The Caribbean islands, little more than dots in a huge expanse of ocean, begin east of Puerto Rico and arc southwest almost to the coast of South America. Trinidad sits at the end of the line, close to Venezuela, while only about 20 miles away lies tiny Tobago. In this book, Lennie Nimblett, a constitutional authority and an influential writer and commentator on the political, economic and financial affairs of these two islands, focuses on their nettlesome union at the end of the 19th century.
Relentlessly chasing down facts, Nimblett seeks to place the unification in an authentic historical, political and social context and explain how the formation of this British crown colony came about. Interestingly, his idea of context ranges back across four centuries of discovery, trade and settlement.
Using meticulous research, the author, now in his 70s, painstakingly dissects the events that propelled Trinidad and Tobago towards the altar. Tobago’s tottering, dysfunctional government and constitution, its near-bankrupt economy, the changing nature of British imperialism, plus a host of volatile social issues, including religion, ethnicity, voting rights, education, and the aftermath of slavery, all added to the pressure.
Nimblett packages his findings with almost 20 pages of prologue, acknowledgements and author’s notes; 30-plus pages of appendices; four pages listing treaties and statutes; five pages of bibliography referencing more than 70 works; and 10 pages of indexing by name and subject. By any measure this is a scholarly work, bursting with research and attention to detail, though perhaps a little dry and dusty for those not already interested in or familiar with these colorful islands.
While tourists heading for Trinidad and Tobago are unlikely to pack this tome, anyone enthused after their vacation and wanting to learn more will find Nimblett’s book an impeccable source of background information.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.