As a scholar of southern Africa, I came to Trinidad and Tobago rather un-
prepared. Individuals, rather than institutions, took me under their wing
and inducted me into the secrets of the country and its oil sector. Among
these friends, I want especially to thank Gerard and Alice Besson, Joan
Dayal, Dax Driver, Simone Mangal, Jeremy and Michelle Matouk, Patri-
cia Mohammed, Krishna Persad, Marina Salandy-Brown, Mary Schorse,
Eden Shand, Teresa White, and Mark Wilson. My informants, who include
many of these people, assisted the research and, obviously, made it possi-
ble. These women and men are too many to name, and more than a few
wish their identities to remain confidential. In the course of the research
and writing of this book, four of my informants passed away: Norris Deon-
arine, Rhea Mungal, Denis Pantin, and Julian Kenny. In all but the last case,
these environmental activists died young and unexpectedly. Their loss im-
poverishes Trinidad and Tobago of voices that could grapple critically with
hydrocarbons. Some of the protagonists in this book will disagree violently
with its tone and conclusions. I hope they will find their views fairly repre-
sented, if also sufficiently refracted to teach something new.
In the United States, colleagues and student colleagues helped beat
the manuscript into shape. With gratitude, I acknowledge Hannah Appel,
Jacob Campbell, Isaac Curtis, Daniel Goldstein, Angelique Haugerud,
Dorothy Hodgson, Judith Hughes, Enrique Jaramillo, Mazen Labban, Ar-
thur Mason, Melanie McDermott, Benjamin Orlove, Peter Rudiak-Gould,
Marian Thorpe, Michael Watts, and Paige West. For images, primary doc-
uments, critical commentary, or pivotal conversations, I am indebted to
Andrew Matthews, Gerard Besson, Selwyn Cudjoe, Marlaina Martin, Mike
Siegel, Genese Sodikoff, Steven Stoll, Humphrey Stollmeyer, Anna Tsing,
and Richard York. I benefited from speaking engagements at Bard College,
Brown University, Carleton University, Columbia University, Dartmouth
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