Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Part I: The British areas
 Part II: The Dutch areas
 Part III: The French areas
 Part IV: The United States area:...
 Part V: Some general considera...
 Part VI: Bibliographical sourc...


The Caribbean : British, Dutch, French, United States
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00100626/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Caribbean : British, Dutch, French, United States
Series Title: A Publication of the School of Inter-American Studies. Series one ;
Physical Description: xix, 331 p. : map. ; 25 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Wilgus, A. Curtis ( Alva Curtis ), 1897-1981
Conference: Conference on the Caribbean
Publisher: University of Florida Press
Place of Publication: Gainesville, FL
Publication Date: 1958
Copyright Date: 1958
Subjects / Keywords: Congresses -- Caribbean Area   ( lcsh )
Caribe, Ilhas ( E.U.)   ( larpcal )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
conference publication   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index.
General Note: "Papers delivered at the eighth conference on the Caribbean held at the University of Florida, December 5, 6, and 7, 1957."
 Record Information
Source Institution: University Press of Florida
Holding Location: University Press of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 07564883
Classification: lcc - F2171.W67 .C14
System ID: UF00100626:00001

Table of Contents
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Table of Contents
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
        Page xvii
        Page xviii
        Page xix
        Page xx
    Part I: The British areas
        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
        Page 49
        Page 50
    Part II: The Dutch areas
        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
    Part III: The French areas
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
    Part IV: The United States area: Puerto Rico
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
    Part V: Some general considerations
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
    Part VI: Bibliographical sources
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
Full Text






A publication of the
which contains the papers delivered at the eighth conference on the
Caribbean held at the University of Florida, December 5, 6, and 7, 1957.


1 1. 0 105 100 95 90 05 s o 7 0 65 60

CA 9VI E 0


t GU LF of a of

---- --- --- --------

20 00 20 30 40 00 OOMLS I __ j -^- :20
0 20 00 60 80 KLOETRS ------------ -----------" ----~'BGT.( I <-..'*"
r:0 10 5_90 876 w

S" 119W( WA
san *


0 loo 200 30 40 5r 0 0MIES
21)00 4100 6;40 Boo KIOMETER B=TJ
1 10 o 105 10o 93o 9n0 as0R S 73 70. W. AocorM

105 ,00 95 90 85 nn 75 7n 65 wn ol lO IM


edited by A. Curtis Wilgus


.7:, 4Ti ri Ct.1 ~,, -A c

Copyright, 1958, by the

A University of Florida Press Book
L. C. Catalogue Card Number: 51-12532

Printed by



PETROAMERICA PAGAN DE COL6N, Director, Bureau of Employ-
ment Security, Department of Labor, Commonwealth of
Puerto Rico
FREDERIC W. GANZERT, Former Director, Bermuda Division,
American International College
CORNELIUS J. GRIFFIN, Member of the Board of Directors, Esso
Standard Oil, S. A., Havana
G. V. HELWIG, Specialist Teacher, Central Technical School,
HANS G. HERMANS, Head, Netherlands Information Bureau,
Curagao, N. W. I.
SIDNEY W. HOCKEY, Director, Eastern Caribbean Regional Li-
brary, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
ROLAND DENNIS HUSSEY, Department of History, University
of California, Los Angeles
MELVIN H. JACKSON, Department of History, University of
CARL L. LOKKE, Archivist in Charge, Foreign Affairs Branch,
The National Archives, Washington, D. C.
ARTURO MORALES CARRI6N, Under Secretary of State, Depart-
ment of State, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
CANDIDO OLIVERAS, Chairman, Puerto Rico Planning Board,
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
J. J. OCHSE, Consulting Engineer, Tropical and Subtropical
Agriculture, University of Miami

vi The Caribbean
FRANKLIN D. PARKER, Department of History and Political
Science, Woman's College of the University of North Caro-
lina, Greensboro
BERNARD L. POOLE, Department of History, Erskine College,
Due West, South Carolina
LOWELL J. RAGATZ, Department of History, Ohio State Uni-
versity, Columbus
J. WAYNE REITZ, President, University of Florida
W. ADOLPHE ROBERTS, Author and President, The Jamaica
Historical Society, Kingston
FRANCES McREYNOLDS SMITH, Foreign Affairs Officer, Office
of Dependent Area Affairs, Department of State, Washington,
D. C.
PETER M. STERN, Assistant Research Director, The Conservation
Foundation, New York
REXFORD G. TUGWELL, Professor Emeritus of Political Science,
University of Chicago
ANDRE L. VAN ASSENDERP, Department of Political Science,
Florida State University, Tallahassee
A. CURTIS WILGUS, Director, School of Inter-American Studies,
University of Florida
DOUGLAS WILLIAMS, Colonial Attache, British Embassy, Wash-
ington, D. C.


THE EIGHTH ANNUAL Caribbean Conference, held at
the University of Florida December 5, 6, and 7, 1957, con-
sidered the Caribbean area by political and geographical com-
ponents. These proceedings of the conference will contribute
to a broader understanding of the nature of contemporary
government, economy, society, and culture within the political
entities treated by participants in the conference. Here is con-
sidered, as a family of political groups within the Caribbean
area, these aspects of life in the British, Dutch, French, and
United States areas.
As in previous proceedings of the Caribbean Conference
Series, which began in 1950, no single subject or area is con-
sidered exhaustively, but the general overview presented so
ably by so many participants will, we believe, enable the reader
to acquire an understanding of the peoples of these areas, of their
potential, and of their increasing international significance.
The School of Inter-American Studies of the University of
Florida enjoyed the cooperation of Esso Standard Oil, S.A., in
the presentation and organization of this conference, and we
are grateful for its collaboration. In the publication of these
proceedings we have had, as in previous years, the generous
assistance of Mr. Walter B. Fraser of St. Augustine, who has an
abiding interest in inter-American cultural activities. The Uni-
versity of Florida Press has set a high standard in designing the
format and in publishing this series. We hope that you will
find these proceedings as valuable and useful as previous ones
which have been so widely and well received by readers at
home and abroad.
J. WAYNE REITZ, President
University of Florida


The Caribbean Conference Series

Volume I (1951):The Caribbean at Mid-Century

Volume II (1952): The Caribbean: Peoples, Problems, and

Volume III (1953): The Caribbean: Contemporary Trends

Volume IV (1954): The Caribbean: Its Economy

Volume V (1955): The Caribbean: Its Culture

Volume VI (1956): The Caribbean: Its Political Problems

Volume VII (1957): The Caribbean: Contemporary Inter-
national Relations

Volume VIII (1958): The Caribbean: British, Dutch, French,
United States



Map of Caribbean Area .. ..... Frontispiece

List of Contributors . . . . . . v

Foreword-J. WAYNE REITZ .. . ... vii





7. Andre L. van Assenderp: SOME ASPECTS OF SOCIETY





The Caribbean

CARIBBEAN . . . . 105


11. Arturo Morales Carri6n: THE HISTORICAL ROOTS
12. Candido Oliveras: THE ECONOMY OF PUERTO RICO 170
13. Petroamerica Pagan de Col6n: PUERTO RICAN


14. Frederic W. Ganzert: TRADE TRENDS AND PROSPECTS 193
15. Cornelius J. Griffin: ENERGY IN CARIBBEAN
PROGRESS . . . .225
16. Peter M. Ster: POPULATION FACTORS . .. 233
17. Roland Dennis Hussey: HISTORICAL FACTORS . 247
19. Frances McReynolds Smith: THE CARIBBEAN COM-
20. W. Adolphe Roberts: THE CARIBBEAN IN THE PAN


21. Lowell J. Ragatz: THE STUDY OF RECENT AND CON-

INDEX . . .

. . . . 329



ANY STUDY OF the British, Dutch, French, and United
States areas of the Caribbean during the past decade or more
must of necessity take into consideration the growth of schools
and of educational interest in all of the island and mainland de-
pendencies. Nowhere in the Caribbean, outside of Puerto Rico,
has there occurred such a rapid educational growth as in the
British areas now bound together in the West Indies Federation.
The phenomenal development of the University College of the
West Indies at Mona near Kingston, Jamaica, presents a picture
of intellectual cooperation found in very few places on the face of
the earth. In a symposium such as this volume presents, the
story of the rise of the University College of the West Indies
may be traced as one phase of the growing political and in-
tellectual spirit of the British Caribbean. In the immediate
future, certainly, the University College of the West Indies
is destined by its very nature to play an increasingly important
role in this newest of British commonwealths.


The relative poverty of the British Caribbean colonies through
the centuries and the lack of British cultural interests in the
area combined to retard the development of education in these


xii The Caribbean
British overseas dependencies. Although these colonies were
bound together by the common language of English, the French
and Spanish languages were spoken also. Natives of the British
islands with personal ambition and the necessary funds early
developed the tradition of acquiring their advanced education
in British universities or even in some continental universities,
as well as in schools of higher learning in the United States.
The first so-called college of the British West Indies was
Codrington College, founded in the year 1710 in Barbados.
However, this was little more than a grammar school until it
was reorganized by Bishop Coleridge in 1834. Its first buildings
date from 1716, and by their architecture they established an
academic flavor. In 1875 the school became affiliated with the
University of Durham, and since that time its curriculum has
emphasized theology and the classics. Many clergymen, school-
masters, and lawyers in the late nineteenth century owed their
education to this school. With modest ambitions and inadequate
endowment, the school has never attempted to provide the
needs of the British Caribbean area for higher education. How-
ever, this college has been called the "first academic institution
in the area."
In 1870, when the capital of the island of Jamaica was moved
to Kingston, the governor proposed to convert the square in the
old capital city (called Old Spanish Town) into a college quad-
rangle, using the Georgian-type buildings around the square for
university instruction. Thus Queen's College was founded in
1876. The new school, however, was short-lived. The first
principal, an Oxford man, died of yellow fever, and the college
succumbed a little over a year after its founding.
In 1890 an attempt was made to establish near Kingston
a University College in connection with the already existing
Jamaica College, a secondary school for boys. Students were
to be trained in this school to take the external degrees of the
University of London. But financial and other problems neces-
sitated the abandonment of a separate University College, and
in 1902 it was incorporated with Jamaica College. This com-



bination has produced an excellent boys' school that remains
on this site to the present time.
For a time it seemed most important to devote energies and
finances in the British Caribbean to developing good secondary
schools from which graduates could go to higher education in
England and other countries. However, the topic of creating
a new university was not dropped, and a number of groups in
the colonies and in the mother country organized committees
to keep alive interest in a school of higher learning in the area.
One important such committee was finally created in 1926 for
the colonies, and in 1938 in Jamaica a similar committee was
At long last, in 1943 in Britain the Asquith Commission was
appointed to inquire into higher education in the West Indian
colonies, as well as in the colonies in Africa and Malay. After
examining the Caribbean problem, the commission appointed
a special West Indies Committee, often referred to as the Irvine
Committee since its chairman was Sir James Irvine, Vice Chan-
cellor of St. Andrews University. The other members of this
most important committee were Sir Raymond Priestley, Vice
Chancellor of Birmingham University, Miss Margery Perham
of Oxford University, and two men whose destinies have been
very closely connected with the present University College of the
West Indies: Mr. Philip M. Sherlock of Jamaica and Mr. H. W.
Springer of Barbados. Although this committee was appointed
in January, 1944, during World War II, it began to work
immediately. The British members arrived in Trinidad by
mid-February, and during the next three months the whole com-
mittee visited several Caribbean colonies where in many in-
stances they invited local leaders to give advice and suggestions.
By the end of August, 1944, they had finished their examination
of the problem. The committee's report, generally called the
Irvine Report, was presented to Parliament in June, 1945, and
was circulated throughout the British West Indian colonies,
where it was enthusiastically received.
In substance this report recommended that a University Col-


The Caribbean

lege be established in Jamaica to provide teaching and research
in the faculties of arts, natural science, and medicine, and that
it should resemble in its constitutional structure the universities
of Great Britain. The committee recommended that the Uni-
versity College should be governed by a council which would in-
clude representatives of all the governments concerned, as well
as of its own academic staff. All academic questions and prob-
lems should be under the control and supervision of a senate
composed of representatives of the academic staff. The college
should have residential halls in which students would reside
throughout their academic year. The committee recommended
that a financial grant should be made from the Colonial De-
velopment and Welfare Funds in order to get the project under
way, but it was agreed that in the future current expenses
would have to be borne by the colonies connected with the
It was generally agreed that all the British Caribbean would
benefit from the establishment of this new institution. In this
geographical area were included Barbados, British Guiana,
British Honduras, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands, Trinidad and
Tobago, and the Windward Islands. The immensity of this
group was appreciated by the committee, and distances proved
an important handicap for many students, as later appeared.
An appreciation of the extent of this large area in comparison
with Europe can be made as follows: If British Honduras is
placed over London on the map, then Jamaica is roughly in
the vicinity of Danzig in the Baltic, Trinidad is at Odessa on the
Black Sea, while the Windward and Leeward Islands would
stretch far to the east of Moscow, with British Guiana in Asia
Minor. Yet in this vast area there are only about three million
people, of which Jamaica has about half. Partly for this reason
and also for others, Jamaica was chosen to be the site of the new
University College.
The Asquith Commission, viewing the problem of education
in all of the British colonies, recommended that all university
institutions which might be developed in colonial territories



should have as a "foster mother" the University of London.
It was also decided that before each university reached full
university status and awarded its own degrees, the students were
to work for the University of London degrees. Thus the new
University College was to be in a special relationship with the
University of London, but having the initiative of proposing the
syllabus of each examination. The examination boards were to
include members of the University College staff as well as
examiners appointed by the University of London. In this way,
it was believed, the staffs would acquire important experience
and the proper sense of responsibility in order to help them make
the transition to a full university as soon as possible. In October,
1948, the University of London set up special arrangements to
accomplish these objectives.

In October, 1946, a principal was appointed for the new in-
stitution, reaching Jamaica in November. In January, 1947,
the Provisional Council decided to implement the Irvine Report
and to get the university opened. Consequently, representatives
of seven of the colonial areas met with Sir James Irvine and
Sir Raymond Priestley in Jamaica. Since the university had no
constitution, one of the first problems considered was how the
University College might become a corporation in the legal
sense, empowered to acquire and own property and to enter
into various contracts. It was finally decided to ask for a grant
of a Royal Charter. In January, 1949, a charter similar to
those granted other British universities was passed under the
Great Seal, after having been submitted to the Privy Council
and approved. Unfortunately this document was lost when an
aeroplane in which it was carried disappeared without a trace
between Bermuda and the Bahamas in January, 1949. Since
it was illegal to issue a new Charter, the Privy Council agreed
to issue Letters Patent recording the existence of the lost charter.
The British King consented to become the Visitor of the Uni-
versity College and to nominate the chancellor.


The Caribbean

A further step in organizing the University College was the
creation of a coat of arms, which was granted by the College of
Heralds in 1949. The university motto was eventually selected:
Oriens ex occidente lux. Another early problem was the question
of academic dress. Because black academic costumes absorb a
great deal of heat in the tropics and were in too great contrast
with bright tropical colors, it was decided to copy the academic
regalia used in St. Andrews University which provided a hand-
some scarlet undergraduate gown.
One of the most important questions that had to be settled
immediately was the problem of a site for the university. Be-
cause the University College was to have a hospital, it was
agreed that it must be near a population center, and the city of
Kingston or its vicinity was decided upon. The question of
beauty of environment was also carefully considered. Finally
at Mona, about seven miles from the center of Kingston in a
valley with the foothills of the Blue Mountains rising to the
north and east, a little over a square mile of ground was selected
which was turned over by the government of Jamaica to the
University on a lease of 999 years at a peppercorn rent. The
site has proved to be a most beautiful and functional one, and
the campus area will enable the university to expand almost
indefinitely for at least a hundred years. Since the island is
subject to numerous earthquakes, it was decided that all build-
ings should be low and long with ample space between them
and with some buildings connected by covered walkways. An
area of about eighty acres was set aside for athletic purposes,
thus providing for one of the most beautiful cricket grounds
anywhere in the world. A firm of London architects was em-
ployed to design buildings and their campus location. There
were to be resident halls for men and for women undergraduates,
lecture rooms, laboratories, a library, and other necessary build-
ings, including, in a beautiful section of the campus, houses for
the academic staff. In the early months a number of temporary
wooden buildings, used during the war to house refugees from
Gibraltar and Malta, were set aside for offices and other pur-

poses. By October, 1950, the first undergraduate residence hall,
to house 162 students and some bachelor members of the staff,
was opened. In the next two years a handsome functional library
was erected, and the hospital and medical school buildings
were constructed.

In February, 1950, the first chancellor of the University
College of the West Indies was installed amidst inspiring and
brilliant ceremonies. The school, however, had been functioning
since October, 1948, largely with a staff which had been ob-
tained wherever possible. At first it had been hoped to employ
on the staff a number of West Indian natives, but the war and
other world problems caused the appointment of staff members
from as far apart as New Zealand and Great Britain, with some
few from Canada.
The financial problems of the University have always been
important. It had originally been agreed between the British
government and the governments of the colonies that capital
needed for buildings and equipment should be provided from
the higher education allocation of the Colonial Development
and Welfare Funds, while the capital needed for current ex-
penditures (salaries, wages, departmental grants, and other
running expenses) should be contributed from the revenues of
the individual colonies. In 1947 at Montego Bay representatives
of the British West Indian colonies had agreed upon a ratio
of providing funds for the years 1947-53, according to their
populations. Thus, Jamaica agreed to bear 45.4 per cent of the
cost of the University, Trinidad 17.9 per cent, British Guiana
12.9 per cent, the Windward Islands 10.3 per cent, Barbados
7.4 per cent, Leeward Islands 3.9 per cent, and British Honduras
2.2 per cent.
From the very beginning it was decided that the University
College of the West Indies should have as one of its primary
functions research in the social sciences, the natural sciences, the
humanities, and in medicine. One of the most important early

xviii The Caribbean
divisions of the University was an Institute of Social and
Economic Research established through financial support from
the Colonial Social Science Research Council. In 1948 the
first director was appointed. He is Dr. H. D. Huggins, born
in the Island of Nevis and educated at Cornell and Harvard
in the United States. At present there are on the campus three
faculties: of arts, of natural sciences, and of medicine. Wide
course offerings are available in all of these faculties.
A most important division of the University College is the
Department of Extra Mural Studies which was originally and
still is under the direction of Mr. Philip M. Sherlock, one of
the members of the Irvine Committee. This department, some-
what like the extension division in American universities, carries
the influence and the facilities of the University College of the
West Indies into the remote areas of the British Caribbean. In
each of the Caribbean British colonies is a resident tutor whose
function is to organize the extension work. The resident tutor's
duties include that of a public relations officer, a registrar, and a
general fount of knowledge for all types of questions pertaining
to the University College. Through this officer many excellent
students of six races and from an area of 2,000,000 square miles
are recruited for the University College. Students from the
remote areas of the British Caribbean are provided with one
round-trip passage between their home and University College.
The newly arrived student finds many conditions and habits
new to him. He lives on the campus with other students, he
associates with them in the classroom and in campus activities,
his health is carefully guarded, he is subject to a general uni-
versity disciplinary control, and he must meet certain standards
of qualifications and attainment or leave the university. No one
under the age of seventeen can be admitted as a student. In
order to maintain certain standards all students must be qualified
to matriculate in the University of London and to follow the
appropriately prescribed courses. In some professional and
technical studies the students actually make equipment for
classrooms and laboratories. All students are required to take



well coordinated courses which provide them with the degrees
they desire. These include, besides the bachelor's degrees, the
M.Sc., the M.A., and the Ph.D. In all advanced degrees also
the students must be able to meet the standards maintained by
the University of London.


After only a decade it is much too soon to attempt to measure
the influence which the University College of the West Indies
has had upon the cultural and intellectual life of the Caribbean
area. Suffice it to say that the founding of the University College
was a milestone on the intellectual highway which leads the
educated youth out of his small Caribbean world into a world
of greater opportunities and wider geographical extent. The
University College of the West Indies already has many alumni
and friends throughout the world who are spreading good will
and friendship for this great and growing institution. The fur-
ther development of the University College of the West Indies
will be watched with interest during the coming years.

School of Inter-American Studies

Note: I am indebted to many sources of information for this discussion
of the University College of the West Indies, but particularly to a most
helpful pamphlet entitled The University College of the West Indies by
T. W. J. Taylor (later Sir Thomas Taylor), reprinted from the Universities
Review (1'950). The "Pamphlet of Information," October, 1957, a catalog
of the University College of the West Indies, was also of value. Conversa-
tions in the summer of 1956 with University College Registrar H. W.
Springer, Dr. H. D. Huggins, and other faculty members in Mona not only
provided me with valuable information but with several delightful hours of
beneficial and pleasant friendships. I especially wish to thank Mr. Springer
for invaluable suggestions which he made after reading this paper.

Part I




Douglas Williams: CONSTITUTIONAL

IN 1958 A NEW POLITICAL ENTITY will appear upon the
Caribbean scene. A federation of ten island governments, to be
known (after much debate) as The West Indies, will come
formally into existence in January and will hold its first elections
in March. In April its first legislative assembly will meet in
Trinidad which (again after much debate and some hard feel-
ings) has been chosen as the site of the federal capital.
This long-heralded development has already received some
publicity in the American press. It was the subject of a typically
frank and illuminating lecture by Mr. Albert Gomes, then
Minister of Labor in Trinidad, to the sixth conference on the
Caribbean held in Gainesville in 1955. It will doubtless re-
ceive still more publicity during 1958, partly because Princess
Margaret is due to attend the inaugural ceremonies and partly
because the West Indies have claimed the present United States
naval base at Chaguaramas in Trinidad as the place for their
federal capital.
The pomp and circumstance of inaugural ceremonies and
the debate and argument about the capital site are comparative-
ly ephemeral things which we can well leave the journalists to
take care of. What is about to happen in the British Caribbean
has many points of much more permanent significance, and it
is on one of these-the constitutional aspect-that I wish to
make a few observations in this paper.

4 The Caribbean

This Federation of the West Indies will, broadly speaking,
follow the Australian rather than the Canadian pattern. That
is to say, a few specific subjects will be reserved exclusively for
the Federal Government to deal with; there will be an important
number of concurrent subjects with which both the federal and
the individual territorial governments can deal, federal law pre-
vailing in case of any discrepancy; while residual subjects will
remain with the individual territories. The Federal Legislature
will consist of a Senate and an elected House of Representatives.
Executive power will be vested in a Governor-General, who in
exercising it will be bound, except in a few limited instances,
to accept the advice of the Council of State. This Council of
State, which is in fact a cabinet following the usual British
Parliamentary pattern, will be appointed on the advice of the
Prime Minister, who will have been elected by the House of
Representatives. The Council of State will therefore be de-
pendent for its existence and for carrying through its policies
upon the confidence of the Federal Legislature. In short, from
the outset of its existence The West Indies will enjoy responsible
self-government. It is the hope of all of us that in due course
The West Indies will move on to full independence within the
Commonwealth; and the West Indian leaders themselves have
every confidence that they will attain this goal within five or ten


These facts are already well known. What is not so well
known is that this development has set off a whole chain of
constitutional advances within the individual territories them-
selves, all designed to put greater power into the hands of the
elected representatives of the people and to bring them nearer
to the goal of complete responsible self-government. Some of
these changes have been announced already. Some have only
been foreshadowed.



In Jamaica, for example, it seems already to have been agreed
in principle that the island shall have full internal self-govern-
ment under a new constitution, though its final introduction
will have to await the next general election since it would in-
volve an increase in the size of the House of Representatives.
As an interim measure, proposals have already been approved
whereby the Executive Council will become a Council of
Ministers, presided over by the Chief Minister instead of the
Governor and consisting exclusively of ministers with no official
members. The Colonial Secretary and the Financial Secretary
will cease to be members of the Legislative Council and will be
replaced by elected ministers, leaving the Attorney General as
the only official member of that body. Under this system the
Governor appointed by Her Majesty the Queen will continue
to be responsible only for defense, external affairs, and certain
matters relating to the public service. Dampier in his New
Voyage round the World, published in 1697, tells us that the
Moskito Indians "take the Governour of Jamaica to be one of
the greatest Princes in the World." Like other "great Princes,"
he is rapidly being reduced to the status of a constitutional
Similar changes have already been announced for Barbados
and may shortly be announced for Trinidad. In Barbados the
principal instrument of government policy is known as the
Executive Committee. Prior to 1946 under the old constitution
of Barbados, the Executive Committee was appointed by the
Governor and was responsible only to him. It thus reproduced
the fatal flaw of the "old representative system" of colonial
government-the system operating in the American Colonies
before 1776-whereby "an irremovable executive confronted
an irresponsible legislature." In 1946, however, following an
election on a new and wider franchise which brought the
Barbados Labor party to power, the Governor invited the
majority leader in the House of Assembly to submit names for
appointment to the Executive Committee. In that moment
Barbados was firmly placed upon the road to responsible self-


The Caribbean

government-the system wherein a ministerial executive depends
for its existence upon the support of an elected legislature. The
Executive Committee accepted collective responsibility then to
the House of Assembly. In 1954 those members of the Executive
Committee who were also members of the House of Assembly
became full-time ministers. As a result of the further changes
just announced, the full direction and control of government
in all internal matters will pass to the Premier and his ministers
meeting as a cabinet, with the officials (the Attorney General,
the Financial Secretary, and the Chief Secretary) attending
only on request.
It is not yet possible to give the full details of the similar
changes which, as is now public knowledge, are being contem-
plated for Trinidad. It can be confidently predicted, however,
that their general features are likely to be the same; that is to
say, they will produce an executive exclusively chosen from, and
responsible to, a popularly elected legislature.
As in the case of Barbados, it is internal political changes with-
in Trinidad itself which even more than the stimulus of outside
events such as the establishment of federation have produced this
far-reaching result. It is the development of the party system
and in particular the growth of one party to win the allegiance
of a majority of the electorate and gain command of a majority
of the seats in the legislature. In Barbados that party was Sir
Grantly Adams' Labor party. In Trinidad it is Dr. Eric
Williams' Peoples' National Movement. This is the essential
prerequisite of the final step to responsible self-government on the
British Parliamentary pattern-the growth of a party strong
enough to rule, and of course the growth of other parties strong
enough to provide an alternative to its rule.


What we are in fact witnessing in the British Caribbean is
not simply the growth of systems of responsible self-government;
it is also the demise of the Crown Colony system. The time is



therefore perhaps ripe to consider the place of the Crown
Colony system in the development of the West Indies and to
write its obituary notice.
In the West Indies the Crown Colony system is only about
90 years old. Prior to the emancipation of the slaves in 1834,
most of the British West Indian islands were governed under
what was known as the "old representative system." This was
the system common in all the settlements in America and the
West, including the thirteen colonies which ultimately became
the United States. It has in fact left a permanent mark on the
Constitution of the United States to this day. The basic features
of the system were the strict separation of the powers. The
governor, appointed by the Crown, was in charge of the exec-
utive branch of government. He exercised his power with the
advice-and sometimes the consent-of a council which he had
himself appointed. Legislative authority was vested in an as-
sembly, generally elected on a restricted franchise, but having in
its hands the great power conferred by the exclusive right to
initiate or amend money bills. Broadly speaking, therefore, the
constitution of the West Indian islands in 1834 reproduced the
constitution of England as it emerged from the "glorious revo-
lution" of 1689.
The fatal flaws of the system always were that under it there
was no link between the executive and the legislative parts of
government, while the head of the local executive, the governor,
also had to be the representative of an external power-namely
the United Kingdom. The views of this external power by no
means always coincided with those of the local groups who had
control of the local legislatures. The emancipation of the slaves
in 1834 brought all these difficulties to a head. It was carried
through by the United Kingdom Government in the teeth of
opposition from all those interests which held power in the West
Indian legislatures. (One consequence of this was that Jamaica
openly threatened to join the United States!) The freeing of
the slaves created problems with which the old legislatures,
partly because of their unrepresentative character in the new

8 The Caribbean
circumstances, were quite incapable of dealing. In the words
of a Colonial Secretary's despatch of 1868, "the Population at
large, consisting of uneducated Negroes, neither had nor could
have any political powers; they were incapable of contributing
to the formation of any intelligent public opinion; and the con-
sequence was that the Assemblies performed their office of
legislation under no real or effective responsibility."
For thirty years all attempts to deal with this situation failed.
It needed a Negro revolt in Jamaica in 1865 and the panic
which it caused to bring the system to an end. Everywhere,
except in Barbados, Bermuda, and the Bahamas, the "old repre-
sentative system" was then abolished and replaced by the Crown
Colony system, with both executive and legislative councils al-
most wholly nominated by the governor.
Constitutionally this was an undoubted retrogression; but
politically it was a case of reculer pour mieux sauter. As one
writer has said, "Only with the establishment of Crown Colony
government did the Negroes really begin to taste the proper fruits
of emancipation." Sir Hilary Blood in a recent article has been
even more forthright and draws from these events conclusions
which have an application far outside the West Indies. He
writes: "Now the Queen's Governors were in a position to see
to it that the new freemen of the West Indies had equal treat-
ment, fair shares in such social and political benefits as were
available, and, as time went on and the basis of the Governors
Councils could be widened, a voice in the government of their
country. Here is a valuable lesson which the West Indies has
to teach: namely that at a certain stage in the history of a mixed
society it is necessary to limit the political rights of a more ad-
vanced section of the community until the less advanced section
can catch up."
Thus the wheel is about to come full circle. It may soon be
possible to say again as it was said in the early nineteenth cen-
tury that "the smallest rock in the West Indies exhibits a sort
of miniature of the British Constitution"; but it will be the
British Constitution of the middle of the twentieth century and
not that of 1689.



So much for the past. What of the future? As everywhere,
a good deal of the success or failure attending these political
developments will depend on economic and social factors outside
the scope of this paper-upon how well these new governments
can exploit the natural resources of the islands, develop their
communications, and cope with their growing populations.
Politically, however, their success will, I think, be determined
by the success or failure of the federal experiment itself, and I
want now to hazard a few observations on this topic.
The problems facing any newly established federation are
difficult and complex. There is above all the problem of es-
tablishing loyalty to itself without damaging the existing loyal-
ties to its constituent parts. In the case of the West Indies there
is a further problem in that the number of subjects exclusively
reserved to the Federation are few. On the other hand, the
number of subjects on the concurrent list over which the Federa-
tion can, if it so wills, assume control is wide and far-reaching.
It can therefore draw strength to itself if it so wishes. Is that
going to be the will of the leaders who will emerge to take
charge of its destinies? A great deal will depend on whether
the men of real political ability in the West Indies-who at
their best can more than hold their own with any political
leaders either within or without the Caribbean area-are going
to choose to associate themselves with federal politics or remain
in the service of their island governments. The answer to this
question will not be known until the federal elections. A great
deal may also depend on whether the Federal Government is of
approximately the same political complexion as the island gov-
ernments. The West Indies will not be able to afford feuds
and friction over "states rights."
Many forces have worked against these islands coming to-
gether in the past. Some of them still continue to operate. It
would be wrong to pretend that federation is coming about as a
result of wide popular demand. Nevertheless, we believe there
are a sufficient number of people in public life in the West

10 The Caribbean
Indies with the vision and ability to make it work. We have
every expectation that they will be successful, and it will be
interesting to see in the years to come what effect this new
nation, reared in the Anglo-Saxon political traditions, is going
to have on the affairs of what has hitherto been-politically
speaking-predominantly a Latin American zone. We must
all hope that the Federation of the West Indies will grow and
prosper and provide its own unique and colorful contribution
to the life of the free world.



THE ECONOMIC PROBLEMS of the British areas in
the Caribbean present few unique aspects. Indeed, they may
be considered representative of the economic maladies which
have afflicted the region as a whole for more years than
we care to remember. The pattern of complex problems which
British officials and local authorities alike have been attacking
with increased vigor these last two decades is therefore a familiar

Early settlement of the Caribbean islands was effected chiefly
for the purpose of providing sources of tropical products, notably
sugar. Since the industry proved to be extremely profitable,
large sugar estates were developed by British planters as the
basis of great fortunes in the Caribbean area. By the eighteenth
century the West Indies were ranked among the most flourishing
segments of the British Empire.
A series of disastrous reverses in the nineteenth century, how-
ever, forced the industry into a period of decline from which
it has never fully recovered. The abolition of slavery left the
planters with an uncertain labor supply. Competition with
foreign producers became more strenuous with the rise of costs


The Caribbean

of production and the elimination of prohibitive duties on
foreign sugar in the mother country. By the middle of the
century the West Indies had lost the monopoly they had en-
joyed in England, and they were forced to compete on equal
terms with sugar produced by slave labor in Brazil and Cuba.
During the closing years of the nineteenth century the econ-
omy of the British Caribbean territories was further weakened
by a serious epidemic of cane disease and the increased im-
portation of beet sugar into the United Kingdom. At the end
of the century the sugar industry, supplying four-fifths of the
export trade of the Caribbean colonies, experienced the most
serious crisis in its history. This was a period of widespread
bankruptcy among the planters add a marked reduction in
cultivation of sugar cane.
Early in the present century some improvement was achieved
by the substitution of other tropical crops and sea-island cotton
for sugar cane. This program was pursuant to recommendations
of a Royal Commission in 1897, which also urged the replace-
ment of large estates by small peasant holdings. The elimina-
tion of bounties on beet sugar after 1903 was another factor in
improving, to some degree, the position of the West Indian
planter in the world market. A measure of prosperity was thus
restored with the transfer of considerable acreage to the cultiva-
tion of bananas, cocoa, coconuts, citrus fruits, and sea-island
cotton. So significant was this trend that sugar cultivation was
reduced to a secondary role in the economies of Jamaica, Trini-
dad, and a few of the smaller islands.
The sugar industry was artificially revived during the war
period from 1914 to 1918 chiefly because the United Kingdom
was cut off from its supply of beet sugar. However, high prices
invited increased production in other areas and improved pro-
duction techniques in the British territories. Hence, after the war
sugar production began to exceed world demand.
Even though the British Government granted significant pref-
erence to sugar imported from the colonies, the position of the
industry in the West Indies did not improve. In 1937 exports



from the Caribbean and other sugar-producing areas were
limited by a quota system established in an International Sugar
Agreement. These restrictions led to increased unemployment
which was not relieved until World War II established a world-
wide demand for increased production.
In the meantime the tropical products which had been sub-
stituted for cane at the close of the preceding century failed
to provide more than a temporary halt of the economic decline.
Indeed, the producers of cocoa, citrus fruits, limes, bananas,
coffee, rice, and nutmeg suffered great loss from plant disease
and hurricane damage, resulting in a return of considerable
acreage to the cultivation of sugar.'


Just before World War II the West India Royal Commission,
under the direction of Lord Moyne, carried out a searching in-
vestigation of the declining economy of the Caribbean terri-
tories. In its report, published in full in 1945, the Moyne
Commission stressed a need for long-term remedies to attack the
economic problems of the area at their sources. The Commis-
sion proposed a number of measures directed toward broad
social and economic reforms. Included in the proposals was an
agricultural program based upon greater production of food-
stuffs at home and a resulting reduction of dependence on im-
ports from abroad. It was suggested that planning should
include projects designed to distribute West Indian crops abroad
in markets more stable than those associated with the sugar
industry. The Commission further recommended fostering local
industries to provide employment for a portion of the rapidly
expanding laboring population.2

1. Bernard L. Poole, The Caribbean Commission: Background of Co-
operation in the West Indies (Columbia, S. C., 1951), pp. 1-10.
2. West India Royal Commission, Report Presented by the Secretary of
State for the Colonies to Parliament by Command of His Majesty (London,
1945), pp. 426-453.


The Caribbean

The Commission's inquiries focused greater attention on an
urgent need for development projects which the colonies were
obviously unable to finance from their own resources. Indeed,
a similar program, applied to the Empire as a whole, had been
under consideration since 1929. For the Caribbean areas the
Moyne Commission recommended the establishment of a welfare
fund of 1,000,000 annually, to be financed from the British
Exchequer for a period of twenty years. The British Govern-
ment accepted the main recommendations of the Commission
but provided the needed assistance from funds appropriated in
the Colonial Development and Welfare Act of 1940. Under
the direction of a newly appointed Comptroller and staff of
advisors in various fields, a broad social and economic program
was launched in the West Indies.
All planning for implementation of the new undertaking was
done locally, and no attempt was made to decrease the privileges
of the local governmental organizations, since the functions of
the Comptroller were essentially advisory in nature. However,
approval by the Secretary of State for the Colonies and concur-
rence of the United Kingdom Treasury were required for all
Development and Welfare Funds projects. Thus, the major
responsibility for formulating and executing social and economic
development plans was transmitted to the colonial governments.3
Development and Welfare policies naturally aroused appre-
hension that assistance from Imperial funds would prejudice the
chances of the colonies to become self-supporting and ultimately
self-governing. It was obvious, of course, that permanent sub-
sidies from the British Government would not foster conditions
in which the Caribbean territories could become self-sustaining.
The fact is that financial dependence is hardly compatible with
political responsibility.
The principle that self-government to be meaningful must
rest upon solid economic foundations was recognized by the
British in planning the new approach. Subsidies made from
3. Sir John Macpherson, Development and Welfare in the West Indies,
1945-1946 (London, 1947), pp. 1-2.



Imperial funds were intended only to supplement local efforts
to produce more wealth and improve standards of living.
Economic development was designed to produce sufficient
wealth to provide a self-sustaining status, achieved by West
Indians themselves as responsible members of the world com-
Total grants of 7,500,000 were approved for various social
and economic projects by the end of 1944.5 While the Moyne
Commission in 1945 recommended that the West Indian govern-
ments foster the expansion of industry, it expressed disapproval
of any program of financing "speculative industrial enterprises."
It observed that new industries could provide employment for a
small portion of the population only, since any effective eco-
nomic policy must be essentially an agricultural policy with
the objective of expanding production of foodstuffs for home
consumption rather than for export.
The Commission acknowledged that a program of eliminating
dependence on imports, especially food, would require many
years of work and planning. Meanwhile, measures should be
undertaken to foster local industries which would not raise the
costs of living. In short, the Commission viewed the problem
of the West Indies as an agrarian one with industrial develop-
ment to be a supplementary remedy to provide employment to
a limited degree only.6
In general the Development and Welfare program followed
this cautious industrial policy until it became apparent that
an expansive welfare design cannot successfully be based on an
entirely agrarian economy. It is impossible to escape the con-
clusion that such an approach will, of necessity, result in what
Professor Thomas S. Simey has termed "planning for poverty."
While it is true that the Caribbean areas have been exploited

4. Thomas Spensley Simey, Welfare and Planning in the West Indies
(Oxford, 1946), pp. 122-125.
5. Sir Frank Stockdale, Development and Welfare in the West Indies,
1943-1944 (London, 1945).
6. Royal Commission Report, 1945, pp. 443-444.


The Caribbean

in the past by the so-called "vested interests," history has shown
that the total resources are poor and that the standard of living
cannot be materially improved by a mere redistribution of
existing wealth.7
Consequently, in 1945 a new Colonial Development and
Welfare Act was approved by Parliament to increase the scope
of the new program with greater emphasis on industrial de-
velopment. The West Indies were allotted 15,500,000 for a
ten-year period, but the colonial governments were urged to
use local funds in financing development projects to the fullest
extent consistent with their resources.8
Planning for expansion of economic activities, however, re-
vealed that more capital than had been provided to date would
be required. Hence, in 1948 Parliament created the Colonial
Development Corporation with a capital of 110,000,000 fi-
nanced partly from the British Exchequer and partly from other
sources. The primary function of this organization was to
finance projects designed to stimulate colonial industrial and
trade development and expand the production of foodstuffs.
The Corporation was authorized to undertake such ventures on
its own initiative or in association with local governments.
Although the activities of the Colonial Development Corpora-
tion mainly concerned agricultural development, they included
a number of projects intended to expand industry and trade.
By the end of 1950 approved capital investments in 4 Caribbean
territories totaled 4,287,000, distributed among 10 enterprises.
These undertakings provided employment for 2,200 people in
the areas concerned. It was not expected that the operations
of the Corporation would result in large profits, but provisions
were made to reinvest any surplus in other colonial developments
or in offsetting losses incurred in other ventures.9
Scarce factors of industrialization in the Caribbean areas

7. Simey, pp. 124-127.
8. Macpherson, pp. 3-6.
9. Caribbean Commission, The Promotion of Industrial Development in
the Caribbean (Port-of-Spain, 1952), pp. 26-27, 69.



are capital and entrepreneurship. Large savings find their way
into traditional fields of speculation in real estate and trade
rather than into industry. Because of the lack of stock exchanges
small savings are virtually excluded from investment in industrial
enterprises. In addition serious difficulties are involved in the
problem of attracting investment from abroad. International
investment levels in general have declined because of unsettled
economic and political conditions in various parts of the world.
Further, the Caribbean area faces serious competition from a
number of other undeveloped regions. In the United States
domestic investment generally is relatively more attractive to
large investors.
Government financial assistance will fill part of the void
in the field of capital investments. The development of entre-
preneurship, however, will depend on a number of factors which
cannot be reduced to a simple formula. Certainly the emergence
of initiative and enterprise should accompany the acquisition
of technical skills and experience resulting from the promotional
impetus and encouragement provided by the colonial govern-


After the inauguration of the Development and Welfare pro-
gram, the colonial governments devoted increasing attention to
promotion of secondary industries through "pioneer industry"
legislation and tax concessions. Local interest in industrializa-
tion grew, and numerous applications for pioneer status were
made in Jamaica and Trinidad, while various ventures in proc-
essing agricultural products were undertaken in the smaller
Among new industries which have been inaugurated in Ja-
maica are those engaged in the production of cement, building

10. Ibid., pp. 4-5.
11. Colonial Office, Development and Welfare in the West Indies, 1951
(London, 1'952), pp. 22-23.


The Caribbean

board, cotton and knitted goods, clothing, shoes, and luggage.
The most important achievement was the establishment of a
bauxite industry in the island in 1952. In Trinidad 57 pioneer
enterprises have been started, including the manufacturing of
beer, cement, typewriters, cardboard, textiles, paints, lingerie, and
bathing suits. Examples of progress in other areas are a modern
arrowroot factory in St. Vincent, an aluminum plant in British
Honduras, a tantalite mine in British Guiana, a canning factory
in British Honduras, a ceramics factory in Antigua, and brick,
fish-canning, and biscuit factories in Barbados.12
The industrial developments of the last decade, especially in
Jamaica and Trinidad, have been encouraging. In Jamaica the
local government has expanded incentive legislation offering
income tax and customs duty concessions to stimulate invest-
ments and industrial output which have been increased to a
significant extent. In 1955, for example, 881 more workers were
added to the total employed in registered factories, which also
increased in number from 722 to 732. During the same year
capital investment in Trinidad increased by more than 5 per
cent. Large manufacturing concerns increased from 230 to 250,
and the total number of workers employed in these firms rose
by 12 per cent. As in Jamaica, Trinidad's incentive legislation
stimulated new enterprises, including the manufacture of tin-
plate containers, gin, bathing suits, yeast, and nails. In British
Guiana 54 companies with total capital of $15,700,000 were
incorporated in a period of less than 2 years.
The two most important heavy industries in the area are oil
in Trinidad and bauxite in Jamaica and British Guiana. Income
tax and royalties from oil produce about one-third of all govern-
ment revenues in Trinidad, and exports of petroleum and
asphalt reach a total of approximately $128,000,000 annually.
The growth of the bauxite industry in Jamaica has been spectac-
ular. In 1955 Alumina Jamaica, Limited, embarked upon an

12. J. E. Heesterman, "Industry," The Caribbean, X, 4 (November,
1956), 112.



expansion program to be completed in 1958 which is estimated
to involve costs of 12,000,000. Financing of this project
will raise the company's capital investment in Jamaica to
34,000,000. Kaiser Bauxite Company and Reynolds Jamaica
Mines also engaged in expansion projects increasing capital
investments. In British Guiana a new plant for the processing
of undried bauxite into alumina is being constructed at a cost
of some $60,000,000. This new industry is expected to provide
employment for 700 people."3
Many of the industries which have been established in the
last decade have had no direct association with the agricultural
products grown in the West Indies. While such enterprises can
be introduced, as in other regions of the world, with generally
beneficial results, the most promising basis for existing and
potential industrial expansion lies in the processing of raw ma-
terials provided by domestic agriculture, livestock, and forestry.
Caribbean agricultural products fall into three broad categories:
those raised primarily for export, such as sugar cane, cocoa, cof-
fee, tobacco, and spices; those produced mostly for home con-
sumption, including rice, corn, vegetables, and root crops; and
fruit crops cultivated both for export and domestic consump-
As early as 1764 an attempt was made to relate scientific
methods to agriculture when the Botanical Gardens were es-
tablished in St. Vincent. This was followed by similar ventures
in Jamaica and Trinidad. In the nineteenth century progressive
planters formed agricultural societies to distribute information
concerning the most recently developed agricultural methods.
Government did not assume a significant role in these early
activities until the 1880's when government botanists were ap-
pointed and an official Botanic Research Station was established
in Barbados where eventually sugar cane was successfully

13. Sir Stephen Luke, Development and Welfare in the West Indies,
1955-1956 (London, 1957), pp. 29-31.
14. Caribbean Commission, Caribbean Economic Review, V, 1, 2 (De-
cember, 1953), 20-21.


The Caribbean

grown from seed for the first time. In time Barbadian seedlings
replaced the less hardy strain which previously had been culti-
vated in the West Indies for a century.
The chief link between government and the application of
scientific knowledge to local agricultural endeavor was the
Imperial Department of Agriculture, founded by Joseph Cham-
berlain as Secretary of State for the Colonies. From the work of
this organization the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture
emerged. Established in Trinidad in 1921 and financed jointly
by the British and local governments, this institution conducts
research and advisory projects, trains agricultural officers for
the whole empire, and provides technical assistants for West
Indian estates."1


In his report for 1951 the Comptroller of Development and
Welfare suggested a re-examination of agricultural policies in
the light of experience derived from the preceding ten years of
planning. The needs most emphasized were for large produc-
tion of export crops, increase in the local production of food-
stuffs, more efficient use of the land, and improvement of peasant
farming methods. In planning for increased production the
small landholder will be the key figure. It is on the peasant
farms that the most significant progress in agriculture must begin
if a stable, self-sustaining economy is to be established for
the area as a whole.
During the first decade of its operation, the Development
and Welfare program emphasized the work of equipping and
preparing departments of agriculture for productive action,
and little was done relative to expanding actual food produc-
tion on a large scale. In effect the early phase of financing
agricultural development was a preliminary period during which
the territories were equipped to attack the most basic problems.
15. Agnes M. Whitson and Lucy F. Horsfall, Britain and the West Indies
(London, 1948), pp. 50-51'.



In this respect activities of the first decade were of great value,
but it cannot be said that agricultural production increased to
an appreciable degree.16
In recent years two of the most urgent problems attacked
by the Development and Welfare organization have been those
associated with increasing local food production and improving
marketing facilities. A primary objective has been to reduce
imports from abroad of those commodities which can be pro-
duced within the area. This objective requires the production of
specialized crops in the various regions most suited for their culti-
vation and the distribution of production in a manner designed
to eliminate periods of surpluses and shortages which now
regularly occur. Problems of marketing have been the special
province of a marketing organizer, who assumed duty late in
1955. Among his recent proposals to improve facilities and
techniques are provision of adequate domestic marketing fa-
cilities, formation of food-crop producer associations, maximum
use of government marketing departments, and expansion of
central grading and packing facilities. These recommendations
have been endorsed by both the Regional Economic Committee
and the Advisory Council on Agriculture."
Sugar remains the outstanding agricultural enterprise in the
British Caribbean, roughly equaling, with its by-products, the
total cash value of all other crops. The Commonwealth Sugar
Agreement, effective to the end of 1964, has provided a measure
of stability for the industry. Under this arrangement exports
from Commonwealth producers are restricted to 2,375,000 tons,
with the quota of the Caribbean areas at 670,000 tons for
which a remunerative price is guaranteed by the British
The sugar industry has the distinction of being the most
technically progressive agricultural enterprise in the area. While

16. Development and Welfare .. 1951, pp. 28-31.
17. Luke Report, 1955-1956, pp. 35, 41-42.
18. Ibid., p. 21.


The Caribbean

sugar producers are constantly increasing efficiency of produc-
tion, progress in other agricultural industries is lagging. By
contrast with industrial countries, Caribbean agriculture is ob-
viously inefficient. Seasonal employment is the rule, and the
average return per worker is no more than $500 annually.
Production per acre is much lower than the domestic crops
permit. The inefficiencies associated with non-sugar agriculture
reflect general lack of skilled management due rather to an
inadequate number of managers than to deficiencies of intelli-
gence and initiative.
This condition continues to exist in spite of large expenditures
to expand and diversify agriculture. Agricultural services and
research have been increased in all the territories. But only a
very small portion of Development and Welfare funds has been
spent on the sugar industry, which finances its own research.
In other agricultural activities the progress which has occurred
has not been due to natural evolution. What has been ac-
complished has been achieved by the promotional impetus and
encouragement provided by government agencies. Most of the
money spent to date has been devoted to education and re-
search. But it cannot fairly be stated that these fundamental
methods of encouraging expanding production have achieved
significant results. There are no signs of an agricultural revolu-
tion similar to that which is taking place in industrial develop-
ment of the area.9


Except in Barbados, there were few organized fishing activities
in the British Caribbean as late as 1945. The industry was
carried on mainly by individual fishermen, mostly on a part-time
basis. Methods were inefficient, and working conditions offered
little to attract competent young men seeking steady employment.
Since the beginning of Development and Welfare operations,

19. A. L. Jolly, "Agriculture," The Caribbean, X, 4 (November, 1956),



however, much attention has been devoted to promoting the
fishing industry as a means of increasing local food production.
In most of the territories definite progress has been made, al-
though the tendency to avoid the industry as a source of em-
ployment has not been entirely eliminated.
Since 1946 the local governments have enacted legislation
to stimulate and organize fishing activities. Exemptions from
customs duties or rebates on fishing gear, marine engines, and
fuel have been provided in Barbados, British Guiana, Jamaica,
and Trinidad. Price controls on fish have been removed in
British Honduras and Trinidad. Fisheries officers have been
working successfully to arouse public consciousness to the im-
portance of fish as a valuable natural resource. In Jamaica a
Fish Farming Experimental Station is carrying on important re-
search in the field. Marketing and storage of fish have been
improved with the establishment of modern sanitary fish centers
in many of the territories. One of the outstanding developments
in the fishing industry has been the formation of cooperatives
as the foundation of group action to provide facilities beyond the
resources of individuals. Loans on reasonable terms are now
made available through committees of the cooperatives. The
major technical improvement in recent years has been the
introduction of engines, purchased in many instances with
government loans.20


Forestry has always been an important economic factor in
British Guiana and British Honduras. In the other Caribbean
territories the forests serve primarily to supply local needs for
lumber, to hold water supplies, and to prevent erosion of the
soil. Within the last decade, however, Trinidad has imple-
mented with considerable success a program of controlled
regeneration and development of its teak and mora forests. How-

20. "Fisheries," The Caribbean, X, 4 (November, 1956), 91-94.


The Caribbean

ever, the most important progress achieved in forestry develop-
ment has been the adoption of long-term policies designed to
preserve and improve the production potential of the area's
forest resources. The regeneration scheme adopted in 1948
in British Honduras is indicative of the prevalent philosophy
that foresight and planning are the first requisites for preserva-
tion of the wealth of the forests.21


The natural beauty and mild climate of the Caribbean area
have formed the foundations of an expanding tourist industry
during the last decade. Jamaica's Tourist Board, publicly fi-
nanced, has general jurisdiction over this phase of the island's
economy. In 1956 more than 160,000 tourists spent 7,000,000
in the territory. In Trinidad, where a Tourist Board also is
in operation, visitors spent $9,500,000 in 1955, and most of the
other islands experienced an upswing in the tourist traffic. All
areas have benefited from the abolition in 1956 of the United
States tax on travel to the Caribbean. Most of the territories
are members of the Caribbean Tourist Association, an interna-
tional organization originally established under the sponsorship
of the Caribbean Commission. The objective of the Association
is to stimulate development of tourism in the Caribbean by closer
cooperation of the nations concerned with territorial responsi-
bilities in the area.22


Revenues of the local governments have soared in the period
since 1939. There is no commonly accepted method, however,

21. Colonial Office, Report on British Honduras for the Year 1954 (Lon.
don, 1956), pp. 55-59; "Forestry," The Caribbean, X, 4 (November,
1956), 95-97.
22. Luke Report, 1955-56, p. 32; The Caribbean, IX, 9 (April, 1956),



of measuring degrees of inflation which have occurred in dif-
ferent areas. Indeed, local authorities, in spite of augmented
income, have been hard pressed to meet serious problems
arising from high living costs, high prices of consumer goods,
and financial demands imposed by increased government activity
in development projects. In these circumstances all colonial
governments have experienced considerable financial strain.23
While increased revenues have permitted local governments
to expand economic activities to a remarkable extent, colonial
authorities still face problems of varying degrees of complexity.
Rising costs of labor and materials have projected government
expenditures to new high levels. Another complication has been
the rapid expansion of the population, which increased by some
500,000 from 1948 to 1955 to reach a total of more than
3,500,000. These basic statistics graphically emphasize the
serious nature of the difficulties involved in expanding public
services to keep pace with constantly increasing numbers to
be served.
Nevertheless, the local governments are addressing themselves
with increasing vigor to the task of expanding agricultural and
industrial production. To this end they are striving to create
a favorable climate for capital investment from sources at home
and abroad. At the same time they are broadening the scope
of basic government services necessary for intensive economic
development. Special attention is accorded to farmers, both
large- and small-scale, through provision of research and training
facilities, extension of capital and credit, improvement of market
facilities, and by every means to increase the farmer's efficiency
and to promote the best use of the land. Agricultural planning
is directed toward the ultimate objective of diversifying produc-
tion with proper regard to market prospects for new crops.
Grants and loans provided for Colonial Development and
Welfare schemes during the sixteen years to March 31, 1956,

23. Sir Stephen Luke, Development and Welfare in the West Indies,
1954 (London, 1955), p. 21.

26 The Caribbean
reached a total of slightly less than 36,000,000. The existence
of the Development and Welfare organization will be terminated
early in 1958 when most of its functions will be taken over by
the new British Caribbean federation. The West Indian econ-
omy remains vulnerable because, while it has become diversified
to some degree, it is still a specialized one depending on future
prospects in overseas markets for a limited range of tropical
products. Nevertheless, the Comptroller of Development and
Welfare in his latest report makes special note of the existing
atmosphere of activity and confidence. New hands are seizing
responsibility, and aroused interest in the problems of social
and economic betterment prevails everywhere. In little more
than a single decade intensive planning for comprehensive
economic development has become a characteristic feature of
government policies in the British Caribbean areas.24

24. Luke Report, 1955-1956, pp. 5-6, 18-19.



THIS PAPER IS BASED on intimate first-hand knowledge
of one territory over a long period of years and on information
of the other territories gained at second hand. Society in
Jamaica, the territory I know best, will be treated the most fully,
and the pattern of society in Jamaica will be used as a convenient
standard for comparison. Jamaica has the largest population,
over 1,600,000, which is about half the population of all the
territories. It is the largest island territory, though it is a great
deal smaller in area than either of the mainland territories of
British Guiana and British Honduras. Nonetheless, other islands
and territories have in their societies special features not found
in Jamaica.
Society in Jamaica comprises peoples of different races:
Europeans, Negroes, Indians, Chinese, Jews, and Syrians, with
the inevitable blending of the races. The outstanding features
of society are the variety of types and the overwhelming pre-
dominance of peoples of mainly African origin or type-folk
who are usually described locally as "colored," the term
"Negro" or "Negroid" being less acceptable to them and often
regarded as derogatory. The predominance of African types


The Caribbean

exists throughout the territories except in Trinidad and British
Guiana, where these types are equalled or exceeded by people
of East Indian race. Another exception is the Cayman Islands,
with people of predominantly European race.
Traces of the aboriginal inhabitants, Arawaks and Caribs, are
rare and have to be sought for. These island Amerindians were
almost completely wiped out by the Spaniards within a short
period after their discovery of the New World. There are few,
if any, Caribs of pure race in Dominica, in Grenada, and in St.
Vincent. The Arawaks, a less hardy and warlike race, continue
to exist only on the mainland in British Guiana and in the
blood of some of the descendants of escaped slaves, the Maroons,
in Jamaica.
One can hardly escape a feeling of regret at the passing away
of the Arawaks, who were peaceful and hospitable. Their first
contacts with Columbus and his men are described from original
sources in Samuel Eliot Morison's book about Columbus.1 In
his letter to his sovereigns Columbus laid stress on the gentleness
and generosity of the natives. The Spaniards are usually charged
with their destruction, and it is only fair to them to recall the
persistent efforts of one of their priests, Las Casas, the Apostle of
the Indians, to save them.
The racial pattern in the majority of the island territories is
similar to that of Jamaica: a small minority of white people,
chiefly of United Kingdom stock, with an overwhelming ma-
jority of black and colored people. The territories which do
not conform to this pattern are Trinidad, British Guiana, and
the Cayman Islands, as noted above.
In British Guiana the East Indians are in the majority, and
there is a large community of people of Portuguese descent. In
Jamaica the Chinese minority is comparable in numbers with
the whites. There East Indians are more numerous but less
influential than whites or Chinese. There also are to be found
Jews, whose ancestors found refuge in Jamaica a long time ago
1. Admiral of the Open Sea: a Life of Christopher Columbus (Boston:
Little, Brown & Co., 1941).



when they fled from persecution in Spain and Portugal. The
economy of Jamaica has been enriched by industries brought
there by Cubans of Spanish descent and by the wealth brought
in by refugee French families from Haiti, whose descendants are
now indistinguishable from other white or colored Jamaicans
except by their French names.
In Trinidad and in St. Lucia there are people with French
blood whose native speech is French or a dialect derived from
the French language. In Barbados, the island among the first
settled by the British (in 1625) and the only one which has
always remained in British hands since its settlement, there is a
greater proportion of whites in the population than in any other
territory. The population is composed of whites, blacks, and
colored almost exclusively. It is a small island, more fully
developed economically than any other, carrying the densest
population per square mile to be found in the territories, perhaps
the densest in any agricultural country in the world (over 1340
people per square mile in 1953). It is greatly to the credit of
Barbados that it has reached the furthest of any territory in pro-
viding universal education for its citizens. A high standard of
education is provided especially in the secondary schools.
Colored and white Barbadians are to be found settled through-
out all the British Caribbean territories. Emigration is stimulated
by pressure of population. Moreover, Barbadians are well suited
by education and native energy to be successful settlers.


If one of the basic features of the society is variety in racial
type, with African predominating, or African and Asiatic (In-
dian) sharing the predominance, the other paramount feature
is the social ferment due to political advance, to recent and
rapid changes from government by a colonial power (Great
Britain) to or towards representative and responsible govern-
ment. These changes have been aided and encouraged by the
mother country, and have gone furthest in Jamaica, in Barbados,


The Caribbean

and in Trinidad. All three islands now have legislatures elected
by universal adult suffrage and have forms of cabinet govern-
ment with the administration in the hands of a chief minister
and ministers appointed from the elected members of the
At the turn of the century these islands were administered by
the British Colonial Office with the aid of a legislature elected
on a limited franchise which had more or less circumscribed
powers. In effect government was mainly by Colonial Office
officials from the mother country and planters descended from
English settlers. This form of government continued until about
twelve years ago when World War II ended, except that in the
course of years the racial composition of the legislatures had
changed to include more and more colored representatives of
the people. In the most advanced territories politically, the
racial composition of the legislatures now conforms closely to
the racial type of the majority of the electors, and the racial
composition in the government services is changing rapidly to
conform in the same way. The Colonial Office officials appoint-
ed by the mother country used to occupy the senior posts in the
service. Now as these posts become vacant, they are filled as a
general rule by locally born officials.
There has never in my lifetime been in Jamaica any dis-
crimination against colored people founded on law, nor any
avenues in the professions, in commerce, or in industry, which
were not open to colored and white. I have always from child-
hood known, or known of, colored persons and some of pure,
or almost pure, African race who were respected ornaments in
the various professions, in the government service, and in trade
and commerce. It was once true that a greater share of the
wealth of the country lay in the hands of the whites and with it
the economic power and influence derived from their wealth and
that the white inhabitants had an advantage because of their
race. Any advantage based on race or on the historical as-
cendancy of the whites has lessened and is lessening, and with
it is passing the exclusiveness, the tendency for isolation of a



ruling minority from the majority, as more and more men and
women of color swell the ranks of the professions and gain
wealth and power in trade and industry. With these political
and economic changes there has developed a greater sense of
solidarity and friendship between people of different races, de-
rived from schooling at the same secondary school, from friendly
competition in games at school and in clubs, from contacts in
the practise of the professions or in commerce and industry.
It is easy for an observer to sense in the young people a
strong feeling of emergent nationalism, a sense of excitement
even, in the taking over of the government and the management
of public affairs by the elected representatives of the people,
and to recognize in these young people a sense of purpose, of
determination to build soundly and well for their advancement,
so that they may be citizens of a nation of which they may be
proud. This sense is particularly evident among young graduates
from universities and in students at the University College of the
West Indies in Jamaica, at universities in the United Kingdom,
in Canada, in the United States. Wherever there are groups of
West Indian students, there are likely to be associations of these
students. Anyone who is privileged to meet one of these groups is
likely to be very favorably impressed by the politically con-
scious young men and women in the group. They have a strong
belief in the future of their countries and an eagerness to play
their part in the progress and advancement of the territories.
A few perhaps have thoughts of political careers. The majority
envisage for themselves careers in the professions and in the
government services. They feel that they are wanted and valued,
that they will have ample opportunities to render service and to
earn due rewards and recognition.


Society is essentially conservative, tenacious of longstanding
customs and habits, slow to change and adopt new ways. The
pattern and shape of any society are based on its origins and


The Caribbean

past history. In the West Indies, though the European now
forms a small part of the community, he has been on the scene
the longest, has had the greatest influence in government, in
education and religion, in industry, and has shaped society to
follow the pattern of Western democracy as practised in the
United Kingdom. The peoples brought from Africa as slaves
had little opportunity to preserve their social organization and
their customs. Such preservation was obstructed by planters
because any association of slaves was likely to help them to
organize and to rebel against their owners. The outcome in
Jamaica is a social organization almost entirely derived from
Britain, the mother country, with vestigial survivals of African
customs. This does not hold good in the same way in Trinidad
and British Guiana. There the pattern is predominantly that
of western European democracy, but the religious beliefs and
practices and the social customs of the East Indians are largely
derived from India, though many Indians are converts to
Society in the West Indies is still a stratified society with
merging upper and middle classes, with the laboring classes,
skilled labor in particular, aspiring to the middle classes. The
large majority of the people are poor agricultural workers and
peasant farmers, manual and unskilled laborers, domestic serv-
ants, and the unemployed.
The middle classes and those aspiring to middle-class status
conform closely in beliefs, ideals, standards of behavior, cus-
toms, and habits to those of the middle classes in the United
Kingdom. Though greatly outnumbered now by laboring
classes (unskilled low-wage earners and unemployed), the mid-
dle classes set the standards to which the lower classes aspire,
and as economic development proceeds and standards of living
improve, the middle-class ranks are being swelled more and more
from the laboring classes and their standards adopted ever
more widely.
In the book Family and Society in Jamaica2 there is a study
2. F. M. Henriques (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1953).



mainly of middle-class society. In it are described features dif-
ferent from English middle-class society, such as the tendency of
economically successful Jamaicans to marry women fairer than
themselves and the social and economic advantages of those
with fairer complexions. Counterbalancing the undoubted
tendency of ambitious Jamaicans to marry up the color scale,
there is the growth of a real sense of pride among the blacks
in their own race, which growth was fostered in the United
States and in Jamaica, for the first time, by Marcus Garvey.3
He was born in Jamaica and had a notable career in the United
States, though it ended with his expulsion and his return to
Jamaica. Lloyd Braithwaite's study4 on social stratification in
Trinidad shows that brown- and fair-skinned persons have
economic and social advantages in Trinidad as in Jamaica.
The same is no doubt true throughout the West Indies.


Most of the studies made of society in the West Indies are
made of the laboring classes. At one extreme there are the
unemployed or under-employed groups. In the cities to which
these unemployed tend to gravitate from the rural areas, they
provide recruits at the lowest extreme for criminal groups, slum
dwellers, and practitioners and followers of the occult arts, witch-
craft, and obeah derived from African witch-doctor lore. These
unemployed or under-employed groups find avenues for self-
expression and means of preserving their self-respect in Poco-
mania and revival cults, such as those described by George
Eaton Simpson,5 which practise possession by spirits and trances.
Members of the groups who become more successful economical-
ly tend to join recognized Christian churches.
3. Edmund David Cronon, Black Moses: the Story of Marcus Garvey
and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (Madison: University of
Wisconsin Press, 1955).
4. "Social Stratification in Trinidad," Social and Economic Studies,
University College of the West Indies, II, 2, 3 (1953).
5. "Jamaican Revivalist Cults," ibid., V, 4 (1956).


The Caribbean

The standard of living of these lower classes is too low for
them to aspire to stable family life, and the percentage of
illegitimate births is very high. Men and women joined in
"common-law unions" usually find the cost of getting married
prohibitive, for couples are expected to conform to the established
practice of expensive weddings. Moreover, a wife expects
more from a husband than from a common-law partner, and a
husband who is a low-wage earner may find himself unable to
support his wife in the way she expects to live. Thus a marriage
can disrupt what has been a stable common-law union.
In these classes there is then by established custom freedom
in sexual behavior and irresponsible paternity, and the burden
of rearing the offspring is very often left to the mother, who
may in turn pass it on to her own mother or aunt. There is an
established matriachal family pattern, with the fathers making
little or no contribution to the rearing and training of their
Edith Clarke6 and Madeline Kerr7 have studied and reported
on typical lower-class groups in Jamaica. The free sexual habits
of the males and the matriachal family groups spring from the
disruption of the families under slavery-from the encourage-
ment of promiscuous breeding to keep up the supply of slaves,
from the discouragement or prevention of the teaching of
religion to the slaves, and from the practice of white overseers
and owners of estates in cohabiting with selected female slaves.
It was only later when the period of emancipation was approach-
ing that ministers of religion were able to begin their missionary
work among slaves. The teaching of the Christian religion,
though largely accepted by the people emerging from slavery,
has not been effective in establishing the practice of Christian
marriage and stable family life for the masses, though it is ac-
cepted as an ideal to be achieved if possible.

6. "Land Tenure and the Family in Four Communities in Jamaica,"
ibid., I, 4 (1953).
7. Personality and Conflict in Jamaica (Liverpool: University of Liver-
pool Press, 1952).



For the future the prospects seem to be that as the economic
development of the territories advances, as universal education
becomes available to help raise productivity and income, there
will be fewer illegitimate births, fewer children without the
care and affection of both their parents, and perhaps a more
stable population in numbers, even though a recent study shows
that more children (in proportion) are born of married than
of unmarried parents, and the children born in wedlock have
better prospects of growing to maturity.8


The peoples in the British Caribbean territories are on the
threshold of further political advance, and the next step in their
advance will be the federation of those of the territories which
have agreed to unite. These territories and peoples are becom-
ing better known to the peoples of the mainland countries of
America because of their political advance, because of the
strategic positions they occupy in relation to the United States
and to Central and South America, because of their trade, and
perhaps especially because there are more and more people from
the United States and the United Kingdom who are finding the
territories beautiful, healthy, and attractive places to visit for
holidays and to live in. A well-known governor of Jamaica in
the early years of this century wrote a book about the island.
The title of his book Jamaica, the Blessed Island9 is equally ap-
plicable to almost any of the British island territories. The islands
are blessed in many ways, but not in economic resources; and the
inhabitants still have many problems to solve before they will
have a satisfactory standard of living for all. The inhabitants
are fully aware of the difficulty of the tasks ahead, of the need
for all the help they can get in technical aid, guidance, and
capital investments from abroad. But there is already a sense

8. D. Ibberson, "Illegitimacy and the Birth Rate," Social and Economic
Studies, University College of the West Indies, V, 1 (1956).
9. Baron Sydney Haldane Olivier (London: Faber & Faber, Ltd., 1936).

36 The Caribbean
of initial achievements of which the inhabitants may well be
proud. Not the least of the achievements are the cooperation
and unity of peoples of diverse races and origins in the early
stages of their progress to the full stature of nationhood.




Barbados 1946 Census
European m. 4,301
f. 5,538
African m. 67,334
f. 81,589
Asiatic m. 78
f. 58
Mixed m. 13,980
f. 19,848

Total 192,726
1953 Estimate 222,942

British Guiana 1946 Census
Amerindian 4.4%
Portuguese 2.3
Other European .7
African 38.2
East Indian 43.5
Chinese 1.0
Other Asiatic .1
Mixed 10.0

Total 369,400

1953 Amerindian 18,136
Others 447,280

Total 465,416
British Honduras 1946 Census

East Indian
Not stated

1953 Estimate




1952 Estimate




Cayman Islands 1943 Census
Black 1,051
Coloured 3,518
White 2,050

Total 6,619

Jamaica 1943 Census
Black 78.1%
Coloured 17.5
White .4
Chinese .6
Chinese coloured .4
East Indian 1.7
East Indian coloured .4
Syrian .1
Other races .8

Total 1,237,000
1956 Total 1,600,000

Trinidad and Tobago
1954 Census total 697,550
East Indian 36

Turks and 1943
Caicos Islands Census

The Caribbean

Leeward Islands

1'946 Census

Total 108,840

White Black Asiatic Mixed

Antigua 1.7% 86.0% .2% 12.1%

Barbuda .1 52.9 47.0

Montserrat .5 92.9 .1 6.4

St. Kitts 2.6 85.9 .3 11.0

Nevis .6 90.7 .7 8.0

Anguilla 1.8 79.9 .1 18.0

Tortola .5 87.0 12.4

Other Virgin Islands .6 87.9 11.5

Windward Islands 1946 Census Total 251,770

Islands Dominica Grenada St. Lucia St. Vincent

.16% .08%







.16% .02%




.5 3.1



.1 4.9 3.8 3.0





Note: I am indebted to Dr. H. D. Huggins, Director of the Institute of
Social and Economic Research, for access to the Library of the Institute,
and for opportunities to consult with workers at the Institute. The latest
population figures given here were culled from publications in the Library
of the Institute.









AN ATTEMPT TO SURVEY the cultural pattern of the
British West Indies by a professional librarian whose nine years
in the area have been fully occupied with the policy and practice
of establishing public library service may appear a presumption.
But since library service aims at bridging the gap between the
reading and life of the community by the provision of books
and reading material to every man, woman, and child who can
use them, it may be conceded that such service is the keystone
upon which the development of the culture of the community
rests, and that the quality and nature of library work, which is
related to the expressed needs of library users, will be a fair
indication of the cultural life of the community. The question
of a "West Indian" culture can arouse controversy as passionate
as that engendered by a political campaign, and I hope that
I may steer a middle course between the scholarly and sociologi-
cal study which I am not competent to undertake and the
nebulous and often pretentious writing to which this subject so
easily lends itself.
The area with which we are concerned consists of the islands
of Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, the Windwards and Lee-
wards, and Jamaica, which are scattered in a great arc of some


The Caribbean

2,000 miles between British Guiana and British Honduras, the
two colonies on the American mainland. British Guiana,
Jamaica, and Trinidad account for 2,500,000 of the total popu-
lation of some 3,000,000. This small population group is frag-
mented into smaller groups which owing to distance and bad
communications have had little contact with one another, and
the present cultural pattern reflects the history of these islands
since they were fought over by the great powers in the period
of colonial expansion, with the resulting importation of Africans
as slaves and later East Indians as indentured labor. While
the large and powerful East Indian group has preserved its
traditional way of life and religious observances, the Africans,
their tribal life shattered by their original uprooting and their
subsequent dispersal in the sugar plantations, have absorbed
the culture of the governing metropolitan powers, modified
though it may be by vestigial tribal customs and practices, the
social and economic background, and a tropical climate. The
Spanish and French influences of the early days of colonization
still remain in varying degrees, both in the speech and folklore
of many of the country districts and in the rather self-conscious
cultivation of both these cultures by a number of the creole
The island of Trinidad which contains every element of the
multi-racial society in these islands may be described as the
melting pot where all these components meet and where, con-
sidering their diversity, they coexist in reasonable amity. The
smaller islands, with an average population of 70,000, form
more homogeneous and often startlingly different groups, each
one self-contained and until recently knowing and caring little
about its neighbors. The short flight from Barbados to St.
Lucia, for example, will plunge the traveler into an exuberant
patois-speaking French and Roman Catholic background, just
as he has accustomed himself to the stratified social atmosphere
of "Little England" where, most suitably, the buses plying to
the suburbs bear the names of some of the more respectable
English watering places.



In spite of a considerable improvement in standards of living
during recent years, the general background of this predominate-
ly rural society is one of poverty and a low standard of life.
The social and economic background of the area has been
dealt with more fully in another session of this conference, and
this brief summary is intended only to place in perspective the
following discussions on the cultural activities of its people and
also to make the point that the society, the economy, and the
culture are closely interrelated, a fact which is not always
accepted by those whose thinking is colored, understandably,
by the long and often bitter struggle, first for freedom, and
latterly for self-government, and the consequent urge to cast off
colonial domination. The culture of a nation is the expression
of its way of life, and its evolution is shaped by every aspect
of the development of the nation; it cannot be drafted like a
constitution or superimposed by a set of statutes. Moreover it
cannot exist in a vacuum, and it is subject to the law of demand
and response.


It is inevitable, therefore, that the indigenous culture of these
islands is mainly to be found in the music and dance of the
people, these reflecting the hard and often primitive lives of
many of the inhabitants of the remoter country districts and
the different backgrounds of the various islands. Poverty, lack
of educational facilities and social services, coupled with a
plantation economy, have resulted in a lack of traditional crafts-
manship, good husbandry, and the usual expressions of rural
life in stabilized village communities. The result is a continual
drift to the urban areas of the larger islands, particularly from
the eastern Caribbean to Trinidad, and it is here that all the
various influences meet and make themselves seen and heard.
Again the main original contribution in music and speech comes
from the class usually described as "the common people," in the
extraordinary development of the steel band and the salty wit


The Caribbean

of the Calypso which, incidentally, suffers a sad sea change on
its way to the United States. These spring from the annual
celebration of carnival and find their true place during the two
days in the year when Trinidad abandons itself to dance and
song, and its people express their innate appreciation of color,
rhythm, and the sheer enjoyment of life.
It is therefore not surprising that many West Indians have
become international figures in the world of entertainment and
sport. Similarly it is not surprising that they have shown con-
siderable talent in the graphic arts, particularly painting, and
many homes and art galleries are adorned with works which by
their bold use of color and originality demonstrate in no un-
certain terms the existence of a West Indian school of art.
It is in the sphere of literature and drama that we find the
law of response and demand operating, for the writer has to
seek a wider public than can be found in the West Indies, and
the poetry and prose produced are to be found mainly in slim
volumes or periodical collections bearing the obvious stamp of
local printing and production. Most of the writers, therefore,
settle abroad, and although their works are often based on West
Indian life and history, they seldom return to their native
country. The dramatist, too, finds it difficult to secure an ap-
preciative audience for his work; and the theatre, although
there is considerable talent and an increasing number of plays
are being written by local authors and performed by local com-
panies, is still at what may not unfairly be described as the
amateur dramatic level of a large provincial town.
Nevertheless, during my period of work in the West Indies I
have watched what may be described as an intellectual "Opera-
tion Bootstrap" spreading throughout these islands and broaden-
ing from the small group of the intelligentsia to a wider base
which will in time produce a culture that will stand on its own
right. This is a society which has not been subjected to what has
been described as "a mass culture" and to many of the dubious
benefits of this materialistic and technological age, and in my own
sphere of work the continuous demands for books on every con-



ceivable subject, particularly by the young people, far outstrip
our resources. In the United States and Great Britain a con-
siderable amount of thought is devoted to the problem of at-
tracting people into libraries; here the only bait we need is the
book. The remainder of this paper will be devoted to the
consideration of the forces within and without the West Indies
which are shaping its cultural development.


The greatest factor in this development has been the re-
orientation and extension of the education services, hampered
though they are by the ever-present gap between the funds
available for this purpose and a rapidly increasing population,
37 per cent of which consists of children under 14 years of age.
In the larger colonies every effort is being made to extend the
provision of free secondary education, and more significant per-
haps is the emphasis which is being placed on technical educa-
tion in an effort to break down the inherited aversion to any
form of activity related to manual labour and to provide tech-
nicians for the development programmes which are going for-
ward. The type of material continually in demand in the
southern region of our library service in Trinidad, where a
technical college has recently been established, is comparable to
that of any industrial area in Britain, and it is obvious that the
youngsters now growing up will do much to qualify the state-
ment that standards of craftsmanship are low.
The ministries of education are also concerned with the ends
as well as the means of their education policy, and it is signifi-
cant that in Trinidad this ministry has been renamed the Minis-
try of Education and Culture, and that it takes under its wing
library services and a department of culture; more to the point,
it is strongly supporting their work. Education extension services
and social welfare organizations are also doing valuable work
with community groups, particularly in the country districts,
and again these activities are reflected throughout these islands


The Caribbean

by demands for library services which in many cases cannot yet
be met. And of course the one thing which has given pride
and body to all forms of educational activity in the West Indies
has been the establishment of the University College of the
West Indies which has brought university education within the
reach of many to whom it was hitherto denied.
From the beginning, University College has accepted the re-
sponsibility of extending its influence beyond the campus by the
establishment of an Extra Mural Department which, under the
direction of a senior officer, maintains tutors at strategic points
throughout the area, and the latest report of this department
indicates that some 7,000 students are enrolled in the various
classes organized by these tutors. In most of the libraries one
will find these classes going on in the evenings, and the demand
created by the interest aroused has been one of the most telling
factors in the struggle to establish library services in the smaller
islands and (an equally important step) in the recognition of the
need of a Regional service to build up a "pool" of specialist
material and, by maintaining a Union Catalogue, to organize
the interlending of such material between libraries in the area.
This is adult education in the true sense of the term; it is also
federation in action. An interesting addition to the work of
this department has been the appointment of a drama adviser
who travels throughout the area working with local groups and
organizing drama festivals which bring groups from several
islands together.
The existence of the University College has obviously done
much to direct and fuse the work of many of the cultural
organizations scattered throughout the islands, in the two-way
traffic of undergraduates from widely varying backgrounds and
social levels gathering to live and to study together and the
outward flow of expert assistance and advice from the Univer-
sity departments, together with the returning graduates trained
in a West Indian background to work for their own people.
The University College motto Oriens ex occidente lux appro-
priately sums up the high sense of mission of its founders, and in



keeping with the present spirit of the West Indies, it is pointed
out that this is not a quotation from any classical work of litera-
ture. It is original.
The other dynamic force which has made the West Indies "cul-
ture conscious," if one may use such an expression without offense,
is the rapid progress being made towards self-government, which
will culminate in 1958 in the establishment of a federation con-
sisting of Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad, and the Windward and
Leeward Islands and, it is anticipated, the achievement of
dominion status within the British Commonwealth in the near
future. West Indians are now holding the reins of government
and occupy the highest posts in the Administration, and the
resulting support of all forms of West Indian cultural activity,
if not always well conceived or directed, is a healthy and under-
standable expression of national pride. Moreover, the difficult
and protracted negotiations preceding the establishment of fed-
eration have brought these islands together as never before, and
federation will be ushered in in Trinidad, the federal capital, with
a West Indian festival which will include participants from the
whole area.
The spirit abroad in the West Indies today can be summed
up in the words of one of her leading statesmen, Norman
Manley: "But I do know that we have a contribution to make
to history. How to make a multi-racial society work with
humanity, with self acceptance, with the inner significance of
liberty manifest in every sphere-that is a task we have already
gone far to master, that is something we will make for the
world to admire and, I pray, learn from." This rings true, and
its acceptance by those who are working in the West Indies will
do much to enable them to place a great many petty irritations
and misunderstandings in their proper perspective.


The concluding section of this paper will be devoted to a
consideration of the impact of outside agencies working in the


The Caribbean

West Indies, which as might be expected from the geographical
position of these islands and the ethnic pattern are many and
various. Each of the large population groups is served by the
cultural agencies of its parent country, such as the office of the
Indian Commissioner and L'Alliance Frangaise; and in recent
years the increasing interest of the United States in West Indian
affairs is reflected by the establishment of the United States
Information Service. Although these are British colonies, we find
what may appear at first sight to be the unnecessary existence
of the United Kingdom Information Office and the British
Council, the latter an organization specifically charged with the
dissemination of British culture. The Spanish-speaking element
naturally looks to Venezuela, whose Department of Culture
distributes an impressive and well produced array of publica-
tions, such as the quarterly Revista Nacional de Cultura. Sub-
jected to this continual barrage of cultural activity, it is not
altogether surprising that in some sections of the population there
arises from time to time an expression of opinion comparable
to that which prompted the University of Oxford Union to
pass a resolution "That this house will resist the spread of the
American way of life in Great Britain," substituting for "Ameri-
can" whatever form of cultural activity has offended certain
The task of promoting cultural relations based on mutual
respect and trust between the larger powers and countries less
advanced politically and economically is one which requires the
utmost tact and (what has been sadly lacking in the past in
many instances) central organizations which can direct and plan
this work with some assurance of continuity. Much of this work
is best done in an atmosphere of anonymity with the resultant
lack of appreciation and a low rating in the eyes of Treasury
officials; moreover, work of this kind always receives the first
blast of any financial ill wind, and projects which have taken
many years of patient work are often nipped in the bud as they
are reaching fruition.
Nevertheless these cultural organizations have made a con-



siderable contribution to the life of the West Indies, not so
much, I would make bold to say, in their attempts to "put over"
the British, American, or any other way of life, as in their un-
obtrusive support of local organizations and in the opportunities
they have afforded West Indians to follow up the stimulus pro-
vided in this way with experience in a wider background over-
seas. I am quite unrepentant in my opinion that the British and
American cultural organizations in this area, which shares with
them a common language and fundamentally the same cultural
heritage, should concentrate their resources on specific profes-
sional and specialist assistance rather than on the maintenance
of programmes which relate more closely to the needs of non-
English-speaking countries and which often overlap with work
already done by local organizations and educational bodies. In
other words, without particularly relating it to America, I would
subscribe to Eugene Staley's comment that "Communism's most
strategic export to under-developed countries is ideas. The
tragedy of the world today is that ideas occupy far too prominent
a place in the United States' strategic list of prohibited exports."
I would like to justify this sweeping statement by a brief
description of the work done by the British Council in the
development of library services in these colonies which I think
illustrates the principles upon which the statement is based. In
1945 the Council allocated the sum of 80,000 to continue a
programme of work initiated by a Carnegie grant and designed
to establish free public library services linked by a regional
organization throughout the eastern Caribbean. Jamaica by
reason of its size and position was dealt with by a similar but
separate scheme. Two overseas librarians were attached to the
Council, and over a period of seven years they continued the
work which had been ably launched by the Canadian librarian
in charge of the Carnegie scheme.
This is not going to be a recital of the trials and tribulations
of pioneers who can be as boring as the people who insist on
discussing in detail their operations; we are concerned only with
the way in which this work was done and the results it has


The Caribbean

achieved. Today each of these colonies has a free public library
service financed by the government and wholly staffed by West
Indians, many of whom through the Regional Training School
possess the highest international qualifications and are pursuing
this work according to the best standards of professional prin-
ciples and practice. Here, therefore, is an example of a cultural
programme which has not only achieved its own objectives by
demonstrating the value of a British institution and providing
focal points for its activities throughout the area, but also, by a
programme planned with the cooperation and financial assist-
ance of the governments concerned and therefore keeping pace
with the social and economic development of the area, has made
a valuable and lasting contribution to the cultural development
of the area. Carnegie saw this many years ago when he pointed
out that "a library service does not pauperize: it gives nothing
for nothing; it helps those who help themselves." A recognition
of these principles would, I submit, avoid a good deal of the
misapplication of resources and misunderstanding of motives
which often negate a great many well meaning efforts of this
kind. It is indicative of the happy personal relationships
achieved in work done in this way that the overseas officers often
remain in the service of the local governments to continue it.
The British Government has implemented its policy of as-
sistance leading to economic as well as political independence
by the establishment of the Colonial Development and Welfare
Organization, which has also proceeded along the lines of initial
assistance to projects approved by their advisers in consultation
with the governments concerned, on the clear understanding
that such schemes will eventually have to be maintained from
local revenue. This organization, though not directly concerned
with cultural activities, has done much by planned ten-year
development programmes (24,000,000 was allocated for the
period 1946-56) to promote many schemes of social and eco-
nomic development which have helped to raise the standard of
life in these areas.
The British West Indies have also benefited from the work of



the Caribbean Commission, an international organization which
has helped to fill many gaps in accurate statistical information
and research, and whose services as a central clearing house and
information center have, in my opinion, not been fully utilized.
Although it is purely an advisory body, the Commission affords
a pied a terre for the activities of international organizations,
such as the World Health Organization and UNESCO, whose
experts have undertaken many useful programmes of work
throughout the area.
Apart from these government-sponsored efforts to assist the
West Indies there are, of course, the overseas business interests
which are taking part in the industrial development of these
islands; and many of the large oil, bauxite, and shipping com-
panies are making generous provision for what might be de-
scribed as development and welfare programmes of their own.
This is a realistic acceptance of the fact that the efficiency of
these enterprises depends upon the well-being and technical
training of their employees, but many of the officials (and their
wives) go far beyond these terms of reference in their voluntary
work with local organizations and in the promotion of assistance
from similar sources abroad. One can quote as an example the
flood of books which has recently descended upon Trinidad as
a result of a book drive in the United States launched by the
Alcoa Steamship Company.
The mention of shipping reminds one of the tourist trade,
which makes an important contribution to the national income
of the West Indies. I noticed that tourism was originally in-
cluded in this conference session and subsequently eliminated;
the compilers of the programme may have had the same doubts
as the writer about the relationship between tourism and cul-
tural relations! The average tourist can obviously do little more
than see sights, and he must feel that his contact with the people
of the country consists solely of outstretched hands and ex-
ploitation on the one side and the disbursement of dollars on the
other. However there are people I would describe as travelers
rather than tourists, one comes across many of them quietly


The Caribbean

pottering around the small islands, who do much to create
bonds of friendship and understanding.


We have come full circle from the large organizations to the
individual, and this is perhaps a fitting conclusion to what has
been a personal and limited approach to a subject which touches
upon all the problems facing a world whose peoples are being
rapidly, perhaps too rapidly, brought together by the wonders
of modem science. It may be felt that the tenor of this paper
has oversimplified the subject by substituting "human relations"
for "cultural relations," but as I have talked to groups of people
in many remote places throughout these islands of the Carib-
bean, I have heard often nagging at the back of my mind the
sonorous words of John Donne: "No man is an ilande, intire
of itself; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the
maine . any mans death diminishes me, because I am in-
volved in Mankinde." The truism that the world is made up of
individuals and that its future depends upon the sound judgment
and good will of each one of us must be recognized and trans-
lated into effective action by all those who are striving to make
the world a better place to live in.

Part II




THE DUTCH CAME TO AMERICA in the wake of the
Spaniards almost a hundred years after the discovery of this
"New World" by Columbus, and only because they had been
drawn into a war of liberation with Spain. They came to the
Spanish colonies because they firmly refused to be treated like
a colony themselves by King Philip II and his successors. They
came in order to fight Spain in its weakest spots and to safe-
guard their political independence by safeguarding their eco-
nomic independence.
Conveniently situated at the crossroads of coasting navigation
between the various parts of Europe, the Dutch were in an
excellent position to organize the transportation of all kinds of
merchandise from the Mediterranean to the Baltic Sea, from the
Norwegian coast to the ports of the Iberian Peninsula, from
Africa to Germany, from Germany to England, and so on,
and thus to gain wealth, strength, and fame as the salesmen-ship-
pers of Europe. When under the leadership of William, prince
of Orange, better known as William the Silent, they came in
1568 in open revolt against the king of Spain to whom they
were subservient and whose tyrannical regime they ever more


The Caribbean

detested, Spain formally closed its harbors for the Dutch ves-
sels; but as their activities were too advantageous for Spain,
the Dutch ships continued to visit Spanish and Portuguese
ports with the connivance of the local authorities.
This situation, however, ended abruptly in 1585 when sud-
denly all the Dutch possessions in Spanish and Portuguese
harbors were confiscated and the Dutch sailors were imprisoned.
The Dutch then could only get hold of any more "colonial"
products by going to the colonies themselves. They knew their
way because they had often been there in charter-navigation for
the Spaniards. They knew, too, that the colonization of the
American continent was too heavy a burden for Spain alone;
they had seen with their own eyes how weak and vulnerable
the Spanish Empire was, particularly in the Caribbean area with
its many, many islands.
At first the Dutch did not want to get a permanent foothold
in this area and were satisfied with occasional visits to the Spanish
colonies, where they found enough readiness to engage in clandes-
tine business because they paid considerably more for the
colonial products than the Spanish mother country. They were
confident that with the war ended, the old commercial traffic
could be restored. But when a truce of twelve years failed to
establish a permanent peace and in 1621 hostilities were resumed,
the Dutch decided to establish at least some permanent footholds
in the New World. The island of Curagao (discovered in
1499 by Alonso de Ojeda) after having been a Spanish posses-
sion for 135 years was taken by the Dutch in 1634 as a sedes
belli against Spain. Surinam, at first only a Dutch trading
station but afterwards for a long time a British possession, be-
came Dutch permanently in the second Dutch-English war in
1667 when England got New Amsterdam, the later New York.


There was no sharp distinction in those days between public
law and civil law. Public duties were often entrusted to private



organizations; civil contracts often contained regulations of pub-
lic law. This happened particularly in the field of colonial
The Dutch federal Republic of the Seven Provinces en-
trusted a private corporation-the West India Company-
with the administration of its American "possessions." The West
India Company operated with private capital, and its decisions
were made by a board of 19 members representing the share-
holders in the various participating cities and provinces. This
board nominated the governor and the chief magistrates of each
colony. These magistrates, together with three or four citizens,
formed the council of the colony. This council governed the
colony and meantime acted as chief court of justice. The gover-
nor got his instructions from the board of the West India Com-
pany in Holland, and the board acted freely except in matters
of war in which its decision had to be submitted to the chief
legislative and executive bodies of the Republic.
A curious fact about this "colonial government" is that it ap-
parently started from two different conceptions of a "colony."
The West Indian possessions were treated as "dependencies" to
the extent that no major decisions could be taken without the
consent of the mother country and that these major decisions
were taken by a body primarily interested in profits. On the
other hand they were treated as "settlements" in so far as their
political institutions were inspired by the political institutions
of the mother country, where the city magistrates were also
nominated and were responsible both for the administration
and for the application of justice. This ambiguous character of
the government in the Dutch West Indian possessions repeatedly
caused conflicts between people in the colonies and the magis-
trates at home. Sometimes the board at home blamed the
governor for neglecting the commercial interests of the company;
sometimes the citizens in the colony complained about the
governor and his officers, accusing them of being too eager to
make profits and too slack to defend the colonists' rights and
their interests.


The Caribbean

The West India Company in its original shape existed till
1674; in 1675 a new, reorganized, and much smaller company
was established under the same name. This new company did
not flourish too well; it had to be supported by government
subsidies, and it lingered on until 1791 when its last concession
expired. Its shareholders were no more interested in a new


After 1792 the Dutch colonies were no longer governed by a
private company administering them as a kind of public trustee.
Their administration from that year on fell under the direct
control of the Dutch government.
At the beginning of this new period, however, the Dutch
government, under the spell of the French Revolution and the
subsequent domination of Napoleonic France in Europe, was
itself subject to a series of internal changes rapidly following
each other, each inspired by more or less fundamentally different
principles. The idea of the old federal republic of seven
sovereign provinces still prevailed for a couple of years, but the
Dutch people were fed up with its lack of energy and initiative
during the whole of the eighteenth century and wanted to stop
the endless mutual deliberations of the provincial governments,
their quarrels about privileges and competencies with the re-
sultant weakness and indecisiveness. During the temporary in-
corporation of the Republic in the French Empire, the bones
of these provincial governments were broken; and when, after
the fall of Napoleon, the Netherlands regained their freedom,
they abandoned the idea of a republic, established a kingdom
under the House of Orange-Nassau (in which Belgium was in-
corporated) and adopted a constitution with as many guarantees
as possible against a return of the old provincialism.
This internal constitutional development of the Netherlands
was reflected in the development of colonial government. As
long as the old institutions of the federal Republic prevailed,



the colonies were administered by various boards and councils
nominated by the government but in which the cities and the
provinces kept their own people and had their own say. Gradu-
ally, however, the control of the mother country became more
and more concentrated in the hands of a few persons, until the
first royal constitution stipulated that the administration of the
"colonies and possessions" was an exclusive royal prerogative.
The king in fact was not allowed to share his responsibilities
for the administration of the colonies either with a private cor-
poration like the West India Company or with the now power-
less provinces or even with a parliament in which the Belgians,
quite unaccustomed to such an administration and not quite
trusted by the Dutch, had too large a voice. The colonial
officials were responsible to the king and got their orders from him.
For the time being this autocratic regime worked pretty well,
because the first king of the Netherlands, William I, was a
broad-minded man who stimulated the economic activity of his
own people as well as that of the colonies. As had the West
India Company, he charged a council of three officials and
three citizens with the internal government of the colonies, and
in his instructions to this council, as well as to the governor, he
stipulated that they had to take utmost care for the integrity of
the civil service, for the application of justice, for the support
of the poor, the widows, and the orphans, and for the promotion
of economic activity. The instructions to the governor ordered in
so many words that the harbor of Curaao-one of the most
beautiful natural harbors in the Western Hemisphere-must be
opened for the ships of all friendly nations, that everything had
to be done to attract merchants and craftsmen able to increase
the islands' wealth, and that agriculture and cattle breeding
should be furthered.

During the strong personal reign of King William I the Dutch
gradually switched from the idea of provincial autonomy to
that of parliamentary democracy, a change in mental attitude


The Caribbean

which demonstrated itself in the great constitutional reform of
1848 whereby royal power was considerably reduced in favor
of parliament.
The father and chief promoter of this constitutional reform,
Jan Rudolf Thorbecke, strongly objected to the king's monarchic
power in the colonies and secured parliament a share in this
power. The people in the colonies, he reasoned, are Dutch
citizens. Perhaps the rules of the Dutch government are not
all at once applicable to them, but as Dutch citizens they have
the full right to be protected by the Dutch parliament. The laws
of the colonies had to be subjected to parliament as a guarantee
against arbitrariness. Though the constitution still indicated
the colonies as "overseas possessions," it is, according to its most
renowned commentators, evident that they were after 1848 not
considered "possessions."
In accordance with these new constitutional principles, new
regulations for Surinam as well as for the Netherlands Antilles
were enacted by law in 1865-but these regulations were,
curiously enough, not identical for both territories. Surinam got
a "colonial parliament" of 13 members, 9 of which were elected
by some 800 voters. In the Netherlands Antilles the colonial
parliament contained no elected members at all; apart from
some senior executives occupying seats by virtue of their offices,
its members were appointed by the governor. The Dutch
legislative assembly protested against this exceptional position
which it considered as inadequate with the relatively high level
of education of the whites as well as of the colored people on
these islands; but it finally supported the government's proposal
because, according to the generally accepted standards of that
time-there was no general suffrage in the Netherlands either
-the right of voting had to be based on property qualifications,
and only a very small group of people-some 200 in a popula-
tion of 20,000 in Curagao-could show such qualifications.
Nomination by the governor was considered a better guarantee
for democracy and against the rule of a few than a system of
elections based on 200 voters. Moreover, the government faced



the difficulty that another 13,000 people lived on the other
islands. In a system of parliamentary elections these people, too,
could claim the right to send their own representatives, and this
would make regular meetings of the colonial parliament almost
impossible as long as communications between the islands were
defective. Thus, political institutions in the West Indian ter-
ritories of the Netherlands after 1865 were not quite similar to
the political institutions in the mother country, since they did
not all proceed from considerations of "colonialism"; some of
them at least were only concessions to local conditions on the
The Regulations of 1865 did not include anything like
ministerial responsibility for the colonial parliament. All execu-
tive power was concentrated in the hands of the governor, per-
sonal representative of the king and responsible only to him.
This did not mean that the king could still govern the colonies
according to his own pleasure, because the constitutional re-
vision of 1848 in the Netherlands made the cabinet ministers,
without whose cooperation the king remained powerless, re-
sponsible to the Dutch parliament. Indirectly the governors
thus were responsible to the parliament at The Hague. In the
stipulations of the law their sole executive responsibility to a
monarch might look like sheer colonialism; in fact, however,
against the background of the Dutch constitution, it was a
responsibility to the elected representatives of the Dutch people
for the welfare and the application of law in a part of the
Kingdom considered as a settlement of that same people.
The fact that the governor was not formally responsible to the
colonial parliament did not mean that this parliament had no
power at all. The budget, as well as every bill, had to be sub-
jected to its judgment, and everyone of its members could intro-
duce bills on his own initiative, as well as amendments to the
governor's proposals. Generally speaking, the governor could
negate its decisions, but in fact he could do so only if the interests
of the mother country were evidently at stake, as for instance
when the budget of the colony showed a deficit to be supplied


The Caribbean

by the Netherlands. The islands of the Netherlands Antilles
were in fact politically dependent only in so far as they were
financially dependent.
During the second half of the nineteenth century many of the
highest government executives were local people, descendants
of Portuguese-Jewish merchants and of traders, captains, and
officials of the West India Company, who a century ago or
more had established themselves in CuraSao and formed there
an indigenous group of whites with an essentially Dutch culture
and with an ability to govern their country equal to the best
officials the mother country could provide.


Life in the Netherlands Antilles fundamentally changed after
1915 when the Anglo-Dutch Shell Oil Company decided to
establish a refinery in Curagao for the output of its Venezuelan
oil concessions. In 1924 Standard Oil of New Jersey followed
Shell's example and started a refinery in Aruba. Both these
refineries grew rapidly. The Standard refinery in Aruba is at
present the world's largest, the Shell refinery in CuraSao closely
Oil created wealth; wealth created financial independence;
and financial independence created the desire for complete
political self-government. Now that these islands gradually
became able to finance their own administration, their own
public works, their own schools, their own social provisions,
they felt less inclined to accept interference of the mother country
in their internal affairs. They did not want to get rid of the
mother country; the ties of blood and culture were too strong,
and the hard-working leaders of the people were too sober
minded not to see that their six islands combined were too small
a community ever to realize the status of a sovereign state.
In 1936 the Dutch government revised the Regulation for
the Netherlands Antilles. But as this revision was a temporizing
attempt to combine a grant of self-government with many



elements of the old system-too tightly interwoven with the
political institutions of the Netherlands themselves to endure
fundamental changes-it led to a rather paradoxical result. The
local government indeed got more freedom of decision in local
affairs. The ties by which its chief executive, the governor, was
bound to the orders and the consent of the government in the
mother country were loosened to a certain degree. The governor
got a freer hand in local affairs with fewer responsibilities to-
wards the Netherlands. But in the meantime no adequate new
responsibilities were created for him within the Netherlands An-
tilles, as for instance towards the colonial parliament. This grant
of self-government for the Netherlands Antilles, though well
meant, could easily be interpreted as a grant of self-government
to the governor. Thus the situation became more unsatisfactory
than before 1936.
This situation could not be very advantageous for the develop-
ment of real parliamentary traditions. The revision of the
Regulation had included the introduction of elections for a
majority of the seats in the colonial parliament, and consequently
some attempts were made to organize public opinion into politi-
cal parties. But as none of these parties under the system of the
revised Regulation could ever expect a real share in the govern-
ment by which they could prove their vitality and the ability of
their leaders, they could hardly vivify political interest, the very
basis of their own existence. In fact they all directed their
criticism towards the mother country, seemingly responsible for
everything, instead of towards each other. The revision of the
Regulation in 1936 was a psychological mistake.


World War II, like a shock therapy, opened the minds of
peoples all over the world to new forms of national and inter-
national relationships and prepared their readiness to accept
solutions never thought possible before and to adapt old
institutions venerated by tradition to a completely new situation.


The Caribbean

Only six years after the revision of the Regulation of the
Netherlands Antilles, on the anniversity of Pearl Harbor in 1942,
Her Majesty Queen Wilhelmina, deeply moved by the efforts
of both the Netherlands East and West Indies to support the
mother country in its fierce struggle against the German invader,
with the full consent of the Dutch cabinet at that time emigrated
to London, addressed all the peoples of the Dutch Kingdom in a
radio talk in which she made the solemn promise that immediate-
ly after the war steps would be taken towards a new partnership
within the Kingdom in which the several countries would "partic-
ipate with complete self-reliance and freedom of conduct for each
part regarding its internal affairs, but with the readiness to ren-
der mutual assistance." Since at that moment the attention of the
Dutch government had to be fully concentrated on the war and
the liberation of the Netherlands, and nobody could predict
how long this war would last, the Queen encouraged all her
subjects to express their thoughts and their wishes regarding the
future status of their country and its internal political structure.
In the Netherlands Antilles, where most people apparently
were interested primarily in the economic consequences of free-
dom and self-government, only a few people gave their opinions
on the way in which freedom and self-government must be real-
ized. Most people preferred to wait until the end of the war
when the actual position of the Netherlands could be seen more
clearly and the Dutch people could express its opinion, too.
Interest, however, gradually grew. People got rapidly ac-
quainted with the idea of freedom and self-government, and
when the war was over and the Netherlands had overcome the
first heavy difficulties of economic and political reconstruction, the
Netherlands Antilles as well as Surinam were anxious to open the
discussion about self-government and about the reconstruction
of the Kingdom as promised by the queen.
These discussions, started in 1946 and ended in 1954, went
through various phases:
(a) In 1948 a new Regulation was promulgated for the Neth-
erlands Antilles and Surinam both, whereby new political



institutions were established in which self-government was real-
ized as far as the existing prewar constitution of the Netherlands
allowed it to go.
(b) In the same year, 1948, a first Round Table Conference
was held at The Hague in which various recommendations were
made for an enlargement of self-government beyond the limits
of the old Dutch constitution.
(c) Again in the same year, 1948, the Dutch parliament
accepted a constitutional amendment by which the old constitu-
tion was "opened" to the extent that further changes in the
internal political structure of the Netherlands Antilles and Suri-
nam, and in the responsibilities of these "overseas territories"
towards the mother country, could with a slight difference in
parliamentary procedure be realized by law even if they went
beyond the limits of the constitution.
(d) In 1949 and 1950 the Regulations of 1948 were revised,
again respectively for Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles.
Both of these Regulations, later called "State-Regulations," pro-
vided complete internal self-government immediately, as allowed
by the constitutional amendment of 1948. The provisions on
the organization of the Kingdom, however, on which discussions
between both overseas territories and the mother country had not
been completed, had a provisional, interim character.
(e) In 1952 a new amendment to the Dutch constitution
stipulated that the relations between the Netherlands, Surinam,
and the Netherlands Antilles should in future be laid down in a
charter on which the three countries as equal partners should
agree and which should be recognized as constitutional law itself.
(f) In 1954, after various meetings of a new Round Table
Conference, an agreement was reached on the content and the
wording of the Charter; and in December of that same year its
text was signed during a solemn session of the Conference in the
Knights Hall at The Hague by the prime ministers of the three
partners and by Her Majesty Queen Juliana. With the promul-
gation of this Charter in the three countries all at once, the re-
construction of the Dutch Kingdom was completed.


The Caribbean


The Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is a long
document of 61 paragraphs, but the most important stipulation
is laid down in two lines which contain the principle that the
three partners "manage their own affairs autonomously." With
these five words self-government is anchored in constitutional
law. Each of the three partners can organize its own adminis-
tration according to its own views without the consent of the
other two.
In fact the political institutions of the Netherlands Antilles
and Surinam are still the same as those laid down in the State
Regulations of 1949 and 1950 because the system created by
these documents, which are recognized now as the internal
constitutions of these "overseas parts of the Kingdom," proved
to be satisfactory for the time being. Except for those stipulations
in these internal constitutions relating to the general princi-
ples on which the Kingdom as a whole is built and which can-
not be changed except by mutual agreement of the three
partners, the Netherlands Antilles and Surinam are free to
change their internal constitutions by a two-thirds majority
decision of their respective parliaments.
Like the constitution of the mother country, the constitutions
of the Netherlands Antilles and Surinam are based on the prin-
ciple of a constitutional monarchy. The head of the government
in the Netherlands Antilles, or in Surinam, can do nothing with-
out the cooperation of the local parliament and cabinet, or of the
individual ministers. The ruler is a "constitutional king" who
cannot sign a law which does not get a majority in parliament
and which does not bear the signature of at least one of the
responsible ministers.
The constitutions of both Surinam and the Netherlands
Antilles stipulate that the ruler of the Netherlands is also the
head of government in these countries. Surinam and the Nether-
lands Antilles thus are kingdoms in their own right-the only
real kingdoms in the Caribbean area.



The King-in point of fact, the Queen-of the Netherlands
is represented in each of the two countries by a governor appoint-
ed by her, who has of course the same position as the Queen:
he has no power without the consent of the local parliament and
the signature of the responsible local ministers. He cannot pro-
mulgate any law without the consent of parliament and without
at least one of his cabinet ministers signing the bill with him.
As the head of the government he has no responsibility towards
Legislative power is vested in a one-chamber parliament of
22 members, all elected by the people of the Netherlands Antilles
under universal suffrage of men and women from the age of 23
years on. The members are elected on party lists in a system of
proportional representation, with a slight deviation in that each
of the islands elects a certain number of members stipulated by
law. The island of Curagao with about 110,000 inhabitants
elects 12 members; Aruba with about 60,000 inhabitants, 8
members; Bonaire with about 5,000 inhabitants, 1 member; and
the three Windward Islands together with a population of 3,500,
also 1 member.
This legislative body has all the usual parliamentary rights. It
has the power to vote the budget and every law with or without
amendments; every member may propose new bills on his own
initiative; parliament may question every cabinet member.
The cabinet consists of five or six ministers and is headed by
a Prime Minister who, apart from being chairman, is the equal
of each of his colleagues. Each of the ministers is responsible not
to the governor, but to parliament. The ministers are nominated
by the governor after consultation with parliament.
The courts vested with the judicial power are independent of
both the legislative and the executive.


In the old colonial and semi-colonial regimes CuraSao always
occupied an exceptional place in the political structure of the


The Caribbean

Netherlands Antilles: the position of the admiral's ship in a
fleet of islands, the center of the government. Each of the other
islands had some government of its own, but these island govern-
ments had only a very limited scope; they all got rigid instruc-
tions from the central government in CuraSao. On the other
hand, the island of Curacao had no government of its own;
the central authorities administered the island as a side line of
their duties.
This situation was the source of many troubles in Curaao as
well as in the other islands, particularly in Aruba, since this
island, after the establishment of the world's largest oil refinery
there, became economically and financially self-supporting and
no longer accepted a position of dependence upon its sister island.
The Windward Islands, too, situated some 500 miles from
Curacao and with an English-speaking population, had their
To meet this situation the islands got their own separate
governments. Each of them-except the three Windward
Islands, which were bound together into one administrative
unit-got its own legislative body and its own executive council,
both headed by a local governor nominated by the Queen, like
the governor of a province or the mayor of a local community
in the Netherlands.
Administration and finance were divided between the central
government of the Netherlands Antilles as a whole and the island
governments; in fact more than half of the administrative duties
went to the islands.
The relationship between the legislative body and the executive
council in the island governments, as well as their responsibilities,
followed in principle the pattern of a province or local com-
munity in the Netherlands, where legislature and executive are
more closely tied together. The local governor of an island is the
actual chairman of the legislative body as well as of the executive
council, and the members of the council may be-and at least
half their number are required to be-members of the legislative




The bulk of the Charter's provisions deal with the construction
of the Dutch Kingdom as a whole and the relations between the
three kingdom-partners: the Netherlands, Surinam, and the
Netherlands Antilles. Generally speaking, the stipulations with
regard to the construction of this Kingdom fall under two
(a) The extension of the Kingdom's responsibilities. It is
generally stipulated that the liabilities and responsibilities of the
Kingdom's government are strictly limited to those mentioned
in the Charter. In all matters not expressly mentioned in this
document, the three partners are free to decide for themselves.
Of course this freedom includes the freedom of mutual agree-
ment on matters not mentioned in the Charter and the freedom
to declare such matters "kingdom matters." Thus, for instance,
the three countries agree about economic coordination. In other
matters such as the currency and the monetary system, banking
and foreign exchange policy, air-navigation and shipping, and
telecommunications, they agreed to consult with each other be-
fore taking decisions.
Two groups of kingdom matters are mentioned in the Charter
itself. First are those matters which concern the unity and the
protection of the interests of the three countries. Under this
group the most important matters are foreign relations and
defense. Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles have no diplo-
matic services of their own; they are represented in and by the
diplomatic service of the Kingdom as a whole. The Netherlands
Antilles are defended by the Dutch navy and they contribute
to the costs of this defense. Minor kingdom matters in this
group are: the questions of citizenship, the laws about the
nationality of ships, and provisions for admission and expulsion
of aliens.
The second group of kingdom matters consists of the fun-
damental principles of justice and administration which are
accepted as constitutional law by the Kingdom as a whole. The


The Caribbean

acceptance of these principles in the constitution and in the
judicial and administrative practice of each of the three partners
is considered as a kind of "condition of admittance" to the King-
dom. The Charter stipulates: "Each of the countries provides
for the realization of the fundamental human rights and free-
doms, the rule of law and the soundness of the administration.
The guaranteeing of these rights, freedoms, rule of law and the
soundness of administration is an affair of the Kingdom."
(b) The government of the Kingdom as a whole. The King-
dom as a whole is governed according to the same principles
again as the government of each of the three countries. The
crown of the Kingdom is by hereditary right to be worn by Her
Majesty Queen Juliana, princess of Orange-Nassau, and by her
legitimate successors. She is a "constitutional queen" and as such
acts only in cooperation with the parliament of the Kingdom
and its ministers.
The cabinet of the Kingdom consists of the Dutch cabinet and
of two Ministers-plenipotentiary, one nominated by Surinam
and one nominated by the Netherlands Antilles. These Ministers-
plenipotentiary have their permanent residence at The Hague.
Whenever decisions have to be taken on matters regarding the
Kingdom as a whole, such decisions can only be taken in a meet-
ing of the kingdom-cabinet of which they are full members.
Such decisions are, for instance, proposals of laws valid for the
whole Kingdom, the nomination of a governor, the nomination
of an attorney general, of the local governors for the islands in
the Netherlands Antilles, and so on.
If such decisions require some piece of legislation and conse-
quently the cooperation of the Kingdom's legislative body, the
relative proposals are first sent to the parliaments of Surinam and
the Netherlands Antilles which may examine them and within a
fixed term can submit a report in writing on them before the
public discussion in the Kingdom parliament. This "Kingdom
parliament" in fact is the Dutch parliament, the States General
at The Hague, which contains no members from Surinam or the
Netherlands Antilles. If however the Dutch parliament acts as



Kingdom parliament, it follows a special procedure. The pro-
visions of the Charter about this special procedure read as
Before the final vote is taken on any proposal for a Kingdom
statute in the Chambers of the States General, the Minister-
plenipotentiary of the Country in which the provisions shall
apply is given the opportunity to express his opinion on such
proposal. If the Minister-plenipotentiary declares himself op-
posed to the proposal, he may at the same time request the
Chamber to postpone the vote till the following meeting. If,
after the Minister-plenipotentiary has declared himself opposed
to the proposal, the Second Chamber accepts it with a smaller
majority than three-fifths of the votes cast, the consideration is
postponed and further consultation on the proposal takes place
in the Council of Ministers.
Thus Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles have, both together
or each separately, a 10 per cent minus 1 vote influence in the
Kingdom parliament.
A special procedure has been established further to prevent
overruling of the Ministers-plenipotentiary in the Council of
Ministers. The Ministers-plenipotentiary have a right to de-
mand a continuance of the relevant discussions if they have
serious objections against the preliminary opinion of the Council.
The continued discussions are conducted between the Prime
Minister, two Netherlands Ministers, a Minister-plenipotentiary,
and a Minister to be designated by the country concerned. The
ultimate result arrived at in these discussions is binding upon
the Council of Ministers.
This solution, different for instance from the solution accepted
by France whose former colonies are represented in the parlia-
ment in Paris by a number of delegates, was adopted on the
urgent request of both Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles
themselves. The population of both these countries together is
about 400,000. Their own internal constitutions require the
establishment of various political bodies which have to be
manned by quite a number of able citizens. The very idea of self-


The Caribbean

government, moreover, also requires that another considerable
number of able locally-born officials should be incorporated in
the administration of these countries.
A third group of equally able men and women is badly needed
in the countries themselves in order to work for the educational,
economic, and social welfare of their rapidly growing popula-
tions. In order to give them a 10 per cent influence in the King-
dom-parliament, Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles each
would have to send a great number of their most able people
either permanently or at least for a considerable part of the year
to The Hague. Both countries stood firm in their opinion that they
could make a better use of their limited man power and thus
gave the very first proof of their political maturity and their
willingness to use their full strength in making a success of their


Since the first steps to a realization of complete self-govern-
ment in Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles were taken, almost
ten years have elapsed. It is still too early to come to final con-
clusions about the degree of success regarding the reorganization
of the Dutch Kingdom and the establishment of Surinam and the
Netherlands Antilles as completely equal and self-governing
partners within this new Kingdom. However, some observations
on the actual development of autonomy in these "overseas
parts of the Kingdom," particularly in the Netherlands Antilles,
can already be made.
(a) Democracy can only become a really living system of
government if it rests on a widespread interest in the affairs of
the community. As far as the Netherlands Antilles are concerned,
it may be stated that such a widespread interest seems indeed
to be present. The percentage of the male and female population
actually going to the polls at the elections, either for the parlia-
ment of the country as a whole or for the legislative body of each
island, is extremely large; it usually far surpasses 90 per cent,



which is much more than the usual attendance at the elections
in countries of much older democratic standing. Election cam-
paigns are extraordinarily exciting and often reach culminating
points comparable only with a real Caribbean "fiesta."
(b) As in the Netherlands, proportional representation has
led to the development of a multi-party system. The partition
lines between the various parties operating in the Netherlands
Antilles, however, follow quite another pattern than the partition
lines between political parties in the mother country. In the
Netherlands the party system is based on principles of political
theory, partly interwoven with religious principles. Early in the
political development of the Netherlands Antilles an attempt
was made to establish a Catholic party in Curagao and a
Christian party in Aruba, but although 80 to 90 per cent of the
population are Catholic, this attempt did not lead to success.
There are neither "conservative," "liberal," "socialist," nor
"communist" parties in the Netherlands Antilles. The partition
lines do not run parallel to colour lines, as in Surinam where
the population is sharply divided into a strong group of colored
creoless" and an equally strong group of "hindustani." Parties
are influenced by quite other elements such as the difference
between town and country, the presence of strong groups of
Dutchmen and of people from Surinam, and last but not least,
elements of personal leadership which make it hard to define
exactly the differences between political platforms. This does
not mean, however, that in the very small communities of the
Netherlands Antilles people are not well aware of these dif-
ferences for they are exceedingly real.
(c) In a multi-party system a one-party cabinet is an excep-
tion; usually the parliamentary majority supporting the cabinet
consists of two or more parties. This almost inevitably leads
either to compromise or to instability. The two full-dress
cabinets, however, by which the Netherlands Antilles have been
governed since 1950 showed a remarkable stability in spite of
the fact that neither of them was backed by an overwhelming
majority. This stability seems to be partly due to the fact that


The Caribbean

the backbone of each of these cabinets was a combination of
two major parties, one operating only in CuraSao and one
operating only in Aruba-two parties which thus could not
fight each other in their electoral campaigns.
(d) The reconstructed Kingdom, established within a rela-
tively short space of time, is quite a complicated composition
of liabilities and responsibilities. Neither the Netherlands,
Surinam, nor the Netherlands Antilles had had any experience
with this new political construction, which by its very com-
plexity afforded many possibilities for conflicts. This complicated
composition of liabilities and responsibilities, full of difficult situa-
tions, had to be handled by people historically acquainted with
the idea that authority and more or less absolute power were
identical things, and who had to adapt themselves within a
short time to the practice of authority with strictly limited
powers. It must be stated to their credit, however, that their
leaders have up to now shown a remarkable self-restraint. When-
ever during the past eight years conflicts arose, a way out was
found in sound judgment and deliberation.
(e) Government in these countries is considered a serious
business. As in other countries of the world, almost every
government measure meets more or less well-founded criticism,
and perhaps some of these measures will in the future prove to
be failures. But it cannot be denied that the governments of
Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles contain hard-working
men, completely conscious of their responsibilities towards their
own people and trying to find ways towards greater social
security and towards economic expansion. In the lower strata
of officials, lawyers, teachers, and businessmen, a new generation
of capable, interested, self-conscious, hard-working, and pa-
triotic young men is growing up as a real spes patriae.



THE ECONOMIC FACTORS will be described separately
for the Netherlands Antilles and for Surinam.

1. The Netherlands Antilles

The Netherlands Antilles comprise the islands of Aruba,
Curagao, and Bonaire (Leeward Islands), and St. Eustatius,
Saba, and part of St. Maarten (Windward Islands). The three
Leeward Islands are situated close to the coast of South America.
The Windward Islands belong to the completely different group
of islands which form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean
Sea. When talking about the Netherlands Antilles it is often not
realized that they are composed of two groups at a considerable
distance from each other. Curagao, for instance, is 500 miles
from St. Maarten. The distinction between "windward" and
"leeward" relates to the northeastern trade winds prevailing in
the Caribbean Sea: windward are the islands between the Gulf
of Paria and Puerto Rico, leeward those between the Gulf
of Paria and the Paraguana Peninsula.
The islands of Curaao, Aruba, and Bonaire do not have the
same geological formation as the north coast of South America.


The Caribbean

Their geological development resembles in many respects the
other regions of the Antillean area. Characteristic for Curacao
are the handlike inlets of its south shore. The Anna Bay and
Schottegat, forming a magnificent natural harbor, are well
known. Bullen Bay, Spaanse Water, and Caracas Bay are safe
roadsteads where even the biggest ships can bunker. Aruba has
no real bays; here the lagoons provide safe anchoring grounds,
for instance near Oranjestad and St. Nicolaas where modern
harbor installations can be found.


The Leeward Islands are situated in a region of extreme
drought extending from the Orinoco to the mouth of the
Magdalena in Colombia. Their climate is a so-called tropical-
steppe climate. The average annual precipitation in these three
islands amounts to 550 millimeters. Since the evaporation of a
water surface is estimated to be 6 millimeters per day, it is not
surprising that this very light precipitation in a tropical area
causes the country generally to have an arid, and sometimes
even a burnt, appearance. The average annual temperature is
27.50 C., with a minimum around 23 and a maximum near
330. The Windwards are less arid. The average precipitation
amounts to 1000 millimeters annually, which is not much for a
tropical region.
The water famine of the Leewards prohibits agriculture of
any significance. A solution could be found in preventing the
small quantity of rain water from flowing down to the sea.
Recently several dams which had been neglected have been
repaired. New dams are being constructed. Windmills are to be
found everywhere; they are characteristic of the scenery of the
Leeward Islands.


There are all together 181,100 people living in the Nether-
lands Antilles. Their distribution over the islands is:



Curagao 114,700
Aruba 57,400
Bonaire 5,400
St. Eustatius 1,000
Saba 1,100
St. Maarten 1,500
The population of the Netherlands Antilles, and especially
that of the Leeward Islands, is extremely mixed. The aborigines
of pure Indian stock have disappeared. The features of the
people of Aruba show the last traces of their Indian ancestry.
Apart from the old Netherlands and Portuguese-Israelitic fam-
ilies originally active in commerce and agriculture, Curagao
has a large number of inhabitants of African descent. In more
recent times, after the oil industry started attracting workers from
the surrounding area, people from Bonaire and from the Wind-
ward Islands settled in Curacao, as did Europeans of various
nationalities, North and South Americans, Puerto Ricans, people
from the Guianas, from the British West Indies, and even from
Madeira. The settlement of the latter groups as a rule had only
a temporary character. The prosperity which resulted from
the development of the oil industry drew Chinese, Syrians,
people from Bombay and, later, Jews from eastern Europe. In
CuraSao there are consequently no less that forty different
nationalities. In the Windward Islands there are mostly people
of African descent, as well as an old, small settlement of Nether-
landers, Scotsmen, and Irishmen.


Until the beginning of the twentieth century the economy of
the Netherlands Antilles was a poor one, with only intermittent
periods of improvement. Trade with Venezuela and the sur-
rounding countries was on a limited scale; small quantities of
phosphate were exported. The excellent natural port of Willem-
stad on the island of Curagao was used as a bunker station but
gradually lost its importance. Traffic was fairly heavy, but it
did not acquire a truly international character.


The Caribbean

For the island of Curagao conditions changed when in 1916
the Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij (Royal Dutch Shell)
established a subsidiary, which was subsequently named the
Curaaose Petroleum Industrie Maatschappij (C.P.I.M.). In
1917 a shipping company, the Curagaose Scheepvaart Maat-
schappij (C.S.M.), was established, which imports crude oil from
Venezuela in tanker ships. Both companies belong to the Royal
Dutch Shell group. In a few decades this great enterprise trans-
formed Curagao from a poor island into an ultramodern center
of industry, and Willemstad became an important world port.
For Aruba the upward swing started in 1926 when the
American Lago Oil and Transport Company established an
oil refinery and a tanker shipping company on that island under
the auspices of the Standard Oil of New Jersey group.
The C.P.I.M. and the Lago are among the biggest refineries
in the world. Both enterprises process oil from Venezuela; the
Lago Company also processes oil from Colombia. The Lago
Company in particular has made a specialty of the processing
of crude oil for the production of substances of high-octane
gasoline. The C.P.I.M. products are more varied; among them
lubricating oil is produced in great quantities.
Approximately 300,000 barrels of crude oil are processed
on CuraSao every day on a site which is as big as the city of
London. On this site there are 850 tanks with a total capacity
of 3,700,000 cubic meters. The total length of all pipelines on
CuraSao equals 750 kilometers; the central electric plant has a
capacity which would be great enough to provide one-quarter
of the Netherlands with electric current for domestic purposes.
No less than 13,000 employees make their living by working
for the C.P.I.M., the C.S.M., and their associate enterprises
such as shipbuilding yards, docks, and metal plants.
On Aruba the Lago has an intake of 400,000 barrels of
crude oil per day. Owing to intensive mechanization the site is
smaller than that of the C.P.I.M. The number of employees
is also less large; nevertheless, the 8,000 employees of the Lago,
together with their families, constitute half of the Aruban popu-

lation. Among these employees there are 700 United States
citizens. Both companies own hospitals which are among the
best equipped in the Caribbean area.
The economic importance of these two oil companies for the
Netherlands Antilles can be gauged from the fact that in 1951
the amount of salaries and wages paid out by C.P.I.M. equalled
55,000,000 guilders. If the expenditure on work carried out
by local contractors and on local purchases is also taken into
account, the total contribution to the wealth of the Netherlands
Antilles provided by C.P.I.M. amounts to 74,000,000 guilders,
which is equal to twice the amount of currency circulating on
Curacao. The contribution provided by Lago amounts to ap-
proximately $25,000,000 (one United States dollar equals two
Antilles guilders). It is obvious that the income derived from
these two enterprises is of paramount importance to the popu-
lation, which numbers less than 200,000 persons.


One of the reasons why trade and traffic are of great im-
portance to the Antilles is that there are a number of excellent
ports which have recently been considerably improved in size
as well as in equipment. Furthermore, there is a modern ship-
building and repairing enterprise on Curagao which has dry-
dock facilities and gives work to 600 employees.
The airports, of which the two largest are situated on Aruba
and on CuraSao, are up to modern standards and provide land-
ing facilities for heavy aircraft. The air safety operations for
a large part of the Caribbean area are conducted from these
two airports.
The port of Curagao and that of Aruba each have a heavier
port traffic than that of Amsterdam, the largest share in this
traffic being taken by the above mentioned oil companies. The
port traffic of CuraSao and Aruba jointly is larger than that of
the city of New York. Annually 10,000 ships measuring
100,000,000 tons visit these two ports.


The Caribbean

Ships from all parts of the world touch at the port of Willem-
stad on Curagao. One of the most important shipping com-
panies contributing to this traffic is the Royal Netherlands
Shipping Company (K.N.S.M.), which keeps up regular services
with Europe, North America, and most countries of South
America. Among the foreign shipping companies whose vessels
regularly visit Willemstad, we may mention the American Grace
and Alcoa Lines, the British Harrison, Shaw Saville, Royal
Mail, and Blue Star Lines, and the Swedish Johnson Line.
The West Indian section of the K. L. M. airlines has services
between the Antilles and most of the surrounding countries. It
has a staff of 800. Other airlines operating in the Netherlands
Antilles are Pan American Airways and Linea Aeropostal
Venezolana. St. Maarten, one of the Windward Islands, is a
station for one of the lines operated by Air France.
Closely connected with trade and traffic, tourism forms an
important source of revenue. Thousands of Americans yearly
visit the Antillean ports on pleasure cruises. Local stores are
well stocked with products from all over the world and sell at
comparatively low prices. For the shipping companies oper-
ating the pleasure cruises, the Antillean ports are attractive on
account of low port dues and cheap fuel oil. Import duties on
alcoholic beverages, perfumes, and other luxury goods are
also low. All these factors have combined to earn for CuraCao
and Aruba the name of "shopping center of the Caribbean."
Efforts are being made to attract still more tourists by building
new and comfortable hotels. Since 1947 the central tourist
committee has had a representative in New York.


The dry climate on the Leeward Islands is not favorable for
cattle breeding and agriculture. The Windward Islands have a
slightly higher rainfall, but here the lack of transport limits the
possibilities for increasing these forms of production. Some
improvement was made when a coaster with a refrigerating in-



stallation was put into operation in order to keep up a service
between the Windward and the Leeward Islands.
Agricultural products are few. From the pods of the divi-divi
tree tannic acid is prepared. Aloes are used for the production
of aloin, an ingredient of various medicaments. The rind of a
special kind of citrus fruit growing on the islands goes into the
making of the well-known Curagao liqueur. These three prod-
ucts are exported in modest quantities. For local consumption
a species of sorghum is grown which serves as cattle fodder.
Goats are almost the only kind of cattle bred on the islands,
especially on Bonaire. Poultry farming is on a very small scale
and insufficient to meet local needs.
Of the mining products phosphate is the most important. The
Curaao Mining Company which works the phosphate deposits
has 350 employees and exports a quantity of approximately
100,000 tons per annum. On Aruba small deposits of gold have
been discovered in a few places.

II. Surinam


Surinam (Dutch Guiana) is situated on the northeastern
coast of the South American continent and is bounded by
French Guiana on the east, Brazil on the south, British Guiana
on the West, and the Atlantic Ocean on the north. The area is
approximately 143,000 square kilometers, and it had in 1953 a
population of 240,000, of whom 90,000 live in Paramaribo, the
The country is divided into natural regions: lowlands, savan-
nah, and highland, which are quite different topographically.
The northern part of the country consists of lowland, with a
width in the east of 25 kilometers and in the west of about
80 kilometers. The soil (clay) is covered with swamps with a
layer of humus underneath. Marks of the old seashores are to
be seen in the shell and sand ridges, overgrown with tall trees.


The Caribbean

Then follows a region, 5 to 6 kilometers wide, of a loamy and
sandy soil, then a slightly undulating region, about 30 kilo-
meters wide. It is mainly savannah, mostly covered with quartz
sand and overgrown with grasses, herbs, shrubs, and lighter
wood. South of this region lies the interior highland, consisting
of hills and mountains, almost entirely overgrown with dense
tropical forests and intersected by streams of all sizes. At the
southern boundary with Brazil there are again savannahs. These,
however, differ in soil and vegetation from the northern ones.
The country is intersected by a number of large rivers running
from south to north. Besides a narrow-gauge railway 135 kilo-
meters in length which runs up to Kabel on the Surinam River,
these rivers are the only entrances to the hinterland. From early
days, therefore, all traffic has been performed by water, as
a result of which the network of roads is still largely under-
developed. The Surinam Shipping Company maintains regular
passenger and cargo services on the rivers below the rapids,
and also along the coast and to the Caribbean area. Inter-
national shipping is chiefly by the Royal Netherlands Steamship
Company, Alcoa, and the Surinam Shipping Company.
At present, with government support, attempts are being made
to develop an inland airways system. Besides the normal small
civilian transport planes, helicopters are also used. A number
of airstrips have already been laid out in the interior. The
Zanderij airport is included in the international network of the
K.L.M. and the Pan American Airways.
The climate is tropical and moist, but not very hot, since
the northeast trade wind makes itself felt during the whole year.
In the coastal area the temperature varies on an average from
73 to 880 F. in the course of the day; the annual average is
810 F. only. The mean annual rainfall is about 92 inches for
the period of "moderate rains," from the middle of November
until the middle of February. The period of "moderate drought"
is from the middle of February until the middle of May; the
period of "heavy rains" is from the middle of May until the
middle of August; the period of "severe drought" is from the