Dr. Fraser- Point of View
March 8, 2013

The words of George McIntosh

I have been trying to present a case for George McIntosh to be made our next national hero. For my column this week, I have reproduced extracts from articles he had written in the Times newspaper. This should allow you to begin to get a better understanding of what the man stood for.{{more}}


McIntosh to the Times newspaper (January 28, 1939)

“When I was aroused at dead of the night and presented with a document charging me with making war against the King, I was somewhat amused to think that in the West Indies, especially in St.Vincent, such a thing could happen, but it turned out that certain miscreants in the community had induced the representatives of the King to make war against me…there was something about McIntosh that class considered undesirable; he advocated better living conditions for the barefooted labouring people, and so the machinery of the Dining Room Courts was set up. I was kept informed of all that was said about me at Government House, and Mr. So and So’s table up to the time that Sir Selwyn Grier was won over.” 


He spoke of attempts to trap him:

“These gallant capitalists tools made a mess of the whole affair; sufficient liars could not be found and it is now history how ashamed and disgraced these silent prosecutors must have felt as the lies melted before the searchlight of inquiry…the ruling class must be made to know that all the trouble in the world is caused by them- not by the agitators or would-be reformers…or by the St.Vincent Workingmen’s Association as the Chamber of Commerce endeavoured to establish here…I sincerely trust however that the advent of the Royal Commission to these islands will effect a change in the minds of those whose estimation for and regards for the working class is one hundred years behind the times.” (George McIntosh)

McIntosh to the Times newspaper (September 1, 1939)
“…With regard to Reverend Buxo and his trying to make a public issue of what I wrote His Lordship the Bishop concerning him, it is a display of his feelings but not a befitting attitude of a Minister of Christ. Is he not aware that the degrading Master and Servants attitude that he is trying to engender has been replaced by a more modern Employer and Employees Act? I have no desire to oppose the Church. I rather think that much good can be done by the Church but I detest seeing the Church run merely like a commercial institution.
When the ministers of today get down from their high pinnacle and become more humble and Christ like the Church will resume its duty and the people will respond; there can be no conciliation by trying to make an oppressed people contented with their miserable lot. A minister of Christ must be bold to advocate the cause of the poor and not play any go between the rich and poor to ensure a salary. Visit the members as old ministers used to do and administer to the needs of the poor. I surely think that there should be no ill-feeling on the part of a Minister because one criticises or disagrees with him.
We surely ought to be Christian enough to differ on any question, and yet grasp each other’s hand in friendship. I want to broaden the intellectual horizon of our poor working people and to see a change in their lot. Let us all join and try at last to help government to bring it about. The strong must be made to protect the weak and the rich to provide for the poor. In conclusion, no right-minded man can be kept out of politics whether he be Minister or else, for politics is the part of Ethics which relates to the regulation and government of a nation or state for the preservation of its safety, peace and posterity. Why would anyone not take part in such an admirable thing?

McIntosh to the Times newspaper

( April 1, 1939)

“Let us take a retrospective view of what was done on this never to be forgotten, memorable day of October 1935 in St.Vincent. A number of working people hear that government is passing a law increasing the duties on certain commodities. On Saturday, their market day, they approach the shops and stores and are told that the prices on … commodities have gone up.

Suffering want on the Sunday they …determine to speak to the Governor who is again meeting his Council on the Monday to carry on legislation imposing increased taxation. They are unaware of how to do it themselves; they therefore approach certain persons who they know would be sympathetic towards them, and these persons try to help them by making an appointment with the governor whom they were never privileged to meet before.
Anxious as they were, their mentality leads them to believe that if immediate action were not taken no help could be forthcoming; hence when the Governor postpones the time for meeting them from 10 am to 5 pm, they grow suspicious; they were anxious and so they became agitated; they clamoured to see the governor at once.
He met them and in some unfortunate way they got to understand from the words spoken to them by the governor that Mr. Corea was responsible for their trouble and so amid their cries of “We want Work!” “We want Food!” they rushed to the two nearest business places of Mr. Corea and broke them open. While in this anger and fury they extended their action to breaking the prison and throwing some stones at a few glass windows around the town. Never did they loot any other business place.”

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian.