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Full Text
ISSN 0008 6495

SCaribbean Quarterly
Volume 27, Nos 2 & 3


Mass Media
in the Caribbean n

n 1194 i



Copyright reserved and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.
iii Foreword
1 Unheard Voices: Jamaica's Struggle and the Multinational Media
Jack Johnson-Hill
21 Interpersonal versus Mass Media Channels as Influences on
Tourism to the Caribbean: An Empirical Study
Marlene Cuthbert
28 Business Interests. Freedom of the Press and Grenada
Carl 1). Parris
40 Dialectics of Mass Communication in National Transformation
Aggrey Brown
47 Television Educational Roles in Contemporary Jamaica
Nancy A. George
60 The "Caribbean Man": A Study in the Psychology of
Perception and the Media
Ramesh Deosaran
94 Public Address and the Advancement of Caribbean Studies
Marian B. MIcLeod
104 Home is where nobody is...
Stanley Reid
105 Resolution of Notes
Ven L. Thomas
106 Caribbean Mass Communications: A Comprehensive Bibliography
by John Lent
reviewed by Robert V. Vaughn

VOL. 27 Nos. 2 & 3



Editorial Committee
Hon. R.M. Nettleford, O.M., Professor of Extra-Mural Studies (Editor)
Lloyd Brathwaite, Pro Vice-Chancellor, St. Augustine, Trinidad
Sir Sidney Martin, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Cave Hill, Barbados
Roy Augier, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Mona, Jamaica
G.A.O. Alleyne, Professor, Department of Medicine, Mona
Lloyd Coke, Department of Botany, Mona
Neville McMorris, Department of Physics, Mona
Janet Liu Terry, Associate Editor

All correspondence and contributions should be addressed to:

The Editor,
Caribbean Quarterly,
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. Authors should refer to the section on Information for
Contributors for guidelines.

Subscriptions (Annual)

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Eastern Caribbean J$28.00
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Exchanges are conducted by the Gifts and Exchanges Section, Library, University
of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica.

Information for back volumes supplied on request. Volumes 1-18 of Caribbean
Quarterly are available in microfilm from Xerox University Microfilms and in book
form from Kraus-Thomson Reprint Ltd.

Subscription orders may be forwarded to the Editor or the Resident Tutor at the
University Centre in any West Indian Territory served by this University.


It was five years ago that Caribbean Quarterly last focused its attention on the subject
of media and communication in the Caribbean. It seems now to be time again to look
once more at this vital issue which is universally recognized as of paramount importance:
so much so that politicians in and out of government ensure that they are able to
manipulate, whenever they are allowed to do so, content, form and personnel attached to

The much longed for new international information order has not materialized and
the situation is further exacerbated by many Third World countries who at their own
expense and volition invite into their homes the out-pourings of the electronic media
of the world but mainly those of North America via satellite transmissions which they
'pirate' to the inexplicable annoyance of copyright holders who still surprisingly believe
that it is they who are being robbed. It is in fact the Caribbean countries who pay: they
pay with the loss of identity, increased consumerism which their economies can ill afford,
and with mimicry in their national lives and mores. This unequal battle is the subject of
Jack Johnson-Hill's Unheard Voices: Jamaica's Struggle and the Multinational Media
which investigates TIME and NEWSWEEK'S coverage of the Jamaican election of 1980
and seeks to establish a consistent pattern of bias and uncovers, according to Mr.
Johnson-Hill, a number of seemingly naive, myopic and overly simplistic operating
assumptions. His assertion that there is an authentic ideological middle ground between
capitalist and communist worldviews must be taken seriously and is taken seriously in the
developed ambiance of Western European countries but is not allowed in other regions of
the world.

Those who work in media may perceive inaccurately their own influence in some-
thing as sensitive as the leisure industry and forget the importance of interpersonal
communication. In an empirical study, Marlene Cuthbert examines the Interpersonal
versus Mass Media Channels as Influences on Tourism to the Caribbean. Dr Cuthbert
points out that extensive research by social scientists in recent decades have revealed
the media to be limited agents of change and much research has shown that, when
attitude is involved, the individual is likely to be more affected by inter-personal com-
munication than by mass media. This case study compares the coverage given by the
press in Canada and in the United States to a Caribbean tourist destination, Jamaica, as
well as response of Canadian and American travel agents to the same destination, com-
ments on the apparent effect of each on tourist choice of destination. This study found
that the press did not operate independently in influencing tourists in their choice of
Jamica as a tourist destination.

In Business Interests, Freedom of the Press and Grenada, Carl D. Parris examines
the phenomenon of interlocking directorates in relation to the press in Grenada. The
paper seeks to determine what sets of interests in Trinidad and Tobago control the news-
papers of Grenada which were closed by the Provisional Revolutionary Government of

Grenada. Secondly, it seeks to document the confrontation, paying attention as well as
to how these interests in conjunction with their international and domestic supporters
allegedly sought to propagate chaos in the accused country and thirdly, it seeks to
examine the Grenada Government's response and the refusal of the protagonists to accept
that response.

Dr. Aggrey Brown in The Dialectics of Mass Communication in National Transfor-
mation attempts to set out the broad outlines of a dialectical approach to understanding
mass communications in the process of national transformation and to locate the praxis
of communications for development in a dynamic context of constantly changing reality.
The praxis of communication for transformation must overcome the inherent technolo-
gical bias of media technology that militates against effective communication between
Third World peoples domestically and internationally.

The focus of Nancy George's article is Television Roles in Contemporary Jamaica
which refutes to a certain extent the thesis posited by Everold N. Hosein in CQ 22 4
(1976) in which he asserts that imported television content in the Commonwealth Carib-
bean had marginal influence on the life-style of the region. Her paper examines television
as a medium for formal and non-formal education in Jamaican society. In direct con-
trast with Hosein she writes that everything on television is viewed in the light of being
educational whether or not it is being deliberately instructional, serious questions arise
about the impact of imported television programming broadcast in a Jamaican context.

An animated and pervasive calypso controversy is presented by Ramesh Deosran
who looks at The 'Caribbean Man': A Study in the Psychology of Perception and the
Media. The controversy which took place in Trinidad and Tobago further underlines the
'Mass Media' of the oral tradition in the Caribbean, highlighting the importance of the
calypso not only as social comment and art form but also as a means of mass communica-
Public Address and the Advancement of Caribbean Studies by Marian McLeod is
very provocative: it raises a fundamental proposition about the nature of social research
that limits the scope of research material to the mere traditional namely that we tend to
overlook to our detriment, the public speech as a source of valid social history. It is not
by any means a popular notion.

Two poems, one by Stanley Reid, Home is where nobody is ...... and the other
by Ven L. Thomas, Resolution of Notes, round off the issue.





The multinational media play a decisive role in shaping global understanding of
international relations. With few exceptions, US citizens glean their knowledge of current
events in the developing world from the major transnational news magazines, wire
services and television networks, which are all based in North America and Europe. Time
and Newsweek. in particular, not only have wide circulation in the US market, but also
sizeable distribution and significant revenue-seeking interests in foreign countries. Time
has one quarter of its readership overseas, and ninety-one percent of those readers are

Given this far-ranging influence, Third World media professionals have become
increasingly critical of an imbalance or "one-way flow" of news between developed and
developing countries. They assert a "right to communicate" and call for a more equitable
distribution of media facilities and a New Information Order. Western journalists usually
interpret these concerns as a threat to the "free flow" of news and fear governmental
restrictions on foreign correspondents. Yet while affirming "freedom of the press" they
often neglect the responsibilities presupposed by that very freedom. Significant events
overseas are ignored, mislabelled and distorted. According to Amado-Mahter M'Bow,
UNESCO Director General from Senegal, this process "...is aggravated at the level of the
individual mass communication medium where...the user is only provided with a carica-
ture of the day's news, sketched in a few hasty lines."3

As a case in point, it is instructive to examine the coverage of the 1980 national
election in Jamaica by Time and Newsweek. After a violent election campaign a new
government was elected, with the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) headed by Edward Seaga
replacing the People's National Party (PNP) headed by Michael Manley. An analysis of
the news weeklies' election coverage reveals the repeated imposition of a Western-
specifically American-ideological perspective upon the Jamaican situation. This article
seeks to (1) document a clear case of bias in terms of oversimplification, stereotyping,
distortion and misrepresentation, and (2) make explicit the operating assumptions which
contribute to this bias and generate conflict in the "press debate." It is primarily based
upon an examination of the following three news stories: "No to Chaos", Time (Novem-
ber 24, 1980). p. 21: John Brecher with Beth Nissen, "Seaga Knocks Out the Left",
Newsweek (November 10, 1980), p. 36; and Beth Nissen, "Jamaica: Back in Business",
Newsweek (December 8, 1980), pp. 4142-hereafter cited as Time, NI and N2,
respectively.4 Hopefully, this analysis will assist us in becoming more self-conscious of
our values and presuppositions as we strive to participate meaningfully in the North-
South dialogue.

Ideology and Labelling

Time and Newsweek cast the Jamaican election in the framework and terminology
of East-West or Left-Right ideological extremes associated with the Cold War.SNl's head-
line declares, "Seaga Knocks Out the Left", and the second line sets up the parameters-
"While Ilavana and Washington looked on." Time's topic sentence also introduces a dual-
istic context: "The political winds are blowing from left to right." Another news weekly
claims that the campaign was fought over "...the clear issue of capitalism versus
communism."6 This artificial polarization grossly oversimplifies the essential differences
between the parties involved. The media appear to presuppose that there is no serious
economic middle ground between the capitalism of the West and the communism of the

The actual term "democratic socialism", which denotes Manley's non-aligned alterna-
tive, appears only once in one of the three articles.7 The writers are either ignorant of.
or unwilling to describe, the most basic and elementary tenets of Manley's political
philosophy. The New York Times is virtually unique among US news publications in
distinguishing democratic socialism from capitalism or communism, with reference to
the idea of a mixed economy.9 Time and Newsweek make no attempt to differentiate
Manley's creative form of social democracy from other vastly different political systems.
Without taking into account such concepts as "worker representation" and "self-
reliance", his brand of socialism may be oversimplified and confused (in the reader's
mind) with notions like "totalitarianism." Given this conceptual vacuum, fallacious
inferences are easily made and Manley's egalitarian stance is, inevitably, identified with
communist Havana and the stereotypical Left.

Seaga's free enterprise philosophy, on the contrary, is portrayed as a position of
moderation. The subtitle of Time's post-election article is "moving back to moderation",
and it quotes Seaga as noting a shift "away from radical ideological adventures toward a
traditional strategy of economic development." At the same time, N1 speaks of "Seaga's
promise to resurrect free enterprise." Hence, while the issues are cast in the opposing
modes of East and West, or Left and Right, the position of the West or the Right is
equated with moderation. It is as if the views of the West occupy some symbolic centre or
middle ground, and are assumed to be normative for the world.

Manley's economic vision is blurred by the terms "radical" and "ideological
adventure." If free enterprise must be "resurrected", the implication is that it has died,
and that Manley has an unfavourable view of private ventures. Yet there is considerable
evidence for a vibrant if struggling private sector, especially during the latter yqars of
Manley's tenure. For example, in 1979 Grace Kennedy exported JS4.8 million of food
products, a 78% increase over 1978.10 "Both Kaiser Bauxite and Alcan Jamaica surpassed
production targets for 1980, with Alpart recording its second best year since it began
operations in 1969."11 In recent years, 120 US firms operated in Jamaica and the "total
US private investment...is estimated at about Sl billion."12 Carlton Alexander, past
president of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica-and an outspoken supporter

of Seaga-nevertheless stated unequivocally, during Manley's tenure: "...the two sectors
(government and private sector) will persist side-by-side. We of the business sector will
always have our role to play...The truth is that government's roles and responsibilities
have expanded over time and the Public Sector is now a more integral part of the national
economy than was the case ten years ago. Does this mean that the role of the Private
Sector has shrunken? I say, no: both sectors have expanded."l3

The media not only fail to note the vital role of the private sector in the PNP's mixed
economy, but use extreme phraseology when more neutral, accurate terms are available.
For instance, Newsweek might have substituted words like "improve", "expand" or even
"stimulate" for the more strident "resurrect" (which implies cessation or death).
Or, since Newsweek does not qualify its one reference to Manley's democratic socialism,
it could likewise simply have referred to Seaga's free enterprise, and omitted the loaded
phrase, "promise to resurrect." The misleading impression that Manley's government was
actually opposed to free enterprise is reinforced by other references which associate it
with a strictly non-capitalist system. Newsweek's quote of Seaga, "The Jamaican people
have decided over against Communism", (NI) is a case in point.

Manley's diplomatic relations, particularly with Cuba, are also reported in a rigid
East-West context, and are used to insinuate that he is pro-communist.14 N1 says, "The
vote was a major strategic blow to Castro, who had closely advised Manley" and "Jamaica
was one of Cuba's best prospects." Time's first description of Manley is as a "charismatic,
pro-Cuban Socialist." The impression is created that if Manley is closely linked to Castro
then we can essentially understand the nature of his ideological intentions. The articles
suggest a sinister relationship and imply that Jamaica was somehow being used as a staging
ground for Cuban hegemony in the Caribbean. They overlook the many excellent
geographical, historical, cultural and economic reasons that the two countries should
be friendly neighbours.

But more importantly, by labelling Manley as pro-Cuban, the media overlook an
opportunity to grasp the significance of his relationship to the Non-Aligned Movement.
Although Manley expressed sympathy for several of Castro's efforts and was critical of
certain Western policies at the 1979 International Conference of Non-Aligned Nations
held in Havana, it would be unfair to characterize the thrust of his remarks as anti-
American. Yet because such a position is invariably seen as a contradiction in terms,
when viewed solely from the vantage point of an East-West perspective, Time and
Newsweek are unable to deal with Manley's considerable ties to the US or the constructive
nature of his relations with Cuba and other non-aligned nations. 15 If the amount and
kind of foreign assistance is used as a general measure of the health of bilateral relations,
Manley's Jamaica fared well with both the US and Cuba. During the last six years of
Manley's tenure, Jamaica received S149.8 million from USAID and was the only country
in the Caribbean to receive aid under the US Economic Assistance Program and the
Ilousing Investment Guarantee Program.16 The Inter-American Foundation helped
establish a sugar workers' cooperative, social action centre and a Council for Human
Rights.17 At the same time, Jamaica enjoyed assistance from Cuba in the form of

doctors, teachers, educational scholarships and-in 1980 alone-S1 1.4 million of construc-
tion work in schools and sports complexes. 18 However, Jamaica received much more aid
from the US than from Cuba. Cuban involvement in Jamaica was, and continues to be,
"people-based, and is not intended to interfere in political affairs."l9 This is a basic
premise of relationships between non-aligned countries. Even if Time and Newsweek had
some reason to dispute this claim, they make no effort to discuss both sides of the issue.

Yet, strangely, Seaga's ambiguous gestures toward Cuba do not seem perplexing or
problematic to the press. On the one hand, N1 points out that Seaga "...hoped to retain
diplomatic relations with Cuba." But Time quotes Seaga as saying, "The Cubans set up
Jamaica as their espionage centre of the Caribbean...how can you normalize relations
with a country like that?" The stated interest in maintaining diplomatic contacts is further
complicated by the report that Seaga's first official act as Prime Minister was the expulsion
of the Cuban ambassador, followed by the eventual severing of diplomatic relations with
Cuba. These apparently contradictory sentiments are less puzzling when seen in the light
of. Seaga's own political development. As Minister of Finance in 1969, Seaga master-
minded the "Jamaicanization Policy", which had the long-range intention of helping to
"equalize the distribution of wealth and ownership of the country's resources." 2 Many
in Jamaica still view him as a socialist today, although he has moved considerably to the
right. Perhaps a more pragmatic and accurate view is that Seaga accepts the current inter-
national economic order and would aim to have Jamaica out-compete other developing
countries in winning the potential benefits of investments by Western industrialized

The tendency to view the world only in East-West parameters is indicative of a more
general ideological myopia inherent in the transnational news media. Herbert Gans
delineates eight operating values which are generally presupposed by media professionals
associated with Time and Newsweek: Ethnocentrism, Altruistic Democracy, Responsible
Capitalism, Small Town Pastoralism, Individualism, Moderation, Social Order and
Leadership.22 Taken as a whole, in the US context, these values point to a very specific
ideological stance-namely, one which emphasizes (a) capitalist economic ideas, (b) a
form of democracy which does not interfere in the smooth functioning of capitalism,
(c) a moderate stance which avoids sharp deviations from the status quo, (d) social order
for the managers of society, and (e) the concentration of power and influence in the
hands of certain leaders, primarily middle-aged white males. This particular form of
capitalistic democracy emerged from a distinct historical setting, and is wedded to a
positivistic philosophical orientation.23

Time and Newsweek's stories about foreign affairs are, therefore, aptly characterized as
North American cultural description from a positivistic perspective. In the global context,
this perspective represents only one among several possible ways of interpreting and
making sense out of world events. Unfortunately, general labels are applied in such a way
that important ideological distinctions are obscured or ignored. A careful review of Gans'
ideological spectrum of news reporting reveals the remarkable fact that six of the seven
political constituencies presuppose a capitalist economic approach.24 The following

Although media behind the Iron Curtain may be controlled by governments, Western
media are essentially controlled by monopolies with very special interests.2 The need is
to transcend the psycho-cultural tyrannies of both the First and Second W!orlds. Other-
wise, we go on as if in a dream. "And so by playing hoaxes on ourselves, we are shielded
from the unpleasantness of ambiguous experience and find solace in the belief that our
contrived reality is thoroughly real."30

Parties and Personalities: Unequal Treatment
Newsweek and Time display consistent bias in their unequal treatment of the character
and background of the Jamaican leaders and their followers. It is clear from the previous
section that Edward Seaga and the JLP are portrayed as "pro-capitalist", while Michael
Manley and the PNP are viewed as inclined toward communism. The equations are devas-
tating in their easy stereotyping: The Western reader is prone to see the word "Seaga" and
think "friend", while seeing the word "Manley" and thinking "red."

N1 refers to "a few PNP hotheads" who warn of "revolutionary politics", but does not
mention any "JLP hotheads" who warn of "vengeance." In fact. the unfavourable
reference to the PNP comes just after a statement about how "Seaga promised to leave
Manley and his supporters alone" and "(Seaga vowed), 'The Labour Party will give no
Jamaican cause for fear' (Nl).The journalists also neglect to mention the extensive
burning and shooting in predominantly PNP districts following the election. Ilistorically,
in Jamaica, the party which assumes power generally 'takes it out' on supporters of the
old majority. This was especially true in 1980. But NI explicably concludes, "After the
election Kingston's streets were relatively quiet and the atmosphere more relaxed than it
had been for months."

When violence is reported, the anti-PNP bias is particularly blatant. NI notes that
violence continued on election day between gangs from both parties, but then adds
"...both times during visits by Seaga to polling places in the neighbourhood." There is
no corollary reference to any of the numerous local reports of election-day violence
perpetrated upon PNP leaders and their neighborhoods. Since the particular incidents
involving Seaga are described in isolation, with no counter-description of similar incidents
involving Manley or his followers, the impression is created that these episodes of violence
are exceptional and the perpetrators all on one side. Yet any journalist visiting Jamaica
for more than a few days could not help but be aware of the constant 'tribal warfare'
between political factions in various sections of Kingston.

A line-by-line analysis of the rest of the paragraph in N1 shows the systematic
construction of the image of the PNP "aggressor" waging war on the JLP "defender." The
sentence following the one about the shooting at the polling places reads, "The day
before the election snipers fired at Seaga's entourage." This is followed by a recapitula-
tion of a charge made by Seaga that Cuba provided the PNP with "arms" and "terrorist
training" (NI). Then Seaga is quoted as saying that "...the pre-election shooting was just
another example of the all-too-routine campaign violence, not a serious attempt to

diagram illustrates the lopsided effect of this perception of the plurality of ideologies with
respect to economic systems.
Non-Capitalist (public ownership) Capitalist (private ownership)

ar Left Left-leaning Right Moderates Conser- Ultra-
Liberals Liberals vatives conservatives
Given this narrow perspctLive, it is easy to see how Manley's democratic socialism n,
almost of necessity, lumped into the "Far Left" category, along with such fundamentally
different political philosophies as "communism", "revolutionary socialism" or even
"anarchy." Gans points out that "ultra-liberals" are called "left-wingers", but "ultra-
conservatives" are rarely labelled "right-wingers" and never "reactionaries", though
"ultra-liberals" are often called "radicals." 25 It is therefore also easy to see how Seaga's
perspective of so-called "moderation" is understood as middle-of-the-road.
A more comprehensive, relevant and discriminating model would shift the centre of
the spectrum to the left, between the two extremes in Gans' typology. The following
paradigm allows for a more realistic picture of the balance between competing political
alliances as they are seen in the global arena.
Non-Capitalist Mixed Economic Capitalist
-A A_
Communism/Revolu- Democratic Socialism/ Conservatism/Liber-
[ tionary Socialism Liberalism/Moderatism tarianism

From this standpoint, Manley's democratic socialists are no more "Far Left" or radical
fringe than Seaga's Labourites are "Far Right" or marginal. A case could be made that
Seaga's policies lean more toward the conservative category than Manley's do toward
the revolutionary socialist, but this is beyond the scope of the present inquiry.
In summary, Western journalists, operating with certain assumptions, almost cannot
fail to see democratic socialism as an aspect of some monolithic radical force (Far Left)
which stands opposed to the "Free World." Gans has observed that, for the past fifty
years, the first question Americans ask about foreign civil wars is whether or not
communists are involved in them.26 American news is "consistently critical of democratic
socialist countries." 27 And so the effective use of labels which suggest East-West or
Right-Left dichotomies, in a sense, perpetuates certain cultural fantasies. As Daniel
Boorstin remarks, "...the test of a...reporter is seldom his skill at dramatic reporting, but
more often his adeptness at dark intimation...Much of his stock in trade is his own
and other people's speculation about the reality of what he reports. He lives in a penumbra
between fact and fantasy."28 The media, according to Boorstin, describe a kind of
pseudo-reality, and what we read in Time and Newsweek about the Jamaican election
becomes a 'pseudo-event.' Thus, where the Second World's news is false in the sense that
it is basically propaganda, the First World's news is false in the sense that it presents a
kind of unreal fantasy world of dualisms. The latter distortion is more subtle and
sophisticated than the former, but for that very reason it is more insidious and elusive.

assassinate (him)." (Added emphasis is mine). Not only is the impression that the PNP is
basically responsible for the violence left intact, but the not-so-subtle insinuation is put
forth that it is quite legitimate to think that Seaga might well have been assassinated. (In
actuality, the only incident during the election which may have been an assassination was
the murder of Roy McGann, a PNP Member of Parliament, at a public gathering). The nail
is driven into the coffin with the concluding sentence: "But he (Seaga) charged that on
election day alone, gunmen fired 'no less than 2,000 rounds' at his entourage."

The next paragraph begins with the word "Manley admitted." Coming as they do
immediately after the previous sentence where Seaga "charged that...gunmen fired...at his
entourage", one is ready to expect that what Manley "admits" will be related to the
violence that Seaga has "charged." But, instead, the argument takes a bizarre twist as
"Manley admitted that the election had been generally fair and said he would "accept
what has happened." At this point, one can note four glaring examples of unequal treat-
ment of Manley and the PNP. Firstly, the initial psychological effect of seeing the words
"Manley admitted" immediately after the preceding sentence where Seaga "charges" is
to suggest (in the reader's mind) Manley's acquiescence to those charges, even though he
goes on to "admit" something else entirely. Secondly, since the subject is abruptly changed
from one of "violence" to one of the "fairness of the election", Manley's side of the
violence issue is never heard. Incredibly, it is completely omitted in all three articles.
Thirdly, the sentence itself is peculiar as a topic sentence, because without any back-
ground about the mechanics of the election, the reader is left wondering why Manley
would have to "admit" that it was "fair." Fourthly, the assertion that Manley would
"accept what has happened", in the context of what has already been written, carries the
implication that it is quite plausible to think that he might have done other than "accept"
the results. In the absence of any positive reference to Manley's well-documented commit-
ment to the principles of democracy, unnecessary questions are raised about his political

The anti-PNP bias is further reflected in the pictures which accompany the article. One
appears to be an innocent victory celebration shot of Seaga and his mother embracing.
But a careful look reveals that Seaga's jaw is very rigid and he is gritting his teeth. The
caption reads, "A victory hug from mother: Cubans go home." (My emphasis). A political
statement is being made. Has Seaga saved his mother-and Jamaica-from the Cubans
by defeating Michael Manley?

The other picture is an action photo of three Jamaicans with guns, shooting to their
left, while Seaga is being hustled off to the side. The caption reads, "Violent vote: Seaga's
guards return fire while the candidate (dark suit, rear) heads for cover." The gunmen are
"returning fire" and, again, the clear impression is that PNP forces are the violent
aggressors. The point is that these two photos are printed, but there are no corollary
pictures which present the PNP in a positive light or paint negative image of the JLP.

Newsweek prints Seaga's accusation that Cuba provided the PNP with "arms" and
"terrorist training", but the considerable evidence of CIA involvement on the other side is

ignored.31 The issue here is not whether each charge of foreign intervention is correct,
but why only one party's position is covered. Four weeks after the election, N2 reports,
"Violence has dropped fifty percent in Kingston." Although that figure is probably overly
optimistic, it causes one to wonder about the foundations of the earlier fear, expressed
in NI, about "revolutionary politics." Time says that "The shootouts...have tapered off as
a result of nightly curfews and police raids." What it does not report is that whole PNP
communities were forcibly evicted from or burned out of their homes, hundreds of
Manley sympathizers were unlawfully detained or fired from their jobs, and a number were
indiscriminately killed by the police.32

This one-sided presentation continues when the issue of the lucrative traffic in
marijuana (ganja) is raised. Seaga is portrayed as inheriting a flourishing ganja trade. The
impression is that the Manley government must have more or less approved of it. N2 refers
to it as "...currently the only healthy segment of the Jamaican economy", which over-
states the case, unless the term "healthy" is understood in an unusual way. Yet no
consideration is given to the fact that it was Manley's PNP which took a strong stand
against illicit drug dealing. During their tenure it was not legal for banks to accept money
generated from the sale of ganja. Yet Time reports that the Seaga government has "moved
to legalize the use of foreign exchange derived from the marijuana trade." The fact that
the industry grew in spite of Manley's legal and moral efforts to stop it may say more
about the tenacity, technology and organizational sophistication of the illicit drug industry
than it does about the intentions of the PNP.

But perhaps nowhere is the bias so patently clear as in the media's account of the
educational backgrounds of the two leaders. Both Time and N1 note that Seaga is
"Harvard-educated", but both fail to mention anything about Manley's academic creden-
tials, especially his four years at the London School of Economics. The implication is
obvious: Seaga is smart, and Manley is...well...Manley. In this case the education issue was
no small matter, because a key element in the election was the tendency of the local
media to focus almost exclusively upon the statements and personalities of the party
leaders. Jamaica has had a history of "heroic leaders", especially in the past several
decades, and the tendency is to ascribe all praise or all blame to the party leader, depend-
ing on one's affiliation. The Western press is also prone to pay undue attention to the
men at the top and to give them credit (or blame) for the actions of their subordinates.3
In this context of hero idolization, the two leaders came to be viewed as symbols of the
embodiments of their respective political movements. Since Manley's considerable training
in economics was totally neglected, and Seaga's Harvard connection often emphasized,
Manley and the democratic socialism he represented became vulnerable to accusations of
ignorance-of not knowing how to do this or that-particularly, and ironically, in the
economic sphere.

Economics: Mismanagement or Sabotage?
In evaluating each candidate's track record and potential for management of the
economy, the media consistently condemn Manley but praise Seaga, often by completely

ignoring important facts and distorting aspects of the case to the point of falsification.
Manley's programme is described in terms of "inefficient policies" (Time) which "led
to a steadily declining economy" (NI) "overburdened by...ambitious but expensive
social programs" (N2). On the contrary, Seaga is characterized as "an experienced inter-
national economist", (Time); "former Minister of Finance", (N2); "a financial man" and
"maybe the island's biggest commercial asset" (N2). (Emphasis is mine). VWhile it is said
that Manley "defiantly broke off (IMF) negotiations" (N2) and "refused to adopt
austerity measures" (N ), Seaga is pictured going to Miami "to repair his country's frayed
ties to Western financial institutions", (N2) and he is said to have "already obtained
financing" (Time). NI does include one unqualified quote from Manley-namely, "We
lost because we challenged the power of the Western economic order." But the impact of
this quote is smothered in the specific language of finance and the more general linguistic
innuendo: Manley "defies", "refuses" and "blames", while Seaga "declares", "arranges"
and "works his way through."

In the whole discussion of Jamaica's economy, there are no specific references to any
of Manley's programmes. Substantial progress in the mining, agricultural and tourist
sectors is completely overlooked. In terms of total bauxite production, during 1978 the
local industry saw its best years since 1974, and "the Production Levy and Royalty (which
were introduced in 1974) earned some S950 million in total revenues." Coffee and
ortanique production both achieved annual record levels for their 1979-80 crops.35
Amazingly, total exports grew from S351 million in 1972. when Manley began his first
term, to S646 million in 1978.36 And it is fairly common knowledge that tourism saw
more visitors in the twelve months preceding the October elections than in any previous
year in Jamaica's history. (These achievements are particularly noteworthy given the
extensive damage to crops by flooding and hurricane, and the attempts by Manley's
opponents to actively discourage tourism and investment by widely circulating negative
publicity in North America during 1979-80).

The news weeklies conspicuously avoided any reference to the Third World sources
from which Manley obtained aid, and the journalists seem ignorant of the initial successes
of the New International Economic Order (NIEO). Incredibly, N2 gives the false impres-
sion that Seaga was responsible for an oil agreement with Mexico and Venezuela, by
discussing the "agreement" in between statements about how Seaga was both calling for
help and grateful for assistance. The agreement was, in fact, negotiated by the Manley
government over two months before the election.37 Manley's successes in "people
programmes" (bolstered in part by Third World aid), such as the establishment of
cooperatives, workers' representation, Land Lease, National Youth Service, Special Youth
Employment, equal pay and maternity leave for women, free education and adult literacy
programmes, are all omitted. Presumably, they are not considered to be of significance in
the context of financiall management.' Indeed, the choice of financial security as the
central issue in the election coverage demonstrates a typical media bias of focusing on
potential economic prosperity, especially when it may benefit US businesses abroad.

The fact is that Jamaica, during Manley's eight years, did experience severe economic
pressures. There is no question that Manley would do some things differently in retro-
spect, as he pointed out in a recent interview: "(If) by hindsight one had realized that this
high inflation would be here for the next ten years one would have seen clearly that we
would have to deal with international inflation. It was quite a while before we really
comprehended the magnitude of the new change, and it was not until well into the late
70s (that) a new kind of planning emerged that took account of this."38 Although NI
and N2 note OPEC price increases, the transnational media in general have grossly
underestimated the devastating effect of the rapid rise in the price of oil, the explosion
in inflation and the massive deterioration in terms of trade (the technology spiral
yielding lower price margins of profit for raw materials) upon island countries like
Jamaica.39 As Manley points out, "Plans made had to be torn up because the cost factors
were changing so rapidly.40 To attribute the difficulties in Jamaica's economic structure
primarily to mismanagement on the part of any of its leaders is to oversimplify recent
economic realities.

Local and foreign investors who left Jamaica in recent years are described as "scared
off" (NI) and "panicked" (N2) by Manley's so-called "close ties to Fidel Castro" (NI).
Yet the exodus had been going on long before Manley came to power, though it had
become increasingly acute after the new US immigration laws came into force in 1968.41
US News and World Report claims that "200,000 middle-class managers took money
with them out of the country."42 The figure is no doubt high, but it suggests the magni-
tude of the exodus and the ruinous effect this would have had upon Manley's social
development plans. None of the articles even suggest the sense in which the exodus may
be viewed as a form of economic sabotage. Many businesses were allowed to deteriorate
and then sold to the government in a hopeless state of disrepair. And yet in Time these
investors are actually labelled as "exiles", as if they had been forced to leave under some
kind of coercion or government oppression!

Where particular reference to Manley's programmes is non-existent, the news weeklies
note several specific proposals on Seaga's agenda. The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
is listed, in an almost off-hand way, as "a source of aid" (NI) along with foreign banks
and other multinational corporations. There is no qualifying statement about the stringent
conditions which accompany every IMF loan.43 The writers of N2, for example, note a
figure of thirty-five percent unemployment, yet seem wholly unaware that one of the
primary reasons Manley had to break off negotiations with the IMF was that one of
the terms might have involved laying off several thousand government employees.44 N2
reports, in a cavalier tone, "Seaga is likely to get such a good deal, it would have bailed
out even Manley." Such economic naivete is remarkable, but what is exasperating here is
the implicit assumption that the Western powers did in fact "do Manley in" by their lack
of cooperative assistance. (If this is true, it would lend credence to Manley's claim, cited
earlier, about losing the election because he "challenged the Western economic order.")

The potential destructive effects of new US business investments (on Seaga's terms)
upon the Jamaican people and their culture are ignored. While workers' expectations

for employment opportunities would be raised, most of the new investment ventures
would not be labour-intensive. A New York garment manufacturer is "enthusiastic" about
this "paradise" with "a large, under-employed, English-speaking work force" (N2).
Obviously, the paradise of which he speaks is the potential for profit, not for the enrich-
ment and self-development of the people. Ironically, virtually overnight Jamaica now
looks "like a blue-chip investment" (N2). Where a few weeks before it was "perilously
near collapse" and "under the worst circumstances", it now has "an efficient infra-
structure" and "preferential treatment" in the European Economic Community (N2).
The argument borders upon the absurd and one is left wondering if maybe things under
Manley weren't that bad after all. Surely the "efficient infrastructure" didn't develop in a
matter of days following the election. A good case might even be made that, under the
circumstances, Manley did quite well as an economic manager.

Finally, in this entire discussion of a small, poor Third World nation, there is practically
no evidence of a sensitivity in the press to the endemic oppressive conditions of most
developing countries. Unemployment, under-employment, food shortages and the foreign
debt are noted in passing. But one gets the distinct impression that the writers think they
are simply describing a poorer United States, rather than a Third World situation. They
tend to view the developing world through culturally-blind eyes. In the case at hand, the
journalists may have had limited accessibility to representative sources of all sides of
opinion. The fact that before and during the election the Private Sector Organization
acted as 'host' for the visiting press in the Jamaica Pegasus, one of Kingston's most expen-
sive and exclusive hotels, is relevant to an understanding of story selection and the genesis
of one-sided interpretations.

To properly understand and fairly represent the Jamaica they were covering, journalists
would have had to spend a good deal of time talking and being with poor, uneducated
Jamaicans. For example, unemployment as a statistic is one thing, but it is quite another
when one cannot call want-ads because one literally does not have access to a telephone;
when one's parents don't read and even if a map could be found one has not learned how
to locate an address on it; when the transportation required in the search for work is often
irregular or unavailable; when one is hungry from an imbalanced diet, tired from an
inadequate sleep and depressed from lack of job skills; and when, given the cultural
malaise of a post-colonial situation, one does not feel particularly motivated to try in the
first place. Moreover, terrible housing conditions give rise to further psychological
problems: a woman's pride is crushed as she "fights against dirt and squalor"45, often
without a man's presence or support, but with his many offspring.

In short, the media seem ignorant of the whole web of problems which interact to
plague any serious or genuine efforts at development, whether of a capitalist or a socialist
nature. As a result, the journalists write as if flying far above the human fray, removed
from the reality itself. They are seemingly oblivious to the increasing gulf between the
developed and developing nations and aloof from the dramatic, painful dialogue between
the 'haves' and the 'have-nots.' In their egocentric concern with Western financial institu-
tions they completely overlook the NIEO of the non-aligned movement. Their understand-

ing of the inter-relationship between North American investment practices and the unique
problems of the developing world is woefully deficient. They are "over-privileged",
lacking an existential experience of what struggling with the poor and the oppressed is all
about. Consequently, in their coverage of the economic aspects of the Jamaican election,
they completely neglect two of the most critical issues in the whole process: class and

Sins of Omission: Class and Race
One of the most glaring omissions in the Time and Newsweek articles on Jamaica is
the absence of any reference to the poor, the middle-class or the wealthy.46 N2 and NI
allude to "local" and "foreign investors", while Time claims that "Jamaican professionals
are...beginning to return home" following Seaga's victory. Insofar as the "professionals"
are understood as "middle class", "upper middle class" or "wealthy", one could infer that
these classes favoured Seaga. But beyond this vague extrapolation the reader is left in
the dark. Because the fundamental conflict between rich and poor is ignored, the media
fail to recognize the political significance of the class struggle in Jamaica.

Jamaica is a two-tiered society. "The class structure which had evolved partly out
of the old colonial plantation system and partly out of a fairly rigid class order that
the English colonial elite introduced on the island-and of those Jamaicans who had
graduated into it-had institutionalized a strikingly wide economic and social gap between
the black masses...and a very small upper and middle class."47 Twenty-one ethnic
minority families essentially control the majority of power in the corporate economy.48
They have systematically cultivated relationships in interlocking directorates, mutual
memberships in social and cultural organizations, intermarriages, and the establishment
of an infrastructure which promotes monopolistic practices.49 This economic elite
dominates the local media, where "newspapers...tend to be in the control of the same
oligarchic and propertied hands-whether expatriate or native-which control the exist-
ing political structures."50 The diabolical campaign of villification waged against Manley
by class interests in The Daily Gleaner, Jamaica's leading newspaper, was perhaps the most
decisive (but least recognized) contributing factor to Seaga's victory.51

Yet it would be unfair to claim that Seaga was only the candidate of the upper tier.
Ilis own parliamentary district is one of Jamaica's poorest and he won among all income
groups. But it was clear that the wealthy elite had a good deal to gain from his victory.
Partisan critics are not too wide of the mark when they charge that he confused and
enticed the poor with threatening doubletalk, grandiose promises and charitable gifts.
Seaga utilized 'law and order' and 'anti-communist' rhetoric with such devastating skill
that he tended to foster a climate of fear in which the poor and more rural Jamaicans
simply voted 'for a change.' In the final weeks of the campaign, even the sincere religious
aspirations of the poor for 'deliverance' were cleverly manipulated and twisted by Seaga
into theological fears of a sinister, occult force which must be eradicated by the ballot.
Staring vacantly aside, while alluding to the upcoming election and the mounting
violence in agitated whispers, poor Jamaicans would begin to murmur words like "The

devil is..." and "There's something evil..." But the sentences would never be finished and
the voices trailed off into despairing sighs. The nodding heads and nervous shrugs signified
a collective acknowledgement of fears which, according to custom and tradition, are
better left unsaid.

The incomprehensible fact is that, in addition to sidestepping Seaga's ruthless manipu-
lation of the poor, the media fail even to note Michael Manley's international reputation
as an advocate for the impoverished and the destitute. Manley is a veteran of two decades
of labour organizing on behalf of workers and the disenfranchised in general.52 Indeed, it
would be difficult to find another Third World spokesman of such stature and renown
who has worked so consistently, for so long, among and on behalf of the 'have-nots' of
his own land. Yet there are no references in any of the articles to Manley's advocacy for
the poor, and no attention is given to the masses of poor Jamaicans who, in spite of the
sacrifices endured, continue to support the PNP. Thus, the conflict is covered primarily
as one of right versus left, when it is more fundamentally a class conflict of rich versus

But perhaps the most incriminating omission of all is the absence of any allusion to
race. Jamaican society is composed of inter-related but quite distinct colour classifications
which blend into one continuum, comprising white, fair, clear, brown, dark and very
dark. In a country where over ninety-five percent of the population is of African or
mixed African/Anglo/East Indian origin, it might strike the outside observer as strange
that the voters should elect a white man to lead them. Yet Seaga's race is never mentioned.

If the media had attended to the racial aspects of the election, they could not have
ignored the insidious role of certain remnants of colonialism. "There have always been
two Jamaicas. The one which has been visible-like the tip of an iceberg-has been a
multiracial bourgeois society of about 100,000 people. These people... have been articu-
late and influential, so they have been generally accepted as 'Jamaica'...There is another
Jamaica-a nation of nearly two million people-who are poor, Black and uneducated...
These people have been inarticulate and uninfluential. So they have been virtually
'invisible.' Like the submerged section of the iceberg they're there, but they aren't
seen."53 Reid notes the ascendency of Jews, Syrians, Chinese and local whites which
followed the shift from the plantation system to the independent nation.54 Phillips refers
to a massive "psycho-existential complex" among blacks which includes the "feelings
of white superiority" and "the internalization of inferiority complexes."55 Because the
race issue is ignored in Time and Newsweek the reader is not exposed to the interplay
of these psychological factors and traditional social barriers in the election process.

The critical problem of the "dependency syndrome", where darker Jamaicans tend to
look to lighter leaders of any nationality for 'deliverance', is simply never broached. Yet
Seaga cleverly played upon and exploited these lingering vestiges of colonial attitudes,
which are suggested in the JLP's campaign slogan, "Deliverance is near." His campaign
appeared at times to hark back to a bygone age when the slave was supposed to graciously
accept the crumbs from the master's table. And it tended to reinforce the status quo of

the eighties where the dark-skinned hired-hand is still supposed to be happy with the
light-skinned boss' meager wages. To be sure, there are many dark employers and leaders
in Jamaica today (though a white man will never be seen contracting for a grass cutting
job), but the underlying psychological diseases of the colonial experience are still
embedded in the cultural psyche.

The fact, which all Jamaicans know, is that while Seaga is white, Manley is of a more
racially mixed background. Gans has noted that in the transnational media 'non-whites'
are often reported more negatively than 'whites.'56 There is, perhaps, not enough evid-
ence to make a well-substantiated argument for racial bias in the case at hand. But it is
abhorrent to think that, taken together with the other factors which may have pre-
disposed journalists to look favourably upon Seaga (e.g., his Harvard education, style
of dress, birth in America, free enterprise rhetoric, etc.), his racial identity may not have
been a totally irrelevant consideration.

Again, as with the class issue, the fact that Manley has spent a lifetime trying to
unearth, attack and exorcise the demons of racism is completely lost on the press' cover-
age for the central themes of the election. Yes, Seaga may pay lip service to the hallmarks
of Manley's crusade for the upliftment of the black man: self-respect, self-reliance and
brotherhood. But Seaga's "pragmatic approach" seeks to reinstitute a tragic dependence
upon Western expertise, personnel and investment. It is a social, political and economic
'nirvana' in which most of the guiding lights from the North share, incidentally, a
common colour. White.


In summation, an investigation of Time and Newsweek's coverage of the Jamaican
election of 1980 clearly establishes a consistent pattern of bias, and uncovers a number
of naive, myopic and overly simplistic operating assumptions, among them:

Ideology & Labelling

There is no authentic ideological middle ground between Western (capitalist) and
Eastern (communist) world views.

- "Democracy" and "socialism" are mutually exclusive terms.
- "Socialism" is best understood as a tendency toward, disguised form or temporary
stage in the development of communism.

- The Western worldview represents a broad political spectrum, embracing a plethora of
disparate and distinctive ideologies.
- North American press reports of overseas events are more accurate than the Second
World's 'propaganda.'

Parties and Personality: Unequal Treatment
The political leader is primarily responsible for all the misfortunes (especially if he
is left-leaning) and successes (especially if he is right-leaning) of his nation.

Economics: Mismanagement or Sabotage?
Capitalism is the only serious alternative in the development processes of Third World
- Multinational monetary institutions will generally have a positive effect upon Third
World development.
- Efforts toward economic cooperation among non-aligned countries are not a viable
means to achieve long-term stability.
- A non-capitalist leader will, almost certainly, 'mismanage' the economy.
- The right of the individual to unlimited personal prosperity always takes precedence
over local, national and regional interests, especially in the case of American invest-
ment in the Third World.
- Personal lifestyles, values and learning experiences do not substantially affect the
journalist's ability to be objective.

Sins of Omissions: Class and Race
Race and class are secondary or irrelevant to other issues such as East-West tensions,
violence or economics.
- The interests of the upper and lower classes are not significantly different.
- Knowledge of the effects of institutional forms of oppression, especially classism and
racism, upon a people's historical development is not decisive for interpreting
contemporary events.5

As long as Western reporters presuppose these assumptions they will, of necessity,
misconstrue the realities of the developing world. The crucial point is that this is the case
even if there are no covert attempts to manipulate the facts by politically partisan agents.
The foregoing analysis suggests the need for a new 'meta-ideological' approach to balanced
news coverage. A fresh philosophical exploration of the concept of 'objectivity', based on
a cross-cultural appreciation of Third World perspectives, is absolutely critical to the
North-South dialogue. Such an inquiry would form the basis for a pluralistic understand-
ing of the meaning of "freedom of the press" and a reinterpretation of the studies in the
history of the press.58 It would make explicit the various causes and explanations which
lie behind the bias in the media. Then sociological studies on the selection, background,
training and values of news professionals could be effectively utilized in a New Information
Order. Media personnel might be recruited according to more comprehensive and
culturally relevant criteria. Since they would have a wider exposure to the lifestyles,
beliefs and customs of the Third World, they would also be increasingly sensitive to the
moral and ethical responsibilities inherent in all transnational communication.

These studies, finally, must be seen in the ultimate context of how the First World
can meaningfully relate to the Third World, especially during the next two decades. The
growing disparities between the developed and developing nations are exacerbated by
their proximity to one another as a result of current technological innovations. The
North-South dialogue is quite likely only a prelude to more threatening encounters. The
New Information Order, in spite of the problems that it entails, may be the last genuine
opportunity for building a mutual understanding which can avert global disaster.

As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, are we willing to hear the voices of our
Third World brothers and sisters crying out in the void? Or will we retreat to antiseptic
cubicles, sulk in the prisons of our greed, and huddle alone with authoritarian self-
projections...until, immobilized by conceit and riddled with guilt, we are too ashamed to
face up to ourselves in the global mirror?


1. William H. Read, America's Mass Media Merchants (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Press, 1976), p. 4.

2. Ibid., pp. 121-124.

3. Amado-Mahter M'Bow quoted by Roger Tatarian, "News Flow in the Third World: An
Overview", in The Third World and Press Freedom, ed. by Philip C. Horton (New York:
Praeger Publishers, 1978), p. 6.

4. These particular articles were selected because of their timely relevance and availability to
the author, and the need to severely restrict the amount of data for an in-depth analysis. They
are fairly representative of the kind of coverage which the Jamaican election received in
general, although the degree and extent of bias varies considerably from one medium to another.
I'ven regional newspapers with international editions which are distributed in Jamaica, such as
The Miami Herald, tended to slant their coverage of the election. See, for example, Don
Bohning, "Seaga Faces Difficult Choice: Which Problem to Tackle First", (Nov. 3, 1980), p. 3-
AW; also Jay Clarke, "Jamaica: Storied Isle on the Rebound", (Dec. 7, 1980), pp. IJ, 8J.
Articles and TV programmes not subject to rigid deadlines usually exhibited less overt bias, such
as the ABC Special Report on Jamaica released shortly after the election.

5. Marlene Cuthbert notes the frequent use of the category "Cold War" in her analysis of US
coverage of the 1976 Jamaican election, especially in terms of headlines relating Jamaican
politics to communism and Cuba. See Marlene Cuthbert, "News Selection and News Values:
Jamaica in the Foreign Press", Caribbean Studies Vol. 19, No. 2 (April-July, 1979), pp. 98, 100.
In this article Cuthbert presents a well-documented study of the types of events covered, the
extent to which that coverage differed from reality and an analysis of the underlying values
which determined the coverage.

6. Dennis Mullin, "Jamaica's Retreat from Castroism", U.S. News and World Report (Nov. 17,
1980), pp. 80, 82.

7. Cuthbert notes how distortion and slanting result when the term "democratic socialism"
is inadequately defined in a news article appearing in Time (Dec. 27, 1976). Cuthbert, p. 107.

8. See, for example, Michael Manley, The Politics of Change (Washington, D.C.: Howard University
Press, 1975); also, Michael Manley, The Search for Solutions (Oshawa Ontario: Maple House
Publishing Co., 1976).

9. Jo Thomas, "After Bullets and Ballots, Jamaican Hopes Rise", The New York Times (Nov. 2,
1980), p. 6E.

10. "Around the Caribbean: Jamaica", Caribbean Business News (July, 1980), p. 23.

11. "1980 A Good Year for Bauxite Projection", The Daily Gleaner [Kingston] (Jan. 6, 1981), p. 5.

12. Department of State Publication 8080, Office of Media Services, Bureau of Public Affairs,
Background Notes: Jamaica (Washington, D.C., 1977), p. 4.

13. Carlton Alexander, "There Will Always be a Private Sector", The Jamaican Manufacturer
Vol. XIII, No. I (Kingston, n.d.), p. 69. The publication was distributed during 1979-1980.

14. Newsweek's February 28, 1977 story, "Cuba's Role in Jamaica", written by a Senior Editor,
made such biased and unsubstantiated charges that the '(Jamaican) Foreign Affairs Minister
condemned it as "the most vicious, unfounded and inaccurate reporting ever done on
Jamaica".' The Daily Gleaner (Feb. 26, 1977), quoted by Marlene Cuthbert and Vernore
Sparkes, "Coverage of Jamaica in the US and Canadian Press in 1976: A Study of Press Bias
and Effect", Social and Economic Studies Vol. 27, No. 2, Institute of Social and Economic
Research, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica (June, 1978), p. 213.

15. Concerning coverage of the 1976 election, Cuthbert notes frequent references to Manley's visit
to Cuba in 1975 but very few to his visit to Canada in 1976. "This omission seemed to be part
of a general tendency to focus on the Jamaican government's friendship with socialist countries
...to emphasize these...resulted in a distorted picture." Cuthbert, "News Selection and News
Values", p. 104.

16. "Competing Influence in the Caribbean", Caribbean Life and Times, Vol. 1, No. 5 (George-
town -- Grand Cayman, 1980), p. 14.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid., p. 9.

19. Ibid.

20. Olive Senior, The Message is Change: A Perspective on the 1972 General Elections in Jamaica
(Kingston: Kingston Publishers, 1972), p. 28.

21. Introd. to "Jamaica at the Crossroads: An Interview with Michael Manley", Multinational
Monitor (July, 1980), p. 12.

22. Herbert J. Gans, Deciding What's News: A Study of CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News,
Newsweek and Time (New York: Pantheon Books, 1979), pp. 42-64.

23. Ibid., p. 184.

24. Ibid., p. 30.

25. Ibid., pp. 30-31.

26. Ibid., p. 202.

27. Ibid., p. 47.

28. Daniel J. Boorstin, "From News Gathering to News-Making: A Flood of Pseudo-Events", in
The Process and Effects of Mass Communication, ed. by Wilbur Schramm and Donald Roberts
(Chicago University of Illinois Press, 1977), p. 141.

29. Vitaly Petrusenko, The Monopoly Press, trans. Vladimir Leonov (Prague: International
Organization of Journalists, 1976), p. 54.

30. Boorstin, p. 141.

31. See, for example, "CIA -Covert Action in Kingston", in EPICA Task Force Jamaica Update:
Destabilization or Self Determination? (Washington, D.C., July, 1980).

32. The partisan and subversive role of the security forces in the election process is in need of
further documentation. While there were frequent news reports of police violence directed
against PNP supporters, there were virtually no such reports of similar violence aimed at JLP
supporters. See Manfred Hampton-Nelson, "Police Attack on PNP Supporters", The Jamaica
Daily News (Kingston] (Oct. 13, 1980), p. 13.

33. Gans, pp. 25-27.

34. Jamaica Bauxite Institute, 1978 Annual Report (Kingston, 1979), pp. 8-9.

35. "News Analysis: Jamaica", The Caribbean and West Indies Chronicle (Sept., 1980), p. 13.

36. Chamber of Commerce of Montego Bay, Manual (Montego Bay, 1979), p. 15.

37. "Venezuela and Mexico Give 'Oil Aid' to Nine Countries", Caribbean Contact [Bridgetown -
Barbados] (Sept., 1980), p. 13.

38. Joy Scott, "Manley and the PNP: What Now?", The Jamaica Sunday Sun [Kingston] (May 24,
1981), p. 9.

39. Ibid.

40. Ibid.

41. Adam Kuper, Changing Jamaica (Kingston: Kingston Publishers, 1976), pp. 11-15.

42. Mullin, U.S. News and World Report, p. 80.

43. For an excellent overview of Jamaica's recent experience with the IMF, see EPICA Task Force
Jamaica: Caribbean Challenge (Washington, D.C., 1979), pp. 97-111.

44. During the surprisingly lengthy IMF negotiations in 1981, the Seaga government considered
laying off more than 12,000 public sector workers. The Deputy President of the Jamaica
Manufacturers' Association expressed concern in May, 1981 about "massive layoffs and closures
of factories...in the light of the recently revealed IMF terms." "Reports of Closures, Massive
Layoffs", The Jamaica Daily News (May 28, 1981), p. 1.

45. Sehon Goodridge, Politics and the Church in the Caribbean: A Confession of Guilt (Bridgetown
Barbados: CADEC, 1981), p. 12.

46. For a scholarly analysis of class and economic structure in Jamaica see Essays on Power and
Change in Jamaica, ed. by Carl Stone and Aggrey Brown (Kingston: Jamaica Publishing House,
1977) hereafter cited as Essays.

47. "Jamaica's Dilemma: Is It Manley's Fault?", African Mirror (Oct., 1978), p. 41.

48. Stanley Reid, "An Introductory Approach to the Concentration of Power in Jamaican Corpor-
ate Economy and Notes on its Origins", in Essays, pp. 15-43.

49. Ibid.

50. Goodridge, p. 7.

51. There is not space in this article for an analysis of the whole range of factors which may have
contributed to Manley's election defeat. Suffice it to say that what counts as a legitimate
factor will probably depend upon a particular vantage point or sphere of influence. From the
leftist perspective, for example, Manley supposedly lost because he was a true believer or a
naive ideologue, who put too much stock in the purity of his beliefs and the power of rational
persuasion. According to this view, he was unwilling to fight, to counter violence with violence,
and he sided too often with the middle class, neglecting the task of building solidarity among
supporters on the left. He lost because he was too much of a mediator, a compromiser, and he
alienated all factions. From a rightest perspective, Manley was also viewed as an ideologue, but
as one who was so fanatical that he would use any means to justify his ends. Accordingly, he
lost because he was too much of a fighter, dangerously prone to terrorist tactics. He frightened
the electorate with strong invectives and foreign ideologies, and allowed himself to be too
closely identified with, if not controlled by, communist elements in Jamaica's political
spectrum. He lost, say the rightists, because he failed to mediate between conflicting class
interests and listened only to leftist factions. Both of these extreme positions fault Manley as a
political administrator, too often absent from Jamaica and concentrating on international
issues, too much a man of ideas, and too reluctant to discipline wayward subordinates. A
similar kind of analysis could also be explicated in terms of the elements which contribute to
Seaga's election victory.

52. For a biographical account of Manley's experience as a labour leader, see Michael Manley,
A Voice in the Workplace: Reflections on Colonialism and the Jamaican Worker (London:
Andre Deutsch Ltd., 1975).

53. Column in Jamaica Daily News (Aug. 21, 1973), quoted by Adam Kuper in Changing
Jamaica, p. 68.

54. Reid, p. 16.

55. Peter Phillips, "Jamaican Elites: 1938 to Present", in Essays, p. 1.

56. Gans, p. 37.

57. "Classism" is a recently coined term generally employed in the context of social theory.
According to Reinhold Niebuhr, a 'class' is a collection of individuals whose interests are
identical with one another, and "...who could therefore make common cause in defense of their


common interests", Moral Man and Immoral Society, p. 113. 'Classism', therefore, is a pervasive
disposition found in those groups which have, on the basis of their collective interests, claimed
inordinate privileges by virtue of their common function. Their very existence rests upon the
maintenance of a fundamental inequality of social privilege.

58. rhe press was quite self-consciously not 'free' in the sense of 'neutral' during our own period
Af revolutionary change (in America). See especially The Press and the American Revolution,
ed. by Bernard Bailyn and John B. Hench (Worchester: American Antiquarian Society, 1980),
pp. 11-97.


Extensive research and speculation on mass media effects have produced two contrast-
ing viewpoints. Social scientists in recent decades have usually viewed the media as
limited agents of change, and much research has shown that, when attitude change is
involved, the individual is likely to be more affected by interpersonal communication
than by mass media.1 In contrast, mass media personnel and their critics tend to contend
that the media are all-pervasive influences and powerful agents of change.2 The latter
perception often exists among the leaders and public of countries which depend heavily
on tourism, as there is a widely held belief that negative coverage by the mass media can
be a critical factor in causing the tourist to avoid a particular travel destination. To the
writer's knowledge, no research study has examined an important interpersonal channel
who has the opportunity to influence the attitudes and choices of most tourists-the
travel agent.3

This case study compares the coverage given by the press in Canada and in the United
States to a Caribbean tourist destination, Jamaica, as well as the response of Canadian
and American travel agents to the same destination, and comments on the apparent effect
of each on tourist choice of destination.

Many observers of the Jamaican situation in 1975 and 1976 claimed that the North
American press gave the island extensive negative coverage. A Jamaica Tourist Board
advertisement in late 1976, for example, stated "You all know that we've been hit hard
this year by unhelpful negative publicity in the overseas press, publicity which has hurt
the tourism sector badly." A Jamaican minister of government said in Toronto that
incidents in Jamaica were "being blown out of all proportion by press reports.... They
are straws in the wind which seem to suggest that a concentrated attempt is being made
to give Jamaica a bad press" (Toronto Star, 7/12/76). Canada's High Commissioner to
Jamaica claimed that "with respect to tourism, Jamaica's biggest problem is the foreign
press. About that there can be no doubt whatever" (Maclean's, 12/13/76). Reports by
the North American press about violence in Jamaica were often linked with the decline
of tourism. The Wall Street Journal stated that "largely because of publicity about the
violence in Jamaica . .there has been a drastic decline in American tourism there this
year" (6/21/76), and an AP story attributed the fall in tourist visits during 1976 to
"widespread publicity about Jamaican violence" (Jamaica Weekly Gleaner, 1/25/77).

Jamaican officials believed that the negative press was a major cause for a decline
during 1975 and 1976 of over 30% in the number of visitors from the U.S., Jamaica's

largest tourist market.' Canadian coverage of Jamaica, on the other hand, was not
perceived to be as negative as that of the U.S., and in fact Canadian tourism to Jamaica
actually continued to increase during the same period (Table 1).


TO JAMAICA 1972-1976

1976 1975 1974 1973 1972

U.S. 229,338 297,326 339,694 325,315 316,191
Canada 48,516 46,769 37,445 36,867 38,331

SOURCE: Travel Statistics Jamaica, 1976.
Compiled by the Jamaica Tourist Board, Kingston,

Since tourism is the third largest foreign exchange earner for the island, its success is very
important to Jamaica's economy.

In light of the above perceptions, this study5 examined all coverage of Jamaica in six
U.S. and three Canadian daily newspapers for 1976.6 The level of tourism from Canada
had increased while American tourism decreased. If a correlation existed between press
coverage and level of tourism, it was hypothesized that Canadian coverage would be more
positive than U.S. coverage. In addition, the study used a structured questionnaire7 to
conduct telephone interviews with twenty-five travel agents in both Toronto and New
York.8 It was reasoned that travel agents would be authoritative sources on the reaction
of travellers to the press coverage of Jamaica; further, the response of the agents them-
selves to the Jamaican destination was sought.

Findings and Discussion
The study found that both Canada and the U.S. carried similar large amounts of
negative news (70.4 and 73.5 percent respectively). Thus it was not possible to suggest
any correlation between positive news and Canada's higher rate of tourism to Jamaica.
The fact that although tourism was different for the two countries, the amount of
negative press coverage was similar, made it impossible to suggest any correlation between
negative press coverage and the decrease in American tourism.

Some explanation for this lack of correlation seemed to be provided by the data
gathered via interviews with travel agents. Agents were asked how much they relied on
newspaper coverage for information on Jamaica as a suitable destination, and responses
in both countries were similar (Table 2).




Quite a lot
Very little
Not at all



N = 25 (U.S.)

N = 25 (Canada)

None of the agents relied "totally" on press coverage; only three Americans and two
Canadians relied "quite a lot" on press coverage; three Americans and four Canadians
relied "somewhat" on the press, and about half the agents in both countries said they
did not rely on the press at all.

When other sources of information used by Canadian and U.S. travel agents were
compared, however, differences emerged (Table 3).



Travel Agents
U.S. Canada

First-hand information
Interpersonal communication
Tourist industry (tourist board,
airlines, tour companies)
Travel magazines and brochures

N = 25 (U.S.) N = 25 (Canada)

The most significant difference was that while a total of twenty-one Canadian agents
relied primarily on first hand information (obtained by visits to Jamaica) or on inter-
personal communication (mainly with returning clients), only fourteen U.S. agents relied
on these sources. U.S. agents relied on the tourist industry-people who were "selling the
island" such as the Jamaica Tourist Board, Air Jamaica and tour companies-as a primary
source of information just as often as on interpersonal communication. Tourist trade
literature such as travel magazines and brochures was a primary source for only three
American agents and one Canadian agent. Thus many more Canadian than U.S. travel
agents had either personal experience of Jamaica or communicated with people who
travelled there.

Twenty-five Canadian and twenty-one U.S. travel agents said that press coverage did
affect their clients' interest in travelling to Jamaica in 1976. The newspaper, rather than
television or other media, was perceived by the majority of agents to be the medium
having the most influence. However, there was considerable discrepancy in the degree to
which agents in the two countries were prepared to accept the press version of Jamaican
events. While half of the Canadian travel agents believed that the press exaggerated the
situation, only one-sixth of the American agents expressed this belief. And Canadian
agents had a greater tendency to counter press coverage with more positive comments. 10

In reply to an open-ended question about the causes of change in level of tourism to
Jamaica, eight Toronto travel agents identified the press as the primary cause, making
comments such as the following:

The press caused lots of people who wanted to go there to be a little cautious; some
even changed their minds. Violence was the issue.

Do you read the papers? The media smeared the front page with a few crummy
articles that naturally turn people off. As much as we said it was okay, people
didn't want to go there.

There was bad publicity which was not quite true. Newspaper articles had everybody
getting shot before breakfast. But violence was just in Kingston and tourists stay in
Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. Clients got the impression that Jamaica was just like
New York City and people won't go there anymore.

People were frightened of going to Jamaica because they heard bad press stories about
the political situation. These were exaggerated but affected tourists anyhow.

In addition, when answering another question-"What sort of things about press
coverage of Jamaica did clients mention in 1976?"-four other Canadian agents con-
demned the press in the following words:

We told clients that press reports must be cut in quarter; the press has to make a
living and you can't believe most of it.

Press coverage is a lot of hogwash as far as I'm concerned.

The press blows things out of proportion and frightens people away.
Any incident in Jamaica was magnified by the press. If the same thing happened
elsewhere, it wouldn't be mentioned. For political reasons, Jamaica was picked on.

Thus, twelve Canadian agents were emphatic about not accepting the picture of Jamaica
presented by the press.

Among the majority of U.S. agents who seemed to accept the predominantly negative
press picture of Jamaica, four also identified Cuba or communism as a reason for changes
in tourist travel to Jamaica. They commented that tourism was reduced because "people
were afraid that Mr Manley's government was turning communistic", because of
"political riots and the Cuba connection", because of "nervousness about the political
situation especially Cuba", and because of "violence and the communist connection."
No Canadians made reference to a communist or Cuba connection. Overall, while half of
the Canadian agents interviewed did not accept the picture of Jamaica as presented in the
press, twenty-one of the twenty-five U.S. agents made no attempt to counter the press

Interestingly, of the Canadian travel agents who had travelled to Jamaica themselves,
every one rejected the press picture of the island. They made comments such as, "You
find four different stories in four different papers; we played down the problems that the
press portrayed because Jamaica is a terrific destination. We boost Jamaica because we
know it, and our business to that destination increased; we told people that Jamaica was
fabulous, and they went and came back and phoned us that they had a terrific time."
Five of the six U.S. agents who had visited Jamaica also rejected the press coverage:
however, since fewer U.S. agents had been to Jamaica, there was more American
acceptance of the negative press picture. Thus, in this limited sample of travel agents,
there is a high correlation between first-hand information on a destination and recom-
mendation of the destination.

One can surmise that these contrasting views of the situation in Jamaica were reflected
in the advice given to clients. At the time of the survey (May, 1977) all Canadian travel
agents queried were recommending Jamaica as a destination I ,and some made unsolicited
positive comments. One agent, for example, said, "The few people who go say it was
wonderful; there are no problems at all; we haven't had a single negative report. It's a
beautiful country and it's a shame it's treated this way." Two U.S. agents were not
recommending Jamaica and one of them said that her agency did not push Jamaica if
people said they were thinking of it, and that "most people are repeat clients and take our

This study found that, in relation to tourist choice of travel destination, the popular
view of extensive mass media effects was not upheld. Rather, the typical social scientist
view of mass media as limited change agents, and as only one element among others,
received support. The press did not operate independently in influencing tourist choice

of the Jamaican destination. Both the U.S. and Canadian press gave Jamaica equally
negative coverage, but the tourists of each country responded differently. This difference
appears to be the result of the role played by interpersonal channels, the travel agents, in
influencing tourist decisions. Thus, travel agents seem to have functioned as critical
mediators between the public and the press.


1. See Wilbur Schramm, "Channels and Audiences", in Handbook of Communication, edited by
Ithiel de Sola Pool and Wilbur Schramm, Chicago, Rand McNally, 1973; Wilbur Schramm and
Daniel Lerner, Communication and Change: The Last Ten Years-And The Next, Honolulu: East-
West Centre, 1976; Everett M. Rogers, "Mass Media and Interpersonal Communication", in
Handbook of Communication, ibid; Marlene Cuthbert and Veinone Sparkes, "Coverage of
Jamaica in the U.S. and Canadian Press in 1976: A Study of Press Bias and Effect", Social and
Economic Studies 27:2 (June 1978): 204-20.

2. See, for example, Morris Janowitz, "Mass Communication", International Encyclopaedia of the
Social Sciences, III, New York: MacMillan, 1968; Marlene Cuthbert, "Reaction to International
News Agencies: 1930's and 1970's Compared", GAZETTE: International Journal for Mass Com-
munication Studies, XXVI:2, 1980 (Amsterdam).

3. Computer searches of two major data bases-Lockheed's DIALOG and Bibliographic Retrieval
Services-did not reveal any research on this subject.

4. Jamaica Tourist Board, Travel Statistics-Jamaica 1976, Kingston, Jamaica, 1976.

5. This study is based on data gathered in a larger study which examined the coverage of Jamaica in
the U.S. and Canadian press in detail. See reports of this study in Cuthbert and Sparkes, op, cit.;
Marlene Cuthbert, "News Selection and News Values: Jamaica in the Foreign Press", Caribbean
Studies 19:2 (July 1979); 22 39; and Marlene Cuthbert, "Canadian Newspaper Treatment of a
Developing Country", Canadian Journal of Communication 7:1 (Summer 1980).

6. Intercoder reliability was .957. The papers were not a random sample but were chosen because
they are major sources of news for areas of the two countries which provide the majority of
tourists for Jamaica. The Jamaica Tourist Board divides Canada and the U.S. into tourist regions.
In 1976 the regions represented by this sample provided 87.5'; of Canadian tourists to Jamaica,
and 63.3% of U.S. tourists. The latter figure is conservative since several of the U.S. papers are
national rather than regional in influence (Jamaica Tourist Board, 1976). The newspapers coded
were the Miami Herald, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and
Buffalo Evening News in the U.S., and the Montreal Star, Ottawa Citizen and Toronto Star in

7. Questionnaires are available from the author upon request.


8. These cities were chosen because they provide the largest number of tourists to Jamaica for their
respective countries. A systematic sample of travel agencies from the telephone book was
attempted but proved futile because most agents specialize in particular regions of the world
and know nothing about travel to Jamaica. Hence a random sample of agents who advertised
themselves in the yellow pages as agents for the Caribbean were contacted.

9. This study has not been able to take into consideration the fact that some newspaper readers may
have totally dismissed Jamaica as a destination and asked for other places.

10. Most of the information in this paragraph and several of the following paragraphs was reported in
Cuthbert and Sparkes, op. cit., pp. 216-18.

11. One Canadian travel agents said, however, that "certain passengers had problems with bad service
and we advise clients to stay away from Kingston."



When in October of 1979 the newly installed Grenada Government ordered the closure of
the Torchlight newspaper which belonged to a small group of Grenadian businessmen and
in which the Trinidad Express Newspapers Limited, held minority shares, it triggered a
confrontation between the Government of Grenada and two newspaper publishing com-
panies in Trinidad and Tobago, the Trinidad Express Newspapers Limited and the Trini-
dad Publishing Company Limited. The paper contends that the central issue involved was
the role of the state in the socio-economic life of the country. Put another way, the hypo-
thesis about the confrontation between these two adversaries is that the control of
economic space by means of an ideology which abstractly uses words such as freedom of
the press, is a very important element in the struggle for economic power.
The paper is therefore structured in the following manner. First of all, it seeks to
determine what sets of interests in Trinidad and Tobago control the two newspapers we
look at. Secondly, it seeks to document the confrontation, paying attention as well to
how these interests in conjunction with their international and domestic supporters
sought to propagate chaos in the accused country and thirdly, it seeks to examine the
Grenada Government's response and the refusal of the protagonists to accept that res-

Interlocking Directorates, the Trinidad Guardian and the Express
The phenomenon of the interlocking directorates has as would be expected, occu-
pied the minds of many scholars. This vast literature ranges from a concern with the role
of company directors.' the types of companies which tend to interlock with other com-
panies,2 the social cohesiveness of interlocking directors and its implications for a com-
mon world view,3 to the general question of why have interlocks.4 It has, given rise to
two main contending schools of thought, the managerialist and the power elitist.
In the managerialist view, directors are generally seen as subservient to officers.
Directors have no significant power of their own, nor as representatives of other centres
of power. Directors are said to be essentially decorative rather than real social actors.
Officers, according to this view, make the bulk of decisions.5 Furthermore, according to
this view, directors may from time to time add to the enterprise some technological or
management expertise or have a perspective which enables them to see things which
others too close might miss,6 but in the main, directors are generally not the decision-
makers who establish corporate objectives, strategies and broad policies. For the manage-
rialist, therefore, the interlocking of directorships is of no special significance. This view is
disputed by the power elite school which argues that a small group of individuals, by
virtue of their positions as leaders of corporations, government etc., are unable to control
major policy decisions which affect large numbers of people. In addition, the Sociologist,

Floyd Hunter, points out that Boards have ultimate power to hire and fire executives and
this shapes executive decision premises.7
This paper contends that the issue is not whether directors in general are men of
power. That they do not "in general" control the enterprise is not at issue. Some, it is
known, following Lundberg, "are invited on Boards because they are witty or eccentrical-
ly knowledgeable fellows, thus tending to perk up otherwise dull meetings."8 Many may,
as Sweezy points out, be perfectly willing to act as directors in a purely ornamental capa-
city.9 The real issue is, who really calls the tune, and this, in our view, may be done with-
out participating in the formation of many policies, so long as control can be exerted
when necessary. In some Board rooms, there will be some to whom few defer and others,
maybe a single individual to whom all do. In contrast to directors in general, those who
own or represent the ownership of substantial stock in the company are likely to take
active interest in the affairs of the corporation.
The very presence of these directors conditions the direction of corporate decisions
and provides a source of continuous influence on the attitudes and activities of the officers
and directors as a whole.
The fact that a director sits on the Board of one corporation as representative of
another, marks him as someone whose views must be taken into account in making policy.
The contention then is, that among the officers and directors of a company, there are
particular ones that count, either because of personal holdings (stock) in the company or
their close association with or representation of powerful interests such as a bank, an
insurance company or another major corporation.

Interlocks and the Trinidad & Tobago Dailies
Looking closely, now, at the Boards of Directors of the Trinidad Guardian and the
Trinidad Express, we found the followingi1:-
Eighteen individuals sit on the Boards of these two companies. What becomes inter-
esting about these individuals is the following: These directors, whose daily papers reach
into the homes of thousands in the region, sit on the Boards of regional, national and
multi-national business corporations. Some are directors of banks, insurance companies
and manufacturing firms. Most have had ties of one kind or another with the local Cham-
ber of Commerce, whereas others have had ties with local charitable organizations.
Overall, these directors are linked with powerful business organizations, not with public
interest groups, with management, not with labour. Of the eighteen, only two are black
and three are Indian. The remainder being white (8), Chinese (4) and Syrian (1).
Closer examination of the above general information yields the following:
If we extract from the group two who are company accountants, two who are man-
aging directors, one who is an editor and three about whom we have no information, we
are left with ten. Of this ten, six are white, two Indian and two Chinese. Of the ten, nine
account for forty-seven other directorships within the Trinidad and Tobago economy.
Of the ten, five are directors of the following banks -Bank of Commerce (formerly
known as the Canadian Imperial Bank), Royal Bank, Barclays Bank and the locally-owned
National Commercial Bank. Two have directorships with insurance companies, one with
an insurance consulting firm and two with stockbroking firms."

Indirect Interlocks
What makes the above findings interesting is that an examination of these two news-
paper Boards, reveals as well the phenomenon of "indirect interlocks". That is to say, the
situation in which members of the Boards of competing firms serve together on the Board
of a company in a non-related industry.
It turns out on examination that the directors of Trinidad and Tobago's leading
banks Royal, Barclays, Bank of Commerce and National Commercial all of whom are
supposedly in competition, sit together on the Board of one or other of the two news-
paper companies.12

Linkages with the Local Conglomerates
Interesting too, is the fact that in Trinidad and Tobago the two newspapers with
which we are concerned interlock with the two largest manufacturing conglomerates in
the country. The Trinidad Express Newspapers Limited, publisher of the Express, the
Sunday Express and the Sun, interlocks with the Neal and Massy Group of Companies,
whereas the Trinidad Publishing Company Limited, publisher of the Trinidad Guardian,
the Sunday Guardian and the Evening News, is a subsidiary of the McEnearney-Alstons
Group of Companies.
Closer examination of the Neal and Massy Group shows that in a Caribbean context,
its involvement both domestic and regional is assuming olympian dimensions. This involve-
ment extends from motor vehicle assembly to the sale of industrial, electrical and oilfield
machinery and equipment; pens, paper, pencils, food and houses. This company, with
sales for 1979 of TT $662m and with a net after tax profit of TT $23.5m comprised at
the same time of the research fifty-one subsidiaries and could be found in Suriname,
Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, Barbados and Martinique. In addition, this
company had substantial investments in many other companies including Catelli-Primo
Limited, whose Managing Director was also a director of the Trinidad Express. This com-
pany, therefore, with its numerous subsidiaries and with investments in twenty-eight
other enterprises must by definition be considered one of the leading conglomerates in
Trinidad and Tobago."3
The other conglomerate, the McEnearney-Alstons Group of Companies, has as one
of its twenty-one subsidiaries and associated companies, the Trinidad Publishing Com-
pany. As the Trinidad Guardian itself reported:
This new merger is in keeping with the planned devel-
opment of the McEnearney-Alstons Group of Com-
panies and enhances its position as one of the largest
trading groups in Trinidad and Tobago.14
This company's interests ranges from the manufacture of carib beer, the assembly of Ford
motor vehicles, boat-building, manufacture of building materials, distribution of heavy
machinery and equipment, foodstuff and pharmaceuticals, had group sales for 1978 of
TT $410m and an after tax profit ofTT $10.3m. This conglomerate in 1978 "welcomed
to the group" Allum's Supermarkets, the foremost supermarket chain in the southern
section of Trinidad, Diesel Power Services Limited, McEnearney-Alstons Insurance

Brokers Limited and Plastic Foam Products.15 Of interest here is the fact that the Manag-
ing Director of Allum's Supermarkets is a director of the Trinidad Express.
Putting all of this together, it is argued that there is in Trinidad and Tobago a small
group of individuals, the majority of whom are white,16 while ostensibly competing at
the level of trade and industry, co-operate at the levels of finance, the media and most
importantly, at the highest governmental level, sharing representatives on the National
Advisory Council.7 One might reasonably now ask whether these men really compete or
whether competition is not merely a facade behind which common business interests are
Finally, it should be pointed out that for these men membership on Boards is not
their only meeting ground. Country clubs, yacht clubs, racing clubs, trade associations
and other social institutions provide ample opportunity for continuous social interaction.
If the above is a correct designation of the interests behind these two newspapers,
let us now see how they sought to displace public attention from where the stakes are
highest and in this way, defend their economic power. Our contention is that they sought
to do this by engaging in a battle with the Grenada Government on the issue of press free-

The Media and the Business Community
Before examining the content of the confrontation it is useful to establish the
importance of the news media to that set of interests just described. The modern mass
media and in the particular case here, the written press, are first of all powerful private
enterprises which require great capital investment due to the increasingly "sophisticated"
technology that they employ. Such enterprises as we have just demonstrated, are usually
intimately linked to the industrial system of the country.
As one element of the mass media, the written press is important. It is important
because as many authors have pointed out,18 it offers to the readers a series of character-
istics, such as the comfort of a brief reading that allows or produces the illusion of being
well-informed or up-to-date on both local and foreign news. It creates reading habits and
reinforces its reader's feelings of security by giving him/her "authoritative opinions" by
which to evaluate an event or a situation. The written press by its nature, has the capacity
to saturate its readers, bombarding them with news/opinions around a specific subject
and in so doing has the potential to create a "climate of opinion" on the particular sub-
The written press can be used as well to project images around a subject, the osten-
sible purpose being to provide information. But the images used can be designed to cap-
ture the unwary. It is in this context, then, that it is appropriate to understand the con-
cept "''freedom of the press". Freedom of the press as we understand, usually manifests
itself in press criticisms of government policies and state officials and the publication of
state abuse of power and official corruption.
One of the interesting things about the concept is that it is usually, if not always,
deployed by the owners of the press as an absolute model. In addition, it is often recog-
nised that for the most part freedom of the press is essentially the freedom of property,

and in that sense it is functional to the interests of specific sets of individuals in a coun-
try. Finally, in large part it belongs to the catalogue of liberal principles which the owners
of the press are unable to apply in its full sense, thus reverting from time to time to offi-
cial censorship when their interests are threatened. With this in mind, it would be useful
to see how this ideological weapon was used in the confrontation between the Govern-
ment of Grenada and that set of interests in Trinidad and Tobago who control these two
newspapers which concern us here.

The Campaign Against Grenada
As was earlier indicated, the October 14, 1979 closure of the Torchlight by the
Grenada Government, a newspaper in which the Trinidad Express held minority share-
holding gave the two Trinidad and Tobago newspapers the opportunity to denounce the
coercive measures taken against the free press. The Trinidad Guardian contended that
Grenada is slipping faster and faster into becoming a
gulag state. Dead is press freedom, mute have been
rendered all opposition and dissent, vanished is the
vote and hopeless is the state of the economy.
... we expect that sooner or later any word that any-
one dares utter against the presence and the influence
of the Cuban "advisers" of the unconstitutional
Government of Grenada will be deemed subversive
and earn for the tactless speaker a prison sentence of
indeterminate length. We fear that we shall not have
long again to wait for the disappearance of certain
persons. Gairy might have intended to follow Chile.
Bishop seems to be following Russia.19
Having thus contended that freedom of the press and freedom of individual expression
were now dead in Grenada and that the Government was "following" Russia, the news-
paper called on the Government to hold elections. "Let the people vote", it called. "Let
a freely chosen government of the people emerge". 20 Grenada, however, according to
the Guardian, was not the only country in the region in which "press freedom was at

Every resident of the West Indies, must be concerned
with the fate of the people of Guyana, of Jamaica
and of Grenada, where at the moment the press is
experiencing mortal danger to its existence.21
In these countries
We discern a coincidence that is most disturbing; the
very people who condemn capitalism and western
concepts of democracy by word and by deed and pro-
claim the virtues of socialism, boasting that that sys-
tem provides both economic and spiritual uplift and
protection for mankind are those who now seek to

stifle the voices of newspapers within their countries,
leaving only captive organs the privilege of publishing.
It is no coincidence that it is in both Trinidad and
Barbados . that there is the least interference with
press freedom. It is in these two countries that
socialism enjoys least support.22
and what was more, the Guardian noted, as more and more countries sought to establish
socialist paradises they had to resort to coercion. As a result, it continued,
Events in the so-called socialist countries of Jamaica,
Guyana and Grenada, therefore do not surprise us.
We expect even worse events to occur as the people,
educated by circumstance learn that there is no truth
in the promises of socialist politicians and little bene-
fit to be had without surrender of self, property and
opportunity, to the dictates of such people once they
get hold of a given country.
.. we must reiterate ... no people'can surrender
freedom of the press to the Government of their
country without giving away their own freedom at
the same time.23
Even when the Grenada Government promised to re-open the newspaper, under a new
and democratized share structure, the Guardian's attack continued:
The new arrangements have now been made public.
Shares surrendered by its 159 owners in accordance
with the so-called People's Law . will be taken up
by the Government to be dealt with in any way
Bishop's Cabinet sees fit, including re-sale to the
public. We doubt whether any such re-sale will ever
take place. Like the promise of returning the vote to
citizens and holding elections, the promise to main-
tain free speech will soon be said to be a low priority
What they must now know is that following the
seizure of the Coca Cola Plant and this new confusion,
no one will want to rush to Grenada to open any kind
some 4 per cent rule against that business some day.25
and on the question of press freedom and ownership, it continued:
We have heard hundreds of lofty arguments about the
advantages and disadvantages of corporate newspa-
pers ownership and about the inherent right of a
government to monitor or control the communica-
tions media, but what we have never heard is that

there are countries with a muffled press and a free
people simultaneously.26
The Trinidad Express, for its part, equated "freedom of the press" with freedom of
expression and denounced the regime as an "enemy of free expressions and therefore of
democracy,"27 and characterized its behaviour as being "at one with the concepts and
practice of fascism, communism and authoritarian government".28 It accused the Govern-
ment of having sinister motives:
So the Bishop plan unfolds. Keep political opponents
in jail, threaten dissenters with dire penalties, make
freedom of expression hazardous by setting up a
civilian spy system throughout the state where brother
tells on sister and father on son in the cause of good
old socialism, close the free press and govern by
It then called for regional and domestic support for its position and for its predictions:
The Caribbean community must refuse to deal with
these deceptive people whose word cannot be trusted.
Not one cent of Trinidad and Tobago's taxpayers'
money must be used to keep them in power. 30
With whom, therefore, should the new regime in Grenada have diplomatic relations? It
should, according to the Express, have these with "Burnham who has declared press
freedom a myth and with Castro, who has never had use for it anyway."31 As for the
Grenadians themselves, the paper suggested
If they wish to be free, they will themselves remove
the chains.
... To remove these forged by Bishop may be a
tougher job, he has got Castro's guns behind him. But
this bad tooth in the mouth of the Caribbean peoples
will one day be pulled out and Grenadians who
cherish freedom will not wish to maintain Bishop's
dictatorship having gotten rid of Gairy's.32
Like the Trinidad Guardian, even when the regime promised to reopen the Torch-
light under a new management structure, it continued its attempt to delegitimize the
regime. In an editorial entitled "Who now will believe Bishop?"33 it stated

the Grenada Government is going to try its best to
talk its way out of the situation created by its closing
down of the Torchlight newspaper. It can reaffirm, as
it did yesterday, its self-styled commitment to free-
dom of the press. But in the face of its action last
weekend, nobody in the world will believe Mr Bishop
and his colleagues. The . Government has lost what
little credibility it was cl't with after it fell down on
its original commitment to hold elections and to

restore legitimacy to the administration.34

Support for the Newspapers
But the two newspapers were not the only opponents of the Grenada Government.
Others inside and outside Grenada shared the notion of freedom of the press deployed by
them, thereby in our view missing the opportunity to make the terms of conflict under-
standable to the readership. The Human Rights Bureau of Trinidad and Tobago cabled its
parent organisation Amnesty International asking that a team be immediately sent to
investigate alleged human rights violations in Grenada. Referring specifically to the
closure of the Torchlight, its spokesman said "the closure of the press and the stifling of
free speech and political activities is a threat to the peace and security of the Carib-
bean."35 The Inter-American Press Association, a New York based and United States
dominated organisation which brings together all the owners or their representatives of
the mass communications media in Latin America and North America, condemned the
Grenada Government and accused it of taking "repressive measures" against the Torch-

The Caribbean Press Council, after hearing a report by its Executive Secretary
decided to conduct an early investigation,37 while the Caribbean Conference of Churches
called for "the immediate lifting of the ban on the publication."38 The Opposition
Grenada National Party stated that
If the Government considered that the Torchlight
newspaper was not playing fair, surely they have
more appropriate means to deal with the situation.
Government controls the airwaves, they have their
own newspaper 'The West Indian' and they have a
well-staffed Department of Information. These could
all be used in a positive way to counter any consi-
dered unfavourable publicity. But to close down the
only independent free newspaper is to really deny the
reading public of their only source of expression and
to cast severe doubts on government protestations
about freedom of the press.39
Individuals as well joined in the denunciation of the Grenada Government. The Roman
Catholic Bishop of Grenada, in a pastoral letter read in all Roman Catholic Churches in
the island, stated that "the silencing of any newspaper in any country is always a matter
of grave concern ...40 while the chairman of the Antiguan Caribbean Liberation Move-
ment told a news conference that though he remained a staunch supporter of the Grenada
Revolution, he would have preferred that the "Torchlight had not been closed by Govern-
ment decree."41
Essential to note about the above are the following: First of all is the apparent ease
with which spokesmen for these interests earlier described monopolize "the keys to the
code," allowing them to settle whether or not press freedom existed or not. Secondly,
how through the consistent use of its editorials, spokesmen for these interests systematic-

ally bombarded their readers with opinions on the specific issue in question. Thirdly, the
ease with which the state's action was equated with socialism, authoritarianism and
fascism. Fourthly, the consistent use of prejorative adjectives which surround the state's
action with antidemocratic tendencies.

The Grenada Government's Response
Following this, it is important to see how the state through its spokesmen respon-
ded. First of all, it justified its decision, arguing that the Torchlight had been engaged in d
"continuous campaign of lies" against the Government and that its closure was in the
interest of peace, order and stability.42 Secondly, through a spokesman it argued that "in
addition to the lies and misinformation carried about the activities of the People's Revo-
lutionary Government, the paper has consistently failed to open its columns to a wide
range of views.43 Thirdly, through the Deputy Prime Minister it reiterated that the
Torchlight had not been publishing the views of all the people and attacked it for its
"minority ownership structure."44 Fourthly, through the Prime Minister it argued
The job of the media is to inform and educate ... If
the Government is involved in programmes, and we
are, a national, not a sectarian newspaper must pub-
lish those programmes.
... We have no objection to anyone individual put-
ting their views out in writing, but if their views are
really one individual, call it that. Don't try to fool
anybody with "national" and "free" and "responsible"
and "independent". If one man owns and controls
the Torchlight newspaper ... it should be called
"The Cromwellite" and you publish under that, so
nobody is fooled.
.. We cannot afford a situation in our country
where minorities are allowed to peddle their views
and their news under the guise of nationalism.45
Fifthly, it pointed out that the paper would be reopened under a different manage-
ment structure. The Government further pointed out that it was not interested in owning
the newspaper and that one of the options being considered in its attempt to democratize
the paper was not to allow anyone to own more than three or four per cent of the
shares.46 "We want the paper," the Deputy Prime Minister said, "to carry the views of all
sectors, if it is a national newspaper. We are interested in democratization as distinct from
government ownership."47
What is interesting now is the fact that even when the Grenada Government declared
its non-interest in ownership of the local newspaper and amended the Newspaper Ordi-
nance to limit shareholding in a newspaper company and agreed to reopen the newspaper
albeit under a new management structure, neighter of the two newspapers relented their
attack. In fact, as indicated earlier, they saw the Government's declaration as yet another
of the many promises it had failed to keep. They further contended that "the Bishop

regime will lose much sympathy by their treatment of the Torchlight,"48 and proposed
If the Torchlight people have committed any offence
known to the law, they should be brought to court,
so that they can defend themselves before an impar-
tial tribunal.49
In short, the Trinidad Guardian was not prepared to lose any ground. In much the same
way the Trinidad Express reacted. In an editorial entitled "Who Now Will Believe
Bishop?" It stated
The Grenada Government is going to try its best to
talk its way out of the situation created by the clos-
ing down of the Torchlight. It can reaffirm as it did
yesterday its self-styled commitment to freedom of
the press. But in the face of its action last weekend,
nobody in the world will believe Mr Bishop and his


To see the confrontation as others have done 51 as simply one between the Torch-
light and the People's Revolutionary Government in Grenada or as between two news-
papers in Trinidad and Tobago and the Grenada Government is. we contend, to miss the
essential actors in the confrontation. These actors, we contend, are interests located in
the private sector and the state.
Secondly, the issue over which the confrontation takes place has to do essentially
with the freedom of property and the role of the state in determining how that property
is utilized and in whose interests.
Thirdly, the paper demonstrates how easily certain interests in a community assume
that their concept of 'freedom of the press' is agreed upon and acceptable to all.
Fourthly, it demonstrates that even though the Grenada Government sought to
escape the strictures of the definition as assumed by its adversaries by articulating its own
conception of a "free press" and "free expression" that this is not enough. What is clearly
needed is for the state to bring the new concept into real material existence.


1. Mayer N. Zald, "The Power and Iunctions of Boards of Directors", American Journal of Socio-
logy, Vol. 75, No. 1, 1969.
2. W. Lloyd Warner & Dorub Unwalla, "The System of Interlocking Directorates," in W. L.
Warner, D. Unwalla and J. Trimm (eds.) The Emergent American Society Large Scale Organi-
sations, (Yale Univ. Press, New Haven. 1967).
3. G. William Domhoff, Who Rules America? (Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Haven, 1967).

4. .Michael P. Allen, "The Structure of Interorganizational Elite Co-optation," American Socio-
logical Review, Vol. 39, 1974.
5. Robert A. Gordon, Business Leadership in the Large Corporation (Univ. of California Press,
Berkley & Los Angeles, 1966).

6. J. K. Galbraith, The New Industrial State (Houghton-Mifflin, Boston, 1967).
7. Floyd Hunter, Community Power Structure (Garden City, N.Y. Anchor Books, 1963).
8. F. Lundberg, America's Sixty Families (Vanguard Press, N.Y. 1937).
9. Paul Sweczy, "Interest Groups in the American Economy" in The Present as History (N.Y.,
Monthly Review Press, 1953).
10. It should be noted here that the data on these directors was collected in early 1980.
11. The information here is subject to correction as we have so far relied exclusively on rather
dated sources (1) Who's Who in Trinidad, 1970; and (2) Personalities Caribbean, 1972. In
addition, it must be pointed out that we have not included in our count of directorships those
which certain individuals hold within their own corporate structure.
12. For example, on the Board of the Express, we find members from Bank of Commerce, National
Commercial and Royal Bank, and on the Board of the Guardian, we find members of the Boards
of Barclays and Royal.
13. Neal and Massy Holdings Limited, Annual Report and Accounts, 1979.
14. Trinidad Guardian, Tuesday, March 13, 1975.

15. McEnearney-Alstons Limited, Report and Accounts, 1978, p. 9.
16. For further evidence of this over-representation see Action Camejo, "Racial Discrimination in
Employment in Trinidad and Tobago", Social and Economic Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3, Septem-
ber 1971. For similar findings with respect to Jamaica, see Stanley Reid, "An Introductory
Approach to the Concentration of Power in the Jamaica Corporate Economy and notes on its
Origin" in Carl Stone (ed.) Power and Change, Kingston, Jamaica, 1978.

17. This institution has since been disbanded following the 1981 elections in Trinidad and Tobago.
18. See among many others the article by Armand Mattleart, "The Nature of Communications
Practice in a Dependent Society", in Latin American Perspectives, Issue 16, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1978,
pp. 13 34.

19. The Trinidad Guardian, Wednesday, October 17, 1979, "Editorial".
20. Trinidad Guardian, op. cit.
21. The Sunday Guardian, October 21, 1979, "Editorial".
22. Ibid.
23. Sunday Guardian, Editorial, Ibid.

24. The Trinidad Guardian, Wednesday, October 31, 1979.
25. The Trinidad Guardian, op. cit.
26. The Trinidad Guardian, Ibid.
27. The Trinidad Express, Monday, October 15, 1979.

28. Ibid.
29. Ibid.

30. Ibid.

31. The Trinidad Express, October 15, 1979. NB. The Burnham referred to is the Prime Minister
of Guyana.
32. Trinidad Express, October 15, 1979.
33. Trinidad Express, October 17, 1979.
34. Ibid.
35. Trinidad Express, Wednesday, October 17, 1979.
36. Ibid.
37. Ibid.
38. Trinidad Guardian, October 19, 1979.

39. Sunday Guardian, October 21, 1979.
40. Trinidad Guardian, Tuesday, October 23, 1979.
41. Trinidad Express, Thursday, October 18, 1979.
42. Trinidad Guardian, October 15, 1979. Also, the Grenada Newsletter, Vol. 7, No. 31. 1979.
43. Trinidad Guardian, Wednesday, October 17, 1979. See also statement attributed to the Prime
Minister in the Trinidad Guardian, Monday, October 22, 1979.
44. Ibid.
45. The Grenada Newsletter, Vol. 7, No. 31, October 1979, pp. 5 6.
46. Trinidad Guardian, Wednesday, October 17, 1979.
47. Trinidad Guardian, Wednesday, October 17.
48. The Grenada Newsletter, Vol. 7, No. 32, October 1979.
49. Trinidad Guardian, Wednesday, October 3, 1979.
50. Ibid.
51. See for example, the press release of the Caribbean Press Council, November 16, 1979.




There is increasing awareness among Third World governments of the far-reaching
influence of the mass media of communications-especially the electronic media-on the
lives of citizens. However, this awareness is based more on the technological magic of the
media and intuition than it is on any profound grasp of the social psychology of mass
media communications.

When wedded to the search for that illusive something called "development", the
ignorance of media impact on the process of change makes the task of national
transformation even more difficult. Without understanding why and how the media
influence the behaviour of people, their misuse is commonplace and inevitably detri-
mental to efforts at national transformation.

This paper attempts to set out the broad outlines of a dialectical approach to under-
standing mass communications in the process of national transformation, and to locate
the praxis of "communications for development" in a dynamic context of constantly
changing reality.

History and Society Defined
It is necessary to begin by defining some very fundamental concepts. And the final
phrase of the previous paragraph "constantly changing reality" points to the first such
concept, that of history. History is the sum total of the dialectic of man and his environ-
ment. It is the dynamic reciprocal relationship between man and his environment.
History is constantly being created and recreated. It is constantly becoming.

History, the academic discipline, constitutes mere abstraction from that dynamic
totality, couched usually in terms of abstracted great events or personages. The historian's
approach to his subject matter is only more or less static depending on the particular
theory of history to which he subscribes. Only recently have such static conceptualiza-
tions of History which separate man's consciousness from his History-making potential
been called into question by some Third World theorists and practitioners of revolutionary
politics. (Among them Frantz Fanon and Paulo Freire).

Furthermore and not surprisingly, it is only in those Third World countries in which
genuine social revolutions have occurred that national transformation has been
consummated. Quite apart from the logistical imperatives of revolution which demand
certain actions on the part of individuals within a collectivity, and hence, which
generate a new consciousness of their History-making tasks within individuals, the moment
national transformation is placed on the agenda, people are called on to perform tasks

that they never performed before and of which they would have never thought them-
selves capable. From being passive observers of a process, they are called upon to become
active participants in that process. From being mere objects of History, they are called
upon to become subjects creating History.

Now, if History is the sum total of the dialectic of man and his environment,
society is the necessary form that History takes in a particular place at a particular
moment. That is, how a particular people within national boundaries interact with their
environment determines the form that society takes, for society is the concrete
manifestation of History in a particular place at a particular time.

A shared experience of the majority of Third World societies is that the patterns of
their traditional or evolving man-environment relationships was interrupted by the
conquest of Western colonizers. This experience superimposed upon those traditional
patterns new forms of man-environment interactions, and in the process subverted the
History-making task of Third World peoples.

The technological superiority of Western colonizing nations allowed them to impose
upon the so-called "primitive" societies their view of the world. In that view, man's task
was perceived to be mastery over nature through conquest of the environment. That is
to say, the Western conception of man's primary task was essentially anti-Historical, a
conception that has remained alive until the present moment. Instead of reciprocity
between himself and his environment, Western man relates to his environment by
attempting to dominate it.
The contemporary ecological movement in the West represents tacit recognition on the
part of some intellectuals and concerned citizens of the anti-historical nature of the West's
conception of the Historical process. Ecologists realise that the much vaunted technologi-
cal superiority of the West has been achieved at the expense of despoiling the human
environment, depleting, and in some instances annihilating its resources. Paradoxically,
that same technology has contributed to spreading the awareness of environmental
destruction on a world scale.

Caught in the web of forced global economic interdependence, Third World nations
have come to accept unquestioningly the technological imperatives of the West, and with
them a concomitant anti-Historical conceptualization of "development." Thus in most
Third World countries "development" is conceived of in terms of dominance over the
environment and the never ending expansion of GNP per capital. Little or no distinction
is made between growth and development.

Development Defined
In the context of History as the sum total of the dialectic of man and his environment,
development is a continuous process of actualization of human potential. It is subject
oriented. Growth, on the other hand, has to do with inanimate things. It is object
oriented. It is important to make this distinction because the end of development is the
subject man. The end of growth is the object commodity.

Obviously if physical man is economically deprived, if he lacks food, clothing and
shelter and/or the wherewithal to obtain these, then the process of self-actualization is
severely restricted. Therefore, there is a direct and necessary connection between the
growth of things-economic growth, and the development of human potential. That
relationship is a means-end relationship for there is reciprocity between economic
growth-the means, and development, the actualization of human potential-the end. This
reciprocity is in fact the dialectic of History. More precisely then, national development
constitutes reciprocal action between man and his environment that leads to the actualiza-
tion of human potential in all its dimensions and to the preservation and continuity of
man's environment as he creates society and History. This is the general context in which
mass communication for national transformation is to be understood.

Communication, a seemingly simple phenomenon, is taken for granted by most people.
However, for all its universality and apparent simplicity, communication is one of the
most profound aspects of the human condition, for if we were unable to communicate
with each other, there would be no basis for social existence. There would be no social

Mass communication in the praxis of national transformation today therefore has a
dual objective. First, it must address the problem of shifting the individual's and the
collectivity's perception from an anti-Historical conception of History to a Historical con-
ception of the phenomenon while second and simultaneously it must assist in the achiev-
ing of the goals of national development.

As prevailing views have it, mass communication is the transmission of information
from a source to a receiver. In this conceptualization, emphasis is placed on the
transmission of information, that is, on one part of a total process, namely on the
mechanical aspect.

In short, prevailing conceptualizations of mass communication are technologically
biased. When analysed as a mediated dialectical process however, authentic communica-
tion is the transference of meaning from a source to a receiver.

In this conceptualization, emphasis is placed on the reciprocity of the process and not
on the techniques or technology of transmitting information in the process. Con-
ceptualized as the mere transmission of information, mass communication is a uni-
directional phenomenon, the direction of information flow being determined by the
limitations of available technology and by who controls that technology. On the other
hand, properly understood, communication as the transference of meaning from a source
to a receiver is a dialectic multi-directional activity. For implicit within that definition is
the idea of feedback or response from receiver to source.

Technological dependence has led to acceptance by the majority of Third World
nations of the West's technologically biased conceptualization of mass communication.
In turn that acceptance has led to a number of unresolved problems in the world of mass
communications. Among these problems are struggles over control of mass media techno-

logy and the attendant freedom of the press conflicts that arise from those struggles.
More importantly however, acceptance of the West's prevailing conceptualizaton has led
Third World countries to adapt mass media technology to further the misconceived
objectives of development conceptualized as mastery over the human environment.

Therefore, the implications for the praxis of national transformation of conceptualiz-
ing communications as the transference of meaning from a source to a receiver involves
at minimum addressing the question of what meaning is transferred, by whom, to whom
and with what effect. In other words, the meaning of meaning is as important in the
dialectics of mass communications as is the medium through which meaning is transferred.

The Meaning of Meaning
The transference of meaning from a source to a receiver presupposes a set of norms
that define the parameters of meaning. In the Hobbesian state of nature in which "life is
nasty, brutish and short" and in which "the war of all against all" prevails, the parameters
of meaning are established by force. In civil society on the other hand, convention
custom, and context define the parameters of meaning. That is, in civilized society, the
signs and symbols that are the tools of the communication function are sociologically
determined. And they are determined by social agreement (convention), by use over time
(custom), and by specific setting (context).

To be sure, while Third World peoples share many experiences which give rise to
similar conventions and customs, the meaning of meaning differs significantly from
society to society, society being the peculiar form that History takes at a given moment
in a specific setting. Necessarily then, the meaning of meaning will differ from place to
place, from setting to setting.

It follows from this that while we all may share similar desires for the good things of
life, and while we may intellectually agree on definitions of growth and development and
on the relationship between them, our unique settings and experiences ultimately influ-
ence and determine both the nature of development, namely the actualization of human
potential, and the nature of communication, namely the transference of meaning from a
source to a receiver.

In spite of this, it is nevertheless true that the paramountcy of technology in the
developmental process has resulted in the situation throughout most of the Third World
where the adoption of the latest media technology itself becomes a stumbling block to
efforts to achieve national transformation. For inherent within that technology are its
own limitations which arise from the world view that gave rise to the dominance of
technology in the first place. And this fact remains unanalyzed.

Consequently, it is the technological sophistication of the radio and television equip-
ment and facilities that indicates the level of "development" of this particular sector, and
not the substance and goals of the communications process that the hardware mediates.
The assumption is that possession of modern electronic media equipment, so long as it is
used to transmit information for development, is enough. It is assumed that such trans-

mission of information is synonymous with the effective transference of meaning from
source to receiver.

What is not recognized is that modern electronic media technology performs a
mediatory role between source and receiver in the communications process that encour-
ages the one way flow of information as a substitute for the dialectical transference of
meaning from source to receiver that constitutes authentic communication. This one way
flow of information establishes an hierarchical relationship between the source (the
communicator) and the receiver. The source becomes subject and the receiver object,
since contemporary mass communications technology does not allow for immediate feed-
back from the receiver. This results in dominant and dominated man-man relationships
that are consistent with the anti-Historical dominant man-environment relationship that
constitutes the Western world view of History.

Clearly then, if national development consists of compatible reciprocal action between
man and his environment that leads to the actualization of human potential in all its
dimensions and to the preservation and continuity of his environment as he creates
society and History, then concretely, national transformation must involve the change of
those conventions, customs and contexts that constitute the present parameters of
meaning but which are inimical to the actualization of man's potential.

More specifically, the praxis of communication for transformation must overcome the
inherent technological bias of media technology that militates against effective communi-
cation between Third World peoples domestically and internationally. And until techno-
logical breakthroughs are achieved, it must do so utilising the very mass media that are
inherently technologically biased. What is implied by this particular technological
stricture is that new and uncharted ways have to be developed to use the available
technology creatively to enhance the transference of meaning from source to receiver.
And in dreaming up new ways of using the mass media of communications creatively, the
first hurdle is overcome once we re-define the various concepts as above. Certain guide-
lines emerge naturally from the re-definitions.

Concretely and by way of example, some of the persistent barriers to socio-economic
change within most Third World countries revolve around such sectoral differences and
cleavages as those between urban and rural dwellers, nomadic and sedentary people, tribal
and ethnic groupings and class and linguistic cleavages. These we might say, are among
some of the persistent customs, conventions and contexts that may be inimical to the
actualization of man's potential.

Naturally, any coercive attempt to change or modify any or all of these relationships,
whether that coercion be through repressive laws, physical force or the monopolised
one-way flow of information, is non-transformational and hence, destined to fail. On the
other hand, the dialectical approach to communication for transformation would suggest
that these "impediments" be seen in the first instance, as aids to the effective transference
of meaning from source to receiver and vice versa. If they are accepted as such, then it

becomes clear that effective use of mass media communications for change must be

This is so precisely because the most accessible medium of mass communication in the
Third World is radio (both in terms of cost and availability), and therefore the onus of
communication for transformation is on this particular medium and on the spoken word.
But for obvious reasons, the (mediated) spoken word is also the most easily misunder-
stood and misinterpreted. As a result, the effective transference of meaning from source to
receiver in this particular medium is enhanced when messages are addressed to specific
audiences, that is, when the source discriminates in favour of a particular audience

To be sure, the specific criterion (or criteria) for discrimination on the part of the
communicator cannot be determined a priori, but must be determined within the
particular society and setting. Obvious emphasis on the economic aspects of national
development in most countries however, would suggest that class provides an inclusive
and logical analytical basis for discriminating in the mass media communication process.
It is necessary therefore to distinguish between class discrimination and class bias in that

Class discrimination in mass communication is a conscious and hence, deliberate
decision 'on the part of the communicator to transfer meaning to a particular class. That
is, class discrimination is class specific. Class bias in mass communications, on the other
hand, is the conscious or unconscious slanting of media messages in order to serve particu-
lar and particularistic class interests. Similar distinctions can be made for all other cate-
gories of cleavage that may exist in a particular setting. The point is that the important
distinction to be made is that between discrimination and bias in mass communications.
Bias distorts information. Discrimination facilitates transferring meaning.

It is the shared perspective of customs, conventions and contexts of source and
receiver that allows for the effective transference of meaning between both in the process
of discriminating. The built-in technological limitations and mediatory role of the mass
media are ameliorated by the shared perspective of both source and receiver, because they
share common understandings and therefore attach similar meanings to that which is
communicated. This remains a latent factor in mass communications when it is perceived
and conceptualized as the transmission of information from source to receiver, that is,
when the technology is allowed to dominate the substance of the communications

Some Implications for the Praxis
A self-evident implication of the dialectical approach for the praxis of mass communi-
cation for national transformation is that the activity of transferring meaning from source
to receiver in any stratified society is necessarily a conflictual one. This is particularly
true in Third World countries where governments tend to monopolise control of the
electronic and, in many cases, the print media. Governments' desire to achieve national

integration in the shortest possible time causes them to guard jealously their control of
the mass media, having as they do an intuitive knowledge of the impact of mass com-
munications on national development objectives.

However, adoption of prevailing technological conceptualizations of mass communica-
tions blinds them to the more potent impact of the media when communication is
perceived as the transference of meaning from source to receiver. Indeed, the latter
conceptualization begs to question whether national integration is a desirable goal of
national development, and if it is whether it is synonymous with assimilation.

If national integration and assimilation are seen to be synonymous, then mass com-
munications will be used to suppress group or sectoral differences, that is, the mass media
will be used coercively. This results in coerced conformity, sterile homogeneity and
inevitable conflict.

On the other hand, if the objective of national integration involves the actualization
of the individual's and hence, the collectivity's potential, that is, if national integration is
an aspect of national transformation, then mass communications will not seek to suppress
conflict as much as it will seek to mediate conflict in order to create understanding. The
creation of society and History is likely to be more harmonious, that is to say, man-
environment relationships are likely to be more compatible if differences are allowed
free expression than if they are suppressed. For conflicts which arise from differences in
conventions, customs and contexts of people when allowed free expression, foster
creativity and understanding, but suppressed conflict fosters rage and conformity.

The desirability or undesirability of conflict in the creation of society and History and
the role of national integration in the larger process of national transformation therefore,
are two of the issues that arise from perceiving mass communication as the transference
of meaning from source to receiver.

Because conventions, customs and contexts emerge out of the dialectic of man and his
environment, that is History, and because the meaning of meaning is a sociological
phenomenon that allows for effective communication-itself a dialectical phenomenon,
it follows that mass communication for national transformation must be intrinsic to
national transformation as Historical process.

Ultimately therefore, national transformation must involve the transformation of
peoples' conventions, customs and contexts and cannot be achieved without effective
communication which itself depends on the very congruence of peoples' conventions,
customs and contexts.



Everybody experiences far more than he understands. Yet it is experience, rather
than understanding, that influences behavior, especially in collective matters of media
and technology, where the individual is almost inevitably unaware of their effect on

Marshall McLuhan, media guru of the 1960s, writing that particular observation for
the benefit of a highly literate audience in the industrialized world sixteen years ago,
could hardly have anticipated that his words would be of special relevance in the countries
of the developing world in the 1980s. However, the time lag in the acquisition of media
technology in developing nations and the simultaneous increase in the sophistication of
international distribution systems for television programming over the past fifteen years
have made McLuhan's theories of cultural transformation through the introduction of the
modern communications media take on added importance. Such is the case in Jamaica:
whereas television was a mass medium which was almost universally accessible in the
United States, Canada and Britain by 1955, Jamaica did not begin its broadcast trans-
missions until 1964. Even in 1980, the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC-TV) is
struggling to upgrade the quality of television reception in parts of the country where
reception is impeded by geographical barriers. However, the years between 1964 and
1980, Jamaica's familiarity with and proliferation of television technology and software
have grown dramatically, aided by international agencies like the World Bank, UNESCO,
the USAID and the West German Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

Television as an educational medium: defining the term
The purpose of this paper is to examine television as a medium for formal and non-
formal education in Jamaican society at present. To accomplish such a purpose, it is first
necessary to define "educational television." McLuhan observed that, "When a three-
year-old sits watching... (programmes) with Dad and Granddad, that illustrates the serious
educational role of TV."2 Everything on television, by virtue of its being experience, is
educational; television is educational even when it is not being consciously instructional.3

When television is viewed in the light of being educational whether or not it is being
deliberately instructional, serious questions arise about the impact of imported television
programming broadcast in a Jamaican context. Although Everold Hosein would like to
dismiss the influence of foreign-produced programmes as having been exaggerated and
being of little consequence in a country's pursuit of national goals for development,4
other analysts of the electronic media disagree with him. Herbert Schiller sees
"communications material from the United States (offering) a vision of a way of life...a
mountain of material artifacts, privately furnished and individually acquired and

consumed",5 and he expresses concern that it "is the channel through which lifestyles
and value systems can be imposed on poor and vulnerable societies."6 Schiller reiterated
his concerns in a later monograph,7 as well as the UNESCO conference on the inter-
national flow of television programming, where Dallas Smythe, too, observed:
In the developing countries the practice of importing TV programmes effectively
creates outposts within their own borders for the exercise of influence in the interest
of the countries from which the programmes are obtained.8
In The Media Are American, Jeremy Tunstall puts forward the same concern:
The media are about politics and commerce and ideas...when a government allows
news importation it is in effect importing a piece of another country's politics...and
because the media also deal in ideas, their influence can be unpredictable in form and
in strength.9

The research: a word on methodology
The quotations with which this paper is liberally laced present the contextual perspec-
tive and the theoretical foundation upon which to examine Jamaican television as both a
cultural and an educative force. The particular selection of quotations, of course, reveals
the underlying assumptions contained in the argument. However, rather than its being
supported by evidence assembled through the administration of questionnaires formulated
to substantiate a particular hypothesis, as in the tradition of quantitative analysis, this
paper draws on the observational techniques associated with qualitative research methods,
recently legitimized in the social sciences. The intention in qualitative research, parti-
cularly phenomenology, is to observe, report and analyze behaviour and experience
within the context of a single situation,10 rather than to present universally applicable
hypotheses. There are no wide-ranging implications to be drawn from the observations
and analysis presented here; however, the questions raised through qualitative analysis
may well prompt the mitiation of quantitative research in the future.

TV production sources
Four distinct government-funded bodies produce television programming for formal or
non-formal educational purposes at present in Jamaica: the Agency for Public Information
(API), which broadcasts live one-half hour daily; the Educational Broadcasting Service of
the Ministry of Education, which produces curriculum-related programmes videotaped in
their own studios for transmission morning and afternoon three days per week during the
school year; the Jamaica Movement for the Advancement of Literacy (JAMAL), which
videotapes a variety of programmes both for broadcast and for distribution to their
Adult Learning Centres throughout Jamaica, and JBC, which produces and transmits its
own programmes as well as providing transmission facihties for the other three agencies.
With such visible interest in the production of indigenous programming serving a variety
of audiences, surely it is time to examine the ramifications of the television medium in
the culture and society of the country. Observation and analysis of the total program-
ming context of television in Jamaica raise interesting questions about the direction of
the medium.

The marketplace ethic: cost/effective television
Even with sixteen years' experience in television production, the fledgling television
industry in Jamaica cannot match the slick sophistication of programmes produced in
the United States or Britain. None of the agencies producing programmeshas enough
money, personnel or trained technical staff to be able to match the quality of Anglo-
American series and features offered to Jamaica through international distributors at a
fraction of their original production cost. Tunstall quotes the 1976 US prices for
Jamaica to purchase American television series as $60-$65 per half hour episode and the
price for feature films as $200-$400.11 The cost/benefits for buying American-made
series are obviously extremely attractive. And, as Nordenstreng and Varis point out, in
the early days of television in developing countries, the acquisition of the television
technology created a need for programming to broadcast. Since foreign imported
programmes were cheaper to acquire than local programmes were to produce, both cost
and technical inexperience encouraged developing countries to turn to American
producers for broadcast programmes, a situation which the Americans happily exploited
for their own reasons.12

The same UNESCO study indicates that in the early 1970s the United States was the
largest exporter of programming in the world: 150,000 hours.13 According to Norden-
streng and Varis, there were 161 companies distributing American programmes world-

If a country like Jamaica has begun its venture into broadcast television supported by
inexpensive imported programming, it is very difficult to remove foreign-produced
programming from the schedule. Lacking human, monetary and production resources to
replace the imports with local programmes, whatever their quality, the JBC would have to
reduce its hours of broadcast and (since it is assumed that the foreign programming
attracts advertisers more easily than local programmes) lose some of its already limited
commercial income. Such a dilemma has led at least one observer of the introduction of
television in developing countries to decide

in many developing countries the...television network is very much a status symbol...
probably a luxury the country cannot afford and does not need...often local tradi-
tional forms of communication are more significant in knowledge diffusion.15
The fact that the majority of Jamaica's television sets are concentrated in the urban
areas-Kingston and Montego Bay-may, to some degree account for the popularity of
the slick, sophisticated American and British imports in the broadcasting schedule:

... these (imports) are consumed mainly by the urban and relatively affluent, and
...importing becomes a substitute for providing cheap domestic media to most

In Jamaica, the necessity at present for television to be served by electricity, to have
geographically unimpeded access to the signal transmitted from Kingston, and to fill
several hours each day with programmes which the country can ill afford to produce

locally, have made Jamaica dependent on British and American imports.

The cultural cost of foreign programming:
a) mixed messages
Cost/effectiveness arguments and response to the pressures from the viewing public to
provide more and more programming on a shrinking budget grant some support to the
practice of importing television programming to fill prime time viewing slots. However,
there is a cultural cost which must be paid as well as a monetary one. The Canadian
cultural annexation, which has occurred in part because of Canada's unimpeded access
to American television programmes beamed across the border, illustrates the risks
attendant on the broadcasting of foreign programmes:

Canada is in contact with the United States along a great and undefended border, and
by process of osmosis America is destroying not only our television, but our values
and our very culture...American television has made the development of a Canadian
cultural identity almost impossible...Through its own faulty development, American
television has negatively influenced the development of a worthy native television
in Canada...17

A closer examination of some of the American television series being broadcast in
Jamaica's prime time television slots reveals two dangerous trends: a virtual contradiction
of espoused governmental policies, and a proliferation of stereotypical imagery which sets
up unrealistic pictures of life and opportunities in the United States. Simultaneously,
these programmes establish a class hierarchy built on colour, wealth, sex and physical

On the top of the heap are television's Good Guys...mainly mature, white males. On
the bottom of the heap lie the Victims-piled up bodies of children, old people, poor
people, non-whites, young people, lone women-all done in by Bad Guys recruited
principally from the lower social strata many of the so-called Victims come from. 18

In his contribution to Television traffic-a one way street?, Schiller observes that
"...there is no such thing as an objective, valueless social system, an objective, valueless
television system."19 If this is so, then a serious problem arises when the values con-
tained in the television exports of Anglo-American companies are shown in a socio-
political or cultural context other than the one for which the producers originally
designed them. Whether the series be a vision of the wealthy dabbling at crime solving, as
in Hart to Hart, or a recollection of English society in the shadow of the court as in the
BBC series Lily, the original, intended viewing audience in the United States or in
Britain is familiar with the culture and values portrayed on the television screen, because
they are bombarded with them, to a greater or lesser degree, on a daily basis within the
context of the society which bred them. Such is not the case when the same programmes
are aired in Jamaica: the series gain an air of authority and reality which may never have
been intended originally, because of the nature of the television medium, as it appears to
provide "a window on the world." Light entertainment designed to pander to middle-

class American acquisitive dreams suddenly assumes the role of purveyor of American
days of the Empire when viewed from an ex-colony. Such dissemination of American
consumerism or English luxury could have a deleterious impact on the Jamaican economy,
given the current economic difficulties being experienced.

Recently, for example, the Jamaican government has invested large sums of money in
a media campaign to encourage energy conservation. Billboards admonishing, "Conserve
Energy-Or Else!" threaten the citizenry with dire consequences should they continue to
waste energy, all of which has to be imported from other countries. Other billboards warn,
"The Energy Crisis Isn't Going Away-It's Getting Worse" and advise, "Conserve Energy
Now Before It's Too Late." Notices in colourful, animated graphics are displayed in
offices so that they are visible to employees and clients alike, reminding them to
"Switch Something Off Now." In hotel rooms, guests find similar notices. Both radio and
television "are promoting energy conservation-a critical necessity for Jamaica at present.
A totally contradictory message, however, is being proliferated through the slick,
sophisticated American crime series like Kojak, The Rockford Files, Barnaby Jones and
Hawaii Five-O, where heroes and villains alike have access to large, high-powered cars
which they handle in a most energy-consumptive way. The car, so ubiquitous in American
life, is used as a setting for personal conversations, crime-solving, suspense building and
humour. The car is critical in underworld meetings, in planning the crime,in accomplish-,
ing the "getaway", in pursuing the criminal to achieve justice, and finally, for delivering
the "last word" in the capsule ending to an episode. How successful, then, can a national
media campaign on energy conservation be, even one executed at high cost and with
considerable ingenuity, in face of the onslaught of American consumptive images which
assault the viewer in prime time Jamaican television slots? Because of the nature of the
television medium, it seems counter-productive, at the very least, to broadcast American
programmes which have the potential to undermine a national policy on a subliminal
level. To under-estimate the potential for subversion of governmental policy through the
"side-effects" of values consumption in foreign programming is to overlook the nature
of the medium:

The banal and ritual remark of the conventionally literate, that TV presents an
experience for passive viewers, is wide of the mark. TV is above all a medium that
demands a creatively participant response.20

Nor is this single illustration of the use of the car in reinforcing inappropriate values
for Jamaica an isolated example of confusing messages delivered through foreign tele-
vision programmes. Other series deliver equally questionable value messages. In general,
since television is considered an entertainment medium as well as an information
medium in the United States, series concentrate on exaggerating the positive realities of
American life to provide their audience with "escape" or "light entertainment." The
difficulties in the society are downplayed; real social problems are buried in parody or
burlesque; characterization is superficial and stereotyped. In all cases, the programmes
imported to Jamaica reinforce middle class American values and support the maintenance

of the status quo in the society. Lawbreakers are always apprehended by police heroes
like Kojak or McGarrett of Hawaii Five-O, who dress conservatively but tastefully in suits
and ties to apprehend the criminals who try to short-circuit the system (behaviour which
wins them the heroes' disdain for their stupidity); a private investigator, like Jim Rockford
of The Rockford Files, whose source of income is irregular and somewhat unpredictable,
can nevertheless afford to live in his own house trailer, support his father and his
manipulative friend Angel and solve crimes which baffle the police; material possessions
are so commonplace that they are unremarkable, even in the black ghetto of What's
Happening, where everyone is well-dressed (if eccentrically) and has enough food to eat.
Success is measured in material gain, status within the established social structure (which
is built on material possessions and the display of visible wealth), and the number of
friends with which one is surrounded. Such success is available to everyone, either by
virtue of hard work and good fortune, as seen in The Jeffersons who, the theme song
proclaims, are "movin' on up to the East Side/to a de-luxe apartment in the sky", or
through bullying and the manipulation of people and circumstances, as seen both in
Sanford and Son and its British model, Steptoe and Son. The implicit message of all of
these series, whether delivered in the triumph of "right" and "justice" over malevolent
forces in the society, or underlined by a catchy theme song and the resounding echo of
canned laugh tracks, is that life in America is the good life, where justice ultimately
flourishes, and money, while not flowing in the streets, is nonetheless accessible to
everyone. Whether this depiction of American life is accurate is irrelevant; it is the picture
of the United States being presented on Jamaican television in prime viewing time.

b) the hidden agenda
Most blatant (and, perhaps, therefore, apocryphal) of the imported series on Jamaican
television is Dallas, the popular U.S. portrayal of life at the top of the new American
aristocracy-the oil business. The "royal family", the Ewing dynasty, is packed with
shallow, stereotypical Good Guys-the humble and sympathetic parents who built the
Empire (he through rough, hard work as a humble oil rigger with remarkable good luck;
she as his living, supportive, empathetic mate), the slightly rebellious but clear-sighted
younger son and his "women's lib" wife who fought the family pressures and went to
work to "fulfill" herself, and the very rebellious teenage granddaughter, whose biggest
weakness is her immaturity-and Bad Guys-the older son who is opportunistic, power-
hungry, avaricious, unfeeling and unfaithful, and his wife who is ambitious, clutching and
an alcoholic, suffering from her husband's rejection and her own manipulative tendencies.
The weekly episodes of life with the Ewings are reflective of a vision of America that is
at once the fulfilment of the American Dream and a reinforcement of the political status
quo. On the one hand, the programme is a testimony to the values which have mythically
"built" the United States and created a new aristocracy founded on the acquisition of
land and material wealth; however, the power elite is white, rose to ascendancy from the
middle class, and is dedicated to continuing and even advancing the family's power and
new social position. Change is to be feared. As well as parading its value structure, the
series provides a showcase for luxurious material possessions: cars, clothes, furnishings,
jewellery, houses and limitless land. This unending display of excess seems to be a promo-

tion campaign for the American Dream.

Dallas plays such a significant role in the fabric of Jamaican media, in fact, that the
culprit responsible for the shooting of the elder Ewing son was identified in a news item
on the 7:30 a.m. radio news broadcast on the morning following the revelation of her
identity on American television!

A content analysis of American programming aired in prime time on Jamaican tele-
vision would undoubtedly reveal tremendous discrepancies between the pre-packaged
myths of American life and the realities of the circumstances under which many people
live in the United States; however, the emphasis in this paper is on television as an educa-
tive force in Jamaican society. Therefore, a brief survey of locally-produced programming
will assist in seeing the context in which the foreign productions are placed.
Local programming: formal and non-formal education
The programmes of the three government-funded agencies which JBC carries on its
channels have quite distinct differences in educational intent. The Educational Broadcast-
ing Service produces and broadcasts programmes which are closely tied to the curriculum
of the school system; thus, the programmes are broadcast during the school day to
facilitate the teachers' use of them with their students. The EBS is committed to assisting
teachers to achieve their curricular goals, which means that the programmes vary in
complexity and sophistication, depending on the age range of the students for whom the
broadcast is intended. Busy Street, for example, is a primary school programme designed
to assist children in learning good pedestrian safety. The Spanish broadcasts are aimed at
students in Grades 2 to 4. However, there are also programmes prepared for Grades 9
Science on specific, selected topics and aired at a time of the year when most teachers will
have reached that point in the curriculum as outlined by the Ministry of Education. The
schools' broadcasts are tied very tightly to the Ministry's guidelines; because of the short-
age of trained teachers, many principals and their staffs rely heavily on EBS program-
ming21 to instruct students in specific topics. The fact that few schools have videotape
facilities means that EBS programmes need to be broadcast more than once. A programme
which is repeated more than once serves the teachers' needs in a number of ways: it
permits them to preview programmes before using them with their students, and it allows
teachers working in schools which are on the "shift" system to use the programme at a
time which is convenient to their classes. The broadcast repetition also permits teachers
whose students need to see a particular programme more than once to do so. Thus, three
days a week on a staggered programming schedule which broadcasts selected programmes
in both morning and afternoon slots, television broadcasting begins on the JBC at
9:30 a.m.

The Agency for Public Information (API) has a mandate to inform the public of
current government policies and practices. Most evenings at 6:30, the API presents a live
in-studio discussion with government officials or civil servants charged with the imple-
mentation of a specific programme. Alternatively, the API may showcase a non-
governmental event or programme of national interest, or offer promising young Jamai-

cans national visibility as upcoming members of the performing arts. The API production
is essentially a public affairs programme with a newsmagazine format. On Sunday
evenings, however, the API has a special filmed documentary on selected government
projects. These programmes are slick in their production values and are extremely well-
executed in the fashion of Anglo-American investigative journalism. Although the
programme imitates the British or North American model, it concentrates on purely
Jamaican issues. And because the API is mandated to explain government policies, it
rarely presents the topic it is showcasing in a deleterious light.

The most promising of API's productions at present is a locally-produced weekly series
called Prescott, a drama of small-town life in Jamaica. While the series may well have
begun as an imitation of Peyton Place (whose reruns are still being aired in prime time
on JBC), it has evolved into a vehicle which accommodates discussions of community
health care, preventive health care, the place of myth and tradition in the social fabric of
the village, issues involving agricultural development, and other controversies of national
concern. The characters reappear and vanish as they would be likely to do in a genuine
villager's experience of daily life, but the village remains a substantial place in the
memories of the viewing audience. Using drama to foster national development goals is
not new, but the concept of using what was essentially a soap opera format on national
television is an exciting variation on drama in development. The production values have
not reached a consistently professional level as yet, but this programme holds much
promise of being the hallmark of Jamaica's coming of age in television production.

In 1964, when Jamaica was beginning its television broadcasting, Wilbur Schramm
registered his surprise that so many developing countries were electing to invest in the
costly capital-intensive medium of television.2 The growth and development of an
indigenously-produced series which has evolved from an attempt to imitate an imported
series is, perhaps, the beginning of an answer to Schramm's criticism. Prescott is no
longer an insufficiently-funded imitation of an American programme; it has graduated to
originality in its concepts.

One evening per week, the API time slot is given to JAMAL to run what is called
"motivational programming." Since JAMAL is staffed with volunteer teachers and is
dependent for its success in literacy upgrading on students coming to courses on a
voluntary basis, the purpose of the motivational programming is to stimulate interest
among both potential teachers and adults in need of training in literacy skills. The broad-
cast also lends status to those already involved in JAMAL, since much attention is given
to graduations and achievements of students and teachers in the programme.

With the exception of the two API programmes mentioned, the television broadcast-
ing produced by all of these agencies is accomplished on very slender resources; therefore,
the traditional "talking head" format is a predictably frequent feature of their

All of the other local productions at present are carried out by the JBC itself. In

addition to the news, a popular nightly feature which deserves special treatment in its
own right, JBC produces a variety of relatively low-budget series, such as an interview
programme with national celebrities, called Spotlight, a weekly series on agriculture,
called Farming, a Saturday special for teenagers modelled on American disco dance
programmes, called Where It's At, and a series on Jamaica's history, called Heritage. The
cost problems and the training of technically-proficient staff competent to execute
professional calibre television programming are a continuing plague to the JBC, as,
indeed, they are to the other agencies producing broadcast programming.

By far the most popular television programme produced by JBC is the nightly news
broadcast. To some extent, the news can be considered a local production; however, the
international stories and the film footage for them which constitutes an important part
of the American-established format for the news are not local, but Anglo-American. TV
news footage is produced and distributed by three world-wide agencies: the British
Visnews, the U.S. CBS Newsfilm and the Anglo-American UPI-TN. The fourth major
source of newsfilm is the West German DPA-ETES.23

JBC News predominately uses footage obtained from Visnews, a predictable pheno-
menon, according to Tunstall, who observed, "...a notable part of the BBC exports goes
to the Caribbean area, where British TV companies have interests." When major
stories relate directly to happenings in the United States, the footage originates with
CBS Newsfilm. The obvious difference between news footage from American sources and
from Visnews appears to be in the nature of the accompanying sound track provided
by each source:

The video news stories which Visnews and UPI-TV supply to their customers around
the world each day contain (in contrast to CBS Newsfilm) only natural sound-the
thuds of rifle butts on heads perhaps-thuds alone without spoken commentary.25

There is an accompanying written commentary with factual details about the content of
the footage; however, since it is not actually on the footage itself, different networks can
shape the film to their own ideological and stylistic requirements, as Tunstall goes on to
point out.

The fact that JBC staff write the script to accompany the visual footage provided by
an international news agency contributes to the news' maintaining a distinctly Jamaican
flavour. However, there are some difficulties. The news script is written by copy editors
who have been trained for print and for radio. The resulting scripts apparently are not
always available in time to permit the news reader, who is the on-camera presenter as well
as the voice-over commentator for the newsfilm, to become comfortable with the phras-
ing and pacing of some stories, or to adjust the language to suit his/her style of presenta-
tion. Consequently, on occasion, some news stories based on international newsfilm make
little or no sense to the viewer, because the commentary is out of synchronization with
the pictures on the screen, and the news reader is unable to watch the visuals and read at
the same time.

In other circumstances, where the presenter is reading a news item on camera, the
problems of unfamiliarity with phrasing and sentence construction of the copy s/he
has been given can also undermine the audience's comprehension of a story. Some
stories make little or no sense to the viewers because they visibly make no sense to the
presenter. It is an interesting psychological fact that the same news reader presenting an
item on the television news which s/he has previously presented on radio (perhaps an
hour earlier) can often encounter difficulties in presentation.

The JBC's recent acquisition of portable video equipment, which can be made
compatible for broadcast purposes with the studio facilities, allows increasingly frequent
animation of local news items; thus, the newsfilm provided by international agencies is
no longer the viewer's sole relief from the presenter's "talking head" or the static
photograph of a personality in the day's news.

Research and Planning:
While the foregoing clearly indicates that Jamaica is heavily involved in and committed
to the production of her own programming for formal and non-formal education, her
commitment and involvement does not as yet encompass perhaps the most important
element for decision-making and programme planning: there is no research and evaluation
component in any of these production teams. Neither API nor EBS has the funding to do
programme research and evaluation, except in the most haphazard way. Just as the capital
expenditure to initially facilitate television production is expensive, so is the establishing
of a research department to evaluate the success of programme implementation. However,
if the agencies wish to build stronger programme plans on limited funds, they must
allocate monies to formative and summative evaluation projects. The greatest difficulty
in assessing the impact of foreign programming in Jamaica is that the assessment of
their impact, and the impact of nationally-produced programming, is based on limited
observation, speculation and deduction rather than on any solid data. JAMAL does have
its own research and evaluation department; however, the design of many of their
instruments seem to be limited to getting positive feedback on the total JAMAL
programme from students so that JAMAL may present a stronger case for increased fund-
ing the following fiscal year. JAMAL's research and evaluation programme does not
specifically isolate the use of electronic media for evaluation of programming. There does
not appear to be research aimed at developing JAMAL's use of television into a more
effective medium for education within the context of JAMAL's programme objectives.

There is a further positive aspect to the growth of the infant television industry in
Jamaica, however. In addition to four distinct bodies which are producing broadcast tele-
vision programming, there is in Kingston on the Mona Campus of the University of the
West Indies a training facility for Caribbean media personnel and undergraduates who
wish to make a career in the mass media. The television studio and facilities of the Carib-
bean Institute of Mass Communications (CARIMAC) became fully operational in
September, 1980. With the installation of a television training facility, CARIMAC may
well be able to contribute to the growth and development of a national television industry

which is uniquely Jamaican by providing an opportunity for students to develop innova-
tive technical skills, and to acquire practical research skills which will bolster the televi-
sion contribution to formal and non-formal education in the coming years. Certainly the
training of skilled personnel is an on-going and recurrent dilemma in the television
industry in any country, because television requires many people who are skilled in
specialized areas, as well as knowledgeable about the nature of the medium in general, and
staff turnover is often faster than in-service training can keep abreast of.

The time is at hand to examine more closely the role of foreign programming aired in
prime time on Jamaican television, and to make serious policy decisions in relation to its
contribution to Jamaican development goals.

The original purpose of most of the foreign programming aired in Jamaica, whether
American or British, was to capture the largest share of a domestic, rather than foreign,
viewing public in the context of marketplace competition with the programming aired on
other networks. There are no high, altruistic goals behind American commercial
programming policies; the programme producers are engaged in ratings warfare to assure
the sponsor of as large a share of the buying market's attention to his commercials as
possible. The subtle shift which occurs when programmes are removed from the market-
place competition for which they were initially designed and placed in a single-channel
context also increases the impression that most American television programming is
designed to "sell" the American way of life abroad. Whereas in their domestic context
American programmes operate on the "Least Objectionable Programme"26 premise-
that people will watch anything, selecting what they watch on the basis of what appears
to be least objectionable to their value system-such reinforcement of middle class
American values, aspirations and dreams when broadcast in a non-competitive context
appears to be blatant advertising for the American social system. Outside of Schiller's
analysis of American television from a Marxist perspective in Mass Communication and
American Empire (1969) and his later monograph Communication and cultural domina-
tion (1976), which is more general in nature, little attention seems to have been paid to
analyzing the actual impact of specific American television programmes in a non-
American setting. Certainly, little exists which has been done by academics or media
experts who have the cultural perspective of belonging to a nation which has elected to
buy American or Anglo-American27 programmes for broadcast on a national television

At present there is a critical need for such qualitative research in Jamaica. There is
only an impression throughout the developing nations that the American dominance of
the television medium through its early capturing of the export and distribution market
might be deleterious to national development policies:

More and more it can be seen that a mere liberalistic freedom of communication is not
in everyday reality a neutral ideal, but a way in which an enterprise with many
resources at its disposal has greater opportunities than weaker brethren to make its

own hegemony accepted...we have learned that so-called free communication always
corresponds with a certain world of values, and by no means necessarily leads to an
actual wide range of transmission of messages available.28

The development of television as a medium which is useful to the growth of Jamaica
will only evolve as a result of careful planning and the commitment to research as an
integral part of the communications strategy adopted in the coming years. Television can-
not be a "frill" for the affluent; it must become a practical development tool for building
Jamaica, taking its place in the educational technologies available as resources for
national development.

*This article was completed in November, 1980.


1. Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (New York: Signet, 1964),
p. 277.

2. Monica B. Morris, An Excursion into Creative Sociology (New York: Columbia University Press,
1977), p. 45.

3. op. cit., p. 289.

4. Everold Hosein, "The Problem of Imported Television Content in the Commonwealth Caribbean",
Caribbean Quarterly, 22:4, December, 1976.

5. Herbert I. Schiller, Mass Communications and American Empire (New York: Augustus Kelley,
1969), p. 3.

6. Ibid., p. 9.

7. Herbert I. Schiller, Communication and cultural domination (White Plains: M.E. Sharpe, 1976),
pp. 24-50.

8. Dallas W. Smythe, Television traffic-a one-way street? UNESCO Reports and Papers on Mass
Communication No. 70 (Paris: UNESCO, 1974), p. 50.

9. Jeremy Tunstall, The media are American (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977), p. 263.

10. Monica B. Morris, An Excursion into Creative Sociology (New York: Columbia University Press,
1977), p. 45.

11. Jeremy Tunstall, The media are American (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977), p. 263.

12. Kaarle Nordenstreng and Tapio Varis, Television traffic-a one-way street? UNESCO Reports and
Papers on Mass Communication No. 70 (Paris: UNESCO, 1974), p. 31.

13. Ibid., p. 33.

14. Ibid., p. 33.

15. David Pitt, The Social Dynamics of Development (Don Mills: Pergamon Press, 1976), p. 58.

16. Tunstall, The media are American, p. 61.

17. Henry Comor, "American TV: What Have You Done to Us?", Television Quarterly, VI:1, Winter,
1967, pp. 50-51.

18. Rose K. Goldsen, The Show and Tell Machine: How Television Works and Works You Over (New
York: Dial Press, 1975), pp. 223-224.

19. H.I. Schiller, Television traffic, p. 49.

20. McLuhan, Understanding Media, p. 293.

21. According to the data gathered by this writer in connection with a study of the role of EBS in the
school curriculum. The research is still in progress.

22. Wilbur Schramm, "World Distribution of the Mass Media", International and Intercultural Com-
munication second ed., Heinz-Dietrich Fischer and John Merrill, eds. (New York: Hastings House,
1976), p. 183.

23. Nordenstreng and Varis, Television traffic, p. 40.

24. Ibid., p. 34.

25. Tunstall, The media are American, p. 48.

26. This term first appeared in 1958 in the transcription of an interview in Television Quarterly.
Since then it has been used by a number of television critics in their writing. It appeared most
recently in Media Logic by D.L. Altheide and R.P. Snow (Beverley Hills: Sage, 1979).

27. Jeremy Tunstall, in his The Media are American, uses the term "Anglo-American" in two senses:
to refer to the English-speaking American productions which are exported throughout the English-
speaking developing world, and to refer to the result of the marriage between American commer-
cial influences in the media of the developing nations and the remnants of British influence in her
newly-independent ex-colonial possessions, which comprise much of the developing world today.

28. Dr. Urho Kekkonen, President of the Republic of Finland, quoted in Television traffic, p. 43.


This study looks at the most animated and pervasive calypso controversy in Trinidad
and Tobago's1 history. The controversy is used as a basis for clarifying race relations as
well as establishing a theoretical framework to understand inter-group conflict in this
multi-racial society. The focus is on the calypso "Caribbean Unity"" sung by calypsonian
Black Stalin during the 1979 calypso season. The calypso, popularly called "Caribbean
Man", won first prize in the island-wide Calypso Monarch Competition3 but subsequently
caused a nation-wide controversy over the question as to whether or not the lyrics
describing the "Caribbean Man" were confined only to those of African descent, thus
excluding other ethnic groups in Trinidad.

The emotional impact and widespread interest generated by the controversy is
evidenced by the fact that it occupied a total of 660 column inches and involved six of
the seven national newspapers across the country. The controversy drew in strident
contributions from major opinion leaders; among them prominent community leaders,
reporters and columnists from the two major ethnic groups-Indians and Africans. As far
as responses to the newspapers were concerned, the public debate lasted for two and a
half months-February 28, 1979 and May 12, 1979. It provided an exciting snapshot of
the social psychology of race relations in the country. The "natural conditions" under
which the data was generated should add to the validity of the results in this study. The
controversy also raised serious questions for social perception and inter-personal relation-
ships among different ethnic groups in a mixed community.

Background to Controversy
Widely known as the Land of Calypso and Steelband, Trinidad has been putting
increased emphasis on the calypso through financial support and popular patronage at
the many calypso tents during the carnival season. This is also reflected in the increased
tendency to play calypsoes on the radio stations during the entire year. There is also a
widening call for the calypso to be taught in schools. The calypso therefore has a very
significant place in Trinidad's culture.

Calypsonians here have as a rule been of African descent.4 During the 1979 Calypso
for instance, out of the eighty-five calypsonians counted in the six tents5 in Port of Spain,
only two were of East Indian descent (Rajah and Prince who was formerly Hindu Prince).

Within the last two years, calypsonians have also increased the emphasis on themes of
African identity and culture, political satire and revolutionary themes. Of course, there
was always a wide variety of themes in the calypso (Elder, 1966; Rohlehr, 1972; Hill,

1967), but this recent emphasis on black identity and radical change during the 1979
calypso season has secured the title of "left-wing" calypsonians for Valentino, Black
Stalin, and Mighty Explainer.6

There were, of course, many more calypsoes and reggae hits on the theme of black
identity and African "roots." Bert Lynch's "Black Man's Prayer", Merchant's
"Um-Ba-Yao", and Mighty Explainer's "Mr African" are examples. In fact during the
1979 calypso season a count at the city's six major calypso tents revealed a total of at
least tventy-one songs on the theme of black identity and African "roots."

Early in the 1979 calypso season, the country's major Hindu organisation7 publicly
objected to Lord Shorty's "Om Shanti." "Om Shanti", according to Lord Shorty, carried
a "message" for racial harmony in Trinidad. However the Hindu organisation commended
the lyrics but objected to the calypso being played on the streets or in "fetes" since,
they felt, the sacred words "Om Shanti" would be desecrated. Such controversies over
the calypso, carnival, or even Better Village Cultural Shows are not unusual.

In addition to Hindus, members of the Baptist and Shango faiths have regularly and
publicly protested against alleged desecration of their religious rituals in calypsoes, or in
other local cultural shows. For example, in August 11, 1979, Baptists publicly protested
against the "mockery of their religious beliefs and practices" in the Prime Minister's Best
Village Trophy Competition.8 Three years ago, Baptists in Tobago made a similar

The Pandits Parishad (a body of Hindu priests) also protested against "mockery" by
calypsoes. Citing a number of calypsoes, the organisation wrote: "Over the years
calypsonians mocked and heaped scorn on the Hindu religion and their priests by poking
fun at them." (Trinidad Express, March 9, 1979).

The religious and racial diversity of Trinidad (ethnic diversity) though often hailed
"as an example to the world", also presents a source of social tension, more so
election time. Tables 1 and 2 reveal the religious and racial diversity of Trinidad.10 The
proportion of Africans and East Indians is almost the same. However, while the overall
Trinidad population in 1970 increased by 12.4 percent from 1960, the proportion of
Africans and Indians increased by 11.2 and 23.7 percent respectively. At this rate, it is
quite likely that the 1980 census would reveal a greater proportion of Indians in Trinidad.
On this basis, the matter of excluding Indians or other ethnic groups in the calypso
"Caribbean Man" is indeed notable. At the same time, the number of persons of African
descent in those islands that attempted the West Indian Federation exceeds five million.
As will be discussed later, the perception of the calypso is also implicated by which
number provides the frame of reference, the Trinidad one or the Caribbean one.

The role, theme, and social appeal of the calypso, as well as the ethnic background of
the calypsonian in Trinidad becomes relevant alongside the distributions shown in
Tables 1 and 2. This is especially so when matters of "national culture" and social
integration are discussed.



Ethnicity Number Percentage

Negro 398,765 42.8
East Indian 373,538 40.1
White 11,383 1.2
Chinese 7,962 0.8
Mixed 131,904 14.2
Syrian Lebanese 993 0.1
Others 5,141 0.5
Not Stated 1,385 0.1

Total 931,071 99.8



Religion Number Percentage

Roman Catholic 331,733 35.6
Hindu 230,209 24.7
Anglican 168,521 18.1
Muslim 58,271 6.3
Presbyterian 16,673 4.2
Adventist 15,507 1.8
Methodist 39,363 1.7
Baptist 6,774 0.7
Moravian 6,527 0.7
Church of God 5,050 0.5
Others/Not Stated 52,443 5.6




The "Caribbean Man" controversy, because of its political and ethnic flavour
eventually attracted arguments over socio-economic and political status between the
different ethnic groups in Trinidad and Tobago.11

Generally, Indo-Trinidadians have found themselves the lowest income group, residing
in the rural districts, and, as a group, effectively excluded from political power for the
last 23 years. Furthermore, they have always provided the base of the parliamentary

Afro-Trinidadians, as a group, are not much better off economically, but through the
African-dominated People's National Movement, they have occupied political power
since 1956.12

For the last twenty years, Indo-Trinidadians have been protesting against political
patronage and job discrimination in the government services and public projects. The
psychological implications of such socio-economic and political imbalances were expressed
in two hypotheses (Deosaran, 1978):

(1) The further removed a cultural (or ethnic) group is from the source of socio-
economic rewards, the greater the stress factors in the group's attempts to compete
and gain access to such rewards.

(2) The further removed a cultural (or ethnic) group is from the source of socio-
economic rewards, the greater the pressure for deculturalisation and the greater
likelihood that negative stereotyping would be used by the dominant group to
justify the minority group's exclusion from socio-economic rewards. (pp. 14-15).

It was further explained (Deosaran, 1978) that the first hypothesis reveals the "inherent
injustice in a political system framed along functionalist notions of political bargaining."
(p. 15). The second hypothesis reflects William Ryan's (1972) notion of how socio-
economic victims are blamed so as to reduce or detract from any emphasis on the source
of the socio-economic hardships. Both propositions have been features of Trinidad's
heritage of multiracialism, capitalism, and an adversary system of politics. They also
suggest the stress and outgroup status experienced by Indians. It is on this powerful
socio-political basis that the psychology of social perception becomes extremely relevant
within the different ethnic groups in Trinidad.

The socio-economic and political structures have thus helped throughout the years to
harden suspicions between the two major ethnic groups, Indians and Africans.13 It is
within such an unsettling socio-political climate that a controversy as the "Caribbean
Man" gained its ascendancy. Racial attitudes between East Indians and Africans here have
been built up over the years, and hardened by periods of stress and electoral confronta-
tion. These attitudes today provide differing perspectives, sensitive perspectives, through
which issues of race and culture are viewed.

The Calypso
The other major factor in the controversy was the status of calypso itself. Is it a
"serious" art form? Is it merely a lower-class attempt at social and political com-
mentary? Should one attempt to define the artistic status or social role of the calypso at
all? Or should one view calypsoes as other cultural forms, that is calypsoes vary in status
and function from one to the other?14 However, local commentators and researchers on
the calypso agree it is a serious art form (Rohlehr, 1969, 1979; James, 1962; Braithwaite,
1954; Deosaran, 1977; Elder, 1966).

Some have used it quite extensively as an object for serious study and capable of deal-
ing with serious social and political issues (Austin, 1976; Elder, 1968; Rohlehr, 1972).

Whatever the view about calypsoes generally, the fact is that Black Stalin's "Caribbean
Man" was widely acclaimed on the radio stations and in the newspapers as being quite
serious, and with a "heavy" message15 on Caribbean togetherness. (e.g. Sun, January 12,

But whether or not the calypso was viewed as "serious" or not is not really critical
for this study. What is important here is the fact that a major controversy emerged which
appeared to mirror the underlying social tensions in the country. It provided an oppor-
tunity for the nation to talk to itself. Further, that calypso, being a prize-winning one,
performed a social function in terms of its recognition and widespread delivery.

In this sense, the calypso "Caribbean Man" functioned as a viable social stimulus
which was perceived differently by persons of different ethnic backgrounds. Whether the
calypso in itself was serious or not is helpful to know. But as a projective stimulus,16 it is
similar to the ink-blot or thematic tests used for personality testing by psychoanalysts.
As such, the calypso "Caribbean Man" became an important and useful psychological
instrument in this study of social perception.

Specific Objectives of Study
(1) To study the relationship between the social background of the respondents and
their perceptions of the calypso in the controversy.

(2) To apply a socio-psychological framework in understanding the motivations for the
different responses in the controversy.

(3) To note the role of and implications for the media in such a controversy.

This study is also a response to the serious lack of research on the psychological
aspects of the calypso and the role of the media in a multiracial society.

The Controversy
Throughout January and February 1979, "Caribbean Unity" popularly known as
"Caribbean Man", gained increased popularity. With a very rhythmic musical accompani-
ment.17 It was among the leading tunes in the popularity charts on the radio stations.

Before the controversy began in early March, the calypso was hailed by blacks as
bearing "an important and moving message" for unity in the Caribbean. One reviewer
(Sun, January 12, 1979), described it as the best move for Caribbean integration in the
last ten years. At the 1979 (January) graduation ceremony of the St. Augustine campus
of the University of the West Indies, the song was sung by the university choir as a
symbol of "Caribbean togetherness."

However, during that same period, many non-blacks grumbled that the lyrics applied
only to people of African descent and it implied that people of other races were left out
in this "message" for Caribbean unity.

The lines in the calypso which apparently offended were:

Dem is one race, De Caribbean Man
From de same place, De Caribbean Man
That make the same trip, De Caribbean Man
On the same ship, De Caribbean Man... (See Appendix A).

Hearing these lines, Reverend Dr Idris Hamid (of East Indian descent), Director of
the Caribbean Ecumenical Programme,18 on February 28, 1979 wrote the Editor of the
Trinidad Express, when he complained:

Stalin either does not respect facts or has no place for a significant number of Caribbean

Apparently Reverend Hamid perceived the calypso differently from the way the Sun
reviewer and the university choir perceived it. In any case Dr Hamid's letter was never
published. And the subdued complaints continued, especially among East Indians.

Soon after, on March 1, 1979, calypsonian Black Stalin appeared on a television
interview (Panorama News Programme) and said that his calypso was really confined to
men of African descent, that his "Caribbean Man" was of African descent, that Africans
here were the ones who developed the Caribbean, and that they were the only ones
concerned with Caribbean unity.

Hence, Stalin's views on television helped confirm the perceived racial exclusiveness of
his calypso. Hearing such views I criticised the calypso in the Express newspaper on
March 5, 1979 by stating it was "nothing less than an insult to the vast number of
people of other races here who have come in different ships and from different places
and who are struggling to make this unity thing work."

I added:

It should be said in no uncertain terms that we-Africans, Indians, Chinese, Syrians,
Whites, are all now in the same ship together. And recognition of that fact is the
Caribbean spirit.

I called the calypso "racist and sexist" and added:

Whatever ambiguities there might have been about Stalin's lyrics have been cleared up
in the TV interview last Thursday, (March 1).20

In other words, I interpreted the calypso on the basis of Stalin's television clarifica-
tion. However, as the full release in Appendix C will show, this part of the release did not
appear in the newspaper's story. But from this point; the public controversy warmed

On March 6, the day after my public comments in the Trinidad Express, that same
newspaper carried an editorial headlined: We Find Black Stalin Not Guilty. The editorial,
without making reference to Stalin's interview,22 perceived the calypso differently.
It said:

We believe Dr Deosaran is really reading too much into this calypso. We must
remember, in the first place, that a calypsonian has far wider licence than the
ordinary person. Call it poetic licence, if you wish.

On March 7, the day after the Express editorial, a teacher, Paul Walker (of African
descent) in a letter to the Express editor, criticised Stalin's television views as well as the
calypso. The published letter was headlined: Stalin, the Negro Race is not the Only One
in the Caribbean. Walker said: "Our Calypso Monarch (Stalin) is definitely a
segregationist." He concluded:

Sing on, Black Stalin, but please give us a pluralistic, yet unifying interpretation of
your beautiful verses.

On that same day, the Sanatan Dharma Mahasabha (SDMS), the largest Hindu organisation
in Trinidad,23 had its protest against the calypso published in the Trinidad Express. The
SDMS perceived the calypso as "racist and anti-female" and further strongly condemned
the Express editorial (March 6) support for Stalin.

Without referring to Stalin's television interview, the SDMS wrote:

When the Hindu community complained that Lord Shorty's "Om Shanti" (calypso)
was desecrating their sacred religion, no newspaper commented. Yet within 24 hours
of Dr Deosaran's release the Express Editor came out to find Black Stalin not

Interestingly enough, the SDMS added:

Let us work to provide equal media exposure to the various cultures in our midst and
put an end to racial prejudices that exist in all levels in our society.

The SDMS release was headlined: Now Hindus Condemn the "Caribbean Man."

On that same day, March 7, a representative of the "newly formed non-political"
People's Representative Organisation had its release published in the Express. This organi-
sation was reported as asking Caribbean people to forget about "racial segregation and

inferiority complexes in the region and, as Stalin said, become Caribbean Men."

The controversy raged through the months of March, April and May 1979. The
newspapers and numerous public forums across the country became alive with charges
and counter-charges on the issue.25

It must be emphasised that the major issue at the beginning of the controversy was:
Were the lyrics in Stalin's calypso "The Caribbean Man" confined only to those of
African descent?

Whatever one's perception of the lyrics might be, it must also be noted that at least
on two occasions, Black Stalin clearly said yes, his song, the "Caribbean Man" was
confined in this way. (Television interview on March 1, Trinidad Guardian interview
May 6, 1979).

Again, this racial exclusion may or may not be perceived as "segregationist, racist, or
offensive", depending, as English and English (1958) explained, on one's "personal
interests, desires, fears, or expectations."

Without Stalin's clarifications, the calypso itself had a reasonable chance of being
ambiguous enough to imply, for instance, inclusion of all races.

With Stalin's clarification, however, one expected the ambiguity in the calypso to be
reduced. However as the results will show, Stalin's clarification did not make much
difference in the perception of the calypso by the two major ethnic groups, Indians and

Newspaper clippings of all published comments with background of chief authors and
organizations were collected between February 28, 1979 and May 12, 1979. These were
categorised and analysed. The space allocated to such comments in the different news-
papers were measured in column inches. Also collected were releases which were submitted
to the newspaper but were not published. All these people responded voluntarily to the

Perceptual Categories
Three perceptual categories 26 were developed from all the responses in the controversy
over that calypso, "Caribbean Man." (February 28, 1979 to May 12, 1979):

(1) Those indicating yes or strongly implying that the calypso was either segretationist,
racist, or offensive to East Indians or any other ethnic group: (YES)

(2) Those indicating no, or strongly implying that the calypso was not segregationist,
racist, or offensive to East Indians or any other ethnic group: (NO)

(3) Those that merely describe, or commented on the controversy without taking either
of the above two positions: (INDIFFERENT)

Social Background
Two social background factors of the respondents were measured: ethnicity and
social class.

Ethnicity was quite easy to classify since all those who actively participated in the
controversy (except one)27 were already well known by ethnic background and name.
Three ethnic categories were developed: Africans, East Indians and White/Uncertain.

Social Class was based on the coding scheme used by Graham and Beckles (1968) and
modified by Miller (1973) for use in his study on the self evaluation of Jamaican adoles-
cents. This classification of occupations28 was divided into six groups, ranging from 1
(higher professional and managerial) to 6 (unskilled workers). For this study the two
highest occupational groups were further classified as upper class; the middle two groups
were classified as middle class; and the last two groups as lower class.

Analysis and Results
There was a total of thirty-one respondents in the controversy, six on behalf of organi-
sations.29 Twelve respondents were of African background, seventeen were of East
Indian, one was White, while one could not be ascertained. All the identifiable respond-
ents (30) were either middle or upper class, and similarly distributed across the two major
ethnic groups. In other words, the entire sample was fairly homogeneous with respect
to their social class background. It is also quite interesting to note that only one of the
thirty-one respondents came from a female-a sub-editor with the Trinidad Express.
Appendix E provides background information on the organizations and/or chief author of
the responses. This Appendix also shows the date and name of publication concerned.

Of the thirty-one respondents only six connected the television interview with the
calypso (four Indians, two Africans). Except for Paul Walker, hearing Stalin's television
views or not appeared to make no difference in perception between Indians and Africans.

Table 3 reveals the strong relationships between the ethnicity of the respondents and
their perception of the calypso.

The proportion of "Yes" and "No" responses was similar within the sample (45.5%
respectively). However, while 76.5 percent of the Indian respondents perceived the
calypso as either "segregationist, racist or offensive", 91.7% of the Africans said no. While
two of the seventeen Indians were non-commital, none of the Africans was.

This result was a clear indication that the perception of the calypso varied according
to the ethnic background of respondents. In this sense ethnicity provided a frame of
reference through which the calypso, as a social stimulus, was perceived. This result also
provides some psychological support for the sociological concept of cultural pluralism in
Trinidad. The pervasive and single ground for protest by East Indians was the perception
of being excluded from the "Caribbean Man" concept.



Ethnicity Whether CalypsoSegregationist, Racist or Offensive


African 1 11 12
Indian 13 2 2 17
White/Uncertain 1 1 2

Total 14 14 3 31

The X2 obtained from Table 3 confirms the significant relationship (X2 = 9.7, d.f = 4,
p < 05).

Further scrutiny of the data revealed that of the fourteen persons who did not perceive
the calypso as segregationist (ten were Africans), eleven did admit racial exclusiveness.
However, these went on to justify racial exclusiveness on reasons ranging from priority for
black identity to Caribbean unity among those of African descent as the majority group in
the Caribbean. Of the fourteen (three did not admit racial exclusiveness), some forwarded
more than one reason. Hence the total reasons (23) exceeded the number of such res-
pondents (14) in Table 4.

This table shows the distribution of the five major supportive sentiments for racial
exclusiveness in the calypso.



Supportive Sentiment Frequency

Priority for black unity in Caribbean 7
Should not take calypso/calypsonian seriously 4
Critics of the calypso/calypsonian were "racists" 4
The calypso/calypsonian really included all racial groups 2
Critics were reading too much into calypso 6


In other words, the basic and early issue of racial exclusion or not was no longer in
much contention for Africans. Most of the Africans responding admitted racial exclusions
of other groups, but yet did not perceive the calypso as "segregationist, racist, or
offensive." The above range of reasons was apparently used to justify this perception of
non-segregation or at least non-offensiveness. These reasons help clarify the different
frames of reference through which the calypso was perceived by the two ethnic groups
and raised the issue of rationalisation for cognitive consistency. Even among the Africans
who advanced the above reasons, there were notable differences and even inconsistencies.
For example, two said the calypso or calypsonian was taken too seriously by critics, yet
these two in the same response hailed the calypso's "message" as being extremely
important to Africans.

Social Psychological Framework
Two social psychological theories are relevant for understanding the different respon-
ses in the controversy. The first is symbolic interactionism; the second is cognitive
dissonance. Together, these two theories help clarify why perceptions of the calypso
differed so widely. And further, how the "objective" dimensions of the situation clashed
with "subjective" ones. A look will also be taken at the psychological processes used to
resolve apparent discrepancies between these two dimensions.

Symbolic Interaction
The methodology of symbolic interactionism assumes that the social world has no real
meaning apart from the various meanings attributed to it by individuals (Blumer, 1966;
Cooley, 1956; Carfinkel, 1967; Mead, 1974; Secord and Backman, 1974). The early
perspective has been succinctly summarised in W.I. Thomas' (1931) words: "If men
define their situations as real, they are real in their consequences."

This theory proposes that the social self is shaped through social interaction, and
further that one's actions as well as his psychological dispositions become controlled to
some degree by his perceptions of how others expect him to behave (Mead, 1934). Both
Blume (1966) and Mead (1934) emphasise how persons tend to behave in ways that
mutually confirm each other's expectations. This psychological process lays the basis for
stereotyping and the "expectation" phenomenon whereby, for instance, bright but lower
class students tend to behave in ways consistent with their teacher's low expectations of
them (through the teacher's stereotyped low expectations for lower class students).
Cooley (1956) suggested "the looking-glass self', that is the "self' we see reflected in the
reactions of others to us.

Shott (1979) recently summarised four tenets of symbolic i.,teractionism which are
useful for understanding emotional responses as displayed in the controversy. These are:

(1) Study of the actor's definitions and interpretations is essential for an understanding
of human conduct.

(2) Human behaviour is emergent, continually constructed during its execution.

(3) The actions of individuals are influenced by their internal states and impulses in
addition to external events and stimuli, for actors' perceptions and interpretations
are shaped by the former as well as the latter.

(4) Social structures and normative regulations are the framework of human action
rather than its determinant, shaping behaviour without dictating it (p. 1321).

This theoretical perspective appears useful for studying group relations in a community
where status and power have been so closely related to race and colour. The stereotypes
and behavioral expectations from such history could be explicated and even "corrected"
by an application of the principles of symbolic interaction. For example, inter-group
conflict could be reduced by effective communication between groups. But such
communication could only be facilitated if the groups are made to share a common frame
of reference. Racial stereotyping has been a barrier here (Brereton, 1974).
This perspective, in clarifying the critical mediating role of one's psychological frame
of reference, also identifies socio-economic and normative institutions as essential
for understanding human behaviour. Symbolic interactionism is thus clearly socio-

It is clear from the data in the controversy that the two different groups (Indians and
Africans) were responding to the situation on the basis of different perceptions of
national identity. In this sense, the controversy revealed a psychological struggle for
power over a socio-political norm. This led to much misunderstanding and controversy.
Quite relevant here is Cooley's (1956) explanation that "the imaginations people have of
one another are the solid facts of society." (p. 154).

Communication research has shown that news stories are interpreted quite differently
by people of different ages and cultural background (Weiss, 1969). Weiss explained:

The importance of discriminating between real and unreal events and reacting to them
differently is a matter of learning and an aspect of socialisation; and the ability to make
correct discrimination is likely to depend on the background of relevant knowledge
and experience. (p. 95).

Weiss, (1969) like Secord and Backman (1974), was explaining how one's perception of a
situation does vary according to one's social background and experiences. Apart from the
perception of calypso content, Caribbean and Trinidad research has documented the
relationship between different socio-political responses and differences in social and
cultural background. (Bahadoorsingh, 1968; Brereton, 1974; Braithwaite, 1974; Greene,
1973; Landau, 1974; Lowenthal, 1974; Nettleford, 1978; Rubin and Zavalloni, 1969;
Ryan, 1979; Stone, 1973).

The calypso is a form of communication, the psychology of which is comparable to
that of a news story. Hence we consider Weiss's (1969) analysis:

Although, even when presented objectively news events are not "raw facts" devoid of

wider meaning of implications. They are oftentimes and for many people neutral or
ambiguous in significance, capable of diverse and even contradictory interpretations
(p. 103).

The general point at this stage is that as a social stimulus, the calypso.especially without
the television clarification,was "for many people . capable of diverse and even contra-
dictory interpretations." And such diversity of perception was clearly linked to the diver-
sity of the ethnic backgrounds of those who interpreted the calypso.

The distinction here is between psychological (or perceived) reality and the "objective"
reality. And the arousal which emerged from the psychological reality is what really
motivated the voluntary responses in the calypso controversy. It is like saying that beauty
lies in the eyes of the beholder. While acknowledging Stalin's television explanation, the
Express editor (writing as Holden Caulfield) gave the interpretation that Black Stalin's
explanation "did not have much meaning and did not convey what everybody else seems
to believe he was trying to put over in the calypso." (Express, March 8). Maybe it was
hyperbole, but the claim of "everybody else" at that stage was clearly not accurate.

It was also ironic that one of the extensive commentaries carried a bold headline:
The Truth About the "Caribbean Man" (Sunday Guardian, March 11, 1979) in which the
writer, a black sociologist claimed-contrary to what Stalin himself said-that the calypso
included both Indians and Africans. The fact was that Stalin, rightly or wrongly, said the
calypso included only those of African descent. There was therefore no "truth" in that

Sometimes actors in a social situation, as a matter of psychological convenience,
redefine or distort the situation so as to make it consistent with their own expectations
or attitudes. The calypso is a social sign, and as communication expert Wilbur Schramm30
explains, "Signs can have only such meanings as an individual's experience permits him
to read into them." (p. 5). Schramm makes the essential point:

We can only decode a message in terms of the signs we know, and the meanings we
have learned from them. We call this collection of experiences and meanings a frame
of reference, and we say that a person can communicate only in terms of his own
frame of reference. (p. 5).

Frame of reference is the social psychological construct which leads to differences in
the psychology of social perception. This has been quite evident in the controversy. An
outstanding example was seen in the Express editorial of March 6. The editorial chastised
one critic of the calypso for "really reading too much into this calypso." Yet, a few
paragraphs lower, the same editorial, in supporting the calypso's orientation, stated:
"While we do not want to put words in Stalin's mouth, we believe that he is trying to
erase petty prejudices among the people of his ethnic origin in the region." So while the
editorial is against one person for "reading too much" into the calypso, the editorial itself
takes the liberty of reading what it wanted into the calypso.

This psychological process was again'exemplified by a columnist31 who actually gave
the longest commentary in the controversy (80 column inches). He accused critics of the
calypso "for making a political mountain out of an artistic molehill", but he himself went
on to justify the calypso's orientation with an elaborate analysis of Indian insularity, the
Federation break-up and black identity. Such an underlying justification surely does not
make the calypso "a molehill." Cohen (1955) explained:

Our beliefs about what is, what is possible and what consequences flow from what
actions do not necessarily correspond to what is "objectively" true. The "facts"
never stare us in the face. We see them always through a glass... This glass is our
frame of reference (pp. 52-53).

It seemed then that the frame of reference through which Indians apparently perceived
the calypso was related to the notion of "equality among all races" within Trinidad and
Tobago. On the other hand, the frame of reference through which Africans apparently
perceived the calypso was the need for Caribbean unity among those of African descent.
Africans thus felt that the Indian response was an unnecessary irritation.

However, Trinidad Indians may have a further psychological investment in their frame
of reference, that is Caribbean unity among those of African descent in the region could
threaten the numerical strength32 of the Indians. At the same time, Afro-Trinidadians
may have a vested psychological interest in lifting the frame of reference beyond Trinidad,
because in so doing a challenge by Indo-Trinidadians for a greater share in political power
in Trinidad becomes either reduced or irrelevant to Afro-Trinidadians.
This issue was also put another way: (Deosaran, 1978):
Recently through visits by representatives from "liberator groups" from abroad
(e.g. Africa), and the stress on the international economic order as determinants of
black oppression, many Trinidad blacks are increasingly moving towards a "universal
brotherhood of blacks." There is thus a budding sense of enlarged destiny in this, and
obviously an issue like multiculturalism for democratic living in Trinidad would take a
subordinate place in what is considered by those blacks to be a "higher mission" at the
international level. (p. 54).

The boundaries of statehood and political power were thus indirectly implicated in this
issue of national and Caribbean identity. In other words, the two ethnic groups in the
controversy defined the situation according to their perceived socio-political position.
And their responses differed to the extent that the calypso and its various interpretations
evoked some form of dissonance.

Cognitive Dissonance
This section will use the theory of cognitive dissonance to explain some of the specific
conditions which led many participants in the controversy to experience dissonance. It
will also discuss the relationship between perceptions of the calypso and the methods used
to reduce dissonance.

The theory (Cohen, 1964; Festinger, 1957, 1967) states that:

(1) Psychological inconsistency34 between two or more cognitive elements35 leads to
a state of cognitive dissonance.

(2) Cognitive dissonance creates psychological stress.

(3) Such psychological stress gives rise to pressures to reduce the dissonance (i.e. a
motivational state is created).

(4) Reduction in such dissonance may occur through:
(a) A change in one's attitude
(b) By adding a new cognitive element
(c) By distorting, redefining, or changing one's frame or reference (i.e. to fit
within the consistent cognitive elements already existing)

This theory is useful for understanding a variety of conflict situations. In one of the
rare occasions when the theory was used to understand social tension in the Caribbean,
Greene (1971) explained how the anti-Williams campaign in 1970 created cognitive
dissonance. Greene implied that the lack of concerted action against Williams was partly
due to the differences in dissonance reduction by the different political groups. The
theory is also useful in understanding the dynamics of attitude change and resistance to
change, scapegoating, and social perception generally (Harding et. al. 1969).

In the context of sensitive issues, a new point of view could lead to dissonance for the
listener. In such a state, he could attempt to apply one or more of the techniques specified
above to reduce dissonance. He could also attempt to discredit the source of information
(Cohen, 1964). These techniques serve to maintain or restore psychological equilibrium,
that is, cognitive consistency. However, people do "change their minds", but the dis-
sonance is averted or easily reduced by making them feel it is "worth their while" to do

In other words, people usually attempt to justify their behaviour, and actually do so
at least to themselves. Hence, as was evident in the calypso controversy, what might
appear as "irrational" behaviour to an observer could actually be "rational" to the actor,
for after all, the actor has redefined, in some way, the context of his action to sustain
psychological consistency (Elms, 1967; Festinger & Carlsmith, 1959; Janis and King,

Four statements linking symbolic interactionism to cognitive dissonance now seem

(1) Differences in social background and experiences help create differences in frame
of reference.

(2) A person's frame of reference likely determines his perception of social events.

(3) A person's perception of social events is such that it helps maintain or restore
cognitive consistency.

(4) Hence, persons who differ in social background and experiences would be likely
to perceive social situations differently.

This, of course, does not mean that persons of different backgrounds always perceive
the same situation differently. What is being argued here is that at least the perceived
potential36 for cognitive dissonance from the same social situation could vary from one
person to the other. And it is this difference that is likely to result in their different
perceptions, and hence different techniques of dissonance reduction.

At this stage, the case for analysis becomes:

(1) specifying the "facts"37 of the situation as far as possible, then

(2) determining the extent to which the different perceptions of the situation have
departed from those facts.

This is necessary, because as earlier explained, people differ but not in everything, and
when they do differ it is usually through interpretation of the situation. We are therefore
going to identify two possible stages in the controversy.

(1) At first Black Stalin's calypso in itself, was ambiguous, in that one could say he
either included all races in the Caribbean or he confined it only to those of African

(2) Black Stalin's subsequent explanation on television removed that ambiguity and
made it clear that he confined his calypso only to those of African descent.

Personality psychologists (Sarason, 1967; Semeonoff, 1976) have indicated that the
more ambiguous a social stimulus is, the more likely would an observer interpret it
according to his predispositions (or existing attitudes and traits). In fact, this is typical of
projective testing. Semeonoff (1976) explained that the person "puts something of him-
self' into the situation. This is a psychological necessity, because it is often the easiest
way for the person to "make meaning" of an ambiguous situation. As indicated earlier,
English and English (1958) describe such projection as "the process of perceiving
objective stimuli in line with personal interests, desires, fears, or expectations." Hence
Indians protested and Africans defended and counter-protested.

The early issue in the controversy, as stated previously was whether or not the
calypsonian confined his "Caribbean Man" concept to Africans at the exclusion ofother
ethnic groups. Whatever the other issues raised, and whatever the various interpretations
were, the fact was that the calypsonian himself said yes, he did confine his concept to
only those of African descent.

Hence such expressed ethnic exclusiveness would possibly be dissonant even to those

who initially supported the calypso, and some means would have to be adopted to reduce
the dissonance or further justify their continued support for the calypso. Table 4 indicates
the different rationalisations that were used, possibly to reduce the dissonance.

It is possible however, that the Afro-Trinidadians who supported the calypso, both
before and after the television explanation, did not actually experience much dissonance,
their "Afro-Caribbean" frame of reference already being so entrenched.

In spite of this, Table 4 raises some interesting questions. For instance, some black
supporters felt that the calypso was serious social commentary in calling for black unity.
Yet when faced with the criticisms of ethnic segregation in the calypso they said that the
calypso and/or the calypsonian should not be taken too seriously.

Implications for the Media
During the controversy one newspaper columnist"8 noted:

It's one of the more baffling features of the media scene, here and away, that while
print routinely reviews television, . there is no serious monitoring of the impact of
the print, of the content of the press and the method of its display.

He added:

The print media are surely going to be on weak ground if they resent comment and
criticism of their own performance and priorities.

Research into the local media is indeed sorely lacking. In his study on the role of the
media in election campaigns, Nancoo (1978) recently wrote:

This research gap is extremely difficult to justify in light of repeated complaints that
the mass media are not necessarily neutral but may deliberately favour certain parties,
ideas and interest groups. (p. 118).

This section takes a look at how the "print" media performed in the social controversy
and is an attempt to help fill the research gap. This is especially justified when one con-
siders that of the thirty-one responses in the controversy, twenty-two (71%) were actually
from people in the newspaper business, either as reporters, regular columnists, editors or
managers of newspapers. Of this twenty-two, eleven protested that the calypso was segre-
gationist, eight said no, and three were indifferent. It is also important to note that eight
of this twenty-two had some form of control in either the final content or presentation
of the news to the public.

Apart from the few columnists involved, this preponderance of newspaper people who
took positions in the controversy naturally opens up the issue of news bias. Could
reporters or editors who openly take strong positions on sensitive issues subsequently
accommodate differing viewpoints properly in the pages under their charge? The evidence
(Weiss, 1969;Cirino, 1967) indicates that once editors or editorials take open positions on

controversial issues, the news pages show a subsequent trend in the editor's or editorial's

The point here is not that senior newsmen or editors should not take public positions
on sensitive social issues as the one under discussion. What is advanced here is (1) that
such positions should be taken without jeopardising the newspaper's perceived ability to
report fairly, accurately, and responsibly; and (2) that the right to reply by citizens be a
standard practice within the limitations of space and the law.

Anything less in both cases could only lead to undermining public confidence in
editors, editorials, and the newspaper itself. This is critical since a newspaper's moral
authority lies in its credibility. Without this, it is really of little or no service to its readers.

In two important instances, releases on the controversy to the Trinidad Express from
responsible sources were never published by the Express. One came from Reverend
Dr Idris Hamid (February 28), and the other came from the All Trinidad Sugar Estate and
General Workers Union (March 10). These two releases39 found the calypso "segrega-



Dailya Evening Weekly Monthly b
Calypso either Express Guardian Sunc Evening Bomb Target Hindu Total %
Segregationist, Newsd Battlefront
Racist, or

YES 71 73 24 47 28 243 36.8
NO 144 91 60 26 57 378 57.3
INDIFFERENT 5 24 10 39 5.9

Total 220 188 84 36 57 47 28 660 100.0

% 33.5 28.4 12.7 5.4 8.6 7.1 4.2 100.0

a. Includes both Daily and Sunday editions
b. These are monthly community newspapers.
c. Sun owned by Express Newspapers.
d. Evening News owned by Guardian Newspapers.

When this exclusion is considered alongside the strong Express editorial (March 6), in
favour of the calypso, the serious question of bias is raised. The exclusion of these two
views is even more serious when one recognizes that 65.4% of the space in the Express
taken up in the controversy went to those saying that the calypso was "not segregationist,
racist, or offensive." Furthermore, checking only those who said "yes" or "no" across all
newspapers, the proportion of space taken up by those saying that the calypso was "not
segregationist" was 61% as against only 39% for those saying "yes." In this context non-
publication of views submitted on the "yes" side becomes of some concern. One could
even get the wrong view of "public opinion" by looking at the 61% vs 39% comparison.
Table 5 describes the distribution of space and orientation of the public comments in the

The Sunday Guardian carried two lengthy commentaries (March 11, 18), a total of 117
inches. Both commentaries made some inaccurate comments on my earlier view on the
calypso. For example, one said I should have responded to the Stalin interview and not
only to the calypso. This was a critical point. The fact is, as substantiated in the release
in Appendix C, it was on that interview that I based my response. Yet the Sunday
Guardian editor refused to publish my subsequent correction.

Mass Communication expert Charles Steinberg (1970) reflects this concern and adds:

In a democratic, pluralistic society, the objective should be a rationally defined one in
which not one, but many points of view are listened to intelligently . the way to
consensus and agreement is by communication in which alternate paths may be
explored in a spirit of inquiry (pp. 26-27).

This is an important perspective for local newspapers to ponder, since the issue
of "who and what is the 'Caribbean Man'" is an important yet controversial socio-political
issue (Demas, 1971; Lewis, 1971).

All this is further aggravated by the fact that the "Caribbean" is still an amorphous,
culturally diverse region. Its geographical boundaries are also unclear. The Express
editorials repeatedly talk about a "Trinidad Man" and a "Caribbean Man" almost in the
same breath. Like many others, the Express' position on national identity and Trinidad
pluralism appears to be ambivalent.

On March 16, 1979, an Express editorial supports the racial exclusiveness in the
calypso, the "Caribbean Man." Yet afterwards, May 3, 1979, another Express editorial

The primary loyalty of the people to this country must be to Trinidad and Tobago,
to our constitution, to our flag, to one another.

But this reflects the more widespread ambivalence in the Caribbean over national
identity and Caribbean unity: to many the first is necessary, the second is desirable, and
the two are sometimes incompatible.

Such apparent ambivalence sets up two related situations:

(1) It could be used as a subtle convenient form of news and opinion control, and

(2) It shows the necessity for a fuller debate on the issue of national identity as raised
in the controversy.
Speaking about suppression of views in Communist countries, an Express editorial
(May 14, 1979) stated:

Placing the lid over the steam of national debate in the name of national development
does not really work.

The controversy was a national debate on matters of national identity. And as such, views,
free of acrimony and libel, should have been fully aired.

On the television interview of March 1, Black Stalin explained that his calypso was
really confined to only those of African descent.

Yet on March 7, six days afterwards, the editor of the Sun allowed a rull page to
another calypsonian (a former "Calypso King") who said that Stalin included all races,
and was not "speaking of the African man" alone. On this basis, this other calypsonian
stridently condemned an Indo-Trinidadian critic of the calypso for being "racial." A
short protest from this critic was published the next day on the front page of the Sun.
All this indicates the need for at least greater editorial care in guiding without suppressing
controversies of this kind, "newsroom pressures" or "production problems", notwith-

The troublesome feature in the mismanagement of news is that the suppression, or
distortion even when published, is sometimes done unconsciously or at least unwittingly
(Berelson, 1949). Hence this is one reason for having the editorial department as
representative of the community it serves as far as is possible (Gans, 1979). This matter
of representativeness in radio, television, and newspaper is another issue for further study
and is in fact a current issue in multiracial communities (Kotz, 1979).

Another solution to help ensure fairness and freedom from editorial bias is to establish
a newspaper ombudsman (Knepler and Peterson, 1978). A more practical alternative
however, is to have a representative editorial advisory body from which guidance on such
controversial issues could be obtained for the newspaper concerned.

In pluralistic Trinidad, there are no institutions like a Race Relations Board or a
Human Rights Commission to referee or monitor race and cultural relations. The media
then has a critical role in recognizing the validity of cultural pluralism and opening up its
pages to such a presence. Considering the psychology of communication and the social
function in news production, such a practice cannot effectively rest on newspaper policy
alone. The newsrooms must begin to represent within tolerable limits the pluralism that
exists in the community as well.

One newspaper researcher, Robert Cirino (1967) explained:

Representative of minority viewpoints may have the right to free speech, but at the
same time they may be deprived of a real chance to get public support for their ideas
in interpretations. . It is certainly unfair when any representative viewpoint is
excluded from the mass media. . or can't compete on an equal basis with other
viewpoints. But for the individual consumer of media products, it is far worse than
unfair treatment. It can amount to the deprival of his freedom to think, for if he is
exposed to an unfair competition of viewpoints, it means he is not being given a real
choice. In essence, he is being deprived of the opportunity to make up his own mind.
(p. 167).

Cirino (1967) produced evidence to show that while editors claim integrity by restricting
their (or management's) views to the editorials, the news somehow generally reflect the
editor's views (p. 188).

It was for this reason that an editor, Norman Isaac (1966), condemned editors "who
have permitted editorial judgments to slop over into the news columns, who use their
newspapers to play favourites, who have too often permitted their minds to become
something like concrete: all mixed up and permanently set." (p. 136).

All this suggests that as far as the role of the media on this or any similar controversy
is concerned, some hard introspection will have to be taken with respect to what is "the
public interest", who is "the community", who decides what is "sensitive", and more
particularly what are the sociological characteristics of the "Caribbean Man", or for that
matter, the "Trinidad Man." The media cannot continue to base policies on the myths
which they themselves help create wittingly or unwittingly.

Conclusion and Some Implications
As indicated early in this paper, it is not merely a matter of whether the calypso or
calypsonian is being treated with "undue" importance. What concerns this paper much
more is the influence of the participants in the controversy, the pervasiveness of the
controversy, the psychological and sociological issues indirectly raised, and the role of
the media. The calypso itself merely provided the opportunity to look at these things. A
theoretical model for psychological study of the calypso and group conflict was also laid

This work suggested that the two ethnic groups perceived the calypso differently
mainly because they held different frames of reference. The implication is that without
those frames of reference becoming reconciled or at least clearly stated, ethnic responses
to issues of national identity and patriotism would always provoke controversy between
the two major ethnic groups. And in this, the media has a responsible role to playing
fairly accommodating and intelligently guiding the discussion. While the study suggests a
need for more balanced treatment of views in such a controversy, it does not say that
there was a deliberate attempt to bias the presentation of views. The.study merely

identified some factors which could easily lead to apparent bias and calls for greater care
in editorial judgments.

It became clear during the controversy that Afro-Trinidadians were experiencing great
concern over the dispossession of blacks all beyond the boundaries of Trinidad and
Tobago. The question of black identity with its attendant implications for self-confidence
and stability was also raised in ways that seemed to justify some priority for black unity
within the Caribbean.

But Indo-Trinidadians, at the same time, expressed deep concern for their rights and
status within the boundaries of Trinidad and Tobago. Hence, there is something to be
said for the concerns of both Africans and Indians here.

What seems little known to non-Indians, however, is that Indians themselves are now
experiencing acute cultural stress in Trinidad and the issue of their cultural identity
within Trinidad is also of great concern to them. It is in this context that the Express
editorial's views (May 3, 1979) on "primary loyalty" to this country and those in it
become relevant.

It appears from this study that Indians and Africans do not have enough information
on the ways of thinking and concerns of each group; and consequently much of the
"racial" hostility expressed between Indians and Africans here largely develop because of
the different frames of reference through which group viewed its status in Trinidad and
in the Caribbean. There seems to be a serious "communication gap" existing between
the twc groups, and one which the educational system and the media could well help to
close. This gap is unfortunately institutionalized by the political process. It is in this
particular respect that the differences within each ethnic group must be revealed if only
to avoid rampant stereotyping. For instance, within the Indian group, there is a Muslim
and Christian elite closely aligned to the ruling PNM and in receipt of state favours.

At the same time, some of the more powerful political challenges come not only from
the Hindu-based opposition party, but also from black groups. What all this suggests is
that the socio-economic and political perceptions which each group has of one another
must be brought as close as possible to the reality, rather than being embroiled in distor-
tions and overgeneralisations. The task of the educational system and the media is thus
critical in such a complex multiracial society as Trinidad. However, this study provides a
viable basis for improving race relations in the society-define and discuss freely the
legitimacy of each frame of reference, then build socio-economic institutions to reinforce
whatever emerges as a substantial consensus.

It is unfortunate in such controversies that spokesmen from one ethnic group judge
entirely the other group merely by hearing a few spokesmen from the other's domain. One
must also note that within Indians and Africans here, there are important variations with
respect to socio-economic, political, and cultural interests. In fact, it is quite possible that
while as a matter of principle, an objection such as the one made in the calypso contro-
versy could be offered, spokesmen from either ethnic group could well exploit the

controversy to satisfy their narrow interests. But this alone is not enough to stifle debate,
or to stop Indians and Africans from talking to each other on issues which have been
historically sensitive. If as a nation, we cannot discuss our social problems openly, then
we are far away from recognizing the essence of nationhood. As explained earlier, the
excuse of "sensitivity" is too often used by the status quo to suppress legitimate challenge.

Indo-Trinidadians, while pressing for racial equality and recognition in Trinidad
should also be prepared to participate more in the national life of the country, and
Afro-Trinidadians who now control the national institutions ought to facilitate such
participation. Frames of reference on national identity between the two groups could
then converge to the extent that there is equality in socio-economic and political status
between them. The answer to effective nationhood and patriotism thus depends on
having a shared frame of reference. This is based on the "contact hypothesis" (Simpson
and Yinger, 1974).

The other related question is: Could Afro-Trinidadians derive their own cultural
integrity without wittingly or unwittingly contributing to the destruction of Indo-
Trinidadian culture? Maybe, the entire issue of seeking cultural identity from the past
needs rethinking. Cultural change, given the dynamics of a society, must come. But the
problem is, in what direction must it predominantly change? And does such change always
have to manifest cultural imperialism?

All in all, the cultural problems of Indians and Africans here must be shared with each
group. The calypso, as a popular and effective social stimulus, could play a significant
role without unduly offending the feelings of certain cultural groups in our midst.

As William James said: "There could be no more fiendish punishment than to be
turned loose in a society and remain unnoticed by all."40 This matter of ignoring or
relegating the presence or importance of one or another ethnic group in Trinidad only
instigates apprehensions by the neglected group which, like a self-fulfilling prophecy,
would then be viewed as "insularity" by those who engineered the relegation. The theme
of black nationalism in Trinidad calypsoes cannot continue to ignore other ethnic groups
here without appearing to be quixotic at some point.

Maybe this particular calypso, "Caribbean Man" could have escaped controversy were
it not for its prize-winning status, and Stalin's television interview. There are indeed many
other calypsoes which not only exclude other ethnic groups in favour of Africans, but go
on to implicate other groups with negative stereotypes.41 For example, in "Mr African",
Mighty Explainer sings in part:

As a cosmopolitan nation, with the racial majority,
The people facing the most frustration is the black
man like you and me.
We see the Indians prospering, the Chinese capitalising,
But the African man has his confused mind.
The Indian will like Kamal to run this country,

But black people want to kill Afro-Willie,
Mr African, you creating your own condemnation.

Then Explainer insists in the same calypso:

"I'm not preaching racialism,
But let's face reality. .."

Indeed, there are some controversial aspects to this calypso. Explainer's thrust is
apparently different from that of Trinidad's most versatile calypsonian the Mighty
Sparrow, who proposed racial harmony and the cosmopolitan spirit in his calypso "A
Model Nation" of a decade ago. Even if the fervour of black nationalism in the calypso
has intensified over the years, the calypso as serious social or political commentary
faces the danger of gross over-generalisation.

The style of calypso singing, like that of newspaper commentary, must rest on some
degree of generalisation. But when such generalisations turn into negative and persistent
stereotyping of certain ethnic groups, it is hard to see how the ethnic group favoured in
the calypso could gain "its self-confidence" or establish a healthy basis for ethnic unity in
a cosmopolitan society. This is particularly important if the calypso is to stake its claim
as the "national" song. This concern is also reflected in Paul Walker's advice to Stalin, but
one which could be extended to other calypsonians. Walker42 wrote:

Sing on Black Stalin, but please give a pluralistic yet unifying interpretation of your
beautiful verses.


1. Henceforth called Trinidad.

2. See Appendix A for calypso

3. This competition is run by a government-appointed body, the Carnival Development Commit-
tee (CDC)

4. The terms, Afro-Trinidadians, Black, and "of African descent" will be used interchangeably; so
too will "Indo-Trinidadians", "Indians" and "of Indian descent."

5. During the months immediately preceding Carnival (a two-day national festival of music, song,
dance, and masquerade), calypsonians sing at organised night shows in different tents mainly in
the city of Port of Spain. These tents are sometimes shifted to different parts of the country for a
night or two.

6. This is exemplified in Valentino's "Stay up. Zimbabwe". and Ixplainer's "Caribbean Integration."

7. The Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, claiming representation of some 275,000 Hindus in Trinidad.

8. Trinidadian Guardian, August 31, 1979, p. 3 ("Baptist leader resents 'mockery' ").

9. Trinidad Express, November 20, 1976, p. 3 ("Mockery irks Baptists").

10. Taken from Annual Statistical Digest, No. 24 (1976/77) Central Statistical Office, Port of Spain,

11. For summaries of socio-economic and political status distributions, see Deosaran, R., Multicultu-
ralism in Trinidad & Tobago: A Political and Psychological Analysis, Department of Sociology,
U.W.I., (1978). Also Ryan, S., Race and Nationalism in Trinidad & Tobago, University of Toronto
Press (1972).

12. This point must be moderated by the presence of a number of black groups in opposition to the
PNM, most notably the Black Power movement in 1970.

13. The historical circumstances which laid the early base for such animosity (e.g. entry of indentured
labour at the end of slavery) are discussed in Eric Williams' Capitalism and Slavery, and The
British West Indies.

14. A number of researchers have attempted to define the calypso. See Addams, A., "Where Came the
Calypso", Caribbean, 1955, 8 (10); Crowley, D., "Toward a Definition of 'Calypso' ", Ethno-
musicology, 1959, 3 (2); Hill, E. on "The Origin of the term calypso", Ethnomusicology,
1967, 11 (3).

15. "deep and meaningful" theme.

16. e.g. the Rorscharch Test and Thematic Apperception Test. See Projective Techniques by
B. Semeonoff, London: John Wiley & Sons, 1976.

17. Musical accompaniment by Earl Rodney and "Frends". "Caribbean Unity" also became a leading
tune in a L.P. with eight other of Black Stalin's "message" tunes. The L.P. is entitled "Caribbean

18. Headquarters at St Andrews Theological College, Paradise Pasture, San Fernando, Trinidad.

19. See Appendix B for full text of letter. Apart from collecting the published stories, I made attempts
to secure copies, either from reporters or authors concerned of the full text of the press release
or letters, published and unpublished.

20. See Appendix C for copy of the original.

21. Whether Black Stalin or I started the controversy is an interesting issue in itself.

22. The writer of the editorial subsequently admitted that he saw the interview but felt that Stalin
"did not understand the question" posed by the interviewer.

23. Claiming representation of almost 275,000 Hindus and managing forty-three schools.

24. The Express did not publish this attack on its editorial.

25. For example, the 20,000 member All Trinidad Sugar Estates and General Workers Union (ATSE &

GWTU) held an all day seminar on the "Caribbean Man" on March 10, 1979. The Trinidad Public
Library sponsored a forum, on March 22 to discuss "Caribbean Man" and "Om Shanti." About
300 attended the forum.

26. These categories were developed jointly by the author and the university's deputy librarian. Actual
categorisation was done by the librarian and two teachers of African and Indian descent
respectively. Except in one instance, there was complete agreement among all raters. The excep-
tion was resolved by using three of the four opinions as the "correct" one (the author and
three others). Measurement of responses (in column inches) done by a research assistant.

27. This respondent used a pen-name, Trinidad Guardian, April 10, 1979.

28. See Appendix D for fuller details of classification.

29. Sanatan Dharma Mahasabha (SDMS), United Labour Front Leader, (Major Opposition Party),
Indian Renewal and Reform Movement, All Trinidad Sugar Estate and General Workers Union,
People's Representative Organisation, and the Pandits Parishad. These organizations, with the
possible exception of the People's Representative Organisation are predominantly of East Indian

30. Voice of America Forum Lectures: Communication Research in the U.S., Mass Communication
Series, No. 1.

31. Selwyn Ryan, Sunday Express columnist, and Head of Department of Government, U.W.I.,
St. Augustine, Trinidad.

32. For an overview of such positions, see Multiculturalism in Trinidad and Tobago: A Political and
Psychological Analysis by Ramesh Deosaran, (Dept. of Sociology, U.W.I., 1978). Also Race and
Nationalism by Selwyn Ryan, Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1972.

33. As indicated earlier, the proportion of Indians and Africans is similar; since the advent of the PNM
in 1956, the government has been dominated by Afro-Trinidadians.

34. Psychological inconsistency is not necessarily the same as logical inconsistency between two or
more events, attitudes, beliefs, or between a belief and an event.

35. A cognitive element is a single unit of knowledge, a single belief, or an attitude held by someone
towards himself or towards some object or person.

36. This could be done subconsciously.

37. "Facts" here mean what could be agreed upon by resorting to physical measure, or at least the
denotative meaning as earlier explained by Schramm.

38. Jeremy Taylor, Trinidad Express, March 12, 1979.

39. Rev Hamid's release was passed through the telex machine in San Fernando office and lodged in
the Express Port of Spain Head Office. The Union's release was passed on to a reporter, Theron
Boodan, in the San Fernando office.

40. The psychological consequences of a dominant ethnic group ignoring the presence or contributions
of other ethnic or social groups in a society and were presented in Moscovici, S., Social Influences
and Social Change (Chap. 9), London: Academic Press, 1976.

41. For a discussion of stereotyping, see "Prejudice and Race Relations and Carnival", by R. Deosaran,
Working Papers in Caribbean Society, Department of Sociology, U.W.I., St. Augustine, Trinidad,

42. Letter published in Trinidad Express, March 7, 1979.


Adams, A., "Whence Come the Calypso", Caribbean 8 (10), 1955.

Austin, R., "Understanding calypso content: a critique and alternative explanation",
Caribbean Quarterly, 22 (2/3), June-Sept., 1976.

Bahadoorsingh, K., Trinidad Electoral Politics: The Persistence of the race factor, London:
Institute of Race Relations, 1968.

Berelson, B., "Events as an influence on public opinion", Journalism Quarterly, 26,
pp. 145-148, 1949.

Blumer, H., "Society as Symbolic Interaction", in Symbolic Interaction, (Ed. J. Manis
and B. Meltzer), Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1972.

Brathwaite, L., "Problems of race and colour in the Caribbean", Caribbean Issues,
1 (1 (Ed. J. La Guerre), April 1974.

Brereton, B., "The Foundations of Prejudice: Indians and Africans in the 19th century",
Caribbean Issues, 1(1), (Ed. J. La Guerre), April 1974.

Cirino, R., Power to Persuade, London: Bantam Pathfinder Books, 1967.

Cohen, A., Attitude Change and Social Influence, New York: Basic Books, 1964.

Cooley, C., Human Nature and the Social Order, New York: Free Press of Glencoe,
1956. (Reprint).

Crowley, D., "Toward a definition of 'Calypso' ", Ethnomusiciology, 3 (2), May, 1959.

Demas, W., "The New Caribbean Man", Caribbean Quarterly, 17 (3/4), 1971.

Deosaran, R, Multiculturalism in Trinidad and Tobago: A Political and Psychological
Analysis, Dept. of Sociology, U.W.I., 1978.

-..----- "Race Relations and Prejudice, and Carnival", Working Papers in Caribbean
Sociology Series C., No. 3, Department of Sociology, U.W.I., 1978.

-------- "Multiculturalism for democratic living", Caribbean Issues, 2 (1), October, 1979.

Elms, A., "Role Playing, incentive, and dissonance", Psychological Bulletin, 68, pp. 132-
148, 1967.

Elder, J., "The male-female conflict in calypso", Caribbean Quarterly, 14 (3), Sept1968

English, H. & English, C., A Comprehensive Dictionary of Psychological and Psycho-
analytic Terms, London: Longman's Ltd., 1958.

Festinger, L., A theory of cognitive dissonance, Stanford University Press.

--------- Conflict, decision and dissonance, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1967.

Festinger, L & Carlsmith, J., "Cognitive consequences of forced compliance", Journal of
Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58, pp. 203-210, 1959.

Gans, H., "The message behind the news", Columbia Journalism Review, Jan/Feb., pp. 40-
45, 1979.

Garfinkel, H., Studies in ethnomethodology, New Jersey: Prentice-Hill, 1967.

Graham, S. & Beckles, D., "The Prestige Ranking of Occupations", Social and Economic
Studies, 17 (4), Dec. 1968.

Greene, E., "An analysis of the General Elections in Trinidad and Tobago, 1971", in
Readings in Government and Politics of the West Indies, (Eds. T. Munroe and
R. Lewis), Jamaica: Dept. of Government, University of the West Indies, 1971.

------. Race vs politics in Guyana, Institute of Social and Economic Research, U.W.I.,

Harding, J., Prashansky, H., Kutner, B., & Chein, I., "Prejudice and Ethnic Relations", in
The Handbook of Social Psychology,(Eds. G. Lindzey and E. Aronson), London:
Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1969.

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New York: Fleet Publishing Corp., 1966.


Janis, I. & King, B., "The influence of role playing in opinion change", Journal of Abnor-
mal and Social Psychology, 48, pp. 211-218, 1954.

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La Guerre), 1 (1), April, 1974.

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L. Comitas), New York: Anchor Books, 1973.

Lowenthal, D., West Indian Societies, London: Oxford University Press, 1972.

Mead, G., Mind, Self, and Society, (Ed. C.W. Mom's), Chicago: University of Chicago
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Miller, E., "Self-Evaluation Among Jamaican High School Girls", Social and Economic
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Nancoo, S., "Mass Media roles in electoral campaign: the Trinidad and Tobago 1976
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------- "Forty Years of Calypso", Tapia, 2 (1), Sept. 1972.

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The "Caribbean Man"
YOU try with a federation, the whole thing end in confusion,
Caricom and then Carifta but somehow I smelling disaster
Mister West Indian Politician you went to big institution
How come you can't unite seven million
When a West Indian unity I know is very easy
If you only rap to you people and tell them like me

Dem is one race-De Caribbean Man
From de same place-De Caribbean Man
That make the same trip-De Caribbean Man
On the same ship-De Caribbean Man
So we must push one common intention
If for a better life in the region
For we woman and we children
Dat must be the ambition of the Caribbean Man
De Caribbean Man De Caribbean Man

You say that the federation was imported quite from England
And you going and form a Carifta with a straight West Indian flavour
But since Carifta started running morning noon and night all I hearing
Is big money talk dem Prime Ministers making
But I say no ah money could form a unity
First of all people need their identity.

Caricom is wasting time de whole Caribbean gone blind
If we don't know from where we coming then we can't plan where we going
That is why some want to be communist, some want to be socialist
A man who don't know his history can't form no unity
How could a man who don't know his history form his own ideology

De federation done dead, and Carifta going to bed
But the cult of the rastafarian spreading through the Caribbean
It have rastas now in Grenada, rastas now in Antigua
But to run Carifta you getting pressure
If the rastafarian movement upping and Carifta dying slow
Den is something dem rastas on dat dem politicians don't know.


Rev Hamid's Letter

Caribbean Ecumenical Programme
St Andrews Theological College
Paradise Pasture
San Fernando

28th February, 1979.

Dear Mr Editor,

Kindly permit me a comment on Stalin's "Caribbean Man": Stalin either does
not respect facts or has no place for a significant number of Caribbean people.

The fact of the matter is that right here in Trinidad not all come from the same
place, nor belong to the same race, nor come in the same ship, nor made the same trip.

To add insult to injury the judges confirmed this statistical obliteration of half
the population of Trinidad, where every race is said to hav~ an equal place.

(Sgd.) Rev Dr Idris Hamid
Caribbean Man
Sar, Fernando


Press Release 4/3/79

Black Stalin's prize-winning calypso "De Caribbean Man" is both racist and sexist. It is
racist because it openly pushes the view that only people of African descent here are
entitled to take part in Caribbean unity.

These lines: "Dem is one race
From the same place
That make the same trip
In the same ship-De Caribbean Man"

are nothing less than an insult to the vast number of people from other races here who
have come in different ships and from different places and who are also struggling to
make this unity thing work. I am sure even right thinking people of African descent will
recognize the unbalanced view in Stalin's calypso. Ordinarily, the calypso could have been
ignored, but the fact that it rated as top calypso this year deserves a serious comment.

Whatever ambiguities there might have been about Stalin's lyrics have been cleared up in a
TV interview last Thursday when he affirmed the racial and sexist orientation of his song.

The calypso is also sexist when it says:
"So we must push one common intention..
For we woman and we children."
The calypsonian's attitude towards our women is thus exposed; that is, the Caribbean
woman must wait and follow. This is brainwash, equal to colonial exploitation, and
worse when done in local song. The Caribbean woman is today struggling to take her place
alongside the Caribbean man, not behind him as the song implies. The Caribbean woman
must be encouraged to take an active part in Caribbean leadership.

If the calypso is to be the national song, if it has to be taken as serious "social commen-
tary", then calypsonians must stop behaving like musical demagogues and put some
deeper, more intelligent thoughts into their lyrics. Calypso judges must also stop injecting
their own prejudices into their verdicts. Stalin's calypso exploits popular prejudice and the
fact that it won exposes the fragility and ignorance now surrounding race relations in this
region. It is a slap against the motto "Where Every Creed and Race Find an Equal Place."

It should be said in no uncertain terms that we-Africans, Indians, Chinese, Syrians,
Whites-are all now in the same ship together. And recognition of that fact is the Carib-
bean spirit.

At least one good that could emerge from Stalin's song is for us to start debating exactly
what is this Caribbean man that everybody is so feverishly shouting about.

Dr Ramesh Deosaran

Examples of Occupations

1. Higher Professional

2. Lower Professional
and Managerial

3. Highly Skilled

4. Skilled

5. Semi-Skilled

6. Unskilled

Farmers and land proprietors of more than 500 acres, uni-
versity professors and senior lecturers, doctors, lawyers, high
court judges, engineers, owners of large commercial and
industrial enterprises, directors and managers of large enter-
prises, chief of police and army, head and assistant heads of
government departments.

Senior civil servants, headteachers of large secondary
schools, magistrates, farmers with 100-499 acres, superin-
tendents of police, senior officers of the army, assistant
managers of large establishments, managers and directors of
medium size establishments, university lecturers, heads of
large denominations.

Teachers, nurses, drugists, salesmen, ministers of religion,
junior officers in army, inspector of police, other civil
servants, stenographers, accountants, typists, owners of
small enterprises, farmers with 50-99 acres, secretaries,
clerks, highly skilled technicians.

Carpenters, plumbers, cabinet makers, drivers, bus con-
ductors, policemen, corporals, soldiers (private), farmers
with 1-49 acres, dressmakers, tailors, masons, tilers, curio
workers, etc.

Factory workers, waitresses or waiters, bartenders, porters,
office maids, postmen, machine operators, etc.

Domestic workers, watchmen, peddlars, casual workers,
portworkers, fish vendors, higglers, etc.

The classification of occupation was based on the following six criteria:

(i) Prestige and status derived from the job
(ii) Income derived from the job
(iii) Responsibility required by the job
(iv) Educational standard needed for the job
(v) Competence required on the job, and
(vi) The size of establishment where this was relevant.




Details of Date, Respondents and Publications

Name of

and/or Chief


Feb. 28 Trinidad Express*

5 Trinidad Express

6 Trinidad Express
7 Trinidad Express

7 Trinidad Express

7 Trinidad Express

7 Sun

8 Sun
8 Trinidad Express

8 Trinidad Express
9 Trinidad Express

9 Trinidad Express
9 Bomb
11 Sunday Guardian

11 Sunday Express

Rev Dr Idris Hamid

Dr Ramesh Deosaran

Express (editorial)
Sanatan Dharma Maha
Sabha (Sat Maharaj Sec.
People's Representative
Org. (Rudy Lakhan)
Paul Walker

Hollis Liverpool

Dr Ramesh Deosaran
Holden Caulfield

Cartoon in Express
Pandits Parishad
(Mahadeo Sharma-Pres)
Camille Ramarace
Patrick Chookolingo
Wilton Rogers

Dr Selwyn Ryan

Author & Director of
Caribbean Ecumenical
Lecturer in Social Psychol-
ogy. Supervisor-tutor in
Communication Arts Pro-
gramme (UWI).
Editor/Express Newspaper
Major Hindu Organisation,
(SDMS) claims representa-
tion of 275,000 Hindus.
University student (UWI).

Teacher, community work-
Calypsonian Chalkdust
(See above).
George John, Editor of
Cartoonist Leitos
Hindu body of 120 pan-
Express Sub-Editor.
Editor, Bomb Newspaper.
Sociologist and Chairman
of Public Library Commit-
tee former General Secre-
tary of ruling PNM.
Reader in Govt. Head
Dept. of Government,

Date of

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