieut-Col. Blake refused to allow anyone to pass.

A ticket to the public gallery of the Legislative Council  (Book of Trinidad)


MASS MEETING AT BRUNSWICK SQUARE  
In the same Friday morning there appeared in the Gazette an official notice in the following terms, with regard to the admission of the public to the Council Chamber on the following Monday:—
‘Public notice is given that, on account of the limited accommodation in the Council Chamber, and the great inconvenience caused when the members of the public are anxious to attend the debates, admission to those parts of the Chamber not appropriated to the use of the members will in future be given by tickets only, in accordance with the practice of the Imperial Parliament…
Tickets will be issued… in the order of application, at the office of the Clerk to the Legislative Council…
Special arrangements will be made for the Press.
(Sgd.) Harry L. Knaggs,
for the Clerk of the Legislative Council.

On the next day, Saturday, 21st March, a mass meeting was convened by the Ratepayers’ Association in Brunswick Square, for the purpose of discussing this ‘ticket regulation,’ which was declared on high legal authority to be illegal…
(22nd March, 1903)

The Red House in flames. Photograph—O.J. Mavrogordato. (Book of Trinidad)


The advanced members of the Association then asked for permission to enter the Council Chamber and were met by Col. Blake, standing one pace in front of the constables, who informed them that he was instructed by the Governor to oppose any attempt to forcibly enter the building. Admission would be, as had been announced, by ticket only. He was backed by an armed squad of police and would oppose force by force; and the degree of violence of the one would be measured by that of the other… The challenge was accepted by one or two members who, partly pressed forward by the surging but orderly crowd, partly advancing with hands and arms  raised high above their heads to show that no violence was intended, came into contact with the Colonel and were forced back… Mr. Lazare then from the top of the steps informed the crowd what had taken place, and begged them to let their protest take a quiet and peaceable form most likely to recommend itself to the English people whom they might depend upon to see that they got ample justice for, the wrongs and outrages that were being heaped upon them… He begged them to refrain from any further acts and merely remain about the grounds of the building while the debate proceeded. The crowd then drew off to the square, where speeches were delivered urging that strict order be observed… In the meantime, the rising temper of the people was not lessened by the discovery that orders had actually been issued to the fire brigade to turn three firehoses upon them should they assemble outside the Council Chamber. Shortly after, the order was given to Lieut. Whiteman to turn on the hose but this he refused to do, saying he was appointed to put out fires, not to drench crowds, and   presently the cheering, the singing of the national anthem, and the lessening of the crowd gave a clear demonstration of the resolution of the public protest. Shortly before noon, all the stores and business places in the town closed as a further mark of protest against the action of the Legislative Council. Immediately after 12, the Governor, accompanied by his private secretary, drove down to Government House, closely guarded by police and, protected by a similar guard, proceeded to his office where there had been stationed another 35 armed constables. Accompanied by the Colonial Secretary, with Captain Dutton, A.D.C., His Excellency entered the Council Chamber and took his seat; at the same moment ten more armed constables entered the room and took up positions with the rest. Amidst every mark of public demonstration against the proceedings and a momentarily growing scene of popular excitement, the Legislature came to order, and the Clerk rose to read the minutes of the proceedings of the previous Monday’s meeting.  

The Hon. Sir Henry Alcazar, the leading coloured Barrister and Legislator of the period.
Photograph —Mrs. Hélène Farfan. (Book of Trinidad)

Lt. Emmanuel Lazare


MR. ALCAZAR PROTESTS 
As the Clerk began to read, Mr. Alcazar rose to a point of order…as to whether it was in pursuance of any standing orders of the Legislative Council, requiring all meetings of the Council to be in public that this day’s meeting was held. He referred to the ticket regulation and, without at present going into the question as to whether it was not, as many persons considered ultra vires for the president to make such a regulation, he stood on the point that standing order 4 required all meetings to be held in public and he understood that a number of members of the public had been excluded today from this meeting.
Some discussion arose and the colonial secretary, having inquired what exactly was before the house, Mr. Alcazar formally moved the adjournment of the house.
Mr. Goodwill seconded.
The motion was lost by a vote of 14 against 6, Messrs Fenwick, R.S. Aucher Warner, Marryat and McLelland voting with the officials.
Mr. Alcazar:—I rose to move the adjournment as a protest and to discuss a public grievance, and upon such a motion it was most inappropriate and improper that the officials should have voted. I now give notice of protest against the vote; I beg to notify Your Excellency that I leave this Council and decline to take any further part in its proceedings.
Mr. Alcazar then left the Chamber.
Messrs. Goodwill, Gordon and Leotaud also gave notice of protest against the vote.
His Excellency then read his formal ruling on the question of order as to the ‘ticket regulation,’ that he maintained his right to act as he had done.
Mr. Gordon then rose and said that after what had fallen from His Excellency, he felt it incumbent upon him, with great respect, to follow the course taken by Mr. Alcazar. He could not consent to remain at a Council whose standing orders and regulations could be varied at the irresponsible whim of the Governor.
Mr. Gordon then left the Chamber.
After a pause,  the order of the day was proceeded with the Clerk reading the minutes of the previous Monday’s meeting.

The Southern Wing gutted by fire. This photograph was taken by Mr. H. Stone, Acting Registrar, who, with the help of the firemen, saved the records in the Registrar General’s Office. Photograph—Mr. & Mrs. Peter Stone. (Book of Trinidad)


The debate on the second reading of the waterworks ordinance was resumed… His Excellency rose and proceeded to read a lengthy address to the Council on the history of the bill. During the reading, the crowds around the building outside had been growing more and more noisy and turbulent —the singing of the national anthem, Rule Britannia, the beating of drums, the blowing of whistles and the cries of women carrying flags, were on the increase. Almost all the windows in the lower storey had been broken and, after a while, an accident occurred which acted like a spark upon a train of powder. And in a moment a most regrettable riot had broken out. For some offence, a woman on the Red House lawn was arrested by a constable, who was immediately struck by a couple of stones flung by some small boys. Thereupon the constable released the woman and was at once attacked by her, too. Members of the crowd closed on her and dragged her and the boys away; but the evil was done. In a moment, stone-throwing was widely taken up by the crowd. Stones were pelted in a terrific shower into the Council Chamber through the glass doors and windows. People and police alike fled from the eastern galleries into the Chamber, and the Council came to a standstill. So hot became the shelling that in a few minutes, the whole of the unofficials had to rise and seek shelter, as did the reporting staff also, behind pillars, bookcases, etc. Presently the crowd to the west of the building got wind of the proceedings on the east and at once, without question, started to pelt stories too. Then the entire Council rose and moved for shelter to the inner galleries around the fountain courtyard in the interior of the building. For fully ten minutes was the fusillade kept up, several people in the building being hit. After a while the crowd broke in through the east and west iron gates into the inner courtyard, overpowering and driving back the squads of constables who had been hastily summoned to oppose them, and the whole crowd proceeded to stone the Council and the other fugitives from the Council Chamber who crowded the inner balconies. A suggestion was made to His Excellency to stand forward and state to the crowd that he withdrew the ordinance; but this he declined to do. The Governor, his A.D.C., Major Collens, the Press representatives and others then took shelter in the small vacant office behind the Education Department on the upper floor, the whole party seeking what shelter they could behind presses and bookcases with which they barricaded the doors from the showers of stones and broken glass which assailed the room. It was the Director of Public Works and Mr. Fenwick who were the two members of Council for whom, judging by the occasional cries heard, the most apprehension was to be felt. What became of the latter is not clear but Mr. Wrightson was, with much difficulty, smuggled out of the room by a strong guard of police, disguising himself in a police tunic and helmet. In a similar way was the Attorney-General gotten safely over, and both remained at the police barracks. For the Governor, however, and those with him, for a good while there seemed no way of escape, it being impossible to venture out of the room. Presently, the news came —and was immediately after confirmed by the penetration of the pungent smell of smoke into the room—that the Red House had been fired. The discovery was made from the brigade station opposite that fire was set in the Registrar-General’s Office (under which the Governor and party were imprisoned), the Survey Office and the Hall of Justice simultaneously. Fanned by a gentle breeze, the flames spread so rapidly that in a few moments it was decided by the whole part, including the Governor, to risk the blows from the showers of stones which were still flying, rather than risk the fire. The door into the Council Chamber was opened and the rush of dense black smoke into the room where the party was imprisoned at once justified the wisdom of the decision to move on. At the same moment, a sound of firing from the police immediately followed the reading of the riot act by Mr. A.S. Bowen, in the presence of Colonel Brake, caused a sudden cessation of the stone-throwing. The whole party then ran down the Colonial Secretary’s main staircase into the crowded streets, and the Governor was rushed under a strong police guard right across into the police barracks and kept there till he could be sent privately up Edward Street to St. Ann’s; while Mr. Wrightson, also under a strong police guard and surrounded by a guard of armed   sailors who had been fetched from the warship in the harbour, was rushed to the wharf and sent off in a small boat and kept on board H.M.S. Pallas… Although the riot was checked by the first volley fired and the crowd at once began to disperse, it was noticed that volley after volley was fired, and that, too, quite indiscriminately in all directions… The killed were afterwards found to have numbered 16, while 42 at least were wounded, some of them at quite a distance from the scene of the riot.
(25th March, 1903).  

ARRIVAL OF THE REGULARS 
A couple of men of the Lancashire Fusiliers, sent for by the Governor, from Barbados, arrived on Wednesday evening by the three-masted schooner Sunbeam, having been towed up from the Bocas by the Iere and Paria. An immense crowd gathered to witness the landing and was at first driven back by the police:—
But on the advice of Supt. Sergt. Peake and a naval guard of 12 men from H.M.S. Pallas the crowd was allowed to reform, and in a most peaceful and orderly manner watched the landing, easily controlled by the sailors.
(27th March, 1903).  

ARRIVAL OF THE ROYAL COMMISSION 
The Special Commissioners appointed by the Secretary of State to inquire into the recent riots in Port of Spain, arrived on the H.M.S. Trent on Tuesday morning the 28th April, 1903… accompanied by Mr. H.M. Vernon as Secretary, and Mr. W. Walpole, shorthand writer…The first sitting was held on Wednesday the 29th at the Princes Building, which had been specially fitted up for the purpose. The grounds around the building and to the north on the Queen’s Park Savannah presented a very pretty, if unusual, scene of military activity. A double row of white conical tents were ranged right across marking the encampment of the Lancashire Fusiliers who, to the number of 21, exclusive of another 210, in barracks at St. James, came over from Barbados. In the centre was mounted one maxim gun. The appearances of counsel were:—
For the Government: The Hon’ble Vincent Brown (Attorney-General), Mr. R.S. Aucher Warner, Mr. L. A. Wharton.
For the Ratepayers Association, the Chamber of Commerce, and the United Committee, and relatives of the killed:—The Hon’ble H.A. Alcazar, Messrs E. Scipio Pollard, E.A. Robinson and C.J. McLeod.  

THE REPORT OF THE COMMISSION 
The report of the Commission was dated 2nd July, and was at once sent out by the Colonial Office; it was a lengthy document, and was published in extenso in the Gazette. Its findings were:—
1. That the riot is to be attributed to public opposition to the proposed waterworks ordinance, stimulated by falsehoods and incitements to violence of certain speakers and the Mirror newspaper.
2. That there was excessive and unnecessary firing by some individual members of the police force.
3. That two, if not three, persons were brutally bayonetted and killed by the police without any justification whatever.
4. That the Executive Government failed to take adequate measures to correct misrepresentations about the draft ordinance.
5. That there is a regrettable and serious division between a large and influential portion of the community of Port of Spain and the Executive Government regarding public affairs.
6. That there has been most deplorable delay in prosecuting the rioters… and the taking of steps to enable the police who committed outrages to be also prosecuted; but most significantly, they also recommended the reference of the draft ordinance to a select committee.
(July 1903)  

Edgar Agostini, K.C.

The Hon. Mr. Louis Wharton, K.C.


FIRST TRIAL OF RIOTERS 
Punctually at half-past ten yesterday morning, the special sessions of the Supreme Criminal Court, ordered by the Governor to be held for the trial of 22 persons indicted for riot on the 23rd March last, were opened by His Honour Mr. Justice Routledge in Greyfriars Hall, Frederick Street. In addition to the usual strong guard of police sent down to every sitting of the sessions, a feature which excited considerable remark was the presence of 26 rank and file of the Lancashire Fusiliers, under rifles and fixed bayonets, a somewhat unusual show of military ferocity in the precincts of Greyfriars Hall…
The Hon’ble V. Brown, with the Hon’ble L.E. Agostini and Mr. L.A. Wharton, prosecuted, instructed by Mr. A.D. O’Connor and Messrs E. Scipio Pollard and G. Johnson, instructed by Messrs. E. Maresse-Smith and J.A. Lassalle, appeared for the defence…
The trial lasted for a week, and it was on the afternoon of the 30th July that the jury retired at 4.30 after a most emphatic charge by the judge. Ten minutes afterward they returned into court. In the meantime, the square opposite the Hall, and the length of the pavement on either side of the street as well as Knox Street had filled with a dense crowd, composed of all classes of the community… A strong guard of police appeared and took up positions at various points of the Hall while a detachment of Fusiliers with loaded rifles and fixed bayonets were posted about the yard and outside the judges chambers. The jury again retired after further directions… Close upon three hours passed and no verdict had been returned. The closely-packed Court House, which was fortunately lit by electricity, grew more and more filled and all waited anxiously for what seemed likely to be an abortive verdict. At 7.15, the Acting Chief Justice returned into Court and the jury came back. After the usual questions, nine prisoners were unanimously declared not guilty, one prisoner was found not guilty by 7 to 2, and one not guilty by 8 to 1; the jury was not unanimous as to any one prisoners guilt. By a majority of 8 to 1 they convicted another; as regards the other three, they were divided 6 to 3. The judge refused to accept the verdicts, to the fact that after three hours, a majority verdict either way could be taken. The judge held he was only empowered, not compelled, to do so. The jury retired, His Honour intimating that he would take the verdicts or discharge the jury at 9 p.m. He then formally discharged those who had been acquitted, and as each reached the street he or she was received with round after round of cheering. Punctually at 9 p.m. the judge returned to Court and, to the surprise of all, the jury returned a verdict in two more cases, one guilty by 7 to 2 and one not guilty by 7 to 2. In the remaining case that of Lolotte Borde, they remained 6 to 3… The following sentences were passed:—
Joseph James and Lilla Assing, 5 years each,
Abraham James, 4 years,
Octave Romain and Johnnie Blades, 5 years each.
(21st -30th July 1903)  

The arrival of the troops. Photograph—Mrs. Hélène Farfan. (Book of Trinidad)


THE TRIAL OF THE FOUR 
It was not until the December sessions that the trial of Messrs. J.C. Maresse-Smith, H.N. Hall, E.M. Lazare and R.R. Mole, on the charge of inciting to riot, was held. Mr. Vincent Brown, with Messrs. Edgar Agostini and L.A. Wharton prosecuted, for the Crown:—Mr. Alcazar and Mr. A.E. Hendrickson, instructed by Mr. H.M. Iles, defended Maresse-Smith; Mr. E. Scipio Pollard, instructed by Mr.  L.J.A. Lassalle, defended Hall; and Messrs. A.E. Robinson and W. Blanche-Wilson, instructed by Mr. T.M. Kelshall, defended Lazare.
The instructions of the Secretary of State to the prosecution of Mr. Mole were not given effect to, it was understood on the strong advice of the local law officers. The trial ended on the 18th December in a unanimous verdict of acquittal for all three accused.
(19th December, 1903).

The H.M.S. Pallas of the South Atlantic squadron brought the British troops to Trinidad.
Photograph—G. Duruty. (Book of Trinidad)

THE NEW WATER AND SEWERAGE BOARD 
One of the earliest victories of the riot was the transfer of the management of the water-works and sewerage system to a Board of mixed official and unofficial personnel; and the Gazette of the 30th September, 1904, records the holding of the first meeting of the new authority, composed as follows:—
Hon. R.G. Bushe (Auditor-General) Chairman
Hon. W. Wrightson (Director of Public Works)
Hon. D. Slyne (Receiver-General)
Dr. C.F. Knox (Acting Surgeon-General)
Dr. G.H. Masson
Mr. Alfred G. Siegert
Mr. L.A. Wharton
Mr. B.H. Stephens
Mr. H.Y. Vieira
with Mr. J.A. Lamy, barrister-at-law (Town Clerk) as Secretary. (30th Sept. 1904).

Sunday, 19 March 2017

THE COURT. TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 1916

From C.B. Franklin Year Book 1916

Past Chief Justices
1849 William George Knox
1870 Sir Joseph Needham, Kt.
1885 Sir John Gorrie, Kt.
1892 Sir John Goldney, Kt.
1900 Sir William John Anderson, Kt.
1903 Sir Ernest Alfred Northcote, Kt. LL.B.

CHIEF JUSTICE
Sir Alfred Van Waterschoodt Lucie-Smith, Kt. Appointed 22nd July, 1908

First Puisne Judge.
Alexander David Russell, LL.B. Appointed 4th October, 1913

Second Puisne Judge.
Eric Blackwood Wright, B.A., LL.D. Appointed 3rd December, 1913.

Registrar and Marshal.
Thomas Augustus Thompson. Appointed 14th July, 1897.

BARRISTERS-AT-LAW AND SOLICTORS PRACTISING IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO IN 1916

From The Trinidad Year Book, 1916. Compiled by C.B. Franklin







Monday, 6 March 2017

The Reaction of Ethnic Minorities to Black Power in Trinidad and Tobago, 1970

by Gerard A. Besson

              
This abstract is based on conversations with five Trinidadians of European descent, three were men and two were women, all of whom were over 30 in 1970. Two of the men were company directors, the women were housewives. Three were Syrians, comprising two women, one was a housewife, the other worked in her husband’s business and one man who was a teenager in 1970 and worked in his father’s business. A Chinese woman who was in her twenties in 1970 who worked in a bank and whose father owned a shop, An Indian man, a national of India, who worked in Trinidad as a retailer in the period. And a Portuguese housewife whose husband worked in rum shop owned by a Portuguese family. Three other informants were interviewed, there were coloured, mixed race Trinidadians and two Black Trinidadians who do not consider themselves Afrocentric. Indo Trinidadians were not included.
The views of the ethnic minorities in T&T with regard to the Black Power disturbances of 1970 are varied depending on what was experienced by those individuals.
These were the Chinese, the Portuguese and the Syrian/Lebanese communities, the Indians (from India), the French Creoles, that is European-appearing persons with French, Irish, Italian or German names, and the English Creoles. Some of these were evolved, more or less, in trade or other forms of family-owned and operated businesses. Light-complexioned people in general, persons of mixed-race backgrounds who may have identified themselves as French Creole, Chinese, Spanish or other and Afro Trinidadians who did not identify with the Black Power movement, that involved demonstrations of thousands of people.
The most common emotion felt by most of the above was fear, and a sense of surprise that was mixed with a feeling of disappointment. The sense of fear was founded on the experience of the random violence that was known to take place during the steelband clashes of the recent past, forms of labour unrest, and the collective historical fear of Black people assembled en masse and organised as a riotous mob.
The sense of surprise and disappointment was founded mostly on the belief that with Independence in 1962, a new status quo had been achieved in which the intellectual and the professional Blacks would run the government, but the society and business would continue as before. There was as well the feeling that Trinidad, “Sweet, sweet, Trinidad” was gone forever.
Independence had come following the elections of 1961, in which an intense racial outburst by Dr Eric Williams, in his “Massa day done” speeches (1960-61) shocked the minorities in the population. In these discourses he deconstructed the European mythology of their racial superiority and attacked the European-descended population at large and the French Creoles in particular, wherein they were characterised as having inherited the guilt of 18th century slave masters.
In these discourses, the East Indians on the whole were portrayed by Dr. Williams as being at the beck and call (the shoe shine boys) of the European-descended members of the DLP and (nincompoops) marginal to the PNM’s revolution. Williams had in effect broken the taboo that had surrounded open and public discourse on race, in which derogatory views would be aired with regard to Europeans. In so doing, he had inaugurated “the Williams narrative.”
Taken aback by the impetus of the election campaign, the originality and the pertinence of some of the presentations and the extent to which the European leaders of the non-Black vote, i.e. Albert Gomes, Gerald Wight et al, had apparently been disgraced and put to flight, all the minorities appeared cowed and went along with the Williams interpretation of history and how it was applied to politics. Trust was invested and power achieved by this mostly Black party, the PNM, 
In effect, it was understood that all segments in the population would have to be subordinate to the “National culture” of the “true inheritors”— Williams’ words, that is, of the Afro-Trinidadians. As such, it was generally believed that with the PNM in power, there was no need for a Black Power movement at all. Hence, the Black Power disturbances came as a surprise to many.
Perhaps mostly so to Black and coloured Trinidadians who could not involve themselves with the Black Power movement for a variety of reasons: amongst these because they felt it did not involve them at all, that it was a low-class movement for people who were thought of by them as “the niggers”, that it was of little or no concern to them in terms of advancement of their own personal Black awareness, that it may spoil relationships between them and Whites, that it was a youth movement involving the undisciplined and lawless elements, that is was against the Law, that it was disruptive of social and racial harmony, that it was against Christian religious principles, that it was against the PNM and Dr. Williams personally, or that it was just foolish and misguided and imported from America, that it would not achieve anything for Black people that education, self-sacrifice and hard work could not achieve, that the pursuit of ambitions and taking the opportunity to live abroad was an obvious and better choice.  Many Blacks felt that that it was Black people fooling other Black people in their pursuit of power and self-aggrandizement, which was in itself dangerous, in that the Government may be overthrown and the communists would take over—bearing in mind that it was the middle of the Cold War, and communist regimes had taken control in other former colonies.
Moderate Blacks and coloureds were often intimidated, some felt fear, and that they were betraying their brothers and sisters. Many did not have it in them to participate, but realised that in not doing so, they were placed in a particular category and were described as Uncle Toms, stooges of the White people, the honkeys, and were called names like house niggers, cowards, fools, and as backward colonials, Afro Saxons.
There was outrage and a growing dissonance between Black youth on the whole and some of the Black middle class, as well as other Blacks who had pursued European mores, speech, dress, hair styles and cultural values, who had notions of respectability, that could not identify with the type of behaviour associated with youth movements expressed as Black Power. This behaviour had to do with overt racialism against Europeans in general and local Whites in particular, anger against White and foreign-owned businesses, radical attitudes to sexual conduct, dress, Afro hair styles, use of marijuana, adulation of revolutionary heroes like Ché Guevara, Stokeley Carmichael, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Fidel Castro, etc.
There was also an awkward dissonance being created between mainstream Blacks and the Whites, off-Whites and French Creoles. They were committed to the Afro/French Creole, British colonial way of life, which included Catholicism and Christianity on the whole, language (patois), the lifestyle of agriculture and stock-rearing, boating and fishing, work in various professions, and the retained memory of the previous century with its cultural mores that were mostly French-Antillean dominated. Despite their support for the PNM and Dr. Williams and the nationalist independence movement, they were hesitant to repudiate these cultural mores in exchange for Black Power, whose values threatened theirs so absolutely.
In the Chinese community, which twelve years earlier had numbered about eight thousand and included mixed-race people who identified themselves as Chinese and not as Black, many were restaurant, steam laundry, shop and parlor proprietors and other owner-operated concerns, some of whom dealt with the Black public “over the counter.” Several were professionals or worked in the banks, private enterprise or for other Chinese. They experienced Black Power in terms of fear, harassment, violent threats, intimidation and in a few cases physical violence.  This community suffered financial losses during the period as business slowed and in some cases closed permanently. Several business places that were owned by Chinese families remained abandoned for years; others were reopened part time. Chinese families moved away from predominantly Black neighbourhoods where they had lived at times for more than one generation. After 1970 there ensued a steady emigration of Trinidad Chinese to Canada and other places.
With regards to the Portuguese, those who were still in the retail trade, shops, groceries and rum shops, also experienced financial loss, thuggery and verbal abuse, violent behaviour and threats that were similar to those levelled at the Chinese. Both these segments of the population had been in the retail trade running shops and rum shops for generations, trading in mostly in poor Black depressed areas, and were in the front line so to speak, of Black Power intimidation.
There had also been a large degree of miscegenation between the Chinese and Portuguese and their Black neighbours/customers. To what extent this played a role in the attacks against them is well worth exploring. It may be said that Black Power, 1970, reduced the involvement of both these sectors in the sale of food and alcohol, in the traditional sense, as there are few if any still engaged in trade. Indians seemed to have filled the gap.
Both these groups felt unjustly attacked as they were, in a manner, not unlike Blacks: excluded from White dominance of the society. When asked about the charge of exploitation by them of Blacks in terms of property loss because of extending credit, or sexual favours exchanged for money or kind, the feeling was that these were arrangements made freely and without force, and served the purpose at the time. There was a distinct move away from Black neighborhoods after Black Power. The Portuguese became increasingly socially White.
The Syrian/Lebanese community was severely affected financially by the disturbances. Their businesses were mostly located in the urban centres, downtown Port-of-Spain and San Fernando, in that there was a high degree of damage to property, intimidation of customers and staff and an almost complete collapse of sales during the months of January to May 1970 and afterwards. 
Several of the downtown establishments owned by this community had benefited by the steady growth and development of the middle class of all sectors and had made substantial investments in clothing shops and manufacturing plants and modern merchandising and advertisement for their stores. This had involved large outlays of cash and loans from the banks, whose repayments required a steady cash flow. When this cash flow was disrupted, pressure was applied to the owners and layoffs were experienced by the employees.
There was a degree of harassment, intimidation and extortion experienced by the Syrians. Several properties were burnt in the urban areas; arson was a threat and often a reality. This segment continued in business notwithstanding the large-scale street protest and the ongoing damage to property, and in some cases was able to form accommodations with elements of the Black Power. There was a feeling of resentment against the Black population because of the perceived kindnesses and acts of generosity given to poor and needy Blacks. When asked about exploitation, low wages, racial discrimination, sexual harassment and exploitation, they agreed that these existed, but maintained that these were human failures and any race could be found guilty of these placed in the right circumstances and that this was not peculiar to them.  There was not any marked emigration in this community, but there was a distinct hardening of racial animosity towards Blacks that it is claimed was not there before Black Power. Charity given to poor Blacks and others was maintained, in fact increased, by the Syrian-Lebanese Women’s Association.
The Indians from India who formed a small merchant community in the business district were adversely affected financially in much the same way as the above. Both communities, being in the dry goods trade, experienced a collapse in business in the several months of disturbances. There was fear of violence, business failure and of sexual assault.
The European-descended, mainly English and Scottish merchants who owned and operated the big firms, i.e. Geo F. Huggins, Alstons, T. Geddes Grant, Gordon Grant and a dozen others, including the large department stores Stephens, Fogarty’s, Millers, Glendinning’s, Woolworth, were like the Syrians immediately affected financially by a collapse of sales. In the case of the retailers the effect was immediate, in the case of the wholesalers this was accumulative. As wholesale suppliers to small outlets, they were increasingly unable to deliver/supply their customers.
The fear of violence directed against them and their families had begun in the anti-White diatribes of the “Massa day done” politics of Dr. Williams, when it was remembered that he had “given them (his supporters) permission to cut their throats” and when he had said that “history used as the murderous weapon it can be”. Connected to Britain’s international markets, this segment was acutely aware of what was taking place in other parts of the Commonwealth with regard to racial/political upheavals and the threat of communist takeover, the Cold War being on everybody’s mind.  There was a sense of guilt for past wrongs, and an admittance of racism, but it was explained that it was the times and that times were changing worldwide.
There was a feeling of confidence in the White Acting Police Commissioner, Peter May, and a police force that was perceived as loyal to the Government. With a justice system that was known to work, things would work out.
There was also the feeling that because of the oil fields, the Americans or British Governments would not let things go from bad to worse. There was a surprising amount of confidence in Dr. Williams who was thought of as not communist, but as a supporter of business interest, and also as a very clever and resourceful man. A large number of the White business community as well as French Creole families were supporters of the PNM. Party Group 13 was situated in Goodwood Park, an upscale, predominantly White area.
Several of the directors/owners of these businesses took the precaution of sending their wives children and relatives to Barbados or to the offshore islands during the disturbances.
The French Creole families, which numbered some 1500 persons, several of whom worked in the banks, in Government officers, in private firms, the cane estates and in the oil companies, or as professionals and as managers in the large companies, experienced fear and believed that their time in Trinidad may be over this time for good. As with the British merchants, they saw the Black Power uprising as an extension of the postcolonial experience of Nationalism that had replaced the legitimacy of Crown Colony Rule in the British Empire, which had safeguarded them as a remnant community in the colonies, a leftover from another time.
It was felt that between the Williams independence movement, the PNM, and now the Black Power movement, a profound breakdown of the Afro/French Creole culture had occurred, and that they were caught in the middle of the loss of this century and a half old culture. The start of a new Nationalist movement that would not include them, which was destroying all that was good and what they knew and trusted as real, had taken root and would grow menacingly.
The eight years between Independence in 1962 and the Black Power uprising in 1970 was a relatively short period in which a chasm, producing a deep dissonance, was created between themselves and what they had considered to be “their people”: the Black and coloured Trinidadians who operated/functioned in stereotyped roles in their daily lives and with whom there existed complicated relationships of kinship, dependence, paternalism, friendship, sport, camaraderie, exploitation and a myriad of relationships.
There was by no means a total breakdown between these groups, the Black and coloured and the French Creoles and other Whites, during and after the disturbances. Some say that it was only after a generational change that this was brought about, and very gradually in fact. There was, however, a certain amount of damage done, which was experienced in a collapse of trust and confidence on both sides during this period and after. Black Power to many marked the end of the Creole era in Trinidad, and the beginning of Trinidad and Tobago acquiring a more Caribbean reality.
The French Creole group as well as the English Creoles tended to start making plans to move away from Trinidad and Tobago. A great many of the owners of the big firms moved out of the country, several of them who had owned homes in which they lived when visiting, sold out, and in some cases never returned. The French Creoles with less resources per se made plans to start to send their children abroad and pay more attention to their education, preparing them to live abroad in various ways, trips visits to relatives, etc.
Black Power generated resentments with new nuances towards Blacks in general that were felt and displayed by all the minority groups. All felt that it was unnecessary, an unwelcome display of anger, intolerance, racism, societal discord and violence that achieved little or nothing that would not have come about over time.



Summary
The ethnic minorities of Trinidad felt that Black Power was about jealousy, and getting jobs in banks and in the trading houses and in other places. The minorities felt that it was largely imported from abroad, the USA, and was a dangerous juvenile fad that had caught on in Trinidad. Many felt that it would be relatively easy for them to go away and be successful where ever they went, and only those left behind would suffer as in Guyana and in other former colonies that had lost its entrepreneurial/business class.
Some minorities told stories of anger and defiance to intimidation, taking great pride in “putting people in their places” and facing down would-be attackers. Others remember only the great curfew parties. Some felt that some Black people benefited from the Black Power uprising personally, and that it was really an extension of the Independence movement that was good for the country on the whole.  Some remarked that it was good for the marginal people, the pass-for-Whites/coloureds who could now say with pride that had Black ancestors.
Some believed that Black pride had been defined for a generation of Blacks at the expense of national harmony. Some supposed that what was gained by Black Power was lost in the oil booms that followed. Most felt that that Black youth had not benefited in the long run, because it was the start of law-breaking with a sense of righteousness, a sense of entitlement unearned or undeserved, and an even greater collapse of the work ethic. Justice was not served as so many of the perpetrators of arson and violence walked free of what was seen as treason.  All groups mentioned that there had been an increase of drug use and the start of serious police corruption in the wake of Black Power.  It was also mentioned that in the aftermath of Black Power, the Police Welfare Association of the Second Division was able to negotiate a forty-hour work-week, and that this changed how the Police functioned in terms of duty, professionalism and being seen as corruption-free.