Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 30th 2014 Contents 8
The Trinidad Guardian of the 23rd July 1919, re-
ported: "The occasion of the peace celebration on Mon-
day was marred by a series of disgraceful incidents in
which a number of returned soldiers, aided by a crowd
of roughs, got completely out of hand and inflicted
more or less serious injuries on several sailors of HMS
Dartmouth. Bottles and other missiles, and sticks, and
razors in some instances were the weapons of offence,
and many people who live in the vicinity of the fight
had to close their windows and doors in order to be se-
cure from the rain of stones." The disturbance of Peace
Day was described as the worst on record.
But Peace Day was to create even further records,
for as the year came to a close Port-of-Spain was
gripped by its first strike, a waterfront strike. The strike
was for an increase of wages and the stevedores crip-
pled all shipping in the port. There was no settlement
for days and on the morning of the 2nd December in
that year 1919 strikers marched through Frederick
Street, ordering shops and stores to close down.
Through fright, most of the shop- owners obeyed at
once. One report said Messrs Fogarty and Stephens
Limited did not immediately comply. But resistance
was not long before the doors were run over.
Widespread labour unrest in this the new city of
Port-of-Spain was inspired not only by the embittered
ex-soldiers but by the economic situation in the coun-
try. The war was cruel but it had generated employ-
ment. Less merchandise had been coming from abroad
and people had had to work harder but they had all
joined together in the common cause --- to stop Kaiser
Now that the war was over there were no smoking
factories, no Kaiser Wilhelm, no cause. Nothing but
dullness. And the awful thing was that harder times
had caught up with them. The ships were coming now,
for it was peace-time, but the war had caused so much
havoc with world production and world economy that
prices were soaring. Nevertheless something hap-
pened in 1919 that pointed to the future.
Up to that year the Carnival of Trinidad was a cute
but disorganized affair but with King Street and Ma-
rine Square throbbing with bands, with hectic J'ouvert
revelry, competitions and calypsos, "tamboo bamboo",
and a few ingenious costumes, but that was all. In 1919,
just before the Carnival came, the Trinidad Guardian
put out an announcement saying that it was going to
celebrate victory in the war by staging a "Victory Carni-
val" on the Queen's Park Savannah. And as the Carnival
time drew near it announced the features and prizes.
When Carnival 1919 came, Carnival on the Queen's
Park Savannah was (as everyone knew it was going to
be), Carnival for the rich and "genteel," for the so-called
respectable class, for those who wanted to be sepa-
rate and apart, and so everybody knew it was for the
whites. Although it had the features of a "Victory" Car-
nival, with masquerade such as "The Kaiser in Chains"
and other depictions relating to events in the past war,
its main features were far from what the man-in-the-
street could participate in. For example, a parade of
decorated cars around the Queen's Park Savannah.
One needs not say any more. But that first Carnival of
the Queen's Park Savannah, has it not had a positive
CAPTAIN OF THE PEOPLE
The man who had returned from the war in 1919
and who had been in charge of all the West India re-
cruits and had lived closely with them and felt devoted
to helping them to get jobs, and reminding them of
unity, and of withdrawing their labour when that was
called for, that man was just beginning to find that be-
cause of so many others coming to him for help he
was fast becoming Captain of the People.
But while devoting himself to the general cause
Captain Cipriani paid special attention to the cause of
the ex-soldiers, in spite of pressures put upon him.
They rallied around him, and he never left their side.
The ex-soldiers were aggressive and they were deter-
mined that if they went to the wars and fought for the
freedom of Britain and the British Empire then they
too had to be free, and free from hardship, want, and
The unrest and political agitation in Trinidad at the
end of the First World War worried the British, maybe
more so as the governor of the time, Sir John Chancel-
lor, found it difficult to deal with these violent and im-
patient ex-soldiers who he knew were justified. These
ex-soldiers wanted nothing less than political reform to
help their cause. The British Secretary of State for the
Colonies sent down Major Edward Frederick Linley
Wood to look into the state of things in Trinidad and
recommend whether there was any need for political
change. The major, after observing and having discus-
sions on all levels, decided on gradual political change.
There was no voice of the people in a Legislative Coun-
cil of 26 members, with everyone being nominated.
Major Wood recommended that seven seats out of
the 26 should be elected by the people.
But before going into 1925 it will be good to mention
something relating to the past war which has always
been a wonderful monument to the city inaugurated in
1914. In spite of the fact that the authorities and the
returned soldiers were hostile to each other, no one
wanted to forget the war. Thousands of soldiers on ei-
ther side had perished. Heads of households had spent
nearly four years away, some had never been able to
go back home to resume their lives again. Also, there
was an unbreakable link between those who had come
back, and the fallen. A committee got together and
with help from all sides had a war memorial built in
England and installed it in a part of the Queen's Park
Savannah which they called Memorial Park. This elabo-
rate, statistical and complete War Memorial was in-
stalled on May 1, 1924.
FIRST GENERAL ELECTIONS
At the first Legislative Council General Elections
which took place on February 7, 1925, Captain Cipriani
contested the seat for Port-of-Spain. All the influential
groups --- the merchants, the planters, even the news-
paper editors --- campaigned against him, simply be-
cause he was the champion of the man-in-the-street.
Yet he crushed his opponents, gaining 2,155 votes to
910 for his nearest rival, Randolph Rust. Also, in the
November of that very year he won a seat on the City
Continued from page 7
Port-Of-Spain City Council 1922
Left To Right: F.E. Scott, Leo Pujadas, C. Henry Pierre, J. W. McCarthy, Dr. L. Bass, O. Inniss, J. P. Farnum. Dr. E. Prada, Dr.A. H. McShine
(Mayor), George Huggins, E. Gaston Johnson (Deputy Mayor), Lennod O'Reilly, David Acham Chin, C. B. Franklin, M'Zumbo Lazare,
T. H. Scott.
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