Politics in a Half-Made Society: Trinidad and Tobago 1925–2001

politics in a half made societyThis book tells the story of 20th-century politics in Trinidad and Tobago, a multiracial Caribbean state located on two small islands. The enquiry begins in 1925 with the then-colony’s first elections for seats in the Legislative Council. It ends in 2001, almost 40 years after independence, with the two major parties in a historic deadlock.

The title derives from the Trinidad-born Sir V.S. Naipaul’s characterization of Trinidad and Tobago as a “half-made society.” This seemingly harsh and dismissive term is intended to point out that Trinidad and Tobago, founded in the late 18th century, is a society still in formation, without a firm base (intellectual, cultural, political, military, or economic), and in which solidity remains elusive, despite its successes. The bulk of the book is concerned with the actual development of politics in such a circumstance.

Kirk Meighoo (Trinidad and Tobago Institute of the West Indies) is editor of the Trinidad and Tobago Review.