Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Back Cover

Title: Jamaica journal
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090030/00037
 Material Information
Title: Jamaica journal
Series Title: Jamaica journal.
Abbreviated Title: Jam. j.
Physical Description: v. : ill. (part col.) ; 31 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Institute of Jamaica
Publisher: Institute of Jamaica.
Place of Publication: Kingston
Publication Date: 1982
Frequency: semiannual
Subject: Periodicals -- Jamaica   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Jamaica
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with Dec. 1967 issue.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090030
Volume ID: VID00037
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01797964
lccn - 75027862
issn - 0021-4124

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48-49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
    Back Cover
        Page 97
        Page 98
Full Text

. .

'.B .R..

A A 4
'lp 7,A




IM ,4A4


Jamaica Journal is published by
the Institute of Jamaica
12-16 East Street, Kingston, Jamaica

ISSN:0021 -4124

Publications Committee
Professor Edward Baugh Chairman
Rev. Philip Hart
Professor Gerald Lalor
Leila Thomas
Stephney Ferguson
Dr. Alfred Sangster
Olive Senior

Managing Editor
Olive Senior

Design and Production
Camille Parchment

Assistant Editor (Circulation)
Faith Myers

Mechanicals Artist
Clive Phillips

Patsy Smith

INDEX: Articles appearing in Jamaica Journal
are abstracted and indexed in Historical
Abstracts and America: History and Life.
A cumulative author-article index is in
Back Issues: Most back issues are available.
List sent on request. Entire series available on
microfilm from the National Library of
Jamaica, 12 -16 East Street, Kingston, or
University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan
48106, U.S.A.
For subscription information, see p. 20 and

Trade terms available on request

Printed by Lithographic Printers



The National Dance Theatre Company's Celebrations (choreographed
by Rex Nettleford) introduces in fine style this issue of Jamaica Journal
which celebrates Jamaica's 20th anniversary of Independence. We salute
too the NDTC which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Colour transparency NDTC Maria Layacona
Inside Front Cover
All the optimism of the new nation is reflected in this design for one of
the stamps issued at Independence.
Colour transparency by Keith Morrison

Back Cover
Three views of Lignum Vitae, Jamaica's National Flower. Below are the
official National Symbol a cluster of blossoms and the Lignum
Vitae tree itself (colour transparency by Keith Morrison). At top is a
closeup of the flower (colour transparency by Dr. Warren Robinson).

Inside Back Cover
Half-opened flower of the National Tree the Blue Mahoe (Hibiscus
Elatus) is shown at top (colour transparency by Dr. Warren Robinson)
and below, the tree itself the official National Symbol.



Jamaica's 20th Anniversary of Independence
A Personal Recollection
by T.E. Sealy

Perceptions of Manley and Bustamante


by Carl Stone

A Recent Perspective of the Post-Independence Generation
by Mary F. Richardson

by Mervyn Morris

Beginnings... by Edna Manley
Art in Jamaica 1962 82 by David Boxer
An Overview by Andrew Hope
A Very Personal Experience by Jean Smith
Abstract Art in Jamaica by Rosalie Smith McCrea

by Cherry Brady

by Barbara Gloudon

by Verena Reckord

Development of Dance-Theatre Showing Main Trends and
by Sheila Barnett

by the Hon. Glen Owen


96 Acknowledgements

. .. ., . ... 1

How We Celebrated
Our Fi* rst Independence
o I

How We Celebrated
Our First Independence

The National Bird Doctor Bird
(Trochilus Polytmus).

A PersonalRecollection

By T.E. Sealy
Chairman of the Independence Celebrations Committee, 1962

An edited excerpt from his book Take The
Boy to Jamaica, based on a series of talks
given under the auspices of the Caribbean
Institute of Mass Communications, Univer-
sity of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. Copy-
right @ 1982 by Theodore Sealy. All rights
reserved. Used with permission of the author

Remember being in Accra, Ghana
(it was then the Gold Coast) when
Kwame Nkrumah became the
head of that independent African nation.
Norman Manley was there as a repre-
sentative of the Government of Jamaica;
I was there for The Gleaner. When he
was leaving by plane, I saw him off at
the airport and he said, "Sealy, when
will Jamaica have a day like this?" I
said: "Well, sir, if you are going the
Federal way, I am not sure."

[But the West Indies Federation was
doomed when Jamaicans voted to secede
in a referendum held in September 1961.
Jamaica was given a new Constitution
and full independence the next year,
with Independence Day fixed for August
I became chairman of the indepen-
dence celebrations committee in 1962
. . But first, we must go back to the
tercentenary celebrations of 1955 which
I was also in charge of. In 1955, the ter-
centenary year of Jamaica's connection
with Britain, Manley won an election,
taking over from Bustamante. In 1962,
Bustamante won an election, taking
over from Manley. What happened was
that in 1955 Alexander Bustamante had
chosen Herbert Macdonald to head the
tercentenary celebrations, but Manley
won the election, and with Busta's con-
sent, asked me to take over the position.
In 1962, Manley was in charge of the

~' r




AUGUST 6, 192


dia i RIndI I lL dbf
W enr .J 1661ln re,,rd,'J ,f, he (olir o A-,, ,th Cond
of Aran, wa d,,,gred ir "ilha SararoIf the Arohb,.fsp of
Th, or gol Ar., --ned A o ,, wi h.,:d ler.g the
red rmo.o of St. Gog h,,rgi -.,h Fioe goaide poewpI,. the
rof ,ofol,.Ld o. 1n .ff g.r.,. log mgrtWd bo t-0 Irdi-
A Royal Helmet nod Rorl \Iianti1 a o --0 distnflnlon ncrde
Jawa.lt.o.,,f I-fner"rA/,rOhl Ar~ hbot n th.e gfn o
(ofrw d II A n ---oo r.go. ..1 1957 do. Wb,' and
Manling we, -,tied
b. 1957." n Rooyf Warrontn innaid olob omfio,,od of.
Aor onn of the red -roo of St CGoou dobload ,n, Fire
Gofdo, Pinealplet. the fo.l Heirrt ,,nlod CGofd waf Erooa, sal
Cenood.f, *,0,d,,of no a log obo. red ad kfil, *Of .
Tb 1. on,, ., now donribed a, Want I.f, Native Wo-
s balding in th eroonoo haod a ba d o frait. oan Wan Itdia
Nalf. Man nglo-og b) oto oatror haod booa-ll prW.
Th. roao- INDIS UIrIERQIE SiLMIMF UNI' bhich w.
touilood by Frank C-ofll to 1900 Wolio,, Tb, [ad.-oa To.
Shl Sfrv Lo,,f ,,,oof thb M-1f J.on -, Sretubd
fllpaiq' on Am-0, fob 1 o962 o, tbo me O t o oa, bo- g to -

government and he had started the
arrangements for independence, and
then Busta won the election and by con-
sent between them, I was put in charge
of that one this is an unusual coin-

I gained a lot of experience in 1955
of organizing public events marches,
processions, bands of music andthe like,
which went on for the whole year. We
actually had Noel Coward assisting us
with that, and we had Wycliffe Bennett,
who made his first appearance as a pub-
lic organizer in 1955, arranging concerts
all over the country the beginning of
a lifelong interest in large scale organi-
zation. Actually that year I remember
with some affection. We closed it with a
watch night service from the George VI
Memorial Park [now National Heroes
Park] where we had set up electronic
high frequency radio whereby each
parish capital could synchronize its own
watch night service and sing the same
hymns, and have the same music at the
same time, and that's how we ended
that year. It was a very (for those days)
unusual electronic performance with
high frequency radio, and it worked
very, very well.

Now comes 1962. A large committee
was appointed, it was a government
committee which came under the
minister of finance . I was chairman
of this large committee, but I had a
special task assigned by Norman Manley
before he demitted office, that the
Legislature (which became Parliament
on the appointed day) should be able to
choose in time an anthem, a flag, a
motto, and national symbols. I will tell
how each of these came to be chosen.

The Motto: As my contribution person-
ally to tercentenary year I ran in the
Star newspaper which started in 1951, a
contest in which 3,000 girls of Jamaica
were photographed and entered. It was
called 'Ten Types, One People'. There
were: 'Miss Ebony' for the coal-black
girl or light black girl; Miss Mahogany';
'Miss Golden Apple'; 'Miss Apple Blos-
som'; and others making ten types, so
that girls only competed with persons
of their own complexion relatively. If
you think back to 1962 and Indepen-
dence, what became Jamaica's motto? -
'Out of Many, One People'. So, it could
be that that contest was a prophetic
projection of the concept of our multi-
racial society, although this context
was, 'Ten Types, One People'. This con-
test, which so many girls had entered,
was so popular that the concept enter-

ed the public consciousness and it was
probably by force of habit that the
members of the Legislature in 1962
chose the expression, 'Out of Many,
One People'.
This motto has been subjected to
much harassment. A number of my
contemporaries of black complexion say
that it is wrong because it is saying that
since out of many they must all become
one people, then the black people will
cease to be a separate people. It is a
very hard argument to answer because
the motto is an expectation spread over
generations and it can mean anything to
anybody. But, friends of mine like Alva
Ramsay, contend that it is too anti-
black because it means that Jamaica
must not remain black but must find
a new people to be made out of the
people who are here. So you see how in
politics you can't do anything right.
Now take the National Anthem.
Norman Manley when he was premier .
had held a competition for the words
and the music for a national anthem. The Hon. Robert Lightbourne
When he emitted office, I was given
the job of completing that competition.
We circulated to one set of judges the
words entered in the competition, and
to others of good musical scholarship,
the music submitted by different per-
sons. Now here is something which
may be good for general knowledge.
People chosen as judges like to know The Rev. Hugh Sherlock
who the other judges are, but you must
never tell them or they will make a cau-
cus on you. If a judge wanted to know
who else was judging, we never told
that person, and he or she was not asked
again. So, by going to each one and get-
ting his or her support, we found that

most appropriate; and that Robert
Lightbourne's music was the most appro-
Then I appointed a technical com-
mittee of musicians to blend them to-
gether words and music and event- C
ually I employed a professional music-
ian to brighten the resulting anthem up
a bit, because it sounded very dirge- 0
like and sad. He and his wife added at -
the end 'Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica,._
land we love' to sort of give it a little
pep. When the anthem came to be an-
nounced, the technical man to whom
we had given the job insisted that his z
name should be given publicity, and I
took advice and declined to do so. This
anthem has no specific author; it be-
longs to the nation. .9

That was the anthem, now the Flag.

The National Anthem

i 1 I I \

JToch us tNe re pct for all.

I~' I ri ~ 1~

i... h..
Sl.'m-'~ .+.. -.~ .*. I n c. ..
-y _---e-~ *

J 7 -W


Guerd u>s wih Thy Migh- ty Hand
Stir re-- pcnse to ad- ty's call.
1~ I | |

B. our- l' through cn-ls. rrs
G ve u1 .- slon los* we persh

9 -* PA"- 1:

The National Fruit Ackee (Blighia sapida).

When I first asked Bustamante, "What is
your idea of the national flag, sir?" he
said, "Give me any flag, but put a little
Union Jack in it". Then Norman Manley
said, "Sealy, our flag must represent all
our races". So I said, "Well, it's going to
be a lot of colours". Starting from that
basis, from about 23 colours we boiled
it down to three. I said: it's no use hav-
ing a flag that the people are going to
say no to in ten years time. This meant
that it had to have black as one of its
colours. You must remember that
Ghana had black, as did Ethiopia, and
so on. Then we had yellow for bright-
ness. The problem was choosing the
other colour. Half of the parliamentary
committee wanted blue, but it was quite
clear that the PNP elements did not
wish any colour to remain in the flag
that was in the Union Jack.
So Wills Isaacs said, "As a merchant
I can tell you that blue is a poor colour
to use, the green is much better". So
the flag came to be green, yellow and
black. Now the problem was how to

arrange the colours.
We had artists going through every
configuration of how to combine those
colours. Then we arrived at a flag with
horizontal stripes two narrow gold
stripes with black and green in between.
When we sent it to the College of Heralds
in London, they cleared it and said it
was alright. Then our agents cabled us
to say that Tanganyka had just passed a
flag of that same description but with
very narrow yellow stripes. So over-
night we were faced with another nation
having a flag very much like ours. I
rang up various people and Florizel
Glasspole came up wtih the suggestion,
"Why not make it a cross, a golden
I said: "Florizel, you have something
there, you know, but I know of no
national flag that has one saltire [i.e. a
diagonal cross]. The Union Jack has a
whole series of crosses mixed up in it".
So we cabled London to ask if there
was any adverse indication on having a
saltire as the national flag, and they said


no. W. (tceMs) Ol.d i Coma 19a
M.". .. 23,d My 262
Lad A.4-, P.X 4 24. J.,d 962
S 3(2 Or= O64 i. C.I .d
-6W $1 %i 9(1) ..d (2) 103. 104.
11 .24 .4 125 Y. p-) .1' 1 C,.-U.
-29h AN 1%2s~
A..Wd-4 J.MY bl- I& 61
A.,- 162
IR d & A --

2. R.. S..
O ~rr 44

11 Fdk."
L. a 44 b .
4 3.. 4_ 44 W ~ his
It P96LL9

44 A9.M~
IS =~h 1 C"- b 4.6 TI -d O1 M-b.W
C4 R~ ...46 A.0.96.-0L

II 96 i.
& ravm OMO
19a T-6d p.W;1 1 m4a .6 1 Af C.
21. ANWM 4466 TW -dIM. -&
0- .-. 0
1M. CIIEI4. J_04
AI*A O 96 14*964. Pthm IM23rd &I1 of July 1962

4. Q~4 ..W().1 M_ 44A lb.J W.i44. Ad. 2924
W4 61 k 4 661..hi. bd 44W* 6 *
EJ4, CMl44. b ..d. Md 9..*4a..

CXV "~ ece

t~ree S V
3296 96II I
$X kje 0 26

r e~ke- ---V19
~~e4- o1xO 0

no. So that flag was born.

[The National Symbols National
Flower: Lignum Vitae; National Tree:
Blue Mahoe; National Fruit: Ackee, and
National Bird:Doctor Bird were pick-
ed by a select committee under the
chairmanship of George Scott, President
of the Jamaica Horticultural Society.
The Society itself had canvassed its
members throughout the island for their

We move now into the actual cele-
brations. The committee of which I was



1 962


? d

The Mace, symbol of Parliamentary authority,
being carried into the Chambers of the House
by the Marshall.

chairman was responsible for organi-
zing all the ceremonies and the like as
set out in the Jamaica Independence
celebration programme. Incidentally, I
scooped the world press in London in
February when I published that the first
Independence Day would be 6 August.
Bob Lightbourne had said to me, "Theo,
it's going to be a moveable feast". The
idea was that people wanted to have it
as First of August [Emancipation Day]
and our politicians did not want to tie
themselves to that date. First of August
was identified with freedom from sla-
very, and they did not wish to commit
independence to that total commit-
ment to freedom from slavery. So, it
was decided that Independence Day
would be the first Monday in August

SUTS ~f-

Visitors arrived from all over the world for our independence celebrations.
Among them was Dr. Ralphe Bunche (left) Under Secretary of the
United Nations.
each year, so it's a moveable feast; that
year it was 6 August.
There were some sad things about it.
I went to the airport as chairman to
see that things were going alright for the
arrival of Princess Margaret who with
her husband the Earl of Snowdon was
coming to represent the Queen at the
celebrations. Bustamante and others of
the top brass were seated in a tent wait-
ing; the plane had not yet come. I was
going round to see that everything was
alright when Sangster, then deputy
Prime Minister, buttonholed me and
said, "Theo, the police are telling me
that it is quite a risk to turn off the light
on Independence night for one minute
to change the flag at midnight".
I said, "Mr. Sangster, you mustn't H.R.H. the Princess Margaret, representing Her Majesty The Queen,
talk to policemen. You must talk to the reading the speech from the throne to open Jamaica's first Parliament,
Commissioner of Police. You can't go Tuesday 7 August 1962.
on what policemen tell you".

He said, "Well, here he is then". Cross- ,;
well, I think it was, came over and said,
'"Well, you know Mr. Sangster, I have -
heard it myself".
So I said, "Well, to tell you the truth,
Mr. Sangster, if our nation is afraid to
turn off the light at midnight for one
minute, we shouldn't be self-governing".
He sauntered off and 'maliced' me
for quite a while over it. I had already
taken precautions and had special secur-
ity mounted at the stadium against any
eventuality. The chief strategy that I
employed for security at that massive
success, the flag raising ceremony, was
The stadium seats five or so thousand
in the grandstand and 35,000 in the rest
of it, but because we were having fire-
works, a fair portion of the stands had
to be given over to the fireworks, so we
thought we could seat only 28,000. His Excellency, Sir Clifford Campbell (here taking the salute outside
Freddie Hickling now a fine psychia- Gordon House) was our first Jamaican Governor-General.
trist at Bellevue his parents had sent
him to work with me in the indepen-
dence office, and I sat with that young-
ster and worked it out: "the thing to do
is to get the twelve entrances to the
stands lettered alphabetically. We know
we have to give tickets to parochial
boards; we have to give to each level of
society; the unions of the various types
and ration them as to their numbers. c
Then we can mix their entries so that 2
people coming from parish councils do
not meet each other. You do not give E
any instructions. You must say entry 'X' o
or entry 'V' or what. The strategy of it 2
is this. If people get together long enough .
to know that this is brother Jack and
son, they will start shouting to each

6th AU G U ST 1962
i .-


II I,,

Illustrations from the National Library






'Noun A



-- --



Princess opens first Parliament!
h'. UK an d
BuBab o b of b aWpish
t b. .9 1


other and get exuberant. If when they
go in they don't know many people,
they keep cool; by the time they find
out that their friends are over that side,
it is too late". That, nobody knew at
the time, was how the tickets were dis-
tributed. You could not know. Busta-
mante, I think, got 800 for the BITU,
and he sent them back saying that it
was not enough. Miss Longbridge came
to see me, and I said, "The thing can
only hold so much and it adds up to
so much. Take them back for me, nuh", .
And she took them back.
So that night passed without any in-
cident and it was a remarkable thing be-
cause everyone was feeling on edge. I
will leave the main thing for a minute
and mention something that happened
at the end of it: when the flag raising
was over and the Princess had left and

Illustrations from the National Library

- --C~Li


Lyndon Johnson had left and the
governor-general had left. (Sir Kenneth
Blackburne who was governor became
governor-general all these people had
new titles beginning on the appointed
day. So he was governor and on the ap-
pointed day he became governor-general;
Bustamante was premier and on the ap-
pointed day be became prime minister,
so he was appointed prime minister-
designate. It was tricky to work with
but it was beautiful to see people who
know these matters. They appointed a
Colonel Hefford of the British army to
be my adviser and assistant). So, after
all these people had gone without re-
proach (except for something I will
mention in a minute), Bustamante and
others assembled where the microphones
had been set up for prayers to be said
and they were just chatting. They saw
the microphone standing there and went
over and started to tap it. I said, "My
God, they want to speak to a captive
audience" (this was to myself) because
they never had popularity in stadium
crowds in those days. So I called to the
man up at the controls of the speaker
system. I said, "Lock it upand go home".
So he turned off the mike. I was sitting
down in the royal box and Busta was
down there. So they kept rapping and
rapping but nothing happened, or
else they would have started a meeting
there and God knows what might not
have happened.
It had been decided that represent-
atives of the Christian churches would
offer prayers at the flag raising ceremony.
There was a long and fervid discussion
about whether the Jews should be rep-
resented. What happened was that the
Christian church as the church of Colum-
bus, who discovered Jamaica, had prior
right. But the Jews claimed a right be-
cause they said they came at the same
time as Columbus. That discussion went
on very strongly in official circles with
the governor and Bustamante and every-
one involved. Bustamante said, "Well,
if they have history in their favour, why
are you trying to stop them now?" Man-
ley said the same. So, we found that at
our celebrations the Rabbi said prayers
on behalf of the Jewish community.
Vice-President Lyndon Johnson of
the United States was a guest for our
independence celebrations. It so happen-
ed that while I was in Ghana, I had had
a very bad experience with Richard
Nixon, who was U.S. vice-president at
that time; he had come to Ghana for
the independence of Ghana and arranged
his own big programme which conflicted
with all the official events. I had to go

to press briefings. We had a fellow named
Moxon (I am sure it is not the same one
here now, but he is an equally outspoken
fellow) who was the press officer for
the Government of Ghana. He would be
telling us that on Tuesday we would
be having so and so, and on Wednesday
so and so, and these American reporters
would pipe up, "But the vice-president
is having something at that hour". So
Moxon got miffed about all this and
said, "gentlemen, you are here for the
independence of Ghana, and not for Mr.
Nixon". The Americans liked to over-
ride anything that was going on when
they came to attend it.
So I was a bit cautious about Lyndon
Johnson. Then Blackburne was opposed
to Johnson sitting in the royal box. I
thought Blackburne did not have any
grounds for that. As it turned out, Busta-
mante agreed with me; rather, Busta-
mante put forward my point of view.
Bustamante said, "But Princess Margaret
is not Royal. She is not the Queen".
Johnson, had he been president, would
have been in the royal box. So, against
Blackburne's will, Johnson and his wife
Lady Bird were given a seat in the royal
This event was the Sunday night: "10
pm National Parade, Flag Raising
Ceremony and Fireworks Display at Sta-
dium". Blackburne phoned me and said,
"Sealy, I want you to sit in the royal
I said, "I have no wish to be there,
He said, "I want you to be there".

Now I had to get white tie and tails.
In those days Glasspole and Dr. K. Leigh-
Evans and myself owned a set of tails
in common. We were fellows of large
girth. But my white tie got spoiled in
storage in the drawer and couldn't be
worn, so I had to get a shirt and collar
and tie. Sammy Henriques loaned me a
shirt and collar and tie to put on to go
to this thing. So, here we were, and
when I look back on it, it was one of
those strange things that I was probably
the only black person in the royal box
at the independence of a black nation,
but I don't think that that was Black-
burne's motive.
So I am there sitting. The ceremony
starts and Lyndon Johnson comes in
late. He had to be flown in by heli-
copter because he had put on a dinner
party the same night somewhere else,
and there was a great traffic jam and all
kinds of humbug. So, Blackburne sitting
in front of me turns around and says to

me, "Sealy, see they have photographers
sitting with Johnson". So I turned back
to the princess's equerry and asked him
to do something about it, because the
Royal Family insists that on public
occasions the camera should not be be-
hind them. The equerry went over and
the two chaps gave him a flea in his ear
and sent him away. One of those chaps
was a top photographer at Time-Life.
So, they sat there. They then sent the
governor-general's equerry. No result.
So I said that I have to do something
because otherwise I will be in trouble;
I am president of the Jamaica Press
Association. We had taken the decision
that the press would not be in the royal
box, and I can't have these American
people flout our decisions. So I went
round and said to the two of them'
"Why are you here?" reflecting a slight-
ly English accent to go with my white
"We are here with the V.P."
I said, "Well, you can't stay here. All
the press are down there and you have
to go down there".
"Well, you better tell that to the V.P."
Lyndon Johnson was sitting there
and they were sitting at his feet on the
"So", he said, "you want them to go
"Yes, send them down", I shouted.
He said sharply, "Get down" and he
sent them down. When the Jamaican
national anthem was played after that,
he did not stand up. It was things like
that that Blackburne feared why he
needed me there because I had the auda-
city to deal with anything.
Next day a chap from the State De-
partment in Washington (whom I had
met there three years before when I was
a guest of the State Department for a
three-month tour of the United States)
came and we recognized each other. He
brought me a box with a present from
the vice-president, Mr. Lyndon Johnson.
It was a huge Stueben crystal iceberg.
I said my thanks and I jumped in my car
and drove to King's House and gave it
to Blackburne and said: "You got me
into this, so you keep this as a memorial
of your Independence on the first Inde-
pendence Day of Jamaica".

The Founding Fathers

Rt. Excellent Norman Washington Manley
Philosopher and statesman, he had a unity of vision that gave
coherence to his many activities. He was excited and inspired
by the task of creating a nation, and in doing this he taught
us all, who were his countrymen, how to link thought with
action, vision with one's everyday work, how to feed ideal-
ism into the nation's affairs. He demonstrated how power
could be used to promote good government; and he insisted
that if power were not linked with morality it would corrupt
and destroy the society. It was this union of power and
morality, of authority with personal integrity, that was most
vital in a democracy, for democracy was a sham unless it in-
volved the use of power to protect and promote the com-
mon good. He thought of democracy as more than a political
system; it was a way of life, and it could exist only where
government derived from the consent of free men, and when
it provided a real alternative through two or more parties.
Through his published speeches he remains a living voice
and by the force of his example he becomes an inspiration
for all men of good will.
Philip Sherlock, Norman Manley: A Biography.

But the stature of the man and his work begins to assume
significant dimensions when it is recognized that the quali-
ties which produced the outstanding individual that he was,
were generously and selflessly put to the service of an entire
society and dedicated to a totality of experience producing
ideas, programmes of action, vision for the betterment of
Jamaicans and the human condition. I refer, naturally, to the
Karl Parboosingh. Portrait of Norman Washington Manley. innovatory and creative vision of Manley who a generation
ago stood, not altogether alone, but oftentimes lonely in his
Cont'd. on p.16

Gaston Tabois, Hero's Birthplace Roxborough, 1975. Oil on Canvas.

x 38". Collection of the Artist.

Perceptions of Manley and Bustamante

Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante
If the word 'charisma' had not existed, the eruption of
William Alexander Bustamante on the Jamaican scene in the
1930's would have caused some political scientist or other to
have invented it. 'Charisma' in its original meaning is the gift
that God makes to man, freely, outside compulsion like
the gift of grace. In its political meaning, the word is com-
plex. First used by the great German sociologist Weber, as
a tool of political analysis, the word has since become en-
meshed in an intricate academic web of interpretation. In the
life and times of William Alexander Bustamante we see the
word 'charisma' made flesh. For the charismatic leader is al-
ways a Messianic leader, a Saviour he embodies the role of
chance in history, the incalculable. The charismatic leader
pits himself against impossible odds and persuades others
that he can win. In persuading others he persuades himself.
Sylvia Wynter: Jamaica's National Heroes.

S. Alexander Bustamante... cannot be excluded from that
generation which had a "distinct mission to perform" and
his contribution cannot be ignored. The creation of a nation-
alist spirit in Jamaica would have been unthinkable if the
bulk of the population, in this case the labouring classes of
workers and peasants, had not been made to feel conscious
of themselves as a class and had not been provoked to
militancy and organized action. "The class militancy of the Stafford Schliefer, Portrait of Alexander Busta-
Jamaican crowd unleashed by 1938, although thus somewhat mante. Collection of Mrs. Monica Hill.
muted, has basically remained as a permanent element in
Jamaican society. The old habit of class deference has gone Gaston Tabois, Hero's Birthplace Blenheim 1975. Oil on Canvas.
for ever, as testified indeed, by the way in which bitter 19" x 23". Collection of the Artist.
complaint about 'bad manners' and 'abusive' language of the
street populace has become, over the years, the stock in trade
of the middle class and its communications media." Busta-
mante in his insistence that the common man and indeed his
countrymen at large be treated with respect, allowed no ex-
ceptions. Who else but Alexander Bustamante could say to a
harried British Colonial Secretary who sought to limit him, as
the leader of a Jamaican delegation, to a twenty-minute audi-
ence, "I did not travel all the way from Jamaica to talk to
you for twenty minutes!"
George Eaton, Alexander Bustamante and Modern Jamaica.
Prime Minister designate Sir Alexander Bustamante did not Maa
herald the coming of political independence and nationhood
with an outpouring of lofty and inspiring sentiments or with
stirring emotional appeals to his countrymen to hail the
dawn of a new era for Jamaica. This would have been out-of-
keeping with his style and temperament. As one of his ablest
Cont'd. on p.17

Edna Manley, Norman, 1924. Bronze. Edna Manley Collection.

Alvin Marriott, Statue of Manley. Bronze. Public monument, St.
William Grant Park.


Cont'd. from p.14
firm belief that the future of Jamaica turned on the people's
capacity to create for themselves their own goods, and
make their own mistakes. 'Men', he once remarked, 'stand
strongest when they are their own masters.' It was the bane
of his generation that by definition people like himself were
deemed incapable of being their own masters. And since no-
thing creative could by definition come out of the colonies,
innovations and inventions awaited approval in the metro-
politan centre. But Manley had an unshakeable belief in the
capacity of the Jamaican people to create for themselves, to
carve out their own destiny.
He believed too much in the intrinsic worth of the
human being to write his generation off as irredeemable zom-
bies of colonialism. He knew from then that although the ex-
ploiter-exploited framework of Caribbean history invests
the Jamaican experience with more ills than are worth re-
counting, that very experience has also produced forces with
tremendous potential for creativity, originality and growth.
He himself embarked with no mean results on an adventur-
ous exploration of this potential and saw it as the very
dynamic for what came to be called Jamaican nationalism.
This explains in part his oft-repeated (if sometimes overly
optimistic) claims for the efficacy of the multi-racial ethic in
the society for he saw the toleration and mutual respect,
here implied, as the measure of the Jamaican's potential to
provide for himself a just and rehumanised society. He did
not however simply dream dreams; he also worked actively
in the shaping. And the excellence of his achievement must
be measured by the extent to which he managed to get an
entire society of succeeding generations to transform the
conception of themselves as dependent, second-class citizens
of the world to a perception of themselves as resourceful
creative agents of their society. This is the real revolution
that went beyond the shores of his native Jamaica to other
parts of the Caribbean providing a liberating force of which
many have been the beneficiaries. Manley, like so many
leaders of his generation, may well become the victim of the
paradox of politics, faced with the threat of historical amnesia
among a younger generation which is assertive, 'revolution-
ised', creative and impatient impatient no doubt because
Jamaicans are all now so much surer of their potential.
Rex Nettleford, Introduction to Norman Manley: Selected
Speeches and Writings.

As for independence, the word was meaningless unless it
meant fashioning in Jamaica a land of equality, 'where every
child starts with an equal chance to develop his heritage and
where men are brothers with equal status, a world where no
man need say "Massa, please Massa", a world where work
does not depend on the dictates of the few, and the profits
they can make'. The constitution itself, of which he was the
chief architect, was no more than a framework for maintain-
ing good government, 'the form and image of our political
self . You may write the best constitution in the world,
and not get the democratic spirit which this House has built
up and preserved over the years. This is not done by consti-
tutions, this is done by the people'. None of the institutions
of a democratic society should be taken for granted or treated
lightly. The rule of law, for example, became a living thing in
the mind of a community only through the involvement of
the ordinary people in the administration of justice by means
of a jury system and a lay magistracy: 'It is here in the
involvement of the people themselves that the rule of law
Cont'd. on p.18

Cont'd. from p.15
political lieutenants explained, "One has to bear in mind that
Jamaica came to independence fairly well prepared and there-
fore the trauma that usually accompanies a country which
experiences independence and therefore heightens the differ-
ence between the post- and the pre- independence periods
wasn't there. We had set up a range of institutions which
were the necessary institutions to carry us forward into in-
dependence. We had set up the Development Corporations,
the Central Bank, Administration of Justice; we had evolved
the machinery and tried it and tested it and we had evolved
a political maturity which also was tried and tested. So that
when independence came, it wasn't as if there were a lot of
things to be done then, that were different from what was
being done before. It is true one could have used an approach
towards heightening the national spirit which would have
mobilized people for action, and we could have used some
of the approaches which tend to almost border on gimmickry
which have been used in this area and in other emerging
nations and tend to give people the impression that there is
something quite different and they must adjust differently
and must act differently and so on. That wasn't done. Instead,
we set about the hard facts of management of the country,
build-up of further institutions, developing further capital
flows, and so on."
George Eaton, Alexander Bustamante and Modern Jamaica.
Nevertheless, when it came to the appointment of a new
Governor General, Bustamante showed that he was very
much alive to the need for, and importance of, symbolism in
fostering national identity and a spirit of self-confidence. His
recommendation that Clifford Clarence Campbell be appoint-
ed as the representative of the Queen in Jamaica, gave the
new nation its first native-born and black Governor General.
In so doing, Bustamante in one sense brought to completion
the first phase of the "mental revolution" which he had
helped to set in motion in 1938. For after he had emerged as
the focus and pivot of a working-class protest movement that
had the threat of racial confrontation, and was grappling to
harness and give organized direction to that protest, Alex-
ander Bustamante struck a radical note when he asserted that
he would become Governor of Jamaica. Now, within the life-
time of many of his early followers, a black man and not a
brown man, or off-white had become Governor General,
the representative of the Queen (albeit of a white Queen) and
the visible embodiment of the Head of State.
It was his ears which provided the significant entrance
into his mind, together with his observation of the expression
on the face of the person who was dealing with him. This was
in marked contrast to his cousin Norman Manley, who had a
tremendous appetite and capacity for the written word and
points of detail. Bustamante readily admits that he gave
every encouragement to his lieutenants to speak their minds
and to disagree with him, but when he thought it necessary
to draw the line he would remind, "You have disagreed, now
I have the last say. I object to all you have agreed to. Now
goodbye." A published anecdote recounts that when he
became Prime Minister in 1962, the practice in Cabinet was
for Ministers to present written submissions on matters on
which they wished to have Cabinet endorsement. After
Bustamante had heard from the senior Ministers as to the im-
plications of particular proposals, he would announce his
decision. This practice did not meet with the approval of
one Minister who suggested that the democratic thing to do
Cont'd. on p.19

Clifton Campbell, Portrait of Bustamante.

Alvin Marriott, Statue of Bustamante. Bronze. Public monument, St.
William Grant Park.

.z .,J.-.


Cont'd. from p.16
to be comprehended. This is true democracy in
I in a most significant field'.
Philip Sherlock, Norman Manley: A Biography.

That Manley came to see himself as a founding father of the
new nation of Jamaica, there is no doubt. That he was an
embodiment of many of its most salient features can hardly
be denied. He himself expressed it eloquently in his descrip-
tion of the Jamaican people: 'Out of the past of fire and
suffering and neglect, the human spirit ]as survived patient
and strong, quick to anger, quick to forgive; lusty and vigor-
ous but with deep reserves of loyalty and love, and a deep
capacity for steadiness under stress, and for joy in all the
things that make life good and blessed.'
Rex Nettleford, Introduction to Norman Manley: Selected
Speeches and Writings.

The generation of young men and women which have emer-
ged from the changes made in the fabric of society by Busta-
mante and Manley have now come of age. They take for
granted the cultural changes initiated by both men the
conscious awakening of artistic endeavour by Manley and
his wife, the great surge of writing and painting out of 1938
the awakening by Bustamante of the people to the
consciousness of their own strength and power through their
participation in Union and Jamaica Labour Party branches.
The social and psychological impact that the two men had,
by the quality of their own lives Manley's trained intelli-
gence did away with the fallacy that black and coloured men
were in any way unequal in 'brains', the quality of his family
life, his total sense of responsibility had its impact on his
followers; Bustamante's generosity, physical courage, auda-
cious initiative, and determination to lead at all times, his
respect for and protective attitude towards women of all
classes, his ability to hold together all classes of society and
to be himself with all, his sense of humour, quickness of wit,
helped to cement the meaning of being a Jamaican. Both
men made mistakes, both men perhaps would now begin to
find it difficult to come to terms with this new Jamaica that
has emerged from the work of their hands and minds. Cold
rational analysis will point out this and that point where they
failed, where they seemed to turn their backs on progress.
But then progress is an abstraction, the abstraction that this
new generation and its leaders must make into a reality.
What we honour in these two men is this; that under the
stress of violent circumstances in 1938 they both came out
into public life, took hold, channelled, changed and trans-
formed a colonial society into a nation. From 1938 1962
they did more for the people of this country than colonial
rule had done in three hundred years of history. What they
set out to do, they did and did well. They helped to initiate
in Jamaica, and thereby took part in that world-wide move-
ment that Arnold Toynbee has described as -

. the greatest and most significant thing that is
happening in the world today... a movement on
foot for giving the benefits of civilization to that
huge majority of the human race that has paid
for civilization, without sharing its benefits dur-
ing the first five thousand years of civilization's

Sylvia Wynter, Jamaica's National Heroes

Cont'd. from p.17
would be to take a vote. "Vote?" queried Sir Alexander. "A
vote? Very well, we will have a vote. Those in favour say
'aye', those against, 'no'. Eleven ayes and one no me the
no's have it, negatived; next matter."
Bustamante's intuitive trust in people who worked with
him extended to his signing an important letter, after it had
'been read back to him by his Permanent Secretary (civil
service head of a Ministry) or someone else working for him.
In a sense, therefore, Bustamante lived by his memory, and
in this Gladys Longbridge Bustamante played a critical role
as his private secretary and confidante, and this role did
not end when she became his wife. She was his "memory
bank", so to speak. In discussions, Bustamante would turn to
her incessantly "What was the sum of money we provided
for that road in Lionel Town, Lady B?" and such was her
memory that she would recall what had been done three or
four years previously. "What was the name of that man who
came to see me last year when I was in New York, Lady B?"
and again the name would be recalled. Gladys Longbridge
Bustamante was therefore the complementary but unobtru-
sive other member of the team who made a tremendous
contribution to the way in which Bustamante was able to
perform. He often expected others who worked with
him to perform in the same way. One of Jamaica's very dis-
tinguished civil-servants recalled that his telephone would
ring, and it would be a summons from the Prime Minister.
There would, however, be rarely any indication of what the
Prime Minister wanted to see him about or wanted to discuss.
On one occasion he protested to Bustamante's Secretary,
pointing out that he would much prefer to be able to consult
his files before.giving advice that might be required. Apprised
of this by his Secretary, Bustamante replied that he had no
intention of letting his administrative officer know before-
hand what he wanted to discuss, as he was more likely to get
the truth if he took him by surprise, rather than allowing him
to have an opportunity to think up a story or invent an ex-

George Eaton, Alexander Bustamante and Modern Jamaica.

It is one of the paradoxes of William Alexander Clarke
Bustamante that the very autocratic and egocentric tenden-
cies which gave rise to his personalism or patriarchal rule also
enabled him to satisfy the institutional requirements of
leadership, namely, the ability to see the enterprise as a
whole, to make decisions, to delegate and to inspire loyalty.
He tended to see himself as belonging to all classes and all
constituencies in Jamaica. This helped to sustain his sense of
fairplay. He was a man of action who took decisions readily
and there was never any doubt as to who was boss. In most
emergent nations, the relationship between the political exe-
cutive and the career civil service, constitutes a potential
source of continuing tension. Jamaica has been no exception.
Yet, as far as Bustamante was concerned, his intuitive and
unorthodox approach to administration led him to rely upon
his civil service aides to do the administrative spadework and
provide him with advice, and as a rule he enjoyed excellent
relations with them. He demanded loyalty and he gave the

George Eaton, Alexander Bustamante and Modern Jamaica.



. .- ,.
\is A

Alvin Marriott. Bust of Bustamante. Olympia Collection.

Jamaica National Trust Commission for permission to quote from
Sylvia Wynter, Jamaica's National Heroes, National Trust Commission,
Kingston Publishers for permission to quote from George E. Eaton,
Alexander Bustamante and Modern Jamaica, Kingston Publishers,

Rex Nettleford, for permission to quote from Rex Nettleford (ed.),
Manley and the New Jamaica. Selected Speeches and Writings 1938 -
1968, London: Longman, 1977.
Sir Philip Sherlock for permission to quote from Philip Sherlock,
Norman Manley: A Biography, London; Macmillan, 1980.




loo. ^

.-. 7



Working class riots throughout the West Indies lead to the
emergence of mass trade unions and in Jamaica, Alexander
Bustamante and Norman Washington Manley as national
Royal Commission of Enquiry (Moyne Commission) sent by
the British Government to investigate conditions in the West
Indies. Report (withheld during the war years) published in
1945. Regarded by some as a blueprint for social reform.




National Sovereignty which was introduced by constitutional
means in 1962, evolved over 467 years following Christopher
Columbus' discovery of Jamaica and his claim to the island
on behalf of Spain. The rule of aboriginal chiefs was replaced
by authoritarian administration from Spain. The phase ended
in 1655 with the English conquest and occupation. Military
government was imposed. After the Treaty of Madrid in
1672 by which Jamaica was ceded by Spain to England, the
long period of constitutional apprenticeship commenced.
- Handbook of Jamaica.


de Bry Historia Americae 1590 1634

Crowd in Barbados listening to proceedings of the Moyne Commission.

New Constitution comes into effect 20 November. Introduces
Universal Adult Suffrage. First election under new system
won by Bustamante's Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).
At Montego Bay conference, the idea of establishing a West
Indies Federation on the Australian model accepted.
Federal Constitutional Conference in London.
In Jamaica, a new Constitution. Ministerial system of govern-
ment introduced. Justice, defence and foreign affairs still
outside Jamaican control.

General election won for the first time by the Peoples
National Party (PNP) led by Norman Manley.
Federal Conference in Jamaica.
Port of Spain, Trinidad, chosen as Federal Capital.



Federal Election run under local election laws held 25
March. Stunning upset. W.I. Federal Labour Party led by
Norman Manley with support of Grantley Adams (Barbados)
and Eric Williams (Trinidad) expecting easy victory, lose

badly to opposition Democratic Labour Party (led in Jamaica
by Bustamante). The Federal Election has the lowest poll of
any Jamaican election ever conducted 53 per cent of
listed voters.
The West Indies Federation inaugurated 22 April. Financed
by a levy on governments: Jamaica 43 per cent, Trinidad -
39 per cent, Barbados 9 per cent. Bicameral legislature:
House of Representatives 45 elected members of which
17 come from Jamaica; nominated Senate of 19 with 2
representatives from all territories except Montserrat (1).
Representation to be a sore point with Jamaica.

3 June: Governor-General of The West Indies, Lord Hailes,
sworn in.

jirantley Aaams

Lord Hailes
5 November: Bustamante first brings the issue of Jamaica's
secession from the Federation into the open.

Eric Williams's Peoples National Movement in Trinidad issues
statement 24 May on reform of Federal constitution; advo-
cates strong federal government.


On 27 May, Ministry Paper No. 18 laid before the Jamaican
Parliament which endorses proposals counter to the Trinidad
position; advocates principle of 'representation by popu-
In July, PNP again wins general election. Grantley Adams,
Federal Prime Minister (opposed to Bustamante) declares,
'The West Indies have to say, thank God. The future of the
West Indies is now assured'.
First inter-governmental conference held in September. The
Jamaican delegation led by Manley leaves the conference
with the issue of representation unresolved. Issue referred to
Bustamante announces that the JLP will advocate secession.
Resigns as leader of Federal DLP.

In January Manley leads a Jamaican delegation to London to
meet with new British Secretary of State for the Colonies.
In February, Manley presents Ministry Paper No. 3 to Parlia-
ment. Reiterates Jamaica's position re representation.
In May, Inter-governmental conference in Port of Spain.
Jamaica again presses for allocation of seats based on popu-

31 May Nomination day for by-election to fill Federal seat
in St. Thomas. The DLP refuses to contest. Bustamante
announces irrevocable decision to oppose Federation.
Cabinet meeting the day of Bustamante's announcement rati-
fies Manley's proposal for a Referendum on the Federal

W OV W alwa N tO ffI- noi JAMAiCAs sE CSSIONr Ai AmY
Bustamante quits as head of DLPI
asceranaI strs
S Il

In May, London Conference approves final draft amending
the Federal Constitution. Concessions made to Jamaica.

3 August: Manley announces Referendum date as 19 Sept-

| k ,rih that the iM of FkrotionuMd wr h ithot (Un
ay other iWue, conr befoe the ppb far l tda d IeI, I
who believe In Federation Ihol prme .m a a
t peopiek It Is ri t th thor ho do not bBellke "
:dreet a case aoinst Federatian to the sh. I It

'Ten Minus One Equals Zero', is the sardonic comment of
Trinidad's Eric Williams on the fate of the Federation. He
sees dissolution as automatic now.
Manley announces that his government will proceed with pre-
paration for the attainment of Independence.
In Trinidad, Williams does the same.

Election before Indep nce -'..

ON JA M.,4 iH

In October, a bi-partisan parliamentary committee is estab-
lished to prepare proposals for a new Constitution for Jamaica.
Manley and Bustamante go to London with the draft Con-
stitution. Agreement reached on the Constitution which is
modelled on that of other modern Commonwealth countries.

Referendum held 19 September on the question, "Should
Jamaica remain in the Federation of the West Indies"? The
results 'Yes' 46 per cent 'No' 54 per cent or a majority
of 39,000 against, in a low poll.

3l a a'g Af' I Io
l aaimsef im ftanEsuR. tra- f*JJiU

NO-- 98
LEAD 8558
E -"="m :-'e ;ra ~

Bustamante and Manley discuss Draft Constitution
Jamaican Parliament ratifies the Constitution on 27 February.
In April, the JLP wins the general election in the highest
poll up to then (72.88 per cent of voters) and will lead
Jamaica into Independence.
6 August 1962 Independence Day.
Jamaica (Constitution) Order in Council comes into effect
establishing Jamaica as an Independent Nation.

Illustrations from the National Library Collection



Quarterly February, May, August,
Size: 8/2 x 11"

Rates (postage at surface rate included;
we will quote on airmail postage).

Jamaica JS25.00
Overseas S20.00 U.S.*
Single Copies:
Jamaica J$ 8.00
Overseas $ 8.00 U.S.*
*Overseas subscribers please
convert to U.S. and remit
equivalent in any currency.

*The difference between the price
per copy to Subscribers and the
regular single copy price.

15% Reduction on new Subscriptions
opened before 31 December 1982.
Offer good for 1983 subscriptions (4 issues only)

Back Copies
Write to us for numbers available
and rates. Complete set of back issues
available on microfilm from the
National Library of Jamaica, or
University Microfilms, Ann Arbor,
Michigan 48106, U.S.A.

Trade Terms
Details available on request.

Please enclose payment with order.
(Cheques and money orders to be made
payable to Institute of Jamaica


To: Institute of Jamaica Publications
12- 16 East Street, Kingston, Jamaica

Please enter my subscription to JAMAICA JOURNAL for 1983 at the
Special Introductory Rates. I understand that this offer is good only
if received in your office by 31 December 1982.



Please Print Name and Address

I enclose [ J$22 for 4 issues ($3 off the regular subscription)
LJ U.S. $16.30 or equivalent in other currencies
(U.S. $3.70 off the regular rate)

Expires 31 December, 1983


Political Trends Since Independence

By Carl Stone

Jamaica entered the road to independence in August
1962 with a very ambivalent and uncertain sense of
what the event meant. An idea of how well prepared
the citizens of Jamaica were for the responsibilities of in-
dependence can be seen from the fact that one month before
the nation was due to become independent, the Jamaica Lab-
our Party (JLP) government was running newspaper advertise-
ments (with private sector help) and publishing short pamph-
lets designed to generate some understanding of independence.
Coming after Jamaica had had a referendum on whether to
seek separate independence or to remain in the West Indies
Federation, those advertisements amounted to an admission
that the choices which had been put before the people were
not fully understood.
The budget debate immediately prior to independence
was a gloomy affair in which the JLP government had very
few positive things to say while the Peoples National Party

(PNP) opposition accused the government of being prophets
of doom. Both sides acknowledged that we were being aban-
doned by Britain and one gets an uncomfortable feeling
(after reading those speeches) that the political leaders mis-
takenly hoped that British paternalism would have continued
to provide a protective umbrella even after independence.

In spite of what seemed like a false start on the path to
independence, Jamaica has matured politically over the first
20 years of independent rule. We have developed a stable
two-party system supported by high levels of voting and
party loyalty by the electorate. This is therefore an appro-
priate time at which to assess how the changes in our poli-
tical system over the past 20 years have influenced the elec-
torate; and to identify the core values and political attitudes
which have sustained parliamentary democracy in Jamaica
over this period.

A political truce was drawn on 22 April 1978 Ideolgical Shifts
at the so-called 'Peace Concert' when Reggaedeological Shifts
superstar Bob Marley got together political
leaders Michael Manley (left) then Prime Th Jamaican two-party system has undergone some pro-
Minister, and Edward Seaga, then Opposition found changes over the past 20 years. For most of the first
Leader for that now-famous handshake. The 10 years after independence the two political parties had no
move was indicative of how deeply enmeshed basic or fundamental disagreement or division on ideology or
be culture and the political scene have general policy goals in international or domestic policy areas.
It was assumed that Jamaica was aligned to western countries;
that the private sector should be given full freedom to develop
the economy in cooperation with the public sector and with-
in the framework of government planning for development;
that the role of government should involve the state using its
economic resources to assist the poorer classes through
employment, housing, general social services, agricultural
credit and by expanding educational opportunity; and that
competitive party politics supported by freedom of speech
and civil liberties would provide a liberal political environ-
ment that promoted social justice. Questions relating to the
role of class and race in the distribution of power in the
country were kept off the agenda of political discussion out
of fear that they would weaken national unity. The two
parties quarrelled over political patronage, personalities and
Bu. rival claims to competence in administration, but their leaders
talked the same language and shared the same world view.
All of these things changed in the second decade after
independence. Today, the PNP articulates a Third World
socialist position which we can broadly define as a search for
a non-capitalist path to development. The party is therefore
critical of capitalism, anti-imperialist in its foreign policy,
militantly pro-Third World in its international outlook and

very much caught up in trying to spread the message of
socialist egalitarian values both locally and internationally.
These postures have brought the PNP into tactical alliances
with other leftist groups and tendencies (such as communists)
locally, regionally and internationally, although the PNP is
not a communist party. Increasing leftist radicalism within
the PNP and greater contact in Jamaica with Third World
leftist political currents encouraged the development of small
communist parties consisting mainly of middle class ideologues
and unemployed youth, and operating on the fringes of the
The JLP, on the other hand, has continued in the ideo-
logical mould of the 1960s. It defends free enterprise, inter-
national linkages with the west, capitalist interests, private
sector initiative and dynamism as a prerequisite to economic
development, and pragmatic rather than ideological approach-
es to public policy.

The ideological consensus of the 1960s has therefore been
shattered and has been replaced by intense ideological rival-
ries between the two parties. As a result, ideology and ideo-
logical thought and controversies have become heavily inserted
into the Jamaican political culture since independence. A
consequence of this sharp ideological division between the
JLP and the PNP is that foreign interests, governments,
groups and institutions supporting one or the other of these
main ideological tendencies represented by the PNP and the
JLP have become very active in local Jamaican politics in
contrast to 20 years ago. Also, our range of external poli-
tical allies and contacts in other countries has widened con-
siderably beyond Europe and the Caribbean to include
Central America, South America, Africa, Asia and the
Middle East.
The PNP therefore sees itself as the party of change and
social justice while the JLP sees itself as the party defending
the traditional values of Jamaican political culture.

A Changing Culture

The society has become much more urbanized over the past
20 years and the mass media have developed larger audiences
and are now able to reach more citizens. What this has meant
is that national issues have become more important in shaping
political choices and voting at the expense of local issues. As
a consequence the voting pattern across the island has be-
come more uniform and political parties which win elections
now tend to win in all or most parishes in contrast to 20 years
ago when certain parishes only produced majorities for one
of the parties. Also, these factors have converged to create a
more informed and active political community.

On the negative side, political violence has increased con-
siderably, with consequent increases in the loss of life from
political campaigns. Violent clashes over politics have be-
come more widespread as ideology has widened the distance
between the leaders of the parties, with a consequent impact
on animosity and hostility between rival party activists.
Jamaican society is today more expressive of the culture
and values of the poorer classes. Whereas 20 years ago it was
taken for granted that the values of the middle class and the
privileged whites should set the standards for the norms of
the society, that assumption has been challenged by the
assertion of folk, grass roots, Rastafarian, and lower class
culture, forms of artistic expression and speech patterns.
Symbolic and class influences from below now influence
values and life styles at the upper and middle levels of the in-
come and status hierarchies in the society, whereas 20 years
ago the reverse influences were dominant.

Secondly, social interaction between classes increasingly
challenges the idea of a hierarchy of power and status
dominated by the privileged few. The politics of the country
has therefore expressed this tension and antagonism between
the values of old Jamaica and the social-cultural pressures for
change. These tensions express themselves within both
political parties as well as in symbolic and ideological issues
of contention between the parties over matters such as style
of dress and speech. Values in the society have become more
egalitarian and this has expressed itself in the pressures for
the widening of opportunities for democratic participation at
school, community and workplace environments.

All of these and other related political trends since in-
dependence suggest the need to examine carefully the values
that now prevail within the Jamaican political community
so as to assess how far these changes have shaped the think-
ing of the electorate. To undertake this, I will now present
results taken from two national surveys1 of public opinion
carried out in November and December 1981.
The first area of interest was to find out what features of
our politics citizens thought we could be proud of and which
areas we should be ashamed of. The answers given in the
national surveys are broken down by party affiliation so as to
ascertain the degree of difference in attitudes and opinions
between persons following contrary or competing political
The results shown in Table 1 indicate that the right to
vote emerged as the single most highly valued feature of the
political environment. Of even greater interest is the fact that
large numbers of JLP, PNP and independent citizens can find
nothing to identify as a feature of our politics about which


Barrington Watson's Portraits of the Prime
Ministers adorn the conference room at
Jamaica House. The Prime Ministers from
left are, Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander
Bustamante (1962 67); Sir Donald Sangster
(1967); Rt. Hon. Hugh Lawson Shearer
(1967 72), Hon. Michael Manley (1972 80);
Rt. Hon. Edward Seaga (1980 )

~- -~
we can be proud. On the negative side, political violence is
the greatest concern and only a few citizens believe that
there is nothing for us to be ashamed of in our politics.

Table 1

Things Jamaicans can be proud of in our politics

JLP PNP Independent
persons persons persons
(in percentages)
Right to vote 23 14 11
Freedom of speech 3 3 2
Good leaders 8 2 2
Benefits people get 4 2 1
Stable government 4 1 2
Others 10 28 22
Nothing 48 50 60

Things we Jamaicans should be ashamed of in our politics

JLP PNP Independent
persons persons persons
(in percentages)
Violence .65 45 65
Corruption 6 2 3
Crime 9 4 3
Victimization 0 4 3
Police brutality 3 4 4
Poverty 7 10 6
Nothing 20 38 17

Underlying much of the apparent enthusiasm in party
politics is, therefore, a certain level of cynicism about the
character of the political environment.
In assessing the ideology of citizens, we asked them which
of the following four factors have helped to promote pro-
gress among the poorer classes in Jamaica:

Freedom of speech
The right to own property
Politicians helping the 'small man'
Government ownership of business

Freedom of speech represents support for liberalism; pro-
perty rights reflect conservative values; politicians helping the
'small man' mirrors the welfare role of the parties; and sup-
port for government ownership reflects a belief in socialist
ideas on the role of government in the economy.
Given the ideological positions of the parties, we expect
the JLP supporters to be more supportive of conservative
values than the PNP and less supportive of socialist ideas on
the role of government. Both should equally support the wel-
fare role of the parties and freedom of speech.
Table 2 sets out the responses. Freedom of speech again
emerges as the dominant value'which is shared in common by
all three political tendencies. Traditional liberal values can
therefore be said to be a unifying force in the society.
The JLP supporters are more conservative than the non-
partisans and the PNP in their support for private property.
Only a small proportion of either the partisan or non-partisan
tendencies see government ownership of property as helping
small people, and the differences between PNP and JLP

Table 2
What factors have helped to promote progress by the poorer
classes in Jamaica

State Freedom Right to helping
ownership of speech own property small people
(in percentages)
persons 8 51 38 24
persons 11 53 26 35
persons 10 52 25 28

followers on this issue turn out to be insignificant. The
party leaders are clearly more divided on this issue than the
party followers. After centuries of slavery, freedom for many
people in the society centres around the independence that
comes from owning some property. That value is firmly root-
ed in the historical experience of our small farmers and pea-
sants, from whom most of the present middle and lower
groupings in the society originate. The people value the right
to own property, regardless of what party ideology says on
the PNP side about state ownership. Belief in private property
as an asset to poor people comes out far ahead of state
ownership as something which helps the small man. To most
Jamaicans, state ownership means bureaucracy and middle
class power and control; not control by the small man.
The welfare role of the political parties and the degree to
which it helps the small man is acknowledged by all three
political tendencies, but moreso by the PNP, perhaps because
of recent experiences under the Manley government in the
1970s which allocated vast quantities of patronage benefits
in urban and rural areas as public expenditure increased

The third area of questioning was to discern how much
importance citizens attached to political parties compared to
the importance attached to other institutions in the country
such as the church. As can be seen in Table 3, more Jamaicans
attach importance to trade unions and the church as insti-
tutions which uplift the people than those which see the
political parties as most important. This finding is a sober
reminder that although the parties and their leaders control
power and dominate the news, peoples' lives are organized
around a multiplicity of other institutions that are of greater
importance in shaping their values than the political parties.
It is again significant that PNP, JLP and independents differ
only in the area of how much importance they attach to the
political parties; they are generally in overall agreement in
their assessment of the institutions in the political environ-

Table 3
Which institutions uplift the people most in Jamaica
Farm organi-
Political Trade zations &
party Church union interest groups

(in percentages)
persons 18 25 19 8
persons 15 24 19 9
Independents 8 23 18 13

Jamaican citizens were also asked what concept they had
of democracy and whether they thought Jamaica was a
democracy. In classifying the views on democracy we group-
ed them into a liberal category which includes points of
view that emphasize free speech, the right to vote and person-
al freedoms. Secondly, we had a socialist category which
talked about democracy in terms of equality, mass parti
cipation and social justice. The reactions were again pointing
to some core areas of common values that cut across party
lines and unify the political community around a heritage of
liberal political thinking, shared by PNP and JLP alike. Of
interest is the fact that some persons supporting the JLP
subscribe to socialist views of democracy. The dominant
view of democracy in Jamaica is a liberal view which is
shared by 6 out of every 10 Jamaicans.
A substantial minority of Jamaicans have no views or
notions about democracy, but the majority of those who do,
feel that the Jamaican political system is democratic. This
applies to both partisans and non partisans.

Table 4
What makes a country democratic

(% of those with opinions)

JLP PNP Independents
Liberal views 65 61 52
Socialist views 15 21 4
Other views 15 9 16
Whether Jamaica is democratic
JLP PNP Independents
Yes 65 57 52
No 12 21 17
N- views on democracy 23 22 31

We also probed further to discover what kind of image the
two parties had among the electorate to find out how much
the parties are perceived in terms of ideology and class. As
can be seen from Table 5, the party supporters tend to view
the parties in terms of ideological and class symbols, with the

Table 5
What does the JLP defend
JLP PNP Independents
(in percentages)
Free enterprise/
capitalism 37 67 41
Anti-communism 25 2 2
Workers/ the poor 8 3 5
Good government 11 2 8
Freedom/justice, etc. 17 0 8
Victimization 0 12 4

What does the PNP defend

JLP PNP Independents
Socialism 26 32 27
Communism/Cuba 27 3 16
Workers/the poor 12 33 24

PNP being seen through socialist, communist and working
class labels and the JLP being seen in terms of efficient
government, free enterprise, capitalism, anti-communism and

freedom. The increasing ideological divergencies between the
political parties have, therefore, led to the electorate viewing
the parties in terms of competing ideological symbols.
In order to get a picture of how Jamaicans viewed the
complex world of international politics we asked them to
identify which political leaders of foreign countries they
admired the most. JLP persons identified mainly western
leaders (Reagan, Trudeau, Thatcher and Carter) while the
PNP nominated two Third World leaders (Castro and Nyerere)
among their short list. The top nominee in either partisan
grouping reflects the international alliance of the parties,
with the pro-U.S. JLP giving most nominations to U.S. Presi-
dent Reagan and the pro-Cuban PNP giving most nominations
to Fidel Castro.

Table 6
Which foreign leaders are most admired?*
(in percentages)

JLP PNP Independents
Reagan 42 Castro 20 Reagan 21
Trudeau 6 Reagan 11 Trudeau 9
Thatcher 3 Trudeau 8 Carter 5
Carter 2 Nyerere 6 Nyerere 4

*Only leading names listed.

The current strong U.S.-Jamaica ties clearly account for
the prominence of Reagan even among PNP supporters, and
the traditional dominance of links and mass media exposure
to western countries yields a majority of western leaders as
persons admired most in all political tendencies.
In examining the area of political communication, we got
feedback from citizens to a speech made by Prime Minister
Seaga on the economy a few days before the survey in
November was done and we tried to ascertain how wide an
audience was reached by the dissemination of the speech in
newspapers, on radio and on television. Within that media
audience we further identified the effective audience of per-
sons who could recall something of what was said by Mr.

Table 7
Media audience for P.M's speech on the Economy

persons persons Independents

% who read or
listened to speech 52 42 42
% able to recall
at least one theme 32 23 22

As can be seen from Table 7, a significant number of
citizens were reached by the mass media coverage of the
speech although a smaller number were able to retain some
recollection of what was said. Compared to other countries
where similar studies have been done, these findings suggest
that Jamaica has a well developed system of communicating
political messages via the mass media. The breakdown of
channels through which the audience was reached was as

Radio . . . . . . . ....... 41 per cent of sample
Newspaper. . . . . . . ... 23 per cent of sample
T.V. ................... .. 13 per cent of sample

Although the radio communication medium reached more
people, newspaper and T.V. audiences had a better recall of
the speech.


This brief survey has tried to identify some of the major
political changes which have taken place in Jamaican party
politics over the past 20 years as a background against which
to examine the current values and political attitudes that are
dominant within the Jamaican electorate as the country's
political system has been maturing.
The findings point to the impact of ideological symbolism
in terms of how the parties are perceived, but this has been
added to a political system unified by a core of traditional
liberal political values. On many issues the party leaders
appear to be more divided than the people. The increased
political awareness within the electorate has been aided by a
well developed system of mass communication that is heavily
used by party leaders and reaches a significantly large
audience with its political messages. The findings indicate,
however, that the parties and party politics have no mono-
poly over the shaping of the values of the people. To that ex-
tent, democracy here is strengthened by a plurality of insti-
tutions playing their role in influencing the attitudes, values
and outlook of the citizen.

1 The November 1981 and December 1981 Surveys involved
national samples of 1,020 and 1,500 voters, respectively. Both
samples were selected by a multi-staged random sample of 100
polling divisions from which the samples of voters are drawn
by quota methods to ensure socio-economic and demographic

BROWN, Aggrey,and STONE, Carl (eds.) Perspectives on Jamaica in
the Seventies, Kingston: Jamaica Publishing House, 1981.

STONE, Carl, PuSlic Opinion and Electoral Behaviour in Jamaica,
Kingston: Institute of Social and Economic Research, Univer-
sity of the West Indies, 1974.
,Democracy and Clientelism in Jamaica, New Jersey: Transaction
Books, 1981.
_ Jamaica at the Polls: the 1980 Parliamentary Election in
Jamaica, American Enterprise Institute, forthcoming 1982.

Jamaican Identity

A Recent Perspective of the Post-Independence Generation
By Mary Richardson

T here are times in the lives of all people when, because
of change of circumstances occupation, health, or
as a result of the normal growth processes, they find
it difficult to recognize in the self they are now expected to
be, the self they have grown accustomed to over the years.
Immigrants, facing life in a new community, where social
habit dictates mores different from those of the homeland,
have this problem; so does the peace-loving citizen who, in
time of war, has to take up arms and kill, and those who
through sickness or injury, must change their lifestyles
abruptly and irrevocably. Such an 'identity crisis' is no
respector of person, nationality, sex or age and can occur at
any time, but is especially prevalent in periods of rapid
change, social or otherwise.
Young people, emerging from childhood and moving to-

wards adult status are particularly prone to worries concern-
ing their personal consistency, and may experience such an
identity crisis. Growth alone confronts them with a new
self, but the situation is compounded by qualitative changes
also. They are bigger, but a different shape. Their intellec-
tual horizons are wider, and they can now deal with abstract-
ions. They become aware of themselves as sexual beings and
reach deeper levels of emotional response. They can question
the values and religious beliefs of their parents, and make
commitments to their own ideals. Their competencies and
skills, which they developed throughout childhood, when
they still relied on their parents to provide their needs, will
now become the tools of their autonomy, thus allowing them
to settle on their vocational role an important step towards
financial independence and the resolution of their personal
identity crisis.

Youth growing to maturity in modern Jamaica are parti-
cularly vulnerable to doubt and confusion concerning their
identity. To begin with, they are personally at the stage when
this crisis is commonest. Secondly, they are living in times of
rapid social change and find the time-worn opener of parental
advice to offspring, "when I was your age ... particularly
irrelevant to their situation. When their parents were their
age, Jamaica was emerging from Crown Colony status, striv-
ing to prove itself worthy of the trust of internal self govern-
ment, granted in 1957, and its people accepted without ques-
tion the values and norms of the 'Mother Country' in order
to be judged capable and (almost) 'equal'. It was clear then,
to all but a few hardy spirits, that everything from Europe -
skin colour, type of hair, speech pattern, social structure,
artistic endeavour, or whatever was superior, and that
Jamaica's hope for excellence lay in approximating as nearly
as possible to the European model. Such 'clarity' no longer
exists. Young people, two decades after independence, have
grown up in a sovereign state, which has made a name
for itself by speaking out boldly in the international arena on
issues which concern the Third World. The growth of in-
dependent nation states in Africa and the improved status of
black people in the U.S.A. should both have contributed to
more positive evaluations of the Jamaican African heritage,
so that no longer ought African looks and cultural expression
to be held inferior per se. Greater educational opportuni-
ties have increased the possibility of upward social mobility
for the talented, regardless of social class, and any improve-
ment for the mass of people clearly should have worked to
the advantage of the black majority, whether intentionally or
not. While their elders still cling to the 'truths' of the past,
how ready are young Jamaicans to forge an identity where
blackness is no longer equated with poverty, lack of privilege,
and, therefore, inferiority?

Commentators on the state of the Jamaican national iden-
tity at the beginning of the seventies noted generally an
improvement over earlier times in attitudes towards both the
older African and the more recent West Indian heritage of
the Jamaican people; although they still detected the inordin-
ate European influence of earlier years. In the wake of the
American Black Power movement of the sixties which
many identified as a divisive force in Jamaican affairs since it
insisted on 'blackness' and not on 'Jamaicanness' a new
pride was expressed in things African, not least in physical
appearance. In spite of all this, however, Miller [1971; 1972]
still found that lighter skinned adolescents had higher self
concepts than darker ones, just as earlier [1967 and 1969]
the same writer noted that the greatest dissatisfaction with
physical attributes such as skin colour, hair texture, shape

of nose and lips was expressed by those in his sample who
were of negroid appearance.

How are the young people of Jamaica resolving their iden-
tity crisis at the beginning of the eighties? Are there any
indications that, during the seventies, the important message
of the American Black Power movement, 'Black is beauti-
ful', has been able to permeate the Jamaican psyche? The
present writer found, in a study of identity among Jamaican
students 16 19 years old1 carried out 10 years after Miller's
work that, on the whole, this group has a fairly healthy
sense of who they are and where they are going. Favourable
attitudes towards all ethnic groups in Jamaican society
proved to have the strongest relationship to a sense of identi-
ty, which is not wholly unexpected and is definitely desirable
in a multiracial society, if civic peace is to prevail. Such a
finding is supported by international theories which claim
that those who accept themselves also accept others. The de-
tails of this research into identity are reported elsewhere
[Richardson 1980], and for this paper, the writer will focus
on certain items and their responses, which will allow com-
parison between statements made in the past on Jamaican
identity with the present situation.
The original 489 students included in the identity study
have been reduced for this discussion to the 465 who identi-
fied themselves as wholly African in origin (207) and partly
so (258). It is already indicative of a perceived change in a
positive direction towards non-European origins that the pre-
sent writer would consider asking the students for their own
assessment of their racial origins. Earlier writers, such as
Miller [1967] and Figueroa [1976], had deemed it more
reliable to make such judgements themselves, as they thought
their samples too sensitive on the question of race and colour
to be asked outright. The resulting figures, which show 95.1
per cent of the sample identifying themselves as African to a
greater or lesser extent vindicates the method, since this per-
centage is very close to the 96.7 per cent classified as African
and Mixed in the most recent Census (1970).
The only way to make any reasonably foolproof compari-
son between the self as seen by the generation of 1980 and
those of former years would be to carry out a longitudinal
study, using the same or equivalent instruments to measure
the constructs identified, and assembling samples as similar as
possible to each other in all respects a truly gargantuan
task. Even if this were to be done, questions asked of a 1960
group might be quite irrelevant to the 1980 one, and ques-
tions which seem vital to a 1980 group might have been
inconceivable earlier. Added to this, circumstances of an
essentially topical nature might lead to an entirely different
meaning being attached to a certain response at a different

period of time. From these arguments, it may seem that no
meaningful comparison at all can be made between the iden-
tity of the Jamaican of today and his earlier prototype, and
if we were to insist on mathematical accuracy, the attempt
would have to be abandoned forthwith. In spite of these
limitations, it should still be possible to examine a modern
group on certain specific characteristics identified as being
typical for earlier samples, while recognizing that such a com-
parison is, by its very nature, highly selective, and should not
therefore be taken as more than an indication of the total
picture. With these strictures in mind, the present writer
identifies certain personality traits mentioned by earlier
writers on Jamaican identity at different times in the past,
and uses items relating to the same concepts to show the pre-
sent position.
Writing in 1952, Madeline Kerr sees Jamaicans as very
ready to blame others for whatever happens to them, even to
the point of suspecting the machinations of some ill disposed
supernatural agency when something goes wrong. Such a feel-
ing of lack of control over one's own affairs she explains as
originating from the days of slavery, when, quite literally, the
person's fate was at the disposal of his master. Depressed eco-
nomic and social conditions could contribute to the continu-
ation of this feeling of powerlessness into the post-emanci-
pation and even post-independence period, but for someone
to lack a sense of basic autonomy does not augur well for
either personal development or national progress. In order to
demonstrate the present attitude towards people's sense of
control over their own affairs, the responses to two items are
presented here:
1. "If I fail an examination, I know it is my own fault."*

*In this and the following figures, the desirable response
is shown on the right of the circle, whether positive or

These responses are encouraging in that they show that
more than half the sample are ready to accept the responsi-
bility for their failure, but rather disquieting in that 47 per
cent either disagree or are uncertain. Writing in 1978, Leo-
Rhynie found that sixth former were ready to blame such
factors as the need for better facilities and equipment (men-
tioned by 92.6 per cent of her sample), more interesting
activities and classes (91.6 per cent), and greater teacher
effort (87.2 per cent) for any lack of success on their part,

although 95 per cent did admit that their study habits could
be improved. Clearly, this suggests that there is some tendency
to shift the blame elsewhere, but without some cross-cultural
comparison, it would be impossible to say whether the
Jamaican is more or less ready to do so than the rest of the
2. "Basically, I am in control of my destiny."

The largest group are those who feel they do control their
fate, but 57 per cent either feel they do not, or they are not
sure. The frequency with which one hears opinions expressed
which, for example, charge the government with the respons-
ibility for righting all the wrongs of the Jamaican world,
rather than calling on personal or community resources, also
causes one to wonder about Jamaicans' feelings of autonomy,
although it would be wrong to suppose that such expressions
are unique to Jamaica. Without making direct comparisons
with other nations, it seems that, on the whole, Jamaicans
are ambivalent about their freedom of action, although more
people are positive about it than negative. Kerr's thesis seems
on this evidence to still hold good namely, that Jamaicans
put the blame outside themselves for any failure or misfor-
Errol Miller, writing in 1971, identified shame as an
important dimension of Jamaican identity, saying that many
feel shame over the lack of size and importance of Jamaica,
over their social status and the kind of work they do, their
features if these are negroid and, if such is the case, their in-
ability to speak Standard English. Although not addressing
the precise categories mentioned by Miller, certain items
which relate to shame are now presented:
3. "1 often feel ashamed of myself."

62% No

4. "I despise myself for my many poor qualities."

Young people the world over, in trying to settle on an
adult identity, are likely to feel shame about their areas of
perceived inadequacy, so shame in itself should not be con-
sidered the prerogative of Jamaicans alone one has only to
mention the well documented oriental fear of 'losing face' to
dispute such a claim. However, both Miller and Nettleford
[1970] express the opinion that a clear definition of one's
national identity cannot come as long as society as a whole
denigrates the African roots of the majority of its citizens,
and continues to worship at the shrine of Europe. Certain
items address specific areas of Jamaican expertise about
which the young Jamaican may feel shame or pride, and
these are presented now:
6. "Jamaican-made products are not as good as imported

7. "Jamaica should use foreign television advertisements
rather than waste time making her own."

Jamaican-made products and advertisements. Helping to develop
iden ty?
5. "I cannot bear to think of past experiences which have
caused me embarrassment."

The first two of these items rather suggest a healthy situ-
ation, where a clear majority do not feel that shame is part
of their personality. The third item cannot be answered so
unequivocally, but since it relates to specific 'experiences'
and not a general state of mind, it is understandable. Perhaps
the mature person can laugh at past experiences which have
caused shame, but the young person may well experience
acute discomfort in recalling such incidents.

The responses to the first of these items show that the
largest group of respondents has hope for Jamaican compe-
tence, but 66 per cent either are uncertain or definitely dis-
trustful of Jamaican expertise. Now, in recent years Jamaican
products, especially soft drinks, fruit juices, marmalade and
liqueurs have received acclaim in international competitions,
so that the 44 per cent who disagree with the statement as
worded need not be accused of being biased towards their
own. Perhaps the vagueness of this item ('products'?) has
made it difficult to interpret the results, as one person may
be thinking 'shoes', another 'furniture', or 'clothes', and so
on, and reactions to each of these might well be different.
A very healthy sign of confidence in Jamaican ability is
that 88 per cent think Jamaica should make its own television
advertisements, and it is surely to the credit of the local
advertising agencies that only 10 per cent of the respondents
prefer the foreign.
Another area singled out by Miller where things foreign
are often preferred is that of education and training. In spite
of stirring of pride that the West Indies boasts a university,
Jamaicans often turn their thoughts to British, Canadian and
American universities when they seek higher education.
When the University College became the University of the
West Indies, some expressed concern that the degrees award-
ed would no longer have the distinction of being London
ones, just as now a certain ambivalence is shown towards the
CXC Examinations, which, whatever their undisputed greater
relevance to the Caribbean area, might not be quite as 'good'
- prestigious, widely accepted, sure proof of ability, what-
ever as the Cambridge examinations they are replacing.
One item which relates to the attitude towards local higher
education is presented here:

8. "I would only consider going to a foreign university if the
course I wanted to study were not offered at U.W.I."

These responses indicate a complete split between those
who prefer to travel abroad for their education and those
who opt for the local institution. Of course, there are other
reasons for wanting to study overseas rather than just lack
of confidence in the regional university or, as one young
man wrote across his questionnaire, "living in a foreign
country is, in itself, an education". Looked at in this light,
we should perhaps not interpret the 42 per cent figure of
those preferring to travel as a negative appraisal of local high-
er education. One still wonders, however, how many uni-
versity-bound Americans, Britons and Canadians would ex-
press such ambivalence towards their own institutions of
higher learning.
Rex Nettleford, in both Mirror Mirror and Caribbean Cul-
tural Identity, commented on the preference for European
culture and art forms, which he felt still persisted, in spite of
an improved evaluation of the local offering. The present
author found an overall healthy respect for Jamaican indig-
enous culture, as shown by high scores on a scale measuring
cultural identity, and now presents an item which contrasts
the Jamaican manifestation with the foreign, from an area
where, traditionally, Jamaica had not competed:
9. "Reggae is fun, but it cannot stand comparison with
foreign music."

While there still remains a sizeable minority of 39 per cent
who are either uncertain or who would agree with such a
statement, an overall majority of 61 per cent obviously feel
that local music can stand on its own. The international suc-
cess of such reggae artistes as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and
Jimmy Cliff has no doubt contributed to this healthy new
confidence in local music, although one suspects that the age
of the sample is also an important factor. Judging by fre-
quent unflattering references to reggae in the press, especially
from columnists who are no longer in the first flower of their
youth, it would appear that while young Jamaicans enjoy the
local beat, such appreciation is not universal.

From Marcus Garvey onwards, the low self-evaluation
of the black Jamaican has been cause for comment, parti-
cularly in terms of his attitudes towards his African ances-
try. In spite of Garvey's attempts to rouse the negro's con-
sciousness, and to instil in the black man a sense of dignity
and ethnic pride, Miller's work of the late sixties confirmed
that things African were largely still undervalued at that time.
Nettleford, while commenting on the positive effect that the
growth of sovereign African states was having on black
Jamaicans' sense of worth, still considered denigration of
African roots the norm in 1970. The items presented next
will deal first with the general attitude of young people to-
wards themselves, and then will concentrate on specific as-
pects of their African heritage and appearance.

10. "I like my Christian name."

Liking for one's name has been identified internation-
ally as a sign of good personal adjustment and evidence of
self-acceptance, and in the black-white context, Nettleford
commented (as reported in an interview published in Jamaica
Journal March 1979, pp. 2 11) on the importance of a name
to the African, displaced in the New World. If we accept this
thesis, then clearly, these young Jamaicans are highly self-
accepting, since 81 per cent of them affirm that they like
their names.
11. "All in all, I am quite pleased with myself."

In spite of the healthy self-acceptance suggested by the re-
sponse to the item concerning one's name, the situation is
not nearly as clear here. It is true that the majority maintain
that they are quite pleased with themselves, but a disquieting
44 per cent are either uncertain or definitely not. However,
too much open agreement with this last statement might sug-
gest a certain smugness in the sample, so perhaps we should
interpret the two items together: the first indicating a gene-
rally healthy characteristic, and the second, tempering their
enthusiasm with a certain quality of modesty.
In the wake of the Black Power movement in America,
a similar interest in things African becameapparent in Jamaica,
which is why the next item was written:
12. "African history should be taught in Jamaican schools
so that Jamaican children can know that the African,
too had a glorious past."
6% No

From the responses to this item there can be no doubt
that the young Jamaicans of this sample are ready to delve
into their past, and it is significant that only six per cent
are opposed to such exploration.
While an increased acceptance of blackness and an interest
in one's African heritage is nothing but salubrious, if such an
interest signalled a kind of inverted racism and a worship of
negritude to the exclusion of all else in one's antecedents,
then very little would have been achieved. To check what has
happened, the following item was included, with the responses
13. "Since the majority of Jamaica's people are of African
origin, only African history should be taught in schools."

The responses to this item should make it clear that the
interest shown in African history is a healthy one, and that a
chauvinistic approach to everything African is not the ex-
If the black Jamaican is really self-accepting, as the present
writer claims that the younger generation now is, then he
must accept his total appearance, his skin colour, his racial
features, since these are the outwardly visible aspects of his
Afri canness:
14. "Black is beautiful."
D7% 2% No

91Y% Y.

If we accept these results at their face value, then we need
go no further, but, again, is this chauvinism or even unthink-
ing agreement with a popular slogan? Two last items should
clarify this issue:
15. "Only black is beautiful."
S s6% Ys

From the disagreement expressed with this item, we can
discount the explanation of bigotry: the Jamaican of African
origin, in recognizing the worth of his own colour has not
gone to the extreme of denying the virtue of any other.
16. "Straight hair is more attractive than kinky hair."

That 72 per cent of the sample do not find straight hair
more attractive than kinky hair surely augurs a healthy level
of acceptance of this once-despised African feature.
In this matter of hair, a whole revolution has taken place
since independence. Terms such as 'good hair', and 'bad hair',
are seldom heard again, and then only on the lips of the older
generation. After early battles in the late sixties, such as the
occasion when there were accusations that a black 'Miss
Jamaica' contestant was discriminated against on account
of her 'natural' hair, the 'Afro' and 'Soul' styles became ac-
ceptabic and even symbolic of the new found pride in black-
ness. Plaited hair, once seen only on children too young to
have their hair 'pressed' or 'creamed', became popular, and
many varieties of 'cane-row' braiding were devised, making
straightening once the only path to beauty as defined by
the white bias in society no more than one of many ways
to groom one's hair. In fact, the other side of the coin is now
in evidence, with white girls copying the beaded hairstyles of
their African sisters (e.g. Sunday Sun, 17 May 1981, p.1).

To summarize briefly, the present writer claims that low
evaluation of the self and of physical attributes which distin-
guish the person of African origin, which it has been claimed
once plagued the black man in the New World, was not in
evidence in the present sample of young Jamaicans. The dis-
quieting side effects of such improved self-acceptance, name-
ly a discrediting of everything non-African and the opinion

that Africa alone should form the focus of one's attention
were not found to any great degree either. A certain residue
of former tendencies to lay the blame for one's shortcomings
outside oneself, to feel ashamed of one's origins, and to
undervalue Jamaican institutions and skills remains, although
even here, the overall picture is an optimistic one. Young
Jamaicans of the present generation have largely resolved
their identity problems as far as their origins are concerned,
and the confidence which this generates makes it unnecessary
for them to consult the 'mirror, mirror' to arbitrate on the
question of their beauty and worth.


1. The sample of 489 consisted of urban and rural post 'O' level
students, distributed as follows:
Trainees in Teachers Colleges 177
Student nurses 27
Business education students 49
(community colleges)
College of Arts, Science and Technology (engineering, building
and science) 82


FIGUEROA, Peter M.E., "Values and Academic Achievement among
High School Boys in Kingston, Jamaica," in Figueroa, P.M.E.
and Persaud, G. (eds.), Sociology of Education: A Caribbean
Reader, Oxford University Press, 1976.
KERR, Madeline, Personality and Conflict in Jamaica, Kingston,
Jamaica: Sangsters Bookstores, 1952 and 1963.

LEO RHYNIE, Elsa A., "An Investigation into the Relationship of
Certain Variables to the Academic Achievement of Selected
Jamaican Sixth Form Students", unpublished Ph.D. thesis,
U.W.I., 1978.
MILLER, Errol L., "A Study of Body Image: its Relationship to Self
Concept, Anxiety and Certain Social and Physical Variables in
a Selected Group of Jamaican Adolescents", unpublished M.A.
thesis, U.W.I., Mona, 1967.
-- "A Study of Self Concept and its Relationship to Certain
Physical, Social, Cognitive and Adjustment Variables in a Select-
ed Group of Jamaican Schoolgirls", unpublished Ph.D. thesis,
U.W.I., Mona, 1969.
"Self and Identity Problems in Jamaica the Perspective of
Shame", Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 17, Nos. 3 and 4, 1971.
"Experimenter Effect and Reports of Jamaican Adolescents
on Beauty and Body Image", Social and Economic Studies,
Vol.21 No. 4, Dec. 1972.
NETTLEFORD, Rex M., Mirror Mirror: Identity Race and Protest
in Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica: William Collins and Sangster
Ltd., 1970.
- Caribbean Cultural Identity, the Case of Jamaica, Kingston,
Jamaica: Institute of Jamaica, 1978.

RICHARDSON, Mary F., "Identity in the Jamaican Context: its
Measurement and Relationship to Certain Biographical, En-
vironmental, Personality and Attitudinal Variables", unpub-
lished Ph.D. thesis, U.W.I., Mona, 1980.



For a full list of titles
Please write to:
Institute of Jamaica Publications
12 16 East Street,


SJionn mI'earne

H. Orlando Patterson

Literature: Some Trends

By Mervyn Morris
n his introduction to The Three
Novels of Roger Mais Norman
Manley refers to a "new birth of
Jamaica in 1938". "The national move-
ment", he writes, "brought with it a great
upsurge of creative energy. We suddenly
discovered that there was a place to
which we belonged, and when the dead
hand of colonialism was lifted a free-
dom of spirit was released and the desert
If we seek to identify in the period
since independence some similar upsurge
of creative energy, we might place it
as beginning in the second half of the
1960s and associate it with the influence
of the Black Power movement in the
United States. Because, however, Jamai-
can publishing is in its infancy, little of
the evidence can be found in books.1

Much of it, indeed, remains unpublished
anywhere. Though the discovery and
encouragement of talent are primary ob-
jectives of the Jamaica Festival and
Jamaica Journal, many of the writers
commended by Festival judges have fail-
ed to make it into print.
There is a need for journals which
might regularly bring out serious literary
work. Jamaica Journal has space for
very little. Savacou, which appears
occasionally, only intermittently pre-
sents poetry and prose fiction. Focus
last appeared in 1960. Enlightened news-
papers could help considerably: some
years ago The Sunday Daily News used
to offer whole pages of poems and ex-
tensive profiles of artists, including
writers. Not so, more recently. Current
indications are that The Gleaner may be

deepening its association with Jamaican
literature: by publishing good work
from time to time and by treating some
books and authors as worthy of discus-
sion beyond the briefest of notices.
Writers of serious ambition hope to
publish books. Twenty years into in-
dependence, local publishing remains
under-developed. The Institute of Jama-
ica made a start in the mid-seventies
with the Lignum Vitae series for prose
fiction, the Hummingbird series for
poetry. Admirable work by V.S. Reid,
Neville Dawes, Anthony McNeill and
Lorna Goodison has been published; but
the books have been expensively (though
attractively) produced, and they have
hardly been promoted at all. Kingston
Publishers, Jamaica Publishing House
and Sangster's have sometimes included

A novel of eighteenth-century slavery in the \VWes
by rhe author of 7 e Ch//drin of/lisyphi u
Orlando Patterson

Lorna Goodison

Neville Dawes

Louise Bengett Coyorley

Oku Onuora

fiction in the books they brought to light.
More visible has been Jamaican literature
put out by metropolitan firms such as
Heinemann and Longman re-established
as Caribbean presence. The Heinemann
Caribbean Writers and the Longman
Drumbeat series, because they now pub-
lish some original material (as well as
many reprints), offer new hope to the
Jamaican writer. In publishing, our state
of dependency lingers.
When independence arrived in 1962,
Louise Bennett, so often topical, reacted
with characteristic irony:
You wan' see how Jamaica people
Rise to de occasion
An deestant up demself fe greet
De birt' o' dem new nation!
Not a stone was fling, not a samfie

Not a soul gwan bad an lowrated;
Not a fight bruk out, not a bad-
wud shout
As Independence was celebrated.
By parodying Charles Wolfe's "The
Burial of Sir John Moore at Corunna", a
British piece much recited by Jamaican
school children in the colonial period,
the poem implies that the colonizer is
being buried as a new nation is born.
He's been a long long time a-burying.
Much of our literature since 1962 has
been concerned to re-examine aspects of
the colonial experience; as a way, per-
haps, of comingto understand more fully
our situation now. As one writer put it
(Erna Brodber interviewed in April
1982 by Evelyn O'Callaghan):
. you have to go back and look

at it, no matter hpw distrssi~g,
no matter how dirty, no matter
how all your myths pave p Pq
destroyed, you still haVe q
back and look at it.'And 'wrI
you finish, you have to 1 e9
whether you're going o live wVyt
it, whether you're goi g to orget
it, or hopefully ypu so wpl
it's so it go and let me Po m pe
and claim it. "

There have been a number of hisatQor
al novels. Disturbingly vvii in 9Qaodq
Patterson's Die the Lotg Day 1972
and James Carnegie's Wages Paid 97 0
are the physical and psycho glpa
cruelties of slavery; thpy pre prerr;
also, less insistently, in Jeaqne ;"Isop'
Weep in the Sun (1976), Trqubl Heri,


Dennis Scott

tage (1977) and Mulatto (1978). The
Sure Salvation (1981) by John Hearne,
his first serious novel since 1961, is set
mainly on a slave ship in the second half
of the nineteenth century, after the trade
is supposed to have ended; it presents
highly wrought dramatic metaphors of
various kinds of enslavement. Sometimes
an author is concerned to alter 'history':
V.S. Reid's The Jamaicans (1976; re-
vised edition 1978) creates a fictional
Juan de Bolas, heroic version of a leader
whom historians accuse of treachery. In
the novel Juan de Bolas is shrewdly
patriotic. ("Move him into the sun ..
That's where he belongs", the novel
Some of the work set closer to the
present in recent decades, for example
- is as firmly located in a vanished past

as the more distantly historical fiction,
and is often similarly at pains to identify
the sources of failure. Several of the
characters in Andrew Salkey's The Late
Emancipation of Jerry Stover (1968)
"had no private philosophy, no binding
discipline, no real faith in anything. All
they had was their freedom, an emanci-
pation that had come much too late".
(p. 232). Neville Dawes in Interim
(1978) analyses personal and political
betrayal and relates them to the parti-
cular colour/class formation of indivi-
dual characters and to local alliances
with American imperialism. Colour,
class and the intrusive Americans figure
prominently also in Michael Thelwell's
The Harder They Come (1980), the
more-than-novelization of the Perry
Henzell film.

Patterson's unusual Blackman, in An
Absence of Ruins (1967), stands "out-
side of race, outside of culture, out-
side of any value". (p. 160). Many of
the books including Patterson's The
Children of Sisyphus (1964) make
connections with African heritage, often
identified as a source of creativity. Lind-
say Barrett in Song for Mumu (1967)
draws on his knowledge of African
myth and legend. The (Africa-deriv-
ed) Anancy story is much referred to
and employed in Erna Brodber's Jane
and Louisa Will Soon Come Home
In Anancy and Miss Lou (1979) we
hear the distinctive voice of Louise Ben-
nett, but the stories communicate with-
in the traditional expectations. Andrew
Salkey in Anancy's Score (1973) re-





Andrew Salkey

L. cvuraru rdrlmer

Anthony McNeill

moulds the form for his particular pur-
poses, making it more self-consciously
political and literary.
Now, as a matter of habit, most
people can't put out the white
light from their minds when they
remember that particular morning-
time, bright like Big Massa candle-
light, when Brother Flea and Sister
Leech sat down like double sta-
tues, holding on and waiting for
Anancy to come and talk about
settling all the bad botheration
of the jobless spiders, fleas and
leeches. (p.31).
Salkey has been one of the Jamaican
authors who has also written novels for
children. His first was Hurricane (1964).
Some of the other writers who have
published in this important area are

Philip Sherlock, V.S. Reid, C. Everard
Palmer, Jean D'Costa and Jeanne Wilson.
Poets who have had volumes publish-
ed since 1962 include Louise Bennett,
A.L. Hendriks, John Figueroa, Andrew
Salkey, Dennis Scott, Anthony McNeill
and Lorna Goodison. A.L. 'Mickey'
Hendriks in On This Mountain (1965),
These Green Islands (1971),Muet (1971)
and Madonna of the Unknown Nation
(1974), establishes the claim on our at-
tention of his enduring lyric voice.
John Figueroa's Love Leaps Here (1962)
and Ignoring Hurts (1976) contain inter
alia some finely chiselled poems. Andrew
Salkey's elegant Away (1980) and In
the Hills Where Her Dreams Live (1981)
- Cuban Casa de las Americas Prize
1979 are much to be referred
to his Jamaica (1973), a long historical

poem. Dennis Scott won the Common-
wealth Poetry Prize for Uncle Time
(1973), a work of dazzling accomplish-
ment. The volume records/examines a
number of commitments, including
(perhaps most insistently) commitment
to the perennial struggles of art.

There is a beak at the back of his
throat -
the poem is difficult,
his tongue bleeds.
That is because the bird is not really
dead. Yet (p.3).

After the disturbing quiet of Hello
Ungod (1973) and Reel from the Life-
Movie (1975) Anthony McNeill has ex-

I r.


posed in Credences at the Altar of Cloud
(1979) an extreme talent revelling in
risk. Lorna Goodison's Tamarind Sea-
son (1980) brought us an attractive
woman's voice through whose often
casual tones we hear concern and some-
times personal distress.
More widely bought and readthan all
the other volumes in the list is Louise
Bennett's Jamaica Labrish (1966). Louise
Bennett has been writing and publishing
poems since the early 1940s; but her
serious reputation has grown steadily
since independence. In 1972 she received
the Norman Manley Award for Excell-
ence in the Arts, in 1974 the Order of
Jamaica, in 1978 the Musgrave Gold
Medal of the Institute of Jamaica. In
1979 the Agency for Public Information
produced a film on "The Hon. Miss
Lou". The acknowledgement of Louise
Bennett and her work in Jamaican creole
is, perhaps, an indication of our develop-
ing self-acceptance. At one of her early
performances four decades ago, a voice
called out, "A dat yuh modder sen yuh
a school fa?" The attitudes implicit have
their counterpart today; but, broadly,
we have moved towards a fairly general
acceptance of Jamaica talk.
The achievement of Louise Bennett
has paved the way for an important new
trend, 'dub poetry'. "The mother of it
all is Louise Bennett", says Mikey Smith,
one of the leading practitioners. 'Dub
poetry usually employs creole and is
often related to reggae rhythm and/or
many of the attitudes common in reggae
lyrics. The dub poets tend to acknow-
ledge the influence of d.j. artists such as
U-Roy, I-Roy and Big Youth, reggae
lyricists such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh
and Bunny Wailer. Predominantly they
write for the ear; and, though they also
publish poems, they often market their
work on record. On the page the work
of some dub poets is often little more
than a script to be performed. Some
of the poets are superb performers:
Mikey Smith, Oku Onuora and Muta-
baruka use voice and movement with
practised care to hold their audiences
and to point meaning. In contrast,
the comparative stillness of Linton

Kwesi Johnson serves to focus atten-
tion on the word itself and the music in
it or behind.
The work of some of the dub poets
may be sampled in Savacou 14/15
(1979). Among their books are Linton
Kwesi Johnson's Dread Beat and Blood
(1975) and Inglan Is a Bitch (1980),
Mutabaruka's The First Poems (1970 -
1979) (1980), and Echo (1977) by
Oku Onuora. Their records include Lin-
ton Kwesi Johnson's LPs, Dread Beat
an' Blood (1978), Forces of Victory
(1979) and Bass Culture (1980); Muta-
baruka's '45s Everytime A Ear De
Soun (1980), Naw Give Up (1981),
and Hard Times Love (1982); Oku On-
uora's 45s, Reflection in Red (n.d.) and
Wat A Situation (1981); and Mikey
Smith's disco 45, called Word (1978).
Some of these poets use Standard
English some of the time, as in Oku On-
uora's "I Write About":
You ask: Why do you write
so much about blood, sweat &
Don't you write about trees,
flowers, birds, love?


I write about trees -
trees with withered branches
& severed roots

I write about flowers -
flowers on graves

I write about birds -
caged birds struggling

I write about love -
love for destruction
of oppression.
The need for an active response to
oppression is a recurring theme in work
by the 'dub poets' as in reggae lyrics;
though the degree and details of commit-
ment vary from artist to artist. The
poets are steadily hostile to legacies of
the colonial system. They vividly de-
scribe underprivilege, neglect, police
brutality, political warfare; the ghetto
as a breeding ground of crime and vio-
lence. They expose cultural imperialism,

the alien values of the schools; they re-
enact the horrors of slavery and trace
them into the present; they yearn to
recover Africa. They distrust politicians
and sometimes the present constitutional
arrangements. They tend to argue for
'people power'.
These poets some of them are
making connections with a vast and at-
tentive audience, the sort of public pre-
viously available only to the reggae singer.
Like Louise Bennett and the outstand-
ing playwright Trevor Rhone (Old Story
Time and Other Plays, published 1981)
they communicate most widely in per-
formance, through audio-visual contact.
It is time our cultural and media policies
took note.
A great deal can and should be done
by radio (and television) to improve
communication between our writers and
the Jamaican public. The popular suc-
cess of the JBC radio series called
"Voices from the Caribbean" indicates
the existence of a considerable audience,
including many people who do not
(bother to) read. Also, as will (for ex-
ample) be confirmed by those who have
listened to Erna Brodber read from her
Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home,
some material which seems on the page
fairly difficult can come vividly to life
in oral performance. Whole novels can
and should be made available to the
listening public in, say 15-minute seg-
ments. This could be one of the ways of
narrowing the gap between Jamaican
writers and our largely aural public.


1. For brief biographies of many of the authors
mentioned and for fuller publishing details
of their books, please see:
HUGHES, Michael (ed.) A Companion to
West Indian Literature, London: Collins,
1979, an inexpensive paperback.

HERDECK, David (ed.),Caribbean Writers,
A Bio-Bibliographical-Critical Encyclopae-
dia, Washington, D.C.: Three Continents
Press, 1979. An expensive reference which
may be available in some libraries.

Development of

Jamaican Art:

Five perspectives

We invited the following five
persons who are involved in Art
in various capacities to give us
their personal views on the
development of Jamaican Art over
the last twenty years . . .

John Dunkley, Scene with Path. Mixed media
on Plywood. 34" x 15". Sir Philip & Lady
Sherlock Collection.


By Edna Manley
You ask me to write my impressions of art in Jamaica in
the last 20 years, but there are so many people who
can do that so much better than I can. We have trained
historians now and people who run galleries who have han-
dled art for years.
What I would like to do if you would allow me, is to write
about the early days and the pioneers. To tell you about
Dunkley and Daley and the very far beginnings.
To write of Dunkley first: I remember a young English-
man, Delves Molesworth who came to take up the job of

secretary of the Institute of Jamaica coming to me one day
very excited because someone had brought Dunkley's work
to show him at the Institute and he was so impressed he
wanted me to go with him to visit Dunkley.
He lived in either Princess Street or Orange Street, I never
can remember which, and we went to look for a barber's
shop. John Dunkley was a barber. As I stepped through the
door of the shop I literally gasped. There was nothing in his
sombre paintings to prepare me to expect this. Around the
doors and windows of the little room he had painted in gay
brilliant colours in enamel, the most lovely designs of flowers
and leaves and fruits the furniture too, each piece a gem of
design and colour, was decorated. But the masterpiece in the
centre of it all was the BARBER'S CHAIR. Never in all the
world I think could there be another barber's chair like this.
It was covered with designs the back, the sides, the base,
everything except the seat. The whole room was aglow with
colour. It was the glorification of all barbers' chairs and
against the walls his pictures were stacked. Dunkley was a
good barber; people said: "he know how to trim your hair to
fit your face".
I will never forget that first visit and how the customers,
especially the client in the barber's chair, seemed to be so
pleased and glad that at last people from 'the outside world'
had come to recognize Mr. Dunkley.

Albert Hule, Earring. Aaron Matalon Collection.

We discovered that people of the area really valued his
paintings and carvings and when a new one was finished they
would drop around to take a look, regarding it all as a sort
of miracle that their Mr. Dunkley could do these wonderful
things; they were very proud.
Nothing seemed to change Dunkley, neither fame nor
being ignored. He was just himself.
He had been in Central America for a while and this had
left him with several 'influences' like the little creatures
that appeared sometimes in his work. He painted and carved
from an inside world, a dream world of his own.
But it was Norman Manley who suddenly said one day,
"do you realize the strong African influence in his carvings?"
Here was an artist who had never seen an African carving,
never seen a book on African art using some of their tech-
niques, used most markedly in their treatment of hair.
He slowly began to sell his work and to realize that he was
at last being recognized.
By the time he died in his early sixties, the little art move-
ment had begun to grow and a group of us went to his funeral
which passed along Spanish Town Road singing hymns and
praying; quite a little crowd gathered at the grave side as we
laid him to rest. He never knew that his work would one day
become priceless.
And then there was Henry Daley, a painter who came
from a very poor little home, from a background, as far as I
could discover, in no way different or showing any special
Here he was: young, black, and very handsome and with a
lively mind.
He painted exactly as he felt, powerfully and very free.

He tried going to an art class but it only confused him.
Of course he had seen some art books of people like Van
Gogh, but I never felt he was wanting to ape what he saw.
Perhaps they freed him to dare to be himself. But of course,
and this is a strange thing to say, people in his day either
thought him wildly 'modern' or they thought he 'didn't
know better'.
He painted some magnificent trees, massive, strong, and
he was haunted by the theme of the 'Prophet', the man who
was misunderstood.
He hardly ever sold anything and so few people cared. In
fact he was often the butt of people who mocked at him. This
wore him down and he had a bad nervous breakdown. Dr.
Sam Street took him into his care and he slowly recovered.
But the fight to live was always there. He used to come to
see us, walking, with his canvases hitched on his back and
Norman used to love the way he whistled as he walked, some
plaintive little melody. He was particularly fond of Daley. I
was giving a talk to the Nurses Association on the importance
of having Jamaican art in the home. It was a Sunday morning
and we were halfway through, when a message arrived that
Daley was dying in the Kingston Public Hospital and was ask-
ing to see me. We wound up the meeting and I hurried down,
but it was too late.
I think Daley who was very original suffered more than
any artist at the time and his small output is still underrated
and many are lost.
We missed him very much.
Nineteen thirty eight was a very eventful year and among
the important events was an All-Island Exhibition in May
organized by Theodore Sealy, later to be the powerful editor
of the Gleaner, and George Bowen, a businessman. It was an
Art and Craft show held in St. George's Hall, Duke Street.
Theodore Sealy who has all through the years shown a
love of and interest in music and the fine arts, was more than
gratified at the response. Now from every corner of Jamaica
remarkable entries arrived, mostly crafts, and the show drew
record crowds, beyond his wildest dreams.
Out of this show Albert Huie catapulted on to the art
scene. He was a lad in his late teens, and from 1938 1982
he has poured out his work, deeply rooted in the Jamaican
landscape and the Jamaican people. Huie is not an innovator,
he is never abstract, he never paints to shock you or be sen-
sational, although some of his lino cuts are tremendously
dramatic. But he has grown immeasurably over the years
into a magnificent painter, freeing his sense of design, achiev-
ing an incredible technique and with that gift of painting
our strange clear Jamaican light. But above all he is deeply in
love with his land and his people. I always say to the rare few
who speak disparagingly of him "But listen, every country
has to have an Albert Huie, remove Huie from the local art
scene and it's like removing the heart from the body. No-
thing would be the same without him." He is a great measuring
rod for all of us to face and to respect.
By the time 1940 came, Philip Sherlock and Robert Verity
were at the Institute and for the moment, art had found two
It was then that the Institute art classes started and people
began to buy art and place it in their homes. Art was no
longer a third class matter and people who recognized this,
smiled compassionately on those who could not see and did
not want to see that Jamaican art had taken its place at last
in the rich history of our country.

Kapo, Silent Night. 1979. Oil on Canvas. 33" x 29". National Gallery

Henry Daley, Petitioner. 1945. Oil on Hardboard. 30" x 19". National
Gallery Collection.

Art in Jamaica 1962-1982

By David Boxer

One could hardly commence a discussion of the post-
independence period in Jamaican art without first
paying homage to those artists who made it possible
those artists who, with no living tradition of their own,
were able to provide the impetus for the birth of a true
movement a true 'school' of art, that is now perhaps un-
rivalled in the entire Caribbean region.

Out of the social crises of the late thirties, a unified voice
came from these artists a cry for a national identity in
our arts. Edna Manley carved Negro Aroused; Huie painted
his Market Vendor; Daley painted The Petitioner; Abrahams
drew Looking; Pottinger painted his Backyard; David Miller
carved Girl Surprised and Dunkley painted Diamond Wed-
ding. These works became icons that spoke eloquently of a
people wrestling with the forces of colonial cultural domi-
nation to establish something that was truly Jamaican. It is
this considerable achievement the development of an in-
digenous iconography that these artists, who dared to be
themselves, gave to independent Jamaica.
Most of these pioneering artists continued to play import-
ant roles in the post-independent era. Edna Manley, whose
artistic career became 'defocused' after 1950, remained an
active mentor to a number of younger artists. After the death
of Norman Manley in 1969, however, she resumed her career
with a vengeance, and in the seventies, produced a remark-
able body of work which re-established her as one of the
most profound practising artists in the country. Huie, Abra-
hams, Pottinger, Campbell, Marriott, Escoffery the other
key figures of the mainstream, also continued to grow in sta-
ture. The cumulative effect of their oeuvres gave a sense of
stability, a 'tradition' which was to prove catalytic to younger

Edna Manley, The Ancestor. 1978. Bronze. Height 44". Professor
The Hon. Rex Nettleford Collection.
artists catalytic in the sense of providing a yardstick, both
for emulation and for rejection. Rejection, in many cases,
prodded healthy experimentation.
The works of these pioneers notwithstanding, the years
immediately following independence belonged to the Barring-
ton/Parboosingh/Hyde triumvirate three strong artistic

personalities who introduced a new sense of monumentality
and new exploratory attitudes, which in retrospect seem
'just right' for a country embarking on its first years of in-
dependence. Barrington went the route of the European
academies, to bring us an exuberant, even baroque, romantic-
ism; Parboosingh, who studied in New York, Paris and Mexico,
looked keenly at every brand of Expressionism, from Rouault
and the German Expressionists, through the Mexican mural-
ists, to Pollock and the New York Action painters, and con-
cocted 'versions' of his own. He was at his best when he
applied his modernist techniques to 'traditional' subject
matter. Hyde's vision was more concentrated, concerning it-
self basically with the aesthetic principles of the Abstract
Expressionist movement that had dominated American
and European art in the late forties and fifties. His early
work in Jamaica demonstrated that he had also absorbed
some of the 'New Imagist' ideas of his teacher, Rico Lebrun.
These ideas were to resurface with a new purpose in his dis-
tinguished Casualty Series, done shortly before his untimely
death in 1980.
Ideas from abroad continued to be appropriated by
Jamaican artists of the sixties and seventies. Very rarely was
there slavish imitation in fact, many of our finest artists
went through a true hybridizing process, resulting in, at
times, quite unique expressions. Not all of the ideas that
were introduced were 'new' or avant-garde Osmond
Watson, very conscious of his links with Africa, turned to
traditional African art, and to that European art of the early
twentieth century which had itself been so heavily influenced
by the principles of African sculpture Cubism; Gonzalez
retreated to a late nineteenth century type of symbolism
which perhaps owed as much to Gustav Vigeland as it did to
Edna Manley; Colin Garland travelled the whole history of
Florentine art in his search for 'delicious harmonies' for-his
own special fantasias; while Milton George, a great admirer of
Parboosingh, created a sort of homespun fauvism, where a
brilliant colour sense, inspired in part by his study of Matisse
and the German Expressionists, combined with a tension-
charged brushstroke to impart to daring distortions of
landscape/human elements a profound sense of irony that at
times rivalled the master of irony himself Carl Abrahams.
George's recent, enormously successful Afternoon with
Friends is the spiritual heir to one of the great masterpieces
of the fifties: Abrahams's Last Supper.
The essentially formalist artists: George Rodney, Winston
Patrick and Hope Brooks key artists of the seventies -were

inspired by more modernist ideas. Rodney, although trained
in New York at a time when the second generation Abstract
Expressionists held court, seems closer in spirit to the Euro-
pean Lyrical Abstractionists. In more recent years, the 'hard
edge' sectioning of his canvases has added an exciting new
spatial dimension to his work. Patrick, who began as a Henry
Moore-inspired Abstractionist, now finds in artists like Tanguy
a more profitable point of departure -the illusionist aesthetic
in his more mature works links him decidedly to the 'Magic
Realists' and the 'Neo-Surrealists.' Hope Brooks, whose main
interest is textural development within the context of 'all-
over' compositions, had as her point of departure the Matter
Painters of Europe principally Dubuffet. The systematic
application of her highly sophisticated aesthetic to elements
of the Jamaican environment our mountains, our shells,
our trees, the sea has been one of the most significant
recent developments in our landscape tradition.
By the mid-seventies, when the National Gallery of Jamaica
came into existence, and, (as the Gallery's curator) my study
of Jamaican art began in earnest, the influx of stylistic in-
fluences had become so complex that, among mainstream
artists, I was able to identify no less than six main trends,
which I classified thus: the Traditional/Post Impressionist
(Huie, Campbell, Pottinger, Escoffery); Symbolist (Manley,
Clerk, Payne, Gonzalez, Osmond Watson); Expressionist
(Parboosingh, Hyde, George, Boxer); Academic/Realist (Bar-
rington Watson, Bloomfield, MacMillan, Sullivan); Surrealist/
Magic Realist (Garland, Patrick, Matkovic, Tansley); Abstract
(Hyde, Harley, Brooks, Curwin, Rodney). The distinctions at
times were not totally clear cut, since some of our artists
shifted directions, and others oscillated between two or more
It also became apparent at the time that very little critical
attention was being paid to a whole 'other' stream of art a
parallel stream, yes, but one which had been very much kept
in the shadows. This stream we now call the Intuitive Stream.
We began our investigation of our Intuitive artists with the
Dunkley Retrospective virtually resurrecting his oeuvre
and giving a whole new generation of Jamaicans an oppor-
tunity to experience the remarkable achievements of our first
and greatest Intuitive artist.
In 1978, in presenting The Formative Years: Jamaican Art
From 1922 -1940 we again presented Dunkley, this time in
the company of the two Millers, in acknowledgement of
what I then termed "a strong undercurrent of intuitive art"
which had been present from the very outset of the move-
ment. Then in 1979, we presented the major artists of the
Intuitive Stream in what amounted to a definitive exhibition
- The Intuitive Eye.
In the foreword to the catalogue of this exhibition, I
characterized the artists in the exhibition thus:
These artists paint, or sculpt, intuitively. They are not guide
by fashion. Their vision is pure and sincere, untarnished by art
theories and philosophies, principles and movements. They are,
for the most part, self-taught. Their visions (and many are true
visionaries) as released through paint or wood, are unmediated
expressions of their individual relationships with the world
around them and the worlds within. Some of them Kapo,
Everald Brown, William Joseph in particular reveal as well a
capacity for reaching into the depths of the subconscious to re-
kindle century old traditions, and to pluck out images as
elemental and vital as those of their African fathers.
The exhibition sparked some controversy mainly among
those Jamaicans for whom Africa, their own blackness, indeed,
the very essence of their 'Jamaican-ness' was an embarrass-

ment those Jamaicans for whom a piece of Toronto-
Autumn Scene-Kitsch was more comfortable, 'nicer-over-the-
sofa', than the most exciting rhythmic performance of a
Kapo. "Primitive!" they shouted. "Keep the title 'Primi-
tive!' cried one ignorant critic ignorant of the dynamic
forces that go into the creation of a vibrant, living art. But
there were others, countless others, who couJd really sense
the pulse of that exhibition. For, although the National
Gallery had already charted in numerous exhibitions, the
brain, the nervous system of our art movement, the main-
stream from Manley through Huie, Abrahams, Hyde, the
Watsons, and indeed, Boxer then The Intuitive Eye, for the
first time, charted the bloodstream of the movement: the
line from Dunkley through Kapo to Artwell was shown to be
a vital and extraordinarily moving counterpart to our main-
stream artists.
Claims that the National Gallery was promoting the works
of our Intuitives as 'the only true Jamaican art' were clearly
absurd. Rather, The Intuitive Eye began the process of giving
long overdue recognition to an important group among our
artists. Our position was clearly stated by Rex Nettleford in
the introduction to the catalogue that accompanied the
Far from establishing the superiority of one set of artists over
the other, this exhibition will force us to re-affirm that in the
realm of excellence there is no hierarchy and that trained artists
had better be good to be respected as intuitive artists are indeed
respected when they are good. These different processes lead-
ing to excellence are therefore equally valid. It is mischievous
and time-wasting, then, to attempt to rank an 'untrained'
Dunkley or Kapo against a 'trained' Parboosingh or Huie. What
if all are Masters in their own right? What criteria would we
wish to use to settle the conundrum? The truth is, there is no
riddle to the incontrovertible fact that there are masters who
from their different primary sources of energy have produced
works of excellence of which humanity can be proud. In this
sense, the artists here represented are, by their works, making
a unique and vital contribution to a developing Jamaica by sub-
verting old values and exploding outworn myths which have
for centuries attempted to relegate to perpetual inferiority the
products of the creative effort of those who draw heavily on
the soul and experience of everyday life but without the bene-
fit of sustained exposure to the canons of formal schools of
The exhibition also aroused considerable interest abroad.
Commentators were able to observe that we had here in
Jamaica a school of Intuitives that could rival those of Haiti,
Brazil, Venezuela, Yugoslavia or France and further, that
in the persons of Dunkley, Kapo, Everald Brown and Sidney
McLaren, we had artists worthy of being ranked among the
world masters of twentieth century Intuitive art.
International attention is now being extended, and correct-
ly so, to Jamaican art as a whole. As a result of this, the
eighties will see a wave of exhibitions of Jamaican art being
presented in museums abroad. The most important of these
will be sponsored by the Smithsonian Museum, where 80
key works will document the development of our art from
1922 to the present. After its initial showing in Washington,
the exhibition will then travel under the auspices of the
Smithsonian Institution Travelling Exhibition Service to muse-
ums throughout North America and Europe. The National
Gallery has been invited to curate this exhibition, and we
will be presenting Jamaican art as the young, vibrant move-
ment which it is, with both streams, Intuitive and Main-
stream, being shown not as separate entities, but as a contra-
puntal interweaving made integral by that intense humanism
which informs the work of every true Jamaican artist.

Carl Abrahams, Thirtmen Ialites. 1975. Acrylic on hardboard, 30" x 41". National Gallery
Osmond Watson,
Peace and Love. 1969. Oil on Canvas. 17" x 11%". National Gallery
i 1 \ 11 T I I I T 1 1 1 1 T

Everald Brown, Ethiopian Apple. 1970. Oil on Canvas. 20" x 39". National Gallery

Karl Parboosingh, Jamaican Gothic. Oil onCanvas. Olympia Collection.

Barrington Watson, Mother and Child. 1958. Oil on Canvas. 48" x 58". National Gallery

A~~I--_ I~ *k. L. I A 3..~ Li. L~1 I 3

An Overview

By Andrew Hope

Perhaps I should have followed the example of the late
Eric Newton, the British art critic who was always reluc-
tant to comment on art in his own times from an art
historian's point of view because he felt that he lacked the
necessary detachment. But had I done so this article would
not have been written and there is always the chance that
posterity, viewing the past two decades from a reasonable
perspective of years, might possibly agree with me. The
temptation is too great and I lack Newton's vanity and almost
hope that I'll be proved wrong. For what I have to say will
undoubtedly offend many and please only a few, those who
share my view that the visual arts everywhere are in a parlous
state and in Jamaica, worse still, are only accessible to a small
elite, having lost touch with the people.
Any account of our art in the past 20 years should, in my

opinion, take into consideration what has occurred during
that period on the international art scene, for we are not a
self-contained community in any sphere of life. Art currents
have a way of crossing borders and travelling over large dis-
tances at a disconcerting speed, and surely we could not have
been unaffected by events in the metropolitan countries. If
the sixties were still a fairly hopeful decade, the art centre
having moved from Paris to New York decisively, the seven-
ties, by general agreement, was the most dismal decade of
the century. No new talent appeared, as had been expected,
and the term Modern Art acquired an uncomplimentary con-
notation, drawing in associations of experimentation for its
own sake, serving few and enriching mainly dishonest art
It is not unreasonable, therefore, to assume that the
sixties in Jamaica were also years of many expectations and,
indeed, that a new generation of artists emerged as vital and
resourceful as the great pioneers of the forties and fifties. But
although a few names, all graduates of the Jamaica School of
Art, made their mark by producing a fair number of interest-
ing works in painting and sculpture and although a number
of new art galleries ushered in this new group for the benefit
of a more art-conscious public, nothing really of true signi-
ficance, comparable to the previous years, could be record-
ed as we were approaching independence.
Perhaps the drama of impending freedom proved more
dramatic and exciting than anything our artists could create,
and this again is not an unreasonable supposition. But which-
ever way we look at the sixties they seem to us a time when
the momentum of our art movement, started by such names
as Albert Huie, Edna Manley, Ralph Campbell, Carl Abrahams
and Karl Parboosingh, was beginning to slow down instead of
gathering speed.
The development of our art in the seventies proceeded at
an even slower pace and here are my reasons why this should
have happened. We are not as yet a nation of fully developed
individuals and thus are prone to rely too much on insti-
tutions. One such institution, the National Gallery at Devon
House, was founded early in the decade, but although much
had been expected from it, it failed to perform meaningfully
in the interest of our artists and public. Too many would-be
sophisticated exhibitions were mounted while the National
Collection was kept out of sight, as though it was something
to be ashamed of. Thus the man in the street, the art stu-
dent, the art lover, the full-fledged artist was unable to see
for himself what had been achieved by our finest artists; was
cut off from this most vital source of inspiration and learn-
Worse still, later in the decade the National Gallery be-
came the centre for dissemination of a dogmatic belief that the
only art that matters in Jamaica is produced by the primi-
tives who had not been 'contaminated' by European culture.
Indeed, they have been since elevated to the status of 'intui-
tives', an art-historical term normally reserved for highly
sophisticated artists who died young. In the meantime,
another important institution, the Jamaica School of Art,
gradually ceased being a house of learning, turning into an
industrial school of crafts. The number of students graduating
in the fine arts fell off disastrously as did the standard of
their work. Even the most gifted of them are so lacking in
confidence that they are now teaching art in various schools,
thus being totally wasted.
It is only to be expected that what I've just said will be
indignantly denied and rejected, but then, as the sage said,
'Self-deception is God's greatest gift to man'.

AVery Special Experience

By Jean Smith
It seems natural for me, as a woman and a mother to com-
pare the first 20 years of a country's independence with
the growth of an infant: measuring it, as one would a
child; looking for comparisons in stages of development; and
always remembering that in the life of a nation, 20 years
has to be seen as only the very first steps in human terms.
Using this analogy, the condition of the mother during the
months before the birth is crucial for a healthy delivery.
Applying all this to the visual arts in Jamaica, we must look
at the 25 years before independence as vital in any intelli-
gent consideration of where the arts have gone in the last
two decades, in assessing the new directions that they have
taken, and the effect that they are having on the society as a
The 'pre-natal' period of 1938 62 this most important
period in Jamaica's history, which saw two National Heroes
giving shape and form to a new nation produced the tower-
ing influence of an Edna Manley with her Negro Aroused of
1935, and a group of young men and women fired with love
of country people like Albert Huie, Ralph Campbell, Cora
Eaton, David Pottinger, Henry Daley, Carl Abrahams who
started to look at this country with new eyes and to put on
canvas, as George Campbell did in verse, all the pride and
dignity and strength, as well as the sheer physical beauty, of
a black nation suddenly seeing itself as something very
special, with the potential to take charge of its own destiny.

Art in this period played a major role in creating, through
vibrant and exciting images of ourselves as a people, a vision
of the possibilities that we held in our hands.
So 1962 dawned, born out of an important period of ges-
tation that had laid vital foundations for the new infant.
And much of what has emerged during the last 20 years in
the visual arts must be seen as an inevitable part of a process
that had been set in motion at the conception 25 years
earlier. Thus, the 'founding fathers' of the pre-independence
period emerge in these 20 years as the elder statesmen of the
art world, where the emphasis is now being laid on strengthen-
ing some of the structures and organizations laid down in the
period 1938 62, and creating new institutions. The Festival
movement, with its regional and national competitions and
its ongoing training programmes, has now reached out and
involved people in every community, making them a part of
the national art movement. The Cultural Training Centre -
including the School of Art has developed as a major
tertiary institution. The National Gallery, established in
1974, has now given exposure and high visibility to the finest
of Jamaican art. It used as its nucleus the small but historical-
ly important Institute of Jamaica Collection. Under highly
professional staff, the National Gallery Collection has be-
come a major body of work which has attracted international
recognition and which operates as a powerful force in the art
movement in Jamaica today. Because of the existence of this
national institution, with an obvious level of professional
curatorship, several of the foreign embassies based here have
negotiated the mounting of some major art exhibitions -
Mexico, Israel, the U.S.A., China, Cuba, Venezuela, Tanzania,
*France, Norway, are some of the countries which have offer-
ed some of their finest work. As a result, the viewing public,
with a high component of school children, is now seeing on a
fairly regular basis other important influences in art, and is
having regular access to the works of their own Jamaican
artists. This international dimension which has been added
to the visual arts has broadened the artistic sensibilities of the
Jamaican viewing public, and has contributed to rescuing us
from a chauvinistic view of art which can happen in a small
country with narrow views and limited exposure.

So, structures have been strengthened in these last 20
years. And because we are a very new nation, inevitably
there is strong political emphases, made through vivid visual
statements, which have challenged the political leadership on
canvas and in wood in the same way that Bob Marley and
Jimmy Cliff have done with their pointed lyrics. The con-
dition of so many of Jamaica's disadvantaged is in evidence
in almost every exhibition mounted, and the reaction to cer-
tain ideological positions has been passionately stated in the
work, for example, of the late Eugene Hyde. But always,
alongside this, we are able to view the strength of the hills
and the strength in the faces of the people, in the work of a
Huie; and the influences which have gone into the creation of
this nation with Osmond Watson; or the strong religious
underpinnings running through the society in the paintings of
Carl Abrahams, and, perhaps most significant of all in the last
20 years, the almost hypnotic quality of the paintings of the
intuitive artists and the Rastafarians.
Here, I think, in terms of real new directions, we have the
strongest body of new work in the visual arts. The clarity
with which Sydney McLaren sees and records his Jamaica,
the vivid dreams of Brother Everald Brown, and the primal
quality of the works of Kapo here, for me, lies the most

Eugene Hyde, Prelude to Casualty Series. 1978. Acrylic Charcoal and
Pencil. 32" x 40". Mrs. Beth Hyde Collection.

exciting and personally most satisfying aspects of this parti-
cular discipline in Jamaica in this period. These works are
like no other: there is an absence of studied techniques,
which can sometimes confuse; and an absolute integrity
about the painting and sculpture that seems to represent
something that is quite unique, totally honest, aesthetically
exciting, and incredibly moving. I see them as the strongest
completely original new body of work to emerge from this
period of our national life, with certain unconscious links
with the work of John Dunkley of the thirties, but with a
startling brilliance that makes them strangely modern. And
in a way, they represent in microcosm how we might con-
sider viewing this country at this stage, as a nation making
strong moves away from the trappings of colonialism, and
making no apology for these new directions. For the child
has to experiment in order to grow and perhaps the single
most important thing is that it does so within certain well-
defined structures.
So, springing out of these strong foundations, the period
in art has been full of challenge, and excitement, with con-
stant reminders of the old strengths of the countryside and
its people. At the same time there has been a shedding of the
self-consciousness which has been present in much of the
older works and the African presence and its influences are
being presented with a new pride and self-confidence that
hold out great hope for the future.
In all of this period, the arts have been fortunate in their
political 'caretakers' first, the young social anthropologist,
Edward Seaga (now Prime Minister of Jamaica and once

Milton Harley, Mayan 1. c. 1970. Oil on
Canvas. 31"x 41".National Gallery Collection.

again in charge of the arts), whose academic training gave
him a very real grasp of the power of the arts and the role
that they can play in a developing society; and then Michael
Manley who had doubtless, as a 13-year-old, witnessed the
chips flying at the creation of Negro Aroused, and who had
grown up with the poetry of George Campbell. This personal
interest and involvement of our political leaders in the arts
is an important fact, and has ensured a continuity of strong
interest in and appreciation of the whole artistic movement,
and in particular, understanding of the role that the arts can
play in the development of a newly independent nation. The
interest of our political leaders has undoubtedly contributed
to the real encouragement and support which has always
been available for the arts at the government level.
On a recent visit to the National Gallery, I could hear the
voice of George Campbell coming out of the thirties:

Dark Peoples, singing in my veins,
Fair Peoples, singing in soft strains,
Oh, when / lift my hand to pray,
I bow with blue eyes, dark hands, red hair -
My prayer is Life

This is what we are seeing in the art that has come out of
the last 20 years. For those of us lucky enough to have been
involved, it was a very special experience. For we are all part
of a nation involved in a search for identity. And the artist
will continue to act as a beacon in the society, illuminating
the injustices of the past and the present and, hopefully,
pointing the way to a better future.

Winston Patrick, Mahogany Form. 1975. Mahogany. Height 55".
National Gallery Collection.

Abstract Art in Jamaica

By Rosalie Smith McCrea

rom the inception of the modern art movement in
Jamaica dating from the early 1930s, two main styles
of expression have been visible realism and the Intui-
tive modes (hitherto referred to as Primitive Art in Jamaica).

Abstraction appeared in Jamaican art 30 years later.
Edwin Todd in an article entitled "Abstract Art, the Avant
Garde and Jamaica" (Jamaica Journal Vol. 4, No. 4, Decem-
ber 1970) states clearly that up to the time of his arrival in
Jamaica in 1952, the will to abstraction was not evident in
Jamaican art, let alone the existence of an avant-garde move-
ment in the visual arts.
Twelve years have now passed since the publication of
Todd's article. What is obvious is that the will to abstraction
in Jamaican art is alive and well.
Abstraction or formalism, as it is usually called, is a pro-
cess of emphasis, and owes its aesthetic power to form and
colour. These values of form and colour are independent of
the subject. Original objects in nature which might have given
birth to the first idea are not being recalled, but presented in
such a way that the sculpture or painting is its own justi-
fication; it is not judged on the extent to which it 'looks like'
the original. With the influence of the camera, the painter of
the mid to late 19th century perhaps felt less inspired to
faithfully record nature and events. In this respect, the 20th
century has released new potentials for the artist to work
from within and explore his own perceptions of external real-
In Jamaica, some of the earliest breakthroughs came from
artists such as Milton Harley and the late Eugene Hyde.
Both studied abroad and returned home in the early 1960s to
pave the way for further and further abstraction in Jamaican
Harley who was at that time an abstract expressionist
painter, first exhibited at Hills galleries in Kingston. Because
of the personal and remote nature of these early works, they
might have baffled viewers, and he remained uninfluential.
His Mayan / (1970) in the National Gallery Collection gives
us an idea of his own influences at the time (the Scottish
abstract expressionist Alan Davie).
Hyde's first solo exhibition in 1963 was held at the Insti-
tute of Jamaica. At first, his works did not excite the public
either. His interest in flatness, colour and motion left people
confused. However, many of his pictures of the decade re-
tained recognizable references to the subject landscape and
the figure and in so doing had perhaps a greater influence
on other Jamaican artists than did the abstractions of Harley.
Karl Parboosingh began painting in an expressionist and
semi-abstract way from the late 1960s onwards. Seya Parboo-
singh, his wife, had her first solo exhibition in 1957 and like
Karl's, her art has broached both figurative and abstract
modes, while exploring and manipulating new techniques.
Others contributing to the encouragement of abstraction
in the 1960s were Reggie Lyn, a young Jamaican studying in
North America; Douglas Chambers (his Window (1968) is
in the National Gallery Collection) a young Englishman who
taught at the Jamaica School of Art from 1967 to 1969;and
Harry and Elma Thubron who also taught at the School of
Art from 1969 to 1971. Many fine abstract and semi-abstract
artists have come into their own during the seventies; George

Rodney, Hope Brooks and David Boxer being foremost in
their generation.
From 18 March to 7 May this year, a small exhibition of
19 works was organized by the National Gallery for the
Creative Arts Centre, U.W.I. Entitled "A Way of Seeing", the
exhibition highlighted current ideas/elements at work in con-
temporary Jamaican art. The show featured works by David
Boxer, Hope Brooks, Eric Cadien, Karl Craig, Keith Curwin,
Merilee Drakulich, Laura Facey, Rachel Fearing, Milton
George, Fitz Harrack, Eugene Hyde, R. Smith McCrea, Seya
Parboosingh, Winston Patrick and George Rodney.
From visual evidence, the majority of these artists have
not turned away from the figurative and landscape traditions.
Paintings submitted by Brooks, Cadien and Parboosingh
appear to be expressions of 'nature in abstraction'. These
works in particular were 'derived' from local or foreign land-
scape environments water and land, which acted as takeoff
points for the artists.
In another instance we find partial abstractions arising
from the immediate home environment. The works of George
and Drakulich were examples where an actual bedroom
(George) and bathroom louvred windows (Drakulich) were
explored for expressionist textures and formal design ele-
ments respectively.
Personal mythologies, as well as political and social con-
ditions as subject matter in the 1970s had an impact on the
work of David Boxer and the late Eugene Hyde. Hyde's
Earth Goddess, (1970) uses the female figure as a metaphor
for landscape on an overall black field. From 1970 a series of
his paintings and drawings explored the use of black. Viewers
will remember his series on paper Colour is a Personal Thing
(1978) and the Casualties, works on canvas, that had direct

bearing on social and economic conditions in Jamaica at the
David Boxer's Passage III, Triptych (1977), a major work
by that artist, uses phantasmagoric, 'baroque' densely over-
lapping forms which appear/disappear within the surfaces of
mixed media. Boxer has developed and refined his use of the
medium polyurethane par excellence. The painting as ab-
straction meditates on the horrors of our time. Instead of
painting an actual incident with technically accurate details,
he makes us feel the essential horror of the twentieth century
dilemma when . "things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
mere anarchy is loosed upon the world" (Yeats "The Second
Coming" (1921) from which the triptych's left panel was
Other visible preoccupations involved the exploration of
materials, textures and surfaces for their own sake: Laura
Facey's Cave Series (1978), a paper mache and watercolour
work is one example, and Hope Brooks's View From Patrick's
Verandah, Trinidad (1980) is another example where surface
build-up through plaster is the main crux of the painting. All
three wood sculptures presented by Harrack, Patrick and
Fearing projected a concern with the figure (Harrack), illu-
sionism (Patrick) and kinetic/mobile qualities (Fearing)..
Abstraction, therefore, has survived and extended itself
from 1960 to the present day. The establishment of an avant-
garde based on international developments in the visual arts
such as video art, conceptual, performance, environmental or
land art with its attendant parallel galleries for display and
performance, however, is not evident, nor is it likely to be
evident for a considerable time, given the essentially tradition-
al nature and tastes of Jamaican society and Jamaican art


(Subject Index of Articles on Art appearing in Jamaica Journal
1967 1980).

ABRAHAMS. "Carl Abrahams, Painter and Cartoonist" Alex Gradu-
ssov, 3:1 March 1969.
ART. "What is Art" Alex Gradussov, 3:4, Dec. 1969.
ART. "Talking About Art with H. and E. Thubron" Alex Gradu-
ssov 4: 2, June 1, 1970.
ART. "Abstract Art, the Avant Garde and Jamaica" Edwin Todd,
4: 4, Dec. 1970.
BAUGH. "Cecil Baugh: Master Potter" Pat Cumper, 9: 2&3, 1975.
BOXER. "David Boxer Exhibition Reviewed" Basil McFarlane, 7:
4, Dec. 1973.
BOXER. David Boxer Interviewed on Intuitive Eye Exhibition by
Shirley Maynier Burke, No. 44, 1980.
CUBA. "Cuban Art Exhibition" Review by Trevor Roche Burrowes,
9:1, 1975.
DALEY. "Henry Daley the artist" Edna Manley, 2:4, Dec. 1968.
DUNKLEY. "John Dunkley" Edwin Todd, 2:3, Sept. 1968.
DUNKLEY. "Life of John Dunkley (1891 1947)", 11: 1&2, 1977.
ESCOFFERY. "Gloria Escoffery Talks with Alex Gradussov", 5:1,
Mar. 1971.
ESCOFFERY. "A Painter's Philosophy" Gloria Escoffery, 7:3,
Sept. 1973.
GONZALEZ, Christopher. "Review of Gonzalez-Kayiga Exhibition"
John Maxwell, 7:4, Dec. 1973.
HAKEWILL. "Four Illustrators" F.G. duQuesnay, 2:2, June 1968.
HUIE. "Albert Huie' Interview with a Jamaican Master" Basil
McFarlane, 8:1, March 1974.

ILLUSTRATORS. "Four Illustrators" (Kidd, Robertson, Hakewill,
Wickstead) F.G. duQuesnay, 2:2, June 1968.
INTUITIVES. "The Intuitive Eye" (Editor Interviews David Boxer)
KAPO. "Kapo Cult Leader, Sculptor, Painter" Alex Gradussov,
3: 2, June 1969.
KAYIGA, Kofi. "Review of Gonzalez-Kayiga Exhibition" John
Maxwell, 7:4, Dec. 1973.
KIDD "Four Illustrators" F.G. duQuesnay, No. 44, Mar. 1970.
LLOYD. "Errol Lloyd, Jamaican Painter in London" Pamela
Bowen, No. 44,1980.
MANLEY. "Edna Manley Interview" Basil McFarlane, 4: 1, Mar.
MEXICO. "Recollections of the Mexican Art Scene" Trevor Roche
Burrowes,9:1, 1975.
MOODY. "An Evening with Ronald Moody" Dawn Rich, 6:3, Sept.
NATIONAL EXHIBITION. "National Exhibition of Paintings 1975",
Reviewed by Usha Prasad, 9: 2&3, 1975.
ROBERTSON. "Four Illustrators" F.G. duQuesnay, 2:2, June
SCOTT. "A.D. Scott. A Fanatic for Colour and Form Jamaica's
leading Art patron talks to Basil McFarlane", 8: 2&3, 1974.
SCULPTORS. "The Jamaican Sculptors" Philip Sherlock, 10: 2, 3&
4, Dec. 1976.
WATSON. "Osmond Watson talks to Alex Gradussov", 3:3, Sept.
WICKSTEAD. "Four Illustrators", F.G. duQuesnay, 2:2 June 1968.

The Changing Physical


Text by Cherry Brady
T he Jamaican returning home
after 20 years abroad, will
discover much that has
changed in the island of his
nostalgic dreams. The rugged
mountains, gentle beaches and
forested hinterland remain largely
unchanged ageless. It is the
man-made structures of towns and
cities which provide evidence of
20 years of rapid growth and
development. In the following
pages, we give but a glimpse of
the most spectacular physical
changes which have taken place
in the last 20 or so years. Jamaica
Then and Now.

Aerial photography by
J.S. Tyndale-Biscoe

Errol Harvey
SHAPE OF THE FUTURE? This new office :
building (designed by McMorris Sibley
Robinson) is an outstanding example of the
trend to multi-storey functionality. Will this '
be the dominant shape in Jamaica when we
celebrate our 40th anniversary? ; .


From Canefields to New Towns

Canefields and swamplands in the 1957
photograph (below, right) by 1982
had given way to a city of 80,000
on the doorstep of Kingston. This
is Portmore, several separate
communities built on marginal
and reclaimed lands west of
Kingston Harbour and linked to the
city by the Hunts Bay causeway.
Communities from right to left
in the photograph below include
Meadowvale (to the right of
Caymanas Race Track)
Independence City, Waterford,
Portmore, City Centre, Passage
Fort, Edgewater, West Bay,
Bridgeport, West Port,
Garveymeade, Southboro, with
Braeton New Town and Hellshire
Bay Development in the distance.

Several of the communities have
been built by private developers
but the entire area falls under the
Urban Development Corporation
Expansion will now continue in
the 45 miles of the Hellshire
Hills (area in background). The
rest of the Hellshire area will
accommodate the new towns of
Hellshire Bay which when
completed will number about
70,000 souls. The second phase of
the development will be the
construction of Manatee Bay,
ten years after the secondary
development of the Hellshire Bay
community. Consistent with
settlement plans islandwide, the
new towns will provide employ-
ment opportunities in manufactur-

ing, fish farming, and craft
industries based on the resources
of limestone and marble in the
area. Manatee Bay, in particular,
is expected to have its economic
base in tourism.

A New Shoreline for an Old City

The old Kingston waterfront
(right top) with the traditional
finger piers is no more. By 1961
work had begun on the shoreline
to the west of the city centre to
replace the obsolete facilities and
a massive dredging operation
started to create the new industrial
port complex known as Newport
West. This freed the downtown
Kingston waterfront for a massive
facelift (below). The Kingston
Redevelopment Company was
established in 1967 to revitalize
the immediate environs of the
harbour. Out of it was born the
Urban Development Corporation
by a special Act of Parliament in
1968 a "developer in the public
interest". The UDC acquired land,
cleared derelict buildings and
constructed access roads linking
the waterfront area with the
eastern end of the city. But
beyond the new waterfront of
modern office building, a shop-
ping mall, hotel, a landscaped
parkway and two cruise ship piers,
the very heart of the old city
remains. The pattern of a well-laid
out parallelogram of gridiron
streets and lanes (mid centre of
both photographs) is the original
section of Kingston, founded in
1692 as a new town for survivors
of the Port Royal earthquake. The
dark rectangle in the centre is
St. William Grant Park, formerly
Victoria Park and even before that
in the original plan of the city,
the Parade.


From Racecourse to New Kingston the way for the commercial
development of New Kingston
(above). The move uptown is part
of a post- independence

trend, reflecting in part the visible
decay of the old city. New
Kingston, offering the advantages
of central location, parking
facilities and modern, high-rise

office accommodation, continues
to attract quality businesses,
hotels, restaurants and services.
Twin drive-in cinemas are the
latest developments.
latest developments.

--.--------.~b.lWL1Plt~LE~e-LiFflfPl~b ~.... ~ ;;~

Battling to Meet
Housing Needs

The 1971 National Physical Plan
for Jamaica estimated housing
requirements for the years
1970 75 to be 58,000. Of this,
only 36, 137 were built between
1971 and 1976. Based on
population statistics, it is estimated
that by 1983, 68,850 new houses
will be required to eradicate the
backlog, replace obsolete units,
and provide new housing
accommodation. By 1998, 179,094
new houses are needed. But there
has been a meteoric rise in
construction costs since 1978:
materials costs by 175 per cent
and labour by 163 per cent. In
concrete terms, a modest three
bedroom house in the Garvey-
meade scheme which was costed
at $18,000 in 1976, would cost
over $40,000 to build today. With
nearly 75 percent of the population
earning less than $2,000 per year,
the highest demand will be for low
income housing, traditionally the
preserve of government. The
government established the
National Housing Trust in 1975 to
meet 20 per cent of housing needs.
The Trust is a 'housing bank',
financed by contributions from
employees and employers, and
offers housing grants of varying
grades to beneficiaries randomly
selected by computer. In other
areas, the Housing Trust provides
the financing for private developers
to construct housing units. Over
90 such schemes have been
developed since the Housing
Trust's inception. A 'Build On
Own Land' scheme is the latest
effort of the Trust.

Self Help is Key
Self Help is one means by which low-income
earners can now own a home. Government
assistance to low-income earners (below
$2000 per annum) includes the Sites and
Services concept. Owners provided with a
'serviced lot' (left) which has a common

wall, kitchen and bathroom, complete the
units themselves (below) over a period of time.
This concept has been developed into
successful communities in Nannyville and
Hunts Bay in Kingston and in Spanish Town.
To date, over 90 per cent of home owners
have managed to complete their units within
a year.

-4 *Lb~

lv a

S". ., p ,-"-'-

_ -.. -- , -.
-.a ,j-~

Townhouses Today
- And Yesterday

Yesterday's townhouse (right) was the epitome
of gracious living as these mid-19th century
residences of wealthy merchants on Church
Street, Kingston attest. Today the townhouse
(a trend imported into Jamaica in the late
sixties) is a response to land and population
pressures and the cost of building and
maintaining single family units. The
development (left) in Kingston is one
variation on the theme.



z .

I 1

Multi-family Units

Another post-1960 housing development in
Jamaica is the high-rise multi-family dwelling.
This unit in Kingston was financed by the
National Housing Trust for middle income

From Eyesore to
Planned Community

Back o' Wall, Kingston, as it was in 1960
(above, central area of photograph) a hap-
hazard agglomeration of shacks and houses,
the epitome of the urban slum. In its place
today is Tivoli Gardens (right), an orderly
community with schools, a sports centre,
small businesses and high-rise apartments.
Population densities at sixty persons to the
acre are still among the highest in Kingston.

Ocho Rios -
A Town Transformed

The Cinderella-like transformation
of Ocho Rios from a pretty little
fishing village and low-keyed
tourist resort to high-powered
playground was part of a
government strategy to create new
urban centres in rural areas. Ocho
Rios was selected as the first town
for planned expansion and
upgrading. The Urban
Development Corporation
reclaimed 40 acres of new land
along the waterfront on
which are now situated high-rise
hotels (below, in foreground) and
condominium apartments (four,
towers, centre). The rest of the
town's development has included
commercial shopping complexes,
new roads, schools, a health
centre, and low income housing
near the hotel area for occupancy

by hotel workers. The development
is expected to generate an urban
growth rate that will triple the
population of the town (now
8,000) by 1985.

An Echo in the Bone: Students of the Jamaica School of Drama in rehearsal for a
recent production of the Dennis Scott play. Earl Warner directed.

nuiia Rannett in Tha Manrr Wiu,.e nf Winrlnr

Reggie Carter and She

Twenty Years

of Theatre

By Barbara Gloudon

To accept the invitation to look

back over two decades of theatre
activity in Jamaica is to risk incen-
sing some one or other for omission of
some favourite personality or
production. Before the curtain even
rises, therefore, let us plead forgiveness
... and now proceed to recall.
The time under review has been a
time of gains and losses; in the latter
area, regrettably, it has meant the
passing from the scene of some of the
most vital contributors to our world of
theatre. We recall personalities like
Doris Duperly, founder-organizer of the
Secondary Schools Drama Festival and
tireless secretary of the Little Theatre
Movement for many years; Karl
Dalhouse, the LTM treasurer, who died
young and suddenly in a road accident.
Both members of the Bim and Bam
comedy team Ed 'Bim' Lewis and
Aston 'Bam' Wynter left us too, as did
Anthony Phinn, founder of the
Caribbean Thespians, one of the great.
small theatre groups of the years past.
We recall particularly two of the
real giants of our stage world who are no
longer with us Greta Fowler and
Ranny Williams. Greta, co-founder and
leading spirit of the LTM and the
national pantomime, muse of the Little
iia Hill in The Fnur Theatre, died in Paris in November 1978.


Greta Fowler
It is a tribute to the sound foundation
which she and her partner Henry Fowler
laid for the pantomime that even while
her successors mourned, the curtain came
up on Boxing Day as usual on that sea-
son's show, Johnny Reggae .. just as
Greta would have had it.
Her memory is kept alive in many
ways, most of all by the Greta Fowler
Memorial Fund which has pledged it-
self to annual support of the arts, in
particular the Jamaica School of Drama
which had its origins in the LTM Theatre
School which Greta also founded, in
The year 1980 was the year Jamaica
lost its favourite comedian 'Marse
Ran'. He had played his last pantomime
the previous year, despite the loss of a
leg. When the pantomime The Hon.
AII-Purpuss and the Dancing Princesses
closed, Ranny went on to Canada with a
touring theatre team. He died there, of a
heart attack, while preparing to go on
In the true tradition of the theatre,
even as we mourned the show went on,
with younger performers stepping in to

fill the ranks, if not always adequately,
at least with the vigour and determin-
ation of youth.
The Sixties

What was on in theatre in 1962, the
year Jamaica achieved independence?
One of the highlights of the celebration
programme was Wycliffe Bennett's pro-
duction of T.S. Eliot's Murder in the
Cathedral. It was staged in Scots Kirk
with Rooney Chambers in the role of
Beckett and students of St. Hugh's High
School distinguishing themselves in
choral speaking as the Women of Canter-
Incidentally, the clergy and con-
gregation of Scots Kirk deserve a special
kind of commendation from the per-
forming arts fraternity for allowing
their church to be the scene of artistic
sharing on more than one occasion.It
was there in 1968 that the National
Dance Theatre Company staged its first
dance programme in a church, returning
for its 20th anniversary earlier this year.
Independence year was also when the
Record brothers Lloyd the actor-

director and Barry the playwright pre-
sented one of Barry's works, You in
Your Small Corner. It was directed by
Noel Vaz, one of the deans of our theatre
development, and the cast was, as they
say, 'a distinguished one'.
The Reckord brothers were to con-
tinue, in succeeding years, to be involved
in one production or another. Mostly,
Barry wrote out of England where he
lived, while Lloyd fought a valiant battle
to maintain a kind of repertory opera-
tion in Jamaica, taking productions
around the country, playing in all kinds
of locations. He was also instrumental
in the formation of the National Theatre
Trust which sought to create a commer-
cial matrix for the theatre which up to
then had received only spasmodic back-
ing. For one reason or another, the
National Theatre Trust did not quite
fulfil its ambitions and as far as I know,
it is now only -a memory in theatre
annals. It seemed that Lloyd toiled
alone, most of the time. He went on,
in the late seventies, to create a one-
man programme, Beyond the Blues,
which he took touring around Jamaica,
the Caribbean and North America. He
returned to England last year and is
performing and lecturing.

Looking back to 1962 again, it was
the year when the pantomime Banana
Boy, scripted by Sam Hillary, directed
and choreographed by Rex Nettleford,
played its usual season December to
March and then was brought back at
mid-year as part of the Independence
celebrations. It thus created a record
run of a total of 68 performances, a
major feat in those days of short-run
productions. By contrast, the 1981-
82 pantomime, The Pirate Princess,
completed 121 performances when the
curtain came down on it on the first
of May this year, having played straight
on from Boxing Day.
Over the 20 years under review, the
LTM national pantomime has been one
of the strong unbroken links, depend-
ably unearthing new talent each year
and providing the opportunity for
writers, choreographers, designers and
musicians to share their talents with a
national audience. The pantomime can
safely claim the title of a truly national
production by virtue of the thousands
of children and adults who come into the
city in large groups, participating through
the LTM policy of providing special
rates for schools and community groups,
thus exposing thousands of people to
theatre on a scale exceeded only by

IUllllll I I
Ranny Williams in his final pantomime appearance the Hon. All -
Purpuss and the Dancing Princesses.

Among the developments of the past
two decades has been the emergence of
Trevor Rhone, actor-director-playwright-
teacher. Rhone came home from studies
in England in 1965 and commenced
what has turned out to be one of the
most consistently successful careers in
Caribbean theatre. He recalls with wry
amusement today, however, that his de-
but was 'not all that hot'. He had be-
come involved soon after return home
in a group called Theatre 77, whose aim
was full professional theatre by 1977.
They chose for their curtain-raiser, a
double bill of two one-acters, staged at
the Old Dramatic Theatre on the UWI
Mona campus. Whether it was the dis-
tance, the lack of public transportation,
the newness of the group or what, the
production did not do as well as was
Trevor recalls that one night, for
their presentation Albee's Zoo Story
and Strindberg's The Stronger they
had a magnificent audience of three per-
sons, only one of whom had paid the
entrance fee of seven shillings and six-
pence. Today, Rhone has to his credit

some of the most successful plays, led
by what is now regarded as a classic,
Old Story Time. Others on his list of
achievements include the pantomime
Music Boy; School's Out, Smile Orange,
Sleeper, and Comic Strip as well as The
Gadget which was re-worked to develop
eventually into Old Story Time. Smile
Orange was made into a film, following
Rhone's international success with The
Harder They Come, produced by Jamai-
can cinematographer Perry Henzell and
starring Jimmy Cliff. Over the years
this film has become a college cult show
in North America, attracting hordes of
young people who apparently empathize
with the alienation of the Jamaican
ghetto hero.
The spirit of Theatre 77, with its goal
of professional theatre, did not die, de-
spite the initial beating at the box office.
The trio of Rhone, Yvonne Jones-Brew-
ster and Munair Zacca found a home at
The Barn, a converted garage on Yvonne's
family premises at Oxford Road. Audi-
ences flocked to The Barn in those latter
years of the sixties, fascinated by its
cozy size, energized by the vibrancy of

the performances onstage. The Barn be-
came a laboratory for the develop-
ment of some of Rhone's writing and
offered to many aspiring playwrights
and producers the vision of what could
be done on a small scale.
By the mid-seventies, Yvonne had re-
turned to England. Rhone was away
from the island more. The Barn began
to fade from the prominence it once
had. Other small theatres were also
offering performance space to new
playwrights. Several such under-200-seat
places sprang up. There was the Way
Out Theatre at the Jamaica Pegasus
Hotel, where Old Story Time set up
shop for almost two full years. The Mu-
tual Life building also provided small-
theatre space by the late seventies, and
another hotel, the New Kingston (form-
erly Sheraton) accommodated Stage
One often hears theatre persons talk-
ing about the 'old days' and making
comparisons with 'the days when'. So,
then, let's pause to ask, were the six-
ties brighter than the seventies? Certain-
ly the sixties, in theatre, had a special
dimension of discovery. It was as if the
new cultural awakening in the area of
drama in particular was running parallel
to the nation's awakening to political
Although we were searching for 'our
own thing', it was also a time of many
imported productions as well as some
beginnings of our own. In the trend to
producing what was current and topi-
cal on Broadway and the West End,
Norman Rae, leading arts critic of the
day and a producer of meticulous care,
led the way with offerings like The Fan-
tasticks, Royal Hunt of the Sun, A
funny thing happened on the way to
the forum and others.
Among the hometown products, the
most vivid memory is of the Eight 0'
Clock revue series, the brainchild of an
English radiologist, Dr. Jimmy Barton,
who was also very active onstage. It was
he, recalls his theatrical colleague Tony
Gambrill, who got the idea for the title
of the series, based on the fact that no
8 p.m. production ever got started be-
before 8.30 (at least). Gambrill, an
advertising executive, wrote the scripts
and Norman Rae directed.
The series played at the university's
New Arts Lecture Theatre to which au-
diences flocked to hear the Establish-
ment of the day being sent up. The series
ended in 1972, by which time the New
Arts Lecture Theatre was firmly estab-
Isihed as one of the best small theatres.

At the 100th performance of the record-breaking The Pirate Princess, the cast tool
time out to applaud their audience. Leading performers from left to right are Paul
Anderson, Faith Nelson, Oliver Samuels, Leonie Forbes, author Barbara Gloudon,
Brian Heap.

Eight O'Clock Jamaica Time: (I-r) Rooney Chambers, Claudia
Robinson, Charmaine Hemmings, Buddy Pouyatt.


Sistren Theatre Collective as inmates of the


Sistren Theatre Collective as inmates of the
almshouse in their latest production QPH
directed by Hertencer Lindsay.

Courtesy Easton Lee


0 '

Easton Lee, author, in another guise for a
performance of his The Rope and the Cross.



It is still a part of the scene, even if not
as fully utilized as in the past and is
still called the New Arts Lecture Theatre.
Gambrill took another major shot at
the revue business when he teamed with
David Ogden, an English-born musician-
film maker of great talent (now regrett-
ably deceased) and the even more multi-
talented dancer-composer-musician cho-
reographer-designer Eddy Thomas, to
produce a show called Rahtid.
After that, Gambrill contributed in-
dividual sketches to a new series of re-
vues which were the successor to Eight
0' Clock. This was the Jamaica Play-
house series, each titled with a Jamaican
exclamation word, viz., Dis, Dat, Eh and
so on. Jamaica Playhouse was spear-
headed by the husband and wife team
of Reggie Carter and Sheila Hill, each a
vibrant artist, each contributing with
distinction to Jamaican theatre for
many years. Besides the revues, Play-
house produced several popular imported
works, for instance, The Owl and the
Pussycat and The Four Poster.
The Playhouse series set another
Jamaican theatre tradition by always
opening on New Year's Eve at the Little
Theatre, where it became a kind of race
against the clock to get the curtain
down in time for the audience and play-
ers to rush to get to other revels before
midnight (more often than not, the
.match ended in a draw).
Over the past two years, Reggie and
Sheila have pioneered yet another de-
velopment in the form of Carterhill
Productions and the Classic Theatre
Company of Jamaica. The aim and ob-
jective of the latter is to present some of
the classics of theatre yesterday or to-
day. The group has introduced audiences
(outside of the French Drama Festival)
to the wit of Moli'ere, by staging such
productions as School for Wives and The
Imaginary Invalid. In all of these, audi-
ences have come to count on the con-
siderable personal talents of the Carters
who teamed with other leading and
dependable performers.
And talking of powerful characters,
no look-back over past years would be
complete without memories of Dr.
Carrol Dawes, a woman of tremendous
talent and temperament matched, it
seemed sometimes, only by the redoubt-
able Greta. It was Greta Fowler's idea
to found a theatre school under the aegis
of the LTM and this she did in 1968. It
was an evening school and was first
directed by Englishman Sam Walters.
In time the mantle of leadership passed
to Dr. Dawes who proceeded to light

up the town with her talents as a director.

Few will forget her production of
The Bacchae by the Nigerian playwright
Wole Soyinka. The action began out-
side the theatre, where headlights of
the patrons' cars illuminated the open-
ing ritual after which the cast led the
way into the theatre.
As an associate of the LTM, Dr.
Dawes directed the 1973 revival of
Oueenie's Daughter. And she directed
and produced Dennis Scott's new work
An Echo in the Bone, which made its
debut in 1974. ('Or was it '75? says the
author today. Theatre people are no-
torious for not recording history.)
In 1976 the LTM Theatre School was
handed over to the Government to be-
come the national School of Drama as
part of the Cultural Training Centre, a
division of the Institute of Jamaica.
Dennis Scott assumed the post of prin-
cipal two years later and the systematic
training of drama students on a full
time basis picked up stride. Dr. Dawes,
who did not make the transition from
the LTM School to the Cultural Centre,
had by then left for West Africa. Inci-
dentally, Scott's Echo played in the
Nigerian Festival of Arts Festac in
'76, an occasion which had been con-
ceived as a great sharing among peoples
who have a common destiny in Africa,
but what with foreign exchange diffi-
culties and one thing and another,
Jamaica's involvement was curtailed.

The Drama School today operates
as a tertiary institution within the state
educational system. There are those
who bemoan the apparent passing of
'theatre based on natural talent'. Some
are not quite sure what drama education
is all about, especially as many of the
school's student productions are in the
experimental style. However, in the
minds of its administrators there is no
ambivalence: the school is training a
cadre of drama communicators equip-
ped to transmit the timeless art of
theatre in classrooms and community,
and, more importantly, to operate with-
in the realities of developing nations.
In addition to the Jamaican students,
the Drama School also facilitates stu-
dents from other Caribbean territories.
Transistorized lighting boards might
be all the rage on Broadway, but to the
drama communicator working in a rural
Caribbean village, the real challenge is
to make a production work with basic,
even primitive, equipment. The impact
of this training is yet to be felt on a
large scale but impact there will be as

the students return to their communities,
to teach, produce and perform.
One of the valuable contributions of
the Drama School is that of exposing
students to a variety of stimuli through
the proximity of the Schools of Art,
Dance and Music. It is also helping to
record the valuable memories of some
of our theatre 'old timers', through oral
history projects. The school was able,
for instance, to record some of Ranny
Williams's memories in a series of lec-
tures which he gave not too long before
he was taken ill.
Another valuable contributor to the
students' store of knowledge is 'The
Hon. Miss Lou' Louise Bennett Cover-
ley (awarded the Order of Jamaica in
1974 for her contribution to Jamaica's
cultural history). Her career is the source
of countless student theses. At a 1981
lecture series, Miss Lou shared with stu-
dents some of her memories of the deve-
lopment of Jamaican entertainment tra-
ditions and forms, from 'pleasant Sun-
day evening' to 'tea meeting', 'con-
seert', and pantomime. Miss Lou quiet-
ly retired from the pantomime stage
some time ago, making her last appear-
ance in the 1975 production, The Witch.
The children of the eighties now discover
the considerable talents and warmth of
this great performer through the Satur-
day morning television series, 'Ring
Much has changed since Miss Lou
and the other notables of years past be-
gan their contribution to Jamaican the-
atre. The end of the seventies and the
start of the eighties not only saw the
departure of colleagues but the advent
of a kind of 'quick-stick' commercial-
ism. When Ed Wallace, a radio person-
ality, turned to producing plays in 1976,
a new trend was launched in Jamaican
theatre. Wallace took over at the New
Kingston Hotel, a small room, converted
it into a theatre christened "Stage One",
and proceeded to bring to the public a
spate of productions written by new
Jamaican playwrights, many working to
a formula of 'play it for laughs and
don't spare the sex'. This formula found
great favour with a new audience who
flocked to these productions, laughing
all the way.
Some theatre buffs claim that it was
somewhere around here that a distress-
ing trend evidenced itself in terms of
audience behaviour: some people seem-
ed to go to the theatre prepared to
laugh whether there were laughs or not.
Others feel that there was nothing new in
this as Jamaican audiences, they say,

I ne vvilcn, one or nme many pantomimes written by tne author.

On opening night of his final pantomime, the Hon. AII-Purpuss and the
Dancing Princesses, Ranny Williams holds centre stage.

The end of Summer Shakespeare: The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Veteran Ranny Williams is at centre.

have always tended to laugh in the
wrong places. Wycliffe Bennett, one of
our tireless directors the epic TV
production of Macbeth; the memorable
staging of Goldoni's Servant of Two
Masters; the masterminding of the
logistics of Carifesta 1976, now engaged
in research for a book on theatre says
that "we've always laughed when we're
confronted with emotions with which
we cannot deal". Hence the laughs for
the new wave of plays in the seven-
ties which dealt with ghetto grief,
homosexuality, marital infidelity, unre-
quited love, unplanned pregnancy and a
whole range of other human devas-
tations. Wallace's success with this for-
mula led to the emergence of a spate
of other new writers and producers.
One memorable group came out of
those years of the late seventies -
Sistren. Twelve women who were origin-
ally part of the street-sweeping Impact
Worker Programme (a governemnt relief
work programme). Twelve women whose
talent for self-expression, for drama-
tization of the realities of their inner
city environment, came alive under the
sensitive direction of such persons as
Honor Ford Smith and Hertencer Lind-
say, both on the staff of the Drama
Founded in 1977, Sistren have in a
short time and against incredible odds,
created a special kind of Jamaican thea-
tre history. Their repertoire is drawn
from the very depths of their personal
experiences. Their first work Belly-
woman Bangarang (1978) was the all-too-
familiar story of a pregnancy without the
idyllic mother image. The work emerged
from the collective experience of mem-
bers of the group. The play won for
them an OAS award in 1979. The next
year the group produced Nana Yah
followed in 1981 by OPH, their intense-
ly moving dramatization of what might
have been, with three women who typi-
fied the victims of the 1980 Eventide
Home fire .
The group's fame has spread abroad:
to date, they have performed in other
Caribbean islands, principally at Cari-
festa in Barbados in 1981, and more
recently in Grenada and St. Vincent.
They have toured Toronto and Ottawa
sharing their art with other women's
groups and trying out a new production
- Domestick which, in their usual style,
is evolving from collective efforts.
How Sistren will fare through the
eighties should be interesting to see. The
12 members are not uptown ladies with
a penchant for part-time theatre. Their
existence is often precarious. But they

have been surviving to date.
As the time and tides shift and
change on the Jamaican stage, the
progress of theatre faces many challen-
ges. Principally, there is the escalating
cost of productions. This has resulted in
few of the large, lavishly mounted
costume dramas of the past. With the
departure of Paul Methuen in the late
seventies (he returned to live in Eng-
land) the LTM Summer Shakespeare
series came to an end. Shakespeare is
still kept alive, however, through the
efforts of the Drama School which, for
the past three or four years, has staged
an annual production of the set book
from each year's GCE syllabus. These
productions are in the style I have
chosen to call 'Drama School con-
temporary', that is, unconventional and
economical design and costuming, a
style influenced by budgetary con-
straints. The school receives an annual
grant from the Greta Fowler Memorial
Fund for this project.
The tenth anniversary Summer Shake-
speare season in 1973 presented The
Merry Wives of Windsor starring both
Louise Bennett and Ranny Williams.
Although it is years now since that
production, they say the moon flowers
which Methuen planted in the Hope
Road Garden Theatre for a Summer
Shakespeare setting still bloom on.
To offset the high cost of pro-
ductions, some groups have been fortun-
ate enough to secure commercial spon-
sorship, but this does not solve entirely
the economic difficulty which many
producers face. To get the most from re-
turns, producers must also keep shows
on the boards for longer periods than in
the past when a run of two weeks was
considered quite an achievement. By
contrast, there are current plays which
have been around for a year or more,
shuttling back and forth across the is-
land to tap audiences outside of King-
ston. Among the new producers who
'hang in there' with this repertory con-
cept is Louis Marriott who, to date, has
produced mainly his own writings (Play-
boy, Pack of Jokers, etc).

What have been some of the high-
lights, from a very personal perspective,
of the times one has been seeking to re-
call? With eyes closed one sees an image
of John Jones's unforgettable perform-
ance in Slow Dance on the Killing
Ground. Ranny Williams evoking laugh-
ter with that famous 'funny man shuffle'
despite the loss of his leg, in his very last
pantomime appearance. Wycliffe Ben-
nett's stentorian commands to a cast of

thousands as they filled the stage of the
National Arena with colour at Carifesta
in '76. The poignancy of Beth Hyde's
performance in The Fantasticks. The
roars of love and laughter which reached
out across the Ward Theatre when Louise
Bennett came onstage. The brilliant de-
signs of Richard and Sally Montgomery,
two of the finest stage designers of
many a year, only exceeded by the dazzle
of Guyanese-born Henry Muttoo whose
presence in Jamaica, through the Drama
School, has added immeasurably to the
sweep and colour of recent pantomimes.
I see in my mind Father Richard Ho-
Lung's Ruby, an attempt at a religious
message superimposed on pop drama -
(did it work?). And Reggie Carter's
superbly crafted characterizations of
classic characters like the crusty old
'men in Moliere. Charles Hyatt as Pa
Ben in Old Story Time and Leonie
Forbes superb in everything. Maurice
Harty coming home for a brief while to
stage Deathtrap.
Tensions, creative and otherwise, in
events like the siege of the UWI Creative
Arts Centre and the long hours of nego-
tiation to restore 'students rights', only
to see this followed by subsequent years
of numbing inactivity. Children's thea-
tre, in Bob Kerr's pantomimes. The
work of Bobby Ghisays as the director
with the greatest empathy for unearth-
ing comedy. Jackie Guy's use of Jamai-
can folk dance forms (contemporary
and traditional) for pantomimes. Peter
Ashbourne's sensitive scores enlivening
musicals ...
Easton Lee's The Rope and the Cross
becoming Jamaica's perennial Passion
Play, touring the island, evoking tears
and love since 1979 . Rooney Cham-
bers in the Christ role. Derek Walcott's
Trinidad Theatre Workshop creating
new excitement on their visits in the
Looking back . on the role of the
Schools Drama Festival and the outlet
it provided for young talent . Festival
Drama, a mixed bag like the criti-
cism of the critics, as spotty as the cur-
ate's egg. Some say that it is in this area
that the arts in Jamaica have lagged the
Twenty years . .not everything re-
corded. But who could claim to capture
all of the vibrancy of this period which
was, for so many, a turning point?



Cultural Identity

By Verena Reckord
eggae is Jamaica's greatest cultural
export; the main force which
identifies this country internation-
ally. Ever since the advent of the ska in
the late 1950s and with the coming of
Independence in 1962, Jamaican popular
music has experienced a phenomenal
growth and evolution that has taken it
from being a response to purely paro-
chial needs to more sophisticated com-
mercial international acceptance. Among
the musical ambassadors responsible for
transmitting the music abroad are:
Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Toots
and the Maytals, the Sonny Bradshaw
Seven, Count Ossie and the Mystic
Revelations of Rastafari, Bob Marley
and the Wailers, Third World, Peter
Tosh, Dennis Brown, Jimmy Cliff, Des-
mond Dekker, the Mighty Diamonds,
Zap Pow, Burning Spear, Ras Michael
and the Sons of Negus, Culture, Alton
Ellis, Papa Michigan and General Smiley,
Roy Sibles, Black Uhuru, The Revolu-
z tionaries, Lloyd Parkes and We The
People Band, to name just a few (not in
chronological order).
As music becomes more commercial,
more accepted and performed by people
of varying tastes and cultures, the ten-
dency is to ignore the roots of its origin
and its deeper meaning and function.
This article attempts, however informal-
ly, to trace the development of Jamaican
popular and rasta music in an effort to
show what functions these play in a
people's search for identity.

Count Ossie (Oswald Williams) working over
time with a set of Akete drums made to his
specifications "gave Rasta a music".

Courtesy JFM

t 4I

Ernie Ranglin

"he I-Threes (L-R Rita Marley, Marcia
3riffiths, Judy Mowatt).

African Roots

Jamaican music is music of the major-
ity, who are predominantly of African
descent. The history of the music goes
back over 400 years to the earliest days
of slavery. Very little is known (chron-
icled) of African music brought to
Jamaica. What can be appreciated, by
the evidence in African retentions, is
that the slaves under severely repressive
conditions preserved what they could of
African culture, including music and
dance, capsulated in extracts from larger
ritual forms of their homelands. They
were rituals rich in the spiritual vitality
and emotionalism that characterized the
expressions of the intensely religious
Today, existing African-influenced
traditional and folk forms include
kumina, burru, etu, gombay, pocomania,
revival, jonkunnu, maroon and rasta
music. All these musical forms have
dance movements. In these the drum is
the primary instrument which provides
a rich 'polyridimic'1 base for voice
instruments. The importance of the
polyridimic structure is reflected in all
idioms of Jamaican popular music
which has gone through several clearly
defined stages of development: mento;
blue beat; ska; rudie;rock steady; reggae.
It is a music created by the majority
who cling steadfastly to their basic
African roots because therein lies their

In Jamaica's folk and traditional
music the drum plays an important role.
In kumina, for instance, special care is
taken of the drums (kbandu and playing
cast) which function in rituals as the
media for messages from the spirit
world and vice versa. The drum in Afri-
can culture is recognized as an instru-
ment of communication. For Africans,
the drum talks. For Jamaicans, the
'ridim' talks. In Rastafarian ceremonies,
in which music is an integral part, there
can be no spiritual peaking2 as it were,
unless the ridim is right. Sometimes
virtuosos or group leaders, as in the
kumina situation, may be heard chiding
drummers for not getting the right ridim
to suit the needs of the moment.
In reggae the quality of the poly-
ridimic structure of the music is ex-
tremely important to the meaning of
the number to artistes and aficionados
alike. You will hear people saying that
such and such a ridim 'macca' or
gummy' or 'crabbit', meaning that the
percussive intent of the music has touch-
ed the vulnerable emotional centre of

Sonny Bradshaw

the listener, causing him to respond
favourably to the music.
The European slave master's instinc-
tive efforts to civilize (deculturize) the
slaves and to preserve his own links with
'home', introduced to the slaves Euro-
western religious and secular music,

... Before 1957 Rasta Music was under
wraps confined to camps at Wareika,
Dungle, etc. Count Ossie was the
pioneer in bringing the Rasta Music into
the open . (Interview With Cedric
Brooks Jamaica Journal Vol. 11 Nos.
1 and 2).

among other things. These were assimi-
lated by the blacks who in their sub-
culture activities fused what appealed to
them of white cultural practice with
those retained from Africa. This fusion
is evident in Jamaican religions like re-
vival, pocomania, and even kumina.
'Borrowed' elements of music can also
be seen, for instance, in the behaviour
of things like harmony and melody in
Jamaican music today.
African traditional music is usually
based on a five note scale which gives
a certain minor tonality to their melo-
dies. Many traditional Jamaican songs
are in minor sounding keys. And a lot
of reggae artists seem to have a natural

feel for the minor in their compositions,
which can be quite off-putting to the
ear conditioned to the 'sweetness' of
Euro-Western harmonic and melodic
design. It is true that, as is frequently
claimed, many popular Jamaican artistes
are untrained musicians whose crude
musical offerings are an insult to the
sophisticated ear. Many critics are quick
to make this blanket statement about
most reggae artistes. What should be
taken into consideration when the criti-
cisms are being made, is the fact that
many listeners and practitioners of
Jamaican pop music, especially in the
area of 'dub'3 music, do not refer to
works as music or song but as 'sound'.
People will say that this or that artiste
has released 'a great sound'; not a song
but a sound, which does not necessari-
ly have anything to do with pleasing
melodic flow and so on.
Some of the late Bob Marley's critics
contended that Marley could not sing,
that his songs were not melodious and
that he spoke rather than sang. This is
not totally true as an examination of
Marley's works will show. His express-
ions depended on the message of the
particular song. What is true is that
many of Marley's songs were written in
minor keys which may not be the first
thing expected from a star on the inter-
national stage.
Another basic link with Africa which
is evident in Jamaican folk songs and
which emerged in the popular music is
the call and response singing style which
has its parallels in the wider musical ex-
pressions of the black diaspora.

With improved communications in
the 20th century, musical influences of
the Americas and the Caribbean terri-
tories came to colour Jamaican music,
mainly in terms of instrumentation and

From Mento to Ska

Mento is officially considered the first
stage in the development of Jamaican
popular music even though, according
to our social historians,4 it emerged in
the 19th century as a figure in the popu-
lar quadrille dance of the time. Outside
of the quadrille set of dances, mento is
a song and dance form which was the
metier of troubadours of the early days
who carried news, gossip, social com-
mentary, in lively songs and dances,
playing on their mostly home-made
drums, bamboo fifes and fiddles. It was
then a music of the majority and expres-
sed the people's views and their philo-

sophy of life, not unlike the social role
that reggae plays today. (The religious
content so heavy in reggae was missing
in mento, probably because there were
also so many risque'songs in mento with
its pelvic-centred dance movement.)
Early exponents of mento (from the
1930s onwards) included people like
Slim and Sam, Lord Flea, Lord Fly,
Sugar Belly, Count Lasher, doing in
their time songs like 'The Naughty Flea',
'Rukumbine', 'Wheel and Tun Me',
'Solja Man', 'Linstead Market', 'Solas
Market', 'Run Mongoose', 'Yuh No
Yerri'. As far as the mento expression
was concerned, the response to African
roots was total. There was the simple
phraseology; the verses based on two
main statements repeated; the call and
response styling; the emphasis on poly-
ridimic patterns; the pelvic-centred
movement with complementary head,
shoulder and arm movements coming
out of other traditional forms like
Mento suffered rises and falls in popu-
larity during the history of Jamaican
popular music. One dormant period was
the first two decades of the century
when there was mass emigration of
Jamaicans to Latin America, Cuba and
the United States. The return of large
numbers of emigres in the post world
war I period contributed to external in-
fluences on indigenous music. The
returning emigrants themselves brought
back the songs and musical influences of
the era; at the same time, modern deve-
lopments such as the availability of
phonograph records were also dif-
fusing new forms of expression.
This period coincided with the
development of black American music,
particularly ragtime and swing. Jamaican
musicians, by listening to records and
imported sheet music, took their cues
from the popular black musicians of
America (especially the sounds of Basie,
Ellington) and others the Dorsey
Brothers, Glen Miller, etc. They adapted
the arrangements to suit the available
instrumentation in Jamaica. The big
band was the rage. Popular bandleaders
included Eric Deans, Redver Cook, Ivy
Graydon, Roy Coburne, Roy White,
Milton McPherson and Carlisle Demetrius
and his Alpha Boys Band. These bands
were usually Kingston-based and played
mainly for the rich and middle class. At
the grassroots level, it was still a mento
scene but, as has always been the case,
several individuals from the big band
aggregations would do occasional 'gigs'
with the mento players in the less afflu-
ent areas of Kingston.

Byron Lee

In the late forties to early fifties,
the music scene in Kingston began to
change. The big bands were breaking up
with individuals seeking 'greener bread'
abroad or in the developing tourist
mecca on Jamaica's northcoast. This
meant the absence of most of the music-

Singers and musicians absorbed the
nuances of West Kingston and the first
records were later cut at Federal Records.
The radio stations, which were then
nowhere as innovative as the sound
systems man in the making of popular
music, nevertheless followed and
popularised tunes like 'Jamaica Ska'.
Once uptown could participate in
downtown culture the music became a
social leveller... (Dermott Hussey -
liner notes Jamaica's Golden Hits,
Byron Lee The Dragonaires and
Friends. LP)

ians who jammed at ghetto sessions.
Grassroots impresarios like 'Duke'
Reid and Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd were
at the same time emerging with their
'sound system' music (now called disco)
to fill the musical needs of the major-
ity. It was Black American music that
the people responded to most. Black
Soul, an Afro-American mix, threw up
stars like Fats Domino, La Verne Baker,

Louis Jordan, Nat Cole, Lloyd Price,
the Drifters, the Coasters, the Platters.
Friendly Society halls like Forresters
Hall on North Street, and amusement
park sites were the venues of these
usually jampacked events where the
underprivileged danced their troubles
away to the heavy thumping rhythm
and blues sounds of America.
As musical rivalry between the lead-
ing sound system operators heightened,

and as the public demand for novel
sounds became more pressing, the North
American source began to dry up. Reid
and Coxsone went into producing their
own sounds using local talent. Out of
this early effort song stylists like Keith
and Enid, Laurel Aitken, Jackie Edwards,
to name a few, became popular. Many
of the songs they did were borrowed
North American material.
But the people's demand for their
own artistes doing their own music soon
saw the emergence of the 'blue beat'
which the late great trombonist Don
Drummond has been credited with
creating. The blue beat was the Jamaican
musician's interpretation of American
rhythm and blues tunes with a mento
flavour. The combination worked, but
the taste of success quickly erased the
blue beat as Jamaicans began composing
their very own music while retaining the
shuffle in the rhythm and blues rhythms
and basic mento patterns as the domi-
nant beat. This music became known as
the ska.
Like all popular Jamaican dance
forms, the ska came with its own set
of movements; a kind. of charade to
music in which the dancers brought into
play things like domestic activity (wash-
ing clothes, bathing), recreation (horse
racing, cricket), actually anything that
appealed to the ska dancer at the
moment. Some really fancy and furious
'foot works' came out of the ska period.
In those days lyrics came hard to com-
posers and artistes would even sing nur-
sery rhymes like Eric Morris singing
'Humpty Dumpty'.

By the early sixties the record pro-
ducers were multiplying. Leading the
contingent were Coxsone, Reid, Chris
Blackwell, and Ken Khouri. One of the
first ska records to come out on Cox-
sone's label was Laurel Aitken's 'Little
Sheila'. Soon the audience began to de-
mand lyrics which reflected their own
life styles and way of life and songs
like Drummond's 'Easy Snappin', 'Wings
of a Dove', 'O Carolina' resulted.
What gave ska its big boost was Ed-
ward Seaga's cultural revival arising out

LLiTle La IICIair

L-R Rico Rodriquez, Don Drummond, Carlos Malcom, Rupy Anderson,
Tony Brown, Blue Buchanan, James Lee.

of the Independence experience of 1962.
The then Minister of Development and
Welfare in strong nationalist terms push-
ed for the development of 'things
Jamaican' in all areas of cultural ex-
pression, including international expo-
sure of the ska as popular indigenous
Mr. Seaga, who is now Prime Minister
of Jamaica, was also an early record pro-
ducer and is an authority on Jamaican
folk music. His setting up of the Jamaica
Festival as a vehicle for the annual exhi-
bition of Jamaican arts was a great boost
to the development of Jamaican popular
music as a result of the Festival Song
contest which forced participants to pay
better attention to melody, lyrics, ar-
rangement and performance. Because
the song has to be about Jamaica, the
contest also helped that much to foster
nationalism in Jamaican music. Festival
songs from 'Bam Bam' to 'Noh Weh
Noh Betta Dan Yard' (1981) can be
seen as highly nationalistic as the lyrics
and musical arrangements come directly
from and reflect Jamaican culture. How-
ever, Festival songs have a short life
span and do not reflect the general con-
cerns of Jamaican popular music.

Big Band Jazz

In the meantime, the absent big
dance bands were being gradually re-
placed by big band jazz with those
musicians who worked the recording
studios and in small combos in the night
spots around Kingston. This movement
had at the forefront people like Sonny

Bradshaw, the Gaynair saxophonists -
'Bra' and 'Bogey', 'Little G' McNair,
Billy Cook, Thaddy Mowatt, Viv Hall,
Jackie Willacy, Roland Alphonso, Rupie
Anderson, Don Drummond, Bertie King,
Ossie Seymour, to name a few. They
identified with black jazz stars like Dizzy
Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Satchmo, Miles
Davis, Ellington, Basie, Lester Young.

The objective of Third World's spiritual
expression is Black Unity, self
recognition and self pride ... We want
through the purity of our music to say
to Black people realisee that you are
one. Don't get in other cultures'
conflicts. Know your dignity, love
yourself "... Ultimately we want to
put Jamaica on the map as the music
centre of the world". (Bunny Ruggs
- Third World vocalist).

Out of the jazz voices of the day
came another conscious musician -
Carlos Malcolm, a Panamanian of
Jamaican parentage, trombonist/com-
poser/arranger. In the late fifties to early
sixties Malcolm enjoyed great popu-
larity with his Afro-Jamaican Rhythms
Orchestra which featured Latin, jazz
and Caribbean music; this identified
Malcolm and his music not only with
Jamaica but the wider black diaspora.
The feeling was strong that Jamaica could
produce our own exportable jazz.

Malcolm along with Bradshaw, Bertie
King, Lennie Hibbert and other leading
musicians formed a short-lived school of
jazz which arose out of the founders'
strong nationalist feelings. The school
went under for several reasons inclu-
ding lack of instruments and too many
students who were too poor to pay even
the small fees asked.
During that period also, newly inde-
pendent Jamaica was attracting back
home many musicians who had emi-
grated. Among those returning was
tenor saxist Tommy McCook who was
soon to lead Jamaica's all time great ska
band, the Skatalites. McCook's band in-
cluded Don Drummond who was by
then well into Rastafarian philosophy
and was steering Jamaican music, via
his trombone, in new directions. There
were also Roland Alphonso, Cluet John-
son, Lloyd Brevet, Lloyd Knibbs, Drum-
bago and others. This band made invalu-
able contributions to the development
of music in Jamaica by its prolific out-
put of good music by trained and highly
skilled artistes; by taking the music live
to the people of rural Jamaica; and by
bringing together the musical tastes of
grassroots and upper class Jamaica.
Skatalite solos and musical phrases from
works like 'Man In The Street', 'Steam-
ing', 'Schooling The Duke', 'Easy Snap-
pin', were on the lips of music lovers
across the strata. They were the nation's
Singers in the limelight at the time
included Laurel Aitken, Toots and the
Maytals, Bunny and Skitter, the Wailin

Courtesy JFM

Wilton 'Bogey' Gaynair

Wailers, Justin Hinds, Prince Buster,
Millie Small. Byron Lee and the Dragon-
aires had by then risen to fame and were
among the forerunners who took the
marketable ska to the Caribbean and
metropolitan countries. Crowded Inde-
pendence dances in the metropole were
where 'Jamaicans out there' learnt the
new music and dance steps from home
brought by the Dragonaires and others
like the Sonny Bradshaw Seven.
Meanwhile, the exotic rasta drumming
was significantly being introduced to
Jamaican pop music by the leading expo-
nent and credited originator of the form
as it is known today, the late Oswald
'Count Ossie' Williams, a rastaman. In
order to understand the importance of
rasta music in the cultural history of
popular music, we need to take a brief
look at the development of Rastafarian-
ism itself.

Rastafarian Input

In 1954 the Rastafarian stronghold
at Pinnacle, near Spanish Town, was
routed. It had been the home and com-
munal farm of men, women and children
ruled by 'Gangunguru5 or 'Gong' as he
was called by his many wives. Gong
preached the divinity of Haile Selassie,
Ras Tafari of Ethiopia, and the repatri-
ation back to Africa. The rastafarians, as
did their forefathers, always look to
Africa as 'the homeland'. They see the
black man in the diaspora as one in exile.
The displaced members of the self-
contained Pinnacle community (over
1,000 men, women and children who
enjoyed certain security on Gong's
vast ganja cultivation and through the
earnings of their cottage industries) now
found themselves joining the teeming
dispossessed in the sprawling Back o'Wall
slum of West Kingston. Up to then
Rastafarianism did not boast a music
of its own, and the early disciples like
Howell and Joseph Hibbert6 used at
their street meetings Euro-Western
church music, especially from the Bapt-
ist hymnal and 'Sankey'. At Back o'Wall
the rastas by then social outcasts be-
cause of their self-imposed exile, anti-
establishment way of life and black
nationalist beliefs met with another
group of outcasts the burru people.
The burru people were a dwindling
breed of mostly criminals who were
known for their virtuoso African drum-
ming on akete drums supported by
sansa (marimba box) and other instru-
ments dating back to the days of slave-
ry. The rastas seized on the burru music
because it presented them with some-

thing of a pure African form untouched
by western influences. The burru people
in turn empathized with their fellow
outcasts often hiding their 'wrong-
doings' behind the mask of the rasta's
dreadlocks and dress. In time the burru
people were absorbed by the larger and
ever growing rasta group with its messi-
anic zeal to overthrow the cultural des-
potism of Europe.
In the later fifties, Back o'Wall and
West Kingston in general were the melt-
ing pot of African retentions and indi-
genous Afro-European forms kumina,
burru, myal, revivalism, pocomania, and
a host of church mutations. It was there
that Count Ossie, during regular trips to
'reason' with other rasta brethren on
Garveyism, Rastafarianism, black cul-
ture, and blackman redemption, learnt
to play the burru drums. As the late
Count told it, he learnt first to play the
fundeh. Then he graduated to the re-
peater or solo instrument on which he
became a virtuoso. Ossie's teacher was a
burru man called Bro. Joe.

We chant about life about us... the
daily happenings, the positive and the
negative. In so doing we hope that those
who can will hear and do what is
necessary to change the (social) wrongs
... (Papa Michigan, Deejay).

The brethren reasoned that just as
Europe had gone to great lengths to
develop and preserve its cultural iden-
tity, so too should the black man, wheth-
er in Africa or in exile, seek to preserve
his African identity. Since a dominant
feature of African culture is music and
the chief instrument of communication
is the drum, Ossie decided he was on the
right track to developing a significant
black music that suited the Rastafarian
expression. He ordered a set of akete
drums made to his specifications and
soon worked out drumming stylings
based on the burru patterns. In time he
gave rasta a music. It is a music of pro-
test, one which expresses Rastafarian
hopes and aspirations, a music which in-
doctrinates those interested in the philo-
sophy of Rastafarianism.

Soon after this, rasta music became a
primary feature, a grounding force, at
the mushrooming campsites of West
Kingston and in the hills around the city.
The demolition of Back o'Wall a few
years later meant even greater dispersal

of the Rastafarian brethren with their
pulsating music and their message of
black awareness.
Chief among the campsites was
Count Ossie's camps, first at Adastra
Road and later at the present premises,
on Glasspole Avenue in East Kingston,
where the MRR Community Centre
built by Ossie now stands. Besides law-
yers, doctors and 'Indian chiefs', Ossie's
camps attracted the cream of Jamaican
jazz and pop musicians including the
Gaynairs, Tommy McCook, Viv Hall,
Don Drummond, Ernest Ranglin, even
musicians from abroad. It was during
these sessions of reasoning and musical
coming together that the compatibility
of rasta drumming and voice instruments,
and the creative excitement in the inter-
change, were realized. It is said that it
was out of this experience that the trom-
bone of the great Don D (Drummond)
took wings.
The experience also saw Ossie and his
drummers as popular features at ghetto
sound system dances, Coney Island and
amusement park scenes. The general
pattern was that come midnight, the
blaring recorded music would come to a
halt as Ossie and his drummers took the
stage. Then the patrons, working class
Jamaica, would 'grounds' with the
group until the wee hours of the morn-
Even if they did not all believe in the
Rastafarian philosophy, they identified
with the rasta's symbolic beating down
of 'Babylon' (social oppressors) with
their militant chants, nyabingi9 dancing
and drumming which were at once enter-
taining and assuring. (Although the func-
tion and focus of nyabingi are greatly
altered today, the dance movement was
a significant part of reggae king Bob
Marley's movement on stage, which was
often seen by the uninformed as pran-
cing about).

Ossie's music in the ghettos became
the people's choice. Even those who did
not 'see rasta'10 or wished to go back to
Africa found that they could forget
their troubles and dance.

In time, Ossie became a performer on
regular stages and in the recording stu-
dios. His drummers backing the Ffolkes
Brothers resulted in the ska classic 'O
Carolina'. Rasta music had made its
mark on the popular recording scene
and ever since the ridims have been used
by local pop musicians to create on. The
music also gave to its ever growing audi-
ence rasta chants which became popular
dance numbers, chants like 'Wings of A



Le ad a Am a

~e~ .~-~-

rr -

Dove', 'Holy Mount Zion', 'Rivers of
A significant boost to the popularity
of rasta music in the early sixties was
the phenomenal migration of the young
from multifocal Jamaican middle class
towards the simple peace and love and
black consciousness philosophy of Rasta-
farianism. It was a social phenomenon
that the National Dance Theatre Com-
pany's Rex Nettleford saw fit to chron-
icle in the company's repertoire as Two
Drums for Babylon in 1964. While rasta
roots were taking hold of the popular
music expression, other indigenous influ-
ences had also been showing up in the
music of pop stars like Toots and the
Maytals, Wailin Wailers (including Mar-
ley, Tosh and Livingstone). Toots Hib-
bert's music on the whole, including his
well known 'Bam Bam' Festival-winning
song, has the strong ridimic value and
performance quality of revivalism and
the call and response influence of African
traditions. Jimmy Cliff's early hits show

... He [Marley] was a prophet, preacher,
philosopher. He was a poet who created
in the reggae idiom and wisely so,
because he understood the power of the
people's music, he knew the people's
language and realized that a marriage of
both, as the medium of his message of
love unity and freedom of the Black and
oppressed, was the most powerful
weapon fashionable in this time ...
(Ibo Ananse Jamaica Pictorial
Vol. 2 No. 6)

the gospel-poco-blues mix, so do works
of people like the Heptones, Desmond
Dekker, Justin Hinds. When Eric Donald-
son came to sing his 1969 70 Festival
Song winner 'Cherry O Baby', he brought
a raw rural sound to the urban majority
who immediately embraced it (which is
understandable since most of the city's
working class and then some, are mi-
grants from rural areas).

Rock Steady to Reggae

There are no exact dates for the
beginnings and endings of social and cul-
tural periods, and so it is with music.
Even while rasta music seemed to have
been dormant during the rock steady
period which followed the ska era, rasta
influences were budding beneath the
surface, waiting for the spring of the
rudie period and the magnificent flores-
cence in the reggae period. In the later
sixties, the ska sound which featured

many horns on top of a basic ridim, was
hit by the dispersal, again for economic
reasons, of many horn men as well as by
the death of culture hero Don Drum-
Record producer Clement Dodd and
people like Jackie Mittoo, a leading
popular musical composer of the time,
began experimenting with the basic
ridim and what was left of voice instru-
ments. The piano and the guitar were
given more importance. The simple
repetitive two or three chord progress-
ion of ska was retained along with the
ridim patterns, the formerly walking
bass became more flexible and thewhole
thing was coloured by an overall slow,
bluesy beat as Jamaicans did the new
rock steady to the tunes of Hopeton
Lewis ('Sound and Pressure', 'Take it
Easy'), Alton Ellis ('Get Ready Rock
Steady') and others.




At first rock steady was strictly for
enjoyment as was the ska on a whole,
but the easy ridim was found suitable
for lyrics of social commentary. Soon
the artistes were coming to grips with
the stifling social conditions which per-
vaded life in the ghetto from which
most of them came. This was so especial-
ly in the short 'rudie' period which was
part of the transition from ska to rock
steady. Rudie lyrics commented on the
new criminal elements among the ghetto
youths with their nihilistic view of life
where the only goal was to live dan-
gerously and die young for lack of real
positive social goals.
Rudie songs included 'Rude Boy',
'Rudie O Rudie', 'Rudie in Court',
'Rudie Get offa Circuit Charge', 'See
IDem a Come', 'Rude Boy Train', '007',
'Trying to Conquer Me', to name a few.
Bob Marley and the Wailers, Desmond
Dekker, Roy Shirley, Derrick Morgan,

Delroy Wilson, Hopeton Lewis, Alton
Ellis, were among the stars of the period.
In the early seventies, rasta doctrine,
culture and outspoken criticism of the
establishment, its concern for black
unity, freedom of Africa and the black
and oppressed peoples of the world,
became more widely accepted by the
youth of the country and it all came out
in the popular music. The polyridimic
influences of rasta music became the
driving force of reggae. Count Ossie's
'Rasta Reggae' was the first reggae to in-
corporate fully the rasta drums in the
music. In time, the patterns of the
three rasta drums (bass, fundeh, repeat-
er) were distributed11 to the bass rhy-
thm guitar, keyboards and added per-
cussions. The reggae era is now in
full flower.
Generally speaking, reggae has three
basic components: ridim the poly-

< ..i, L k) ;,

The Mighty Diamonds

ridimic overlays in the percussive weave;
melody and voice. As in rasta music, the
ridim in a reggae piece remains constant
once it is set. But reggae tempo can be
fast or slow and the emphasis is on the
ridim instruments so that aficionados
will argue endlessly about whether a
reggae is 'roots rock reggae', 'rock
steady', 'steady rock', 'rumbling roots',
'roots reggae rockers' or a host of others.
A reggae piece can also be expressed in
several permutations commonly called
'versions': ridim minus melody; new
melody on old ridim; speaking voice
over set ridim; instrumental fills of a
piece with just touches of the original

ridim in punctuation. It goes on.
This extremely flexible music lends
itself to almost endless musical exploit-
ation. It is sought after by music makers
and lovers all over the world.
Reggae's lasting qualities parallel
those of African-influenced traditional
and folk forms in that like them, reggae
includes a great deal of emotionalism,
spiritual vitality and gnomic function.
For instance, nowhere else in the world
is the popular music a basically religious
music. Nowhere else do the people in
the popular sense dance and shake their
bodies exulting in a deity of their own
making. And nowhere else is the popu-
lar music an integral part of the people's
way of life as is reggae in Jamaica.

Added to this is the reggae artistes'
concern through their lyrics for black
awareness and unity and the freedom of
the oppressed peoples of the world. This
is understood and accepted by the reg-
gae audiences in Jamaica and abroad.
Most of the leading artistes profess to be
Rastafarians. And their empathy with
blacks and sufferers internationally
points to a certain universal identity
of the Jamaican majority. Indeed, al-
though the religious element is strong-
est, the music has also become the vehi-
cle for the transmittal of wider cultural
manifestations and for commentary on
internal and international political and
social affairs.
Going by the form, function and per-
formance of reggae, one gets the feeling
that the Jamaican majority are a people
spiritually in transit and that the heaven
they identify with has nothing at all to
do with that created by Euro-Christian-
Jamaican popular music has influen-
ced other art forms. It has given birth
to the popular 'dub poetry' with lead-
ing exponents Oku Onuora and Michael
Smith. The National Dance Theatre
Company has also seen fit to make valid
social commentary in dance, using the
music of the popular culture heroes:
Street People (music of Desmond
Dekker and other pop artistes), Tribute
to Cliff (music of Jimmy Cliff), Back-
lash (music of Toots and the Maytals),
Court of Jah (music of Bob Marley and
the Wailers), Rockstone Debate (Bob
Marley and traditional music).
Among Jamaican musicians respon-
sible for the creation of reggae music for
recreational, critical and inspirational
purposes are the late Hon. Bob Marley,
O.M.,13 Toots and the Maytals, Third
World, Ras Michael and the Sons of
Negus, Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, Pablo

Moses, U Roy, Big Youth, Culture, The
Revolutionaries, the late Jacob Miller,
Judy Mowatt, Rita Marley.
All the above reggae stars and more,
profess the faith of Rastafari. Over the
years, in their music and otherwise, they
have spoken of an intensely religious,
peace loving people, who are neverthe-
less defiant of social oppression and
Euro-western cultural despotism, and
strongly conscious of their black roots.
Even though they voice their love for
Jamaica, in a spiritually significant sense
they sing more of oneness with the
black people of the world which gives
the music a strong universal identity as

The80s going step off very effective
musically for Jah seh I call upon the
singers and players of instruments. All
my springs are in these, and when Jah
seh those words that means singers and
players of instruments ...we have to
awaken the morals of the people and
bring the people together who have
been divided for so long ... Peter Tosh
- Jamaica Pictorial January February


1. In Jamaican music 'ridim' refers to the
drum and percussion patterns and tempo.
2. Referred to by some rastas as the 'rising of
the irix'.

3. 'Dub' refers to the dubbing on of new ly-
rics, usually 'dee-jay' stylings on already
existing ridim.

4. According to the late actor, social historian
and folk hero Ranny Williams, the blacks
in Jamaica added the indigenous mento to
the set of quadrille dances to 'liven up' the
dance as well as to insert their own iden-

5. Leonard P. Howell, 1898 1981, claimed
to speak several African languages; found-
ed the Ethiopian Salvation Society in
1934; set out first basic principles of

6. Joseph Hibbert (born 1894) founded the
Ethiopian Mystic Masons, and several
Rastafarian groups after the coronation of
Haile Selassie.
7. It is customary for a student to learn to
'hold' (play) the fundeh (one of three
akete drums) before any of the others.

8. 'Get down': identify; dance, etc.
9. Nyabingi: A rasta term meaning death to
white oppressors and their black support-
10. 'See rasta': accept Haile Selassie as God.
11. Ossie felt that something of the import-
ance of Rastafarianism to Jamaican music
was lost when the ridims of the rasta
drums are simulated in other instruments.
Today, reggae groups include one or more
of the rasta drums in their ridim sections.
12. This speaks more of a spiritual identity
which is very important to the highly reli-
gious Jamaicans than to national identity
which is embraced by most artistes who
see Jamaica as God's gift to the black man.

13. Robert Nesta Marley, reggae superstar, was
given the third highest civil honour of
Jamaica (the Order of Merit) for his con-
tribution internationally to Jamaican
music and culture, before his death on 11
May 1981.

(Author index of articles on traditional and
popular music published in Jamaica Journal
1967 1981).
BRATHWAITE, Augustus, "The Cudjoe Min-
strels: A Perspective", No. 43, 1979.
BURKE, Shirley Maynier, "Interview with
Cedric Brooks", 11: 1,2, 1978.
BURNETTE, Mackie, "Pan and Caribbean
Drum Rhythms", 11: 3, 4, 1978.
CARNEGIE, James, "Jazz",4: 1,March 1970.
CLERK, Astley, "The Music and Musical In-
struments of Jamaica", 9:2, 3, 1975.
HILL, Errol, "Calypso", 5: 1, March 1970.
HOPKIN, John Barton, "Music in the Jamaican
Pentecostal Churches", No. 42, 1978.
Special Issue, 10: 1, March 1976.
LEWIN, Olive, "Cult Music", 3:2, June 1969.
- "Jamaican Folk Music", 4: 2, June
-- "The Musical Instruments of the
Arawaks", 11: 3, 4, 1978.
NKETIA, J.H. Kwabena, "African Roots of
Music in the Americas", No. 43, 1979.
---"Tradition and Innovation in African
Music", 11:3, 4, 1978.
O'GORMAN, Pamela, "Let Folk Song Live",
2: 2, June 1968.
-- ';Introduction of Jamaican Music into
the Established Churches", 9: 1, March
"An approach to the Study of Jamaican
Popular Music", 6: 4, December 1972.
RECKORD, Verena, "Rastafarian Music", 11:
SEWELL, Lileth, "Music in the Jamaican
Labour Movement", No. 43, 1979.
"Traditional African Instruments", 11: 3, 4
"Traditional Folk Musical Instruments -
Exhibition", 6: 2, 1972.
WHITE, Garth, "Master Drummer" (Count
Ossie), 11: 1,2, 1977.
See also:
RYMAN, Cheryl, "The Jamaican Heritage in
Dance", 44, 1980.

Notes on Contemporary

Dance- Theatre

in Jamaica 1930-1982

By Sheila Barnett

T he contemporary dance-theatre of Jamaica presents
acts of theatre within the framework of dance as art.
The works communicate primarily through a vocabu-
lary which has its sources in the traditional folk forms which
are rich in ritual and ecstacy; the gestures and body move-
ments of the Jamaican people; and a variety of techniques
that range from ballet to modern. The contemporary dance-
theatre is an amalgamation of influences, forms and vocabu-
lary. This synthesis has not always been reflected in our
dance-theatre as the following survey will show. Today's
manifestations of the dance idiom are the result of social and
cultural factors. As the needs and perceptions of a people
change, so do their forms of expression: the contemporary
dance-theatre of Jamaica is at the same time both local and
In examining the contemporary dance-theatre of Jamaica,
the concentration will be on three groups which justify the
arguments presented. First, the Baxter Dance Group (1950s);
second, the Eddy Thomas Dance Workshop of the 1960s, re-
constructed and renamed the Jamaica Dance Theatre in
1979; third, the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica
(NDTC). These three groups have features in common with
each other and with other dance-theatre groups throughout
the island.
The common factors are:
Jamaica-Caribbean sources
The conviction that a nation should have its own
institutions, symbols and forms of expression

Universal and national influences
The utilization of a wide and varied range of technical
skills and musical forms
Dependence upon voluntary help and as a result the
developed ability to employ and manipulate available
The use of song as an integral part of music-making
The involvement of the dancers, choreographers,
technicians and artists with the annual LTM panto-
The ability to sustain the momentum over a long
period of time
Cross-fertilization as dancers and others move from
group to group
Exposure of works internationally
Training and performing have developed concurrently.
Who are the dancers, choreographers, artists and techni-
cians who have brought to fruition the contemporary dance-
theatre of Jamaica? Most assuredly they have not been pro-
fessionals adequately remunerated for services. Rather, they
can be described as a group of citizens committed to nation-
hood and the development of the cultural expression of their
society and who had a vision of Caribbean unity.
The Baxter Dance Group the first manifestation of inte-
grated-contemporary dance-theatre in Jamaica, reflected the

national thinking begun in the 1940s and continued
through to the '60s of literate West Indians. The group
included among the founding members teachers, civil servants
and dancers who had been trained in diverse disciplines.
Among these were Avis Henriques, Alma Mock Yen, Enid
Douglas, Buddy Pouyatt. Later, the membership would in-
clude such giants as Clive Thompson, Rex Nettleford and
Eddy Thomas. Eryck Darby choreographed some works for
the group and the Rowes gave training in ballet skills. Parti-
cipants had a common aesthetic goal, despite their diversi-
fied interests. So they made the time, after a full day's work,
to pool their efforts under Ivy Baxter's leadership to satisfy
their aesthetic need and to forge a Jamaican vehicle of expres-
sion and communication.
The National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica (NDTC)
is extremely proud of the fact that its members are 'Renais-
sance types' that they include teachers, students, doctors,
accountants, secretaries, businessmen and researchers all
bound by love of the dance and supported by the sure instinct
that they are developing a product which clearly reflects,
and speaks to, the Jamaican people. For the participants, this
involvement is a means of expression that communicates
forcefully and with truth. Eddy Thomas's Jamaica Dance
Theatre reflects a similar structure the dancers work and
The dance-theatre movement has grown from an infra-
structure built by persons who were committed to volun-
tary service, and whose families and friends supported their

National Dance Theatre Company's
Kumina (below), Drumscore (far right), Two
Drums for Babylon (right, top) and Drumscore
(below right).


Colour Transparencies NDTC Maria LaYacona

efforts. The movement, amateur in status, had professional
goals. Regular seasons of dance placed the accent on perform-
ing. Performances in turn developed wider and more know-
ledgeable audiences. The dance-theatre has drawn heavily
upon elements from the folk forms such as the gestures, the
polyrhythms, the rippling back, the pelvic movements. These
elements have been combined with tested principles of move-
ment from the ballet and modern dance to produce in the
1970s a recognizable Jamaican style and content.
Dancers and choreographers have continued through
constant practice, refresher courses, dialogue, experimenta-
tion and exposure to other Caribbean and international influ-
ences to develop and improve the craft. Research retrieves a
vast body of useful material and out of the diversity, a form
and content have been moulded a kinetic symbol: Edward
Brathwaite (in his opening address at a Caribbean Dance
Conference in 1979) cites the dance Kumina performed by
the NDTC in the 1970sand presented in 1972 at the Carifesta
celebrations in Guyana, as an icon of Jamaica and the Carib-
bean region.

Themes and Music

Ivy Baxter is a woman of her time. Educated and creative,
she looked at Jamaican resources with new eyes. Edna
Manley and Albert Huie brought their vision of Jamaican
national consciousness to the arts, Norman Manley and
Alexander Bustamante to politics, George Campbell -to
poetry, Baxter to the dance. She had been prepared by her
training with Hazel Johnston, Innis Williams, her activities at
the YWCA, her years at McGill University and her exposure
to Laban and Leeder in England. Beryl McBurnie and the

Little Carib Group of Trinidad were inspirations. Later, she
would visit other Caribbean territories and, in her job with
the Jamaica Social Welfare Commission, rural areas of Jamaica
where she absorbed movement and dance at source.
The themes of the dance works of the Baxter group re-
flected the national and regional perspectives of the period;
the vocabulary her many-faceted training. She had the gift
of manipulating mime and gesture within the limited stage-
space with effective precision and powerful economy. She
brought to the dance flexibility of the torso (Cane Cutters
dance and others) and respectability to bare feet. (Later,
Nettleford would make the pelvis a force and continue fight-
ing for the acceptance of bare feet as aesthetic tools). Baxter
used poetry as accompaniment, selected music from the
classics and traditional music of the Caribbean, and in her
usage of Jamaican folk music continued the work of the
Cudjoe Minstrels (1935 50) [Jamaica Journal No. 43] and
the Frats Quintet (1950 1969) in a new milieu. There
were works like Castillian and short works which reflected
several Caribbean folk styles and stressed the body accents,
rhythms and body language which are peculiar to Jamaica
and the Caribbean. 'Martinique' 'Santa Foulle' (choreographed
by Eryck Darby), Cane Cutters, 'Danse Juba' (choreographed
by Lavinia Williams) come to mind. She choreographed for
her own group and for the pantomime. Most of the music
was arranged by Mapletoft Poulle and played by his musi-
cians. He had a definite talent for mento music and made it a
tour de force. But Baxter also used classical music Ravel
and Beethoven for example as in 'Creation' with music from
Beethoven's Seventh. There was also 'Manuel Road' and
other Jamaican work songs, and the village scene with the

accompanying Jamaican folk songs and music. The turning
point was Rat Passage a ballet which evoked a gut response
through familiar characters, the banana loaders and the tally
men. The dancers' bodies shaped recognizable local symbols,
the theme made a social statement. The music was composed
for the dance by Eddy Thomas.
The Jamaican fondness for imagery (rich and poignant
in the dialect) was captured in the work Jamaica Arise ac-
companied by the poem 'Jamaica' by M.G. Smith. Quiet
Village, an African scenario, was performed to the music of
Les Baxter. The dance spoke eloquently to Jamaicans in a
language they could understand, and touched a sympathetic
chord in other West Indians. But even as it made a West
Indian or Jamaican commentary, it simultaneously made
comments on universal themes as in 'Birth' and 'Creation'.
Eddy Thomas Jamaica Dance Theatre was train-
ed in Jamaica by Ivy Baxter and in the U.S.A. at the Martha
Graham School of Dance and Connecticut College. His works
reflect his varied exposure and range from Jamaican-Caribbean
folk forms (Jamaica Promenade 1966, music by Thomas,
traditional and original) through jazz (Footnotes in Jazz -
1962, music by Brubeck and Bernstein) to modern dance
forms (Return to Eden 1979) and dances making social
comment or using biblical themes (Games of Arms 1963;
music by Oswald Russell). Thomas's style is clean and precise;
his choruses a well defined collage. Earlier works (Lovers'
Leap-1962, music by Oswald Russell, and White Witch-
1968), show strong Graham influence in style and form).
Games of Arms, is a modern dance work laced with dry
humour, the storyline a commentary on the armaments race
made through children's games. Omegan Procession 1966,
with music by David Milhaud, a French composer, constituted
a link between the biblical story of Adam and Eve and the
concern of contemporary dance-theatre with matters social
and political. The matter in this case: birth control.
Thomas presents essentials of Jamaica-Caribbean folk
rather than neo-traditional expressions of the folk. His flair is
for spectacle and visual impact an awareness of line and
colours. Often he juxtaposes the seemingly discordant with
great effect. Thomas, like others in dance-theatre before him,
has made his contribution of dancers and choreography to
the LTM Pantomime (Hail Columbus-1972, Moonshine
Anancy 1976). His choreography includes numerous jazz
pieces which he has infused with the Jamaican characteristic
of understatement. He has manipulated the North American
influences to satisfy the needs of Jamaican audiences.
Thomas is dancer, artist, choreographer and musician
and uses all these talents for dance-theatre.
The National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica is
the strongest of the dance-theatre components. Works make
forceful social comments, comment which has proven to be
prophetic as in Two Drums for Babylon 1964 (choreo-
graphed by Rex Nettleford) the story of a middle class
couple attracted to Rastafari, which was reworked to a new
score by Peter Ashbourne in 1980. This Company is part of
the continuum of Jamaican dance-theatre. Annual seasons
and tours 1962 to 1979 have developed and refined the
calibre of performances and tested and reinforced a strong
technical base and style (evidenced in Elements 1978).
The NDTC through co-founders Nettleford and Thomas
who were both members of the Baxter Group, continued the
links with the first contemporary dance-theatre manifestation
(Thomas left the NDTC in 1967). The Company was strongly
influenced by Independence and the post-independence

opinions and by the Black Power concept of the '60s: self-
determination and self-examination were pivotal to action.
Consequently, the emphasis was placed on content within
the dance. Dance-theatre reproduced the realities of the
Jamaican and international situations either by preplay or re-
call; very little has been done in the area of fantasy. Works
such as Homage 1963, Rex Nettleford) although not
specifically Jamaican in style or theme, have incorporated
black elements from Africa and from the diaspora and there-
fore have appealed to Jamaican as well as international
The works of the NDTC have in the main continued the
first patterns established in programme content. Foundation
members represented the best of Jamaica and came to the
Company from Baxter, Soohih, the Rowes, Gordon-Rumsey
and later, Mock Yen and the Jayteens directed by Joyce
Campbell of the NDTC. The transition would be gradual.
Caribbean forms which were initially expressed in such
dances as 'Gee Bongo Lay' 'Santa Foulle', and 'Bandana
Dance' parts of West Indian Suite, would be represented
in 1979 by the sophisticated Drumscore. The movement was
from joy in local source to historical (Plantation Revelry -
1963), socio-political (The 'King' Must Die 1968) to semi-
abstractions. The focus was on dance as serious commentary.
The emphasis in the use of music and the style of the Com-
pany would change, but many things remained the same -
variety and integration; a base in modern dance and folk;
local and international themes; the love of dance-drama.
There was a swing from general Caribbean folk sources to
African and Jamaican sources until Drumscore-1979, Back
to Bach-1979 and Crossing-1978, swung the pendulum
back but not quite for form and technical proficiency
as well as perspectives, have developed and changed. The
works have met with success both in Jamaica and abroad.
The Music
The survey of the body of works choreographed by the
three groups Baxter, Jamaica Dance Theatre and the
National Dance Theatre Company shows that the musical
accompaniment for dance-theatre works, has been decidedly
universal. The choice represents local and international
sources and redefines the strong influences of both Africa
and Europe. The classics are also a part of the heritage, for
Jamaica has a long history of 'serious music' including
Handel's Messiah, Bach's Passions St. Matthew and St.
John Faure's and Mozart's Requiem, Hayden's Creation
and Mendelssohn's Elijah, thanks to the Church and the
music studios and the choirs. The Sankey tradition rocks the
roots together with the drum. Music from North America -
Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, George Gershwin and the
music of Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff of Jamaica, equally in-
spire choreographers. Music from various territories in the
Caribbean Haiti, Trinidad, St. Lucia,-texture West Indian
Suites. However, when a people acknowledge who they are
and decide upon their course of action, then strong, distinct-
ive characteristics become evident.
Reference has been often made to the use of drums for
music making. All segments of the contemporary dance-
theatre have utilized the drum and the NDTC has placed the
drum at the centre of music making a link with the African
heritage and the rituals which for many have been the first
expressions of dance-theatre. This is not to say that drumming
has negated orchestration or other forms of music making.
Marjorie Whylie, Musical Director of the NDTC, is testimony
to that. She has composed and arranged numerous works for

Ivy Baxter Eddy Thomas

the NDTC, among them; Mountain Women 1971, Ni -
1976, Drumscore traditional arrangement 1979, Char-
acter Sketches traditional arrangement 1976. Other
composers include Oswald Russell (Games of Arms, Legend
of Lovers' Leap), Bob Sinicrope (Question of Balance) and
Mapletoft Poulle (Plantation Revelry and arrangements of
traditional music).
Eddy Thomas has composed original pieces for his own
group and for the NDTC and the Baxter group. They include
the music for Rat Passage, Once Upon a Seaweed and Jamaican
In the '60s and '70s, the years of developing nationalism,
the emphasis was given to the Jamaican popular music which
was then developing, especially the ska and reggae. There
might at times have been over-emphasis in the beginning -
for to paraphrase an African Proverb, who is to say a man
must not go back to pick up what he has left behind if he is
to go forward?
Vivaldi, Bach, Marley, Stevie Wonder: song, ritual drums,
voices. The choice of music has been a synthesis of influences
that are and that made Jamaica.
As words are to language, so are movements to dance.
They constitute the vocabulary. There is no doubt that the
contemporary dance-theatre has revealed and created a body
of vocabulary that is recognized and understood. Jamaicans
discuss the vocabulary and style of the Jamaica dance-theatre
and of the NDTC. That they talk at all indicates that vocabu-
lary and styles exist.
The Festival Dance Movement2 must be given serious

consideration because it has contributed to the common
vocabulary and to the development of style. Festival com-
petitions embrace rural and urban populations, the wider
audience and all who would create. They have exposed, nur-
tured and refined for the stage, a wealth of traditional forms,
the greatest source of inspiration for dance-theatre and music.
Festival competitions have been the starting point for
developing many beginner choreographers and for many
child-performers who later appear in more professional shows,
e.g. Audrey (Odette) Miller and Jullian (Julie) Blackwood
who appeared in the LTM pantomimes Johnny Reggae -
1977 and Mansong 1979, both of which were choreo-
graphed by Jackie Guy.
School teachers, dancers and community workers who are
involved in the Festival activities, speak of a 'Festival vocabu-
lary and style'. They refer, for example, to steps like the
pivot step,3 the changing of weight sideways from one foot
to the other, the turns, the spiralling from one level to the
other and the dynamic thrust that emanates from the torso
centre; patterns that are linear and circular.
The Festival style is shaped by the particular use of the
flat foot, the lax extension of the ankle, the relaxed flexed
use of arms and feet, the ripple of the back, the use of hips
and the use of groups which identify form. Teachers and
community workers manipulate groups so the emphasis is on
group patterns and a melting, fading, reappearing of dancers
on entrances and exits and the quickly paced finale or
picturesque tableau.
An interesting feature of the Festival Dance Movement,
has been the evolution of 'creative folk dances' influenced by
the folk tradition. The material has been extended, distorted,


Mapletoft Poulle


L* d'

recombined and added to. These dances are removed from
the original environment but retain the essence of past forms.
They could very well be the expressions of today's folk as
they use the folk styles which served the social, emotional
and religious needs of other generations but which do not
necessarily serve the urban-rural folk of the present time.
Festival Dance competitions include also,'a growing body
of modern dance works, e.g. integrated song and dance and
representations of old forms (e.g. Pavane 1979 composed
by Vincent Douglas of Tivoli Gardens Centre) and dance
narratives such as 'Anancy and the Spanish Jar' -1974 -
choreographed by Tony Wilson. Festival dance competitions
represent another aspect of contemporary dance-theatre dis-
playing the amalgamation common to other segments of the
culture. The influences include popular forms with local
and foreign inputs like jazz, folk, modern, ballet, song and
dance cabaret and also dance dramas.
Space and Shape

Space influences the shape, dynamics and structural
development of dancers. At the same time, it determines the
behaviour of the audience. Most schools and community
groups rehearse and perform in limited areas under a shade
tree, at the back of a canteen or classroom. This situation im-
poses certain limitations upon dynamics or makes for new
emphases relating to patterns and steps. No one goes leaping
with abandon over a concrete floor or dirt surface in the
same way that one goes leaping in a studio with a sprung,
splinter-free floor.
The Little Theatre, for example, with its intimate audi-
torium and its deeper than wide stage has influenced the
works of Jamaican choreographers and performers. A major-
ity of dance presentations have been housed there. A dance
previously performed on the Little Theatre stage shows new
dimensions and the dancers greater kinetic force when
mounted on a larger stage. Dances from the NDTC repertoire
such as Myal, Celebrations and Crossing performed on large
stages in Germany and Russia proved this point.
Spatial dimensions height, depth and width of the
performing area are always to be considered. Dance, a time-
space art, is concerned with dynamic movement in space,
whether the space is that directly surrounding the dancer or
the space into which the dancer moves. The space-distance
between audience and performers and the size and shape or
divisions of space (e.g. Ward Theatre) will fashion audience
behaviour. For instance, a performance might be presented
in a booth. The performers occupy the centre, as in tradi-
tional folk presentations, the spectators sit or stand around
and are close to the performers. There is a feeling of com-
munity and participation. In school halls, another familiar
environment, capacity audiences of parents, relatives and
friends, each close to the other, make no bones about show-
ing feelings about likes and dislikes.
Audience comments can reshape works and performers. A
case comes to mind, of a certain rural schoolgirl performer
who changed her style and intention over three years as she
performed in a traditional folk dance. A hip movement
which had been a subtle and essential part of the dance, a
centrifugal force propelling the dancer across the stage, be-
came an interest in itself, was exaggerated, and so changed
both emphasis and focus.
The Products
Over the years the contemporary dance-theatre of Jamaica
has generated a number of products which may be grouped

under the following headings:
Content The pulling together of an extensive movement
vocabulary that developed organically from traditional
through experimental to the stylized.
Training The performance was logically of first importance.
It provided a showcase, tested the material and captivated
the audience. There have, however, been regular training
periods for performers. Training in the 1960s and '70s was
given greater emphasis for the initial momentum had to be
sustained, the skills improved and the training of the future
ensured. In the 1970s training was given triple emphasis in
the wider community through the combined efforts of the
Jamaica Festival Commission, the Ministry of Education and
the National Dance Theatre Company. The NDTC gave assist-
ance with training programmes conducted by the Jamaica
Festival Commission and the Ministry. The Company school
also conducted special classes for teachers in skills and dance
composition. This exercise had far reaching results for
audiences, performers and creators.
Training Systems These have been devised, evaluated and
refined so that a competent performer can be produced in
three to four years. The knowledge of the dancer's craft has
deepened; so has the understanding of the strength and limit-
ations of the Jamaican body. The artist, of course, develops
later and is shaped by sensitivity, perception, experience, and
Today's dancer is technically proficient. Dance has be-
come more than a hobby at which one is competent; young
Jamaicans are expecting the dance to provide a livelihood.
Perhaps the '80s will see performers paid for their services and
a change in structures, administration and performance.
Audiences Dance-theatre audiences have become larger,
more critical and more representative of the wider Jamaica.
Dance has always been a part of the Jamaican means of ex-
pression although the gap between the dance of the classes
was not truly bridged until the 1950s. Audiences have deve-
loped systematically from the '30s through Garvey's shows at
Edelweiss Park, the Sagwa shows-Christmas concerts, vaude-
ville shows, competitions, the movies, Jamaica Welfare and
the Social Development Commission which was the fore-
runner of the Jamaica Festival Commission. Performers and
audience have grown together. Today, any segment of the
contemporary dance-theatre can stage a Season and be assured
of a reasonably full if not capacity house.
Music A number of works have been specially composed
for dance and a system of notating drumming developed -
the last the brainchild of Marjorie Whylie.
Art Artists have been used to provide sets, props and the
like for theatre purposes and their skills have developed along-
side the growth of dance-theatre.
Multiplier Effects One artist choreographs, one writes the
music, one designs the set for a work which in turn inspires
the poet, the painter and the writer.
The Challenges of the 1980s
The contemporary dance-theatre in Jamaica has matured.
What are the challenges of the decade of the '80s? Perhaps
they may be found among the following:
1. A theatre for dance productions. The type of structure
that would provide better rehearsal and performing facil-
ities for all the artists whose combined efforts make for
the presentation of dance works a stage for dance and a
floor that is splinter free and better technical facilities.

.es Sylphides Hazel Johnston's pupils in performance

Eddy Thomas Dancers

'Fi-tival RtvW ac imuieanI-nd in thick antrv in t+h r.,- r%-..,. 4;-1.I.

2. Greater efforts to achieve tighter, more harmonious inte-
gration between all the segments and communicative re-
sources of dance-theatre; each part designed to support
concept, feeling and message of the work.
3. (a) A system of training more closely allied to the cul-
tural construct and that meets the needs of Jamaican
men. The dance needs more male dancers.

(b) The dance-theatre that provides a living or part of it
so that a man working at the dance can meet his obli-
gations as a bread winner.
4. Music for dance that is, music composed with the scen-
ario in mind and not music that is merely an adjunct. This
music should grow with the dance, the composer and
choreographer in partnership, so that the music is an inte-
gral part of the visual product and does not take attention
away from the dance.
5. The development of areas supportive of training. A sys-
tem of training exists which today proves its worth. It will
be lost or forgotten or both and we will have to begin all
over again 30 years down the drain if we do not give
names to steps, codify, record, notate and ensure that the
systems and structures which have assiduously been estab-
lished and afforded by the voluntary services and sustain-
ed commitment of the performers, artists, choreographers
and others of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s in particular, should
not be lost. Too much has been achieved for future ful-
filment to be left to chance and to word of mouth. The
process should continue as tribute to the past.
6. A Children's Dance-Theatre The value of the over-in-
volvement of children in harsh reality is questioned. Too

often the play of Jamaica children is steeped in work.
Children need magic that inner enrichment that comes
from the involvement with fantasy and which develops
the imagination, creativity, problem-solving capacity and
at the same time, provides, in the words of Bruno Bettel-
heim, a suitable means of "coming to terms with the dark
side of man". Children need to pretend, to laugh, to
dream. So it seems that there is need for a children's
dance-theatre to accommodate performers and creation
and spectators.
7. New Groups Smaller perhaps, to be based at home or
as touring companies. New perspectives, new forms of ex-
pression will arise as creator-artists mature and from their
new inner vision give outward form to their own dreams
of dance-theatre.
8. The need for specialist criticism for dance in the interest
of professionals and schools. Inherent in this statement is
the need to define what are the specific aims in the area of
dance-theatre. The contemporary dance-theatre of Jamaica
is at once of Jamaica and of the world. In utilizing the
universal vocabulary movement it will communicate
with all. But the body set of performers, style and form,
and the subtle release of energy will identify the Jamaican
theatre. This dance-theatre cannot ignore the measure of
theatre the world over, nor seek to limit its artists, for
artists and art belong to all.
Like the Jamaican people, the contemporary dance-theatre
of Jamaica is many textured and varied. The influences have
come from Britain, the U.S.A., Europe, the Caribbean region
and Africa, the influences of shared teachers, performers and
choreographers, artists and musicians. The social climate has
been both local and international and the themes symbolic of
significant aspects of Jamaican life religion, politics, heroes,
legends. Continued on Page 93

Development of

Dance- Theatre

in Jamaica

Showing Main Trends

and Personalities

1929 Early 1930s
Industrial worldwide Depression caused
suffering in Jamaica and discontent
which led to demands for better work-
ing conditions in the late '30s.
Ballet Myrtle Bank Hotel the venue
for ballet and character dances. Played
to a limited public. Pansy Alexander the
main teacher.
Ballet at Constant Spring Hotel and
Myrtle Bank by Margaret Squire (whose
portrait can be seen in Ward Theatre
foyer). She staged the first follies in the
Ballet for children Kingston and St.
Andrew; successful recitals Mrs. Joan
McCulloch Mrs. Stone, leading teach-
ers. Herma Diaz, a pupil of Margaret
Squire in turn produced three outstand-
ing pupils:

1. Hazel Doran opened and ran a
studio until the 1950s when she

i' [/I (.vnn /

and olie Ou/ails .
of f lie,- cfl]ol of 2 .. Ctiig

SFrMiar, 7& Dbsenter, 1K1.

C WaUd hatve.

2. Gloria Stone, (daughter of Mrs.
Stone) one of the first Jamaican
dancers on Broadway (appeared in
Songof Norway); talents in classi-
cal dance.
3. Hazel Johnston first coloured
Jamaican ballet dance teacher.
Presented the classics with integ-
rity and taste and was a force.
Most major contemporary ballet
tutors came under her tutelage.


In the 1920s and 1930s the activities of
Marcus Garvey helped to develop black
consciousness and race pride.
The discontent and suffering of the post-
war years led to demands for better
working conditions in the 1930s cul-
minating in the riots of 1938. As a re-
sult of the riots and political activities
came mass trade unions, consideration
for the rural and urban poor, a new
middle class and growing social and
national consciousness.

Vaudeville and Cabaret -Sagwa Bennett
shows round the island. Kid Harold and
The Butterfly Troupe: first Jamaican
troupe of professional dancers. Garvey
promoted stage shows at Edelweiss Park
for dancers and others.


Kid Harold

Amateur shows at cinemas and dance.
Teams like Eryck Darby and his sister.
Motion Pictures (Fred Astaire and Ginger
Rogers) were influential.
To-night! o7-night!

Saturday Night Feb. 15th
Big Vaudeville Show

Singing and Dancing. JFun (alore
See the U. N. I. A. Follies
Baby Tennant and others,
This is a big show. Stock Load with laugh-
ter and fun from beginning'to end.
2 Fee Prizes wil. he given away. come for a
hot time and get yours.

Ballet recital by pupils of Joan McCulloch.

Adm. Adults Is Chilrlrei 6d.

Dorothy Fraser and Barbara Fonseca.

Christmas Morning Concerts. Pr
Song and dance talent was revealed st
through Vere Johns stage shows. Adults
and children combined popular steps, li
lifts and acrobatics in the numbers they


2 Vere Johns
Burnett Webster producer/director of .
Revues of the Noel Coward type; Hor- z
ace Vaz, promoter and talent scout.
1935 ed

The Cudjoe Minstrels (performed for 15
years). They bridged the gap between
peasant and middle class culture.

Jamaica Welfare Ltd. started. (Later it
would be known as Jamaica Social Wel-
fare Commission). Helped to mobilize
people round the new national spirit -
emphasis was placed on the exploration
by the people themselves of their own
creative potential. Jamaica Social Welfare
Commission conducted competitions
which included song and dance at the
end of periods of training in a village.

Hazel Johnston started her studio. She
taught Ivy Baxter, Fay Simpson, Olga,
Betty and Punkie Rowe, Thelma Verity,

-I Doroth Fraser

esented three major shows of out-
anding quality. Choreographed the
ttle Theatre Movement pantomime
ck and the Beanstalk and the Catho-
Srevue The Social Order Follies.

saroara r-onseca
iblished articles in Public Opinion and
e Jamaica Standard which helped in
lucating the public.

Taught and produced shows into the
1940s. Died in 1944.

A period of growing national awareness;
more Jamaicans were being educated at
home and abroad and were to give intel-
lectual stimulus to the nationalist move-
By the end of the decade, Jamaica
would have a new constitution and uni-
versal adult suffrage.
Period characterized by radio, dance
shows, variety shows and revues.
Later '30s early '40s, amateur shows at
the cinemas imitated Major Bowes radio
shows. Local groups performed at hotels
and cinemas.

1940 1942

New Radio Station Z.Q.I.

La Ciba Sonami (real name lone William-
son) presented Spanish gypsy type
dances at night clubs. She was a Jamaican
born in St. Mary. Her group performed
also at the Ward Theatre Nights of
Dance and at Glass Bucket Club, Half
Way Tree. One show included a country
scene with the high browns blackened.



Sound systems

invaded dance halls.

The Soohih School of Dance was found-
ed by Anatole Soohih. After his death
in 1950, the school was continued by

Numbered among her performers were
Ferdie Martin and Hugh Morrison.

Dudley MacMillan Sugar and Spice;
did revues at the movies.
Daisy Riley and her troupe performed
at the Sugar Hill Night Club.
YWCA Phyllis Stapells and Greta
Poulles were Canadian teachers (Stapells
came to Jamaica in 1939 and Poulles in
1943) who made it possible for the
YWCA to offer creative dancing as a
recreational outlet for Jamaican women,
thus educating in the skills and appre-
ciation of dance. Created an audience
and had wide influence on all types.
Hazel Johnston mounted her second
show, Sleeping Beauty in three acts and
presented the first male ballet dancers -
Patrick Vermont, Graham McCormack
and Neville Cardozo, brother of Phyllis
Cardoza the star of Johnston's studio.

Les Sylphides (Hazel Johnston).

The self taught Berto Pasuka (real name:
Bertie Passerley) entertained tourists on
the north coast, later went to England,
founded Les Ballet Negres. Choreo-
graphed first full length ballet based on
Jamaican folk themes.

Madam May Soohih That school pre-
sented works with Jamaican themes
(e.g. Ballet of Port Royal).


Eryck Darby did shows at Tower Isle
Hotel. Dudley MacMillan's musical Hot
Chocolate directed by Roy Coverley,
which was influenced by' the movies.
Jim Russell produced Christmas Morning
Concerts, etc. Harold Holness dancer,
rehearsed in the back yards of Kingston
and appeared in variety and comedy.

Another dancing team appeared Clive
and his sister, Norma Thompson.

Barbara Fonseca Studio and Fay Simp-
son Studio started.


These were the years of regional Carib-
bean consciousness; the various ingre-
dients that would fuse to produce the
contemporary dance-theatre would
come together.

The Ivy Baxter Dance Group formed.

Included all types of Jamaicans her
aim, to produce Jamaican/Caribbean
dancers for theatre.


Katherine Dunham Dance Group visited
Jamaica. This group of black dancers
was to impress local dancers and audien-

Eryck Darby was the first Jamaican to
enter Jacob's Pillow, Massachusetts.


Rat Passage a Jamaican ballet choreo-
graphed by Ivy Baxter regarded as a
turning point. Captured Jamaican audi-
ences with its use of local music, social
comment and Jamaican characters.

There is much activity on the wharf. A stowaway
leaves his girl friend behind.
The stowaway watches the passersby and follows
some people into a house.
He finds himself at a party where guests from many
nations entertain. Aware of his shabby clothes he
leaves. On the way out he meets a child, they make
friends and play together. The uninvited guest is
discovered and dispatched.
The hostess welcomes the stranger, and tries to in-
troduce him to the "weed," without success. An
English girl befriends him.
He visits Lae girl at her father's ahop. After a fight
with her former boy friend he is forbidden to return.
He goes back to the dive where the hostess helps him


Bandwagon, islandwide government-
sponsored show to celebrate tercenten-
ary of British connection; included Rat

Summer Dance Workshops were con-
ducted at U.W.I. through Extra-Mural

Katherine Dunham


Future dance greats Eddy Thomas, Rex
Nettleford and Clive Thompson joined
the Baxter Group.
Jamaican dancers led by Baxter parti-
cipated in Caribbean Folk Festival held
in Puerto Rico; first exposure to wider

- t-ft "30(" C-

Dept. and included visits by Lou Smith
(U.S.A.) and Lavinia Williams (Haiti) as
lecturers. Attended by Jamaican dancers.


Beryl McBurnie (Trinidad), and her
Little Carib Group performed at the
Ward Theatre.


Proto-ska appeared; the first recordings
were made. It was a blend of revival
music and soft tunes of the Shirley and
Lee type and closely related to 'off beat'

Eddy Thomas left the Baxter Group to
form his own Studio.

Pansy Hassan went to Jacob's Pillow. A
member of the Fay Simpson Studio, she
later was to become a founding member
of the NDTC.

The ska matured and continued with
strong popularity into 1960s, later be-
coming reggae.

Glen Gordon and Doris Rumsey estab-
lished their School of Dance. (Ballroom
and tango, ballet and tap dancing).
Mavis Stoppi of the NDTC came from
this group.


The people of the 1960s were regarded
as "The generation with cultural vision"


in Jamaica: Rex Nettleford, Caribbean
Cultural Identity.
Edward Seaga, at the time a young poli-
tician, saw cultural policy as part of a
five-year plan.


An amalgamation of Jamaican dancers
led by Rex Nettleford, performed Sun
Over the West Indies at Howard Uni-
versity, Washington D.C. (Nettleford
had supervised both the Baxter and
Eddy Thomas groups while the two
were abroad).


Jamaica's Independence.
Arts celebrations to mark Independence
included dance production Roots and

A-q. q .- A U C.dL
Roots & Rhythms

-- T ---
K -

Black Power Movement in the U.S.A.
influenced perceptions.
The National Dance Theatre Company
of Jamaica formed.

First Festival of independent Jamaica.

Alma Mock Yen Studio formed. Jayteens
formed by Joyce Campbell (Senior
Dance Officer, Jamaica Cultural Deve-
lopment Commission).
-:::::::: :: ::::::::::::::::::; ::.:.: .:.::::::

Alma Mock Yen

Joyce Ltampo


Neville Black teacher, dancer, choreo-
grapher returned to Jamaica to teach
and work for a while with the NDTC
(1965 1968). His studies in the U.S.A.
included periods with Martha Graham
and Charles Weidman. He had his own
Studio in Chicago. Among the works he
choreographed for the Company were
Rites 1965 and Legendary Landscape
- 1968.
During 1960- 66 scholarships were given
to dancers beginning with Christine
Anderson and ending with Derek

Contemporary Dance Centre formed by
Barbara Requa and Sheila Barnett for
children and school teachers. Gave
teachers skills and methodology. Results
showed in Festival Competitions as
most top choreographers came from this

Barbara Requa
(This group in 1970 joined with Bert
Rose Studio and NDTC trainees to form
the Jamaica School of Dance).

Eddy Thomas forms own group.

Edinborough Group is formed. Cabaret.


Organic link forged between NDTC,
Festival Commission and Ministry of
Education. This interaction was to
develop on an island wide basis: per-
formance and training for adults and
children as well as audiences.

Bert Rose Studio started (modern

Jamaica School of Dance founded; an
amalgamation of the Contemporary
Dance Studio, Bert Rose Studio and
trainees of the NDTC (modern dance
- Jamaica folk forms basics of

CDa e

Advance Sale At The

Tickets: 10-815


Carifesta first Festival of Caribbean
Arts held in Guyana.
Meeting of Caribbean performers ex-
posure, dialogue, discussion.


Carifesta held in Jamaica.

Festac African Festival of Arts. Dance
exposure for Jamaican performing

Carifesta held in Cuba. Dance exposure
for Jamaican performing groups.

Carifesta held in Barbados.

20th Anniversary of NDTC.

Sheila Barnett

The Cultural Training Centre established
for the training of creative artists and
teachers and performers. Includes the
Schools of Arts, Drama, Dance and


I wish to express my gratitude to my colleaguesat the Jamaica
School of Dance and the Jamaica School of Drama for useful
discussions and to Punkie Rowe, Hugh Morrison, Evadne
Ford, Ronan Critchlow, Joyce Campbell, George Carter and
Garth White (for interviews).

1. African Proverb taken from a Batik hanging done by Billie
2. Festival Dance Movement of the Jamaica Festival Commission
which became in 1980 Jamaica Cultural Development Commission.
3. Congo step.

BAXTER, Ivy The Arts of An Island, Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow
Press Inc., 1970.
BETTELHEIM, Bruno, The Uses of Enchantment, N.Y.: Vintage
Books, 1977.

Continued from page 87

BRATHWAITE, Augustus, "The Cudjoe Minstrels: A Perspective",
Jamaica Journal, No. 43, 1979.
BROWN, Wayne, Edna Manley: The Private Years 1900 1938,
London: Andre Deutsch, 1975.

GIBBONS, Rawle, "Traditional Enactments of Trinidad Towards a
Third Theatre", unpublished manuscript, January 1979.
JAMAICA SCHOOL OF DANCE, Student Papers in Dance by Carolyn
Russell-Smith and Sandra Touzalin.
LANGER, Suzanne K., Chapter 12: "The Magic Circle", Feeling and
Form, N.Y., Charles Scribner's Sons.

NETTLEFORD, Rex (ed.), Norman Manley and the New Jamaica
Selected Speeches and Writings 1938 1968, Longman
Caribbean Limited, 1971.
,Caribbean Cultural Identity: The Case of Jamaica, Kingston:
Institute of Jamaica, 1978.
THOMPSON, Robert Farris, African Art in Motion, Berkeley: Univer-
sity of California Press, 1974.




Jamaica's national cultural institution was founded in 1879. Its main functions are to foster and encourage the development of culture,
science and history in the national interest. It operates as a statutory body under the Institute of Jamaica Act, 1978 and falls under the
portfolio of the Prime Minister.
The Institute's central decison-making body is the Council which is appointed by the Minister. The Council consists of individuals
involved in various aspects of Jamaica's cultural life appointed in their own right, and representatives of major cultural organizations and
The Institute of Jamaica consists of a central administration with a number of divisions operating with varying degrees of autonomy.

The Council of the Institute of Jamaica


Mr. John Hearne
Executive Director:
Rev. Philip Hart

Dr. Roy Augier
Dr. Edward Baugh
Miss Ivy Baxter
Dr. David Boxer
Dr. Lloyd Coke
Mr. Lloyd Collins
Miss Stephney Ferguson
Miss Olivia Grange
Mrs. Avis Henriques
Miss Sonia Jones
Mr. Cecil Langford
Miss Olive Lewin
Dr. Henry Lowe
Mr. Hugh Nash
Fr. Francis Osbourne
The Hon. Wesley Powell

Natural History Head: Dr. Peter Bretting

Museums and Archaeology Head: Roderick Ebanks

African Caribbean Institute Head: Beverly Hall-Alleyne
Junior Centre Head: Carmen Verity
Publications Head: Olive Senior

Jamaica National Trust Commission

National Library of Jamaica
(formerly West India Reference Library)
12 -16 East Street, Kingston
Director: Stephney Ferguson

National Gallery of Jamaica
Devon House, Kingston 10

Curator: Dr. David Boxer

Mrs. Joyce Robinson Luilural I raining centre
Mrs. Brenda Skeffery 1 Arthur Wint Drive, Kingston 5
Mr. Desmond Thomas School of Music Director: Pamela O'Gorman
Mrs. Clover Thompson School of Drama Director: Dennis Scott
Dr. Barry Wade School of Art Actg. Director: Hope Brooks
The Hon. Hector Wynter School of Dance Director: Sheila Barnett





By Glen H. Owen

It is now two decades since the Union Jack was lowered

and the Jamaican flag hoisted. That scene was a part of
the colourful ceremony which ushered in Independence.
A young nation with our historical background needs to
take stock of what we are, from whence we came and whither
we are going, for independence crept upon the generation
of the sixties almost unnoticed. There was no obvious
struggle or strong opposition to be overcome before we were
allowed to take over complete management of our affairs.
It has been easy for our people to see the outward signs of
independence. In place of English Governors we have native
Governor-Generals; and the real power of administering the
affairs of our country lies with our Prime Minister and his
Cabinet. The Union Jack to which we have been accustomed
all our lives has been replaced by our Jamaican flag. Our
Jamaican National Anthem has been given pride of place and
we have dispensed with England's National Anthem. Our
own native soldiers have replaced the British soldiers at
Camp. We have set up Jamaican banking institutions. Our
Jamaican currency notes bear the impress of our National
heroes and our own emblems. We have Jamaican passports
instead of British passports.
These are outward and visible signs of change; but they
mean more to students of constitutional law and to politicians
than to the rank and file of Jamaican workers. Titles are
changed, but people remain the same; their attitudes remain
unchanged. What has been done to impress upon our people
that independence means that we are now our own masters;
that we must be blamed for our own mistakes and that we
must work together as colleagues with the purpose of build-
ing with our own efforts a united nation?
It is necessary for us to bring to the attention of our
people our great heritage. Some of us think only of the
brutal system of slavery to which our forefathers were sub-
jected; of the dehumanizing effects of coercion and punish-
ment which led to indolent, rebellious and uncooperative
behaviour; of a system which encouraged illegitimacy and
dis-integration of the family.
In the Caribbean area, as The Rt. Hon. Eric Williams put
it, "slavery has been too narrowly identified with the Negro.
A racial twist has been given to what is basically an economic
problem. It must be known that the Greek economy was
built on the slavery system. The Roman Empire was built
upon this system also. Slavery was not born of racism; racism
was a consequence of slavery."
Jamaica in fact has a rich heritage of people coming from
many races, the streams of many traditions coming together:

African, European, Indian, Chinese, Jewish, Lebanese.
We entered independence, however, with a poor economy.
The lucrative days of sugar and logwood had departed. The
bauxite industry was just being developed.
There was a high percentage of illiteracy which under-
mined our productive powers, frustrated personal relation-
ships and weakened political morale and morality.
The majority of the people in the lower income groups
lacked family cohesion. There were many irresponsible
parents, especially fathers, and children often suffered neglect.
The family was in need of strengthening. This weakness of
the family was and still is one of the main reasons for failure
to secure community action. There was a lack of parental
authority which made the problems of the teacher particular-
ly difficult, and the teacher was always faced with dealing
with too large numbers of students. Colour of skin was still
important. As H.W. Howe observed, "the whiter the mixture,
the greater the prestige. In many instances, it seems that
there is a tendency to associate whiteness with respectability
and ability to perform respectable tasks."
Some means must be devised to accelerate the integration
of our people and unite them in a way that will make our
motto ring true. This motto "Out of Many, One People" is
an ideal to which we all should aspire for our common good.
What has been done or is being done to bring about this
integration? There should be national goals to which we are
all committed. There should be no further delay in setting up
a non-partisan committee of all shades of opinion out of
which some goals will emerge with which there is full agree-
ment. All our citizens should feel a greater sense of belonging
to our country and of being accepted by their fellow country-
men. This should stimulate patriotism and a feeling of obli-
gation to make a greater contribution to the development
and welfare of their homeland.
Are there any indications that since we have entered this
period of independence our people feel a greater sense of
belonging? Our social scientists need to examine this. We
have not taken positive steps to ensure that our children and
all our people respect our symbols. Children are not taught
to salute the flag, to repeat the words of their National
Anthem and the national pledge. They should be taught
about the struggles for national survival and the achievements
of the nation and its national figures. Irrespective of the
position they hold, people must be treated with respect. All
should be involved in community programmes in which
people are working towards a common purpose. We must
continue to build a national spirit and a sense of responsibility
among our young people so that they may love and respect
one another and their homeland.
The political leadership exists for us to build a new
society in which human rights are respected. We will not suc-
ceed, however, unless we get rid of the subtle class discrimi-
nation that still exists in certain quarters. These include the
absence or presence of certain essential amenities for some
positions according to the social class of the incumbents.
What changes have taken place during the last two decades
in the standard of living of our people: has unemployment
decreased? Has the literacy rate risen? Has our work ethics
improved? Is there better communication between manage-
ment and labour? Is there a richer non-partisan community
spirit? Have we developed a stronger sense of identity? We
really do not have the full answers to these questions. There
is certainly the need for research. 95

Theodore Sealy, C.B.E., D. Litt. (Hon.), U.W.I. ('How we
Celebrated our First Independence') is regarded as the dean
of Jamaica's journalists. He is the retired Editor-in-Chief of
Gleaner publications and is currently a part-time lecturer at
the Caribbean Institute of Mass Communications. He has
played a leading role in the development of the arts in Jamaica.

Carl Stone, Ph.D., C.D. ('Political Trends Since Independence')
is Reader in the Department of Government, U.W.I. He is the
author of several books on Jamaican politics and is noted as
Jamaica's first and most successful political pollster.

Mary Richardson, Ph.D., ('Jamaican Identity') is a lecturer in
educational psychology at the the School of Education, U.W.I.
Her 'Identity in the Jamaican Context' will appear shortly
(The School of Education, U.W.I.). English-born, she is
married to a Jamaican and has lived here since 1963.

Mervyn Morris who writes on Literature is himself a distin-
guished poet who has had several volumes published within
the period he writes about: The Pond (1973), On Holy Week
(1971), and Shadowboxing (1979). He is Senior Lecturer in
the Department of English, U.W.I., Mona.

Among our contributors on Art:

The Hon. Edna Manley, O.M., is an artist of international re-
pute who at the age of 82 is busy on her latest work. Born
in England, she moved to Jamaica in 1922 when she married
Norman Manley and since then has proven a source of inspir-
ation not only to several generations of artists but of writers,
many of whom gained their first exposure in her periodical

David Boxer, Ph.D., is curator of Jamaica's National Gallery
and an outstanding painter and film-maker. His formal train-
ing as an art historian has helped to give focus to the develop-
ment of a methodology for the study of Jamaican Art.

Andrew Hope, a graphic artist trained at St. Martin's School
of Art, London, has been art critic for the Gleaner since
1958. He started his career writing for the West Indian
Review. He has taught art and held exhibitions of his graphic
works in Jamaica and England.

Jean Smith for 20 years was in charge of the cultural desk in
the Government service and has represented Jamaica at cul-

tural conferences all over the world. More recently, she has
been a consultant with the UNESCO regional office, heading
a project dealing with Caribbean cultural development.

Rosalie Smith McCrea is an art historian-artist. She recently
joined the National Gallery as assistant curator, in charge of
its education programme.

Cherry Brady ('The Changing Physical Environment') is a
free-lance writer and journalist.

Barbara Gloudon ('Twenty Years of Theatre') is a well known
journalist and communications consultant. Her lifelong in-
terest in theatre has included playwriting (she has authored
five pantomimes including the record-breaking Pirate Prin-
cess) and long association with cultural institutions such as
the Little Theatre Movement and the Jamaica School of
Drama of which she is a former Chairman.

Verena Reckord ('Reggae, Rastafarianism . ') is a free-
lance journalist and theatre critic. She has written widely
on Jamaican culture and has a long-standing interest and in-
volvement in folk and popular music.

Sheila Barnett ('Notes on the Contemporary Dance-Theatre')
is a foundation member of the NDTC and more recently has
developed into a choreographer of great sensitivity. She has
devoted many years to dance education and is the Director
of the Jamaica School of Dance.

The Hon. Glen Owen, P.C., O.D. ('The Meaning of Indepen-
dence') is an outstanding educator and currently Director
of Glen Owen Educational Services. He is a former Principal
of Mico College and former Director of the Jamaica Institute
of Management. Mr. Owen's outstanding involvement in
community service is well known. He is a member of the
Privy Council.

Although it is impossible to thank the many persons who
contributed to the production-of this issue of Jamaica Journal
and who are not otherwise named, we would particularly like
to mention Dr. Ena Campbell of the African Caribbean Insti-
tute of Jamaica; the Director and staff of the National
Library of Jamaica, especially Miss Patricia McDonnough for
picture search; Mr. Keith Morrison, Institute photographer;
and Dr. David Boxer and the staff of the National Gallery.


University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs