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Honouring the Capildeo legacy

By Michelle Loubon

Central Bank Governor  Jwala Rambarran has said the success of the  Dr Eric Williams’ Memorial Lecture  Series has inspired the financial institution to create a similar opportunity to honour the legacy of deceased  academic genius/political visionary Dr Rudranath “Rudy” Capildeo. Capildeo was born on February 17, in Chaguanas, Central Trinidad. In 1970, he died on May 12 at St James Hospital, London, England from chronic renal failure. In 1969, he received the Trinity Cross, the nation’s highest honour at the time. Capildeo’s name is also attached to the Learning Resource Centre, Couva. 

Rambarran shared these sentiments in the governor’s message which was included in a booklet themed The Inaugural Dr  Rudranath Capildeo Legacy Lecture at Central Bank Auditorium, St Vincent Street, Port of Spain, on May 4. Among those present were Nicole Crooks, senior manager human resources and corporate communications, feature speaker Dr Rudy Capildeo, Capildeo’s son, and anthropologist Dr Kumar Mahabir. The Central Bank has been celebrating its 50th anniversary by preserving and propagating the legacy of Williams, author of Capitalism and Slavery. There was also an exhibition of “Lion House”.

Rambarran said: “Every generation has its history makers, its groundbreakers, those who become more myth than man or woman. The truth about their lives disappears, eroded by time. Sometimes we selectively remember only what we choose to, for various reasons, sometimes we misleadingly honour the legend over the legacy. It is perhaps easier to create the legend, than to look deeper, beyond the surface, and acknowledge exceptional work. This is the position in which we find ourselves, 44 years after the death of Capildeo.”

Rambarran made reference to the success of the annual Williams’ Lecture Series. He said: “It is a flagship event and enjoys stellar success, as it is eagerly anticipated and continues to deepen our relationship with the public. This lecture has proven to be an important educational device, bringing Williams’ legacy to new generations.” In 2013, Jamaican writer Rachel Manley shared her sentiments on the collapse of the West Indian Federation in which Williams had famously quipped “One from 10 leaves nought.” 

Rambarran said there was a dire need to embark upon a similar exercise on behalf of Capildeo, because of his stellar contribution to nation building. 

Rambarran said: “The success of Dr Williams lecture has inspired Central Bank to create a similar opportunity to honour Capildeo, who stood with Dr Williams and fought for Independence for Trinidad and Tobago, and who contributed elements to our Constitution that would ensure fairness for all. As the bank looks ahead to the next 50 years, we want the names of both Dr Williams and Dr Capildeo to be honoured and respected, as each man was gifted in his own way, and each used his considerable intellectual prowess to fundamentally change schools of thought in his respective field.”

Rambarran said Central Bank had a sacred responsibility since “We are fortunate to be benefactors of a great legacy, we must acknowledge and say thanks. Freedom is a legacy that should not be forgotten, and as thinkers and leaders, Capildeo and Williams were both pivotal to the formation of our country, of our Independence, and should be richly honoured”.

The booklet also contained Dr Rudy Capildeo’s message and an essay by St Augustine Campus lecturer Dr Jerome Teelucksingh’s. Teelucksingh’s biography examined aspects of Capildeo’s life including childhood and family, education and academic legacy,  professional life, political detour, the Marlborough conference and the final years. It featured a timeline, profile on Dr Rudy Capildeo and a list of acknowledgements which included Garvin Nicholas, former Trinidad and Tobago high commissioner to the United Kingdom, genealogist Shamsu Deen, Nalis Heritage Library and artist Adrian Camps-Campins.

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