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The Great Betrayal - Part 4

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 02, 2017

PART 1 - PART 2 - PART 3 - PART 4

Dr. Williams and Dr. Capildeo were astounded when they heard the news: "The UWI picks T&T's Bermudez as next Chancellor." While they did not agree on many things there was mutual consternation at this news.

Dr. Williams said: "I know Alfredo Fernandez. He was one of our MPs in 1961. But do you know who Anthony is?"

Dr. Capildeo: "You mean the Crix man?"

Dr. Williams: "What secondary school did he go to?"

Dr. Capildeo: "I don't know."

Dr. Williams: "Where did he get his degree?"

Dr. Capildeo: "I don't think he went to a university."

Dr. Williams: "You have to be crazy. You mean this man never went to a university, does not have a degree, and yet the Cabinet picked him to run de whole university?"

Dr. Capildeo couldn't tell Dr. Williams that Anthony Bermudez was the second Trinidadian to be named to this distinguished position.

Dr. Williams: "But I was the first to be so honored. How could they do this to me?"

Dr. Capildeo could not tell Dr. Williams his PNM government wanted to make "a paradigm shit." In his haste to console Dr. Williams he (Dr. Capildeo) had left out the "f."

"And why this paradigm shift?"

"They say they want to move towards 'the area of self-sufficiency.'"

Having graduated from Oxford University and written one of the most insightful studies on the relation between capitalism and slavery, Dr. Williams could understand the capitalism bit. He could not understand why we wanted to re-enslave ourselves to money.

Dr. Capildeo explained that Bermudez had chaired the Bermudez Group, Kiss Baking Company, Jamaica Business Company and Massey Holdings; therefore he had sufficient entrepreneurial knowledge to lead UWI. Anthony Garcia, Minister of Education, explained that since Bermudez "worked with students he has an intimate knowledge of how the university operates" (Express, April 20).

Part of the Chaguaramas agreement called for the United States to pour monies into UWI to make it a stronger university. Dr. Williams was elated when Keith Rowley marched on Chaguaramas and demanded of the contractors: "Hand back the leases which this corrupt Government has given to you..There is no group in T&T that knows more or done more or feel more about Chaguaramas than the people of the PNM" (Trinidad Guardian, May 10, 2015).

He could not understand this obsession with money as the cure to all problems. When he led the party Gerard Montano, Winston Mahabir, Learie Constantine, ANR Robinson and C. L. R. James were intellectual giants. James was self-taught, Robinson and Williams went to Oxford and Mahabir went to the University of Toronto.

Dr. Williams exclaimed: "Today, in Trinidad you can be anything once you have money. Money is everything."

Dr. Capildeo looked rueful. "Look how things change. The PNM come jus like we. I took over the leadership of DLP from Badase Maraj who had no brains but plenty money. Now de PNM courting de people with plenty money but little brains."

Dr. Williams: "I talking 'bout university boy. I ain't talking about running a cowshed."

"You couldn't be talking about me. I was one of the most distinguished mathematicians of my time. NASA used my ideas when they put a man on de moon."

"Oh Gosh Capildeo. I ent talking about you. Both of we went to QRC and den studied in England. We were proud of our intellectual distinction, but now things gone to de dogs."

Dr. Capildeo had to laugh. He realized Dr. Williams wasn't up to date with the happenings in his country.

He reminded him: "Don't you know everything goes better with Crix."

In his rage, Dr. Williams remarked: What paradigm shit you talking about. This time Dr. Williams deliberately left out the "f."

He was getting fed up with people who were using words and phrases that they did not understand; persons deliberately misconstruing history; and people who, in their quest to be modern had forgotten that men and women should not live by bread alone.

Dr. Williams remembered James's words when he returned to Trinidad in 1963 to bury his father: "The relations of countries and the relations of classes had to change, before I discovered that it is not the quality of goods and utility that matter, but movement; not where you are and what you have, but where you have come from, where you are going and the rate at which you are getting there" (Beyond a Boundary).

Dr. Capildeo was not moved particularly by James's wisdom. He calmly threw back some James at Williams.

"I know you know James's works better than I, but do you remember when he remarked, 'It is not too much to say that among colored [and black] people [in Trinidad] the surest sign of a man's having arrived is the fact that he keeps company with people fairer in complexion than himself'" (The Life of Captain Cipriani.)

Dr. Williams was in a phlegmatic mood. He asked himself if the color paradigm to which James referred had changed much over the years or was it still a predominant factor in the party (and government) which he strove so hard to build?

Professor Cudjoe's email address is He can be reached @ProfessorCudjoe.

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