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Front Cover 1
Front Cover 2
Table of Contents
VOL. 17. No. 1
Copyright reserved, and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.
5. ANEGADA-FEUDAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE TWENTIETH
Norwell Harrigan & Pearl Varlack
16. THE TEACHING OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS IN THE
23. OPERATIONS RESEARCH (O.R.) AND THE WEST INDIAN SUGAR
34. The East Indian Indenture in Trinidad Judith Ann Weller
K. 0. Laurence
48. Some Views on Caribbean Voices Volume 2 The Blue Horizons
(Selected by John Figueroa)
W. M. "Bill" Kelley
53. University Students and Revolution in Cuba 1920-1968
57. A Room on the Hill Garth St. Omer
58. Britain and the Onset of Modernisation in Brazil
Richard L. Millett
61. Publications of the Department
Notes on Contributors
NORWELL HARRIGAN, Director, Virgin Islands Inter-relationship
Programme at Caribbean Research Institute, College of the
PEARL VARLACK, Staff member, Caribbean Research Institute, College
of the Virgin Islands.
STEVE DeCASTRO, Lecturer, Dept. of Economics, U.W.I., Mona.
ROY PREISWERK, Director, Institute of International Relations, U.W.I.
Trinidad 1966-69 now Professor, Graduate Institute of Inter-
national Studies, Geneva.
KEITH LAURENCE, Lecturer, Dept. of History, U.W.I., Mona.
BILL KELLEY, U.S. Author now resident in Jamaica.
MERVYN MORRIS, Jamaican Poet, Lecturer, Dept. of English, U.W.I.,
PATRICK BRYAN, Lecturer, Latin American History, U.W.I., Mona.
CLIFF LASHLEY, Jamaican Critic, University of Toronto.
RICHARD L. MILLETT, of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES
R. M. Nettleford, Director of Extra-Mural Studies (Acting).
Lloyd Brathwaite, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I., St. Augustine,
Sidney Martin, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I., Cave Hill, Barbodos.
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 DegreA Studies, U.W.I.,
Patricia Williams, Department of Extra-Mural Studies, U.W.I.,
Mona, Jamaica. (Assoc. Editor)
All correspondence should be addressed to:
Department of Extra-Mural Studies,
University of the West Indies,
Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica.
We invite readers to submit manuscripts or recommended
subjects which they would like to see discussed in CARIBBEAN
QUARTERLY Articles of Caribbean relevancy will be gratefully
United Kingdom 1 (Sterling)
(a) Jamaica $2.00 (J.)
(b) Eastern Caribbean $5.00 (E.C.)
U.S.A. and other countries $4.00 (U.S.) or equivalent
Subscription orders may be firwarded to the Editor or to the
local office of the Resident Tutor in any West Indian territory served
by this University.
Map on Cover, Courtesy of Institute of Caribbean Studies, Rio Pedras Campus,
University of Puerto Rico.
Anegada Feudal Development
in the Twentieth Century
THE small and lonely island of Sombrero is the northernmost
extremity of the Lesser Antillean chain. Fifty miles of ocean to the
west, the Anegada Passage, over 1,000 fathoms deep, sharply separates
it from the submarine plateau on which the Greater Antilles is located
and of which the Virgin Islands form the eastern extremity.
The Virgins archipelago, in which the largest islands are the
United States islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas, contain some forty-
one British islands, islets and rocks lying about 60 miles east of Puerto
Rico, 140 miles northwest of St. Kitts, 1,700 miles from New York and
3,800 miles from the United Kingdom. The total area is 59 square
miles. The principal islands are Tortola (21 square miles), Virgin
Gorda (8 square miles), and Jost Van Dyke (3 square miles) which
form part of the northern series of the northern group of islands, and
Anegada (15 square miles) physiographically in a 'series' by itself.
Anegada, although comparatively far removed from the other
islands of the northern group (14 miles north of Virgin Gorda), is
situated on the brink of the submarine bank from which the others
rise. The island is nine miles long and approximately one mile in width.
The southern and central parts are flat and reliefless, and the highest
elevation is in the north and only thirty feet high. Its position above
sea level appears to be due to the recent slight uplift, somewhat greater
in amount than the uplift of the other northern Virgin Islands. The
island, which consists of limestone grading from dense, poorly con-
solidated fine limesand and mud to fossiliferous limesand an I low sand-
hills mostly or entirely of dune origin, is cut up by lagoons, salt ponds
and marshes. An unbroken series of coral reefs, the main ones being
the Horseshoe Hermanos reefs, completely surrounds the island.
These reefs are living and in active growth. Geographically and geo-
logically, Anegada is sui generis.
Of its history little is definitely known. Labat observes that the
aborigines used the island as an occasional rendezvous. It was in-
cluded in a grant from the British Crown to the Earl of Carlysle in
1627 but neither he nor Lord Willoughby, to whom he leased his patents
in 1647, attempted to enforce ownership. At a later period the secluded
bays of the island served as a lurking place for buccaneers, Kirke and
Bone being said to have frequented it especially; the latter has
bequeathed his name to a creek on the north side (Bone's Bight) which
appears to have been favourite resort.
The island was said to have been first settled following the routing
of the pirates by two naval expeditions sent out by Sir Henry Morgan,
Governor of Jamaica. The settlers established themselves on the
southern rocky section of the island which permitted full view of vessels
stranded by accident or design on the treacherous reefs while granting
them such inaccessibility as would thwart any attackers who might
attempt retaliation the "wrecking industry" was often accompanied
by murder and mayhem in addition to pillage. They lived on the booty
saved from wrecks and paid scant attention to agriculture. Although
the cry of "A vessel on the reef" is reported to have been the only thing
that thoroughly aroused the indolence of the inhabitants, the growing
of provision crops and cotton, the rearing of livestock and the sale of
underwood furnished a further resource. As late as 1858, however, an
official report could state that it was to the reefs of Anegada that the
government of the British Virgin Islands looked for "a regular source
of income through the favouring agency of wrecks and the duty which
they contribute to the Treasury."
When "wrecking" had ceased due to the introduction of steam and
the establishment of the Sombrero lighthouse, and wrecks now acci-
dents without hostility or violence were few and far between,
Anegadians continued the peripheral agriculture but fishing became
their principal means of support. The decline of St. Thomas as a major
export market led many of them to seek a livelihood in Santo Domingo
(seasonally and permanently) and the United States.
Anegadians are a highly intelligent people of negro and mixed
descent. As far back as 1886 the Anegada School was classified and
became eligible for grant-in-aid and in 1887 "was awarded the highest
average marks for reading and arithmetic." This native intelligence
has served them in good stead, for wherever they have established their
homes in the United States Virgin Islands, the continental United
States or elsewhere they have been eminently successful and this
success, through remittances they were able to send home, has kept
Anegada alive for the better part of the twentieth century.
With fishing and the peripheral agriculture those Anegadians who
remained lived a precarious existence, working practically around the
clock in an effort to keep their families independent and respectable.
They were expected to pay their quota of taxes (in cash or in kind),
but services were appallingly minimal (even the doctor often failed to
make the monthly scheduled visit). No community in the British
Virgin Islands was more law-abiding and none more forsaken. A
dwindling population of 274 in 1960 has today been reduced to 189 as
people leave for the United States and its territories in order to live.
As far back as 1917 Patrick Vaux in his writings referred to Anegada as
"A Forgotten West Indian Island."
In 1961 the British Virgin Islands Government set about tackling
the problem that was Anegada. Anegadians had grown to believe that
the freehold of the island had been vested in themselves and their heirs
In common in perpetuity. Since the Anegada Ordinance of 1885 (No. 3
of 1885) did not make the position clear, it was repealed in 1961 and a
new Anegada Ordinance enacted (Revised Laws of the Virgin Islands
Cap. 146). This legislation vested the island in the Crown with the
exception of one acre belonging to the Methodist Church. "That portion
of the island commonly called 'The Settlement' containing by
admeasurement approximately 357 acres" (or 37/1000 of the island) was
allocated to 'Anegadians', i.e. any persons born in Anegada, the legiti-
mate children of Anegada men, the illegitimate children of Anegada
women and any non-Anegadians residing in the island for fifteen years
(apparently illegitimate children of Anegada men and the children of
Anegada women married to non-Anegadians are excluded under Section
2 of the Ordinance). These by reliable estimates should number some
two thousand souls in various parts of the world. The unallocated
parts of the island more than nine-tenths could be leased as was
deemed fit by the Administrator in Council and such sums as accrued
paid into an "Anegada Account" to be expended solely for purposes
connected with the Island in the discretion of the Administrator
(Section 14). Actually, the legislation meant nothing in practical terms.
The complete stagnation which generated a feeling of utter hope-
lessness and helplessness changed to understandable optimism when it
was announced in 1967 that Anegada would at long last be put on the
road to progress. The Administrator of the British Virgin Islands had
entered into an agreement with an English firm called the Develop-
ment Corporation of Anegada to lease for a period of 199 years "ALL
THAT the said Island including the foreshore thereof up to the high
water mark but save only and except 1,500 acres" for a multitude
of developmental activities. An English official who held the post of
Financial Secretary was designated to explain to the islanders precisely
what the lease involved for them and their island. A recent survey
conducted by Research and Consulting Services, a local organization,
which interviewed thirty-two of the forty-four households on the island
indicates that ninety per cent of the respondents were satisfied with
the prospects for the future.
The lease placed on the Development Corporation of Anegada the
following major obligations:
(a) to "construct an airstrip suitable for the operation of
aircraft of an all-up weight not exceeding 12,500 lbs." (Com-
pletion period: two years)
(b) to construct "a hotel." (Completion period: five years)
(c) to "construct or procure the construction of a suitable jetty
for the deep water harbour adequate to accommodate
medium sized cargo boats" to "be operated on a commercial
basis for the benefit of the Lessee or its successors or assigns."
(Completion period: "as soon as it is conveniently practicable
so to do")
(d) to "construct the main public roads." (Maintenance to
be at public expense)
(e) to build and meet the initial cost of certain public facilities,
the cost to be repaid by Government with interest equivalent
to one half per cent above the rate at which the Corporation
borrowed, which rate should not exceed eight per cent.
(f) to spend $1,500,000 in the first five years and at least
$3,000,000 in the first ten years.
Concomitant with these obligations were privileges which include:
(a) drawing water "free of cost from the subsoil" and for the
Corporation's benefit to levy water charges.
(b) the exemption from all forms of taxation on profits, income
or capital by persons or corporations "resident or conducting
activities of whatever description" on the leased area and
the exemption of the Lessee from customs or import duties.
(c) Having "irrevocable power and authority throughout the
said term hereby granted to develop and use the Lessee's
land in such manner and for such purposes and to such
density as the Lessee or its successors or assigns shall see
For these privileges the Corporation is obligated to pay $35,000 ground
rent for the first four year period and $30,000 per year for the remain-
ing 195 years in addition to "5 per centum of all rents and premiums
In addition to the foregoing the government undertook
(1) to seek the permission of the Corporation for the re-
clamation of land adjacent to its property; and
(il) not "to do permit or suffer to be done or carried out or
conduct on the retained land any activity in competition
with the developments and uses actual or contemplated"
not only of the Company but of its successors or assigns,
except those activities concern "bona fide Anegadians."
In the meantime the Corporation issued its prospectus which offered
a concept of Anegada as "a balanced, planned community working,
living and relaxing together in idyllic surroundings under a clear blue
sky." For old and young it offered leisure and sport only forty-five
minutes by air from "the high life of a sophisticated city, San Juan
in Puerto Rico"; for the serious investor "countless opportunities"; for
the man who wants to participate without the bother of direct invest-
ment it offered local shares, sleeping partnerships or "simply putting
money on deposit with the local bank (the Bank of Anegada) and
watching it compound tax free." For the businessman an island
within the sterling area but where the United States dollar is the only
legal currency a unique position where investors hold a United
States dollar asset and conversion is free from the "dollar premium."
The Outline Development Plan showed areas for residences, high
density housing, hotel and resort locations, light industrial estate,
marina, neighbourhood units, parks, schools and "the village and
village expansion," i.e. the land allocated to the "natives."
Concurrent with the grant of land on Anegada the government
also signed an agreement with the same Company now calling itself the
Wickham's Cay Development Company to reclaim land in Road Harbour
as an extension to Road Town, the capital of the colony situated in
Tortola. The reclamation processes caused considerable flooding of the
adjacent areas which brought immediate reaction from property owners
and at least one political action group. The claim that local people
had to suffer loss and inconvenience after a "give-away" of their rights
to foreigners was also raised in respect of the Anegada Agreement.
It is difficult to say with any precision what caused the change of
heart in Anegada but a letter appearing in the Island Sun of May 17,
1969 which deplored the policies adopted by the Corporation and charged
that the people had been "taken in" and sold down the river by their
government, the people having "caught on more fully to the game our
government is playing." In the following issue of the same newspaper
the Corporation's solicitors advised the editor that the letter was
"defamatory both to the Company and its directors" and that they
were seeking legal advice as to the manner in which the situation
should be dealt with. Fuel was thus added to the flames and with the
intervention of acts of God in the form of heavy rains which caused
more flooding in Road Town the Wickham's Cay and Anegada Agree-
ments became a cause cel6bre.
As a result of all this the following resolution was introduced in
the Legislative Council in July by the Hon. I. G. Fonseca:
WHEREAS the Government has entered into a lease agreement
with the Development Corporation of Anegada Ltd. under which
four-fifths of the island of Anegada has been leased for 199
years for development purposes;
AND WHEREAS a major object of the lease is to establish a zone
free from Income, capital and employment taxes for the benefit
of outside investment interests;
AND WHEREAS the lease Agreement does not take into account
the interests or welfare or long standing rights of occupation of
the local inhabitants of Anegada who were not tenants of the
Crown but occupiers in their own right a right recognized in
the Anegada Ordinance of 1885, now repealed but nevertheless
confirmed by subsequent legislation replacing it under which
the powers of the Crown to dispose of the land are limited;
AND WHEREAS the people of the island have been assured from
time to time in the past eighty-three (83) years as to their rights
to use the land freely in common with each other or to enclose
portions of it for exclusive and individual use;
AND WHEREAS the establishment of a tax-free zone as con-
templated will result in a large influx of people whose concentra-
tion on this small island will give rise to serious social and
political problems, not only for the island community of Anegada,
but for the Territory of the Virgin Islands as a whole and
possibly for the Commonwealth Caribbean;
BE IT RESOLVED that this Council recognizing the dangers to
the people of the Territory inherent in the Anegada Agreement
calls on the Government to appoint in consultation with the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office an impartial Commission of
the highest repute and drawn from both Britain and the Com-
monwealth Caribbean to carry out an investigation into the
circumstances and conditions of the Anegada Agreement, the
impact the Agreement will have on the Territory from a social,
economic and political standpoint and to consider whether a new
development concept for Anegada should not be embarked upon.
To the utter amazement of most people the Council passed the
resolution unanimously at what the press termed a meeting of
"sweetness and light."
On September 9, it was announced that a Commission of Enquiry
under the Commissions of Enquiry Act of 1880 (Cap. 212) had been
appointed with the following terms of reference:
To examine the Anegada Agreement of 20th January, 1967 in
the light of the interests of the people of the British Virgin
Islands, the inhabitants of Anegada, the parties to the Agree-
ment itself, and all other persons or corporations who have in-
vested in the development of Anegada; and, taking into account
the motion concerning the Agreement passed by the Legislature
on 15th July, 1969, to report on the following matters:
(i) the probable effects of the terms and conditions of the
(ii) the likely social, economic and political consequences in the
British Virgin Islands of the implementation of the Agree-
and in the light of that report to make recommendations as to -
(a) the future development of Anegada in general; and
(b) whether a new development concept for Anegada should be
The members of the Commission were named as -
Sir Derek Jakeway, K.C.M.G., O.B.E., former Governor of Fiji;
The Honourable Maurice Corbin, Judge of the High Court of
Justice of Trinidad and Tobago; and
Mr. Bishnodat Persaud, B.Sc. (Economics), Member of the
Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of the
The appointment of the Commission created more protest. Few
people expected any action and most appeared to think that if any
were taken it would merely be in the nature of a "white-wash." The
fact that an Enquiry would be held did not, however, reduce the
"credibility gap." The chairman of the Commission was scheduled to
arrive two days after the announcement and six days were allowed for
the Commission to decide upon and announce its procedure. The first
meeting was held nine days after the public had received the first
intimation of what was proposed and interested parties were expected
to be ready. Four copies of any memorandum were required to be sub-
mitted and the cut-off date was subsequently fixed with three days
notice or fourteen days after the announcement.
The hearings opened with the Government, which had heretofore
stood firmly behind the provisions of the lease, making a complete
volte face notwithstanding the fact that the Corporation had fulfilled
its obligations. They informed the Commission in a position paper
submitted in evidence that while they did not contest the validity of
the Agreement "it was felt that several of the provisions require varia-
tion on the ground that as they stand they are not in the public
interest." Other organizations and individuals also appearing before
the Commission were more or less in support of the Government's
position, notably the Leader of the Opposition (Hon. Dr. Q. W. Osborne);
Hon. I. G. Fonseca (Leader of the People's Own Party); Hon. H. 0.
Creque, Speaker of the Legislature; Mr. R. T. O'Neal, former Administra-
tive Secretary to the Administrator and the Chief Minister; and delega-
tions from The Watchful Eye Committee of Anegada, and the Anegada
Citizens Association and the British Virgin Islanders Association in the
United States Virgin Islands.
It might be convenient to analyse the more significant points at
issue by using the Government's position paper as a frame of reference.
The Government took the position that the foreshore should not
form part of the leased area but should be "controlled by the Crown
for the benefit of the public." This stand was supported by other
evidence with certain modifications. The Anegadians asked for an
additional ninety-foot strip "from high water mark leading landward."
One witness asked that all beaches be set aside for public use up to
thirty or forty feet "except where it might be necessary to reserve
certain stretches for exclusive use of hotel guests." The British Virgin
Islanders Association put forward the view that a large percentage of
the beaches should be public, a small number being set aside to be
cannibalised for building purposes.
Government requested that these should not form a part of the
lease unless provision is made for their development and use with
Government's approval. The Anegadians adopted the Government's
position. The British Virgin Islanders Association, however, took the
position that because the ponds are breeding grounds for a type of
fish non-existent at least elsewhere in the Virgin Islands, provide nest-
ing places for a variety of birds and produce large quantities of salt,
they should not form a part of the lease, but be preserved by Govern-
ment for conservation purposes.
Land Available to Anegadians
Government considered that the area set aside for use by
Anegadians (1,095 acres) was both too small and too segregated and
recommended that they be given twenty-five per cent of the total land
area at varying points in the island to facilitate population integration.
The point that Insufficient land had been reserved and in the least
productive area of the island was made by all the witnesses. The
Anegadians wanted not less than an additional 2,000 acres for their
use. Several witnesses introduced the idea of the availability of land
for British Virgin Islanders other than Anegadians. The British Virgin
Islanders Association advocated that a substantial area should remain
unallocated for conservation purposes and subsequent determination
of its use in the light of future events.
Tax Exemption Incentives
The Government, though recognizing the need for special tax
exemptions, considered those in the Agreement as "over-generous" and
proposed the limitation to twenty-five years. The witnesses who were
members of the Legislature challenged the validity of existing tax
exemptions since tax measures cannot apply without the prior approval
of the Legislature. The system of dual taxation not only within
Anegada but within the colony as a whole was challenged by all.
The Government felt that the basic rental provisions in the Agree-
ment should stand for the first ten years and that thereafter the rent
should be increased to $75,000 a year for ten years subject to review at
each succeeding period of ten years. This was supported "as a mini-
mum figure." There was otherwise general agreement with the Govern-
ment's position except that the British Virgin Islanders Association
advocated the institution of a formula to be arrived at, based on the
principle of "fair share."
The proposed change initiated by Government from 199 to ninety-
nine years was generally supported.
The Government's position did not include the following points
raised in evidence by other witnesses:
(i) It was suggested that compensation is payable to the
Anegadians for the use of communal land and that the
time has come for the dissolution of communal rights in
the Settlement. A recommendation was made that
Government give to Anegadians grants of house plots of
one-quarter to one-half acre for the construction of homes
and businesses subject to the condition that sale or con-
veyance of such land should be only to another British
Virgin Islander. This idea was carried a step further by
another recommendation that British Virgin Islanders or
Companies having a majority interest owned by British
Virgin Islanders should have "a preemptive right to pur-
chase any sub-lease or house" when any such is offered for
sale in Anegada.
Nearly all of the witnesses raised the "monopoly" issue -
"economic slavery" and "owing of souls to the Company
(iii) The British Virgin Islanders Association and two other
witnesses specifically challenged the whole concept of
development. They were opposed either to the establish-
ment of a financial centre or "residential" development or
both since they neither wanted to see the islands
"Bahamadised" or suffer the consequences of a deliberate
attempt to establish a plural society on Anegada.
The Anegada Agreement raises a number of interesting questions.
It might first be asked Why this Corporation? Following the build-
ing of a resort hotel on Virgin Gorda by Laurence Rockefeller in 1962
(in which, incidentally, some $10,000,000 was spent in a comparatively
short time and gave the big push to the economy of the whole colony
after decades of utter stagnation) it was generally agreed that the time
had come to institute some form of development for Anegada.
Rockefeller and at least one other developer submitted schemes to the
Government for the development of Anegada. The Rockefeller scheme
was relatively simple and involved 1,400 acres which he was asked to
reduce to 700. An even lower figure was ultimately agreed upon. Simple
or not the scheme would have provided an adequate start for the tiny
population to participate in the development as had happened in Virgin
Gorda. At the end of 1966 Rockefeller was still awaiting word from the
Government which came in January 1967 in the form of a public
announcement that an option had been signed by an English Company.
A second question relates to the quantity of land involved and
the length of the lease. According to the latest Government survey
of the British Virgin Islands, Anegada consists of 9,592 acres. By the
terms of the Anegada Agreement the Crown leased to the Corporation
8,092 acres. This can be compared with other known land areas as
Virgin Gorda 5,308 acres
Jost Van Dyke 2,084
Cooper Island 342
Salt Island 201
Frenchman's Cay 136
Green Cay 15
Marina Cay 6
Total ... .... 8,092 acres
After arguing that 700 acres was too large for a single investor an
area equal to 60 per cent of the main Island of Tortola and as large as
seven of the forty-one islands together including the two next in size
after Anegada were handed over to one corporation. The unprecedented
period of 199 years ignores a simple truth that the United States of
America is not yet two hundred years old and if Washington could
return he would immediately drop dead again when he saw the develop-
ment that had taken place in the nation he helped to found.
A third question is Why the haste and relative secrecy in which
the negotiations took place? It was submitted in evidence that a sub-
stantial part of the negotiations took place among the Administrator,
the Financial Secretary and a representative of the Corporation (three
Englishmen), with "not one elected representative of the British Virgin
Islands and not even the elected representative of the people of
Anegada." It was further revealed that when eventually the agreement
was made available to members of the Legislature they were given less
than forty-eight hours to study it, which left little or no time for con-
sultation. One legislator asserted that this amounted to "duress
tactics." It seems clear that the Agreement was accepted with grave
uncertainty and that the "influence and pressure which the presence
and views of the Administrator exert in one way or another are signi-
ficant factors which cannot be underrated." The net results put the
Anegadians on a "reservation" on the periphery of which an airport
has been built (one hears talk of expansion and of jumbo jets) and
where the construction of a light industrial complex is envisaged,
deprived of rights they enjoyed since 1838 and with no concern about
their eventual future.
All this might be explained by the fact that the Administrator-
Martin Staveley was, if not anti-American, ethnocentrically British
and perhaps the only Administrator who appeared to have precon-
ceived notions about the future of the "British" Virgin Islands. Other
British residents, too, were strongly in favour of at least minimizing
American influence in a country that had virtually been carried in one
way or another by Americans for fifty years and about which the
British had done little or nothing for three centuries.
What is more difficult to explain, however, is the concept of develop-
ment both expressed and implied in the Agreement which is more in
the nature of transmogrification than development of Anegada. The
concept is set out in terms reminiscent of the first grant of the island
to the Earl of Carlysle; a concept which Baltimore and Penn success-
fully used on the primitive tribes of America an attempt to apply
in the reign of Elizabeth II a concept more applicable to the reign of
Even the Managing Director of the Corporation, Mr. Kenneth Bates
(who admits to writing the document), must have known that not only
the imprecision of the language (for example "a suitable jetty,"
"medium-sized cargo boats," and "premiums actually received") would
sooner or later require interpretation when cultural and ethnic clash
is the spirit of the age. But even more amazing is the blatant attempt
to establish a "state within a state."
Native backs have been well and truly put up. In the survey already
referred to 85% of the respondents believed that Anegada would
benefit little from the projected plans; 56% were opposed to the presence
of even 6,000 English settlers (20,000 is the figure said to be required
for a viable scheme) and 94% felt that the lease should be re-negotiated.
The consensus, drawn from the survey and the evidence given (exclud-
ing the Government's position), appears to be that Anegada should
concentrate on the tourist (as distinct from the "resident" in any
form). Attention has been drawn to the fraction of neighboring
Virgin Gorda utilized by the Rockefeller interests and the degree of
real progress that it has brought to a much larger population and the
contribution of the six acres of Marine Cay has been cited; that in-
depth ecological and environmental studies (on an even larger scale
than was attempted in Virgin Gorda) are belated but necessary pre-
liminaries to any development program (the reef system, the salt
pond ecology, ground water, marine archeology, land use, the future
of the rare Cyclura pinguis to mention only a few sectors); and that
planning should be much more constructive than it now appears to be
since Anegada has a distinctive contribution to make to the whole
Virgin Islands tourist complex.
As put to the Commission by one witness, the equation is clear and
simple: "Is this the place where we finally decide the sort of develop-
ment which in the name of progress makes things quite different, but
never really any better and usually worse than we could have believed?"
In the final analysis, regardless of the findings of the Commission, this
is a matter for political determination. And the people of the British
Virgin Islands appear bent on making the decision.
Agreement No. 3 relating to the island of Anegada (with exceptions) in the Colony
of the British Virgin Islands, dated 20 January, 1969.
2. Anegada (Prospectus published by the Development Corporation of Anegada, 1969).
3. Anegada Ordinance, 1885 (No. 13 of 1885).
4. Anegada Ordinance, 1961 (Revised Laws of the Virgin Islands, Cap. 146).
5. Despatch from President, Virgin Islands to Governor, Leeward Islands, dated
Tortola, March 23, 1858.
6. Island Sun (British Virgin Islands).
7. Memoranda submitted to the Commission of Enquiry, Sept. 18-26, 1969.
8. Meyerhoff, Howard A. "Geology of the Virgin Islands," Scientific Survey of Puerto
Rico and the Virgin Islands. New York: New York Academy of Sciences, 1927.
9. Schomburgh, R. H. "Remarks on Anegada," Royal Geographical Society Journal.
Vol. 2., 1832.
10. Verrill, A. Hyatt. In The Wake of the Buccaneers. New York: Century Co., 1923.
THE TEACHING OF
IN THE CARIBBEAN
From a paper prepared for the First Regional Meeting, Caribbean
Division, International Studies Association, held at the San Juan
Campus of the Inter-American University, Puerto Rico, May 17th 1969.
1. General Remarks on the Teaching of International Relations
The term "International Relations" is sometimes used as a synonym
of "International Politics." Courses on this topic are often taught as
part of the requirements for a first degree in government or political
science. More frequently, however, the term is used to designate a
multi-disciplinary field of study covering international law, inter-
national economic relations, international institutions and a number of
supplementary topics, in addition to international politics.
Among the academic institutions which have adopted the wider
concept of International Relations, some have chosen to elevate the
discipline to the status of a full-scale field of study with a three-to
four-year program at the undergraduate level. Others introduce a
shorter program at the graduate level for students holding a first degree
in law, history or any of the social sciences.
The major reason for adopting the second formula lies in the
limited educational value of a multi-disciplinary field of study, a
characteristic which International Relations shares with political
science, area studies, business management and public administration.
While, for example, law, economics or history are excellent media for
intellectual education, the multi-disciplinary fields of study lack the
integrative theoretical framework and the highly perfected scientific
methods needed for strictly educational purposes. The teaching of
multi-disciplinary fields of study must therefore be geared to students
whose minds have already been conditioned by the scientific rigor
which characterizes the basic disciplines.
These considerations do not imply that the teaching of Inter-
national Relations can only be of an informative and career-oriented
nature. The graduate students enrolled in a one-year or two-year
program in International Relations will find that the specialists who
teach the various subfields apply the theoretical concepts and scientific
methods proper to their own discipline. Because they are at the
graduate level, they can actually benefit from being exposed to a
variety of approaches.
A further reason for teaching International Relations at the
graduate level lies in the advantages arising from the creation of a
specialized institution separate from the traditional departments. In
most cases where International Relations is offered at the under-
graduate level, the student enrolls in one department (e.g. Government)
and takes classes in two or three other departments (e.g. Economics,
History, Law). He often finds little guidance in his particular interests
from staff scattered over a wide area of the University and has difficul-
ties in finding material for his research work in either a central or
departmental library. The Graduate Institute brings under one roof
various specialists who are aware of the particular situation of students
working simultaneously in different disciplines. Only through this
approach is it possible to achieve the transition from the multi-
disciplinary concept of International Relations to the inter-disciplinary
concept, in which the various specialists analyse certain phenomena
jointly, thus enabling the student to obtain a global comprehension of
international events (e.g. a joint seminar given by a lawyer and an
economist on regional integration).
2. Inventory of Programs and Institutions in the Caribbean
Differences in the approach to the teaching of International Rela-
tions have led to a wide variety of programs and institutions in the
Caribbean. When including schools of an admittedly career-oriented
nature, one may categorize the presently existing programs into five
1. Separate courses in international politics, international
economics and international law, offered by different Uni-
versity departments at the undergraduate level, but which,
when grouped together, may by recognized as a field of
specialization for the B.A. (Government) or the B.Sc.
(Economics). Examples: University of Puerto Rico, Uni-
versity of the West Indies (Jamaica).
2. A school of diplomatic training under government control
offering a course of three to four years duration and pre-
paring directly for the diplomatic career. Example: Escuela
de Diplomacia de Guatemala (1966), transformed into a
Central American Institute of International Relations in
3. A diplomatic section in a school of public administration
aiming particularly at the preparation of civil servants for
the diplomatic career. Examples: Escuela Superior de
Administration Publica, Colombia (1958).
4. A university department, independent or attached to a
political science department, leading to a degree (B.A.,
Licence, Licencia) with a course of study of three to four
years. Examples: Ecole Nationale des Hautes Etudes
internationales, State University of Haiti (1958); Centro de
Estudios Internacionales attached to the College of Mexico
(1961); Escuela de Estudios Internacionales, Central Uni-
versity of Venezuela (1961); Instituto de Estudios Diplo-
maticos e Internacionales, University Foundation of Bogota,
Jorge Tadeo Lozano (1963); Escuela Nacional de Ciencias
Politicas y Sociales, National Autonous University of Mexico
(1964); Escuela de Servicios Internacionales, National Uni-
versity Pedro Henriquez Urena, Dominican Republic (1966).
5. A post-graduate university institute, preparing graduates of
various academic disciplines for an M.A. degree or a special
diploma. Example: Institute of International Relations,
University of the West Indies, Trinidad (1966).
3. The Aims of the Institute of International Relations at U.W-I.,
Working at a post-graduate level for the reasons set out in section
1, the Institute of International Relations pursues four major aims: to
achieve internationally respectable academic standards; to adapt its
programs to the social and geographic context in which it operates; to
fulfill a number of immediate needs in the community at large; and
to place special emphasis on research.
a) Achievement of Academic Standards
It is for others to judge whether the Institute achieves the academic
standards to which it aspires. It may suffice to say here that academic
standards are not primarily determined by the content of the program,
but by the quality of teaching staff. The identity of the program with
that of recognized institutions in the older countries is not in itself a
sign of quality. To demonstrate the need for a new approach to the
formulation of programs and syllabuses, a word must be said on the
other three aims of the Institute.
b) Adaptation to Social and Geographical Context
The desire to attain academic respectability has not led the Institute
to merely mimic the institutions in Europe and North America which
may serve as an example. The staff of the Institute are fully aware
that they have to play a particular role in the context of an area com-
posed of newly independent states and dependent territories whose main
preoccupations lie in the field of economic development.
The particular needs of the newly independent states were taken
into account when formulating the syllabus of the Institute. Approxi-
mately fifteen per cent of the available time is devoted to diplomatic
practice and procedure (Organization of the foreign service, drafting of
diplomatic documents, principles and practice of negotiation, simulation
exercises, visits to Embassies and Consulates, etc.) The Institute dis-
regarded criticism levelled at it by some University staff members
according to whom the importance attached to concrete and practical
matters arising in the daily life of government officials gave the course
a career-orientation which is incompatible with an academic program.
In reality, the relative weight of strictly academic and more practical
topics is such that it enables the Institute to further considerably the
intellectual development of the students, while at the same time pre-
paring them for a useful role in the society. Actually, of the twenty-
five students who were successful in their examinations during the first
two years, only two were foreign service officers upon entering the In-
stitute and only seven joined the service after graduation. The others
were able to use both the theoretical and practical training received to
find employment with such different institutions as the Ministries of
Planning and Development, Communications, Finance, Education, the
Attorney General's Chambers, the Central Bank and the Industrial
Development Corporation. Some of the secondary school teachers who
returned to their schools after taking the course pointed out that the
methodological rigor applied by most Institute lecturers helped them
in becoming better teachers in their own fields.
The particular needs of economically developing states are also
reflected in the syllabus in that thirty per cent of the available time is
devoted to international economic relations. This includes a special
course entitled the "Diplomacy of Development," not to be found in
the syllabus of most other institutions of the kind, dealing with the
legal, political and economic aspects of foreign aid and private foreign
investment in developing countries. Most of the visiting lecturers are
economists with a specialization in the developing areas.
The Institute's program reflects the geographical context in re-
serving twenty per cent of the time to International Relations in the
Caribbean and Latin America and to the Inter-American System. A
two-month Seminar on the "Foreign Policies of Caribbean States," with
special emphasis on regional economic integration in the Caribbean
and Latin America, was held in 1968 and underlines the importance
attached to the analysis of regional problems.
The syllabus which has evolved as a result of the foregoing con-
siderations reflects the following order of priorities:
1. International economic relations, comprising the study of
international trade, international capital movements and the
diplomacy of development;
2. International history and politics, with an emphasis on
recent crises and the international position of new states;
3. Diplomatic practice and procedure (as outlined on p. 4);
4. International law;
5. International institutions;
6. Area studies, in particular the foreign policy of regional
states, regional co-operation and integration etc.;
7. Theory of International Relations.
Some may be surprised to see the limited importance attributed to
international law and, even more clearly, to the theory of international
relations. With regard to law, the acquaintance with basic principles
will suffice to enable the graduate to handle routine matters. When
more complex legal questions arise, the diplomat or civil servant must,
at any rate, refer to specialized government agencies (legal service of
the Ministry of External Affairs, Attorney General's Chambers, Ministry
of Justice) or to a local lawyer. With regard to the theory of inter-
national relations, which holds an important place in the programs
of a number of American and European Universities, its value is at
present strictly academic and its utility is limited to the impetus it
may give to research. Certainly, a conceptual framework of a theo-
retical nature is indispensable for the teaching of international history
and politics. Such a framework has, however, not yet been developed
to cover a full multi-disciplinary program in international relations. *
These considerations will undoubtedly stir up protest against what
might appear as an all too utilitarian concept of academic teaching and
the abandonment of intellectual education for vocational training. This
is where we must return to the arguments initially presented in favor
of the post-graduate formula of international relations teaching: it is
precisely because of the absence of a theoretical framework and of a
scientific method applicable to the entire field of international relations
that this discipline must be taught at the graduate level, to economists,
lawyers and historians who are already fully educated by means of the
basic disciplines. If, on the contrary, the teaching of international
relations takes place at the undergraduate level in a course of study
stretching over a period of three to four years, international law and
theory are of primary importance, because their high degree of abstrac-
tion give them special educational value.
c) Fulfillment of Immediate Needs of the Community
Apart from affecting its regular teaching activities, the environ-
ment in which the Institute operates also has an impact on the way
in which it conceives of its role in a larger community. Most of the
activities belonging to this category would not normally be undertaken
* For the difficulties encountered by theoreticians in the elaboration of such a frame-
work applicable to teaching, see the contributions by Quincy Wright, Kenneth
Thompson, Williams Fox and Hans Morgenthau, in Horace Harrison (Ed.), The Role
of Theory in International Relations (Princeton: Van Norstrand, 1964).
by similar institutions in Europe and North America, and yet there is
no reason why they should be considered incompatible with the other
goals pursued by the Institute.
In order to contribute to a better understanding of world affairs
In Trinidad, the Institute embarks on the following activities: extra-
mural courses in Port-of-Spain and San Fernando; a weekend Seminar
at the Labour College; lecture series at various Community Centres
throughout the country; preparation of "delegates" to an annual Model
United Nations General Assembly through a series of lectures in the
major secondary schools; frequent talks to various professional bodies;
special scholarships for journalists; public evening lectures on campus;
opening of library to external readers, including one or two evenings
Considering the regional character of the University and of the
Institute, some thought has been given to the possibility of extending
these activities to other Caribbean territories. As a first step, a two
week course for government officials from Jamaica and Belize was
held at the campus of the University of the West Indies at Mona in
June 1968. The purpose of the course was to cover procedural and
organizational aspects of foreign relations. In 1969, a series of three-
day workshops on current issues were held in the Caribbean territories
of St. Kitts (including Nevis), Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent.
In order to make its own contribution to bridging the gap between
the English and French-speaking Caribbean, a two-week course on
"International Relations in the Caribbean," conducted entirely in
French, was held at the Institute in April, 1969. It was attended by
25 participants from Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique and St. Martin.
The emphasis placed on research is explained by the fact that the
staff of the Institute must remain internationally competitive through
their publications, that the Institute must take advantage of its geo-
graphic location and that research is n precondition of a good teaching
program because it directly nourishes the courses dealing with the
Caribbean area and helps the specialists in the other fields to de-
emphasize the European and North American slant of most textbooks.
The Institute is not opposed to carrying out policy-oriented research
for the governments of the region. It would, however, resist govern-
ment pressure to reach certain conclusions and present them as
academic findings. As a branch of the University, the Institute
attempts to further genuine academic endeavors despite occasional
interference from foreign interest groups, intelligence agents, Founda-
tions and pseudo-academics. To adopt such a position is of vital
importance in an area where the existence of important natural
resources stirs the competitive spirit of powerful foreign business con-
cerns and where, furthermore, all major powers of the world continue
to have, or begin to acquire, strategic interests. For academic institu-
tions to weaken in the face of such pressures is tantamount to failing
to make a real contribution in the emerging Caribbean states. In
particular, the specialist in international relations must retain his in-
dependence and refrain from descending in the arena where national
and sectional interests are confronted.
(O.R.) AND THE WEST
INDIAN SUGAR INDUSTRY
(From a lecture delivered to the Jamaica Association of Sugar
Technologists (Management Accounting Section) at the
Courtleigh Manor Hotel on Friday, October 17, 1969.)
My interest in O. R. began while I was on the staff of the Booker
Group of Companies in Guyana and the circumstances under which
this interest developed is relevant. I was working in what they called
a "Work Study Unit" which was set up under the Central Services of
Bookers in Guyana which meant that we were concerned not only
with sugar but with shops and sugar estates, to quote the then Chair-
man, Sir Jock Campbell. I found the concentration of Work Study
on the labour productivity aspect of the industry rather intellectually
stultifying. I could not understand then, largely because I did not
know enough economics or 0. R. at the time, why we should have been
concentrating so much on labour productivity in a situation where we
were operating in a labour surplus economy. It was in trying to
resolve this paradox that I decided that I needed to acquire some
theoretical tools which could better help me to understand what was
I give now the more important limitations and assumptions of my
discussion. First of all, I shall accept the industry as valid for these
economies. This makes it easier for me to mobilize the kinds of tech-
niques I shall be talking about, although at the end I shall raise the
wider issue of diversification and national resource allocation.
Secondly, I shall accept as given the present ownership structure.
I shall also take the present market mix of N.P.Q., U.S. quota and
Canadian preference as given. This will leave me free to concern my-
self mainly although not exclusively with cost minimization techniques,
i.e. operational decisions taken with a given market and given set of
productive resources fixed, but again at the end I shall indicate briefly
how a wider approach at a higher level can be mobilized.
Finally, I point out that O. R. is no panacea for an industry which
may not have a validity in the new situation of a diversified economy
with changing price structures, rising expectations etc. The sugar in-
dustry in the Caribbean is a very old one and it has had many ups and
downs over the last 300 years and no single analytical tool, no matter
how modern or no matter how revolutionary, can really solve forever
(which is what a panacea is about) the structural problems of any
The Sugar Industry in the West Indies:
From an early 18th century peak followed by stagnation and
decline to the turn of the 20th century, the industry was revived mainly
from 1940 onwards with growth rates which can be described at certain
points as fantastic. Most of the post war growth of West Indian sugar
is due to the growth of the Jamaican industry. In 1940 Guyana was
the largest West Indian producer of sugar. Jamaica overtook Guyana
in 1943 and has since recorded the highest growth rate until the mid-
sixties, after which a decline was recorded in Jamaica. Of course.
Guyana after set backs in the early sixties is back on a high growth
rate and this year (1969) will have produced more sugar than Jamaica.
The most important thing about sugar in the post-war period,
which is my main concern here, is that no overall economic study has
been done of this phase. In 1964 George Abbott, 3 an economist, did
some projections to 1975 of the expected production levels then, and
Ruebens in Guyana studying the labour stabilization and labour dis-
placement that was taking place in the fifties, are the only two studies
I know of, which have any close bearing on the economic analysis
required of the industry in this high growth period.
This is not to say that there have not been many Commissions of
Enquiry. The latest in Jamaica is the one popularly known as the
Mordecai Commission. 4 In Guyana there was one published in 1968
and knowns as the Persand Commission. 5 There is one in Trinidad
which is supposed to have been sitting for two years now but which
has gone into limbo because the Commissioners are dissatisfied with
the level of fees they were being paid.
Havelock Brewster in the Symposium on Sugar which the New
World Group launched in Jamaica in 1968, 13 was in my opinion, try-
ing to argi e exactly this point i.e. that these Commissions of Enquiry
are not a substitute for a proper economic analysis. On re-reading
the Mordecai Commission Report for this lecture I found the kinds of
economic analysis presented very frustrating. For example, the Report
could not offer a rational explanation as to why it appears that farmers'
cane is cheaper than estates cane when a priori reasoning led one to
expect the opposite. A lot of the accounting data presented in the
published version, which is the only version to which I had access, 11
was found to be very loose, with the accounts not presented in a form
which could lead to a proper economic analysis of the industry. Thus
welfare analysis such as the correct division of the industry's benefits
between Manufacturers, Estates and Cane Farmers could not reason-
ably be discussed with the kind of information provided.
The second important attribute is the ownership structure which
seriously determines resource allocation. For example, in Guyana the
industry is almost entirely owned by two multi-national corporations,
Bookers and the Demerara Company, and farmers' production of cane
represents about 1 or 2% of the total production. Compare this with
Jamaica where slightly over 50% of the cane produced is by cane
farmers and where the factories are owned both by multi-national
corporations and by local residents. One would expect, therefore, that
Jamaica's industry would have a much quicker reaction to changing
factor prices than Guyana since the vertically integrated multi-national
companies control a smaller proportion of the industry there.
The third point is about the economic environment in the West
Indies in this period. Despite the very high growth rates of sugar, the
economies of these islands have changed drastically. Diversification
and very high levels of overall growth especially in Jamaica, Trinidad,
Barbados and to a less extent Guyana, have resulted in the reduced
importance of sugar as both a foreign exchange earner and an employer
of labour. Further, the industry has itself reduced its importance as
an employer by its own adjustments to changing factor prices through
mechanization, labour stabilization etc. Sugar is certainly no longer
as important a foreign exchange earner as for example tourism, bauxite
and increasingly through import substitution, manufacturing. The
embryonic manufacturing sector is coming to be a major earner of
foreign exchange in the sense that a dollar saved in import substitu-
tion is a dollar earned in exports, so that even though most of the
manufacturing has been very "final-touch" i.e. with a high import con-
tent, it has saved some foreign exchange and has contributed to the
balance of payments.
History of Operations Research:
Operations Research as a discipline, 1 and as a science, really start-
ed during the second World War in Britain where a team of mainly
physical scientists and to a lesser extent statisticians, were mobilized
to enable the military complex to make what was considered to be
more efficient decisions. I give two examples of this mobilization to
illustrate how the discipline emerged.
One problem the Allies had was moving ships across the North
Atlantic with supplies to Britain. The military ships which were used
to protect the freighters were limitedly available so that one had to
build up a convoy in order that a given number of military vessels can
take across a higher number of cargo vessels. To build up such a con-
voy, some freighters had to be kept waiting and thus not fully utilised.
On the other hand, by building up a bigger convoy one achieved greater
productivity from the military ships. Thus there was a trade-off
between the higher productivity of the military ships to protect the
convoy, against the lost time of keeping the cargo vessels waiting to
join the convoy. There were other constraints, such as the convoy
could move forward only at the speed of the slowest ship, which had to
be analysed before the best size and composition of a convoy to be
taken across the North Atlantic at any given time could be calculated.
A second example is the problem of location of the radar stations
which became technically feasible at the beginning of the war. A
limited number of radar units were coming off the production lines and
the whole of the Southern England coast-line had to be protected. The
problem was to find the optimal position of each of these stations which
would give the maximum screening of invading German aircraft.
These two examples already give an indication of the kinds of
problems which the operations analyst, as the professional is called,
has had to handle in the new environment, the commercial under-
taking. The discipline was given a further boost by the solution of the
linear programming problem by George Dantzig in the United States
in 1947. The linear programming problem is a relatively simple
mathematical problem involving the maximization of a linear function
of several variables which are constrained from holding certain values,
e.g. the sum of the particular choice variables cannot be greater than
a given amount, usually of some scarce resource.
Even though the solution was available in 1947 the practical
applications of this mathematical problem were not possible until the
wider availability of electronic computers a few years later. Through-
out the fifties and increasingly in the latter half, commercial establish-
ments were adopting the use of electronic computers, not for O. R. -
in fact the discipline was not that organised, but mainly because the
machines were fast information processors which increased the pro-
ductivity of labour for low level accounting operations.
With the greater use of electronic computers and their facility for
handling great masses of numerical information very accurately and
very quickly, the mathematicians had to get to work on techniques
which could mobilize this kind of tool in a more productive manner
than just for churning out large volumes of data. Thus it was really
under the stress of the need for greater mathematical sophistication in
dealing with these machines that the techniques of O. R. really got
researched into and formulated. The first text book on O. R. was
written around 1956, by Churchman, Ackoff and Arnoff. The text given
in the bibliography 2 is a more recent one, and there have been many
The first area of techniques I draw your attention to, therefore, is
the linear programming problem and generalisations of it which make
it more practical. For example, most real world problems are not
linear. Economies of scale which occur in almost all areas of produc-
tion, are in fact deviations from linearity. For every extra unit of
output, the unit of cost of production is decreased, so that total costs
are not increased proportionately with output. The mathematicians
have had to do some further work to develop non-linear techniques to
deal with this problem. This field is called mathematical programming.
A second area of techniques are inventory models which analyse
the optimal level of stock of the different items which a firm holds,
and determines the rules which govern that level. To hold inventory
has a cost, to order new stock incurs another cost and to be out of
stock has yet another. The analysis of this class of models is directed
towards finding the balance of all these costs and the ordering rules
which are attached to that balance.
A third kind of model developed so far has been the replacement
model* What is the optimal time to replace a machine or part which
has been in use for a specified period. A good brief example is the
replacement of light bulbs in a large building. Each light bulb has an
expected life of a given number of hours. There comes the time where
it might be cheaper to replace all the light bulbs simultaneously than
to replace each lightbulb as it blows.
The final technique I mention here are simulation models. This is
where the analyst does not really have the answer to the problem but
he tries to represent the working of the system in a computer, and by
changing the different variables in a systematic way and observing the
effects he can gain an understanding of how the system works and
thus enable changes to be compared and evaluated. This is the
simplest brief explanation I can find for what is a vary complex area
This is of course not a complete list. A full enumeration can
good in any of the textbooks to which I have referred.
O.R. as a Management Tool:
First of all, the kinds of human resources O. R. mobilizes are
heavily multi-disciplinary. The emphasis in the analysis of a particular
problem is on mobilizing the disciplines that are of relevance to that
particular study. Thus if one were analysing, say, the optimal fertilizer
application to a set of fields of sugarcane, an agronomist would be a
definite asset to the team which may also possibly include a statistician
as well as the operations analyst. The team could get quite large
depending on the complexity and size of the problem.
Next, the level of reporting of an 0. R. team in management to the
hierarchy of decision making in a firm is usually as high as the Manage-
ment Accountants, that is almost directly to the Board or to the Man-
aging Director. This is largely because of the very broad view that is
mobilized in any particular problem solving which in turn is required
by the major gains from scale in O. R. analysis.
And lastly, a major rationale for 0. R. in management is because
management is about making decisions which have to be made in a
given period of time about a particular technology, a particular level
of production, a particular mix of production etc. Thus O. R. must
mobilize all the information available for a decision to be made at a
given time. It is about decision making. It is not about theoretical
structures even though the techniques that it mobilizes are theoretical
in content. The applications are about decision-making. The practical
consideration is that the decision cannot wait until the best decision is
possible. This is the life blood of O. R. As long as the decision made
possible by O. R. is better than one which would have been made by
intuitive means, then Its use is justified in some sense. This is of
course sometimes difficult to prove until after the fact.
O.R.'s Potential Contribution to the Sugar Industry:
First of all, on examing the journals published in the industry one
finds very few applications of O.R. The applications in most of the
computer oriented papers (see footnote) are the usual data-process-
ing operations on pay-rolls, plant records etc. Occasionally, there is a
paper which searches for ways of using the machine for other than
just churning out the accounts at the end of each month. The paper
by Ashley 12 is such an attempt, although it is couched in very general
The other quality which stands out is the heavy content of
agronomy in most of the publications concerned directly with sugar. I
know there are good reasons for this because of course the major cost
in the production of sugar is in the field, not in the factory. But there
is very little work in the literature at the broader level of what can be
called management or operations analysis. The Mordecai Commission
commented on the dearth of any research on the factory side, and in
general, on technology as opposed to agronomy in the industry.
I will now indicate briefly those problem areas which are parti-
cularly interesting-field mechanization, stabilization of the labour
force, raising its productivity and wage rates to withstand the com-
petition of other activities (e.g. tourism, import substitution agriculture
such as beef, dairying), greater land productivity, especially in Jamaica
where the land in sugar appears to have reached a point of over-
The general principle which guides my suggestions below is that as
sophisticated technology in the form of expensive capital equipment
comes to dominate the production mode, the viability and contribution
of O.R. is much more easily proved. To take an extreme case from the
air transport industry, some of the most complex scheduling techniques
are used to obtain a few extra minutes per day from multi-million
The particular applications I suggest are as follows:
Operations Research on the Manufacturing Side:
(1) Optimal replacement of machinery, equipment, and parts -
working out what is the best time to throw away a piece of
(2) Inventory analysis of spare parts storage.
(3) Statistical analysis of the variables in the sugar factory
for optimal control a sugar factory is a chemical process
in which certain variables e.g. polandbrix of juice at certain
critical points can be studied and used to control in an
efficient way the whole process.
(4) Analysis of plant down time, the reasons for out of cane
stoppages, poor maintenance practices, mobilising all the
plant records in the different factories to understand what
are the major variables causing plant down time.
(5) Transport of sugar to loading points the Mordecai Com-
mission pointed out the increasing levels of transport cost
on the manufacturing side.
Operations Research on the Field Side:
(1) Scheduling of cutting of fields for optimal sucrose content
and optimal equipment utilisation the balance between
early harvesting of cane with a lower sucrose content in
order to get better utilisation of the factory as against the
limited time available for processing the whole crop. All
the fields cannot be processed at their maximum sucrose
(2) Optimal scheduling and maintenance of harvestors, tractors
etc., as the harvesting is mechanised, it will become more
like an industrial operation in which very expensive pieces
of equipment which have to be moved from one set of fields
to another at the same time being kept in maximum avail-
(3) Optimal transport schedules of cane to factory centralisa-
tion of factories will increase transport costs on this side
as well. The Mordecai Commission pointed out the very
heavy cost of transport on the farmer's side because they
tend to be on periphery of the area served by any single
factory. This problem will also become more acute with
centralisation of factories.
(4) Optimal point of replanting a field in the course of the
preparation for this lecture, Mr. Tom Chinloy pointed out
that himself and Mr. Shaw are now working on a paper
which attempts to answer this very question viz., at what
point does it pay to stop the ratoons and plough the field
in? This is a function of many variables some deter-
ministic, some probabilistic. A stochastic model would be
(5) Optimal use of water in the course of preparation for
this lecture. I spoke to Bill Rawlings who has been build-
ing a model of the Monymusk Estate to look at the best
use of water there where water availability is a major con-
straint. One of the points which will emerge is whether
it might not be better to take some lands out of production
and make better use of the remaining land with the water
Institutional Arrangements for Mobilising O.R. in the Jamaica Industry:
I think my own position is very similar to the Mordecai Commission
analysis of the relationship of the Research Department of the Sugar
Manufacturers Association to the industry. By this I mean that the
best way this discipline could be mobilized is through an O.R. unit set
set up and attached to the Sugar Manufacturers Association Research
Department at Mandeville to serve the whole industry in Jamaica. The
similarity to Mordecai lies in its recommendation that the Research
Department be made to serve not only the estates but also the cane
I have three main reasons for this position. Firstly, because many
of the applications of these techniques require the scale of the entire
industry to yield maximum benefit. Secondly, there is the need for
the destruction of the dichotomy in the industry between estates and
cane farmers especially at the research level. When cane farmers are
producing more than 50% of the cane in the industry, it is wastefull
to fragment across the industry the scarce research resources which
are available. And thirdly, there is the need for doing industry-wide
studies on diversification.
This is of course not the only way of mobilizing O.R. In fact one
finds that in most cases where O.R. is introduced into an industry, it
comes first through the persons of consultants whose expensive expertise
is bought on an ad hoc basis from outside the firm. I am against this
because I think that the sugar industry has enough talent within it to
enable it to retrain some of its bright young middle management people
to apply the techniques of the discipline.
To develop the point, since the setting up of an O.R. unit is not
something you will rush out and do immediately the end of this lecture,
I suggest you take the long view, send some bright chaps off to learn
the skills with the solutions to two or three particular problems in mind.
Put them to work close to the Research Department and with access to
the highest levels of information in the management hierarchy. Their
knowledge of the sugar industry, together with their newly equipped
tool kit should provide a formidable management weapon within a
short space of time.
O.R. and an Analysis of the Industry in the Wider Economic Setting:
Throughout this lecture, I have tried to confine the discussion to
what can be called the orthodox applications of O.R. techniques. In
my own research, this is not the kind of application which is of interest
to me and since it is of relevance to the industry, I want to say a few
words about my research and also some of the unorthodox applications
which could be of interest to the industry.
We have just started work at U.W.I. on a computer simulation
model of the Jamaican economy. With this model, it will be possible
for us to manipulate and change various parameters in such a way as
to represent simulated changes in the real economy. By studying the
changes and their effects, it may be possible to gain a greater insight
into how an island economy functions especially in relation to its socio-
economic group structure. A similar model for Trinidad and perhaps
one or two of the other territories will eventually be formulated.
I want to suggest three possible applications of O.R. to the industry
in its wider economic setting. The first is an analysis of optimal land
use. There is an excellent linear programming model of the U.S. wheat
belt built by Earl 0. Heady at Iowa State University, to see which land
areas should be taken out of wheat when that commodity was in over-
supply in the U.S. a few years back. Similarities to sugar and the
West Indies are obvious.
The second is a study of optimal resource allocation at the national
and regional levels. In other words this would be a generalisation of
the first application in so far as we would now be concerned not only
with land but with labour, capital, foreign exchange, etc. I think the
sugar industry should be interested in the question of the efficiency of
resource use in these islands since it is itself one of the major users
of the islands' resources.
And finally I would like to suggest a study of the optimal growth
path of the economy over time. The West Indian economy is changing
and it can do so in many directions. It can, for example, be allowed
to absorb much more of the tourist industry, or it can be allowed to
move towards further processing of its raw materials-petroleum,
bauxite etc. It can be allowed to change its agriculture structure more
towards import substitution. Since all of these things will be com-
peting for the scarce resources-land, capital and even labour (if the
economy really got going) the question must arise as to what is the
optimal mix of industries which will make the best use of resources
over given points in time a mix for 1960 may well be sub-optimal In
1970 or 1980. I know for certain that the tourist industry is one which
has to be watched very carefully for the proportion of resources It
comes to command in the economy. In some of the smaller island
economies it is already almost swallowing up the entire society even
before the people or the governments have had a chance to examine
Selected & Edited Questions and Answers.
1. When you say that O.R. was not used in Sugar, are you distinguish-
ing between the cane and beet industries?
Yes, I was. I was referring to cane sugar but I would guess that
beet would be as backward in this respect.
2. What is the comparison between the import content of sugar and
The figures are not too reliable especially for the tourist industry
where it is very difficult to measure and where the people who do
the measuring are interested parties such as Tourist Boards. In
Jamaica for tourism a reliable estimate is 40%, for sugar 16%. Thus
even gross foreign exchange earnings in tourism are very much
higher than in sugar, the net earnings are roughly the same. But
tourism has a faster growth rate and will overtake sugar in the
next year or two.
3. What are the channels through which one could make use of O.R.
at the estate level?
I would suggest that an O.R. unit would be too elaborate and ex-
pensive, although this will depend on the size of the estate. A
better idea would be to equip a professional, say the accountant,
with the O.R. techniques mainly to enable him to recognize an O.R.
problem. He can then call in the central O.R. unit or an outside
consultant, if the problem is too big and/or complex for him.
4. Why should one concentrate on labour productivity when, as you
point out, there is surplus labour?
There are many reasons. The first is, of course, that a large pro-
portion of the industry's costs is labour. Secondly, even though
there is a labour surplus in the economy as a whole, in the industry
there is a labour shortage because of low wage rates, poor condi-
tions etc. which is in turn partly caused by low productivity. The
point I was making is that there appeared to be no concern at the
level of the whole economy for mobilizing the labour which was
being shed at the time.
5. Can a simulation model of the Jamaican economy tell us what will
happen if the sugar industry continues to contract?
It depends on the model. A good model should. The level of
detail of what will happen will also depend on the model. For
example, if you want to know which land will be taken out of cane,
then the model will have to be very detailed on land specifications
and ownership patterns.
Sasieni, Yaspan and Friedman, Operations Research, John Wiley.
Edward C. Pursk and John F. Chapman, New Decision Tools for Managers, Mentor
Executive Library, 1965.
3. George C. Abbott, "The West Indian Sugar Industry with some Long-Term Pro-
jections of Supply" Social & Economic Studies, Vol. 13 No. 1, March 1964.
4. Report of the Sugar Industry Enquiry Commission (1966), Jam: October, 1967
(The Mordecai Report).
Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Sugar Industry, Guyana, 1968.
(The Persand Report).
6. M. A. Jarrett, "Field Costing by Computer," The J.A.S.T. Journal, Vol. XXVI, 1965.
M. G. Pearce, "Basic Methods for Evaluating Projects" Proceedings of the Inaugural
Conference of the Sugar Technologists' Association of Trinidad and Tobago, 1967.
8. W. Phillips, "Some Considerations Connected with the Establishment of a Central
Computer for the Sugar Industry," The J.A.S.T. Journal, Vol. XXVII, 1966.
9. Panel led by H. D. Campbell, "Using a Costing System on a Sugar Estate" The
J.A.S.T. Journal, Vol. XXVII, 1967.
10. D. W. B. Wanford, "Electronic Data Processing at Prospect Estate" The J.A.S.T.
Journal, Vol. XXVIII, 1967.
11. A. McBeath, "The Accounting Aspects of the Mordecai Report" (Mimeo) 1968.
12. P. A. Ashley, "The Use of the Computer in the Sugar Industry," Proceedings of
the Second Conference of the Sugar Technologists' Association of Trinidad and
"Symposium Sugar and Change in the Caribbean," New World Quarterly, Vol. 5,
No. 1 & 2, 1969.
The East Indian Indenture in Trinidad Judith Ann Weller
Caribbean Monograph Series No. 4. Institute of Caribbean Studies,
University of Puerto Rico, 1968, pp. xxii, 172. $4.
IN RECENT YEARS both public and professional academic
interest in the system of indentured labour practised in the Caribbean
in the last century has risen markedly. Several graduate students
have sought to work on aspects of the subject, and a number of
writings have been published. Yet no satisfactory comprehensive
survey of indentured labour, either in the Caribbean as a whole or
in any single territory has yet appeared. It was with much eager-
ness therefore that one looked forward to Dr. Judith Weller's new
study of "The East Indian Indenture in Trinidad."
Despite its all-embracing title, this book is not intended as a
comprehensive analysis of the indentured system and its effects. Its
scope is more limited, being essentially a study of the legislation on
which the system was based, with some accompanying comment on
how far normal practice conformed to the position laid down by
law. Dr. Weller discusses the system of recruitment in India, the
conditions on the voyage to Trinidad and the regime under which
the indentured labourer had to live and work, speculating briefly on
the obscure question of the immigrants' personal reactions to life
in Trinidad. She devotes special attention to their general health
and the medical facilities provided on t-he estates, and to the rela-
tions between employees and labourers, which involved a constant
problem of absenteeism, symbol of various discontents, and discusses
the general features of Indian domestic life. Finally, the author
examines the conditions under which return passages were provided,
and reviews briefly the growth of opposition to the system and its
final termination in 1917, before concluding that it never quite
deserved "the senseless charge of Colonial Imperialism"
The author has relied almost entirely on materials which she
could find in Trinidad, and these do not include the greater part
of the vast correspondence on the subject which passed between the
Colonial and Imperial Governments. Neither are the local records
in themselves complete. Inevitably Dr. Weller's study bears the marks
of these gaps in her material; and she has sometimes been led by the
material available to her into what seems to be overmuch petty
detail, like the methods used to clean latrines in the Immigration
Depot. Even if one makes allowance for the difficulties of working
with a limited range of sources, the large number of inaccurate and/
or misleading statements makes it necessary to warn non-specialist
readers to treat this book with much caution.
We may however be grateful for a number of interesting and
useful addenda. There is a series of maps showing 'the location of the
principal estates on which Indian immigrants were indentured, and
the area in India from which they came; while a number of appendices
contain various statistical tables, and accounts of the rations, medical
supplies, and invalid diets prescribed by the Immigration Ordinances.
The book gets off to an inauspicious start with an introduction
which, unnecessarily, seeks to recapitulate briefly the story of the
campaign against and abolition of slavery. This introduction includes
a passage (on page xix) which clearly implies that British colonial
slave owners were paid 20M. compensation when slavery was abol-
ished, and another 20M. when Apprenticeship was terminated in
1838. It can hardly be that Dr. Weller believes that this was what
happened. But the careless literary composition which conveys this
impression is evident again on the same page when we encounter the
statement that the experimental importation of Indian coolies by
John Gladstone in 1838 "solved" the labour problem in British
Guiana. Again Dr. Weller can hardly believe her own account: that
the distribution of 396 labourers among six estates "solved" the
colony's labour problem.
The apprehensions roused by the author's introduction merely
grow deeper as the book proceeds. The carelessness already illus-
treated is repeatedly evident. Is it possible, for instance, that Dr.
Weller really does not know that there was no "Legislative Council"
in British Guiana at this time, but rather dual legislature composed
of Oourt of Policy and Combined Court? And why do we read that
"the Government took time out to establish an Orphanage School
at Tacarigua", but on a subsequent page, more accurately, that the
Orphanage was erected, and partly maintained, on the proceeds of
voluntary donations, principally from William F. Burnley. On Page 4
the proportion -of women to men required by law in 1878 is indis-
criminately described as 40:100 and as 40 per cent. We are also told
that the Protector of Emigrants at Calcutta "hired" recruiters, when
in fact he merely licensed those hired by the colony's Emigration
Agent in India.
One could go on quoting examples of such careless writing, but
the point has been sufficiently made. Apart from this problem, how-
ever, Dr. Weller indulges in statements which indicate careless use
of the sources. What, for instance, is one to make of the statement
on page 102 that "to further reduce expenses, the 1899 Ordinance
stated that only those persons who had resided in the colony for
ten years were entitled to any Government assistance in purchasing
their return passage", when in fact this situation had endured since
1854? And the statement -on page 36 that the law required 15% of the
labourers to earn an average of 6d. a day is a travesty of the facts:
that estates where 15% of the indentured labourers failed to earn
6d. were to be refused further allotments of immigrants, so that in
effect 85% were required to earn 6d. a day
There are other respects in which the author's use of sources is
unsatisfactory. The evidence taken before the Sanderson Committee
in 1909 is apparently given the same weight as the Committee's own
Report, with which indeed it is on occasion confused. She tends re-
peatedly 'to rely on single incidents or statements without endeavour-
ing to demonstrate that they were representative of general condi-
tions. It is dangerous, for instance, to suggest that managers' sons
were accustomed to put unfair and extraordinary pressure on Indian
women who caught their fancy "in situations reminiscent of slavery",
on the strength of a single case which occurred in 1913. And there
is a further problem of overgeneralization about the immigration
laws and their operation. Immigration laws and the conditions the
immigrants encountered varied from time to time. New laws indeed
were passed every few years. Yet Dr. Weller sometimes attempts -to
present a single picture of some aspect or other of the immigration
system as if a simple generalization is possible across the whole 70-
year period. Such an attempt can seldom hope to succeed, and when
it is based on a single piece of evidence taken from a particular point
in time it is almost bound to fail. The statement, for instance, 'that
June, July and August were the months when absenteeism on the
estates was most prevalent, partly because immigrants wished to
plant their own rice fields, is drawn from reports made in 1897 and
applied t: the indenture period as a whole; yet in the earliest decades
of the indenture period immigrants hardly owned sizeable rice fields,
and the number of indentured immigrants who did so can never have
been very significant.
What too is one to make of the statement on pages 98-99 that
the planters "made no effort to entice the immigrants to reinden-
ture since they could easily obtain a supply of labour without hold-
ing out inducements to the Indian"? This may have been true of
1885, the year of which the Protector of Immigrants made the
remark. It was certainly not generally true, and hardly at all of the
first two or three decades of indenture. It implies either that new
recruits were preferred two seasoned immigrants, which was not the
case, or that free labour was easily available, which was certainly
not generally true throughout the period. A generalized account of
conditions on board ship is drawn overwhelmingly from the 1883
Indian Emigration Act, without attempting to compare it with
earlier legislation. And too much generalization about the conditions
under which immigrants lived and worked is based simply on the
report made to the Indian Government in 1891 by Major D. W. D.
Comins. Further, when the author makes use of secondary materials
she does not always choose the most reliable even among those avail-
able to her. Her account of John Gladstone's "Coolie Experiment" is
apparently based on the works of Peter Ruhomon and Dwarka Nath
and takes no account of the later, and more scholarly account pro-
vided by Mary Cumpston, although this work is mentioned in the
Bibliography. Adequate attention to it would have helped to produce
a less inaccurate picture of this episode and averted the strange state-
ment that the report of a Commission of Inquiry on the Gladstone
Coolies was "very unfavourable" when in fact these words can be
applied only to two of the six estates concerned.
Dr. Weller is much too carefree in her use of the phrase "the
British" When she speaks of "the British" employing indentured
Indians, does she exclude the many employers of non-British ex-
traction? Or those born in Trinidad rather than in Britain? One
suspects .that she means simply "the planters" In other contexts
"the British" clearly means the Colonial Office.
Although, as Dr. Weller points out, little is known about the
personal motivations of the emigrants from India, at a general level
several factors operated. In money terms wages in the West Indies
were always much higher than in India, and the possibility of return-
ing to India with substantial savings after a period in the West Indies
was soon shown to be very real. Some saw in emigration a means of
avoiding social penalties for non-conformity. But there is little doubt
that easily the most important general factor impelling Indians to
leave their country was economic hardship, in particular, food scarcity.
The correlation between food shortage and easy recruiting, good
harvest and shortage of emigrants, is abundantly clear. In these pages
however the pre-eminence of this factor is obscured, and it does not
seem to be appreciated that in the later years of indentured immigra-
tion the return to India of persons who had saved significant sums
while in Trinidad was an important factor in inspiring new emigrants.
Pointing out that the indenture system suffered from growing
pains, Dr. Weller maintains that in 1848 emigration from India to the
West Indies was halted, "because of the improper administration not
only of recruiting in India, but of the care of 'the coolies upon their
arrival in the Colonies." It is true that the system of recruiting
sometimes involved serious abuses, ar.d though it improved with time
it was never possible wholly to eliminate the risk that people might be
intimidated or deceived into embarking for Trinidad. It is also true
that a reasonably successful means of ensuring adequate care for the
coolies on the estates took some time to emerge. In 1848 the picture
on both counts was certainly unsatisfactory. But neither was an
important factor in the suspension of emigration in 1848, which was
ordered because the colonies, faced with severe economic depression
following the decision to abolish Imperial protective duties on sugar,
were unable to continue shouldering the cost of importing indentured
labour at something like 15 a head. The decision was also influenced
by Lord Harris' conviction that the immigrants imported so far had
not brought advantages sufficiently great to justify the expenditure
During the voyage from India, which normally took about three
months, the death rate was often very high until better preventive
measures were devised around the 1870's. This mortality was 'the
result of disease, accentuated by conditions on board ship and by the
fact 'that emigrants were often in imperfect physical condition when
they embarked as a result of that very food shortage which so often
led them to emigrate. Yet it is gross exaggeration to say that "only
the very strong and healthy survived" the voyage when by the 1870's
the mortality rate was normally less than 3%. Dr. Weller shows
that the British and Indian Governments put much effort into the
campaign to reduce the mortality rate and provide safeguards for the
interests of the emigrant passengers, but she does not put adequate
emphasis on the difficulty of combating disease in emigrant ships.
Although impure water, poor ventilation, and deficient food, sanita-
tion and medical attention all had something to do with the high
incidence of sickness on board the ships in the 1850's and 1860's, it is
fair to say that medical science did not at that time permit of the
efficient control of cholera, for instance, which was often prevalent
in Calcutta and difficult to keep out of the ships. 2
The British Government kept a constant eye on the quality and
conduct of the ships' surgeons, and Dr. Weller notes that after 1861
a number of "Australian" surgeons were employed. But she seems to
be unaware that these gentlemen were Australian only in so far as
the fact that they had experience of emigrant ships plying between
Britain and Australia-which was of course their qualification for the
The essence of the indenture system was of course that the man
who entered an indenture ceased -to be a free agent during its currency.
He was required to work for his employer for 280 days a year for a
given period-normally five years after 1862-and failure to turn out
to work was a criminal offence unless leave of absence had been granted
for he was physically unfit. The penalty for unauthorised absence or
refusal to work was constantly being varied, but the changes centred
around three types of action which might be taken singly or in com-
bination: imprisonment, fine, and prolongation of indenture to make
up for the period of absence. Dr. Weller claims that "in certain cases
of absenteeism punishment was meted out by the estates," which
mulcted offenders of their wages or required that time lost be made
up. It is of course always possible that wages were sometimes with-
held as a penalty, but this course could not be adopted if the immi-
grant cared to complain to the Inspector of Immigrants when he
visited the estates; and while the record of the immigrants' absences
was perforce kept by the estate itself, and so open to error or unfair
manipulation; no indenture could be extended without the approval of
a magistrate or Inspector of Immigrants.
Dr. Weller indicates some of the difficulties involved in the vexed
question of devising appropriate penalties for breaches of the in-
denture contract, on which employers and officials commonly took
different sides. The separation of the wilfully idle from those hardly
capable of work; the ineffectiveness of fines and the imprisonment of
persons guilty only of breach of conduct, so that they came to rub
shoulders with criminals; the fact that prosecution at law might
worsen the relationship between employer and labourer. Absenteeism
was a problem that was never solved. But it is strange that there is
no mention of the fact that shortly before the First World War, chang-
ing public opinion in India and in Britain began to urge the abolition
of imprisonment as a penalty for labour offences, and that this was
done in 1916; so that the indenture system was in fact seriously
undermined through the abandonment of its major sanction shortly
before it was finally abolished.
In the 1840's wages were commonly around 40c. per day, some
times more, but in the 1850's they fell significantly. Payment was gen-
erally on a task basis at 20 25c. a task but only the few performed
more than one task in a single day. After 1872 a legal minimum wage
was instituted, which remained constant at 25c. a task a day until
indenture ended; but 'there is some evidence of a fall in wages in
later decades through an increase in the size of the task, and there
is no doubt 'that wages continued to fluctuate mildly after this date. 4
Dr. Weller seems to accept the view that wages were not unfair in view
of the existence of a legal minimum and the fact that indentured immi-
grants received free housing and medical attention, which free labour on
the same wage did not. This argument ignores the fact that actual earn-
ings for a large proportion of the indentured population were by the late
19th century much lower than the legal minimum wage for many
averaged less .than one task per day and were paid 'only for the portion
they performed. Indeed, in 1895-96 it was revealed that a significant
proportion of the indentured population was earning an average of
less 'than 12c. a day. 5 The law permitted a situation in which those
who were less than able-bodied might through small fault of their own
find themselves with hopelessly low earnings. And both hookworm
and malaria, which as Dr. Weller shows were widely prevalent at least
in the later stages of indenture, were diseases which produced linger-
ing debility and weakness and so reduced the sufferer's capacity to
Dr. Weller shows 'that the immigrants' health and the measures
taken to improve and maintain it were of constant concern to the
Colonial as well as to the British Government, and demonstrates
that progress was real if sometimes slow. The health regulations were
very detailed, at least after 1870. But it is most unfair to those involved
to sum up the weaknesses in the health legislation and the shortcom-
ings in its implementation in the statement that "loopholes had to
be found and incorporated to make these regulations more palatable
to the estates" Of course many estates evaded full compliance with
the laws; it was a most expensive business. But it is important to
remember that immigrants were provided with medical facilities
undreamed of by the general population until some of the immigrants'
facilities were extended to them. And altogether the medical services
were one of the brightest spots in the life of the immigrants. After
1865 estates employing immigrants were always, with a few special excep-
tions, required to maintain their own hospitals. Naturally not all
estate hospitals were models of efficiency or of good appointment,
but the general picture of the medical facilities is certainly com-
mendable. Dr. Weller's final statement (page 97) that "every effort
was made to keep the Indians well", while it goes to the other extreme,
Is much nearer the mark. To say this is not to overlook the fact that
there were always some estates with a disturbingly high mortality
rate, and that this was a constant source of anxiety to the authori-
ties, whose measures to combat it by denying immigrants to estates
where the rate was deemed excessive according to some more or less
arbitrary criterion, were not always fairly conceived.
The causes of mortality on the estates are difficult to define with
any great precision. Sanitary arrangements were often poor, and the
immigrants tended to resist efforts to Improve them, so that the
spread of disease was not easy to control. Malaria has always been
mentioned, and after the turn of the century was recognized as the
most important single cause of Illness. Other diseases worth noting
were dysentery, typhoid and sometimes yellow fever. But meaningful
diagnosis was not the strongest point of the local medical officers, and
one encounters a large area of uncertainty filled by such afflictions
as debility, exhaustion, diarrhoea, and "malignant and comatose
The comparative reluctance of Indian women to emigrate presented
serious social problems for the colonial authorities, and the Imperial
and Indian Governments were both much concerned at its moral
aspects. In the 1850's the Colonial Office decided to require that a
fixed proportion ,of all future emigrants should be women. The pro-
portion varied from 25 to 40 for each 100 men, as the difficulty of
recruiting women led to changes in the law on a number of occa-
sions. It this seems a small proportion, the fact remains that even so
it made the job of the recruiters very difficult. It was not unusual for
aspiring nrale emigrants to be turned away because the women re-
quired to accompany them could not be obtained.
Indian immigrants displayed a distressing tendency to murder
their wives which was directly connected with the comparative short-
age of wcmen, even though the percentage became better balanced
as time passed. Dr. Weller is doubtless right to relate this problem
also to the disintegration of caste and the Hindu attitude to human
life. But it is only by implication that she also relates it to the
fundamental problem of the shortage of women and the resultant
pressure on married women to entertain the advances of single men.
Yet it seems that murdered wives were overwhelmingly wives believed
to be unfaithful. One wonders too whether the picture of drunkenness
as a common vice is not overdrawn, though there were certainly
numerous complaints on this score from the estates, and probably the
coolies were unusually vulnerable, because unused at first, to rum.
Another immigrant vice which Dr. Weller exposes will greatly inter-
est the contemporary reader. Their use of marijuana alias ganja was
regarded with general disfavour in the colony. Some medical opinion
believed that ganja smoking, which :the Indians seem to have brought
with them to Trinidad, often resulted not only in violence but in in-
sanity, and pointed to the seemingly large proportion of Indians in
the lunatic asylum. Those who wished to prohibit its cultivation were
however unsuccessful, and the Trinidad Government after 1885
adopted a policy of licenses and taxes on ganja which proved to be an
adequate restriction. In the 20th century ganja ceased to attract much
In the nature of things reliable evidence of how the identured
immigrants felt about their voyage to Trinidad and 'their life on the
estates is now almost impossible to come by. In seeking to indicate the
probable answers to this question therefore, Dr. Weller is compelled
to speculate. She pictures the immigrants repeatedly as bewildered
and homesick individuals who did not realise what Trinidad held in
store for them and were terribly shaken when they found out. This
may well be true of the early years of indenture, but may one not
suggest that half a century or so later the number of returned immi-
grants in India and that country's familiarity with the system, would
have done much to cushion the shock? One suspects that on the
whole too much is made of the "despair and melancholy" which
doubtless affected some of the immigrants. Dr. Weller is no doubt
right to assert that the cultural problems created by the trans-
plantation of the Indians. the difficulty of maintaining caste laws, Dor
instance, were too lightly regarded, if regarded at all, by British ob-
servers. One would only add that the same holds good for Trinidadian
Except for a brief period in the 1850's Indian emigrants werA
always promised free return passages after a period of 5 ;or 10 years
until 1895, when they were required to contribute towards the cost of
an assisted return passage. Rather less than one quarter of the 143,000
Indians who arrived in Trinidad took advantage of this offer. Dr.
Weller writes confusingly on this question. She claims that the Immi-
gration Ordinances after 1854 contained sections designed to make
it difficult for the immigrants to obtain return passages, and makes
much of the fact that the Ordinance of that year required the immi-
grant to contribute $35 towards its cost. What she does not say is
that this contribution was abandoned a year later because it was
believed to be greatly hindering the recruiters in India. 6 She does
point out that the clause in the 1862 Ordinance which required such
a contribution was disallowed (page 101) but then writes on page 107
that "the Emigration Law provided for contribution by the immigrants
towards the expense of their return passages" with no indication
that, with the short-lived exception just mentioned. this statement
was true only of the period after 1895. And the statement that the
Government of India accepted "the denial of return passage to home-
ward bound immigrants" is thoroughly obscure. If this is a reference
to persons emigrating for a second time. one is left to guess at it.
In 1895 a contribution of 25% for men, 161% for women came into
force, the rate being doubled when the Colonial Office lent its support
to the effort to reduce the cost of immigration in view of serious de-
pression in the sugar industry. Although planters and colonial Gov-
ernments generally regarded the return passage as a waste of money,
the adamant attitude of both the Indian Government and the Colonial
Office made it useless to think of abolishing the right of back passage.
The Government of India believed that without guaranteed return
passages immigration would probably collapse, and that it was to
India's advantage to have successful emigrants return to their places
taken by others who might seize similar opportunities. Later, when
their insistence that free return passage was a sine qua nonA of
successful recruiting began in the early 20th century to seem ill-
founded-it certainly was not accepted in the West Indies-they
argued that return passages were India's main security for the con-
tinued good treatment of the emigrants and that if the obligation
were removed the colonies would cease to provide facilities for Indians
to return at their own expense. Such a development would clearly be
an injustice. 7
Emigrants who returned to India often found the readjustment
to once familiar circumstances extremely difficult. Some dissipated
their savings speedily. Many sought to re-emigrate until in the last
years of the system Trinidad refused to pay for re-emigrants.
Dr. Weller mentions that by the end of the 19th century a class
of peasant proprietors had grown up from among immigrants who
did not take up the offer of return passage, and that these were re-
garded as potentially very valuable to Trinidad's economy at a time of
severe depression in the sugar industry because they could grow cane
more cheaply than the estates. But she does not consider how this class
arose, having concentrated her attention on immigrants under in-
denture to the general exclusion of those who stayed put after their
terms expired. Down to the 1860's few Indians had been able to
purchase land. The refusal of the Indian and Imperial Governments
to allow the abolition of free return passages had given rise to the
idea that arrangements might be made to commute the passage en-
titlement for a cash grant, but this too was frowned on both in India
and in London. In 1869 however a party of 25 Indians who had applied
for return passages proposed to the Government that they would
abandon the claim if they were granted lands of roughly equivalent
value. Here was an opportunity to begin converting the resident com-
munity of Indians who had worked out their indentures but not yet
demanded their return passages into really permanent settlers, and
also to liquidate the Government's obligation to provide them with
back passage at small cost, for Crown Lands were readily available
and their grant involved little expenditure. The chance was accepted
and Trinidad accepted an offer of 10 acres of land to any Indian who,
after serving his ten years, would formally abandon his right to a
return passage. 8 In 1872 the belief that 10 acres was more than a man
and his family could reasonably hope to cultivate unaided led to the
provision of an option: 10 acres, or 5 acres and 5 cash.9 In 1878 the
offer became 5 acres or 5, and in 1881 a simple grant of 5.10 The
commutation offer was abolished in 1890 on the plea that it no longer
had any significant influence in inducing men to settle permanently
so that the 5 was simply thrown away. 11 The planters had never
given much thought to the general project of building a local com-
munity of free Indians rather than relying perpetually on Indentured
labour. Their object in accepting the commutation scheme had been
simply to induce a larger number -of free Indians to remain and work
for them, and they quickly concluded that grants of land led to a
withdrawal of labour while cash grants generally became viewed as a
During the 1870's, 3908 Indians accepted the commutation payment
while only 3245 returned to India. 12 New Indian villages were thus
founded, principally in Montserrat Ward, and were soon producing
substantial quantities of provisions. 13 In the same decade settled
Indian communities began to appear spontaneously on rented land,
and the purchase of both private and Crown lands by Indians became
quite common. By the 1880's many were engaged in cane farming, and
in 1915 there were said to be 9,202 Indian cane farmers in the island,
who represented a significant new element in its economic structure.14
In a very brief review of the factors leading to the termination
of indentured labour, Dr. Weller seems to date the rise of opposition
to the whole indentured system from the mid 1880's when she mentions
that at least one member of the Legislative Council began to argue
that the labour market was already overcrowded. Attacks on the
system can in fact be traced at least a decade earlier, mostly based
on the great cost involved, and on the fact that persons who gained
no direct benefit from indentured labour were required to contribute
to the expense. 15 In the 1880's the view began to be heard that con-
tinued immigration would produce an undesirably large Indian
element in the population. By 1895 there was a small group in the
Legislative Council who argued consistently that the scale of the move-
ment ought to be reduced because there was already enough labour
in the island, and this view drew strength from the low earnings of
many immigrants. Opposition newspapers took up the cause, and by
1906 the Trinidad Workingmen's Association was campaigning on the
argument that there was noticeable unemployment among the negroes
and further immigration on the existing pattern involved an unjusti-
fied public subsidy to sugar planters. Dr. Weller seems to overesti-
mate the strength and importance of this organisation, which she
describes as "composed primarily of Creole labourers whose
aim was to obtain fairer wages for Creole workers." There are
strong indications that its membership of 200 300 was drawn largely
from persons of superior status to labourers, like small farmers:
and both Colonial and Imperial authorities accepted the view that it
certainly did not represent the labouring classes. 16
With similar pressures arising in other colonies and finding
support in Parliament, especially among the infant Labour Party, a
Committee composed of delegates from the India and Colonial Offices
was set up in 1909 under the chairmanship of Lord Sanderson to
investigate the problem of continued indentured immigration. This
Committee took the view that immigration was not yet causing un-
employment in Trinidad and that wages had not fallen seriously in
recent decades, except temporarily at times of crisis. It concluded
that state aid to a system of indentured immigration in Trinidad was
still desirable, though care should be taken to control the numbers
coming in with reference to the state of the labour market.17 Probably
the Committee took too sanguine a view; but the evidence pre-
sented to them on these points was seriously conflicting, and so it is
difficult to blame them.
By the beginning of the 20th century in fact the Colonial Office
had begun to recognize that the shortage of labour was no longer in-
disputable; 18 but it was not yet prepared to resist the continuing
demands of the planters, who had come to believe that indentured
labour was essential to their survival. In fact the Colonial Office was
very slow to question this assertion in the face of the continuing
difficulties of the sugar industry and the psychological problem pro-
duced by its long commitment to a policy of indentured immigration.
But there was now a growing feeling that higher wages might
attract more creole labour, and in 1906 the failure of the cocoa crop
created much distress and helped to illustrate that some creole
labour was essential to their survival. In fact the Colonial Office was
supposed "natural disinclination" of the creole population to accept
agricultural labour, and the possibility that this might be overcome
by the offer of higher wages. In the year of Lord Sanderson's enquiry
Trinidad had actually to undertake a programme of public works
largely as a measure of relief. 19
By 1912 the Indian Government had come under strong pressure
from the rising Indian National Congress to prohibit indentured
emigration. This agitation arose essentially from the focusing of
attention on conditions first in Natal and then in Fiji, both of which
operated more onerous labour regimes than did Trinidad. The attack
however soon broadened to include the whole principle of indenture,
and the Congress attack on it appealed to the national sentiment of
their followers. 20 Indian views of the abuses and hardships of the
system were demonstrably exaggerated, but there could be no effective
reply to G. K. Gokhale's assertion that the system itself was "degrad-
ing to the people of India from a national point of view "21
The centre of the attack on indenture thus moved from the West
Indies or Brftain to India, and over the next five years it became
steadily more intense. The Government of India did not at first
support this attack as Dr. Weller implies (p. 116) but attempted to
maintain a neutral attitude, maintaining that the labourer had a
right to enter an indenture as a means of securing an emigrant
passage if he so chose, so long as he was properly informed about the
conditions attached. 22 By 1918 however all the Indian Members of
the Indian Legislative Council were unanimous in demanding the
abolition of !he system, and in 1916 the Indian Government decided
that it could no longer continue to use the official vote to deny them.
In 1916 notice was given that emigration must end in five years, and
since the First World War had occasioned its interruption for lack
of transport it was not revived thereafter in the face of continuing
public agitation. In March 1917 its abolition was officially decreed. 23
Thus it seems misleading to say with Dr. Weller that the First
World War "dealt the death blow" to Indian immigration. The war
certainly interrupted the recruiting and dispatch of emigrants and
this cushioned the impact of abolition. But the nationalist campaign
against indenture in no way owed its success to the outbreak of war.
Dr. Weller does not seriously attempt to assess the importance of
indentured labour or its effect on the development of Trinidad-it
was not part of her brief-but she ends her book with the comment
that it ended when the economic necessity which occasioned it had
been outgrown. Undoubtedly the system was a response to economic
necessity; and in the 1850's and 1860's it was largely instrumental
in stopping the headlong economic decline of the colony, which had
been very close to bankruptcy and collapse in 1847-8. By about 1870
substantial prosperity had been restored and sugar production had
begun to grow almost in direct proportion to immigration, while
cocoa planters were beginning to employ free Indians. The plant-
ers still regarded their labour force as inadequate, but this was be-
cause they were constantly anxious to expand their cultivation, and
no longer because disaster threatened. Labour was of course not
adequate to the continuous expansion of sugar cultivation; but by
the 1860's it certainly seems to have been adequate to the successful
maintenance of existing estates. It remained necessary only to
replace those who returned to India and perhaps to compensate for a
continuing slow withdrawal of native labour.
Yet in the decades which followed, the importation of indentured
labour did not abate. The planters still regarded it as indispensable
to their success and the Government acquiesced. It seems likely that
the rise in the labour force (indentured and free) began to overtake
the expansion of cultivation until by the 1880's, if not before, immi-
gration had become a means of cheapening labour and avoiding im-
provements in methods and management rather than of maintaining
the sugar industry. Thus the system continued long after the economic
necessity for its construction had ceased to exist.
Neither would Dr. Weller think it within her terms of reference
to investigate the question of how indentured immigration was
financed. But the question is raised by the misleading statement, when
seeking to explain why so much trouble was devoted to the care of
the immigrants, that the planters had paid for their importation and
later (p. 115) that government often took the expenses out of the
general revenue. In fact, up to 1850, the costs were borne entirely by
the general revenues of the colony, and thereafter the planters them-
selves paid only a proportion of the cost. Throughout the 1850's they
seem to have paid less than half, thereafter about two thirds,
through the medium of indenture fees and special export duties on
produce which fell indiscriminately on all planters whether or not
they employed indentured labour. In the 1890's the proportion paid
by the planters tended to rise slightly and in 1912 they were required
to pay the whole cost of importation leaving the general revenues to
pay for the Immigration Department.24 It was the General revenues
too, to which the whole population contributed, which always had to
make up the balance between the planters' contribution and the total
Altogether therefore the indenture system was a means of granting
an artificial support to the sugar industry, the cost of which was
partly paid by the community, and the Colonial Office may be fairly
criticised for allowing it to be sustained for so long after it had
served itr essential purpose. But both the Colonial Offiie and the
officials of the Trinidad Government deserve much credit for their
constant efforts to safeguard the welfare of the immigrants within
the general limits imposed by the fact of indenture, in spite of con-
stant pressure from a planter community which sought incessantly
for a more complete control over its labour force. Certainly the life
of the indentured immigrant was hard and narrow; but the Govern-
ment both in London and Port of Spain generally tried hard to make
it tolerable, and for many Indians it proved to be a first step towards
better things. Dr. Weller's monograph, in spite of its many deficien-
cies will give wider publicity to this general picture.
K. O. LAURENCE
ABBREVIATIONS: C.O. Public Record Office, Colonial Office Records
P.P. British Parliamentary Papers (Blue Books)
T.R.G. Trinidad Royal Gazette
I. M. Cumpston, Indians Overseas in British Territories, 1834-1854. Oxford Uni-
versity Press, 1953. pp. 122, 140.
2. C.O. 384/185: Colonial Office minute on Immigrant Mortality, 1 May 1892;
Memo. by Dr. F. C. Shaw on Coolie Medical Service, Dec. 1891.
3. C.O. 571/1: Egerton to Harcourt, 27 Jan. 1913, no. 25.
C.O. 571/5: Clementi to Long, 23 Jan. 1917, no. 35.
4. C.O. 111/504: Sendall to Chamberlain, 23 June, 1898, no. 206.
T.R.G. 1885, p. 377: Report by Sir Henry Norman.
5. C.O. 384/192: Broome to Ripon, 9 May 1895, no. 170.
6. P.P. 1895, Session 1. XVI. 281: Labouchere to Elliot, 3 Dec. 1855.
7. C.O. 318/296: India Office to Colonial Office, 2 May 1899.
8. C.O. 295/247: Gordon to Granville, 22 May 1869, no. 63.
T.R.G. 1871: Annual Report of Agent General of Immigrants for 1870.
9. C.O. 384/ 102: Longden to Kimberley, 17 March 1874, no. 71.
10. T.R.G. 1879, p. 1363: Annual Report of Protector of Immigrants for 1878, 9.
T.R.G. 1884, p. 367: Annual Report of Protector ol Immigrants lor 1882/3.
C.O. 384,173, 178: Fowler to Knutsford, 28 Sept. 1889, no. 343; Robinson to
Knutsford, 22 Feb. 1890, no. 50.
T.R.G. 1881, p. 201: Annual Report of Protector of Immigrants for 1879, 80.
13. San Fernando Gazette, 19, 26 June 1875.
14. J. McNeil & Chimman Lal, Report to the Government of India on the Conditions
ot Indian Immigrants in tour British Colonies and Surinam, London, H.M.S.O.,
1915. p. 29.
15. Port of Spain Gazette, 25 Oct. 1873 et al.
16. C.O. 295/438, 451: Jackson to Elgin, 23 Nov. 1906, no. 343; Knaggs to Crewe,
4 May 1909, Confidential.
17. Report of the Committee on Emigration from India to the Crown Colonies and
Protectorates, 1910. Cd. 5192, pp. 66-67.
18. C.O. 295/413: Trinidad Estates Co. Ltd. to Lucas, 16 Dec. 1902, minute by Ellis.
19. C.O. 295/437, 452: Jackson to Elgin, 3 Nov. 1906, no. 324; Le Hunte to Crewe,
26 Oct. 1909, no. 405.
20. N. Gangulee, Indians in the Empire Overseas. London, New India Publishing
House, 1947. pp. 50-58.
Gazette of India, Proceedings of the Governor-General's Council, 4 March 1912.
C.O. 323/614: India Office to Colonial Office, 25 July 1913.
23. C.O. 323/717: Seaton to Harris, 22 Dec. 1915, Private letter bound after India
Office to Colonial Office, 10 Feb. 1916.
C.O. 323/753: India Office to Colonial Office, 28 July 1917.
24. C.O. 295/471: Minute by Grindle on Finances of Coolie Immigration, 3 June 1911.
Some Views on Caribbean Voices Volume 2 The Blue Horizons
Selected by John Figueroa
Evans Brothers Limited, London. Pps. 228, $2.38 (J.)
FOUR YEARS after Volume 1 (1966), Volume 2 of Professor
Figueroa's anthology of West Indian poetry has now appeared. Where-
as Volume 1 was primarily intended for use in the upper reaches of all-
age schools and in the first four forms of secondary schools, this second
volume directs itself to "a wider and more critical audience" to sixth-
(and possibly fifth- ) former, university students and, inevitably, the
Twice the size of its hundred-page predecessor, "The Blue Horizons"
is the amplest selection of West Indian poetry in English available in a
single book. Of the names one expects to find one misses few: among
them J. E. Clare McFarlane and M. G. Smith (permission not obtained),
Edward Lucie-Smith (confined to Volume 1), Adolphe Roberts and
Anthony McNeill. With more than 120 poems by over 50 contributors,
this volume is remarkably representative in range of style, of concern,
and of achievement. The best poems are excellent indeed: my personal
list would include Louis Simpson's "Black Kettle raises the Stars and
Stripes," Derek Walcott's "God rest ye merry gentlemen," A. L. Hendriks'
"Microcosm," Dennis Scott's "Uncle Time." The bulk of poems main-
tain a decent level of competence and importance. Of the few which
seem to me poor, most are by persons of significance in West Indian
literary history Una Marson, for example or they provide fruitful
comparison with better material included: reading the pioneer dialect
verse of Michael Scott and Claude McKay could no doubt sharpen
appreciation of Louise Bennett, Derek Walcott and Dennis Scott. (Evan
Jones is in Volume 1, but a serious omission there is no dialect
Brathwaite in either book.)
Anthologies often recall us to writers whose particular talents we
have tended to forget or to undervalue; but anthologies may also, by
the comparisons their varied material invites, provoke us to find an
author less rewarding than we once had thought. Barbara Ferland
shows up well: her disciplined intensity deserves the closest attention.
Due to be devalued is Claude McKay whose sentimental poems -
admittedly earlier in time compare badly with tougher writing by
George Campbell and Martin Carter who, in their different ways, are
working similar ground. General anthologies may also introduce us
to the newer voices; but "The Blue Horizons" does not grab the chance.
Its surprises tend to be neglected poems which are not new by people
now middle-aged; while younger stronger talents (such as Wayne
Brown, Anthony McNeill, Judy Miles and others) are absent from the
In a twenty-page introduction Professor Figueroa explains his in-
tentions and offers a background against which the anthology may be
read. Having considered each poem for its shape and structure, its
concerns, its use of language, he then placed it in one of three sections
- Consolidation (of the Tradition), Continuation (of the Tradition), or
Innovation (moving the Tradition into new fields). There are diffi-
culties. Dr. Edward Brathwaite's strictures on some Caribbean critics
(New World Quarterly Volume 5 Numbers 1-2; 1969) would seem to have
made it necessary to be more explicit about the Tradition which Pro-
fessor Figueroa assumes. Secondly, after stating that historical or
logical arrangement would place Continuation before Consolidation,
Professor Figueroa declares that "it has been thought better, while
using the exact same concepts, to change the order"; but he does not
tell us why. Perhaps most importantly, it is (with exceptions) hard
to see why particular poems go into one section instead of another.
Professor Figueroa overestimates the critical usefulness of his
categories: they can be used effectively only by readers who are already
well informed, and these are the readers least likely to need schematic
help. Of particular interest are Professor Figueroa's comments on
language which he writes about in an Appendix as well as in the Intro-
duction: he makes and illustrates an important distinction between
reproducing language and exploiting it in poetry
As a poet himself, John Figueroa knows that West Indian poetry
reflects, and must reflect, a variety of temperaments and experience.
Caribbean Voices Volume 2 helps readers remember that fact. It is a
generous and useful anthology.
"Rabbit: Why did James Joyce write Finnegans Wake?
Turtle: Because he never wrote a good poem."
a digression as an example:
IF, FOR the moment, we can divide under two headings the prose
fiction (in English) produced by descendents of Africans in the United
States, the one heading the Realists, the other the Naturalists, Richard
Wright and James Baldwin confined in the former; Langston Hughes
and Alston Anderson (born in Jamaica) laughing darkly in the latter;
Ralph Ellison suspended between the two, the reviewer would have to
confess to his belief that his own work extends the Ellison tradition
(though with certain philosophical modifications), but that the
reviewer's father (a journalist) had cast his ballot as a consumer of
books with the Naturalists. Thus, the reviewer did not hear of Richard
Wright until his thirteenth year, but the shelves in his father's study
bulged with the work of Cullen, McKay, Dunbar, Dubois, J. A. Rogers
(born in Jamaica)-Naturalists all-and especially with the work of
Mr. Langston Hughes.
The reviewer grew to young manhood with Mr. Hughes smiling
down from his father's shelves. When he finally met the Chief himself,
at his home in Harlem for "high tea" at which Chief Hughes served
gin-tonics, the idea awed him that as he sat with Chief Hughes, his
father dwelled in the books on the wall. For that reason, the reviewer
does not know with any certainty who first mentioned to him the name
of the West Indian writer, Deswin Strieweirt.
But after someone's first mention, the name kept putting its head
through the bars of his northern cage:
Deswin Strieweirt, born before the death of the Queen, on ship-
board, his parents on the run, slightly shadey lady and gent (they
gambled, they nimbled), making a circuit of the basin, Ponce, Port au
Prince, Port Antonio, Panama, Paramaribo, Port of Spain, a planning,
plotting, slightly shadey pair.
They dropped off young Deswin, finally, with an Ancy, a lady sweet
and neat, who raised him as her own and made certain he studied hard
enough to pass an examination that squeezed him into a college in
Cambridge, up North. He did not graduate; he travelled, from
Cambridge to London to Paris to Rome to Barcelona to New York to
Harlem to home, again, the West Indies, home (at least in this hemis-
He had already published some of his clear and disturbing prose
fiction, which had brought him under the wing of certain big eagles,
had saved some investment, and now prepared to wait out the storm
of his lifetime in port. Yes, the Ups had started to begin to fall, and,
Yes, the Downs had begun to start to raze a little here and rise a little
there, but Deswin Strieweirt had learned, like Mais, about time.
He would wait, writing the history of his time, ever-unfinished until
his passing, his story, his history, with a cast of thousands and a
thousand castes and cultures represented, with classy classes, brassy
classes, gaudy clauses and all.
He secured a house on a mountain on an island and he waited, and
wrote, and read, and readied his history for post-humus (sic) publica-
tion. Subsequently, the reviewer heard or reheard his name: Deswin
Strieweirt, West Indies' Writer.
One of the reviewer's fathers had said: "If you ever reach the
islands, go see him, the cute rascal! So widely read, and spent so many
years writing his story he can't always tell what he wrote from what
he read. All words to him, part of history. He loves words. Run down
a word to his face and he'll defend its honor like d'Artagnan. He's
only loved two things in all his long life, words and women."
Deswin Strieweirt at 76 looks not unlike a younger, browner Picasso,
with the same muscleknotted legs, the same compact torso, the same
eyes, dark-brown and dagger-bold, the same head, hairless, shining,
with a fringe of black sponge. During the interview, arranged by the
novelist John Hearne, the old writer sat across from the reviewer in his
mountaintop studio, at the table where reluctantly he had allowed the
younger man to set up his tape-recording machine. Before answering
the questions put to him, he would regard both man and machine with
great suspicion, holding a long pause, it almost seemed, piecing together
his answer word by word.
IntReviewer: Where should we begin, sir?
Strieweirt: To begin with
There is no beginning,
But to get off to a sur-realistic start
The jungle offers a possible lead,
Thick, impenetrable in the valleys
Loose and tall on the hills.
IntReviewer: Then, as a sociologist, would you consider yourself an
Strieweirt: The eye must catch
Its beauty where it may. For some in the hot sweat
Of the market-place where life is geared to the immediate
Satisfaction. For others in the pitch of a seabird pinking
Fish or in the gossip of blackbirds seeking oat-grains.
.in (what some call) the Mother Country.
IntReviewer: And would you give some impressions on man in (what
some call) the Mother Country?
Strieweirt: Cooped up in his walled-in cottage, he circles
The route from his school, hotel or job to his home,
In a routine which has few variations.
IntReviewer: Pardon me, sir, but don't you consider (what some call)
the Mother Country, well a swinger?
Strieweirt: Students whom the huge city has shorn of glamour
Divorced from their status by a defect of colour
Find consolation in Saturday nights
With eloquent white whores that dance.
IntReviewer: And the climate, sir?
Strieweirt: ..there's no fireball sunset gaily warm
That laughs a promise of the day's return.
IntReviewer: But, sir, can't one learn from people at the universities
and places like that?
Strieweirt: Their heads are wooden. And you once pretended
To understand them! Shake them as you will,
They cannot speak.
Do what you will, the comedy is ended. .(sighs)
.Europe sick and in confusion.
A pause came naturally, and the reviewer used it to check the tape-
recorder, rewinding a few feet to make certain the machine had trapped
the old writer's words. Strieweirt became interested in the sound of
his voice. Did the machine reproduce it accurately? The reviewer
told him the machine robbed his voice of warmth, at least to the rude
republican ear, in much the same way that, at least to the rude re-
publican eye, colour at first seemed less colorful than culor. But senti-
mentality aside, the machine had captured the clarity of his voice, and
the deliberation that the clarity evidenced-a much-needed example
to those on the mainland, especially now as the drugged and drunken
whale in which they rode, sought the dart-pointed mistletoe of its
Strieweirt: .the calm good manners of a soft farewell
And a day has passed to evening.
A knock at the door interrupted our conversation.
Strieweirt (shouting toward the door)
Ef a hard time yuh dah run from,
Tek yuh chance, but Matty, do
Sure a weh yuh come from so you got
Someweh fe come-back to!
The door opened.
Strieweirt (ambiguously): A tall black girl whose skin shines---
And her eyes- -like a starry night.
Matty (touched): Yuh no know wa yuh dah say? (laughs.)
Strieweirt: And I thought the laughter
A snarl of triumph hurled in the faces
Of the successful bankers, the atomic scientists
By the proud profiteers of the sun.
Matty (hands on hips) All year long 'im wash 'im foot in de sea,
long, lazy years on de wet san'
Strieweirt (to IntReviewer, explaining Matty's presence)
Undragon me, she cried
Matty (agreeing): Oh, I was not built for worship but for love.
Strieweirt: So, like a diarist in sand,
I mark the peace with which you graced
Particular islands, descending
A narrow stair to light the lamps
Against the night surf's noises, shielding
A leaping mantle with one hand,
Or simply scaling fish for supper,
Onions, jack-fish, bread, red snapper;
And on each kiss the harsh sea-taste,
And how by moonlight you were made...
Matty (waving the old writer to silence): I have known all this prone
on a small hill in a minor island where nightly after
sundown you may view an endless deep of stars.
Strieweirt: I shall return. I shall return again
To ease my mind of long, long years of pain.
Matty (facety): Bounce you ina outa space
Hope you fine a restin place.
Strieweirt: Space besieges the individual, maelstrom of an urgent
time and protection restores the wreck of eternity
red like flowers and bright
yet gnarled like limbs of desert
into what is intangible
and what is original.
Matty (to IntReviewer): Aside from the pay of his work and his nature,
Held by the pace of his friends everywhere,
The chains of history drag his feet.
.An' a so de rain a-fall
An' a so de snow a-rain
An' a so de fog a-fall
An' a so de sun a-fail
An' a so de seasons mix
An' a so de bag-o'-tricks
But a so me understand'
.A wind is ruffling the tawny pelt
Deswin Strieweirt: Back to Africa Miss Matty?
Obviously, the interview had come to an end, as does the digression
with which this review begins. The reader marks the point the digres-
sion makes. Nothing to do now but to turn to the book under review
for some clear and unpredictable answers.
But first, to start with...
W. M. "BILL" KELLEY
University Students and Revolution in Cuba, 1920-68 Jaime Suchlicki
University of Miami Press, Florida, 1969.
BECAUSE so little empirical research has been done on student
"politics" in Latin America, a work of this nature is welcome. This
relatively intensive study on student politics in Cuba from 1920-1968
does successfully give us some insight into the workings of student
politics within the university itself, and of student politics as related
to other sectors of the society.
The first two chapters of this work take us through the early
development of student involvement in politics-from the execution
of eight medical students of the University of Havana in 1871 through
to the collapse of 'the Directorio-Grau Government of 1933-4. Students
not only placed themselves at the forefront of national politics, but
established organizations Directorios, Ala Izquierda Estudiantil -
to represent their views, and specifically to demonstrate very actively
their opposition to (the Machado regime. The author sees student
opposition movements as the product of the society's failure to
absorb the University's graduates, and as such his views coincide with
those of C. A. M. Hennessy.() But he goes a bit further. He sees
student activities partly as a product of a disinterested reformism,
brought about in turn by a generation gap. He agrees that there was a
clear divorce "between education and the social and economic needs
of the country" (2) But he does not sufficiently analyze the relation-
ship between aggressive student political activity and the inverte-
brate nature of a pre-national state-such as Cuba was before Castro.
Or as Kalman Silvert expresses it, "the relative influence of organized
student movements must be heightened by the essential fragility of
societies in transition toward modern nationhood (and) the
ascription of great political influence to student organizations implies
that these organizations are surrogates for other interested social
groups if young persons can gain sufficient influence to change,
on occasion, the course of national political life, then, other power
centres must be in such disarray as to elevate the relative power of
any organized group"(3) Partly because of this failure, Suchlicki under-
estimates (deliberately or otherwise) the Castro regime as the first
modem state in Latin America. Consequently, he fails to grasp the
full significance of University Reform in Cuba after Castro.
During the period just prior to the Batista take-over, students
became increasingly radical with charismas like Mella (a student
leader) regarding university reform as an aspect of socio-economic
and political reform. Indeed, Cubans contend, and their argument has
not yet been proved incorrect, that university reform is "impossible
without a total social and political revolution" (4) In Cuba, students
reached their pinnacle of power in 1933-34, but Batista forced Grau's
resignation in 1934 and thereby removed student influence in Gov-
The reaction of students of the so-called 1930 generation was
either to leave the country or to join in the system of spoils or to
become openly more involved in opposition politics. The student poli-
ticians-notably Guiteras-resorted to organized violence in the urban
areas against the Batista regime. Other revolutionary-insurrectionary
movements were the MSR, the ARG, and the UIR, which found a
sanctuary in the autonomous university of Havana. The period of the
1940s discussed in Chapter 4 confirms the view of other commenta-
tors on Latin American Universities, that the University degrees could
be obtained on the basis of very little work. The university became
a training ground for politicians, including Fidel Castro, who though
not the most prominent of student leaders nevertheless made his
mark. The University also turned up prominent leaders such as
Eduardo Chibas; and it is the prominence of past student leaders in
national politics which has no doubt led one contributor to conclude:
"It may be that what student movements do to prepare their mem-
bers for their adult roles in highly politicized societies is more im-
portant than their revolutionary potential." (5) Certainly, the capacity
of students to act as a pressure group is limited by deep divisions
within the student community itself."(6)
Chapter Four is of particular interest for the light it sheds upon
student activities against Batista the coming together of students
and labour on May Day 1953, the protest of students at Batista's
proposal (supported by the U.S.) to cut a canal through the middle
of Cuba (and Batista's repressive measures), the formation of a
Revolutionary Directorate dedicated to the overthrow of Batista, and
with Fidel Castro (The Mexican Letter) to bring about diversions
directed by Echeverria, the pact of the Revolutionary Directorate
in Havana while Castro landed at the other end of the island, the
assassination by students of Batista's head of Intelligence, the
disastrous attempt by students to assassinate Batista; finally the
death of Echeverria, the decline of the Directorio, the adoption by
student leaders of urban terrorism and guerilla warfare independently
of Fidel Castro. Suchlicki's hostility to Fidel Castro becomes apparent
from this chapter-Castro sought to 'discredit' the students because
they were his political rivals, he condemned some of their acts of
terrorism, not perhaps so much because of any basic objection to
blood-shed, but because public opinion looked down upon terrorism.
When Castro arrives in Havana. he turns public opinion against the
students (Chapter Five) by making an appeal for national unity. He
converts the autonomous university of Havana into an "extension of
the state", he "assaults" the autonomy of the University of Havana,
he merges the FEU (Student Federation) with the UJC (Union of
Young Communists) as part of a wider fusion. Student opposition,
especially that of some Catholic students in a new Directorio is
Chapter Six, the concluding Chapter, discusses University reforms
under Fidel Castro. Indeed, in spite of Suchlicki's obvious distaste
for the Castro regime he cannot conceal the fact that "Cuba is still
the only country in Latin America to have brought the university
system into line with the needs of a developing economy".(7) From his
own data we see the Universities of Cuba becoming essential institu-
tions for the service of the state, the encouragement of specialization,
the emphasis upon producing graduate specialists of "high quality"
University education is now being provided for people from poorer
homes. But Suchlicki does not see the involvement of the "poor" in
university education as a good thing. He sees it as an entirely political
matter in which there is "scholarship by loyalty".(8) He fails to see
that in a developing economy the political university is a luxury,
and that if the revolution had allowed the university to continue as a
completely autonomous unit-and the Cuban example illustrates that
the university could not easily have been brought into line with the
needs of a developing economy. He fails to observe, also, that with the
Castro revolution, a situation in which other power centres were in
such disarray as to foster student groups as a pressure group no longer
applied; that, with the socio-economic reform of Fidel Castro's regime
that the state was now assuming the role of "surrogate for other in-
terested groups" University autonomy, then, has become obsolete.
Suchlicki leaves us to puzzle over the functions of the UJC at the
University; because the UJC at one and the same time is a "repressive"
organization, and a "legitimate channel" through which students can
operate and voice their discontent directly to the party. He argues
that there is opposition to the Castro regime but that this opposition
is manifested "primarily by the students' apathetic attitude to-
ward the regime."(9) He represents this "opposition" as an indication
that the government has failed "to win the minds of Cuba's youth".
Yet the author indicated earlier that Castro no doubt had student
support but that this support was hard to measure. He speaks of
purges of dissident students (10) But another commentator who has
been in Cuba since recently, speaks only of a "petty persecution" of
so-called beats and non-conforming students in the universities and
art schools. (11) But such persecution is "kept in check by the solid
liberalism of the Writers' Union, presided over by the liberal Com-
munist Nicholas Guillen, and by the liberals of the Casa de las
Americas" (12). Suchlicki admits ,that Castro's "attack" on the past
"has not meant a total rejection of Cuba's cultural tradition. On the
contrary, the Castro regime emphasizes certain aspects of the past,
such as Negro and native cultural contributions as well as Cuban
sacrifices at the time of the wars of independence."('3) But he sug-
gests that the new generation of Cuban intellectuals will be less
cosmopolitan than the old, what with the "distortion" of U.S. culture
to fit the objective of 'the Communist party. Yet, according to Cohen,
Cuban writers are perhaps no more or less cosmopolitan than formerly
with their emphasis upon writers like T. S. Eliot, Apollinaire, and
Kafka. In addition, claims the same author, Cuban writers are less
'anti-gringo' than Mexican writers. "Having expelled their exploiting
neighbours, Cubans freely admire and imitate their writers" (14)
It is of interest to note that Castro has institutionalized
the system of co-gobierno whereby students and faculty accept major
responsibility in university government. (15) It is interesting to note
too, that "courses (in the Worker-Farmer Facultad) are oriented to
train workers in technical and scientific studies on a level higher than
or equal to that of secondary education. In general, the programs
of study are tailored to fit the government needs in specific areas of
production." One of the problems outlined by Suchlicki is the shortage
of teachers at all levels.
Much of the data presented in Suchlicki's book comes from exiles;
and it would appear that no matter how carefully such data is used
the bias of the discontented must float to the top. In addition since
we are told that these interviews re-inforced Dr. Suchlicki's own find-
ings, we can readily conclude that the author was from the beginning
intent upon presenting or rather reasserting the Draper Thesis of "the
Cuban Revolution betrayed."
Nevertheless, we may yet regard this work as a contribution to
Cuban historiography, and in particular to the role of the University
in "underdeveloped" countries. Because, in spite of Dr. Suchlicki's anti-
Castro position, it would not appear that he has "cheated" on the
1. C. A. M. Hennessy, "The Roots of Cuban Nationalism," International Affairs
(London), Vol. 39, July, 1963.
2. Suchlicki, p. 29.
3. Kalman Silvert, "The University Student," in John J. Johnson, ed. Continuity and
Change in Latin America, p. 207.
4. A. Hennessy, "University Students in National Politics," in Veliz, The Politics of
Conformity in Latin America, p. 118.
5. Ibid. p. 121.
6. Suchlicki, p. 25, One reason for the formation of the Directorio was the fact that
Machado had support among students.
7. Hennessy, A., op. cit., p. 118.
8. Suchlicki, p. 124.
9. Ibid., p. 135.
10. Ibid., p. 133.
11. J. M. Cohen, Writers in the New Cuba, Penguin 1967, pp. 10-11.
12. Ibid. p. 11.
13. Suchlicki, p. 108.
14. Cohen, op. cit., p. 11.
15. Suchlicki, p. 114.
A Room on the Hill Garth St. Omer
Faber & Faber, 1968. Pp. 192. Price $2.50 (J.)
I promptly read Garth St. Omer's novel A Room on the Hill
and his earlier novella Syrop. I have since read his novellas in
Shades of grey and his crowning achievement, the novel Nor any
country. I wrote to thank and congratulate St. Omer, with whom I
had been at university, and I spoke with him about his work in New
Every writer, I hear, dreams of his ideal audience who will read
his work in the spirit in which it was written. I have always dreamed
of the ideal writer who would write of my experience in such a way
that I could focus and understand it. St. Omer is that writer; the
subtle probing delineator of my generation of West Indian "been-
tos." Faced by my ideal writer, shocked by self-discovery I find the old
critical cliches inadequate. You see, our literary education did
not prepare us for evaluating literature at first hand or for evaluat-
ing literature which deeply engaged us. I couldn't understand why some
critics feel that final literary judgement had to wait on time, maybe
even on a later generation. I am beginning to understand because all
I can say now is that St. Omer's work is excellent and is about you
and him and me: our generation. Until I learn to deal directly with
literature about my experience I cannot say more.
Or at best I can point out how the books fit my case and make
a few simple comments. These may at least serve to bring these notable
books to a wider readership. St. Omer is very readable. His is a spare,
very controlled though colloquial style. Syrop is a tour de force be-
cause St. Omer manages to convey the flavour of St. Lucia French
creole in English. How he achieves this must await further study.
To my regret, but at no cost to literary effectiveness, he abandoned
this experiment in the later books. Instead he translates the occa-
sional creole phrase he uses almost as if he were writing for a foreign
audience. When I tackled him about this, he said he felt free to use
the wide gamut of language which is naturally his and didn't wish to
be confined to the expressive limits of a creole. (Or something tanta-
mount to this.) St. Omer's readability is enhanced by a very good
ear for dialogue and considerable powers of selection allowing him
to isolate the single incident or remark which tells as much as many
other writers whole chapters. So his books are powerfully concen-
St. Omer's plots can be abstracted as the struggle of the young to
survive and thrive in the economic and spiritual swamps of the small
West Indian island. We are always made aware of the high cost of
any success; particularly the cost of the scholarship route which by
a combination of luck, charity, ability and parental self-sacrifice takes
the naive black boy through secondary school and university to one
of those "ruins we became." St. Omer's wide-eyed, dry-eyed vision of
this process is not simple, either/or. There are no answers offered.
When I read his books St. Omer led me unfalteringly to the quick-
sand edge of my typical life history and left me to my own devices.
This is as much as I ask of an imaginative writer. St. Omer is not a
perscriptive writer: he is an enabling writer, giving me my life in such
a way that I am better able to live it.
What is lamentable about all this is my trained incapacity before
this body of creative writing. This is possibly the final point of St.
Omer's work: that the price of success in the West Indies through the
usual scholarship route is the psychic and spiritual survival of the
individual. If there is any inference I would want to make from St.
Omer's work it is that we need to look very closely at how our edu-
cational system-in the widest sense of the term-has made and
marred us. As people connected with the university (survivors of the
English department in particular) we can focus our concern on what
and how literature is taught at the university. Before St. Omer's work
I am unable to find anything in my university study of English litera-
ture that is useful in helping me to comprehend and, as is claimed
for English studies, deepen my experience of the work. We must see
to it that our literature professors begin to pay attention to the read-
ing of our own literature, to providing some of the climate in which
our writers can fulfil their promise, by encouraging our scholarship
boys to read our own writers, to react to our own experience at first-
Britain and the Onset of Modernization in Brazil, 1850-1914 -
Cambridge University Press, 1968. $9.50 U.S.
FOR several decades Alan K. Manchester's British Preeminence in
Brazil: Its Rise and Decline (University of North Carolina Press, 1933)
was the only major work available in English on the vital role of Great
Britain in the pre World War I history of Brazil. This pioneering work
has now been effectively supplemented and our understanding of the
overall impact of the British upon Brazil greatly enhanced by Professor
Graham's book. Although his concluding chapter carried the history
of trade relationships and conflicts up into the 1920's most of the
material in Manchester's study dealt with the years before 1860.
Graham's work, as its title indicates, concentrates upon the post 1850
period of Brazilian history, but his overall contribution includes much
more than simply an expanded chronological treatment.
While including chapters dealing with such relatively traditional
areas of historical research as the British role in the abolition of slavery,
the development of the railroads and the expansion of Brazil's foreign
trade the author has also explored several other significant and general-
ly neglected aspects of British influence. One of these is the influence
of English political and social theorists such as Herbert Spencer and
John Stuart Mill upon the Brazilian elite. The Brazilian elite is shown
to have drawn at least as much of the inspiration and rationale for their
projected economic and political goals from their writings as they did
from those of Comte who has been traditionally presented as the chief
source of intellectual inspiration for the early leaders of the Brazilian
A full chapter is devoted to the activities of British missionaries.
While they made only a limited number of converts they did help to
advance the idea of a secular state and to strengthen the tendencies
towards increased individualism and social mobility. The influence of
Protestant missionaries upon Latin American has been a generally
neglected subject among professional historians and this chapter repre-
sents an important move towards filling in that gap.
Other chapters deal with such subjects as the influence of British
styles and manners upon urban life in Brazil, the ties between British
financial interests and the small emerging group of national entrepre-
neurs and, finally, the decline of British influence in the early 20th
century and the concurrent growth in the influence of the United
States. In all of these areas Professor Graham has done extensive
research in Brazilian sources, supporting his arguments with an
immense array of documentation. In a clear and rather dispassionate
manner he traces the various ways in which British and Brazilian sub-
jects working together helped create a neo-colonial cultural as well as
economic system. The modernization of Brazil in the latter half of the
19th and early 20th centuries emerges from this study as, at best, some-
thing of a mixed blessing. Railroads were built, cities grew rapidly,
exports increased and evidences of an increasingly Europeanized culture
multiplied, but all of this left Brazil by the time of World War I with
an increasingly serious set of social, economic and political problems
without providing either leaders or programs for dealing with them.
The Brazilian liberals had come to look for foreign models to apply to
their national problems and when these proved unworkable they were
all too often unable to develop indigenous alternatives.
Like any other work of historical scholarship this book has its
weaknesses as well as strengths. The use by Brazilians of quotes from
English writers to support various arguments is at times somewhat
uncritically equated with these writers providing the inspiration for
these arguments. I would tend to suspect that in at least some of
these cases the subjects would have adopted basically the same position
without ever having read the authors in question and simply quoted
them to further strengthen their positions.
Of perhaps greater significance is the author's tendency to down-
play or ignore the vast regional differences within Brazil. An examina-
tion of the extent to which British influence contributed to these
differences, notably to the growing economic and social gap between
the modernizing South and the stagnating Northeast would have still
further increased the value of this study. Criticisms such as these,
however, are minor when compared to the overall excellence of
Graham's work. This book represents a major contribution not only
to the history of Brazil and of British influence in Latin American, but
also to the entire study of the total impact of the dominant industrial-
ized societies upon the so-called underdeveloped nations. Hopefully it
will set a pattern for similar studies involving other nations throughout
RICHARD L. MILLETT,
PUBLICATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EXTRA-MURAL STUDIES
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Franklin G. Knight
Slave Society in Cuba during the Nineteenth Century,
University of Wisconsin Press 1971 $10.00 U.S.
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Mirror, Mirror Identity, Race and Protest
Collins Sangster 1971 $4.00 (J)
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Black Studies Directors' Seminar
Institute of the Black World, Atlanta, Georgia
Panel Presentations 7, 8, 9 November 1969
Research in African Literatures-Volume 1 No. 2, Fall 1970
African and Afro Research Institute
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