Today marks the 112th anniversary of the birth of our Founding Father, Dr. the Honourable Eric Eustace Williams. His, is a rich legacy of service, vision, leadership and patriotism.
Dr Williams has been credited as an instrumental figure in leading the country to political Independence from Britain.
Williams formed the People's National Movement in 1956, and then won the national election, and became the chief minister of the country from 1956 to 1959, premier from 1959 to 1962, and prime minister from 1962 to 1981.
During his term as leader, he led Trinidad and Tobago into the Federation of the West Indies, to Independence in 1962, and to republican status in 1976.
As prime minister, Williams practiced what was called “pragmatic socialism,” which stressed the delivery of social services and public goods. He managed to improve education, and fostered unrivalled economic development in his 25 years as leader.
Dr Williams was also an author of great acclaim, and left behind a volume of Works which are still referenced today by academics and students alike. The Negro in the Caribbean (1942), Capitalism and Slavery (1944), History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago (1962), British Historians and the West Indies (1964), Inward Hunger: The Education of a Prime Minister (1969), and From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean, 1492–1969 (1970).
It was Capitalism and Slavery which was instrumental to the development of the Plantation Economic Model, and which helped shift the narrative on the reasons why slavery was ended, from one of humanitarian ambitions to an economic argument that the system was financially unsustainable.
Dr. Eric Williams remains one of the most significant leaders in the history of modern Trinidad and Tobago.
Born Sept. 25, 1911, he died March 29, 1981, at the Prime Minister's Residence in St. Ann's.
Dr. Eric Eustace Williams (September 25, 1911 - March 29, 1981)
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