“THERE MUST BE SOME KIND OF CIVILISATION IN ARIMA”
Francis Morean @ 28th October 2018
(This is the first in a series of articles being published here by Francis Morean with the focus upon the history of Arima.)
I have been invited to become an Administrator of this group and I have accepted. Thank you Kazim Abasali.
(Arima Community Info Resource Centre Facebook Group”
I have pondered for a while about what my first post should be. My first thoughts were to post a speech made in Arima by Sir Edward Beetham. I however decided against doing so and would share his speech by next week or at such convenient time as the muses may influence me.
Sir Beetham, the last of the British Governors had arrived in Trinidad in February 1955 and paid his first official visit to Arima in mid-August of the same year. During that visit he had alerted Arimians of the need to preserve their history. In his response to the welcome speeches which had been presented to him by then Mayor Raphael Chinaleong and by Harry Carraciolo, the Town Clerk, the Governor advised the burgesses of the importance of using history to establish their sense of identity.
I do not know to what extent Arimians as a whole took his advice in tangible forms. Sometimes I question it. In my time in Arima I have seen the demise for instance of 2 buildings (among others of course), which I felt we should never have lost. I am referring to the former residences of Mayors Lopez and Hosein.
“What really made me decide to stay in Arima however, was the coup of July 27, 1990. On visiting St. Augustine after the coup I was appalled at the level of destruction which was wrought by the looting. Arima in contrast was hardly affected. “There must be some kind of civilization in Arima, after all, I thought and that was the final factor which influenced my decision to establish my roots in Arima.”veral other communities at the time. One of my aunts had even offered me a free house in which to stay. But Arima had been calling me.
I wrote about it in the pages of Volume 3 of the H.E.R.B.S. STAR, which was published as a pull-out on Saturday July 31, 1999 in the Express newspaper. One day I would share that article here, however I am sharing the final paragraph today.
“What really made me decide to stay in Arima however, was the coup of July 27, 1990. On visiting St. Augustine after the coup I was appalled at the level of destruction which was wrought by the looting. Arima in contrast was hardly affected. “There must be some kind of civilisation in Arima, after all, I thought and that was the final factor which influenced my decision to establish my roots in Arima.”
In spite of everything else, I never regretted that decision. In fact, for a few brief years after April 2003 I had been uprooted from Arima as a result of circumstances that need not be mentioned here. But there was never any doubt that I had unfinished work here and I had to return. Thanks to the late Mr. Lawrence Sorzano and his wife Phillipa, I was eventually able to do so. May God bless their souls.
In contemplating this sense of civilisation, which I saw in Arima, I was unknowingly echoing the words of former Mayor F.E.M. Hosein.
It was a point that F.E.M. Hosein had fully appreciated. In August 1930, when Governor Claud Hollis had made his first official visit Arima, Hosein had used his welcome address to the Governor to bring to the Governor’s and the public’s attention something of the history of the indigenous peoples of the town. Wherever his speech contained errors of fact as it did, this was made up for by the poignancy of his presentation as he attempted to present a sense of an ancient character to the history of Arima. Having traced the Spanish efforts at the colonization of Trinidad, Hosein went on to attempt to establish the importance of Arima to the indigenous peoples of Trinidad.
“Now I cannot imagine a Spanish colony of those days with the fame and reputed wealth of San Jose, without its necessary troop of monks. The zeal of the Spaniards of those days to spread the doctrines and rites of the Holy Church was undoubted. And it was their self-same zeal which led them to establish two missions in the island for the purpose of Christianising the indigenous population. One Mission was established at a place called “The Mission,” simply and long so known until recent date when it received the name of Princes Town. The other was established in this district and was known as the El pueblo Mission. This is significant. Pueblo means town. Your Excellency will appreciate the difference between an unnamed Mission and a named one. Arima, therefore, was looked upon as an Indian Township, in those early days. And there is no mention of the Indian Township in Trinidad. This points to the fact that that Arima was the headquarters and high capital of the aboriginal Indians; the place where their chief or cacique resided.”
With that in view, I have decided that the first set of posts in this group would focus upon some aspects of the indigenous peoples of Arima. Some of the posts, as in today’s case would simply be news clippings about the First Peoples. Some would be interviews with elders, some would be old historical documents, some would simply be teasing old pictures or short news blurbs, and finally, in some cases I plan to just pose provocative questions to trigger much needed discussion.
With the selection of a new Queen of the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community very much in the air, I have decided to highlight that position in the first set of posts. The article I am sharing here is from almost 6 decades ago. The reproduction is not always very clear so I have replicated some sections of the article in segments. Readers should have no difficulty however in connecting the various parts of the article.
No photo description available.