The History of Paria

Sue-Anne Gomes

Paria Publishing was founded on the 2nd of July, 1981, by Gerard Besson. It drew from the staff of Creative Advertising Ltd., also founded by him, for its expertise and talent. Sue-Anne Gomes, who had joined Creative Advertising fresh out of Holy Name Convent in the early 1980s, was Paria’s principal organiser, production coordinator, often conceptualiser, and art director.

Vernon Espinoza, Fitz Andrews, Michael Greene, and Jeffrey Pataysingh

Jeffrey Pataysingh was a director at Paria Publishing, and a graphic designer. Peter Shim, artist, musician, writer, water colourist, and designer, illustrated some of Paria’s publications. Fitz Andrews was a photographic expert and darkroom technician. Vernon Espinoza managed the traffic department and organised productions. These were Paria Publishing’s first employees. Later, we would have Anne Plimmer, who managed the sales department and oversaw the three retail outlets, one at Piarco International Airport, another at the Cruise Ship Complex in Port of Spain, and a third at Chacon Street, also in Port of Spain. Allison Pantin and Elspeth Brierley ran the office.

Peter Shim and Jeffrey Pataysingh, illustrators

The downturn in the economy in Trinidad and Tobago in the 1980s affected Creative Advertising most adversely. Book sales were also down. As the companies struggled to survive, we were devastated by the attempted coup d'etat of 1990. Looters destroyed our Chacon Street outlet, and the general dislocation forced the closure of both the airport and Cruise Ships Complex shops. Creative Advertising was forced to seek a merger with Lonsdale, Saatchi & Saatchi. Paria Publishing was managed down with the help and support of good friends like Kelvin Khan of Ishmael M. Khan Booksellers, and eventually was mothballed to await a new beginning when in 2000, Paria Publishing's management was taken over by Alice Besson and Dominic Besson; a new dispensation was inaugurated. In 2011, we celebrated our 30th anniversary by remembering all those who have helped and supported us and who have worked towards the creation of a published historiography for Trinidad and Tobago that numbers now, close to 200 titles.

Paria Publishing The History of Paria