Subject: Those with high moral ground must take care not be taken in and expect people to be righteous, when there are a lot that are not
would have loved you.
ME: But Victoria
said and pretended a lot but did not. She freed the slaves but
did nothing for the American Indians.
She was in love with Albert and at the time it would have been considered
an act of - Laisser Majeste – middle French, not modern - but it was
on the law books - insulting royalty to say what I am about to
say – when she got married she must have discovered sex and she liked
it, being a woman whose life was very sheltered and quiet. One
of her favorite saying was: “We are not amused,” meaning it
took a lot to make her laugh. She took refuge in Albert and her
many children. She reminds me of Bodacia. When Albert died
she nearly died. She went across to the Isle of White. The
acoustics in the Albert Hall are good, a whisper can be heard but outside
looks like a fortress.
They went to
ridiculous lengths just to accommodate her because they thought she
was so modest, the legs of pianos were covered at a certain time.
Cromwell did it, it was not Puritan, a bad word for the English, but
it was a left over from the Puritans. You are extremely moral
- if you had a ministerial position you would probably take 2/3 of your
salary and feed the poor.
ME: Is that
GAY: It is
good but people are no angels and you expect them to be.
Those whom we admire let us down, like Ralph Gonzales, who I admired.
We were good friends because we were kindred in our writings; I would
like to love him. He said the other day that Barbados is hostile
to the other members of CARICOM, a non-point but he did it for political
ME: I do not
speak about rowdy behaviour and wuking-up on the Harbour Master; I speak
of parliament . Like Sinckler
telling a member that she is No. 1 in the No: 2 business.
is the highest court in the land.
We know that.
GAY: In earlier
time you could be held in contempt of parliament, you could have been
hanged or have your head cut off. The only people, who could say
anything was the parliamentarian inside parliament. You see how
they behave in England parliamentary democracy. You should hear
used to hurl names across the room at each other. Tory is an island
way off the south cost of England where nobody goes, it means backra,
and nobody knows you, Solomon Grundy born on a Monday dead on a Tuesday.
Whigs meaning effete, you are wearing a wig you are false.
My question is with all of this knowledge do you extend
appropriate behaviour to parliament?
GAY: What do
you expect? We figure that civilization starts with the savages
up north. If you couch things in parliamentary terms it will give
you a chance to drop a bombshell and the ordinary man in the street
would not know for a long time.
the ones here are not couching they are displaying inappropriate behaviour.
GAY: Our people
are immune to that. If I thought I would get enough of a following
I would but experience has taught me there is no room for pied pipers
in our society. You know the Pied Piper got rid of rats and cleaned
up the place and they did not want to pay him. That legend is
something Deane Smith would have written and it would
not have been understood except in this modern time. This sort
of thing Jonathan Swift would have written and Samuel
Butler, who wrote EREHWON, nowhere spelt backward
and Utopia and it went to every body’s head.
have to include Moby Dick there.
GAY: I do not
know if Melville wrote it as satire.
most people think so.
GAY: I think
he wrote more like a journalist like Orson Wells
in The Invasion from Mars.
ME: So why
do so many see it as allegory?
they do not understand. I think he was doing a journalist thing
he was writing for a story, a good invention like 20,000 Leagues
Under the Sea sort of science fiction without the science.
ME: I prefer
to see story behind it.
GAY: Some like
literature safe, you do not have to analyze.
“I think that I shall see
A poem ever as a tree
Whose flowing mouth be pressed
Against the tree with loveliness and fresh
earths sweet flowing breath.”
It has a very
beautiful tune, Victorian sort of thing. I loved it. It
was the sort of thing we sang at religious concerts every now and then
when the church had a solo to show off its baritone. This was
entertainment, when there was no television and radio was very poor
and not affordable to most. My literature teacher, A. D. Bruce
Hamilton, wrote a couple of novels and his brother, a good novelist, wrote Fanny by Gaslight it was made into a film. We
saw it at the Olympic theatre. He wrote another called To
Be Hanged they were like romance mystery novels. Dr. Hamilton
we called him “hambone” - he drew to our attention that there was
a sexual analogy there and for that reason he condemned the poem.
He analyzed it very critically and adversely too. He said it had
sexual content “the mouth be pressed against the tree” it
was a typical English disdain for sexual illusion. For a long
time I was worried about that song. You could not failed to be
moved by the music and you remembered the verse.
Do not forget
it is the same society that condemned Lawrence to exile. His book
was the subject of a lawsuit. We read it under the lamp at night.
When you look at the philosophers like Butler, the professors
of Oxford and Cambridge used them as textbooks and we were not encouraged
to analyze the theory behind them. George Lamming
introduced me to Samuel Butler, Ellon and H.G. Wells
and I read his big book The History of William Clissold,
Tono Bungay, we were never encouraged to read him at school.
But George and I discovered this side of Wells.
We were not set that to read because it did not suite the politics
of the time. We read them after but not at school.
Wells had a tremendous influence on some of us; we read
Somerset. Wells was a doctor and never practiced
medicine because he wanted to be a writer.
Like this fellow
was out of work and desperate. He applied for a job as a lavatory
attendant in the public toilets, where the attendant sat and took your
penny and gave you a piece of soap. He was turned done probably
because he had a middle class accent. When he went home he realized
that he had been making a homemade brew and he decided to bottle it
and sell it in shops and it turned out marvelous, like Coca Cola.
To the end of his life he was asked if he had not invented the brew
what would he have been and he said: “I would have been a
Arthur I am trying to pin you down to find out how far you extend appropriate
- to the highest place, where school children watch.
GAY: I am not
surprised by any behaviour.
ME: Why aren’t
you surprised? Do you extend your principles to parliament? What
would your grandmother, Mary Prescod, have said? It is snobbery
because you know that your mother and back to the father’s family
right back to Samuel Jackman Prescod would not have condoned that.
things are not in my vocabulary. There are certain people that matter
to me the rest do not. I am immune that is why I may appear not
to mind. I am in a cocoon and, who would hurt me do not know,
where to hurt me, like the turtle shell you do not try to stab him in
the back you got to get under his belly.
ME: The sling
and arrows of outrageous men seeking out the soft underbelly.
I am tired of my underbelly being sought out.
all want to do something about the community for that is the only reason
we think about reform otherwise we would say God is in his heaven and
all is right with the world. We cannot do that because we
know that is not the way we are built but do not expect recognition
or any reward.
words belie your heart. You have just been caught up in the negatives
around but at heart you are and idealist that is why you wore the cassock.
So let us get back to you, who have been compromised.
GAY: You are misunderstanding the term you say compromise when I would say accommodate, which is different from compromise. It is a pity they can only emulate what they see.
Sounds like Dawn Jordan: “Do you want to be right or do you want
to be happy?”
GAY: As cynical
as that? That is part of the reason why so many of us cannot cope
with what is the natural and instinctive for instance love your neighbour.
They have my sympathy. Unless someone tells them that they
cannot come through here they cannot come through. A leader goes
and meditates for a month, comes back and decides this is the code of
behaviour and puts it into law.
does not know what they do. I remember C.L.R. James he used to give
a lot of talks for free, poor fellow he must have gone along saying
look at those foolish asses. We may come to the stage when we
probably have to rediscover the wheel and all that goes with it.
Education is glorious intellectual acrobatics. They can jump across
ten cars on a bike like Evil Kneivel. The system waters down to
pass exams. On television for the CXC teaching punctuation someone
put a comma in the middle of a sentence joined by an ‘and.’
‘And’ is the comma. There are so many people who cannot pronounce
‘th’ or ask they say ‘ax.’
ME: An answer
is to hire attorneys to speak in parliament. Attorneys in the sense
that plantations hired attorneys to look after the plantations.
People, who have the necessary manner, history, culture and etiquette.
Come with something because you have been trapped into admitting that
you would want principled behaviour in parliament. You are only
outwardly jaded? If I had not pushed as hard as this you
could still be talking about accommodating.
you believe in God or not Christ sacrificed his life. He could have
got away by saying that is none of my business. John the Baptist
did the same thing and Herrod still cut off his head because he wanted
ME: How did
it get from the wisdom of Mittleholzer, Collymore, Chester Allen Brown,
Sissy, Alexandrina Gibbs and the thinkers of that time to this - no
real discussion on any fundamental issues, social or economic?
GAY: So many
things are lost to posterity because of ignorance and greed. Sarah
Churchill destroyed some of Churchill's paintings. Her attitude
must have been I-enjoyed-them-nobody-else-can and she burnt them.
If Hitler’s paintings are valuable now what about Churchill's?
One woman, what was her intellectual power that she could not think
this through? Whatever came out of Churchill belongs to humanity.
Regardless of what we think about him, he was at the head of World War
II. We know that the soldiers won the war but the generals devised
the strategy and somebody has to take the accolades.
his goals, when he started to talk about letting go India; there was
no more to be got out of Indian. All India was left with was a
civil service. Same thing in Africa, if oil was discovered in
Nigeria during World War II Nigeria would have been populated by whites,
same as Johannesburg. Image, the Congo ten times the size
of Belgian, had one black doctor.
We know all the bad things that Churchill did but yet we are able to
like Churchill. We can say all this about him and we have
not reached that stage with Barrow or Grantley or any of our public
GAY: We are
puritanical. It is an addiction like rum, we know we cannot afford
it, it ruined my health. We start with that and it is wrong.
The white power found a way to continue the disenfranchisement they
disenfranchised our history and the things is the non-whites really
do not realize how powerful they could be because they do not want to
rock the boat. Whites suppressed our history and the fair
skin people thought: “better not rock the boat because I cannot
get by.” There was a policy of getting away from the tan
although very few coloureds inherited their parents property, and at
present, the black historian are into denial. There is so much history
to be got in little vinaigrettes. So much is buried and hidden
under a lot of protocol and behaviour.
had so many friends, who had fallen through the cracks of the economy;
two women were Miss Lovell and Mrs. Crouch. Mrs. Crouch was a white
woman and she lived alone in a house, which she owned but her resources
had dwindled. She lived on some kind of fixed income. She came to our
home and my grandmother and her would have long conversations. Mrs.
Crouch would come up the gap and in through the front door.
was of the same social class. She had been driven to school
by a coachman but she had come down - I was a boy so I do not know the
circumstances. Although they knew each other as children from
school Mrs. Lovell felt so humiliated by her circumstances that she
came through the back door. “Why you come through the back door?”
My grandmother would ask and said of her: “too poor to beg, too
honest to steal, she is one of the shabby gentility.”
I do not know any of their descendents. They may have come along, and
went to the university and say “I come along rich and almost white.”
a buttery was where bags of rice, flour, preserves and thing like that
ME: You mean
like a pantry?
had to have ventilation - there was no air-conditioned. It was part
of protocol that it had to be locked. Children got in the buttery
with preserve paw paw and made that hoop.
We grew up
as babies, four and five years old, hearing things about Samuel Jackman
Prescod that are not even in folklore and no body will believe.
If you want to know the basis of Samuel Jackman's thinking read the
Canadian Constitution. Do you know that he proposed something like a
Federation of the West Indies and that he had a model constitution for
a government of the colonies of the West Indies - a government that
was not only Barbados - a precursor of federation. This was taken
up by the Canadians and that was the basis of the Canadian Constitution.
I think Alexander Hoyos alludes vaguely to that. He is a very
sketchy historian but then I do not know what was available to him.
he was an immigrant. After World War II the Hoyoses came seeking
asylum. E.K. Walcott was Attorney General and Rocky told me that
when they came running from South America his father said that anyone
seeking political asylum would be accommodated and the Hoyos were allowed
in. The story from Rocky goes that the “Hoyoses caused World
War I” – honestly he said that jokingly many times. Count Hoyos
– meaning high man - was head of the Civil Service, when the Archduke
was assassinated and he is the one that gave the advice that the Kaizer
would back them and from there came all the interplays and face offs.
I did find a Count Hoyos in Liddell book on World War I.
The Hoyoses ran to South America and had a rubber plantation and from
there they “stirred up trouble” and ran seeking aslyum. Hoyos
grounding is not in the island, not even in the Caribbean.
ME: Out of all that Prescod did one of the few snippets the media focuses on is that he was born illegitimate.”
was illegitimate for you were forbidden to marry. When Samuel
Jackman Prescod name stopped being a cuss word a lot of whites like
the McKenzies claimed that they were relatives but as far as I know
no one has checked the documentation. I think it would have been
the McKenzie the auctioneer: Under the Silver Hammer and the
Golden Hammer. See them in the advertisement in the newspaper
of the day.
It is bigotry,
so many historians get their history from books and do not look thorough
the newspapers and papers; especially since freedom of information it
is there to be seen, it just has to be dug into. Doing two-year
narrow research to get a PhD is in itself naught if it is not a road
to emaciation of the mind.
in our society and after a time money became clean
GAY: Like suppose
my father went to jail and all of that is done and he come out and turn
respectable why would I have to be talking about it?
ME: Why not
be normal and talk about it if it comes up why blot out a part of life.
It will not harm even if it is a thing most likely to be forgotten.
GAY: Many do
not want to listens and those, who speak the truth, are martyred.
By the time their statements are taken up they are in the archives and
the author is dead.
ME: So sell
GAY: I am describing
the facts of life that is how things are.
ME: It can happen
with the new generation but it cannot happen with me because the first
years my life was spent in truth with my great-grandmother and grandmother.
GAY: The formula
for success - the only way people can live is if they live in a world
of their own. They create a world in which they are more comfortable.
You will only send those people mental if you stir their conscious.
Do you want to be responsible?
I am not concerned
with correcting past mistakes or mis-conception because there is no
way - he who is convinced against his will is of the same opinion
still. I will only get myself in a tizzy - try to get
the so many injustices and thing that we call unreal.
What can you
do about? It is not worth destroying health. I just
cannot bear to think about it especially I have so little time. You
come and find the world one way and find it the same way when you leave.
One or two people will say something good about you but the purpose
of life is not testimonials.
My family and
I got a lot of slack for that. My father was a planter, he lived
on a plantation, and he did not own a plantation so some people said:
“he ain’t a planter,” but the people who owned the plantation
were not planters and did not know about planting.
that he was a bright youngster and why would he not become a schoolteacher
like them. He did books and plotted crops fertilizer and
produced cane and vegetables and worked out how to eradicate pest and
diseases and all those sort of things. He did not use a
fork but because he was black and worked on a plantation people thought
that he carried a hoe in his hand.
In my generation
it was to be a doctor. If you do not become a doctor you have
failed. I did not compromise and it never bothered me.
I admired a friend of mine, we went to school together and we could
finish one another’s thoughts. He died the other day and
another friend said that he had told him that he sorry I never got a
do not always happen in one generation. I have grand children
and I do with the hope that even if I am not here my grands will benefit.
The world I lived in is Carib and that culture is the world in which
I grew up.
GAY: You cannot
attribute everything to one aspect of your psyche there are enough genes
and chromosomes in our DNA that have all sorts of influence.
ME: The mystery,
which unfolds before me is how my family and certain parts of the society
that had righteous values transformed from its pre-1940s period to the
corruption and accommodation of it of today.
GAY: Would you
say that they are sophisticated?
anymore that is long gone.
GAY: Many now
have positions especially those in our hierarchal position but they
are not sophisticated. Sophistication comes with how to do things
it is not politeness.
ME: They hide
something and are fanatical in holding secrets in the wider family of
Barbados. The difficulty was to put the puzzled together and after
that it was easy to see why they defend it. Nobody will ever forget
that the Kennedys were bootleggers but some here get their past cleaned
up. The portraits that people accept are not true and people know.
This is going
right back into the psychohistory of our culture because the nation
feels that many out in the front being praised as most successful are
those, who have smeared backgrounds.
GAY: So many
have surfaced to the top of society; so many of the enslaved do not
want to recognize, from where the money came. The pirates buried their
money. It was not called money laundering but that is what
it was. The rogues are ruling, it has always been like that in
England. Look at men like Hawkins. The wealthy in England
were based on brigand, as long as the briganding was not done in England.
It was all right. The French called privateers and buccaneers
because of how they dried their meat.
ME: There is
a deeper significance to this secrecy something that they keep hidden
all the time and the majority of people behave that way because it is
a small society and pleasure/money/position/friendship/“to protect
my family, to protect my wife I will stay quiet but I know,’
they derive out of it.
That is the
treasured secret in our history, which must be exposed- this secret of the burning of a manuscript, both
was born in 1927. His paternal grand mother was Mary Prescod,
Samuel Jackman Prescod’s niece. He was born on to Erin
Gay nee Deane and ……… Gay. He attended Foundation
school for four years and spent six at Harrison College. He did
physics chemistry and maths and specialised in mathematics in the six
form. There was a restriction on the number of subjects taken.
He also did Latin and Greek but never liked Greek and he went back to
Greek when at twenty years old he went to study to become a priest at
Codrington College. He says that from the time he was about nine, he
wanted to be a priest and many, even his maths teacher tried to persuade
him that he was bright and should be an engineer. He spent
three years in six form at Harrison’s College and many felt he should
have stayed for another year and try for the Barbados Scholarship but:
“I was never that competitive. I know my stuff up to now I know
it. There is no problem I could not solve and cannot solve,
that is how you learn.”
long enough at Codrington to do a degree in Philosophy, Latin and Greek. His first job was with the meteorological
He taught at many schools. His first daughter was born in 1954.
He went to England to do law and was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn.
He got a job in the meteorological office. He got caught up in
the scientific world and was offered a place at one of the London Colleges
Northern polytechnic, which is now called City College.
He found himself doing two degrees at the same time and he gave up
law and continued with physics and mathematics.