Friday, 17 February 2017

Cycles of Revolt

It has been noted that Trinidad, not Tobago, possesses a cycle of violence. From the time of Governor Sir Tomas Picton, slave insurrection, official violence, torture, public execution, public display of decapitated heads, public whippings (1,500 lashes for desertion) from the army was meted out to both free and enslaved, military and civilian, even to young girls, on through to slave poisonings on the estates.
This happened in a short period from 1797-1805. Then the Port of Spain Riots of 1849 took place, when a British regiment opened fire on a mob intent on destroying the Government building, later the Red House, in protest of a law stating that the heads of debtors be shaved in the same manner as convicted felons. The law was repealed. In the 1890s, the Canboulay Riots and the Hosay Riots took place. This was followed 54 years later by the famous Water Riots, when a mele ensued the burning down of the Red House and 16 people were shot.
Just 35 years later, the country experienced a general strike in which riots swept the city and protesting workers were shot out of hand at various places around the country. In 1970, Port of Spain’s Woodford Square again saw demontrations, riots and shootings. The events of 1990 are well known. This re-occuring cycle of revolt, followed by official reaction, has now become virtually inherited, involving basically the same people for close to 200 years.
In the context of these articles, we will deal with events that led up to the Water Riots of 1903.
Crown colony rule was frustrating for the general populance right accross the board. It was reepressive to the lower classes, mostly black people, and it tended to debar upward mobility confining the children of the ex-slaves to perpetual poverty. It was humiliating to the coloured people and the white middle class, who, notwithstanding the heroic attempts at educating their children and mindboggling and convoluted endeavours to achieve and maintain European cultural moirees and a respectable lifestyle, they were still ouside the pale and likely to remain there.
The upper class French creoles were jealous of the English for their positions and power and smarting at the slights dished out by people whom they considered to be beneath their social standing. They were the grandchildren of the original aristocratic colonists who had, after all, come here first. The Indians were completely out of the equation socially and politically at this point.
In the closing years of the 19th century, opposition to colonial rule became more general and in fact more radical. What was mostly a middle class dissatisfaction evolved into movements that attracted working class support.
Joseph Chamberlain, the Secetary of State for the Colonies, the Govenor’s boss, brushed aside the reform movements and turned down appeals for any form of elected representation in the Legistlature, summing it up thus “Local government (falsely so called) is the curse of the West Indies. In many islands it means only local oligarchy of whites and half breeds - always incapable and frequently corrupt. In other cases it is the rule of the negroes, totaly unfit for representative institutions and the dupes of unscrupulous adventures.” He followed this up by ending the token majority of local unofficials in the Legislative Council nominated by the Governor.
He then moved on the Port of Spain Borough Council. An elected body set up in 1853, it had served as an important forum for local politicians, particularly the black and coloured radicals, and was the only voice through which any national view could be expressed by elected representatives. The conditions placed on the members were tough and they voted not to accept these and, in effect, voted themselves out of existence. Chamberlain ordered a Board of Commissions put in place to run the city. It was felt that this amounted to “the killing of a school to teach people to manage their own affairs.”
These were not significant issues, however, to attract mass support. The young but vigorous Trinidadian Workingman’s Association was much better able to do rally people around their causes, and so too was th Pan African Association led by a London-based lawyer called H.S. Williams. The next and sigificant link was forged by the creation of the Rate Payers’ Association, comprised mostly of professionals and businessmen. This group of taxpayers sought to act as a counter balance against arbitrary measures taken by the government, particularly in the distribution of water in the city. These groups acted, more or less, in an organised manner. The grassroots, however alienated, poor and easily manipulated, were moved by the rhetoric of Rate Payers’ Association’s principle speakers, Emmanuel Lazare, Moresse-Smith and others. Those speakers urged them to assemble in Woodford Square, outside the Red House, on the day when the new Ratepayers Ordinance was supposed to be read. The purpose was to seek to prevent this reading. The Ratepayers’ Association’s radicals made a strenuous effort to excite the assembled crowds against the Government. The outcome was a major riot during which the old Red House was completely burnt down. Much of recorded history was forever lost in this fire. Soldiers were called in, and 42 people were wounded, 16 lost their lives.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Angelo Bissessarsing's gift to Trinidad

Angelo ‘a scavenger of the past’
SEAN DOUGLAS Sunday, February 5 2017
HISTORIAN Gerry Besson had seen the late Angelo Bissessarsingh as a youngster onto whom a small and aging cohort of local historians could pass on their artefacts and insights in the vital task of unearthing and preserving this country’s heritage. Sadly Bissessarsingh died last Thursday, age 34, his work incomplete .
“The history of TT and the sources of the historical record have over the past 40 years been very sadly neglected. So I was extremely gratified to see this young guy so keen and taking source material and turning it intro popular presentations,” Besson told Sunday Newsday. He said Bissessarsingh would venture into Lapeyrouse Cemetery to take notes from the headstones, while are now being destroyed by vagrants. “He was putting together a virtual museum of great variety and content which is very, very good, when you see the state of the National Museum.” Besson said Bissessarsingh was not a university historian but an amateur who was more spontaneous and free to follow his own hunches and inclinations, staying close to the ground .

“Us amateur historians are getting old - Fr Anthony De Verteuil, Michael Anthony, Adrian Camp Campins and myself. I am 75 years, so to suddenly see this young fellow (Bissessarsingh) arrive on the scene gave us all the sense that we have someone to pass on our archives or a box of old photos. He wasn’t writing with any political overtones but wending his way to the real facts and putting it across in such a way that people really liked.” He said Bissessarsingh’s books became popular as gifts to recall a past time, spur conversation and trigger memories. However he noted that such publication was a labour of love, saying such a local book would typically sell about 700 to 800 copies, quipping, “If you sell 1,000, you’ve got a best-seller.” Besson wondered why in contrast Jamaican publisher, Ian Randle, can sell thousands of books on the Jamaican market and thousands more overseas .

“How does Jamaica have such a strong sense of national identity that people want to read about, but not TT?” mulled Besson. “I ask question how come a lad from deep south would have the impulse to do this (historical research)? They are not rich people, and this work won’t make him a living. This thing comes from the heart.” Yet history is vitally important, he said .

“People are growing up in this country but don’t know why a place is called a certain name, why certain animosities exist in society and why we have certain customs,” related Besson .

“So people like Angelo who pursue the historical record are exceedingly commendable.” He hoped the media could whet public thirst for local history by way of pondering why is George Street called George Street, why do the streets of St James bear the names of cities of India, and why are many streets in Woodbrook are named after Boer War commanders such as Kitchener and Gatacre? Saying the answers to such questions build a country’s identity, Besson said, “Angelo was contributing to a sense of identity of the place, what Jamaica and Barbados have.” He lamented that just a few old people know the full history of the Red House and President’s House, both whose current dilapidation pose a future threat of demolition one day, a loss of edifice that he likened to the death of somebody .

“Things just fall apart, and next thing a rich man bulldozes it and it is gone overnight.” Besson recalled learning of the mindless past demolition of an old Spanish colonial building at lower Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain, likely used historically by the Cabildo or Treasury which he ended up scavenging for relics .

“Angelo too was a scavenger of the past,” he said .

While post-Independence politics may have led many persons to disdain TT’s history as being too linked to TT’s colonial past, Besson said heritage buildings can also be cherished by the fact of who were the persons who crafted them, the masons and craftsmen, the grandfathers of ordinary persons in TT today .

“These things give continuity and give us a sense of identity and make you stronger as a person in the context of the place where you live, so you take better care of it and have a better sense of belonging .

“So Angelo was one on those really remarkable people who somewhere in his subconscious he understood all of this and was prepared to dedicate the rest of his life to this. God rest, good old Angelo. 

Thursday, 9 February 2017


Publication No 483.

The Minister of the Colonies, le Duc de la Luzerne,
to the Administrators of Tobago. 1790.

Source: Paris. Archives Nationales.
State Papers Colonial. C 10. E 11.

Published by the courtesy of the Minister 
of the Colonies. Paris.

Translated from the French.

                                                                                                12 March 1790.


        The Minister has learnt with satisfaction that the Chevalier de Jobal and Monsieur Roume de St Laurent have been able to settle their differences in the face of the serious events now taking place in Tobago and the critical times to which France itself, is exposed.
        The Minister has directed the Committee which had been formed to enquire into and report on these mutual complaints, to cease any further consideration of the matter.

The Agricultural and Livestock economy in Trinidad & Tobago in 1954-55

In 1955 there were 409 agricultural credit societies with 16,000 members, assets $300,000 and working capital of $1,067,140.
Sugar estates canes acreages 36,000. Farmers' canes acreage 44,000; number of farmers 111, 000.
Citrus acreage planted 13,000, 432,000 crates of citrus handled in 1954. Bananas, 45,546 stems exported in 1953. Rice 18,000 acres devoted to rice production in 1953, 288 mills produced 12,000 tons of rice. Coconuts, 40,000 acres under cultivation, 21,400 tons of copra valued $1,840,509 1953. Cocoa 120,000 acres under cultivation produced 200,000 cwt., in 1954
Forest production reserves in 1953, 49,000 acres; protected reserves, 194,900 acres;
Teak plantation 7,000 acres. Timber production for 1954 all woods, 5,607,000 ft..
Livestock population; 1954, cattle 37,900, water buffaloes, 3,000, goats, 39,000, sheep, 5,000, swine, 35,000, horses 2,400, mules, 2,800, donkeys, 6,000, poultry, 1,134,244. Source, Who, What and Why. 1955-56

Cocoa estates owned by French Creole families 1916

A list of cocoa estates owned by French families in 1916, a period that may be considered a high point in the economy of Trinidad.
Out of some one thousand cocoa estates  in 1916 (Franklyn's Year Book 1916) the French Creole holdings were: (some names are not French but these people were considered to be a part of that comunity)
 Centeno 1. de la Payrouse 4. de Martini 1. Blanc 1. de Gannes 8. Cipriani 4. Leoteaud 8. Quesnel 1. Stollmeyer 9. Sellier 4. Garcia 1. Caracciolo 4. Delisle 3. Luces 3 de Verteuil 14 llanos 1. Giuseppi 2. Maingot 7. de Matas 6. Pollonais 2 Ambard 1. D’Abadie 4. Pampellonne 1. Anduze ! Kernahan 1. Boos 1. Thavenot 1. de Boissiere 2 Hart 1. Savary 2 Borde 3 Agostini 4 Senbior 1. Coryat 6 Rostant 2. d’Heureux 1. Figeroux 1. Gransaul (. Farfan 1. de Pompignon 1. de Meillac 1. Pantin 1. Devenish 3 Know 1. de Boehmler 1. O’Connor 2.
 Lezama 1. Zepero 1. Wehekind 1. Herrera 1. Bernard 1. Fahay 1. Peschier 2. Franklyn’s Year Book 1916.
These estates came in a varity of acreages.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Trinidad Slave Census of in1813 And other population numbers

Total number of African slaves in Trinidad in 1813 was 25,696. Of these 11,633 were Creole slaves, that is, born on the estates or in the households of their owners. These can be broken down thus: 7,088 born in Trinidad, 2,576 from British Colonies, 1,593 from French Colonies, and 376 from other places.
Source, B. W. Higman, Slave Populations of the British Caribbean 1807 --1834.

Total number of African slaves in Trinidad 13,984. Comprising :–
Ibo, South Eastern Nigeria                2,863
Congo, Congo                                   2,450                                    
Moco, Cameroons                             2,240                            
Mandingo,  Senegambia                    1,421
Kormantyn, Ghana, Gold Coast,
Fanti, Ashanti, others                         1,068
Kwakwa, Ivory Coast                           473
Sierra Leone, Temne 169, Susu 145
Kissi, 63,                                               377
Ibibio, South Eastern Nigeria                371
Raddah, Dahomey                                 281
Chamba, Nigeria                                   275
Fulani, Northern Nigeria                       171
Popo, Dahomey                                     112
Hausa, Northern Nigeria                       109
Yoruba, Western Nigeria                         10

Various tribal groupings                        818

             * * *

Trinidad's population in 1783 Source, L. M. Fraser, History of Trinidad, Book 1
Whites                                                   126
Free Colourds                                        295
Slaves                                                    310
Amerindians                                       2,032

In 1797 at the time of the British conquest of Trinidad the population stood as:-
Men                  Women                   Boys                  Girls                 Total
929                     590                        301                     266                 2,086

                                    FREE COLOUREDS:
1,196                1,624                        895                    751                  4,466

305                     401                         190                    186                   1,082

4,164                3,505                       1,232                 1,108                10,009
_____             ______                     ______              ______             _______
6,594                6,120                        2,618                2,311               17,643

Trinidad's population in 1803:
                                 Whites             Coloured
English                       663                  599
Spanish                      505                1,751
French                     1,093                2,925
                               ––––––             –––––
                                2,261                5,275              7,563  
Enslaved Africans                                                 20,000

            * * *

In 1796 the produce of the island of Trinidad had been:-
From 159 Sugar estates                                  7,800 hhds (hogheads)
  ''      130 Coffee   "                                    330,000 lbs
  "        60 Cacao    "                                      96,000  "
  "      103 Cotton   "                                    224,000  "

          * * *

In 1803 the produce of the island of Trinidad had been:-
Sugar                                                       16,014,036 lbs
Rum                                                              344,292 galls.
Molasses                                                       214,120   "
Cacao                                                            361,070 lbs
Coffee                                                           185,658  "
Cotton                                                           478,046  "

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Migration is Changing Trinidad’s Identity

Interview with Gerard Besson
Cultural researcher, historian, blogger, writer, and founder/director of Paria Publishing Company Ltd
by Trinidad Guardian Reporter Shereen Ali, September 1, 2016

In this land of many peoples and people of many ancestries, how do people see their ethnic heritage? How do they practice it, ignore it, or celebrate it?
On the occasion of our 54th year of independence from Britain, Guardian feature writer Shereen Ali spoke to T&T citizens of different backgrounds to ask how they see issues such as ethnicity, race and in some cases, their own uniquely diverse heritages. People, in their own words, helped paint a picture of an ever-changing, complex twin-island nation of many different ancestral influences.
Last week we heard from people of First Peoples ancestry. Yesterday and today, we hear from people who have European ancestry as part of their heritage. Today's contributions are from historian Gerard Besson, who describes himself as a mix of French Creole and African.

When you have to fill in a form asking you your race, what do you put?
I put “mixed”.

How do you see your ethnic roots & heritage? Is it important to how you define yourself, or is it irrelevant, an accident of birth?
I see myself as Afro-French Creole. It is important because it gives me a sense of identity. I see myself as being a part of the French/African-Creole, patois-speaking Catholic people of long ago.
But I think heritage goes beyond ethnicity. It goes to identifying yourself in terms of being a Trinidadian. And not only a Trinidadian, but for me, someone who was born and grew up in Port-of-Spain.

Do you celebrate your ethnic heritage, ignore it as irrelevant, or have mixed feelings about it?
I acknowledge and embrace my heritages. For example, in 1970 I empathised with Geddes Granger; I was only in my 20s at the time, but I understood deeply what the Black Power movement was about, and I empathised with it. It expressed itself in my work at the time. I didn’t ignore it.
And then on the other hand, at another time in my life, I went to France to see the village that my family had come from in the first place. It was a nice feeling to do that as well. So I think that I have celebrated both aspects of my heritages at some point in my life.
I also celebrate my ethnic heritages in the work I do as a historian. For instance, when I took an interest in the African part of my heritage I spent a few years researching the Rada people and Shango in Trinidad. I went to Haiti and to Brazil. I found great similarities.

Do you know about the beliefs and lifestyles of T&T people of different ethnic heritages from your own?
Yes. I’ve spent much time reading, researching and writing about people here. Dr Bridget Brereton and I, for instance, published a book in 1989 called “The Book of Trinidad”, really an anthology of different people’s writings and observations about T&T over the years. That book will give you a fairly good historical perspective.
And then, in a different kind of way, I recently published a historical novel on Trinidad called “Roume de Saint Laurent … a Memoir”. Roume is interesting because he was the person who was responsible to a considerable degree for the creation of a document called Cedula for Population. He was especially visionary for his time.
The significant thing about the Cedula for Population is that it enshrined the rights and the privileges of free black and coloured people in Trinidad. So that, yes, about 1,200 French European people came to Trinidad as a result of the Cedula, but 11,000 free black and coloured people also came! They were all French-speaking.
That document has been described by Professor Carl Campbell as the first Constitution of Trinidad. Because it spelt out the terms and conditions, in law, for people coming to living here. And it acted as precedent for many of the laws that came into existence subsequently. So much so that there is a distinguished jurist right now in Trinidad, retired, who is studying this particular document with a view to seeing how it has affected the evolution of jurisprudence in Trinidad.
I tell the story of Roume de Saint Laurent and his affairs and his adventures, but what I also do is publish the entire Cedula of Population, so people can get an understanding of the foundation of Trinidad. You see, people do not understand these foundational elements of our society.

Do you think race is important in T&T?
Race touches everything that we do.
T&T is a segmented society with a lot of overlaps, because of miscegenation over time — well, not a very long time when compared to Jamaica or Barbados, because both these islands are much older than Trinidad in terms of their colonial settlement. Tobago has a different history, its colonial experience is as old as Barbados.
Trinidad’s society came into existence suddenly. Before 1783 and the Cedula for Population, if can you imagine, the population was about 126 Europeans, a few hundred people of African descent, who were not really slaves because there was no industry, and a handful of Amerindians — tribal people.
From then on, with the advent of the Cedula and plantation slavery the population expanded.
Free blacks and coloured people as well as white French people brought slaves together with their own societal landscapes and political and religious views to Trinidad; as compared to Barbados and the older islands where the society developed over a long period, even though it was a period of slavery, their societies matured more slowly.
In Trinidad everything seems to have happened almost overnight. It went from a few dozen people in 1780s, to 50 years later, more than 50,000 people. So Trinidad began in a strange, unique way in itself.
Race in Trinidad is a very loaded topic. It morphs into politics very easily. And this is so, because of the movement for Independence, how that came about and who did it, and under which group it happened.
Because for a very long time, for some 200 and something years, Europeans controlled the economic landscape of Trinidad, and these white people were both local and foreign.
The local ones were in agriculture, mostly cocoa, and government service, and the foreign ones were in sugar, business and government. That is how it was. It was a society that was not as segregated as say Barbados, but still segregated in terms of class as well as race.
The black population, as it advanced, went into teaching, the Civil Service, law and medicine, and later gradually into other professions.
So those two groups, the local white group and the coloured, Afro group, controlled Trinidad completely.
They posessed a Creole identity. The Indians, who had arrived in 1845 to 1917 were largely confined to the countryside. For most of the 19th century, they often needed a pass to leave the estates – even if their indentureship was over.
All this changed after the world wars. After Independence, the children of the dominant groups began to go away to make a better life and a great many never came back. This was the French Creole people, mixed-race people, and people of African descent.
Trinidad has experienced in the last 50 or 60 years a demographic upheaval that no other island in the Caribbean has had, in that in the non-Indian population — this is in the Afro, mixed and other groups — say 500,000 or 600,000 people, over a third of that segment have gone away. And at the same time, about that same number of people have come from the other islands. That has been a blow to the identity that was formed from the 1780s to Independence.
No other island in the Caribbean has had the experience of hundreds of thousands of people going to it at the same time that so many people have left. The result of that is this:
The creole population, the product of the late 18th century and 19th century society, has had a huge dislocation caused by emigration and immigration.
This has produced a great disturbance within the cohesion of that group. A lessening of a Trinidadian identity. Now that is a serious issue. I notice that recently some social scientists are beginning to comment on it.
Now, insofar as the Indian side of the population is concerned, it has been argued that there were some events that made Indian people feel more intensely “Indian”, and less intensely “Trinidadian”, such as the black power movement of the 70s, being in political opposition, after Independence, for such a long time, what thirty years; the work of the various Indian religious orders whether it is in the context of Hinduism or Islam. The  appearance of Bollywood as well as the increase in business and wealth. There were many things that happened in the last 40—50 years in the Indian community that have made Indians feel more Indian, in a sense; while, in a contrary sort of a way, also more Trinidadian.
With the dislocation in the creole society taking place and with a deepening in the Indian society of an identity, the division has become more sharp and more obvious.
So there has been a dislocation in the society instead of the predominant races finding common ground with the sharing of identity. And this is what we see played out in politics. Because you don't see it played out in daily life, you don't see it played out in love affairs, you don't see it played out in business and work, it is played out in politics, where political parties go after their imagined constituencies.
So with Independence and the movement of people, the loss of a significant part of the Creole population, has meant that Trinidad has lost a lot of its Creole soul, and acquired, on the other hand, an increased Caribbean reality.
And you see it in the disappearance of certain cultural forms. Carnival is not as it was. The music — calypso — hardly exists anymore. You have to go in search of it in the tents. It has been replaced by other musical forms. Patois is no longer heard — and you have to bear in mind that up until the 1940s and 50s, a large amount of people in both Indian Trinidad and certainly Creole Trinidad — spoke this language.
Another important factor that has also impacted on identity was the end of the agricultural sector.
People see the agricultural sector from the perspective of today. And they only see Indian people – the world of the cane farmer.
In truth, the agricultural sector in the past was enormous. It included a lot of black and French Creole and mixed people. It existed for some 200 years.
But the ending of the agricultural sector was one of the things that undermined notions of identity which were built through the 19th century and into the first half of the 20th century.
One of the effects of the loss of the agricultural sector is a more compassionless society. Because when you have hundreds of thousands of people, whether they are Indian people, white people, mixed people or African people, who are devoted to the bringing up of livestock, who are devoted to gardening, market gardening, vegetable planting, to cocoa and coffee and so on, you have people who have a lot of love — for their animals and for their plants. You have to love your donkey!
So when you move hundreds of thousands of people out of that world of compassion, you create an increasingly compassionless society.
I think the agricultural sector died from the 1950s. The model that was introduced by Sir Arthur Lewis, the famous Nobel Prize-winning economist, in Trinidad, and through Dr Williams, saw a nation that would be modern and industrialised. It was a form of social engineering. A lot of these little islands in the Caribbean moved away from agriculture and went into tourism. It was considered modern, it was thought the thing to do. I do not believe it was the right thing.
So the combination of the end of the agricultural economy, the end of the railways (in itself a vast societal network of people who operated them), and then the displacement of so many people, in the emigration and immigration phenomena, created a dissonance and a collapse, a loss of identity.
You see, it was not only a brain drain; it was also a deep cultural drain. A lot of the identity of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century began to fall away.
And what that culture has been replaced with is something imported through television, through cinema, and through the importation of black American culture. And you see it expressed in dance music and gangland activity and so on.
So what has happened is that the society on the whole, as a result of the Independence movement, has suffered more than it has gained.
The Indian segment of the society, however, because of the isolation, of being 30-40 years in opposition, and being apart from the Creole society, because of their extended family support, the pursuit of independence though economic means, the pursuit of education (there are more Indians with tertiary education, a startling number of them young women, than anybody else), has produced a society within the society that owns an economy that is very, very large. Whereas the other side of the society does not possess an economy; there is no big Afro business there – it depends on the State.
So these are the differences in the society that create the movements and the tensions and the feel of the place.
Prof Selwyn Ryan wrote in one of his articles some time ago that for 150 years, the elements of the white society and elements of the black and coloured society dominated Trinidad, possessed a hegemony over Trinidad, and this hegemony is now decreasing at a rate. He startled a lot of people with that, but what he said was true. Immigration and emigration have changed the landscape of Trinidad. All this has had a deleterious effect on the identity-forming mechanisms of the society.
Notions of identity as a Trinidadian or a Trinbagonian are increasingly becoming something more important than just merely how you vote at election time.
I think that there's a generation of people who are growing up, not necessarily young young people, but people in their 30s or 40s, who are increasingly beginning to come to an understanding about their own identity in the concept of a Trinidad & Tobago.

Do you think different ethnicities have different values?
I think different people have different values. This is not a matter of ethnicity. I think the human race is possessed of the same yardstick where it comes to morals, ethics, values. I think they all possess the same thing. So it’s not ethnic.
People express these values differently depending on how they have been socialised.

How long have you/your family had roots here (best estimate)?
Both my mother and father’s antecedents have lived here for more than 200 years. They named Besson Street in east Port-of-Spain after my family – my father’s ancestor came to Trinidad in 1787. Boissiere Village is named for my mother’s people.

What do you like and dislike about T&T culture?
I like most things about our cultures, except the recent introduction of extremely loud music.
Also, in order to analyse important issues such as the impact of immigration and emigration, you have to have information available. And the Central Statistical Office in Trinidad is one of the places from where you do not get statistics (laughs).
I am 74 years old. And what I have seen in my adult life is an enormous change in Trinidad. I mean, when you take something like the Red House – 30, 40, 50 years ago or more, leaving a significant building like the Red House in a dilapidated state would have been a big uproar. Same thing with President’s House. Now, increasingly, there are fewer and fewer people who care about those iconic sites, because they don’t mean much to them.