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WHO WAS KIRKLON PAUL? by Cecil Paul

posted 24 May 2013, 12:40 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 24 May 2013, 17:23 ]
This letter was sent to the Daily Express:
I refer to a column on page 8 in your daily newspaper of Friday 24, May 2013 by Gyasi Gonzales on the death by accident of Kirklon Paul. I wish to put on record who Kirklon Paul was and the circumstances surrounding his trial and incarceration as the article seem to suggest that Kirklon was some criminal.

Kirklon Paul was an 18 year old student in 1970 when the Black Power Revolution or February 1970 started in Trinidad and Tobago. He was a leader of the National Organization of Revolutionary Students (NORS). That group was one of the Youth Organizations of the period and campaigned for the release of the soldiers and activists incarcerated by the then Government.
He later was involved with NJAC and among others campaigned for an end to racism in employment in the
 
 Andy Thoms (left) Kirklon Paul (right) after being convicted of murder in 1975
banks and commercial sectors. They also protested against foreign ownership of the Commanding heights of the Economy and for National Control of our Economy. Many of the gains we have made since then were due to the sacrifices of Kirklon and many others in the Progressive Movement of the 70's. 
Kirklon together with Guy Harewood, Brian Jeffers, Beverly Jones, Andy Thomas, Michael Lewis and many other former students formed an armed guerrilla group named the National United Freedom Fighters (NUFF) and engaged in armed struggle against racism and exploitation in the country. Many of these youths including Guy Harewood, Brian Jeffers, John Bedeau, Beverly Jones were killed by the then Flying Squad led by Randolph Burroughs. In fact the country was in a State of War between the Revolutionary Movement and the State. 
 
In 1973 Kirklon together with Andy Thomas, a newspaper editor, and Michael Lewis an activist from Fyzabad was arrested by the Flying Squad, detained for an unusual period of time and then charged, convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of a policeman. During their period of detention they claimed they were subjected to torture and harsh and oppressive treatment. 
 
They spent fourteen years in prison and were pardoned by then President Noor Hassanali. Many of these activists came out of prison sick, disoriented and mentally troubled. This is who Kirklon Paul was. That was his history as a Revolutionary Activist. 

He was not some common criminal. Those leaders and activists of the period can testify to that fact. so that perhaps your reporter was too young to know the facts of Kirklon’s activities and can be excused but to insult the memory of one who sacrificed for change and paid a personal price for his struggles is unfair and distorts the great struggles of the 1970's and disrespects the brave persons who brought great change to Trinidad and Tobago. 
 
Cecil Paul
55 Campo Street,
San Juan.
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