Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Back Cover

Title: Jamaica journal
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090030/00060
 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 1988
Frequency: semiannual
Subject: Periodicals -- Jamaica   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Jamaica
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with Dec. 1967 issue.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00090030
Volume ID: VID00060
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
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Full Text

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i i 0.



Counterstamped Pieces of Eight
The coin mentioned most frequently in the literature on Jamaica in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is the
silver piece of eight. Distributed throughout the Spanish empire, pieces of eight sometimes called pesos, became
common currency in the Caribbean. Each one was equal in value to eight Spanish silver reales or a dollar.
For a short time in the mid-eighteenth century, this Spanish coin was designated legal tender in Jamaica and so
became the first distinctively local currency.
The Jamaica House of Assembly had repeatedly made unsuccessful applications to the British government for
the establishment of a mint in Jamaica to produce currency for the island. Finally, the House decided to take
matters into its own hands. An Act was passed in 1758 to make a limited quantity of Spanish milled coins, i.e.
pieces of eight, legal tender. They were to be known as dollars and the value was set at six shillings and eight pence
each, making three dollars to the pound sterling. It was proposed that 100,000 worth of these dollars should be
brought into circulation. The pieces of eight were converted for Jamaican use by being counterstamped across the
Spanish coat of arms with a circle containing the motto Floreat GR GR standing for Georgius Rex King George
the Second.
This bid for an independent coinage was shortlived, however. By 1759, only 12,000 worth of pieces of eight had
been counterstamped, and at that point the British authorities repealed the Act, thus removing legal status from the
coins. The Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica, Henry Moore, was censured for exceeding his powers in approving the
More than a century passed before Jamaica once again enjoyed the privilege of having her own local currency. In
1869, the Jamaican penny half-penny piece, popularly known as the quattie, was struck.

With acknowledgements to the Bank of Jamaica, Coin Collection.

Treasures of Jamaican Heritage

Jamaica Journal is published on
behalf of the Institute of Jamaica
12-16 East Street, Kingston, Jamaica.
by Institute of Jamaica Publications
All correspondence should be
addressed to:
IOJ Publications Ltd.
2A Suthermere Road, Kingston 10,
Telephone: (809) 92-94785/6
Olive Senior
Assistant Editor
Leeta Hearne
Diane Browne
Sales Representative
Jackie Foster

Support Services
Faith Myers Secretarial
Eton Anderson Accounting
Design and Production
Camille Parchment
Patsi 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$60 for 4 issues (in
Jamaica only); U.K.: Individuals 10,
Institutions 15. All other countries:
Individuals U.S.$20, Institutions U.S.
$25. Single copies J$17 (Jamaica only);
U.K. 3; Other countries U.S.$7
All sent second class airmail.
We accept UNESCO Coupons.

Advertising: Rates sent on request.
Index: Articles appearing in Jamaica
Journal are abstracted and indexed
in Historical Abstracts, America:
History, and Life, and Hispanic
American Periodicals Index (HAPI).
Vol.21 No.2 Copyright @ 1988
by Institute of Jamaica Publications
Limited. Cover or contents may not
be reproduced in whole or in part
without written permission.

Vol. 21 No. 2

May July 1988

History and Life
20 Jamaican Land Surveying Before the
Survey Department
Sby B.W.Higman

53 The Impact of Ganja Cultivation on Bat
Populations In Jamaica
by Wendy Lee

56 Some Aspects of Jamaica's Butterflies
and Moths
by M.J.C.Barnes

A The Arts
S2 The Rainbow Valley: The Life and Work of
Brother Everald Brown
by Veerle Poupeye-Rammelaere

16 The Politics of 'Interim'
by Rupert Lewis

50 Derek Walcott on West Indian Literature
and Theatre. An Interview
by Edward Baugh

61 Poems
A Jamaican Childhood
by Ralph Thompson
Caribbean Journey
by Lasana M. Sekou

Regular Features
29 Art: Insight: The Match that Lights the Fuse
by Gloria Escoffery

4 1 Music: The JAMI Awards
by Pamela O'Gorman

47 Books and Writers
Reviews: Edward Cox's Free Coloreds in the
Slave Societies of St Kitts and Grenada 1763-1833
by Mavis C. Campbell

Andreas Oberli
COVER: Foremost intuitive artist Brother Everald Brown gains creative
and spiritual sustenance from his immediate environment. Story begins
on p.2

Briefly Noted

52 Contributors



One of the four Valley of the Rainbow panels
Gabriel (? 1960) Private collection.

The Imprints of Time' images hidden in the rocks surrounding Brother Brown's
house which he has accentuated with paint.


0 4


Ethiopian Apple (19 70). National Gallery Collection.

Tree of Jesse (c.1973). Private Collection. On
extended loan to the National Gallery.

The Rainbow Valley

The Life and Work of

Brother Everald Brown

By Veerle Poupeye-Rammelaere

The recent exhibition Fifteen In-
tuitives at the National Gallery
gave us a good opportunity to assess
where intuitive Jamaican art stands to-
day. There were not only exciting new-
comers, like Leonard Daley and Errol
McKenzie; it also became clear that the
recent work of one of the more under-
rated intuitive masters, Everald Brown,
still belongs to the best of what Ja-
maican art has to offer.
'Brother' Brown has received local
and international acclaim and his work
can be seen in the permanent collections
of the National Gallery of Jamaica and
the Museum of Modern Art of Latin
America in Washington, while he is men-
tioned in several major publications on
intuitive art.1 In Jamaica, however, he
has never known the popularity the
only other contemporary intuitive of
comparable stature, Kapo (Mallica Rey-
nolds) enjoys. The hermetic symbolism
and complex metamorphic imagery of
Brother Brown's work make it less
readily accessible than Kapo's work,
which, with its apparent simplicity,
appeals even to the viewer uninitiated
into its deeper meaning. In addition,
Kapo is a flamboyant, highly visible
public personality, while hardly any-
one except for his admirers would re-

The 'mystical antenna' of Meditation Heights,
Brother Brown's private sanctuary.

cognize Brother Brown who lives in a
remote district, Murray Mountain, in
the hills of St Ann. Brother Brown's
arrival on the Jamaican art scene is also

fairly recent as it is less than twenty
years ago that he started exhibiting.
Within this relatively short period of
time, however, he has enriched the
Jamaican art movement with several
A few days before I visited the ar-
tist to interview him for this article, he
had just celebrated his seventieth birth-
day, enjoying fairly good health and
undiminished creative powers. It there-
fore seems appropriate to take a more
detailed look at the under-documented
life and work of this fascinating artist.
Early Years
Everald Brown was born 7 November
1917 in Mado District, St Ann, the fifth
of seven children and the only son of
Robert and Nelly Brown.2 His mother
was a devout Baptist and her profound
religiousness one of Everald Brown's
most vivid childhood memories has
undoubtedly contributed to the inten-
sity of his own spiritual life. His father,
also born in St Ann, was a man of many
occupations (he kept bees, among other
things) and was highly regarded in his
community for his knowledge of bush
medicine. But up to his death in 1937,
he refused to pass on the carefully guard-
ed secrets of his knowledge to his eager-
ly enquiring son.

Brother E d L
Brother Everald Brown at work (1987).

Everald Brown in his church (1970s) with his musical instruments and
paintings (from the Browns'photo-album).

Brother Brown shares the spiritual life with his wife of over forty years, Jenny, shown in a seven-
ties photo playing the drum. (From the Browns' photo-album).

When Everald Brown was two years
old, his family moved to Sandy River,
close to Kellits, Clarendon, his mother's
parish. There he attended the Stacey-
ville Primary School from age seven to
He showed himself to be a creative
student who particularly enjoyed enter-
taining people and he was actively in-
volved in the organization of school
events. He wrote poems, wrote and per-
formed comic sketches and made his
own musical instruments, usually from
bamboo, for this purpose. He also start-
ed to carve and when he was in sixth
standard, he won a prize for one of his
carvings at the 4-H Club at Kellits.
His talent with woodwork led him to
the carpenter's trade, a skill which he
acquired by himself and which enabled
him to make a living. In 1946, he mar-
ried Jenny Gray (with whom he has
ten children). The year following his
marriage he moved to Kingston and
lived there until 1973. He was employed
as a carpenter by several contractors in
Kingston and worked on major con-
struction sites, including the National
Before settling down on Spanish
Town Road, near to the Examination
Depot, where he lived for about fifteen
years, Brother Brown lived at several
other addresses in West Kingston,
where inevitably he became aware of
Rastafarianism, then in its formative
years. What first attracted him to the
cult, was the genuineness he felt under-
neath the aggressive stance the brethren
took on at the time. He vividly remem-
bers Joseph Hibbert, one of the pioneers
of the movement.
Brother Brown speaks in plain words
when talking about his early years in St
Ann and Clarendon. When he recounts
the period of his initiation into the
Rastafarian doctrine, he starts using a
sometimes hard to follow metaphoric-
al language, and explains the main events
in his life in terms of visions and reve-
lations like Pukkumina practitioners
he calls them 'travels' [Seaga 1982 p. 9]
- which he and his wife, who is actively
involved in his spiritual life, experi-
enced. His final conversion to Rasta-
farianism took place after a series of
apocalyptic visions, which he describes
today in great detail, in which the divine
nature of Haile Selassie was revealed to
During those early years the Rasta-
farians were a thorn in the flesh of the

Jamaican Establishment and the breth-
ren suffered continuous harassment
from the police and the authorities. The
hostility towards the Rastafarians was
reinforced by the defiant behaviour of
many brethren who wore long, unkempt
hair and beards, overtly used ganja and
directed abusive language at the authori-
ties, whom they called 'Babylon'. The
local press sensationalized incidents like
the raids on and the destruction of
Leonard Howell's Pinnacle commune in
1943, the Claudius Henry affair in 1959
and the 'Holy Thursday Massacre' in St
James in 1963. All these in reality ra-
ther marginal incidents gave the Rasta-
farians a violent, anti-Jamaican repu-
tation [Barrett 1977 pp 80-102].
Brother Brown, however, never ex-
perienced any major problems with the
authorities, probably because of his own
peaceful and tolerant nature, and be-
cause he never wore locks nor smoked
ganja. This does not mean that Brother
Brown's convictions are all unorthodox
when compared to mainstream Rasta-
farianism. For Brother Brown, Haile
Selassie is the living Messiah, Christ
reincarnate. He abhors superstition and
obeah, and emphasizes that his is a posi-
tive, constructive faith, centred around
life, not death. He believes in the divine
nature of the inner self and prefers
things 'natural', a simple lifestyle, close
to nature. For Brother Brown, however,
Africa is a mystical concept and ideas
like militant race consciousness and ac-
tual repatriation do not feature in his per-
sonal philosophy. Brother Brown wears
a beard but cuts his hair, simply be-
cause he does not like locks. When con-
fronted by locksmen, he responded with
what Joseph Owens referred to as 'argu-
ment by pictures' [Owens 1976 p.94],
and showed photographs to demonstrate
that even the Emperor cut his hair. He
had some bad experiences with ganja
and decided that the 'wisdom weed' was
not for him. Although he forbids smok-
ing in his house, he does not object to
ganja as such, but strongly condemns
the ganja trade, which he feels has be-
trayed true Rastafarianism the way Jud-
as betrayed Christ.
Rastafarianism is a flexible, non-
dogmatic doctrine, which allows for per-
sonal interpretation, so the unortho-
doxy of some of Brother Brown's be-
liefs, even the occasional intrusions
from Afro-Christian cults like Puk-
kumina which can be detected in his
visionary symbology, are not that un-
usual [see Barrett 1977 pp. 218-27].

The artist and his family in the mid-seventies.
(From the Browns' photo-album). Several of
the children are gifted at both art and music.

For Brother Brown, Rastafarianism is
essentially a religious experience, some-
thing 'churchical' rather than 'state-
ical' and he abhors any form of the poli-
tical involvement which he feels is
responsible for the disintegration of the
community spirit which he used to
know when he first lived in West King-
From the earliest years of the move-
ment, many brethren had shown a
special interest in the Ethiopian Ortho-
dox Church, one of the oldest Christian
churches in the world and indigenous to
Ethiopia, the African Zion. Several of
the more religious brethren had adopted
elements of the Ethiopian Orthodox
faith and rituals in their own religious
practices and expressed the desire to
have a mission of the church estab-
lished in Jamaica, which would pro-
vide an ecclesiastical framework for the
then still very disparate Rastafarian
movement ibidd. p.201]. Brother Brown
belonged to that group. This trend was
acknowledged by the now famous
UCWI report on the Rastafarian move-
ment [Smith et al. 1960], which in-
cluded in its recommendations to the
Jamaican government that the Ethio-
pian Orthodox Church should be in-
vited to the country.

Following a vision of his wife, Bro-
ther Brown and his family moved to
Spanish Town Road, where he built a
house and a small church. Brother
Brown thus became the spiritual lead-
er of a small church community of some
twenty to thirty people, which he
named 'The Assembly of the Living'.
The pageantry of the Ethiopian Or-
thodox Church appealed to Brother
Brown and became a stimulus for the
development of his art. He not only or-
ganized church services and events, with
music, drumming and chanting, but also
carved ceremonial objects, including
the ark of the church, a conventional
accessory of major Ethiopian churches,
inspired by the Ark of the Covenant
[Barrett p.205]. Brother Brown, like
many other Rastafarians, adopted the
prayer stick of the Ethiopian priest, the
Makutaria ibidd. pp. 205 and 209]. His
church was adorned with paintings, in-
spired by a vision which he calls 'The
Valley of the Rainbow' (1960 ?). The
paintings showed the archangels Ra-
phael, Michael, Uriel and Gabriel, lead-
ing a swarm of minuscule figures carry-
ing flags in the Rastafarian colours to
the 'Assembly of the Living'. Brother
Brown's church attracted many visi-
tors: other brethren, as well as non-
Rastafarians, Jamaicans and foreign-
ers, who were fascinated by the art-
work they discovered there.
Stimulated by his success, Brother
Brown started painting and sculpting
seriously in the late sixties. It is import-
ant to realize how closely his artistic
and spiritual life are connected: the
works he started exhibiting were no
longer made for his church, but most
'designs', as he calls his imagery, are
given to him in visions and are a part of
his spiritual experience. His motives
were not materialistic and even today
one feels that the money he earns with
his still rather modestly priced works is
welcome but secondary to the reali-
zation of a strong inner urge.
Brother Brown's creative drive be-
came a source of inspiration within his
environment. Several of his child-
ren took up art, while he also taught
painting to members of his church. His
most important follower was his son
Clinton Brown, born in 1954, who re-
mained his father's closest collabora-
tor until the late seventies. In 1969,
Everald and Clinton Brown had their
first exhibition as participators in a group
show at the Creative Arts Centre at

The Messenger (1983). Wallace Campbell Collection.

Four People Instrument (1986). Collection of the artist.

On 'Meditation Heights' (1988).

One Foundation (19 74). Firstplace winner, Self-Taught Artists' Exhibition of 1974. Bank of Jamaica Collection.

Lion Rider (c. 1972). Burnett Webster's Collection.

The Golden Hand (c. 1974). National Gallery Collection.

Career Highlights
Brother Brown became a regular ex-
hibitor (mostly with his son Clinton), in
Jamaica and abroad and received sever-
al awards. In 1970, only one year after
his first exhibition, Brother Brown was
awarded a bronze Musgrave Medal,
which was in 1974 followed by a silver
Musgrave Medal. In 1971, his Reaping
Time won the prize for the best paint-
ing in the Self-Taught Artists' Exhibition,
while in 1974 he won the first prize at
the Institute of Jamaica for One Foun-
dation. In 1978, he was awarded the
National Gallery Artist Fellowship, joint-
ly with Milton George.3
One of Brother Brown's earliest local
admirers and supporters was Senator
Jeanette Grant-Woodham, while on an
international level he found a champion
in Jose Gomez-Sicre who used his works
to represent Jamaica in several major
exhibitions organized by the OAS. A
painting, Victory Dance (1976), rela-
ted in iconography to 'The Rainbow
Valley', and a sculpture, Totem, were ac-
quired for the permanent collection of
the Museum of Modern Art of Latin
The late sixties to seventies was a
period of exceptional enthusiasm and
dynamism in Jamaican art and culture


and the growing acceptance of Rasta-
farianism as a creative force in society
certainly contributed to Brother Brown's
success. But it is undoubtedly the ex-
traordinary visionary quality of even his
earliest works think of Niabingi Holy
(1969), The Right Hand of God (1970)
and Ethiopian Apple (1970) that is
responsible for his meteoric ascent.

Personal Disappointments
From an artistic point of view, the
late sixties and early seventies were
glorious years for Brother Brown. In
his personal and religious life, how-
ever, he met several disappointments.
When the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
was finally officially established in Ja-
maican in 1970, the expectations of the
brethren were very high. Controversy
arose almost immediately, centred
around doctrinal matters, the most im-
portant being the fact that the church
had little to say on the divinity of Haile
Selassie. Many Rastafarians rejected or
only partly accepted the doctrines of the
Ethiopian Orthodox faith [Barrett 1977
pp 206-9]. Brother Brown, like many of
the more religious brethren, sought
affiliation with the church and was will-
ing to accept its dogmas, which he did
not regard as irreconcilable with the
major points of his own beliefs, an

ambiguity quite typical of the syncre-
tism of his personal philosophy. Brother
Brown and his family became mem-
bers of the Ethiopian Church and he
now called himself 'Wolde Dawit', an
Ethiopian baptismal name which means
'Son of David'.4
Brother Brown hoped one day to be
allowed to run his own mission and be
officially ordained as a priest of the
church. The leadership of the Ethio-
pian Orthodox Church, however, was
not prepared to give people like Brother
Brown, who had pioneered as self-
styled, unordained priests of the faith
in Jamaica, a place among their offi-
cial ranks.
Move to Murray Mountain
By the early seventies the atmosphere
in West Kingston had changed drama-
tically: it had become one of the most
politicized zones of the capital. Brother
Brown, disappointed and tired of the
pressure of city life, decided to move
back to the country with his family.
Coincidence, more than anything else,
brought him to Murray Mountain, near
to the place of his birth. Brother Brown
describes his life in the country as hum-
ble, although Murray Mountain is ob-
viously a more inspiring setting for a
mystic like him. Murray Mountain is

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located in the centre of the island, near
to Nine Miles, the resting place of Bob
Marley. The landscape is dominated
by limestone formations, with their
irregular surfaces and steep slopes. The
region is cool and damp, the vegetation
lush, and sudden localized showers
followed by the most spectacular rain-
bows are common. It is a strange land:
rivers suddenly disappear underground
and continue their course in the labryin-
thian cave structures underneath the
surface. Sometimes water suddenly starts
to rise from a sinkhole, days or even
weeks after heavy rains. The roads are
few and narrow, but in a fairly good
condition buses and motorcars use
them only a few times a day, if at all -
and they are always covered with red
mud. At first the region appears to be
sparsely populated, but one soon finds
out how true Brother Brown's Bush
Have Ears can be.
Brother Brown's self-built house is
perched against a limestone hill. From
the top of this hill, which he calls 'Medi-
tation Heights', he has a panoramic view
of the region. Meditation Heights is Bro-
ther Brown's private sanctuary from
which he draws his creative energy. To
visitors he will point out images hidden
in the rocks, the 'imprints of time' as he
calls them: a Madonna and Child, an
Indian Chief, a dove, a lion, a sheep.
Some images are accentuated with
paint. On top of the hill, he has built a
slender wooden tower, a 'mystical an-
tenna' not unlike pinnacles on a Gothic
cathedral, but also resembling the wood-
en pole in a balmyard. Several other
continuously changing wooden 'assem-
blages' can be seen in his yard. They all
have a very elaborate symbolic meaning.
No wonder some of his neighbours re-
gard him with respectful suspicion.
Brother Brown also acts as the local for-
tune teller and 'reads' tree-leaves for
those who come and ask.5
Brother Brown lives in deep, mystical
communion with his environment and
his art reflects this continuous inspir-
ation. The early years in Murray Moun-
tain were undoubtedly the most fertile
of his life and the collaboration with
Clinton, then in his early twenties, be-
came very intense. It was during this
period that he produced masterpieces
like One Foundation (1974) and the
very fine Bush Have Ears (1976). It is
also in the early seventies that the music-
al instruments, the drums, the one-
string bass, the dove harps and the star
banjoes, first appear. Brother Brown

and his family use these highly decora-
tive, symbolic instruments for their
social get-togethers. During those years
Brother Brown was still actively involv-
ed in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
and hoped to establish a mission in
Murray Mountain. In more recent years
he has given up on that ambition and he
has lost interest in church-matters in
favour of his art.
But life still had a 'test', as he calls it,
waiting for Brother Brown: the late
seventies were to be the most trauma-
tic years of his life. Today he still finds it
difficult to recount the hardships he ex-
perienced: the worries resulting from
living in a half-finished house, the finan-
cial problems the National Gallery
Fellowship provided some temporary re-
lief but above all, the major personal
crisis his son Clinton went through and
the disintegration of the close artistic
and familial ties between father and son.
Clinton virtually disappeared as an ar-
tist, showing up only occasionally since
then with a new work.
Almost ten years have passed since
this crisis. Brother Brown is an elderly
man now, but artistically and spiritually
as active as before. He still leads a hum-
ble and isolated life, although with the
help of new commercial galleries with a
special emphasis on intuitive art, like
Harmony Hall in Ocho Rios, along with
his local patrons of many years, he has
enough sales to enjoy a fairly steady in-
come. Most of his children have left
home. Some of them have taken up art
more recently, like Joseph, who start-
ed carving last year and Sandra, who
paints on fabric.
The problems some of his children
experience in life, as well as the recent
surge of criminality in the region, have
made him acutely aware of the difficul-
ties young people face in Jamaica today.
He feels that art, cultural and spiritual
involvement, could provide the youth
of today with a greater sense of pur-
Brother Brown now lives entirely for
his art. The walls of his small house are
covered with his paintings, some dating
back as far as the mid sixties. Most of
his attention goes to painting now; he
very seldom carves, although he still
constructs musical instruments like the
amazing Four People Instrument
(1986). His religious involvement has
become defocused. Only occasionally
does he host Rastafarian events, like a
celebration last August for the Marcus

Garvey Centenary. He still lives and pre-
sents himself as a Rastafarian, although
he now also occasionally visits churches
of other denominations: his personal
spiritual experiences are obviously more
important to him than denominational
dogmas. He is quite serious when he
states that art is his true religion and
that nothing, not even a lack of art ma-
terials, could stop him from producing
art. But somehow the drive of the seven-
ties has disappeared and one feels a cer-
tain amount of routinization has set in,
although some of the works he has pro-
duced recently, like the 'Imprints of
Time' series (early eighties),Mysteries
of the Stones (1984) and Evercoming
King (1987), belong to the best he ever

Major Early Works
Discussing Brother Brown's work is a
somewhat intimidating task, as his
iconography especially is of an unusual-
ly intricate and personal nature. His
background could easily lead to a classi-
fication of his work as Rastafarian art.
And indeed, Brother Brown, at least in
his earlier works, uses conventional
Rastafarian symbols, like the colours,
the Lion of Judah, the Star of David
and the likeness of the Emperor, while
his work in general illustrates his con-
victions. His work, however, is too in-
dividualistic to be classified under any
heading.6 It totally lacks the militant
stance of, for instance, the work of
Ras Daniel Heartman. The conventional
Rasta symbols are enriched with his per-
sonal interpretation, while most of the
imagery in his work is drawn from his
spiritual 'travels'. His highly personal
imagery often has archetypical quali-
ties, which make many of his works
ideal illustrations for Jungian text-
books. It is of interest to note that some
of the symbols he frequently uses, such
as the dove, his symbol for spiritual
strength, the keys, the archangels and
the playing cards imagery, suggest a
possible Revivalist influence, which
illustrates the syncretism of his con-
victions.7 The essentially symbolic, em-
blematic character of Brother Brown's
work only rarely does he use narra-
tive elements is common in Rasta-
farian art. The visionary power of his
imagery, however, is only equalled in
the work of Albert Artwell and Leon-
ard Daley, two other Rastafarian
During the early years of his artis-
tic career, the period from 1968 to

about 1974, Brother Brown developed a
coherent iconography. In the reper-
tory of images he uses and he often
repeats his visionary 'designs' every
motif has a symbolic meaning. Bro-
ther Brown prefers, however, not to
identify more than the general mean-
ing of a work and explains that his
works should be contemplated in a per-
sonal dialectic-meditative way he calls
it a 'natural' way rather than by
means of a glossary-type of analysis
of each symbol.
Niabingi Holy (1969) is the oldest
work by Everald Brown in the National
Gallery collection and it illustrates well
his involvement in the Rastafarian
movement.8 Niabingi Holy is, for Bro-
ther Brown, an unusually narrative
work.9 The shadow of the Lion of
Judah around the bonfire is the only
hint of the type of metamorphic ima-
gery so typical of his mature work. The
hieratical scale of the patriarch figure
(a self-portrait?) and the vertical stack-
ing of the figures symbolic composi-
tional devices he often uses as well
as the decorative pattern quality of the
work, are reminiscent of ancient Egyp-
tian and Ethiopian Christian paint-
ing, although Brother Brown has little
knowledge of these artistic traditions.10
Right Hand of God (1970, the ori-
ginal is now lost) is far more represent-
ative of Everald Brown's visionary work.
The painting represents an apocalyptic
vision of Haile Selassie as creator and
ruler of the universe, which was also the
central motif in the visions leading to

his conversion to Rastafarianism. The
Book of Revelations is of central im-
portance in the Rastafarian theology
and apocalyptic imagery is frequently
used by the brethren [Barrett 1977 p.
106]. The 'burning eye' motif, which
Brother Brown uses in many of his
works, symbolizes the inner self (the
'I' 'eye'), the divine power of Jah.
Ethiopian Apple (1970) is undoubt-
edly one of Brother Brown's master-
pieces, which illustrates his rapid as-
cent as a major intuitive artist. The ver-
bal associations and word games (ota-
heite apple Ethiopian apple) are com-
plemented by visual associations and
metamorphic imagery (the garb of the
central figure is also an otaheite apple
tree), which is all typical of Rastafar-
ianism. (An example so popular that it
has become a stock image, is the 'Africa-
head', a Rastafarian head in the shape of
the map of Africa.). This type of sym-
bolic metamorphic imagery, based on
mystical association, is one of the most
typical features of Brother Brown's
work. Colour symbolism plays an im-
portant role in the associative process:
the Rastafarian colours dominate in the
tree-man figure. He often uses trees,
fruits and, occasionally, animals. One of
the most commonly used symbols in his
works is the ackee, because of its
colours and name ('ackee' 'a key' to
wisdom) symbolic of Rastafarianism.
The emblematic character of the im-
agery in Ethiopian Apple is reminiscent
of playing cards, a reference which is
reinforced by the heart and diamond

motifs used for the background. The
three Rastafarian drummers emphasize
the sacredness of the image. Music mak-
ing, drumming in particular, is often re-
presented in Everald Brown's paintings.
Music is important in his life, and he ex-
plains that sound, even more than visual
experiences, plays a major role in his
'spiritual travels'.
A good example of Brother Brown's
personal adaptations of Rastafarian ima-
gery can be seen in the Marcus Garvey
figure in The Heroes (1971), a symbolic
portrayal of the then five National
Heroes. Although the physical appear-
ance of the five heroes is rendered fair-
ly realistically, their significance is ex-
pressed symbolically. Like Christ or the
evangelists in Medieval Christian art, the
five heroes are represented against man-
dorla-like background structures, and
each hero is accompanied by an em-
blem: Bustamante, the man of feelings,
holds a heart; Norman Manley, the man
of letters, a book; George William Gor-
don, the churchman, carries a cross and
Paul Bogle, the rebel fighter, a stick.
The central figure, however, is Garvey,
the first National Hero and the most im-
portant Jamaican historical personality
in the Rastafarian pantheon. As a uni-
cum in the Garvey iconography, Gar-
vey, the prophet, is represented with an
umbrella, a universal symbol of royalty
and protection.11 With this umbrella,
Garvey points towards a burning eye,
the already discussed symbol of divine
power. The Heroes is not the only work
in which Brother Brown depicts National
Heroes. Another interesting example is
his Armageddon-like Morant Bay Rebel-
lion (1975), in which Gordon and
Bogle are depicted as archangel-like
The four intertwined female bodies,
both part of and superimposed on the
hybrid central figure in King of Hearts
(c. 1973) suggest an unusual, for Everald
Brown, earthly theme: erotic love. The
true theme of the work, however, is
spiritual, divine love, another import-
ant concept of Rastafarianism, visualized
in Brother Brown's highly personal,
inventive manner. The metamorphic,
emblematic quality of the imagery is
akin to Ethiopian Apple. The main
source of inspiration for the imagery is
again playing cards, if only for the sym-
metrically mirrored half-bodies. The
'King of Hearts' figure is composed of
playing card symbols: clubs, spades,
hearts and diamonds. Each suit has a
specific meaning in Brother Brown's

Everald Brown and his work (early seventies). (From the Browns' photo-album).



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iconography: the diamond symbolizes
value; the spade; man; the club, divin-
ity; and the heart, of course, love. The
fruitbearing trees in the four corners
suggest the fruitfulness, the generosity
of divine love. Numbers also play an im-
portant role in his symbology: the
figure four symbolizes the archangels
and the four corners of the world.
Another important work of the early
seventies is Tree of Jesse ( c.1973), one
of the most minimal, abstract works
ever produced by the artist. To the
Rastafarians, the Biblical Tree of Jesse
legitimizes the divinity of Haile Selassie,
as descendant of King Menelek I, the
son of King Solomon and the Queen of
Sheba [Barrett 1977 p.204]. Again, the
eye symbolizes inner divinity, while the
Star of David, an archetypical image
which Brother Brown sees as a styli-
zation of the human face, represents
man, the unity of the spiritual and the
earthly realm. So Tree of Jesse also
symbolizes the Rastafarian concept of
the divinity of man.
Related in iconography and mean-
ing is the prize-winning One Founda-
tion (1974), which was reproduced on
the cover of JAMAICA JOURNAL
[18:4]. The work bears a remarkable re-
semblance to an Eastern meditation fig-
ure, the yantra, which is a mandala com-
posed from geometrical figures such as
the circle, the square and interlacing
triangles as in the Star of David. Even
more remarkable is the similarity in
meaning. The mandala-archetype sym-
bolizes wholeness, the unity of the
universe and the inner self [Jung 1968
pp.266-9]. This is exactly the explan-
ation Brother Brown gives to this work.
The Jamaican flag motif, more specific-
ally, refers to the Jamaican national
motto and the concept of the unity of
mankind, an important notion in Brother
Brown's personal philosophy.
Brother Brown had never seen a yan-
tra when he made this work, which was
designed in cooperation with Clinton.
It is only when the work was exhibited
that someone showed him a book with
Indian yantras. Brother Brown attributes
the similarities to his mystical communi-
cation with ancient times (like many
Jamaicans, he does not make a distinc-
tion between East Indians and the an-
cient inhabitants of Jamaica, the
Arawaks). One Foundation perfectly
illustrates the archetypical quality of
Brother Brown's 'designs', which through
his spiritual exercises are drawn from the
unconscious level (although the East

Indian presence in Jamaica might have
influenced him).
Painting is Brother Brown's most im-
portant artistic medium, although this
could never justify the omission of his
rare but exquisite carvings from this dis-
cussion. His carvings have very similar
qualities and fit in the same general
development as his paintings. An inter-
esting example of a carving of the
period is The Golden Hand (c.1974), a
ceremonial staff which, like the 'de-
signs' for his paintings, was inspired by a
vision. In this vision he saw the 'ancient
King and Queen of Jamaica', a black
man and a white woman. The queen was
carrying a staff which he copied in de-
tail after waking up, being unable to ex-
plain all the symbolic markings in the
object. As in Right Hand of God, the
hand motif has a life-giving cosmic

Later Works
The works discussed are for practical
reasons an incomplete, but represent-
ative sample of Brother Brown's early
work. By the mid-seventies his work
started to change. His style, character-
ized by the intricate pattern-quality of
the painted or sculpted surfaces, became
more sophisticated, more linear and pre-
cise. The bright colours disappeared and
many of his later works verge on the
monochromatic. But more important
are the iconographic developments. He
continued to repeat certain 'designs' and
motifs, like the ackee, but gradually the
specifically Rastafarian symbols began
to appear less frequently, in favour of a
more personal idiom, inspired by his
new environment in Murray Mountain.
His iconography now became even rich-
er, inspired by his 'readings' of the lime-
stone foundations on Meditation Heights,
the landscape, branches, roots and leaves.
So through meditation and free asso-
ciation techniques similar to Rorschach's
inkblot test12 Brother Brown again
draws his imagery from the unconscious
level. In the suggestive limestone form-
ations especially, he reads the 'imprints'
of a mythical past, hidden figuration
and secret hieroglyphics which he re-
traces in his paintings, as in the Stone
Heads of the mid-seventies. Sometimes
he uses the actual stones, as in Stone
Man (1974), a small assemblage of paint-
ed limestones in the shape of a man, or
tree branches as in Upward Bound
Brother Brown is not alone in his fas-
cination with the suggestive power of

stones. The earliest humans collected
stones with remarkable shapes, while
several twentieth century artists, search-
ing for the fundamentals of art and
creativity, worked with the primeval
expression of stones, in their natural,
rough state. About this, the surrealist
master Max Ernst wrote: 'We (Ernst and
Alberto Giacometti) work on granite
boulders, large and small, from the
moraine of the Forno Glacier. Wonder-
fully polished by time, frost and wea-
ther, they are in themselves fantastic-
ally beautiful. No human hand can do
that. So why not leave the spade-work
to the elements and confine ourselves
to scratching on them the runes of our
own mysteries?' [Jung, 1968 pp.259-60],
an account which could very well be
Brother Brown's.
The unquestionable masterpiece of
this period is Bush Have Ears (1976).
The attentive viewers will discover, and
some of these discoveries might be their
own, a host of little figures hidden in
the monochromatic dark-green patterns
and scribblings, which are obviously in-
spired by the landscape seen from
Meditation Heights. Brother Brown has
employed this type of metamorphic,
hidden imagery in countless other works,
often in combination with older 'de-
signs'. In some recent works he even
commented on his source of inspir-
ation as in Meditate On or Ion (Dream-
land) (1983), which shows the artist
in the meditative state in which this
type of work finds it origin, and Mys-
teries of the Stone (1984), in which we
see the artist, crowned by ackee fruits,
painting on a piece of limestone [Boxer
Indicative of his changing, more plur-
alistic attitude towards religion are
Spiritualism (1979) and The Messenger
(1983), which both depict Revival
cultists without much evidence of con-
demnation of the practices shown.
As mentioned earlier, Brother Brown
started to produce his famous musical
instruments in the early seventies, after
a vision in which he was told to pro-
duce a number of musical instruments,
thirty-two in all, to the greater glory of
Jah. (His son Clinton also produced
several fine examples). During his pri-
mary school years he had produced
musical instruments and his experience
as a carpenter certainly made it easier
for him to produce the complicated
shapes of the instruments, such as the
dove harps and the star banjoes. The
instruments are made to be used, but

they are in themselves works of art,
with their symbolic shapes and intri-
cately patterned painted and sculpted
decoration. The recent Four People
Instrument (1986) is perhaps not the
finest, but is certainly the most spec-
tacular of all instruments ever pro-
duced by Everald Brown. It is a hybrid
instrument, guitar, harp, drum and
rhumba box, incorporated in the typi-
cal dove-harp shape and decorated with
metamorphic imagery, stylized inter-
lacing doves.

The most recent development in
Brother Brown's work is his tree-leaf
paintings, in which he has zoomed in
to the microcosmos of the leaf in which
he reads messages, images from an an-
cient past, mental landscapes similar
to his rock paintings. This, as well as
most of his work since the mid-seven-
ties, documents his continuous mystic-
al dialogue with his environment, his
pantheistic belief in the unity between
the inner self and the universe, per-
haps the most important philosophical
tenet underlying his work.

Rex Nettleford [1978 p.181] de-
scribes the process of decolonization
that gives shape to the modern Jamaica
as 'simultaneous acts of negating and af-
firming, demolishing and constructing,
rejecting and reshaping'. Mystic-philo-
sopher Everald Brown's thought and
work perfectly illustrate how complex
and fertile this dialectic process is.
Rastafarianism gave a strong crea-
tive impulse to his spiritual life and
work, although he is not curtailed by
any denominational dogma. Brother
Brown is an artist of vision, an artist
who lives in harmony with his inner
self, who has resolved the schizophrenia
of modern life. His work draws from
primeval sources, the inner self, a univer-
sal, ancestral knowledge of the uncon-
scious. Because of this fundamentalism,
it is of remarkable relevance to the con-
cerns of modern art. His art taps direct-
ly into the creative pulse of this coun-
try: its spiritual life, both individualistic
and universal, full of contradictions and
with an organic potential for growth
and development. Brother Brown is an
artist of great integrity and exceptional
inventiveness, and he deserves to be ac-
knowledged as one of the greats of the
Jamaican art movement.


1. See for instance: BIHALJI-MERIN, O.,
TOMASEVIC, N.B., (eds.), World En-

cyclopedia of Naive Art, Pennsylvania,
1985 (with Jamaica entries on, Everald
Brown, Clinton Brown, John Dunkley,
Kapo and Sidney McLaren).
2. Unless otherwise noted, all information
on the artist and his work was obtained
from an extensive interview the author
conducted with Brother Brown at his
home in Murray Mountain, St. Ann, on
17 November 1987.
3. National Gallery artist's file on Everald
4. The meaning of the name was explain-
ed to the author by the Rev. Fr. N.L.
Manning Estifanos of the Ethiopian
Orthodox Church, Kingston .
5. A 'reading' is a divining technique used
in Revival cults. The diviner will, for in-
stance, reveal the true nature of a prob-
lem faced by a person who comes for a
consultation by reading the cards or the
reflections of a coin in a glass of water
[Seaga 1982 pp. 11-12].
6. A good monograph on Rastafarian art is:
Bender, W., et al., Rastafari Kunst aus
Jamaica, Bremen: Edition Con. 1984.
The book has been on sale in Jamaican
bookstores, but is available only in Ger-
man. It is well illustrated.
7. See Seaga [1982 When visiting the ar-
tist, the author noticed a small painting
with Masonic symbols (the compasses and
square). It is perhaps no coincidence that
Joseph Hibbert, one of the pioneers of
the Rastafarian movement who had a lot
of influence on Brother Brown, was a
member of the Ancient Order of Ethio-
pia, a black Masonic lodge [Barrett,
1977, p.82].
8. A Niabingi meeting, or grounation, to
use an older word, is the most important
type of Rastafarian meeting involving
members from all over the island. It can
be compared to a movements convention
and may last several days. A Niabingi
meeting is inspirational, but also a social
event, with praying, music making,
drumming, chanting, eating and ganja
smoking. Typical is the large bonfire.
The first Niabingi was held in 1958 in
Back-o-wall and caused a major sensa-
tion as reported in the Jamaican press. If
the interpretation of his account is cor-
rect, Brother Brown was one of the
participants (Barrett, 1977 p.121] .
9. His son Clinton's work tends towards the
narrative and descriptive.
10. For an analysis of African retentions in
intuitive Jamaican art: see Bryan [1985
pp. 2 11].
11. See unpublished lecture by V. Poupeye-
Rammelaere, 'Garveyism and Garvey
Iconography in the Visual Arts of Jam-
aica ', I.O.J. inaugural lecture series,
28 October 1987.
12. The inkblot test was devised by the
Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach.
The irregular shape of the inkblot ser-
ves as a stimulus for free association
[Jung 1968 p.10].


BARRETT, Lindsay, The Rastafarians, King-
ston: Sangster's/Heinemann, 1977.
BENDER, W. et. al, Rastafari Kunst aus Jam-
aica, Bremen: Edition Con, 1984.
BILBY, K. and LEIB, E., 'Kumina, the
Howellite Church and the Emergence of
RastafarianTraditional Mu sic in Jamaica',
Jamaica Journal 19:3, 1986.
B. (eds.), World Encyclopedia of Naive
Art, Pennsylvania, 1985.
BOXER, David,'Introduction' to The Intuitive
Eye, exhibition catalogue National Gal-
lery of Jamaica, Kingston: 1979.
'Introduction' to Jamaican Intuitives,
exhibition catalogue, London: Com-
monwealth Institute, 1986.
,'Introduction' to 15 Intuitives, exhi-
bition catalogue, Kingston: National
Gallery of Jamaica, 1987.
BRYAN, P., 'Toward an African Aesthetic in
Jamaica', Arts Jamaica, 3:3/4, 1985.
ESCOFFERY, G., 'Harmony Hall Intuitives',
Jamaica Journal, 18:4, 1985.
JUNG, C. (ed.), Man and His Symbols, New
York: Dell Publishing, 1968.
NETTLEFORD, Rex, Mirror, Mirror. Iden-
tity, Race and Protest in Jamaica,
New York: William Morrow and Co.,
,Caribbean Cultural Identity, Kingston:
Institute of Jamaica, 1978.
OWENS, J., Dread, The Rastafarians of Jam-
aica, Kingston: Sangster's, 1982.
PHILLIPS, M., 'Spirit of the New Jamaica'
in The Observer, London, 10 August
SEAGA, E., Revival Cults in Jamaica, King-
ston: Institute of Jamaica, 1982.


... and
all the way.


Th Pliic o 'ntri

By Rupert Lewis

In looking at the novels of H.G.
deLisser, Claude McKay, Roger
Mais, Vic Reid, John Hearne,
Andrew Salkey, Orlando Patterson and
Neville Dawes, one cannot but notice
the extent to which they have reflected
the complex evolution of the Jamaican
national personality and consciousness.
In the case of deLisser, the present-
ation of history and of the peoples of
this country is given from the stand-
point of traditional planter and mer-
chant dominance, the arrogance of ra-
cial superiority and paternalism. This is
evident in his historical novels and, of
course, his journalism in the Daily
Gleaner. His work reflects the psycho-
logy of the oligarchy in the English-
speaking Caribbean, which itself has
developed over the years strong local
roots based on class and racial hege-
mony. It is a class that senses the poten-
tial of revolt in nationalist figures like
Garvey and in the enlightened migrant
who returns to colonial Jamaica more
outspoken, more aware of civil rights,
than those who have stayed at home.
Both in his fiction and his journalism,
deLisser ridicules such characters with
the objective of destroying the con-
nection between the radical leader/
agitator and the people, thereby isola-
ting the former.1
With McKay, there is a countervail-
ing tendency which rejects colonial
values and is self-assertive of a Jamaican,
a national, identity. McKay's literary
works laid the foundation for the writ-
ings later on of Reid, Salkey and Dawes,
who are his cultural heirs. Reid's work is
of great significance because of his con-
cern to comprehend the struggles of our
people from slavery to the present-day,
struggles debunked and degraded by
colonial education. Reid traces the pro-
gress of Jamaican nationalism towards
political independence. The concerns of
Mais, and later on Patterson, reflect the
growing assertion against social and eco-
nomic injustice made by the underdog,
as individuals unconnected with any
broad social movement. Hearne's writ-

ings are similarly a product of the on-
going process of social differentiation
on the eve of national independence,
the post-1938 period of national his-
tory. But Hearne's work reflects the
anxieties harboured by the middle
classes, as well as the ruling class, of
'voices under the window', the pro-
found fear of and hostility to revolu-
tionary changes.
But while Jamaican literature has
mirrored the evolution of our national
liberation struggles, there is no Jamaican
counterpart to Ralph de Boissiere's
classic novel Crown Jewel which has as
its main concern the struggles of the
Trinidadian working class based on the
1930s labour movement. No Jamaican
novel treats of the independent role of
the working class in national liberation.
In this respect, Crown Jewel is unique
in the literature of the English-speaking
Caribbean. The reason for this may very
well be the class background and the
literary and ideological formation of our
writers. This leads them either to focus
on the intelligentsia or to portray the
working people from middle class per-
spectives. However, this tendency is not
due only to subjective reasons such as
the modification of autobiographical
data in novels, or the fact that the writ-
ters themselves are familiar with people
from their own milieu, but is objective-
ly a consequence of the leadership role
the middle class has played in the politi-
cal life of the Caribbean.
Dawes belongs to the older genera-
tion of West Indian writers who came
into their own in the 1950s and 1960s. He
was born in Nigeria in 1926 of Jamaican
missionary parents, grew up in Jamaica
and was educated at Jamaica College
(1938-44) and Oriel College, Oxford
University (1948-51). His experiences at
both these institutions are drawn upon
in his novels. Dawes started writing in
1943 'entirely as a poet'. He was, of
course, influenced by the political and

cultural awakening of the late 1930s
and wrote for the press. His main ex-
posure, however, came through the BBC

'Caribbean Voices' programme. He first
contributed poetry to the programme
until about 1953 when he also started
to write short stories. His serious poetry
writing stopped in 1956 when the
'Caribbean Voices' programme ended.
By that time he had been in Ghana for a
year teaching at the Kumasi College of
Arts and Technology. Later he taught at
the University of Ghana at Legon. He
wrote The Last Enchantment in 1957-
58 during the early years of the Kwame
Nkrumah government when Accra was
the centre of Pan-Africanism. Dawes
was himself active politically and cul-
turally within the movement that Nkru-
mah led.
Dawes started Interim in Ghana in
1961 but the final version was comple-
ted in Jamaica in 1974 while he was
Executive Director of the Institute of
Jamaica. This essay comments on the
political dimensions of Neville Dawes'
novel Interim which was published in
Kingston by the Institute of Jamaica in
1978. The novel raises issues that are
central to Caribbean and Third World
politics and society. The main issue is
the nature of power in a newly indepen-
dent state and the means of transform-
ing that state in the interest of the
people so that genuine decolonization is
realized. For this reason, Interim is
essentially a political novel. Dawes' first
novel, The Last Enchantment (1960),
is also largely political. Its low profile
the author attributes mainly to the fact
that when it appeared, just before Ja-
maica's independence, it was effectively
banned. It was perceived as containing
a caricature of one of Jamaica's promi-
nent leaders so the bookshops, accord-
ing to Dawes, boycotted it, but it sold
well over 11,000 copies outside Ja-
The novel delves deeply into the
nature of the 'manipulators of power'
who replace the British and who ensure
the exclusion of the masses from any
real say in politics. This first novel is
politically pessimistic. It reflects the
view that after the struggles of 1938,


the two parties that emerged and had
the support of the people betrayed this
trust. The novel advances the view that
the betrayal in part resulted from the
social character of the leadership.
Jamaican society with its class-
colour conflicts is portrayed in both
The Last Enchantment and Interim as
deeply affected not only by colonial
economic relations persisting despite
constitutional changes but by the colo-
nial mentality and values of the middle
class. So much so that their activities
and ideas constitute a surrogate imperial
Both novels present the formation of
the intelligentsia educated at schools
like Jamaica College and Munro, which
were modelled on the British public
school system. The purpose of trans-
planting that public school system to
Jamaica and the Caribbean was the pro-
vision of an 'education' in which the
colonial subject would identify with the
'Mother Country' and, on graduating
to the Civil Service, the Church, the
classrooms, journalism or politics, would
uphold colonial interests against nation-
al ones. George Lamming pointedly
sums up the interconnection between
political leadership and the intelligent-
sia and the class implications of that
nexus when he writes:

And here we encounter one of the
sharpest contradictions of our inherit-
ance you are a minority because edu-
cation is scarce; and was intended to be
a scarcity so that it might serve as an
instrument of continuing social stratifi-
cation, an index of privilege and status,
a deformed habit of material self im-
provement. This has created a few
problems for all forms of leadership.
The political leader is the educated one.
He leads from above. It has also com-
plicated the role of the intellectuals in
their relation to the mass of the popu-
lation. These are men and women who
live and work in an orbit of privilege
and share in those material interests
which bind them to the population in a
dubious relation; it is a fragile relation;
and in some cases it is an utterly fraudu-
lent relation. This scarcity of education
amidst the mass of our people has
given this minority an easy access to
comfort, it confers a superficial and
sometimes tyrannical authority. It
breeds a dangerous self-importance.3

The educational system how it
functioned through the colonial public
school to maintain British hegemony
and how it functions today to maintain
imperial interests is a major theme in
both of Dawes' novels.
In The Last Enchantment this cultur-

al imperialism is integral to the neo-
colonial political scenario reflected in
the centre-right People's Democratic
Party and the right-wing Merchants'
Party. A small Marxist organization re-
presents a radical potential. The presen-
tation of the parties, leaders and follow-
ers is done in a manner which often cari-
catures and exaggerates. This weakness
is corrected in Interim and the central
political issues in The Last Enchantment
are further developed.
From the start of Interim, the
author, by his portrayal of character
and village life, gives a typical picture
of the power relations in a Caribbean
colony. Dawes establishes the red man,
Rupert Burton, as the main symbol of
the old society, decaying but still extant
and quite powerful, an authority which
over many years people have come to
accept. Yet Burton is not really his own
man. He represents Captain MacGowan,
a white man, who owns Nesfield and
many other large estates. MacGowan is
the Custos of the parish. MacGowan
acts through Burton who becomes a
kind of feudal overlord in the village. He
speaks the language of the village, he has
children with the women in Nesfield
Town, and is in command. Black vil-
lagers know their place.
Teacher Sampson is the traditional
black colonial. Morally upright, he lives
by the Protestant ethic. But right is not
might and Busha Burton is might, so
Sampson is secretary to Busha both in
the Agricultural Society and the Cricket
Club. Sampson looks down on Burton
for his life of concubinage but ambi-
valently relies on him to maintain the
status quo that he accepts, though not
without reservation, on moral grounds.
At independence, Samuel Derby, a
modern version of Teacher Sampson, be-
comes Prime Minister. He is an account-
ant by profession who completed his
education in England and he is of hum-
ble origin. His father was a fisherman
and his mother a higgler. But this back-
ground is really background. It is behind
him. He uses it, of course, for political
reasons to say that he is a man of the
people. But he no longer is. His class in-
terests have shifted and he has become a
political broker for big business. As one
of the characters says: 'There is bauxite,
hotels, factories and the whole weight
of the CIA and the State Department
behind Derby.' Independence does not
come about as a result of sharp national
struggles. It is arranged. But precisely
because it does not meet the needs of

the people, there is a basis for the strug-
gle for genuine decolonization by op-
ponents of Derby's accommodationist
That alternative is suggested by the
orientation of Lucien Taylor who con-
stantly challenges the feudal authority
represented by Burton whether in Nes-
field, at Victoria College in Kingston, or
eventually in the putsch.
Pimento Village is, therefore, more
than a static microcosm of power rela-
tions in a colonial society. For in a sense,
what happens in Pimento Village in rela-
tion to the bankrupt Nesfield ,Estate
anticipates the way neo-colonial in-
depence is achieved and maintained.
The Jamaica Agricultural Society meet-
ing which convenes over the selling of
Nesfield Estate for land settlement is
chaired by Busha Burton with Teacher
Sampson as the Secretary.
The peasants' reliance on an unques-
tioned confidence in Busha Burton's
proposal is shattered by the defiant pos-
ture of Lucien Taylor who 'walked
slowly across the platform in front of the
speakers' table'. This breaks the order-
liness of the meeting and enables the
'Young Men' to shout down Teacher. It
is Busha who restores order. 'His fright-
ening redness, rather than his words,
cowed them and the meeting continued
peacefully.' The 'Young Men' have a
momentary triumph until the direct
intervention of Busha who puts them in
their places. Just as later on it is the
Chamber of Commerce and the Ameri-
cans who put the young revolutionaries
in their places for the 'interim'.
Lucien is one of the black boys from
Nesfield who win scholarships to Vic-
toria College, which is a paradigm of
Jamaica College, Wolmer's, Munro (Ja-
maica), Harrison College (Barbados),
Queen's Royal College (Trinidad and
Tobago). These are schools whose
students were mostly white and light-
skinned. School alienates blacks from
their roots, making them ashamed of
their rural background, their speech,
and of their blackness. But a cultural
awakening turns them towards the
music of Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunce-
ford, Chick Webb and Count Basie, as
against that of their white imitators
Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and
Glenn Miller. Lucien and his friends
wanted 'the same recognition given to
our jazz as we gave to Keats and Shelley'.
This cultural re-orientation is presented
as part of the process of national aware-

ness and a rejection of colonial yard-
sticks. Eventually, battle is joined be-
tween Lucien, who is now one of the
brightest and most creative minds at the
school, and Mr Merton, the English mas-
ter. For Mr Merton, Duke Ellington

A lot of noise . Some dissonances
here and there but obviously borrowed
from Debussy and Ravel. No musical
meaning at all. [p.70]
Lucien puts a rhetorical question in
an argument with Merton:
Please, sir, why is it everything that we
do is imitated? . If we make a good
stroke at cricket, Mr Harris says it is
like a Jack Hobbs shot not like a George
Headley shot: If you write a good es-
say you're imitating Hazlitt or Lamb,
Now even this jazz music is imitating
something else ... ibidd.]

The rural boys also come into con-
tact with progressive literature, and fol-
low the events of the Second World
War. Lucien is eventually expelled from
school after a dispute in which he push-
es Mr Merton into the swimming pool.
Like many other boys, Lucien joins the
Royal Air Force, thus coming into cata-
lytic contact with the metropolis, its
values, its advanced ideas, and of course,
its prejudices.
Interim is written through the eyes
of James Duncan from Nesfield. He is
neither as bright nor as forward as Lu-
cien. After leaving school he enters the
Civil Service and then works as a journ-
alist at the Daily Glimmer. This is a
period of political agitation and transi-
tion to independence, somewhat like a
low-key version of 1938. Duncan gets a
job in the red-brick Colonial Secretariat
through an old school tie connection.
His job is to do filing in a Civil Service
manned by a bureaucratic intelligentsia
characterized by 'rigidity' and 'docility'.
Duncan, however, does not get stuck;
He becomes interested in politics and
joins up with the Youth Movement of
Derby's Democratic Socialist Party. But
Derby only uses the Youth Movement
to gain power. A 'political moderate', he
is more intent on restraining and even-
tually suppressing the left-wing of his
movement than with developing the
national liberation struggle in a revolu-
tionary way.
Nevertheless, Derby is the leading fig-
ure of the movement for independence
and is the most popular figure in the is-
land's politics. He is supported by the
left. But in the years after independence
there is no improvement in the con-

editions of the people and the funda-
mental relations of power remain un-
changed. Dissatisfaction grows; first
among the war veterans, then among the
working class who go on strike. The left-
wing is expelled from the Democratic
Socialist Party and the leading figures
detained for 'Communistic activities'.
The left continues to function in-
dependently, mainly by publishing a
newsletter. On Lucien's return from
abroad, he makes connections with the
war veterans and the trade union move-
ment as well as with the expelled left.
He leads a successful struggle to over-
throw Derby and establishes a revolution-
ary government. But revolutions do not
take place simply by coups, overthrows
or putsches. Lucien is an idealist who
genuinely wants change. But he fails to
realize that fundamental change can
only be brought about when the re-
volutionary situation exists.4 He makes
the political error of misreading discon-
tent, equating it with a revolutionary
situation. The failure of this well-planned
and well executed putsch is inevitable,
for the time is not yet ripe. In fact, the
mass movement was then in a state of

Just about this time, militancy dis-
appeared. The ex-servicemen's march,
in protest against the slow pace of re-
habilitation, petered out in promises.
There was an abortive strike on the
estates as Derby took the island firmly
in his grasp. [p. 117]

Lucien is regarded as a kind of Mes-
siah. However, no individual can, simply
by brilliant actions, bring about a change
in the situation unless these correspond
to the actions and interests of the grass-
roots. And though Dawes develops
Lucien's character throughout the novel
and sets out his political ideas as a Marx-
ist-influenced, but not Communist,
nationalist, he pays insufficient atten-
tion in the last part of the book to the
opinions and attitudes of the ground-
swell. There are no scenes similar to the
Agricultural Society meeting at the start
of the novel. One would, for example,
have loved to hear what the workers
were saying when they refused to un-
load the shipment of arms from the
docks and to find out how some of the
weapons got into rebel hands. One
would .have loved to hear what the Vere
sugar workers were thinking. At this
point, the novel feels incomplete.
Moral indignation is also confused
with political acumen. The young left-
wing revolutionaries are revolted at the

betrayal of independence. They detest
the praetorian guard around Derby:

They were young, clever and greedy.
Apart from advising Derby and being
chairmen of boards of corporations,
their main activity since returning from
the dreaming spires had been to build
for themselves sumptuous houses in
Constant Spring and Barbican and
so shift the line of social demarcation
upwards from Cross Roads to Half-
Way-Tree. And they were in a hurry
because they saw, much more clearly
than Derby did, the chasm opening be-
fore them. [p.121]

But revulsion at this praetorian guard
of usurpers is an unsound basis for poli-
tical calculation particularly where this
concerns the question of political pow-
er. It is Duncan, Lucien's soberminded
friend, who instinctively realises that
Lucien is pursuing a wrong course of

'I hope you doan fail again like the
electricity strike.' I did not regret
hurting him. I did not believe that half-
bricks and macca-sticks couldevenstart
a revolution. There was no possibility
of leaping some intermediary parlia-
mentary stage in the short interval be-
fore the jets were air-borne. Even with-
out that, our people had gone soft
since the days of slave resistance. I
thought Lucien might be going crazy
but for the flaming certainty he had.
And I knew that he would dare. [pp.

Duncan's instincts are correct but he is
not strong enough to contend with Lu-
After the putsch and when Lucien is
in office, he is visited by the black Ro-
man Catholic priest, Father Surtees,
who asks him a few questions. At the
end of his interrogation, he poses the
crucial question:

'You have seized a machinery, but
have you really seized power?'

Lucien has no answer to this funda-
mental question. His reply is a cliche
about having power from the people.
Lucien's regime lasts for three months.
Its days are numbered when the US am-
bassador sends a note instructing Lu-
cien to release the members of the DSP
and army officers, to hold free elections,
and to declare himself anti-Communist.
'The Embassy Note ended with a long
recital of the insurrectionary fires that
the "peace-keeping" Force had put out
in Latin America and the Caribbean.'
The balance of forces is now decidedly
in favour of the conservatives: the land-
owners, the Bushas, the Americans, the

Chamber of Commerce, and Derby's
brown praetorian guard of Duke Street
An important colour dimension in
the power relations of the society is pro-
pounded by Marjorie Reynolds who de-
fines the mulattos as the inheritors of
white power, and as comprador func-
tionaries in Fanon's political and eco-
nomic equation.

Brown people, near-white, like Donald
and I are the natural and only rulers of
this country, you know. Black leaders,
working class leaders only smell power.
We have the real power. What would
this country be without people like us
and the Jews and the Syrians? Look at
bauxite, tourist trade, foreign invest-
ment, keeping the country just below
prosperity level. You think this would
happen if it was so-so black people rul-
ing Jamaica? OK, I am twat. I am
Beauty Queen. But look at my nose -
it's not Negro or Jewish: it's Grecian.
It will take you and Lucien another
century to mutate to me. OK, I am
near-white pussy ... [p.200]

Dawes' depiction of the social rela-
tions between black and mulatto, and of
the political motivations of mulattos is
more subtle than Marjorie's exposition
suggests. For one thing, it is not sug-
gested that mulattos tyrannize blacks;
rather, the political relations in the lat-
ter part of the novel assume the social-
ization of blacks into acceptance of
political shepherding by mulattos. This
assumption follows upon the socio-
political paradigm explicitly described
in the first part of the novel in the acqui-
escence of the black villagers to Busha
Burton's tutelage, and their internaliza-
tion of the superiority of Burton's mulat-
to offspring over their own black child-
ren. Dawes' depiction of blacks there-
fore shows an avoidance of over-simpli-
fication of the social realism regarding
the cultural and political postures of
blacks. The same complexity attends
Dawes' portrayal of mulattos and
whites, so that the novel does not pur-
sue a rigidly exclusive or static corres-
pondence between skin and ideological
Donald, Burton's mulatto son, grows
up with Lucien, goes to College with
him, and becomes a writer, maturing in
Canada. He later links up with Lucien's
left movement, but Donald is at heart a
political opportunist, lacking ideological
clarity and principle, whether of the left
or the right. While he draws the attention
of his school colleagues to The People's
Voice radical newspaper, his main in-
terest in it is his self-advancement: he

seeks through it a likely publication out-
let. And while debating postures may be
contrived, one may attach qualified sig-
nificance to Donald's anti-populist argu-
ment in a school debate that jazz was
'an excuse for jumping and jiving and
that he was glad that neither he nor the
Chairman jumped with common spirits
or jived with the barbarous multitude'.
His sojourn overseas, however, seems to
tilt his cultural perspectives from a
more Eurocentric toward a more nation-
alistic direction he uses dialect in his
later writings. But in truth and in fact,
his involvement with the left appears
to spring from both a long-ingrained
ingratiating tendency in favour of
power-holders, and his old school tie
fraternity with Lucien. School loyal-
ty smooths over the antagonisms of both
boys' fathers and provides a basis of
social equality attained through similar
educational conditioning. Donald's
left-wing flirtation is therefore fickle,
and he later betrays Lucien to the
Mercedes, Donald's sister, is a more
earthy figure, from childhood more sen-
sitive to the folk, both in terms of her
unaffected affinity with blacks, and her
responsiveness to their subcultural reli-
gious expressions she catches the spirit
in a Pocomania ceremony as a child.
Interestingly, Dawes is silent on her edu-
cational grooming and one gets the im-
pression that it is her affective personal
rapport with blacks in general, and with
Lucien in particular (they marry) which
draws her as a woman into revolution-
ary politics. Her eventual betrayal of
Lucien's decision to have her brother,
Donald, executed, is another instance
of the intrusion and complication of
personal factors in politics.
However, two political deductions
can be made from these character deli-
neations: the mulattos are shown to be
politically unreliable.5 This portrayal is
founded in the social order and, as a
consequence, by the eve of political in-
dependence, their accession to upper
middle class status. Secondly, in the
decolonization process, the mulattos,
chameleon-like, perceive themselves as
destined occupants of the leadership
roles, whatever the ideological trend
which holds sway.6
Contradicting this generalized depic-
tion, however, Dawes indicates the
potential for genuine radicalism in Mer-
cedes. And the left ideological commit-
ment of Tony Mais, a white, is absolutely
consistent throughout the novel. At the

end, therefore, it is both black and
white revolutionaries who retreat to the
hills after the defeat of Lucien's regime.
While Interim ends in defeat, the re-
treat clearly suggests the continuity of
resistance and the revival of the struggle.
The internal political logic of Dawes'
novel suggests this development, given
the profound social and economic con-
tradictions that are not only unresolved
but aggravated as the 'red, white and
blue' flag gives way to the 'stars and
stripes'. However, revival cannot take
place on the fragile basis of a Lucien-
type personality cultism and over-reli-
ance on the intelligentsia. The political
potential of the inert masses of Interim
needs to be recognized by the intelli-
gentsia and their independent role given

1. See H.G. deLisser's treatment of Sam
Sharpe in Psyche (London: Benn, 1952);
Paul Bogle in Revenge: a Tale of Old Jam-
aica (Kingston: Gleaner Co., 1919) and of
Marcus Garvey in the novella 'The Jamaica
Novility or the Story of Sir Mortimer and
Lady Mat', Planter's Punch, vol. 1, no.
6 (1925-1926).
2. Interview with Neville Dawes, 4 April
3. George Lamming, Address, UWI Gradua-
tion Ceremony, Cave Hill, Barbados,
February 1980, published in Sunday
Sun,30 March 1980,p.9.
4. V.I. Lenin, 'The collapse of the Second
International,' Collected Works, Vol. 21,
pp. 213-4: '(1) . For a revolution to
take place, it is usually insufficient for 'the
lower classes not to want' to live in the old
way; it is also necessary that the 'upper
classes should be unable' to live in the old
way; (2) when the suffering and want of
the oppressed classes have grown more
acute than usual; (3) when, as a conse-
quence of the above causes, there is a
considerable increase in the activity of
the masses, who uncomplainingly allow
themselves to be robbed in "peace time",
but in turbulent times, are drawn both
by all the circumstances of the crisis and
by the "upper classes" themselves into in-
dependent historical action.'
5. Cf. in contrast Edward Baugh, 'PrimeMinis-
ters Unlimited: West Indian Literary Re-
port,' Queen's Quarterly, Vol. 87 No. 3
(Autumn 1980) p.469: 'the novel has a
way, on reflection, of boiling down to
black and white, or rather black and
brown, "goodies" and "baddies" 'and that
'the main driving force of the story seems
to be the narrator's animosity towards
(the brown middle) class, a desire to settle
a score.'
6. The classical portrayal of this as of mulat-
to political behaviour is the character Les-
trade in Derek Walcott's Dream on Mon-
key Mountain.


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f t F Title page of Volume 6 of the Dawkins Papers.

OUAiG I ^\1. Pi..I<'l'r ,-

i PATT N T K F q,

Jamaica Land Surveying

Before the Survey Department

By B.W. Higman

his year, 1988, the Survey Department celebrates the
fiftieth anniversary of its independent existence. Until
27 October 1938, when Survey was separated from
Lands, it had formed a section of the Crown Lands Division
of the Public Works Department established by Sir John Peter
Grant, Jamaica's first governor under Crown Colony govern-
ment. Earlier, before 1865, the land surveying profession had
been much more loosely organized. Thus the establishment
of Survey within the apparatus of government had its origins
in the ferment following the Morant Bay rebellion of 1865,
and its independent status was a product of the ferment of
1938 and demands for land settlement.

Harrison's cadastral maps
The initial role of the surveying branch of the Public Works
Department was to support the government's efforts to sup-
press squatting and to repossess land for the Crown. Early re-
ports of the Department listed in detail the amounts of land
returned to the Crown and its subsequent sale or lease. Sur-
vey assisted in this process by identifying such land and pro-
viding detailed maps of the landholdings within each oarish.
The first of these cadastral maps, covering the parish of
Portland, was completed in 1876 and the last (Hanover) in
1891. The maps were drawn on 35 massive sheets at a scale
of four inches to a mile, and showed the boundaries of every
property with its extent and the name of the owner. As each
cadastral map was completed it was sent to the Collector of
Taxes in the appropriate parish capital. There the originals of
these maps remained, in many cases, until recent years but
most have now found their way into the collections of the
Jamaica Archives in Spanish Town. Copies of the maps were

however retained in the Survey Department and revised from
time to time. The map for St Thomas, for example, was
originally compiled in 1881, and revised in 1907 and again in
The cadastral maps of Jamaica produced in the late nine-
teenth century were largely the work of Thomas Harrison,
first styled Government Surveyor and later, from 1890, Sur-
veyor General. Writing in JAMAICA JOURNAL (8: 1) in
1974, Phillip Rose, then Director of Surveys, described these
maps as 'compiled from crude surveys for the most part and
sometimes from no surveys at all'. But it was only in the
1970s that a more precise cadastral survey was commenced,
and this was based on the modern techniques of photogram-
metry made possible by aerial photography. Harrison's map,
however 'inaccurate', remained indispensable for almost a
century. Even in the 1970s, Phillip Rose said, 'It is still the
only comprehensive index of all the major properties of the
Island, and although its accuracy for survey purposes is not
guaranteed, it has been extensively used in the re-opening of
boundaries and has proved the most reliable source of inform-
ation in adjudication on many occasions.'
Who was Thomas Harrison and how did he go about com-
piling his cadastral map? Born about 1823, he was the second
son of John Harrison, a coffee-planter and pen-keeper of Old-
bury in the parish of Manchester. He was sent to school in
England and returned to Jamaica in the early 1840s when he
was apprenticed to Edward McGeachy, Crown Surveyor for
the County of Surrey. On the death of McGeachy, around
1852, Harrison succeeded him in that post but obtained leave
of absence to take up the Surveyorship of the Panama Rail-
way, a project which was to consume the lives of many Ja-

maican labourers. Soon after his return to Jamaica from
Panama, Harrison was appointed to the newly formed Govern-
ment Survey Division, and he worked in it until his retire-
ment in 1892. Harrison owned two pens in Manchester,
Arcadia and Lewis' Delight near Porus, but these were
leased. His residence was in Kingston, at Glenmore Lodge
on Camp Road, and it was there that he died in 1894.
According to the writer of his obituary in the Daily
Gleaner of 26 October 1894, Thomas Harrison was able to
compile his series of cadastral maps because of his active
collecting of old plans over the years. During the depression
of the 1850s, Harrison 'made it his business to obtain plats
of as many properties in the island as he could, either by ac-
tual survey or by purchase from the estates of deceased sur-
veyors of competent ability and extended practice inclu-
ding those of not a few of his predecessors in the Crown Sur-
veyorship'. The parish cadastral maps produced by the Sur-
veyor General's office between 1876 and 1891 were 'the
boiling down of Mr Harrison's previous workmanship and
pre-vision'. The writer continued: 'Such then not only for his
own benefit but also for the interest of the community at
large was the utility of those old maps that Mr Harrison had
so assiduously made or collected in the days of his enforced
professional leisure when many men would have sunk through
depression and despair into dissipation and degradation to
ruin and dishonourable death'. Whatever Harrison's motives,
there is no doubt that his efforts in collecting together 'those
old maps' in the Survey Office created the mass of material
subsequently passed on to the Institute of Jamaica, and now
held by the National Library. Many of the surviving plans
bear his initials or name. To this extent, the existence of the
Library's fine collection of plantation maps may be traced to
the activities of a single-minded individual. At the same time,
the strong tradition of record keeping and archive preservation
in Jamaica must have provided an important impetus to
Harrison's efforts.
Harrison's achievement may be compared with that of
James Robertson, whose work has recently been discussed in
JAMAICA JOURNAL (17: 4) by L. Alan Eyre. Robertson's
inch-to-the-mile map of Jamaica, published in 1804, was
based on actual survey and indicated the names of most plan-
tations and proprietors. Robertson's map was of a high stand-
ard of accuracy, but others had attempted similar tasks in
the eighteenth century and his was simply the best in that
topographic tradition. Harrison, on the other hand, was the
first to compile a cadastral map, indicating property boun-
daries, for the entire island. A few surveyors and mapmakers
had produced cadastral maps of regions of Jamaica, as early
as the eighteenth century, but none had tackled the island as
a whole. Robertson criticized Jamaican surveyors for their
failure to observe true north, a practice which created boun-
dary problems and kept lawyers and surveyors in lucrative
work for years on end. In attempting to put together the
pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, Harrison faced the many prob-
lems that Robertson thought irreconcilable. He did not and
could not solve all of the problems of boundary definition
raised in the plans of earlier surveyors, certainly, but he
did provide workable solutions which stood the test of
In view of the fact that Harrison's cadastral map survived
so long as a valued public document, it appears that a dis-
missive attitude to the early surveys, which provided its
foundation, is out of place. It is true that the modern sur-


veyor can achieve a much higher degree of precision, thanks
to superior technology and theory, but the plans of estates
and plantations produced in Jamaica in the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries generally were internally correct and
were of practical value to the landowners who paid the sur-
veyors for their work. They contain a great deal of unique
information about the history of land use and settlement
patterns in the period. The historian has a greater range of
tolerance than the engineer, of course, and errors of 0.1 or
even 1 per cent need not mean complete rejection of the data.
Thus the very large collection of estate plans in the National
Library of Jamaica, amounting to about twenty thousand
items, is a major resource for studies of the history of Ja-
maican plantation economy and society. It has no rival in the
English-speaking Caribbean and few competitors in North
America and Europe. It deserves careful (and expensive) con-
servation, cataloguing and study. This process has only just
begun. In studying the estate plans it is necessary to go
beyond a simple assessment of their accuracy in terms of dis-
tance measures and to consider the elements individually.
Techniques of map-making changed over time, and the sur-
veyor's objective differed from survey to survey. An under-
standing of these changes and differences is essential to any
historical study of the undoubtedly significant information
the plans have to offer.

Plantation surveyors
The fortunes of the Jamaican surveying profession in the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries mirrored those of the
plantocracy. In the period of planter prosperity, surveyors
charted the expansion and refinement of the slave planta-
tion system, finding continuous employment from the in-
evitable boundary disputes. After Emancipation, they crea-
ted a vital record of the transformation of patterns of land
tenure and use, the demand for their services reaching a peak
in the decade beginning in 1834. Their role was not simply
documentary. Although they were the servants of their em-
ployers, the surveyors did inject their own ideas and atti-
tudes into the plans they produced, and so took an active
part in the creation of the island's social organization and
Following the English conquest of Jamaica, the owner-
ship of all land was vested in the Crown and grants were
made on payment of annual quitrents. The planter-dominated
Assembly was quick to take a hand and in the early 1670s
began to frame laws regulating surveys, the issue of patents,
and the rates and collection of rents. In 1683 it passed an
Act for Regulating Surveyors, and fresh legislation followed
at regular intervals throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries. The Jamaican laws followed fairly closely the
broad trends of British enactments but the demands of the
plantation system and colonization did create local dif-
ferences in emphasis. There was nothing unique in the early
image of the Jamaican surveyor as a scoundrel. Planters and
surveyors shared a common interest in the amassing of
wealth, so the incompetent and dishonest surveyor pictured
in the plantocracy's legislation served as a convenient scape-
goat for the avarice of the land-takers. The initial preoccupa-
tion with questions of tenure was a natural consequence of
the process of colonization, though the frequency of boun-
dary disputes was no doubt also a product of the problems
of measuring land in a difficult environment.
Security of tenure was of great importance to the planto-

Plan ofMaggotty Plantation,
St Thomas-in-the-Vale (St Catherine), 1760,
by Richard Cradock. From Volume 7
of the Dawkins Papers.


Sheet 1 of the cadastral map of St Thomas, compiled in 1881 and
I revised in 1907and 1955.

cracy since they had invested so heavily in sugar mills, aque-
ducts, barbecues and other fixed capital items as well as
crops with long life cycles, and they could not afford to have
these subject to trespass suits. In this, their needs differed
from those of open range livestock ranchers and would not
have been served by the vaguely located and overlapping cir-
cular land grants typical of the early Spanish Caribbean for
example. Fences quickly became an important landscape fea-
ture in plantation Jamaica. Only gradually did legislators
begin to show an interest in the surveying of the internal lay-
out of plantations and then their concern was confined large-
ly to the question of fees. But the emergence of this interest
around 1780 seems to have matched quite closely the begin-
nings of the golden age of the Jamaican plantation surveyors
and it was in the same period that the laws began to seek to
control the qualifications of the surveyors.
Although all surveyors practising jn Jamaica were required
by the Act of 1683 to hold commissions, the number of such
commissioned or 'lawful' surveyors is not known for the
years before 1780, and there are gaps in the record for the
periods 1847-60 and 1868-81. But broad trends in the growth
and decline of the profession can be established. Only eight
'surveyors in commission' were listed in 1780 and it is un-
likely that they were more numerous in earlier times, but
their numbers expanded rapidly to reach a peak of thirty-
four in 1795. By 1810 the profession had entered a period of
decline which continued until about 1865, when there were
only twelve surveyors in commission. These trends followed
the fortunes of the plantation economy, the sugar and cof-
fee industries reaching their maximum geographical spread
and output between 1790 and 1810. Revival in the survey-
ing profession in the late nineteenth century depended on
government employment rather than demand from the plan-
tation system. The peak of 1795 was not exceeded until
Commissioned surveyors employed apprentices and assist-
ants, many of whom identified themselves as surveyors for
census purposes. Thus the census of 1844 listed eighty-six
'surveyors' although only sixteen were then commissioned.
In 1891 some thirty-nine land surveyors appeared in the
census, twenty-two being commissioned. Thus the propor-
tion of the total population of 'surveyors' who were com-
missioned increased throughout the nineteenth century.
The organizational structure of the surveying profes-
sion in Jamaica during the eighteenth and nineteenth cen-
turies was simple. No corporate body emerged in the period
and no Jamaican surveyor seems to have been a member of
the British Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, estab-
lished in 1868, though the Institution trained many colonial
land surveyors in the late nineteenth century. The most im-
portant division within the profession was that between
government and private employment. In 1661 the English
government established the lucrative patent office of Sur-
veyor General of all lands in Jamaica, but its issue to John
Mann was obstructed either because he held more than one
office or used a deputy. Mann was succeeded by Robert
Felgate. Nothing is heard of this office during the eighteenth
century, however, and the first reference to a Crown Sur-
veyor appears in 1811, when the post was held by John
In 1837 three Crown Surveyors were appointed, one for
each of the counties, in order to supervise the demand for
land subdivision following Emancipation. They were ap-

pointed by the governor to be 'employed in the public work
of their respective counties, making surveys of parish or
county boundaries, any Crown Lands, or lands about forts or
fortifications', but received no stipend from government. This
system remained in force until 1865 but disappeared with
the creation of the Survey and Lands Division within the
Public Works Department. It was said in 1883: 'The necessity
for such a Department had long been felt, for there was no
officer before the appointment of the Government Surveyor
whose special duty it was to look after the lands belonging to
the Government, and these were scattered about in every
part of the island, most of them neglected and many un-
known.' Thomas Harrison held the post until 1892 when he
was replaced by P.A. Fraser, M.I.C.E., and in 1894 it was
given to Colin Liddell, Harrison's son-in-law, who remained
in charge until his death in 1916. Apart from this brief flurry
of government activity after.1865, however, land surveying
in Jamaica was chiefly a branch of private enterprise, con-
trolled only by law and custom.
Evidence regarding the training and practice of Jamaica's
land surveyors is not plentiful. The best direct testimony is
provided by the record of statements made before a com-
mittee of the House of Assembly appointed in 1842 to 'pre-
pare and bring in a bill to regulate the proceedings of land
surveyors, and to establish their fees'. Edward McGeachy,
Thomas Harrison's master, told the committee he had 'learnt
the principles of land surveying at school' but did not say
whether this was in Jamaica or Britain. Later, in 1846;
McGeachy described himself as 'a colonist' of Jamaica and re-
ferred to 'a residence of some years in the West Indies'. He
was apprenticed for five years to Francis Ramsay who was
himself commissioned only in 1813, under 'a simple letter of
agreement' for 'in those days articles were seldom thought
of'. Within eighteen months, McGeachy was 'making surveys
of land, and delivering diagrams', but 'these surveys for the
most part were submitted to my employer'. Following his
commission, McGeachy entered into partnership with Ram-
say. From 1824 to 1826 McGeachy worked on his own ac-
count. He headed the firm of McGeachy, Dadley and Smith
between 1826 and 1828, taking into partnership former ap-
prentices, but by 1830 the firm was reduced to McGeachy
and Smith. He visited England in 1831. From 1836 to 1843
McGeachy worked again on his own account. In 1843 he
established the firm of McGeachy and Griffiths (probably
another apprentice admitted in 1843) which survived until
By 1842 McGeachy had already employed 'fifteen to
twenty' apprentices, four or five of whom had been ad-
mitted as commissioned surveyors. Only those commenc-
ing after 1835 had been under articles. He told the com-
mittee that he understood it to be the practice of some sur-
veyors to permit their names to be used by apprentices, but
'my own assistants sign for me in minor surveys only, in the
way that a merchant's clerk signs for hisemployerper pro, for
convenience in the case of distance, but in important sur-
veys, I never permitted them to sign at all'. The need for
five years of apprenticeship in Jamaica was explained by Mc-
Geachy in terms of the island's 'being so little settled, as com-
pared to other countries, boundings not walled or fenced in,
and the mountainous nature of the country, rendering it
almost impossible in many cases to do so'. He stated, 'Lines
become lost, and it requires a great deal of practice in the
mode of discovering them, through the aid of old surveys and
surveying papers, and other documents connected with it,


2 1 4,.'i

/A S Il


Cf '


Plan of Arcadia 'Negro houses', St Thomas, 1842, surveyed for sale.

IffIil '14 nn

s- '

the value of which surveying papers and documents to all sur-
veyors are so well known.'
As to examinations of apprentices, McGeachy stated that
they were then held 'privately, and always viva voce, and
generally not occupying much time, about an hour or half
an hour, the parties examined being very well known to ex-
aminers previously'. Indeed, the apprentices often named
their own examiners. He recommended public examinations
by a perpetual board composed of at least one Crown Sur-
veyor and two commissioned surveyors of five years' stand-
ing. The subjects of such examination should include 'prac-
tical geometry, mensuration of superfices, conic sections', to-
gether with 'a practical knowledge of surveying runs of lands
and properties of all description; a knowledge of old and
recent marked lines, any lines run under orders of court, the
principles of examining the subject of boundary' and 'a per-
fect knowledge of old plats, patents, sale plats, extent plats,
etc. and the use of old surveying papers generally'. McGeachy
agreed that a knowledge of geology and soils was important
to the laying out of roads, but only 'if the business of en-
gineering were combined with surveying', and he disapproved
the way in which the offices of architect, and land sur-
veyor, and civil engineer were sometimes combined in Ja-

Making surveys
The relative isolation of Jamaica's inbred surveying fra-
ternity during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries con-
tributed to a slow rate of adoption of metropolitan inno-
vations. Thus the basic instruments employed by the Ja-
maican land surveyor remained the compass and chain at
least until the middle of the nineteenth century. For the
plantation surveyor, however, compass and chain produced
results generally acceptable to his employer and permitted a
fair level of accuracy in the measurement of area.
Surveying with compass and chain involved moving
around the perimeter of each parcel of land, measuring the
distance between each station with a chain of fixed length
and, at the same time, taking the angles between successive
stations by means of a compass. The chains used in Ja-
maica after 1700 were apparently of the standard introduced
by Edmund Gunter in 1620. They were 66 feet in length and
divided into 100 links, each link joined to the next by three
rings and every tenth link being distinguished by a piece of
brass of different shape to facilitate counting. One Ja-
maican plan of 1762 by John Rome specified that it had 'a
scale of Gunter's chains' and another of about 1830 had a
'scale of English chains each chain 66 feet'. Jamaica developed
no creole measure, and apart from occasional accusations
(leading, in the case of James Robertson, as far as libel actions
in the high courts of England) that surveyors used 'short
chains', the Jamaican chain was standardized after 1700.
Measuring with the chain required at least two persons.
The first held the ring at one end of the chain against the
starting point while the second pushed an arrow (a sharpened
metal stake with a loop at the other end) into the ground.
Proceeding in a straight line by sight, the first chairman then
moved to the arrow and the second marked a new point with
another arrow. When a fixed number of arrows had been
used, usually five or ten, a record was made in the field book
and the operation repeated until it was necessary to move
out of a straight line, at which point a new station was estab-
lished, a fresh bearing taken and further chain measurements


made. Short off-sets from the straight line might simply be
measured along the perpendicular using a staff or chain with-
out taking a new bearing and noted at the appropriate place
in the field book. This method was commonly used for iso-
lated features or sinuous boundaries where great accuracy
was not required.
In order to reduce the measurement of lines to cor-
rect horizontal measure, the chain could be held straight in
the horizontal and the points on the ground marked by
means of a plummet, but where the land was steep this re-
quired an excessive number of short chain measurements.
The alternative and preferred method on uniform slopes was
to measure the vertical angle and superficial distance along
the line, and then read the horizontal distance from a conver-
sion table or diagram.

To measure angles in the horizontal plane, Jamaican sur-
veyors of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries most often
used a standard surveying compass with sighting vanes,
mounted on a tripod. Prismatic compasses, held in the hand,
were generally used only to make sketches or to fill in detail.
By the early nineteenth century the most important angle-
measuring instrument was the theodolite, which had the ad-
vantage that it could be used for both horizontal and vertical
angles. This instrument was invented in 1555, but did not
come into wide use until a telescope was added in 1720.
Jamaican surveyors rarely recorded angles of less than half a
degree, suggesting that the theodolite, which allowed precise
measurement in minutes, remained relatively rare until the
later nineteenth century. But they were on sale in Kingston
by 1850 at least. Thus G. Arnaboldi advertised in 1852 that
his warehouse for philosophicall and scientific instruments'
included among its stock 'theodolite with telescope', as well
as Dumpy and common spirit levels, and 'portable levelling
instruments, with compass and telescope'. The latter instru-
ments, for taking levels, were generally used by Jamaican
land surveyors only when required to map the routes of
roads, railways, and canals, and had little application in
plantation work.

The measurements of angles and distances were carefully
recorded in a field book, together with other relevant in-
formation, and protracted on paper in the surveyor's office.
The area of each parcel of land was calculated trigonometric-
ally. These rough drawings were then translated into fair
copies and, if the patron required, embellished plans.
Jamaica's land surveyors of the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries were not particularly backward by comparison with
their metropolitan counterparts. The great demand for pre-
cise survey created by enclosure, agricultural improvement
and industrialization in England had no real parallel in Ja-
maica. In the eighteenth century, England's local surveyors
generally reverted to surveying by the chain because of the
high cost of the new improved angle-measuring instruments
required for triangulation and because of their limited edu-
cation. Only in the nineteenth century did instrument con-
struction and scale division reach a high degree of perfection,
and the standardization and simplification which was neces-
sary to make the instrument cheap enough for the average
land surveyor was to take even longer. Thus F.M.L. Thompson
has termed the period 1750-1850 'the golden age of the
chain surveyor' in Britain and Ireland.
Although Jamaican land surveying was backward in the
sense that it lacked an Ordnance Survey and failed to prac-

tise triangulation, the local plantation surveyor employed
methods which were hardly inferior to those of contemporary
metropolitan estate surveyors, in spite of his colonial iso-
lation. Nor were Jamaican surveying techniques inferior to
United States practice, where the theodolite was little used
in the early nineteenth century and chain and compass reigned
supreme. And although the techniques of the plantation sur-
veyor were inadequate for precise cadastral and engineering
work they did yield good results for plantation purposes,
especially after 1750, and the value of the surveyors' maps
for understanding land use patterns was sufficient to ensure
the patronage of the plantocracy.

Making plans

In Jamaica, surveying and planmaking procedures were
clearly separated. Very often the field work was performed
by the senior partner of a surveying firm while the trans-
lation of the booked measurements into a final plan was left
to a junior assistant or apprentice. The copying and reduction
of plans was almost always the work of assistants. Further,
the production of plantation maps did not always depend on
measurements taken by 'actual survey' but combined inform-
ation from a variety of sources, such as registered plats and
papers surviving from former surveys. This was particularly
the case when the planmaker wished to map larger regions
and became a regional cartographer.
The principles involved in protracting the results of com-
pass-and-chain survey were straightforward. First the plan-
maker chose a scale appropriate to the dimensions of the
sheet of paper he was to use. A finely graded scale could be
drawn on the sheet itself or a separate scale might be used in
the course of the protraction. The sheet was then oriented to
the magnetic meridian or, occasionally, the true azimuth,
with north generally at the top of the sheet and the meridian
parallel to its edge. Next the planmaker took a protractor to
plot the angle of divergence from the meridian recorded at
the first station of the survey, pricking out the point of the
second station with a pair of compasses having used the scale
to open them to the appropriate distance measured by the
chain and making adjustment for horizontal measure if neces-
sary. The protractor was then moved to this point, the second
angle calculated and the distance pricked and so on through
the course of the survey. The pin points were then circled
and joined and a rough draft of the plan emerged. If the
original survey and its protraction were less than exact, errors
of closure would occur such as the sides of the fields failing
to meet at the corners. Adjustment was made according to
set rules derived from the theory of errors.
The embellishment of plans was rarely elaborate. Some
large plans on paper were backed with heavy cloth and coat-
ed with a transparent liquid, to strengthen them for wall
mounting, as indicated by nail holes around their edges. The
eighteenth-century mode of producing fine atlases of estate
lands in bound volumes, common in Ireland and Scotland for
example, found few imitators. The seventeen volumes of
Dawkins Plantation Papers are the only example of this type
surviving in Jamaica,: containing many elegant plans and
numerous plats of the family's estates between 1660 and
1812, together with transcripts of deeds and plantation ac-
Any assessment of the accuracy and quality of the carto-
graphic work displayed by plans of Jamaican plantations
must be framed in terms of the aims and technical limitations

of the planmakers. Almost all of the plans were commissioned
for primarily utilitarian purposes. They were expected to re-
main in private hands rather than being designed for public-
ation. Certainly some plans were regarded as decorative ob-
jects, to be hung on the walls of absentees' English halls or in
Jamaican great houses, and many exhibited sufficient crafts-
manship and taste to take their place beside the portraiture,
landscape art and furniture of Georgian and early Victorian
Jamaica. Often, however, the plans were simply nailed up in
overseers' offices and regarded as useful tools of plantation
management rather than objects of graphic art.
The utilitarian origins of the plans mean that a premium
was placed on accuracy of representation and measurement.
Planmakers and surveyors could expect continued employ-
ment only if they provided reliable data useful to their plant-
er patrons. Tests of point-to-point distance measures suggest
a respectable level of overall reliability, but this does not
mean that all elements within the plantation were measure-
ed with an equal degree of accuracy and care. Above all,
planters were concerned about boundary lines and these were
confused considerably by failure to observe the true azi-
muth. But the precise orientation of the plan matters relative-
ly little for historical analysis of the internal land use pat-
terns of plantations so long as survey and protraction were
consistent. Planters paid the additional cost of surveying
each parcel of land within their plantations only because
they wanted precise information for land use management and
they expected a degree of accuracy similar to that obtained
for boundary lines.
However, certain features of plantation layout were more
important than others in the planters' land use planning and
hence were treated differently by surveyors and planmakers.
Fields planted in major export crops needed to be measured
and plotted more carefully than areas of woodland or ruin-
ate, for example, since the areas calculated for the former af-
fected estimates of yield, productivity and labour cost. Land
planted in provision crops by slaves in 'Negro grounds', on
the other hand, was of less concern to the planter and so re-
quired less accurate plotting. The same principle applied to
plantation buildings; works were the first buildings to be
measured carefully and plotted in plan, while precise measure-
ment of the location and dimensions of slaves' houses and
even great houses was less important and these buildings were
portrayed in perspective for a longer period. These examples
are sufficient to show that a blanket assessment of the 'ac-
curacy' of plantation maps may not be very useful. Rather, it
is necessary to consider the purpose of the plan in regard to
each of its elements and to recognize that precision in terms
of one set of features was not necessarily matched by pre-
cision in all others. With these qualifications in mind, the
estate plans in the National Library have much to tell us
about the development of the Jamaican landscape.


This article makes use of material published in chapter 3 of B.W. Hig-
man, Jamaica Surveyed: Plantation Maps and Plans of the Eighteenth
and Nineteenth Centuries (Institute of Jamaica Publications Limited,
forthcoming, 1988). The history of Jamaican land surveying and plan-
making is discussed in detail in that book, along with chapters that
investigate aspects of the social and economic organization of sugar
estates, coffee plantations, pimento and cotton plantations and live-
stock pens, as revealed by the plans, with special emphasis on houses,
gardens, grounds and mountains, and the post-Emancipation sub-
divioion and consolidation of plantations.

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Insight ... The Match that Lights the Fuse
By Gloria Escoffery

at the National Gallery

The force that through the green
fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts
the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the
crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same
wintry fever.
Dylan Thomas
The Force that through the Green
Fuse Drives the Flower
Where, in figurative art that tends
towards the monumental and the
sublime,does observation end and
vision begin? This is the question that
teases the mind of the critic confronted
with the works of an artist like Koren
der Harootian, Armenian sculptor, who,
in February this year, presented a col-
lection of ten drawings and watercolours
to the National Gallery of Jamaica.

Koren lived in Jamaica intermittently
between the years 1930 and 1944. The
ten unpretentious but important works
of the donation mainly cover the years
of his Jamaican sojourn, but there is
one drawing of 1970, a Study of Oedi-
pus, which is related to the mythologi-
cal sculptures of his middle period. Then
the selection is brought right up to date
with two quite different works repre-
senting both streams, the allegorical
European oeuvre and the Jamaican con-
nection. These are a watercolour of
Prometheus Bound (the study for a
bronze) and a Homage to the Rasta
Man 1988 executed in pastel.
Apart from the aesthetic quality of
these works, they are of inestimable
value as archival documents of the
period of intellectual fervour which pre-
ceded our cultural and national awaken-
ing in the late thirties, flowing into the
World War Two era, in which many of
our first generation indigenous artists
were beginning to emerge. The earliest

Koren. Portrait of Miss Joseph, 1933. Watercolour. 23x15".


of the drawings, a watercolour dated
1930, depicts a bandana coiffed woman
seated in front of her rural hut and
clasping the end of a length of sugar
cane symbolic no doubt of her mea-
ger livelihood. This study was made
soon after Koren's arrival in Jamaica,
seven years after Edna Manley had dis-
covered and immortalised the humble
beadseller, and five years before her
landmark carving, Negro Aroused_ Koren
was only twenty-one when he made the
watercolour, and the drawing of the wo-
man's hands is somewhat clumsy, but
she is majestically ensconced in a setting
of foliage and the lines on her face tell
of long endurance. It is evident that the
artist's insight, his premonitory instinct,
has zeroed in on something more signi-
ficant than local colour.
The collection includes two draw-
ings of special interest as early portraits
of figures associated with the formative
years of our national culture. There is
an undated pencil drawing of a very
boyish looking Albert Huie, not so
sharply characterized as to be instantly
recognized as 'father to the man' we
know in 1988. Koren's comments on
each work have been published in the
National Gallery catalogue of the dona-
tion. Of Huie he says, 'Albert Huie had
been a student of mine. I recognized
at once his natural instinctive talent. It
is most gratifying to know he has crea-
ted so much brilliant work.' This re-
minds us of Koren's influence as a
teacher. He not only opened a private
gallery in downtown Kingston; at his
home in Barbican he established the
Koren Art School; there he tutored,
among others, the late Ralph Camp-
bell and Dorothy Henriques Wells. I do
not know whether the late Leslie Clerk
was one of his pupils but the monumen-
tal sculpture exhibited by that artist at
Institute of Jamaica annual shows in the
fifties and sixties suggests that he may
have started out as a disciple of Koren.1
When Koren left Jamaica he took with
him forty-six sculptures, leaving as
exemplars for a generation of young
artists, who for some time had no op-
portunity for formal art training, those
two elegant, edge shaded drawings of a
male model and one of a male and fe-
male that had been acquired by the
Institute and were later to pass into
our national collection. Alvin Marriott,
by seven years Koren's senior, may or
may not have come under the influence
of his precocious talent; if not, Marriott's
early mannerist sculptures suggest that

'-I- _;; bkL I





he either absorbed the lesson of those
Koren drawings at the Institute or him-
self came under the spell of the same
contemporary stylistic trends.
The other historic drawing, which
balances the Huie by referring to the in-
stitutional side of our cultural establish-
ment, is a charcoal portrait of Delves
Molesworth, aesthetically motivated
Curator of the Institute,and a friend of
Koren. Unlike the Huie drawing, which
appears somewhat forced in its emphasis
on individual features, this rapid sketch
'captures' the total personality of the
subject. Molesworth is depicted immer-
sed in the book he is reading -a surpri-
singly boyish administrator with every
ounce of acute intelligence focused on
the occupation of the moment. It is this
draftsman's sleight of hand that is
responsible for the immediacy of the
drawing, also in charcoal, which re-
mains for me the highlight of the Koren
donation the 1940 Sleeping Man
(Jamaican East Indian). How brilliant-
ly that taut little finger jutting out from
the hand beneath the man's head com-
pletes the picture of slumbering male
The two poles within which the young
Koren moved were this split second per-
ception of living human beings and a
search for sublimity by way of formal
simplification. At times the impulse to-
wards stylization remained at this stage
of his development fixated in art noveau
cliche, as in the wavy lines used to deco-
rate the mane of his 1944 Head of a
Racehorse. This water colour, he tells us,

was created from imagination after he
had completed a commissioned oil por-
trait of Major Blackwell's famous
Brown Bomber. The symbolic element
here links Koren, of course, with his
friend and, surely to some extent, rival,
Edna Manley, whose masterpiece, Horse
of the Morning, had been exhibited the
previous year. Small wonder that these
two volatile spirits, one from Armenia
via the United States, the other from
England, should have selected the
thoroughbred as an emblem of libera-
tion from the pressures of life sur-
rounded by a provincial, materialistic
middle class.
I leave to art historians the disentan-
gling of possible derivations and influen-
ces on each side. Edna Manley was by
nine years Koren's senior, already hav-
ing established connection with London
galleries by the time he came to Jam-
aica.2 Still his was a precocious talent.
Koren tells me that shortly after he ar-
rived he left a group of paintings to be
photographed by Mr Elliott of the well
known firm Cleary and Elliott. Edna
Manley saw them and promptly invited
him to visit. For a time they shared a
studio hers. It was Norman Manley
who arranged their joint exhibition at
the Mutual Life Assurance Building in
1931, the first for both artists in Jam-
aica. She showed six sculptures and he
contributed drawings and paintings.
There is only one reference to Koren in
Wayne Brown's biography of Edna
Manley, but it is an interesting one,
giving a clue to the cordial relations

Koren. Sleeping Man, 1940. Charcoal. 13x 19"

Portrait of Koren
Koren enjoyed with the Manley family
during his early days in Jamaica.3 Ap-
parently it was Koren who served as *
model or prototype for the figure of
the detached artist playing a flute and
'related to nobody else' in her Have-
lock Ellis inspired carving titled Dance,
implying Dance of Life. This work was
exhibited in the joint Mutual Life show.
It must be remembered that Koren
started out as a painter, not a sculptor.
In the United States he had exhibited
his Cape Cod paintings and been quite
successful in earning a living from sell-
ing them. It was the challenge of Jam-
aican hardwoods, which he must have
been introduced to in Edna Manley's
studio, that channelled his efforts into
carving. Modelling never interested him.
He carved direct into the wood, without
even a preliminary drawing on the block.
His early sculptures were exhibited at
the Institute of Jamaica in 1938 and
later that year in a solo exhibition at the
Mutual Life building.
The metropolis of Kingston was not
entirely a cultural desert in those days.
There were to be found such kindred
spirits as the Manleys' friend, Leslie
Clerk; also photographer Denis Gick and
furniture designer Burnett Webster, with
whom Koren mounted a show in 1935.
The chief promoters of art as a neces-
sary component of civilized life were
ladies of refined taste, leisure and/or
means, most of them with their roots
in Europe. One thinks of a Danish lady
named (I think) Lisa Hoffman Bang,
who did beautiful work in tortoiseshell,

and of Marjorie Foster Davis, who intro-
duced Edna Manley's avant garde work
to a largely philistine public. Indeed, in
the forties, Albert Huie's parish of ad-
mirers extended out of Kingston and St
Andrew to the hinterland of St Ann.
Koren enjoyed the friendship in parti-
cular of one lady of discriminating taste
and strong character judging by the
portrait he made of her in 1933. It is fit-
ting that Miss Joseph should take her
place in our national collection along
with her unidentified sister of the cane-

fields. The spirit of this kind lady shines
from the limpid watercolour which is,
incidentally, a beautiful period piece of
Jamaican drawing room society of the
day.4 Nine years later Koren painted
the portrait of another lady, Miss Simms.
Donated by Mr Henry Simms to the
National Gallery in 1982, this portrait
in oils has recently been extensively re-
stored by the artist and now hangs
alongside the works in the Koren dona-
tion. One has the impression that it was
more of a conventional society portrait

Koren. Head of Racehorse, 1944. Watercolour. 28 x 20"

than Miss Joseph; the artist was primarily
interested in creating a striking com-
position, using flat areas of colour and
an acid, but attractive palette. It is the
only specimen of Koren's work in oils
in the national collection.
The Koren donation is interesting
and valuable, but at every turn of
thought tantalizing because so many
aspects of his oeuvre are missing. It was
the beauty of the Jamaican landscape
as well as her multiracial inhabitants
that fascinated Koren. Indeed, it was
the promise of an exotic tropical set-
ting that had first brought him here, on
the invitation of a Jamaican fellow
member of an art class in the United
States. For a short time after the open-
ing of the 1922-1982 collection at the
National Gallery, among the many
works on loan was a Koren landscape
from the Edna Manley collection. It is
no longer on view and one wonders
where, at present, are all those land-
scapes which were acquired by Jamaican
friends in the early days? Let us hope
that at least one will eventually find its
way into the national collection. Mean-
while it is interesting to speculate on
the pictorial idiom Koren chose for re-
cording our flora and fauna. I imagine
that the works must have been very
decorative, with an art nouveau embel-
lishment of rhythmic curves and flour-
ishes.5 Distinctly not in line with the
landscapes being produced locally at the
time, which consisted of spinsterish
watercolours or more ambitious realistic
scenes in oils by or in the style of John
Wood, an English artist who, like Koren,
lived for a while at Gordon Town and
gave art lessons.
In discovering new techniques and
inventing tools for coping with such
tough woods as lignum vitae and eucalyp-
tus, Koren was an ingenious innovator.
To him the whole experience of Ja-
maica was an adventure. His livelihood
was precarious and he turned his hand
to a variety of commissions. On one oc-
casion his wife" was in despair because
they were in a real financial bind; he
went for a stroll and fortuitously en-
countered a local Croesus who was seek-
ing him out to make a copy in oils of a
photograph of a member of his family.
He tells the story of how he came to
acquire an entire tree a dry one -
given to him on condition that he
would chop it down and remove it.
Koren dug six feet beneath ground
level and brought up the roots intact.
This tree provided him with material

for five sculptures-and a table, which
by process of barter helped pay for his
passage when he left Jamaica in 1944
on a Webster Line boat bound for Flor-
ida. Those forty-six sculptures he took
with him mostly wood carvings but
including at least one in 'Jamaican
stone' were to establish his name
when he exhibited them at the Kraushaar
Gallery in New York in 1945. His early
American solo show at the Worcester
Art Museum Galleryin 1932hadincluded
only paintings and drawings. If only the
present owner of one of those Jamaican
carvings would reflect on how happy his
or her piece would feel to be back in its
native land and act with appropriate

In 1946 the magazine American Artist
featured Koren in an article titled 'Der
Harootian, prophet of man and his eter-

nal battle against evil'. The writer, Doro-
thy Grafly, admired the movement in
his groups of figures, and was particular-
ly impressed by his heads, which she
described as 'possessing primitive sym-
bolic feelings'. In Thinker in 'Spanish
green stone' obviously Jamaican in
inspiration even if executed in New
York, is 'elemental man not the high-
ly bred modern sophisticate, but a primi-
tive, just emerging from unthinking
survival in the cave-man era to grope
mentally towards problems sensed ra-
ther than understood. Yet one feels that
in such a work Der Harootian is really
offering a satire on man of today, a
creature not yet fully awake to the im-
plications of his own experience'. Ko-
ren's gorilla, carved in mahogany, and
based, the author tells us, on studies
made in the London Zoo, is no more
a straightforward animal portrait than

Koren. Homage to the Rasta Man, 1988. Pastel. 26 x 22".

was Edna Manley's Ape of 1922, or for
that matter Picasso's Gorilla with Young
of 1951. Darwinian inspired ideas of
man's links with the animal kingdom
had long become commonplace in art.
In the World War Two era, pessimism
about man intensified, and artists tend-
ed to play back the evolutionary con-
nection, stressing man's role as alter-
natively the perpetrator or victim of evil
impulses. Koren's gorilla standing four-
square with its huge arms interlocked
over its rather pathetic head, gives the
impression of a frustrated mongoloid
creature aware that it is locked into a
destiny of arrested development. Ser-
pents as traditional emblems of evil
were a recurrent motif in works of this
period and later. In Death to Evil,
Suffering Mankind and Struggle for Life
they tended, according to the American
Artist critic, to encumber the limbs of
upward striving man. It was not in
Koren's nature to be entirely pessimistic.
As Dorothy Grafly neatly puts it, 'He
had the faculty of implying hope while
portraying conflict.'
In Jamaica Koren had witnessed the
slow awakening of the colonial underclass
and this must have inspired his beauti-
ful Jamaican stone carving Man of Sor-
row. He had also'fesponded sympatheti-
cally.to the unquenchable, joyful side of
Jamaican folk culture, as exemplified,
for instance, in the Revivalist rituals con-
ducted by his Gordon Town neighbours,
Brother Levi and Sister Shan. At his
mountainside shack he and his first wife
enjoyed a simple, rugged life not so very
different from the life of Jamaicans in
the lower income category. He tells an
interesting story of how he acquired
tenancy of this property on a ninety-nine
year lease and built his house himself,
using materials purchased from members
of a German (Nazi) colony of nudists
which had been established in Spanish
Town. They had pulled up stakes at the
outbreak of World War Two. Koren pur-
chased all the dwellings in the colony at
a bargain price, and made use of the
transportable materials. When he left
Jamaica he sold his house to an elderly
English couple.
Koren studied the rhythmic move-
ments of Jamaicans and allowed his im-
pressions to percolate in his imagination.
Years later, when contemplating the de-
sign for a monument to the heroic people
of Leningrad (predating in an early
version Zadkine's monument in Rot-
terdam) it was the gesture of a Jamaican
man getting off a tram car that flashed

through his mind as a focal motif. Today
a world traveller, Koren still seeks inspi-
ration from working class people. Re-
cently, on vacation in Portugal, he
watched the fishermen and thought how
appropriate it would be to immortalize
their fortitude in a monument for that
nation. His 1988 portrayal of a Ja-
maican Rasta Man, though sensitively
particularized, represents a concept
which may well develop, who knows,
into a full fledged national monument.
Let us hope so. I have sidestepped the
word 'portrait' because this pastel work
may well have been produced from

imagination or memory rather than
from a model.
This truly remarkable man, now in
his seventy-eighth year, is about to com-
plete a gigantic Monument to Peace,
destined for a site in Moscow. The car-
toon was submitted to Gorbachev,
whom Koren regards as a hero of our
times. The Russian leader cut through
some of the bureaucratic red tape to ex-
pedite the commission, arranging for the
artist to produce a maquette which
would be displayed where the people of
Moscow could vote on it, by register-
ing their comments in a book. The

Koren. Prometheus Bound, 1988
Watercolour. 30x 22". Study for a bronze.

response was entirely favourable, so
Koren's next task is to execute the over
thirty-foot monument in bronze. This
he intends to do without technical
assistance, using processes he himself
has developed. He believes that artists
are honour bound to complete their
works through every stage without the
help of assistants. Every one of his
works is unique. If he produces a limit-
ed edition in bronze, as for instance
the Genocide, one version of which is in
New York, he introduces slight varia-
tions in each version.
Koren the man might be taken for a
hale and tough sixty or sixty-five. Small
of stature, he carries erect a sculptur-
esque head, with a mane of hair and pro-
minent features which oddly twin him
with our National Hero Sir Alexander
Bustamante. There is something more
self contained and introspective about
him though evidence of years of dis-
ciplined devotion to his art. His second
wife accompanies him everywhere and
watches over him assiduously as guard-
ian to his genius. Koren's eyes light up
when he speaks of his roots in an-
cient Armenia, first Christian nation
in the world and possessor of a remark-
able artistic culture in the decoration
of its churches. His monumental sculp-
tures are to be seen in many cities and
he is represented in some fifteen mu-
seums in the USSR, Europe and North
America, including the Pushkin Museum
and the American museum where, as a
boy, he first became aware of the visual
arts and decided to abandon his study
of the violin the Worcester (Massa-
chusetts) Art Museum and Gallery.
To see the bulk of his works, how-
ever, one must go to Armenia, now the
Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia,
where the Etchmiadzin Museum proud-
ly displays a representative collection of
his life's work. Perhaps his most famous
work is the 1985 Monument to the
Fatherland of Armenia. Koren's un-
remitting struggle for the reunification of
ethnic Armenia, including the territory
annexed by Turkey, has made him a liv-
ing hero in his native land. For this
loyalty he has also been honoured by
Gorbachev, along with two native Ar-
menians living in Paris. He was award-
ed the Gorbachev medal for humanitar-
ianism. Armenian by birth and a natural-
ized American with honorary citizen-
ship of the USSR, Great Britain and,
of course, Jamaica he sees himself
as the living embodiment of the peace-
ful internationalism which it may be

possible to achieve through art.
It is impossible here to give a full
account of Koren's career and oeuvre.
Readers may look him up in the En-
cyclopedia Britannica. Or wait for the
exhaustive monograph currently being
prepared in the USSR; this will be pub-
lished local booksellers, please note -
in an English language edition as well
as Armenian and Russian. Some brief
mention must, however, be made of his
early life, which is so pertinent to the
way he saw Jamaican society in the
thirties and, in his work, contributed
to the ideas which underwrote our
emergence as a nation.
As a young child, Koren was swept
into the maelstrom of the tragic geno-
cide of the Armenians by the Turks. He
saw his father and brother killed, and
was lucky to escape with his mother and
the other children to the hills, where
they were sheltered by Kurds. Later,
when he was about twelve years old, he
joined his mother as an immigrant in
the United States. Life was hard for
him, catching up with his schooling in a

foreign language while operating a paper
route, but he was bright and talented -
and purposeful. Various awards and
scholarships carried him, via Worces-
ter Art Museum evening art classes, to
the rather harsh tuition offered by the
National Academy of Fine Arts in New
York. He was a shy student, he says,
and unexpectedly insensitive criticism
caused him to leave this institution
abruptly and prematurely. Then came
his stint in Cape Cod, leading to the so-
journ in Jamaica. He was in England
when Word War Two caught up with
him. It is not difficult to understand
Koren's life long commitment to the
humanitarian values of pacifism and

The poet Archibald MacLeish, writ-
ing about the public poetry of W.B.
Yeats, has satirically anticipated the
crisis in modern sensibility which has
created a cynicism too deep, perhaps, to
be penetrated by idealists like Koren.
'There is always an outdoor war to go to
in our time or a huge political death in
the sky or a revolution down at the cor-

Seya Parboosingh. My Mother Looks at Me. Acrylic.

ner of a couple of continents or a march
past of Great Decisions dressed up as
elephants in scarlet words or a band
concert of mortal trumpets and drums
from over every horizon on earth.' The
article in which these words appeared
was published in 1960.8 By now the
scarlet words have paled to off-white.
Our satellite-informed inhabitants of
today's global village react to atrocities
without so much as the flicker of an
eyelid. Most of us in Jamaica are too
busy to look at monuments; we are rush-
ing to get to the supermarket before, or
in case, it closes.

at the Frame Centre

I am becoming my mother
brown/yellow woman
fingers smelling always of onions.
Lorna Goodison
I am Becoming my Mother

My mother's womb impulsed
harvests perpetually. She
deeply breathed country air
when she laboured me.
Olive Senior
Ancestral Poem

Some of the best poems to come out
of Jamaica in recent years have been by
women obsessed with emotional links
between mothers and daughters, the
foundations of a preeminently matri-
archal culture. In the visual arts the
chief proponent of this viewpoint has
been a poet/painter, not a native Ja-
maican but adopted into our culture by
marriage to a Jamaican artist Seya
Parboosingh. She no longer lives in Jam-
aica but recently came for a visit bring-
ing works for a retrospective exhibition.
There is today, in fact, a vigorousfeminist
splinter of the art movement which
counts among its members an ever grow-
ing number of locals, residents and regu-
lar visitors. Specifically feminine themes
of an introspective nature as well as
more general themes explored from a
woman's point of view are very much to
the fore, but in my opinion the trendy
'feminine mystique' as such has pro-
duced nothing of the outstanding qual-
ity compared with the poetry. Perhaps
the crop is too abundant for the great
works to be easily winnowed out.
'More power to the ladies.' This male
chauvinist (?) word of encouragement
caught my eye in the visitors' book the
day I dropped in to see the annual wo-

men's show at the Frame Centre, 'Wo-
men in Art'. The Frame Centre had as-
sembled all of twenty-nine individual
artists should I borrow the word 'ar-
tistes' from the entertainment scene? -
and craftswomen, including a collective
which contributed a damask quilt. Over
on the north coast there is a parallel
flowering. Since the opening of the
87-88 tourist season, Harmony Hall du-
plicating only one name from the Frame
Centre roster, has featured four women
artists who are established best sellers;
Dawn Scott, Lisa Remeny, Rita Genet
and Susan Shirley. Behold in the midst
of that bouquet our perennially gallant
thorn among the roses, Albert Huie,
also a best seller. Clearly the galleries are
cashing in on a public taste, local and
foreign, for women's art.
It appears, however, as if what the
public demands as a counterweight to
all this feminine creativeness, which
goes rather overboard in its departure
from traditional media by breaking out
into pictorial batik or devising expres-
sive uses for woven fabrics, is a solid
ballast of masculine conservatism. The
obvious antithesis to a Seya Parboo-
singh retrospective at the Mutual Life
Gallery, must be a large scale exposi-
tion of Barrington Watson at the Con-
temporary Art Centre. Not having
been invited to the opening of the lat-
ter, I only heard about it by chance
while making my rounds of the galleries.
Country bumpkin that I am, I was un-
able by then to fit it into my day's itin-
erary. The opinions I heard expressed
suggest that it fully lived up to expect-
ations. At the Women's show the reali-
zation hit me that the influential pat-
ron of art in Jamaica today is not the
male chairman of a corporation but his
professional decorator; or the top wo-
man executive selecting something
'stoosh' for the board-room of her own
company, or picking up some little
thing with the right colour accents to
hang over the 'antique' whatnot in
her Jamaican equivalent of a Dallas
penthouse suite. Of course her taste will
not be restricted to what she sees in
women's shows. Certain male artists are
de rigeur because of the cachet of their
names. As'subject matter', nonlibidinous
- or libidinous female nudes may be
top favourite so long as they convey the
right impression of leisure unlimited.
The avant-garde patroness may find it
amusing to encourage the persistent
naughtiness of Milton George, or shock
herself by the purchase of the latest

'African'. It is time for me to be al-
together serious.9
From the days of Vera Alabaster to
the present, there has been an unbroken
line of women artists specialising in por-
traiture. The chronological leader among
current exhibitors is Judy Ann Mac-
Millan, who I believe studied under
Barry Watson perhaps also Albert
Huie. Next in succession came Samere
Tansley from England and Angela
Staples from Trinidad. After a while
MacMillan became fascinated with the
drama of white garments contrasted
with dark skins. Tansley followed suit,
going one better as she explored the
possibility of white napery, white lilies
and complementary effects with fruit of
seductively dark patina. Meanwhile, new-
comer Staples developed a type of super-
realistic characterization by environ-
ment. Tansley's environments with still
life were emotionally tuned to suggest
spiritual aspiration of the young women
portrayed. Staples placed them in inti-
mate interiors which gave a clue to their
personal life style.
In the Women's show, both Tansley
and Staples have gone enthusiastically
plein air, in large canvases which allow
space for a veritable frolic of sunshine
in Nature's bountiful stage set. Tansley's
dreaming Marva tells more of a personal
story than Staples' young woman, who
is dwarfed by a commanding mountain
landscape, (Hills from Newcastle). Mac-
Millan, meanwhile, belittles by non-
definition the material substance of fur-
niture and environment, staking all on
the psychological intensity of the head
of her careworn elderly model, Ruby,
depicted half-lying in a chair or chaise-
There are variants in this focus on a
specifically woman's world: pure genre,
for instance, as in Anna Maria Hendriks'
Shelling Peas; balletic gesture as in
Susan Alexander's Seekers and Opinions.
Abstruse symbolism strongly takes over
when the ritual is abstracted, as in
Rachel Fearing's The Anointing.
Truly enterprising feminists find in-
spiration everywhere in actuality and
in their own imaginings. Judith Salmon's
sultry still-life of womb-like pots is ap-
propriately titled Nature's Cycles.
Sometimes the concept, which tends to
be expressed in titles such as Nature's
Dance, Lois Sherwood; Thoughts of
Emeralds, Ann Ventura; and Inside my
World, Petrona Morrison, outruns its
realization in formal terms. I was re-

lived to turn from Kay Anderson's My
Soul Set Free to her very literal trans-
cription of the idea illustrated by an
open Book of Life a title incident-
ally very close to Seya Parboosingh's
An Open Book at the Mutual Life Gal-
There is a somewhat different strain
of fantasy running through women's
art in Jamaica today one that is dis-
tinctly illustrative and, in the fairy-tale
worlds of Irise and Alison West, also
somehow very English. Irise in a more
genre-motivated approach than usual,
offers a charming illustration of mater-
nal solicitude Jamaican style in
Baby de Sleep. West's cactus inhabited
Hellshire, interesting as design, has a
theatrical quality which diminishes the
effect of awe-inspiring desolation one
feels it was intended to convey. Rita
Genet's Morning Scene is pretty, but
too 'cute' for my taste; it lacks the bite
of genuinely intuitive works created

Seya Parboosingh. Love Looks Down. Acrylic.

out of emotional necessity, which gain
in interest from the very 'blunders' of
over-emphasis that the bland decorator
avoids. Laura Facey's metaphorical
Paper Gods is on an altogether higher
plane of seriousness, but the impact of
her ultramarine background here is
less powerful than it originally was.

One area of specialization captured
by two women exhibiting in Jamaica -
neither of them Jamaican born or train-
ed is minute representation of tex-
tures. What trained architect Susan
Shirley concurrently showing at Har-
mony Hall does for Jamaican build-
ings, grand and humble, June Bellew
does for our flora and fauna. Hers is per-
haps the more romantic vision. Here she
shows three sensitive impressions of for-
ests and mountains, the most subjective,
moving away from her familiar linear
style, being the one titled Cinchona

at the Mutual Life Gallery
Such essentially descriptive works are
the antithesis of Seya Parboosingh's ma-
ture expressionism, represented in the
Women's show by two deceptively
simple compositions titled Pastel Stripes
and Sailing colour exercises in which
the artist has finally thrown off obses-
sion with the child as subject and allow-
ed her sophisticated intellect free play
in objectivizing the naive viewpoint.
Pastel Stripes is no perceptual conun-
drum 'a la Bridget Riley, mind you, but
essentially a mood picture, in which a
subtle sequence of colours is used to
create the mood. In Sailing, she has cun-
ningly left three-quarters of the canvas
bare in order to focus attention on that
high sunset-tinted horizon line where
the sailboat teeters thus providing
a valid moment of suspense for those of
us who prefer to watch the sport from
the shore.10



r smiRNOPPfr-i

i '
.I i



It was impossible at the Mutual Life
Gallery to check the chronology of
forty acrylic and oil paintings rather too
densely assembled for comfort. Has
there, one wonders, been a consistent
line of development in the direction
of greater abstraction? Some of the
works, in more fluid washes, with less
calligraphic demarcation of colour areas,
appear to be later than others painted
in saturated primary colours with deep-
er impasto, suggesting multiple layers
of worked over effects. As to subject
matter there may or may not have been
a move away from obsession with claus-
trophobic predominantly feminine rela-
tionships sister with sister, mother
with daughter as in that formidable and
truly terrifying confrontation of two
huge almost identical profiled heads in
the painting titled My Mother Looks at
Me. Seya's world is one of self con-
scious intimacy in which everyone is
either watcher or watched. The Chag-
allian lovers in Love Looks Down
have, one uncomfortably feels, no
escape from that persona of Love in
the over-arching sky. There are many
'portrayals' of individuals or groups,
most of them directing the viewer's
attention to some loved or desired ob-
ject ice cream or a birthday cake, or a
group of treasured plants. These ob-
jects may incidentally serve to provide a
strong compositional focus, counter-
acting the effect of frontally posed sub-
jects looking out at the spectator. In
Woman with Hens, the loved object is so
minimally sketched in as to suggest the
moral that possessive love tends to dis-
regard and diminish the object on which
it is lavished. One of the most interest-
ing portrayals is Helen at the Piano.
Here the motifs of piano keys and sheet
music notes have been successfully wo-
ven into the abstract configuration.
Seya also turns her attention to land-
scape, in expressionist renderings of
specific places, as in Silo and Farm and
Overlooking Allentown. I have the im-
pression that she gets more, and gives
more, when dealing with still life ar-
rangements, disposed to suit her per-
sonal sense of order. In White Flowers
and Flowers and Pot, the inner geometry
of her most disciplined and best com-
positions appear to advantage. In these
paintings the favoured high horizon of
Sailing encourages the viewer to stand
on tiptoe, as it were, in order to enjoy
the flowering forms. Seya Parboosingh
is, above all, a sensitive and remark-
able colourist. Whether using fluid wash-

es or impasto, saturated primary colours
or tints in which a tiny rectangle of
baby blue can be an event, she pro-
duces colour compositions that tease
and delight the attentive viewer.

1. See Leslie Clerk's 1950 Thinker -
collection of the artist's family; on ex-
tended loan to the National Gallery.
Leslie Clerk passed on his avocation as
sculptor to his daughter Dorothy
Payne who, however, was more direct-
ly influenced by Edna Manley under
whom she studied.
2. It was Edna Manley who encouraged
Koren to go to London where she al-
ready had contacts with galleries.
Koren lived in England for three years
in the late thirties and exhibited at the
Zwemmer, Leicester and Gouptil Gal-
leries sharing the limelight with such
artists as Henry Moore, Picasso and
3. Wayne Brown Edna Manley: the priv-
ate years. 1900-1938. London. Andre
Deutsch. 1975.
4. Koren comments: 'Miss Joseph was a
dear friend. The beauty of her soul illu-
minated my life . as clear and con-
stant to this day, and will be for ever.'
5. A similar period influence flowed
through the works of Carl Abrahams
and was an important factor in form-
ing his mature style.
6. Koren brought his first wife with him
when he returned to Jamaica in 1939.
She died in 1943.
7. Man of Sorrows illustrated in the
article referred to in the next para-
graph, a publication of Watson Gouptil.
8. Archibald MacLeish, Poetry and Ex-
perience. London; Penguin Books.
9. For previous reviews relating to wo-
men's art see Jamaica Journal 16:2,
18:1,18:2, 18:3.
10. As a poet in the American tradition,
Seya Parboosingh may have had in
mind Elizabeth Bishop's poem Large
Bad Picture which describes a great-
uncle's painting of ships against a
'flushed still sky'. There are many
differences, of course, but the pale
blue cliffs 'hundreds of feet high' and
the suggestion of naive vision carrying
powerful emotional communication do
suggest an associative link. Elizabeth
Bishop also wrote a Song in which she
regrets the passing of 'The pleasure
yacht, the social being that danced on
the endless polished floor/stepped and
side-stepped like Fred Astaire'. Her
yacht has been replaced by 'rusty sided
lar art reviewer, is artist, poet, journalist
and teacher and lives in Browns Town,
St Ann.

Jamaica's national cultural institution was
founded in 1879. Its main functions are to
foster and encourage the development of
culture science and history in the national
interest IT operates as a statutory body un-
der the Instituie of Jamaica Act. 1978 and
falls under the porrfolo of the Prime
The Insrluie's central dec.sion-making body
is the Council which is appointed by the
Minister The Counci consists of .nd..iduals
involved .n ar;ous aspects of Jamaica's
cultural I.fe appointed ,n their own right,
and representatives of major cultural
organizations and institutions.
The Institute of Jamaica consists of a central
administration and a number of divisions
and associate bodies operating with varying
degrees of autonomy.
Chiman: Hon Hector Wyntr, O.J.
Executive Director: Bevley Il-Aleyne
Deputy Director: Dexta Manning
Central Administration
12-16 East Street, Kingston Tel: 92-20620
African Caribbean Institute (ACIJ)
Roy West Building, 12 Ocean Blvd.
Kingston Mall Tel: 92-24793
Cultural Training Centre,
1 Arthur Wint Drive, Kgn. 5. Tel: 92-92350-3
The Edna Manley School for the Visual Arts
School of Dance
School of Drama
School of Music

Institute of Jamaica Publications Ltd.
(Jamaica Journal)
2A Suthermere Road, Kingston 10
Tel: 92-94785/94786/68817

Junior Centre
19 East Streeet, Kingston Tel: 92-20620

Head Office
12-16 East Street, Kingston Tel: 92-20620
National Museum of Historical
Archaeology, Port Royal Tel: 98-42452
Fort Charles Maritime Museum
Port Royal
Arawak Museum
White Marl
Military Museum
Up Park Camp, 3rd GR Compound
Jamaica Peoples Museum of Craft
and Technology
Spanish Town Square Tel: 98-42452
Old Kings House Archaeological Museum
Spanish Town Square Tel: 98-42452

National Gallery of Jamaica
Roy West Building, Ocean Boulevard,
Kingston Mall Tel: 92-28541

Natural History Library and
12-16 East Street, Kingston Tel: 92-20620

National Library of Jamaica
12-16 East Street, Kingston Tel: 92-20620



7" A r^ t-: ZEM
*- ,. A "-
, l db,. c_ -

Producing Bauxite and Alumina, Restoring Lands for
Farming and Protecting the Environment
For years, Alcan researchers have weighed the "pros" and "cons" of alternative disposal methods for red mud the
by-product of alumina processing. In 1981 a variation of the dehydration process was chosen for Ewarton Works
because of its non-polluting characteristics. In this capital-intensive, U.S. $25 million dollar project, red mud is
thickened and the resulting slurry pumped to a disposal area for drying. Dried in sunlight, red mud does not
re-slurry in rainfall, and can even be used as land-fill.
Restoring mined-out bauxite land to productive use is another area of concern at Alcan. Over the years,
the Company has diligently carried out its responsibility for the restoration of mined-out-lands -
for use as pastures for cattle, and other productive activities.
At Alcan, concern for the environment is something we
take very seriously.

Alcan Jamaica Company II
A Division of Alcan Aluminium Limited (Inc. in Canada) A N '
Quietly Achieving Important Goals
A member of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica

A Symbol of
Headquarters of the
Shell Companies
Commitment H t
The Shell Companies .
and Jamaica-
Going well together.
Our headquarters building stands as a
symbol of our continuing commitment
to the people of Jamaica.
Shell remains an elder statesman of
industry in Jamaica, but is still a
pioneer, committed to participating in
Jamaica's future.

e I
Shell Chemicals Jamaica Limited .

p11 a15rM 1
rC~S J4


The 1987 JAMI Awards

By Pamela O'Gorman

M arch 1988 was a month in which
music and the fine arts received
an unusual amount of public
attention music as a result of the 1987
Jamaica Music Industry Awards which

took place on 27 February, art as the
result of a seminar run by the National
Gallery entitled 'The Crisis in Criticism',
held on 2 February. Seldom have so
many column inches of the Daily

Gleaner been devoted to these two art
forms, not only by regular columnists
but by people from all walks of life who
expressed their opinions forcibly through
the correspondence columns.
Unfortunately the fine arts debate
left little to ponder about on the subject
of art: which proved the clearest justifi-
cation for holding the seminar in the
first place. The JAM I event attracted
criticism from all quarters, to an extent
which must have left the organizers reel-
ing especially after the unqualified
success of the previous year's Awards
Ceremony. It stirred up public opinion
on music to an unprecedented degree,
and resulted in some valuable questions
being raised about the music industry as
it exists today.
One insightful member of the music
profession commented, 'Whichever way
dem turn macca gwine jook dem',
which really tells us more about the
music profession than it does about the
JAMI Awards organization.

But let us begin at the beginning.
The first (1986) JAMI Awards cere-
mony took place early in 1987. Con-
ceived by Tony Gambrill of the advertis-
ing firm of CGR Communications Limit-
ed, it was and still is sponsored by
three of the most powerful entities in
local advertising Desnoes and Geddes
Ltd., Radio Jamaica and the Television
section of the Jamaica Broadcasting
Corporation. Its format owes much to
the Grammy Awards of the USA but
its aims are stated clearly and simply in
local terms:
a) To encourage and recognize excel-
lence in Jamaican music;
b) To nurture and support the devel-
opment of the Jamaican music in-
That industry includes Folk, Gospel,
Classical, Jazz and Popular Music. In the
1987 Awards, a new category, 'Music
in Theatre' meaning original music

Sophia George Best Female Vocalist.


Left: Lieutenant Stitchie performs. He was a double winner at the JAMI Awards for Best
Single Recording Artist and Best Music Video. Right: Freddie McGregor receives the award for
Best Produced Album (for Freddie McGregor).

composed for the theatre was added.
No doubt others will appear in the
The JAMI organizing committee re-
lied heavily on the advice of local pro-
fessional musicians, musical experts and
technologists and others associated with
the industry with regard to the guide-
lines used for making awards. These in-
cluded identifying different classes of
nominees in each category, devising
methods of judging and setting down
criteria of judgement.
The first (1986) Awards Ceremony
passed with remarkably few dissenting
voices. Almost everybody agreed that
the JAMI Awards would lead to higher
standards of performance and would
give musicians an incentive to think
above the level of mere payment for ser-
vices rendered (though, in my experi-
ence, the best artistes always consider
their own personal standards more im-
portant than money). Clearly the mar-
riage between the music profession and
a prestigious award-making body was a
happy one.

But by the time the couple ap-
peared in public this year, the honey-
moon was obviously over. Nothing that
JAMI did seemed to please: the wrong
people were given awards, the right
people were not, there were not enough
categories, there were too many cate-
gories, the production of the ceremony
was bad, the method of issuing tickets
to artistes was inept, the MC said the
wrong things, too many award-winners
were absent, the wrong people were
chosen to accept awards, . and so it
went on. To cap it all, JAMI was casti-
gated by one musician/columnist for the
fact that an eminent singer, Archie
Lewis, was 'allowed to die right here in
the University Hospital without recog-
nition from either JAMI or the JFM'.
Was JAMI being used as a whipping
post like so many other public insti-
tutions for relieving personal frustra-
tion or salving bruised egos? Was the
music profession biting the hand that
wanted to feed it? Was JAMI indeed as
incompetent as some writers claimed?
Or was the whole affair really an indict-

ment of the music profession itself?
Let us look first at the methods of
Methods of Judging
According to JAMI, judging in all
categories except Popular Music is done
by panels of experts 'chosen for their
knowledge of and exposure to the parti-
cular type of music'.
There are problems, however, which
arise not so much from the method of
judging, which I doubt could be better-
ed, but from the one fundamental basis
on which JAMI differs from GRAMMY.
As its name implies, the GRAMMY
award is given for a musicgram a re-
cord, tape or video which exists in a
permanent form and which can be play-
ed over and over, evaluated and com-
pared with others.
JAMI Awards include live perform-
ances which may be heard once and
thereafter exist only in the memory.
Furthermore, there is no guarantee that
every member of a panel has been to
every live performance of Folk, Jazz or
Classical Music which has taken place in
the whole of Jamaica between 1 January
and 31 December in one calendar
year. How does one compare nominees
A,B, and C when A performed in Janu-
ary at a hotel on the North Coast, B in
June at an open-air venue in Mandeville
and C in October at a theatre in King-
At the best of times, judging music is
a notoriously treacherous undertaking
in which even the most experienced and
expert musicians will differ. At its low-
est level, it is a mere gut reaction to the
effect of personality or presentation,
and has little to do with music. At its
highest, it can be wrecked upon irrecon-
cilable dogma about style or authen-
ticity or approach.1
When a judgement has to be handed
down by a panel, none of whom heard
every nominee, then the only honour-
able decision is not to judge at all or to
change the criteria of judgement to
something upon which every panel
member feels he or she can confidently
and honestly express an opinion and
reach consensus.
Clearly, JAMI will have to take
another look at the 'live' categories and
empanel experts who will undertake to
attend all performances by potential no-
minees throughout the year or to have
performances taped for later scrutiny.
(Would it be too much to ask artistes

who wish to be considered for awards to
have their live performances taped or,
in the case of Folk Music, videoed -
and sent to JAMI?)
Whatever the final decision, it is one
that will have to be made before next
year if live performance is to remain
part of the Awards and to be assured of
fair assessment.
When it comes to the question of
judging Popular Music, we are confront-
ed with one of the main problems in-
herent in the musicgram industry where
popularity is so often confused with ex-
The whole industry is, in fact, based
upon the premise that 'I know what I
like' really means 'I like what I know'
and the promoters tend to operate ac-
cordingly, with varying methods of per-
suasion, legitimate or otherwise. Any
kind of garbage can gain eventual public
acceptance if it becomes familiar enough.
The method of judging adopted by
JAMI for the Popular Music category
must have appeared quite watertight.
Twenty-four men and women represent-
ing all facets of the industry submitted
the nominations from which a consen-
sus of opinion was taken. Market Re-
search Services Ltd. then carried out a
nationwide poll to determine the win-
According to this method, a com-
mon standard of excellence should first
have been established by each panel
which submitted nominations and com-
piled the short-list, leaving the element
of popularity for the next stage.
It would appear, then, that the res-
ponsibility for making unacceptable
nominations was the responsibility of
that initial group which was chosen
from the industry itself. Were the guide-
lines deficient or were they disregard-
The criticism was also made, time
and again, that artistes whose songs had
been rated unfit for airplay had been
nominated for awards. Is morality auto-
matically subsumed under the heading
of excellence? This is a philosophical
question that has bothered aestheticians
for centuries. Perhaps it should be point-
ed out at this stage that most of the
great civilizations of the world have
recognized the power of music as a
potent force for good or evil and have
eventually sought to channel it in
directions that would help ensure the
stability of the society or the state.

o Ii I 1
IOJ's JUNIOR CENTRE WINS JAMIA WARD: Mrs Carmen Verity (left) and Mrs Verna
daCosta of the Institute's Junior Centre received the second JAMI Honour Award for
the centre's encouragement of music.


The Institute's encouragement of music dates back as far as 1899 when, together with
other music interests in the society, an invitation was sent to the Associated Board of
the Royal Academy of Music and to the Royal College of Music to send a musical
examiner to the island. With the establishment of the Institute's Junior Centre in 1940
under the direction of the late Robert Verity, a regular series of performances was
designed to expose youngsters and the community at large to an appreciation of music
and to music making. Under Mr Verity's supervision, many programmes were begun,
including the Institute of Jamaica's Lunch Hour Concert, lectures and talks on music and
musicians, radio presentations, as well as music programmes for schools, one of which
incorporated and unified school choirs conducted by Mrs Vidal-Smith. The Junior
Centre also offered music workshops for the blind during which Mrs Carmen Lawrence
(now Verity) created teaching techniques which motivated youngsters, some of whom
are now among our nation's finest musicians. Currently the Junior Centre's music
programme includes nine school workshops in general musicianship. Instrumental
Workshops in the playing and teaching of classroom instruments are also offered to

Where it has been a disintegrating force,
it has been banned or strictly controlled.
This is a local problem of increasing
magnitude with which the radio stations
are again trying to grapple. It seems un-
fair that the responsibility for dealing
with it should be left entirely to them.
The public call upon JAMI to exercise
a form of censorship of its own should
be taken seriously and JAMI needs to
consider whether artistes dealing in
'slackness' will, in future, be nomin-
ated. The whole question of morality
and censorship cries out for in-depth
study. It is a hot coal to handle but
handled, one day, it must be.

One of the clearest and most inter-
esting comments on the Awards came
from the pen of a non-musician, Louis
Marriott, in reply to Susan Dodd, a
Gleaner columnist who had interpreted
the absence of awardees at the Cere-
mony as a lack of respect for things
Jamaican. It is worth quoting exten-

The Grammy Awards are decided by
the members of the Grammy Academy
throughout the United States record-
ing artistes, song-writers, musicians,
producers and technicians. The pro-
fessionals who make the music design-
ed their awards system thirty years ago
and every year they determine who are

Stephen 'Cat' Coore of Third World Band performed as part of the evening's entertainment.

the greatest achievers among them-
selves. They are truly entitled to call
the Grammy Awards 'ours'.

In contrast, JAMI Awards belong to
the sponsors JBC, RJR and D&G, just
as the more seasoned 'Rockers' Awards
belong to the publishers of Rockers
Magazine and the earlier 'Swing' and
'El Suzie' Awards were the property
of the publishers of Swing Magazine
and the El Suzie organization respect-

If the Jamaican music industry were
the owners of the JAMI Awards,
chances are that the big event, like
the Grammy Awards ceremony, would
be staged mid-week, when the majority
of performing artistes are available to
attend, rather than on a Saturday night,
when they are elsewhere earning their
living and honouring their contracts.

While Ms Dodd takes umbrage at the
paucity of artistes at the JAMI func-

tion, ... a number of obvious funda-
mental questions escape her attention.
Principal among these are some awards
to sub-standard artistes and also to
artistes noted for their smutty works.
Instead of fulminating against absent
artistes, Ms Dodd would better serve
the well-intentioned and well-endowed
JAMI Awards organisation, the music
industry and the public by examining
how the Awards and the ceremony
might be re-designed to give the music-
makers a greater sense of belonging, to
contribute towards the attainment of
higher standards, and to flush out of
contention those whose false success
is based on payola, chart-rigging and
the vulgar and ill-informed tastes of
media 'experts' who cannot tell the
difference in merit between a virtu-
oso artiste and an illiterate tone-deaf
'singer' with gold chains and fancy

It is an attractive theory that our

Marjorie Whylie Best Female Jazz Artiste

artistes should run their own awards
organization; but, from many years'
experience in the local profession, I
doubt that it could happen. Compared
to that of the United States, our musi-
cal population is extremely small. It does
not command sufficient expertise neces-
sary to deal with the unusually demand-
ing organizational and public relations
aspects of an event of this type, even if
it were able to attract the financial re-
sources. Many of the people who would
be called upon to run the organization
would themselves possibly be eligible
as or be too closely associated with -
nominees for awards.

Furthermore, being small and being
confined largely to Kingston and Mon-
tego Bay, the profession is racked by
the kind of factionalism that inevitably
results when members of a profession
live and operate closely together. Clear-
ly an awards organization can be run
best by non-musicians who are unaware
of the underlying cross-currents of the
The JAMI organization will remain
heavily dependent upon the advice of
the professionals. If a fundamental mis-
take is made, such as staging an event at
the wrong time of the week, then either
JAMI is not receiving the quality advice
it needs or it is not listening.
The last paragraph of Mr Marriott's

letter needs to be read and pondered as
a constructive suggestion as to where
the JAMI Awards might go in the future.

Positive Aspects

In the midst of the post-honeymoon
blues, the positive aspects of this year's
Awards Ceremony seem to have been
Few people seem to have observed
that, while the selection panels failed to
give an award to Third World, the JAMI
organizers booked them for the Awards
presentation. This was a real scoop, for
it revealed to many who never listen to
music of this type whether they sub-
scribe to the classical or DJ end of the
spectrum that the popular music
audiogram industry at its best encourages
and rewards true excellence.

Other artistes chosen to perform in
the Awards programme were also of ex-
cellent calibre: Vibart Seaforth and
David Johns (classical), the University
Singers (folk), Myrna Hague (jazz) and
the Grace Thrillers (gospel). The fact
that Sophia George, Freddie McGregor
and Lt. Stitchie, were not at their best
on this occasion is an apt illustration of
the risk involved in judging an award of
excellence on the basis of merely one
live performance.
The new category entitled 'Music in
Theatre' featuring the best original
music composed for a Musical is a giant
step in the direction of recognizing the
worth of the contribution of people
who, for years, have been writing for
Pantomime in a style as Jamaican as rice
and peas. Too often such music is over-
looked and underrated because it is

associated with a recreational form of
entertainment which appears not to
qualify as art with a capital A. Marcus
Garvey would certainly have approved.
JAMI should be applauded for recog-
nizing all categories of Jamaican music
(and not just Popular Music), even
though this compounds and complicates
the problems of selecting awardees. Too
many people live in isolated musical
worlds that take no cognizance of any
other and we receive too few opportuni-
ties of being exposed on one occasion to
all the kinds of music that make for the
Jamaican music industry.
Above all, JAMI has stirred up local
consciousness about quality. Much of
the music industry tends to think that
quantity and money constitute the bot-
tom line. Success is being able to foist
off anything onto an unsophisticated
public. Now even the humblest artist
can feel that possibly his forty-five can
be a contestant for an award of quality,
and as a result of the controversy that
has been stirred up, more people may be
induced to make the effort to articulate
why they like or dislike a particular
piece of music. This is the beginning of
awareness; of active participation by the
listener in a process of communication,
higher than the passive acceptance of
a sonic drug that merely dulls thought
or the conditioned impulse to purchase
a well-promoted vinyl disc. As Winston
Barnes said in 1987,4 it marks the begin-
ning of a movement of the music and its
practitioners onto a new stage of greater
The fact is that the awards in them-
selves though greatly coveted, judging
by the reactions of certain bruised egos
- are not the most important consider-
ation. JAMI as catalyst is even more im-
portant than JAMI as award-donor.
As for the future, the ball lies as
much in the musicians' court as in
JAMI's; for if they recognize that JAMI
could be a potent force in the develop-
ment of the local music industry they
will give generously of their advice, their
experience and their expertise in an ef-
fort to make it work. Furthermore they
will take full responsibility for the part
they play and not use JAMI as a whip-
ping-post when things go wrong. Rex
Nettleford expressed it beautifully:
'The credibility and the integrity of the
enterprise will depend on the artistes'
positive response to this initiative taken
to acknowledge their worth . .'5
'Macca not gwine jook dem' at every

turn' nor should it if this can hap-
pen. Over the years JAMI will learn to
distinguish between responsible pro-
fessionals and those who have personal
axes to grind, between those who
genuinely wish to serve and those who
are on an ego trip. But that will take
time. One thing is for certain: if this
marriage does not work, it will be the
musicians who will be the losers.
JAMI has stated that it hopes to sup-
port the development of the music in-
dustry in the form of scholarships,
aid to teaching institutions and the sup-
port of music-related projects.
I should like to suggest, in addition,
that JAMI consider investing capital in
the establishment of a national music
library utilizing disc, tape, video and
print materials that would serve as an
historical and educational resource
centre for generations to come. The
quality and worldwide impact of Jam-
aica's music and musicians deserve no
less. Already other countries realize
this importance, even if we do not:
Mrs Ivy Reynolds-Saulter of JAMI her-
self related a recent experience in which
the only information she could find on
certain lesser-known Jamaican musicians
was printed in Japanese and had to be
sent to the Japanese Embassy for trans-
lation! That should give us food for
serious thought.

1. In classical music, for instance, per-
formers themselves will differ as to
whether a score should be regarded as
a sacrosanct instruction to reproduce
exactly what is printed or whether
it can be treated as a stepping-off
point for the re-creation of the work
by the interpreter.
2. From a JAMI press release.
3. Letter to the Editor.The Daily Gleaner,
4 March 1988.
4. Winston Barnes Another Look at the
JAMIs'. The Daily Gleaner, 13 April
5. Rex Nettleford, 'Jami, Grammy, Ham-
my '. The Money Index, 8 March 1988.

Pamela O'Gorman is Director of the
Jamaica School of Music and our regular
music columnist.

"One of the most intriguing
collections of Jamaican poems
yet published. ..
... the book is a mixture of miraculously beautiful
language .... It is full of delights." Dennis Scott -
Sunday Gleaner magazine.
"Anthony McNeill is the first and most accomplished poet to appear out
of the 'now' generation of the anglophone Caribbean. McNeill's solutions
over the next few years will be one of the major achievements in our
literature." -Edward Brathwaite

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

SJ$12.00 U.S.$8.50
in Jamaica only Ced CS lt Post paid overseas

CPhes btar of Cloud
Poems by Anthony McNeill

in Jam

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

12.00 U.S. $8.
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Instituteof Jamaica Publications Limited
2A Suthermere Road, K o 1, J ephon 92-94785/6
2A Suthcrmcre Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica, Telephone: 92-94785/6


______oOOHm IT]M______


By Mavis C. Campbell

Free Coloreds in the Slave Societies of St
Kitts and Grenada, 1763-1833.
Edward Cox
Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press,

Two islands of the Caribbean, St

Kitts and Grenada, have been
chosen by Edward Cox to ex-
amine the position of the 'free'colour-
eds within the context of slavery. The
period 1783 to 1833 was very stress-
ful for the planter classfor both exter-
nal and internal considerations. In
global terms, it was a period of reform
in Europe reflecting the new question-
ing of old hierarchical social relations
based on ascribed notions within
societies and unleashing a new regard
for all humankind as a self-regarding
moral entity. Whether inspired by the
Enlightenment or by Christian evan-
gelicalism, the movement manifested a
lively concern for the under-dog every-
where, even for the slave for 'a
man's a man for all that'. In one way
or another, some of these European-
originated ideas filtered through to the
colonies and created a great degree of
restiveness, especially among those
whose freedoms were circumscribed.
As the Caribbean slave society deve-
loped, the clear-cut racial dichotomy
between black slaves and white masters
was soon transformed into white mas-
ters and a colour gradation of non-
white, non-free individuals that came
about through miscegenation between
whites and slave women thus making
a legal fiction of the notion of the
slave as chattel. Within this context,
some of these racially mixed people,
called 'coloured', 'mulattos', and a
host of other appellations, were made
free, chiefly by their white fathers,
while most remained slaves. For the
most part, these became the house
slaves as the system developed. It is
the freed within this category that
Cox has studied. Since these 'free'
people were incapacitated by restric-

tive laws passed by the local legis-
latures, not surprisingly, they were
among the first to have been affected
by the revolutionary wind of change
blowing from Europe.
It is not clear why these two is-
lands were chosen. At first one as-
sumes that Cox was recognizing the
Anglo-French connection of each
colony: St Kitts, the first British plan-
tation society of the region, had an un-
easy co-settlement with the French at
either tip of the island from the early
seventeenth century to 1713 when the
Treaty of Utrecht ceded the French
portion to the British. Grenada, on the
other hand, was more or less French
until the 1763 Treaty of Paris gave this
island to Britain. Thus both islands
had a French presence and it is there-
fore somewhat surprising to find Cox's
choice based on the fact that 'Grenada
with its inherited French population
offers a . point of contrast with St
Kitts, which was predominantly British'
[p. xii]. By the latter part of the
eighteenth century, with an influx
of immigrants to Grenada from other
British islands, this colony had a major-
ity of British subjects living side by
side with a 'sizable proportion' [p.10]
of white French colonists, while
'[t] hose white French settlers who re-
mained on St Kitts . apparently
caused minimal ethnic problems for
the ruling British majority' [p.4].
Ethnic problems did arise in Grenada
against the whites of French extraction.
British laws discriminated against them
as French and as Catholics. Some of
these laws affected their voting rights,
their ability to hold high office, and,
in line with the contemporary Angli-
can attitude to Catholicism, their
church property was systematically
expropriated by the local Anglican-
controlled government. All this natural-
ly rankled with the French group and
their loyalty became increasingly fra-
Like the free mulattos on the other
British islands, those of St Kitts and
Grenada under the British also suffer-
ed severe discrimination in law and
custom from the local plantocracy:

they could not vote nor seek high of-
fice, they could not serve as jurors,
they could not hold commissioned
rank in the militia in which they served.
The social barriers were so great that
they followed them even to the grave,
where free mulattos 'were buried in
a part of the public cemetery, distinct
from those of whites, sometimes with
a wall dividing the two sections'
[p.95]. But perhaps the most galling
was the official practice of lumping
the coloureds together with slaves,
especially in those laws which pres-
cribed corporal punishment to free
mulattos and slaves alike. The free
coloured in Grenada, however, un-
like those in Jamaica or Barbados,
did have in their midst a likely ally in
the dissatisfied French whites. There
the situation was finally to culminate in
Julien Fedon's famous uprising of
1795-1796, which Cox calls a 'revolu-
tion' [Ch. 5]. Fedon, a free property-
holding slave-owning mulatto of French
extraction together with other free
coloureds, French whites and thou-
sands of slaves, tried to effect a 'revolu-
tion'. In point of fact, this was less a
free coloured uprising than a pro-
French, anti-British war inspired by
and assisted by Victor Hugues, one of
the Jacobin commissioners sent into
the region by revolutionary France to
'export' revolution, in modern par-
lance. In fifteen months the 'revolu-
tion' had been crushed by the British,
'and Fedon and his associates had fail-
ed in their attempt to turn the island
over to French rule' [p. 80]. The won-
der is not that it happened at all but
that it did not succeed with such a
favourable combination of social cir-
cumstances, both internally and ex-
ternally, conducive to successful
revolutions. But perhaps Fedon was
no Touissaint L'Ouverture.
Cox claims that the concentration
in the post-1800 period on the 'free'
coloureds has obscured the fact that
these groups were 'undergoing change
at the end of the eighteenth century
when the onslaught of humanitarian
forces produced a general militancy
among free coloureds .... The present
study seeks to fill this void' [p. xii].

There was no such void for Campbell's
Dynamics of Change [pp. 23-38] has
dealt with these forces acting on the
status evaluation of the coloureds in
Jamaica, culminating in their first col-
lective petition to the local legislature
for extended freedoms in 1792.
Professor Cox's work is a welcome


These brief notes on books re-
ceived do not preclude a longer


Davi D-byd.n
Coolie Odyssey
David Dabydeen
Coventry: Hansib/Dangaroo
1988.49 pp (1 b/w illustr.)

Second collection of poems
by Commonwealth Poetry
Prize winner. From India to
the Caribbean, sugar cane,
ciicket and struggle, to Lon-
don, New York and further
Amon Sab Saakan

The Colonial Legacy in Caribbean
Amon Saba Saakana
London: Karnak House.
1987. 128 pp. (7 b/w photos)

A re-examination of the work
of several Caribbean writers
from H. G. de Lisser to V.S
Naipaul. The purpose is to
show that European and
Caribbean critics were mis-
taken in their interpretation
of works which reinforced
the colonial legacy rather
than reflecting the accom-
plishments of the Afro-Carib-
bean working population.

addition to the study of free coloureds
within the Caribbean slave system, ad-
ding to Jerome S. Handler's The Un-
appropriated People: Freedmen in the
Slave Society of Barbados (1974), and
to that on Jamaica by Mavis C. Camp-
bell, The Dynamics of Change in a
Slave Society ... (1976). We look for-

Dream Rock
A collection of poems
Edward Kamau Brathwaite (ed.)
Kingston: Jamaica Information
1987. 34 pp.

Dedicated to the memory of
Doris Brathwaite, this col-
lection of works by eight
young poets provides a calm
insight into the trends deve-
loping in Jamaican poetry to-

The How to be Jamaican Hand-
Jamrite Cultural Dissemination
(Kim Robinson, HarclydeWalcott,
Trevor Fearon)
Kingston: Jamrite Publications
1987. 79 pp. (b/w illustrations

An entertaining look at Ja-
maican ways, ostensibly for
the visitor wishing to become
acculturated but in reality for
Jamaicans, who may or may
not appreciate the sharp and
satirical insights.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey: A
Compiled by Debbie McGinnis
Kingston: National Library of
Occasional Bibliography Series
No 2
1987. 67 pp.

This extremely thorough and
useful bibliography includes
not only works by Garvey and
major books about him, but
also unpublished theses and
audio visual materials. There
is an interesting section on
ephemerae and a wide range
of selected newspaper articles.
Since it also includes earlier
bibliographies, it is an essen-
tial reference for anyone
contemplating a study of Gar-

A Thief in the Village
James Berry
London: Hamish Hamilton
1987. 98 pp.(hardcover)
Anancy Spiderman
James Berry
London: Walker Books
1988. 119 pp. (b/w illustrations

Two books for children by a
well-known Jamaican poet. A
prize-winning collection of
stories set in rural Jamaica,
sympathetically treating the
realities of life there, and an
attractive book of Anancy
stories in which the Spider
Man is more than a cunning



Morris Cargill
A Selection of his Writings in
The Gleaner. 1952-1985
Chosen by Deryck Roberts
Kingston: Tropical Publishers
1987. 321 pp. (hardcover)
Over thirty years of incisive
commentary on events of the
day. Criticism and exposure
of government and other fol-
lies, often showing notable
foresight. All too often, sub-
sequent events proved Car-
gill's warnings to be correct.
Witty. A useful sidelight on
recent Jamaican history.

ward to more monographs of this na-
ture on other islands as well as on
mainland territories such as Guyana
and Cayenne.

Mavis C. Campbell is a professor of
history at Amherst College, Mass.,

1,0(;(;1.RI I1|,\1)

Gloria Escoffery
Kingston: Sandberry Press
Caribbean Poetry Series No 1
1988.48 pp.

Poetry influenced by the
painter's eye.Some descriptive
pieces with an intense aware-
ness of colour; others short
and direct, making a sharp
commentary on life; still
others enjoying using words
for their own sake. This is the
first in a planned series of
anthologies of the work of in-
dividual poets.

Alan Harris and A.L. Hendriks
UK: Headland Publications
1988. 72 pp.

An unusual collaboration
between two poets, A.L. Hen-
driks of Jamaica and English
Alan Harris, who, sadly, has
since died. They comment on
each other's work and on each
other, showing their friend-
ship to the reader as they
write about their lives, their
worlds and time passing.

Festival Literary Anthology
A selection of prize winning
short stories
Kim Robinson and Leeta Hearne
Kingston: Kingston Publishers
Limited for Jamaica Cultural
Development Commission
1987 67 pp.
First anthology of winning
entries in the annual Festival
Literary Competition, from
the sixties to recent years.
Outstanding stories accurately
reflecting the mood of the
years when they were written.
The best are for all seasons.

10 reasons why


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History and Culture
Carlfeto Forumn An Anthology of 20
Caribbean Vole Edited and with an Intro-
duction by John earne
Produced for Carifesta '76
in Jamaica, this unique collection of
essays aimed to define 'the present
state of culture in the Caribbean'
through the consciousness of 20
formidable minds. Contributors from
the English, Spanish, French and Dutch
Caribbean and circum-Caribbean
include C.L.R. James, V.S. Naipaul
and Gordon Rohlehr (Trinidad); Aime
Cesaire (Martinique); Nicolas Guillen,
Roberto Retamar (Cuba); Octavio Paz,
Carlos Fuentes (Mexico); Rene
Depestre (Haiti); Jan Carew, Wilson
Harris, Denis Williams (Guyana);
George Lamming, Edward Kamau
Brathwaite (Barbados); Derek Walcott
(St. Lucia); Sylvia Wynter, John
Hearne, Rex Nettleford (Jamaica);
Robin Dobru (Surinam); Rene Marques
(Puerto Rico); Gabriel Garcia Marquez
P 248 pp (1976) JS10or U.*4.SO ppd.

-he Rebel Womnn In the Britilh West Indles
During Slvery by Ludiloe Methurin
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THE slavery. Female slaves adopted some
REBEL of the same techniques as men to defy
WOMAN the system". Many of these techniques
as well as those peculiar to women are
described in this booklet. "The Rebel
Woman" is placed in a historical
context starting with women's roles in
the West Africa kingdoms from which
they came to the New World to their
most powerful manifestation in
Jamaica Nanny, leader of the
Maroons. This interesting and simply
written approach to one aspect of our
history is a perfect gift for students
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P111PB40pplllustrated(L973)JS5or U.SS.3.25ppd.

Institute of Jamaica Publications Limited
2A Suthermere Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica,
Telephone: 92-94785/6

Derek Walcott

on West Indian

Literature and Theatre

An interview conducted by
Edward Baugh

Derek Walcott who was recently awarded
the Queen Elizabeth II Gold Medal for Poetry,
visited Jamaica in May of this year in order to
give the keynote address at a Conference on
'Biography/Autobiography in West Indian
Literature,' which was hosted by the English
Department, UWI, Mona. While here, he was
formally presented with the Special Gold
Musgrave Medal which was awarded to him in
1986 by the Institute of Jamaica in recognition
of his outstanding contribution to literature.
He has so far published seventeen books of
poetry, the most recent being The Arkansas
Testament (New York, 1987). He has also
published three collections of plays, the most
recent, Three Plays: The Last Carnival; Beef,
No Chicken; A Branch of The Blue Nile, hav-
ing appeared in 1986 (New York). He is a
graduate of the University College of the
West Indies (1950-1954). In the mid- to late
fifties he also taught at Jamaica College and
was a feature writer for Public Opinion.

The following interview was recorded at
Mona on 20 May 1988.

Baugh: Derek, you are visiting Mona
again after a long absence. What sort of
memories or opinions do you have of
your time as a student here many years
ago? Does it mean anything to you?

Walcott: Well, I think academically the
record is a little disastrous. But I was
among the first batch of Arts students
and there was a terrific bunch of people
from all over the Caribbean, which was
a great experience, because I had virtual-
ly known only St Lucia, although I had
been to Barbados once or twice. So
meeting people from Trinidad, and Ja-
maicans and so on,was really exciting. In
the time that I was here, what was very
much more rewarding to me than the
academic thing although I do regret
now not paying more attention to the
Latin course, for instance; I would really,

I think, have learnt a lot more; I regret
not doing a lot of my Virgil and my
Ovid and stuff like that [what was
more rewarding to me was that] I had
started a student magazine, we did some
productions, we had a theatre com-
pany, I painted, and though I hung out
most of the time at the Students Union,
with a lot of people like Slade Hopkin-
son and Allan Kirton and Danny Camp-
bell, that was to me the happy part of
the university life. I remember having
to do a mural here and that was great
fun. There was a lot that was very ex-
citing then.

You are here for the conference on West
Indian literature that the English Depart-
ment has organized, and you haven't
been to Jamaica for a long time. You've
been hearing a little of what's going on
in the conference, hearing one or two of
the writers. What sort of impressions
have you formed of the scene here, I
mean of Jamaica, or even of some of the
goings-on that you have heard in the

Well, it's always difficult to be dispas-
sionate in a situation like this, because
I have come here to accept a medal, a
Musgrave medal, there are papers about
my own work, etc., etc., so that aspect
of things is very flattering and very re-
warding. Then the other good aspect of
the conference to me is I haven't been
able to keep up with all the younger
writers, the coming generation of writ-
ers, like Olive Senior, whose poetry
and short stories I hadn't read I know
some of Lorna Goodison's work but
also some of the critical work that is
being written now is impressive, very
impressive. I am not saying this in a sort
of older-generation way, I just mean
that it really is good, and you always
have this responsibility of trying to see
if you are feeling over-patriotic or over-
anxious about things. But, as dispassion-
ate as I can be, I think that there's a lot
of very fine creative work happening, as
well as critical work.
Then of course, if you're talking in
generations, there is a writer like Ja-
maica Kincaid who is at the conference,
who is from Antigua, and who is an ex-
cellent prose writer. So the picture,since
the time I was here way back in the late
fifties and beyond that, has gotten quite
impressive in terms of its scale, because
[to have had] a number of good Carib-
bean writers, just historically, in a couple
of epochs, is quite remarkable. So that's

What I do get though, in the last couple
of days, is the old thing coming back,
this sort of fear, a sort of malaise in
terms of direction, in a sense. Now, this
is not in any way to be blamed on, cer-
tainly not on the writers' situation,
[but] the situation in the theatre, for
me, still doesn't seem in any island of
the Caribbean to have been anywhere
near what it might have been twenty
years ago when we were all working
together. The actors have become terri-
fic, there are a lot of new directors,
there are professional directors now like
Earl Warner. So that's there. Now what's
not there, and what makes one quite im-
patient but practical, is a kind of solid-
ity, because the ground under the foot
seems to be shifty, it isn't permanent
ground and so there is a sort of flux of
things that I think can be stabilized, and
I think that it can be stabilized by the
unionization of the Caribbean perform-
er and artist.

So that we don't have any more to
tolerate the mediocrity of the perform-
ing media in the Caribbean. We don't
have to tolerate the fact that in Trinidad
- I mean there are great things to be
said about Jamaica, quite honestly, be-
cause I went to look at the National
Gallery, and if you know for a fact that
Jamaica in the last few years has gone
through some terrible economic depri-
vation, I mean really terrible, because
you heard stories about how bad it has
been, and yet to walk into a place that
has a national gallery of that scale is
really staggering to me. Whereas Trini-
dad, which had a boom, billions of dol-
lars, which is now gone, for whatever
reason it is gone, still does not have a
place equal to the Little Theatre or any
other theatres that you might have. It
does not have an Institute, it does not
have a School of Theatre, it does not
have a Gallery, and you get very angry,
because you then say to yourself, well
all right, you could have said at one
point that there was no money; so what
happened to that kind of simple, or-
dinary practicality of things? So that
makes you distressed, not only in terms
of Trinidad, but in terms of some of the
other islands as well. And unless some-
thing extremely radical [happens], and
unless, I think, the culture of the Carib-
bean becomes a politically manipulative
force, I mean a political force, we are
going to see another generation of may-
be Lorna Goodison talking here in
twenty years about what it was like in
her time, and totally there would be

very little difference, and it is really to
me a critical matter at this point.

You yourself in theatre have made a
great contribution with the Trinidad
Theatre Workshop, but now for some
years you have been based in Boston.
Do you see yourself still being able to
make any direct input into Caribbean
theatre, or say one day coming back and
doing anything?

Well, every summer since I've gone to
work at Boston University, every sum-
mer I have come back to one of the is-
lands to do something. Like one sum-
mer I did a production of a play about
Haiti, for which the St Lucian govern-
ment voted eighty thousand dollars,
which is equivalent in a Federal budget
in America of, you know, two hundred
million dollars proportionately. So I
have done that, and I have done a video
of that, and I am always doing some
work. In fact, I consider the Caribbean
to be the place where I really work when
I come home in the summer, because I
don't just lie on a beach.

What do you have on the drawing board
now in terms of drama?
I have been doing a lot of film scripts.
For American production?

Well, I am doing it for an independent
producer. I have done three film scripts:
one about the steel band, one an adapt-
ation of Pantomime, and an adaptation
of a play called To Die for Grenada, for
independent producers. And that's
another area, I think, quite apart from
the complaints one might have about
the inadequacy of the physical theatre
in the Caribbean. It may be true that
what is there now is the theatre of out-
side, which is a film, the theatre of ex-
teriors, of video and of film. So that in a
sense, although the theatre can continue,
it may be that [this is] the direction of
Caribbean performance art. Because it
costs you almost as much money to
stage a play as it does to shoot a video,
plus you don't have to lug a set around,
plus you don't have to rent a hall and
stuff like that. So I think that there is a,
if only aesthetic, future for the Carib-
bean in terms of film.

That play you mentioned, that script To
Die For Grenada, has it been produced
as a play at all?

Where was that?

It was done in Cleveland. It wasn't
good, there were many things very wrong
with it, so I think that it was [really]
intended to be a film script.

What would you say is the most satisfy-
ing, to you, production of one of your
plays in the last few years?

Well, I recently saw a production of 0
Babylon, which I had rewritten, which
was staged in London, and which the
critics had very mixed reactions about;
but what I test my own plays by is: am
I really inside? Quite apart from what-
ever defensive positions I take up, or
excuses that I might have, did I feel hap-
py in the production? Which I did, I
felt very very pleased, not blindly pleas-
ed, but I felt satisfied with many of the
necessary aspects of satisfaction in a
production. There are others, of course,
that I have felt awful about. That's a
recent thing.
One of the great experiences for me was
the production of The Joker when it
was first done here with Richard Mont-
gomery's designs, and Ti-Jean with
Dream on Monkey Mountain, when we
came up through Pan Jamaican, which
was when Ralph Thompson and Maurice
Facey brought us up here. So I mean I
had terrific memories of having run a
company of lovely actors, being up here
and being very hospitably treated by
Jamaicans when we came up. Everybody
in the Workshop cherishes these visits to

We got good reports here of thepremiere
of one of your more recent plays, A
Branch of the Blue Nile, in Barbados.
Can you tell me anything about that?
What did you think of that production?

I enjoyed it a lot. The very good thing
that is happening is, of course, [that
there are] people like Earl Warner, who
is a professional, itinerant director, who
directed the play in Barbados and had a
mixed cast. There was a time when it
would be a kind of effort to think of
bringing an actor from Barbados to per-
form in Trinidad and vice versa, but I
think now with plane travel being casual,
and the fact that there is a kind of
widening in the arts throughout the
Caribbean, especially in the theatre, I
think that there is a commonality of ex-
perience shared by these actors, and
that's the sort of work that Earl is
doing and that other people are bent on
doing. So to have a play premiered in
Barbados with Barbadian actors and

some from Guyana and so on is a great
experience, because that is really the
Federation. I mean that's the aesthetic
federation of the Caribbean; it con-
tinues to be strong because that's illus-
trated right now by what we are doing.
So there is a federation, but it is a feder-
ation of art, and that's the most import-
ant one.

To go to the poetry for a bit, Derek. I
think you've published seventeen books
of poems, and while it is quite clear that
some themes and preoccupations in a
sense are being reworked all the time, as
if you were trying to find the perfect
version of something, I always get the
feeling that you are also always trying
something new. And of course I think
that for every writer the next book is
the only one interesting. Can you tell
me what you think you are after now,
even in terms of form or whatever, in
the poetry?

Well, I am working on something I am
not keen on talking about that's a bit
perilous because it is kind of a little
ambitious in scale. The recurring thing
for a Caribbean writer, and in my parti-
cular case, is: are you getting it right?
And I think one of the biggest respon-
sibilities that the individual writer will
face separately, as a writer, out of this
conference, is: did I get it right, among
my colleagues? Not even did I get it bet-
ter absolutely, but I mean did I really
get it right? You work alone and then
you come across your colleagues and
you have a confrontation, almost like a
classroom, in which you say, 'Well,
did you do your homework?' And I
think that has been the experience for
me. Have I done anything? Have I
done my homework properly? And I
think every writer will ask himself this,
and that's the value of the conference.

That thing you said about, Did I get it
right? reminds me of something you are
always strong on, this notion of poetry
as a craft and you as a craftsman, like
the carpenter, the joiner, putting pieces
of wood together, getting it right in
that sense. Perhaps, for some young wri-
ters who may read this, you can just ex-
pand on that? What does it mean in real
terms, the craft, when you sit down be-
fore the blank sheet of paper?

I think a man who wants to be a poet,
a young person who wants to be a poet,
is not excited by his own imagination;
he is excited by imitation. That per-
son is excited by the fact that he would

like to write with all the discipline and
precision of masters, of whatever nation-
ality or epoch, and the warning is to
avoid the fact that, because you are a
young Jamaican writer, or you are a
young Trinidadian writer, you have al-
ready been given certain melodramatic
privileges. You know, the melodramatic
privilege of colour, because the black
man is persecuted in the world. A poem
does not become a poem simply because
you talk from the position of a victim.
It would be more interesting for a black
man to try to write from the position of
the person inflicting the injury, in a
sense. That's what the writer widens
himself by.

There are other things, like the danger
of the patriotic, the nationalistic, the
racial, you know, the memory . . I
was saying to someone in conversation
the other day that in a way black writers
can make drama, or West Indian writers,
black or white, a drama of slavery in the
same way that bad Jewish writers can
make a drama of the holocaust because
there you are given something that is
unalterable in terms of the reaction of
the person reading. The reader is then
treated as a victim or someone respons-

Rupert Lewis is head of the Depart-
ment of Government, University of
the West Indies, Mona. He is author
of Marcus Garvey: Anti-Colonial
Champion (1987) and is co-editor of
Garvey, Africa, Europe, the Americas
B.W. Higman is Professor of History
at the University of the West Indies,
Mona. His major works include Slave
Population and Economy in Jamaica
1807-1834 and Slave Populations of
the British Caribbean 1807-1834. Ja-
maica Surveyed: Plantation Maps and
Plans of the Eighteenth and Nine-
teenth Centuries will be published by
IOJ Publications Ltd. later this year.

M.J.C. Barnes is a visiting zoologist
with a particular interest in the lepi-
doptera of Jamaica.
Wendy A. Lee isa specialist in natural
resource conservation with experi-
ence in Africa as well as in Jamaica.
She was a founder-member of the

ible for the guilt. And it never becomes
the craft, it is not the art of the thing.
Sothere is that danger, even in encourage-
ment of the wrong kind. The young West
Indian artist has to be very cautious that
he or she is not being praised for the
wrong reasons. I think in my generation,
people like Naipaul or Lamming or
Hearne, that what we had to do was
pretty well fight for some kind of estab-
lishing of the language as being respect-
able, or our positions as being equally
respectable to that of . but I think
that's over, because I mean there is now a
body of West Indian literature, which
may be 'the old men,' but the younger
people coming up don't really have that
struggle because the path has been op-
ened for them. But they have a worse
challenge, I think, and that is that they
can now become too easily seduced by
the fact that simply to write down a
language and dialect does not make
something more immediate. To simply
write intuitively or spontaneously and
to try to think of the idea of a kind of
entertainment which reaches the widest
possible public, is not really it's the
function of the entertainer and not of
the writer.

Jamaica Junior Naturalist Club, and
is now working as a volunteer with
the Wildlife Rescue Association of
British Columbia.
Veerle Poupeye-Rammelaere is acting
assistant curator at the National
Gallery of Jamaica, and history of
art and research methods tutor at
the Edna Manley School for the
Visual Arts. An art historian of Bel-
gian origin, specializing in modern
art, she has developed a keen interest
in Jamaican and Caribbean art.

Ralph Thompson is a well-known
Jamaican businessman. At present he
is Managing Director of Agro-21.
Lasana M. Sekou is from St Maarten
where he is Managing Editor of St
Maarten/St Martin Newsday. His
publications include Born Here (1986),
Images in the Yard (1983), and Moods
for Isis (1978). He has performed
extensively in the Caribbean, the
USA and the UK.


By Wendy Lee

M uch has been hypothesized about the physiological,
psychological, social and economic effects of the use
of the plant Cannabis sativa, most commonly known
in Jamaica as 'ganja'. Apart from Steve Gruber's observations
of the occurrence and feeding behaviour of birds in ganja culti-
vations [Gruber 1984], no research has been done, to my
knowledge, on the ecological impact of ganja growing in Jam-
aica, although it is well known that cultivation of the plant is
widespread in the island. Apart from the fact that this prac-
tice is contributing to increasing deforestation in the more re-
mote, inaccessible parts of the country, ganja cultivation may
pose a threat to the fauna of these areas.
This article presents the hypothesis that the frequent sit-
ing of ganja fields in close proximity to caves, as observed by
myself and others, may be no coincidence, and that certain
activities associated with the cultivation of the herb may be
adversely affecting bat populations, especially of cave-dwell-
ing species, in Jamaica. Bats are the only major predators on
night-flying insects [Hoefer and Zach 1983]. Many econo-
mically important fruits are known to be pollinated by bats,
for example bananas, mangoes, avocados and breadfruit
[Tuttle 1984], all of which are staples in the Jamaican diet,
and several plants rely on bats for seed dispersal.
Jamaica's ganja industry has been called 'the nation's big-
gest open secret' [Hoefer and Zach 1983, 279]. Native to
Central Asia, the plant was introduced to Jamaica by Indian
indentured labourers who began to arrive in the island in
1845 [Rubin and Comitas 1976]. Since this time, the weed
has been used mainly by rural folk in Jamaica as a cure-all
and an aid to work [Hoefer and Zach 1983] From the 1930s
onward it has been regarded as a sacred herb by the Rastafarian

sect, and more recently has become increasingly popular
among people of all ages and socioeconomic groups as an in-
toxicant [Rubin and Comitas]. The international demand for
Jamaica's marijuana led to the development of a major indus-
try reputedly involving some 8,000 large-scale growers and a
multitude of smaller enterprises ibidd.], despite the current
stiff penalties for cultivating or trafficking in this plant.
Despite the weed-like nature of Cannabis sativa and its
reputationfor flourishing on a variety of soils, the success-
ful cultivation of this plant for export requires adequate
water and protection from weeds, insect pests and birds. No
less important, the crop must be planted where it is inconspic-
uous from the air and relatively inaccessible from the road.
Ideal locations for cultivating ganja abound in this moun-
tainous island, two-thirds of the surface of which is com-
posed of limestone. Many of the mountain ranges represent
special types of tropical karst landforms associated with the
formation of caves, sinkholes, underground streams and rug-
ged relief, typified by the region known as 'The Cockpit
Country' [Fincham 1977]. The caves, sinkholes and rivers
of Jamaica's karst topography provide resources of special
interest to the ganja farmer who must forsake the gentler
slopes and flat plains preferred by most other farmers in
order to conceal his illegal crop among the island's rugged
Caves are often used as temporary shelters, convenient
sites for building cooking fires, and even as storage chambers
for ganja while it awaits transport to its destination [Hoefer
and Zach 1983]. Perhaps this explains how one cave in Man-
chester acquired the name 'Ganja Pot'l [Fincham 1977,
75]. It is a fact that bat guano, with its high organic phos-
phate content, is highly prized as a fertilizer for ganja. In-

organic fertilizer is considered unsuitable because, in the
words of one ganja farmer, 'It makes the trees too big'
[Hoefer and Zach 1983, 280], but the quality of the crop is
greatly improved by bat guano and other kinds of manure
ibid.]. The utilization of caves by ganja farmers could cause
disturbances potentially threatening to the populations of
cave-dwelling bats, known to Jamaicans as 'ratbats'.
While ganja is grown in all fourteen parishes, St Ann on
the north coast has gained renown as 'The Ganja Parish'
[ibid.]. Of 128 bat-inhabited caves listed in A.G. Finch-
am's register [1977] twenty-one of them (over sixteen per
cent) were located in St Ann. Only Manchester, another top
ganja-producing parish [Hoefer and Zach 1983], had more
bat-inhabited caves, (twenty-five or almost twenty per cent).
The ecological status of Jamaican bats is poorly known.
Virtually the only relatively recent ecological data come
from a study directed by R.E. Goodwin, who observed and
collected fourteen species of Jamaican bats during a total of
twelve weeks in the field between 1965 and 1967 [Goodwin
1970]. No population studies have been made on these
animals in Jamaica, thus inferences about their status must
be made by comparing historical accounts of their occurrence
with more recent (and incomplete) estimates of their abun-
Gosse in the 1840s encountered six species of bats in
Jamaica [Gosse and Hill 1851]. By Goodwin's time, twenty-
six species had been reported from the island, two of which
were known only from cave deposits [Goodwin 1970]. W.G.
Lyn in 1949 observed that 'some caves harbour such vast
numbers of bats that they seem to cloud the sky when they
emerge from the entrance in the evening [Lynn 1949, 20].
The possibility that such numerous creatures could become
scarce or even extinct must have seemed unlikely then, but
twenty years later Goodwin was finding evidence of an ap-
parent decline in bat populations.
Whereas Allen in 1911 reported Macrotus waterhousei as
one of the commonest bats in Jamaica [cited by Goodwin
1970], as did Gosse in 1845, Goodwin found it to be
'rather uncommon, being encountered in only two caves'
[p.573]. Goodwin found four species to be 'rare', inclu-
ding the endemics Phyllonycteris aphylla and Natalus major
jamaicensis, the latter being perhaps the rarest of Jamaican
bats. These two, along with Natalus micropus and Chilonyc-
teris fuliginosa fuliginosa, were found only in St Clair Cave in
St Catherine parish. Five species that Goodwin did not en-
counter he believes to be present in the island but uncom-
mon (Noctilio leporinus, Ariteus flavescens, Lasiurus dege-
lidus, Tadarida macrotis, and Eumops glaucinus); two others
were last seen in the 1940s and are probably extinct, Eptesi-
cus lynni and Eptesicus fuscus hispaniolae (Goodwin 1970).
(In 1976 specimens of the fish-catching bat Noctilio lepori-
nus were collected at Parrottee Point by Audrey Downer and
Robert Sutton).
An indirect indication of population change is found in
caves formerly inhabited by bats. A useful source of inform-
ation was A.G. Fincham's Jamaica Underground [1977], a
descriptive register of caves explored by the Jamaica Caving
Club and others over the years.The presence of bats was noted
in 128 out of hundreds of caves described, while in many
more were found signs that bats had at one time inhabited
them. For example, Dunn's Hole in St Ann had 'large heaps
of guano and mud' [p.68] but no bats, and there were at least
three caves with names such as 'Bat Hole' where bats were

no longer to be found. In 1949 the guano in some caves
was reported to have reached a depth of 100 feet or more
[Lynn 1949, 21]. Guano was commercially extracted from
one site in Trelawny between 1920 and 1930, and the 'lar-
gest phosphate deposit seen in the island' was mined between
1944 and 1960 from the caves at Cousin's Cove in Hanover.
Signs of previous small-scale guano mining were noted in a few
other caves such as Hammond's Cave in Trelawny, which
during the 1950s sheltered huge bat colonies [Fincham 1977].
Goodwin [1970, 572] observes that 'all species of Jam-
aican chilonycterines are sensitive to disturbance and are
quick to take to flight from their roosting sites'. Repeated
intrusion of caves is quite likely to cause bats to abandon a
roosting site altogether [Barbour and Davis 1969, 11; Yalden
and Morris 1975, 189]. Artibeus jamaicensis, Natalus major
jamaicensis and G/ossophaga soricina antillarum which tend
to hang near the entrances to caves [Goodwin 1970], may be
more vulnerable to human disturbances such as cooking fires
and guano extraction. One potential result of such disturb-
ances might be the disruption of reproductive activity. Bats
are, for their size, the slowest reproducing mammals [Stod-
dart 1979, 311; Tuttle 1984, 75]. Few tropical bat species
are known or suspected to reproduce year round [Bonnacor-
so 1978; Humphrey and Bonnacorso 1977], and the majority
of Jamaican species have one young per breeding season and
one season per year [Lynn 1949]. In the females of most of
the species collected by Goodwin, there was either a high
percentage of pregnancies or no embryos found in their uteri,
indicating that breeding is synchronous and seasonal. Bat
colonies would be particularly susceptible to disturbances
during a discrete breeding period. While guano mining has
been neither extensive nor long-term in Jamaica, the ap-
parent decline in bat populations may indicate that even the
small-scale extraction of guano, such as a ganja farmer might
carry out, may induce cave abandonment by bats. Un-
fortunately, no data exist on bat populations prior to mining,
and the remains of guano deposits provide the only clues for
estimating past abundance.
Even bats not directly affected by cave disturbance may
be threatened by ganja farming as more and more indigenous
forests, including trees utilized by frugivorous and/or tree-
dwelling bats, are cut down in order for ganja to be planted.
Williams suggests that, for frugivorous species, changes in
flora may imply radical changes in available food [1952,
178]. Where endemic vegetation is destroyed and replaced
by exotic types, wide-ranging continental bat genera (such as
Artibeus sp.) may become more prevalent and eventually re-
place the corresponding endemic genera (e.g. Ariteus sp.). A
series of fossil deposits showing changes in the relative fre-
quency of Artibeus jamaicensis and Ariteus flavescens indi-
cates that this may be happening in Jamaica [Williams 1952].
Although a third of Jamaican bat species are frugivorous
(e.g. Artibeus jamaicensis), about two-thirds are aerial in-
sectivores. (For each Jamaican species as listed in L.S. Var-
ona, Catalogo de los Mamiferos Vivientes y Extinguidos de
las Antillas [1974] I determined its diet using the key to
trophic categories found in D.E. Wilson, "Bat Faunas: A
Trophic Comparison" [1973], Table 1, and information in
A.L. Gardner, "Feeding Habits", pp. 1-364 in Baker et al.,
eds., Part II [1977].) Much of the reduction in bat popu-
lations in the United States and Latin America is attributed
to the use of pesticides, to which bats are highly sensitive
[Tuttle 1984]. The reported use of insecticides on ganja

plantations [Hoefer and Zach 1983] may affect bat popu-
lations by decimating their insect prey or causing direct
Local concern about the consequences of the ganja trade
is high in Jamaica. Even if large-scale cultivation of the plant
is curbed, local demand an estimated 50 per cent of Jam-
aican males between the ages of 12 and 55 smoke ganja
[Williams 1984] and the temptation to get rich quickly
will continue to foster small-scale cultivation by individual
This hypothesis suggests that bat populations in Jamaica
are more likely to be affected by the ubiquitous, small-scale
ganja farming in the hilly interior than by other possible
disturbances. The circumstances surrounding known bat
populations should be cautiously investigated, but interven-
tion could prove hazardous. In any case, every effort should
be made to conserve outstanding colonies such as in St Clair


ADAMS, C.D. The Blue Mahoe and Other Bush: an introduction to
plant life in Jamaica. Singapore: McGraw-Hill Far Eastern Pub-
lishers (S) Ltd., 1971.
"Airlines face U.S. ban due to ganja", Jamaican Weekly Gleaner (NA),
Monday, March 26, 1984.
BAKER, R.J., JONES, J.K., Jr., and CARTER, D.C., (eds.), Biology
of Bats in the New World Family Phyllostomatidae (3 Vols.).
Spec. Publ. Mus., Texas Tech. Univ. 1977.
BARBOUR, R.W. and DAVIS, W.H., Bats of America. Lexington:
Univ. Press Kentucky. 1969.
BONACCORSO, F.J. "Foraging and Reproductive Ecology in a Pana-
manian Bat Community". Bull. Florida State Mus., Biol. Sci.
Vol. 24 (4): 359-408.
"Drugs threaten Jamaica's outside links". The Jamaican Weekly
Gleaner (NA), Sunday, March 19, 1984.
COMMISSIONG, J.W., Ganja (Marijuana). Kingston: Dept. of Extra-
Mural Studies, Univ. of the West Indies. 1978.
FINCHAM, A.G. Jamaica Underground: a register of the caves of
Jamaica. Kingston: Geol. Soc. of Jamaica, Univ. of the West
Indies. 1977.
GOODWIN, R.E., "The Ecology of Jamaican Bats". J. Mamm. 51:
571-579. 1970.
GOSSE, P.H., and HILL, R., A Naturalist's Sojourn in Jamaica.
Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans. 1851.
GRUBER, Steve. "A Note on Birds and Ganja". Gosse Bird Club
Newsletter No. 43. 1984. Reproduced Jamaica Journal 19: 2.
HOEFER, H.J., and ZACH P. (eds.), Jamaica. Insight Guide. Hong
Kong: APA Productions (HK) Ltd. 1983.
"Illegal Drug Traffic: Jamaica said significant transhipment port"
The Jamaican Weekly Gleaner (NA), Monday, February 6, 1984.
KOOPMAN, K.F., "Biogeography of the Bats of South America", in
M.M. Mares and H.G. Genoways (eds.), Mammalian Biology in
South America. Vol. 6: 273-302. Spec. Publ. Series, Pymatuning
Laboratory of Ecology, Univ. of Pittsburgh. 1982.
LYNN, W.G., "The Bats of Jamaica ".Glimpses of Jamaican Natural
History, Vol. 1 (2nd. Ed.):18-21. Kingston: Institute of Jamaica.
MILLER, G.S., "The Red Bats of the Greater Antilles". J. Mamm. 12:
409-412. 1931.
McNAB, B.K., "The Structure of Tropical Bat Faunas". Ecology
52(2): 352-358. 1971.

RUBIN, V. and COMITAS, L, Ganja in Jamaica: the effects of
marijuana use. New York: Anchor Press, 1976.
STODDART, D.M., Ecology of Small Mammals. London: Chapman
and Hall. 1979.
TAMSITT, J.R., "Niche and Species Diversity in Neotropical Bats".
Nature 213: 784-786. 1967.
"The Great Ganja Debate". The Jamaican Weekly Gleaner (NA), Mon-
day, March 5, 1984.
TUTTLE, M.D., "Harmless, highly beneficial, bats still get a bum
rap". Smithsonian 14 (10): 74-83. 1984.
VARONA, L.S., Catalogo de los Mamiferos Vivientes y Extinguidos
de las Antilles. Laboratorio de Vertebrados, Instituto de Zoo-
logia, Academia de Ciencias de Cuba. 1974.
WILLIAMS, E.E., "Additional Notes on Fossil and Subfossil Bats
from Jamaica". J. Mamm. 33(2): 171-179. 1952.
WILLIAMS, L., "The Effects of Ganja on Health". Excerpts from an
interview with Dr Gabriel Nahas. The Jamaican Weekly Gleaner
(NA), Monday, March 26, 1984.
WILSON, D.E., "Bat Faunas: a Trophic Comparison". Syst. Zool. 22:
14-29. 1973.
YALDEN, D.W., and MORRIS, P.A. The Lives of Bats. New York:
Demeter Press. 1975.


In commemoration

of the

TM 150th anniversary

of the abolition of slavery
A comprehensive, concise and readable survey of
slavery and its consequences, Freedom To Be
shows how independent Jamaica grew out of its
inescapable past.

Produced by a group of experts, this small book
with over 40 outstanding black and white illustra-
tions and a useful bibliography should be in every
library and on every home bookshelf in Jamaica.

Available from
National Library of Jamaica
12 East Street, Kingston
Jamaica "
Overseas *
US $4.00
am *

Some Aspects of

Jamaica's Butterflies and Moths

Text and Illustrations by M.J.C. Barnes

A collection of sixteen Tiger Moths (family Arctiidae) from Jamaica

M ost people take at least a passing interest in the moths
which they see fluttering about their verandah lights
at night and the butterflies which they see in their
gardens by day. However, few laymen know much about this
fascinating group of insects. Indeed, many people appear to
be confused by the terms 'moth' and 'butterfly' and use them
To the lepidopterist, moths and butterflies alike are simply
Lepidoptera. The term comes from the Greek Lepis (scale)
and Pteron (wing) and refers to the dust-like scales which
cover both pairs of the wings of moths and butterflies. The
division of the Lepidoptera into 'moths' and 'butterflies' is,
scientifically speaking, a purely artificial one. Indeed, Eng-
lish is the only major European language which makes the
distinction. To Germans both are 'schmetterlinge'; to the
Spanish 'mariposas'; and to the French 'papillons'. How-

ever, in the broadest possible sense, the dozen or so Lepidop-
teran families whose members fly mainly during the day are
commonly termed 'butterflies' in English; and the other
hundred or so families whose members are mainly nocturnal
are termed 'moths'.
It is almost a certainty that any Lepidopteran seen flying
at night is a moth, whether in Jamaica or elsewhere. How-
ever, the probability of a Lepidopteran seen flying during
the day being a butterfly is only of the order of 99 per cent.
Many members of various moth families have abandoned
their usual nocturnal habits, invaded the traditional daytime
preserve of butterflies, and become gaudily-coloured 'day-
flying moths'. This is particularly the case in tropical areas
such as Jamaica. Such apparent 'butterflies' may however
be distinguished from the 'real thing' due to a structural
peculiarity. Butterflies always have clubbed ends to the

fine antennae projecting from their heads; moth antennae are
always tapered or feathery.
As a result of their day-flying habits and colourful appear-
ance, butterflies have attracted a great deal of attention from
lepidopterists. In consequence, they have been extremely
well studied. We know, for example, that there are about
20,000 species of butterfly worldwide, the majority of which
are found in the tropical rain forests of South America,
Africa and the Far East. Only a handful of 'new' species are
discovered and described each year.
On the other hand, due to their nocturnal habits, many
moths are marked in very drab shades which have little aes-
thetic appeal except to the specialist ('Brown moths with
brown markings' as a butterfly-fancying colleague once re-
marked!). In consequence they have attracted less scientific
attention than butterflies. Nevertheless, we know that moths
are in the majority there are perhaps 200,000 described
species worldwide, and many thousands of 'new' species are
uncovered each year, often in very 'civilized' and well-
explored habitats. The greatest areas of ignorance lie in the
families of moths which are commonly referred to as 'Micro-
lepidoptera'. Most laymen do not appreciate that these are
moths at all as they have wingspans as small as three milli-
metres and may be mistaken for flies or even mosquitoes.
Ironically, however, once examined closely, many of these
species possess markings every bit as exquisitely colourful
and complex as butterflies.
The worldwide lack of information about moths is reflect-
ed in our knowledge of the Jamaican Lepidoptera. The
butterfly fauna is extremely well known. For those wishing
to read further, the 133 species of Jamaican butterfly are
fully described and illustrated in the extremely attractive
book, Jamaica and its Butterflies by F.M. Brown and B.
Heineman (published by E.W. Classey of England in 1972
and still in print). It should be added that although the adult
Jamaican butterflies are so well known, many of their cater-
pillars and larval foodplants are still a mystery. An amateur
naturalist could still make an extremely valuable contri-
bution to this area of research.
The story with regard to the Jamaican moths is consider-
ably more sketchy. Put simply, next to nothing is known
about them. There is not so much as a single paper in the
scientific literature with a title akin to 'Some Records of
Moths from Jamaica'. This seems to be a lamentable state of
affairs. At present the author is starting to attempt to cor-
rect this omission by pulling together the existing scatter-
ed records for the island, and collecting moths from as many
sites in Jamaica as possible. (Any help which can be given by
well-wishers in Jamaica or abroad, in the form of inform-
ation or access to interesting sites, would be very much
Such is our current level of ignorance concerning Jam-
aican moths that we cannot even begin to assess the likely
scale of the task of collection and identification. The C.C.
Gowdey collection of moths, made at the turn of the cen-
tury and now housed at the Institute of Jamaica, comprises
only some 340 species all collected from a limited range of
localities around Kingston. This collection, although valuable,
undoubtedly only scratches the surface. Worldwide, the ratio
of described moth to butterfly species is greater than ten to
one, which suggests an eventual count of moth species from
Jamaica of about 1,500. However, experience of tropical

island ecosystems elsewhere indicates that the figure could be
double this. An extensive programme of collecting island-
wide, backed up by identification, would be the only way to
find out for certain.
But of what possible interest could such work be? The
simple answer is that Jamaica, in common with many iso-
lated tropical islands, possesses a very high proportion of
endemic animal and plant species which are found nowhere
else in the world. For example, of the 133 Jamaican butter-
fly species, no less than 31 (nearly a quarter) are endemic.
The same isolation which has resulted in Jamaica ac-
quiring only a relatively few butterfly species from the main-
land over geological time, has also resulted in rapid local
speciation. (By comparison, Trinidad, less than twenty miles
from the mainland, has 600 species of butterfly but only a
handful are endemic).
It is therefore likely that some 400 or so species of moth
are unique to Jamaica. Certainly, a very high degree of en-
demism has been reported from the limited amount of
moth material which has thus far been sent to specialists in
various groups for identification.
It is desirable for any country to have an inventory of its
known animal and plant species. However, knowledge of the
island's moth fauna is also desirable from other viewpoints.
The immature stages of moths (caterpillars) tend to be very
specific in terms of their foodplant requirements. Moths may
be sampled very easily and quickly using the attractant pro-
perties of bright lights, and may hence be used as 'indicator
species' species representative of the fauna associated with
vegetation at different stages of degradation. Furthermore,
the relative mobility of moths makes them useful as indica-
tors of past animal migrations: which moths are found where
would give valuable clues to the biogeography of the coloni-
zation of Jamaica and the Antilles by plants and animals over
geological time a thorny problem at best.
Another important issue which the study of Jamaican
moths may resolve is that of extinction due to habitat des-
truction. Over 14,000 specimens of Jamaican moths were
collected by Dr Andr6 Avinoff in the 1940s. They cur-
rently lie in the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, USA. It is
highly probable that many of these specimens are of species
now extinct, if we could but examine them. Perhaps such a
study would lend ammunition to the ever growing call for
habitat conservation throughout the island.
Passing on from this plea for greater attention to be paid
to the Jamaican moths, it might be of interest to look at
some selected aspects of the Jamaican Lepidoptera fauna. Of
these, undoubtedly the highlight is the endemic 'Homerus
Swallowtail' Butterfly, Papilio homers. In addition to
being stunningly beautiful, this species with a five-inch
wingspan also has the distinction of being the largest
butterfly in the Americas. It might be thought that such a
national treasure would be a source of considerable pride,
and that strenuous efforts would be made to conserve it.
This is regrettably not so. Although this majestic butterfly
once roamed the forests covering central Jamaica, today
it has been forced into two tiny pockets of forest by habi-
tat destruction one in the John Crow Mountains in the east
of the island, and the other in the central Cockpit Country.
Regrettably, even in these last strongholds its habitat is still
being destroyed in the John Crow Mountains by govern-
ment-sponsored pine planting, and in the Cockpit Country

by deforestation for the purpose of ganja cultivation. It is
unlikely that too many of this species will survive to see the
1990s, thereby further inflating the already ridiculously high
prices paid by unscrupulous collectors for specimens of this
Yet another endemic swallowtail, Graphium marcellinus,
appears to have been pushed to the very edge of extinction
on the island. Although the literature records it as having
once flown even at Half Way Tree in the 1950s, today it is
largely confined to the eastern end of the parish of St Thomas
where it often swarms between May and July and then dis-
appears for the rest of the year.
All is not gloom, however. Jamaica's third endemic
'Swallowtail' butterfly, Papilio thersites, is well and truly
alive, being particularly abundant in the coastal foothills of
the north coast. Indeed, most of Jamaica's 31 endemic but-
terfly species are relatively widespread, if not common. For
example, the 'Brown' butterfly, Calisto zangis, (found every-
where on grassland at higher altitudes) and the 'Dorcas'
butterfly, Mestra dorcas, (equally abundant in lowland gras-
sy areas) are two endemic species which are common to the
point of being an everyday sight. It is probably the case
though that in order to see most of Jamaica's truly endemic
butterfly species it is necessary to travel to certain special-
ized habitats, many of which may soon be threatened by
habitat disturbance.
In addition to truly endemic species, Jamaica boasts
several special forms or sub-species of otherwise widely dis-
tributed butterfly species. Notable among these is the Jam-
aican form of the American 'Queen' butterfly, Danaus gilip-
pus jamaicensis, which is found sporadically in every part of
the island. It is less red than the mainland form and has con-
siderably reduced spotting on its wings.

First column, top to bottom: Phoebis sennae;
Heliconius charitonius. Second column, top to
bottom: Danaus plexippus; Mestra dorcas; Calis-
to zangis. Third column,.top to bottom: Kricogo-
nia lyside; Danaus gilippus jamaicensis, (Scale:
wingspan of Phoebis sennae is 6 cm/2 ins.).

Jamaica is also home to about fifteen or so species which
are confined solely to the West Indian islands as a whole.
This category includes two further 'Swallowtail' butterflies,
Papilio pelaus, (also found in Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto
Rico) and Papilio andraemon, (also found in Cuba, the
Bahamas and Cayman). The latter species first appeared in
Jamaica in 1945, and is now common throughout the is-
The majority of the common butterfly species seen in
gardens and by roadsides in Jamaica tend to be quite widely
spread through the Americas. For example, one sight which
might seem to some to be uniquely Jamaican the swarm-
ing of vast clouds of white butterflies at certain times of the

year is in fact a characteristic of several species of butter-
fly with particularly wide distributions. One such species, the
Lignum Vitae Yellow, Kricogonia lyside, which clusters on
the trees of the same name in winter is found throughout
most of tropical America.
The Jamaican butterfly fauna is hence not without its
attractions for those interested in Jamaican or West Indian
'specialities'. Probably a good half of the island's butter-
flies fall into this category, although the figure will vary with
the authority consulted.

Four Jamaican swallowtail butterflies. Top left:
Papilio pelaus; Top right: Papilio andraemon; Bot-
tom left: Papilio thersites; Bottom right: Graphium
marcellinus (Scale: wingspan of P. pelaus is 8 cm/
3 ins).

But what of Jamaica's moths? As we have said, not a great
deal is known of this aspect of Jamaican wildlife. However, it
is possible to make some observations concerning a few of
the commoner or more spectacular species.
Jamaica's most famous moth is undoubtedly the 'Bat
Moth', which frequently enters houses, to the consternation
of their inhabitants. The 'Bat Moth' is in fact two species.
The darker one, with purple eye spots and a very variable
ground coloration is the pan-American species, Erebus odo-
rata the generic name Erebus refers to the area through
which the souls of the dead passed en route for Hades. (In-
terestingly, both this species and a closely related African
species are regarded by natives of both areas as being the de-
parting souls of their dead, and are treated with appropriate
awe and reverence). The second, paler 'Bat Moth' species,
without the fearful eye spots but with zig-zag 'shingle' marks
on the wings, is the species Thysania zenobia, which is found
in the Americas as far south as the Windward Islands. In
Trinidad and the mainland this species is replaced by the
close relative Thysania agrippina, which is noteworthy as
being the largest moth in the world with a ten-inch wing-
span. Fortunately for the constitution of the island's house-
holders this species has not been recorded from Jamaica!

Two Jamaican 'Bat Moths': Erebus odorata (top)
and Thysania zenobia (bottom) (Scale: wingspan
of E. odorata is 14 cm /5% ins).

A collection of twelve colourful Jamaican micro-
lepidopters (Scale given in inches).

One group of moths the Sphingidae or 'Hawk Moths'
- is almost as well known as the butterflies. They are char-
acterized by their large, bullet-like bodies and long, thin
wings. Jamaica possesses some forty of the world's 800
species, four of which are believed to be endemic. The great
1960s American millionaire and collector of hawk moths,
Preston Clark, sent paid collectors to every corner of the
globe to obtain specimens of all the world's species for his
collection. However, not even he was able to obtain a speci-
men of the elusive species Himantoides perkinsae from
Jamaica, of which only one or two are known in the world's
collections. The species is a mystery and may now be ex-

A recently captured specimen of an elusive Urania
moth; one 'tail' is missing but this specimen is in
better condition than the few previously captured
(Wingspan: 7 cm (2% ins.).
The size and beauty of hawk moths have attracted other
millionaire collectors the Jamaican fauna is well known
largely through the efforts of the collector, Margaret Cary,
who toured the Caribbean specifically for the purpose of in-
vestigating the West Indian hawk moths. Parts of her collec-
tion are still kept at the Institute of Jamaica.
One of the earliest collectors of Jamaican Lepidoptera -
and indeed of all wildlife on the island was Hans Sloane,
physician to the Duke of Albemarle, Governor of Jamaica
from 1687 to 1688. [See JAMAICA JOURNAL 21: 1]. His
contribution to the study of the island's wildlife is commemo-
rated in the name of Jamaica's largest and most colourful
day-flying moth, the elusive Urania sloanus. This fascinating
and uncommon species has relatives in mainland South
America and in Madagascar.
Jamaica appears to be particularly well-endowed with
colourful day-flying moths masquerading as 'butterflies'.

Studies so far have revealed over a dozen common species of
day-flying moth on the island, aside from the even larger
number of moths (such as the 'Bat Moth') which are norm-
ally nocturnal but which will fly a short distance if dis-
turbed during the day. It appears likely that day-flying
moths have been able to abandon their normally nocturnal
existence largely by virtue of possessing poisonous body fluids
which made them unpalatable to predators such as birds.
Their especially bright coloration appears to be an adaptation
designed to warn potential predators of this fact.
Many butterfly species worldwide have also evolved this
bodily toxicity and 'warning coloration'. In Jamaica the
common 'Monarch', Danaus plexippus and the 'Zebra',
Heliconius charitonius are but two examples. The poisons
which protect them from attack appear to be derived from
the toxic foodplants of the caterpillar, which stores up the
toxin and passes it on to the adult through the chrysalis
stage. Yet other species of butterflies and moths appear to
suck up toxic secretions from wilting plants as adults; where-
as some are even able to synthesise their own protective
toxins. The story of the evolution of protective toxicity and
warning coloration is a fascinating one, and is currently
being studied by scientists in many parts of the world.

The hawk moth Eumorpha labruscae: a specimen
from the Cary collection, taken at Mavis Bank
(Scale: wingspan 13 cm/5 ins).
But of what possible practical use is the study of lepidop-
tera in Jamaica or elsewhere? The positive role of butter-
flies and moths in pollinating plants as they feed on their
nectar is well known. However, the role of lepidoptera as
agricultural pests is not so well appreciated by those who are
not farmers. The caterpillar of the 'Sulphur' butterflyPhoebis
sennae, for example, is a significant pest of cabbage, callaloo
and other related crops in Jamaica. Another pest, the Coffee

Leaf Miner, is the larva of a microlepidopteran moth, Peri-
leucoptera coffee/la, which as an adult has only a three milli-
metre wingspan. The larva of this species, unlike most cater-
pillars, does not consume the entire leaf of its hostplant -
instead it excavates the inner part of the leaf as a 'mine', leav-
ing a thin layer of leaf tissue above and below it which rapid-
ly turns brown. There are many species of leaf-mining insects
in Jamaica, many of which are the larvae of various lepidop-
teran species. Just a casual inspection of any roadside vegeta-
tion will reveal leaves of plants which have been 'mined'.
Particular lepidopteran species tend to feed on particular
species of plant, and the precise pattern of whirls, loops and
blotches of the mine is usually diagnostic of the species of
the leaf-mining larvae. A significant proportion of micro-
lepidoptera adopt the mining habit as caterpillars, but next
to nothing is known of this group in Jamaica. Many are
agricultural pests, and the area is a rich field for further
The study of butterflies and moths for their own sake has
also had many important 'spin-offs' in the past. Indeed, the
genetics of the ABO system of groupings for human blood -
of crucial clinical importance was first understood as a
result of work by Sir Cyril Clarke on the genetics of colour
determination in an African butterfly. 'Pure' science, of
which Lepidopterology would seem to be one of the purest
forms, can hence lead to all sorts of exciting discoveries of
more general significance.
The Lepidoptera are a fascinating order, probably second
only in terms of numbers of species to the Beetles. Probably
30 per cent of all the animal species on the face of the earth
are moths or butterflies. It therefore seems extraordinary
that more of man's efforts have not been directed toward

Two for Nature Lovers .....

Forests of Jamaica
Edited by D.A. Thompson, Peter
Bretting, Marjorie Humphreys
Published by the Jamaican Society of
Scientists and Technologists

A definitive statement on the forests of Jamaica in
the 1980s.

A book by specialists which can be read and
appreciated by anyone with an interest in our
natural heritage.

Lavishly illustrated: 21 black and white photographs;
20 in colour.

Edited proceedings of a Caribbean seminar on forest
reserves of Jamaica, their management and use.
International and regional environmentalists working
in the disciplines of botany, forestry and conservation
contribute to a unique work describing one type of
eco-system on a tropical island. Includes an invaluable
species list and the text of the Forest Act of Jamaica.
ISBN 976-8017-02-3 J$150 UK30 U.S.$40

the study of these creatures. This is particularly the case in
Jamaica, where the lepidopteran fauna remains almost
totally unknown.

A leaf of a Gmelina species showing a complex series of
leafmines caused by the larvae of an unknown species of
insect, probably a fly.
It is unfortunate that the majority of moths are small and
inconspicuous and that most do not have any 'common
name. Nevertheless, I hope that I have shown that they form
a group of animals well worthy of further study by amateur
and professional alike. Furthermore, this group is faced with
the threat of habitat destruction in the same way that their
more obvious vertebrate kin are. There are only 8,000
species of birds worldwide, and less than 150 in Jamaica, yet
many hundreds of thousands of amateur man-hours are
devoted to their study annually. If only a very small fraction
of this effort could be diverted toward moths and indeed
insects generally considerable strides could be made in
our knowledge of the creatures which form the greater part
of the Jamaican fauna. It is time that this serious omission
in the cataloguing of Jamaica's fauna be rectified.

Gosse's Jamaica 1844-5
Edited by D.B. Stewart

The great English naturalist Philip Henry Gosse
(1810-88) spent 18 months in Jamaica and his writings
reflect 'The unwearying delight of those months'
which resulted in The Birds of Jamaica (1847),
Illustrations to The Birds of Jamaica (1849) and
A Naturalist's Sojourn in Jamaica (1851).
Gosse's Jamaica combines the best parts of
The Birds and A Naturalist's Sojourn with 16
illustrations of birds, eight in colour.
Gosse's Jamaica is of wide general appeal but will
be of particular interest to bird lovers. Although not
a field guide, anyone with an interest in Jamaican
birds and scenery will find it an invaluable and
rewarding companion.
ISBN 976-8017-00-7 J$70 UK15 U.S.$20
Orders and trade enquiries to:

Institute of Jamaica Publications Limited
2A Suthermere Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica. Telephone: 92-94785/6.


Ralph Thompson


Years ago when I had nothing else to do
except to ogle back at tree ghosts in a forest
about a mile along the road from Hardwar Gap,
my friend, Malcolm, who had long inhabited
a shack that rotted in the ferns and bracken bush
undertook to build a one-room timber house
and to this end employed the services and skills
of Mr. Coombs, a carpenter from Silverhill.

I was ten, Malcolm incalculably old
and purple black. I was nearly white
but now I know we shared a rare astonishment -
he at the prospect of a house respectable
enough in which to die and me at Mr. Coombs
pegging out a new domain with such casual
grace and squint-eyed wisdom as Penn & Venables
would have envied, albeit this forest colony
was twelve by sixteen feet of mildewed mulch.

Pencil tucked behind his ear, Mr. Coombs
bends over a beam bridging two inverted
forty-gallon drums its yellow fur erect, ready for
the razor tongue of plane to shave its splinters,
to peel its skin down to the smell of pine and pitch
while Mr. Coombs up to his unlaced boots in clay
whistles through gold-capped teeth, blessing with
flicks of sweat the cartilage of Malcolm's plot.

I stand, the dim light cupping my face back
as, hand over hand, columns are raised and braced.
Hammer strokes explode the silver heads of nails
and every time the carpenter's right arm shoots up
I blink, never knowing if the sparks I see -
red and blue are real or only in my head.

Mr. Coombs plucks a chalked cord like a taut
harp string, aligning horizontals on the soil's
black skin. Swinging a piece of twine tied to a rock
he sights for honest perpendiculars.
While Malcolm tongues and grooves the floor and Mr. Coombs
cuts rubber strips from an abandoned tyre to hinge
the door (rubber like silence does not rust in woods)
I am allowed the apprenticeship of scraps.
With two lengths of surplus laths and rusty nails
I make the primal shape, only slightly
out of true but right enough for showing off.

In eight weeks Malcolm takes possession of his
home, celebrating title and completion
with Mr. Coombs and a bottle of white rum.
I am invited in, noticing the warmth
of timbered in-ness. Hardly listening to the drift
of their post mortem, I choose the toolbox as my stool
pondering the career of carpenters.


Dressing for school -
open-collared shirt, jock strap,
the sussurus and sheen of short
khaki pants so fiercely starched
they stood up by themselves,
foot forced to tear a path
between the cloth to pull them on.

The leap upon the bike -
feeling the animation of its steel
between my legs, pedal elevated,
head hanging over handle bars
curved like the horns of Afghan sheep,
geared for the gravity of hills,
rocking from side to side.

Then the glide -
down South Camp Road
spokes spinning in refracted light,
such trust between the rider and the ridden
no hands were needed,
mere inclination was enough
to steer, mere wish sufficient
for the swish of wheels.

Like all infatuations
my love of the machine was brief and reckless
but in a feckless, rutted world
it taught me how to keep my balance -
or to fall.


A pipe jutted like a gibbet from
the outside kitchen wall above a shallow
cistern and when in the cool of early school-boy
mornings its silver rope of water whipped
its chill around my throat, choking off

Ralph Thompson

the involuntary scream, I pondered
why poverty ordained such ritual
ablutions and anointing crotch with red
carbolic soap cherished a hope the girl
next door would peek around the corner, pretending

I claimed this time and place
and all its dispensations by right of water
and since the world still slept I willed that she
should float across the fence and lift a foot
into the cistern. Through the curtain
of her hair I watched the water runnel
from her breasts, flowing into a new
and nervous valley, beading the matted
pubic hair with pearls. Then she was gone
and I, mouth salivaless and dry,
walked on heels across the dusty, transfixed
yard, back into the snoring house.

It seems so long ago, those days of cold ablutions,
their rapture stamped upon my memory
like the pattern of a fern on skin -
pain and pleasure wired in a silver
circuit of fusion and confusion,
passion and compassion and the rueful
knowledge that since my sudsing took a richer
turn I have scrubbed away the coin
of her face.

Could what they say about
cold showers still be true if this poem
only tingles into life at the
remembered shock of early morning water.

(Reflections on a Gun Court)

The house is sitting on its haunches
like an ancient market woman
taken short along the way,
suspicious windows squinting into
a harsh, unblinking morning sun.

It has a ten-foot dildo fence
and hedges of aralia
flanked less against a trespasser
than to keep the dogs inside
And me as well.

Back then the trams
clanged their chains up South Camp Road
shuddering the house. Its seams
were opening and in revenge
one night I aimed my water pistol
through the fence, arching a stream
into the pool of someone's lap.

That was forty years ago
and now the house and tracks are gone.
But every morning on my way
to work I pass the site. I see
a red facade glinting the guns
of sterling chaps who guard the turrets
and the chain-link fences sprung
from decayed aralias.
A few dead dildos and if they found
my boyhood water pistol in the
car, I would be quite at home.

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Lasana M Sekou


Let there be upful ties that bind
Let the human circle be unbroken
Down sugarcane alleys
We come
Down the Black shack alleys
A cross the saltpans and pondfills
Through the cotton fields and coal keels
The banana groves and bauxite mines
Clappingandbangingand raisingandwashingand
Our indigo-dyed hands

Still we trod
Through the Trenchtowns and Hameau du Pont ghettos
The battered barrios, schemes, and shanties
Under bootstrapped operations and invasions

Still we forward
In our arrow-root songs and uruku-laced dances
Raging reggaes and cascading ka danses
Spoonfuls of spooge studded in calaloo crowns of kaisos
And heaven-on-earth knows
How much gwoka gems and bales of bachatas
Meringue mixes and salsa serenades
We have borne
In a joyfully laborous bearing
Of cubanjazzedconchshellblowingsteelpanplaying
Congodrummingsocawailing rhythm style
While arching backward and thundering forward
Under the limbo's ordeal of fire
Driving mid-passage ceremony
Passing us to the other side
To people the maroon lands
To plough up the Sierra Maestra 'ites'
To find refuge and renewal
In the facial mangroves of the Beloved Bearded Ones
In the life-cleansing blood of the She-Saviors

It is true
This long journeying night
Has stained so many of us grey
But 'fear shall fail to conquer our warmth'-
The New Morning is dawning
For it is I and I
Summoning its flaming flamboyant-tipped fingers
By the long clanging
And soulful humming insistence
Of our hammers and machetes
Our tireless digging picks and hoes and shovels and
Of our pounding pens and venerable voices

We shall reclaim the fertile lands
We shall
Raise the masquerade mantels from the face of the Sun
Lighting for once and for all
Our forging of the Sighted scales of justice

We shall prevail over the long suffering
We shall continue on ego-less paths
Planting and harvesting in abundance
Humanized cultures of Labor

And from wherever
Our feet pass a pounding plan for peace
A fountain of fruits springs a sunrise of prosperity
Bearing prophetic witness
For all to live this Truth
That our 'labor is love made visible.'

King Edward VII
Memorial Clock Tower
Half Way Tree

I few months after the death of King
Edward VII in 1910, the St Andrew Parish
Council formed a King Edward VII
Memorial Committee to decide on and
erect a suitable memorial to that most
popular monarch. Some members wanted
a statue of the King, but it was finally
agreed that a clock tower would be more
beneficial to the community. Those in
favour of a statue had to be content with a
bust of Edward which would be
incorporated into the memorial.

Money was raised for the ClockTower by
private subscription. There was no
Government assistance for the project and
progress was slow. Finally, on 28 March
1913, what the Daily Gleanerdescribed as
a 'vast concourse of people' assembled at
Half Way Tree for the
ceremony at which the bust of
the King would be unveiled
and the clock presented to the
people of St Andrew.

According to the Gleaner:
The memorial is constructed in
reinforced concrete, planned in
the form of a Greek cross with a
base measurement of twelve
feet The Clock is 30 feet above
the ground and the roof is of
Jamaican hardwood.
The Tower is designed in the
Renaissance style of


7 -
^ I : t

architecture with details intended
to invest the work with a
distinctive colonial character.The
memorial had been built from the
design of Mr Sydney Jacques,
ARIBA, Hon. Architect to the

The clock, supplied by
J.W.Benson of London, was
fitted with glazed dials so that
the four faces could be
illuminated by electricity. The
bust of the King, also from
London, was installed on the
south side of the Tower.

The dignitaries at the ceremony
included the Governor, Sir William
Manning, the Archbishop of Jamaica,
Custodes and members of the
committee and Parish Council.
Missing was a grandson of King
Edward VII, who was visiting Jamaica
at the time. He was the shy Prince
Albert, later to become King George VI
but in 1913 a cadet on HMS
Cumberland, then anchored in Kingston
Harbour. His absence, attributed to his
duties as a cadet, was much regretted
by speakers at the function.

By 1958, the Clock Tower was thought
to be a dangerous traffic hazard by the
KSAC who proposed to demolish it.
Public protest was so strong, however,
that instead they followed the advice of
one of the letter writers to the Gleaner
and installed traffic lights and a
pedestrian crossing.
Eventually, in the 1980s, the Clock
Tower began to show signs of long
neglect. For years the hands of the
clock had stood at a quarter to five. The
memorial was rescued by the
Association of Land Economy
and Valuation Surveyors and
the Kiwanis Club of Down-town
Kingston which together
launched a restoration project.
Cleaned, repainted and
reroofed by their efforts and
S with the clock repaired by Cecil
S Simpson Jewellers, the Clock
Tower was rededicated in
1987. It had become once
more the attractive landmark
for so long associated with Half
Way Tree.

Glimpses of Jamaica's Natural History

Juniper Cedar
Juniperus lucayana Britton (Junlperus barbadensis Auth.) Cupressaceae

The juniper cedar is the most
outstanding tree of the Blue
Mountains. Medium-size and with a
spreading crown, it is readily
recognized by its bluish foliage
which consists of prickly scales and
needles. Each tree has a different
combination of shades of blue, grey
and sometimes mossy green; the
trunk and branches are often
adorned by silver-white lichens. The
juniper cedar will normally grow up
to forty feet and, in a more
competitive environment, up to sixty
feet. The trunk has a girth of six to
eight feet but old specimens can
measure as much as fifteen feet.
The wood is one of the most
beautiful cabinet woods in Jamaica.
It is reddish-brown with a finely
grained texture, strong and durable
and very fragrant. It is popular for
making wardrobes and chests since
cedar wood repels insects, but too
often the tree is cut for firewood
when young.
The juniper cedar prefers dry
slopes. It is distributed over a clearly
defined area comprising the Blue
Mountains and the Port Royal
Mountains exclusively, between
1500 and 6000 feet above sea level.


It is the largest of Jamaica's
three indigenous conifers,
the two others being the Blue
Mountain yacca(Podocar-
pus urbanii) and the St Ann's
yacca (P. purdieanus ). Both
of these are endemic, found
nowhere else in the world.
The juniper cedar, as the
old Latin name suggests,
grows on other Caribbean
islands, but is absent from
Puerto Rico. In Jamaica it is
no longer common; its
greatest threat is from illegal
cutting and forest fires. An
official policy to stimulate
replanting and the protection
of its natural environment
would ensure the continued
survival of this species.
Good specimens can still
be seen at Cinchona
Gardens and old private
properties such as


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