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Full Text

Ralph R. Premdas

Patrick Bellegarde-Smith

TO JAMAICA 1840-1860

George Brizan

George Eaton
Chuks Okpaluba & Edward Brathwaite





Copyright reserved and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.

3. Foreword

5. The Rise of the First Mass-based Multi-racial Party in Guyana
Ralph R. Premdas

21. Haiti: Perspectives of Foreign Policy
Patrick Bellegarde-Smith

39. The Colonial Land and Emigration Commission and Immigration to Jamaica
George Brizan

59. Osmond Dyce Labour Leader A Life and its Times, 1918-1970
George Eaton

Review Article

74. The Dawn of a New Era in the Caribbean Industrial Relations Scene:
Chuks Okpaluba

Book Reviews

84. Sugar without Slaves: the Political Economy of British Guiana 1838-1904 -
Alan H. Adamson
Edward Brathwaite

85. The Unappropriated People: Freedmen in the Slave Society of Barbados -
Jerome S. Handler
Edward Brathwaite

89 Publications of the Department

VOL. 20 Nos. 3-4



Editorial Committee

R.M. Nettleford, Director of Extra-Mural Studies (Editor)
Lloyd Braithwaite, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I., St. Augustine, Trinidad.
Sidney Martin, Pro-Vice Chancellor, U.W.I., Cave Hill, Barbados.
Roy Augier, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Mona, Jamaica.
J.J. Figueroa, Professor, Faculty of Education, U.W.I., Mona, Jamaica.
G.A. Alleyne, Professor, Medical Research Council, U.W.I., Mona.
Lloyd Coke, Department of Botany, U.W.I., Mona.
Neville McMorris, Department of Physics, U.W.I., Mona.
Patricia Williams, Department of Extra-Mural Studies, U.W.I., Mona, Jamaica.
(Assoc. Editor).

All correspondence should be addressed to:
Caribbean Quarterly,
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 received.

Subscriptions (Annual)
United Kingdom 2 (Sterling) + 50p Postage
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U.S.A. and other countries $8.00 (U.S.) + 50c Postage

Subscription orders may be forwarded to the Editor. or to the Resident Tutor at
University Centre in any West Indian Territory served by-this University.


This issue of Caribbean Quarterly focuses on some aspects of the His-
tory and Politics of the English-speaking Caribbean. The persistence of
two-party system and its capacity to transcend ethnic factors in the mul-
ti-racial communities of the region is a topic that is likely to attract
increasing intellectual attention among scholars and commentators both
inside and outside the Caribbean. Ralph Premdas' article on the develop-
ment of the People's Progressive Party in Guyana reminds the reader of
the circumstances which gave rise to this phenomenon in a country where
political bi-polarisation on grounds of race is believed to be more of a fact
now than is generally admitted to be the case. But the internal political
dynamics of Caribbean countries are not the only concern either of the
inhabitants or of those who study and write about them. Their place in
the environment of international politics bring new challenges in Inde-
pendence. Patrick Bellegarde-Smith reminds the reader in his essay on
Haiti that the problems of small-state independence in 20th century Carib-
bean is hardly different to those experienced in the 19th century by Haiti,
the first Caribbean small-state to gain its Independence. The Haitian ex-
perience should be of particular interest to readers who are acquainted
with the history of Cuba in the most recent past.
Yet another aspect of political life with strong historical dimensions is
the matter of labour and immigration. George Brizan's survey of official
policy on immigration to Jamaica between 1840 and 1860 encapsulates
much of the story, recently told by Mary Elizabeth Thomas,* of the
bureaucratic and administrative problems and procedures emanating from
the Colonial Land and Immigration Commission. But the full story is
about a special type of immigrant that of free labour from India and the
West Coast of Africa.
It is this continuing quest for new sources of labour throughout its
early history that has helped to determine much that is life in the Carib-
bean today and the organisation of labour into trade unions or political
parties is one of the results. George Eaton's account of labour leader
Jamaica and Voluntary Labourers from Africa 1840-1865, Institute of Jamaica 1974.


Osmond Dyce and his work not only in Jamaica but in the Eastern Carib-
bean as General Secretary of the Caribbean Congress of Labour is in effect
an account of the progress of many other individual working-class West
Indians with the will to help redress the imbalances of a history of slavery
and the plantation system.
Slavery and the plantation system are the subjects of Edward Brath-
waite's review articles which are included for the insights which they offer
into that fateful period of Caribbean history as well as for the appropriate
preparation it gives readers who will have in 1975 at least one issue of
Caribbean Quarterly dedicated to the topic of slavery and the plantation.



The purpose of this article is to discuss the rise of the first mass political party in
Guyana, that is, the original People's Progressive Party (PPP), prior to the formal
.leadership split of Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham. The original PPP was an in-
dependence movement which sought to eliminate colonialism from Guyana and
institute a socialist society in which everyone would be accorded maximum opportun-
ity for self-realization. The Party succeeded in setting in motion the struggle for
independence, but long before it could achieve this primary goal, the two charismatic
leaders Burnham and Jagan, who symbolically represented the African and Indian
sections in the Guyanese population respectively, quarrelled and parted company over
differences regarding tactics and strategy of the independence movement. Sub-
sequently, each leader established his own party which persists unto today, but each
party is significantly different from the original mass-based, multi-racial PPP. Indeed,
each new party configuration, the PNC and PPP currently represents solid racial
blocks, Africans and Indians respectively. Widespread racial distrust and strong covert
communal animosities persist notwithstanding official government disclaimers to the
contrary. In contemporary Guyana, more exclusively Indian and African associations
exist than ever before; they add to the consciousness of Indians as Indians and
Africans as Africans, but to neither as Guyanese.

In the light of the horrors attending the fratricidal inter-communal conflicts of
1963 and 1964 and the current continuing malaise between Africans and Indians,
many Guyanese nostalgically look back on the era of the pre-1955 PPP as the golden
age of racial harmony in Guyana. Importantly, too, historians, political scientists and
other scholars who have studied Guyanese politics and who are seeking solutions for
Guyana's racial problems tend to return to the days of the old PPP to analyse and
ascertain what combination of factors and circumstances led to the formation of the
multi-racial PPP. This article attempts, in a modest way, to unravel the political aspects
of the PPP's formation. Apart from serving this immediate objective, it is hoped that
the article will also be of interest to (a) students of colonial movements especially
those who emphasize the immediate post World War II period; and (b) persons
who are interested in the role of mass parties and similar aggregative institutions
in welding together the disparate sections and sub-units within an internally frag-
mented polity.

Research work for this study primarily involved (a) extensive examination of
documentary sources such as the PAC Bulletin which was the official propaganda
arm of the embryonic PPP and the party pamphlets which the movement
distributed to the Guyanese population; (b) analysis of the written memoirs and
oral stories of many of the founders and associates of the Political Affairs Com-
mittee (PAC) which was the organization that pioneered the formation of the
PPP in 1950; and (c) perusal of newspaper sources covering the political events in
the late 1940s and early 1950s in Guyana. All these materials were compressed
and organized for presentation in the following order. First, a brief description of
the voluntary cultural and economic organizations that existed prior to the
formation of the PAC is given. The main idea of this first section is to point to
the role of certain early organizations in preparing the way for the successful
implanting of the anti-colonial protest movement. Second, the Political Affairs
Committee (PAC) which was to evolve into the People's Progressive Party (PPP) is
discussed and analysed in detail with regard to its origins as well as its usefulness
and limitations in mobilizing popular opinion against the British colonial presence
in Guyana. The third and fourth parts discuss the events that led to the con-
version of the PAC from a predominantly Georgetown-based pressure group to a
full-blown countrywide mass party. The final section summarizes the lessons to be
learnt from these experiences and provides a recommended formula for a Guyana
free from inter-communal racial troubles.

A. Forerunners of the PPP:
Voluntary Intermediate Associations
Prior to 1950, the historic year when the PPP was launched, certain voluntary
associations the League of Coloured Peoples (LCP), the East Indian Association
(EIA), the British Guiana Labour Union (BGLU), the Man Power Citizens
Association (MPCA), and the Guyana Industrial Workers' Union (GIWU) con-
stituted the only relatively stable organizations which persisted for respectable
periods of time in Guyana. It was mainly these voluntary associations' which laid
the foundations for the development of a mass party2 in 1950. Apart from pro-
viding an organizational infrastructure which brought some coherence to the
disarrayed traditional social patterns of immigrants and ex-slaves, these asso-
ciations were responsible for arousing and orienting the political consciousness of
the Guyanese masses.3
Their programmes, whether economic, cultural or mixed, included demands for
political reforms. For instance, all these associations demanded a liberalization of
the franchise and insisted on a rearrangement of the colonial constitutional system
to enable increased popular participation in the decision-making processes. The
methods adopted for articulating their demands were agitational, especially in the
case of the early MPCA, the GIWU and BGLU. The 1930s in particular witnessed a
dramatic increase in strike action. The world wide economic depression imprinted
its disastrous toll in Guyana. The sugar industry was depressed, the world price of
sugar fell, unemployment soared, and wages plummeted.

"The depression affected the colonial economy and caused much hardship.
Prices of produce dropped, the exports fell. It should be remembered that the
typical West Indian is not a subsistence farmer but a wage-worker or a grower of
export crops and the depression was felt as keenly in the West Indies as in
industrial economies."4
Through their organizations, workers demanded from both the government and the
sugar companies improvement of their living conditions. Given their lack of repre-
sentation in the colonial decision-making bodies and the reluctance of the sugar
industry to negotiate, labour's access routes to bargaining and compromise were either
absent or blocked.5 "The inevitable result was labour disturbances. Strikes occurred
although, as the North American unions found out, the strike weapon was useless in
time of depression" 6
From their organizations particularly the early MPCA, the GIWU and BGLU -
workers learned their first lessons concerning the need for applying political pressure
for the satisfaction of their demands. Strike action, exposure to street-corner political
oratory, and picketing of Government buildings not only instructed the workers on
agitational methods of persuading authorities to negotiate, but showed them the
connection between the economic and political orders in Guyana. More particularly,
workers were persuaded that their economic ills were attributable to the colonial
constitutional system that denied them representation in the Government.7 As then
constituted, however, the unions were not comprehensive enough in membership and
organization to initiate a fullscale programme to agitate for reform of the entire
political and constitutional order. In this inadequacy the need for a more broadly--
based political organization arose. Political parties tend to fill this need generally in
most modern political systems because they represent a conception of public
policy broader than the claims of particular groups, and offer options for electoral
choice not only on particular issues but on wide ranges of policy."8
At this point a student of Guyanese political history might point out that several
political parties, in fact, existed before 1950. Since this was the case, the question
legitimately could be raised that opportunities existed long before the PPP emerged in
1950 for a broadly-based organizational effort to be launched against the restrictive
conditions imposed by the colonial constitutional order in Guyana. The answer to this
anticipated objection is that, while it is conceded that political parties existed before
1950, they were invariably ephemeral groups organized at election time to promote a
limited number of specific issues.
The Progressive Party which contended in the 1896 general elections typifies this
kind of party. Led mainly by "Coloured" middle class individuals, the Progressive
Party demanded liberalization of the highly restrictive franchise to facilitate increased
political participation of the "Coloured" and the African middle-class in the colonial
decision-making bodies. Given the low level of political consciousness at the time, the
Progressive Party had no mass following, possessed no bureaucratic organization with
paid full-time workers, and was led personalistically by a few individuals. Victory for
two members of the Progressive Party was a personal triumph, but not much more.

The Party itself declined and disappeared after its electoral purpose was served. The
pattern established by the Progressive Party essentially characterized the Liberal Party
in the 1920s, the MPCA Party and the Labour Party in the 1940s. These were not mass
parties such as the old PPP but all electoral parties that lacked organizational con-
tinuity, and which disappeared from the political scene as quickly as they had arisen.
To emphasize, then, it was the voluntary non-governmental organizations such as the
BGLU, MPCA, EIA, and LCP which functioned within their limited interests and
perspectives to pressure the colonial regime to accord increasing benefits to Guyanese.
However, because of their specialized interests, these organizations demanded what
may be correctly called patch-work reforms in colonial Guyana when the situation
appropriately called for a comprehensive political and economic overhaul and over-
throw of the entire colonial system.

The strikes and other forms of agitation carried out primarily by the BGLU and the
MPCA in the 1930s culminated in the appointment of the West Indian Royal
Commission of 1939 (hereafter referred to as "The Moyne Commission") to in-
vestigate the social and economic conditions throughout the Caribbean and British
Guiana. The appointment of commissions of inquiry following some violently
expressed discontent in the colonies had become an established pattern in British
colonial practice. In the case of Guyana, reports of the investigating commissions had
been both favourable and unfavourable to most Guyanese. For instance, the Des
Voeux Commission of 1871 reported the harsh living conditions of indentured
labourers on sugar estates; this resulted in the improvement of working and living
conditions on nearly all the plantations. On the other hand, the Wilson-Snell Com-
mission of 1928 resulted in constitutional beratement for the colony and initiated a
Crown Colony form of government. The Moyne Commission of August, 1939, was one
of those investigating teams that submitted a report favourable to the interest of
Guyanese workers, in that it highlighted the conditions that led to "widespread dis-
content in the colony and recommended revision of the outworn political system" 9

The report of the Moyne Commission was not published, however, until after World
War II when in July, 1945, it was presented to the British Parliament. This delay,
justified on the basis of the war, gave the British colonial authorities some time to
study the report and prepare suggestions for the political and economic changes which
were necessary if stability in the Caribbean and Guiana were to be attained. In fact,
the Colonial Office commenced action on the Commission's recommendations even
before the report was submitted to Parliament. In 1941, a Franchise Commission was
appointed to examine the franchise in Guyana and "to recommend measures for
widening the democratic base of the government."'0 The Franchise Commission
rejected demands by the EIA, MPCA and BGLU for universal adult suffrage and
instead introduced a literacy test, but reduced the income requirement for the
franchise from $300 to $120. The number of enfranchised voters increased from 9,513
in 1937 to 11,000.in 1944. The change in the franchise requirement was not sig-
nificant, and clearly indicated to the BGLU and MPCA that the colonial office did not
intend to support the wide-ranging social and economic changes for which they had
agitated during the depression years.

B. The Emergence of the Political Affairs Committee
Between 1939 and 1945, strikes and agitation continued despite the war. Yet no
comprehensive political party had emerged to fill the political vacuum created by the
limited political effectiveness of the BGLU and MPCA. The need for a political
institution to aggregate the increased volume of political demands created by the
depression was urgent. No definite effort at building a comprehensive political party
was made until after the war, however, when the Moyne Commission Report was
published, and when servicemen with broadened economic and political visions
returned. At this time, also, a world-wide movement aimed at gaining self-
-determination for the colonies was beginning to gather momentum. Elites in many of
the colonial countries of the world were insisting that the principles of self--
determination enunciated in the Atlantic Charter applied to them as well. The
demands for independence, and more importantly, the colonial struggles that
accompanied them, notably in India, provided immense morale to the pioneers who
were to organize a broadly-based political party in Guyana to agitate for indepen-
In 1946, a Political Affairs Committee (PAC), the nucleus and forerunner of
the broadly-based People's Progressive Party (PPP), was formed. Led by Cheddi
Jagan, Janet Jagan, Ashton Chase and Jocelyn Hubbard, the PAC's immediate aim
was "to assist the growth and development of Labour and Progressive Movements of
British Guiana to the end of establishing a strong, disciplined and enlightened Party,
equipped with the theory of Scientific Socialism."" The PAC'S leadership
realized that it could not achieve its aim without a systematic programme to
"educate" Guyanese about the basic political and economic issues in colonial
Guyana. The Guyanese masses already were aroused, but their appreciation for
the economic and political bases of colonialism was as sketchy as their reactions
to colonial conditions were sporadic and momentary. The PAC embarked upon a
public programme, therefore, "to provide information and to present scientific
political analyses on current affairs both local and international."'2 A newsletter
called the PAC Bulletin was issued and efforts were made to "foster and assist
discussion groups through the circulation of Bulletins, Booklets, and other printed
matter." 13
Originally the PAC was a small and obscure group which, upon its publication of
the PAC Bulletin with its bold radical line, attracted many foreign educated Guyanese
intellectuals to its fold. The PAC Bulletin fully utilized the British-inspired Moyne
Commission Report as a legitimating basis for its attack on living conditions in
Guyana. But while the Moyne Report provided a vivid description of the miserable
living conditions in the colony, it lacked a programme of redemption by which these
conditions could ameliorated. The PAC filled this gap. It propounded a Marxist--
Leninist interpretation of society which analysed the Guyanese economic and political
system in terms of property and class relations, pointing invariably to colonial ex-
ploitation and capitalism as the fountain from which the depredations and evils of
colonialism flowed.

"Society is divided into irreconcilable camps: the camp of the workers and the
camp of the capitalists. This division is the only real and fundamental division in
society although there are many more apparent divisions. The division of
economic interests a class division finds expression in the political forms
and the whole structure of the State or government is built to serve the class that
is in power. In a Capitalist community, the state is designed to maintain the
power and influence of the capitalists and to protect them against the
In many respects, this analysis bore very close resemblance to Lenin's thesis that
the state is the instrument of class exploitation.15 The PAC isolated British
colonialism as the enemy of the people and attempted to rally the Guyanese workers
around the common enemy symbol. In concrete terms, the sugar and bauxite com-
panies, together with the Governor and the colonial legislature in Guyana, were
attacked as the immediate local focus of imperial control.16
The PAC'S ideological programme was not devoted completely to a critical analysis
of colonial Guiana. Like any ideology, it provided a set of "anticipatory values" or
"alternative paradigm of values" which were to substitute for the ones prevailing in the
colony.17 In addition to its criticisms of specific colonial conditions, the PAC
advocated a programme based on "Scientific Socialism. "The establishment of a
well-planned collective industrial economy" was to replace the capitalist economy
"which yielded a very low standard of living to the majority of inhabitants in British
Guiana" 1 The political objectives of the PAC included universal adult suffrage,
self-government, and a collective state run by workers.
The PAC was one of the first organizations in Guiana to set forth an interpretation
of the country's living conditions that was potentially attractive to a cross-section of
workers of all races. Unlike the EIA and LCP which made open ethnic appeals in their
cultural and political programmes, the PAC advocated the establishment of a new
value system which was free from racial appeals (that is, a classless society). On th:
economic level, unlike the BGLU and MPCA, which fought for limited economic
reforms, the PAC advocated a radical restructuring of the economic system which
would abolish private capital and institute collective control of the "commanding
heights of the economy." The PAC provided a comprehensive survey of colonialism,
including Guiana's case, covering and explaining all political, social, and economic
issues through the application of a single integrated ideology. The PAC Bulletin took
concrete local issues and systematically analysed them in simple Marxist terms, mainly
for the consumption of city and rural workers. When the PAC Bulletin was first
published in 1946, however, the ideas and ideals of the PAC members were too novel
to galvanize the workers immediately into action outside the framework of their
sectoral loyalties and unite them under the banner of a single organization. The PAC
members realized this; hence they initiated a programme of intensive public
"education" Between 1946 and 1952, over half a million publications were
distributed in Guyana by the PAC and its successor the PPP.19
Between 1946 and 1950, the PAC was mainly an agitational and propaganda organi-
zation. It grew in membership, continued its publication of the PAC Bulletin which

became increasingly popular, and most importantly, it recruited many of the most
outstanding intellectuals in the colony to its cause. Concomittantly, the name
"Jagan" became closely associated and identified with the PAC Bulletin.* In 1947, new
general elections were scheduled for the colony and certain PAC members decided to
join the contest in a limited number of constituencies to ascertain the PAC's strength
and popularity. At this time, the PAC was only about a year old and had not yet
converted itself into a political party, which was its next goal.

C. Lessons Learnt from the 1947 Elections
The 1947 elections were contested by two electoral parties (that is, of the person-
alistic, ad hoc type described earlier) and thirty-one independents, for fourteen seats in
the lower house of the colonial legislature. The MPCA formed its own political party,
the MPCA Party, and contested in seven of the fourteen constituencies in the colony.
The other party, the Labour Party, was put together by several trade union leaders,
excepting MPCA personnel, to contest thirteen of the fourteen constituencies. The
Labour Party "was nothing but a collection of individuals primarily seeking political
honours and working together for mutual aid and assistance."21
The presence of two labour-oriented parties in the 1947 elections indicated clearly
that the trade union movement in Guiana was divided. In fact, the Labour Party put
up an opposing candidate in every constituency that the MPCA Party contested.
Competing with the two parties in the electoral race were the thirty-one independents,
among whom were the PAC candidates Cheddi Jagan, Janet Jagan and Jocelyn Hub-
bard. The election results gave victory to five candidates of the Labour Party, one
MPCA candidate, and eight independents including Cheddi Jagan of the PAC. Janet
Jagan of the PAC ran second in a keen five-way contest for the Georgetown Central
constituency and Jocelyn Hubbard, the last PAC candidate, polled third in a three-way
contest for the Georgetown North constituency.22
The immediate implications of these results were clear: candidates who appealed
primarily to labour sympathies won their seats. The Labour Party and MPCA Party
together won six seats. Most of the eight victorious independent candidates, including
Cheddi Jagan who refused to fight either under the banner of the Labour Party or the
MPCA Party, appealed mainly to workers in their campaigns.23 The heavy impact that
labour votes had on the electoral outcome was due to the sudden expansion of the
electorate from its 1944 level of 11,000 to the 1947 total of over 59,000. Evidently, most
of the new 48,000 voters were wage earners. Increased political agitation by the PAC, the
unprecedented number of candidates running for electoral office and, finally, the efforts
of independent candidates to register voters also were factors that contributed to the
large number of persons in the electorate. Unfortunately, the labour candidates who were
elected to the Legislature did not stand together as a coherent voting block. In fact, not
long after the Legislature was convened, the Labour Party, which began as a loose
association of candidates with trade union sympathies,24 fell apart, so that a Legislature
of uncommitted individuals prevailed thereafter until the 1953 elections.
* The reader Is reminded that Mr. Forbes Burnham was not a founder member of the PAC. Mr.
Burnham, as would be shown later participated Instead In the formation of the People's Pro-
gresslve Party In 1950.

From their limited participation in the 1947 elections, the PAC learned several
valuable lessons which inspired a practical strategy for political success. First, the
elections underscored the fact that liberalization of the suffrage resulted in proportion-
ately greater inclusion of lower-income groups in the electorate. The significance of this
point was that lower-income individuals tended to be wage workers who were likely to
support a labour-oriented party. Victory for labour candidates in the 1947 elections was
traceable to the 48,000 new voters on the electoral list, most of whom were labourers.
The salient lesson taught by these post-election facts was that persons aspiring for
political office ideally ought to be activists in trade unions. A trade union basis for
successful political action was now demonstrated convincingly in Guyana, but already
had been established in the British Caribbean islands, notably in Barbados and
For the PAC, which acclaimed itself as a working class group, involvement in the trade
union movement, preferably at the leadership level, was vital to its success in achieving its
political objectives. Hence, with the defeat of the MPCA, which signalled convincingly
that the sugar workers' confidence in that organization was negligible, Dr. Jagan along
with a popular sugar estate Indian leader, Dr. Latchmansingh, formed the Guiana
Industrial Workers Union (GIWU) in 1947, to replace the MPCA.26 The GIWU began
uncertainly at first, but after the Enmore Estate Strike in 1949 it became the officially
unrecognized but unequivocal representative of the sugar workers.
The Enmore Strike was called "to secure recognition of the GIWU as the bargaining
agent on behalf of field and factory workers in the Sugar Industry."27 Five workers
were killed and fourteen wounded during this historic sugar plantation incident.
Among the principal national figures leading the strikers were Dr. and Mrs. Cheddi
Jagan, both PAC leaders.
"Dr. and Mrs. Jagan addressed several meetings of strikers and inspired them to
keep united in the struggle for their rights. At all the meetings, policemen took
copious notes. Dr. and Mrs. Jagan also paid considerable attention to the day to day
organization of the strike and to many details. They helped in raising funds for the
strikers, in organizing 'soup kitchens' and in the general propaganda work. The
PAC agitational bulletins were widely distributed at the meetings."2
Subsequent to the Enmore incident, Dr. Jagan appeared to represent the interests
of sugar workers before the Venn Commission of Inquiry. Recommendations of the
Venn Commission resulted in "the vast improvement in housing on sugar estates and
other social amenities and certain changes in working conditions "29 The PAC
founder members, Dr. and Mrs. Jagan, thereafter were idolized by sugar workers, the
first major group of wage earners that came under the control of the PAC.30
Trade union "infiltration" had become a corner-stone of the new PAC strategy.
Ashton Chase, a PAC founder, became Secretary General of the BGLU and Jocelyn
Hubbard, another PAC founder, was an ex-Secretary General of the Trades' Union
Council, which was a loose federation of the most important trade unions in Guyana
at the time. By 1950, when the PPP was formed, the PAC strategy had succeeded in
capturing the leadership of the most important unions in Guiana. Mr. Burnham, who
participated in the founding of the PPP, had become a major influence in the BGLU

and later was elected its president. Dr. Latchmansingh, senior-vice-president of the
PPP, was president of the GIWU.
The second significant lesson that the PAC learned from the 1947 elections was
that, notwithstanding its integrated ideological appeal to the common man, racial
identification was still a major determinant of voting behaviour in Guiana. Dr. Jagan
had won the Central Demerara Constituency in the 1947 elections partly because of
his personal popularity and partly because his constituency was predominantly Indian.
The other two PAC candidates, Mrs. Jagan and Mr. Hubbard, who were both
Europeans, lost in constituencies which were predominantly African. All these PAC
candidates appeared to make inroads upon the sectional voting patterns because of
their ideological programmes, but not sufficiently to win a victory on this basis. Mrs.
Jagan in particular had succeeded most impressively in gaining African and Indian
votes;31 she would later return to contest and win another predominantly African
Georgetown constituency in 1950, during municipal elections for the town council.
Mr. Hubbard, who contested the Georgetown North Constituency, encountered un-
inhibited racism in the election campaign; nevertheless he did succeed in obtaining a
considerable number of votes. In other constituencies, independent Indian candidates
appealed for votes by telling "Indian workers that only they could get the workers
Government jobs which were now being denied to them in favour of the Africans. But
first, said the (Indian) politicians, they must be elected to the Legislative Council."32
LCP candidates made similar racial appeals.

In light of the 1947 election experience, therefore, the task of the PAC was to forge
a multi-racial image by recruiting an African leader who had the same magnetic appeal
among Africans that Cheddi Jagan had among Indians. The search ended with the
selection of Forbes Burnham, who was an outstanding London-educated Guianese
lawyer and orator.33 With Jagan and Burnham, a "dual charisma" was installed within
the leadership of the PPP Indians and Africans, who together constitute over 80 per
cent of the population, theoretically could now be mobilized to provide the PPP with
multi-racial support and victory at all foreseeable general elections.
The final lesson that the PAC learned from the 1947 elections was that its political
reform programme would fail if its contemplated political party was organized hap-
hazardly and staffed by persons whose sole interest in the party was to capture
political office. The Labour Party set up for that election quickly disintegrated, sub-
stantially because of its loose selection of candidates and weak leadership.
"Anyone allied to any working-class organization who is prepared to toe the line
and assist in the attainment of the aims and objectives of the Party and in
carving out the Party's programme is regarded as a bona fide Labour candidate
and is allowed to fight under the Party's banner."34

One obviously unsympathetic newspaper analyst, noting the wide assortment of
individuals who gathered under the indiscriminate umbrella of the Labour Party, des-
cribed the party as a "filibustering force of ambitious aspirants, who, serpentlike, have
conveniently coiled themselves around labour's dignified banner to tempt the newly
enfranchised working classes."35 The PAC's organizational strategy was to recruit for

its top echelon leadership persons who were committed solidly to socialist ideals and
who were willing to work at the grass roots with the people. The PAC's aim was to
have an agitational party which would work with the people at all times, regardless of
whether elections were imminent or not.

D. The Launching of the Mass-Based, Multi-Racial PPP
When in January, 1950 the PAC finally launched its own party the People's
Progressive Party its organization, "infiltration", and leadership strategies derived
from its participation in the 1947 elections already were worked out and
implemented. The PAC Bulletin was renamed Thunder, which became the official
organ of the Party. The central ideological aim of the PPP was similar to that of the
PAC, although it was stated with greater cogency and clarity.
"The People's Progressive Party, recognizing that the final abolition of exploita-
tion and oppression, of economic crises and unemployment and war will be
achieved only by the Socialist reorganization of society, pledges itself to the task
of winning a free and independent Guiana, of building a just socialist society, in
which the industries of the country shall be socially and democratically owned
and managed for the common good, a society in which security, plenty, peace,
and freedom shall be the heritage of all."36
Essential to the Party's success was unity of the various sectors, or at least the unity
of Indians and Africans, as a means of preventing voters from casting their ballots for
uni-sectoral parties, which were expected to mushroom at any forthcoming elections.
The Party's programme declared:
"The PPP will strive for unity of workers, farmers, cooperatives, friendly societies,
progressive businessmen, professional civil servants, and cooperation of all racial
The organization of the PPP was highly centralized with the Secretary-General
(Janet Jagan) coordinating the various party groups which were formed among Indians
and Africans in the urban and rural areas. Two auxiliary arms of the party, the
Women's Political and Economic Organization and the Progressive Youth Movement
were set up to mobilize the women and youth in the population to join or identify
with the PPP.38 The Party had a central office in Georgetown, staffed mainly by
part-time volunteer workers, but which was in continual operation.
More by deliberation than by accident the formation date of the PPP coincided
with the anticipated appointment of a new constitutional commission which was
scheduled to visit Guyana. On December 16, 1948, the Governor of Guiana promised
in his address to the Legislative Council that a constitutional commission would visit
the country "shortly" to look into the possibility of granting greater participation of
Guinanese in governing the country." The Franchise Commission of 1941 had come
close to granting universal adult suffrage; it had received several petitions that
demanded the removal of all property, income, and literacy qualifications for the
franchise.4 The PPP anticipated, therefore, that a new constitutional commission
would most probably grant this request at last.

The formation of the PPP in January, 1950, confirmed Duverger's perception that
the "creation of socialist-type parties corresponds to a certain phase of democratic
evolution, that of the progressive establishment of universal adult suffrage."41
Agitational activities by the PAC, particularly the Enmore incident, hastened the tardy
implementation of the promise to send a new constitutional commission to Guiana.
On October 8, 1950, the Waddington Commission was appointed "to review the
franchise, the composition of the Legislature and of the Executive Council and to
make recommendations."42 Representatives of the PPP, L.F.S. Burnham and Cheddi
Jagan, appeared before the Commission and lodged a strong petition for universal
adult suffrage and self-government.
The report of the Waddington Constitutional Commission, which was appointed
during the government of Britain's Labour Party, resulted in the granting to Guiana of
the most liberal constitutional arrangement given any British territory in the Carib-
bean. Two crucial aspects of the new constitution were (1) introduction of universal
adult suffrage; and (2) a limited cabinet ministerial system intended to concede to an
elected majority the right to govern most of the internal affairs of the colony.43 New
general elections were set for April 27, 1953, and the PPP, more than any other group,
was prepared for the contest. Notwithstanding its organizational preparedness, how-
ever, not even the leaders of the PPP anticipated victory.44 The Party had expected to
win only enough seats to constitute a respectable opposition. From the Legislature,
the PPP had planned to continue its "politics of protest", as Janet Jagan, the General
Secretary, described the orientation of the party during its first few years of exist-
ence.45 The 1953 elections produced a large array of independent candidates and
political parties essentially similar to the participants in the 1947 elections. The main
difference was that a different kind of political party, the PPP, emerged on the scene,
with a strong organizational apparatus, a guiding ideology, and grass roots support,
that is, the first mass party had appeared in Guiana. For all practical purposes the PPP
had been in existence since its embryonic nucleus was launched in 1946, and by 1953
was ready to dislodge the older style political movements which appeared and dis-
appeared equally quickly before and after each election.
The full field of political contestants in the 1953 election included seventy-eight
independents and four parties. Indicative of the weak party structure in Guiana was
the large number of independent candidates who contested the elections; all but four
of the seventy-eight were unsuccessful in gaining seats in the Legislature. Most of the
independents were local leaders, school-masters, pandits, big landowners, and the like,
who had personal influence and following in their respective constituencies.
In the 1947 elections, several independents had won with small pluralities because
the many contestants divided the votes among themselves. Since no party with
continuity and a strong consistent following had yet emerged and proved itself, the
1953 independent candidates naturally presumed that their chance of winning seats
was a function of the strength of their personal prestige and the number of contestants
in a constituency. The 1953 victory of the PPP astounded everyone and later led after
the split between Burnham and Jagan to a two-party system which would render the
appearance of independent candidates a rare political phenomenon.

Three new political parties suddenly appeared to contest the 1953 elections and, as
anticipated by the PPP, they relied on sectoral appeals for their votes. These parties
were the National Democratic Party (NDP), the United Farmers and Workers Party
(UFWP), and the United Guianese Party (UGP). The NDP, which was led by a mixture
of Guianese middle-class professionals, was dominated by LCP African candidates,
although it had one prominent Portuguese and a few East Indians. The General
Secretary of the NDP was also General Secretary of the LCP, while Dr. Nicholson and
Mr. Kendall, both of whom were NDP candidates, were also vice-presidents of the
LCP The NDP attempted to project an inter-sectoral image to the electorate, but the
paucity of East Indians in its ranks, the domination of its leadership by LCP officials,
and the racial campaign waged by certain of its candidates, negated this public projec-
tion. To add to the difficulties of the NDP, a faction splintered off just before the
elections to form an overtly racialist People's National Party.4 The NDP succeeded in
obtaining only one seat, the New Amsterdam constituency where Rudy Kendall, the
party's candidate held such personal power that his victory could not be attributed to
his membership in the NDP
The United Farmers and Workers Party (UFWP) was a small all-Indian group which
campaigned in the rural areas, where its potential voters were to be found. Daniel
Debidin, its leader, campaigned by denouncing federation of Guiana with the British
West Indies as a means of winning Indian support. Before election day arrived, the
UFWP withdrew as a party from the electoral contest, but its leader remained as an
independent candidate and lost. The other party, the United Guianese Party, which
was led by a medical doctor, had the backing of most persons of European descent; it
failed to win a seat in the Legislature.
The overwhelming victor in the election was the PPP, which won eighteen of the
twenty-four seats in the Legislature. The PPP, however, obtained only 51 per cent of
the votes cast in an electoral system that gave victory to the candidate who obtained
the highest number of votes in any constituency. In seven of the eighteen constit-
uencies in which the PPP gained seats, it did not obtain an absolute majority of votes
cast. In one case, the successful PPP candidate, Mr. Persaud (Mahaica-Mahaicony con-
stituency), gained only 29.2 per cent of the votes cast. One victorious independent,
Theo Lee received only 26.8 per cent of the votes. Overall, ten of the twenty-five
constituencies were won without absolute majorities. These figures underline the fact
that in the absence of institutionalized political parties voting alignments tend to be
scattered unpredictably among contesting parties and individuals.

E. Summary and a Formula for establishing Political
Stability in Guyana
The PPP savoured their victory and held office for approximately six months when
British warships with heavily armed troops supervised the eviction of the party from
power. Arrests, prison terms, detentions and house confinements of PPP leaders
quickly followed. Physically separated from each other in this grave crisis Dr. Jagan
was in jail and Mr. Burnham was under house arrest the PPP leaders soon started to
express openly their differences regarding tactics and strategy of the independence

movement generally, and the manner in which certain PPP functionaries conducted
themselves in office in particular. Eventually, these differences widened to fateful
schismatic factional infighting for the PPP leadership. Dr. Jagan and Mr. Burnham
parted company, formed their own parties, and Guyana was launched into a decade
and a half of bitter and often times bloody inter-communal strife. The two leaders, Dr.
Jagan and Mr. Burnham remain apart each still relatively successful in holding his
sectional following substantially much in line.
This paper has sought to examine the old PPP, to unravel that combination of
factors which were necessary for the party to unite the two major ethnic parts in the
Guyanese population, and mobilizing them for national development unhindered by
intersectional strife. It is very clear that the victory of the PPP was due mainly to the
inter-sectoral charismatic leadership of Burnham and Jagan. Even before the PPP was
launched, the PAC had such characteristics as a strong organization and a revolution-
ary ideology appropriate for a colonial Guyana. Yet this was not enough to unite the
two major parts of the Guyanese population. With the change of the leadership of the
PAC group, however, the fortunes of its successor, the PPP improved dramatically.
Both Jagan and Burnham were dynamic sectoral leaders whose private political futures
would have suffered immeasurably had each contended the election's as individual
candidates. The social structure with its inherent sectoral predilections inevitably
would have given only sectoral support to each leader. But the unity of the two leaders
evidently overcame the strong sectoral voting pattern embodied in the social structure
and consequently resulted in intersectoral political cooperation among Africans and
The result of the 1953 elections showed that in several constituencies where PPP
candidates obtained victories, the only explanation for these outcomes was strong
Indian-African inter-sectoral voting behaviour47 The most dramatic example of this
Indian-African intersectoral voting behaviour occurred in the Indian dominated
Demerara/Essequibo constituency where the PPP experimentally placed an African
candidate, Fred Bowman, to face Dr. J.B. Singh, an Indian, who was endorsed by the
EIA. Mr. Bowman won.
In the wake of the PPP victory, for over four years three years before the 1953
elections and more than a year after unprecedented cooperation and mutual support
between the two major sectors of the population, the African and Indian sectors,
prevailed. As a part of this study interviews were carried out among Africans and
Indians who were adults in 1953. Almost invariably these Guianese say they believe
that a "Golden Age of Racial Harmony" in Guyana existed when Burnham and Jagan
were allies.:
Unfortunately, the suspension of the 1953 constitution precipitated a major crisis
in the PPP which was destined to split the leadership and initiate anew widespread
overt racial antogonisms between Africans and Indians. After a protracted period of
infighting, two new parties each led by Burnham and Jagan individually and each
covertly appealing to racial communal instincts for votes, began to solidify the racial
divisions in Guyana.9 It seems that as of the date of this writing, given the state of
inter-communal relations in Guyana and the reluctance of the two leaders to coalesce,

the Golden Age of racial harmony will have to remain a fond memory until the old
formula for unity is reactivated for reuse. This formula includes joint intersectoral
leadership by a new generation of leaders who are willing to subsume personal political
power under national unity. Equally as important, as the experience of the old
pre-1955 PPP shows, a single, mass party with an integrated ideology, such as socialism
which transcends parochial sectional interests, would be vital to weld the disparate
ethnic parts of the Guyanese population into a viable united working force.



1. Voluntary intermediate associations must be distinguished from political parties. Parties are
organizations which aspire to capture control of the government formally. Voluntary
associations limit their behaviour to protecting and advancing the interests of their members
principally by pressuring governmental decision-making bodies for favours or by bargaining
with parties for representation of their interests. When an interest group seeks political
office directly, it ceases to be a voluntary association and becomes a political party.
2. A mass party is partly characterized by four outstanding features: (a) organizational con-
tinuity; (b) widespread grass-roots bases; (c) ideological commitment; and (d) financial
dependency on its membership as a whole. For a comprehensive study of the nature of mass
parties, see Maurice Duverger, Political Parties (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1967).
3. For a comprehensive study of the functions of an infrastructure of voluntary intermediate
organizations in "atomized" or disarrayedd" societies, see William Kornhauser, The Politics
of Mass Society (Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press, 1959), pp. 74-101.
4. Morley Ayearst, The British West Indies: The Search for Self-Government, (Washington
Square: New York University Press,1960), p. 36.
5. In one typical depression year, over 20,000 working days were lost by strikes on thirty-eight
sugar estates and "The planters resisted so stubbornly that not a single wage increase was
granted as a result." Paul Blanshard, Democracy and Empire in the West Indies (New York:
The Macmillan Co., 1947), p. 126.
6. Ayearst, p. 38.
7. Ibid, p. 41.
8. William N. Chambers, "The Concept of Party: An Analytic Model", in William J. Crotty, et
al, eds., Political Parties and Political Behaviour (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1966), p.
9. Blanshard, p. 129. The Moyne Report is regarded generally by British Caribbean scholars as
"The most complete and penetrating study of the British West Indies." Ayearst, p. 41.
10. Ibid.
11. "The Aims of the Political Affairs Committee," The PAC Bulletin November 6, 1946, p. 1.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid.

14. "Wages and Profits", PAC Bulletin, May 7, 1947, pp. 2-3.
15. V.I. Lenin, State and Revolution (New York: International Publishers, 1932).
16. The attack on the alleged local representatives, both individuals and institutions, led to an
unsuccessful effort in the legislature to ban the PAC Bulletin.
17. An ideology refers to "an alternative value structure which becomes salient only under
disequilibrated conditions. An ideology, in this sense, may evolve into a value struc-
ture...";. (it is) an alternative paradigm of values" Chalmers Johnson, Revolutionary
Change (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1966), p. 82. See also, Talcott Parsons, "Some
reflections on the Place of Force in Social Process", in Harry Eckstein, eds., Internal War,
Problems and Approaches (New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, 1964), p. 66.
18. "The Cooperative Way for British Guiana", PAC Bulletin, November 6, 1946, p. 2.
19. Twelve Years of the PPP (Georgetown: New Guyana Co., 1961) p. 7. Most of this literature
was imported from the Soviet Union and England. In 1952, a "Subversive Literature Bill"
was enacted into law to halt the importation of "leftist" literature. The passage of this law
prompted massive protests in the streets against it.
20. For a relevant discussion of the role and involvement of intellectuals in the political process
of developing countries, see Harry J. Benda, "Non-Western Intelligentsias as Political Elites,"
The Australian Journal of Politics and History, VI, No. 2. (November, 1960), pp. 205-218.
21. Ashton Chase, A History of Trade Unionism in Guyana 1901-68 (Georgetown: New Guiana
Co., 1968), p. 126.
22. "Final Results", Daily Chronicle, November 28, 1947, p. 1.
23. By 1947, the MPCA was discredited as a vigorous labour organization. Allegedly, several of
its members covertly were on the payroll of the sugar estates. This led to the formation of
the GIWU which enjoyed the confidence of sugar workers.
24. B. Brentnol Blackman, "Introducing the Labour Party", The Weekly Herald, October 5,
1947, p. 2.
25. Ayearst, p. 40.
26. Two ex-presidents of the EIA aided Dr. Jagan in the formation of the GIWU. They were Dr.
Latchmansingh and Mr. Jai Narine Singh, an attorney. When the PAC was converted into the
PPP, both of these leaders held positions in the Party's executive and general councils.
27. Chase, p. 41.
28. Ibid.
29. Ibid.
30. Mrs. Jagan allegedly told one journalist that "Enmore made us". See Peter Sims, Trouble in
Guyana (London: George Allen and Unwin, Ltd., 1966), p. 95.
31. A Portuguese candidate, John Fernandes, who won against Mrs. Jagan in the Georgetown
Central constituency, did so because of the split of the African votes among several can-
32. Cheddi Jagan, Forbidden Freedom, (International Publishers, 1953) p. 43.
33. Burnham won the Best Speaker's Cup in the Law Faculty at London University in 1949.
34. Brentnol Blackman, p. 2.
35. P.H. Daly, "Labour Uncertain Before Record Electoral Voting Power", The Sunday
Chronicle, October 12, 1947, p. 8.
36. "Aims and Programme of the People's Progressive Party", Thunder, I, No. 4 (April, 1950),
pp. 6-7.

37. Ibid.
38. The Women's Political and Economic Organization, led by Janet Jagan and Winnifred
Gaskin, was constituted as a part of the PAC and "handed over" to the PPP in 1950.
39. Report of the British Guiana Constitution Commission, Sir E.J. Waddington, Chairman
(London: H.M.S.O. Colonial No. 280), 1950-51, p. iv. (Hereafter cited as the Waddington
Commission Report).
40. Blanshard, p. 129.
41. Maurice Duverger, Political Parties, (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1967), p. XXXVI.
42. Waddington Commission Report, p. iv.
43. All policy matters were to be the hands of local leaders except those dealing with law and
order, finance, and external affairs.
44. This information was obtained through interviews with several members of the 1953 PPP
Executive. It appears that the electoral outlook of PPP leaders was influenced by the limited
victories of several PPP members in the recent Georgetown municipal elections. The Wad-
dington Commissioners stated categorically that they did not expect a majority party to
emerge in the 1953 elections.
45. Janet Jagan, History of the PPP (Georgetown, New Guyana Co., Ltd., 1963), p. 11.
46. Colin A. Hughes, "The British Guiana General Elections", Parliamentary Affairs, II, No. 2
(Spring, 1954), pp. 215-16. Candidate of the People's National Party failed to win a seat in
the elections.
47. The following constituencies are conspicuous examples of PPP victory due to Indian-African
inter-sectoral voting: (1) Georgetown South (A. Chase), (2) Georgetown South Central
(C. Wong); (3) Georgetown Central (J. Burnham); (4) Georgetown North (Van Sertima); (5)
Berbice River (A. Singh); (6) West Essequibo (J. Jagan); (7) Central Demerara (S. King).
48. For an excellent discussion of the tranquil state of African-Indian relations in the early and
mid-1950s, see Eliot P. Skinner, "Group Dynamics and Social Stratification in British
Guiana", in Vera Rubin (ed.), Social and Cultural Pluralism in the Caribbean (New York:
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1960), pp. 904-12.
49. See Ralph R. Premdas, "Party Competition and Political Integration in Guyana", Caribbean
Studies, (January, 1973); also Ralph R. Premdas, "Election and Political Campaigns in a
Racially Bifurcated State: The Case of Guyana", Journal of Inter-American Studies and
World Affairs, (August, 1972).

An Essay on the International
Relations of a Small State


In the international pecking order, it is the small state that has tended to suffer
most from misunderstanding. This state of affairs is a judgement on the reputedly
small impact of such powers on the international system, although some political
scientists have recognized that "any study of contemporary international politics that
did not include an analysis of ministate power would be incomplete."1
Most of the one hundred and thirty odd-states that weave the fabric of the interna-
tional system are poor, small and therefore insignificant. These biases which have been
the baggage of Western political science down to the present day, are reflected in the
precepts of international law, where the combination of smallness and non-Western
characteristics have produced a minimal impact. Writing in 1969, Rose and Dial
observed that political scientists were perceiving international relations from the view-
point of a few major powers, and that the policies of small states had been utterly
neglected.2 They nonetheless constitute an absolute majority and singly or in com-
binations, have been "thorns" in the sides of giants.
The conceptual framework of nationhood and of the evolution of the nation state's
role must be reexamined constantly in view of changing world conditions. The changes
from a traditional balance of power of pre-World War I vintage, to a bi-polar then a
triangular situation3 have given rise to an altered set of conditions where, at times,
small powers have operated independently from major international occurrences, in a
routine, predictable or prescribed manner.
An understanding of world politics must assume a basic knowledge of small state
politics since, as Vandserbosch has stated succinctly, "The large states live and move in
a world composed predominantly of small countries."' Scarcely forty years have
elapsed since the dispatch of a gunboat up the Yangste river had definite results.
Today, the arrival of the nuclear carrier Enterprise in the Bay of Bengals fails to have
the slightest impact. Nuclear deterrence is effective to the point that, a threat that
cannot be carried to its ultimate conclusions is basically an empty threat. This devel-
opment seems to be accompanied by a new boldness from the part of small states, and
a parallel increased public awareness/opinion has perhaps contributed to the revitilized
"legitimacy" of the nation-state whose death was periodically predicted.6 The role of
nationalisms that fed on the decline of Europe to a third rate military status, has been
the chemistry aiding the putrefaction of colonialism. New alliances sprang from ideo-

logical considerations as easily as they once did from alignments of convenience among
cross-national elite groups. It is perhaps no longer a bi-polar or a triangular
power situation that characterizes the latter part of the twentieth century, but
polarization along lines of common interests, shared experiences and common

The Caribbean basin has long been in the spotlight, having served as a prototype or
laboratory for social and economic experimentation. The earliest example of modern
colonialism and of westernization took place within the confines of the Antilles.
Capitalism in the region, without which the industrial revolution would have been
retarded in Europe,' and its corollaries slavery and the plantation system, were at the
base of West Indian societal development. Slavery was the most intensive that had
hitherto existed, and the plantation system, in its economic efficiency, was a
socio-cultural system which, in a systematic and logical fashion exploited local re-
sources and fashioned mind (assimilation) and body (miscegenation) irreversibly.
Thus the Caribbean area has the dubious honour of being the birthplace of
modern imperialism and became the incubator of rebellion as well. Cesaire wrote
that the Caribbean had always been at the crossroads of the world, historically,
economically and culturally. These factors, in all their complexities, have been the
elements of social reality in the region as well as variables defining the foreign
relations and policy of individual Caribbean states. Serious studies remain to be
done in the area of foreign policy8, paralleling the growing sociological and an-
thropological literature.
I have chosen to concentrate my effort on the Republic of Haiti. As the oldest state
in Latin America, it has greatly suffered from little understood domestic turmoil. Its
history is not well known outside its borders, and has been used to illustrate the
vagaries of Africans in power. Its international relations have been neglected, although
it was the first modern state of "African" origin.9

It is my contention to analyse the contemporary trends and past diplomatic history
of Haiti in the hope of isolating and defining the salient factors and variables of
Haitian foreign policy within the context of small power politics, through its inter-
national relations. The last part of the phrase needs emphasis, for it is in the context of
world politics that the degree of freedom as distinct from power of a small state
can be ascertained. In other words, how much latitude can Haiti, or any other state in
a similar predicament, be expected to enjoy given the realities of the international
system at a given moment?

Rosenau has written extensively on the convergence of national and international
systems!0 The evolutionary process that shapes foreign and domestic policy formula-
tion proceeds from resource and demographic limitations as well as from psycho-
cultural factors that define and delineate the range of possible alternatives as en-
visioned by the decision-maker. In any case, choices, where they exist, and decisions
are not isolated acts, but the result of an accumulation of past historical experience,
and accommodation with other actors themselves under these same imperatives,
merged with a contemporary and everpresent desire for national survival.

Each section of the proposition above needs further elaboration in its application to
foreign policy. It becomes difficult to separate the physical limitations from the
psychocultural factor as one impinges upon the other, without a clear-cut delineation
emerging. By physical limitation is included the obvious parameters of demographic
size and resource base. In the context of late eighteenth and early nineteenth
centuries, the weight of this factor was seemingly less important, since national and
world politics were elitist and interacting powers still agricultural. It is with the in-
crease of industrial capabilities and the spread of "universal" education that the gulf
widened, creating the modern classification of haves and have-nots nations. I shall
want to test this hypothesis by providing examples of Haitian participation in world
affairs in the nineteenth century as contrasted with the twentieth, as illustrative of
evolutionary trends of the international system. This trend appears to show that, with
the increased significance of land and population crucial insofar as they estimate
potentiality in economic development the small state is at a disadvantage. There are
besides, other conditions brought about by historical circumstance that render societal
and economic growth difficult beyond certain levels. Consequently, many nations that
formerly played an "active" or significant role in foreign affairs have seen their efforts
progressively circumscribed.
The other dimension one must take into consideration, is the psychocultural factor.
The link resides in the elitism of the moment which saw international politics not so
much as a clash between nations as a struggle between conflicting state interests, i.e.
between various governing aristocracies. Since animosity did not necessarily seep
through the many layers of the societal fabric, reconciliation when desired for
immediate ends was achievable and forthcoming. The jolt of the French Revolution
will disorient the system, and European powers united to meet the threat.

The events in France were duplicated in the colony in a parallel observed nowhere
else. Saint Domingue was an extension of the metropolis and the world's most pros-
perous colony. The predictable result fostered by the economic system was the
colonial class structure which provided the exact dosage of alienation that would ignite
at a provocation. The friction between groups made the outcome predictable as well.

The revolution that immersed Saint Domingue in a tripartite struggle between three
classes interested in seizing or keeping power for themselves, succeeded in galvanizing
the entire population. Nowhere in the Western Hemisphere was revolution more
complete and rousing more popular support than in the Haitian wars of independence.
What originated as a rebellion for emancipation escalated into a revolutionary war of
independence in response to ill-timed measures of the French national government and
the plantocracy. Once the revolution was successful, independence achieved a sobering
effect upon the leadership. One realizes how narrow the goals had been in spite of the
strong commitment accorded them, and the unpreparedness of the cadre:

The formal declaration of Haitian independence following the fait accompli, was
proclaimed on January 1st 1804, after an agreement was reached by the generals on a
governmental structure and a paramount leader. The initial situation was critical, and
it is Bellegarde who best summarizes the prevailing conditions: n

the Haitian people, at the time of independence, constituted a hetero-
geneous mass rather than a nation. At the top, some chiefs whose authority
rested on brute force only: these were military men who had received, except
for a rare few, no governmental or administrative education. At the bottom, it
was the multitude of former slaves arrived pell mell at freedom by violent means.
Between the two, no cohesiveness, no true hierarchy. Only the hatred of the
colonial regime which blended with the hatred for the white colon had
solidarized in an heroic effort these blacks who had come from diverse and at
times hostile regions of far-away Africa."
The new state had defied every tradition of the international system. The country
was ostracized; not only was no help forthcoming, but no sympathy as well. Ostracism
is a strong and negative instrument on those it is used against, and ostracism is the
word that best described the extended period following Haitian independence.
Whereas the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the Scandinavian countries engaged
in trade relations with Haiti without granting it diplomatic recognition, the United
States withheld from diplomatic intercourse with the new state despite intensive
lobbying by successive Haitian governments. The official reason, lack of a similar
recognition by France, appeared to run counter to Monroe Doctrine pronouncements
of hemispheric hegemony, but seemed to be far removed from actual reasons. The
difficulty was two-fold, domestic and international.
In July 1805, Talleyrand addressed a plea to Secretary of State Madison on the
Haitian question which was well received in light of traditionally harmonious relations
that had culminated in the Louisiana purchase of 1803, a transaction triggered by the
Haitian victory over the French expeditionary forces.
"The existence of a Negro people in arms, occupying a country it has soiled by
the most criminalacts, is a horrible spectacle for all white nations. These must
understand that in accepting the continuation of this state of affairs, they would
be supporting pyromaniacs (incendiaries) and assassins. There are no reasons that
hold for individuals, citizens of a loyal and generous government, (the United
States) to grant support to these brigands who have declared themselves the
enemies of all governments."12
United States rebuff of the Haitian advances flattered the French. The American
government prohibited trade with Haiti by an Act of Congress in 1806, and renewed
that prohibition in 1807 and 1809.13 The significance of that action had over-
whelming domestic overtones, and these reasons were eloquently enunciated by
Senator Benton of Missouri.14
"The peace of eleven states of the Union will not permit Black consuls and
ambassadors to establish themselves -in our cities, and to parade through the
country, and give their fellow Blacks in the United States, proof in hand of the
honour which awaits them, for a successful revolt on their part."
Senator Everette of Massachussetts declared,15

"I would cede the whole continent to whoever wants it: to England to France or
to Spain. I would wish that it drowns to the bottom of the ocean before I see a
part of white America converted into a continental Haiti by this horrible
process of bloodletting and of desolation by which such a catastrophe could be
The Haitian government, through Secretary of State Inginac appealed to the United
States Secretary of State John Quincy Adams. In that message, he argued: "The
government of the United States is the first to which Haiti feels compelled to address a
report on its political situation soliciting that an act of Congress would recognize
its independence which already dates of nineteen years" He added, "If there is a
difference of color between the sons of the United States and those of the Haitian
republic, there is amongst them similarity of sentiment and of will".16
The Monroe Doctrine itself was construed and interpreted in a manner to leave
Haiti out of continental defense schemes. Under effective and direct pressure from the
United States on Gran Colombia, an invitation to attend the Panama Conference of
1826 was not extended to Haiti, despite aid it gave Miranda and Bolivar in their efforts
to liberate South America.17
England had engaged in trade relations with Haiti, and had proven to behave as an
ally in the context of the European balance of power. British involvement in Saint
Domingue had contributed to the rise to power of Toussaint L'ouverture in providing
him with an army of defeat, then in orchestrating a skillfully negotiated peace, the
first diplomatic victory of the Haitians. Later, it gave moral support to the insurgents
by blockading Haitian ports, and the departing French troops, after independence was
won. But it was through its private citizens that the United Kingdom achieved the
greatest impact, rather than through formal diplomatic channels. Abolitionists, such as
Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson entertained a lasting friendship with the anglophile
Henri I of Haiti, while they hoped to create a favourable climate of opinion for the
country.'8 Henri Christophe was well disposed, and his enlightened despotism gave
initial success to the attempt.
The simultaneous Republic of Haiti created in 1805 and the Kingdom of Haiti
(1805-1820) which expressed a difference in style rather than one of substance -
presented a unified front in foreign relations and policy. A tacit understanding had
ruled relations between the two sections of divided Haiti. It was France's thrust to
undo that understanding by dealing with the francophile president Alexandre Petion
rather than with King Henri, although the opportunity for an agreement between Haiti
and its former metropolis would have to await the deaths of both these men, and the
reunification of the whole island of Hispaniola under President Jean-Pierre Boyer.
France under the reigns of Charles X and Louis-Philippe, agreed in 1825 and 1838
to recognize the de facto independence of Haiti while requiring the payment of 150
million francs to the former colons. The ordinance of 1825, nor the subsequent treaty
of 1838 softened the American attitude, however, Quincy Adams, in an argument
based on the terms of the ordinance its wording and the indemnity held that
Haiti's independence was fictitious and not real.19

United States reticence could now be understood entirely as a reaction to domestic
pressures, since the last obstacle unequivocal French recognition of Haitian indepen-
dence in 1838, had been removed. Both Haiti and Liberia, which had become the
second modern state of African origin, would have to await the American emanci-
pation in 1861. This action, with the earlier abolition of the slave trade and emanci-
pation by Great Britain (1833) and France (1848) were instrumental in alleviating
some of the hostility, and in regularizing Haiti's international relations. Another major
diplomatic event occurred when a Concordat was signed between the Holy See and the
government of Fabre-Nicolas Geffrard in March 1860. The accord stabilized the role of
the Church and created a Catholic hierarchy for the first time.20 The ostracism
suffered since the proclamation of independence had largely faded by 1860, and this
inaugurated a new era in Haitian diplomatic relations: that of consolidating and
expanding on the results.


The small number of men at the helm of the Haitian state had not desired os-
tracism, and had not directed a policy of isolation. The situation in Haiti was grave
enough, and the emphasis was clearly seen in the diplomatic offensives undertaken by
the Haitian government over several decades.
The result of the decline of ostracism, although not signifying acceptance but bored
resignation, and the increase in stature of the Roman Catholic Church as it entered the
realm of education, was a significant boost to the elite. That elite, which in mid--
nineteenth century may have constituted no more than one or two per cent of the
population, was born essentially from the interaction between social groupings during
the colonial era, from the praxiology of French colonial life, and from the clash of two
often contradictory cultures. The outcome, as an intensely pragmatic group emerged,
was a foregone conclusion.
Assimilation, as an egalitarian ideal, emerges full-blown at the French Revolution.
At first an unofficial but latent ideal during the years of the first French colonial
undertakings, assimilation nonetheless had a powerful effect in colonial developments
through widespread assumptions. The concept which had been secularized from an
earlier period, came to encompass mental and cultural assimilation, and later, political
fusion as well as in the case of the Senegalese comptoirs. Assimilation assumed total
domination by France over subaltern cultures that, ideally, would wither under the
spell of the genial civilization. It had sprung from the tenets of French intellectualism
that maintained the universality and persuasiveness of reason, and that man through
the tabula rasa of his mind, was perfectible. Therefore, it was not illogical to see the
appeal of assimilation grow with every liberal revolution in France.
To the intuitive French colonial philosophy in Saint Domingue, the psycho-socio-
logical fact of an oppressive system geared to economic efficiency favoured rapid
assimilation. The uprooted individuals from varied cultural backgrounds, although not
always accepting the "inevitable", clearly and objectively realized the personal gains of

westernization. The task of the authorities, in effect had been the socialization of the
slaves into the intended function of their economic purpose. The stimuli of up-
rootedness, of a strange new environment and the gradual addition of relatively
"small" numbers to the assimilating population were the natural allies of assimilation.
Assimilation was first and foremost a powerful instrument of persuasion.
Haitian political independence had not altered the structure of society, nor its
development along lines whose seeds had been sown during the colonial period. Once
the dust had settled on the revolution and the incremental decisions that could have
led to momentous social change not taken, the direction adopted was unmistakable. If
the realm of nation-building demanded a cultural identity to be created at once,
another related matter came to be added to the priorities of the nascent state. An
ideology of government, with directions and powers to be defined needed to be
translated into facts. A new state exercises roles never before assumed. It fills the gap
at the highest level of organization. It must and does create the cadre of that organiza-
tion, through functioning in the political, economic, military and diplomatic spheres.
A historical fact establishes a precedent and the particularism of a nation, and in this
connection, becomes crucial in latter development. A shift in policy, however slight,
has portents for future choices which become increasingly limited as time passes.
Haitian independence was not an afterthought of the achievement of freedom, but
a deliberate goal. The urgency of consolidation of these gains through diplomatic
channels purported the seeds of compromise which the leadership was anxious to
meet. Since it was felt that France could not live down the humiliating conditions of
its surrender and the loss of a precious colony, the quest for legitimacy and inter-
national acceptance were the sine qua non of continued Haitian independence, as
interpreted by the elite. The situation gave rise to a paradoxical domestic and foreign
policy, for a Black nation suddenly appeared on the world scene where none pre-
viously existed.
The major sectors in foreign policy formulation by a state usually concern decisions
having a direct input into the area of domestic freedom of action, and foreign policy
goals proper, which may only have tenuous connections to the domestic scene. In
Haiti, due partially to a small class of decision-makers military men steeped in
French military science the division proved academic as the two areas uniquely
fused into one. In that context, Toussaint L'ouverture's decision to retain the planta-
tion system had internal and external repercussions as he sought to maintain efficiency
and political order in the autonomous state he had created circa 1801, and to soothe
slave-owning powers. After a brief interlude, he is succeeded by Christophe who
sought similar overall aims by much of the same methods. Dessalines, on the other
hand, who dared declare the few remaining whites and all mulattoes officially
"Black",21 as Black became the generic term for Haitians, pronounced a policy of
strict non-intervention on the first day of independent Haiti: 22
"We must guard ourselves that the spirit of proselytism does not destroy our
work; let us allow our neighbours to breathe in peace, to live peacefully under
the laws which they have made, and let us not, firebrand revolutionaries, erect
ourselves as legislators for the Antilles, and to give consistency to our glory,

disturb the tranquility of the islands that surround us; they have not been, as the
one we inhabit, washed by the innocent blood of their populations; they have no
vengeance to extract against the authority which protects them."
This decisive and unequivocal statement of policy was destined primarily to placate
English fears. Jamaica, it was feared, could follow the Haitian example, and unrest
held sway in other territories belonging to the English Crown. Furthermore, Haiti was
in no position to launch a naval attack anywhere in the Caribbean, and was well aware
of the weakness of its defenses against an expected return of the French or of an
invasion sponsored by an entente of European powers. The object was to defuse the
alarming situation, still preparing for war. It is no surprise then, that the first twenty
years after independence were consecrated to building fortifications on major hilltops,
and that the organization of the state was military.
In the meantime, Haitian leaders were adamant in their search for peace, and
were anxious that the signals received in the capitals of Europe were the proper
ones. Christophe laid the foundation of his foreign policy in Article Nine of the
constitution of 1807, stating that23
"The government of Haiti declares to those powers who have colonies in its
neighbourhood, its fixed determination to give no disturbance to the go-
vernment of these colonies. The people of Haiti make no conquests out of
their own islands; and they confine themselves to the preservation of their
own territory."
He later reiterated the tenets of the policy in a letter addressed to Thomas
"For a long time past my ships of war have been used only along the coast and
have never travelled any distance from our own shores. The government of His
Britanic Majesty cannot, I am certain, be ignorant of this fact; it surely cannot
give credit to the false allegations of the planters
Why then should it suppose that we intend to deviate from the principles
which we have always professed? How can anyone do us the injury of suggesting
that we, who have so much reason to be grateful to the Government and the
People of England for the interest which they have always taken in our welfare,
should ever seek to upset the regime of the British colonies? Is it because these
same colonies have experienced troubles and internal commotions? But these
have nothing and can have nothing in common with the cause which we
defended for more than twenty-seven years."
If Christophe adhered to his policy of strict non-intervention, on the advice of his
English advisors and of common sense, Petion adopted a distinctly different course of
action. He granted substantial aid to Simon Bolivar who, after several years of un-
successful challenge to Spanish authority had been driven from Venezuela. In
December 1815, Bolivar disembarked at Les Cayes in southern Haiti and was later
joined by Commodore Aury, commanding ten Venezuelan ships. The Haitian president
contributed 4,000 rifles, powder, cartridges, and other material and a printing press
from which South American emancipation would be printed, as he had expressly

demanded in return. Haitians were authorized to join the expeditionary force. The
expedition was unsuccessful, and Bolivar after a second tour of six months in Jacmel,
Haiti launched another series of attacks which culminated in the independence of
Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
If the style of the two heads of state differed, the goals were similar, and the
methods not all that contradictory. Christophe had inherited Toussaint's mantle, and
with it, his highhandedness, his friends and perhaps his genius. He attempted to
counteract French initiatives by playing the balance of power game, boldly aligning
with the British whose political system, society and minds he greatly admired.
Petion, the mulatto officer turned philosopher with the impact of the French
revolution, inaugurated an era of laisser-aller rather than laisser-faire and under-
took the responsibility of his office, not as a populist, but as an aristocrat who
believed that time was the only healer. As a frustrated francophile who believed in the
pronouncements of 1789, he pursued a moderate course towards French recognition
while following an innovative course of action in developing new alliances. The
Francisco de Miranda and Jean Jacques Dessalines overtures had become open support
for the South American insurgents under his rule.
Petion, long considered a father of Pan Americanism, hoped to cultivate a long term
relationship with the South American continent, whose territories indicated great
potential. The risks were minimal in his thinking, since Spain was indirectly challenged
and occupied elsewhere, fighting for its own political survival in Europe as well as the
retention of its American colonies. Neither Spain nor England could truly be
sympathetic to the French defeat in Saint Domingue since both were fearful of similar
localized reactions in their colonies. But the prospect of newly created states south of
the Rio Grande were pleasing to the Haitian leadership.
Haitian interference in Latin America accompanied by declarations to the contrary,
indicated a pragmatic approach to international relations and to the problem of
national security. The impossible task of aiding slave rebellions in the Caribbean area
could be weighed against the reachable goal of placating England. The French
territories in the region were distant and insignificant. The large Spanish islands of
Cuba and Puerto Rico had majorities of white inhabitants, and could not easily be
subjected to subversion. Eastern Hispaniola whose appartenance to France was con-
secrated by the Treaty of Basel in 1795, had been an integral part of French Saint
Domingue, and consequently declared independent with Haiti in 1803. It remained in
French hands, however, until reverted to the Spanish Crown in 1814. The substitution
of Haitian control, or the maintenance of an independent state in demographically
weak Santo Domingo were favoured Haitian solutions to continued European domina-
tion of the eastern sector. Attempts in certain Dominican circles at establishing a
protectorate or annexation of their country created a situation of diplomatic jealousy
between the British, French and American governments, and secured through
underlying understanding the independence of Hispaniola.
That the Dominican question was ultimately tied to Haitian national security was
made clear in a blunt statement of President Fabre-Nicolas Geffrard who recently had

signed a five-year truce with the Dominicans with the support of the two mediating
powers of England and France. The occasion was the sudden Spanish reannexation of
Santo Domingo in April 1861.25
"None will contest that Haiti has a major interest that no foreign power
establishes itself in the eastern part.
When two peoples inhabit the same island, their destinies, in relation to foreign
initiatives, are of necessity interdependent (solidaire). The survival of one is
intricately tied to the survival of the other as they are bound to guarantee their
mutual security....
These are the necessary ties that unite the oriental and occidental parts of
Haiti. These are the powerful motives why our constitutions from our political
beginnings have continuously declared that the entire island would form a single
state. And it was not an ambitious conquest which dictated such declaration, but
only the profound sentiment for our security, for the founders of our young
society were proclaiming at the same time that Haiti forbade itself any enterprise
that could upset the domestic regime of neighboring islands."
The ensuing guerilla warfare in the Dominican Republic, aided by the Geffrard
government against Spain, and the peaceful conclusion of the conflict was a major
diplomatic victory for Haiti.2
Shortly after the restoration of the Dominican state, renewed efforts for annexa-
tion this time to the United States of America were made by President Buenaven-
tura Baez on his fourth return to power. No small pressure was placed on the
Dominican governments by American administrations that sought to renew the expan-
sionist mood after the Civil War. To that effect, Secretary of State Seward in January
1866 had visited Saint Thomas, Santo Domingo and Port-au-Prince, while negotiations
had begun with Dominican leaders, the Danish government and the cabinet in Madrid
for the acquisition of territories.27 A coalition of interests by United States officials,
congressional opposition, Dominican "patriotic" resistance and a Haitian diplomatic
offensive succeeded in delaying then defeating the Grant initiative, after it was realized
that Dominican annexation was not the sole aim of the Grant administration. In a
report to the Navy Department, Vice-Admiral Poor wrote from Cap Haitien:28
I said to His Excellency (the President of Haiti) that if he had no ob-
jection, I would take advantage of my visit to inform him of the reason of my
arrival in Port-au-Prince. I then told him that the instructions I had received
from my government, consisted of this: that negotiations were pending between
the United States and the Dominican Republic, and that during the duration of
the negotiations, the government of Washington was determined to use all its
power to prevent an intervention
The President (of Haiti) and the Secretary of State (of Haiti) expressed the
hope that the friendly relations that now exist between the Haitian and
American governments would not be interrupted. They added that, although
they were conscious of their weakness, they knew their rights and would
maintain these as well as their dignity, and that one should expect them to be
the only judges of the policy to follow."

After much debate, the United States Senate rejected the annexation treaties in
June 1870. These events highlighted, did not signal the end of active United States
intervention in Antillean politics. There was to be an intervention in the Dominican
Republic in 1906 and in Haiti in 1915, in the wake of domestic anarchy. It now
appears that Haitian internal conditions were insignificant when set against the
backdrop of a lengthy period of American interventionism.29
The decision that accompanied intervention in Haiti, and the internal causes for
that intervention lie beyond the scope of this paper. Suffice to say that the documen-
tation shows that a body of United States colonial administrators and officers corps
had formed overtime, and through their experience, had reflected the traditional
"white man's burden" approach to societies in which they saw no good whatsoever.3
Admiral Knapp, former military governor in Santo Domingo and an administrator in
Haiti wrote in a report to the Secretary of the Navy:31
"The people of Haiti have had no immediate contact with a superior cultivation
and intelligence such as the Negroes of the United States have had since their
emancipation The same traits of Negro character that are found in the
United States exist in Haiti, both good and bad; but I consider that the bad traits
are more in evidence in Haiti than in the United States, where they are under
better control (January 13, 1921)."

To the racial factor was added an acute cultural antagonism. As late as 1930, the
American Charge d'Affaires Stuart Grummon reported to the State Department this
analysis of Haitian mentality 32
"In general, while the Anglo-saxon has a deep sense of the value of social
organization and of the obligation of democratic government to assume a large
share of responsibility for the social welfare of the masses, and has in addition a
profound conviction of the value of democratic government, the Latin mind, on
the contrary, is apt to scorn democracy and neglect activities looking for the
health and educational welfare of the masses The Anglo-saxon, who excels in
collective action is apt to be impatient with the Haitian characteristic of intense
individualism inherited from the French regime The action of the Haitian, in
common with the Latin in general, is in the main directed by emotion rather
than by reason, which in the main dictates the action of the Anglo-saxon."
The shock of the Occupation, in the clash of two racial worlds and opposite
cultural traditions, gave rise to momentous changes in Haitian society as it challenged
its structure and most cherished assumptions. These transformations, in turn, will be
reflected in the nation's foreign policy.
The American intervention effected several deep changes: (1) an economic and
trade shift which redefined the economic and financial sphere of influence along a new
axis; (2) a political revolution which sprung from the establishment of a vassal state,
and which, in the long run fostered a strong identification to a rising "Tiers Monde"
and whose embryonic forum was the Assembly of the League of Nations; (3) a
social revolution in the rise of a moneyed middle-sector through economic gains
and the expansion of the bureaucracy; (4) a cultural revolution arising from all

these factors, and demanding a revision in objectives for the future and a
reassessment of the past. In all instances, the elite was directly undermined. The
intellectual crisis that ensued demonstrated that the steadfast answers of westerniza-
tion were not accompanied by development. In a period still marked by the ascen-
dancy of western powers which possessed complete control over the destinies of the
world, Haitian social policy had been to emphasize these aspects that were conducive
to rapid westernization to the exclusion of all others. Faced with bankrupt policies
that had failed their greatest test, the preservation of national sovereignty, the elite -
whose consummated downfall ironically, was visible political participation during the
Occupation and collaboration with the invader was taken aghast and left scurrying
for an ideology. Increased social mobility, a measure of modernization defined in
terms of greater contact with technology and consumerism, and the experience of
North American racism were among the factors that contributed to discredit the elite
and its philosophy. An emerging and vigorous nationalism, more potent in its inter-
national identification than as a strictly localized response was in the offing. The
spirited Haitian intervention in favour of the Hottentots of South Africa in the League
of Nations indicated a timid attempt at a new role, that of an active identification
with a neglected continent.33
In Haiti, the elite had adopted what it felt was a sensible and pragmatic ideology.
The use of the French language was never seriously challenged, although perhaps as
little as two per cent spoke it originally. The leadership had opted deliberately for
westernization as the only practical path to modernization and development. If the
direction is doubted, the educational system clears these doubts. The model is
French, and so are many of the textbooks, and Haitian literature superb and
unmatched in the Caribbean area becomes a topic in baccalaureate exami-
nations only in the mid-1960's. The severe limitations of the privileges of educa-
tion perpetuated a small hereditary elite and had postponed challenges to "its"
concept of the national culture. As in many other societies, lower strata endeavoured
to emulate the upper class.
Tacit recognition of white supremacy led to the survival of assimilation, as
equality was the leit-motiv. It is within the context of late eighteenth and early
nineteenth centuries that Haitian societal development must be understood. After
independence, the country had been ostracized. Furthermore, an example had to be
made since these uppity Negroes had made a carnage of their local white population.
The racial question remains the constant variable in Haitian foreign relations and
policy, to be exacerbated by the realities of the United States occupation.
In Haiti, the addition of participants from previously "non-assimilated" groups into
the body politic as fewer could accept the assumptions of assimilation fostered
momentous changes as exemplified by the "revolutions" of 1946, when racial ambiva-
lence officially came to an end, and in 1957 seen as the continuation of the process.
Cultural democratization (rather than political democratization) and increased
political participation will be an Africanizing process, as the structures and institutions
of the Haitian state are made to reflect the realities of the Haitian nation. When
Negritude evolved, it pitted "old" against "new", Haitians against themselves in a

direct confrontation. Price-Mars had warned, "beware! to base an elite on Greco-Latin
or French culture is to condone a doctrine of social class"
Negritude, as an instrument of foreign policy, must be placed within the context of
the international scene and the evolution of cultural phenomena. The faint attempts at
a true "American" philosophy in the leaders of Latin American independence had
aborted. A rationale for separatism, Americanism, if cultivated to its logical con-
clusions would have been a pandora's box that the Latin American power structure
was ill-equipped to handle. Tupac Amaru, and later Hidalgo and Morelos had sought
far-reaching changes that were denied them. This is not underestimating the American
roots of hemispheric independence movements, but a compliment to the political
savvy of the power structure. Only in this sense was genuine revolution achieved. The
opportunity was not seized, however in retaining the momentum created by indepen-
dence, and the elite established itself as an indigenous aristocracy.
A hundred years later Americanism was rediscovered, through osmosis and indepen-
dent discovery, in the first stirring of the inarticulate masses. The exaltation of folk
culture, Indigenismo, was the theoretical base for the Mexican revolution of 1910: it
was a significant ingredient in the Aprista philosophy in Peru, and in the short-lived
Arevalo movement in Guatemala. Indigenism and Negrism in Cuba, and a new
awareness in Dominican and Puerto Rican literatures indicated an important point of
departure with the past. Harold E. Davis indicated the radicalism of the new ideas
when he wrote,34 "such a theory makes of indigenous cultures and their influence
much more than a social political problem. It introduces cultural value concepts to
condition the science which seeks to analyze and ameliorate these twentieth century
problems. It is also accompanied by a profound disquietude, not limited by any means
to America, but in this continent has prompted philosophical inquiry into the meaning
of the term American and the concept of Man which has developed in America."
Buck and Travis35 had envisioned a unique role for Haiti within the scope of Latin
American diplomatic affairs. "Haiti, by reason of its special character and history, is
almost a unique link in the fabric of international society. Its people being Negro, its
culture French, its political and geographic situation American, Haiti may well
interpret America to Europe, and both to Africa, the gigantic continent of tomorrow."
This assessment reveals the complexity of the problem, although framed in the typical
American pluralist model of cross-cutting patterns of groups leading to strength, rather
than a model of an identity crisis within a homogeneous group as the Haitian situation
suggests. The legacy of colonialism is strong and pervasive.
In the evolution of Haitian foreign policy, it is virtually impossible to differentiate
between clear-cut international goals and domestic reality. In this respect, the early
periods of Latin American association and identification, which I shall name the Pan
Americanist period in Haitian foreign policy, were a reflection of decisions made with
domestic conditions in mind. The negation of racial cohesiveness, cloaked in interna-
tionalism, in favour of a divisive cultural policy logically purports identification with
other hybrid societies, born of similar conditions and whose geographic proximity
made it more than convenient. The rewards to be obtained from such cooperation
were moral support, and viable schemes of continental defense, where limited

interference rather than intervention was a calculated and acceptable risk, since the
Haitian army had not been an instrument of foreign policy since 1870.36
"The fate of the Republic of Haiti is intimately bound to the decent application
of the "Good Neighbour" policy of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The unexpected
events of the post-war period, the commercial restrictions imposed on us by the
impoverishment or the destruction of European markets where we used to
dispose of the greatest portion of our exports, the responsibilities which, because
of our geographic location and of our international obligations, we have had to
take. this combination of circumstances gives us the right to schemes of
financial and technical assistance which will allow us to solve the difficulties of the
present time, and to establish our economy on a solid and durable base.
Implicit in the Pan American identification as enunciated by Bellegarde, was the
unchallenged acceptance of the traditional western tenets of development, identified
as progress. Development, in order to occur, presumes a thorough understanding of the
entire societal structure, of the interaction between groups and their interrelatedness
to institutions. In order to enhance growth and direct it for the systematic trans-
formation of society, the leadership would seek to motivate and channel the forces of
a community through the ingenious use of ideologies. By motivation is understood the
subtle action carried to achieve wide acceptance of specific values, attitudes and
behavioral changes in general to be imparted. By channeling, one understands the
creation and adaptation of integrative structures that may foster socio-economic and
political development along lines considered advantageous.
Because of overall Latin American acceptance of the western scheme for national
development, the Haitian enterprise seemed profitable and logical in its adoption.
Assimilation, seen in that context, condoned a policy of blatant emulation of western
ideals, in complete disregard for the idiosyncracies of the republic, as these were
believed to be obstacles on the road to progress. Because during the military occupa-
tion, the United States had failed to recognize the delicate psychological balance and
described all Haitians, illiterate and educated, brown or black as "niggers", it
destroyed the myth, and the plan was doomed to failure.
Pan Africanism, the newer period of Haitian foreign relations, was timidly in-
augurated at the League of Nations, but came to the fore as a vigorous alternative in its
West Indian and West African symbiosis, in early twentieth century Paris. The cultural
revolution symbolized a deepening commitment that would find translation in the
arena of world politics and in the conservative bastions of foreign ministries. Haitian
negritude in foreign relations wishes to translate the real and romantic affinities found
between the Western Hemisphere and Africa, with Haiti as the epicentre or the pivot,
as the interpreter and the originator of Black awareness and a link to other African
communities in the New World.
A ready identification with Africa is wanting. The elite is still western, and popular
input still at the latent stage, although Pan Africanism appears to be a breakthrough in
foreign policy, and reveals an increase in the latitude of action seen up to that time.
The objectives can be seen in these terms, as a counterpoise to Pan Americanism and

to United States hegemony. The rewards may be inconsequential in terms of the
concrete, if one thinks of commerce and technical assistance, but otherwise priceless: a
genuine concern for Haitian cultural roots is at the base of the movement, doubled
with the awareness that worldwide conditions may allow, with impunity, an increased
independence through nationalist action.
The Pan African period in Haitian foreign relations would indicate some funda-
mental changes in the impact of policy formulation of small states. Pan Africanism is
realistic as the interpreter of social and political reality within national boundaries; it is
a challenge to "Western" supremacy which now gives indications of being racked by
self-doubt. It foreshadows alliances on the ideological level, lending strength and
purpose to a cause. The days are gone when the world shook because half a million
slaves "grabbed" their independence, and as the entire civilized universe awaited the
example to spread further.
The end of the eighteenth century favoured Haitian diplomatic undertakings, in
part, because minorities were everywhere in control, and they could be displaced by
minority action. Industrialization was taking root, but the accompanying mentality
associated with mass participation in politics was still lagging. The failure to harness
and mobilize one's population on the part of non-western states, was due primarily to
a rapidly solidifying and sophisticated worldwide capitalistic economy. Small nations
were incapable of following suit, and increasingly fell behind.
Haitian foreign policy, cognizant of its limitations, has had limited goals. The
resource base of the republic is meagre an optimistic description the majority of
its population outside the national economy, and proximity to the United States are
factors that rendered these diplomatic goals pragmatic. When not actually pursuing
territorial aggrandizement, the United States embarked upon the goal of Caribbean
stability as a sine qua non to American security. This was clearly understood by Haiti
which, although it could not guarantee domestic tranquility, endeavoured to meet all
external debt obligations. Schmidt noted37 that Haiti's record of debt payment was
exemplary compared to that of other Latin American states: "in 1915 Ecuador was $2
million in arrears, Mexico was $15 million in arrears, and Honduras was more than
$100 million in arrears" Through its foreign policy, Haiti sought to insure a wide
latitude of domestic freedom of action or control which in effect, would guarantee
national survival. To that effect, the creation of a favourable image was no small task,
and intimately related to the country's very survival as an independent entity.



1. A.B. Fox, The Power of Small States, Chicago 1959, p. 3.

2. See L. Rose and R. Dial "Can a Mini-State Find True Happiness in a World Dominated by
Protagonist Powers? The Nepal Case" in The Annals vol. 386 (November 1969) p. 90.

3. The United States, The People's Republic of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Re-
publics. Do they form poles or simply an emerging triangular entente removed from the
immediate concerns of (would be "neutral") small states?

4. Amry Vandenbosch, Dutch Foreign Policy Since 1815: A Study of Small Power Politics, The
Hague: 1959 p.2.

Also See, D. Vital, The Inequality of States, Oxford 1967 and, V.V. Sveics, Small Nation
Survival, New York: 1970.

5. See Washington Post "Malraux Criticizes U.S. Policy on India" December 19, 1971 The
Indo-Pakistani war of 1971.

6. Perhaps a new definition of nation-state is required in view of the fact that most nations can
no longer guarantee the physical security of their citizens, but still serve vital identification
functions, On a related topic, see Judy Bertelsen, The Non-State Nation in International
Politics: A Framework for Comparative Case Studies, presented at International Studies
Association, March 1973.
7. Churchill declared in 1938, "Our possessions of the West Indies gave us the strength, the
support, but especially the capital, the wealth at a time when no other European country
possessed such a reserve. ." cited in E. Williams. The Negro in the Caribbean. Washington
D.C: 1942. p. 14.

See also, A. Cesaire, Toussaint L'ouverture: La Revolution Francaise et le Probleme Colonial,
Prais: 1962. C.L.R. James. The Black Jacobins; Toussaint L'ouverture and the San Domingo
Revolution, New York: 1938.

8. For an overall view of West Indian Foreign Policy, see papers and collected documents
published by the Institute of International Relations, University of the West Indies, such as R.
Preiswerk, "The Relevance of Latin America to the Foreign Policy of the Commonwealth
Caribbean States" in Journal of Inter American Studies, vol. 11 (1969) and A.N.R. Robinson,
The Foreign Policy of Trinidad and Tobago, Institute of International Relations. University
of the West Indies (May 1968).

Also see two articles by Larman C. Wilson and Roy Glasg6w in H.E. Davis and L.C. Wilson
(eds.), Latin American Foreign Policies: An Analysis, Washington: 1972 unpublished manu-
Three classics on Haitian-American relations, are R.W. Logan, The Diplomatic Relations of the
United States with Haiti, 1776-1891, Chapel Hill: 1941: L.L. Montague, Haiti and the United
States, 1714-1938, Durham, 1940: Hans Schmidt, The United States Occupation of Haiti
1915-1934, New Brunswick: 1971.

Specific works by Haitians dealing with foreign relations and diplomatic history are, G.J.
Benjamin, Contribution a l'histoire Diplomatique Contemporaine, Port-au-Prince: 1951, D.
Bellegrade, La Resistance Haitienne, Montreal 1937: G. de Catalogne, Haiti a l'heure du Tiers
Monde, Port-au-Prince: 1964, M.G. Chaumette, Le Panamericanisne a Travers I'Histoire
d'Haiti, Port-au-Prince: 1944, F. Duvalier, Politique Etrangere et Politique Fronterales,
Port-au-Prince: 1968, A. Firmin, Diplomate et Diplomatie, Cap Haitien, 1899, J. Justin, Les
Relations Exterieures d'Haiti... Paris: 1895, A.N. Legar, Histoire Diplomatique d'Haiti,
Port-au-Prince: 1930.

9. And the first mini-state of modern times as well, besides the Middle-Age micro-states of
Andorra, Leichstenstein, Luxemburg, Monaco, and Vatican City state. The next two to
be established were Liberia, 1822 and Belgium, 1830.
10. J.N. Rosenau (ed) Linkage Politics New York: 1969: Also see, H.A. Kissinger, "Domestic
Structure and Foreign Policy" in J.N. Rosenau, International Politics and Foreign Policy. New
York: 1969.
11. Dantes Bellegarde, Histoire du Peuple Haitien, Port-au-Prince: 1953. p. 94, Translated by the
author of present article.
12. cited by M. A. Lubin, "Les Premiers Rapports de la Nation Haitienne avec L'Etranger" in
Journal of Inter American Studies, vol 10, (April 1968). Translated by author of present
13. Griggs and Prator (eds) Henry Christophe and Thomas Clarkson; A Correspondence. New
York; 1968. p. 52.
14. Congressional Debates, 19th Congress, 1st Session, cols. 2150, 2328, 2062.
15. Ibid.
16. D. Bellegarde, op. cit p. 134.
17. Haitian intervention in South America seems to have been deliberate rather than just
symbolic. I shall analyze the portents of the decision in the second part of this paper.
18. Griggs and Prator (eds) op. cit for wealth of details concerning the assistance provided by
English philantropists.
19. D. Bellegarde, op. cit p. 132.
20. For details on the religious history of Haiti and of diplomatic dealings with the Holy See, read
A. Cabon. Notes sur I'Histoire Religieuse d'Haiti de la Revolution au Concordat, 1789-1860.
Port-au-Prince: 1933.
21. From the Imperial Constitution of 1805.
22. Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Proclamation du General en Chef au Peuple d'Haiti (Janvier 1804).
Translated by author of article.
23. Article IX, Constitution of 1807 Northern State of Haiti. Translated by author of the
present article.
24. Griggs and Prator (eds) op. cit p. 99.
25. Jean Price-Mars. La Republique d'Haiti et la Republique Dominicaine, Port-au-Prince; 1953.
vol. 11, pp. 210-211.
26. Ibid. Price-Mars cites the role played by Colonel E. Roumain an emissary of President F.-N.
Geffrard, in getting the Dominican insurgents to agree on a message drafted by the Haitian
cabinet and addressed to the Queen of Spain. This event is nowhere mentioned by Dominican
historians, however, although the Spanish chief of the expeditionary force, General Jose de la
Gandara y Navaro mentions it in his book, Anexion y Guerra de Santo Domingo.
Madrid: 1884. 2 vols.
27. Price-Mars, op. cit vol, 11, p. 256.
28. Message dated February 12, 1870 41st Congress, Senate: Doc 17.
29. Hans Schmidt, op. cit avails himself of recently opened archival resources to produce
an excellent analysis of the U.S. occupation.
30. The United States Marine Corps had intervened in Formosa, Japan, Uruguay, Korea,
Colombia, Hawaii, Egypt, Haiti, Samoa, Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua, China. From 1867
to 1900, the United States annexed Alaska, Midway, Hawaii, Guam, Tutuila, the Philippines,
Wake and fifty other smaller islands, not counting the earlier conquests of the Northwest

territories. Following the Spanish-American war, the United States acquired Puerto Rico and
Cuba. Panama was secured from Colombia in 1903. United States troops occupied the
Dominican Republic in 1906, Nicaragua in 1909, Haiti in 1915. The Virgin Islands were
purchased from Denmark in 1916.
31. H. Schmidt, op. cit. p. 142.
32. SD 838.00/2882 Grummon to Stimson 8/29/30, cited by Schmidt Ibid. pp. 145-146.
33. D. Bellegarde, Au Service d'Haiti, Port-au-Prince: 1962. pp. 80-89. For another account, see
F. P. Waiters. A History of the League of Nations, Oxford University Press: 1952, reprint
1960, pp. 212, 650: M. E. Burton. The Assembly of the League of Nations, Chicago: 1941.
pp. 215,217, 309, 363.
On the topic of Pan-Africanism, see Philippe Decraene. Le Panafricanisme. Paris: 1970 pp.
20-21, 25. Also see, D. Bellegarde, Au Service d'Haiti, Port-au-Prince: 1962. p. 147.
34. H.E. Davis, "Trends in Social Thought in Twentieth Century Latin America". Journal of Inter
American Studies, vol 1 (January 1959) p. 65.
35. P.W. Buck and M.B. Travis Jr. (eds) Control of Foreign Relations in Modern Nations, New
York: 1957. p. 223.
36. D. Bellegards, "La Quatrieme Reunion Consultative des Ministres des Relations Exterieures
d'Amerique" in Journal of Inter American Studies, vol IV (January 1962) p. 17.
Translated by author of present article.
"These projects (Resolutions prepared at the Chancellery in Port-au-Prince) were all inspired
by the necessity, more pressing than ever, of fortifying the unity of the American
republics... I remarked that the principal weakness of the ancient League consisted in the
insufficiency or the incapacity of the means at its disposal to compel respect for its
decisions." pp. 2, 6. Translated by author of present article.
37. Schmidt, op. cit p. 43.


Dr. J.T. Ward in a work entitled Popular Movements states,
"The second quarter of the nineteenth century had a distinctive character.
Sandwiched between the long period of Pittite-Toryism and the mid-century
liberal dominance, it was an age of change in many aspects of British life. A
predominantly rural society was still slowly adjusting to its new role as 'the
workshop of the world.' Technological advance and industrial evolution were
producing varied changes."'

One of these changes, which was by no means insignificant, was the growing pre-
sence of the mass of unemployed poor that were scattered both in the urban and rural
areas of Great Britain. This was the sequel to the Industrial Revolution and its
corollary, the replacement of men by machines in the then growing industrial milieu; it
was also a manifestation of the natural rate of increase in Britain's population, due to
an increase in fertility rates and a decrease in mortality,2 the results of which had long
since been prognosticated by Malthus in his, Essay on Population. The degree to which
the unemployment and population crisis was a national issue was manifested in the rise
of popular movements of the time viz. Anti-poor Law Agitation, Chartism, Agitation
against the Corn Law.3 There were many thinkers who looked to the repeal of the
Corn Laws as a way out of the social and economic malaise that was besetting England
at the time; but there were others who looked for a possible solution through the
medium of colonization and emigration. Many emigration schemes appeared during
this era; there was one which had to do with systematic colonization of the new
colonies of New Zealand and Australia; there was the migration of Britishers to the
developing countries of U.S.A. and Canada; lastly there was, what can be described as,
an intercolonial emigration scheme, the aim of which was to move people from over-
populated areas of the empire, to colonies where there was a shortage of labour and
consequently a demand for agricultural workers.4

This paper will analyze the role played by the Colonial Land and Emigration
Commission in immigration to Jamaica during the period 1840-60. This commission
was established in 1840 to supervise colonization and emigration in the colonies. But
before one gets into the actual work of the Commission and the subject of emigration,
it is necessary as a form of introduction to show some of the underlying themes and
debates on the whole question of colonization and emigration.

The first economist to propose a theory of systematic colonization and emigration,
as a solution to the domestic economic ills of England, was Sir R.J. Wilmot-Horton. He
argued that the existence of a body of unemployed workers who are willing to sell
their labour at a price below the current market price, will in the long run reduce the
standard of living, and decrease wages, until "they were just enough to provide for
physical existence." s Thus Wilmot-Horton and other members of his school looked
upon emigration as the great panacea for the economic dilemma existing in Great
However many of the classical economists of the day, undoubtedly influenced by
Say's Law, 6 rejected emigration and the theory of the 'wages fund,' as put forward by
Wilmot-Horton and others. Among these were John Mill, David Ricardo, Francis Place
and, to a lesser extent, McCulloch. They argued that emigration could not be carried
out on a sufficient extent, and that even if it could have been, the capital spent on
emigration would occasion further unemployment in the domestic market. They
rejected the Smithian doctrine of emigration and colonization as vent for surplus
capital and believed that sooner or later market forces would restore equilibrium
between investment and rate of profits.8
Nonetheless, all classical Economists did not oppose schemes for emigration; among
this latter group was N.W. Senior, who supported emigration on the grounds that it
was cheaper than the expense of pauper support. He also considered it to be a kind of
insurance on property due to destitution;9 and claimed "that expenses would be more
than recouped by the markets created for the mother country's produce in the newly
settled land."'1
Other economists of the classical era, chiefly Smith and Bentham, supported plans
for emigration on the basis of the above mentioned 'vent for surplus capital,' scoffed
at by the Orthodox Classicists. Their followers realized that post-war England was
suffering from a 'glut of capital,' and that the average or normal rate of returns to
investment was falling, due to so much capital seeking investment. A possible solution
to this problem, they argued, could be found in colonization. Thus these economists
together with certain businessmen encouraged emigration, not because it would ease
domestic unemployment but because it would provide markets for manufactured
goods and create a profitable outlet for surplus capital and open up new channels for
investment.12 The theoretical economists were preoccupied not so much with social
problems as with the problems of economic growth and stagnation. Emigration of
people and capital was one way of making growth dynamic; for the Ricardians this
represented a fallacy in the understanding of the economy. Instead they looked to the
Repeal of the Corn Laws as arresting the decline of profits, and not to colonies and
emigration schemes.13
Chief among the critics of Ricardo and classical orthodoxy was Edward Gibbon
Wakefield, a convert to Benthamite economics. The real point of contention between
Wakefield and the Ricardians according to Professor Winch, "concerned the theoretical
possibility and actual existence of secular stagnation in Britain." Although Wakefield
was not a confirmed under-consumptionist, he denied, says Winch, 'The assumption of
Say's Law by arguing that the "field of employment" for capital was not co-extensive

with its supply; that capital can accumulate even when profitable investment oppor-
tunities were low, and that it can bring about the simultaneous existence of redundant
capital and labour; 14 Wakefield's remedy was systematic colonization. England had
outgrown her "field of employment" and thus she required new lands for her popula-
tion and new fields in which to invest her rapidly accumulating capital. An analysis of
the Wakefield programme is not necessary here; what is worth noting is Wakefield's
prognostication of gloom and social revolution if his programme of systematic
emigration and settlement was npt adopted; as he said, "the state of capitalists and
labourers may grow worse provided that the field of production be not extended at
the same rate with the increase of people and capital."5I
The foregoing discussion formed the philosophical background to the process of
intercolonial migration that formed such an important aspect of nineteenth century
economic development. It also helps to put subsequent immigration into Jamaica in its
true historical perspective.
As early as 1819 "the acute economic distress and increasingly grave political
outlook led to the flooding of the home and colonial offices with requests for
emigration assistance."16 But emigration never became a serious issue until the 1830s
when the Wakefield programme gained popularity in parliament and among colonial
officials. Whatever emigration that took place before the mid-1830s was of a private
nature. However with the mushrooming of private emigration in the early 1830s,
government was forced to vote funds in 1834 for the introduction of a permanent
emigration establishment. The 1834 Poor Law Act contained a clause which en-
couraged ratepayers to raise funds to help finance the emigration of the local poor.
These two measures were followed in 1837 by the appointment of Thomas Elliott as
the first Agent General for Emigration.17 Elliott's department was only loosely
attached to, and was financially independent of, the Colonial Office.
This appointment marked the inauguration of a definite and permanent emigration
programme. Elliott supervised the selection of persons who were being assisted to go
to the Australian colonies; he also advised the colonial Secretary of State, Lord
Normandy at the time, on all emigration matters.18

Consequently upon the Durham Report of 1838, which enunciated in its section of
Colonial lands and emigration, the traditional Wakefieldian principle H.G. Ward pro-
posed a motion to Parliament, that a board be created, as a distinct branch of the
Colonial Office, to administer waste areas and control emigration. This was supported
by Sir William Molesworth, Charles Buller, and Smith O'Brien;19 but after Lord
Howick had cast doubts on the issue, Ward withdrew his motion. Wilmot-Horton later
presented a similar petition to the house, but no action was taken. These were in fact
the preliminary discussions and wrangles that led in the following year to the forma-
tion of a bureau to administer Colonial Lands and to supervise Emigration.
This took place in 1840 under the Colonial Secretaryship of Lord John Russell.
After his appointment in 1839, James Stephen, then the under-Secretary of State for
the colonies, recommended the combining of the offices of Colonization Commission
for South Australia, and Agent-General for Emigration. The former was under Robert

Torrens, and the latter under Elliott.20 Stephen's recommendations were agreed to,
both by Russell and Vernon Smith, the Parliamentary under-Secretary.
The new bureau was called the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission and it
was headed by three Commissioners, T.F. Elliott, R. Torrens, and E.E. Villiers. It was
now a permanent branch of the Colonial Office. The function of these Commissioners
was to survey the settling of colonists in an area; to conduct the sale in Britain of
waste land in the colonies; to apply the proceeds of such sales to settle emi-
grants; to amass statistics on emigration rates; and to control intercolonial emigra-
tion, and, emigration from foreign countries to the colonies.21 Into the last
category fell the British West Indian Colony of Jamaica, which by 1840 was
plagued by an artificial labour problem, and with falling production and produc-
tivity in its staple export, sugar.
As this office for the next thirty-five years was to be the only board in Great
Britain for the supervision of land sales and emigration throughout the British
Colonies, it would be important to have a short glimpse into its character and structure
for the period under review.
In addition to the three Commissioners Elliott, Torrens and Villiers there were
secretary Stephen Walcott (he would later become a commissioner) and an assistant
secretary John Walpole. Then there were the clerks, A.H. Engelbach, J.T. Miller and
J.S. Leeves, and the messenger Gray. Of the above, Walcott was already experienced in
colonial affairs. Already in 1836, he was 'secretary to Lord Gosford in Canada and had
written for him a report on the mode of issuing land titles there.' 22
One of the shortcomings in the bureau was that of one officer holding two offices
simultaneously. This was the case of John George Leferve who succeeded Torrens in
1841, and Frederick Rogers who succeeded Leferve. This obviously led to less time
being devoted to the many affairs coming before the Commission; but this practice
was abandoned in 1846, to facilitate greater attention to matters referred to the
Commissioners. 23
A few adversities beset the upper echelons of the Commission during the first
decade of its operation. In 1841 Torrens resigned; in 1843 Villiers died and was
succeeded by Charles Wood. In 1846 Leferve resigned and when in 1847 Elliott
became Assistant Under-Secretary of State, Thomas Murdock was appointed to
take his place. This constant shifting around of personnel must have affected in
one way or another the consolidation of policies, since it would take each new
administrator some time to become acquainted with the colonies and their
special problems.
In 1853 the Commission experienced a structural change. Instead of three Com-
missioners, it was now to have one and an assistant. The proposed changes were
expected to reduce annual costs of operation (expenditure) from 6,600 to 5,400.24
In 1860, Rogers succeeded Merivale as permanent under-secretary in the Colonial
Office, and his place on the emigration board was taken by Stephen Walcott. Such was
the structure and character of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission during
the first twenty years of its existence.

In the meantime certain colonies in the British West Indies were suffering from a
shortage of labour supply. Jamaica was one of these; her labour problem had become
quite noticeable by the year 1838, and by 1842 most planters and even the local
assembly considered it (to be) 'chronic to the core' 25 The select Committee of 1842
proposed the immigration of a fresh labouring population so as to compensate for the
diminished labour supply. They hoped that the new labourers by increasing the supply
on the market would create competition and thus force the recalcitrant freedmen to
sell their labour to the planter at lower rates.26 The Committee also intimated that
this immigration plan 'should be conducted under the authority, inspection and
control of responsible public officers.'27
This responsibility was thus entrusted to the Colonial Land and Emigration Com-
mission.28 The Commissioners acting through the Colonial Office were to supervise,
regulate, and control the emigration from India, China and West Africa to Jamaica,
British Guiana and Trinidad, the British West Indian Colonies that were suffering from
a shortage of labour in the 1840s.
Jamaica's labour problem after 1838 as had been hinted at before was an artificial
one. It was not due to the fact that there were insufficient hands in the island to
satisfy the demands of the plantation, but to the fact that many of the freedmen or
ex-slaves were forced to leave the plantation by the iniquitous, inhumane and unjust
treatment shown towards them by the planter.29 The free village system and the rise
of the independent free peasantry were a direct sequel to this planter maltreatment
and injustice (towards the ex-slaves). One writer in reference to the former's attitude
in 1838 had this to say:
"Strange infatuation! Masters appear to think that they have them (freedmen)
more in their power than during the Apprenticeship; and some had the folly to
vaunt of this in their presence."30
The Jamaican planters' behaviour after 1838 can be described as attempts to
maintain the slave-planter relationship of the pre-1838 period; and the subsequent
labour problem was all of their own making; and even though they blamed the freed-
men, the planters were the ones who were truly culpable.
After emancipation in 1834, but especially after the end of apprenticeship in 1838,
he began to see his distress and the demise of his plantation as a logical outcome of the
freedmen's refusal to work for him; or to the latter's irregular and discontinuous
employment. He saw his problem existing on the input side of the production unit; in
other words it was a labour problem and as far as he was concerned, wholly and solely.
He-scarcely ever blamed the fluctuations of the international market.
In 1832, there were, on 138 estates in Jamiaca, 41,820 slaves; by 1847 on those
vry estates the labour input was 13,973, a decrease of some 28,000 hands.31 Using
at decline as a representation of the macro-unit, then one can conclude that the
available labour supply had fallen by some 70 per cent.32 The planters of 1838 and
after, like those of 1834, shouted in one voice "Decline and Ruin", and their counter-
parts who gave evidence before the various Parliamentary Select Committees in the
1840s re-echoed and strongly articulated the self-same conditions.

As a result of the frequent complaints and importunities of the Jamaican and other
British West Indian planters, together with the aid of their ally and spokesman in
England, the West India Sugar Interest, a Parliamentary Select Committee was drawn
up to investigate the economic conditions in the West Indies.33 The Committee re-
commended that immigration be applied as a means of satisfying the acute labour
shortage in Jamaica, British Guiana and Trinidad.34 The Colonial Office entrusted this
responsibility, as noted before, to the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission, and
it was under the aegis of this body that immigration to Jamaica was carried out and
In their attempts to supply a labour force to Jamaica, the Commissioners upon
advice from varied parties Colonial Office, planters, West India Interest tried three
sources viz. Africa, India and China. The last was largely unsuccessful; Africa and India
supplied the major portions of labourers.
It can be stated here that Jamaica had made attempts to import workers before
1840; from 1834 to 1837, 1,333 workers from Great Britain and 1,038 from Germany
were imported.35 Later, in 1841, 1,333 more Britishers arrived, this time under the
supervision of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission.36 But according to
Noel Deer 'this immigration was grossly mismanaged' and the selection of workers was
inconsistent with the special labour needs of Jamaica at the time.37 In addition to
that, no attempts seemed to have been made to ensure the well-being of the immi-
grants and consequently mortality rates were very high. Before long the survivors
emigrated to the mainland of South and Central America or returned to their

Most Jamaican planters themselves had little confidence and hope in North--
European immigration, for most of them still subscribed to the climatic argu-
ments for slavery i.e. the White man was unable to work as hard, and be as
productive under the rigours of a tropical sun as the Black man. (Soon, this
theory was to be disproved by the Australian experience). They looked to
Africa and considered Black workers their best form of labour. They all voiced
the opinion that life in the British West Indies would have a civilized effect on
the Africans. They upheld a gilded bait to the African; for simultaneously they
were subjecting his West Indian counterpart to grave injustices. Their attitude was even
supported by the Economist,one of the leading liberal newspapers in England. It said

"Immigration from Africa has much to recommend it and we hope it can be
carried out on a greater scale Not only is it an immigration that will best
suit the interests of the planter but we believe it to be the best and most
effectual means of improving and civilizing the African race."39
In an attempt to rationalize the importation of African labourers after the abolition
of the slave trade and slavery, planters had the audacity to represent exploitation as
synonymous with their so-called concept of 'civilization.' They also argued that it was
an effective way of wounding the then African Slave Trade at its origin.40 These views
were also held both by Edward Gibbon Wakefield and the Colonial Land and
Emigration Commission. The Commission, in its first report, stated:

"The day on which sugar raised by free labour could be brought to market
cheaper and of better quality than sugar produced by slaves, would date the fall
of negro slavery throughout the world."41
This was nothing but a pious hope and soon turned out to be a manifestation of
false presumption. None but the most naive and ignorant of political economists could
ever have expected the British West Indies to compete with Cuba or Brazil; for labour
input was not the most decisive variable in the production of sugar. There were the
other factors of soil fertility, capital input, division of labour, position on the pro-
duction scale*, and economies to scale. But obviously these people thought, that in
terms of international competition, labour input was that which lowered productivity
on the sugar estate, and would give the British West Indian planter a lower per unit
cost of production than the Cuban. James Stephen, whose opinion was that the
improvements in the material, moral and intellectual state of the newly emancipated,
largely offset declining profits in the sugar industry, maintained that immigration
would not improve the Jamaican Sugar Industry.42 But no one listened to Stephen.
He was just one of a minority. "Soon the British government, through the Colonial
Land and Emigration Commission, was engaged in controlling the small but complex
movement of Africans to the West Indies." 43
African immigration to Jamaica after 1840 according to G.W. Roberts was of three
kinds. First, "there was the drift of labour from the islands where the population was
denser, to the colonies where labour was in demand." Then there were the emanci-
pados, slaves liberated from captured African Slave ships. Some were carried directly
to the West Indian Colonies, of which Jamaica took a major share, and others were
first resettled in Sierra Leone and St. Helena and then carried to Jamaica, Trinidad and
British Guiana.44 Thirdly there were the free Africans of Sierra Leone and West
As regards the first category, 779 Africans from other West Indian islands came to
Jamaica in the period 1845-46.45 These came from colonies, as already mentioned,
where there was a redundant labour supply and where the opportunities for advance-
ment were almost nil. This seemed to have ended by 1846. Members of the second
category, the emancipados were in Jamaica even before 1840; these were carried there
incidentally by 'captors' and was not governmentally supervised; 1,388 of these came
to Jamaica in the years 1837-39.46 In 1840, the British government sanctioned
Emigration from Africa to the West Indies. The Jamaican legislature voted the
necessary funds; 47 and transports, one for each of the three importing colonies, were
sent to Sierra Leone (The Jamaican transport ship was the Glen Huntley). The Com-
missioners outlined and supervised all the arrangements, under which this immigration
was to be conducted.
All ships carrying labourers from Sierra Leone and St. Helena to Jamaica had to
satisfy the standards and requirements of the Imperial Passengers' Act.48 No person
was allowed to leave unless he had resided for six weeks in those territories; children

Whereas the British West Indies were major producers of sugar since the eighteenth
century, Cuba was now expanding and becoming a major producer; while stagnation was the
order of the day In Jamaica, expansion was the norm In Cuba.

had to have the consent of their parents or guardians, and liberated Africans, the
consent of the Government's superintendent. There had to be one woman to every
two men. No pecuniary inducements were permitted.49 In 1845 the regulations
regarding length of residence, pecuniary inducements, and sex ratio were all withdrawn
so as to facilitate a more rapid exportation. 5 Agents were sent to the West Indies to
see prospects and conditions of workers, and they were to return to Sierra Leone to
make their findings public. This action on the part of the Colonial Office proved to be
a setback to emigration since the agents' reports in most cases were neither stimulating
nor favourable.
Among the other regulations governing African Immigration into Jamaica were the
appointment of an agent at the port of disembarkation, and one at Sierra Leone, the
arrangement of an indentureship between immigrant and planter for one year, and the
obligation to see that all Kroo men were returned to Africa.
By 1848 stricter supervision was extended to African immigration by an Act of
Parliament. In addition to the Agent-General sub-agents were appointed, one for each
port of disembarkation. The Commissioner of Accounts in Jamaica was to provide
return passages for the immigrants, and certificates were given to each immigrant to
ensure this. The rate of bounty on each African coming to Jamaica was fixed at
Until Indian Immigration to Jamaica was resumed in 1845, liberated Africans
formed the major source of additional labour to the Jamaican Sugar Industry. In the
period 1841-44, 1,524 liberated Africans came from Sierra Leone; 601 came from St.
Helena and 408 elsewhere (these came from other West Indian colonies).s2 This gives
a total of 2,533. After Indian Immigration was resumed in 1845, the number of
Africans entering Jamaica increased in scale rather than declined, reaching its zenith in
1848-51. In the period 1845-49,53 1,418 came from Sierra Leone, while 1,979 from
St. Helena, and 539 from the Mixed Commission Courts of Rio de Janeiro and
Havana.54 Thus the importation of Africans increased by over 100 per cent in this
latter period. Thus when Indian immigration came to a standstill in the late 1840s
liberated Africans constituted the only source of additional labour. It remained the
only source until it virtually came to an end in 1851. After 1851, and up to 1860,
African immigration became a thing of the past; the same was true at that time for
Indian immigration. The importation of Blacks from the Kroo Coast, which was
continued after 1845, was intended for Trinidad and British Guiana; thus no Krooman
came to Jamaica after 1845.55 Those that came in 1842 and 1843, though they had to
return by 1848, were still in Jamaica, possibly because of lack of funds for their
repatriation. They numbered some 200.56 In general during the twenty years
extending from 1840 to 1860, through the auspices of the Colonial Office and under
the guardianship of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission, 8,245 liberated
slaves and other Africans were imported into Jamaica. Of these 3,436 came from
Sierra Leone, 3,032 from St. Helena, some 1,000 from elsewhere (including 709 from
West Indies), and 787 from Havana and Rio de Janeiro.57
The outstanding fact about African immigration is that actual importation was
always less than the potential demands of the planter. In 1846, emigration from Sierra

Leone to Jamaica reached a trough; 42 had come in 1845 and none in 1846. This was
due to the fact that none of the resident population was willing to emigrate and the
number of newly liberated Africans had become so small that ship owners found it
highly unprofitable to send their ships thither. s This scheme was then dropped and
St. Helena came to the forefront. Emigration from Sierra Leone came alive again in
1848, when just over 1,000 were imported into Jamaica.59 African immigration can
be said to have begun its demise in 1852. Since, by then, Brazil a major slave importer,
had abolished the Slave Trade, this kind of immigration automatically entered a stage
of decline. However, in the period 1860-64, 1,837 were conveyed to Jamaica; these
were recovered mostly from Cuban slavers. After that, African immigration sank into
oblivion, and was virtually at an end by 1865.60
"African immigration differed fundamentally from other immigrations into
Jamaica, and the British West Indies as a whole."61 This is the stand taken by G.W.
Roberts. He argues that even though all immigrants suffered a loss of full freedom, in
the colony where they served their indentureship, the African immigrant closely ap-
proximated the slave in status; for African immigration 'was a byproduct of the
nineteenth century slave trade.' In the words of the Des Voeux Committee, "the
African immigrant was 'the rescued slave, the legitimate fruit of the costly African
Squadron which humanity has so long induced Great Britain to maintain' "62 In
reviewing the Jamaican labour problem after 1838, it seemed that the planter still had
a fixation to black labour. The Jamaican planter had very little confidence in
European workers, and still less, it seems, in Indian Immigrants. After Indian Immi-
gration, which was resumed in 1845 had, by 1848, been abandoned, the planter
continued to look to Africa more than before. A colonial journal expressed the
planters' feelings in the following words:
"What the Colonists want, therefore, and what alone will satisfy them is restora-
tion of a semi-slave trade. They will not have the coolies, who are freemen, they
want Africans, whom they can enslave"63
In this field he was ably supported by the Colonial Office and by its agency in
charge of emigration the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission. They even
attempted to import Blacks from the U.S.A. According to the Colonial Office and
the Economist together with the Wakefieldians, African immigration carried with it
reciprocal advantages both to the African and planter. The planter would benefit from
the labour of the Africans, while the African would receive in the meantime an
education and a religion. But all that the planter wanted was labour and as far as
creating social institutions for the Africans, he was not in the least interested. Thus in
helping the planter to solve his labour problem the Colonial Land and Emigration
Commission, like the planter, resorted to a kind of intellectual trickery to justify
African immigration to those who accused it of resembling closely slave trade and
One of the demands the planter made but which was refused by the Colonial Land
and Emigration Commission, was that liberated Africans be forcibly sent to the Carib-
bean. According to Roberts, "the principle that emigration should be voluntary,
controlled the movement throughout." But one wonders how voluntary it was in

actuality, since after 1846, emigrants were offered pecuniary inducements to migrate,
a practice that was expressly forbidden at the beginning. At any rate, what all this
planters' insistence on African labour resulted in was, not a lowering of estates'
productivity or a satisfying of labour demand, but the fostering of a myth that Black
Labour was the most suitable for plantation agriculture and the cultivation of sugar
In 1850, with the impending demise of African Immigration, the West Indian
colonies availed themselves of the Imperial Loan for the introduction of immigrants,
and for the third time in about fifteen years Indian Immigration was again tried in the
British West Indies. This goes only for Trinidad and British Guiana. Jamaica's first
attempt to introduce Indian Immigrants took place in 1845; and it was not until the
mid-1850s that the Assembly decided to make a second try at getting immigrants from
India. However, even though plans were then 'on foot' the first shipment, for this
second period, did not arrive until 1860.
The first attempt to get Indians to migrate to the British West Indies took place in
1836-8, under the sponsorship of John Gladstone and other Guianese planters.65 This
immigration was suspended in 1838, after it had evoked widespread opposition in
England.66 Six years were to pass before Indian immigration to the West Indies was
again permitted. The initial immigration was more or less a private concern, and even
the Colonial Office thought that no official sanction was necessary. However, it re-
served the right to make any laws that would be necessary to protect the 'Coolies'.67
Indian Immigration to Jamaica began in 1845, and unlike the former immigration
scheme to British Guiana, this was conducted under the watchful eyes of the Colonial
Land and Emigration Commission. They drew up the list of regulations governing
selection of emigrants, voyage to Jamaica and other Colonies, indentureship, and
repatriation to India. Hitchins commends them on this; he says:
"In the great labour movement which began in 1845, the Emigration Com-
missioners played a leading role. They supervised the whole emigration, drew up
regulations, passed under review all colonial legislation upon the matter, ap-
pointed and supervised surgeons for the emigrant-ships, bought Coolie clothing
and other supplies and whenever necessary chartered all or some of the ships
required. They set the machinery of the great emigration in motion and for
thirty years kept careful watch that it operated smoothly and efficiently."68
As the expedients, which had been employed to satisfy the Jamaican and West
Indian planter with a sufficient labour supply, were proving unsuccessful, many
planters began to demand that immigration from India be reopened. The West India
interests in England, petitioned Lord Stanley for such a renewal.69 Stanley at first
refused; but later circumstances forced him to yield to the persuasion of the West
India Committee and in 1843 asked the Governor General and Council of India to lift
the ban on emigration to the West Indies.70 On November 16, 1844, the Government
of India lifted the ban, and emigration to Jamaica, Trinidad and British Guiana was
again permitted.71 The initial requirement was that emigration be restricted to the
ports of Madras and Calcutta; but later Bombay was added to the list.72

As this was to be a governmental rather than a private concern, a huge body of
regulations was drawn up to ensure its smooth and effective operation. A protector of
Indians was appointed at every port, whose job it was to judge the sea-worthiness of
emigrants' ships and to ascertain that emigrants had embarked voluntarily. Each
emigrant was to be given a certificate by the protector. Also appointed was an
emigrant agent at the port of embarkation. His duty was to gather together would-be
emigrants and prepare them for departure. In Madras, Captain Wilson was agent, and in
Calcutta, Mr. Caird. Then there was the Immigrant Agent who superintended arrival in
Jamaica. The regulations also stipulated that there was to be one Sirdar to every fifty
Indians. This was a very inadequate proportion and eventually led to a breakdown of
communications and the prevalence of vagrancy among Indians in Jamaica. Gratuities
of 15 rupees could be made to Indians before their departure for Jamaica. Each Indian
was to serve an indentureship of five years, after which he was entitled to a free
passage back to India. He was also allowed to renew his indentureship for another five
years or to commute it for a parcel of land and permanent residence. The ships that
were engaged in transporting the emigrants had to adhere to the regulations of the
Passengers' Act.73 These were some of the more important regulations that governed
the importation of Indians to Jamaica and other West Indian Colonies.
Indian immigration was an expensive affair and thus the imperial government had
to guarantee loans to ensure its continuance. A loan of 500,000 was guaranteed for
Jamaica, but the Assembly refused at first to pass the necessary loan ordinance owing
to growing opposition to Indian Immigration.74 Later, the Assembly made financial
provision for 2,000 instead of 5,000 Indians as originally agreed to. In 1845, however,
financial provision was made for 5,000; but later when news of equalization of the
sugar duties reached Jamaica, the Jamaican planter rescinded his orders.75 But the
recruitment had by then progressed so far that Jamaica was forced to accept her
consignment of Indians. The Colonial Land and Emigration Commission decided not
to interfere with existing contracts, but to prohibit the agents in India from hiring any
further shipping for Jamaica. 76 The Jamaican House of Assembly eventually decided
to withdraw from the Indian Immigration scheme.77 Thus in 1848 Indian Immigration
to Jamaica was discontinued, and it was not to be renewed until the late 1850s. Of a
total number of 41,799 Indians imported during the period 1845-48, Jamaica received
The next group of Indian immigrants to arrive in Jamaica came in 1860,
approximately eight years after British Guiana and Trinidad, had resumed their im-
portation. According to E. Erickson, the resumption of Indian immigration to Jamaica
was due to the lengthening of their industrial residence from five years to ten. What
this did, was to double the length of service, without creating additional costs to the
planter from importing new immigrants to take the place vacated by those returning to
India.79 598 Indians arrived in Jamaica in 1860.80
Was Indian immigration a panacea or pandora? To many a Jamaican planter it was
the latter. It was most inadequate as a means of solving the labour problem; added to
that it was considered by many costly and inefficient. In a despatch to the Colonial
Office, Governor Grey said:

"The subsistence of a population in which scarce half are constant at their work
has made a Hindu Community on a plantation as burdensome as the dead weight
which used to be felt when a slave for a portion of the year was tasked only for
purposes of discipline. "81
Most Indians were considered unfit for the heavier kinds of field work and thus
would be found doing things like hoeing, trashing and weeding. 82 Towards the end of
the 1840s many plantations were beginning to suffer from vagrancy and this increased
the disenchantment of the planters. On one estate, Epping, out of 3060 days to be
worked by 18 East Indian immigrants, 1,533 were days of vagrancy, and 302 days of
Governor Grey, in a subsequent despatch to Earl Grey, had this to say of vagrancy:
"There has been a great deal of vagrancy and begging, much misery, and I am
afraid some cases even of death from destitution and its consequences."84
The immigration agent of Jamaica, in his 1859 report, stated that of 4,551 Coolies
introduced into Jamaica, 1,597 died or disappeared between the years 1845 and
1858.85 Those planters who had Madras Coolies were glad when their indentureship
had expired, since these were noted for the above vices; and when complaints were
made to the Sirdars, the latter remained indifferent. There were many costs that
accrued to the plantation, which were considered to be nothing but encumbrances.
There were the maintenance costs of emigrants food, clothing, shelter and medical
expenses; in addition immigrants were to be paid wages ranging from 6d to 2/3 per
day.86 The additional costs of maintaining Indian workers became very burdensome
to the planter, and in an age of falling productivity and profits few if any were able to
maintain it. As Governor Grey said: "Coolie immigration was an expensive resort for
the planter." 87
The Colonial Assembly of Jamaica in an endeavour to get funds to subsidize Indian
immigration had to increase taxes, so as to expand government revenue. The Econ-
omist rejected this device; it stated emphatically:
"To increase import duties to enable immigration to take place is at the same
time holding out a still stronger reason for labourers to abandon the field and
take to the garden."88
The fact of the matter is the freedman was called upon to pay and subsidize an
immigration scheme which was of no benefit to him. Such was the inequity and
injustice of Jamaican fiscal policy in those days. The Economist was prepared to stand
on the side of the Blacks on this issue, quite possibly not through altruism for Blacks
but because it was avowedly against import taxes, preferential and prohibitive tariffs.
At any rate, it wrote:
"It would appear very hard and unjust to tax the whole race of labourers by
means of an import duty on articles of food for an expense undertaken for the
avowed motive of reducing their wages."89
In cases like these the interests of the planter took precedence over that of the
freedman. This was the general ethos in a colony where the plantocracy reigned

By 1852, the Economist noted that the Jamaican planter was 'still raising higher its
ruinous import duties.'90 The Anti-slavery society declared that the costs of immigra-
tion should be paid for by those who benefitted from it. Such words, in the planters'
world, were, like a drop of water falling upon hell-fire. Nothing or no one, except a
planter, could have defended such a system. It was rotten to the core. Since there was
no appreciable tax on land, and custom duties supplied most of Jamaica's revenue; and
since most of these duties were paid by the labouring population, then logically these
were the people who were paying for Indian immigration.
"To ask the labouring man who now gets 1/6 a day to pay a proportion of that
wage in order that he may get 1/4 a day for the same amount of work is an
injustice, so obvious, that it needs only to be pointed out to be remedied."91
As obvious as the Economist might say this was, it was impossible for a 'blind'
planter to see it. The Colonial Land and Emigration Commission did not even raise its
voice; by its relative silence it gave tacit approval and thus became as condemnable as
the planter, for the injustices done to the freedmen.
Another source of immigration that was discussed since 1848 was that of Portu-
guese in Madeira and the Azores. But it remained a dead letter. It was not until 1853
that further attempts were made to procure such immigrants: in that year 167 persons
came to Jamaica from Madeira.92An emigration agent was appointed there in 1854
with authority to recruit and export workers at the cost of 7 per adult,93 and at the
same time the British Agent in Lisbon was asked to petition the Portugese government
to remove existing restrictions on emigration from its Atlantic Colonies. However,
apart from 212 Madeirans who came in 1855, this source never acquired any im-
The only other group of immigrants who came to Jamaica in this period was
Chinese, from China and from Panama. Since 1843, the West India Committee had
suggested China as a possible source of immigration; the committee was then referring
to the Chinese emigrants who were said to frequent the straits of Malacca, in search of
employment; few had any confidence in the Chinese accepting to go to places as
distant as Jamaica, and the scheme was later dropped.95
However, in 1846-49, the possibility of Chinese immigration was again investigated.
A Mr. White was appointed Emigration Agent in Hong Kong to supervise bounty
immigration already in progress by 1849. He was also commissioned to operate a
permanent system of emigration under government control. Later, in 1853, White was
appointed Emigration Agent in China. Jamaica did not benefit much from Chinese
immigration. Apart from the 472 who arrived in 1854, 205 of whom came from
Panama,96 Chinese immigration was as dead as a door nail. In 1856 the Commissioners
of Land and Emigration wrote:
"The Chinese who were introduced into Jamaica from Panama have not im-
proved in character or efficiency. This immigration does not appear to be
much desired by the Colonists; and it is open to objections which render its
resumption unlikely."97

How many of the immigrants who came to Jamaica returned to their homeland? Of
the 10,200 Africans who were introduced between 1834 and 1861, 1,800 returned. 98
As regards the Indians, their return passages fell due in 1850; but owing to lack of
funds the Jamaican Assembly was reluctant to honour them. However by 1853, 1,185
had gone home and 664 had commuted their return passage for a grant of money. In
addition to that, about 2,000 men had left by 1854 to work on railway construction
in Panama. 99 By the end of 1854, 1,696 Indians had returned to India.100
The efforts of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission were genuine
attempts to assuage the feelings of the Jamaican planter, who had conceived his
problem only in terms of a shortage of labour. In this the Commission was deceived,
for they believed the planter. His problem was far more fundamental and it was only
sheer naivete in him to overemphasize this labour shortage argument. The Economist
was right when it said that:
"It is neither disease or the policy of 1846 that breeds distress in Jamaica; it is
keeping up establishments which grew up under the extravagance of protection,
and continuing habits suitable to slave holders."101
But even the attempts that were made to solve that artificial labour shortage, which
was conceived as the real problem, turned out to be costly, ineffective and a source of
further disillusionment to the planter. By 1848, 180,252 was spent on immigration
by the Government of Jamaica, and it would be no surprise if one-half of this capital
costs was not regained. Instead of paying the freedman a reasonable wage in the initial
stages and thus encouraging him to work for them, they demanded an immigration
scheme, by which they ended up paying far more in capital and operational costs, that
they would have in paying an increased wage. This kind of irrationality was quite
consistent with the character and conventional behaviour of the plantocracy. This was
planters' logic at its best.
Neither African, nor Indian nor Chinese immigration could have helped Jamaican
planters, for their position on the long run average cost curve was at 'diseconomies to
scale.' Immigration for them was like 'spinning top in mud;' and the Colonial Office
through the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission not only sanctioned this act,
but aided in its operation.



1. J.T. Ward, Popular Movements, 1830-1850, (London: MacMillan and Co. Ltd., 1970), p.l.
2. E.T. Hobsbawn, Industry and Empire (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1968), pp. 278-9.
3. M.E. Rose, "The Antipoor Law Agitation," Popular Movements, ed. by J.T. Ward, op.cit., p.
78; Alex Wilson, "Chartism" and W.H. Chaloner's, "The Agitation against the Corn Law,"
are in that work.
4. G.W. Roberts, "Immigration of Africans into the British Caribbean", Population Studies,
Vol. VII, p. 235.
5. R.N. Gosh, "The Colonization Controversy: R.J. Wilmot-Horton and the Classical Econo-
mists", Economica, XXXI, 1964, pp. 386-9: Wilmot-Horton's plan is discussed in Richard I
Mills, The Colonization of Australia 1829-42: The Wakefield Experiment in Empire building
(London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1915), Ch. II; also R.N. Gosh, "Malthus on Emigration and
Colonization: Letters to Wilmot-Horton," Economica, Vol. XXX, Feb. 1963, pp. 46-50;
Great Britain, Parliament, HANSARD'S PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES, House of Com-
mons, Vol. XXI, 4 June, 1829, Col. 1724, Horton's Speech in Parliament, Vol. XVIII, 17
April, 1828, CoL 1551 and Vol. XVI, 15 Feb. 1827, Col. 480, contain Horton's speeches on
systematic emigration. (Hereinafter cited as Hansard).
6. Say's Law held that since goods produced represented a demand as well as supply, goods
exchanging for goods, a general over-production or glut was impossible; similarly a glut of
capital was regarded as a brief but transitory phenomenon by the followers of Say and Ricardo.
7. Edward K. Kittrell, "The Development of the theory of Colonization in English political
economy," Great Britain and Colonies, ed. by A.G.L. Shaw, (London: Milthuen & Co. Ltd.,
1970), p. 63.
8. Ibid., p. 64; Mill was not in opposition to colonization if productivity in the colonies was
higher than in the mother country; but he argued that transportation expense would be too
9. Ibid; Senior argued that increasing rate of destitution, would create many social problems,
one of which would be the attack on property by the destitute.
10. Ibid.
11. S.G. Checkland, 'The Birmingham Economists, 1815-50', Economic History Review, 2D.
ser., I, May 1, 1948, pp. 1-18.
12. Donald N. Winch, "Classical Economics and the Case for Colonization," Economica, Vol.
XXX, 1963, pp. 387-92.
13. Ibid.
14. Donald Winch, Classical Political Economy and Colonies, (London: Bell, 1965) pp.
15. Bernard Semmel, "The Philosophic Radicals and Colonialism," Journal of Economic
History, Vol. XXI, 1961, pp. 514-16.
16. W.S. Shepperson, British Emigration to North America (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1957), p.
17. Ibid., p. 194.
18. Great Britain, Parliament, Parliamentary Papers, (House of Commons and Command), 1838,
VoL XL, Cmnd. 388, "Report to Colonial Office from Agent-General for Emigration." This
report gives a brief history of the various Governmental emigration activities. (Hereinafter
cited as Par. Pap.).
19. Hanard, 3rd Ser., Vol. XLVIII, June 25, 1839, Cols. 841-919.

20. In 1842, South Australia was converted into a regularly administered colony. Specific
emigration activities in respect to the settlement was discontinued. Fred H. Hitchins,
Colonial Land and EMigration Commission (Philadelphia: U. of Pennsylvania Press, 1931),
p. 38, Part. Pap. 1840, Vol. XXXIII, "Russell to Commissioners," p. 2.
21. Hitchins, Colonial Land and Emigration Commission, p. 45.
22. Ibid. p. 60.
23. Ibid., p. 72.
24. Ibid., p. 78.
25. Parl. Pap., 1842, Vol. XIII, (Accounts and Papers) Cmnd. 479, "Report of the Select
Committee on West Indian Colonies," p. 504.
26. Ibid p. 4.
27. Hitchins, p. 243.
28. Hansard, 3rd. Ser., Vol. LXI, March 22, 1842, Cols. 1092-1108.
29. Hugh Paget, "The free village system in Jamaica," Caribbean Quarterly, X, No. 1, (March,
1964), p. 50. Parl. Pap, 1847-48, Vol. XXXVIII, (Accounts and Papers), Cmd. 160, "Memo-
rial to her Majesty from the island of Jamaica and from other West India Colonies," p. 92.
30. Eric Williams, History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago, (Port of Spain: P.N.M.
Publishing Co. Ltd., 1962), pp. 89-90.
31. Parl.Pap., 1847-48, Vol. XXXVIII (Accounts and Papers), Cmnd. 160, "Memorial to her
Majesty from the island of Jamaica and from West India Colonies respecting the Sugar
Duties", p. 165.
32. Ibid.
33. Ibid, 1842, Vol. XIII, (Accounts and Papers), Cmnd. 479, "Report from the Select Com-
mittee on the West India Colonies," p. 4.
34. Ibid., pp. 4-5.
35. Part. Pip, 1844, Vol. XXXV, (Accounts and Papers), Cmnd. 530, "Copy of a despatch from
the Rt. Honourable Earl of Elgin to Lord Stanley, Apr. 15, 1843," p. 308.
36. Ibid.
37. Noel Deer, History of Sugar, Vol. II, (London: Champan and Hall Ltd. m 1950), p. 384.
38. Ibid.
39. The Economist, Vol. II, 31, August, 1845.
40. G.W. Roberts, "Immigration of Africans into the British Caribbean", pp. 235-6.
41. Ibid p. 236.
42. W.P. Morrell, British Colonial Policy in the Age of Peel and Morrell (London: Frank Cass &
Co. Ltd., 1866) p. 155.
43. Roberts, "Immigration of Africans into the British Caribbean," p. 236.
44. Deer, History of Sugar, Vol. II, p. 385.
45. Par. Pap., 1847, Vol. XXXIX, (Accounts and Papers,) Cmnd. 191, "Return of Immigration
into Jamaica from 1840,".
46. Ibid., 1843, VoL XXXIII, (Accounts and Papers), Cmnd. 136, "Return of the No. of
immigrants into the British West Indian Colonies," p. 216.
47. Ibid., 1843, VoL XXIX, Cmnd. 621, "General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration
Commission," p. 31; also Vol. XXXIII, Cmnd. 136, "Votes of money for purposes of
Immigration," p. 216.

48. The Imperial Passengers' Act was amended in 1841. It contained a complete body of
regulations for the conveyance of emigrants from all parts of her majesty's domain. It
regulated the number of passengers per ship, the construction of the lower deck, height
between decks, the sleeping-berths, the food requirements; each ship had to be inspected by
Governor before it was declared seaworthy.
49. Par. Pap., 1842, Vol. XXIX, Cmnd. 567, "General Report of Colonial Land and Emigration
Commission, p. 20.
50. Ibid., 1845, VoL XXVII, Cmnd. 617, "Fifth General Report of the Colonial Land & Emigra-
tion Commission", p. 17.
51. Ibid., 1847-8, Vol. XLIV, Cmnd. 732, "An Act for the Encouragement of Immigration;" -
1844, Vol. XXXV Cmnd. 530, "Copy of a despatch from Lord Stanley to the Earl of Elgin,
Feb. 15, 1843"p. 308.
52. Ibid. 1847, Vol. XXXIX, "Return of Immigration into Jamaica from 1840."
53. Ibid., 1861, Vol. XXII, Cmnd. 2842, "Twenty-first General Report of the Emigration
Commissioners," Appendix 21, p. 80.
54. In its campaign against the foreign slave trade the British government relied mainly on the
interception and capture of slaves by patrolling cruisers. Captured slaves had to be taken to
one of the Mixed Commission Courts where the legality of the seizure was determined.
55. Parl. Pap., 1847, Vol. XXXIX, "Copy of a letter from James Stephen Esq. to H.G. Ward
Secretary of Admiralty, Nov. 3, 1846;" "James Stephen to C.E. Trevelyn, June 27, 1847."
56. Ibid., 1850, Vol. XL, Cmnd. 271, "Copy of a despatch from Acting Governor Price to Earl
Grey; June 5, 1848."
57. Roberts, "Immigration of Africans into British Caribbean," p. 260. Also, "Twenty-first
general report of Colonial Land and Emigration Commission", Appendix 21, p. 80.
58. Par. Pap., 1848, Vol. XXVI, Cmnd. 961, "Eighth General Report of the Colonial Land and
Emigration Commission," p. 22.
59. Ibid., 1849, Vol. XXVI, Cmnd. 1082, "Ninth General Report of the Colonial Land and
Emigration Commission," p. 20.
60. Roberts, "Immigration of Africans into the British Caribbean p. 239.
61. Ibid., p. 237.
62. Ibid.
63. Economist. Vol. X, 460, June 19, 1852.
64. Ibid., Vol. IX, No. 399, April 19, 1851: Hansard's Vol. 113. August 8, 1850; Mr. Bernal was
arguing for a lengthening of contract between Africans from one to three years. He agreed
that African workers were the best suited to cultivate soil in the West Indies.
65. Par. Pap., 1837-38, Vol. LII, Cmnd. 180, "John Gladstone to Sir George Grey," March 23,
1837," p. 28.
66. Hansard 3rd Ser., Vol. LVII, March 11, 1841, cols. 134-37. Mackinnon so stated in the
Commons. The anti-slavery proponents Joseph Sturge and Society of Friends attacked
the abuses on Coolies in British Guiana to keep the suspension from being lifted; Vol. XLIV,
82-3; Times, July 21, 1838, p. 3; July 25, 1838, p. 4; August 14, 1838, p. 4.
67. Par. Pap.., 1837-38, Vol. LII, Cmnd. 180, "Messrs. Sellanders, Arbuthnot, & Co. to Glad-
stone, June 6, 1836," pp. 146-47; also enclosures 5 & 6 of the same Parliamentary Paper.
68. Hitchins, Colonial Land and Emigration Commission, p. 252.
69. ParL Pap 1840 Vol. XXXIV, Cmnd. 151, "Russell to Light, December 17, 1840, February
15, 1840."

70. Ibid, 1845, Vol. XXVII, Cmnd. 617, "Stanley to the Commissioners for the Affairs of India,
November 29, 1843," p. 2. Also in "Fifth General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigra-
tion Commission," p. 20; in Parliamentary Papers, 1845, Vol. XXVII, Cmnd. 617.
71. Ibid, 1844, Vol. XXXV, Cmnd. 284, "J. Emerson Tennent to Lord Stanley," p. 275.
72. Ibid.
73. Ibid., 1845, "Fifth General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commission," pp.
74. Eric L. Erickson, "The Introduction of East Indian Coolies into the British West Indies,
"Journal of Modern History, Vol.VI, 2, June 1934, p. 137.
75. Ibid.
76. Parl. Pap. 1847, Vol. XXXIII, Cmnd. 809, "Seventh General Report of the Colonial Land
and Emigration Commissioners," p. 26.
77. Ibid.; Parl. Pap. 1848, Vol. XXVI, "Eighth General Report of the Colonial Land and
Emigration Commissioners," p.20.
78. I.M. Cumpston, Indian Overseas in British Territories 1834-54, (Oxford: At the University
Press, 1953).
79. Erickson, "East Indian Coolies in the West Indies," p.144.
80. ParL Pap. 1861, "Twenty-first General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration Com-
missioners," Appendix 21, p.80.
81. "Extract of a despatch from Governor Sir. C.E. Grey to Earl Grey," 21 Feb., 1848, p. 84; in
ParL Pap. 1848, Vol. XXXIX, Cmnd. 490, p. 84.
82. Ibid p. 86.
83. Ibid.
84. Ibid 1842-48, Vol. XLIV, Cmnd. 232, "Copy of a despatch from Governor Sir. C.E. Grey to
Earl Grey," pp.84-5
85. Ibid. 1859, Vol. XIV, Cmnd. 2555, "Nineteenth General Report of the Colonial Land and
Emigration Commisioners," p. 51.
86. "Grey to Earl Grey," Feb. 21, 1848, p. 86.
87. Ibid.
88. Economist, Volume III, 31, August 2, 1845, p. 718.
89. Ibid.
90. Ibid. Volume X, 460, June 19, 1852, p. 674.
91. Ibid.Volume XVII, 829, July 16, 1859, p. 786.
92. Par. Pap., 1854, Vol. XXVIII, Cmnd. 1833.
"Fourteenth General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners," p. 70.
93. Ibid; 1859, Vol. XVI, Cmnd, 2452, "Copy of a despatch from his Grace, Duke of New-
castle to Governor Sir Henry Barkly, May 16, 1854," p. 241.
94. Fourteenth General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners," p. 70.
95. Ibid., 1843, Vol. XXIX Cmnd. 621, "General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration
Commissioners," p. 33.
96. Par. Pap. 1854-55, VoLXVII, Cmnd, 1953. "Fifteenth General Report of the Colonial Land
and Emigration Commissioners", p. 50; Also, Ibid., 1859 VoL XVI, "Duke of Newcastle to
Governor Barkly, June 12, 1854," p. 243; "George Grey to Governor H. Barkly, Sept. 11,
1854", p. 244.

97. Ibid. 1856, Vol. XXIV, Cmnd. 2089, "Sixteenth General Report of the Colonial Land and
Emigration Commissioners," p. 40.
98. Roberts, "Immigration of Africans into the British Caribbean," p. 256.
99. Cumpston, Indians Overseas, p. 145.
100. Pad. Pap. 1854, "Fourteenth General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration Com-
missioners," p. 66.
101. Economist, Vol. X, 460, June 19, 1852, p. 674.


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XXX, 1963, pp. 387-97.


A Life and its Times, 1918-1970

Author's Note:
I am grateful to Mrs. Adona Dyce, widow of Osmond Dyce, as well as to Mr. Frank
Hill, former trade unionist, political activist and journalist and Mr. Frank Walcott,
General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union for according me interviews and
providing helpful insights.

A Life and its Times

On the 26th July, 1970, Osmond Oliver Dyce, an Assistant Island Supervisor of the
National Workers Union, one of Jamaica's major trade unions, suffered a heart attack
and died at the age of 52. Dyce died, as he had lived, a dedicated trade unionist,
actively engaged in field work, serving the cause of the common man.

He would not have.wanted it otherwise. Dyce has been told while still a young man
that he was suffering from a serious heart ailment and that he would be well advised to
lead a quiet and restrained life. He determined, nevertheless, to lead a vigorous and
hectic career as political activist and trade union organiser and, for as long as he could,
kept the knowledge of his heart condition from all but a few close associates as well as
from members of his family. Indeed his widow has recounted that she received her
first inkling when they both were attending a cocktail party in Montego Bay sometime
during 1964 and her husband was greeted by a medical practitioner as he turned
out to be with the passing remark "It is good to see you still alive Osmond". Mrs.
Dyce subsequently overheard him explaining to some one else that Osmond had a bad
heart and that he had not expected him to live so long.
Osmond Oliver Dyce was born on the 2nd September, 1918 in Fruitful Vale in the
easterly parish of Portland, to Felix and Mary Jane Dyce (nee Panton), peasant or
small farmers who cultivated bananas, tobacco and coffee. Young Osmond attended an
Anglican Elementary School in Fruitful Vale and had reached fifth grade when he left
to live in Kingston the capital city.

He resumed his education at Wesley Elementary school in Rosemary Lane and
began preparing for the Pupil Teachers Examination. He however, changed his voca-
tional thrust and subsequently enrolled in the Kingston Technical School to "learn a
trade" He opted for iron and machine work and thus began his occupational career as
a Blacksmith and Machinist working for one Pierce, who operated a foundry and repair
shop in Highholborn Street in downtown Kingston, specializing in building bodies for
imported bus and truck chassis and in mechanical repairs.

One result was that although short of stature, Dyce developed a sturdy physique, with
powerful shoulders, arms and chest.

When therefore working class unrest began to manifest itself throughout the year
1937, giving rise to spasmodic hunger marches, strikes and sabotage on the part of

discontented workers throughout the island, and then carried over in 1938 to erupt
first into rioting and tragic loss of life at Frome Sugar Estate in Westmoreland in April
and then next into violent protestations and an island wide revolt of the poorer classes
beginning in Kingston on the 23rd May, 1938, Osmond Dyce was, to use his own
expression a "big boy" and ready for action. As a blacksmith he was then working
ten hours a day and more for the "majestic" sum of ten shillings per week. There was
no regular payment for overtime work and when it was necessary as it often was, to
work well into the night to put buses and trucks into service he might receive an extra
shilling or two on his weekly wages. There was no question then but that Osmond
would become involved in the marches and street demonstrations the traditional
means of expressing working class discontent in Jamaica which his time was to prove
highly effective in bringing economic activities and indeed public administration vir-
tually to a halt in Kingston between May 23rd and May 28, 1938.
Dyce, a man of quiet humour, chuckled as he recalled for the benefit of this writer,
only months before his death, his role as a minor agent provocateur in the uprising.
"When the uprising came, we all went out on the street and marched and did
everything we could do to upset the general order of things. They called me the
mobocratt" afterwards. One of the boys referred to me on Highholborn Street as
mobocrat. I was the man who did the haranguing and turning around (of marchers)
and so on"
Although spontaneity, lack of organization and even of direction appeared to be
characteristic features of the revolt of the aroused workers and peasants in May 1938,
some attempts had already been made to organize and establish labour organizations
and thus provide institutional means for the accommodation of labour-management
For instance in 1936, Allan George St. Claver (Father) Coombs an ex-soldier and
policeman, of peasant stock, had formed the Jamaica Workers and Tradesmen Union, a
blanket type union into which all categories could be organized without too much
concern for occupational identity.
The JWTU drew its support initially from artisans as well as waterfront workers,
who were then still being served principally by the Longshoremen's Union Numbers 1
and 2 of the Jamaica Federation of Labour which had been founded originally in 1919
by A. Bain Alves, cigar worker and later Municipal Councillor.
During 1937 Coombs' Union began to make considerable headway, expanding into
St. Catherine, St. Mary and St. James enrolling dockworkers, lightermen, and agricul-
tural labourers. As unrest began to mount during 1937, the ranks of the JWTU began
to swell and it was claimed that in the Spanish Town Division, under the Secretaryship
of L.W. Rose, a leading Garveyite, membership had climbed to the respectable total of
In the latter part of 1937 also, the city's retail clerks, euphemistically called "shop
assistants" had become restive over unsatisfied demands for minimum wages and
shorter working hours and flocked into a new clerks' association organized by a trio of
professional middle class leaders: Florizel Glasspole, a city accountant (later to

become one of the island's outstanding trade union leaders and Parliamentarians and at
the present time, Governor General of Jamaica) Ethelred Erasmus Campbell, (an
aggressive barrister who had resigned his job as. an industrial chemist in the Govern-
ment Service and had gone off to Britain to qualify) and Ernest Rae (who had
achieved national repute as a Test Cricketer and who was also helping to organize
citizens' associations to bring reform to municipal politics).
Hotel employees also formed their own organization and registered the Jamaica
Hotel Employees Association on 1st December 1937.
These efforts, however, proved too late and too limited to stem the tide of
protest which swept over Jamaica. The complete shut down and dislocation of
the economic and social life of Jamaica so evident in the fateful events during
May and June 1938, brought home the realization to the newly emergent and as-
piring labour leaders and social reformers, that the management of labour protest
as well as alteration of the existing structures of economic and political power
would require establishment of a labour and a political movement on an
organized and permanent basis.
It had also become clear by the 28th May, 1938, that the logical person to lead a
strong and unified labour management was Alexander Bustamante.
William Alexander Clarke or William Alexander Bustamante as he had chosen to be
known when he returned home in 1934 after nearly thirty years of travel in Cuba,
Panama and the United States, was a near-white Jamaican who by circumstances of
birth and upbringing could lay claim to being a member of the privileged planting
class, even though the lot of his family may have been one of "genteel" poverty.
Developing an interest in public affairs, first as a prolific letter writer and polemicist
in the local press between 1935 and 1937, Bustamante then became more directly and
actively involved as an agitator and mobilizer of labour protest in the months
preceding the 1938 uprising, and helped to dramatize the poverty and degradation of
the black labouring poor and the unemployed who constituted the vast majority of the
Jamaican population.
He showed moreover that he was prepared to go beyond emotional identification
with the masses and led them on protest marches through the streets of Kingston, and
thus became the pivotal focus of their discontent.
Bustamante, the rabble-rouser, tall, gaunt, bushy haired and flamboyant in both
style and dress, could hardly be overlooked by the police when matters appeared to be
getting out of hand, and it was not surprising therefore that he and his side-kick labour
activist and Garveyite St. William Grant were apprehended by the police on the 24th
of May, 1938, when they attempted to intercede on behalf of the restive fire fighters,
taken into custody and denied bail.
This set the stage for the intervention of yet another Jamaican who by virtue of
training, profession and inclination could hardly be described as an agitator, but who
nevertheless like Bustamante was prepared to cross the divide of social class and status
and take up the cause of the working classes.
Norman Washington Manley, then Jamaica's leading criminal lawyer, and incident-
ally a cousin of Bustamante, stepped into the breach and became active as negotiator

and mediator on behalf of striking workers. Militant dock-workers refused however, to
accept any settlement negotiated by Manley on their behalf or to return to work until
Bustamante and Grant were freed.
It thus became necessary for Manley to intercede with the Governor Sir Edward
Denham and to reach an understanding that a future application for bail supported by
affidavits including one from Manley himself this time, would be favourably enter-
tained by the Resident Magistrate designated to hear the case. Bustamante and Grant
were granted bail on the 28th May, 1938, and were thus set free, to get on with the
urgent task already begun by Manley, in cooperation with the Conciliation Board
appointed by the Governor and other acceptable intermediaries, of satisfying the
demands of the workers for better wages and restoring normalcy.
If Alexander Bustamante seemed destined to lead what hopefully would be a
powerful and unified trade union movement, so Norman Manley acceded to
promptings of an emergent breed of radical reformers as well as the liberally minded
among his associates to form and launch a political party and nationalist movement so
that union and party, industrial action and political action, could be joined in a single
progressive movement aimed at effecting day-to-day improvements in the material well
being of the workers, even while carrying on the fight for self-government and
eventually political independence.
Drawing on the organisational work already done by Ken Hill, journalist and
Founder Secretary of the National Reform Association, N.N. Nethersole, Solicitor and
President of the same Association, Frank Hill, Journalist and brother of Ken Hill,
Richard Hart, Solicitor, Arthur Henry, Seaman, Manley and other of his associates,
Bustamante took charge and announced his intention to establish five unions, each to
be headed by himself.
A small unofficial trade union committee had also been formed to help in the
organisation of the projected Bustamante-led unions and co-ordination of the activities
of all existing unions until a Central Advisory Council could be set up to which all
unions could be affiliated.
In the spirit of collaboration which prevailed in the months ensuing, many but not
all of the existing independent unions were absorbed into the Bustamante Unions by
voluntary resolve in some cases or by challenge and take over in other cases.
Osmond Dyce, Artisan and Wage-earner became a rank and file member of the
Bustamante Unions. But at the leadership level, Bustamante showed that his first
priority was not internal organization but rather consolidation of his position as un-
disputed boss of the trade union movement. In June and July he proceeded to
challenge Coombs, founder of the JWTU whom he considered a potentially dangerous
rival, and in whose union he (Bustamante) had held office in 1937, thereby gaining his
first practical experience in Unionism in Jamaica. Bustamante easily won over the
membership and leadership of the JWTU Branch in Spanish Town but found it much
more difficult to dislodge the JWTU in Montego Bay where Coombs had established a
new beach-head.

In September 1938, Bustamante received strong internal organisational support when
Ken Hill, prominent among the younger activists involved along with Manley in
promoting the Peoples National Party (PNP) became Vice President of the Transport
Workers Union of the Bustamante group, after having encouraged Omnibus and Allied
Operators to merge under Bustamante's leadership.
On the 18th September when the PNP was finally launched under Manley's leader-
ship, Bustamante accepted a place of prominence on the platform and subsequently
became a member of the PNP, notwithstanding the fact that he had expressed concern
of the reported existence within the PNP of a radical socialist clique who might be
thinking of using Manley and himself as "front-men" even while preparing to oust
Manley and take control on the party for their own ends.
Osmond Dyce, for his part, did not remain a member of the Bustamante Union for
long. He found membership in one of the small craft-oriented unions which remained
outside of the Bustamante groupings, but offered greater opportunity for rank and file
participation and political education, more to his liking. Dyce was soon to learn,
however, in a very personal way, that Trade Union membership carried certain occupa-
tional risks.
The new year was ushered in by a new wave of labour unrest and by the 3rd
January, 1939, the Kingston Waterfront and the Constant Spring Hotel had been
closed down in separate strikes. A harassed Bustamante warned of the possibility of
another general strike but was reminded by the Press that the new Governor Sir Arthur
Richards had the power to prevent a recurrence of the May, 1938 uprising. Richards,
however, announced the setting up of an Arbitration Board to deal with both disputes
and this was welcomed by Bustamante at the First Annual Conference of this Union
held on the 6th January, 1939. It may be noted in passing that the projected five
unions had given way to single union The Bustamante Industrial Trade Union which
was registered as such on the 23rd of January, 1939.
It may have been the measure of Bustamante's appreciation not only of the fana-
tical devotion accorded him by his followers but also of his unquestioned personal
authority over them, that he so uniquely endowed his name upon the union and
entrenched his leadership in a constitution which made him President General for life.
Wildcat strikes continued throughout January and Bustamante clearly nettled by
the continuing wave of unrest fulminated against unauthorised strikes. In February, he
turned his attention, to the outports and with most of his officers in tow began a tour
of the North Coast which took him to Montego Bay on the 10th February. He was
acclaimed by the thousands and it was presumably too good a chance not to deal with
his arch-rival Coombs. The occasion presented itself three days later when a worker
employed by the United Fruit Company and an ardent supporter of Coombs, jostled
St. William Grant. Bustamante demanded dismissal of the alleged offender and set a
6.00 p.m. deadline and ultimatum. When the Company knowing full well that Coombs
controlled the waterfront workers, and sensing an opportunity for a showdown with
the BITU, refused to accede, Bustamante was left to follow through with a call for a
general strike. It proved abortive and shortlived. Governor Richards, a tough minded
administrator, promptly declared a state of emergency, banned all meetings and

marches and called for an unconditional resumption of work. Strike breakers were
employed and given police protection to man the wharves in Kingston and Outports.
Shipping Companies and other employers seeing the opportunity to break the trade
union movement, initiated wholesale dismissals and Osmond Dyce then employed to
an engineering and metal works in Luke Lane, Kingston and known to be a unionist
- was dismissed.
The entire labour movement appeared to be in danger of collapsing and caught in a
quandary. Alexander Bustamante turned to his cousin, Norman Manley, President of
the PNP. Manley dealt directly with Governor Richards and an accommodation was
reached. Under the terms worked out, Richards would lift the emergency once the
strike was called off, and would warn employers to cease victimisation and harassment
of workers. On the other side, the notion of a Trade Union Advisory Council was
revived by Manley, conceived along lines of the British Trades Union Congress (TUC)
to serve as a rallying point, and to help in the orderly development of the trade union
movement. The Governor also insisted that the name of the BITU be changed. The
Labour Chieftain agreed to all points of the accord except the change of name of his
At a public meeting called by Manley at the Kingston Race Course on 21st
February, some 8,000 workers voiced approval of the names of the members of the
Trade Union Advisory Council as they were read out by Bustamante one by one, and
it seemed as though a new era was about to dawn for the trade union movement.
Bustamante and Coombs shook hands and pledged "to fight together as never before
in the cause of labour." N.N. Nethersole, already President of several small craft-
oriented trade unions independent of the BITU, was installed as President of the Trade
Union Advisory Council (TUAC) subsequently referred to, quite confusingly as the
Trades Union Council or the Trade Union Council. Most of the existing trade unions
promptly sought affiliation with the TUAC, but the BITU remained aloof inspite of
the fact that Bustamante and two other representatives of his union were members of
the TUAC.
In the meantime, these efforts at trade union unity offered little consolation to
Osmond Dyce, who found himself unable to secure employment in his trade and so for
a while he "knocked about", working as a construction worker at the American Naval
Base and on other occasional jobs.
By the end of the year, Dyce had begun doing organizing work largely on a
voluntary basis for the People's National Party. It involved going around the country,
often on foot, to talk about what the PNP would do for Jamaica, why the country
should seek independence and what it would mean. By 1940, Osmond Dyce had begun
to settle his ideological leanings, essentially towards Marxism/Socialism and to make
commitments which were to govern his course of life and activities in Jamaica.
Dyce's exposure to Marxism came initially from contact with the Left Book Club, a
branch of which had been established in Jamaica in 1937 by Wellesley McBean, an
independent book salesman and vendor, with radical inclinations, who, incidentally, in
1937 wrote the first workers song "Workers of Jamaica Arise and Fight."

The Left Book Club had been launched in Britain in May 1936 by a left-wing
publisher Victor Gollancz with the avowed aim of helping "in the terribly urgent
struggle for World Peace and against Fascism by giving to all who are determined to
play their part in the struggle such knowledge as will immensely increase their
efficiency" All sections of Left opinion were represented in the Left Book Club
movement which committed itself to the task of creating the climate and under-
standing that would be conducive to the creation of a Popular Front. Gollancz set out
therefore to produce a series of books dealing with three inter-related problems:
(i) Facism and the urgent need to create effective resistance and containment
(ii) the threat of war and its prevention and
(iii) poverty the cure for which lay in expousal of the ideology and application of
Books were selected for Gollancz and the Club by Harold Laski Professor of
Political Science at the London School of Economics a Fabian socialist and John
Strachey, of the same ideological ilk, who later became Minister of Food in the Labour
Party Government in 1945 and then Minister of Defence. Strachey, the intellectual
force behind the Club contributed a number of books in the early threatening years of
crisis, (1936-1939) including The Theory and Practice of Socialism, The Coming
Struggle for Power, What we are to do, and Why you should be a socialist. (Sir)
Strafford Cripps and G.H.D. Cole prolific writer and ardent protagonist of
Guild Socialism, were also among early contributors. Operating on the basis of
a Book of the Month Club, the Left Book Club undertook to provide serious left-wing
and other topical books to members on a monthly basis at half-price or two shillings
and six pence per copy. The Club reached its peak in 1939 when at the outbreak of
World War II [which incidentally destroyed its raison d'etre] it boasted in the UK
57,000 members and 1,500 Left Book Discussion Groups. The Club ceased its activities
at the end of 1948.
The Left Book Club in Kingston, Jamaica, served however as an intellectual centre
from 1937 attracting a wide spectrum of membership representing persons drawn from
various walks of life and social stations. It provided the stimulant for many interested
in building up extensive libraries, some of whom were prompted by intellectual
curiosity rather than commitment to social reform or radical social action. Thus, the
act of joining the Left Book Club was in a sense an intellectual commitment to
open-mindedness and enquiry into new ideas.
Osmond Dyce, a young man who had lived through and shared in the excitement of
a social upheaval if not a revolution availed himself of the opportunities to
become widely read in Marxist and Socialist theory and doctrines, and his inclinations
crystallized into conviction when he was drawn into membership of the radical left--
wing group largely inspired by the four H's Frank Hill, Ken Hill, Richard Hart and
Arthur Henry who felt that espousal of socialism which they determined to make
the official ideology of the PNP, should lead to a posture of non-collaboration with
the Colonial Administration in what should be regarded as an imperialist war, to
intensification of the nationalist movement even during the war, and eventually to a

commitment to more extensive public ownership of the means of production by a
nationalist government of reconstruction. Osmond Dyce was to be among those who
clandestinely chalked and painted on the streets and walls throughout the city "End
the Imperialist War."
By September 1940, the printer operated by Frank Hill at 29 Temple Lane in
Kingston popularly referred to as "The Kremlin" (and which had been acquired in
April 1939) had become the central meeting place and intellectual home of what was
to become the effective organizers and leadership of the TUC group of unions
affiliated to the PNP, as well as the radical left-wing faction within the PNP. By this
time also the 4 H's and other associates were actively engaged in political education
and propagandising under the auspices of the Negro Workers' Education League the
adjective Negro being used to capitalise on the racial awareness of the black masses
which had been heightened first by Negro Crusader Marcus Garvey and then by
Alexander Bustamante now undisputed champion and Messiah of the labouring
classes. The Workers Education League also launched a radical publication Worker
and Peasant but managed to bring out only two issues before it succumbed to
governmental censorship.
The arrest of Alexander Bustamante on the 8th September 1940 on the instruction
of Governor Sir Arthur Richards, and his subsequent detention at Up-Park-Camp for
the next seventeen months, led to Dyce's re-involvement in the BITU, but this time in
a different capacity. Richards had apparently concluded that Bustamante's leadership
of the trade union movement was not compatible with the war emergency situation.
PNP leaders, convinced that the preservation of the trade union movement was
essential also for the survival of the progressive movement, decided to put aside party
work and to spend their energies helping to keep the BITU alive.
Establishing, with Bustamante's concurrence, a caretaker administration involving
himself, the TUC and other officers of the BITU, notably M. Shirley, the elected Vice
President, Norman Manley called upon the formidable array of talent within the TUC
Unions and the PNP, including Nethersole, Frank Hill, Ken Hill (who had resigned as
Vice President of the BITU after the debacle of the General Strike of 1939), Richard
Hart, Arthur Henry, Kenneth Sterling, Osmond Dyce, Roy Woodham, Winston Grubb,
Florizel Glasspole, Samuel Hines and others, to help revitalize the drooping BITU.
Worker solidarity also received a new impetus when Frank Hill assumed the editorship
of the BITU weekly The Jamaica Worker.
In January, 1941 the BITU served demands on sugar producers for wage increases
to meet the mounting cost of living. Restive workers were told, however, to await the
recommendations of a Minimum Wage Advisory Board set up by the Governor on 7th
January, 1941. In February it was decided, however, to resort to direct action to force
a settlement, and novel techniques and procedures were evolved to bring production to
a halt while avoiding the strictures imposed by wartime regulations and prohibitions.
Dyce, as a party organizer, joined in careful trade union organisational work in St.
Thomas, although his organizational responsibilities lay principally in the parishes of
Trelawny and St. James. The end result was the signing of the first historic collective
labour agreement between the Sugar Manufacturers Association of Jamaica and the

BITU, which gave wage increases and other benefits to over 40,000 sugar workers and
served as a model agreement for other Commonwealth sugar producing territories.
On the 8th February 1942 Richards released Bustamante, and the BITU caretaker
administration immediately felt his presence. The Labour Leader quickly reasserted his
personal leadership of the BITU and the caretaker administration was purged and
abruptly terminated. The collaboration between Bustamante and the BITU on the one
hand, and Manley, the PNP and affiliated TUC unions on the other, gave way to
conflict and recrimination. Effectively the labour movement was split in two and the
BITU adherents instructed to withdraw fron PNP groups.
In January 1942, Osmond Dyce became a full-time organizer of the PNP and was
assigned to St. Thomas. He was, however, expected to assist the TUC in setting up
In November 1942, it was the turn of the TUC leadership and other PNP supporters
to feel the wrath of Governor Richards. The TUC leaders had been intensifying organi-
zational work among Government workers, firstly to shut out the BITU and preserve a
marginal union base for the PNP: and secondly, because of their ideological consensus
that an imperalist war should not delay intensification of pressure for self-government
especially as industrial action could be used both to benefit workers and to
embarrass the colonial administration. Meanwhile, Richards realizing not only the
gravity of the war situation but of likely labour disruptions, had, in April 1942,
gazetted a Defence Projects and Essential Service (Trade Disputes) Order, imposing
severe restrictions on strikes and walk-outs and requiring compulsory referral of
disputes to, and conciliation by, the Labour Adviser. If conciliation failed, the Labour
Adviser would so certify to the Governor, who would appoint a tripartite industrial
tribunal to determine the issue and make a binding award. The Defence Order also
stipulated that in respect of government establishments the union or unions adminis-
trative affairs must be directed by officers who were themselves employees in the
establishment or occupation.
This latter stipulation was directed particularly at the Jamaica Government Railway
Union, led by Richard Hart, solicitor and radical Marxist, who had been making
representations to Government on behalf of some 1,000 railway employees. When the
Labour Adviser refused to certify and refer the dispute to the Governor on the
grounds that the Union's officers were not employees of the Railway, the Union
promptly filed with the Supreme Court writs of mandamus and certiorari in which it
sought to establish that the Government was wrong in withholding certification of the
dispute and in refusing recognition to the union. Richards acted quickly to invalidate
the proceedings and proclaimed further regulations reaffirming that a union in a
Government Department which had non-employees among its roster of officers should
not be an authorized association.
Following upon this administrative manoeuvring, Richards on 3rd November
interned Richard Hart, Ken and Frank Hill and Arthur Henry for about 4% months.
One result was that middle class Jamaicans and professionals of diverse social and
political outlook joined in denouncing Richards' escalating encroachment on civil
liberties. In December 1942, he was summoned to London for talks on constitutional

change, but he had already made his views known. "The great majority of the
Jamaicans do not want self-government and do not think themselves capable of coping
with (governmental) problems."
With the detention of the 4 H's, in November 1942, Dyce was thrust more into the
limelight, but shortly after was also arrested and thrown in jail. Charged with breach of
defence regulations, he was defended by Nethersole and acquitted. Restrictions were
nonetheless placed on his movements and in effect he was confined to the parish of St.
Thomas until the amnesty in February 1943.
The first General Election held in December 1944 on the basis of adult suffrage,
and under a new Constitution, negotiated during 1943, which gave a limited measure
of internal self-government, saw William Alexander Bustamante win a smashing
electoral victory, almost annihilating the PNP in the process. He had won the election
under the banner of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) launched in July 1943, the JLP
being nothing more than a political label attached to the BITU. The lesson to be learnt
by the PNP/TUC was that without a significant trade union base, which in effect
meant breaking Bustamante's hold on the working classes, the PNP could never hope
to achieve political power or hasten the pace of constitutional advance.
Thus began a period of intense struggle and violence at the political level, especially
between 1945-1947, and until 1951 at the trade union level, during which Jamaica's
two-party two-union system political unionism was forged.
Meanwhile, in 1945, Dyce assumed the responsibilities of a family man and bread-
winner when he married Adona Scott. A son, Stafford and daughter, Beverly issued
from the union.
Up to 1948, Osmond Dyce remained essentially a political organiser of the PNP,
spreading the gospel of independence and socialism. It was an activity at which he
excelled combining as he did a genuine working class grass-roots orientation with
Marxist ideology which on the basis of proclaimed scientific analysis, foretold the
inevitable emergence of the working classes as the inevitable bearer of the progressive
or dialectical forces of history. To his mixture of Nationalism and Marxism, Dyce
added consciousness of race and a call for appreciation of the early work of Marcus
Garvey, posthumously proclaimed a National Hero of Jamaica in July 1969.
In 1948, when the TUC was formally constituted into the Trades Union Congress
of Jamaica, and made into a blanket type organization more akin to the BITU,
Osmond Dyce became a full-time organizer for the TUC concentrating initially on
sugar workers in St. Catherine. The TUC, having broken Bustamante's hold over
waterfront workers and other categories in the Corporate Area (Greater Kingston and
Urban St. Andrew) stood poised to take the challenge into the sugar industry the
heart of Bustamante land.
By accident of personality and differences in philosophy involving Bustamante on
the one hand, and Norman Manley and associates on the other, Jamaica had embarked
on a route which saw the nationalist movement fragmented and slowed by bi-partism,
as well as the trade union movement divided and working class unity shattered.

For Osmond Dyce, there was still the sustaining hope that political independence
would come and the hope of eventual rule by a party that would attempt to establish a
socialist society adapted to the reality of the objective conditions in the country.
As the struggle went on, Dyce became involved in a number of sensational and
violent labour disputes The Mental Hospital 1946, the Gleaner Company 1948, the
Jamaica Omnibus Services Ltd. 1948 and above all the Myrtle Bank Hotel Dispute
1950 and Worthy Park Sugar Estates Disputes (1950-51). All of these disputes repre-
sented determined attempts by the TUC to gain representational and bargaining rights
for the employees involved and equally determined efforts by Management abetted by
the Bustamante-led Government to frustrate the TUC claims.
In the Myrtle Bank representational dispute, Dyce, leading as he said "the land
forces", joined with radical activist Leslie Alexander who led the "sea forces", to
invade and literally capture the Myrtle Bank Hotel. An Arbitration Tribunal, before
which the TUC's claim was argued by N.W. Manley, gave bargaining rights to the TUC
in respect of the Hotel employees while the incumbent BITU retained control of the
Hotel's Laundry employees.
At Worthy Park Estate, the TUC introduced professional outside pickets
(subsequently outlawed by an amendment to the Trade Claim Law introduced by the
Bustamante administration and passed in 1952) to ensure as they saw it, the right of
workers to choose the trade union they wanted to represent them. The strike and
violent (and destructive) confrontation which ensued between the two rival trade
union blocs ended in an agreement to take polls throughout the sugar industry and
although the TUC gained majority rights at only two of the sugar estates then in
operation, Alexander Bustamante agreed to establish joint BITU-TUC bargaining at the
industry level. This agreement, as well as acceptance by the trade unions of informal
poll procedures proposed by the Labour Adviser to deal with representational
disputes, put an end to the worse of the sustained inter-union rivalry and violence
which had plagued the country since 1945.
Osmond Dyce's involvement in the Worthy Park Estate representational dispute is
as good an example as any to illustrate how his commitment to Marxist/Socialist
ideology influenced his approach to trade union problems. To Dyce, Marxism was a
tool for understanding the conditions under which he operated as a trade union and
political organizer. The struggle against Bustamanteeism, as he saw it, was a struggle
against a powerful conservative or traditionalist element which embodied all the con-
tradictions of a colonial society, and served to slow the drive for political indepen-
dence. But one might ask, could the issue of self-government be used effectively as a
battle-cry to rally the agro-proletariat who comprised the Worthy Park labour force?
Dyce was quick to reply "But these fellows were not peasants, man, they are prole-
tariat you know. Worthy Park workers did not own a bloody thing. They were not
peasants. That's the mistake people make. The Worthy Park workers are proletariat in
the strictest meaning of the word. The whole of Lluidas Vale is owned by the
Clark's estate. So he (worker) has nothing after he gets his wage, no plot of land." The
strategy for Dyce political and trade union organizer par excellence was ob-
vious. Stress the need for agrarian reform in the rural areas and for support of the party

and main affiliate which were committed to social reconstruction and transformation
of the structures of production.
As a trade union officer, Osmond Dyce did not relish, or have a bent for, nego-
tiating with employers around the conference table. He had no patience for the ritual
and role playing involved in negotiating. He felt too deeply about the legitimacy of the
workers claims and their entitlement to "a cut" (i.e. higher wages) to use a peculiar
Dycism. Furthermore, processing of claims more often than not meant negotiating
with local or expatriate white managers and Dyce was a passionate nationalist who was
conscious of the fact that he was black a negro who belonged to one of the
oppressed races of the world. He thus preferred, and demonstrated a remarkable
aptitude for, organizing and field work. He was of the working class, able to
understand and talk to workers and to persuade them. His wide reading of working
class history and of Marxian and socialist literature, as well as his commitment to
socialism both as a method of analysis and a set of economic and political imperatives,
gave him a sense of purpose, zeal and dedication as well as an operational perspective.
Dyce was an ardent believer in political education and rank and file involvement and
participation. As secretary of the National Industrial Grouping for agriculture (one
of the many occupational or industrial groupings established by the TUC on an island-
wide basis) which brought together delegates from the sugar industry and other
agricultural enterprises, Dyce kept regular meetings, along with branch meetings in
smaller localities on a weekly basis. Dyce conceded, however, that as membership of
the TUC grew, and the structure became more centralized, vitality at the grass-root
level began to ebb, much to his concern.

Heart-break and disappointment
In 1952 dissension broke within the ranks of the PNP, resulting in the expulsion of
the left-wing bloc of the Party. Its leaders the four H's, Ken Hill, Frank Hill,
Richard Hart and Arthur Henry were also the leaders and mainstay of the TUC and
they took the TUC with them to launch a new political party The National Labour
Party, (NLP) under the Presidency of Ken Hill, then the PNP Member of the House of
Representatives (Parliament). The NLP, after a few gasps of breath, faded into political
oblivion. Faced with the loss of the TUC, Manley and PNP colleagues launched a
substitute union the National Workers Union Osmond Dyce, a man of deep
loyalty chose to remain with the TUC, which had displayed remarkable tenacity and
courage in the face of almost overwhelming strength of the BITU between 1945 and
1949 and had helped to establish a bridgehead of working class support which brought
the PNP within four seats of the JLP in the 1949 General Election.

The Leftist Purge
What brought the parting of ways of these comrades who had struggled for fourteen
years to build the TUC and PNP into powerful organizations? The strain on the
leadership in the PNP began in 1949 when the TUC Executive, most of whom
comprised the left-wing element in the PNP Executive were asked to withdraw from
the World Federation of Trade Unions, which had become communist dominated and
seek affiliation with the American sponsored rival, The International Confederation of

Free Trade Unions. The TUC Executive yielded under pressure (of the right-wing) to
the first request but bucked at the second. The PNP had always had a left wing and
right wing, both united in their desire for self-government. To Manley, as President,
fell the difficult task of remaining in the centre and keeping friction between right and
left within bounds.
By 1951 the TUC was at its peak strength and popularity. Ken Hill, by hard
fighting and rhetorical brilliance had broken Bustamante's hold on the working classes
in Kingston and he was by this time Mayor of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corpo-
ration (Municipal government). In 1951, 10 out of the 21 members of the PNP
Executive were members of the TUC. There was the possibility then that the left-wing
bloc of the party was poised, through control of the trade unions, to assume a
preponderance of influence in the PNP. On the 26th November 1951 Kelly and
McPherson, paid organizers and Executive members of the TUC held a meeting at
Sprostons in Manchester (Bauxite Construction Company) announcing the formation
of a new union the National Labour Congress. They resigned from the TUC and Ken
Hill as president of the TUC urged their expulsion from the PNP as this was in
contravention of the Party policy of support of the TUC. Moreover it was in effect an
attempt to further fragment the labour movement. The right wing group of the PNP
then alleged that there was an attempt on the part of the left to seize control of the
PNP machinery and rose to the defence of the secessionists Kelly and McPherson,
forcing in fact a choice between left and right.
A committee was appointed to investigate Kelly and McPherson, who produced the
now famous or infamous "document" alleged to have been used in TUC workers
training classes from 1948. The document or documents were purported to contain
communist teachings. A tribunal of the PNP comprised of N. W. Manley, President and
Chairman, N. N. Nethersole, First Vice-President, V. L. Arnett, Secretary, E. B. Baker,
Executive Member, investigated the charges which were essentially -
1) dissemination of communist doctrine and
2) organization and maintenance of a Marxist-communist cell or group.
The Tribunal found that -
a) through the study course document (Lessons 3 and 4) prepared and issued with
the knowledge and approval of the 4 H's, Henry taught that only a Communist
Party meant the workers any good and that workers would have to leave the PNP
and form a Communist Party "at some stage of the movement for freedom prior
to which the working class may be part of a general national party like the PNP",
b) the 4 H's and others formed a secret organization within the PNP to which
they were bound by discipline, which was working to disrupt the PNP in accord-
ance with (a) above.
The leading members of the TUC were given the choice of resigning or expulsion.
The Investigating Committee's recommendation was upheld first by the General
Council and then by Party Conference to which the Left appealed. There was wide-
spread sympathy for the left-wing and Manley himself tried to avoid the split. The
left-wing however, seemingly miscalculated their strength at the Annual Conference

for when Ken Hill began his defence, he lapsed into a strong indictment and bitter
denunciation of the right-wing which did the cause of the left-wing little good.
For Osmond Dyce personally, the schism and purge of the left-wing TUC leadership
from the PNP was a traumatic experience although his reaction was more one of regret
and disappointment than of disillusionment. He had put four years of driving effort
and toil into making the TUC a formidable instrument for protection of workers and
politicisation of the massess, much more influential than its numbers would suggest.
Its membership had grown from 4,045 in 1949 to 23,515 in 1951. Dyce was not
prepared therefore to abandon the TUC in its hour of crisis and remained one of its
mainstays until 1957, in spite of dwindling membership and influence. The National
Workers Union, the new affiliate of the PNP readily took over former TUC strongholds
and went on to achieve spectacular growth. Ironically, the TUC had made the NWU's
task of taking over its membership relatively easy. No other organization in Jamaica's
history had (or has) done more to politicize workers. The TUC leadership and cadres
had carried out intensive political education and had given workers an ideological
orientation which left them committed to the PNP as a socialist party. This
loyalty to the party overcame loyalty to the TUC and the NWU was able to
make rapid strides. Thus the two-party, two-union system of political unionism
survived its first threat.
A successful career in trade unionism in Jamaica more often than not leads also to a
career in politics and Osmond Dyce was no exception. He was elected and served on
the St. Catherine Parish Council as member (Parish Councillor) of the Lluidas Vale--
Worthy Park Parochial Division. His other excursion into politics was as an un-
successful candidate in his birth parish, Portland, under the banner of the
abortive National Labour Party established by the left-wing group after their
expulsion from the PNP in 1952.

New Horizons and a New Career
In 1957 Osmond Dyce decided to put behind him some of the heart-rending
effects and disappointments of nearly two decades of struggle and sacrifice in
the nationalist and labour movements in Jamaica and to broaden his association
and horizon. Leaving the TUC of which he was then Vice-President and Chief Organizer,
Dyce took up an appointment in the Eastern Caribbean as Caribbean Area Representative
of the International Federation of Plantation, Agricultural, and Allied Workers Union. In
the same year he was appointed Executive Secretary of CADORIT, the Caribbean Area
Division of the Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers.
Three years later, so outstanding had been Dyce's work as an organizer among
agricultural workers in the Caribbean area, that he was offered the post and appointed
Executive Secretary of the Caribbean Congress of Labour with Headquarters in
Trinidad in succession to another notable trade unionist and former co-worker from
Jamaica Kenneth Sterling.
Frank Walcott, the distinguished General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union
and a past President of the Caribbean Congress of Labour, noted that Osmond Dyce

regarded trade union organization as a matter of dedication. By the time he gave up
the post to return to Jamaica in 1967, he had done more to foster trade union
solidarity in the Caribbean, including the French and Netherland Antilles than any
other international organizer. For Osmond Dyce, the ten years spent in the Caribbean
Labour Movement proved to be a very rewarding experience. What appealed to him
was the willingness and ability of trade union leaders, more so in the Eastern Carib-
bean, to forget party and ideological labels when they met as the Executive of the CCL
and to discuss working problems as leaders of the working classes.
Dyce returned to Jamaica in 1967 to join the staff of the National Workers Union
with major responsibility for trade union education. Two years later he was appointed
Assistant Island Supervisor with special responsibilities for sugar and bauxite workers
in the parishes of St. Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, St. Elizabeth and Westmore-
land. If his death at 52 years of age was untimely, it did not detract from Osmond
Dyce's achievements. He was an outstanding indigeneous working class leader who
demonstrated that a worker could rise to top positions of leadership through dedica-
tion and hard work. There was no position within the Labour Movement as such that
was beyond the reach of his capabilities. In addition to his trade union activities he
found time for work on administrative boards including the Sugar Industry Labour
Welfare Board, the Joint Industrial Council for Cane Farming, the Sugar Industry
Authority and the National Industrial Training Board.
In being awarded the Order of Distinction posthumously in the Jamaica list of
Honours in August 1974, public recognition was and has been given to his contri-
butions as a radical working class activist, political organizer, trade unionist and
nationalist in the forging of modern and politically independent Jamaica.
In an interview recorded shortly before his death, Osmond Dyce expressed one
major anxiety to this writer, as he surveyed the contemporary scene. It seemed to him
that the present generation of trade unionists were lacking in both ideological
direction and fervour and seemingly wholly bread-and-butter oriented. He recalled
how as a political organizer in the immediate post 1945 era, he was supposed to
receive a salary of thirty shillings weekly. Pay however was irregular, as the PNP had
limited financial resources, but this was of little consequence. One was engaged, along
with colleagues in similar circumstances, in the building of a nationalist movement. It was
a life of sacrifice in which his family had to share. His widow recalls that there were times
when Osmond would bring home one shilling and six pence at the end of the week and
thus she had to pitch in to maintain the home and family.
Finally, while Osmond Dyce bemoaned the seeming loss of ideological zeal on the
part of the successor generations, he could still find cause for optimism. The challenge
which he wished to throw out to the present generations of unionists whom he felt
equal to the task, was that they should lessen their dependence of the father image of
past and present charismatic leaders and to substitute solid organization and education
for personalism and emotional dependence. Osmond Oliver Dyce 1918 1970. He
also served.


Review Article


A Review of "Labour Relations and Industrial
Conflict in Commonwealth Caribbean Countries."

In the absence of any text(s), the student of Caribbean industrial relations finds a
hodge-podge of articles and pamphlets dealing with his subject. Sometimes they even
elude his vigilance. Most of the materials are either obscure or out of print, or for some
other frustrating reason, not available. Professor Knowles' work on Trade Union
Development and Industrial Relations in the British West Indies 'which was published
twelve years ago is the only work of any standard in the field. Quite apart however,
from the fact that this work tends in places to give what is regarded by many as a
particularly inaccurate account of the situation, its importance is gradually being
overtaken by events. So much development has taken place in Caribbean industrial
relations scene since 1959 to justify a fresh approach.
Of course, we know of Professor Farley's celebrated title, Trade Unions and Politics
in the Caribbean 2 which, as the name suggests, deals specifically with the political
aspects of trade unionism in the region. It must also be mentioned that several titles
have been published on various aspects of trade unionism since the last decade but
like Professors Knowles' and Farley's books, none of these works deals with the
subject of industrial relations strict sensu. Much nearer to the subject is Labour
Policies in the West Indies4written as long ago as 1952 but/overdue for rewriting.
Quite recently, however, the problem of absence of text(s) in Caribbean industrial
relations seems to have engaged the attention of a few 5,the first manifestation of
which is the publication in December 1972 of Labour Relations and Industrial
Conflict in Commonwealth Caribbean Countries, authored by a distinguished Carib-
bean scholar and industrial relations expert Dr. Zin Henry and published by the
Columbus Publishers Ltd. of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
It is trite knowledge that any text purporting to document comprehensively the
industrial relations experience of the Commonwealth Caribbean Countries must of
essence cover at least fifteen jurisdictions and most probably come out in a jumbo
volume or volumes. Visualizing this, Dr. Henry excluded from his terms of reference,
the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. Even then the
industrial relations experiences of any of the countries within Dr. Henry's terms
of reference, and indeed the experiences of any of the four bigger of the
Commonwealth Caribbean Countries, is capable of producing a text of the size
comparable to the one under review.6 Thus the Labour Relations and Industrial Con-

flict in Commonwealth Caribbean Countries is a compendium of the Caribbean ex-
periences in industrial relations and an introductory book of no mean standard.

The process of elimination is sometimes deceptive and in our present context it has
misfired. In other words, the exclusion of the Bahamas from this study is misguided
since the industrial relations of that country possesses certain of the characteristics
which are discussed in Chapter 8 of the book, especially in relation to his "Remedial
Policy Measures" If for no reason that country has had since 1970, an Industrial
Relations Act, 7 the subject of which falls within the author's Discussion. They
also have legislation relating to "Fair Labour Standards"8 which, though not
exactly what the author refers to as a "Code of Fair Employment Practices,"
is nevertheless an aspect of it, The "Fair Labour Standards" is a code setting out the
standard hours of work, the standard minimum wages and the computation of such
wages, vacations with pay and the methods of enforcement and the administration of
these matters.
Since this book is the first of its kind in the Commonwealth Caribbean and as much
information in the form of writings has not been forthcoming from this part of the
world in connection with what has been (or is) happening in our industrial relations
scene, a rather detailed review seems to be called for.
With masterly handling of the materials available to him, Dr. Henry introduces his
subject with an account of the historical background which in effect is a discussion of
the socio-economic and politico-constitutional background against which Caribbean
trade unions developed. From the point of view of a Caribbean scholar-reader, this
part is well covered in books dealing with West Indian History and Politics. To the
beginner in the Study of Caribbean Industrial Relations, it is the stepping-stone for the
study and his understanding of the subject.
Chapter 2 deals with "Development of a Caribbean Labour Movement" and the
history of trade unions is here traced. It is observed that although workers were
organised in Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, these organizations "fizzled
out" by the time of the First World War. The significant date in the history of trade
unionism in the Caribbean is therefore the year, 1919, since that was the year the first
Trade Unions Act 9 was introduced in the West Indies. This ordinance, in the words of
the author, is "the pillar of freedom" in the history of Caribbean trade unionism. But
it was not without its weaknesses.0 These defects though not repeated in the sub-
sequent Trade Unions Act of Guyana1 were resurrected in the case of the Trinidad
and Tobago Trade Union Ordinance of 1932.12 Dr. Henry, however, is able to find
other reasons which were contributory to stultification of the trade union movement
in the Caribbean among which were: the fact that most of the unions formed sacri-
ficed the trade union bias "at the altar of political expediency:" and the employers'
resistance against trade union activities.
The next important stage was the "formative years", 1937-1945. Those dates are
important in the study of Caribbean trade unions since the remaining islands received
their Trade Unions Acts13 and it was also during that period that trade union leaders
emerged in.several of the Caribbean Countries.

Caribbean trade unions are structured closely after the British pattern. But the
author has discovered certain peculiarities of leadership and administrative patterns of
Caribbean trade unions which tend not to be commendable. They are, the author says,
"loosely administered." Although they have constitutions, they never keep to them.
Power and policies are often centralised while a "number of dispersed satellite--
branches" are found "orbiting around the main branches but without any significant
say on national affairs of the union"
It is further pointed out that a peculiar characteristic of Caribbean trade unions is
"lack of consensus in philosophy and policy" because each union practisess its own
brand of trade unionism which depends on the political circumstances of its exist-
ence" In other words, they tend to "operate more on expediency than philosophy or
Trinidad and Tobago affords clear illustration of the author's point. To date no
effective integration into a National Labour Congress has been achieved.14 There are at
least two groups. Those unions who belong to the Council of Progressive Trade Unions
claim to be pursuing an ideological course accusing the affiliates of the Trinidad and
Tobago Labour Congress of lack of ideology.
In the midst of such wrangling, it is clearly difficult, if not impossible, to "enlist
full representation" of workers where such is desired. This poses a potential weakness
on the part of organised labour which ought to be approaching management and
policy-makers with some unanimity."5 A recent example since Dr. Henry went to the
press is the question of representation of the workers of Trinidad and Tobago on the
newly established Registration Recognition and Certification Board.16 Although there
are workers' representatives on that Board, the reviewer's enquiry reveals that these
members are drawn from those unions that are affiliated to the Labour Congress. 1It
means then that those workers whose unions are not affiliated to the Labour Congress
have no representation on the Board. Even so there is said to be much wrangling and
lack of unanimity among these.
Dr. Henry also probes leadership and membership patterns and points out the
contributions of both sides to the bad administration of their unions. The author
however, sees "new trends" in contemporary Caribbean trade unionism some of which
are brought about by the achievement of political independence and industrial devel-
opment in some of the Caribbean Countries. One of these is said to be a shift away
from "political trade unionism" to "economic unionism" These phrases are explained
and qualified.8 North American influences are said to have been the most powerful
factor in bringing about some of the changes. Other contributory factors are: recruit-
ment into certain unions of young university graduates: and, the establishment of
Labour Colleges in Guyana land Trinidad and Tobago20 which are designed to foster
trade union education in the region.21
Just as the pattern of Caribbean trade unionism is fashioned on the traditional
British pattern so also is the Caribbean industrial relations systems.22 After discussing
the various patterns of labour-management relations that exist in the Caribbean, Dr.
Henry examines the vexed problem of recognition of trade unions for the purposes of
collective bargaining. He views with dismay the fact that recognition issues in the

Commonwealth Caribbean have led to several pitched battles either caused by em-
ployers' reluctance to recognize or "competitive unionism" Industrial conflict often
arises from recognition claims and strike actions are invoked with the result that the
conflict is generally "perpetuated into post-recognition relationship" In thirteen odd
pages, he illustrated the experiences of the various Caribbean Countries. The author
appears to be saying that owing to the "monomorphic trade union structure and its
effective brand of trade unionism", recognition problems that exist in the bigger
countries do not arise in Barbados. This may be so if one views the matter from the
"competitive unionism" angle as there is only one trade union in Barbados. Recent
times however, have seen that island's industrial relations scene polluted with conflict
just for the union to obtain recognition as the bargaining agent of certain construction
Dr. Henry discusses the attitude of the parties at bargaining and he observes that
research, reflection and reasoning are irrelevant considerations while "emotionalism
and tactics reign supreme" So that the "environment of the bargaining forum often
becomes charged with reciprocal denigrations, allegations, counter-allegations, and
sometimes even threats. On the whole the process tends to become laborious, pro-
tracted, and tedious" The result is frequent break-down of negotiations and industrial
action becomes a quicker means to hopeful ends.
The remaining part of this chapter concentrates on the exposition of "the strike
phenomenon" The argument that the quality of labour-management relations is
assessed by the frequency or infrequency of strikes is flatly rejected since the author is
committed to the view that strike is an "integral part of the bargaining process"
Sometimes they are "responsible for generating desirable structural changes" In no
uncertain terms the author concludes:
"Strikes are instruments of aid to trade unions in their search for possible
solutions and agreements in bargaining and, if they are executed in accordance
with certain rules of the negotiating process, they are legitimate aid-weapons and
are not necessarily indicators of poor or bad industrial relations"
Strike figures are supplied. They are illustrated in tables and classified according to
causation and industry. The Guyanese experience shows that strikes between 1965 and
1969 were caused by the following reasons: demands for recognition, demands for
increase in wages and better conditions of work, allegations of mal-administration,
retrenchment, demotion and transfer of workers, discrimination and victimization,
disciplinary measures against workers, dilatory attitude, and other residual causes. The
machineries for settling industrial disputes are not discussed in this part of the book
but are dealt with in a later chapter.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of this work is the author's treatment of "Public
Policy and Labour-Management Relations", the discussion of which raises a number of
contemporary problems which certain Caribbean Governments and industrial relations
experts have had to battle with. The central issue here is how much of state inter-
vention or law would a country want in regulating its industrial relations. What the
Commonwealth Caribbean countries inherited from the British is the system whereby

law or the state is kept far from the industrial relations scene. Legislative regulation of
industrial relations is therefore minimal. Thus for the settlement of labour disputes
there is a half-hearted measure. The Minister of Labour either appoints an arbitrator
where the parties consent or a board of enquiry to inquire into the causes of the
dispute. Since this pattern is still prevalent in most of the Commonwealth Caribbean
countries, more ought to have been said about it. At the least, some of the boards of
enquiry reports should have been examined and perhaps assessed. The absence of this
means therefore that the machinery for the settlement of labour disputes in the
Caribbean in not fully treated in Dr. Henry's book an omission which it is hoped
should be corrected in a subsequent edition.
At the other extreme is the New Zealand and Australian type where "legislative
compulsion pervades and all industrial disputes are required by statute law to be
submitted for third party determination" In the Caribbean a similar approach was
adopted by Trinidad and Tobago in 1965.
Then there is a third category with varying degrees of legislative compulsion but
may be described as "partly voluntary and partly compulsory" examples of which
are the United States and Canadian patterns. What follows after the discussion of the
"tradition-worn" controversies over the question of state intervention, is an analysis of
"Policy Consideration in Caribbean Context"
But it is doubtful whether it is correct to say that
"the post-independence period, or more specifically, the past five years, saw a
conceptual change in public policy towards industrial relations and collective
bargaining in a number of Caribbean territories" 24
For this conceptual attitude has in fact existed in the Caribbean as early as
1944. Whereas it has been demonstrated with increased intensity at the post-
independence period, the account overlooks the attempts made by the Jagan Govern-
ments of 1953 and 1963 respectively, to regulate some aspects of the then British
Guiana's industrial relations by legislation.
Quite rightly however, the author states: "Trinidad and Tobago was the first [to
apply greater interventions into labour management relations]26 with the passing of
an Industrial Stabilization Act in 1965 which inter alia, created an Industrial Court for
the compulsory adjudication of all industrial disputes" And a chapter is devoted to its
Antigua followed the Trinidad example by enacting the Trade Disputes (Arbitration
and Settlement) Ordinance of 1967 which established a permanent Industrial Court
which, although now inoperative has not been erased from the statute book of that
country. Following up from this account, the author omits to tell the reader that an
Act with similar title was passed in Dominica also in 1967.27The Dominican Act
carries some element of compulsion that it cannot pass unnoticed in an account of this
nature. That Act, although an amendment to the Trade Disputes (Arbitration and
Inquiry) Ordinance of 1940 provided for compulsory recognition of trade unions by
employers "for the purpose of ensuring the preservation of collective bargaining."28
The author then refers to the Draft Trade Disputes Bill of Guyana and discusses its

purported intent and coverage.29 In the case of Jamaica, reference is made to the
announcement of 28 July, 1967 of the intention of the then Government of that
country to introduce an Industrial Relations Act. The subsequent experience of
Jamaica was not discussed because as the author submits: "there has been no draft bill
published by the Government of Jamaica, which would indicate the scope for legisla-
tion contemplated" A bill entitled "The Industrial Disputes Act", was in fact drafted
in 1970, which indicated the scope of governmental intervention. Had that Bill been
passed into law, it would have established a tribunal known as an "Industrial Arbitra-
tion Tribunal" for the purposes of settling trade disputes. The second schedule to the Bill
provided for the appointment to and membership of the Tribunal which would have been
entitled to the services of assessors. Clause 20 related to procedure for the settlement of
trade disputes. Referrals to the Tribunal would have been with the consent of the parties.
Where the parties have previously agreed to a procedure for settling disputes between
them, the Minister would ask them to exhaust that procedure and it is only after that
machinery had failed and no settlement is reached, that the matter could be referred to
the Tribunal by the Minister. After the parties have given their consent, neither of them
could take strike or lockout action until after fourteen days from the date consent was
given and the Minister did not refer the dispute to the Tribunal. The Essential Services
Law30 and the Trade Disputes (Arbitration and Enquiry) Law 31 were scheduled for
repeal by this Bill.
What appears to be the central theme of this chapter and one which strikes the
reviewer as a distinct contribution toward solving contemporary Caribbean industrial
relations problems are Dr. Henry's suggestions relating to "Remedial Policy Measures,"
which are intended to assist Caribbean governments in reforming and improving their
labour relations law and practices.
In that connection, the author spotted the most vulnerable aspects of Caribbean
labour relations. Firstly, there is the question of recognition of trade unions by em-
ployers. Legislation "designed at channelling recognition matters through an indepen-
dent [and impartial] machinery" similar to the North American examples, should be
introduced in Caribbean countries.32 The legislation would stipulate certification pro-
cedure. This, it is hoped, will "succeed in reducing considerably one of the most
accrimonious conflict-areas in Caribbean industrial relations," coupled with the fact
that "the rights of workers to organise, associate and bargain collectively are too basic
and fundamental to be left to the discretion of employers". But the author did not say
what kind of personnel ought to operate the "machinery", nor did he say whether the
"independent and impartial machinery" should be established even in countries like
Barbados where there is no other union in rivalry with the Barbados Workers' Union.
Undoubtedly, there is need for the establishment of some kind of statutory machinery
to deal with recognition issues even in that country but it must be less complicated
and elaborate than the certification system.
Secondly, the author recommends the introduction of a code of "Fair Employment
Practices" In making his recommendations Dr. Henry has not been dogmatic, for he
carefully assesses the problems which may tend to detract from the suggested
remedies. He concludes however, that since "discriminatory employment practices are
common and pervasive among Caribbean employers", a code of this kind is desirable.

In other words, the code will be a compilation of what the Americans call "unfair
industrial relations practices" and will have a statutory force. Although the Trinidad
and Tobago Industrial Relations Act refers to "principles and practices of good indus-
trial relations", it did not say what that phrase means nor did it provide for the
compilation of a code to that effect.33 It seems apparent, however, that such a code so
far as Trinidad and Tobago is concerned could be compiled from the judgements
which the Industrial Court of that country have been turning out since the last eight
Thirdly, Dr. Henry deals with the more controversial issue "Compulsory Arbitra-
tion" On the question of justification or legitimacy or otherwise of compulsory
arbitration in relation to any country, the author admits; it must be "found in the
situational context" In the Caribbean, therefore, legislation "appears to be
warranted" apart from the fact that "it is also justifiable in principle" What is being
advocated here is not legislation that will regulate Caribbean industrial relations whole-
sale but one that will distinguish between "grievance dispute" and "contract dispute"
Compulsory arbitration of the former is desirable since such disputes comprise matters
that relate to "contract application or interpretation" and over disciplinary matters,
while the latter type of grievance comprises disputes over terms and conditions of
employment. So far as the Essential Services are concerned, it is considered that
compulsory arbitration is essential for the protection of life and property. But legisla-
tion in that regard should embrace the "barest minimum number of services consistent
with the objective of protecting national interest and public welfare"
The fourth aspect of Dr. Henry's recommendations relates to the other contro-
versial question restraints upon strikes. If the above remedial measures are adopted,
then there appears to be no need for legislative restraints on strikes since only small
percentage of the strikes that occur in the Caribbean have been concerned with con-
tract disputes with the exception of Guyana where there had been high percentage of
strikes forty percent of which relate to demands for better wages and conditions of
employment. Consequently, "a set of procedures laid down as prerequisites for strike
action" is preferable to a total ban on strikes. Without implying that legislative policies
in industrial relations must await the full consensus of the employers and the unions,
the author nevertheless concedes that there are two basic conditions upon which the
success of any legislative policy must depend. Quite rightly, he thinks that they are
"consent and acceptability, which in turn are largely dependent upon consultation and
Having admitted in principle that legislative intervention is needed to remedy
certain defects in the Caribbean industrial relations pattern, the author devotes the last
chapter for the discussion of the "Trinidad and Tobago Experiment", that is, the
Industrial Stabilization Act, 1965 which is perhaps the most controverted Act that
ever graced the Statute book of Trinidad and Tobago. It was an Act passed during a
state of emergency subsequent upon political agitation and industrial unrest. Strikes
and lockouts in the essential services were banned. In effect, also, strikes and lockouts
in other industries were virtually prohibited because the discretion to strike or lockout
was vested in the Minister of Labour. As already noted, this Act created an Industrial

Court which it charged with the duty of hearing and determining industrial disputes.
After tracing the political and economic background leading to the enactment of this
Act, the author summaries its import.34
Appraising the Act, Dr. Henry points out that apart from the fact that amendments
were not forthcoming (although the weaknesses of the Act manifested themselves in
the earliest stages), one of the principal causes of the problems encountered in the
administration of that Act was political. After quoting figures of disputes referred to the
Industrial Court and the disposal of same within the first five years of the Court's
existence, Dr. Henry said:"it can hardly be contended without fear of contradiction that
the legislation has had a satisfactory measure of success in the determination of disputes
expeditiously" Other contributory factors were the fact that the court had to sit as a
single court and the alarming number of disputes that were referred to the Court. On the
question as to whether that Act enhanced collective bargaining, Dr. Henry answers: "on
the net balance of both positive and negative effects, the Industrial Stabilization
Act succeeded in improving and enhancing the effectiveness of collective bargaining in
that country."
The question of recognition is also examined where it is noted that the compulsory
recognition provisions operated unsatisfactorily. What follows after that is an examin-
ation of what amounts to public interest and whether the ISA succeeded in protecting
it by its provisions. This chapter ends with a discussion of litigation of industrial
In a postscript, Dr. Henry wrote in language which could now be taken as the
obituary to the Trinidad and Tobago Industrial Stabilization Act, when after referring
to its virtual ineffectiveness in the last two years of its operation, he said: "repeal of
the ISA is now only a matter of time and already the process of designing substitute
legislation has been initiated by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago" This
prophetic speculation materialised in August, 1972 when the Industrial Relations Act
became operative. This Act has brought about a lot of changes (both procedural and
substantive) in the industrial relations law of that country but the concept represented
by the two Acts is the same.
The fact that Labour Relations and Industrial Conflict in Commonwealth
Caribbean Countries is comparatively cheap is not a reflection on the quality of its
production which by any standard is excellent. It is cheap because it is locally printed
and published. On the whole, this book is bound to herald the dawn of a new era in
the understanding of the Caribbean industrial relations not only within the region but
the world all over. It has come in time to fill the gap left by the absence of texts. The
second edition however, should appear, whenever that may, with an index.
Since industrial relations is a subject which is of equal interest to students of the
social sciences and the law alike, this book will certainly satisfy their respective in-
terests. Trade union officials, industrial relations officers, trade unionists, students of
the Labour Colleges, and company and personnel managers will derive much informa-
tion from this book. To the student of comparative industrial relations, it is a great
asset. Perhaps Labour Relations and Industrial Conflict in Commonwealth Caribbean

Countries is indicative of what is to come in the form of books in this area of study.
Meanwhile, the field of industrial relations in the Commonwealth Caribbean is still a
virgin territory and a book dealing specifically with the Legal Aspects of trade
unionism in this region has yet to be written.



1. "Trade Union Development and Industrial Relations in the British West Indies", by William
H. Knowles, University of California Press, 1959.
2. "Trade Unions and Politics in the Caribbean", by Rawle Farley, Daily Chronicle, Guyana,
3. See for example various pamphlets and Occasional Papers published by the Trade Union
Education Institute of the Extra Mural Department of the University of the West Indies,
Jamaica. There are also monographs on the histories of various trade unions in the Caribbean.
See e.g. Ashton Chase, "A History of Trade Unionism in Guyana," Georgetown, Guyana,
1964; Dr. Francis Mark, "The History of the Barbados Workers' Union," Bridgetown,
Barbados (undated): and the forthcoming work of Dr. Harold Lutchman on "Interest Repre-
sentation in the Public Service: A History of the Guyana Public Service Association," George-
town, Guyana, 1973.
4. "Labour Policies in the West Indies", I.L.O., Geneva, 1952.
5. Note also the efforts of Mr. D.H.F. Stone, Solicitor, in compiling materials on "Industrial
Relations in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago" in 1968, which though not yet published is
available in most libraries. See also the revised edition of that work: "The System of
Industrial Relations in Jamaica", Kingston, Jamaica, 1972.
6. The book under review is 283 pages long, and costs ECS7.95 (paper back) and EC$10.00
(hard cover).
7. Industrial Relations Act, 1970 (Bahamas), No. 14 of 1970, which repealed substantially the
Trade Union and Industrial Conciliation Act of 1965 and established a Labour Relations
Board to deal with labour disputes in the Bahamas.
8. Fair Labour Standards Act, 1970 (Bahamas), No. 13 of 1970.
9. Trade Unions Law of Jamaica, Cap. 389, Laws of Jamaica.
10. See pp. 33-34.
11. Trade Unions Ordinance, 1921, Laws of Guyana, Cap 113.
12. See Laws of Trinidad and Tobago, Cap. 22 No. 9.
13. This was as a result of the celebrated Moyne Commission recommendations. See Report of
the West India Royal Commission, H.M.S.O. 1945, Cmnd. 6607, esp. paragraph 10 (a). See
also "Action Taken on the Recommendations", Cmnd. 6656.

14. Guyana is another example. There are well over forty trade unions in Guyana but about
twenty-six are members of the Guyana Trade Union Council. One of Guyana's largest unions
the Guyana Agricultural Workers' Union for instance, is not a member of that council.
15. C.f. the solidarity of British Trade Unions and their unanimous attitude toward the Industrial
Relations Act, 1971. (U.K.) Cf. also the general solidarity of British Trade Unions as personi-
fied in their Trade Union Congress.
16. See Industrial Relations Act, 1972, s. 21 (3).
17. In Jamaica there is no organisation similar to a national Trade Union Congress.
18. Page 83.
19. The Critchlow Labour College, originally inaugurated as a Labour Institute was in 1967
upgraded to its present status.
20. The Cipriani Labour College of Trinidad and Tobago was founded in 1966.
21. A Trade Union Institute had previously been established as a branch of the Extra-Mural
Department of the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. Plans for the establishment of a
Labour College for Barbados have been approved by the Government of that island.
22. Reference here is made to the British system before the introduction of the Industrial
Relations Act of 1971.
23. This was in the matter between Clark and Tucker Ltd. and the Barbados Workers' Union over
recognition of workers at the company's construction site at the new Law Faculty site at
Cave Hill. This led to a nine-week work stoppage at the site and finally took the proportion of
a general strike until the Prime Minister left his Heads of Governments' Meeting in Trinidad
and rushed back to intervene an illustration of what Dr. Henry calls "the intruding element
of politics".
24. At p. 225.
25. See Interim Report of the Committee on Industrial Relations in Jamaica, 1944. The question
of legislative intervention in the industrial relations scene of the Commonwealth Caribbean is
dealt with in an essay entitled:- Statutory Regulation of Collective Bargaining in the Carib-
bean: A Review of the Industrial Relations Act of Trinidad and Tobago Nov. 1972 (mimeo)
by M.C. Okpaluba.
26. Parenthesis added.
27. Trade Disputes (Arbitration and Inquiry) (Amendment) Act, 1967. as subsequently amended.
28. For more on the contents of this Act, see Okpaluba, op. cit
29. Page 227.
30. Public Utility Undertakings and Public Services Arbitration Law, Cap 329, Laws of Jamaica.
31. Cap 386, Laws of Jamaica.
32. In deed the certification system has been introduced in Trinidad and Tobago, and it is to be
processed by an independent machinery known as the Registration Recognition and Certifi-
cation Board. See s. 21. Industrial Relations Act, 1972. The procedure for certification is
dealt with in sections 32-41.
33. Cf the U.K. Industrial Relations Act, 1971. which by s.2 imposed on the Minister responsible
for Labour the obligation of compiling a code of Industrial Relations Practice. This Code has
since been complied. See S.I. 1972 No. 179: In Jamaica a tripartite agreement was reached
and a labour code was drafted in 1962. Although it was not intended to be legislated upon it
was to form a code of practice, yet the arrangement was not acted upon because the
parties disagreed over whether it should apply to junior civil servants or not. Note also
that the U.K. code of Practice is not intended to have statutory force, see S.4 of the
1971 Act.
34. See pp. 253-356.


Sugar Without Slaves: the political economy of British Guiana, 1838-1904
Alan H. Adamson, (Yale University Press New Haven and London 1972) 315 pages.
$US 12.50.
Apart from Douglas Hall's Free Jamaica (1959) and Donald Wood's Trinidad in
Transition (1968), the crucial period between emancipation and the revolutions of the
20th century has been virtually ignored by historians of the (British) Caribbean. Not
only do we need to know what happened to planter and slave after slavery, but we
need to understand how their progress and fate were conditioned by the kind of
plantation each territory was. Barbados, for example, may be characterized as a 'full'
plantation, in which the two main elements had little geographical and social choice
outside of their metaphysical relationship. They simply continued the pattern of
accommodation the structure had forced them into. Jamaica, on the other hand, was a
'partial' plantation. Here the socio-economic latifundia had not come to coincide with
geophysical boundaries, so that there was, in addition to the estate, room for
maronage during slavery and for peasant farming afterwards. Plot and plantation came
to exist as possible parallel models or norm images for the society as a whole. Guyana
presents a picture of a 'developing' plantation: a situation where more money and
energy were put into development after slavery than before it, where corporate capital
replaced personal investment, where new systems of large estates and central factories
were introduced, and where the labour problem was solved by importing East Indian
and Chinese indentureds. In this kind of complex the ex-slave, too, could develop, but
he had to keep pace with or rather keep ahead of the new plantation which was greedy
with expansion and had the will and wealth to swamp and absorb his effort. Professor
Adamson's Sugar without slaves is a valuable contribution to this aspect of plantation
studies, though I must state from the outset that I don't think it goes far enough. This
is because his mercantilistic preoccupations, as revealed in his Introduction (plantation
as colony as metropolitan hinterland), tend to obscure and diffuse his newer and more
promising infra-structural analysis (plantation as organic structure).
But this is to anticipate. Adamson's Introduction, on its own terms, sets the scene
of the plantation as a Euro-American construct, and the chapter on 'The ecological
and historical background' provides specifics for the territory and helps us to under-
stand why it was/is 'developing'. The rest of the book is a record of the dance of
patterns within this structure, the administration and planters' advantages, the estab-
lishment of ex-slave villages, their remarkable self-help record against natural and
national odds, and finally the emergence of new arrangements through alternative
labour finance, management and trade. He concludes (p.262) that it was 'political
power that enabled [the new plantation] to arrange the terms of resource utilization

in [its] own favour': a factor which sets the stage, in fact, for the politics of inde-
But this is politics seen as superstructural and colonial: as dispute between native
and nominal resource owners for power: Burnham and bauxite, Jagan and the British
lion. Yet out of this plantation came an eyen more crucial infrastructural develop-
ment: the enjambment of African and East Indian: ex-slave and indentured labourer:
springing from the space/role allowed them by the developers; the point being that
only in this kind of polity was there occasion for cultural competition at this level and
on this scale. Built into the Guyanese plantation, in other words, were two major areas
of conflict: one superstructural, involving the politics of ownership the other infra-
structural, concerned with the politics of culture. Not only does Adamson's book not
prepare us for this, by confining itself to structure without process, to form without
tension, it fails, in the end, to explore how a society without slaves became the
complex reality we know it to be. To say that this was not the intention of the book,
would be too partial a response. Each seed should contain the image of its future


The Unappropriated People: Freedmen in the Slave Society of Barbados.
Jerome S. Handler. Baltimore, Maryland, 1974. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Tables Figures. Index, Pp xii. 225. Cloth. $10.00.
One of the more intriguing aspects and offshoots of plantation slavery in the New
World is its natural human product; the mulatto/coloured person. We have here not
only a (new) biological presence (progenitor of other phenotypical permutations:
sambo, mustee, mustiphini, etc.), but (in terms of the established slave order) a social
paradox, a psychological ambiguity, and a politico-cultural problem, since ideolo-
gically speaking, the 'mulatto' should not exist in a racially structured context where
white was light (and right) and black/slave was not even supposed to have a legal
personality. But boys will be boys and by 1790 there were 25,000 (free) coloureds in
St. Domingue (out of a population of 540,000); some 50,000 (slave + free) in Jamaica
in 1823 (out of a population of 300,000); and in Barbados (1825) there was just over
2,000 free coloured out of a population of 24,000. In other words, as the slave system
developed, setting out, as a strategy of defence, a series of apartheid laws and regula-
tions, so, at the same time did the visible evidence of the transgression of these laws
and customs make itself increasingly seen and heard. The first reaction of the
plantation establishment to this, interestingly enough, was not to control 'mis-
cegenation' (as has been done, say, in South Africa), but rather to limit the number
and nature of the privileges that the coloureds (mother and/or children) might derive
from it. Hence the social restrictions in St. Domingue and the property and inheritance
confinements there in the British West Indies.

But the coloureds had time and circumstance on their side: growing numbers,
consciousness and militance; better and better solidarity and protest organizations;
while the white oligarchies, under the combined pressure of the American, Humani-
tarian, Haitian and Industrial Revolutions, became steadily weakened and uncertain of
themselves, so that by the eve of emancipation, a significant number of the blood--
crossed population (along with some blacks) had won or were being born into
freedom, although the extent and application of this was still very much open to
interpretation. The point, though, is that the coloured or more properly the freed
population had by 1830 in the anglophone Caribbean, achieved a softly subtle and
corrosive action within the slave establishment which at the same time prepared it for
the surprisingly peaceful transition to freedom in the middle of the 19th century.
With the emphasis, however, (not unreasonably) focused on the anatomy of the
plantation and its slavery (Ragatz; 1928; Williams; 1944; Goveia; 1965, 1970,
Patterson: 1967), examination of its variforms (creolization, cultural products etc) has
been slow in coming. With respect to the coloureds, there are two excellent Jamaican
studies by Duncker ([1960]) and Campbell ([1968]) but (since both these are un-
published theses) we've had to wait until 1974 for a monograph on the subject to
become generally available. In The Unappropriated People Professor Handler has given
us a precisely expressed work which sets out the structural format of the freedman's
position in Barbados. He provides us with demographic statistics, a thorough account
of manumissionn and the validation of free status', looks at his subject within the
economic, religious, educational, militial and social systems of the island and gives an
account of how their civil rights were reduced and then re-extended.
But there is something missing. It may of course be a reflection of the society itself.
Of all Caribbean communities, Barbados ('Little England') is most apparently bland -
even blind to its own identity. There is a curiously acephalous quality about that
particular island. And perhaps the archives reflect this. One suspects that in terms of
quantity as well as quality, it would have been unlikely for Professor Handler to have
found and revealed for Barbados, the kind of life, detail and conflict that Duncker and
Campbell were so easily and generously able to provide for Jamaica, for instance; or to
have given us what we would expect from the relatively more complex/sophisticated
(?) culture of say Trinidad or St. Lucia.
But there is more to it than this, and it has to do with Professor Handler's own
instinct for caution: an admirable scholarly fastidiousness which elects for a 'matt'
rather than a 'glossy' finish to his picture. The freedmen's fight for civil rights, for
instance, which differently placed and treated could have provided the 'story' with a
plot and a conclusion, is quietly dealt with in the fourth of the nine chapters that
compose the book. Whatever dynamic the work might therefore have had, if this
material had been placed as culmination, is lost in the middle of the book. And one
expects that this placing is part of the author's choice and purpose: to provide us with
a formal/structural rather than with an informal/dynamic view of his subject. But
whether the 'choice' was voluntary or involuntary, the effect was to provide us with a
formally excellent work which at the same time fails, in essence, to reach the glimpsed
life within the interstices of the culture. In fact, so concerned was Professor Handler

with structure ('systems') in this study that he ends up (because his model doesn't
involve the interstices) with a book whose equilibrium appears more imposed than
Let me explain a little more clearly what I'm getting at. Classical, 'orthodox'
societies/situations are most classically described through 'orthodox' historical
methods: narrative/analysis, characterization, conflict/issues, infra/super structural ex-
ploration. Euro-American 19th century historiography has laid this all down. We know
we are in the presence of successful works because there is an easy concert between
structure and dynamo, form and movement. When, however, we come to cubist/-
surrealistic societies, offshoots of the metropoles, it is a different matter. Orthodox
historiography can relate then only to the formal shells of the formations; the obscure
ex-centric lives of the 'invisible men' who live under these formalities will escape
investigation almost altogether and we will simply be forced to agree with the pessi-
mists that 'nothing was created in the West Indies'.
Professor Handler is too wise and sensitive a scholar to have made this mistake; but
he has, in this study, for reasons which I can't fully understand, placed orthodox
historical set-squares on his unorthodox Bajan material and come up with a book that
has form but no movement, structure but very little life. I would go further and say
that even the described form, (the equilibrium), being 'formal', is 'false' in that for the
culture being described the essential is not structure at all, but process; psychological
boundaries are not defined so much by sense of hierarchy, as by ambiguity; not so
much by possession and opposition of values, as by paradox. This is why Governor
Seaforth, in a flash of sunlight designated the freedmen unappropriated people, though
he was thinking more of the formal/legal, rather than about the psycho-cultural
aspects of their case, But to omit this dimension from a modern study, as Professor
Handler does, is to return this group of people to the obscurity from which they have
been but briefly summoned.
To have achieved his end, Professor Handler would have had to have given us a
much larger book, in which the orthodox formal, as here, would be put to the test of
his numerous exceptions. His model would have had to give more space/time to
people. How, for instance, did Thomas Harris, (p. 197) mulatto, a slave until the age of
17, become the wealthy businessman he was: How did Joseph Garraway (p.196)
become a stipendary magistrate even though 'During the period [of] this study, the
legal and social system of Barbados was consciously oriented towards the preservation
of white supremacy' (p. 191) and 'Unlike Jamaica, no one in Barbados of known and
perceived Negroid ancestry, regardless of generational distance, could achieve a
position of legal equality with whites' (p.192), and despite the fact that 'the Barbados
legislature, in contrast to the Jamaican one, did not pass private acts granting certain
categories of freedmen special privileges. (Ibid)? What pressures of choice and
circumstance led Washington Franklin (p.86), a freed mulatto, to ally himself with the
black slave Bussa and create the revolt of 1816? And what relation did that choice
have to say, that of Samuel Jackson Prescod (p.104) the mention of whom raises,
for West Indian readers at any rate, the whole urgent problem of the cultural dilemma
of the Afro-Saxon. It is clear, in other words, that there remains more in the ancestral

social sources (Thome & Kimball: 1838;. Sturge & Harvey: 1838; Pinckard: 1806;
Vaughan: 1966/67) than Professor Handler cared or thought necessary to make
central in this book; and he eschews almost entirely the use of unconventional in-
formants such as newspapers, diaries, creative literature. The paucity of archival
sources of this kind (see pp. 4-5) is part of Handler's explanation for this. Yet imagi/-
native (not conjectural: v. p. 4) use could have been made of material from other
territories to supplement these defects. But we are still a long way, it appears, from
definitive comparative work in this region.
One notes too Professor Handler's attempt to ignore/circumvent the reality of
Caribbean colour consciousness by writing about 'freedmen' (using the formal legal
fiction) rather than about 'free coloureds' and 'free blacks' This doesn't get us very far
since (i) the weight of evidence in the already limited archives has overwhelmingly to
do with coloureds and (ii) there was obviously (p.216) more natural division in the
freed group along colour lines, than its opposite. But then the notion and treatment of
'freedmen' as distinct from black or coloured people, fits into the structural concept
(Chapters II, III, IV, IX) on which the book is based. My contention is that excellent
as this may be (and my dispute here is not with text but with contextt, it doesn't take
us near enough to the eyes of the freedmen creators, time-servers, schizophrenic
aspects of creole culture. What I'm asking for is not only the information that 'the
social cleavage between freedman and slave was bridged by a series of cross-cutting
social and psychological ties which may have mitigated some of the more divisive
factors between the two groups' (p.205), but the illumination of the fact that nearly
all freedmen, whether black or brown, had black mothers whom they had to
psycho-culturally drown in order to achieve or maintain their freedom. And freedom
and freedman in Caribbean society has a great deal to do with these submerged



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