Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Back Cover

Title: Jamaica journal
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090030/00066
 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: March 1992
Frequency: semiannual
Subject: Periodicals -- Jamaica   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Jamaica
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with Dec. 1967 issue.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090030
Volume ID: VID00066
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01797964
lccn - 75027862
issn - 0021-4124

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Table of Contents
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Full Text



Maroon Atch3

Early Avition

Inis Scott

Is A

$XI ?R '"




What Sets them apart

is their Record of



do not have to choose between Real Estate, long-term
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* { I'^ i: I y alJ^

Effective Date January 23,1992

Fill out this Coupon and Mal to
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11 Trinidad Terrace, Kingston 5. Tel.: 92-98135-6. 66758
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Editor Leeta Heame *
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Design and Production Dennms

JAMAICA JOURNAL IS published behalf
of the Institute of Jamaica y
Institute of Jamaica Publicat Li

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kll cone.pondence should be addressed to.
IOJ Pubbcatons limited
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Telephone (809) 929-4785/6
Fax No- (809) 92-68817

Back issues: Some back issues are available List
icnt on request Enire series available on r I o MIaI
microfilm from-
Univerm i) Microfilms.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106, LISA m

Subscriptions: J]140 for 3 issues (in Jamaica
onlyri, UK. Individual_. 15, Insututouns: 20.
All other counties Individuals USS25
Institutions. LS$30
Single copies. JS50 (m Jamaica only); UK .
Other counties 1USS.
All sent second class airmad
%\e accept UNEsro coupons. Contact your local
UNESCO office for details

Advertising Rates senl on request

Indes: Articles appeanng m JisMAICA JOURNAL are
abstratled and indexed in HISIORICAL ABSTRACTS, . l

Vol. 24 No.2. Copynght V 1992 by Institute of
Jamaica Publicatons Ltd Cover or contents may al r i
not be reproduced in hole or m part without .. .
urien permission.

ISSN 0021-4124

Archaeology and the





Maroon (?) grindstone from Nanny Town

Kofi Agorsah

Of all the fascinating aspects of Jamaican history, the Maroon
element appears to be the only one that weaves through the
whole period, including the present day. Referring to themselves as
'True blu chankofi piti bo" somee Maroons of Moore Town in the
parish of Portland claim that, with the exception of the freedom
fighters of South Africa, they are the only living genuine and most
honourable freedom fighters worthy of the name.

Another interesting feature of the Maroon element in
Jamaica is that it provided a testing ground for British
colonial tactics and also for their economic and
political policies. In addition it demonstrated the
colonial government's perception of freedom and
human dignity, for freedom to the British at the time
was a phenomenon that was applicable only to

themselves. Maroon guerrilla warfare had its origins in
the struggle for freedom that has characterized the
greater part of their history. In the eighteenth century
the Maroons amazed the whole world by their un-
imaginable feat of resisting the supposedly invincible
British army to the point of military stalemate, thus
forcing the government to negotiate a peace treaty.


r tg- neaa o steagenammer n suu.

Fig2 Students at work on floor of a Maroon living area.

At the time of the British conquest of
the island in 1655, it became clear that
the escapees, as the Maroons were
considered to be, were a force to be
reckoned with. Apart from the burden
of the increase in the number of black
slaves after the conquest and the
attendant complex organization neces-
sary to maintain control, the colonial
power quickly recognized that the
'runaway' communities were a legacy
that was to determine or significantly
influence the course of events. From the
time of the return of King Charles II to
the throne in 1660 to King George III in
1795, and beyond, the British had to
grapple ceaselessly with the desperate
efforts of the plantation slaves to free
themselves and the simultaneous
struggle of the free Maroons to
maintain their hard-won liberty.
It is now clearly recognized that the
Maroons of Jamaica provide a cultural
link between the so-called prehistoric
'Arawaks' and the Spanish on the one
hand and the British on the other. It is

Fig.4 Remains of British militaryfortification seenfrom the east..

this connecting function of the Maroon
heritage in Jamaica that makes their
history outstanding, forming as it does a
continuous and permanent feature of
the history of the island itself. This
element also makes the overseas history
of the colonial and related European
nations more interesting and
It would be unfair to state that
historical references to the Maroons are
few. However, these references fail to
examine the Maroon past as a cultural
history. In the main, emphasis is limited
to the role of the Maroons as 'rebels'
implying that they did not have the
right to fight for freedom and human
dignity. Only a few years ago it would
have been inconceivable to mention
Maroon heritage as a study falling
within what is known today as 'Histori-
cal Archaeology'. It is now considered
to be not only part of this sub-discipline
but also the most important element as
far as Jamaica is concerned.

The First Nanny Town Expedition
In 1973 an exploration society in
cooperation with the Institute of
Jamaica organized an archaeological
expedition to Nanny Town. It lasted
only a few days. Led by Tony Bonner
as the site director and Allan Teulon as
the historical adviser, the expedition
conducted a test excavation of a limited
section of the military fortifications at
the Nanny Town site.2 Working mainly
on the surface around the rectangular
military wall, members of the exped-
ition recovered fragments of tobacco
pipes, musket balls, gun barrels, but-
tons, green glass bottles, and several
pieces of metal objects such as nails,
knife blades, staples and spear-heads.
The most spectacular find was a large
stone with an engraving recording that
the British forces had captured the site
from the Maroons at the end of
December 1734 and briefly occupied it
up to July 1735. However, after this
expedition, there was not much archae-
ological activity at any Maroon site for


CS:M'OT R N 0 pp



CI Maroon area 0 km 50
Maroon settlement

Fig. 5 Map of Jamaica showing Maroon areas

some years. In fact, it is only very
recently that the homelands of the
Maroon heritage have seen a systematic
archaeological investigation.
It was gradually realized that any
study of the culture and settlement
patterns of the Maroons requires more
than mere determination of the location,
number, size and spatial distribution of
the sites which they occupied. Such a
study must also go beyond the percep-
tion that limits Maroon history to 'a
history of rebels'. For example, it is
important to identify the functional role
of a site, such as seasonal occupation.
Political, economic and social ties
existing among and between sites are
important factors that should be
considered. Also necessary is an
understanding or reconstruction of the
Maroons' movements and interaction
and of the information flow among
themselves and with outsiders.

UMARP and Recent Investigations
With the establishment of the
University of the West Indies, Mona,
Archaeology Research Project (UMARP)
the Maroon settlements were brought
into entirely new focus.
The first phase of UMARP (1987-
89), was a general study aimed at
identification and location of historical
sites in Jamaica. The second phase,
which started in 1990, narrowed down
to the coverage of Maroon settlements.

The main objectives of the UMARP
study of Maroon settlements are (a) to
obtain archaeological data that can be
used for the interpretation of the
sociocultural patterns of the behaviour
of the Maroons; (b) to determine the
factors that contribute to the location
and character of Maroon settlements;
(c) to obtain material for dating and
providing a chronological framework
for the origins and development of
Maroon heritage in Jamaica. The
overall objective is to identify the
character and mechanism of the func-
tional adaptation of Maroon societies in
Jamaica over time.
A reconstruction of the Maroon past
must also be done in the context of the
territories they occupied and the special
and changing features of these areas
over time. For example, the Cockpit
country in western Jamaica with its
remarkable but harsh geomorphology of
tropical karst and vegetation was the
scene of some of the Maroon wars. It
was these wars which established the
Maroons' reputation for extraordinary
military and organizational abilities.
How did they cope with the environ-
ment? What mechanisms enabled them
to overcome the harsh conditions from
the social, economic, technological, and
military points of view? It is important
to identify the character and mechan-
isms of their functional adaptation
through time.
Seventeenth to nineteenth century

maps exist that indicate the approxi-
mate territories occupied by the
Maroons at different times. It is with
the aid of these maps that archaeologi-
cal reconnaissance and surveys can
identify Maroon dwelling sites, guer-
rilla war camps, hideouts, burial and
battle grounds and military tracks.3
Several of these maps indicate the
limits as well as the changing nature of
the settlements which were occupied.
From other maps can be gleaned in-
formation as to the distribution of the
Maroons within the settlements. A 1757
map of Accompong in western Jamaica
and an 1842 sketch map of what was
formerly known as Trelawny Town
(Maroon Town) are useful for a study
of the patterns of family distribution
within those settlements. A study of the
social relationships and the develop-
ment of families would reveal factors
that are crucial to an explanation of the
nature of the mechanisms by which the
continuity of Maroon cultural practices
has been maintained until the present
day. It would, therefore, be possible to
trace the evolution of modern social
networks and behaviour patterns of
Maroon societies. Information on these
is minimal in colonial documentation,
the only main source of Maroon
Place names in areas inhabited by
Maroons at one time or another, like
those of other groups of people else-
where, are very useful for archaeo-




logical research and reconstruction.
Such names as Parade, Gun Hill, Look-
out Point, Kinda, Bathing Place, Pette
River Bottom, Watch Hill, Gun Barrel,
Nanny Town and Killdead are a few
examples of such useful names. In
some of the modern Maroon towns
there are sections or divisions that
appear to have associations with family
groupings over time. In Accompong,
for example, family names can be
associated with specific areas in the
town, although it is claimed that there is
no formal agreement to such a pattern
of distribution or association.
Another area of study that is current-
ly being pursued is the technological
contributions of Maroons in Jamaica. A
study being undertaken by Dr Candice
Goucher of Portland State University is
providing evidence on an eighteenth
century iron and brass foundry estab-
lished by a John Reeder at Morant Bay
in St Thomas which used the techno-
logical skills of Maroons and slaves of
African descent. Technological con-
tinuities from the background of their
places of origin in Africa would provide
additional insight into how the Maroons
would have coped with the conditions
in which they found them-selves in the
New World.

Distribution of Sites
Maroon sites have been identified in
the Juan de Bolas area of the Guanabo
Vale and in the hills above [see maps].
These sites are referred to in historical
documents as the earliest of the run-
away hideouts and areas of resistance.
More than any others, these settlements
are likely to provide evidence that they
do link the prehistoric period with the
historical since within this same area is
the Mountain River Cave with its
important Amerindian rock art.4
The Accompong area in the Cockpit
country of St Elizabeth [see maps]
abounds in sites. Some of them are the
Peace Cave, Gun Hill, Pette River
Bottom, Big Ground, Grass Parade and
Kinda. North of Accompong, a path
leads through a modern cattle pen to the
north of Kinda and descends a very
rugged hill down to the burial ground of
Kodjo, the popular Maroon leader who
organized the Maroons in a series of
guerrilla battles in the early eighteenth
century. East of this burial site is an
area referred to as Big Ground Grass.
To the south of Big Ground Grass, the
area is bounded by a stream which

flows into the Black River in the
direction of Aberdeen. The famous cave
where the peace treaty of 1739 was
signed between the English and the
Maroons is located at an intersection on
the track linking Accompong to
Aberdeen. The Peace Cave overlooks
the Pette River Bottom where the last
battle between the two parties may have
taken place. Near Maroon Town,
formerly Trelawny Town, north of
Accompong, are graves apparently of
British soldiers. On top of Gun Hill
immediately to the north again are some
archaeological features supposedly built
by the British forces during their wars
against the Maroons.
In eastern Jamaica, in the Blue
Mountain region, many sites have been
identified, some still with building
foundations. Brownsfield, Gun Barrel,
Watch Hill, Marshall's Hall, Killdead
and Nanny Town are but a few of these.
Together with other similar sites they
are located in almost inaccessible areas
around Windsor, Seaman's Valley,
Moore Town and Comfort Castle, all in
the parish of Portland. The environment
of the sites is usually fragmented by the
surrounding mountains and the deep
valleys of the Rio Grande, the Negro
River, Dry River, Stony River and their
tributaries which cut through the
territory. The thick vegetation in the
area has caused considerable disturb-
ance at many of the sites although these
conditions have also sheltered some of
them. Landslides and other natural land
shifts together with battle damage
during the period of Maroon resistance
appear to have changed the face of
many of the sites.
Marshall's Hall, also noted else-
where as Marches Hall,5 is located near
Comfort Castle in Portland close to the
Dry River. The site is interesting
because of its structural features and
also for the fact that Maroon oral
tradition links the site to the modern
Maroon capital town, Moore Town,
historically considered to be 'New
Nanny Town'. Surface finds consist of
eighteenth and nineteenthth century
European ceramics, house foundations
and steps. The site partly overlooks the
valley of the Jackmadoree, a stream
which flows into the Dry River.
Settlement on the site of Marshall's
Hall is said to have been in family
units, each family occupying specific
sections of the site. More studies are
envisaged in the near future.
The Brownsfield site, near the Snake

River near Alligator Church Bridge,
Portland, sits high on a hill that
overlooks the road skirting modern
Brownsfield. The main features are
remains of houses, with a few frag-
ments of ceramics and green glass
bottles on the surface. The Brownsfield
and Marshall's Hall sites are significant
because they appear to support the
speculation that they were established
by the Maroons for defence.
The site that has attracted much
attention is Nanny Town. Since January
1991, it has seen a series of reconnais-
sances and surveys and as well as a full
scale excavation.

The Nanny Town Site
Accessible only by hunters' trails or
by air, the site of Nanny Town is
strategically located within the loop of
the Stony River which marks its south-
ern and eastern boundaries. Blocking
off the Stony River and rising steeply
from its northern bank is the Abraham
Hill. Northwest of the site is Nanny Hill
from which Nanny Falls splashes down
to the level open grounds to flow into
the southwestern bend of the Stony
River marking the boundary on that
side of the site.
It is not exactly known when Nanny
Town was founded, but historical
references indicate that by the mid-
eighteenth century, the town was not
only fully-fledged, but also a stronghold
of the freedom-fighting Maroons in the
eastern part of the island. Though
certainly a principal settlement, Nanny
Town's extent of control over other
towns is not known.

Oral Traditions

Nanny Town was named after the
legendary Grandey Nanny who is also
documented as having been a small,
wiry woman with piercing eyes. She is
said to have had exceptional military
ability and social as well as political
leadership qualities. It is sometimes
tempting to suggest that Nanny Town
may have been an amalgamation of a
number of smaller settlements. The
British forces which seized and briefly
controlled the area seem to have had
little interest in the settlement and,
therefore, did not provide much infor-
mation on it. Molly's Town, Dina's
Town, Marshall's Hall, Killdead and
Watch Hill are some of the names of
ancient Maroon sites mentioned in the


Fig. 6 Map showing Windsor route to Base Camp and Nanny Town

oral traditions of the Maroons and in
some documents as lying in close
proximity to or within the general area
of the Blue Mountains where Nanny
Town is located. Some, if not all, of
these settlements may have had direct
connection with Nanny Town. What
were the actual relationships between
these settlements? What was the mech-
anism of their functional adaptation at
those times? What was the nature of the
social network that enabled them to
establish the strong resistance charac-
teristic of the history of the Maroons?
These were some of the questions that
lay behind the decision for UMARP to
undertake a full-scale archaeological
expedition to the ancient site of Nanny
Town and adjoining areas.

The 1991 Nanny Town Archaeolo-
gical Expedition
For the first time, as a result of the
UMARP initiative, the University of the
West Indies was undertaking a full-
scale archaeological survey and
excavation of the ancient site of Nanny
Town. The difficulty of the terrain
made it necessary to plan the enterprise

in three stages. First was a preliminary
trip to determine the most manageable
route; this was followed by a pre-
excavation trip to study the site in order
to prepare a pre-excavation differenti-
ation of Nanny Town and other sites in
the vicinity; the third phase was the
excavation itself.
Preliminary trip: Since the Nanny
Town site is so difficult to reach, a
preliminary trip was undertaken in
January 1991 in order to identify a
possible route to the site from the
nearest town. Mr Leopold Shelton,
assisted by Garcia and Clinton West,
was the guide. Two possible routes
were identified, one leading from
Windsor and the other from Coopers'
Hill, both in Portland. Either route
would require a hike of at least twelve
hours to reach Nanny Town. The
Windsor route was selected as being
slightly less difficult.
The Windsor Route: From Windsor
Primary School the route runs south-
wards for about two hundred metres
and then turns eastwards to the banana
boxing shed known as Black Gate,
about a kilometre away. It is very close
to the west bank of the Rio Grande

River which can be crossed by a ford-
ing or by raft. The trail continues west-
ward through Parks Hill along an
abandoned water pipe-line to Rose Hill,
a very muddy and slippery three-to-four
kilometre hike. Another kilometre takes
the journey to Garland Grove, Pumpkin
Hill and Mammee Hill to the north.
Much of the way from Windsor up to
Garland Grove runs through the rugged
Johns Hall district. Two kilometres
further on is the Corn Husk River
which is crossed at a point called
'White'. Here the easier part of the
journey ends and the first major turn is
made southwards towards the site of
Gun Barrel, three kilometres away. This
part of the journey can be accomplished
in two to three hours but it is a very
rugged, slippery, steep and winding
trail. Gun Barrel is approximately
halfway to Nanny Town from either
Windsor or Cooper's Hill.
Travelling southeast past Sweat Hill,
Pipe Hill, Hog Grass Bump and Hand
Dog Bump, crossing numerous streams,
struggling through many gaps and
climbing steep slopes, one gets the true
feeling of the rain forest in which the
Maroons lived. Nanny Town is at


approximately the same altitude as
Hand Dog Bump, but one has to
descend Gun Barrel to a spot close to
Hand Dog Bump then move on
northwards to a base camp used by
hunters of the area, located south of
Abraham Hill. By skirting the hill to
the west and crossing back and forth a
couple of times over the Stony River,
one finally gains access to Nanny Town
just north of Abraham Hill.
Pre-Excavation Expedition: This
part of the second phase of the UMAR
Project took place in Februrary 1991. It
was sponsored by the Department of
History of the UWI at Mona and the
Archaeological Society of Jamaica
(ASJ). It was fully supported by the
Jamaica Defence Force, with contri-
butions from members of the
expedition. Thirty-three persons, some
from the United States of America,
made up the expedition.
The main purpose was to identify
excavation areas. Pre-excavation site
differentiation was based on surface
distribution of artefacts and other
surface features. Four areas were
selected and the results of soil chemical
analysis are expected to throw a clearer
light on the validity of the differenti-
ation, which for the moment is used
only tentatively.
Excavation: In the following August,
the full scale archaeological survey and
excavation of the ancient site of Nanny
Town took place. UWI student volun-
teers, lecturers, members of the
Archaeological Society and Jamaican
high school teachers, Maroon guides
and hunters, as well as undergraduate
and graduate volunteers from various
universities in the United States of
America, camped near Nanny Town for
four weeks from August 5, 1991, for
the historic excavation.
The Site: As already indicated, the
Stony River and Pitter's River and their
tributaries dominate the drainage pat-
tern of the site, while Abraham Hill to
the south and Sugar Loaf to the north-
northwest dominate the topography.
Rocky and rugged, the Nanny Town
site and adjoining areas are engulfed in
thick, lush green vegetation. The site
enjoys the warming sunshine coming
through the gap between Abraham Hill
and the Sugar Loaf Hill.
A conspicuous feature at the site is a
rectangular stone structure believed to
be a military fortification built during
the British-Maroon wars. A large block
of stone near the stone structure is





inscribed with a message that the site
was taken and controlled for a brief
period by a Captain Brook. This
engraved stone appears to have been
tampered with by more recent military
personnel as an additional name has
been found engraved on it since the
August 1991 expedition. A third feature
is a more recent stone slab, measuring
27cm by 35cm, with the engraving
'Bermuda Regiment 1971'.
The excavation was based on a
three-metre grid which was imposed
upon the 10 feet grid used by the
expedition of 1973. The J4 line which
was the J3 of the 1973 expedition was
used as the datum point. The excavation
was conducted according to natural
levels and reached only Level 2 in more
than 80% of the area excavated and
Level 3 in a few areas, particularly in
the eastern sections of the site from
which much of the material that appears
to predate the Maroon period of
settlement of the site was derived.
Finds: The provisional field
inventory of the finds at Nanny Town
indicates that approximately three
thousand artefacts were recovered.
More than 33% of this total consisted of
fragments of green glass bottle, 15% of
local ceramics and 10% of metal ob-
jects. An interesting feature of the finds
is their variety.
Historic Phases: Nanny Town is
recognized as having seen three phases
of occupation. The first appears to
predate the Maroon presence in the
area, and includes a mixture of local
ceramics, stone artefacts and shell
material. In areas 4 and 5 particularly,
this phase is represented by artefacts
that have been provisionally referred to
as pre-Maroon and which some of the
participants in the expedition think
might be 'Arawak'. No date can yet be
assigned to this phase although it is
strongly suspected to pre-date 1655.
The second phase, provisionally
referred to as the Maroon phase of
occupation, contains ceramic material,
much of which is local grinding stones
and a considerable amount of charcoal
which, if dated, could probably facili-
tate our understanding of the relation-
ship of this phase to the others. Much of
the charcoal comes from levels that
contain plenty of ashy layers on sur-
faces that appear to have been trampled
upon or beaten down. Fragments of gun
flints, gun barrels, musket balls, iron
nails, green and clear glass bottles
together with one fragment of red clay


pipe bowl, are finds from the Maroon
phase. The composition of the material
from this phase makes it difficult to
distinguish it from the later phase which
appears to represent the period when
the British forces attacked and occupied
the site. In addition to the finds already
mentioned, the Maroon phase, like that
of the phase that followed it, contained
kaolin pipe-stems and bowls, imp-
lements such as surgical scissors,
buttons, a coin (Dutch or Spanish
origin), a glass bead, fragments of
imported ceramics and fragments of
gun barrels.
The third phase is represented by the
stone fortification and the engraved
stones. The main finds of this phase
include many pipe fragments, buttons,
fragments of gun barrels, medicine
bottles, nails, imported ceramic bowls,
plates and cups, buckles, and a large
quantity of green glass bottle fragments.
A few post holes at the site are associ-
ated with this phase. One of them
appears to represent the location of a
flag post, possibly erected by the
British forces. This hole, approximately
1.5 metres deep and lined with stones,
is located against the back wall of the
stone structure.


Although no dates are yet available
for the phases identified, the results are
very interesting because they raise
many issues that suggest that there is a
need to begin to rethink the standard
interpretation of the history of Jamaica.
The new evidence clearly confirms that
Nanny Town was a stronghold that saw
considerable military action. A striking
discovery is that this evidence seems to
suggests that Nanny Town was
occupied for a fairly long period,
possibly dating back to a time before
colonial contact was made. This
possibility becomes even more attrac-
tive if the speculation that the artefacts
thought to be perhaps prehistoric or
'Arawak' is confirmed. In this case, one
could further suggest that Nanny Town
might have been a stronghold or a
refuge for escapees during the Spanish
period and that these escapees could
have been members of some of the
indigenous groups that the Spanish
encountered on their arrival in the
island. It could also be the case that
some of the indigenous inhabitants who
might have already settled at Nanny
Town before the Spaniards arrived,

eventually welcomed and sheltered
fugitives during both the Spanish and
the English periods. If we assume that
the prehistoric group consisted of
'Arawaks', it would suggest that the
very first escapees were 'Arawaks'.
Would that mean that the first Maroons
were 'Arawaks'? Possibly.
Another conclusion that follows
from this is that the association between
the material of the first two phases
suggests that a few of the 'Arawaks'
who might have escaped into the least
accessible regions of the Blue Moun-
tains and similar areas were still there at
the time when the English drove the
Spanish from the island. Books on the
history of Jamaica would then have to
correct the erroneous impression that
the 'Arawaks' had all been exter-
minated by the Spanish. It appears from
the evidence from Nanny Town,
pending the dating results that pre-
historic groups in hideouts in remote
areas of the island might have been
gradually absorbed into the groups that
later joined them.
Material associated with the stone
structure at the site of Nanny Town
clearly supports the opinion that it was
not built by the Maroons, as is usually
claimed in their oral traditions. The
structure may have been used later
when the Maroons took over the site
again but only after the British had left
Nanny Town.
Not much can be said about other
questions such as the relationships
between Nanny Town and other known
Maroon settlements in the vicinity of
the site or in other parts of the island,
nor about the social network that might
have bound them in any relationships. It
is also premature to speculate on the
structural pattern of the settlement
because not much of the site has yet
been examined. Whenever much more
information about the physical nature of
Nanny Town and other Maroon sites
becomes available it should be possible
to attempt serious generalizations on
the character and mechanisms of the
functional adaptation of the Maroons
over time.
The results of the 1991 excavation
appear to present a new opportunity to
achieve a better assessment of the
Maroon heritage within the general his-
tory of Jamaica. The University of the
West Indies archaeological research
programme is continuing with further
excavations and it is hoped that more
evidence will be obtained which will

make such a reassessment possible.
Much, however, remains to be done.


This paper is a preliminary summary of
archaeological investigation into Maroon
settlements in Jamaica and includes
aspects of excavations conducted in the
summer of 1991 at the ancient site of
Nanny Town in the Parish of Portland,
Jamaica. I wish to express my sincere
thanks to the Department of History,
Research and Publications Fund Com-
mittee, and the Faculty of Arts and
General Studies, all of the University of
the West Indies at Mona, the Jamaica
National Heritage Trust, the Wenner-
Gren Foundation for Anthropological
Research, and the Jamaica Defence
Force for their support. Limited space
makes it impossible to mention individ-
ual names of members of the February
1991 Nanny Town Expedition which
was organized with the support of the
Archaeological Society of Jamaica and
the Department of History, Mona, nor
the foreign and local undergraduate and
graduate volunteers and Maroon guides
involved in the Summer 1991 excava-
tions which went so very smoothly. I
wish also to place on record the co-
operation and assistance of Colonel
C.L.G. Harris, Chief of the Moore Town
Maroons, and his elders, and Colonel
Martin-Luther Wright, Chief of the
Accompong Maroons, and his elders.
The study has so far been a family affair
and I am hopeful that we will continue to
keep the family alive and growing.
1. This is a Maroon expression roughly
meaning 'I am a full-blooded descendant
(son/daughter) of a Maroon.' It is an
expression of identity and reaffirmation
of solidarity and loyalty, usually called
into play when two or more Maroons
meet and exchange greetings. It clears
the way for the discussion of matters that
should remain within Maroon circles.
2. Bonner, T. (1974) 'Excavation at Nanny
Town', JAMAICA JOURNAL 8:2 & 3.
3. Agorsah, E.K. (1990) 'Archaeology of
Maroon Heritage in Jamaica' in Archae-
ology Jamaica (New Series), No. 2
4. Watson, K. (1990) 'Amerindian Cave Art
in Jamaica', JAMAICA JOURNAL 21:1.
5. Agorsah, E.K. (1990), op. cit.

Photographs taken by the author.




of Commitment
The Shell Companies and Jamaica-
Going well together.

Our headquarters building stands as a
symbol of our continuing commitment
to the people of Jamaica. To the World
outside, our building says, 'Jamaica is
a good place to do business'.
Over sixty-five years ago when the
first commercial sea plane landed at
Rockfort, Shell was there to refuel the
Taking account of the society's needs,
Shell has helped with Education,

Sports, Health and the Arts.
Shell is in the forefront, urging safety
at the work place, in the home and on
the road. Shell speaks out constantly
of the need to conserve energy and to
protect our natural environment.
Shell is among the elder statesmen of
industry in Jamaica, but is still
a pioneer, committed to participating
in Jamaica's future.

Shell Chemicals Jamaica Limited


Early Days o

Commercial Aviation in JAMAICA

a 4


*- -

with its affiliates, had estab-

^'---"- L^"-_-lj---^.^^W
--- .~

by'v JHanna

The pioneer commercial
airline in the Caribbean was
Pan American Airways which,
with its affiliates, had estab-
lished commercial aviation
routes in the region as early as
1929. Together with a few other
companies, they made up the
network that served some West
Indian islands and Central and
South America. Initially,
Jamaica was not a part of
that network. The only flights
to the island were made by
the occasional intrepid avia-
tor on an exploratory flight,
testing the limits of his plane or
displaying the capabilities of
this new method of transport.

Sikorsky S-38 flying boat which made the inaugural flight from Miami to Kingston
December 3, 1930.

The earliest record in the Daily Gleaner of a plane being flown in
Jamaica appeared on December 21, 1911, only eight years after the
Wright brothers' historic flight at Kitty Hawk. An American aviator,
Jesse Seligman, flew a Moisant monoplane at Knutsford Park,
astounding the crowd with his skill. Until the 1940s, almost all aircraft
flying into Jamaica were amphibians but Seligman's plane would have
been brought to the island in sections by sea. then reassembled before
the flight. It is remarkable that Jamaicans were introduced to this new
technology so soon after it had first been developed.
Jamaica was also visited by more affluent individuals who toured
the Caribbean in their own aircraft. The Daily Gleaner recorded one
such visit on January 7, 1929, when it reported the arrival in Kingston
of a Sikorsky S-38 'Air Yacht'. The aircraft was piloted by the owner,
Captain J M Patterson, an American publisher who was holidaying in
the Caribbean. As there were no berthing facilities suitable for such a
large aircraft there was great concern as to where in the harbour it
should be anchored while the visitors toured Kingston.
It is not easy to understand why Jamaica was not included in
commercial aviation routes before 1930. The island was well sited as
an entry point for flights entering the Caribbean. Aircraft of the day
had limited range and needed to make refuelling stops and Jamaica
was well positioned geographically to fulfil this service for flights
from North America through to Central and South America. It could
provide a more direct route to South America than either the Western
route through the Central American countries or the Eastern route via
Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and then down the chain
of the Leeward Islands to Trinidad and beyond. The route via
Kingston could also offer a more rapid connection between the United
States and its Central American protectorate, the Canal Zone (CZ),
and had the advantage that it could be flown without an overnight
stop. The distance between Miami and Cristobal, CZ, via this route


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rl _-. ..~. -.~1. ii. -.l;..--~.r. i. c.i~n.-..; -~- ~.;.

was under 1800 miles compared with
the route through Central America
i which was 2260 miles. There always
remained, however, an obvious ad\an-
tage in maintaining a flight route with
short hops between islands. Land was
always in sight and, given the tech-
nology of the day, this was a safety
feature. Short distances and frequent
stops also meant that the airline could
serve more countries along the way.
The inclusion of Jamaica in com-
mercial aviation routes had advantages
for tourism. Many tourists were daunted
by the prospect of sailing among the
Caribbean islands since in many places
only small schooners plied between
them, with varying regularity. Adven-
turous travellers attempting to reach the
different islands by ship sometimes
found it necessary to return to one of
the main ports in the United States and
take a vessel belonging to another
steamship line which offered service to
their desired destination. This constant
backtracking along the route would
obviously disrupt any itinerary. By
contrast, taking a flying boat meant that
the traveller simply joined a flight, and
flew directly to the next port of call,
usually the neighboring island or
country. E. Alexander Powell in his
book Aerial Odyssey pointed out the
benefit of this to the traveller wishing to
Though the Caribbean is criss-crossed
by steamship routes, and though, in
order to gratify the tourist's demand for
novelty, cruise boats now touch at some
of its most obscure ports, a com-
prehensive and continuous tour of the
Caribbean countries by sea is next to
impossible because of bad connections.
The more I studied the sailing-lists, the
greater became my discouragement. It.
seemed as though they had been
worked out by some one with a positive
genius for making the life of the
traveler one long series of delays and
\e.xations. I found that in order to spend
more than a few hours in certain places
which interested me I should have to
wait a fortnight or three weeks for the
next steamer.
Between many neighboring ports,
indeed, there is no communication
whatsoever save by fishing boat or
coasting schooner. For example, it is
only about five hundred miles from
Bluefields, the principal Caribbean port
of Nicaragua, to Puerto Cortes, the
chief east-coast port of Honduras; but
you will save time by going back to
New Orleans, even though it means an
additional fifteen hundred miles of

travel. Or try to figure out a way of
getting from Port-au-Prince to Domin-
ica without resuming to New York.
The sea-roads being impracticable
because of the tume involved. I consid-
ered the air-lanes and here is what I
found By using Pan-American Air.
ways I could visit twelve republics and
ele en colonies, including the Guianas,
in sixteen days from Miami back to
Miami, at a cost for transporta-tion of
about seven hundred and fifty dollars.
[Powell 1936, 5]

In addition to allowing the traveller a
more flexible itinerary with better travel
connections, another advantage of the
aeroplane was that it shortened travel-
ling time very significantly while fares
were almost the same as by steamer.
As might be expected, given the
geographical proximity of Jamaica to
the North American continent, the
island's first commercial aviation links
were established with the United States.
The first application for facilities to
operate aircraft in and out of Jamaica
was made by an American company as
early as 1928. Permission was granted
but the company did not carry out its
plans. Jamaica was a British colony at
the time and it was the dream of the
'Mother Country' to establish an air
link from England to the Caribbean and
to extend it to all its possessions there.
A well-developed shipping line, the
Royal Mail Line, already carried out
this function, but with the changing
times another method was needed to
transport people and freight more
Two British companies applied for
permission to operate air services as
well as for financial assistance to put
the operations into effect. One, in 1929,
was from Atlantic Airways Limited
which also presented proposals for the
operation of air services to other parts
of the West Indies. They, however, did
not pursue the proposal, possibly
because the required government
subsidy did not materialize. The other
proposal came in 1930 from Caribbean
Airways Limited, a British company
registered in Jamaica in June 1930 with
an initial capital of 5,000. They
proposed to build an air base and
operate air services from Jamaica to
Cuba, Haiti and the Bahamas. Appa-
rently the company was registered in a
effort to establish a British presence in
the face of American competition. Pan
American Airways had also applied in
1930 for permission to operate in

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Always at Your Service.
P1ffZ /IifERICf4-
0.f 0 ~ARfiUHIirs S STKEf



Advertisement for Pan American Airways in
Planter's Punch.

12 JAMAiCA JouRNAL 24/2

Jamaica m connection with its through
service between North and South
America. Initially, the Jamaican govern-
ment denied permission as an agree-
ment could not be reached between
themselves and the airline. According
to an item in the Jamaica Times of July
26, 1930, this application had been
withdrawn in June. Local newspaper
and magazine articles of the day
deplored the fact that an American
rather than a British company should be
the first to provide an air service to the
West Indian territories. One article
entitled 'Air Services in the Caribbean',
published as early as March 21 1929 in
the West India Committee Circular, was
representative of this opinion. It
pointed out that the debates on this
issue had gone as high as the British
House of Commons. Such an outburst
of nationalism might well have been
responsible for the earlier refusal of a
licence to Pan American. It was only
after Caribbean Airways had been
registered that permission was granted
to the American company.

Inauguration of Pan American Air-
ways Service
Jamaica was included as a destination
in a regular air passenger service later
than the rest of the Caribbean and

certainly long after air travel had been
introduced into the United States. There
a regular air passenger service had been
in operation since 1925 on a year-round
basis between Los Angeles and San
Diego in California. By 1930 passenger
travel in the United States had increased
so rapidly that it nearly equalled the
total airline passenger travel in the rest
of the world.1
On December 1, 1930, the an-
nouncement of the introduction of Pan
American's air service to Jamaica
shared headlines in the Daily Gleaner
with news of airplane crashes in Nassau
and Australia and an item about a
missing aviatrix.
December 3, 1930, saw hundreds of
people gathered on the western King-
ston wharves to watch the arrival of the
Pan American inaugural flight into
Jamaica. The event made front page
news in all the local papers with the
Daily Gleaner giving it full coverage,
complete with photographs. The Ja-
maica Times of Saturday, December 6,
1930, on the other hand, reported Pan
American's arrival in only a few lines
and with a rather pro-British stance,
concentrating the bulk of the article on
the formation of Caribbean Airways,
emphasizing that 'they are to have the
privilege of being the first British
Aviation Company in the West Indies to
carry British mails'.
The Pan American flight from
Miami landed at 10.10 a.m. in Kingston
Harbour and was escorted to its floating
barge anchored there especially for the
landing by the two planes of Caribbean
Airways and, unofficially, by small
boats filled with people who wanted a
closer view of the aircraft. It was a
Consolidated Commodore, registration
number NC 669. The plane carried no
passengers but brought two bags of
mail from the United States for
Jamaica. Among the mail was a letter
postmarked New York, December 1,
1930, which was delivered in Kingston
at 2 p.m. on December 3. (What a
contrast to today's air mail-complete
with the advantage of jet travel!).
After remaining in the harbour for
about an hour and a half to refuel, the
plane took off for Cristobal in the Canal
Zone. At the time, that leg of the journey
was the longest flight made over water by
any commercial plane. The journey of
approximately 675 miles took six hours
and seventeen minutes flying, non-stop.
The inauguration of this service
linked Jamaica to North America and to

Pan American's routes covering other
West Indian islands and South and
Central America. In addition, the route
between Kingston and Cristobal, CZ,
was not only more direct but it also
provided the airline's flight crews with
new and critical experience in long-
distance flying. Experience gained on
this route gave Pan American pilots the
skills in long distance navigation and
over-water flying that would later equip
them for the routes across the Atlantic
and Pacific oceans.
The first aircraft flown on the
Caribbean routes were Consolidated
-Commodores, twin-engined amphi-
bians. Although the original configura-
tion could take up to thirty-two
passengers, constraints imposed by an
increased fuel load for long distance
over-water flights meant that no more
than eight to ten passengers could be
accommodated. One year later Pan
American introduced Sikorsky S-40
Clippers on the Miami-Kingston-
Cristobal route. These were four-
engined flying boats with increased
range and greater passenger payloads.
The inaugural Clipper flight to Jamaica
was piloted by Charles Lindbergh, the
world-famous aviator whose solo non-
stop crossing of the Atlantic in 1927
had made him the hero of the day. He
was accompanied by Igor Sikorsky, the
designer of the flying boats. Lindbergh
and Sikorsky were given a tumultuous
welcome at Bournemouth Baths in
Kingston on November 23, 1931.
'Lindy', as Lindbergh was affectionate-
ly known, became the idol of the local
press during the days following his
arrival. This was a time of personal
triumph for Lindbergh, who only six
months later would have to face the
tragedy of the kidnapping and murder
of his infant son.

The Travel Experience
During these early days of air travel,
every little snippet of information about
flying became news. For example, if the
time taken to fly between Miami and
Kingston was shorter than expected,
headlines appeared in local newspapers
and magazines. Dramatic episodes
associated with this rapid means of
transport were newsworthy. Two
articles in The Weekly Review, a local
magazine illustrated this. One was
headlined Baroness Rushes to Mother's
Bedside by P.A.A. Plane, whilst the
other was entitled By Plane to Priest-

son's Sickbed. Both dealt with the
effective role played by air transport in
reuniting relatives at a time of crisis.
Even the name of the vantage point
offering the best view of the aircraft
landing or taking off was printed in the
newspapers. This was particularly true
for the first flight into Kingston. Route
changes which reduced travel time or
the addition of a new plane to the route
also made the news The speed with
which packages could now be sent
between distant points was thought to
be worth reporting. For example, a
Daily Gleaner article of November 2,
1931 described how a cinematograph
film of an event of international
importance which had taken place in
South America a few days before had
been rapidly flown to Kingston and
transhipped for New York to be seen in
theatres there the day after leaving
Jamaica. Viewing an event so soon after
it had occurred in a foreign country had
been impossible before the advent of air
travel. The world was definitely
becoming smaller.
Those contemplating air travel had
first to overcome the fear of flying.This
new mode of travel had been associated
with catastrophes involving both air-
ships and aeroplanes. A Daily Gleaner
editorial published on December 2,
1930 did its best to dispel people's fear
of this form of travel. It pointed out that
although accidents were associated with
air travel, they also occurred as a result
of steamship, railway or motor car
disasters. Nevertheless people contin-
ued to travel in ships, trains and cars
without giving the danger a thought.
The article went on to state that, in
time, the same would occur with air
In the 1930s, flying was by no
means an everyday event and the
experience, especially for the first time,
was a memorable one. An article by G
V Barton which appeared in the Daily
Gleaner of December 12, 1930 makes
this very clear. Barton described how
he flew for the first time on a Caribbean
Airways Fairchild, a single-engined
monoplane, as it made its inaugural air-
mail flight from Kingston to Santiago
de Cuba. It was obviously an awe-
inspiring experience for him:

Blue that sparkled was the ocean when
I saw it last, on the south side of my
island home; now while the white still
shone where the waves broke on the
coast line, the tinge of the water had




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from downtown Kingston, Jamaica's capital city.
The company is a member of the Shipping
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The Channel is 1,500 feet wide, 34 feet deep, and
has a turning basin with a radius of 2,000 feet.
Four lateral berths totalling 2,425 feet with
maximum depth of over 30 ft. including a Roll-on/
Roll-off container Berth. Four hurricane-proof
concrete warehouses totalling 154,400 sq. feet.
460,000 sq. feet of paved open storage *
Container Storage Area. Cold Storage Facilities.
Various mobile cranes, three-ton and heavy fork-
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facilities: Bunker "C", Marine Diesel and Blended
fuels. Fresh water outlets for delivery at a rate of
200 tons per hour.

Wharf Company to set up modern operations at
Newport West. In fact, Newport West became a
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The Company has an enviable reputation in care and
safety of Cargo Handling.
WESTERN TERMINALS has taken the Ports of
Kingston and the Caribbean into the Port
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strides in Computer Applications, thanks to the
pioneering role of WESTERN TERMINALS, --
Newport West (Port Bustamante) providing a
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Jamaica Aational


changed; it was slate-coloured, looked
if anything like the hide of a crocodile.
The change intrigued me; I was seeing
the sea for the first time in a strange
garb, and curiosity prompted me to
glance over the pilot's shoulder for a
peep at the altimeter 3,000 feet up! I
have been at that height before on a
mountain range, but 3,000 feet above
salt water looked well 3,000 feet. 1
still looked out; the whole contour of
the eastern coast line was spread before
my gaze, and the sun's rays refracted
from a thousand points from the
towering mountains that formed the
background was a sight long to be
... I got out my morning's copy of
the Gleaner and started to read but the
window was an irresistible attraction
and I again glanced out the paper was
put aside, and I gazed with all my eyes
at a scene I had never seen before the
plane was racing just above a cloud
bank, that extended right up to the point
of visibility Up above the clouds! I
had read stories about this in my school
books, now I was experiencing it, and it
made one's nerves tingle.

Pan American's flights originated
from and terminated at the international
seaplane base on Dinner Key, just south
of Miami on Biscayne Bay. This com-
plex had a very nautical air. It looked
like a smart yacht club, with well-kept
grounds, blue and white uniformed
officers, and a landing stage draped
with life preservers, nautical flags and
pennants. As in Jamaica, plane-watch-
ing was becoming a free public enter-
tainment in Miami. People would
gather along the sea wall by the
hundreds to watch the planes land and
take off.
Mr J Tyndale-Biscoe, a noted Jama-
can aviator and aerial photographer
who worked with Pan American from
1944 to 1963, described what the scene
was like at Harbour Head, Pan Amer-
ican's seaplane base in Jamaica, when a
flying boat arrived.

When the estimated arrival time for the
flying boat was approaching,-a sharp
watch was maintained and as it was
sighted over the city a loud bell was
rung. This was known as the sighting
bell. Later when the radio-phone was
used for communication, this sighting
was referred to as the plane being 'on
At the sound of the bell, the line
crew, who were carpenters, mechanics,
gardeners or boatmen, dropped what-
ever they were doing and changed into
white coveralls, then walked down to

the dock. By this time it was usually
possible to see the plane over the city
and, soon after, to hear it, as a very
distinctive sound was made by the wind
passing over the bracing wires of the
Pan American was run along
nautical lines. We dressed in naval
fashion, from our caps down to our
brightly polished black shoes. During
landings and take-offs we all assembled
on the landing barge, the line crew in
their white coveralls stood in line at
attention while the mechanic in khaki
shirt and pants with a black tie stood in
front of them. This mechanic was in
charge of docking the plane, which was
not an easy task at the best of times.
He was also in charge of rescue
operations, fire fighting or anything
else that might go wrong.
It was beautiful to watch one of
these flying boats coming in to land.
The pilot would descend over the
harbour until he was just skimming the
water, so low that occasional waves
broke with a splash against the bottom
of the hull. You could see them coming
from perhaps a mile away, absolutely
level with their engines roaring,
maintaining a constant speed. When
they were almost up to base, maybe a
quarter of a mile away, the throttles
would be closed and, with the sound of
the engines dying away, the hull would
sink gracefully into the water with its
nose high, creating a large wave. All
forward movement ceased at that point
and the aircraft would sit in the water
gently rocking back and forth until the
throttles were once again opened and

the plane made its way towards the

The planes were luxuriously fur-
nished as a Daily Gleaner article of
December 1, 1930 clearly illustrates:

The ship is divided into four main
compartments with room for eight
passengers in each but, under the
operating conditions of this service, one
compartment will be given over to
radio and the other to mails and
luggage. One compartment is so inge-
niously contrived that rtwo day -beds are
available for the passengers' conveni-
ence. The interior appointments of
these compartments are the last word in
modern decorative art, no two being
similar. The walls and ceilings are in
delicate tints in keeping with the
tropical atmosphere and the tapestry
upholstery blending in with the general
colour scheme.

The aircraft described was one of the
smaller types, a Consolidated Com-
modore, used at the beginning of the
service to Jamaica. These twin-engined
flying boats were part of the fleet
purchased by the New York, Rio,
Buenos Aires Line (NYRBA) which
operated from Miami, through Cuba,
Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, the Leeward
Islands to Trinidad then down the east
coast of South America to Buenos
Aires.ln September 1930 Pan American
bought out the assets of NYRBA thereby
acquiring both their equipment and
their lucrative routes. With the acquisi-
tion of these long-range aircraft, Pan
American was able to start nonstop
services between Jamaica and Cristobal
-' if the Canal Zone in the December of
that year. In November 1931 with the
addition of the Sikorsky S-40 Clipper to
the Miami-Kingston-Cristobal route,
the furnishings and service en route
became even more luxurious. The.
interior walls of the passenger cabins
were inlaid with mahogany which
covered a special sound-proofing
material to shut out the roar of the
engines. Each cabin was larger than the
double compartment of a Pullman train
and seated eight passengers. The plane
seated forty and was furnished through-
out with over-stuffed lounge chairs and
carpeted floors. Full-size wash-rooms
were provided with enamelled fixtures
and hot and cold running water. This
aircraft also boasted the first ever in-
flight galley, in effect, a miniature
kitchen equipped with an electric stove
and refrigerator which made it possible


to prepare meals while in the air.
Takeoff in these seaplanes, particu-
larly the smaller ones, was sometimes
not successful on the first attempt. If the
water in the harbour was very calm, the
pontoons of the plane could not lift
from it. In order to facilitate takeoff
under these circumstances, a small
power boat would be driven back and
forth ahead of the plane, making the
water as choppy-as possible. As the
pontoons struck the small waves, foam
was whipped up underneath them so
that they were released from the water
and the plane could lift off.
Torq Marvel's book, Circling the
Caribbean. described the effect an
eventful takeoff had on one passenger:

At seven in the morning I stepped
aboard the spindly amphibian poised on
the glassy waters of Kingston Harbour.
A half-dozen other passengers, among
them a pretty Cuban girl with an infant
in her arms, settled theR'-clves in the
double row of leather seats; the
engines. 'wound up' by a hand-
operated fly-wheel, took hold and the
twin propellers threw sudden, stormy-
looking cat's-paws over the still water.
We moved off.
Faster and faster we pushed through
the water; the engines throbbing, the
whole craft shaking. Still we clung to
the water like a scudding mallard. The
engines slowed and we turned for
another try. The Cuban girl, who a
moment before had bidden a fond and
tearful good-b> to her grandmother on
the landing stage, now clutched the
child to her breast, wild-eyed and
frightened. As if in response to her
fears, the infant started a petulant
Instinctive fear of flying is natural
to most of us; this young lady was
-afraid because we flew not. Accustom-
ed to thinking of a plane as a vehicle of
flight, she found its position on the
placid surface of the bay unnatural,
anomalous, terrifying.
In the comparatively quiet interval
while the plane was turning around,
one motor idling, the other at half
speed, she suddenly screamed: 'God
doesn't want me to go on this plane!
Take me offl This is a message from
God; I cannot go!'
While the young co-pilot tried to
reassure her, our skipper opened the
throttles again and we roared back,
throwing buckets of white water
against the windows water that
refused to drop below us and leave us
to the air.
After our second unsuccessful try
we taxied to the landing stage for

additional fuel and no sooner had we
rubbed the fenders of the floating
platform than the young mother was on
her feet, screaming at full pitch her
determination to take the Divine hint to
remain on terra firm.
[Marvel 1937. 74-51

Despite the sometimes traumatic
takeoffs, the service in flight left
nothing to be desired. In Ports of the
Sun, Eleanor Early described the lavish-
ness and personal service offered

The steward spread green cloths for
luncheon, and we had tomato juice, and
veal cutlets with breadfruit and
plantain, iced tea and caramel custard,
demitasse and a box of chocolates
apiece! Meals are served without a
charge on Pan American planes.
Breakfast, luncheon, tea, and dinner -
and if you should get hungry between
meals, there is always a snack. Native
fruits are taken on board at every port.
You can have tea or coffee any time,
and cold fruit juices. En route, meals
are picked up in transit at the best hotel
or restaurant, and come aboard steam-
ing hot in thermos casseroles. Pan
Amencan specializes in native foods -
arroz con polio in Caribbean countries,
and steaks in Buenos Aires and Rio. If
you want something special, all you
have to do is ask for it. From appetizer
to sweets table d'hote and a la carte -
Pan American meals are always good.
[Early 1937, 288-91

As for the passengers flying these
Caribbean routes, E Alexander Powell
gives a colourful description of them:

No other transportation system in the
world, unless it be the Overland Desert
Mail in Arabia, carries so many pic-
turesque and interesting types of
passengers. Riding these aerial argosies
are hard-bitten soldiers of fortune
bound for little wars and revolutions
which are generally in progress in some
portion of Latin America, colonial
governors going out to their posts in the
West Indies or the Guianas, sun-
bronzed mining engineers on their way
to the oil-fields of Venezuela and the
emerald mines of Colombia, explorers
and orchid hunters on expeditions to
the upper waters of the Orinoco or the
Amazon, archaeologists destined for
the Inca ruins in Peru or Mayan ruins in
Yucatan, rich Brazilians and Argenti-
neans returning from New York or
Paris to Rio and 'B.A.', ambassadors
for locomotives and mining machinery
and cotton goods and firearms and
whiskies headed for the great marts of
the Antipodes. tourists who have fled
from the cold and snow of the north

and are going down to meet the spring.
[PoweU 1936, 6-7]

Air travel appears to have gained in
popularity during the 1930s as the num-
ber of Pan American flights to Kingston
showed an increase during this period.
The Annual General Report of Jamaica
together with the Department Reports
for 1931 recorded the arrival of 213
flying boats during that year. By 1935
this number had increased to 270, then
to a grand total of 373 in 1938. Probab-
ly the number of flights increased as
people became more accustomed to the
speed and safety of air travel.

Transatlantic Route

While Pan American was increasing
its routes between the United States and
throughout the Caribbean, Central and
South America, the beginnings of a
transatlantic route were just being seen.
The problems of transatlantic air
communication were twofold: technical
and political. In the first instance, it
was necessary to produce an aircraft
that could fly the distance not merely as
an occasional stunt performance under
carefully chosen conditions but over
and over again on a regular schedule
with a load that would pay for at least a
part of the expense involved. Secondly,
assuming that such an aircraft could be
constructed, would the various govern-
ments concerned allow the flights to
cross their respective territories?
Some very advanced but perhaps
impractical ideas to simplify trans-
atlantic flight surfaced in the 1920s.
Intermediate landing points in addition
to the island groups were sought
because of the limited range of aircraft
at the time. There were projects for
enclosing areas of the ocean with float-
ing breakwaters that would calm the
waves enough for seaplane takeoffs
after refuelling. There was also a very
well-engineered and diligently pro-
moted plan, which more than once
seemed on the verge of receiving
official support, for planting seadromes,
or floating islands with flying decks
raised on pillars far above the sea, at
intervals between America and Europe.
Foreign Offices, especially in Paris,
became greatly agitated over the legal
status of such seadromes, permanently
located just outside the three-mile limit,
and the question as to who would have
sovereignty over them. Progress in
aircraft design proved a little too rapid


for the seadrome advocates, and all
such schemes were outstripped by the
speed of technological development In
1934, a flight from England to Mel-
bourne, Australia, was hailed as a
stupendous achievement. Even one year
before, such a flight had not been
thought possible. Manned flight had
now brought a continent distant from
England by 11,300 miles and thirty-five
da)s by steamer to within a three days'
journey. Transatlantic flight would now
be a reality.
Further progress in the development
of a transatlantic route occurred in 1934
when Imperial Airways, in cooperation
with Pan American, put forward pro-
posals to establish an air service cover-
ing this route. Each company was to
maintain a weekly service between
Bermuda and the United States. How-
ever, the British insistence that the two
lines should open their routes simul-
taneously caused considerable delay.
Pan American was ready to start by
1935 but could not do so as Imperial
Airways lacked aircraft of sufficiently
advanced technology to fly the route.
The diplomacy involved, as well as the
delay caused by the British, was aptly
described by Oliver J Lissitzyn in his
article 'The Diplomacy of Air Trans-
port', which appeared in Foreign
Affairs. An American Quarterly
Review in October 1940:

Trans-Atlantic air routes have been the
object of particularly intricate diplo-
macy. An understanding between the
United States, Great Britain, Canada
and the Irish Free State for trans-
oceanic services was reached as early
as 1935. Pan American Airways was
apparently ready to inaugurate services
on this route before Imperial Airways.
for technical reasons, was able to
participate in them. In accordance with
the understanding of 1935, Great
Britain in 1937 gave Pan American a
permit to land in Newfoundland,
England and Bermuda; similar permits
were also obtained from Canada and
Eire.*The British permit was condi-
tioned, however, upon the simultaneous
start of trans-Atlantic operations to the
United States by the British company.
In view of Imperial Airways' tardiness,
Washington asked London to waive this
condition; but the British long remain-
ed deaf, probably being reluctant, for
reasons of prestige, to see the American
company be the first to operate across
the Atlantic.
In January 1939, after very brief
negotiations, the United States obtained

temporary landing rights in France,
rights which were made more perman-
ent by an air transport agreement
between the two governments on 15
July 1939. Pan American already held
landing rights in Portugal, and it was
therefore now in position to open a
trans-Atlantic service along the south-
ern route, regardless of the British
attitude. Great Britain, perhaps realiz-
ing the futility of her stand, in February
1939 waived the requirement of
simultaneity; on 20 May 1939, Pan
American inaugurated a regular service
on the northern route, to be followed a
month later by Imperial Airways.
S It is clear that the international
bargaining involved in contemporary
air transport diplomacy was responsible
for delaying, perhaps by several years.
the establishment of regular interconti-
nental air service across the Atlantic.

'Footnote: At the same time a reciprocal
permit was issued by the Umuled States to
Imperial Airways. The assets of Imperial
Airways were acquired early in 1940 by the
new Bnntsh Overseas Airways Corporauon,
wtuch has organized a subsidiary, Airways
Atlantic, Limited, to operate Ihe trans-
Atlantic service.

The establishment and maintenance
of a transatlantic route in the late 1930s
was of obvious importance as it was a
means by which European countries
could continue to exert their influence
and control over their colonies in the
western hemisphere.
Although the transatlantic routes
established in the 1930s offered increas-
ing regularity of service, it was still not
possible towards the end of that decade
to make a direct commercial flight in
one single aircraft from London to
Kingston. Passengers wishing to travel
by air from Kingston to the United
Kingdom either had to go through the
United States and Bermuda on Pan
American's Atlantic Clipper or connect
in Antigua with the Imperial Airways
flying boat service on a South Atlantic
route. World War II disrupted these
routes and a direct service from King-
ston to London did not begin until after
the war. British South American Air-
ways inaugurated this service in Sept-
ember 1946, using reconvened Lancas-
ter bombers. Despite the uncomfortably
long flight (56 hours) and the steep fare
(130 one way, 234 return), the Daily
Gleaner of September 1, 1946 reported
heavy demand for the limited number
of seats available.

Air Mail
Access to such a rapid means of
communication as air transport was an
important competitive asset in inter-
national trade, making the development
of an efficient air mail service possible.
By the mid-1920s, air mail services
were already well established in North
America and at the end of that decade
the United States Post Office was look-
ing southwards. Rapid air mail commu-
nication between North and South
America had important consequences in
speeding up business between the two
continents. Shipping documents,
notices of dishonour, letters of credit,
drafts, various instructions and explana-
tions, credit inquiries and replies, as
well as specifications, samples and
emergency shipments, could now be
sent by air, eliminating cable charges
which might have been prohibitive in
small transactions. The growth and
increasing popularity of this method of
communication can be seen in the
accompanying table. The sort of impact
that the introduction of air mail had on
business practice in Jamaica in the
1930s could be compared today with
the changes brought about by the
introduction of facsimile machines to
modem business practice.
When Pan American applied to serve
the island, it was to provide both
passenger and air mail service. In 1930,
however, the air mail contract was
given to Caribbean Airways, a British
company registered in Jamaica. This
company then carried mail for a very
short period before subcontracting it out
to Pan American. By 1934, Caribbean
Airways was experiencing financial
difficulties and so lost the air mail
contract. The Post Office then negoti-
ated its own contract with Pan Amer-
ican and, as a result, was able to reduce
air mail rates.
With the advent of aircraft able to fly
long distances without refuelling, larger
airline companies ihi he Caribbean
gradually dropped the intervening
points en route. This left the market
open for the development of smaller
local or regional airlines. By the early
1940s, the lesser Caribbean islands
were no longer included in the Pan
American network. To fill the gap,
British West Indian Airways (BWIA)
and the Dutch airline, Koninklijke
Luchtvaart Maat-schappij (KLM),
began regular commercial services to
these islands. At the same time, the era


of the slow -ad relatively underpower-
ed flying-bolt was coming to an end.
World War 1U hiad proved the superiority
of land-based aircraft, with their higher
payload capacity, range and speed.
After the war there were surplus aircraft
readily available to small airlines just
starting up. Eventually, it was to be the
competition from airlines such as these
which would.erode Pan American's
dominance in the Caribbean. However,
Pan American did provide an invalu-
able service to Jamaica, bringing it into
the 'flight Age' and leading to develop-
ment in theharasaof communication and
travel and to.the establishment of
tourism asa major industry.


:,. -

Early. i~a~i~r~ rde
to tke C .-4=11. 1r Etc.

ft 5 .- -

A9 21 84
1931r 3
1932 :-. -439-.

1931 K
1934- M3.
Weight inereaa4-ih i
airmail caieI90

,li ,' __ i



DATAPAC CARIBBEAN is published quarterly by
DRSI and offers comprehensive body of statistical
information on economic and business trends and
outlook in major Caribbean territones

Produced and published by DATA RESOURCE
Financial & Statstical Consultants, 7 Oxford Park
Ave., Kingston 5, P.O. Box 193, Kingston 7, Jamaica
\ I. r. I- I)2 66R112 9)2 .6b 795

Current information for management planning and decision -making

18 JAMAICA JouRN~. 24/2

issityn, Oliver J. 'The i1maicyof Air
Trifsport Foreign Affeirs. An
American Quarterly Reviawt. New York:
Harper.1938. 1940, 194L- -
Marvel;Town Circling the ilbriewL New
York: IHarcourt. race r BidCo. 1937.
Olley, hiip, Guide to Jamaica. Glasgow:
Theb-Uiv eorsiry Pss. 1937.
Padula. Alfred L.Tan Am iiuheCaribbean.
The-Rise and Fall of an Empire'.
Caribb- ReWvew,vol12 no.1 .
Pollai, Cal Hanns. 'Commrrcial Aviation
i -the American M6didetaefan'. The
Gyogrph calpvhtVil,. :
wiy, f-exan, AV dyssy.
Th--- -. w ..-ila-tt .a- Macmil -lahr

SWestr 4 Comnikee. C qA- 1929935.
ThWest r-fdi-an Review, 934- 98 -

~-- .:J-. ^ =_-a- -.

-- ....__.!

~C~Y,~i7 ;W1


Ii~3j IIc~lI~IF:..I'I'
ill U`\] I LI `~1L:lt~i

u---- u--------


I .L


"When I grow up I want to be a customer"

What's a customer?
I don't know, but he sounds
real important.
My Dad says the people
at his office work all day just
to make the customer happy.
My Daddy works for IBM.
And he told me that when
the customer needs something,
everyone in his office tries to

get it for him.
That sounds great.
If I grow up to be a
customer, maybe my Daddy
will work for me.

52-56 Knutsford Boulevard,
Kingston 5.
r- -. _Tel: (809) 926-3200/3170
Fax: (809) 926-3225


An Analysis of Three Paintings

by Kay Anderson

The National Gallery of Jamaica has paid homage
to John Dunkley in an exhibition which opened
on 10 December 1991, the hundredth
anniversary of Dunkley's birth. Apart from afew
pieces by Dunkley, the exhibition consisted of
works by twenty-seven Jamaican artists each of
whom feels some special relationship with this
original and very private artist. A book on
Dunkley's life and works is to be published by the
Comparatively little is known of Dunkley's life.
As a young man he went to work in Panama
where he began to paint. Some of his years there
were spent at sea as a sailor and he saw much of
the world. He returned to Jamaica in his thirties,

married, settled down and opened a barber shop.
There he continued to paint his mysterious,
enigmatic landscapes and gardens inhabited by
spiders, frogs, crabs and other small creatures.
He also carved in wood, producing unusual
pieces filled with energy and, sometimes, humour.
His work was recognized in Jamaica and
abroad; he won a medal at the 1939 New York
Work's Fair for 'notable contribution to the art of
the world' and four of his paintings were
exhibited in London in 1946. John Dunkley died
in 1947.
Kay Anderson examines three of Dunkley's
paintings and opens a pathway into his interior

Almost all of John Dunkley's
paintings are landscapes, but they are
the landscapes of his own imaginary
world. These extraordinary fantasies of
mood draw the viewer into paintings

where the flora is menacing, where
long, lonely roads to the edge of
beyond pass dark, truncated trees and
the way ahead seems to be barred by
cobwebs. Strange creatures hide in

corners and even the least menacing of
the paintings has a sombre tone.
The three paintings examined here
were selected because, together, they
represent most of Dunkley's range.


Bustamante The Good Shepherd
Mixed media on hardboard, 17" x 141/2"
(42.5 x 36.25 cm).

Dated about 1940, this is not a
typical Dunkley, in that it is not simply
a landscape. The subject matter is that
of the Good Shepherd feeding his
sheep. The focus of the painting is a
portrait of Bustamante, set slightly to
left of centre, the tall figure squeezed
into the rectangle of the painting,
almost forming a semi-circle.
Immediately behind the figure is a
dark road bordered sharply by a
thrusting diagonal fence. In the fore-
front beyond the edge of the fence,
foliage peeps out and to the left, locked
deep within the picture plane, is a dark
ominous area. A lamb, apparently
smiling, is lying on some sort of rock in
the forefront left, immediately behind
Bustamante's legs.
Bustamante appears to be feeding a
flock of sheep which fill the centre right
front and deep space of the picture
plane. The sheep at the back seem to be
on a different level and are more widely
scattered but are moving in the
direction of the central human figure.
The foreground sheep are closely
packed, almost forming a triangle
facing Bustamante. They have eyes
only for him. In the background left,

five sheep have strayed from the flock.
One is halfway through the fence about
to plunge into the abyss in which the
second is lost, while three others race
headlong down the dark road.
A full moon, well lit at the top and
dark underneath, rises above the crest
of the slope at the top right-hand corer
of the picture. Slightly to the left of the
moon, a white bird, its wings outspread,
flies in the direction of the central
figure. At the lower right-hand side is
an example of the heavy leafy motif
which is a hallmark of Dunkley's work.
The almost monochromatic colour of
the painting, relieved only by spots of
green and red, lends a sombre cast to
the picture. Dunkley uses lines to shape
the sharp diagonals of the fence, and to
outline the features of the model and
the sheep as well as to delineate the
shape of the sheep and the form of the
fence. Lines are used to define as well
as to outline. The modelled areas
suggest volume, define the shadows
around the figure and create the moon.
Texture is also a hallmark of
Dunkley's work and in this painting,
especially in the sheep, he experiments
with various textures. They are used to
differentiate between the lambs' wool,
the leaves, Bustamante's clothing,
facial features and hair. The back-

ground is more thinly painted, almost
washed or scrubbed of paint. No
impasto here.
Dunkley's gift for design is obvious
in this work. The division of the canvas
is classical in its proportions, the figure
cutting the canvas into two asymmetri-
cal sections. The triangular shape of the
flock of sheep strengthens the import-
ance of the main figure, which is itself
curved to fit into the canvas. This
stance reinforces the suggestion of
caring on the part of the shepherd as he
appears attentive to the needs of his
flock. A diagonal line zigzags behind
Bustamante from the lower left-hand
corner to the top right-hand corner and
carries the eye across the picture plane
so that it has to focus on the central
character. This use of the zigzag is
characteristics of Dunkley's compo-
sitional technique.
In using a prominent political
activist as the central character in a
painting entitledThe Good Shepherd,
Dunkley was making a strong political
statement, for the good shepherd is one
who cares for his sheep and keeps them
safe from harm. Dunkley's daughter,
Joyce Canaan, has informed us of
Dunkley's admiration for Bustamante,
and this painting testifies to the regard
in which he held the politician. In fact,


for thousands of Jamaicans during this
period, Bustamante was seen as the
emerging leader, shepherd, deliverer.
The symbolism of the sheep running
away in the background while another
leans over the edge of a crevasse at the
bottom of which a fifth is barely
discernible, speaks of those sheep
which have already been led astray and
will become lost. The white bird
possibly symbolizes the dove of peace,
again another biblical allusion, and it
too is headed in Bustamante's direction.
This painting is remarkably self-
contained. Everything which needs to
be said is said. It operates on many
levels as portrait, as religious allusion,
as political statement. It is at once
literal and illusionary, real and surreal.
It is valuable from the point of view of
the social history as well as in an
artistic context. Beautifully designed, it
presents a strong visual, artistic and
social statement giving clues as to the
mental processes of the artist while at
the same time being valuable to the
Jamaican public.

Back to Nature
Mixed media on plywood 16" x 28" (40
x 70cm)
This landscape is typical of
Dunkley's work. The central plane of
the painting is filled by a well defined,
heart-shaped flower bed in which
different varieties of flowers grow. Left
and right of this heart-shaped bed are
two others, at slightly different angles,
in which are large flowers and typically
Dunkley shrubs. On each side stands a
huge ceramic Spanish jar (still a
popular feature in the Jamaica of that
period and a reminder of the years of
Spanish occupation). From the jars
grow equally large leafy plants leaning
towards each other across the picture
plane. Immediately in front of the jars
are what at first appear to be lopped off
tree trunks but on closer inspection they
prove to be the ends of wooden fences.
The four rails are made from saplings
and these, together with the final
upright post, are almost all that can be
seen of each fence.
At the very front of the picture
plane, immediately in front of the heart
and defining it on either side, is a
pathway which peters out in the
distance. There are bare footprints on
this path, as if someone had walked
around the front of the picture and left
his mark. In the background, flowers in

beds spring on either side of the path
while trees can be discerned in the
distant top quadrant of the painting.
Peeping over the top of the rust-
coloured trees is a strip of sky, ominous
in its tones.
This painting is colourful by
Dunkley's standards. Ochres, green,
reds, rusts, yellows are blended into the
sombre blues, dull whites and blacks.
As usual, white is used to highlight
every detailed petal, sepal and leaf and
to illuminate the gateway in the
distance through which the road passes
to nowhere and everywhere.
Dunkley uses line to differentiate the
various types of foliage and to add
definition to the shape of the heart-
shaped flower bed, the footprints, the
fences and the Spanish jars. But volume
is not forgotten as can be seen in the
painting of the body of the jars which
are carefully modelled. Colour is used
almost as chiaroscuro and lends itself to
an interpretation that something
ominous, threatening, is about to take
place in this seemingly peaceful setting.
As one is drawn into the picture
plane the feeling of foreboding
increases as the darkness encloses, the
road narrows, vision becomes limited
and the rust red tree tops outlining the
darkly threatening skies call forth the
feeling of blood, of death, of infinity.
Dunkley's painting, Back to Nature, can
remind the viewer of the Garden of
Gethsemane, a place of prayer, with its
portent of death and the unknown
lurking in its midst.
The technical elements of composi-
tion, form, and colour enhance the
subject matter and help to create a
mood which makes this not simply
another landscape but a landscape of
the surreal, almost a twilight zone
where one crosses from the seemingly
innocuous into the macabre, the
Yet for those who do not care to
enter the garden, but simply prefer to
view it from outside, the painting is a
straightforward statement of the bounty
of nature in all its lushness. This duality
is part of the genius of Dunkley.

Mixed media on ply wood 28" x 24"
(70 x 60cm)
Dunkley produced two Jerboa
paintings. The one discussed is the
larger of the two, painted in 1939. It
shows a woodland scene with a distant


landscape beyond. The picture is
divided into five horizontal levels, with
a sixth upon which stands 'an
imaginary animal', a kangaroo-legged
rat. He stands above a branch with
seven leaves and a little triangle in
which three fishes swim. The
composition is similar to that of
another, Girl Sitting on Wall, where the
curve of a cut-stone wall emerges from
the lower right of the canvas to lead the
viewer to the far left, then deeper into
the upper centre of the painting. This
device takes the viewer through the
painting, pausing to observe details
along the way but always to be caught
back by the compelling curve. The
powerful curved shape in Jerboa is
formed by the trunk of the tree rising
from its roots in the front plane of the
picture. Low on the left side of the tree
is the branch on which the Jerboa
stands and midway along the trunk are
five branches four of them sprouting
leaves, and one a post-phallic symbol.
However, the tree trunk does not curve
back into the centre of the picture but
follows the left edge of the composition
to disappear into the mysterious depths
of the canopy of large leaves stretching
across the top of the painting. From this
canopy hang three spiders on long
threads which lead the eye down to the
web at the lower centre. The three
spiders comprise an isosceles triangle in
the foreground and mid-ground. Both
Jerboa and Girl Sitting on Wall are
.inhabited by animals in the lower left-
hand corner, the Jerboa in the Dunkley
creation of that name and in Girl
Sitting on Wall, with a crab a symbol
in some societies of the opposition of
life and death.
If this painting with its eerie spider
web, and the three waiting spiders, is
discussing the entanglement or
entrapment of life and other life-related
issues, it is an easy leap to imagine that
the three fishes are a symbol of the
Trinity which governs life before, now,
and in the hereafter.
Behind the central cobweb and the
tree, a road follows an opposing curve
to that of the tree trunk deep into the
upper section of the picture. On one
side, it seems to be bounded by a chasm
which adds to the mystery of the deep
space. In the mid-right-hand side of the
composition, a parallel curve is formed
by the complementary sexual symbol of
the truncated tree limb the man root.
Above this, a regular but enigmatic line
of trees runs alongside the road,

separated from it in the middle plane by
a triangular clump of bushes which
shade into darkness.
This Jerboa painting conveys a
powerful feeling of layers or stages,
moving from the Jerboa at the front of
the canvas to the tree which so com-
prehensively frames the canvas,
through the stasis of the spider webs to
the road beyond with the bordering
chasm then past the trees and on,
finally, to the moon peeping out at the
topmost right hand corer.
And in that corer, the suggestion of
sexual imagery is tightly carved with
the lush foliage thinned by tiny
truncated branches so that the fullness
of the moon is revealed. The stark
silhouettes of the spider webs are
anchored to the dense bushes or to the
foliage at the top of the canvas and to
the truncated limbs and stout tree root.
The large web seems to be emerging
from or descending into the underworld
out of which the tree trunk is also
It is a scene frozen in time, almost
one of suspended animation. The
underlying tension belies the seeming
peacefulness of the first glance. To the
three fishes swimming tranquilly at the
base of the tree, the Jerboa might well
come to be a menacing figure.

The themes of Dunkley's works
were less those of religion, social
commentary or political reality than a
psychological searching for the mean-
ing of life, involving man's sexuality,
post-phallic symbols, the opposing
forces of life and death, the dark side of
all things, and what Sir Philip Sherlock
has identified as a sense of fascination
with what is at the end of the path.
Dunkley himself saw his painting as
an escape from everyday circum-
stances, a time when he 'went for a
walk'. His themes grew from the
pathways of his subconscious, fuelled,
no doubt, by his life's search for his
goals despite injury, the death of those
he loved, and disappointment. He has
left a body of quiet, haunting works in
which the strange landscapes and
winding pathways might lead the
viewers towards an increased aware-
ness of their own inner visions.


Amy Jacques Garvey with the Augusta Savage bust of


In his definitive essay, 'Jamaican Art 1922-82', David
Boxer wrote: 'When we refer to Jamaican Art, the
Jamaican Art Movement, or the Jamaican School, we
speak essentially of the art that had developed as a
integral part of the nationalist, anti-colonial con-
sciousness underlying the cultural and intellectual life
of the island since the 1920s.' Since Garvey contri-
buted substantially to the development of this conscious-
ness, there can be no doubt that Garveyism has con-
tributed, at least indirectly, to the development of the
Jamaican Art Movement, an assumption confirmed by
the first part of this article which appeared in JAMAICA
JOURNAL 24:1. A number of Jamaican artists explicitly
acknowledge Garvey's direct influence on their beliefs
and art. Thisfinal section presents an overview of the




in the

Visual Arts of Jamaica

Veerle Poupeye-Rommelaere

impact of Garveyism on Jamaican art and at the same
time touches on some of the most striking examples.
When Garveyism first blossomed with Harlem as its
capital, little of this kind of cultural vibrancy had yet
appeared in Jamaica. The Institute of Jamaica had its
collection of historical portraits and topographical
paintings and prints, many by the itinerant European
artists who, during the eighteenth and the first half of
the nineteenth centuries, had enjoyed the patronage of
the wealthy Jamaican plantocracy. Some remnants of
this tradition still existed at the beginning of this
century although there were some local artists, most of
them amateurs, working in relative isolation. The
Institute of Jamaica occasionally staged exhibitions,
but there was little public interest in art.



Norman Manley described the
cultural climate of the 1920s in Jamaica
as 'arid' [Brown 1975, 124]. It was
also, as could be expected in the colo-
nial era, dominated by a strong Euro-
centric bias. The young Edna Manley
discovered this when she proudly
showed the small collection of African
carvings she had brought with her to
Jamaica and was met with lack of
interest and even scorn [ibid.,131].
Reading the Gleaner of the period,
one will occasionally find a brief report
on new discoveries in Egypt or on
exhibitions at the National Gallery in
London, but very seldom anything that
suggests the genesis of a coherent
Jamaican art movement. Yet there were
Jamaican artists, later to be recognized
as major talents, already producing
some of their best work, among them
Edna Manley who was still exhibiting
abroad in the 1920s. When Garvey was
publishing features on art in his
international as well as his Jamaican
periodicals, acknowledging the young
Marriott in 1929 or pleading for public
cultural institutions in Jamaica as early
as that same year, he was even more
ahead of his time than Edna Manley
who first started to promote such ideas
in the 1930s.

The Early Jamaican Art Movement
Only towards the end of Garvey's
last years in Jamaica did things start to
change. In 1931 Edna Manley held her
first Jamaican exhibition, jointly with
Koren der Harootian, at the Barry
Street, Kingston headquarters of the
Mutual Life Assurance Society, a
company which pioneered corporate
art patronage in Jamaica. Gradually the
interest grew. In 1934 Alvin Marriott
had his first show at the Jamaica
Exhibition at the Kingston Race
Course. In January 1937 Edna Manley
had her famous first Jamaican solo
exhibition at the Mutual Life offices, an
exhibition which was enthusiastically
received by the Jamaican public.
Negro Aroused (1935), the major work
in the show, was acquired by public
subscription for the collection of the
Institute of Jamaica and it is now the
nucleus of the collec-tion of modern
Jamaican art at the National Gallery.
The Institute of Jamaica opened its
doors to the budding art movement. In
1938 the first All Island Art Exhibition
was staged and by 1940 the seminal art
classes at the Junior Centre of the

Institute, headed by more experienced
artists such as Edna Manley and Albert
Huie, had been established. The
columns of the Gleaner gradually
started to reflect this cultural awakening
and regular articles on art and culture
appeared by, among others, Edna
Manley herself, journalist Basil
McFarlane, and poet and art critic
Esther Chapman, who founded the West
Indian Review in 1934 [ibid.,141-142].
The late 1930s were a period of poli-
tical and social unrest in the Caribbean
region, and the work of Jamaica's
pioneer artists reflected the prevailing
anti-colonial, nationalist mood. The
artists now focused on Jamaican
subjects, seen from a Jamaican perspec-
tive: genre scenes, the Jamaican land-
scape and Jamaicans, usually working
class people. The pioneer artists con-
centrated on iconographical rather than
on stylistic innovation. The main
influences were the European Post-
Several artists, notably Edna
Manley, were actively involved in the
political events of the time. Little is
known, though, about their attitude
towards Garvey and Garveyism. The
prevailing political orientation. The
artists in Edna Manley's circle was
socialist, anti-colonial and Jamaican
nationalistic, thus relating only partially
to Garvey's teachings. Perhaps indica-
tive of the political preference of some
of the artists around Edna Manley is a
portrait of W A Domingo (1940) by
Albert Huie: after a period of associa-
tion with Garvey, Domingo had chosen
a different, socialist orientation and
became one of Garvey's sternest oppo-
nents. Those of the pioneer artists,
however, who came out of the working
class were old enough to have known
Garvey in Jamaica as adults. At least
one of them, Alvin Marriott, openly
sympathized with Garvey and attended
several UNIA meetings [JAMAICA
JOURNAL 20:3].
It was, nevertheless, mainly the
coloured middle class which determin-
ed the mainstream cultural climate of
the period. Suspicion and hostility
between this middle class and Garvey
were reciprocal, even when unknowing-
ly they shared more than one ideal.
English-born Edna Manley, with her
eagerness to assert the African compo-
nent of the Jamaican heritage and her
willingness to identify with the Jamai-
can working class, certainly does not
represent the majority view of the social


stratum to which she belonged. Her
attitude merely suggests a potential for
Between 1935 and 1937, Edna Man-
ley (1900-1987) produced a number of
works that perhaps best embody the
concept of the 'New Negro'. These
works include The Prophet (1935),
Pocomania (1936) and, of course,
Negro Aroused (1935), which has
become the symbol of the social, poli-
tical and cultural dynamism of the
period. The overwhelming response to
her 1937 exhibition in which these
works were featured also suggests that
the concepts they represented had, by
then, found acceptance among a larger
section of the society.
Later in her career, which is in
general characterized by her respons-
iveness to change and growth in the
Jamaican society, she produced another
work that must be mentioned in this
context: her Paul Bogle monument
(1965), now in front of the Morant Bay
courthouse. The work, which aroused
considerable controversy when it was
unveiled, represents Bogle as a vision-
ary leader and hero.
Alvin Marriott, born in 1902, whom
Garvey once called the 'Michelangelo
of the West Indies', became Jamaica's
foremost and most popular monumental
sculptor. He has produced statues of
National Heroes Norman Manley and
Alexander Bustamante as well as
reggae artiste Bob Marley and sports
hero Donald Quarrie. Marriott, with his
penchant for heroic, historical themes,
as well as with his more conservative,
academic approach to iconography and
style, almost perfectly illustrates
Garvey's artistic preferences. Marriott's
Garvey portraits and monuments have
already been discussed, but it should be
noted that they span his entire artistic
career, thus proving that his interest in
Garvey and Garveyism was not a
passing phase in his life.
One artist associated with the
Harlem Renaissance, Richmond Barthe
(1901-1989), lived in Jamaica, in St
Ann's Bay, from 1948 to 1968. He
became friendly with some Jamaican
artists, including the Manleys, and
sculpted a fine head of Norman Manley.

Outside the Mainstream
A number of artists developed out-
side the Edna Manley/Junior Centre
circle. One of them was Carl Abrahams
(1913). It is not entirely clear how this

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The Heroes, 1971 Everald Brown
Oil on canvas
Collection:Tivoli Gardens Compre-
hensive High School

The Madonna and St Marcus Mosiah, as a Child, 1983
Oil on canvas Osmond Watson
Collection: the Artist
A fine illustration of the canonization of Garvey in Garveyite circles.

The Unforgettable Marcus Garvey nd. Roy Reid
Oil on board 49 x 29"


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mercurial artist regards Garvey's
philosophy, but he is obviously fas-
cinated by Garvey's personality and
mass appeal. Abrahams started his
career as a cartoonist and recalls that he
had intended to publish some Garvey
cartoons, but never did. However, he
painted Garvey on several occasions.
One of these works, The Visionary
World of Marcus Garvey (1976), is a
rather irreverent evocation of Garvey-
ism and its mass appeal, although not
more irreverent than Abrahams's
religious work, which does not contra-
dict the fact that the artist is known to
be a very religious man.
In 1983 Abrahams painted the
portrait of Garvey already mentioned
and which he claims is painted from
memory. The work was a commission,
but it was never collected by the person
who had commissioned it.1 The present
owner had the painting mounted in a
custom-made wooden frame, the work
of a woodcarver from Montego Bay. 2
The frame is adorned with two Rasta
heads, as well as the UNIA motto,
Garvey's full name and the date of his
birth and death, the latter being a
standard addition to popular Garvey
portraiture. This work also has the
artist's typical slant towards caricature
which might, perhaps, be offensive to
some, but it is certainly one of the more
personal, inspired Garvey portraits. A
portrait of Garvey as National Hero was
also included in the historical mural
Abrahams painted for the Norman
Manley International Airport in 1985.
Another artist who certainly has to
be mentioned in this context is painter,
sculptor and author Namba Roy (1910-
1961), a descendant of the Accompong
Maroons. In Namba Roy's family,
story-telling and traditional Congolese
carving techniques and artistic concepts
had been passed on from father to son
for several generations. Namba Roy's
widow, Mrs Yvonne Roy, recalls him
speaking of 'three people whose lives
had impressed him profoundly. They
were Marcus Garvey, Mahatma Ghandi
and Martin Luther King [an influence]
apparent in his thoughts, his art and his
writings'.3 As a result of his Maroon
background, his personal beliefs and his
study of African art, Namba Roy's
work has a strong, highly personal and
refined African flavour. Most of his
work is religious and his Christ figures
and Madonnas are black. Namba Roy is
at his best as a sculptor when working
in his favourite material: ivory. His

major works are among the best that
Jamaican art and modern religious art
have to offer.
Of a particular interest also are the
Jamaican 'Primitives', the early Intu-
itives. Even when hardly anything is
known about their possible involvement
with Garveyism, there are several
indications that allow us to assume that
Garveyism might have contributed to
their outlook. The discovery, develop-
ment and acknowledgement of their
work goes hand in hand with the
growth of the mainstream art move-
ment and indicates that the cultural
awakening of the period was not
restricted to the more often formally
trained artists of the upper and middle
The major artist of this group is John
Dunkley (1891-1941), a contemporary
of Garvey. Little is known about his
life. He was born in Savannah-la-mar
and spent his early adult years travel-
ling to and working in Panama, Costa
Rica and probably also Cuba, the story
of many Jamaican migrant workers of
the time, including Garvey himself at
the beginning of his career. The impact
of Garveyism on these migrant workers
had been strong and immediate and it is
very likely that during these years
Dunkley became familiar with Garvey
and his ideas. Dunkley also worked as a
sailor and travelled to Europe and North
and South America, which again must
have promoted his access to Garveyite
thought. He had returned to Jamaica by
about 1930 and settled down as a barber
in Kingston. In the late 1930s he was
discovered as an artist, but he always
refused to take part in the Institute
classes, aware as he was of his individ-
uality as an artist. He was known to be
politically conscious, preoccupied with
world events, although his brooding,
surreal work suggests little of this. One
work, however, The Good Shepherd, is
obviously a portrait of Bustamante, a
politician who inherited much of
Garvey's popular following. Note-
worthy also is the use of the word
'African' by his wife, Cassie Dunkley,
when referring to her husband's
carvings in 1948. This suggests a more
positive appreciation of the Afro-
Jamaican heritage, to which Garvey
undoubtedly contributed [Dunkley
The same spirit can be seen in the
work of the woodcarvers, David Miller,
Snr (1872-1969) and David Miller, Jnr
(1903-1977). Miller Senior also be-

longed to the same generation as
Garvey. Originally curio-makers, carv-
ing on coconut shells, both men, father
and son, worked so closely together,
that their individual pieces are
sometimes hard to distinguish. As did
Dunkley and Garvey they came
from a relatively poor background and
were self-styled intellectuals. The father
was an avid student of African and Pre-
Columbian art and a reader of Eastern
mystical writings, influences which can
clearly be seen in his fantastic carvings.
The son was more interested in the
black physiognomy. He is known to
have collected photographs of black
men and women with interesting faces
and he translated them lovingly in his
mildly humorous heads, emphasizing,
even exaggerating, their non-Caucasian

After Independence
In 1962, the year Jamaica became
independent, Garvey had been dead for
twenty-two years, but his philosophy
was more alive than ever and ferment-
ing in the Jamaican society. The late
1960s were the days of the Black Power
movement, while Rastafarianism was
steadily gaining popular adherence.
Because of its impact on these Black
Nationalist movements, Garveyism
went through a period of revival and in-
creased popular as well as official
recognition. The latter was confirmed
when Garvey was named as one of
Jamaica's National Heroes. Many
people involved in these movements
came out of traditionally Garveyite
circles, but they also attracted people,
particularly the younger generation,
from the middle and upper strata of the
Jamaican society where Garveyism had
up to then been anything but popular.
The Jamaican society had already
come a long way, and so had Jamaican
art. Local as well as overseas training
was now available. The Jamaica School
of Art and Crafts, as it was then named,
had been founded in 1950 and had, in
fact, developed out of the Institute
classes, while scholarships for overseas
training became available. In 1976 the
School was relocated to the newly built
Cultural Training Centre, together with
the Schools of Music, Dance and
Drama remember Garvey's 1929
manifesto! In 1974 the National Gallery
was established to act as a showcase as
well as a research institution for the
Jamaican Art Movement.


Innocence (portrait of the
artist's daughter), 1930
Alvin Marriott
Wood. Height 33.5" (83.75 cm)
Olympia International Art

Pocomania, 1936
Hoptonwood stone. Height 23.5" (58 cm)

Mystic Conception, 1977
Christopher Gonzalez
Ciment Fondu Height: 27" (67.5 cm)
Collection: National Gallery
of Jamaica
An illustration of spiritual and
stylistic kinship with African art.

Black Beauty, 1982
Gene Pearson
Terracotta with cobalt pigment.
Height 15" (37.5 cm).


Edna Manley

Accolyte, 1983
Douglas Wallace
Mixed media on paper
15.5 x 10.5" (38.75 x 26.25 cm)
A good example of the expression of political and racial
consciousness in the work of a young Jamaican artist.

Ecce Homo, Ecce Deus No. 2, 1986 Osmond Watson
Oil on canvas 19.5 x 17.5 (48.75 x 43.75 cm)
Collection: Tom and Cindy Tavares-Finson.
One of Osmond Watson's Black Christ images.

Figure, 1982
William Woody Joseph
Height 27.5" (68.75 cm)
Private collection.
This piece illustrates the African
retention in Woody's work.

After the Flood, 198... [date incomplete]
Enamel on plywood 18 x 24" (45x 60 cm)
Collection: Harmony Hall.
One ofseveral paintings by Artwell in which the Ark of Noah
and the Black Star Liner images merge.

Albert Artwell


The years following Independence
represent a boom period in the still very
young Jamaican art movement. Jamai-
can art in general was energized by pure
artistic experimentation as well as by a
noticeable input from the ideological
developments of the period. The Jamai-
can artist became a more and more
assertive, self-conscious individual.
Several young artists rebelled against
the political and artistic label attached
to the pioneer Art Movement and
sought to broaden their artistic scope.
Of the Black Nationalist movements
that emerged, Rastafarianism especially,
with its strong emphasis on self-actuali-
zation and creativity, had a tremendous
impact, not only on Jamaican music, its
most well-known proponent, but also
on the visual arts. Several artists of this
period, whether Mainstream or Intui-
tive, were Rastafarians or sympathizers
with the Rastafari and Black Power
movements. They included Parboosingh
(1923-1975), Kofi Kayiga (1943),
Christopher Gonzales (1943), Gene
Pearson (1946), Eric Cadien (1954) and
Dawn Scott (1951). Many of them have
produced portraits of Garvey, while
their work in general relates to the spirit
of Garveyism. It is in this period
especially that one can find most of the
examples used to illustrate what was
earlier discussed as the Garvey iconog-
raphy. Even artists who did not express
any affiliation with Black Nationalism
still produced works on subjects such as
colonialism and, in general, emphasized
'Blackness' in their work.
One of the most interesting artists
emerging during this period is Osmond
Watson (1934). His mother was born in
Sierra Leone as the daughter of a West
Indian legionnaire and early in his life
his grandmother stimulated his interest
in Africa with her stories. Growing up
in Jones Town in the 1940s, he was first
introduced to Garveyism through
Stanley Beckford, a street preacher. He
describes Garveyism as a living force in
his life and art. His St Marcus Mosiah
as a Child (1981), a miniature, and The
Madonna and the Child St Marcus
Mosiah (1983), which were mentioned
in the first part of this article, testify to
this, as does the iconography of his
work in general. Although never a
member, he sympathizes with the
Rastafarian and Black Power move-
ments. 'Blackness' is a major theme in
both his painting and his sculpture, as
can be seen in his masks, his Jonkonnu
series, his Earth Mother-like vendors

and, perhaps most of all, in his religious
work .4
Painter Ricardo Wilkins lived and
studied in Africa in Kenya and in
Tanzania and as a student of Traditional
African Religions at Makerere Uni-
versity in Uganda. He adopted his
present African name, Kofi Kayiga,
and his highly expressive, semi-abstract
paintings reflect his African experience,
through symbolism, rhythm and colour.
Both Kofi Kayiga and sculptor
Christopher Gonzales were influential
teachers at the Jamaica School of Art
and set the tone for many of their
students, who recall fondly the stim-
ulating atmosphere in which they were
able to develop as young artists.
Christopher Gonzales's work shows
kinship with Edna Manley's symbol-
ism, European visionary artists and
African art. The artist, although a
Catholic, also expressed his sympathy
with the essence of Rastafarian thought
and often uses Rastafarian-inspired
imagery. He is known for his daring,
controversial religious work which
most of the time involves explicit black
imagery. His Bob Marley statue has
already been discussed.
Trevor Roache Burrowes (1931), a
noted Rastafarian artist and art restorer,
has produced several portraits of Black
heroes, including Marcus Garvey as in
his The Living Marcus Garvey (1971).
Burrowes belongs to a family with a
strong involvement in Garveyism. He is
related to Garvey's godfather and
mentor, Alfred E. Burrowes, who once
apprenticed Garvey as a printer.
The younger generation of Jamaican
artists, those who have appeared in the
1980s, includes people such as Robert
Cookhorne (1960), better known as
'African', and Douglas Wallace (1958)
who have grown up in an independent
Jamaica, a country that has undergone
many political and social changes and
where the once rejected Garvey is now
a National Hero. They have grown up
with Rastafarianism as one of Jamaica's
most publicized and visible social and
cultural forces. However, they have not
learned what they know about Garvey
through school but, instead, through
their involvement in the popular culture
of Jamaica. These young artists are
politically and socially conscious and
show a deep concern for world events
while they do not hesitate to assert
themselves as black men and women,
and readily acknowledge the influence
of Garveyism on their life and art. Their

art should be termed as humanistic
rather than as political even when their
statements are often far more radical
than Garvey ever intended. Their work
shows that Garveyism is not yet history
in Jamaica but is part of a dynamic
social, political and cultural stream of
The influence of Rastafarianism on
post-Independence Intuitive art has
been even more considerable. Many
Intuitives are Rastafarians, for example
Everald Brown (1917), a mystic and an
unordained priest of the Ethiopian
Orthodox Church, Ras Dizzy, a noted
Rastafarian painter and poet, Albert
Artwell (1942) and artist-politician Sam
Brown (1935). Their work is closely
connected to their beliefs or rather, one
should say, it is an integral part of their
beliefs. Rastafarian and Garveyite
iconography finds major, personalized
illustrations in their visionary work
while they have all produced artworks
that directly refer to Garvey and the
role Garveyism plays in their beliefs.
Rastafarianism is, however, not the
only channel through which Garveyism
has made its mark on Intuitive art.
Mallica Reynolds, better known as
Kapo (1911-1989), was the dean of the
Intuitives and a shepherd of the
Revivalist cult. His very first painting
was of Christ at the Sea of Galilee
(1947), a Black Christ. Black religious
imagery can be considered as the
general rule in Intuitive art, whatever
denomination the artist belongs to.
Garveyism also plays a considerable
role in the works and beliefs of the
more politically oriented, urban
Intuitives such as Roy Reid (1937) and
newcomer Arthur Thompson (1941). It
would lead us too far here to venture
into a discussion of the African
retentions which can be seen especially
in Intuitive art; suffice to repeat that
Africa is a living part of the Jamaican
heritage and hence a fertile soil for
African Nationalist thought.
The Garvey Centenary in 1987
finally stimulated the production of an
immense number of artworks on Gar-
vey and Garveyism. The Graduation
Exhibition at the Edna Manley School
for the Visual Arts, as the former
Jamaica School of Art is now called,
the Festival Exhibition, the Children's
Art Exhibition at the Institute of
Jamaica and even the arts and crafts
stalls at Reggae Sunsplash said enough.
The several commissions by the
government of Jamaica and private


companies have already been discussed
and now there is even a Marcus
Garvey Centenary Purchase Award,
connected to the Annual National
Exhibition at the National Gallery of
Jamaica. The quality of these artworks
has been very uneven and ranges from
hollow exploitation, pure kitsch, and
problem works to fine works of art. But
whatever criticism can be voiced about
the Garvey Centenary celebrations in
general and the artworks produced for
the occasion, it must be acknowledged
that it definitely stirred up people's
consciousness and stimulated a greater
awareness of what Garvey stands for
Popular Garvey imagery is a very
visible expression or, perhaps we
should call it, celebration of the funda-
mental and complex impact Garveyism
has had on Jamaican life and thought.
Garvey portraits especially, with their
icon-like devotional status, show the
high esteem in which Garvey and
Garveyism are held in the Jamaican
society today, despite the lack of
official recognition and even persecu-
tion Garveyism met in the past.
Garveyism's contribution to the
development of the Jamaican Visual Art
Movement, on the other hand, is not as
visible as the impact of other politicians
and political movements that have been
linked to it. Garvey, however, was a
pioneer as an art lover and collector in
Jamaica at a time when art was still
considered to be a decorative fringe,
non-essential to life, rather than a vital,
necessary element of a nation's identity.
With his extraordinary insight into the
cultural dynamics of a society, Garvey
formulated a Black Nationalist aesthetic
relevant to the Jamaican situation at a
time when a Jamaican Art movement
did not yet exist. This undoubtedly
influenced the Jamaican aesthetic
which was developed during the
pioneer years of the Jamaican Art
Movement, even as it went largely
unnoticed. The Garveyite philosophy
became a more acknowledged and
prominent cultural force in post-
Independence Jamaica, although what
we find in modern Jamaican art follows
the spirit rather than the letter of the
Garveyite aesthetic. The creative input
of the Jamaican artists has carried them
far beyond the somewhat stifling
academism promoted by Garvey's
writings on art and has resolved most of
the ambivalence we saw in Garvey's
ideas about culture. This again demon-

states that Garveyism is indeed a living
force in Jamaica today, and also, where
art is concerned, part of a complex and
ongoing dialectic process.
Far more could be said on this sub-
ject and there are several leads for
further research. The origin of the
Jamaican Art Movement has never been
correlated to the Harlem Renaissance,
while certain aspects of Alvin Mar-
riott's work, for instance, show an
affinity with the work of Augusta
Savage and Richmond Barthe. Much
information on Garvey as an art collec-
tor has undoubtedly remained untapped.
Another most interesting study would
be to look at the origin and meaning of
the UNIA uniforms and insignia. It is to
be hoped that further research will be
carried out in this direction, especially
by those who have already investigated
the cultural aspects of Garveyism.


1. Carl Abrahams to VPR, letter, 28.8.1987.
2. Mr Ben Wiggan to VPR, letter, 21.8.
3. Yvonne Roy to VPR, letter, 19.9.1987.
4. Osmond Watson to VPR, letter, 26.8.
5. The author interviewed Robert Cook-
home (7.8.1987) and Douglas Wallace
(2. 9.1987) on their perception of
(for complete article)
BOXER, David. Jamaican Art 1922-1982.
Washington: S.I.T.E.S., 1982. (Exhibi-
tion catalogue with comprehensive intro-
ductory essay)
BROWN, Wayne. Edna Manley. The Private
Years 1900-1938. London: Andre
Deutsch, 1975.
CLARKE, John Hendrik (ed.) Garvey and the
Vision of Africa. New York: Vintage
Books, Random House, 1973.
DUNKLEY, Cassie. Life of John Dunkley,
1948 (reprinted in: John Dunkley 1891-
1944). Kingston: National Gallery of
Jamaica, Exhibition catalogue, 1977.
JACQUES-GARVEY, Amy. Garvey and
Garveyism. New York: London: Collier
Books, MacMillan, 1970.
-. Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus
Garvey, Vols I and II. New York:
Atheneum, 1986 (first published 1925).
LEWIS, Rupert. Garvey. Anticolonial
Champion. London: Karia Press, 1987.
MARTIN, Tony. Race First. Westport,
Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1976
-. Literary Garveyism. Dover, Mass.:
Majority Press, 1983 (= Martin 1983, a).
-. Marcus Garvey Hero. Dover, Mass.:
Majority Press, 1983 (= Martin 1983, b).
MCKAY, Claude. Harlem: Negro Metropolis.
New York: Dutton, 1940.

N., Black Art. Ancestral Legacy. Dallas,
Texas: The Dallas Museum of Art,
1989(with essays by David Driskell,
Edmund Barry Gaither, Regenia A Perry,
Alvia Wardlow, William Ferris, Ute
Stebich and Robert Farris Thompson).


BRYAN, Patricia. 'Towards an African
Aesthetic in Jamaican Intuitive Art' in
Arts Jamaica 3:3&4 (2-11) July 1985.
ESCOFFERY, Gloria. 'Garvey and the
Jamaican Art Movement' in Jamaica
Journal 20:3 (44-54) August 1987.
HAMILTON, Beverly. 'Marcus Garvey:
Cultural Activist' in Jamaica Journal
20:3 (11-20) August 1987.
-. 'Ruth Prescott Garvey's Niece
Remembers' in Flair Magazine (Daily
Gleaner) August 17 1987.
Daily and Sunday Gleaner.
The Blackman
The Negro World.

The Editors regret that in the first part of this
article his was used instead of her in referring to
the work of the African-American artist, Meta
Warrick Fuller.


Kofi Agorsah A Ghanian and graduate
of the University of California, he is
senior lecturer in Archaeology at the
University of the West Indies, Mona.
Kay Anderson is Head of the Art
Education Department at the Edna
Manley School for the Visual Arts.
James Coffin is Director of Inte-
rnational Programmes in the Depart-
ment of Anthropology, Ball State
University, Indiana.
Dennis Constant is a sociologist with
a particular interest in political systems
in Africa. His book Aux Sources du
Reggae is published by Editions
Parentheses in Marseilles.
Stephen Donovan gained his Doctor-
ate in Geology from Liverpool Univer-
sity and is now senior lecturer at the
University of the West Indies, Mona.
W J Hanna of the Department of
Anaesthetics and Intensive Care at the
University Hospital writes occasionally
for JAMAICA JOURNAL on matters of
historical interest.
Shivaun Hearne is a recent graduate
of Queens University now pursuing
further studies in literature at the
University of the West Indies, Mona.
Veerle Poupeye-Rammelaere is
Assistant Curator at the National Gal-
lery of Jamaica and teaches at the Edna
Manley School for the Visual Arts.


Jamaica's Ancient


Stephen K Donovan

Jamaica has a large and diverse
fossil record with new species, or
better preserved specimens of
lesser known taxonomic groups,
continually being found and
described. This is so because
much of the island is composed of
and exposes the sedimentary
rocks in which the fossil remains
of ancient organisms are almost
exclusively found. Limestone is
the most common, but there are
also sandstones, shales, mud-
stones and volcaniclastic deposits
(volcanic ash deposits which have
been resedimented, often in an
underwater environment).
Figure 1. A, Clypeaster rosaceus (Linnaeus) Recent: dpical view
B, C, Eupatagus alatus Arnold and Clark, Eocene.
B, apical view. C, oral view.
D, E, Echinolampas clever Cotteau, Eocene.
D, apical view. E, oral view.
FMeoma antique Arnold and Clark, Eocene, apical view.
All scale bars represent 10 mm.

Among palaeontologists, Jamaica is
particularly well known for its faunas of
fossil foraminiferans (single-celled
organisms with an internal chambered
skeleton called a test) and molluscs
(snails, clams, oysters and most other
shellfish). These two groups have
proved to be very useful in local strati-
graphy, a method of dating and cor-
relating the various rock formations by
comparative techniques based on the
chronological order of fossil remains.
The hard skeletons of these organisms
are preserved as fossils and not the soft
tissues, which escape decomposition
only under exceptional conditions.
Furthermore, 'complete' fossils are
usually best known from organisms
with a simple shell or skeleton com-
posed of one or only a few parts. This is
because multi-element skeletons (such
as those of fishes) tend to disarticulate
following decay of the soft tissues. The
separate elements of the skeleton act as
independent grains within the sedi-
mentary environment and so became
dispersed during the transport of
sediments by, for example, water
currents. Some parts of the skeleton
will be lost during transport as a result
of processes such as dissolution and
repeated breakage. The reconstruction
of such organisms from their separated
parts is thus often very difficult; it can
be compared to attempt-ing to complete
a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing and
without the guidance of the picture on
the box lid.
However, some groups with a multi-
element skeleton are nevertheless
frequently found as 'complete' speci-
mens and thus have a reasonably good
fossil record. For example, the echin-
oids, commonly known as 'sea-eggs'
or 'sea urchins', are recognized from
about 130 fossil species in Jamaica. The
beauty and variety of these ancient sea-
eggs deserve to be more widely known,
and so do their morphology and distri-
bution in the island's rock strata.
Echinoids are usually preserved
without the spines which are so promin-
ent on the living animal. Disarticulated
spines are frequently encountered as
fossils but it is not always possible to
determine from which species they
were derived. Certain other structures
are also usually lost soon after death
because of the disintegration of the soft
tissues that hold them in place.
Following the loss of these various
elements, collectively called plates or
ossicles, the bald, often globular,

echinoid test or corona, which is com-
posed of the mineral calcite (calcium
carbonate), may subsequently further
disarticulate. The resultant pile of
independent plates is the undoubted fate
of most echinoids.
Complete echinoid coronas, how-
ever, do enter the fossil record, often as
a result of one of two circumstances,
one extrinsic, the other intrinsic. Firstly,
many echinoids are preserved by rapid
burial, which may also have caused
death. If an echinoid is buried by even a
few tens of centimetres of sediment, it
will be unable to dig itself out. In
shallow seas such rapid sedimentation
processes are commonly associated
with storms. Secondly, some echinoids
actually live within the sediment as
burrowing organisms. When such an
echinoid dies it is already buried so
that, providing it is not uncovered later
as a result of sediment erosion, it will
be preserved in the position in which it
lived. Many burrowing echinoids have
a particularly strong corona, the result
of intermeshing of the microstructure of
adjacent plates. They can thus with-
stand post-mortem uncovering and a
certain amount of movement on the sea
floor. Indeed, some fossil echinoids are
preserved without spines but bored
through or encrusted by oysters,
barnacles and worms. This could hap-
pen to a burrowing organism only if it
had been brought up to the surface of
the sea floor after it had died.
It is therefore not surprising that
over 75% of the known species of fossil
echinoids from Jamaica were capable of
burrowing. All burrowing echinoids
belong to a natural group called the
irregulars, whereas surface-dwelling
taxa are called regular echinoids. There
are some obvious morphological differ-
ences between regular and irregular
echinoids. Figure 2F illustrates a regu-
lar echinoid; all other specimens shown
are irregular. The regular echinoid test
is usually bun-shaped and shows five
symmetrical divisions whereas ir-
regulars tend to have a more flattened
test. While still retaining the elements
of pentamerism, irregulars have a
bilateral symmetry [see figures 1A, C,
D, F, 2A, D, 3A].
In regular echinoids, the mouth
peristomee) is large and occurs in the
centre of the lower (oral) surface of the
corona, while the anus (periproct) is
smaller and occurs in the middle of the
upper (apical) surface [figure 2F]. In
the living creature, both of these

openings are surrounded by circlets of
small plates that are infrequently
preserved as fossils. The membrane
around the mouth is flexible and the
plates are embedded in it. All regular
sea-eggs have a specialized feeding
organ known as the Aristotle's Lantern
which is equipped with five radially
arranged teeth. The flexible peristomial
membrane makes it possible for the
Aristotle's Lantern to scrape algae from
rocks and other hard surfaces. There is
also a flexible group of plates around
the periproct or anus, surrounded by
two circlets of five plates. These two
groups of plates together form the
apical disc.
The mouth of an irregular echinoid
is smaller than that of the regular and
may occur in either a central [figures
IE, 2E] or anterior [figures IB, 2B, 3B]
position. The Aristotle's Lantern is
either reduced or lost so, instead of
scraping algae from rock surfaces, the
irregulars usually feed by bulk inges-
tion of sediment containing organic
matter which is pushed into the mouth
by specialized tube feet. These fleshy
extensions arise from single or double
pores in the test wall As can be seen in
some of the pores surrounding the
peristome of Plagiobrissus in figure 2B.
The anus in irregular echinoids has
evolved out of the apical system and
may be situated on the lower part of the
apical surface, on the lower margin
[figure IE] or, often, on the oral sur-
face. The downward migration of the
periproct is the most important
distinguishing feature between the
irregulars and the regulars. The peri-
proct of irregulars is large relative to the
peristome because of the need to expel
large volumes of undigested sediment.
Two more differences between fossil
regulars and irregulars are particularly
obvious. First, most regulars have a
covering of prominent, domed tubercles
that in life supported their large protec-
tive spines or radioles [figure 2F]. In
contrast, the tubercles of irregulars are
smaller and much more densely packed,
often giving the test surface a granular
appearance. The small spines can some-
times make the irregular echinoid
appear 'hairy' and are so tightly packed
together that they keep sediment grains
away from the test surface, an impor-
tant requirement for a burrowing animal
with a test enclosed by a thin outer skin
of soft tissue. (Irregulars that burrow in
very fine-grained sediments supplement
their umbrella of densely-packed spines


Figure 2. A, B, Plagiobrissus loveni (Cotteau),
A, apical view, B, oral view.
C, Homeopetalus axiologus Arnold and Clark,
horizon unknown, apical view.
D, E, Rhyncholampas matleyi (Hawkins),
D, apical view, E, oral view.
F. Phymosoma peloria Arnold and Clark,
Eocene, apical view. The large, domed
tubercles which supported the largest (primary)
spines are apparent, arrayed as rows radiating
from the apex (apical system not preserved).
All scale bars represent 10 mm.

with an envelope of mucus). The test is
thus enclosed in a layer of water which
supplies oxygen and removes metabolic
waste. The second common adaptation
of irregulars further improves res-
piration. An ideal respiratory organ has
a large surface area which in echinoids
is supplied by numerous tubed feet. To
counteract the problems associated with
breathing while buried within the
sediment, many irregulars have devel-
oped specialized, broad, flattened tube
feet that are concentrated in petaloid
zones on the upper surface of the test
[figures 1A, C, D, F, 2A, D, 3A].
This introduction to echinoid mor-

phology and function is, of necessity,
brief. More detailed analyses can be
found in Melville and Durham [1966]
and Smith [1984]. The stratigraphic
nomenclature used below follows
Harland et al. [1982].

History of Research

Most of the named species of fossil
echinoid from Jamaica were originally
described between 1922 and 1934.
Although echinoids were mentioned in
some nineteenth century publications
on Jamaican geology, Jackson [1922]
and Vaughan [1922] showed that six


species only were then known from the
island out of a much larger Caribbean
fauna. However, Hawkins [1923, 1924]
soon described a number of species,
most of them from the uppermost
Cretaceous (55-38 million years) and
Eocene (83-45 million years), based on
collections made by Dr C T Trechmann,
the distinguished amateur palaeon-
tologist. Trechmann had private means,
and usually spent the summer in
northeast England and the winter on an
island with a warmer climate.
Trechmann's published research (I
have so far discovered over seventy
papers by this prolific author) reflects
his travels and includes contributions
on the Per-mian reefs and Pleistocene
glacial deposits of northeast England as
well as the geology of New Zealand,
the Caribbean islands and Malta. He
had a particular interest in fossil
molluscs but collected any fossils that
he found, sending specimens belonging
to other groups to recognized experts
for study. When Trechmann found
fossil echin-oids in Jamaica, he
presented them to a leading expert in
this field, Professor H L Hawkins, who
recognized that some of these species
were new, particularly the Cretaceous
taxa The others had already been
described from the Caribbean. There
was some disagreement as to the
precise age of the Cretaceous speci-
mens whichTrechmann considered to
be Maastrichtiandfigure 4] on the
evidence of the associated molluscs.
Hawkins argued, on the basis of the
echinoids, that they were indicative of
an earlier age. Subsequent research
supported the assessment of Trechmann
[Donovan and Bowen, 1989, figure 2].
Hawkins later described additional
Jamaican echinoids from specimens
made available by C A Matley [Haw-
kins 1927] and a further collection by
Trechmann [Hawkins in Trechmann,
While Trechmann was carrying out
his research in Jamaica, another ama-
teur, B W Arnold, was making a much
larger collection of fossil echinoids
from the island. Arnold was not a geo-
logist but he usually recorded the area
in which each specimen had been
collected so that the strata from which it
originated can often be deduced by
reference to the geological maps of the
island. Arnold sent his specimens to the
eminent American zoologist H L Clark
for description. Together they recog-
nized about a hundred species which

they published in two monographs that
are still the principal references on the
fossil echinoids of Jamaica [Arnold and
Clark, 1927, 1934]. The second of these
appeared after Arnold's death in 1932
and suffers from a lack of detailed
locality information which Arnold had
probably carried in his head.
Jamaican fossil echinoids received
little further attention until Cutress
[1980] and Kier [1984] revised certain
species and described some new ones.
The first detailed investigation of the
stratigraphy of the Jamaican echinoids
was by Donovan [1988, in press, in
review; see also Donovan and Bowen,
1989; Donovan et al., 1989].

Stratigraphic Distribution
Understanding the stratigraphic
relationships of the Jamaican echinoids
has made it possible to analyze
fluctuations and changes in their size
and composition through time.
The oldest rocks in Jamaica are
Cretaceous in age [figure 4] and twelve
species of fossil echinoid are known
from the younger rocks of this system.
Most are known from the Campanian
and Maastrichtian, which are the last
two Cretaceous stages (a stage is a geo-
logically short stratigraphic division).
Two species of regular echinoid,
Phyllacanthus leoni and Goniopygus
supremus, are locally common, both
being known from complete tests and
the very numerous spines that are the
dominant fossils at certain horizons.
Both of these species are also known
from the Cuban Cretaceous. The
irregular echinoid Hemiaster is also a
common component of the Jamaican
Cretaceous fauna, although the thin
tests of this urchin are usually crushed,
so uncertainty exists as to whether one
or more species is present. Of the
remaining Cretaceous species, only two
are known from more than two tests,
although it can be hoped that more
specimens await discovery. For
example, in November 1987, Jacquie
Bowen, then an undergraduate at UWI,
found what is only the second specimen
of ?Pygopistes rudistarum [Donovan
and Bowen, 1989], sixty-four years
after the original test had been
From the mid-Maastrichtian onwards,
limestone deposition in Jamaica was
superseded by volcaniclastics and other
rocks representing environments un-
suitable for marine organisms. The

Jamaican Cretaceous shallow-water
marine fauna thus appears to have
become extinct some time before the
terminal Cretaceous extinction, a global
event which saw the demise of many
groups of organisms, including the
dinosaurs. Indeed, of the echinoid
genera recognized from the Jamaican
Cretaceous not one is known from the
younger Cenozoic rocks of the island.
There is also an apparent gap between
the Upper Cretaceous fauna and the
next younger horizons, of Eocene age,
with plentiful echinoids. Until recently
no echinoids were known from the
intervening Paleocene. However, this is
thought to be at least partly due to the
paucity of suitable fossiliferous rocks in
this interval.
Lack of collecting has also had an
effect, as visiting palaeontologists
would concentrate their efforts on those
horizons which are known to have
yielded abundant fossils rather than on
those that are considered barren. Never-
theless, there is now good evidence for
at least three species of Paleocene
echinoid from Jamaica.Two are regulars
and have been identified on the evi-
dence of disarticulated plates (mainly
spines). Donovan and Carby [1989]
described ossicles derived from a
cidaroid. Subsequent collecting has
yielded the spine of a diadematoid.
Both cidaroids and diadematoids
are still found living in the shallow
waters around Jamaica, the latter group
including the familiar black sea egg.
There is also unusual evidence for the
presence of an irregular echinoid in the
Paleocene, in the form of trails know as
Scolicia which are similar to those
produced by extant heart-urchins when
they move across a sediment surface
[Pickerill and Donovan, 1991].
The succeeding Eocene was un-
doubtedly the 'golden age' of Jamaican
echinoids. About eighty species are
known from this interval, spanning
approximately seventeen million years.
Most of these taxa are found ih the mid-
Lower to mid-Middle Eocene Yellow
Limestone Group. The Yellow Lime-
stone is the most fossiliferous sequence
on the island and has produced a huge
diversity of species, many of them uni-
que to Jamaica, ranging from abundant
single-celled foraminiferans to the
world's oldest known sea-cow. Some of
the echinoid species from the Yellow
Limestone are based on unique speci-
mens (for example, Meoma antiqua,
figure IF), but many are locally very

jAMAICA joURNAi. 24/2 37

common and can be present in their
hundreds as is Rhyncholampas matleyi
[figure 2D, E) at Wait-a-Bit Cave in
Trelawny. All of the Eocene species
shown here are known from the Yellow
Limestone. It is at least probable that
some of the species from unknown
localities and horizons also come from
the same unit, for example, Homeo-
petalus axiologus and Lambertona
jamaicensis [figures 2C, 3A, B, respect-
The Yellow Limestone is overlain
by the White Limestone Supergroup,
which extends from the Middle Eocene
to the low Upper Miocene. The Yellow
Limestone is a popular source of
specimens for palaeontologists for a
number of reason. While it can be a
hard limestone from which it is difficult
to extract fossils, the Yellow Limestone
is often poorly cemented, making
collection of specimens easy. Indeed,
the Yellow Limestone Group is not only
limestone. It includes a variety of
sedimentary rock types, including some
friable, fossiliferous mudstones. Even
the limestones contain some impurities
(hence the yellow colour), which help
the fossils to weather out. This is not
the case in the later White Limestone

recognized from the post-Yellow
Limestone Eocene of the island (that is,
mid-Middle to Upper Eocene).
Some Eocene fossils are common to
both the Yellow and White Lime-
stone.What is particularly striking about
the distribution of echinoids between
these two units is that the Yellow
Limestone (with about seventy echinoid
species) represents a span of about 6.5
million years, whereas the Eocene
formations of the White Limestone
(with about twenty echinoid species)
were deposited in a period of approx-
imately eight million years [figure 4].
There thus appears to be a reduction in
echinoid diversity following the Yellow
Limestone deposition. This decline may
have been a real phenomenon, but it
must be stressed that the younger
Eocene formations need to be studied in
greater detail. It is perhaps significant
that the echinoid fauna of these
sequences has been more than doubled
over the past few years by new finds
[see, for example, Donovan et al.,
Few echinoids were yielded by the
Eocene White Limestone, but in the
overlying Oligocene and Miocene they
are almost completely absent. Only
about three taxa have been recognized
from the Jamaican Oligocene: a regular
echinoid present only as spines: a
species of Clypeasier (related to
C.rosaceus, figure IA); and a species of
Eupaiagus similar to E alatius [fig-
urelB, C]. Once again, this paucity of
While Limestone echinoids ma) be due
to a number of factors, including lack
of collecting, bul II ma> also be
relevant thai a global pattern of ex-
tinction has been recognized in a

Figure 3 A. B. Ljmbri'.na toaman.., IAmold and
ClarKi horzon unknown
A, apical vie- B.oral %,e% Thlu pecurnen Ls an
itemal mould, thail 15, tie test .s lost and on ) the
sedmnenm inl'l is presered
Both scale bars represent 10mm

Supergroup, a sequence of pure and
usually well-cemented limestones
lacking more friable horizons, in
which echinoids are (apparently)
rarer, harder to identify and more
difficult to extract. This explains, at
least partially, why only about twenty
echinoid species have so far been

number of groups from the mid-Eocene
to mid-Oligocene. Perhaps there simply
were not as many Jamaican echinoids in
the Oligocene and later Eocene as there
were during Yellow Limestone times.
Miocene species are just as poorly
known, but new collections made by
UWI graduates Marlene Britton and
Jacquie Bowen have more than doubled
this sparse fauna. Some of these are
new taxa awaiting description.
It is only in the Pliocene and
Pleistocene strata of the Coastal Group
that echinoids once again become
diverse and locally common. Most are
irregulars, with regulars being identi-
fied mainly from spines. Particularly
prominent at certain horizons are
clypeasteroids such as Clypeaster
rosaceus [figure 1A]. These have large
tests strengthened by internal struts and,
in Clypeaster, secondary thickening,
making the clypeasteroids the sturdiest
of all echinoids. It is not surprising that
Clypeaster is also known from the
Jamaican Oligocene and Miocene;
where other taxa are disarticulated,
cryptic or absent, Clypeaster is preserv-
ed intact. At least fifteen species of
echinoid have so far been identified
from the Plio-Pleistocene of the island,

01 -
10 -
















Figure 4. Divisions of the geologic column referred to in
the text (after Harland et al., 1982).
Key: L = Lower; M = Middle; U = Upper. Scale in
millions of years (Myr) at the left.



which compares well with the seven-
leen taxa in the modem shallow-water


Although the Jamaican fossil echi-
noid fauna is large, it has a patchy
distribution in the sedimentary rocks of
the island. Echinoids are well known
from the Upper Cretaceous, the Plio-
Pleistocene and particularly the Eocene,
but appear to be rare in the Paleocene,
Oligocene and Miocene. However, the
absence of echinoids at certain horizons
may only be apparent. For example,
Miocene echinoids are not uncommon
in other regions. It is probable that lack
of collecting (few people have tried to
collect echinoids from these strata) and
the nature of the rocks themselves have
produced an impression, at least partly
false, that echinoids are rare at these
horizons. More collecting will almost
certainly add to the large and diverse
fauna of Jamaican fossil echinoids.


ARNOLD, B. W. AND CLARKE, H. L. 'Jamaican
fossil echini'. Memoirs of the Museum
of Comparative Zoology, 50. 1927.
-. 'Some additional fossil echini from
Jamaica'. Memoirs of the Museum of
Comparative Zoology, 54. 1934.
CUTRESS, B. M. 'Cretaceous and Tertiary
Cidaroida (Echinodermata: Echinoidea)
of the Caribbean area'. Bulletins of
American Paleontology, 77 (309). 1980.
DONOVAN, S.K. 'A preliminary biostra-
tigraphy of the Jamaican fossil
Echinoidea'. In R.D. Burke, P.V.
Mladenov, P. Lambert and R.L. Parsley
(eds), Echinoderm Biology: Proceed-
ings of the Sixth International
Echinoderm Conference, Victoria,
British Columbia. Rotterdam: A.A.
Balkema. 1988.
-. 'Jamaican Cenozoic Echinoidea'.
Geological Society of America Memoir.
in press.
-. 'Jamaican Cretaceous Echinoidea'.
Geological Society of America Memoir,.
in review.
DONOVAN, S.K., AND BOWEN, J.F. 'Jamaican
Cretaceous Echinoidea. 1. Introduction
and reassessment of ?Pygopistes
rudistarum [Hawkins, 1923] n.comb'.
Mesozoic Research, 2. 1989
articulated echinoid plates from the
Paleocene of Jamaica'. Journal of the
Geological Society ofJamaica, 26. 1989.
W.F. AND DIXON, H.L. An Eocene age for

an outcrop of the "Montpelier Form-
ation" at Beecher Town, St. Ann.
Jamaica, using echmoids for correlation .
Journal of the Geological Society of
Jamaica, 26. 1989.
HARLAND. W.B.. COx. A.\ el al. A
Geological Time Scale. Cambridge-
Cambridge University Press, 1982
HAWKINS, H L. 'Some Cretaceous Echinoidea
from Jamaica'. Geological Magazine,
60. 1923.
-. 'Notes on a new collection of fossil
Echinoidea from Jamaica'. Geological
Magazine, 61. 1924.
-. Descriptions of new species of
Cainozoic Echinoidea from Jamaica'.
Memoirs of the Museum of Compara-
tive Zoology, 50. 1927.
JACKSON, R.T. 'Fossil echini of the West
Indies'. Publications of the Carnegie
Institution of Washington, 306. 1922.
KIER, P.M. 'Fossil spatangoid echinoids of
Cuba'. Smithsonian Contributions to
Paleobiology, 55. 1984.
morphology'. In R.C Moore (ed.),
Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology,
Part U, Echinodermata 3 (1). New York
and Lawrence: Geological Society of
America and University of Kansas
Press. 1966.
vations on the ichnology of the Rich-
mond Formation of eastern Jamaica'.
Journal of the Geological Society of
Jamaica, 28. 1991.
SMITH, A.B. Echinoid Palaeobiology.
London: George Allen and Unwin.1984.
TRECHMANN, C.T. 'The Manchioneal Beds of
Jamaica'.Geological Magazine, 67. 1930
VAUGHAN, T.w. 'Stratigraphic significance of
the species of West Indian fossil echini'.
Publications ot the Carnegie Institution
of Washington, 306. 1922.


The photographs in Figures 1-3 were taken
during the period of a gratefully acknowl-
edged Short Term Visitor's Grant at the
National Museum of Natural History,
Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC,
during summer 1989. This paper was
improved following a critical review by
David Lewis (Natural History Museum,

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Head Office: 12-16 East St., Kingston
Tel: 922-0620
National Museum of Historical
Archaeology Port Royal. Tel: 924-8871
SFort Charles Maritime Museum, Port
Arawak Museum, White Marl
Military Museum,
Up Park Camp, 3rd GR Compound.
Jamaica People's Museum of Craft and
Spanish Town Square Tel: 984-2452
Old King's House Archaeological
Museum, Spanish Town Square Tel:

National Gallery of Jamaica
Roy West Building, Ocean Boulevard,
Kingston MalL Tel: 922-1561/4

National Library of Jamaica
12-16 East St., Kingston. Tel: 922-0620

Natural History Library and Museum
12-16 East St, Kgn. Tel: 922-0620


In this study of reggae
music, the author
examines the his-
tory, social struc-
ture and politics of
chapter, in which
the relationships
between reggae
and the wider
society are discus-
sed, follows one
on the words of the
reggae songs.
The preceding
analysis of the lyrics
of reggae music makes
it possible to suggest
some correspondences
or linkages between


and the



reality in aesthetic-
ideological terms
(in the broad
sense of a system
of ideas); two,
and denial of
those same real-
ities. The world
view which re-
sults from the
juxtaposition of
reality and its
mirror image appears
to be definitely bi-
polar. At every level,
there is a conflicting pair.
But these contradictions
combine to produce a
dynamic reaction which

mainstream Jamaican society, aenve as from moves towards either innovation or
it is from its history and its traditional change, the former relating more to
institutions, and the concepts and belief Aux Sources du aesthetics and ideology and the latter to
expressed by Rastafarians and implied in REGGAE the socioeconomic structure. Thus it is
reggae music. possible to see that the driving force of
These linkages more or less match the by Dennis Constant Jamaican society is a dialectic of
six themes or categories already identified breaking down and continuity, of
in the reggae texts. According to the levels on which they are rejection and assimilation, a dialectic which gives birth to
examined, and sometimes on the same level, they seem to fall transformation. What was seen in the earlier examination of
into two opposing groups: one, the description of social the music can be applied in the wider general sense, making


REGGAE Innovation Soul/Gospel North Amencan Musical mirror Musical Double and
(MUSIC) influences of the Violence innovation triple rhythms
Jamaican Jamaican in the society
musical heritage religious music Urban music
REGGAE Jamaican history Rastafarianism Urban poetry as Descriptions of Confrontation Them/Us
(LYRICS) and culture continuation of social violence Rich/Poor
Biblical Style the oral tradition Struggle Cool/Dread
Recognition of the Justification of
values of the ghetto Repatriation to counter-violence Change
Determination struggle Defence of youth
Racial Pride
African Diaspora
RASTAFARI- Racial pride Expectation of Urban cult Anarchy Dissent Babylon/Ethiopia
ANISM the Millennium
Reversal of values Repatriation to Africa Babylon accused Confrontation Corrupt/Pure
and authority Biblical heritage
The American experience Peace and love Change Blacks/Whites
Jamaican culture of Marcus Garvey

INDEPEN- Establishment of the State Rastafarian symbolism Urbanization Inequality Confrontation Rich/Poor
DENCE Self-depreciation Unemployment Change Blacks/Others
Continuation of colonial Political Messianism Rural exodus Repression JLP/PNP

COLONIAL- Self-depreciation Rastafarianism Emigration Inequality Change Rich/Poor
ISM Colonial ideology Political Messianism Urbanization Unemployment Confrontation Blacks/Whites
Great revival Rural exodus Repression Revolt

SLAVERY Cultural deprivation Early Baptist Sects The Maroons Repression Revolt Masters/Slaves
Oppression Afro-Christian Cults Deportation from Africa Oppression The Maroons

it possible to grasp more easily the two decades of internal autonomy, and the destruction, stone by stone, of
linkages between reggae music and the made the affirmation of a Jamaican the wall of alienation led to innovation
Jamaican society, national identity possible. Political in religion, as with Rastafarianism, and
The table is intended to show these transformation, however, had taken in music with ska, rock steady and
linkages graphically and may be read as place without any disturbance of the reggae, and finally to its logical con-
follows: social structure. The 'wealthy' petty clusion, a call to resistance.
bourgeoisie had gradually taken over
Alienation from the imperial representatives of the The Influence of Religion
mother country' and had done so O
The result of deportation (the without radically examining either the Oe f the accepted and privileged
Middle Passage) and slavery. It is the colonial ideologies or the inherent forms of ideological expression for the
subjugation of one people, defined by social inequalities. These inequalities, poor in Jamaica has always been
their colour and culture, by another in fact, tended to intensify under the religion. As for American blacks, it
people, visibly different, who see new regime. Such conditions meant that introduces an ambivalent relationship
themselves as superior and are able to the negative self-image of the majority between those who dominate and the
impose their superiority by force. still persisted but it now came to be dominated, a characteristic of an
Emancipation and the shift to Crown challenged on the ideological level by alienated society.
Colony status did not change the the affirmation of racial pride and by From the beginning, religion has
relationship between the two groups the extraordinary reversal of values and been the meeting ground for the culture
but, on the contrary, encouraged the authority which stands at the heart of of the planters and that of the slaves.
oppressed to internalize and thus, to Rastafarian beliefs. Racial pride and an Memories of African cults and the
some extent, accept the assumed anticipated redistribution of power both teachings of Christianity merged to
superiority of the oppressors. depended upon a reawakening of form new rituals which no longer
Social relationships presupposed Jamaican cultural traditions, which can belonged to anyone but the oppressed
poverty and hardship for the deprived be sensed in Rastafarianism and clearly and which renewed themselves end-
and comfort and wealth for those who seen in reggae. Awareness of these lessly. The beliefs of the 'whites' were
claimed superiority, supported by the cultural traditions led to greater redirected and transformed in the
ideology of success (a, combination of appreciation of what had been rejected meetings during which alienation could
colonial propaganda and religious by the dominant ideology which was be rejected, however briefly, and the
indoctrination). These assumptions part of the colonial heritage. This new aggression born from a wretched life
created feelings of guilt and self- awareness of, for example, the life of could be liberated. This process of
depreciation in the mass of the poor, a the ghetto, African civilizations, religious creativity made it possible for
typical phenomenon in all colonial resulted in the rejection of guilt by the the internal dynamic of the black
societies, downtrodden. The rediscovery of a community and the external dynamic of
The coming of Independence, after somewhat idealized past the 'roots' Jamaica as a whole to be united.


The American influence, which,
during the days of slavery, made the
formation of new Baptist sects pos-
sible, is dominant here. This influence
also stimulated the Great Revival of the
1860s and, ultimately, seems to have
fed the religious experiences of the
founding fathers of Rastafarianism. The
religion which provided the blacks with
their first spiritual lifebuoy gradually
came to permeate the whole of Jamai-
can culture. Its prophetic aspects un-
doubtedly shaped the political system,
organized around charismatic personal-
ities who readily manipulated the
religious symbolism understood by all
Jamaicans. Its fundamentalism runs
through Rastafarianism in which the
hope of an earthly paradise, the
expectation of the coming of the King-
dom of Heaven on earth, together with
the reality of migrations necessary for
survival, are the bases of the myths of
redemption through repatriation to
Africa. The songs are full of biblical
phraseology, allusions and imagery, all
of which can be heard, oddly distorted,
in the genuine language of the people.
To sum up: the music of reggae is
broadly based on the heritage of
Revivalism and on the persistence, in
both the United States and Jamaica, of
two religious musical traditions drawn
from the same repertoires.

The Promised Land
In Jamaica the myth of a promised
land elsewhere is not merely an article
of religious dogma. It fits naturally into
the great changes experienced by the
Jamaican society and is in fact, an
idealization of the need of so many
Jamaicans to travel to find work. The
first departure, the first voyage was
totally under duress: transportation out
of Africa and into slavery. The direct
opposite of this is the first escape to the
first safe land; the flight of the Maroons
and their entrenchment in the moun-
tains. This resistance ended when the
Maroons gained recognition from the
authorities in exchange for collab-
oration with the repressive forces of
After Emancipation, Jamaica was
unsettled by internal and external
migrations: departures from the plant-
ations for the hills, an exodus from the
country to the towns, foreign exile. Few
families were left untouched by at least
one of these trends. But the reality,
usually harsh, of emigration and the

dreadful poverty of the Jamaican towns
made it necessary to sublimate the
original hope and to transfer it to those
shores which had not yet been reached.
Thus in the life of the town, at the end
of the first journey, perhaps on the
verge of another, Rastafarianism
preached the need for repatriation and
identified Ethiopian Africa as the land
of liberty, happiness and honour. Under
these new conditions of life, Rasta-
farianism was for many a link between
the past and the present and at the same
time offered a different future. It
retained some aspects of rural beliefs
but it was also innovative, presenting an
unexpected means of redemption
which, by re-evaluating the past as far
back as the geographical origins of the
people, challenged the validity of the
stereotypes which nourished the trad-
itional alienation. The reggae lyrics
follow this path: they create a form of
popular modem poetry, developed from
the toasts, to produce a kind of counter-
point to the media, drawing for their
resources on the oral tradition which
has always run through Jamaican
history. In this poetry, the ideal is
repatriation and the glorification of
Africa. It is possible to say almost the
same thing about the music itself. It is
urban music, belonging to the ghetto:
but instead of conveying a general
message about the promised land, it
emphasizes the attraction of the United
States, a land full of hope, musically
speaking, which has influenced Jamai-
can culture for many years and still
does. Thus the music retains one of the
historical embodiments of the promised
land in which many migrants believed
that they would find salvation.

From the time of slavery to the gang
wars of today, violence has been a
presence in the everyday Jamaican
environment of poverty, oppression and
There is no need to elaborate on the
days of slavery. Emancipation brought
a liberty which was real (especially the
liberty of movement) but also limited.
The inequalities inherited from the
earlier period and firmly retained by the
privileged classes were intensified by
the migrations and increasing urban-
ization. The result was a comparative
reduction in the standard of living for
much of the black population, a situ-
ation intensified by unemployment.

To this common social violence was
added repressive violence which struck
at any attempt to change the social
order. Independence, from this stand-
point, reduplicated the earlier con-
ditions of life. Tensions increased in the
ever-spreading crackle of fire-arms.The
Afro-Christian cults offered an outlet
from this violence, which now has
every indication of becoming institu-
ionalized. Rastafarianism, however,
went much further. On one hand,
Rastafarians turned away from the use
of power; they rejected the power at
the heart of their movement just as they
rejected social and political power. On
the other, they followed an antinomian
system of good and evil in which Baby-
lon was denounced as the source of the
violence and the opposite values of
peace and love were extolled.
In the reggae lyrics, ghetto culture
with its inescapable violence is clearly
affected by this message. The songs
condemn the hard life of the poor and
declare war on Babylon; they speak of
peace and love. However, institution-
alized violence is opposed by terrorism
but in an ambiguous way since such
counter-violence is valued as resistance
but is also recognized as dangerous.
The lyrics come to the defence of dis-
advantaged youth. Here the music itself
seems to be less original except for the
ska/rock steady/reggae area which turns
to a frenzy of amplification using
electronic distortions. This is crossing
into new musical territory for Jamaica,
breaking away from the social intimacy
of religious music and the languor of
saccharine calypsos, reflecting instead
the surrounding atmosphere of violence
in its power and earsplitting volume,
offering the dancers a more hostile and
aggressive body language.

A history of oppression can always
be seen from the other side as a history
of resistance. At one time, this used to
be denied where Africa was concerned,
particularly in the case of the blacks of
the United States, but today there is
overwhelming evidence to show that
this was indeed the case. The rebel was
found everywhere among those sub-
jected to the permanent injustice of
slavery. This rebellion was expressed in
both passive resistance and revolt. It
was a movement that swung like a
pendulum from integration through
flight to confrontation and back.


Jamaica was no exception to the rule.
During the years of slavery, there were
the Maroons, who won their freedom;
later came bloodily repressed slave
rebellions. Finally, the chains were
abolished but, with exploitation re-
maining, others continued the struggle
and met the same fate.
From the time of the Sam Sharpe
uprising (1831-1832) to the rebellion of
Paul Bogle and George William
Gordon (1865), religion inspired
resistance, proving that religious
innovation itself was also a form of
revolution. Gradually other forces were
organizing themselves and, even though
often turned aside from their purpose,
they became permanent carriers of
dispute. These were the developing
trade unions and political parties. From
now on, the spirit of revolt focused on
the concept of change, whether it came
through reform or through revolution.
After Independence, change itself
became the pole around which political
life was focused.
From the beginning, of course, for
Rastafarianism, change was the starting
point. The movement itself was an
expression of deliberate dissent, a
permanent protest against the social
order. Safety was guaranteed only by
removal in the same way that the myth
of the promised land was authenticated
by the realities of emigration.
When the would-be exiles found it
impossible, or almost so, to leave the
island, the movement, at the same time
that it was becoming secularized, turned
toward the prospect of transforming the
Jamaican reality. This gave new life to
the concept of change and had a power-
ful influence on the political arena. The
reggae lyrics now restated the different
levels of Rastafarian ideology and
capped them with a definite call to
resistance, giving testimony again to a
particular aspect of the culture of the
ghetto and the attitudes of the youth.
Finally, in the music, the clear rejection
of the dominant commercialized forms
together with the creation of new songs
indicated a break with the established
order, (bothe aesthetic and economic)
which can be interpreted as a rebellion.

A bipolar vision of the world
However complex the conflicts
within a society might be, it is usually
the conflicts which are remembered
rather than the complexity. In all social
struggle there is a tendency towards

bipolarism and Manicheism, the divi-
sion of everything in life into good and
evil, which develops more or less
according to the society. Slavery offers
a firm foundation for such a point of
view: masters are confronted by slaves.
After Emancipation, almost the same
relationships persisted. The dichotomy
became white-rich-powerful/black-
poor-oppressed. As a result of social
change, this dichotomy has now be-
come rich/poor, showing the begin-
nings of class consciousness, and
black/others (white, browns, orientals,
etc.), which continues the earlier racial
Political life is itself polarized by the
continuing confrontations of the
Jamaica Labour Party and the Peoples
National Party, a process which is
transferred into trade union activities by
the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union
and the National Workers Union. This
polarization is given another dimension
by the religious spirit which runs
through the whole of Jamaican society
- the dimension of good and evil. Here
it is essentially confined to the beliefs
of the Afro-Christian cults (where it is
mingled with the occult) and the
Revivalist sects where the social
contradictions within Rastafarianism
are echoed. These have now become
Babylon/Ethiopia, corrupt/pure, blacks/
whites and are found in the reggae
lyrics, superimposed on the opposing
rich/poor or, in popular language, them/
us (I and I in the Rastafarian code).
This series of Manichean extremes is
not merely an expression of social
contradictions. It shows a deep ambi-
valence. In the Jamaican reality, the two
terms in each pair are simultaneously
opposite and identical, if their ideo-
logical similarity is taken into consid-
eration. The expressions master/ slave,
rich/poor, black/white represent a
relationship in which there passes
between the oppressor and the oppres-
sed a current of hostility and desire, of
rejection and the possibility of
assimilation. To pursue the same
concept, those involved are subject to
both the good and the bad (this is why
they are involved) in the situation in
which they find themselves. Rasta-
farians share both Babylon and Ethi-
opia; corruption and misfortune are
always there to sully the pure. This
ambivalence is very clearly seen in the
songs which simultaneously place
value upon two conflicting characters,

one relevant to society and the other to
the underworld. They are the Rasta-
farian and the Natty Dread who is the
personification of dread: terrifying,
violent, super; he is also cool: calm,
tranquil, peaceful. This uncertainty, or
rather this ambivalence, is found at the
heart of the music in those rhythms in
which, underneath the apparently
overwhelmingly regular beat, a unique
combination of double and triple
rhythms is playing.
To sum up: there are at least six
points at which reggae, which can now
be seen as a whole, words and music
together, crosses the the line into the
traditional areas characteristic of main-
stream Jamaican society and its devel-
opment. This method of presenting the
linkages between the music and the
society in a chart has an advantage. It
makes it possible to see that beyond the
assumed influence of cause and effect,
which would result in a merely
mechanistic conception of the musical
creation, there is also testimony to, or
awareness of, the social realities and
their inherent contradictions. It is
important to establish these relation-
ships and then to see how they function.
For example, if at every level anti-
thetical terms can be found then it is
possible to assume a bipolar view of the
world. This being the case, the music
can then be better understood because
in this detail it expresses better how
these contradictions can be translated
into the ambivalences of reality. It is
important to remember that, although
the table has been read vertically in this
analysis, it can, and should, also be read
horizontally so that the details of each
level can be seen.
There is a final problem. It has to do
with the use of reggae music in political
campaigns. Although it might be the
case that popular music has a special
relationship with the political, eco-
nomic and social life of the country, it
very rarely goes beyond an aesthetic
expression of social awareness or of a
hope of Utopia. At the most it becomes
a party song or a hymn. Whatever the
case may be in Jamaica, it seems that at
some future point reggae could well
become a tool of propaganda and, as a
result, a pawn of the politicians.

Translated by Leeta Hearne
The Editors wish to thank Mr Hector
Bernard for his kind assistance in reading
the translation.


Wannabe Jamaicans


a case study by
Dr James Coffin

In the introduction to his book, Ethnic
Boundaries, Fredrik Barth argues:

Groups and

Where persons of different cultures interact, one
would expect (cultural) differences to be reduced
since interaction both requires and generates a
congruence of codes and values i.e., a
similarity or community of culture
[Barth, 1969: 16]
If such an interactive situation is competitive in nature,
Banton [1983: 104] points out the analytical applicability of
rational choice theory when he discusses the theory in the
terms of racial and ethnic relations. He states:

When groups interact, processes of change affect
their boundaries in ways determined by the form
and intensity of competition; and, in particular,
when people compete as individuals this tends to
dissolve the boundaries that define the groups,
whereas when they compete as groups this
reinforces those boundaries.

This paper presents a case study of American entrepreneurs
in an inter-ethnic setting and also a critique of the degree to
which Barth's and Banton's propositions are useful frame-
works for explaining the impact of ethnic boundary main-
tenance affecting the entrepreneurs' perceptions and attitudes
reported in the case study.
Data for this case study were collected in Negril, Jamaica,
the westernmost resort town of the island, during the winter of
1987-88. Information was obtained by open-ended interviews
with American resort owners who resided at least six months

of the year in Jamaica. Forty per cent of Negril's resorts were
owned by this category which also made up about twelve per
cent of the town's permanent population of eighteen hundred at
the time of the study. Nearly one quarter of all American resort
owners (or fifty of them) were interviewed.
The inter-ethnic dynamic which was the focus of the study
was that between the American entrepreneurs and their Ja-
maican counterparts with whom they regularly interacted. It is
that dynamic which shapes the critique of Barth's and Banton's
propositions presented above.
One contention of Banton is that if 'people compete as
individuals this tends to dissolve the boundaries that define the
groups'. This argument implies that competitive strategy is not
constrained by ethnic interests. If ethnic interests are not
restrictive this might mean that there is less regard for ethnic
group interests relative to individual interests; or that group
interests per se are not thought to be germane to the com-
petitive context; or that group interests are considered to be
Responses to one question give insights into these
possibilities. The question was, 'Do you feel there is a discrete
culture of shared values, rationalizations, and behaviours
among American resort owners in Negril?'
Thirty-eight of the fifty American owners who were
interviewed responded with answers implying that it was very
difficult for them to define what was meant by a 'discrete
American culture'. These responses were typical:

Except for very general economic and political values, I
can't characterize an American culture anyway.
Even though we are American citizens we come from
different backgrounds.
What we do have in common down here are our business
goals and ways we want to attain them.
We are businessmen first and Americans second.


Such statements have significant bearing on Banton's
propositions regarding boundary maintenance. Since the
American businessmen and women in Negril perceived
American culture as an amorphous entity, they were uncon-
cered about maintaining an ethnic-based system of values and
behavioral patterns. Given this, one could add another
deterministic variable to Banton's proposition; and that is, if
people feel that their cultural boundaries are vague there will
be little urgency to maintain them or to act according to any
codes and values therein.
Thus 'American ethnicity' has little influence on American
entrepreneurs in Negril. It is ill-defined by them and, therefore,
takes a back seat to entrepreneurial concerns.

Entrepreneurial Concerns

Since those entrepreneurial concerns are of high priority, it
is useful to ascertain how American resort owners defined and
ranked them. They were therefore asked to prioritize what they
felt they needed to do to be successful in Negril.
They all agreed that they needed to pursue the usual good
management practices leading to cost effectiveness of site
selection, material selection, wages, and marketing tech-
niques; they agreed that they needed to protect foreign interests
regarding real estate and business ownership, the prerogative
of ownership, inflation control, taxation, influx of consumer
goods, zoning, and saleability of real estate; and they agreed
that they must get along with Jamaicans with whom they
networked regularly.
Interview responses by and large indicated that what was
most important for the achievement of entrepreneurial success
was to plug into the cultural codes and behavioral patterns of

Jamaicans with whom they regularly dealt in their role as
resort owners. The following statements typify this notion:

1 feel like I need them more than they need me so I try to
understand and get along with them.
Over the years, I've found it helpful to be friends with all
kinds of Jamaicans. There are so many situations where I've
been befriended by them.
Nothing gets done unless you are tight with the Jamaicans,
especially the bureaucrats.
Most Jamaicans exasperate me. They are either too laid
back or too much into power-tripping. I'm constantly trying
to circumvent these types to get on with my business.
I'm somebody down here in Negril. The Jamaicans have put
me on a pedestal. I'm on the school board.
I like the Jamaicans' lifestyle. There are bad things about it,
but those things are found everywhere I've been. I'm more
comfortable with Jamaicans than any other people I've ever
been around.

Forty-three of the fifty American owners who were
interviewed gave similar answers which linked success with
intimate relations with Jamaicans. Thus eighty-six per cent of
those questioned felt that for an effective business management
and an effective politicking of one's interests it was imperative
that one get along with Jamaicans on Jamaican terms.

But what does it mean for these Americans to 'get along
with Jamaicans?' This question raises issues regarding the
nature and intensity of interactions by people of different


cultures issues that have a bearing on Barth's earlier
proposition that interaction both requires and generates a
congruence of codes and values.
One significant issue pertinent to this, focuses on which
Jamaicans each American chooses to interact with. Cultural
pluralism begs this issue. As in any society, this pluralism,
coupled with the specifics of context, renders values,
behaviours, and codes neither homogeneous nor consistent.
However, this same pluralism is not infinite, offering, instead,
a changeable but limited set of ideological and behavioral
Every member of a given society in terms of any given
situation embodies some part of that set of options. To parti-
cipate in an interactive situation conducive to entrepreneurial
success, each American resort owner was confronted with
trying to acculturate him/herself to the particular system of
values, rationalizations, symbols, and behavioral expectations
of those Jamaicans he or she dealt with. In effect, the
Americans were at this point 'Wannabe Jamaicans' in the
sense that they wanted to be plugged into the cultural code of
individual Jamaicans in order to, as Jamaicans put it, 'know the
If one would take Barth's proposition concerning cultural
congruence that was cited at the beginning of this paper, it
would be assumed that from interaction would come a
mutually agreeable matching or combination of American and
Jamaican values. This does not seem to be happening.
Interview responses intimate the causes of this discrepancy
between Barthian expectation and the realities of Negril. These
insightful responses were generated by a question regarding
American-Jamaican cultural syncretism, 'Do you sense any
integration of Jamaican and American culture in terms of
values and behaviours? Why or why not?'

Oh they try to integrate I suppose, but I really think I do
better doing things my way and not confusing the situation
by trying to be something I'm not conditioned to being.
Not really. There seems to be quite a variety in Jamaican
ways. It is difficult to keep everything in perspective for
successfully dealing with them.
If there is integration, it is not very balanced. Americans
don't contribute much to it. Most of the owners I know
want to be like Jamaicans. They want to integrate into
Jamaican culture. After all we are on their turf and they
really do have the upper hand.
The Jamaican guys don't understand why we would want to
be like them. They prefer being like us so they aren't much
help when we ask about their customs and lifestyles.
Jamaicans want Americans to be role models for the
American way of life and vice versa. So there is little cross-
sharing because we talk past one another.
I want to get into the Jamaican mind to the point where I can
think and act like they do, but they are unwilling to provide
the cues since they are too busy trying to think and act like

Thirty-three of the respondents replied negatively to this
question concerning their sense of an integration of cultures.
The reason most often given to explain the negative responses
reflected the problem articulated in the last three quotes
immediately above. According to these responses, Americans
and Jamaicans are unwilling role models and teachers of their
own culture since they are so bent on being students of the
other. The inherent tension in this dynamic serves as a very real

impediment to the synthesis of a 'community of culture' that
Barth states we should expect from interactive players of
different cultures.
A congruence of values and codes does not happen because
neither group wants to integrate its culture into the mix. This is
not because the groups are trying to protect their respective
cultures from being bastardized by the other. On the other
hand, ironically enough, they want to be so like the other that
they disavow their own.
Banton suggests an analytical frame-work for explaining
this irony. Reiterating part of his proposition quoted at the
beginning of the paper, he states, 'When groups interact,
processes of change affect their boundaries in ways deter-
mined by the form and intensity of the competition.'

'Wannabe' Mutuality

Competition between American and Jamaican resort
owners can be characterized by a mutual 'wannabe'
phenomenon in which it is considered competitively advan-
tageous by both groups to take on the character of the other.
Jamaicans look up to their American counterparts. As one
American stated, '... They put me on a pedestal.' The remarks
of several other Americans indicated that they experienced the
same thing. These Americans reported that the Jamaicans
seemed especially to want to emulate managerial skills for
which they thought they were comparatively unprepared.
Americans, on the other hand, wanted to be more Jamaican-
like. In the responses presented earlier the Americans intimated
that the attraction of being 'Jamaican' was political and
economic advantage.
This mutual 'wannabe' phenomenon affects cultural
boundary maintenance as Banton predicts. Looking up to
Americans and perceiving entrepreneurial advantage implies
Jamaican willingness to adapt to American values and
practices. At the same time, this also promotes the dissolution
of their own cultural boundaries. Americans exhibit the same
tendencies. By seeking to understand Jamaican culture for the
sake of manifesting appropriate behaviours, they do little to
maintain their cultural boundaries, an attitude further facilitated
by the tendency mentioned earlier of Americans in Negril to
perceive American culture as a nebulous entity; one that in
Negrilian realpolitik is a pragmatically useless concept.
Since many of the American entrepreneurs in this study
were 'Wannabe Jamaicans', it was useful to know what traits
of a perceived Jamaican identity the Americans want to have
as part of their makeup. They were questioned about this.
Responses concluded:
Jamaicans know the running. If I had this knowledge I
could combine it with the colour bar advantages 1 have
down here and I would truly be in the driver's seat.
I'm married to a Jamaican. I prefer the closeness of the
Jamaican family, especially in terms of my wife's family's
collective nurturing of the children ... I would stay down
here whether or not I owned a business.
I really would like to have their spirituality. They justify so
many things that happen in their lives through it. They don't
seem to be as stressed as we are as a result.
Jamaicans are on the threshold of change. I watch with envy
as they adapt to opportunities opening up to them in the
tourist industry in Negril. I want to be part of that energy, of
that engineering of self to meet challenging situations.

This is an interesting mix of responses in that it reflects a
number of ways in which the Americans perceived what it was
to be a Jamaican. To some, as expressed in the first of the
responses immediately above, to be Jamaican was to have the
knowledge of the native system of sociopolitical and socio-
economic dynamics that transpires in Negril and the nation at
large. Over sixty per cent answered in this manner.
For these Americans, to be Jamaican meant a greater
chance of entrepreneurial aggrandizement. They wanted to be
Jamaican because it bestowed advantage, not because being
Jamaican was intrinsically better than being American. This
sixty per cent did not generate a Jamaican trait list except for
the tautologically fraught notion that Jamaicans are those who
know Jamaican ways.
Others characterized 'Jamaican identity' in terms of
situation, as exemplified by the last response. Like the other
Americans discussed above, these individuals avoided any
listing of discrete Jamaican traits. They wanted to be
Jamaicans because Jamaicans were those adjusting to change -
a circumstance that excited their own need to be pioneers.
A minority of respondents actually referred to certain
character traits such as spirituality, a nurturing family life, etc,
in which they stated preferences for Jamaican values and

In summary, it can be seen that Americans in Negril believe
that it is to their entrepreneurial advantage to enculturate into
the socio-cultural system of Jamaicans who have a bearing on
entrepreneurial success. They have no desire to staunchly
perpetuate a set of values and codes within a limited ethnicity
if such parameters hinder success. Given these priorities the
Americans evolve into 'Wannabe Jamaicans'.
The propositions of Barth and Ban-ton are obviously
deficient in accounting for both the cause and effect of the
'wannabe' phenomenon. They obscure the cause by failing to
consider the possibility that, in some competitive circum-
stances, individuals and groups will regard their own ethnicity
as so vague or so detrimental to their needs, while at the same
time regarding that of another group as so conducive to
success, that they will disavow the former to enculturate into
the latter.
In such a situation, there is neither the requirement nor the
generation of a congruence of culture that Barth states one
would expect when persons of different cultures interact. In
Negril this congruence would be a compromising hindrance to
entrepreneurial strategies.
Banton's proposition fares little better than Barth's. It
speaks to a mutual dissolution of ethnic boundaries implying a
resultant cultural syncreticity. It is, therefore, not a suitable
framework for explaining the Negrilian scenario in which
syncretism is not wanted and thus not engineered.
Since Barth and Banton do not anticipate a set of conditions
conducive to a 'wannabe' situation they have no value in
predicting its ramifications. What is needed is the config-
uration of a model that can adumbrate both cause and effect of
the dynamics of such a situation.
When ethnic boundaries are not maintained in an inter-
ethnic context it is sometimes wrong to assume, as Barth does,
that interaction will lead to cultural congruence and, hence, the
dissolution of cultural boundaries. Models must be constructed
to account for situations in which neither ethnic maintenance

nor cultural congruence take place. These models must include
variables such as cultural pluralism, an ethnicity perceived to
be nebulous, the subordination of ethnic concerns to individual
concerns, perceived advantages in acculturation, and personal
preferences for the world view and habits of others. Predictions
of the dynamics of the development and interfacing of these
variables could be generated by such models.
Students of inter-ethnic dynamics could with advantage
contemplate and explain the problems faced by groups such as
the American entrepreneurs in Negril as they attempt to adjust
and absorb into another system of values, rationalizations and
behavioral patterns. For instance, what individuals or groups
will the Americans look to for cues in the acculturative process
and will those selected acculturative agents be willing to play
this role? As has been seen in the case of Negril, most of the
Jamaicans are unwilling to accept the role because they prefer
to acculturate to a perceived American ideological and
behavioral pattern. One possible result of this mutuality is that
the Americans, having few role models, will acculturate to an
ideal of Jamaican ways concocted from their own wishful
Situations such as that observed in Negril present another
aspect that is worthy of investigation. It concerns the nature
and ramifications of the tension generated between the
Americans and Jamaicans as a result of a mutual frustration
since neither group fulfils the desired function of being the
other's role model. The extent of the tension, the destructive
character that it can take on and its effects on specific
interactions must be ascertained, explained, and used for
predictive and solution-oriented models models concerned
with similar sociocultural situations.
Negril presents a case of inter-ethnic dynamics in which
cultural congruity has not taken place. The existing models of
inter-ethnic dynamics have failed to consider the ironies
leading to this result. It would now seem to be the time to
expand these models and allow them to account for the causes
and effects of the mutual 'wannabe' dynamics which exist in
Negril. Such revised models would have value as generators of
resolution mechanisms for inter-ethnic tensions that develop
from the mutual frustrations inherent in these dynamics.


BANTON, Michael. Racial and Ethnic Competition. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press. 1983
BARTH, Fredrik. Ethnic Groups and Bound-aries. Boston: Little, Brown
& Co. 1969.






For people who don't know the background, let's start with
your name, Mutabaruka this was not the name you were
born with but a name that you assigned yourself.
Mutabaruka is a name from Rwanda. It mean one who is
always victorious. Mi took it from a poet from Rwanda. Yu
know, when I was going to school mi saw dis poem that look
exactly like one that I wrote. It was fascinating to really see as
a schoolyout' writing a poem and reading an anthology of
poems by other poets. Mi saw dis poet by the name Jean
Baptiste Mutabaruka so the poem have the same title and
everything and I never know about dis poet so I just say,
'Yeah, yuh know, Mutabaruka.' Years after, now, when I start
to tour, I went to France and these Rwandans they thought I
was from Rwanda you know, so they say 'Wait! Mutabaruka!'
then realize it was Jamaica. So they ask me if I know what the
name mean and I say no, I took it from... But them say Jean
Baptiste is a great Rwandan poet, it means one who is always
victorious. So that is how the name Mutabaruka come.
It seems you have been victorious in your career.
I should hope so.
You said, 'When you were at school.' Which school?
Kingston Technical. I used to go Wesley Primary and then I
passed the exam and go Kingston Technical.
And then, after that?
I go work. I work with Telephone Company for about a year
and then I just decide seh can't tek the nine to five. If it was a

free ting, you know, but is not like a ting whey gi yu space, yu
know. It don't gi you space and is not something I did enjoy
so I decide fi leave and just go pon mi own an do various little
tings all over de place.
I heard an interview you gave once where you said thatyou
went up into the hills to live ...
Well, this is a part of like the Rastafari connection now where
starting to evaluate myself and the black consciousness, you
know, and the spirituality of where we come from because it
was in the sixties when like the Black Power movement and
everyone was like 'Black Power! Black Power!' but the Black
Power movement, it never have that the spirituality, it only
had that, socio-political thing, yu know. Is like: Yeah, cul-
ture, dashiki, you wear sandals, Black Power you read these
books. But in terms of a spirituality, it never really have that.
So that is how Rastafari came to me now, to full that gap
of being a conscious social-political man and then now, being
a conscious spiritual man. Moving away from the Roman
Catholic I was brought up like a Roman Catholic, yu know.
Holy Trinity Cathedral every Sunday and ting. The Rastafari
now, in searching, trying to find self now, the environment
inna Kingston wasn't, like, conducive to my thinking, so I
move to St James up in the hills and buil' a house up there, yu
know. That is where me was for the past fifteen years .
And at this time, you were developing your poetry?
Well, I never used to read the poems. Yu see I had stopped

reading the poems, because wi started to write the poems
from the early seventies but I stopped performing them. I still
write them but I stop performing them went up in the hills,
start house, plant food, learn how fi plant, know how fi use
coal fire, wood fire, know how fi climb coconut tree. Then we
jus' build and build and the consciousness start grow, yu
know, and it grow in the consciousness now, I decide seh well
... some of mi bredren dem seh, like dat man ova deh so now
whey name Stafford, we usually quarrel over me, if I mus'
read my poem or if him mus' read my poem. We usually have
dem kin of conversation deh and I did kind of doan waan read
dem at dat time, so him used to read dem. Eventually, yu
know, I got brave enough to read dem again and in writing
them I decide seh well this is the time now, yu know. I bull' a
house because I neva waan come an' doan have no house, so I
bull' a house inna de hills an' plant food an' ting and den me
jus decide fi just come out deh.
You said Stafford Harrison was reading your poems: why
were you inhibited about performing your poems?
I doan know I doan feel I did ready enough to face...
I neva have enough inna mi brains fi connec' me wid people.
I could did read de poem dem but I neva have something fi
seh, all right, dis is dat. Yuh see, I write de poem, I jus' wri-
ting dem but fi really go out deh now an' present dem to de
people now fe seh now dis is how, dis is what is inna mi mind,
I did have to bring everything inna miself'together first fi
understand really what is the objective, what I trying to do.
In terms of the vague chronology of dub poetry, was there
anyone who influenced you?
The influence now come bout dis Black Power ting, yu
know. 'Cause when I used to go school, Marcus Garvey
Junior used to teach me in school and he had his organization
and we used to join theorganization: Everyone was interested
in Black Power; Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, the Black
Panthers, yu know. So the enthusiasm fi express mi blackness
was there from that time, so the way that I choose to express it
was through the poetry, so that is really what inspired the
poetry: the need to express mi consciousness, mi black
awareness, and to awaken then the conscience and
consciousness of other people, yu know, trying to motivate
people to do things.
To change! You once said that it was up to you to awaken
the consciousness in people, but up to the people to find a
solution. Could you define your idea of revolution, beyond
your own personal revolution through your poetry?
Mek I tell you, I don't feel dat the poems can change tings,
yuh know, because every man problem, even though it might
be the same problem, the solution because of environment,
because of time and different cultural differences, the
solutions to the same problem might be different, so I couldn't
offer you... say if I was a communist den, I couldn't say
communism can free everyone, I couldn't say Christianity is
the religion, yu know. I know that other people in their own
time: yu have Buddhists, yu have Muslims, an' dem tings deh.
These people inna dem time, inna dem environment haffi
work within their constraints, seen? So de problem of finding
food, clothes and shelter and the problem of finding God is
the same, but the solutions to those things is different. So I
say now, the poems, I would hope that the poems motivate
people to find dat solution within themselves. People say why
you always showing people the problems, why you don't
show dem a solution? But the solution is for you to find out
because some people don't even know dat dem have a

problem. My poetry is to show you, and awaken you to dis
problem an' how you now gwine motivate yourself to come
out of that problem. I think that should be the purpose of all
artistic expression then: how to motivate thought and action.
People seem very open to you abroad, you've made an
impact in Europe and America. How do you feel about that
All right, now. You see Europe? Mek I tell you about Europe:
Europe have a cross-continent thing happening. Europe is the
colonial master and it would appear that the people in the
colonial states always go towards what they call the mother
country. If you is in Senegal, you run to France, if you is in
Surinam, you run to Holland and if is in Caribbean, like
Jamaica, you run to England.
So you find that when you go to Europe, you're not only
talking to Europeans but you get a closer link with the
Africans there. In the show, even though there's more white
people there, there are a lot of Africans there. In America, you
wouldn't get the opportunity to be that close to Africans from
the land itself. Plus, because of the mingling with these
colonial states then, like people mingle in Europe, there
would appear to be more openness towards these cultures than
in America.
I find Americans to be very arrogant in terms of wanting
to accept outside influences because they feel that this is
America the great an' me know everything. If you ask an
American yout' about where's Jamaica, him doan even know,
but if you ask a Jamaican, 'Where is New York?' him can
pinpoint it on the map. While we are wider in terms of scope,
then, the Americans seem to be narrower.
But Europe now, Europe is so vast in terms of
differences in people and ting, that they don't find it strange
that a black man should come and say, 'black'; im deal wid
black. When you go to America an' say 'black', people say
you is a racist or something. When you come to Jamaica and
say 'black', people say, 'No! You cyaan talk that way.' This is
a country of majority black people but people in Jamaica have
dis ting, 'No, mek we doan talk bout dat, mek we move
beyond dat,' when we don't even deal wid it yet we can't
sweep it under the carpet and we don't deal with it.
I guess the European connection is the better connec-
tion in terms of what we trying to do. When I say European
connection, I mean just the land itself, in terms of thepeople.
It being a meeting point.
Yeah, the difference in the people.
That's interesting, because I know that the race issue in
America and here tends to get so polarized and you get so
much hostility which is very destructive for any positive
What are your thoughts on this issue?
Well, you see, is like a resurgence of the sixties. What you
see happening now is like the sixties coming forward again
and we hope that black people will now mek it stay. You
know, jus read the literature again and finding out about black
dis and black dat is important now in dis time. Considering
that Europe is like one now.
Tek de example of East and West Germany and the
crumble of Russian communism and then 1992 will see, like,
the united Europe so it is important and necessary fi black
people now' understand what effect dat gwine have.
Especially even in the Caribbean here when we talking about
small islands and ting, well is one Caribbean an we a fight

. ', -" :, -," . TI- '
:-- .' .; -, .
Sg:.'. t Cia so af&eggae. Is necessary fi understand that is
onpeoplbewid ne background, an we have to now
understand this before white people now start use dat against
we again, even po a bigger scope now. Because is not like
just England you.fighting against or Germany one or France, is
likeEurope, as one continent. So it important. Plus, we haffi
watch what we tbk from de colonial countries.
Like even America now. This influence of the drug
situation is a very serious ting in the development of-black
people. Cause we see it in the sixties. Whenever Third World
people start to rise to that consciousness you always have a
rise in cocaine and crack and drugs. I mean, you see it in the
sixties: in the sixties, the hippies, feminist movement, Black
Power movement, most of the singers and artist that died in
that time was because of drugs or who kill dem was on drugs.
I mean Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, all of these so called
great revolutionaries in that time. The drugs. And the increase
of drugs marked the increase of a consciousness.
You can see it in Jamaica. The increase of drugs see the
downfall of the music itself. Sex, drugs and guns is the thing
now and that is what they use against us now. Herbs that was
here for how much years was never really a problem but we
can see the mark of guns and drugs and what it doing now.
You hear bout murders now that you only used to say, 'Bway
it would neva happen inna Jamaica.' You readlike Enquirer
and Star, I mean the foreign Star and foreign Enquirer and
you see some little queer little things whey people do and you
say, 'Bway, dem tings couldn't happen a Jamaica,' but now
you see it a happen and you know sey is de drugs a do it.
Black people move towards cocaine different from how while
people move towards it. You can see it is a psychological
ting. A socio-psychological ring where white people react to
cocaine different from black people. The killings and the
destructiveness that black people have when dem use crack
and cocaine is no way to when white people use it. And you
can see it in the American situation ... there's more white
people using cocaine in America than black people.
This seems to have negative implications in terms of the
younger generation who are the vehicle for future change.
What do you see happening in Jamaica as far as this is
Well, you see the leaders now? The leaders don't seem to
understand this dilemma because they still perpetuate the
same system. You see, we have this system for years an no
one try to change it. Them still come: from 1938 to now,
everybody come, they use the same method, same principle to
govern and it not working and dem still using it an it mek me
wonder if they don't really understand what is happening. If
one party come an try it an it don't work, why should I come
and try it an it don't work? Now is even more than ever. You
can't tell the difference between the two political parties now.
So we have a thinking where we say no one has ever
really tried Marcus Garvey way, the principles set down by
Marcus Garvey in his Philosophy and Opinion. We don't see
no political leader come an try it yet, just like how dem try
other ways. Manley come and try socialism, why somebody
can't just come and say, 'Mek we try wha' Marcus Garvey
say'? Because Marcus Garvey did mek a headway: for a
little black man to reach that level... inna dat time ... Mi
wonda if dem don't have no sight into what dem supposed to
do. Because I don't see how dem try dese same ting. Dem try
de IMF year in, year out and it not working. Why dem don't
slop do it?

Everyone's 4aaid of not meeting the approval of the big
powers, the big countries.
That is why you have coup. That is why you have rebellion in
countries. Certain people get frustrated and them start to tek
out their frustration on the leaders and then you hear that is a
coup or dis an dat. Is simple. The leaders must turn to the

people and understand what the people dem deal wid. If
Marcus Garvey ting can be tried, and try it an den mek it
don't work but don't sit back and know it is there as a
blueprint. It is dere. Everything is there already, set. It sey
Marcus Garvey used dis method and dis method and dis
method: all dem haffi do is jus try it. Dem try everything else.
A sfar as people are concerned, especially younger people,
there seems to be very much a mindset that everything
foreign is better and the music, the fast cars, the video
games, while disregarding the local scene. They aspire to a
reality that is not their own, and can't see the effect of their
actions locally. Can we change direction?
Images. Images is very important to people. We who
understand this must start to develop images that young
people who is interested can see. You see, America use
images to manipulate countries. They use the television, they
use the music, they use just fashions, designs. Anywhere you
go, you see images.
We need to develop this African imagery in Jamaica,
where a youth' can buy a pendant that is of African imagery.
You go into somebody house, you must be able to see an
African image on the wall instead of a girl from out of the
Cosmopolitan magazine or Esquire, a man from out of
Esquire. We need to have African images. If you look around
now and you have pictures, just simple httle tings and people
look on these pictures and say 'Wait! African imagery!' or
you wear a T-shirt. Is necessary, these subtle little things. That
is what colonialism is: the new slavery, the psychological
slavery that is being played on black people right now is one
of imagery. You buy a ting in the supermarket not because
you like it but because it is subliminally inside of you, by way
the advertisement, see?
So we need that imagery on the television: people must
see themself on TV. People must go to movies and see
themself. People must be walking on the street and see
billboards with themself, people must go into bookstores and
can buy books about themself. People must listen to music
that is about themself and by themself. We can no longer sit
down now and say Michael Bolton is one ol the greatest
singers. Because, I mean, Michael Bolton is Michael Bolton.
There is so much black music around that we don't need to
listen to ... I mean, people might say it's narrow. But we
need to be narrow to bring back wiself to wiself. We cannot
be open-minded in this time because our open-mindedness
has not allowed us to bring our culture into perspective. It is
because of our open mindedness why we seep in all these
things and the things that we seep in is psychologically placed
to us like this is right and this is wrong and what is wrong is
always we and what is right is always dem, so we need these
And I firmly believe, I guess that is one of my aims
really, to project these images, not only in mi music but in
whatever wi do: how we talk, walk, eat and what we wear. All
these things must project these images. An that is what I feel
is happening to black people right now. We don't have enough
African images to sustain us as a cultural ting. Everything that
we know about Africa is dark continent or white people come

so50 iAJCA JouAc2A


j:wlmuo neapori

S*you t awtfeoyoupnht t6o know where
S aon cons from. People iimt m'roi Paris an dis
:, o ; M ratowigsand dis. lPe les.y-'Oh. it comefrom-
Jie 0%hyeya'So fyoi=iweavipanisa pecifIAfrica

S yes ant kw iIiac. Because 6 t isgone
mtnusio de th&Mt fe tw4 to conin
"M f tabs[arbech e rgidpcoveortid Jl aica: Msrttf
. I&pb~ eI outside ofJamaicaiiati-i-ow ahouLtJaiaica is
-.:becag-e of reggaenusic. As Iknow about Africa because of
. th-music. When you listen to Brazilian music, you have this
fee for Brail. You listen to classic music, you tilnk bout .
- Belgium, Germany and these places, you know. So I think the
*.imagery is very important.

.- .. _- -.


Tlus interview introduces
feature in JAMAICA
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- Xec.MWjm


coloniaium thi i.g-*a ii patce-a
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Car= Otnlq&esteaWii-gurfSit M'.i
. eye tI wrea tie dof is bdeai..t"uS_
S.muc ;We fi. it.. r &
reality: -wecan 11rife ot 11b lit e

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dis poem
shall speak of the wretched sea
that washed ships to these shores
of mothers cryin for their
young swallowed up by the sea
dis poem shall say nothing new
dis poem shall speak of time
time unlimited time undefined
dis poem shall call names names
like lumumba kenyatta nkrumah
hannibal akenaton malcolm garvey
haile selassie
dis poem is vex about apartheid racism fascism
the ku klux klan riots in brixton atlanta
jim jones
dis poem is revoltin against 1st world 2nd world
3rd world division man made decision
dis poem is like all the rest
dis poem will not be amongst great literary works
will not be recited by poetry enthusiasts
will not be quoted by politicians nor men of religion
dis poem is knives bombs guns blood fire
blazin for freedom
yes dis poem is a drum
ashanti mau mau ibo yoruba nyahbingi warriors
uhuru uhuru
uhuru namibia
uhuru soweto
uhuru afrika
dis poem will not change things
dis poem need to be changed
dis poem is a rebirth of a people
arizin awakin understanding
dis poem speak is speaking have spoken
dis poem shall continue even when poets have
stopped writing
dis poem shall survive u me it shall linger in history
in your mind
in time forever
dis poem Is time only time will tell
dis poem is still not written
dis poem has no poet
dis poem is just a part of the story his-story her-story our-
story the story still untold
is now ringin talking irritatin
making u want to stop it
but dis poem will not stop
dis poem is long cannot be short
dis poem cannot be tamed cannot be blamed
the story is still not told about dis poem
dis poem is old new
dis poem was copied from the bible your prayer book
playboy magazine the n.y. times readers digest
the c.i.a. files the k.g.b. files
dis poem is no secret
dis poem shall be called born stupid senseless
dip poem is watching u trying to make sense from dis poem
dis poem is messin up your brains
making u want to stop listening to dis poem
but u shall'not stop listening to dis poem
u need to know what will be said next in dis poem
dis poem shall disappoint u
dlspoem is to be continued in your mind
in your .mind in your mind your mind


from Jamaica
by Lorna Goodison

Winner oflhe 1 986 Britush ,-Airu.'ay Commonwealth
Poetry Prze for the mr enrcas, Lorna reais a
seiclti u representing the u.wde range of her poetic
Inter.ils aIgainst a backdrop of colou(rfdu scenes
irom lanmaica

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SCOTT A Remembranc

w U-

by Mervyn Morris

Delivered at the Little Theatre
Sunday, 10 March 1991

You measure a man by
the space that his going makes;
the air, now, is full of his absence...
The Tightrope Walker

Dennis Scott (16 December 1939 to 21
February 1991) was a Caribbean man of
considerable achievement, one of the
great contributors. Poet, playwright,
director, actor, dancer, critic, teacher,
Dennis did many things and did them
well. He was one of the very finest of
our poets, and he wrote many more
poems than are available in his three
collections, Uncle Time, Dreadwalk and
Strategies. Uncle Time earned for him
the International Poetry Forum Award
and the 1974 Commonwealth Poetry
Prize. He wrote many plays, but took to
listing on his resume only five of them:
The Crime of Annabel Campbell (an
adaptation of Agamemnon), An Echo
in the Bone, Gawain and the Green
Knight (written for the National Theatre
of the Deaf), Dog and Live and Direct
from Babylon. He was an outstanding

director, and a busy one, a decisive man
who believed in power-sharing, a
highly creative person who was also an
efficient manager, the leader of a
marvellous team of talents at the
Jamaica School of Drama, and, ulti-
mately, Chairman of the Directing
Department at the Yale School of
Drama. From 1983 until his death last
month he was also a consultant to the
Playwrights-in-Residence Program at
the Julliard Theatre Centre.
He was an actor from time to time,
and recently achieved a certain fame as
the father-in law, Lester, on the Cosby
Show. He was a dancer, a former
member of the National Dance Theatre
Company, praised for the strength and
intelligence of his work with them.
Intellectually brilliant, with a First
Class degree in English, he was a lucid
communicator, an illuminating critic of
literature, dance and the visual arts.
Above all, perhaps, he was an extra-
ordinary teacher, remembered grate-
fully by many people whose lives he
touched profoundly. Dennis took
teaching seriously. He was always
challenging people to explore and to
develop. Innumerable persons testify
that Dennis helped them grow.
A man of carefully cultivated sur-
faces, he was always trying to see
behind the mask. Even as a child. His
brother John has told me that once,
when they were young, Dennis -
having cautioned little John to behave
as though all was well served, to them
and their parents, ice-cream decorated
with pickles instead of cherries. Some
of his adult strategies could be equally
disconcerting. One, for example, was
the surprising personal question put to a
virtual stranger in the politest of tones. I
remember overhearing him, at a dinner
party, say to a lady he had only just
met: 'And what have you learnt from
your husband?' That was one way to
break the ice. Risky, perhaps, but


Dennis was a game-player, and a
risk-taker. He didn't believe in playing
safe. When for example he resigned
from the Jamaica School of Drama, he
didn't have a job lined up. He knew it
was time to go, and he went. As it hap-
pened, he soon was invited to teach at
Yale initially for a semester, I believe.
Yale, having seen him at work, held on
to him; and he was still there, more than
seven years later, when he died.
His was an astonishing personality.
He didn't look or move or sound like
anybody else. The large head, some-
times shaven clean; the big and watch-
ful eyes; the silken voice; the ironic
smile; his gurgle of a laugh; the
imposing barrel of his torso; the
gliding, unemphatic walk, the dancer's
well-kept feet turned out at forty-five
degrees. His wit was swift and certain;
amusing, yes, but also often serious in
its point. He read more quickly than
anyone else I have known. A respon-
sible manager of time, he often carried
a clipboard as a prop, on which he
doodled constantly. His vivid personal
style projected playful courtesy, even
courtliness, and a sense of inner
strength. He seemed a combination of
power and grace. To a psychic friend of
ours, he seemed to have an extraordi-
nary aura, an unusually powerful field
of energy. What struck so many of us
was not just the speed and force of his
intelligence, it was a focused power of
He had been an unusual child: a boy
who read in the swing; a youngster said
to have devoured all the books in the
Junior Centre library, before he was old
enough for admission to the senior
branch. Even as a child he was capable
of exemplary concentration: there are
stories of him so deeply caught up in a
book that he failed to hear the telephone
ringing beside him. His parents, Daisy
and John, who were proud of him,
encouraged his intellectual and creative

interests. His mother, Daisy, a lover of
music, sang in the Diocesan choir. His
father, John, was an avid reader who
loved the Shakespeare he had acted in,
and sometimes recited speeches from the
plays. Young Dennis Scott came first in
the island in the pre-High School
examinations, and was awarded a
scholarship to Jamaica College. There he
didn't bother with sport, he was prone to
asthmatic attacks, yet he rose to be Head
Boy. At the University College of the
West Indies, he was one of the campus
personalities, a thespian handicapped by
asthma, spectacularly cured by a course
of hypnotherapy: a self-conscious artist:
the dancer, the poet, the playwright.
Studying English Literature he found
congenial, but he had a problem with
Spanish which he had chosen as the
subsidiary subject Honours English then
required. Abandoning the Spanish, he
left to teach in Trinidad.
In 1968, encouraged by Joy (who
was to become his wife), he re-
registered at the University, where he
could now take Literatures in English
without a subsidiary subject. He got a
job on campus (doing editorial work on

Caribbean Quarterly), and he was a
mature student who did brilliantly. He
and Joy got married in October 1969.
They spent 1970-71 at the University of
Georgia where Dennis held a Shubert
Playwriting fellowship. After a year in
Jamaica, teaching at Jamaica College,
Dennis and Joy went off to Newcastle,
England, where Dennis studied Drama
in Education and where their son, John-
David, was born. Dennis returned to
teach at JC until 1976. He was Director
of the Jamaica School of Drama from
1977 until 1983. And then he went to
Yale, and died.
Once reputedly a very moody
person, a man who might maintain a
brooding silence for days at a time,
Dennis seemed to me sociable. His
poetry, however, often as poetry often
does -seems to let us into darkness,
turmoil, pain. Now, after his death,
some of the poems in Strategies seem a
great deal darker than. they did.
'Departures', for example, which
begins: 'When once the fact of Death
was/ perfect in his head/ lesser
betrayals brought a wry despair. But
some are gloriously or desperately

- affirmative: like the title poem,'

till the war is over
let us celebrate
ourselves, all that is kind
and carnival, living
without goodbyes
without the acquiescences of grief
of ending

To Dennis's immediate family we
offer love and thanks. We thank them for
sharing Dennis with us. We know how
much he meant to them and they to him.
His life and work are eloquent in praise
of family. He also cared, of course,
about the wider circle, many individuals,
several communities.
And in the end, what is most
remarkable about Dennis and his life is
not the public catalogue of his achieve-
ment, but the incredible number of
people to whom he was personally, often
privately, important. He cared about so
many of us. He gave us quality time. He
offered us the loving gift of his atten-
tion. To many of us he was unforgettably
helpful, by challenge or by kindness, or
by both.


Oh I could tell you:
streets that ran forever
through the sun there
was sea too
nightwine sometimes
a woman in my sleep
(was it you?)
and dances
sudden as your laughter
here's a map I named
each village you;
some days the rain walked by
my window differently
and once a strange beast sang
lifting its throat to the yellow sickle moon -
I turned to tell
and wanted

here. Home. See
how I've changed.
Soft. I have brought you
all the poems
in my face.


for the blessed
it comes
in the act of loving -
a cry of birds hoping South
a perfect sentence
sudden as candlelight's leap
at my wife's mouth -
comes at any moment
that will reassert the permanence of dreams
the possibility of dancing

since there is no armour
but the festivals we make
hand over hand
(the heart's drum louder
than any sound of soldier's falling)

When once the fact of Death was
perfect in his head
lesser betrayals brought a wry despair:
knowing that people break away,
that contracts lie, seeing
all friendships capable of night, he understood
the empty house, the shadow in the eye.

Although some faces stayed,
assuming constancy. Those he would touch
with care. And in the quiet evenings
he heard the wind melt in the mouth of
watching the simple moon
affirm mortality, the crescent nail
scabbing away old loves.

till the war is over
let us celebrate
ourselves, all that is kind
and carnival, living
without goodbyes
without the acquiescences of grief
of ending

The small victory, only.

From Strategies, published by Sandberry Press, Kingston.
By kind permission of Mrs Joy Scott.


Book Reviews


by Neville McMorris
Fairclough Dickinson University Press, Rutherford NJ.1989
REVIEWED by Walter Glickman

Earlier this century, many thinkers suspected that fuzzy philosophy had been bypassed by hard
science, that speculative philosophy had become unemployed. Einstein's opinion was sought
on this matter, and in 1932 he replied as follows:

Philosophy is like a mother who gave
birth to and endowed all the other
sciences. Therefore one should not scorn
her in her nakedness and poverty, but
should hope, rather, that part of her Don
Quixote ideal will live on in her children
so that they do not sink into philistinism.

Neville McMorris has written a book
that fleshes out the spirit of Einstein's
remark. Science, he tells us, is not
merely attached to philosophy because
of its scientific implications as if
implications were cheap little plastic
hooks, easily removeable. Science is
inseparable from philosophy; '. . no
permanent or total disengagement is at
all possible . there is more to science
than its being scientific.'
In The Nature of Science, McMorris
attempts to show the relatedness and
relevance of not just the philosophical,
but the aesthetic, cultural and methodo-
logical underpinnings of science. His
purpose is to inform humanists and
scientists, as well as students of the
liberal arts, of the inseparability of
science from its variety of natures. He
wants his readers to see, in considerable
detail, that all disciplines form an in-
tegrated body of knowledge. This is
certainly a worthwhile purpose. Not only
does it relieve some cultural friction but
the book contains first rate intellectual
stimulation to stretch the minds and
imaginations of scientists and humanists
alike even if they choose to live apart.
Problems of course arise in writing
for such a wide range of readers -
students of history, philosophy of
science, literature, culture, education, as
well as scientists but first let's look at
how McMorris structures his ideas. He
devotes a section of the book to each of
his chosen natures. Each section
consists of two chapters: the first
considers the topic in general, the second
illustrates the validity of his premise
through a particular example.
He begins with the philosophical
nature of science, tracing its roots from

scientia or episteme to its modern
connotation. Digging for clues in the
language is appropriate. It was, after all,
a physicist David Bohm who defined
etymology as the archaeology of
meaning. To illustrate by a particular
example, McMorris chooses the wave-
particle duality of light, and he shows
how the concept emerges from its
Aristotlian roots of substantial and
accident. But is not Aristotle's influence
cultural, methodological, and aesthetic
as well as philosophical? It is obvious to
the author and soon to the reader -
that all these 'natures' are inseparable.
Categorizing is for convenience only.
That, of course, is the subtext.
The section on the aesthetic nature of
science was the one I enjoyed the most.
Here, to aid our digestion, McMorris
breaks beauty down into bite size
chunks. He discusses, in some detail,
concision, simplicity, elegance, wonder
and grandeur. Simplicity, wouldn't you
know, turns out to be quite complex. It is
further broken down into: syntactical,
semantical, epistomological and prag-
matic. This analysis could be quite
helpful for those who are impatient with
the recent emphasis on scientific beauty
- A. Zee's Fearful Symmetry comes to
mind and are uncomfortable with
Dirac's oft quoted line 'I would rather
have beauty in my equations than have
them fit facts.' The aesthetic elements of
science are revealed through its histori-
cal development, and illustrated by
Maxwell's electromagnetic theory and
Einstein's General Theory of Relativity -
good choices. McMorris builds an
excellent case for his analysis of
scientific beauty.
The realization that science cannot be
regarded as an individual, identifiable
entity eases the two culture crises which
McMorris traces back to Fontenelle -
further than most accounts. As an
example of the relationship between
science and culture, the author explores
Einstein's influence on T.S. Eliot's
concept of time. It is soothing to have a

book containing lines from The Four
Quartets along with equations from the
theory of relativity. Einstein and
Aristotle are running themes throughout
the book. The methodology of science is
approached in terms of Galileo's 'how'
emerging from Aristotle's 'why', with
considerable documentation to show that
Einstein returned us to questioning 'why
Nature is thus and not otherwise' he
kept 'asking questions only children
wonder about' obviously 'why'
questions. How has this permeated
modern scientific research? McMorris
discusses pulsar research using Kuhn's
theory as a framework.
In the last chapter we are given a taste
of the emergence of scientia into
science. The wave-particle duality is the
subject of a physics lesson which weaves
together all the natures previously
discussed. And here's the rub or at least
a rub. After almost an entire book of
prose enhanced by lines of poetry,
aphorisms by brilliant thinkers ('Every
science begins as philosophy and ends as
art' Will Durant), and an occasional
diagram, the reader is hit with a barrage
of equations, most of which will not ring
a bell from high school. This last chapter
happens to be an excellent introduction
to a course on wave mechanics, and
since it incorporates all the aspects dis-
cussed in earlier chapters, it ties together
the author's theory beautifully; but only
for those with sufficient background.
McMorris, in trying to appeal to a
wide range of readers, has had to make
choices. It seems to me he has gone for
the professional scientists. The larger
pool of general lay readers with intel-
lectual interests will have to fend as best
they can. The tone of the book is dis-
tinctly academic. It won't make an easy
summer read. For that matter, not many
scientists are familiar with Adelard of
Bath, William of Conches and Thierry of
Chartres. And if a quote from Bernard de
Fontenelle appears at the head of a
chapter in which his thoughts are crucial,


are we not entitled to an English
But these are really quibbles. Neville
McMorris has written an important book,
and I believe he has made the right
choices. It is more important that
scientists read what he writes and writes
well. His scholarship is excellent, exten-
sive and up to date. There have been
many pop books on the holism of science
which sell well, but are dismissed by
most working scientists. This is one they
will not be able to dismiss so easily. And
if we are not to 'sink into philistinism',
more scientists should be aware of
science's 'profound and perennial
virtues'. The Natures of Science can help
stimulate that awareness.

Neville McMorris is a senior lecturer in physics at the
University of the West Indies. Mona.
Walter Glickman teaches in the Physics Dpeartment of
Long Island University.


Edited by Pam Mordecai and Betty Wilson
London: Heinemann Caribbean Writers
Series, 1989 202 pages
by Sheila Coulson

In 'Writing Home', Carole Boyce Davis
makes the point that:
Students of Caribbean literature have been
oriented to think of Caribbean literature
only as male, to experience literature from
the point of view of the male writers
whose works are the majority and
dominate the literary landscape.
(Out of the Kumbla, 1990)
This is largely true, notwithstanding
the presence of women writers like Rhys
who have been given serious critical
attention in the Caribbean. Happily, the
situation described by Davis is changing;
and the appearance of Her True-True
Name, the first anthology of women
writers from the Caribbean in which
thirty-one writers from thirteen Carib-
bean countries are represented is both an
indication and a result of this change.
But what is the significance of this new
strong presence of women writing litera-
ture? One obvious answer is that it pro-
vides a woman's perspective on many of
the issues which have preoccupied our
male writers over the years issues like
identity, race/colour, class, migration,
education, personal and regional frag-
mentation/integration. One significant
effect is the 'domestication' of these
issues as in the succinct but powerful
dramatization of the class/ colour issue
in 'We Blacks All Drink Coffee', or in


the haunting tragedy of Toycie n 'Beka
Lamb', and probably most explicitly in
the integration of the personal/domestic
and the political in Conde's 'Elika'.
But this anthology is also 'woman's
writing' in the sense that it highlights
issues that are of particular interest to
women the problematic area of female
sexuality, the often ambivalent mother/
daughter relation, and the turbulent
male/female relationships. There is too
the concern with madness from the
women's point of view, although it is
not always the woman who is mad. The
mad protagonist in Pollard's 'Mon-
ologue' is male.
In 'Cloud Cover Caribbean', the
narrator tells us that the characters one
Haitian, one Dominican, and one Cuban
talked of '... the endless pain of being
black, Caribbean and poor'; and to a
large extent this is the story that Her
True-True Name tells, with the im-
portant recognition that the voice of the
white creole is also there. But more
importantly, it chronicles the 'endless
pain' of being woman as well as being
black/white creole, Caribbean and poor.
But the anthology also celebrates the
ability to survive and even to triumph.
Some of the women die, some descend
into madness, and some like Adella in
'Closing the Case' are left without hope;
but others, like the protagonist in 'A
Man, A Woman', survive in spite of the
pain. She moves in the final paragraph,
from a contemplation of suicide to a
recognition of possibilities for her un-
born child, and concludes with the
suggestion of a promise:
. .if I were capable of digging in the
earth with my bare hands to find him food.
.. I'd take him through parks and streets to
show him all the beauty that exists in
things and people. All that I've never
found for myself, but would be capable of
finding through him and for him.
A strong supportive female com-
monity is a crucial factor in the survival
of many of these women. In Shine-
bourne's 'Timepiece' the bond of sister-
hood transcends race and class differ-
ences. The survivors also gain strength
from their ability to transform the
negative of their lives into assets. The
kitchen, a traditional symbol of domes-
tic imprisonment, is transformed into a
sphere of freedom and power:
These women formed a maternal council.
They met in Helen's kitchen to solve not
only each others problems, but also the
problems of the women who sought their
They talked to clear a larger place where

they could bask in their individuality,
briefly, before the demands of family
claimed them again.
Work becomes a creative act, and for
someone like Mamma King in 'Frangi-
pani House' the denial of work is
equated with a denial of personhood. A
story like 'The Youngest Doll' holds out
the possibility of women not only
transforming traditional domestic
activity into creative acts, but also the
possibility of using these acts as means
of fighting back, of exacting revenge.
If there is room for disappointment
with Her True-True Name it is in the
overall absence of innovative forms and
techniques. There are exceptions.
Brodber and Kincaid stand out among
the Anglophone writers. The non-
English speaking writers seem a little
more innovative, but this could be the
response of an Anglophone reader who
has had limited exposure to the surreal-
ism and magical realism which is so
much a part of Latin American writing.
In any event I find the 'fiction within
fiction' technique in 'Juletane' interest-
ing especially in the way it enhances the
theme of madness. The surrealist tech-
niques in 'The Youngest Doll' and 'The
Window' as well as the shifting pro-
nouns for the narrative voice in 'Recipes
for the Gullible' are also very effective.
One of the concerns of Feminist cri-
tics and writers is the subversion of the
patriarchal hegemony in the language of
literature. Caribbean writers and critics
have long been concerned with subvert-
ing the hegemonic devices of Prospero's
language; and a piece like Rhys's 'Let
Them Call It Jazz' does this effectively,
and incidentally highlights the uneasi-
ness of someone like Cliff with the creole.
The editors must be commended for
the care with which selections were
made especially in the extracts from
novels. They have managed to capture
the essence of both the style and
concerns of the longer works in the
extracts chosen. The introduction also
makes some useful points.
Her True-True Name is a welcome
and long overdue addition to the canon
of Caribbean literature; not only because
it is women's writing, but also because
its claim of being Caribbean is validated
by its transcendence of the colonial leg-
acy of language barrier and more so by
the fact that, although the writers repre-
sented are participating in a growing
tradition, they remain firmly rooted in
the Caribbean experience.
Sheila Coulson is doing postgraduate research on
West Indian literary criticism for the department of
English, UWI, Mona

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Glimpses of Jamaica's Natural History

Dr Elaine Fisher

The Flower Eaters
(Macraspis tetradactyla)

These beetles are about 25 mm (1 inch) in length, almost totally black and with the
wing covers elytraa) so highly polished that they glisten in bright sunlight. They are
very noisy in flight and sometimes occur in such numbers at tree blossoms that the
sound might be mistaken for that of a swarm of bees. Macraspis tetradactyla is
known only from Jamaica (i.e. endemic) which means that it was probably here
thousands of years before humans arrived.
The species usually feeds on tree blossoms and often damages or destroys so
many that there is a loss in fruit or seed production. During the past two years it has
found gungo pea blossoms particularly delectable and is now considered a pest of
that crop.
Labels associated with over fifty specimens of the species in the Natural History
Division collections indicate that this Flower Eater occurs in ten parishes from
Westmoreland to St Thomas but it probably occurs in all of them except Kingston. It
is known from sea level to about 4,000 feet in the Blue Mountains and specimens
have been collected during all seasons of the year. Little is known of its life history
but its grubs have been found in rotting logs.
Natural History Division
Institute of Jamaica

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