ASPIRING MINDS FOUNDATION
Born on the 25th March 1911 at Belmont.
He died on the 13th January 1978 in England.
Attended Pamphylian High School and then City College of New York, studying Journalism.
A Unionist, Politician and Writer.
First Chief Minister
In office 18 September 1950 – 28 October 1956.
In the 1930's he established a Literary Magazine called The Beacon.
When the colonial government banned an issue of Time magazine which referred to the Caribbean islands as “dung heap of empire” he got hold of a copy and published it on the front page or The People Newspaper he edited. When the paper’s office was raided he published that as well.
When the Beacon closed in 1933 and began working in a pharmacy which his father owned.
He contested the Port of Spain Council elections, and organised workers
and formed Federal Trade Union. He fought on behalf of the lower class.
When political meetings were band in Woodford Square Port of Spain, he used his voice to demand the right of assembly and free speech. During an arguement with Mayor Arthur Cipriani, he created a scene by laying on the floor when he was asked to leave the chamber, as he was over 300 lbs it took several officers to remove him, however he returned and the motion was accepted.
After Labour riots of 1938 he was elected to the Port of Spain City Council. Which he served for 9 years.
In 1945 he contested and won the seat on the Legislative Council, as a member of the West Indian National Party (WINP) which was held by Mayor Cipriani (who had died).
He won the First Election held under adult suffrage was held in 1946, (which allowed adults from 21 years of age to vote).
In 1946 he was the Chief Delegate for Trinidad and Tobago at the conference of the Federation held in Jamaica. Many of his principles were adapted by other West Indian Leaders.
In 1947, as a member of the Reform Committee, he proposed changes to the Legislative Council, which allowed the people to have a voice in the legislative process.
He was the first Minister of Labour, Industry and Commerce.
While minister, he led a delegation of calypsonians to protest censorship at the British Governor.
In 1950 he formed a new party named Party of Political Progress Groups (POPPG), Elections that was due in 1955 had to be postponed to 1956. He was not able to retain any seats thereby being defeated by the PNM Eric Williams.
Elected to the House of Representatives, representing St. George East.
He publicly defended the steel band movement.
He demanded an end to the censorship of Calypso. While minister, he led a delegation of calypsonians to protest censorship at the British Governor's house.
He fought for the Shouter Baptist whose worship had been banned since the First World War. Who was liberated in 1951.
“The worst bedevilment of all is being in exile within one’s own skin,” he wrote. “It was the feeling that our right to be ourselves was sacred that spurred me to protest all acts of cultural imposition.”