Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz is today lamenting the failure of society to recognise the sterling efforts and ultimate achievements of Trinidad and Tobago’s first prime minister Dr Eric Williams.
Diaz made specific reference to the growth and the development of the steelpan fraternity under Dr Williams’ leadership during this country infancy as an independent state.
It was difficult, he said, to accept that 37 years since the passing Dr Williams the people of T&T have yet to celebrate his accomplishments, especially as it relates to the steelpan, which this country has given to the world.
Speaking on his Steelband Times radio programme on i95.5FM Diaz said,
“I remember going to countries outside of Trinidad and they always remember their leaders. I was in France, when they had a special day for (Charles) de Gaulle. He was their president. I remember when they had a special day for the man during the second World War, the prime minister of England (Winston Churchill).”
Diaz continued, “…Dr Martin Luther King Jr (SU civil rights leader) and (Fidel) Castro in Cuba…even other people in the Caribbean, but in our country, for our late father of the nation, nobody wants to remember what he did. He made the school, the education tool, for the future of nation. Quite a number of things he put in place. He built the hospital in Mt Hope. They laughed and say where is he going and put all them people. It stands as a beacon of health care today.”
On the cultural side of things, the Pan Trinbago head declared the steelband fraternity was a major beneficiary of the vision of the former prime minister. Diaz recalled the numerous visits Dr Williams made to steelbands and the travel opportunities created for this category of musicians.
“He sent steelbands to Jamaica. He sent Chalkdust (Dr Hollis Liverpool) with the T&T Police Band and Desperadoes to Jamaica in the mid-70s to play at Carifesta. At that time, Jamaica was having a lot of problems - internal rioting.
And when Desperadoes came nobody got killed in Jamaica for that week. It was free. That is history,” Diaz said.
He lauded the efforts of Reginald Vidale-led team for establishing the Dr Eric Williams Memorial Committee which aims to preserve and keep the legacy Dr Williams in plain sight.
“The history of our country… We don’t take time to ensure that it is well recorded for the people to continue the history of T&T,” said Diaz.