Lloyd Algernon Best, one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most acclaimed intellectuals is dead.
Described as “economist, politician, publicist, political commentator, philosopher and ‘doctor of doctor politics'”, Lloyd Best developed an intimate relationship with the University of the West Indies, beginning his illustrious multifaceted career as a Junior Research Fellow in 1958 at the Institute of Social and Economic Research of the UWI in Jamaica.
This relationship solidified with his tenure at the St. Augustine Campus as a Lecturer in Economics.
Known for his radical non conventional philosophies, Lloyd Best was not the passive participant in the Region’s status quo. He dared to disagree and advance cogent alternative viewpoints about the political, economic and intellectual realities of Caribbean society. Yet this by no means captures the brilliance, tenacity and fertile intellect of a great West Indian social philosopher and thinker.
Lloyd Best, in the 1960s, co-founded the New World Group of independent thinkers who theorised and philosophised about the economic, social and political systems of their time.
This intellectual giant of the Caribbean stimulated a rethinking of accepted models and practices in institutions of politics and economics and development as a whole, giving direction to the principles that support the establishment and continuity of the Caribbean integration movement.
He is said to have “bestrode the regional intellectual world like a colossus” and it was for his contribution to the Region’s intellectual advancement that he was deservedly inducted into the membership of the prestigious “Order of the Caribbean Community”.
(1) David De Caires, Publisher, Stabroek News, Guyana:
“…..Lloyd Best has for the last forty years been involved in making a symbolic statement of some kind, perhaps quixotic, often deeply flawed, marked by rhetorical excesses, marred by human weaknesses, sometimes almost incoherent, to the effect that we have not done enough, we have not achieved our potential, we have not aimed sufficiently high, we have not completely shaken off the shackles of the plantation, we are mediocrities, just not good enough.
……Yet if one looks at the body of Lloyd’s work one cannot fail to see that it is always motivated by a redeeming hope that things could be better if only, as he would put it, the educational system were not so bankrupt or the validating elites took more responsibility for their conduct. It is this unquenchable optimism that has always made him a little larger than life, this conviction that a brave and better new world lies in the future if only we had the wisdom and the fortitude to get there…..”
(2) Lloyd Best: the 3rd Annual Jagan Lecture presented at York University, March 3rd 2001.
“….The thing about the Caribbean is that ….so many different people coming into the situation plus the business of dealing with the colonizer… Right from the start there’s a dimension of complexity that you’ve got to deal with. The Caribbean is the workshop of the world in that sense. Over the period of five hundred years, in a short period of historic time, in very intimate social situations, small island communities — we’ve had to come to grips with a whole new reality in five hundred years. You have a short time in a small place, and all the problems that are posed of ethnicity in the whole world are dramatized four times over in the Caribbean so you can’t miss them. That is what we have to sell. What we have to sell to the world is that experience –because globalization is imposing that experience on everybody now. But we have lived it for five hundred years and we need to write it down ….”