The Political Calypso: True Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago, 1962-1987

By Louis Regis | Go to book overview

1
The Calypso and Politics 1956-1962

After the 1956 general election victory, Dr Eric Williams, unsung before, became the darling of the calypsonians largely because he was their living legend who had destroyed myths of black intellectual inferiority by his own effort and achievement. Another valid reason was that he had presented himself as being totally committed to destroying the colonial system and to securing his people's welfare. The famous resignation speech when he broke with the Caribbean Commission and linked his personal struggle with the common historical destiny of the masses seemed proof of his earnestness in their cause.1 On a personal level, he was friendly towards calypsonians and he is remembered kindly, at least by Superior and Blakie, for his ready, generous responses to their hard-luck stories.2

At the opening of the 1957 tent season, Cypher was billed to lead a chorus of his fellow Original Young Brigade (OYB) singers in rendering his "Balisier",3 and at least six other prominent calypsonians (Sparrow and Bomber of the OYB; Spitfire, Viper, Striker and Radio of the Senior Brigade) performed songs in praise of Williams and the PNM during that season. Sparrow "William the Conqueror" is perhaps the best known of these victory paeans:

I am no politician
But I could understand
If it wasn't for Brother Willie
And his ability
Trinidad wouldn't go neither come
We used to vote for food and rum
But nowadays we eating all the Indians and them
And in the ending, we voting PNM

Praise little Eric, rejoice and be glad We have a better future here in Trinidad

-1-

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The Political Calypso: True Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago, 1962-1987
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations viii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xiv
  • List of Abbreviations xv
  • 1 - The Calypso and Politics 1956-1962 1
  • 2 - The Model Nation 1963-1965 20
  • 3 - God Bless Our Nation 1966-1970 37
  • 4 - The Roaring Seventies 1971-1975 69
  • 5 - "I, Eric Eustace Williams" 1976-1981 121
  • 6 - "The Sinking Ship" 1982-1986 163
  • 7 - Happy Anniversary: the 25th Anniversary of Independence Calypso Monarch Competition 195
  • 8 - Ars Poetica 208
  • Conclusion 236
  • Afterword 238
  • Notes 240
  • Appendixes 257
  • Bibliography 269
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