THE EDITOR: In his address to the nation on the occasion of Republic Day, President Anthony Carmona referred to several calypsonians and their works. This is a clear indication of how he values the commentaries of the bards, and also indicates his deep interest in that aspect of our culture.
I was prompted to write this letter when I came across a paragraph in a local publication that was lent to me, a short book that was published in an edition of 50 copies. The person who lent it to me said the author felt that 50 copies were more than enough for a place like Trinidad, where even the National Library hardly ever purchases books written and published locally.
I will quote the paragraph here. It is the sort of thing that should be referred to in a presidential address:
“The Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, which in the days of the British Empire was the finest institution of its kind in the world, fell into the hands of the n-----s and c-----s after independence. No more needs to be said, save that a famous philosopher once wrote, ‘unless a n----r or c----e has his nose next to a white man’s a--, he can never do anything properly.”
Fifty years after independence, the island still does not have a proper water supply, and every time the price of oil falls, we have to run to the white man for money. The present state of the country is clear proof of the accuracy of the philosopher.
Carmona should pay some attention to the local authors, whose works may provide him with a bit of quotable material. Because the public here reads very little, authors are marginalised, even though there are events as the NGC Bocas Lit Fest.
An occasional enquiry at Nalis, or the Alma Jordan Library at UWI, should keep him aware of local publications, though in the case of Nalis, this is a somewhat dim hope. I think President’s House should have a library in which a copy of every book written by locals should be kept. The last I heard of President’s House was that its roof had fallen in.
The book referred to above, from which the quote was taken, is Pacal, published in March. Pacal was king of the Mayans from AD 615 to 683.
Probably Nalis or the Alma Jordan Library have a copy or two, but I am not sure of this.
TALBOT E NAHAR, Mayaro