Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Notes on contributors
 Back Cover

Title: Jamaica journal
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090030/00042
 Material Information
Title: Jamaica journal
Series Title: Jamaica journal.
Abbreviated Title: Jam. j.
Physical Description: v. : ill. (part col.) ; 31 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Institute of Jamaica
Publisher: Institute of Jamaica.
Place of Publication: Kingston
Publication Date: February 1984
Frequency: semiannual
Subject: Periodicals -- Jamaica   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Jamaica
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with Dec. 1967 issue.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090030
Volume ID: VID00042
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01797964
lccn - 75027862
issn - 0021-4124

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
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        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32-33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
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        Page 59
        Page 60
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        Page 62
        Page 63
    Notes on contributors
        Page 64
    Back Cover
        Page 65
        Page 66
Full Text


4 .-- v.


21 7I9$:

Treasures of Jamaican Heritage

Believed to be of Spanish origin, this historic
bell ended up under water during the
earthquake of 1692 which destroyed the
town of Port Royal and was subsequently
recovered in dredging operations. Though
cracked, it was found to be functional and
was hung in the new Anglican church
completed at Port Royal in 1726. Some time
prior to 1818 the bell was found to be
useless and the churchwardens sold it for
scrap metal. In the late 19th century it was
discovered in an Old Curiosity Shop in
Kingston and was purchased by the

government of the
historic relic.

day as an important

The brass bell is 2' 13/" high and 6' 7"
in circumference. It has a Latin inscription
around the edge which roughly translated
means, 'Made with Jesus, Mary and the True
Word'. It is decorated-with a cross made in a
series of stars and two small designs in
relief placed at opposite corners. One
represents the Virgin and Child and the other
is a Saint, probably St. George. The
bell's origins and early history are unknown.




Jamaica Journal is published by
the Institute of Jamaica
12-16 East Street, Kingston, Jamaica

Publications Committee
Professor Edward Baugh Chairman
Rev. Philip Hart
Professor Gerald Lalor
Leila Thomas
Stephney Ferguson
Dr. Alfred Sangster
Olive Senior

Managing Editor
Olive Senior

Design and Production
Camille Parchment

Assistant Editor (Circulation)
Faith Myers

Mechanicals Artist
Clive Phillips

Patsy Smith

INDEX: Articles appearing in Jamaica Journal
are abstracted and indexed in Historical
Abstracts and America: History and Life.
A cumulative author-article index is in
Back Issues: Most back issues are available.
List sent on request. Entire series available on
microfilm from the National Library of
Jamaica, 12 16 East Street, Kingston, or
University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan
48106, U.S,A.

For subscription information, see pp. 35 36.

Vol. 17 No. 1 Copyright @ 1984 by the
Institute of Jamaica. Cover or contents may
not be reproduced in whole or in part without
prior written permission.
Retail single copy price: J$8 (in Jamaica only);
Overseas: U.S.$8 (or equivalent in other
currencies) post-paid (surface mail).

COVER: Secrecy and fear as elements of
Jonkonnu (discussed in Cheryl Ryman's
article beginning in this issue) struggle with
the masquerade spirit of fun and frolic in
this modem Jonkonnu Actor Boy Mask. The
player is from the 'Three Mile Jonkonnu'
group whichwas led bythe late Ranny Williams,
folklorist and comedian.
Tony Russell ACIJ Collection



Vol. 17 No. 1

ISSN: 00214124


by Mervyn C. Alleyne

by Cheryl Ryman

Part II: Unearthing the Past
by G.A. Aarons

by Velma Pollard


by Thomas A. Farr


by Diane Browne

by Mervyn Morris


53 BOOKS Reviews by Victor L. Chang, Noel G. Dexter,
Gloria Escoffery, L. Alan Eyre

49 ART

Review by Gloria Escoffery



The World View of Jamaicans

By Mervyn Alleyne

We have to move away from a concentration on the
manifestations of alienation (laziness, irresponsibility,
etc.) and discover the valuable cultural qualities that still
underlie the behaviour of Jamaicans.

he very general nature of the title
calls for some clarifications. This
is a very preliminary study that
seeks to stimulate interest in one aspect
of culture that itself is most difficult to
understand and describe. It is not at all
surprising that the growing literature on
Jamaican culture covers the material,
institutional and artistic aspects but is
virtually silent on what may be called
'world view'. World view cannot be
directly observed, but has to be inferred
and interpreted from other forms of
social and cultural behaviour (religion,
beliefs, legends, myths, proverbs, lan-
guage, music, dance, etc.), and there is
necessarily a great deal of subjectivism
and speculation in any reporting of world
This study glosses over the complex
problem of ethnic pluralism in Jamaica,
and therefore what is reported here may
not hold good for all ethnic groups.
Added to this is the fact that in contem-
porary Jamaica, changes are taking place
so rapidly under the pull of moderni-
zation, in response to new social and
economic pressures, and as a result of
the, new cultural assertiveness of the
populace, that statements about Jam-
aican culture may lose a considerable
portion of their validity from one year
to the next. Thus within the space of

approximately 15 years we have seen
the emergence in sequence of what arn
perceived as three or four different
popular music forms (ska, bluebeat:
rock steady, reggae) and the rapid rise
of Rastafarianism as the perhaps most
powerful'focus of Jamaican culture with
its own dynamism.
There have been some works which
have attempted to capture the culture
of the contemporary period [Nettle-
ford 1970, 1978; Norris 1962]. The
chief characteristics of these works
is that they deal with political culture,
the ideological political positions and
behaviours articulated overtly and con-
sciously by some Jamaicans who are
involved in the world wide militancy
for the defeat of political, economic,
and cultural imperialism. They deal
largely with urban phenomena and
say very little about the lives and be-
haviours of other Jamaicans who go
about living their lives without necess-
arily overtly articulating political posi-
tions concerning their culture.
The works which have attempted to
deal with contemporary Jamaica have
not really come to grips with two funda-
mental aspects of Jamaican culture: (1)
the value systems) (or ethos) that must
underlie behaviour, and (2) the world
view or cognitive orientations that give

rise to cultural forms and behaviour and
to social relations. Value systems refer
to the way in which we classify the
phenomena of our existence into such
value categories as good and bad, desir-
able and undesirable, right and wrong,
to be approved and to be disapproved,
to be pursued and to be avoided, and
thus the concept refers to normative
and evaluative (in both the moral and
aesthetic spheres) aspects of culture.
World view refers to the set of assump-
tions (not necessarily recognizable by
those who hold them), understandings
and interpretations of the world around
us which we hold without necessarily
placing any value judgements on them.
There have been enormous changes
since the 1930s which have altered the
cultural behaviour, including the value
systems and the world view, of Jam-
aicans, in different ways and todifferent
degrees, resulting in quite considerable
cultural differentiation among them. I
will suggest some of the factors which
seem to be responsible for these changes
without any discussion since they are
not the focus of this paper:
a. centralizing organization into trade
unions and political parties.
b. responsive government and the
notion of planned change

c. growth or urbanization

d. monetary economy, commercial-
ization of agriculture

e. world wars and migration

f. social mobility affecting some

g. the extension of formal edu-

All Jamaicans have been affected by at
least some of these factors which have
had quite considerable effects on the
development of contemporary Jamaican
culture. But different individual Jam-
aicans have been affected in different
ways and to different degrees. That is
why it is more appropriate to interpret
this state as a continuum of variation,
the two poles of which are occupied by
the urban Jamaican highly European-
ized in behaviour, world view and value
system on the one hand, and on the other
hand by the Kumina member who in
those three respects may be only mini-
mally exposed to the above contempo-
rary factors and may be closest link to,
or best representative of, the original
West African culture that was brought
to Jamaica in the 16th 17th centuries
(see Warner Lewis [1977] for a cul-
tural profile of such a person).
One might say that for most of the
population, many of the surface forms
of cultural behaviour that were handed
down from an earlier time have become
progressively diluted in the modern
period or else have become dysfunction-
al in their 20th century settings. This is
especially so in the urban sector where
these cultural forms now appear to be
negative traits (superstitions, etc.) that
are stigmatized or hidden from public
view. The culture history of Jamaica
is one in which people's lives may be
said to be a constant struggle to main-
tain the deep heritage in the face of the
onslaught of disorder and disarray in
the Jamaican society brought about by
slavery, colonialism, neocolonialism and
imperialism under guise of modern-
ization. For example, the extended
family remains, but struggles to sur-
vive in the midst of migration, unemploy-
ment, inadequate housing. Parents love
and protect their children, but some-
times brutalize them to give vent to
their frustrations. Family life is still
very important among the peasant class.
It is true that children may not pass
their entire childhood in thesame house-

hold, but they do not suffer from the
neglect which has become a feature of
movement to the cities. The distribution
of affection among aunts, uncles,cousins,
grand-parents creates a kind of material
and psychological security that is still
the hallmark of the personality of the
common Jamaican child. On the other
hand, other evidence has suggested an
interpretation of the Jamaican 'family'
as pathological and in disarray [see
Clarke 1957], and there is no doubt
that the economic oppression suffered
by Jamaican family heads (particularly
male heads) is the chief cause. Com-
munal work and fraternal relations
struggle to persist in the face of the
need to survive which may require, and
result in, selfishness, individualism, and
the belittling of one's fellow men. We
have to move away from a concentra-
tion on the manifestations of alien-
ation (laziness, irresponsibility, etc.) and
discover the valuable cultural qualities
that still underlie the behaviour of

It is the work of Lewin [1974] and
Alleyne [1976] which begins to look at
this conflict of world views and the dys-
functionality of some forms of the Jam-
aican culture within the context of ur-
banization and modernization. Alleyne
[1976], discussing the migration of rural
folk to urban centres, either local or
metropolitan, stated that:
for as long as the migrants were rural
folk living in a rural setting, their cul-
ture and way of life were in harmony
with the environment. The family
group imparted the ethical and moral
code .... (and) all the knowledge and
skills that were needed to cope with
the environment. The movement to
cities and into metropolitan countries

under the pull of modernization creates
a whole series of contradictions and
disruptions. First of all, certain aspects
of culture are very covert, very tena-
cious, and remain for generations among
the migrants. They may also, in slightly
different form, be reinforced in the
new environment by the social con-
ditions of de facto segregation (ghetto
residence) creating a high density of
interaction among migrants, poverty,
lack of adequate educational facilities,
social and cultural alienation. These
aspects of culture represent dishar-
monies with the new environment ....
The notion of time, for example,
creates a disharmony. In a rural en-
vironment, time is not represented by
precise points on a chronometer, but is
approximate in terms of the slow grad-
ual movement of geophysical pheno-
mena and the behaviour of nature. The
time concept there is based on natural
events. Time is defined in terms of the
events that are taking place or have
taken place. It is not an imposed math-
ematical formula; it is a phenomenal
event. This is correlatable with struct-
ural features of the language of Jam-
aicans in which, in addition to tense
which in some types of utterances may
not be grammatically expressed, the
language, perhaps with greater em-
phasis and significance, expresses wheth-
er an action is completed or not, wheth-
er it is habitual, repetitive, or whether
it is prospective. This concept of time
being determined by the events and in-
dividual participation in them has
puzzled many foreigners and the local
AfroSaxons who have complained that
Jamaicans do not keep time or that
Jamaicans just waste time sitting
down doing nothing. These remarks
are a result of lack of understanding
of the Jamaican concept of time.
The European world view has, on
the other hand managed to fix time as
something that happens between two
fixed points, and time is then felt as
duration. It is also a commodity that
can be costed, bought, and sold. This


Communal work and fraternal relations struggle to
persist in the face of the need to survive which may
require, and result in, selfishness, individualism, and
the belittling of one's fellow men.

leads to considerable impatience and
anxiety of 'being kept waiting' when
expectations are not being fulfilled
during a particular duration of time.
By contrast one may observe Jamaicans
patiently waiting at hospitals, country
bus stops etc., showing no anxiety,
although disgust or dissatisfaction will
be expressed at any inefficiency or in-

Speaking about conflicting world
views, Lewin states that

in our [Jamaican] traditional society,
life is essentially communal. [When]
for example someone [has] a health
problem in a traditional community,
the first person to be contacted, out-
side the immediate family, is the spirit-
ual leader such as the Revival Mother,
the Shepherd, the Kumina Queen, and
if no solution springs from their mind
quickly, there would be an attempt to
communicate with the spirit world, the
world of universal ideas. The next step
most likely would be to arrange a ritual
or a ceremony, and this would involve
the whole group ....
Note the importance of the spiritual
contact, the meditative approach as
contrasted with the analytical, intensely
practical, materialistic approach (of
western European Societies) ....
In all phases of life in the traditional
community, there is a oneness, not
only with the whole universe because
we are all linked by the same creative
spirit; not only in the community where
each person's problems become the
problems of the whole community
with every member contributing to the
solution through music, through cook-
ing, through helping to prepare the set-
ting .., but also through the 'oneness'
of the individual. There is noseparation
between body, emotions, spirit, and
the nearer one is to the spirit, the more
entrusted one's reactions are .... The
less concrete the state of how one feels
Is considered to be nearer to the truth,
the ultimate truth of the creative spirit,
and flashes of inspiration and intuition,
dreams, and the signs of nature are all
accepted without question. Nature's
laws are always in operation and are
always the same. The weather satellite,
the most advanced scientific instru-
ments, the mind of man may err, but
not the laws of nature .... It may be
necessary for those who have veered
towards the individualistic, the logical,
the analytical, the materialistic view of
the world to take a long and respectful
look at the spiritual, communal, emo-
tional, meditative approach of others.
Then it may be seen that mistrust of
science, the difficulty of accepting
birth control schemes . . may re-
flect very positive attitudes and not the
negative reactions they are so often
assumed to be.
This oneness with nature is the philo-
sophical framework in which the re-

luctance to accept modern scientific
agricultural techniques, which involve
the use of chemical fertilizers and other
agents that artificially quicken growth,
is td be understood. And this reaches
its highest point with the Rastafarian
whose complex eating taboos reflect a
view of the body, the mind, and nature
forming an integrated whole.
Religion continues to pervade the
lives of Jamaicans in a very special
way, and there is no sharp distinc-
tion between the secular and the spirit-
ual, whether it be in the area of music
and dance, or whether it be in the
way in which spiritual beings intervene
in the daily affairs of living people.
The distinction however begins to mani-
fest itself towards the urban middle
class end of the continuum where
Christianity virtually becomes some-
thing that is switched on on Sundays.
At the other end of the continuum,
nature, the supernatural, and man, exist
in a close relationship; one being, at it
were, an extension of another. Man
and nature live in harmony, and nature
is to be respected, if not revered, in
some of its manifestations, and not sub-
dued and conquered. Thus there is a
great deal of scepticism concerning land
reclamation or the damming of rivers
and there is a belief that the sea or the
river will eventually recover their terri-
The concept of collectivity or com-
munalism is another essential aspect of
this world view, again manifesting it-
self most positively and coherently
among the rural inhabitants. For ex-
ample, children become the respon-
sibility of the whole community which
supports them, maintains them, guides
them. The child is accountable to every
member of his family, his extended
family and to the whole community.
The family is neither primarily nor essen-
tially a grouping of two persons and
their offspring; but rather it unites two
families into a network of extended kin
who have considerable influence on the
new 'family' and considerable respon-
sibility for its development and well-
being. In Jamaica, the concept of ex-
tended family allows for the adoption
of non-sanguineal persons as relatives.
Close friends can easily become sisters,
brothers, cousins, mothers, fathers,
grandmothers, grandfathers. A child is
not free to do wrong just because his
biological parents are not watching.
His conduct is within the supervision of

every adult in the community. This
notion of collectivity seems to underlie,
in this sense, the kinship and respect/
authority systems, the hospitality ex-
tended to relatives, the respect shown to
elders, and the ready acceptance of desti-
tute children into the homes of relatives
or other members of the community.
This collectivity obviously begins to
break down in the urban sectors, but is
still represented there by the 'yard'.
The yard maintains much of the posi-
tive strengths of collectivity, but prob-
lems of space and of economic survival
give rise to tensions and conflicts that
are not normally to be found in the rur-
al setting.
Brodber [1975] in a sociological
study and Roger Mais in a fictional novel
(The Hills Were Joyful Together) both
point to the collectivity principle which
underlies the social organization of
Kingston 'yards'. Collective problem
solving, entertainment, baby-sitting, ex-
change of services, are some of the posi-
tive achievements of collectivity. Brod-
ber also shows how this begins to break
down in some yards (mostly Govern-
ment yards) in which the residents view
themselves ready, as it were, to spring
off into the middle class, and 'in pre-
paration for this life, there is little inter-
household sharing. All resources, human,
social and economic are needed to
establish this unit as the nuclear, up-
wardly mobile family. The Government
yard is a collection of families rather
than a community'. [p.35]
One important manifestation of the
collectivity principle is in the relation-
ships among individuals. It has often
been claimed that African Jamaicans
like to keep their fellow-men down and
do not show the same kind of support
for one another that East Indians,
Chinese, Jews, show. There is of course
some empirical evidence for this in the
same way that there is evidence of some
degree of child 'brutality'. But there is
also the other side of the picture which
shows great warmth and hospitality ex-
tended to positive strangers. There is
also a virtual absence of pompousness
and aloofness and ostentation, of ex-
cessive wealth in relation to the norms
of the community, which may plausibly
be interpreted as a desire not to offend
one's fellow-men. An African Jamaican
may feel some embarrassment at any ex-
ceptional achievement on his part since
this could alienate him from his com-
munity. It is very possible that this prin-

ciple in some way or to some degree
underlies the alleged lack of ambition
which the modernizing sector of Jamaica
reproaches in African Jamaicans. There
are many cases of African Jamaicans
who are well placed to accumulate a
great deal of wealth, but stop short of
this and are satisfied with just 'getting
by'. They never 'develop' their business-
es. We are suggesting here that the accu-
mulation of wealth or rather the pur-
suit of an activity for the sole or major
purpose of accumulating personal wealth
is against the world view of African
Jamaicans. This offends the collecti-
vity principle and the human relation-
ship principle.

As in the evolution of language, re-
ligion, and music, there is an urban/
rural dimension to the evolution of the
collectivity principle, as well as a time
dimension which changes the nature
and strength of the principle in the
course of time for all Jamaicans (rural
or urban). Thus it is easy to observe for
example that some years ago the prin-
ciple was still expressing itself strongly
in the behaviour associated with load-
ing public passenger vehicles. Whether
in Kingston or in the country, buses
or other public passenger vehicles would
not refuse to accept a passenger on the
grounds that the bus was already filled
to capacity. And this willingness to ac-
cept virtually any number of passengers
was not motivated by the economic
prospect of extra fares. Indeed it is the
passengers themselves already riding
who would insist that the would-be
passengers be accepted and would put
themselves to every apparent dis-
comfort by 'squeezing up' in order
to accommodate the new passengerss.
In fact very often the new passengers)
would become better accommodated
than the obliging ones. Today, however,
in Kingston, bus drivers employed to
modern-type companies are becoming
a little notorious for driving past wait-
ing passengers, and passengers already
seated may show less readiness to call
out to the driver to stop and some re-
luctance at being required to 'squeeze
up' to accommodate a new passenger.
Where there used to be total communi-
cation between passengers (and driver
as well), both verbal and physical,
there may be now a tendency for passen-
gers to sit rigidly, gazing sternly for-
ward, not communicating with the
other passengers and thereby defend-
ing individual territorial space.

An extension of the principle of
collectivity occurs in the communi-
cation system and concerns the way
in which communication involves the
total participation of speaker and au-
dience. The musical technique of 'call
and response' is one example of col-
lectivity in communication. But it
also occurs in preaching styles where the
preacher and the 'audience' are in con-
stant interaction, with the preacher
expecting and relying on the full parti-
cipation of the audience, by way of
regular intermittent responses, in order
to stimulate his communicative activity.
Elsewhere in the 'folk' tradition, it oc-
curs in story-telling events where again
audiences are not passive recipients but
active participants, responding, joining
in the singing of the story songs, collect-
ively adding the coda at the end of
stories. In the urban sector, this audi-
ence participation manifests itself in be-
haviour of cinema patrons who become
subjectively and intimately involved in
the action of the film, interacting with
the players and constantly responding
to the dialogue. Here again we have an
example of the surface structure of the
communication situation undergoing
Europeanizing change (i.e. it now be-
comes audience seated in front of the
communicator rather than a circle with
flows to and from the centre), leaving
the deep structure (i.e. the call-and-
response pattern) still very traditional.
This deep structure also persists even
where there is just one individual seat-
ed before a television screen, since, in
this communication situation, Jamaicans
are not passive audiences, but engage in
a constant verbal interaction with the
television characters.
The communication aspect of the
collectivity principle may also be ob-
served for example where two people

are engaged in conversation on the
street (at a bus stop for example). If
there is a third (or Nth) person nearby
(i.e. a total stranger), the person speak-
ing (for reasons not altogether clear; it is
usually a case of complaints), would by
his gaze make every attempt to com-
municate with this stranger, first of all
non-verbally by gaining his attention
and then to draw him fully into the
interactional activity. The total stranger
normally shows no reluctance to listen
and even to respond (in the 'call and
response' format mentioned earlier
for preaching styles), although he may
tactfully maintain the role of 'stranger'
by preserving his physical distance from
the original interaction setting.
At the level of interpersonal face-to-
face communication, the collectivity
principle manifests itself as a communi-
cation pattern which one might call
'involved communication'. It has no
source nor audience. It has an initiator.
Once the initiator has started, involved
communication takes its own course.
Here, individuals contribute equally
to the communication process in a com-
plementary way simultaneously. In-.
volved communication is not an at-
tempt by the source to transmit images
or messages to the receiver. There is
an initiator and then everybody gets
involved in the complementary re-
lating of experience. The format of
interaction is the circle, rather than the
line. And this is really a vast conceptual
framework within the world view. It is
the underlying principle in many spheres
of activity. Gardeners do not make
garden beds with straight lines and right
angles. The corpus of dancers move in a
circle and the body of an individual
dancer often carves a circular pattern
(through gyration of the hips). Paths
traced through the bush are never

The format of interaction is the circle, rather than
the line.... there is no metaphor in the Jamaican
language such as 'going around in circles' to denote

straight but always constantly curving.
And there is no metaphor in the Jam-
aican language such as 'going round in
circles' to denote confusion. Rather
there is 'up and down', 'left and right'.
Indeed, there seems to be a Jamaican
saying that in order to get to a target,
you do not go in a straight line.
The collectivity world view seems
to lead to an emphasis on certain com-
munication patterns and functions. All
human societies use language in a com-
mon range of functions in interpersonal
interaction. These functions are identi-
fied and designated differently by dif-
ferent scholars, but there is wide agree-
ment that one major common func-
tion is the referential function, vaguely
and crudely defined as 'referring to the
outside world' or 'expressing thought'.
Apart from the referential function,
Jamaicans, like other Afro-Americans,
seem to emphasize what may be called
(i) the phatic function and (ii) the crea-
tive function. The former function serves
to express the sentiments of brother-
hood, community, and culture, i.e. the
collectivity principle. It manifests itself
within the language by a constant inno-
vativeness, the creation of new express-
ions, e.g. new terms of greeting and
other expressions designed to express
group identity and to prevent mem-
bers of the dominant group from pene-
trating inside the communication circle
of the users of these expressions. As far
as the creative function is concerned,
spontaneous improvization and em-
bellishment seem to be highly valued
forms of expression among Afro-
Americans, whether it be in language,
music or social behaviour (cf., for
example, 'tea meetings' in Jamaica).
At other levels of the continuum of
cultural differentiation, this kind of
communication based on the creative/
aesthetic function either does not take
place or else becomes merely a kind of
verbal adroitness that occurs in certain
types of musical productions called Dee-
jay. Similarly, at levels closer to the ur-
ban middle class end of the cultural
continuum, involved communication
based on the phatic function comes
to be viewed as 'noise' or 'disorderly
conduct', especially when it is taken
out of the context of expressing the
collectivity principle and used in con-
texts of 'discussion' and 'serious argu-
ment', in which case the participants
may be accused of 'all talking at the
same time' and 'not listening to the

views of others', i.e. not accepting
the speaker-audience structure of com-
munication typical of modernizing
societies which reaches its highest
point in the technological media of
radio and television (cf., for example,
what often occurs on the JBC Tele-
vision programme Portfolio).

The irony of Jamaica's culture his-
tory is that the influence of England
and Europe (including the United
States) has become most strong and
penetrative during the contemporary
period when political independence
has been achieved. We are now wit-
nessing conscious attempts to seek
African roots and a great deal of con-
scious activity to 'preserve the folk
culture', an activity which reaches
its peak at the annual Independence
Festival when expressive forms of
this culture are 'staged' and put on dis-
play. On the other hand there is a
relentless movement towards the des-
truction of this culture, and, it would
seem, the inherent conflicts and con-
tradictions and dysfunctionalities are
not understood nor perceived. One of
the most powerful new influences is
the emergence of a different world view
which competes with the traditional
African Jamaican view. This world
view and all its institutional and be-
havioural manifestations are endowed
with considerable prestige and their
influence is extremely insidious. Where-
as the ideologies of cultural nationalism
will readily perceive and promote the
virtues of natural hair as against hair
straightening or the drum as against
the violin or Pukumina as against
Christianity, they will less readily per-
ceive manifestations of an African deri-
ved world view either because these
manifestations are not readily observable
or because their behavioral manifest-
ations in the context of urbanization are
viewed negatively and pejoratively (as a
sign of 'backwardness').

The Jamaican principle of harmony
with nature produces, as we have al-
ready seen, a set of attitudes towards
modern agricultural practices and to-
wards modern methods of population
control. This aspect of the world view
of Jamaicans enters into conflict with
the European world view which looks
at nature as an object to be mastered,
conquered, plundered and put to the
service of man. Anyone who does not
participate in this conquest of nature
is deemed to be 'backward', to be against
'progress' and 'development'. Within
the framework of a national develop-
ment programme based on targets of
production far above the requirements
of the common man and geared to suit
the insatiable appetites of some con-
sumerist Jamaicans, the reluctance to
use fertilisers on the land or modern
husbandry methods on poultry and
other livestock and the opposition
shown to modern birth control methods
appear to be 'ignorant' and even un-
Furthermore the new world view
which has entered Jamaica and is
seriously undermining the tradition-
al one considers the unbridled ex-
ploitation of nature as the inalienable
right of individuals. The European
world view claims that whatever amount
of natural forest, arable land or any
natural resources an individual con-
quers, he puts a sign on it and it be-
comes his own personal property. He
then is free to exploit it limitlessly and
to derive boundless personal gain from
it. Any encroachment of this individual
right by other persons who are perhaps
operating a different world view is jud-
ged to be 'praedial larceny' and is heavily
penalised, even if the object of nature
encroached upon (a fruit tree for ex-
ample) is growing wild.
Very generally speaking the col-
lectivity principle of the traditional
culture is being confronted by the in-

The irony of Jamaica's culture history is that the
influence of England and Europe (including the
United States) has become most strong
and penetrative during the contemporary period when
political independence has been achieved.

dividual principle of the European
world view. In this latter view, the
individual is responsible for his own
salvation, and there is the feeling that
people should not interfere in the life
of an individual. Whatever he does,
provided it remains within legal and
to a lesser extent moral limits, is his
own business. Individuals strive for
personal success and often this suc-
cess is achievable only at the expense of
others. In this world view those who
do not strive by fair means or foul, for
the achievement of personal success
are 'lazy', 'good for-nothing', 'irres-
ponsible', 'worthless'.
The collectivity principle and one of
its major sub-categories, that of involved
communication, are now seriously threat-
ened by the principle of separate (rather
than integrated, involved), consecutive
(rather than simultaneous) back-and-
forth communication. This manifests it-
self, for example, in the formation of
queues for service even when the queue
has no particular functional efficiency
and also in the road traffic behaviour
whereby a driver perceives only his in-
dividual rights as set out by the traffic
regulations and is not interested in the
collectivity interacting in the road net-
work. When the collectivity principle is
confronted with this individual prin-
ciple, it has to yield or else is considered
'indiscipline', 'bad behaviour', 'ignor-
ance'. Yet the author has seen a clerk at
the Bank of Jamaica operate the collect-
ivity principle even while the clients are
queuing before her. The clerk then deals
with all the clients (about five) simul-
taneously, as well as with other fellow
clerks who become involved while she
is sorting out her clients' affairs and
everybody become involved in each
other's business. The collectivity prin-
ciple also often manifests itself in road
traffic when drivers perceive the col-
lective situation on the roads and give
'blighs' to other drivers, (i.e. allow
other drivers preference) thereby over-
riding the individual principle of the
road regulations.
In the industrial sector, the assembly
line and other production systems which
require workers to sit individually be-
fore the object being produced is another
manifestation of the individual prin-
ciple. This comes into conflict with the
collectivity principle according to which
work is to a large measure a social acti-
vity which requires some kind of social
interaction. Typical examples are com-

In the industrial sector, the assembly line and other
production systems which require workers to sit
individually before the object being produced .... come
into conflict with the collectivity principle according to
which work is to a large measure a social activity which
requires some kind of social interaction.

munal work projects accompanied by
work songs, domestic work activity,
clothes washing by the river, in the yard
or by the standpipe, which bring togeth-
er several persons working in unison
and interacting socially. In the industrial-
ized sector, in accordance with the col-
lectivity principle individualized work
may be frequently interrupted by con-
versation (involved communication),
movement away from one's position to
form interaction groups, visits to other
work positions, all of which 'slows
down production'. The collectivity prin-
ciple, communalism, involved communi-
cation, all manifest themselves in the
need to be constantly relating to others
(whether talking, arguing, quarrelling,
working together), at the work place,
at the standpipe, at the street corner.
In the two world views which con-
front each other in Jamaica, there are
different orderings of priorities in terms
of how people organize their lives and
set their goals. We may of course be on
very uncertain ground here since this
interpretation is not based on any study
using a method of evaluation of such
priorities (assuming that such a method
is available or possible); but it does
seem that, at a major segment of the
Jamaican cultural continuum, people
will forego certain apparent comforts,
convenience, and economic gain in
return for more fun out of life largely
derived from interaction with other
people. In one world view, the Euro-
pean, beginning with what is called
Judaeo-Christian ethics right up to what
is called today Capitalism and Socialism/
Marxism, a major, if not the major, goal
is the accumulation of individual
wealth either through possessions (land,

minerals, means of production) or
through productive work as much as is
possible and far beyond one's basic
needs. This is supported by the notion
that nature is a vast storehouse of re-
sources which individuals or states may
own, subdue and exploit to the fullest.
It is also supported by the notion of
'working and saving for the future'. This
goal oriented world view manifests it-
self in attitudes to time and linguistic-
ally by an elaborate tense system for
In the European world view the con-
cept of time is future oriented. It is root-
ed in the Judaeo-Christian notion of a
future kingdom which God is going to
establish here on earth.1 Individuals
live their lives preparing and waiting
for this major event. This preparation
seems to have become linked with stri-
ving for personal success and the follow-
ers of a leading European religious-'
philosophical figure, John Calvin, came
to believe that success in one's business
was a sign that one was saved.2 The re-
lentless striving for personal individual
success (very often without regard for,
and at the expense of others) became
later disassociated from salvation and
now in a large measure exists as an end
in itself. In this world view, the future,
whether here on earth or in the here-
after, has to be carefully prepared for.
This leads to an over-exploitation of
nature to ensure 'future' needs, over-
production of goods, saving of money,
acquisition of goods and property far
over and above actual needs in order to
ensure a secure 'future'. It seems, on
the other hand, that this constitutes a
lower priority in the world view of Afro-
Jamaicans. There is not as much over-

extension of the individual in productive
work activity. A great deal of 'hard
work' takes place, but it is not so much
geared to assuring the satisfaction of
long term future needs as to the satis-
faction of actual and immediate future
needs, leaving time and nervous energy
for the 'enjoyment' of life. In fact,
ideally, work activity is not divorced
from enjoyment, sought, as has been
suggested, in social interaction with
one's fellow-men or in the artistic em-
bellishment of such activity. Thus there
are examples of persons showing a great
deal of 'business acumen' but not deve-
loping their businesses to what would
seem their fullest capacity (in terms of
the total potential to produce goods and
services). (This is not to deny that there
are other structural institutional barriers
to the fullest development of some
Afro-Jamaican businesses. These are
largely access to capital and manage-
ment 'skills', whatever these may be.
They are very important but not the
focus of this study). And of course
there are the well known, extreme
cases in which Afro-Jamaicans work
only to the point where the returns are
adequate to satisfy basic actual needs,
and then stop, much to the chagrin of
their employers. (Again this is not to
deny that the insignificant monetary
rewards do not provide a strong moti-
vation for work. This is again very
important, but not the focus of this
study). And in even more extreme
cases, they consume their entire week's
earnings in one single day's pleasure.

All activity requires some embellish-
ment, some panache. This comes out in
styles of walking, driving cars and buses,
sports. It is not so much the fact of
scoring a goal or a basket, or hitting a
boundary, but how the performer ex-
ecutes the play. Many West Indians will
avow that the 'greatest' innings they
ever witnessed was 16 runs scored by
Frank Worrell, which in terms of a
certain set of goals (i.e. winning the
match) was completely worthless and
even destructive, but in terms of the
West Indian world view was quite valu-
able. In one world view, there is the con-
stant continuous postponement of grati-
fication within a future orientation, a
striving for 'more and more', 'breaking
records', leaving behind 'losers' and
'underdogs', and even reserving the re-
ward for eating till the very end in the
form of 'dessert'. In another world
view, gratification is immediate and

should be part of every activity and
every stage of it.
There are currently in Jamaica very
strong pressures on African Jamaicans,
resulting from the European world
view, to pursue individual excessive
material advancement rather than spirit-
ual sufficiency, and this is producing
severe conflicts. Technology and modern-
ization are invading all quarters of hu-
man consciousness, leading to the break-
ing of heritage links, negating tradi-
tions. Jamaicans are thus losing touch
with their ancestry, traditions, legends
and mythology, since all these consti-
tute obstacles to the rootlessness de-
manded by and induced by modern-
ization. We are now witnessing the
destruction of villages in favour of
urbanization in the form of 'housing
schemes', the destruction of the artisan
in favour of the factory. But rather than
die immediately, the collectivity prin-
ciple enters the city and the factory or
the office and creates severe dysfunc-
tionalities. It is quite in order for two
pedestrian villagers, passing each other
on opposite sides of a village road to
stop and talk to each other from their
respective positions. When, however,
city pedestrians do the same, it begins
to appear as 'uncouth', 'loud' behaviour
with the degree of reprobation corres-
ponding to the class characteristic of the
area in which the street is situated. And,
worst of all, when motorists do the
same in the streets of Kingston, such
interaction is completely 'out of order'
and 'irresponsible'.
The other feature of modernization
which is confronting the inherited cul-
ture of African Jamaicans is conscious
ideology directed towards the political,
social, economic, and cultural develop-
ment of Jamaica. The conscious elabor-
ation, promotion and imposition of
ideologies have assumed large pro-
portions in the modern world, and
Jamaica has by no means escaped this.
The relationship between ideology and
culture is important to recognize, since
they may either exist in harmonious
relationship or enter into conflict. Ideal-
ly of course, ideology should be born
and elaborated out of culture, i.e. out
of the collective historical experience,
goals, desires, consciousness of the popu-
lace. Conflicts arise where the ideology
is elaborated out of a different cultural
experience or expresses the conscious-
ness of a class other than that which
embodies the mass culture. If it develops

without a full comprehensive ideology
to direct it, culture may be nothing
more than a random un-organized mass
of knowledge, beliefs, habits, products
and production systems, etc. The role
of ideology then becomes that of inter-
vening actively in systematizing this
mass, organizing it into a coherent pack-
age, directing the selection, hierarchical
ordering, and structuring of the com-
ponents of the mass culture. The direct-
ion which the political, social, economic
development of Jamaica should take,
the kinds of goals which the country
should set itself, goals which can be
effectively realized, should be establish-
ed not merely on the basis of a rationalist
universalist theory of the evolution of
human societies (such as Marxism), but
also on the basis of the cultural realities
of Jamaica. It is hoped that this explora-
tory study will lead to further investi-
gation into this particular aspect of Jam-
aican culture.


1. This contrasts with the notion in African
religions that the deities, spirits,- an-
cestors are constantly with us here and
2. At the contemporary period, this is to
be found in its most heightened form
among the Mormons in the United States
who believe that 'success' in one's busi-
ness serves the glory of God and is in
turn a sign of being favoured by God.


ALLEYNE, Mervyn, "Dimensions and Varie-
ties of West Indian English and the impli-
cations for teaching"in V. Doyley (ed.),
Black Students in Urban Canada, Ontario:
Ministry of Culture and Recreation,
BRODBER, Erna, A Study of Yards in the
City of Kingston, Kingston: UWI, ISER
Working Papers No. 9, 1975.
CLARK, Edith, My Mother who Fathered
Me, London: Allen and Unwin, 1957.
LEWIN, Olive, "Folk music research in
Jamaica" in Jack Daniel (ed.), Black
Communication: Dimensions of research
and instruction, New York: Speech
Communication Association, 1974.
NETTLEFORD, Rex, Caribbean Cultural
Identity: The Case of Jamaica, Kingston:
Institute of Jamaica, 1978.
NORRIS, Katrin, Jamaica, The Search for an
Identity, London: Oxford University
Press, 1962.
WARNER-LEWIS, Maureen, The Nkuyu:
Spirit Messengers of the Kumina, Mona:
Savacou Publications, Pamphlet No. 3,

'83 Prizewinning story for children (Gold Medal)

Gamon was a little goat that belong-
ed to Farmer Joe. He looked like
any other little goat with his
brown hairy coat, but Gamon was
lazy. He hated to have to wander around
looking for food like the other goats,
and so at every opportunity he would
find a shady spot and go to sleep.
One day when Gamon was feeling
especially lazy, he left the other goats
that were grazing along the road-side,
and looked for somewhere to sleep. He
soon found a big Woman's Tongue tree,
which only months before had been

bare of leaves, and its long brown pods
had clattered loudly in the breeze. But
the rains had come; and now the tree
was covered with bright green leaves
and lovely feathery flowers, which
ranged from pale lime-yellow to deep
mustard-yellow. It was nice and cool
beneath the tree, and in no time at all
Gamon had fallen asleep in the thick
green grass.
The sun was just setting when Gam-
on awoke. He opened his eyes; then he
shut them tightly again. He peeped
through his pale eyelashes and blinked.

Around him, stood a crowd of children.
Gamon was sure they would stone him,
for amongst them were some of the
roughest children in the village. His
heart beat fast, as he wondered how he
would escape.
Then Gamon realized that the child-
ren were pointing and exclaiming in sur-
prise: 'What a sweet little goatl What a
lovely yellow goatl What a pretty gold-
en goatl'

Gamon looked around for this strange
goat that they were talking about, but

there was no other goat to be seen.
Then as he turned his head from side to
side, he caught sight of his own hairy
coat. He could not believe his eyes. He
was covered in fine yellow hairs and tight
little mustard coloured balls. Gamon did
not know what had happened to him,
and at first he was frightened. But soon
he became as excited as the children
by his new coat.
Delighted by his appearance, Gamon
set out for home to show off his coat
to the other goats. The excited child-
ren followed him, calling out: 'Golden
goat! Golden goat!'
All along the way they were follow-
ed by people who were amazed to
see such a strange-looking goat. So when
Gamon got to Farmer Joe's yard, he had
a long line of chattering people behind
him. The news of the golden goat had
even spread to the village and by the
time Farmer Joe appeared to find out
what was happening, he saw an astonish-
ed crowd around a strange goat.
'Is this your goat, Maas Joe?' asked
Caleb, a man who made things from
goat skins. 'I have never seen such a goat
before. People say it is a golden goat.
Where did you get him from?'
Farmer Joe did not recognize Gamon
in his new coat. But seeing that the goat
had come to his yard, he thought that
perhaps something worthwhile might
come of all this. So he said cunningly:
'Is a special goat, Brother Caleb. Is
not from around here; in fact, is a foreign
At the mention of the word 'foreign',
all sorts of wonderful things came to
the people's minds. They were convin-
ced that they were seeing a real golden
goat from another country. This led to
great excitement and comment.
Mr. Jones, the school teacher, be-
came very eloquent as he said: 'This

goat reminds one of a field of golden
buttercups, or a patch of fallen poui
Miss Spence, who made totos, sweet
potato puddings, and cakes, exclaimed:
'It reminds me of real golden butter'. It
didn't matter that buttercups, poui blos-
soms and butter were more yellow than
gold. Others took up the cry and liken-
ed the goat to all kinds of yellow things,
such as golden cornmeal, golden butter-
flies and golden bunches of ripe bananas.
Farmer Joe was as pleased as Gamon
was to be the centre of attraction, but
he quickly led him away from the cur-
ious crowd, and into the safety of the
yard. This was because Farmer Joe had
a wonderful idea. 'If this really is a
golden goat', he said to himself, 'what a
thing to be able to take him to the

Agricultural Fair'.
Meanwhile, the other goats who had
gathered when they heard the noise,
stared at Gamon. They recognized him,
though they couldn't imagine what had
happened to him. They were longing to
ask him, but Farmer Joe did not give
them a chance. He locked Gamon secure-
ly in the shed where he usually kept his
ground provisions, so that he could be
safe for the night.
The other goats returned to their
pen, and crowded around their three
most respected members to discuss
the matter.

'It looks like Gamon, but are we sure
it is Gamon?' said Delores Goat, snif-
fing anxiously. She was feeling a bit
annoyed. She was famous because she

had one totally black kid with a white
fore leg, and one totally white kid with
a black back leg. Everyone was sure that
these kids would win the prize at the
Agricultural Fair. But Delores was not
sure, now that people were making such
a fuss over the golden goat. So irritable
was she, that she shooed away the two
kids who were trying to nestle against
her, and sniffed again.
'I'm sure', replied Inez Goat, who
was famous for her milk. Inez had nur-
sed many kids whose mothers could
not feed them, and even people bought
her milk for their children. 'I must
know Gamon', she said, 'I fed him
when he was very little'.
The goats turned to Simon, the wise
old goat, who was famous because he
had seen everything and heard every-
thing in his travels. Simon Goat had
climbed up and down the mountains,
from the Blue Mountains in the East
to the Dolphin Head Mountains in the
West. 'What do you think?' they asked.
'Have you ever heard of a goat changing

colour like that? Have you ever seen a
golden goat?'
Simon Goat shook his long hairy
beard and said: 'I have never, not in all
my travels from the Blue Mountains in
the East to the Dolphin Head Moun-
tains in the West.'

'Maybe it is a foreign goat, and not
Gamon at all', said Delores Goat, rub-
bing her nose, which was beginning to
itch, against a fence post. 'Perhaps
they have golden goats in other coun-
tries. You have only travelled in Jam-
aica, Simon. You don't know every-
thing', she added sharply.
'Well', replied Simon calmly, 'there
was once a story about a ram's golden
fleece, but that was only a story. I tell
you, there is no such thing as a golden
goat. Things are not always what they
seem to be. Mark my words!'
And besides', said Inez Goat finally,
'it is Gamon. I must know Gamon'.
Life changed for Gamon after that.

At night he slept in the cosy shed; in
the daytime Farmer Joe cut guinea
grass and the branches of acacia trees
and brought them for him to eat. Gamon
did not have to do anything. He did not
have to wander around with the other
goats nibbling at the bright croton
bushes or prickly privet. He did not
have to look out for the dangerous
twists of orange love-bush that twirl-
ed across many of the hedges. But there
was one thing that Gamon did. He al-
ways rested in the heat of the day under
one of the many Woman's Tongue trees,
with their yellow blossoms.
Simon Goat noticed this, and stroked
his long hairy beard thoughtfully,
but he just said wisely: 'This is only a
nine-day wonder, like everything else.
Mark my words!'
Delores Goat was annoyed by Si-
mon's calm attitude. She became increas-
ingly upset the more she thought about
the Agricultural Fair. She did not even
want to see her totally black kid and her
totally white kid. She just walked around
sniffing and blowing her nose.

Inez Goat thought that Delores was
being very silly. But when Farmer Joe
removed the sign on his gate which said:

'Best Goat Milk For Sale
$1.00 a pint
she couldn't believe her eyes. And when
he replaced it with one which read:

Come And See The Golden Goat
Entrance Fee $1:00
Children 50c

it was all she could do to stop her milk
from going sour.
So people came from far and near to
see Gamon the Golden Goat. They stared
at him in wonder. They had never seen
such a goat before, but they had all heard
that he was from another country so
they knew he was a golden goat.
One day when Gamon was tired of
showing off for the people who came to
see him, he decided to take a walk to
the village. All along the way people and
children said hello to him politely. In
the village people came out of their
shops and told him good morning.
Gamon was very pleased with himself
for most of these people never even
bothered to speak to the other goats.
After all, everybody was too busy
going about their work to speak to
goats but Gamon was different.

When Gamon got to Mass Caleb's
shop, he stopped. Mass Caleb had bags
and rugs made from goatskins. Even
though he never troubled the goats, it
sent shivers up and down their legs just
to see all those things made from black,
white, brown and grey goats' hair. None
of the goats would have stopped to look
inside that shop, but now Gamon did,
behaving just as if he might buy some-
thing. Maas Caleb shook his head in
bewilderment and stared at Gamon, but
he said nothing.

Gamon continued walking until he
came to Miss Mattie's shop. Miss Mattie
sold cooked food, and in front of her
shop was a sign in bold black letters:

Curried goat dinners
Sold here every day.

None of the other goats ever went
near Miss Mattie's shop, for obvious
reasons. Moreover, people in the vil-
lage suspected Miss Mattie when any of
their goats disappeared. But Gamon
walked right up to the shop, read the
sign, tossed his head, and said, 'Maa-
aa, Maa-aa'.

Miss Mattie, who was sitting on her
stool in front of the shop, could not
believe that he could be so brazen. But
she dared not say anything to the gol-
den goat. So she got up and swinging
her skirt, she kissed her teeth loudly
and went inside. Gamon laughed at her.
The people laughed when they saw what
had happened.
When Simon Goat heard all this, he
said, 'Gamon is in his ackee, but no-
thing lasts forever. Mark my words'
On the day of the Agricultural Fair,
Farmer Joe put Gamon into his little
cart. Over the back of the cart he had
built a shelter of coconut boughs. So
Gamon rode, protected from the hot
sun and the dry wind, while behind
walked the other goats. The wheels of
the cart stirred up the dust from the
powdery road. It swirled around the
goats' heads and settled on their coats.
It was soon obvious that none of them
could enter the competition at the Fair,
not even Delores Goat's kids. The white
kid was becoming totally beige, and the
black kid was becoming totally grey.
Delores could not even bear to look at

At last the little band reached the
fair grounds. People came running from
all sides to get a look at the golden goat
under the coconut boughs in the back

of the little cart. Many had come from
miles around just to see such a goat.
All kinds of goats were waiting to
see who would win the prize. There
were grey goats, brown goats, black and
white goats, and goats with brown,
black and white coats, but there was
only one golden goat.
The wind whipped across the open
field as the various goats and their
owners began to parade in front of the
judges. It whisked the dust into spirals,
tossing leaves and twigs into the air. It
ruffled the goats' hairy coats.
When it was Gamon's turn, he moved
with almost a cantering gait, head held
high. He felt the wind tickle his nostrils;
it brushed against his eye lashes. Gamon
felt it lifting the hairs on his coat.
A gasp went up from the large crowd.
Yellow fluff and golden strands swirled
into the air. The people wondered if a
golden breeze was blowing. Then as the
wind dropped, they looked again at the
golden goat. They could not believe
their eyes.
There stood Gamon, the same little
brown goat he had been before he be-
came a golden goat. There was not one
little golden hair left on him, not even
one little yellow strand.
Delores Goat was so astonished that
she stopped sniffing at once. Inez Goat
was so shocked that it was all she could
do to stop her milk fror going sour.
And Simon Goat said, 'I told you

to mark my words', as he threw back his
head and laughed.
Slowly it dawned on the people that
Gamon had never been a golden goat,
but was really only covered by yellow
blossoms from a Woman's Tongue tree;
he had never been a foreign goat, but
was really only Gamon himself. There
was a terrible uproar. Some people
pointed at Farmer Joe and held their
sides as they roared with laughter, but
others shook their fists in anger as they
thought about how they had been
fooled. Quickly Farmer Joe decided
that it was best to get away while he
could. And before anyone realized what
was happening, he and Gamon had dis-
appeared from the fair.
Farmer Joe was so embarrassed that
he went to stay in another part of the
island, leaving Simon Goat in charge of
the farm. He was never heard from
again, and so Simon Goat eventually in-
herited the farm. As for Gamon, after
all that excitement he decided that vil-
lage life was too quiet for him; so he
went to the North Coast and got a job
at one of the hotels where there was
Now when Gamon is not racing on
the sand, he rests in the shade of the al-
mond or sea-grape trees. But he never
goes near the Woman's Tongue trees,
unless they are bare of leaves and their
long brown pods clatter in the breeze.

0 Diane Browne 1983.


A Neo-African Form

Part 1
By Cheryl Ryman

onkonnu masquerade linking
music and dance, mime and sym-
bol bursts from the pages of
history as the earliest traditional dancei
form of African descent still to be
found in Jamaica. As chronicler, Jon-
konnu richly illustrates both the kistori-
cal and social realities of Jamaida and
provides a model for examining several
Old World traditions and New World
phenomena. During the evolution of
Jonkonnu, an evolution reflective of the
creolization process in Jamaica, certain
elements, which were evidenced in both
the predominantly African and Euro-
pean cultural expressions of Jamaica,
were sustained and reinterpreted. New
forms, largely Neo-African, emerge as
the end-product of this process, Neo-
African here is used to refer to those
forms developed in the new world by
African peoples, who draw largely on a
body of cultural knowledge (African)
to interpret both the new environ-
ment and cultural modes.

ACror omy uIUK iVWu .nu *nruiiiumi..ui, a
neo-African figure

Masquerade was the first type of
dance to be recorded as being per-
formed by the slave population in
Jamaica. By the mid-eighteenth cen-
tury, Jonkonnu, a masquerade form,
and Myal, a possession-healing form
both constituting forms of social con-
trol, were cited by Edward Long,
The History of Jamaica [1774], in sep-
arate accounts, as specific traditions
evolved by and for the slaves. Never-
theless, one may conjecture that these
early forms may have been closely
allied, with reference to an African
reality. In Africa the mask and mas-
querade are often linked to secret
societies and to communication with
and the embodiment of the ancestors

and deities as a means of socialization
and social control. These masquerade,
possession, healing, socialization and
social control features of Jonkonnu and
Myal are to be found collectively in the
two primary examples from the known
African models of male secret societies
- Poro and Egungun. Significantly, in
these societies, even when the mask
continues to convey supernatural author-
ity, it may appear in a secular/enter-
tainment context. It is in this respect
that the possibility of an actual relation-
ship between Jonkonnu and Myal may
have pertained at least during the
eighteenth century.

By the nineteenth century, Myal, like
Jonkonnu, seemed to have evolved di-
vergent but parallel forms. Today, Myal
is extinct as a form, with different
aspects being subsumed under forms
like Gumbay, Kromanti play (Maroon),
Revival and Kumina. Only Jonkonnu
has survived nearly four centuries of

change and stability.
The earliest masquerade characters
are described in 1700 by Sir Hans
Sloane [1707] as having cowtails tied
to their rumps, and later by Edward
Long [1774], as wearing masks with ox
horns on their heads and with large boar
tusks sprouting from the mouth of a
grotesque mask. These figures are said
to have danced from door to door ac-
companied by women, bellowing out
'John Connu'. Other groups soon be-
came attached to this solo-oriented
masquerade tradition before the fright-
ening, horned, Jonkonnu figure became
the laughable, (though still frightening)
buffoon of the Set Girl1 era House
Jonkonnu. With the addition of several
other characters and groups, the name
'Jonkonnu' became the generic nomen-
clature for not only the overall masque-
rade parade, but also for a specific 'solo'
tradition and character within a group
- Horsehead or Cowhead.
In order to understand the forces
that would have encouraged or militated
against the selection and the survival of
both African and non-African masquer-
ade forms, it is necessary to place Jon-
konnu's development in its socio-
historical context. In all likelihood, it
was these very forces that dictated the
disguise and eventual separation of what
must have been the original religious
and secular functions of early Jonkonnu.
There are three main (though over-
lapping) stages of evolution to be con-
sidered with respect to Jonkonnu:
Stage 1 the pre-Set Girl era,
prior to 1785, which was marked by
interaction between a variety of African
peoples and their adaptation to an alien
environment, with limited input from
or influence by the European ruling

Stage 2 the Set Girl era, signal-
led by the appearance of the first Sets
in the 1770s. European influence was
greatly felt both at the level of patron-
age (from the plantocracy) and of fra-
ternity (from the 'book-keeper' class
and white professional). This stage is
marked by an increasing divergence in
the content and meaning of the Jon-
konnu traditions 'on the north side
of the island it is a splendid affair, but
on the south side it is just the reverse'
[Chambre 1858, II, p.151].

Stage 3 the post-emancipation
period which was marked by the social
upheaval experienced by the Black
population in moving from a status of

slavery to freed or free-born citizenry
as well as the increased pressure of
Euro-centric aspirations. For many of
the new citizens, viable participation
and mobility in the Jamaican society
involved a movement towards a Euro-
pean ideal. The complexity of the
period was further compounded by an
influx of new immigrants (largely non-
African and non-European), who exert-
ed their own influence on the creole
Black. The arrival of 'free' Africans,
principally the Kikongo and Yoruba,
served to reinforce and reintroduce Afri-
can models in Jonkonnu and the rest of
the Jamaican culture. At this stage,
Jonkonnu became the generic term for
a three-tiered masquerade tradition.
Contrary to the popular notion in
Jamaica that Jonkononu has become a
Euro-dominated creole form, it will be
argued that Jonkonnu has retained a
vibrant Neo-African form, seen even in
its most reticent level of African ex-
pression Masquerade. The 'three-
tiered' tradition links three existing
levels of 'African' expression, related
to the stages of development outlined
above. First, there is Jonkonnu proper,
in which the content and context may
be described as African. Today, solo
characters like Cowhead and Horsehead
are considered 'African' and attract the
specific 'Jonkonnu' apellation. They
sometimes perform alone, followed by
their own musicians, and are to be found
in the hills of Westmoreland. By ex-
tension, the 'Jonkonnu' typology also
*includes those groups which predomi-
nantly reflect African features and char-
acters. The Buru masquerade groups
are one such example. They also tend to
attract their own peculiar designation -
Horsehead companies since a Horse
(fitted around the trunk of the dancer)
or a Horsehead is the signature figure of
these groups.

The second level is Jonkonnu/Mas-
querade, where the interchangeable use
of these terms points to a truly indigen-
ous syncretic form. The Masquerade or
Jonkonnu distinction does not apply
in the minds of either the participants

or observers and most of these groups
accept the shifts in designation without
objection. Here, both the African and
European elements are evident, in addi-
tion to the post-emancipation ethnic
contributions like the Indian (East),
Chinese and North American Indian
figures. Nevertheless, this level of ex-
pression conforms to broad, and in
some cases, specific African models and
The third level, Masquerade, in which
the African content and context are ob-
scured, but nevertheless present, appears
visually as a Jamaicanized version of the
British masquerade tradition. The Mas-
querade designation did not emerge
until the twentieth century and only
then through oral rather than written
sources. The clear European influence
at this level, became marked by the
nineteenth century and persists, even
today, in strong plantation areas on the
western (particularly north-western) end
of the island. Groups in these areas are
careful in distinguishing themselves as
Masquerade groups vis-a-vis the more
overtly African Jonkonnu groups.
Assumptions of specific origin, often
presumed to be European, for certain
Jonkonnu characters and elements are
understandable in the absence of evi-
dence to the contrary. Inaccessibility
to even the limited documentation on
African masquerade or dance forms,
particularly as they existed during sla-
very, remains a stumbling block to re-
dressing this problem conclusively. Yet,
it is important to note that assumptions
of European source and origin have
been promulgated without any actual
written evidence and, in some cases,
without even reasonable conjecture as
to when and how these folk rituals and
masquerade traditions could have been
transmitted to the Black population.
The probability of the ruling planto-
cracy or the fragmented and transient
book-keeper class performing 'pagan'
rites,3 particularly in the pre-emanci-
pation period seems very tenuous, given
their assumed status of superiority in
the Jamaican society. White observers
and writers, with their knowledge of

'Jonkonnu' level of African expression in Jamaican masquerade

and access to white folk traditions,
no doubt would have reported any
occurrences of these traditions in
Jamaica. Instead, they provide ample
written evidence to the contrary. They
indicate that the more 'formal' tradi-
tions of Europe dance, music, thea-
tre and religious activities were enthu-
siastically pursued in Jamaica at that
time, to the apparent exclusion of their
folk forms. The Black population's first-
hand exposure to European folk pre-
sentations and interaction with a white
settler or labourer 'class'4 may be
more properly alluded to in the post-
emancipation period, when the drive
for new labour attracted a concentra-
tion of some 1684 English, Scot and
Irish workers to Jamaica in 1841 [Hall
A dependency on written records, in
spite of their lack of corroborating evi-
dence, has encouraged us to accept a
Euro-centric and arbitrary image of the
Jonkonnu complex. Even where con-
cessions of African origin were made,
they served only to further denigrate
those forms as in the statement by
Chambre [1858 p. 152]: '. . This is
the remnant, most probably, of some
superstitious African ceremony'. As a
result, many gaps exist or spurious ex-
planations are preferred for those char-
acters and elements which cannot be
traced to a specific tradition, especially
those which appear in twentieth century
Jonkonnu, for which documentation is
sparse or non-existent.
Given the Jonkonnu reality and the
persistent biases and inconsistencies, the
thrust of the present study will be to
delineate Jonkonnu as a Neo-African,
rather than simply as an unidentified
creole synthesis or a Euro-centric form.
The documented and potential source
and influence of the other cultures are
not in question here. However my asser-
tion of Jonkonnu as a Neo-African form
lies in demonstrating the consistent
presence of African cultural patterns
and traits, in relation to Jonkonnu, that
acted as either the source or the basis
for the inclusion and reinforcement of
non-African elements.
I acknowledge that to prove African
origins and traditions as the dominant
element of Jonkonnu, particularly con-
temporary Jonkonnu, demands a far
more careful analysis of the form, con-
tent and meaning of all the characters
and levels of expression, both in the
African and European contexts in re-
lation to the Jamaican context, than the

; 4-,
Sfr| S

information presently available for this
paper would allow. A rigorous analysis
of the historical process through which
these forms were transmitted and re-
interpreted would also have to be pur-
sued. Rather, I wish to lay the ground-
work for such a study by challenging
the notion of limited African models,
debased African continuities and of
European 'refinement' or origin for a-
number of Jonkonnu characters and
elements. This I hope to accomplish
by outlining the many African cultural
models available to the Black popu-
lation in Jamaica while acknowledging
some of the European and other non-
African parallels and influences that pre-
vailed at the various stages of Jonkonnu's
The delineation of the 'cultural
models', available to the Black popu-
lation, will be viewed as part of the
African's cultural knowledge a body
of conscious and unconscious know-
ledge that was transmitted and drawn
upon, within the new community; re-
interpreted and reinforced with each
new wave of African importation and
that was used as the framework in
which to reinterpret or simply converge
with non-African forms. This view of
culture is related to that outlined by
Keesing [1979 pp. 14 36], in which
culture is seen as far more than a way
of life or a system of behaviour, but
rather as a body of knowledge which
consists of conceptions of 'what is, .. .
what can be, .. how one feels about
it, .... what to do about it'. African

peoples confronted with the alien Jam-
aican environment particularly during
the pre-Set Girl era and with limited
or no access to European models (which
could be related to early Jonkonnu) had
no choice but to draw on their own cul-
tural pool of knowledge in the develop-
ment of Jonkonnu. This knowledge, I
suggest, was sufficiently rich in its di-
versity and underlying unity to form a
strong, rather than weak, basis for the
source of and continued frame of re-
ference for Jonkonnu.
The culture area (and knowledge)
that is of importance to Jamaica and
Jonkonnu encompasses Senegal to
Angola. Specifically, the Kru, Akan,
Ewe-Fon, Yoruba, Igbo and some
Bantu and Mandingo peoples have had
marked impact on Jamaican culture, in
varying degrees yet to be fully ascer-
tained. Although many cultural items
- dance, music, masquerade and reli-
gious practices were previously at-
tributed to the Akan, some of these
may be better assigned, in terms of
specific sources and retentions, to other
African ethnic groups, given the findings
of current research. Perhaps this will be
increasingly so, when more detailed in-
formation on the ethnic sources and
patterns of arrivals of slaves and their
distribution in Jamaica becomes avail-
able. Similarly, having better access to
existing data on Africa, would be of
great assistance in assigning sources for
Jonkonnu. But within the context of
the present study, the ability to con-
sistently locate common features in


'Masquerade' level of African expression in Jonkonnu

Africa and Jamaica, among different
African groups, reinforces my presump-
tion of broad cultural unity without
always having to cite or rely on direct
lines of origin and transmission between
Africa and Jamaica. It also allows me,
for the purposes of this paper, to focus
my references to the source and deve-
lopment of Jonkonnu on the African
continent and specifically on the two
complimentary masquerade-secret so-
ciety traditions in Africa already cited -
Poro and Egungun. These two forms
span a wide culture area in Africa. The
Egungun is to be found among the
Yoruba and Ewe-Fon while the Poro
and the closely related female Sande
society, found primarily in Sierra Leone,
Liberia and Ivory Coast, also find many
parallels with male secret societies in
Southern Nigeria, parts of Ghana,
Central Africa, Angola and Guinea
It is necessary to stress that Jon-
konnu is not, and, from all indications
has never ascribed to any single or
limited African or Neo-African model.
Nevertheless, I have drawn heavily on
the Poro and Egungun. This is not be-
cause of any established one-to-one
claim of source, form, meaning or func-
tion for Jonkonnu, but because these
two broad-based cultural units collect-
ively serve to describe a wide range of
common African features and masque-
rade models (not as fully represented
in any other single African tradition)
that consistently relate to both the pre-
sent and historical reality of Jonkonnu.
Historically, Poro and Egungun offer a
powerful model for a possible early-Jon-
konnu-Myal relationship, in which both
secular (entertainment and mime) and
religious (mask as embodiment of dei-
ties and ancestors with a closely rela-
ted or co-opted capacity for healing)
were juxtaposed and, through which
social control was exercised.
The structural and generic use of
Poro and Egungun as a device for com-
parison between African and Jamaican
masquerade traditions, does not pre-
clude an actual basis for their contri-
bution to and influence on Jonkonnu.
First, the characteristic Pitchy-Patchy
stripped cloth costume with which a
variety of headdress may be worn is a
significant feature of Egungun masque-
rade. Second, Poro, like Egungun, as an
even more powerful model, refers not
only to a specific widespread tradition
primarily in Liberia, Sierra Leone and
Ivory Coast but generically to an even
wider geographic range of Poro-related

'Creole' le
societies. Given this overall spread of
Poro among those Africans brought to
Jamaica between the seventeenth and
nineteenth centuries, the actual pre-
ponderance of Poro in Jamaica at that
time should be estimated in this light.
What is certain, is that even today Jon-
konnu, like Poro, conveys elements of
fear and secrecy within a masquerade
context. The existence of Poro in Jam-
aica as a disciplinary force is confirmed
by a saying offered by a colleague, Dr
Ena Campbell (Research Fellow, Anthro-
pology African-Caribbean Institute of
Jamaica), which is known and under-
stood in punitive terms: 'Behave your-
self, Poro going catch you'.
My exclusion or de-emphasis of a
wider range of specific and potentially
important contributors (African and
non-African) is done in order to: (1)
avoid an inevitable imbalance in repre-
sentation, given the limited access to
data on African masquerades and secret
societies; and (2) to simplify the many
considerations involved in understand-
ing the evolution of the highly com-
plex Jonkonnu tradition.
The Formative Years:
Jonkonnu Content and Context
Stage 1: PreSet Girl era Source and
Origin (1655- 1775)
A plethora of sources and origins,
which have been offered, ad infinitum,
for the character, word and parade, have
served largely to confuse rather than
clarify the issue. The word itself -
Jonkonnu or John Canoe, as it has been
most popularly written has also been
recorded in over 15 forms, each with
its appropriate etymology and spanning
not only the African and European
continents but even touching on an ob-
scure Graeco-Roman source [McGrath
1962].5 However, many of these ety-
mologies are either too spurious to be
seriously considered or rely on chrono-
logically inappropriate explanations.
Reference is made to situations after
the character and name were were estab-
lished, as is the case of the French
Gens Inconnus (unknown folks), pre-
sumably generated by the Haitian re-

rel of Jonkonnu
fugees who came to Jamaica in 1794.6

The John Conny theory offered by
Long [1774 II, p. 424], was the first to
be presented and was related to the
written form John Canoe. It has re-
ceived the greatest recognition as the
origin of Jonkonnu. John Conny, an
Akan Chief, enjoyed great notoriety in
the Axim area of Ghana up to 1725.
Presumably he exerted so great an in-
fluence over a relative handful of Axim
slaves7 that they, in turn, were moti-
vated to initiate a celebration in his
honour in Jamaica. Besides a number of
other reservations8 about this theory,
the sweep of Conny's influence is ques-
tionable, particularly with reference to
the majority of slaves (largely non-Akan)
already in Jamaica at this time, who
were denied contact with or knowledge
of Conny in Africa. In terms of cultural
models or knowledge, the Akan are not
noted for a masquerade tradition,9 as
are the Yoruba or Ewe-Fon, who were
well represented in Jamaica. In terms of
numerical strength, the records [Curtin
1969; Patterson 1969] seem to indi-
cate that the Ewe speakers came to
Jamaica in relatively large and consist-
ent numbers particularly over the period
1655-1725. After that, their numbers
dropped. In terms of cultural affinities,
their presence could be said to have re-
mained steady up to 1897, given the
Ewe's representation among those slaves
brought from the Gold Coast (Ghana)
between 1702 and 1791 and their close
cultural ties with those brought from
Nigeria between 1776 and 1807.
Given what seems to be a fairly
strong numerical representation and
influence of the Ewe generally in Jam-
aica and the presence of a masquerade
tradition, sometimes linked to a horned
figure, among the Ewe-Fon of Dahomey
(Benin), the Akan-Axim source of origin
must be questioned. It seems very un-
likely, in this context, that a relative
handful of Axim slaves, not having a
masquerade tradition to draw on, could
or would have been able to establish a
new masquerade tradition (alien to the
Ewe's and other non-Akan's cultural

L-r: Warrior, Cowhead and Pitchy-Patchy

pool of knowledge) in a new environ-
ment Jamaica. At best, the John
Conny theory of origin is a coincidental
reinforcement of a more plausible
and dynamic source of origin. The
Ewe Dzono Kunu, meaning 'deadly
magician/sorcerer' and the related
Dzonku Nu, meaning 'sorcerer man'
[Cassidy 1967] offer such a source
and certainly a challenge to the power
of John Conny, the man and the word.
The separation of the two words, Jon
derived from Dzono and Konnu derived
from Kunu, in which the latter was used
to describe either or both the male and
female leaders of the African Ethnic
Bands,10 occurred frequently in post-
emancipation Jonkonnu references. The
Ewe term, Kunu, meaning 'something
deadly' or 'the cause of death' is a signi-
ficant link to an Ewe-Fon deity and to
those of culturally related groups, who
were brought to Jamaica. The Ewe
Kunu, the Bambara Kono and the
Canoo of the Quojas, embody elements
of power, vengeance, deadliness and fear,
and, describe a principal dancer asso-
ciated with agricultural rites.11 The syn-
thesis of West African harvest/agricul-
tural festivals, secret societies and inter-
related beliefs and symbols found in
Jonkonnu has been convincingly argued
elsewhere. [See Barnett 1977, 1979;
Bettelheim 1979; Patterson 1969; Wyn-
ter 1970]. Even if my assertions for a
Ewe-Fon etymology for the word -

Jonkonnu prove to be correct, I
would like to stress that the early
Jonkonnu figure itself was very much
Neo-African a product of a cultural
pool derived from several different
African forms transmitted to the new
A variety of 'Kunu' elements certain-
ly seemed to have been associated with
early Jonkonnu patterns and specifically
with the first masquerade figure called
'Jonkonnu', who wore 'oxhorns. The
latter oxhorn feature introduces the
symbology surrounding horned figures
in West Africa and leads us to one of
those common cultural pools of know-
ledge that was transmitted from Africa
to Jonkonnu. In Africa, horned figures
have been linked to the strength and
power invested in important personages
by virtue of their superior physical,
political or supernatural attributes
[Thompson 1974] .12 They have most
commonly been associated with warri-
ors, funerals, initiation/circumcision
ceremonies, and secret societies. Closer
to the Ewe case, Patterson [1969 p.
246] has associated horns with witch
doctors and leaders of secret societies.
This association is borne out in a photo-
graph [Thompson 1974 p. 223], of
the senior masquerader cum Witch-
Executioner of the Egungun Society
(Yoruba, Ewe-Fon), who wore an ox-
horn headdress and, in another photo-
graph seen in a UNESCO travelling
exhibition, of the horned (horizontal
masks) masqueraders of the Poro
society. The importance of the Poro
and Egungun, as broad-based West

African cultural units, will be explored
in far more detail in relation to Jon-

The particular association of the
name 'Jonkonnu' to a horned 'grotesque'
looking mask, is supported by (a) the
linguistic appropriateness of the words
Dzono Kunu (deadly magician or sor-
cerer) and Kunu (something deadly) in
relation to the folk pronunciation and
to the common African elements em-
bodied in the figure described, (b) the
numerical strength of the Ewe during
the formative years of Jonkonnu and (c)
the penchant for the manipulation of
the spirit world displayed by this group
both in Africa and Jamaica. The Fuller
report of 1788 [contained in Patterson
1969 p. 189 and p.192] dealing with
'witchcraft' and 'sorcery' (Obeah and
Myal) in Jamaica, confirms that the
Dahomeans (Ewe-Fon or Ewe-related
speakers) were 'particularly prone to
the art'.
But, this horned Jonkonnu figure
was not alone; he was merely the most
important figure, who performed alone,
exhibiting acknowledged superiority in
dance. An early companion piece to the
male Jonkonnu was a female leader,
who also appeared alone or as a Wife/
Queen. By 1769, with the almost ex-
clusive importation of slaves directly
from Africa, the formation of Ethnic
Bands which were led by male and
female Connus, was an expression of
their need for an ethnic identification.
Ethnic bands included Igbos, Pawpaws
(Ewe-Fon), Bakongos, Mandingos [Long

1774 p.425; Kelly 1838 p.21], Aradas
(present day people of Dahomey-Benin)
and so-called Coromantyns (largely Fanti
and Asante people).13 A creole identi-
fication African or Afro-European -
was not yet a viable alternative to their
old national traditions. Although Alex-
'ander Barclay [1828 p.10] suggests that
the Ethnic Bands had become extinct
by 1805, they were reported in both
1831 and 1837 loudly singing and dan-
cing to their drums, though admittedly
declining in frequency of appearance.
The creoless' who literally occupied
the centre of these dance/music acti-
vities symbolically heralded the break-
down of African ethnic identification.
In the meantime, these ethnic distinc-
tions persisted. With reference to the
Poro, the Wai, head of the Sande, shares
absolute power within the Poro society
with its male leader could the male
and female heads of the Poro and Sande
have been one of the prototypes for the
dyadic male and female 'Connus' in
Jonkonnu? At any rate, the fact that
the various African ethnic groups in
Jamaica selected either male and female
'Connus' or a 'Chief' (male and female),
attests to an underlying unity in this
respect. This unity ultimately helped to
facilitate the forging of those masquer-
ade traditions brought by these groups,
into a Neo-African whole.

It seems highly probable that the
character reported by Long [1774 p.
424], 'dressed in grotesque habits, and

a pair of oxhorns ... sprouting from the
top of a horrid sort of vizor (sic), or
mask which about the mouth is render-
ed very terrific with large boar tusks'
was the 'sorcerer-man', called Jonkonnu,
who was displayed more for his effect
on those who understood and feared his
presence than simply for fun. Under-
standably, in these circumstances, the
other ethnic groups would feel the
need to have their own Connus, male
and female, more for their own sense
of security, protection and well being,
than for the entertainment of onlookers.
Although female solo 'Connus' may
no longer be identified, their earlier
descriptions (and possible African ori-
gins) throw light on a number of later
female solo figures. According to
George Marly [1828 p. 294], a first
hand observer, these female Connus
were represented by a male dancer
metamorphosed into a gigantic struc-
ture, dressed in a 'gaudy' costume, that
covered her from head to foot, and
wore a 'hideous' mask. Her dance was
characterized by a violent wheeling to
the accompaniment of drum and string
instruments together with songs led by
her, while those who processed be-
hind joined in at intervals. This gigan-
tic figure wheeling violently, is striking-
ly reminiscent of twentieth-century solo
figures like Mada (mother) Lundy,
'Compong Nanny', and a most recently
observed black-faced Aunty Fanny from
the parish of Westmoreland. 'Old Haige',
one of the frightening manifestations of

the spirit world, appears as a seven to
eight foot effigy painted a shiny black
and has been reported in St. Thomas.
These figures are borne on a stick and
manoeuvred (spinning, tilting and bob-
bing) by a male dancer concealed under
the skirt.
An un-named eighteenth century fig-
ure, who also throws light on the source
and origin of another twentieth-century
character Pitchy-Patchy received
very little attention in the pre-Set Girl
era or even later in the pre-emancipation
period. Although he was first described
by an anonymous writer [Anon. Char-
acteristic Traits... 1797], he was omit-
ted from all other accounts of pre-
emancipation Jonkonnu. As a result,
Pitchy-Patchy had been relegated to the
position of a later adaptation of a
British-derived figure, Jack-in-Green.
Why? Possibly because he was not seen,
being sheltered in the hills or, if so,
The 1797 account, buried until 1976,
graphically sketches a picture of figures
dressed in bright shredded strips of
cloth, leaving little doubt as to the iden-
tity of the very popular and ubiquitous
Pitchy-Patchy that we see today. Like a
ghost from the past, he has become all
things to all people ever changing,
ever constant constant in his brightly
energized strips yet inconstant in the
headdress that he wears. He appears
fully covered in strips, either with horns
and hoofs; a four-cornered or 'top'
hat; a feathered cap adorned with tin-
sel and mirrors; a house; or as a bird.
Fixing the appearance of this protean
figure at this time is central to the sub-
sequent discussion of this character in
relation to Egungun masqueraders, some
of whom remained constant in their
brightly coloured cloth panels, wearing
a variety of headdresses. The horned
senior Egungun was one such type.
Pitchy-Patchy is a significant figure,
being one of the few characters still to
be found in all levels of present-day
Jonkonnu throughout the island. His
counterparts in Africa and other areas
of the Caribbean also signal a central
relationship between Jonkonnu and
Egungun in content and structure,
which will be explored in more detail
later in this paper.
At this point, before the British in-
fluence was felt or expressed in Jon-
konnu, a relatively exclusive African
interaction and synthesis had begun to
establish the basic format of the Jon-
konnu parade, notwithstanding later
contributions. The shift from this trend

Left: Pitchy-Patchy with Cowhead headdress. Right: Elder Egungun
Masquerader (Witch finder) (From: Robert Farris Thompson, African
Arts in Motion, Los Angelas: University of California Press)

to a more British dominated era can
only be understood by very briefly
outlining some of the socio-historical
events leading up to this change. The
period 1655-1700 was a particularly
unsettling and trying one for both
voluntary and involuntary 'settlers'.
Natural disasters, like the 1692 earth-
quake and 1698 hurricane, were com-
pounded by a French invasion of the is-
land in 1694 which was easily repulsed.
Uprisings, born of the restlessness and
resentment of the barely-seasoned slaves,
aggravated a situation in which the al-
ready battered population was also
faced with the uncertainty and scarcity
of supplies. Yet, it was out of this
milieu that Africans affirmed their
strength and ability to survive. Some
took to the hills and pursued a course
of relentless aggression14 while others
remained on the plantations to protest
largely through symbol and mask.
As the plantations began to expand,
so did the population in the western end
of the island where Jonkonnu thrived,
reflecting the changes in the society.
The east continued to lag behind in
spite of efforts as early as 1721 to en-
courage emigrants from the British
Isles to settle in that end of the island.
Plantation prosperity reached its peak
about 1774 and owner absenteeism be-
came rampant. This period was marked
by harsher working conditions for the
slaves, counterbalanced only by increas-
ed social interaction between Blacks
and the overseer/ book-keeper class of
whites, who assumed authority. The
acquisition of European traits served
not only to achieve mobility but to ob-
scure the growing strength of African
unity, on another level.
This pre-Set Girl era of 1655-1775,
was mPnlrd by a grudging acceptance
of tt ose Neo-African holiday revelries,
in wl iich the Oxhead (horned Jonkonnu)
and theirr 'grotesque' masks, with their
follo wing of musicians (raggedly dress-
ed), men, children, and 'disreputable'
womrn, appeared. In the eyes of their
whit, observers and would-be patrons,
the ie masqueraders were not to be en-
couraged in their 'barbaric' practices.
H< wever, because of the constant threat
of rebellion, it was perhaps considered
expedient to placate the harshness of
:he slaves' situation, by permitting
them to indulge themselves in their
favourite pastimes. To this end, two
or three days were given over to festi-
vities at harvest time, Picanniny Christ-
mas (Easter) and Christmas holidays,
which included New Year's Day.

Red Set Girls by Belisario

Stage 2: Set Girl Era (1775-1838)
It was into this framework that the
very popular Set Girls15 and more
British related figures were introduced.
By the late eighteenth century at the
peak of plantation prosperity and
perhaps paralleling the appearance of
the House Jonkonnu, we notice not
only the plantocracy's acceptance but
their active encouragement of the slave
revelries, with the emergence of the
Sets. The subsequent British impact on
the Jonkonnu parade was inevitable.
Sets were staged demonstrations of cos-
tumed finery based on a specific dress
colour or style but primarily based on
the skin-colour stratifications in the
Jamaican society:
There were brown sets and black sets,
and sets of all the intermediate grada-
tion of colour... but the colours were
never blended in the same set . .al-
ways keeping in mind black woman
brown lady. [Scott 1895 pp. 265 -

Patronage, given its usual Eurocentri-
city, was an important aspect of the sur-
vival of a folk tradition in which high
costs were necessarily involved in its
execution. This has been a consistently
important factor in terms of the popu-
larity or decline of Jonkonnu and of a
group's stylistic preferences.
Marronage, which had achieved cul-
tural and political freedom for those
slaves who fled the plantation, had tri-
umphed in the hills before the end of

the eighteenth century and Myalism, as
a 'new society, open to all',17 broke
free on the plantations in both the late
eighteenth and mid-nineteenth cen-
turies. Myalism involved the mani-
pulation of the spirit world and was
used primarily to counteract the evil
effects of its counterpart, Obeah. Music,
dance, possession, the use of herbs and
healing are features of this form, which
are included in the later discussion on
Gumbay. Although on one level, the
healing-possession force of the Neo-
African Myal, seemed to have diverted
attention from the apparently harmless
buffoon House Jonkonnu, it also
threatened to unmask the possible
basis for the still frightening elements
of this figure. This frightening element
readily associated with the original
hornedJonkonnu figure (and his possible
association with the sorcerer/myal man)
may have been retained but disguised in
the house worn by many of the Jonkon-
nu figures at the turn of the nineteenth
century. Certainly, the 'Great House'
symbol would have. been an appropri-
ate substitute for the 'horn', being the
focal and new symbol of power and
fear for the slave, whose total survival
and well-being revolved around the
Great House of the plantation and its
As early as the 1770s, a House Jon-
konnu figure was mentioned by an
anonymous author [Anon. Character-
istic Traits... 1797]. The house carried
at this time took the form of 'a baby
house, shewing different fronts with
open doors, glazed windows, stair
cases, piazas and balconies in which
diminutive figures are placed'. By 1816,
the appearance of the House or Jaw-
bone Jonkonnu is characterized by a
huge ornate house, filled with puppets
and carried on the head of a masked
dancer [Lewis 1834]. Jawbone Jon-
konnu was another name by which this
figure was known, alluding to an instru-
ment which accompanied him. It con-
sisted of the dried lower jaw of a horse,
the teeth of which are made to pro-
duce a rattling sound by passing a piece
of wood quickly up and down its sur-
face. The house masqueraders soon assu-
med the earlier prominence of the horn-
ed Jonkonnu figure, in what must now
be seen as a parallel 'Johnny-Canoeing'
tradition. The specific nature of the
house carried by the masquerader has
been central to the controversy sur-
rounding the origin and nature of
Lewis [1834] describes a brightly

decorated canoe surmounted by a glit-
tering umbrella and John Crow feathers.
The reference to a 'canoe' headdress
was, by far, more the exception than
the rule in Jamaica, although more
common African and other Caribbean
instances have been cited by Bettelheim
[1979]. Jonkonnu was now more fre-
quently associated with the house it-
self or the dancer who bore it. Un-
warranted emphasis has been placed on
the 'boat' or 'canoe' features of the
structure carried. Proponents of the
boat/canoe theory have depended for
the most part on rare written refer-
ences to a 'canoe' and 'house boat'; the
latter, when first described in the 1770s
and eventually drawn by Belisario in
1837, is shown to the unmistakably a
house. Belisario's written and visual
account describes a house, construct-
ed of pasteboard and coloured papers,
being highly ornamented with beads,
spangles and pieces of looking glass.
This description by Belisario also
allows us to examine the extent of the
influence exerted by the ruling class.
The 'house' bears scalloped pillars in
imitation of the wooden supports used
for balconies. This was a common fea-
ture of 'West Indian architecture and
specifically of the Great House which
became a symbol of power, privilege
and oppression. The period was mark-
ed by a strong naval/military presence
and by innumerable slave uprisings, with
complete emancipation being an immi-
nent though elusive reality. Understand-

ably, the bearer of the house headdress
retained the regimental coat and sash,
despite any other changes in dress
which might have been made. The dan-
cer and house filled with puppets
(sailors, soldiers, slaves at work, etc.)
embodied many of the characters and
elements of nineteenth century Jam-
aican society and could be viewed as a
microcosm of the larger, more elabor-
ate, Jonkonnu/Masquerade tradition
that was emerging.
A photograph, collected by Sheila
Barnett and which unfortunately comes
with limited ethnographic data, shows
two masquerade figures from Yoruba-
land, Africa, with blackened faces,
wooden breasts and a headdress of a


house-like structure with figures inside.
This house structure and its miniature
seated figures may very well be one of
the inspirational sources (an African-
Yoruba one) and possibly even a proto-
type of the house, filled with puppets,
worn by House Jonkonnu in 1816. All
other African and Caribbean references,
with the possible exception of this
Yoruba example, point to a largely
secular environment in which the house
or boat structure was presented.
Bettelheim [1979 Chapter XII], de-
scribes house structures which are utili-
zed in Sierra Leone, Senegal and Gam-
bia. In Sierra Leone, the candle-illumin-
ated house, called a 'fanal' or lantern,
rather than being borne on the head, as
is the Yoruba type, is mounted on a
stick and carried in procession at Christ-
mas time. This hand-held version is
similar to the 'castle' or 'tower' carried
in a nineteenth century Jonkonnu par-
ade. Lanterns or houses are still con-
structed by children in Haiti who carry
them through the streets soliciting gifts.
Gambia provides a possible prototype
for the two other types of 'house' struc-
tures, the house-boat or boat (canoe)
occasionally mentioned in pre-emanci-
pation Jonkonnu. Gambian lanterns
may take the form of a sailing boat or
a house, a feature also present in Ber-
muda. The other type of Gambian lan-
tern that throws light on the origin of
the 'house-boat' designation is the com-
bination of a house and a boat in which
a house structure is inserted inside the
larger framework of a ship.
It is important to reiterate that the
frequent use of the house-boat design-
ation in Jamaica has never been actual-
ly confirmed either by detailed des-
cription or visual representation. The

wr. .

'Creole' Level of African expression in Jonkonnu, (Duhaney Park, St. Thomas, group). Showing
in foreground House Jonkonnu. In background (left to right) Pitchy Patchy, Indians, Queen
and Young Jonkonnu.

Jonkonnu House, the most popular
and enduring of these types in Jam-
aica, had taken on predominantly plan-
tation-creole characteristics. Deprived
of the plantation euphoria and patron-
age, and given the psychological need of
the freed slaves to divest themselves of
this symbol of slavery and oppression,
the house's change and eventual dis-
appearance, like the disappearance of
the Set Girls, was inevitable.
Up to this period (1816), Jonkonnu,
horned or bearing a house, remains the
focal character. His once despised name
was to become the generic nomen-
clature for a wide variety of masquer-
ade characters and traditions, many of
which were now enjoyed by the planto-
cracy. Without a doubt, the Set Girls
began to dominate the much applauded
spectacle of 'Johnny Canoeing' and for-
mer characters like Jonkonnu (that is
House Jonkonnu), along with figures
like Jack-in-Green and Koo-Koo (see
below) and those drawn from a British
court set, bearing titles of Earl, Lord,
and Duke, frequently appeared with
the Sets.
Jack-in-Green bore a very strong
resemblance to a British May Day mas-
querader, when he first appeared in
1833. Michael Scott [1895] in des-
cribing this figure, drawn from a Gard-
ener's masquerade group, comments
that 'their Jack-in-Green was incompar-
ably more beautiful, from the superior

bloom of the larger flowers used in
comprising it' and adds that this group
(and figure in particular) came the
closest to imitating the 'May-day boys
in London'. By contrast, in 1837, Jack-
in-Green, who now 'guards' the Sets, is
depicted by Belisario (Notes on Set
Girls) as being covered with coconut
fronds attached to hoops diminishing
in size towards the top. In addition, this
figure is totally covered, making it im-
possible to tell in what direction he is
looking a feature which has conjured
up a Janus-like image. This later descrip-
tion and accompanying sketch by Beli-
sario signal a change in the physical ap-
pearance (and meaning) of this char-
acter, who now more closely resembles
a number of vegetal types in Africa in
Senegal, Gambia and Guinea Bissau for
example, where some of them are parti-
cularly associated with female groups. A
twentieth-century version in Jamaica re-
tains the conical shape but with strips of
cloth affixed to the frame.
The Janus-like feature of Jack-in-
Green has also been attributed to Koo-
Koo or Actor Boy, a remnant of the
self-styled Actor Groups, who appeared
in the early nineteenth century (1825).
Informants attest to a twentieth-century
Actor Boy mask forming the reverse
side of a Pitchy-Patchy figure. In 1837,
Belisario states that Koo-Koo consti-
tuted a colourful part of the procession,
resplendently dressed in silk, satin and
lace, and with a long loose jacket falling
over a huge skirt. Richardson Wright
[1957] completes the description of
this character whom he describes as
wearing long curls falling over a mask,
topped by a headdress comprised of
coloured beads, bangles, pieces of
mirrors attached to a pasteboard form,
trimmed round the edges with silver
lace and surmounted with feathers.
Actor Groups, from which Koo-Koo
is derived, paraded the streets appropri-
ately costumed and rehearsed to per-
form 'versions' or extracts from English
plays such as Richard the Third and
The Fairy Penitent, all with the recur-
ring theme of a fight over a female, a
duel to the death, quickly followed
by a 'wild' dance, in which even the
resurrected dead were enticed to join.
Mumming 'Doctor' plays enacted in
Scotland and Ireland at wakes and fun-
eral ceremonies, if in fact they were per-
formed here in the pre-emancipation
period, may have served as a further
inspiration to these performers. How-
ever, Africa does offer both a frame-
work and the thematic content for these

plays. Here we look specifically at the
Yoruba Egungun, which will be ex-
plored in far more detail as an African
cultural index that relates to the larger
framework of Jonkonnu and other Afri-
can masquerade models.
'Actor Groups' drawn from the larger
Egungun masquerade festivities per-
formed plays, first at the chief's house
before moving on to other areas in the
town. By the mid-eighteenth century, a
rich theatre tradition had evolved out
of the Egungun ritual play, complete
with professional travelling performers.
Judith Bettelheim asserts that many
African cultures like the Bambara, Ur-
hobo, Cross-River Ibibio, the Dan, etc.,
have similar travelling companies. Joel
Adedeji [1969], cites one such Egungun
travelling company, which was com-
missioned by the Oba (Chief), to per-
form for the English explorer Hugh
Clapperton at Katunga (Old Oyo). The
emphasis on mask, dance and gesture
to convey the 'inner reality' and on a
selective generalization geared to pro-
ject only certain aspects of the plot is
highly reminiscent of the Jamaican
Actor Groups in the early stages. They
relied totally on pantomime, music and
dance. Belisario in his notes on Koo-
Koo or Actor Boy later commented on
their performance of 'certain unmean-
ing pantomimic actions'. The recurring
"death and resurrection' theme of the

'House John Canoe by Befisalrio

Befisario's Koo Koo or Actor Boy

Actor Groups' plays is so widespread
in West African ritual forms,18 as in
those of the Jamaican Neo-African
Myal,19 that the enchantment with this
theme (also present in the British Doc-
tor plays) in understandable.
Although several characters/groups
had now entered the parade, Jonkonnu
Cowhead and the even more popular
nineteenth century figure House Jon-
konnu remained, according to Mat-
hew Lewis [1834] 'absolutely indis-
pensable'. The Sets, Ethnic Bands,
Actor Groups, male and female bands
and the more recent entrants the
Craft and Trade groups of the 1770s, -
first mentioned in 1779 [Anon. Char-
acteristic Traits . .] and more fully
described in 1833 either identified
with and incorporated the existing Jon-
,konnu figure or developed their own
versions. The parade had now become
known as a Jonkonnu party.
Craft and Trade Companies, as the
classification suggests, were based on
the professional or skilled groups which
worked on the plantation. For this or-
ganizational framework within a mas-
querade context, we can again look to


Africa and the Poro, in particular. There,
almost every profession is included,
each represented by its appropriate
mask ranging from the warrior, witch-
finder, medical specialist or herbalist
to the blacksmith, builder, farmer and
specialists in art and craft. Within the
Craft and Trade Companies in Jonkon-
nu outlined by Scott [1895] was Jack-
in-Green, who has already been des-
cribed as first emerging from the Garden-
ers group and later undergoing signifi-
cant changes in costume and orientation.
The prominent character among the
butchers' company of the Craft and
Trade Companies was a Jonkonnu fig-
ure called Jack Pudding. The Janus-
like mask that he wore depicted a serene
white face in front, while the mask in
the back was its antithesis swamped
by a crude wig made from the hair of
a cow's tail. Two flute players in sheep-
skins, with horns intact, accompanied
this group. Goat horns have appeared
even more recently on a Goat figure in
a Portland Jonkonnu band and a goat
dance has also been reported in St.
Reference to the Egungun, Poro (and

Sande) and the Yoruba in general yields
what might be some of the cultural
models for both the Janus-like feature
of Jack Pudding and Jack-in-Green and
for the goat and goat horns in Jamaica.
The Janus-like mask of Jack-in-Green
and Jack Pudding and the recently re-
ported male-female qualities of Jonkon-
nu's Koo-Koo, are also reflected in an
Ikosi skin-covered helmet mask from
Nigeria cited by Geoffrey Parrinder
[1967 p. 72]. It depicts the past and
future, death and life, in male-female
terms, one with eyes closed and the
other open. With reference to the
possible prototypes for the goat's horns,
the special symbol of a female Zo (a
powerful spirit) among the Sande, is a
Janus staff with two horns. Sheep's
horns, which appear on the mask of the
Poro war spirit [Harley 1941] parallel
that of the players who accompany
Jack Pudding. The goat itself features in
many African tales and in religious rites
[Parrinder 1967]. A ram sculpture from
the Owo of Nigeria represents an an-
cestor, and the ram is sacred to Shango
[Parrinder 1967].
The memory of the highly organized

1831 Christmas rebellion, led by Sam
Sharpe, on the western end of the is-
land, was a warning to all plantation
owners. Greater vigilance became necess-
ary in the otherwise relaxed atmosphere
of the Jonkonnu season, which facili-
tated frequent and easy contact be-
tween the slaves from different plan-
tations. Presumably, the euphoria of
freedom, created by the Christmas re-
velries and the recently realized fears
of insurrection necessitated the military
presence of the Christmas Guards. Their
function was to maintain law and
order, in case, as Scott [1895 pp. 266-7],
sarcastically suggests: 'any of the John
Canoes take a small fancy to burn or
pillage the town, or to rise and cut the
throats of their masters, or any little
innocent recreation of the kind'. How-
ever, the Kingston regiment who served
as Christmas Guards unwittingly found
themselves influenced by the social
dictates of style and racial organization
of some of the 'Jonkonnu' groups like
the Set Girls. Spectacle, epitomized by
the Set Girls' processions, was the order
of the day, and the Christmas Guards
were not to be outdone. They rode
majestically on horseback, in racially
segregated companies, with their colour-
ful uniforms, helmets and unsheathed
swords sparkling in the light of the
Stage 1 in the evolutionary develop-
ment of Jonkonnu was the formative
period in which the centrality of a solo
figure or figures (Jon-Konnus), leading a
variety of Ethnic (African) Bands were
firmly established in the Jonkonnu tradi-
tion. Its prototypes, and there were
many even at this stage, were drawn
from Africa. The Poro and Egungun are
but two examples, albeit two of the
most comprehensivein geographic, and as
will be seen, structural span in relation
to Jonkonnu. By the mid-eighteenth
century, Stage 2, a divergence in the hith-
erto African and Ethnic/nationalist fo-
cus of Jonkonnu began. A creolization
(Pan-African and Euro-African) and in-
digenization process gave rise to differ-
ent but related levels of African ex-
pression in Jonkonnu. The 'creole'
group, cited by James Kelly [1838]
as operating in the centre of the more
African nationalist Ethnic Bands, had
already set the stage for the multi-
tiered masquerade tradition that was
to emerge and survive to the present.
Post-emancipation Jonkonnu, Stage
3, would continue to absorb all elements
that were consistent with African models
and aesthetics, while responding to the

tastes of its 'European' patrons. Con-
tinuing to grow in complexity, Jonkon-
nu began to serve two and more masters
- the 'African slaves', the 'freed creole'
and the 'white plantocracy' but in
the only way possible for its perform-
ers and architects, in an African or Neo-
African mode.

To be concluded next issue.

I would like to thank my colleagues at the
Institute of Jamaica and Mrs.Sheila Barnett for
their patient reading and criticism of the early
drafts of this article. Also to other readers my
thanks for their criticisms and encouragement
and particularly to Ms Judith Bettelheim for
her detailed critique and for the many refer-
ences she offered, although some were un-
fortunately unavailable; to Dr Ena Campbell,
who led me to and provided valuable data on
the Poro and secret societies; and to Mr
Trevor Purcell who gave unstinting guidance
and encouragement.

1. The Set Girls were staged costumed groups
who received great encouragement from
the plantocracy.
2. Buru is an overtly African and related Jon-
konnu type which includes a horizontal
(fitted around the hip) Horse figure and/
or a Horsehead. Buru songs, dance and
music are also performed independent of
the masquerade tradition. In all cases, the
form is considered and referred to as
'African' by both participants and ob-
3. Doctor plays which provide the bulk of
the European masquerade sources or paral-
lels for Jonkonnu were performed in
Scotland and Ireland at funerals and wakes.
These plays were practiced largely by the
peasantry and were performed outside of
Christian ceremonies.
4. Transmission of folk traditions by this
class seems unlikely since pre-emancipation
white settlers lived in an isolated 'maroon'
context and 'involuntary' or contracted
male labourers were not a part of fami-
lial or community relations in Jamaica.
5. A more detailed discussion and references
to these etymologies are contained in
Ryman [1975]. See also Cassidy [1967,
6. Edward Long provides the first account in
1760 of a horned-figure called Jonkonnu,
some 34 years earlier than any real French
influence could have been felt, notwith-
standing the French invasion of the island
in 1694, which was repelled.
7. The area west of Elmina, which includes
Axim, provided very few slbvs for the
trade, not more than 50 100 per year,
the mainstay of their trade being gold
and other products.

8. See Ryman [1975] for a more detailed
discussion of the 'John Conny' theory.
9. A Ghanian writer, K. Kedjanyi, [1967],
goes so far as to assert that Masquerade in

Ghana was unknown until the nineteenth
10. African Ethnic Bands, each representing
groups of Igbo, Ewe, Yoruba, Kongo, led
by male and female 'Kunus', paraded
shortly after the appearance of the horned
figure called 'Jonkonnu' in 1760. See also
later discussion of Ethnic Bands.
11. Angelina Pollak-Eltz [1972] refers to an
avenging spirit called Kunu in Guyana
which is thought to be derived from a line-
age deity found in- Dahomey (Ewe-Fon
and Yoruba). This powerful deity is more
feared than the ancestors. Kono, reported
by Kern and Dirks [19751 among the
Bambara (whose cultural affinities may ex-
tend into the Ivory Coast), is the premier
dancer in traditional agricultural rites,
which are linked to animal masquerades.
(Harvest festivities and animal figures are
featured in pre-emancipation Jonkonnu).
The Canoo or supreme being of the Quo-
jas, who formerly occupied country
belonging to the Vai people (Liberia), is yet
another 'Kunu' figure in West Africa. Ira,
de Reid [1942] quoting from Middleton,
A new and complete system of geography,
London, 1777, offers this related figure
and also mentions the name Jannanin,
referring to the ancestors, who are con-
sidered patrons and defenders of the living.
12. The area discussed includes the Ivory
Coast, Guinea Bissau, Upper Volta, Togo
and Nigeria.
13. Aradas and Coromantyns are referred to in
other early accounts, though not as speci-
fic examples of the Ethnic Bands.
14. The western Maroons were engaged in two
major wars, the first of which ended in
1738-9, at which time a peace treaty was
signed and they were granted their in-
dependence. The eastern Maroons under
their leader (and now national heroine)
Nanny, were forced to enter into a similar
agreement the following year.
15. See Ryman [1975] for a more detailed
description of the Set Girls.
16. Although Tom Cringle's Log is a fictional-
ized account, the author Michael Scott
was resident in and toured the island ex-
tensively between 1806-1822. It is gene-
rally accepted that his book included
actual people and events and was based on
first hand observations.
17. Schuler [1977] refers to Long's 1760 ac-
18. An important example of this is to be
found within the Poro society: success-
ful initiation into and graduation from the
Poro entail a ritual and educational pro-
cess which revolves around the 'death and
resurrection' theme.

19. A 1788 report in Patterson [1969] Chap.
VII, speaks of the Myal man's use of a
certain potent herb myal weed or cala-
lue (sic) which when administered would
induce a death-like trance. The recovery
of the patient was attributed to the
powers of the myal man, called a doctor,
who returned him to life.

Editor's Note: Complete references will appear
at the conclusion of Part 2 in the next issue.

' Strange Picni'

Namba Roy's Black Albino
By Mervyn Morris

interest in Namba Roy is quicken-
ing. Pamela Beshoff's article in
tions that he was also a writer, but focus-
es mainly on his contribution to the vis-
ual arts. I wish to recommend Black
Albino [1961], his only published novel,
which I think that many readers might

Black Albino has been little discussed.
It is most often mentioned when
mentioned at all as evidence of Africa
in the Caribbean [e.g. James 1968 p. 5].
It turns up in important articles by O.R.
Dathorne and Edward Kamau Brath-
waite; but neither says much for it. In
"Africa in the Literature of the West
Indies" [1965], Dathorne takes it in a
section on 'Background', distinct from
'The Imaginative Response'. In "The
African Presence in Caribbean Liter-
ature" [1974], Brathwaite dismisses
Namba Roy: 'Unfortunately, he did not
attempt . more than a romantic tale
of "brave warriors" and internecine con-
flict. Wilson Harris, on the other hand,

uses in The Secret Ladder the presence
of an ancient black chieftain to initiate
a whole series of perceptions into the
question of maronage, ancestry and
filiation'. Elsewhere Brathwaite again
disparages Black Albino, as romanticall'
[1977 p.35].

In The West Indian Novel and its
Background, Kenneth Ramchand offers
detailed and appreciative comment on
Roy's work [1970 pp. 149-154], parti-
cularly on the 'efforts to suggest an
"African" language in English'. But he
severely qualifies approval. Introducing
his appraisal, he writes: 'It. is a sharp
drop from Lamming's intensely wrought
novel [Season of Adventure] to the
wish-fulfilment in Namba Roy's tribal
presentation of poetic justice'. At the
end of his discussion we are admonished:
'It needs saying at this point that in dis-
connected extracts and in descriptive
analysis of technique, Roy's novel
seems to be better than it is. Continuous
exposure to its simple effects, however,
and the underlying moral imperatives

mar some good moments.'
Especially if set against such novels
as Season of Adventure and The Secret
Ladder, Black Albino is indeed a fairly
simple book, straightforwardly pro-
moting traditional values. It is indeed a
romantic tale, as much 'a romance', per-
haps, as 'a novel'.1 The romance char-
acteristically 'intensifies and exagger-
ates certain traits in human behaviour
and recreates human figures out of this
exaggeration' [Beer 1970 p.3]. Black
Albino is not concerned to present com-
plex characters with mixed motives; it
makes firm distinctions between good
people and bad, between hero and vil-
lain, though the latter may be allowed
redemption of a sort.
The romantic hero is Tomaso, a young
Maroon chief in Jamaica early in the
eighteenth century.2 The villain is Lago,
a formidable adversary who covets, inter
alia, Tomaso's lovely wife Kisanka. While
Tomaso and Kisanka are childless, Lago
casts aspersions on the manhood of
Tomaso. When Kisanka conceives, and

the baby is born an albino, Lago makes
further mischief: he suggests that Kis-
anka has been unfaithful; and he mobil-
izes the community's fear of the un-
usual, of Kisanka's 'strange picni'.
Namba Roy (Nathan Roy Atkins
who changed his name by deed poll in
England in 1956) was born on 25 April
1910, in Jamaica. The son and grandson
of Maroon carvers, he spent his child-
hood mainly in Kingston and in the
Cockpit Country; he made early contact
with Maroon carving, oral history and
story-telling. He joined the British
Merchant Navy when the second world
war broke out. Discharged ill (with a
duodenal ulcer) in 1942, he lived and
worked in England until his death in
June 1961 not long after Black Albino
appeared. He had begun writing it in
1959 after failing to find a publisher for
No Black Sparrows, a novel written
earlier in the fifties.
Black Albino no doubt incorporates
information handed down to Namba
Roy by his own Maroon family; but the
author also did some research for the
book. His widow, Yvonne Roy, des-
cribes his pursuit of authenticity:

He did b great deal of research. He went
up to the British Museum;we had a very
great friend who was in the Ethnographi-
cal Department Cottie Burland who
introduced us to the people at the Muse-
um so that we could go in into the li-
brary and research letters which were
written at the actual time of the hap-
penings; and Roy wanted tohavea com-
pletely authentic account of what had
happened there so that his story would
be real, and it would perhaps help people
to understand .... He was so proud of
being a Maroon, very proud, and he want-
ed other people to be aware of who they
[the Maroons] were, what they had
done and the place they held in the his-
tory of Jamaica.

The novel's information about Ma-
roons is broadly consonant with histori-
cal fact [See e.g. Black 1958; Brathwaite
1977; Hall-Alleynel983; Kopytoff 1973;
Price 1979; Robinson 1969]. It notes,
for example, that the Maroons came
from differing tribes of Africa; and
that their culture, a synthesis, was large-
ly Africa-based. But Black Albino,
though a 'rich bed of African cultural
survival . well sign-posted' [Ram-
chand 1970 p. 150] is also alert to
creolization. In language, for example:
though on the first page of the novel
Tomaso is represented as 'speaking in
the tongue of the Bantu', a creolized
mixture is later indicated as the com-

munity's norm:
Out of the many dialects in the language
of the Bantu the early Maroons had cre-
ated a common tongue, easy to under-
stand by any son of Africa. Here and
there were improvised words, either cre-
ated by the old leaders themselves, or
culled from the Spanish, and later, the
English. [71-2].

Tahta, who tends the sick, mixes 'his
knowledge of bush medicine with that
which he learnt from the bakra when
he was the slave assistant of his doctor
master'. [82-3] Jacob, one of Tomaso's
most trusted lieutenants, is a mulatto
who 'could speak broken English well,
and because of his mixed blood could
pass through the more dangerous parts
of the towns without challenge, since
he fitted the role of house-slave ..
The Maroon community in the novel,
like many in history, constantly inter-
acts with the white-controlled plantation
society. The Maroons have friends, allies,
informants, business associates, down
on the plains. The novel mentions, for
example, the making of hammocks,
So useful as a bartering medium with
the indentured bakra or the few fortun-
ate negroes who had obtained their free-
dom. There were many things precious
to the Maroons which these neatly made
hammocks could buy cast-off clothing,
grains, salt, fish, and precious metal
tools, and perhaps lead for musket
shot, or a few charges of'powder [113].
In Maroon Societies [1979 p.12], Rich-
ard Price observes:
As long as the wars went on, the need
for such things as guns, tools, pots, and
cloth (as well as for new recruits, parti-
cularly women) kept maroon com-
munities unavoidably dependent on the
very plantation societies from which
they were trying so desperately to iso-
late themselves.
They established their communities
in almost inaccessible places compara-
tively easy to defend. Tomaso's village
is typical, its 'back well protected by
the natural precipice which stretched
for miles behind and made more impreg-
nable by an area of swampland beneath,
fed from time to time by an overflow-
ing river further away'. [25] The novel's
description of the frontal approach is
remarkably similar to one in Dallas's
history of the Maroons.

Steep, rocky and dotted with trees and
clumps of shrubs near its base, with
only one negotiable path, narrow and
winding, which half a dozen women
with stones and boulders above could
hold against an invading battalion ...
[Black Albino, 25].

This passage contracted itself into a
defile of nearly half a mile long, and
so narrow that only one man could
pass along it at a time. Had it been
entered by a line of men, it would not
have been difficult for the Maroons
from the heights to have blocked them
up in the front and in the rear, by roll-
ing down large rocks at both ends, and
afterwards to have crushed them to
death by the same means. [Dallas quot-
ed in Price 1979,6].
The novel's historical information is
more compelling when effectively
dramatized; as in Tomaso's exhortation
to his Spirit Men, a speech which illu-
minates the psychology of guerilla

Strike silently. Let the bakra in the
forest look for the one who struck,
and find nothing Let them find death
from the trees under which they pass,
behind the rocks, at the cave mouths.
It matters not if some escape but first
they must know what it is to fear. Let
them feel that the hills are our mother,
the rocks our father, the trees our
brothers, the sinkholes, gullies, and
even the snakes, our kinsmen. Let
them know the night is our friend and
the darkness our clothing. [160]

The novel is, however, less concern-
ed to illuminate history than to drama-
tize such values as love, forbearance,
courage, honour, self-sacrifice, in con-
flict with their opposites. Ideal love per-
vades the novel. It is presented not only
in the relationship between Tomaso and
Kisanka, replicated in Tamba and
Manda; but also in Kumse's adoration of
Tomaso; in the love between Tomaso,
Kisanka and their adopted 'father',
Tahta; in the love between Tahta and
his 'grandson' pupil, Tamba; in the love
between Kisanka and her adopted daugh-
ter, Manda; in the loyal love of the Spirit
Men for their leader and his wife; in
Tomaso's love for his whole community.
As a romantic model of perfection,
Tomaso shows extraordinary forbear-
ance in the face of many pressures:
he will not let Tahta rid him of the tur-
bulent Lago; he will not accept, not
even from his elite corps of warriors,
an invitation to divide the tribe. Great
courage is displayed not only by Tom-
aso and his band but also by Kisanka
who, though tortured, refuses to be-
tray the liberation; and Tamba who,
though fearful, returns to the scene
of his cruel rejection. Self-sacrifice is
variously enacted or proposed: by Kis-
anka, Kumse, Manda, Tahta, Tomaso;
even, equivocally, by Lago.
In Lago the name suggests lago,
another malevolent man we have the


antithesis of the novel's projected ideals.
He is a creature of hate. Though not
devoid of courage, he has been found
wanting under extreme pressure; he has
been more than once a traitor. Repeated-
ly imaged as snake, devil, monster, 'a
thing of evil' [43], he is, from early in
the book, a physical and moral cripple.
Consumed by jealousy, he does not care
to be reminded that once he saved Tom-
aso's life. But, villain as he is, he is not
without a trace of decency. Ashamed
of having fathered an imperfect child, at
least he lets her live, and he provides for
her. When at the end, he asks a boon -
'tell her not that I, whom you call trai-
tor, was her father' [162] he seems to
be concerned for her happiness. In
volunteering for a very dangerous mis-
sion, he represents himself as hating
still: 'Perhaps my thirst for revenge on
the bakra is much mightier than my
hatred for thee, blood-brother'. [162]
He is willing, for the moment, to neglect
his private war. Like a kamikaze pilot,
Lago delivers the goods. '. .Thus Lago
had redeemed himself.' [163] Redeem-
ed himself, incidentally, from being
killed at last by Tomaso. The air is
heavy with irony.

The fate of the hero, warrior-chief
Tomaso, is also often ironic. Though
he has suffered greatly at the hands of
whites, he does not generalize from the
experience. To most of his community
white faces are a nightmare, 'associated
with slave pens, beatings, tortures, and
death'. [89] But Tomaso entertains the
notion 'that there are now some good
bakra down there on the plains'. [61]
Concerned for his albino son, he knows
- and he hopes that others will find
- 'that the Spirits of Goodness and
Greatness make their beds into the
bodies of men without first looking at
their skins'. [54] A liberal, he pro-
mulgates a law of restraint in the con-
duct of war against the whites. So when,
in spite of assurances to the contrary,
young Quame has been fed alive to
the ants, Tomaso's humane decree
seems insupportable. He takes imme-
diate dignified action: He gives up the
title of chief. But, ironically, Tomaso's
honourable resignation only makes
things worse. For under the figurehead
chief, M'Ango, the elders are rarely
consulted, the community's agriculture,
health and security are foolishly neg-
lected. When fever breaks out in the vill-

age, 'due perhaps to contaminated water'
[75], the Lago-inspired whispers blame
illnesses and death on the albino, the
dundoes (dundus), 'the strange picni'
who looks white. Tomaso and his family
are driven into exile. But the com-
munity's hostility to whiteness 'White
is evil' [75] is only one of three main
factors which combine to work against
Tomaso. The other two community
neglect and the fact that Lago remains
alive are among the consequences of
his own humane decisions.
In Black Albino the contest between
good and evil is often imaged as actual
physical conflict.
'What shall it be, my snake-tongued
brother?' the chief asked him almost
softly. Bullneck knew the crowd's ears
were perched to hear his reply.
'Let it be machetes. Cripple as
I am I fear thee not.'
'So be itl' replied Tomaso, and
as he said the words a machete was
placed in his hands.
Lago had already drawn his from its
bark scabbard at his side. As the
warriors pushed the people back so as
to give the two fighting room, and
Lago nervously and eagerly grasped
the weapon tightly in his hand, Tom-
aso looked at his enemy, then threw

A Novel by Neville Dawes

"INTERIM is a well written
book, well worth reading...
... one must credit the author with providing us with
an exciting story and coming out on top with his fine
style of writing." Archie Lindo, The STAR.

"Few books can delight as INTERIM in its exhilar-
ating description of country life and its searching of
the rural tapestry of Jamaica in all its rich wit and
wisdom; spun for us by a highly skilled raconteur ...
Yet the book is not all fun and games, the city is
waiting and so is Politics.
INTERIM is a well-written and intricately structured
work . it unemphatically explores three attitudes
to the universe: 'Christian, Existentialist and Marxist'.
To me it seems one of the finest of Jamaican novels."
Mervyn Morris

"Dawes has created a masterpiece in INTERIM ...
the theme of a Jamaican people struggling for an
existence and identity ..." Joy Scott, DAILY NEWS

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in Jamaica only

Post paid overseas

; J$10. U.S.$7.20
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"Invaluable as THE JAMAICANS is
for the Jamaican, it is equally so,
and as instructive for the non-
Jamaican West Indian reader.
-.... The outstanding merit of the
-: Jamaicans, lies in its arti-
S culation of the Jamaican
feeling .... The author of
J 'g NEW DAY and THE
': LEOPARD has done his
country and his countrymen
distinguished service." -The BAJAN,
January 1979
Little is known outside of the Caribbean of
the part played by the Jamaican guerilla Juan de
Bolas in the adventure which established the English
in Jamaica. THE JAMAICANS is the great ;novel
which provides a magnificent tale of these times.
All books available at

12-16 East Street, Kingston Telephone: 92-20620

down his weapon, and to the amaze-
ment of all, walked over towards the
fire and took up a piece of hardwood
which the flames had not yet caught.
It was scarcely longer than the dis-
carded machete. [64-5]

We know Tomaso will not lose. He
defeated the devil once before, in spite
of an injured hand. As readers of a
romance, we know he will succeed
against the odds. Similarly, young
Tamba, innocent of wrestling, beats
the bully Jo, who is older and bigger;
and as for Tomaso's tiny task force,
they shall overcome. In the world of
Black Albino, though there are casual-
ties of evil, good can be expected to
Lovely Kisanka is a casualty. As pro-
mised, however, she is of vital assistance
after having died. She warns Tomaso at
a critical time 'Go, Tomaso! Go like the
wind to the aid of our people.' It is
Kisanka again, who guides the grief-
stricken Tomaso to where the children
are. At the very moment of reunion
with his son, the damaged hero is mira-
culously restored to normal. The world
is bearable again. Tahta, the wise old
man healer, fighter, devious agent of
justice blows the good news on the
eketeh (akete, bull's horn, abeng), 'and
after a little while an answering talk
came from another eketeh from far
away . "We hear you! God be prais-
ed!"' [196].
Black Albino is a romantic tale well
told. The language of the dialogue is
among the special effects; it is often a
thing of ceremony, bespeaking a society
built on reverences. People are repeated-
ly addressed by name or title. 'Greetings
Little-Many-Fingers-One! Welcome to
the hill of the Maroons!'. [44] Even in-
suits are often couched in the forms of
courteous address. 'Good-day picni-with-
the-old-man's-hair!' [89] 'So! The spirit
has gone from thee, O betrayer of women
and slayer of picnies!' [152] The many
'thee's' and 'thy's', the rhythms remini-
scent of the Authorized Version; the
periphrastic, often hyphenated, phrases
(sometimes akin to Anglo-Saxon ken-
nings); all help to suggest a vanished age
and to remind us that the dialogue we
receive in English is purportedly being
translated from the original tongue.
Some of the simple narrative stra-
tegies work very well: the suspense-
ful delay, for example, in Nahne's re-
porting on the new-born child [27-30];
and the artful withholding of genetic
information that seems to confirm
paternity. But the narrative detail is

sometimes subtler than that.
The author is, for example, adept
at ironic juxtaposition. At the begin-
ning of the book, Lago suggest that
Tomaso, not yet a father, is therefore
less than a man; Tomaso promptly
defeats him in manly combat; and
immediately after Tomaso has return-
ed to the village in triumph, he learns
that his wife Kisanka (for the first
time, at last) has conceived. Or again:
immediately after Tamba's self-ques-
tioning monologue, directed at his dog
'Is not my face good to look at now
that I have covered it with crushed
charcoal?' [93] his private hideaway
is visited by a girl who cannot see he is
an albino. Testing her for vision, Tamba
cries out as though he has seen a snake.
Her panic shames him into friendli-
ness: the ruse had been snake-like, a
threatening surprise. Shortly, a new
section begins: 'Lago was hiding in the
bushes . [100], waiting to surprise
Kisanka; Lago, we soon learn, the un-
publicized father of the girl; Lago, the
character most often called a snake.
There are intriguing areas of suggest-
ion. Kisanka's pimento smell, for ex-
ample. Lago, who causes the death
of Kisanka, is haunted by that pimento
smell: a smell associated with a contin-
uing penalty Kisanka pays for having
refused to be broken as Lago will be,
and was by bakra torture; associated
also with Tahta, the healer, who pre-
scribed the remedy, the avenging psy-
chologist who drives the hapless Lago
into paranoid distress. Or take the coco-
beh episode near the end. It is meaning-
fully appropriate that children who pre-
viously spurned Tamba should, in their
time of need, take to following him, and
should, believing him to be a leper,
choose to acknowledge by physical con-
tact their dependence on him, their
acceptance of him. That they prove to
have been misinformed about Tamba's
actual condition is a wry comment on
community attitudes earlier in the story.
But the success, the value, of this
book does not primarily reside in its
fidelity to history, its recording of
African culture in the Caribbean, nor in
such patterns, meanings, literary effects
as may be less than obvious. Primarily
it works works well as an adventure
story with boldly drawn characters and
a clear-cut morality. Apparently under-
edited, the writing is a little clumsy here
and there. Black Albino is, however,
nearly always vivid. Itself a pleasing
work of art, it could inspire an exciting


1. "Pure" examples of either form are
never found; there is hardly any modern
romance that could not be made out to
be a novel, and vice versa.' [Frye 1957
2. When Tomaso is only 14 [Black Albino,
p. 47] Cudjo(e] and Accomong, who
exist in history, are already effective
Maroon leaders.
3. Yvonne Roy, interviewed by Mervyn
Morris, 15 July 1983.


BEER, Gillian, The Romance,
Methuen, 1970.


BESHOFF, Pamela, "Namba Roy: Maroon
Artist and Writer", Jamaica Journal,
16: 3 August 1983.
BLACK, Clinton V., History of Jamaica,
London and Glasgow: Collins, 1958,
rev. ed., 1968, part. pp. 83-87 and 135-
BRATHWAITE, Edward Kamau, "The African
Presence in Caribbean Literature",
Daedalus, Spring, 1974; also in Sidney
Mintz (ed.), Slavery, Colonialism and
Racism, New York: Norton, 1974.
,Wars of Respect, Kingston: Agency for
Public Information, 1977.
DALLAS, R.C., History of the Maroons, Lon-
don: Longman 1803, reissued by Frank
Cass, 1968.
DATHORNE, O.R., "Africa in the Literature
of the West Indies", The Journal of
Commonwealth Literature, 1: Septem-
ber 1965.
FRYE, Northrop, Anatomy of Criticism,
Princeton: Princeton University Press,
HALL-ALLEYNE, Beverley, "Asante Kotoko:
The Maroons of Jamaica", African
Caribbean Institute of Jamaica News-
letter, 7: March 1982.
JAMES, Louis (ed.) The Islands in Between,
London: Oxford University Press, 1968.
KOPYTOFF,-Barbara Klamon, "The Maroons
of Jamaica: An Ethnohistorical Study
of Incomplete Politics, 1655-1905",
Ph.D. dissertation, University of Penn-
sylvania, 1973.
PRICE, Richard (ed.), Maroon Societies:
Rebel Slave Communities in the
Americas, Baltimore and London:
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979.
RAMCHAND, Kenneth, The West Indian
Novel and its Background, London:
Faber and Faber, 1970.
ROBINSON, Carey, The Fighting Maroons of
Jamaica, Kingston: Collins and Sangster,
ROY, Namba, Black Albino, London: New
Literature, 1961.

Sevilla la Nueva:
Microcosm of Spain in Jamaica

Part II: Unearthing the Past

By G.A. Aarons


The famous Columbus caravels Niia, Pinta and Santa Maria come to
life in these late 19th century replicas constructed in Europe to mark
the 400th anniversary of Columbus' first voyage. The search for the
remains of two of Columbus' caravels beached near the Sevilla la Nueva
site is one of the efforts in Jamaica geared to the celebration of the
Columbus quincentennial in 1992.

The Arawak Presence

key element in the story of
Sevilla la Nueva is the presence of
Jamaica's first inhabitants, the
Arawak Indians. Explorations of
Arawak sites in the Seville area are
another component in unravelling its
The Arawaks had several settle-
ments in the area now called New
Seville and its environs. Among these
can be counted at least three at New
Seville itself, with others at Windsor,
Richmond Pen, Llandovery, Golden
Spring, Lime Hall, Liberty Hill [See
Howard 1950; Cotter 1946, 1954; Tyn-
dale Biscoe, 1953, 1954, 1960; Lee,
1964-8; 1972, 1980; Sherlock] and
Drax Hall,13 all within a few miles of
New Seville. The very earliest of all
in the near vicinity at Little River [de

Wolf 1983] is a redwaree' site, character-
ised by the very typical highly burnish-
ed red pottery with anthropomorphic
and zoomorphic designs [Lee 1980].
Taken together, all these sites point to
a thriving pre-Columbian community
strategically located near ample marine
and riverine resources, on fertile soil
for planting food crops, in a healthy
environment and near readily accessible
resources of birds and animals for ali-
mentary purposes. The chronological
span for these sites is in the order of a
millennium which again supports the
view of a successful adaptation to the
environment that obtained. The Ara-
wak lifestyle in the New Seville area,
as indeed in the whole Caribbean area,
was incontrovertibly changed in the
last decade of the 15th century with
the advent of Columbus and the Old
World people who followed in his wake.

Captain Cotter's interest in Jamaican
archaeology in fact started out with the
Arawaks. Prior to the 1930s, Cotter
had already begun to make collections
from Arawak sites in St. Ann. Some
time in the 1940s along the bank of
the dry riverbed known as Parson's
Gully, running to the west and north
of the Seville Greathouse, Cotter lo-
cated a number of Arawak middens
scattered over a large area [Cotter in-
In Part I [16:4] the government archaeologist
described the historical background to the
archaeological and other explorations now
taking place at Sevilla la Nueva or New
Seville, the most recently nominated OAS
Historic Site of the Americas.
In this concluding part, he describes the re-
search which has gone into the Arawak past
at Seville la Nueva and gives a progress report
on the work which has been undertaken since
1981, with international assistance, to unravel
the mystery of the Spanish cities.

dex, 1946, 1953]. At about the same
time, he located another Arawak site,
about one mile south-east of St. Ann's
Bay and about a mile south of the sea
at Windsor which was quite extensive
and where some Hispanic materials were
also located.
Others continued the search. In the
early 1950s Tyndale-Biscoe [1953,
1954] located to the south-east and
south-east of the greathouse, two
further Arawak sites, one at the
Seville housing estate and the other
to the east of it, neither, however, as
large as the Parson's Gully site. Finally
in 1967, during the construction of the
Windsor housing estate, Dr. James Lee,
President of the Jamaica Archaeological
Society, located yet another Arawak
site south of the original one [Lee
These Arawak sites are of extreme
importance to the early history of
Jamaica as not only do they prove the
existence of the Arawaks here long be-
fore the advent of Columbus, but also
because the early chronicles mention-
ed the existence of a large Arawak vil-
lage, 'Maima', within close proximity
of the beached caravels between 1503-4
and the city of Sevilla la Nueva itself,
and it is possible that one of these sites
may be attributable to this 'Maima'
[Cotter 1964, Lee 1966-8].
Between 1951 and 1952, Tyndale-
Biscoe conducted excavations at the
Parsons Gully site and among the ma-
terial found was a piece of burned
wood which he took to be the remnants
of a post, thought to be part of an
Arawak bohio (hut). At the Arawak site
south west of the greathouse, at Valley
Pass, he conducted excavations between
1952-9, when he located at least three
middens. These excavations revealed a
large collection of Arawak pottery and,
most interestingly, a fish bone spear
point. Tyndale-Biscoe remained con-
vinced that the Valley Pass site was
'Maima', while Cotter felt it was the
'Parson's Gully' site, [Tyndale-Biscoe
1960]. During 1951, Cotter conduct-
ed excavations at Windsor at the site
some 100' south of the St. Ann's Bay
to Ocho Rios main road. The site had
been previously excavated by William
Goodwin in 1937 and a J. MacFarlane
in 1949. Having first sieved the spoil
heaps and finding some materials ig-
nored by the previous researchers, com-
mencing new excavations, he found a
mixture of Spanish and Arawak arti-
facts as well as African and English,
suggesting that the cavern had been

Model of Columbus' famous caravel the
Nina, located in the Maritime Museum,
Barcelona (From Jose Maria Martinez Hidalgo,
Naves de Colon, Madrid, 1968).
utilised by various groups at different
times [Cotter, indexJ.
On 3 December 1957, Tyndale-
Biscoe visited the Windsor Hotel midden,
on the other side of the estate road lead-
ing to the Windsor estate and excavated
a skeleton but was unable to distinguish
its racial origin [Tyndale-Biscoe 1960].
Between 1966-8, Dr. James Lee re-
located three Arawak sites at NewSeville
and the Windsor Cavern and Hotel
Middens at Windsor, mapped them and
conducted surface collections thereon
as well as at the Windsor Housing
Estate. Lee felt that 'Maima' could be
identified with the Windsor sites because
of the high incidence of associated
Spanish pottery as compared with the
sites at Seville [Lee 1966-8]. The exact
identification of 'Maima' with the
'New Seville' or 'Windsor' Arawak
sites still remains open to question and
will only be resolved through further
careful excavation.

Recent Fieldwork on the Spanish

In 1981 after an eight-year hiatus,
historical archaeology was recommended
at the NewSeville site, with international
cooperation and assistance.
The work being undertaken has three
1. To continue the search to locate the
remains of the caravels of Columbus;

2. To carry out field and other research
related to the archaeological aspects;

3. To carry out archival research in
Spain for documents illustrative of
Hispanic Jamaica.

All are geared to the development in

1992 or a major historic centre for
Sevilla la Nueva to coincide with the
quincentennial celebrations of Colum-
bus' first voyage to the New World.

Remote Sensing Surveys
A significant aspect of the work at
Sevilla la Nueva has been the use of a
variety of modern instruments and tech-
niques to help speed up the process of
providing more accurate data of the site.
Remote sensing is one of the tech-
niques which has been used. This method
has proved particularly useful in estab-
lishing the parameters of the cities, as
no known map exists of the Sevilla la
Nueva/St. Ann's Bay area prior to
1690. Remote sensing is a technique
which uses electronic devices to detect
or measure aspects of the earth's surface
features. The results can be helpful in
showing anomalies or disconformities in
the formation of the land, in vegetation
and in soil and in changes beneath the
surface which might indicate prior dis-
turbance such as settlement by man,
buried objects, cataclysms, etc.
Various instruments can be used,
depending on the information required,
for instance, sonar (sound waves), radar
(electromagnetic waves), photography
or magnetic techniques. Remote sensors
can be surface based, stationary or mo-
bile and usually consist of a sensing sys-
tem to scan or survey the subject, a
recording system to store the inform-
ation received, and an analysis or dis-
play system.
From as early as the 1960s remote
sensing had been used successfully at
Sevilla la Nueva. As already noted, re-
mote sensing in the form of magne-
tometry and sonar had been used by
Marx and Edgerton in their search for
the caravels in 1966 and 1968. In 1968
Professor Edward Robinson of the Uni-
versity of the West Indies in company
with Charles Cotter had shown the
serviceability of a land magnetometer
(which detects buried objects or deposits
because of their distortion of the normal
magnetic field) south of the 'castle'
site. The significance of remote sensing
as a pre-excavation data-gathering tool
was perceived by the Jamaica National

Trust Commission and early in 1969
discussions were held with Dr. Phillip
Hammond of the Anthropology Depart-
ment, University of Utah, to undertake
a proton magnetometer survey. This was
done between March-April 1969 and
August-September 1970, using also a
resistivity instrument to increase the
potential data-gathering capability
[Hammond 1970, 1971]. The magne-
tometer uses radioactive particles to
detect magnetic disconformities while
the resistivity instrument detects resis-
tance under the earth's surface to norm-
al electrical impulses caused by buried

But the most sophisticated employ-
ment of the technique so far was the
use in 1982 of a combination of two re-
mote sensing techniques: colour infra-
red stereo pair photography (producing
a two-dimensional effect), and ground
penetrating radar; these had been pre-
viously used successfully in Jamaica to
study bauxite deposits for Alpart. The
infrared photography senses colour
vegetational changes related to human
or natural activity. In order to speed
up the process of securing a complete
survey of the site and to pinpoint cul-
tural deposits, it was decided to employ
these techniques as modified by Profess-
or Benjamin Richason and Donahue
Associates of Wisconsin, U.S.A. Their
work in Jamaica was to win for the
Government of Jamaica and Donahue
Associates the Council of Wisconsin
Engineers Award for applied engineering
for 1982.
In late September 1982 the entire
area from Drax Hall in the east, the sea
to the north, Priory to the west and the
southern boundaries of Windsor, St.
Ann's Bay and New Seville were photo-
graphed from the air using infrared
photography. In early October, surface
penetrating radar was used to pick up
reflections caused by subsurface struct-
ures and calibrated to a depth consistent
with the deepest Arawak pre-Columbian
sites thus far found. The radar system
consisted of a mobile radar unit, a gra-
phic recorder and a transmitter/receiver
placed in the back of a jeep which was
used to traverse the area which had been
previously subdivided into grids. Results
from both the photography and the
radar were then correlated [Richason
et al 1982]. All the known archaeo-
logical sites showed up on one or the
other or both. The set of anomalies
shown south east of the 'castle' site
have already proved to represent house
foundations. The results yielded by

these techniques are proving invalu-
able in providing the data base for fu-
ture research.

Site Surveys

The use of sophisticated techniques
has helped to provide the background
data against which more conventional
archaeological methods can be applied.
New archaeological explorations of the
Sevilla la Nueva site began with a site
suvey in 1981 under the direction of
Roger C. Smith. Smith, research asso-
ciate of the Institute of Nautical Archae-
ology (INA), Texas A&M University,
had been conducting research into the
caravel as a ship type and in particular
the caravels used by Columbus on his
four voyages.
The caravel was the ship type which
opened up the New World to the Old
and facilitated the circumnavigation of
Africa that proved to be a gateway to
the east. Nowhere in the world remains
a trace of any 15th or 16th century
caravel, none has yet been subjected to
scientifically controlled underwater
archaeology excavation, and no detailed
scale drawing, model, or reproduction
exists from the 15th or 16th centuries,
probably because of the shroud of

secrecy which for tactical/strategic rea-
sons was placed over this ship type by
the Portuguese and Spaniards its
developers. Even its origins remain ob-
Of all the caravels used by Columbus
and all those whose careers can be traced,
the Santiago de Palos (or Bermuda) and
the Capitana beached by the great ad-
miral at St. Ann's Bay in 1503 hold the
greatest potential for research and re-
covery because, unlike all others, they
had not been shipwrecked.
During 1981, underSmith's direction,
the Government of Jamaica/Institute of
Nautical Archaeology undertook a site
survey in order to map the data avail-
able regarding the possible location of
the caravels. This was followed by an
examination of each of the main Spanish
sites excavated by Cotter.
Based on these surveys, some indi-
cation of where the coastline was located
in the 15th/16th centuries has begun to
emerge, and two possible locations for
the caravels identified.
To acquire further raw data, drilling
was undertaken at several points along
the coast and core samples taken. This
was directed by Dr. John Gifford,

Section of the sugar mill which was first excavated by Charles Cotter.

geoarchaeologist (then at the University
of Minnesota, Duluth) and Jamaica's
Caribbean Boring and Diamond Drilling
Company Limited. Gifford interpreted
the core data as showing that there were
three separate sedimentary deposits over
time, the oldest dating from the Pleisto-
cene (or some six million years ago);
successive deposits have built up the
shoreline so that the existing shoreline
is 200 yards further north than in the
16th century, i.e. the shoreline which
existed at the time of Columbus' land-
ing and construction of Sevilla la Nueva
is now underwater [Smith 1982, Gifford

Archaeological Research

Early in 1981 the Government of
Jamaica made several requests to the
Government of Spain with respect to
the provision of an archaeologist special-
ising in West Indian culture to recom-
mence excavation of the two 16th
century Hispanic cities, develop a pro-
gramme on the preservation of the
standing monuments and the develop-
ment of touristic inputs.
As a result, Professor Lorenzo
Eladio Lopez y Sebastian of the Uni-
versity of Complutense, Madrid, has
been assigned to head the Spanish
Archaeological Mission. This Mission is
being undertaken with the assistance of
the Institute of Ibero-American Co-
operation through the Directorate of
Cultural Cooperation and the Com-
mission for Monuments Abroad, Ministry
of Foreign Affairs.
The Mission first undertook a prelim-
inary study of the overall site, including
sample collections, and an excavation
plan was drawn up to show excavation
of the known architectural features and
archaeological sites previously excavated,
which later could be conserved and pre-
served. It is also intended that a parallel
exercise will be an attempt to locate the
various other places mentioned in the
16th century chronicles. Large scale
mapping of the site was undertaken
by the Department of Survey, and
Lopez and colleagues have begun ex-
cavations, recording and conservation
work. A three year archaeological pro-
gramme to study the prehistory of the
site has been started, to culminate in
the development of a museum as part
of the overall historic centre to be
developed at Sevilla la Nueva [Lopez
Up to the end of 1983, the Govern-
ment of Jamaica/Spanish Archaeological

Mission project directed by Professor
Lorenzo Lopez had excavated the fol-
lowing sites at Sevilla la Nueva:

1. The 'castle' site', 'gun emplace-
ment', and an area south of the
'castle' site, east of the Church
River and north of the main road:
'settlement site'.

2. The 'sugar mill' site

3. The warehouse and wharf (in-
complete in 1983)

4. The Parsons Gully Arawak site

5. The Sewage treatment plant site

6. Lineartraverses between the'castle'
site and the 'sugar mill' site (to
be continued).

All the archaeological data derived are
still being subjected to analysis and as
such any conclusions indicated below
should be regarded as tentative only.
'Castle' site

The excavations at the 'castle' site
have reopened the areas excavated by
Charles Cotter as well as excavated areas
not investigated by him. The following

interpretation is presently being sug-

a. The artifactual collection, the 'castle'
site's proximity to more ephemeral
structures, its location and the avail-
able historical data suggest that its
original construction should be dated
to the first, i.e. 1509-1519, city which
was developed around it and it probably
originally served as the governor's
residence as well as the necessary for-
tification. Its present form may reflect
additions made during the period of the
second city, i.e. 1519-34, where it pro-
bably served ultimately as a fortification.

b. The presence, position and size
of fallen brick walls suggest that it was
probably a two-storey structure with
the second storey possibly not being
roofed, but the absence of roofing
material may only indicate the vandal-
ism that is known to have taken place

c. The nature of its construction
material suggests that it is of local origin,
the stone probably being quarried at the
'Spanish quarry' in the hills behind the
greathouse and the bricks locally made
by the resident Arawaks.

The old jail reli of the 18th century English period of settlement t Seville.
The old jail relic of the 18th century English period of settlement at Seville.

SOPHISTICATED TECHNIQUES such as those used to produce these
photographs are helping to unravel the mysteries of Sevill la Nueva.
The large infra red stereo pair photograph of the site shows both the
infra red and radar disconformities. The infra red colour variations
signify either naturally or humanly created anomalies or disturbances
beneath the soil surface. This is clearly visible in the small photograph
- a detail from the larger one which shows the 'Castle site' and ad-
jacent excavation pits highlighted in the top left hand corner.

d. Originally the 'castle' site lay more
than 100 feet from the sea and a now
dried up and filled in tributary of the
Church River ran hard by. It was sited
on a slight eminence.

e. Stratified with material culture of
European affinity is coeval Arawak
material indicating close contact.

f. The structures within the 'castle',
i.e. 'the well' and 'cistern' probably
were used to hold respectively rain water
or spring water and stores.

g. The carved stones were probably
constructed on the 'castle' itself and it


appears that they may have been carved
wholly or partially at New Seville
by a specialist brought for the purpose
using stones imported probably from
h. The structure called by Cotter
the 'gun emplacement' was probably
coeval with the original 'castle' site and
thus with the first city, and is thought
to have been used to hold water.
i. Stratified behind the Spanish levels
are layers of soil suggestive of soil move-
ment and water erosion caused by hurri-
canes and earthquakes over several
hundred years and at least a millennium

before Columbus, and an Arawak settle-
ment site represented by midden mate-

j. The presence of other elements
from the first city has been uncovered
in the form of the postholes and wood
impressions of barrack type buildings.
Immediately north of the castle on a
site known as the 'settlement site' stone
stilts for similar buildings have also been
located. These may have been occupied
by Spaniards, Arawaks or Africans.

k. The skeleton located beside the
castle site is clearly a male (probably

African) of the mid 18th century on
which further analysis will be made in
the near future.
Sugar Mill Site
The excavations at the sugar mill site
also reopened areas excavated by Charles
Cotter as well as many new areas. The
following interpretation is suggested:
a. The recent excavations have reveal-
ed at least two other structures other
than that excavated by Cotter, indicating
that the sugar mill formed part of an
entire sugar industrial complex, the old-
est of its kind in the New World.

b. The other structures are probably
a boiling house and a brick stand for the
coppers used in the sugar manufacturing
c. The material culture suggests that
the site dates to the period of the second
city rather than the first, probably indi-
cating that the city is to be associated
with Francisco de Garay, the second
governor of Sevilla la Nueva appointed
by Diego Colon.

Warehouse and Wharf
Prior to 1983, surface collections had
been done in this region by a number of

individuals but noexcavation had actual-
ly been attempted. The present stand-
ing warehouse and wharf were shown
by the excavations to be part of a large
complex of warehouse buildings entered
from the wharf by a gate and dating by
cartographic and archaeological evidence
to the first quarter of the 18th century
with the individual buildings being con-
structed at different times. Although
incomplete, some of the excavation pits
were excavated below the base of the
Anglo-Afro Jamaican period and indi-
cations are of both an Hispanic and a
post Hispanic occupation.

The Parson's Gully Arawak Site

Excavations conducted here in 1982
excavated a larger area than that done
by Cotter in the 1940s and Tyndale-
Biscoe in the 1950s. While being a shal-
low deposit, this site stretched over a
fairly large area and is therefore repre-
sentative of a large village occupied for
a relatively brief period prior to the arri-
val of Columbus, i.e. for a few centuries
prior to A.D. 1494. It is therefore pro-
bably not the 'Maima' described in the
historical sources which appears to have
been a large centre of longer duration.
'Maima' may be identified with any of
the other three known Arawak sites at
Sevilla la Nueva or that at nearby

The Sewage Treatment Plant Site
To facilitate the local community, a
site selected for erection of a much need-
ed sewage treatment plant was excavated
by sampling in 1982. No permanent
structures were located here but there
was a sprinkling of material culture in
all probability washed down by the
Church River, datable to prehistoric and
the pre and post 1655 historical period.
The Linear Traverses
The two lines accomplished so far
revealed no structures within the pits
excavated but a sprinkling of material
culture indicative of the presence of
Arawak, African and Spanish peoples
post A.D. 1494.

The Site of the Second City

Based on a study of all the available
archaeological evidence, remote sensing,
historical and archaeological data, it is
hypothesised that the square or plaza of
the second Sevilla la Nueva (i.e. 1519-34)
is to be located west of the site of the
Church of Peter Martyr presently be-
neath the cemetery of the modern
Catholic Church. Indeed it is supposed
that the Church's west gate opened onto
the plaza.
The continuing programme through
1984-5 plans to conduct research at the
Church of Peter Martyr, at the ware-
house site, at Cotter's north east found-
ations, at the other Arawak sites, along
further traverses and at least two other
previously discovered sites in order to
add further data to the developing
picture of the two cities of Sevilla la

The Caravels
The Government/Institute of Nautical

Archaeology Columbus Caravels project
has concentrated on remote sensing,
extensive site surveys, mapping and
limited test excavation to isolate the
final resting place of the Santiago de
Palos and the Capitana beached by
Columbus at Sevilla in 1503 and finally
abandoned by him one year later.The
following has been achieved:
a. The position of the coastline in
1503-4 has been plotted and found to
be some 100 yards in places south of
the present coastline. A careful geo-
logical history of the area has also been
developed, delineating the periods of
soil growth over time and their causes.
b, The sediments beneath the beach
and underwater have been tested and
found capable of preservingwell, organic
matter over 2000 years old, indicating
that the wood of the caravels, only 500
years -od, should potentially be pre-

c. The entire area from the old jail
to a point approximately halfway be-
tween the warehouse/wharf and Priory,
on the beach and underwater near the
beach, has been subjected to magne-
tometry, sonar, radar and colour infra-
red aerial stereo pair photography and
black and white aerial photography as
well as visual searching. A number of
anomalies were found and tested and
the most significant has pointed to the
remains of an 18th century English
ship, a 1791 Jamaican sloop and a large
area used extensively for careening ships
for over three centuries. The search for
the caravels themselves has been narrow-
ed down to a few descrete areas and fur-
ther surveys and a limited test ex-
cavation are planned for 1984.
In the interim, Roger C. Smith and
John Gifford, since 1983 co-directors of
the project, are analysing the mass of
data from the 1983 research in order to
come up with even better defined ob-
jectives and areas for the upcoming
Even if only a few timbers of the
caravels are located, this will add signi-
ficantly to our knowledge of these
supremely important ships and will
also aid the proposed replica to be
constructed for 1992.

Archival Research

To complement the programme in
the field, in 1981 also, the archival re-
search programme in Spain was reini-
tiated. As early as the last decade of

the 19th century, Frank Cundall had
started to collect data on the Spanish
period of Jamaican history. He contact-
ed Irene A. Wright, then in Spain con-
ducting research on the early history of
Cuba, and requested her to expand her
research to locate hitherto unknown
documents on SpanishJamaica at the
Archivo General de las Indias (AGI)
at Seville. Wright was successful in her
research and during the first and second
decades of the 20th century located a
number of documents dealing with
Sevilla la Nueva [Wright 1921]. These
documents were translated by Joseph
L. Pietersz who together with Cundall
published in 1919 Jamaica Under the
Spaniards based largely on the former.
Between the 1920s and the 1940s,
Professor Francisco Morales Padron,
now Director of the Centre of Ibero-
American Studies in Seville, Spain,
studied numerous documents on New
Seville, previously undiscovered at the
AGI or elsewhere, and published what is
to date the most complete work on
Spanish Jamaica, Jamaica Espanola
Thereafter, interest lagged as the
commonly held view was that all the
sources has been exhausted, but recently
it has become clear that the holdings of
the repositories in Spain contain a numb-
er of documents which have never been
studied. Because of this and the need to
support the field research, Sylvia Wynter-
Carew, Jamaican Professor of Spanish
at Stanford University, California and
Sergio dello Strologo, UNIDO Consult-
ant, at the request of the Rt. Hon. Prime
Minister visited Spain in order to assess
the availability of further data on these
areas. A number of archives and reposi-
tories were examined and interviews
were held with key individuals including
Morales Padron. A great deal of data
was collected, including some previous-
ly unpublished sources made available
by Morales Padron. On their return,
Wynter-Carew and dello Strologo pro-
duced a monumental report and suggest-
ed avenues for further research. Wynter-
Carew will herself be returning to Spain
later in 1983 to research further certain
aspects of 16th century Hispanic
Jamaica and the proposed Columbus
institute within the Historic Centre
[Wynter-Carew 1981].
Utilising the research of Wright,
Morales Padron and Wynter-Carew as a
guideline, Denise Lakey of the Institute
of Nautical Archaeology, Texas A & M
University visited Spain to collect addi-
tional data on Hispanic Jamaica, Sevilla

la Nueva, the Columbus caravels, and
Spanish shipwrecks in Jamaican coastal
waters. Mainly concentrating her re-
search on the AGI at Seville, Miss Lakey
on being confronted by the mass of
material it was necessary to go through,
decided to limit her horizons to the
latter and located much of great value
[Lakey 1982]. It is proposed that be-
tween now and 1992 further research
will be undertaken in Spain by Jamaican
and other archivists.
As has already been seen, Jamaica
figures prominently in the forthcoming
Quincentennial because Columbus spent
a longer time here than in any other
place in the New World and Sevilla la
Nueva, one of the very earliest of all
New World cities, was founded as part
of the final settlement with the Spanish
crown. Indeed, Columbus' direct des-
cendant still bears the title 'Marquis
of Jamaica'. At Sevilla la Nueva too,
by 1513 there was an African presence,
among the earliest attested in the New
World. For these reasons, the Govern-
ment of Jamaica decided in 1980 to
make a concerted push towards the
development of a historic centre/

national park therein to De ready for
presentation to the Jamaican and inter-
national public by 1992.
To this end, foreign and international
funding and assistance has been sought.
In August 1981, UNESCO provided
Prof. Raymond H. Lemaire to study the
proposals for the development of a
number of Historic Centres including
New Seville as a follow-up to the cultural
tourism proposals of UNESCO's Tun-
nard and Pollaco in 1969 [Lemaire
1981; Tunnard and Pollaco 1969]. The
commitment of UNESCO continued
with the visit of Secretary General
Amadou Mahtar M'Bow in July 1982
with the promise of technical assistance
and aid in the establishment of a num-
ber of academic and research institutions
The commitment of the Inter-
American Development Bank to the
New Seville Project saw the visit and
evaluation missions of Roberto Garcia
Moll and others in 1982 to examine
the state of work done to date and the
progress of the planning process. By mid
1982, the elements conceived for the

development of New Seville were in
place and the OAS proved its strong
commitment to the project by providing
funds to assist in the development of a
pre-project and project plan, through the
visit of deputy director Jose Lacret in
July and the later in the year by design-
ating Sevilla la Nueva, the fourth place
in the New World, as a Site of the

Basically, the developing master plan
for the establishment of a historic centre
at Sevilla la Nueva contains the follow-
ing elements, though it should be made
clear that these plans are still very ten-

Replica city and port which will
have the major museums, art and craft
outlets, and be the focus of the historic
centre/national park with a sailable re-
plica caravel.
Open-air displays of some of the
archaeological sites, Arawak sites and
African villages.

Arrival centre with museums pre-
sentation displays. It is planned to com-



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mence the development of this in 1984/5
as a preliminary museums display.

Greenhouse/mini zoological house
with flora and fauna of the pre and post
Columbian periods.

Columbus Institute of 16th century
century research a residential academic

Restored greathouse as Jamaican
Georgian vernacular antiques museum.

Restored Anglo-Jamaican period
estate with sugar works, copra kilns,
stables and paddocks, sugar mill and
water wheel, pimento barbecues and
other agricultural buildings.

Centre for Archaeological and
Conservation Research to house and
promote the research of the teams in

As the historic centre/national park
will be non-residential except for those
conducting research or working there,
parallel developments are anticipated
for St. Ann's Bay and Priory with addi-

tional visitor rooms provided. The
historic centre/national park will be a
pedestrian district and as such an over-
head bridge will be emplaced over the
present main road. All the above will be
developed in phases, with funding from
friendly governments, international agen-
cies, and the Government of Jamaica.
Hopefully all will be in place in time
to reap the benefits of cultural tourism
in 1992.

1. There has long raged a controversy
whether Columbus' Puerto Bueno
is to be equated with modern Rio
Bueno or Discovery Bay-Puerto Seco
(Dry Harbour). Both are horse-shoe
shaped and within range of 14 miles by
sea from St. Ann's Bay, allowing for
permissible error in establishing dis-
tance. The deciding factor appears to
be the presence or absence of ample
fresh water, available at Rio Bueno
but not at Discovery Bay/Puerto Seco
hence the latter name.
2. The material on the establishment of
Sevilla la Nueva is taken from Pietersz
and Cundall [1917); Osborne [1973];
Wright [1921],and Floyd [1973].

3. There is still controversy surrounding
the aboriginal population of the Greater
Antilles. I have accepted Howard [1969
pp. 34-5] and Morales Padron 1952
p. 20].
4. The location of Pimienta is uncertain.
5. Personal communication from Charles
S. Cotter, 1976.
6. Information on the area uses personal
communication from Messrs. Carpy
and Vincent Rose, 1980.
7. Memorandum of Agreement between
Administrator General and Captain
Middleton Joseph Blackwell and Mrs.
Blanche Blackwell, 1937.
8. Personal communication, Mrs. Doris
Casserley, 1982.
9. Personal communication, Mrs. Blanche
Blackwell, 1982.
10. See Cotter Publications.
11. The Cotter Collection including his
Amerindian and other collections taken
from other sites since the 1930s has
been the subject of a study since 1981
by Robyn Woodward of the Institute
of Nautical Archaeology, Texas A and
M University, to be the basis of an
M.A. thesis.

12. None of the major secondary sources


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____ ___ ___ ___ ___ ____ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

NOV. 0

for Esquivel's colonising mission to
Jamaica make any mention of the two
abandoned caravels except to state that
Sevilla la Nueva was founded in the
near vicinity [Morales Padron 1952;
Wright 1921; Pietersz and Cundall
13. Located during the Government of
Jamaica/UCLA Archaeological Field
School at Drax Hall, St. Ann in Feb-
ruary 1983 near the site of the original
Drax Hall Greathouse.


AARONS, George A. et al, "New Seville
Replica City/Port Royal Surface Col-
lection: An Analysis Towards Site
Testing", Port Royal Project, 1982.
ALBERGA-GRAHAM, "New Seville Develop-
ment Proposal", Kingston: Janaury
ANGULO, Diego Iniguez, El Gotico y el
Renacimento en las Antillas, Seville,
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones
Cientificas Escuela de Estudios His-
pano-Americanos de Sevilla, 1947.
COTTER, Charles S., "The Aborigines of
Jamaica", Jamaican Historical Review,
Vol. 1 No. 2, December 1946.
Archaeological Notes, Jamaican Histor-
ical Society Bulletin, Vol. 1 No. 4,
,"A comment on the Windsor Site,
Jamaica", American Antiquity, Vol.
20 No. 2, 1954.
"The discovery of the Spanish Carvings
at Seville", Jamaican Historical Review,
Vol. 1 No. 3, December 1948.
"Index Seville Dig. Field Notes 1953-
1969", ined. unpubl. ms. Lime Hall,
St. Ann.
"The Jamaica of Columbus", Jamaican
Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. 3 No.
"Sevilla Nueva", Jamaica Journal, Vol.
2 June 1970.
CUNDALL, Frank, "The Story of Columbus
and the Discovery of Jamaica" Journal
of the Institute of Jamaica, Vol. 1 No.
DE WOLF, Marian, "Excavations in Jamaica",
American Antiquity, Vol. 18 No. 2,
January 1983.
FLOYD, Troy, The Columbus Dynasty in the
Caribbean, 1492-1526, University of
New Mexico Press, 1973.
GIFFORD, John A. "Seville Plantation area,
St. Ann's Bay: Preliminary Analysis of
its Recent Geological History", unpub-
lished ms., Minnesota: INA, 1982.
GOODWIN, William B., Spanish and English
Ruins in Jamaica, Boston: 1946.
HAMMOND, Phillip C., "Extract from Cri-
tique and Recommendations, Sevilla
la Nueva, St. Ann's Bay Jamaica
W.I.", unpubl. ms. 1969.

,"Project Proposal Sevilla la Nueva
Jamaica W.I.", unpubl. ms. 1971.
"Stratigraphic and Electronic Survey
1970 Season" (Sevilla la Nueva St.
Ann's Bay Jamaica) unpubl. ms. 1971.
"Stratigraphic and Electronic Survey
29 March, 14 April 1969", unpubl.
ms. 1970.
HOWARD, Robert R., "The archaeology of
Jamaica and its position in relation to
circum-caribbean culture", Ph.D. dis-
sertation, Yale University 1950, Uni-
versity Microfilms 1969.
LAKEY, Denise C., "Preliminary Report on
The Research Project to Spanish Arch-
ives and Museums, March 11-June 5",
unpublished ms., Minnesota: INA,

LEE, James W., Jamaica Archaeological
Society Bulletin 65-3 1965; 66-1 1966;
68-51968; 72-1 1972.
"The Jamaica Columbus Found" Jam-
aica Historical Society Bulletin, Vol.
III No. 15, September 1964; Jamaica
Archaeological Society Bulletin 66-11
and 68-5 1966 and 1968.
S"Jamaica Redware", In Precedings of
the Eighth International Congress for
the Study of Pre-Columbian Cultures
of the Lesser Antilles (St. Kitts 25 July -
4 August, 1979) Arizona State Univer-
sity, 1980.
LEMAIRE, Raymond F., "The Protection of
Historic Sites in Jamaica: Seville, Port
Royal, Spanish Town, Falmouth, Port
Antonio", unpublished ms., UNESCO,
LONG, Edward, The History of Jamaica or
the General Survey of the Island, vol.
I, London: 1774.
LOPEZ, Lorenzo, "Project Sevilla la Nueva:
Work Report Preparatory Campaign",
unpublished ms., Madrid: February

MOLL, Roberto Garcia, "Consideration on
the New Seville Project, Jamaica",
Mexico: INAH, July 1982.
MORALES PADRON, F., Jamaica Espanola,
Salamanca: Escuela de Estudios His-
pano Americans de Seville, 1952.
MORISON, Samuel E., The European Dis-
covery of America: The Southern
Voyages, New York: Oxford Univer-
sity Press, 1979.
OSBORNE, Francis J., History of the Catho-
lic Church in Jamaica, Caribbean Uni-
versities Press, 1977.
-, "The Spanish Church at Seville Jam-
aica", Archaeological Society Bulletin,
73-3 Kingston 1973.
"Spanish Church St. Ann's Bay",
Jamaica Journal, Vol. 8, 1971.
PEREZ, Montas, Eugene, "OAS Mission to
the Project of Sevilla la Nueva", Santo
Domingo, 1982.

PIETERSZ, J.H. and CUNDALL, F., Jamaica
under the Spaniards, Kingston: Institute
of Jamaica, 1917.

"Proposals for Remote Sensing Investi-
gation, New Seville Archaeological Sur-
vey", Wisconsin, Donahue and Asso-
ciates, 1982.
SHERLOCK, Philip, The Aborigines of
Jamaica, Kingston, 1939.
SIBLEY, Inez K., Dictionary of Place -Names
in Jamaica, Institue of Jamaica, 1978.

SLOANE, Hans, A Voyage to . Jamaica,
with the Natural History, 1707.
SMITH, Roger C., "A Proposal for an arch-
aeological Survey to locate the site
of Columbus' two abandoned cara-
vels at St. Ann's Bay Jamaica", un-
publ. ms. Minnesota: INA, 1981.

"The Columbus Caravels Project: Inter-
im Report 1982", Minnesota: INA,

ESCO Report: Jamaica, Conservation
and Development of Sites", Paris, 1969.
TYNDALE-BISCOE, L.T. Commander J.S.,
"The Aborigenes of Jamaica", Natural
History Notes, No. 10, Kingston
May 1953.
,"Arawak specimens from some mid-
dens of Jamaica", Jamaican Historical
Society Bulletin, Vol. No. 10. Decem-
ber 1954.
"The Jamaica Arawak his origin, history
and culture",Jamaica Historical Review,
Vol. IIINo. 3.1947.
"Jamaica Archaeological Notes", un-
publ. ms. (1939-1960) 1960.
VANDERWAL, Ronald L., "The prehistory
of Jamaica's ceramic study", M.Sc
thesis, Milwaukee; University of Wis-
consin, 1969.
WOODWARD, Robyn P., "The Material Cul-
ture of Sevilla la Nueva", Kingston:
unpubl. ms., November 1982.
WRIGHT, Irene A., "The early History of
Jamaica 1511-36", English Historical
Review, No. CXLI, 1921.
-, "Transcription of documents relating
to Sevilla la Nueva in the Archivo
General de las Indies at Seville Spain
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to Spain 1981", unpublished ms., pt. I,
Stanford, California, 1981.


Spanish map of New Seville National Library
of Jamaica.
English map of Seville 1722, National Library
of Jamaica.
English map of Seville drawn by George
Gordon 1792, National Library ofJamaica.

Land Animals

of Jamaica

Origins and Endemism
By Thomas A. Farr

The Jamaican fauna, generally speaking, is not a rich
one; not what one might expect to find on a tropical
island. There are no large, irridescent blue Morpho
butterflies flitting through the woodlands but there are no
poisonous snakes hidden along the trails either. Monkeys
don't chatter in the tree tops nor do you hear the growl
of a jaguar. In some areas, at least, you can hear wild par-
rots screeching and many of us are glad of that. In fewer
and fewer areas you may still see a crocodile slide from a
bank into a river but it is sad that the Ground Iguana and the
Macaw are gone.
The character of the Jamaican fauna has been shaped by
the fact that the island or most of it rose from the sea
not long ago, and any connections it might have had with
other land masses disappeared shortly after. The island was

isolated, but animals did come here, whether by sea, or air
or by island hopping during the Ice Ages. Jamaica is only
144 miles long and 49 miles wide at its greatest width but
ensconced within those dimensions is a great variety of habi-
tats. And this variety has promoted a fauna that contains a
surprising number of endemics.
Endemic species are species that are originally confined
to a certain area which may be as large as a continent or a
tiny island. Some species are known only from a single cave
or mountain top. Endemic species are interesting to biologists
because they may give us clues as to the rate of speciation.
They also provide examples of the ability of animals to adapt
and survive, especially on islands. Darwin's finches on the
Galapagos Island are a classic example of this, and Jamaica's
montane- forest birds, though not as spectacular, are an ex-

ample of the same phenomenon.

Defining Species

Since this article is about species, it might be useful to see
what biologists mean by the word. R.E. Blackwelder in his
book Taxonomy [1967 p.170] provides us with a definition
which seems generally acceptable. 'Biological species are usu-
ally defined as groups of actually or potentially interbreeding
populations, which are reproductively isolated from other
such groups'. This definition has as its critical factor the gen-
etic make-up of the males and females in the groups and it
applies only to animals. Though theoretically and biological-
ly acceptable, it is not much help when one gets down to the
business of actually classifying animals.
Taxonomists, persons who classify living things, rely
heavily on morphology, that is, on a study of the organism's
structure, in separating species. It would be practically im-
possible to prove by breeding experiments that all the species
that have been recorded are indeed distinct, i.e.'reproductive-
ly isolated'. However, such breeding experiments as have
been carried out, tend to show that our morphologically
based system of classification is not far off the mark.
All species arise from pre-existing species and understand-
ing how this occurs has occasioned much speculation, observ-
ation, experimentation and considerable controversy
amongst scientists for many years. Two broad problems
are involved in this question: the conditions under which
speciation is likely to be initiated and the actual genetic
manoeuvring that occurs when species 'A' changes to species
'B'. In solving the latter problem, today's researchers are em-
ploying the techniques of chemistry and molecular biology;
it is laboratory-, not field-oriented research.
In regard to the first problem conditions under which
speciation is likely to occur the condition of geographic
isolation has been considered of prime importance as a factor
since the days of Darwin. In modern textbooks, however, we
encounter discussions of 'ecological', behaviorala' and 'sex-
ual' isolation as well. It seems reasonable to assume, though,
that geographic isolation is the chief precondition that pro-
motes speciation on islands but that the other kinds of iso-
lation can, and probably do, come into operation later.
The Case of Jamaica

There are three ways in which land animals could have
come to Jamaica; over land, by sea or through the air. (In
this discussion, we are not including animals accidentally or
deliberately introduced by man, though there are many.)
The Land Bridge Hypothesis
For land animals to have come here by land we must as-
sume that the island was connected to some other land mass.
For an answer as to whether or not it was, we have to rely
on the findings of geologists. Some geologists believe that the
Greater Antilles of which Jamaica is a part formed near to
Central America on a portion of the earth's crust known as
the Caribbean Plate [Coney 1982]. It may have been thatthe
Greater Antilles were actually in contact with Central America.
However, the North American Plate, on which Cuba is loca-
ted, was moving westward while the Caribbean Plate remain-
ed stationary so that eventually the Greater Antilles came to
the position they now occupy east of Central America.
This formation and movement were going on about 100
million years ago (Cretaceous) and the present arrangement

and position of the Greater Antilles was attained 40 to 50
million years ago (Eocene). Some zoogeographers (students
of animal distribution) believe that animals boarded the
'proto-Greater Antilles' when they were close to or actually
connected with Central America about 50 to 60 million years
ago. (Late Cretaceous-Paleocene).
Yet even if animals did come to Jamaica by this means,
40 million years ago the island subsided beneath the sea,
and remained beneath most of the time for millions of years.
Geologists have concluded this because of the immense
amount of limestone that covers the island. As late as 12
million years ago, even Blue Mountain Peak 'Was probably
below sea level' [Porter et al 1982]. There may have been
some islets here, but certainly there was nothing like the
amount of land there is now. Land animals that survived
would have been greatly reduced in number as well as in
variety. Although there were occasional subsidences, the sea
bottom began to rise about 26 million years ago (end of
Oilgocene) and by seven million years ago Jamaica was well
above sea level, some of the mountain peaks perhaps being
higher than now. A moderate amount of subsidence took
place three to seven million years ago (Pliocene) but by
about a million years ago (Pleistocene), except for some
minor variations in contour, the island had assumed its pre-
sent shape.
While Jamaica was having its ups and downs, so were the
other Greater Antilles, although perhaps more of Hispaniola
was out of the sea for greater periods of time. It seems doubt-
ful that Jamaica was ever connected to Cuba but it might
have been connected to Hispaniola and perhaps Hispaniola
was in turn, connected to Cuba.
The last series of Ice Ages began about a million- years
ago (Pleistocene) and have continued until what geologists
would call recent times, the last warming period having
begun about 10,000 20,000 years ago. The water that form-
ed the ice of the enlarged Polar cap and the glaciers that
covered so much of North America and Euro-Asia came from
the sea. This caused sea levels to be lowered. During the last
Ice Age (there were four in the latest series) the sea level was
lowered 200 feet or more. This would have caused more is-
lands to appear above the sea to the west of us, and Central
America, particularly the Honduran-Nicaraguan area, would
have been closer because more of that area projected above
the sea. At this time, there could have been a movement of
animals toward the Greater Antilles via the additional land
areas and islands, 'Island hopping' is the term usually used.
Ocean Currents

Some Zoogeographers, Darlington in particular [1957],
believe strongly in the possibility of land animals being
distributed across seas and oceans. This would not be by
swimming or for great distances at a time, but by drifting
on logs or other plant parts. This is generally called rafting.
Rafts, huge ones at that, have been seen floating down tropi-
cal rivers and out to sea and animals have been seen on them.
These rafts usually break up soon after entering the sea and
their components either sink or are washed ashore, some-
times far from their point of origin.
In considering the influence of sea currents, we must take
into account the Equatorial Currents of which the Caribbean
Current is a branch. In his classic study, Plants, Seeds, and
Currents in the West Indies and Azores [1917], H.B. Guppy
had this to say [p.74] about the Main Equatorial Current,


Surface currents in the Caribbean sea. (From George Wust, Stratification and Circulation in the Antillean-Caribbean Basins, Part 1, New York:
Columbia University Press, 1964).

i.e. the current that arises in the Gulf of Guinea and be-
comes contiguous with the South Equatorial in the mid-
The seed-drift of the rivers of the two continents, including
some of the largest rivers of the world contribute to its freight.
It bears westward towards'Brazil drift of the Plate, the Congo
and the Niger; and as it sweeps north to the West Indian region
it gathers materials from the Amazon, the rivers of the Guianas,
and the Orinoco.
This implies that plant parts and marine animals could
come here from as far away as Africa, but it is certainly
doubtful that land animals would survive such a voyage rid-
ing logs. In the same book [p.129] we find the following:
'The foreign drift on the north coast of Jamaica, must be
mainly Cuban and Haitian, whilst that on the south coast
would be largely brought by the Equatorial Current from
Trinidad and the adjoining estuary of the Orinoco, as well
as from the Amazon estuaries.'
The present system of surface currents in the Caribbean
Sea has existed since the Isthmus of Panama rose about 25
million years ago. The map above illustrates what these
are. One fact is apparent immediately; there wouldn't be
much of a chance for animals to raft here from Central
America. There would be a chance for debris to be washed
ashore that had come from the Atlantic through the Lesser
Antilles, but not much of a chance of receiving debris that
entered the sea along the northern coast of South America.
Notice, though, how the current coming through the
Windward Passage between Cuba and Hispaniola brushes the
north-western tip of Haiti and continues southwestward to
the eastern tip of Jamaica, Morant Point. The map illustrated
is for April; there is some slight variation throughout the year
that in no way affects the main flow. A map for January
shows the current swirling counter-clockwise through the

Gulf of Gonave, Haiti. Surely we could expect some rafting
of animals from Haiti to Jamaica.

Wind blown animals

Wind certainly could have brought small animals here,
especially insects, spiders, mites and microscopic forms that
resist drying by forming cysts. It seems quite likely that
winds have brought many species of insects to the island
that have not survived. The occasional reports of sighting
previously unrecorded species of butterflies are probably in-
stances of this.
The Greater Antilles lie in the belt of the Easterly Trade
Winds where the winds blow mostly from the east or slightly
north or south of east. When they approach islands, especial-
ly mountainous ones, the currents are shunted, causing varia-
tion in directions. Also, there are onshore winds that move
landward. Jamaica is about 90 miles south of Cuba and near
its eastern end. Its north coast is about on a parallel with
the south coast of Hispaniola. If the winds were strictly due

east we wouldn't expect that animals could come here 'riding
on the wind'. Yet the vagaries of air currents are such that
some that have crossed or brushed Cuba or Hispaniola could
have swept over Jamaica.
Then, there are hurricanes. Between 1901 and 1951, 101
hurricanes struck in the Caribbean area including the Gulf of
Mexico and most of them either brushed or struck West
Indian islands. A storm officially becomes a hurricane when
its highest winds reach a velocity of 75 miles per hour. There
were many other storms during those 50 years that did not
quite reach hurricane force or did so for a short period only
[Tannehill 1956]. Hurricanes have fringing gale force winds
(39 to 54 miles per hour) that may extend out to a hundred
or more miles. When one considers the effect of such storms
over centuries, the statistical probability of small animals
being brought here by wind is enhanced.

A Selection of Jamaican Animal Groups and Their
The annotated list that follows is intended to provide an
indication of the number of species and endemics for several
groups of animals occurring in Jamaica. In some cases, the
group may include several families, e.g., birds and butterflies,
and in some, a single family, e.g., mosquitoes. These groups
have been selected because they have been most extensively
collected in Jamaica and elsewhere in the West Indies. It is
risky to claim that a certain number of species is endemic
for a group when that group has not been well collected
elsewhere. Hispaniola (Haiti-Dominican Republic) has not
been well collected for several groups of insects. Since it is
the second largest island in the West Indies, seven times
greater in area than Jamaica, and has a considerable variety
of habitats, taxonomists, especially those dealing with West
Indian insects, should keep these facts in mind when talking
about the endemicity of the various islands.

Rats or Rat-Bats. 23-4-17*

Central America has been the chief source of bats for the
Greater Antilles; North and South America contributed but
a few species to the original stock [Baker and Genoways
1978]. However, many of the bats that arrived in the Greater
Antilles eventually evolved into species distinct from those of
the mainland. The result has been a high endemicity for the
Greater Antilles as a region. Fifty-two per cent of Jamaica's
bats are known only from that region. Jamaica has insect
eating bats, fruit eaters and perhaps one or two that are nec-
tar feeders. There are no vampire or blood sucking bats
here. One of the island's caves, St. Clair Cave in St. Catherine,
has gained an international reputation amongst bat fanciers.
Thousands of bats roost there, representing at least seven
species, two of which are considered rare.
Cuba has 32 species of bats, 10 of which are endemic,
Hispaniola 17 species with 3 endemic and Puerto Rico 16
with no endemics. These data do not include fossil species.
Other Land Mammals
When the Amerindians arrived here, there were probably
only two species of land mammals (other'than bats), both

*Following the name of each group, you will see figures for the
number of species, endemics and per centage endemicity for that
group in Jamaica. The first number is for species, the second for en-
demics and the third for per centage endemicity.

Blue Mountain Duck (Pterodroma hasitata), now extinct. Illustration
from unpublished manuscript by Richard Hill.

rodents and both endemic. One of them the Coney still
exists though under pressure as a result of habitat destruction
and hunting [See JAMAICA JOURNAL 16: 2]. The other
belonged to a group known as Rice Rats. There are about
100 species of this group, Oryzomys, distributed from North
America into Central America and, curiously, on the Gala-
pagos Islands. A closely related group, Megaolmys, had three
species in the Lesser Antilles, but all have become extinct
within historical times. The Jamaican Rice Rat (Oryzomys
antillarum) was a serious pest of sugar cane and it was be-
cause of it (and perhaps the Norwegian Rat) that the mon-
goose was imported as a control measure. This was in 1872
and by 1900, the Rice Rat was extinct or nearly so. Rice
Rats forage during the day as do mongooses; Norwegian Rats
are abroad mostly at night and so avoid the mongoose.
A most interesting fossil was found in Trelawny in Long
Mile Cave, actually an overhang, in 1920. It is the left half of
the lower jaw of a monkey with two molar teeth still in it.
The find was made about 10 inches to a foot beneath a layer
that contained human, coney, fish and bird bones as well as
bits of pottery and charcoal. One might think, as Dr. H.E.
Anthony who made the discovery did at first, that the
monkey had been brought here by Arawaks. Subsequent,
careful study convinced two mammalogists that the jaw was
that of an extinct monkey which they named Xenothrix
mcgregori [Williams and Koopman 1952]. It was a member
of the family Cebidae, of the New World Tropics and there
are 22 species existing today. Common names for three
groups of this family are Howler, Spider and Capuchin
Monkeys and all three have representatives in Central
America. Today, no species of monkey occurs naturally
in the West Indies and no fossil remains of monkeys have
been found, as yet, in this region except in Jamaica.
Birds. 120 (4 extinct) 27-21

The figure for the number of species refers to resident species
only, i.e. those that live and nest here. There are many North
American birds that winter here and there are even three
South American species that spend the summer in Jamaica.
There are several species that are regularly transient during
the spring and fall migrations. If we include these, plus species
that are rarely seen here, the list would be well over 200.
One of the extinct species is the Black Capped Petrel or
Blue Mountain Duck (Pterodroma hasitata) which still exists
in Hispaniola, Guadeloupe, Dominica and Martinique. There
was also a small Nighthawk or Pauraque (Siphornis brewsteri)
last seen in the mid-1800s. There is one and perhaps two

Jamaican Macaws that are extinct. Even though neither skin
nor bones of either of these two species exists in collections,
it is quite certain that one of them, Ara gossei, did exist here
and was probably endemic.
Cuba has 136 species of resident birds, 21 of which are
endemic; Hispaniola about 150 species resident and 26 ende-
mic; Puerto Rico has 110 resident and 13 endemic.
The ornithologist, James Bond, wrote [1948] 'the West
Indian avifauna is fundamentally tropical North American in
origin'. By 'tropical North American', he meant the southern
half of that continent as it was 20 to 25 million years ago
(Miocene) before North and South America were connected
at the Isthmus of Panama. Indeed at that time much of
Central America south of Mexico may have been under the
sea. David Lack [1975] agreed with Bond but Philip Darling-
ton [1957], a zoogeographer, postulated a South American
origin. However, all three agreed that the ancestors of most
of the West Indian birds were living in Central America be-
fore coming into this region.
Lack had this to say about Jamaica's endemic birds '... in
other words endemism is high mainly in the birds which live
in the peculiar forests of Jamaica, suggesting that it is linked
with adaptations to ecological differences'.
Of Jamaica's endemic birds, the Doctor or Streamertail
Hummingbird (Trochilus polytmus), the two species of Par-
rots (Amazona collaria and A. agilis) and the Tody or Robin
Redbreast (Todus todus) are perhaps best known to the
general public. The Tody belongs to a family of birds con-
fined to the West Indies, Todidae, which seems to be most
closely related to the Mot-Mots, Momotidae, of Mexico,
Central and South America. The Jamaican Brown Owl or
Patoo (Pseudoscops grammicus) is an endemic genus as well
as an endemic species. The Jamaican Becard (Platypsaris
niger) builds a large nest as much as 3 to 4 feet long and 3
feet wide. It is large because the pair that built the origin-
al, much smaller nest, return to it each breeding season and
add more bits of dried grass, thistledown and twigs. Bond
[1974] lists four local names for this species: Judy (for the
male), Mountain Dick (for the female), 'Rickachay' and
London City for the nest. The Jamaican Becard is the only
member of its family, Cotingidae, known OGWide South
America. The jet-black Wild Pine Sergeant (Nesopsar niger-
rimus), a member of the oriole family, is a mountain species
where it may be seen searching Wild Pines (Bromeliads) for
insects, spiders and snails.
The Old Man Bird or Chestnut-Bellied Cuckoo (Hyetornis
pluvialls) is one of our more spectacular endemics, attaining
a length of 22 inches. It is a bird of hill and mountain wood-
lands where it preys on lizards. The Ants Bird or Arrow-
Headed Warbler (Dendroica pharetra), so-named because of
the rows of arrowhead marks on its breast, resembles the
North American Black and White Warbler (Mniotilta varia).
It also resembles the Elfin Woods Warbler (Dendroica angelae)
of Puerto Rico, a bird that was not discovered until 19711
Lizards. 24 (2 extinct) 20 83
There are no poisonous lizards in the West Indies. Lizards are
a conspicuous feature of the Jamaican fauna, especially the
Tree or Bush Lizards of the genus Anolis. Two species,
Anolis lineatopus and A. grahami, are fairly common even in
urban areas, where they scamper about on lawns, trees and
shrubs. The throat-fan display of the male is part of his terri-
torial defense behaviour; it is rather like a warning flag in-

tended to discourage other males from entering his territory.
There are seven species of Anolis here, six of which are en-
demic. One species, A. sagrei is shared with Cuba and it is
the only anole shared by any of the islands of the Greater
Antilles. Cuba has 37 species of Anolis with 33 endemics;
Hispaniola has 30 with 29 endemic and Puerto Rico, 10 with
9 endemic. These data are from Schwartz and Thomas
The Croaking Lizard, Aristelliger praesignis, would ap-
parently like to become domesticated but although it is harm-
less, it is greatly feared and even less welcome in homes than
the cockroaches and insects which it preys on. The noise it
makes is certainly loud and unmelodic, a grating, rasping
sound, not very much like croaking. Males may measure 8
inches from the nose to the tip of the tail. Our croaking
lizard also occurs on the Morant and.Pedro Cays, and the
Swan and Cayman Islands. Four other species of Aristelliger
occur elsewhere in the West Indies and Central America.
The Polly or Pawli Lizards belong to the same family as
the Croaking Lizard, Gekonidae. There are two genera,
Gonatodes and Sphaerodactylus. The Polly common in
homes in the Kingston area is Gonatodes albogularis, about
three inches long, dark red-brown, and when crawling undul-
ates its tail, causing it to look snake-like. This is a widely dis-
tributed, imported species. Five of the six species Sphaero-
dactylus are believed to be endemic.
The handsome Ground Lizard, Ameiva dorsalis, striped
and spotted in yellow, blue, white and reddish brown may
attain a length of about a foot (including the tail). When for-
aging for insects, it moves in short dashes along the ground,
jerking its head from side to side as it pushes away leaf litter.
About 19 species of Ameiva occur in the West Indies (inclu-
ding the Bahamas) and Central America but the Jamaican
Ground lizard is endemic.
The Snake-Waiting-Boy and Galliwasps belong to the same
lizard family, Scincidae. In the English-speaking world these
lizards are called Skinks. They are smooth scaled and glossy
with rather rounded or blunt heads and many have blunt
tails. This is the largest lizard family with some 600 species,
most of which give birth to living young. They commonly
hide in rotting logs, piles of vegetable and beneath rocks.
The Snake-Waiting-Boy, Mabuya mabuya (in older public-
ations, Mabuya spilonotus) is bronze coloured on the back,
with two lighter bronze stripes on each side. It attains a
length of up to seven inches, including the tail.
Galliwasps are sometimes called Snake-Waiting-Boys also.
They belong to the genus Diploglossus (Celestus according
to some authorities) and Jamaica has seven species, all en-
demic. A spectacular Galliwasp, Diploglossus occiduus,
nearly 2 feet long, once lived in swamps, apparently mostly
in western Jamaica. It may have become extinct early in the
19th century or perhaps even earlier. Specimens of it are
still at the British Museum (Natural History).
The other species of Jamaican lizard which is thought to
be extinct is the Ground Iguana, Cyclura collei. There is a
spark of hope that this endemic still exists in the Hellshire
Hills. Males attained a length (nose to tip of tail) of at least
four feet. These lizards preferred dry, coastal areas where
they fed on a variety of leaves and fruits. It is believed that
the species was once common here but man, dogs and per-
haps the mongoose have brought it to a virtual if not com-
plete extinction. Ground Iguanas are strictly islanders and

there are, or were, a total of 14 species in the West Indies
including the Bahamas.
Other Reptiles

Five, some would say six, species of snakes have been re-
corded from Jamaica, none of them poisonous. The en-
demic Black Racer, Alsophis ater, reached a length of about
3% feet and was very common but was one of the casualties
resulting from the introduction of the mongoose. Ten species
of Alsophis are listed from the West Indies, two including the
Jamaican species are extinct. Two species of Boidae, the
Yellow Snake, Epicrates subflavus and the Thunder Snake,
Tropidophis haetianus, are present and though seldom seen
are probably not rare.
The Yellow Snake is known to attain a length of at
least 9 feet, but most specimens are shorter. A prolific snake,
giving birth to 18 and even as many as 35 young at a time, it
has the reputation of being an excellent rat catcher. Now-
adays, it is confined to wooded areas particularly in the
Parish of St. Thomas and in the Cockpit Country. Our
species is endemic and there are eight other species of Epi-
crates in the West Indies.
The Thunder Snake, like the Yellow Snake, is nocturnal,
or mostly so. It is seldom more than 18 inches in length and
very gentle, not attempting to bite even when handled.
During the day it hides under logs, boards and piles of coco-
nut husks. In captivity, it is known to feed on small lizards
[Underwood, 1952]. All of the twelve species of Alsophis
are West Indian or Bahamian. Our species is also known from
Haiti, so it is not endemic.
The Jamaican Grass Snakes resemble the North American
Grass Snakes. They are small, a foot or less in length. One of
them is light brown Arrhyton callilaemus, and the other, A.
funerum, dark grey to glossy black. A third species A. poly-
lepsis has been described from Jamaica. All are endemic.
There is some doubt as to the correct generic name and in
Lynn and Grant [1940] you will find them under the
name Dromicus. Seventeen species have been recorded, all
from the West Indies. Underwood [1952] reports that A.
callilaemus feeds on Whistling Frogs and that he found
empty lizard eggs in the stomach of the same species.
Our Worm Snake, Typhlops jamaicensis, although ende-
mic, belongs to a widespread group known from South
America, Africa, Madagascar, southwestern and southeastern
Asia and there is a species in Greece. In the West Indies, there
are 17 species. The Jamaican Worm Snake is usually less than
a foot in length, polished, dark-grey brown above and creamy
white on the belly. The eyes are covered by semi-transparent
scales, causing it to look eyeless. At the tip of the tail is a
short thorn or spine. The spine no doubt helps this very
smooth snake tunnel through soil, for it is a subterranean
reptile that surfaces only occasionally at night or following
heavy rains. Both eggs and adults of this species have been
found here in the carton nests of termites (Nasutitermes).
The Jamaican Pond Turtle (Chrysemys terrapen) has been
placed in three different genera and has had four different
specific pames. It is an endemic. There are five other species
of the genus in the West Indies: two in Hispaniola, two in the
Bahamas and one (introduced) in Guadeloupe.
For the sake of completeness, it should be added that four
species of sea turtles frequent Jamaican waters: Green Turtle,
Chelonia mydas, the Hawksbill, Eretmochelys imbricata (said

to be the most common), the Loggerhead, Caretta caretta
and the Trunk, Dermochelys coriacea.
The Jamaican Crocodile, Crocodylus actus, is wide-
spread in the Caribbean area and as far south as Ecuador.
Northward it has been observed as far as Florida.
Frogs and Toads. 19 15 79.

The toad and three of the frogs were introduced by man.
Eleven of the endemic frogs are Whistling Frogs of the
genus Eleutherodactylus which has produced many species
in the Greater Antilles: 28 in Cuba (27 endemic), 43 in
Hispaniola (all endemic) and 15 in Puerto Rico (13 endemic).
They are mostly small, an inch or two in length, dull colour-
ed frogs that lay their eggs in moist soil, moss, rotting logs
etc. The young develop completely within the egg, there is
no free-living tadpole stage, and hatch out as tiny frogs.
The best known species to Kingstonians is one that they
seldom see but frequently hear. This frog (Eleutherodacty-
lus martinicensis) was imported in 1890 from Barbados by
Lady Blake, the Governor's wife. She apparently found its
mating call quite pleasant and no doubt thought that others
would too. The other four species of endemic amphibians are
species of the genus Hyla, although one of this group, the
famous Snoring Frog, is now placed by some authorities in
the genus Calypthyla. The eggs of all these species are laid
in the water trapped in bromeliads, called Wild Pines in
Jamaica, where the tadpoles develop into frogs feeding on in-
sects and algae as well as some of their brothers and sisters.
Tree Frogs of the genus Hyla are widespread around the
world and are very numerous in species in the American
Tropics (Neotropics); 73 have been recorded from Central
America (including Mexico) alone. There are about 200
species of Eleutherodactylus, Whistling Frogs, and they are
particularly well represented in Central America. It is gene-
rally believed that the origin of Jamaica's frogs was Central
Land Snails

Brief mention at least, should be made of the island's land
snails and brief it will be because so little is known about
them. It has been said that for its size, Jamaica has one of the
largest land snail faunas in the world about 400 species.
Though none is as brightly coloured as the famous Polymita
Tree-Snails of eastern Cuba, they certainly compete in variety
of form and sculpture. Some are quite large, individuals of
Pleuordonte acuta (?), a flat-spiral snail may be 3 inches in
Notice the question mark following the scientific name of
that snail. We aren't even sure of the correct name for some
of our commoner species because it is so many years since
anyone has studied them carefully and the names have not
been brought up to date. It may be that there aren't as many
species as we think because a single species of snail can vary
so much in shell morphology that several variants of a species
may have been described as separate species. The biology of
some may prove interesting too.

T.R. Hunter [1955], wrote that the snails of the Greater
Antilles share several genera with Central America, fewer
with South America and very few with North America north
of the Isthmus of Tehuantapec. In summing up, he listed
three reasons for the large number of Jamaican and Greater
Antillean land snails: (a) "The provision of a climatically and

Anolis grahami (A Jamaican'Green' Lizard)

geologically 'good' environment for snails, greatly subdivided
into various ecotypes; (b) original colonization by a limited
number of ancestral forms; and (c) isolation, perhaps from
late Miocene onwards.
Jumping Spiders (Salticidae). 26-20-77.

This is one of the largest families of spiders in the world, esti-
mated to have over 2,800 species [Levi and Levi 1968].
They are small, mostly less than a quarter of an inch in
length, very active spiders that don't spin a web to trap prey,
but stalk and leap on it. A common species of wide distri-
bution in the Tropics, Menemerus bivittatus, present here, is
most often seen walking about on window panes or ledges.
Some Jumping Spiders are strikingly patterned in black,
brown and white. A Jamaican species found in mountainous
areas is black with patches of irridescent green.
It is known that a young spider on leaving the nest gene-
rally spins out a strand of silk until the bouyancy is such that
wind lifts it and the spider 'balloons' away. Sometimes it
doesn't get very far but it is possible for it to be carried miles
away from its launch point. Spiders have landed on ship-
board far from land and in collecting from an aeroplane over
the state of Louisiana in the United States, spiders were
found to be drifting along at 10,000 feet. The same species
of spider may occur in several different parts of the world
and dispersal by ballooning may account for this. Man has
spread several species, especially in ships, and nowadays as
'jet-set' stowaways.

I have chosen to include this family of spiders because it is
one which has had quite a bit of attention from spider taxo-
nomists and we have some figures for the number of species
in the Greater Antilles. Although they are from rather old
publications [Bryant 1948 and 1950], they give some idea as

to the size of the family in the region. (Number of endemics
not included). Hispaniola, 45 species; Cuba, 42 and Puerto
Rico, 15.

Flower or Hover Flies (Syrphidae). 56-15-27
Both common names are apt but not very exclusive since
several families of flies have species that visit flowers and are
good hoverers. Some Flower Flies are brightly coloured and a
brilliant, metallic green species (Ornidia obesa), common and
widespread on the island, is frequently seen hovering in the
shade of trees. We have two species here that are often mis-
taken for Honey Bees.

There is a considerable variety of life styles of the larvae
in this family. Some are predators, especially on aphids,
some called rat tailed maggots, live in extremely foul water
and a few are known to attack plants. Flower flies are strong
fliers and large numbers have been observed in what appear
to be migrations moving through mountain passes in South
America, India and Europe.
A recent publication [Thompson 1981] provides us with
some statistics regarding the family in the West Indies. He re-
ports 67 species from Cuba with an endemicity of 33 per-
cent; 38 from Hispaniola, endemicity 25 per cent; 49 from
Puerto Rico, endemicity, 18 per cent; 12 from the Bahamas,
endemicity 8 per cent and 34 from the Lesser Antilles, en-
demicity 29 per cent. The low figure for Hispaniola is an indi-
cation that the family has not been well collected there.
Thompson points out that the Flower Fly fauna of the West
Indies is about 74 per cent endemic to that region and that
the affinities are largely Neotropical.
Robber Flies (Asilidae). 24-14-83.
These flies are predators on other insects and many of them
are large enough to prey on bees and wasps. Some prey on
spiders and have been seen to pounce on a web and snatch
a spider from it. There are Robber Flies that look very much
like bees or wasps; our largest species (Andrenosona avi-
cennae) about 2 inches long is a wasp-like denizen of man-
grove swamps.
An interesting Jamaican species (Eurhabdus jamaicensis),
about a half-inch long with an abdomen as thin as a hair and
paddle shaped wings, belongs to a genus known elsewhere
only from Costa Rica. Undoubtedly, there are more species
of Eurhabdus in Central and Northern South America and I
would guess that it is represented in Hispaniola as well.
Another example of this implausible distribution is the genus
Phellopteron originally described from Jamaica in 1962. A
second species of Phellopteron was discovered in Brazil in
1968 and as far as I know none other has been found.
Of the 14 genera here, five have most of their species in
Central and South America, two have about an equal number
in North and South America, two are known only from
North America, one is known from the United States,
Mexico and the Bahamas and four have a nearly world-wide
distribution. The Robber Flies of Cuba are fairly well known;
there are about 30 species with 27 endemics. Puerto Rico
according to a list published in 1936 had 15 with most of
them endemic but lists published in 1962 and 1970 [Martin
and Martin and Papavero] contain only eight, all endemic.
The reduction in number may have been because a few of the
same species had been identified under different names.
Martin lists so few from Hispaniola that is is obvious that

Anolis lineatopus ('Brown', 'Bush' or 'Tree' Lizard).

more collecting and identifying must be done there before
we can have any idea of the number of species of Robber
Flies present.

Mosquitoes (Culicidae). 66-20-30
Only two species seem to have been introduced by man but
one of these is the Dengue or Yellow Fever Mosquito, Aedes
aegyptii. Five species of Malaria mosquitoes, Anopheles, are
present, and although Anopheles albimanus was the chief
carrier of malaria here, all five were potentially so. The larvae
of at least 14 species of Jamaican mosquitoes have been
found in Wild Pines.
A recent Cuban publication [Garcia Avila 1977] lists 58
species from that island of which 23 are endemic and the per
cent endemicity is about 40.
The Greater Antilles, including the Bahamas have develop-
ed a rather distinctive mosquito fauna of their own, but as
yet there is really no clear indication of where that fauna
originally came from. In their book, The Culicidae or Mos-
quitoes of Jamaica, Belkin, Heinemann and Page [1970]
make this interesting observation: 'Nearly every species
recorded from Jamaica belongs to a separate phyletic line or
group. There appear to be only four groups that are represent-
ed by more than one species'. In other words, most of the
species that occur represent separate invasions.
Butterflies. Several families. 116-17-15.
Jamaica shares many species of butterflies with other West
Indian islands as well as a few with North, South and Central
America. Although seemingly fragile, butterflies are relatively
strong fliers and have been sighted many times flying across
the sea hundreds of miles from land. I have seen butterflies
far from land in the Windward Passage flying along as if they
were over a meadow. These reports sometimes involve swarms,
individuals of which have been observed to land momentarily
on the water, and then fly off again. Swarms of butterflies
have been reported as far back as AD 1272 in Europe.
The Giant Swallowtail (Papilio homerss, endemic to
Jamaica, has been featured so often in books, magazines and
newspapers that it must be the island's most famous insect.
With a wing expanse of up to 6 inches, it is one of the largest
butterflies in the New World and is said to be the largest
species of its family, Papilionidae. The tiny Antillean Pygmy

Blue (Brephidium exilis) is the smallest butterfly in the
Americas. Its wing expanse is less than half inch and it occurs
in coastal areas here. The genus Calisto (Family Satyridae) is
confined to the West Indies where there are 19 species, 13
from Hispaniola alone. Our species, Calisto zangis, has a wing
expanse of about 2 inches and is brown with a large eyespot
underneath on the forewing and a smaller one on the hind
wing. In the male, there is also an eyespot on the upper
surface of the forewing. N.D. Riley [1972] said of the genus,
'Its affinities are thought to lie with some High Andean
genera of South America, but could almost equally well be
with the African fauna'.
F. Martin Brown and Bernard Heineman in their book,
Jamaica and Its Butterflies [1972] concluded that the major
portion of the West Indian butterfly fauna came from
Central America through Cuba, a few had come from Florida
via Cuba and an even smaller number came from northeastern
South America.
Cuba has 158 species with 17 endemics; Hispaniola 145
species with 24 endemics and Puerto Rico 102 with 4
endemics. These figures do not include subspecies.

Hawk Moths (Sphingidae). 40-4-10
Many of these moths are large, some having a wing expanse
of 6 inches and they are strong fliers. Their caterpillars are
called Horn Worms because it is characteristic of them to
have a horn-like or whip-like process at the posterior end of
the body. Many are brightly coloured, for example the huge
black, yellow striped, Frangipani Caterpillar. The large green
(usually) with white diagonal stripes worms that feed on
pepper, tomato, poinsettia, the list could go on and on, are
Hawk Moth Caterpillars.
The moths hover at flowers and using their long tongues
extract nectar. In doing so they act as pollinators. Since the
moths are such strong fliers and since the larvae of several
species are able to feed on a variety of plants, it is not sur-
prising that so many of the same species are present on all
the Greater Antilles.

False Blister Beetles (Oedemeridae). 7 0-0
The common name is not widely used and entomologists
generally refer to these beetles as oedemerids. However,
they do rather resemble in appearance the Blister Beetles


An unusual Robber Fly (Eurhabdus jamaicensis).

(Meloidae) and some species can cause blistering of human
skin. If they are crushed or rubbed against the skin a blister
may form, which though painless, may take weeks to heal if
the area affected is subjected to rubbing, salt water or insect
repellant [Vaurie 1951]. We have had only one report of
such blistering here.
They are not numerous in species either in Jamaica or
elsewhere, but in some areas, particularly islands, they fre-
quently appear in very large numbers. In Jamaica, they occur
chiefly along the coast, seldom venturing very far inland and
are fairly common in mangrove areas.
They are small, only about a half an inch in length, gene-
rally brown and black but some are irridescent, blue green.
The larvae live in decaying wood and have been found in
driftwood; this may be one of the reasons the same species
are found on several West Indian islands. The adults feed in
flowers and may be effective pollinators of some coastal
trees. Arnett [1957] says that our oedemerid fauna 'repre-
sents rather recent invasions'.
Fireflies (Lampyridae). 48 45 94.
Fireflies are actually beetles (Coleoptera) and in Jamaica they
are called 'blinkies' or 'peenie alliess. There is a species of
click beetle here (Elateridae) which is also luminous and its
light shines with a steady glow. The lights of fireflies blink
on and off. The flash pattern and the quality of the light are
courtship signals, enabling the sexes of the same species to
recognize one another.
The number of species here is quite large (there are about
103 in the entire United States) and the number of endemics
is astonishing. It undoubtedly involves not only geographic
but ecological isolation as well. Perhaps sexual isolation may
also have been operating. However, mutation causing a
change in the courtship signalling of the male would have to
involve some response change in the female, i.e. she would
have to recognize the altered signal.
McDermott and Buck [1959] referring to the 'spotty'
distribution of the various species here, have this comment:
'From the evolutionary point of view some of the groups are
still plastic (changing) and the non-uniform distribution is

probably the result of biologic adaptation to local conditions
of temperature, humidity, and soil, mainly because these
factors affect the presence of suitable prey'.
The larvae feed on snails, insect larvae and other small
invertebrates. I suspect some may be feeding on terrestrial
amphipods (Crustacea) which are so numerous in the leaf
litter of our upper montane forests. The adults are said not
to feed, but there is some question about this.

Caddisflies (Trichoptera). 39 28 72
Caddisflies resemble small moths and may be attracted to
lights in great numbers. I have seen them especially numerous
at a trap light along the banks of the Rio Grande (Portland).
The larvae, which rather resemble caterpillars, live in fresh
water and though some of them are free-living, many con-
struct case-like homes. The case may be of bits of leaves
arranged in a plate-like fashion. Others spin silken tubes to
which bits of debris, sand or tiny pebbles are attached and
some cement sand grains or pebbles together. (One such
caddisfly case found in a stream in California had flakes of
gold attached to itl).
The case may be attached to some underwater object or
the larvae may move about in it with only the anterior
portion of its body protruding. Some caddisfly larvae spin
tiny nets in which to collect food and we have a few such
species here. Caddisfly larvae are said to be an important
food item in the diet of some fish and the pupae when swim-
ming to the surface to change to the adult stage, are also
taken by fish.
Jamaican and Puerto Rican caddisflies have been fairly
well collected and though, no doubt, additional species will
be discovered on both islands, we have some statistics for
comparison. Puerto Rico has 35 species with 26 endemics, or
about 74 per cent endemicity. An interesting collection here
from the Martha Brae River near Good Hope was a species,
Orthotrichia cristata, originally described from Illinois but
also known from Florida.
Dr. O.S. Flint who has done most of the collecting and
taxonomic work concerning our caddisflies had this to say
about them:

Hawk Moth

Caddisfly Cases (from Oliver S. Flint, Jnr., The Caddisflies of Jamaica,
Institute of Jamaica, 1968.)

Based on recent mainland collections, the Antillean fauna
seems closest to that found in the upland areas of Vera Cruz
and Chiapas in Mexico. However, this relationship is generally
more distant than that between species of the various islands.
Jamaica clearly has a typical Antillean fauna. However, it is
often the case that the species on Jamaica is the most aber-
ant of the Antillean representatives of a genus .... This may
be due to a separate invasion from a different mainland area, or
to especially strong cases of isolation and speciation from the
original Antillean stock.

Phylum Onychophora. 5 -4 -80. No common name
This group has fascinated biologists for over a century, ever
since it was discovered that its members combine character-
istics of annelid worms (earthworms and their kin) and arth-
ropods (insects, spiders, crabs, etc.). Their distribution is
interesting too, the 65-70 species being found mostly between
the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn (230 north and 230
south latitude) around the world. A few are found as far
south as 420S on Australia and New Zealand. Within this
band, the distribution is disrupted or spotty, suggesting
that many species have become extinct.
One of the first specimens ever collected, about 1687,
came from Jamaica. It was in the Sir Hans Sloane collection
and was thought to be a worm. The first published account
of an Onychophoran was in 1826 [Guilding] and the speci-
mens were from St. Vincent. Onychophorans are frequently
referred to as Peripatus, the first valid generic name of the
group which has been indiscriminately applied to several



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meridae. Part 12. The oedemerids of Jamaica", The Coleopter-
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bats", Special Publication 13, Academy of Natural Sciences of
Philadelphia, pp. 53-97,1978.
BELKIN, John N., Sandra J. HEINEMANN and William A. PAGE,
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the Institute of Jamaica, No. 20, 1970.
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BOND, James E., "Origin of the bird Fauna of the West Indies",
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,Birds of the West Indies 4th Edition, London: Collins, 1974.
BROWN, F.M. and Bernard HEINEMAN, Jamaica and its butter-
flies, London: E.W. Classey Ltd., 1972.

They are worm-like in appearance with 35 to 40 pairs of
stubby legs and a pair of rather stout antennae. The body is
covered with hundreds of tiny warts, giving the animal a
velvety appearance. The colour of the Jamaican species is
mostly a rich, red-brown.
These creatures can extend and contract their bodies to
such a degree that it is difficult to get an accurate measure-
ment of their length. One Jamaican specimen was about 5
inches long but most are about 2 or 3 inches. Their usual
habitat is moist woodlands but a few have been found
wandering about in more open situations. Onychophorans
are nocturnal but may venture out during cloudy or rainy
days from the rotting logs, tree fern boles or moss in which
they hide. When disturbed, they raise the fore part of the
body, and eject from the head region jets of a white fluid
which quickly dries, forming sticky threads.
Most species, including the Jamaican, are viviparous but a
few in Australia and New Zealand are egg layers. Forty-seven
species are recorded from Central and South America and the
West Indies has a surprisingly large number of 13 distributed
over 10 islands. It is strange, though, that none has so far
been found in Cuba [Peck, 1975].

BRYANT, Elizabeth B, "The spiders of Hispaniola", Bull. of the Mus.
of Comp. Zoology, 100: 4, pp. 331 -447, 1948.

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Zoology, 103: 3, pp. 163-209, 1950.
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Missouri Bot. Garden, 69: 3, pp. 432 -443, 1982.
DARLINGTON, Philip J. Zoogeography, New York: John Wiley and
Sons., 1957.
FARR, Thomas H., The robber flies of Jamaica (Diptera, Asilidae)
Sci. Ser. Bulletin of the Institute of Jamaica. No. 13, part 1,
1963, part 2, 1965.
FLINT, Oliver S. Jr., The caddisflies (Trichoptera) of Puerto Rico,
Tech. Paper 40. Univ. of Puerto Rico Ag. Exp. Station, 1964.
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Jamaica. No. 19, 1968.
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tipicos, Academia de Ciencies de Cuba. Institute de Zoologica,
GUPPY, H.B., Plants, Seeds, and Currents in the West Indies, London:
Williams and Norgate 1917.
HULL, Frank M., Robber Flies of the World, Bull. 224, Part I, Was-
hington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1962.
HUNTER, W. Russell, "Endemicism in the snails of Jamaica", The
Glasgow Naturalist. 17: 4, pp. 173 -183,1955.
LACK, David, Island biology illustrated by the land birds of Jamaica,
London: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1976.
LEVI, Herbert W. and Lorna R. LEVI, Spiders and their Kin, New
York: Golden Press, 1968.)
LYNN, W. Gardner and Chapman GRANT, The herpetology of
Jamaica, Sci. Ser. Bulletin, No. 1. Institute of Jamaica, 1940.
MARTIN. Charles H.. 35a. Family Leptoaastridae. in A cataloaue of

--ne senstwulry in
a woman's intimate,
gentle, shy, painstakingly
honest, acerbic, maniac, mercurial.
This is the important other half, the
perspicacity missing from the
current record of the literature of
the Caribbean."- Pamela Mordecai
"Lorna Goodison's first collection
full of good things ... the poems
are without pose or pretension,
witty, sharply sensuous, con-
versational and casually intimate.
The voice is distinctive, and effort-
lessly Jamaican even when she
seems to be writing in standard
English . .They affirm the value
of talk and love between individuals,
and the dignity of ordinary people
and of private visions."
- Dennis Scott Sunday Gleaner
Magazine, 1980

in Jamaica only

U.. $8.00
Post paid overseas

the Diptera of the Americas south of the United States, Depart-
mento de Zoologia, Secretaria da Agricultura, Sao Paulo, 1968.
MARTIN, Charles H. and Nelson PAPAVERO, 35b. Family Asilidae,
in A catalogue of the Diptera of the Americas south of the
United States, Museu de Zoologia, University de Sao Paulo,
MCDERMOTT, Frank A. and John B. BUCK, "The lampyrid Fire-
flies of Jamaica", Trans. Amer. Ent. Soc., 85, pp. 1 -112, 1959.
PECK, Stewart B., "A review of the New World Onychophora with
the description of a new cavernicolous species from Jamaica",
Psyche, 82: 3 4, pp. 341 -358, 1975.
PORTER, Anthony R.D., Trevor A. JACKSON and Edward ROBIN-
SON, Minerals and Rocks of Jamaica, Kingston: Jamaica Pub-
lishing House, 1982.
RILEY, Norman D., A Field Guide to the butterflies of the West
Indies, London: Collins, 1975.
SCHWARTZ, Albert and Richard THOMAS, A check-list of West
Indian Amphibians and Reptiles, Carnegie Mus. of Nat. Hist.
Special Publication No. 1,1975.
TANNEHILL, Ivan R., Hurricanes, Princeton University Press 1956.
THOMPSON, F. Christian, The Flower Flies of the West Indies,
Memoirs of the Ent. Soc. of Washington, 1981.
UNDERWOOD, Garth, "Introduction to the study of Jamaican
reptiles", Part I. pp. 97-105, Nat. Hist. Notes of the Nat. Hist.
Soc. of Jamaica 5: 53, 1952.
VAURIE, Patricia, "Blistering caused by Oedemerid beetles", The
Coleopterists' Bulletin, 5: 5/6, pp. 78-79,1951.
WILLIAMS: E.E. and Karl F. KOOPMAN, "West Indian Fossil
Monkeys", Amer. Mus. Novitates. No. 1546, 1952.
WOLCOTT, George N. and Jose I. OTERO, "lnsectae Borinquenes",
The Journal Ag. of the Univ. of Puerto Rico, 20: 1, pp. 1 -

"One of the most intriguing
collections of Jamaican poems
yet published. ..
... the book is a mixture of miraculously beautiful
language .... It is full of delights." Dennis Scott -
Sunday Gleaner magazine.

"Anthony McNeill is the first and most accomplished
poet to appear out of the 'now' generation of the
anglophone Caribbean. McNeill's solutions over the
next few years will be one of the major achievements
in our literature." Edward Brathwaite

"Tony McNeill's extraordinary poems are at once ...
deliberately controlled, and inwardly .. anarchic.
His verse is high-voltage current burning in a vacuum
bulb of words.. McNeill's imaginative world is
nightmare and beyond nightmare, the edge of being."
-Louis James

J$12.00 -U.S.$8.50
in Jamaica only C ,c S t Post paid overseas
1171 1Oar of Cloud
Poems by Anthony McNeill


12-16 East Street, Kingston, Jamaica Tel. 92-20620

The year 1983 was a gala one for
Jamaican art abroad and at home.
In the United States long-term
planning and cooperation between the
Smithsonian Institution and our Nation-
al Gallery culminated in the opening, in
Washington in June, of the momentous
exhibition of "Jamaican Art 1922-1982".
Britain the Jamaican Trade Commission,
as part of our overseas "Jamaica 21"
celebrations, mounted a somewhat small-
er show nostalgically titled "Remem-
brance"; this featured Jamaican artists
already established in 1962, and ran for
a month at the Commonwealth Institute
in London. Faced with the problem of
having to make his selection from what
was available on the spot, Trade Com-
missioner Norman Rae, who organized
the exhibition, wisely decided to focus
attention on an impressive centrepiece
of 104 sculptures and 129 paintings by
the late Namba Roy, a native son of
Accompong who, while making his
home and his reputation in Britain,
had never ceased to draw on the inspir-
ation of his Maroon ancestry. [See
JAMAICA JOURNAL 16:3 and this
issue] Mr. Rae's preface to the cata-
logue stresses the dual nature of the
Jamaican artistic heritage, and the in-
tegrity with which earlier artists pursued
their search for spiritual realities, re-
gardless of what outsiders might have
been expecting from them:
In putting together this exhibition I
was struck once again by the human-
ism and trust in a God of one kind or
another that runs through the work of
the artists of the 'older' Jamaican
school ...
One finds the influences of Europe,
in technique, in literary heritage, in
attitudes; and one finds the emo-
tional influence of an Africa few had

ever seen but which was strong in the
imaginings. With these, the two most
potent genes in his cultural makeup,
the Jamaican artist sought to express
the nature of the hybrid in its para-
dise, an island that was now home and
not a place of temporary sojourn.
Any visitor will tell you, Jamaica is
unexpected. One would expect riotous
colours in the painting whereas it tends
to be muted, almost somber, as the
artist looks at the human condition
and the eventual painful optimism
born out of endurance with little
choice but trust in a benign influence
here or in the other world.
What of the here and now on the
local art scene? Are Jamaican artists of
today still committed to a search for
spiritual realities? Do they continue to
be fortified by a tradition of 'painful
optimism born out of endurance'? Or
have cosmopolitanism and commercial-
ism continued to shatter the pristine in-
tegrity evident in the early works?
The 21st anniversary of nationhood
is a good time for soul searching I
think we should bear these questions in
mind when looking at contemporary
works but not presume to give defini-
tive answers. For my part I shall leave
such judgement to the writer of this
column in the year 2012, if indeed this
column, this journal, this island, this

world, are still in existence. It is a sober-
ing thought that one will not be there to
see whether the computer age has put
an end to what we now regard as art;
but cheering to think that, supposing
some of the art works of 1983 have sur-
vived, they may be by then ripe for re-
assessment and enshrinement as relics of
a golden age of faith.
Turning to the less arcane topic of
the almost hectic activity observable
on the local scene in the early eighties,
and particularly last year, I may perhaps
more usefully reflect on trends which
have brought us to our present stage, a
destination so distant from our meagre
beginnings. As one who has directly, or
at times, peripherally, for 40 years been
'involved' as artist, or journalist, I find it
amazing to see how much munificience
in terms of patronage and outlets for
showing their work young artists take
for granted today. What we appear to
have now, it seems to me, is an elite, a
sort of 'top twenty' of the art world for
whose favours the small galleries com-
pete. Then there are the rest, in great
numbers; many of them, these days,
women; many of them foreign residents;
all of them able without any difficulty
to find a niche, if only through the
Jamaica School of Art shows or the

L' Ewa

open door policy of the Upstairs Down-
stairs Gallery; and what a wonderful
opportunity for young artists those
mammoth historical land markers are.1
In Kingston and St. Andrew there are
four other, somewhat smaller com-
mercial galleries which concentrate main-
ly on one man or small group shows.
Judging by the red stickers one sees
decorating works at these shows, the
art market is in a flourishing state, des-
pite the current economic down turn.
One wonders less at this phenomenon
if one takes into consideration the effer-
vescent spirit of 1981 and the possibility
that individual collectors are now buy-
ing art as an investment; as they were
said to have done at the start of the
middle-class migration in the mid seven-

There are several phenomena which
deserve to be researched by sociologists:
the proliferation of commercial galleries
in Kingston accompanied by a renewal
of the pulse of life in resort areas which
has resulted from revival of our tourist
industry is only one of them; one ob-
serves also healthy signs such as the
emergence of a little quarterly, Arts
Jamaica, strongly supported by a pres-
tige type of advertising; the publication
of a monograph on Carl Abrahams; the
promotion of a competition for mural
designs for Jamaica's two airports. The
most significant factor has been the new
phenomenon of the recognized'collector'
as a distinctive entity; this may be an
individual of refinement or corporation.
The result has been the evolution of a
new type of show spotlighting collect-
ions, as in the Upstairs Downstairs
"Art 21" show, which was sponsored
by Citizens' Bank and featured select-
ions from their collection. The showing
of such collections has been a part of
National Gallery policy since the late
seventies. In fact it seems that art now
rivals sport as an object worthy of con-
sideration for large scale, generous pri-
vate sector philanthropy. An outstand-
ing example in 1983 was the Carreras
Group of Companies Print Division

sponsorship of the National Gallery's
"Male and Female Created He Them";
this made possible the production of an
attractive catalogue with colour repro-
ductions. Many other firms have in re-
cent years produced calendars with re-
productions of Jamaican art along the
lines of the 1983 calendar put out by

Ever since the establishment of the
Bolivar Gallery in 1967, an event which
brought contemporary chic to the Half
Way Tree area, there has been a prolifer-
ation of small uptown commercial
galleries, some shortlived, others sur-
viving into the eighties and taking on a
new lease of life. One recurrent decimal
has been the ideal of an 'artists' gallery',
run by an artist or group and sympathe-
tic to the problems of\fellow artists.
Examples of this ideal in practice have
been the John Peartree Gallery, the Up-
stairs Downstairs, and of the gallery run
by Barrington Watson, which after a re-
moval in 1983, featured revivals of past
masters Parboosingh and Roger Mais.
The Bolivar, undergoing something of a
moulting period in the late seventies
due to the exodus of its elitist clientele,
made a comeback to its former elegance

and air of distinction; the wide range of
shows for 1983 included works by
Winston Patrick [Reviewed JAMAICA
JOURNAL 16:2], David Pottinger and
Zaccheus Powell, Lisa Remeni and,
as a complete contrast, the abstract
works of Hope Brooks, just returned
from a period of study abroad.
Most galleries did in fact keep up a
steady pace throughout 1983, and one
wonders at the stamina of some artists
who maintained a presence at major
shows and managed in the same year to
show at the Frame Centre or Bolivar
and also at one of the galleries on the
north coast.2
The Mutual Life Gallery, occupying
the mezzanine floor of the multi-storied,
modern headquarters of the Mutual Life
Insurance Company, is a good example
of the happy interplay of two principles,
cooperative and capitalist. Space for the
gallery was donated in response to a
plea from the Jamaican Artists and
Craftsmen Guild. Artists are constitu-
tionally bad at maintaining a presence in
business affairs, and the Guild has lost
some of its initial enthusiasm for man-
agement. It takes flair, persistence, toler-
ance and goodness knows what else to

Kenneth Williams,
Family Affair 1982.
Height: 18"
The Artist's Collection.

keep an art gallery running and Pat
Ramsay a guild director who took over
in 1980, seems to have what it takes.
Big names in the roster for 1983 inclu-
ded Albert Huie, Ralph Campbell,
Christopher Gonzalez, Jim Treder, June
Bellew, Richard Von White. The force
of the year was probably the serial
'environmental abstractions' of Karl
(Jerry) Craig, whose graphics showed
off his designers skill to the full while
most viewers found his particular amal-
gam of craft and romanticism very
much to their liking. Galleries like the
Mutual Life pursue a policy of pleasing
a variety of tastes. One has the feeling
that the Frame Centre, an up and com-
ing venue, represents the particular,
discriminating, quirky choice of one
person, the proprietor. Each approach
is valid, helping to give a particular,
recognizable personality to the gallery
which habitues appreciate.a

If the Mutual Life Gallery carried the
palm for popularity in Kingston, the
success story of the north coast con-
tinues to be Harmony Hall. Here again
one sees a wide range of artists, yet
there remains a certain characteristic
flavour, which is hard to define, not
quite touristic, but never 'heavy', and
veering towards the precious at times.
Director Anabella Ogden coordinates an
enthusiastic panel of friends, each of
whom seemed to have contributed, in
addition to enthusiasm, a particular
skill. The business side of the venture
is in the hands of Peter Proudlock,
architectural consultant is Ben. Eales,
Jonathan Routh and Graham Davis
are contributing artists and Dawn
Scott, known for her batik composi-
tions, which rival expressive paintings,
resourcefully came up with designs
for the fretwork. Looking at Harmony
Hall today, it takes some imagination to
picture how it must have appeared when
Anabella and her team first had the idea
of restoring it, exposing the old stone
work, and transforming it into the great-
house it may once have been, only
prettier. Sunday 'openings' at this

venue are more fun than in stuffy old
Kingston and each show draws in a regu-
lar clientele of city folk. Located near
to Couples formerly Tower Isle Hotel
- it is ideally located on the main
coastal route; an added inducement to
artists, if one is needed, is the likeli-
hood of attracting the notice of a visitor
from the U.S.A. or Europe who just
may be an art gallery proprietor in
search of fresh talent. In December
Harmony Hall celebrated its second
birthday with a group show which in-
cluded many mainstream artists of note:
George Rodney, David Boxer, Judy Ann
McMillan, Stanley Barnes, Carl Abrahams,
Barrington Watson, Dawn Scott and
Gene Pearson who, in a show with
Christopher Gonzalez, had mounted a
fascinating collection of ceramic sculp-
ture and pots.
Harmony Hall also offers attractive
crafts including the well-known 'Anna-
bella boxes'. Now there are plans for
producing a series of full colour posters.
The annual show devoted to intuitives4
has done much to establish the parti-
cular character of Harmony Hall and
works by this group are shown, with
some 'regulars' like George Rodney, all
the year round.

Following in the wake of Harmony
Hall are two newer galleries which have
come on the scene to take advantage of
the revival of tourism: The St. Ann's
Bay Gallery and the Frame Centre in
Ocho Rios.

This rapid fire account of activity on
the Jamaican art scene would be incom-
plete without reference to the new
National Gallery (featured in the pre-
vious issue of JAMAICA JOURNAL).
Here, as in the body of work being
shown by artists today, the key word is
professionalism. The art collection taken
over by the National Gallery contained
.many precious items, and is a lasting
tribute'to the enthusiasm of those great
pioneers of taste and patronage, notably
Edna Manley, Robert Verity and Burnett
Webster. However, haphazard collecting
and a coherent, professional policy of
museum management are quite different
ballgames. How lucky for the National
Gallery in its period of inauguration to
obtain the dedicated service of a man
like David Boxer, who is at the same
time, historian, distinguished artist and
connoisseur. Who could have conceived,.
back in 1975, or even in 1980, before
the removal of the gallery from Devon

House to the Kingston Mall, the order,
the harmony, the true stylishness that
now prevails? To achieve coherence
takes imagination and a personal vision
of how things should be done. Dr.
Boxer has done more than catalogue
and maintain what the National Gallery
inherited from the Institute. What he
has done is initiate a coherent museum
policy. Even so the great problem of
shortage of funds still remains. Without
extensive and increasing private sector
involvement, for instance in the print-
ing of catalogues and in the programme
of outreach to schools, the National
Gallery would perhaps have to simply
shut down Even so, the funds available
for acquisitions simply cannot keep up
with the need to maintain a represent-
ation of the cream of contemporary
The year 1983 was the year in which
the potentialities of the downtown
Gallery really began to tell. There was,

of course, a basic source of interest in
the permanent collection and the Kapo
collection; also the viewer could take
in one or two smaller temporary shows
such as the collection of works by artists
sponsored by the Venezuelan Embassy.
But the year's fireworks really were in
full glory for the main thematic show of
the year, "Male and Female created He
Them" followed almost immediately
by a mammoth and splendid Annual
show. Here viewers had a chance to see
many of the major works shown in com-
mercial galleries through the year.5
How silly are the current arguments
over the rival merits of the free for all
policy (sometimes joined as in the mid
year show) of the semi official shows at
the Upstairs Downstairs Gallery and the
curatorial discretion exercised at the
National Gallery. Both policies have
their function in our society. In both
cases unknown artists have a chance
of being represented and launched.

Shows put on by the Jamaica School of
Art at the Cultural Training Centre
provide one bird's eye view of the talent
pool; besides, being born hustlers, artists,
or would be artists are never shy about
exposing their work to museum or gal-
lery personnel, though they might be
well advised sometimes to be more
moderate in pricing their works!
Jamaica must have, in proportion to
its population, the largest head count of
artists in the world. Crescencia Leon
Medhurst has pointed out, in a remi-
niscent article looking back to a youth
spent in the heyday of the Contem-
porary Jamaican Artists Association, the
prevalence of the middle-class resistance
to art as a career, this probably still
exists, in spite of the high prices com-
manded today by the 'top twenty', and
in spite of the academic aura of the
Cultural Training Centre.6 But most of
our artists come from a stratum below
the security/comfort level; to them the

act of hanging in there till one can as-
cend the golden stairs to the realm of
the immortals seems a pretty good
security risk.
What I see when I look back 40 years
to the time of our unpromising begin-
nings as an artistic community, is a pro-
cess of friction between two ideals;
these may be rather simplistically identi-
fied as 'high culture' and commercial-
ism or, if you like, God and Mammon.
About 39 years ago, when I had my
very first show, God was pretty well
established in the precincts of the
Institute of Jamaica; Mammon was
hardly strong enough to raise its head,
being represented by a small gallery
associated with Esther Chapman and
the West Indian Review and run by an
esthetic Englishman named Ken Street.
Mammon did not seriously challenge
the high culture of East Street (Institute
of Jamaica, Junior Centre, British Coun-
cil) until the appearance of Hills Galleries
- with outreach to the north coast -
in the mid fifties; and by then the first
abortive attempt of artists to do their
own thing was already failing. For that
idealistic group forming the Jamaican
Artists Cooperative was doomed to
failure in the market place of the
Victoria Crafts Market. However could
such high thinking individuals compete
with the basket vendors?
The story of these early years re-
mains to be recorded. There were so
many trials and failures, but through it
all there persisted that national Anansi
will to pick oneself up and try again,
even if it meant getting giddy in the pro-
cess of holding on to two apparently
contradictory ideals at the same time or
turn and turn about. Our present sys-
tem of art exposure and patronage,
similar though it is in some respects
to what exists in many metropolitan
centres, bears the marks of our nation-
al character which is, of course, very
much the result of our history. Our
ritualistic 'openings' for instance, so
much part of our life style, are un-
equally our own; they may on occa-

sion be boring but they have their
rationale in our system of patron-
age and ideas of morale-raising social
'occasion'; if we abandon them for a
more impersonal 'preview', we shall be
that much the poorer.

1. Upstairs Downstairs Gallery hosted
two special celebratory shows this
year (1) The Festival Show and (2)
Art 21, which was sponsored by and
featured the art collection of Citizen's
2. Christopher Gonzalez, for instance,
was featured at the Mutual Life and at
Harmony Hall.
3. Shows at the Frame Centre in 1983
included Kofi Kayige, Milton George
and Samere Tansley.
4. Intuitives who may be seen at Harmony
Hall are: Kapo, 'Brother' Everald
Brown, -Albert Artwell, Alan Zion,
'Doc' Williamson, Sylvester Woods,
Phanel Toussaint and William Joseph.
5. The other thematic show for 1983 was
"Art and Dance".
6. "Remembering Parboosingh" by Cre-
sencia Leon Medhurst, Daily Glener,
6 December 1983.
Gloria Escoffery, O.D. is artist, poet,
journalist and head of the English
Departmentat Browns Town Community

By Victor L. Chang
Mervyn Morris (ed.), Focus 1983: An Anth-
ology of Contemporary Jamaiean Writing,
Kingston: Caribbean Authors Publishing Co.
Ltd., 1983.
n his Foreword, Mervyn Morris, the
editor, makes the point that Focus
1983' is an attempt to revive a good
idea'. It is no surprise, then, that the
present Focus (the fifth by that name)
stresses continuities in many ways. For
instance, it retains a similar format,
though it is far more attractively type-
set and easier on the eyes than any of its

predecessors. In terms of content, too,
it retains the heavy bias towards poetry
- for obvious reasons, I suppose, since
prose takes up more space with some
42 poems to 15 prose items. (The pre-
vious numbers of Focus have three
poems to every prose piece, on an ave-
The contributors to this volume, too,
'belong to no narrow literary movement
or clique bound by a particular theory
of poetry or prose', to quote Henry
Fowler from the 1956 Focus. Indeed,
it can be said that Focus 1983 displays a
wider cross-section of Jamaican writing
than ever before. Louise Bennett, for
example, has not appeared in Focus be-
fore this, nor has anything faintly ap-
proaching dub poetry.
Finally, Focus 1983 specifically
makes its links with the past by its dedi-
cation to the founding editor of the pre-
vious volumes, Edna Manley, and by its
inclusion of poems by George Camp-
bell who appeared in the first Focus
and in every subsequent one as well.
While no clear editorial guidelines
were established for the previous num-
bers of Focus, there is no doubt that
nearly all of the writers, in the first
two numbers at least, belonged to or
shared an interest in the nationalist
movement of the 1930s involving the
Manleys. Among these were George
Campbell, Roger Mais, M.G. Smith, H.
D. Carberry and P.M. Sherlock. Edna
Manley tells us that all the writers of
the Focus group were 'involved and
inspired by politics in the broadest
sense', and this lent a certain coher-
ence to the writing in Focus.
With an ancestry of such signifi-
cance and after such a long hiatus (the
last Focus appeared in 1960) any editor
of Focus 1983 is bound to be faced
with problems because it is very tempt-
ing to include every writer of any signi-
ficance over the past twenty-odd years.
Further, is one to include writers who
have already established themselves or
should one have only unpublished,

new work which is interesting, if of
lesser quality? No answer is entirely
satisfactory and I think that in its
attempt to be a compendium of con-
temporary Jamaican writing, Focus pre-
sents us with some very fine writing
alongside work that is much weaker.
The end result is a volume of uneven
quality, though the better pieces pre-
Certainly, the range of both prose
and poetry is wide and reflects not only
the breadth and diversity of the Jamaican
experience, but also the shifting language
continuum along which most Jamaicans
move, as well as a diversity of techniques
and styles.
On the creole side, Louise Bennett's
contribution consists of three prose
pieces involving Aunty Roachy, which
sound as if they were originally radio
scripts from her show. I find them not
as funny nor as resonant as her best
poetry because she is cramped by the
persona of Aunty Roachy and tends
to be more moralistic and heavily didac-
tic. This weakness shows itself clearly
in "Jamaican Philosophy".
Phoebe Chang uses the form of the
Anansi story in "Dis Women's Work"
to convey the message that men sel-
dom realize how much work women
have to do around the house. However,
the piece creaks heavily and the story
lacks the punch and bite of a good
Anansi story, despite all the trappings.
Most of the prose pieces reveal some
rendition of creole speech but it really
comes into its own in the work of the
dub poets Mutabaruka, Oku Onuora and
Michael Smith. Even on the page, these
poems explode with their forceful ex-
pression of the 'poverty, pain and grief'
of the dispossessed. Perhaps the lines
which resound most poignantly are
those of Michael Smith and there is a
bitter irony in lines such as these:

Babylon on I right
Babylon on I lef
Babylon behine I
an Babylon in front of I

an I an I alone inna de middle
like a Goliath with a sling shot.

The creole pieces raise a further im-
portant question, that of a standardized
orthography for written creole. The
wild proliferation of idiosyncratic ren-
derings of the creole can lead to un-
necessary confusion and lack of com-
prehension. Is there, for example, any
reason for cute, cool, colour and con-
fusion to be spelled kute, kool, kolor,
and kanfushan? There seems to me little
sense, too, in rendering gie as ghey,
touch as tuch, pants as pence, fire as
fia and tight as tite when there is no
other way to say the word spelled con-
There are several thematic threads,
too, that run through the volume such
as the conflict between youth and
age, country and town, past and pre-
sent, man and woman. One of the most
significant ones is the theme of oppres-
sion which manifests itself in varied ways
both in the prose as in the poetry. Thus,
Sandra Minott's "Walking Home" deals
with the ultimate in male oppression
of the female: a chance encounter and
rape. The style is spare, stripped and
direct, with nothing to hide the ugli-
ness of the act.
We see another type of oppression in
James Carnegie's "Running Away", in
Yvonne Sobers's "Claire", and in Olive
Senior's superb "The Boy Who Loved
Ice Cream". This is the oppression of
children by adults, whether they are
harsh parents, bullying teachers or mis-
guided do-gooders like Miss Morgan in
"Claire" who tries to restructure a young
girl's life and personality. In Olive
Senior's story, the oppression is not
only in the person of the father but also
in the situation itself. Benjy's passion-
ate yearning for his first taste of ice cream
is a kind of quest and a kind of passage
to maturity. When his world collides
with that of the adults, he is losing more
than just an ice cream cone he is being
initiated into the pain of existence.
Both Robert Lee's "The Choice" and

Joe Pereira's poem for Walter Rodney
depict oppression of yet another kind:
that of political systems where the man
who carries the gun has the final say.
Both pieces end tragically and bru-
tally; and both have a lot to say about
revolution in the Third World.
There are many other fine pieces in
Focus 1983 and one can only mention
in passing the great pleasure one had
from the poems by Edward Baugh,
Lorna Goodison, Pamela Mordecai and
Velma Pollard. Though one may have
reservations about some of the selections,
there can be no denying that the appear-
ance of Focus 1983 'is an important
and impressive literary event' to quote
again from the 1956 Focus. I look for-
ward eagerly to the next Focus present-
ly being compiled.

Victor Chang is a lecturer in the Depart-
ment of English, University of the West
Indies, Mona.

By Noel G. Dexter

John Sealy and Kristen Maim, Music in the
Caribbean, London: Hodder and Stoughton,

ohn Sealy, teacher and writer, and
Kristen Maim, ethnomusicologist
and former assistant director of
the Trinidad and Tobago Folklore Ar-
chives, are the authors of this book,
and there is a short introduction by the
famous Trinidadian Calypsonian "The
Mighty Chalkdust" (Hollis Liverpool).
As its title suggests, this volume brings
to our attention the music of the Carib-
bean region, which the authors see as a
synthesis of influences which have come
out of our history. The book first tries
to answer the question 'Where did our
music come from?' and then looks at its
various stages and forms; for example,
music in religion, music at work, etc. It
is obviously intended for use in schools,
and is arranged like a standard school

text with exercises at the end of each
chapter; and a glossary at the end of the
book. It is also illustrated.
As a text for schools, this book is
very welcome, because it is probably
our first attempt to produce a much
needed music text for Caribbean schools.
This first effort does not focus on Euro-
pean classical music, but on the music
which is ours.
The detailed discussion of Steel-
band Music, Trinidadian Carnival and
little historical details the origin of
the Black Caribs, for example, should
interest not only the musician, but the
average reader as well. At a time when
we in the Caribbean are examining our
cultural identity, and when some forms
of our music are becoming internation-
ally popular, the book should also ap-
peal to readers outside the Caribbean.
Musical terms are hardly used, and
where unfamiliar musical language or
localized expression are included, an
attempt is made to explain these in the
glossary. It is significant, however, that
no attempt has been made to notate
some of the musical examples discus-
sed. To some of us, this omission may
cause disappointment, and may be
seen as one of the weaknesses of the
book. For, despite the popularity of
Calypso and Reggae, and though some
folk forms of our Caribbean territories
are similar, the average reader in the
Caribbean hears very little Caribbean
music outside his territory. The Parang
is as unfamiliar to Jamaican ears as
Kumina is to the Trinidadian. The
authors might very well consider no-
tating some of the music discussed, or
producing a record or tape to accom-
pany the book. This addition would
greatly assist readers in understanding
the unfamiliar, and would also give
an added dimension to classroom pre-
sentation and exercises.
When we recognize that there are
different styles in which Reggae is
played, we are pleased to note that
the authors have included a classi-

fiction of Reggae music. The classi-
fication given, however, seems rather
strange. What are Funk, Jazz and Rasta
Reggae? How could the 'Skatalites' be
named as exponents of Jazz Reggae,
when they had gone off the scene long
before Reggae music developed. This,
and a number of other inaccurate details
on aspects of Jamaican music could dis-
turb some of our more serious folk
music scholars. These errors only
serve to emphasize the importance of
and need for detailed and up-to-date
research, when one attempts to write
on the music of the entire Caribbean
Nevertheless, for Caribbean edu-
cators, especially those in search of new
and interesting ways of presenting
Caribbean music in the classroom, this
book should be of great value. It is a
useful text for students as well, and
should provide enjoyable and inform-
ative reading for all.

Noel G. Dexter is attached to the Cre-
ative Arts Centre, University of the
West Indies, Mona.

By Gloria Escoffery
Nora Louise Strudwick, Carl Abrahams, Artist
and Visionary, Kingston: Pomegranate Press
Ltd., 1983.

is is a flawed but commendable
breakthrough in regular paper-
back (but still by no means in-
expensive) Jamaican publishing. Chatty,
anecdotal text provides (with one or
two small regrettable inaccuracies) a
sympathetic introduction to the life of
a great Jamaican original. The critical
content is somewhat juvenile, but then
so is the Vast public for which the book
caters The quality of the interior illus-
trations, especially those in colour, is
disappointing, in view of the three
pluses: (1) attractive cover design with
well chosen details of Abrahams's paint-
ings and stylish signature set against a
strong ochre background; (2) handy for-
mat; (3) relatively strong binding. So
many handsome art publications tend to
come apart with handling, and with cur-
rent prices of books in Jamaica we sim-
ply can not afford the luxury of a quick

Cover of Nora Strudwick: Carl Abrahams, Artist and Visionary

Artist and Visionary

By L. Alan Eyre Example of a small farm f \ M.p k Topo ly. Exampleof a large rm

Mike Morrissey: Our land, Jameloa. Lon-
don: Collins Educational, 1983.
I rarely give rave reviews, but it is
difficult not to be enthusiastic about
this slim 64-page volume. If geo-
graphy is analysis and presentation of
spatial patterns on and above the earth's
surface then this is geography at its very
best. Intended for 'lower secondary
grades' (page 3) and fulfilling that role
superbly, this book by a geographer at
U.W.I.'s School of Education would
nevertheless be a most useful desk com-
panion for every civil servant in Jamaica.
It would help to dispel the ignorance
that prevails in high circles about 'our
island'. Indeed, I would suggest that an
intelligent citizen of any age-group
would be fascinated by its clear and in-
formative presentation. I sincerely hope
that when students take it home from
school, parents will look at it too.
Apart from one quite pointless dia-
gram of possible hurricane tracks (the
steering flow aloft would make half
of them impossible actually), the maps
are really exciting. What has been pack-
ed into these 64 pages is quite astonish-
ing. You see the way Jamaica grew
geologically, and grew politically. There
are fascinating insights into, and present-
ations of, various aspects of human geo-

D a hh .onhp i
-::::::::: : :::.. ... . ""'
-o~~ ~ ~~ nn..nnr.............nnnnnnnrn .f

0 w--- 01 m -- "


Ag Pffl"

*0-~ iSHi

graphy. Despite the decline in recent
years, you are frightened by the graph
of the birth rate, and even more by the
maps showing migration and employ-
ment (and unemployment) by parish.
Did you know that there are twice as
many unemployed people in Hanover as
in St. Thomas nearly half the work-
force in the parish? Where were the now
forgotten parishes of St. John's and St.
David's? Did you know that Lucea was
once in Westmoreland?
My only regret about the choice of
topics in the book is the lack of material
on the historical geography of Jamaica,
but that is only because of my interests,
since a book of this size could not cover
everything (though, in fact, it nearly
does )
There is interesting use of cartograms
to simplify some complex features of
the island's geography population dis-
tribution by parish, transport, networks,
etc., but I do wonder if schoolchildren
will comprehend these.
The sections on tourism, bauxite-
alumina and sugar are particularly in-
formative. You can follow the fortunes

of government with the electoral maps.
And praise be, here we have the proper
emphasis in agriculture. I discovered
that despite depletion of our fisheries,
we still produce nearly 40 times as
much fish as we do goat meat. And that
(among many examples given) I get my
cow peas from Sandy Bay, Clarendon;
scallion from Lititz; carrots from
Trinityville and plantains from Lyssons
or Hampstead. The role of the small or
peasant farmer receives the attention
due to his significance in the society.
Inaccuracies of fact are irritating in
any book, but despite the most rigor-
ous combing of this little book, I have
to say that its accuracy borders on the
faultless. It is also very up to date, al-
though how it has achieved this with
Jamaican government data sources I
can only ruefully guess. Great deter-
mination, I suspect. My recommend-
ation: get this little text-cum-atlas soon
and you will learn a lot about your

L. Alan Eyre is a lecturer in the Geo-
graphy Department, University of the
West Indies, Mona.

From: Mike Morribey, Our Island Jamaica

Word Soiumd1s

The Language of Rastafari in

Barbados and St. Lucia

By Velma Pollard


A St. Lucian 'iration' or movable cookshop.

'The love of Jah is like a bucket of fire.'
read this legend on a dwelling in a Saramaccan village
several miles from Paramaribo, the principal city of Suri-
name. In the city itself the red green and gold symbol was
visible in unexpected places for all those who knew their
Half a century after its revelation among the Jamaican
poor, Rastafari with its distinctive way of life has spread
to various metropolitan cities with large black communi-
ties and to urban and rural areas in the Caribbean territories
south of Jamaica no matter what their official language. This
paper discusses the language of Rastafari in two Eastern
Caribbean islands, St. Lucia and Barbados,2 commenting
specifically on the changes observed in the meanings of the

words as they move from the environment of the Jamaican
Creole and interact with the creoles of these two territories.
A brief comment on Rastafari and on the common history of
the Caribbean is in order as a backdrop to this discussion.
Researchers have attempted to fit Rastafari into any
number of pre-conceived frames including 'political cult'
[Simpson 1955], 'escapist movement' [Lanternari 1963],
and 'messianic movement' [Barrett 1968]. None of these,
however, gives a complete picture of what Rastafari is,
though each might be, like the blind men who went to
see the elephant, partly right. Benn's [1972] description of
the Rastafari belief system as a 'curious ideational syn-
thesis . an amalgam of African cultural themes, old
testament christianity and elements of Garvey's racial
mystique', recognizes the multifaceted nature of the pheno-

It is Robert Hill [1983], however, whose indication
comes closest to pointing investigation in a direction which
might be fruitful in terms of our present interest. He iden-
tifies a need
to approach the study of the phenomenon of Rastafari awaken-
ing as an integral aspect of the larger matrix of black religious
nationalism, folk religious revivalism, and Jamaican peasant
resistance to the plantation economy and state ...
It is this kind of direction that best leads to an under-
standing of the ease with which the Rastafari way of life
has penetrated the societies of Jamaica's Caribbean neigh-
bours whose histories have not been different from the
history of Jamaica in any but important details. Chevannes
[1980] reviewing Simpson's [1977] Black Religions in the
New World points to the 'uniformity of the experiences of
the Black Peoples of the New World', and 'Black Stalin'
Trinidad calypsonian (himself a Rasta), describes the Carib-
bean people as 'One race/from the same place/ that make the
same trip/in the same ship.' Indeed Horace Campbell [1980]
sees the growth of Rastafari in the Eastern Caribbean.as an
index in part, of the failure of some of the popular and
democratic organizations of the 70s, 'to root their movement
in their own historical specificity ..'
The history of the islands dictates that the majority of
the inhabitants are poor and black people occupying under-
privileged positions in societies with stark social and eco-
nomic discrepancies. Such people are predisposed to accept-
ing an ideology which offers a reversion of the social order
and a positive self image. In the case of Rasta it offers as
well a deity with whose image the black self can identify
in the person of HIM Haile Selassie'l of Ethiopia, a form of
worship which resembles in sound and movement the Afro-
Caribbean religions3 of the various territories and a way of
speaking which, while embodying and defining all these,
easily integrates itself into the local creoles. The ground for
the revelation of Rasta may be said to have been prepared
long before, in the words of Leahcim Semaj, a writer who
sees himself as 'sharing the vision of Rasta': 'the wind ha(d)
dispersed the seeds far and wide' [1980]. Indeed, other com-
mentary from within the movement now available to us,
illustrates the fact that Rasta has long seen itself as a philo-
sophy not merely of national but of international, certainly
of regional influence.
I. Jabulani Tafari [1980] sees Rasta as the successors of
Marcus Garvey and writes:
In Jamaica and the Caribbean, I and I taking up the work
begun by Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Asso-
ciation (UNIA) were the first large scale Roots Group this
century to advocate black consciousness, pride and power,
the elimination of all social barriers, the liberation and con-
tinental unity of Africa, in addition to the solidarity of all
down-pressed peoples throughout the world ...
And Dennis Forsythe [1980] looking at 'West Indian Culture
Through the Prism of Rastafarianism' says:
Rastafarianism is the first mass movement among West Indians
preoccupied with the task of looking into themselves and ask-
ing the fundamental question, Who am I? or What am I? As
such it reflects the spirit of Garveyism at the roots level, and it
is now flourishing in all those areas where black West Indians
are concentrated. It is a desperate call for an alternativecounter-
culture more suitable to the needs of black people in these
times ...

The concerns here articulated as the preoccupations of
Rasta are concerns which have occupied the imagination

of New World black people throughout this century. The
appeal of Rastafari, particularly to the new breed of Carib-
bean youth everywhere, is not surprising.

The Language of Rasta Jamaica

The language of Rastafari is Jamaican Creole (JC), the
language of the Jamaican poor 'stepped up', in the termin-
ology of one of the brethren, to reflect the philosophical
stance of the Rasta man. Pollard [1979] identifies three
categories of words reflecting three basic processes of word-
formation within the Rastafarian lexicon. The syntax of JC
is left in tact except for the substitution of the 'I' or 'I
and I' for the JC pronoun 'mi'.4 The reason for this change,
however, is not entirely to do with syntax. The sound 'I' is
important in the speech of the Rastafari. It is a sound with a
positive force. So in one word-making process, the initial syl-
lable in any number of words is replaced by the sound 'I'
('' as in I-laloo= calaloo) to form what Nettleford [1978]
refers to as a 'battery of "l-words" and what leads Birhan
[1981] to label the language 'lyaric'.5 The sound '1' is re-
lated also to the meaning 'eye'; the centre of sight allowing
the Rasta man to be 'far seeing' when compared to the non-
Rasta whose sight is at best limited ('. .. eyes have they and
see not, only Fari could see' ([RMA 1976, in Pollard 1980].
Just as sight is positive, so blindness is negative, and re-
places the idea of seeing wherever a negative vibration is
required. So for example 'cigarette' (seegaret) becomes
'blindgarete'. This type of replacement forms the basis of
another process in which words 'bear the weight of their
phonological representation' [Pollard 1979]. A word like
'oppress' as a term to describe the action of keeping a man
down, is unacceptable to the man who feels the pressure.
In Rasta idiom it becomes 'downpress' and 'down-
pression' replaces 'oppression'. The English lexicon which
JC uses, is in a sense brought to book in this particular pro-
cess. Alleyne [1982] commenting on the list of words so
formed (Pollard's Category II) has this to say:

As far as category II is concerned the point of departure is the
association which has already been established in Jamaican
English (and other forms of English) between a certain sound
sequence and a certain meaning. In other words once this asso-
ciation is accepted, the sign loses a great deal of its arbitrariness
and acquires meaning, akin to onomatopoeia and sound sym-
bolism. Wherever the particular sound sequence occursit must
then convey the same meaning.

His examples are 'overstand' replacing 'understand' and 'out-
former' replacing 'informer'.
Allsopp [1980:102] describes this process as the 'phono-
semantic restructuring of certain words whose outer form
seems to need the kind of renovation that would reflect DT
feelings on certain issues with which the words are related'
(DT = Dread Talk or Rasta Talk).

A more straightforward process accounts for words which
retain their English/JC forms but change their meanings
[Pollard 1979 Category I]. These, Allsopp places in a seman-
tic rather than a lexical category and describes them as 'main-
ly SE forms with notable functional and semantic shift some-
times plus morphological change'. A word like chalice falls
into this category. (What used to be a cup for administering
the Holy Sacrament becomes a pipe for smoking the holy
weed.) Allsopp's examples are
forward: to leave, depart

Babylon: any person seen as representative of Euro-centred

Finally there are new words, innovations, words whose
forms are new but whose meanings on investigation, reveal
some semantic logic. This list includes
dunza or dunsa (also known as dunny) = money.
For this item, Birhan [1981 : 38] gives the following
Dun is the Jamaica dialect for done and means finished
hence dunsa and dunny for money which is always too soon
Reggae Music and the Language of Rasta

The spread of the Rasta philosophy and the spread of the
language owe much to Reggae music and the popularity of
its lyrics on the tongues of its more charismatic exponents
- Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear and
U-Roy to name a few. For a proper interpretation of this
phenomenon we need to be aware of the significance of
music, of the word, and of the musician's role in the universe
of Rasta. Brodber and Greene [1979] tell us that one of the
characteristics of the Theocratic World Government which
Rastas see as the next phase of social and political evolution
is that 'the singers as well as the players on instruments shall
be there (Psalm 87 vs. 7)' and add:
The Rastafari singers accordingly view their role as a social and
religious responsibility ... the singer is likely to be conscious-
ly discharging what he considers to be a socio-religious respon-
sibility ...

It is perhaps not by chance then that Bob Marley [1980], for
example, speaks to people with a history of subjugation thus:
Emancipate yourself from mental slavery
none but ourselves can free our minds ...

The transference of philosophy and language by remote
control is new and could not have happened before techno-
logy advanced as far as it has today. It may be that the fact
that the medium of transfer of language has been predomin-
antly air waves, not individual contact, has influenced the
processes at work and the selection of lexical items that under-
go change. The preoccupation of this paper is less with the
bulk of items which have been borrowed unchanged into
creoles of English lexicon or have been translated exactly, or
accepted as loan words into the French Creole,6 than with
the few items that have undergone lexical or semantic change
with the change of environment.

Lexical Change
Hancock [1980] developing a model to describe lexical
change isolates twelve processes grouped under two main
headings, 'internally generated' and 'externally influenced',
the latter consisting of processes which 'rely on resources
resulting from contact with speakers of other systems'. Pre-
dictably, most of the items we examine here are the result of
processes in the 'external' category. Pollard [1982] drawing
on Hancock's model, uses his sub-category 'Adoption' as a
major category and places against it 'Innovation'. Our present
analysis retains these categories, subdividing Adoption, by
far the more well subscribed, into two processes.
The total effect of the Jamaican words on the language
spoken by Rastas in the Eastern Caribbean has received com-
ment in both territories under consideration. Al Gilkes
[1977] writing about the speech of Barbadian Rastas says:



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'Their lingo is a mixture of certain basics borrowed from
their Jamaican counterparts and some of their own concoc-
tion'. In St. Lucia, one teacher speaks of the 'infiltration of
Jamaicanisms' within the speech of the Rastas.
Categories and Comment

I. Adoption
a) Lexical: Phono-semantic restructuring of words.
blindza = money
'I would.like to get a copy of 'Calling Rastafari' everytime it
comes out and just write and tell us how much it cost and how
to send the 'blinza'. (Letter to the Editor, April 1979).
Jamaican Source
dunua (duns, dunny)

(see explanation p. 59)

Dunza in Jamaica Rasta Talk falls within Pollard's [1980]
list of new words, innovations generated within the milieu of
Rasta. In Barbados, it is an adopted Jamaican word submit-
ted to the process of replacing the existing initial sound with
a negative sound. So 'dun' becomes 'blind'. This is a depart-
ure from the Jamaican process where, so far, 'blind' has been
used to replace word sounds involving 'seeing' (e.g. seegar-
ettes). 'Blindza' indicates here, that Rasta perceives money as
a negative thing.
Lotal = unclean
Any food which is not 'ital' and that accounts for most of
what the normal man eats, is to the Resta 'lotal' (unclean) and
not fit for human consumption ... [Gilkes 1977].
Jamaican Source
Ital = vital, pure, natural, organic, food cooked without salt;
Rasta food
This word is one of the 'battery of I-Words' in Jamaican
Rasta Talk. 'Vital' has been processed by replacing the initial
sound with the positive /ai/ sound. It seems that in Barbados
the normal Jamaican Creole penchant for omitting the aitch
is taken for granted. Hence a hypothetical 'High'tal and a
negative form 'Low'tal. 'Low' as a negative form of 'high' is a
logical choice and follows the pattern of one kind of process
to which Rasta Talk submits JC words. Two things make the
item unusual however, the initial /h/ implication, and the use
of 'low' instead of blind.
It will be interesting to see how many other words will
use a form other than 'blind' to describe negative vibrations.
I have seen 'low' in one other phrase in the Barbadian corpus,
that is 'low livety', the negative opposition of 'upfull livety'
(righteous living'): "Blindza" (money) is another aqent of
"low livety" and has no place in their society' [Gilkes 1977].
This process was not observed anywhere in the St. Lucia
corpus. While this does not necessarily indicate non-occur-
rence, it might certainly suggest low frequency.

b) Semantic Extension (defined by Hancock [1980: 74]
as involving the 'new interpretation for an item in addition
to or in replacement of, its original one').

heights = to understand

I man heights that I understand

Jamaican Source
ites = a form of greeting; the colour red

Here is a shift in function as well as meaning. This item takes
on the function of verb in Barbados Rasta talk. The word
normally used as a verb to mean 'understand' in Jamaica is
'penetrate'. The word 'ites' however is highly symbolic in
Jamaican Rasta Talk. It is more than just a greeting. Birhan
[1981 : 24] defines it at length:

Ites: Heights. A greeting wishing the person greeted to arrive
at the heights of spirituality. Ites also means the red,
which is the highest colour the Rastafari flag of red,
gold and green as flown by the Niabinghi Theocracy

Its use here does not cause any difficulty in comprehension
for brethren from other islands, not only because the context
clues are likely to be clear but because of the high symbolism
of the word.

sip = to eat, drink
'I sip ital (natural food) itinually (always)' (Rastaman 1978).

Jamaican Source

sip =

to smoke (draw on) a chalice

The semantic content here is generalized in Barbados to
mean imbibing and so includes eating food cooked Rasta

dally = to leave
(Barbados Rasta list [St. Hill 1982: 35] )

Jamaican Source

daily =

ride; cycle, erratic movements done while
riding bike.

The Jamaican meaning is highly specialized. The Rasta man
riding a motorcycle weaving in and out of the city traffic
(dallying) daredevil style was a common-place on the streets
of Kingston in the seventies. The Jamaican equivalent of the
Barbadian meaning would be 'step' or 'forward'.
St. Lucia

dub =

to cook

I man dub up a yood = I-man cook food (Rasta style)
'everything you doing you dubin it. Dub is African' (Young
brethren from Castries, April 1982.)
Jamaican Source

dub good pieces of Reggae instrumental; flip side of Reggee 45;
musical version of songs usually with little or no lyrics.
Also, earthy dance motions with sexual suggestions, done
to this music.

The meaning associated with this word in the St. Lucia con-
text marks a movement from highly specific to general when
viewed in terms of the Jamaican parent form. In the com-
ment by the young brethren that 'dub is African', African,
I think merely means 'black'; (in other words 'dub' is a
black people's word, don't expect to find it in the average
Iration = cookshop; environment; dispensation (time)
A new iration Positive in vibration
Strictly Ital the man them a deal with

A place you must get to know
In Faux a Chaux gettoe
Check it out
(Advt. in 'Calling Rastafari' 1979)
Being in a Rasta ration, Soucou then asked King George to
tell him about his experience as a rasta in this society over the
(Exclusive interview with King George
'Calling Rastafari' April 1979)
rasta was strong down here; but not now; not in this iration
'Rasta was strong down here but not now, not at this time'
(Sister at Soufriere April 1982)
Jamaican Source
Iration = creation; time

The first meaning given, 'cookshop' is by far the most well
documented. All over Castries are movable establishments
selling ital lunches from about 11: a.m. each day. Each one is
an 'iration'. It is possible that this meaning might have evol-
ved from the second meaning 'environment'. This could
easily have meant any sort of meeting place, and since eating
food cooked in a particular way is a major communal acti-
vity of Rasta, the place of the meeting could have come to
monopolise the use of item. The third meaning seems to
come nearest to the usage in Jamaica talk where things hap-
pen 'in this iration'; creation being less the act of creation
than the specific era or perhaps better, 'karma'.
I am suggesting that the items in this category illustrate a
process made possible by the limited person to person con-
tact involved in the spread of this language. The words
mentioned in this list are all words which appear over and
over in songs and the slots they have been asked to fill are
high-frequency slots. The words are symbols of Rasta activity,
cooking ital food, understanding Rasta reasoning (discussion
of dogma) for example, rather than examples of borrowed
words with their accompanying meanings. An interesting
related study might be the lyrics of the songs most popular
in the territories. Two further words in the category re-
present a figurative level of meaning assignment, one from
the St. Lucia French Creole corpus, the other from Barbados.

St. Lucia
sa te = that is roots (literally 'that is earth')

'wassin' which translates literally 'roots' does exist in the St.
Lucia corpus with Wassin I' a common legend on walls in
the patois speaking areas. 'Sa te' as an alternative then,
seems to be a conscious transfer of meaning.

Jamaican Source
'Roots' is a common item in any list of Rasta wordology. It
is used as a greeting in the same way that 'Ites', mentioned
earlier is. Birhan defines it in part as:

A greeting of solidarity for Afrikan roots culture as upheld
by the Restafari. Used synonymously with Afrikan culture
and with Rastafari culture... [1981: 41]

Duppy meat; dead flesh
'I nah sip duppy' (anything which has to be killed before con-
sumption): [Gilkes 1977].
(I won't eat meat.)
Jamaican Source


= meet; dead flesh

This form is used in Barbados as well. 'Duppy' however is a
creole word for 'ghost' or 'spirit'. In Barbados Rasta Talk
then, the spirit of the dead animal represents the flesh, as an
alternative to the word representing simply 'flesh'.

II Innovation
Where a word that does not appear in Jamaica Rasta Talk
is recorded in the corpus. (No item was recorded in this
category in Barbados.)

St. Lucia

bashi =

calabash; gourd

drot; jot; jott; jut; drought = meal of vegetables cook-
ed in coconut milk (ital stew)
I man dub up a drot
(I am cooking drot)


to be aggressive; an aggressor

'all de time dem running down an
shooting man for ombray dam know
de real ombrayers is dam big time
capitalist... I say a minister of
govament ombraying an other man's
bread by holding de job as Sports
Reporter for SLTV...'
(All the time they are pursuing and
shooting men for being aggressive they
know that the real aggressors are those
big time capitalists . I say a minister
of government is taking another man's
bread by holding the job as sports
reporter for SLTV.)
['Calling Rastafari' 1979]
lak = saps, weak fellow
misye se a lak
da man de is a saps
(that man is a weak fellow)

Of the words offered in this category 'bashi' is the most easi-
ly traced. This seems to be a form of diminutive of affection
for the calabash, useful and easily accessible article. This
particular utensil can be seen at all 'irations' as large mixing
and serving bowls from the section of long oval-shaped ones,
and as small individual eating dishes from the section of small
round ones.
'Drot' (written also as jut; jot; jutt; drought) is a culinary re-
finement on the more general, 'yuud/food'. It is a dish of'
vegetables which must include green vegetables, cooked in
coconut milk after the pattern of the Jamaican 'ital stew'. I
have not been able to get any explanation of its origin. It
might indeed be what St. Lucia Rasta Talk has made of
'jorts' which appears in a Trinidad list [1981] 'Wordology
of Rastafari', glossed as 'food'.
'Lak' translates the Jamaican 'saps' which describes a weak
individual. One informant explains that it is a shortened
form of 'kakalak', the female sexual organ so that the sen-
tence in the example implies that the man is behaving like a
'Ombre' as the example shows is multifunctional. The inform-
ant cited above defines its verb function in this way: 'to ex-
press your manhood in an aggressive way' and explains that
there was a man called 'Ombray' (hombre?), an aggressive
type of fellow who functioned on the periphery of a group
of Rastas whenever he was out of trouble/jail. His name has

been applied to predatory and aggressive behaviour of the
type associated with him.


The language of Rastafari has been dynamic enough to
move outside of Jamaica and to become creative/innovative
in other environments. Allsopp [1980: 103] sees this fact as
defending it from being characterized as 'passing local slang'.
It must be emphasized, he says, that
This 'communolect' or 'oligolect' with its many shibboleths
and accompanying behaviour-patterns, has in the last ten years
or so spread steadily and easily in Black communities through-
out the Caribbean, whether radical (Guyana) or conservative
(Barbados) almost as if these communities were linguistically
pre-disposed to accommodate these unusual propensities...
It might be thus defended as well from the claim by some
that it falls within the category 'Antilanguage' as defined by
Halliday [1978:164]. In fact in Halliday's description it
seems that one characteristic of the antilanguage is the
narrowness of its constituency. In any case while Rasta may
be seen as a'mode of resistance' and so an anti-society spawn-
ing an antilanguage, it may also be seen as 'pro' a very large
segment of these predominantly black communities. The
following construction of 'Dread' (Rasta) by one young
Caribbean writer might be instructive:
The word 'Dreads' as I understand it means purely, the power
that lies within any man which enables him to do or to achieve
anything he wants .. To be a 'Dread' therefore is to be con-
scious of that power, and to be developing ones power-poten-
tial for achievement... Dread becomes therefore a philosophy
of life fulfilment...
[Lee 1975 in Garrison 1979]

The language which seeks to embody all this can hardly be
labelled 'anti' in its totality even if certain aspects of its
application might suggest this.

1. I questioned a Surinamer who assured me that Rastafari did
not exist in Suriname.
2. I wish to record here my thanks to all those whose cooperation
made this paper possible; particularly to Soucou in St. Lucia
and to Ikel and Adonijah in Barbados whose goodwill gave me
safe conduct throughout.
3. The Niabinghi drumming and dancing resembles theceremonies
associated with Pocomania (Jamaica). Note also the existence
of Kele in St. Lucia [Simpson 1977] and of Shakers in Bar-
4. Recently the impersonal pronoun 'one' appears with either
the definite or indefinite article as in sentence 'I and I nah
sight why a one should drink a can of orange juice when de
one could sip a natural orange' (Rastaman 1978)..
5. Birhan sees lyaric as the language Rastas use until they learn
the Ethiopian 'Amharic'.
6. Two examples from the St. Lucia corpus serves to illustrate
these processes within the French creole:
Translation: Mwen nom sa la ka viv ek la fwa
I man live in purity, live a clean life
Borrowing: 'tout maniere Babylon dwolle'
In every way Babylon is funny


ALLEYNE, Mervyn C., "The Epistemological Foundations of Carib-
bean Speech Behaviour", Inaugural Lecture, Faculty of Arts,
U.W.I., Mona, Jamaica, 1983 (Typescript).
ALLSOPP, R., "How Creole Lexicons Expand", in A. Valdman and

A. Highfield (eds.), Theoretical Orientations in Creole Studies,
Academic Press, 1980.
BARRETT, L.T., A Study in Messianic Cultism in Jamaica, Caribbean
Monograph Series, No. 6, Rio Piedras: Institute of Caribbean
Studies, University of Puerto Rico, 1968.
BRODBER, Erna and GREENE, J. Edward, "Roots and Reggae -
Ideological Tendencies in the Recent History of Afro Jamaica",
Paper presented at conference on Human Development.Models
in Action; Fanon Research Center, Mogadishu, Somalia, June
BENN, D.M., "Historical and Contemporary Expressions of Black
Consciousness in the Caribbean", M.Sc. Thesis, U.W.I., 1972.
BIRHAN, lyawta Farika, lyaric A Brief Journey into Rastafarian
Word Sound, Pamphlet, 1981.
CAMPBELL, Horace, "The Rastafarians in the Eastern Caribbean",
Caribbean Quarterly, 26: 4, 1980.

CHEVANNES, Barry, "Review of Black Religions in the New World"
by Simpson, 1977, Caribbean Quarterly, 26: 4, 1980.
FORSYTHE, Dennis, "West Indian Culture through the Prism of
Rastafarianism", Caribbean Quarterly, 26: 4, 1980.
GARRISON, Len, Black Youth, Rastafarianism and the Identity
Crisis in Britain, London: A.C.E.R. Project, 1979.
GILKES, AI, "For and I' ", The Nation, 13 February 1977.
HALLIDAY, M.A.K., Language as social semiotic: The social inter-
pretation of language and meaning, London: Edward Arnold
HANCOCK: lan, "Lexical Expansion in Creoles", A. Valdman and A.
Highfield (eds.) Theoretical Orientations in Creole Studies,
Academic Press, 1980.
HILL, Robert, "Leonard P. Howell and Millenarian Visions in Early
Rastafari", Jamaica Journal, 16: 1,1983.
LANTERNARI, V., The Religions of the Oppressed, Translated from
the Italian by Lisa Sergio, London: MacGibbon and Kee, 1963.
LEE, Robert, "The Dread A Caribbean Experience", in Garrison
MARLEY, Bob, "Redemption Song", L.P., Uprising, Tuff Gong,
Jamaica, 1980.
NETTLEFORD, Rex, Caribbean Cultural Identity: The Case of
Jamaica, Kingston: Institute of Jamaica, 1978.
POLLARD, Velma, "Dread Talk: The Speech of the Rastafarian in
Jamaica", Caribbean Quarterly, 26: 4 1980.
"The Social History of Dread Talk" Paper presented at the
Third Biennial Conference, Society for Caribbean Linguistics,
Aruba, September 1980.
-, "The Speech of the Rastafarians of Jamaica in the Eastern
Caribbean The Case of St. Lucia", Paper presented at the
Fourth Biennial Conference of the Society for Caribbean
Linguistics, Suriname, September 1982.
RASTAMAN, "Rastas and the Bible", The Nation, 21 July 1978.
SEMAJ, Leahcim, "Rastafari, From Religion to Social Theory",
Caribbean Quarterly, 26:4, 1980.
SIMPSON, G.E., "The Rastafari Movement Political Cultism in
West Kingston", Social and Economic Studies, 4:2, 1955.
,Black Religions in the New World, N.Y.: Columbia University
Press, 1977.
SOUCOU, "Exclusive Interview with King George", Calling Rastafari,
April 1979.
STALIN, Black, "Caribbean Unity" in LP Record to the Caribbean
Man, Wizard Productions, Port of Spain, 1979.
ST. HILL, Margaret V., "The Speech Patterns of the Rastafarians of
Barbados" Caribbean Study, U.W.I., Cave Hill, Barbados.
TAFARI, I. Jubulani, "The Rastafari Successors of Marcus Garvey",
Caribbean Quarterly 26: 4, 1980.



The Hon. Ralston (Rex)
Nettleford, O.M.
in the field of Arts (Dance)

Dr. Thomas Farr
in the field of Entomology

Bruce Barker
in the field of Military History
including the establishment of
The Forces Museum at Up Park
Miss Linda Stockhausen
in the field of Folk Music and
especially the formation of the
group "The Cudjoe Minstrels"


Clinton Vane de Brosse
Black, C.D.
Government Archivist
in the field of Archival
Development and History
Eugene Seidel Hyde
in the field of Art (painting)

Mrs. Ruby Meredith
in the Field of Education

Mrs. Phoebe Hart
in the field of Needlework and


Professor Frederic Gomes
in the field of Linguistics and

Professor Lawson Edward
Kamau Brathwaite
in the field of Literature
(poetry), History and West In-
dian Bibliography
Mrs. Roma D'Oyen Fitchett
in the field of Music

Mrs. Marjorie Graham
in the field of Education and
Library Studies




198 l

Mervyn Alleyne is Professor of Linguistics and Director of
the Folklore Studies Project, University of the West Indies,
Mona. He has been visiting Professor at Yale University,
Indiana University and State University of New York at
Buffalo. His most recent publication is Comparative Afro-
American (Ann Arbor: Karoma, 1980).
Diane Browne is attached to the Ministry of Education
Publications Branch and has written extensively for children,
including a number of stories for the Doctor Bird reading
series and the New Caribbean Readers. She has also won
Festival and other literary awards for her children's stories,
and in 1983 also won a Festival silver medal for her adult
short story.
Cheryl Ryman is a Research Fellow Sociology (Dance) at the
African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica and part-time tutor at
the Jamaica School of Dance and Drama. She has been a
principal dancer with the Jamaica National Dance Theatre
Company since 1967. Her previous contribution to JAMAICA
JOURNAL was "The Jamaican Heritage in Dance", No. 44
Mervyn Morris is a senior lecturer in the Department of
English, University of the West Indies and a well known poet,
his most recent publication being Shadowboxing (1979).
He contributed to JAMAICA JOURNAL "Literature:
Some Trends", No. 46, 1982.

G.A. (Tony) Aarons is the Government Archaeologist attach-
ed to the Jamaica National Trust Commission. His previous
contribution to JAMAICA JOURNAL was "Archaeological
Sites in the Hellshire Area", (16:1).

Thomas H. Farr is the entomologist attached to the Institute
of Jamaica Natural History Division. He has published a num-
ber of monographs and articles, particularly on insects. His
most recent contribution to JAMAICA JOURNAL was "Wild
Pine Aquaria" (16:2). Dr. Farr has been awarded a Silver
Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica for his work in
the field of entomology.

Velma Pollard is a lecturer in the School of Education, Uni-
versity of the West Indies and a poet and short story writer.
As a researcher she is particularly interested in Jamaican
Creole and the speech of Rastafarians. Her most recent
contribution to JAMAICA JOURNAL was her interview
with Professor F.G. Cassidy in the May 1983 issue (16:2).


We gratefully acknowledge the contribution made to
JAMAICA JOURNAL by the other Divisions of the Institute.

We are particularly indebted to:

The Director and staff of the National Library of Jamaica
The Institute's Photographic Department and Mr. Keith
Morrison, Institute Photographer.
The Director and staff of the National Gallery of Jamaica

For the Record

The photograph of Portlandia grandiflora on the back cover
of the previous issue (16:4) should have been credited to
Peter Bretting.




I''. *'

red ia ip ,.
GeorgerYV MAeurlt:trk. Th&i
Kingston Rtimous(e was ettwl

, l .r = -



nra htonomnt whi is er
..,g., ,

-- :'.W~-4 rt.

hquw-aperso or persons who oreburied"

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Glimpses of Jamaica's Natural History

(Herpestes auropunctatus)
Natural History Division
Institute of Jamaica

Probably all the mongooses present in Jamaica today are descendants of the four males and five females
imported from India in 1872 as one of the measures undertaken to control rats in sugar cane fields. By 1882,
the mongoose had multiplied so greatly and fed so voraciously that they had practically eliminated the native
Jamaican rat, Oryzomys antillarum which, like the mongoose, was a daytime forager. The mongoose had little
effect on the brown and black rats which are nocturnal. Although it was probably feeding on other animals
besides rats during the first ten years, it was not until the cane field rats had been decimated that the public
began to complain about the mongoose. Small farmers in particular suffered losses of chickens and their eggs
and the mongoose was even accused of attacking goats. In 1890, when the Mongoose Commission was formed
to investigate the complaints and if necessary make recommendations for control, the members heard testi-
mony that the predator was also taking wild birds, lizards and snakes and there were even in those far off
times some remarks about 'upsetting the balance of nature'. The mongoose is still a pest here but the amount
of damage it does seems to have levelled off a bit. The importation of the mongoose into Jamaica has been
cited many times as a classic example of the damage that can be done by importing a predator to control a

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