Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 3rd 2016 Contents Congratulations
on your four 1's and
Job well done!
From: A proud Aunty (KK)
Last Known Address: UNKNOWN
is seeking to
Trinidad & Tobago
Rate: $16 to $19
Please contact us
A charming little bakery which allows you to explore a wide range of
artisan breads, pastries, desserts and other delicacies, ideally located in
Woodbrook and South Park Mall seeks to recruit:
with Industrial baking experience, who can
maintain impeccable quality, service while preparing baked goods
who will be responsible for assisting the Baker
towards fulfilling the production timeline
to deliver the goods and services of the bak-
ery with premier customer service, good attitude, etc.
to coordinate and manage the daily operations
while maintaining premier customer service.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, March 3, 2016
My late father was named for the leg-
endary labour leader and nationalist
icon, Arthur Andrew Cipriani. As a
child I remember reciting his full name to
school friends: "Arthur Andrew Cipriani
Gibbings. You ever saw the statue?"
In true Trini style, my father s name was
truncated to a monosyllabic "Cips." He was
an early member of the Tapia House Move-
ment and the life of all other parties.
Though he would have vigorously resisted
the tag, my grandfather, Samuel David Gib-
bings, was the first socialist I knew and as a
primary school headmaster was not averse
to school assemblies that preached the
virtues of an egalitarian society, sounding
more like a recalcitrant CLR James than a
then dominant Eric Williams.
Also, around the time of my awakening,
my maternal grandfather, George Yen Soo
Hon, was known to communicate via a slow
stream of letters, penned in the Chinese
alphabet, between Curepe and Guangzhou
and to faithfully monitor the BBC news out
of "Peking" (now, more properly broadcast
as "Beijing") for news of the Revolution s
progress---or lack of it.
He had left a wife and daughter behind in
search of a better life far away. We learned
much later on that the original Mrs Soo
Hon had died in exile in a distant, desolate
province following Mao s Cultural Revolu-
tion and that her daughter had moved back
to the southern province and the village
clan into which Grandpa had been born.
My Canada-based uncle, Gregory, after
spending many years researching his late
father s past, eventually moved to the family
village in China where he lived and worked
for several years.
Our family there was astounded by the
image of my grandmother, Octavia Durieux,
whose name resonates, somewhat, among
Afro-French Antilleans with whom there are
Then came the story, as told by "native St
Lucian Coolie" (according to the Montray
Kréyol website) cousin Abel Ghirawoo, of
the arrival of Indians into St Lucia and the
birth of my paternal grandmother, Doris
Neehall at the rural family homestead in
At Queen s Royal College, the magnificent
Augustus Ramrekersingh taught us West
Indian history while an enigmatic Rudy Pig-
gott was able to draw connections between
the fall of Rome and the ascent of West
They called him "The Pharaoh" and you
did not get the joke unless you knew what
being a pharaoh meant and the perspective
mas leader George Bailey brought to the
How then, after all of this, could I have
failed A-Level History?
There was more to come when courtship
and marriage brought me into familial con-
tact with Jamaican scholar, Marianne Rame-
sar and her work on East Indian immigra-
tion into the Caribbean. I remember the
pre-print version of Survivors of another
crossing: a history of East Indians in
Trinidad, 1880-1946, and the agonising
hours of review by a meticulous academic
intent on getting the story right.
She actually knew the Gibbings name
before Wesley came along and later co-
authored A Centenary History of Aramalaya
Presbyterian Church, Tunapuna, Trinidad,
1881-1981, which cites the work of a certain
Rev Joseph Gibbings.
Through Marianne and her educationist
husband Esmond, came personal contact
with the likes of Brinsley Samaroo, Bridget
Brereton, Gerard Besson and Michael
Anthony, together with occasional visitors
Rex Nettleford and George Lamming.
An appreciation of history has apparently
followed me from birth and continues to
today. So, enter Angelo Bissessarsingh one
day via Marianne s former UWI colleague
and friend, John La Guerre. I had by then
been in online and phone contact with
Angelo and he had contributed an article on
T&T s sugar and soft drink industry to
Guyana s Insight magazine, which I co-edit
together with Nazima Raghubir.
Meeting Angelo in person prepared me for
the fact that both Walking with the Ances-
tors (2013) and the recently-launched A
Walk Back in Time---Snapshots of the His-
tory of Trinidad and Tobago, contain as
much of what we need to know about the
land we inhabit as what we should know
about the author.
Nowhere, really, is there either safe aca-
demic distance or a lack of passion.
In the prose is the fascination of a child
with butterflies. You can tell from the light
in their eyes, unpunctuated speech and
relating of the story from end to beginning
and back again to the end.
Both Snapshots and Ancestors flow
effortlessly; unregulated by formal structures
dates and times. There is an urgency fash-
ioned by passion rather than a journalistic
instinct to be first---a twilight zone between
the first drafts of history and authoritative,
approved versions of what really happened.
Brereton s introduction to the text at West
Mall the other day noted the important
nuance. The occasion, to me, was reminis-
cent of the YouTube video of Luciano
Pavarotti onstage with James Brown---hun-
dreds gathered as much for soulful delight
as for operatic high.
Historians, you see, are a different kind of
people---more like musicians than econo-
mists or engineers or, ahem, agriculturists.
That Facebook has provided a fruitful
stage for historical conversations, through
Angelo s Virtual Museum, should not have
been inconceivable in the same way Wood-
ford Square played a role in bringing to
some people Williams view of the world
based on his understanding of the country s
history 60 years ago.
Angelo s contribution to the telling of the
story of T&T is thus as much a part of the
narrative as the storyline itself. Meeting him
also meant that I could neither run nor hide
from history s diligent pursuit.
Iendorse the sentiments expressed by
Councillor Wendell Stephens, one week
ago, in making an appeal to the authorities
to address the problem of a mosquito infes-
tation in the area of the old ice factory in Tor-
Stagnant water in the nearby river and
overgrown bushes provide a haven for mos-
quitoes year round. Those of us who live in
the vicinity are plagued by this situation and
the use of various types of repellents and
other methods has proven to be futile.
Just two years ago at a town meeting in
the Borough, concerns were raised about the
mosquito infestation and the increase in ro-
dent population. More recently since Zika
was declared a public health crisis, one
would have thought a more aggressive ap-
proach would have been undertaken to curb
the spread of disease, but systems appear to
During the tenure of the previous admin-
istration, under the stewardship of Mr Ghas-
san Youseph, equipment was made available
to be used to alleviate these problems. Com-
plaints to the Corporation were met with
prompt and satisfactory responses.
Mr Health Minister, on behalf of the entire
community, I am pleading to you to use your
good office and do what is necessary to ad-
dress this situation. While complete eradica-
tion is virtually impossible, constant
monitoring and proper maintenance by the
insect vector control dept will certainly as-
sist in ensuring residents' safety and well-
It is amazing how some people will twist
things to suit their agendas. One letter
writer argued that prices have gone up since
the reduction of the VAT rate because of the
increases in the value of the US dollar since
the last election.
The letter writer starts from the false
premise that the US dollar was valued at
TT$6.35 before the election, which is of
course misleading, as the value of the US
dollar has been substantially above this fig-
ure for several months.
The reason for any increase in prices can
have nothing to do with the value of the US
dollar, and it is wrong to make any such sug-
The real reason for the price increases has
to do with the opportunity given to the mer-
chants to get away with it because of the
failure of the Government to properly man-
age the exercise.
Truth about VAT, price increases
Mosquito trouble in Arima
THE PURSUIT OF HISTORY
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