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Volume 23 No 4
VOL. 23 No. 4 DECEMBER, 1977
Copyright reserved and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.
1. Multinationals in Third World Development: the Case of Jamaica's Bauxite
Madeleine Lorch Tramm
17. Administration and Culture: Subsistence and Modernization in Crique Sarco,
47. Military Technology Transfers and Third World Development Strategies
Miles D. Wolpin
71. Development Administration and Development Project: A Study of the Inter-
national Sea Foods Limited
90. Mass Media in National Development: Governmental Perspectives in Jamaica
106. Science for Development Agriculture and Food Sufficiency in the Caribbean
K. L. Stuart
116. Education as Transformational Praxis: A conceptualization
122. Building Jamaica by Educating Adults
134. Chapel Gardens UWI
135. Econocide: British Slavery in the Era of Abolition by Seymour Drescher
B. W. Higman
136. Recent Archaeology in Belize, ed. Richard Buhler, SJ
138. Notes On Contributors
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES
Hon. R.M. Nettleford, O.M., Professor of Extra-Mural Studies (Editor).
Uoyd Braithwaite, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I., St. Augustine, Trinidad.
Sidney Martin, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I., Cave Hill, Barbados.
Roy Augier, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I., Mona, Jamaica.
J.J. Figueroa, Professor Caribbean Center of Advanced Studies, Puerto Rico.
G. A. O. Alleyne, Professor, Department of Medicine.
Uoyd Coke, Department of Botany, U.W.I., Mona.
Neville McMorris, Department of Physics, U.W.I., Mona.
Janet Liu Terry, Associate Editor.
All correspondence should be addressed to:
Department of Extra-Mural Studies,
University of the West Indies,
Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica.
We invite readers to submit manuscripts or recommend subjects which they
would like to see discussed in CARIBBEAN QUARTERLY. Articles of Caribbean
relevancy will be gratefully received.
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Subscription orders may be forwarded to the Editor or to the Resident Tutor at
University Centre in any West Indian Territory served by this University.
This issue of Caribbean Quarterly seeks to introduce to its pages yet further dialogue
on the inescapable developmental imperatives of contemporary Caribbean life and
existence. To say that what have been traditionally regarded as an exclusive concern of
economics are as much a matter of cultural change, is merely to confirm what is now
general knowledge among 'developmentalists' namely that no serious approach to social
and economic development can be taken without due regard for the historical realities
and cultural sensibilities of this or that developing country. The 'developing region' of the
Caribbean is no exception in the matter and Caribbean Quarterly finds much in the
present dialogue about economic growth and societal transformation, science and
technology transfer, the management of change, and the mobilisation of indigenous
resources to challenge further examination of Caribbean cultural dynamics which is
traditionally the primary area of this journal's concern.
For, besides being the selected products of the human mind and of the creative
imagination be it in the fields of history, science, philosophy or the arts, culture covers
everything produced by man in a living complex of meanings, norms, habits and social
artifacts which give the individual citizen identity as a member of some visible com-
munity with its own way of relating to the environment, of associating with friends,
enemies or strangers and of deciding what is important and what is not important to it.
The essays, which follow, attempt to discuss some of the issues which are important to
the region at this time and which grip the attention specifically of Caribbean communities
from Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and Santo Domingo in the north to Barbados and Guyana in
the south as well as Belize on the Central American mainland to the west and even much
of what has come to be described as the circum-Caribbean (e.g. Brazil, Guatemala).
Significantly, many of the classic areas of "development" fall within the purview of
the issue food and agriculture (Ken Stuart's Science for Development Agriculture and
Food Sufficiency in the Caribbean), science and technology transfer (Madeleine Tramm's
Multi-nationals in Third World Development: The Case of Jamaica's Bauxite Industry and
Miles Wolpin's Military Technology Transfers and Third World Development Strategies),
information sciences and communication (Marlene Cuthbert's Mass Media in National
Development: Governmental Perspectives in Jamaica and Guyana) management of the
change (Frederick Nunes' case study of the Kekchi Indians in his Administration and
Culture: Subsistence and Modernisation in Crique Sarco, Belize as well as Jamal Khan's
Development Administration and Development Project: A Study of the International Sea
Foods Limited) and human resource development; introduced by Hopeton Gordon in his
Building Jamaica by Educating Adults which argues for a "continuing education" policy
that will see to the re-education of adults to meet the imperatives of rapid technological
and psychological change. Aggrey Brown in his Education as Transformational Praxis: A
Conceptualization emphasizes the pivotal role of education as a tool for national
It is precisely this need to socialise large numbers of people into new values to meet
new aspirations which makes the post-colonial Caribbean such a vital target for "develop-
ment" today. The building of factories, the search for appropriate technology, the
utilization of fertilisers for greater agricultural yields, the regulation of population
growth, the development of communication technology, and the re-statement of values
and principle-guidelines for action are all aspects of that challenging process which seeks
to ensure to the region ultimate release from a traditional socio-economic, political and
cultural dependency. If the old political self-government movement of the late thirties
sought to make Caribbean men and women into effective creators of their own destinies,
the new concerns about "development" are nothing but latter-day expressions of that
same fundamental urge to free man and society from "every servitude imposed by nature
or oppressive systems. ." Caribbean Quarterly naturally wishes to participate in this
continuing dialogue, which is universal in scope as well as 'Caribbean' in focus.
MULTINATIONALS IN THIRD WORLD DEVELOPMENT:
THE CASE OF JAMAICA'S BAUXITE INDUSTRY
The benefits of multinationals' development in the Third World are a source of lively
controversy. Critics condemn their monopolistic wealth and power, or raise the warning
cry of imperialism. Yet Third World governments often eagerly seek to attract large-scale
foreign investment, and around the world the presence of multinational companies1 has
contributed to the economic growth of countries heretofore poor, isolated, and rural, and
to a growing social sophistication among their people.
This paper weighs the effects of multinationals, the bauxite-alumina industry, on
economic growth and social mobility in one Caribbean Third World country, Jamaica,
and concludes that their influence is more negative than positive. Conclusions are based
on extensive research within the island during 1972 and 1973. The paper is theoretically
based on three concepts, those of mobility, class and status. Mobility, increases in power
or the ability to influence events and persons to advantage, accrues to Jamaica and
Jamaicans insignificantly compared to the rate at which multinationals' operations bene-
fit the corporations themselves. Their power position as they enter, and subsequent gain
mean that Jamaica, as almost all Third World countries industrialized by large-scale
foreign investors, has been unable to optimize the development of her resources, and
continues at a disadvantage. Moreover, Jamaica's traditionally closed class situation has
not been significantly improved as a result of multinationals' development, for employ-
ment patterns within the industry mirror the class situation rather than generate occupa-
tional mobility, a means for social improvement, and the new aspirations for a better life
style, caused by conspicuous consumption among industry employees, cannot be realized
by most Jamaicans.
Based on primary source material, this paper hypothesizes the general effects of
bauxite industry development based partly on the experience of Jamaica's third largest
town, Mandeville. In all of Jamaica this town probably has been affected more, and more
positively, than any other. Moreover, its class situation, unique for the island in the pre-
valence of all classes locally represented, highlights the influence on social mobility of
Even before bauxite companies entered to mine local deposits of concentrated bauxitic
ore, Mandeville was atypical of Jamaican settlements. Its moderate climate and panoramic
setting marked it during slavery as a desirable settlement and retirement spot for British
plantocrats. Their presence caused a social structure to develop representing an unusually
high percentage of upper-class whites a group that nationwide constitutes only 2% of
the population and manifesting a pervasive class consciousness. Jamaicans tend to
characterize as upper-class those with a fine education in the British tradition, white or
fair skin, kin ties to Jamaica's renowned families often large landowners and the
mores often associated with Christian Westerners.
The once European families maintained their status and power after the disappearance
of slavery. Land ownership was perhaps the single most important basis for power, since
Jamaica's primary economic sector has been and continues to be agriculture and since
the numerically dominant lower class are farmers who own little land, most often less than
5 acres. The long period of dominance it had enjoyed put the upper class in a position to
expand its strength in business ventures, especially those involving real estate, and to
exercise power in local political affairs. Bauxite companies' entrance into the area, even
though they represented an international and economic force of considerable magnitude,
did not prevent the local elite from exploiting opportunities thus created, and to an
extent beyond the power of other groups.
Mandeville's growth since the 1940's, when one company began operations at a nearby
port, exemplifies multinationals' contribution to economic growth. In 1972 its popula-
tion was approaching 15,000, almost three times what it had been in 1955. Commercial
enterprises had multiplied quickly. Whereas Mandeville had two banks in 1951, it now
has six. The town built a supermarket, reputedly the first in the entire island. From
having one bakery, at least two large ones now serve the town. One bakery expanded to
four times its original capacity, and has a commercial value of about $400,000.2
Because of a burgeoning population which could now afford the cost of public enter-
tainment, two movie theaters sprang up in the town's centre in the 1950's Once Mande-
ville's ring-shaped road had been sufficient to circumscribe the town and accommodate its
transportation needs. With the influx of people and their requirements for transportation
and housing, roads leading into and from the town centre had to be extended and paved for
longer distances. New roads mushroomed to accommodate traffic from 7 districts which
formed the town boundaries and housed its growing population. The town's central
plaza roadway, once sufficient to accommodate the movement to and from the town's
large market place, is now so congested at peak hours that the Town Planning Commission
has received government funds to formulate major architectural changes in the town's
From the perspective just described, there can be little doubt that Mandeville
experienced economic growth as a result of bauxite companies' activities. But the results
have been negative as well, and might be increasingly so.
To begin with, the industry's presence has not generated industrial growth in other
sectors in the Mandeville area. Companies making chemicals or agricultural products used
for alumina production have not moved in the area, and the reasons are directly attribut-
able to the multinationals. Their monopolization of land, their tendency to rely on
foreign rather than local goods and services, and the high cost of living they have
generated, all preclude Jamaican industry from expanding into the area.
Secondly, the pattern of land ownership by the industry has precluded demographic
growth, of possible benefit to Jamaicans. Eager to acquire .high quality bauxitic soil, the
companies bought land beyond their capacity to mine it immediately, and much abutting
the town's boundaries. In fact, in 1972 land ownership by the companies extended at least
7 miles in all directions from the town except due west, an area of high concentration of
non-arable land3, thus of little use to local residents.
Moreover, a rush of land sales at the beginning of the companies' appearance on the
scene gave rise to pockets of land-poor settlements in Mandeville's immediate vicinity.
When companies first approached local farmers to buy land, these, suffering from the
poor productivity of their bauxite-and iron-laden soils, saw company offers of sale as
their opportunity of a lifetime. They sold much of their land and later, after a short
period of economic comfort, found themselves almost or in fact landless and more
economically depressed than before. Consequently, Mandeville could be characterized as
a prospering town growing in population density, largely precluded from lateral expansion
by company ownership of lands at its boundaries, and surrounded by small agricultural
communities which, in comparison to others further away, are economically depressed.
Land costs in Mandeville are so high as to be prohibitive for most attempting to buy,
thus curbing possibilities for economic mobility. Houses on town lots cost well over
$30,000, more than the cost for comparable lots in the United States where the standard
of living is far higher. According to a local builder, an undeveloped lot in the centre of
town easily could have cost $6,000 in 1972. Bauxitic land as little as 6 miles outside of
Mandeville cost more than one hundred times what was paid for it. High prices mean that
only the wealthy can own, whereas others such as industry workers, lose their money in
rent, and in addition find it difficult to save because of exhorbitant prices. Most land
sales to the bauxite companies were not made by the poor turned wealthy overnight.
Mandeville's upper class, more advantaged than others by virtue of wealth, control of
land, and acquaintance with political officials at all levels, maintained its control over key
economic sectors of town life, despite the impact of the entering multinationals, and
often at the expense of poorer Jamaicans.
The continuation and propagation of such patterns as the development of expensive
homes usually by the landed may be deliberately encouraged by local political officials, a
pattern which further jeopardizes the town's majority residents. In 1972 local, wealthy
entrepreneurs turned developers were at times granted favours by local political officials
such as the mayor and parish councillors. For instance in 1972 the exodus of bauxite
company employees affiliated with plant construction meant that of 3,500 lots sub-
divided by builders and intended for bauxite industry employees, only 600 were actually
occupied. All lots are accessible by roads, even if unused. Mandeville had a total of 40
miles of feeder roads, where it only required 10.4 The economic brunt of maintaining
these roads in passable condition falls on the taxpayer. It is initially borne by the builder
but he, after realizing that his development is not paying for itself or profiting, begins to
neglect its maintenance. This pattern occurs presumably along with the tacit recognition
and approval of local town officers whose attention has been brought to the area by com-
plaints of local residents. Gradually, the economic responsibility of maintaining the roads
in reasonable condition is shifted from the shoulders of the builder to those of the
Mandeville taxpayer. This pattern of shift in economic burdens, which allegedly occurs
also with respect to local water supply pipes and their upkeep, is propagated through the
existence locally of the industry, and through a conscious policy by local personnel,
men such as parish councillors, who with other members of the privileged classes are
taking advantage of the companies' presence, and to the disadvantage of the majority.
The negative effects of multinationals' activities extend far beyond Mandeville.
Agricultural and environmental problems are a consequence of their industrialization.
Jamaica, predominantly agricultural and increasingly land poor due to a population
explosion and industrial land use, has lost considerable land to the multinationals and,
ironically, to their agricultural activities. To ensure that profit over time from ore pro-
cessed meet the initial costs of establishing plants, and to control competition, the com-
panies have bought land in Jamaica far beyond their ability to utilize within the immed-
iate future.5 For legal and economic reasons, these lands are put to agricultural produc-
tion. Alcan is reputed to be the largest single cattle raiser on the island. In 1972 the
company maintained 6,000 head of beef cattle. Alcan cows produce over 650,000 quarts
of milk under conditions of sanitation comparable to what is found in North America.
Reynolds, also a large-scale beef producer and reputed to have the best beef in Jamaica,
sells strictly "grade A" meat, and at the highest prices in the island. Alpart's agricultural
operations, managed for tax benefit purposes by a subsidiary, Farms Jamaica, raised more
than 1,000 feed lot cattle in 1971. A year later, cows belonging to that same company
produced over 430,000 quarts of milk.
Turning to crop production, figures are equally impressive. Alcan, the originator and
largest single producer of ortaniques, a genetic cross between the orange and the tangerine,
exports approximately 84,000 boxes of this fruit yearly. In addition it is reputedly the
island's most successful yam producer, Farms Jamaica produced in 1971 approximately
6 million tons of carrots. The company also experiments in peppers, onions, sorghum,
and cassava. The company, through its agricultural operations their use within the
industry and sale to Jamaican canning companies admits to seeking as goal the elimina-
tion of costs to it of importing items necessary for alumina production.
Bauxite companies are huge land owners, of no advantage to Jamaica. According to
company statistics, which presumably understate the facts, Alcan in 1972 owned 49,000
acres. Alpart owned 26,000 in central and southern Jamaica alone. Four companies own
about 200,000 acres. Kaiser Bauxite, not among the four mentioned (the other excluded
is Revere) is one of the largest landowners in all of Jamaica. Together Kaiser, Reynolds,
and Alcan own almost 30% of the parish of Manchester.
Environmental damage, perhaps irreversible, also results from multinationals' activities.
Some of the harmful effects of the industry, since inherent in it, can be predicted where-
ver the aluminum industry builds plants. One is loss in soil fertility, and the disruption of
long-established topographical configurations. These effects are a byproduct of all
extractive industries. Even if all topsoil were saved and replaced on reclaimed and. rehabil-
itated lands, as government requires and as companies allegedly cooperate in doing, soil
productivity declines. With the exception of one area seen which was adjacent to a plant
and under constant supervision by agricultural extension officers, all rehabilitated areas
were seen to suffer erosion or sparse vegetative growth. Other mined areas were not
reclaimed, remaining for as long as 20 years as cavernous pits. Other environmental
danger includes the threat to indigenous water supplies, and air pollution to nearby areas
from the plants themselves, and from mud lakes. These, acres of red and fuming liquid
occupying previously mined pits, are as sizeable as the amount of alumina produced,
occurring in a one to one ratio.6 Inert, and deadly to flora and fauna nearby, they con-
tain caustic, silica, phosphorus, and titanium. In addition, there is mounting evidence
that, although temporary exposure and even ingestion of alumina particles by plant
personnel may not be immediately harmful, long-term exposure may cause chronic,
upper respiratory irritations, as well as low-grade but chronic depression.
Industrialization by the multinationals, including economic growth itself, have appar-
ently abetted Jamaicans' opportunities for social mobility. In the decades since the
companies' advent to Jamaica, the islanders have been transformed from a condition of
extreme rural poverty characterized by geographical isolation and nonownership of
goods other than land, to a state of comparative affluence. Urban centres are expanding
as Jamaicans move off the land, and the now common car, television, and radio have
reduced the geographical, and cultural, isolation of the people. Even rural Jamaicans no
longer look to the village for social identification, nor even to Kingston where the elite
and British once set the ideal life style, but rather to North America. The values now
stressed in Jamaica of consumerism, conspicuous consumption, an American style of
education, and even American popular music second only to reggae all indicate a
broader geographical and social orientation than once characterized Jamaican society
and theoretical frameworks to describe her.
It is not possible to calculate the degree to which the bauxite industry is responsible
for Jamaicans' increased sophistication, for its influence cannot be separated from other
forces of social change. Clearly, however, the industry has generated opportunities for
social mobility, and not only among those directly employed.
Again Mandeville is an appropriate example for there, through direct employment and
through newfound relationships with families long in the area, whose prior class and
status are known, the industry as a cause of social mobility can be shown. First, the
terms upon which the argument lies, those of mobility, class, and status, must be clarified.
Mobility refers to the opportunity to take action that increases one's power. Increased
power derives from increasing control over resources, in other words economic, political
or social factors manipulable to advantage. It occurs with visible changes in life style and
the types of social relationships engaged in. Power "lies in the ability to manipulate events
and people so that things turn up to your advantage."7
Mobility is related to class because class differences are predicated in differences in
power; persons from different classes have at their disposal different amounts of resources.
Importantly, the fact of differential access to resources between the classes means that,
also, patterns of mobility the actions taken to increase one's power and the success of
these actions differ. In short, the quantity of power available, how it is used, and the
potential for mobility all are a function of one's class situation.
The concept of class has both an etic and emic dimension. Etic phenomena are those
which can be proven to result in changes in life style indicative of changed power,
whether or not these changes are vocalized by Jamaicans. In this context, changing educa-
tional trends within the family, for instance, may confer improvement in the class situa-
tion. The literature corroborates the relationship of the etics of class to power here argued.
Whitten, for instance, defines class as "the life chances of people as the result of their
objective economic situation."8 Harris says,
Classes [arise] . when certain social segments gain decisive power ad-
vantages over others in the control of basic resources and the tools and
techniques of production.9
Max Weber defines
"classes" as groups of people who, from the standpoint of specific
interests, have the same economic position. Ownership or nonownership
of material goods or of definite skills constitutes the "class situation."l0
In Mandeville, the upper class is that precisely because it has a recognized power advantage,
normally grounded in economic factors, over the lower classes in utilizing available
Jamaicans' marked use of the word "class" in describing themselves and others suggests
the profitability of utilizing their terminology and what it refers to as data. This consti-
tutes the emic dimension of the class concept. Emic phenomena refer to peoples' under-
standing and descriptions of causality, whether or not the factors thought to be causative
are that in fact. Emic phenomena are valuable for research in that they may point to or
suggest etic class changes, while not accurately describing them. Persons' descriptions and
analysis of class, although constituting the emic sense of the term, often point to etic
differences in economic and political power, the manifest bases for stratification within
society. In this sense, Jamaicans' categorization of Mandeville as "high-class" is empirical-
Where emic in nature, class as concept and designation is used quite uniformly by
speakers. It is also described similarly in the literature. Among many social scientists,
according to Ossowski, classes are characterized as including all or almost all members of
society, as designating differences in prestige or power, and as a relatively permanent
mark for any one person.1 Emic data corroborate theoretical formulations. Jamaicans
can recognize all persons as vertically ranked in terms of their power and prestige, and as
permanent members of one class.
To distinguish the two senses in which the concept can be used, "class" herein is used
etically: it refers to the availability of power, changes in availability in other words,
mobility and the life style situation of categories of Jamaicans. For Jamaicans' per-
ception and analysis of class and mobility the term "status" is reserved. This usage accords
with Weber's, when he notes:
In contrast to the . economically determined "class situation" we
wish to designate as "status situation" every typical component of the
life fate of men that is determined by the specific, positive or negative,
social estimation of honour. This honour may be connected with any
quality shared by a plurality, and, of course, it can be knit to the class
situation: class distinctions are linked in the most varied ways with
status distinctions. Property as such is not always recognized as a status
qualification, but in the long run it is, and with extraordinary regular-
Also as Weber notes, distinctions in class and status are manifest in life style. Weber's
observation is applicable to the Jamaican situation, for categories of Jamaicans can be
distinguished by their differences in life style.
The multinationals have abetted social mobility. Increased educational opportunities
in the Mandeville area provide one example. Longer years in school enhance occupational
and thus social mobility,13 and the bauxite companies are directly responsible for the
development of some, and quality, schools in the area.
Since the industry moved to the area, new schools in Mandeville have been created,
have expanded, and have prospered. Some developed simply due to population increases
and the pressures from bauxite industry workers, now sufficiently wealthy to send their
children to post-primary schools. A secondary education and the occupational possi-
bilities it presents have long been considered by Jamaicans an important status symbol.14
Other schools in the Mandeville area were created by bauxite company funding, and
were at first accessible almost exclusively to children of high staff and administrators.
These are being increasingly opened to children of Jamaicans not affiliated with the
bauxite industry. One school was able to expand its curriculum from a preparatory
(pre-secondary) level to a secondary level through a bauxite company grant, even though
currently only a little more than 10% of the school's children come in fact from
In addition to expanding educational opportunities for Jamaicans, the bauxite
industry is partially responsible for changing trends in the types of schooling received. A
trend away from a British style of education and towards an American one is occurring
not only where bauxite companies have established themselves but throughout Jamaica.
Reasons for this change include a general Americanization of values, for which the indus-
try is partly responsible, the concomitant desire of wealthy Jamaican children to seek an
American rather than a Jamaican or British university education.
One can theorize only with caution about the beneficial effects of increased and
improved school opportunities on social mobility. Although the industry contributes
directly to more and better education in Mandeville, these schools are still open largely
only to those Jamaicans who can afford the very high fees. Wealth (the class, status,
and mobility it may imply) therefore, must precede educational opportunities. In this
sense school enrollment only confirms social status, does not enhance it. On the other
hand, opportunities for a good education are provided free of charge for the children of
certain company employees, most of whom are Jamaican and some of whom have been
promoted from the lower ranks, having come into the bauxite industry from poor, rural
families. For these persons the opportunities granted have contributed positively and
directly to mobility.
Another indication of the industry's positive influence is the prevalence of entrepren-
eurs in the Mandeville area. Entrepreneurism increases during times of rapid social
change,15 for entrepreneurs are persons clever and resourceful enough to both recognize
and take advantage of new felt needs in situations. Entrepreneurs "take initiative in
administering resources, and pursue an expansive economic policy."1 6 In Mandeville, the
proliferation and success of such businesses as boutiques, gas stations, and fast food
restaurants, all catering to the needs of newly arrived and consumer-oriented bauxite
industry personnel, attest to the positive influence of the multinationals on social mobility.
Finally, since growth in the economy itself contributes to social mobility, the multi-
nationals through purchase of Jamaica's bauxite have enhanced social advancement. The
industry's exports rose steadily for over a decade bauxite export climbed from 413,000
long tons in 1952 to 9,121,000 long tons in 1967, and alumina export from 124,000 tons
in 1954 to 910,000 tons in 1968, with a total bauxite-alumina value in 1968 of $88.8
million.17 By 1974 foreign exchange (minus Jamaica's debt of short term liabilities
abroad), based on sugar and tourism as well as bauxite, was $130.2 million.18 Although
bauxite shipments were drastically reduced during America's recession, 1976 exports
indicate a partial recovery from the low of 1974.
The significance of the industry's presence as a positive force in Jamaica is not accurate-
ly presented by pointing to growth in the economic sector, and in peoples' ability to
emulate a life style once associated with the higher classes. A theoretical approach which
incorporates mobility as related to increases in the availability of resources along with
Jamaica's increasingly international orientation, highlights the actual nature of develop-
ment. It is not accurate to argue that the changes observed indicate either significant
social mobility or a decrease in social stratification for it is only natural to expect that, as
multinationals use their impressive power and technology to industrialize previously
hidden resources, Third World countries like Jamaica will, in absolute terms, improve
their economic situation. However, as their economic situation changes, at the same time
two other things occur. One is that definitions of social class change.With the changing
orientation abetted by companies' presence, indicators of status improvement may
weaken. The second change occurring is the fact that access to and control of resources,
the bases of mobility and social class, now have added dimensions both geographically
and in terms of the total amount of power involved. These dimensions, increasingly, are
countries linked together rather than one society. They include as holders of power the
multinationals. These corporations or, more specifically the small number of persons,
predominantly Americans, who benefit the most from multinationals' activities, funnel
vast amounts of resources rapidly into few and mostly foreign hands.
Revenue to Jamaica from the companies provides but one example of the inequities
created. As the government has found some advantage in the development of bauxite,
the foreign corporations have found far more. Revenue remains far below the value of
bauxite and alumina exported. Between 1950 and 1956, for instance, revenue was merely
3% of the bauxite and alumina export value.19 Even since the 1957 agreements, revenue
has amounted on the average to only 17% of the industry's output.20 If value to the
entire Jamaican economy is considered not only fax and royalty, but wages and linkages
into Jamaican operations (e.g. construction, railways, etc.) still the value accruing to
the island amounts to less than 50% of the industry's gross output.21
To place Jamaica's position in perspective, a few general remarks on multinationals
are illuminating. Although multinationals carry on operation world-wide, their activities
tend to be confined to the market economies of so-called developed countries. Eight of
the world's 10 richest corporations have their home base in the United States; together
with the United Kingdom, France, and the Federal Republic of Germany, the United
States accounts for more than three-fourths of the total number of affiliates of the
world's top 211 multinational corporations. Of total foreign investment by the developed
countries of the world in 1973, which amounted to U.S. $165 billion, most was contri-
buted by multinationals, over 50% of them with a home base in the United States.22
Turning specifically to mining corporations, as exemplified by the bauxite industry,
general characteristics include an unusually large number of foreign affiliates, with either
complete or majority ownership of foreign affiliates by the parent company. Alcan, for
instance, nas over 100 subsidiaries. One of them, Alprojam, operates in Jamaica. This
company fabricates aluminum products from semi-fabricated sheets imported from
Canada. Canada's alumina supplier, ironically, is Jamaica.
The wealth of specific mining companies in Jamaica is impressive, and highlights their
advantageous position vis-a-vis the island's government. In 1970, for instance, Alcoa, the
world's largest bauxite company, had total sales and operating revenue of U.S.$1,522.4
million.23 The gross revenue of Alcan Aluminium Limited, the Canadian parent company
of Alcan Jamaica Limited, amounted to U.S.$1,389 million and its net income for that
year alone was U.S.$79.8 million.24 Reynolds, part of the Alpart consortium as well as a
sole producer on the north coast, made net sales in 1970 worth U.S.$1,035.2 million.25
In comparison, the entire gross national product (GNP) of Jamaica in 1970 was
$1,010.7 million,26 or U.S.$1,212.84 million. This means that per year sales by a single
company are on a par with, and even above, the returns to the island's economy of the
entire value of its national production of goods and services. Although great caution must
be exercised in citing GNP as indicative of real economic growth in developing coun-
tries,27 still, insofar as Jamaica is linked into an international monetary market, the
comparisons illuminate the magnitude of the entity with which this small country must
At the time of this writing, the political leverage of the companies in dealing with the
Government has been reduced by the latter's successful demands for increased control
over local operations. Made possible undoubtedly by Manley's clearcut victory in the
1976 elections, and consequent public endorsement of his policy for greater participation
in the affairs of the industry, the Government negotiated for majority ownership in opera-
tions by Alcoa, Kaiser, Reynolds, and pending further talks Alcan. The Government's
51% interest in the companies' local assets, although determined in separate agreements,
basically provides for up to majority ownership of bauxite mining assets, plus all land
holdings. In return, Jamaica has agreed to lower its bauxite levy tax to 7.5%, from its
general rate of 8.5%.
However, the Government's improved situation vis-a-vis the companies over the past
few years cannot obscure the fact that it is they, still, which largely determine the benefits
Jamaica is able to realize from its mining reserves. The continuing world recession during
1975 and 1976, to which the industry responded, meant a marked decline in revenue.
During the last quarter of 1975 total production capacity was cut as much as 25%. Total
demand for 1976 compared to 1975 was expected to be $132 million compared to over
$157 million, and during that same period the levy per ton of bauxite produced by the
companies in Jamaica was only 8% of the price of aluminum shipped into Jamaica from
the United States.28
Moreover, the bauxite industry has assisted very little in employment opportunities
for Jamaicans. Fewer than 1% of Jamaica's labour force 29 work in the industry. About
75% of these, or 4,600 men, are Jamaican manual labourers. At higher levels, where finan-
cial recompense and prestige could be great, Jamaicans are underrepresented. As discussed
below, those that are employed in the higher jobs tend to come from advantaged back-
grounds to begin with, thus occupational mobility is not significant. Of all companies,
perhaps Alcan, because an alumina producer and long on the island, has, relative to pro-
duction, directly benefitted the most. In 1972 Alcan's total operation accounted for only
2,571 jobs. 30 The relatively high employment, however, was not matched by an
impressive total for Jamaicans in high-ranking positions. For instance, of the company's
top 7 positions all but 1, in 1973, were filled by either Canadians, Englishmen, or foreign-
ers turned nationals.
With the increased production of both bauxite and alumina in the early 1970's, it
might be expected that total employment in the industry is increasing. In fact, the trend
in that direction is only slight. From 1965 to 1967, Alcan increased the total number of
its employees by more than 200 persons per year. Alcoa has followed the same pattern
although, until 1967 its work force was very low, totalling only 253 people. At the begin-
ning of alumina production, in February of 1973, Alcoa had a total work force in Jamaica
of 850. For the industry as a whole, employment has also followed an upward trend: in
1969, employees in the industry, excluding agricultural and construction workers, num-
bered 5,114; in 1970: 5,493;31 in 1971: 6,162.32 Including agricultural and construction
workers, in 1970 the industry employed 13,390 and in 1971, 11,629. 33
Placed in the context of the value of and cost to the industry, however, the number of
persons employed is small. In 1968, for example, bauxite industry exports amounted to
nearly 50% of Jamaica's total merchandise exports, and 10% of her gross domestic pro-
duct. But the percentage of Jamaican labour employed, based not even on the national
population but on the total employed labour force, was less than 1%. 34
It is hypothesized that, in the future, employment in the industry, relative to the
population, will decline, not increase. Jamaica's population is booming. Also, even with
increased production, bauxite companies do not seem eager to significantly expand
employment. The difference between Alpart and each Alcan plant the former employ-
ing the same number of workers while producing almost twice the amount of alumina -
illustrates the point. Alpart can hire, in relative terms, only approximately 50% what Alcan
needs because the plant is more automated. In the future this trend will lead to even less
dependence on human labour. Indeed Alpart is, in 1972, already overstaffed; when
employment stabilizes, the total work force from worker up to the managing director is
forecast to be about 850.
The bauxite companies, while extracting and producing as quickly as possible, are
vigorously pursuing the exploitation of reserves outside of Jamaica. Reynolds, a large
landowner in parts of the U.S. South where ore was termed unminable because of its close
chemical association with clays, is now developing methods to make the extraction of ore
there economic. Kaiser, until 1971 unique among Jamaica's producers because of its
total dependence on the island, recently in partnership opened a plant in Queensland,
Australia, today the biggest alumina producer in the world.35 Recalling that bauxite is
being depleted and that existing reserves in Jamaica may be exhausted within 60 years,
optimism about prospects for the industry as a significant contributor to Jamaican
employment and Jamaicans' standard of living in the future is not warranted. Low
employment, and the marked tendency by the companies to hire technically trained or
semi-trained Jamaicans accentuate companies' character as economic and social enclaves
within the island. Paying in general more than other local industries, their high salaries
have benefitted a small number of employees but hurt the larger number of other union-
ized workers, farmers, and businessmen who have been affected by Jamaica's inflation,
partially a consequence of the bauxite industry.
Employment practices also accentuate the industry's nature as a social enclave.
Minimal employment curtails the chances for economic and social feedback from the
industry, employee's wages are not coterminous with that of most other Jamaicans, hence
tend to engender social differences, and the practice of hiring foreigners for the best
paying and most important jobs perpetuates a system of social and psychological depen-
dence which ideally was to terminate with political independence.
Even for those employed, occupational mobility by movement through the industry's
hierarchy, a potential avenue of social mobility, is restricted. Those who have the most to
gain, economically and socially, are the workers, who the Jamaicans term the "aristocracy
of labour." But their numbers are small. Middle management, on the other hand, is
already middle-class, socially advantaged by birth, well-heeled, and well-educated. Of 30
industry employees above the level of supervisor, a full 100% had attended secondary or
technical schools, and 76% had gone on to further education, including the doctorate.36
Bauxite employees at this level rarely consider their work in the industry as a career goal.
Rather, the financial recompense and political and social contacts made are sought to the
end of eventual self-employment. In 1972 three cases of management level movement
out of the industry and into self-employment, with the likely possibility of at least two
more, were witnessed.
Improvements in life style that the relatively small numbers of workers, emanating
from Jamaica's lower class, can display may only generate resentment among the larger
percentage, to whom industry work indicates only some, not all qualifications for superior
class standing, and for whom, therefore, notions of social status have become confused.
Even for those employed, the industry may represent a mixed blessing: while the
companies present opportunities for social mobility, at the same time their presence esca-
lates the cost of living, and contributes to an Americanization and internationalization of
values. As workers act to raise their status, definitions and expectations of states also rise.
Thus workers' advances, and social recognition of them, are minimized.
In conclusion, the bauxite industry's activities and influence in Jamaica constitute but
one example of world-wide economic development. Although this development has creat-
ed some economic growth and opportunities for social mobility among Jamaicans, the
industry's presence has not been accompanied by the social progress which large economic
gains made possible from development of the island's reserves might suggest.
The industry is large in scale, vertically integrated and capital intensive. For Jamaica,
the consequences of these facts are largely negative. The industry's extensive use of land
removes from Jamaicans' hands resources usable for agriculture, still the island's primary
economic sector, disrupts on a massive scale the natural environment on which Jamaicans
are heavily dependent, and restricts the amount of land available to a people already
overcrowded and poor in most resources.
Beyond the immediate environment in which the industry operates, and beyond those
immediately affected, development of the island's reserves also has negative consequences.
By affecting only small numbers of people distributed throughout the class system, the
economic benefits are unevenly experienced, thus their social value to the people jeopard-
ized. Bauxite companies' influence as an economic force confuses the traditionally
existing relationship between income and social status. Largely for this reason, the
industry's activities on the island are resented. In abstract terms, the factors of social
change produced by the industry are affecting different cultural institutions differently
in scope and intensity. Social change, and the impact of multinationals in directing its
course, suggest theoretical and social issues beyond the scope of this paper, and of many
models to describe them.
MADELEINE LORCH TRAMM
1. A multinational is a corporation with one or more foreign affiliates. Its activities, which can be
stated in terms of production, sales, employment, or profits of foreign affiliates and branches,
involve more than one nation.
2. The Jamaican dollar, utilized throughout except where otherwise noted, at the time of research
and under discussion was worth approximately U.S.$1.20.
3. Town Planning Department maps, Government of Jamaica.
4. Town Planning Department, p. 16.
5. Of its 49,000 acres, for instance, Alcan mines only 40 acres per year.
6. The Daily Gleaner, 14 June, 1972.
7. Whitten, p. 230.
8. ibid, p. 230.
9. Harris, pp. 414-415.
10. Gerth and Mills, p. 405.
11. Ossowski, pp. 91-92.
12. Weber, p. 24. Italics his.
13. Foner, 1973, p. 49; M.G. Smith, 1973, p. 197.
14. M.G. Smith, 1973, p. 197.
15. Barth, p. 16. Barth's concept of "broker" itself implies structural change since the broker
mediates between two (or more) structures which are becoming increasingly linked.
16. Barth, p. 5.
17. Jefferson, 1972, p. 153.
18. New York Times, 4 Dec. 1976.
19. Jefferson, 1972, p. 161; Department of Statistics, 1971, Summary Table (Provisional).
20. ibid, p. 166.
21. ibid, pp. 166-167.
22. United Nations, Chapter I and Table I11.
23. Mining Journal, 1971, p. 277.
24. Alcan Aluminium Limited, 1970, p. 1.
25. Mining Journal, 1971, p. 289.
26. Central Planning Unit, 1971, p. 114.
27. Demas, p. 19.
28. Mining Journal, Mining Annual Review 1977, London, June, 1977 and The Wall Street Journal,
issues 9/30/74 p. 6; 4/1/77 p. 7.
29. Jefferson, 1972, p. 162.
30. Tramm, p. 81.
31. Central Planning Unit, 1970, p. 116.
42. ibid, 1971, p. 22.
(3. The Daily Gleaner, 24 July 1972.
,4. Jefferson, 1972, pp. 161-162.
35. The Daily Gleaner, 9 November 1972 and 12 November 1972.
36. Tramm, pp. 198-199.
Alcan Aluminium Limited, 1970 Annual Report, Montreal, Canada; 1971 Alcan Facts, Montreal,
Alcan Aluminium Corporation, 1971, Introducing Alcan, The Aluminium Company, Cleveland, Ohio.
Alcan Jamaica Limited, 1965, You and Alcan Jamaica Limited: Handbook for the Salaried Staff of
Alcan Jamaica Limited, Kingston, Jamaica.
Aronson, R.L. 1961, Labour Commitment among Jamaican Bauxite Workers. SES 10(2): 156-182.
Barth, F., ed. 1963, The Role of the Entrepreneur in Social Change in Northern Norway. Bergen:
Norwegian Universities Press. pp. 5-18.
Beckford, G.L. 1972, Persistent Poverty: Underdevelopment in Plantation Economies of the Third
World. New York: Oxford University Press.
Best, L. and Mclntyre, A. 1961, A First Appraisal of Monetary Management in Jamaica. SES 10(3):
Bradley, C.P. 1960, Mass Parties in Jamaica: Structure and Organization. SES 9(4): 357-416.
Braithwaite, L. 1953, Social Stratification in Trinidad. SES 2(2 & 3): 3-175.
Central Planning Unit, 1970, Economic Survey, Jamaica. Kingston, Jamaica; 1971, Economic Survey,
Jamaica. Kingston, Jamaica.
Cumper, G.E. 1961, Labour and Development in the West Indies, Part 1; 1963, Preliminary Analysis of
Population Growth and Social Characteristics in Jamaica, 1943-60. (West Indian Census of
1960.) University of the West Indies, Jamaica: Census Research Programme, Institute of
Social and Economic Research; 1964, A Comparison of Statistical Data on the Jamaican
Labour Force, 1953-1961; SES 13(4): 430-439; n.d., The Differentiation of Economic
Groups in the West Indies.
Davis, C.E. and Hill, V.G., n.d., Reclamation of Mined-Out Bauxite Lands in Jamaica, 1953-1970.
Kingston, Jamaica: Department of Mines.
Demas, W.G., 1965, The Economics of Development in Small Countries with Special Reference to the
Caribbean. Montreal, Canada: McGill University Press.
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Jamaica. 1972a, External Trade of Jamaica, Calendar Year 1969. Kingston, Jamaica. 1972b,
Monetary Statistics, Quarter Ending September 1971. Kingston, Jamaica. 1972c, National
Income and Product of Jamaica, 1971, Preliminary Estimates. Kingston, Jamaica.
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of Cultural Theory. AA 66(5): 1051-1077. 1967, Cultural Pluralism and National Politics
in British Guiana. Chicago: Rand McNally and Company.
Farin, P. and Reibsamen, G.G., et al. 1969, Aluminium: Profile of an Industry. New York:Metals
Week, McGraw-Hill, Inc.
Foner, N. 1971, Social Change and Social Mobility in a Jamaican Rural Community. Ph.D. disserta-
tion, University of Chicago.1973, Status and Power in Rural Jamaica: A Study of Educa-
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Galbraith, J.K., 1973, Economics and the Public Purpose. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Girvan, N., 1967a, Regional Integration vs. Company Integration in the Utilization of Caribbean
Bauxite. In Caribbean Integration. S. Lewis and T.G. Matthews, eds. Rio Pedras, Puerto
Rico: Institute of Caribbean Studies. pp. 101-118., 1967b, The Caribbean Bauxite
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of Social and Economic Research., 1971b, Making the Rules of the Game: Country-
Company Agreements in the Bauxite Industry. SES 20(4): 378-419.
Harris, M., 1971, Culture, Man, and Nature. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company.
Huggins, H.D., 1965, Aluminium in Changing Communities. University of the West Indies, Jamaica:
Andre Deutsch in association with the Institute of Social and Economic Research.
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(Amendment) Regulations, 1961. Kingston, Jamaica: The Government Printer.
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Munroe and R. Lewis, eds. University of the West Indies, Jamaica: Department of Govern-
ment, pp. 192-197.
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of the Caribbean. N. Girvan and O. Jefferson, eds. Kingston, Jamaica: New World Group
Ltd. pp. 213-215., 1971b, Some Aspects of the Post-War Economic Development of
Jamaica. In Readings in the Political Economy of the Caribbean. N. Girvan and O. Jefferson,
eds. Kingston, Jamaica: New World Group Ltd. pp. 109-120. 1972, The Post-War Economic
Development of Jamaica. University of the West Indies, Jamaica: Institute of Social and
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Kingston, Jamaica: Department of Mines.
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poration, Its Major Operating Subsidiaries and Affiliates. Published in Major Officer of the
Kaiser Bauxite, n.d., In Partnership with Jamaica. Discovery Bay, Jamaica.
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McIntyre, A., 1971, Some Issues of Trade Policy in the West Indies. In Readings in the Political
Economy of the Caribbean. N. Girvan and O. Jefferson, eds. Kingston, Jamaica: New World
Group Ltd. pp. 165-183.
McKenzie, H., 1966, The Plural Society Debate: Comments on a Recent Contribution. SES 15:
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ADMINISTRATION AND CULTURE: SUBSISTENCE
AND MODERNIZATION IN CRIQUE SARCO, BELIZE
Reasoning that the Kekchi Indians in Toledo were "obviously in need of advice upon
hygiene, welfare and commercial matters as well as guidance in purely agricultural
projects"1 the Colonial Government in Belize (British Honduras) decided to establish a
definite channel of technical assistance between itself and the Kekchis. The post of Maya
Liaison Officer was created and an applicant recruited and sent from London to Crique
Sarco in 1953.
In the next six years 1953-1959 the Liaison Offier, with the co-operation of several
Departments of the Government was able to build and staff a school, a dispensary and
nurses' residence, a farm demonstrator's residence, a police station, a dry weather airstrip,
and to establish a small electric plant as well as a thriving cooperative dealing with pigs,
corn and rice which were transported to market in its own boat, the Cahunil.2 Perhaps
even more important was the achievement of reversing the emigration that had depleted
the village between 1951-1953 so that only 15 families remained, and its growth to a
strong village of some 60 families by 1959. Yet with the relocation of the Liaison Officer
in that year all that had been achieved started to crumble, and by 1962 the emigration
that had set in three years earlier became chronic. Except for the school and the police
station, the sturdy Government buildings, unused and overgrown with heavy vegetation
make a hideous and grotesque sight in the midst of a vast forest.
The stimulus for creating this office came neither from the Kekchis nor from the
Colonial Administration in Belize itself. The Kekchis had not expressed any anxiety to
change their economy or culture for Western patterns. Nor had the Belizian Administra-
tion declared any special interest in providing modern facilities for this sub-group of the
Maya Indians, despite the recommendations of the Evans Commission.3 The decision was
forced upon both these parties, especially so upon the Kekchis, in the usual manner:
questions raised in the British Parliament created an administrative post in the colony.
There are two versions of the events which culminated in the establishment of a Liaison
Officer's post, both of which deserve mention since they reveal some aspects of the
decision-making system during the colonial regime. One version is that a Navy Commander
who had seen some service in the Caribbean, managed to obtain a seat in Parliament after
he was demobilized. His favourite question was to ask what was being done for the
Kekchi Indians of Southern Toledo. Eventually, the United Kingdom Government wrote
to the Governor in Belize urging him into some action that would provide a suitable
I| l li
S .._ Jamaica
answer a suitable answer in Parliament, that is. The Governor, in turn, requested the
services of a Land Use Survey Team that was working in Belize at that time; he asked
them to visit the area and make recommendations appropriate to the establishment of a
Liaison Officer's post.
The other view is that a member of the Land Use Survey Team had a deep sympathy
for the Kekchis. When his efforts to get the Governor to give the Kekchis special attention
failed, he decided to circumvent him by writing to his Member of Parliament in the
United Kingdom. Once raised and resolved in the Commons, directives would be sent
from the Colonial Office to the Governor. This tactic was a common way of out-
maneouvring the Governor.
The Land Use Team was sensitive to the delicate task entrusted to it and conscious of
many of the difficulties involved in a liaison officer's role. Understandably, the team
looked primarily at agricultural matters and showed that unless Government personnel
who worked with Indians were carefully selected, the results could be injurious to all.
In the San Antonio area of the Toledo District, the boundary of the
Indian Reservation had to some extent in the past proved a line beyond
which official interest in farming ceased. It is not so today, but there is
abundant evidence that it was regarded in this light for more than a decade.
The Indians learned about modern agricultural techniques mainly through
their Jesuit mission ... Steps are being taken to make up for this neglect ...
This will not be as easy as it sounds for there is a measure of mutual trust
and confidence which needs regaining before anything worthwhile can
commence. Agricultural Officers and Farm Demonstrators detailed for
duty in regions where Indian reservations still exist should be men selected
for their sympathy and insight into a way of life dissimilar from their
own . There is abundant evidence that it has not been the policy in the
past and if anything, the Toledo District has been regarded as a convenient
"St. Helena" to which people are sent usually for administrative conven-
ience. Unless administrative jobs are allocated to people who are capable
of understanding Maya Indians there will be no real cooperation because,
on past records, the Indian farmer has every right to be suspicious of the
Fortuitously, at about the same time that the Government in Belize was sending off
the Team's recommendation to the Colonial Office, it received a request from someone
who professed an interest in the Mayas and who was seeking for an opportunity to work
with them. The applicant had recently completed some agricultural training in Wales. The
applicant got his wish and six weeks later, in June 1953, the Kekchi Liaison Officer
arrived in Belize. The Officer spent only a few days in the City before he was taken to
Crique Sarco by a member of the Land Use Survey Team. The Team member stayed for
a week, then left. The Liaison Officer was on his own.
OFFICE AND OBJECTIVES
The framework in which the Liaison Officer was to function and the objectives of his
efforts Were not surprising, for in a word, he was expected to overcome all the suspicions
and blocks to technical assistance. But if they were not surprising they were clearly
ambitious, for he was also expected to change the entire economic dimension of the
Kekchi culture to transform them from a pattern of essentially subsistence farming to
farming for a market. Farming for profit was to replace farming for food.
The Scheme envisages that this Officer will live in each of the main
villages in turn gaining the confidence of the people, learning their prob-
lems and, where possible, showing the villages how to overcome these
problems. The main object in appointing this officer was to try and advance
the agricultural thinking of the Indians so that they may play a full part
in the agricultural development that must inevitably come in this (Toledo)
part of the country.5
So at the very beginning the aim had changed from providing education and hygiene
for the Indians to a priority concern for lifting the agricultural production of the District.
More significant, however, are the assumptions implicit in the statement set out above. It
was taken for granted, for instance, that Western farm techniques would be more effective
than those the Indians used. And it was not only thought but was clearly stated that a
people who in the main have traditionally been semi-nomadic would become permanent
occupants of fixed plots of land: "The Kekchis are showing a commendable desire to
settle down and become permanent farmers."6
The speed with which the post was established created a certain small but critical set of
problems. To begin with, despite the vast ambitions of the project and the specially
sensitive nature of work involved, the office was designed on a short-term basis of three
years. This manifested itself not only in finance, but also in the structural linkages that
were prepared for it. Indeed, the only definite formal linkage that the Liaison Officer had
was with the Governor himself. Linkages between the Liaison Officer and the technical
departments on which he would have to be heavily dependent were never formally defined.
In other words, the Kekchi Liaison Officer post was put on a tangent separate from the
rest of the Civil Service. It was not a part of any department; it had no representative in
the city to work out issues or projects with the Departments there. And similarly at the
local level the Liaison Officer had no formal links with the District Officer or his staff. In
operational terms, the post was a separate entity funded through its own line within the
Colonial Development and Welfare (CD&W) grant.7 Part of this structural peculiarity may
well derive from racial prejudice which made the Colonial Office reluctant to place any
white Englishman in a subordinate position within a civil service that was gradually be-
coming increasingly indigenous. Certainly this sentiment was expressed by some senior
While the Liaison Officer's post was weakened by not being inter-locked with the
technical Departments, the Departments regarded the post as one with special privileges -
in that it had its own budget, one that spent that budget as it pleased and without the
usual process of accountability. The net result of these perceptions was on one hand,
reluctance of the Liaison Officer to request assistance from the Departments, and on the
other an unwillingness of the Departments to satisfy any requests, since after all, the post
had its own source of funds. This presented the Liaison Officer with serious operational
problems since a main purpose of his post was to work with the specialist agencies in an
effort to get them to provide their services in Kekchi communities. He was to be their
spokesman and to represent their needs to the District Administration and the specialist
Departments. Only the judicial function was retained by the District Officer, all the others
were pinned to the Liaison Officer land allocation and use, transportation, health,
education, marketing and so on.
Clearly, effective performance of that role required the cultivation of considerable
rapport between the Liaison Officer, the District Officer and the Heads of Departments.
But this did not occur and, instead, the physical and organizational separation of the post
combined with the Officer's own introversion soon earned him the reputation of a recluse
and a hermit.
Thus, in addition to the geographical isolation which clearly accompanied the post,
the Office was administratively isolated. This perhaps occurred because of the speed with
which the post was created, but perhaps more likely, because of the process of its estab-
lishment, one of satisfying a request from outside of the Belizian Administration. Had
the post been designed and the project planned by the Civil Servants in Belize, it is
unlikely that the Liaison Officer would have been so oddly placed.
TO AND FRO, MARKET AND SUBSISTENCE
Nevertheless, these bureaucratic hurdles were small when placed against the social and
economic problems that confronted the officer in Crique Sarco. For two years before his
arrival, families had been leaving the village. Had the Government examined the factors
that accounted for this migration their efforts to help the Kekchis might have been some-
what more informed and considerably wiser. The usual subsistence pattern of Kekchi life
had been disrupted several times since the turn of the century. Each time some enterprise
from the cash economy occurred in their region they would work in it and use the money
to purchase knives, salt, kerosene, cloth and so on. When the activity ceased, they would
revert to their subsistence practices which would be disrupted if some cash enterprise
The first of these cycles of disruption occurred when German entrepreneurs recruited
the Kekchis as part of a labour force for opening up the forest and for planting cacao,
coffee and rubber. These enterprises were first established in Coban, in the Alta Ver Paz
region of Guatemala, and later moved into the river valleys in Toledo, Belize carrying the
Kekchis with them into the neighboring country. With the outbreak of the First World
War the German enterprises closed and the Kekchis remained in Belize, returned to their
subsistence style of life, and established villages along the Sopstan, Temax, Moho and
Aquacate River. Given the extreme isolation of the villages a return to self-sufficiency
was the optimal adjustment. Any effort to perpetuate a cash enterprise would have been
economically futile besides being culturally alien.
The trip to Chacalte in Guatemala would involve up to twenty miles of
walking while the trip to Punta Gorda in British Honduras would involve
up to five miles walking and sixty miles in a canoe. During the early years
of this century they were a remarkably isolated and self-sufficient group.
During the off-season (June to August, when the corn is growing and there
Santa Cruz Antonio
are no further agricultural operations until the harvest is ready) they
spend their time in weaving, pottery making and long walking tours to visit
their relatives in Coban.8
The Kekchis' subsistence life was next disrupted in the 1930's; this time by the
banana penetration. They g-ew the fruit on the river banks "under the stimulus of a mar-
ket on their doorsteps."9 This is an interesting observation since it suggests that Kekchis
are likely to participate in a cash enterprise providing they are assured of a market and of
the possibility of reaching it readily. When the banana trade collapsed, mahogany extract-
ion and to a much smaller degree chicle, became the sources for earning cash. When the
1942 hurricane took its toll on Belize's trees, the subsistence economy among the
Kekchis rose once more. And again the villages became isolated units for the hurricane
had destroyed the network of track passes that had been used for extracting logs.
After the gale, communications between villages were almost completely
disrupted. Many of the tracks formerly used between villages have never
been reopened . Between 1942 and 1954, villages have been gradually
becoming more isolated with life for all members of the family resuming
its former seasonal cycle of bush-clearing-burning-corn-planting-corn har-
vest and bean planting-bean harvesting and so on to the time for clearing
The pattern then is one of a subsistence economy which is partially changed whenever
there is an opportunity for cash earnings. Each time the source of cash earnings is removed,
the subsistence pattern returns to life in the villages. The cycle always completes itself;
returning to a subsistence pattern regardless of the intervening cash source whether it
is planting coffee, cacao or rubber, cultivating bananas or logging mahogany and tapping
The subsistence pattern was again interrupted with the growth of a cash market for
pigs. Pigs are an integral part of the Kekchi subsistence economy, acting as a domesticated
source of meat, scavenger and as protection against snakes.11 Clearly, if one feature of a
subsistence economy is to be marketed, it must be produced at a higher level so as to
satisfy domestic needs and to generate a surplus for the market. Furthermore, if this
surplus is to be produced from within a self-sufficient economy, it can only be achieved
by distorting some other aspect of that economy.
Between 1951 and 1953 pigs became a source of cash income for the Kekchis. This
stimulated the Kekchis to grow as many pigs as they could. Growing as many pigs as they
could meant growing as much corn as they could. And this in turn required a doubling of
the size of their lots. From growing four to five acres of corn, the farm size grew to about
nine acres. This also meant that the farms became further and further from the village,
reaching distances of up to seven miles. The task of harvesting was massive. It meant that
the farmer would have to make two trips over this distance bearing a load of fifty to
ninety pounds. At the end of all this toil the cost/returns account was questionable:
A pig which will ultimately sell for $20.00 will be fed corn worth $35.00
on the local market. Yet it is manifestly much easier to sell $35.00 worth
of corn for $20.00 in the form of a pig which transports itself to market
than the grain on which it is fed, which needs to be carried on the back for
fifteen or twenty muddy miles.1 2
But if the mathematics is questionable the practical solution is highly rational, as the
passage above suggests. The only communication to the market for some villages is by
river. If corn is to get to a market by boat, this means paying for the load and a seat for
the owner. If the boat overturns, the harvest is lost. If the boat contained pigs instead of
corn, the pigs would swim. Over land pigs can be transported with no more investment
than a piece of string and a bit of stick, and one man can control two pigs. However, this
is not meant to suggest that the task is an easy or fool proof one. It was pragmatism, not
mathematics that determined the Kekchis' decisions in this matter.
If a Kekchi farmer wanted to make cash from the pig prices, he needed to get closer to
the markets in order to avoid the great difficulties and risks of long journeys to them.
Furthermore, the delicate balance between the corn grown for pigs and the human needs
in the village had been seriously dislocated by the needs of a greatly expanded pig popula-
tion. In addition, the larger size of farms necessary in order to provide the corn for the pigs
meant that new land was far from the village. These factors precipitated the 1951-53
depopulation of Crique Sarco and other villages in southern Toledo.
In two successive years there had been a very lean month indeed, when
the previous year's corn had run out before the new corn crop was ready
to harvest. The menfolk were becoming increasingly anxious to move to
the villages near to the markets. . One by one families moved from this
sub-region and settled in the reservation lands near San Pedro Colombia
and San Miguel Rio Grande some forty to sixty miles to the north-east.
During 1952 some villages were completely depopulated while others lost
up to half of their populations.' 3
Since Kekchi milpa farming is a cooperative family effort, the migration of even a few
families reduces the amount of land that can be cleared by those who remain. This can be
sufficiently severe to force those who would remain to migrate also. The migration of a
number of families dislocated the farming capacity of the village as a whole, threatening
it with a level below subsistence, and so impelling the remaining families to move to new
land and establish a new village, or to join an existing small village in a similar situation.
These were the conditions in Crique Sarco when the Kekchi Liaison Officer arrived,
just before the rains in 1953. Only fifteen families had resisted the pressures of migration.
The first task that confronted the Liaison Officer was communication. He had to
learn the language of the Kekchis, their values, and their social structures: in fact he had
to set about learning their entire way of life from child care to farming techniques in
order to gain an understanding of Kekchi culture. He also had to work toward earning
their respect, and the way to do this was to become proficient in all the adult male roles
as quickly as possible farming, hunting, fishing, house building and so on. In this way,
being intimately familiar with their culture and having their respect he would be equipped
to offer advice and encourage them to adopt it.
Within the first tour months of his residence at Crique Sarco, the Liaison Officer had
established a school building. The practice in Belize has been that the Roman Catholic
Church designs schools and contributes half of the capital cost of construction. The
government provides the other half and villagers contribute the labour. The Liaison
Officer's job was to mobilize the labour input. He succeeded in this effort, managing to
persuade the villagers to help in erecting it, a factor which made the parents more willing
to send their children there. He obtained a teacher from the neighboring village, San
Lucas and so managed in a rather short time to establish one of the main institutions that
could act as an agent of social change in the village.
It is perhaps significant to note at this point that the building was thatch-roofed. A
thatched roof symbolizes Indian identity and equally important, makes communal con-
struction possible Zinc is a denial of Indian culture and since all the villagers do not com-
mand the technology for building with zinc, its use requires wage labour.14
The establishment of schools in rural Belize is somewhat problematic on account of
the nomadic tendencies of the Indians: they will move in search of better farm lands or to
get closer to markets and in so doing, leave any institutional building behind. In addition,
over 90% of the schools in Belize are religious ones established by the churches, for the
most part, by the Roman Catholic Church. In most Indian villages, the teachers are Black
Caribs who are considered excellent instructors and are well respected by the Indians.
The other early effort of the Liaison Officer was to reduce the physical isolation of
the community. With the help of the villagers he managed to clear several of the footpaths
that had been blocked by the 1942 hurricane and which had become overgrown since
that time. During 1954 and 1955 the villages performed a more ambitious exercise of
clearing bush for transportation. On a suitable piece of land across the river from the
village itself they cleared sufficient trees to form a dry weather landing surface for light
The idea behind this was to make it quite easy for technicians and senior members of
the administrative system to visit even the most remote areas with considerable speed and
minimal discomfort. But instead of serving to bring technicians and services, the airstrip
was used only infrequently by politicians who brought little more than promises. The
under-utilization of this convenient facility indicates the schism which developed between
the Liaison Office and the rest of the Service. Not surprisingly, since it took a large
labour effort to maintain the strip in serviceable condition, and since the village got little
in return for their toil, it soon fell into disuse.
Establishing any satisfactory standard of medical facilities in rural areas is a great prob-
lem primarily because of the extreme difficulty of recruiting resident staff. In Crique
Sarco the Liaison Officer succeeded in having the Government build a two storey unit
which served the dual purpose of nurses' residence and dispensary. In order to staff the
facility a young Carib girl was recruited from Barranco, trained and posted to Crique
Sarco. While the Liaison Officer was in Crique Sarco 1953-59, a resident nurse was at
the dispensary. Once he was withdrawn the task of staffing the facility became increasing-
ly difficult. Nurses were exceedingly reluctant to go there except they could be assured
of getting out on the same day.
The nurses are fearful of visiting the more remote Indian villages primarily because of
the absence of facilities to which they are accustomed and because of the fear of contract-
ing diseases, especially dysentry and jiggers. This fear is no doubt part of the dislocating
experience of being suddenly enveloped in a completely foreign culture. There are
generally no toilet facilities. The pigs roam all about the villages including going in and out
of the mud floor huts, where the cooking is done on the ground. While the nurses know
that it is a sign of hospitality when an Indian offers food or water when one enters his
house, their fear of dysentry makes them refuse, even though this is often an insult to the
family. Fears of this sort along with the very real difficulties of transportation keep nurses
away from Crique Sarco for as long as nine months, sometimes more: during the rainy
season, many villages are not visited at all.
The lack of continuous contact between trained medical personnel and Indians in their
villages contributes to the Indians' fears about Western medicine. The hospital is a totally
alien institution to them. In their village the ilonel15 is a familiar member of the commun-
ity who commands a certain status. The language, the formal impersonality, food, dress,
beds and the other facilities at a hospital are all foreign to the Kekchi fresh from the
village. In the hospital it is the Indian who is beset by fears. There is the loneliness of
being with a strange group of people often for the first time. He fears the strict disci-
pline of the hospitals, especially the authoritarianism of the Catholic Sisters who are often
the central members of staff. He is conscious of the great distance which separates him
from home. From his customary diet of tortillas at every meal in the day, he is suddenly
switched to an entirely new set of tastes. His cultural fear of having death around him and
his fear of blood makes the hospital an exceptionally inhospitable experience for him.
The Kekchi's experience of living in a hospital is no less traumatic than the nurse's
fears of residing in a remote Kekchi village. It is not surprising that in order to keep the
Indians in hospital, nurses sometimes hide their clothes. Neither is it surprising that in
spite of this the Indians leave at night, discarding their hospital dress and setting out
naked, walking back to their villages.
It is these fears on both sides and an ignorance of the Indian's culture that account
for the apparent resistance to western medicine and the low usage of hospital facilities by
the Indians. There are, for instance, few cases of Indians undergoing surgery or submitting
to amputations: they prefer to remain in the care of the ilonel or to die, contending that
in their village they would be of no help to anyone without a limb.16 The cultural dimen-
sion of this interface between western medicine and Indian mores is best illustrated by
reference to childbirth practices.
In the villages Indians marry in their teens. The men do so by their twentieth birthday
and the women by the time they are sixteen. The marriage only occurs after the man has
demonstrated to his prospective in-laws his capacity to establish a household and his
proficiency at all the adult male roles.
In the maternity wards of hospitals nurses complain that they have great difficulty
keeping the Kekchis on the table they are always jumping off and getting down on the
floor. While the nurses are irritated by this, seeing it as both stupid and an insolent dis-
regard for their instructions, the Kekchi is simply approaching the delivery according to
her own cultural pattern. They have a keen dislike to lying on their backs and exposing
themselves. The Kekchis' reluctance to submit to examinations is another area of dis-
agreement. They have great difficulties in discussing menstrual complications with nurses
and have a strong objection to being examined by male "outsiders", say a doctor, in sex
Among the Kekchis, the delivery of the first child is generally performed by the
husband's mother, and all subsequent ones by the husband himself. In case of complica-
tions the ilonel is called. The delivery takes place in the family's own home, where the
preparations are quite simple. The ground is covered with a clean cloth and the mother
assumes a kneeling position. She holds on to a string tied to the roof; pulling on this string
assists her in pushing during contractions. The baby is born on the floor. So generally,
the affair of childbirth is purely a family matter in which only intimates are involved and
where privacy is ensured. Moreover, since deliveries are typically performed by the
husbands or another male, it would seem that the task has some association with father-
hood, or at least with the status of the male in the community.
The stark contrast in the two styles is instructive. Each group is equally anxious to
hold to its customary practices a determination which is seen as obstinancy and arro-
gance by each party to the confrontation. This issue reveals quite clearly that an ignorance
of the culture of a people one seeks to assist can yield situations that generally impede
any meaningful exchanges between the agencies offering help and the recipients.17
Still in spite of this there is little resistance to western medicine. On the contrary,
when doctors and nurses visit the villages they are welcomed and the villagers line up for
tablets, inventing all sorts of ailments. Their reason for doing this is entirely logical: they
do not expect to see a doctor again for a long time, and they may have toothaches or
headaches or stomach disorders before he returns. So the sensible thing to do is to store
up against such eventualities. If there are members of the community who although ill
had gone to the field, others would go to fetch them. Hence, they do have some respect
for western medicine, but this does not necessarily imply a repudiation of their ilonel in
whom they have great confidence. This observation is entirely parallel to Redfield's inter-
pretation of the situation in Chan Kom:
Perhaps it is nearer the truth to say that no definite choice between old and
new is made. Rather, the new is added to the old. If one does not work,
the other is tried ... I do not think that they (the traditional methods of
healing) are, for most people, displaced. They are supplemented by
modern remedies.1 8
The agricultural programme was fraught with similar difficulties. In this domain the
objective was to carry Kekchi agriculture into the mainstream of the farming develop-
ments that were to occur in Toledo. In effect, this meant two things: firstly, it meant
transforming subsistence cultivation into farming for a market, and secondly, it meant
introducing the Kekchi farmer to "modern agricultural techniques." It was taken for
granted that Kekchi methods of cultivation were out of joint with the twentieth century
and could be readily improved upon. Milpa cultivation, which forms the central features
of the Kekchi way of life, was considered an anachronism that had to be dispensed with.
The techniques of mechanized farming which have been practised for somewhat less than
100 years were to displace a method that had been in use for considerably more than a
In milpa farming land is cleared by fire. The Indians found this means of clearing and
preparing the soil to be efficient, given the absence of metal tools. Preparing the land for
a burn is done according to certain traditional practices. This allows for control and so
minimizes the chances of runaway fires, as well as ensuring a complete burn without
which the Indian has little faith in his crop. Cooperation of kinship groups are a cardinal
feature of preparing for the burn.19 The high bush is cut during the long dry season,
February to March, and the low bush in the short dry season August to September. The
burning is done in November and corn is planted while the soil is still warm. Generally,
each family has five or six plots of approximately five acres each and rotate their usage,
going to one every fifth year. The farms nearest to the village are one and a half or two
miles away and the furthest ones four miles away. As the village grows the plots get
farther away and the farmer must rise at three or four in the morning in order to reach
them and complete a day's work. The crops traditionally cultivated by Indians are all
quick yielding ones maize, beans, squash, sweet cassava, plantain and the like.
A main concern of the western efforts at helping Indian farming, has been to dis-
courage the use of fire. There is, quite understandably, a good deal of anxiety about this
since milpa fires are a threat to one of the country's most important resources, timber. In
addition to this fear, there is the westerner's incomprehension of the use of fire: "Little is
known about farming with fire. But it seems that there is a considerable sophistication
involved in the way present Maya set about preparing land for a burn.. ."20 There is also
a great deal of concern for the geographical mobility of the Indians, which constantly
threatens new areas of rich forest:
Destruction of high forest produces a large weed-free, rich soil with a
minimum of effort, and this is one reason why the present day Maya prefers
to make his milpa in a new patch of high forest each year.21
Still the Indians with or without their traditional farming methods were acknowledged
to be the best farmers in the country:
They are skillful and energetic farmers. Because of this and because they
are adaptable and soon become knowledgeable about machinery, they
represent the most valuable agricultural asset in British Honduras, worth
a dozen overseas investors, development corporations and the like.22
But in spite of this, it was felt that the very means of their proficiency in agriculture,
the milpa system, was a threat to other resources, and so should be changed.
One change to be encouraged as an inescapable part of introducing modem techniques,
was the notion of permanent agricultural settlements and the use of fixed lots of land.
And along with this change, the introduction of tree crops. If the Government could
succeed in making the Indians adopt the idea of permanent residence, its own task of
providing social services would be greatly simplified. It is clearly an awkward proposition
for a Government to spend funds creating in the traditional manner the infrastructure for
its services to a village when that community is likely to move for any number of unpre-
dictable reasons. The failure of harvests, or a number of deaths lead to the belief that an
area is inhabited by evil spirits, and that it is time to move on. Disputes within the village
may yield schisms with one segment leaving and establishing a village elsewhere.23
These two ideas permanent residence and long run enterprise were completely
foreign to Kekchi culture in which there is no equivalent to the western notion of land
tenure and no concept that matches the term 'future'.24 Thus the Kekchis were faced
with these two issues. The matter of fixed areas of land for each family manifested itself
in the form of increasing sub-division. Once it was known that the Government was estab-
lishing certain institutions and providing assistance in Crique Sarco, other families who
had kin in that village would move there. They would expect a section of their relatives'
land. The cultural norms of kin group farming mitigated against separate and permanent
The cultivation of tree crops presented a peculiarity to the Kekchis. But they did not
"resist" this, and in fact, they planted some thirty acres of coconuts. Perhaps it is impor-
tant to point out that once Kekchis have developed confidence and respect for an
"outsider" they tend to follow his suggestions with little hesitation. Furthermore, the
Farm Demonstrator in Crique Sarco was no stranger to the village; he had previously been
the head teacher of the school. As Head Teacher he had established a school garden and
its standard was so high that the Liaison Officer recommended his promotion to the
Farm Demonstrator's post.25 And at this point a note of caution is appropriate. It is
important that we appreciate how rural folk think of literacy, school and school activities.
Ashcraft shows that rural folk are maximizers so unless the impact of literacy on their
community is both evident and advantageous they will readily dismiss the school system
and all that goes with it. He argues that the significance of the school garden is not
translated or filtered into village life. The gap between the school and the village is great.
The school's efforts are child's play and child's play is unrealistic for
adults caught up in a qualitatively different system than that recognized
Tree crops were peculiar in the sense that the Kekchis were without any experience
of cultivation which required so long a wait before harvest. Citrus and coffee are other
tree crops that were introduced. What seems crucial here is the psychological adjustment
required in order to accommodate this situation. Clearly, the idea of "investment" is a
basic ingredient of the accommodation that was necessary, yet this was hardly possible in
the absence of a concept of the future.
The shift from subsistence cultivation to market farming was another dimension of the
agricultural programme. This was not at all new to them, but the long term, rational and
calculative element of it was new. For what was involved was no longer the ad hoc
approach that prevailed earlier, but an organized cooperative involving the neighboring
villages Delores, Otaxha and San Lucas. Attempts to establish cooperatives had been
initiated before the creation of the Liaison Officer's post. Indeed, it is the Cooperative
Officer for Toledo who did the ground work and generated the growth of cooperatives.
The cooperative was formed in order that the villagers could participate in decisions
about economic activity and to systematize marketing arrangements. The latter was an
issue of major concern since, as shown earlier, the link between villages and markets can
easily destroy any enterprise. The only way to be really in command of such a situation is
to have one's own means of transport. The cooperative did just that. After two years of
trying the Liaison Officer obtained a motor launch. Assured of a means of communica-
tion with Punta Gorda, the chief town of Toledo, it was not difficult to promote farming
above the subsistence level. In a short time the cooperative developed into a thriving
Nevertheless, the switch from subsistence to cash was not without its psychological
strains. Cash neither represents the insurance against lean times nor inspires the feeling of
security that a field of corn gives to the Indian farmer. The substitution of a tangible by
an intangible measure of value generated these tensions. Kekchi farmers are far more
comfortable with the knowledge that they have a field of corn, than with its equivalent
The Cahunil was a large flat-bottomed boat which was able to travel the seas at the
mouth of the Temash even when they were fairly rough. Smaller craft are sometimes held
up inside the Temash barrier for as long as four days. The journey to Punta Gorda was fre-
quently a miserable experience for many Indians who would return home scarcely any
better off than they had left. The problems which the Kekchis experienced in Punta
Gorda are discussed below.
It was, however, the attempt to improve on Kekchi agricultural methods with the
introduction of more modern techniques that met with the greatest challenges. After the
bur, the Kekchi farmer sows seeds by using a pointed stick to puncture the soil. He
drops the seed into this hole, covers it, makes another hole and so on. This is indeed a
tedious exercise, but it is one that allows him optimum selectivity: he can avoid the
muddy patches and sow only in the pockets of the best soil. This is the method that
western techniques set out to improve.
Evidently, it cannot be done, for in 1972, twenty years since the establishment of the
Liaison Officer's post, no better method has been developed. In fact, two of the experts
who were involved from the very beginning a member of the Land Survey Team and the
former Liaison Officer himself have settled in Toledo and operate their own private
farms. Neither has been able to improve on the Kekchi method. For three years the
Liaison Officer used the typical western approach employing mechanization at every poss-
ible stage. In each of these three years his Kekchi neighbours with their milpa and their
pointed sticks obtained better harvests than he did. He has since sold his machinery and
adopted the Kekchi style of farming. The pointed stick beat the big machine.
Experts from the United Nations who visit the area feel that there must be a better
way; although they have no suggestions of their own, they encourage their resident
European counterparts to find one. There is some possibility that the method could
perhaps be improved if a new specie of corn were developed and if there were a very
heavy investment of capital. In the absence of these two both highly improbable given
the constraints that envelope administration in Belize there is no better way than the
age-old Kekchi method. One observer states quite boldly that he does "not interpret
milpa farming as being uneconomic."27
Milpa rice farming inspires conservatism not because of some inherent
orthodoxy in the method, but because it works very efficiently in this
particular instance of underdevelopment and the farmer knows this.28
Nevertheless, in the six years 1953-1959 Crique Sarco became the centre for the
infra-structure of the Government's social services as well as a focal point for technical
assistance and commercial activity. Crique Sarco, which had shrunk to a mere 15 families
quadrupled in these six years. The villagers were involved in several enterprises, novel in
their culture the cultivation of tree crops such as coconuts, coffee and citrus, the
development of improved pastures, the management of a cooperative and the care and
maintenance of the Cahunil. It must have seemed that development was there to stay.
All of.this development was, however, inseparable from two features: the presence of
experts resident in the village Liaison Officer, Teacher, Farm Demonstrator and Nurse -
and the control of their own means of transportation to Punta Gorda. These were the
agents that had stimulated the economic activity which yielded the general resurgence in
RELOCATION OF THE LIAISON OFFICER
In 1959 the Liaison Officer was relocated: this move ushered in a gradual decline that
would again choke Crique Sarco, leaving it neither cash economy nor subsistence agricul-
ture. He was moved against his own wishes but at the insistence of the Government to a
point considered more central, Machaka. The tales behind these opposed policies are in-
The Liaison Officer had got the opportunity to work with the Indians of Central
America, because he had grown interested in their culture. This interest was two-fold,
consisting partly of a positive attraction to Indian culture and in part to an increasing
distaste for western society. It is surprisingly ironic that this was the applicant who was
cast in a role essentially designed to Westernize the Kekchis. It is not at all surprising then
that the Liaison Officer was cautious about westernizing the Kekchis while he himself
proceeded to shed western values and to adopt the Kekchi style of life.29
Government for its part wanted a link between itself and the Kekchis. But it wanted
that link to act on its behalf and at its command, a situation which was scarcely possible
if the agent were inaccessible. Government felt that it saw too little of the Liaison
Officer and in fact felt that it had neither knowledge nor control of his activities.30
Furthermore, it considered that the officer had worked in the south western villages for
six years and should now be moved to Machaka; there it was felt that his influence would
spread over a larger area. In an effort to accomplish both of these objectives the Liaison
Officer was placed in new quarters at Machaka. Machaka is on the edge of the Indian
The new quarters were elaborate. The structure cost the Government B.H.$20,000 in
1959 in a country with a low cost of living. By comparison with his humble dwelling in
Crique Sarco this one was palatial. It was felt that these quarters were commensurate with
a Public Office of the status and salary of the Liaison Officer.
The typical colonial towns were invariably sited on the coast or within easy access of
major rivers. The difficulties of overland transportation and the orientation to the metro-
polis accounted for this pattern. Machaka was however sited well inland at a point where
the major roadways intersected. It was thought that as these roads developed and as land
transportation grew, Machaka would become a central point of even greater importance
than Punta Gorda. Moreover, Machaka was already the site of an extensive Government
reforestation programme. Government placed the Liaison Officer there so that they
could reach him and so that he could move more readily from one village to another.
The Liaison Officer's departure from Crique Sarco left a vacuum there, a vacuum of
guidance among the Indians, influence with Government, and technical skill, all of which
contributed to the collapse of the villages' achievements.
The Cooperative organisation through which the marketing was managed soon ran into
trouble. As one old Kekchi in Crique Sarco explained, "the people got confused." The
Liaison Officer had anticipated that there would have been problems in operating the
Cooperative; for this reason he left the thirty acre coconut plantation with one Kekchi.
The villagers objected and had the District Officer turn the plantation over to the
Cooperative. In a few years, like the other components of the cooperative, it was in ruins.
While cooperation permeates Kekchi social activity, it has quite finite limits and easily
recognizable tangible results. Cooperation occurs within kinship groups where mutual trust
and confidence are high. Outside of these groups there is a great deal of suspicion. The
only form of cooperation which exists beyond the family confines is the fahina. The
fahina is an intermittent communal effort in which all members of the village participate
in cleaning up the paths and bushes in the compound. The fahina lasts only for a few days
and takes place about twice a year. The benefit from this exercise is immediate and highly
visible. The assumption that a people whose social activities were so typically cooperative,
would readily manage long range cooperative enterprises by themselves was a misconcep-
tion. The suspicion of non-kin members contributed to the destruction of the Coopera-
This element of suspicion or fear reaches to levels where it produces action which
from a western economic perspective, is highly non-rational. Kekchis have an intense dis-
like for any member of their ethnic group rising notably above the rest, whether in
material terms or in power. They will tolerate outsiders in these roles, but not their own.
This makes life hazardous for the Kekchi entrepreneur. He will do well at first, gaining
the support of his villagers, but the moment he expands to a point that makes him too
distinctive, the villagers withdraw their patronage. They do this even though it invariably
means trekking several miles to obtain their provisions elsewhere.32 For these reasons,
the store in Crique Sarco is not operated by a Kekchi, but by a Mestizo.
It was this same storekeeper who took responsibility for maintaining the Cahunil after
1959. The boat functioned satisfactorily in his care for about two years, thendeveloped
engine troubles. The villagers sent it to Punta Gorda for repairs and collected several
hundred dollars to meet the service costs. Some time later, they learned that a few
hundred dollars more were required. They never provided these additional monies and so
lost both the Cahunil and their first payment. The boat remained in Joe Taylor's Creek
just outside Punta Gorda where it was flooded during the rainy season. It was allowed to
rot away, with bits of its hull being used finally, as firewood.
COLLAPSE AND EXODUS
Crique Sarco had lost its "guiding spirit" with the relocation of the Liaison Officer and
two years later its only form of commercial transportation with Punta Gorda became
useless. It was the combination of these two elements the Liaison Officer and the boat -
that had broken the decline of the village in 1953. The pattern of previous experience
seemed to suggest that the only way to avoid the cycle of subsistence-cash-subsistence
from going beyond the cash activity to the subsistence pattern was to ensure the continua-
tion of those conditions that had provoked the development of the cash activity itself.
Without transportation the village soon moved again into subsistence cultivation and the
traditional self-sufficient style of life the only formula for survival in an area so isolated
from the rest of the country.
Neither the Farm Demonstrator nor the Nurse remained long in Crique Sarco after the
Liaison Officer was withdrawn. With this withdrawal of the technicians scarcely any use
was made of the dry-weather airstrip. It gradually became overgrown quite beyond
recognition. With the collapse of the cooperative and the return to self-sufficiency, the
need for and use of pathways linking villages were reduced. And they too fell into dis-
repair. The villages were once again cut off from the market and without any efficient
means of moving their produce to Punta Gorda. No economic development survives with-
out a market and access to it.
The discontinuities in administration and policy which these developments reflect are
not peculiar to the Crique Sarco experience. On the contrary, there is an absence of a
long range view and in its place we find expediency, ambivalence and equivocation.
Cacho has described the government's policy in agriculture as "shots in the dark" on
account of the reluctance to confront the basic issues.33 He identifies several factors
contributing to the ineffectiveness of agricultural policy the rapid turn-over of techni-
cal staff, the number of vacancies among senior extension posts, Farm Demonstrators
who have little equipment, the minimal concern for research, credit or marketing, non-
directedness in agricultural education and a road-building programme which does more
for real estate value than agriculture.34 With this as the general picture, it is scarcely sur-
prising that Crique Sarco collapsed as it did.
Crique Sarco slowly returned to a subsistence pattern. But the return was not a smooth
one, for several families that had experienced the exposure to the cash economy decided
to leave the village. Some chose to move to lands close to motorable roads, others moved
along with the Liaison Officer. This was especially true of those families that had been
growing rice in the earlier years. Inevitably, this emigration aggravated the operation of
the milpa system. Nor did all the families that remained completely sever the attempt to
market some of their harvest.
Without the mechanical transportation the journey to the market has become exceed-
ingly demanding. The walk to Otoxha, nine miles away takes about two hours during the
dry season and more than three hours when it's wet. The trek from Otoxha to San
Antonio, going through the bushes, takes three days. It is necessary to carry food, a
hammock and feed for the pigs: water is obtained from creeks. Each man can manage
only two pigs. Some pigs' feet get lame and the animals must be carried on their owners'
backs or just left behind. The Kekchis make about six of these trips every year.35
An alternative only occasionally used, is to charter a dorey36for about $30: it can
hold about 30 pigs and about ten men. Otherwise if the trip is to be made by river and sea,
farmers must pay $1 per pig and $2 each for themselves. The journey to Punta Gorda by
boat invariably means that they must stay in the town overnight and hope to obtain
transportation on the following day. Overnighting in Punta Gorda presents problems for
the Kekchis. They spend a good deal of their hard-earned cash on a colourless rum which
makes them deeply drunk quite easily. While drunk they sometimes lose the rest of their
earnings. Since for some years there was no housing facility for them, they had to sleep,
man and wife, on pavements or under houses. But even the provision of a rest house for
them in the town did not give them sufficient protection, for the town thieves would
scale the fence enter the compound and steal the cash from their pockets as they slept in
heavy, drunken, innocent stupor.
Although crime is virtually unknown in the villages, arrests are commonly made while
the Indians are in Punta Gorda. Police records show that almost all these arrests are made
on Wednesday and Saturday nights when the Kekchis misbehave under the influence of
drink. The great majority of arrests are associated with alcohol.37 Even in their villages
most crimes can be correlated with drunkeness from Chicha a drink which they make by
In a society of several different ethnic groups of widely divergent cultures and where
communication is poor, rumours are commonplace and all sorts of myths are formed. One
myth about the Liaison Officer is that he has the power to establish new sites and to move
whole Indian villages. This fable emerged when upon his relocation a number of families
also left Crique Sarco. There is, of course, an element of truth in this, but considerably
less than the myth would suggest.
The Liaison Officer moved to Machaka toward the end of 1959. All of the region sur-
rounding Machaka had been examined for oil deposits and so had been segmented by
long straight traces. One of these traces led from the Officers' new quarters all the way in-
to Laguna, a site where just two families lived. The Liaison Officer helped build a village
there, by putting in roads and organizing its establishment. The need for this service arose
from San Miguel, a village further north, where conflicts reached the point at which one
faction chose to leave.
At the end of the third three year term, the Liaison Officers' post was discontinued.
The ex-officer moved to a private farm at Big Falls some five miles away from Machaka.
When the office was terminated, the rate of collapse at Crique Sarco accelerated. Many of
the residents left the village and established themselves on the ex-officer's land at Big
Falls. In addition to the ex-officer's reputation there were push and pull factors which
influenced this migration. There was the confusion and fall of standards at Crique Sarco
as well as the virtual impossibility of transporting any commodities to the market. By
comparison, Big Falls has a main road running right through it and is a mere seventeen
miles of motorable roadway from Punta Gorda. Furthermore, there are rice mills, made
available by Government virtually on their doorsteps. And also there is their compare,
the ex-officer who can speak for them should the need arise. When the ex-officer settled
at Big Falls in 1963, there were only four families there; nine years later Big Falls had
grown to a large village of about 60 families almost all of them from Crique Sarco.
A harsh testimony to the earlier aspirations in Crique Sarco are a number of railway
lines which lie half-buried on the bank of the Temash River, just below the village's store.
The lines were to have been used to construct a ramp for lifting the Cahunil, and for load-
ing produce. The Village has dwindled to less than half of its previous size. Commercial
transactions are made with Guatemalan tradesmen from Coban who journey to the
Government's two most elaborate establishments in Crique Sarco, the Farm Demonstra-
tor's quarters and the Dispensary with Nurses' quarters serve no purpose whatsoever. The
most imposing structure in the community is the Police Station, which functionally plays
only a marginal role in the village life. Significantly, the Cabildo, the centre of Kekchi
social activity, is a dilapidated structure less imposingly located than any of the Govern-
ment buildings. In view of our earlier note of the cultural attitudes toward thatch and
zinc, it is important to note that the Cabildo, the symbol of Kekchi cultural life in the
village, was roofed with zinc, the material which symbolized a repudiation of Indian
heritage. All this is, of course, consistent with the social order which operates in the
villages, for the police constable is a super-ordinate of the Alcalde, the Indian chosen by
the villagers as their chief for the year.
This imposition of western institutions on the Indians often leads to real confusion.
For example, many villages never understood the electoral system the idea of being
secretive in selecting one's leaders. Indians would therefore ask Government officers which
candidate was a good man. If the officer made the error to mention his own choice to
even one member of the village, the whole village would vote en bloc for that candidate.
They would, of course, quite readily reveal how they had come to that decision. Of
course, there was much conventional wisdom in the Kekchis exercise of the franchise: they
generally voted for the Government's candidate since he would determine their access to
The determination to inculcate western values, and western technology into the
indigenous population while showing contempt for Indian culture was the central feature
of the colonial era. The process was initiated from the first days of 'conquest' and is
nowhere more evident than in the domain of religion. Several of the first Roman Catholic
churches built in Central America were constructed on top of the Indian temples. The
permeation of the Christian religion is so deep that in many villages the younger Indians
can scarcely recall any of their own folklore, let alone their own religion. This process is
of course superbly buttressed by an educational system which has traditionally been
entirely devoid of any concern for Indian culture or history, and which has been the
virtual monopoly of the Catholic Church. This can have serious consequences for a people
and is perhaps a partial explanation for the escapism which manifests itself in alcoholism.
. It seemed that neglect of traditional things in the education of the
children was bringing into being a group who would have to sail the sea of
civilization with neither anchor nor rudder . The next generation of
Maya Indians cannot draw upon their social background for the confidence
that will be needed in the days ahead ... The Maya Indian has the innate
skill and ability to succeed but lacks that inner confidence, and when con-
fronted with adversity, is likely to crumble all of a sudden .... A good deal
of the fault lies in the provision of an education which severs indigenous
If this is true for the Maya, it is even more true for the Kekchi, a culture less readily
accommodative to western styles than is the Mayan. There are, nevertheless, some interest-
ing survivals, such as the a. tuk ritual in which a child of a few months gains a sort of
god-parent known as a xul and is ceremonially introduced to the artefacts that he/she is
expected to use in later life. It is interesting to note that the practice is not purely
religious, but it involves the retention of a traditional pattern of social control. Persons
generally show great respect for their xul.39
The various Maya groups differ considerably in the degree to which they
have become integrated with the normal everyday activities of the country.
Integration is furthest advanced in the North and least in the extreme
Crique Sarco is in the extreme South-West. Any approach to the introduction of
western services and western methods of production needed to proceed with caution and
Even those Civil Servants who regard the former Liaison Officer as an eccentric, have
the highest respect for the strong bond that grew between himself and the Kekchis. While
his links with the Kekchis were excellent they contend that his exchanges with them were
non-existent. The Development Plan which was in operation during the Liaison Officer's
third term hinted at the likelihood of structural changes in the post itself.
During this period the future of the programme will have to be considered
with a view to absorbing it in the recurrent services of Government financ-
ed by local revenue.41
On completion of the third triennial in 1962, the post was not absorbed into recurrent
expenditure: it was terminated. On the one hand, there are those who feel that the writing
was on the wall that with the achievement of internal self-government the Civil Service
would be re-structured, the axe falling heaviest on the marginal posts directly financed by
grants. Furthermore, in the rising tide of nationalism, the politicians seemed reluctant to
maintain a post of some distinction for an ex-patriate, especially so one with whom they
had had little contact and of whom they knew very little. For them the safest path was to
terminate the post. On the other hand, the "official" explanation for its discontinuance
was that in a multi-racial society Government could not afford to perpetuate any institu-
tion which provided special services, to one ethnic group. Government felt that it was
obliged either to establish similar posts for other minority ethnic groups, or else to cease
providing special assistance to the Kekchis. It chose the latter course.
The dislocations which Government's technical assistance had first healed and then
itself created in Crique Sarco would be let alone to find their own equilibrium in confusion
and subsistence. And similarly, the buildings constructed at considerable cost to several
Departments, were to be left to serve no purpose at all. No purpose, that is, save as
monuments in tribute to the incongruities of administration and culture in Belize.
The narrative of events in Crique Sarco reveals much which supports the basic ideas
that stimulated this study. In the first place, it substantiates the view that a large social gap
between policy makers and the beneficiaries of those policies can often have disastrous
results. In spite of their good intentions, the administrators in Belize were ignorant of
Kekchi culture. Their desire to improve the Kekchi's welfare faltered precisely because of
their lack of knowledge.
A second fundamental notion which the Crique Sarco episode supports concerns the
issue of commitment. It was not the people in Crique Sarco who requested help; nor was
it the administrators in Belize who decided to help the Kekchis; the urge to help the
Kekchis came all the way from England. Thus neither the local administration nor the
Kekchis were keen on the scheme; neither was highly motivated.
The formal provisions for the Liaison Officer's post provide further evidence for this
view. The post was established for only three years in the first instance, and was never
made an integral part of the local administrative system. Thus the other agencies with
which the Liaison Officer would have to work had only a tangential relationship with him.
The fact that the officer soon found himself administratively isolated is further evidence
of the lack of concern among the local Civil Service.
The structural arrangements and the short term provisions made for the Liaison
Officer's post beg the question of whether the policy-makers had any idea of their pro-
gramme's implications for Kekchi culture. There is no evidence to suggest that they did.
This is scarcely surprising. They designed that programme twenty years ago, when few
persons questioned the correlation between westernization and progress. To westernize
the Kekchis was synonymous with helping them. It was assumed that western medicine
and western agricultural techniques were superior to the Kekchis'.
It is evident that policies were designed for the Kekchis. Moreover, these policies were
part of a larger agricultural plan for Toledo. The objective for the Kekchis was to ensure
that they became a part of the mainstream of agricultural development in the region. And
this meant that they had to adopt "modern" farming practices. Milpa farming which
threatened the country's rich forest reserves was to be discontinued.
In all of its aims it is evident that Government's intention was to act in the interest of
the Indians and in the interest of the development of the region as a whole. But they were
unable to do so because of their complete ignorance of the very people whom they set out
to help. Changing the milpa system for fixed-plot farming was not a simple technical one.
It was a cultural change that had ramifications for several aspects of the Kekchi social
system. It was not just a change of production style; it was far more it was a change of
one life style for another.
The Government never attempted to understand Kekchi culture. They made no effort
to learn why the Kekchis' would swing from subsistence farming to participation in the
cash economy and back again to subsistence farming. Had Government simply gathered
this basic data, their plans might have been far more effective. It would have been evident
that access to the market was a crucial factor. The Crique Sarco experience illustrates the
danger of planning in a vacuum of information. In situations of cultural diversity between
planners and recipients it is essential to design plans in consultation with the recipients
and/or after extensive data collection.
One doubts whether if the planners had foreseen the hardships (rising very early to
reach a field several miles away and struggling back to the village laden with corn) and the
waste (selling a pig for $20 after it had consumed $35 worth of corn) that they would
have persisted with their plan. Government was clearly unaware of the delicate balance of
a subsistence economy and innocent of the dislocations and hardships that could result
from trying to squeeze a cash crop from it. Thus a programme designed to improve the
welfare of the Kekchis brought them new hardships. Growing more pigs for the market
eventually depleted the corn supply available for the villagers. This imbalance encouraged
emigration. The lasting consequence of the project in Crique Sarco is not improved wel-
fare, but a ruined village.
Very few public officers know the language of the Kekchis. This reveals the lack of
a recognition of the tremendous importance of communication as an instrument of deve-
lopment. The political actors use the languages of the masses for vote gathering exercises,
but not for developmental purposes. In this context, the Liaison Officer's performance
substantiates several of our notions. Once in Crique Sarco, he set out to learn the Kekchis'
language; then he learned their culture. Only then did he really win their respect and be-
come an influential figure in the village. His experience underlines the importance of trust
in building credibility and with it, influence.
The fact that he lived permanently with them is of great importance. His hut was like
theirs, he dressed as they did, and ate the same food as they did. By adopting their style
of life he not only showed his respect for them, but separated himself from their custom-
ary view of public officers. His experience serves to illustrate the importance of the life
style of public officers. There can be little doubt that the patterns which he adopted,
allowed him to understand Kekchi culture and so enabled him to be a more effective
agent. The Liaison Officer is a fine example of the importance of the life style of civil
servants. By adopting a pattern of living close to that of the Kekchis', the officer was able
to win their confidence and respect. Furthermore, by sharing their day to day problems
he was well placed to appreciate their problems and the logic of their priorities. Both
these factors, their trust in him and his familiarity with their interests, placed him in a
position from which he could exert considerable influence.
By living in Crique Sarco and getting other civil servants to join him there, the Liaison
Officer was fighting against one of the main obstacles that Third World bureaucracies
face: the inability to get technicians to live and work in rural areas. This difficulty seems
to be related to the narrow technical criterion on which recruitment to the public service
is based. In our view, recruitment which also considers ideological commitment to deve-
lopmental goals is a necessary feature 9f institutions that seek to implement change. De-
pending on the nature of the task ideological commitment may far outweigh the impor-
tance of technical competence.
The Crique Sarco narrative raises the issue of compliance and resistance. Did the
Kekchis resist westernization or did they readily comply? What were the areas of most
intense 'resistance'? So-called resistance was keenest among the culturally defined prac-
tice of childbirth. Thus it was on a sensitive issue that included a high concentration of
values, one that lay at the core of Kekchi family life and which was central to the mother's
self-image that resistance was most evident. But there was no general resistance to western
medicine. Kekchis are uncomfortable, indeed, fearful of the strange environment of a
hospital and try to escape. But it is the hospital that scares them, not the treatment they
receive; in their village they form long queues in order to get medicine. Thus one cannot
speak of a Kekchi resistance to western medicine, but only of their selective or differential
reaction to it.
Milpa farming is the nucleus of Kekchi economic organization. Kekchi society can be
examined as a culture organized around a practice of subsistence milpa farming. Yet, in
spite of the central importance of the milpa system in Kekchi life, the villagers participat-
ed in the agricultural experiments conducted by the Farm Demonstrator and the Liaison
Officer. In addition to the shift in form, there was the novelty of growing long term tree
crops as opposed to their short term staples. Yet the Kekchis cooperated.
This seems to lend substance to a basic idea underpinning this essay: namely the sub-
mission that the so-called illiterate masses are not the main obstacles of modernization.
The Kekchis' behaviour indicates that they responded readily to suggestions from persons
whom they trusted.
These illustrations indicate that the single notion of resistance is a misleading one. It
does not help us to understand why there is adoption in one area and reluctance in
Even adoption is itself an issue which begs questions. Having once adopted the prac-
tices of fixed-plot agriculture, why did the Kekchis revert to milpa farming? The issue of
permanence is an awkward one. Several factors account for the return to the milpa system,
some economic and some cultural. It is the latter that concern us here. Clearly fixed-plot
farming did not fit into the Kekchi norms regulating the possession and usage of land.
Land was a commodity to be used for the production of food for one's family and one's
relatives. There was no private ownership of land among Kekchis, a semi-nomadic people.
Thus the cultural norms of sharing land with one's relatives soon displaced the novel idea
of private land ownership.
This phenomenon in which apparent adoption is subsequently followed by a re-
emergence of the traditional patterns was reported by Redfield in his later Chan Kom
study. In discussing religion he noted that at one point in time the villagers disdained their
own traditional religion and adopted Catholicism, but subsequently, the traditional
religious practices were resumed.42 Clearly, traditional cultural values have a greater
bouyancy and vitality than we imagine.
There is need to refine the concept of adoption in order to distinguish mere compliance
from internalization. Internalization is clearly the situation that signals lasting change.
For adoption to attain a permanent character, it is essential that the norms surrounding
the new practice become an integral part of the adopting cultural system. In other words,
so long as there is conflict between the norms governing the new practice and norms in
the culture of the people making the adoption, there remains a risk of rejection and
This idea raises a fundamental issue of modernization. For what it implies is that
techniques alone can scarcely be transmitted. Some set of values always seem to accom-
pany the techniques, even if they are reinterpreted in their new setting. Thus, moderniza-
tion is not simply material enhancement, but also involves value transformations.
Mechanized agriculture and milpa farming are not simply different production systems.
Mechanized farming is an extension of the desire to control one's environment, while the
milpa system depicts a culture in harmony with its setting.
All these issues of adoption involving medicine, land tenure and farming practices,
illustrate the intricate nature of the relationship between administration and culture.
Administration, particularly administration which seeks to introduce change, needs to be
consistent with the cultural milieu in which reform is to be introduced. Where the change
introduced requires supportive norms that are markedly different from those in the host
culture, the process of change is likely to be a disruptive one. The events at Crique Sarco
illustrate this well.
The decision to move the Liaison Officer from Crique Sarco led to confusion and then
to a collapse of all that had been attained. There was no institutional structure in the
village to sustain the change. The other technicians soon left. And the Cahunil fell to
pieces shortly after.
One can well understand the Government's wish to move the officer to another loca-
tion. It is significant that he expressed a wish to remain at Crique Sarco. It is even more
significant that Government ignored that wish. Perhaps in some small way, this indicates
the unresponsiveness of Government to the advice of its technicians in the field. This is
the pattern in most developing countries: the administrative systems tend to be highly
authoritarian and decisions are made at the centre with little regard for inputs from points
lower in the hierarchy.
In moving the officer to Machaka the Administration was also concerned about check-
ing his eccentric behaviour. So they provided him with a house befitting an officer of his
status, a rather substantial mansion. Again this decision reveals the bureaucracy's pre-
occupation with projecting its own importance and prestige rather than a concern for
doing what is appropriate to the task at hand. The dysfunctions of these actions are
evidently not appreciated.
Part of the reasoning in moving the officer to Machaka was that other officers would
be able to contact him there more readily. He was nearer to Punta Gorda and on the main
road. This very traditional notion of communication illustrates the preference for custom-
ary patterns. There is a reluctance to use modern communication technology. The
bureaucracy insists on communication on paper. The officer had a wireless set and was
regularly in contact with the police; yet it never occurred to agencies wishing to com-
municate with him that they could do so by wireless. Again, form triumphs over purpose.
Why is it that Government would spend so lavishly on an officer's living quarters yet
allow the Cahunil to rot for the want of a few hundred dollars worth of repairs? Inconsis-
tencies of this order occur in many large administrative systems, but they seem to abound
in poor countries which can least afford them. While such events show the distortion of
priorities in public planning, they also provide good reason for the contempt and distrust
with which the impoverished regard their Governments. For they know only too well just
how much the administration cares for their welfare.
One consequence of market production in Crique Sarco was alcoholism. Again we are
faced with the question of development at what price. Again the issue of quantity of out-
put versus quality of life. It may well be impossible to resolve this question in any finite
way. What is essential, however, is that administrators concerned with modernization
should be aware of the social, cultural and psychological dimensions of the process.
Both the collapse at Crique Sarco and the growth of Big Falls can be associated with
economic factors. In the first place came the loss of reliable transportation to the market;
and in the second, the presence of rice mills and well-established motorable roads. But
both that collapse and that growth can also be related to the Liaison Officer's leadership -
in or out of the public service. This reputation, along with their trust in him and the
objective economic advantages at Big Falls are some of the main factors which have con-
tributed to the unusual expansion in that area.
What was the reasoning behind the termination of the programme? This is a simple
yet significant question. One explanation rests heavily on finance: namely, that the pro-
ject had been established as a Colonial Development and Welfare one, and so when those
funds ended the project had to be stopped. The other is more political: Belize consists of
several ethnic groups, Government must therefore have similar programmes for each
group or else have none at all. They took the latter course. What do these answers reveal?
They show that the decision to terminate the project had nothing to do with the consider-
ation that had led to its establishment the desire to improve the welfare of the Kekchis.
They show that the decision was made without any appraisal of the project and with no
regard for the consequences to the Kekchis. They show the importance of commitment:
for if either the local administrators or the Kekchis themselves had been keen on the pro-
gramme, it is unlikely that it would have been cut off so readily. They show how with the
move from a colonial administration to a governmental system more responsive to the
populace, additional constraints could impinge on the decision process. And these addi-
tional constraints would not always lead to decisions that were in the interest of the
people. Indeed, the fact that an administrative guideline could amputate the programme
without the slightest outcry from the Kekchis or any other group, indicates the meaning-
lessness of equating advances in forms of political institutions with advances in the real
political conditions of the populace. The Kekchis knew nothing of interest group politics.
And so, for them, 'political advancement' meant a new isolation: they became administra-
On this note of the emergence of the political system, it is appropriate to point out
that it represents one aspect of a copied institution which several villages did not under-
stand for a long time. Hence, villagers would all vote for one candidate if an influential
officer advised them to do so. One can scarcely contend that a democratic system exists
where there is such misunderstanding of the most fundamental aspect of the electoral
machinery. Once more, the significance of the cultural setting for the operation of the
administrative process is evident: a selection mechanism based on an aggregate of individ-
uals' secret decisions has no place in Kekchi culture which stresses communal activities.
The empty buildings and the unused railway lines are reminders of the difficulties of
introducing self-sustaining change in a culture with which one is unfamiliar. The well-kept
police station beside a dilapidated Cabildo is further evidence of desire to institute western
institutions rather than to shore up indigenous ones and to work through them. It is no
improper to conjecture that had the programme been implemented through the Kekchis
social institutions, it might have had greater permanence. In that way the removal of the
technicians might not have left the void that emerged. There might have been som
chance of a continuation.
The issues of administering planned change, adjusting the new element to the parti
larities of a certain culture and attempting to achieve a permanent adoption are central
this study. Administrative forms cannot be divorced from the cultural values, social cc
editions and historical experiences of the societies in which they exist. The Crique Sar
case reveals the significance of these factors very well. The inter-face between administ
tive institutions and cultural norms deserves special attention.
Westerners tend to view administrative institutions as instruments, that is, as utilitari
devices designed to serve a particular purpose. In doing so they often ignore the fact th
those instruments are also institutions which bear cultural traits. The Crique SarL
episode indicates the problems that can occur when change is introduced through an alit
institution, in this case a Liaison Officer. Once he was re-located there was no indigeno
Kekchi agent or institution that could perform his role; and not sufficient effort had be
invested in attempting to integrate the new role into the fabric of Kekchi life. F
throughout the attempt to westernize the Kekchis their social institutions had bet
ignored. There was little attempt to strengthen them and to use them as instruments fo
Administrators must recognize that culture is a powerful determinant of the prospect,
of any programme of planned change. Far too often administrators regard cultures alien
to their own as impediments to the introduction of change. It is crucial that persons seek-
ing to introduce change must appreciate that the social institutions of the recipient
culture can be a main source for supporting and institutionalizing the programme they
seek to implement. Such a perspective is diametrically opposed to the prevailing one. But
it is a switch which planners and administrators in the Third World must make if they
hope to introduce change rapidly and at the same time to minimize social dislocation.
Bureaucrats and social planners must recognize that the instruments for introducing
change in society cannot be separate from the institutions and traditions of the recipient
FREDERICK E. NUNES
1. D.H. Romney, A.C.S. Wright, R.H. Arbuckle, V.E. Vial Land Use in British Honduras: A
Report of the British Honduras Land Use Survey Team. Colonial Research Publications No. 24.
Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 1959, p. 283.
2. The word cahunil is a Kekchi one which is as close a concept as they have to the notion
"cooperative." It means "all the people, everybody."
3. Great Britain, Colonial Office. Report of the British Guiana and British Honduras Settlement
Commission. By Sir Geoffrey Evans and others. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1948.
See also George E. Cumper, "The Evans Report: Report of the British Guiana and British
Honduras Settlement Commission" Caribbean Quarterly Vol. 1, No. 3 (Oct.-Nov. 1949).
4. Romney, op. cit p. 282. Emphasis added.
5. ibid. p. 283.
6. ibid. p. 283.
7. This use of a CD&W grant in a programme designed to improve the quality of life in Belize
represents a deviation from the customary application of those funds. Ashcraft points out that
CD&W grants which started in 1945 were used by the UK in a policy of economic development
which was always tied to strengthening the export market, in particular sugar and citrus. See
Norman Ashcraft, Colonialism and Underdevelopment: Process of Political Economic Change
in British Honduras. New York: Columbia University, 1973, p. 72. See also C.P. Cacho, "Some
Reflections on Agricultural Policy in British Honduras", Journal of Belizean Affairs, Vol. 1,
No. 1, (June, 1973) p. 51.
8. Romney op. cit p. 127.
9. ibid. p. 127.
10. ibid. p. 127.
11. Pigs can kill snakes and are, on account of their own thick layer of fat, somewhat safe from
12. Romney op. cit p. 128.
13. ibid. p. 128.
14. Michael Howard "Agricultural Labour Among the Indians of the Toledo District", National
Studies (St. John's College, Belize) Vol. 2, No. 4 (July 1974) pp. 8-9.
15. Ilonel is the Kekchi word for bush doctor.
16. There are cases where although western doctors assured patients that their only hope was
through amputation, the ilonel was able to cure the limb and restore the person to a fully active
17. There is furthermore, the likelihood that the delivery position currently used in western
medicine is adopted because of its convenience to the obstetrician and his professional staff,
and is not chosen with much consideration for the mother's convenience or comfort.
18. Robert Redfield, A Village that Chose Progres: Chan Kom Revisted, Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1950, pp. 121-122.
19. For a clear description of these practices see Michael Howard, "Agricultural Labour Among
the Indians of the Toledo District," National Studies (St. John's College, Belize) Vol. 2, No. 4,
(July, 1974) pp. 1- 3. Howard describes the traditional cooperative practices and shows how
they were central to the social integration of the village. He points out that the impact of
government and church on the rural communities during the 1950's increased labour practices
which utilized wage payment and so contributed to the emergence of factionalism and individ-
ualization in place of the social collectivism which had existed before.
20. Romney op. cit p. 114.
21. ibid. p. 114.
22. ibid. p. 281.
23. It is not being suggested here that the problems of internal migration are peculiar to Belize.
What is being suggested is that the cultural context in which this movement occurs gives little
chance to any corrective policy emanating from a rational-legal bureaucratic frame, a frame
which operates in a value system far removed from Kekchi mores. An interesting episode which
shows the extent of the belief of a relationship between good spirits and prosperity in a village
is the story of the Kekchis of San Antonio who journeyed forty miles through the forest into
Guatemala in order to steal statues of their patron saint from a church in San Luis. See Alfred
Lemmon S.J. "San Luis of San Antonio", National Studies Vol. 1, No. 6 (Nov. 1973) pp. 21-23.
24. In Kekchi there is no single concept for the future. There are, however, expressions for
tomorrow, HULA, and next year, SHIRU AHA HUN.
25. The episode does, however, throw some light on the difficulties that face administrative
systems in which there is such a dearth of personnel with specialist skills: those who are above
a certain level will be thrown from one specialist role to another, not because they possess any
of the appropriate knowledge but simply because of their high level of general competence.
26. Ashcraft, Colonialism and Underdevelopment, p. 108.
27. ibid. p. 170. Also, see p. 172 for his criticisms of the economics of the milpa system.
28. ibid. p. 108. Notwithstanding the views expressed above, a recent Peace Corps programme of
adaptive research seems to offer some promise of improving on the milpa system not replac-
ing it. In San Pedro, although the Indians were using new ground each year and in spite of
increasing their labour input, they were getting declining yields year after year. The research
programme has introduced herbicides, fertilizers, seed selection, careful spacing at planting and
the use of fences in order to reduce the distances which villagers normally had to walk. This
approach does not destroy the milpa system but permits the application of modern technology
within the traditional pattern. Unfortunately, the programme is only two years old and in the
first year, it was badly disrupted by Hurricane Carmen and in 1975 was equally badly disrupted
by drought. So the economic merit of the experiment is as yet indefinite. It is interesting to
note that the idea of an adaptive approach has been developed not only by a Belizean agrono-
mist, but by one who is also a Maya Indian.
29. On account of this turn of events of a white man adopting an Indian culture the ex-Liaison
Officer is regarded by his former Civil Service colleagues as somewhat of an oddity. There is, of
course, nothing peculiar when the course is reversed, as when Indians adopt western styles. The
former Liaison Officer is regarded as an eccentric who married a Kekchi, farms and lives as they
do and like a recluse is almost never seen in any town.
30. The issue of the frequency of reports between the Liaison Officer and the Government is one
which produced wide discrepancies. While the Officer estimates that he reported about every
two months, the Administrators feel that they seldom ever heard from him and never knew of
his plans. Unfortunately, with the vast destruction of records by Hurricane Hattie, this issue
will perhaps remain unresolved. There is however, little doubt that the Liaison Officer was not
enthusiastic about lengthy written reports. In Crique Sarco, he did maintain a wireless set which
he used to keep in contact with the police in Toledo. The administrative system never used the
police network to send instructions to the Liaison Officer.
31. The establishment of cooperatives and their growth into profitable enterprises which crumble
shortly after they are left to the Indians themselves is a common pattern that follows private
and public efforts alike. In San Antonio, a Maya town in Toledo, a Jesuit priest Fr. William
Ulrich established several highly prosperous cooperatives pigs, poultry, rice, cattle. The
cooperatives owned their own truck and rice mill. Shortly after Ulrich was moved to Spanish
Honduras, the cooperatives collapsed. In this case, however, the experience of the cooperatives
spawned a number of entrepreneurs who have kept several aspects of the activity alive.
A detailed study of the experience in San Antonio has been conducted, see James R.
Gregory, Pioneers on a Cultural Frontier: The Mopan Maya of British Honduras, Ph.D. Thesis,
Graduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, 1972. Gregory examines pro-
grammes of planned change pp. 96-125, as well as the role of Mopan individuals as entrepren-
eurs and change agents pp. 260-283.
32. There is one case in which a Kekchi's store was set ablaze. Among the Kekchis such action is
frowned upon not because it is regarded as criminal, but because someone lost control and it is
not good to lose control of oneself.
33. Cacho, op. cit p. 58
34. ibid. p. 59
35. For a thorough and perceptive analysis of the internal marketing system in Belize and its
sociological significance, see Norman Ashcraft "Land Use and Trade: The Process of Economic
Change in British Honduras." Ph.D. thesis, Brandeis University, 1967, chapter VII, "The
Internal Marketing System", pp. 271-336. Ashcraft describes the transportation and market-
ing problems of the rural communities and describes the emergence of trucking and its impact
on the behaviour of rural women.
36. Dorey is the word used to describe a canoe with an outboard motor.
37. Indeed, it seems that one of the impacts that the cash economy has had on Indian culture is the
creation of alcoholism. After a selling trip to the towns the Indians often spend their cash on
alcohol. They return home without any provisions and simply fall out of the truck. This event
is regarded as a sort of circus, with the children standing around smiling and watching the older
folk stumbling about. It is not perceived with the obvious negative connotation customary in
middle class western society.
38. Romney op. cit pp. 282-283.
39. Michael Howard "A Kekchi 'Rite of Passage'", National Studies, Vol. 1, No. 5 (Sept. 1973),
pp. 2-6. In another paper Howard sets out several other Kekchi religious beliefs concerning
life in the village, agriculture and the jungle. See his "Kekchi Religious Beliefs and Lore Regard-
ing the Jungle", National Studies, Vol. 3, No. 2 (March 1975).
40. Romney op. cit p. 281.
41. Confidential Draft: British Honduras Development Plan Part III, 1955-60. October 1957,
Government Printers, p. 92 para. 479.
42. Robert Redfield, A Village that Chose Progress, p. 114.
Abrams, Ira Rance "Cash Crop Farming and Social and Economic Change in a Yucatec Maya
Community in Northern British Honduras." Ph.D.-Thesis, Department of Anthropology,
Harvard University, 1973.
Ashcraft, Norman. Colonialism and Underdevelopment: Process of Political Economic Change in
British Honduras. New York: Columbia University, 1973.
"Land-Use and Trade: The Process of Economic Change in British Honduras."
Ph.D. Thesis, Brandeis University, 1967.
Cacho, C.P. "Some Reflections on Agricultural Policy in British Honduras", Journal of Belizean
Affairs, Vol. 1, No. 1 (June, 1973).
"British Honduras: A Case of Deviation in Commonwealth Caribbean Decoloniza-
tion", New World Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 3, 1967.
Confidential Draft: British Honduras Development Plan Part III, 1955-60. October 1957, Belize:
Cumper, George E. "The Evans Report: Report of the British Guiana and British Honduras Settlement
Commission", Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Oct.-Nov. 1949).
Evans, Sir Geoffrey et. al. Report of the British Guiana and British Honduras Settlement Commission.
London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1948.
Gregory, James R. "Pioneers on a Cultural Frontier: The Mopan Maya of British Honduras." Ph.D.
Thesis, Graduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, 1972.
Howard, Michael. "Agricultural Labour Among the Indians of the Toledo District", National Studies,
St. John's College, Belize) Vol. 2, No. 4 (July 1974).
"A Kekchi 'Rite of Passage"', National Studies, Vol. 1, No. 5 (Sept. 1973).
"Kekchi Religious Beliefs and Lore Regarding the Jungle", National Studies, Vol. 3,
No. 2 (March, 1975).
Jones, Grant D. "Los Caneros: Sociopolitical Aspects of the History of Agriculture in the Corozal
Region of British Honduras." Ph.D. Dissertation, Brandeis University, 1969.
Lemmon, Alfred, S.J. "San Luis of San Antonio", National Studies, Vol. 1, No. 6 (Nov. 1973).
Lord, David. "Planned Socio-Cultural Change in a British Honduran Fishing Village." Master's Thesis,
Department of Anthropology, Michigan State University, 1967.
Nash, Manning. Machine Age Maya: The Industrialization of a Guatemalan Community. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press. 1958.
Rambo, A. Terry. "The Kekchi Indians of British Honduras: An Ethnographic Study", University of
Michigan, June 1962. Unpublished.
Redfield, Robert. A Village that Chose Progress: Chan Kom Revisited. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1950.
Reina, Ruben E. "Milpas and Milperos: Implications for Prehistoric Times." American Anthropologist,
National Studies, Vol. 69, No. I (Feb. 1967).
Romney, D.H., Wright, A.C.S., Arbuckle, R.H., Vial, V.E. Land Use in British Honduras: A Report of
the British Honduras Land Use Survey Team. Colonial Research Publications No. 24. Her
Majesty's Stationery Office. 1959.
Strumpel, B. "Preparedness for Change in a Peasant Society." Economic Development and Cultural
Change, Vol. 13, No. 2, 1965.
MILITARY TECHNOLOGY TRANSFERS AND THIRD WORLD
Critics of the military spending during the first half of this century often rested their
case on the plausible but unfounded assumption that rises in arms expenditures increased
the probability of external war. Because they were literally overwhelmed by pacifism and
its concomitant anti-military bias, these polemicists focused too exclusively upon a single
variable. In the contemporary era those concerned with promoting social, economic and
political development in the Third World have at times committed a similar error. Here
one is captivated by another very plausible but equally problematic assumption that the
economic burden of escalating military budgets and arms imports will add another signi-
ficant impediment to closing the developmental gap with the advanced technological
societies of the world. Others resurrect the increased war incidence assumption, though
now it is dressed in the horrifying garb of nuclear attack. Euphemistically identified as
the "n-country problem", here the contention is that de facto military technology trans-
fers (i.e., reactors) will yield atomic weapons whose disposition will rest in the unsteady
hands of political leaders likely to be more reckless than those who man the helm in our
industrialized Western societies. While for obvious reasons it is difficult for us to fathom
the veiled paternalistic bias of so alluring an assumption, mrriy in the Third World
recognize the implicit double standard of an approach that at once ignores examples of
reckless Western military behaviour in recent decades and at the same time endeavours to
freeze an asymmetrical balance of nuclear power.
One of the few things that are clear at this point is the necessity of avoiding an ap-
proach that purports to appraise the significance of phenomena without first identifying
the parameters of their systemic context. Even though military expenditures in under-
developed areas have more than doubled (in constant dollars) over the past decade-and
notwithstanding the fact that such a rise dwarfs increases in the developed countries, this
is but a single datum which may or may not be of secondary significance as an obstacle to
development.' The same holds for military technology transfers.2 Hence even an explora-
tory and largely heuristic analysis requires that one begin by examining the context. In
the following pages I shall first consider alternate strategies of development currently
operative within Third World nations. Then I will briefly discuss the potential and con-
straints upon military role-playing in this process. Finally an attempt will be made to
evaluate the developmental relevance of the particular phenomenon in question-military
Competing Developmental Strategies
Despite the recurrent unity of Third World nations on a number of salient North/South
issues over the past ten to fifteen years (trade preferences for manufactures, increased aid
commitments, a larger concessionary element, equal access to seabed minerals, etc.),
considerable discord exists over the policy mixes or "clusters" most likely to bring these
nations up to the general levels prevailing in advanced capitalist societies. Although many
regimes for historical or other reasons are actually on a dynamic or unstable continuum
between what I shall distinguish as the "open door evolutionary" approach and the
"state capitalist directed" one, a majority I think can be found closer to one or another
of these ideal types than at a hypothetical mid-point on the continuum-at least over any
period of time. Movement may occur in either direction through incremental policy
innovation (Tanzania), or as a consequence of regime replacement (Chile).
The developmental strategy which is most ubiquitous and at the same time actively
promoted by advanced capitalist nations is of course the "open door evolutionary"
orientation. The emphasis here is upon adopting economic, social and political measures
(e.g., disciplining labour and suppressing radical leftists) in order to attract as much
foreign investment as possible? It is sometimes assumed that both efficiency and maxi-
mum economic growth will follow, and that this is only a pre-requisite for being able to
eventually provide social amenities for the multitudes. Ultimately the nation may grow
sufficiently to end its political dependency upon aid from advanced capitalist nations and
the international financial institutions which they dominate. Similarly, once high rates of
growth provide sufficient surplus to diffuse higher living standards and raise the cultural
levels of the masses, the elites may be able to gradually incorporate them into participant
roles within an increasingly pluralist system. During the transitional period, effective
pluralism must be restricted by one means or another to prevent the masses from making
demands that overload the system's extractive capabilities. Civilian elites committed to
this approach have found it increasingly difficult to perform the "gatekeeper" function
over the past two decades. Some like Marcos and Mohammed Pahlevi have turned to the
military/police institutions to ensure among other things that the gate remained securely
locked, while others like Isabel Peron whose competence was impugned were readily sup-
planted by military elites.
The second "state capitalist directed" strategy has usually been adopted by elites or
more precisely hegemonic factions which became disenchanted with either the develop-
mental priorities or performance of the first. It involves an effort by the state to control
the exploitation of major natural resources and to impose investment priorities. The as-
sumption of a dominant role in managing the economy by the state is intended not only to
promote higher investment, but also to ensure the creation of basic, processing and
import-substitution industries. Efforts are necessarily directed at maximizing the reinvest-
ment of profits, allocating scarce foreign exchange and attempting to alter the composition
of exports by enlarging the proportion of processed raw materials and manufactured
goods. Expropriation and the imposition of higher taxes upon foreign investors are
common to these regimes as is the creation of new state-owned enterprises.
This conception of development rejects the sequential approach associated with open
door regimes. If political development at the national level is regarded as a movement
toward autonomy, we can see how these regimes make a virtue of necessity. Economic
nationalism requires sufficient political independence to be able to bargain. Hence these
elites actively seek aid from state socialist systems in order to end their political depend-
ency upon advanced capitalist societies. Their populist or "socialist" aspirations are in
some moderate degree reflected by efforts at internal reform of agriculture, control over
trade and credit, diffusion of limited though concrete social amenities to the masses
(especially in such areas as health, education and employment), promotion of co-
operatives, and the encouragement of mass participation in trade unions and a movement
or party intended to create a national constituency for the elite. Because of the social
measures of these regimes, the "gatekeeper" function of the armed forces appears less
pronounced. On the other hand, there is a greater tendency for some sectors of the
military to participate directly in development projects.
Significance of External Military Support
Before one can appraise the import of military technology transfers, it is essential to
explore how alternative development strategies affect military interests. Because of their
very unique style of life, martial values, de facto autonomy and physical isolation from
civilians, I believe it is useful to treat the officer corps as a distinct bureaucratic social
class than as a sector of the middle class. The ubiquitous growth of professionalism
has reinforced the trend toward a differentiated outlook which more often than not is
associated with an attitude of intense disdain toward civilian politicians and values? Al-
though the military have often been willing to provide coercive resources to secure the
position of privileged civilian classes or Bonapartist caudillos, the stability of such relation-
ships has become increasingly dependent upon the capability of the regime to provide
adequate resources-economic and weapons-to satisfy perceived military institutional
needs. Naturally, these encompass life-style amenities6
Conflicts over such matters seem to have functioned as one among several catalysts of
military intervention in the contemporary era. Over the past decade and a half, the
military have used their coercive resources to become hegemonic ruling classes in an in-
creasing number of Third World nations. Even where civilian executives or assemblies
continue to declare national policies, they are in many cases literally "dependent" upon
military contentment. The latter however is a function of considerably more than defer-
ence to budgetary claims, timely retirement of the unduly ambitious or for that matter
avoidance of undue meddling within the "autonomous" command structure.
Since World War II, a handful of advanced capitalist nations in the North Atlantic area
have trained well over a half million military men from the underdeveloped areas. It would
be foolhardy to regard this process as just another technical assistance programme. A
central objective is political indoctrination or in more euphemistic terminology-external
socialization. In all cases, varying degrees of latent socializaiiun also occur. Robert Price
(1971) has delineated how such exposure by Ghanaian officers resulted in the creation of
external reference groups prior to the coup against Nkrumah.
During the period in question, the United States alone has trained almost 400,000 Third
World military men of whom approximately two-thirds were officers. If one excludes
Cambodia and Laos, roughly eighty per cent of these men were socialized within the
United States itself or its Canal Zone installation complex-particularly the U.S. Army
School of the Americas. As I have documented at length elsewhere (1973), the directed
or overt socialization has been increasingly institutionalized to promote military depend-
ency ("trust" in U.S. officers and "responsiveness" to their policy suggestions) through
mutually reinforcing themes: 1) legitimacy of "civil" rather than civilian government;
2) promoting development through corporate investment that receives subsidies and other
protection from the state; 3) trade liberalization; 4) denial of the exploitive theory of
capitalism; 5) faith in Western and optimally American leadership (alignment);6) diabolical,
conspiratorial and anti-military portrayals of communism; 7) carefully controlled expos-
ure to limited aspects of American society; 8) great emphasis upon social activities and
the creation of personal relationships.
Dependency is a key theme in military and executive justifications of training before
the U.S. Congress. In addition to communism, the explicit targets of this external social-
forces of disruption
radical African states
insurgents and their allies
leftist, ultranationalist, anti-American, Nasser-type groups
preventing or eliminating insurgencies inimical to U.S. interests
Generals associated with the training programme in Latin America have been quite explicit
in their references to protecting foreign investments.B On April 20, 1971, Ambassador
Nathaniel Davis, who was shortly to depart for his new Chilean assignment, summarized
the broader overall policy context in the following words. "(money) isn't everything.
Love is the other two per cent. I think this characterizes the United States' relationship
with Latin America."9 After he presided over Allende's deposition, the OAU formally
protested Davis' promotion to the position of Assistant Secretary of State for African
The follow-up on officer ex-trainees is handled by various intelligence agencies, and
the programme itself is used as a C.I.A. cover. Former C.I.A. officer Agee (1975) reports
that his agency had played an important role in catalyzing more than twenty coups.
Despite the high incidence of censorship, a substantial number of references to specific
right-wing coups are made in congressional hearings.10 Military and civilian executive wit-
nesses have seldom been challenged for their boast of high effectiveness for such training.
My own research has indicated that as the proportion of foreign officers trained increases,
the likelihood of radical or state capitalist-type coups diminishes. In short, the ratio of
right- to left-wing coups increases sharply." Foreign officer training may also play a role
in prompting coups against corrupt, incompetent and/or libertarian civilian governments
which nonetheless were endeavouring to conform to the open door evolutionary develop-
Training impact is enhanced by the normative predispositions of trainees. Many of
course have been socialized in national military educational institutions which were
modelled upon those in the United States, France, Germany and Britain. Historically, as
Vagts (1959) stresses, the military have been one of the more socially conservative groups
in Western society. He and Chorley (1943) have analyzed at length the traditional
counter-revolutionary bias of the military in the West. Even in the present era of broaden-
ing social recruitment, most officers originate in the relatively privileged middle class or
are internationally recruited. At higher ranks, conservatism tends to be particularly pro-
nounced as does an upward bias in social origins. Conservatism is also a result of bureau-
cratic institutional norms and certain qualities of the "military mind" such as anti-
intellectualism, particularism, a belief in hierarchy and order, ritual, etc.'3 Similarly, it
should be added that officers tend to "marry up" and emulate those reputed for their
recreational taste, social decorum, and flair for the amenities of bourgeois society. Their
predisposition to favour the evolutionary open-door approach to development is re-
inforced by its consonance with traditional military specialization of a martial character.
Few commanders are enamoured by the prospect of direct assumption of industrial
management or such unheroic tasks as the construction of schools, highways and dams.
And in most armed services, including the United States', the combat branches still retain
greatest prestige and importance to high-level promotion.is
The Appeal of State Capitalist Developmentalism
The limited though growing military disaffection with economic liberalism and its
willingness to introduce what are often depicted as socialist measures can be attributed to
a number of institutional and environmental developments. In the first place most of
these radical regimes have appeared in Africa or the Middle East where indigenous upper
class reference groups were non-existent or discredited by colonial conquest.,6 Second,
they have appeared in new nations which lacked significant training relationships with the
United States. Officers who led the coups tend frequently to be very young, ex-guerrilla
leaders, not trained in the "mother" country or exposed to other socialization discontin-
uities. Others may have resented continued colonial tutelage and/or command subordin-
ation. Some of course were exposed to competing external socialization from Soviet,
Czech or Chinese training tours or visits of a similar character to other radical non-aligned
countries. These tours are probably quite effective if invitees have been carefully screened.
Yet I suspect that interface contacts of this nature can be measured in the hundreds prior
to radical coups in such countries.17 Thus, in the five countries where state capitalist
oriented interventions occurred between January, 1970, and November, 1976, prior
Soviet or other Communist training links seem to have existed in only one-Afghanistan.'8
Hence to the extent that radical ideas do influence military conspirators prior to the
intervention, they probably originate elsewhere. Not only are they "in the air" so to
speak, but occasionally exposure occurs through nationalist intellectuals in war colleges
(Peru), guerrilla tracts (Peru), a desire for mass popularity (Bolivia), fellow officers con-
scripted from left-wing university circles (Portugal), children and their student com-
To comprehend why such exposure affects military roles, we must again return to the
environment in which officers find themselves. First, as I have implied, they need no
longer depend upon Western donors or exporters for first-line arms. In fact, Communist
offers have not only carried less burdensome terms than Western commercial deals (unless
one factors in bribery), but they have forced Western countries to furnish quality rather
than obsolete weapons. Hence, radically tempted officers have what Trimberger (1977)
has identified as unprecedented "international room for maneuver". Second, interface
contacts often neutralize diabolical stereotypes that have been internalized as a result of
prior socialization. Eastern officers are recognized as fellow military professionals who
may promote rapport even by informally conveying resentment at what they regard as
excessive Party meddling in military affairs. Third, the absence of parliamentary demo-
cracy in Communist systems is not in marked contrast with the situation in their own
countries- and has become less so as the years have passed. Fourth, some of these officers
are intensely patriotic and many more recognize that little international esteem will ever
be accorded them so long as their countries are not closing the developmental gap(s) with
the advanced capitalist societies.
We must confront the fact that the open door evolutionary strategy has been widely
tried and found wanting. It is not merely that as a recent U.N. report observed there is an
"increasing economic 'gap' between" the advanced capitalist societies and most of those
in the Third World,20 but that this approach: 1) results in enclave and secondary rather
than balanced industrial growth, 2) is associated with long-term net losses of largely
domestically generated capital due to both legal and concealed profit remissions by
foreign investors; 3) makes it difficult to neutralize the declining terms of trade; 4) fails
to utilize more than a small portion of spectacular short-term rises in foreign exchange
earnings (e.g. OPEC) for productive investments; 5) occasions increasing political depend-
ency due to the escalating burden of external debt.21 It is not surprising then that even
among moderate officers who have been more or less committed to this approach, there
has been a tendency over the last decade or so to deviate from the model. Thus when
rightist coups succeed in ousting radical elements, officers simply end further state
capitalist development rather than dismantle the pre-existing infrastructure. And when
the latter does occur as in Ghana and Chile, there is an eventual intra-military reaction to
such dysfunctional extremism.22
It is here that we may usefully consider the significance of military technology trans-
fers. First, any transfer of military resources strengthens the relative internal political
position of the military class. Over the past two decades, increases in arms transfers,
military budgets, per capital military expenditures and military population ratios in the
Third World have of course parallelled the decline of civilian rule.3 Although the U.N.
(1972) Report to which I have previously referred argues that military allocations of
resources limit available capital for socio-economic development, this contention obscures
more than it reveals. There is no association between the share of GNP devoted to the
armed forces and the rate of economic growth. In a country pursuing an open door evolu-
tionary approach, a reduction in military expenditures would not vitiate the inadequacies
of the regime's developmental policies. Savings would then be used to import additional
luxury goods, flow into numbered bank accounts in Zurich, be invested in Krupp or other
corporations in the advanced capitalist societies. Furthermore, it is utopian to believe that
in the absence of a coup or successful revolutionary struggle that major reductions would
be made given both the material self-interest of the bureaucratic military class and its
vital repressive or "gatekeeper" and neo-colonial functions in such systems.
The policy orientations of such regimes suggest that their military technology imports
would like other foreign investments result in long-term net outflows of profits derived
from such production and of course increments in external debt. Political dependency
might also be deepened because of the capital invested in one donor's technology thus
rendering it more difficult to shop around. Furthermore, where many components had to
be imported, it is doubtful that cost savings would result or for that matter that exports
would be sufficient to compensate for imports and licence or equity returns. Finally, it
should be borne in mind that the promotion of military sales including commercial trans-
fers is integral to the previously described military assistance training programme-one
explicitly designed to promote political dependency directly and indirectly through its
emphasis on the evolutionary open door approach.2
Most of these considerations would not be applicable to cases where the transfer of such
technology were integral to a state capitalist directed strategy of development. Since the
military class here still retains its material or institutional needs, such transfers are bound
to occur. The requirement of order for any developmental strategy naturally connotes the
need for at least a limited repressive function as well. Yet this should not obscure the
tendency of such regimes to develop a productive "mission" for the armed forces. Whether
it is a question of establishing co-operative or state farms, road construction, erection of
schools, or the building of dams, the armed forces can no longer be conceptualized as
simply a parasitical bureaucratic class which consumes society's surplus. Similarly, to the
extent that the conditions under which such technology is imported are such as to confer
national ownership over the facilities and retention of profits once loans or patents are
repaid, such imports may directly contribute to capital accumulation. Furthermore, if
they are integrated into a balanced industrialization strategy, indigenous components will
have a ready market. Finally, if the imported technology can be divorced from con-
comitant external training-and that is a big if-political independence may be enhanced.
The Instability of State Capitalist Systems
With few exceptions, these regimes have been subverted by right-wing military factions
or have over a period of years modified their commitment to nationalizing economic
control of their resources.26 Those which have survived for at least a decade have a good
record in such areas as industrialization and political development, and have broadened
considerably the diffusion of social amenities. On the other hand, they too have failed to
"take off" economically in per capital GNP growth rate terms.27
Because military class "loyalty" inhibits widespread purges of more conservative officer
factions which continue to be strengthened by Western training inputs, the more radical
officers are often prevented from instituting broad-ranging social and military reforms
designed to create full employment and fully utilize other productive facilities?8 At the
same time energy must be diverted to neutralizing a steady stream of conspiracies from
the right and similar if less frequent efforts by smaller cliques of Marxist-inspired officers29
Radical officers and civilians-where the latter still direct state capitalist regimes-also ap-
pear incapable of inspiring mass support or of adopting an associated self-reliant ethos
requisite to meeting the technological and other challenges of development. While the
diversification of aid donors enhances bargaining leverage and therefore political independ-
ence, the societal mobilization necessary for a developmental take-off requires a self-
generated elan or psychological commitment to mastering science, technology and the
organizational problems associated with full use of the existing and potential productive
While I may have exaggerated these disabilities, it is worth pondering that only
Marxist-inspired mobilizational systems in the underdeveloped areas seem to be closing
the gap with the advanced capitalist societies-and even so they are developing at a rather
moderate pace for the most part.30 Perhaps Marxist ideology and concomitant civilian
cadre party supremacy are the vital requisites for both stability and all-round develop-
ment which even the more radical military regimes lack. If the passage of time should in-
dicate this, then one must confront the reality that none of these developing systems
were introduced by elitist military coups. All were imposed due to the weakness or defeat
of traditional military establishments. New military institutional elites were both institu-
tionally subordinated and utilized for massive production investments.31 If this continues
to be the pattern of comparative performance over the next generation or two, then one's
assessment of the developmental benignity of Western military technology transfers to
state capitalist regimes would have to be negatively revised. In place of such imports,
those concerned with promoting economic, social and political development could re-
commend diversification of such transfers only among various Communist donors until
such time as a Marxist-inspired de classes military faction opted to arm civilian revolution-
aries dedicated to a syncretic restructuring of society from the bottom up so to speak.
While state socialism is not itself devoid of repressive political tendencies, it does offer at
least in the underdeveloped areas the means of securing a right to a decent life for the
millions who are being marginated from the so-called developmental process?2 And eventu-
ally both the democratic elements in Marxist ideology along with the rise in mass cultural
levels will create a propitious environment for those committed to furthering socialist
MILES D. WOLPIN
* Gratitude is expressed to Klaus Gottstein and the Pugwash Group of the German
Federation of Scientists for providing the stimulus that made this paper possible. I also
wish to thank Jean Hughes, Valerie Horejsi, Tim Kolb, Ann Lenny, Mary Jo Kitchen,
Mike McGlynn, Kim Thomson, Edison Cox, Karen Warzinski, Pete Ford, Phil Neisser,
Greg Palmer, Becky Fritz and last but not least Susan Jackson Wolpin for their valuable
assistance in obtaining material and producing the manuscript.
TOTAL ARMS TRANSFERS OF MAJOR SUPPLIERS FROM 1965-1974, BY RECIPIENT COUNTRY (Million Current Dollars)
United Soviet United Czecho- Republic Republic of All
Recipient Total States Union France Kingdom slovakia of China Poland Canada Germany Others
East Asia 20,881 14,640
China, People's Rep
China, Republic 6f
Korea, Republic of
- 9 3
54 1 10 5 -
25 73 -
Near East 13,455 5,628 5,733
2 31 45 181 465
TOTAL ARMS TRANSFERS OF MAJOR SUPPLIERS FROM 1965-1974, BY RECIPIENT COUNTRY (Million Current Dollars)
United Soviet United Czecho- Republic Republic of All
Recipient Total States Union France Kingdom slovakia of China Poland Canada Germany Others
Iraq ** 1,233 11 1,033 19 11 86 3 5 65
Saudi Arabia **
United Arab Emir.
South Asia 2,922 139 1,706
271 98 142 335 17 10
47 1,323 39 80
90 26 232 11
Sri Lanka (Ceylon) 16 2 2 6 6
Sri Lanka (Ceylon) 16 2 2
TOTAL ARMS TRANSFERS OF MAJOR SUPPLIERS FROM 1965-1974, BY RECIPIENT COUNTRY (Million Current Dollars)
United Soviet United Czecho- Republic Republic of All
Recipient Total States Union France Kingdom slovakia of China Poland Canada Germany Others
Africa 2,481 341 711 669 258 63 81 5 17 73 263
Algeria ** 277 3 265 8 1 -
Burundi 2 -- 2 -
Cameroon 6 2 3 1
Central African Rep. 3 1 2 -
Chad 3 2 1
Congo 11 7 1 3 -
Dahomey 6 6 -
Equatorial Guinea 3 3 -
Ethiopia 129 104 8 6 10 1
Gabon ** 3 -3 -
Gambia, The -
Ghana 25 2 2 15 6
Guinea 33 26 -- 6 1
Ivory Coast 18 1 14 3
Kenya 50 6 -3 34 -- 3 4 -
Liberia 1 1 -
Libya** 749 66 200 309 76 29 5 -7 57
Malagasy Republic 7 7 -
TOTAL ARMS TRANSFERS OF MAJOR SUPPLIERS FROM 1965-1974, BY RECIPIENT COUNTRY (Million Current Dollars)
Recipient Total States Union
United Czecho- Republic
France Kingdom slovakia of China
Republic of All
Poland Canada Germany Others
114 51 5 12
8 26 2 33
- 5 -
South Africa *
65 10 3
TOTAL ARMS TRANSFERS OF MAJOR SUPPLIERS FROM 1965-1974, BY RECIPIENT COUNTRY (Million Current Dollars)
United Soviet United Czecho- Republic Republic of All
Recipient Total States Union France Kingdom slovakia of China Poland Canada Germany Others
North America 1,887 40 86 416 766 96 122
Canada 433 401 7 25
United States 1,454 79 391 -- 766 96 122
Latin America 2,406 811 323 463 269 2 172 137 229
Argentina 293 123 73 17 4 47 29
Bolivia 41 35 2 4
Brazil 475 230 110 39 49 9 38
Chile 213 74 12 89 1 2 35
Colombia 148 59 55 7 6 21
Costa Rica -
Cuba 295 293 2 -
Dominican Republic 11 11
Ecuador** 66 25 12 15 5 9
El Salvador 14 3 2 9
Guatemala 29 28 ----- --- 1
Haiti 2 1
Honduras 14 8 --- 6
Jamaica 2 2 -
TOTAL ARMS TRANSFERS OF MAJOR SUPPLIERS FROM 1965-1974, BY RECIPIENT COUNTRY (Million Current Dollars)
United Soviet United Czecho- Republic Republic of All
Recipient Total States Union France Kingdom slovakia of China Poland Canada Germany Others
Mexico 34 21 4 -
Nicaragua 9 8 1
Panama 12 7 -- 3 2
Paraguay 18 17 1
Peru 390 45 30 73 59 -- 78 62 43
Trinidad & Tobago 2 2 -
Uruguay 47 37 10
Venezuela** 291 77 128 34 38 4 10
Oceania 1,012 848 27 80 3 8
Australia 902 784 27 80 3 8
New Zealand 110 64 46 -
None or negligible
1. There is no doubt that the increase in Third World military expenditures from less than 25
billion to more than 50 billion (1965-1974) in constant dollars represents a potential loss of
developmental resources of considerable magnitude. So does the rise in largely unproductive
armed forces from 11-2 million men to 15-6 million during the same period. Per capital military
expenditures have increased from $10-25 (constant) to $16-84, while the countries have
become more heavily militarized as armed forces manpower ratios have risen from 4-7 to 5-3
per thousand. At the same time the average per capital GNP gap with developed countries has
widened from $2,676 to $3,670 during the same period. Source: U.S.A.C.D.A., 1975.
2. Third World arms imports between 1965 and 1974 rose from $2,139,000,000 to $6,629,000,000
(current dollars) while their exports increased from only $235,000,000 to $463,000,000. Little
over a third of the increased imports were accounted for by OPEC members. As used here
"arms imports" include, but are not limited to, equipment for arms production. Source:
3. On this Western and U.S. policy bias, see Williams (1962); Gardner (1964); Kolko (1969);
Horowitz (1969); Magdoff (1969); Hayter (1971); and the sources referred to below in.note 21.
A November 10, 1976 dispatch from Cairo to the New York Times underlines the contemporary
relevance of this perspective: "(a) new Cabinet involving major changes in Egypt's economic
leadership but none in political figures was sworn in today by President Anwar el-Sadat. Dr.
Abdel Moneim el-Kaissouny, Chariman of the Arab International Bank, was named a Deputy
Prime Minister for financial and economic affairs. The post, which places Dr. Kaissouny above
four Cabinet ministers dealing with economic matters, did not exist in the previous Cabinet. Dr.
Kaissouny, who held the same Cabinet economic position in the 1960s under President Gamal
Abdel Nasser, is known and respected in Western economic circles as an advocate of fiscal
restraint. Western sources said that Dr. Kaissouny, as an informal advisor to President Sadat,
was one of the founders of the 'open-door policy' announced by the President in 1973 to en-
courage foreign investment in Egypt."
4. Today less than a half dozen competitive party systems remain in the Third World: Costa Rica,
Venezuela, Jamaica, Colombia and Portugal. The prospects for the last three are doubtful. At
the same time Amnesty International'(1975) has published torture or political maltreatment
accusations during the early 1970s against the following regimes: Burundi, Cameroun, Ethiopia,
Ghana, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, India, Korea,
Indonesia, Pakistan, Phillipines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Portugal, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil,
Colombia, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay,
Venezuela, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Haiti, Egypt,
Iran, Iraq, Oman, Yemen and Syria. For related anti-electoral time series data on military inter-
ventions in Latin America, refer to the Needler item below in note 11.
5. Referring to African systems in the 1960s, Dubois (1969) notes that manyay military men feel
they are better equipped than civilians to rule their countries, because, unlike civilians, they are
politically untainted. This supposed political purity emanates mainly from the fact that as
military men they are usually not a part of any political party, indeed, in their professional
capacity as soldiers they have remained almost totally aloof from the internecine struggle that
characterizes politics. To many military men political parties are at worst a cancer which must
be excised if the nation is to survive; at best they are a nuisance which must be tolerated but
only so long as they abide by the strictures of good behaviour as set down by the military
themselves." According to Philip (1976) similar attitudes are ubiquitous in Latin America.
6. Within the officer corps, and particularly at senior levels, the desire for wealth and various
social amenities may constitute a sufficiently widespread attitude as to warrant categorization
as a bureaucratic class interest. Thus in referring to C.I.A. subversion of state capitalist oriented
regimes-military and civilian alike-ex-C.I.A. officer Philip Agee (1975:82) notes that
althoughuh the Agency usually plays the anti-communist card in order to foster a coup, gold
bars and sacks of currency are often equally effective." Other sources that refer to extensive
pre- or post-coup military corruption (kickbacks, smuggling, black marketeering) and/or
attachment to material amenities (personal travel allowances, servants, luxury imports,
double jobs or exemption of salaries from general civil service austerity measures, a top-heavy
senior rank structure, luxury clubs, free personal housing, mistresses, etc.) include: North
(1974: 18, 22); Martin (1966: 485, 533); Bosch (1965: 195-218);Kurzman (1965: 86-7, 105);
Wiarda (1969: 62-3, 189-191); Goff and Locker (1969); Skidmore (1967: 242-3); Stepan
(1971: 31, 49, 50); Jacobs (1966: 168-69); Hurewitz (1969: 286); Schneider (1959: 437);
Britton (1975: 16-19); Price (1971); Kraus (1966: 17); Nkrumah (1969: 69); U.S. Army
(1968) Bebler (1972: 109-12, 153, 191-96, 204); Zavaleta (1972: 65); Gutierrez (1972: 91-2,
136). See also notes 12, 14 and 16 below.
A recent tabulation of 84 Third World nations with more than 300,000 population indicates
that in a majority the officer corps either administers the state itself, controls civilian recruit-
ment to bureaucratic positions, or both. Fifteen years ago I doubt that more than 20 under-
developed countries could have been classified as militarily dominated. The increase has been
marked notwithstanding the fact that half a dozen or so have been accorded independence
during the interim. In the Latin American region, Jose Nun (1968) attributes this trend to the
weakness and disunity which have inhibited the middle class from imposing its hegemony upon
the societies in question.
Few officers have been as explicit concerning MAP political objectives as General Robert Porter,
the pre-1969 commander-in-chief of the U.S. Southern Command with headquarters in the
Canal Zone. The following remarks were made while he was still exercising command respons-
ibility over Latin America: manyay of you gentlemen are leaders and policy makers in the
businesses and industries that account for the huge American private investment in Latin
America . .Some misguided personalities and groups in our own country and abroad call you
capitalists who seek profit. Of course you do ... You can help produce a climate conducive to
more investment and more progressive American involvement in the hemisphere... The
Alliance envisages some $300 million a year in U.S. public funds that have gone for military
assistance and for AID public safety projects as a very modest insurance policy protecting our
vast private investment in an area of tremendous trade and strategic value to our country."
Consistent with this role orientation is the following exchange between House Foreign Affairs
Committee Chairman Dante Fascell and Porter's successor: "Mr. Fascell: In understanding that
factor and in understanding also the political necessity to stay in power, do you agree that each
one of these nationalistic regimes, with a change in its political bases, will be forced to take a
stronger anti-American stand in order to justify their position? General Mather: "I think that
is very logical to expect, Mr. Chairman; because really, I think the true profile of America in
Latin America is the multi-billion dollar investment we have here. This is what these economic
materialists are after, and causing a lot of our problems. It is $12 billion. About a fifth of our
total foreign investment." Sources: Porter (1968); U.S. Congress (1970).
Address to U. S. Chamber of Congress in Guatemala City.
Several such exchanges are quoted verbatim in Wolpin (1973). A recent example (U.S. Congress,
1977: 802) follows:
"Mr. Conte: Did you find that having some MAP programs in some of these countries has
really helped, for instance, Indonesia, one of the largest countries in the world? We didn't
have a lot of military assistance in there but we did have a MAP program, did we not?
General Fish: Yes, sir.
Mr. Conte: We also trained some of their officers here at our War College, right?
General Fish: Yes, sir; we have training programs with Indonesia.
Mr. Conte And it was a program that really helped throw, out Sukarno at that time without
costing any American lives or military equipment; is that right?
General Fish: The Indonesians did turn away from the Soviets and to the West, to the
11. Thus between 1950 and 1969 (excluding Latin America), where foreign military who were
trained in the U.S. during that period were less than 1% of the 1968 armed forces manpower of
recipient regimes, slightly over 50% of the ideologically motivated coups (6 out of 11) were
open door oriented, while the remainder were radical. (Where more than 1% had been trained,
six of the seven ideological coups were rightist.) Latin America was excluded because of the
availability of Needler's (1966) findings. These covered a period during which a rising propor-
tion of officers from that region were trained by the United States, and are reproduced below.
Characteristics of Successful Latin-American Golpes: 193544
1935-1944 1945-1954 1955-1964
No. % No. % No. %
Reformist 8 50 5 23 3 17
Low in Violence 13 81 15 68 6 33
Overthrew Const. Govts. 2 12 7 32 9 50
Around Elections 2 12 7 32 10 56
My data sources appear in Wolpin (1973:122-127). For the period from January 1970, through
October, 1976, I classified similar ideological coups for the underdeveloped areas including
Latin America. In those countries where 1950-75 U.S. military trainees (including those trained
abroad) constituted less than 5% of recipient regimes' 1972 manpower, there were four radical
coups (Argentina, 1970; Bolivia, 1970; Malagasy, 1972; Afghanistan, 1973) and an equal num-
ber of rightist coups (Syria, 1970; Cambodia, 1970; Bolivia, 1971; Argentina, 1976). Among
countries with a higher percentage of trainees, there were five rightist coups (Thailand, 1971;
Korea, 1972, Chile, 1973; Peru, 1975; Thailand, 1976), and only one leftist coup (Honduras,
1972). The primary source used for ideological classifications was Facts on File. Manpower and
training data were obtained from: Dupuy and Blamchard (1972); U.S. Department of Defense
12. This is not merely because of use of the term "civil" rather than civilian (government) during
political indoctrination, but also as a consequence of explicit emphasis upon peculiarly military
missions in "nation building" since the early 1960s. Thus in addressing the VIII Conference of
the American Armies in Rio de Janeiro on September 25, 1968, U.S. Army Chief of Staff
General William C. Westmoreland probably articulated official role preferences when he ob-
served althoughuh nation building sounds like a function of civil agencies, it has been our
experience that military forces-our own and those of the nation we are seeking to nelp-must
often play a major role and use their special equipment and capabilities to help the people help
More latent interventionist tendencies may be occasioned by simple contacts with any external
military organization boasting greater comforts and better equipment. Not only do we have
Price's (1971) references to such effects upon Ghanaian officers when confronted with auster-
ity, but with respect to the Latin American setting, Don Etchison (1975: 105) reports "that
exposure of Guatemalan officers to the life styles and attitudes of U.S. soldiers (officers' clubs,
playing golf, swimming, etc.) influences them to aspire to a higher standard of living. In 1968
Guatemalan second lieutenants were paid approximately nine hundred dollars a year, which was
considerably more than the yearly income of the average Guatemalan. Nevertheless all the
Guatemalan soldiers that Adams interviewed believed they did not receive adequate wages from
their government. To realize their economic aspirations officers can either become involved
with the government by getting a governmental position, called a sobresueldo, or make private
investments. Adams found that frequently officers acquire estates in land colonization areas
(which has brought complaints from peasants). The important part of Adams' study is that
from a sociological point of view the mere association of the Guatemalan officers with U.S.
officers in the training environment seems to have increased the economic aspirations of the
trainees." See the Schmitter reference in note 23 below.
13. Eckhardt and Newcombe (1969), Abrahamsson (1972); Lang (1972); Janowitz (1960);
14. At the same time there seems to be a ubiquitous aversion by officers to social interaction with
workers and peasants. Useful sources on these patterns include: Stepan (1971: 34-7, 94-7,
176-7, 186); Goff (1972: 79); Gutierrez (1972: 101); Jacobs (1966: 168); Evans (1973: 228,
233); North (1974: 8, 10-11), MacEoin (1974. 150); Schneider (1959: 42-3, 214, 314-150;
Adekson (1976: 259); Britton (1975: 19). Cf.: Janowitz (1960); Abrahamsson (1972).
15. With respect to such traditionalism within the USAF-one of the most "modern" in the world-
see the perceptive study by Maureen Mylander (1974).
16. Notwithstanding the occasionally mentioned (Janowitz, 1964: 28; Levy, 1971: 70) radical
implications of this historical legacy, its significance is problematic in view of J. M. Lee's (1969:
125, 145) admonition that a "sense of privilege ... extends through all ranks, and is not simply
a characteristic of the officer cadre." He adds that "the army looks like a lobby which can
secure for itself a large proportion of the state's resources," and notes that "(i)n conditions
where wage employment is rare" there is a strong aversion by conscripts, and presumably
officers, to return to rural areas to "apply what they had learnt" in the modern sector. Also re-
ferring to the African armies, Bebler (1972: 153) refers to "the internal social stratification of
the British and French .. and the more complex multilayer pattern of stratification that was
later created in the British and French colonial empires. The present pay structure in African
armies, for instance, reflects the latter-with a huge gap between the pay of the officer (i.e.,
former white officer) and that of the enlisted (i.e., African) man. The same is true of a number
of features of internal army life: separate dining and recreation facilities for officers, NCOs,
and enlisted soldiers; very different housing conditions, officers' servants; the officer's style of
life, which imitates British, and to a lesser extent French, gentlemen .... Officers in these
armies most often come from families that are socially very close to those of the soldiers ...
Once commissioned, most African officers feel obliged to help out numerous relatives, to
maintain their younger brothers in school, and so forth. They themselves in time become mem-
bers of the elite, but the difference in income is minimized by a larger number of claimants on
higher incomes. In a certain sense, however, the class stratification of the colonial societies spills
over into the new independent polity through military hierarchy as privileges, access to second-
ary and high schools, capital accumulation in the form of savings invested into real estate and
business ventures, and so forth are passed on to the next generation."
17. I have been unable to obtain quantitative training data for the Communist countries, nor for
that matter for other Western donors. At most one can infer some relationships of this character
from arms import figures. And even here, most Communist arms have gone to regimes that
already had experienced radical coups. Many of the open door oriented ones which accept
token amounts of Warsaw Pact arms are probably reluctant to send trainees to donor countries.
Nevertheless, net Warsaw Pact arms exports between 1965 and 1974 increased from slightly
over $1.0 billion (constant dollars) to about $1-8 billion. At the same time, however, net NATO
exports-largely to the underdeveloped areas-rose from about $1-8 billion to almost $4.0
billion. The U.S. has been by far the largest supplier. The following table lists the major suppliers
for each Third World country during the 1965-74 period. See Figure 1. Source: U.S.A.C.D.A.
18. The other three were: Bolivia (1970); Honduras (1972); and Malagasy (1972). If one added
Portugal (1973), the textual assertion would remain unaffected. In Portugal, however, the
military radicals were purged before they could consolidate their position within the armed
forces. Insofar as rightist coups during the 1970-76 period were concerned, only Peru and Syria
received Eastern arms. In the former case, these were a small fraction of Western arms transfers.
As for Syria, the rightist shift by the Assad regime has been rather moderate in part because of
the existence of a strong radical faction that remains within the army.
19. Considerable research needs to be done on these and other sources of military radicalism. Trim-
berger's (1977) historical analysis of four developmental state capitalist regimes-Japan, Turkey,
Egypt and Peru-lays heavy stress upon the following conditions: a) social isolation of the
officers from a hegemonic but declining landed upper class; b) a centralized state bureaucratic
base; c) an indigenous nationalist movement; and d) international room for manoeuvre. Philip
(1976) maintains that the Peruvian and presumably other examples of military radicalism are
best explained by unique historical confluences. In addition to noting the absence of a threaten-
ing leftist mass movement, the failure of prior reform programmes and not least the overbearing
behaviour of the U.S. and the I.P.C., Philip stresses "French influence" at the CAEM (war
college) and exposure to ECLA's critique of the developmental prospects of the evolutionary
open door approach.
20. Quoted from U.N. (1972: 13). Between 1960 and 1973, the average annual growth rate in per
capital GNP increased by 4% in developed countries, and 3.3% in underdeveloped areas. Even
"at a rate of growth of 3-5%, average income per person in the developing world would rise
from the 1970 level of $200 to the level of only around $280 (in 1970 prices) by 1980." Cf.
note 1, above. We are of course only dealing with arithmetic averages. OPEC exporters have
done considerably better. On the other hand, the averages may reflect in considerable measure
non-productive expenditures and dynamism at least partially consequential to rises in external
lending. Furthermore, it is unlikely that manufacturing let alone basic industry constitutes an
enlarged share of economic activity in the Third World over the 1960-1973 period. And finally,
as note 32 implies, such GNP Changes indicate little if anything about mass welfare. Barnet and
Muller (1974) observe that a substantial sector of the population in many of these countries
may actually be more impoverished.
21. For Marxian theoretical critiques of the open door developmental approach see the following:
Baran (1959); Frank (1967); Horowitz (1969); Amin (1974); Barnet and Muller (1974). For a
statistical analysis by a liberal economist which concludes that "aid" barely compensated for
capital and terms of trade losses, see Gordon (1968). Payer (1976) examines the unprecedented
rise in external debt by underdeveloped countries since the late sixties-a period of declining
U.S. aid and hardening of terms. Cf. note 24 below.
22. With the exception of those who are fanatically ideological and/or socially close to the upper
class, it is probable that "creeping" state capitalism will continue to attract the support of
many "moderate" officers-and not merely out of their concern for the middle classes. The
materialistic interests listed in notes 6 and 16 above are in all likelihood of equal or greater
23. A statistical analysis of military budget shares in Latin America during the 1950-1967 period
(Schmitter, 1971) indicated that governments which were not plagued by threats of military
interventions spent less on the armed forces and more on welfare. He found that long-term
military regimes not only devoted larger budgetary shares to armaments but also exhibited the
highest rate of increase in military budgetary shares. Cf. notes, 1,2,4 and 7, above. Other studies
of the developmental or modernization impact of military regimes per se by Nordlinger (1970)
and McKinlay (1975) conclude that they are not superior to civilian regimes of a non-Marxist
24. The words of John J. Powers (1968), then president of Charles Pfizer & Co., a U.S. pharmaceu-
tical firm with extensive Latin American holdings are instructive: betweenen 1950 and 1966 ...
corporations and private citizens brought into the country $59.0 billion in excess of all private
dollar outflows. direct investments have returned substantial income to their companies in
the United States, far greater than the direct investment outflows;... from 1950 to 1966 these
investments returned in dividends and royalties and fees alone $20 billion in excess of all out-
flows... Recently Professor Behrman argued before the Joint Economic Committee that the
payback period for outflows of U.S. dollars for manufacturing investment abroad is about 2
years on the average. If this is right-and I must say, this estimate comes close to my own ex-
perience-this is a very short term indeed." Barnet and Muller (1974) explain how real capital
drainage is understated by official data, and examine other adverse impacts upon the balance of
payments. Cf.: Magdoff (1969); Frank (1969); Amin (1974).
25. See: Klare (1972); Wolpin (1973); U.S. Department of Defense (1975).
26. Among the deposed have been: Iran's Mossadegh (1953); Guatemala's Arbenz (1954); Domini-
can Republic's Bosch (1962); Brazil's Goulart (1964); Indonesia's Sukarno (1965); Ghana's
Nkrumah (1966); Mali's Keita (1968); Cambodia's Sihanouk (1970); Bolivia's Torres (1971);
and Chile's Allende (1973). Others which have as a consequence of intra-military mini-coups
shifted to a posture of deference to foreign and in lesser measure domestic capital include:
Syria (1970-75); Egypt (1972-76); Peru (1975-76). Cf. note 2 above, second paragraph.
27. It seems that given the lead time necessary for a "learning curve", and to compensate for transi-
tional costs associated with breaking with traditional structures (e.g., capitalist flight, adminis-
trative disorganization, etc.), most of these state capitalist regimes have not existed for the
twenty to thirty years that are probably required to assess the underlying viability of this
development strategy. Thus, on the basis of U.N. (1975) compilations, the average annual per
cent increase in per capital GNP between 1961 and 1970 was only 1-3% for the following thir-
teen countries which during that period tended to be state capitalist: Algeria, Burma, Cambodia,
Congo, Egypt, Guinea, Iraq, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Uganda, Tanzania. Average industrial
growth rate percentages for this group (less Guinea, Mali and Somalia) from U.N. (1974) are
9-4% which was 1-6% above that for the Third World as a whole.
28. It is unclear whether sufficient allocations of military resources to productive investments have
been possible, or for that matter whether austerity can replace traditional bureaucratic ameni-
ties. A recent MERIP (1976: 9) report may be suggestive: "(t)he little-publicized Syrian
'opening' to the West has had similar consequences to Egypt's famous 'opening'. 'A new middle
class has grown up in the shadow of the Baathists. Because it was able to adapt itself to the
system we installed, it has become richer and larger than the old owning class. . the minister
in charge of the economy has been quoted as saying. Corruption within the government is also
rampant, generally taking the form of real estate speculation, and the dolce vita has replaced
the austerity of 'Arab socialism'. 'The bigger hotels, high-priced restaurants, cabarets and disco-
theques are always full. Fashionable Syrian women wear the creations of top Parisian couturiers,
some of whom are even thinking of setting up shop in Damascus, in place of the boutiques they
used to have in Beirut.'" On the other hand, budgetary data suggest these regimes have if any-
thing increased per capital military expenditures more than the average for developing countries
as a worldwide group.
29. Thus, on January 22, 1970, the government of Iraq charged "that under Rawi's direction three
Israeli officers, a U.S. C.I.A. officer and a West German officer had supervised (a) secret ship-
ment of arms from Iran for use in (a) planned uprising." Loyal garrisons prevented it from
succeeding and retired officers played a major role in the conspiracy. Source: Facts on File,
1970. Agee (1975a) details C.I.A. cooperative endeavours with other Western intelligence
30. Average industrial growth rates for the Communist countries of 8-6% compare favourably to
6-3% for advanced capitalist systems during the decade of the sixties. During the same period,
the average growth in per capital GNP for this group (less the three most industrialized mem-
bers. GDR, Czechoslovakia and the USSR) was 5-3%. Source: U.N. (1974). According to an
August 30, 1976, report in Granma, recently released COMECON figures indicated that its
members' industrial output had risen by 45% between 1971-75, while that in the advanced
capitalist countries had increased by about 10%.
31. Wolpin (1976). Cf. Kolkowicz (1967).
32. Thus a recent Congressional report (U.S. Congress, 1977a: 18) acknowledges that mostot
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DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT PROJECT:
A STUDY OF THE INTERNATIONAL SEA FOODS LIMITED
The purpose of this paper is to apply the concept of development project to develop-
ment administration, either within the context of overall development planning or with-
in the context of specific development efforts. We have selected the International Sea
Foods Limited in Barbados as an empirical referent. Emphasis is placed on the eight
phases of a development project, and its administrative aspects have been especially
focused. This paper is part of the search for a better tool of administration for develop-
Barbados is the most easterly of the Commonwealth Caribbean Countries. Since
independence in 1966, Barbados has been striving to achieve twin development goals of
industrial productivity-diversification and agricultural production. Three most important
industries are sugar, tourism and fishing.
Barbados is a small island nation with 166 square miles and about 250,000 population.
Natural resources are negligible and the scale of economy is limited. During colonial
times the government had restricted its operations to law and order maintenance,
revenue collection, administration of justice, and minimum social services. Since 1966,
the government has intensified its development programme and expanded its scale of
operation. But the smallness of land-size and population-size, scarcity of resources, heavy
import bill for importing ever-increasing consumer goods from abroad, a large number of
competing public sector priorities, relative paucity of public funds are, in the main,
responsible for the government's inability to set up large-scale, production-directed,
public-sector programme in such areas as irrigation, farm mechanization, heavy capital
goods industry, large-scale consumer goods industry, and other infrastructural programmes.
Objective situations in Barbados have coincided with the current public policy which
is that the government, in addition to planning, executing and directing ongoing public-
sector programmes, extends all the necessary assistance to private entrepreneurs to
establish and promote a host of development projects in the country with a view to
increasing productivity and accelerating growth. Governmental assistance to private entre-
preneurs for the promotion of overall development objective is in the form of favourable
legislation, tax policy, lending policy, financial incentives, availability of plant land,
availability of industrial labour, and administrative assistance.
In Barbados, development project includes not only public-sector programmes but
also government-assisted private industrial enterprises which are partially owned by the
Government of Barbados. The government knows that along with public programmes,
private enterprises are also contributing to the nation's productivity and growth, and
then the government is committed to ensure that such enterprises are encouraged and
stimulated. Consequently, the government regards its role as one of adviser, stimulator,
promoter, evaluator, sponsor, facilitator, participator and catalyst. Some of the develop-
ment project which the Government of Barbados has assisted in implementating are
Barbados Feeds Limited, Towels Limited, Husbands Manufacturing Company Limited,
International Sea Foods Limited, Koves Limited, General Dynamics (Barbados) Limited,
International Playtex Corporation, etc.
Phases of a Development Project
In this section we describe the phases of a development project and then apply them
to our empirical referent, International Sea Foods Limited.
Development can be seen as a process of change affecting any aggregation of people.
This process can be conveniently reified in relation to any particular set of actions by
regarding any specific undertaking as a project. Riggs (1971: 73-75) speaks of develop-
ment administration as involving increased administrative capacity and resources and
administration of development plans, programmes and projects. We assume that the ad-
ministration of development projects can be empirically understood in terms of project
administration, since administration of development is almost wholly concerned with the
administration of development projects.
Improvement in project administration can make a significant contribution to the
process of national development. This is applicable to projects included in comprehensive
development planning as well as to specific purpose projects. Public sector projects
occupy pivotal position in development agenda of the developing world. Although they
are more common in such fields as construction, transport, industry and resources deve-
lopment, they are increasingly being used in other sectors. A project may be large or
small, local or national, limited or comprehensive, capital or labour-intensive, production
or problem-oriented, private or public or joint, sectoral or cross-sectoral etc.
Common to all projects, however, are the following characteristics (United Nations,
1969: 384-402). First, a project emphasizes more immediate, rather than very remote
goals. It is designed for the marshalling of resources and the devising of methods to
achieve these specific goals. In other words, a project, by definition, is action-oriented.
Second, the substance of a project is non-repetitive. A project is undertaken in other than
routine operations of an agency of organization, for purposes of special emphasis and
action. Third, although a project may suggest specificity in its objectives and operational
procedures, in virtue projects frequently entail a certain degree of uncertainty and unpre-
dictability. In the course of project implementation, it may be found that the preliminary
technical, economic and administrative analyses are not apposite and have to be revised
to assure optimization of project outcome.
Consequently, a project normally needs special administrative organization for the
achievement of its specific objectives. Such organization may demand the formulation
of novel authority structure, new combination of existing organizations and substantive
alteration of existing organization and administration. Often, a project involves separate,
but interrelated and interdependent, activities which must be completed to achieve the
objectives for which the project was set up. This effort requires coordination of a large
number of elements, which may necessitate the establishment of a new level of manage-
ment or, at least, the designation of a clear locus of management responsibility within
the existing organization for the realization of project goals.
The use of the project concept in development gives rise to certain administrative
dimensions and problems which cannot be dealt with in a routine manner for several
reasons. First, we frequently confuse normal government operations with project admin-
istration, and are not quite familiar with the distinction that lies between the two. Also,
we are not always aware of what a development project involves, how it proceeds, how it
gets off the ground, how it achieves its objects, and so on. Second, a large number of
public works and industrial projects take longer in construction and in reaching full pro-
duction than originally estimated. Third, the cost generally turns out to be much in excess
of initial estimates. Fourth, some projects are slowed down and never make the antici-
pated contribution to national development. Fifth, development project in socioeconomic
or administrative fields frequently bog down, peter out or run into difficulties.
In any event, a development project has several phases (United Nations 1971: 73):
3. Analysis and Evaluation
6. Reporting and Feedback
7. Transition to Normal Administration
8. Evaluation of Results
A schematic representation of the circular interdependence of a development project
is given in Figure 1.
The octagonal figure that presents different phases of a project is not necessarily
sequential. Two or more of the phases may be underway simultaneously and may
influence each other. Moreover, the completion of one phase, for instance conception,
leads naturally to the second phase, formulation. Normally, the flow of action is linear,
that is, progressively from one phase to the other; but, the flow may also be reversive, that
is, from formulation back to conception because of negative feedback or inadequate com-
pletion of one phase. Let us now examine what the different phases entail.
1. Conception: Project conception involves an idea with rough estimates or pre-
liminary studies of its desirability in terms of national needs, as well as its possible cost
and likely benefits. In most cases the projects are floated by existing agencies or organi-
zations. Even when a new project is suggested by external sources, normally an agency
undertakes it. The impetus for new projects from agency-external sources may come in as
general or specific ideas; they may come from legislatures, political parties, political
leaders, specialized institutions, or from citizen associations.
Before and shortly after independence, a Shrimping industry used to operate in
Barbados. Several factors make Barbados a logical base for the establishment of an export-
FIGURE 1 CIRCULAR INTERDEPENDENCE OF A DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
Evaluation of results
Transition to Normal
Reporting and Feedback
oriented shrimp processing industry. They are: the favourable location of Barbados in
relation to the prolific fishing/shrimping banks off the Guyanas and Brazil and proximity
to the lucrative U.S. market; the existence of adequate port facilities and transportation
links with the U.S. market. Further, although considerable headway has been made in
increasing exports of manufactured foods, performance in this sector has not been able
to keep pace with the rise in imports, and as a result it has been necessary to seek alterna-
tive sources of foreign exchange earnings. In the absence of extractive industries, fishing
and shrimping in particular, become a natural choice. The high import bill for fish pro-
ducts in the area also suggested that there was a considerable scope for the promotion of
a fish processing industry to serve the needs of the local and CARIFTA (Caribbean Free
Trade Association) markets.
The first project Barbados Sea Foods made efforts to tap the potential of the shrimp
industry with the establishment of a shrimp processing plant. Exports of shrimp reached
a height of Bds. $8 million. But it started experiencing management problems in 1963.
In 1964, the project was reorganized, before a combination of non-economic factors
forced the industry to collapse. Among other things, Brazil came out with a 200-mile
fishing rights limit on international water in 1969. Around the early 70's, government be-
gan negotiations for the re-establishment of the shrimp industry and these efforts have
culminated in the setting up of the present project, International Sea Foods Limited.
Three private entrepreneurs took the initiative to undertake the project and sought active
governmental assistance, cooperation and participation. The new initiators conceived that
apart from its obvious employment benefits, the project would also have favourable
effects on the balance of payments by virtue of the substantial hard currency which would
accrue to the economy. The project would also have beneficial effect of widening the
basis for economic development in Barbados.
2. Formulation: After the conception phase is over, it is important that the pro-
ject receives detailed formulation. At this stage the project is spelt out in greater detail
and in more specific terms, so that the decision-makers can evaluate it and to approve,
postpone or reject it. Normally the formulation phase lays the foundation and provides
the blue prints for all other phases of project execution. Comprehensive project formula-
tion includes preparation of a detailed prospectus or proposal of the project, rendering
its economic, technical, financial, organizational, managerial and other administrative
aspects. Such a prospectus includes elaboration of different activities required to be
carried out for the execution of the project and the time dimensions, which in turn
requires identification of temporal interdependencies and providing for them (Industrial
Development Corporation Files, 1972) .
The I.S.F.L. sent its prospectus to the Barbados Industrial Development Corporation
(I.D.C.) which normally assists in the implementation of development projects of the
nation. The prospectus contained such information as registration, management, market
survey, investment data, and production data.
The top management of the project consisted of one chairman/managing director
(M.D.), one general manager (G.M.)/director, three directors, one representative of the
Barbados Development Bank, another representative of the Barbados Marketing Corpora-
tion (B.M.C.) and one secretary. The project planned to concentrate on the following
operations: shrimp and fish food processing, fish and bone meal manufacturing, and
processing salted fish. The length of development stages, i.e. until planned production
level was reached, was fixed at 3 years.
Annual output expected by the end of development stage for each proposed approved
product was 2.5 million pounds of processed packaged shrimp, 500 thousand pounds of
packaged fish and bone meal, and 100 thousand pounds of salted fish. Annual turnover
value of approved operations expected by the end of development stage was fixed at Bds.
$7 million (U.S. $3.15 million and Bds. $700,000, total Bds. $7 million). It was also
formulated that 10% of the approved product would be exported by the end of develop-
ment stage to CARIFTA (including Barbados) while 90% would be exported to the U.S.A.
Amount of capital invested or to be invested in the proposed approved operations by
end of development stage was on land, building and leasehold improvements, machinery
and equipment, net working capital, and other fixed assets. Total investment was Bds.
$6.8 million. The project's nominal or authorized capital was estimated at Bds. $250,000;
another Bds. $250,000 was to be issued by the end of development stage.
At a Board meeting of the B.M.C., a public-sector development corporation, on August
29, 1972, the policy was formulated that the people of Barbados, through the B.M.C.
needed to have shares in the equity of the proposed project. The Government of Barbados
through the B.M.C. held 20% of issued share capital; others were held by the private
Barbadian entrepreneurs. In this sense, the project under study was a joint project. The
prospectus also mentioned the project's authorized limit of loan capital, borrowing plan
by the end of development stage, and the sources of borrowing.
Materials, annual value and sources of raw materials to be used in the operations of the
project were planned (I.D.C. Files, 1972).
Materials Annual Value Sources of Raw Materials
Fuel oil $370,000 Venezuela/Trinidad
Fishing gear $392,000 U.S.A.
Repairs/parts $234,000 Barbados/U.S.A.
Cartons $ 86,000 Barbados
Plant maintenance $ 30,000 Barbados
Sundries $ 5,000 Barbados
Technical details of the manufacturing processes of the project were spelled out. A fleet
of shrimp trawlers equipped with the most modern and sophisticated electronic equip-
ment would be opened by the project. After the shrimp and the fish have been brought
on board, sorting of the fish and shrimp would be carried out on board the boats and
they would be packed in onion-type bags and the fish and shrimp would then be immed-
iately stored and frozen separately. The fish and shrimp would later be shipped to the
processing plant where the shrimp would be washed and chemically purified and treated.
The shrimp would then be conveyed through a series of grading machines where they
would be graded and weighed and later conveyed through a peeling, deveining process
and then carefully, hygienically and attractively packaged. These packages would later
be put in boxes and in turn these boxes would be crated for shipment. The crates would
then be put in blast freezers where they would be rapidly frozen and later transferred to
normal freezing chambers and held for shipment to the various overseas markets.
The I.S.F.L. outlined the source of technical expertise on the manufacturing process.
A sea food consultant on a three year contract was proposed to be brought to the
management. It was proposed that fish and bone meal were to be handled by local
expertise, and that salted fish was not to be handled during the first year of the operation.
One or two expatriate captains were to be retained until a full complement of local
captains was trained. The project formulators indicated their attitude towards the right
to organize on the part of the employees.
On October 5, 1972, an application was received from the I.S.F.L. by the I.D.C.
which sought approved enterprise status under the Industrial Incentive Act, 1963, for
the production of processed shrimp and fish, fish and bone meal and salted fish.
The project was scheduled for production in January, 1973.
3. Analysis and Evaluation: Analysis and evaluation of projects are carried out on
economic, technical, social, financial, administrative and other aspects. They form a
specialized job, particularly as concerns industrial projects, investment projects, resources
development projects, and major public works projects. Analysis and evaluation of such
projects involve use of highly competent skills in various academic disciplines and often
demand interdisciplinary approaches.
Analysis and evaluation phase of a development project rest upon, among other things,
the comparative merit of the specific project in competition with other possible alterna-
tives. The acid test that a project has to meet is that it must emerge from the process of
choice among alternatives as offering the best claim upon scarce resources. Analysis and
evaluation provide for a rational choice between sound alternatives which are often com-
peting with each other.
A number of benefits were identified with regard to the project. First, the project was
a very high-risk investment industry and it was only with the full support and cooperation
of the government that the project might succeed. The project was to obtain 21 new and
ultra-moder refrigerated shrimp trawlers which would make possible the establishment
of the very important shrimping industry in Barbados. Second, the following categories
of workmen were expected to benefit from the project: dry dock workers, painters,
carpenters, shipwrights, net repair men, mechanical and diesel engineers and tradesmen,
drivers, machine lathe operators, etc. The project would have to purchase fuel, grocery,
marine supply, hardware and lumber and these purchases helped these industries.
Third, an indirect benefit would accrue to the country's economy with saving in hard
currency by the reduction in the importation of the finished product from the U.S.A.
and other hard currency areas. Fourth, large quantities of fish for local consumption
would be available to the rapidly increasing population and this would contribute to the
increased food health of the young population by the high protein value of fish. Fifth,
some Bds. $5 million would be injected into the local economy annually.
The financing of the project was analyzed and evaluated. The financial requirements
for establishing the enterprise would be Bds. $6.8 million including Bds. $6.5 million for
the purchase of 20 trawlers and 1 carrier vessel, and a further Bds. $250,000 representing
net working capital. The project would lease existing building and processing facilities
from the B.M.C. at a rental of Bds. $48,000 per annum. The I.S.F.L. entered a contract
with a Florida-based international company for the supply of 21 fibre glass refrigerated
trawlers and had already made an initial deposit of Bds. $20,000. One of the Bridgetown
banks agreed to extend credit facilities to the tune of Bds. $6.5 million for the.purchase
of trawlers. The loans would be repayable over a five-year period.
A detailed study undertaken by the management of the I.S.F.L. on the basis of the
acquisition of 21 boats over a two-year period suggested that trading surplus for the first
three years of operation would be Bds. $160,000, $1 million and $1.3 million
respectively. It was analyzed that the rate of profitability would be greater in view of the
fact that the 21 vessels would be required over a one-year period. The contacts the pro-
ject had established indicated that the necessary technical, management and marketing
expertise would be available to the project. Available evidence indicated that the project
was capable of meeting its financial commitments.
Further indication of analysis and evaluation is available. The Incentives Committee
and the I.D.C. at their respective meetings on November 14 and 20, 1972 noted that the
project was a very desirable one and that it met the usual requirements for approved
enterprise status; but both doubted whether the I.S.F.L. qualified as a "manufacturer."
Then the Project Officer (P.O.) of the I.D.C. on November 22, 1972 advised the
Permanent Secretary (P.S.) of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Commerce (M.T.I.C.)
to declare the products i.e. shrimp and fish food, fish and bone meal, and salted fish, as
approved products for the purpose of the Industrial Incentives Act, 1963, and that the
project I.S.F.L. as an approved project under the said Act. However, it was found difficult
to qualify the production processes of the project as "manufacture"; a final decision in
this regard rested with the Attorney General's Department. However, in making the
recommendation, the I.D.C. analyzed the various manufacturing processes in which the
project was engaged:
shrimp would be washed, chemically treated, graded, deveined and packaged in
preparation for freezing;
fish and offal would be ground, pressure cooked and dehydrated for the manu-
facture of fish meal; and
fish would be cleaned, treated, cured and salted for the manufacture of salted
In addition, a Bridgetown-based chartered accounting firm made financial projections
for the I.S.F.L. Financial projections were made for operations accounts, voyages, revenue,
vessel acquisition, lease charges, fuel and lubrication oil, fishing gear, repairs reserve and
crew settlement, vessel insurance, technical salaries and wage, fishing rights, utilities,
clothing consumables, anti-bacteria compound and cleaner, labour and technical salaries,
trucking and plant repairs, managerial and clerical salaries, management fee, warehouse
and office rental, utilities and professional services. The accounting firm also prepared
forecasts of estimated operating revenues and expenditures for each of the first three
years of operation of the I.S.F.L., together with a cash flow statement for the first year
4. Approval: Every project proposed needs to be approved by the competent
authority(ies) before it can be implemented. Approval may have to be obtained from
several agencies, such as an executive department, a planning agency, budget authorities,
the cabinet, and/or legislature. Approach may have to be obtained for different phases of
a project in connection with different overall processes of administration. Also, the legal,
financial, technical and administrative aspects of a project may have to be approved. As
development projects frequently involve investment of capital, allocation of foreign
exchange and use of scarce resources, organizations concerned with these questions also
have to give their approval.
In a memorandum dated September 29, 1972 to the M.D. of the project, the G.M.,
B.M.C. sought approval of the Cabinet before drawing up and signing the formal contract
of the I.S.F.L. However, the G.M. did not foresee any major obstacle in this regard.
The Incentives Committee at its meeting held on January 16, 1973 reported that the
Attorney General of Barbados had ruled that the operations of the project I.S.F.L.
would qualify as "manufacture."
The P.S., M.T.I.C. informed the G.M., I.D.C. on February 10, 1973 that the Ministry
had by Order entitled "The Industrial Incentives (Approved Products) (Packaged
Shrimps and Fish; Fish and Bone Meal; and Salted Fish) Order, 1973 declared Packaged
Shrimps and Fish, Fish and Bone Meal, and Salted Fish approved products. The Order
was published in the Barbados Official Gazette (Government of Barbados, Official
Gazette, January 1, S.I. 1973 No. 11, Bridgetown).
The P.S., M.T.I.C. informed the Secretary, I.S.F.L. on April 17, 1973 that the Ministry
had by Order entitled "Declaration of Approved Enterprise (International Sea Foods
Limited) Order, 1973 declared the I.S.F.L. an approved enterprise under the Industrial
Incentives Act, 1973 in respect of the manufacture of the products (shrimp and fish
food, fish and bone meal, and salted fish) and with a production date of March 1, 1973.
The Order was published in the Official Gazette (Government of Barbados, Official
Gazette, April 2, 1973, S.I. 1973 No. 46).
5. Implementation: Implementation of a development project involves developing a
detailed plan of organization and administration, including scheduling, budgeting, staffing,
continuous evaluation, reporting, planning for contingencies, and the final transaction
stage. Most of the problems encountered in the implementation of a project can be fre-
quently traced back to the loopholes of these initial phases. The investigation of delays
in a number of cases has consistently pointed to the lack of a detailed and realistic
breakdown of the activities needed to implement the project, the assignment of realistic
lead time, and the identification of the critical path involved in implementing the projects.
The developing world, for instance, is only very recently stressing critical time and float
time in its development projects.
Implementative analysis is the blueprint for the management of a project. It involves
breaking up the project in terms of activities and functions to be performed, studying
the interrelationships among them, bringing out the causality of each activity and func-
tion, and fixing a time-schedule for each, to complete the project by the target date.
The I.S.F.L. was incorporated under the Companies Act, 1910 as a limited company
on August 11, 1972 by the Registrar of Companies of the Government of Barbados with
its main office in Bridgetown. The project had placed orders for the first 10 trawlers
which were due to arrive from January through July, 1973. Arrangements were made
with a Florida-based company to sign eleven more contracts so as to obtain trawlers. Time
period for delivery of the trawlers was fixed from August through December, 1973. Other
related decisions on financial management regarding the project were reached too.
The President of the Florida-based company informed the M.D., I.S.F.L. on August
16, 1972 of quotation and contracts of the fibreglass trawlers. The Vice-President for
Sales of the company thanked the M.D., I.S.F.L. on August 24, 1972 for the transfer in
the amount of U.S. $20,000 representing down payments on 8 trawlers. The Vice-
President made request to sign new contracts for additional 10 trawlers and a deposit of
On September 11 and 15, 1972 notices on the Industrial Incentives Act, 1963 were
published in the Advocate News. The P.O., I.D.C. sent publication material concerning
the project on October 9, 1972 to the Advertisement Manager of the Bridgetown-based
Advocate News for publication on October 11 and 15, 1972. The P.O. also placed a notice
on October 9, 1972 in the Official Gazette for publication on October 12, 1972. The
P.O. mailed copies of letters and advertisements sent to the Advocate News and Official
Gazette to the P.S., M.T.I.C.
The I.S.F.L. made intense negotiation with the Governments of Barbados and Brazil.
The project management was acutely aware of the problems and predicaments faced by
its two predecessors, especially in terms of fishing rights on international water. As a
consequence of hard negotiations, the project was able to secure a government-to-govern-
ment permit, and then the I.S.F.L. could fish near the Brazilian waters with the permit.
This was a remarkable implementative success.
It needs to be mentioned, however, that the I.S.F.L. did not adapt such techinques as
CPA or PERT during the implementative phase.
6. Reporting and Feedback: Reporting and feedback are integral phases of a develop-
ment project. Feedback is required to ensure corrective action in the process of imple-
mentation. Flow of communications throughout the organization provides the basis for
management decisions and operational activities. Reports are needed to enforce account-
ability of different levels for both assets and performance. An effective reporting system
includes the following: it generates information that is available in time and is designed
to be readily usable for decision-making; it establishes both financial and performance
accountability; it provides each level of authority with the information it needs; and it
facilitates multipurpose use.
In a memorandum dated 23rd September, 1972, the G.M., B.M.C. furnished to the
P.S., M.T.I.C. data regarding authorized share capital of the project, working capital, and
financial background of project initiators.
The G.M., B.M.C. in a memorandum dated September 29, 1972 informed the I.S.F.L.
of the recommendations made by the B.M.C. Board. An agreement was reached to the
effect that the B.M.C. would pay $25,000 for 10% of the equity of the I.S.F.L., and that
the 10% which was allocated to government by the I.S.F.L. would be vested in the B.M.C.
The P.O., I.D.C. on October 11, 1972 solicited from the project-financing bank data
on the financial ability of the major director of the project. On October 19, 1972, the
manager of the bank certified the financial standing of the director and reported
on his business involvement and interest in other sectors of the economy and well-
established contacts and relations with executives of several business firms. The bank
further advised that the credit facilities to the I.S.F.L. had already been approved by the
head office of the bank for the financing of 21 new refrigerated shrimp trawlers over a
The P.O., I.D.C. on October 27, 1972 intimated to the P.S., M.T.I.C. that the M.D.,
I.S.F.L. had submitted an application for approved enterprise status under the Industrial
Incentives Act, 1963. The P.O. asked if the Ministry would confirm government's inten-
tion to participate in the project and also what form of participation it might be.
The G.M., B.M.C. informed the I.D.C. on January 22, 1973 that the Attorney General
had ruled that the process of products, viz., shrimp and fish food, fish and bone meal,
and salted fish had qualified as manufactured under the Industrial Incentives Act, 1963.
The P.S., M.T.I.C. in a memorandum to the I.S.F.L. on 21st February, 1973 acknow-
ledged receipt of a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation of the project. The P.S.
solicited information on the likelihood of the new production data.
The Secretary of the I.S.F.L. informed the P.S., M.T.I.C. on February 26, 1973 that
the new production date of the project was scheduled for March 1, 1973.
The I.S.F.L. requested on January 22, 1974 the P.S., M.T.I.C. to consider for changing
the official production, date of the project to July 1, 1973. Approval for making the
change was sought at the earliest.
The Incentives Committee was informed of the project's request for a change in pro-
duction date from March 1, 1973 to July 1, 1973. The Committee complied with the
request (Incentives Committee Meeting Minutes, 1974).
The I.S.F.L. requested the I.D.C. for a change of its production date from March 1,
1973 to July 1, 1973 (I.D.C. Meeting Minutes, 1974).
The P.O. advised the M.T.I.C. on May 14, 1974 to amend S.I. 1973 No. 46 by which
the I.S.F.L. was granted approved status in order to reflect a new production date of
July 1, 1973. The Secretary of the I.S.F.L. asked the P.S., M.T.I.C. on May 20, 1974 to
expedite the decision on request for changing the official production date from March 1,
1973 to July 1, 1973.
The P.S., M.T.I.C. on 20th June, 1974 informed the Secretary, I.S.F.L., G.M., I.D.C.,
Comptroller of Customs, and Commissioner of Inland Revenue that the M.T.I.C. had
amended S.I. 1973 No. 46 thereby reflecting a change in the project's production date
to July 1, 1973. A copy of the Amendment Order published in the Official Gazette dated
3rd June, 1974 as S.I. 1974 No. 139 was enclosed for recording, reporting and feedback
7. Transition to Normal Administration: Certain projects, mostly in the industrial and
resources development field, especially those taking the form of public enterprises, may
retain their status as separate organizations. For others, once a project has been completed,
it has to be integrated into the ordinary administrative system. In both cases the transition
from project-making stage to that of normal operation entails significant modifications
and calls for special consideration. Yet advance arrangements for a smooth changeover are
frequently neglected in practice. The transition cannot take place spontaneously and has
to be planned in advance and systematically. The transition phase involves organizational
and procedural modification, reallocation of personnel, disposal of surplus assets, design-
ing and installation of operating systems, provision of maintenance services, and removal
of operational retardants and blockages.
The I.S.F.L. is a development project,in the field of physical resources development.
But with the completion of the project, it had neither structurally taken the form of
public development corporation nor had it been integrated into the normal administrative
system. Now it is a project in the joint sector where management is strictly non-govern-
mental, and the initiative, financing and planning of the project had come from entre-
preneurs, but the government had participated in the project through the I.D.C. and
B.M.C. as a sponsor and facilitator. Hence, the need to make a smooth changeover from
the project status to routine administration did not arise in the case of the I.S.F.L. except
for that with the completion of the project, the project executives became more involved
in routine and managerial aspects of operation rather than in its development aspects.
8. Evaluation of Results: Evaluation of results achieved in a project is required in
order to benefit fully from the experience. For instance, empirical researchers in certain
nations have revealed a uniform pattern of overestimation and underestimation in post-
implementation costs and benefits, as compared with the pre-implementation estimates.
Research findings indicate a tendency to overestimate the contribution to export pro-
ceeds and the saving attendant upon import substitution, tendency to underestimate the
foreign exchange requirements, and tendency to underestimate indirect import require-
ments (United Nations, 1971). In terms of evaluation of results, overestimation under-
estimation need to be well adjusted. These findings need to be evaluated properly in
course of future project planning. Such an evaluation of project-making experience is
important for many developing nations.
With the completion of the project, the I.S.F.L. made an employment breakdown,
which is as follows:
Stores and handling (pierhead) 50 persons
Ship crew 80 persons
Refrigeration plant 20 persons
Washing and sorting equipment 25 persons
Cleaning and packing 25 persons
The number of persons employed in washing, sorting, cleaning and packaging increases
to 150 at peak production, making a normal labour force of 300 persons.
The M.D. of the I.S.F.L. intimated to the G.M., I.D.C. on April 25, 1974 that the first
full year of operations had concluded. The Annual Report of the I.S.F.L. (Annual Report,
1973) mentioned briefly the problems and difficulties encountered during the first year
of operation. The Financial Statements of the project for the year ending on 31st
December, 1973 pointed out the financial aspects of the project. The Report stated that
for the period 1972-73, the net income amount was Bds. $279,519. The project had
experienced some delay in the deliveries of the trawlers and this obviously had an adverse
effect on the project's revenue. The I.S.F.L. was a major user of fuel and during the
second half of 1973, it bore the effect of a price increase of approximately 200%
(Annual Report, 1973). The Annual Report produced balance sheet, statement of income
and retained earnings, source and use of funds, and notes to financial statements.
At present, the project's operations are restricted because government has only manag-
ed to negotiate 10 licences to operate in Brazilian waters whereas the project has 22 boats.
There appears to be considerable room for improvement in the efficiency at the pro-
cessing plant of the I.S.F.L. It appears as if the employees were operating without proper
direction and guidance.
Administrative Aspects Of A Development Project
Administrative aspects of the I.S.F.L. are dispersed throughout the eight phases, i.e.
from conception through evaluation of results. At the conception stage, development-
administrative orientation became manifest when the entrepreneurs in collaboration with
the I.D.C. and B.M.C. initiated to fill up the vacuum in large-scale, commercial, and
mechanized fishing industry and attempted to manipulate the island's given resources to
contribute to the economy of the nation. At the formulation stage, administration
embraced such aspects of the project as top management composition, market survey,
investment data-preparation, and production data-preparation. At the phase of analysis
and evaluation, administration encompassed identifying the proposed project's benefit
areas, analyzing the financing of the undertaking, and ascertaining the production process-
es of the project. At the approval phase, the I.S.F.L. had to secure the consent of the
nation's top policy-makers and decision-makers and obtain proper legislative sanction.
At the implementative level, formal registration of the project, signing contracts,
placing orders for trawlers and equipment, transacting finances, maintaining administra-
tive communication, and arranging government-to-government negotiation took place.
WORK BREAKDOWN STRUCTURE
wlers Fishing Carrier Processing tion and
Gear Vessel Equipment Packing
REGISTRATION, CONTRA o
OD NEGOTIATING NSTALLJNG,
Reporting and feedback were administratively concerned with such things as furnishing
various financial data, credit facilities, legal decision-making, and decision-making on
production date. When the project was completed, regular and routine administrative
operation became dominant. Finally, when the project's evaluative phase was reached,
various administrative functions were carried out, namely, financial management in terms
of net income, expected income loss, price increase, balance sheet, etc., appraisal of
operational difficulties, and employment breakdown.
The administrative aspects can be visually represented. First, the work breakdown
structure of the project, Figure 2.
The project has been segmented into various components of men, materials and
resources. Such a structural segmentation helps visualize and monitor a development
Second, from our analysis of the phases above, we can draw a work-flow chart,
The chart exhibits various sequences or flow of work between the initial work and
terminal work. These flows vary in total time. Such a chart helps better to understand
the dynamics of a development project planning and executing.
Now, a few more administrative aspects of the I.S.F.L. The top management of the
project looks like this: 1 chairman/managing director, 1 general manager, 1 seafood
consultant, 1 chief plant engineer, 1 dock manager, 1 plant manager, 1 marine engineer,
and 1 refrigerator/electrical engineer. A senior official of the I.S.F.L. (Interview, 1974)
regards the accounts officer, radio technicians, and trawler captains as important part of
the top management for the continued success of the project. Personnel breakdown and
salary description of the project are as follows in Table II.
The table does not provide for directors' fees and remuneration. Projected figures for
year 3 have been computed on the same basis as year 1 and need to be considerably higher
due to inflation. The latest employment breakdown is as follows:
Plant 130 persons
Boats 80 persons
Office, maintenance and casual 25 persons
TOTAL 235 persons
Source: Interview (1974)
The training of personnel takes place mostly at the level of in-service training. The
personnel records of the captains and crew have been kept up-to-date. Some of the work-
ers are very experienced in their line of work. The top management carefully recruited
some of the project personnel. The management makes sure that the employees work
hard and sincerely for the project. Most of the captains and crews are currently Barbad-
ians. Many of them have worked before in the shrimping industry.
PERSONNEL AND SALARY BREAKDOWN
Initially or at present
At end of development stages
Personnel No. Annual salaries/ No. Annual salaries/
Managerial 5 82,000 5 82,000
Technical 10 12
Skilled 25 ) 25 )
Sei-skill) $1,225,000 6 $1,225,000
Semi-skilled 63 ) 63 )
Unskilled 14 33,000 21 58,000
Clerical 4 51,600 4 51,000
others 10,000 0 31,000
TOTAL 121 $1,401,000 130 $1,447,000
* 170 Man Weeks
0 520 Man Weeks
Barbados being a small country, it is quite difficult for the I.S.F.L. to recruit tech-
nical and managerial personnel. Technical people are especially hard to come by and
they are normally sent to the United States for training for three weeks. When an employ-
ee is selected for overseas training, such factors as educational background, substantive
knowledge and job experience in the related field are looked into. The I.S.F.L. also runs
an internship programme which is for the duration of one year. The management assures
the internees of providing jobs in the project at the end of the internship.
Each trawler team needs to complete a regular quota of its catch. If a team makes
more than regular quota, it is given a bonus. If this continues, yearly bonuses are given by
the management. The employees have been given three increases within the last two
years. The project had started relatively smaller and modest, and the employees feel that
they would grow with the project.
Captains recruit their own crew. The captains pay their crew on a share basis. This
facilitates accounting and encourages increased responsibility. In terms of delegation of
responsibility, the dock manager, for instance, delegates responsibility to the workers
A senior official of the I.S.F.L. (Interview, 1974) observed that administration of a
development project like shrimping and fishing was different from that of a regular
government agency. Administrative tasks would have been much more systematic and
processual, he stated, if the government had provided more efficiently for these pre-
requisites: guaranteeing the loan; favourable legislation, duty-free import of necessary
equipment, tax incentives (pioneer status), negotiation with overseas governments for
permits for fishing rights, etc.
Finally, we recapitulate the administrative steps of the I.S.F.L.
conceiving and starting the project;
approaching the bank for financing;
approaching the government for sponsoring, legislative sanction, cabinet
consulting with seafood consultant for technical advice and feasibility;
consulting with accountants and auditors on financing feasibility study on
getting the trawlers from the U.S.-based company; and
marketing of the shrimp through letters of credit and National Shrimp
We conclude that the administration of development is in more ways than one the
administration of development programmes and projects in the developing world. In fact,
our understanding of development administration is far more thorough and mature when
we come to grasp the dynamics of a development project. We further observe that im-
provement in project administration not only reinforces development but also makes a
significant contribution to the process of national development.
1. Government of Barbados (1973) Official Gazette, S.I. 1973 No. 11, January 1.
Bridgetown: Government Printing Office.
2. (1973) Official Gazette, S.I. 1973 No. 46, April 2. Bridgetown:
Government Printing Office.
3. Incentives Committee (1974) Meeting Minutes. Bridgetown.
4. Industrial Development Corporation (1972) I.D.C. Files. Bridgetown.
5. (1974) Meeting Minutes. Bridgetown.
6. International Sea Foods Limited (1973) Annual Report 1973. Bridgetown.
7. Interview (1974) with a Senior Official of the I.S.F.L. Bridgetown.
8. Riggs, Fred W. (ed.) (1971) Frontiers of Development Administration. Durham,
N.C.: Duke University Press.
9. United Nations (1969) Administrative Aspects of Planning. New York: United
10. (1971) Administration of Development Programmes and Projects:
Some Major Issues. New York: United Nations.
MASS MEDIA IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT:
GOVERNMENTAL PERSPECTIVES IN JAMAICA AND GUYANA
This paper examines the struggles of two developing Caribbean nations as they attempt
to define the role of the media in their national development. After sketching aspects of
the debate on the subject, the paper focuses on Jamaica and Guyana, looks at their
positions in light of some traditional mass communication models, and proposes
'participatory' and 'development' models of communication to express the Jamaican and
The only interest that is not always well articulated, aggregated and
communicated in our system is the public interest. And I am well aware
that frequently enough, because we stand in different places and operate
in different contexts, the media or sections of it will disagree with
me on what is the national interest.
What is important is not that their concept of the national interest
should be the same as mine, but that they should have a concept, and that
it should be the overriding principle on which their work is founded.
The communications media would then become instruments for identi-
fying issues that need attention in our society, articulating genuine social
concerns particularly of the underprivileged in society aggregating
claims on decision-making and feeding back the demand for executive
action. This would turn the communications process upside down so that
it becomes participatory at all levels; and executive action would become
responsive rather than initiative Prime Minister Michael Manley,
Mass media in developing countries will normally play a role different from the role
they play in the developed world. This arises from the fact that "Mass media in any
nation are circumscribed and limited by the political, economic and social conditions in
which they exist".2 Developing countries are characterized by rapid change and this, as
Schramm3 and others4 have pointed out, makes it extremely important that the means
of communication be purposefully used in the interests of the nation.
Leaders of some developing countries, having become acutely aware that certain tradi-
tional concepts of the media may operate as constraints to national development, are
struggling to define the role which their media should fulfil. They find, for example, that
the so-called 'free flow of information' is more often a one way flow rather than a true
exchange of information.5 This results in attitudes and opinions of the developing world
being formed by external forces; in fact Herbert Schiller has described the free flow of
information as "the channel through which life styles and value systems can be imposed
on poor and vulnerable societies."6
Also being questioned is the concept of 'freedom of the press', when it is narrowly
defined as 'freedom from government control.' Such a definition ignores the critical
importance of being free from the economic control of groups which are not representa-
tive of the society. Governments of some small developing countries are actually less
powerful than the trans-national corporations which may control the country's economy,
and thus be in a position to exert much influence on the media.
As a result of such factors some nations are attempting to devise communication
policies which will allow them to protect their cultural integrity, represent the voice of
the majority in the society, and set their agendas according to priorities which they
In recent years, a wide variety of Caribbean groups and individuals have called on the
society to take the role of the mass media more seriously. A workshop on Caribbean
Women in Communication for Development claimed that "our mass media are more
often channels for propagandizing and domesticating rather than for liberating."8 A
consultation on Church-Communication-Development described the media as one of the
prime tools of development and stated that churches should recognize that
the air waves belong to the people and not to those who control the trans-
mission equipment and therefore call upon the media owners to encourage
their media professionals. . to be fully responsible; seeking out the voices
and opinions of all groupings in society, and not restrict programme con-
cepts or media access to traditional power groups. .. 9
Though in theory the air waves do belong to the people, the reality of the power situation
forces one to note that in practice, media owners will normally act in their own interest
and in the interests of the groups such as advertisers which are in a position to exert
pressure on the media. Thus the masses of people will have no significant voice and the
media will serve primarily as avenues of escape and channels for the point of view of
powerful interest groups.
At a UNESCO-sponsored workshop in 1972, Caribbean media executives expressed
skepticism about whether the media patterns of the developed countries really serve the
needs of the Caribbean. They raised many questions with which Caribbean societies are
Should governments own newspapers and broadcasting stations? How do
we balance support for government's development programme with the
rights of free expression and the right of citizens to criticize their govern-
ment? How do we balance the incentives of private enterprise and the
inducements of advertising against the need of a developing society to
encourage saving and long-range planning? How do the news media balance
Caribbean and non-Caribbean news? How do we 'balance messages from
government to the people and messages from the people reacting to the
William Demas, President of the Caribbean Development Bank, has spoken out on
many occasions about the problem of 'cultural penetration' particularly through the
electronic media which he perceives to be playing a role that is "destructive of national
cultural identity and of autonomous and independent economic and social develop-
ment."1 I This role, he explains, "arises not only from the advertising of imported goods
but also from the actual content of the programmes which brainwash the population
into accepting and wanting the way of life of the affluent societies." 12
A 1974 seminar on Communications and Information for Development Purposes in
the Caribbean included among its recommendations that "all media and channels of
communication must be utilized to support the development process. . The role of
communication in support of development is to promote total community participation
both in defining development goals and in contributing to the successful implementation
of these objectives."' 3
Regarding ownership of the mass media, a variety of suggestions have been made. One
Caribbean journalist makes the point that "Our vehicles of information must be owned
and controlled by persons with more than financial interest in this part of the world. Our
newspapers, radio and television stations must be used as instruments of nation-building,
not avenues to empire-building."l4 Ken Gordon, President of the Caribbean Publishers
and Broadcasters Association and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Caribbean
News Agency, believes that the solution to the problem of ownership does not lie in
government control, though he believes that media should be required to operate within
the framework of national policy.15
Dr. Everold Hosein suggests three systems of press ownership which would allow
Caribbean people to exercise their right to communicate:
1) Government ownership of media with a board of management representative of
interests in the community and workers in the media, with independent editors
who would accept the responsibility of making the press accessible to a variety of
community interests and seeing that the press serves the public interest.
2) Public ownership with independent editors and with participation by the local rich,
workers in the media and others in the community who wish to share in ownership.
3) Ownership by co-operatives and citizens' organizations with membership over a
certain number, with some initial financial support by government.16
Hosein's first two suggestions immediately elicit the question of how an independent
editor will decide the public interest. His third suggestion is a relatively untried approach,
and one to which Jamaica's Prime Minister subscribes.
A plea by a Jamaican journalist represents the direction in which many younger
Caribbean journalists are thinking.
If the goal of development is to arrive at a historical stage where there is a
society without exploited classes and based on full equality, and if journal-
ists are to make a positive contribution to this end, then we will have to
seek, consciously, to advance the interests of the under-privileged. I do not
feel that the journalist in the Caribbean should be either insulated or
isolated from the struggles of the people. Journalists cannot be impartial
observers of the society. The goal of development dictates that the journal-
ist unequivocally articulates the interests of the deprived majority.17
There are still powerful voices in the Caribbean which accept without question tradi-
tional concepts of the media. But as can be seen from the groups and individuals cited
here, a growing and significant body of Caribbean opinion joins other voices in the
developing world in calling for a redefinition of the role of the media with the hope of
making it responsive to the needs of the majority of Caribbean people. The approach
which two Caribbean governments are actually taking as they attempt a redefinition is
the concern of the rest of this paper.
In the period of rapid social change which Jamaica is now undergoing, the role of the
press is being questioned and analysed.
The constitution of Jamaica, like that of Guyana, makes no separate, specific recogni-
tion of the right of the freedom of the press. This freedom, however, is protected by the
right of the individual to free expression.18 From the constitutions of both Jamaica and
Guyana it appears that "the press is in precisely the same position as the ordinary individ-
ual, and there is no recognition of the press as an entity for which separate provisions
should be made."19
Prime Minister Manley's first book, The Politics of Change, provides a philosophical
framework for his recent comments on the subject. Manley recognizes that as a result of
modern technology "man now has at his disposal instruments of enormous power for
good or evil in the field of ideas and access to the processes by which opinions and
attitudes are formed."20 This technology makes the use of the media for totalitarian
purposes easy, and to avoid this, Manley outlines two principles upon which he believes
the government should operate:-
governments should not use their power to secure the use of the media in
the exclusive interest of the political party upon which the government
itself rests. ... On the other hand, it is the duty of a government to enlist
the full range of media technique in the support of policies and as an in-
strument in the development of the new attitudes which may be necessary
for the success of the policies themselves.21
He acknowledges that "there cannot be a just society if that society does not provide
a defined area within which there is freedom of action and predictability of status for
both individuals and institutions" but that equally, "we must recognize that there is no
justice in society without the recognition by individuals and institutions of their responsi-
abilities to the whole."22 Thus, he concludes, the concept of freedom of the press is
subject to the question of social responsibility. What Manley means by social responsi-
bility is epitomized in his statement with which this paper begins that the national
interest should be the overriding concern of the media, that they must identify the issues
which need attention, articulate genuine social concerns and provide feedback. In a word,
the media must play a participating role.
This emphasis is made necessary, the Prime Minister believes, because at the moment
the Jamaican press tends to be owned by people who are part of the established economic
interest group. And in the name of freedom of the press "they quite legitimately argue
their right to bespeak the interests and the point of view of that economic group."23
But, he continues, "where are the avenues through which the masses express their
interest? . Freedom is only realized when all points of view of the society get equal
hearing." The press, he asserts elsewhere, "must be a multi-directional channel of com-
munication between all elements of the society ...."24
Manley suggests that if the privately owned press is incapable of self-discipline the
society must be free to redress the balance by means of creating additions to the press.
One might assume that these additions could take the form of what he described in an
earlier interview as "People Ownership" of the media, meaning that popular institutions
such as the Jamaica Agricultural Society, trade unions, and building societies should have
In reply to a question about the foreign ownership of Radio Jamaica, the Prime
Minister was emphatic:
Freedom of the press does not mean another country's freedom inside my
country. It means the citizens of my country having freedom within their
own country. We don't believe freedom of the press is an international
phenomenon where ownership is concerned.26
In Politics and Communication Richard Fagen has stated that post-colonial societies
cannot tolerate disruptive criticism and that this causes them to tighten control of media
channels.27 Jamaica is a notable exception to this generalization. Almost daily the
Jamaican print media, in particular, carry negative columns and commentary. Prime
Minister Manley is at pains it seems not to overstep what he has described as "the
dividing line between the rights of the press to its freedom as one of the main instruments
by which a free society protects itself against totalitarian encroachments, and the claims
of social responsibility."28
The most detailed rationale of the Guyanese position on the media is found in a paper
by Christopher A. Nascimento, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's office.29 He
summarizes it in the words of the Ibadan Seminar on 'Motivation, Information and Com-
munication for Development in African and Asian countries': that in developing coun-
tries "all possible media channels of communication must be utilized to support the
development process."30 He believes that if media are to be a "vital, instructive, informa-
tion link between the government and the governed",31 a developing country cannot