VOL. 35, Nos. 1 & 2 MARCH/JUNE, 1989
Copyright reserved and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.
From the Guest Editor: Crisis and Challenges Report of the Consultation and
/ Caribbean Crisis and Challenges to year 2000
7 Crisis, Challenge and the Experiences of Caribbean Women
:9 Alternative Visions: Women and the New Caribbean
Women's Responses in the 70s and 80s in Trinidad: A Country Report
:6 Vigilance. Confidence and Coalitions An Afterword
.0 APPENDICES: i. Findings of the Panel Discussions
ii. The Hastings (Barbados) Statement
iii. Participants Consultation and Symposium
67 BOOK REVIEW
Lionheart Gal, by Sistren (with Honor Ford-Smith), reviewed by Joan M. Rawlins.
70 Notes on Contributors
71 Books Received
'4 Instructions to Authors
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES
The Hon. R.M. Nettelford, O.M., Professor Extra-Mural Studies (Editor)
Everton Pryce, Department of Extra-Mural Studies (Associate Editor)
G.M. Richards, Pro Vice-Chancellor, St. Augustine, Trinidad
Roy Augier, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Mona, Jamaica
Keith Hunte, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Cave Hill, Barbados
Lloyd Coke, Department of Botany, Mona
Neville McNorris, Department of Physics, Mona
All correspondence and contributions should be addressed to:
Department of Extra-Mural Studies,
University of the West Indies,
Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica.
We invite readers to submit manuscripts or recommend subjects which they would
like to see discussed in Caribbean Quarterly. Articles and book reviews of relevance to the
Caribbean will be gratefully received. Authors should refer to the guidelines at the end of
this issue. Articles submitted are not returned. Contributors are asked not to send inter-
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University Centre in any West Indian Territory served by this University.
WAND, the acronym for Women and Development, the unit in the University of the
West Indies responsible for outreach work in women's Studies, celebrated its tenth anni-
versity in 1988. Characteristically, the moving spirits of the Barbados-based unit with the
wide-ranging programme of activities it organises saw the occasion as challenge rather
than mere celebration, and with eyes glued on the fast-approaching 21st century. Added
to this was the resolve on the part of a wide cross-section of Caribbean women's organisa-
tions participating in the 10th anniversary consultation to sensitise political directorates,
development planners, opinion leaders and the general citizenry, region-wide, around to
serious and consistent gender analysis of all development issues confronting the contem-
What follow are some of the papers, resolutions, and poetry readings presented at
that Consultation. A review of Sistren's Lionheart Gal edited and formally presented by
Honor Ford-Smith is appropriately included, being a highly acclaimed document on the
condition of the Caribbean Woman through the narrations of a number of Jamaican
Cairbbean Quarterly welcomes Peggy Antrobus, herself the Co-ordinator WAND, as
Guest Editor of this issue.
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CRISIS AND CHALLENGES
REPORT OF THE CONSULTATION AND SYMPOSIUM
Over the ten years or its existence the Women & Development Unit of the Extra Mural
Department (WAND) has worked with a variety of women's organizations and women's
development programmes towards the empowerment of women in the region. To mark
the occasion of its tenth anniversary, the Unit brought together the women of the region
to review their strategies and work along with those of WAND itself against the
background of the economic crisis facing the countries of the region.
The "Tenth Anniversity Celebrations" of November 7-11, 1988, were divided into
two parts. The first consisted of a Consultation which brought together women from a
broad spectrum of organizations to share their forms of organization, activities and action,
and the strategies employed for promoting their own development. The second part was
a Symposium at which they shared their findings with regional and international institu-
tions and development agencies.
The objectives of the Consultation were to provide the basis for a review of WAND's
programme objectives through:
a. a critical analysis of the forms, strategies, programmes and structural relationships
of the organizations which are part of the women's movement in the region;
b. an evaluation of the political, economic and social developments which have
influenced the growth of the movement;
c. a working understanding of the implications of these analyses for future work.
To elicit the necessary information, women's groups were divided, into five broad
1. groups and programmes which began with, or retain, the approach of integrating
women into development;
2. groups and organizations with a religious perspective or base;
3. organizations grouping women around an area of production in which large numbers
of women are engaged;
4. organizations of women related to political parties;
5. independent women's groups defined as feminist.
The presentation from each of these groupings was made through panels of speakers,
and was followed in each case by discussions between the participants and panellists.
Significant information arising from these discussions was incorporated into the findings.
Consideration of this content of the presentations took place in the context of an
evaluation of the political, economic and social developments which have influenced the
growth of the movement. This evaluation was facilitated by the opening presentation on
"Dimensions of the Caribbean Crisis: A gender Analysis" by WAND's Tutor-Coordinator,
Peggy Antrobus (reproduced in this issue of Caribbean Quarterly under the title 'CRISIS,
CHALLENGE AND THE EXPERIENCES OF CARIBBEAN WOMEN', pp. 17-28). This
was followed by a case study of Jamaica's current crisis (created by the recent experience
of one of the worst hurricanes in the history of the country). This presentation was made
by Peta-Ann Baker of the Association of Development Agencies of Jamaica (ADA). It
helped to underscore the relevance of such a framework for development initiatives and
In her presentation Peggy Antrobus highlighted the parallels between the crisis of
the 1930s and that of the 1980s, and warned that if we were not careful we would
repeat the mistakes of the past. She said that the first step was to understand the origin
and nature of the crisis. She acknowledged that her earliest analysis of the policies which
have come to be known as 'structural adjustment' had led her to conclude that they
reflected a failure to take women's needs into account; she now sees them as being
grounded in a gender ideology which is fundamentally exploitative of women's time,
labour and sexuality. She suggested that since it was women especially poor women -
who bore the brunt of these policies, which our governments had adopted to deal with
the shortages of foreign exchange, then we faced a special challenge to find the energy
and vision to move beyond the traditional survival strategies, which women employed
to cope with crisis, to define the long-term requirements for change, and to reject those
policies which were inimical to the majority of Caribbean people. She drew attention
to the importance of distinguishing between practical and strategic gender interests/needs,
pointing out that the current crisis demonstrated that unless strategic gender interests
were met -i.e., unless women had the power to determine policy priorities practical
priorities practical needs for food, better health and education services gains which
had been made in the 1970s were easily reversed.
The "togetherness" necessary for meaningful exchange and open dialogue was
fostered through daily "warm-up" sessions led by Rebecca Knowles and Paul Crawford
of SISTREN. These contributed greatly to an atmosphere of warmth, tolerance in diversity,
and unity in the response to adversity. They reflected a special dimension of "women's
culture" the celebration of the spirit of sharing, solidarity and sisterhood, which
characterized the Consultation.
An evening of cultural presentations in Tribute to Jackie Creft, Minister of Educa-
tion under the People's Revolutionary Government (PRG) of Grenada, who had been
WAND's first Programme Officer, underscored the role of culture as a dimension of the
struggle for rights in the Caribbean. Poems were read by Merle Collins (herself part of
that Revolution) and Lorna Goodison (Jamaica). Merle Collins' poems appear on pp. 46-55
of this issue of Caribbean Quarterly. Calypso Queen Rita (Guyana), Barbados' first female
Calypso Queen. gave an unaccompanied rendition of an excerpt from her popular calypso
"Women Respect Yourself", while another Barbadian calypsonian of Guyanese descent,
the Mighty Rouser (Eddie DaSilva) paid tribute to Jackie by singing some of his popular
compositions, including a composition dedicated specially to women, entitled "Blamin
We Own Kind" in which he poured scorn on those who would exploit women and treat
them "like a piece of meat". Pauline Crawford and Rebecca Knowles of SISTREN did
dramatised readings from "Lionheart Gal", the book of life stories of SISTREN's mem-
bers; and Judy Williams, another Grenadian colleagues of Jackie's, spoke of what Jackie
had meant to the women of Grenada: "Jackie girl, you were our sister, mother, teacher
.. you gone before us ... but the struggle for Caribbean women and must continue."
The Consultation was attended by some 57 participants in addition to the WAND
staff. Another 18 men and women joined those participants for the Symposium (See
list of participants at Appendix I). Participants had come from Antigua, Barbados,
Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent
and Trinidad & Tobago. They were political activists, hucksters, trade unionists, women
of different religious persuasions Rastafari, Hindu, Christian professional media
women, popular theatre practitioners, a representative of the Disabled People's As-
sociation of Dominica, representatives of national and regional machinery serving women,
development agencies, and from the Women and Development Studies programme of
the University of the West Indies, and the University of Guyana. Most participants
were feminists i.e., they shared a common analysis of women's oppression and a com-
mitment to struggle against it.
The Findings of the Consultation were summed up in a presentation by Nelcia
Robinson of the National Council of Women of St. Vincent. Issues raised in the panel
presentations included the need to address strategic as well as practical gender needs;
to redefine notions of power; to explore and share new and creative ways of structuring
organizations; to reach out to each other (women) across the barriers of race and class;
and to address the special needs of disabled women and of the parents of disabled children,
as well as of aging women.
At the end of the Consulation a Statement was released the Hastings Statement
(pp. 62-63) and two resolutions were passed; one to the St. Lucia and other Caribbean
Governments, on the issue of maternity leave for unmarried teachers an issue raised
by one of the participants; and the other supporting the concerns of disabled women
in particular, and disabled people in general.
The aim of the Symposium was to share with regional institutions, agencies, and
non-governmental organizations, the findings of the Consultation. As in the case of the
Consultation, these were placed within the context of the current, on-going crisis: the
fabric of race, class and gender into which its effects are woven; its relationship to the
common, global crisis facing Third World women; the problems for women of super-
power policy, in particular US policy towards the region and the world; and the actions
women are taking in their own defence. The Symposium sought, by examining all the
above, to point the way towards an alternative vision which could act as a guide to all
those whose stated aim is to assist in the development of the region.
The keynote presentation was given by Professor Rex Nettleford, Director of the
Extra Mural Department the Department in which WAND is located. In this address
Professor Nettleford outlined his own alternative vision of the Caribbean (pp. 6-16).
Discussants on Professor Nettleford's paper were Betty Russell of UNICEF (Barbados),
Nesha Haniff of Guyana, Gwen Nesbitt of the Ministry of Women's Affairs, St. Kitts,
and Peggy Antrobus of WAND.
Following the Report on the Findings of the Consultation by Nelcia Robinson,
Patricia Mohammed of the Women & Development Studies programme, UWI, made a
presentation on "The Development of the Caribbean Women's Movement", using the
experience of Trinidad as a case study. (Her presentation appears in this issue under the
title: 'WOMEN'S RESPONSES IN THE 70s AND 80s IN TRINIDAD: A COUNTRY
REPORT'). There was also a review of the specific campaigns in which women had taken
action in defence to their rights, or to raise issues relevant to women which had not pre-
viously been the subject of political concern. These included the struggles for Maternity
Leave (Jamaica & St. Lucia), and those around the Sexual Offences Bill, and the intro-
duction of Free Trade Zones (Trinidad and Tobago),
The key concerns of class, race and gender and the implications for future strategies
were brought into sharp focus through a creative presentation by Pauline Crawford
of SISTREN on "The Contradictions in the Life and Struggles of Amy Bailey", one of
Jamaica's early black feminists.
The important role of the media in the creation of an alternative for women
was outlined in a joint presentation by Joan Ross-Frankson, editor of SISTREN maga-
zine, and Barbara Gloudon, Communications Consultant of Jamaica. Both have been
active in the struggle against the negative portrayal of women in the dominant main
stream media; and the unsympathetic attitude of those media to issues of special con-
cern to women. Both focused attention on the need to penetrate or create effective
alternatives to the mainstream media.
On the final day Rhoda Reddock of the Institute of Social & Economic Research
and the Women & Development Studies Programme, St. Augustine, UWI, and founding
member of the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA)
in her presentation, entitled "Alternative Visions", placed the findings of the Consul-
tation and Symposium within an historical context (pp. 29-35). She pointed out that
the presentation, organization and action of Caribbean women were part of a continuum
of struggle stretching back into slavery, through the struggle of Caribbean women in
the late 19th and early 20th centuries to the present. She argued that the limitations of
the early middle-class black feminists were their class perspective and their failure to
challenge the sexual division of labour and the right of society to determine their life
choices. In this context personal and private life become a political concern.
Dr. Reddock suggested that some of the issues confronting Caribbean women in
their efforts to create a new future were the need to move beyond the barriers of language
groups; to recognize the Indo-Caribbean as an integral part of the Caribbean reality;
to create a new kind of politics which develops a new approach to the exercise of power
and goes beyond the divisiveness of present-day party politics; to transform the re-
lationships of human beings to science from one of plunder, depletion and exploitation,
to one of co-operation in the interest of humane goals. She concluded by saying that in
seeking to transform patriarchial society women also needed to strengthen their own
confidence and support networks, so that men will be moved to do something for them-
selves, to break through the trap of inhumanity which imprisons them as well as our-
Commenting on this vision, from the perspective of the international women's
movement and that of US government policies, were Neuma Aguiar (Brazilian) Co-
ordinator of DAWN (the network of Third World women proposing Development Alter-
natives with Women for a New Era), and Professor Carmen Diana Deere of the Economics
Department of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and director of the project
on Policy Alternatives for the Caribbean and Central America (PACCA).
In her closing statement Dr. Lucille Mair, Regional Co-ordinator of the Women
& Development Studies programme of the UWI, pointed to the need for vigilance, given
the backlash of the 1980s against the rights gained by women in the 1970s (pp. 56-59).
Signs of this blacklash were the growing encroachment of the IMF and the exploitation
of women as cheap labour in Free Trade Zones with the willing compliance of Caribbean
governments, the media onslaught promoting the debasement of women's sexuality,
and the commercialization of women, and manipulation of women's spirituality by
phony religious broadcasts formulating a definition of women's roles designed to re-
inforce a new subordination of women. At the same time, she pointed out, women
needed to be confident in the assets acquired during the last decade knowledge, re-
search, and analysis that confirms our potential and in the force of numbers. She
closed her statement by calling on women to build regional and international alliances
and coalitions. She felt that the Consultation itself was an inspiring model for such col-
laboration, and that through these coalitions women could consciously and courageously
confront the barriers of race, class and political persuasion, to create a more humane
CARIBBEAN CRISIS AND CHALLENGES TO YEAR 2000
I. "Macro" Dimensions, "Micro" Realities
"There are no easy solutions to the immense development problems of Commonwealth
Caribbean economics. Long-run development will depend more upon the sustained
hardwork, ingenuity, productivity and thrift of individuals and enterprises within the
framework of sensibly supportive and facilitatory government policies than upon any
grandiose schemes or projects. The international environment, although providing sources
of support and opportunities for growth as well as constraints on the nature and pace of
development, need not be the dominant influence."1
Thus concluded the authors of Caribbean Development to the Year 2000. Chal-
lenges Prospects and Policies A Report commissioned by CARICOM following on the
7th meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in Georgetown, Guyana,in July
1986 which led to the engagement of a UWI economist and an Advisory Group who
completed their work earlier in 1988.
The most heartening thing about that final statement, quoted above, is that the
penny has at last dropped in the hearing of the accredited experts who have been the
unquestioned authorities these past two or three decades in the field of development. I
refer to the economists and related social scientists whose scientism, though undoubtedly
important, has too often swamped the substantive social phenomena which continue to
defy conventional modes of analysis and prognosis learnt on campuses of universities
throughout the Western world.
The "macro" dimensions of the myriad studies done have too frequently bypassed
the "micro" realities of our existence in these parts. Among these micro-realities has
been the centrality of women to the socio-economic development and psycho-cultural
formation of this region over centuries, even though they appear to be marginal to these
crucial activities, as they are undoubtedly made to be to the political order and national
power relations in general.
The hard work, ingenuity, productivity and thrift of individuals invoked by the
CARICOM Report are nothing new or alien to women as a group since it is from that
gender that examples of such virtues have come in collective and individual vigour in the
region's thrust to independence and viability over the past half a century. And those
men, who have displayed similar grit and determination in service to the liberation of
polity and society, may well turn out to have been effective in their endeavour precisely
because they were so much their mothers's sons. A study of the socialisation process
determining the fate and character of such persons is recommended; for I suspect that my
surmise.that such leaders were greatly influenced by the example (and precept) of their
mothers or grandmothers, would be "scientifically" endorsed. No less so would be the
corresponding view that such men constitute the exception that proves a certain rule.
But I may here be accused of an acute attack of female chauvinism.
Happily, none of the required virtues mentioned by the CARICOM Report and
endorsed by me and others are gender-specific. And the hope lies in the inculcation and
dynamic application of these among a population that historically knows how to struggle,
that is adept at surviving and has demonstrated its capacity to go beyond survival. The
crises are therefore mere preamble to solutions, the challenges mere prelude to action.
But neither solutions nor action can be attained without the fullest knowledge of the
problem-conditions their nature and their sources. The CARICOM Report is not only
timely, it is necessary.
This matter of command over the "know-why" as well as the "know-how" is at
the heart of the development process and presents the likes of us with real challenges in
grappling with such things as (a) the provision of our own food, (b) the expansion of
agricultural products for export, (c) the building up of knowledge about nutrition to
guarantee the good health of our populations, thus complementing (d), good primary
healthcare delivery that safeguards us from the scourge of communicable diseases, sudden
epidemics and untimely demise through ignorance.
For the matter of development has to do, as well, with the freedom from ignorance
or the active promotion of education for the vast majority, if not for all, equipping them
with basic knowledge that covers facts and principles which can be ploughed back into
daily living. And coupled with this must be the spiritual, cultural and ethical development
of our people to afford them the escape from incivility, coarsened sensibilities (bhutooism,
as we say in Jamaica) and the sort of beastly behaviour one to another that renders
personal abuse respectable and violence a norm. The promotion of constant dialogue
one with another, between rulers and ruled, between ourselves and the wider world
through free flowing information that spares us the rage of the dark, is not the least of
the concerns on the development agenda.
Much of what I have said turns on the central active role of the human being in
the process. If it is true that our crises turn on a threatened "deterioration of the weak
economic growth performance typical of most of our Caribbean countries since the late
Seventies", if it is true that our development performance since the late 1970s has been
"unflattering" when measured by such indicators as demography, employment, national
income, healthcare and education; if, as is commonly held, "employment and falling
standards of living are the major problems for the remainder of the century" in all CARI-
COM countries, then it makes sense from a purely economic point of view that the
improvement of "international competitiveness and of export promotion and marketing"
is a priority as must be the setting of exchange rates at appropriate levels and the stabili-
sation of such rates "by support from other policy measures". Equally important is the
effort to "increase domestic savings, improve efficiency, management and productivity,
and to relate income increases to efficiency improvement". The old chestnut of "di-
versification and product development in manufacturing, agriculture and agricultural
processing and service industries"2 will continue to be pulled out of the development
strategy fire. But even old chestnuts remain edible, if not overcooked on the coals.
Thank heaven, there is not a "purely economic point of view", at least not any longer
so perceived by men of reason and commonsense.
What is new, promising and challenging as a possible solution, is what many Carib-
bean economists now recognize, accept and endorse. And that is that top priority must
be given to human resource development. "More scope", reads the Summary of the
CARICOM Report, "must be given to to the people to contribute to development by
greater realisation of their entrepreneurial and other creative talents".3
The term "entrepreneurial" has become a buzz word in our monetarist, loads-o-
money, free enterprise dispensation. But I would prefer to interpret the use of it here to
mean more than the matter of buying and selling what we do not produce, and more
than the admittedly courageous acts of latter-day higglering in the to-ing and fro-ing
in and out of Curacao, Port-au-Prince, Cayman and Miami by bands of enterprising work-
ing-class women who are even now being jostled out of business by averred ladies of
quality, themselves the hapless victims of galloping inflation and a rising cost of living.4
I prefer to regard the term 'entrepreneurial' as describing the capability that leads to
decisions and actions that will generate greater resources through application, imagination
and hard work. It is the entrepreneurial skill that every head of household in the smallest
of enterprises, namely, the rural family or poor urban one-parent enclave, has utilised so
adeptly to find daily food, clothes and shelter, to educate siblings, and probably provide
for a life in tolerable retirement. In the absence of the validating conditions (whether in
the private or public domains) to facilitate this, such a skill too often offers promise but
A challenge for the immediate future is to release the millions of Caribbean people
from such frustrated hopes bordering on despair and have them, on the basis of their
strengthened capabilities, deliver to themselves (rather than have delivered to them by
Government with the capital G or some private patron) the freedoms in which this region,
with its peculiar history, has a vested interest for the future i.e., the freedom from
hunger, the freedom from disease, the freedom from ignorance and the freedom from
These are not political indulgences to be trapped into great systems of thought
spawned by other people's experiences.5 They are infrastructural necessities for the
functioning of the human being anywhere on the planet; and not least in the Caribbean
where we did not learn about the dignity of the individual, or the essential unity of man
(meaning woman as well), from the Greeks (meaning Plato, Aristotle and their ilk).
Least of all did we learn it from Karl Marx. For the raw experience of Caribbean history
with its chronicles of exploited labour, of racism, socio-economic marginalisation and
their consequences into the late 20th century serves us with more than valid data for an
information-base, for serious analysis and meaningful prognosis.
Not least of our crises is our continuing defiance of commonsense in this particular,
which defiance expresses itself in self-doubt, lack of self-confidence, continuing imitation
of our betters so perceived, an intolerable intellectual indolence and a demeaning de-
pendency. Help in this dependency is ever forthcoming from an outside world that has
replaced military bombardment with cultural penetration and with the marvels of science
and technology projected as the norm against which our ancestral wisdom is pitted as an
aberration. Our small size and the absence of that science-and-technology knowledge-
base, in any profound sense, adds to our vulnerability. Yet resilience and resistance are
the sine qua non of human survival. And the discovery of modalities to walk between
the drops of acid rain in this power-polluted world of ours must be among the major
tasks to tackle whether we are fighting inflation, unemployment, persistent poverty,
or skills shortages.
II. None But Ourselves
The most bankable resource is in fact our people, namely we ourselves, renewable
and with an infinity of creative energy that can be productive provided we get the op-
portunity to exercise it in ways that promise self-growth and self-reinforcement. Carib-
bean Prime Ministers and Ministers of Finance should understand this. They traipse to
the World Bank and the IMF for loans, using the creative potential of their electorates
as collateral. Much of the debt we now owe was had on promises of our capacity to
produce with surplus to spare and within dictated time-frames usually without our
certain knowledge of what we were being let in for. Where circumstances and conditions,
seemingly beyond our control, threaten to frustrate our efforts we must assertively
resist in the certain knowledge that none but ourselves can free our minds.
The importance of sound leadership in the pursuit of development strategies is
therefore key. But many will say that there is a crisis in leadership in the post-colonial
Caribbean we now know. The pedestrian postures of many of our political and other
leaders, the failure on the part of many of them to ask the basic question 'what do we
want of our Caribbean?' or 'what kind of human being do we wish our social and econo-
mic order to facilitate?' is said to be part of the current crisis that is likely to persist
unless sophistication, respect for serious intellectual and other creative activity become
part of the repertoire of decision-making in the region. The venality and greed that feed
the hankering after quick opulence among the corrupted in both the public and private
sectors are said to replace the old-fashioned virtue of integrity of purpose to reap re-
wards on the basis of sustained application.
No less permicious is the invocation of management at the expense of leadership.6
So many of us wish to do things right as the manager does, rather than do the right
things as true leaders always do. For the leadership that the region now requires is the
kind that is totally committed to the development of the peoples of this region on
their own terms even while understanding fully the complexity of the undertaking
with its contradictions rooted in the diversity of social structures within the region and
the inescapable relationships we must have with an outside world that once owned us
outright but now seeks to preserve its domination by sundry means. Added to this must
be an undoubted credibility of the leader whose assumption of duties places him or her
under a microscope for continuing investigation and assessment in just about everything
but the most private of undertakings.
What determines how we behave today is the "democratic" persuasion of post-
colonial Caribbean life born out of three centuries of resistance against bondage and
colonialism and continuing in a defiance of authority and power wielded by our own
kind against the people's perceived interests. For it indicates the need for leaders who are
effective and are able to instil vision, meaning and trust in their followers and colleagues,
rather than mere managers who may be efficient with technocratic precision in the
mastering of well-worn routines, but insensitive of the human factor. And this applies
as much to business enterprises which want to make profit as it does to governments who
wish to be re-elected. The implications for management training or management educa-
tion in our own University and elsewhere in the region are not in the least far-reaching.
For it is managers for a Caribbean environment whom we must produce not managers
for the corporate economy of the United States or its clones in pockets of misconceived
modernity in parts of the region.7
The best managers, whether of private enterprise or public sector, were best shaped
in the form of "leaders" who can (a) commit people to action, (b) convert followers into
leaders (the whole notion of strengthening people's capabilities which is at the heart of
human resource development) and (c) convert other leaders into agents of change. Many
a Caribbean mother or grandmother has been just his kind of leader. But she hardly
gets a chance to preside over governments here with the current exception of Dominica.
Why, then, have not her sons who dominate Cabinets and Board rooms turned out to be
as good at "leading"?
I ask the question of Caribbean women yet again: 'what has gone wrong with the
socialisation process out of which have emerged such men?' I will not tarry but I am still
looking for answers to the problem I find with men in high places who fail to understand
the centrality of human resource development to overall development strategy; and who
cannot grasp the need to address the non-quantifiable phenomena of individual human
experience to ensure the success expected at the end of every cleverly crafted project
which may boast its stated objectives demanded by donors but reveals no real under-
standing of the human being's undying capacity to make them not work.
How many of us fully understand the view that "we seek lives not measured solely
in terms of income, societies not assessed on gasoline consumption, and freedom from
that most beguiling and misleading of all valuation, the GNP"?8
I have come full circle, back around the my over-riding concern that the crises
and challenges facing the Caribbean over the next decade are likely to be successfully
addressed only by us investing copiously in the human capital. This is a long-yelled cry
in the Caribbean, that has loud echoes at the Budapest Roundtable of September 1987
when some 37 developmentalists met in their personal capacities from all over the world
to examine development strategies.9
I come not to tell grandmothers how to suck eggs but rather to re-emphasise what
is well known to all who have lived and had their beings long enough in this stubborn,
wearying, contradictory region of ours. For how often have we not told those who preside
over our destiny to have faith in the people they govern or attempt to exploit either
at the voting booths or on the shopfloors? For they and they alone, mobilised into
creative action and self-confidence, can turn our debt-ridden, inflation-girdled, dependent
economies into far more secure, self-reliant and respected polities fit for human habitation.
III. Agenda for the Future: Some Suggestions
The agenda for a future that must concern people like ourselves in lobbying our
decision-makers and sensitising our compatriots around to self-direction dictates the
One, the adoption of long-term perspectives in determining and measuring the
"impact of all economic policies on the welfare of human beings". There can be no place
in this region for grand strategies that leave social costs out of the equation of develop-
ment or relegate them to a second order of priority to await the advent of capital whether
by loans, grants, technical assistance programme or through proceeds from exports. Jamaica
has learnt, or is learning, by bitter experience that the matter of development demands the
integration of human costs into the strategy from ground-floor up if one is to escape the
consequences of what has been described as "the permanent imbalances in human lives".1 o
Hurricane Gilbert pointed us to our weaknesses in the areas of education, health and
housing three areas where the ravages of the storm were most severe. Trinidad should
now be warned that its race after short-term adjustments to what has been a sudden
reversal of fortunes in its economic life should not be undertaken without due concern
for human considerations.
Two, the creative potential of our people must be developed to the full. In some
places it may mean the commitment to full primary education, in others to full literacy
by the turn of the century. Such human attributes which are genuine indicators of pro-
gress are fragile in their endurance and therefore need continuing care and attention.
The legendary excellence of Guyana's primary education giving to the region some of the
brightest and best from a generation of the recent past is now almost history. Can this
lost ground be regained? It is a question for an ailing Guyana. An articulated system of
education from pre-school through primary and secondary to tertiary is part of the in-
frastructure of a modern state. It is not a luxury to be enjoyed by a few or a privilege to
be dispensed at the pleasure of the State. There are some rather askewed views abroad
among us on the role of education.'' We need to get our thinking straight on this by
year 2000, at least.
Three, the alleviation of poverty cannot be bypassed. People born into that state
with no hope of release from it between the cradle and the grave are potential ready-made
converts to violence, self-hate, and a consuming rage against the power-structure. Efforts
at self-liberation can never be guaranteed along paths of artistic creation as in the case
of the calypso and reggae artforms which have recruited some of their finest exponents
from among the poor. In this the region should count its blessings on this score. But
posses outwitting the FBI in another country or running amok with M-16s and sawed-
off shotguns in their own urban ghettos at home are also the product of that enduring,
but by no means endearing, state of existence.12 Worse still are the suffering from
disease, the sense of hopelessness among the majority thus afflicted and the general
deterioration of the qualify of life. Conventional national accounts tables must now be
supplemented by well-prepared studies of "poverty profiles, income distribution, econo-
mic class structures, nutritional and health indicators and educational levels".13 The
UWI's Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) and other research institutes
in the region have their job cut out for them.
Four, the very important issue of integrating women into the mainstream of develop-
ment strategy, as it is now conceived and perceived, must be taken seriously. Among
some West Indian bastions of male domination it would be too much to expect a mere
change of heart. But they might be 'conned' into change by looking at the organization
of work where large numbers of working-class males remain marginal as well. The idea of
tailoring job descriptions or designing work patterns and the like according to female
needs, and not merely from the perspective of the male, is certainly not too much to
ask. Already some of this is happening. Many men are finding that follow-through on a
given task frequently comes best from women. But the danger of using women as girls-
friday rather than as genuine partners or true executives in decision-making remains a
problem and advances the plot only that much and not far enough. Depriving workplaces
of the maturity, imagination, compassion, and that sense of process that our women have
so long demonstrated to have in abundance, is tantamount to a crime against the social
order. The abolition of gender discrimination as a condition of employment needs to be
served in the observance rather than in the rhetoric it admittedly receives from many a
Five, the preparation of the young Caribbean generation entering the 21st century
is mandatory so that they are fully equipped with knowledge of science and technology
via well-crafted technical and vocational programmes of training, preferably as part of
normal schooling to begin with. For a science-and-technology sensibility is badly needed
in a region brought up on religious dogma and Victorian grammar school curricula which
are not without their limitations in these "technological" times.14 This is not an argument
for draining our people of the capacity to exercise their creative imagination. Above all,
they must not be deprived of the capability to think.
Automechanics must be able to fix a carburettor and have command over the
principles behind the workings of that mechanism. The notion that the likes of us must
forever draw water and hew wood while others do the thinking for us is no recipe for
development. At the University we must not allow ourselves to be trapped into the
nurturing of three expensive skill factories called campuses churning out "professionals"
who may master routines but know not how to think through, in any creative or original
way, solutions to problems rooted in our own specific experience or in experience im-
pacted on by what goes on in other parts of the world. The rounded Caribbean man and
woman armed with multi-skills to deal with a world that makes its myriad business
instantly accessible to all and sundry by satellite communication suggests itself in any
drive to prepare ourselves for a technological future. The false dichotomy between
scientific and artistic endeavours, between empiricism and reflection, between intellect
and imagination will have no place in any increasingly complex world of the 21st century
as the time and genuine geniuses of the 20th long discovered.' 5
Six, the refinement and development of new appropriate community patterns of
co-existence from family, through urban yard to rural village is necessary. Models
exist from the immediate post-Emancipation past that deserve detailed study and modern
adaptation. As part of wider world culture we in the Caribbean face no less the tension
created between the individualist urges to be our man or woman and the pressure of social
collaboration or even conformity. There is nothing in our history to tell us that we are
not capable of finding the balance, resolving the inherent conflicts, or existing on the
cutting edge of the dialectical equation. In fact, we do this rather well when the effort
is in our individual interest. And the Social Sciences, far from being in decline, have
challenges aplenty for its renewal and further development in the foreseeable future.16
Seven, an over-arching responsibility facing the Caribbean, if not all of the develop-
ing world, is the urgent need to address, without equivocation, the challenge of dis-
covering for ourselves new patterns demanded by a changing universe on the threshold
of the third mellenium, new and appropriate paradigms to help us make sense of our
unruly social phenomena, and worldview(s) that are perceived through our own eyes
rather than through those of former masters or of aspiring latter-day overlords. The
region also needs to discover and articulate its own sense of being and an epistemology
that will allow it to begin from where it is, rather than from other people's prescriptions for
seeing and knowing. In short, the re-definition of self and society on one's own terms is
a priority on the agenda for any Caribbean future that promises real freedom and indepen-
The challenge confronting our intellectual stamina and the imagination of the
truly creative among us is the province of no particular location, is neither vocation-
bound nor gender-specific. We need thought and creativity from farmers and crafts-
men as much as from the intelligentsia and academics, and certainly from women as
well as men. Nor are such abilities to be regarded as exclusively stored on university
campuses which are not the sole repositories of wisdom nor in boardrooms and Govern-
ment Cabinets where private and public power admittedly find their berth.
The small size of our populations requires more brains and creative talent per
square inch, not less. And the will to prepare ourselves for the concentration of effort
and the sharpening of skills in applying new-found knowledge is what is urgently re-
quired of both our socialisation agencies and our formal education-and-training institu-
tions and processes, of all kinds and at all levels. The pedestrian among us are not qualified
and should not be allowed to lead. The Caribbean is too fragile, textured and complex
an entity to be left to the gauche or the callow, and least of all to the "highly educated"
who have not an iota of wisdom. It will not be enough simply to want to be as good as
our European model as past generations of politicians, academics, businessmen, profes-
sionals, and ordinary consumers have been taught to be. It will require far more in terms
of Caribbean men and women being innovative and daring enough to grapple with the
contradictions of their society and thereby transform liabilities into assets. They will
thus be able to participate as constructive partners in world affairs from a position of
confidence and strength. This is an objective that should inform every single request
made by us for technical assistance from elsewhere, or for help from visiting consultants.
And it should goad us into scepticism in the acceptance of every gift borne by "friendly"
neighbours who may be more interested in our subservience?than in our self-reliance.
The sure and safest route out of underdevelopment demands no less than the kind
of empowerment which inheres in seeing with one's own eyes, hearing with one's own
ears and speaking with one's own voice.
Eight, we must not cease in our efforts to convince the international community
that there is existence other than what the liberal democrats centred on the North
Atlantic and Communists screened behind the Iron Curtain say exists on the Planet.17
The idea of the human being as the beginning and end of all development strategies is
borne out by the realities of the lives lived by the world's majority without the consumer
capacities of the developed First World (so called) or the nuclear warheads and space
technology of the Superpowers.
The fact is that the success of the Women and Development Unit (WAND) in
attracting international support and attention to its programmes owes much to the
persuasive powers of the advocacy of this point of view.1 We need more of it not
less in the foreseeable future and we need both women and men as the advocates. For
short of an international compact agreeing to the need for global rehumanisation of the
millions of poor and marginalised, there is, happily, a growing understanding that we leave
the human component out of the development process at our peril.
Glassnost and perestroika, as more recent modalities of political and economic
renewal, have recognized this important fact. Post-colonial Caribbeanism, especially in
its self-righteous anti-Communist smugness, would boast that it has been way ahead of
the game in all this. Perhaps! But how effective have we been despite the advance paces
we say we have had? Not all that much, is the honest answer!
And a further truth is dawning now upon us even in our deepening dependency:
and that is the realisation that no one can run that race other than ourselves. None but
ourselves, indeed, can free our minds! 9
NOTES AND REFERENCES
1. Caribbean Development to the Year 2000: Challenges Prospects and Policies (Summary Report)
Commonwealth Secretariat/Caribbean Community Secretariat, May 1988, paragraph 128.
The main author of this Report is Compton Bourne, Professor of Economics, University of the
West Indies (St. Augustine). He was assisted by an Advisory Group from the commonwealth
3. Ibid. See, also Human Resources Development A Neglected Dimension of Development
Strategy (The CDP Report) United Nations, 1988, especially Chapter IIl.
4. The Informal Commercial Importer (ICI) or higgler (to the Jamaicans) has his/her counter-
part in many other Caribbean countries and is a member of a category of persons who form a
substantial part of the "parallel economy" which sustains tens of thousands of persons (largely
women and their families) from the lower socio-economic strata of Caribbean society. They
remain the great distributors for locally produced foodstuff retailed in urban markets but they
have branched out into trading in haberdashery etc. imported from overseas. Many middle-
strata ladies have joined their "lower-class" counterparts in the lucrative entrepreneurial ex-
ercise. For the domestic dimension of the enterprise in at least one Caribbean country see
The Informal Distribution Network in the Kingston Metropolitan Area a preliminary report
of a Study by Elsa LeFranc, Donna McFarlane-Gregory and Alicia Taylor, ISER, UWI, June
1985). See also "Inter-island Trade that is Dominated by West Indian Women", by Ann Rajack,
Barbados Advocate, January 4, 1989, p. 15.
5. cf. the prominence in the Commonwealth Caribbean of ideologies spawned in the North Atlantic
viz Socialism in all its forms (democratic, Fabian, welfare-oriented Marxist-Leninist) on the
one hand and Capitalism and all its variants (liberal, conservative, supply-side a la Reagan
and Thatcher, 'mixed-economy' type) on the other. Certain regimes in the Eighties (e.g. that
of Edward Seaga in Jamaica and Eugenia Charles in Dominica) are identified with strong free
enterprise market-forces dispensation, with the Reagan and Thatcher regimes as conscious role-
models. This is in marked contrast to such other Caribbean regimes of the Seventies as the
democratic socialist government of Michael Manley in Jamaica (acting as role-model for one
Administration in St. Lucia), the Co-operative Republicanism of Forbes Burnham in Guyana,
and the neo Marxist-Leninist revolutionary government of Maurice Bishop's Grenada.
6. A well-established myth of politics evident throughout the region in the Eighties is that Leftist
regimes with their emphasis on State control usually "mismanage" while conservative free
enterprise governments which make the private sector the "engine of development" do other-
wise. The cult of "management" came naturally with the disappointment in the Leftist regimes
of the Seventies and the increased role of the private sector articulated in the rhetoric of
right-wing Caribbean development strategists. An incipient debate on management versus
leadership emerged. In Jamaica Edward Seaga's public image as a "super manager" was pitted
against Michael Manley's reputation as a charismatic (populist) "leader". Prime Ministers are
by and large expected to be good "managers" all over the region in order to cope with the
seemingly intractable economic problems of unemployment, limited resource base, foreign
exchange shortage, debt-distress, low productivity etc. For some pertinent discussion on the
topic of leadership vis-a-vis management, see Leadership, by James McGregor Burns -Harper
& Row, N.Y., 1978, and Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge, by Warren Bennis & Burt
Nanus, Harper & Row, N.Y., 1985.
New Management Studies Programmes funded by the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) at both the Mona and Cave Hill campuses of the University of the
West Indies are even now grappling with the increasing demand for management skills all over
the region, the orientation of the training offered, curriculum content, and modes of delivery.
"Management Studies" is regarded by the UWI authorities as a major growth area for University
professional education in the foreseeable future.
8. Warren Bennis, & Burt Nanus: op cit, p. 13.
9. See Managing Human Development (Papers prepared for the Budapest Roundtable on Managing
Human Development, September 6-9,1987),eds. Khadya Haq & Under Kirdar.
10. Ibid, p. 3.
11. The debate following on the imposition of a cesss" by both the Government of Jamaica (in
1986) and Trinidad & Tobago (in 1988) on students attending UWI in the case of both and
also of the College of Arts, Science and Technology (in the case of Jamaica) threw up arguments
for and against free education at the tertiary level. The idea that education was a privilege
(the official view) rather than a right (the view of students) was posited. See my "Crisis in
Education, The Biases Behind the Policies" -address to National Convention (Education -
A National Priority) held at the UWI, Mona on April 20, 1986.
12. The reference is to the high rate of crime in urban Jamaica in particular and the implications
this has for West Indians living in the United States especially in neighborhoods where Jamaican
criminal gangs (called "posses") have been reputedly involved in drug-trafficking and drug-
related crimes of violence. See .Crime and Violence: Causes and Solutions, edited by Peter
Phillips and Judith Wedderburn, Occasional Publications No. 2, Department of Government,
UWI, (Mona), 1988.
13. Khadya Haq & Under Kirdar (eds): op cit, p. 3.
14. See "Technology Policies for Small Developing Economies: A Study of the Caribbean," by
Norman Girvan, ISER, UWI, Mona, 1983.
15. Sec Robert Scott Root-Bernstein, "Creative Process as a Unifying Theme of Human Cultures,"
in Daedalus, Summer 1984, p. 198 ff. Also C.P. Snow, The Two Cultures: And a Social Look,
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1959, 1963. Also Frederick Turner, "Escape from
Modernism: Technology and the future of the Imagination," in Harpers Magazine, November
1984, pp. 47-55, and Rex Nettleford: "The Creative Imagination and the Creative Intellect
in Global Learning," in Learning and Development A Global Perspective, Alan Thomas
& Edward W. Ploman (eds), OISE Press, Toronto, 1986.
16. The ISER of the UWI has responded to the challenge by setting itself an agenda which revolves
around the theme The Future of the Caribbean: Context, Challenge and Choice, otherwise
known as the "Futures Study".
17. The notion of a "third path" to development other than what is promulgated by the two great
political systems identified with contending superpowers has had strong advocacy in parts of
the region. See Michael Manley's contribution in his Jamaica: Struggle in the Periphery,The
Third World Media Ltd., London 1982. The late Prime Minister of Barbados, Errol Barrow,
was unrelenting in his own advocacy by targeting American cultural and political penetration
18. Peggy Antrobus and colleagues in WAND have attracted to the programme support from
many overseas Foundations like Ford, Carnegie, IDRC, Inter-American Foundation.
19. From "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley.
CRISIS, CHALLENGE AND THE EXPERIENCES OF CARIBBEAN WOMEN*
This is a year for anniversaries: apart from WAND's 10th which we celebrate this
week this year marks the 40th Anniversary of the University of the West Indies, the
25th of the Cave Hill Campus, and the 50th anniversary of the events of 1937/38. Fifty
years ago the Caribbean was in turmoil: social and political protest was widespread, and
no one had to call a meeting of this type to draw attention to the crisis facing the region.
The British government was sufficiently concerned to appoint a Royal Commission to
study and report on the conditions which had led to the unrest. By contrast, I am struck
by the complacency bordering on indifference of our leaders in the face of the clear
signs of economic, social and political deterioration evident in the region today. And it
is this prevailing attitude which has prompted us to use the occasion of WAND's 10th
Anniversary to focus attention on the crisis of the 1980s, and on the experiences and
responses of women and women's organizations to this situation. And it is most ap-
propriate that we focus on women's experiences and responses since it is women -
especially poor women who bear the brunt of the policies being introduced by our
governments in the false expectations that they will counter the deterioration in the
economic performance of our countries.
The global economic crisis of the 1980s is being compared to that of the 1930s.
The analogy is useful in that it allows us to reflect on the differences and similarities for
Caribbean people after 50 years of 'development'. As in the current 'crisis', the inter-
national context of the crisis of the 1930s in the English-speaking Caribbean was the
economic depression in the industrialized countries. The social and political unrest which
erupted in these countries in the late 1930s represented a watershed in Caribbean history:
for these disturbances were not merely "a blind protest against a worsening of conditions,
but a positive demand for the creation of new conditions that would render possible a
better life" (Gordon Lewis, 1968). These demands started a process of advances in the
social, economic, political, and cultural arenas which were to change the lives of the
mass of Caribbean people. They included the launching of a regional programme of
social welfare (stimulated and supported by finance from the British government's
S The difference between biological reproduction and social reproduction should be noted. In
this paper, references to women's reproductive roles refer to their roles in social reproduction
i.e. to all those tasks essential to the maintenance of life -the daily tasks associated with
taking care of people.
Colonial Development & Welfare grants), the establishment of trade unions, the intro-
duction of adult suffrage, political and constitutional advances, and finally, and most
importantly, the emergence of the search for Caribbean cultural identity.
And yet in many respects, despite these advances, the situation of the mass of
Caribbean people half a century later does not seem very different. At this point in time,
the major difference seems to be the absence of the energy, and vision, that guided the
working class of the 1930s in their effective protest and rejection of the inhumanity of
their social condition. Indeed, the irony is that it is our governments the inheritors
of the mantle of leadership which emerged out of the struggles of the workers who
have initiated the policies that have worsened the plight of the majority of our populations.
The current situation therefore presents a challenge to Caribbean people and especially
to women to find once again that energy and vision of the 1930s, and to use it to
confront the contradictions inherent in the paths chosen by our governments to advance
the welfare of the majority of our people.
But if we are to avoid the mistakes of the past the first challenge is to have a clear
understanding of the nature and origins of the crisis. The crisis in this region is often
characterized as stemming from a shortage of foreign exchange which in turn has a
negative impact on the level of economic activity. Many people trace this to the un-
precedented rise in oil prices in the early 1970s, and the reduction in demand for our
exports resulting from the ensuing economic recession, and accompanying protectionism,
in the industrialized countries. This led to a worsening of the terms of trade the rates
at which our products (sugar, coffee, bananas, bauxite etc.) are exchanged for those of
the industrialized countries of the North (machinery, fertilizer, seeds, medicines, the
whole range of manufactured items considered essential to our prosperity). The worsen-
ing terms of trade mean that each year it takes more of our exports to pay for our imports -
and when we cannot even find markets for those exports we are clearly in a very bad
position. Those countries that borrowed money encouraged by the major international
banks seeking an outlet for the windfall profits of the oil-producers find themselves
increasingly unable to repay (service) their debts. So the gap between exports and im-
ports continues to widen, and our governments find themselves at the mercy of the
IMF, with its conditionalities of cuts in government expenditures, devaluations, the
removal of import restrictions, policies which reflect a belief in the operation including
the injustices, for those with nothing to sell, and no money to buy of the market-
But some people argue that the origins of the crisis go way back to the pattern of
trade created during the colonial era a pattern determined by the power relations
between the colonizers and the colonized. For the colonizers had the power not only
to determine what the colonies should produce (raw material for their industries), and
what they should be paid for their products, but also to determine the prices for the
goods and services required for the production of these products (the tractors, seeds,
fertilizer, interest, freight, insurance even the price of their labour). In short, some
people argue that it is the perpetuation of this structure of inequality which leads to
chronic imbalance between our foreign exchange earnings (exports) and our expenditures
on goods and services from other countries (imports) hence to a problem in our balance
Whatever the origin, the effect of this shortage of foreign exchange is that our
governments have introduced policies which have spelt even greater hardships for the
poor people of the Caribbean and especially for poor women and the virtual aband-
onment of development goals in terms of improved nutrition and educational oppor-
tunities, reduced unemployment, and increased self-reliance. In a sense these policies
have simply compounded an already bad situation. The policy package, which has come
to be known as structural adjustment, has replaced development policies and plans
focused on improving the social and economic well-being of the majority of Caribbean
people with policies which focus on the protection of the process of capital accumulation -
particularly international capital.
What is this package of policies, and why is it that it is women especially poor
women who suffer the greatest hardships? Two elements are usually identified: austerity
measures intended to cut government expenditures on so-called 'non-productive' services,
and measures intended to stimulate economic growth. Two years ago when I first started
working on the analysis of these policies, which had become the focus of the development
policies of our governments since their elaboration in the Nassau Agreement of 1984
(Demas, 1984) I argued that they were a good example of policies which failed to take
women into account (Antrobus, 1987). After further reflection, and a better under-
standing of the theoretical and ideological frameworks within which these policies have
emerged, I have come to the conclusion that far from "not taking women into account"
these policies are actually grounded in a gender ideology which is deeply and fundamentally
exploitative of women's time, labour, and sexuality. Moreover, the ideology is so per-
vasive, and "deeply ingrained in the consciousness of both men and women (that it) is
usually viewed as a natural corollary of the biological differences between them" (Sen
& Grown, 1987:26).
In this presentation I want to argue that the different roles of women and men
are not biologically determined, but rather based on patterns of socialization which
construct gender i.e., what we consider to be appropriate male and female roles; that
policies based on these roles are inevitably exploitative of women; and that because
of this and because women's engendered role is central to social development and
well-being whatever hurts women, hurts the whole society. It is my chief argument
that failure to take gender into account in any analysis of Caribbean society, or econo-
mies, renders that analysis at best only partial (Antrobus, 1988). Indeed, I consider
this kind of analysis fundamentally flawed by its failure to consider the implications of
gender roles for the type of holistic, sustainable, self-reliant model of development which
is usually assumed to be our goal. For a partial analysis blurs the full impact of the
policies on the majority of Caribbean people, and on Caribbean development itself;
while a gender analysis illuminates the links between the economic, social, cultural and
political aspects of Caribbean life and development by revealing the essential links between
women's roles in economic production and in social reproduction (Massiah & Gill, 1984),
the value of women's unpaid work in the household and in the community, and the
implications of the existence of gender-based hierarchies at all levels for the social well-
being of the whole society (Sen & Grown, 1987).
This failure was demonstrated in the 1981 Report of the Group of Experts which
analysed The Caribbean Community in the 1980s, as well as in the more recent Report,
Caribbean Development to the Year 2000: Challenges, Prospects and Policies (1988).
An important challenge for us, therefore, is to persuade the powers-that-be that women's
concerns our concerns are not peripheral but central to the mainstream of develop-
nent thought, analysis, policies and programmes, and that a gender analysis is essential
if we are to achieve the type of development which is meaningful to the majority of
I will use the case of Jamaica to illustrate these policies for several reasons. First,
Jamaica was the country which implemented them most comprehensively, and con-
sistently for 6 years (1981 1986). In addition, thanks to UNICEF's 1987 study on the
impact of these 'adjustment' policies on vulnerable groups (Adjustment with a Human
Face), more data are available on that country's experience than for any other. Finally,
the much publicized improvement in the Jamaican economy, and the government's
current "Social Well-being Programmes" should not blind us to the fact that the damage
to the country's social services, and economy education and health in particular -
are not that easily reversed: that nothing can replace the lives of infants who died of
malnutrition; nor the social and intellectual development of the generation of children
and young people whose education was jeopardized by the cuts; nor the livelihood of
the countless small-scale farmers and manufacturers who were put out of business by
the priority support given to the operations of the large-scale, foreign investors. It is
particularly important to remember this as other governments in the region embark
on similar policies perhaps encouraged by Jamaica's "success" in adjusting the structure
of its economy. Indeed, we should ask ourselves whether this structure is one which
can benefit the majority of Caribbean people, or whether it is not, in fact, a reinforce-
ment of the old structure of inequality which reflects the social injustices of the past -
injustices rejected 50 years ago.
In the case of Jamaica, structural adjustment has meant -
* Concentration on export-oriented production;
* Cut-backs in social services;
* Continuing devaluations of the Jamaican dollar;
* The liberalization of imports; and
* The removal of food subsidies and price controls on consumer goods.
These measures have, of course, tended to hit the living standards of the poorest,
and most vulnerable groups more severely than those who are better able to cope with
them. In Jamaica they have affected the poor in three ways: reducing income through
increased Unemployment; by price increases on basic necessities, resulting from the
removal of food subsidies as well as from devaluations; and by reducing the level and
composition of government expenditure on social services, which are particularly im-
portant to the poor, since they are unable to purchase these services themselves.
According to the UNICEF studies, those most negatively affected among the
poor have been women, children and the elderly. However, given the fact that it is women
who take care of children and the elderly, it is only fair to acknowledge that it is mainly
poor women because of engendered roles who bear the weight of these measures.
I want to consider the implication and impact of these policies in a little more detail.
Concentration on export-oriented production
While the current drive to promote exports is not new to the Caribbean, it has
taken on a greater sense of urgency in response to the extra-regional pressures to earn
more foreign exchange in order to repay international debts. The Caribbean Basin Initia-
tive (CBI), with its emphasis on the promotion of US business interests in the region,
also gives these policies an ideological significance (French, 1987a). The history of
export-oriented production in Jamaica (as in other parts of the Caribbean) has been one
of the priority allocation of land, capital, technologies and services in support of this
sector, and at the expense of other sectors which produce for the domestic market.
Food production for domestic use has always been accorded lower priority when in
competition with export-oriented agricultural production (Beckford, 1984; Gomes,
1985). Women dominate this sector: they produce 60 75% of the food for the local
market, and are responsible for over 80% of its distribution.
With regard to the manufacturing sector, women predominate in industries es-
tablished within the framework of government programmes to encourage foreign in-
vestment. In fact, women especially young women are the preferred labour force
which attracts investment in this sector, since they can be paid low wages, and are more
likely to accept working conditions which would be unacceptable to men (Durant-
Gonzales, 1983; Cowell, 1986; Dunn, 1987). This practice, taken together with the
overall increase in unemployment, has a depressing effect on the overall structure of
wages in the country. It is an example of how policies which discriminate against women
can have adverse consequences for the whole society.
Apart from the exploitative working conditions, employment in export-processing
zones has always been problematic. Traditionally, it has been extremely insecure, as
factories close at the drop of profits. Moreover, given the number of factory closures in
recent years, it is doubtful whether there is actually a net gain in employment as a result
of these policies. Indeed, it has been estimated that the number of jobs lost in the small-
business sector, as a result of the priority, and preferential treatment, given to large-scale.
foreign investment has far exceeded those projected for the Kingston Free Trade Zone
The expansion of Jamaica's garment industry, under incentives provided by US
tax concessions to companies which invest overseas, has recently helped to highlight the
exploitative conditions under which the women work (Cowell, ibid). Workers of the
Kingston Free Trade Zone have demonstrated on several occasions to draw attention to
these practices, which are all the worse for the fact that few of the operations are union-
ized. Women in Trinidad & Tobago have recently engaged in a major protest movement
against the proposed introduction of these operations drawing on the experience of
their sisters in Jamaica, and in the Far East.
At the same time, it must be remembered that the wages of women working in this
sector are often critical for the support of extended 'domestic networks' (Bolles, 1983),
which include family members who are not even resident in the household. Governments
interested in the introduction of these operations as a means of attracting foreign invest-
ment should at least take steps to make these jobs more secure, and less exploitative.
But this approach has another negative effect on the economy. As a result of these
policies, along with the removal of trade barriers and the flooding of the market with
cheaper goods, many local businesses have been forced to close operations Some sustain
a livelihood by becoming traders in the goods produced overseas (French, op. cit.).
The same pattern has been reported in the agricultural sector (French, 1987b).
The government has been emphasizing large-scale agri-business, while the traditional
neglect of small farmers continues. As a result food production declined by 11% between
1980 and 1984, while the percentage of the population engaged in agriculture also fell
slightly. Urbanization has increased by 12% in the same period (UNICEF, 1987).
The undermining of the productive capacity of indigenous manufacturing and
agriculture is perhaps one of the most seriously damaging long-term effects of these
policies. When it is realized that the small business and small farm sectors provide in-
finitely more opportunities for employment, and especially of women, than do the
more highly capitalized, high-technology, type of operation, the priority given to this
sector over indigenous, smaller-scale operations has to be questioned.
Cut-backs in social services
Cut-backs in Government expenditures chiefly in social services are a central
feature of the structural adjustment policies. According to the UNICEF case study
real expenditure on the services, which include education, health, and social security,
fell from J$662m in 1981/82 to J$372m in 1985/86, a reduction of 44% over the five-
year period (Boyd, 1986). In the health services government also introduced a wide-
based system of charges for previously free services offered at public hospitals and health
Expenditure on housing and water also fell drastically in real terms. With regard
to housing, capital expenditure on this item in the 1985/86 budget was only 11% of the
1982/83 budget. In both instances, reduced government expenditure was accompanied by
increased prices. Government water rates rose by 55% at the time of the 1984 defla-
tionary policy package, while pressure in the housing market has resulted in large in-
creases in the price of housing: prices in the rural areas, over the period January 1981 -
June 1985, increased by 115%, while the increase in the metropolitan area was 95%.
In addition to the cuts in social services, the government also cut expenditure
on services which relate to the economic infrastructure. These included transport and
communications, roads, agricultural and industrial services. The 1985/86 budgeted ex-
penditure for this category was 57% lower than the 1981/82 level in real terms.
The removal of food subsidies & devaluation
The rate of devaluation of the Jamaican dollar between January 1983 and February
1986 was 207%. The resulting fall in real wages impacted with special severity on the
poorest households, especially as devaluations were accompanied by the removal of
subsidies and controls on the prices of food, as well as by increasing unemployment.
Moreover, the removal of food subsidies was not selective. No attempt was made initially
to maintain subsidies on items which are part of the basic diet of the mass of the popula-
tion, nor to protect producers of crops on which import restrictions were being removed.
In short, little attention was paid to the impact of these measures on local levels of
Reporting on the impact of the devaluations and cuts in food subsidies, the UNICEF
study draws attention to the fact that in 1984 the cost of a "least cost basket of goods"
(i.e., basic food items for one week) for a household composed of 2 adults and 3 children
was $120.63, while the minimum wage was J$40.00 a week. This meant that a household
of this type would only be able to buy 50% of these essential items if they spent 75% of
their income on food. In addition, there are, of course, the other basic necessities such
as housing, fuel, clothing, water, transportation all of which had increased in price,
some as much as over 100% in a single year as a result of the devaluations (Boyd. op. cit.).
One of the effects of this has been an increase in malnutrition, and in the infant
mortality rate a reversal of gains made during the 1970s (despite the economic problems
facing the government of that period). The decline in the nutritional status of children
under the age of 4 years, from 38% in 1978 to 41% in 1985 symbolises and sums up the
effect of these policies.
Although the data are not available it is important to attempt some assessment of
the implications of these measures for the achievement of long-term development in the
region, since in a sense they represent the virtual abandonment of generally accepted
1. The long-term effect of infant malnutrition on future learning capacity;
2. the impact of cuts in education on enrolment, and especially on the education of
3. the impact of deteriorating educational provisions on future productive capacity;
4. increasing unemployment, especially among women who constitute the majority
of the work force in those sectors subjected to cuts;
5. the correlation between women's education and employment and fertility rates;
6. the sense of hopelessness, and lack of purpose engendered by the increasing un-
employment among youth; and
7. the escalation of violence especially violence against women and the further
entrenchment of the sub-culture of drugs.
8. The depression of the overall level of wages in the country;
9. the undermining of local productive capacity in manufacturing as well as in agri-
culture, as priority is given to large-scale, export-oriented enterprises, based on
10. the increasing 'informalization' of the economy as more people turn to this sector
11. the strengthening of the 'underground' economy, i.e., the involvement of people
in illegal activities in order to make a reasonable living;
12. The undermining of the trade union movement as their activities are restricted, or
discouraged as part of the 'incentives' offered to foreign investors;
13. government's increasing resort to the use of military measures to control and curb
the inevitable social unrest; and
14. the consequent inhibition of the level of popular participation of traditional demo-
cratic processes due to the climate of fear of reprisals created by the vicious cycle
of violence and repression;
15. the extent to which the focus on 'national security', and the build-up of expenditure
on defence, and security, diverts attention and resources away from development
16. the increasing credibility gap between government and electorate, as the majority
perceive their government's alignment with the interests of foreign investors and
the local private sector.
Finally, the circle is completed since all of this impacts on the economy itself as
the increasing social unrest and political instability inhibit investment, and economic
It should be clear from this analysis that women are a key factor in assessing the
short-term effects and long-term consequences of these policies. These policies have
jeopardised women in 3 ways by -
1. reducing their access to financial resources (since they predominate in the sectors
which have been most adversely affected by the cuts in government expenditures);
2. reducing their access to services essential to their performance of their multiple
roles in production and social reproduction;
3. increasing the demands on their time, as they are required both to fill the gaps in
the social services, as well as to find ways of increasing their family income.
The failure to see the essential links between women's productive and reproductive
roles demonstrated by these policies lies at the heart of the contradictions inherent
in policies which seek to promote growth at the expense of meeting basic needs. In
production/growth-oriented models, the separation of production from social reproduction
leads to a negation of the immediate importance of so-called 'non-productive' sectors
and activities. This line of argument fails to recognize that production is a function not
only of the availability of capital, technology and markets, but first and foremost of the
physical, psychological and intellectual capacity of the labour force. These attributes
are determined in the sphere of social reproduction, and women are key actors in this
sphere not passive recipients of welfare benefits.
If women's reproductive roles are undermined, as they are by the austerity measures,
the productive capacity of the society is undermined. In fact, production levels have
fallen in Jamaica. It has been estimated that despite increased levels of investment in the
1980s, the overall output in the economy in real terms is 2% lower over the period
1981-87 than they were in the period 1976-80 when government policies were more
oriented toward issues of equity and social justice (Stone, 1988).
But there is more to the gender analysis, for women's productive roles are also
critical in calculations of Gross Domestic Product even when a significant proportion
of their labour is excluded from these calculations. In Jamaica as in the rest of the
Caribbean women play a key role in the production, processing and distribution
of food as well as in the spheres of industry, commerce, and services including the
public service. In order to carry out these tasks, along with their domestic responsibilities
(social reproduction), they must be supported by policies which support their repro-
ductive roles. Support for women in the performance of their multiple role would include
not only the provision of services in the areas of health, education and social security,
but also better housing, household technologies, water supplies, transportation etc.
A good example of the shortcomings and contradictions of 'enlightened' policies
which reflect gender bias can be found in the UNICEF Report. The recommendations
aim at giving adjustment a human face "protecting the vulnerable and promoting
growth": estimating that "at least 75% of all health care takes place on the family or
individual level", the Report advocates the promotion of self-help (i.e., shifting responsi-
bility on to women) as a way of promoting 'efficient and effective' social services. Its
male (and class) bias is clearly shown in the conclusion that "While such an approach
may increase time costs for women it will place extremely modest monetary costs on the
households; and will lead to substantial savings in the public sector. ...." (UNICEF p.
174). Moreover, the reference to the costs to the households ignores the fact that many
households especially among the poor are headed by women, and that it is often
the same women who must both earn the income and find the time to take care of sick
family members. This role conflict between the woman's role as breadwinner (productive)
and that of care-giver (reproductive) must often, necessarily, result in the neglect of one
role or the other. Failure to take account of this vital link between the two roles will, of
course, undermine the effectiveness and efficiency of both sets of policies those aimed
at protecting the vulnerable, as well as those aimed at promoting growth.
UNICEF's recommendation for 'adjustment with a human face' is instructive for
another reason. It demonstrates clearly how governments, and development agencies,
take advantage of women's engendered roles to redirect resources away from programmes
which are people-centred to those which are profit-centred. In this context women's
claims for a voice in determining priorities in policy-making and in development planning
become an important means for protecting the social well-being of people. But the
voice must be one which reflects women's gender interests interests based on their
engendered role, which takes account of differences between women based on differences
of class, race and/or ethnicity.
In this connection we need to distinguish between practical and strategic gender
interests/needs (Molyneux, 1985). Practical gender needs are those derived from the
"concrete conditions of women's experience, in their engendered position within the
sexual division of labour, and deriving out of their practical gender interests for human
survival" (Moser, 1988). Most of the programmes undertaken by governments and 'tradi-
tional' Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) over the past several years fall into this
category. These programmes do not threaten the status quo: while they meet important
needs, they do not deal with the underlying problems of gender subordination, nor
advance the struggle for a more humane world. They do not meet strategic gender needs
- those "formulated from the analysis of women's subordination to men" (Moser, ibid.,
The critical question is whether, and to what extent, the meeting of practical
gender needs either facilitates, or inhibits, the formulation and advancement of strategic
gender needs. The current emphasis placed on 'efficiency' within the context of policies
of structural adjustment, and its expression in what amounts to the 'superexploitation'
of (female) gender roles should alert those of us who care about women's lives to the
pitfalls of the 'expediency' approach which most of us adopted during the Decade.
It must also be clear to us that even gains in practical needs are easily reversed unless
strategic gender interests are pursued.
One conclusion to be drawn from this analysis is that it is no longer sufficient
to focus on survival strategies. Women's resourcefulness in times of crisis their willing-
ness and ability to cope, to make ends meet, to make whatever sacrifices are necessary
in order to ensure the survival of their family has been part of the history of Carib-
bean people. To continue to rely on the exploitation of women's strengths in this way
is to perpetuate the conditions which have prevented the full development of our count-
ries. Rather, these strengths need to be supported with the resources necessary to trans-
form mere survival into a realistic strategy for Caribbean development alternative
strategies for alternative development. But for this to happen women must begin to
determine the long-term requirements for change, and to challenge those policies which
are detrimental to the well-being of the majority of Caribbean people. Individually, in
communities and in regional networks, Caribbean women are transforming traditional
roles and relationships of nurturance and support into a movement for personal, social
and political transformation. They are beginning to use the opportunity of meeting
practical gender needs as a base for the formulation and articulation of a new vision
through the promotion of strategic gender needs. This kind of movement needs to be
supported and encouraged by all who care about holistic, sustainable, self-reliant develop-
ment: for "development as if people mattered" is development as if women mattered.
1. Peggy Antrobus, "The Impact of the Debt Crisis on Jamaican Women", paper presented at the
First Meeting of Caribbean Economists, Jamaica: UWI, 1987.
2. "Gender Analysis", unpublished paper prepared as part of doctoral dissertation at the
Center for International Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1988.
3. G.L. Beckford, "The Struggle for a Relevant Economics", Social & Economic Studies, Special
Number on The Social Sciences & Caribbean Society (Part 1), Vol. 33, No. 1, March, Jamaica:
4. A. Lynn Bolles, "Kitchens Hit by Priorities: Employed Working-class Jamaican Women Con-
front the IMF", Women, Men, and the International Division of Labour, (Eds.) June Nash
& Maria Patricia Fernandes-Kelly, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983.
5. Derick Boyd, "The Impact of Adjustment Policies on Vulnerable Groups: The Case of Jamaica",
paper prepared for UNICEF publication Adjustment with a Human Face: Country Casestudies,
Jamaica: UWI, 1986.
6. CARICOM Secretariat, The Caribbean Community in the 1980s, Report by a Group of Experts,
Guyana: CARICOM Secretariat, 1981.
7. Caribbean Development to the Year 2000: Challenges, Prospects and Policies, Guyana:
CARICOM Secretariat, 1988.
8. Noel Cowell, "Free Trade Zones: The Garment Sector and their Impact on Women in Jamaica",
Report prepared for the Joint Trade Union Research Development Centre, Kingston, September,
9. William Demas, Adjustment & Recovery in the CARICOM Economies, President's Statement at
the 14th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank,
Kingston, Jamaica, May, 1984.
10. Leith L. Dunn, Women in Industry, Report of a Research Project on Garment Workers in
Jamaica, conducted by the Joint Trade Union Research Development Center & Canadian
University Service Overseas (CUSO), Jamaica, 1987.
11. Victor Durant-Gonzales, "Female Factory Workers Attitudes& Realities", in Concerning Women
& Development, Barbados: WAND, UWI, April, 1983.
12. Joan French, "The CBI and Jamaica: Objectives and Impact", Report prepared for the Develop-
ment Group for Alternative Policies, Washington, March, 1987a.
13. "Women & Agriculture", a research project conducted for the Caribbean Association
for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA), 1987b.
14. P.I. Gomes, (ed.) Rural Development in the Caribbean, Kingston, Heinemann Educational
Books (Caribbean) Ltd, 1985.
15. Gordon Lewis, The Growth of the Modern West Indies, London: Macgibbon and Kee, 1968.
16. Joycclin Massiah and Margaret Gill, Women, Work and Development, Vol. 6, Research papers,
WICP, Barbados: ISFR/UW1, 1984.
17. C.O.N. Moscr, "Gender in Development Planning". Forthcoming in World Development.
18. M. Molyneux, "Mobilization without Emancipation? Women's Interests, State and Revolution
in Nicaragua," in Feminist Studies, Vol. 11 No. 2, 1985.
19. Gita Sen and Caren Grown, Development, Crises, and Alternative Visions: Third World Women's
Perspectives, New York: Monthly Review Press, 1987.
20. Carl Stone, "The Issue of Management", in The Jamaica Gleaner (Newspaper), October 10,
21. UNICEI, Adjustment with a Human Face: Protecting the Vulnerable and Promoting Growth.
(Eds.) CORNIA et. al., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987.
ALTERNATIVE VISIONS: WOMEN AND THE NEW CARIBBEAN
In contemplating the future and reflecting on an alternative vision, it is always useful to
cast a glance backward. One of the best bases from which to look ahead is from the
experiences of the past. The exploration into our people's history in general and women's
history in particular facilitates the analysis of trends, processes and tendencies which have
taken place over time. By this means we can come to an understanding of the laws of
motion governing our present and guiding our future.
In this process, we can go back to the early Women's Movement in our region, a
reminder that efforts towards the building of a Caribbean Women's Movement are not
new, but part of an on-going process which is still continuing.
We can go back first of all to the early women's self-help movement which developed
in the late 19th Century. The first group, the Lady Musgrave Women's Self-Help Society
of Jamaica, followed by the Trinidad Home Industries and Women's Self-Help, The
British Guiana and The Barbados Women's Self-Help Societies, catered primarily to the
needs of white and 'highly coloured' ladies, often from the top echelons of the society.
These 'societies' arose from the fact that, even within these elite classes of European
and near-Europeans, the nuclear family with its male breadwinner and female housewife
was not working. These self-help societies were really income-generating projects aimed
at helping gentlewomenn' who had 'fallen on reduced circumstances'. In other words,
efforts to solve their gender-practical interests and needs.
By the 1920s the black and coloured middle-strata women began organising them-
selves. For them organising around social work was a mechanism for raising the status
of their sex and race, in addition to taking care of the less fortunate.
The Jamaica Women's Liberal Club of which Amy Bailey was a leading member and
the Coterie of Social Workers led by Audrey Jeffers of Trinidad and Tobago were two
examples of these. Activity in social work was the main avenue for the participation of
these women in public life indeed, in the case of Mary Knibb, the first Jamaican
woman elected to municipal office (the St. Andrew Parish Council) and Audrey Jeffers, the
first woman of Trinidad and Tobago to do the same (the Port-of-Spain City Council),
their outstanding record of social wo-k was the main campaign issue.
For these early women activists there was no doubt that women (especially women
of their class) needed increased rights, or that public positions should be opened up to
women. For them also their emphasis on social work focused on the problems of women
- training schools for girls, a home for blind women, a mothers' vacation home where
men and children (except babies) were not allowed, hostels for working girls, etc.
The sexual division of labour, however, was never challenged. Women's responsi-
bility was to organise their home life in such a way as to allow some time for social
While these black and coloured women, mainly influenced by the Garvey Movement
women, sought to change their status vis-a-vis white women and men, their position
vis-a-vis their working-class sisters was never in question: not surprisingly, by mid-century
both Amy Bailey and Audrey Jeffers voted against universal adult suffrage; i.e., extend-
ing voting rights to all a right which they fought so passionately for themselves.
In April 1936, the first Conference of Caribbean Women Social Workers was held
in Trinidad and Tobago to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the Coterie of Social
Workers. Women from St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada and the then British Guiana attended.
This was one of the first regional feminist conferences even though many of the
women attending may not have described themselves in this way. The Port-of-Spain
Gazette (POSG), organ of the planter class was, however, quite sure of who they were
when it denounced this feminist movement as really a masculinist movement which wanted
to make the world neuter (POSG, 27.9.36:4).
It was interesting to see that some of the same issues which confront us today
surfaced during their discussion. In the concluding session, the Conference called for
the widening of the franchise to include more women (of a particular class, of course);
the placing of women on boards, e.g. the housing-board (for, after all, who knows or
cared more about the house than the housewife?), the education of girls, the introduction
of women police, the strengthening of domestic science teaching, greater employment
opportunities for non-white women and for women to seek political office. It is interest-
ing to note that throughout this conference men were not allowed to speak. On one day
Ms. Jeffers announced that the speaking ban on men was lifted. They could say a few
words but ask no questions.
At the end of the conference, the British West Indies and British Guiana Association
of Women Workers was formed and the next meeting was carded for British Guiana.
Although the need for a regional movement was recognized, this was not an easy
task. In the 1950s another regional grouping, the Caribbean Women's Association, was
formed, revitalised in 1970 as CARIWA. From very early, therefore, women in the
English-speaking Caribbean at least knew that their fortunes lay in working together
on a regional level and made continual efforts in this direction in times without tele-
phones, telexes, faxes, or even airmail and when inter-island travel was even more dif-
ficult than it is today.
Later, in 1953, Jamaican feminist and Pan-Africanist Amy Ashwood Garvey was
to embark on a Caribbean tour aimed at stimulating the women's movement. This tour
included Aruba and Suriname and went beyond the confines of what was then the
British Caribbean. Among her many speeches in Trinidad and Tobago were some organised
at the Himalaya Club an Indo-Trinidad Social Club. There she entreated Indian women
to join with their African sisters in the struggle for the emancipation of women. During
this visit, she also hailed Audrey Jeffers as the region's leading feminist.
The renewed mobilisation of women in the 1970s, therefore, to varying degrees
in our countries was another step in a long history. This new movement differed radically
from its predecessor in one main way in that women challenged the sexual division of
labour and the society's right to determine their life choices. As we know, no movement
is monolithic but the more radical strands of this movement invited or in some cases
forced the more liberal (and more socialist) oriented tendencies to reunite their bodies
with their minds, a process encapsulated in that well-known feminist slogan 'The personal
is political'. This was a crucial development. Private life, the personal realm of family,
love, sexuality and sexual violence was now opened up for all to see. For feminist women
and progressive men this was and is a painful development one's personal life could no
longer be a refuge from the public. The struggle had to be carried out there as well
as on the streets and in public institutions.
While in some countries this personal politics became more and more individualised
and inward-looking, in most of the world that is, in what we sometimes call the Third
World this new women's movement has brought a new approach to questions of social
and economic organisation, power, social justice and politics, change and transformation.
And although initially comprising mainly small feminist and other groupings seeking
women's rights, this wider definition of the problem has necessitated the large-scale
mobilisation of women, a factor which we have recognized in our region the Caribbean.
The Caribbean Women's Movement
It is evident that something is happening within our region, although to varying
degrees. While we must be cautious in our enthusiasm and not feel that a women's
movement has already been formed, we are some way along in this process. The changes,
which we have witnessed in WAND's development, mirror changes we ourselves have
unwittingly and sometimes painstakingly witnessed in ourselves.
Coming out of this Consultation we can now say something about where we are
in this process. We can say, for example, that there is a general recognition that real divi-
sions structural and social, economic and political exist among women. But we can
also point to the realisation of the need to work through these divisions seeking always
possibilities for collaboration and co-operation. We understand also the need for research,
analysis and the development of thinking on our present condition and past experience.
This is a necessary component in the charting of a future vision for the Caribbean, a
reality which is based on our first charting a new vision for ourselves.
As we look towards the 21st Century the emerging Caribbean women's movement
like all other social and political movements needs to re-examine its agenda. Increasingly,
it is becoming clear to many in the women's movement that our aim and our project
is a vast one. It is not simply a struggle against the daily manifestations of male chauvin-
ism, ,although it is that. Neither is it only the effort to put women in positions of leader-
ship and power. Indeed, these are only steps in a process towards the transformation of
power relations in human societies; in our case, steps in the formation of a new Caribbean.
In the development of this project I would like to identify areas for our specific con-
sideration and attention:
1. In the definition of our concept of the Caribbean we have to move beyond our
narrow colonial and linguistic barriers as recognized by the founding members
of the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA). The
Caribbean includes women of at least five main linguistic groupings the French,
Spanish, Dutch, English and American-speaking Caribbean. This, of course, does
not include the many creole languages, bhojpuri and African derived languages
and dialects. Our sisters in the huckstering, higglering inter-islands trade already
recognize this. Language is no barrier to their economic linkages with Haiti, Curacao,
St. Martin, Panama, Venezuela or Colombia. We have to institute mechanisms to
make this less of a problem and as much as a necessity for us.
In our definition of the Caribbean, we also have to cease seeing it as only an
Afro-Caribbean space. The recognition of the Indo-Caribbean reality which to
varying degrees is integrally interwoven into the Caribbean cultural experience
is critical as we seek to redefine our future. In this process, those of our white/
European sisters who choose to commit class and race suicide must, along with
women of other Caribbean ethnic minorities, take their rightful place in the Carib-
2. We have already recognized the need for a new politics (not necessarily a new party
although this route has been taken in some countries), a central factor in the
development of this new Caribbean. This may sound apocalyptic, reminiscent of
the old days of 'come the revolution'. But as we ourselves have seen here, the
politics of the new women's movement has already begun to chart a new direction.
In this regard, while at one level the infiltration of the existing political structures
is necessary as a realistic measure in the short-term (which will probably be very
long), in the long-term the challenge is to develop an approach to power relations
and the exercise of power which goes beyond the divisiveness of present-day
party politics. There is no blueprint yet, for the transformation of patriarchal
societies, but as I speak we are developing new strategies to do just this.
In July 1985 when over 14,000 of the world's women met in Nairobi, Kenya,
those of us fortunate enough to be there got the feeling of this new vision which
is beginning to take shape. But closer to home, this process is also taking place in
the politics of everyday life at present being carried out, for example, by women's
organizations, development organizations and other progressive non-governmental
organizations which are developing alternative approaches to the economy and
3. Another area for consideration is that of Science and Technology. Progress in this
area we are told is necessary if we are to equip ourselves for the 21st Century. But
what does this mean for us? Does it mean that we enter this male-dominated field
and head straight for the top breaking down the barriers of the last 500 years,
years which defined the so-called 'hard sciences' as male and the 'soft sciences'
and humanities as female? Yes, this is part of what it means, but only a part.
In our approach to science and technology we have to demystify it: that is, bring
it to a level where all can learn and understand it and know that it is possible for
all to learn and know. Science, like every other aspect of life, must be brought
into the realm of critical scrutiny. Questioning its so-called objectivity, exposing
the fact that science today is male-centred, racist and Euro-centred; that scientific
and technological developments often work against the poor and powerless and
by definition against women. We have to explore the implications of new techno-
logies for our vision of a new society at a time when most of us cannot keep track
of their rapid innovation. Who decides what scientific improvements take place?
What is the motivating factor and who benefits? Many women in rural India, for
example, lack the basic technology of pure water close to their houses, but have
access to amniocentesis and the ultra sound scanner technologies which allow them
to ascertain the sex of a child before its birth. In a society where girl children are
to many still a misfortune and economic burden this has given rise to a form of
female genocide as a result of the large-scale abortion of female foetuses. What
are technological developments in our region doing to us now, at this time? Do
4. A fourth area for consideration is that of the environment and our relationship
towards it. This year our region faced two terrible hurricanes Gilbert and Joan.
Hurricanes are natural disasters and a part of life in this region, yet Gilbert achieved
the most powerful level of any hurricane this century and I believe was only the
second one to do so since hurricanes have been recorded.
This would not have been a cause for concern if it did not come around the same
time as Sudan and Bangladesh faced their worst floods in recorded history, killing
thousands and making other thousands homeless in the case of Sudan making
ridiculous the OXFAM-UK newspaper advertisements for help to the victims of
the extended drought.
But this was not all. In Trinidad and Tobago some weeks ago, we experienced
a small tornado or twister, a new natural disaster (I believe) to our region. This
apparently was the result of the uncharacteristically high temperatures which
Trinidad had been experiencing this year. And as if this was not enough (or maybe
to convince some of us that we are indeed seeing the last days) a plague of locusts
had crossed the Atlantic and descended upon us.
These climatic changes according to the experts can be attributed to the so-called
'greenhouse' effect: the overheating of the earth's atmosphere as a result of the
destruction of the ozone layer. It is not the intention here to go into an ecological
discussion, but to bring our attention to the fact that the existing world economic
system with its predatory and dominating relationships to nature the earth and
its resources is leading us down the path to planetary self-destruction. To some
extent women as a group along with others of the powerless are not to be blamed.
These groups have been marginal to the power structures of all patriarchial societies
and economic systems so far.
The history of man's relationships to nature, especially in a capitalist society, has
been one increasingly based on dominance and control. This has also been the re-
lationship to the nature within himself and to women defined into nature. Nature,
the source/regulator of life has been plundered, stormed, depleted, exploited and
has not been replenished.The patriarchal systems' interaction with nature is in
many ways a mirror image of man's relationship to women and oppressed men and
vice versa. No wonder at this time both women and nature are fighting back. The
question of ecology and the environment has been brought home to us in the
Caribbean. It is not a luxury issue for North Atlantic countries which now seek
to dump their toxic waste in our yards. This is perhaps a reflection of the closer
relationships women have traditionally been able to keep with nature, both the
nature within us and the nature around us, a collaborative, co-operative, respectful,
inter-dependent, but autonomous relationship. The kind of relationships we would
like to have with each other and with men. Our future vision therefore must include
a re-establishment of that contract with nature, a contract which indicates the
correctness of the use of feeling, emotion and humanity in the politics of the
5. Now this brings us to the fifth area of concern men. These persons brothers,
fathers, lovers, spouses, whom we love to hate, hate to love, but love anyway.
For me the most important thing we can do for them is to strengthen our con-
fidence and belief in ourselves and in each other and to build a network of support
for the political and personal action which we know is necessary. This I believe
will move and is moving men as evidenced by some of the developments which
we are beginning to see among men. But this is something they have to do for
themselves. This painful process of self-examination and personal and political
transformation as we women know cannot be done on our behalf by any other
group. Men as a group have to do most of it by themselves.
So what is the role of men in this struggle for a new Caribbean? Certainly, it is not
what it has been before. Although let us not fool ourselves: many will try to continue
business as usual, but for those brothers who also have a vision and who share our disgust
at the present arrangements of things, the first step is to realise that you too have a strug-
gle, a struggle not on our behalf but on yours. You too are entrapped by the inhumanity
of this 'macho' system: the pressure to live up to the image of being a 'real man' in the
eyes of your menfolk, of being a provider or breadwinner when there are no jobs, of being
violent as a means of playing out your inner insecurities, your failure to live up to society's
There are alternative ways of being a man, just as we are exploring new and richer
ways of being a woman, but this is not a task to be done individually. Maybe our men
have to use their existing spaces the rum bar, the street corner or recreation clubs to
explore new visions of maleness and masculinity; a role in domestic life beyond that of
giving money or feeling bad for your inability to do so. To cope with the new women of
the 21st Century our sons like our daughters should not be left behind; they have to be
prepared to continue the work which we have started.
1. Joan French and Honor-Ford Smith, "Women, Work and Organisation in Jamaica", Unpublished
Manuscript, ISS/OGIS Project, 1984.
2. Roberta Kilkenny, "The Radicalization of theWomen'sMovementinBritishGuiana, 1946-1953,"
in Cimarror, Vol.1, No. 3, Spring 1988.
3. Maria Mies, Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale, Zed Books, London, 1986.
4. Rhoda Reddock, 'Feminism, Nationalism and the Early Women's Movement in the English-
speaking Caribbean', Paper prepared for the first International Conference on Women Writers
of the English-speaking Caribbean, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, April 1988.
5. __ "Women, Labour and Struggle in 20th Century Trinidad and Tobago: 1898-1900,"
doctoral dissertation, University of Amsterdam, 1984.
WOMEN'S RESPONSES IN THE 70s AND 80s IN TRINIDAD:
A COUNTRY REPORT
Trinidad can be difficult. If you want to understand the situation of women generally,
and more so the issues which have concerned the women's movement,
you need to understand the society first.
Since Independence from the British in 1962, Trinidad has tended to have reason-
ably equal education and economic opportunities. For instance, the party in power,
the People's National Movement, granted free secondary education to all students regard-
less of sex or ethnicity. Education and economic opportunities were taken up avidly
by women during the oil boom years, a period which extended roughly from 1974 to
A comparison between the years 1977/78 and 1981/82 of enrolments in Govern-
ment and Assisted Primary and Secondary Schools shows that women were equally
enrolled at the primary and secondary levels of education in all counties. Undergraduate
enrolment of students at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, in 1978/79
revealed that 45% were females, a pattern similar to the previous years. For the same
year also an even number of males and females graduated from this university. While
there is greater representation of women in various fields the general rule which applies
is that boys and girls, men and women, are equally entitled to selection for entry either
to secondary, technical or vocational or university level education.
In Trinidad there are no general prohibitions on women working, they have an
equal right to earn an income and to be paid for the work which they do. Equal pay
for equal work is the norm in both the private and public sectors. Again we can make
a distinction between those occupations and areas in which women are concentrated and
those dominated by men. Women monopolize certain underpaid sectors like that of
domestic service but it is clear from other previously male dominated professions that
there are no real obstacles to female entry except those caused by poverty or cultural
restrictions. For example, the field of medicine, previously separated into female nurses
and male doctors, now boasts near equal numbers of female and male doctors. The legal
profession is also becoming increasingly popular as a profession which women choose.
Entrants into the law faculty at St. Augustine for the last three years show that females
far outstrip males, 1986/87 24 females, 9 males, 1987/88 23 females, 9 males,
and 1988/89 19 females, 13 males.
Statutory law does to some extent reflect the status position held by women
vis-a-vis men, at least at the level of the state. In 1975, writing on the legal status of
women, Stephanie Daly was moved to observe that in Trinidad the legal position of
women had improved to the extent that it was a shorter task to explore the areas where
women's legal rights were less than those of men than to examine what rights they did
have. By 1982 she wrote: "It is clear from an examination of the statutory changes
made since 1975 that a conscious effort has been made to consider the effect of legis-
lation upon women and to remove the lingering discriminatory provisions." At present,
therefore, in Trinidad men and women enjoy equality in law to a great degree. Boys and
girls are equally entitled to compulsory schooling between the ages of 6 and 12; men
and women are equally eligible to serve as jurors; single and married are equally capable
as men of acquiring, holding and disposing of property. The Matrimonial Proceedings
and Property Act was updated to enable a divorce to be obtained by virtue of five years'
separation even though the respondent did not consent. In 1976 legislation was intro-
duced for the separate assessment of income of married women for tax purposes. Women
could pass their nationality on to their own children and the Status of Children Act
1981 removed the legal disabilities of children born out of wedlock. In the Married
Women's Property Ordinance, a spouse who contributes to the improvement of an
asset either in money or money's worth may gain an enlarged interest in the property.
In spite of all these gains, anomalies do exist, but it is clear that for the most part
they affect women who, because of poverty or low education, may be unable to fully
exploit their privileges. There have been other services at work in the society which
have benefited women. Trinidad has had a very active and progressive Family Planning
Association since the mid-1950s, a service which has made contraceptives freely avail-
able to women while also offering other provisions such as pap smear tests. The agency
has been active in changing attitudes towards the use of contraceptives and in breaking
down some of the cultural barriers which women of different ethnic groups, especially
Indian women, faced with respect to planned childbirth.
Political power and political life, though not closed to women in Trinidad, has
been largely dominated by men. There are perhaps more cultural reasons for this, as
many women feel unwilling to enter into the sphere of politics. This, together with their
concentration in lower administrative positions, has tended to keep women out of the
area of policy-formulation and decision-making,but this has also begun to change within
the last few years.
What has all of this meant for women in Trinidad? Over the last decade we have
seen the growth of a large, articulate and economically secure group of women, many
of whom are independent of men in the society. This has crossed ethnic categories as
well, for many Indian women from patriarchal homes have also benefited by the changes
in social attitudes towards women working out of their homes or being educated at
secondary and university level. How this change has manifested itself on a day-to-day
basis is seen in the various areas of employment in which women are now very visible -
there are female magistrates, female lawyers and female journalists and media workers.
These women are in a position to influence the women's movement and have them-
selves been influenced by the movement. While, for instance, a male magistrate could
glibly inform the court and the female complainant that "she should not walk
in the way of blows", female magistrates are not so sympathetic to men who chastise
their wives with blows. Though limited by the concerns of business and male managers,
female journalists and media workers have shown greater sensitivity in reporting on
issues concerning women, and, by dealing with issues such as the salary and working
conditions of flight attendants, for example, they have caused many issues to be taken
that much more seriously by the society at large.
Despite the 'macho' culture shared by the Trinidadian male, one indicator of the
flexibility which this society still allows women is seen, for example, in the ease with
which women entered the world of taxi driving, a sphere that was always heavily male-
dominated. On the one hand, therefore, the society continues to offer women oppor-
tunities for education, employment, public recognition and creativity;on the other hand
there is a backlash which is felt by all women regardless of class, ethnicity, professional
standing or position in the society. It is as if the society (read male dominated/patriar-
chal) allows you freedom but ensures that there are still mechanisms for control. My
hypothesis (and one which I shall be developing in the course of this presentation) is
that sexual violence, the ultimate and most fundamental form of control over women,
is the mechanism which is used to keep women from 'getting outta hand' in Trinidad.
"Don't Put Yuh Hand on Me Property"
Calypsoes have always mirrored gender relations in Trinidad society. A brief look at
some of these over the last decade shows not only how sexual relations are being affected
by the changing circumstances of women, but the major concerns of men and women
as this change occurs. Through this also, we see the different varieties of sexual violence
women experience in this society.
Keith Warner writing in The Trinidad Calypso admits that calypsonians are mainly
male and of African descent. This clearly affects the way in which women are portrayed
as manipulative, sex objects, figures of ridicule and so on over time. Some male calypso-
nians, but especially female ones, have begun to challenge these popular stereotypes. That
some of the calypsoes sung by women are in fact written by men is also instructive of a
male awareness of the issues.
In 1979 Singing Francine wrote and performed "Run Away", advising women to
leave men who humiliated and brutalised them:
Dog does run away
Cat does run away
Child does run away when you treating them bad
Woman put two wheels on your heels
You should run away too
In 1980, Singing Diane continued this trend with her calypso "Ah Done Wid Dat",
which was very popularly received by women in Trinidad. She goes one step further
than Francine, and tells her violent partner she is leaving:
If ah don't leave now
Is licks in the morning,
In the evening
I telling you flat
Ah done wit' dat.
It was no coincidence that both these calypsoes complained about male brutality which
seemed to underscore sexual relations, and that both urged women to fight back, to
challenge the male prerogative of philandering, beating up, exploitation and disrespect.
In 1980, also, two calypsoes had begun to take account of the growing incidence
of rape and to acknowledge the woman as victim rather than as promiscuous female
temptress. Scrunter's "Take the Number" in which he sings of the advice he overheard
his neighbour giving her teenaged daughter, insisting that should she miss the school bus
she should 'take the number' of any car she happens to travel in; Lady Jane urged the
authorities that they should:
Send those rapermen to jail
Beat them with the birch 'til they wail
Then send in Calypso Jane
To throw some cat in dey tail -
a suggestion which was not pleasantly received by male members of the audience.
By 1983 there were other kinds of statements reflecting the independent and
forthright statement of women. Explainer's "Don't touch me rass", double entendre
notwithstanding, is most challenging and clearly, having been written and performed
by a man, acknowledges a male awareness of women, from his own race and class, but
who were not easy prey to predatory men:
Don't touch me rass
Mister yuh hand too farse
All ah them brothers just like to feel up, feel up
But I is ah sister who don't like to deal up, deal up
This does not mean that the genre which ridiculed or objectified women did not
continue, but interspersed among these were some with more accurate messages which
enjoyed tremendous popularity among both men and women, even when the picong
was directed against the men as in two written and sung by two male calypsonians.
Poser's "Ah going to party tonight" was a favourite among women especially, for who
had ever sung of a woman telling her husband that she'd done all that she had to do in
the house and was leaving him home to mind the baby while she went out to party?
Only the consciousness of women's independence could lead to the writing on this theme.
Similarly, another entitled "Yes Darling" also made fun of men who were dominated
by their wives, an aspect of sexual relations which no Calypsonian worth his salt would
have admitted to at one time.
The issues which affect women most and continued to affect women kept re-
curring, however, and in 1987 Singing Sandra wrote on one theme which, from the
overwhelming responses, clearly latched on to the collective experience of many women.
In a newspaper interview that year Singing Sandra recalls: "A lot of women commented
on the topic of my calypso Die with my Dignity. They would come up to me after the
shows and thank me for singing the song". In "Die with my Dignity" she deals with
sexual exploitation which many women are forced to undergo to retain jobs. Her message
is clear to the exploiter:
You keep you money
I'll keep meh honey
And die with meh dignity.
The message is directed as much to men as it is to inspiring women.
It is not surprising therefore that by 1988 calypsoes about women, sung by women
but not always written by them, were more confident, much less appeasing or accommo-
dating to male society. Twiggy stated quite categorically, "Don't put Yuh Hand on Meh
Property", Bianca Hull decries the idea of what is traditionally considered acceptable
for female beauty by singing "I am a beautiful woman", and Twiggy again sings that
.. ah recession fighter
A man wid real class
Someone who will try to help me
A man who wouldn't play the ...
Not at all subtle in its message, nor particularly clever lyrically but certainly captur-
ing the mood of women this year was Denyse Plummer's "Woman is Boss" as unambiguous
a statement as can be made to men. I watched her perform this calypso every night for
over thirty nights at the Revue Tent and the crowd reactions never failed in their con-
sistency. During her performance, scores of women would get up, some dancing on their
chairs, others wildly waving their hands in support. Immediately after her performance,
the male MC would rush on stage clamouring "man is boss, man is boss" much to the
delight of the men in the audience, bringing perhaps reassurance to the anxious ones
that this was still a social fact.
The growing independence and affirmative actions of women in Trinidad bred its
own internal contradictions. If the pre-independence years allowed men at least the
medium of verbal and some physical assault to keep women subordinated (especially in
the context where she was not in an economic position to question this nor socially
supported by public opinion in her challenge), then the 70s with their oil boom and op-
portunities must have undermined the male ego further. The response was likely that
of an increase in sexual violence and sexual abuse. How does one explain the fact that
in 1973/74 one felt safe to walk on the streets at night, as a single woman to go out
alone at nights and return quite late and by the mid-80s this was no longer possible.
I do not know if my Trinidadian colleagues will agree with me, but I have experienced
the worst and most obscene and degraded harassment on the streets of Trinidad -
worse than in any other country. Newspaper reports and rumours of rapes, incest, wife
battering and sexual harassment increased. We can argue that an actual increase in the
incidence of sexual crimes cannot be substantiated due to lack of statistical evidence
and that this may in fact indicate that more women are willing to report such crimes
and the society is more willing to openly admit that they do occur. Nonetheless, it is
common knowledge that it had become highly unsafe for women where before there
was no great fear.
Perhaps this explains why, of the social issues which women addressed in the
present phase of the women's movement, the issue of violence against women has taken
so much precedence over others. To explain how and why this has surfaced above all
others, let us look briefly at the concerns which have preoccupied the movement
over the past decade.
The present wave of feminism in Trinidad was clearly influenced in its earlier days
by the international struggle. The United Nations had declared 1975 the International
Year of the Woman and Helen Ready's rendition of "I am woman" was a popular
selection on radio channels for that year. We had all read Sheila Rowbotham's Woman's
Consciousness, Man's World, or Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystigue, or Juliet Mitchell's
Woman's Estate, or Marilyn French's The Woman's Room. The jigsaw puzzle of our
life experiences began to be explained to us by these women who lived in other countries
and whom we knew nothing about. We were inspired by the movement which gave them
these insights, by the methods they had employed to arrive at these insights small
groups and consciousness raising, lobbying for change, picketing and marching for our
rights, the concept of sisterhood which bonded all of us together, regardless of class or
race. Some of us had come to this understanding through other routes as well inflamed
by socialist ideals which broke down when we dealt with the reality of organising along-
side our male comrades.
Perhaps encouraged by the UN declaration of 1975, the Housewives Association
of Trinidad and Tobago was formed and began to mobilise female support for regulation
of food prices and making available those consumer items which women as household
workers needed. This issue clearly did not challenge the notion of women's roles in
society for it still identified them as primarily housewives and consumers. Led by a group
of fairly articulate and active working women, however, it reminded the society that
women could organise around issues other than social welfare and child care concerns.
It was not sustained for long, however, as women's concerns were very much more wide
reaching than the price of food.
The UN declaration of the decade 1975 to 1985 created another kind of awareness
which has been important to the growth of the women's movement. A National Com-
mission on the Status of Women was formed in 1975 and proceeded to commission
studies on the position of women in various fields including their participation in poli-
tical life, the legal status of women, their access to education and training and vocational
guidance at all levels, their employment opportunities and conditions of employment,
the extent of women's participation in the labour force and their position within it with
special reference to such sectors as domestic service, agriculture and the public
sector, the availability of health and welfare services and the influence of scientific and
technological developments on the position of women. Apart from the production of
data in all of these areas, the commissioning of these studies helped to legitimise con-
cern about the status of women in all these spheres among the more conservative mem-
bers and institutions of the society who would have easily dismissed queries by other
women's groups as the idle pastime of a bunch of 'women libbers'.
It is not quite true to say that the Concerned Women for Progress (January 1981)
was the first 'feminist' group in Trinidad our understanding of feminism at present
incorporates many brands. The CWP, unlike HATT, began to deal immediately with a
range of issues, many of which were informed by the international socialist feminist
movement and inspired by our readings of our feminist sisters in the metropole. The
kinds of tasks which the CWP set itself were, for instance: to educate men and women
on the origins and manifestation of female oppression in society; to fight for equal
pay for equal work; to speak out against all forms of violence and sexual discrimination
against women; to fight for 24-hour day care centres for working women and humane
maternity benefits and to fight for the legalisation of abortion and the right of women
to have control over their bodies. To carry out these tasks we felt it was also necessary
to build a mass women's movement mobilising mainly working class women who we
felt were the most oppressed as they suffered the double exploitation of female oppression
combined with working class oppression. During the two and one half years of its ex-
tremely active existence, the CWP fought social issues pertaining to women on many
fronts. For instance, we staged a picket of a rather prestigious beauty show, the first
time that a group of women had dared to do such a thing in this society. A great deal
of energy, however, went into attempts to organise working women, women in Trade
Unions, to support women who were striking in the Textile and Garment industry and to
organise women in various urban working class communities around Port-of-Spain.
Looking back on these exercises, one can still admire the idealism which inspired
them but at the same time recognize the reasons why they would fail to mobilise any
real support. It was still too early in the day for women in Trinidad to admit they were
feminists, many women did not wish to run the risk of being stigmatised by joining a
group which was for instance openly advocating abortion on demand. Working-class
women were openly skeptical about the intentions of a bunch of middle-class women -
some of whom according to one group 'dressed in pants like men'. How could we from
our middle-class and privileged positions and in fact many of us were be so presump-
tuous as to tell them how to organise their lives, how to deal with problems with their
men? The urban dweller in Trinidad is too sophisticated and cynical in this respect -
years of political trickery, years of survivalism had bred such a cynicism. We could not
penetrate that barrier in a short while. While we did learn from the experience, in retro-
spect, we were the intruders.
Among the areas in which the CWP began to make inroads though was that of a
general conscientization of the society on issues pertaining to sexual violence and other
legal disabilities which women experienced. A successful public forum was staged on
two Bills being debated in Parliament at that time 1982 the Legal Status of Children
and the Succession Bill. A second public forum on rape was hosted by the CWP at the
Communication Workers Union Hall in Port-of-Spain in May 1982 and the panellists
were lawyers Lynette Seebaran, Carol Gobin and Desmond Allum. While the issue of
sexual violence had clearly affected women in society, there was, until that time, little
attempt to deal with the issue publicly and to engage the sympathies of the legal pro-
fession and an audience of both males and females who still suffered under the impres-
sion that rape victims brought the act on themselves.
The CWP dissolved in August 1983 and by September 1983 another group was
being formed, some from the CWP; others were willing to join the movement but not
anxious to be associated with the image built by the CWP. The thinking behind the
formation of this group (THE GROUP) was also that women should organise autono-
mously around the issues which pertained to them directly rather than be closely linked
to a wider socialist struggle where 'women's issues' got swamped by the 'class struggle'.
This time we had learnt from the lessons of the CWP and attempted to build the new
group and impact on female consciousness by working on the one issue which affected
all women regardless of class, race or age. This was the issue of sexual violence. There
could be no arguments now that we were informed by ideology and not experience, for
sexual violence encapsulated many of the problems being experienced by middle-class
women themselves, whether it was in the form of wife battering, fear of rape, acquaint-
ance rape, incest in their homes, emotional scarring from philandering husbands, deni-
gration in the major art form the calypso, stereotyped media portrayals and so on.
This was a specific issue which THE GROUP could mobilise women around and at the
same time galvanise support for the issues, for no one neither men nor women -
could say it was an issue which did not affect them directly or indirectly.
A struggle survives only if it is rooted in the social reality. No amount of contri-
vance of an issue could win women's support if it did not latch on to something they
immediately identified with. The growing incidence and possibly reporting of rape, and
the willingness of the media to focus a little more sympathetically on the issue began
to have its effect. Not only were the 'feminist' groups willing to deal with this issue but
many of the established and older women's organizations such as the Business and Pro-
fessional Women, the Soroptimists, the Federation of Women's Organisations and the
League of Women Voters all began to be concerned with the issue. But Mrs. Nesta Patrick
recalls that all of this was subtle and toned down before 1982. A public lecture convened
by the League of Women Voters around 1980 with a medical doctor as the speaker to
address the issue of rape drew a very small crowd. "It was as if people were afraid to
speak about things like that," said Mrs. Patrick. "Subjects like that were taboo. We were
discussing the teaching of sex education in schools at the time and people were unwilling
to have their children taught sex education. They wanted to make sure that you had
people who were well respected to deal with the topic."
The daring move of the CWP in 1982 and the fact that three well-respected lawyers
were willing to openly identify and support the issue was significant. THE GROUP
spawned its sister organisation WORKING WOMEN who were also sympathetic to dealing
with the issue of sexual violence but focused moreso on the concerns of working women
in the society. Between 1982 and 1983 there was obvious greater focus on the issue for
by 1983 two high profiled activities were carried out. The first was a seminar on rape at
the Holiday Inn organised by a group of professional women, the other was a television
series of six one-hour programmes entitled "The Issue is Rape" in which various profes-
sionals including doctors, lawyers, the police and journalists were interviewed on the
subject. By the end of 1983, the society had matured to an amazing degree when one
considers that less than two years before such topics could only be discussed behind
closed doors. There was an obvious growing threat to female security as Scrunters's
calypso "Take the Number" and Lady Jane's on rape attest. The willingness of the
community at large police, doctors, lawyers, media personnel and women's organi-
sations to openly debate the issue began a snowball action with respect to sexual
violence in the society, one which continues to this day.
Institutional support from the Family Life desk of the Caribbean Conference of
Churches allowed the establishment of the first Rape Crisis Centre which functioned
on a part-time basis from November 1984 and full-time from 1985. The location of the
Centre on the premises of the Catholic Centre also reinforced religious disapprobation
of sexual violence, thus widening the network of support. The existence of an institution
which works on a full-time basis around one issue will clearly have a greater impact on
a society than sporadic attempts to tackle the problem. Because the issue was being
taken up by articulate and respected professionals from various spheres as well, there
was in fact little hostility to its treatment and although only time and experience will
change deep-rooted myths about rape, incest and wife battering, the last few years
have seen a remarkable change in social attitudes.
The focus on rape as one form of sexual abuse had its obvious effects on other
forms. The question of wife battering began to be taken seriously as well. Much of the
work against violence was focused in north Trinidad with little exposure in the south
apart from that transmitted by the media. The Business and Professional Women (South
Branch) began a project of providing a Halfway Home for Battered Wives, a very costly
undertaking. Their efforts to raise funds for such a home, and to provide counselling and
other services to victims of battering have increased social awareness of the problems
faced by battered wives. This trend has continued in the north as well and there now
exists similar, if limited provision for battered wives at The Shelter in Port-of-Spain.
The best indicator of how the social issue of sexual violence has tapped the widest
consciousness of the movement was the experience of the society during the famous
"Clause 4" debate. A Sexual Offences Bill, a very progressive piece of legislation bringing
all crimes related to sexual offences under one act, was introduced into the country in
1986. When this Bill was distributed for public discussion, there were few comments or
public actions taken on its contents. Among these was a public forum hosted by Working
Women to discuss the Bill. At the earliest Cabinet debate on the Bill, however, Clause 4,
which created a criminal offence of marital rape was immediately thrown out of the Bill.
Enraged public opinion, especially that of a now highly conscientized and vocal female
public, would not take this lying down. There began a fast and furious debate on this
and other aspects of the Bill, fuelled by the media but fed by very articulate letters and
comments to the press. Women from the party in power arranged sit-ins in Parliament
in support of retaining the troublesome clause, International Women's Day celebrators
protested its exclusion in a solidarity march organised for that day, a Sexual Offences
Bill Action committee comprising numerous women's organizations and unions was
formed, and together they presented too strong a dissenting arm to be ignored by the
politicians and law-makers. The clause was reintroduced and passed into the act in a
watered down form but the message had come across strong and clear. First, the
issue of sexual violence had to be taken seriously; second, women had united across
class and ethnic barriers to demand their rights and had proven a force to be reckoned
with; third, they had found support among many men as well and, most importantly,
by having the clause reintroduced, they had again won another battle in the rights for
all women; they had stated that the act of marriage should not in any way interfere with
the right of women to have control over their bodies and lives.
Today we can pat ourselves on the back that many many gains have been achieved.
But where has this landed us? If daily reports in the media are anything to go by, the
violence may have escalated. If the column recently started by the T&T Mirror on
battered wives is to be taken seriously, then there is still a lot of work ahead. Sexual
violence, as we have seen, is clearly part of the wider stream of violence which pervades
the society, and has escalated along with police brutality, armed robberies and child
abuse. As long as this violence continues, so long will that directed against women. As
feminists we now have to ask ourselves, have we once again been guilty of plastering the
sore? How, for instance, can we continue to fight for increased legislation and protection
for female victims of abuse in court when the legal system is itself incapable of effectively
handling any kind of crime? To use an example close to my heart: the Rape Crisis Centre
in Trinidad has had over 250 clients of rape over the past two and one half years. Of
these only eight have been brave enough to seek justice through the court. Due to delays,
corruption and other legal wrangles, none of these will probably ever be resolved.
What I am suggesting is that the movement in Trinidad has to begin now to address
the broader social issues which confront society, while still focusing on the specific
ways in which they affect men and women differently. We cannot continue dealing
with the issue of sexual violence without confronting the overall levels of violence in the
society and the causes of this violence. It is unfortunate that the feminist movement in
Trinidad has developed at a period when other movements have been on the defensive.
Lacking support and direction from other struggles, the women's movement has grown
inward and for this reason has been incapable of dealing with the changing circumstances
of men and women in society in a creative and pragmatic fashion. This may be one
explanation, for instance, as to why the recent campaign by the women against EPZ's
met with such a curious lack of support even from the women they were trying to protect
and from the wider community. For while it may now be considered acceptable for
women to air their grievances about sexual abuse, until such time as the movement
can adopt a similar fervour on other issues which affect the society as a whole, and put
forward viable alternatives for dealing with those issues, it still has a long way to go to
creating a 'humanistic' society. I am sorry to end on such a pessimistic note, but we
are living in hard times. I think the challenge is still very much with us.
* All the following poems read by Merle Collins at the Conference with the exception of "For Jackie"
which was specially written for the Conference, were previously published in the author's collection
of poems entitled Because the Dawn Breaks, Karia Press, London, 1985.
Because the Dawn Breaks
We speak because
When the rain falls in the mountains
The river slowly swells
Comes tumbling down
that would hold their power
against its force
We speak because we dream
We speak for the same reason
that the thunder frightens the child
that the lightning startles the tree
We do not speak to defy your tenets
or to upset your plans
or to tumble your towers of Babel
but in spite of the fact that we do
We speak because we dream
because our dreams
are not sitting in pigpens
in any other body's backyard
not of catching crumbs from tables
not of crawling forever
along the everlasting ant-line
to veer away in quick detour
when the elephant's foot crashes down
not of having to turn back
when the smell of death
assails our senses
not of striving forever
to catch the image of your Gods
within our creation
for the same reason that the flowers
that the sun sets
that the fruit ripens
because temples built to honour myths
when the dawn breaks
There is nothing you can do
about your feeble bridges
when the rain falls in the mountains
and swells the floor of rivers
We speak because we dream
because we are workers
because we are peasants
because we are leaders, you see
and we were not born to be
Mix up like callaloo
Not no watery callaloo
But a thick
Burning you tongue
Wid dem chunk o dumplin
going down nice
an wid coconut
Wid or widdout deaders
As de case may be
As de taste may be
As de pocket may be
But sweet an hot
Dat is what it feel like
To be part of dis Revolution reality
Of dis wakin up reality
Of dis no more hidin you passport
hanging you head
an shufflin you foot
an trying to hide behind
de person in front o you
like little Janet
behind she mudder skirt
when de man ask
Where you from?
playing you don hear
or saying some shit lile
near by Trinidad
A..a..a..a.. few mile
But out loud an bold
like you make de name
And wid you head in de air
because the world is yours
an you know is yours
an you not going be meek
an wait to see
if somebody going let you
inherit de earth
because you know already
so you say loud
an you silent scream
which he musbe hear
because he look up
into you claiming eyes
Dat mean Revolution
Dat mean Progress
Dat mean Forward
Dat mean sharin an
Dat mean a country in the Caribbean
in Latin America
in the Americas
in the struggle
in the world
Dat mean, Comrade
A people like the people
in struggling South Africa
in all dem countries
where de people know
dat though donkey say
de world not level
even donkey herself
musbe does shake he head
when he feel dem bumps
an know how things so hard
for some toe
an so soft for others
All o we
in all of dis world
so mix up like callaloo
an yet so not like callaloo
an dat is why
and de promise of de change
like de soup
when Grannie cover it down dey
and let it consomme
like dat hot
You tink was a easy lesson?
Was a deep lesson
A well-taught lesson
A carefully learnt lesson
I could remember Great Grandmammy
Brain tired an wondering
Mind emptied and filled
And skilfully twisted
By a sin unequalled by their Eve's
living proof of the power of the word
Spoke knowingly of
William the Conqueror
Who was the fourth son of
the Duke of Normandy
he married Matilda
his children were
Mind going back
Teaching what she knew
Pick on de boss frien
On de boss hero
William the Conqueror
Grannie didn remember no Carib chief
No Asante king
Her heroes were in Europe
Not in the Caribbean
Not in Africa
Her Geography was of the Arctic Ocean
and the Mediterranean
She spoke of
And Spitbergin in the Arctic Ocean
And how de Pharoah Islands
belong to Denmark
Spoke knowingly of
the Lomen Islands
and the islands of the Archipelago
in the Mediterranean
Is not no Nansi story, non
Is a serious joke
I used to laugh at Grannie
Repeat after her
Till one day
I check de map
the spellin little different
to how I did think
But the Geography
straight like a arrow
on the Arctic Ocean
Then me blood run cold
As me eyes stay fix on the Arctic circle
And Franz-Josef Land
Watching, Lower down,
The Faeroe Islands
In Denmark Strait
The cold grip of the Arctic
by a cruel trick
My Grannie's mind knew more of this
Than of a Caribbean
Of an Africa
which did not exist
A wandering planet
spun out of orbit
when for an eternal moment
the world went a little too fast
Teach the slaves
and their children
and their children's children
to know and live for our world
No new creation
Just a part of the great
And now, we
understanding all of dat
and a little more
will cherish Grannie's memory
but reckon William their Conqueror
to meet and revere our martyrs
and the countries and principles
they fought for
In this beginning
will rewrite the history books
put William the Conqueror on the back page
Make Morgan their pirate a
Grannie's to come will know
of the Arctic Ocean
But will know more
of the Caribbean Sea
of the Atlantic
will recall with pride
So goodbye, William
Kai-sala se sa'w
Esta es su case
This is your home!
Is de little things I remember
How she would laugh to hell
if she ever thought someone would write
How she would be laughing now
to think that
this thing is a major occupation then?
You don have nothing else to do
Well look me crosses, nuh!
Poet wid a capital P
So she writing poem for me, too, oui!
Is like me death summon up a muse
That me life could reach!
What her going
and our grieving
is the need to sing the praises
of all those everyday strugglers
and so busy struggling just to live
that their analysis of life
is told in the living of it
So to tell you the truth
is the little, little things I remember
Like how she laughed her way
through an ultra-reverent school
How countless friends lost their names
to the nicknames she invented
with her mocking laughter
Is nothing special
Is nothing saintly
Is just the really ordinary
Like so much that is ordinary
How she wore boredom like a badge
through long meetings
how the constant laughter hid the frequent pain
of being non-conformist in a conforming world
of being woman in a man's world
of being lover in an unloving world
of being mother in an unmothering world
Is the little, little, little things
How she worked and laughed
and advised and laughed
How she could be as serious
as exasperating as amusing
Someone said once
Let the dead past bury its dead
or some such thing
and we would have to bring our past alive
to touch the smouldering ashes
of the present
But still perhaps we can begin
with a celebration of the ordinary
the rage in fingers clenched
around the handle of a spade
the chant of revolution in voices singing
Hush baby hush
Mama gone in town
to buy cake an
If the end could be a beginning
then we could say
Is vini nous kai vini
Nous kai we
Nous kai we
Nous kai we
Is come we coming
we going see
we going see
we going see....
VIGILANCE, CONFIDENCE & COALITIONS AN AFTERWORD
We realise that something quite special has been taking place here during this past week.
We have been both witnesses to, and actors in,a new phase of growth of the Caribbean
Women's Movement, a movement which has shown during these few days that it has
the potential to transcend divisions of geography and geo-politics, of class, race, colour,
and ethnicity: it has shown that it can move towards a new level of dynamism and co-
hesion. I do not think we could have predicted this with so much certainty ten years
ago, and so we cannot thank and congratulate Peggy and her great family at WAND enough
for making us part of this important process, a process which has to, which will,continue
after we finish packing catch our planes, and head for home. What we carry back in our
baggage with us is going to be vital to each of us as individuals, and also to us as a people,
a Caribbean people confronted with a most complex array of crises and challenges: we
have listened to some very profound and sobering statements on the nature of those
crises and the magnitude of the challenges; at the same time, we have also heard some
exhilarating words about the possibilities of meeting that challenge; they are possibilities
which came out of the rich mix of Caribbean women's experience of which we have
had such moving and exciting testimony this week. I personally will be taking back
with me a whole lot extracted from that experience, but for ease of packaging I am
putting them more or less in three containers labelled Vigilance, Confidence, and Coali-
tions, Peggy's magic number of three, and I would like to share some of their contents
If, as I believe, we have during these days not only had our hearts touched, but our
wits sharpened, we should have no difficulty in maintaining a constant alert to the
dangers surrounding us. They are many and some are pretty frightening. In contrast to
the 1970s which we saw as a decade of high hopes for women and for the developing
world, the 80s find our mini island states, located as we are in the shadow of the western
super power, in a condition described by Rex Nettleford as one of "deepening depen-
dency". It is a degree of dependency unprecedented since we achieve our so-called
independence. Increasingly we have to inform ourselves of the full dimensions of that
dependency, which is symbolised by the role of those gendarmes of international capitalist
interest, viz., the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and the bitter
medicine which they prescribe for our societies, and which is administered by bankrupt
governments. We will continue on full alert to remain sceptical about what might be seen
as a recent reformist/revisionist trend such as appears to be reflected in a recent IMF
study in May 1988 on fund supported programmes in seven countries of Asia, Africa
and Latin America. Looking at their implications for poverty, the survey made the
remarkable admission that the Fund's stabilisation programme often hurt the poor!
We will remain critical also cf that strategy in particular which is based on the
development of an international proletariat, a massively female third world proletariat.
It is female, because it is perceived as cheap and made easily available for the global
assembly line of Free Trade Zones. Its participation in that labour force is made possible
by the willing alliance of the region's governments.
That economic exploitation of women is accompanied by an ideological onslaught
which is alarming in its intensity and in its multiple thrust. It is transmitted by the
awesome power and penetration of today's media technology. There is the Dallas/Dynasty
consumer culture effectively transforming if not eliminating any distinctive Caribbean
values. There is also the pervasive macho/Rambo syndrome which has captured our
youth, and which cannot be dissociated from the outrageous commercialization and
debasement of women and the rising incidence of sexual abuse of women. Those are the
same media with their cult of materialism and violence which is directing its thrust at
women's spirituality. This is a spirituality which from centuries back in our African
ancestry has been a source of self expression, of strength and of survival. Today's media
evangelists are cynically manipulating that spirituality by delivering their phony back-to-
the-Bible messages: by vulgarly invoking sacred texts in order to formulate definitions
of family and women's roles which are designed to reinforce a new subordination of
women. One does not need to be paranoic to recognize these subtle and not so subtle
manifestations of a virtual counter-revolution whose target is the presumptuous feminist
claims of dignity, autonomy and equality.
At the heart of this reactionary backlash is the rejection of women's claim to
control over their sexuality, over their body, over their reproduction. Such control is
fundamental to women's search for self-determination: it occupies a central place in
their agenda of rights. Its profound implications are reflected in the level of near hysteria
which characterises abortion politics today, for abortion becomes, or is seen as,a sub-
versive act against masculine authority. It is a biological female act over which the male
has little or no control.
This is why it has, for example, become a burning concern of male contributors
to Jamaica's main print media, a most revealing phenomenon. It explains too why it
became one of the three or so critical issues which became a virtual litmus test of eligi-
bility for the office of the President of the United States in its current electoral campaign,
and we know on which side of the issue the winning candidate stands. We are fully
aware too, or should be, of its political, legal, even constitutional significance, not only
nationally for American women, but also its international outreach. So unrelenting
vigilance concerning this and other such issues has to be our guide.
And while keeping our powder dry, let us not be fooled by the soothing words of
governments who almost without exception voice the right slogans about women's
equality, full participation, etc., and smugly, even arrogantly, assume that we have bought
their line: the record of Women's Bureaux as we have heard tells the true tale.
Now our vigilance cannot be vague and unfocused, but has to be charged with,
and directed by, a confidence which I believe this week has served to strengthen: it is
a confidence in the assets we have acquired during the past decade.
And foremost among those assets is the treasury of knowledge which we have
been steadily accumulating in recent years, knowledge about ourselves, our sisters, in
other regions of the Third World, knowledge which we ourselves have been reconstructing
and creating, and, in the process, challenging and redefining conventional wisdom. Our
research and analysis has been perhaps the greatest growth area of the past ten years
of our movement, whether that research comes out of University scholarship or out
of individual collective life experience of our Sistren Theatre Group.
Nesha Hanif reminded us so aptly that we should not shrink from acknowledging
with pride the methodology which increasingly becomes a hallmark of feminist research,
viz., our refusal to banish the personal from the intellectual process, the willingness to
infuse the objective with the affective, and to do so without apology. We know the power
of that penetrating insight which we can bring to abstract theories and paradigms when
we make the person central to developmental analysis. We can confidently assert our
refusal to settle for being inserted into development and instead we assert our right to
define development. And in essence, that confirms our recognition of women's sub-
versive potential, a female quality which has received so much acclaim in the symposium,
striking evidence of our confidence in ourselves.
And that is being fed by our growing confidence in our past, as more and more we
re-discover that submerged past. The personal significance for me in discovering that
rebel woman Nanny has merged into the political, as has indeed the discovery of those
slave mothers who boldly, resourcefully salvaged against all odds their economic, their
reproductive, their cultural identity. And similarly all those sisters who came before us,
and whom we are getting to know through Rhoda's and through Sistren's research. And
here this week the bright and beautiful presence of Jacqui Creft has enriched us through
the talents and the memories of those who knew her. That sense of both distant and
recent past nourishes and strengthens our roots and adds a rich dimension to our other
great source of confidence our numbers. There are large numbers of us, more than of
the other sex, and what is more, we live longer. Numbers count enormously when power
transformation is at stake, and that, of course, is our mission. But numbers do not mean
much if they are fragmented so this takes us to coalitions.
Coalitions of which we have had such a potentially inspiring model in our com-
position here this week, of hucksters and academics, of farmers, trade-unionists, political
activists, disabled women, a glorious callalooo" which promises much for future, sturdy
alliances. These are the kinds of alliances and coalitions which can serve once and for all
to destroy that overworked and often mistaken assumption that women cannot work
together. We have before us the enduring precedent in the Caribbean tradition of domestic
networks of women who supported each other and made survival possible. We envisage
enlarging the alliances within our own organizations, starting in fact here in our own
University where we need to reduce an unnatural distinction between the extra-mural
work of WAND and the intra-mural work of Women and Development Studies: and this
will be to our mutual gain. We must work also for regional alliances, not paper alliances,
but working and sharing alliances, where informational material, for example, moves from
one territory to another and enlarges the effectiveness of each individual territory's
work: Trinidad's film on rape, for instance,had such a major impact on Jamaican audiences.
We need also to think sensitively and creatively about coalitions with men. In the faculties
of the University of the West Indies we find that more and more of the male colleagues
are stimulated by the new scholarship which is opening up fresh intellectual horizons
and we encourage this involvement. Recently at a meeting on women's health in Brazil,
where hundreds of obstetricians and gynaecologists the majority of them male met,
the controversial issue of that abortion pill RU486 received a major input from the
collective action of men and women concerned with giving women the maximum free-
dom over their reproductive rights.
Finally, none of our issues are either island specific or even region specific, because
we live in an interdependent planet, and whether the issue is debt, environment, drugs,
free trade zones, or reproductive rights, our international coalitions' are fundamental
to our progress in the coming ten years. When this present phase of the modern women's
movement began to gain visibility in the early 1970s, the concept of global sisterhood
seemed a kind of naive, wishful thinking; today it has more meaning. We have learnt
that sisterhood is not born full-blown, it has to grow, sometimes painfully; but with
mutual respect, the willingness to listen and to learn, we can consciously and courageously
confront those barriers of race, of class, of nationality, of political persuasions, which
can divide us.
I close on a personal note: one of the most demanding and agonising professional
experiences which I had was that of the responsibility for the question of Palestine in
the United Nations, the most volatile and intractable issue on the United Nations' agenda
since its very foundation: there is no question on which side of that issue I saw myself,
knowing and understanding something of the condition of the dispossessed. Only recently
I was touched to see on my television screen, images of Israeli women in black, who
every Friday take their strong, courageous and almost isolated stand in the public places
of Jerusalem, making their moving appeal for an end to occupation, unquestionably
influenced by that silent, courageous and stunning example of the Argentinian women
in the dark days of their military dictatorship.
That image remains.
So as we close these wonderful three days, let us celebrate, reflect, and re-charge
for the next ten years. The reward can only be one of collective power.
FINDINGS OF THE PANEL DISCUSSION
AN OVERVIEW OF CHANGING STRATEGIES
This was presented under three sections:
* National Machineries
* Women and Development Studies, UWI
* WAND Extra Mural
From the discussion, it was clear that National Machineries Women's Desks -while demon-
strations of goodwill by Governments, had not succeeded in meaningfully addressing women's needs.
The majority had retreated from the role of channelling women's issues to Government into
actually organising groups around income-generation.
There is a need for greater linkages between Women's Bureaux and NGO's and community
organizations. The Bureaux should engage in greater policy-oriented activity.
WOMEN AND DEVELOPMENT STUDIES UWI
The Women's Studies Programme, an initiative of WAND is now located in all campuses of the
Funding the programme has:
a. emphasised the regional nature of the problems Caribbean women face
b. established wider links outside the Campus
c. created a pool of skills within the group which is now available in the wider Caribbean
d. given greater visibility to women and made research/study on women a respectable
area of work.
WAND's approach has changed over the years in response to its own growing awareness of the
needs of women in the region, the emergence of other related programmes and the Unit's analysis of
the socio-economic context in which it operated. The initial programme activities of WAND were to:
* strengthen National Machineries
* give assistance in programme and project development.
The approach was sometimes rather "ad hoc". It needed to be more specific and elicit factors
affecting women with respect to gender and class.
The next phase of WAND's outreach dealt with integrating women in development through
the "bottom up" process, empowering people at community level; and influencing policy-makers
in the effort in the areas of agriculture and community development, for example.
A Training of Trainers programme was instituted in 1984. This was a regional programme to
work with key sectors extension staff, women and men working at local level.
Some attention was also paid to the development of skills among young people through the
"People of Tomorrow" programme, which sought to use the media to develop employment potential
among the youth.
PANEL 2 STRATEGIES OF RELIGIOUS-AFFILIATED WOMEN'S GROUPS
Speakers came from the YWCA, the Anglican Mothers' Union and the Hindu and Rastafari
faiths. There was a high level of organisation of women in these groups, though with certain organisa-
Their projects included income-generation, training in child-care, provision of services and
demonstrations of support to individual women in times of crisis.
It was clear, however, that there were levels of discrimination among themselves based on
marital status and class. In the wider society, there was discrimination on the grounds of religion;
a particular example is the case of Rastafari women. Women are making efforts to break out of some
of the bondages of particular religions which restrict their freedom of choice in dress and sexuality,
for example. Women in religious organizations shared the problem of women in other organizations,
of having their wishes articulated through men.
In some cases, they had not achieved equality in terms of position in the church, for example,
to become "Priests" if they wished.
PANEL 3 STRATEGIES OF PRODUCTION-BASED WOMEN'S GROUPS
The experience of a Hucksters' Association, a Trade Union, Farmers' Union and a Women's
Construction Collective were shared. Interventions were also made by representatives of a Teachers'
Union and an Association for the Disabled.
The Hucksters' Association and the Farmers' Union offer support to their membership through
provisions of markets, marketing skills, financial assistance and training.
In relation to the Hucksters' Association it was stated that there were no problems with gender.
However, participants noted that the overall social structure discriminated against hucksters who are
mainly women and that the leadership of the Hucksters' Association was mainly male.
In the case of the Farmers' Union, most of the membership was male. In some cases, the
barrier of religion prevented both male and female farmers from becoming members of the Union,
e.g. Seventh Day Adventists. The acceptance by women of their traditional representation through
males also led to the wives in farming families not joining the Union.
The OWTU is very militant in struggling for good working conditions for all its membership.
However, it was clear from the discussion that women in the society are structured into particular
work categories, and this structure itself needs to be examined within the context of discrimination.
It was noted that, despite this, the Union had been able to win certain gains for women, e.g. day care
Participants felt that the question of economic security or pension benefits for women was
not sufficiently explored, since women generally draw lower wages than men and pension was based
on wages earned.
The Women's Construction Collective in Jamaica brought women into a traditionally male
area of employment. There were problems, however, with levels of control by the membership and
general organisational growth.
The Association for the Disabled was at present setting up a project to produce furniture. The
need was seen for disabled women to be organised separately in order for their special needs to be
The St. Lucia Teachers' Union cited a case of discrimination in existing.legislation under
which unmarried teachers were not granted maternity leave, but were suspended on their first preg-
nancy and fired on their second. There was need to offer support.
PANEL 4 STRATEGIES OF PARTY-RELATED GROUPS
The panellists pointed to wide experiences of organising within the various parties, fulfilling
general party roles, usually assigned to them by the men. There tended to be strict adherence to the
Party's agenda, to the detriment of outreach to other women and women's organizations.
The level of work done among and by women also tended to "ebb" and "flow" with the
Party's fortunes. Women wanted to be an autonomous grouping, and not seen as an appendage to the
Party. It was recommended that women pay attention to themselves as sisters, and demonstrate their
spirit of caring and sharing to one another.
PANEL 5 STRATEGIES OF FEMINIST ORGANIZATIONS
These organizations had made a critical analysis of women's oppression and subordination
in its various forms and had decided to address them with the aim of empowering women and chang-
ing their subordination and exploitation within the social structure, in other words, addressing their
The result was programmes geared towards women's understanding of these forms of oppression
and programmes of activity that addressed both practical and strategic needs.
There was, however, a limitation in people's understanding of the term feminist, causing a
barrier to the Movement.
ANALYSIS OF ISSUES
On the final day of the Consultation a Summary of the Findings was presented. The issues
raised were classified under the following headings, discussed in group sessions and the recommenda-
tions from the group were reviewed in plenary sessions. Points included the need to address strategies,
as well as practical gender needs, to redefine notions of power, to explore and share new and creative
ways of structuring organizations, to reach out to each other across the barriers of race and class,
and to address the special needs of disabled women and the parents of disabled children, as well as of
aging and women.
At the end of the Consultation it was agreed to release a Statement of the Consultation and to
pass two specific resolutions:
a. to the St. Lucia Government and other Caribbean Governments on the issue of maternity leave
for unmarried teachers.
b. supporting the concerns of disabled women in particular, and disabled people in general.
The resolution re unmarried female teachers pointed out that the St. Lucia Government is now
hostile to the right of unmarried teachers to be mothers, as demonstrated in a clause of the 1977
Teaching Service Regulations which:
suspended unmarried teachers who were pregnant for the first time
gave them no automatic right of reinstatement unless they were married
fired unmarried teachers who got pregnant for the second time.
The resolution called on the Government of St. Lucia to end discrimination against unmarried
female teachers who wished to be mothers and to give them the same benefits as married teachers
who were mothers. It also called on other Caribbean Governments with similar discriminatory legisla-
tion to remove it from their books.
The resolution re disabled women called on Governments, women's organizations and all
development agencies of the region to accept the need to eliminate all forms of discrimination against
disabled people in general and women in particular, so that they might enjoy and have access to
resources which would ensure their development as independent, fully-functioning participants and
contributors to society.
THE HASTINGS (BARBADOS) STATEMENT OF WOMEN
November 9 11,1988
Ten years ago we were seeking recognition and integration. Today, we are seeking transformation
The dreams of ten years ago have become nightmares. When we said "More employment" for
women, we did not mean Free Trade Zones.
We have begun to look at the realities which have taken us beyond the need for mere survival
to those that enhance the dignity of human life, and which recognize the value of women's contri-
These were some of the conclusions which came out of the Consultation held on the occasion
of WAND's Tenth Anniversary. The Consultation was held in Barbados from November 7 to 11, 1988.
Caribbean women came together to examine the present crisis and the challenges to the regional
women's movement. We were joined by our sisters from other countries. We were from different
religious persuasions the Rastafari, Hindu and Christian. We were drawn from different non-govern-
ment and government institutions.
Some of us were trade unionists, teachers, social workers, feminists, hucksters, political activitists,
farmers and academics.
Despite our varying political, religious, class and social backgrounds, as women, WE AFFIRM
our continued commitment to determine a development path which is in our best interest and that of
the future generations.
The Consultation has provided the opportunity for renewal and deepening of our collective
consciousness as sisters. It has inspired us to strengthen our collective action at national and regional
We agreed that the quality of life in the region has continued to deteriorate. In the process
women more than men are adversely affected. We are facing greater levels of unemployment, we
suffer most by the cut-back in services.
We are forced to seek migration as an alternative and we are losing our nurses, doctors, teachers
and other skilled persons. Drug trafficking is on the increase undermining the fabric of our societies.
Just as our economies are becoming more externally controlled, so too has there been more
control in our daily lives. We are subject to greater violence and abuse from men and heightened
exploitation in the media. Our religions are being used to induce passivity and to immobilise us; and
the Governments of our region dominated by men display little vision or commitment to our countries,
and to our women. Yet, we as women continue to be the "bearers of wood and drawers of water"
to put them in power.
We, the women of the region, will continue to work towards a just and humane society in
which the potential of all our people can be realized, and in which we as women will achieve full
emancipation. We believe that we have to take a central role in the shaping of this process.
We demand and are pledged to more effective participation at all levels in decision-making
that affects our lives.
We see the need for analysis and planning that always takes into account how things affect
men and women differently.
We recognize that we must educate our men and call on them to examine and transform their
attitudes and behaviour towards women and their families.
We see the critical need for building alliances and co-operation among ourselves, encouraging
and assisting the majority of women who are unorganised to strengthen our voices with theirs.
We declare triumphantly that we have collective strength to roll away the great stone and be
shapers of our own destiny.
Rawwida Baksh-Sooden Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA)
Josephine Dublin CAFRA
Marja Naarendorp CAFRA
Magda Pollard CARICOM Secretariat
Sonia Cuales ECLAC
Elaine Rainford YWCA
Hubert Williams CDB
Rosalind St. Victor PAHO
Adrian Fraser CARIPEDA
Arah Hector Antigua Women's Movement, Women for Caribbean Liberation
Sybil Francis UWI
Joycelin Massiah ISER, UWI
Rhoda Reddock ISER, UWI
Patricia Mohammed Women and Development Studies
Helen Pyne-Timothy Women and Development Studies, UWI
Hilary Robertson-Hickling Women and Development Studies, UWI
Eleanor Wint Women and Development Studies, UWI
National Organisations and Individuals
Pauline Crawford SISTREN
Joan French SISTREN
Rebecca Knowles SISTREN
Joan Ross-Frankson SISTREN
Linda Edwards-Romain Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation
Undine Gollop Mothers' Union
Carmeta Napoleon DLP League of Women
Millicent Small National Union of Public Workers, Barbados
Margaret McGann Belize Rural Women's Association
Diane Haylock Belize Organisation for Women and Development
Ellen Fabian Small Projects Assistance Team, Dominica
Norecn John Small Projects Assistance Team, Dominica
Natalie Giroudel Dominica Disabled People's Association
Heather O'Garro Dominica Hucksters' Association, Guyana
Merle Collins Poet, Grenada
Indra Chandrapal Women's Progressive Organisation
Jean Craigwell Women and Development Studies, University of Guyana
Lynnette Anderson Women and Development Studies, University of Guyana
Andaiye Red Thread, Guyana
Peta-Ann Baker Association of Development Agencies, Jamaica
Sandra Francis Women's Construction Collective, Jamaica
Barbara Gloudon Communications Consultant, Jamaica
Lorna Goodison Poet, Jamaica
Alafia Samuel Association of Women's Organisations, Jamaica
Linnette Vassell Organisation of Women for Progress, Jamaica
Dorienne Wilson-Smillie Formerly of the Women and Development Programme,Common-
wealth Secretariat, UK
Vercen Thomas Montserrat Allied Workers' Union
Gwen Nesbitt Ministry of Women's Affairs, St. Kitts
Cynthia Satney St. Lucia Teachers' Union
Earlene Home St. Vincent Farmers' Union
Nelcia Robinson National Council of Women, St. Vincent
Chaddis Stapleton Rose Hall Community Working Group, St. Vincent
Wendy Seale Caribbean Development Bank, Barbados
Brenda Gopee-Singh Hindu Women's Association, Trinidad
The Group, Trinidad
- Oilfield Workers' Trade Union, Trinidad
- Starr Productions, Trinidad
- Brandeis University, Cambridge, USA
- Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Canada
Please note (1) that individuals do not necessarily represent their organisation.
(2) At the OWTN's request two other members participated in addition to their representative; these
were Mynie Sirjue and Sharon Waldron.
Invitees Who Were Unable To Attend
- Food Crop Farmers' Association, Barbados
- Barbados Labour Party Women's League
- Trinidad and Tobago
- SISTREN, Jamaica
- Barbados Permanent Representative to UN
- Caribbean Institute of Mass Communications
Former Programme Officer, CARNEGIE Corporation of N.Y.
Caribbean Network for Integrated Rural Development
Nancy St. John
Please note that all participants at the Consultation also attended the Symposium
Makeda Silvera SISTER VISION, Canada
Saskia Wieringa Institute of Social Studies, Holland
Social Welfare Training Centre, Jamaica
Department of Youth and Community Services, St. Lucia
"The Vincentian", St. Vincent
University of Michigan, USA
Extra Mural Tutor, Antigua
Department of Extra Mural Studies, Jamaica
Members of WAND Advisory Committee
Geoffrey Brown Soci
Egbert Lionel Depa
Representatives from DAWN & PACCA
Hammeda Hossain DAV
Neuma Aguiar DAV
Carmen, Diana Deere PAC
Helen Safa PAC
Robert Start PAC
Representatives of International Agencies
Beth Woroniuk MAT
Jan Van Der Raad COS
Michelle Heisler Ford
Kathy McAfee OXF
Atherton Martin The
Betty Russell UNI'
al Welfare Training Centre
irtment of Youth and Community Services, St. Lucia
Development Gap, USA
Lionheart Gal, by Sistren (with Honor Ford-Smith), The Women's Press Ltd., London,
This book is an excellent collection of tales of the lives of Jamaican women. It presents
us with insights into the interaction between the women and their men as well as with
their extended family. It informs us about the exploitation these women suffered at the
hands of the society, but most of all at the hands of the men in their lives. The women,
whose lives we read about in the books, are the women of the SISTREN Theatre Col-
lective; a group of thirteen working-class women, and two other women, who might be
The book is divided into seventeen main sections which include an introduction,
fifteen stories, the glossary and notes. Apart from the stories entitled 'Grandma's Estate'
and 'Red Ibo', the stories are essentially written in patois, but are readily understood
because they are lively and compelling. For those readers truly uninitiated in patois
the glossary and notes will prove to be invaluable tools.
'Rebel Pickney', the first story is about a young girl growing up in a poor rural
district. She has fears of ghosts and of her father, of whom she says: "my fada no believe
inna no discipline at all, but murderation. Just pure beating". She does not reject him
completely though, as she also says of him: "He was a hard working man". She tells
us that her father, like so many rural people of the time, saw education as secondary,
and adds: "During crop time we no know nottin bout schooling for Papa want we fi
cook in di field or fi carry di mulch. We never go to school more dan so anyway. ."
The life of the 'Rebel Pickney' is not too different from the lives of ten others of the
story-tellers who have rural origins. In 'Country Madda Legacy', Cammy's father shows
his reluctance to educate his daughter and says, "Cho! Me nah spend no money pon
gal pickney, because dem a go look man. .. mek she go do sewing." We see this reluc-
tance to educate girls again in 'Me Own Two Hands', where the story-teller's mother
states, "me nah spen no money on gal pickney". This is a continuing thread through the
stories with the rural background, where we note that the true value and potential of
women in the society appear to go unrecognized and unnurtured. There is no glorification
of the rural life for these story-tellers. Indeed, most from their early years appear to
have wanted to escape from it, as we see in 'Rebel Pickney' and 'Country Madda Legacy'
In the latter, Cammy, the story-teller, rejects rural life, "It a hard life. . Inna country
you haffi do some breed a back breaking wuk", she states.
The nature of male-female relationship occupies much of what is discussed in
this book. In 'Rock Stone a River Bottom', Bess tells us that her mother had always
warned her about the fickle nature of men, her mother having been jilted on more than
Bess is indeed fortunate that at least she is provided with some warning about men
and there is some discussion about the male-female relationship. This is in contrast to
many of the other women in the stories, for example, Prudence in the story 'Crisis Miss'
and the story-teller in 'Me Own Two Hands'. The story-teller in the latter story did not
understand issues about "sex and those things", and became pregnant in her early teens.
The issue of sexuality is critical in this book, as it is mentioned in one form or
another by all the story-tellers, and all the working class story-tellers became pregnant
while still in their teens. 'Ava's Diary' tells us exactly how young she was when she
became pregnant, as a year had not yet passed since her graduation from primary school;
and in less than another year she had become pregnant a second time.
The colour question comes across very forcefully in 'Rock Stone a River Bottom'.
Here, Bess' mother is scandalized because of her daughter's choice of a baby-father:
"A black man! Wid rolly-polly black pepper head!... Furthermore me no want di pickney
inna me yard. . Cause the faada not even have a little colour." Doreen in 'The Emanci-
pation of a Household Slave' makes reference to issues of colour when she notes that the
people in the tenement yard ridiculed her because of her colour, stating "Jessam! Him
black sah!". The colour issue is again raised in 'Me Own Two Hands', in 'Granma's Estate'
and 'Red Ibo'. In 'Granma's Estate' the issues of colour and class are real to the family
and are frequently discussed. For example, the story-teller's grandmother reminds her
that she "only looks white . ." Also when she refers to women who sell in the market
as market ladies, her grandmother corrects her by telling her that "They are women",
Gender differences in pay and type of job allocated are identified in 'Country
Madda Legacy'. Here, our story-teller notes "Dem hire men fi dig yam hill and fi dig
di land, but di women always haffi weed di grass and dem pay cheaper fi dat". The
differential treatment meted out to women does not go unnoticed by our story-teller
in 'A Working Woman' who says "dem treat all workers bad, but dem take advantage
when yuh is a woman".
The subtle issue of differential treatment of women to their disadvantage is a major
concern of the story-teller in 'Red Ibo'. With regard to the assessment of work done
by women and work done by men in an organization in which she was involved, the
story-teller complains as follows: "Even so I felt that it was unfair that with all these
domestic burdens our women's 'public' work was assessed in the same way as that of the
people who took on no domestic responsibility". Even in the union in which our story-
teller was very involved, she had reason to criticize the ". . contradictions in the way
women were treated".
Domestic violence in the society is dramatically captured in some of the stories.
Some of the violence is perpetrated by mother against child, father against child, older
sibling against the younger but occurs most frequently in the adult male-female relation-
ship. Some of our story-tellers are unwilling victims of this violence, unable to escape
while others rebel, for example, Barbara in 'Di Flower Vase'. Others are able to escape
the violence through legal action as in 'Ava's Diary'. Ava decides to report her woman-
beating boyfriend to the police. This she is able to do only because of the strength
she gains and the support she finds in her association with the "group of women". She
takes action but is at pains to remind her readers that women suffer additionally in
this regard because the police do not really take domestic violence very seriously.
The danger of life in the ghetto in the context of political tribalism is beautifully
caught in the two stories 'Veteran by Veteran', and 'Foxy and Di Macca Palace War'.
Life is hard in the ghetto, where there is unemployment compounded by the exploitation
by men and by the fear entrenched in the system of landmisses (landlords); but life is
endangered further by the political gunmen who prey upon the people of the ghetto.
The book bares all; nothing is withheld. The story-tellers in it reach right down into
their souls to give us stories which help us to really understand the lives of women in
Jamaica, especially those women who do not usually have a public forum. It raises the
issues of colour and class, unemployment, migration, domestic violence, exploitation of
women in the home and at the workplace, and numerous other issues which women
have to grapple with daily in Jamaica. It is a must for all readers, and it most definitely
is an important contribution to the literature on Women in the Caribbean.
JOAN M. RAWLINS
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
is Tutor-Co-ordinator of WAND, Barbados
is Professor of Extra-Mural Studies, University of the West
is Research Fellow of the Institute of Social and Economic
Research, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.
is Research Fellow of the Institute of Social and Economic
Research, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.
is a well-known Grenadian poet.
is regional co-ordinator of WAND's Studies programme,
University of the West Indies, Mona.
(Review of these books are invited. Interested persons should write the Editors quoting
the titles) or the books) concerned prior to reviewing them).
Inside Development in Latin America: A Report from the Dominican Republic, Columbia,
and Brazil, by James Lang, published by The University of North Carolina Press, P.O. Box
2288, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514, USA, June 24, 1988, pp. 307, Price US$13.75
(paperback), US$41.25 (clothbound).
Coolie Odyssey, by David Dabydeen, Edited by C.J. Hogben, published by Hansib/
Dangaroo Press, P.O. Box 186, Coventry CV4 7HG, United Kingdom, February 1988,
pp. 49, Price UKC3.95
Biographical Dictionary of Latin American and Caribbean Political Leaders, Edited by
Robert J. Alexander, published by Greenwood Press Inc., 88 Post Road West, Box
5007, Westport, Connecticut 06881, USA, June 1988, pp. 509, Price US$75.00.
Reflections Through Time, by S.B. Jones-Hendrickson, published by Eastern Caribbean
Institute, P.O. Box 1338, 40 EG Lagrange, Frederiksted, Virgin Islands 00841, first print-
ing 1989, pp. 32, N/P.
Mercy Ward (Poems), by Ian McDonald, published by Peterloo Poets, 2 Kelly Gardens,
Calstock, Cornwall PL18 9SA, Great Britain, 1988, pp. 72, N/P.
Tom Adams: A Biography, by F.A. Hoyos, published by Macmillan Caribbean, Hound-
mills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 2XS, England. July 1988, pp. 198, Price UK5.50.
V.S. Naipaul: A Materialist Reading, by Selwyn R. Cujoe, published by the University
of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, Massachusetts 01004, USA, October 1988, pp. 287,
Price US$13.95 (paperback), US$32.50 (hardcover).
Afro-Caribbean Villages in Historical Perspectives, Edited by Charles V. Carnegie, Published
by The African-Caribbean Institute of Jamaica, Roy West Building, 12 Ocean Boulevard,
Kingston Mall, Jamaica. W.I., August 1988, pp. 133, Price J$50.00, US$10.00, UK7.00.
Revolution and Reaction: Bolivia 1964-1985, by James M. Malloy, and Eduardo Gamara,
published by Transaction Books, Rutgers The State University, New Brunswick, New
Jersey 08903, USA, July 1988, pp. 256, Price US$29.95 (clothbound).
Critical Perspectives on Leon Gontran Damas, by Keith Q. Warner, published by Three
Continents Press, 1636 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Suite 501, Washington, D.C. 20009,
USA, May 24, 1988, pp. 178, Price US$15.00 (paperback), US$25.00 (clothbound).
Production, Distribution, and Growth in Transitional Economies, by M. Katherine
Perkins, published by Praeger Publishers, A Division of Greenwood Press, Inc., 1 Madi-
son avenue, New York, New York 10010, USA, pp. 150, Price US$39.95.
War, Cooperation, and Conflict: The European Possessions in the Caribbean, 1939-1945,
by Fitzroy Andre Baptiste, publsihed by Greenwood Press Inc., 88 Post Road West, Box
5007, Westport, Connecticut 06881, USA, 1988, pp. 351, N/P.
Guatemala's Political Puzzle, by Georges A. Fauriol & Eva Loser, publsihed by Trans-
action Books, Rutgers The State University, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903, USA,
September 1988, pp. 127, Price US$24.95 (clothbound).
Puerto Rico's Statehood Movement, by Edgardo Melendez, published by Greenwood
Press Inc., 88 Post Road West, Box 5007, Westport, Connecticut 06881, USA, October
1988, pp. 194, Price US$37.95.
Political Economy in Haiti: The Drama of Survival, by Simon M. Fass, published by
Transaction Books, Rutgers The State University, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903,
USA, July 1988, pp. 369, Price US$34.95 (clothbound).
Haiti and the United States, by J.M. Dash, published by Macmillan Press, Houndmills,
Basingstoke, Hamsphire RG21 2XS, London, England, August 4, 1988, pp. 152, Price
From Dessalines to Duvalier, by David Nicholls, published by Macmillan Caribbean,
Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 2XS, London, England, December 1988, pp.
Work and Labor in Early America, Edited by Stephen Innes, published by The University
of North Carolina 27515-2288, USA, February 25, 1989, pp. 297, Price US$10.95
(paperback), US$32.95 (clothbound).
Between God and the Party: Religion and Politics in Revolutionary Cuba, by John M.
Kirk, published by University of South Florida Press, 15 NW 15th Street, Gainesville,
Florida 32603, USA, January 1989, pp. 231, Price US$15.00 (paperback), US$22.00
Voices in Exile: Jamaican Texts of the 18th & 19th Centuries (2 Books), Edited by Jean
D'Costa & Barbara Lalla, published by the University of Alabama Press, P.O. Box 2877,
University Alabama 35486, USA, 1989, pp. 157 each, Price US$24.50 each.
The Barbados-Carolina Connection, by Warren Alleyne & Henry Fraser, published by
Macmillan Caribbean, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 2XS, London, England,
January 1989, pp. 74, Price UK3.95.
Loggerhead (Poems), by Gloria Escoffery, published by Sandberry Press, Debrosse, Red-
man, Black & Company, 8 College Close, Kingston 7, Jamaica, W.I., 1988, pp. 48, N/P.
Semper Fidel America & Cuba 1776-1988, by Michael J, Mazarr, published by The Nau-
tical and Aviation Publsihing Company of America, 101 W. Read Street, Suite 314,
Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA, 1988, pp. 521, Price US$24.95.
The Caribbean After Grenada: Revolution, Conflict and Democracy, Edited by Scott B.
MacDonald, Harold M. Sandstrom, and Paul B. Goodwin, Jr., published by Praeger Pub.
lishers, A Division of Greenwood Press, Inc., 1 Madison Avenue, New York, New York
10010, USA, 1988, pp. 287, Price US$45.95.
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