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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Table of Contents
        Page 1
    Front Matter
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
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Full Text



9-;1~ ,90 8~-

VOL. 16. No. 3



Copyright and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.

J. D. Elder

Wayne Brown

Vernon C. Mulchansingh

Charlesworth Ross

Roland Lloyd

W. A. Redhead

E. C. Baker

71. Roots and Rhythms Nettlejord and LaYacona
W. Risden
74. Some Topics in Modern Biology Ed. Hopeton Gordon
R. D. Steele

76. Publications of the Department


Notes On Contributors

DR. VERNON MULCHANSINGH, Lecturer in Economic Geography.
U.W.I., Mona

DR. JAMES D. ELDER, Lecturer, I.S.E.R., U.W.I., St. Augustine,
Sociologist, folk music researcher and writer.

MR. CHARLESWORTH ROSS, Dominican journalist, Solicitor, author,
anthropologist and biographer.

MR. WAYNE VINCENT BROWNE, U.W.I. graduate in English.

MR. WILFRED REDHEAD, West Indian playwright.

MR. ROLAND LLOYD, Graduate of U.C.W.I.. Mathematician and
Poet; Teacher at Jamaica College.

MR. E. C. BAKER, West Indian historian and author.

DR. RUSSELL D. STEELE, Lecturer, Dept of Zoology, U.W.I., Mona.

MISS WINNIFRED RISDEN, Graduate of U.C.W.I., B. Litt. (Oxon.),
Lecturer, Dept. of English, U.W.I., Mona.


An official publication of the


Editorial Committee
R. M. Nettleford, Director of Extra-Mural Studies (Acting).
Lloyd Braithwaite, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I., St. Augustine,
Sidney Martin, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I., Cave Hill, Barbados.
J. J. Figueroa, Professor, Faculty of Education, U.W.I., Mona,
L. S. Grant, Professor, Faculty of Medicine, U.W.I., Mona,
Roy Augier, Dean of Faculty of General Dtgree Studies, U.W.I.,
Mona, Jamaica.
Dennis Scott, Department of Extra-Mural Studies, U.W.I., Mona,
Jamaica. (Assoc. Editor)

All correspondence should be addressed to:
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Department of Extra-Mural Studies,
University of the West Indies,
Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica.

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The Yoruba Ancestor Cult

in Gasparillo

(Its Structure, Organization, and Social Function in
Community Life)

ONE of the most significant components of the religious system
of the "Africans" (people of Negro descent) of Gasparillo, a
village in South Trinidad, is the ancestor cult institution commonly
called Shango in the Caribbean and "Orisha Work" in some Trinidad
villages. Shango, according to P. C. Lloyd, who worked for ten years
among the Yoruba of Nigeria, is an early mythical Alafin (oba) of
Oyo and is the deity of lightning and thunder. 1 While a few foreign
social scientists have studied this cult as it is found in other parts
of Trinidad, e.g. Herskovits' study of the cult in Toco, and Walter
and Frances Mischael's study of the Orisha pantheon among cultists
at St. Francois Valley in Port of Spain, very little has been done
anywhere by way of a thorough-going analysis of its organization,
structure and social function. 2 This article proposes to show how
the ancestor cult as it is known and practised among five village com-
munities in South Central Trinidad is crucial in community life and
how it operates in maintaining social coherence among the:e villages
primarily among the "Africans", the descendants of African slaves,
as well as in the wider community including East Indians and other
"out-Bocas people", i.e. the immigrants from other Caribbean islands
especially Grenadians and Tobagonians, who are late comers affinally
integrated wth the original settlers. The data upon which this study 3
is based comprise on-the-spot accounts of Shango feasts, ceremonies
and personal supplications and biographies and life-histories of
leaders, priestly officiants and ordinary cultic devotees with varying
degrees of official obligations. From personal interviews with scores
of Gasparillo villagers within and outside the cult organization, valu-
able insights were derived about social attitudes to the cult and its
social function and opinion regarding the cult members as a definitive

The Orisha ancestor cult institution has been studied and describ-
ed as it exists in Nigeria and Dahomey by quite a few anthropologists
Talbot (1926), Wach (19441 Bohanan (1964), Linton (1955), Forde
(1963), Wiedner (1964) and Crowder (1966). These workers have

treated this cultural phenomenon either from the point of view of
religion, social organization, politics, economics or social history or
from that of ingenious combinations of one or more of these culture
areas. Meyer Fortes in his study of West African religion and its rela-
tion to kinship has been the most analytical in approach 4. His pene-
tration of the process by which West African ancestor cult regulates
and controls the operations of the kinship system is impressive.
Herskovits describes this ancestor cult as he observed it among New
World Negroes in Brazil, Cuba, Haiti and the Eastern Caribbean. His
point of reference is culture-contact between the African and the
European and the process of cultural syncretism in the formation
of nativistic religious sectarianism.5 For students of Negro ancestor
cult Bascom's article upon the Yoruba Ogboni cult (pub. American
Anthropological Association, 1944) should be compared with P. C.
Lloyd's account of Yoruba religion.6 These studies all point to one
fact-the significance which the ancestor cult holds for social science
and for the development of a sociology of religion and the theories
it can evolve by which to explain the role of religion in Caribbean
social structure.

This article and the study from which its supporting data are
drawn constitute a response to the realization of the existing paucity
of serious detailed studies of the ancestor cults of the Eastern Carib-
bean. The Herskovits account of Shango in their Trinidad Village,
(Octogon, 1964) is ethnographically deficient as any native Trini-
dadian reader of the work can demonstrate. Before the threat of ex-
tinction of the cult by cultural and technological change becomes a
reality thorough study of this "survival" (as an older generation of
anthropologists would call it) is necessary. The answer must be found
to the question as to why this cult has persisted and the dynamics
by which it retains its vigour as a social institution among the
"Africans" must be explained. In this sense, the story upon which this
article is based is long overdue. In this article, only two characteristics
of the cult will be analysed. They are (1) the structure and organiza-
tion of the Shango cult, and (2) the relationship of the cult and its
structure to the sib kinship system ruling in the community of the
Gasparillo "Africans".

For a full understanding of the relationship between the ancestor
cult and the kinship system being studied, some idea is necessary of
the cultural setting of these two institutions. The villages occupied
by the "Africans" are situated on the edge of the Pointe-a-Pierre
oil refinery complex in Victoria County, South Trinidad. All these
communities belong to the Montserrat Ward, a region very significant
on account of the several Amerindian kitchen-middens which have
been excavated there by archaeologists like Fewkes and Rouse, and
because of the number of "Indian trails" which cartographers, work-
ing as late as 1797, entered on their maps which show the numerous
"Indian villages"-Naparima, Savannah Grande, Montserrat, Kang-

awood, etc. To this rich river country the planters came and estab-
lished in the time of Sir Ralph Woodford (1813-1829), and Sir Hamil-
ton Gordon (1866-1870) numerous sugar plantations utilising the
drier slopes and the flatter uplands. In the valley in the centre cocoa
plantations were established. To these sugar plantations the Negroes
were brought as slaves the grand parents and great grand parents
of people of African descent occupying the Montserrat villages today.
The interesting instances of population inertia which the presence of
the "Africans" represents in this community of villages is account-
ed for by the fact that after Emancipation the old ex-slaves bought
up the uncultivated land. How this land ownership has influenced
community cohesion in this locality will be explained later. Suffice
it to say that the people among whom the Shango ancestor cult flour-
ishes in this community of villages are at present almost to a man
landed peasants, living on and cultivating what are really "ances-
tral land holdings"

The Negroes living in the villages can be separated into two
major groups. The first comprises the descendants of slaves who lived
and worked on plantations strung out to the North and South of the
villages-Union, Alma, Reform. Ben Lomond, Williamsville, etc. to
the south; Forres Park, Phoenix Park, Esperanza, etc. to the North.
These Negroes emotionally identify with Africa and designate them-
selves "Africans" They employ the sub-title of "nations"-Hausa.
Congo (some say Chumundu) and Yoruba. The second, a kind of
pariah group, comprises later-comers into the area. These are Carib-
bean islanders mostly from the Grenadines and Tobago who origin-
ally came job-hunting to the Texaco oil refinery and the sugar es-
tates adjacent to the villages. By intermarriage with the "Africans"
these Negro late-comers entered the social stream as mere followers
of the African cult at first, subsequently being gradually absorbed as
they acquired membership in their own rights as fictive relativess"

The population of the villages at the present time contains a
very large East Indian element. These, in terms of evaluation by the
Africans' scheme of values, are also outsiders since they arrived com-
paratively late, i.e. after 1845. The relationships between all these
ethnic and migratory groups provide very important data for the
diagnosis of the social cohesion in these peasant villages. The popula-
tion of interest in this study breaks down as follows -

Table I Population (Ethnic Structure) s


Ml 6,753 1,766 2 4,342 27 593 23
Fm 6,559 1,818 4,257 17 448 19

TOTAL 13,312 3,584

2 8,599 44

1,041 42

Without entering into the demographic intricacies as to what
people are included in the "Mixed" categories of villagers in the
community which we are examining, it should be pointed out that
the East Indians out-number the Negroes by near to a 3 1 ratio. The
ancestor cult which is being studied can therefore be regarded as
being practised by a mere one-third of the total population. Its impact
upon the community becomes more dramatic on this account. Negroes
are concentrated in the western half of the region-in the villages
of Caratal, Maryland, Charles Street, Gasparillo and Mayo. East
Indians dominate Bon Aventure and Poona Village but may also
be found sprinkled among the predominantly Negro villages. There
is, therefore, on the basis of ethnic origins no perceptibly segregated
area. Because the East Indians were landless migrants when they
arrived there has been a continuing sensitivity among the Negroes
to the sale of land, especially ancestral land held co-jointly by whole
lineages. The sentiments which oppose transfer of land among
these "Africans" stem not only from purely economic considerations but
also from emotions associated with the idea of transferring to "the
stranger" the aura of the dead ancestors whose presence on such
land is commonly asserted by the villagers. At "Twin Mangoes" a
piece of land some forty acres in extent, the spirits of the dead rela-
tives of one of the largest families at Gasparillo, are said to show
themselves commonly to their friends. An attempt by the author to
excavate a kitchen-midden at a spot on this holding was deemed by
the villagers to be very risky and was positively discouraged. The
interrelationship in social life between the purely economic aspects of
the social order and these aspects which may be classified as
religious or "spiritual" is dramatically illustrated in the attitude of
the "Africans to the sale of ancestral land. The majority of East
Indians are generally leaseholders and not owners of land through-
out the villages. Without a firm footing on the land the East Indian's
position as "outsider in the community is reinforced in the value-
system of the "Africans"

In order to be specific about the identity of the group which is
designated "Africans" some idea of their cultural homogeneity should
be given. It is not known to what extent the tribal origins of the dif-
ferent people of Negro descent under study can be determined with
any degree of authenticity. This fact, of course, applies generally to
most Negro societies in the New World despite the attempts by several
scholars to construct an acceptable picture of their tribal origins.'
For the Gasparillo "Africans", however, there are certain cultural
ethnographic features which can be employed in authenticating the
tribal identity of the different "nations" into which these people
classify themselves. The major evidence in the data about tribal
origins is the assertion by individuals that their parents informed
them as to what tribe the slave ancestors belonged. This evidence is
supported by (a) linguistic relics, (b) place names in Africa which
the 'older heads' associate with the pre-slavery life of their grand
parents, (c) type of cult religion adhered to, (d) mythological relics,


(e) personal and place-names and (f) the ancestor cultic music,
dance, and musical instruments. I have had opportunity to test the
authenticity of the claims about identity of the language which the
Yoruba use in their traditional songs and which is retained in phrases
in the stories and myths which they narrate on the occasion of their
ceremonies. The experts referred to were either Africanists temporarily
in Trinidad or student Nigerians passing through or married to Trini-
adian spouses. From the verdict of these authorities I conclude that
the Yoruba group ("nation") identity is authenticated. From visiting
Africanists I have learned also that several of the Nigerian "powers"
(deities of the pantheon) still found among the Gasparillo Yorubas,
are absent from the African religious system found in Cuba, Brazil
and Haiti. (See Herskovit's article, "African Gods and Catholic Saints
in New World Religious Belief", American Anthropologist, XXXIX
(1937) 635-643.

For the Congo group we have less evidence of their identity but
the place-names in nearly all the village communities testify that
in the past a Congo group of "Africans" skilled in magic, sorcery,
and rain-making rituals, lived in the locality. Apart from this the
house-spots and derelict settlements compounds bear numerous names
beginning with the "Congo" Informants in the present age-group of
60 90 have given personal accounts of these Congos and their
magical feats. On one of the house-sites on Congo Hill at Mayo several
'thunder-stones' (Neolothic celts) belonging to a famous Congo
magician were found by one of my field assistants. The Hausa people
read from the Koran and they speak a dialect Arabic and sing songs
about Allah. A Nigerian student from West Africa recognized some
pure Arabic words and the accent peculiar to this tongue in some
pre-wedding songs which I recorded with the oldest Hausa female
'82) in the "nation" at Mayo. The Yoruba group, anyhow, stand out
today among the "Africans" as the major group, numerically and
in culture-strength.

Over and above these cultural features, the presence of which
support my theory of homogeneity, are other more subtle character-
istics which apply not to the single "nation" but to the "Africans"
as a whole. These characteristic features are:

a recognized common racial ancestry.
intense identity with Africa.
a common social history (including slavery)
iv. a cosmology of African powers (deities) and ancestral
spirits related to mortal descendants.
v. virilocal or patrilocal residence rules.
vi. the patrisib kinship system (extended family)
vii. Christian monogamy marriage type.
viii. serial polygyny (permitted occasionally).

ix. Judeo-Christian allegiance with Roman Catholicism
x. ancestor cult with Olympian type pantheon of "powers"
(the orishas or deities of Dahomey and Nigeria).
xi. peasant agricultural economy predominant.

The features listed above as characterizing the "nations" as a
whole are sufficient to give the individual member a sense of kinship
and brotherhood whoever he may be and wherever among the villages
he may travel or move to. There is considerable cross-nation marriage
since the "nations have long abandoned the traditional endogamy,
many accounts of which are still recounted by the older informants.
"Sister-exchange", also once very common, still exists, but in modern
times this ancient custom has almost disappeared. I have informa-
tion of only two cases existing at present among the Yorubas. It is
chiefly among the Congos that informants report this practice as
occurring to any great degree in the past.

Over and above the features listed already is an ethnocentricism
which can safely be termed Negritude. It is a kind of reversed ra-
cialism akin to the "Black is Beautiful" movements in America. In
Gasparillo and the surrounding villages its history began, it is said,
with the Abyssinian War of 1937. Today it takes the form of an over-
emphasis upon the "superiority" of the Negro race as compared with
the white race. This is not to say that it is a new thing. Many old
"Africans" speak very proudly today about the "scientific" knowledge
of the Negro in Africa. This knowledge referred to comprises ancient
powers over the psychic world and, in some cases, refers clearly to the
magic and sorcery which early Christian missionaries to Africa

What I have found among the Gasparillo "nations" may well
represent a local pan-africanism. This sentiment is deeply rooted in
suppressed anger against the European slave-traders and slave-owners
of the past. It is my view that the ancestor-cult is one of the me-
chanisms of protest against the social and cultural norms of a hated
symbolic "whiteman" Nonetheless, this Negritude fits in with the
other cultural features in giving the "Africans" their homogeneity and
their emotional unity. In order to arrive at an explanation as to how
the ancestor cult operates in maintaining social coherence in the
community of the "Africans", it is proposed to show not only how
this cult is related in structure and function to, but that it also rests
upon the kinship system ruling in the villages. This kinship system is
the patrilocal sib system in which unmarried sons and daughters as
well as married sons and their family live either in the home of their
father or on the ancestral land adjacent to that home, while married
daughters live elsewhere, either in the home or on the compound of
their husbands' primary families. While there are noticeable changes
occurring in this system, especially among the most recently formed
families, this custom is reportedly traditional to the "Africans" in the

villages. Not until the old male head of one of these extended families
dies can the eldest son take his place and make decisions regarding
the rest of the family or families living together on the compound. This
system is truly of African origin, especially the Yoruba and Dahomean
types, in terms of organization and function. The aged male head of
the extended family, comprising usually up to three generations,
stands in the relation of "father" to a number of "children"

All through his life he exacts and receives the respect and care
this position demands and, in fact, enjoys both jural and ritual dom-
inance as well as economical authority over all and sundry in the
group. Accounts of this power as wielded by the aged Yoruba fathers
have been given by several informants. The image of the Yoruba father
derived from these accounts is one of the absolute ruler, kindly and
paternal to his "children", but very stern and unbending in decision-
taking. Coupled with this is the strong feeling of obligation the father
has to secure the material and ritual welfare of all in the family down
to the smallest grand-child. In addition to the duties mentioned
before, it was the old father of the family whose obligation it was,
when through sorcery or Obeah one of the family members was
struck down, to take the ritual steps necessary to rid the family of
the evil. In this sense the father was expected to use his own super-
natural power derived from his guardian spirit (or cultic deity) to
bring health to those afflicted by shamanic activity. In this respect
is related this dramatic account of how C.N., the head of a large
Yoruba family at Mayo, cured his little grand-child who was struck
down by an East Indian spirit (jumbie) while the child was play-
ing in the yard of the Gasparillo R.C. school. Here is the account as
told by J -, now a young woman of twenty and residing in New
York: -
I was playing with other children in the schoolyard when
I saw an old Indian man dressed in a white dhoti coming up
to me. I shouted to the other children but they said they saw
nobody. I felt afraid and my head head began to swim and I
fell down. The other children ran away. I do not remember
anything until later when I found myself at my grandfather's
home. My mother had carried me there after taking me up
from the school-yard where I'd fallen.
Grandpa told me not to be afraid. He said that the East
Indian spirit was walking about the village making mischief
but he would take care of me. He then lifted me and carried
me to his shrine (Michael's) He made an offering to the
"power" and he anointed me down with different things. He
took a sharp thing and marked me on my right hand with the
first letter of his surname. I did not bleed very much. From
that day nothing like that ever happened to me again

The account is obviously curtailed since only the part which illus-
trates the ritual role of the head of the Yoruba family is required.

No other member of the family during the life-time of the eldest male
has any authority to deal with the "guardian powers" peculiar to
that family. Thus the relationship between the aged male headship
and the rest of the family rests upon both the natural and super-
natural dimensions of the social order.

Not only among the Yorubas of Gasparillo, but also among the
Congo people, this paternal responsibility of the head male for the
natural and spiritual welfare of the extended family members has
been reported. F - of St. Cyr Bottom, a village on the Poona Road,
informed me that the Congomen near whom his father lived, would
fight the droughts with their magic. They would take a calabash of
water and, standing on the roof of their house, conjure down rain,
commanding the "powers" to send it upon their fields of crops alone.
This rain-making art has been reported among the Caratal Yorubas,
although the technique is different. The Congomen were very "wicked",
according to many informants, and they brought the rain down upon
their fields alone. In contrast, the Yoruba rain-makers shared the
rain they made with the whole community, thus spreading their
influence beyond the primary families of a single "nation"

While it is a fact that the ancestor cult being described is anchored
among the Yorubas, it has been modified sufficiently to be suitable
for participation in it by the Congos and the Hausas. Again, on
account of the intermarriage between the "nations" the supporters
of the cult in the community can be said to include all of these tribal
categories in a ranked system. At a Shango feast or ceremony all
these "nations" are represented since non-Yorubas spouses accom-
pany their mates bringing the children along with them. The result
of this inter-mixture of the audiences at Shango feasts is that con-
siderable modification of the structure of the ancestor cult ritual has
taken place over the years. The cult in its present form can, there-
fore, be considered syncretized not only with regard to Judeo-Chris-
tianity but also with other forces which ancestor cults take among
tribes other than the Yoruba. i.e. Congo and Dahomey. In identifying
the structural and cultural elements in the ancestor cult of the
"Africans", therefore, we should look not only to the Christian religion
but also to other West African religions. Herskovit's study of the
Dahomey religion, and Bascom's report on that of the Yoruba in Nigeria 10
provide material for studying this syncretism. This review is required
as a preliminary to the comparison which is supposed to be made
between the structure and organization of the Gasparillo "nations"
ancestor cult and the sib kinship organization ruling in the com-
munities of the "Africans", since the aim is to show not only how
these two institutions are mutually compatible and support each other
in the community in terms of social function, but also that any
theoretic explanation of the persistence of these two survivals among
Trinidad "Africans" at Gasparillo must be based upon the premise
that the two institutions are structurally identical and are con-
tinuous with each other over time.


The ancestor cult of the "Africans" shows certain major struc-
tural peculiarities when compared with that described for the
Yorubas in Africa. This can be best illustrated in a diagram. Accord-
ing to Bascom's account there are (i) Creation Ancestors, (ii) Destiny
Ancestors, and (iii) Devotees (including diviners) and each adult
male, at some time or other, especially after some crisis in his life,
compulsorily recognizes his Destiny ancestor and erects a shrine to
this guardian spirit on his own compound. The male (as father) has
jural and economic power over his wife and sons all through his
life-time and this shrine and the Destiny ancestor worshipped there
serves both wife or wives and sons and their families. In the ancestor
cult of the "Africans" the following classes of members exist:-
(i) The pantheon of orishas ("powers" in Trinidad terminology),
(li) The ancestral relatives (the 'old people' in Trinidad), (iii) The
Devotees including the priest or priestess and several officiants with
priestly offices, and (iv) The Followers including admirers, sympa-
thisers, and true "outsiders" from which group new members of the
cult are recruited. These two structural organization patterns one in
Nigeria, the other in Tinidad, show many interesting variations. The
great "Founder" deities of the Nigerian Yorubas are represented by
the Orishas of the Trinidad religious system.

While they are not really "public", and while their role in thesociety
cannot be compared with their political function at governmental
levels in Nigerian society, the Trinidad Orishas because they are iden-
tified with the Roman Catholic saints, can be regarded as 'public' in
the sense that they may possess any devotee present at a "feast" and
they are not restricted in their services to a locality or village as
the "Founder" ancestors of Nigeria civic cults are. Again, while the
"Destiny" ancestors as such in Trinidad are not built domestic shrines
by each adult family head as in Nigeria, each of the Gasparillo
"Africans" recognizes a Guardian Power-one of the Orishas. Annu-
ally he makes a sacrifice to the Power in thanks for his care and
protection, or when he is in trouble or facing a crisis. Thus in the
Trinidad system as it exists at Gasparillo, the Orishas or "powers"
can be said to double as founder-ancestors and destiny-ancestors, i.e.
as far as their social role is concerned as well as their domestic role
in which they hold the status of "parents" of the devotees who are
commonly termed "children" The diagram following presents these
differences more graphically.

It has been indicated above that the two institutions-the an-
cestor-cult and the sib kinship system would be shown not only to
be structurally identical but also that they are continuous in time
('across the grave') and are culturally supportive in the community.
Finally, theory will be evolved upon the assumption that out of this
web of inter-relationships among mortal "Africans" and between
them and the ancestral spirits of relatives and the "powers" (deities),
arises a social situation which enhances community harmony,
mutual respect, and friendly relations among the villagers as a whole.

Kinship, Cult, and Social Cohesion
in a Rural Community in Trinidad



Fam Fam Fam Fam
(1+) (1-) (1+) (1-)

I 1 1
"Nation" "Nation"

Fam Fam Fam Fam Fam Fam Fam Fam
(1+) (1-) (1+) (1-) (1+) (1 ) (1+) (1-)

Structure of the Ancestor Cult System

NOTE: The cult is structured in terms of "nations" (tribal groupings)
which are comprised of patri-sibs. These latter are broken
down into families with patri-local residence. The ancestors
are termed "parents"

The identity of the structure of the sib and that of the ancestor
cult can be demonstrated by examination of the kin terms and the
relationships between mortal "Africans" (living) and their ancestral
relatives. In respect of parentage both the dead ancestral rela-
tives and the mortal heads of extended families bear the kin term
"parents" These are modified into "old parents", "parents",
"father", "mother" In terms of descent the living "Africans" comprise
tribal groups termed "nations" but they are all given the kin desig-
nation of "children" (of the ancestors) With regard to family the sib
comprises a primary family, the families of the married sons, the
unmarried sons and daughters and their children, if any, thus form-
ing an extended family. But this term "family" also relates to the
group comprised of ancestors and living descendants. Since all
"Africans" regard themselves as "children" of the deities ("powers")
-Papa Ogun, Mama Oyo-the ancestor cult as a whole rests upon a
"family" comprised of both living and dead "Africans" This family
extends backwards and forwards in time and the ancestor cult organ-
ization is reflected or is repeated in the organization of the kinship
system ruling among the villagers.
The complex of relationships based on kinship just described not
only operates vertically to link particular sibs and lineages with dead

relatives, but it also works in a lateral direction to tie all the
"nations"-Yoruba, Congo and Hausa-into a broad band of blood
relationships. While the strength of the bonds between the "nations"
depends more upon ethnic ancestry than upon consanguiniety, this
parentage which all "Africans" derive from the ancestral Negroes is
very powerful as a motivation for joint action and loyalty among
the village communities. The comparative analysis of the structure
of the ancestor cult and the sib shows merely structural similarities
and organizational relationships. It is now left to show what features
in the complex of "nations" are common to all members and how
these serve to integrate them as a whole.

The major characteristics which apply to all "Africans" are as

1. identical ethnic origin and identity with Africa.

2. a common slave background in their history

3. common recognition of African orishas, deities, and "powers"
of a pantheon interested in the welfare of the living.

4. observance of an "African" ethos in which this region and
its culture-heroes serve to inspire morality, a sense of iden-
tity in the history of the world, and a self-image of cultural

5. inter-marriage among the nations with powerful taboos about
non-African exogamy.

The two main areas in which all these "tribal" groups find a
common base for cooperation are religion and kinship. A third aspect
of their culture, which is fairly powerful in generating close ties, is
the arts music, dancing, food-ways and dietary styles. All these
are closely connected to family life and welfare since music and danc-
ing are important elements in the rituals employed in the domestic
ancestor feasts and sacrifices. Ritual food, its preparation and the eso-
terics which govern its offering to the "powers" are extremely crucial
since errors in the processes preceding its use to "feed the saints" can
render the offering worthless, causing needless expense to be repeated.
Food experts from the various "nations" cooperate to prepare the food
at all feasts and sacrifices thus pooling expertise and skill in an effort
to please the ancestors. This skill is orally transmitted only to a few
selected persons in a generation so that these experts retain their
position of trust and prestige all through their life.

The making of music-singing, drumming and dancing-are social
In nature but in the context of ceremonial activities engaged in by
the "Africans" these arts are sacrosanct and carry their own system
of norms regarding the morality of the individual, his performance and
his devotion to his work. Again, any non-conformity to standards of

music-making, drumming or dancing la nighly objectionable to the
"saints" and can result in trouble for the officiant of a feast, or In
completely ruining the feast and making it ineffectual. Where such
a feast was held for the purpose of solving problems of crisis or
healing the sick, this kind of situation can be really frightening.

The "powers" have been reported to bring sudden death to devotees
whose feasts were defective in these respects and, therefore, unaccept-
able. The effect of this complex of sanctions about behaviour towards
the dead and showing respects for the "powers" and ancestral spirits
cannot but result in binding the "Africans" together in one overall
code of morality with feed-back into secular life and interpersonal re-
lationships in work, play, and worship alike. The Police of Gasparillo
have remarked upon the low level of incidence of crimes termed "offences
against the person" among the "Africans" While statistical relation-
ship has not been established between membership in the ancestor
cult and offences against the Law, all observers have been attracted
to this phenomenon and conclude that ancestor cult members are
obviously very law-abiding citizens.

I have shown elsewhere that while inter-group quarrels over an-
cestral land can divide a community such as the "Africans" represent,
not that these quarrels do not occur but they have not resulted
in splintering the families in this community. Families remain
tied to ancestral land not merely from economic considerations but
from sentiments far more profound and powerful. Ancestral land
contains the remains of the ancestors and should not, on any account,
be alienated from the descendants. It is taboo to sell land where
the "old parents" bones lie, and the Africans have contrived, despite
the vicissitudes of drought or plant-diseases reducing the value of
land, to retain their holdings. Thus the "African", no matter where
he roams, has a spot of land to which he can return as a "child" to
his group of relatives, both dead and living. The internal stability
which this kind of support gives to the individuals in a community
with these values in connection with land cannot be produced easily,
as can be seen in the failure of development agencies in Trinidad and
Tobago to get people to settle on and live off the land. Considerations
other than the economic are involved-love and respect for the an-
cestral "parents."

What the identity of the ancestor cult with the kinship system
and their relationship to other areas of culture in the Gasparillo
community lead us to predict is, that all things being equal, this
community ought to show a high level of integration and social
harmony. The community, despite its recognition of "nations" is not
segregated but is one solid complex of Congos, Yorubas and Hausas
tied together by blood and affinality horizontally and anchored with
the past through Africa and the Negro ancestors. Secure within this
community the members can meet with confidence the shock of
technological and cultural change which is sweeping the country.

There have been assailants attacking the ancestor cult, especially the
Christian Church whose members would deem these religious sur-
vivals from Africa to be nothing but paganism. But because of the
internal strength of the "Africans", the power of their faith and
belief, and the effectiveness with which their religion has solved their
problems both secular and supernatural, they have retained their
cult. No matter where they go they return to the shrines of the
"saints"-Shango, Amanja, Ogun. Between these orishas and Christi-
anity, for this community, there is no conflict; each Christian saint
has been allotted an African deity's name.

Thus Christianity and its dogma and visible symbols find a place
within this ancestor cult. To the "African" devotee, very often than
not a devout Roman Catholic himself, maximum spiritual fortitude
accrues from a combination of the Orishas with the Saints
Christian ritual and African cult combine easily in the chapelles
where thunder-stone neolithicc celt) and crucifix stand prominently
side by side; within the palaise where ritual food and dancing are
available for all, the East Indian with his own pantheon of gods and
the Catholic with his saints may all find welcome. In fact no "feast"
opens unless the Catholic prayers for the day or season are recited.
The "Africans" have thus not only integrated religion but also the
whole community-the outsiders, the non-African groups, the late-
comers and the East Indians. The situation is "open"-all are free
to enter. Friendship and mutual respect exist between people of
African and East Indian origin. The ancient families of Negro descent
and the outer-islander immigrants have been drawn together through
inter-marriage in relationships of mutual cooperation in a com-
munity which, in a real sense, belongs to all who live in it. In no
Trinidad village have I observed in my research such genuine inter-
racial relationships as I have found in these villages. Not even the
disorganization that customarily comes with transition has been
able to shake this good relationship existent among these people of
differing cultural background and history.

In conclusion it would appear that the secret of this community
harmony stems from the ancestor cult and its supporting infinite
kinship system-the extended family that defies time and death.

Internal strength arises from the emphasis on the Parent-Child
obligation of respect and support and the systematic way in which
the young "African" is socialized into this system, its beliefs and
values. Inter-racial harmony stems from the attitude of the Negroes
to their neighbours, their sentiments of brotherhood and kinship
in social history, and the obvious similarity between the two religious
systems of the Africans and the Indians. For those who plan pro-
grammes of "community development" this high quality of coopera-
tion is an ideal after which the agencies aim but seldom achieve. It
may well be that the findings about the dynamics of social harmony
in the community of Gasparillo and the high level of social cohesion

among the "Africans" there, may hold clues as to what social phen-
omena and institutions are the most suitable as the ground-base
upon which to anchor programmes of induced community change.
Without the cooperation of the community no "development pro-
gramme" will ever succeed.

Can this community cooperation be produced on demand? Maybe
this study holds the answer.


The significance of this study goes beyond the local scene. It lies
in the fact that while in Nigeria today the old tribal animosities are
erupting in debilitating warfare between Hausa, Yoruba and Ebo,
here down at Gasparillo, the "Africans" have demonstrated (a) that
they are an integrated group psychologically sustained by the bonds
of their cultural heritage and maintained by the family and religious
and social institutions retained from a traumatic past embittered by

A politically minority group in an hostile ecology, these people
were somehow able to counter the divisive forces of political and
social role denial and meet the conditions with the power which a
unified organized Negro community is capable of generating. The sib
system with its compulsive interrelationship of kinship and the sym-
bolized linkages with the ancestors provide this community with the
internal strength and stability it needs to meet the external
stresses and pressures which the non-Negro power-group represent-
ed. The ancestor-cult, and its calendric ritual rhythm reinforce the
group's need for unity. The communal feasts and worship of the
Orishas emphasize the sanctions and obligations of loyalties old and
traditional. Cult and kinship thus support each other in the indi-
vidual life of the villager and within the extended families. The
whole system rests upon mutual interpersonal respect, regard
and loyalty at the personal individual level as much as at the wider
inter-tribal levels of the "nations" The result is a psychological com-
munity stability and harmony generated by the mechanism of the
traditional "life ways" which made compulsory genuine unity and
real loyalty which the social conditions demanded of the Negroes
as the price of their survival. In this instance the ancestor cult and
the sib system of the "Africans" are truly adaptive-they are the
means to which this community owes its very existence and welfare
under social conditions that have divided and weakened the Ameri-
can Negro community's cohesive potential, for these "Africans" are
potentially powerful and can adjust to change-culturally and tech-
nologically-without anomie and without reversion to violent demon-
strations of "black power"-they possess the internal power that goes
with full integration and cohesion.

Did the "Africans" deliberately turn to these institutions in their
questing for survival in an exacting environment or were they pre-
served against disorganization and break-down because they retained
these institutions? Does the retention of the ancestor-cult and the
sib kinship indicate some special feature of this community of Negroes?
We should not know for sure which is the dependent and which
the independent variable in this situation. The sociological
principle which underlies the facts observed in this situation is that
strongly based family and religious institutions have the power to
preserve a group against the disorganizational effects of the socio-
economic changes which every folk society must face as the country
develops towards the urban technological type of culture. Too rapid
a change can create mental illness among the members of the
community; institutions like the ancestor-cult and the sib can help
the people to make the transition and adjustment with the minimum
of trauma and distress.

The major thesis which is supported by this study is that evolved
by several workers in philosophy and the social sciences, e.g.
Durkheim (1912), Radcliffe-Brown (1945), de Coulanges (1864), etc.,
that there is a correlation between the social structure of a culture
and the nature and organization of its religion-that "the form of
the religion and the form of the social structure correspond one with
the other we cannot understand the religion except by an ex-
amination of its relation to the (social) institutions".11 To Induce
change in a society, therefore, the social engineer must regard its
religion as a major factor and treat it as a valid clue as to what form
or forms the innovations will take. Social structure and religious
structure are too interrelated for this fact to be ignored. This error
has resulted in costly conflicts in the underdeveloped territories
of the world as has been shown by Lanternari, McMillan and Fortes
for several post-colonial societies 12. May be McMillan's "warnings"
from the West Indies is the pertinent reminder in this context, but
the moral painted by all workers in this field is the same. Where
ethnocentricity and ignorance cause the administrator to despise and
suppress a people's traditional religious beliefs and practices in the
anxiety to effect change, he creates strings of social problems which
generations of remedial programmes can never solve. The major
social sentiments grounded in a people's religion subsume the social
order. To change that order the social innovator must use more
effective tools than administrative edicts and legal instruments.


1. Lloyd, P. C., "The Yoruba of Nigeria", James L. Gibbs Jr., Peoples of Africa, New
York, 1965, Pp. 575-76.
2. Mischel, W. and F. Mischel, "Psychological Aspects of Spirit Possession", American
Anthropologist, LXI, Pp. 779-81.

This study is based upon material from a current two-year research project,
sponsored by the ISER of the Univ. of the West Indies. The project enquires
into the relevance of two African cultural survivals in accounting for the high
level of social cohesion in five rural village communities of South Central Trinidad.

4. Fortes, Meyer, Oedipus and Job In West African Religion, Cambridge Univ. Press.

5. Herskovits, Melville J., "African Gods and Catholic Saints in New World Religious
Belief," American Anthropologist, XXIX, 1937, Pp. 635-43.

6. Bascom, W. R., "The Sociological Role of the Yoruba Cult Group, Memoirs of
the American Anthropological Association, No. 63, 1944.

7. 'he study commenced Oct. 1967 and will conclude in Oct. 1969 with a report to
be published by the ISER. Articles based on the material collected will be published
prior to the Report in Sociological magazines of the U.S.A. U.K. and the West

8. Based on data prepared by the Central Statistical Office, Government of Trinidad
and Tobago.

9. Among more ambitious attempts at reconstructing the tribal origins of New World
Negroes is Lynn Smith's Iatin American Population Studies. Univ. of Florida Press,
Florida, 1960.

10. Bascom, op cit.

Radcliffe-Brown, A. R., "Religion and Society, Journal of the Royal Inslltute of
Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 75, 1945, P. 40.

12. For discussions of this problem see: Lanternari, Vittorio, Religions of the Oppressed.
New York. 1963, Preface, and Mc Millan Warnings from the West Indies.


In the Beginning the cat
Stood for a while at the edge of the world.
On the seventh day
It moved in,
Like your dead neighbour's, casually.

Adam and cowering Eve
Felt the eyes watching
And vainly tried
To cover their privates: but all that night
The cats streamed in through the garden gate.

When dogs die
Their entrails are dragged
Out of dustbins by cats, who devour them.

Noah, while the others stood around in pairs,
Reached forward to greet the bird with the branch,
But the cat killed it
With one slap.

The white cat's eyelids rock shut.
The Alps are completely snowed under.

Antony dead, the woman dead.
Rome hushed and waiting, emptily -
The cat stalked out of the palace.

0 daughters of Africa
Your warriors are slain.
The night is a black cat
With yellow eyes.

Arthur, cantering back to the castle
After an exhausting peace,
Noticed a cat trapped halfway
Up a treetrunk.

Whether what woke you sounded like
A dropped nailfile
Or a bottle
Or the night of the sailors, think:
The cat's in your garbage

I do not know much
About cats. And I know
I do not know. Still,
Cats in the linen
Scare me.

Five hundred Viet Cong captured.
Race riots in Atlanta.
Glancing sideways, hurriedly crossing the lit street,
The cat loped off down an alley.

Dying in his sleep, one step past death,
Heard the love-scream of cats and made
a terrible effort to sit up.

The morning after the bomb
Was dropped, I woke early.
Silence past stillness, a city in ruins
My hand touched fur and the cat purred.


A Model Approach to the

Understanding of the Transporta-

tion Network of Trinidad, W.I.

"Models are necessary because reality is very complex.
They are a conceptual prop to our understanding and
therefore provide for the reader a simplified and
apparently rational picture for the classroom and for
the researcher a source of working hypothesis to test
against reality. They convey not the whole truth but
a useful and comprehensive part of it."
PETER HAGGETT in "Frontiers in Geographical
teaching", Methuen, London. 1966.

IT HAS been said rather cynically that there are as many
definitions of Geography as there are geographers. Someone has also
said that geography is what geographers do. There is common agree-
ment, however, that our laboratory is the face of the earth and that
we are interested in studying and in understanding what Richard
Hartshorne has aptly called 'areal differentiation' or areal variation.
That is, the traditional aim of geography is to describe the spatial
patterns of objects or phenomena and to explain that pattern by
way of the many factors which have caused them. This aim, of course,
implies some way of arriving at an understanding of spatial patterns
from a knowledge of temporal processes-a process which has been
termed by some geographers the time-space transformation.

Geographers of this generation will be the first to concede, how-
ever, that in the past too much emphasis has been placed on describing
and not on analysing, too much stress had been laid on outlining the
unique, and absolutely too few attempts have been made to arrive at
higher level generalisations and conceptualisations. J. Q. Stewart and
William Warntz' came down heavily against the persistence of the
descriptive, unique chorology when they wrote that "failure to gen-
eralise has contributed to the low regard with which geographers are
held in certain academic quarters. There is absolute necessity to de-
velop a new point of view in geography."

E. J. Taafe welcomes the trend away from the descriptive world
coverage toward higher levels of generalisation, but he fears that it
is a 'slow and timid one.' He rightly states that in geography courses
at University "there is simply too much unrelated material to re-
member." Says Taafe, "if we were to think in terms of residual ideas,
or what the student retains five years after having taken such a
course, we would find virtually all of the pattern detail had vanished
unless it had been clearly related to a relatively few central ideas.
Typically, the student will have only a few sadly scattered
memories of minutiae, often representing items rendered vivid by the
instructor's store of colourful anecdotes." Taafe concludes that the
most useful theories and generalisations are those which provide help
in thinking critically about why things are where they are. "Such
theories," he states, "provide a rich and condensed set of statements
which may be applied to many types of patterns at different times,
in different cultures and on different scales."2

In the context of the desired types of change in geography, it
will be obvious that a good dialogue has developed between the
empirical and the theoretical. This is especially true in economic
geography or generally in what some writers call the 'location cluster'
studies, where the dialogue has gone far enough to reveal the useful-
ness and potential of a balanced approach. The last fifteen years or
so have seen a revolution, a slow one though it may be, in geography,
with the application of quantification and quantitative methods, the
growing importance of model-making and the revival of old theories,
for example those of Christaller, von Thunen, Weber, Losch and
others. The last few years have also seen the publication of 'neo-
geographical' landmarks like Peter Haggett's Locational analysis in
Human Geography, William Bunge's Theoretical Geography, William
Garrison and Duane Marble's Quantitative Geography, Stanley
Gregory's Statistics and the Geographer, Maurice Yeates' An Intro-
duction to quantitative analysis in economic geography, 0. Duncan,
R. Cuzzort and P. Duncan's Statistical Geography and R. Chorley and
Peter Haggett's Models in Geography, not to mention the scores of
'new look' articles in journals such as Economic Geography, Annals
of the Association of American Geographers, Geographical Review and
others. Indeed a new journal coming out soon from Ohio State Uni-
versity is devoted wholly to 'quantitative articles'. Meanwhile many
economists are following the lead set by Walter Isard in bringing in
"space" or spatial thinking in economics. Many such papers find their
way in yet another journal, the one most devoted to mathematical
approaches in geography, The Journal of the Regional Science

Some geographers view with disfavour the fractionalisation of
geography into many new autonomous sub-disciplines within the subject
One of the recent, fast-growing sections of geography is Transporta-

tion geography. The transportation pattern forms such a conspicu-
ous part of the landscape that it is reasonable that its study should
be a field of its own. If the map is a palimpsest, and, if according to
Mikhailov "the lines on a map are the handwriting of history" then
the deciphering of a country's transportation network, using the time-
sequence approach well illustrated in Historical Geography, should be
rewarding as well as enlightening. Besides, transportation means so
much to a civilisation.

A well-known cliche, popularised by C. R. Chatburn, asserts that
"transportation is civilization." Another says that "transportation is
the best measure of civilisation" and many students of the subject
consider it the most important single factor affecting the distribu-
tion of economic activities on any unit area of the earth's surface and
in the integration of an economy into a powerful, viable unit. Lord
Hailey's pronouncement on Africa has wide applicability. He wrote in
1956, "There seems to be no other type of development which can
affect so speedy a change in the economic and social conditions of
backward countries as transportation." 3 Nearer to the West Indies,
the 1966-1970 Development Plan of the Government of St. Lucia in
the West Indies starts its section on "Road Development" with the
following comments "The provision of adequate roads is one of
the most important factors in the development of the agricultural
economy, the expansion of industry and tourism and the process of
social improvement." 4

The role of transportation as a key factor in economic develop-
ment is well recognized. According to A. M. Milne, "the economic
system works in a dynamic atmosphere. In the process of dynamic
development improvements in transport facilities may provide the
stimulus to progress, or where these improvements fail to keep pace
with the changes in production demand, the inadequacies of transport
facilities may act as a brake on the rate of development." s We may
compress in short space some only of the important results of the
development of a transport network in an economy:

(1) It opens up virgin country and this extends the hinterlands
of already established yet hitherto little developed ports. As
the consumer market hinterland is extended, urban growth is
fostered, because urban growth is a concomitant of specialisa-
tion, which itself is a function of market size. As Marshall
has well said, "the division of labour is limited by the extent
of the market."

(2) When transportation facilities are promoted or initiated in
good, established agricultural lands, scope is opened for the
provision of quicker, cheaper, more efficient carriers. Cheap
transport for agricultural produce which is in high demand
obviously gives the rural food producer a wider range of profit
and therefore a greater incentive to produce for a distant

(3) The creation of adequate transport facilities throughout an
economy promotes regional specialisation. Some areas by
virtue of having special conditions like soil, climate, raw
material or proximity to a market are better geared to pro-
ducing certain goods. Thus instead of all regions trying to
produce all the goods that are needed, regions produce those
commodities for which they have the greatest comparative
advantage or least comparative disadvantage.

(4) A good network of transport, while it ensures the super-
growth of coastal or other points which have initial advan-
tage, at the same time causes a spread of settlement over
widely diffused areas in a country.

(5) The spread of a thick transport network leads to a close
approximation of what the economist calls perfect competi-
tion. This will then lead to equalisation of prices.

Thus when one considers the spatial impact of transportation de-
velopment in an economy it seems fair to conclude that the geographer
cannot help but become involved in its study. There have been many
criticisms that geography has not looked ahead enough in the past.
In other words, it is thought that geography can play a useful role by
projecting certain inputs and theorising as regards the impacts of such
injections of change in the economy Transportation geography is one
such area where the geographer, for example can project the laying
of a new transport route and project also the spatial result of such
an initiation. In a real sense, every innovation with an impact on the
landscape such as an agricultural or transport innovation is irre-
versible. It. serves as a magnet to cause subsequent development. The
transportation system may be the magnet to cause subsequent develop-
ment, or, it may be the result of prior development. The work of
William Garrison and others are sufficient to illustrate one point of
view. 6


Some opinion has it that transportation development proceeds
with the pace of growth and that pre-existing indices of growth are
the stimuli to the growth of a good transportation network. Contrary
opinion holds that, especially in underdeveloped regions with a decided
potential for growth, the public sector must initiate the infrastruc-
tural bases of transport facilities and other basic needs like water.
electricity and so on, whereupon quick development is sure to follow.
It seems that scale is a worthwhile consideration here however. In
considering transport network development in Trinidad we are to bear
in mind that this is only a very small country hadly sixty miles long
and forty miles wide. As such, one must not envisage the same problems
of space, population growth and demand for goods and services such as

obtained, for example, in the United States of America, or even many
other areas of smaller extent.

We shall attempt to show how, in Trinidad, modern transporta-
tion has followed a pre-existing general plan. That is, the transporta-
tion network has developed concurrently with overall economic devel-
opment of the island mainly in relation to the agricultural (sugar
cane and cocoa) and petroleum sectors. We shall use as the proto-
type for our discussion the model put forward by Taafe, Morrill and
Gould in 1963 7 and our task here will be to consider the application
in general terms of this model to the pattern that has evolved in the
island of Trinidad. It seems necessary then to review very briefly in this
paper, the conclusions of the authors referred to above. The main
conclusions of the authors have been set out in the new well-known
six-stage model. Figure 1 is a reproduction of same. One can only be
very brief here. But an attempt will be made to present the salient
features of the model:-

There are only very small ports on the coast with little or no
lateral connection and each port has a very limited hinterland.

Later there emerge major lines of penetration which reduce trans-
portation costs for certain ports. Markets expand both at the
ports and at their interior centres and port concentration begins
at P and P .
I 2
In this stage feeder routes begin to focus on the major ports and
intermediate centres. The major ports grow by enlarging their
hinterland at the expense of adjacent smaller ports and small
nodes begin to develop along major penetration routes.

The feeder development continues. Certain nodes (N and N)
1 2
become focal points for feeder networks of their own. Interior
concentration then begins and N and N pirate the hinterlands of
smaller nodes. 1 2

As feeder networks continue to develop around the ports, interior
centres and main on-line nodes, certain of the feeders link up
and lateral connections continues.

Lateral connection is now so great and interior centres so power-
ful that national trunk line routes or 'main streets" develop.
Certain centres grow at the expense of others. The result will be
a set of high priority linkages among the largest centres.


666666 666
A Scatter- Ponk

Fig. 1


We may now turn to consider the development of the network
in Trinidad. But first we must relate all developments to the relevant
physical basis.

The island of Trinidad is 1864 square miles or 1.27 million acres
in area. The map of physical features (Fig. 2) illustrates the salient

r I U
"" y
9 C 2'I


iiI > J l

Fig. 2

I /

features of the geomorphology. From North to South, the main
features are the east-west trending northern range attaining at its
highest a height of 3085 feet, the Caroni lowlands, the Central range,
the southern lowlands and finally the so-called southern range. Three
major swamp areas are shown. The prevailing winds are the north-
east trades and this fact at once precludes the northern and eastern
coast from any but the very rudimentary fishing inlets. But this is
not the only physical constraint that has meant the lack of port de-
velopment on the north and east coasts. The east coast is generally
too shallow and exposed and the north coast besides being rocky and
windswept is cut off by the northern range from the rest of the island
thus limiting whatever there might have ever been of a hinterland
for any point. This leaves only the western and southern coasts. But
the southern coast has always been too far removed from the centres
of settlement, urbanisation and general economic activity. This
leaves only the Western coast suitable for port development. And even
here there are swamps, shallow stretches and in the final analysis the
only suitable points for port development happen to be those at the
present Port-of-Spain, San Fernando, Pointe-a-Pierre, Port Fortin and
Brighton. We see then that there have been many constraints to the
initiation of suitable points for port development in the island. One
must not minimise also the presumed thick cover of forest in the pre-
technical era

Trinidad had a late start in its effective colonisation late, that
is, in comparison with many other West Indian islands. When
Columbus discovered the island in 1498 he noted the existence of a
mongoloid type of people akin to today's amerindians. Estimates put
the number of these amerindians at 35,000 in 1592. In 1780 there were
only 2,000, and today not a single relic of these aborigines is left
though many place names are reminders of their early existence. Such
names, some of which are shown in Fig. 9, are Tacarigua, Couva, Tuna-
puna, Carapichaima, Arouca, Naparima, Guayaguayape, Piarco, Siparia,
Arima and others.

Little attempts were made by the Spaniards to settle the island
because Spanish interests were more concerned in the rich gold and
silver mines of (America) Mexico and South America. Only a few valleys
near Port-of-Spain and a few isolated missions were settled. Trinidad
was formally annexed in 1592 and immediately some 2,000 Spaniards
settled there and introduced the encomienda or rudimentary planta-
tion system cultivating especially tobacco, cocoa, sugar, cotton and
maize. These were the crops which were to be the main economic
crops up to the late 18th century and the base for economic persistence
up to the present time, with a few changes and additions, for example
in the changing fortunes of cocoa and in the growth of Trinidad's oil
industry after 1910.

Effective colonisation began after 1777. A French planter residing
in Grenada, Roume de St. Laurent, paid a visit to the island and was
so impressed by the fertility of the soil and the potential for devel-
opment that he sought permission from the court of Spain for the
settlement of French people from the West Indian Islands in Trinidad.
The request was granted and as a result many French immigrants
poured in. To each white person 32 acres were given and for each
slave that he brought with him he received an additional 16 acres.
Free coloured immigrants received half of this amount. By 1797
166,000 acres had been granted out (that is, one-eighth of the island)
and the population total and structure had been changed as indicated
in Table 1.



1782 2,082 224 207 300 2,813
1789 2,200 4,467 2,151 10,100 18,918

By 1805 the population was 30,000 and by 1845 60,000. The French
settlers with their slaves were a great boon to the island's develop-
ment as they concentrated their efforts on sugar cane cultivation with
cotton, coffee and cocoa as subsidiary crops. In 1797, for example,
14 million lb. of sugar were exported as compared with 0.3 m. lb. of
coffee, 0.1 m. lb. of cocoa and 0.2 m. lb. of cotton. Sugar, then, even
in this early period was the dominant economic pursuit and its pro-
duction was concentrated in the western lowlands which were drier
than the eastern part of the island and where the terrain was low
lying, but largely because, transport-wise, this was the best least-
cost location in relation to the main point of export, Port-of-Spain.
The dominance of sugar in the western parts ensured the spread of
settlement in these areas and hence the rudimentary build-up of

The transportation system for the year 1797 is illustrated in Fig. 3.
Most of the island was still covered by primaeval forest and the only
routes were:

(a) A 'foothill' road called in the 1797 map the 'Royal road',
running from Port-of-Spain to the north-east.

(b) Another 'Royal road' running from north to south to join with a
few aboriginal Indian settlements. One can easily note the control
of the physical lay of the land on this route. The route avoids
the two major swamps and keeps as far as possible to the
higher ground.

(c) A 'Royal road' from San Fernando (then called 'Naparima'),
to Savana Grande, near the present Princes Town.

45'- I
S S5 0 5 10
i I I

Fig. 3

(d) A few 'footpaths' connected the 'Royal roads' with the west
and east coasts, and secondarily to the south coast.

If we relate the transport situation in Trinidad about 1800 with the
model of Taafe et al we shall see that the stages reached were approx-
imately those of A and B. That is, there were a few primitive ports
and very few inland penetrations. The ports were small because of the
small hinterland and small population. There was little lateral con-
nection as in the model.


The transport situation is illustrated for the year 1853 in Figures
4 and 5. We can see that by this time sugar cane cultivation had been
established in the western sector and some cocoa was grown in the
foothills of the Northern Range. The pattern was basically very simple
still and there were not many changes in the transport system. How-

Sis' '

- o1045'

o'30' COFFEE

-d15" FOREST


Fig. 4

ever the roads penetrating inland from Port-of-Spain and San Fer-
nando were improved upon and as in Stage C of the prototype model
some nodes were being initiated. Examples are Savana Grande (Grand
Savannah) and Montserrat. As would be expected, some additional
routes were pushed into the sugar belt. This was the age of sugar. But
in 1838 the slaves were freed and labour problems ensued. A solution

Fig. 5

was found, however, in the immigration of indentured East Indians
into the island. Between 1845 and 1917 some 145,000 East Indians were
brought to work on the sugar cane fields. They settled in the sugar belt,
in and around the estates where they themselves acquired land for
small gardening and sugar cultivation after their five years' indenture-
ship were over. Though the East Indian population has been diffused

Map Showing Distribution of Agricultural
and Forest Lands in Trinidad & Tobago




I c. 1958

Fig. 6

through the island there has always been a decided 'sugar orientation'.
The map of the location quotient of East Indians (Fig. 7) constructed
from the census of 1960 attests to this. This figure is further supported by
Table II and it will be useful to compare them with the agricultural
pattern of 1958 1960 (Fig. 6).

Fig. 7




San Fernando
St. George a
St. Andrew
St. David
Victoria b
St. Patrick

Total Popul.


No. of East

Note: (a) excludes Port-of-Spain and Arima
(b) excludes San Fernando
(c) The Location Quotient is a ratio of ratios.
indians to the total population of Trinidad

No. of east indians

Total population



Loc. Quotient
of E.I.

illustrate the ratio of east


ArimaO ill,, //

Port-of-Spai ............................



5 0 5

Fig. 8

Before 1853 cocoa was grown mainly in the foothills of the Northern
range and sugar was confined to the dry western belt. Between 1870
and 1928 however, cocoa became the more important crop and the
barometer of the country's economy In 1871 only 19,000 acres were
cultivated in cocoa. By 1904 cocoa acreage had risen to 190 000 and in
1910 some 300,000 or about one quarter of the total island. This is just
an example of the effect of high prices in bringing about spatial

The location quotient of cast indianm for each town or county is determined
by dividing the percentage of east indians in that town or county by the
national percentage of 37.8. For example, County Caroni han an east indian
population of 63,000 out of a total of 93.000 people. That cast indians
make up 67.79' of the population of this count% Thus the location quotient
indians in County Caroni
If a county has a location quotient of more than 1.00 (as County Caruni
does) it has "more than its share" of the country's east indian population.
A location quotient of less than 100 indicates "less thin its share."



r .SIM,--ANd F'DO iSO.


ST TOSE\ATi ,JA 1894

TWNCM ~tMA\ 1SMPcTC--P~*.c_^ .^ ^ia^ 1

changes in the margin of crop cultivation. (Fig. 8) In 1916 the island
produced some 75 million lbs. of cocoa or 10% of world total. The
spread of sugar first and then cocoa were strong enough to be re-
flected in the transport developments which were to follow.

1876 TO 1913
These years were crucial. In order to make one's way in the
economic world the produce offered must be moved quickly and
cheaply to exit points, which over the years, until 1920s when Pointe-
a-Pierre developed as an exit point for the shipment of oil, numbered
one, that is Port-of-Spain. Regional specialisation could only be
fostered by good transportation. There was little choice for the
public sector in this age. A rail net had to be laid. Thus between 1876
and 1913 a rail link-up was begun between the chief town and chief
port, Port-of-Spain and the 'outlying' regions. (Fig. 9). By 1880
Arima and San Fernando had been linked to the capital town and by 1913
the rail links had brought places as far as Siparia and Rio Claro
'within easy reach' of Port-of-Spain. The impact was critical. Once
the rail net was laid, there was no turning back. A permanent system
of settlement and land use close to the railway necessarily followed.
In some cases such settlement already existed because of the pre-
existing agricultural pattern. In other cases people gravitated to the
railways. This is only to be expected when one considers that this
was the pre-motor age in Trinidad and the rail then became the only
avenue of mobility.

More importantly, the creation of a system of railway stations
(Fig. 9) ensured a nucleation of settlement at these central places as
well as a 'stringing out' along the route. Each railway station, it is
being asserted here were ipso facto nodes akin to those in stage
of the model. They formed the key foci for routes which either pre-
existed or were built at a consequent date. Once more, this is only to
be expected. In an era when movement was difficult, when all produce
and men had no choice but to be moved by the means available, in
this case rail, it is only natural that subsidiary routes should lead
literally to the points where the trains stopped. The development of
trade at the 'break points', the urbanisation, the build-up of second-
ary and tertiary economic activities, entertainment and the rest liter-
ally snowballed. The role of nodes like Chaguanas, Todd's Road, Rio
Claro, Princes Town, Penal, Carapichaima, Cumuto, Siparia, Arima
and other towns seem to have become well established even seven
years after the completion of the rail net. This can be attested by
comparing the map of the dates of railway construction with the
transport network of 1920 (Fig. 10).

It may be noted that in a sense the road network which gravitated to
the railways is a 'fossil', because railways are all out of use as of the be-
ginning of 1968. The phasing out of the railways began in 1965. Neverthe-
less, the railways formed the crucial factor in the spatial layout such

Fig. 10

as we have today, and such as comprise stage E of the Taafe model. The
rail age, like in many parts of the world, has yielded to the road age,
the age of the motor car and the truck. We can say that since World
War II this trend has been gaining ground. For some years now, for
example, with the growing use of road transport, sugar cane has been

moving over longer and longer distances, so that a great rationalisation
has been at work in the sugar industry. Whereas about one hundred
years ago, there were no less than 160 sugar factories in the island,
today there are three. The centrally situated ones are being expanded to
meet the inputs from greater distances.

Looking at the land use map of the period 1958 to 1960 (Fig. 6)
which is virtually the same as that which obtains in 1968/69, the
spatial economist or economic geographer is bound to note the ex-
istence of a pattern of land use which is very reminiscent of the type
of landscape envisaged by J. H. von Thunen in 1826 when he wrote his
very famous book "The isolated state" von Thunen postulated a single
city in the middle of a plain, which is equally fertile in all directions,
equally transportable everywhere. The products of this plain are all
sent to the town and the town was the only provider of manufactured
products for the people of its hinterland. The only means of trans-
portation was the wagon. Upon these simple assumptions, von Thunen
postulated that because transportation costs by wagon rise in direct
proportion to distance and because different crops have different
market prices and different transport costs per unit weight, then for
each crop there will be a different range of profits from the city out-
wards. In the final analysis, the crop which will be grown at any
region will be the one which yields the greatest rent (profit) per unit
area. The result will be a series of concentric rings with different land
uses. Nearest the city will be the most intensive types of agriculture
and further out the agriculture will become progressively more

The pattern in Trinidad seems Thunian to some degree. Near the
main coastal towns of Port-of-Spain and San Fernando are the areas
of market gardening, vegetables, provisions, milk etc. And all along the
west coast, near to the transport routes and export points are the in-
tensive sugar plantations. Further out are the cocoa plantations and
forests. This seems reasonable. Sugar had to congeal around trans-
portation routes near the west coast, because it is a bulky crop with
low value per unit weight. Movement was for long by mule cart and
the distance to deposit points or "weighing yards", which were all near
to the railways and chief roads, had of necessity to be minimised as
far as possible. Cocoa, on the other hand oould be grown further away
from the city because it has far greater value per unit weight, doesn't
require intensive care, and there is no necessity to get the product
as quick as possible to a factory after reaping. Sugar, we know, starts
to deteriorate within 24 hours after it is cut. The arrangement of land
use, therefore, in a general sense, seems to fit in with the factors of
value per unit weight, bulk and perishability. It would be idle to be
totally categorical and say that one factor completely dominated the
other. The thesis here is that economy and transportation network have
always gone hand in hand. Like a pair of scissors they have both gone
together in their development.

It will be easily noted that a fair road network has developed out-
side what we might call the rail catchment area. We refer here mainly
to the south-western part of the island. The key force at work here
has been the exploitation of oil and natural gas and asphalt. The
southern one-third of Trinidad is petroliferous and this fact has
been known since Sir Walter Raleigh visited the island in 1595. Ex-
ploitation began in 1857. But it was not until the turn of the century,
with the development of the internal combustion engine, that demand
was seriously stepped up. The decision of the British Government In
1910 to change their navy from coal-firing to oil-firing was a decisive
factor however. The production of crude oil grew from 0.1 m. barrels
that year to 4.4 m. in 1925, 11.7 m. in 1935, 21.0 m. in 1951 and 65.0m.
in 1967. It is true to say that oil was the magnet for the development
of this section of the island. Many of the 'oid roads'became'Govern-
ment roads' at a subsequent time, and many of the towns had their
raison d'etre as service centres for a region where wages were easily
the highest in the island. This is not to minimise the fact that even
this region was in pre-oil times a region of some cocoa and coffee
and little sugar plantations. In the course of time towns like Fyzabad,
Point Fortin, La Brea and Palo Seco among others sprang to promin-
ence. Fyzabad is today one of the most thriving central places situ-
ated in the midst of the largest oil area in Trinidad. Point Fortin,
the site of an oil refinery since 1912 is today a centre with a popula-
tion of some 25,000 and La Brea/Brighton has been for over one
hundred years a scene of industrial activity all related to the exploita-
tion of asphalt though it may be. It was here that initial attempts
to drill for oil were made as early as 1857 and it was here the first
distillation processes using asphalt as the raw material were carried
out. The map showing this distribution of oilflelds in Trinidad (Fig. 11)
shows that oil is exploited over most of the southern section of
Trinidad. It must be borne in mind however that though the exploita-
tion of this resource has proceeded over a long period and though
oil has come today to be the sine qua non of the economy, the impact
on the transport network must, of course, be minimised because all of
the movements of the crude product from field to refinery is done by
pipeline. So, in a sense, as regards ithe oil belt, most of the transport
impact is literally hidden below the surface.

As the model shows (Fig. 1), there comes a period when, after a
landscape has been covered by a network of transport routes, there
arises the need for high priority 'main streets' as Taafe et al call
them. This is to be expected. With the emergence of the motor age
there are two results, apparently conflicting to some, no doubt.

(a) There is even greater need for a 'more' diffused route system so
that with the motor car easy access can be had to remote areas.



t F r a cars4 1
I RTH aAIa ~r (llJ flJa '-o-,

Lasa O-r< T IW

M SI,)
SP 09r2O-n)

S -LtA rra -T

man M IS) (me) ( lWEST
10 s 0 $ 10 ME o Mi S uJ

_ Mripar ne

(b) Because of the great abundance of vehicles on the roads and
as a result of the development of higher powered vehicles and
the pace and competitiveness of modern life which demands
speed and efficiency in economic undertakings, there is need
for super highways connecting well developed centres, for
example P1 and II and P2 and P1 in the model.

In Trinidad two main coastal towns developed early. These were
the present capital Port-of-Spain, and San Fernando which we may
designate P1 and P2 in order to keep the terminology uniform.
Figure 11 illustrates by symbolisation the relative sizes of the towns.
Interior nodal towns of importance in addition to the two main
coastal ones are Arima, Sangre Grande, Rio Claro, Princes Town,
Coastal towns which have gained importance are Pointe-a-Pierre,
Point Fortin, and La Brea/Brighton. In the post war years, signifi-
cant changes have been made to the network of transport. During
the last war a large American airbase was constructed in the vicinity
of the east of Arima. In order to facilitate movement of goods and
men from the capital town to the air base a super-highway was built.
and aptly called the Ohurchill-Roosevelt highway. We may call this
the P1 and 12 roUte, as it thus gives direct access to Arima, the third
town of Trinidad with the status of a borough. The post-war years
saw also the start of construction of a major highway connecting
Port-of-Spain to San Fernando, the so-called southern capital. As of
1967 this highway is half completed and the projection in the 1969-
1973 National Five Year Plan is that this highway will be completed
well inside this period. As Fig. 12 shows, the San Fernando highway
has already been partly built. Even so its contribution to speed, ease,
economy and efficiency of movement is immeasurable.


A useful concept regarding the intensity of a transport network
is that of connectivity, for intensely developed network systems
should exhibit the greatest number of interconnections. We may recall
the measure of network intensity used by Karel Kansky7 and called
the beta (fl) index. The beta index expresses in numerical form the
ratio between the number of edges and routes ( e) in a system and
the number of vertices or nodes (v)

B = --

It can be taken that an 'Edge' is the part of the route connecting
two nodes each of which may be a village, town or some type of settle-
ment. A network with a index of connectivity equal to unity is a simple
connected graph and those with indices greater than unity indicate
higher degrees of inter-connection. For Trinidad the writer con-
sidered the population, area and density of population for each ward


1%7 .

all super highways are post

o- Oo*o CLAW RoaM on Tu
TOWNS 5000 lo 0000T
TOWN 2-0- to 500
*TOWNS = .o. 500 rz
TOWNS <560
._ taO SV



Sti EORGE .,.

TRINIDAD '.---' -.T." \

CA11 10 I \
-----. COUNTIus 3.. ," \
WARr "-' .'" 2 NARIVA

t 19 8 -
~r VI'CTORIA -\ 26
22 f 20 MAYARO
---s1 ,i27 '
s % I,4 I i21
25 23

(A sub-division of a county) and then attempted to correlate the
beta index for each ward with the population density (Fig. 13 outlines
the wards.) Details are given in Table III. The method used to estab-
lish some degree of correlation is the Spearman's Rank Correlation
whose formula is as follows:-

6 d2
r 1 -

In the example, density and the indices are ranked and the
differences (d) between the ranks of each case are taken and squared
(d2). In this case, N is equal to 29. Spearman's Rank Correlation
method yields a correlation index of +0.42 between the density of
population per 100 acres and beta indices for different wards. With
27 degrees of freedom the result shows that the percentage
probability that this could have happened by chance is only about
3%. Thus, despite the fact that the index is not very high we can
conclude that there is a generally positive correlation between
between density of population and the degree of connectivity. It may
be noted in passing that the index of correlation has not turned out
to be a high figure because while there is a tremendous range of
densities of population per 100 acres, beta indices will never have
such wide variation. For example, a study of Table III will reveal
that densities range from as high as 400 to as low as 2.

Nevertheless the general correlation remains. Some writers like
David Lowenthal and David Hooson have made pleas for having
population as the core of geography. One of their main tenets is that
the areal differentiation in population in any country is the best
guide of the ability of various regions to support that population. In
other words, most people will settle in areas where they can best
make a livelihood. If this is so, then high population density should
mean a high degree of economic activity, a high degree of interaction
within the region and connections to outside areas and consequently
a high degree of development of the ways along which goods and
people must move . that is, the transport network.



Counties Wards POPN. Area Density Beta Index
(1960 Census) (acres) (per 100 ac.)
1. St. Anns 120,893 30,106 402 2.00
2. Diego Martin 51,225 34,494 149 1.75
3. Tacarigua 68,002 47,562 143 1.80
4. Blanchisseuse 2,012 48,420 42 2.00
5. Arima 10,939 43,785 25 3.33
6. San Rafael 3,405 25,136 14 2.00

7. Toco 6,000 60,530 10 1.14

8. Cunupia 10,606 30,511 35 1.75
9. Chaguanas 41,078 49,415 84 2.73
10. Montserrat 15,000 34,706 43 1.60
11. Couva 23,829 22,319 107 2.33

12. Valencia 1,077 26,532 5 1.00
13. Manzanilla 13,906 46,200 30 2.00
14. Matura 1,327 40,146 3 1.50
15. Turure 9,619 44,441 22 1.30
16. Tamana 6,661 23,644 282 1.60

17. Pointe-a-Pierre 24,858 23,383 107 2.50
18. Naparima 58,797 34,277 174 2.80
19. Savana Grande 31,558 32,306 99 2.50
20. Ortoire 9,770 54,204 18 1.30
21. Moruga 7,736 58,281 13 1.80

22. La Brea 34,423 37,029 93 2.30
23. Siparia 55,244 67,018 84 2.08
24. Erin 9,837 26,568 37 1.60
25. Cedros 8,907 36,297 25 1.60

26. Guayaguayare 5,197 48,308 11 1.20
27. Trinity 883 44,936 2 1.00

28. Charuma 9,577 56,093 17 1.60
29. Cocal 7,649 75,940 10 2.50


(and Rail) (tens of per 10
sq. miles) sq. miles

per per
10,000 sq. ml.
Rank pop.

St. David 28 26.1
Mayaro 26 14.6
Nariva 53 (9)0 20.6
St. Andrew 106(+8) 28.3
St. Patrick 190(+6) 26.1
Victoria 200(+25) 31.4
Caroni 253(+35) 21.4
St. George 220(+21) 35.4

a = figures brackets refer
been considered.

1.07 46.6
1.80 7 43.3
3.01 6 31.2
4.03 5 35.3
7.50 2 17.3
7.17 3 11.8
13.46 1 28.0

76.0 7
48.0 8
82.6 6
117.0 5
415.0 4
548.0 2
425 0 3

6.80 4 6.3 980.3 1

mileage. Only and second closes roads have

The general relationship outlined above is again
when we consider the eight (8) counties of the island
IV. If we apply Spearman's Rank Correlation method
following results:

brought out
as In Table
we get the

6~ d2
R 1-
N3- N

6 x 20
512 8


1 0.24

+ 0.76

In this case the relationship between the density of roads per
10 square miles is correlated highly with the density of population.
The cartographic coincidence of these two sets of facts can be easily
seen by comparing the map showing the transport network as of the
present (Fig. 12) and that showing density of population (Fig. 14.)


61 50" s 0

*-^* *RSt. David

p ~ St. George

*- d^o IoBr llsSS^ 5.Andrew do'o-


C op,; . .,.*\
One dot represents 1000 eople ."' '. '..-
4--;-`---*4,0 .:." r. \* .
-- .... .---4
1oo- --25so)000 .; Noriva

'MILES "' : '

..... -: .
9 ---
_se "./.:.. :..e.' s tVictori t Mr

Patrik "" based on WOO cnsus sfttlstics
as,' "'oo nssi



We may conclude very briefly by saying, like Maurice Yeates that
"the more developed the country (or part of a country) the more de-
veloped the transportation system."9 In this paper the writer has
tried to illustrate the general applicability of the model of transport
development in underdeveloped countries as put forward six years
ago by Taafe et al. An attempt has been made to show how the
transport system kept pace with economic development of certain
areas and for the island the relationship between the spatial arrange-
ments of both transport and population has been explored In small



J. Q. Stewart and W. Warntz, "Macrogeography and Social Science, Geographical
Review, Vol. 48, No. 2, April, 1958, p. 167.


Quoted in A. M. O'Connor, "New rail construction in East Africa," Proceedings,
Institute of British Geographers, Vol. 26, June, 1965.

4. Five year development plan, 1966 to 1970. Development planning and Statistics
Office, St. Lucia, W.I. 1965, p. 41.

5 A. M. Milne. The economics of inland transport, Pitman, London, 1960.

6. W. Garrison et al, Studies of highway development and geographic change, Seattle,

7. E. J. Taafe, R. L. Morrill, and P R. Gould, "Transport expansion in under-
developed countries: A comparative analysis," Geographical Review, Vol. 53, 1963,
pp. 503-529.

8. K. J. Kansky, Structure of Transportation networks, Department of Geography,
Research Paper No. 84, University of Chicago, 1963.

9. See discussion by M. H. Yeates in his An introduction to quantitathe analysis in
economic geography, Mc. Graw-Hill, New York, 1967.


Caribs and Arawaks

"THE right worshipful and valiant knight, Sir John Hawkins,
sometimes of her Majesties navie Royal," touched at Dominica after
being becalmed on his first trip to the New World with a cargo of
slaves from Africa.

"The Cannibals of that Island and also others adjacent," he wrote,
"are the most desperate warriors that are in the Indies by the
Spaniards' report, who are never able to conquer them, and they are
molested by them not a little, when they are driven to water there
in any of those Islands: of very late, not two months past, in the
said Island, a Caravel being driven to water, was in the night sette
upon by the inhabitants, who cutte their cable in the halsen, where-
by they were driven ashore, and so taken by them, and eaten."

Not particularly to the Cannibals gastronomic delight, for De
Rochefort in his Histoire Naturelle des Antilles de l'Amerique pub-
lished in Rotterdam in 1658 tells us that the Caribs of his day con-
sidered "French people delicious and by far the best of the Europeans,
and next came the English. The Dutch were dull and rather taste-
less, while the Spaniards were so stringy and full of gristle as to be
practicably uneatable."

The most readable account of the Caribs that I know is that given
by Patrick Leigh Fermor in that best of all West Indian travel books,
The Traveller's Tree. It is based largely on Douglas Taylor's The
Caribs of Dominica, and I am indebted to both these authors in this
chapter. Both these books are indebted, of course, to the writings of
the early French priests, especially to Pere Labat, a scientific man
rather than a Jesuit missionary, the Huxley of his age, and Pere
Raymond Breton, who spent nearly twenty-five years among the
Caribs and wrote a Carib dictionary and grammar, and Pere Du
Tertre as well as the historian, De Rochefort.

The Caribs have given at least five words to the English Language:
cannibal, hurricane, buccaneer, guava and canoe. Although the
Caribs were cannibals, they never ate women but took them as their
wives and adopted their children. Their anthropoghagy was of a cere-
monial rather than of a gastronomical nature. They ate a brave
enemy to possess themselves of his warlike qualities and to seal a
military victory beyond all doubt. As foes, the Caribs were not to

be despised. As late as 1796 the primitively armed Caribs in Grenada
defied the British forces armed with muskets and gunpowder under
Sir Ralph Abercromby for over a year. They refused to surrender
and jumped into the sea from the cliff known as Sauteurs

Carib victims were got ready for eating while still alive. The
Caribs cut slits down the back and sides of their enemies and stuffed
the body with spices. They then killed the victims with a mace, and
the corpses were trussed to poles and roasted over a fire, while the
women turned and basted the bodies, catching the lard which dripped
into gourds and calabashes for future use. Some of the meat was
eaten on the spot; some was stored away for lean periods in future.

The Caribs whom Pere Labat met were unable to count higher
than six. Pere Raymond Breton, despite twenty-five years spent
among them, succeeded in converting only "quelques enfants sur le
point de la mort," but he says that theft and lying were unknown to
them. De Rochfort states that although the Caribs of St. Vincent and
Dominica were slave owners they never adopted the same harshness
to their slaves as the whites, but treated them, apart from the obli-
gation to work, more like their own children. Atwood, in his History
of Dominica, 1795, mentions as still prevalent the Carib custom of
head deformation, and the skill with which even children used bows
and arrows. Pere Labat too bears testimony to their skill at archery.
The practice of head deformation was believed to strengthen their
skulls against the assaults of enemies.

In June 1903, as the result of representations made by the far-
seeing Hesketh Bell, then administrator of Dominica, the Carib Re-
serve as we know it today was created by decree. This decree did not
attempt to define the status of the reserve, nor of its inhabitants.
nor of its Chief. The Caribs merely continued their recently-adopted
procedure of electing a chief or headman (ubutu), whose duty it is
to advise and direct members of the tribe and to settle any disputes
among them.

In their early days the Caribs had only an ad hoc chief. Nobody
was in a position to command, and obedience was something which
never occurred to them. Decisions. usually involving armed raids,
were made only under the impulse of gregarious drunkenness. As
Leigh Fermor says, the deadlock was usually resolved by one of the
old women. She would burst into their indetermination, flourishing
the smoked arm or leg of an enemy and, haranguing them about
the wrongs of their race, fling the trophy into their midst. They all
hurried themselves upon it in a frenzy, gnawing and tearing it to
shreds; then inflamed with rum, tafia and ouicou, and, at last de-
cided, they gathered their weapons, and blowing their conch-shells,
ran down through the trees to their canoes. On the poop of one of
their canoes, which was roughly carved in the shape of a monkey's
head, Pere Labat once saw an arm tied with a creeper, "which they

offered me, extremely civil, saying that it was the arm of an English-
man whom they had killed during a raid on Barbuda."

Another mental limitation of the Caribs was their inability to
believe that anyone was dead unless they actually saw the corpse.
Death is announced as soon as it occurs by a single protracted blast
of a conch-shell. A wake to which all and sundry come uninvited is
held, and much pork eaten and much rum drunk. The corpse used
to be kept for a long time till all the family and relatives had seen
it. Nowadays the law and hygiene demand that the body be buried
within twenty-four hours. Burial in the foetal posture under the
floor of the carbet was suppressed by the priests a hundred years
ago. The depth of the grave today is supposed to be equal to the
length of the body. Eight days after the burial a second wake is held
in the house of the deceased. The death bed is decorated with white
flowers, candles and objects that belonged to the dead man or woman.
Until midnight the women and girls sit around a table and sing
creole songs. The men and boys wander about smoking, chatting and
drinking. Fires are then lighted outside the house, and the women
present cocoa and cassava bread to those present. The girls pair off
with the boys and run out into the bush to couple.

The older men and women sit around the fire and drink rum, tell
tales and ask conundrums.

"Tim-tim," an old man prefaces his conundrum.

"Bras chesse (bres sec)," an old woman accepts his challenge.

"What is it that has no roots when it has leaves, and no leaves
when it has roots?"

"A sailing vessel."

"A child that beats its mother?"

"A pestle."

"Water standing upright? (Gleau debout?)"

"Sugar cane."

The first thing a Carib did on rising was to take a bathe (or bath,
in West Indian) in a mountain stream or the sea. The men would
sit on a stool to dry, and the women would paint them all over with
bright red coucou dye. On a warlike expedition their faces would be
adorned with great moustaches and their bodies with circles and
lines, for which they used a black dye called ganipa. Our modern
young ladies appear to be adopting this fashion.

Three languages were spoken. The men talked Carib among
themselves, and the women and children Arawak. When a boy reach-

cd the age of puberty, the men took him away from his mother and
thenceforth he spoke only Carib. The third language was a secret
tongue of the elders used for serious discussions. I think it must be
akin to that employed in the House of Commons. Today the Caribs
speak a French creole.

Probably the most typical product of the Carib is the dugout
canoe. These range from sixteen to thirty feet in length, but one of
twenty-one feet is considered a good-sized canoe. Having found a
suitable gommier tree the Carib proceeds to fell it unaided, an opera-
tion which takes him a full day, unusually at the new moon, other-
wise grubs would soon take possession and the wood become spoiled
by borers. The tree is next shaped and dug out after some days with
an axe, then with an adze. Providing he works all day, it will take
the Carib four to fourteen days--depending on the size of the canoe
and the ability of the shipwright-until the canoe is ready for
'hauling' to the beach. This takes ten to twelve men, who are recom-
pensed by a liberal provision of rum. Cords of mahaut or of natural
liana are attached to the canoe through eyelets pierced in its prow
and the boat is hauled to the accompaniment of chanties reserved
for these occasions through dense bush and by rough forest tracks up
and over an incredibly steep ridge down to its maker's carbet,
where it is placed in the shade of some nearby tree to be finished
and bordered.

Before the canoe can be used, it must be opened. This is done by
half filling the interior with stones and water and leaving them
there until the wood has begun to warp. Fires are then lit on either
side and a little distance from the canoe. As the canoe opens up, a
number of cross sticks are introduced to aid the process and keep the
sides open. When a width of three to three and a half feet has been
attained amid ships, the fires are put out. Five or six knees of
white cedar are now hewn out, bent into shape and fixed at inter-
vals across the bottom of the boat in order to strengthen it. The
canoe is now ready to have its sides built up by the addition of two
planks of gommier. The strips of wood are then fixed between the
knees. Two benches and three totes, two of which are pierced for
masts, would be usual for a canoe of twenty-four feet.

The Caribs are noted for their skill in basketry. With the build-
ing of canoes which when in the mood they may sell for a ridicu-
lously low price, it constitutes their main industry and source of
revenue, although recently they have been cultivating bananas.

When I first went to the Reserve as Officer in Charge of Caribs
and saw the excellent quality of their baskets, I sent one as a sample
to Macy's in New York. Macy's placed an order for 5000 baskets. Over-
joyed. I hurried back to the Reserve as soon as I possibly could, to
be greeted by bland indifference. I was too "green" to realise that
while a Carib may in his spare time make half a dozen baskets to

take to sell in Roseau when he wants some tobacco or rum, the idea
of organised industry is repugnant to him.

Nowadays the Caribs are sharing in the banana boom. I have
been told of one Carib who went recently to Roseau to buy a radio,
and asked to be shown the most expensive set.

Caribs use four different reeds to make their baskets. Panniers
are made in wicker pattern, multiple weft and in duplicate: the
inner lining is white and the outer covering is usually worked in two
or more colours. Between these two component parts a layer of sun-
dried cachibou or balisier leaves is inserted to render the basket
watertight. This is the best known type of Carib basket. The pannier
corculle is used for storing eggs. The cassava sifter is made in the
alternate one over-and-under two pattern, either round, or less com-
monly, rectangular. The cassava squeezer has gone out of use and
become extremely rare. Carib tables have quite disappeared.

Finger-traps (attrape la main) or wife-leader is made out of
larouman. A Dominican surgeon once used one to hold securely a
man's toe Which he had to cut off. I am told that the late Gilbert
Harding, to whom in the middle age I am supposed to bear a facial
resemblance, once exhibited a wife-leader on What's My Line?, when
he came to demonstrate how it worked, he put his finger in the
handle and not in the end which contracts and then expands, secure-
ly trapping the wife's finger. Perhaps he was dazzled by the bright
studio lights on this occasion.

Pere Labat estimated that, at the beginning of the eighteenth
century, there were about 2000 Caribs in Dominica. Today it would
be generous to say that in the Reserve there are twenty with pre-
tentions to racial purity. Miscegenation and tuberculosis have taken
their toll.

Perhaps understandably, I liked and admired the Caribs. Indeed,
I am proud to have some Carib blood in my veins. Unlike the Negroes,
they are not litigious. I never saw one in the Magistrate's Court ex-
cept rarely in the role of witness. I got on well with the Chief, George
Frederick, whose daughter came to work with us-something that
could never have happened even fifty years ago. She died of tuber-
culosis. He might well have been called Charlesworth Ross. Romanti-
cally, I wished that he had a name like Ozymandias or Gengis Kahn.

Sometimes I would go walking with George Frederick and other
members of the Carib Council in the high woods, those tracks of
virgin forest which still cover much of the island's mountainous
interior. Here are to be found the gigantic gommier, whose wood, as
I have already noted, is used for canoes and whose fragrant gum was
used as incense during the war, and which are now being cut down
by a Canadian firm, the Chataigniers, the Cedars and the Rosewood and

other mountain trees. Above a thousand feet (it is never found below)
we would listen to the magnificent paean of the Siffleur de Montagne:
three short rich notes, at first soft and low, then rising rapidly to a
crescendo, and ending with three emphatic notes. He who has heard
the Siffleur de Montagne will never forget Dominica or his love for
that enchanted island.

George Frederick would come to my bungalow and we would 'fire
a few rums' together.

"A'ta ka 'butu. (I want a drink)," I, as host, would say in Carib.

"En kal amulai (Here let us appease it)," he would reply.

This is, in effect, a Carib toast, the equivalent of Cheerio or
Here's how!

Then he would say without any embroidery, "I am going" and
silently depart.

Arawak food pots were often of two to three gallons capacity:
the black deposits on the outside indicate that they were placed
directly over the fires, whose ash and charcoal have been found on
several hearths. Great quantities of shell fish were consumed, probab-
ly as soups and stews; mainly conchs and wilks but with a liberal
addition of fish, oysters and scallops. Fish, turtles, land crabs and
a few birds also went into the pots. The Arawak taste in food can
be detected from the shells and bones found in their middens.

We know they ate cassava cakes because of the number of char-
acteristic griddles that have been found. These were equipped with
three stout legs to keep the griddle above the fire. The griddles are
smooth on the top cooking surface and rough below

They made hoes out of conch shells for cultivating cassava. These
were cut from the heavy lip of the conch shell: they are well shaped,
probably by flint tools, and the edges sharpened by rubbing on sand-
stone. The grinding slabs show how the edges were sharpened. Hoes
in all stages of fabrication have been found, but naturally the wood-
en handles are missing.

-About 4000 Arawak flint knives, scrapers, boners, and a great
many chips and the cones of chert have been found in Antigua by
my friend, Dr. Fred Olsen of Mill Reef, who has also found in several
islands of the Eastern Caribbean stone axes used for cutting down
trees and making dug-out canoes.

The Arawaks hand some knowledge of textiles since a number of
spinning wheels for making cotton thread have been found. Un-
doubtedly they made fish nets from the cotton thread by twisting and
knotting; but no fabrics have survived.

They wore ornaments as is shown by beads carved out of onyx
and other hard stones, as well as shells drilled for necklaces and
carved shell pendants. The drilling of holes through an inch long
stone bead by turning a thin stick or reed using wet sand as an
abrasive must have been a very slow process.

Dr. Olsen has found one stone deity carved in the form of a
man's head, with high cheekbones and an incised head dress. Also
a fine terra cotta head of an idol whose body is completely missing,
as well as a dozen more "zemis," or three-cornered stones which,
from the latter writings of Spanish monks, are known to have been
household or tribal deities.

All the above mentioned objects, with the exception of some
stone axes, were found in middens in Antigua and belong to the
period 200 B.C. to 1500 A.D.

It was in Puerto Rico that the Arawak culture flourished. It hats
been estimated that there were a million Arawaks in Puerto Rico
about 1400 A.D. Pottery and stone work were much more advanced in
Puerto Rico than in the other islands. Their religious rituals became
more complex and their deities more elaborately fashioned. For ex-
ample, large stone zemis have been found in Puerto Rico beautifully
carved to represent a human head at the front, and with legs and
feet at the back. One of these was nine inches long and five inches
high at the pointed hump on his back.

For anyone interested in discovering Arawak middens in the
Eastern Caribbean Dr. Olsen recommends looking for:

A coral reef behind which the fishing is good.
A sandy beach on which to land the dug-out canoes.
A small valley in whose trough water could be found 200 years
ago when the trees had not been cut down.
A piece of flat land for growing cassava.
A spot of land slightly on the lea of a hill where the Arawaks
could live protected from the wind.

Talking about Carib chiefs, reminds me of a visit of the Prince
of Wales in Renown in 1919 to the West Indies. A row of local dig-
nitaries had been drawn up on the Roseau jetty to be presented to
H.R.H. The postmaster asked him if he would like to buy a new set
of stamps. The then Carib Chief had been decked out in frockcoat,
spats and top hat, and every effort had been made to keep him away
from drink. When the Prince spoke to him in his Touraine French,
the Carib Chief replied: "So sorry, me no speak much English."

I have a small album of coloured post cards taken to commem-
orate the visit of the Prince of Wales to Antigua in 1919. He appears


as a boyish thin figure in topee and white uniform. After the usual
ceremonies, including one when he kissed my sister who had pre-
sented him with a cedar cigar box, he went riding with the Gover-
nor's A.D.C. As he tells us in A King's Story he left his evening
trousers ashore and they were brought out to him just before Renown
was due to sail.

I submitted this album with my humble duty to the Queen on
her recent visit to Antigua. I received a letter from a Palace Secre-
tary saying that he was directed "to let you know how interested the
Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were to see the photographs and
to thank you for your kind thought in sending it for their inspection."


A chapter from a Projected autobiography "ISLAND SON".


Tell your weathers what I've found
After one year's searching
Thought that too was lost
Under the long frost coat

It must have been that somehow
While fooling down around
Exhumed from limbo
A buried envelope

Face so often conjured
When late at night for sleep
The Id went tapping blindly
Down the bandaged streets

This imagery had risen
Above the accustomed coast
The moon, you see, was pulling
Flood gates around the globe.

And looking through a mirage spun
And gardened by my dreams
Failed to meet the face
Where the Sphinx was found

Something in this crossed legend
Said for the heart's bone to hear
Why should it this cast fool
Long dead be knocking here.

In print strange things are certain
Such as these unaltered
Under their timeless country
Confront the walking mind,

Shutters rise on darkened streets
And in the falling light, come
Faces from their silver sleep,
A half and wounded voice.

Tell your weathers what I've found
After one year's changeless
A seed s:aps underground
In an asphalt country.


Truth, Fact and Tradition in


MANY PERSONS have said to me: "How true is all this about
Carriacou?" This refers, of course, to "Kinship and Community in
Carriacou", by M. G. Smith. My usual reply is, "If I were you I
wouldn't take it all too seriously." I am sure that Dr. Smith would
like his readers to take it all very seriously even after 12 years
of his investigations.

My first tour of duty in Carriacou was way back in 1927. Very
young, very eager, but still alert and sober enough to have many
memories, some bright, some sad, but never of so primitive a society
as the Author would have us believe. True enough, Carriacou has
refused to surrender its traditions to the incursions of sophisticated
society from outside. Despite the constant flow of migrants in and
out and the modern comforts they bring, Carriacou has successfully
defied the modern revolution and much of it still lives in the Vic-
torian age quaint, but real. And, by the way, Aruba, not Trinidad.
has been the principal source of wealth.

But, back to the book. It is inevitable that in a book of this
kind, there is much that is controversial and some inaccuracies. For
instance the Author fell into the error of presuming that a "Maroon"
is a cooperative effort to get work done on community projects "such
as work on the roads or to clean the ponds." In point of fact, road
work and pond cleaning are Government paid projects and work on
the roads has been much sought after from time immemorial.

A Maroon in Carriacou, unlike Grenada, is a Spring Feast-every
village has one-and occurs just before the rains come. Every villager
is expected to contribute to the Feast.

Another error of presumption is that Carriacouans are "bilingual
in English and a French patois, and share common cycles of Zien
(Anancy) Stories." The truth is that Carriacou is divided into three
Groups. Those of Scottish descent in the North-Eastern Sector, those
of African descent, who speak English only, in the middle sector,
and those who are of African descent, but are bilingual in English
and French patois and who are mainly the subjects of Dr. Smith's
investigations. Indeed the middle group are reminiscent of the
English Cockney, adding on h's before vowels and deducting them
where they are required.

But it is in the relation of Customs to belief that this book be-
comes really controversial. I have no doubt that most of what the
Author relates is customary among some of the people, but how
far is custom or tradition the centre of their belief? The Parents'
Plate which is traditional at all big feasts, if the people really be-
lieved that their ancestors were at all present for this offering, the
taboo against touching it would have been so strong as to preclude
the necessity for having a "woman to watch it" or a "Gan-Gan," as
she is known, to "stop the young people from stealing." Young
people grow into old men and women and this practice has been
going on for many years before the Author arrived on the scene.

Carriacouans show great reverence for their dead ancestors. The
Church bids them always to pray for the dead and there is no more
popular form of prayer than the offering of the Mass for the dead.
Indeed these special Masses are great occasions and are popularly
known as the "Tea Mass", because the person offering the Mass
is expected to offer refreshments afterwards and all attending
partake of the coffee and other comestibles prepared for the occa-
sion. To say that Carriacouans are Ancestor Worshippers, is strictly
not true. The mixture of custom with religious practices tends to
convey to the investigator, that this is so. In point of fact, custom
dies hard among an agragian folk and to quote one good peasant
farmer: "It doesn't do any harm and it might not be good either.
But our forefathers always did this and we just follw the custom
out of respect." This, to me, is the core of the matter. Carriacouans
are good, christian people and if their traditions sometimes get mixed
up with religious practice, it is in the time honoured habit of peoples
all over the world in the Christian Church, which is tolerant of
ancient customs and seek to wed them with true Christianity.

That the Churches in Carriacou may have been under "alien
direction" during the Author's visit is not to say that "the folk (are)
uncertain about their own place within their creed, worship, and
organisation." At the turn of the century, both Churches were
directed by West Indians. One at least for 20 years and the other
for over 30 years. The seed was too well sown before 1953 for any
misdirection or misunderstanding.

The quotes made by the Author speak aloud of the Source and
is suggestive of an old man reminiscing of things handed down and
not remembering what he was told too well. What does this mean,
for instance: "Our old parents believe in God faithfully, and the
Word of God is the word of our old parents. (Author's italics) We
believe in God too, but if we believe in It like them (the old parents)
then you see the world change right away like it was." (Italics mine.)

The Author interprets this to mean: "In short the falling faith
of the present generation has caused a fall from grace, and people
cannot now approach God directly but must do so through the Old


parents and the Church. A strange philosophy. Why "cannot now
approach God directly?" When was the time fixed? Oh yes! "the
present generation" says Dr. Smith. But he is talking of an ancient
cult. How did his informant's parents approach God, directly or
through their parents?" The truth is that the Author misunderstood
completely what his informant was trying to say and drew his own
conclusions, like in so many instances, which do not tally with the
facts. The simple interpretation is that the old parents were more
fervent in their belief in God and nothing more. The phrase "but
if we believe in It like them, then you see the world change right
away like it was," carries no more meaning than a call to return to
the strong faith of our fathers in God.

Belief in spirits and the invocation of spirits, is not peculiar
to Carriacou, so on that score it is hardly worth troubling about.
But dreams about dead parents being hungry and yet not eating
what is prepared for them is a fantasy sometimes evoked by the
drummers and dancers who may need "a little change"-for mark
you he who calls the tune must pay the piper and feed him well too
-and foist sinister interpretations of dreams on a well-to-do neigh-
bour who has not had a Feast for a long time.

Then to please strangers, some knowledgeable persons spin yarns
of days gone by and put the stamp of truth on it by repeating: "is
a very serious thing, you know, is a very serious thing." What the
story-teller never says is that this is what the old parents used to
say. But since he enjoys spinning a yarn and his listener is obvi-
ously enjoying it too (seriously), it does no harm and it might do
no good.

I have tried hard to differentiate between "Women's Houses"
and other houses, but since my return to Carriacou in 1961, there
are no wattle houses left and the great majority of houses
in L'Esterre are wooden houses of varying sizes (depending on the
economic standing of the owner) that I must conclude that all these
"women houses" were blown away in the hurricane of 1955 and so
must quite a lot of other things the Author relates. The Drums still
beat though and Tombstone Feasts, Weddings, Maroons and Wakes
persist. Carnival can never die and is still celebrated on the Monday
and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. There is still cannes bruldes
and launching and so many other intriguing customs, but Ancestor
Worship? That's fiction.


Stephen Haweis of Dominica

JUST OVER a year ago Stephen Haweis died in Dominica at the
age of ninety. No considered tribute to him has been published: we
should repair that omission, for so few professional artists of his
calibre have lived in the West Indies that it would be ungrateful to
forget him. Nor is his place likely to be filled for some time, even
though anyone can today assume the title of artist and the merest
daub is, in the sacred name of subjective sensitivity, proclaimed a
work of art. In the tropics very rarely has the well-trained craftsman
achieved fame as an artist for he is ever confronted by the need to
select and simplify his subject, a task of monumental difficulty to one
surrounded by a bewildering profusion of luxuriant growths as has
no parallel in a temperate zone.

Stephen's maternal grandfather, Thomas Musgrove Joy, was a
fashionable portrait painter. His patron Baron Panmure's first com-
mission, in 1839, was a portrait of Britain's heroine of that time, Grace
Darling who, with her father, lived in the Fame Islands' lighthouse.
Later he gave drawing lessons to Prince Albert and did portraits of
the royal children and their pets at Windsor Castle. His three sons
died in infancy and his elder daughter Mary Eliza, Stephen's mother,
was born in 1848. Her father, after some years of poor health, died in
straitened circumstances when she was eighteen. That year she sold
a painting at the Royal Academy and painted two portraits on com-
mission. The next year she married the Reverend Hugh Reginald
Haweis of St. James's Church, Marylebone.

Her husband was little over five feet tall, crippled from childhood
in one leg because of an accident riding a pony, and of an ivory com-
plexion (his grandmother was a native of Baluchistan) The young
couple became very popular in London society and were presented at
Court. Their first child died in infancy and thereafter they had two
sons and a daughter; the youngest of those children, Stephen Hugh
Willyams, was born on the 23rd of July, 1878, in their house opposite
Lord's cricket ground.

Haweis had become a spell-binder of a preacher, wrote many
popular religious books, and was in great demand as a public lecturer.
He was appointed Lowell Lecturer at Boston, Mass., in 1886 and went
on further lecture tours in America in 1893-94. When he was a curate
the Archbishop of Canterbury had regarded him as his proteg6, but
because of indiscreet behaviour he fell out of favour and was offered


no preferment; though, prudently, nothing was done to put outside
the boundaries of the Church its outstanding preacher.

Stephen's mother strove to repair the effect of her husband's ex-
travagances on their income by writing and illustrating a number of
magazine articles and books for women on dress, deportment, and de-
coration in the home, by which she gained an enviable reputation. ()
Others of her books, such as her admirably illustrated Chaucer for
Children, also achieved marked success. By such assiduous work she
was also able to pay for Stephen's education at Westminster School
and to send him to Peterhouse College, Cambridge. She died in 1898,
before he could take a degree, whereupon he decided not to continue
at Cambridge for he wished to become a painter, and to that end
he went to study in Paris. His father died early in 1901. He had
greatly resented Stephen, his younger son who, devoted to his mother,
appears to have been a quiet, attractive, hard-working young man.
He had a streak of stubbornness in his make-up for his mother had
once written, 'Stephen has the Haweis temper' His father had un-
doubtedly cheated Stephen of a substantial legacy, but his mother
had left sufficient money to make him not entirely dependent on
the sale of his work and, indeed, enough to enable him to travel.

The first time my attention was called to Stephen Haweis was
in 1962 when I visited Bishop Antoine Demets in Montserrat and
saw in his study an oil painting of a 'Black Madonna' which Stephen
had given him. It is beautifully designed and the artist has success-
fully demonstrated the superior aesthetic qualities of a dark skin
to a pale one, which he further emphasised with a brightly coloured
setting. Later I saw his carefully composed study in oils of West In-
dian vegetation in the Barbados Museum's art gallery. In both works
he was patently more interested in colour and pattern than in tone
and perspective.

Alec Waugh described Stephen Haweis as "an excellent and well-
known painter", and went on to comment, "he puts a price on his
pictures that are beyond the means of most."(2) He also recorded that
during the war Stephen got into serious conflict with the island's
authorities by writing an article criticising the government's agri-
cultural policy. "Flines were imposed on him and the printer. He
refused to pay on the grounds that freedom of speech was one of our
wartime objectives. After weeks of argument a policeman presented
himself outside Haweis's home with a pair of handcuffs. His friends
bailed him out as soon as they heard." That experience could well
have had a traumatic effect on him for I thought I was detecting
signs of incipient paranoia when he hinted to me-I knew nothing
of the incident Wa.ugh described-that there were those in authority
who were ill-disposed towards him and that his mail was sometimes
tampered with. As late as May, 1967 he wrote "I am never sure
whether my correspondence is supervised or not-either coming or
going. I do not address any envelope in my handwriting any more".

I could not but remember that addresses were usually in his hand-
writing and woefully inadequate "History Dept.. Jamaica" reached
me against all reasonable odds and a drawing, which did not, may
have had a similar kind of address-results of which could have given
rise to his fears. I had noticed, too, that he had commenced to write
to Government House from time to time with proposals (many of
which seemed practicable) whereby the amount and variety of veg-
etable and animal food grown in Dominica could be increased. I con-
cluded that his artist's training in keen observation of the physical
world around him would protect him from persistent delusions,
even though his sense of humour seemed to be limited to play on
words and the markedly mordant, such as, in writing of victims of
the 1929 depression: '"hey jumped from the upper windows of sky-
scrapers in attempts to make both ends meet-abruptly"

Waugh described Stephen's sitting room as looking like a work-
shop with the practical untidyness of an artist's studio. "He had once
specialised in fish but now he was concentrating on vegetation
in particular I admired a group of carrier girls striding with baskets
on their heads down a jungle path. They were fine Amazonian
creatures, with bright blouses and vivid turbans but they seemed
colourless and dwarfed against the rich green background of the
forest" He quoted Stephen as saying, "It was a mango tree that
brought me here; its owner was about to cut it down, the only
way to save it was to buy the ground it stood on I didn't know at
the time that mangoes won't bear above 1,500 feet. We are about
2,000 feet here I'm glad I spared it. It's enough to be beautiful;
there is no need to bear fruit as well" Waugh adds, "All Dominica is
in that comment"

Recently I looked at a book which Stephen had written about
the West Indies, in which he described fishing in the Bahamas and
life on the sea bed. (3) It is not a scientific work but, nevertheless,
proves him to be an accurate observer writing from considerable
practical experience in that area. Aids to identification are twenty
rapidly executed pencil sketches with colour notes scribbled around
them. He gives the local name of each fish, such as, "the cock-eyed
pilot", "the sailor's choice", and "the black bait-snitcher" His frontis-
piece is a delicate water-colour drawing in pale tints of yellow,
orange, green, and violet, of the sea bed as seen from a boat, look-
ing through a water-glass. Typical creatures are arranged in a
pattern and the movement of the water above them is suggested by
breaking the rectangle into sectors of circles.

The book is intended as a guide for tourists, but he has no use for
Advertisers' English with its blatant overstatement and its flattery
of the reader. "It is", he writes, "possible for visitors to go to the Sea
Gardens, record rapidly that they have seen the bottom of the sea
and that seaweed grows there and fishes swim, who yearn immedi-
ately for their chairs around the card table, deploring the 'waste of

time' They have eyes but see not, memories which are virgin ground
after the experience as they were before". He gives something of his
creed as an artist in, "Forms appeals in some subconscious way to our
reasoning faculties while colour seems to touch something deeper
and more primitive Leave on one side the exact observations of
a naturalist and the general impression of the shapes and colours
of fish and weed must hold the attention of one who is not dead to
all sensuous and intellectual appeal" Writing of starfish he asserts
that he is "glad they are useless to man, their beauty is so transitory;
kill them and they become ugly at once, maltreat them and they be-
come offensive. Alive and in their own place they awaken our tireless
wonder and respect, unrelated to stomach or pocket. It is good that
there should be something in the world so separate and different from
business life, so intensely beautiful and dignified!"

What did his readers make of the following? "Man is conscious of
how different they (fish) are to himself and seldom thinks of the
things he has in common with them or any other creature. We are.
perhaps, rather primitive souls still. A new shape or sound terrifies us
until we become accustomed to it and know it to be harmless. Yet in
what contempt man holds his former antagonist and quarry! The
genius of mankind, common property in the rod and gun, is a means
which few animals succeed in outwitting altogether, though they do as
well, perhaps, as the individual human, were it necessary for him to
invent his weapon anew each time. If mackerel are easily caught, it
is not hard to delude the half-witted people of our city slums, while
there are lawyers fully as hard to catch as grey mullet, and many are
as hard to hold as an eel or a soapfish!" We can accept his point even
though we may feel he has not had a great deal of first-hand experi-
ence of those at each end of the human scale he postulates.

We can allow him a last word on sharks, "I believe sharks very
seldom attempt to eat anything that is perfectly healthy. It (a shark)
is perhaps the scavenger as well as the cemetery of the sea, though
it includes the not-qucik-enough among the already-dead"

Stephen was commissioned in 1930 to illustrate a biography of a
pearl diver in the South Seas. Thirty line-drawings of shells, fish, and
a sailing ship, decorate chapter headings and endings. He also has a
number of larger drawings of Polynesians dancing and feasting; they
do not illustrate particular incidents and are a remarkable combina-
tion of outline and silhouette which gives them a dynamic quality
although their emphasis is on pattern. The only other book-a small
pamphlet-in which he was concerned that I have seen (with one ex-
ception to be noted later) is in Roseau's Carnegie Library, a guide for
visitors that he wrote and illustrated with lino-cuts. (5)

He told me he had contributed a weekly column of Dominican
news to the Barbados Advocate for a number of years but early in the
sixties his copy was returned "without explanation" In March, 1965,
when first I met him, he was a very old man but was still alert;

little over five feet, with a slight build than then made him seem
fragile, and his white hair wisped from his head in a halo. His small
house was almost hidden by bushes and trees. In his living room the
paraphernalia of an artist was still to be seen but he had no paint-
ing in progress nor did he seem to have done any for some years. He
had decorated his verandah wall with a pattern of ferns in silver
paint. In his garden below I noticed letters of the Greek alphabet
painted on large pebbles which marked the perimeter of a pond
beside which grew a clump of white anthuriums. An indication of
student days that caught my eye was a plaster cast, in a garden
shed, of L'inconnu du Seine (the death mask of a young woman who,
seemingly in despair, had drowned herself in the river Seine. When
her body was recovered an artist who saw it was profoundly moved
by the expression of ineffable peace on her face and took a mask,
from which many students in those late Victorian years obtained

He recalled that he had a good exhibition in London of the work
he had done in Paris, after which he went off to the South Seas to
sketch; next he travelled to East Africa, which particularly inter-
ested him. There he made many studies of dances in which "the
women sat down and the men moved" He showed me a painting in
gouache of one of those dances; a circle of athletic figures swinging
their long red-dyed hair. He had then gone on to paint fishes and
had tried, with no great success, to work out a conventional way of
Indicating their movements. Many thousands must have admired
another of his works, the backgrounds he painted to the Insect House
of the Zoological Gardens in Washington D.C.

When Bishop Demets-whom he thought one of the most remark-
able of men he had met-was in Dominica Stephen had done a
number of religious paintings for his churches. He commented that
he liked Roman Catholics because they never asked him if he had
been saved. He had also given an oil painting of the Boiling Lake to
Government House. I could not regard that picture as particularly
successful for, lacking figures to give it scale, it might well have been
a study of pea soup simmering in a pot.

He was making a point of paying a formal visit to Government
House each Saturday morning, when he was driven in his little car,
via the Imperial Road, down to Roseau. After one of those visits the
Administrator's wife passed to me a bundle of typescript he had left
with her; it described his life in Dominica from 1929, an account
that impressed me as a unique document that should certainly be
preserved. But he wanted it published. At his request I indicated
repetitions and irrelevancies which might prejudice a publisher's
reader against it, and among a score or so of drawings in his posses-
sion which might be used for illustrating it.

A sense of urgency about the matter came upon him. I learned
later that he travelled to England in the summer of 1966 to try to

find a publisher. Thereafter he wrote to me a number of times. In
one letter he recorded sending white anthuriums to the Queen, and
that she had indicated, through her Master of the Household at Buck-
ingham Palace, "her delight, and appreciation of a welocme gift"
He added: "many people in England do not believe Dominica exists
and must be a confusion with San Domingo" Nor had he exaggerated,
for I remembered seeing a package sent, in March 1964, for Domini-
ca from the Central Office of Information in London-which by de-
finition should know-to the Dominican Republic! In 1967 he in-
formed me that he had changed his name to Hawys, "the name I
prefer-which was used in the reign of Edward III-not a new fad,
but the only spelling which cannot be mispropounced!" He cannot
have known of Stephen Hawys, the Poet, writing 1509-55, whose name
is now usually spelt "Hawes"

He had. himself, written some verse: the little that I saw,
probably unpublished, voiced something of his philosophy of life
rather than a pose for the occasion. I could not but feel, however.
that his sensibility sometimes came perilously close to sentimentality.
Here is one, associated with his religious painting Madonna of the

Our Lady of the fishermen
Who art by night Queen of the Sea
With its blue mantle guard our lives
Like candles that we burn for thee.

The fishes that we kill, pity
For they must die that we may live.
Forgive us all if we contrive
With death to mingle charity.

His prayer was not for beast nor bird
But loaves and fishes. We have heard
Five thousand souls by Him were fed
Who blessed the fishes with the bread.

The Chairman of Messrs. Duckworth & Co. wrote to tell me that
he proposed to publish Stephen's book and that Stephen, in failing
health and no longer capable of the task, wished me to amend proofs
and see it through the press. (6) Of course I made no attempt to act
as censor but a few amendments to facts were necessary and vagaries
in nomenclature of flora and fauna called for a detailed index. The
last I heard from him was, 'I got a proof copy of my book-and was
very pleased with it' Thus he died knowing that he had achieved his
ambition to have published an account of how he had spent his forty
years in Dominica. His book is also a tribute to those rural folk
among whom he had lived. They have lost a kindly gentle neighbour.




Arbiter of Elegance; Bce Howe (Harvill, London,

Where the clock chimes twice; Alec Waugh (Cassell, London. 1952)

The book about the sea gardens of Nassau, Bahamas; Stephen Haweis (Collier, New\
York, 1917)

Pearl Diver; V Berge (& H. W Lanier): (Doubleday Doian, New York, 1930)

Anything about Dominica; Stephen Haweis (Dominic,,

(6) Mount Joy; Stephen Hawys (Duckworth, London, 1967)

Book Reviews

Nettleford and LaYacona: Roots and Rhythms. Jamaica National
Dance Theatre Company.
Andr6 Deutsch, 1969. 128 pp., 50/

I HAVE before me a beautiful book. Roots & Rhythms as an artifact
is a pleasurable object indeed, with pages of dark gothic print, clean
and easily read, interpolating the blocks of black and white photo-
graphs which are, to my layman's eye, consummate exercises in the
rhythms of light and shade, pictorial composition and mood. The
layout owes something, perhaps, to the Leatherman and Swope
Martha Graham, designed by Karl Leabo, and reminds one of the
kinds of expertise which modern book making can claim, with
aesthetic results no less valid than those of the days when the making
of books was a painstaking and intricate handicraft. The design of Roots
and Rhythms, as well as the photographs which feature in it (over
a hundred and thirty) is the work of Maria LaYacona, an American
photographer, now a naturalized Jamaican, who has been working in
the island for over ten years, and it is a triumphant example of her
taste and skill.

But this book is not only worthwhile as an objet d'art, a biblio-
phile's dream, a coffee-table book which at fifty shillings or five
Jamaican dollars is good value. Both photographs and text clearly
have a more serious historical value. As it is a book about dance-(it
is the biography of Jamaica's National Dance Theatre Company)-
which is the most ephemeral of all the arts, it has a recording function
which can be surpassed only by films; and this function to my mind
has additional importance in a society in which evolutionary pro-
cesses in the arts as in all its expressions are being accelerated,
perhaps in directions which are unpredictable.

In a way the solidity of this book's artistry complicates the task
of a reviewer who is interested in its historical validity. Certainly, so
far as the photographs at least are concerned, the National Dance
Theatre's work is seen, to recall that often quoted aphorism about
the arts, through the eyes of a temperament. The camera is in the
hands of a poet; in the moment of the photograph on the page, and
the moment of the dance on the stage, there are different experien-
ces and one has to be sure not to confuse the one with the other.
People who have never seen the dancers and the Company will have
no such dilemma and the power of these photographs will stimulate
their Imaginations to their own reconstructions. People who have
will ask: Is this indeed how they were and are?

My own view is that the photographs express an ideality not in
the living Company's presence. To a certain extent this can of course
be simply explained. For example, some of the most arresting shots
are of performers frozen in dramatic gestures enhanced by the light-
ing; of group compositions where rhythms of motion and rest are
astonishingly defined (see the sequence of photographs of "Poco-
mania" for instance); and others as remarkable reveal dancers' faces
in a range of expressions more sensitive and beautiful than one had
time to absorb from the stalls. Here the photographs certainly illum-
inate the degree of involvement in the dance-role and the acting
capacity of some of the dancers. Still, the selectivity of the camera
has suggested excitements and a glamour more insistent than I re-

Actually I think that the distance between the vision of the
photographs and my own recollected experience is a compliment to
the Company's capacity to stimulate the imaginative perceptions. If
the Company's reach sometimes exceeds its grasp, that reach ex-
tends one's horizons and sharpens one's expectations; and the reach is
visible. All creative endeavour in particular perhaps pioneering
creative endeavour, is involved in this paradox-which is in effect
that it is a prey to its own achievements.

This brings me to a few comments related to the text by the
artistic director of the Company. Mr. Nettleford's essay is in eight
sections, describing the "nature and image" of the Company, its
history and objectives, the traditions on which it draws for train-
ing, the repertoire, the music and musicians, the dancers, tributes to
the technical staff, designers and other artists, and finally discussion
of the audience and the critics. One of the interesting statements in
the essay concerns the Company's objectives, viz:

to provide a vehicle for well trained and talented dancers
who wish to perform and create works of excellence
to help widen an informed and critical Jamaican audience
which will be responsive to works of excellence in the
theatre arts to experiment with dance-forms and techniques
of all kinds with a view to helping to develop a style and form
which faithfully reflect the movement patterns of Jamaica and
the Caribbean area to encourage and conduct serious re-
search into indigenous dance-forms in Jamaica and the Carib-
bean area."

This seems impeccable and scarcely indicates an aesthetic approach
divorced from social commitment, yet the text frequently displays
a defensiveness against criticism that the Company looks elsewhere
both for form (technique) and content (the relevance of its reper-
toire to local experience and issues).

This is a reflection of the dialogue about the ideology of aesthetics
going on in intellectual circles in the West Indies (in turn a reflec-
tion of a similar dialogue finding Its focus in the Black cultural move-


ment in North America) Mr. Nettleford is clearly right to reject from
his Company's rationale simplistic ethnocentric attitudes; and it is
also true that the Company's work has consistently shown an aware-
ness of the serious issues, as well as the more picturesque, which
unite and divide Jamaican society. Four of the Company's major
works (all Nettleford's) have recently been eloquently described in
a series of articles by Dennis Scott in the Jamaican Sunday Gleaner,
The articles analysed the accuracy with which these dances reflect,
clarify and ritualize the society's experience. One of the interesting
things about the Scott articles was that they paid attention to the
works in question as if they were dramatic sequences primarily,
short plays in which the action corresponded to a literal script or
scenario coming, ultimately, to almost a philosophical position by
way of illustrated myth or parable.

This is no doubt in accord with the Company's description of its
work as "dance theatre" Nettleford's essay in fact begins with a
cautious approach to definitions in which the implication appears to
be that a polyglot style and an eclectic technique shelter best under
the appelation of "dance theatre" That apellation is indeed a wide
umbrella. It is new and fashionable term and seems to have arisen
in the wake of a self-conscious mid-20th century rediscovery of the
common origin of dance and drama as ritual expressions of what
one might still call tribal experience. But indeed, it could be claimed
that the dance itself is mesoplastic-the nucleus of all art forms.
Significantly, it has no rhetoric of its own, borrowing its descriptive
terminology from sculpture, music, painting, theatre; even engin-

But primarily, dance, as the nucleus of anything else, is ines-
capably sensual. Classical ballet or belly-dancing, the instrument is
the body and the first target is the senses. The dancer's body is
trained to defy the limitations of nature-whether in the disposition
of its angles or its resources of breath. This is simply because the
dance, above all other arts, is a celebration of the life principle itself.
The popular attraction of pyrotechnic and virtuoso dancing is not an
indication of defiant taste as is sometimes snobishly claimed, but an
unconscious and healthy recognition that the more one defies the
restrictions of the body the more one affirms the joy of its life.

"Dance theatre" frequently places the sensual at the disposal
of the cerebral and in so doing poses a delicate challenge. There is
a danger that the idea might replace or overtake the body's resour-
ces and what one gets is sometimes a kind of inflation.

Whenever I have been disappointed with the work of the NDTC
it is when something like this happens. For Instance, I find an un-
evenness of relationship of movement to idea in passages in the

* "Plantation Revelry," "The king must Die," Two Drums for Babylon. "All God's
Children...!?" Dennis Scott is a dancer with the Company and a critic.

complex ballet "The King Must Die" though there are some stunning
moments and felicities of invention (the rippling contraction of the
"king" is an example of the fusion of motion, emotion, and state-
ment) Similarly, Nettleford in "Two Drums for Babylon" invented an
original dance vocabulary but his dance "sentences" were frequently
turgid. On the other hand, "All God's Children" in the early "African
Scenario" seemed consistently integrated in sensuality, form and idea.

Indeed Jamaica's National Dance Theatre Company, to anyone
who has seen its work, is clearly not poor in choreographic ideas. If
occasional banalities occur, who could fairly expect an unending flow
of unflagging creative energy from anyone, however gifted?

I am not however sure that it is as rich in the quality of its
dancers, apart from perhaps half a dozen. There can be no substitute
for superb dancing under whatever umbrella one shelters, not, I
maintain, for the virtuoso, whether or not one acknowledges a star
system (a company of virtuosos?) The NDTC's main task in survival
will be to concentrate on dancers-on getting new blood and on even
more rigorous training than it already submits to. I don't think the
company needs to worry about its critics-most artists are, or ought
to be, their own most severe arbiters. In any event, I think it is
right that its most severe examiners should be those at home. The
critics, certainly, need constant educating in what the company is
about; but they, as anyone else will (apart from the chauvinistically
"committed") acquiesce to brilliance with humility and gratitude.

The difficulty of course is in going further in an amateur situa-
tion. There is clearly no lack of talent or raw material-and good-
ness, if so much has been achieved by part-time dancers working
against such odds the possibilities seem unlimited. For the Company,
as for other branches of the theatre in Jamaica, some way must be
found now to enable talents to be nurtured under ideal conditions to
their fulfilment-and that of us all. For Roots and Rhythms has to
be looked at in the final analysis as a reminder to present and future
generations of Jamaicans in particular of their responsibility for
what becomes of this Company, which has done so much to enrich
West Indian artistic life.


Some Topics in Modern Biology Hopeton Gordon, Editor
The Department of Extra-Mural Studies, University of the West
Indies, pp. 68

THIS BOOK is the first in a proposed series of occasional papers
to be published by The Department of Extra-Mural Studies of the
University of the West Indies in Jamaica. It contains three articles.
viz: THE CELL by Madge Greenfield, NUCLEIC ACIDS by H. G. Core
well as an Introduction by the editor and a page of notes on the
contributors. Each article is followed by a short bibliography.
The first article, THE CELL, is a straightforward account of
the structure of the cell. The information is fairly well presented but
the account is incomplete since it does not deal with a number of
cell organelles such as centroiles, cilia or plastids. In addition there
are a number of sources of irritation encountered in the article.
First of all, the written text makes no reference to the Plates and
Figures which accompany this article. Furthermore the Figures carry
no legends and the Plates bear no keys to the letters printed on
them. The confusion is even more increased by the fact that the
author often fails to provide adequate explanation for some of the
terms which he uses. Thus, unless one is to some extent familiar with
the topic under review, the content of this article is likely to make
difficult reading.
The article NUCLEIC ACIDS follows next. This is a well written
short review in which the author describes clearly and simply the
structure and biological functions of these compounds.
The final article, ON THE MECHANISM OF EVOLUTION, describes
recent information on evolutionary processes which has been gained
from the study of contemporary populations of living animals (mainly
insects) and discusses the use of this information as *evidence in
support of the idea that Natural Selection is the main causal agent
in evolution. It is a short, well set out article and, for teachers,
probably the most important in the book since this kind of informa-
tion is not usually contained in the normal school text books.
As a whole the book is well designed with a soft cover and glossy
leaves. There are, however, a number of typographical errors which
mar the high quality of the publication. These errors are particularly
numerous in the first article where nine occur in approximately
twelve pages of script.
The readership at which SOME TOPICS IN MODERN BIOLOGY is
mainly aimed consists of the teachers and G.C.E. 'A' Level Students
in the West Indies. It seems to me that at this level it should find ready
acceptance as an adjunct to the teaching of Biology, since it would
complement the standard text book treatment of the topics with
which it deals. There are, however, a large number of well designed,
cheap books from abroad which can fill the same role so that ac-
ceptance of SOME TOPICS IN MODERN BIOLOGY by teachers and
students will also depend on how cheaply it is priced.


L. S. Grant: Training for Medicine in the West Indies 15c. J.
G. P. Chapman: A New Development in the Agronomy
of Pimento 15c.
G. R. Coulthard: Spanish-American Novel, 1940-1965 30c.
M. G. Smith, Roy Augier, R. M. Nettleford: Report on the
Rastafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica 50c.
R. M. Nettleford: Trade Union and Industrial Relation Terms 35c.
H. R. Roberts: Job Evaluation 35c.
Carlyle Dunkley: Collective Bargaining 35c.
John Hearne, Rex Nettleford: Our Heritage 30c.
2) Adams, Magnus and Seaforth: Poisonous Plants
in Jamaica 30c.
3) George Cumper: Looking at Figures 50c.
Agricultural Research in Jamaica (Five Papers from
Seminar in 1965) 20c.
Catalogue and Plays may be obtained on application to:
Mrs. Myra Hinkson (Publications),
Extra-Mural Department,
University of the West Indies,
113 Frederick St.,
Port-of-Spain, TRINIDAD, W.I.
RADIO BROADCASTING SCRIPTS: Scripts of broadcast programmes are
available from the Radio Education Unit of the Department 5c.
Catalogues of back issues of C.Q. available (with list of contents)
may be obtained on request from the Editor.
Michael Anthony: The Year in San Fernando
Heinemann Educational Books Ltd. 1970 8
J. M. Phillippo: Jamaica: Its Past and Present State, 1843
Dawsons of Pall Mall 1969 7 10. 0:
A. Stokes: View of the Constitution of the British Colonies
in North America and the West Indies, 1783.
Dawsons of Pall Mall 1969 7 10. 0.
Joseph Sturge and Thomas Harvey: West Indies in 1837, 1838
Dawsons of Pall Mall 1968 6. 0. 0.
Jaime Suchlicki: University Students and Revolution in Cuba, 1920, 1968
University of Miami Press 1969 $6.95
Krishna Bahadoorsingh: Trinidad Electoral Politics:
the persistence of the race factor
Institute of Race Relations 1968 21
Legal and Financial Factors Affecting the Establishment of a
Private Investment Company in the Caribbean (CARINCO)
February 1970 $5.00
Kenneth Ramchand: The West Indian Novel and Its Background
Faber & Faber Ltd. 1970 .................. .............---... .. 50 -