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EMULATE NORRIS by Dr. Godfrey Vincent

posted 18 Feb 2014, 17:37 by Gerry Kangalee
February 18th 2014 marks the third anniversary of Norris Deonarine’s death. As we celebrate his memory, it is important that we reflect on the contribution in he made to the Curepe community when he and a number of like-minded youths formed “BLOCK UP” to improve the lives of the people in Curepe and surrounding communities. Moreover, we should also reflect on his commitment to the National Food Crop Farmers Association in particular and all farmers in general.


Norris worked tirelessly to ensure that the nation achieved food security and that farmers obtained security of land tenure. Furthermore, we should honour his contribution because Norris was a change agent who advocated a revolutionary transformation of the society.


As a young man, he engaged in politics in the post 1970 period. He was actively engaged in ULF and the Council of Progressive Trade Unions at a time when it was not fashionable for young people to engage in politics. Additionally, in the 1980s, he worked tirelessly to ensure the building of the Committee for Labour Solidarity and later on MOTION.


Why is celebrating his memory important? It is important because Norris Deonarine can serve as an example to the young people of Trinidad and Tobago. Too often, the leaders inform the youths that their heroes are athletes and Soca entertainers. Nothing is wrong with that. However, we should also direct our young people to examine the lives of people such as Norris.


Norris is a hero because he didn’t take the easy way out. He addressed the problems in his community and found solutions to them. He never sought fame and glory but spent his life in the trenches among the people. At a time when the country is caught up in a vicious cycle of senseless violence, we need more young men and women to rise up and emulate the contribution of Norris Deonarine.  


On this day, I propose that we set up a Scholarship Fund in his name. Also, I propose that a street in Curepe be named after him. Next, I propose that we organize The Norris Deonarine Lecture series as an annual event. From my end, in the United States, I will engage Tuskegee University administration to offer a scholarship to a student who wants to pursue an MS degree in Agriculture Science.


The Progressive Movement should also celebrate the Life of Norris Deonarine and remind the nation that young people can rise to the occasion and become agents of change and empowerment. When historians write A People’s History of Trinidad and Tobago, Norris Deonarine’s contribution will be narrated.