S Caribbean Quarterly
Volume 42, No. 4
Caliban Speaks Five Hundred Years Later
Caribbean Cultural Aesthetics: A New York Experience
Paradise Lost: A Planner's View
of Jamaican Tourism Development
Walking on Our Ears:
Psychology, Personality and Culture
A Cross-Cultural Perspective
Richard A. Detweiler
Dependency Politics: The Quality of Parliamentary Governance
in the British Virgin Islands
Sir Shridath Ramphal
VOLUME 42, No. 4
(Copyright reserved and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.)
Caliban Speaks Five Hundred Years Later 1
Caribbean Cultural Aesthetics: A New York Experience 11
C aribbeing 19
Paradise Lost: A Planner's View of Jamaican Tourism
Walking on Our Ears: Psychology, Personality and Culture -
A Cross-Cultural Perspective 32
Dependency Politics The Quality of Parliamentary Governance
in the British Virgin Islands 50
Sir Sirdath Ramphal
Review Article 70
BOOK REVIEWS 75
Books Received 78
INFORMATION FOR CONTRIBUTORS 82
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS 83
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES
The lion. R.M.Nettleford, O.M.., Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor of
Continuing Studies, Mona-(Editor)
(.M. Richards, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Principal, SI. Augustine, Trinidad
Roy Augier, Professor of History, Mona, Jamaica
Sir Keith Ilunte, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Principal, Cave Hill.
Neville McNorris, Department of Physics, Mona
Veronica Salter, School of Continuing Studies, Mona (Managing Editor)
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Tutor at the University Centre in any West Indian Territory served by this Univer-
Caribbean Quarterly, Volume 41, number 4, here pulls together a number of
issues that summon the energy and attention of scholars, opinion leaders, public officials
and commentators. They are all of deep cultural significance in a society that is conscious
of the need for re-definition.
The environment of power, in terms of the access to political sovereignty and the
maintenance of democratic governance, remains on the agenda despite the widespread
enjoyment of Independence status throughout the region. Howard Fergus's "Dependency
Politics: The Quality of Parliamentary Governance in the British Virgin Islands"
examines the implications for the acquisition of the status by one of the few remaining British
dependencies in the region, pointing out that it takes more than an abundance of money-
wealth to qualify for the status and to achieve quality performance in the practice of
The presence of rich intellectual resources is itself a significant contributor as well,
to such achievement and Sir Shirdath Ramphals's "World Language: Opportunities,
Challenges, Responsibilities", is a spirited account of the contribution of the region to the
development of language, giving to English varieties that are "the enriched products of
processes of transplantation and cross-fertilization that themselves derived from the exigen-
cies and incidents of history, from settlements, conquests, European wars and rivalry deals
on one hand to the King James version of the Bible (1611) and Shakespeare on the other"
The Caribbean as source of cultural energy is addressed by the remaining essays
in this issue of the journal. Roberto Retamar, in the first article, "Caliban Speaks Five
Hundred Years Later", speaks through Caliban, particularly on the rise of capitalism
parading as Western culture and the devastating consequences for the two-thirds world. He
ends with a plea for a real encounter, a real discovery 500 years later, of ourselves-as
inhabitants() of humanity, the only real mother country" Two papers on Caribbean
aesthetics follow; Winston Huggins paper Caribbean Cultural Aesthetics: A New York
Experience" examines the development of art forms, particularly the plastic and visual art
of video/film from African/Caribbean origins culminating in discussion of the relationship
that exists between Postmodernism and Interculturalism. Yao Ramesar addresses film-mak-
ing, from a Caribbean perspective in his article Caribbeing: Cultural Imperatives and
the Technology of Motion Picture Production" He emphasises the need for consolidat-
ing existing film technologies with our cultural requirements and assets not least among
them the Caribbean sun as light source. He advocates the development of filters for filming
dark skin tones and even of saltwater resistant cameras. Brian Hudson, "Paradise Lost?
A Planner's view of Jamaican Tourism Development" writes on one example of rampant
capitalism cited in Retamar's essay the destruction of the environment, a concern of
moment in the light of increased interest in "heritage tourism" "On Walking on Our Ears:
Psychology, Personality and Culture A Cross-Cultural Perspective", by Richard
Detweiler is a reproduction of the address the author gave in the UWI Distinguished Lecture
Series. After examining cross-cultural psychological perspectives he concludes with a plea
for us to solve the dilemmas which are divisive.
A review article by Obika Gray, and book reviews complete this issue.
Caliban Speaks Five Hundred Years Later*
ROBERTO FERNANDEZ RETAMAR
In accordance with the invitation I received, I will speak about Caliban,
and frequently through him. Years ago I proposed mythical Sycorax's son as an
image of the culture pertaining to what Jose Marti called "our America", which
has world-wide roots. But the powerful "concept-metaphor" (to use Gayatri
Chakravorty Spivak's words) of Caliban (a concept-metaphor, I insist, an instru-
ment for understanding, by no means just a name in a play) will refer in these pages
not only to Latin America and the Caribbean but, as has so frequently been the case,
to the wretched of the earth as a whole, whose existence has reached a unique
dimension since 1492.
My task here, as I have announced, is to speak through Caliban, not always
necessarily about him. This is what Caliban's eye 's see, what Caliban's voice says
five hundred years later. After all, it is the look and not the looked-at object that
implies maturity. That look's genuineness, to mention an example from another
important zone ofthe world, explains the fact that there is not a more English writer
than he whose stories take place not only in his small country but also in Verona,
in Venice, in Rome, in Denmark, in Athens, in Troy, in Alexandra, on the tempest-
ridden shores of the American Mediterranean, in bewitched forests, in the night-
mares induced by the lust forpower, in the heart, in madness, nowhere, everywhere.
Now, halfa millennium after 1492, let us put an end to the already boring
sport of going back five hundred years and take part in the less frequent one of
going back a millennium. Europe in 992 was quite a poor little thing, wasn't she?
Just as the Egyptians, at the time they practiced a millenary Egyptocentrism, looked
over their shoulders at the to them child-like and impure Greeks, in what other
manner could the refined Arabs or Byzantines (perhaps the very refined Chinese
and certainly the Mayas did not even suspect that the rudimentary Europeans
existed), in what other manner, I was saying, could they consider their blurry and
insignificant coeval Europeans?
And if this was so, how is reality such a different matter only one thousand
years later? Once more 1492 must be mentioned. It is a relevant date because
Columbus' arrival in this Hemisphere, unlike Leif Ericcon's five hundred years
before, was part of a vast project burgeoning in a zone of the European society of
the time. It is well known that what was teeming in the 1492 European society was
capitalism, which among other things, needed for its development the pitiless
plundering of the rest of the planet. But as "capitalism" or "bourgeois society"
were not very beautiful names, some of its European-born intellectuals, those busty
Ariels, stimulated names of geographical origins, but with the prestige of imperial
and ecclesiastical glitter: "The West", "Western world" or "Western culture" are
the robes with which capitalism parades itself.
In relation to the birth of capitalism, several facts must be pointed out. First,
that the European invasion of America following 1492; the conquest and the
genocide, monstrous as they all are; the millions wrenched from Africa, and later
from other places, enslaved and sent to work like beasts; the diverse ulterior ways
of direct or indirect exploitation: all this played (and some are still playing) a
decisive role in the growth of capitalism, of the West, whose roots could not have
been more cruel. Time, a magazine not given to radicalism, published in the Autumn
of 1992 a special issue titled Beyond the Year 2000: What to Expect in the New
Millennium. One can there read:
"The triumph of the West was in many ways a
bloody shame a story of atrocity and rapine, of
arrogance, greed and ecological despoliation, of
hubristic contempt for other cultures and intoler-
ance of non-christian faiths."
Only one point should be altered in these eloquent lines: the use of the past
tense. Such "a bloody shame" is not only what was: it is also what is West's history,
as it was suffered yesterday, and is being suffered today, by the rest of the planet.
Second, that in spite of the evidence that the first Europeans to settle in
America were Iberian and that they greatly contributed to the capitalist development
of other European countries, they themselves, for well-known reasons, as for
example the deplorable expulsion of the Jews from Spain also five hundred years
ago, did not develop likewise and, in spite of being geographically the most western
of countries of the European continent, they were left on the periphery of the
"West", as paleo-Wester countries. A fortiori this was going to be the case of
various countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
Outside Europe, really great capitalist development will be known only by
a few former British colonies, whose metropolis took the place of the Netherlands
as the capitalist country par excellence, until the beginnings of this century. These
few colonies (not all of them, certainly not those in Asia, Africa or the Caribbean)
are those in which the British practically wiped out the aborigines, reproduced and
magnified the metropolis structure (I am of course referring to countries like the
United States, Canada and Australia) transplanted peoples, Darcy Ribeiro
would call them. Nevertheless, there is one great exception: Japan, which as Paul
A.Baran has shown, has managed, for diverse reasons, to establish its own "white"
country (putting aside the too recent and as yet undefined cases of Asia's "little
tigers" or "little dragons") where such a feat has occurred. In this fashion, while
the two geographically most Western continental European countries (Spain and
Portugal) are not wholly "Western" but paleo-Western, the so-called 'Far East"
country (Japan), is not only "Western" but, with its computerized kimono, one of
the seven Big Brothers of developed capitalism, whose spokesmen meet from time
to time to talk about the best way to share the world's cake; and even, with the U.S.
and Germany, is one of the three countries that form the West's very core. Need I
add that Eurocentric expressions like "Far East" "Middle East" "Near East", or
la bas mean nothing, except that the one who uses these words is not there?
And if in two former British colonies on American soil a vigorous capital-
ism akin to that of their mother country flourished, it is not strange that in
Ibero-America, following the impoverished paths of Spain and Portugal, no vigor-
ous capitalism developed, but only a second-hand, puny, peripheral capitalism. It
has been possible to know what a developed capitalism would be like in our
countries, in at least one of them, for the simple reason that it has not existed, does
not exist and will never exist in our America, if present conditions do not change.
Two centuries after the initiation of our wars of independence (in 1791 French St.
Dominigue then became Haiti), we have, as a whole, a so-called political inde-
pendence, memories to authentic heroes, shining constitutions, anthems, flags,
shields, presidents, parliaments, statues of the Fathers of the Country and of
horse-thieves (sometimes they are one and the same), armies and other similar
attributes. But we do not have a Latin-American Japan, however modest, that could
have escaped the great powers in order to create a real capitalism.
I must now make an apparent but necessary digression. It is clear that we
must reject the term "Discovery" for what happened in 1492, because at the same
time there were in these lands tens of millions of human beings and several great
cultures. As a matter of fact, it seems that the most populous city at the time was
not in Europe, but in what was going to be known as America: Tenochtitlan, now
called Mexico City, and again the most populous city on the planet. (The author of
these lines first arrived in the United States forty five years ago. Have you ever
heard that this huge country was discovered by me in 1947?) But in order to be
coherent, it is absolutely necessary to proceed in a similar way with the termino-
logical/conceptual system to which that word, "discovery", belongs; that is to say,
we have to reject Prospero's ideology. Even more so today, when the death of
ideologies is proclaimed, among many other deaths, by those who take for granted
that Western ideology is totally triumphant, an ideological over-saturation often
called by the astonishing title of "desideologization"
As I have neither the time nor the space to dwell upon the many falsehoods
Prospero has brought forth, I will only mention some delusions, and those by which
the Western world is not Western, the discovery was no discovery and the so-called
American Indians are not Indians, are only hors d'oeuvres. For, likewise, the
presumed ancestor par excellence of the Western world, "classical" Greece, is in
fact Afro-Asiatic. Christianity, the Western world's proclaimed (and battered)
religion, was, as is well known, an oriental sect. Not only did the famous horrors
of the year 1000 never happen but had they happened, they would only have
affected a handful of Europeans (the whole world population was then more or less
the present population of the U.S.), for at that time divisions of the epoch's
humanity differed greatly. The term "race" was forged by the West in the 16th.
Century when, not existing yet in any language, it has been said that it was
borrowed from zoological terminology. If this were so, no further comment is
necessary. This brand new word, "race", became very important, for, though
human beings have always been aware of their notorious and irrelevant somatic
differences (think of the beautiful Song of Solomon dedicated to a black woman),
it was only after 1492, in trying to justify the West's plundering of the World, that
it was proclaimed that such differences implied the set signifiers of no less set
signifieds; and that these last were positive for those of "white" skin (more
realistically, the poets Shaw and Chesterton used words like "light brown" or
"rosy", because who the hell has ever seen a phantom-like white human being),
and negative for the rest. The term "civilization", created in middle 18th. Century
Europe, implies that the real human being lives in the city, while the practically
non-human the savage lives in the jungle. The so- called civilization was but the
Western world's situation at the time, and was said to be the only really human way
of life; the planet's other communities, many of which had great cultures before the
West's arrival and their subsequent mutilation or destruction, were pushed to the
presumed condition of savage or barbarians for colonization was the way to
civilization (the preposterous white man's burden mocked at by Basil Davidson in
a recent book, The Black Man's Burden), the notion is so absurd that it is not even
Let us consider some peculiar syntagms, invented by technicians of the
emerging United Nations to euphemistically re-baptize Caliban's lands. After
disdainfully calling us "barbarians" and "coloured peoples", and not wanting to
use the proper denomination of colonies, semi- or neocolonies (the epoch encour-
aged at least verbal qualitiess, more neutral and even hopeful denominations were
proposed: first, "economically underdeveloped zones"; later, "underdeveloped
countries" or even "developing" ones. These are, like in previous examples, terms
of relation (civilization/barbarism, white people/coloured people, colonizing coun-
tries/colonized countries), which make it necessary to know their opposite pole.
And it was then assured that it was "developed countries" The relation would thus
be "developed" countries/:underdeveloped" or "developing" ones. And the infer-
ence is that if the latter behaved well learned their lessons, etc., they could
become like the former, the big ones, the adults. This candid or malicious (according
to the user) aberration was named "desarrollismo "("developmentalism"). As has
recently been seen, good behaviour means, for example, obedience to the drastic
solutions, the crash policy of the International Monetary Fund, which under the
lethal banner of the so-called neoliberalism is again devastating Caliban's lands.
However, everything becomes clear if we realize that the opposite pole of
"underdeveloped" of "developing" is not "developed", but "underdeveloping";
with this only real polarization, the truth became evident. The fact is not that some
countries have sturdily developed while, in an independent parallel way, others
have lagged behind because their people were (are) young or old, lazy or clumsy
or vicious or any other such empty words. What has actually happened is that a few
countries in a vampire-like way grew at the cost of many others. On this question,
Walter Rodney's How Europe Underdeveloped Africa is an already classical
And here we come again to 1492, for the division between a small
growingly rich group of underdeveloping countries, and a huge growingly poor
group of countries underdeveloped by the former, was born precisely after that date,
though this was only established, we hope temporarily, during the 19th. Century,
when the planet was divided between countries that were "winners" and those that
were "loosers" The first, of course, are those where an authentic capitalism was
developed; and the second, the ones who contributed to that development at the
cost of their own, making their weak, peripheral capitalism as I have pointed out
- their only possible one. Let us recall but two areas in which that already mentioned
vampire-like relationship is still alive: the unequal terms of trade and the external
Subsequent denominations, like the also metaphorical division proposed
in 1952 by Alfred Sauvy of First, Second and Third Worlds, or the later division
between countries of the North and of the South, do not add greatly to the issue,
though, for practical reasons (for instance, the so-called "Second World" has
vanished), the latter tends to become predominant. In any case, it should be
remembered that when we speak of countries of the North (the underdeveloping
ones) and countries of the South (the ones they underdevelop), North/South, like,
until recently, West/East (in this case with a strong political connotation), are
denominations dealing with extrageographical, socioeconomic realities. Because
of this, what was yesterday called West is today increasingly called North.
Now five hundred years after 1492, what else can Caliban say about our
Century, about our own days? If the thesis according to which the 1980s were a
lost decade for Latin America and the Caribbean is already commonly accepted,
should we not ask if, in a similar way, the already dying 20th. Century will also be
seen as a lost Century? Let us first recall the most incomparably devastating and
bloody war of all time, which started in 1914 and certainly cannot be considered
as ended. We all know the rather foolish joke about the character who says:
"Good-bye, dear, I'm off to the One Hundred Year War" But a similar foolishness
is not usually felt when one looks at the world conflagration that broke out in 1914
and 1918 was not, nor could have then been, known as the First World War: it was
simply called the World War or the Great War. Only when in 1939 a new war period
began, was the former one named First, since there was then a Second one. Besides,
regarding them as two different wars and not as two different periods of the same
war, is only another pretension of our mediocre and boastful era, fiddled by a
present-day jargon that tries to erase or arrange the past and usurp the place of the
future, thus self-naming itself. Moreover, not only the Middle Ages, as it is evident,
but also the Renaissance, did not use the names by which they would later be known.
More sensibly, Jean Cocteau explained that the stars that form the Big Dipper ignore
that the Earth sees them in that shape. The so-called (a posteriori, of course) One
Hundred Year War (which, by the way, lasted even longer), was not an uninter-
rupted secular war, but a series of periods historians would so later name, without
ignoring the differences between those periods, but underlining their similarities.
In an equivalent way, the lightly named First and Second World Wars were more
similar than different, and the common qualifying adjective, World, reveals a
unique resemblance. Besides, the reason that led to the war in 1914, a new allotment
of an already allotted world among a few hegemonic powers, is still very much
alive. I shall come back to this.
Out of the hell-on-earth created by the war begun in 1914, and with the
intention, among others, of cutting it down at its roots, the most ambitious and
long-lasting socialist experiment ever undertaken was initiated in 1917 in the
archaic Russian Empire (the first ten days of which had in Harvard's John Reed an
incomparable chronicler). This experiment that shook the world awakened hope in
many, and, although it knew great difficulties, and numerous crimes and aberrations
were committed in its name, it achieved, at a truly terrible price, the modernization
of a backward country that would decisively contribute to the defeat of Nazi-Fas-
cism, and later to an ample process of decolonization. The recent fall of the Soviet
regime implied the fall of regimes it imposed (according to the 1945 Yalta
agreements) in European countries near the former Soviet Union. That experiment's
deformations after the isolation imposed upon it and Lenin's premature death; the
violent quarrels between his possible successors, and the bloody tyranny of the
triumphant Stalin, plus the spectacular failure of that experiment and the chaotic
efforts that have followed it for the re-establishment of capitalism, with clumsy
methods that worried John Kenneth Galbraith, and whose consequences are in the
newspapers, could not but rudely strike the hardest blow known to socialist hopes.
Since 1945, the West/East polarity, which strongly came to life with its
new meaning after the 1917 Russian Revolution, and was strengthened with the
surging of Fascism and Nazism as capitalism's violent reactions to that Revolution
and its possible world consequences, posed the threat of a different war that could
have put humanity to an end. However, the East's evaporation has not meant an
entry into the dream-ofpaxperpetua, but rather, as has already been said, the return
to a stage similar to that which preceded 1914. Caliban does not at all wish to be
apocalyptic, and he trusts he is totally in the wrong, but since the United States is
pretty worried about things like the presence on its soil of so many Sony, Mitsubishi,
Toyota or Datsun products, and even more by Japanese capital buying up its
enterprises, will this great country come to feel a shiver comparable to that felt by
poor Spanish America at the beginning of this Century, when our poet Ruben Dario
wrote his verse "Tantos millones de hombres hablaremos ingles?" ("Are so many
millions of us to speak English?") Things have so changed, that this line that was
a cry of alarm from Spanish Americans, seems today to have become a Berlitz (or
any similar) School of Languages advertisement. But at the beginning of the next
Century, will a poet (hopefully not a post-postmodern one) of the United States
write something like "Are so many millions of us to speak Japanese?" My God,
may the possible terrible consequences of such a shiver, and other similar ones, be
spared to our grandchildren. In any case, when Caliban learned of the existence of
books like Jeffrey E. Garten's America, Japan, Germany, and the Struggle for
Supremacy, and Lester Thurow's Head to Head. The Coming Economic Battle
Among Japan, Europe, and America, we can be sure that he was not amused.
As the extended decolonization that followed the second period of the
World War has been mentioned, it must be added that it came to be another of the
Century's fiascoes. For many countries were then separated from their old metropo-
lis only to be recolonized, under the guise of neocolonialism, mainly by the great
winner, at a very low cost, of that war period. Consequently, to speak of our
neocolonial age as a postcolonial one, mistaking superficial political features with
profound and divisive socioeconomic structures and their consequences, may be
the acceptance, perhaps involuntarily, of another of Prospero's resonant falsehoods.
We have also witnessed the initial wars after the end of the so- called Cold
War: hot wars that bode no good for a future where the very disagreeable and
dangerous equilibrium of terror has been followed by the much more disagreeable
and dangerous lack of equilibrium of sheer arrogance and preponderance. Proof of
this was the 1989 Panama invasion, incredibly presented as the hunting down of a
man in order to bring him to trial outside his own country, in a new manifestation
of imperialism the judicial one.
And if that invasion was part of a long list of aggressions characteristic of
the Big Stick or the Gun-Boat policies for the 20th. Century in our American
Mediterranean, the 1991 Gulf War seems to be the first of a new type. Unleashed
by the unacceptable Iraqi invasion or Kuwait similar to the Panama invasion that
enjoyed total impunity -, the Gulf War, approved by the U.N. ("les Nations dites
Unies" De Gaulle once said), counted with a very ample coalition whose nature
was denounced by Noam Chomsky, that admirable Bartolome de las Casas of his
own empire. On the other hand, if it is not true, as Jean Baudrillard (in Jean
Anouilh's wake) has suggested, that such a war did not exist, it certainly was a
battleless one, in which coalition forces, at a prudent distance, proceeded to destroy
the enemy forces and, above all, to methodically massacre the civilian population
until surrender was obtained.
Among the peculiar hot wars that have followed the Cold War, I must also
mention the inter ethnic battles that are taking place in shattered European states
like the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Those battles are not only dreadful
in themselves but may have disastrous world consequences, especially now that the
Sarajevo ghost has come to the forefront.
There are other facts that are no less desolating. Today, five hundred years
after 1492, throughout the impoverished world, in a brief time span, a number of
children equivalent to the number of the human beings killed in 1945 at Hiroshima
and Nagasaki die of hunger or curable diseases; while millions of other homeless
children wander about and survive, through thieving or prostitution, in countries
where there often are enterprises dedicated to buying them in order to sell their body
organs or exterminate them as if they were rats. For some time now, epidemics
thought of as medieval are making a come-back and are spreading. Furthermore,
not only are there innumerable animal species already extinguished by the human
animal (especially in its Western or Northern variety), but fishless oceans and rivers,
birdless skies, "silent springs", galloping deserts and a polluted atmosphere all
growing and provoking surroundings where even the fairly human animal that we
are finds survival difficult. "Green" movements have been rightly fighting against
all this, and the situation was almost unanimously understood in June, 1992 at the
United Nations Rio de Janeiro ECO '92.
In such a general scene, the worst situation is of course that of Caliban's
realm, of those who are in the South. As I write this paper, they constitute more
than two thirds of the human beings now living; by the beginning of the 21st.
Century (which is to say, tomorrow), they will be three-quarters of the world, and
by the middle of that Century, nine-tenths. Taking into account the numerous poor
in the North (who often come from the South), and of course not the rather thin
layer of those who are wealthy in the' South, frequently because they are the
accomplices of the North and feel part of it and not of their own people, in the world
today two out of three persons are poor, very poor or miserable; If things do not
change, in less than ten years, the proportion will be three out of four; in sixty years
- nine out often: and the great majority of them live in the South. The proportion
grows geometrically in a frightening way, and it explains why the poor from the
South, trying to raise their standard of living and often as their only way of survival,
are moving to the North. As this process develops overwhelmingly and is already
raising enormous problems, the North is building barriers to stop new entries and,
at times, when they have already occurred, is organizing paramilitary forces for the
extermination of the undesired people from the South.
In Spain, a beloved country we would like to believe is non-racist (the
gypsies there would like to believe it even more), a few years ago the word
"sudaca" was derogatorily created in reference to Spanish Americans. The word
may perhaps be proudly revindicated by those who are so called (I am immediately
going to do so, thinking of the South as a whole), and may even become interna-
tional, like other similar terms: the Italian "ghetto", the French "chauvinism", the
Russian "pogrom", the English "lynching" After all, the North's chauvinists
project or already carry out pogroms in order to lynch the sudacas, when they have
not managed to keep them outside the walls of the North's citadels. This last goal
is not an easy one, for waves of sudacas push forward like burning tides of lava.
And those waves reveal the stigma that the North, in order to develop itself,
provoked and still provokes in those whose countries it underdeveloped and is
underdeveloping right now. It is often the case with famished creatures who,
speaking languages frequently unknown in the North, most of them illiterate or with
poor learning, with no training for the complex instruments that are part of the
North's appealing life, possessing beliefs and habits that seem barbarian to the
North, have little hygiene, exhibit promiscuous behaviour (they are demographi-
cally exploding all the time), and carry illnesses already eliminated in the North,
whose inhabitants therefore lack the proper antibodies, in a way similar to what
happened to this Hemisphere's original inhabitants when the European conquerors
And so, now that the North finally considers itself the winner all along the
line, and it even has lackeys (bad readers of Hegel and even worse ones of reality)
who whisper in its ear that what Stephen Dedalus called "the nightmare of history"
has come to an end., Their citadels' walls are surrounded by noisy, multicolored,
earthy beings who come from the South and not from another nightmare; from the
South, and not from the past.
If the North keeps its threats and, instead of plundering the growing South
even more, decides to dispense with it, substituting its raw materials with those
elaborated by the North, or augmenting its aggressive protectionism, then sickness,
hunger, ignorance, despondency, fanaticism will grow in the South, and its people's
tidal waves will grow immensely in an inevitable, unstoppable and sombre march
towards the aseptic North. Considering this, if the North decides to depopulate the
South and hurls deadly atomic, chemical or bacteriological weapons at it, could it
avoid the lethal clouds they would provoke from reaching the bacterialess, birdless
and pitiless skies of the North, so proud of its ferocious capitalism?
While we know all this, even if we cowardly pretend to ignore or forget it,
is it not urgent that the descendants of the necessary mating ofCaliban and Miranda,
that the people of clear vision and good will who in spite of everything are plentiful
in the South as well as in the North, compel, with inventiveness, valour and energy,
the ending of prejudice, hatred, sectarianism, greed and general foolishness; and
struggle together, all of us, in order to stop a race whose end is evident and all too
close? As humanity is also an ecosystem, neither the South nor the North can save
itself separately. Either they manage to arrive at a post-Western society, authenti-
cally planetary, brotherly and sisterly, or human beings, for whom society is
consubstantial, will have proved to be, to Teillard de Chardin's horror," a-wain,
closed road, much worse than the dinosaurs, because they (we) were given infinitely
more numerous and richer forces and virtualities"
Five hundred years after the discovery (that was no such thing), but that
surely was the beginning of the indispensable encounter of all human beings, let us
say, from this brave (?) New World we share from pole to pole. From this world
whose original inhabitants saw, in 1492, the arrival of the three caravels with the
cross on which the Son of Man died once a million times and keeps on dying, and
the crosslike sword, that our only chance, our only choice, is to culminate (and to
compel forgiveness for) that terrible beginning, with a real encounter, a real
discovery, similar to what the Greeks named anagnorisis. In this case, the discovery
of him/herself, the discovery of the total paleface, mestizo, producer (creator) rather
than consumer, inhabitant of humanity, the only real mother country ("patria es
humanidad", Marti said, restating a Stoic idea), without East or West, North or
South, for its centre will certainly also be its periphery. Religions, philosophies,
arts, dreams, utopias, deliriuma, have so announced. It will be the end of prehistory
and the beginning of the almost virginal history of the soul. If not, it will certainly
be the premature end of us human beings, who would have precipitated before time
the end of the tiny fragment of cosmic existence that was allotted us. But such
precipitation is not inevitable. Einstein, Sagan or Hawkins have made us all (even
us laymen) familiar with the imagination of Cosmos; Darwin, von Uexkill or Gould
with the imagination of Life; Freud, the surrealists or Jameson with the imagination
of the Unconscious; and Marx openly postulated that History has more imagination
than we do. We could perhaps summarize this idea with Eintein's statement:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
In face of the apparently insurmountable challenges of social reality, that
in a previous stage drove figures like Rolland and Gramsci to speak about the
skepticism of intelligence, to which they opposed the optimism of will-power, let
us also oppose to it the confidence in imagination, that essentially poetic device.
And so we could fearlessly prepare to enter the menaced house of the future,
although it would not yet be Walter Pater's House Beautiful; we must prepare to
enter that house made of time and hope, to whose edification were dedicated to
lives and deaths of human beings like Ernesto Che Guevara, the most Calibanseque
of the Ariels I have ever personally met and loved. If we struggle together with
courage, intelligence, passion and compassion to deserve it, in such a house,( to
gloss Heraclitus the Obscure and Saint Teresa the illuminated), the God's will also
Caribbean Cultural Aesthetics: A New York Experience
With an English-speaking Caribbean population of well over two million,
as of the 1980 census, New York can be considered the largest Caribbean city in
the world larger than any city in the Caribbean itself. For the English-speaking
Caribbean population, which is the focus of this writing, New York has become the
place where individuals learn about each other through various Caribbean media,
concerts, as well as through ongoing encounters at work, school, and on the streets
within the neighborhoods in which they live. In contrast to earlier European
immigrants to New York, the Caribbean population has access to, and is in fact,
part of a relatively continuous flow of people, ideas and practices between the
various Caribbean nations and New York
This highlights a significant difference between previous immigrant groups
and the more recent Caribbean immigrants. The earlier European groups saw their
relocation as an end to their connection to the old country This may have been
due partly to the high cost of air services which had not been fully developed at that
time. Caribbean immigrants on the other hand, do not arrive in New York with the
intention of not returning. This holds true no matter how many years they spend in
New York or even if they decide to become naturalized American citizens. Part
of the reason for this frequent travel pattern is undoubtedly due to the relatively
short distance from New York to the Caribbean and access to affordable air services.
Another reason may be the strong cultural identity that many Caribbeans exhibit3
Caribbean immigrants have generally followed the trend of previous
groups to the city, that of supplying a substantial low wage and flexible labour
force. In addition, Caribbean people have provided much of the labour power for
the expanded restaurant and taxi industries. They have contributed to the growth
of home industries and the service sector, for example the health care industry. In
addition Caribbean peoples have expanded the informal sector of the economy,
creating employment for themselves by producing goods and services for their
communities and the wider society. Caribbean labour and financial resources have
also been engaged in the rehabilitation of low-cost housing, in the process main-
taining and restoring the social and physical infrastructure in many areas of the city.
Culture, Aesthetics and Communication
For the Caribbean artist in New York, the city offers a wide variety of
resources. For one thing the accessibility of art materials greatly encourages the
creative process. Also the close proximity to museums, art schools, galleries and
cinemas make examples of world art, including film, only a subway ride away. The
artist in New York is potentially well informed regarding the world of art. Being
at the same time, a major communications centre, New York also provides the
potential environment for the artist to be well informed generally. On the other
hand, New York is also a very expensive place to live where rent usually demands
a sizable portion of a person's salary. This can be especially painful to the newly
Brooklyn is without doubt the centre of the Caribbean community in New
York, it is usually the first Borough of residence for most arriving Caribbean people.
The Crown Heights/Flatbush and Brownsville/East New York sections of Brooklyn
constitute the core communities4, but Caribbean people can be found in great
numbers throughout New York State. Walking along Rutland Road, Church, Utica
or Nostrand Avenues, in Brooklyn, one can see record shops and hear calypso and
reggae music coming from speakers positioned towards the sidewalk, as is the
custom in many places back in the Caribbean. Bakeries feature such items as,
Jamaican hard dough bread, bun and cheese, Trinidadian and Eastern Caribbean
style coconut bread, beef and vegetables "Ital" [Rastafarian word for natural]
patties, the latter popular particularly among younger, health conscious Carib-
Numbered among other Caribbean businesses are video stores, which
carry, along with the regular narrative fare, the latest carnival tapes as well as reggae
'dancehall' videos, featuring D.J.s such as Shabba Ranks, Tony Rebel, Admiral
Bailey, computer Pac Man etc., in performances accompanied by a sound system
such as "Thunder Hi Power" or some other, which selects the music over which
the D.J.s toast and rap. "Bubblers" females dancing in a wide array of creatively
designed costumes, are also featured in some of these videos. Toasting and rapping,
which is presently known as Hip Hop, in New York and which has become a
significant musical genre within the popular music culture of America, has been a
part of Jamaican musical tradition since the 1960s and 1970s. This represents a part
of the African oral tradition going back even further in time and space 5. Practitio-
ners of the genre during the 1960s and 1970s included such artists as Hugh Roy,
Prince Buster, King Stitch, Scotty, and Dennis Alcapone.
Caribbean restaurants are also quite prominent within the community with
many featuring familiar dishes such as ackee and codfish, [Jamaica's national dish],
curry goat, jerk chicken, a variety of roti dinners from chicken to vegetable, channa,
Ital stew, vegetarian and fish dinners, served with familiar beverages such as sorrel,
cane juice, mauby, cola chamagne, Ting, Red Stripe beer, carrot juice or sea moss.
Likewise cultural boutiques, which carry a wide variety of items including, car
decals, t-shirts, posters, greeting cards, hand-made jewelry, many in the familiar-
Rastafarian colors of red, green, and gold, as well as Caribbean national flag
keyrings, sculptures, books, magazines and other periodicals are also quite numer-
ous. Other Caribbean businesses which have become prominent include, health
food and fruit and vegetable stores.
These are only some of the most visibly identifiable areas in which
Caribbeans continue to integrate themselves into the cultural fabric of New York.
The Caribbean lifestyle is also lived out in The Dance, or The Session, the social
gathering which usually takes place on the weekend or holidays. Here people
gather to socialize, and tune in to the cultural communication ( the words of which
carry information on topics from the Caribbean and elsewhere, relevant to the
community), while eating, sipping juice and soaking up the music.
For the Caribbean artist there are a wide range of directions in which to go,
both familiar and unfamiliar, chartered and unchartered. One can paint nostalgic
pictures, or the filmmaker can record images from Caribbean life as it is evolving
in the new setting. The artist can also choose to create art which is devoid of any
Caribbean elements. Within and beyond those general categories, further permuta-
tions allow for even greater possibilities. New York Caribbean culture is also being
nourished by tours by the Jamaica Pantomime, dance companies, musical artists,
actors/comedians, as well as travelling visual art exhibits.
There are strong indications that there has already begun a flowering of the
Caribbean arts with similar aesthetic considerations as was evident in the birth of
the Jamaica art movement which coincided with the political, economic and cultural
struggles of Jamaicans during the 1938 uprisings against British colonial rule 6
Crucial to political and economic freedom at that time in Jamaica, was cultural
emancipation. There was a great need to de- emphasize the British cultural imprint
on the Jamaican psyche, and to allow the majority culture to come forward. Edna
Manley's sculptures "Negro Aroused" and "The Prophet" symbolized the spirit
of that time and was also reflected in one of Norman Manley's speeches titled
"National Culture and the Artist" Part of the speech read:
"national culture is a consciousness reflected in
the painting of pictures of our own mountains and
our own womenfolk"
He went on to say that Jamaican builders should build houses suitable to
the Jamaican, and the playwright should write plays which reflect Jamaican
situations, and that even though the Jamaican should use all that English education
had to offer,
"ultimately we must reject the domination of her
[English] influence because we are not English,
nor do we want to be... our own cultural needs
must be our best judges"
The influence of the Garvey movement, was instrumental in stimulating
and articulating thought and action on the central importance of African identity,
and the status of the majority African population, in the creation of a Jamaica
cultural identity and as Edna Manley tacitly acknowledged
"the immediate past has attempted to destroy the
influence of the glory that is Africa, it has at-
tempted to make us condemn and mistrust the
vitality, and the vigour that we get from our Afri-
In fact it was out of this social and cultural aesthetic readjustment that the
Jamaica art movement got started, as well as its documentation which has, made
Jamaica art history the longest recorded in the English-speaking Caribbean. The
Cultural ascendancy of Jamaica is also explained in part by Mervyn Alleyne in
Roots of Jamaican Culture (1988) as well as Nettleford 8 According to Alleyne,
the African cultural continuities of the majority of the Jamaican population had
their roots within the various ethnic groups in Africa at the time of the European
slave trade. The Gold Coast Ashantis, or Akan people, known in Jamaica also as
the Koromantee, are identified as the source of most of the Jamaica-bound Africans
in the formative years of the slavery era, and as such provided a major component
of the cultural foundation of present day Jamaica.Consequently at the very begin-
ning and well after Africans from other ethnic groups had been brought to the island,
the Ashantis provided political and religious leadership in Jamaican slave society.
It is said that they were "the chief instigators of rebellion usually aided by the terrors
of Obeah"9 Timbuktu, and the empires of Mali, Songhal and Ghana were all part
of Ashanti empire and culture,
These Gold Coast Africans had a stronger group identity, which may have
been due, in part, to the cultural history of the Ashantis. The Ashantis were trained
as warriors and leaders. The British planters especially, thought them rebellious
and disliked them, and it is also said that on many occasions rebellious Africans,
Ashantis or not, were sent from other Caribbean islands to Jamaica, so as not to
influence the other Africans toward fighting for their liberation.
In Jamaica during the 1940s the focus of the artists was on the task of
self-depiction as a reflection and source of national self-determination. The con-
temporary global issue is that of multiculturalism which does tend to be somewhat
superficial. Intraculturalism, coined by Professor Rex Nettleford, in a lecture at
Medgar Evers College in New York (Spring 1994), on the other hand is more
interactive and participatory. Electronic communication media had ushered in the
"global village", the postmodern era and intracultural consciousness10 Culture is
now seen as a key element in personal identity. A point which Rastafarians have
stressed from the inception of that cultural movement in Jamaica, and which has
become a strong component of the wider Caribbean and African world culture
today. Few people (outside some European ethnics), find European culture and
aesthetics totally satisfying, and as such the search continues, for deeper more
meaningful, cultural sources for more and more peoples of the world as we move
into the 21st century.
Intracultural Art in the Postmodern Era
There is more than a slight relationship between Postmodernism and
Intraculturalism1 In a series of seminars held at N.Y.U. in spring 1988, titled "The
Re- Definition of Art: The Collision of Cultures in of Cultures in the Postmodern
World and the New Status of the Artist" chaired by Dr. Angiola Churchill. David
Ecker, one of the participants, pointed out that in many ways Postmodernism is a
response to Eurocentric biases. The structure of art education itself has presented
art in a restrained and limited way. Within this structure, art history, for the most
part, has meant European art history.
In truth European art history is only a part of world art. World art itself is
an accumulation of the creative expressions of the human family, which is ulti-
mately rooted in African civilizations. Byzantine, Greek and Roman art and culture,
(from which European art claims descent), were all rooted in African art and culture
through Ethiopian/Egyptian civilization, which itself was the coastline expression
of other interior African civilizations such as those found in present day Ghana,
Songhai, (Timbuktu),Angola, and Zimbabwe. Outside of this scarcely remembered
knowledge, or acknowledged information, whenever non-western art is presented
it was usually presented as an appendage. The fact is, European art history is quite
a recent phenomenon, when compared to African, Indian or Oriental art histories12
The collision or interaction of cultures in the postmodernist era is really the
clash of human values, values which are determined and guided through culture
and cultural histories. Every culture has a collective imagination, comprised of
history, mythology, metaphysics, there has never been a single cultural tradition
in the world, the pressures which are being felt in the realm of art,( as in other areas
of global human experience and interaction), are in a real sense corrective pressures.
Awareness and acceptance of cultural diversity is one component of the postmodern
era. The Caribbean artist within such a pluralistic environment of materials, styles
and subject matter, can create art which is reflective of Caribbean aesthetic
experience as well as the incorporation of non-Caribbean elements.
Appropriation and reinterpretation, two attributes of the postmodern, can
already be identified in the work of Caribbean artists in New York. For example
Victor Bloise, a Jamaican New York artist produced a painting which although an
original piece, was reminiscent of earlier work done by Ras Daniel Heartman in
Jamaica. The connection was quite obvious as a result Bloise included that the work
was "inspired by Ras Daniel Heartman" on reproductions of the piece. This is a
case where a New York based artist, is working within a Jamaican aesthetic tradition
and art history as the foundation for his own contemporary work.
As a number of the artists in New York have stated, the city offers an
environment for increased interaction with a wide variety of styles, materials and
cultural traditions13 For many Caribbean artists and film/video makers their
familiarity or knowledge of artists of other nationalities is sometimes limited upon
arrival to New York, however, this changes once they become integrated into their
new environment. African-American artists are usually among the first groups with
whom Caribbean artists associate, this mainly through the gallery network and such
organizations as the Black Filmmaker Foundation in New York, through which
African-American artists show their work. These venues are also utilized by the
Caribbean artists. It is here that the Caribbean artist's knowledge of art history
begins its expansion. It should also be noted that Caribbean owned galleries are
being established, such as Savacou and Tortres galleries in Manhattan, 843 Studio
Gallery and ACAA Community Gallery in Brooklyn and Gallery 69, in the Bronx.
Caribbean Film and Video in New York.
The first point to be made on the matter of Caribbean film/video production
in New York, is that it is in its infancy though I hasten to add that by most
indications growth can be identified. Although reference is made to film and video,
in actuality, for the most part the discussion centres on video. Filmmaking can be
said to begin with ideas which are designed to be expressed audio-visually, and as
an intermediaty step are recorded as screenplays then New York Caribbean film-
making is positioned to become prevalent in the near future.
Trevor Frazer, who produces video concepts, is director of The Centre of
Arts Performances in Theatre, VIDCAPT Inc., (a Brooklyn based organization
developed out of a need to produce and showcase new and emerging talent in the
arts, then to videotape these performances, for documentation and for public and
private use) pointed out that there are a few Caribbean people who are at work in
film and video in New York; in editing, direction and production. Frazer himself
has written many scripts, recently submitting one with a caribbean theme to Orion
IWA90 Film and Video, based in New York has produced documentaries
on outstanding Caribbean artists in New York, such as Vernal Reuben, Leonard
Morris, Barrington Watson, Clifford Hobbs, Joan McGregor, Kolongi Brathwaite,
Hylton Plummer, Mark Browne and Carlton Ingleton. IWA90 is presently at work
on a feature length Caribbean narrative, movie titled: "Donovan", the first Carib-
bean story of its kind to be shot completely on location in the New York boroughs
of Brooklyn and Queens. The movie is shot entirely on high definition video, and
is accompanied by a sound track,and is co-directed by Ian Ramsay and Winston
Additionally, there is a steady production stream of Caribbean narrative
and comedic videos that can be found in the expanding Caribbean sections of the
video stores. Keeling Video has been involved in the production and/or distribution
of other narrative video movies including "The Rapers" "Son Son" and "Me You
and Mi Taxi"
Dance hall videos are also quite popular and represents a component of
Caribbean music culture. The costumes of the female dancers bubblerss' seem to
be influenced, at least in part, by the exposure to Carnival costuming and particu-
larly by the annual West Indian Labour Day Carnival celebrated along Eastern
Parkway in Brooklyn, an event which attracts millions of people each year. There
are other filmmakers, such as Habte Selassie, who is is also a producer at radio
station WBAI-FM in New York, and works primarily in the documentary genre
having directed a documentary on Marcus Garvey Jr., and co-directed a another
titled "It Started With TheDrum", produced by Julian Reynolds and filmed in New
York. The film took a brief look at the origins and developments ofCaribben music.
What becomes clear regardless of genre, style, or subject matter, is the
vastness of Caribbean stories yet to be told. If one were to multiply the stories from
each Caribbean nation added to the Caribbean stories that have come into being
based on the immigrant experience here, screen writers and production crews could
be kept busy well into the 21st century. The challenge for the filmmaker is to record
and organize images of Caribbean life in New York and to combine them with
narratives from the collective cultural imagination of the people, in a process
designed to increase the self expression and identity of Caribbean New York
NOTES and REFERENCES
1. Sutton and Chaney. Ed. Caribbean Life in New York City. New York: Centre for Migration
Studies of New York, 1987.
2. Reimers, David. "New York City and Its people," Caribbean Life, ed Sutton and Chaney, New
York: Centre for Migration Studies of New york, 1987, pg. 31-53.
3. Adams, Jama. "A Description of Some Perceptions and Psycological Features of Jamaican
Immigrants", Establishing New Lives ed. Velta J. Clarke and Emmanuel Riviere, pg. 227,
New York: Caribbean Research Centre, Medgar Evers College, 1989 and Alleyne, C.
Mervyn Roots of Jamaican Culture. London: Pluto Press, 1988.
4. Bryce-Laporte. "New York City and The New Caribbean Immigration" Caribbean Life, ed.
Sutton and Chaney New York: Centre for Migration Studies ofNew York, 1987, pg. 54-73.
5. Brodber, Ema. "Black Consciousness and Popular Music in Jamaica in the 1960's and 1970's"
Kingston: African-Caribbean Institute of Jamaica, 1981.
6. Sunshine, Catherine. The Caribbean. Washington: EPICA Pub. 1988.
7. Boxer, David Jamaica Art. Smithsonian Institution and National Gallery of Jamaica, 1983.
and Manley, Edna, et al. "Development of Jamaica Art five Perspectives". Jamaica Journal
42 (1982): 43-54.
8. Nettleford, Rex Identity, Race and Protest in Jamaica. New York: Morrow Pub. 1972. and
Caribbean Cultural Identity: The Case ofJamaica. Los Angeles: Centre for Afro-American
Studies and U.C.L.A. Latin American Centre
9. Gardner, W.J. A History of Jamaica. London: Frank Cass, 1873.
10. McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media. New York: McGraw-Hill Books, 1965.
11. Lippard, Lucy R. MixedBlessings: NewArt in a MulticulturalAmerica. New York: Pantheon
12. Diop, Cheikh, Anta. The African Origin ofCivilization. Lawrence Hill and Co. 1975. and...,
The Cultural Unity ofBlack Africa. Chicago: Third World press. 1978 and Seifert, Charles,
The Ethiopian Contribution to Art Baltimore: Black Classic press, 1938.
13. Huggins, Winston. "A Critical Study of Six Jamaican Artists in the Context of an Emerging
Caribbean Culture in New York". Diss. New York Univ. 1993. Pub. Univ. of California.
Cultural Imperatives and the Technology of Motion Picture
...hoping that your natural vibe will cut through
all this technology..." David Rudder
The technology and technique of contemporary motion picture production
are largely a development of Western industrial culture. Although the ancestors of
Caribbean people developed the principles of photography (writing with light)
thousands of years ago, our struggle for mere survival in recent centuries has
channelled our energies and resources away from the "luxury" of creating the tools
necessary for this expensive form of cultural self-expression. Consequently, cinema
today is dominated by the culture and technology of Europe. As all Technology is
a mechanical echo of potentials already existing in the natural world, the camera-
the basis of cinema is the mechanical eye, and the world is thus seen through the
eye of the European.
A fundamental example of the Western cultural imprint on cinema tech-
nology has been the development of the actual film stock itself. The colour balance
of both still and motion picture film was based on humans' so-called "average skin
tone" i.e. pink and did not possess the latitude to accommodate subjects of darker
hue. This was so because Europeans were (and continue to be) the primary subjects
of motion pictures, and any others in the frame were confined to the less critical
backgroundn" This, coupled with standard lighting technologies, which rely
primarily on artificial light, creates a technical and aesthetic challenge for the
filmmaker whose subjects are people of colour. In my own experience, I have found
it necessary to employ specialised photographic techniques and aesthetics to
compensate for these biases, e.g. complete reliance on available/natural light, as
well as a reliance on reflected light meter readings. There are no existing technical
manuals which address the specialised requirements of this mode of lighting and
production, but as we turn our cameras on ourselves, we create new methods.
While discussing what constitutes "Black Film" with leading African
American filmmakers, I noted that none of the technological tools were manufac-
tured by Black people. My colleagues, some of whom were working for the first
time with multi-million-million dollar budgets and technologies, became frustrated
at the mention of this criterion. It was enough of a struggle just to access the means
of production, much less to try to redefine the technology itself. Because in the short
term, regional filmmakers are struggling simply for access to the costly technology
of film production, it is difficult to engage the added burden of reshaping this
technology. We are left, therefore, with the challenge of intervening culturally and
aesthetically in the existing technology. We must amalgamate all available tech-
nologies and infuse them with our cultural and spiritual imperatives.
Bob Marley employed the media of electronic audio production i.e.
European technologies and was able to transcend this material medium with the
spirit of his music. Freedom-fighters in the war for Zimbabwe's independence went
into battle accompanied by Marley's anthems blaring from huge speakers mounted
on trucks and personnel carriers, thus utilising technology infused with culture in
the fight for social transformation. Jimmi Hendrix, the American musical genius,
forced changes in electronic audio technology by virtue of the tremendous cultural
demands of his new music existing technologies simply could not accommodate
Hendrix' innovations, and had to be altered to suit.
What cultural resources then, do we marshall as we rendezvous with
standard film technologies? What is the nature of our spiritual intervention in the
realm of this medium? How can our "natural vibe" cut through this technology?
If we see the earth itself as the overall technology, and film as just a
component thereof, then we have access to a virtually limitless tool chest. As film
is writing with light, if we utilise the sun and the moon as our primary sources of
illumination, we can bypass the expensive and inferior substitutes established by
the Western industrial world. The vibrations of sun and moon light are different
from the "vibes" of artificial tungsten light, and resonate with a different visual
and psychological impact.
I have often used the sun as make-up for the casts of my films. The actors
get at least an hour's exposure to the sun while the crew sets up, thereby acquiring
a glow that cannot be adequately reproduced with traditional make-up. Extensive
use of reflectors directs the sunlight onto subjects in the frame. (A broad palette of
tints, gels and reflectors is available inexpensively at puja stores across the country.
The Caribbean sun is a free and abundant source of light, and should be
treated as the centrifugal force in Caribbean film production. It is the most
fundamental motion picture technology available to us.
The other side of the filmic coin is, of course, darkness. The relationship
of darkness and light is crucial to the definition of the image. In my experience, the
"gate-keepers" are terribly afraid of the dark. Darkness is a critical component of
my film aesthetic: it is the shadowy womb from which light is born. Both my
photographic and my filmic work, though critically acclaimed elsewhere, have been
rejected and censured in the Caribbean because "It too dark!" or "You can't really
see what it is" As a supernaturalist filmmaker, my style requires that the invisible
and intangibles be present within the frame. I literally have stood closed-eyed for
long periods before shooting, as this heightens the other senses required in film-
making. One has to surrender to darkness in order to see, like the mystical Sphinx,
with one eye open and one eye closed.
Another little-explored realm is that of the third eye, the centre of spiritual
vision in Indian cosmologies. We are barely grappling with the use of the physical
eyes and their substitute, the camera, much less being able to see through the third
eye and capture this vision on film. The tragedy of "Bollywood", the Indian film
industry is that though they have created cameras and every technology required in
industrial filmmaking, they are yet to regard their peoples and cultures through the
prism of this their eye. They too have banished people of darker pigment to the
backgroundn' of the frame, and their filmstocks are balanced for lighter skin tones.
When we begin to consolidated existing film technologies with our cultural
requirements, we will find the standard technologies wanting. Through experimen-
tation, like Hendrix, we will discover the need to re-shape our tools to accommodate
the universe at our fingertips.
When we create an ultra-vibrant filmstocks CARICOLOUR and preci-
sion glass and steel cameras (which will be rugged, saltwater resistant and light
weight), we will remember, this time around, to patent our inventions. Given our
cultural background, we may go beyond the rectangular frame, and create a sherical
space for both the acquisition and exhibition of our image. We may even be able
to capture the internal spiritual life of Caribbean peoples.
Paradise Lost: A Planner's View of Jamaican Tourist
.Most of Jamaica's tourism development has occurred on the north coast,
more recently spreading to Negril at the western tip of the Island. Ribbon develop-
ment, largely associated with tourism, has transformed much of this coastal strip,
and proposals for a new resort at Whitehouse, Westmoreland, have raised concerns
about the possible extension of tourism blight to the relatively unspoiled south
Jamaica's coastal tourism development has been criticised for its lack of
good planning and its detrimental impact on the environment, and planners,
environmentalists and journalists are among those who have expressed fears that
the Jamaican tourist industry has failed to learn from the mistakes of the past.
This article draws largely on Jamaican newspaper reports of sometimes
highly controversial tourism development schemes, and on the author's personal
observations and professional experience of planning and development in Jamaica
since the late sixties.
Tourist development threatens environment
"God forbid that we should create another Ocho Rios or even another
Negril." Reported in Jamaica's Sunday Gleaner newspaper of 29 December 1991,
this remark was attributed to a potential investor in a proposed new tourist
development on the island's south coast. Most of Jamaica's tourist development,
including over 80 per cent of hotel rooms, is concentrated on part of the country's
north coast stretching from Ocho Rios in the east to Negril in the extreme west.
Between these two places lie the major tourist city of Montego Bay, with its
international airport, and many other resort centres in the northern parishes of St.
Ann, Trelawny, St. James and Hanover. Outside this strip only the Port Antonio
area to the east of Ocho Rios and Kingston, the capital, lying in the south coast, are
of major significance in Jamaica's tourist industry. There are only a few small hotels
inland and along the mainly undeveloped south coast, but a recent proposal or a
310 room resort on an environmentally significant 260 acre property at White-
house in the parish of Westmoreland suggests that the southern part of the Island
may be about to experience the kind of tourist development which has transformed
the north coast.
This article is a personal view of Jamaica's coastal tourism development
from the late 'sixties to the beginning of the 'nineties, based largely on the author's
fifteen year experience as a geographer/planner living and working in the Carib-
bean. Now teaching at an Australian university, the author again visited Jamaica in
December 1991 February 1992 during which time he travelled extensively in the
island observing the landscape he has come to know well since his first visit in
1967. At the time of his recent visit controversial new tourist resort proposals were
receiving heavy local media coverage in an atmosphere of heightened environ-
mental awareness, and much use is made of press reports in this article.
The controversy about the environmental impact of tourism which the
proposed Whitehouse development aroused at the end of 1991 and the beginning
of 1992 was soon further fuelled by another proposal, a scheme to develop a 240
room resort on a 20 acre site, 12 acres of it beachfront on Long Bay, Negril.
Advertised in the 'seventies as "the natural beach resort ... a place to get away from
it all:1, Negril has changed greatly since the 1957 Town and Country Planning Law
was enacted, largely to control development in coastal areas, and the preparation
of the first Development Order under that law, the Negril Developmental Order of
1959 (superseded in 1981 by a new Provisional Order). The construction of
highway parallel with the coast at Negril opened up the area for development, and
speculative subdivision rapidly divided much of the Long Bay beachfront land into
small lots. This inhibited good planning and design, but an opportunity for coherent
integrated development remained in the Rutland Pen and Ireland Pen properties
which were acquired in the early seventies by the Urban Development Corporation
The UDC was established in 1969 by the Jamaican Government
"to act as a developer in the public interest to
create urban development in designated areas
in accordance with the main policy for urban
development within the island"
This was partly to create employment and to reduce rural urban migration,
particularly that to Kingston, Jamaica's capital and largest city. The powerful UDC
strongly influenced the development of several key areas of Jamaica including some
tourist centres, among them Negril and Ocho Rios, recently criticised as examples
of badly planned, or unplanned, urban growth. In the words of journalist Margaret
"Ocho Rios is all the proof we need that un-
planned tourism development in a backward and
impoverished country brings in its wake squat-
ting, pollution and irreversible environmental
degradation that unfortunate resort is now well
on the way to destroying its own economic base"3
While it is important to acknowledge the valuable contributions made by
the UDC to Jamaica's planning and development and to stress that it cannot be held
responsible for all the problems which have arisen in Ocho Rios and Negril, there
are some commentators in Jamaica who regard that organisation as having betrayed
the environmental principles that it was entrusted to uphold.4
Among the evils of which the UDC stands accused is the unauthorised
blasting of foreshore areas and the development of its resort area in Negril beyond
the capacity of its sewage treatment plant. There is now serious concern about
marine pollution, and the proposed central sewage system for Negril is unlikely to
be completed before 1996 at the earliest. The latest reported UDC outrage,
however, is its sale of a beachfront parcel of land in Negril to a group of developers
who intended to construct a 240 room hotel there. Opposed by environmental
groups and the Negril Chamber of Commerce, the immediate concern here is the
threatened destruction of "the only little standing wood left on the Negril strip"
and its replacement by a "concrete jungle"5 Much broader concerns, were ex-
pressed, however, in a report prepared for the Negril Chamber of Commerce which
enjoys considerable local business and grassroots support and links with interna-
tional environmental organizations. This document, which was submitted to the two
Government Ministers responsible for Tourism and the Environment and for the
UDC, emphasised that in Negril
"our environment is what we are selling and in
destroying it through lack of planning and moni-
toring, we put in jeopardy not only our earning
capabilities of today, but surely all our earning
capabilities of the future ... we warn that the future
may be much nearer that anyone would presume
as diseases, pollution and a continuously built
coastline are not the expected destination of the
would be traveller" 6
Previous warnings ignored
Negril's plight, however, is neither new nor unforeseen. Over a decade ago
a British travel writer who had known Negril in 1971, when it was still mostly
undeveloped, described the situation in 1981 thus:
"Now the whole stretch has hotels, clubs and so
called villages, and a rather nasty little township
has sprung up"
The article was reprinted in the Daily Gleaner, Jamaica's major newspaper
which over many years has published innumerable well-informed articles and
letters on tourism and coastal development, often warning about the very kind of
problems which have been making headlines recently. In 1974, for example, a series
of three articles drew attention to a range of problems which were threatening the
island's coastal environment, including uncontrolled badly designed development,
speculative land subdivision, the destruction of ecologically important areas and of
heritage buildings, together with the spread of visual blight of various kinds.8 In
the first of three articles the author warned,
"If the type of development which has been
proceeding around the island continues there will
eventually be a built up strip along the entire coast
of Jamaica", and it was becoming increasingly
likely that the future tourist would find "that the
blue Caribbean breaks on a shore lined not with
swaying palms, bananas and sugar cane inter-
spersed with charming villages and towns as he
had been led to believe, but with an unbroken
sprawl of buildings and subdivisions."
Thus development, much of it associated with tourism, threatened the very
resource on which the tourist industry depends.
A similar warning was published in thejournal ofJamaica's Masterbuilders
"An island endowed with a beautiful, sunny cli-
mate, exquisite and varied scenery, fine beaches
and an enviable legacy of history and culture,
Jamaica has much to offer the tourist. It is all the
more disturbing therefore, to witness a marked
deterioration in Jamaica's environmental quality
including the disfigurement of much of its land-
Deterioration was particularly rapid in Negril, until quite recently a pristine
tropical beach area bounded by picturesque limestone cliffs and luxuriant wetlands.
In 1987 a Gleaner article, reproduced in the overseas weekly edition, warned,
"Negril, considered the fastest rising area in
Jamaica's tourism, is facing a dilemma which
could result in stunted growth and stagnation in
its development if the current 'hodge-poge' mode
of building is allowed to continued unabated" 10
Among the problems noted in the article were inadequate development
control and the lack of a comprehensive development plan, leading to environ-
mental degradation, affecting both the beach and the wetlands.
The need for a comprehensive development plan was identified much
earlier, in 1978, when a group of about twenty members of the Town and Country
Planning Association of Jamaica and their associates prepared and presented to the
Town and Country Planning Authority a report on Negril which included the
"We therefore consider firstly that a Development
Order, however much thought has gone into it,
cannot be a proper substitute for a comprehensive
development plan which sets out fully Govern-
ment intentions in the area, and is something that
the public can understand and feel, after due de-
bate. 'That is what must happen Negril' 11
Among the suggestions made in the report was a proposal for the creation
of a Negril Conservation and Development Company including representatives
from the UDC, the Negril Area Land Authority, the Town Planning Department,
and from the Parish councils of Westmoreland and Hanover whose common border
divides the Negril area.
The author, one of those who helped to prepare the Negril report, attended
the Town and Country Planning Authority meeting at which the document was
discussed. Dismissed as unrealistic by the Chairman of the TCPA, the Negril report
appears to have been totally ignored in Jamaica, but one section of it was published
in the Caribbean Review under the title 'The end of Paradise What Kind of
Development for Negril?' In this article appears a paragraph which anticipated the
problem highlighted by the controversy over the UDC's recent sale of land for resort
development on Negril's Long Bay:
"So far, however, plans for Negril's development
have not been of a kind, which even if strictly
implemented, could possibly conserve the quali-
ties on which the resort's continued success de-
pends. Of particular concern is that practically the
entire 15 mile or so stretch of coast between Green
Island and Negril Lighthouse is zoned 'Hotel Re-
sort' or 'Resort Residential'. Even with a few gaps
or 'windows' of open space such as those pro-
posed by the Urban Development Corporation,
the complete development of the coast in accord-
ance with such zoning would utterly destroy the
natural beauty of Negril's seaside. Resort devel-
opment would predominate. Nature would be
confined to a few small enclaves."
Coastal concrete jungle
In 1992, one of the last of those few small enclaves came under threat of
development, and hoteliers whose established resorts have already contributed to
the erosion ofNegril's natural beauty were now protesting against the further spread
of "concrete jungle" The long advocated alternative to coastal urban sprawl is an
orderly pattern of carefully sited and planned settlements and resort centres sepa-
rated by open countryside, cultivated or wild, a planning strategy which has both
aesthetic and economic advantages.12 This, of course, requires strict development
control, and it is the idea of restricting building in this way which many developers,
politicians and other find unacceptable. Yet it is in consequence of allowing a more
or less continuous ribbon of development along the coast at Negril that the recent
belated fuss about a small remnant of coastal greenery had erupted. Today, the last
few gaps in Negril's elongated sprawl seem about to be filled and now the
intensification of the linear development has begun.
At the national scale the coastal ribbon of tourist development is still
discontinuous, the south coast being almost devoid of major resorts and popular
attractions. Even the major north coast tourist belt has substantial gaps, especially
where the absence of good beaches has discouraged resort development. Neverthe-
less, between the old established towns on the north coast ribbons of development
continue to grow along the main road, creating suburban and commercial strips
characterized by a confusion of signs, advertisements and overhead wires as at
Salem and Runaway Bay in St. Ann, and west of Montego Bay in St. James.
Evoking "Nightmares of a Jamaica where every inch of habitable coastline
all around the island has been swallowed up by tourism development", journalist
Margaret Morris gives a very cautious welcome to the proposed new tourist resort
project on the south coast. While acknowledging that the Whitehouse resort
developer's voluntary environmental impact assessment study may be regarded as
"a milestone towards sustainable development," Morris doubts the efficacy of
existing control mechanisms to avoid the kind of degradation which has occurred
on the north coast.13 Past experience in places such as Ocho Rios and Negril, where
development was supposed to be subject to planning control, suggests that there is
every reason to share her fears.
Eco-tourism and heritage tourism
Morris suggests that the yet unspoiled south coast is particularly suited to
"eco-tourism the new buzz word in the trade", and it is encouraging to see that
at Black River tourist boat trips into the Great Morass are now being provided on
a regular basis. It is all the more sad to learn, therefore that the destruction of these
tropical wetlands continues and that the swamps here are still used as a garbage
Black River is one of several historic towns in Jamaica with a rich heritage
of old buildings that have been allowed to decay but which still have great potential
for "heritage tourism" An encouraging development is the use of Black River's
moribund port, with its old wharf and warehouses as the basis for tourist boat
excursions into the swamps, although the construction of the inevitable circular
thatch-roofed bar strikes a discordant note on the historic waterfront.
The recent publication of proposals to preserve and exploit for tourism
many of Jamaica's historic buildings and townscapes has brought renewed attention
to this neglected aspect of island's tourist industry. Jamaica's Heritage, An Un-
tapped Resource is the work of a group of English visiting experts in association
with Jamaica's Tourism Action Plan Limited together with the Jamaica National
Heritage Trust.14 Attractively presented with numerous colour photographs, the
book reiterates many ideas which have been put forward in the past including the
conversation and tourist development of the Georgian town of Falmouth and the
tasteful exploitation of places of historic and environmental interest. 15 Even the
proposed Heritage Trails were anticipated by Philip Wright and Paul White whose
excellent guidebook, published in 1969, is largely organised on the basis of scenic
and historic routes, and by the National Phvsical Plan for Jamaica 1970 1990
with proposals for designated scenic roads.
Despite proposals for heritage conversation and heritage tourism during
the past quarter of a century, with a few notable exceptions such as Devon House,
Port Henderson and Rose Hall, the picture has been one of general neglect, decay
and vandalism. One notable example of official neglect and vandalism is that of the
Retirement property near Montego Bay, which was acquired by the Parish Council
of St. James. In the mid-'seventies the Jamaican Tourist Board was investigating
the possibility of incorporating some of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century
sugar estate houses and associated buildings into its 'Tourism Product' with a view
to organising heritage tours in the north coast area. Among the sites considered was
Retirement estate with its beautifully proportioned stone great house, splendid
aqueduct, intact waterwheel and remarkably complete collection of sugar works
buildings. Two great advantages of this important historic site were its close
proximity to Jamaica's major tourist centre, Montego Bay, and its being in the
possession of the local authority the St. James Parish Council. At the instigation of
the Jamaica Tourist Board a report was prepared and submitted to the council with
recommendations for the conservation and development of Retirement17 Included
in the proposals was the following:
"With good road access and proper publicity,
the estate buildings would become a tourist attrac-
tion even as they stand today. Well integrated
refreshment facilities and appropriate shops might
be incorporated into the scheme, but the gim-
mickry which mars some historic tourist spots
should be avoided"
As things transpired, it was not gimmickry but garbage which buried hope
for Retirement. Neglected by the authorities and abandoned to vandals, "Retire-
ment Great House with its once elegant waterwheel is now submerged in burning
garbage Montego Bay's garbage!
With such a sad record, can Jamaica's recent tourism development propos-
als be viewed with optimism? Can the renewed interest in 'eco-tourism' and
'heritage tourism' be seen as the drawing of a new enlightened age in the history
of Jamaica's tourist industry? Does the EIA for the proposed Whitehouse resort
signify the beginning of orderly, environmentally sensitive development along the
south coast rather than an extension of the mess which characterises much of the
Environmental groups unite
Much will depend on the success of Jamaica's many environmental groups
in their efforts to influence Government policy and private development. The
country appears to be experiencing a resurgence of the environmental concern
which previously emerged in the early seventies9 and it is significant that, in their
fight against the UDC's decision to allow the controversial resort development at
Negril, the local business community has "taken an environmental stance"
Concerned local people are angry that the requested environmental assessment
study will not influence the UDC's decision to proceed with the development, but
merely decide what form it will take. At the national level growing environmental
concern has led to the formation of the National Environmental Societies Trust
(NEST) which brings together twnety-five Non-Government Organisations includ-
ing scientific, naturalist, academic, professional and business bodies with interests
in the environment. The Jamaican press, too, is giving prominence to the environ-
mental debate, and tourist development is often subject of critical comment in the
Conservationists, including environmentally sensitive and responsible
planners and business people in Jamaica, deserve support from sympathetic indi-
viduals and groups in the countries from which most of that island's tourist come,
mainly the US, Canada and Europe. Jamaica still retains an amazing beauty and
offers a wide range of attractions for the tourist; but without a drastic change in
development policy, apparently aimed at maximum exploitation for short-term
profits, and appropriate action, that Caribbean islands in serious danger of becom-
ing a Tourist Paradise Lost.
NOTES and REFERENCES
SNegrilJamaica. Publicity pamphlet produced for the Negril Area Land Authority by the Urban
Development Corporation and the Jamaica Tourist Board. Undated.
Gloria Knight, The Jamaica Urban Development Corporation, Town and Country Planning
Summer School, 5 16 September 1975 Report of Proceedings, Royal Town Planning
Institute, London, pp. 70 76.
3. Margaret Morris, Tourism expansion and the Environment, The Sunday Gleaner, 29 December
1991, p. 7a.
4. Margaret Morris, The UDC seen as an environmental villain, The Sunday Gleaner, 2 February
1992, pp. 6a, 16a. The Editorial column in that same newspaper issue asks "Is the UDC too
powerful?" and suggests that the Corporation is regarded by many as "an environmental
5. Janice Ansine, Proposed $500m hotel in trouble, Daily Gleaner., 23 January 1992, p. 1.
Janice Ansine, New twist to $500m development, Daily Gleaner, 25 January 1992, p.1.
Janice Ansine, High-powered delegation meets Negril C of c, Daily Gleaner, 29 January 1992,
Janice Ansine, Study to decide fate of hotel, Daily Gleaner., 30 January 1992, p. 1.
6. Hotel project triggers community challenge, MIThe Sunday Gleaner, 2 February 1992, p. 2a.
7 Andrew Robertson, Sunshine island back on the map, Sunday Times, 1 February 1981, p. 50,
Reprinted in the Daily Gleaner, 29 May 1981, p. 12.
8. Brian Hudson, Development on the Jamaican coast, Daily Gleaner, 22 January 1974, p. 3;
Solution tot he development problem, Daily Gleaner, 23 January 1974, p. 3; Protecting the
coast, Daily Gleaner, 24 January 1974, p. 3.
9. Brian Hudson, Tourism development and the Jamaican landscape, The Masterbuilder, Vol.
19, No. 2, 1981, pp. 31 -34.
10. lan Spencer, Hoteliers, residents concerned over future of Negril's tourism, The Jamaican
Weekly Gleaner, 14 September 1987, p. 4.
11. Brian Hudson, The End of Paradise. What kind of development for Negril?, Caribbean
Review, Vol. 8, No. 3, Summer 1979, pp. 32 33.
12. Brian Hudson, Solution to the Development Problem, Daily Gleaner, 23 January 1974; The
End of Paradise, Caribbean Review., 1979; Tourism development and the Jamaican land-
scape, Masterbuilder, 1981; Tourism and Landscape in Jamaica and Grenada. In Stephen
Britton and William C. Clarke (eds.) Ambiguous Alternative Tourism in Small Developing
Countries, University of the South Pacific, Suva, 1987, pp. 46 60.
13. Margaret Morris, Tourism expansion and the environment, Sunday Gleaner, 29 December
14. Marcus Binney, John Harris, Kit Martin and Marguerite Curtin (ed.), Jamaica's Heritage, an
untapped resource, The Mill Press, Kingston, 1991.
15. The Georgian Society of Jamaica, Falmouth 1791 1970, Kingston, Undated (1970?).
16. Philip Wright and Paul White, Exploring Jamaica A Guidefor Motorists, Andre Deutsch,
Physical Planning Unit, Town Planning Department, Ministry of Finance and Planning, A
National Physical Plan for Jamaica 1970 1990, Kingston, 1971.17. Brian Hudson,
Proposals for the conservation and development of buildings at Retirement, St. James,
Masterbuilder, Vol. 14, No. 2, June 1975, pp. 11 12. This published article is a slightly
shortened version of the report prepared for the Jamaica Tourist Board and submitted to the
St. James Parish Council.
18. Ian Robinson, Keep alive our architectural heritage, Our Island Heritage, The Newsletter of
The Georgian Society ofJamaica, Vol. 2, No. 1, October, 1991.
19. Council on Environmental launched, Daily Gleaner, 28 May 1973, p. 16. Brian Hudson, (ed.),
Conservation in Jamaica, Jamaica Geographical Society, Kingston, Undated (1974).
20. Western Bureau, Negril residents rap UDC for go-ahead on controversial hotel, The Jamaican
Weekly Gleaner, (N.A.), 15 June, 1992, p.4.
On Walking on Our Ears: Psychology, Personality, and Cul-
ture A Cross Cultural Perspective
RICHARD A. DETWEILER
In 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. during a civil rights
march, Dr. King gave his well known "I have a dream" address. In this speech he
"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of
Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of
former slave owners will be able to sit together at
the table of brotherhood."'
Dr. King's word reflect a universal dream a dream that people, regardless
of background or skin color or life experience or origin, will learn to live together
with humanity. It was for this dream that Dr. King lived his life, seeking ways to
counter the thoughts and actions which lead to human oppression and destruction.
While there are certainly people who now sit together formerly did not, it
is clear that this universal dream has not yet been realized. People do still hate and
kill and oppress. Why is this destructive tendency so strong?
The usual approach to answering this question is to look for something
gone wrong a process or dynamic which is fundamentally sick. We examine the
impact of historic factors such as the development and residual impact of slavery,
or at economic factors such as the advantages of economic exploitation, or at
sociological factors such as race and class, or at political factors such as disenfran-
chisement or power alliances.
Others feel that the roots of this destructive behaviour are in some way
wired into our fundamental make-up. At one extreme is the Freudian notion of
thanatos, a death drive do we have a need to destroy? At the other extreme is the
extensive psychobiological research tied to aggressiveness. Nearly sixty years ago,
Kluver and Bucy 2 demonstrated in a classic study that bilateral lesions of the
brain's temporal lobes in wild monkeys resulted in a loss of aggressiveness and
increase in playfulness. Extensive research in many species, including human,
clearly demonstrates the existence of brain mechanisms related to dominance and
aggression. However, this same body of research says that the mere existence of a
brain mechanism related to aggression does not create a need to be aggressive: a
specific kind of stimulation or external context must occur to activate these
aggression brain systems.
*Presented at UWI Distinguished Lecture Series
As I noted earlier, all of these perspectives on human destructiveness
suggest that, to improve relations among humans, we must understand and "cor-
rect" some type of pathology a sickness of organism or of process. While each of
these perspectives brings important and undoubtedly valid insight, I want to bring
today a very different perspective: to misunderstand, distrust, dislike, and fear
others of different backgrounds is logical. These negative feelings the feelings
which underlie or validate human oppression and exploitation and aggression for
whatever the economic, political, or sociological reasons are not a pathology to
be cured, but a rational process to be understood. For until we understand how
logical and rational these feelings are, we cannot hope to realize Dr. King's dream.
You may now be thinking that I am something of a catastrophe thinker; a
pessimist. Let me say at this point that the contrary is the case: I am both an idealist
and an optimist. But I do believe that by understanding the ways in which rational
thinking can create inhumanity we are in a better position to take constructive
action. Not surprisingly, given the title of my remarks, I believe that the impact of
culture and cultural differences on psychological processes are the critical issue -
critical far beyond the understanding that most people have that stereotypes and
prejudice and cultural differences can create misunderstanding. As Dr. King also
said in his letter from the Birmingham jail,
"shallow understanding from people of good will
is more dangerous than absolute misunderstand-
ing from people of ill will"
SMy goal today is to increase the depth of your understanding of the process
by which we understand ourselves and others, and then to examine the impact of
culture on this process.
Certainly every one of you at some point have experienced cultural
misunderstanding. The clearest examples of these experiences are those which the
label "non-verbal communication." Much has been written about this, of course:
the meaning of a smile or a physical touch; the degree of "politeness" of people
standing in line; the importance of body odour whether these odours are supposed
to be covered up as Americas obsess about, or whether they are supposed to be a
positive part of the way people communicate; or personal distance having others
stand too near or to far far for your comfort.
My most vivid personal recollection of cross-cultural non-verbal miscom-
munication came from an experience I had when my wife and I were Peace Corps
Volunteers on a very small and remote island in the Pacific Ocean's Eastern
Carolines. Part of our work was at the elementary school on the island a building
constructed of coral blocks cut from the bottom of the lagoon. I was meeting with
the principal shortly after our arrival, seeking his thinking on some important issues
of village concern. He was sitting in a room of the school as I came in. I approached
him, and began to talk. He got up and went to the other side of the room. I went to
him again, picking up the conversation where I had left it off. This time he edged
slowly away from me, ultimately working his way again to the opposite side of the
room. I tried once more, with the same effect. At this point I became very
discouraged, for it was clear that he didn't want to talk with me. This man was an
important official on the island who had rejected me. And when you are the only
foreigners on an island of a few hundred people, with a small leadership cadre, there
aren't many options.
Now I had learned that I was supposed to be sensitive to cultural differ-
ences, and had learned at some point about personal distance, so I did think about
that. But I had stood close to Trukese before during conversation, and seen Trukese
talking while very close, so I knew that being close was not a problem. I carried on
for the next few days in some degree of depression, for I now knew that this
important person didn't want me there. After a little more time passed, and my
commitment to being effective in this place revived, I began to observe my social
surroundings a bit more closely. I began to notice that distance, itself, was not the
criteria for correct interaction distance. The criteria had to do with the size of the
space and the number of people in it. If you recall studying introductory physics,
then you can think of Trukese as acting like a gas introduced into a closed container.
They spread themselves out evenly within the available volume. If the space is small
and the number of people is large, people will be very close. If the number of people
is small and the space is large whether it be a clearing in thejungle or a classroom
at a school Trukese still tend to distribute throughout the space. So an honest,
open, and personal conversation may end up with a personal distance of 20 or 30
feet (7 or 10 meters) in some volumes and perhaps a couple of feet in others.
This observation helped me begin to move my thinking from shallow
thinking about culture and interpersonal relations to deeper thinking. For the simple
notion that in some cultures people stand close and others stand far, some like to
smell like a body and some like a flower, or some use physical touch regularly and
others avoid contact, is the preface to the real story of culture and psychological
To move beyond this preface and begin telling you that story let's return
to the Eastern Carolines. My wife and I received our training while living with a
family on the small island of Uman, in a village called Nukanap. A Trukese family
of about eight people shared their small corrugated tin house with us. We had
language training all day, six and-a-half days per week,so after a few confusing
days the language lessons began to stick. I remember the first time I understood a
question the mother of the family asked me. She asked me in Trukese, "where are
you going" (kepwenoia) as I was leaving the house. I replied, with great pride as
I crafted my first spontaneous sentence, "I'm going to the toilet" (upwenopenjo).
She covered her mouth and all the ladies who were visiting her that afternoon burst
out into laughter for such explicit words were not normally said by a man to a
woman. I should have responded "I'm going to the beach" (u pweno ne pee) or
"I'm going to the bushes" (upweno ne chia). In fact, in Trukese culture people of
opposite sex do not share personal things in fact they share relatively little Men
spend time and share personal thoughts and feelings with men; women spend time
together and share personal thoughts and feelings with women. Men hold hands
with men, and women hold hands with women. these rules apply even to married
people they spend little time with each other and never touch in public. None of
this implies homosexual relations nor prudish heterosexuality, for heterosexual
relations are the norm and happen outside as well as inside of marriage; indeed
intercourse may happen with other people asleep on the same mat. A young woman
who has already borne a child is considered more desirable than one who has never
been pregnant. But from my perspective as an American male this was complicated
to learn and understand. Indeed, the first time a young Trukese man, while we were
paddling along in an outrigger canoe, told me that he loved me, I had a difficult
time understanding this as a desire for real friendship and not as a statement of
Of course these were not only cultural misunderstandings but they did
start me on the path toward real insight. For I began to understand that culture and
psychology our understanding of ourselves and of others, and therefore relations
among people are all inextricably interwoven, not only in obvious but also in
The Attribution Process
We can begin this path toward insight, toward deeper understanding, by
considering the answer to the following question: am I more likely to fall in love
with a woman whom I meet before or after I walk across a bridge? This may sound
bizarre, but it is salient to this topic.
There are many ways to think about this question perhaps mostly absurd
ones. But psychological research demonstrates that, if it is the right kind of bridge,
it is possible that a person will at least be more attracted to another person after the
bridge than before. Now this research was not carried out for trivial reasons, but
rather at a test of a key notion of attribution theory. Before I explain attribution
theory and its importance to today's topic, let me tell you of this research.
This research was carried out in a public park. This park had a ravine going
through it, which was crossed by two different foot bridges. One bridge was fairly
frightening, at the other the ravine below was not deep and the bridge seemed stable
and secure. After crossing either the frightening or non-frightening bridge, young
men were met by a female they did not know and asked if they minded being
interviewed for a few minutes. They were asked a number of questions. The
interviewer then gave each subject her phone number, telling them that if they had
further thoughts or questions to call.
This research was designed to test a fundamental concept upon which
attribution theory is based. Attribution theory says that we are all information
processors who go through a systematic thinking process to understand ourselves
and others. As Daryl Bem3 describes it:
Individuals come to "know" their own attitudes,
emotions, and other internal states partially by
inferring them from observations of their own
behaviour and/or the circumstances in which this
This seems like a simple, and if you think about it, absurd idea. It suggests
that we don't actually know our thinking, feeling, and preferences but that we
must infer them from various pieces of observable information. In this study, the
key measure had to do with these fellow's reactions to the female interviewer.
Walking across the scary bridge was known to increase physiological
arousal a slight increase in heart rate, increased skin moisture, and so forth. These
physiological effects do not happen when one walks across a secure bridge.
According to attribution theory, we do not automatically know what the meaning
of this physical response is, but that we look to the circumstance to explain it, and
then make inferences based upon it. The question of this research was whether the
males would attribute their arousal to the female rather than the bridge therefore
inferring that she must be desirable and what to subsequently want to get to know
her better. Of course this effect could only occur if these young men did not
automatically know what kinds of females they were attracted to and used their
internal physiological state to infer attraction.
And this is precisely what happened: the men who walked over the
frightening bridge were significantly more likely to call up the young woman, and
even to ask her out for a date.
This phenomena called self attribution is very well documented in a wide
variety of contexts. Valins4' for examples, in investigating physical attraction in
greater detail, found that men rate pictures of females to which they think their
heartrate increased as more attractive. At the other end of the spectrum, Nisbett and
Schachter5, found a significant impact on pain tolerance. In their study, when people
were given a pill which was described as a stimulant which would cause increased
heartrate, nervousness, and sweating they could subsequently tolerate signifi-
cantly more deception: participants in fact received a placebo which had no physical
effects. Because they thus misattributed their physical response to the pill rather
than to the stock, they could tolerate more shock.
Again, you may say that this idea makes no sense that we obviously know
what we feel and what we think. Certainly we all know what pain is, or attraction,
or happiness. Yet cross cultural research shows that, in spite of great similarity
in emotion categories across different languages and cultures, people of different
cultures and languages categorize emotions somewhat differently. Other research
even suggests that the word "emotion" and basic emotions such as "anger" or
"sadness' are not universal
None of this implies that the experience of emotion is not a universal human
response. Rather, as Pepitone and Triandis note:
"the conditions that determine emotions or the
'display' rules about when and how emotions
ought to be expressed, or the social conse-
quences... we begin to expect (an empirically find)
systematic differences across cultures."
So, perhaps our internal thoughts and feelings are not as clear as we thought.
Before exploring this cultural dimension in greater detail, let me talk about
another attributional process the process which focuses not on the self but on
We don't, obviously, know what is actually in other people's minds. Yet
all of us are capable of talking about other people as if we did. Think about your
best female friend. Can you tell me something about what kind of person she is?
Or how about me a person about whom most of you know exceedingly little. Can
you make some guesses about what kind of person I am? Am I smart or dumb? Am
I friendly? Am I nervous or calm? Each of you uses whatever information is
available to you sometimes a little and sometimes a lot to make inferences about
Sometimes the information we use is based on our knowledge of the other
person's apparent group identity: profession, status, place of residence, or skin
colour or other racial characteristic. These are called, of course, stereotypes
making inferences about others because of group membership.
All of this is part of the attributional process, where we attribute charac-
teristics to others based on whatever information we have. During the past few
decades enormous effort has been invested in understanding this process, for it
seems to be a very structured, very predictable, very normal part of psychological
behaviour around the world.
The understanding of this process comes from the theoretical perspectives9
Fundamentally, these theorists say that we use observable behaviour and the context
in which it occurs to make inferences about other's intentions; from this intention
we may be able to infer what kind of person they are; and from this knowledge we
can predict their behaviour in other similar or different contexts. The degree to
which one can successfully make inferences about others depends on the degree to
which the behaviour seems to be independent of or inconsistent with the situation.
For example, in the U.S. the mere fact that a person shakes an offered hand when
greeting another person does not result in an inference of friendliness, since that
behaviour is situationally expected. Contrarily, refusing to shake an offered hand
when greeting a person may well result in an reference of hostility since this violates
the expectations for this situation. Violation of expectations causes strong, negative
Research provides strong support for this type of person attribution process.
For example, Jones, Davis, and Gergenl0 found that in ajob interview, applicants
to be submariners (who must get along well with others in the close quarters on a
submarine) who came across as socially-oriented were thought to be merely acting
as expected; contrarily, those applicants who came across as non-socially-oriented
were confidently felt to be non-social. In another condition in this experiment, in
which people were interviewing to be a solo-astronaut, exactly the reverse occurred.
As with self-attribution, the person attribution process has been investi-
gated in a very wide range of contexts. Research has supported the validity of
attributional perspectives in contexts as divergent as attitudes toward Fidel Castrol I
, judgements of worker honesty12 and the intelligence of students and abilities of
This attributional process does not require that we be constantly lost in
thought, for we seem to go through at least the simplest part of this process virtually
automatically14 However, more complete inferences about others does require the
thought and effort of a more complete assessment of the context which surrounds
Why Do We Need to Attribute?
Why should we bother to make attributions? The existence of an under-
standable an orderly and reasonably predictable world is a necessary part of being
human. When waking up in the morning we can be reasonably confident that, upon
jumping out of with enthusiasm,we will land on the floor and not drift away into
space. We know that gravity is predictable. When walking through a park we can
be reasonable confident that the trees will not suddenly fall upon us. Trees are
predictable -under normal circumstances they do not fall over. When approaching
a stranger walking toward us along a path in the park,we can be reasonably certain
that the person will not attack. Other people tend to be predictable unless, of
course we are walking where we should not have been when we should not have
Some level of predictability and understandability is necessary to avoid
information overload: if most things were not predictable we would have to be
constantly assessing every aspect of our physical and social world, considering that
anything could happen anywhere at any time. It would,indeed, be hard to out of bed
in the morning. Asberkowitz 15 nicely summarizes:
Understanding is useful because it can lead to a
better plan of action, and it helps us cope with
ambiguous situation ... ability to predict the occur-
rence of aversive events often gives an individual
a sense of control over the situation, reduces dis-
comfort, and increases the probability of effective
action. ...uncertainly can be frustrating. People
want to know what's going to happen next in their
lives.., and understand their own internal feels
when they are exposed to something strange and
Of course stereotypes about others are in a sense the most efficient way of
making inferences because they give us quick and specific ways of understanding
others. It is important to recognize, then, that stereotypes perform a useful function
for people; it is when they are incorrect (and don't characterize the person being
observed) that all of the destructive impact of stereotypes occur. Implicit in this
statement is the notion that a given stereotype might,sometimes,be accurate but
that issue is outside the scope of this paper. Overall it is my judgement that
stereotypes are more often destructively applied than constructively applied.
Cross-cultural research finds that people around the globe do go through
an attributional process16 But of course humans everywhere do not always infer
the same thing-people do understand things differently and infer different things
and expect different things. The point her- a critical point- is that the process
seems to be the same,but the content may not always be. For example,behaviour
from which jinnal (cleverness) might be inference of dishonesty by a person with
traditional U.S. values.
Knowing what to Attribute: Culture as Meaning-Giver
How do we know what to attribute and what meaning to infer? there are of
course,some relatively built in expectations. With humans it is clear that we know.
Learning about aspects of physical reality is fairly simple everywhere: people in all
cultures learn about the predictability of gravity through repeated failing during
childhood. But most of the understandings that we develop are the product of social
learning. And this social learning is,invariably, culturally defined.
The fact is,trees can be understood to stand for very different reasons,rang-
ing from the physics of root systems in one culture to a loving relationship with the
earth in another culture. A person can be understood to stand close for very different
reasons,ranging from friendliness to hostility.
"Culture"has been defined in nearly as many ways as there are people who
have written about it. For the purpose of this paper,the focus is not on the objective
culture-the physical aspects of culture-but on the subjective aspects of culture.
As Tranis says when focusing on subjective culture
"we learn how people perceive, categorize,be-
lieve,and value entities in their environment. In
short,we discover the unique ways in which peo-
ple in different cultures view their social environ-
Language,of course,is the mechanism by which culture gives us the labels
to apply to our thinking and feeling about ourselves and other. As Ochs and
Schieffelinl7say:The process of acquiring language in deeply affected by the
process of becoming a competent member of society is realized to a large extent
through language, by acquiring knowledge of its functions,social distribution,and
interpretations in and across socially defined situations i.e. through exchanges of
language in particular social situations. The language used by caregivers reflect and
express the values and beliefs held by their social group and children's social
learning is then shaped by the resultant social expectations.
Language, as a reflection of culture,determines how we construe ourselves
and others. As Markus and Kitayama 18 note:
Cultures vary widely in the way language labels
the social environment. Western culture tends to
be characterized by an independent view of the
self (e.g. individualistic, egocentric, separate,
autonomous, idiocentric, self-contained);
whereas many non-western cultures instead em-
phasize the connectedness among people or an
interdependent construal of the self(e.g. sociocen-
tric, holistic, collective, allocentric, ensembled,
constitutive, contextualistic, connected, and rela-
tional). As examples of this, cultural wisdom is
very different: in the United States,where "the
squeaky wheel gets the grease" than it is in Japan,
where "the nail that stands out gets pounded
According to Markus and Kitayama this difference influences how we:
* Process and remember information for independent people the most
important information is that which is relevant to one's self-defining attributes,
whereas for interdependent the most is that which describes others or the self
in relation to another person;
* Experience and express emotion independent people express that which
reflects one's internal state and conveys a sense of autonomy whereas interde-
pendent people express that which is responsive to the immediate context or to
the specific relationship; and
* How we are motivated -independent people are by actions that express
important inner attributes whereas interdependent people are motivated by
actions that enhance or foster one's relatedness to another person.
At this point, then, the linkage between culture and the attribution process
is certainly clear. Culture is the critical determinant of how we process and
remember the information, label emotion,and interpret motivation. Each of these
is central to the attributional process.
Culture,then,impacts not just interpretation of overt behavior based on
verbal and non verbal customs,norjust the patterns of likes and dislikes. Culture in
fact impacts the fundamental psychological process by which we construct an
understanding of ourselves and others.
The Impact of Culture on Attribution Processes Logic Discontent
Let me now return to the unpleasant assertion that I made earlier that to
misunderstand, distrust, dislike,and fear others of different backgrounds is logical.
These negative feelings-the feelings which underlie or validate human oppression
and exploitation and aggression for whatever the economic, political, or sociologi-
cal reasons are not a pathology to be cured, but a traditional process to
understood. The attributional process is a rational one; culture determines the
meaning given as a result of attributional process;and cultural differences result in
well- grounded and "logical"differences in understanding. Before talking about
the steps we might take to construct more positive cross- cultural relations,let us
explore some of the culturally-based attributional process.
In a fascinating analysis, Carroll 19 devotes an entire book to the study of
difference in the understanding of behavior from French and American point of
view. That French-American understanding or misunderstanding is problematic is
notjust an American perception: the (French)journal Communication dedicated an
entire issue to this subject. Carroll notes that Americans commonly perceive French
to be rude because they interrupt conversation and change the subject constantly;
French see American conversation as boring and lecture-like. The problem stems
from the fact that Americans and French are actually attending to and processing
different types of information while they may be talking, they may be hearing
very different things. For Americans, conversation is an opportunity for exchanging
thoughts and exchanging information. For French, a conversation is a social
exchange in which the goal is to weave a relationship information exchange is
unimportant. Americans will strike up conversations with strangers, or people they
never expect to see again, or people who happen to live next door but who are not
likely to be real friends for anyone can potentially contribute useful or interesting
information. American conversations assume that each person must be given an
opportunity to contribute to the information exchange; interruptions prior to com-
pletion of a particular thought are rude; and people can come into or leave a
conversation whenever their contribution is complete. French see conversation as
a commitment to a relationship in which the development of the relationship, not
the information content, is important. Completing thoughts is irrelevant; what
matters is that the relationship is active and dynamic. In most situations, mere
propinquity does not justify a conversation; conversations are held primarily with
those with whom one expects to have or wants to have a continuing relationship.
Americans, then, make inferences about others based on the nature of the
information exchange; French make inferences based on the non-verbal aspects of
the social relationship. As Carroll (1988, p. 30) says: "Americans and French do
not attribute the same meaning to verbal exchanges, yet believe their meanings to
Similar analyses have been done for many cultural pairings. For example,
Sakamoto and Naotsuka 20 note that
"a Western style of conversation is like a game of
tennis." The American expects a conversation to
go back and forth between "players," and the
other player is responsible for hitting the ball back
by contributing to an elaborating on the topic
through either agreeing or disagreeing. Contrar-
ily, a Japanese style of conversation is like bowl-
ing (p. 83):
You wait for your turn. And you always know your place in line. It depends
on such things as whether you are older or younger, a close friend or a relative
stranger... There is no back and forth. All the balls run parallel. There is no rush,
no excitement, no scramble for the ball.
As they say, you can't play tennis with a bowling ball and vice versa, and
even being aware of the cultural differences may not be enough.
"If you have been trained your whole life to play
one game, it is no simple matter to switch to
another, even if you know the rules. Knowing the
rules is not at all the same thing as playing the
game" (p. 85).
Again, these are simple examples and analyses, but point to the more
complex ways in which, given the same objective situation, cultural differences
fundamentally alter what information becomes a part of the attributional process.
It is important to recognize that attribution, once made, have a major impact
on future behaviour, notjust of the person making the inference but on the behaviour
of people about whom inferences are made.
A clear case of this has to do with the impact of prejudice, or stigmatizing,
on the behaviour of people who are the targets of these negative assessments. Steele
21 for example, has investigated what he calls "self-image threat" which occurs as
a result of "something that is conveyed to us through the judgements of other
people" or as a result of being "the target of prejudiced remarks, of stereotypes, of
stigmatization, or the like." He asserts that we each seek to maintain an integrated
sense of ourselves as component, and that, one of the strategies that can be used to
avoid affirming to ourselves the validity of a stigma or negative stereotype is to
"disqualify" it" we no longer use it as a part of our own self-evaluation. He notes,
for example, that there is a recognized gap between academic achievement of
stigmatized (African-American) and non-stigmatized (white) groups in the U.S. Is
it possible that the achievement difference is due to being stigmatized?
He begins by noting that anthropological research (Ogbu, 1986) supports
this notion. Ogbu looked at the caste-like minorities of industrial and non-industrial
societies (Maories of New Zealand, Buraku of Japan, Harijans of India, West
Indians of Great Britain, etc.) He found that for each of these groups, there is exactly
a fifteen point gap between their IQ performance and that of the non-stigmatized
members of their societies precisely the same score difference as that between
black and white Americans. Very interestingly, the Buraku, a caste minority in
Japan, who are racially identical to other Japanese, suffer a 15 point IQ gap in Japan
but have the same IQ as other people of Japanese descent in the United States, Steele
goes on to review various efforts to lift stigmatization in the school environment
which finds that performance improves dramatically.
Steele and Aronson22 take this idea one step further. They note that:
the predicament in which one's behaviour or fea-
tures, by conforming to a negative stereotype
about one's group, can imply that the stereotype
is true of one as an individual...; the mere exist-
ence of this stereotype more plausible as a self-
characterization, in the eyes of others, and perhaps
even in one's own eyes (p. 3).
For African-Americans, poor intellectual ability is one negative stereotype
that must be contended with. Vulnerability to this stereotype, according to Steele,
causes apprehension which then interferes with intellectual test performance. As
this stereotype persists over time, individuals may be pressured to protect them-
selves and their self-concept by "disidentifying" with achievement in school and
other intellectual endeavours. In effect, the individual redefines his or her self-con-
cept such that it no longer includes academic achievement as a basis of self-evalu-
ation or personal identity. They note that at every level of preparation (as measured
by scores of standardized tests) African-Americans have poorer subsequent
achievement (as measured by grade point average, years until college graduation,
etc., as compared to whites with the exact same test scores.
To assess whether this lower achievement might be the result of disidenti-
fying, studies were carried out in which African- American and white students are
asked to take a difficult test (advanced verbal section of the GRE). In the condition
where they are told the test is "diagnostic of ability," whites out perform African-
Americans. When they are told that the same test is "nondiagnostic" unrelated to
performance African Americans get the exact same scores as whites. Even more
powerfully, in another "nondiagnostic" condition they include a box to check off
"race" before taking the test. With the race check-off box the African-Americans
did not perform as well as whites. Without the box, African-Americans perform as
well (or in some cases better) than whites.
Steele's work is now being followed up on by Eberhardt 23 she is looking
at black Caribbean immigrants to the United States. She hypothesizes that stereo-
type vulnerability will not be found among first generation immigrants who will
have less experience with the American stereotype of inferior intellectual abilities
of African-Americans. In addition, first generation black Caribbean immigrants do
not identify themselves as African- American but as upwardly mobile, high status
immigrants from the Caribbean. However, she does. expect stereotype vulnerability
to occur (in the form of lower test scores on "diagnostic" tests) among second and
third generation Caribbean immigrants. They will have been exposed to the
stereotype, feel the vulnerability, and will underperform when primed with race or
diagnosticity. Preliminary data are consistent with this prediction.
Psychology, Personality, and Culture
Let me now go on to put all of these pieces together into an understanding
of cross-cultural attributional processes. First, to summarize the major points made
in this paper:
* The way we label our own internal states (our feelings, attitudes, and emotions),
and the ways we view others, is inferred based on externally available infor-
* The information we pay attention to is culturally determined;
* From this information we go through a thinking process attributions which
allow us to make inferences;
* The meaning of behaviour and the inferences we make about ourselves and
others is culturally learned;
* The inferences allow us to develop expectations about ourselves and others
* Expectations and behaviour which violate one's cultural values result in
stronger and more negative attitudes.
In my own research I have put together these principles into an under-
standing of intercultural relations21 For example, in one study, (Detweiler, 1973)
subject heartrate was manipulated while presenting the names of various nationali-
ties to American subjects. This research showed that subjects had significantly more
negative attitudes toward nationalities where there heartrate changed. Or stated in
attributional terms: when subject's heartrate changed, they inferred that they had
more negative attitudes toward the nationality they were at that time thinking about.
In other studies (Detweiler, 1975, 1978, 1979), subjects, particularly those who
make very "narrow" attributions, interpreted the behaviour of those who are
culturally different negatively, whereas they interpreted the same behaviour posi-
tively when a culturally similar person was the actor. These same narrow thinkers
were also found, in a study of Peace Corps Volunteers, to have a more difficult time
adjusting to cultural differences (Detweiler, 1980). Overall, culturally learned
inferences, culturally learned expectations, and culturally labeled emotional re-
sponses combine to create, as I said at the outset, very logical misunderstanding.
From Logical Misunderstanding to Logical Relationships A Personal
How can we deal with this powerful psychological phenomena? To
"solve" this problem does not require a mere understanding that people of different
cultures act and think differently, not does it merely require learning about other
cultures and how they construct their reality. We must go beyond the straightfor-
ward "learning about others" informational approach favoured by educators. A
series of learning steps a personal quest is necessary.
Recognition: Self Culture Insight
The first step in this personal quest is actually well-framed by the comment
of Professor Leonard Barrett 22 who upon reflecting on this upbringing says:
In my youth, the tendency of the mission was
radically to de-Africanize all Jamaicans, which
meant total rejection of all things African... The
fashionable view was to emulate English behav-
ioural traits and if one had relatives of the fairer
breed, one should emphasize them, thus negating
one's African linkages. This I could not do, be-
cause it was the African ingredients in me that
freed my being.
We must each begin by recognizing ourselves as individual cultural beings
whose values, beliefs, and understandings are fundamentally shaped by how we are
brought up by family and friends and community.
This self-culture insight should not be confused with skin nor nationality
nor even necessarily one's ancestors place or origin. While skin colour may be
correlated with a kind of life experience within a particular nation, or people of one
nation may tend to share certain interests or values, using skin colour or nationality
as one's self definition denies the unique influences which define the individual.
There are undoubtedly broad cultural themes which may be of real importance.
Until I understand these and their impact on my values and motivations -
the way I perceive myself and the social world and the expectations I have I cannot
reasonably hope to relate effectively with people who may have had very different
life experiences. The attributions I make are the product of this life experience. And
for many people it takes real work to trace and understand one's own descent and
the factors which influenced one's upbringing, at least if one want's to move beyond
Suspension: Deferring Attributions
The second step in this personal quest is to, with the application of real
effort, suspend the attributional process when interacting with people of different
backgrounds. For attributions once made a very difficult to unmake.
Engaging. Fascination and Individualized interaction
The third step in this personal quest is to develop a sense of interest in, a
fascination with, understanding other's self- cultures. The focus must be on the
individual and the life experiences that make the person what and who they are.
While components of this identity may be nationality or descent, the focus must be
on the person as an individual and not as a member of a stereotypical group you
have all seen the consequences of broad generalizations about people of other
nations, religions, skin colours, or ethnicities.
Being motivated to interact with other people and to understand the way
they perceive themselves and their social world and the expectations they have a -
a culture fascination gives us an opportunity to understand how their attributions
may very logically be different from mine.
We must create opportunities for interaction with individuals as individu-
als. rather than as members of groups. This is the point at which e have the
opportunity to learn from our self- culture understanding and our fascination with
other's cultures. This learning cannot happen through textbook study nor through
the typical tour group, because these approaches tend to reinforce generalizations
about peoples because of their group membership. And of course it is at the point
of individual interaction with people who have had a very different socialization
that we can develop, for the first time, an understanding of the importance of our
At this point it is worth pointing out that there has been an enormous amount
of theoretical and applied research on intergroup relations at the local, national,
and international levels and involving issues ranging from interracial relations to
the resolution of border disputes. The outcome of all this research is fundamentally
that groups never learn to relate to groups. It is only when individuals can interact
with individuals and not as members of groups that positive outcomes occur. There
is also ample evidence of this sad fact on some college campuses in the U.S. where
the so called "minority" students (who are rapidly becoming the majority) are
encouraged to develop their own, separate organizations. While the constructive
motivation for this can be the development of positive interpersonal support, when
these groups become the focus of identity then people of different backgrounds
cease interacting as individuals and learning cease. And mere contact, extensive
research says, is insufficient: meaningful, personal interaction occur. The one
exception to this is when there is a major external threat where everyone's future
is commonly at risk. Then groups join for a shared outcome. The examples of this
are legion, and I remember more than one science fiction book or movie plot in
which humanity was finally brought together because of an alien menace, whether
real or contrived
As a result of going on this personal quest recognizing oneself as a cultural
being, suspending attributions and seeking to understand other's self-cultures, and
engaging by being motivated to understand and interact with others as persons a
number of insights develop. Let me mention only the two most important ones at
First, of course, is a better understanding of one's own and of other's
attributional processes and the ways our own life experiences shape them. Most
important, we can learn to understand the legitimacy of other's attributions of their
world view, their understandings, and their expectations.
Second, we learn that, while we often interpret the same situation differ-
ently, and that we have different expectations, there is much more that all people
have in common. This is a non- naive sense of commonness, it is not "all people
are the same" but a deep understanding of the ties that bind us in shared humanity
- an understanding of the enormity of what we share as humans against a backdrop
of difference in life experience.
The result? I believe that we can come closer to Dr. King's aspiration for
us: a world in which you and I, your children and mine, can sit together at the table
The Honourable Rex Nettleford, writing in 1993 23 talked about the
Caribbean as a place that may in fact be making progress toward realizing this
dream; a place where there is:
The product of the process of creolisation which
goes beyond biological mixing to the creation of
a unique and distinctive sensibility capable of
coping with difference. without resort to intoler-
ance or deterioration into psychic despair (Nettle-
ford, 1993, pp. ix-x).
He goes on to note that this is
"a major challenge for a planet that is growing
smaller in the face of instant communication" (p.
and indeed this is an important message. For, if nothing else, we are living
in a global environment, and we must learn to solve the dilemmas which divide
people and create conflict, not only across national boundaries but within as well.
The current tragedy in parts of Eastern Europe is a clear lesson. We do not have the
option of ignoring the rest of the world, and I personally hope that humanity does
not use global cultural homogenization as the route to better relations.
Let me now conclude with a saying I once learned, which is based on the
fact that grasshopper's hearing mechanism is located in their legs. It states: if to
humans grasshoppers hear with their legs, then to grasshoppers, humans walk on
This is needed our challenge: to see that some listen with ears and some
listen with their legs, while also understanding that we all hear and walk.
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18. Eberhardt, J. (1996). Yale University. Personal communication to Jerusha B. Detweiler
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intellectual test performance and stereotype vulnerability." Paper submitted for publication.
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tion meeting, Boston
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children's and adult's intercultural difficulties." International Journal of Group Tensions,
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culture." Journal of Personality, 43, 591- 611and Detweiler, R. (1980). "Intercultural
interaction and the categorization process: A conceptual analysis and behavioral outcome."
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physiological mediation of attitudinal responses." Journal of Personality and Social Psy-
chology and Detweiler, R. (1980). "Culture, category width, and attributions," Journal of
Cross-Cultural Psychology, 9, 259-284.
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23. Nettleford, Rex (1993). Inward Stretch, Outward Reach: A Voice from the Caribbean.
London: MacMillan Press Ltd.
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Triandis, H.C., Tanaka, Y and Shanmugam, A. (1966) "Interpersonal Attitudes among Ameri-
can, Indian and Japanese Students", International Journal of Psychology, 1, 177-206
Dependency Politics: The Quality of Parliamentary Govern-
ance in the British Virgin Islands*
HOWARD A FERGUS
In 1992, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), celebrated 25 years of ministerial
government (1967-92) with due pomp and ceremony and a commemorative book
to boot. In that same year the Government headed by the Chief Minister (CM) H.
Lavity Stout passed a resolution calling for a constitutional review with the object
of attaining what it billed as "full internal self-government" (BVI is one of five
British dependent territories in the Caribbean). In November 1993 the Secretary of
State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs appointed a three-man Commission
to review the constitution with a view to ensuring "the continued constitutional
advance and good government of the BVI"
The problem is that there is little available scope between the present
constitution and "full internal self-government" short of making the Governor, the
official representative of the British Government; a figure-head and a purely
ceremonial officer and apart from giving him responsibility for external defence
which the territory finds convenient to leave with the United Kingdom. This
dilemma is to some extent shared by other British Dependent Territories (BDTs)
in the Caribbean which either through wisdom or faint-heartedness opt not to
proceed to independence, but wish nevertheless to be masters in their own houses
and of their own destinies. With the BVI, a nouveau riche colony, the problem is
more acute. Just and sophisticated parliamentary governance (indeed what the
British describe as good government) has not kept pace with heady economic
advancement in the perception of most people including its large expatriate popu-
lation, so if quality governance were a critical criterion for constitutional advance-
ment as a colony, the BVI would not immediately qualify. Fearing that further
advance means a move down a slippery slope to independence many categorically
reject such advance. This position was captured in the message of an elderly witness
to the 1993 Constitution Commission: "When you return tell the Queen that we are
satisfied as we are"; and by a couple of younger persons who questioned gloomily:
"When you take power from the Governor, who will you give it to?" It seems
evident the factors which inhibit BVI's advancement to full internal self-govern-
ment are notjust external, meaning the felt need by the UK to retain some authority
consonant with its international responsibility for the BVI, but there are also internal
In this article I examine the internal factors related to governance and
evaluate the remedial action which the BVIslanders have themselves proposed. I
do so from my vantage point as a member of the 1993 Constitutional Commission.
In the next section, I present something of the socio-economic context; and in the
third section I discuss what I interpret as the dysfunctionality of parliamentary
government based on the evidence received by the commission. In the fourth
section, I evaluate the proposals for change and conclude with a final section in
which I offer brief comments on the way forward.
The Socio-Economic Context
The BVI a straggling archipelago of about 40 islands became a part of the
Leeward Islands Federation in 1872, but when the territories defederated to enter
the larger West Indian Federation as separate entities in 1958, it isolated itself.
Situated just 60 miles from Puerto Rico and 3 miles off St. John of the US Virgin
Islands with which there are strong social and economic bonds, it embraced a
"westward destiny" instead of a British Eastern Caribbean one. (With subsequent
access to regional institutions like the Caribbean Development Bank, the Caribbean
Community and Common Market (CARICOM), and the University of the West
Indies she enjoys the best of two worlds).
In 1967 following a one-woman constitutional commission in Oxfordian
Dr. Mary Proudfoot, a ministerial system was introduced, through the Virgin
Islands Constitution Orders 1967-71, as well as seven electoral districts. A Consti-
tutional Order of 1976 and three subsequent amendments (1979, 1982 and 1991)
produced the present constitutional status. Executive power is vested in an Execu-
tive council comprised of a Governor who represents the Queen, a Chief Minister,
two or three other ministers, an Attorney General and a Speaker elected by the
members from outside its membership. The Legislative Council consists of nine
elected members with an ex officio Attorney General who also sits in Executive
Council. The territory enjoys a large measure of internal self-government but the
Governor has special responsibilities for external affairs, defence, internal security,
administration of the courts and the public service and can make decisions on these
matters in his sole discretion. He can, ife he wishes but after consultation with the
CM assign responsibility to any member of Executive Council for conducting
business in the Legislative Council pertaining to any of his special responsibilities.
This is more or less standard for the constitutions of Caribbean BDTs with
a significant exception. The BVI Minister of Finance has responsibility for all
finances including the international finance sector. This is certainly not the case in
Anguilla, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The BVI earned this
privilege because of the vibrance of the off-shore finance sector which was
established by BVI initiative with only negative assistance from the UK Govern-
ment, some argue. (When in the 1980s, the government of Montserrat anxious for
the quick dollar became profligate in registering off-shore banks which became
fronts for money laundering, extortion and other forms of chicanery, the British
moved in with a new constitution in 1991; it took international finances from the
CM and assigned it to the Governor).
The economy of the BVI may not rest on the most solid foundations, but
based predominantly on up-market tourism, real estate development and interna-
tional business companies, it is certainly very affluent; and this puts it among a
small elite of solvent countries in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Its revenue in
1992 was US$60,600,958 while the recurrent and capital expenditure was
US$56,197,738 and US$25,876,450 respectively; the 1993 revenue was estimated
at US$62,595,000 with a surplus of US$3,249,600.1 International Business Com-
panies (IBCs) are the largest contributor to the economy. The 1984 International
Business Law which some countries including St. Kitts-Nevis are now using as a
model, attracted business corporations from the Bahamas, Hong Kong, Malaysia,
Panama and other countries; its simplicity and flexibility is said to be a drawing
card. At present over 100,000 IBCs are registered in the BVI accounting for some
35 per cent of the total revenue.
The rapid growth in the economy led to an influx of immigrants investors,
professional and unskilled workers from several countries making it Britain's most
cosmopolitan Caribbean colony. Workers from the Caribbean replaced BVIsland-
ers who utilising the ease with which they were able to acquire US nationality or
'green cards', had sought economic refuge in the USVI and on the American
mainland in a browner day. The population now estimated at over 17,000 was put
at 16,108 by the 1991 census of which 40 per cent were from the Commonwealth
Caribbean and 10 per cent from elsewhere.
This demographic configuration is beginning to create social unease. North
Americans and Europeans with residence ranging from five to 20 years and
prospering businesses, as well as some so- called "down-islanders" are asking for
the franchise and cognate citizenship rights. A Caribbean lawyer, for instance,
claimed to have paid US$35,000 in taxes in a three-year period and was without
parliamentary representation. Emphasizing her case, she made a false analogy with
the North American colonial "no taxation without representation" episode of 1775.
Indigenous BVIslanders, on the other hand, expressed fear that a rapid enfranchise-
ment of non-belongers could cause them to be politically overpowered and their
culture distorted. As one witness pithily put it, they did not want to be strangers in
their own country, and guests in their own home. Expatriate BVlslanders with
national allegiance to the US government by virtue of acquired citizenship are
clamouring for the right to hold electoral office in BVI. They argue that their exodus
was an economic blessing for the BVI at a time when the country could ill afford
to sustain them and give their children hope; and their remittances helped to keep
their native land afloat. However, not all of their stay-home compatriots regard it
as fair for them to enjoy the rights of both worlds.
This matrix of prosperity and disquiet generated a welter, indeed a babel
of voices calling for constitutional change. At one end of the pole some wanted
more power in local hands while others looked to the mother country to rid the
country of fear and put fairness in its place. All looked to a new constitution and a
new era of parliamentary government for redress. In the next section I examine the
defects of the present system as seen through the eyes of those who discoursed
with the 1993 Commission. (The number of persons who attended public hearings
was thin (317), but 59 individuals and organizations made private representations
to the commission and it received 45 memoranda ranging in length from one to 60
Dysfunctionality of Parliamentary Government
One of the commonest criticisms levelled at parliamentary government was
the manner in which the CM was in practice chosen. He is never a predictable choice
from among two or three party leaders, but rather the fortuitous function of political
bargaining and brokerage in which many persons with peculiar vested interests take
part. Veteran politician H.R. Penn, alludes to the process for 1975 in his memoirs:
"The great struggle ofjockeying for positions began immediately after the election.
It appeared that several of the elected members wanted to be Chief Minister" 2 It
is through this same process that Willard Wheatley emerged as CM in 1971 at his
first foray into politics when he ran as an Independent candidate. It is said that in
1975 Wheatley who again as an Independent candidate became CM through an
alliance with the Virgin Islands Party had to be carefully guarded lest another group
grabbed him. This episode may be apocryphal in part, but is illustrates the arbitrari-
ness of the process and the people's humorous (in some cases, contemptuous)
perception of it. Two elections after, in 1983, when two political groupings each
gained three seats, Independent candidate Cyril Romney bargained his way to the
top position, this in part, explains why the vast majority ofBVIslanders are in search
of a new mechanism for choosing the CM.
Another explanation lies in the functioning of party politics which almost
necessitates the post-election horse-trading, although sometimes it is difficult to
determine which is cause and which is effect. In 1967, with the introduction of the
ministerial system, at least one faction, the British Virgin Islands United Party was
formed and duly registered; and two other parties were formed to contest the 1967
elections. From then on, however, parties turned out to be ephemeral combines
without substantial group allegiance or loyalty to any body of principles or set of
policies and without any proper central or district organizations. They may peter
out on election night following the results and the jockeying for positions.
In 1986 a year in which two of its members threatened to vote against the
government in a no-confidence motion, a bill was introduced by their members.
One of the significant measures was that no Independent candidate could be
appointed as CM. It is hardly surprising that this bill so foreign to the political
culture of the BVI did not become law. By most accounts, political parties are today
seen as brittle and dysfunctional.
Historian Vernon Picketing explains this phenomenon by citing the
"unique" socio-economic history of the BVI. He argues that plantation economy
died out at the turn of the century and with it the planter class. The BVI therefore
"proved infertile ground for the emergence of labour unions and political parties
due to the absence of a natural adversary or a focus of employment beyond
individual endeavour"3 As a result "no viable organizations took root as was the
case in most of the other larger territories" This analysis sounds plausible and
certainly several early political parties in the British Caribbean were Labour parties
formed to oppose and dislodge merchant-planter oligarchies which held sway in
the colonies But this negative and reactionary concept of party is not the only one.
Parties of persons who share political and social ideals have emerged in the region
and have enjoyed longevity. In the BVI, politics is par excellence, the politics of
individualism. Many patriots are urging the change of a situation in which every
BVIslander who contests an election sees himself or herself as a potential CM, and
would do whatever possible to settle for a ministry at the very least.. Ministerial
position are enormous sources of affluence, influence and patronage. The call for
ethics legislation was justifiably strident.
The politics of the individual operates at another level to enfeeble parlia-
mentary and indeed democratic governance in this mini country. The charge that
ministers tend to subordinate the larger national interest to a narrow parochial one,
was overwhelming. This practice is fueled by the felt need to reward supporters
thereby investing in re-election. Because of the relative smallness of electorates
which ranged from 533 to 1,109 in 1990, an effect analogous to rotten pocket
boroughs of nineteenth century England is experienced. Constituencies not repre-
sented by ministers felt particularly powerless and deprived in these circumstances.
In their 1986 Report, Roy Marshall et al described a similar situation in the Turks
and Caicos Islands (TCI) in this way.
each successful candidate for an election will
have a good idea of who his supporters are and it
is likely that he will be personally acquainted with
everyone of them. The pressure that this puts on
him to regard himself as primarily obliged to
further their individual interests and advantage -
an obligation which they are themselves not slow
to urge upon him and only secondarily, if at all,
to further the interests of all his constituents of
whatever party, let all alone the interests of the
Islands as a whole, is very difficult to resist...We
are convinced that this is seriously inimical to
healthy and effective government.4
BVI where this practice is elevated to the state of an art is the classical
model. This, as much as anything else, generated a demand for change in the
This politics of personal interests thrives, as some key mechanisms of
accountability are in effect or dormant. Legislative Council meetings must be
statutorily held four times annually but in practice they ar held six times on average
each lasting for about a day. Even with such infrequent sittings the opportunity to
question government ministers is very seldom used and the obligation to respond
is not taken seriously, we were told. Then in a Legislative Council of ten, an
Executive Council (cabinet) of five almost has a guaranteed majority so the usual
checks from back-benchers and opposition members are lacking. Parliament oper-
ates as a rubber stamp for the executive.
One of the most serious manifestations of parliamentary dysfunctionality
is the negative working of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). It is usual for
more than a year to pass without a meeting and for its business to remain incomplete
for even longer. Allegedly some opposition members seek deals form the govern-
ment either for themselves or their supporters and therefore lack the enthusiasm to
use the PAC as it is intended as a watchdog on public expenditure revealing
breaches of financial rules and cases of corruption. Whatever is the cause, the PAC
is moribund at best. One witness before the Commission understandably asked that
the constitution "force our government actions to be transparent, accountable to
democratic institutions, and not only to tolerate, but to promote public debate and
popular participation in decision-making". Presently, the workings of government
have assumed more of an authoritarian than a democratic countenance.
With this general lack of accountability it is easy for ministers to engage
in highly questionable ethical practices. Several persons alluded directly or indi-
rectly to a recent case in which although a government Minister may not have
actually broken any law in his relationship with an oil company, had sailed very
closely to the wind. Section 29(1) (h) of the Constitution, generally speaking,
requires legislators to publish their business deals and relationships in any company
which has a contract with the government; but this does not go far enough to cover
the plethora of cases of conflict of interest, and ministers benefit from the loopholes.
Columnist A.J. Edwards even accuses them of interpreting this section to suit
themselves: "Several politicians have said that in the constitution "any contract"
really means "any big contract" 5
As if democratic government was not anaemic enough in the BVI, the
government amended the Elections Ordinance in 1990 to introduce proxy voting
whereby one voter is able to vote on behalf of up to five registered voters who are
absent from the country or are incapacitated in some way. This amendment came
close to instituting a new principle of one person six votes and the indications are
that such a principle was acted on by some. The Supervisor of Election's Report
alludes to several cases of corruption; and the law itself was defective in making
no provision for authenticating applications for proxy. Some persons turned up to
vote to find they had already been voted for.6 The Supervisor politely recommended
"that the Government consider seriously whether the gains, if any, from this
measure, are worth the problems involved" With a near universal voice persons
who communicated with the Commission categorically denounced this new avenue
of potential corruption.
Proposals for Constitutional Change
A number of proposals by a significant number of persons centred around
the vexed issue of the election of the CM. Essentially, they would like the total
electorate to be involved in this election. The model is the American presidential
system and this is no surprise given the proximity of the US Virgin Islands and the
close social and economic relationships which exist. There is nothing wrong with
mixing of models but electing the CM 'at large' would require a radical change in
the present model. There has to be a new electoral mechanism to ensure, for
instance, that the CM commands majority support in the Legislative Council.
In order to cure ministers of the tyranny of the constituency and the politics
of individualism some citizens want all legislators to be elected 'at large' This, it
is hoped woul, d in the words of BVIslanders columnists and politicians, Dough
and Medita Wheatley "free the legislator from the burden of obligation to interest
groups and individuals who place their own interests above the country's"8
Interestingly the Wheatleys place much blame on the supporters whom they dub
"Unscrupulous elements." Freed from their unreasonable demands through elec-
tion 'at large', the legislator should develop a wider national perspective since, if
for no other reason, he or she would depend on almost the entire electorate for his
re-election; and with an electorate of 7,550 the practice of exchanging gifts for votes
could be attenuated.
One problem with 'at large' voting is that it deprives a district of a personal
representative with whom he or she can identify and contact when the circumstance
necessitates. Those BVIslanders who recognized this, suggested a mix of district
representatives (a reduced number in some cases) with some elected 'at large'. As
far back as 1973, Sir Colville Devereel in a one-man constitutional review, had
made this recommendation, but his report seemingly found no favour with the
government. One would not deny that 'at large' voting might favour candidates
from popular areas, but the islands are small and compact enough for the advantage
not to be overwhelming. In any case it may, and is intended to bring to politics
persons who would promote the wider national cause.
In order to ensure a more effective legislature with greater participation of
non-ministerial members, Devereel recommended an increase in the number from
seven (then) to 14. He expressed the expectation "that the increase in numbers will
facilitate the establishment of effective Legislative Council Committees";9 and
Legislative Council Committees would not only mean more involvement of all
legislators in government, but greater checks on ministers. Many still echo his
proposal which is still valid.
A call for limitation of terms especially for the CM again after the fashion
of the US President came mostly from the BVI intelligentsia. The argument was
that this would bring new persons with new perspectives to the political leadership
from time to time. It was felt too that Caribbean politicians tended to become
increasing authoritarian with increasing tenures and this is reinforced by the powers
of patronage and corruption which they are able to concentrate in their own hands
over a period of time. The proponents of this measure drew support from a rapidly
growing move in the US toward term-limits both for legislators who serve munici-
palities and those who are sent to congressIo We have to be careful not to merely
copy uncritically under the guise of innovation or in an effort to escape Westmin-
ster. It is not apparent that the BVI has a vast array of talented persons who are
anxious to get a chance at political office at this time; and it is significant that some
of the prime agents behind limitation of terms are persons who contested elections
and lost or persons with direct or indirect political aspiration. It was difficult to
escape the conclusion that limitation of terms was regarded by many as the only
means by which the present political directorate could be unseated. In other words,
they were proposing an expedient rather than a principle. If this is correct, it does
not seem a good basis on which to deprive a district of an excellent representative
after eight or 12 years and risk offering it second best or indeed to offer an able
politician a truncated political career.
Another device for restricting current politicians' hold on power was a
suggested change from the first-past-the post system. To win his/her r district a
candidate would require 50 per cent plus one of the votes cast. It was felt that some
representatives were not truly representative given the small percentage of the votes
they had received. Although this was not a popular demand one is in sympathy with
the request. It is similar situations that have created the call for proportional
representation in some jurisdictions. But what is significant is that this proposal
seemed part of a felt need to vary the Westminster model to fit the special
circumstances of the BVI. This is a legitimate perception.
Protection of the citizen from the overweening power of politicians was
sought in a near universal demand for a Bill of Rights. It is supposed to be a cure-all
from child abuse to care requirements of the elderly. A Bill of Rights is now
fashionable in all Commonwealth Caribbean constitutions and in any case many of
the provisions already exist in Common Law. The idea of consolidating them and
enshrining them in the constitution is a good one, but it is not of itself the panacea
it is thought to be. Some of the citizens' grievances will have to be addressed by
their laws passed by the politicians and some of the rights may not be absolute. The
civil servants' right to free speech, for instance, may still be restricted by General
Orders which govern the civil service.
There was a strong request for ethics legislation to curb conflict of interest
and intimations of corruption. A code of conduct exists for members of Executive
Council, but lacking coercive or even statutory force, it depends on the individual's
sense of integrity which is reportedly in short supply at present. The code suggests
that members avoid directorships and outside interests which conflict with their
public responsibilities. In theory the standard set is high, for "members should not
enter into any transaction whereby their private pecuniary interests might, remotely,
come into conflict with their public duty" but the restraining influence has been
low. What is perhaps necessary is a statutory register of interests similar to that
which operates in the British House of Commons, whereby members of the
Legislative Council are required to declare through a public register all 'outside'
pecuniary interests and sources of income. Although many BVIslanders do not
seem to trust the Legislative Council to discipline its members, the power to suspend
members who violate this rule will still have to be assigned to the legislature itself.
It is hoped that constituents will ultimately exercise sanction against offending
legislators if there is a register of interest.
This shopping list of proposals will not be complete without a mention of
the fact that a minority (though not an insignificant number) wanted the powers of
the Governor reduced with a corresponding increase in the power of the CM and
his ministers. In effect this meant giving portfolio responsibility for the public
service, internal affairs including the police and external affairs to ministers. (Some
would wish the governor to retain aspects of external affairs). The rationale is that
this is necessary as part of a framework in which the territory prepares itself for
independence. The UK government would hardly be willing to surrender virtually
all authority over a DT while still being internationally responsibility for it. The
widespread concern in the BVI that the government may be throwing cautions to
the wind in its building up a national debt through borrowing would appear to justify
the British decision to retain some significant level of authority. I will return to this
issue of power-sharing in the next section in which I make concluding comments.
The Way Forward?
By full internal self-government, the Government and those who support
that position seem to mean a status roughly equivalent to statehood in association
with Britain which the Winward and Leeward Islands (excepting Montserrat)
enjoyed in 1967 They had governors-general and premiers, were fully in charge
of internal affairs and had the option to move to independence whenever the people
expressed that wish constitutionally. This status is reportedly not on offer precisely
because the British did not enjoy the experience of responsibility without power in
Antigua and elsewhere. Bermuda does have a premier and a cabinet, but its
Governor has more or less the same discretionary powers as his BVI counterparts.
In any case Bermuda has an enviable tract record in stable parliamentary democracy
Westminster-style which the BVI lacks. Its House of Assembly has 40 members
with at most 12 ministers thereby allowing back-benchers and opposition members
to exercise effective checks and balances on the executive. In addition, its 11-mem-
ber second Chamber, the Senate, which has the power to delay most bills has no
guaranteed government majority. There are five government senators, but the three
appointed by the governor in his own discretion hold the balance of power. I
If therefore the BVI desires "full internal self-government" it would need
to seek it within the context of a date for independence. Even so it would need to
put its governmental house in order in such a way that many citizens do not feel
deprived, powerless and fearful of vindictive action. To aid this process perhaps it
should settle for what one memorandum to the 1993 Commission billed as "con-
stitutional enhancement" essentially. This would entail adopting some of the very
measures which a majority of the citizens have recommended a larger legislature,
'at large' voting, and procedures to ensure accountability in government spending
and to curb allegedly excessive and vulgar use of patronage. "Ethics legislation"
in the form of a register of interests may be in order, but it is difficult to legislate
integrity which is what appears to be lacking. And morality and integrity are just
as necessary for the proper functioning of political parties as they are for a healthy
government. There is no logical reason why parties cannot thrive on BVI soil even
when their history is taken into account.
One is not asking that Road Town develops quality governance merely to
convince Whitehall that the political directorate consists of good boys (no woman
has ever been elected) who can be trusted with maximum power within the
limitations of colonialism. Government members must do this for their own
self-respect and respect for the people they serve. This is just as much a qualification
for independence as the abundance ofIBC dollars and the obviously rich intellectual
resources of the BVI. The country has a small but vigorous independent press which
is a valuable ingredient of democracy. It may be an irritant to the Government, but
it helps to give the country a modicum of self- respect, and this augurs well for an
*This paper benefitted from my interaction with co-commissioners W.H. Walace and Alford
Penn, but I take sole responsibility for its contents.
I. BVI Government, B VI Recurrent Budget Estimates ofRevenue and Expenditure 1993: Capital
Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure 1993.
2. H.R. Penn, Memoirs ofH. R. Penn. A Personal Account ofthe History and Politics ofthe British
Virgin Island in the Twentieth Century Tortola, 1990, p. 58.
3. V Pickering "The Old and the Unexplored A Fresh look at BVI.
4. R. Marshall, H. Steele & A. Williams, Turks and Caicos Islands: Report of a Constitutional
Commission 1986, London, HMSO, 1987, p. 7.
5. A.J. Edwards "Ordering People Spurred Constitutional Questions" The B VI Beacon, Novem-
ber 8, 1990, p. 2.
6. BVI Government, Report of the General Elections 1990, p. 11.
8.D.M Wheatley, "One Suggestions or the Constitutional Review" The Beacon, November 4,
1993, p. 2.
9. United Kingdom Government, BVI: Report on Constitutional Advance by the Constitutional
Commissioner, Sir Colville Deverell KCMG CVO OBE 1973, p. 19.
10. G. Mills "The Term Limits Movement is Getting Stronger and Stronger" Virgin Island Daily
News, November 8, 1993, p. 3.
11. R. Marshall, H. Steel & A. Williams, Turks and Caicos Islands: Report of a Constitutional
Commission 1986, London, HMSO, 1987, p. 7.
World Language Opportunities, Challenges, Responsibilities*
SIR SHRIDATH RAMPHAL
The theme of this World Members Conference is appropriately English
World Language, Global Opportunities You will recognize that I have described
my address slightly differently not with a view to departing from the theme but in
the hope of offering some insights relevant to it, particularly in the context of this
global family gathering. I have labelled my remarks. World Language Opportu-
nities, Challenges, Responsibilities. I have added 'challenges and 'responsibili-
ties but perhaps that was unnecessary, because many will accept that challenge
and responsibility are but facets of. opportunity opportunity widely enough
conceived as including the privilege to serve beyond self or self understood as
I come to you today directly from the Caribbean, from the now troubled
state of St. Kitts and Nevis. That has for me a particular significance, but for you
too, and for this Conference for it was Thomas Warner's successful English
settlement in St. Kitts in 1642 that made the English language in the Caribbean its
oldest export from Britain. I am tempted to make that claim for my own Guyana,
but the earlier attempted settlement there by Charles Leigh in 1604 had been a
failure. I am content that our wider West Indian homeland is host to the first of the
many 'Englishes' that were to flower in climes beyond these British Isles.
And that is the first point I want to make: that when we speak of English
as a 'world language we must be mindful of the many 'Englishes' there are:
varieties and sub-varieties that are the enriched product of processes of transplan-
tation and cross-fertilisation that themselves derived from the exigencies and
incidents of history from settlements, conquests, European wars and rivalry deals
on one hand to the King James version of the Bible (1611) and Shakespeare (d. 1616)
on the other
Recently in the Caribbean, Richard Alsopp's patient scholarship has woven
these strands into a magisterial work of great eminence the first Oxford Dictionary
of Caribbean English Usage and I am indebted to him for many insights. Let me
quote a passage from his essay on Caribbean English that serves as a preface to the
Dictionary in illustration of the process of development of the language that today
unites us not only in all the countries of the English-Speaking world but also
increasingly in our larger country, the Planet.
Presented at World Members Conference, 1996
Differences in settlement history have made for differences
in the present-day English of the Caribbean territories in
another way St. Lucia and Dominica (where the French
cultural presence has been kept far more alive by their prox-
imity to Martinique and Guadeloupe respectively) have
marked similarities in their English at all levels. Grenada and
Trinidad with only the older 'French Revolution' French
connections may also be paired as to their English. For the
some reason there are many lexical and other differences
between Trinidadian and Tobagonian English, Tobago hav-
ing had no French influence. Tobago, Guyana and Antigua,
on the other hand, have notable linguistic similarities surfac-
ing out of their Anglophone Creoles. For reasons such as these
Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and
Carriacou, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, St. Kitts and
Nevis, must be treated in linguistic terms, as they are in this
Dictionary, as ten separately identified linguistic areas, not-
withstanding and fully respecting the political reality that they
are five nations.
Again, Dutch ownership or presence in Guyana for nearly two
centuries (1621-1803) has left marked lexical influence on its
low-lying Holland-type coastal landscape, and Roman Dutch
Law also on the legal vocabulary of plantation land tenure,
with terms unknown elsewhere in the Caribbean.
Danish ownership (1672-1917) of today's US Virgin Islands,
admittedly with an early and lasting presence of Dutch plant-
ers and missionaries, and later of American traders, has left
Danish place-names and a few words, together with many
traces of Dutch in the present English of those islands.
Irish influence, through the early 'barbadoesing' (a unique
place-name verb in the English language) of post-Cromwel-
lian bond-servants and their being quartered next to slaves,
played the particular role of distinguishing Barbadian pronun-
ciation of English; and ultimately from that base Irish English
played a wider lexical role, especially in idiomatic input, in
general Caribbean English.
"Irish influence" indeed! In January 1995 I moderated a Panel at the World
Economic Forum in Davos on the Report of the Commission on Global Govern-
ance, Our Global Neighbourhood. The President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, was
one of the eminent panellists. She spoke with great perception to the themes of the
Report as the enlightened internationalist that she so specially is. As the Moderator,
I spoke only briefly but at the end Mrs. Robinson asked me a question I had been
asked before by others less linguistically qualified. hliere did you gel your Irish
accent? A'lcr reading Alsopp I wonder Did Irish English play only 'lexical role'
World English, what Alsopp describes as Internationally Accepted Eng-
lish is the core to which each of these Englishes British. American, Canadian.
Australian, Caribbean and others contribute, and in which they share. Reflecting
on older concepts of 'Standard English Alsopp concludes.
The term 'standard' strongly implies fixed objective measure-
ment, as in relation to weights and measures. It is therefore
bound to be problematic in application to a living language,
for in such a case (a) relatively little can be unquestionably
fixed, and (b) the determination and judgement of what is to
be measured and by what criteria are all ultimately subjective
matters. Up to the reign of King George V however, there
as no problem for English, because there was no question
as to who or what was 'correct
In such a setting North American English, if mentionable, was
below the salt, Australian English 'in waiting' at the table,
and the native speech of the Caribbean a kitchen variety, if
english at all War and dollars, however, causing a marked
rise in social and political airplay from 1945 onward, elitism
as replaced bv acceptability so immediately changing the
framework in which Standard English must be defined, lan-
guage is essentially a social act. Furthermore, whereas social
factors had largely limited considerations so far to speech, the
previously unnoticed truth, namely that Spoken Standard and
Written Standard are not the same, now had to be recognized
and accommodated within a definition. Commonwealth lit-
eratures, among them notably African, Indian and Caribbean,
now asserted themselves finding, even more than acceptance,
acclaim in England, and making old pedagogical rigidity
regarding 'grammar' untenable.
What has been happening is truly remarkable. World English has emerged
from a crucible that is veritably global. It is small wonder that it has emerged as a
world language; and since there is no other to compete with it as authentically global
it is now truly THE world language. Salman Rushdie has written perceptively and
from a perspective I share, of this reality In his book Imaginary Homelands is
reproduced an article which provocatively (but seriously too) he entitled Common-
wealth Literature does not exist. Let me read a few paragraphs from it:
I'll begin from an obvious starting place English is by now
the world language. It achieved this status partly as a result of
the physical colonization of a quarter of the globe by the
British, and it remains ambiguous but central to the affairs of
just about all the countries to whom it was given, along with
mission schools, trunk roads and the rules of cricket, as a gift
of the British colonizers.
But its present-day pre-eminence is not solely perhaps not
even primarily the result of the British legacy It is also the
effect of the primacy of the United States of America in the
affairs of the world. This second impetus towards English
could be termed a kind of linguistic neocolonialism or just
plain pragmatism on the part of many of the world's govern-
ments and educationists, according to your point of view
As for myself, I don't think it is always necessary to take up
the anti-colonial or it post-colonial? cudgels against
English. What seems to me to be happening is that those
peoples who were once colonized by the language are now
rapidly remaking it, domesticating it, becoming more and
more relaxed about the way they use it assisted by the
English language's enormous flexibility and size, they are
carving out large territories for themselves within its front.
To take the case of India, only because it's one in which I'm
most familiar The debate about the appropriateness of Eng-
lish in post-British India has been ranging ever since 1947
but today, I find, it is a debate which has meaning only for the
older generation. The children of independent India seem not
to think of English as being irredeemably tainted by its
colonial provenance. They use it as an Indian language as one
of the tools they have to hand.
And he concludes in words that perhaps reflect the essential consequence
and pre-condition of English as the world language:
The English language ceased to be the sole possession of the
English some time ago
No revelation, I suspect, to the English-Speaking Union
But what follows? Among other things, assuredly the need to recognize
that there is no retreat from English as the world language; no retreat from and
English-speaking world. I had good evidence of this shortly after I became Secre-
tary-General of the Commonwealth in 1975 I met Prime Minister Sirimavo
Bundaranaike in Colombo and we talked of ways in which the Commonwealth
Secretariat could help Sri Lanka. Her response was immediate and specific. 'Send
us people to train our teachers to teach English as a foreign language.
My amazement must have showed, for the Prime Minister went on to
explain that the policies her husband had put in place twenty years earlier to promote
Sinhalese as the official language had succeeded so well that in the process Sri
Lanka so long the pearl of the English-speaking world in Asia had in fact
lostEnglish, even as a second language save for the most educated Sri Lankans. Her
concern was for development. Farmers in the field, she told me, could not read the
instructions on bags of imported fertilizer and manufacturers in the global market
were not likely to print them in Sinhalese. Sri Lanka was losing its access to the
world language of English. We did respond. 1 believed that today English is doing
better as the second language in Sri Lanka.
That lesson was not lost on others. I remember President Nverere of
Tanzania emphasising with is customary clarity why although Swahili must prosper
as the national language of Tanzania, its colonial legacy of English must not be
abandoned but nurtured not in nostalgia for the past, but with a clear-headed vision
of Tanzania's future needs as it makes it way in the world.
For those of us, like me, who have no other language to which we might
be tempted to retrace linguistic steps, there is a downside to our fluency in English.
It is all too easy to make your way in the world linguistically with English as your
mother tongue. Even the argument for a second language becomes strained to all
but a few We become lazy about learning other languages. When Guyana became
independent in 1966 the sole English-speaking country on the South American
continent, Spanish the language of Latin America was not even being taught in
schools as a second language We did French, Barbados actually taught Greek as
well but not Spanish. It was not arrogance on our part, just colonialist myopia.
Today it is different; but we have had a lot of catching up to do.
That is true of others in the English-speaking world as well. We all have
to make a greater effort. English may be the world language; but not the world's
only language and if we are to be good global neighbours we shall have to be less
condescending to the languages of the world more assiduous in cultivating
acquaintance with them.
But what about those opportunities, and the challenges and responsibilities
implicit in them? I mentioned earlier the Commission on Global Governance. I was
privileged to be its Co- Chairman along with the former Prime Minister of Sweden,
Ingvar Carlsson. We published our report in January of last year at the start of the
UN's 50th anniversary year calling it Our Global Neighbourhood a title that we
thought signalled the kind of world that globalization and technological change
were creating. We saw that title as a fair description of a physical reality we were
under no illusion that it was a wholly benign neighbourhood or that it was cohesive.
integrated or secure. But we saw that title also as embodying an aspiration for
neighbourhood evolving in worthier ways ways more conformable to the needs
of our common future.
Let me say a word about that notion of a 'common future' Our 'common
future' suggests, of course, and rightly, that human destiny is shared; that however
much instincts of 'otherness' rough hew our lives; it is the reality of 'oneness' that
will shape our ends; that none is exempt; all are involved. But there is another aspect
to our common future; not what kind of future it will be but whether there will be
any future at all the question of 'survival' On the threshold of the 21st century
'Homo sapiens' faces a danger to 'survival' not faced before save at the level of
individuals or sometimes relatively small groups. Forebodings of providential or
galactic, intervention apart, we have not been in danger ever before of "species
extinction" On the eve of the 20th century, for example, a 100 year ago many
dangers loomed and some were to ffilict us; but humanity had no fear about
survival as a species. We have-now; or should have.
Time is short. The world faces a kind of unspoken ultimatum: either we go
forward to more ordered world governed by the values of caring and tolerance, a
world of mutual rights and responsibilities, one of rules and laws which all respect,
a more democratic world with power constrained in the interest of all or, ironically,
freed of the constraints of the 'Cold War', we may regress to a world without values
save those of self, and without vision save that of paramountcy, a world ruled by
power not by law, one in which the few who prosper matter more than the many
who are poor. However, in the global neighbourhood we have become, such feudal
instincts cannot long prevail. The global reality is that cooperation has become not
merely a virtuous option but a necessary condition of survival. A world which
rejects cooperation will become one of spiralling chaos and ultimate self-destruc-
For the Commission, the first task was to determine what vision, what
values, what ethics should guide us in managing the affairs of this new world. To
do otherwise, we believed, was to build on shifting sand; to build without laying a
foundation or to indulge in a charade of change which promises much but keeps
everything the same. We spent a good deal of time developing this foundation of
shared values. They represent for us the necessary starting point of any reform
The notion of neighbourhood carries with it a sense of aspiration to the
qualities of community, of sharing and partnership ideals and principles that we
believe must be at the heart of a system of global governance. The broad acceptance
of a global civic ethic to guide action is vital to the quality of life in the global
neighbourhood. From a practical point of view, we therefore need a set of common,
core values around which we can unite people, irrespective of their cultural,
political, religious or philosophical backgrounds values which are appropriate to
the growing needs of our crowded and diverse planet. In addition to promoting these
value, we must develop a global ethic of common rights and shared responsibilities
that applies equally to all those involved in world affairs. In our view, such an ethic
reinforcing the fundamental rights that are already part of the fabric of interna-
tional norms would provide the moral foundation for a more effective system of
We were still in the first half of this most frenzied of centuries when the
French poet Paul Valery mused that "the trouble with our times is that the future
is not what it used to he' I wonder what he would have thought of the future were
he surveying now the prospect of the 21st century Assuredly not what we used to
think it would be, even with all our knowledge of the likely course of change. The
future will not be what we thought it might be; may not, indeed, be anything like
the past worlds we have known and almost certainly not anything like the future
world we long for On this, I suspect, we can all agree without difficulty or demurral.
But what should that assurance of change imply? That we must prepare our
human habitation for the contingencies of change, or course like practical
*sponses to the phenomena of mega cities and shrinking countryside: of global
warming and resource depletion But what does that certainty of change in human
habitation of the planet imply for change within ourselves? If the future is not what
it used to be, can we be as we have been, as we are? Does the central challenge rest
not with computer profiles of a crowded planet but with a view of self: not with
how to make the planet accommodate human excesses: but with how to make
ourselves accept and adjust to the planet's capacities how to end the self-delusion
that the ultimate variable is the planet, not ourselves'
It is when we turn our gaze on that inner self which dictates the patterns of
human habitation, when we contemplate the human record on such values as equity
in sharing the planet resources, of justice in relations between all who dwell on
arth, of the celebration (not merely the toleration) of human diver. of the
ascendancy of oneness and solidarity over the bane of otherness, of respect for
airness and responsibility and a duty of care within our global neighbourhood it
is when we measure ourselves by these standards that we know in our hearts what
is lacking, but find it hard in our minds to admit it.
We are witnessing what has been described as the birth of a new world"
That is a world in which English will be the most comprehensively spoken language
the language of the world of the 21 century It will be, it already is, the language
of the communications revolution, of the information age, the principal medium of
interaction in the global neighbourhood. The opportunity of the world's English-
speaking people is to use the world language that they command for advancing
human betterment. But it is more than an opportunity, it is a challenge and a
-sponsibility as well. It should not be difficult for us to understand how much a
world language can contribute to the functional evolution of our global neighbour-
hood and what a challenge and responsibility it is for the English-speaking world
to use the world language we had as an effective medium for helping the world to
live by neighbourhood values.
This sense of challenge and responsibility was borne home to us on the
Commission by some of the interactions we had with civil society in particular
when our Report was launched. There were, for the most part, people who were
pleased that the Report had engaged the central issue of a global community, but
they took us to task for not going on in as they thought in a logical way to call
for a world language. They could not see how the global neighbourhood, the global
community which they acknowledged had come into being, could function effec-
tively without a world language. A neighbourhood that can only talk in the tongues
of many was not a neighbourhood that was likely to be cohesive or, perhaps, even
cooperative. There were, of course, among them those who had long championed
the cause of Esperanto the yearning for a world language through which human-
kind can communicate across borders and particularly across languages. They
understood the challenge and the responsibility
And they were right in one respect; but they were wrong in the sense that
we have a world language. It is not the language of imperialism, it is the language
we have seen that has evolved out a history of which we need not always be proud,
but whose legacies we must use to good effect. More than anything else, that
impressed on me the link between our common future and the role of the world
language in helping us to make it a future worthy of our claim to wisdom
These challenges and responsibilities will arise in a variety of ways. Let
me end by describing one respect in which I believe they have arisen one that has
relevance to the English-Speaking Union. I speak, of course, of the choice being
mooted in relation to the BBC's World Service.
English, the world language, and the World Service unquestionably, and
outstandingly, the world's best news and public affairs broadcasting service func-
tioning at a global level. Like English itself, the World Service has ceased to be, by
the very quality of globalism with which the BBC has investor it, the sole property
of this country not in a technical proprietary sense, of course, but in the context of
opportunity, challenge and responsibility in which I am speaking.
The World Service a world a precious one. Its integrity, its
reliability, its professionalism above all its sense of global community make it
It will be act of appalling indifference to the needs of the century we are about
to enter were the World Service to be impaired. That would be palpably destructive
in the context of the global neighbourhood that the world has become, and also
self-destructive, I would have thought, in a national context. But it is the kind of
choice that can be made if there is no global vision informing the decision, and only
the narrowest concept of national interest prevails.
This should be, I believe, a matter of legitimate concern to the English-
Speaking Union. For us in the world's English-speaking community that commu-
nity well beyond English speaking countries which by its very existence makes
English the world's premier language the BBC's World Service is the business of
us all. It is our responsibility to urge that it should be allowed to retain its capacities.
In a world without the World Service, many will feel diminished as informed global
neighbours. Opportunity, challenge, responsibility all come together here to save
this vital heritage of the English-speaking world.
REVIEW ARTICLE : Carolyn Cooper's Noises in the Blood, Warwick Univer-
sity Caribbean Studies, Macmillan Caribbean,ISBN 0-333-57824-4
Carolyn Cooper has written a fascinating, provocative book on Jamaican popular
culture which addresses current controversies while reviewing the historical roots of
traditions of cultural resistance.
Cooper sets herself a dual task. She wants to show that popular culture is subversive
and contestatory of "high" culture's attempt to suppress it, and she wants to demonstrate
that the colonial-derived manichean distinctions between "high" and "low" culture, between
oral and scribal representations of knowledge, give a false view of reality and represses
alternative ways of knowing. While not rejecting the scribal approach to knowledge-
creation, Cooper makes a strong plea for understanding oral- kenetic-performances as a
complementary system of knowledge, a mode of cognition, and a weapon of popular culture.
Cooper illustrates her claim by using an array of sources. They include: 18th and
19th century popular slave songs transcribed by white colonialists; performance poetry by
Louise Bennett, Mikey Smith and Jean Binta Breeze; lyrics by dance hall DJ's; the music
of Bob Marley; Michael Thewell's novelization of the film, The Harder They Come; and
oral testimonies of low-income women in the book, Lionheart Gal by the Sistren Theatre
Group. Cooper finds in these diverse sources a hidden and devalued popular tradition which
vigorously critiques dominant cultural power, displays remarkable repertoires of resistance,
and asserts its freedom and autonomy from repressive bourgeois norms of respectability and
Cooper suggests that these advantages are achieved through the deployment of a
knowledge system, a way of knowing, which combines aspects of "writing culture" with a
dominant orientation in oral-kenetic-performances. This fusion, Cooper suggests, is an
expression of a competitive and rival system of cognition and power, as sophisticated in its
critical apprehension of the world as the sensibility represented by the dominant "writing
culture" of our Age.
The problem, however, as Cooper fully recognizes, is that this rival oral-kenetic-
performance-culture has been deprived of status either as "culture," "literature, "knowl-
edge. Stigmatized, and deprived of intellectual respectability, this competing system of
popular social power has been forced to the margins by "polite" Jamaican society and its
associated academic discourse. Cooper's book is part of a wider effort to halt this inferiori-
zation, cultural homelessness, and suppression of the lived experience of the Jamaican
In this exercise in the recovery of a repressed culture, Cooper is faced with the
difficulty of finding the hidden and suppressed voice of the people. Since disadvantaged
classes do not often leave written accounts of their lives for the archives, the researcher is
confronted with finding the appropriate "documents" and events to illustrate the claim that
the poor possess a moral and cultural sensibility antagonistic to the dominant values of
colonial and post-colonial Jamaican society. Cooper solves this problem by adopting two
One is to have the black poor speak to the future through Europeans' transcriptions
of their language and popular songs. Despite the racist editorializing and class prejudice
which contaminate these transcriptions, careful use of such documents allows subordinate
classes to speak. Cooper's review of European's transcriptions permits her to speculate on
the moral sensibility of poor Jamaican women who asserted their independence from the
constraints of law and morality in the 18th and 19th centuries.
One remarkable document appropriated by Cooper for this purpose if .l.B. More-
ton's transcription of a popular folk song, "Me know no law, Me know no sin. Cooper uses
the song to demonstrate that the slave woman's quest for autonomy has an important place
in the bloodline of popular incursions against an oppressive society One such "transgres-
sion" is the slave woman's ability to establish a measure of control over her sexuality in
situations of relative powerlessness. Cooper argues that these women claim a freedom for
themselves by manipulating their marginality They do this not by denying the master access
to their bodies but by exploiting his fantasies with strategies like "feigned innocence" and
the projection of illusions of virginity Instead of female powerlessness, Cooper finds an
area of liberty from which the slave woman gains identity and empowerment. This theme
of women's ability to control their sexuality and identity in a discriminatory society is a
recurrent theme in Cooper's book. Cooper's other strategy of gaining access to the sup-
pressed voice of the Jamaican poor is to examine the "performance texts" of several cultural
tribunes of the people. Cooper treats tribunes such as Louise Bennett, Bob Marley, Jean
Binta Breeze, Mikey Smith and the dance hall DJs as outriders of a popular cultural
Losing biting social commentary and skillful verbal play, these tribunes critique
dominant power, revel in the ways in which poor people claim social freedoms for
themselves, and invoke the imagined community of the poor with its own criteria for
membership, bases of solidarity and moral principles. With their use of metaphor, proverb,
euphemization, indirection, and ridicule, these tribunes subvert the cultural and political
norms of the established order in Jamaica and undermine its claims to cultural authority over
Cooper gives Louise Bennett pride of place within this dissident group. It is clear
from the several chapters devoted to her poetry that Cooper regards Bennett as a pioneer in
the use of performance poetry as a vehicle of cultural resistance. Bennett is shown as a
staunch defender of the poor, especially against the claims of a sneering middle class who
would demean their language and culture. As a sophisticated exponent of the ideas and moral
outlook of the poor Jamaicans, Bennett's poetry and her skillful use of Jamaica Talk gave
voice to the poor's resentment of injustice while playfully mocking their foibles. Cooper's
book is particularly good in reminding us of Bennett's defense of domestic workers and
higglers, as well as her celebration of women's acumen and cunning, which are brilliantly
reviewed by Cooper.
In addition to claiming a cultural and political dissidence for these artists, Cooper
also remarks on their epistemological dissidence. This dissidence is located in the artist's
willingness to both assimilate and reflect the oral-kenetic- performance aspects of popular
culture in their work. Rather than being confined by the strictures of a narrow, print-based
representation of experience with its fixed text, linear progression, and indenture to the
iambic pentameter, Cooper argues that the performance poets and dub musicians create an
alternative, subversive text based on the articulation and combination of diverse elements
from popular folk culture.
Artists such as Mutabaruka, Jean Binta Breeze and Mikey Smith are credited with
creating an improvised text in public performances where additional increments of infor-
mation, beyond words, are gained by mixing kenetic activity gesture, voice, sound, and
"words uninterrupted by the beat" with subtle verbal strategies for conveying indigenous
knowledge. For Cooper, the artists' use of.verbal techniques such as the allusive proverb,
the "enigmatic indirection" of riddle and the playful nursery rhyme, in combination with
dramaturgy, represents a breaktrhough in capturing both a mode of cogniton and a body of
popular knowledge. This sensibility and access to knowledge, however, is not posed in
oppositional terms to a scribal approach fuse both scribal and oral modalities to produce
complementary ways of knowing and representing experience.
While Cooper's book addresses other important issues including the methodologi-
cal problems associated with the artists' need to combine oral and scribal modalities, her
case for de-centering the authority of English and overthrowing the tyranny of the written
text is effectively achieved with a resort to the sustained use of Jamaica Talk in the text. In
this fascinating performance, Cooper repairs the inequality in the text caused by the
transition from oral folk narratives to commentary in the English language. By re-writing
narratives taken from Lionheart Gal in her version of Jamaica Talk and providing commen-
tary in this language, Cooper imposes a symmetry between the oral narratives and her own
observations as commentator.
What is the effect for the reader of this experiment in democratizing language?
There is at first a dizzying unfamilarity and disorientation. Jamaica Talk, using Cooper's
unique orthography, takes getting used to at the level of print. No relief is in sight for the
insecure reader as the unity of narrative and commentary does not elevate the reader to a
position of authority, looking "down" at the oral testimonies.
This linguistic equality imposes a corresponding social equality on the reader!
Exactly Cooper's intention! The effect is clearly one of reversal. The authority of the English
language and the comfort of the English-language speaker are undercut. This interruption
is an invidious distinction laden with power is an exemplary instance of the reversal of power
relations at the level of language.
A related subversive effect is also achieved as this experiment undermines the
subject-object distinction. In the experiment the process of objectification, seems to disap-
pear; the observer and the subject occupy the same status. Both are now critical co-commu-
nicators dialoguing about a shared problem. The distant stance of the interlocutor is
subverted, and now s/he and the subject assume equal and co-joint positions, not hierarchical
places in relation to human experience.
What is evident from this and other topics addressed in Cooper's book, is her clear
opposition to the tyranny of manichean distinctions which demean the cultural practices of
many poor Jamaicans. This antipathy is evident in Cooper's review of the "slackness-cul-
ture" distinction which makes "slackness" the opposite of "culture'
In reviewing a variety of lyrics of dance hall DJs, Cooper argues that far from being
a descent into cultural barbarism, dance hall music is an elaboration of a dissidence in the
bloodline of popular cultural protest. Cooper maintains that at one level, the focus on sexual
matters in the lyrics of the DJs is not a detour into an osbscene vulgarity, but is instead a
continuation of the verbal play and sexual inuendo which have long been a part of the
repertoire of many "respectable" performers, including the now venerated Louise Bennett.
Cooper's "reading" of dance hall and DJ lyrics offers a fascinating account of the
complex and contradictory motivations governing social relations among the so-called
urban underclass. She shows how the male DJs' quest for upward mobility and stardom
through heroic oral-kinetic technique is tainted by the antinomies of a hypocritical Jamaican
society There women are forced into finding avenues of independent support as "free"
economic agents, only to be subjected to massive social pressures to remain sexually and
Cooper addresses the sexual politics of Jamaicans by using the dance hall as a
model of social relations. She shows how women, through vivid displays of female sexual
power, keep predatory men at bay while affirming women's right to enjoy the bodily
pleasures of the dance hall. This sympathetic view of women's place in the dane hall and
their display of female power there, will not endear Cooper to those who take a strict
feminist position on these matters. Neo-puritan feminists will be dissatisfied with Cooper's
treatment of the dance hall as a place of pleasureable, albeit contradictory, experience for
women. These critics and others would surely have preferred a sharper critical posture and
a definite flogging of the misogynistic, homophobic, and irreverent male DJs. But Cooper
seems in no mood to strongly condemn anyone, and is only mildly critical of the DJs and
the compensatory materialistic values of the dance hall with its "extravagant display of
flashy jewellery, expensive clothes, elaborate hairstyles and rigidly attendant men that
altogether represent substantial wealth.
But this non-judgemental position on potential problems in contemporary expres-
sions of urban popular culture is worrisome. For although Cooper is clear about the
subversive content of the dance hall lyrics, she is less forthcoming on the many problems
associated with such lyrics. While finding some of the lyrics to be politically and sexually
conservative, Cooper does not address their limitations at any length. The effect of this
foreclosure is to limit debate on controversial issues in favour of a locating sites of cultural
One nagging issue not addressed by Cooper is whether the cultural practices
expressed in the DJ's lyrics contain an alternative, emancipatory culture for a new society
If, as Cooper suggests, bourgeois middle-class civic morality and its defense of a cultural
standard is repressive and class-ridden, what are the criteria for determining a new
cultural standard? Is an anomic and dissident sensibility sufficient to set that
standard? Unfortunately, Cooper's book raises these questions but does not address
Another knotty neglected issue concerns the tensions and congruence
between the popular culture of a country and the political form of its government.
While Cooper's book is not about political science, her discussion of the nexus
between culture and power raises questions about the fit between norms in Ja-
maica's dissident popular culture and the civic norms required for a democratic
order Are the popular values celebrated by the several performance artists com-
mensurate with the cultural requirements of a democratic, egalitarian order? Again,
Cooper alludes to these issues but fails to explore them.
Finally, Cooper's work suffers from the congenital defect of books empha-
sizing popular dissidence; they allow oppression to define popular creativity While
subversive repertoires may well be driven by oppressive conditions, the social
creativity of a people ought not to be stimulated solely by hardship and deprivation.
How easy is it to disentangle the evasive, fugitive, and rejectionist orien-
tations inscribed in a people's culture from the engaging orientations required for
the communitarian agenda of a new society? What happens to a people at the
cultural level when the time for social reconstruction and renewal arrives? In sum,
whither the transgressive popular traditions when a society is in transition from a
situation of social oppression to some imagined alternative?
Such questions are not often addressed by cultural critics. Like them,
Cooper runs the risk of only offering a list of creativities" and transgressive
behaviours under oppression. While this catalogue provides significant insight into
how the cultural authority of a repressive society is undermined, cultural critics
would do well to begin examining how the tradition of evasion and disengagement
from authority can be linked to norms within the same cultural tradition of
efficacious involvement in the reconstruction of society
Ruck, Rob, The Tropic of Baseball: Baseball in the Dominican Republic.
Meckler, Westport, CT,206 pp., illustrated, US$35.00.
The sportsman's view of the Caribbean depends very much on where he is
standing. To the Englishman, Indian or Australian, the Caribbean is obviously
centre of Test cricket, and names like Constantine, Headley and Sobers spring
immediately to mind. In contrast, the American looks south and sees a hotbed of
baseball, spreading through Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, Central America. Colom-
bia. Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. In Tropic of Baseball, Rob Ruck has
focused on the Dominican Republic, but many of his observations have, perhaps,
a wider applicability within the region.
Tropic of Baseball, is, however, a very atypical volume. Most books on
any sport fit into one of three categories: the historical study biography, often
dealing with some player or players of a past sporting age; or (horror or horrors)
the autobiography of a current player, almost invariably 'ghosted' Ruck's book
contains elements of the first two of these, but is much more, revolving around
pocket biographies and, particularly, reminiscences of many of the principal figures
in Dominican baseball, which he skilfully interweaves into the historical fabric of
the Republic and the part played by the game in that history Although the island's
stars that have succeeded in the North American major leagues are the most obvious
figures in modern Dominican baseball, Ruck's tale is at its most fascinating when
he is considering the local organizers of the game at the grassroots level, who are
otherwise unknown outside their local communities. Ruck interviewed and re-
searched many such individuals to produce this book. These range from Maurico
Baez, who organised a successful strike in 1946 (and was in consequence murdered
by Trujillo's agents in 1950) which led to the reduction of the working day for sugar
cane workers to 8 hours, thus enabling them to play winter ball, to Father Joseph
Ainslie, a Catholic missionary in Consuelo, who instigated local co-operation and
who helped integrate immigrants from the British West Indies into the Dominican
mainstream using baseball. At the other end of the scale to these are Juan Marichal,
the first Dominican to be elected to baseball's Hall of Fame, and Tony Pena, of the
Pirates, Cardinals and Red Sox, a major league player since 1981 who also
continues to play winter baseball in the Republic. Despite the success of such star
players, the overall picture that emerges of the Dominican Republic is one of sugar
cane, poverty and political oppression, offset by a fanaticism for baseball.
The dissolution of the colour line in American major league baseball in
1947 opened the doors to a sporting promised land for the aspiring stars, both black
and white, of the Caribbean basin. The centre of power in Caribbean baseball shifted
from Cuba to the Dominican Republic in the mid 1950s following Castro'
revolution. The modern star player commands a multi-million dollar contract which
makes baseball an enticing passport out of the squalor endured by the poor of the
Republic. That the Caribbean is an attractive source of players is indicated by the
presence of nearly a dozen rookie teams run by American major league clubs in
San Pedro alone. Amongst the aspiring and successful stars of San Pedro are the
descendants of British West Indian, mainly Leeward Island, immigrants, who
introduced cricket (now sadly lost) to the island. The most endearing of these is
Rico Carty, who after the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago signed simulta-
neous contracts with 9 American major league and 4 Dominican winter ball teams!
Despite this inauspicious beginning, Carty has a lifetime major league batting
average of .303
Tropic of Baseball is thus not a standard sports biography/history It is a
social history of the Dominican Republic, woven around a game that is an essential
part of the life of the island. Ruck is successful in his enterprise to present baseball
as part of Dominican life and the Republic's history, rather than as an end in itself
The book is well- written and well-produced. Apart from a fondness on the part of
the author to use a sometimes distracting number of Spanish words, this is one of
the rare books on any sport that can be recommended with confidence to the general
reader, whether they have any interest in baseball or not.
STEPHEN K. DONOVAN
Richard Allsopp (ed) Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage, Oxford
University Press, England, 1996.
After 25 years of preparation, Richard Allsopp's Dictionary of Caribbean
English usage (DCEU) is finally available. The 777-page work documents expres-
sions throughout the English speaking Caribbean, including the Virgin Islands. The
publisher is Oxford University Press.
Allsopp's motivation for dedicating most of his professional life to the
dictionary project is based on firm commitment to the advancement of Caribbean
culture. He notes that during the 19th century Victorian English was imposed as
the model of correctness throughout the British Empire, colonials were made to feel
ashamed of aspects of their language and culture that differed from metropolitan
language and culture. The psychological effects of the Victorian legacy continue
to influence the Caribbean. In fact the steadily increasing presence of American
English in the region now adds to the complexity of the matter The present conflict
between those who aspire to the King's (or Queen's) English and those who wish
to assimilate unconditionally into American mainstream culture further confounds
Noah Webster in 1828 expressed similar concerns in defense of his Ameri-
can Dictionary, as opposed to British dictionaries prescribed for the newly inde-
pendent American nation. He noted that
Language is the expression of ideas; and if the
[American] people cannot preserve an identity of
ideas, they cannot retain and identity of lan-
guage...But in no two portions of the earth, remote
from each other, can such identity be found. Even
physical objects must be different.
Obviously, the Dictionary of Caribbean English usage is not intended to
replace the Oxford English Dictionary However, the presence of DCEU empha-
sizes the fact that the Caribbean, unlike the United States, embraces multilingual
versatility Thus, like many other colonial and neo-colonial societies, including
Australia, Canada, Nigeria, India, and New Guinea, the English speaking Caribbean
now has its own Dictionary
Unlike Cassidy-LePage's Dictionary ofJamaican English (DJE), publish-
ed in 1967, Allsopp's dictionary showcases the language of the entire English-
speaking Caribbean. Unlike DJE, which focuses mainly on deep" Creole
expressions, DCEU highlights expressions from the entire range of speech styles -
from basilect to acrolect. Allsopp's treatment of expressions such as take sick (" She
has taken sick after jumping up all night at thefete ") holds particular interest for
the average person in the region. DCEU also provides useful explanations for words
such as tea (" breakfast"); and force ripe (" precocious and therefore offensive in
behaviour"). But Allsopp's Dictionary also has its limitations. It is not always
politically correct. Allsopp glosses the well-known West African and Caribbean
term, cut eye, as follows: A woman 's gesture of contempt for [someone] shown by
her looking at the person and closing her eyes while turning her face sharply away.
Several Caribbean students at the University of the Virgin Islands recently noted
that young males also engage in the nonverbal ace of cut eye DCEU also provides
brief glosses of fauna and flora specific, or unique, to the Caribbean. These entries
(e.g. lizard, food, jump up and kiss me, etc.) are significant for the practice of
medicine and other areas of science.
Because Caribbean people speak, read and write in four major world
languages, we need regional dictionaries in each of these languages. Jeannette
Allsopp's French and Spanish supplement to DCEU aims at satisfying that need.
Unfortunately, although informal glossaries already exist in Surinam and the rest
of Netherlands Antilles, a comparable dictionary on Caribbean Dutch is not yet
Allsopp's dictionary is expected to improve communication among Carib-
bean peoples at home and abroad, thereby contributing to Caribbean unity DCEU
will also facilitate communication with the outside world. Finally, through its
verification of the lit/orature, DCEU also helps to document the presence of
Caribbean peoples and culture, assigning a time, a place, and an identity to
Caribbean society, for posterity DCEU also offers empirical proof of the Carib-
bean's specific contribution to world civilization.
VINCENT O. COOPER
(Reviews of these books are invited. Interested persons should write to the
editor quoting the titles) of the books) concerned, prior to reviewing them.)
Economic Development and Social Change -United States Latin American Rela-
tions in the 1990s, A.Jorge(ed) US$15 95(P) 142pp. Jan 1993
Philanthropy in the Americas:New Directions and Partnerships, Bruce Henderson
(Ed.) US$18.45 (P) Jan. 1993,Transaction Publishers, Rutgers-The State University
of New Jersey
On the Margins of the Art ofExile in V.S.Naipaul,Timothy Weiss, 256pp,US$29 95
(soft), Jan. 1993, University of Massachusetts Press.
Political Constraints on Brazil's Economic Development (ed. S.Marks)Rio de
Janerio Conference Proceedings and Papers North- South Center, University of
Caribbean Economic Policy and South -South Cooperation, ed. R. Ramsaran,
pp.305, Warwich University Caribbean Studies, Macmillan Press 1993
After the Wars: Reconstruction in Afghanistan, Indo China, Cental America, S.
Africa and Horn of Africa ed. A .Lake, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick
Caribbean Hoops. The Development of West Indian Basketball, Jay and Joan
?Mandle, Gordon Breach, Penn. USA, ppl20
Deferring A Dream Literary Sub-versions Of The American 'olombiad, Gert
Buelien and E. Rudin, Birkhauser, Basel ICSELL, 1994
Democracy In The Caribbean, Political, Economic And Social Issues, ed. J Dom-
inguez, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1993
The Killing Time: The Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica, Gad IIeuman, U
Tennessee Press, pp.197, 1994
V.S.Naipaul Displacement and Autobiography, Judith Levy, Garland Publishing
Inc. NY, 1995
Tobago in Wartime, 1793-1815, K.O.Laurence, The UWI Press, pp.288, 1995
Silencing the Past Power and the Production ofHistory, Michel-Rolph Trouillot,
Beacon Press, 25 Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02108-2892, 1995 pp. 191
Jamaican Old-Time Sayings, Edna Bennett, Vantage Press, Inc. 516 West 34th
Street, New York, New York 10001, USA, 1994
The Economics ofEmancipation -Jamaica & Barbados 1823- 1843, Kathlee
Coming, Coming Home Conversations II Western Education and the Caribbean
Intellectual, Coming, Coming, Coming Home. George Lamming, House of Nehesi
Publishers, P 0 Box 222, Philipsburg, St. Martin Caribbean, 1995. pp 103
To Sing With Pigs Is Human The Concept of Person in Papua New Guinea, Jane
C Goodale, University of Washington Press, 1995 pp. 269
Ten Is The Age of Darkness- The Black Bildungsroman, Geta LeSeur,University
of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri 65201, 1995 pp. 233
Spirits, Blood, and Drums The Orisha Religion in Trinidad, James T Houk,
Temple University Press, Philadelphia 19122, 1995. pp. 238
Cultural Power, Resistance, and Pluralism Colonial Guyana 1838-1900, Brian
1. Moore, The Press University of the West Indies, 1A Acqueduct Flats, Mona,
Kingston 7, 1995. pp. 376
The Haitian Dilema A case Study in Demographics, Development, and U.S.
Foreign Policy, Ernest H. Preeg, The Center for Strategic and International Studies,
Washington DC 20006, 1996 pp. 133
Trinidad Yoruba From Mother Tongue to Memory, Maureen Warner-Lewis, The
University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa,Alabama 35487-0380, 1996. pp.279
Defining Jamaican Fiction Marronage and the Discourse of Survival, U Lalla,
The University of Alabama Press, Tucaloosa, Alabama 35487-0380, 1996. pp. 224
From Dessalines to Duvalier Race, Colour and National Independence in Haiti,
David Nicholls, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1996. pp.
Across The Dark Waters Ethnicity and Indian Identity in the Caribbean, Edited
by David Dabydeen and Brinsley Samaroo, MacMillan Education Ltd. 1996. pp.
Phyllis Shand Allfrey A Caribbean Life, Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, Rutgers
University Press, 1996. pp. 335
Sugar and Slavery, Family and Race The Letters and Diary of Pierre Dessalles,
Planter in Martinique 1808-1856. Edited by Elborg Forster and Robert Forster, The
John Hopkins University Press, 1996. pp. 322
Persistent Underdevelopment Change and Economic Modernization in the West
Indies, Jay R. Mandle, Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, 1996. pp. 190
The Caribbean Legion Patriots, Politiciana, Soldiers of Fortune, 1946-1950,
Charles D Ameringer, The Pennsylvania State University, 1996. pp. 180
French and West Indian: Martinique, Guadeloupe, and french Guiana Today,
Edited By Richard D.E. Burton and Fred Reno,University Press of Virginia, 1995.
Tobago in Wartime 1793-1815, K.O. Laurence, The Press University of the West
Indies, 1A Acqueduct Flats, Kingston, 1995. pp. 280
Les democraties antillaises en crise, Denis-Constant Martin, Karthala, 22-24
Boulevard Arga, 75013, Paris, 1996. pp. 185
The Orchid House, P Shand Allfrey, Rutgers University Press, 1996
When Memory Dies, A Sivanandan, Fiction, Arcadia Books, 1997
Presencia Criolla en el Caribey America Latina Creole Presence in the Caribbean
and Latin America, Ineke Phaf, Verveutlberoamericana, 1996
Choices and Change: Reflections on the Caribbean, W Dookeran (ed.), Inter-
American Development Bank,1996
Gallery Montserrat, Howard Fergus, Canoe Press, UWI, 1996
Women in the Latin American Development Process, C.Bose and Edna Acosta-
Belen (eds.)Temple University Press,1995
Maroon Societies, Richard Price (ed.),Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996
Converations with Marse Conde, Francoise Pfaff, U.of Nebraska Press, 1996
African Origins of the Major World Religions, Amon Saba Saakana (ed.) Karnak
House, UK, 1991
Colonialism and the Destruction of the Mind, Amon Saba Saakana (ed.) Karnak
House, UK, 1996
Ethnicity in the Caribbean, G Oostindie (ed.), Warwick University Caribbean
A New Moment in the Americas, Robert S.Leiken (ed.), Transaction Publishers,
Women of Belize,: Gender and Change in Central America, I. McClaurin, Rutgers
On The Cultural Achievements of Negroes, Henri Gregoire, University of Mass
INSTRUCTIONS TO AUTHORS
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Sir Shirdath Ramphal
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
is President, Hartwick College, New York
is Resident Tutor, UWI Montserrat
is professor, Vassar College, NY
is Senior Lecturer, Schol of Planning and
Architecture, Queensland University of
is a professor, Dept. of Mass Communications,
Medgar Evers College, NY
is a Caribbean Filmmaker
is former Secretary General of Commonwealth
Secretariat, and Chancellor, UWI and Warwick
is Director, Casa de las Americas, Havana, Cuba
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Small Axe is a new journal of
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and so on. Indeed our hope is
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litical hopes for an alternative to
Rupert Lewis Learning to Blow the Abeng
David Scott 'An Obscure Miracle of Connection'
Nadi Edwards Iconic Drummond
Annie Paul Pirates or Parrots?
Anthony Bogues Shades of Red and Black
Correspondence between former Prime Minister
of Jamaica Michael Manley and Professor Kari Levitt on
An interview with Stuart Hall
Poetry by Kamau Brathwaite
Reviews of recent books
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