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‘Capildeo prevented racial divide in T&T’
Dr Rudranath Capildeo’s major contribution to the country was to hold it together and prevent the nation from being divided along racial lines. This was among the tributes paid to the late politician and academic by his nephew, attorney Surendranath Capildeo.
“His major contribution was to hold the country together because if he had decided to run with the pack, we would not have had a country,” Capildeo said. “This country would have been racially divided forever but he crossed that barrier with Eric Williams at Marlborough House.
“If they had continued with that racial divide, the country would never have been independent and we would have been split down the middle like Guyana. It was uncharted history,” said Capildeo. He was speaking at a function to honour Dr Capildeo who was posthumously given the Father of the Nation Medal of Honour (Gold) for meritorious service in the field of education and politics.
The function took place at Capildeo’s law offices on 51 Edward Street, Port-of-Spain on Tuesday and making the presentation was chairman of the Dr Eric Williams Memorial Committee, Reginald Vidale. Dr Eric Williams, leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM) and Capildeo, head of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) travelled in 1962 to Marlborough House to negotiate Trinidad and Tobago’s independence from Britain.
Capildeo said his uncle, who was also a scientist, politician and mathematician thought the education system was a disaster and blamed Dr Williams for the “deterioration” of standards at Queen’s Royal College. It was a tradition that after studying abroad, many of the brilliant minds upon their return would teach at QRC.
“Williams decided for some unknown reason he would take all the teachers at QRC and make them head masters at different government schools throughout the country,” Capildeo said. “He picked up every master and he made all of them principals in schools all over T&T, so QRC was left without teachers. That destroyed QRC completely.
I have no proof but I think that was deliberately done and they had no choice. It didn’t do anything else to the education system,” he said. Capildeo said there was more tolerance in society then and there was not that deep a divide then compared to now. He said the present generation didn’t have the political ambition for power, as society has gone beyond and grown out of it compared to the colonial era, indentureship and slavery.
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