Nos. 3 4 a \
SR & DECEMBER 1965 '
: -AUG 29 1966
7 N Y
The Morant Bay "Rebellion" in October, 1865 was severely suppressed
by the Governor Eyre of Jamaica. Among the many persons hung or
shot were Paul Bogle, local small settler farmer and Deacon and
George William Gordon, Justice of the Peace and member of the House
of Assembly who was thought to have influenced Bogle and his
followers. In October, 1965 a National Monument to these two heroes
was unveiled in Kingston. Reproduced here is the bust of Gordon,
cast in cement-fondue by Christopher Gonzales and the statue of
Dogle by Edna Manley which was erected in Morant Bay.
Photographs The Daily Gleaner, Kingston, Jamaica.
Amador Packer, Kingston, Jamaica.
SEPTEMBER DECEMBER 1965
Editorial Comments and Notes 1
A NEW DEVELOPMENT IN THE AGRONOMY OF PIMENTO
G. P Chapman 3
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR-
SOME GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR WEST
Havelock Brewster 10
PUBLIC MARKETING AGENCIES: THEIR ROLE IN
CO-ORDINATING PRODUCTION AND MARKETING
M. Alexander 22
COMMENTARY: RESEARCH IN AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION
T H. Henderson 29
HIGGLEDY, PIGGLEDY, MY BLACK HEN: POETRY IN
C. R. Gray 36
BRITISH HONDURAS-THE LINGUISTIC DILEMMA
S. R. R. Allsopp 54
THE PAPAL BULL OF 1493 APPOINTING THE FIRST
VICAR APOSTOLIC OF THE NEW WORLD
Rev C. Jesse 62
John Press (Ed) Commonwealth Literature Studies-
Where do we stand? (Louis James) 72
B. L. St. J. Hamilton, Problems of Administration in an
Emergent Nation: A Case Study of Jamaica
(C. A. S. St. Hill) 77
Maurice Lubin, L'Afrique dans la poesie Haitienne
(G. R. Coulthard) .... .... .... .... .... 81
VOL. Nos. 3 4
NOTE ON MANUSCRIPTS
MSS. and Communications should be addressed to the Editor. Unsolicited MSS.
which are not accepted for publication will be returned if accompanied by a stamped
Copyright reserved, and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES
Editor: H. C. MILLER, Director of Extra-Mural Studies, University
of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.
The Editor is advised by an Editorial Board, consisting of
members of the University Staff.
Single copies can be obtained in the West Indies, from
booksellers or from the Extra-Mural Department In any territory.
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE
Subscribers in the West Indies and the
United Kingdom (4 Issues post free) $2.00 W.I. or 8/4d.
Subscribers in other countries $2.00 (U.S.) or equivalent
Fill in the form below and send with subscription to:
Department of Extra-Mural Studies,
University of the West Indies,
Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica,
or to the local office of the Resident Tutor in any territory.
"Caribbean Quarterly" Subscription Form
I enclose..................................in payment of........................ubscription(s)
valid from Vol................ N...................for 4 Issues.
D a te : ..................................................... .....................................................
A SELECTION OF CONTENTS FROIl PAST ISSUES
Vol. IV, Nos. 3 and 4
Carnival in Nineteenth Century Trinidad
The Traditional Masques of Carnival
The Changing Altitude of the Coloured Middle Clas
Carnival in New Orleans
Calypso Legends of the Nineteenth Century (arranged
and edited by Andrew Pearse)
The Midnight Robbers
The -Dragon Band or Devil Band
Price $1.00 (B.W.I. U.S.) or 4, UK
Daniel J. Crowle)
Munro 5. Edmonson
Daniel J. Crowley
Vol. VI, Nos. 2 and 3
Canada's Federal Experience ......
Australia-Background to Federation
The Constitution of Australia ..
Early Constitutional History of Jamaica
Tile Road Back-Jamaica After 1866
The Temporary Federal Mace ..
Constitutional History of Trinidad and Tobago
Constitutional History of the Windwards
Constitutional History of the Leewards
Federalism in the West Indies
Summary of Constitutional Advances
Trinidad and Tobago
Leeward and Windward Islands
Price: $1.50 (B.W..I. or U.S)
or 6 3 U.K., per issue.
F. W. Mahler
S. 5. Ramphal
C. V. Gocking
R. N. Murray
H. O. B. Wooding
Cecil A. Kelsick
S. S. Ramphal
Harvey de Costa
F. A. Phillips
Vol. VII, No. 3
West Indian Culture
West Indian Poetry .
The French West Indian Background of "Negritude"
Du Tertre and Labat on 17th Century
Slave Life in the French Antilles
The Place of Radio in the West Indies
The Turks and Caicos Islands-Some
Impressions of an English Visitor
Price: 60 cents (B.W.I. or U.S.)
or 2,6 U.K per issue.
M. G. Smith
R. J. Owens
G. R. Coulthord
asv. C. Jesse
Vol. VII, No. 4
Education and Economic Development .
The University College of the West Indies
Drugs from the West Indies
Political Education in the Developing Caribbean
Frederick G. Cassidy, Jamaica Talk
Jahnheinz John, Muntu, An Outline of
V. S. Naipaul, A Home for Mr. Biswas
Price: 60 cents (B.W.I. or U.S.)
or 2 6 U.K., per issue.
W. Arthur Lewis
T. W. J. Tav'or
Beryl Loftman Bailey
G. R. Coulthard
R. J. Owens
Editorial Comments aind Notes
MUCH THOUGHT is being given in the Caribbean to the general
problem of economic development and this journal has recently
presented views on differing aspects of the subject. Havelock Brewster's
article in this issue analyses the need for consultation and harmonisa-
tion of policy between the private sector and the Government.
Economic growth in the agricultural sector requires, among other
things, co-ordination of production and marketing, and Medford
Alexander has contributed an inforative paper along these lines.
T H. Henderson comments forcibly on the relatively little attention paid
to the evaluation of the extension services in agriculture and indicates
the main functions and research needs of such a service in this area.
The Botany Department of the University and the Agronomy
Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands in Jamaica have,
with the assistance of the Scientific Research Council and the Ministry
of Trade and Industry, undertaken intensive research into methods of
increasing pimento yield in Jamaica. In this issue we include an article
by G. P Chapman on one aspect of this research project.
C. R. Gray's article, while directly aimed at teachers of poetry, is
of interest to a much wider group of readers as is S. R. R. Allsopp's
paper on his preliminary findings on the diversity of language in
The Reverend Jesse has brought to our attention the Papal Bull
of 1493 which appointed Friar Bernard Boil the first Vicar Apostolic
of the New World.
The challenge of the new concept of a Commonwealth Literature
indicated in Louis James's review of a publication of that name.
G. R. Coulthard reviews an anthology of Haitian poetry and a
-r.st graduate student in the Department of Government, C. A. P
St. Hill, has reviewed a study of the public administration of Jamaica.
Contributors to this issue
Havelock Brewster, Department of Economics, Mona. U.W.I.
Medford Alexander, St. Augustine; U.W.I.
T. H. Henderson, Department of Social Science, U.W.I.
C. R. Gray, Department of Education, U.W.I.
S. R. R. Allsopp, College of Arts & Science, U.W.I.
Rev. C. Jesse, Th, Presbytery, Castries, St. Lucia.
Louis James, Department of English, U.W.I.
C P St. Hill. Post graduate student, Department
.f Government, U.W.I.
G. R. Coulthard, Department of Spanish, U.W.I.
A New Development In The
Agronomy Of Pimento.
In 1961 a programme of investigation was begun jointly by the
Botany Department of The University and the Crop Agronomy
Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands into various
aspects of pimento management. Part of the work was sponsored
initially, by the Scientific Research Council and later was taken
over and expanded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The
following article explains one of the practical implications arising
from the first five years study of pimento floral biology.
JAMAICA enjoys a virtual monopoly of the World's pimento
production. Because lands suitable for the cultivation of this highly
profitable crop exist in other tropical countries this monopoly need
not continue and, probably, will not be maintained much longer with-
out developing a more precise system of management than prevails
here at the moment. if the pimento industry is to survive and flourish
in Jamaica, (as well it might) it has no alternative but to accept
a continuing programme of research.
The industry at the moment has two major problems-'barrenness'
and pimento rust disease, together with several lesser ones. This
pamphlet is concerned with the first of these which is the existence
of barren or non-bearing trees. Something like half of Jamaica's
pimento trees do not bear and this condition is unacceptable to a
Because much of the botany and traditional management methods
for this crop have been described in J. F. Ward's booklet, Pimento,i
published in 1961, they will not be repeated here. To understand
barrenness, however, it will be necessary to describe in some detail
the flowers of pimento and the curious way in which they function.
Plants such as the tomato have 'hermaphrodite' flowers. This
means that anthers producing pollen and a pistil are both present in
one flower so that pollination and seed setting are easily accomplished.
Nutmegs, on the other hand, are 'dioecious' which is to mean that there
are male trees whose flowers have only anthers and female trees whose
flowers are pistillate and carry ovules. Both types of trees must be
present to ensure a crop.
Pimento is about half way between tomato and nutmeg. The
flowers look hermaphrodite in that every flower has anthers and a
pistil but some trees .function as males and some as females. The
male trees the farmer calls 'barren' or (very reasonably) 'he' trees.
Male and female flowers show close similarity and considerable prac-
tice is required to distinguish between them. (See Figures la and b)
There are small though consistent differences between male and
female flowers and these are as follows:
Female flowers Male Flowers
(On bearing trees) (On barren trees.
1. About 50 anthers per flower About 100 anthers per flower.
2. Pollen is produced but does Pollen is produced and germ-
not germinate. inmates readily.
3. Receptacle is deep and lacks Receptacle is shallow with a
a "moat" 'moat' or trough around the
base of the style.
4. Flowers normally set. Flowers normally drop after
5. Fruit is commonly formed Fruit formed only very rarely
and often has two seeds per and if so is usually one-seeded.
Although male fruiting is a very rare event there are scattered
reports of misshapen fruits on male trees. Some of these reports can
be explained by gall midge infestation. Figures 2 and 3 show both
fruits and galls. The gall midge discovered in 1961 infests both male
and female flowers and in the former prevents the flower fall that
normally follows pollen shedding. The male receptacle then swells and
if opened between about May and November, will be seen to contain
a small orange grub. Although these midges infest both types of tree
their galls are more conspicuous on those without fruit.
Male and .female trees each form about half of the Island's
pimento population and since male berry formation is so rare an
event a natural population is, from our point of view, an uneconomic
Although there are exceptions, for most plants seed production and
fruiting are brought about by deposition of pollen on the stigma.
Because pollen germinates its contents ultimately fertilise an ovule
and the resulting stimulus induces fruit formation. In pimento we
cannot take these things for granted. For example, pollen produced
by female trees will seldom germinate. Again, ovules in male flowers do
not normally become fertilised and develop into seeds. Surprisingly,
pollination need not give rise to seed formation. The transfer of pollen
can be made in several directions but, as a rule, only one gives rise
to fruiting. Figure 4 shows the various types of pollination in pimento.
Fig. la. Female flower with and
Fig. lb. Male flower with and I
Female fruits (left) and male
fruits (right). Note the con-
spicuous moat around the
base of the male style.
Male flowers converted to
galls by midge infestation.
b enclosure in plastic;
a insertion of bud;
c out-growth of bud;
d scion growing away.
A seedling stem (shown by the arrow) is
joined to a comparable branch of a
selected tree. The illustration shows
three approach grafts being done
F F F--
F F M
M F F
F M F--
--F M F--
Fig. 7a. Pattern
females : males.
giving 3:1 ratio of
Fig. 7b. Pattern giving 8: 1 latio of
females : males.
Underside of honeybee. Arrows indicate
pellets of pimento pollen.
The Pollination Possibilities for Pimento
Ovule Female a Female h Male c Male d
Female Inter Normal Normal
Female a Self Female Cross Cross
Pollination Pollination Pollination Pollination
Inter Female Normal Normal
Female b Female Self Cross Cross
Pollination Pollination Pollination Pollination
Reversed Reversed Male Inter
Male c Cross Cross Self Male
Pollination Pollination Pollination Pollination
Reversed Reversed Inter Male
Male d Cross Cross Male Self
Pollination Pollination Pollination Pollination
Fig. 4. In the extreme left column is the plant to which pollen is applied while the top row
indicates the source of pollen. The remaining squares show the various types of pollination.
Double lines enclose those pollinations giving the bulk of the crop.
Only for the 'normal cross' where pollen from male trees is applied
to the pistils of female trees will pollinatiorn consistently yield fruit.
The problem for the pimento agronomist is not simply to bring
about pollination but rather to increase the likelihood of normal
In practice this means three things:
1. Increasing the proportion of females so that more trees in a given
area will bear fruit.
2. Placing male trees systematically so that their pollen is readily
Utilising the activities of bees to ensure maximum spread of pollen.
It is therefore necessary to lay out a grove in an orderly way with
complete control over what type of tree is put in a given position and,
-for this, vegetative propagation is essential.
It is assumed by most growers that vegetative propagation is not
possible for pimento. This is not the case and although certain diffi-
culties exist, they are insufficient to outweigh the very real
Following the initial demonstration of Ward that pimento grafting
was possible, Mr. S. K. Glasgow, of the Ministry of Agriculture and
Lands, has developed a range of improved techniques. His work has
made it possible to exploit vegetative propagation in commercial
practice. Two of these techniques are budding and approach grafting
and will be described briefly
To bud pimento an axillary bud together with its leaf and a
small shield of bark is removed from a selected tree and any wood
attached to the inside is removed. This shield is inserted into an
accurately cut space in the bark of a seedling and secured with plastic
grafting tape and the whole covered with plastic sheet.
After about six weeks the bud will, if it were successfully applied,
grow out and provided the seedling stock is properly cut back the
scion will take over the root system and form the entire top-growth.
Figure 5 shows the stages in budding.
2. Approach grafting.
To approach graft, opposing tongues are cut in a seedling stem
and a comparable branch of the selected scion tree. The tongues are
overlapped and pressed together in a way that ensures maximum
contact between the two cambia and then bound with plastic grafting
tape. After about three months the union is severed appropriately and,
as with budding, the scion takes over the root system oS the stock.
Figure 6 shows approach grafting.
The 'take' from budding varies but is usually about 30% while
that from approach grafting is about 90%. Budding is, however,
simpler to organise than approach grafting which is, especially on a
large scale, the more cumbersome method. None the less, mass pro-
duction of vegetatively propagated plants is quite practicable and has
been in progress since 1964.
Two considerations at present delay large scale distribution of
vegetatively propagated plants, apart from the need to build up
reserves. These are the assessment of both graft incompatibility and
sexual constancy of the scions.
When many tree crops are grafted certain incompatible com-
binations of stock and scion occur. Not unexpectedly there is some
slight indication of this in pimento. While it is certainly insuffi-
cient to 'make us abandon the benefits of vegetative propagation, it
is important to know the relative merits of various selections in this
The second consideration is more subtle. Common seedlings used
as root stocks are of unknown sex. Moreover the distinction between
males and females, although real enough, is small and it might be
questioned whether the sex of the stock could Influence that of a
scion; more particularly if a male stock could mascullnise a female
scion. To the present no evidence of a sex change has been found
for grafted pimento, nor is it known in other dioecious crops. This
does not however rule out the possibility of, say, slight shifts in the
number of anthers per flower for a particular scion grafted on to
different root stocks.
Budded pimento plants have been established on the University
campus at Mona and at the pimento research station at Beverley In
St. Ann. Given reasonable care, growth is good and the tallest of
those at Mona, for example, grew from about three to eleven feet over
a period of 30 months. They were then cut back to six feet above the
graft union. Until the graft unions have strengthened, which takes
about two years, the plants should be staked and carefully tied to
prevent excessive wind strains.
As regards nutrient applications no comprehensive fertilizer data
is available .for pimento. Plants at Mona growing on Maverley loam
were treated as shown in Table I.
Fertilizer Applications of N.P.K. 10 : 10 10 to Pimento
Selections at Mona.
October 1963 Planting Out
February and September 1964 1 oz / plant
(and continuing) 8
and have, so far, performed satisfactorily.
A pimento grown from seed seldom flowers before six years and
there is a 50% chance that it will be a barren tree. Budded plants are
of known sex and begin to flower after about three seasons from
Given the three considerations set out on Page 5 and the avail-
ability of budded plants of known sex, it is reasonable to set trees
out according to a predetermined pattern. Although there are many
patterns which could be used, two simple ones, shown in figures 7a
and 7b, will be used to illustrate certain ideas. ** Any design though
requires both grafted males and females.
The advantage of 7a is that each female stands next to either
two or three males even though the females are three times as
numerous. In the second layout 7b, the females are eight times as
numerous as the males but there is the disadvantage that each female
stands next to only one male. As the proportion of females increases
one raises the number of potentially bearing trees but this carried to
excess would, by the infrequency of 'males, risk a pollen shortage.
Maximum productivity for an orchard will occur where the pro-
portion of male trees is just sufficient to ensure adequate pollination
of all females present.
** The existence of self fertilising trees is already known, both 'male' and 'female', but
their produclivily is extremely low. One of the variants for which it would be worthwhile
to search is a 'female' producing sufficiently good pollen. Even when such plants have been
propagated it will probably be necessary to plant nearly a few male trees as an insurance.
What constitutes the right proportion of males is unknown and
likely to remain so for several years until results are available from
various parts of Jamaica. It is improbable, however, even with a sys-
tematic layout, that male trees could be properly effective at less than
about 12% of a population and their frequency may have to be higher
Apart from the availability of enough pollen, 'floral synchrony'
is of crucial importance. That is to say, there must be simultaneous
flowering of males and females and to guarantee this a seeming
over-supply of males may be necessary.
In apple-growing countries it has long been customary to intro-
duce beehives into orchards at flowering time to ensure .fruit pro-
duction and there is abundant scientific evidence as to the value of
this practice. Since honeybees will work pimento blossom it is reason-
able to put hives in the orchards when flowering takes place, Vigor-
ous colonies should be used and taken in when flowering begins.
Pimento flowers are visited too. for pollen, by a number of small
wild bees quite unrelated to the honeybee. These include halictines,
together with Exomalopsis and Ceratina species and there is little
doubt that they materially assist fruit setting.
On Page 4 reference was made to the production of non-
germinating pollen by female flowers. There is good evidence that this
substance is an insect lure and that its presence encourages bees to
visit female flowers bringing, incidentally, viable pollen from male
flowers. (This is perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of the
pimento floral system.)
Where a crop has been vegetatively propagated for a long time
there emerge named varieties of proven merit. Pimento in Jamaica
at present takes the form of a huge randomly pollinated population
which is very variable. Domestication consists partly in selecting for
propagation superior varieties. It is a task of enormous proportions
and could provide a life's work (and a very interesting and worthwhile
one) for an agronomist.
During the last five years several selections have been made and
these or others superior to them, may become established as named
Clonally propagated material of any plant species is normally
conspicuously uniform and this allows for more detailed and economi-
cal planning of crop husbandry. An example of this is provided by a
semi-dwarf pimento selection. While apparently having reasonable
yields its limited stature allows closer planting and, therefore, more
crop per acre and, further, its harvesting is simplified.
A detailed treatment of harvesting is beyond the scope of this
publication but it is necessary to comment on the practice of 'break-
ing' Breaking, although it is the traditional form of harvesting, has
nothing in its favour save cheapness. Probably, the cheapness is to
some extent illusory since badly broken trees may yield little in the
following year. Clipping, although perhaps more expensive, is to be
The results of the last five years work suggest, among other
things, that the long established methods of managing pimento must
now be revised. New information is available which, if applied, may
make for higher and more reliable yields. If yields are substantially
raised more pimento could be produced on less land. Since Jamaica
already has access to the international spice market, she should con-
sider the advisability of planting out some of the hillside land in
tree crops which are also spices such as cinnamon, bay and nutmeg.
The ideas put forward in this article concerning the floral biology
of pimento have been tested on a limited scale but no matter how
reasonable a theory seems it must justify itself in the field. None the
less, similar techniques to those proposed here have been profitably
applied to a variety of other crops both temperate and tropical and
there is no doubt that an upgrading of pimento management is not
oily practicable but long overdue.
C. P. CHAPMAN
Department of Botany,
University of the West Indies.
1. J. F. Word. Pinrreto. Mi Agriculture and Lands, Jamaica 1961.
National Development and the Private
Sector Some General
Considerations for West Indian Policy
THE COLONIAL and Development and Welfare Acts of 1940 and
1945 involved at least two important innovations In the organization
of West Indian economic thinking. These were the requirement to
look well beyond the period of the annually recurrent budget, and the
necessity for some degree of centralization in selecting the higher
economic priorities. At the same time it solidified a conception of the
economic system which clearly must be linked with the distresses the
Moyne Commission itself investigated. This conception which does not
encircle the private sector in any important sense is now the cause
of our concern. We shall want to talk of ways in which we can
remove disharmonies which arise when central development planning
is attempted in economies where private decision-making is important.
To state the problem in a concrete form, a direct connection is
usually suggested between the proportion of government revenue or
expenditure to the country's domestic product and the degree of
public control. Although this ignores the efficacy of regulatory powers,
the simplification is not a damaging one. In this light, the weak force
of the public sector in West Indian countries is apparent. In Jamaica,
total tax is 15% of the domestic product; in Barbados and British
Guiana 22% and in Trinidad 16%. A comparison with the countries
c.f Western Europe, small or large, and with the United States is
startling, though not directly suggestive. There, the percentage
approaches 40. But in the West Indies, the government's control is
further enfeebled by the potentially debilitating condition that foreign
private interests are weighty in the total private sector itself. For
example in Jamaica 30% of the domestic product is derived from
foreign controlled enterprise and in Trinidad about 50%. If the percent-
ages are given out of material product (domestic product less distribution,
public administration, banking and all other kinds of services) to
highlight the foreign influence in 'productive' activity they become 50%
for Jamaica and just over 70% for Trinidad.
Since the beginning of the 1960's which mark the end of the
Colonial Development and Welfare planning period, the economic ob-
jectives of the West Indian governments have been more precisely
defined. They all want increases in income of 5% to 6% a year and
to cure unemployment. In practice, the latter is treated as the residual.
The best that has been done-in the case of Trinidad-is simply to
estimate how many jobs are expected to be created as a consequence
of increases in output. It is an incidental effort rather than a delib-
erate attempt to influence job-creation. Thus, in effect, the plans as
they stand can be said to be concerned with maximising the growth
of income only.
The Trinidadian and Jamaican plans project the growth of all
sectors of the economy with the assistance of data on Inter-industry
flows. Ratios relating output to capital indicate the size of the capital
requirements for individual sectors and for the aggregate economy.
The government's share in the total projected capital requirements is
stated and the sources .from which this will come are specified. But
although they claim to be national plans there is little to indicate
how the private sector will obtain the precise quantity of capital
projected for it, as well as of other factors, or how the allocation
according to the precise sectoral projections will be ensured. The
controls, incentives and sanctions needed for this sort of manipulation
are lacking. These plans, in fact, do not do much more than those
of Barbados and British Guiana where only the government's planned
development expenditure is embraced. In addition to this, the gov-
ernments' share in total projected investment is low-30% in Jamaica
and 15% in Trinidad. Moreover, since only a minute portion of these
planned government expenditures are on directly productive activity
the future impact of the public sector in these economies, other things
not changing, will remain just about the same and may even decline.
It will be clearer at this point for us to outline the essential
elements of the West Indian problem. They are these:
1. The governments have two principal objectives-maximising the
growth of income and eliminating unemployment.
2. The public sector is very small and therefore its direct powers of
manipulation are limited
3. One-half of the private sector Is externally controlled and the
greater share of this sector is itself dependent on externally
determined conditions of demand and price.
4. Structural changes are officially desired as a means of break-
ing dependence on traditional primary activity. The new struc-
ture therefore has to grow faster than the traditional.
5. Imports account for virtually one-half of total expenditure. There-
fore, the cost of living, wages, capital goods and raw materials are
sensitive to the autonomous force of changes in import prices.
It Is evident then that we are not dealing simply with the problem
of a 'mixed' economy. The implications of these peculiar complicating
issues have to be understood and dealt with.
The problem of the mature economies is related, more or less, to
the fulfilment of one objective-maximizing the rate of growth of full-
employment income within a sustainable balance of international
payments. The West Indies are called upon to solve two objectives
simultaneously-maximizing income growth and eliminating unetn-
ployment. This is even more complicated than the already intricate
task of maximizing simultaneously two objectives which have varying
subjective valuations. This is so for the practical reason that the
public sector is small and the private sector will be relatively more
concerned about the growth of profits. Thus, its employment policy
may conflict with the government's objective in this regard. This
conflict is exemplified in British Guiana where the government in-
vested heavily in rice in order to reduce unemployment quickly. This
effect was however completely nullified by retrenchment in the sugar
industry. Jamaica in the years 1957 to 1964 also displays evidence of
The West Indian governments have implied by their attempts at
'national planning' that they are no longer content that the rate and
structure of development should be determined solely by private en-
terprise. Projections do not show how this determination will be vin-
dicated, though it is, of course, a useful point of departure to know
what the private sector is planning to do or would like to do. Some
of this may be agreeable to the government; some may not. Further,
it will have some implications as to the role the government should
play. For example, it will suggest what controls, incentives and disin-
centives should be exercised, how much investment it should attempt
on public account and in what ways the allocation of investment can
be improved. We need to mention briefly a few of the practical diffi-
culties involved even in this quite neutral approach to national
development. The home-owned enterprises have formed little or no
firm ideas about about future expansion; they are for the most part
unskilled in dealing with questionnaires of this kind and often there
is an air of reluctance, even suspicion about the whole exercise. A
large proportion of the firms is unlikely to respond or to respond
satisfactorily in a quantitative form. Serious shortcomings are also
to be encountered in dealing with foreign-owned enterprises. Local
managers of these concerns have little autonomous authority at this
level and often the simplest questionnaires have to be referred to
head office for directions. In addition to the loss of time, head
office's plans for reinvestment where export produce is concerned, as
it principally is, will not necessarily be related to the country's needs.
It will be guided by external demand and sometimes by the alterna-
tive possibilities for more profitable expansion elsewhere in its tra-
ditional activity. Custom in business frequently prevails over reason.
Thus we find in the West Indies persistent reinvestments in sugar.
We also find, irrationally, high profits in conjunction with an in-
ability to expand and an unwillingness to diversify activity. On the
other hand, it must be said that where domestic produce is concerned,
head office is given little guidance on future demand. Its uncertainty
is not convincingly, if at all, reduced. This is now, to some extent, an
avoidable obstruction since the governments have at their command
plans, projections, targets and inter-industry tables. Nonetheless,
business has remained either ignorant or neglectful of the assistance
these devices can give in reducing the degree of uncertainty in
decision-taking. In fact, business in the West Indies has, more or
less, continued to act after the fashion of the classical entrepreneur.
If now, having got over these hurdles, the government is deter-
mined that the rate and structure of development should be as it
wishes, the following are the alternatives:
ia) the rate as well as structure of development planned by the
private sector may coincide with the government's wishes; or
ib) there may be ways of inducing, directly and indirectly, the private
sector to act as is desired. That is, that there are ways of harmon-
izing conflicting ends to produce the desired goal; or
ic) the government may actually do things as it sees fit. That is, it
',ray intervene directly and may engage in directly productive
activity; the extent to which it will do so being determined by
the extent to which (a) and (b) are perverse. This implies not
only that the government should engage in directly productive
activity, but that it should have the means of controlling the factors
of production to the extent deemed necessary by this principle.
Thus, it could imply 1f (a) and (b) were extremely perverse,
The rationale underlying West Indian planning is that the first
alternative is inapplicable. It is, of course, a question whether the rate
of development, if not the productive structure, produced solely by
private enterprise direction is worse than the targets of public
planning. The present growth projections could hardly be described
as major improvements though the constraints in this decade and in
the years ahead, admittedly, do seem to be more severe than those
of the 1950's. Indeed, judging by the performance of the existing plans
there is need for some conviction that the governments' task has not
been to formalize, sometimes inaccurately so, what in any case would
have taken place.
The alternatives which we must bring under our scrutiny are (b)
and (c) Let us look at harmonization first. This refers both to the
rate and structure of development. The latter may or may not be
deemed desirable for reasons which are independent both of the rate
of growth and stability of income. The immediate fact is that the
limits to the expansion of the private export-sector (traditional
activity) are exogenously determined and It cannot be said that West
Indian governments have shown any disposition to curb the growth
of this sector (sugar, bauxite, petroleum, bananas). In fact, they
have actively encouraged expansion. Thus, the limit being externally
determined and this evidently being unopposed by the governments,
no disharmony, so far as income growth is concerned, exists between
the public and private sector-except in the circumstances which
does not arise of the traditional activity refusing for no good reason
to expand to the limits.
Since the existing structure is regarded officially as undesirable
(its growth potential being limited and productive structure lopsided
and precarious) and the intention is not to restrict the growth of
traditional activity, then the aim must be to build the new activities
which are considered desirable. These will therefore have to grow
faster than the traditional activity. The aims of harmonization there-
fore are to see, given the existing economic and political, organisation,
that the new activities grow at a rate faster by a certain percentage
than whatever be the rate at which the traditional structure grows,
the combined effect being subject to a requirement that the overall
rate of growth should not be less than a stated percentage.
This will have to be attempted, given that we are concerned at
this stage with methods of persuasion, by creating the favourable
demand and supply conditions. We must therefore enumerate some of
the more practical aspects of such an harmonization policy. Good
quality and sufficient quantity of information gathering by the gov-
ernment is the first prerequisite. Some very valuable work has been
done in this respect, particularly in Jamaica and Trinidad. There are,
however, crucial areas which are virtually untouched. Two examples
of these are demand elasticities for manufactures and measurements
of productivity-labour, land and capital. In other areas, there is a
need to keep abreast of time; none of the governments have been
able to do this, except for the most simple data. Even for the latter,
such as trade statistics, it is not unheard of for West Indian govern-
ments to be three to six years in arrears. Schedules of Customs Tariffs
are generally ten or more years out of date. National income figures
are, with the exception of Jamaica, not available for the last three
years. We are indeed a long way from having vital economic data on
an up-to-date quarterly basis. There are yet other areas of informa-
tion which, though important and often in use, are in fact, antiquated.
A few notable examples of these are the tables of inter-industry flows,
statistics relating to land tenure, and the data on income distribution
(which regrettably have so far appeared for Jamaica only and, even
in that case, for a single year, 1958). This situation, which is inade-
quately sketched here, is attributable partly to the limited resources
at the government's command and partly to the lack of full coopera-
tion on the part of the private sector. Apart from long delays in the
responses of the latter, there has been a singular lack of initiative on
its part in presenting analytically useful information. A prime
example is the Jamaican sugar industry and its Manufacturers'
Association. After long years of existence and trenchant outcries
against the high cost of labour, they have been unable to present
proper estimates of productivity and of the range of productivity
among the sugar factories. Surely, too, the combined manufacturers
* Recently Dr. R. B. Davison of the University of the West Indies at the request of the Sugar
Manufacturers' Association carried out a preliminary exercise on the industry's labour
ought to be able to muster enough resources to compile a simple pro-
duction index and an index of capacity utilization, at the very least.
However, another part of the problem is attributable to the gov-
ernment machinery in its deployment of statistical services. Normally,
these are diffused throughout the various government departments.
This multiplies the difficulties of deciding on the higher priorities. As
a result, instances are to be found of the collection of marginally
useful information. In other instances, a useful collection of data by
one department is rendered partially useless by a presentation which
does not facilitate further analysis by another department.
Planning, given our political system, should be done in Joint and
intensive consultation with all the important elements. For the
moment we need only mention public and private interests and trade
unions. It is vital that in the future the private sector, both small
and large concerns, should be fired with the idea of consciously plan-
ning in specific quantitative terms. This machinery will be the body
to amend the advice of technical planners and to ratify the decisions.
Joint consultation however will have to be reinforced by encouraging
a spirit of confidence that government policies will ensure that do-
mestic aggregate demand will be equal to the production coming
forward. Fiscal and monetary policies are usable in this connection
though we are by no means suggesting that strict attention should
not be paid to the limits of Keynesian remedies in countries such as
these. The problem of some sectors is evidently not supply but demand
deficiency. Monetary equilibrium can sometimes be purchased at too
high a price. Protective devices are not enough. More dependable, and
less suspect, as practical indications of confidence and support are
government guarantees to compensate for planned output not taken
off the market and of assistance to exports in temporary difficulties.
The government will, of course, have to ensure that suitable
infrastructure in the form of transport, electricity, housing and skills
is forthcoming. In this regard it is not a good thing for the govern-
ment to exhort private enterprise to action whilst its own house is
not in order. But unfortunately this is precisely what happens fre-
quently in the planning of less developed countries. Thus, for ex-
ample, in India and Pakistan the private sector's performance has
always been better than the public's. In the West Indies, to give a
more relevant example, the governments of every territory have con-
sistently underspent their development budgets. To give another ex-
ample, many people in the West Indies discuss the shortage of trained
persons. It Is true in a partial sense. But a sharp observer will see
imbalances both on the demand side and supply side in numerous
instances. Thus it is possible, at some points, to find excess supply of
some essential skills, on the one hand, whilst in other instances
positions go unfilled. The time has come when serious attempts should
be made at balance. The present haphazard situation has been dis-
illusioning to private Individuals and detrimental to progress. This is
all the more so in small societies where the alternatives are quickly
exhaustable. Balance also has a locational aspect and nowhere is this
problem more apparent than among primary and secondary school
teachers, nurses and doctors. Yet the governments continue to believe,
despite ample experience to the contrary, that the problem can be
solved without rational differentials.
Incentives are already highly developed and widely used in the
form of tax and duty remissions and tariff protection. To what extent
they are the cause of new industries being located in these territories
is a matter of doubt and one requiring investigation. A cost is also
involved in such an industrial programme and it should be kept in
view. For example, in Jamaica, the addition made to industrial pro-
duction by firms operating under the concessions of the industrial
incentive law was (in 1962) not much more than 2 m. The cost in
terms of customs duties foregone (on the yearly imports of capital
equipment qualifying for the concession and of raw materials) plus
the foreign company taxation foregone plus the loss of welfare
through tariff protection plus the annual cost of running the indus-
trial development corporation and the additional facilities is almost
certain to exceed the value of gross output of the firms concerned.
Whilst this, if confirmed, does not necessarily imply that the con-
cessions should be discontinued or even reduced it may nevertheless be
an indication that even at this point of time they might be unneces-
sarily liberal. In any event, having regard to the structural objectives,
It would seem desirable that a differential in profits tax should exist
between these new activities and the old activities. A direction in
which the idea of incentives now has to be extended is that of diver-
sification in industrial location. The need is evidently great in some
of the West Indian territories but planning has more or less ignored
this aspect of the problem.
What should be done with respect to credit availability? In prin-
ciple the answer is clear. The aim should be to prevent resources from
being diverted from higher to lower priority uses by physically restrict-
ing activity in the latter or/and by appropriate instructions to banks
and other finance agencies and by controlling security issues. For ex-
ample, some people in Jamaica would restrict the expansion of middle-
and high-income housing projects. This principle would be fine on
the assumption that feasible, superior alternative uses are coming
forward in sufficient quantity. It is not clear that they always do in
the West Indies. The early 1960's, repressed years in Jamaican con-
struction activity, is evidence in support of this. However, insofar as
discriminatory treatment is possible, investment might be directed
according to a laid-down scheme of priorities.
We have left for the last the two most intractable areas for
harmonization-unemployment and the optimum allocation of resour-
ces. Let us look at these in turn. It is useless to pretend that a conflict
is not taking place between income growth and the employment of
labour to the detriment of the latter. In the real conditions of the
West Indies, unemployment must, we think, be deemed to be the most
serious economic and social problem. In Jamaica, Trinidad and
British Guiana it has reached grave proportions. In Jamaica, between
1957 and 1962, unskilled employment in sugar fell by something like
28% whilst the rest of the modern sector could only increase its labour
input by about 8%. It is true that it Is unnecessary, and indeed in-
correct, to emphasize either employment or income to the exclusion
of the other. They both have to be taken into account simultaneously
but employment should be given the relatively greater 'weight' in
calculating the 'social benefit' of the development programme. This
theoretical principle becomes applicable where we are dealing with
alternative techniques or commodities with significantly varying
labour-intensities and where decisions in private enterprise can be
made to conform to social rather than to private benefit. The West
Indies may not face a great many such alternatives and the decisions
of private enterprise are certainly not fully 'socially' determined. We
therefore have some sympathy with the lame manner in which the
Trinidadian and Jamaican planners treated the problem. The follow-
ing quotations from the Trinidadian plan throw light on the way the
problem has come to be viewed. "So fundamental and Involved a
problem cannot, however, be solved in a very short period, nor can any
lasting improvement of the situation be obtained on the basis of ad
hoc stop-gap measures. It is for this reason that the employment
problem of developing countries is inevitably seen as part of the whole
complex of under-development, and Its solution as inseparable from
the process of overall economic development" "since a permanent
solution of the employment problem requires that the size of the
modern sector be considerably expanded, a prime objective of the plan
is to encourage such an expansion in every possible way. To this end
investment must be greatly increased and both local and foreign
capital must be encouraged to invest in this sector."
But it is clear from the way things have been going that, on this
basis, the capital requirements would have to be of such phenomenal
proportions as to be unrealistic even assuming an unequally unrealistic
number of .feasible projects. It may safely be concluded that the rate
of unemployment will become larger. Thus, the Trinidadian plan pre-
sents the rather shattering spectacle of planned gross capital invest-
ment (1964-1968) of $1980 m, with (after very optimistic projections)
no improvement in the unemployment rate.
It is thought by some people that an incomes policy is the major
harmonizing instrument in this conflict. This should be such as to allow
firms to increase (or not to reduce) their labour inputs, thereby re-
ducing or stabilizing the rate of increase in labour productivity. But
it is dangerous to speak of these things at the aggregate level. For
example, the rate of increase in national labour productivity may be
high in Jamaica but it may be due to the heavy weight of one or two
capital intensive activities. In the remaining portion of the economy
productivity increases may be rather low. Thus it may be irrelevant
to think in terms of reducing labour productivity in Jamaica. What
will be important to a firm is not so much the price of labour as its
total labour cost. In many instances in the past it has not been pos-
sible or, in some cases, it will not now be possible to consider reduc-
ing the price of labour because it was or is at subsistence level.
Therefore it may be necessary, in certain cases, despite incomes
restraint, to replace labour inputs by machines, given the technologi-
cal improvements elsewhere and the necessity to compete. Moreover,
the gearing of increases in wages to increases in productivity com-
pletely neglects the base from which we ought to begin. This is the
existing distribution between labour income and business income. It
is a presumption of no mean proportions to make that in all instan-
ces it would be proper to virtually freeze the relationship in its present
form. In addition, other limits will be set to an incomes policy,
other things being the same, because of autonomous rises in the cost
of living, brought about, for example, through Increases in import
prices. The impact can be great in countries such as these with import
ratios of 30% to 60% and where essential ,foodstuffs are an important
element in imports. It seems to us that .the wages policy method should
be supplemented by subsidies against the market cost of labour. This
will .form part of the discussion about optimally allocating resources
so as to make business decisions, both private and public, fully con-
form to 'social benefit' To this we now turn.
The divergence of market prices from equilibrium prices implies
that planning based on the former will make possible the persistence
of a sub-optimum utilization of resources. Thus, if the aim is to maxi-
mize social benefit an appropriate adjustment should be made to the
existing prices for planning purposes. What we will need to find is the
equilibrium prices of factors and products (taking as our perspective,
say, the end of the planning period). That is to say, we want for
factor prices those prices which equate the marginal value produc-
tivity of the factors as in a fully competitive system and for product
prices those prices which are equated to the marginal intrinsic
valuation of the product. Equilibrium factor prices are probably more
difficult to approach than product prices. The valuation of the latter
can be approached by adjusting the market price for the distorting
effects of taxes, subsidies and tariffs and so on. The former requires
consideration in three main areas-labour, capital and foreign ex-
change. The simplest of the three appears to be foreign exchange.
What sort of adjustment should be made if the exchange rate is to
produce payments equilibrium (exclusive of autonomous capital move-
ments) in the absence of direct and indirect controls? In the West
Indies the amount of customs duties collected will probably be a fairly
satisfactory guide of what the upward 'accounting' valuation of foreign
exchange should be, assuming there is rough balance between imports
and exports. It is likely to be in the area of 25% higher than the pre-
vailing rate. However, in certain instances where, despite tariffs, there
is a large imbalance between imports and exports the upward valua-
tion of the 'accounting' price for foreign exchange may need to be
somewhat higher than the percentage suggested by the existing level
of customs duties. In these cases there will be a need for an 'actual'
increase in tariffs or for an appropriate devaluation.
For labour (confining ourselves for simplicity to the more weighty
portion-unskilled labour) the first answer, in view of the large
quantity of unemployment is to accept a zero valuation. But we think
this is probably too broad an approach. There are a number of aspects
which would have to be considered in detail in arriving at the equi-
librium price for labour. These include the supply and demand at a
particular location, variations in skills, seasonal variations in demand
for labour in agriculture, reserve-price for labour. Clearly then there
will be various accounting prices for labour. But to simplify the
matter, for unskilled labour in the urban industrial districts we think
(based on the market wage of 6 a week and a subsistence minimum
of 2 a week) that the equilibrium wage must be about 60% to 70%
lower than the market wage. Even in the agricultural districts where
the market wage is about 3 a week, a zero equilibrium value is
probably too low when the locational and seasonal aspects of supply
and demand are considered. (These are Jamaican figures used for
illustrative purposes.) An equilibrium wage of 60% lower than the
market wage also seems applicable to agriculture. Inducing the private
sector to conform to such socially optimal principles would involve
subsidies to the extent of 60% of the market wage. It Is important
to note that these subsidies can only apply to activities which can be
carried out with some degree of flexibility in their combinations of
labour and capital. Many of the existing industries may not qualify for
this treatment. To give a specific example of this operation of the
principle, if the sugar industry or the textile industry were given a
subsidy of 60% of the going market wage they would have, in return,
to increase employment by an appropriate percentage.
With respect to capital, it seems to us that the evidence is not
conclusive that this is a scarce factor in the larger West Indian ter-
ritories. Indeed, it seems possible to bring forward some evidence that
the demand for investible funds by feasible projects has been lagging
behind the availability of credit. There have been no long queues for
capital as there have been in many of the other less developed coun-
tries. The underspending of governments' development budgets, the
unusual readiness with which bonds and security issues are taken up,
the excess liquidity of commercial banks, the height of the foreign
reserves and the rising savings deposits in government and other in-
stitutions all indicate to us that the alleged scarcity of capital in
relation to demand is probably over-emphasized. It may be simple and
sufficient to take the marginal productivity of capital from the rate
of return (value added) on capital in a marginal project. An exam-
ination of a large number of activities indicates that sugar manu-
facture and the processing of food products are representative of
marginal activities and, based on these industries, the marginal pro-
ductivity of capital can be taken to be between 4% and 5%. The going
market rate of interest on long term capital is not less than 7%. To
meet the situation approved projects might be gives a subsidy
adjustable up to about 28% of interest payments. Only approved
projects on which the expected rate of return on capital is not less
than 5% (or 4%) and not more than the market price of long-term
borrowing should qualify for this relief. The effect of this measure
would be to bring within the bounds of commercially acceptable
ventures those projects which may now be eliminated because their
basic, long-term profitability is below the long term rate of interest,
though above the marginal productivity of capital.
The governmental policies we have outlined above, or something
resembling them, are aimed at inducing private decisions, based on
marginal principles. These are calculated to allocate resources
optimally and to yield the highest social welfare. Thus in deriving
the 'social return' on investment, the market cost of imports, labour
and capital can be weighted by 1.25, 0.40 and 0.72 to give 'social cost'
Those programmes yielding the highest social return per unit of
investment (output valued at 'equilibrium prices' less capital cost
divided by investment) will be selected first, but all those yielding
a positive net social return over social cost are eligible for selection.
This approach may be used to suggest implicitly the differing social
valuations of the net contribution of a project in terms of foreign
exchange, employment and income. The adoption of these procedures
could lead to important alterations in the West Indian plans for
national develcpment-not so much with respect to its own infra-
structural activity but in relation to the manner in which it permits
the private sector to use the country's resources. This is certainly
important for although the Trinidadlan and Jamaican plans should
be feasible in the sense that the input-output matrices should ensure
consistency no criterion of efficiency is built into them.
We have discussed a few types of equilibrium prices to indicate
by the crudest means the direction in which they seem to diverge
from market values. In all this, of course, the effect of the longer
period perspective may have to be taken into account. For example,
with such a long period perspective in mind we may be disinclined to
revalue the rate of exchange quite so highly and certainly the equi-
librium price of capital would not be so depressed. It is possible that
refinements may be made to these methods, though we are inclined
to think that the opportunity cost of these refinements may be
prohibitive. However, there is no doubt that even these approxima-
tions have a place in the process of public and private decision-taking.
It is possible that the methods of harmonization may not produce
both the desired rate of growth and structure of development. The
conditions which govern the new process of development have been
stated simply as being that
(1) the rate of growth of the new activities must be greater than
whatever be the rate of growth of the old activities;
(2) the rate of growth of the old and new activities combined
should make for a rate of growth of the total economy which
is equal to or greater than a stated, planned aggregate rate
It will be noted at once that these relations introduce a constraint
on the objective of optimum resource allocation since the rate of growth
of the traditional sector, with its presumably lower long run marginal
productivities, is not restrained. The West Indies, because of his-
torical commitment as well as for practical reasons, are required
to take up the second-best position. Nonetheless, this is better than
any 'feasible' solution. These relations are intended to ensure that,
simultaneously, reliance on the old structure will in time be broken
and the planned rate of growth of the economy will be achieved or
exceeded. The speed of relegation of the traditional sector depends on
the excess of the growth rate of the new over the growth rate of the
old productive structure. It was previously stated that the latter is
taken as externally given and accepted and that there was no desire
to reduce it. Thus the relations above serve to clarify how both the
growth of the economy and of the new structure are dependent on the
traditional sector. The latter is the starting point in determining the
former. The implications therefore are that the traditional sector fixes
what should. be the rate of investment in new activity. At this point
two possibilities may be foreseen-(1) the traditional sector may
advance faster than anticipated. This commits the government, If the
structural objective is to be achieved, to ensuring that the new
activities expand at an even faster rate than that planned for; (2)
the traditional sector may lag or may even remain stationary. The
government again is committed to ensuring, if the aggregate income
objective is to be achieved, that the new activities grow faster than
provided for. It is these two considerations which lead us to believe
that direct governmental intervention can be not only a matter of
political predilection but may be supportable on more concrete grounds.
In both instances there are unplanned divergences which only a
central authority could be well placed to see and correct. In both
instances too questions about the command of productive resources
arise. In the first case, if the old activities have expanded by its com-
mand of factors which have other potential uses, then it will be left
to the government to use some other measures-direct intervention-
to redress the imbalance that thereby would be created. If the im-
balance were not corrected, the governments' objective to alter the
structure of the economy would be thwarted and, on the reasonable
premise that long run if not short run marginal value productivities in
the old activities are less than in new activities, it would mean the
acceptance of a worse than second-best solution. In the second case,
capital resources become sterilized in static production activities which
are also major sources of capital at the same time as they are unwilling
to divert profits to alternative uses.
Department of Economics,
University of the West Indies.
Public Marketing Agencies:
Their Role in Co-ordinating
Production and Marketing
THE ECONOMIC objectives of efforts to promote economic
development are to bring about as rapid a growth of production and
as large an improvement in the level of living of the population as
possible. As regards production, the most important single measure of
economic growth is increase in the real output per head of population.
In the sphere of improvements in the level of living, the important
criterion is increase in disposable income or any other facility for
increasing real consumption.
"Agriculture is the principal industry in Jamaica even though its
relative importance has been declining." 1 Agriculture assumes a similar
position in most of the other West Indian Islands. In 1961 agricultural
production accounted for 12 per cent of gross domestic product in
Jamaica, 11 per cent in Trinidad and averaged approximately 15 per
cent for all the other islands in the Caribbean. 2
Because of the relative importance of agriculture to the econ-
omies of the West Indies, including Jamaica, any effort made by
Government to increase economic growth must also place great
emphasis on increasing agricultural productivity. Also reinforcing the
need for improving agricultural productivity has been the decline in
the contribution of domestic agricultural production to the national
food supply and the corresponding increase in the value of food
imports in relation to total food consumption. In Trinidad, "the food
import bill is not only high but growing" 3 while in Jamaica food
imports have risen from 20 per cent estimated retail value of total
domestic food purchases in 1950 to over 30 per cent in 1960." 4
"The major sources of domestic food supply in Jamaica are small
farms. For thirty-two principal crops for which information is avail-
able from the 1958 survey of Agriculture, small farms accounted for
over 90 per cent of the total production (acreage in the case of
vegetable crops) of twenty-four of these crops, and for over one-half
of the output of an additional six. For only two crops-sugar cane
and tobacco-was production on farms of over 25 acres larger than
that of small farms. 5 Even though no similar detailed statistical
data are available, small farms are also the major sources of domestic
food production in Trinidad and Tobago.
Agriculture is characterized by a very large number of small
holdings in both Trinidad and Jamaica. In 1961, 71.3 per cent of the
farms in Jamaica and 83.4 per cent of the farms in Trinidad were
less than 5 acres in size.6 These small holdings are generally under-
capitalized, have low yields and produce a wide variety of crops in
rather small heterogenous quantities. Diversification to minimize low
prices and price fluctuation in period of peak production is a standard
practice among these small holdings. A large percentage of these
small holders may be part-time farmers who do not have the time
or who feel the effort required is too great for off-season planting.
The typical pattern of production is, therefore, one of gluts at crop
time and scarcity in the off-season.
Any success In counteracting the declining contribution of domestic
-food production to total food purchases and in reducing the de-
pendence on food imports must be generated from increasing pro-
ductivity on these small holdings that characterize agriculture in both
Trinidad and Jamaica. Increased productivity is here measured by
increased output per man or per worker in agriculture. Tremendous
resources have been devoted to Increasing agricultural productivity on
these small holdings and hence total agricultural production, but so
far with rather limited or minimal success. Attempts at increasing
productivity on the farm have taken such forms as providing technical
know-how through the extension service, providing subsidies and
making credit available.
The failure of the small farmers to respond to efforts made to
increase productivity and production is due to a large degree to the
absence of assured markets and an efficient marketing system. The
characteristic of production on small farms--that of gluts at crop
time and dire scarcity in the off-season, and the corollary of extreme
price fluctuations-is an indictment of the efficiency of the prevail-
ing market system and shows up the lack of adequate marketing
The view is sometimes taken that no internal marketing problems
exist when production during most of the year is insufficient to meet
existing demand. This point of view fails to recognize, however, that
producers may be extremely unwilling to expand production if there
is uncertainty about disposing of the crop at reasonably remunerative
prices at harvest time,
In the absence of adequate marketing facilities-particularly in
the areas of storage and processing-farm prices of locally grown food
crops generally reach relatively low levels at harvest time. This
tendency towards low prices for locally grown food crops is further
aggravated by the absence of market information which hinders the
movement of produce to take advantage of differences in the supply
situation in different regions of the territory or territories. Further
because of the relatively low yields obtained, the Income position of
the farmer is greatly affected by downward fluctuations in prices.
The existence or development of a market or markets offering
relatively remunerative prices generally has been associated with ex-
pansion in production. This is not to say, of course, that marketing
Improvements alone are both necessary and sufficient conditions to
increasing production in every situation. The pigeon peas (gungo
peas) industry in Trinidad is an example of the effect of an
assured market or the production response of small-scale farmers.
In 1963, the creation of canning facilities and the offer of a guar-
anteed price of ten cents per pound for green pigeon peas at the farm
provided Trinidad farmers with an assured outlet for green pigeon
Table 1 shows that pigeon peas production increased in Trinidad
and Tobago from 1963 to 1964 by 21 per cent. The increase in the 1965
production over 1963 was 146 per cent, while the estimated increase
in 1955 over the base year 1963 is 389 per cent.
Table 1. Production of pigeon peas in Trinidad & Tobago, 1963-1966.
Trinidad & Tobago Tobago
Year Production Percentage Production Percentage
in Increase in increase
1963 1,193,905 0 239,685 0
1964 1,444,686 + 21 252,181 + 5
1965 2,939,000 + 146 1,080,000 + 351
1966* 5,836,500 + 389 -
Source: Data supplied by the Ministry of Agriculture, Trinidad.
For the first two years of the pigeon peas programme the Trinidad
Government bought pigeon peas at country buying points at 10 cents
per pound. Farmers were paid on the spot. The Trinidad Government
in turn bore the cost of transportation, the overheads associated with
buying and in addition subsidized the processing plant by selling green
pigeon peas delivered at the factory at 9 cents per pound. In 1965,
the transportation subsidy of one cent was removed and the Govern-
ment bought and sold at 10 cents per pound. The 1966 crop of pigeon
peas is expected to create problems of overproduction as the processing
plants have estimated their demand to be in the neighbourhood of
4 million pounds of green pigeon peas.
It becomes clear that any effort to increase the rate of economic
development by improving agriculture must coordinate production
and marketing. Production Is defined as the creation of goods and
services on the farm, while marketing includes those activities by
which goods and services produced on the farm flow from the farmer
to the ultimate consumer. The marketing process therefore involves
taking produce from the farm, placing it in the form, at the time
and at those places desired by the final consumer. In a market economy
as exists in Trinidad and Jamaica, marketing and production are like
two ends of a worm, neither could be carried out effectively without
The basic feature of the internal marketing of domestic agri-
cultural produce in both Jamaica and Trinidad is that marketing is
carried on by a multitude of entrepreneurs who individually handle
relatively small volumes. These entrepreneurs who are engaged in the
internal marketing of locally produced food crops are called "higglers"
in Jamaica and merely middlemen in Trinidad. These higglers or
middlemen scour the countryside buying small heterogenous quanti-
ties from farmers and are generally trucked to the market place with
their produce. These higglers or middlemen perform about four
marketing functions, that is, buying, assembling, transporting and
selling. They do no grading or sorting, while the method of trans-
porting produce to market tends to lead to high wastage and spoilage
Because of the time and cost involved in collecting produce in
small heterogenous lots-where little regard is given to quality and
condition of produce-from a large number of small farmers, the
uncertainty associated with the adequacy and regularity of supply to
sustain large volume operations, and the rather high opportunity cost
of capital invested in agriculture since capital can earn much more
in alternative undertakings, the private sector In Trinidad, and I am
sure the same situation exists in Jamaica, has shown an unwilling-
ness to invest in marketing facilities and in the process of marketing
on any large scale.
It has been established earlier that economic growth in the
agricultural sector requires among other things coordination of pro-
duction and marketing so that the lack of marketing facilities do not
act as a bottleneck to increases in production. The present system of
marketing involving higglers and middlemen, by omitting some of the
functions essential to orderly marketing of agricultural produce, tends
to maintain the status quo in agricultural production and provides
no stimulus to increasing productivity on small farms.
Given the unwillingness of the private sector to provide capital
for large-scale marketing facilities and the policy objective of emerg-
ing nations like Jamaica and Trinidad of stimulating increase in
agricultural productivity on small-scale farms, the need arose for the
public sector to provide in the initial stages at least, marketing
facilities and the institutions for implementing the orderly marketing
of domestic agricultural produce.
Public agencies established to market domestic farm products
may be called marketing boards, marketing corporations or market-
ing agencies. Public marketing agencies have already been established
in Jamaica and Barbados while Trinidad Is at the moment doing so.
Both in Jamaica and Barbados the public marketing agencies are
referred to as marketing corporations, while the proposed name in
Trinidad is the Central Market Agency. Public marketing agencies are
envisaged as super wholesalers conducted strictly on commercial lines.
These public marketing agencies should be endowed with sufficient
built-in flexibility of operations to maintain and service a regular
group of customers-supermarkets, wholesalers, higglers and middle-
men. Built-in flexibility of operations in order to maintain a regular
clientele implies that the public agency is not restricted to buying
at a single price-which is in many cases the guaranteed price-but is
able to adjust its offering price to take into consideration changes in
supply demand relationship.
Public marketing agencies designed to Improve the internal
marketing of locally produced agricultural produce by promoting and
implementing orderly marketing will only make an effective contribu-
tion if sufficient flexibility of operation is built-in. In the absence of
built-in flexibility of operation these public marketing agencies find
themselves plagued with the problem of an irregular supply of produce
as farmers would sell to middlemen or higglers when produce is in
short supply and only sell to the public marketing agencies after
they have exhausted all other available market outlets.
The effect is that the public marketing agency is saddled on the
one hand with high overheads because of unused facilities when produce
is in short supply. On the other hand, when produce lI plentiful, and
farmers deliver substantial quantities of produce to the public market-
ing agency, the agency is generally faced with the problem of how
to dispose of the produce as it does not have a regular group of
customers whom it services.
The overriding objective of public marketing agencies is to create
the environment in which small-scale farming can be carried on
successfully, and which is sufficiently stable to induce the private
sector to invest in marketing facilities and undertake certain market-
ing tasks like assembly at country points, storage, packing and
grading. In this way, the operation or function performed by the
'higgler' or middleman can be effectively incorporated in the market-
ing scheme. The higgler or middleman can continue to scour the
country-side buying heterogenous small lots from individual farmers,
but instead of trucking himself and his produce to market he can
sell to the public marketing agency at its country buying point. It is
hypothesized that because of low productivity cost of labour of the
higgler or middleman the overall cost of marketing may be much
lower if higglers or middlemen perform the assembly function for
the public marketing agencies.
If as Mintz points out that in Jamaica "small-scale agricultural
production is functionally related to the prevalent marketing arrange-
ments (higglers system)", then improvements in the internal market-
ing system that incorporates or utilizes the 'higgler system' must tend
therefore to insure the survival of small-scale farming and leave, at
the same time, ample scope for raising productivity on these small
farms 7. Further, the incorporation of higglers or middlemen minimizes
the problems of social adjustment and unemployment.
To be more specific, the objectives of public agencies marketing
domestic farm produce are: (i) to promote the orderly marketing of
locally produced farm commodities, (1i) to provide farmers with an
assured outlet for saleable commodities of acceptable quality at reason-
able or guaranteed prices, (iii) improve efficiency and reduce costs of
marketing, (iv) provide consumers with an adequate supply of locally
produced foods at reasonable prices, and (v) coordinate production
and marketing plans. It should be pointed out that while the ob-
jectives of public agencies engaged in marketing are not mutually
exclusive they may conflict with each other to varying degrees. The
result is that the success of public marketing agencies in coordinating
production and marketing depends on the extent to which the policy
makers are in agreement on the priorities given to the different
objectives and the extent to which conflicting objectives can be
In fulfilling the objective of determining what is a reasonable
price or in setting and administering a guaranteed price programme,
knowledge of demand, demand shifters and of supply is a pre-
requisite. Changes in demand (or demand shifters) are brought about
by changes in disposable income, in population, in taste, and in the
prices of close substitutes. Regulating the marketing of domestic
agricultural produce through public agencies raises the need for
estimates of the price and income consequences of different policy
proposals in agriculture.
The questions that might reasonably be asked in this connection
take on many forms. What effect would a 10 per cent rise in farm
prices have on the production of tomatoes or yams? How much would
poultry production have to be raised to achieve a 20 per cent reduc-
ticn in prices? These basic relationships are set forth in the frame-
worlG of demand and supply models. The University of the West Indies
can play an important role by implementing research in the areas
of demand and supply models to obtain the necessary demand and
Research on demand is vitally needed to throw light on cross-
demand relationships-cross elasticities-which reflect the effect of
price changes in close substitutes on the quantity demanded of a given
commodity. My observation, in the absence of empirical research find-
ings, is that public marketing agencies show a lack of awareness of
cross demand relationships in setting guaranteed prices. Failure to
take cognizance of cross demand relationships increases the market-
ing problems of the public marketing agency as farmers may be
stimulated to produce a product for which demand may be declining or
This naturally leads to an improper coordination of marketing and
production as the desires and wishes of consumers are not properly
transmitted to the farmers, while the needs of the consumers may not
be adequately met as the desired type of product may not be forth-
coming in sufficiently large volumes. A look at the guaranteed price
programme of Trinidad, in which lisbon yams are guaranteed at
9 cents per pound, tannias at 7 cents, and cush-cush at 14 cents,
suggests that cross-demand relationships were either ignored or
considered to be non-existent.
Should the production of cush-cush respond favourably to the
guaranteed price which came into effect late in 1965, the public market-
ing agency in Trinidad will most likely find itself with tons of cush-
cush for which no market is available as consumers, given the price
relationship of yams to cush-cush, may well substitute yams for cush-
cush. The dilemma of the public marketing agency is made more
acute by the absence of storage, and processing facilities and the
rather limited ways in which these crops can be utilized at the
moment. It becomes evident that there is a pressing need for utiliza-
tion research if the demand for local crops is to be increased and the
production responses sustained.
The pricing policy of public marketing agencies may inhibit the
growth of demand for locally produced food crops. Public marketing
agencies tend to set their prices in relation to urban price levels and
purchasing power and disregard the effect of differentials in income
between the urban and rural population. It is not uncommon to find
that prices of domestic produce are substantially higher in rural than
in the urban markets. Public marketing agencies may well be advised
to follow a two price system to increase overall demand of locally
produced food crops by recognizing that differentials exist between
urban and rural purchasing power. The effect of a lowering of price
in the rural areas is to increase rural real income. Given a positive
income elasticity for locally produced food crops then the demand
for locally produced food crops should increase.
In summary, economic progress in agriculture cannot proceed
solely on the basis of emphasis on production alone but requires an
integration or coordination of production and marketing.
The failure or unwillingness of the private sector to invest in
large scale marketing facilities because of the characteristics of
agricultural production associated with small-scale farming gave rise
to the need for public marketing agencies to promote orderly market-
ing of locally produced food crops and to coordinate production and
marketing. The success of public marketing agencies in coordinating
production and marketing depends on the extent to which policy
makers are in agreement on the priorities given to the different ob-
jectives and the extent to which conflicting interests can be reconciled.
Public marketing agencies in their efforts to coordinate production
and marketing very often fail to take into consideration cross-demand
relationships in setting guaranteed prices. Further, their pricing policy
which does not take into consideration differences in the distribution
of income between rural and urban areas may tend to hinder the
growth of demand for locally produced foodstuff.
Department of Agricultural Economics,
University of the West Indies.
FAO. The Marketing of Domestic Food Crops. Report to the Government Jamaica,
#1564, Rome 1962, p. 4.
2. U.W.I. A Digest of West Indian Agricultural Statistics, Occasional Series #2, St.
Augustine, 1965, p. 5.
3. Government of Trinidad and Tobago, Draft Second Five Year Plan, 1964-1968. National
Planning Commission, p. 173.
4. FAO, United Nations, loc. it.
b. FAO, Uniled Nations, op. cit. p. 6.
5. UWI, op. cit., p. 113. Data for Trinidad are for the year 1957/58.
7. Sidney W. Mintz, "The Jamaican Internal Marketing Pattern". Social and Economic Studies,
Institute of Social and Economic Research, UWI, Jamaica, Vol. # 4, No. 1, March 1955, p. 100.
RESEARCH IN AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION
AGRICULTURE has been in the past and is still today the backbone
of the West Indian economy. But for possible minor changes in
emphasis this situation will undoubtedly continue far into the future.
According to figures recently published by the Department of Agricul-
tural Economics and Farm Management of the University of the West
Indies 1 agriculture was the greatest contributor in 1961 to the Gross
Domestic Product of all the West Indian territories except Jamaica
and Trinidad and Tobago, in which agriculture was the fourth and
third highest contributor respectively. The same source reveals that
the governments' recurrent expenditure on agriculture in 1962 ranged
from 3.9 percent in Barbados to 21.0 percent in Antigua of total re-
current expenditure. The proportion of the total non-recurrent ex-
penditure ranged from 3.6 percent in Jamaica to 46.3 percent in St.
Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla. All in all, more than thirty-five million
dollars were spent on agriculture in the region during 1962.
Much of this rather considerable sum was spent on providing
services and incentives aimed at inducing farmers to increase their
ericiency. Money is spent on agricultural research, on the training of
men to carry out research, on providing subsidies and on providing
the personnel for the agricultural extension services. However, rela-
tively little attention has so far been paid to the training of officers
for the very important and complex job of agricultural extension, and
even less to evaluating the efficiency of the extension services upon
which, in the final analysis, rests the success of any agricultural de-
velopment programme. If the results of research are not used by
farmers to increase their efficiency, and if a substantial amount of
research carried out in the region is not related to the problems of
the farmers, then the time and money spent on agricultural research is
to a large extent wasted
An agricultural extension service should properly serve two basic
functions. First it should concern itself with the collection of agricul-
tural information from research stations and other centres of agri-
cultural knowledge, sifting the information to determine what is
useful and practicable to farmers within its purview, and dissemin-
ating such useful information among all its farmers. Its responsibility
in this respect does not end with the mere dissemination of informa-
tion but continues until the farmers have been adequately educated
in the proper utilisation of the new knowledge or innovation, are
gaining some measure of benefit and satisfaction from its use and have
permanently accepted it as an improvement to their farming system.
The second function Is that of determining or discovering the major
problems with which farmers are faced and bringing these to the
attention of research workers who will attempt to find solutions to
In order to make the most efficient use of the resources of agri-
cultural extension services, information at four broad levels is required.
These correspond roughly with the broad areas In which agricultural
extension research is desirable, and are concerned with:-
1. Extension Personnel-Their knowledge level (with respect to
technical scientific agriculture, principles and methods of com-
munication, adult education, educational psychology, etc.),
their reaction to various developmental approaches, group co-
organisation to which they belong, etc.
2. The Farmer and the Farming Community-Their knowledge
level, their main sources of information, their attitudes, the
conditions necessary for and the educational processes leading
to their acceptance and adoption of innovations; the pattern
of diffusion of new ideas within the community; the farmers'
perception of the functions of the extension organisation,
their reaction to various developmental approaches, group co-
hesiveness within the community, etc.
3. Farm Problems-The physical and resource barriers to pro-
gress in farm organisation and development; the felt needs of
farmers, for relaying to research organizations .or Investigation.
4. Evaluation-Of the efficacy of different approaches to exten-
sion and of different methods of communication; of the
impact of the extension organisation in disseminating useful
Information and effecting the adoption of improved practices,
It is only within relatively recent years that serious studies with
relevance to the process of agricultural extension have been under-
taken. Results of studies carried out by the anthropologists, sociolo-
gists, social psychologists and economists in the context of their own
special fields were found to be relevant to the effective performance
of the complex duties of the agricultural extension worker. Soon rural
sociologists and extension educators began conducting research
specific to agricultural extension.
Wilson and Gallup2 in 1955 combined the data from field studies
conducted by the Federal and State Extension Services of the U.S.
over a 30-year period and used this to evaluate the effectiveness of
various extension teaching methods and to determine the influences
of some other factors on the adoption of agricultural and home
economics practices in the United States.
Lionberger3 in 1960 reviewed the studies dealing with the com-
munication and adoption of ideas and practices. He dealt mainly with
work which had been conducted by researchers in the land-grant
colleges in the United States, and presented "more than summary
knowledge of the research findings related to the process by which
changes in farm practices take place, and the conditions that in-
fluence acceptance rates."
In his book Difusion of Innovations published in 1962, Everett
Rogers 4 comprehensively reviews more than five hundred publications
and draws upon unpublished research both in North America and
Europe in appraising the theory of diffusion and attempting to deter-
mine methods through which diffusion can be hastened.
There is a rapidly growing volume of extension research from
areas such as North America, Europe, India, and Australia. Some of
the findings may be of value to extension workers in the West Indies,
but because of our different environment there is need for specific
studies in agricultural extension in the West Indies.
Research in agricultural extension was initiated in St. Augustine
soon after the appointment in 1962, of a Lecturer in Agricultural Ex-
tension. Because of limited staff and financial resources the research
programme has been rather modest, and much of the work has been
carried out by postgraduate students under the direction of the
Lecturer in Extension. Despite the limitations, however, some prelim-
inary work has been attempted in each of the four broad areas men-
tioned earlier as requiring to be investigated.
So far seven agricultural extension projects have been completed
and two others are in progress. In 1962/63 a rather superficial study
was made of the soil erosion problems of the Northern Range in
Trinidad.6 Information was sought on farmer attitudes towards
erosion, the methods of the various extension agencies examined and
suggestions made with regard to possible extension approaches for
attacking this pernicious problem.
There were two postgraduate student projects in extension in
1963/64 7, In one of these, a study of a group of vegetable growers
in North Trinidad 7, information was sought on the information
channels used by -farmers, the dates when farmers first became aware
of certain innovations and the year in which these innovations were
adopted. The individual vegetable growers were classified as early,
medium or late adopters according to the period which elapsed between
the time that knowledge of an innovation was first available in the
area and the time that the farmer actually adopted the innovation.
It was found that early adopters tend to be better educated than
the other categories, were generally younger, generally farmed larger
acreages than late adopters; and used more sources of information
than either medium or late adopters. A very interesting discovery
was that for all categories of adopters McDonald's Farmers Almanac
was the information source most frequently used, whereas extension
personnel were at the bottom of the list of the information sources
The pattern of diffusion of innovation within the community was
also investigated. The findings of the study indicate that when in-
formation about an innovation moves normally along the usual
channels such as salesmen, newspapers, radio and neighbours, the
community adoption pattern is as illustrated in Figure 1. The rate of
adoption at first slow, increases rapidly for a period then tails
NUMBER OF YEARS SINCE INTRODUCTION OF INNOVATION.
Fig. Normal pattern of adoption of innovations in a community of vegetable growers.
Results of the study also indicate that when there is a widespread,
acute problem facing the community and where the campaign approach
Is used, i.e. where very positive use is made of all possible informa-
tion media (e.g. meetings, visits by specialists, communication through
loud-speakers on vehicles moving slowly through the community, etc.),
the pattern of adoption is very different. Immediately ,following the
campaign there is a large number of adoptions of the innovation.
The number of new adopters per unit of time (e.g. per year) remains
high for a period then tails off gradually. Figure 2 on the next page
illustrates the pattern.
There were two other extension studies by students in the 1964/65
academic year. One was in the general field of the farmer and the
farming community, and was concerned with small scale dairy farm-
ing in Trinidad with particular reference to the adoption of improved
practices. In this study information was gathered on the number of
'improved' practices used by each farmer in the sample. Scores were
allotted for each practice and an advancement index constructed.
Farmers were placed into advancement classes which were considered
to correspond roughly with innovators, early adopters, early majority,
late majority and laggards. Analysis of data showed a statistically
positive relationship between level of education and the advancement
class of the farmer. Positive correlations were also observed between
advancement class and non-farming father, size of herd and use of
NUMBER OF YEARS SINCE INTRODUCTION OF INNOVATION.
Fig 2 Pattern of adcplion rf an innovalian in a community of vegetable gro-,ers
where thi inovction fills a widespread urgent need, and where the campaign
approach" is used.
all available media of communication. MacDonald's Almanac was
again found to be a frequently used source of information, but it was
used by neither the most advanced .farmers (the equivalents of inno-
vators and early adapters) nor the lowest scoring farmers (laggards)
The other student study of the 1964/65 year was in the field of
extension evaluation lo. It examined the effectiveness of the Cocoa
Rehabilitation Scheme of Trinidad and Tobago, (basically a devel-
opment through subsidies scheme), in making cocoa farmers perma-
nently adopt improved practices. Apart from showing that the Scheme
has greatly induced the acceptance and adoption by farmers of all
the recommended and subsidized practices as well as some non-sub-
sidised improved practices, the results of the study indicated a positive
relationship between the number of improved practices adopted by
farmers and (a) average yield of cocoa per acre, (b) farm income,
(c) size of farm, (d) distance of farm from a good road, and (e) .full-
time versus part-time farming.
A recent publication of the Department of Agricultural Econo-
mics and Farm Management of the University of the West Indies11
is an example of an extension study aimed at probing the felt needs
of farmers .for relaying to research specialists. In this instance the
preferences of pigeon pea growers in Trinidad with regard to the
growing and cropping pattern of that plant was sought for the Food
Crops Breeding Unit of the University.
A study of the training needs of extension personnel was initiated
late in 1964. The study embraces all the English speaking territories
from Jamaica to Trinidad, and was conducted by mail questionnaire.
The response from most territories has been satisfactory, and there
is enough material now for analysis. The study will provide informa-
tion not only on the levels of knowledge and experience of extension
officers of the area, but also on some of their attitudes and the use
they make of various communication channels in their extension
Table 1 shows the main sources of information used by farmers
in Trinidad who were included in the extension studies. The implica-
tion for the extension services in Trinidad are obvious. In the first
place, with the exception of those on government land settlements
only a relatively small proportion of farmers have contact with
extension officers. Fewer still had received extension publications. It
would seem, therefore, that if greater impact on the farming com-
munity is to be achieved the extension organisation should make full
use of those channels of communication most used by farmers, viz. the
radio and newspapers. One suggestion is that the extension organisa-
tion have regular radio programmes and columns in the popular
newspapers for disseminating information on improved practices.
Furthermore, greater emphasis might be placed In educating farmers
through farmer societies, and with this objective the extension organi-
sation might well play a more positive part in organising and working
through such societies.
The great popularity of MacDonald's Farmers Almanac with
Trinidad -farmers is a clear indication oil their felt need for a publica-
tion which provides information useful for the day to day running of
their farms. The information contained in the Almanac is not
particularly relevant to farming conditions in the West Indies, nor
will many of their recommendations stand the test of scientific veri-
fication. However in the absence of a better alternative these farmers
will continue to depend on this Almanac. As a direct result of the
findings of these extension studies, the Harland Society (an organisa-
tion of agricultural students and staff of the University of the West
Indies) has compiled a Farmers' Diary 12 which contains useful in-
formation for local farmers, and which, it is hoped, will replace the
MacDonald's Almanac as the farmers' major reference. It is intended
to publish this diary annually and to keep the information it contains
always up to date
Table 1. Use of Sources of Information by Some Trinidad Farmers.
Information Veget- Small Cocoa Govern- Total Rank
Sources Used able Dairy Growers ment Farmers
Growers Farmers (150) Land Using
(40) (50) Settlers Source
Extension Officer 6 13 40 26 85 4
Radio 36 39 118 29 222 1
Television 22 13 19 54 6
Newspaper 29 43 122 25 219 2
MacDonald's Almanac 30 16 43 27 116 3
Extension Leaflets 3 5 40 9 57 5
Commercial Leaflets 10 9 19 8
Salesmen 30 9 39 7
Farmer Societies 13 12 3 28 9
Source: References 7, 9 & 10 and unpublished report on an extension
survey in the Maracas Land Settlement, Trinidad, 1964.
All the West Indian territories could benefit from extension studies
such as those mentioned in this paper. With its present limited
facilities it is not possible fbr the University to undertake extensive
research in these territories. Should expectations be realized and a
Department of Agricultural Extension established in the University,
then more extension studies could be undertaken in the region. How-
ever, even with our present limitations it might be possible to
cooperate with territorial Ministries of Agriculture in planning ex-
tension research projects, the Ministries themselves providing the
resources for carrying out these projects.
T. H. HENDERSON
Department of Social Science, Trinidad,
University of the West Indies.
University of the West Indies, Deportment of Agricultural Economics and Farm Manage-
ment. A Digest of West Indian Agricultural Statistics. Occasional Series No. 2.
Trinidad: U.W.I. 1965.
2. Wilson, Meredith C., and Gladys Gallup. Extension Teaching Methods and other factors
that influence adoption of agricultural and home economics practices. U.S. Dept. of
3. Uonberger, Herrprt F. Adoption of New Ideas and Practices. A summary of the research
dealing with the acceptance of technological change in agriculture, with implications
for action in facilitating such change. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1960.
4. Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations. New York: The Free 'Press of Glencoe, 1962.
5. Emery, F. E. and O. A. Oeser. Information, Decision and Action: A Study of the
Psychological Determinants of Changes in Farming Techniques. New York: Cambridge
University Press. 1958.
6. Allison, D. A. "A Report on the Need for Conservation and Discussion of Methodi) to
achieve it in the Northern Ranges of Trinidad." Unpublished D.T.A. Report, U.W.I
7 Negus, T. R. "A Pilot Survey of Factors Influencing the Adoption of Improved Practices by
Vegetable Growers at Aranguez Estate, Trinidad." Unpublished D.T.A. Report, U.W.I.
B. Olivier, S. T. "The Adoption of Innovations by Trinidad Cane Farmers." Unpublished
C.A.S. Report. U.W.I., Trinidad, 1964.
9. MacMillan, A. A. "Small-Scale Dairy Farming in North Trinidad with particular reference
to the Adoption of Improved Practices." Unpublished D.T.A. Report. U.W.I., Trinidod.
10 Aina, E. A. 0. "An Appraisal of the Effectiveness of the Cocoa Rehabilitation Scheme
(Trinidad and Tobago) in bringing about the Adoption of Improved Farm Practices."
M.Sc. Thesis. U.W.I., Trinidad. 1965.
Henderson, T. H. Some Aspects of Pigeon Pea Farming in Trinidad. Occasional Series No. 3.
Dept of Agric. Econ. and Farm Management, U.W.I., Trindiad. 1965.
12. Harland Society of the University of the West Indies Trinidad and Tobago Fanners Diary.
Compiled in collaboration with the Faculty of Agriculture, U.W.I., and the Ministry
of Agriculture, Trinidad and Tobago. A special publication of the Extra-Mural
Department, U.W.I., Trinidad, 1965.
Higgledy, Piggledy, My Black Hen:
Poetry In Secondary Education
LITERATURE is a way of using language. It is a use of language
to communicate insights into what human life is. This communication
is done in a memorable and pleasurable way so the reader not only
feels his understanding of life growing and deepening but at the
same time enjoys the way in which the transference of the writer's
vision is effected. This is the purpose of the playwright, the novelist
and the poet. Of poetry the poet C. Day Lewis says: 'Poetry is a special
way of using words to create a special effect upon the reader and to
light up the world for him.'1 This statement can be applied to all
that we can call literature.
Literature, then, is one of the enjoyments of living. But its pursuit
requires the possession of certain skills which have to be acquired at
school. In under-developed countries, however, the inescapable pre-
occupation with economic progress often makes skills for the enjoy-
ment of living seem unessential. It is, nevertheless, unrealistic to
pretend that all the education a person needs, or the country needs
to give, is training for earning a living and for turning the economic
wheel; or to pretend that only an intellectual elite requires training
in non-physical forms of enjoyment, and that only such an elite can
absorb such training. No country can afford to allow pupils to pass
out of schools ready to sit as desks or machines but unready to use
a large part of their capacities when the whistle lets them out. The
idea that the intellect is to be used merely for economic ends, and
left unused after work, is a ruinous one. Yet, the tendency to lay
all emphasis on utilitarian and technological skills is growing, while
other useful skills for living are being brushed aside. This is, indeed,
a thoughtless way of attempting to develop a country. Even from the
economic point of view it is well known that greater efficiency comes
from workers whose imaginations have been developed.
One of the first educational casualties in the fight for economic
expansion is the study of literature. To avert its complete elimination
the teaching of the subject needs to be changed so that a larger per-
centage of our secondary school graduates, who later become policy-
makers, sense and appreciate its value as a source of pleasure, under-
standing and wislom. We need to think very seriously about its teach-
ing because up to now it is mistaken teaching that has failed to
reveal its benefits. We need to ask ourselves whether we teach it with
the appropriate objectives in view, whether we select and grade what
1. Poetry for You. Basil Blackwell. 1944.
v.e teach to suit our pupils, and whether we present it in ways that
are interesting, stimulating and helpful.
Our main objectives must be the sharpening of perception and
the increase c.f satisfaction that come with an experience through
words, which are both sounds and symbols. Teachers of English have
the task of cultivating the capacity to experience poems, novels and
plays, all of which are experienced through words. They have to
sharpen the perception of nuances in sound and tone, and deepen the
understanding both of the symbolic force of words and of the
universal of life. But before the teaching task can be begun a great
deal of enquiring thought has to be given to what is involved in the
process that is the experience of literature. Let us look at the ex-
perience of poetry to see what ought to happen to a reader of a poem.
Basically the experience of poetry is a sensuous one. One prime
source of pleasure is the mere sounds of the words. The 'personality'
of a word in a physical sense often has, by itself, an effect upon us.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree:
Higgledy, pigglely, my black hen
She lays eggs for gentlemen
The delicate pleasure that we get, at different ages perhaps, from, a
mere speaking of these lines is both aural and kinaesthetic. A satis-
faction comes from the tongue movements (even in silent reading) as
much as from the music made by the kinds of sounds and rhythm.
Both couplets are examples of words used to communicate an emo-
tional tone or hue. While other elements also affect the reader there
is no doubt that sound and rhythm by themselves play a large part
in our .feelings here so that these lines spoken to a listener who does
not understand English still convey a flippancy in one case and! a
kind of salubrious grace in the other.
This distinction in tone between them is more, perhaps, an effect
of associations. But associations are connected with the kind of sounds
the words make as much as with the ideas which the words denote
and which have acquired auras of connotation. 'Black hen' and 'plea-
sure dome' obviously put us into different worlds of experience (which
is not to say they could not exist in the same place). 'Xanadu', 'Kubla,
Khan', 'decree' (when taken with the former two), 'gentlemen', all
are flat, neutral facts until we use ideas and sentiments associated
with them in the mind to grasp the fuller substance of what is being
communicated. Thus we go through an intellectual process of pick-
ing up clues and using associations to fill in the blanks, as it were, of
the poet's compressed language. This is an important part of the ex-
perience of poetry although many of us seldom consciously distinguish
this source of pleasure.
Intellectually, too, we discern precision in the use of words which
'light up the world for us' when the poet in one swift stroke catches
the quintessence of an experience. 'As idle as a painted ship upon a
painted ocean' wrote the poet, and many a reader has had his breath
momentarily taken away by the truthfulness and perception of the
poet's description. The mind is often put into a state of joyful agita-
tion by the disciplined use of words for vivid illumination, for creating
harmonies, and for transforming into a tangible experience things
which, ordinarily, it can hardly distinguish without the poet's art. All
sorts of -fresh verbal relationships produce this mental excitement,
and the inherent sense of balance and order that we all have finds
delight in the poet's architecture. The lesson in poetry should in-
volve, to some degree, this kind of intellectual linguistic experience
and should involve it more and more as reading skills are developed.
Thus the senses and the intellect serve to enlighten the imagin-
ative grasp of the poem. The leap to an imaginative conception of
the writer's meaning is the essential product of the messages from
the senses and the intellect. If nothing grows in the imagination from
the seeds of words in the poem it is because the senses felt nothing
and the intellect perceived nothing. The, exact process by which the
synthesis and transformation take place is not clear to psychology.
It is highly improbable, nevertheless, that any two readers would get
identical images of a poem's meaning since every individual has to use
his own experience to interpret the sign-posts. But some image of
summation must emerge if the poem is to have an existence in his
mind. The nearer the reader's background of experience is to the
poet's the nearer his conception would be to the poet's idea. That is
one reason why West Indian pupils should be exposed to as much
West Indian verse as possible.
Finally, the reader, having received the poem's meaning, turns it
over in his mind and does an evaluation of whatever came alive in his
imaginative vision. It is looked at to see where it fits into what is
known in one's life or to see what new slant it gives. We do not
accept as a matter of course the apprehension it carries, but its
impact induces a reflection upon, and sometimes a re-interpretation of,
events and observations of the past. A confirmation or rearrange-
ment of values often takes place with the deeper understanding of
the significance of things. So our satisfaction comes not only from
the sensuous pleasure given by the texture of words and the intel-
lectual unravelling of the tightly woven communication of idea
charged with feeling. Our satisfaction comes, too, from knowing that
we have a firmer hold on the question which we begin to ask at the
age of four or so: 'Why is that so?' Science gives us part of the
answer, literature the other.
This is the experience we must prepare our pupils to enjoy but
when it is put In this way most teachers in the West Indies would
despair of ever being able to do it. Part of the problem is that most
teachers who are put to teach poetry do not themselves know what
happens when poetry is really read. Other teachers who understand
what real teaching of poetry is, are of the opinion that it is too
difficult to do in places where Standard British English is not the
mother tongue. They point out that, although examination passes are
obtained, their pupils' senses feel nothing and their intellects perceive
nothing. It is quite true that the task is not a straightforward one.
But If the senses fail to feel, it might be because our pupils have not
learnt how to allow themselves to hear and to feel; and if the in-
tellect does not perceive, it is probably because the ideas denoted by
the words and the associations attached to the words have not been
assimilated. Both of these deficiencies can be avoided by wise
Perhaps the two most damaging practices in teaching poetry are
the choosing of poems unsuitable to the particular pupils being taught
and the putting of undue emphasis on means as ends in themselves.
The first error induces either a hollow hypocrisy and pretense at
enjoyment or a rejection of poetry as 'highbrow stuff'; the second leads
nowhere and leaves the pupils' sensibilities just as they were before.
Poems must be chosen to match the emotional maturity of the pupils
and, therefore, must not reflect maturer feelings than the pupils
reading them can experience or imagine. This is a vital consideration.
What do we really expect to happen to West Indian twelve-year old
boys to whom is given Keats' 'Ode to a Nightingale'? Do we really
expect their feelings to understand Keats' wish for death? Without
question we need to help our pupils to mature by exposing to them
various facets of life, But we achieve the opposite when we venture
too far out of their depth. We drown them. Here, as in all our teach-
ing, we must apply what we know of child development.
Poems chosen must also relate to a certain extent to the back-
ground experience of the pupils. This does not mean, however, the
physical background as much as their background of understandings.
For instance, a pupil may understand about being in an underground
mine shaft without ever having been near one. On the other hand,
children who have no idea of a train in motion can hardly get any-
thing out of Sassoon's 'Morning Express' or Auden's 'Night Mail'.
Thirdly, in choosing poems the teacher has to be reasonably
certain that difficulties of vocabulary and of sentence structure are
few, if any. Again, difficulty is to be interpreted in relation to the
pupils being taught. This is certainly one of the considerations in
introducing Shakespeare, for example. But too often this does not
get sufficient regard in deciding on less complex works. A poetry
lesson which descends into a vocabulary lesson does more harm than
Just as frequently as poems are dealt with as if they were con-
venient vehicles for dictionary exercises, the teaching begins and ends
with scansion, making out rhyme schemes, and picking out figures
of speech. Obviously the appreciation of the relationship between the
metrical characteristics, the form, the figures of speech, on the one
hand, and the whole intention and meaning of the poem, on the
other, comes with developed skill in reading, which is a goal of all
the teaching. Logically it might seem correct to begin with definition
and recognition of prosodic elements. Psychologically it is pointless
and frustrating. Pupils fail to see the purpose of it when it is done
too early and assume that appreciating poetry is that kind of useless
activity. Once they enter this cul-de-sac the teacher of the exam-
ination form has to rush to 'notes' on the poems and the pupils are
required to write 'appreciations' in which they are expected to en-
thuse about the 'beautiful' effects that the teacher and the textbook
notes told them are there. Qualities are ascribed to poems as a result
of discovering one or two figures of speech. A remark that is com-
monly encouraged (and, indeed, sometimes taught as a useful phrase)
is that the similes give a vivid picture. Few teachers at this stage,
with the examination hanging over their heads, would begin to
encourage pupils to make personal assessments of the appropriate-
ness and power of the similes in the poem.
However, when the energies of the teacher are properly used the
lessons in poetry aim at helping pupils to get satisfaction from under-
standing the poet's meaning and to get pleasure from discerning the
poet's art in communicating that meaning. This means helping pupils
to discover how poets use words. In this endeavour the denotations
of words have an obvious part to play, but connotations usually carry
the real significance of the words. Our pupils need to recognize this,
as well as to be able to listen for harmonies, discordances and feel-
ing in word arrangements. While a poeml is not to be read as a
stimulant for some kind of emotional titillation such as we get from
bad sentimental verse, the emotion inhering in the choice and sequence
of the words is a vital component in what the poem is saying. When
we read Wilfred Owen's 'Futility' bitterness is an essential part of
what he is saying. It is why he wrote the poem. To reach inside of
us, he makes his statement through the feelings which the words
transmit. We do not have to agree with his contention, but we do
have to receive it as the act of reading the poem. The teacher must
begin and end doing what he can to develop this receptivity
Receptivity cannot be aided by telling pupils how to feel. It can
only be done by guiding pupils in their examination of the poets'
words in poem after poem, and encouraging them to be conscious of
their personal response to what the words suggest. Some will not get very
far: their reactions will not be as subtle or sophisticated as the few.
Nevertheless, if a pupil at the end of his fifth year of secondary
education can read Derek Walcott's 'A City's Death %by Fire' and react
in an articulate way to its communication, he would have been pre-
pared -for enjoyment of something more besides horse-racing, skittles,
bridge, fashion shows, beauty contests and calypsoes. We should think
of the steps which could lead us to this goal.
In deciding on such a sequence of steps or stages we must first
remember that because poetry is so elusive an art its pursuit is easily
given up unless the individual has a strong positive attitude towards
it. Some people have a favourable attitude because they have heard
often enough that it is something that goes with culture and refine-
ment. They are most often found in literary clubs where class-
conscious individuals float in a rapture of superior enthusiasm. They
are very seldom competent or habitual readers of poetry. Good, habitual
rcaaers of poetry begin by learning to get sensuous pleasure out of
poems. On this is built the more complete satisfaction that comes
with more intellectual appreciation.
The first step then, in the first year or two of secondary educa-
tion, if it has not been done before, is to ensure that poetry does
something to the pupils. We have at that stage to use such poems
and deal with them in such a way that the pupils' feelings would be
affected as they would be affected by a tune in music. This is the
essential first step. The rhythm and sounds of the poems must be
strong enough and simple enough to make this appeal. Not all the
tunes should be happy tunes, not all the rhythms gay. At the age
we have in mind most o-f them should be, but regularly a slower, sad
movement must be introduced. If effective, this averts the impression
that only lively tunes can affect the feelings. It also prepares the
way for poems which treat of the not-so-jolly things in life. It is not
too early to begin to face life in the round. At this stage a good story
is always enjoyed, and story poems with strong rhythms and tuneful
sounds make most appeal. But lyrics with feelings which can be
caught by pupils of the age are often more exciting. Two excellent
examples are 'Fifteen Acres' and 'The Snare', both by James Stephens.
One is joyful and the other is sad. Both should do something to the
pupils so that their feelings respond to the poet's arrangement of
words. If they do, they are suitable first-stage poems.
The basic means of getting this across is through oral readings
of the poem by teacher, pupils, the poets themselves, and competent
artistes. Poems are meant to be heard. More competent readers are
able to read silently and hear the poet's voice on the inner ear. But
this needs an adequate amount of oral practice to achieve and even
then is never a satisfactory substitute for reading aloud. In the first
year or so of secondary education lessons should involve a great deal
of reading aloud. A poem should usually be read by the teacher at
least twice before the class is asked to read it aloud, and it is often
better to allow an intermediate step where the poem is looked at, some
questions raised, and a general familiarity obtained as a preparation
for the reading by the class. When this intermediate step is necessary
the teacher should follow it up with another reading or two of his
own (or from a recording) before the class reads. Thereafter the
class should read the poem several times, though not necessarily
right through each time. Their objective must be to give themselves
to the poet's rhythm and tone, and matters raised for discussion
should, therefore, centre around that aim. Frequently the culmination
cf the study is a choral orchestration, if the poem is suitable. This
should be recorded, perhaps against a background of suitable music.
A word or warning must be sounded before it is too late. If the
teacher wishes to ask 'Do you like the poem?' he should not do so
until the poem has had a chance of reaching the pupils. The question
should be avoided altogether or asked only at the end of the lesson.
Regularly, however, we will ask pupils to read for the class poems of
their choice that they especially like, in order to promote a more
active appreciation. The .premature query about their reaction too
often encourages a negative response based on irrelevant reasons.
Vocal interpretation is the basic means at this stage but variety
of treatment is always essential. Enjoyment is intensified at this level
through activities like mimng, drawing, dramatising, and original
verse-writing. It is not the intention here to discuss the use of all
of these means but an example of the use of choral interpretation
could be outlined.
The poem is Hilare Belloc's 'Tarentella' It should be suitable
-for a class in the first half of the second year, and the teacher could
have as the aims of the lesson (a) to lead the pupils to perceive and
feel the poet's use of words in realising the dance; (b) to lead them
to perceive and feel something of the atmosphere of nostalgic mystery.
As the achievement of aim (a) calls for repeated oral readings of
the poem, the lesson could be introduced by saying 'Listen to the
rhythm of this poem', and reading it to let the dance rhythm come
out clearly before the pupils see the poem themselves. A second read-
ing by the teacher immediately following the first is also advisable
to ensure greater receptivity.
Do you remember an Inn,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of the tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
(Under the vine of the dark verandah)?
Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
Who hadn't got a penny,
And who weren't paying any,
And the hammer at the doors and the Din?
And the Hip! Hop! Hap!
Of the clap
Of the hands to the twirl and the swirl
Of the girl gone chancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snapping of the clapper to the spin
Out and in -
And the Ting, Tong, Tang of the Guitar!
Do you remember an Inn,
Do you remember an Inn?
Only the high peaks hear;
And Aragon a torrent at the door.
In the walls of the Halls where falls
Of the feet of the dead to the ground.
But the boom
Of the Waterfall like Doom.
After this introduction, Phase One of the lesson is to give the
pupils an initial familiarity with the poem. They are allowed to look
at the poem for a couple of minutes and the teacher then says, 'Now
that you have looked at it I will read it again while you keep the
time by clapping softly.' (Clapping, tapping, whistling, swaying hands
and so on are very useful means of increasing consciousness of
rhythmical patterns but can lead to disaster when used by a weak
teacher or with pupils not accustomed to sensible self-disciplinr.)
When this is finished it leads to the important question: 'What comes
to mind? What does it sound like? What does the rhythm suggest?'
If none, or just a few, mention something like a dance, the teacher
should read some lines again to help them to hear the dance rhythm.
As soon as this is heard the teacher asks 'What kind of dance? Calypso?
Waltz? Twist?' 'Dance of what kind of country?' 'Where are the
Pyrenees?' 'Aragon?' With questions like these the teacher tries to
get the class to read 'dance of Spain' into the poem and the initial
familiarity is nearly complete. It could now be reinforced by playing
a bit of recorded tarantella music and then asking the class to read
the poem aloud to bring out the beat of the dance, clapping hands
softly while reading.
Phase Two of the lesson could be a brief attempt to evoke the
associations built into the poem and to get the pupils to sense the
atmosphere so produced. 'When you think of Spain what pictures
come to mind?' 'How do you feel or what do you think of those
things?' 'When you read the poem what pictures come to mind?' 'Did
the poet experience going to the place?' 'Once, or twice?' 'What do
you think the poet saw, heard, tasted and felt there?' 'Are those
things familiar or strange to you?' 'What do you -feel or what comes
to mind when you imagine them?' 'How would you feel if you were
there with the poet?' Such questions should help-if the poem Is well
chosen for the class-in establishing some conception of the scene
and the feeling so necessary for an adequate reading to be done.
To pass into Phase Three the teacher could say 'Let us go back
to the rhythm. Read the poem aloud again.' So the next few minutes
could be spent on the important matter of getting the class to per-
ceive quite clearly the change and contrast made in rhythm and
imagery. (The term 'imagery' will not be used by the teacher in the
lesson!) 'Does the tempo change from the dance at all?' 'Where does
it change?' 'Why do you think the poet changed the tempo?' 'What
kind of change is it, to what kind of movement?' 'Read the contrast-
ing part aloud and tap the desk.' 'What do you find? What does' the
beat suggest?' 'Now, what do you see in your imagination as you read
the slow part?' 'Does it make you feel anything?'
By this time half of the forty mniutes would have been spent
and the teacher must get the class to begin practising a choral read-
ing which will be recorded. This reading must apply their own in-
terpretation of the mood and cadence of the poem. They must, there-
-fore, be allowed to decide how* the reading should go. The teacher's
part here is to prevent error by referring to the poem as the& source
of guidance. The pupils must be encouraged to suggest the general
pace, the variations in pace, the tones of voice at different places, and
whether the whole poem should be spoken in unison or not. This will
have to be done quickly; a finished performance could be worked on
in another lesson. After the first practice run it will be necessary to
draw attention to something different about the one-word lines:
Miranda, Glancing, Dancing. 'Do they seem to call for a lengthening?
Try lengthening them a little instead of cutting them short. 'Now,
what comes out of that?' Let the class have as many practice runs as
time allows but make sure they are given a specific improvement to
work for each time and not a vague exhortation to do it better. Record
their reading when there is no time left for practice, using the taran-
tella music as an introduction. Play back the recording, ask for com-
ments and make some encouraging but honest ones.
Conclude the lesson by tying it in with the following lesson in
some such way as this: 'Next poetry lesson we will have another poem
where the rhythm is a dance rhythm. Ever heard of the rhumba? If
you haven't, try and listen to a rhumba record before the next poetry
lesson.' Or, 'As you said you would like to work on the choral inter-
tation some more we'll use the next poetry period to do that.'
Pupils who have had practice in responding to metrical patterns
and subtleties of rhythm could be stimulated to attempt verse-writing,
but this has to be carefully guided. It is generally recognized that pupils
who make regular tries at writing verse become better appreciators
of poetry and write much better prose. Yet, little has been written on
how to conduct verse-writing lessons and teachers sometimes think
it enough merely to tell the pupils to write a poem. This seldom works
with average secondary-school children, except to produce the occa-
sional group of rhymed lines edited by the teacher for the school
magazine. If the majority of pupils are to find satisfaction from, it
the lessons 'must be planned to help the pupils with any difficulties of
metre and of content selection. Further, pupils should be set to write
only about things which they feel something about. With pupils who
have passed the first stage the approach through free verse is most
rewarding, while pupils just developing a zest for poetry seem to
prefer making lines with a strongly marked rhythm. At this time they
like using rhyme too, but it is often so forced that doggrel is what
emerges. The danger is much less if the verse is of a humorous kind,
otherwise rhyme should be called for in small doses.
It seems helpful at this point to give an example of a verse-writ-
ing lesson involving both rhyme and regular rhythm. For this the
poem 'Smells' by Christopher Morley can be used. Two things the
teacher needs to get each pupil to do: one is to remember a smell
which has a pleasant emotional effect on him or her; the other is to
get an accurate grasp of the metre to be used. These two aspects of
the exercise must get separate attention at different times in the
lesson. One way is to begin by encouraging the recall in the imagina-
tion of smells which evoke a pleasant feeling of some kind with,
perhaps, some vague memories. We all have these, and the teacher
could begin by giving one or two of his own. After a little thought
the class should be ready to tell of theirs. When the pupils have re-
called some smells and the feelings that come with them the teacher
could read the poem, introducing the reading with a remark like 'I
will read a poem in which the poet tells of smells which make him
feel a pleasant emotion.' The class then listen, without themselves
seeing the poem, as the teacher reads twice through, giving a per-
ceptible emphasis to the metre. The class would then be given the
poem to study for a brief while, noting the poet's selection of smells
and how he communicated his feeling, with particular attention
to the beat and how the lines should be read aloud. Some question-
ing could follow silent study to ensure understanding of the poet's
feelings. The main thing, however, is to help the pupils to get an
accurate idea of the metre of the verse so as to be able to compose
lines having the same lilt. Use any .feasible means to convey this. Let
the pupils clap softly, tap the desks, sway heads or hands, anything
The next step is to have the class co-operate with one another
and with the teacher in composing three lines on the chalkboard. The
teacher might first hazard his own previously composed lines; for
The smell of mangoes on the bough,
And sugar cane, that even now
Come sharp and clear to me.
Then the class select a smell that is a common pleasant stimulus and,
with the help of the teacher, work together at making up three lines.
This act of composition by the class as a whole not only builds up
enthusiasm and confidence but also enables errors in the measure to
be detected and amended.
The final phase of this lesson, of course, sets each pupil to make
up his own lines. The teacher could add some impetus by saying
that it would be a good idea to put a class poem into the school
magazine. Each pupil is to choose the smell that is most stirring to
him and compose three lines of verse with the given rhythm pattern.
The best compositions would then be put together to make the class
poem. Before the end of the period a beginning must be made by
every pupil, but two or three days can be set as the deadline for
submitting compositions. In a lesson planned along these lines no
pupil has too much to do. All can tackle the limited goal with a good
chance of doing it well, having had practice in the elements and
skills necessary. Verse-writing would be helped to lose its daunting
reputation and to move towards acquiring a very powerful attraction
when more positive effects can be achieved by the pupils as they
mature intellectually, emotionally and linguistically.
It was said a little earlier that pupils could be channelled to try
this kind of verse-writing after some development of metrical dis-
cernment. This was not meant to imply that the writing of free verse
could not be attempted before that. Indeed the writing of free verse
is probably the best way to introduce verse-writing to pupils in West
Indian secondary schools. A tiny but growing number of teachers in
these islands are becoming aware of the value of Margaret Langdon's
'intensive writing' approach. Those who have, to the writer's knowledge,
experimented with the method as elucidated in Mrs. Langdon's little
book 'Let the Children Write' 1 have all reported quite satisfactory
results in terms of pupils' sensitivity to word connotations, tightness
of phrase, and to honest emotion. Pupils with an indifference to
poetry take to it just as well but best results seem to come from
pupils whose vocabularies include a serviceable stock of descriptive
epithets, verbs and adverbs. From one class of eleven-year-old boys
in a secondary grammar school in Jamaica the writer got results like
these in the very first lesson in 'intensive writing' In the third phase
c.f the lesson the pupils were to imagine being in a hurricane.
(1) I can hear the crashing of trees as they are blown down.
I hear sounds like tidal waves beating on the shore.
I hear the next door baby howling for her Mummy.
(2) I am frightened,
I hear a very peculiar noise outside.
The roof is leaking.
It is very cold.
I feel around.
It is very dark and frightening.
The wind is blowing very hard.
(3) The wind roars like a wounded lion.
Outside, trees and falling and things are being washed away.
1. Margaret Langdon. Let The Children Write, Longmans, 1961.
(4) I hear the howling of the wind and the occasional fall of a
I crouch in a corner on the cold damp floor wishing for some light.
(5) I am deathly frightened and a cold shiver comes up my spine.
The hurricane is raging madly.
The skies are black and menacing with the howling of the cold
And the constant tapping of the rain.
The room brightens with lightning
And the roaring thunder rattles the thin old house.
(6) The sky is black like the devil's heart.
The exercise in striving for correctness and realism in their lines, and
for an incipient tension in the patterns of the words. helps the Dpuils
to read poetry with more relish, as well as to write more effectively.
Other ways c.f encouraging the writing of free verse will occur to the
imaginative teacher. A lesson given by a teacher to pupils of the
middle age range will be referred to later.
Together with listening, reading, choral speaking, miming, drama-
thing, verse-writing and other active approaches at this stage, the
teacher will use whenever necessary-but only as far as is useful-
guided class discussion in the course of the lesson on points which
the pupils can cope with, omitting 'matters which are too difficult to
pursue at this stage without valueless lecturing. The teacher might
.ay 'What sound does this line suggest?' 'Is the poet being serious and
solemn or is he being playfully mocking? How do you know?' 'Why
does the poet say "the roar of the sun"? Can the sun roar?'-questions
cf that level. Such questions have a place right through the school
course although concentration upon them will not come before the
second stage of appreciation.
After the first stage, where pupils have learnt to give themselves
to a poem to see what effect it is meant to have, it is then time to
begin to direct attention to the special way in which words are used
in poetry to achieve this communication. Some of this would have
been begun already as a 'means to another end, but it now becomes
the guiding principle for most lessons. This is not to say that any
deep probing can be done at the second stage. All that should be aimed
at is a growing awareness that there is some art involved, some
selection on the poet's part, in stringing words together to make a
pattern. The compressed nature of the language, the quality of
imagery used, the associations aroused, the suggestiveness of the
rhythm, the tones and attitude reflected in the choice of words-these
are the matters that must now be given a preparatory attention. Let
it be emphasised that this second stage is a preparation for the third
stage where such matters will have to get careful attention. Here,
however, we aim at helping pupils to see what matters, what to look
for even when they cannot find it. If they get the idea that rhythm,
1 1 *
associations, imagery and so on are the elements or the clues which point
to the meaning, and that the enjoyment comes from discerning the
poet's purpose in each case, It does not matter very much at this
intermediate stage if their reactions are somewhat inaccurate or mis-
judged. This might seem to be a misleading course but it is not.
Skill comes with practice. We do not become champions overnight.
We begin by trying to do the right thing. Our failures grow less fre-
quent as we keep on practising, if we know what to practise doing.
This works with mental skills as well as physical ones. Some accuracy
must be achieved, of course, but accuracy on one or two .features of
a particular poem is a good enough beginning. If, for example, in
reading 'The Destruction of Sennacherib' a pupil finds the rhythm
suggestive of the galloping of the horses and producing a kind of
uneasiness or excitement in him, he has stepped on the road which
could take him to the tonal effects of Elliot's subtler rhythms in
'Journey of the Magi' and, later, 'Preludes'. If in reading Masefield's
'Cargoes' or Tennyson's 'The Eagle' a pupil discerns the effect o.f the
associations that are brought into play, the preparation has begun
for him to get the force of the associations in more difficult poems
Good local poems should be used as much as possible in doing
this. Up to the present much of the verse published by West Indians
is too unskillfully done to warrant time in school, but there are
enough good ones to choose some from. Never forget, though, that the
poem must match the pupils' level of all-round maturity. Let us take
one: 'Flowers' by Dennis Craig of British Guiana.
I have never learnt the names of flowers.
From beginning, my world has been a place
Of pot-holed streets where thick, sluggish gutters race
In slow time, away from garbage heaps and sewers
Past blanched old houses around which cowers
Stagnant earth. There, scarce green thing grew to chase
The dull grey squalor of sick dust; no trace
Of plant save few sparse weeds; just these, no flowers.
One day, they cleared a space and made a park
There in the city's slums; and suddenly
Came stark glory like lightning in the dark,
While perfume and bright petals thundered slowly.
I learnt no names, but hue, shape and scent mark
My mind, even now, with symbols holy.
This poem might be presented to a third-year class in some such way
as the following. The pupils should be familiar with features of the
scenery in the drab parts of a town. The teacher could begin by
asking them to recall some of these. When some truthful images are
mentioned the teacher would read the poem. The class listen without
seeing the poem. The teacher reads again and then lets the pupils
read the poem silently to hear the writer's tone of voice. They then
read the poem aloud and try to use the right emotional tone of voice
and the right pace. The question of what emotional feeling they were
trying to bring out, and why, is then raised. 'What feeling is the
writer trying to communicate?' 'What mood does the tempo suggest?'
'Does the tone sound sincere? Why do you think so?'-these are
examples of questions at this point. The pupils give the clues in the
poem that guide them in their judgments and the teacher notes
relevant ideas on the chalkboard, following some feasible arrangement.
The class could then be asked to study the poem again for the
images it presents. This is followed by 'Did the writer give truthful or
prettied-up pictures?' 'What is truthful about this image?' 'That one?'
'What feelings are usually associated with this image?' 'That one?'
'How do people usually feel about it-disgusted, sad, inspired, happy,
joyous?' 'Did the writer give all possible details or did he select some?'
'Why do you think he selected those he did?' 'Would the effect have
been different if he had selected images like neon signs, colourful
advertisements, skittle tables, juke boxes?' 'Why?' Throughout this
phase the teacher again notes in an appropriate section of the chalk-
board the relevant comments made by different pupils. This phase
can be completed with another oral reading by the class.
To begin Phase Three the teacher asks the pupils to study the
writer's use of words to see whether the words and phrases chosen do
what is intended. The general question to be raised is what words
and phrases the writer seemed to use specially for some effect. Things
not taken up by the pupils themselves could be mentioned by the
teacher in ways like these: 'Consider the words "blanched" and
"cowers" What impression do they make on you?' 'Why does the
writer use the word "stagnant" when earth is not a liquid?' 'Can
flowers "thunder"? 'What effect reaches you with "thundered slowly"?'
'What about "stark"?' And so on. The chalkboard is used to catch
all that is relevant coming from the class.
Before closing the lesson with one final reading by the class the
teacher sets an assignment. The pupils are to write assessments of
the poem along the lines followed in the lesson. The teacher quickly
goes over the pupils' findings as tabulated on the chalkboard, taking
care to point out that they are all individual and personal reactions
and that everyone is to write only what he personally thinks. The
poem is finally read aloud in unison or in a solo reading and if there
is still time the pupils could begin to make their notes for doing the
It is to be noticed that the poem was read aloud several times
and examined for the manner in which the writer expressed his
thought with economy and force. The poem was not used for a socio-
economic discussion. It is also to be noted that the lesson led up to
written work involving the pupils' own reactions to matters raised by
the teacher. This is valuable for examination purposes. The guidance
given must show them what to look for and not tell them what they
must find. We all know that whenever we tell pupils what they ought
to think or .feel or discern in a particular poem we make it virtually
impossible for them to do so. We force them to substitute hypocrisy
for sensitivity. They pass examinations with hypocritical, sychophantic
answers whichh is why we do it) and they never read poetry again.
Original verse-writing becomes even more valuable at this stage.
The attempt to use verse to be economical and meaningful in ex-
pressing some personal insight generates greater interest, deepens
perception and increases reading ability. Poems like Walt Whiteman's
'Miracles' and Dylan Thomas' 'Schoolboy' can be used for promoting
the activity. One teacher used 'Miracles' with a third-year class in
this way. Before reading the poem she posed the question 'What is a
miracle?' After receiving views she read the poem twice and then
guided a discussion on what things the poet thought were miracles
and why. The poem was then read by the class several times for
them to get the movement of the lines. The pupils were then made to
think cf comparable things with which they were familiar and which
could be described as miracles in the poet's view. When the class had
warmed up to this the teacher put the suggestion about attempting
some lines on one or two of their own individual 'miracles'. To quote
the teacher, 'The poems produced were pleasing both to the teacher
and to the pupils. As many as time allowed were read to the class.
They were very pleased with their products and were quite sorry
when the bell ended the class.' 1
If interesting second-stage teaching is done, average pupils should
be ready to work at a more careful level of analysis some time before
the end of the fourth year, the time of readiness depending on
several factors, one of which is the content of the other aspects of
the English course. As said before, connotative vocabulary and ex-
perience set the limits at all times. But, granted a useful English
syllabus in the first three years of secondary education, more detailed
and more accurate analysis with increasingly difficult poems marks
the third stage of poetry teaching. The emphasis now shifts towards
accuracy and exhaustiveness. Otherwise this stage is different from
the second or intermediate stage only in the increased maturity and
experience demanded, the subtler rhythms and tonal devices to be
distinguished, and the wider range of associations to be drawn upon.
We would like all pupils to reach this stage by the end of the fifth
year, but it cannot be hurried. Pupils must not be pushed into the
second or third stage until they are ready. What in practice too often
happens is that they are coached for the examination like robots
carrying memory computers to regurgitate words, phrases, sentences,
and paragraphs of what appears to them to be mythical balderdash.
1. Joan Grant. A Teaching Practice Study (unpublished). Dept. of Educati University of
the West Indies 1965.
Pupils who have been thoughtfully prepared in earlier years
should be able to deal with a poem like Maria Rilke's 'Piano Practice' 1
in the fifth year. The poet is presenting a study of an aristocratic
young woman waiting for a return of romance and adventure into her
velvet life. The pupils should be able, with guiding questions from
the teacher, to get most of the meaning out of it. Most important is
for them to notice how the poet manages to say so much so 'memorably
in so few lines. One difficulty we can anticipate is that such a way
of life is unfamiliar to them at first hand. Another is that they might
not know enough of life to perceive that the poet is referring to a
fairly common predicament. But by the fifth year they should have
read enough good novels, seen enough good films, have had frequent
discussions cn life and people, and in other ways made to think
enough about people around them to be able to look in the direction
the poet is pointing.
Summer buzzes through the drowsy mood
of afternoon. Confused, she fluffs her fresh
dress, and into the profound etude
she plays impatiently a fretfulness
for something real that might befall tomorrow,
this evening or perhaps now in the dark
is hidden. Suddenly through the lofty window
she is aware of the richly pampered park.
She breaks off playing, looks out, twines her hands,
wishes for some long book, and then, disturbed,
she pushes back the jasmine scent. She finds
the fragrance hurts.
Before the poem is read the pupils must know (told, if necessary)
that an etude is a short musical composition written to be used as
an exercise. It would be very valuable if they could see its association
with what is, in the sense of expounding a statement on life, point-
less and superficial. It is not "something real" Pupils who have
listened to serious music should be able to see the difference. But as
few, if any, of the pupils in a West Indian school would have had
that advantage it would probably have to be skipped-although some
loss would ensue, as the poet did not choose to say "etude" for nothing.
With whatever preparation can be done the teacher might then read
the poem once or twice before the pupils see it. They listen and try
to think of a title for it. Then they are given the poem to look through
a few times, having been told that they must be prepared to tell what
images formed in their imaginations as they studied it. The first
questions would then centre around the visual images: What is hap-
pening? Where? What comes to you from 'lo-fty window'? 'Richly
pampered park?' What is the mood of the person? How do you know?
Why is she in that mood? How do you know?
Having established a visual appreciation through the meaning of
the words the lesson can turn to the tempo the words move with. The
1. Rilke: Selected Poems. Eng. Trcns. by C F. Maclntyre. University of California Press 1957
teacher asks the pupils to concentrate on the tempo-the way the
words move-as he reads again. It is probable that two or three
readings would be necessary to let the cadence penetrate and the
class should be asked to read the poem aloud once or twice to help
this beat instead of another, perhaps a more regular or a more
any-seems to be represented by the tempo. Why has the poet used
this beat instead of another, perhaps a more regular or a more
lively one? They should be helped to note where the stresses fall and
how heavy they are. Are they regular all through? Irregular all
through? Regular in places? Whatever it is, does that signify any-
thing in relation to the other things we have observed, e.g. the mood
of the person?
From here on some more attention (some would have been aroused
already) should be directed to the quality of the sounds of the words,
the connotations implied and the effect of metaphorical references
or other figures of speech. "Summer buzzes through the drowsy mood
of afternoon"-'Putting the meanings of the words aside for a moment
try to listen to the sounds as sounds, and see what sort of quality
they have. 'Are consonants or vowels more noticeable?' 'Which of
these?' 'Does any particular kind of sound predominate?' 'What about
"uh" and "oo"?' 'Would you say this sequence of "uhs" and "oos" has
a loud, broad, harsh quality or a smooth and soothing quality?' 'Read
the sentence over a few times to yourself and try to find other adjec-
tives to describe the quality suggested by the sequence of sounds.' 'Read
the rest of the stanza and see if any difference comes into the
quality of sounds' 'Which consonantal sound now becomes notice-
able?' 'Are these lines as smooth to vocalise as the first?' 'Think of
what is being said there. Is there any connotation between the in-
creased jerkiness in the words and what is happening to the woman?'
'Notice "She fluffs her fresh dress" Does this make you hear anything?'
'What sounds predominate to give this onomatopoeic effect?' 'What
device has the poet used?' 'Now look at the fourth line of the poem
in the same way. Anything noticeable about the sounds?' 'What quality
do they have?' 'In what way does the sound of the line fit the sense
of what is being said?' 'Looking at the whole poem, has the poet used
rhyme?' 'Is there a definite rhyme scheme?' 'How often do you notice
similarity of sound recurring?' Do you see any internal rhymes or
assonances?' Do the assonances and approximate rhymes give any
sort of form or pattern to the poem?
"Let us think again of the meaning of words. Can summer buzz?'
'What kind of sound is buzzing?' 'What buzzes? In what kind of
setting?' 'What feeling is usually associated with such buzzing in such
a setting?' 'Has the poet used "buzzes" for any special reason you
can think of?' 'Give the same attention to "drowsy", then "mood"
'Are any other words in the poem used in a way like this to suggest
a particular kind of feeling or impression?' 'What about "aware",
"pampered", "twines"?' 'Is the park literally pampered?' 'Why is
"pampered" used?' 'How can one "push back" a scent?' 'How does
fragrance hurt?' 'Would it have mattered if those last three state-
ments were expressed literally, instead of metaphorically?' 'Try putting
them in literal versions and see.'
The final phase of the analysis is to make certain that the pupils
have discovered the poet's intention, tone and attitude. The class
would be helped to see how the poet refrained from giving anything
but the 'facts' of the woman's actions, thoughts and feelings; then
to see how deliberately that was done to convey the poet's sympathy
and understanding. This help is best given by continuing to frame
thought-provoking questions in a guiding order. The teacher might
ask, for example, why the poet selected those particular actions,
thoughts, feelings: what gave the poet insight into the woman's
thoughts and feelings; whether the poet directly exhorts or urges us
to understand the woman's situation; if exhortation would have been
effective; and so on. When the pupils are clear about the tone of the
poem, two or three concluding readings should help to reinforce and
draw together in the mind all the effects discovered-of rhythm and
tempo, or associations, of imagery, of tone, of form-and to Impress
the impact of the poem as a whole. A practical criticism should after-
wards be attempted as a written assignment by each pupil. The proper
examination of a poem like this obviously requires a double period
(not two single periods) and the written assignment would have to
be done at home or in the next poetry period.
Thus one teacher might do his work. Others would deviate more
or less from the planning of the lesson as well as the planning of
the course. Nevertheless, good teachers have in common certain prin-
ciples of action: knowledge of the pupils' intellectual and emotional
level and requirements in the class being taught; the grading of
difficulty levels to suit the pupils; guiding and helping the pupils
to use their own sensibilities and intelligence at all times. It is not
possible to improve a poor teacher's craftsmanship In the classroom
from pages of print. In an article or book only general guide lines
can be given. The actualisation of teaching procedures into competent
performance calls for many skills which cannot be compressed into a
few words. Yet, the good teacher can learn much from a discussion
of general approaches. He imagines the actual classroom developments
in sufficient detail and has no difficulty in seeing how a neA\ pro-
cedure may be translated into efficient performance. Better teaching
begins with fresh thinking about goals and routes to goals.
C. R. GRAY
Department of Education,
University of the West Indies.
British Honduras The
TO THE casual observer British Honduras is a country of 8,600
square miles and a population of over 90,000 (1960 census) To the
linguist it is a treasury. This less-than-a-city's load of people spread
over a country twice the size of Jamaica accommodates four distinct
languages-English, Spanish, Maya, Carib. None of these is however
as widely used as Creole, the dialectal form of, English evolved in this
territory out of the same elements and circumstances as, and bearing
features very similar to the other Caribbean creolized forms of English.
When, during a recent visit to the territory, however, I put it to
educated persons, that Honduran English, like all Caribbean English,
would have features and problems quite its own and quite distinct
from Standard (British) English, my claim was usually met with the
kind of query clearly conditioned by a feeling of protest, but controlled
by a natural politeness. Discussion usually did little to promote a
genuine acceptance of the claim, and the feeling that I was over-
stating a case seemed to persist. This attitude of educated Caribbeans
I have found in British Guiana, Barbados, Jamaica and elsewhere. In
short the first problem of English-especially written English-in the
Caribbean is that Caribbean people need to be convinced that there
are distinctly Caribbean problems in our English usage.
Language Distribution and Status
Censuses, typically, take no separate notice of Creole, merely
giving the numbers of "English" speakers in the linguistic distribu-
tion, but it seems this term must be understood to apply to Creolized
English, i.e., Creole rather than Standard English, if it is to have any
meaning in the Census. A rough comparison of the changes in dis-
tribution is provided by comparing Waddell's' figures with those of
the 1960 census. While he does not actually give the 1911 proportions
of Spanish and Carib speakers I have deduced probable figures from
his remark that there was "little change" between 1911 and 1946 in the
sizes of these two groups. The 1960 Census figures refer to persons
over 15 years old.
Percentage distribution of languages in British Hlundurs population.
English Spanish Maya Carib
1911 Census 53 (23) 15 (9)
1946 Census 60 22 10 8
1960 Census 50.8 30.8 10.2 8.2
The names Belize and Belizean are being used by the present Government in place of
British Honduras and Honduran. No disapproval of the former is implied by my use of the
latter nomenclature. I have only felt the official international nomenclature proper to an
account written by an outsider, and I hope this precaution will be understood. On the other
hand, I use the name Belize City from motives of consistency to distinguish Ihe capital city
from Belize District, as Stann Creek Town, etc., are officially used, for example to distinguish
from Stannn Creek District, etc.
These figures indicate the uncertain position of "English" (although
it is the country's official language) the rising position of Spanish
evidently at the expense of English and the relative insignificance of
Maya and Carib. The foregoing would, however, give a misleading
impression of the linguistic situation if the remark in the preceding
paragraph is not strongly borne in mind and expanded on. In the first
place it is Creole that is the common tongue recognized and used for
all oral communication throughout the country, and an as-far-as-
possible Standard English that is recognized and used for all written
communication, though in the Northern and border areas public notices
appear also in Spanish. In the second place the Census figures refer
to "the Primary Language Spoken" in the districts indicated, and,
indeed, the evidence is that there must be few of these, possibly only
Mayan, speakers in the country who cannot use and understand Creole.
I found no difficulty in communicating freely wherever I went, using
my own Guianese brand of Creole.
The Map is an attempt to describe the situation both upon actual
evidence and using the information of the 1960 Census figures. 2 Assum-
ing "English" to mean Creolized English and this term to embrace all
levels of sub-standard and near-standard English, and allowing
"Creole" as the most practical distributional label, it will be seen
that Creole covers the country with varying degrees of intensity
spreading outwards from the Belize district along road, river and
coast. It is however cut across in various areas by Spanish, Maya and
Carib, and this means that bilingualism in one of these languages
and Creole is widespread in British Honduras. Mayans are often, I
understand, unlikely to admit to a knowledge of Creole or English,
especially those who live away from townships or routes. They would
however almost always respond to Spanish. On the other hand some
Mayans and, especially, Caribs, are trilingual, adding both Spanish and
Creole/English to their own language. It also follows that Honduran
Creole has many lexical admixtures, some readily noticeable phonetic
features and quite probably also a few structural features that dis-
tinguish it-though by no means fundamentally-from other Caribbean
English-based Creoles. It should particularly be noted too, that another
bilingual variety, familiar in the Caribbean, should be added to those
referred to above, namely the ability of most educated "primary"
speakers of English to use "raw" Creole freely. My best Creole Nancy
Story narrator was a teacher whose spoken English led to no suspicion
of his capabilities in Creole.
On the other hand, the total vocabulary, structuring and the
whole character of British Honduras Creole, the survival of similar
Africanisms, an identity of proverbs, the introduction and termination
signals and the content and linguistic character of Anancy stories all
demonstrate overwhelmingly the immediate kinship of British Hon-
duras Creole with all other English Caribbean Creoles. This kinship,
of which Hondurans seemed to me hardly conscious is a matter of
tremendous academic excitement to the linguist, in view of the very
real and unbroken isolation of this territory from its British Caribbean
relatives, including even its nearest, Jamaica. The kinship also has,
however, a great practical advantage in that a study of the problems
created by Creole interference in Caribbean Standard English, both
spoken and written, quite correctly embraces the case of British
Honduras Creole as well.
It will be seen from all the foregoing that the position of Creole
in British Honduras is not to be easily, if indeed properly, described
in distributional figures in a Census. In a narrow country stretching
170 miles longitudinally, railless and only modestly rounded, Creole
is the sole mechanism of contact and perhaps the chief personal
indication of a national entity between the Spanish speaking Mestizo
in the North and the Carib-speaking Negro in the South. Creole is,
in British Honduras more than in any other English-based Caribbean
territory I know, the language upon which the nation really and wholly
depends for complete inter-person communication. And yet this fact
remains so completely unrecognized that Creole is not even mentioned
in the language considerations of the Census, and the term "English"
is conveniently unexplained. What, on the contrary, is widely agreed
among teachers and educated people is that Creole must be condemned:
but its massive reality demands to be reckoned with whatever teachers
and educated public may say, and its basic vitality breaks through
the overlaid plaster of Standard English with unhappy results which
only disturb teachers and public, illogically, when there are examination
The position of Spanish is rather different. Whereas the signifi-
cance of Creole is historical and national, that of Spanish is geo-
graphical and extra-national. Creole is the natural widespread growth
of the land, Spanish is a powerful but partial overgrowth from the
neighboring lands. Creole has an intra-territorial use and an inter-
territorial (Caribbean) relationship, but both without official status,
and both rendered globally insignificant by the small number and
political disconnection of its users; whereas the wide international
use and massive status of Spanish need no underlining. A look at any
map will serve to remind one that British Honduras is right in the
lap of Central America hugged by Guatemala and overhung by the
foot of Mexico; there is virtual freedom of movement across borders
especially in the north where I was able to cross into Mexico without
the border police of the Mexican side asking for any passport or
name (though I had both ready); the relative prosperity, and the
cheapness of fine goods on the Spanish side are both most attractive.
The result is, as shown on my map, that Spanish has widely impinged
across the border and reached City and shore, being especially en-
trenched in the north, that it is in the Corozal and Orange Walk
districts which I visited. Descendency from white Mexican immigrants
in the last century, constant actual contact with Spanish-speaking
neighbours, films and more easily received broadcasts in Spanish all
make the use of Spanish as a primary language in these parts realistic,
and English or Creole is pushed into second place. English is however
the medium of instruction in schools, as it is throughout British
11IIIII11 ENGLISH (CREOLE
D: IV MAYA.
r UNTA GOaOA ..... BOUNDARIES
SCALE I' TO 15m.
Moreover, in the north particularly, Caucasian or Caucasian-Mayan
ethnic types are much in evidence in positions of influence-a factor
of recognized importance in the propagation of language. Their his-
torical connection with Mexican culture combined with geographical
proximity is especially significant in view of the non-recognition of
creole and the locally low market value of English. British Honduran
though they be, their names are more frequently Spanish; they speak
English with a marked Hispanicized accent which distinguishes them
from their southern compatriots, and I discovered that their "0"
level results (Corozal, Orange Walk, Cayo) all reflected the same
feature: about 15% to 20% passes in English Language as against
100% in Spanish.
It should be noted, however, that the collision of Spanish with
Creole or 'Creolized' English has produced a local variety of spoken
Spanish known commonly as "Kitchen Spanish", but more decently
as "Frontier Spanish" It is this variety that must be properly under-
stood as the current one in foregoing references. It should be a most
interesting subject for separate study. I found some evidence in Cayo,
Orange Walk and Corozal, that it is in near-exclusive use in the homes
of ordinary .folk. In all three townships I spoke to children playing
on the roadside; in all cases they were using Spanish; in all cases
the youngest ones-about seven years old-had only Spanish whereas
the older ones-about ten years old-had also some Creole. A Negro
old lady who looked rather older than her "59" and into whose home
I went in Corozal, spoke Spanish with all her family two generations
below her, but managed a sustained conversation in Creole with me,
resorting from time to time, however, to Spanish. In Cayo I had the
somewhat unsettling experience, upon arrival, of hearing a loudspeak-
er van advertising "esta noche-una muy interesante lectura sobre
las problems de la lengua inglesa en el caribe por el professor Dr.
Richard Allsopp de la universidad de Jamaica"!
In spite of these experiences, however, English or Creole is the
accepted medium of communication everywhere and it is these that
I and those travelling with me (both southern Hondurans) used
everywhere and at all levels in the Hispanicized regions.
Actual contact with the Maya language is very limited. Only one
Mayan woman (in Cayo) in my own experience had to be communi-
cated with in Spanish as she appeared to have no English. With two
or three others met we spoke creolized English. The map will show
that Mayan is thinly distributed in the north and south (but not
centrally) keeps inland away from coastal and township contact, and
for this reason especially, remains largely with the Mayan people and
will no doubt disappear in time. It's study is, therefore, important
from the linguist's point of view. The Mayans are the original
(Amerindian) inhabitants of the territory before it was settled and
are the remainder of a famed pre-Columbian civilisation. The names
Mayan and Carib have no relation in the Honduran context.
The CariLs of British Honduras are, for all practical purposes a
Negro people. In appearance they are, to me, indistinguishable from
West Indian Negroes, and two Carib men confessed to me their own
difficulty nowadays in distinguishing their own people on sight. The
mixture of Negro and Carib Indians took place, history relates, in St.
Vincent whence the Black Caribs were deported about the beginning
of the 19th Century to the Honduran area of Central America4. Their
Carib Language must therefore be the result of a fusion of Amerindian
and African structures and lexicon, with further lexical admixtures
from French, English and Spanish. The Caribs and their language are
largely found in the Stann Creek Town area and spreading southward.
They are a hospitable agrarian people who are evidently highly
educable and much more adaptable than Mayans to local norms,
many teachers, clergymen and civil servants, coming from their ranks.
These circumstances tend to promote Creole or English in the ranks
of the Caribs themselves often in place of their own language which
thereby becomes a relic. Many of them, too, have Spanish names. One
told me that the Carib Language is despised by the rest of the popu-
lation, but a Belizean (Creole) lady argued with him that the Caribs
preferred to keep their language to themselves. Whichever view is
correct the fact is that the Carib Language is not spreading. Suc-
cessive censuses show it to belong to a fairly steady 7% or 8% of the
population. A full structural study of this language would be of
immense value to the creologist and the anthropologist.
Dr. Wadlell is clearly of the opinion that Spanish will eventually
overrun English in this territory. It may appear bold to dispute this
view after only a brief contact with the situation, but if, as in fact,
I do, it is because of the vitality and unifying "solo" role of English-
based Creole in the territory; it is because Creoles and Creolized Caribs
go into teaching far more than the white Corozalefios and Mayans
and the former naturally possess and propagate an English rather
than a Spanish, with sure effect; it is because the country obviously
courts American influence and economic aid and these will boost
English rather than Spanish; and finally it is because my impression
is that the Central American association is not and will not be
characterized by the fullest respect for Belizeans as a people without
a collective significance, and that, in the threat of political and
cultural absorption into the isthmian "sociedad", Belizean indepen-
dence, now strongly in focus, will find much greater satisfaction in
expressing itself in English, without ignoring the obvious benefit of
possessing Spanish as favoured second language.
If the position of English is, however, buttressed by the foregoing
factors chief among which is the role of Creole, the state of English
is characteristically affected by the power and penetration of Creole.
It is, to my mind, greatly in the interest of national self-recognition,
national self-respect, improving the effectiveness of the medium of
education and raising to consciousness the creative power of the
educated, that the problems of English in the territory should be
sincerely tackled. (I admit that the same remark applies in all the
English-speaking Caribbean territories about which I know anything,
and so do the problems listed below, mutatis mutandis).
The following is therefore a list of the problems as I estimate
(1) Teachers and educated public do not generally recognize that
Creole influence is constantly present in certain ways in their own
speech, and certain elements often present in their own writing of
English, and need to learn something of what that influence and these
(2) At the Elementary Teaching level the existence of bilingualism
must make somewhat irrelevant the standard techniques and cer-
tainly English textbooks used in the teaching of English as a mother
tongue. The added feature of multiple bilingualism must make it also
materially difficult to apply solutions of the English-teaching problems
:n one area to those in another.
(3) At the Secondary Teaching level there is also a fairly high
proportion of teachers coming from overseas who are therefore foreign
to local linguistic conditions and problems. The latest Annual Report
of the Education Department, (for 1963/64) pp 20-21, gives a total
of 144 teachers in Secondary Schools of whom 73 are graduates; and
of these 40 are Papal Volunteers and Peace Corps Teachers (U.S.) and
V.S.O. graduates (U.K.). Moreover the usual annual turnover of most
of these makes it impracticable for them, able and conscientious
though they may be, to work out and apply solutions to these problems
is the course of their basic teaching jobs. In short, the variety and
instability of this most worthy source of instructional help are an
unfortunate circumstance in a condition of linguistic disorder.
(4) Teachers and educated public seem hardly aware that the
character of their Creole, Creolized English, and the nature of its
problems have a basic and often material identity with those existing
in oher English-speaking Caribbean territories and that the problems
can therefore be profitably tackled associatively.
(5) An initial analysis of these problems is as follows:
(a) Pronunciation in so far as it affects spelling strictlyy
arrays of rent) and structure (Accused Objection Overruled)
(b) The unestablished spelling of necessary words: ducknun,
duc(k)oonoo; pokeno (-emo) palm.
(c) Unofficial status of established words of local provenance:
boledo, craboo, dirtbox, a downstairs, a housebottom.
(d) Loose status of established local usage:
dinner (B.H.) lunch (SE)
(e) Irregular or unequated "labels":
I Internally: mudfish (Belize) = dormllon (Corozal)
golden plum (B.H.) golden apple (B.G., B'dos.)
pormme citerre (T'dad)
Sour plum/governor plum (B.H.) = coolie plum (J'ca.) -
(f) Absence of or confused morphological signalling of time
(-ed), number (-s), manner (-ly).
(g) Structures that are non-standard ("I had was to run"),
and many also sub-standard English ("The rain Is falling",
"In here is hot")
(h) The question whether Creole should be written (e.g. as the
vital medium of 'Nancy stories) and the problems involved in
(i) The achievement of a quality of national English of inter-
national standing while safeguarding the vitality brought to
it by local and Caribbean life and history.
The linguistic condition of the country and the collection of
problems outlined above would suggest that a large-scale attack would
be necessary to solve them. Actually, however, a widespread conscious-
ness of the situation and its problems, among teachers and educated
people, is the only condition I would regard as indispensable to suc-
cessful and creative English in British Honduras (as indeed in the whole
English-speaking Caribbean). Lectures for teachers and radio talks
for the public analysing and illustrating the various aspects of the
local linguistic situation and their relation to the rest of the English-
speaking Caribbean would be a necessary start. The official promotion
of publications would be the next step, to prepare a glossary of
Belizean English, collections of 'Nancy stories and Folklore and Belizean
Proverbs. These would bring together many interests in a matter of
national importance. Structural problems would be a matter, however,
for the trained linguist.
S. R. R. ALLSOPP
College of Arts and Science, Barbados,
University of the West Indies.
C. A. G. Waddell, British Honduras, Oxford University Press, 1961. pp.66.
2. The 1960 Census figures (vol. pp. 184-6) refer to those over 15 years old but these
figures are probably adequate for a rough comparison.
3. General Certificate of Education-Ordinary Level: A secondary school examination,
set and marked in English, for 16 year olds.
4. Waddell page 16.
5. Waddell page 67.
The Papal Bull Of 1493 Appointing The
First Vicar Apostolic In The New World
WHATEVER historians and others may say of Christopher
Columbus and his four voyages to the New World, they cannot deny
that the great discoverer gave proof of his Christian Faith in those
tremendous enterprises. His flag on the Santa Maria bore the figure
of Christ on the Cross. When he set out from Palos on the 3rd August,
1492, his sails were unfurled in the Sacred Name of Jesus. He began
the log of that voyage in the same Name. In the prologue of that diary
he stresses the Christian character of his expedition. He burns to
discover the lands which lie over the great ocean of the setting sun,
but he also yearns to bring Christ's Gospel to the people who inhabit
those lands. When at length, he set foot on the soil of the New World
at San Salvador, he immediately planted his Christ-standard. In the
course of his discoveries, again and again, he named islands after a
Christian mystery, Christ's Mother or a Saint.
It was only to be expected, then, that the bringing of Christian
missionaries to the New World would enter into his considerations.
As early as the 6th November, 1492, he had this to say in his diary
of the natives of Juana (Cuba) "I hold for certain that as soon
as some missionaries are able to speak their language, they will all
become Christians. I hope to God that Your Highnesses (Ferdinand
and Isabella of Spain) will promptly decide to send them some mis-
sionaries, so that this multitude of people may come into the Church."
On the other hand, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain had the evan-
gelisation of their newly discovered territories at heart. It is said
that, at the Baptism of seven Indians (presumably of Arawak stock)
whom Columbus had brought to Barcelona in 1493, the King, the
Infant Don Juan and high personalities of the Court, acted as sponsors.
One thing is certain, the "Catholic Monarchs" quickly took steps to
obtain from Pope Alexander VI the ecclesiastical faculties required
for the priest whom they had selected for the organising of missionary
activity in the New World. Again, the King and Queen authorised the
priest in question to arrange everything necessary for the proper
carrying out of Divine Service in the missions across the Atlantic.
Queen Isabella made rich gifts to the future Church of the "Indies",
as people then called the newly discovered lands, and these gifts in-
cluded a set of vestments from the Chapel-Royal. It was decided, evi-
dently by the royal will, that twelve Religious, from different Orders,
were to accompany the priest who was to be, in fact, the first Vicar
Apostolic of the New World.,
However, the appointment of this first Vicar Apostolic, and the
identity of the priest who went out to the "Indies" as such in 1493,
have caused much ink to flow. Some questions connected therewith
do not appear to have been satisfactorily solved to this very day. By
publishing Alexander the Sixth's relevant Bull in Latin and English,
together with some information gleaned on the subject in dispute,
the writer of these lines hopes that more West Indian interest will be
shown in FRIAR BERNARD BOIL of 1493, and that more light will
eventually be thrown on the problems which are connected with his
Here is the Latin text of the papal Bull in question, together with
a free translation of it.
L. Podochatarus*. Alexander
etc. Dilecto filio Bernardo Boil,
fratri ordlnis Minorum, Vicario
dicti ordinis in Hispaniarum reg-
nis, Salutem etc.
Plis fidelium, praesertim Cath-
olicorum regum et principuim,
votis, quae religionis propagat-
ionem divinique cultis augmentum
et fidei Catholicae exaltationem
ac animarum salute respiciunt,
libenter annuimus; eaque, quantum
cum Deo possumus, favoribus pro-
Cum itaque, sicut charissimus
in Christo filius noster, Ferdi-
nandus rex et charissima in
Christo filla nostra, Elisabet
regina, Castellae et Legionis, Ara-
gonum et Granatae, illustres.
Nobis nuper exponi fecerunt; ipsi
fervore devotionis accensi, des-
iderantes quod fides Catholica in
terris et insulis, per eos de novo,
versus parties occidentales et mare
Oceanum, repertis, antea aliis in-
cognitis, ac allis imposterum re-
perlendis, floreat et exaltetur; de-
creverunt te ad parties illas des-
tinare, ut inibi, per te et alios
presbyteros saeculares vel religiosos
L. Podochatarus. Alexander
etc. sends greetings to his dear
son Bernard Boil, friar of the
Order of Minors, Vicar of the said
Order in the kingdoms of Spain.
We willingly accede to the
pious wishes of the faithful, parti-
cularly those of Catholic kings and
princes, when such wishes have
reference to the spread of Religion,
the enhancement of Divine Wor-
ship, the exaltation of the Catholic
Faith, and the salvation of souls.
We honour such wishes with fitting
favours as best we can, with God's
Now, the illustrious person-
ages, our most dear son in Christ,
King Ferdinand, and our most dear
daughter in Christ, Queen Isabella,
rulers of Castille. Leon, Aragon and
Granada, recently informed us as
follows. In the fervour of their
devotion, they desire that the
Catholic Faith should flourish and
be exalted in the lands and islands
out in the West in the Atlantic
Ocean, which have been discovered
through their agency. Of such
lands and islands, some were here-
tofore unknown, and others may
be found hereafter. They have
decreed, therefore, to send you out
to those regions, so that the word
Ludovicus Podochatarus, Secretary to Alexander VI. He was a Bishop and Cardinal,
and died al Milan in 1504.
ad id idoneos et per te deputan-
dos, verbum Dei praedicetis et
serninetis, ac Incolas et habita-
tores insularum et terrarum prae-
dicatarum, qui fidel nostrae cognit-
ionem non habent, ad fidem ipsam
ac religlonem Christianam redu-
catis, et in mandatis Domini eos
ambulare doceatis et instruatis;
of God may be preached and sown
there, by yourself and by other
priests, secular or religious, suitable
for that task, whom you may
depute to it. So, too, that the
natives and inhabitants of the
aforesaid islands and lands (people
who have no knowledge of our
Faith) may be brought to the True
Faith and the Christian Religion.
and be taught and trained to walk
in the Commandments of God, by
you and your collaborators.
Nos, sperantes quod ea, quae In the hope that you will
tibi duxerimus committenda, fid- faithfully and diligently carry out
eliter et dlligenter exequeris, tibi the task that we have committed
qui presbyter es, ad insulas et to you, we by Apostolic authority,
parties praedlctas, etiam cum all- with sure knowledge, and in the
quibus soclis, tul vel alterius sense of this present letter, give
ordinis, per te aut eosdem regem and bestow to you, a priest, full,
et reginam eligendis, superiorum free and complete faculties, per-
etuorum velig cuu s, stperious sp mission, power and authority, to
ter ho vc licentuja alterus sup- visit and remain in as long as you
er hoc licenta mnime requlsita, like the aforesaid islands and
accedendl et Inibi, quamdiu volu- lands. You may do so even with a
eris, comnmorandl; ac, per te vel number of companions, of your
allum seu alios ad Id Idoneos own or of another Order, selected
presbyteros, saeculares vel relig- by yourself or by the said King and
losos, ordinum quorumoumque, ver- Queen. For this, moreover, you
bum Del praedicandl et seminandi, need not have the permission of
dictosque Incolas et habitatores your Superiors, or anyone else.
ad fidem Catholicam reducendi You may also, by yourself or by
eosque baptlzandi, et in fide Ipsa another or other suitable priests,
instruendi, ac ecclesiastica Sacra- whether secular or religious, of any
menta, quotles opus fuerit, Ipsis Order whatsoever, preach and sow
ministrandl; ipsoque et eorum the word of God. You may bring
quemlibet, per te vel allum seu the said natives and inhabitants to
alios presbyteros saeculares vel the Catholic Faith, baptize them,
religlosos, et In eorum confessi- instruct them in the Faith, and
onibus, etlam quotes opus fuerit, administer the Sacraments of the
audiendl; illisque dillgenter audi Church to them whenever neces-
tis, pro commissis per eos crimin- sary. You may, yourself, or another
Ibus, excessibus et delictis, etiam or others of the secular or religious
si tala csuerint proper quae Sedes priests, hear their confessions and
si tala uerint proper quake Sedes the confessions of their dependents.
Apostollca quovis modo fuerit as often as the need arises. Having
consulenda, de absolutionis deblto diligently heard them, you may
providendl; elsque poenitentlam proceed to absolve them from the
salutarem injungendi; necnon crimes, excesses and sins which
vota quaeculmque, per eos pro they have committed, even from
tempore emissa (Jerosolymitano, those faults for which it is in any
liminum Apostolorum Petri et
Pauli, ac Sancti Jacobi in Com-
postella, et Religionis votis dum-
taxat exceptis), in alia pietatis
opera commutandi; ac quaecumque
ecclesias, capellas, monasteria,
domos, ordinum quorumcumque,
etiam Mendicantium, tam virorum
quam mulierum; et loca pia, cum
campanilibus, campanis, claustris,
dormitories, refectoriis, hortis, hor-
taliciis et aliis necessariis officinis,
sine alterius praejudicio, erigendi,
construendi et aedificandi; ac
ordinum Mendicamntium profes-
soribus domos, quas pro els con-
struxeris et aedificaveris, recipi-
endi et perpetuo inhabitandi li-
centiam concedendi; distasque
ecclesias benedicendi et, quotes
illas earumque coemeteria per
effusionem sanguinis vel seminis
aut alias violari contigerit, aqua
prius per aliquem Catholicum an-
tistitem (ut moris est) benedicta,
reconciliandi; et etiarn necessitatis
tempore, super quo conscientias
vestras oneramus, carnlbus et
allis cibis, tibi et socils tuis prae-
dictis juxta regularia dictorum
ordnium institute prohibits, lib-
ere et licite vescendi; omnlaque
alia et singula in praemlssis et
circa ea necessaria et quomodo-
libet oportuna faciendi, gerendi,
exequendi et disponendi plenam,
liberam et omnimodam, auctori-
tate apostolica et ex certa scien-
tia, tenore praesentium, facul-
tatem, licentiam, potestatem et
auctoritatem concedimus et elargi-
way necessary to have recourse to
the Apostolic See. You may impose
on them a salutary penance. You
may commute to other works of
piety any vows whatsoever they
may have taken for the time be-
ing: are expected only the vows to
go to Jerusalem, to the basilicas of
the Apostles Peter and Paul, and
St. James of Compostella, and the
vows of Religion. You may, without
harm to the rights of others, erect,
construct and build any churches,
chapels, monasteries, religious
houses, of any Orders whatsoever,
even of the Mendicants, and both
of men and women. You may like-
wise, without harm to the rights
of others, erect, construct and build
dwellings of piety, with belfries,
bells, cloisters, dormitories, refect-
ories, gardens, grounds and other
necessary workshops. You may
grant permission to professed mem-
bers of the Mendicant Orders to
take over and dwell perpetually in
such houses as you may construct
and build for them, without any
conditions as to time. You may
bless the aforesaid churches, and
if they and their cemeteries should
be violated by the shedding of
blood or seed, or otherwise, you
may reconcile them by means of
water blessed, according to custom,
by some Catholic bishop. You and
your companions may even freely
and licitly eat, in time of necessity,
meats and other foods forbidden to
yourself and your aforesaid com-
panions, by the Rules of the said
Orders. In this matter of time of
necessity, however, we intend to
place a grave obligation of con-
science upon you. Again, you may
do, transact, accomplish and dis-
pose of each and every other thing
mentioned above, and every thing
necessarily connected with it and in
any way considered opportune.
Et insuper, ut Christi fideles
eo liberlus, devotionis causa, ad
dictas terras et insulas confluant.
quo suarum se speraverint salu-
tem animarum adepturos; omni-
bus et singulis utriusque sexus
fidelibus praedicitis, qui ad prae-
dictas terras et insulas se person-
aliter, de mandate tamen et
voluntate regis et reginae prae-
dictorum, contulerint; ut ipsi, et
quilibet eorum, confessorem idon-
eum saecularem vel regularem
eligere possint, qui eos, et eorum
quemlibet, modo praemisso, ab
eorum criminibus, peccatis et
delictis, etiam dictate Sedi reser-
vatis, absolvat, ac eorum vota
commutet; necnon ominum pec-
catorum suorum, de quibis corde
contriti et ore confessi fuerint,
indulgentiam et remissionem
ipsis, in sinceritate fidei, unitate
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae ac
obedientia et devotione nostra et
successorum nostrorum, Roman-
orum Pontificum canonice intran-
tium persistentibus, semel in vita
et semel in mortis articulo, auct-
oritate praefata, concedere valeat:
Necnon monasteriis, locis et
domibus erigendis et aedificandis
ac monachis et fratribus in illis
pro tempore degentibus; ut omni-
bus et singulis gratiis, privilegiis.
libertatibus et exemptionibus, im-
munitatibus, indulgentiis et indult-
is, aliis monasteriis, locis, dom-
ibus, monachis et fratribus ord-
inum, quorum illa et illi fuerint,
in genere concessis et concedendis
imposterum, uti, potiri et gaudere
libere et licite valeant, auctoritate
praefacta, de special dono gratiae,
Furthermore, in order to en-
courage Christians to go out to the
said lands and islands more readily,
through a sense of devotion, with a
view to saving their souls, by the
aforesaid authority, and by special
favour, we grant the following
privileges to each and every one of
the said faithful, of either sex, who
may personally go to the said lands
and islands, by the order, however,
and will of the aforesaid King and
Queen. They themselves, and any-
one of their households, may choose
a suitable confessor, secular or
regular, who may absolve them,
and anyone of their households, in
the prescribed manner, from their
crimes, sins and transgressions,
even from those reserved to the
said See, and also commute their
vows. Such a confessor may, by the
aforesaid authority, grant them,
once in their lifetime, and once at
the hour of their death, an indul-
gence and remission of all their
sins which they, with contrite
heart, have orally confessed, whilst
remaining true to the Faith, united
to the Holy Roman Church, de-
votedly obedient to ourselves and
our successors the Roman Pontiffs
In virtue of the authority
mentioned above and by special
favour we grant to the monasteries,
territories and houses that shall be
established and built, and to the
monks and friars that live there
for the time being to use, avail
themselves of and enjoy freely and
licitly each and every one of the
favours, privileges, independence
and exemptions, immunities, indul-
gences and indults, as have been
granted in general or are to be
granted in the future to the other
monasteries, territories, houses.
monks and friars of the Orders to
which those monasteries etc..
monks and friars belong.
Non obstantibus fe. re. Boni-
facii PP. VIII. praedecessoris nos-
tri, et, ne quivis ordinum Mendi-
cantium fratres nova loca recipere
praesumant, absque dictae Sedis
licentia special, de prohibition
hujusmodi plenam et expressam
mentionem faciente; et aliis apos-
tolicis constitutionibus, statutis
quoque et consuetudinibus dict-
orum ordinum, juramento, con-
firmatione apostolica vel quavis
firmitate alia roboratis; quamquam
tu de persons in ecclesiastica dig-
nitate constitutis, quibus literae
apostolicae dirigi debent, non ex-
istas; caeterisque contrariis qui-
Verum, quia difficile foret
praesentes literas ad singula quae-
que loca, in quibus expediens
fuerit, deferre; volumus et dicta
auctoritate decernimus, quod il-
larum transsumptis, manu publi-
ci notarii inde rogati sub-scriptis
et sigillo alicujus personae ecclesi-
asticae in dignitate constitute seu
curiae ecclesiastlcae munitis, ea
prorsus fides indubia, in judicio et
extra ac alias ubilibet, adhibeatur
quae praesentibus adhiberetur, si
essent exhibitae vel ostensae.
Nulli ergo etc. nostrae conces-
slonis, elargitlonis, indulti, vol.
untatis et decreti infringere etc
Si quis etc.
Datum Romae apud Sanctum Pet
rum Anno, etc. MCCCCLXXXXII
Septimo K1, Julii, Pont. nostrl ann
The- o.ii 'Lvours hold good
notwithstanding the prohibition of
Jur predecrc or Pope Boniface VIII,
of happy memory, viz. that no
friars of the Mendicant Orders
should presume to accept new
territories without special per-
mission of the said See and in
which permission, complete and
express mention is to be made of
this prohibition: notwithstanding
other apostolic constitutions, or the
statutes and customs of the said
Orders. even those enforced by
oath, apostolic approval or any
other confirmation; notwithstand-
ing the fact that you are not one
of those persons of ecclesiastical
rank to whom apostolic letters
should be addressed; notwithstand-
'na any other thing to the con-
In tr" th, since it would be
difficult to transmit these present
letters to all the territories where
they should be delivered, we wish,
and by the aforesaid authority we
decree, that the same absolutely
certain faith should be given, in
the judicial forum and outside of
it and everywhere else to tran-
rcriptions of these letters, done by
public notary thereto requested,
and sealed with the seal of any
ecclesiastical person constituted in
dignity, or of any ecclesiastical
chancery, as would be given to
these present letters, if they were
Produced and shown.
No one therefore shall dare to
- oppose the granting of our con-
. cession, largess, indult, will and
decree. If any one should dare to
do so, let him be anathema.
Given at St. Peter's in Rome
I in the Year of Our Lord 1493, on
o the 25th day of June, in the first
year of our Pontificate.
Collat*.Phy.dePontecurvo Collator: *Philip de Pontecurvo
Gratis de mandate S.mi D.N. Gratis: By order of Our Most
papae Holy Lord the Pope
pro Registri: A. de Mucciarellis, For the Chancery: A. de Mucciar-
N. Casanova. ellis. N. Casanova.*
On the 25th June, 1493, then, Pope Alexander VI appointed a priest
for the organising of missionary activity in the New World. Leaving
aside, for a while, the identity of that priest, one notes that the Pope
makes honourable mention of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. He
says even that it was the "Catholic Monarchs" who had decreed to send
Friar Bernard Boil to the lands and islands "out in the West in the
Atlantic Ocean"- decreverunt te ad parties llas destinare. One notes,
also, that Alexander VI authorises other priests (secular or religious)
to go out to the "Indies." These are to be allowed to preach the Word
of God; to evangelise, baptise and instruct the peoples dwelling there;
to give them the Sacraments as required; to hear confessions and dis-
pense from certain vows. The Pope also gives permission for the erec-
tion in the New World of churches, chapels, monasteries, religious
houses, both of men and women.
Rather curiously, there is an insertion in the Bull concerning the
Mendicant Orders that would seem to call for an explanation. The
principal Mendicant Orders at that time were the Dominicans, the
Carmelites, the Friars Minor and the Hermits of St. Augustine. Even,
they, says the Pope, are to be allowed to have constructions erected for
them in the "Indies"-etiam Mendicantium. A few lines further on,
there is another specific mention of the Mendicant Orders. This time
it is to say that Friar Bernard Boil may grant professed members of
such Orders the permission to accept such houses as he may have con-
structed for them, and to dwell in them in perpetuity. To understand
this, one must remember that, originally, by vow of poverty, the Men-
dicants renounced all proprietorship, individually and in common -
relying for support on their own work and on charity. To take over
houses, then, at that time, they had need of a special dispensation,
and this Alexander VI empowers Friar Bernard Boil to give.
The Pope also authorises the Superior of the new missions and his
companions, that is, fellow missionaries, to eat meat and other foods
normally forbidden to them as Religious, in case of necessity. On which
point, however, he binds them in conscience to use the privilege only
when really necessary.
Collators were Prelates and Clerics entrusted with collecting dues for papal documents,
etcetera. De Mucclarellis and Casanova were presumably two officials of the papal Chancery
To entice colonists to go out to the New World, Alexander VI offers
them special facilities and privileges in connection with the confessing
of their sins, indulgences, and the rest. He also stipulates that the
monks and friars who go out to the "Indies" may be able to gain the
special favours granted to the brethren of the Orders to which they
There is yet another reference to the Mendicant Orders. All the
privileges granted in the Bull to members of such Orders going out to
the New World hold good in spite of what a former Pope, Boniface VIII,
had said about friars of Mendicant Orders not being allowed to acquire
new territories without a very special permission from the Holy See.
In fine, Alexander VI decrees that absolute faith must be given to
authenticated copies of his present Bull. He adds that none may
oppose his present decrees: should they dare to do so, let them be
Benedictines, Franciscans, Minims, Jesuits, and others, have wielded
their pens over the identity of the priest who was appointed first Vicar
Apostolic and who went to the "Indies" as such in 1493. It has been
pretended that Alexander VI in reality appointed a Minim and not a
Friar Minor to the post; that there were two Religious named Boil,
Boyl, Buyl or Bull living in Spain in 1493; that the Bernard Boil of the
Bull was first a Benedictine, then a Minim or Hermit of St. Francis of
Assisi; that Ferdinand of Spain took upon himself to replace the Friar
Minor designated by the Pope, Friar Bernard Boil, by his protege, Dom
Bernard Boyl, a Benedictine; and so on, and so on.
It is impossible here to go into the discussions raised by these
various opinions. It is, however, certain that a Spanish Religious named
Fray Bernardo Boil went out at the head of a band of missionaries
with the second expedition of Christopher Columbus to the New World,
in September, 1493. It is also certain that the said Fray Boil gave
Columbus a lot of trouble; that he deserted his post in September.
1494, and returned to Spain in mid-November that year.
According to Don F. Morales Padr6n, of the Faculty of Philosophy
and Letters at Seville University, here Is what is reliably thought to
be the story of this Fray Bernardo Boil. He was born in Tarazona
around A.D. 1445. In 1479 he was a Benedictine hermit at the Spanish
abbey of Montserrat. Somehow or other, he was brought to the notice
of King Ferdinand, who sent him that year on a special mission to the
Governor of Sicily. In 1481 Fray Boil returned through Barcelona,
where he was ordained successively Subdeacon, Deacon and Priest by
the Auxiliary Bishop of that city. He used his Influence with the King
to promote the interests of the Abbey of Montserrat. Later, he went to
Cordoba, to discuss the reform of the Benedictine Order. Soon,
Ferdinand sent him to France, to transact some important business at
Court. This he did to the King's complete satisfaction. Whilst he was
at the French Court, Fray Boil struck up a friendship with St. Francis
of Paula, the founder of the Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi or Minims.
In fact, he made a short noviciate at Tours and became a Minim.
On his return to Spain, Fray Boil, with the King's approval, found-
ed three convents for Minims. One of these was near Barcelona, and
it would seem that he became its Superior. That was between Septem-
ber, 1492, and March 20th, 1493. Soon, moreover, Fray Boil was appoint-
ed Vicar (presumably Provincial) of the Minims in Spain possibly
through Ferdinand's influence.
It would seem that, as early as May, 1493, the King had resolved
that Fray Boil was the man to put at the head of the band of Mission-
aries that Columbus wanted for the "Indies" He is said to have gone
to Montserrat in June that year, to arrange for someone to replace Fray
Boil in the house of the Minims at Barcelona. All which may seem
strange, given that Fray Boil had become a Minim. But it may be sup-
posed that he still belonged officially to the Abbey of Montserrat, and
that royal diplomacy was brought into play. In any case, Ferdinand
followed up this move by asking his ordinary envoys in Rome, Carnaval
and Medina, to obtain papal faculties for the subject of his choice.
The result, it would seem, was the Bull "Pils fidelium", addressed to
Friar Bernard Boil, of the Order of Friars Minor, Vicar of the said
Order In the Realms of Spain. By Friars Minor the Roman Curia may
have understood Minims.
Fray Bernardo Boil set sail for the "Indies" on September 25th, 1493,
with the second expedition of Columbus. His stay in the New World
was neither glorious nor fruitful. It is on record that he celebrated
Solemn High Mass in the church that Columbus had quickly constructed
at Isabella City, on January 6th, 1494. Sad to say, he appears to have
done nothing in the way of missionary endeavour. From the beginning
he appears to have been at loggerheads with Columbus, apparently
through the assignment of tasks and the obligation to work imposed
by the Admiral. He went so far as to excommunicate Columbus and
cast an interdict on the Church at Isabella City. He eventually lifted
the interdict and, presumably, the excommunication.
However, when Columbus set out from Hispaniola on the voyage
that resulted in the discovery of Jamaica, he appointed Fray Boil
to the Council that was to govern in his absence. That did not stop
the Vicar Apostolic's peevish discontent and his intrigues against the
Admiral. In fine, he joined the party of an insubordinate officer, and
abandoned his post. Together with several of the Religious who had
gone out with him as the first Missionaries of the New World, he fled
to Spain like a deserter. He arrived at Cadiz in mid-November, 1494.
On December 3rd that same year King Ferdinand called Fray Boil
to Madrid, to render an account of his mission. In February, 1495, the
Catholic Monarchs who had previously asked for Fray Boil's appoint-
ment as Vicar Apostolic of the "Indies", invited him formally to relin-
quish his post. He did so. In 1497, it is said, Fray Boil was named
Abbot of Cuxa. If that were so, it would not necessarily mean that
the former Benedictine became a Benedictine again. The title may
have been an honorary title, in line with the Commendatory System of
To end on a more optimistic note, although Fray Boil and some of
the first band of Missionaries defaulted in 1494, two at least are said
to have stuck to the task with Columbus Juan Bergognon and Roman
Pane. At the end of August, 1495, Juan Aguado, Intendant of the
Chapel Royal of Aragon, set sail for Hispaniola. He was accompanied
by several Religious. From then onwards, Christianity took root slowly
in the New World. By August, 1511, Pope Julius H was able to erect
effectively three diocese there Santo Domingo and Concepcion de la
Vega in Hispaniola, and San Juan in Puerto Rico.
The writer of this account wishes to express his gratitude to the
following for the valuable help given him:- His Lordship Bishop
Gachet, of Castries; the Officials of the Vatican Library; the Lord Abbot
of Mount St. Benedict, Trinidad; Dom Francis Friesen, O.8.B., of the
same Abbey; Don F. Morales Padr6n, of the Faculty of Philosophy and
Letters, Seville University; the Rev. Michael Harkins, C.S.Sp., of Trini-
dad; the Rev. Sydney Boase, S.J. of British Guiana.
The transcription of the Latin Bull was taken from a German
collection kindly supplied by the Vatican Library.
The Vatican Library also kindly gave permission to reproduce and
translate the Latin Bull.
REV. C. JESSE, F.M.I.
Reg. Vat. 777 f. 124.
COMMONWEALTH LITERATURE STUDIES, WHERE DO WE STAND?
John Press (Ed.), Commonwealth Literature: Unity and Diversity in a
Common Culture, London, Heincmarn, 1965, p. 223, 25/-. 1
THERE IS a growing Interest in Commonwealth studies at the
present time. The first Conference on Commonwealth Literature was
held in Leeds in 1964, and extracts from the proceedings were recently
published. Out of this Conference have come a number of proposals-
such as a Commonwealth literature news-sheet, greater interchange of
scholars, a central index of Commonwealth library holdings-and at
least some of these will be implemented. What have the West Indies
to gain from, and contribute to, Commonwealth studies? Let us leave
aside for a moment the question whether the 'Commonwealth' has
any ultimate meaning or purpose-I will throw out various remarks
on this as I go along-and look at the situation as it stands at the
moment. I wish to suggest that while in some ways the field of 'Com-
monwealth studies' is irrelevant to the Caribbean, in other ways it
could be most important, and there are certain things that the
University of the West Indies, in particular, should be doing.
Let us take the ways in which it is irrelevant first. In the' Carib-
bean Commonwealth countries, in spite of the existence of Creole, we
do not have the full problems of teaching English as a foreign language.
In India, for instance, English is one of fifteen official languages, and
only in 1963 was it accepted, with Hindi, as a state language. Pakistan
will probably cease to use English as a state language in 1967. In
Pakistan and Malaya English is used only for the most basic purposes
of communicating information in certain broadcasting and news-
paper services, and in those countries English is being displaced as a
teaching language in the universities. In such situations, where English
is completely cut off -from the common tongue, all manner of problems
arise. There is the basic one of moving between two languages which
have different structures and different spectrums of meaning. As we
are reminded in this symposium, 'the gap between the idiom of any
Indian language (and I suppose this applies to Africa) is much wider
and deeper than between English and any European language.' (p. 99)
This book gives some splendid examples of the problems of translation,
such as that offered by an Indian student, "Keats vomited all his
passionate feelings for nature into his 'Ode to a Nightingale'!" (p.99).
There are even difficulties in pronouncing English. A Ibibo, lacking
such sounds as '1' and 'v' in his vernacular would pronounce
'Dunlop' and 'develop', as 'Dundop' and 'defedop'. A Hausa pronounces
'screwdriver' as 'sukurudiriba' All this can be positive and creative. It
can produce a vigorous 'pidgin' Englsh such as that we find in Nigeria,
exploited by writers like Yetunde Esan and Frank Aig-Imoukheude, and
by the authors of the famous Onitsha market cheap romances. Here is
an example from Money Palaver by 'Master of Life'
Man no go pass his fellow man in two ways. If you pass
me tall, I pass you short. If you pass me white, I pass you
black. Look left and right before you pass any street.
'Pidgin' has even been used in Shakespearean productions at Ibadan
University. Different again are the effects produced by writers like
Etok Akpan, Amos Tutuola and Gabriel Okara, who, in their own in-
dividual ways, produce qualities of their vernacular into the writing
of English. As one contributor to the Leeds symposium remarked,
'English has proved that if a language has flexibility any experience
can be communicated through it'. (p. 123)
The problems of translation of course go beneath the surface of
the meanings of words to the cultural patterns that create these
meanings, and here we find problems that are relevant to the West
Indies, too, for English literature undergoes subtle changes of mean-
ing when it is read from a Caribbean point of view. We may not have
the dramatic shifts of significance we see, for example, in this use
of 'cow' by an Indian speaker.
"Cross-House Moothly has gone through life like a noble cow,
quiet, generous, defiant and Brahmanic, a very prince, I tell
But the teacher of English, here, frequently finds himself against the
problem of communicating, for example, what 'south' means to
Keats's lines, 'O for a cup of the warm south'; or the desolate winter
evening half-light implied in Eliot's description of it as 'a patient
etherised upon a table' Again, we may not find the extreme shift
of values that led an Indian student to like Kyd's Spanish Tragedy
'because it was so true to life' (p. 103). (He lived in an area of the
Indian border where murders and counter-murders, in the disturb-
ances of partition, were part of the common scene.) But in the West
Indies we will find aspects of Shakespeare and Keats-to take two
particularly relevant poets-emerging with new importance. We will
aiso find the same problems confronting the Indian or African, and
the Caribbean, writer. R. K. Narayan of India wrote of his experience,
In the English novel, for instance, the theme of romance is based
cn a totally different conception from ours. We believe that marriages
were made in heaven and a bride and a groom meet, not by accident
L:- design, but by the decrees of fate Therefore the novelist had
to find new ways of expressing his experience. 'One had to differ from
one's models' (p. 122) We find the tensions between two conceptions
of romance, of society, indeed of man himself, producing the fasina-
tion of Naipaul's A House for Mr. Biswas. On these issues we can
indeed profit from the experience of other Commonwealth writers and
But it may be said that in the West Indies, with its indigenous
use of English, and, in the broadest context, European and American
social and political structures, we can learn more from Commonwealth
members such as Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Here, again,
there are marked differences: differences of greater size, which allow
*for the formation of a culture in broader and more complex terms;
differences in the age of an integrated, articulate, national culture
(one article in this book is devoted to problems of studying nineteenth-
century Australian fiction-we look back to Mittelholzer as a pioneer
in West Indian writing); differences in geographical position-Canada
is involved with American ways of life even more than we are.
Australia and New Zealand face the opposite problem of being cut
off by space from both America and Europe. The West Indian islands
a!so face unique problems of inter-racial integration and the presence
of the effects of centuries of repression. When all this has been said,
these countries do face problems, which are common also to our
culture, of striking out new attitudes, styles and sensibilities that can
relate literatures to unique geographical and social backgrounds. This
is just what several speakers whose papers appear in this book try
to do, and one only has to read the chapters by W. H. Pearson ("The
Recognition of Reality") and John Matthews ("The Canadian Experi-
ence"), to see how much we can learn from the writers of Canada and
This, briefly, is the irrelevance and relevance of Commonwealth
studies to the West Indies. Reading this book one becomes convinced,
if one was not convinced before, that all the Commonwealth countries
have enough common issues, at least in the field of literature and
the use of English, to make such an association worth having. The
association for literary studies, indeed, may prove to have a more
realistic basis than the political association, and it would be a pity
if the former were needlessly sabotaged by political pressures with
which, ultimately, it had nothing to do. Perhaps one could at this
time separate 'Commonwealth studies' into an independent status.
Some might wish the word 'Commonwealth', to go. Perhaps a title
such as 'English-speaking Association' would be better. Indeed, as
only a minority of the hundred of million speakers of 'English' come
from England, the language itself could have a new name. This is, I
think, an impractical suggestion, but anything that could soothe
tender sensibilities and let writers and teachers get on with their
real tasks, would be welcome. Commonwealth Studies, then, or what-
ever one wishes to call it, is something we can gain from and con-
tribute to. Where do we, and in particular the University of the West
Indies, stand at the moment?
The English literature course at the U.W.I. has been conservative
and tied to the teaching of English in English Universities. There
have been good reasons for this. A country creates its own distinctive
literature, its own distinctive use of English, in its own time. But it
can only do this if it has a firm basis in the English language it is
to build on. It is no accident that most of the finest poets to write
in Africa and the Caribbean come from French-speaking areas, where
the peoples were subjected to a very rigid orientation to metropolitan
France and French educational systems. The firm basis in the tradi-
tional English curricula at the U.W.I. made possible the achievement
of Derek Walcott-who is now moving out to an independent, dis-
tinctly Caribbean poetry; of Mervyn Morris, and it will, I believe,
make possible fine achievements by Wayne Vincent Brown, at the
moment studying English at Mona. As West Indian literature of high
standard has become available, It has been incorporated into the
U.W.I. syllabus-this year students will have a chance to study Derek
Walcott and Roger Mais, for instance. Now the point has come at
which we must think in terms of at least an alternate paper in the
Honours syllabus devoted to either Commonwealth or West Indian
Here I would like to share with you the excitement I have
experienced editing the first fairly comprehensive study of West Indian
writing in English for the Oxford University Press. I know Professor
Cartey, of Columbia University who is writing another study, treat-
ing fewer writers in much greater depth, is having the same experience.
There has been the valuable criticism by Bill Carr, John Figueroa,
R. J. Owens, George Lamming, John Hearne, Wilson Harris, Gabriel
Coulthard, to mention, Invidiously, only a few names; but as the
various aspects of the field come together, a total view becomes
visible which has a new and exciting relevance to the West Indian
cultural experience as a whole. So, while we must be careful to heed
Professor Argyle's warning not to elevate literature for the wrong,
nationalistic reasons, or to see its achievements as unrelated to roots
in other cultures, (he wittily warns against literature seen as 'the
Constitution's identical twin, an equally immaculate conception, un-
announced but probably divine') (p.63), I believe we are on the
edge of a modest but real breakthrough in the understanding of
modern Caribbean culture.
It is here that I feel most worried. Are we in the West Indies
equipped to handle a 'breakthrough'? The achievement of the West
Indian writer in the twentieth century has been at least equal to
that cf the African. Certainly the movement of 'n6gritude' has its
roots in the work of Cesaire, from Martinique, and in Senghor's
historic anthology of negro verse, Nouvelle Anthologie de la Podsie
Negre et Malgache (1948), the overwhelming majority of the poets
represented were from the Caribbean. Even today the 'voices of Africa'
sometimes turn out to be 'Caribbean voices'-we need only point to
Professor W. E. Abrahams in Ghana, or to the writer of one of the
finest 'African' novels to date, Denis Williams, a Gulanese. But Carib-
bean studies in literature tend merely to be tacked on to African
studies. We send representatives to cultural gatherings such as that
in Senegal, and West Indian contributions appear occasionally in the
West Africa periodical Black Orpheus. Some will feel that the roots
of West Indian culture are in Africa, and therefore the preponderance
of African literary studies over West Indian studies is necessary and
right. It would be a pity if a turning to Africa, based partly on sound
social and historical theory, but also on a desire to relate to Africa
to counter the pressures of Engand and America, should lead to a
cultural colonialism of the West Indies by Africa. Relate, yes, but
understand the unique evolving Caribbean culture which must dif-
ferentiate between Africa and us. (I have lived in both Africa and
the West Indies, but if you do not trust my experience, read the
witness of a book like W. E. Brathwaite's A Kind of Homecoming,
while of course keeping in mind the strong sense of affinities vividly
expressed in Lamming's Pleasures of Exile) The situation calls for
a vigorous cultural exploration not only in Ibadan, but in the U.W.I.
It calls for the free, independent investigation of the position of
culture, and particularly literature (one of the easiest forms of
culture to study with the tools at present to hand), with the help
of just those insights we could gain from other countries facing
similar issues. In fact, the 'Commonwealth studies' organization.
We turn here to the recommendations at the end of the book
under discussion. They first of all assume a concern .for literary in-
vestigation in a particular national context. Here, the U.W.I. English
Department has suffered from lack of continuity at the top. No
coherent approach could be evolved under conditions of short terms
of office, with inter-regna between, on the professorial level. Secondly,
the recurrent theme of the Leeds Conference's recommendations is
the interchange of ideas and scholars. The English Department would
benefit .from visits from scholars in the field of African, Caribbean and
Commonwealth studies from elsewhere, on the scale of the visits,
enjoyed, for instance, in the University's scientific departments. The
teaching load on the staff should be lightened, so that they can devote
more time to research and writing, and they themselves should have
the opportunity of attending conferences and doing research abroad.
(No member of the English Department, for instance, was invited
to the Leeds Conference, although one is grateful that Professor
Figueroa of the Department of Education could be present and read
a paper) It is of course not only in the West Indies that the Sciences
are given precedence over the Arts in claims to funds and personnel,
and the very name of 'English studies' tends in the Caribbean to
suggest a colonial hangover: but I wish to argue that in a develop-
ing country the exploring of a literary culture should be given its due
importance; it is central to the discovery of a national identity, and
the expression of this identity to its people and the wider world. There
are hopes for the future, in particular with the forming of the Creative
Arts Centre and the study of Creole linguistics. These by themselves
will of course not be enough. A certain diversifying and broadening
of the literature courses could be fruitful; but these moves are complex.
Instead of broadening an education, one can easily fragment; instead
of deepening relevance, one can simply lower standards. One needs
a sense of direction. and provision for a serious discipline of study.
Here, again, the experience of other Commonwealth universities could
One could start with a stuly of the book in hand. To sum up,
it is full of interest and relevance, although a sharp eye is required
to separate what is relevant from what is not. It is a pity that the
Caribbean experience, apart from Professor Figueroa's necessarily
short paper, 'Some Provisional Comments on West Indian Novels', is
absent, for incidental remarks by delegates revealed massive
ignorance of our position: we could have given more, we could have
learnt more. John Press has done a skillful job in pruning out
most of the dull patches that inevitably occur in such a conference.
It is worth 25/- just for the superb cultural vignette by R. K.
Narayan, 'English in India', beginning, 'When I was five years old
I was initiated into the mysteries of letters with the appropriate
religious ceremonials'. Or there is the article by Chinua Achebe, 'The
Writer as Teacher', which opens up a whole area of thought about
the role of the artist in a developing country. But that is another
Department of English
University of the West Indies.
1. See also John Press (ed.), The Teaching of English Literature Overseas, Heinemann 1963.
2. Anon, A Language in Common, Times Literary Supplement publication, 1962, p. 16.
B. L. St. Hamilton Problems of Administration in an Emergent
Nation. A case study of Jamaica
Frederick A. Praeger Inc. 1964, pp. 218. $12.50 U.S.
STUDIES dealing with British Colonial administration and its
problems have been undertaken by scholars, political commentators
and -former colonial administrators who for the most part are from
metropolitan centres. Recently, however, a new brand of author has
joined the field-the former "colonial' who had been associated with
the colonial bureaucracy throughout the period of transition from
Crown Colony rule to nationhood. Mr. B. St. J. Hamilton is typical of
This "case study" was undertaken as partial fulfillment of the
requirements of the City University of New York for the degree of
Master of Public Administration. Its choice, the author said, "was in-
fluenced by the knowledge that very little had been written and
published on public administration In Jamaica". (Preface: see also
"Introduction", p. XVI).
In his introductory chapter, Mr. Hamilton has offered three defi-
nitions of the aims of his case study. All the definitions seem to in-
dicate that the study is concerned with identifying and analyzing the
administrative system and its problems which arise out of the social
economic and political changes during the period of Jamaica's
transition from a Crown Colony to an independent nation.
The author has also expressed the view that "the transition in
Jamaica resulted not from the impact of industrial society but rather
from ideological change in metropolitan thinking as well as bureau-
cratic dysfunction in relation -to established social needs" (p. XVI).
He has made no attempt, however, to establish the validity of this
proposition. Indeed it may be said that the case study is exclusively
concerned with demonstrating "bureaucratic dysfunction in relation
to established social needs" The exposition treats the transition from
Crown Colony rule under two periods-the first, the Crown Colony
system, reaching its crisis in the late thirties; the second "national"
government, culminating in independence in the early sixties.
To the author Crown Colony administration in Jamaica meant
metropolitan control by bureaucracy with real power shared between
the colonial office and local members of the Colonial Civil Service,
taking their lead -from the governor or leading him according to the
personality of the individual (p. 5) The Civil Service "consisted of
members of the Colonial Service as senor officials and of clerks re-
cruited locally. Very few Jamaicans were eligible for recruitment to
His Majesty's Colonial Service, which, as late as 1939, required satis-
factory evidence of European descent as a condition of entry" (p.7).
The Colonial Secretary was titular head of the Colonial bureaucracy.
He and heads of departments sat on the legislative assembly. They
therefore combined administrative and executive roles with those of
policy makers and legislators. This arrangement established "locally
the supremacy of the bureaucrat over the elected politician" and
formed the basis of a bureaucratic attitude which affected relation-
ships when the ministerial system was introduced later.
The role of the bureaucracy was confined to "public house-keep-
ing rather than development of the territory .for which local resour-
ces, local organization and even local as well as metropolitan thinking
were well geared" (p.23). In the context of limited funds, heads of
departments "expected to be congratulated on allowing a sizeable
portion of their agency budget to remain unexpended" (pp.26-27).
The system was not without useful attributes. The author men-
tions three: high personal integrity among officials; a career civil
service "admittedly with limitations for local staff"; "a crop of ad-
ministrative officers that would not have been available were the area
of recruitment confined to the island" (p.29).
On the other hand, Mr. Hamilton contends, the system engen-
dered hostility as a result of its lack of sensitivity to local social needs;
an inability to provide solutions to pressing social and economic
problems and an incapacity for technical programmes.
In a chapter called "Crisis in Government", the author treats the
reader to a crisp analysis of the unsettled state of colonial society in
the late thirties, culminating in the eruption of social and economic
pressures into unplanned islandwide insurrection. The usual Royal
Commission of Enquiry (Moyne) is sent out to investigate the unrest
and report. "The British Government accepted constitutional reform
based on adult suffrage as a political answer and Colonial Develop-
ment and Welfare Schemes as a solution for social and economic
problems affecting such areas as agriculture, health, social welfare
and education" (p. 57) The stage was therefore set for a new ad-
ministrative era. The author's treatment of this chapter indicates
an intense knowledge of the social problems of the period and his
analysis of the situation leaves little to be desired.
For their part, Jamaicans accepted "the new constitution institut-
ing the ministerial system in 1953 as the end of Crown Colony and
the inauguration of national government" (p. 75). Mr. Hamilton,
however, does not share this optimism. He contends that since "the
source of legitimate authority still rested with Great Britain through
the exercise of the veto of the governor of the colony the real
situation remained disguised by the governor's reluctance to veto legis-
lation or exhibit force of any kind" (p. 75). Whatever the de jure
position may have been, the "case study" from this point onwards
is concerned with the vagaries of the local man in top political and
administrative office-ministers in conflict with permanent officials
(p.79); ministerial interference in the routine activities of the Civil
Service for political purposes (p.82); high pressured requests for in-
creased Civil Service performance.
The social and political implications of the period of "national"
government are analyzed in considerable detail. It is the seedbed in
which the bureaucratic structure of the independent nation is nursed.
He examines the reorganized Civil Service in the context of "national"
demands and finds a heritage of attitudes which have their origins
in the passing colonial system. This situation belies popular assump-
tion that "a change in this source of political power would ensure an
administration that would provide leadership for national prosperity
and social equality" (p. 134). The new kinds of problems and
new areas of tension which develop in the system are isolated
and analyzed in a manner which does credit to Mr. Hamilton's
knowledge of the situation and his scholarship. Among the areas of
conflict touched are the political executive versus the Civil Service;
the Civil Service and the public; personnel policies of the reorganized
Civil Service (Training, Recruitment, Promotions etc.). Mr. Hamilton's
conclusions about the period of "national" government are aptly con-
veyed in his own language
"Those who proposed political advancement as a panacea tor
all problems then realized the limitations of mere political
power and prestige". (p. 139)
The study in its original form was concerned with developments
up to and including the period of full internal self rule ("national"
government). The author, in order to expand] the scope of his work
to encompass the entire transition to independence, has added a
fifth chapter-Retrospect. As seen by Mr. Hamilton, the period of in-
dependence is not distinguished by the solution of social problems
which plagued the society under earlier regimes. "The high hopes of
the national movement have yet to be achieved. Spectacular as the
political and economic advance has been, major social problems
remain and in some ways there has been further deterioration..."
About the political executive of the post independence era he
has this to say:
"Obsessed with the need for urgency the government tends to
ignore existing machinery and to create its own machinery."
About the Civil Service:
"With the magnitude of the task of solving inherited problems
and meeting new situations of disequilibrium the Jamaica Civil
Service needs to develop its own personality rather than indulge
in nostalgic reminiscences as to its ancestry." (p. 198)
Mr. Hamilton's advice to ministers of government and to civil servants
merits serious consideration:
"It is possible that a more positive demonstration of admin-
istrative capability by the civil service would result in a con-
traction of minsterial intervention in what would appear to be
routine administrative matters. It is possible that ministers of
state may ultimately discover that they would be more effective
by building up greater confidence in the civil service, con-
trolling clientele, withdrawing more from the area of direct
administration and concentrating on the broader Issues of
government policy on which programs could be planned in con-
sultation with the senior civil service and capable elements in
the private sector."
"The challenge is up to the civil service to regain a position
of strength through its specialization of knowledge, its involve-
ment in the success of programs and its acceptance by politi-
cians and public as a vital cog in the machinery of successful
government administration. Its further deterioration can
seriously embarrass the implementation of the best places for
Mr. Hamilton has confined his case study to problems in the
development of central administration. Apart from two brief refer-
ences (pp. 37, 148) lamenting the absence of autonomous local gov-
ernment, the study has ignored the field of local government admin-
istration. A comment on the practicability of establishing autonomous
local government agencies, in the light of chronic shortages of suit-
ably qualified technical and administrative personnel for central ad-
ministration, would have been welcomed.
The concern of the case study with the emerging bureaucratic
structure seems to compel the author to look at the role of the Civil
Service Association in shaping the new attitudes and orientation in
the independent era. Mr. Hamilton was himself President of the
Jamaica Civil Service Association. He is therefore in a position to
assess the extent to which this body has, in the past, influenced the
development and/or resolution of crises involving the new political
executive and the permanent Civil Service.
Mr. Hamilton has questioned the "organization of the Jamaica
Civil Service in the context of the British Civil Service", (p. 186) He
contends that "while Jamaicans are still satisfied with an imitation
of the British system, Professor Brian Chapman displays greater en-
thusiasm for the virility of the Civil Service in Germany and France,
and particularly the products of Ecole Nationale d'Administration",
(p. 187) Mr. Hamilton could have enriched his case study further
with a chapter on this very important issue. He could have advised,
for instance, what type of fundamental departure should be made
from the British model, or what aspects of other "alien" administra-
tive systems should be grafted to the system now in use and what
aspects of the existing system should be debunked. Development of
the discussion along these lines would have been of inestimable value
to prospective independent nations, particularly in the British
Notwithstanding the omissions mentioned above, Mr. Hamilton's
"case study" commends itself alike to the academic, politician and
practising administrator. Mr. Hamilton's career as a civil servant
during the period of transition has enabled him to draw generously
on personal experience of the situation he analyzes. The demands of
scholarship require that the author provide irrefutable evidence In
support of his thesis. Its authenticity is thereby ensured. The case
study therefore combines the author's personal experience in his field
of enquiry and the attribute of authenticity required of all works
submitted for high academic honours.
C. A. P. ST. HILL
Maurice Lubin L'Afrique dans la Peesie Haitiennc,
Port-au-Prince, 1965, pp. 100.
HAITI was the first country in the world to become profoundly and
sympathetically conscious of Africa from a literary point of view.
Antinoir Firmin in De l'Ugalitd des races humaines 1885. Hannibal
(1900) Price in his De la rehabilitation de la race noire par le people
d'Haiti and Jean Price Mars in Ainsi parla l'oncle (1927), devoted
their studies to destroying the myth of Africa as an area of century
old barbarism and of the racial inferiority of the negro.
The theme of Africa has been used by innumerable poets in Haiti
particularly after the publication of Price Mars's book in 1927. It is
not as Mr. Lubin points out just "a morbid manifestation, a vague
nostalgia for the black continent" and it is certainly not uniform, it
has in fact many variants. One feature however, all this poetry on
Africa has in common is its extraordinary emotional force and how-
ever deficient some of the works may be as poetry, this over-riding
emotionalism is conveyed strongly by all of them.
These poems reflect a variety of feelings about Africa. There is
inevitable expression of disgust and horror at the slave trade, the feel-
ing of not belonging, of being transplanted and the music, chanting and
drumming, (all very African in flavour in Haiti) remind them
sorrowfully of the country of their ancestors where once they belonged
and which they have lost. Then there is the question of what Mr. Lubin
calls "the clash of heredities." The Haitian is part European by his
official culture but African by his race and many of the features of his
folk-culture. L6on Laleau a mulatto, put this very well in his poem
"Betrayal" (Trahison), how can I, he asks himself, tame with European
words this heart which comes from Senegal; and in "Heredity" he says
he hears the harsh music of Africa. Then immediately after, a
melody by the highly polished 17th century French court composer
Rameau sounds in his mind. Another aspect in the theme of Africa is the
feeling of solidarity, of sympathy for the negro oppressed by colonialism
or discrimination in any part of the world. In fact some of the poets
such as Jacques Roumain, make of the negro a sort of symbol of man
exploited and subject to social injustice in the whole capitalist world.
"N6gritude," that is a mystic concept that the negro any part of
the world has a different way of experiencing reality from the white
man, also figures in this collection. Mr. Lubin describes it very simply
stating: "The African continent knows that Western humanism for-
mulated without its having any part in it and even to its detriment
could never suit its own personality African leaders con-
scious of the reality and of their mission work out a philosophy suitable
The last section is devoted to poems by Haitian writers celebrating
the Independence of various parts of black Africa. The best of these
is undoubtedly "I greet you, Congo" by Regnor Bernard.
This is an excellent anthology and contains very effective and moving
poems. It also gives a clear idea of the extension and variety of the
theme of Africa. It would even have been useful if Mr. Lubin had
attempted to account for the intensity of the theme in Haiti. All he
says is that Haiti was the only black republic in America and with one
or two exceptions, the only country where the black man was master of
his own destiny. Although this may be one reason for the constant
preoccupation of Haitians with black Africa, it might be that the
extremely strong and wide-spread persistence of African cultural
elements at a popular level (the Voodoo cult for example), may have
had something to do with keeping alive the awareness of Africa in
Haiti. It is interesting to note that the theme of Africa scarcely appears
in the literature of the Spanish or British Caribbean islands, although
much of the population in these areas is of African origin. The dating
of the poems would also have been useful. The majority in fact were
written between 1930 and 1963, but to the reader who has not made a
study of Haitian literature, this is not clear.
0. R. COULTHARD.
SELECTED BOOK LIST
E. C. Baker:
V. C. Callendar:
M. J. Chandler:
R. P. Devas:
Elsa V. Govela:
H. D. Huggins:
John Press (Ed.)
Inez Knibb Sibley:
M. 0. Smith:
A guide to Records in the Leeward Islands,
Basil Blackwell Oxford 1965 63/-
The Development of the Capital Market
Institutions of Jamaica.
Social and Economic Studies Supple-
ment to volume 14 no. 3 U.W.I. .... 25/-
God's People: West Indian Pentecostal
Sects in England 35/-
A guide to Records in Barbados
Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1965 63/-
The History of the Island of Grenada
Slave Society in the British Leeward
Islands at the end of the Eighteenth
Yale University Press 1965 $8.50 US
Aluminium in Changing Communities.
Andre Deutsch in assoc. with I.S.E.R.,
U.W.I. 1965 55/-
Heinemann, London, 1965 25/-
The Baptists of Jamaica 1793-1965
Jamaica Baptist Union, Kingston,
Jamaica, 1965 7/6
Stratification in Grenada,
University of California Press, 1965