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VOL. 8. No. 3.
EDITORIAL COMMENTS AND NOTES 135
I"UNDAMENTAL RIGHTS-THE NEED FOR A NEW JURISPRUDENCE
S. S. Ramphal 139
REV. JOHN STERLING'S REPORT, MAY, 1835
Shirley C. Gordon 145
OTHELLO AND RACE PREJUDICE
Philip Mason 154
THE FOREIGN SERVICE OF A SMALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRY
Fred A. Phillips 163
THE WORKING OF THE JAMAICA CONSTITUTION BEFORE
INDEPENDENCE: A COMMENTARY
Dr. F. R. Augier 173
AN INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION
Phyllis Doyle 178
AT TIE DEATH OF A YOUNG POET'S WIFE
Edward Brathwaite 182
SOURCES OF WEST INDIAN HISTORY 184
SELECTED LIST OF BOOKS ON WEST INDIAN SUBJECTS 186
NOTE ON MANUSCRIPTS
MSS. and Cornmunications to the Editors should be addressed to either Editor ol
the Caribbean Quarterly at their respective addresses, and not to an individual.
L'nsolicited MSS. which are not accepted for publication will be returned if accom-
panied by a stamped addressed envelope.
Copyright reserved, and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF THE WEST INDIES
HECTOR WYNTER, Director of Extra Mural Studies, University College
of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.
RUBY SAMLALSINGH, Resident Tutor, Trinidad and Tobago.
The Editors are advised by an Editorial Board consisting of members of
the College Staff, Mona, Jamaica.
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A SELECTION OF CONTENTS FROM PAST ISSUES
Vol VI, Nos. 2 and 3
Canada's Federal Experience ... ... ... Alexander Brady
Australia Background to Federation ... ... F.W. Mahler
The Constitution of Australia ... ... ... S. S. Ramphal
Early Constitutional History of Jamaica ... ... C. V. Gocking
The Road Back-Jamaica After 1866 ... ... R. N. Murray
The Temporary Federal Mace ... ... ... Bruce Procope
Constitutional History of Trinidad and Tobago ... H. 0. B. Wooding
Constitutional History of the Windwards ... ... Coleridge Harris
Constitutional History of the Leewards ... ... Cecil A. Kelsick
Federalism in the West Indies ... ... ... S. S. Ramphal
Summary of Constitutional Advances-
Trinidad and Tobago
Jamaica ... ... .. ... ... Harvey de Costa
Leeward and Windward Islands ... ... F. A. Phillips
Price : $1.50 (B.W.I. or U.S.) or 6/3 U.K. per issue
Vol. VI, No. 4
Faculty of Agriculture-U.C.W.I. ... ... C. Holman 1. Williams
Oriens Ex Occidente Lu...... ... ... Hugh W. Springer
A Theory of Small Society ... ... ... Kenneth E. Bou'ding
An Economic Phenenonon ... ... ... Alfrod P. Thorne
La Reconnaisance Estate, Lopinot Valley, Arouca ... Gertrude Carmichael
Terre Bois Bois ... ... ... ... Harold F. C. Sizmnons
Price : 60 cents (B.W.I. or U.S.) or 2/6 U.K. per issue
Vol. VII, Nos. 1 and 2
Drums and Colours-an Epic Drama commissioned
for the Opening of the First Federal Parliament
of The West Indies, April 23rd, 1958 ... ... Derek Walcott
Price : $1.20 (B.W.I. or U.S.) or 5/- U.K. per issue
Vol. VII, NO. 3
West Indian Culture ... ... ... ... M. 0. Smith
West Indian Poetry .. ... ... ... J. Owens
The French West Indian Background of "Negritude" G. R. Coultharc
Dit Tertre and Labat on 17th Century Slave Life in
the French Antilles ... ... ... ... Rev. C. Jesse
The Place of Radio in the West Indies ... ... W. Richardson
The Turks and Caicos Islands-Some Impressions of
an English Visitor ... ... ... ... Doreen Collins
Price : 60 cents (B.W.I. or U.S.) or 2/6 U.K. per issue
Vol. VII, No. 4
Education and Economic Development ... ... W. Arthur Lew
The University College of the West Indies ... ... T. W. J. Taylor
Drugs from the West Indies ... ... ... Compton Seafol
Political Education in the Developing Caribbean ... Rex Nettleford
Book Reviews :
Frederic G. Cassidy, Jamaica Talk
Muntu, An Outline of Neo-African Culture,
A House for Mr. Biswas
Price : 00 cents (B.W.T. or U.S.) or 2/6 U.K. per issue
Vol. VIII, No. I
Four Poets of the Greater Antilles ... ... ... Eric Willian
The Natural and Social Sciences ... ... ... T. W. Mars
The M3arooins in the 18th Century ... ... ... George Cum
New Science of Politics ... ... ... ... A. W. Singh
Language Studies in the Independent University ... Beryl Bayle
Trade Union Development in Jamaica ... ... George Eato
Book Reviews :
Land of the Living
A Life in the Theatre
Trade Unionism-A Practical Approach
Price: 60 cents (B.W.I. or U.S.) or 2/6 U.K. per issue.
Vol. VIII, No. 2
Statement at Press Conference, April 25, 1962 Dr. Arthur
Trade Union Development in Jamaica-Part 2 George Eato
Literature and Society ... ... ... W. I. Carr
Production Methods in West Indies Agriculture
Employment Problems in a Multiracial Society ... George E. S
Applied Linguistics .. ... ... ... Albert H. M
Prolegomena to a West Indian Culture ... ... H. L. V. Sw.
He ... ... ... ... ... ... Peter Rudde
Book Reviews :
Social Needs in a Changing Society
Price : 60 cents (B.W.I. or U.S.) or 2/6 U.K. per issue.
Editorial Comments and Notes
WE should like to join the many thousands of persons and organizations who
are paying tribute to the Government and peoples of Jamaica and Trinidad
on the achieving of their independence in August, 1962.
Our congratulations go especially to the leaders of the political parties
in both countries, since the achievement of political independence is a measure
of the rapid success they have gained. We refer of course to Sir Alexander
Bustamante, the Prime Minister of Jamaica and to Mr. Norman Manley the
leader of the Opposition, and in Trinidad to Dr. Eric Williams, the Prime
Minister and Dr. R. Capildeo, the leader of the Opposition.
In the next twelve months it is fairly certain that we shall be paying
tribute to the leaders of other British Caribbean countries on the achievement
of independence. This journal will continue to reflect some of the problems
of the society in independence and some of the ways and means of solving
As a part of these notes, we quote a short article by Frank Hill, the well
known West Indian commentator on the need for a Governing Class in Jamaica.
Can his views be applied to the rest of the Caribbean?
"NEED FOR A GOVERNING CLASS
We are making the transition from colonial status to independence with
few real assets for the survival of our freedom. We have a hard-working
irresponsible population unfettered by any traditional ties of patriotism to their
homeland; so that their chief objective in life is to contrive their individual
salvation by migration. We have manual skills that have not yet been dis-
ciplined to feel pride in their craftsmanship. We have a peasant population
struggling to leave the land. We have an urban population whose driving
motif is cleaning up a quick profit from the exchange of goods and services
or the drawing of a lucky sweepstake ticket. We have a trading class who
are taking into the new-found avenue of industrialization the habits and
temperament of the merchant. We have a professional class who look into
their mirrors and see the reflections of Europeans. Such are the assets with
which we start the task of nation-building.
Yet all these unimpressive assets could be moulded into something that
could become nationally meaningful if there were just one asset added to
their list-and that is, the existence of a governing class.
The principles of democracy that we pronounce so glibly came to ua
second-hand. They were imparted to us over the years by colonial pro-consuls
whose task of securing law and order and preserving the Jamaican market
as a supplier of food and fruits to the English market and as a consumer of
English manufacturers, was made easier by over-simplifying those principles
and even romanticising them out of recognition of their real meaning anc
significance. Only one democratic principle did any section of the Jamaican
people spend their sweat and their blood to secure and sustain-and that was
the rights of wage-earners to organise their collective strength in their bitter
struggle to secure and maintain a living wage. All other principles, save this
one, came to us through the preachment of words rather than as a living
experience through which we passed. The result is that, outside the trade
union movement, there is no dynamic embodiment of democratic faith or
tradition upon which the community of Jamaica can draw when it faces a
crisis on its own. Such crises as we have faced in the past 20 years have been
resolved for us because there has been the strong hand of the British authority
to stay the avalanche of conflict that might very well have overwhelmed us.
People do not learn well by example; they learn best by their own experience.
Now, because we have never understood as a community the painful
evolution of the democratic processes, we have tended to believe that the
existence of a governing class is a limitation on the full exercise of the demo-
cratic processes. None of our colonial mentors have ever admitted publicly
that a governing class exercises authority and responsibility in countries like
Britain and the United States. That may have shattered the illusions they
wished us to believe in, and because, as good colonials, we preferred to be
satisfied with the vague, mystical generalisations of decency, respectability,
unity, the sporting spirit, refinement-all words that are more emotive of
condemnation rather than positive as a spur to action-because of this, we
have failed to take any positive steps to build up a truly governing class that
can guide our way through independence.
A few persons may have sensed this deficiency-note, for example, that
there are sporadic efforts made to build up an elite within the People's National
Party. This, at least, is a recognition of our need. But I suggest that an elite
is no substitute for a governing class. The formation of an elite-a polite word
for cliquism- inevitably means that members of the clique hold their positions
in the clique by a process of fawning and bum-sucking that, in the long run,
destroys the vitality of the clique-as we have just seen-since talent and
merit and ability are not the criteria for membership.
A governing class on the other hand is composed of a group who are
bound together by solid, material and intellectual interests which they can only
protect by all pulling their weight in the defence of those interests-and this
involves a high measure of social responsibility. The governing class of Britain
has shown this and the even more varied governing class of the United States
has supported this sine qua non.
Now, who are the group who are going to govern our independence.
Take a look at the material interests from whom our economic leadership
in independence is to be drawn. 1 don't want to be invidious and call names.
But run down the list of our big merchants and industrialists. Without excep
tion they are people who look outwards-beyond our shores-for the financial
buttressing of their enterprise. They are prepared always to be junior partners
in any financial enterprise that requires venture capital. Always, they keep
one eye on the masses-one fearful eye on labour, and at the first rise in
social restlessness, they spread panic that the country is going to the dogs.
They are of the same quality and calibre of their class brothers who, faced
in 1865 with the wrath of an aroused rural mass of people, surrendered the
dignity of their self-rule to the British authority and accepted in exchange
the ignominy of Crown Colony government. They are hardly the stuff of
which a governing class is made.
I come now to the second tier of a governing class-the intellectuals. They
are the contributors of the various forms of expertise; they are the artists and
the writers and the thinkers who articulate the principles upon which the state
is based and they are therefore the creators of the social ethic; the mana, as
the Africans say : the creators of the soul and the spirit of the nation. France,
for example, was sold to her citizens as a woman to be caressed and loved
and worshipped; and the idea of a nation as that elusive symbol of woman-
hood to a people whose deep human endeavours were committed to her art
of making love, was the collective outpouring of France's intellectuals. Then
there are the other group of intellectuals-the men of practical action--the
doctors and lawyers and engineers and agricultural scientists-the men and
women whose expertise finds practical expression in the everyday life of
But these intellectuals, however important their place in the governing
class of a country, are not the natural leaders of that class. So, in the absence
of any real leadership coming from the leaders of the economy, the industrialists
and businessmen, let us take a final look at the third tier of leadership
that should provide the strength of a strong governing class-the political
administrators whose fulltime energies are devoted to maintaining the state
power of the nation.
The material is visible for our examination. They are to be found in the
JLP and the PNP. Let us try to be really objective. The politicians have shown
so far the highest sense of patriotism and responsibility, let it be at once
realized. Bustamante and Manley, Sangster and Nethersole, Lightbourne,
Gyles, Tavares, Glasspole, Lloyd, Arnett, Wills Isaacs, Seiveright-as a group,
they have exercised a restraint and responsibility that have been the main
factors responsible for our timorous advance to independence. In other more
developed societies, the class that is comparable to them have been better
supported by their economic and financial leaders who have shared the burdens
of governing; whereas our political administrators, having to carry the full
burden on their solitary shoulders, have naturally tended to grow weary and
mentally old even before their physical vigour has waned.
There is, however, one grave danger in this situation. It is that our
political bureaucrats, carrying too heavy a load, may tend to establish-or
try to establish themselves as the only governing class, imposing their will
and their authority on all and sundry. In an independent nation such
bureaucrats have sought the support of the armed forces of the state and the
result has been the classic pattern of Latin American dictatorships. It happened
as close to us as Haiti."
WEST INDIAN EDUCATION
We begin in this issue an interesting series on educational reports which
have guided educational policy in the West Indies. Miss Shirley Gordon, Senior
Lecturer in Education at U.C.W.I. has A Century of West Indian Education,
an annotated source book, in process of publication, and we are pleased to
be able to publish reports selected by her with her illuminating comments.
In subsequent issues, reports will include :
(a) Keenan Report-Trinidad, 1869
(b) Mitchinson Report-Barbados, 1875
(c) Report on the Juvenile Population, Jamaica, 1879
(d) Lumb Report-Jamaica, 1899
(e) Trinidad Education Report, 1916
(f) Bain Gray's Report, British Guiana, 1925
(g) Mayhew Marriott, 1933.
CONTRIBUTORS IN THIS ISSUE
In addition to Miss Gordon, we welcome the following contributors :
Sonny Ramphal of the Interim Commissioner's Office, who writes on
"Fundamental Rights-The need for a New Jurisprudence".
Philip Mason, Director of the Institute of Race Relations, United
Kingdom, whose lecture on "Othello and Race Prejudice" we now
Phyllis Doyle, Senior Lecturer in Education, U.W.I., who comments
on an Institute of Education.
Roy Augier, Lecturer in History, U.W.I.
Arthur Burt, Assistant Registrar, U.W.I.
Edward Braithwaite of the Ghana Ministry of Education.
In this issue we begin a new feature "Commentaries" which include
Roy Augier's comments on Jamaica's Constitution before 1962 and Phyllis
Doyle's comment on an Institute of Education.
Fundamental Rights-The Need For
A New Jurisprudence
S. S. RAMPHAL
FOR the last five years consciously and with deliberation-but for ten years
before that almost unknowingly-the West Indies has been preparing for
independence on a regional basis through the institutions of federal government.
Within the last nine months all this has changed and independence is to be a
reality for both Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago by dates only slightly later
than that to which these protracted preparations were directed. It may not
be much longer before the Leeward and Windward Islands and Barbados, and
British Guiana as well, move in the same direction-the latter on a solitary
journey, the former moving in convoy under the still marginal cover of the
Federation of the "Little Eight". This is no time for tears over what might
have been, let alone for recriminations over the reasons for failure; but because
of the pace at which the territories now move separately to independence it is
useful in the quiet of the pre-dawn to reappraise our expectations and the new
institutions through which we seek their attainment. These reflections are
concerned with the new constitutional guarantees of fundamental human rights,
and, in particular, with their significance in the legal system.
The five years since 1957 produced a spate of West Indian constitutional
forms and formula, but few of them have any relevance for the Constitutions
of the unitary states which are shortly to attain independence. Even in their
non-federal aspects the analysis and argumentation of the pre-federal Commis-
sioners and the travails of the Alpha Working Party of Committee I of the
Inter-Governmental Conference will have little influence on the new constitu-
tional forms. Instead, the draftsmen will turn back to the Unit Constitutions
which were being steadily reformed over the life of the Federal Government and,
on the basis of their instructions from the independence Conferences, the new
Constitutions will be found to be substantially orthodox in design and not
unfamiliar in detail to anyone who has kept pace with constitutional patterns
in the new Commonwealth countries. When we consider the speed with which
the proposals reached the Conference table and the pressures which political
demands for immediate independence (and the British Government's readiness
to comply with them) placed on those responsible for bringing them to finality,
it is not surprising that there has been so little novelty and experimentation.
Even so, we mislead ourselves if we believe that the promulgation of the
independence Constitutions means the end of the process of constitutional
reform which has gone on in these territories for the last 200 years. If the
historical argument alone were not sufficiently convincing, we need only recall
the interest shown at all levels of the society in both Jamaica and Trinidad
and Tobago during the local discussion of the draft Constitution-certainly,
there was no lack of novelty in the proposals put forward on those occasions
and no evidence of timidity in breaking with traditional forms. We do well
to remember, therefore, that the process of constitution-making does not end
with the signing of the legal instruments and that it is not the amending
procedures-so carefully entrenched in the Constitutions-which will alone
mark the changes of the years. There is more than a grain of universal truth
in the comment of the American historians Charles and Mary Beard on the
Constitution of the United States that-
"The theory that the Constitution is a written document is a legal
fiction. The idea that it can be understood by a study of its language and
the history of its past is equally mythical. It is what the government and
the people who count in public affairs recognize and respect as such, what
they think it is. More than this. It is not merely what it has been or what
it is today. It is always becoming something else, and those who criticise
it and the acts done under it, as well as those who praise, help to make
it what it will be tomorrow".
Constitutions quite often contain within themselves the seeds of growth
and change, and of no other provisions of the new Constitutions is this more
likely than those which seek to guarantee respect for fundamental human
rights. The "Bill of Rights" is of course the great innovation of the independ-
ence Constitutions of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, representing
a complete break with traditional constitutional forms and (apart from cor-
responding provisions in British Guiana's internal self-government Constitu-
tion of 1961) introducing entirely new concepts to West Indian jurisprudence.
This is not the place to analyse the guarantees which the independence Con-
ferences have approved; such expositions must await the legal instruments
themselves. What is important at this stage is that there should be a clear
understanding of the overall significance of the constitutional guarantees to
the legal system itself and to the law of the Constitution in particular. We
have tended to become rather matter of fact in the West Indies about our
inheritance of the common law; so much so indeed that there is a present
danger that we may fail to recognize the revolution in our jurisprudence which
the introduction of these guarantees had signalled. Members of the legal pro-
fession in both territories have recognized and emphasised the legal significance
of the provisions; but, for the most part, public attention has been directed
to the content of the safeguards rather than the radical institutional changes
which they have effected. This is unfortunate, because it could mean either
that the provisions will fail to fulfil their real purpose because that purpose
has not been understood in all its implications by the body politic, or that
their effective operation may cause surprise and resentment and lead eventually
to their abrogation or, at least, a decline of their constitutional importance.
In each case, the result is the same-the failure of a bold experiment and the
disappearance or dilution of the safeguards it was intended to provide and
in which so many have placed so much faith. If we are serious in our con-
stitution-making, we cannot be indifferent about this result and do not deserve
to be forgiven if we permit it by default.
Why have these provisions found their way into West Indian independence
Constitution? Few of the "fundamental rights" are new to the legal systems
of either of the territories. The more important of them have long been
recognized in the body of the common law which has been the rich-perhaps
the richest-endowment of British authority in the Caribbean. But because
they devolve on us by way of the common law they devolve subject to the
supremacy of the legislative arm of government and they endure only so long
as the principle of parliamentary sovereignty does not operate to stifle them.
During the colonial regime this sovereignty did not of course exist in the
strict sense; though, if we accept the legalism of a legislature which is
"sovereign within its powers", we can at least say without being contradictory
that this sovereignty was subject to restraint by the metropolitan power. To
this extent, there was no real danger of governmental action which flagrantly
violated or denied rights which could be regarded as fundamental rights of
the individual recognized by the common law, and, in some cases, reflected
in and regulated by statutory provisions. Independence, however, involves the
removal of these restraints and it is this prospect of authority unrestrained
which has produced demands for formal guarantees by which the new
independent Governments will be bound. It is not without significance in this
respect that political parties in office at the time when the constitutional pro-
visions were being settled have themselves offered the guarantees as evidence
of good faith and intention.
The times, too, have been ripe for their promulgation. The last war brought
the inter-dependency of all nations into sharp focus and, with this new per-
spective came disenchantment with pre-war ideas of national sovereignty
and a renewal of the arguments for the establishment of a world order. The
United Nations Organisation, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and
the International Court of Justice were first steps towards this goal. Within
western Europe itself, while the walls of national sovereignty were being torn
down the foundations were already being laid for economic and political
integration and Governments were being asked to accept binding recognition
of a code of human rights and a system of enforceability through a supra-
national tribunal-the United Kingdom itself being a party to the 1950
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms, although not submitting to the compulsory jurisdiction of the
European Court of Human Rights. It is a small wonder then that when the
wind of change began to blow it caught up these new notions-alien as they
were to British political thinking-and swept them into the rushing stream of
colonial constitutional reform. So swift and startling was the transformation
that a distinguished commentator on comparative constitutional law (Prof.
S. A. de Smith) could have asked by the beginning of 1961
"Can it be that Anglo-Saxon attitudes have been so reshaped that those
people who have neither been born with nor achieved human rights are
now to have human rights thrust upon them? Or is this nothing more than
a manifestation of that familiar process in which the deplorable becomes
recognized as the inevitable and is next applauded as desirable? Have
we opened a new chapter in the history of political thought, or have we
merely entered another wilderness of single instances? In what propor-
tions are the elements of principle and expediency commingled?
The answers to these questions are no longer important to the countries
which have received the guarantees into their Constitution-usually as
a parting gift; but let it be remembered, if parting gift it be, that in nearly
every case it was one selected for the occasion by the fledging state itself.
India had in its Republican Constitution of 1949 already produced for itself
an elaborate code of fundamental rights with concomitant enforcement pro-
cedures. Following on the recommendations of the Reid Commission, the 1957
independence Constitution of the Federation of Malaya incorporated provisions
safeguarding fundamental liabilities and communal rights and recognizing the
"special position of the Malays'. The Ghana independence Constitution of
the same year tinkered with guarantees of property rights and religious free-
dom and safeguards against discrimination. But it was left to the Nigerian
Constitution of 1959 to introduce a full scale "Bill of Rights" closely modelled
on the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Funda-
mental Freedoms. Since then, Canada has enacted its own unique and
"unpredictable" Bill of Rights and the Nigerian pattern has been reproduced
in Sierra Leone, Western Samoa, Kenya, British Guiana and Malta. Jamaica
and Trinidad and Tobago now join the fashionable crowd.
This long line of precedents has contributed to the illusion that the intro-
duction of the constitutional guarantees is perhaps no more than a normal
evolution of the Constitution as the country proceeds to independence. It may
have become that since 1957; but it is of course much more as well. How much
more will depend on the content of the provisions in certain particular respects.
It will depend first of all on the range of civil liberties which are sought to
be guaranteed and on the effectiveness of the procedures established for safe-
guarding them. It will depend also on the comprehensiveness of the particular
guarantees-that is, on the extent to which judicial legislation will be neces-
sary to clothe with juristic substance the bare bones of political concepts
expressed in terms of legal rights. But it will depend most directly on the
character of the guarantees under the Constitution-that is, on the degree
to which they enjoy the status of a superior law against which normal legisla-
tive authority cannot prevail. With so many variables it is hardly surprising
that there is little uniformity of practice. It is never possible-certainly not
in the complex of a modern community- to draw up a code of governmental
"dos and donts" which is complete in itself. At one end of the scale the
"guarantees" may be no more than boldly lettered sign-posts to the executive
and legislature having chiefly a political significance as a declaration of the
tenets of public morality which the Constitution expects the governmental
authority to respect but is powerless itself to enforce by legal restraint. 'Ihe
Indian "Directive Principles of State Policy" and, to a lesser extent, the
Canadian Bill of Rights, are examples of this approach. At the other end of
the scale, the guarantees may be as precise and comprehensive as the draftsman
can make them, imposing a legal restraint on both the executive and legisla-
tive power but leaving a residual field in which "reasonable" action would
not be prohibited despite infringement of the fundamental rights. The Nigerian
provisions took this form and the Constitution of Jamaica will be cast in the
same mould. Between these two extremes of pious exhortation and explicit
injunction there is the compromise formula which seeks to escape the effeteness
of the first while avoiding the rigidity of the second. Under this method, the
provisions impose legal restraints on the executive and legislative power but
are conferred in broad terms leaving it to the courts through entrenched
enforcement procedures to establish the limits of the protected area. This
method has been employed with mixed success in the American Constitution
and is now, it seems, to be followed in the Constitution of Trinidad and
Tobago-though it must be admitted that any final classification of the Trinidad
and Tobago guarantees must await promulgation of the new Constitution.
The second and third methods come nearest to providing effective legal
guarantees of the basic rights of the individual. It is obvious too that they
both rely on the courts for the operation of the scheme of safeguards, for in
each case it is left to the judges at the level of the particular complaint to
draw the line between the rights of the citizen and the authority of the state
or, to put the matter another way, to lay down the limits of justifiable trespass
on the rights of the individual in the interest of the community. Whether the
courts are asked to determine under the Jamaica Constitution whether govern-
mental action which interferes with the freedom of assembly and association
is "reasonably justifiable in a democratic society" in the interest of defence,
public safety, public order, public morality or public health or, under the
Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago, are required (without guidance from the
Constitution itself) to delimit the area of that freedom and declare whether
a particular enactment constitutes a trespass, the judicial function is sub-
stantially the same however different may be the forensic processes employed
in discharging it. Once that function is discharged, however, the judicial
authority is in each case paramount.
This, then, is the essence of the innovation and herein lies its real signi-
ficance for the law of the Constitution. It represents, of course, a fundamental
departure from the British constitutional tradition. For the first time in the
West Indies (apart from the orthodox provisions of the Federal Constitution
for resolving conflicts between federal and territorial legislation) the courts
will have authority to pronounce on the constitutionality of legislation in its
broadest sense. To the extent that these enquiries proceed on the basi_ of
interpretation of the constitutional guarantees, the judicial processes them-
selves will not be new since they have been exerciseable all along in relation
to local statutory provisions challenged on grounds of inconsistency with
imperial legislation. It is when we leave the familiar fields of statutory inter-
pretation that we must be prepared for new juridical concepts; and where, as
in the Trinidad and Tobago Constitution, the area of strict interpretation is
limited by the generalised form in which the guarantees are expressed the work-
ing out of these concepts becomes correspondingly more significant to the
future of the guarantees. This is particularly true in relation to the authority
which devolves on the courts-one cannot help but feel, unwelcomed-to
pronounce whether general legislation in the case of Jamaica or emergency
legislation in the case of Trinidad and Tobago which otherwise offends the
constitutional guarantees is "reasonably justifiable" for one of the prescribed
purposes. The need for a new jurisprudence in this border country between law
and policy is real and inescapable.
A new and exciting field of judicial authority is opening up; but for the
most part the country is rugged and the way is uncharted. It will take the
combined skill of the judiciary and of the legal profession generally and the
goodwill and understanding of the executive and legislative arms of Government
to make this area of the constitutional guarantees habitable. There must be an
appreciation that existing concepts of the judicial process based solely on
common law principles and the traditional procedures of the English legal
system must accommodate the new jurisdiction. All branches of the legal
profession must gear themselves for a new range of professional activity for
which traditional legal education has provided only meagre training, based
as it has been on the requirements of the profession in England. This in turn
must reinforce the necessity for a long overdue re-appraisal of our system of
legal education and, consequential on that, of our organisation of the legal
profession itself. We achieve little by installing the intricate and specialised
machinery of a Bill of Rights unless we simultaneously prepare ourselves to
operate it to its optimum capacity.
Finally, let it be recognized that these new guarantees have thrust npon
the judiciary functions which will inevitably require them to adjudicate upon
issues intimately related to matters of policy and so bring them into an area
of potential conflict with those responsible for determining what that policy
should be-whether Government or Opposition or the interested citizen merely.
If the judges are to be given a reasonable opportunity of discharging these
onerous duties with success, all concerned must recognize the essentiality of
accepting their arbitrament with dignity and of preserving the status and
authority of the courts in the community; for, in the last resort, on this will
rest the effectiveness of the constitutional guarantees. Without it, we might
straightaway adopt the resignation of the traditionalist whose reaction to a
proposal for a Bill of Rights was-
"You might just as well write into the Constitution-'God is Love' ".
To prove the cynic wrong will be one of the major tests of the new independence
Documents which have guided Edtucational Policy in the
Rev. John Sterling's Report, May, 1835
SHIRLEY C. GORDON
IN JUNE 1833 the British Government resolved in the House of Commons
"That His Majesty be enabled to defray any such ( expense as he may incur .
in providing upon liberal and comprehensive principles for the religious and
moral Education of the Negro population to be emancipated."
The British Government took two years to decide who should administer
their Negro Education Grant for this purpose. During this time, the religious
bodies, particularly the Protestant missionary societies, seized their opportu
nity to spread religious education and elementary schooling, financed by
voluntary contributions from British congregations who wanted as rapidly as
possible to erase the effects of slavery.
The choice lay between subsidizing the religious bodies to continue their
work or making the grant !o the West Indian legislatures to start anew. There
were obvious difficulties in both cases. There was little evidence that the legisla-
tures, dominated by the sugar interests, would be particularly sympathetic
towards an education programme for ex-slave children whom they wished
to keep on the estates as low-paid labourers. On the other hand, it was
difficult to know whether the religious bodies had the resources to provide
adequate education. The British Government imagined that a universal, com-
pulsory system would follow soon from their subsidy.
During 1834 all the religious bodies were asked to submit a statement
on their educational operations in the West Indies. In March. 1835 these papers
were passed to Rev. John Sterling for analysis and for his recommendations
Sterling was an Anglican parson who had held a living in St. Kitts. He
was selected for this voluntary task because of his "practical acquaintance
with the state of the Negro population and his knowledge of educational
enquiries in England and Europe." His report was a thorough and com-
prehensive document drawing from his own observations and very definite
conclusions about life in the West Indies as well as from the documents he
was asked to consider.
Opening with strictures on the British Government for their slowness in
proceeding with their scheme for Negro Education. Sterling urged the import-
ance of taking action before the apprenticeship period, bridging the slave
society and the fully free society, should end. He foresaw economic ruin and
the consequent departure of Europeans from the West Indies unless the
ex-slave were immediately educated for self-respect and higher standards of
living; without these qualities they might well decline into torpor and sub-
sistence living rather than stir themselves to the wage-earning which Sterling
suggested would give them more ambitious standards. He showed clearly
that there were two societies : one with European standards and connections,
the other the demoralised mass of ex-slaves. This was his own analysis and it
led him to the firm conclusion that "the circumstances . imperatively
require the best practicable system [of education] and that introduced with
boldness, and sustained by a liberal and persevering bounty."
Sterling then attempted a description of existing religious instruction and
schooling in the West Indies based on the reports submitted by the religious
bodies. He was very dubious about the statistics presented and interspersed
his account with his own observations and reflections on the inadequacies of
the work of the religious bodies. These he acknowledged to be an aggravated
form of the same inadequacies to be found in English schools at the time,
i.e., poor provision of buildings, large classes, poor and untrained teachers,
senseless methods of rote learning and little in the general attitude to education
to increase the self-respect of young ex-slaves.
Despite his forthright criticism of the educational work of the religious
bodies to date, Sterling could see no alternative to using them for the spread
of education in the West Indies. The rest of his report was concerned to estab-
lish safeguards and priorities for development. The denominations should not
be subsidized when they were duplicating schools in any one area for proselytis-
ing purposes. The schools should be regularly inspected.
Obviously the first priority was to build enough schools to start a system
of infant and primary education. But if this were to be done at any adequate
standard there must also be "the immediate diffusion of a higher and more
mature education" to create a nucleus of better trained boys of all classes.
In addition there should at once be Normal Schools to train teachers for the new
and extended system of education anticipated.
Extracts from the Sterling Report
I. THE CHALLENGE FOR NEGRO EDUCATION
The stability of colonial society in the West Indies will be at stake once fult
freedom is attained.
There are now more or less directly under the Imperial Government in the
different colonies about 770,000 persons who have been released from Slavery
by the Emancipation Act, and are now in a state of rapid transition to entire
freedom [657,627 in the West Indies]. The Peace and Prosperity of the Empire
at large may be not remotely influenced by their moral condition; the care of
this is in itself a grave responsibility; and lastly the opinion of the public in
Britain earnestly requires a systematic provision for their mental improvement.
It is plain therefore that something must be done and it must be done immedi-
ately. For although the Negroes are now under a system of limited control
"apprenticeship", which secures to a certain extent their orderly and industrious
conduct, in the short space of five years from the 1st of next August, their
performance of the functions of a labouring class in a civilised community will
depend entirely on the power over their minds of the same prudential and
moral motives which govern more or less the mass of the people here. If
they are not so disposed as to fulfil these functions, property will perish in
the colonies for lack of human impulsirio. 'IT Whlites will no longer reside
there, and the liberated Negroes themselves will probably cease to be progres-
sive. The Law having already determined and enforced their civic rights, the
task of bettering their condition can be further advanced only by Education.
I uo opposite tendencies amongst the ex-c.la:es call for immediate and sustained
Among the parents of the children now under our review, two opposite
tendencies are distinctly traceable in all the evidence extant on the subject ..
Of these tendencies, the first that catches European eyes and that which has
been mostly insisted on by the planters and advocates of Negro-slavery, may
be called the servile and barbarous, characterized by indolence, vagrancy.
debauchery, deceitfulness. contented ignorance, in fine chiefly to be distin-
guished by negatives . .
The other tendency which is equally well-established by the concurrent
testimony of the religious teachers of all denominations, and by the fact of
the tranquillity and good order of Colonial Society since the general Emancipa-
tion, is the awakening of the moral and intelligent powers in the minds of the
There was before abundant proof of the eagerness of some of the
slaves for knowledge, and of their capacity at least for receiving purer maxims
of conduct. All the writers of the Returns which form the basis of this paper ..
declare that there has been since the 1st of August a great increase of the
desire for knowledge. And though there has not yet been time for any marked
display of the moral benefits of freedom, its certain result where the minds
of people are at all in movement will be a consciousness of their own indepen-
dent value as rational beings without reference to the purposes for which they
may be profitable to others.
On the other hand it is clear that the cheapness of land compared to
labour, the fertility of the soil in the production of excellent vegetables, and
the warmth of the climate, will render it easy to procure the means of
mechanical existence, and will thus favour the former and evil inclination
to a thoughtless inactivity.
The efficacy of the state of things above described in neutralising or
perverting education must be obvious; and the inference from this knowledge
is the twofold certainty, first that no external and superinduced system of
moral culture can probably raise the existing generation even to a low
European level of improvement, and second that the circumstances do there-
fore only the more imperatively require the best practicable system, and that
introduced with boldness, and sustained by a liberal and persevering bounty.
2. THE SHORTCOMINGS OF EXISTING RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
Doubts about the efficiency of the methods used.
As to the efficiency of the Schools the information is very imperfect.
The Bishop of Jamaica gives us the titles of some of the selections and cate-
chisms used by his teachers, and some of the children are said on examina-
tion to have answered very satisfactorily, which probably means that they
have learnt by rote with great accuracy. The writers of the Returns tell us
little of what has been done for the minds and hearts of the scholars; but
they tell us absolutely nothing from which we can infer that they reject the
opinions not long since fashionable here, or know that a child may learn
the whole Bible and yet be no whit more religious, and in spite of the
catechetical form of composition might be able to repeat all Plato's dia-
logues and still be never the wiser.
Only limited results can be achieved in the short time offered.
If the instruction given to these negro scholars were to be really an
education, and to be rendered efficient for forming the character of the
children, they ought to be away from their parents and under the master's
care for the greater part of almost every day. Instead of this there is de-
cisive evidence that the greater number of the children are taught only for
about 3 or 4 hours, at the most, weekly . There can be no hope that
this system will produce any moral results of the slightest value. That
which it will do is this: it will give some trifling knowledge of words and
so open the means of readier and more extensive communication; and it
will in some cases teach the pupils to read, and thus put into their hands
an intellectual lever of incalculable power. But it has been proved in this
country that those who learn to read as imperfectly as is usual in the
schools of the poor, understand comparatively few of the words in common
books, and seldom keep up their acquirements much less employ them for
the enlargement of their minds. No better results can be looked for among
the mass of the Negroes.
The existing teachers and their current methods are unlikely to have any
moral effect on poor Negro children.
The question whether all the use possible is made of the time during
which the children are with the master, can be answered only by reference to
his competency. Of this the papers before us supply for the most part no evi-
dence whatever.. The majority of the teachers appear not to be sent from
this country but chosen on the spot. And the Clergy and Missionaries must
often, of course, be satisfied with a very moderate measure of knowledge
and capacity in their agents. It may be found that in the West Indies, as
is now known from the House of Commons evidence the case here, those
who enter on the Employment of Teaching a a commonly persons who have
failed in every other pursuit . From the greater ignorance and the lower
state of mental cultivation of all kinds in the West Indies, the case must
therefore doubtless be much worse. What effect then can possibly be ex-
pected to arise from the plan of taking a Negro child for 3 or 4 hours per
week out of his native hut where he has been actually instructed in fraud
and lying . and attempting to counteract such influences by forcing on
his ears the chopped fragments of a dogmatic catechism, and teaching him
to read a few pages selected from the Bible, by means of an unintelligent
and disgusting monotony of repetition?
3. A PLAN FOR NEGRO EDUCATION TO BE APPLIED BY THE BRITISH
The religious bodies will have to be the agency.
There can be little doubt that any means which may be granted by
Parliament, should be employed in the more neglected province of the
education of the young.
The question then arises, in whose hands shall the funds for this
purpose be placed?
What is the Principle to be pursued on the subject? The Government
cannot undertake the task for (1), The education of the young would thus
be disconnected from the religious instruction imparted by the various sects
to the adult negroes; (2), Because there is no Public Department for such
purposes, and were there a Ministry of Public Instruction, or which would
probably be better, a board of Commissioners, still, (3), The funds now
employed by the Voluntary Societies in Negro Education would be with-
drawn, and there is little prospect that Parliament would supply the
The Catholics are presented as a case for special treatment.
Here the question arises whether "liberal and comprehensive principles"
mean principles which regard all religious sects alike or only the Protestant
sects that have Missionaries in the W. Indies. Of persons at least nominally
Roman Catholics there are many thousands, doubtless the bulk of the popu-
lation in the Islands which have only recently been transferred to England
from the crowns of France and Spain. In dealing with these there are
several difficulties. There are hardly any schools among them; it is plain
from the statements of the R.C. Clergy that if such were to be established
the whole expense must be borne by the Government, any arrangement
probably not contemplated with regard to any Protestant schools. But the
main hindrance is this. The first maxim of Protestantism is that the state
of every human being in the eyes of God depends on a personal and indi-
vidual reception of certain moral and religious principles. Now these when
sincerely received become springs of right action, and sufficiently secure the
existence of the qualities that the community has an interest in promoting
among its members. To cn'ourage the religion of Prostestants is to advance
the objects for which society itself exists. But this is not commonly supposed
by instructed and sober-minded Prostestants to be at all necessarily true of
the tenets of the R. Catholics . Yet the Government cannot take the
education of the R. Catholic Negroes into its own hands and exclude their
Clergy from interference.
On the who'e there are but two things to be done. First if any Protestant
Societies propose to establish schools in these places the Government should
give them its assistance in the same proportions as elsewhere and let those
learn who will. The same thing must of course be done if any R. Catholics
should offer to institute schools, but in this case . the Government might
perhaps reasonably require that some plan similar to that introduced in
Ireland by the recent Education-board, should be adopted, and the same
books be used. [a non-doctrinal system.]
Rules to make the system efficient.
Rules will be necessary . They must tend to secure 2 points, 1st that
the school to be assisted by Government is required; and 2nd that it is
The chief danger under the first head will arise from the possibility
that in a place already sufficiently provided with schools, some religious
sect may wish to add another for the promotion of its peculiar tenets. A
school for such an object would of course not receive assistance from the
Government. There is also a risk that the attempt might be made of getting
education gratis by those who could afford to pay for it. But as the object
must be to encourage and tempt the negroes to send their children, the
attempt to enforce a weekly payment from all can only be made gradually
and as local experience may point out. This Rule however might be en-
forced at once, that no child shall be taught to write without paying for
the instruction. Writing is an accomplishment of little value to the very
poor; and is less beneficial than almost any other branch of instructions in
cultivating the faculties of the child. On the other hand it is very likely to be
an object of ambition with those in better circumstances . .
As to the Efficiency of the School frequent Inspection will be the great
security. But it is so difficult to draw a definite line as to the capacity of
the master or the progress of the scholars, that the points to be chiefly
provided for by the regulations must be the moral conduct of the Teacher,
the number of the pupils, the regularity of their attendance, and the subjects
of their studies. A definite number of hours' attendance in the week must
be fixed as the least which being observed by the scholars will entitle the
school to the Government grant.
Secondary Education for all Classes and Teacher Training would be needed to
Transform Education in the West Indies
All that has hitherto been spoken of is the steps which the state of the
Colonies and the opinion and feelings of England render absolutely necessary.
Were it the whole business of an enlightened Government to obey the compul-
sion of events and echo the monumentary voice of the public, the business of
the writer would end here. But as no Government can be truly strong which
is not respected, and those whom men are to respect must be leaders and not
followers, the shapers not the creatures of circumstances, it may be hoped
that a Ministry alive to its own real and permanent interests, will be willing
to labour in some degree for the future, and to place itself in the commanding
position of originating some new good, instead of contenting themselves with
reflecting what pre-existed. If any such design should be entertained with
respect to education in the West Indies, it would be necessary to aim at two
points; first the immediate diffusion of a higher and more mature education
than that of primary or infants' schools; and secondly, the improvement of
the quality and extension of the compass of this latter system of instruction
The subject of this paper is verbally Moral and Religious Education.
But in proposing to introduce in the West Indies schools of a higher and more
advanced kind than those now existing, and of which it shall be more
peculiarly the business to enlarge and strengthen the mental faculties, it is
not designed to do anything different from what is aimed at in the Primary
Schools, but to carry out and complete their work. The object of these schools
ought to be to educate boys of all classes and colours between 10 and 18 years,
whose parents can afford to pay (say) one shilling per week for each, but
cannot find means to send them to Europe. This would include the children
of all classes between the mere field labourers and lowest Artisans, and the
wealthier Planters, Merchants, and members of Professions. The schools should
be day-schools with liberty for the Masters to receive Boarders. One hundred
scholars, paying each one shilling sterling a week for 40 weeks, or two pounds
per annum would probably defray more than half the expenses. The education
should include reading, writing, arithmetic, Book-keeping, English, History
and Geography with some rudiments of Natural History, Natural Philosophy
and Mathematics. Together with this course of Instruction the Master should
be required, and should be chosen for his fitness to give a decided Moral and
Religious cultivation to his Pupils. But the Schools must not be peculiarly or
professedly religious, and should be under no Ecclesiastical superintendence.
It seems probable that these schools might readily be made all that they
ought to be by an offer from the Government to defray a part of the
expenses, say 50 a year, on condition of their being thrown open to the
examination of the Inspector of Schools. [Remaining finances might come
from the parishes or local legislatures].
Useful, however, as this plan might be hoped to prove, in furthering and
strengthening the cultivation of the people in the Colonies, the second of the
projects above mentioned has much higher and more immediate claims to
favour, viz. that of improving the education given in the primary or children's
schools. This can only be done by improving the Masters. The selection of them
cannot be placed directly in the hands of the Government or its officers, for
lic schools will depend for at least half their s.;pport on voluntary contributions,
and these cannot be expected to continue if the management be not left with
the self-constituted Societies which are the organs for the collection of
The Government must attempt to obtain an influence not by Restriction,
but by Facilitation. The only way in which it appears that this could be
benchcially accomplished, would be by establishing a Normal or Teachers'
School in each of the two Dioceses. [Jamaica and Barbados].
The temper of the times, and the state of society in the \est Indies,
render it absolutely essential that there shall be no religious 'Tst, or confession
of Faith of any kind required from the students. The Principal must be a man
oi deeply religious Character, even if not an ordained Minister: but it must
the object of the Government to find persons (and such are happily not wanting)
in whom the strength of religious feeling and Principle is as little as possible
connected with conventional or Sectarian peculiarities. The candidates for
admission should be required to give evidence on Examination, of possessing
certain definite acquirements, and should bring testimonials of character. The
students ought to consist of persons recommended by the different Sects having
schools for the Negroes, in proportion to the numbers educated in those schools.
The Government ought to pay at least a considerable part of the expenses
of the Students and should certainly be answerable for the Salaries of the
The British Government accepted Sterling's recommendation for the
agency to spread Negro Education on the grounds that the work of the
religious bodies would improve with additional funds and because "a new
and distinct system would tend to interfere with their operations, without
deriving any assistance from their agency" (Prime Minister's Instructions to
the Treasury for the Negro Education Grant, 21 July 1835). The scheme
seemed comprehensive enough for the Colonial Office to notify the West Indian
legislatures of the plan and ask them to consider passing compulsory education
laws to ensure that the children would benefit from the education to be
Two of Sterling's recommendations for priority action were accepted,
but the "higher and more mature education" was not achieved by the
Negro Education Grant. The provision of more schools was secured by the
device of making the grants for school buildings only in the first place. The
British Government offered two-thirds of the cost of any school building
undertaken by one of the religious bodies.
The Normal Schools were provided by the Mico Trustees, with a subsidy
from the Negro Education Grant. The same body also solved the problem
posed by Sterling concerning the education of Catholic children. Mico schools
were set up to give a non-denominational education in the mainly Catholic
The British Government paid an aggregate of 30,000 annually for
five years for their Negro Education scheme. Thereafter they announced the
gradual withdrawal and proportionate reduction of the Grant over the following
five years. It ended in 1845 in a hard year when only one-quarter of the
original sum was paid.
The achievement of the Negro Education plan as conceived by Sterling
and administered by the British Government through the Mico Trust and the
religious bodies could be summarised as threefold. In the first place all con-
cerned learned by bitter experience the hard economic facts of running an
educational system. Secondly the schools, allied with church teaching of all
sorts, established Christianity as the religion of the West Indies. Finally the
idea that there should be popular education was established for good; however
inadequate the provision, no responsible commentator has ever since suggested
that popular education should not be publicly supported.
Othello and Race Prejudice
(An Extract from Mr. Mason's third lecture in Jamaica: The Collective
Unconscious and Othello)
This lecture is based on a lecture given at the University in 1962 as part of the
Open Lecture Series by Philip Mason .I.E., O.B.F.., Director of the Institute of Race
SOME years ago I read an argument by a learned sociologist that race
prejudice was a by-product of imperialism; before we in Britain had an
Empire, he argued, we had no prejudice about race, and he adduced Othello
in proof. This struck me at once as very odd and made me read the play
again; I came to just the opposite conclusion from his.
Othello is of course a tragedy and in any tragedy it is essential that we
-the audience-should feel involved; this almost always, and certainly in
the great Shakespearean tragedies, means that we should feel a sympathy
with the hero. Perhaps this was what was in the sociologist's mind and what
his unstated argument may have been : the audience has to sympathise with
Othello, and therefore there cannot have been racial prejudice in Elizabethan
England. This however is an argument of the type : A thing must be either
black or white : this is not black : therefore it must be white. I do of course
agree that in Elizabethan England there was no such extreme racial prejudice
as exists among white South Africans, but I maintain that there was some
prejudice and that in the play it shows itself most strongly in just the kind
of people in whom you would expect to find it. Indeed, I would go further
and say that the play would lose much of its point if it were not for racial
prejudice. The problem of making Othello the Moor sympathetic to his audience
may have been the very challenge that caught Shakespeare's attention.
Let us start with Othello the Moor, the general. We hear of him before
we see him. As the play opens lago is protesting that he hates Othello, the
general whom he serves. Iago is thus what is called in the law courts a hostile
witness and the first scene makes it clear to the audience that he is a villain
he says that lie is serving the Moor as a matter of self-interest and pretending
to be what he is not. It follows from his hostility that any admissions he
makes in Othello's favour are doubly telling. And we notice that he never
questions Othello's ability as a soldier; what is more, he recognizes explicitly
that he is an outstanding leader and that Venice cannot do without him.
Iago does not flatter himself that the Venetian government can be persuaded
to get rid of Othello; he says :
Another of his fathom have they none
To do their business . (I.i.153)
The other character in this first scene is also hostile; the total effect of the
scene is to rouse expectation. We are ready for someone who is big, a man
of real stature, and we are unconsciously ready to give him our sympathy
because we don't take to lago. When Othello does appear, in the second
scene, lago is telling him how a villain-Brabantio-"prated against your
Honour" and how lago had defended him; Othello is magnanimous and
forbearing about the injury and confident that the state will remember him
because of his great services. He speaks with modesty yet firm certainty and
tells lago, whom he regards as a faithful friend, that he is no upstart but
of high birth : .
"I fetch my life and being
From men of Royal siege and my demerits
May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune
As this that I have reached". (I.ii.20)
And before the first Act is ended, we have seen the respect with which he
is greeted by the Doge of Venice and his counsellors, we have heard Brabantio
attempt to charge him with sorcery because he has won Desdemona's heart
and we have heard his defence and triumph. He has won our sympathy
Almost everyone who has written about race relations in Britain today
has made the point that prejudice is very much reduced for anyone who can
establish-preferably by something everyone can see like a college blazer or
a clerical collar-that he belongs to the upper half of the class structure,
that he is a student or a clergyman or the son of a chief. It is remarkable
how many chief's sons there are in London today. And here is Shakespeare,
knowing his audience, using this native English snobbery for his own purpose
three and a half centuries ago. And my own feeling is that he takes more
trouble to establish sympathy with Othello than he would if Othello were
European and if Shakespeare did not expect prejudice. All through the first
half of the play, the flat characters, who have no life of their own but who
are vaguely good, go out of their way to refer to him as "noble Othello",
"brave Othello", "the noble Moor", "the war-like Moor". 'Tis a worthy
Governor", says Montano, and again :
"I have served him and the man commands
Like a full soldier". (II.i.)
This is at the beginning of the Second Act, when we are expecting him
to land from the storm. All are full of his praises and of anxiety for his
safety; we left him triumphant over Brabantio, having won the sympathy
of the Doge and the Senate as well as the love of the incomparable Desdemona;
am I right in thinking that all this build-up at the beginning is more than
Hamlet or I.ear gets? Macbeth does get something of the same treatment,
but then he is going to murder a king and a guest: the problem is the same,
and both of them have to win our sympathy in spite of something which
tells against them.
Cassio too admired Othello, in a rather juvenile hero-worshipping kind
of way; Cassio is on the whole a sympathetic character but distinctly
1 1 *
immature and public school. He is a man of good family and good looks, a
staff college man skilled in the theory of war, smooth of manners, attractive
to women, a man to whom everything has come easily. He feels no racial
prejudice; why should he? It is easy to be liberal and generous when you
have everything you want. And Cassio in this as in everything else is sharply
contrasted with lago, and to a lesser extent with the other two characters
who really are racialists, Roderigo and Brabantio.
Iago has been passed over for promotion. He was the senior man, and
had been tried in battle under Othello's eye, he says, but the post of second-
in-command goes to Cassio, a mere staff officer, but one who was at the
Right Kind of School and knew all the Right People. This is lago's first
professed grievance but he hunts round for another; he throws out at different
points in the play casual remarks to the effect that he suspects his wife Emilia
has been unfaithful with Othello and also with Cassio. But he does not sound
as though he really believed it and I am confident that Shakespeare did not
mean us to think he did-still less that he meant us to think it was true. Of
course, being passed over for promotion was not what any rational man would
possibly regard as a reasonable motive for such malignity as lago's; there
must have been something deeply wrong with a man for him to behave as
lago does and everything lago says when he is off his guard bears this out.
He has a grudge against life. He has married beneath him and seems
quite incapable of any affection for Emilia. He feels a grudge against life
for that, as well as over Cassio's promotion-but the grudge must have been
there from his earliest days. I feel sure that his real grudge against Othello
is that the general "has a daily beauty in his life" which makes lago feel
mean and small.
Iago has a dirty mind-and by that I do not mean either that he is
highly sexed or that he talks cheerful honest bawdy. Romeo was highly sexed
and so are most young men in Shakespeare; Falstaff and plenty of others
make bawdy jokes. But no one I can think of except lago contrives so
often to bring all sexual affection down to the farmyard level. Hear for
instance the way he tells Brabantio that his daughter has left his house in
secret to marry Othello-and notice that he is a racialist in the same breath
as he uses this language about marriage. He is speaking from the dark-I
almost said from the Shadow-and Brabantio cannot see him and does not
know who is speaking, so he can let himself go :
"Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise!
Awake the snorting citizens with the bell
Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you". (I.i.89 et seq.)
And he goes on : "You'll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse,
you'll have your nephews neigh to you; you'll have coursers for cousins and
gennets for germans".
Brabantio asks-into the dark: "What profane wretch art thou?" And
from the dark comes lago's answer : "I am one, Sir, that comes to tell you
that your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs".
The point really needs no more labouring; as soon as lago is alone with
Roderigo he is at it again, suggesting that Desdemona "must change for
youth; when she is sated with his body, she will find the error of her choice"
(I.iii.348 et seq.). And a good deal more the same effect, even more grossly
expressed, when he is persuading Roderigo that Desdemona is in love with
Cassio (II.i. 240-250). Notice the comparison he used when he is reporting
the quarrel he has contrived between Cassio and Roderigo : he does not know
how it began, he says, they were "friends all but now . like bride and
groom devesting them for bed" (II.iii.183). And there is a brief conversation
with Cassio about Desdemona which contrasts the two men perfectly. Iago
says that Othello has left them early because he "hath not yet made wanton
the night with her-and she is sport for Jove". Cassio, the perfect officer
and gentleman and full of a charming if rather schoolboyish admiration,
almost reverence, for Desdemona, replies : "She's a most exquisite lady".
Iago goes on : "And, I'll warrant her, full of game". Cassio's eyebrows are
still raised: he says "Indeed, she is a most fresh and delicate creature".
Iago : "What an eye she has! Mcthinks it sounds a parley of provocation".
Cassio : "An Inviting eye; and yet methinks right modest". And so on; lago
ends the colloquy with the phrase : "Happiness to their sheets!". (II.iii. 16-29).
Iago, then, is a man dis appointed in the world, which has never recognized
his true merits and ability, a man coldly obsessed with sex yet unable to
love-just the sort of man you would expect to be a racialist. His racialism
comes out in the very first scene; he resents serving under the Moor : "And I
-God bless the mark!--his Moorship's* ancient". The post he held seems
to have been personal, a kind of military secretary. I have mentioned already
the way he announces the marriage to Brabantio; to Roderigo he says "these
Moors are changeable" (I.iii.338) and "what delight shall she have to look
on the devil?" (II.i.230). To Othello himself he eventually-once his poison
has begun to do its work-uses most significant language. He has worked
Othello into a frenzy of suspicion and agitation, and has reminded him of
Brabantio's words-"She has deceived her father and may thee"-and also
of Brabantio's conviction that only witchcraft could make her love a Moor.
And this doubt-something rooted in racialism-comes to Othello's own lips :
"And yet"-it is a groan wrung from his pain-"And yet how nature, erring
*This is the reading of Q2 and Fl. Ql has "worship" instead of "Moorship" and
is the source usually to be preferred, but no one could have changed "worship"
to "Moorship" by mistake. I prefer to think "wordship" was a printer's error
corrected by Shakespeare; if it is an amendment by another hand, it is a brilliant one.
from itself . ."-he cannot finish the sentence and lago pounces eagerly on
this crack in the armour of the great general's composure, drives in the point
of his knife and prises it wider open. He says :
"Ay there's the point; as, to be bold with you,
Not to affect many proposed matches
Of her own clime, complexion and degree
Whereto we see, in all things nature tends;
Foh! one may smell in such a will most rank,
Foul disproportion, thoughts unnatural.
But pardon me . ."
he continues, and well he might, for what more unpardonable thought could
he have expressed? (III.iii.230)
Here I think is the place to notice how integral a part of lago's plans
is race prejudice. He could never have poisoned Othello's mind if Othello
had not all his life struggled with this prejudice and overcome it by building
up a persona, a mask to front the world, of the calm, resolute and modest
commander, unaware of prejudice. But once the crack is made, it is clear
that-deepest tragedy of all-he has himself been infected by the thing he
fought. He thinks Desdemona cannot possibly like his face, that she loves
his mind and spirit in spite of his colour; he says :
"She loved me for the dangers I had passed
And I loved her that she did pity them". (I.iii.167)
Desdemona herself never says this; she does say that she first loved his
mind but her plea to Brabantio is simply that she loves him and is married
to him and there is never any sign in her of loving him in spite of his appear-
ance. But he is infected with this prejudice of the surrounding world-which
today, when there is so much more meeting of different races, we know by
daily evidence to be untrue : "Yet she had eyes and chose me . ." he says
(III.iii.189). And again, in that same almost unbearably painful scene :
"Haply, for I am black
And have not those soft parts of conversation
That chamberers have, or, for I am declined
Into the vale of years-yet that's not much-
She's gone . ." (III.iii.265)
Here note the order-blackness, lack of polish, age-in which he lists his
To read Othello is a purging and ennobling experience, because the love
of Othello and Desdemona is something above the animal lust which lago
would make it, a whole and beautiful thing above race prejudice and snobbery
and the sheer evil malice which these things generate. Today we know from
experience that there are marriages which successfully overcome the difficulties
that prejudice causes, which may indeed be stronger because they have over-
come those difficulties, but how did Shakespeare know?
"Farewell the tranquil mind; farewell content
Farewell the plumed troops and the big wars . .
That make ambition virtue-Oh, farewell!" (III.iii.350)
Think of his terrible cry : "Oh, lago, the pity of it, lago, the pity of it!",
and of that bloody resolution :
"Like to the Pontick sea
Whose icy current and compulsive course
Ne'er feels retiring ebb but keeps due on
To the Propontick and the Hellespont,
Even so my bloody thoughts .. ."
In the last scene, almost every word Othello speaks is the purest poetry, from
Where a malignant and a turbaned Turk ."
". . in Aleppo once
They owe, these people, much of their reality to the magic of words but even
when robbed of the glory of the verse-and the great speeches come crowding
forward, protesting that they are an inseparable part of the play and won't
be banished-even stripped of their poetry and laid out naked on the psycho-
analyst's couch, the people still seem alive. Surely in this Jung is right and
they do come from somewhere deep in universal human experience, as Oedipus
and Electra do.
Let us come back to Brabantio. He is the rich old lord, a senator, related
to most of the leading people in Venice. Like Cassio, he had no need to feel
envious or discontented; he was hospitable and liberal and when Othello first
came to Venice, some nine months before the play begins, after a life-time of
war and adventure, Brabantio asked him to his house. "Her father loved
me", Othello says; in modem English of course, we should say "Her father
liked me". No doubt it was the fashionable thing to do. But prejudice was
there, latent, waiting only for the occasion to bring it out : when he under-
stands what lago is telling him, he says "This accident is not unlike my
dream". He had been afraid that his daughter would marry a black man
though no doubt felt that in modern Venice this wasn't the thing to say.
There are plenty of people just like this in London today. But as soon as
the threat develops, up it all comes, bubbling up from the Id or the Shadow.
He thinks at once of charms "By which the property of youth and maidhood
may be abused" and when he meets Othello asks how, except by witchcraft,
anyone could suppose that a maid "so tender, fair, and happy" could
"To incur a general mock
Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom
Of such a thing as thou".
As the whole party hurries off to the Doge's council, he throws out a
remark very typical of the racialist; if this kind of thing is going to happen,
"Bond slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be". As I have already pointed
out, Othello is of royal blood and it is quite clear that he is a Christian and
goes regularly to confession. But facts like this will make no difference to
Brabantio; it is almost a definition of this kind of person that he does not
test his prejudice against facts. Arrived before the Doge, whose council has
met at midnight because of important war news demanding immediate
decision, Brabantio, although himself a senator, clamours for immediate
private justice, before he will even hear the news, because he says . .
"My particular grief
Is of so flood-gate and o'er-bearing nature
That it engluts and swallows other sorrows .." (I.iii.54)
Nothing matters but his own trouble; his daughter has been stolen from him and
"For nature so preposterously to err
Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense
Sans witchcraft could not".
When Desdemona appears, he asks her :
"Do you perceive in all this noble company
Where most you owe obedience?"
She replies, in language very like Cordelia's, that she has a divided duty:
"I am hitherto your daughter; but here's my husband
And so much duty as my mother showed
To you, preferring you before her father,
So much I challenge that I may profess
Due to the Moor my lord". (I.iii.185)
This is too much for Brabantio; he says : "I had rather to adopt a child
than get it . ." And we perceive that he is the authoritarian personality
incarnate, that like Lear (and to a lesser extent Prospero) he cannot bear
that his child should have a life of her own and be anything but obediently his.
Brabantio in short is just the kind of person-I should say one of the
kinds-whom we expect to find a racialist. And Roderigo is another. No
doubt he has been infected by lago, who may well have put into his head
the things he actually says. But they would not have grown in Cassio's
mind nor in the Doge's; Cassio, satisfied with his easy successes, would have
shrugged and smiled, while the Doge, knowing that he needed Othello, would
have put them aside as firmly as he does Brabantio's complaints. But
Roderigo is another matter; he is of Dcsdemona's own class and no doubt
met her at teen-age dances or the Venetian equivalent (that is, of course, at
Shakespeare's idea of the Venetian equivalent). He has land, which he is
selling to meet lago's inordinate demands. On paper, he would be a suitable
match for Desdemona; unfortunately for him, however, nobody regards him
as of any account. Brabantio has forbidden him the house because Desdemona
is not for him and he is making a nuisance of himself. Iago remarks in an
aside that he would not waste time on "such a snipe" "But for my sport and
profit"; again, he calls him "this poor trash of Venice"-and the audience
is bound to agree that he is weak and silly and despicable in every way. The
aristocrat who is not fitted by nature to hold a privileged position-he is
another of the people who we thought likely to be intolerant about a class
not their own or a race not their own. And sure enough in the first scene he
shows it; he calls Othello "the thick-lips" and speaks of Desdemona going
"to the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor". We need not waste more time
It is more interesting to consider whether Shakespeare himself had some
mental picture of a "Moor" as having in some way a different temperament
from an Englishman. And 1 think the answer must be that he had, but that,
at least for the purpose of this play, he ennobled the vulgar stereotype and
saw the best in it. His moor is not lascivious, as Roderigo suggests all Moors
must be; indeed in a very deep sense he is profoundly chaste. Nor is he
sentimental; he does not need a woman's support, is not in love with marriage,
regrets the loss of independence; his is a sturdy self-reliant personality and
he comes late to love, but beneath the calm which is an essential part of his
persona, his passions have a depth and fire which are not to be found any-
where else in Shakespeare; his love really is "the fountain From the which
his current runs". The weakness is that the mask with which he fronts the
world has had to be built up with such a tremendous effort of discipline and
repression that, once it is cracked, all goes with it. He is generous and simple,
not given to malice or suspicion. Emilia asks : "Is he not jealous?" and
Desdemona says : "Who! he? I think the sun where he was born Drew all
such humours from him". Iago sees the same quality and sees how he can
"The Moor is of a free and open nature
That thinks men honest that but seem to be
And will as tenderly be led by the nose
As asses are. (I.iii).
Frank, generous, brave, swift in decision but mature in judgment, passionate
but master of his passion-not the most ardent apostle of negritude and the
African personality could ask for better than this! Swinburne said that Othello
was the noblest man of man's making. But his character does have a relation-
ship to one English stereotype of the Negro, the most favourable, as simple,
generous and passionate, and surely his is just the personality that would
crumble quickly, once the horrible suspicion was sown that there was some-
thing morbid and unnatural in Desdemona's choice.
I hope I have said enough to convince you that, far from Othello showing
that there was no racial prejudice in Elizabethan England, prejudice is the
root of two central points in the play. It is closely tied up with the causes
of lago's malignity and it is an essential part of his plot that Othello should
himself have been infected with racialism and should suspect it in Desdemona.
Roderigo and Brabantio as well as lago are the kind of people in whom a
psychologist would expect to find racialism-and there it is. Brabantio
provides a nice demonstration of the sociologist's concept of social distance;
he will ask Othello to tea but won't have him as a son-in-law. Brabantio
also feeds one's suspicion of the things people say when they answer a
questionnaire; there is likely to be a difference between what they say and what
they do. In short, although Othello was not a social problem in Venice-it
sounds as though he was the only Moor in the army-the play leaves on
me the impression that race prejudice was much the same in Shakespeare's
England as today.
How does this fit my first point, of the change in race and class relations
during the period between Blenheim and Mons, between Defoe and say
Evelyn Waugh? It is not inconsistent. There is nothing formal or fixed
about race relations in Shakespeare's day; there is nothing comparable with
the customs of the Deep South or of South Africa. Indeed, there is no
relationship of dominance. There is curiosity, wonder, an initial prejudice-a
readiness to identify with the Shadow-but it is something that can be over-
come; it is like the first meeting of Hawkins and Akbar, of Cortes and
Montezuma. But there the prejudice is and not much will be needed to turn
it into downright hostility. During the next three centuries, many forces were
to play on it and affect it before it reached the stage of crisis where we
The Foreign Service of a Small
FRED A. PHILLIPS
WHY A FOREIGN SERVICE? LETS LOOK AT THE INDIAN EXPERIENCE
IT is possible for an independent country to operate without a Foreign Service.
But it is also inconceivable. If Jamaica or Trinidad, upon their being declared
independent, were to decide that they could not maintain missions abroad, such
a declaration might well in certain circles be regarded as tantamount to a
confession that they were not ready for independence. But, prestige considera-
tions apart, no modern nation can afford to fail to have a skilled team of
negotiators in the various capitals of the world. How can Jamaica or Trinidad
fail to be represented at the United Nations in New York? Or in Washington,
London and Ottawa? In this connection there are those who rather short-
sightedly argue that the first few years of a nation's existence should be spent
on internal consolidation and the establishment of an economic structure at
home on a firm basis and not on mere "window-dressing" in the external
sphere with the concomitant expenditure of foreign exchange. The answer to
the pessimists is simple, viz : in a modern world no independent state, no
matter what its size, can maintain an attitude of diplomatic isolationism. It
will depend for its very existence on developing its markets, on securing foreign
capital. It must look after its nationals abroad.
In a number of ways, our motivation is similar to that of India, and it
may not therefore be out of place for us to consider in this paper the circum-
stances under which the Indian Foreign Service came into being. An External
Affairs Department had been established but this functioned under the aegis
of the Viceroy who was directly responsible to Whitehall. Its main task was
to conduct negotiations with the States surrounding India, e.g. Persia and the
Persian Gulf States. It was staffed primarily by the Government of India's
personnel. But there were compelling circumstances that demanded some
As has occurred elsewhere in the development of territories from colonial
to independent status, the grant of some degree of internal autonomy neces-
sitated in the external sphere the appointment of officers to give some fulfilment
to full enjoyment of internal autonomy. The problem arose because of three
(i) Indian Labour The emigration of Indian indentured labourers
abroad demanded the appointment of officers from India to inves-
tigate their condition abroad. As a result, an Indian High
Commissioner was stationed in South Africa and Agents of the
Government of India, in Ceylon and Malaya. The Department of
External Affairs was responsible for these agents.
(ii) Trade : Again, as happened in the case of Canada, India's
commercial and economic expansion demanded the appointment
abroad of Commissioners to represent the interests of the Govern-
ment of India. Thus we find India Agents-General being appointed
to the U.S.A. and China; and reciprocal appointments by
these countries to India. These Commissioners, however, could only
be considered as of quasi-diplomatic status, for India's dependent
status precluded any higher position.
(iii) Contribution of World War 1: The third factor which necessitated
some sort of diplomatic representation abroad for India was the
outstanding part she played in World War I. As a result, India
secured formal representation at the Paris Peace Conference. It
was then that India's great High Commissioner in London was
appointed. The High Commission did not form a channel of com-
munication between the Government of India and the British
Government. It was under the control of the Department of Com-
merce and as a result its function was primarily commercial.
There were five immediate questions to be answered, stretching from the
very necessity for a Foreign Service to the fundamental one of the provision
of funds for its establishment and its recurrent upkeep. The questions may
be listed thus :-
(i) Was it necessary for India to establish direct diplomatic representa-
tion with other countries?
(ii) If so, should diplomats be first exchanged with neighboring states,
allowing the other states to await their turn?
(iii) Could a number of Indian Officers of the Home Civil Service be
withdrawn for assignment abroad?
(iv) What other sources of suitable personnel were immediately available?
(v) How was the whole scheme to be paid for?
The mere mention of a Foreign Service brought in some 2,000 unsolicited
applications from princes and politicians to village schoolmasters and frontier
tribesmen. But the influx of numbers did not answer the problem of the kind
of qualifications demanded. Which of the following was preferable :-
A person who possessed-
(i) Foreign Travel as a recommendation;
(ii) Foreign languages; or
(iii) Close acquaintance with the country's internal and economic
These were questions to be answered by the Government of India.
Eventually it was decided that it was easier to teach a foreign language
than to turn a linguist into a good diplomat. Hence the following decisions were
Candidates must possess a good University degree; they must be endowed
with a general awareness and adaptability; and both sexes were to be given
an equal opportunity. Bearing in mind that not only were diplomatic, consular
and commercial posts abroad to be filled, but that it was necessary to have
a knowledgeable and adequate team in both the External Affairs and the
Ministry of Commerce Departments the following sources were tapped :-
(a) Members of Existing Services
(b) The Armed Forces.
These provided some candidates who after screening were considered
(c) Recruits-University : Business : Professions:
These were interviewed by Members of the Public Service Commission
and by a Departmental Committee. This group provided the largest number
ol available entrants.
Circumstances made it necessary to give them a background in Indian
Administration. History and Affairs, Hindi, Economics and International
Affairs. In subsequent years when the Service was established the training
was as follows :-
(a) Competitive Examination-
This was taken by University Graduates between the ages of 21-24.
(b) They were then attached to the Indian Administrative Service
Training School for a year's training in the above-mentioned
(c) One year at University where the following subjects are taken:
International Affairs; International Law; History; Economics;
(d) Some months in the country whose language the entrant has been
(e) One year's training at Headquarters in the Departments of External
Affairs and Commerce.
(f) A period of Service in a Mission abroad in the rank of Attache.
Here, the probationary period ended.
(g) Departmental Exams and Languages Exam : The Finished
diplomat is on his way to promotion and to give of his services
on his country's behalf.
It is submitted that from this brief statement of the Indian position there
are many lessons to be learnt in the West Indies, and the two countries in
the West Indies might well examine this breakdown in the light of their
particular circumstances. One thing is abundantly clear : the Indians have
approached the whole matter boldly and scientifically. But what is the reason
why we must take such an interest in diplomacy? In order to discover the
reason we must examine what kind of diplomacy we are talking about.
FROM THE OLD DIPLOMACY TO THE NEW
Diplomacy was practised by the Greeks who insisted in sending and
receiving ambassadors of an ad hoc character. But Greek missions were not
infrequently composed of several ambassadors (orators) representing different
parties and points of view. The resulting chaos is better imagined than
The Greeks also developed a system of international arbitration-there
being forty-six recorded cases between 300 e.c. and 100 B.C. Their diplomacy
was however doomed to failure because of their love of discord as well as the
emphasis they placed on ingenuity and stratagem. (It is of course unnecessary
to state in this paper that this technique is not entirely yet a thing of the past!)
The Romans were not concerned with "give-and-take" in their diplomatic
life. Their warlike tendencies led them always to wish to negotiate from a
position of strength. This in turn tended to cause them to lay down rather
harsh terms; for example, to set a distinct time-limit to specific negotiations,
after which the foreign ambassador was deemed a spy and escorted under armed
guard to the coast.
After the Romans came the Byzantines whose diplomacy was based on
their transparent cunning. The Byzantines adopted a three-pronged approach.
First they would weaken and confuse the Barbarians by stirring up rivalry
among them. The second technique was to purchase the friendship of frontier
tribes and peoples by subsidies and flattery. The third was to convert the
heathen to the Christain faith. (Nor has the approach of the Byzantines
vanished from the international scene.)
The Venetians were the first to create an organised system of diplomacy :
but they regarded all foreign diplomatists as spies.
The Italians took diplomatic organisation a step further and were the
first to establish resident embassies in the modern sense, the first embassy
being accredited in 1450 to Cosimo Dei Medici by the Duke of Milan. By the
16th century their ambassadors were enjoined "to acclimatise themselves to
local conditions and to assess how far it would be prudent for them to intervene
in local political intrigues". They would do this by a method of indiscriminate
bribery and theft of official documents.
The French were perhaps the leading diplomatists of the 17th and
18th centuries. Cardinal Richelieu set a pattern for French diplomacy which
in its turn had a most favourable effect upon European diplomacy. He was
instrumental in establishing that the art of negotiation must be a permanent
activity and not an ad hoc venture and that foreign affairs should be the
subject of a single home-based Ministry.
Meantime in other countries of Europe it was common form for diplo-
matists to pay large bribes to court functionaries, to be obsessed with questions
of precedence and status, to steal official documents and to leave no stone
unturned to win the support of the reigning sovereign. A good example
of the latter process can be seen in the "boudoir diplomacy" practised by the
British Ambassador Sir James Harris in St. Petersburg in 1779. His main
purpose was to induce the Empress Catherine to ally herself with Great Britain,
but his methods-consisting mainly of conferences with the empress in her
private dressing-room-might be considered as somewhat questionable.
Present-day diplomacy can only truly be described as "new" in so far as
the circumstances in which it is conducted are vastly different from what they
were two or three centuries ago. We now live in a nuclear age when a miscalcu-
lation on the part of one nation can effect the entire extinction of the human
race from the face of the globe. Whereas Christopher Columbus took several
months to travel from one side of the Atlantic to the other, the journey can
now be done in a jet plane in less than six hours. The President of the United
States can get on the telephone in Washington and speak to Prime Minister
Mcmillan in London at any hour of the day or night. In that way the American
and British Governments can settle in an hour a matter which, through the
old diplomatic methods, would take months to settle. This is what may be
termed "personal diplomacy".
The emergence of Soviet Russia on the World scene in 1917 and (more
specifically) the negotiations leading to the signing of the Treaty of Brest-
Litovsk in March 1918 introduced a formidable element into the field of diplo-
matic technique-propaganda. This technique of "Propaganda Diplomacy"
has continued unabated and is to be found in the eternal round of Conferences
nowadays in which the Great Powers participate.
We must mention also "Conference Diplomacy", described by Thayer as
"the procedure whereby special delegations, usually headed by special chief
delegates foregather to settle problems". This method is too well known in
our time to need further elaboration.
"Parliamentary Diplomacy" is the rubric given to the diplomacy which
began in the League of Nations and is now at work at the United Nations. In
this type procedures are open-with all that this entails, e.g. total flexibility
of attitudes, lobbying and making endless speeches for their nuisance value.
Finally, in our time we often speak of "Economic Diplomacy"-a form
of propaganda diplomacy with an economic slant. One has only to read
Lederer's A Nation of Sheep to discover the extent to which the great power
blocks employ this form of winning friends and influencing nations.
Sir Harold Nicolson in his book Diplomacy has described the changes
taking place in diplomacy thus:
"By such slow changes, through such various channels, has the great
river of diplomacy changed its bed. The water is the same as formerly,
the river is fed by the same tributaries and performs much the same func-
tions. It is merely that it has shifted itself a mile or so in the sand."
As diplomacy has changed and is tending to become more scientific,
governments in various countries are increasingly feeling the need for
training their diplomats.
IS THERE A ROYAL ROAD TO TRAINING AND SELECTION FOR THIS SERVICE
This is a question that continues to exercise the minds of people in many
of the emergent nations of the world; and an attempt must be made to consider
it. The approach to it differs from place to place. For instance, the present
writer was told in Canada that it was difficult to envisage what training can
be given to a foreign service officer; in Washington he was told that training
must be made to suit the needs of the particular country; in Britain he received
the impression that no considered training was ever involved but that various
experiments were being tried in respective seats of learning. The Government
of a country that has been a colony for some centuries is faced with a very
serious problem, because he cannot find his precedents in what has happened
in Canada, the U.S.A. and Britain. In Canada, the Montreal Star or any other
influential daily paper is a source of most useful information on international
affairs; in the U.S.A. and Britain it is said that one can learn more of inter-
national relations from the New York Times and The Times (respectively)
than from any text book on the subject. An inhabitant of a West Indian Island
under British rule is in a completely different position. His mind has, by the
nature of his upbringing, not been conditioned internationally. To make
matters worse, the University College of the West Indies has not up till now
taught International Studies--which is understandable, having regard to the
pressure upon that Institution to teach Arts, General Science, Social Studies
Training must of necessity be done on a basis of pragmatism. But on what
basis does one recruit? Here again it is impossible to lay down any firm
approach. The writer is of the opinion that, apart from a university degree
(and the studies done for the degree do not greatly matter), a diplomat should
be a man of probity, who is tolerant of other people's ideas. In addition, in
the words of Sir Harold Nicolson;
"he must be a man of taste and erudition and cultivate the society
of writers, artists and scientists. He must be a naturally patient man
willing to spin out negotiations and to emulate the exquisite art of pro-
crastination. He must be imperturbable, able to receive bad news without
manifesting displeasure or to hear himself maligned and misquoted with-
out the slightest twinge of irritation ... "
In the quality of our diplomats, the emerging West Indian Dominions
may have something to show to the world, for in the scattered territories our
internal problems have been so difficult that we have at all levels of our
existence had over recent years to hammer out our problems in Conference.
Think of the spate of Conferences that we have had on almost every conceiv-
able subject since 1947; our civil service personnel have collaborated with
Ministers in preparing innumerable briefs; we are accustomed to do research
to support the delegates to whom civil servants have invariably been advisers.
Although therefore we may not be versed in the content of the intricacies of
international relations, we should be authorities, and should take our places
easily in, diplomacy by conference. There can be no doubt that this part of
our training has come largely into practice in the course of the struggle to
bring about a political federation over the past fifteen years.
It is also comforting to note how many West Indians on scholarships
abroad had, even before the now defunct Federation came into being in 1958,
taken up studies in International Relations at Universities in Europe and
America. One hopes that the territories on the verge of independence will not
fail to make full use of their services. The Extra-Mural Department of the
University has already begun to run courses in International Affairs: the first
having been held at Mona in March/April and the second in Trinidad at the
end of May, both for officials likely to be associated in one way or another
with foreign services of both countries. Most of those taking part in these two
seminars were trained with the help of the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie
Endowment during the life of the Federal Government. The scene seems there-
fore to be set for formal training in a branch of study that is of vital importance
to us. It is of course useless to have trained diplomats if they are not going
to be permitted to make full use of their training either at home or in the field.
And here it becomes necessary to consider the respective functions of the
home and field staff.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HEADQUARTERS AND FIELD STAFF
In the course of an extensive survey into diplomatic missions of various
countries which the present writer did last year in the U.S.A., Canada, France,
Switzerland, Holland, Germany and Belgium, he was able to assess the attitudes
of diplomats from many countries to their home foreign offices. The following
are some comments which were recorded during the course of the assignment :
(1) "The people in the Ministry of Finance at home who have not
worked in overseas posts can never understand why it is that we
must be paid special allowances in the Foreign Service. The Minister
and a few of his senior officers should from time to time be given
an observation tour to see how life is lived in the diplomatic
(2) "When Ministers come to New York to attend meetings of the
various Committees we try to service them to the best of our
ability; but the position is so different from at home that we wish
they would understand."
(3) "When a Minister or senior official comes from home, if I do not
entertain him because my allowance for that month is exhausted,
I am criticised for not paying due respect. If I entertain them
lavishly, they criticise me that I am having a wonderful time."
(4) "My delegation is frequently at its wit's end waiting for instructions
from home which are always so tardy in coming."
(5) "When you establish a foreign service, make sure that the people
in the Head Office are well versed in International Relations and
make pronouncements from a pedestal of knowledge-not only
with the iron fist of authority."
(6) "It is important that there should be a constant interchange
between Headquarters Staff and people in the field-at all levels.
It is only in this way that there can be understanding and a
contented foreign service staff."
These comments speak for themselves and go to show that most overseas
missions are secretly (if not overtly) at war with their Headquarters Organisa-
tion. It must not at the same time be felt that the writer considers that the
Foreign Offices are always wrong and the overseas stations always right.
What is clear is that it is very easy for officers serving far away from the
centre of things to misjudge motives and rulings. It will therefore behove our
External Affairs Ministries to develop confidence and not unnecessarily to
throw their weight about.
The tendency is for Head Offices always to consider themselves superior
to field staff. The Canadians try to overcome this by having staff move freely
in and out; one of the Ministry's Assistant Under Secretaries who was in
Ottawa last year is now High Commissioner in Australia and the Personnel
Officer in the Department of External Affairs up to six months ago is now
High Commissioner in Malaya. The present Chief Protocol Officer was Ambas-
sador in Switzerland and the same is true of many senior officers at
Headquarters. The point is that it is difficult for any officer to administer who
does not understand the diplomatic scene properly.
Administration of a foreign service, to quote a friend of the writer's who
has been in the game for thirty years, should be negative. In other words,
he says, the home office must consider itself only as the channel of passing
the instructions of the Government to the field staff. That central office must
then act as a supporting agency. It must not spend its time doing nothing
but administering itself and proving the truths of Parkinson's Law. The
Governments of the Independent Dominions are sure to place the most com-
petent and trusted staff in this Department for a country will be judged, in
independence, upon the quality of its output on the world stage. And this
brings me to certain personal reflections which have swept across my mind as
a result of the survey done last year in New York and other capitals in Europe.
It is encouraging to reflect upon the readiness of all delegations and
consulates I encountered last year to advise on how NOT to do certain things
and generally to share their experience with a newcomer. Whether it is in
New York, or in Washington or in Ottawa or in a European country, one
finds that the diplomatic community is friendly and co-operative. If, perhaps,
these words should fall into the hands of any of my friends who helped me
during my sojourn abroad last year both on this side of the world and in
Europe (and whom I have not thanked), I hope he will accept the acknowledg-
ment which I now make for the overwhelming kindness received at their hands
-it was really impossible to make personal acknowledgments; because
I would never stop writing : I found friends from such countries as : Britain,
America, Canada, Liberia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaya, India,
Ceylon, Ghana, Nigeria, Libyo, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, to name only some.
A warm welcome therefore awaits the two new countries which are soon
to become independent. They are both countries with some educated and
dedicated civil servants. They are better off than most small countries in Africa
in that they both have a nucleus of officers (small though it may be) with
knowledge and experience in international affairs and diplomatic practice.
There will be need for rapid further training and the home civil service must
rapidly re-orientate its thinking international-wise. But when this first dust has
settled, there is no reason why these West Indian Dominions should not
have something to show to the rest of the world. They can show many virtues,
but I hope they will number four in particular among their other virtues, viz :
(a) that their staff should exhibit a sincerity of purpose;
(b) that they must show a desire to work hard in the case of inter-
national peace and to promote the economic development of their
own country by the attraction of capital;
(c) that extravagance should be eschewed; and
(d) diplomats be carefully selected so that nations will respect them
and, through them, the country which commissions them for
In closing this paper I should like to add a few words on how the two
independent countries of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago must adjust to
life at the United Nations. I know that I am preaching to the converted and
what I write now is not written in any spirit of "laying down the law" to the
authorities concerned. It is written simply so that the public may become
aware of one of the greatest responsibilities of the respective countries in the
realm of international organisation.
If the necessary preparatory work is done in time, both countries may
well be recommended for admission by the Security Council early in September
and approved by the General Assembly soon after the Seventeenth Session
begins, viz : in October. What does this mean in terms of acquaintance with
international affairs and adaptation of our manpower resources? From the
1 2 *
word "go" we will find ourselves compelled to have clear ideas on disarma-
ment: upon the matter of the admission of the People's Republic of China;
upon the Algerian question; upon South-west Africa; upon the vexed question of
the grant of immediate independence to Northern Rhodesia. We cannot say
we are not yet ready to discuss these important issues-there is no "passing"
at the United Nations. Moreover, it is important to make a good first impression
in the United Nations for there are over one hundred other nations looking on
and coming to their own conclusions on the newcomer member of the family.
It is therefore a matter of paramount importance to build up from now an
organisation capable of functioning efficiently and effectively from the very
start. But in order for this to happen there will have to be considerable prepara-
tion at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. As if to add to our
international burdens at this time, these same countries must take immediate
cognizance of the effects of Britain's entry into the European Common Market.
Happily we are not altogether lacking in experts and advisers and, above all,
in political leaders who can guide us in the arduous international tasks which
lie ahead in independence. But the citizens of this area cannot relax. The
price of independence is continuous hard work. No longer will we be able to
rest on our oars. No longer will we find a metropolitan power to whom to
appeal. We must swim or sink. If we have faith in ourselves and in our leaders
we shall not sink. Rather we will make a distinct contribution to international
life and world peace.
Above all we want in our diplomatists a sense of dedication such as found
in Switzerland where everyone is expected to dedicate his life to the community.
Many top Swiss Foreign Service personnel are leading business-men, university
professors and leading professionals who carry out their diplomatic functions
at great personal sacrifice, without pay and sometimes without thanks. It is
too much to hope that in due course some of our foreign service personnel will
take a leaf out of the Swiss book?
The working of the Jamaica Constitution before
Independence: A Commentary
DR. F. R. AUGIER
THE remarks which follow on the constitutional history of Jamaica are meant
to be a commentary on the working of the constitution and not a description
of it. For our purposes we have divided the island's past into four periods.
The first period is from the conquest to emancipation; the second is between
emancipation and the riots at Morant Bay; the third begins and ends with
riots, those of 1865 and of 1938; the last dates from 1944.
During the first period, internal self-government was established in
Jamaica. We use the modern phrase to describe constitutional practices
impoverished by the colonists and only reluctantly tolerated by English
governments after protracted disputes between Royal Officials and Elected
Representatives of the colonists. Their goal was to protect themselves from
arbitrary government by the English crown. Their strategy was local control
of taxation. Their slogan was the "Rights of free-born Englishmen". Before
the middle of the eighteenth century the colonists had succeeded in making
the Executive dependent on their Elected representatives for the money
necessary to run the government, and it was that success which enabled
them to control so much of their own affairs.
In our time the British government has retained the decisive voice in
military and foreign affairs. In the period we are discussing the English not
only managed war and diplomacy but aslo controlled commerce and
The endeavours of the colonists to set limits to the powers of the English
crown created divisions within the white society and established attitudes
towards the Imperial Government and its servants in Jamaica which lasted
at least into the nineteenth century. Some Jamaicans would not let them-
selves be called "Englishmen" and the House of Assembly tried with
increasing success to exclude men not born in Jamaica from holding public
office. Within the House itself division on the principles at stake turned some
debates into riots. After one general election some members were even barred
from taking their seats in the House. The governorr as the Servant of the
Crown was seen as a menace to the liberties of the people and the privileges
of their representatives. The Legislative Council composed of the Crown's
nominees was held in contempt. Between the organs of government there
was want of confidence. A chasm separated Executive and Legislature which
stultified government in Jamaica for a very long time. On one side of this
chasm the elected representatives of the colonists concentrated on protecting
their commercial interests, on keeping the Crown from "interfering", and in
regulating a slave society.
The second period is marked by their signal failure in all three tasks.
Emancipation by imperial fiat was like a wave rolling over ramparts of sand.
When in the middle of the nineteenth century the policy of unregulated
commerce, "free trade", was adopted by the British Government, all the old
tasks became meaningless. But the political institutions and practices which
had served fairly well in the first period survived.
From Emancipation to Morant Bay the House of Assembly tried to
adjust itself to the new circumstances and decide on new tasks; but not
immediately and never whole-heartedly. Their first efforts were to hold the
old ground: to frustrate the effoils of the Colonial Office and the Governors
to make smooth the transition from slavery to freedom, to claim succour for
their plantations, to reduce freedom to a word by repressive local laws. The
British Government, exasperated by these acts, might have broken the
AsseminlyN in 1839. Instead it returned the soft answer and invited that House
to join it in establishing a new society. The response, though slow and
muddled deserves a small cheer. What limited the pace and the effectiveness
of the response was not the absence of good will or intelligence. These were
present in sufficient degrees both in the administration and in the legislature.
But the constitution had been perfected as an instrument for obstruction not
construction. It facilitated the work of the many who resented the social and
economic changes consequent upon emancipation. and made doubly difficult
the work of those who wished the government of Jamaica to accept responsi-
bility for constructing a free society. That job demanded leadership from the
executive and co-operation between administrators and legislators. Habits
hallowed by past experience made the legislature suspicious of the Executive.
Constructing a free society is expensive. The tradition of the Assembly was
to keep the administration short of money. The economic dislocation which
followed on emancipation and free trade made it easier to advocate
"retrenchment" than expansion of the public expenditure.
In the middle of the nineteenth century the habits and traditions of the
legislators were modified at the expense of other people. The British govern-
ment offered to lend Jamaica half a million pounds if the Assembly would
abandon the practices by which it excluded the administration from effective
participation in the government of the island. An executive Committee of
legislators was thus created who with the Governor would determine policy
and regulate expenditure. The lately emancipated part of the population
provided the new executive with revenue to spend. The import duties on
cloth and on food were steeply increased and at the same time the main tax
on property (which was a badly managed tax) was abandoned and not
The Executive Committee was only a stop or two away from a ministerial
and cabinet system. But political practices in Jamaica moved the constitution
away from greater local responsibility towards complete control by the British,
the local irresponsibility of Cro"wn Colony Government. What determined the
direction? One factor above all others. A sufficient number of white represcn-
tatives in the Assembly had decided to scuttle the constitution. They feared
that the growth in the number of Negroes qualified to vote was such as to
ensure early Negro control of the Assembly. The Morant Bay riot was the
occasion, and Edward John Eyre was the engineer.
Crown Colony government was offered to the people of Jamaica as the
school in which they would learn the arts of responsible politics. The subject
was never put on the curriculum. During Crown Colony government British
power was supposed to bring the numerical power of the Negroes and the
economic power of the whites into equilibrium. The presence of the British
certainly nullified the advantage of numbers and prevented blatant class
legislation by the wealthy. The incidence of taxation was not significantly
altered. The British power was untrammelled but its executors, after Sir Ilenry
Norman, passed under the influence of the dominant class. Olivier was the
exception, but he did not have the free hand which the two most notable of
his predecessors had; Grant, as initiator of Crown Colony rule, and Norman,
who reorganized it twenty years later.
It would not have been easy for career officials to resist the influence of
the large commercial and agricultural interests, but resistance was made more
difficult by the opinion of the Colonial Office that the best way to avoid
autocracy was "to give a voice to property and intelligence". The first of
these is always easier to determine than the second, and certainly its voice
was more easily heard at the Colonial Office. After 1884 those qualifications
for participation in ruling were interpreted very generously. The composition
of the Legislative Council gradually passed from being small, nominated, rich
and predominantly white in 1866, to being large, elected, well-to-do, and
predominantly black in the nineteen thirties.
The Secretaries of State after 1884, with the exception of Joseph
Chamberlain, were willing to share responsibility with the elected members.
Power they hugged to themselves. Chamberlain perceived the weakness of
this gesture, and so, a little later, did most Jamaicans. Responsibility had
not been shared by the Colonial Office, but abandoned. Until 1884 Crown
Colony government might have justified itself by doing the work which the
House of Assembly had not done. That is, actively assist the ex-slaves and
their descendants to outstep the limits within which they were detained by
their social origins and all its attendant disadvantages. When the Colonial
Office shared its responsibility for governing by granting a veto on expendi-
ture to members elected on a restricted franchise, it licensed those who would
obstruct profound social and economic changes. It made of Crown Colony
government a school for the arts of irresponsible politics. It made even the
small electorate contemptuous of the Council. Election after election, the low
numbers polled testified to their apathy.
Crown Colony government presumed that poverty and ignorance had no
local voice. It was not intended that they should be unheard. The British
made the bigger mistake of believing that the interests of the poor and the
ignorant would always be adequately protected by British civil servants.
The judgment on their adequacy is this: it was the violence of the poor
and ignorant which brought Crown Colony government to an end. The
British power did not bring two unequal local powers into equilibrium, it
made certain the dominance of the power of wealth anl arrested the thrust
of the power of numbers.
Chamberlain, during his tenure of office had indicated that he assumed
both power and responsibility for Jamaica's Affairs. But since he did not
have the time to devote to Jamaica, he would have done this island a better
service if he had surrendered to Jamaicans the power to order their own lives.
Norman had suggested in 1881 that some legislators should be appointed to
the Executive Council. Power would have remained with the Colonial Office,
but it might have been the beginning of responsible government. The Colonial
Office rejected the suggestion then, and rejected it again in the nineteen
twenties when it was advocated by some Jamaican reformers. It is the
conversion of the Colonial Office to this proposal which denotes our fourth
period. Once adult suffrage was introduced the governor and his senior
officials could not for long continue to be the publicly admitted authors of
the legislative programme. Yet power was not transferred at once. The
dangers of a gradual transfer were avoided by the good sense of those who
held public office, in and out of the government, during that time. But it is
relevant to remember that on occasion good sense only barely prevailed.
This prompts us to consider what else helped to make the transfer of
power from the British to the Jamaicans a relatively peaceful operation. Conflict
during the period of transfer of power might have taken one or two forms.
Either from Jamaicans united for the purposes of pushing the British to hand
over more speedily, or between Jamaican groups scrambling to pick up what
the British had thrown down. But Jamaicans were not united against the
British. The criticism against the early Jamaican administrations, however
well justified in many cases, has been wide of the mark in at least one
particular. In making the immediate goal bread not independence, and the
immediate enemy the Jamaican ruling class not the British. the new politi-
cians did not merit utter condemnation. Given Jamaica's previous history,
it was as natural for them to make these choices, as it was natural for them
to make the mistake of identifying the professional middle class politicians
with the Jamaican ruling class. The new men trusted the British promise to
withdraw ultimately, and so used their own power against the class enemy.
The immediate consequence of the British withdrawal even though it was
gradual, was the renewal of the upward thrust of the power of numbers
which had been stopped in 1866. If, we wish another test of Crown Colony
government, consider the manner of that thrust. The forms and nuances of
parliamentary government were alien to those who symbolised it. Unchallenged
in the legislature, they wished also to dominate the streets and to silence the
voices of the professional middle class.
Assessed by the degree of violence that might have followed when this
second group organised itself for survival, the small amount that actually
happened needs explanation. Perhaps, the British who were still responsible
for law and order, inhibited the non-parliamentarians from going further
than they did. Perhaps also, the British presence had more subtle effects.
The second group had many genuine believers in parliamentary democracy
within its ranks and in the leadership. The group as a whole also believed
that once they were heard by the Electorate they were assured of power.
That is they believed the institutions and practices of parliamentary
democracy could work in Jamaica and would work in their favour. The
British presence by forcing compliance with the rules of the game, preserved
and made operative, beliefs that might otherwise have been reluctantly
abandoned as not relevant to our circumstances. Hence having by counter
violence indicated that they would not be easily silenced, this group was free
to direct its energies to winning the confidence of the electorate. In other
circumstances most of their energies might have been spent in trying to stay
When we know more about our past it might be instructive to compare
1854-1865 with 1944-1962. In what ways were the later Jamaicans more fit
for self-government and independence than the earlier generation? Were the
crucial changes in them or in the British? What would have happened if in
the middle of the nineteenth century the Secretary of State had refused to
accept power and responsibility for Jamaica's affairs?
An Institute of Education
In 1944, during the dangers of a great war, the idea of institutes of
education was given official sanction in England in The Educational Act of
that year. This idea formulated for the English a very varied pattern of activi-
ties that had been stimulated by the exigencies of war. There is some element
of comparison between the uprising of aspirations in England in 1944 and the
emergence of West Indian aspirations in recent years. It might be of some
assistance in clarifying thoughts at this stage when the possibility of the
establishment of an Institute of Education in the West Indies, is being discussed
to review some of the English concepts of the functions of such institutes. The
following extracts arc submitted from the McNair Report on teacher training
published in 1944 by the British government; for this report was instrumental
in the establishment of the existing institutes. In the McNair Report the term
"Schools of Education" was used which later became the Institutes of Educa-
PLANNED YET FLEXIBLE
.. When we consider the unintegrated variety of existing train ng institu-
tions in the light of the teaching needs of the educational system envisaged in
the White Paper. it is clear that only a carefully planned yet flexible scheme
for the training of teachers will suffice. The Board must now assume the obliga-
tion, not of taking over the existing training colleges or of establishing new
ones, but of ensuring that training institutions, adequate in number and quality,
are available and are fused into a national training system. The planning of
this programme of development on the lines which we shall recommend will
involve creative, pioneering and experimental effort; and we consider that it
should be undertaken on behalf of the Board rather than by the Board itself.
NEED FOR COHERENCE
The fundamental weakness of the present system is that there are 100
institutions engaged in the training of teachers but they are not related to one
another in such a way as to produce a coherent training service.
AN INTEGRATED TRAINING SERVICE
It is clear to us that the idea of separate and self-contained training
institutions must be abandoned. The problem is to retain the services of exis-
ting institutions in so far as they are or can be made efficient, to add other
institutions which have a contribution to make and, with the co-operation of
those whose responsibilities entitle them to an interest in the matter, to weld
the whole into an integrated training service. There are, in our view, two
workable alternatives which could achieve such an integrated service. One is
to create a single national service directly controlled by a central authority.
The other is to create a system in which real responsibility is borne by the
constituent parts, each possessing authority sufficient for the tasks it has to
".. .. We are opposed to a single centralized training service. We agree
that to bring any form of integrated service into being and to guarantee its
development will require, in the initial stages and for some years to come,
the pioneering work of a central body of the kind already proposed. This body
would advise the Board of Education and other interests concerned about the
framework of the service, would plan its expansion over a number of years
and would make recommendations to the Government about the financial aid
required to create, develop and maintain it. We reject, however, anything
approaching permanent central control over the training of teachers. Celn-
tralisation of power and authority has potential dangers in every sphere of
education and nowhere are those dangers so great and subtle as in the training
of teachers. The Board of Education must for many years to come, and perhaps
always, be the sole authority with power to recognize a person as a qualified
teacher, but neither the Board nor any other central authority should conduct
or directly control the education and training of teachers. We therefore picture
a national service consisting of a number of area services with a high degree
of area autonomy.
FUNCTIONS OF THE UNIVERSITY
We do not believe, however, that any area system for the training
of teachers can be effective unless those who shoulder the responsibilities
derive their authority from a source which, because of its recognized standards
and its standing in the educational world, commands the respect of all the
partners concerned and which, because of its established independence, is
powerful enough to resist the encroachments of centralisation. The universities
embody these standards and have this standing and this independence. But
quite apart from these considerations the universities have an obligation to the
whole educational system. Their vitality depends in part upon the kind of
education given in the schools, both primary and secondary; and the schools,
in turn, look to the universities for some measure of leadership in educational,
as distinct from administrative, matters. There is no more significant way in
which this mutual dependence can be expressed than for the universities to
play a leading part in the initial education and training of teachers and for
them to maintain a creative relationship with practising teachers and others
concerned with the conduct of the schools.
SCHOOLS OF EDUCATION (NOW CALLED INSTITUTES OF EDUCATION)
i. Responsibility for Teacher Training. ii. Active Co-operation of others.
iii. Non-graduate Activities.
. These facts lead us to the conclusion that the universities should
accept new responsibilities for the education and training of teachers and.
to that end, should establish University Schools of Education. Some univer-
sities may find it desirable to establish more than one such School. We wish
to state with the utmost frankness that we are not proposing something which
is comparatively unimportant and which will make no substantial difference
to the work of the universities. On the contrary our scheme asks much of them.
It demands of the universities a richer conception of their responsibility towards
education: it will also involve additional staff, both teaching and administra-
tive. On the other hand we are not proposing that the universities should burden
themselves with detailed administration, but rather that they should accept'
responsibility for the general supervision of the training of teachers and that
in that task they should have the active partnership of those already engaged
1n the work and of others who ought to be engaged in it.
".. Our proposal does not in any way give colour to the suggestion
that all teachers should be university graduates. We are convinced that many
good teachers would be lost to the profession if any such requirement were
insisted upon at the present time. But it does mean that the education and the
training of anyone fit to seek recognition as a qualified teacher are the proper
concern of a university. If we are asked whether the university would be
expected to cast its authority and exercise some supervision over studies
which were not of degree standard, our reply would be that the university,
without in any way modifying its present work and standards for university
degrees, would be expected also to concern itself through its School of Education
with other work and other standards.
The functions of an Institute of Education in the West Indies would have
to be considered in the light of the circumstances of the West Indies. Here,
as in England, there is a great variety of institutions and of governmental
controls in the several unitary territories. Nevertheless a few clear cut functions
of any such institute would be necessary. Of these perhaps five are vital.
1. The establishment and maintenance of the professional standards of
This would be effected through the co-ordination of the work
of existing teacher training institutions with the co-operation of unil
governments and the University of the West Indies.
2. The improvement of standards, by in-service courses, refresher
courses, conferences, &c.
3. The establishment of a Centre for Research into Educational
problems so that enlightened judgments might be made in
4. The establishment of Centres of Information which would comprise
a Library, publications unit, centres for audio-visual aids, &c.
5. The establishment of Schools and Laboratories for demonstration
and working out of teaching methods appropriate to the West
The breakdown of the Federation might be considered by some people
as rating a great difficulty in the formation of an Institute of Education in
the West Indies. But this is not so. For the organisation necessary in the
new situation can he envisaged as within geographical groups of a convenient
size, which minimise the political divisions in order to achieve educational
efficiency. Thus we can visualise the setting up in different centres, where
perhaps a training college or group of training colleges exists, a Teacher
Training Board, such as already exists in Jamaica, where several of the
functions enumerated above could begin to develop on a limited scale. As
these grew and strengthened they would interlock with each other forming
eventually the overall umbrella designated as the Institute of Education. This
would leave room for experiment, would maintain local responsibility, and
underline the importance of the differing needs of the various Caribbean
4th July, 1962.
At the Death of a Young Poet's Wife
(Thiis poem is published ilth the permission of the Editors of BIM)
And it was fitting that he should have noticed first.
He who had seen so much in people
That he acted out their lives before his friends,
He with such warmth within him
That he lighted up the house when he came in;
It was fitting that an actor, should have noticed first.
The others moved about the room, around the table,
Stood waiting by the fire, arranged things on the mantelpiece,
Pick up a vase and put it back again;
A painter, a musician : helpless friends.
You waited for the doctor; moved quickly to the door
And threw it open, hoping against all hope
To find him standing on the mat outside
Or hear his footsteps on the stair, the hall door open, slam.
Your listening stood lonely, opening far doors.
Then you moved slowly to the window, leaned wishes out;
The street was empty, not a sight nor sound;
So softly drew the curtains, turning back
Into the darkened room, a helpless poet.
And he had seen already, he who was fitted to have seen so much;
Appearing casually to cross the room, he knew it all along;
Went still to look and could not act before his friends what he now saw.
So stood in silence, helpless actor,
Lost of all comedy : learning a gesture from her that he had not known
O could the painter paint this scene
He who could carry in his fingers' diligence:
Green, sky, the crowded walks and alleys
Of his curiosity : child flower-girl
The smile the market-scene the carnival the queen,
And with his brush and pencil restore them to forever life;
Could he command perspectives now?
He turned, he saw the actor in his attitude,
He saw the girl, the endless silence stretching out between him
And her lines her curve her colour, the three dimensions of her, getting
And there they stood, player and painter placed
Before this girl who was not raw material now
But artifact : lips lids leaves of her hair
All fallen in a fine perfection. Only remained
For him who spun his silver web of counterpoint
From air, to catch her pitch and silence :
A requiem, a mass that would rise up from darkness
Iike a single vase in its complexity of lutes and strings
A patient web of singing love that would connect the room
Crisscross of fugue that would offset the coming dust,
A lonely violin a heartbreak harp. But turning,
The musician only heard the splintering vase
Only the breaking web the snapping strings,
And beyond, a silence, that restored them all.
And so when you turned back from window's hope
You found a finished room : three friends,
The daily labour of their loves performed, only your lover
Lying there was like a sorrow you had hoped postponed.
You went to them, their standing fascinated you
You wanted words from them but found they could not speak
You turned to her, her stillness fascinated you
You wanted words from her hut found she could not speak
You wanted words for words were life to you
Words to assuage a silence that you could not understand
Words to refashion futures like a healer's hand
Words that would walk long down the dark steps of beyond her bed
Calling the gone-away, the light, the open door,
The path of words from darkness that might have brought her back.
And there you stood, lost beyond metaphors in search.
Song, gesture, colour, act-one word
Would too distract the faith that followed you, and fall
And be consumed within the depthless silence of her death.
SOURCES OF WEST INDIAN HISTORY BY DR. ROY AUGIER AND
Miss SHIRLEY GORDON (Longmans,. Green & Co., Ltd. (1962))
D). AUGIER AND Miss GORION in their
source book of West Indian history have
moved across the historical stage from 1492
to 1958 and have selected for us in a most
careful fashion some very valuable pieces of
"These accounts", said the authors,
"have been selected from a variety of
documents. Some of them are from
official papers such as the despatches
between governors and the British Govern-
ment, debates and laws of the West Indian
legislatures, and reports of officials.
Others are from private papers, such as
letters, journals and diaries. Selections
have also been made from books published
at the time of the events or conditions
they discuss, from contemporary news-
papers, and from public petitions.
The extracts selected have bccn grouped
under eight heads. The period for two
of them, Government and Politics and
Economic Life, is from the settlement to
the recent past. The first chapter, People
of the Caribbean, stops in the mid-
nineteenth century. The dates of four of
the topics are those of their subjects.
Their titles are Religion and Education
before Emancipation. Slavery and its
Abolition, Emancipation and Apprentice-
ship and Social conditions since Eman-
cipation. The extracts in the last chapter,
Attempts at Unification, 1831-1958, reflect
the many official schemes for making
West Indian government less costly and
Many different kinds of people wrote
these accounts and it is important to con-
sider who the writer is when you are trying
to assess what he is saying. He may be
biased about the subject he is discussing.
and you must judge whether other people
would have reported the matter in the
same way. Sometimes two accounts of the
aime events have been printed, to let you
leain about such events from different
In normal academic modesty the authors
tell us that this book is intended for use in
the senior forms of secondary schools.
Many historians would agree, however, that
in the absence of comprehensive archives
on West Indian history in any of these
islands a source book of this kind will oe of
extreme value even to university students
nnd the writers of history. PerhaDs, the
greatest value of this pioneer work in
collecting documents on West Indian history
is that it will give students practice in
rriiical analysis of books on West Inlian
history and will remind them that con-
scientious historical activity depends on a
knowledge of source material. It is riason-
able to assume that the authors frequently'
found themselves at odds in selecting docu-
mcent- anil could not at times evade their
o\\ personal bias.
Chapter I whirh deals with "People of the
(aribliean" gives us a glimpse into scme of
the documents of this period and tells
research students that more material on
each topic is available in the several islands
of the West Indies. In a scattered com-
munity as the West Indies it would have
been of great value if the authors had
indicated the repositories of these source
Chapter 3-"Government and Politics"
is an excellent piece of historical do-ulmen-
tation and students, armed with this
material, should have little difficulty in
following and assessing critically trends of
development in this field from 1625 to 1958.
The book contains many examples of
instructions from the Colonial Office to the
Governors in the respective Caribbean
islands. For example, on pages 116 -nd 117
Here is a full account of instructions from
the Colonial Office to Sir John Peter Grant
who toik over the administration of the
colony of Jamaica shortly after the Mouant
Bay rebellion. Sir John, as was expectcr;l
was sent to Jamaica to carry out a period
of administrative reform following the
breakdown of the constitution in 1865, No
doubt, it would have been valuable if from
the collections of documents in the Archives
in Spanish Town lr. Augier and Miss
Gordon had extracted for us some of the
correspondence between Sir John and the
Colonial Office for this period. This is a
noticeable omission as all during the
period under review Colonial Governors were
constantly assessing social, political and
economic trends and were keeping the
Colonial Office fully informed on levelop-.
ments in the territories. As this chanter
stands, we read more of what instructions
came from the Colonial Office and less of
what the Colonial Governors were reporting
to the Home Government. Indeed, this
chapter could be greatly strengthened lyw
speeches from the Governors on the social,
political and economic state of the terri.
stories at the opening of the legislature
throughout the periods.
The writers have given us in Chapter 3
extracts from newspapers accounts of public
opinion on various topics. This is very
valuable and perhaps in another edition of
this book more of such accounts will lbe
included. This chapter on Government and
Politics is the key chapter in this book and
if for no other consideration this source
book must be judged as a valuable addition
to historical material in the West Indies,
Pages 89 to 93 contains several documents
dealing with statements to the Leeward
Islands, Barbados and Jamaica. Until the
end of the 18th century each newly settled
colony had a Council and House of
Assembly which with the Governor made
laws for the colon\v. It was not long. how-
ever. before the Governors lost the
confidence of the Colonial Assemblies as
Governors were regarded as servants of the
King, and as a threat to the rights of
English men to control their own internal
affairs. The struggle between the Governors
and the white colonists is well illustrated in
several documents in Section 3. The docu-
ments in Section 4 illustrate vividly that
throughout the 17th century the Assemblies
were strongly opposed to the application
of laws made by the British Parliament to
the West Indies. "The Humble Petition to
the Assembly of Jamaica 12 December 1823"
was very significant. Sections 6 to 11 ill.as-
trate the intensification of the struggle
between the local Assemblies and the
Imperial Parliament for control of "Internal
affairs". The documents in this section were
very carefully selected and the pnthors
should be congratulated. The remaining six
sections in this chapter covers the period
1876 to 1946. Here the authors have in a
most methodical way grouped severall
documents to illustrate the bitter criticism
against crown colony government and the
struggle for self-government. The.e docu-
ments will be very valuable to students of
the constitutional and diplomatic history
of the West Indies.
Chapter 7 on "Social Conditions since
Emancipation" is another very good chap-
ter filled with carefully selected documents.
Indeed. it seems as if the writers were able
to find more documents on the period since
1865 than on the earlier period. Or it may
he that the post 1865 period is closer to their
interest. Be that as it may, Dr. Augier and
Miss Gordon have done an exceedingly good
i'b in selecting for our edification, some very
valuable documents on West Inilian history.
There is no collection of this magnitude that
has been done before in the field of West
Indian history and as pioneer- in this type
of work I think Dr. Augier and Miss Coidon
have provided us with a val ulble book of
ARTHUR E. BURT
Selected list of books on West Indian subjects for
Vol. 8, No. 3.
*1. R. B. Davison ...
*2. Jahnheinz Jahn ...
3. H. V. Wiseman ...
4. H. W. Howes ...
5. T. W. Kirkpatrick ...
6. Phyllis Thornton ...
7. Dana Gardner Munro ...
8. Judith Blake ...
Trade Unionism : A Practical Approach. Longmans Green
& Co. Ltd.-7/6d
Muntu : An outline of reo-African Culture. Faber &
A Short History of the British West Indies. University of
London Press- 6/-
Comprehension for Wesa Indian Students. George Harrap
& Co. Ltd.-3/Od
Insect Life in the Tropics. Longmiiil (Green & Co. Ltd.
Elementary General Science for the Caribbean. Longialns
Green & Co. Ltd.-3/6d
The Latin American Republics. George Harrap & Co.
Family Structure in Jamaica: The Social context of
reproduction in collaboration with J. Mayone
Stycos & Kingsley Davis. Glencoe Free Press-
*Reviewed in Caribbean Quarterly.