People's Education Movement
of the Teachers’ Economic and Cultural Association Ltd.
On the very day Dr. Williams received notice of his dismissal by the Caribbean Commission, he held his first discussion about the formation of a political party in Trinidad and Tobago. It was decided that he would give a public lecture in Woodford Square on his relationship with the Caribbean Commission. Dr. Williams contacted two “teacher friends,” John Shelford Donaldson and Donald Granado, who agreed to hold the meeting under the auspices of the People’s Education Movement of the Teachers’ Economic and Cultural Association.The meeting was carded for the evening of the 22nd of June, 1955.The basic strategy, pending the discussions and organisations of a political party, was to reach out to the masses. The crowd that turned up to hear the lecture was estimated at about 10,000 persons.
Dr. Williams, in his fifty-one page lecture, had the “rapt attention” of the audience. Two highlights of his speech were the following statements made by him:-
“I stand before you tonight, and therefore, before the people of the British West Indies, the representative of a principle, a cause, and a defeat. The principle is the principle of intellectual freedom. The cause is the cause of the West Indian people. The defeat is the defeat of the policy of appointing local men to high office.”
Towards the “grand finale” of his lecture he concluded to thunderous roars of approval:-
“I was born here, and here I stay, with the people of Trinidad and Tobago, who educated me free of charge for nine years at Queen’s Royal College and for five years at Oxford, who have made me whatever I am, and who have been or might be at any time the victims of the very pressures which I have been fighting against for twelve years. . . . I am going to let down my bucket where I am, right here with you in the British West Indies.”
His speech was the beginning of great accomplishments for the masses, who already could feel the winds of change, realising that a government was on its way out and a new order was soon to come.
The lecture was repeated at the Harris Promenade, in San Fernando, one week later, to just as large a gathering of the masses - in their several thousands - listening in the rain as Dr. Williams spoke.
This was the first in a series of seven public lectures with the following topics discussed that were launched in the University of Woodford Square and further repeated throughout Trinidad:-
Lecture #2: Economic Problems on Trinidad & Tobago, 5th July; 1955;
Lecture #3: Constitution Reform in Trinidad & Tobago, 19th July 1955;
Lecture #4: The Historical Background of Race Relations in the Caribbean, 16th August;
Lecture #5: The Case for Party Politics in Trinidad & Tobago, 13th September, 1955;
Lecture #6: The Pros and Cons of Federation, 5th January, 1956;
Lecture #7: Further Thoughts on Federation, 17th January, 1956.
Prior to his dismissal, Dr. Williams sensed something was wrong with his career and began privately contemplating the formation of a political party. He tried again and again to convince Dr. Patrick Solomon to re-enter into politics, but Dr. Solomon initially refused, until Dr. Williams’ persistent and continuous attempts to convince Dr. Solomon to do so. So all this time Dr. Williams was privately trying to put matters in perspective to form a political party. He got to know a very close friend of Dr. Solomon, one Eustace Piggott, who was a member of Solomon’s Caribbean Socialist Party, and who Dr. Williams initially met at Solomon’s home in Bossiere Village. Piggott was the outward going type of person, somewhat fronting, as we would say. He used to go to look for Dr. Williams, and a friendship was soon struck up.
- Next >>