Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lloyd Best

I never knew Lloyd Best in the flesh, only ever had the pleasure of his ideas, which in themselves were gift enough. In the 'Western intellectual canon' its easy to pick out personal heroes, growing up in London, being schooled there and sharing the ideas of a tradition well and truly engrained in the British academy i never learnt about people such as Best and George John, people outside of this 'Western canon,' but people who forged there own equally great line of thought. It was later in my adult life while living in Trinidad when i noted all those Caribbean people i admired, my friends, collegues, family – all adored Best, all spoke with such passion about his ideas, his influence, about his vision of the Caribbean and Trinidad. A vision not just for today or the recent past but also about the possible futures, both good and bad to come. My mother and my aunt were liming partners of Best and can tell a story or three about the intellectual battles they had. My editors and creative influences worked and learned alongside him. i knew i wanted to interview him, or rather just have a conversation for my PhD topic, and i always knew the time was running out. Just this Christmas and the summer before it too i regretfully failed to make the time. In my dissertation work i try to speak using many voices, dialogism as it is called, and one strong booming voice in that plentude of voices - a voice that tells me about creating new political entities in Trinidad, about how to develop the cultural gift of pan, about the economic future, about Trinidad and its people and about so much more, is Lloyd Best. A man whose ideas give me and my work a Caribbean life and space to built from, but who in life i never had the pleasure to meet. Ideas though can live forever, and i guess that means the power of the person can too.

George Lamming on Best

"With the passing of Lloyd Best an irreplaceable light has been put out. Lloyd and I shared a friendship which survived the sharpest of disagreements, but each disagreement deepened my respect for his integrity.

For more than 40 years he put his formidable intellect in the service of one singular cause - independent thought and Caribbean freedom. there was no corner of this archipelago which escaped his political concern, and his politics was the name of an intellectual culture. Best fought to the very end to help us dismantle the imperial boundaries we inherited. We failed because we do not recognise the difference between politics and government; and dare not see our mimicking of a Westminster model as the greatest obstacle to genuine representation.

To find a language of our own creation that would define the Caribbean collective experience was the gospel he preached.''

trinidad express piece

No comments: