Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Back Cover

Title: Jamaica journal
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090030/00047
 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: May-July 1985
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: VID00047
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
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        Page 17-20
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        Page 45-48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
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    Back Cover
        Page 65
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Full Text

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Treasures of Jamaican Heritage


The Chancellor's Purse

The Chancellor's Purse was traditionally the repository of the great seal which symbolized the will and
authority of the British Crown on solemn occasions.
The only existing Chancellor's Purse in Jamaica dates back to the time of George III (1738-1820) and
is now in the possession of the Institute of Jamaica.
Extremely ornate in design, it conformed in format and size (1' 6" x 1' 4") to those that were current-
ly being used in England. The arms of both countries are richly embroidered in gold, silver and colour-
ed silk threads in the centre of the purse. At the base are two cornucopias which overflow with the
flowers and fruits that border each side.
o reference to the existence of any other Chancellor's Purse in Jamaica has so far been found.

Jamaica Journal

is published on behalf of
the Institute of Jamaica
12 16 East Street, Kingston, Jamaica
by Institute of Jamaica Publications Ltd.
All correspondence should be addressed to
IOJ Publications Ltd.
2A Suthermere Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica
Telephone: (809) 92-94785/6

Olive Senior
Assistant Editor
Maxine Patricia McDonnough
Design and Production
Camille Parchment
D.E. Innerarity
Liane Gayle
Support Services
Faith Myers
Eton Anderson
Patsy Smith

Back issues: Most back issues are available.
List sent on request. Entire series available
on microfilm from University Microfilms,
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106, U.S.A.
Subscriptions: J$40 for four issues (in
Jamaica only); U.S$15, U.K. 10.
Retail single copy price: J$12 (in Jamaica
only); overseas U.S. $5 or U.K.3 post paid
surface mail.
Advertising: Rates sent on request.
Index: Articles appearing in Jamaica
Journal are abstracted and indexed in
Historical Abstracts and America: History
and Life.
Vol. 18 No. 2 Copyright 1985 by
Institute of Jamaica Publications Limited.
Cover or contents may not be reproduced in
wholeor in part without written permission.

ISSN: 0021-4124

COVER: The Milkwoman (1838) by
I.M. Belisario introduces our feature on
street cries of early 20th century Kingston
as described by the noted contemporary
musician Astley Clerk. The print is from
the collection of the National Library of
Jamaica. Astley Chin

Vol. 18 No. 2



by Ivan K. Parboosingh

by Astley Clerk

by Jane Reid


by Thomas H. Farr

by Mark D. Griffith


interviewed by Mervyn Morris


57 ART

Review by Gloria Escoffery

61 BOOKS Reviews by Jimmy Carnegie and Gloria Lyn





Counir-j ictne wh/ichi %%a ipiral of snal/i dlagee oI earl) 20h cear JanWICwa
Nucl, as Hopewell. Sr. AlarY which Mhe awhr d/c describes.

An Indo-Jamaican Beginning

A Fragment of Autobiography

By Ivan S. Parboosingh

From an Indian Temple

Both my father, Parboodat, who
was born in Faizabad, India,
and his father-in-law, Richard
deRizzio who was born in Goa, came
to Jamaica at different times during the
early years of this century and eventual-
ly both settled in the parish of St. Mary.
My father's first job was that of a
headman on a banana property. By that
time, my maternal grandfather who
spoke nine different Indian languages
was already established in his position
as an interpreter and clerk for the
immigration office in Kingston.
Parboodat was orphaned during in-
fancy when both his parents died in an
epidemic. He was brought up by his

grandfather, a Hindu priest at the local
temple who possessed an overriding
ambition to see his grandson follow in
his footsteps, so that he himself would
not die before being sure of reaping a
glorious reward hereafter.
Whilst other lads played together or
worked in the fields, my father would
wonder why he seemed destined only
for loneliness, and why all his youth-
ful interests had to be so fiercely repres-
sed. Whenever he voiced his unhappiness
his grandfather would quote from the
Sanskrit 'The dust hides the mirror
and the smoke hides the flame, so sight
of the outer eye blinds the soul's eye'.
But when the little boy cleaned off the
mirror in his home he saw nothing new.
He was made to learn by heart long

passages from the Bhagavad Gita (the
Hindu New Testament). He also had to
have a good knowledge of Buddhism
and of the several branches of Hinduism.
The boy was often confused by what
seemed conflicting values. For instance,
when he read Sanskrit in the temple he
would be regarded by those who heard
him as a genius; yet at home, if he made
even a small error in understanding any
aspect of his grandfather's instruction
about the conduct and knowledge
proper to a Brahmin, he would be de-
nounced as a dunce and as a no-good.
When he was 17, encouraged by
numerous persuasive rumours about
Indians making fortunes in the West
Rose Parboosingh 1984. Used with per-

Inmmigrant mother and child

regarded as the lowest social group in
the island.
Every day during the voyage Parboo-
singh read from his religious books and
in talking with his countrymen he would
assure them that if they kept their
religion in their hearts they would be
able to reap the best Jamaica had to
offer and at the end of their contracts,
return to India richer in heart as well as
pocket. Often, too, he would remind
them of the famous Hindu saying 'He
abused me, he beat me, he defeated me,
he robbed me . .in those who harbour
such thoughts hatred will never cease'.

Fulfilling a Contract

When at last the overcrowded ship
reached Kingston, the Indians were des-
patched to the various places of em-
ployment to which they were officially
assigned. They had to travel to the rail-
way stations nearest to their workplaces.
They were conveyed in freight cars in
which they could sit only on the floor.
Then they had to walk the rest of the
way to their destinations.
Parboosingh's first job was as one
of two headmen on a 1,500 acre estate
named Hopewell, located in the pros-
perous banana-growing area which sur-
rounds the township of Highgate in the
cool hill region of Jamaica's north coast.
Hopewell was among the more than 50
properties owned by Sir John Pringle, a
Scotsman who had come to Jamaica to
be medical officer at the lunatic asylum
in Kingston, later taking up the post of
medical officer for the Parish of St.
Mary. When he retired he remained in
the island and bought up numerous
derelict sugar estates and planted them
in bananas so successfully that he be-
came Jamaica's leading grower.

Indies, he decided to emigrate. Some-
how he managed to slip away and pre-
sent himself at the nearest recruiting
When he appeared there, the recruit-
ing officer, accustomed to dealing with
Sikh applicants and not wanting to
register a Brahmin for labouring work,
entered his name as Parboosingh. Al-
though he must have had some acquaint-
ance with English from hearingitspoken
by Christian missionaries, English civil
servants and English-speaking govern-
ment officials, the lad could not read
English so he did not attempt to cor-
rect what had been written in his pass-
The ship was crowded with passen-
gers and conditions were just barely

livable. However, the young man told
himself that since he had made his choice,
he must now make the best of the many
apparent disadvantages and discomforts.
Before embarking he had an opportunity
to talk frankly with a man from the
recruiting office who had himself done
an indentureship in Jamaica, and now,
armed with this first-hand information,
Parboosingh was able to warn his fellow
emigrants of what they should expect.
He told them that they would have to
live and work among people who differ-
ed from them in race, religion and diet-
ary habits; they would for instance,
even have to eat beef and pork. Worst
of all, they would be employed to do
the kind of work which the former
slaves now refused to do. In other words
they would all, irrespective of caste, be

At the time of Parboosingh's arrival
at Hopewell, that estate was producing
bananas, coconuts, cattle and pimento
and extended through the settlement
of Hopewell Pen to include that of
Rock Spring higher up. There were
many fruit trees such as mango, sour
orange, lime and guava of which the
labourers were allowed to partake free-
ly. An overseer was in charge of all field
work with a bookkeeper directly beneath
him, these two posts being usually filled
by Englishmen. Next there were the two
headmen an Indian in charge of the
Indian labourers and a black or brown
Jamaican in charge of the Jamaicans.
My father learnt Jamaican English
very quickly though he needed very
little knowledge of the language to per-
form his duties for he spoke to his


fellow Indians in his and their native
tongue and it required very few words
to take orders from and report back to
the overseer. Nevertheless he was soon
proficient in Jamaican patois.
Every Monday morning he would
assign work to each labourer and
during the week check to see that it was
being done properly. Each Thursday
evening or early on the Friday morning,
he would calculate how much the work
was worth and report to the bookkeeper.
The labourers were all paid on Fri-
day afternoons. On Saturdays they
bought food in the market and on Sun-
days they rested. They had no temples,
but near to the barracks where they
lived a stream gushed from the rocks
and there they would assemble to bathe
and chant their prayers.
My father recalling those times,
would often remember particular indi-
viduals among his fellow Indians at
Hopewell. For instance, there was Sardu
whose job was that of ranger. He had to
survey the whole estate and report any
damage to the fences and he had to ap-
prehend trespassers and thieves. When
Sardu who was a Mohammedan had
completed his indentureship he decided
not to return to India but to remain in
Jamaica and to become a Christian. The
local clergyman made a special occasion
of accepting Sardu into the church and,
apparently unaware of the Oxford
Dictionary's definition of the word
heathen as being 'one who is not Chris-
tian, Jewish, nor Mohammedan', chose
as a suitable hymn for the service :

From Greenland's icy mountains
From India's coral strand
The heathen in his blindness
Bows down to wood and stone.

Alas, poor Sardu! On the Monday
morning when he reported for work, he
and the overseer had a violent argument
and he was fired. On the following Sun-
day he asked the parson to take back his
Christianity as it had brought him such
bad luck.

Settling in Jamaica

On the completion of his contract
with Hopewell estate, Parboosingh also
decided against returning to India. So
he settled in the neighbourhood and
started life on his own as a Jamaican
by opening a little shop at Hopewell
Pen which was near to a similar village
called Orange River. The shop was a
small wooden building with a zinc roof
and a four foot overhang in front. It was

divided by a counter so that the cus-
tomers could be in front and the goods
- codfish, imported pickled shad and
herring, rice, flour and other necessities
for food in the community behind it.
He found great difficulty in stretching
the 20 pounds he had saved during
his ten-year indentureship to meet the
needs of the shop but, somehow, he
Another great difficulty was the
transport of goods from Kingston. It
was easy enough to get them by rail to
Richmond but to get them on from
there was a very big problem. Although
there were two local roads, one of
them involved travelling a gully too
steep-sided for carts to negotiate, while
the other, which joined the Highgate to
Richmond main road, though also
steep was passable but presented the
problem of five rivers to be crossed. Fre-
quently the cart driver would have to
unload, drive the empty vehicle over the
river, return on foot and then carry the
goods across on his head to reload them
on the other side.
Every two weeks my father himself
would go to Kingston. To do this he
would have to hire a horse, ride to Rich-
mond and catch the train which arrived
in Kingston at 11 a.m. and left on the
return trip at 2 p.m. Thus, though away
from home all day, he would have only
three hours for the transaction of his
business in the city.
Life for him was hard but happy.
Hopewell lay at a pleasantly high alti-
tude. To the north one looked down on
Highgate and sometimes could see
Annotto Bay far below on the edge
of the sea. To the south, Blue Moun-
tain Peak was visible in the distance.
Most important of all, the community
was friendly. People helped each other
in solving problems and feelings of
comradeship were strong.

Founding a Family

As soon as he felt satisfied with the
security of his enterprise and his chances
for improvement, John Parboosingh
got married. His bride was Frances de
Rizzio. They were married in the
Christian faith.
The whole district had great respect
for my grandfather and grandmother.
They all called him Padee (for Pa dear)
and her Madee (for Ma dear). On various
special occasions he would be asked to
speak and he would thrill everyone with
his beautiful stories. Now I know that
most of them came either from the

Arabian Nights or from old Hindu
Richard de Rizzio had come from
India to be an interpreter and clerk in
the immigration office at Kingston. He
had a good education in English and
could speak nine of the Indian languages.
In appearance he was always an elegant
figure, immaculately dressed with stiff
collar, tie, vest and gold watch and
chain. He always wore an aristocratic
felt hat. His hair and beard were grey
and long with just a little cut away
around the mouth for the food to get
Most of his travels from one end of
Jamaica to the other were done on
horseback. There was nowhere to lodge
along the way but, usually, the local
ministers would accommodate him
somewhere on their premises.
On one occasion he was allowed to
sleep in the church vestry and, to keep
him company, the minister's gardener
slept in the church itself which, like
most others at that time, was situated in
the same compound as a school and a
graveyard. About midnight, the gardener
burst into the vestry in a fright, grabbed
hold of my grandfather and told him
that there was a 'duppy' knocking at
the church door. Sure enough, when he
listened, Richard heard three distinct
raps repeated at intervals. So he went
to the door and called out loudly, 'I am
opening this door and I shall shoot the
first person I see!' Thereupon, he flung
it open and found at his feet a dog
sleeping so happily on the mat that his
wagging tail continuously thumped the
Fear of the dead was widespread
and their 'duppies' or wandering spirits
were usually thought to be responsible
for any untoward or puzzling occurrence.
One night, for instance, as Richard was
riding his mule along the St. Thomas
road, he saw a large, excited crowd out-
side a shop and was told that a man
whom they all knew was 'rising from
the dead on the third day'. They were
sure this was happening because they
had seen smoke coming from the grave
and heard groaning. They implored the
traveller not to continue his journey be-
cause he would be in danger as the
duppy would surely do him harm. How-
ever, curiosity led him on. When he
had ridden a few chains beyond the
shop, his mule slackened pace and
seemed somewhat disturbed. So he dis-
mounted and walked to the grave which
was in a pasture near the road. There he
saw a mule rolling on the ground to rub

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Approved by Ihe Go e,,r:7 Pi,.. q- I le re r w. '
glre by Secion 71 of L. j .1A 1i'o

A contract with Frontier estate, St Mary in 1911 sets out the legal provisions which were made
on behalf of the Indians.

off his ticks and groaning. The earth was
very dry and as the animal rolled about,
clouds of dust rose up on the wind sug-
gesting smoke to the credulous local
people. Richard returned to the shop
and explained to the crowd the reasons
for what they had seen and heard. He
invited them to go with him to look for
themselves but no one was willing to
take such a risk.

My grandfather kept a diary, written
in a beautiful hand which, later on, I
would try to copy. In the diary were
many entries recording his concern for
the Indian immigrants and his distress at
the injustices they suffered because of
language difficulties on the one hand
and because of the callousness of local
officials on the other. One entry des-
cribed how a labourer who had become
insane 'had been sent to prison because
there is no one at the Mental Hospital

who can speak his language'. And
another item related the tragedy of a
man who was 'sent to prison for stealing
a bunch of bananas. His wife was very
beautiful. When he came out he found
her pregnant for the overseer. So he
killed her. He killed the wrong person'.
Although there was a protector of
immigrants and various other provisions
made for the Indians to receive fair
treatment, these were often more dis-
regarded than observed. Efforts to
obtain even a hearing were often in vain
and might even lead to imprisonment
because the authority appealed to had
reacted impatiently since he could not
understand the applicant's language and,
was ignorant of the true situation.

I do not believe that my grandfather
ever received any pension. He had a few
rooms which he rented at one shilling
a week each. They were on a five acre

lot where my grandmother did all the
My grandmother was my best friend.
She was a lovely woman of mixed
Indian and European/Jamaican stock
who usually wore her hair in two long
braids like ropes. She would get down
on the ground and I would sit on her
back, hold her hair like reins and ride
her like a horse.
My grandmother had the best tobacco
field in the area. There were no insecti-
cides in those days so we would both go
around every leaf with a wide-mouthed
bottle and rake the worms into it. Then
we would throw the worms to the
chickens who would devour them heart-
ily. Because I did not eat her cooked
chicken my grandmother thought me a
would-be Brahmin but I always felt that
if I bit a piece of that chicken, a worm
might drop out in my mouth.

The widespread cultfaton and use of rice is one of the major contributions made by the
East Indians to Jamaican culture. Here, Indian immigrants in traditional dress thresh nce
(above) and prepare it for cooking

Madee had always about her a great
air of calmness and dignity. She also had
a wonderful sense of humour. Her
daughter Frances was a serious young
woman. One day she came upon my
grandmother leading two goats by their
ropes while I rode upon her back. My
mother was furious because I should
have been leading one of the goats in-
stead of riding on Madee's back. Madee
remained calm and said to my mother
'Fanny, didn't you promise that you
would not interfere with us?' I never
saw my grandmother perturbed.
There is an incident in our relation-
ship that I can never forget. In my first
year at high school I passed the prelimin-
ary Cambridge examination and also re-
ceived a prize for second place in my
class. For the vacation I took the train
to Richmond and rode a horse from
Richmond to my home. On the way, I
had to pass my grandmother's house.
I stopped and showed her my certifi-
cate and prize. She hugged and kissed
me and said 'Hold your head up son, I
will always be looking at you'. All my
life, in my most shining hour or in my
deepest depression, I felt her hug and
saw her face and heard her words:
'Hold your head up, son'.
My mother, as I have said, was a very
serious young woman. She had a strict
sense of Christian morality and behav-
iour. She was also a very practical per-
son with considerable business ability.
Her husband, though he never became a
Christian, had a deep religious interest
in people. Goods and other material
things received his attention only when
they allowed him to meet people. Per-
haps this was the reason he kept a shop
rather than a farm. It was lucky for
John Parboosingh that his wife was so
good a manager and so adept at planning
and in ordering their life together. She
realized at an early date that if she did
not herself undertake certain responsi-
bilities they would both starve in their
old age.
My parents' life together was a very
successful partnership which gave to all
their children a wonderful start in life
and splendid examples of Indian-born
values on which to build their lives as

The Community

With the aid of my mother, my father
was able to expand his business enter-
prise rapidly. The men of the district
asked him to attach a bar to the grocery.
This he was reluctant to do but the dis-
trict constable promised to maintain

strict discipline. A district constable was
a member of the police force selected
from the people in a district. He did not
wear a uniform but was given a badge
which he wore on his left upper arm
only when he was making an arrest. He
was also given a pair of handcuffs.
So the bar was attached to the gro-
cery but with an extension of the
counter separating the patrons of the
one from those in the other. Later, a
large dry goods store was added for the
sale of shoes, cloth, hats, etc. There
were three departments so built that the
seller could go through one corridor to
all three departments but the buyer had
to go outside to enter from one depart-
ment to another. This guaranteed pri-
vacy to the buyer. The dry goods
department closed at 4 p.m. but the rest
of the shop was open until 9 p.m.
Now that the business was enlarged
my father had to spend two days in
Kingston every two weeks in order to
procure all the goods he needed. He
spent the night at a hotel and while he
was away my mother would have the
whole enterprise cleaned and the goods
arranged in order. She would send let-
ters demanding payment to all those
who owed for goods they had received;
and she would keep some of the sales
from the two days. This was part of her
provision for their old age. Incidentally,
my father did business for nearly 50
years and never sued anyone.
Hopewell estate provided rooms for
their labourers but the Jamaican workers
regarded it as infra dig to live in them
although they were well built and near
to the work place. This prejudice prob-
ably originated in slavery which deve-
loped in the ex-slaves a preference for
their own homes where they could live
in peace with no one to contradict or
boss them.
Instead of occupying the houses pro-
vided, the Hopewell labourers built
huts with logwood or other hardwood
uprights, neatly wattled with narrow
strips of bamboo and the whole wall
covered with white marl which was
softened with water to cover the wood
smoothly. The net result resembled a
white concrete wall. The roof might be
of zinc or of dried guinea grass neatly
laid on. The floor was made of native
lumber. Labour for building was pro-
vided by what was called 'morning
work'. On Saturday, when a man's
friends were free, they would gather and
offer their services. The owner would
provide food and drink. Those who
ate and drank the most were not always

those who delivered the most work.
It usually took three Saturdays to
complete a small hut. It was regarded as
disgraceful if the owner of one did not
offer his services in turn to one of his
comrades in building the latter's hut.
Those who could afford it would
engage qualified workmen to build
regular houses with imported lumber,
zinc or shingles and glass windows. In
such cases all the workmen were given
regular pay.
At first the bar preyed on my father's
conscience. He felt he would be respon-
sible for creating alcoholics in the
district. He later realized that this room
had become one of the social highlights
in the community. It was the only place
where there were benches and adequate
light. And, in addition to alcohol, there
were bread, bulla, biscuits and tinned
food etc. to buy.
After work the men would wash
and change their clothes, sometimes old
and ragged but usually clean. Those who
depended entirely on their wages from
the estate had to wait until pay-day, Fri-
day, before they could buy a drink.
If a stranger arrived at the bar or any-
where in the district he would usually
be regarded with suspicion. The natives
were called 'born ya'. The new arrival
was called 'come ya' and if there was
any stealing or other trouble in the dis-
trict he was the first person to be sus-
pected. He would have to prove him-
self without a shadow of a doubt be-
fore being accepted.
Every day at about 3 p.m. my father
would send a messenger to the post
office in Richmond to mail and receive
letters and the newspaper the Daily
Gleaner. People would wait at the road-
side to ask the bearer to send or collect
their letters and sometimes to buy
things which they could not procure
at Hopewell Pen. As the messenger
was illiterate he would place my father's
letters in one pocket and other persons'
in a special pocket.
At around 5 p.m. the bulk of the
men would arrive at the shop to hear
the news. My father would sit at a
special place on the counter between
the dry goods store and the rest of the
shop. From there he could see the en-
tire shop, both the buyer and the seller.
We the children called it 'the throne'.
My brother would read aloud the whole
Gleaner, even the advertisements. As he
read out the headlines our father would
say 'yes' or 'no' indicating which item
he should read. Thus the men, mostly






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illiterate and completely isolated, could
gain a fair knowledge of news in Jamaica
and the world.

The clock would be set to alarm at
9 p.m. At that time the men would
shout 'telegram come; we must go
now'. Then they would call out 'walk
good', instead of 'goodbye'. This ex-
pression was quite appropriate as they
had to walk probably two miles on a
track with many stones and muddy
puddles. Once, one of these men got his
foot cut by a stone and when the next
afternoon he limped back to the store
and showed the cut to his friends he
said, 'What a good thing I didn't have on
my shoes!' For of course, a cut on his
foot would heal but a cut on the shoe
would not.
To me, a little boy, the most fascin-
ating section of the whole enterprise
was the conduct of those who con-
sumed alcohol. Mass Charley had one
of the best homes in the district. He
owned and cultivated himself a large
lot of land, and he had a little more
education and culture than most of his
colleagues; he also had a daughter who
lived in Kingston and she kept him
up-to-date. But he was small in stature
and this gave him an inferiority com-
plex. After a few drinks, his whole
countenance would change, his face
darken, his eyes grow bigger and red,
and he would speak through the side of
his mouth. He would roll up his shirt-
sleeves, make a fist and challenge any-
one to a fight. One particularly large
man would say, 'No, Mass Charley dat
tight ball can knock down a wall'. That
remark would entitle him to a drink
from Mass Charley.
Another man used to tell how God
answered his prayers and how, to show
his appreciation, he would offer a sacri-
fice a chicken. The whole community
called him 'Burnt Offering' or 'Bunty'
for short.
There was one who used to become
very eloquent and would say 'You see,
I am different from the whole of you
because of the good training I got from
my father. Every Monday morning he
got himself a guava whip and said, "Son,
drop your trousers". Then he hit me -
wap. "Son, don't tief". Him lick me
again wap and said "Son, don't tell
lie". Him lick me again wap and said
"Son, don't trouble other man woman".
You see why I am better than you'.
Then there would be loud applause
from the audience who would agree
with 'We can see that'.
On one occasion there arrived in the

district a man who had spent a few years
in Panama. He was usually well dressed
and wore a gaudy badge over the left
coat pocket. He would first speak in
Spanish, which no one understood, then
he would carefully translate into English.
One day he calmly proclaimed: 'I was
when I wasn't and wasn't when I was.
I wasn't when I wasn't and was when I
was. Go home and think this over. If
you understand it, you understand the
whole Bible'. Everyone in the bar bow-
ed and thanked him. Later I learnt
that this is a corrupt version of Romans
Chapter 7, verses 19 and 20, 'For the
good that I would do I do not, but the
evil that I would not that I do. Now if
I do that I would not, it is no more I
that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me'.
The conversation was not always
humorous or instructive. Sometimes
there were fights and abuses and bad
language. That was my father's greatest
concern and he often quoted to me:
'Our eyes may see some uncleanness,
but let not our minds see things that are
not clean. Our ears may hear some un-
cleanness, but let not our minds hear
things that are not clean'. I know now
that this is a Shinto prayer. Though
he had told our mother that since
Jamaica was a Christian country she
should bring us up in the Christian faith,
our father would often quote Sanskrit
sayings and explain them to us.
Most of the people earned little and
spent all. This deficit was usually com-
pensated by their community spirit in
an emergency.
In times of stress their cooperation
could be an example to our 'modern
civilised society'. If a man were found
guilty in court, the whole district would
pool their resources to pay the fine. In
case of sickness one would bring a bed,
another sheets, chairs, etc. A young
girl would act as maid to help look after
the sick when the doctor was called.
Often neighbours would contribute to
the doctor's fee.
A funeral belonged to the whole
community. The village carpenter, al-
though he might be an enemy of the de-
ceased or of the family, without being
asked would take care of the coffin to
the best of his ability. After the funeral,
however, he still 'kept malice' with the
family. My father would supply all the
materials from his store. Most never re-
paid their debt and he never asked.
Regardless of the participants' finan-
cial status a wedding was a highlight in
the district. Dress was formal stiff
collar, black bow tie, black suit with

tails, even spats were worn over the
shoes. The women wore long silk
dresses with ribbons all over and a big
hat with a veil. There had to be a
carriage to take the couple to and from
the church. At first a buggy with a
coachman, then, later, a car. At home
there was usually a roasted pig, etc.,
with a huge wedding cake. There were
no invitations the whole village at-
tended. Speeches were eloquent even if
they did not conform to standard
English. Because of the cost most
people did not have a church wedding.
It must be clearly understood, however,
that those who lived together out of
wedlock were just as faithful to each
other and to their children as the married
Peoples' needs were few and their
outlook on life was limited, but they
did enjoy themselves. Around the
Christmas season they had what they
called Manalva. I think the correct name
is Manoeuvre. A man would dress like a
King, his Queen appropriately dressed
beside him. He would have half-a-dozen
soldiers behind him. The King and the
soldiers would have swords. These
would be old cutlasses with protection
around the blades to prevent injuries
from an opponent. The King's opponent
was a Commodore, dressed appropriately
with six soldiers behind him. The two
groups would march in opposite direc-
tions round a circle so that they crossed
each other once in each round. As they
clashed the swords came into play -
and one would see sparks. But the
purpose was entertainment, not fight-
ing. Occasionally, when the intake of
rum increased, the game became rough
and a few injuries occurred. The Queen
changed her dress four times for the
evening and this provided entertainment
for the women. The local band provided
dance music for the crowd and there
was usually an abundance of local food
and drink for sale.

These were usually available also
together with gambling, cricket and
games for the children, at the local
horse races. There was a three furlong
race-course in the district. The race
horses were the ordinary working
horses from the neighbourhood and ad-
joining areas. There were match races
with purses ranging from ten shillings
to five pounds.

Market day was on Saturday.
There was no market building in our dis-
trict but some shops were situated
about mid-way between Highgate, where
there was a government market, and the

production areas, so shelter was avail-
able under the roof overhang in case of
rain. The market women's dress was uni-
que. There was the Madras head dress.
I do not know how the name originated
but my father would order 'Madras head
dress' from Kingston. The original
colour was red with other colours
around. It was immaculately laundered
and each market woman seemed to tie it
in her own style. With it went, usually, a
bright coloured blouse and skirt. Most
were barefoot. Some carried their loads
of provisions on their heads, whilst
others used a donkey with hampers.
The men were also dressed in loud
colours but were certainly not as picture-
sque or as original as the women. Some
men came on foot, others rode donkeys,
others mules and others horses.
An arrangement between a certain
couple was quite interesting. The wife,
Jane, laid out her products and invited
buyers. There were no scales. The seller
usually asked a little higher price and
the buyer offered a little lower. After
some bargaining they arrived at a price
suitable to both. This wife, Jane would
keep the 'small change' in the pocket on
the right side of her apron and put
paper money and the larger silver coins

in that on the left. Her husband, Tom,
would put his hand into the left pocket
and take out some money. Then he
would go into the bar where he and his
friends entertained themselves with
drinks. When the money was exhausted
he would go back to Jane and 'fish' out
a little more. As evening approached
and the wife found the money getting
low she would quietly slap his hand and
say 'no more. What is left is for gro-
ceries'. Later he would follow her
sheepishly to the shop and if there was
any money left over he would probably
ask to be remembered.
This was an excellent example of
'womans lib', for although he retained
his manly status in enjoying himself,
she had the last word in a quiet, digni-
fied, inoffensive and effective way. In
the light of modern 'womans lib' it
may seem that the women bore the
brunt of living. But while doing their
buying or selling, they had their gossip
and could enjoy sweets or a bit of
'grater cake'. I never saw a woman take
a drink in the shop, although a few
might buy liquor and take it home.

Monday was usually laundry day.
The district had no piped water supply
so the women would take the family

laundry to the river sometimes as much
as a mile away from the house. Usually
a group would frequent the same river.
Each person would take some food
which would be put together with what
the others brought and cooked as a
common meal. As they washed their
clothes they would sing either hymns or
local songs. They would vie for who
could sing best and loudest or who
could introduce a new song, thus a
chore that could have been a bore be-
came a pleasant job. It is unfortunate
that we have no recordings of their sing-
ing as they would be unique and very
Whilst the market was 100 per cent
Jamaican, the church was pseudo-
English. Few, if any, would go bare-
footed to church. People would walk
with their shoes in their hands then sit
under a large mango tree between our
home and the church, which was
only two doors away, and put on their
shoes. On their way back from church
they would stop at the same tree and
reverse the process.
My mother was a strict churchgoer.
Any child of hers who felt sick enough
to stay away from church had to take
castor oil. Sometimes I preferred castor


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oil to attending the several services
which began at 9 a.m. and ended about
2 p.m. There was Sunday school, then
church service, after that there were
women's classes and men's classes. For
the sermon we usually got our money's
worth for it would last full hour. The
minister had to serve several churches so
we seldom got more than three sermons
from him in a year. In between, the
teacher and a few laymen with very
limited education would help out. Many
members of the congregation would go
to sleep during the sermon.
The Indian population in the district
continued to grow. As their ten-year
indentureships expired many of
them bought small pieces of land and
built little houses. They continued to
work on the estate which brought them
a weekly income and left time for them
to cultivate their own plots.
o There was seldom conflict between
the Indians and their Jamaican counter-
parts. I do remember one major problem
that arose but not how my father man-
aged to solve it. It concerned a man who
started to sell beef under the wide over-
hang which prevented rain from enter-
ing the open windows of the shop. The
Hindus objected to his doing this,
especially as people would take the
meat inside to add to their grocery pur-
My elder brothers and I used to help
in the shop. My first job when I was
about four years old and before I start-
ed going to school, was to fill buyers'
bottles with kerosene oil.
The Indians would speak to us in
Hindi, which at first we did not under-
stand. But we soon learnt the Hindi
names for all the grocery items. We
would add them up in Hindi so that the
customers could follow us carefully in
our calculations. Then we would write
down the amount in English on a piece
of paper. This kept a check on our
Hindustani. Usually about two weeks'
supply of groceries would be bought at
one time.
Early on Saturday morning people
would assemble at my father's shop.
Everyone would greet him 'Palega Baba'.
After the grocery transactions were
completed my father would talk to his
customers in Hindustani. I did not under-
stand what he said but, from the expres-
sions on the faces of the audience, one
realized that they were deeply impres-
sed. After this a few would chip together
and buy a tin of fresh herring. We had
to supply a plate for each person. Each
would wash his hands before eating, eat

with his fingers then, after the meal,
wash his hands again and gargle to clean
his mouth.
In India at that time most Indians,
for religious and economic reasons, did
not drink alcohol. In Jamaica, with
these two deterrents out of the way,
alcohol consumption became very high.
One or two drinks was all that was
necessary for them either to fall un-
conscious or become boisterous. At
those times the only English they could
remember were curse words. Then the
\police would arrest them for disorderly
conduct and my father would wonder
why they did not curse in Hindustani
which the police would not have under-
It is believed that ganja or Indian
hemp (Cannabis) had been brought
from India to Jamaica by the Indians.
On Saturday I would see them buy a
yard of 'jackass rope' (native tobacco
twisted into a rope). They would cut
up some of it as finely as possible, add
a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon
of ganja. This they would rub together
until the whole mass was blended, then
it was stored in a tightly-lidded can
and would last them for a week. It was
unusual to find any apparent untoward
effects in an Indian ganja smoker.
John Parboosingh did not know
enough English to qualify him for ap-
pointment as a justice of the peace but,
nevertheless, the people of the district
used to bring their legal problems to
him. They were usually satisfied with
the solutions he offered.
It was rumoured, and widely believed,
that the Indians were not given a square
deal in banking transactions because of
their inability to read English. To facili-
tate them my father bought a huge iron
safe and would keep a bank envelope
for each person who left money in his
care. He would write the man's name
on an envelope in Hindi and my eldest
brother would write it in English so
that either of them could deliver the
money when the depositor required
it. It was the men's greatest joy to find
that the money they had placed in the
envelope was the same they received
when it was withdrawn.
Among these Indians there were
neither temples nor regular meetings.
Weddings were performed by the
priest and the festival would end with
food and a good deal of alcohol con-
sumed. Another festival was a puja
which the people often called a dinner.
It was a feast of thanksgiving. The
priest would read from the Sanskrit,

then garlands were placed on the friends.
There was always food for the poor
too, and gifts of material for making
clothing were given to the priest and to
the poor.
There was one puja which I can never
forget. The authorities had been con-
sistently denying their obligation to give
a free passage back to India to each in-
dentured labourer on the completion of
his contract. After a great deal of pres-
sure they agreed to repatriate a few and
one of these was a labourer in our dis-
trict. His name was Chatterpaul and he
had ten pounds in my father's bank.
Chatterpaul told my father that he
would use this money for a puja in
thanksgiving for his good fortune. My
father urged him not to do this for the
boat would land him at Bombay and he
would need the ten pounds to pay his
way home from there.
But Chatterpaul was determined to
have his puja. The priest read the cere-
mony and gave a sermon. The feast
ended with a dinner and clothes for the
When he came to say goodbye,
Chatterpaul said in a calm and con-
fident manner, 'God will provide'.
My father gave him an envelope ad-
dressed to himself, John Parboosingh,
and wrote on a piece of paper the one
word 'arrived'. He told Chatterpaul
that if he reached home he should mail
the envelope with the note inside. If he
did not, he should remove the paper
and send the empty envelope.

We never heard from him.


o, e ole o 92- o7l5

Kingston Street Cries c1927

and Something About Their Criers

By Astley Clerk

Excerpts from a Lecture delivered in Kingston, November 1927. (From the Manuscript Collection National Library of Jamaica).

The fight for existence on land, in air, and beneath the
sea is fierce, but it is only on land that we are treated,
as far as we know, to a musical illustration of the Christ-
taught petition, 'Give us this day our daily bread'. For what
are street-cries but a human rendering of that well-known
and daily repeated prayer?

If it were not that I feel that, as far as Kingston goes, it is
incorrect to say so, I would be inclined to assert positively
that street-cries are the pulse of the musical ability of the
people, and that Jamaicans love music no one can deny, yet,
strange to say, the itinerant vendors of Kingston do not
demonstrate this love in the, as a rule, unmusical monotones
in which the majority of our street cities are-chanted today.
But, monotoned or sung, they are attractive to our visitors -
in fact some of the most amusing are those which, like the
Chimney Sweep's call, the Scissors mender, etc. are pro-
claimed on one note but it is the innate, and possibly
unconscious Art of the criers which lifts these and similar
cries above those of the ordinary monotonic utterances heard
on our streets and lanes.

'One listens', wrote Bacon and Aaron in their The New
Jamaica 'with interest to the va'ious street cries, each one
ending with gwinee by" which is doubtless a reminder that
all things in this world are but transitory after all. Or what a
splendid chance for the temperance lecturer to take his text
from the call that rouses him in the morning "Wipi, chapel
pi, whisky bot'l gwi' by". 'Could you guess', they ask their
readers, 'that when translated this means "Wine pint, cham-
pagne pint, whiskey bottle going by" and that the enigma it
uttered by a woman whose business is the cfilectidon of
Not only do these cries prove of interest to our viitiors.
but they, on their part, give us who are a daily part of
Kingston's life, much amusement because of the errors which
often embellish the often hastily written reports of the 'ships
that pass in the night'. You and I know, the bottle gatherer
would never announce that such goods as she wants to buy
are going by! She would preferably chant in her natural voice,

J K- w; p; A-' tipfa pi' ,A- a.lilVy bat-'L.

Pindars or Peanuts
Very few of the many books written on Jamaica by those
who have visited her shores make any reference to Pindars.
Rampini, howey r, in his Letters from Jamaica does. He
Nght had cbhri upon us suddenly . we passed several men
with little '8fs models of houses, brilliantly illuminated on
their heads, selling out what sounded to us like "I scream" at
the pitch of their unmusical voices. They were, however, only
vendors of ice cream . a luxury which, strange to say, is to
be got in inhi burning land at no other hour of the day. Then
came by a woman with a basket of roasted pindars, or ground
nuts, on h-r head. Of all the street cries we had heard during
the clay this was the only one which had either music or rhythm
about it. It ias a plaintive little melody in the minor key, not
very sapropriate to the words, it must be mentioned, but it
came prettily and we rather regretted when she turned the
corner aend her
Pindar bwy, young gentleman!
Pindar tuyfyoung ladies!
Pindar buy&yoJg gentleman!
Pindar, pindar, fiAyl
was heard no more.
The words.tlat the writer puts into the pindar woman's
mouth differ fr~ilt those I was accustomed to hear in my early
.days, aFd the tune which he says was a 'plaintive little
me;;idy.jitot very appropriate to the words' could certainly
not havefbeen the same bright, cheery tune which I used to
hear and.which you will hear later on. True, in the minor
tut just'Sufficient to make it entrancing. Words and music
as I was accustomed to hear them ;n the late seventies, some
10 years alter Rampin; first heard our cries. were thus sung
by the lads I have nevei known the pindar seller to be ought

Music edited and transcribed by Marjorie Whylhe
from Astley Clerk's manuscript notes

but lads who sold them:

4rJ =aFinna I-, cu d 1 i Iu a tmw, 6k I -a -

S-dadyayog i r- J4s0 ocI7, p wdd ,n p

After the pindar or peanut boy (for it is one and the same
thing) has bought his nuts, the fruit or eating part of which is
covered with a shell easily broken by pressure of the fingers,
he roasts them until they are properly done, then he places
them in his basket and carries them about the city to the cry
you just heard.
Today, although the peanut boy does not usually cry his
goods in anything as musical a manner as the pindar boy of the
past, yet this method of carrying them about is, some say, a
great advance on his predecessor's of 40 years ago. Twelve
or 14 years back, soon after our ears had been assailed by a
shrill pipe-like whistle, caused by steam escaping from a
funnel, we would see a diminutive top-covered handcart,
pushed by the peanut vendor approaching, and hear his
matter of fact, rollicking:

Pe.-np ea-nums, M.f, ea-nuts, p mn a nts,.

Because of its continuous shrill piping, a sound beloved by
the children, the cart was execrated by almost all adults. The
nuts were served hot and direct from the pan, which was
kept on a coal fire in the cart. Today, the cart is seldom seen,
the whistle, due to passing of the City Law prohibiting their
use, is never heard. Why the old and familiar cheery call has
been ousted by the present see-saw cry I have not been able
to discover.
At Cross Roads, the sellers, a few years ago, would bring
the nuts, neatly wrapped in penny cones, to the passengers
waiting in the cars,1 or standing on the sidewalks, and on one
occasion, I heard a youngster give this call as he moved along:

S eA- nut,la- As, pvA-,iA Jt&4,wvl L,rf an, +alk. ",-

crat. F-a -nt, hot P"A- Ant.

To earn their little profit, these lads tramp many and many
a mile through the dusty streets of our metropolis, starting
between 5 and 6 in the evening and getting back home bet-
ween 12.30 to 1 o'clock next morning.
Sometimes they may be seen in twos or threes, and then
their work is attended with a good deal of friendly jostling
as to who will secure the customer then, if the latter is at
all cranky and treat them as a joke, they become a nuisance.
The nuts are bought at 2d per quart and sold at 6d, so
after deducting labour, wear and tear of cart, damage to
shoes, you will find that profit, anywhere from 1/6 to 2/- per

night is not princely, but it is a living and an honest one.
There is yet another peanut cry, very clever and very
musical, which I often hear of late in and about Brentford
Town and Cross Roads and which Mr. Campbell2 assures me
he has heard in Kingston also. While he is illustrating it vocal-
ly, you too may discover that you know it:

Ln'M nt pFLr nW- V, \PLr ntr r, t nlr- nr, Ir

'Pearney' and 'Pearnerner' are evidently little jokes on the
part of this crier, who is apparently trying to link up his pea-
nuts and his self-made words. Speaking about this particular
lad, my friend Mr. Campbell remarked, 'Regarding this Pea-
nut Boy, he is unique, inasmuch as he has no imitators and
perhaps this may provide an answer to the oft-asked ques-
tion "Is the Jamaican musical?" I was so struck with the
tunefulness of this lad's call, that I endeavoured to find out
from others of his ilk if they knew his tune. Most of them
admitted that they did know it, they had heard it, but have
never tried to sing it or improve on it because they could
do neither. To appreciate the character of this lad's song
he must be seen and heard, as no written note can convey the
nasal, though not unpleasant quality of the tune, or the devil-
may-care abandon he throws into the voice.'


Ramphal refers to the ice cream vendors of his day (1869)
and I cannot omit those of today.
As a boy in Kingston I was always amused at the cry of
these young men minors were not permitted then to cry
their goods about the city. The advent of the many palatial

ice cream [parlours] and the small carts in which snow-ball3
and friscos are sold have, however, almost crushed out the
ice-cream vendor. The contents of the snow-ball carts are a
great source of pleasure to our peasantry while the carts are
as great a source of amusement to our visitors who are usually
tickled to death as they read the quaint names painted on
them, such as "War Baby", "Little Sister", "Little Dan", etc.
The sellers of ice cream, snow balls etc. are seldom vocal
but they make the welkin ring with the continual 'tin-tin-
nabulation of the bells' they carry to attract the attention
of likely customers.


In the days before I owned a moustache, starch was sold
in Kingston as it is today. The starch was made the same
way, the vendors are still the same sex, women, but the cry
has changed. A quarter of a century ago, the Kingston visitor
was treated to a decidedly pretty little tune ....

fi ," Mt-
'TIc, ek wal*i r we-eAk4Itauk,

Illustrations from the print collection of the
National Library of Jamaica.

Strange that this interesting and catchy cry be heard no
more on our thoroughfares, at least I have not heard it for
many a long year, although a lady-friend to whom I sang it
told me that she had heard it as late as 1912. Well that is
15 years ago. Can our starch sellers, nay, all our street ven-
dors of 1927 not realise that a really musical and pretty
cry is a help to the quick sale of their wares? Today, our
ears are treated to the dirge-like wail

I. .. \ r ,

a cry which usually sends the members of the home who do
not belong to the house-wife department into the uttermost
part of the backyard, so mournful and plaintive it is.

Winnifred James, writing in The Mulberry Tree tells us:
The three things that the Jamaican peasant seems to love more
than anything else are starch, words of four syllables and reli-
gion. Unless you sendeternal and unremittingweekly pleadings,
everything you wear is returned to you starched, and what is
more, raw-starched. My handkerchiefs are pieces of cardboard,
my nightgowns are hair-shirts, and my linen dresses are plaster-
casts . . I would like to have the starch monopoly for the
West Indies if all the islands are like Jamaica.

Miss James's experience is not that of suffering Kingstonians
of today. She had too much, we cannot get enough starch ....

Starch selling is wholly and solely a 'female' avocation
among the people. She buys the cassava in the markets, peels,
washes and grates it, and then extracts the starch with cold
water, leaving the 'head' or fibrous part. It is then put to
settle, the starch falling to the bottom: the water is then
drawn off and the starch is afterwards put in the sun to dry
for a day or two. The seller then packs her tray and starts her
weary walk usually in the early mornings so as to catch the
washerwoman . it is then, as a rule, that we hear the
present day cry of:

or as a variant

J 6..

Buy you bo1 e 6o% itt4rch.

Man-like I used to wonder what 'bone-dry' starch was.
Several ladies have since informed me that it is a very dry
powdery starch which is ever so much more economical
than the ordinary damp starch which is also vended.
Besides their profit which is never superabundant, the
local starch-seller after drying and pounding the 'head'
which is not used to make starch, sifts it, and makes it into
dumplings, pone, etc. thus adding to her daily bread, and,
perhaps, to her profits.

Ripe Pear4

How well do I remember the familiar and pleasing cry of
the pear sellers of my childhood's days. How could I forget
so happy a cry?

In a clear, high, but not strident voice, she it was always
a woman, never a man, would offer her goods to the
housewife waiting for just this one addition before she
despatched the luncheon tray to the hungry husband or son
at work .... How well the cry:

Ap ei (w i Wit -Jtl rI i l I.

used to charm my young ears, for like a true Jamaican I was,
and needless to add, am, still a passionate lover of this 'food
of the gods' . . For years, however, I have missed the musi-
cal ripe pear fe breakfus, ripe pear and in its place Kingston
and her visitors are regaled with the ordinary chant cry:

. I,-

u s pfar gWM*. |AS.

The pear seller is always a woman, she, if she is not fortunate
enough to have a tree growing in her yard, meets the country-
woman as high up as she can and the further from the city
the better bargain she can drive. Starting early in the mornings,
for ripe pears are a breakfast necessity when they are in
season, she bears her purchase to town, and trudges the streets
and lanes to the words and tune just sung.
This last chant is also used by the great army of fruit
and vegetable sellers, so that again and again throughout the
day's work our ears are vocally saluted with the cry,
Yellow-heart breadfruit gwine pass
Lucy yam gwine pass, eh, de dry Lucy yam gwine
Sweet orange gwine pass
Green banana gwine pass, etc.

As a boy listening to similar chants, I was as much struck
with the slip-slop of the san-pattas5 on the feet of the women
as with their song. To me it was an accomplishment which
has ever been associated with the memory of the cry an
accomplishment which, today, is heard no more, lost by the
earnest endeavours of our lately departed governor Sir
Leslie Probyn who, successfully, instilled it into the heads
of the mass that they should wear boots, if possible at home
but always in public.


When in season, and it usually is in season, the coconut
trade is one that brings, especially since the end of the Great
War, a fair return to the vendors ....
As early as 7.00 in the mornings the dwellers of the
metropolis, and its suburbs, see a mule-drawn cart wending
its way about their thoroughfares especially those of the
business section of the city, the driver knowing where to
quickly get rid of his stock. Nor does it require a sight
of the fruit, heaped in the cart, on the front seat of which

the driver is perched, nor his drawn out call of:

to tell the passer-by what that cart contains for the well-
known willowy branches which are hoisted on the back
and sometimes each side of the cart are silent salesmen, and
quietly and advantageously advertise and sell the goods.
Every now and then the driver is stopped by some thirsty
one .. and a 112d and a nut change hands .... in the days
of old the price was a penny per nut.... Coconut vendors of
all criers, seem to vie with each other for variety and their
cries are very numerous, and for this reason our coconut
seller realises that his own customers will refuse to buy from
other sellers, but wait to hear his own particular cry this
very frequently happens. Here, for instance, is an appreciable
variety, and the seller, always a male, so surprised me with
the brightness of his outbursts:

Co,, buy y 01 W- 4 .'- nuX, water eo nut .

as to necessitate the instant use of my note book and pencil.

*/ 4.1.. 4 1 P", ,. ,,,

t r &e' ,n .

I have stated that coconut sellers are always men, never
women I must, however, amend that statement, as, just be-
fore I delivered this talk in 1914 I actually heard a female
coconut seller .. she was quite near my residence in Brent-

ford Town she had no cart, but carried a tray on her head,
in which a half dozen of the dried fruit were displayed. Her
cry, drawled out as much as possible was entirely in the

By c16 *- M n ,

Booby Eggs
From about seven to eleven a.m. during the months of
March to July the visitor to Kingston sees a great many girls
going about the streets with trays filled with spotted eggs,
soon desires to know what sort of eggs is being sold, is grati-
fied as the seller cries:

y e, sboo- by e, boo- by 'lj

Many stop her and exchange their pennies for hard boiled
eggs seasoned with black pepper and salt.
The Booby egg trade is, like the fish-sellers' calling, depen-
dent on another. There are neither boobies nor booby eggs in
Jamaica but miles away from her shores. Consequently those
who gather and those who sell are different people . .. To
reach these distant cays [off the south coast] a schooner,
two masted, is chartered and 10 to 12 men engaged by
the lessee of the island.
Leaving Kingston about 6 p.m. on a day during the season,
they do not return before four or five days. Often they meet
bad weather and often they run out of the water they have
to take with them, thereby enduring the tortures of thirst
as the water on the cays, being brackish, is fit for cooking
but not for drinking purposes.
The eggs [of the Sooty Tern and the Brown Noddy] are


No. 1 Jamaica 21 Anthology Series
Jamaican Folk Tales and
Oral Histories
by Laura Tanna
Songs Rhymes Riddles Proverbs
Historical Narratives *Lying Stories
Parson Stories Duppy Stories eAnansi Stories
Trickster Narratives.
Covers the range of
Jamaica's Oral Art Forms
Over 50 narratives
Written down exactly as told.
Introduction: How the Stories were Collected;
How the Stories were Written Down
Chapter I: Background to Jamaican Folk Tales
Chapter II: Storytelling as a Performing Art
Chapter III: Jamaican Oral Art Forms

Chapter IV: Jamaican Trickster Narratives
Chapter V: Other Old Time Stories

The historical, cultural and linguistic background which
gave rise to the oral narrative tradition in Jamaica is
explained and put into the context of the present situation.
Although the emphasis is on the stories, an effort is made to
examine storytelling as a dramatic art form so as to convey
to the reader some of the dynamic vitality of performance
which keeps the tradition of folk tales alive and enduring.

J$75 or U.S.$20
For free brochures on this and other publications on
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2A Suthermere Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica, Telephone: 92-94785/6

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quitoes very much into the limelight
and in particular, one group of them,
the genus Anopheles. The curator at
the time was preparing to go on leave so
Cundall had a pamphlet of instructions
for collecting and preserving mosquitoes
copy-printed and sent to the medical
officers of 11 parishes. Only two such
officers sent in specimens, a Dr. Dono-
van and Dr. Michael Grabham, the lat-
ter still remembered here as the bene-
factor of the Victoria Jubilee Hospital.
Dr. Grabham sent a collection to the
British Museum on his own. Some of
Dr. Grabham's specimens were a new
species of Anopheles and it was named
after him, Anopheles grabhami. He had
collected the larvae in a ditch at Rock-
fort, near Kingston. Dr. Grabham,
together with the eminent entomologist
F.V. Theobald, published a booklet, The
Mosquitoes or Culicidae of Jamaica
and on its cover, near the bottom is the

Agents in London: H. Sotheran & Co.

140 Strand and 37, Picadilly, W.

You can bet the secretary was proud of
it and heartily endorsed the whole pro-
ject, including the publication. In 1909,
Dr. Grabham was awarded the Institute's
silver Musgrave Medal for his numerous
Early Curators
The first curator of the museum
was J.J. Bowrey, who was also govern-
ment chemist, and his laboratory was on
the grounds of the Institute. He must
have been a very busy man, for besides
his own work in the laboratory, he help-
ed set up exhibits, collected especial-
ly insects and fish published scientific
and popular articles and gave lectures.
But Bowrey was not a full-time curator
and it was decided that such a person
should be employed. With the advice of
the authorities at the British Museum,
Natural History, a young Englishman,
Theodore D.A. Cockerell, was selected.
He was 25 when he arrived here in
Cockerell was an entomologist who
in later years was to gain international

prominence in his field. In Jamaica, he
made a study of the scale insects he
found here and published about them in
the Journal of the Institute of Jamaica
and the Bulletin of the Botanical
Department of Jamaica, as well as in
foreign journals. He published a list
of 324 species of fishes of Jamaica
which appeared as Bulletin No. 1 of the
Institute of Jamaica (1892). Like the
curators who followed him, he sent
articles to local newspapers. He had a re-
currence of an illness which had plagued
him for several years and decided that
a change of climate might improve his
health so in 1893 he left to take up a
post in NewMexicoand laterin Colorado.
Apparently the change did improve
his health for he died at the age of 81 in
1948. During those years in the United
States, he published hundreds of papers,
mostly on scale insects and bees but
on other groups also. He was rather
widely known for his work on snails, in-
vertebrate palaeontologyand even palaeo-
botany. He and his wife were in Japan
in 1923 when one of the most destructive
earthquakes and tidal waves in history
struck those islands; both were reported
missing, but they had survived unharm-



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The next curator was Charles H.T.
Townsend. He had actually changed
jobs with Cockerell who took up Town-
send's post at the New Mexico Agri-
cultural College. Townsend stayed for
only a year. He was a hard worker but
just could not get along with the secre-
tary. Townsend complained that his
assistant, even when Townsend required
his services, was being taken from him.
He was annoyed at the treatment ac-
corded him by the librarians and was
very much upset that his name was not
listed in the Journal of the Institute of
Jamaica as science editor. He went on
leave in 1894 and did not return.
Townsend was not one to shy from
controversy. In New Mexico, he claimed
that he had seen a species of fly zoom-
ing along at a speed of between 400 and
700 miles per hour and had published
this observation. The fact that he had
never captured one of these insect jets
(who could?) and that he had only esti-
mated the speed, bothered him not in
the least he said he had very good
eyesight and that was that. Naturally,
others ridiculed his claim and it brought
some damage to his reputation. (Today,
no insect is believed to attain a speed
higher than about 40 miles per hour).

It was Townsend who discovered
that the scientific name for the house-
fly Musca domestic, is not strictly
correct according to the international-
ly recognized rules for giving scientific
names to animals. It was the first name
Musca, that was involved. However, an
international commission decided that
strictly adhering to the rules would in
this case, cause more trouble than it was
worth. Townsend was very much put
out that the name he had proposed -
Promusca was rejected. After leaving
Jamaica, he spent about nine years in
Mexico and the United States, nine
years in Peru and 20 in Brazil, dying at
the age of 82 in 1944. During those
years he worked as an applied entomo-
logist, but also published many taxono-
mic works, mostly on flies. Because of
his eccentricities, and, to some extent
the extraneous matter he included in
some of his works, it was many years
before they received the recognition
they deserved.

Duerden's Tenure

The next curator was James Edwin
Duerden. He had been recommended by
Sir William Flower, head of the Natural

History Division of the British Museum.
Sir William had chosen a fine young
scientist; Duerden was 26 years old
when he arrived here in March 1895.

Born in Burnley, England, Duerden
had been a student at the Royal College
of Science, South Kensington from
1885 to 1889, obtaining an associate-
ship there in zoology. His first appoint-
ment was as a demonstrator in biology
and palaeontology at the Royal College
of Science in Dublin and he was there
when he received the appointment as
curator at the Institute. It was in Ire-
land that Duerden became keenly inter-
ested in marine biology and he was a
member of the Irish Fishery Survey.

Although he was chiefly interested in
marine biology, particularly in sea
anemones, in his capacity here as cura-
tor he had to deal with all sorts of ani-
mals. He was even expected to involve
himself in archaeological work, so he
visited Arawak sites and kitchen mid-
dens and prepared exhibits using some
of the artifacts discovered. (There was
already the nucleus of a collection of
Arawak remains kept at the Institute.)
He published a paper titled Aboriginal
Indian Remains in Jamaica (1897).
Like the curators who preceded him,
he contributed numerous articles to
newspapers and to the Journal. He was
adviser to the Jamaican government
regarding insects and fisheries and was
also asked for his opinion about geo-
logical and mining matters. In 1896,
he gave eight lectures on the principles
of biology and in that same year pre-
pared a detailed syllabus for a course
in biology which he thought might be
presented by himself at the Institute.

He travelled a bit on the island, visit-
ing Bluefields where he collected and
observed that it might not be a very
good place for a marine laboratory be-
cause the bay was too open. In one of
his reports to the committee, he off-
handedly mentions that he made cer-
tain observations on a species of coral
on a Sunday. We note that the com-
mittee in the minutes had taken cogni-
zance of his habit of working seven days
a week.

He was profoundly interested in the
biology and phylogeny (evolutionary
relationship) between sea anemones and
corals and in 1897 reported to the com-
mittee that 'As a result of original in-
vestigations continued now for some
time upon the Jamaican Actiniaria (sea

anemones) I am able to make to the
Committee a preliminary announce-
ment of the probably nearer relation-
ship between this group and the coral
polyps, than has hitherto been known.
At least three genera of anemones show
a closer morphological relationship with
the corals than with their own groups.'
We can sense his excitement when
he made the following observations on
the stinging coral, problematic in its
relationship to other corals, which he
reported to the committee on 1 Decem-
ber 1898:

On Sunday, the 13th inst. (Nov.), two
Medusae were found swimming about
in a jar in which I had placed a colony
of Millepora the day before. These pre-
sented the fully developed characters
of the group to which they belong,
and I was able to make a drawing of
them. The Sunday following I observ-
ed quite a number of Medusae in the
act of extrusion; but when examined
under a microscope, they presented
very different details from the former.
At first they appeared shrivelled up,
and were very sluggish in their move-
ments. Shortly after being set free
they began to extrude one or more of
what I took to be four eggs, and then
apparently their mission was over. I
surmised that the Medusae I first ob-
tained were the male form and the
second female. If subsequent examin-
ation confirms this, the discovery will
be regarded by Zoologists as one of
some importance.

He had seen the free-swimming, sex-
ually reproducing stage of a stinging
coral and though it had been assumed
from other evidence that there was such
a stage, Duerden was apparently the
first to have seen it alive and swimming.
This was included in his report of
his trip to Bluefields where Mr Laurence
Tate had provided him with a place to
stay and had loaned Duerden his canoe.
The committee resolved 'that the report
apart from its general interest as an ac-
count of useful work will probably
prove of interest from a purely scientific
point of view'.
By 1900, the Institute was in severe
financial difficulty and it was with great
reluctance that Cundall and the com-
mittee had to terminate Duerden's
services. He, too, was most reluctant
to leave because his research was not yet
completed though it was coming along
very nicely. An excellent letter of refer-
ence was written for him and endorsed
by the secretary and the committee. In
spite of the scarcity of money, enough
was provided for Duerden to stay on



The author points out an interesting specimen to one of the many groups of school children who tour the Natural History Gallery regularly.

The specimens shown here are among the earliest in the Natural History Gallery; the crocodile skull (left) was acquired by the Institute in 1899.

three months after his contract was up
and he left in May of 1901.
As a result of his work here, Duerden
was able to obtain a doctorate by 1900
from Johns Hopkins University and in
1902 taught at the University of North
Carolina. From 1903 -1905 he was at
the University of Michigan and in 1905
was appointed professor of biology at
the new Rhodes University in Grahams-
town, South Africa. In Africa, his re-
search took a decided turn and he work-
ed on ostrich biology and ostrich farm-
ing in those years ostrich plumes
were much in demand by the millinery
trade. Later, he did considerable re-
search on wool and when he retired in
1932 went to Leeds where he was an
honorary member of the staff of The
Wool Industries Research Association.
Duerden died 4 September 1937 (about
two months before Frank Cundall) as
the result of a fall he sustained while
on his way to attend meetings of the
British Association for the Advance-
ment of Science held at Nottingham.
Actually, Duerden's career as a marine
biologist was not a very long one but he
certainly left his mark on it. His obituary
notice published in the 3 October 1937
issue of Nature summarized his import-
ance in that field:
The value of Duerden's work was recog-
nized when the Carnegie Institution
of Washington granted him facilities
for the study of European fossil corals,
and he was also selected as leader of an
expedition to the Hawaiian Islands to
study Pacific corals. He was soon recog-
nized internationally as an authority
on the structure and development of
corals, and became assistant professor
of Zoology in the University of Michi-
After Duerden left, E. Stuart Panton,
a Jamaican pen-keeper (cattle raiser)
and a keen amateur naturalist, acted as
curator on a part-time basis until about
1913. He lived most of the time in Man-
chester and Clarendon and because he
had his own business affairs to attend to
and because transportation was slow,
he was at the Institute for only short
periods at a time. Then, too, following
the 1907 earthquake and the storage of
the collection at Orange Street, there
wasn't much curating to do. Panton did
his best to preserve and add specimens
to the collection. Hewrote several articles
for the newspaper and the Journal of
the Institute, his favourite topics being
butterflies, birds and reptiles. It is ama-
teurs such as Panton who can help a
museum to keep going by stimulating
interest in others and they may even

help in obtaining funding from govern-
ment and private individuals. When I
visited Panton in 1961, he was 91 and
bed-ridden, crippled by a broken hip.
Even in that condition, he was observ-
ing birds and lizards that he could see
through a window and making notes
about what he saw. A cooperative house-
keeper collected insects that flew in
and they were sent to the Institute. One
of the specimens proved to be a blood-
sucking assassin bug (an undescribed
species) that had made the mistake of
biting the housekeeper. Panton died a
year after my visit.

The Women Arrive

In the museum committee minutes
for 29 April 1896, we learn that the
museum assistant (male) had been dis-
missed and 'that provided she was of
good physique and sufficiently strong
minded, there would be no objection to
a woman holding the position'. That
'good physique' is an eye-brow raiser
but we can assume that what the gentle-
men really meant was in 'good health'.
By 'strong minded', the committee
probably meant intelligent, certainly
not quarrelsome or fractious. The open-
ing though -'there would be no objec-
tion to a woman holding the post'-has
a distinctly chauvinistic ring to it. As
for women working in museums or as
botanists or zoologists, there were
certainly many precedents by the late
1890s. In fact, Mary Rathbun at the
Smithsonian Institution in Washington
had studied and published on the crab
fauna of Jamaica during that period.

From the Institute's beginnings until
1913, only two women worked in the
museum in a curatorial capacity, al-
though they were not designated as
curators. The first was a Mrs. Beers.
I have been unable to discover what her
first name was or even her initials and
there is no picture of her. She was hired
as a museum assistant in 1896 at 15 shil-
lings a week and resigned her 'engage-
ment', as the minutes have it, in Septem-
ber 1901. She worked with Duerden
who seemed to have regarded her as com-
petent but when he went on leave for
nine months, the museum was left in
the charge of a Mr. John R. Scotland, so
it seems that males were still dominant
at the Institute of Jamaica, an arrange-
ment which does not exactly prevail

The second woman was Helen Ade-

laide Wood and, as is the case with Mrs.
Beers, I have been unable to find out
much about her life. In her obituary
notice published in the Gleaner, we
learn that she died 25 November 1927
at St. Joseph's Sanitorium, that her
father had been an inspector of schools
and that Helen was his sixth daughter.
From the Institute of Jamaica's annual
reports we learn that she had worked
for 15 years at the Botany Department,
now the Ministry of Agriculture. She
was hired in July 1912, having been
chosen from a field of four, all ladies,
and her starting salary was 70 per an-
num. The secretary and his committee
had made a fortunate choice, for Helen
Wood proved to be a loyal and useful
member of the staff for the next 15
Whether or not she had had formal
training in drawing or painting, I do not
know, but she had artistic talent which
she put to good use at the Institute.
While she was an employee of the Botany
Department, she did many of the draw-
ings for the orchid volume of The Flora
of Jamaica by William Fawcett and A.B.
Rendle [see Jamaica Journal 16:2 1983
for examples] At the Institute, she pre-
pared many watercolours of flowers and
birds. Most of her flower paintings are
very good and so are several of the birds
but some of the latter aren'tvery natural
looking and seem as if they had been
done using 'stuffed' specimens.

Helen Wood appeared to have become
the Institute's chief purveyor of inform-
ation regarding Jamaican natural history
and one of her duties was taking visitors
on a guided tour of the natural history
gallery. She also answered questions that
came through the post and continued
doing so even during her final illness
when confined to her home at Pembroke
Cottage, Half Way Tree. The zoo had
been reestablished and apparently Miss
Wood was in charge of it, including its
book-keeping. She also did a bit of col-
lecting, especially of plants, which she
used in her paintings. In the annual re-
port for 1916, she makes this interest-
ing comment: 'Some difficulty is being
experienced in finding new flowers in
the neighbourhood of Kingston and
lower St. Andrew'.

Reading between the lines, one can
tell she was continually wheedling and
cajoling the secretary and his all-male
committee. It is obvious that she did
much to keep the Natural History
Division viable during her career here.

These Jamaican pond turtles (left) were among the inhabitants of the Institute zoo which was very popular during the 1950s. At right, Miss
Luce and friend. A favourite zoo attraction was this iguana and its keeper Miss Lucille Howitt who occasionally strolled down Harbour Street
with the lizard cradled in her arms.

She became ill early in 1927 and ap- salary at the time being 200 per year could about getting her a pension and
plied for sick leave but by June her con- and her title, supervisor of museums, sent one of the 'big guns', Herbert G. de
edition had worsened so much that she The secretary had arranged for 'advances' Lisser, from his committee to see the
was forced to resign. Although not pen- on her salary to be made when her sick governor, Sir Reginald Stubbs, about
sionable she requested a pension; her leave expired. He decided to do what he the matter. De Lisser suggested to the

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governor that not only should Miss
Wood be pensioned but that all Institute
staff should be made pensionable. It was
agreed that Miss Wood should receive a
pension but all the other cases would
have to be decided individually. Miss
Wood was awarded a pension of 100
per year but died at about the time her
first cheque was ready.

Museum Work

The natural history gallery was usual-
ly referred to as the museum or simply
the 'exhibits'. It was never intended to
be a display of 'ooh' and 'ah' curios or
a collection of biological bric-a-brac, but
it was hoped that it would arouse an
interest in the Jamaican biota, i.e. the
island's plants and animals. There were
dried plants, stuffed birds, sea shells,
animals preserved in alcohol or formal-
dehyde and by 1896, there were two
cases of insects.
From the lists of the specimens ex-
hibited, it is obvious that the curators
were trying to display too much. The
cases, though very well made we are
still using some of them must have
been overcrowded with labels and
specimens. In the minutes of the museum
committee meetings, there is a com-
ment about the poor lighting. Some
of the specimens can still be viewed
today and probably have some value as
antiques. The green, hawksbill and pond
turtles and the crocodile date from
1897 and the very large crocodile skull
was presented by a Dr. Lockett in 1899.
Considering the state of museum techno-
logy in those days, it seems that the
curators and their assistants did quite
well. In the 1890s their displays were at-
tracting over a thousand visitors a
month. For example in October 1897,
there were 1,508. (The population for
Kingston in 1891 was 46,542 and for
the whole island was 639,491 according
to the census of 1891.)
Of course, the curators were also
sending specimens abroad for identi-
fication or exchange. In order to have
accurate identification of many groups
of plants and animals, it is necessary to
send them to specialists and there may
be delays of years before they are re-
turned if they are returned. Fortunate-
ly most or at least part of any given
shipment is eventually returned, and it
should be said that many specialists have
to do the identifications in their spare
time. However, a curious restriction sur-
faced in the minutes for 4 March 1904
regarding a request for molluscs that

came from the Museum of Natural
History in Paris. The committee 'resolved
that Professor Joubin be informed that
the Museum does not enter into ex-
change with European museums and
that the matter has been referred to Mr.
P.W. Jarvis, a local collector.' It seems
that such exchanges were limited to
museums in Britain, the British Com-
monwealth and the United States. It is
difficult to understand this somewhat
xenophobic policy and certainly no
such policy exists today. (For two
Jamaican beetles, we received from the
very same Natural History Museum of
Paris a few years ago, the six large,
spectacular African beetles at present
on display in the natural history gallery.)

Early in its history, the Institute was
sponsoring lectures. Since there were no
TV sets, radios or cinemas and since
there were many more residences nearer
the Institute than today (and the streets
were safe for an evening stroll) it isn't
surprising that the lectures were well or
fairly well attended. The lecturers'topics
ranged from the practical to pure
science and there were many talks on
art and literature throughout the years.
Amongst the six listed for 1882 was one
on 'Evolution' presented by the Rever-
end John Radcliffe, and a Dr. Stern gave
his opinion of 'Shakespeare as a Physi-
cian and Physiologist'. In 1884, some of
the topics were 'Vegetable Chemistry',
'Cultivation of the Orange in Jamaica',
'The Cultivation of Ramie or China
Grass' and in 1891 an audience heard
about the 'The Cultivation of Rice in
Jamaica'. Political and socio-economic
discussions are rather noticeably absent
from the lists but at least the board
tried to provide a wide variety of sub-
jects and was bold enough to permit
lectures on that 'touchy' subject, evo-

The Institute took part in some inter-
national exhibitions. At the Internation-
al Fisheries Exhibition held in London
in 1883 there were specimens of fishes,
boats, fish pots and nets used by Jam-
aican fishermen which the Institute
cooperated in assembling. At the World's
Exposition in New Orleans 1884-5, the
commissioner for Jamaica was Mr. D.
Morris, chairman of the Institute at the
time. The Institute was granted 600
for 'the formation of collections illus-
trative of the resources of the island
together with selections from the Library
and Museum' to be exhibited at the
Jamaica International Exhibition in
1891. The secretary was one of the two

Jamaican commissioners at the British
Empire Exhibition in 1924.

In 1891, Johns Hopkins University,
Baltimore, Maryland, sent to Jamaica
to do some collecting, a group of staff
and students, chiefly interested in
marine biology. The visits were con-
tinued in the following years and marine
biology laboratories were set up at
various times at Port Royal, Port
Henderson and Port Antonio. In 1897, a
staff member and a student contracted
yellow fever at Port Antonio and died
after returning home. Naturally this
alarmed the authorities at the university
and research here by their personnel was
suspended temporarily. Both staff and
students were eager to resume their
visits so about 1900 they began return-
ing. Duerden was very much involved
in the research at these laboratories and
did all he could to get official backing
for a permanently established marine
biology laboratory in Jamaica. Such
eminent persons as T.H. Huxley, Ray
Lankester, director of the Natural His-
tory Division of the British Museum
and Lady Blake, the governor's wife,
championed the cause as did Frank
Cundall and the museum committee.
Throughout the 1890s and well into the
1900s marine laboratories were main-
tained at least on a part-time basis.
There are now two marine biology
laboratories in Jamaica, one at Port
Royal and the other at Discovery Bay
operated by the University of the West
Indies. These in some measure, at least,
can trace their origin to the idea of those
early campaigners. Johns Hopkins ceased
operating a laboratory here in 1941
but still maintains contact through its
students who come to study at Discovery

The Institute Zoo

In the 1880s and 1890s a small col-
lection of live animals was kept on the
Institute grounds but as a result of the
financial crisis of 1900, the board can-
celled the appropriation of money for
feeding the animals and they were sold.
Two monkeys (marmosets); one Cuban
coney, one squirrel, one mongoose,
27 birds (including a macaw), one
iguana, one crocodile, two yellow snakes,
one tortoise, two pond turtles and two
toads went for nine pounds and 10 shil-
lings, less one pound and 10 shillings
commission. The museum committee,
now out-and-out Darwinists, resolved
that the money obtained be used in

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purchasing 'plaster casts illustrative of
prehistoric man'. There is no record of
whether or not the resolution was acted
upon and there are no such casts at the
Institute today but it was a good sug-
The zoo was re-established by 1912
and by the 1950s was one of the Insti-
tute's most popular attractions. During
most of the day, but especiallyat around
noon and just after school let out, there
were always a few and sometimes many
adults and children watching and feed-
ing the animals or resting on the benches.
A jimblin tree (Phyllanthus acidus) got
the full attention of youngsters when it
was in fruit. There were crocodiles,
yellow snakes, pond turtles, iguanas,
parrots, pigeons, two frustrated male
herons, booby birds, a pelican, mon-
gooses and coneys. From time to time,
a stray parrot would fly in and attempt
to get at the food of the captives. A
gaggle of practically resident anis
(blackbirds) was ready to snatch up any-
thing going. Visitors generously shared
bread, bun, peanuts and sweets with the
animals. Mongooses would gladly accept
these titbits and even enjoyed pepper-
mint stick, a Christmas treat. The igua-
nas, I discovered, were quite fond of
cigar ashes. The crocodiles were fed
sprat and the yellow snakes freshly
killed pigeons, but usually not in the
presence of visitors.
Occasionally some of the animals es-
caped. The mongooses wouldn't leavethe
premises but lurked about beneath
buildings and when food was put in
their cage and the door left open, back
in they would go. One yellow snake
escapee simply climbed a tree in the
garden and waited for one of those
two-legged mammals to come and feed
it or perhaps it was expecting to share
an apple with some latter day Eve.
Another took up a very short residence
in a nearby cottage. Occasionally a
crocodile, or two, or three, would get
loose and getting them back into their
tank was an exciting challenge.
A long-time favourite zoo attraction
was an iguana and its keeper, Miss Luce
(Miss Lucille Howitt), an attendant who
fed it and 'tidied' its cage. So used to
Miss Luce had the lizard become, that
it would allow its human friend to carry
it about and even seemed to enjoy it.
From time to time, Miss Luce with the
iguana cradled in her arms or held so
that it peeped over her left shoulder,
strolled along East and Harbour streets
much to the amazement of passers-by,

some of whom crossed to the opposite
side of the street at the approach of the
Everyone liked the zoo; everyone ex-
cept perhaps the people working in
offices juxtaposed to its southern
boundary where the crocodile tank was
located. When the tank was drained and
cleaned, the aroma that filled the air
was such as might have arisen from a
mid-Cretaceous swamp.
When ground was broken for the con-
struction of the National Library build-
ing in 1960, the animals, except for a
parrot and two iguanas, were transferred
to Hope Gardens and we still have some
nostalgic complaints about that from a
few who remember the zoo and miss it
yet. A charming reminder of those days
still exists: bee humming-birds that sip
the nectar of flowers, trees and shrubs
on the Institute grounds and, as a
modern convenience, bathe in the water
dripping from an air conditioner on the
administrative building. They are, no
doubt, descendants of humming-birds
resident here when I arrived over 30
years ago.
The Institute had been in existence
only 21 years as the 19th century closed,
but in that relatively short time it had
become a cultural organization of inter-
national repute. In scanning the minutes
of the museum committee, one finds
that requests were coming from other
countries as well as from Jamaicans for
information, specimens or exchange of
specimens and publications. The Natural
History Division was most fortunate that
the British Museum (N.H.) and the
United States National Museum (Smith-
sonian Institution) sent just about every-
thing they published. The Carnegie
Institute was also most generous in this
respect, as were others. The 20th cen-
tury opened with a serious business
depression and then there was the earth-
quake of 1907; mention has already
been made of the adverse effect of that
Act of God and man's own mismanage-
ment of trade and commerce. It should
be noted also, that the Institute had
been affected by two world wars. It is
a measure of the faith, foresight and re-
sourcefulness of Frank Cundall and the
board of governors that the institution
continued to exist.


In the years following Bernard Lewis's
arrival in 1939, there was a burgeoning
of activity in the Natural History Divi-
sion. The natural history gallery was fur-

nished with display cases and exhibits
installed in spite of wartime shortages
- the official opening took place on 3
July 1945.
There was a heartening response
from the public, especially school teach-
ers who brought in specimens, provided
information and in general supported
the renaissance of the division. There
was also an active liaison with govern-
ment departments and ministries, es-
pecially the Ministry of Agriculture and
the Forestry Department. When the
University of the West Indies (at the
time the University College) began its
work, a mutually beneficial relation-
ship evolved between the University's
departments of botany and zoology and
the division.
The collections of plants and animals
were augmented and proper housing
especially for plants and insects, pro-
The division began the publication of
the science series bulletins, occasional
papers and, later, Sloanea but because
of financial restrictions has had to sus-
pend publication of all the series.
In the 1960s, field stations were
acquired at 'Green Hills', Hardwar Gap
(Portland) and at Mason River, near
Kellits in Clarendon.
In 1909, Mr. E.J. Wortley had sug-
gested in a letter to the museum com-
mittee 'the formation of a Naturalists'
Club or some other organization con-
nected with the Institute for the En-
couragement of Nature Study'. [Minutes
of the Museum Committee]. It was not
until 1940 that the Natural History
Society of Jamaica was launched at a
meeting held at Munro College when the
21 charter members were in St. Eliza-
beth on a field trip sponsored by the
Institute of Jamaica. The society is still
extant with about 140 names on its
membership list. Besides sponsoring
field trips and lectures, the society pub-
lishes "Natural History Notes" (alas,
a bit irregularly) which are packed with
interesting information about Jamaica's
plants and animals. In the 1940s, it pub-
lished two booklets, both titled Glimpses
of Jamaican Natural History, which had
a good sale.
As with most natural history muse-
ums, the division is chronically beset
with financial problems. However,
foreign governments and some foreign
institutions have from time to time pre-
sented us with equipment and such
assistance provides us with technical
facilities for doing a better job.

By Jane Reid

nF .-"

iEml .. ..

STrafalgar House (oil painting by Martin Reid).

he present grounds of Trafalgar House, behind the British High
Commission on Trafalgar Road, New Kingston, are a mere fraction
of the 19th century Trafalgar Pen, originally called Snow Hill Pen and
almost certainly part of the vast holdings of Colonel Henry Archbould, who
accompanied Penn and Venables on their conquest of Jamaica from the Spaniards in
In the first years of the English occupation there was little settlement in the arid
centre of the Liguanea Plain, but a number of large plantations were established
in the surrounding hills, where the rainfall was better, or where rivers provided a
constant supply of water. The plantation owners military men like Colonel Arch-
bould at Constant Spring and Major Richard Hope were also expected to defend the
approaches to the plain from possible Spanish attack. To begin with, during military
rule, they made use of the reluctant services of their enlisted men to cultivate their
estates, but soon the importation of slaves from Africa enabled them to expand their
sugar plantations on a very large scale, and many of them soon became immensely rich.

Before long, some of the plantation owners began to buy up land in the central
savannah to provide grazing for their stock, sometimes buying out smaller landowners
who were finding it difficult to make a profit out of growing vegetables for Port
Royal and the infant Kingston. In January and February 1664 two plots of land in
Liguanea were surveyed for Colonel Archbould, one of them immediately to the west
of the spot known as 'Dead Man's Bones' (Half Way Tree), and on 1 June 1667 a fur-
ther 1,500 acres with a gully marking a short northern boundary on to St Andrew's
glebe.1 The later Prospect Pen (Vale Royal), Snow Hill Pen (Trafalgar Park and New
Kingston) and Swallowfield Pen, all of which eventually became the property of the
heirs of Colonel Archbould's stepson, Sir Nicholas Lawes, must have been sections of
this enormous acreage.


Nicholas Lawes became governor of
Jamaica in 1717 and died in 1730 at age
79, living out his days at his 'capital or
mansion house'2 at Snow Hill, where
he must have lived in great style: it is
recorded that he possessed a Van Dyke
of Charles II and a Kneller of George I,
not to mention the usual gold, silver
and jewellery, coaches and chariots,
coach horses and saddle horses.
Lawes's heirs were his sons James
and Temple and his much younger
daughter Judith Maria, a minor at the
time of his death. James, who inherited
Snow Hill outright and a half share
with his brother, of Temple Hall and
Swallowfield (among other properties),
outlived his father by only three years.
In the autumn of 1733 he returned
from a long visit to England, newly-
gazetted lieutenant governor, and on 20
November 17333 reclaimed from one
Thomas Howe of St Catherine for the
sum of five shillings 'in hand well and
truly paid' estates which Howe had pre-
sumably been looking after for him, in-
cluding 'all that Plantation or Sugar
Work called Snow Hill . with the
Penn or Savannah land thereunto belong-
ing containing 200 acres . more or
less'. The 200 acres included the later
Trafalgar Pen (72 acres) and the 145
acres of Snow Hill Pen marked as such
on the map (see p. 33) which subse-
quently became Castle Perkins, then
Knutsford Park, Knutsford Racecourse
and finally New Kingston.
Two days later, on 22 November,
James Lawes drew up his will,4 in which
he made his wife Elizabeth (herself the
heiress of a St Andrew landowner,
William Gibbon) sole executrix. He left
all his property to her for her lifetime
and then, if he had no children, to his
brother Temple and half-sister Judith
Maria. The legacy also refers to 'the Pen
called Snow Hill Pen'. In little more
than a month, on 29 December 1733,
Lawes was dead.
Elizabeth Lawes and her brother-in-
law Temple immediately started to sell
off bits of the property they now joint-
ly owned. Temple Lawes, in the mean-
time, had acquired another notable bit
of Archbould land, Prospect Pen. Thus
at one time the Lawes brothers were in
possession of all land to the north of
Trafalgar Road as far as the St. Andrew
Parish Church glebe land at the corner
of Hope Road.
The earliest written source I have
found which establishes the location of
Snow Hill Pen is a petition from the
rector of St Andrew in 1749 concern-

ing the 38 acres of his glebe, already
referred to, on the eastern corner of
Hope Road and Trafalgar Road, describ-
ed in the 1840s as 'Rev Campbell's
glebe'.5 Here it is 'a parcel of Glebe
lands bounded north by the road from
Half Way Tree to Hope Plantation, west
and south by lands belonging to John
Flenn Barnett, south and east by lands
belonging to Snow Hill Pen'.

Snow Hill Pen was not built on until
nearly 80 years after James Lawes's
death. By the late 18th century 'the
delightful village of Half Way Tree'
was developing as a residential area.
There was a 'genteel new room' where
assemblies were held, and a masonic
lodge.6 In 1785 the redoubtable Simon
Taylor took up residence at Prospect
Pen, and neighboring landowners
began to take advantage of the fashion
by splitting up their land into building
lots. Estate map St A 557 records that
the firm of Murdoch and Keeffe7 sur-
veyed the triangle of Snow Hill Pen to
the north of 'the road from Half Way
Tree to Mr Taylor's' on 11 January
1805 prior to its sale by A.A. Lindo to
Benjamin M. Perkins.

This Alexandre Lindo was a promi-
nent Jewish merchant and money-
lender of Kingston and London in the
late 18th and early 19th centuries, of
sufficient means to be able to lend large
sums of money and give even larger
credit to the French authorities in St
Domingue during the time that General
Nugent was governor of Jamaica. He
owned a great deal of property in
and around Kingston, including Temple
Hall according to the 1810-11 Almanack
(which does not mention Snow Hill in
its returns).8 However, the piece of land
is described as 'the north part of the
Penn commonly called Snow Hill Penn
and containing by estimation 72 acres'
in the conveyance dated 12 July 1805
and certified by none other than the
Lord Mayor of London, Lindo being
resident in London at the time.9 The
selling price was 1,440.

Thus, a few months before the battle
of Trafalgar, when the English popu-
lation of Jamaica was living in a state of
terror between threats of invasion by
the French fleet and fears of slave insur-
rection, 10 Snow Hill Pen at last ac-
quired an owner with plans for building
on it. When the actual building took
place is not known: the 1811 Almanack
shows Perkins living on the unnamed
estate; a year later it is named as Trafal-
gar Pen.

Trafalgar Pen

Benjamin Marriott Perkins was a ris-
ing Kingston attorney, and he built
himself a house to match his ambitions.
It was a classically proportioned Regency
house built of brick, plastered, and with
a shingle roof. Windows were few,
considering the climate. The main
accommodation was at first floor level
and was approached by flights of stone
steps which led to a central pillared
portico (see plan p. 35).11 A wide en-
trance hall opened on to what must
have been a rather dark central drawing
room, which in turn led into a sitting
room overlooking the yard and the
mountains at the back. There were no
passages or landings: bedrooms and the
study opened off each other or off the
central rooms. The dining room gave on
to a louvred balcony from which two
staircases led to the verandah (or
'piazza') beneath: one, presumably, to
give the family access to the piazza and
garden, the other to allow the servants
to carry food up from the kitchen
in the yard. There were further bed-
rooms under the gable in the roof, and
the ground floor was given over to stor-
age, a coach house and a large billiard
It is interesting to note that even in
the 1890s (the date of the JDF plans)
there was no sanitation of any kind up-
stairs, and the only bathroom was in the
space 26' x 9' under the front hall and
portico, and could only be entered from
the billiard room. The privy was at the
back near where the swimming pool
changing rooms now are : the path that
led to it still exists.

In general the house looks incon-
venient and ill adapted to the climate
of the West Indies. A Mrs Charlotte Bar-
clay knew it well in the 1890s the
photographs of the old house were hers,
and she witnessed the conveyance of the
house to the Secretary of State for
War in 1895. She described it as 'the
hottest house I ever slept in'.12

Benjamin Marriott Perkins became a
prominent citizen. In 1820 he married,
at St Andrew, Half Way Tree, Sarah,
daughter of Richard Arrowsmith. They
had at least two children. Perkins be-
came assistant judge of the Court of
Common Pleas in Kingston in 1821
and in St Andrew in 1824, in which
year he owned 87 slaves the largest
number recorded on the estate and
was a common councillor. In 1825 he
became churchwarden of St. Andrew
Parish Church. He died in the same year

Trafalgar Park c 1890. This building was destroyed in the 1907 earthquake.

and his widow sold the house to a Mrs
Forsyth. (Some years later Sarah Per-
kins married Joseph Gordon, a promi-
nent businessman of St Andrew who in
his youth had fathered George William
Gordon, who would become a national
hero of Jamaica.)'3 Sarah Maria Forsyth
lived in the Trafalgar Pen house for
about 10 years, but by the time the
next Almanack showing property returns
appeared in 1840, the owner is shown as
James Marshall.
By 1857 Trafalgar Pen was the prop-
erty of the Hon. James Henry McDowell,
another prominent attorney, who by
1866 became a member of the legislative
council and custos of St. Andrew. He
had two surveys made of his property.
One, made in 1858 for fire insurance, is
a bird's eye view of the house, which it
describes as being of brick construction
with a shingle roof and wooden doors
and window frames. The buildings in
the yard at the back of the house are
also shown. The other was a map of
the estate and surrounding area made in
1857, a copy of which is affixed to a
will McDowell made in 1863.14
McDowell lived until 1892, and in 1895
his widow, Catherine McDowell sold the
house with 56 acres (some having been

sold off to Ardenne School) to the Sec-
retary of State for War for 4,000. From
this time Trafalgar House has been the
property of the British Government.

Military Occupation

From 1895 to 1962 the house was
the official residence of the senior British
Army officer in the island and, later, in
the whole Caribbean. On official docu-
ments in London it acquired the cus-
tomary name for a commanding officer's
residence, Flagstaff House; but in Jam-
aica the name Trafalgar Park now
rather than the old-fashioned Pen -
Little is known of these officers
apart from their names, but a Miss Ethel
Taylor gives us a few glimpses.15 In
1905, when she was 19, she was invited
by Mrs Caulfield, wife of the then
brigadier, to play croquet on the East
Lawn 'a horrible game' and she also
attended a dance which was something
of a flop because it rained and, much to
the annoyance of Mrs Caulfield and the
subalterns who had been obliged to at-
tend, the young ladies and their chaper-
ones stayed at home. During World War



War Contingent Fund.


"Midsummer Night's Dream,"

-ND_ ---


Thursday, June 24th, 1915.



I, she was a great friend of Brigadier
General Leonard Shadwell Blackden and
his family and probably took part behind
the scenes in a Programme of Entertain-
ment put on on Midsummer Night 1915
in aid of the Jamaica War Contingent
Fund, which included scenes from
Midsummer Night's Dream (Master
Vivian Blackden playing an elf) and a
selection of old English songs and folk
dances, culminating in Quarter-Master
Sergeant Spooner singing 'The Death-
less Army', before 'God Save the King'.
Some well-known Jamaican names ap-
pear on the programme. From Miss
Taylor, too, we have pictures of the
Blackden family and of the house as it
was at that time. But this was a different
house from the one Miss Taylor visited
in 1905, for in the meantime the earth-
quake of 1907 had brought the old
Trafalgar House, and most of Kingston,
tumbling to the ground.

Amid widespread tragedy and chaos,
it is not surprising that the fate of Trafal-
gar Park did not evoke contemporary
comment, and we do not even know
whether the house actually fell down or
whether it was pulled down because the
brickwork was felt to be unsafe. What-
ever happened, it was not until more
than four years later, in 1911, that the
new Trafalgar Park was built. Detailed
plans exist in the JDF Engineering Unit
and show in almost every respect the
cool, commodious and comfortable
house of today. It was built on the much
strengthened foundations of the old
house, but by putting the accommod-
ation on two floors rather than one the
architect found space for all the broad
verandahs and jalousied galleries that
make the house so cool to live in. It was
planned on very lavish lines, with no less
than three bathrooms, but only one was
actually built : economy cuts and World
War I may have accounted for this.

Most of the buildings round the
courtyard at the back of the house were
also rebuilt traces of the old found-
ations can still be seen, and the labels on
some of the rooms 'dairy', 'larder',
'pantry', 'kitchen' must date from the
military era.

For the next 50 years of army occu-
pancy there was probably little change
at Trafalgar Park. The swimming pool is
shown on a survey of 1934, when the
concrete platform next to it was the
ADC's house. In 1913 these two sites
had been a 'bath house' and a billiard
room respectively. There were two grass
tennis courts, and the lawn to the east

Brigadier General Leonard Blackden and
his family.
of the house was still officially devoted
to croquet.
Many distinguished people have visit-
ed the house over the years. In 1927 the
Duke and Duchess of York later King
George VI and Queen Elizabeth came
to a reception given in their honour by
the colonel commandant at which the
band of the about-to-be-disbanded West
India Regiment gave its last perform-
ance. The bandsmen handed in their
instruments after the performance, but
the band was then resurrected as the
Jamaica Military Band which is still in
There is also the bizarre story of the
Prince of Wales' kangaroo. This un-
fortunate animal was presented to the
future Edward VIII in Australia when
he was on his round-the-world tour in
the 1920s, but died in the Panama
Canal. It was then brought ashore at
Kingston and buried at dead of night
somewhere in the then 56 acres of
Trafalgar Park under the supervision of
the Prince's ADC, Lord Mountbatten.
He recalled the incident some 40 years
later when he was once again at Trafal-
gar House in the 1960s.17
Since World War II many changes
have taken place. The whole area of
New Kingston, once the racecourse (and
originally Snow Hill Pen) has become
urbanised, and in 1957 three quarters
of Trafalgar Park was sold to the Jamaica
Government and developed as the Tra-
falgar Park housing estate: only 12 acres
now remain. In 1962 the property was
sold by the War Office to the Ministry
of Works to be the residence of the
British High Commissioner in Jamaica.
It is now part of the Overseas Estate of
the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
One thing remained to be done. On
the official documents the new High

Commissioner's house was Flagstaff
House, but Sir Alexander Morley lost
no time in restoring its traditional name;
and a few years later Nick Larmour sim-
plified it from Trafalgar Park House to
the Trafalgar House we know it as today.

Trafalgar House
(Residence of the British High

For such a large building, Trafalgar
House looks extraordinarily insubstantial
as you approach it from the main road.
Its white-painted roof and louvred
upper storey seem almost to float on
the deep verandahs and high pillars of
the floor below, while the blue awnings
are a brighter echo of the sombre blues
of the stormy mountains which are so
often its backdrop. It looks fragile, but
it is solid reinforced concrete on earth-
quake-proof foundations. It looks
romantic, but its inhabitants have been
attorneys, soldiers and diplomats, hard-
headed men of affairs and government
The approach to the house is well
guarded. You drive past the police
post in front of the High Commission
and round the curving drive behind
the office building to the elegant porte
cochere. The Union Jack flutters in
front of the house, flanked by two
splendid bronze guns (of which more
anon), smooth-bore muzzle-loaders, as
old as the original Trafalgar Park itself.
The red-tiled steps up to the entrance
are also guarded by guns seven-
pounder Mountain guns which stand
between what look like guard houses
but which are and in fact always were,
despite the military associations of the
house, ladies' and gentlemen's cloak-
rooms. Finally, you are faced by an ar-
ray of Haitian voodoo signs, including
those of Kadja Bossou, who guards en-
trances and highways during the hours
of daylight, and Atibon Legba, who
guards them at night.18 It is only after
penetrating all these defences that you
gain the sanctuary of Trafalgar House.
The entrance hall is perhaps the
finest room in the house. It is more or
less square, and lofty, the wall at the
back soaring some 50 feet to a louvred
window high in the roof. On either side
are pairs of arched mahogany doors giv-
ing access to the drawing room and din-
ing room, and the arches are repeated in
plaster alcoves and pilasters between
the doors. An antique Persian carpet, a
Heriz, glows with soft reds and blues,
setting the tone for the drapes and the

Estate map St A 557 from the collection of the National Library of Jamaica. Comparison with
the modern road map shows roads little changed. Former boundaries tend to run between modern
roads, e.g. the boundary between Prospect Pen and Trafalgar Pen would be slightly to the west of
Braenar Road.

upholstery of the modern Knole sofa
on the right hand wall indeed, set-
ting the tone for the colour scheme of
the whole house. The rest of the furni-
ture is mahogany, some of it Jamaican;
but the antique grandfather clock is
English, by Thomas Stapleton of Lon-
don, the chandeliers are Waterford and
the richly coloured vase lamps are from
Hong Kong.
But it is the staircase that dominates
the room, rising in three gentle flights
across the width of the high north wall
of the room to the gallery above. It is
very striking, and the more you look at
it the more interesting it becomes. It is
romantic in feeling-particularly the seat-
ed alcove at one end but the rest of
the hall (and some of the staircase de-
tail) is classic in style; it is mostly
mahogany but the newel posts are
lignum vitae (little tree trunks, slightly
twisted) and odd panels of blue mahoe
break up the uniformity here and there.
There is in fact a probability that this
is a staircase from an older great house
which was installed here in 1924, and
these little oddities support that idea.
The treads and skirtings of the stair-

case and the newel posts and balusters
of the gallery are pine : perhaps the ori-
ginal staircase was all pine and the panel-
ling and balusters of an older and more
beautiful one were later grafted on to
the original structure.

The vista through the door into the
drawing room is of greens : a soft
almond green in the fitted carpet, a
deeper shade in the green-tiled verandah
and (depending on the time of the year)
the lush grass-greenof the garden beyond.
The drawing room, completely redecor-
ated in 1984 by London's Crown Sup-
pliers, is most successful in terms of
light and colour. The Wilton carpet was
specially woven, and the chintz chair
covers, predominantly pink, lend
warmth and delicacy which might
otherwise be lacking in a room so
shaded from sunlight. Once again
Chinese lamps add richness; the rest
of the furniture is antique reproduction
from Britain.

Pink and green are also the colours of
the verandah: pink and green candy-
striped seat covers on the rattan chairs,
green floor, pink walls. In fact all the

tf -" *



-,-'' -I
~2-A> ~-f-~

exterior walls to the front and sides of
the house are pink, but paradoxically
they are hardly visible from the outside.
The subtle reds and blues of an
Indian Bagtiari carpet give a more digni-
fied tone to the dining room, repeated
in the solemnity of the almost black
Honduras mahogany dining table with
its matching chairs, which may have
been in the house ever since it was built.
The Waterford crystal chandelier is new,
however, installed, like the carpet, at
the time of Princess Anne's honeymoon
visit in 1973.
The other interesting room is the up-
stairs verandah or music room, over the
entrance porch. Originally, louvred gal-
leries went all round the front and sides
of the house; now a bathroom blocks
off a section on the east, but the music
room -vast, airy, comfortable, its louvres
affording infinitely adjustable ventilation
and light remains intact, a family re-
treat from the formality of the official
part of the house.

The house also contains some pictures
of note, all of which are part of the
British Government's art collection. Most
striking is the pastel portrait of Thomas
Millward by John Russell RA in the din-
ing room. Little is known of Russell,
except that he lived from 1745 to 1806.
Of Millward, member of a well-known
Jamaican family, we know quite a lot,
not only about his official career and
properties from Feurtado and the
Almanack, but also more personal glimp-
ses from Mrs Brodbelt's Letters to Jane
from Jamaica.19 From the former
sources we know that he was an attorney
from 1782 and an officer in the militia,
and that he owned a number of estates
in St David's and St Thomas. The por-
trait was painted in 1795,
Also in the dining room are an 18th
century oil painting, Chichester Cathe-
dral from Goodwood, painted by an un-
known artist, George Smith, and a pic-
ture, also in oils, of Hartnell's shop in
Dover Street at the time of the Corona-
tion in 1953. Norman Hartnell was the
Queen's dressmaker and created her
Coronation dress. The painter, Dimitrie
Berea, a Romanian, presented the pic-
ture to the Queen in 1963.

Partly in the dining room and partly
in the hall are a set of seven prints of
London, published by T. Malton in
1799-1800, but the most dominant
pictures in the hall are modern; Norman
Adams's watercolour Living and Dead
Daffodils, painted in 1979, and the large
oil painting of the Queen, reproduced

i-~I T't'~

1*- i-


IL o

ABOVE: The elegant entrance hall with a view of the magnificent staircase (left) and a detail of the staircase at right. BELOW: the guns on the front
verandah (left) date from about 1870; the Haitian voodoo signs are more recent. At right, arches frame the entrance to the building, looking towards
Trafalgar Road.

by a semi-industrial process from a paint-
ing by John Turner (which apparently
she much dislikes).
The drawing room also contains
interesting pictures: three coloured
Robertson prints (the complete set of
six monochromes hang in the upstairs
gallery); The Windward Falls, one of J.B.
Kidd's series of 50 views of Jamaica
published in 1840 and highly popular

with the plantocracy who regarded the
book as good propaganda for prospective
immigrants, Jamaica then as now being
plagued by a poor overseas press image;
a watercolour of a village in south-west
France by John Piper; and three water-
colours by Lionel Grimston Fawkes
(1849-1931) which are of particular
Fawkes was ADC to Major-General

Dominic Jacotin Gamble CB, who was
based in Barbados and Commander of
the British Forces in the West Indies
1878-1884. The picture of 'The General
and the Commodore settling the question
of precedence at King's House, Jamaica'
must record an incident between him
and the Naval Commander either
Commodore Edward White, who flew
his flag on HMS Urgent, Dept. Ship,


Side view of Trafalgar House today. The entrance is at left.

Jamaica, from 1882-1883, or Com-
modore Francis M. Prattent who suc-
ceeded him in the course of a visit
paid to Jamaica during those years.

Fawkes's other pictures are a charming
study of 'the way to Newcastle' which
could be almost anywhere in the lower
reaches of that tortuous road, and a

One of the arched mahogany doors leading to
the drawing room.

portrait of Sir Anthony Musgrave,
founder of the Institute of Jamaica,
who was Governor from 1877 to 1883.
Finally, there are the guns.20 The
two guns on the front lawn are quite
rare. They are made of bronze (i.e.
copper and tin, mixed about 10 to 1)
and would have been manufactured by
boring from a solid casting. They are
muzzle loading and smooth-bore. The
cyphered 'C' on the chase refers to
John, Earl of Chatham, Master-General
of the Ordnance between 1801 and
1806; the makers, John and Henry
King, were successively master-founders
at Woolwich between 1797 and 1817.
The royal cypher was quite usual. The
serial numbers on the guns probably
mean that they were the 777th and
827th guns made by the Kings.
Operationally speaking, the guns are
'brass light six-pounders' with a calibre
of about 3.68 inches and considerable
windage (i.e. when you put in a six-
pound shot there is a good deal of play).
They were probably field guns,
mounted on relatively light carriages to
be pulled by seven or eight horses. They
weigh about 6 cwt and would have had
a range of about 1,200 yards at about 4
degrees elevation.
The rifled muzzle-loading seven
pounder Mountain guns on the front

i K J *

a Y

T C\ rI

PA f. JA I5 IBj (5.

PDOAWn:'r M ri nnrl rs Cn
JPf. e.U. 0'r. I ,,*.

Plan of' Trafalgar House in 1895.

5 \


verandah date from about 1870. Guns
of this type were used at the relief of
Mafeking. Their short range, no shield
and black powder charge with its im-
mense cloud of smoke made them some-
thing of a death trap for their crews.

The special distinction of Trafalgar
House has now been officially recognized.
From the whole of the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office's Overseas Estate,
15 houses have been chosen as being of
particular historical importance or
architectural merit, and every detail of
their fabric and decoration will be at-
tended to with special care. Trafalgar
House is one of those 15.


1. This information comes from St.
Andrew Plat Book 1 in the Archives at
Spanish Town, and also from various
copies of a survey made in 1667 of the
St. Andrew's Church glebe, particularly
StA 608, 734 and 741 in the Ms col-
lection of the National Library of Jam-
aica. All maps and surveys referred to
are in this collection.
2. James Lawes's will, Ms 38 National
Library of Jamaica.
3. Indenture between James Lawes and
Thomas Howe, Ms 1454, National
Library of Jamaica. Cundall misreads
this document as a sale, but he cannot
have read to the end.
4. See note 2.
5. Estate map StA 746, National Library
of Jamaica.
6. Jamaica Almanack, quoted by Cundall
in A Brief History of the Parish Church
of St. Andrew, Jamaica, p.21.

A corner of the drawing room.

7. P.H. Keeffe was official surveyor to
the city of Kingston according to the
Jamaica Almanack of 1810-11.
8. A mid-19th century deed (Island Re-
cords Office L 937 14) refers to Trafal-
gar Park as 'formerly called or known
by the name of Temple Hall Pen' but
I have not been able to find any ex-
planation for this, except Lindo's
ownership of Temple Hall.
9. Island Records Office LOS 546 205.
10. Lady Nugent's Journal op. cit. entries
for May and June 1805, especially the
entry for 31 May 1805, page 237.
11. These plans were made in 1895 when
the house was sold to the War Office. I
am grateful for the assistance of the
JDF Engineering Unit in finding these
plans for me and making copies. All
subsequent surveys of the property are
in the unit's possession.
12. Letter to Mrs. Nancy (later Lady)
Larmour from Mrs. Barclay's great-
nephew, Colonel L.S. Coke, 5 Decem-
ber 1972. Colonel Coke also sent Mrs.
Larmour the photographs of the old
1 3. See Feurtado
14. Island Record Office L 937 14.
15. Miss Taylor was 86 in 1972 when her
brother, Stanley Taylor, sent Mrs Lar-
mour these recollections and Great War
photographs, some of whichare ondis-
play in the house. The theatre pro-
gramme must come from the same

16. Information supplied by Major-General
Robert Neish CD OBE AFC JP.
17. This story was told to John Hennings
by Sir Charles Cunningham, who ac-
companied Lord Mountbatten to Jam-
aica in the 1960s.

Jamaica Journal, Vol. 18 No. 2, May 1985.

18. The Haitian voodoo symbols were
brought to Trafalgar House by Nick
and Nancy Larmour, and no subse-
quent incumbent has ever quite liked
to remove them. The British High
Commissioner in Jamaica is also Am-
bassador to Haiti.
19. Published by the Institute of Jamaica.
There is a copy in the National Library.
20. Information supplied by Dr David
Buisseret and Mr Bruce Barker.


CLAYPOLE, W.A., "Settlement of the Ligua-
nea Plain between 1655 and 1673" in
Jamaica Historical Review 10, 1973.

CUNDALL, Frank, A Brief History of the
Parish Church of St. Andrew, Jamaica,
Kingston: Institute of Jamaica, 1931.
-- The Governors of Jamaica in the First
Half of the Eighteenth Century, Lon-
don: West India Committee, 1937.

FEURTADO, W.A., List of Official and Other
Personages of Jamaica; unpublished
Ms, Nat;onal Library of Jamaica.

Jamaica Almanack, 1810-11.

SHIELDS, Enid, Vale Royal the House and
the People, Kingston: Jamaica Historic-
al Society, 1984.

WRIGHT, Philip, (ed) Lady Nugent's Journal
of Her Residence in Jamaica 1801-
1805, Kingston: Institute of Jamaica,


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Co m te t aBetrJm iaat -h. Sh A- -m



Michael Smith ('Mikey'), born 14 Septem-
ber 1954, died 17 August 1983. According to
the Gleaner report of his death, he had been
'hit on the head by a stone thrown by one of
three men who had attacked him' in Stony
Hill, St. Andrew, after 'an argument'.
Mikey Smith was one of Jamaica's leading
dub poets and an outstanding performer.
Jamaican 'dub poetry' usually incorporates
(or is performed to the accompaniment of)
reggae rhythm, is usually in Jamaican creole,
and often speaks in protest.


Smith was interviewed 27 May

MM: Mikey, when did you start writ-

MS: Me can't remember the year. But
me know is a good time. Me
kind of did get discourage one
of the time, because me did write
a whole exercise book a thing
and show the old man, and him
never really too check of it,
cause him did seh well right
now you can't make you living
by that, so him jus bun it up.

You mean, literally burnt it up?

Mmhm. Him burn it up. An then me
just cool off. And then me meet in a
accident and when me deh pon the hos-
pital now me seh, 'Cho, me jus a go
write again.'
What was the accident? How did it hap-

Me fall off a tree when time me a youth,

Fall off what?
Tree. A mango tree. And bruck me two
hand. Two wrist-dem. And me lick out
me knee and lick up the head and the

How old were you at that time?

About 14.

Is that why you limp?

Mmhm. Not gunshot, as some people

I don't know who thinks that. Where
did you go to school?

Oh. School. Well, most of the thing
what me learn, you know, a pon the
street still. Me go a whole heap of school.
Me never too love school, still. Me go a
Jones Town Primary School, me go a
Denham Town, me go a KC Extension,
me go a St George's, me go Lincoln
College; but one of the thing what firm
me up still was drama school. But me
really did learn more mongst me and me
brethren-dem because we used to sit
in and we used to reason and me used
to read whole heap, whole heap, whole
heap from me did small.

What sort of thing did you like to read?

History, you know. History me used to

Mikev Smith

Dub Poet

Interviewed by

Mervyn Morris

What do you read now? Do you read
much now?

Yeh, man. As a writer you can't stop
read, you know. The more you read the
more you know and the more you con-
sciousness build. Me is a man read all
kind a literature. Sometime me read
little comic, you know, but me read. If
a one come to me and seh, 'Boy, a think
you should read this book', me go inna
it. Me no really have no biasness as such.
Whe knowledge is concern one fi just
go out deh and get it and see wha a
gwaan. Me really believe seh you have fi
learn the ABC of Babylon fi destroy
them. So you know you haffi really
have a sense of awareness of what's
happening around, so you can explain
to people wha a gwaan.

You said the School of Drama helped
in your development. What did you get
from the drama school?1
Well, me get a insight and awareness of
your whole structure your body as
such, how fi use it, how fi use your voice,
how to lay out a show, how to direct a
show. Me get a whole heap of artistic
training, and me can express it now.
First time me couldn't express it. And it
make me much more stronger and much
more confident. As both a writer and a
performer. And you find that some-
times it even create conflict within
me, because sometime you want special-
ize and you seh, 'Cho, better you just
direct and just cool.' And you seh, 'Cho,
better you just act and just cool out.'
And you seh 'Cho, better you just write
and just cool.' You know. Well, is just fi
mesh the whole thing what you can do.
It develop a whole heap of my talent.
Other areas what I never know seh I
could do.

Do you have a priority now? In what
order would you rate your interest in
acting, writing and directing?

Me a one writer first, me a one actor
second, and me a one director third.

Can you recall your first big success?

As a writer?
Yes. As a writer. You know: as some-
body who was writing but was also writ-
ing for performance in many cases, and
performing what he wrote.

The first big thing for me, still, was
when people start listen to me. That was
the first big thing. That time you know
seh you a seh something important. And
it was at the community level. When
you read a poem pon a youth club

show and them listen, and them seh
them want more. That was the first
big thing for me. Major thing for me. Me
read a whole heap a youth club, you
know. Whole heap a youth club. But
I think the first reading take place right
down in Golden Spring. Down a Golden
Spring Community Centre. And, yeh, it
was some poem about lan Smith. One
morning me did get up and just see
Smith seh no to black majority rule,
and me just write a poem, and jus go
down, and them have a function and me
just read it. And them just love it. And
just respond to it.

Many of us first became aware of your
talent and the strength of it when we
heard 'Me Seh Me Cyaan Believe it'.
When did you write that, and when did
you first perform it before any large

Me no remember the year, you know.
Me no remember the year.

Tell me something about how you view
your role as a poet. What are you trying
to do?

Really just try fi make people aware,
you know, of certain things. I have fi
really try fi educate a lot of people out
inna earth, because, Jamaica how it
rest ya now, a whole heap of we can't
read and write, you know. And we seem
to rally round the spoken word very
nice; and politician have it pat, if you
want a good demonstration of that. So
when I write now I just want them fi
understand wha I a deal with: describe
the condition which them live in but to
also say, 'Boy, don't submerge yourself
under the pressure. You can do better,
and if you organize yourself and you
make demands on who there is to make
demands on then you will achieve your
objective. And just break up the little
dependency attitude that is so character-
istic of J.A.' Poetry as a vehicle of giving
hope. As a means of building them
awareness as such. Poetry is a part of
the whole process of the whole libera-
tion of the people.

So you see your poetry as, in the broad-
est sense, political?

It political. More than political, still,
you know. It more than political. It, it
written out of a political experience of
political and social environment. And as
such it transmit that message, but it also
is not within a partisan politician sense,
partisan politics. It also have its inter-
national arena to stand up in, and it also
seh to people, 'Look, not you suffering
here alone. There is other people far out


- Britain, wherever it is. So you know,
you have to link your experience and
don't make them limit your perceptions
to only here, and you only think with
your belly and can't use your head. And
just see the wider what-is-happening,
and have a more broader perspective
of global international and social politics
and how it affect your life, and know it
affect you.

Yes. Have you ever been conscious of
having offended people by poems that
you wrote and recited?

Me have a funny way, you know. Me
can offend people and them still like it.
But I remember being present at a per-
formance where one of your poems
which was, I think, being critical of
people who were pretending to be Rasta
but presumably were not authentic -
where that poem clearly caused offence
among some brethren who called out
loudly, 'What about the baldhead? What
about the baldhead?'

Yeh. Me remember that now. Yes. Me

remember that night-deh. Me naw
apologize for it. A just some of the
contradiction that is inherent in certain
things that, you know, you just have fi
point out and seh, 'What happen to
that? What you a deal with?' So if them
want balance it off with 'What happen
to the baldheads?' well, me lick out
against baldhead too. Me no partial. Me
no sectarian inna my view. Me lick out
against baldhead, PNP, JLP, any one of
them P-deh.

Yes. But have you ever felt any pressure
to conform to a particular party line or
ideological view?

Yes, sometime me feel that way-deh.
Yeh. One and one come to me and seh,
'Boy, if you do this .. But sometime
me have a anarchist tendency, which
part me can listen to you sometime
and then me just bus out and just seh
'Go weh!', and me just no deal with
you, and me just go do what me want to
do. Me have an attitude, me know, of
not caring sometime. So regardless of
how you come and tell me seh, 'Boy,

Mikey Smith on a London Tour.

you no fi do this, and you do that, and
you do that . the devil know what
- and sometimes is really fi divert your
attention and divert your energies, you
know. You have to always be aware. A
no everyone who come to you an give
you advice really mean you good, you
know. Some of them really come fi
destroy you. And me no inna that. Well,
so me feel pressures. Me feel pressures.
One come to me and them talk to me,
but, you know, me make them know
how me feel.
Yes. Do you write many poems that
you would consider personal? Or are
the poems all of them very much com-
munity based and community directed?

Well, me check seh anyhow me feel,
other people feel it too. So me just no
seh, 'Well, a me one a feel da-way-yah.
Me feel seh anything me feel, everybody
feel it too, so when time me write it me
just no write it fi how me feel. Me write
it fi other people. So it encompass other
people's feeling. Cause if me feel hungry
tonight, me know seh a next man out
there a feel hungry tonight. So me just
write. So anytime me seh, 'Boy, me
hungry', me know seh another out deh
a feel it, for me a feel it too.
Have you written love poems, for
example? Or poems about the death of
a relative or friend?

Well, you see, anytime you dead, you
dead. There is work to be done and the
living have fi do it, so the living have fi
carry it on. So although it is good to
mention those that is past right? -

me can't get bogged down into lament-
ation all day long. You know. So you
have work fi go on, so me just deal with
it. People deh really a feel the pinch, so
you deal with it. Me can't bother go
talk bout auntie and all uncle who pass
away, and school teacher or something.

What about love? For example, in the
work of Oku Onuora and Mutabaruka
and many other poets people would
find it natural to compare you with,
there are praise poems or love poems,
which seem to be more or less absent
from your work.

Love inna my work, still. All a my
works-dem have love inna it; because
the love fi a people, that's what me a
write about them things-deh, you
know. Is a love fi them, and is a deter-
mination fi see that whatever exploit-
ation is being meted out to them is not
being perpetrated; so is a passion that
drive me to them. But if you a talk bout
lovey-lovey stuff ...

You know, like Oku's poem, 'I exclaim
inly/ in wonderment/ at your sight'. I
mean that kind of thing.

No, me no reach deh-so yet. Me just
probably don't reach there yet.
Now tell me something about the way
in which you compose. How do you go
about composing these poems? I'm talk-
ing now about the more or less physical
process. What do you do? Do you make
it up in your head and keep it for
several days until you have sorted it out,
or do you tend to write it down and

change it up? How do you go about it?

Well, you see, it come it all come,
first and foremost, from a process of
observation. Me is a man walk whole
heap a street. Me walk all hours a night.
And practically walk go anywhere too.
And it seem to me that what happen
is that I observe a lot, and I listen a
whole heap, so I will all go stand up at
a bus stop and spend all two hours,
no because me a wait pon bus or so, but
because me waan hear wha them a seh.
Just basically waan hear what people a
seh and how them talk and the phrases,
you know. A man seh, 'Boy, me can't
believe it, that the thing gone up, you
know.' Me seh 'Rahtid, a it that, you
know! We can't believe it. And when
you can't believe it and you look and
you see the things that you can't believe!'
And then me go home now and me seh,
'Yeh. Poem now. I waan get a poem.
"Cyaan believe it". That's the poem I
want.' And then it slowly evolve. It
might work out. You might jot it down
- line, piece a line and you go weh
and you leave it, and then you come
back and you build on it. Or it might
come 'roops', right out. The whole in-
tensity just come right out and you just
really it release. Or sometimes a rhy-
thm come to me first. You know, is a
rhythm, and me seh, 'Dah rhythm-ya
feel nice, you know, feel nice.'And
then me try remember the rhythm. And
when time me go home me seh, 'Boy!
"Can't take it inna Babylon, da, da, da/
Can't take it inna Babylon, da, da, da".'
And if that is the line what I going ride
now, I seh, 'Yeh. "Da, da, da/ Can't
take it i . and then I build under
that, build up under that. Build under
that and catch me breaks and the bridges.
Just like how a musician a work out.
Cause I very close to musicians. And
so I really pay a lot of attention how
musician work out.
What do you mean by, 'I'm very close
to musicians'? Do you yourself play
music, or have you been a listener
for many years, or are you a close friend
of musicians?

Well, me listen to music fi a number of
years, cause me used to love dance, and
me still love dance, and me still go
dance and listen DJ and all them thing-
deh. And out that, you know, man get
fi start know the musician-dem now
wha actually play the music, and me
start go mongst them and rest mongst
them; and some a them me and them a
friend, you know, very good friends.
When them a rehearse, you know, me sit
down deh. Me can't play any instrument,

Mikey Smith performing in the poetry olympics at the Young Vic, London.

still. Me only can probably keep a little
drum beat, you know. Congo drum
beat. Me sit down there, and me listen
to them, and me see how them work
out. See how them work out. And me
seh, 'Yeh!' Or might seh, 'Well, that no
sound good. If him did do that and that,
it would come out much better.' But
me is a man who have built-in rhythms
inna my head. And me can hear them.
And built-in sounds in my head. And
sometime when time me even work
out with a musician, although I can't
work out the music structurally, I say
it. I tell them I hear this and them must
try hear that too. And we don't stop
rehearse until him get out wha inna my
head. So I carry it in my head. I can
hear it. I can carry it. I know I do that,
you know.
Right. In addition to hearing the music
rhythms or hearing rhythms you are
clear about and want to follow through,
do you like saying your poems to the
accompaniment of music?

Yes, sometimes. But, you see, musician
is a very funny set of people-dem.
Sometime them ego get big, you know;
them ego get big and them want
outshine you, or them want outplay
you. Or them get carried away. To me,
to work with a musician me have fi
know the musician-dem. Me have fi
know them very close. Me have fi know
them very good. So that me can seh to
them seh, 'Well, watch-ya. Don't bother
go, you know; don't bother go inna it
too hard! And just cool out. And just
know how you a run it.' And then now
we can work and we ketch the vibes, and
then we go properly. But me love work
out with musicians. But man who and
me close. Me no like work with you
until me know you. Me like to feel very
close to man and man wha me work
with. More like you feel a oneness. So
me couldn't really go work with any
and any musician, you know.
The name 'dub poetry' has been applied
to some of the poetry with which you
are associated. Can you tell me how the
name arose?
You see 'dub poetry' now? Dub poetry
come out a argument, you know. One
argument wha surround Orlando Wong
- formerly Orlando Wong, wha name
OkuOnuora Noel Walcott and myself.
We just deh a reason. And it just come
out. We identify the same thing we find
run through Langston Hughes poems.
Langston Hughes have a blues mood go
through it, and we just feel seh, well,
we have something, and we seh boy it
was the beat. And we realize now that

because we is a people who we go whole
heap a dance and different, we influence
by that sound system. Sound syst m.
And is it we carry with we. And the DJ,
the DJ twisting and turning. Still, I-man
was hit first, I was fascinated first by
the storeman-dem down a Orange
Street. Little pink and black store,
Orange Street. The man used to seh,
'Come-een, come-een, come-buy-up,
buy-up. But no come-een, come-een,
come tief-up, tief-up, cause we wi beat-
up, beat-up!' A so them used to adver-
tise them little thing, and me did just
fascinated by that little rhythms, you
know. And then me just feel seh me
could do one too and do it better. So,
you know, the whole thing start, and
you just start to find different analogy.
But dub poetry? Dub going to be the
future, you know, a reggae music. A
deh-so it a go go. It a go dub-wise. It
haffi go dub-wise.
What plans do you have for the future?
Well, me would like undertake a
number of different projects. Number
one, the whole recording scene.2 That
really take certain amount of money,
you know. Right now, which part me
deh now really a try fi get the works
together, make them come out inna
printed form;3 and also try to putting
a show together in terms of dramatic
presentation of the works, and try and
move it round and do readings far out
where the necessary contacts can be
made so that the works can be heard.4
Not only here but over the water.
Do you think your poetry would be
widely accepted in book form? Or does
it depend so much on performance
that it really ought to be on records or
presented in performance?
Both of them go together. It's very good
for documentational purposes to have it
in book form, but also to hear it is an-
other experience.
By readings 'far out' you mean readings
Is your work understood by people who
are not close to Jamaican language and

You can feel it. If you can't understand
some of it, you can feel it. Which is a
nice little thing wha I probably bless
with, you know. Me have a way of just
going in and be transformed, totally be
transformed, that bridge the gap, you
know. Me always seem to be able fi do
it, you know, so there is no problem as
such. There is no problem. We haffi

really look into the whole thing of the
language thing, because sometime it is
used in a negative sense as a hindrance
to your progress, and people think seh,
'Boy, why don't you communicate in
Standard English?' Standard English is
good to be communicated, but you
must also communicate in what you
also comfortable in. And what is widely
being used by your own people from
which you draw these source. So that's
why me communicate da-way-deh. And
if me can really spend some time fi
try learn the Englishman language an
so, the Englishman can spend some time
fi learn wha me seh too, you know -
or the American, fi that matter, any one
a them, it no really matter. Them can
really spend some time and understand.
That's the only way them can get over
some of them romanticism that them
have bout Jamaica and Jamaican people,
especially Rasta. You know, spend some
time and really get a good grasp of the
whole cultural expression and the cultur-
al movements as such.

What exactly do you mean by 'romanti-
cism about Rasta'?
Whole heap a people come and extract
the symbols of Rastafari. Them feel seh
if them put on a red, green and gold belt
or them have a badge wha mark 'Ites A
Lion' them just automatically become
Rasta. And is really just extracting sym-
bols and spouting mock rituals of poverty
or some religious chat which really -
Rasta don't stop at that, you know.
Rasta go further than that. And them
people-deh really just come fi divert
people's energy and attention, and real-
ly get people captivate into all kinds of
foolishness, you know. Them do more
harm to the movement than anything
else. But through some a we so steep
inna we ignorance now, and feel seh
anything wha white is right we just lock
them up and just embrace them. Still,
some a the time a fool we a fool them
still, because we a master at the Anancy
deception game at times.
Tell me something about your own
relation to Rasta. Are you Rasta? How
would you describe your relation to
Me is very close to Rasta, you know.
Very, very close. In that a lot a things
inna Rasta me can understand, and me
can identify with. A that really make
me very close. Some Rastaman would
seh me is Rasta already, because me talk
of the things of Rasta and my expres-
sion is of Rasta. Me no want too com-
ment pon da question-yah, still, because
it use fi divide up, divide we up; and me

Who, what, when

& where

...at your fingertips


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Edited by D.B. Stewart
A handsome edition combining the best of
'- Gosse's work on Jamaica's natural history
l ^ with special emphasis on the Birds of
I Jamaica
Jam' 16 pages of Gosse's original
b illustrations of Jamaican birds,
A It eight in full colour.
', r J$70 or U.S. $25 (Hard cover) /
A ",1; -

PHILIP HENRY GOSSE (1810 -1888) was one of
the great descriptive naturalists who worked in and
around the British Museum in the mid-19th cen-
tury, a contemporary of Lyell, Darwin, Huxley and
Kingsley. Gosse visited Jamaica for 18 months in
1844-45 and worked mainly in the Bluefields area
on the south-west coast. He was then at the peak
of his powers, and his writings reflect 'the unwear-
ing delight of those months that I spent in beauteous

u ,

The Birds of Jamaica was published in 1847,
Illustrations to the Birds of Jamaica in 1849
and A Naturalist's Sojourn in Jamaica in 1851.
None of these has ever been reprinted.

Gosse's Jamaica contains the most interesting parts
of the Birds as well as portions of the Sojourn
which deal with birds and their habitats and also
those which give a picture of Jamaica as Gosse saw
it and which reveal the personality of the man him-
self. The Editor has added information on Gosse
and his collaborators.

20% off each copy on orders of 5-19 copies
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For free brochures on this and other publications
on Jamaican culture please write to us:

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2A Suthermere Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica, Telephone: 92-94785/6


over 17,000 colour, colour infrared and thermal infrared
photographs were taken of Jamaica and its coastal waters.
Simultaneously, 'ground truth' investigations were made by
the U.S. Geological Survey [Kohout et al. 1979] in collabor-
ation with the Jamaica Geological Survey and the Jamaica
Defence Force. NASA was again involved in a remote sensing
data gathering mission in Jamaica during the summer of
1982. On this occasion the project was in collaboration with
the Government of Jamaica and Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
California Institute of Technology. On this mission air-
borne sidelooking radar was flown for the purpose of asses-
sing the geology of Jamaica.
This era also witnessed the institutionalization of a hurri-
cane warning system network for the Caribbean Basin under
the auspices of the Caribbean Meteorological Organization
and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Jam-
aica was the recipient of a Mitsubishi, 10 cm, RC-32B ground
radar system which is situated at Cooper's Hill, St. Andrew.
Other systems in the network are found in Antigua, Barbados,
Cuba, Curacao, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martini-
que, Tobago and Surinam.
The Caribbean Basin hurricane warning system also has a
network of weather facsimile (WEFAX) systems throughout
the Caribbean Basin. This facility allows the transmission of
meteorological satellite imagery to those countries with the
necessary facilities. The weather satellite imagery seen on
JBC television weather news is transmitted via the WEFAX
system at the Meteorological Service, Norman Manley Inter-
national Airport. Imagery collected by the geostationary en-
vironmental satellite system (GOES) and the national oceanic
and atmospheric administration (NOAA) polar orbiting satel-
lite is also transmitted via the WEFAX system.
In 1982, a team from Donohue and Associates, Inc., re-
mote sensing specialists, under the direction of Professor
Benjamin Richason Jr., successfully used ground penetrating
radar (GPR) in the mapping and quantification of bauxite
ores in Jamaica and in pinpointing the cultural deposits of
Sevilla la Nueva near St. Ann's Bay [See Jamaica Journal
17:1 pp. 28-37]. According to Donohue [1982a] the Alpart
project was the first of its kind in the bauxite industry as
GPR for this purpose had never before been researched and
tested. It also marked the first time subsurface interface ra-
dar had been applied in the field or archaeology [Donohue
One feature of remote sensing systems is that they
produce very large volumes of spatial data. Over the past
decade-and-a-half, computer based technologies have been
developed to allow the efficient storage, processing, mani-
pulation, analysis and retrieval of spatial data. Such technolo-
gies are referred to as geographical or geo-base information
systems (GIS). These systems not only facilitate the efficient
handling of spatial data, they also allow them to be com-
bined with data collected by traditional methods. In 1983,
an integrated remote sensing and geographical information
system was installed in the Ministry of Agriculture rural
physical planning unit under phase 2 of the resource assess-
ment project. The main objective of this phase of the project
is to provide the technical assistance framework to support
comprehensive rural development activities in the Ministry
of Agriculture [CRIES Project 1982b].

Progress Photography

In addition to the RC-32B 10cm ground based radar system

at Cooper's Hill, the aircraft is the only other remote sensing
platform available in Jamaica. A private aerial photographer,
J.S. Tyndale-Biscoe, has used his Cessna 180 since the late
1950s to obtain both vertical and oblique aerial photographs.
Most of the photographs have been taken from heights of
16,000 feet and less. The payload flown on the aircraft has
been adapted from time to time to accommodate the various
The first sensor flown by Tyndale-Biscoe was the K17
aerial camera in the late 1950s. This was subsequently re-
placed by a Smith camera in the early 1960s. In an attempt
to further improve the payload system, Mr Biscoe designed a
camera system referred to as the JBI aerial camera. The
major limitation of this camera system was that it operated
on a one shot principle. Since the mid 1970s he has used a
Wild RC5A aerial camera.
Since 1958, Mr Biscoe has accumulated over 30,000 obli-
que and vertical aerial photographs covering every aspect of
Jamaican life and landscape. The collection includes progress
photography of most of the hotels and housing schemes
constructed since the 1960s, coastal changes, disaster monitor-
ing, flooding and quarrying. Mr Biscoe's photography is the
most comprehensive single collection of oblique aerial sur-
veying in Jamaica and in fact in any tropical country.

Remote Sensing Applications in Jamaica

In Jamaica remote sensing has been used primarily in the
areas of geological mapping, land and agricultural surveys and
in water resource assessment programmes. Black and white
panchromaticc) aerial photography is the most widely ap-
plied technique but colour infrared photographs and radar
data have also been used. Little or no use has been made
of satellite data, especially digital satellite data.

Meteorology: Forecasting, Disaster Preparedness and
It is in the area of meteorology that remote sensing has
been most extensively used; both for short-term forecasting
and for disaster preparedness. The primary meteorological
remote sensing platform available in Jamaica is the RC-32B
10cm ground based radar system at Cooper's Hill which utilizes
a transmission frequency of 2740-2950 megahertz (MHz) to
detect, acquire and continuously monitor and display
meteorological phenomena up to 500km. This system is
complemented by the GOES and NOAA satellite imagery
transmitted via the WEFAX system at the airport. The radar
system is used primarily for short-term weather forecasting;
its main uses being to detect the development and movement
of precipitation, especially those associated with severe
weather phenomena; to examine the vertical extent and
range of precipitation echoes, and the iso-echo contouring
of rainfall into intensity levels, whereas the satellite imagery
is used to identify, locate and monitor the distribution of
cloud cover over the Caribbean Basin.
The use of both radar and satellite data has considerably
increased the ability of the forecaster to monitor precipitation
in time and space. Instantaneous pictures of detailed distri-
bution of showers over Jamaica and its coastal waters, have
enabled forecasters to keep a large area under continuous
surveillance without having to rely on observations from dis-
persed points at infrequent intervals. This has had the effect
of filling gaps in the synoptic reporting over Jamaica and its
coastal waters and has facilitated more accurate short-
term forecasting.

One of the most important contributions of meteorological
remote sensing has been in disaster warning and prepared-
ness. Routine monitoring and surveillance by space and radar
platforms have increased the probability of successfully issu-
ing hurricane warnings. Griffith [1983], in assessing the con-
tribution of remote sensing to disaster warning and prepared-
ness in the Caribbean observed that satellite sensing has facili-
tated the detection of hurricanes over the previously data
sparse region. Remote sensing as opposed to traditional
weather chart analysis, has provided more accurate position-
ing and tracking of both potential and mature systems and
has also performed a disaster prevention function, in that it
has facilitated the issuing of early warnings, which in turn has
led to increased efficiency in formulating disaster prevention,
preparedness and relief coordination programmes. Radar
allows precise information about the eye of the hurricane -
distinctive spiral band wall clouds to be collected and
analysed, and allows sudden changes in the direction of the
system to be detected. This in turn facilitates adjustments in
the local preparedness programmes. A classic example of

local preparedness was seen in 1980 when hurricane Allen
shifted from a southerly to northern position; evacuation
procedures which were in effect for low lying areas to the
south of the country had to be adjusted.

The major limitation of ground based radar in hurricane
monitoring is its range, which is insufficient for observation
of the centre of a hurricane until it is within 500km of the
country. This limitation, however, is compensated for by
satellite monitoring.
Post-disaster assessment programmes in Jamaica have been
executed almost exclusively by conventional surveys and to a
lesser extent with the aid of black and white vertical and
oblique aerial photographs. Eyre [1979] used different types
of remote sensing data products to analyse the impact of the
June 1979 flood disaster on the economy of western Jamaica.
NOAA weather satellite imagery, cartographic facsimiles of
radarscope generated imagery and Landsat colour-infrared
composites (both transparencies and prints), were analysed
to establish the scale and variability of the episode and the

The console (left) and antenna
(right) of the Mitsubishi RC-32B
IOCM meteorological radar station
at Cooper's Hill, St. Andrew.
Below: The Erdas 400 micro-
computer-based GIS at the Mini-
stry of Agriculture, rural physical
planning unit.

Wg sm


extent of damage. The results formed part of a submission
of papers presented to the national flood committee, estab-
lished by the prime minister after the tragic aftermath
of the June 1979 disaster. These reports were successfully
used as the basis for presenting Jamaica's case for disaster
relief assistance from the United Nations Relief Programme.
Approximately, U.S. $1 million in disaster relief assistance
was made available to Jamaica.3

Griffith [1983], summarized the contribution of remote
sensing to disaster assessment in the Caribbean as the ability
to provide base line data, which when combined with other
data sources, assists in the identification of disaster prone
areas; and in planning disaster control and protection meas-
ures. It allows the delineation and assessment of areas inun-
dated by individual floods as well as the documentation of
the statistical frequencies of classes of floods. When com-
bined with land use information it allows the rapid calculation
of the areas affected by flood, storm surges and wind damage
and the consequent prediction of economic consequences.

Water Resources, Watershed Management and Forestry

Systematic use of aerial photographs in the forestry and
watershed protection programme began in 1967 with the in-
ception of the forest and watershed management project; a
collaborative endeavour between UNDP/FAO and the
Government of Jamaica. Since then, three major projects

S *. :' *.

Ground penetration radar being used for mineral exploration. The
transducer is pulled across the ground by a truck while the graphic
recorder and radar controls are operated from within the truck.

Below: On top is a visible profile of a bauxite/limestone interface and
bottom, the corresponding radar strip chart.

I o

have been undertaken. The inaugural project in 1967 used
aerial photographs to survey the land use and slope analysis
of the Lucea/Cabaritta watershed to provide a framework for
field sampling and management decisions [UNDP/FAO
A more comprehensive project undertaken in 1973 used
both colour infrared and black and white aerial photography
to survey the country's watersheds and establish priorities
for their effective development and management. The
country was divided into 33 watersheds, of which 18 were
identified as severely disturbed by man and/or nature. Of the
18 severely disturbed watersheds, five were classified as first
priority, and five as second priority [UNDP/FAO 1975].
A third project undertaken in 1981 used conventional
colour aerial photography to survey the status of the Kingston/
St. Andrew watersheds. Information on the present land use
and land capability was produced for the target area.
UNDP/FAO scientists have made extensive use of aerial
photography to aid them in the assessment of water resources
in Jamaica.

Greenwood [1972] evaluated thermal imagery for possible
indications of off-shore submarine ground water discharge
in Jamaica. He also did pilot evaluation studies using colour
and colour infrared photography for depth penetration in
coastal waters and in the detection of fresh water discharge
as evidenced by turbidity; the mapping of traces and other
surface features from which deductions regarding the move-
ment of surface and subsurface might be drawn. These pre-
liminary studies were undertaken to evaluate the poten-
tial of the data generated by the 1971 NASA programme.

Jamaica's submarine springs have also been studied by
remote sensing. Kohout et al. [1979] correlated underwater
scuba investigations with anomalies shown on aircraft data,
Apollo spacecraft photography and TIROS-N satellite
imagery for the detection of such springs along the north
coast, concluded that remote sensing of submarine springs
can fulfil at least two useful functions. First, the discovery
of submarine discharge may help to identify geologic or geo-
morphic structures on the mainland where there would be
high probability of drilling successful wells. Second, the
periodic observation of, for example, changes of temperature
and turbidity anomalies associated with a submarine spring
can serve as an outpost system for monitoring hydrologic
changes brought about by exploitation of the aquifer.


Black and white aerial photography has been used exten-
sively in Jamaica in agricultural surveys, forest inventory and
identification, in land use mapping, and land utilization and
management in watershed areas. Collins [1966], used pan-
chromatic photography to map existing land use in the parish
of St. Catherine. The land use information was subsequently
correlated with existing soil data to formulate a land capability
map of every soil/slope combination in the parish. Parry
[1968], used panchromatic photography to examine vari-
ations in land use patterns in Christiana; George [1976],
examined land use patterns in Negril and the comprehensive
resources inventory and evaluation system (CRIES) project
[1982] prepared a land use inventory of the entire country.
Colour infrared photography was recently acquired by the
Ministry of Agriculture, rural physical planning unit to up-
date the land use inventory done by the CRIES project.

An experimental project using colour and colour infra-
red photography for the early detection of lethal yellowing
in coconut palms was undertaken by Heinze [1972]. Plants
just developing the disease (one or two months after infection)
were distinguished on the colour infrared photographs only.
The experiment met with limited success since a number of
factors mitigated against the effective use of the photography,
as the prints had to be constantly enlarged, and there was inade-
quate knowledge of the spectral reflectance4 of the various
varieties of the coconut palms, put simply, how each variety
showed up. For example, the 'Malayan dwarf' red variety
appeared similar to that of the diseased palms at the beginning
of the symptom expression [Heinze 1972]. The large scale
photography taken specifically for the project was made
available five months after it was collected, by which time
the photointerpreter had departed from Jamaica. If colour
infrared sensing is to be used successfully as a tool in pest
detection and monitoring, attention must be directed to-
wards a critical appraisal of the film/filter combinations, the
scale of the photography, the spectral reflection of the crops
being sensed and the timely availability of the imagery.

Mineral Exploration

Aerial photographs can be used in mineral exploration to
reveal structures and structural features where minerals are
most likely to be found. Greenwood [1972] did a pilot
evaluation of both colour infrared and black and white aerial
photography for the purpose of zinc prospects in the Hope
River area. No conclusive results were recorded about the
zinc resources. More recently the Petroleum Corporation of
Jamaica (PCJ) has used black and white photography in oil
and gas exploration. During 1979-80, a team of UNDP
scientists used Landsat visual data in hydrocarbon explora-
In 1982, Donohue and Associates conducted a pilot sur-
vey on a 90 acre site using GPR to investigate subsurface ore
deposits for Alumina Partners of Jamaica. The purpose was
to determine the number, location, surface area and volume
of bauxite ore bodies on a portion of the Manchester Plateau
[Donohue et al n.d.]. The results demonstrated that GPR is a
reliable and effective tool in bauxite exploration and could
effectively reduce exploration costs. The success of GPR in
bauxite exploration is exemplified by the fact that Alpart has
since acquired their own GPR.
Radar exploration of bauxite has a number of advantages
over conventional exploration methods. The most important
of these are listed by Donohue [1982a] as follows: radar
produces a continuous profile of the ore body/limestone
interface, whereas the conventional method of 100' drill
holes within a presurveyed ore body will miss subtleties
and major disconformities in the limestone bedrock; it is
efficient and cost effective; it is not site destructive; the data
collected are recorded and can easily be quantified, standard-
ized, calibrated, and computerized; radar is lightweight
and can be easily transported; and it produces more de-
tailed data than those originally obtained by coarse-tex-
tured traditional drilling procedure. A disadvantage of the
radar system when used in Jamaica was the unit's inability to
penetrate excessively deep ore/limestone contacts [Donohue
1982a]. It is not anticipated that GPR will completely re-
place conventional exploration techniques but it will no
doubt drastically reduce the time spent in the field and
hence exploration costs.


.4 pioneer of aerial photography in Jamaica, J.S.

A colour composite of a Landsat scene taken of western Jamaica
in July 1979 following the June flood disaster.

Since 1980, the Government of Jamaica has been making
a concerted effort to develop Sevilla la Nueva, the site of the
first Spanish city, into a historic centre and national park to
be opened to the public in 1992, the 500th anniversary of
Columbus' initial landing in Jamaica. To speed up the pro-
cess of securing a complete archaeological survey of Sevilla
la Nueva and to pinpoint cultural deposits [Aarons 1984], a
team of Donohue remote sensing specialists hired by the
Jamaica National Trust Commission employed a combin-
ation of two remote sensing systems: small format colour
infrared photography and GPR.
The remote sensing survey proved to be successful. Ac-
cording to Donohue, they were able to confirm locations of
the governor's palace, the central plaza, the old Spanish
road, the sugar mill, and the old Catholic church. In addition,
they were also able to differentiate between the various occu-
pation stages from the Arawak to the British. Furthermore,

Tyndale-Biscoe (right), and an assistant.

the work was accomplished by Donohue in several days with-
out molesting the environment or destroying the site [Dono-
hue 1982c] Donohue's work in Jamaica was to win for them
and the Government of Jamaica the Council of Wisconsin
Engineer's Award for applied engineering for 1982 [Aarons
The project is also significant for local remote sensing
specialists as it demonstrated the versatility of small format
aerial photography in resource inventory and mapping. More
significantly, a methodology for using 35mm cameras for
taking stereoscopic small format aerial photographs was
developed. The system employed a multiple camera plat-
form which would be installed and operated in a Cessna 180
aircraft. The platform was constructed by Professor Benja-
min Richason Jr., and J.S. Tyndale-Biscoe [For a more de-
tailed description of the system see Donohue 1982b].

Geographical Information System

A direct spin-off of remote sensing technology has been
the development and institutionalization of geographical
information system (GIS). This is essentially a computer data
base system which allows 'layers' of digitized spatial and
topographic data, such as relief, geology, soils, slopes and
land use to be effectively stored, manipulated, analysed and
retrieved. Geo-base computer systems are distinguished from
other information systems by their explicit focus on spatial
entities and relationships [Marble et al. 1983]. The GIS in
the Ministry of Agriculture, rural physical planning unit, was
installed as part of a technical services programme funded
by the USAID in collaboration with the CRIES Project of
Michigan State University.5
The transfer of this equipment has given Jamaica the ca-
pability of developing a comprehensive resource data base,
therefore a more integrative approach to planning and
management of resources. However, if the full potential of
the system is to be exploited, a critical appraisal of the

y_ ~_~-9li~-4LIi.3~1I.

scope, role and function of the system in national resource
planning and development must be addressed, sooner rather
than later.

Current Research in Remote Sensing

The Department of Geography, University of the West
Indies, is deeply involved in investigating the applicability of
remote sensing to environmental monitoring in Jamaica. The
research is being carried out under the direction of Dr. L.
Alan Eyre. The author is currently involved in research aim-
ed at evaluating the effectiveness of Landsat multispectral
and multitemporal data to resource management, monitor-
ing and planning in Jamaica. This research is being carried
out in collaboration with the Department of Geography, Car-
roll College, Waukesha, Wisconsin, U.S.A. Research using re-
mote sensing techniques to aid in developing a predictive
computer-based methodology for examining the distribution,
frequency and propagation of locally induced convective
activity over Jamaica is also in progress. However these at-
tempts are facing numerous difficulties in having access to
adequate remote sensing facilities and sufficient financial
support to acquire remote sensing data.


Remote sensing is a powerful tool by which resource data
may be collected, analysed and incorporated into decision-
making or problem-solving procedures. Despite the techno-
logy's successful application in Jamaica, the methods and
techniques employed in analysing remote sensing data other
than black and white aerial photography seem to have elu-
ded local resource managers. The main reasons for this are:
the shortage of trained personnel in remote sensing
techniques and methods and the lack of familiarity
among those who allocate funds, manage our re-
sources and control advanced education;
the lack of basic remote sensing infrastructure and
facilities. This view is expressed explicitly by Eyre
[1985], who states that for many poor developing
countries like Jamaica, no funds are available to ac-
quire remote sensing data, especially multispectral
and radar data, or the wherewithal to purchase even
the most basic items of equipment for its interpre-
tation; and

the continuation of the traditional sectoral compart-
mentalization of resource data and the absence of a
national policy on science and technology miti-
gates against the effective utilization of technology
in monitoring key parameters of our environment.
Remote sensing is multidisciplinary in nature and
has the unique characteristic of fostering a multi-
disciplinary approach to environmental issues.

Before remote sensing can be adopted as a routine tool in
resource inventory and management in Jamaica, basic re-
search in the methods and techniques must be undertaken
to ensure that the technical knowledge and the skill to apply
that knowledge are within our grasp. In addition, the insti-
tutional framework for such research must be established.
Only then will we be able to reap the benefits of the techno-


The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of

numerous government institutions and private individuals in
making available reports and documents on remote sensing in
Jamaica, and for completing the questionnaire supplied.


1. Electromagnetic radiation is energy propagated through space
or through material media in the form of an advancing inter-
action between electric and magnetic fields.

2. Electromagnetic spectrum is the array of known electromagnetic
red radiation, microwave radiation and all other wavelengths of
gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet radiation, visible radiation, infra-
red radiation, microwave radiation and all other wavelengths of
radio energy.

3. Eyre, 1985 personal communication.

4. Spectral reflectance is the response of a material as a function of
wavelength to incident EMR, particularly in terms of the measur-
able energy reflected or emitted from the object.

5. Present software capabilities include digitizing in which com-
puter-compatible digital information is created from base maps
to be used in the analysis phase; GIS capabilities in which a grid
cell format is created from the digitized information and a
number of analyses can be implemented on these files; Landsat
capabilities which allows for the classification of a Landsat scene
and its rectification to a base map; and the display capabilities in
which the graphic printer allows the production of maps of
various scales [Rural Physical Planning Unit 1984 unpublished
notes] .


AARONS, G.A., "Sevilla La Nueva: Microcosm of Spain in Jamaica",
Part II: Unearthing the Past, Jamaica Journal, 17: 1, 1984.

COLLINS, Gordon W., "A Study with the Aid of Aerial Photographs
of Land Utilization of the Parish of St. Catherine, Jamaica",
unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, U.K.: University of Leeds, 1966.

CRIES Project, Jamaica Resource Assessment, Michigan State Univer-
sity, U.S. Dept. of Agricultural/Soil Conservation Service,
Ohio State University. Prepared for the Jamaican Ministry of
Agriculture Rural Physical Planning Division, 1982.
Natural Resource Assessment Phase II (to support Agricultural
Production, Development, Planning and Policy Analysis Activi-
ties within the Ministry of Agriculture), Project proposal pre-
sented to the Ministry of Agriculture, 1982b.

DONOHUE and Associates, Exploration of Alpart Jamaican Bauxite
Ore Bodies by use of Ground Penetrating Radar, Donohue
and Ass. Inc., 1982a.

Remote Sensing Archaeological Investigation at New Seville
Jamaica. Report submitted to Jamaica National Trust Com-
mission, Donohue and Associates Inc., 1982b.

,"On the Trail of Christopher Columbus; Donohue helps pick
up some clues", reprint from The Reporter, Donohue and
Associates Inc., 1982c.

Near-Surface Mineral Deposit Investigations and Mine Plan-
ning, Statement of Qualification, Donohue and Associates
Inc and Geostat-System Inc., n.d.

EYRE, L. Alan, "The June 12th Flood Disaster in Jamaica: A Satel-
lite View", Mona: Dept. of Geography, University of the West
Indies 1979.
"What is Happening to Our Tropical Rain Forest?", presentation
to United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer
Space at the Symposium on Satellite Detection of Changes in
Land Surface Properties, New York; United Nations, 1985.

GEORGE, Vincent, "The Underutilization of Agricultural Land in a
Tourist Hinterland in Jamaica", unpublished Ph.D. Thesis,
Mona, Jamaica, UWI, 1976.

GREENWOOD.J.C.. Visit to Geological Survey Department, Jamaica
.to evaluate and make recommendations on the use of
NASA Remote Sensing Cover, Institute of Geological Sciences.
Report No. 50, London, 1972.

GRIFFITH, M.D., "Remote Sensing: Its Warning and Assessment
Capabilities of Natural Disasters in the Caribbean", paper pre-
sented at the 69th Annual Convention of the Natural Council
for Geographical Education, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, 1983.

HEINZE, K.G., Lethal Yellowing Disease of Coconut, Report sub-
mitted to the Government of Jamaica and to FAO, Rome,

KOHOUT, F.A. et al., "Application of Aerospace Data for Detection
of Submarine Springs in Jamaica", Proc. of the Fifth Annual
William T. Pecora Memorial Symposium on Remote Sensing,
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 1979.

LINDENLAUB, John C., The Physical Basis of Remote Sensing, Mini-
course Study Guide, Purdue Research Foundation, USA, 1976.
MARBLE, Duane F. and PEWQWET, Donna J., "Geographical In-
formation Systems and Remote Sensing" in Robert N. Colwell,
(ed.) Manual of Remote Sensing, American Society of Photo-
grammetry, Fall Church, Virginia. 1983.

NASA, Mission Plan for Earth Observation Aircraft Program, 172,
Site 711-Jamaica, April 19-30 MSC. 545-1, 1971.

PARRY, M.L., "Land use in the Christiana Area, Jamaica," un-
published, M.Sc. Thesis, Jamaica, University of the West
Indies, 1968.

ROBINSON, Rupert. "A Critical Review of the Mapping of Jamaica.
From 1938 to 1973," unpublished thesis (for the Final Examin-
ation of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), 1975.
Rural Physical Planning Unit, "Erdas Computer System", unpublish-
ed notes, 1984.
Survey Department Annual Report 1966-1967. Survey Department,
Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Jamaica.
UNDP, Forestry Development and Watershed Management inthe Up-
land Region, Jamaica, Interim Report, UNDP/FAO, FO:
DP/JAM/67/505, Rome, 1973.
,Forestry Development and Watershed Management in the Up-
land Region, Jamaica, Watershed Management, UNDP/FAO,
FO: DP/JAM/67/505 Technical Report 12, Rome, 1975.


When Jamaica Welcomed the World
The International Exhibition of 1891

The Coastline of Jamaica
The Coastline of Jamaica



of our culture.

Culture is a most important aspect of
every society. It is at one and the same
time the roots of a people and the
ramifications of their aspirations. It
expresses in tangible form, from whence
a people are coming and where they
are going.
In Jamaica, the expression of our culture
is manifest in the various indigenous arts
and original creations of our many
talented people. Dancing and music
that reflect our roots, painting and
sculpture oriented toward our own
unique destiny, abound throughout our
society. It is the rich fabric of our island
life and we believe that it should be
encouraged and supported by the entire
The companies in our group are always
willing to support the development of
culture in Jamaica.

Head Office: 79 Harbour Street, Kingston.


. 7 1 ...:'i:: :;

e4* k'

'T! .:;'i i`4 P~

: :By Gloria Escoffery


ne of the most striking charac-
S)teristics of the art of the pre-
vious decade, as Edward Lucie-
:Smith points out in his concise survey
:of Art in the Seventies1 was the re-
appearance of content, along with
media-styled 'information', as a means
Sof social protest. Of the main issues ad-
dressed feminist, ecological, anti-war
or in some sense political the one he re-
gards as having been most successfully
tackled was women's rights. An instance
of effective presentation of ideas was
the Gate of Horns/Fig of Triumph 'en-
vironment' installed at a New York gal-
lery run -as a women's cooperative.
SAnother strategy altogether was the re-
direction of erotica for propaganda pur-
poses. In a chapter devoted to Fetishes
arid Happenings he distinguishes four
types of erotica heterosexual, homo-
er)tic, kinky, and feminist. Thus are
su h retaliatory blows below the belt as
; S4Ilvia Sleigh's serial parodies of 'male
': "euvilst' masterpieces like the Velas-
q ez Rokeby Venus (using male models),
removed from the category of 'kinky'
Sb reason of their didactic objective.
M ch metaphysical, sardonic wit was
called into play; one example he
mentions is Lynda Bengris's Parenthe-
sis a pair of double ended phalluses
ag inst a velvet backing. This type of
;: protest was widespread, appearing in
c munist countries no less than in the
: One can hardly have been unaware,
liWing in Jamaica during the last 10 or
1 .years, of a gentle ground swell of
feminism, but at no time was it vituper-
ative or aggressive. It took the positive
f.. m of phenomena like Lucille Mair's
pblshsd study of women's resistance
.: opp. t siornsinr Jamaican history,2 an

Laura F

upsurge in women's poetry, and the ap- p.. eid
pearance of the theatrical group, Sistrenh.:
On the art scene, it became the dene.". .,.
thing for the main galleries MttUfti;:. e.
Life, Bolivar, Upstairs-Downstairs, :td ..
mount exhibitions featuring women:: ': ..
only. The Mutual's original "Thirteern tat
women artists" was repeated in 1984.. t th:'i-
with an increased participation. The sur. i
National Gallery's 1983 thematic show : c : l.pi
"Male and female created He themW" : :
reminded the public that there were :.,;on:.. ..,
actually two sexes perhaps a necessary. ..
reminder in view of the growing dornin- Ii..; T:i
ance of women in the art world! The. : our .: .
influx of women from abroad was d .
marked. Checking on recent national;..
exhibition catalogues I have found: .ro, i:
less than eight such newcomers, Im -.. i. ii~ .
of them from the U.S.A. and.-there. wrei.'.;:
others who exhibited on :the .north '1: .
coast, besides there was a constant going ,..: :.~i
and coming of our women artsts, ai felA i
well as the men.. Might one nothw i ;3*0i '

acey, Floting. 1974. Tar eran ortfi : jo

.. ........_-------- - . . . . .., .., .

-- - ------------ --- ---------- ---

Women's Day and the close of the
Decade of Women, drew an impressive
crowd. Guest speaker Carmen T;pling
spoke of the women's work as 'chap-
ters in the Testament of Life', noting
that they had 'bared their souls'. If so,
the effect came across as a whisper from
the confessional, certainly not histrionics
of women determined (in the words of
W.B. Yeats) to 'stand on a waggonette
to scream'.
When I saw the show, at its second
venue, in Ocho Rios, most of the works
were decorated with red stickers. It
was, in fact, just the sort of show to ap-
peal to the present-day equivalent of
Huie's bourgeois clientele in the pioneer-
ing days of the art movement. It was
beautifully mounted, coherent, moder-
ately but not wildly challenging; reti-
cent and, yes, I do not intend this
to be taken in a pejorative sense well

At this point it is only fair for 'blue
fish to come out of hole'.
Your reviewer is neither a feminist
nor anti-feminist, merely a somewhat
ironic observer and recorder of the
delightful dance of life. I believe in good
manners having been brought up to
expect them, at least in places like art
galleries. Like Seya Parboosingh, known
to be more of a feminist and more
'feminine' in her style than I am, I
maintain that as an artist I am sexless;
this goes deeper than resentment at
being classified as an unusual pheno-
menon like a circus horse trained to
spell out words. When the chips are
down, it is quality that matters and
polemics count for nothing. My bias
- or lack of it is due to condition-
ing as well as individual temperament.
In my formative years the only cause
handy was nationalism; there weren't
many women artists around, and we
were all in this thing together, male and
female, all hell bent on survival.
At the Frame Centre show, one thing
that struck me right off was the lack of
male presence in the works of all three


Samere Tansley. Three Apples. Acrylic on
canra' 1984. Private Collection.

artists. Here were three liberated women
glorying in their motherhood yet
studiously ignoring the male partner
without whom the miracle of mother-
hood could not take place. It is more
devastating to be ignored than to be
pilloried, but I do not think the artists
set out to devastate. Assuming that one
works in a representational style and
even if one doesn't, isn't there some
natural attraction of opposites that
causes us as women artists to reflect in
our work the 'otherness' of the male -
however frustrating and irritating he
may be in reality?
Apparently it doesn't work that way.
Men paint women, idealising them or
humiliating them by representing them
as 'sex objects', but women look inwards
and seek to find appropriate forms to
express this inner experience; or paint
what they identify with other women.
Personally I have nothing against eroti-
cism, as long as it is sensitively convey-
ed. Take Rodney's female nudes; they
are very erotic, but no one could ac-

cuse him of exploiting the female sex.
The feminist rationale summarised above
is just as valid as a possible alternative -
being interested in life as a totality in
which the relationship between the sexes
is merely one component.
Samere Tansley, born British but
now a Jamaican citizen, arrived in 1970
to take up a post as art teacher at Camp-
erdown High School. By then she had
accumulated a sheaf of diplomas from
distinguished art schools and teacher
training institutions in Britain, but these
weren't enough to satisfy her. She
decided to take yet another course at
the Jamaica School of Art and went on
to become a tutor in that institution.
This is where she now teaches part-
time as she also has her hands full with
a four-year-old son. Maternity means a
great deal to her so do her teaching
and her profession as a painter. She
thinks Jamaican women painters are
luckier than their English counterparts
because it is easier for them to obtain
affordable domestic help.
Rachel Fearing, an American born in
Massachusetts, arrived some five years
later, also with sound academic qualifi-
cations. She had already chalked up
varied experience as a teacher and in
Jamaica branched out into work in the
advertising field. In the late sixties she
was exposed to American liberal causes
and pressure groups in that era of pro-
test. She too is a mother.

Judith Salmon, youngest of the trio
and the only native Jamaican, was early
bitten by the travel bug and seized the
opportunity to study at the Chicago
Art Academy. More recently she travel-
led in Mexico. In 1979 she was awarded
the Karl Parboosingh fellowship. She
too is a mother.
These biographical details are rele-
vant as they contribute to an under-
standing of the work of Tansley, Fear-
ing and Salmon; the reason is that what
they create comes right out of the stuff
of their personal lives, whether in a
realistic vein or transformed into

symbolic and abstract forms.
Most mature of the three and furthest
along in establishing her identity as an
artist, Samere comes across as a con-
scientious, methodical person who will
never be satisfied with easy success.
She tells me that it has taken her eight
years to master (oh. suspect word!)
acrylics, and I believe her. Her technique
is excellent. She is now a very accom-
plished painter of portraits and still
life which she brings together so that
the total effect is to show the beauty
and dignity of women. In a previous
article on women as represented in
Jamaican art, I referred to her single-
minded dedication to the building up
of a personal mythology.3 A few of the
canvases in the Frame Centre show no-
tably continue this trend with references
to Ashanti and Amerindian culture, but
mainly she now makes her point by a
careful choice of still life accessories,
which she places in very real space,
along with black female models. There
is obviously a symbolic content in such
items as a bunch of lilies (in the canvas
titled Easter) or the pre-Columbian
fertility goddess featured in another
canvas. But my impression is that the
more genuine imperative in making the
choice of subject matter is basically
aesthetic. She has a marvellous eye for
arranging objects to create an interest-
ing composition; I particularly enjoyed
the Gauguinesque arrangement of those
three seductive otaheite apples in Three
Apples and the analogy between the
cup-like breast of the fertility icon and
the hollowed out interior of the yabbah
in another canvas. However much she
may yearn for exotic cultures, Samere
is very, very English, and holds fast to
the European tradition which she has
thoroughly absorbed so that it informs
her way of seeing. Her achievement lies
in the painterly way she renders a bit of
cutwork embroidery or models a hand
so that it looks perfectly relaxed, yet
full of life. European tradition has, after
all, provided her with a solution to the
impasse she found herself in in her
mythologising phase. One recalls those


Rachel Fearing. Looking Through a Flower
Series No. 3. 1984. Yoke. Collection: The

symbolic carnations, insects, candles,
apples, eggs etc. which,as partof Christian
iconography, assert their tactile pres-
ence in the Renaissance period partic-
ularly in north Italian and Flemish art.
Dare I suggest the name of Manet as
her alter ego? She will no doubt point
out that the naughty female model in
his Olympia is white, though less white
than the cloth upon which she perches,
and that only the handmaiden is brown
skinned thus discreetly eliding with
the background. Brown skins in a froth
of white! It is interesting to see how
Samere and her Jamaican counter-
part, Judy MacMillan, seem to have
simultaneously gone overboard for the
same colour combination. When Samere
has worked her way through this phase,
I predict that she will erect for herself
another aesthetic hurdle.
By contrast, Judith Salmon's paint
ings are very tentative and low-keyed,
though there are patches of warm, satur-
ated colour. In her self-portrait she sees
herself as emerging mysteriously from
a dark background. What inspires her

are the homely things which relate to
rituals of femininity Ma Lou's pots for
instance. Occasionally she peeps out to
check whether what goes on in the open
air confirms her conviction that in es-
sence we are all part of 'great creating
nature'.4 There is still some lack of
communication in her work, in that
ideas about ritual, for instance, remain
in her mind instead of being fully real-
ised in the forms and colours of the
actual work of art. In her experiments
with various graphic techniques she
achieves interesting effects of colour
and texture; this may well prove to be
her natural medium and avenue for

Rachel Fearing, like Judith, is seek-
ing appropriate abstract forms, but her
preoccupations are more intellectual.
Like many contemporary artists she
works serially on whatever theme is cur-
rently occupying her mind. Having
moved on from the sheltering inside-
outside forms of an earlier phase, she is
now preoccupied with ideas of spiritual
unfolding, like the gestures of a plant
which opens outward from a matrix
into the external space. Essentially a
religious person, she uses various woods,
mainly guango, cedar and yoke wood
(Jamaican oak) as the medium for ex-
pressing her ideas of spiritual regener-
ation. There are two distinct series,
"Looking through a Flower" and "Un-
folding Series In the first, one can
trace the genesis of the works to a study
of unfurling coco leaves. The second, in
one piece features the dramatic emer-
gence of blade-like forms from a cleft in
the bulky base resembling a coconut -
which was exactly the object that first
inspired her. Rescued from the waves, it
developed new and fascinating configura-
tions as it dried out: as if in the throes
of parturition though actually too far
gone for involvement in the cycle of
life. I found the transition from the base
bulkiness to the sharp upward thrust, a
bit awkward, but this is a part of the
Turning from the work of these wo-

men to a show of collages and sculptures
by Laura Facey at the Mutual Life Gal-
lery, I find it takes some effort to adapt
my style of writing to an oeuvre which,
though it radiates femininity, has nothing
of the 'feminist' connotation that marks
the other collection. A Jamaican product
of the Jamaica School of Art who has
done post-graduate work abroad, Laura
is an established artist. The fact that she
too is a mother, that she lives out in the
country, in beautiful St. Ann, may pro-
vide a clue to her orientation to life, yet
seem totally irrelevant when one is view-
ing her work, which is, essentially, im-
personal. Earth consciousness, which
may be quite superficial if manifested
merely in realistic representation of pots
and shards or landscapes, in Laura's
imagination appears to be part of a vast-
er consciousness. She is much pre-
occupied with real stuffs of material
existence, which exist in so many and
diverse forms, but beyond that reality
she seems to ask metaphysical questions
in which mankind, not man or woman,
is her humanistic point of reference. If
in order to be comfortable with her
work, it is necessary to classify, one can
place her, along with Hope Brooks,
among ecologists.
This does not mean that Laura is
merely an illustrator of ideas or protest
propaganda about man's misuses of his
environment. There is nothing trendy
about her works. Like David Boxer, she
belongs to an intellectual elite who
think, and express themselves with their
fingers. Using samples of the various
materials which man adapts, processes
or perhaps 'invents' through sophisti-
cated (or primitive) technology, she pro-
duces, besides more finished works,
series of "Pieces", or paper rubbings, or
prints, which read like ideograms, or
footnotes on the theme of transform-
ations and analogies. Take for instance
the series titled "Pieces": they come
in pairs, inviting the spectator to enter a
world of paradox in which, for instance,
a scrap of leather with the stitching,
tugged awry, may suggest a seed pod
which, to pursue this line of thought,

may in the first place have sparked off
an idea in the mind of a primitive crafts-
man; or may be imitated by a sophisti-
cated one.
The central factor is man, but in
Laura's world he is depersonalised, ap-
pearing now as an oriental seer, now as
a paper-thin mannikin floating in his
little cage of a frame, now as a mys-
terious figure lost in the passage of
time; which he is unable to hold back in
spite of his pathetic collection of shells,
feathers and other found objects (Of the
Past)." Most persistent of his attributes
is the head or brain, perhaps the central
racial memory which accumulates and
builds on the traditions from one genera-
tion to the next. It is fashioned in
this work of finely chiseled ebony. His
resources seem to be limitless copper,
various woods, apparently useless things
like bones and hides and grass and sticks,
which he ingeniously exploits; and
beyond those he has at his fingertips the
elegant 'precious' stones and bronze and
embossed papers and humble but useful
plex; the things he regards as his own
Where do all these fantastic ideas
come from? Laura thinks as a poet,
'discovering' wonderful analogies that
seem all too obvious once she has lift-
ed the veil. She is also a traditionalist,
who builds upon the foundations of
Magritte, first of a line of artists to
make the ambiguities of human thinking
the focus of their attention. This tradi-
tion is nowhere so evident as in her
'metaphysical' Inside a Stone, a fabri-
cation in which she uses niello, silver,
and again ebony, to weave a web of
enigma around the idea of an idea of an
idea of the most 'real' material (stone)
that the mind can conceive. At the heart
of it all is that cameo of what looks like
a black madonna. The feminists would
glow with pleasure, but I don't think
Laura intends her symbol to be seen as
this sort of tribute, but more as a com-
ment on how the human mind works.

The ocean appears to be central in
her poetic cosmos. It is the matrix, the

source of salt, the element in which the
fishes go free and from which man is
by nature barred (though he adapts). She
uses colour sparingly; when it appears in
saturated form it is usually as a deep
ultramarine, as in that work Deep with-
in that Blue which many viewers will
have seen at the National Gallery.6 Rip-
pling waves, or the seaweed and crea-
tures which inhabit them, may be the
inspiration for a rather Chinese looking
wood carvingtitled Cassia Siamea Forms.
How like Laura to leave it to the viewer
to puzzle over the analogy between
tough but resilient timber and to creepy
crawlies of the deep or the tidy and
rhythmic tides.
In a recent major work, Slip of
Moon in which she uses silver, plated
brass, copper, paper mache and gouache,
there is a strongly romantic feeling.
rather different from the epigramatic
quality of the 'ideograms'. A windswept
tree broods at the edge of an ochre
sea while in the foreground a figure,
that oriental sage again, and a very three-
dimensional looking canoe seem to
launch out of the picture plane straight
into the world of the spectator. This
work Invites comparison with another
large more or less two-dimensional piece
titled Changing Salina in which two
vertical forms, one human, the other
like some formal piece of oriental fur-
niture, perilously maintain the tension
between them so that the elongated
stretch of wet land (?) between them
will not entirely disintegrate into
meaningless space.
A terra cotta head titled Floating,
probably an earlier work, shows that
Laura is quite capable of obtaining the
grace and favour of the more conven-
tional viewer when she so wishes. But
usually her complex ideas require a
more subtle treatment, which involves
the use of a variety of materials. Of the
individual figures or constructs, those
which carry the highest charge of pathos
are the ones in which animals appear.
One intuitively empathises with her
Gopher poor archaic looking scrab-
bler suspended in air with his useless


paws no longer able to engage with the
dirt and stones in his mined out or
blocked up tunnel. Who has robbed him
of his birthright or have his own pre-
datory ways brought him to a dead end?
Another striking piece is the Duck
Rack, a contemporary version mainly
in wood but with a clutch of feathers
which functions as a rather tatty plum-
age of truly a well known Flemish
genre. What a truly dead duck she has
given us!
Laura's imagination is well filled with
exemplars from art history through the
ages and she makes excellent use of
them. Another example of her ingenuity
in reinterpreting themes out of the past
is a composition, rather like a frozen
'happening', titled Sailing Backwards.
Peter Bruegel the Elder would have
chuckled, with approval, I think, at this
20th century reinterpretation of his
Ship of Fools.

1. Art in the Seventies; Edward Lucie-
Smith, Phardin (1980) E.L.C., Jamaican
by birth,is currently one of the most
prolific and authoritative writers on art
and design in industry.
2. Rebel Woman; Lucille Mathurin, Insti-
tute of Jamaica, 1975.
3. "Queen in the House of My Shadow"
Jamaica Journal, 16: 3 p. 56.
4. Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale.
5. Jamaica Journal, 18: 1, p.42.
6. Jamaica Journal, 16:1 p. 44.

GLORIA ESCOFFERY, O.D., is an artist,
poet, journalist and head of the English
Department at Browns Town Community

By Jimmy Carnegie

David Simon, Railton Blues, London: Bogle-
L'Ouverture, 1983, pp. 188.
Jeanne Wilson, No Medicine for Murder,
Kingston : Kingston Publishers (Blue Marlin
Series), 1983, pp. 227.
Anthony Winkler, The Painted Canoe,
Kingston: Kingston Publishers (Blue Merlin
Series). 1983, pp. 296.

ne of the ironies attached to
the successful growth of a West
Indian literature over the last
generation or more has been that
several of the English publishers who
helped to nurture that vigorous child,
promptly proceeded to abandon it or
many of its practitioners as soon as, or
not long after, signs of real maturity
were shown. There were many reasons
why this happened, not the least of
which was the discovery of an equally
vibrant African literature in the English
language and the harsh economic fact,
as put by one British publisher's repre-
sentative to the reviewer, that Nigeria
alone has a population of over 30 million,
some six to seven times the total pop-
ulation of the English-speaking Carib-
bean. The result has been that the
Naipauls, Harrises, Selvons, and Hearnes
and also the Walcotts and Brathwaites,
can still find leading English publishers,
but not so readily again, those who
would wish to follow in their footsteps.
It is also fair to add, in terms of the
novelist if not the poets, that the
market for all fiction in England has
declined due perhaps to the pervasive
spread of television.
In light of the above, the work of
local publishers in the West Indies and
West Indian publishers in England is
especially commendable. Among the
leaders and the pioneers in both areas
have been Bogle-L'Ouverture of London
and Kingston Publishers, these houses
being responsible for the three titles
under review here.
Railton Blues, from Bogle L'O~ver-
ture, would appear to be a first pub-
lished novel by a very young English-
man of West Indian descent, David
Simon. The author's age is deduced
from the picture on the dust jacket, the
fact that at the time of going to press he
was completing his bachelor's degree
(thus putting him at no more than 22
or 23) and, unfortunately, the book
itself, the title of which, its dedication
as well as its theme, are all musically
inspired, most especially by the words
and music of the late Bob Marley.

Having taken such a strong model
however, the book is rather disappoint-
ing, being neither strong as a structural
creation nor as an improvisation and
lacking in both lyricism and fire. The
theme is built around one family and
their friends and acquaintances, and the
efforts of the matriarch, Winnie, to or-
ganize a street party or street blues in
Railton, a real area in Brixton shifted
somewhat geographically by the author.

Mr. Simon is in fact in the general
territory explored by Samuel Selvon as
far back as a generation ago in Lonely
Londoners, one of the funniest books in
the language, of that generation. Winnie
could be a cousin of Brackley's (a hero
of some of Selvon's other works) in
harder times with her 'born and grow'
London children and her worthless
husband. The personalities are how-
ever nowhere near as strong nor any-
where near as amusing. The two funniest
sections in fact involve the use of
moderate obscenities one in describing
a baby, and the other a put-down of
some overly self-assured youths. The
orthography, the varieties of dialect, or
even the use of standard English also
leave one confused. One character is
known as the Afrikan. Winnie, although
supposedly Jamaican, talks Eastern
Caribbean and we have phrases like 'go
dere' for 'go dey'. We also hear of the
English 'paraffin' rather than the Jam-
aican kerosene one might have expect-
ed. The book is supposed also to be
satire, but one leading character pre-
sumably created for the purpose, the
academic, Dr. Williams, is a totally un-
real caricature. In summary, Railton
Blues is both immature and premature.

No Medicine for Murder is not new,
nor is its author Jeanne Wilson. It was
first published in 1967 by the'romantic'
publishers Ward Lock and has now been
re-issued by Kingston Publishers in its
Blue Marlin Series. Mrs. Wilson is prob-
ably the most successful Jamaican
author on a variety of fronts, not least
of all in popular paperback reproduction
by major British publishers, so that the


exercise by Kingston Publishers repre-
sents something of a switch. Mrs. Wilson
has, however, brought the book textual-
ly up to date by mentioning M16s,
colour TVs and Isuzu Piazzas. The
novel itself, however does not create
much of a different reaction after almost
20 years. The writing is competent if a bit
lush in parts some of the melodrama
is perhaps deliberate but the moral
thrust of the plot is such that the denoue-
ment comes as no real surprise. Mrs.
Wilson's ear sometimes lets her down
too, just like young Mr. Simon's, thus
she has a Jamaican police sergeant speak-
ing about a 'foxy lady' in reference to
a sexy domestic helper and also refers
somewhat strangely to a 'West Kingston
patois'l No Medicine for Murder is in
fact not one of her stronger efforts.
There is little that is weak about
The Painted Canoe by Anthony Winkler,
a Jamaican who now lives in Atlanta,
but taught at Moneague Teacher's
College some years ago a period of
time during which he wrote this book.
The blurb bravely conjures up a compari-
son with Hemingway's The Old Man and
the Sea but the books are not really
similar; Hemingway being concerned
very largely with meditation, allegory
and sport while Winkler has given us an
excellent Jamaican 'country' novel. The
pioneering modern Jamaican novel New
Dayby Vic Reid was of course a 'country'
novel of sorts, but, strangely enough we
have not had too many of them over the
years, an unusual and very fine exception
being Erna Brodber's Jane and Louisa
Will Soon Come Home a couple of years
Winkler has written a lively funny
book although he skirts dangerously
close to cliche at times. He takes as
basic the 'ugly' concept in our culture
which pervades at several levels (the re-
viewer was for example in a very good
history class at the UWI which included
a bright Trinidadian gentleman who
made the classic remark that 'you can't
be stupid, black, ugly and unlucky' to
which an equally sharp gentleman

responded 'no one ever said you were
stupid'), and makes his hero of Zacariah
an ignorant fisherman. The book is full
of good things and scenes and types; the
parson, the policeman, the doctor, the
fishwife, rural bars. Personalization is
also very strong with the sea, the fish,
the weather and sex being dealt with
most earthily including as far as the
reviewer knows the first literary mention
of a certain old Jamaican term for the
male organ.
With all these things however, the
book suffers from the common fault
noted by a perceptive friend of many
Jamaican and West Indian novels in that
it ends weakly, as if the author were
tired of it. Notwithstanding this, how-
ever, The Painted Canoe is well worth a
read; the subject, the milieu, and the
placing giving it something of a niche in
our literature whatever the permanence
of the characterization. It is a very Jam-
aican book and is a good example of the
case for supporting our local publishers
if such a case does need to be made. It
is also very entertaining thus having
both critical and popular values. Let us
hope that there will be more from Wink-
ler's pen.

JIMMY CARNEGIE is the author of Wages
Paid, winner of the Case de las Americas award
for fiction in 1976.

By Cioria Lyn

Alfred H. Mendes, Black Fauns, 1935; London:
New Beacon Books, Ltd., 1984.

A Ifred H. Mendes was a member
of a group of writers, spoken
of as 'the Beacon group' be-
cause of their contributions to the Trini-
dad magazine The Beacon (1931-1933).
These writers distinguished themselves
by concentrating on West Indian themes,
characters and setting in their published
works. There seems to be common agree-

ment with Kenneth Ramchand's view
that with the emergence of these works
in the 1930s 'we can see the decisive
establishment of social realism in the
West Indian novel'. Realism combined
with a growing social and political aware-
ness resulted in fiction such as Mendes's
Black Fauns (1935), C.L.R. James's
Minty Alley (1936) and Roger Mais's
The Hills were Joyful Together (1953).
These novels are good examples of the
realistic literature of the barrack-yard.
Black Fauns, written and published
after Mendes's first novel Pitch Lake
(1934), concentrates on the struggles
of the people 'down below', to use Lam-
ming's phrase. Mendes presents vivid
details of a human society which has
constructed itself in its own closed en-
vironment with its own social, economic,
moral codes and assumptions. In fact,
one could say that this society has
created a system of survival strategies
divorced from the external world
which surrounds it. The inhabitants of
the yard in Black Fauns wash clothes
for a living. It is through selected epi-
sodes, through their conversations in
dialect, action and the narrating point
of view that the reader is able to see the
characters grappling with the grim facts
of their lives and they are as grim as
ever. The recognition that the barrack-
yard functions as both symbol and set-
ting, leads the reader to accept the sober
logic and values of this enclosed com-
munity. One would expect the corrup-
tion of principle through expediency for
the most part in the yard but there is
another side to the ruthlessness and
determination to survive.
The code of the yard does not only
reflect a strict morality but has inherent
in it necessary principles for the sur-
vival of the members of the yard as a
community. The Black Fauns: Ma
Christine, Miriam, Ethelrida, Christo-
phine, Martha, Estelle and Mamitz
are judged as good or bad characters
according to the degree by which they
conform to the code of behaviour in
the yard. Characters and episodes are

presented in most cases without judge-
ment or comment and the reader is left
to respond without the intrusion of a
persuasive authorial voice. The conflict
in the novel reaches out to issues of
class, race and colour. Miriam is the
most authoritative figure; she is the only
one who is able to read and she is politi-
cally and socially more aware than the
others. The story is well written. The
characters simply act out what they
are. They are shown as conditioned
at every point by their circumscribed
lives, but they are nevertheless self-
determined and chance is not allowed
to dominate the novel or dictate its
resolution. The judgement made by
the barrack-yarders are made within
thecode-of ethics that the yard imposes
on itself.
The yard insists on kindness and
sympathy as virtues. The qualities of
loyalty, sacrifice and responsibility are
exemplified in the episodes which
concern Miriam. The comprehensive-
ness of the demands of the code in the
yard is striking. The dignity and worth
of truth are emphasized, 'fair is fair
and right is right', and in the interest
of peace in the yard, Miriam says, 'if
you ain't have no oil to t'row 'pon
rough water .. then don't say nothing'.
Miriam's 'restraint and decorum' add
to her stature in the yard and she is irri-
tated at Snakey's 'vulgar attempt to im-
press those around him' with his ridi-
culous posturing. She articulates the
philosophical basis of the novel thus:
The earth get sun an' the earth get rain.
We too put here to laugh an' to cry. We
can't help that. Before we was born.
that was happening: now we living it
happening too, an' when we dead and
gone the same t'ing going to happen.
Sun an rain, laugh an' cry we can't
help that.
The cycle of nature reflects the cycle of
human nature: life and death, joy and
pain, the corruptibility and mutability
of the flux of human existence are to
be accepted with equanimity. On
another plane the struggle is between
the men and women for dominance but

in the context of the yard no one is
expected to submit tamely as a slave
would to the figure of a 'master'.
According to the logic of the yard there
must be a rejection of middle-class
values or whatever is perceived to be
appropriate only to white people. The
stress is on what is 'natural' to the
members of this community; 'our sort
of life' excludes marriage which is 'made
for white people' and the barrack-
yarders do not have to be 'respectable'
to be good. To love a man is to take him
and live with him. When the arrange-
ment no longer works, a change is the
natural and sensible outcome. The
acceptance of this phenomenon of yard
life is total, 'nobody say a word about
it'. Of course Lamming is making the
same point in the inset tales with Jon
and Bambi in In the Castle of my Skin.

Mendes shows how clearly he has
grasped the essential facts of yard life.
There is no attempt to romanticize the
lives of the women. Moments of fierce
rivalry, hatred, malice and ruthless-
ness intermingle with moments of
tenderness, understanding and support
in times of crises. The stench of the
yard, the pitiful lodgings, remind the
reader of the presence of disease, crime
and violence. The role of Snakey as
catalyst, and the stolen money as a
neutral agent, allow the author to de-
fine the weaknesses and the strengths
of the characters. However, the novel
shows that the barrack-yard is not an
island entire of itself. Institutions of the
outside world intrude and in the end
the yard community crumbles.
The book's faults which do not af-
fect its virtues may be summed up in
the remark that Black Fauns lacks the
complex and sophisticated methods of
later writers. For the most part the nar-
rating voice in standard English blends
smoothly with the dialect speech of the
women. Mendes has been commended
for the authentic rhythms in his relax-
ed use of dialect. His use of irony is
spare but effective. The value of Rhonda
Cobham's Introduction is self-evident;

she provides the general reader with a
historical and literary context for the
novel and compares the novels of the
1930s with the later works in the 1950s.
She finds that the distance between
author and subject brings about diffi-
culties in characterization and descrip-
tion, and she suggests that these diffi-
culties are due to the 'huge social gulf'
which separates Mendes with his af-
fluent Portuguese Creole background
from the Black Fauns of his novel.
This may very well be part of Mendes's
point. After all, Black Fauns is a novel
prepared to study an isolated com-
munity of people that the world exter-
nal to it views from a distance, and it is
arguable that it is a measure of Mendes's
achievement as a novelist that he suc-
ceeds in seducing society to mourn for
the death of its fauns.

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


Jamaica's rational cultural irstitution uwas
founded in 1879. Its main functions are to
foster and encourage tme development of
culture, science and history in the national
interest. Ii operates as a statutory body
under the Institute of Jamaica Act, 1978
and falls under [he portfolio of the Prime
The Institute's central decision-making
body is the Council which is appointed by
the Minister. The Council consists of indi-
viduals involved in various aspects of
Jamaica's cultural life appointed in their
own right, and representatives of malor
cultural organizations and institutions.
The Ir.sttute of Jamaica consists of a
central administration with a number of
divisions operating with varying degrees
or autonomy.

Chairman Hon. Hector Wynter, O.J.

We make



Insurance Protection through the
following types of polices:

The Insurance Company
of the West Indies Ltd.
KINGSTON: 2 St. Lucia Avenue,
Kingston 5, Tel: 92-69040-7
ICWI City Centre: 101 Harbour St.,
Kingston, Tel: 92-28415-8
MONTEGO BAY: 21 Market Street,
Tel: 952-0301
MAY PEN: 2 Fernleigh Avenue, P.O.
Box 421, Tel: 986-2598




Located next to the
ancient Pirate City of
Port Royal, Morgan's
Harbour is Kingston's
only beach resort hotel
and offers a veritable
ocean of varied pleasures.

"Morgan's Harbour-
Where The Beautiful
People Go"

Port Royal, Jamaica W. I.
Tel: 924-8464, 924-8465


Dr Ivan Parboosingh, O.B.E., (1905-
1984) served his country with distinction
in the field of medicine for over 50 years.
Born in Highgate, St Mary he was edu-
cated at Wolmer's Boy's School, Earl-
ham College, University of Pennsyl-
vania and the Irvington General Hospital
in New Jersey. The island's first consult-
ant gyneocologist, he was also a medical
director of Operation Friendship and in
1954 the president of the local branch
of the British Medical Association. Dr
Parboosingh was honoured in 1974 foi
his professional integrity and dedication.
Astley Clerk (1868-1944) was a noted
musician of the early 1900s and pro-
prietor of 'Cowen's Music Rooms' in
Kingston. He was especially interested
in Jamaican folk music and carried out
extensive research on the subject dating
back to the Arawaks: his findings were
published under the title The Music and
Musical Instruments of Jamaica [see
extract "Arawak Musical Instruments"
in Jamaica Journal 11: 3 and 4]. Mr
Clerk was awarded the Institute of
Jamaica's silver Musgrave Medal in 1936
for his work in the fields of music and
Jane Reid is the wife of the British
High Commissioner and lives in Trafalgar
House. A graduate in English, she has
taught in London comprehensive schools
and at the University of Malawi and
published a book and several articles on
literature, especially African literature,
in education.
Thomas H. Farr is the entomologist
attached to the Institute of Jamaica,
Natural History Division. He has publish-
ed a number of monographs and articles,
particularly on insects. Dr Farr was
awarded the Institute's silver Musgrave
Medal in 1984 for his work in the field
of entomology. His "Land Animals of
Jamaica: Origins and Endemism" ap-
peared in Jamaica Journal 17: 1.
Mark Griffith is a Ph.D. student in the
Department of Geography, University
of the West Indies, Mona.
Mervyn Morris is a senior lecturer in
the Department of English, University
of the West Indies, Mona, and a well
known poet. His most recent publi-
cation is Shadow Boxing (1979). Mr.
Morris is a regular contributor to
Jamaica Journal.

The Dome, a landmark of the city of Montego Bay,
was built in 1837 over the head of the creek which
for over 200 years provided the only reliable source
of fresh water for the residents. It is a two-storeyed,
hexagonal, brick structure featuring crenellated
windows in the lower floor. Louvred windows are
in the upper storey where an official called the
keeper of the creek used to live. This floor is
reached via an external stairway which curves
upwards around three sides of the building.
The Dome, as the legend goes, was built over the
spot where more than 300 years ago during the
Spanish occupation two little girls while hunting
crabs lifted a stone to hear the sound of water
running underground. The stream was named Rio
Camarones the river of crabs and served the
town until 1894 when piped water was installed.
It was also claimed that the creek had curative
powers, healing all who drank its water of whatever
malady afflicted them.
The Dome, one of Montego Bay's tourist attractions,
was restored in 1976 at a cost of $10,000 through
the cooperative effort of the St. James Parish
Council, the Jamaica Tourist Board, the Montego
Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Jamaica
National Trust Commission.
Photos show the dome c 1920 (by Wells Elliot, top), and more recently (right).

The Dome

Montego Bay

6. iMxmx ftLj



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