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Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie is convinced
the legacy of T&T s late prime minister Dr Eric
Williams is still as relevant as it was before and after
However, he cautioned against likening the first chief
minister to a god, because, Tewarie said, Williams was
a man who had many successes, challenges and failings
to his record.
He was speaking at the Dr Eric Williams Memorial
Committee s fifth annual memorial lecture at the Audio
Visual Room, National Library, on Monday.
The theme of the event was "After 50 Years of Inde-
pendence is the Legacy of Dr Eric Williams Still Relevant
to the Republic of T&T?"
Tewarie said: "There can be no denying that the
legacy of Dr Eric Williams is a formidable one which
has had an enduring impact on T&T.
"Dr Eric Williams was to T&T what Jawaharlal
Nehru was to India and what Kwame Nkrumah was
to Ghana. The convergence of the historical context
at that time of colonialism, the dominance of the
British Empire and the emergence of nationalist aspi-
rations made it so.
"That is why today, we so easily acknowledge Dr
Eric Williams as father of our nation and chief architect
of independent, modern T&T.
He added: "There are those who idolise Dr Eric
Williams and view him as a god. Permit me to say
that Dr Eric Williams was not a god and we need not
build a cult of worship around him.
"There are those who demonise Dr Eric Williams
and view him as the devil incarnate. Permit me to say
that Dr Eric Williams was not a demon and there is
no need to distort or sully his legacy.
"Dr Eric Williams was neither saint nor sinner. He
was not a mystical figure. He was not a man of mytho-
logical proportions. He was a man.
"He came from an academic tradition. He was an
intellectual with broad interests and he was a pragmatic
"Like all of us he had his strengths and his weak-
nesses and he shared his thoughts and acted in various
situations as he felt appropriate, given multiple con-
siderations in each particular situation."
Tewarie then identified five of the many signature
accomplishments by Williams to T&T, starting with
the concept of organised politics which gave birth to
the People s National Movement (PNM); the achieve-
ment of political independence; his strong emphasis
on education and his expansion and democratisation
of the secondary school system; guarantees embedded
in two constitutions --- the 1962 Constitution and the
1976 Republican Constitution; and the motto "Together
we aspire, together we achieve," along with the concept
of "Mother T&T".
He added: "These five elements of Dr Williams
legacy, in my view, constitute decisive and lasting
contributions to the development of T&T and are all
worthy of elaboration, because each of the five has
its own story and its own realm of value and signif-
"The five issues mentioned are things actually
achieved, things said and done for a purpose.
"One may argue about the extent of achievement
or about their value but one cannot deny there were
actions taken in these areas that were driven by ideas
and that these, by and large, have had a positive result.
"Dr Williams either did them, caused them to
happen or presided over them."
But despite Williams s good intentions, Tewarie
said, he was never able to achieve morality in public
affairs; the West Indian Federation; rekindling the
spirit of the Greek city state of Athens in T&T and
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Former national security minister
Jack Warner believes Manohar Ram-
saran will be the UNC s pick for the
July 29 Chaguanas West by-election.
He made the comment at a cottage
meeting at Warren Road, Cunupia,
Warner, who is seeking to go up on
a UNC ticket, said he believed the
screening process for a candidate,
which occurred yesterday, would be
a farce, as he thought the party already
had a candidate in mind---Ramsaran.
He said he found it strange that
Ramsaran, one of the eight who faced
the screening committee yesterday,
was already touting himself as the
chosen one and had already started
speaking on public platforms and even
resigned his job as the sports manager
with the Tourism Development Cor-
poration on Monday. But he said win-
ning a screening process did not mean
a candidate could automatically win
Warner said if he were not chosen
by the UNC he would go to his sup-
porters for a new mandate.
At that point, members of the
crowd started shouting: "Go inde-
Warner said the by-election would
set the stage for a new era in politics
in T&T and a new mandate for the
government. He said his role was never
to divide the country and the party.
Warner also accused the People s
National Movement (PNM) candidate
for the July 29 Chaguanas West by-
election, Avinash Singh, of "squatting"
on 150 acres of state land at Felicity
while former sugar workers are being
denied two-acre plots for agriculture.
In an immediate response, however,
Singh said he and his family were
legally farming on the land through
a programme established more than
ten years ago, adding Warner had
Contacted on Warner s allegations,
Singh, a farmer, said he and his rel-
atives occupied around 150 acres of
state lands for agriculture under the
Felicity Food Crop Project, 500 acres
of state lands under agricultural pro-
He said after Caroni (1975) Ltd
closed ten years ago, several farmers
started planting on state lands at
The farmers, he said, made repre-
sentations to the Agricultural Society
of T&T and the then PNM govern-
ment and were granted permission
by the relevant authorities to start
production on the lands.
"We have documents," he said.
Warner said the ruling PP Govern-
ment was hard starting for the last
three years in giving two-acre plots
of land to former Caroni (1975) Ltd
workers at Felicity, while Singh was
allowed to occupy and farm a large
expanse of Caroni lands for years.
UNC's chosen one
Jean Elder receives an award from
chairnman of the Eric Williams Memorial
committee Edgar Vidale at the fifth
annual memorial lecture at the National
Library, Port-of-Spain on Monday night.
At right is Planning Minister Dr Bhoe
Tewarie who delivered the feature
address. PHOTO: ANDY HYPOLITE
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