Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Back Cover

Title: Jamaica journal
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090030/00076
 Material Information
Title: Jamaica journal
Series Title: Jamaica journal.
Abbreviated Title: Jam. j.
Physical Description: v. : ill. (part col.) ; 31 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Institute of Jamaica
Publisher: Institute of Jamaica.
Place of Publication: Kingston
Publication Date: December 2004
Frequency: semiannual
Subject: Periodicals -- Jamaica   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Jamaica
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with Dec. 1967 issue.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090030
Volume ID: VID00076
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01797964
lccn - 75027862
issn - 0021-4124

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Table of Contents
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    Back Cover
        Page 89
        Page 90
Full Text





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Pan Jamaican is pleased to haye woven a-strong reputation
for developing and managing some of the island's best properties,
for over 40 years.

We will continue to contribute to
the tapestry of Jamaica's
colourful heritage and history

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Kit lo, t (I t 8uor, d oulevardL Kingston 5 Tl: (87/0 929-4510





All you need is a computer with internet access.

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Opening hours: Monday Friday (10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
Group tours (ten persons or more) by appointment.

Bank of Jamaica
Nethersole Place, Kingston
Tel.: 922 0750; Fax: 922 0416; Email: pr@boj.org.jm

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The Origins of lamaican Popular Music

Jamaica's Central African Heritage

Jamaica's Historic Landmarks
The Spanish Town Iron Bridge:
The Western World's First Cast Iron
Structure and First Prefabricated Iron Bridge

Rebel Voices: Confessions, Testimonies and Trial
Transcripts from the 1831-32 Emancipation War
in Jamaica

The Shopkeepers: Commemorating 150 years of
the Chinese in Jamaica
(excerpts from the forthcoming book by
Periwinkle Publishers)


A Monument in the Public Sphere:
The Controversy about Laura Facey's
Redemption Song 36


The Management of Jamaica's Coral Reefs 15

A Pre-Columbian Stone Artefact Found In Jamaica:
A Geo-archaeological Study 49


The Institute of Jamaica Celebrates 125 Years 6

Moore Town Maroon Music:
An International Masterpiece 65

Dr Franklyn Prendergast: Gold Musgrave Medallist 66

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?*! :4 $?t .iL .I r


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A Jamaican Fruitcake (short story)


Book Reviews

Central Africa in the Caribbean: Transcending Time,
Transforming Cultures, by Maureen Warner-Lewis

Paint the Town Red, by Brian Meeks
Such as I Have, by Garfield Ellis

Mona, Past and Present: The History and Heritage
of the Mona Campus, University of the West Indies,
by Suzanne Francis Brown

Encyclopedia of Jamaican Heritage, by Olive Senior

-!I I i

Jamaica Journal Vol. 28 Nos. 2-3
December 2004
Kim Robinson-Walcott
Assistant Editor
Shivaun Heame
Editorial Committee
Petrine Archer-Straw
Wayne McLaughlin
Verene Shepherd
Editorial Assistant
Shoena Johnson
Design and Production
Image Factory Limited
Faith Myers
Advertising and Sales
Colin Neita
Lithographic Printers Limited
Jamaica Journal is published by
the Institute of Jamaica
All correspondence and subscription requests
should be addressed to:
Institute of Jamaica
10-16 East Street, Kingston, Jamaica
Telephone: (876) 922-0620-6
Fax: (876) 922-1147
Email: ioj.jam@mail.infochan.com
Website: www.instituteofjamaica.org.jm
Back issues
Most back issues are available. List sent on
request. Entire series available on microfilm from:
ProQuest Information and Learning
Periodicals Acquisitions
P.O. Box 1346
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
Telephone: (734) 761-4700
Individual copies J$600/ US$10; a subscription
for three issues is available from the Institute of
Jamaica for J$1,800/US$32 including shipping
l.ij I-,ii .1ih,, Cheque or international money
order payable to the Institute of Jamaica.
Articles appearing in Jamaica Journal are
abstracted and indexed in Historical Abstracts and
Amnerica: History and Life.
Vol. 28 Nos. 2-3
Copyright 2004 by the Institute of Jamaica
ISSN 0021-4124
Cover or contents may not be reproduced in
whole or in part without the written permission
of the Institute of Jamaica.
Cover photo of coral reef by Don Telfer

*_* 7T .

The Institute of Jamaica

Celebrates 125 Years

This year marks the 125th anniversary of the founding of the
Institute of Jamaica (IOJ).
Few institutions have survived as long or longer. And in
a country strong on the sprint and the nine-day wonder, but
short on the long-distance haul, it is a tribute both to the vision
of its founder and to the unglamorous dedication of all those
who with love in their hearts for the people of this country and
this region, but little in their pockets, have laboured tirelessly
throughout those 125 years, building those unseen and intangible
structures that have helped to empower a
people denied that sense of self that is the
foundation of all civilisations.
The institute's founder, Sir Anthony
Musgrave, was born in Antigua. By the time
he was made governor of Jamaica in 1977, he
had served in various capacities in Antigua,
Nevis, St Vincent, Newfoundland, British
Columbia, Natal and Australia. He brought
to Jamaica pioneering experiences developed
elsewhere, including the successful laying of
a sub-Atlantic telegraph cable while serving
in Canada and the founding of the South
Australia Institute.
But it was not mere self-imitation that
inspired the founding of the IOJ. Musgrave
was seized of the civilising influence of Sir Anthony Musgrave
education. In 1980 he tabled a paper on
the diffusion of education among the people "not only in the
elementary branches of knowledge, but in the cultivation of
intelligence and the development of the natural faculties which
will help the masses to elevate themselves in all that constitutes
civilisation". And Law 22 of 1879 which had brought the IOJ into
being gave the mandate "to maintain a library, reading room, and
museum, to provide for the reading of papers, the delivery of
lectures, and the holding of examinations on subjects connected
with literature, science and art".
The institute began (in the same location on East Street in
downtown Kingston in which it is found today) by incorporating

the public library that had opened in 1874, the collections of the
Royal Society of Arts and Agriculture, and, a few years later, the
libraries of the House of Assembly and the Legislative Council
which became defunct in 1886.
In 1889, following Sir Anthony's death, the Reverend John
Radcliffe proposed that bronze, silver and gold medals be struck
in his memory to acknowledge accomplishments in the fields of
science, literature and art. The first Musgrave award was made in
Throughout the years the IOJ has
sought to fulfil its mandate of fostering and
encouraging the development of science,
literature and art. Until the founding of the
University of the West Indies in 1948 it was
the sole agency for tertiary-level education
and had even been empowered to grant
degrees. There was no historian who did
not make use of its West India Collection, or
botanist who did not know of its collection of
flora, judged the largest in the Caribbean. Una
Marson could be seen at the IOJ researching
for her book Tropic Reveries in 1918. We have
one Astley Clerk who in a series of lectures
in the 1920s sought to demonstrate a unique
Jamaican identity in our flora and fauna, our
speech and music; while Theodore Sealy, the
first black editor of the Daily Gleaner, and
Philip Sherlock, the young master at John Wolmer's school for
boys who would later become secretary of the institute and a
founder and vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies,
were among the frequent visitors. Undoubtedly the greatest use
was made by one who came to the Institute in 1891 and died
still working here in 1937: Frank Cundall, who, in the words of
the Honourable Edward Seaga in his 125th anniversary tribute,
presided over "the golden years of the institute".
We have no indication that Marcus Garvey was a visitor
to the institute. If he was not, there could have been only two
possible reasons, one being that he had already built up his

own extensive collection, the other that the institute
was perceived as a place for 'high brown' people
already sold on the superiority of British civilisation,
contemptuous of Africa and clueless to even the
possibility of an African heritage. And that would be
understandable. After all, was not Lady Musgrave
Road built by the governor to spare a nagging wife the
indignity of having to pass on her way down to the city
that mansion built on the corner of Hope and Waterloo
roads by some black man who had returned to his native
land after amassing an enormous fortune in South
America? That black man was named George Stiebel,
and that mansion is now called Devon House.
Those of us who would cringe with embarrassment
about this are still unaware of the ambiguous and
often contradictory nature of the civilisation we as
a people have built and the identity we have forged
as a Caribbean people. Ebri Jangkro tink im pikni
white knowing full well he is black, Institute Fellow
Rex Netteford has reminded us. And were we to ask
Professor Nettleford, "Whose is the song whose melody
is Europe but whose rhythm Africa? Is it Europe's?
Is it Africa's?", he would likely tell us: "Neither it
is ours." All civilisations emerge from the crucible of
the crossroad, where all roads come together but also
separate; where every ingress is also an egress.
And what a crossroad-contradictory moment of
history we live in athletes who can take the Athens
Olympics by storm, but murderers who can take
the lives of nearly thirty people in the same week; a
fluorescence of popular musical geniuses and genres
that steadily and increasingly over the last three
decades have become the regular fare of people from
Tokyo to Timbuktu, but a murder rate that steadily
and increasingly plants us among the top three murder
capitals of the world!
We are at a crossroads moment. Civilisations rise on
the vigorous trading of ideas and commodities; they die
by conquest from outside or incestuous isolation from
within. As the encourager of the civilisation built by
our ancestors, the IOJ is not indifferent to our fate, and
sees itself as an integral part of the extraordinary long-
distance efforts shared by the government and the many
agencies and private-sector organizations to ensure the
resurrection of our city and rebuilding of our nation.
Science, literature, the arts, the core of any
education, are the surest way to self-discovery and the
softening of sensibilities. This is our great challenge
- how to facilitate the empowering of our youths,
particularly our males, caught in the narcissistic grip of
an illusory self.
The artists and scientists we foster and encourage
are the agents of that empowering. Together we will
rescue our future, because we must. We have no choice. +

This article is modified from an address given by Professor
Barry Chevannes, Chairman of the Institute of Jamaica, at the
Musgrave Medal Awards ceremony held in October 2004.

/ .

iop: Date Tree Hall, where the Institute of amaica (10/) was established in 1879, was
formerly a popular Kingston lodging house. It was destroyed during the 1907 earthquake.
CENTRF: the present 10/ building was erected in 1912. BOTTOM: With minor changes, the
building now houses the 10's head offices.

The Origins of Jamaican

Popular Music


This article is intended to set the
development of Jamaican music in the
sequence of the emergence of its rhythms
and styles: rhythm and blues (R&B)/pre-
ska, ska, rock steady, reggae, and dub/
deejay / dancehall. To fully understand
these developments, the music must be
set in the framework of the media through
which music reached the people how it
was created, produced and promoted.
Up to the late 1940s, Jamaicans had
little access to recorded music. There was
a part-time radio station with a call sign
ZQI. It operated for a short period only
each day, primarily to broadcast the news.
Some music was played; the selections
were mostly American tunes with a few
other Western or Latin American pop
recordings. Radios and gramophones
for playing 78-RPM records were found
only in the homes of well-off residents.
The broad mass of the population had
little opportunity to hear broadcasted or
recorded music.
Three developments occurred
between the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Firstly, 'sound systems' appeared for the
first time. These were sets with powerful
amplifiers and a turntable. The systems
played at dances in inner-city yards, halls
or street comers. Secondly, in one of the
important scientific breakthroughs of the
century, the transistor was developed to
replace bulky, inefficient vacuum tubes.
The pocket transistor radio became
available for play at home, at work and
in between. Thirdly, ZQI was replaced
by Radio Jamaica and Rediffusion
(RJR). Rediffusion was a cable network
of speaker boxes for homes or offices
through which music was piped from RJR
at affordable rates.
By the early 1950s, Jamaicans were
in a much better position to enjoy and
be entertained by recorded music. Radio
stations in nearby American states

could be received at nights and current
American recordings could be heard on
radio and at dances. American music at
that time was undergoing a paradigm
shift from jazz and big band to rhythm
and blues, boogie and rock and roll.
In Jamaica, the mass of the population
enjoyed rhythm and blues and boogie
while residential urban areas were
entertained by big band and rock and roll.
Sound systems, in particular, relished the
R&B and boogie music of the top artistes
in America, among whom were Fats
Domino, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke and
B.B. King.

.i .

Records were imported for the
general public or brought into the country
by returning farm workers. In addition,
system operators went to America to
find unique recordings from small
companies like Savoy Records. These
choice recordings were a vital part of the
sound systems' repertoire, in establishing
which sound was champion. Their
reputation depended on these special
records being used as surprise hits at
dances and other occasions when two or
more sounds clashed in a play-off. Sound
systems would set up their equipment in
their favourite dance areas of downtown
Kingston, and turn up the volume of

their powerful sets to drown the sound
of rivals nearby. Sometimes strong-arm
tactics would be used to dissuade patrons
from attending rival dances. But mostly
the competitive edge was secured by
having exclusive records which when
played would draw the crowd.
To ensure anonymity, the record
would be soaked in water and the
record label scratched out. When the
record became a hit, it would be sold in
very limited numbers at a high price.
Gradually, it would be released to the
public in larger quantities at decreasing
RJR played few local records or even
imported R&B recordings. Popular tunes
played by the sound systems hardly
received airplay on RJR. Some artistes
and promoters had to employ strong-arm
tactics to get their records played.
In 1957, the Jamaica Broadcasting
Corporation (JBC) was launched. JBC
changed that policy of marginalising
Jamaican recordings. A programme
featuring Jamaican recorded music and
American R&B and boogie was initiated,
to be aired early every Friday evening
from the leading nightclub in Kingston,
the Glass Bucket Club in Half Way Tree.
It was appropriately called Teenage Dance
Party and Dwight Whylie was the host. It
was very popular and well attended by
teens as a live show. Teenage Dance Party
would feature downtown hits such as
"Red River Valley" by Johnny and the
Hurricanes and "Let the Good Times
Roll" by Shirley and Lee.

By the end of the 1950s, Jamaicans had
begun to compose their own music. In the
beginning, these were recorded mostly
on acetate disks. Local hits emerged.

THI PACE: Coxsone Dodd. OPPosITE PAc.: Millie Small

The earliest were "Easy Snappin' by
Theophilus Beckford, "Boogie in My
Bones" by Laurel Aitken and "Tell
Me Darling" by Wilfred Edwards, all
produced in 1960.
"Boogie in My Bones" was Chris
Blackwell's first recording; he also
produced "Little Sheila", his first number
one hit. Blackwell was to become one
of the most successful promoters of
Jamaican music abroad. "Easy Snappin'
Swas produced by the late Clement "Sir
Coxsone" Dodd, one of the big three
sound system operators along with
Duke Reid and Tom the Great Sebastian
(Thomas Wong). These men, particularly
Dodd and Reid, played central and critical
roles in the development of Jamaican
music in the pioneering period.
"Oh Manny Oh", another hit tune
of 1960, was produced by me. A rhythm
and blues composition, it was the first
Jamaican hit record to be manufactured
locally. With production on vinyl, more
recordings could be produced of better
quality. The song's vocals were by Joe
Higgs and Roy Wilson. The composer,
Jackie Edwards, was one of the earliest
successful composer/singers. Joe Higgs
went on in later years to be one of the
most influential figures in nurturing
Jamaican talent, including Bob Marley.
At the time of the production of "Oh
Manny Oh", I had just set up a record
manufacturing plant, West Indies Records
Limited (WIRL). My anthropological
research in folk music had led to my
having an album produced by Folkways
Records of New York. The album
featured Revival and Kumina music and
drummings. In trying to sell the album
in order to expose music that had never
been recorded before, 1 was repeatedly
asked to supply other recordings, mostly
uptown favourites such as the hits of
Pat Boone and Johnny Mattis, so-called
soft tunes. This path took me into the
recording business as an importer, then
I did not indulge in removing the
labels on imported records; rather, I tried
to discover their true identities. I was
successful in many cases, which allowed
me to import quantities at lower prices.
One such success was with a record
which had been given a suggestive blank
label title: "Beardman Shuffle". This song,

a lively tune with a heavy, infectious
rhythm, was very popular and in great
demand. I came across a blank label copy
and detected a tiny piece of the original
label still attached, revealing the tell-
tale Imperial Records colours. With the
knowledge of the identity of the label, I
soon discovered the real title: "Live It Up"
by Ernie Freeman. I imported a quantity
and flooded the market. The record
became very popular and was adopted by
Teenage Dance Party as its signature tune in
a version format.
Identification of anonymous records
sent a signal to sound system importers
of records that they needed to find
another way to get unique records which
they could use exclusively to establish
themselves as champions. They soon
realized that to do so they would have to
record and produce more local records
themselves. This became the impetus that
drove the big sound system operators
into major record production, with Duke
Reid's Trojan label operating from his
Bond Street Treasure Isle Studio and
Coxsone's Downbeat operating out of
Studio One, firstly at Orange and Charles
Streets a few blocks away, and later at
Brentford Road. They became the two
giant producers of Jamaican recordings
of that time. Federal Records, the original
record manufacturing company, was
larger and better equipped but not as
focused on the emerging inner city
With these developments in place,
by 1960 Jamaicans had a choice of radio
stations to hear Jamaican music, a number
of producers providing a steady stream of
hits and a range of shops to buy Jamaican
records. The Jamaican recording industry
was born. All that was needed was a
'riddim' which could be clearly identified
as Jamaican.

The drive to produce something different
in order to have an advantage over
rivals led to the need, by 1961, for a new
rhythm. There are different stories as to
the origin of what emerged. Out of the
maze of background stories the only
one with details, true or not, concerns
Clement Dodd's involvement. Dodd, it
is said, wanted something new for his
sound system repertoire. He instructed

two of his studio instrumentalists, Cluet
"Clue J" Johnson and Ernie Ranglin, to
create a new beat. The creative effort
produced an emphatic off-beat in the
rhythm. This story goes on to attribute
the name 'ska' to an abbreviation of a
street slang word 'skavoovie', which was
popular at the time, according to Clue J.
Whatever the origin, the first truly
indigenous Jamaican rhythm was born. It
was very popular, particularly since it was
both song and dance. Coming just before
Independence in 1962 and extending
beyond, the ska was a launching pad
for one of the most creative periods of
Jamaican music. New composers, new
songs, new performers emerged as if all
this talent had been in a cupboard waiting
for the door to be opened.
In a matter of two to three years
not only was the ska the dominant
music in the country but it had begun
to penetrate the international market,
reaching Jamaicans
who had recently
migrated to England.
Unbelievably, in this
early per: -d in
1964 the ka. L _-t
scored a nlrL: nik.i .u
international, al
hit: "My R,.. ---
sung *.
inimitabl, '
by the -: .
voiced Af



Millie Small and produced by Chris
Blackwell. From there on a series of
Jamaican hits followed in England where
the ska was known as Blue Beat.
As popular and successful as it was
abroad, ska was still not accepted in
the uptown residential areas of Jamaica
where it was regarded as downtown
music. In 1964, I took Byron Lee to
the legendary Chocomo Lawn in
Denham Town where a session with the
Techniques was in progress. Chocomo
Lawn had been one of the original hot
spots for sound system dances which
were held almost every Sunday night.
The Techniques were performing with
lead vocalist Slim Smith. The members
of this young group (band, composers
and singers) had all taught themselves
to play instruments I gave them. (The
group would later score several hits such
as "Little Did You Know" [1965] and
"Conversation". They made the English
charts with other hits. Some of the band
migrated to England; and their offspring,
a generation later, included members of
the young group Musical Youth whose hit
tune, "Pass the Dutchie", was a version of
"Pass the Kutchie" [1982] by the Mighty
Byron Lee was hearing the ska beat
live for the first time. He was in awe. He
carefully analysed the instrumentation
and took it uptown to his band the
Dragonnaires. From then on, Byron Lee
played ska uptown; and ska moved from
being 'downtown music' to being music
that was accepted nationally.

To attempt to penetrate the American
market, I sent a team of ska artistes to
perform at the New York World's Fair
in 1964: Byron Lee and the Dragonaires,
Jimmy Cliff, Delroy Wilson, Desmond
Decker, Roy Shirley, Ken Boothe and
others, including a team of dancers. They
were a hit at the World's Fair, but the
American market was not yet ready for
Jamaican music. However, it was possible
to copyright in America a substantial
number of Jamaican compositions which
I vested in the Social Development
Commission (a Government of Jamaica
institution) for the composers/artistes.
This protection was a necessity. In
England, many disputes had arisen about
copyright and Jamaican composers were
being deprived of ownership rights and
Ska made a strong beginning for
Jamaican music. Many outstanding songs
emerged, including the signature hits
"Humpty Dumpty" (1961) and "Sammy
Dead" (1964) by Eric Monty Morris; the
finest instrumentals of the ska period,
"Music is My Occupation" (1964) and
"Guns of Navarone" (1965) by the
Skatalites; the many hits of Prince Buster
including "They Got to Go"; and the
Wailers' first hit, "Simmer Down" (1965).
The Maytals were consistent hit
makers. "Dog War" (1964) was one of
their successes. They capitalised on the
misfortune of lead singer Toots Hibbert
who had been given a short term in
prison for possession of marijuana. In
prison he wore the number 54-46. In 1968

this became the title of one of the most
celebrated ska recordings: "54-46".
It was a glorious time for Jamaican
popular music. Ska lasted a number of
years before the next rhythm emerged.

Rock steady emerged by chance in
October 1966, according to Hopeton
Lewis. He was recording a tune with an
apt title: "Take It Easy". He could not
keep up with the rhythm so the timing
was slowed down. What emerged was
the "rock steady" beat. Another prolific
period of new music was in the making.
Some of the hits which were to
emerge were among the greatest,
including "Rock Steady" by Alton and
the Flames, and "Nice Time" (1967) by
the Wailers. Yet the best of rock steady
was yet to come. Desmond Decker, who
had successive hits in this period, scored
big with "Israelites" which became a
number one hit in England and made the
Billboard charts in the United States. He
migrated to England to promote other
successes, notably "Ah It Mek" (1968).
Before Desmond Decker left Jamaica
he was the leading artiste in the "rude
boy" period. "Rude Boy" set to rhythm
the emerging city violence. Young men in
the city were experiencing the first wave
of political violence which flared up after
the clearing of the Back-o-Wall ghetto in
West Kingston. Desmond Decker's "007"
(1966) was the signature tune of this
Several other artistes made their
statements in song about'rudies'. It was
Derrick Morgan who characterized the
'rudie' as "Tougher Than Tough" (1967)
("Rudie don't fear"), but the Claredonians
announced the final outcome: "Rude Boy
Gone a Jail" (1966).
Rock steady did not last long. After
two years it was overtaken by reggae, the
signature music of Jamaica.

In everyday reference, particularly
abroad, reggae has come to be a generic
term for all Jamaican music, the sounds
of Jamaica. Reggae, like its predecessors,
ska and rock steady, is music, rhythm
and dance, a slow compulsive beat set to
melodic tunes.
As with ska and rock steady, big
reggae stars emerged at home and abroad.

ntas rcAE, FROM nrr: Toots Hibbert, Dennis Brown,
Derrick Morgan.
AT RICITr: immy Cliff. PProSITE I CE: The Techniques

In the early period of reggae, Jimmy
Cliff (James Chambers) emerged as the
biggest star. He was part of every period
of Jamaican music. From the outset he
was writing beautiful hit songs. One of
his earliest was "King of Kings" (1963).
Although Jimmy Cliff was a star in every
period of Jamaican music and has proved
to be the most enduring artiste even until
today, his most successful years were in
the late 1960s to early 1970s.

In England, he scored big with
"Wonderful World, Beautiful People"
(1969), a runaway hit. Then came the
biggest hit of Jimmy's career, one of
reggae's most renowned tunes: "The
Harder They Come" (1972). This
recording was the central theme of a
Perry Henzell film of the same name. It
marked Jimmy's debut as a film star, with
other performances to come. As a film,
The Harder They Come broke new ground.
It was a story of the music industry in
Jamaica and of its seedy background of
exploitation of artistes in the early days.
Reggae produced an avalanche
of hit songs and new stars. Dennis
Brown started composing and singing
while in his early teens. He was one
of the most prolific composers. He
wrote and performed successive hits
at home and abroad starting in the
early 1970s with "No Man Is an Island"
(1968), "Westbound Train" (1973) and
"Revolution" (1983). As a performer,
he was one of the artistes who could
consistently fill the house and stop the
But reggae's biggest years
were ahead. The Wailers were
no longer performing with
Bob Marley who became a
separate act. The advent of
Bob on the international scene
began to internationalise reggae
in England, the United States, and
c -ti.tall, everywhere.
Bob Marley added a new
dimension to Jamaican music
which had largely depended on
melodies with rich rhythms and
everyday or topical lyrics. Now
the lyrics became "message"
music with Bob Marley as a social
"conscious" artiste. His message
was universal: human rights; strugl..-
against oppression and discriminain rii
freedom. These were universal then.c-
at a time when the world was listening
because of the civil rights struggle-
in America and the ongoing anti-
apartheid movement.
It was now possible to
reach the American market
and score hits on the billboard
charts. Bob Marley became
an international star in the
1970s, reaching out with

his universal message to mankind.
"Redemption Song" (1978) became the
theme of struggles everywhere. More
than anyone else, Bob Marley put reggae
firmly on the map.
But strangely, during the early part of
Bob's journey to success, white America
listened, but black America did not. Bob
had to compose "Buffalo Soldier" (1983)
to reach the hearts of African Americans.
Today, Bob Marley's music is no
longer comparable except to other great
recording artistes of the world.

After Bob Marley died in 1981, there was
a void. No one could truly fill the gap in
reggae. It was logical that something new
had to emerge. This was the right time
for a new style: dub and deejay became
Strangely enough, deejay had been
the earliest distinctive Jamaican style.
Its date of origin can be pinned to 26
December 1950. Tom the Great Sebastian,


operator of one of the earliest, great sound
systems as noted earlier, had been playing
in Kingston. According to Salewicz and
Boot in Reggae Explosion: The Story of
Jamaican Music,' he left the scene to buy
liquor for drinks sales. In his absence his
selector, Count Machuki, made 'live jive'
chat over the records while in play. The
crowd loved it.
Yet the new style remained a novelty
until the late 1960s. King Tubby was
the master cutter for Duke Reid. He
experimented with acetate disks to create
a new sound for sound systems. He
discovered that leaving out the vocals in
some sections of play, allowing the beat
and instrumentals only to dominate,
created an ecstatic reaction among
patrons when the vocals resumed. Dub
was born with a memorable style, as
shown in the album King Tubby Meets the
Rockers Uptown: King Tubby and Augustus
Pablo (1970).
The vocal blanks on the dubs left
space for artistic creativity to be used to
'toast' the patrons with limericks and
nursery rhyme phrasings, greetings,
bravado and other lively chatter. This
introduced deejay music. The performers
were not recognized singers. They were
largely the record selectors, sound system
operators and studio people.
The first deejay to make a hit record
was King Stitch with "Fire Corner" in
1969. Then came U-Roy (Ewart Beckford)
who was handling the sound for King
Tubby. He made three quick successive
hits in 1970 "Wear You to the Ball",
"Wake the Town" and "Rule the Nation"
- which ranked one, two and three on the
charts at the same time. This blew away
the opposition to this new style of music
and cemented the deejay as a new arrival
who was here to stay.
Notwithstanding this huge success,
the deejay style declined in popularity in
the 1970s, probably because of the success
of Dennis Brown, Jimmy Cliff and other
reggae stars, and the dominance of Bob
In the late 1970s, a new, refreshing
deejay team arrived. Two youngsters
calling themselves Michigan and Smiley
broke into the charts with a new type of
deejaying which became very popular.
It was called the 'rub-a-dub' style. Their
big hits were: "Rub-a-dub Style" (1978),

"Nice Up the Dance" (1979) and "One
Love Jamdown" (1980). This set the stage
for one of the greatest deejays of all time
to emerge after the death of Bob Marley
created a gap in popularity for reggae.
Yellow Man (Winston Foster) was the
man who energised the deejay style with
a consistent run of hits. In fact, it is Yellow
Man who introduced the 'slackness' style
to music. His open references to sexuality
and in particular to females as sex
objects, brought out the cheering crowds,
including women. When challenged
about his open references to sex, he was
fond of replying, "Is slackness the people
want and is slackness I a give dem." He
positioned his own wide popularity in the
title of one of his hit tunes, "Mad Over
Me" (1982).
Yellow Man's popularity spans

I 1
twenty years and he is still a drawing card
on stage shows today, internationally.
Deejays quickly got the message.
'Slackness' brought success. This was to
become a wave of the future.
Just as dub gave rise to the deejay,
the stage was set for the deejay to expand
into the dancehall movement. Dancehall
is more than music; it is a lifestyle which
glorifies in music and dance, and in
outrageous sexy fashions, macho sex,
boastful bravado and violence. Generally,
the music is explosive predominantly in
'riddim', regardless of the other elements
of lyrics and melody. A good 'riddim' is
the bedrock of Jamaican music, especially
dancehall, and can be used for many
records. 'Building' a tune starts with the
'riddim' section.
Coxsone and Duke Reid were the
early rhythm masters and producers.
They were succeeded by a number
of new producers who guided the
industry through the new "riddims".
In the seventies, there were the Hookim
Brothers, Bunny "Striker" Lee, Joe
Gibbs, Lee Perry and Harry J; in the
eighties, King Jammys, Jack Scorpio,
Junjo, Gussie Clarke, and Clancy Eccles;
and in the eighties to nineties, Bobby
Digital, Germaine, Specialist, the Brownie
Brothers, the Kelly Brothers, and many
more. The 'riddims' were taken to another

Aiovr: Michigan and Smiley. u i: Garnet Silk

dimension through the genius of Sly
(Dunbar) and Robbie (Shakespeare), the
internationally recognized duo.
With consistently good 'riddim'
makers in place, dancehall needed
star performers. It was Shabba Ranks
(Rexton Gordon) who best personified
the exaggerations of dancehall in dress,
music and a strong, coarse, macho voice.
Shabba's greatest hits included "Trailer
Load a Girls", "House Call" (with Maxi
Priest) and "Champion Lover", all
released in 1991. His outstanding success
earned him Grammys in 1991 and 1992,
making him the only Jamaican artiste to
date to receive two of the top Grammy
awards in dancehall, and back to back.
Many deejay stars in dancehall
emerged in the 1990s, almost too many
to mention. But no record of this period
would be complete without reference
to the performances of Ninjaman
(Desmond Ballentine) and Buju
Banton (Mark Myrie). These
two were rival performers
with Shabba. They staged
many 'clashes' to the
delight of massive
crowds, performing
such memorable hits
as "Border Clash" (by
Ninjaman, 1990), "Love
Me Browning" and "How
It a Go Go" (both by Buju
Banton, 1992 and 1997
During this period every
now and then a special
recording emerged, flowing
in melody and strong in

lyrics, moving back to the spiritual or
'conscious' days. The beautiful, poignant
"Untold Story" (1995) by Buju Banton was
one the melodic diversions with a socially
'conscious' message in this period.
This was a theme which was to recur
with other artistes striving for a return
to'conscious' music. The performers
who pursued this style with a difference
in the dancehall setting were, notably,
Garnet Silk ("Hello Mama Africa" [1993]),
Luciano ("Lord Give Me Strength"
[19951), and Tony Rebel ("Sweet Jamaica"
Towards the end of the decade two
other giant deejays emerged. By their
creative genius they have been the
strength behind dancehall at a time when
this style appears to be courting change.
Bounti Killa (Rodney Price) and Beenie
Man (Moses Davis) have been consistent
hit makers, clashing in the big shows
such as Champions in Action, Sting and
Sumfest. Among Bounti Killa's many hits
is "Cellular Phone" (1995). Beenie Man,
whose numerous hits include "Who Am
I" (1997), was the Grammy award winner
for the reggae category in 2002, a well-
deserved tribute to his musical
Looking back
at the wealth of
Jamaican styles
and rhythms,
one recording
stands out
as a

TOr LEFT: Yellow Man. CENTRf: T i I T.O.K.

fusion of dub, deejay and dancehall. The
song with the opening stentorian voice
with its warning, the dramatic pounding
base drums of African tradition, then the
choral group in a clear statement, before
the break into a deejay rap fuses all the
styles and could lead the way to a new
sound in Jamaican music. The record
is the very controversial, but infectious
rhythmic production of "Chi-chi-man" by
T.O.K. (2001).
Another song leading in another
direction of crossover which fuses reggae
and pop music, is the mega-hit "It Wasn't
Me" by Shaggy (2000). Still more fusion is
occurring. Junior Gong (Damion Marley),
one of Bob Marley's many talented
children, was awarded a Grammy in 2002
for the album Hfll- i\j.- Ii-i,, as was his
brother Ziggy before him in 1990, 1995
and 1998. Junior Gong has succeeded in
fusing the reggae music of his father's
time with the deejay style of today.
Mega-stars continue to emerge and
shine in Jamaican music. Sean Paul,
considered an'uptowner', has soared
from unknown to Grammy awardee
in a couple of years. His sequence
of hits including "Gimmi de
Light" (2003), "Shake That
Thing" (2003) and "I Am Still
in Love" (with Sasha, 2003)
has propelled him to
gold and multi-platinum.
More mega-stars will
undoubtedly emerge as
Jamaican music extends
its longevity on the world
stage through fusions and
Jamaican artistes are
back to where the originators

of Jamaican music were nearly fifty years
ago, when finding the special beat or
special record was the deciding factor
setting the performers apart. This is
consistent with the strong individualism
grounded in the Jamaican national
As reggae music meanders its way
through its varying stylisations, one thing
will remain consistent: the immense
natural musical talent of Jamaicans
which will keep it always bubbling at
the top, bursting spasmodically on to the
international scene.
In retrospect, over forty-five years
after the birth and development of
Jamaican popular music, we can assess
its importance to the country and to the
world. Jamaican music has had a greater
impact on world music than the music
of any other country, proportionate to
size. The development of dubbing and
deejaying in Jamaica spawned the most
pervasive music of America today, rap.
The music emanating from Jamaican
sound systems of the inner city later
became the music of the discos of uptown
at home and abroad.
But most importantly, one Jamaican
stands out as being the supreme musical
star of the entire world in the twentieth
century. That man is Robert Nesta Marley.
In a fitting tribute to his music and his
message, two of his greatest hits, the song
"One Love" (with the Wailers, 1975) and
the album Exodus, were in 1999 bestowed

the singular honour of being voted Song
of the Century by the British Broadcasting
Corporation and Album of the Century
by Time magazine respectively.
"One Love" became Bob Marley's
enduring anthem. In its harmony of music
and life, Bob seems to be affirming the
power of love over the myriad problems
encountered in twentieth-century life,
saying: if you are looking for a new
direction, a new outlook on life, not just
a new sound, this is the course to take
- One Love.
Bob Marley's lyrics made the
listener think philosophically
about life. That is why it was called
'conscious' music. Reggae music
has departed from that idiom
except for occasional recordings
by Garnet Silk, Tony Rebel and
Luciano. The music appears to be
more concerned with fusions and
crossovers of rhythms, merging
dancehall with reggae,
dub and rap. The blends
created may provide
satisfaction to the
authors as unique exotic
rhythms, but the end
result is the absence of
a single, identifiable,
brand or label which
is clearly Jamaican.

iABvt: Bob Marley; LLtio iit : Buju Banton;
BELOW RIa I : Sean Paul

Perhaps this is the globalisation of
reggae which is now gaining recognition
internationally as mainstream rather than
ethnic music. Only time will tell whether
a new burst of musical creativity will
emerge to level the'mix-up and blending'
of rhythms into one new powerful
Jamaican 'vibe'. o*

The Management of Jamaica's

Coral Reefs


Marine environments around the globe
are under threat from anthropogenic
factors. There is particular concern about
coral reefs, which are under pressure
from multiple sources.' In many cases,
the coastal waters around reefs are
being polluted by nutrient inflow and
toxic wastes, with associated nutrient
eutrophication;2 overfishing has already
removed many of the species involved in
the predator-prey dynamics of the reef;
and the greenhouse effect is associated
with rising carbon levels (resulting in
decreased coral growth rates), increasing
sea temperatures (associated with
bleaching)," and increased incidence
of severe weather conditions (such
as hurricanes and typhoons) which
can badly damage reefs. The periodic
changes in weather patterns called El
Niflo and La Niia, for example, often
result in increases in water temperatures
and subsequent coral reef bleaching,
and further global warming may have
implications for these weather patterns.4
Human activity may affect the emergence
and frequency of a wide variety of
pathogens and diseases of coral, including
black band disease, white band disease,
red band disease, white pox disease,
rapid wasting disease and coral plague
(possibly by transfer of pathogens via the
discharge of ballast waters).
Many of these relationships are
still not well understood. The general
consensus, however, is that coral reefs
are under severe pressure, many are
dead, dying or in poor health, and the
fundamental causes of this worldwide
degradation of coral reefs are probably
anthropogenic. It is equally clear
that many of the attempts to date by
environmentalists and/or governments to

prevent the degradation of coral reefs have been largely ineffective, usually because they
were partial, misconceived, or inadequately enforced.
Jamaica offers a paradigm of the pattern and reasons for failure in marine
environmental policies in the developing nations. Jamaica is a good exemplar, because
the country has some of the worst cases in the world of some of the factors known to
cause marine environmental degradation, particularly overfishing." There have been a
number of significant Jamaican governmental and agency initiatives, and a proliferation
of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) concerned with the marine environment, but
the situation has continued to deteriorate. Jamaica's coral reefs have degraded over the
last three decades from a pristine, high-diversity coral-dominated environment, to a low-
diversity algae-dominated environment (ranging from damaged to dead reef).
.. _k aAs

F;L. -Y~


tro: Healthy reef in Curacao
RICi.r: Algae-dominated reef

The major factors have been:
* Overfishing
* Pollution (primarily excess nutrient
* Severe storms and hurricanes
* A disease 'pr,.baibl '.ir.ll that wiped
out a keystone species in the mid-1980s,
the sea urchin L',;.1.. r; ,,till, i, m (see
references below)

It is important to note that only the
first two of the factors listed above are
anthropogenic. The other two are natural,
and at least one (storm damage) occurs
frequently in the Caribbean, and is in fact
part of the natural dynamic processes
of coral reef ecology. This highlights the
probable importance of multiple 'hits';
coral reefs are probably capable of dealing
with one or two of these factors at a time,
but not with all of them simultaneously.

Before and after Hurricane Ivan: Healthy coral r T
and bleached coral (BonTnm), Rackham's Cay.

The effect of the combined negative
factors on Jamaican reefs can be seen
in the historical record. Up until the
end of the 1970s, Jamaican reefs were
generally healthy, at least in terms of
coral cover, although artisinal fishing
had by then reduced the presence and
abundance of reef fish. In 1980, however,
Hurricane Allen caused major damage
to Jamaican north coast reefs." This
storm essentially reduced many reefs
to something resembling a moonscape,
as the highly three-dimensional rugose
nature of the reefs was changed to a
more two-dimensional flat aspect. One
of the most important changes was
the destruction of the branching corals
Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata, which

had previously dominated some of the
shallow water zones.7 This destruction
immediately reduced the presence of
many of the species that are either directly
associated with the branching corals or
use crevices and holes as refugia.8 In the
normal course of events, of course, the
corals would eventually have recovered
from the hurricane damage, as they have
elsewhere in the Caribbean." In time,
the branching corals would have re-
established, the three-dimensional nature
of the reef would have been restored, and
species numbers and abundance would
have recovered.
A series of linked events, however,
prevented a normal recovery:

* The discharge of nutrients (in the
form of human wastes, agricultural runoff
and so on) had already resulted in the
increased presence and growth of algal
* This surge in algal growth would
normally have been matched by an
increase in the herbivorous fish and
other organisms that eat algae, but
growing fishing pressure prevented
the herbivorous fish populations from
increasing. This left the sea urchin
Diadema antillarum as the main organism
controlling the algae.
* This species of sea urchin was then
nearly wiped out in 1983-84 by an
unknown pathogen.
* As a result, algal species spread
unchecked, and rapidly overgrew large
sections of the reef. This algal cover
prevented coral growth and settlement,
and in some cases caused coral death
by cutting off access to oxygen and

This last event in a series of inter-
linked problems finally precipitated what
Hughes characterized as a 'phase shift'
in the Jamaican coral reef environment,12
from a high-diversity coral-dominated
ecosystem to a low-diversity algae-
dominated habitat. This was a
catastrophic collapse. Measurements of
live coral cover fell from approximately
40 per cent to 20 per cent of the reef after
Hurricane Allen, but plummeted from 20
per cent to just 2-3 per cent after the sea
urchin epidemic."
Although there has been general
agreement as to the nature and sequential,

cumulative impact of the various negative
factors, there has been considerable
debate on the relative importance of
the two major anthropogenic agents.
Lapointe has argued that the primary
cause of algal overgrowth is a 'bottom-up'
process, that is, nutrient inflow." Others,
including Hughes, Aronson and Precht,
and Edmunds and Carpenter, feel that
the major factor is 'top-down', that is, the
absence of herbivores which can control
the algae.' More recent information,
including the fact that nutrient levels at
many inshore locations are only slightly
above those of the open ocean,'" and that
the recovery of Diadenim populations in
shallow water reef areas has resulted
in the removal of algae and an increase
in coral recruitment,7 indicates that
'top-down' processes are probably more
important. This means that steps to
control fishing pressures are more likely
to result in reef improvement than steps
to reduce pollution levels.
It is important to note that the
situation in Jamaica is not unusual, as it
now appears that overfishing has had
a more significant impact on reefs and
other marine ecosystems worldwide
than any other anthropogenic factor."
Thus the degradation of the reefs due to
overfishing is not simply a characteristic
of the Jamaica marine ecosystem, but an
instance of a global pattern. This at least
suggests a straightforward policy goal,
as the more fishing can be controlled and
reduced, the more we can reasonably
expect reefs to improve and recover.
This may, however, be an
oversimplification. Reef health varies
considerably around the Jamaican
coastline, both in terms of geographic
variation and in terms of variations along
depth profiles, at least partly because of
variations in the relative strengths of the
factors listed above:

* Pollution is clearly a problem in
particular locales, especially along
the coastlines adjacent to urban areas.
Kingston Harbour and Hunts Bay, for
example, have very elevated nutrient
levels,'" and other cities like Montego
Bay and Ocho Rios probably have similar
problems. In more remote areas, however,
pollution is a significantly less serious

* Reefs along the south and western
Jamaican coastline were not as badly
affected by Hurricane Allen, and
observations indicate that these reefs were
somewhat more resistant to the negative
effects of the sea urchin die-off.
* Fishermen are present around the
entire coastline, but are more numerous
at certain locations; areas far from
population centres and far from main
roads tend to have fewer fishermen, while
spear-fishermen in particular are found in
areas adjacent to their beach access points.

These geographical variations in
the relative strengths of these factors
are significant but this does not,
unfortunately, alter the general pattern
of degradation; it simply means that
degradation is more marked in some
areas than others.

Jecad coral (MioM) and healthy coral ref (nnoino),
)iscoveiy Bay

There are now some grounds, however,
for cautious, limited optimism, as the
populations of Diademna antillarmn now
seem to be showing signs of recovery.2'
This gradual recovery has resulted in
reefs that, on the north coast of Jamaica
at least, can often be stratified into three
zones along depth profiles. In Discovery
Bay, for example, healthy populations
of urchins occur down to 7 metres, and
here the substrate is bare, with no algal
cover, and with increasing numbers of
young coral recruits.2 Between 7 and 30
metres, the reef is still a low-diversity
algae-dominated environment, with
very few urchins, almost no live coral,
and extensive algal coverage.3 Below 30

Healthy coral (ror) and dead coral reef ( oiriM),
Rio Bueno

metres, however, and down to the reef
limits at approximately 130 metres, the
coral appears healthy, with far less algae
(probably in part due to light attenuation
at depth) and extensive coral cover of flat,
platelike species like Agaricia agaracites.24
Thus the reef can now be
characterized as having three zones; a
previously damaged, but now recovering,
shallow water zone, a damaged mid
water zone that is not recovering, and
a deep water zone that is still relatively
pristine (but note that this characterisation
Only applies to corals and other benthic
invertebrates; fish populations are low for
all zones).
It is known, however, that Diadema
prefer shallow water, as historically this
is where they were found in greatest

densities25 and Diadema moved to deeper
water will migrate back to shallow
water,2? so it is not clear that their current
recovery in shallow water will necessarily
extend much deeper.
More fundamentally, even if Diadema
spreads into deeper water, removes some
of the excess algae and thereby causes
further reef recovery, that will in itself
only result in the partial restoration of
an earlier, unstable situation, where the
health of the reef will again depend on a
single species. Another sea urchin disease,
for example, would then immediately
cause another catastrophic collapse in
live coral cover. A truly stable situation
will only be restored if the various
anthropogenic factors that have caused
the degradation are properly controlled.
The nature and distribution of
the problems are, of course, the key

determinants of the management
strategy. Pollution and nutrient inflow are
essentially localised problems, whereas
overfishing is a problem that occurs
over the entire Jamaican coastline. This
suggests that the pollution issues could
be most appropriately addressed by the
local municipalities that are (a) the prime
causes and (b) the most severely affected,
while overfishing, as a national problem,
has to be addressed at a national level.
Consider each of these in turn:

Controlling Pollution
There are both point (specific) and non-
point (non-specific or diffuse) sources of
nutrients and other forms of pollution.2'
The latter are, in part, a consequence of
Jamaica's geology; much of the island
consists of porous limestone and is
therefore like a gigantic sponge, with
dissolved or suspended terrestrial
material seeping into the marine
environment over the entire coastline.
Controlling non-point sources is always
extremely difficult. There is currently a
consensus, however, that point sources
(that is, urban areas) represent a much
more serious problem, so there is no need
for non-point sources to attract any policy
or resource focus at present.
The point sources would require
various measures, but probably the
most important would be to upgrade
sewage outputs to the tertiary level in
order to prevent any increase in the
ambient nutrient levels in the recipient
coastal waters. Some improvements have
been made, for areas such as Kingston
Harbour,2' but progress over the years has
been desultory and slow.

Controlling Overfishing
The most direct route to improving
Jamaica's national marine environment
would be to reduce fishing pressures,
which would allow the diversity and
numbers of the fish on the reef to
increase. There is a range of possible
policy tools (such as size restrictions,
catch restrictions, fishing seasons, species
limits and so on) but all depend on two
factors: (1) putting some parts of the
Jamaican coastline off-limits for unlimited
fishing, and (2) proper enforcement of
the delineated limits. This may seem
straightforward, but there are some

serious practical and political problems
with implementation.

Various governmental bodies have
published a series of environmental
policy papers with respect to both the
terrestrial and marine environment,2' but
enforcement of the policies recommended
has been noticeably lacking. With
respect to the marine environment, one
of the most important policy papers
was a Country Environmental Profile
published by the National Resources
Conservation Division in 1978, which
recommended that several sections of
the Jamaican coastline be put aside as
marine reserves or parks. No money was
set aside to follow these suggestions and,
at first, nothing was done. Increasing
international awareness of environmental
issues, however, led to the formation
of the Montego Bay Marine Park in
1989-90. Initially, this was funded by the
United States Agency for International
Development; since 1996 it has been run
by the Montego Bay Marine Park Trust, a
local NGO. The management of this park
has been problematic, as the Jamaican
government authorities have attempted
to retain decision-making power while
delegating much of the responsibility for
dealing with problems and raising money
to run the park to the local management
team.Y Periodic difficulties in raising
money have resulted in an a inconsistent
record of environmental protection
within the park; at times rangers have
actively patrolled the park and kept out
fishermen, while at other times financial
problems have led to an inability to repair
broken equipment and pay rangers with
the result that patrolling is inadequate
or nonexistent, and fishermen once
more start to take fish within the park's
boundaries. At the time of writing, there
are two other designated parks (Portland
Bight and Negril), but only Negril has an
agreed management structure in place,
while the other two (Port Antonio and
Ocho Rios) are still awaiting recognition,
and so are not yet legal entities.31
The last decade has seen a
proliferation of NGOs. In the marine
environment alone, the numbers are
remarkable over thirty NGOs and

Diseased coral

government organizations now have
the marine environment as part of their
mandate (see Table 1). In general, the
government has been quite willing to let
these NGOs assume the lead (public) role
on environmental issues, partly because
they can then shed some responsibilities
(and associated financial commitments),
and partly because the NGOs may
be able to access additional external
funding which, in some cases, can then
be used to substitute for government
Unfortunately, it is difficult to identify
any tangible, positive change in the
status of the Jamaican reefs as a result of
the activities of any of the organizations
in Table 1. Many of these groups can
be legitimately criticised for spending
most of their time in offices, but even
when organizations like Protected Areas
Resource Conservation, the United States
Agency for International Development
and Montego Bay Marine Park (see
Table 1) have been involved in active
conservation fieldwork there is virtually
no evidence of tangible improvement.32
The recent improvements noted in the
first section of this paper result from
purely non-anthropogenic factors; they
are entirely (as far as can be determined)
a consequence of the natural recovery of
Diadema populations, for which no one
can claim any credit.
There are several difficulties with
the current reliance on NGOs to manage
the marine environment. First, many

of these NGOs are small and lack the
infrastructural capacity to take on major
managerial tasks or to enforce regulations
or agreements; thus in Discovery Bay,
for example, the task for managing a
small fish reserve was initially placed
in the hands of an advisory committee
that consisted primarily of members of a
local fisherman's cooperative. Progress
toward proper legalisation of the reserve
(and therefore the provision of proper
protection for the fish in the reserve)
was considerably delayed because such
fishermen lacked the necessary education
and training to prepare either proper
management plans or funding proposals.
Sharing decision-making capabilities
with local stakeholders is completely
appropriate, but expecting these
stakeholders to make all decisions and to
be fully responsible for the management
of protected areas is not.
Second, having several different
organizations compete for essentially
the same pool of funds is a wasteful
duplication of effort and can also foster
conflict. The competition for money,
especially given the decline in levels of
external support, has on occasion led
some environmental non-governmental
organizations (ENGOs) to denigrate the
achievements of others, and there have
been several unpleasant 'turf wars'.
There is a related issue with regard to
duplicated overheads, which raises an
important question as to whether it might
be more effective to channel the funding
more selectively, while ensuring that more
actually gets spent on practical measures.

Organizations Involved with Marine Conservation in Jamaica

Organizations are presented roughly in order of size and scope, with the largest,
international organizations at the top, Jamaican government agencies in the middle,
national NGOs next, and the smallest, regional NGOs at the bottom. Note that this
list is not necessarily exhaustive, which itself is indicative of the profusion of entities

CE Ltd

aNow the World Conservation Union.
bFormerly the National Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) and prior to that
the National Resources Conservation Division (NRCD).
'Set up to administer the creation of the first national parks in Jamaica, but now
essentially defunct.
dThe CDC is no longer functioning as an active unit, although its data and
equipment are now housed at NEPA, and some of its functions were subsumed into
activities at the University of the West Indies.

Third, the integration of NGOs into any form of funding pipeline usually
involves an increase in the number of levels of hierarchical organisation, with
the concomitant reduction in efficiency that this usually implies. Both of the
authors of this article have been involved with environmental projects in
Jamaica that include (a) an international funding agency, (b) a local government
agency awarding the contract, (c) a First World NGO that is the primary
contractor (often, and perhaps not surprisingly, from the same nation as the
funding agency), (d) a local Jamaican NGO or organisation subcontracted to

World Wildlife Foundation
International Union Conservation Network,
United Nations Environmental Programme
United States Agency for International Development
Canadian International Development Agency
The (British) Department for International Development
The Nature Conservancy
Island Resources Foundation
Caribbean Planning for Adaptation to Global Climate Change
The (Jamaican) Ministry of Land and Environment
The (Jamaican) Fisheries Division
Tourism Product Development Company
National Environment Planning Agencyb
Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust
Planning Institute of Jamaica Project Management Unit
Protected Areas Resource Conservation project,
Centre for Marine Sciences of the University of the West Indies
Conservation Data Centre of the University of the West Indiesd
Jamaica National Parks Institute
Strategic Intervention in the Environment
Environmental Foundation of Jamaica
Jamaica Environment Trust
National Environmental Societies Trust
Caribbean Ecosystems Limited
Environmental Solutions Limited
South Coast Conservation Foundation
Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation
Jamaica Protected Area Network
Friends of the Sea
Montego Bay Marine Park Trust
Montego Bay Marine Park
Negril Coral Reef Protection Society
Negril Environmental Protection Trust
Portland Environmental Protection Association
St Ann's Environmental Protection Association
St Thomas Environmental Protection Association
Rockfort Wareika East Kingston Environmental Trust

perform specific tasks, and (e) individual consultants
and/or students themselves subcontracted by
the local NGO to go out in the field and collect
actual data or perform any project implementation
necessary. With the number of people, organizations,
fees and overheads involved, the amount of money
paid to the people performing the actual fieldwork
can be a minute fraction (less than 5 per cent of
the total budget in one project involving one of the
authors, for example) of the total funding awarded.
With up to 95 per cent of project funding absorbed
by management, administration, report-writing
and overheads, this at least partly explains why the
amount of work done in the field is typically very
limited. This in turn indicates why many studies
consist primarily of secondary research, trawling
and re-trawling the same small primary data set.
This may also partly account for the lack of tangible
results despite the millions of dollars spent.
Fourth, the current situation places these
organizations under pressure to massage their
results, as funding renewals are usually contingent
on the success of previous efforts. It is not entirely
surprising, therefore, that most ENGOs regularly
report that their activities have been successful,
even though, as indicated earlier, there is actually no
evidence that the Jamaican marine environment has
been substantially improved by any ENGO activity.
Many of the people working for these ENGOs are
clearly well-meaning committed individuals; but
a simple human desire to believe that one's efforts
are not in vain may, in conjunction with the need to
secure further funding, lend itself to a rather selective
The ENGOs cannot be entirely blamed for the
lack of progress in Jamaica's marine environment,
however, as their role has been fostered partly
because of the government's readiness to shed
responsibility, and reluctance to enforce policy
recommendations. Some of the government's
reluctance results from internal conflicts of
interest. Until April 2000, for example, the ministry
responsible for the environment was simultaneously
responsible for housing. This combination generated
a serious conflict of interests, for both marine and
terrestrial environments (the pressure to develop
new housing schemes led to the clearing of forests
known to house endangered species, for example).
The combination of housing and the environment in
one ministry was particularly problematic because of
the distribution of potential voters between housing
and the environment. This meant that the Ministry
of Housing and the Environment was primarily
concerned, in practice, with housing, and allocated
relatively few resources to addressing environmental
degradation. The portfolios have been reshuffled
since then, however the environment is now

part of the Ministry of Land and the
Environment which may help to reduce
such internal conflicts.
These political factors are implicated
in other contradictions and the general
lack of progress. Fines levelled at
fishermen found fishing in the Montego
Bay Marine Park, for example, were
initially so low that they were not a
deterrent, and park personnel had to
devote considerable effort to get local
judicial officials to increase the fines to
reasonable levels." In part, this difficulty
illustrates the common perception
that fishermen are simply "poor men
struggling to make a living", and that
any effort to curtail their activities is
simply oppression of the working man.
Fishermen themselves are quick to use
this kind of rhetoric in any debate.
Perhaps the major environmental
policy problem in Jamaica, therefore, has
been the combination of political and
institutional factors that has effectively
sabotaged the prospect of any real
change, rather than a lack of resources. It
would clearly be possible, for example,
to institute strict fishing controls over
large areas in order to restore the coral
reefs along the Jamaican coastline. Such
controls are already in place in other sites
around the Caribbean, generally where
such controls are perceived to be in the
best economic interests of the nation. In
Mexico, for example, about 85 per cent
of the coral reefs around Cozumel are in
the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park;
routine maintenance costs are covered by
charging diving tourists US$2.00 per day
per person, and since the park is under
the ordinance of a federal management
programme, park regulations and no-
fishing ordinances can be enforced
by any federal agency, including the
Mexican navy.4 It would, similarly, be
possible for Jamaica to use the existing
coast guard, police and defence force
to enforce no-fishing zones, without
necessarily increasing the funding levels
of these organizations. In islands with
substantial revenue from diving-related
tourism, like the Cayman Islands and the
Netherlands Antilles, diving and hotel
staff report environmental violations, as
it is in their economic interest to do so;
in Bonaire, for example, the volunteers
that help to run the Bonaire Marine

Park include personnel from several
diving operations." If Jamaica also had
substantial revenues from diving-related
tourism (which could accrue if the
corals were restored), then it would be
reasonable to expect similar cooperation
from diving enterprises in policing parks
and enforcing regulations.

There are a large number of ENGOs
in Jamaica, a small, middle-income
country." This represents an unnecessary
duplication of effort and expense. A more
fundamental problem, however, is that
the ENGOs have been demonstrably
ineffective with regard to the marine
environment (among others). This is
partly because of a basic issue of scale and
structure; environmental solutions that
can only be applied nationally, such as
fishing controls, can only be delivered by
a government organisation.
NGOs do, however, play an
important role at the local level.
They provide an important voice for
community members, and as such should
be involved in the implementation of
national policy directives in their local
area. It is important not to place too much
managerial responsibility in the hands
of individuals and organizations that
are clearly not equipped or prepared for
these tasks, but this still leaves room for
viable cooperative arrangements. For a
given section of coastline, for example, a
local NGO could usefully serve as advisor
to the government body responsible for

Healthy coral, Drunken Mans Cay

implementing national policy. This would
only work, of course, if there was a proper
framework for national environmental
policy in Jamaica, and, until recently,
this has been undermined by the various
problems with implementation.
We make both a traditional and a non-
traditional recommendation here. First, it
has become increasingly clear that there
is no substitute for active government
involvement and enforcement in the
protection of the marine environment.7
These policies could be usefully directed
toward the creation and protection of
more marine no-fishing zones. This
element is reflected in draft policy papers,
but is currently just one element of a suite
of policy recommendations, so its central
importance has been lost. The traditional
argument that the establishment of more
parks or reserves is not possible because
of a lack of resources is no longer entirely
convincing, as the Jamaican government
currently employs over fifty thousand
people,3" including more than ten
thousand in the police and military, and
one hundred and fifty in the Coast Guard
(with eighteen boats of various sizes). It
is difficult to see how reassigning the one
hundred or so employees required, and/
or utilising the coast guard and police
in policing the no-fishing zones would
place an undue burden on the financial or
logistical resources of the state.
To a certain extent, of course, the
cry of poverty is genuine; while it is true

that the Jamaican government could
re-prioritise and expend more time and
money on the creation of protected areas,
it is unlikely that they could do so for
more than a limited number of areas.
There is a solution to this problem too:
to create a small number of relatively
large zones. This, superficially, is current
policy, and reflected in the establishment
of marine parks at Montego Bay, Negril,
Port Antonio and the Portland Bight. In
practice, however, these parks are to be
run by NGOs (the Montego Bay Marine
Park Trust, the Negril Environmental
Protection Trust, the Portland
Environmental Protection Association and
the Caribbean Coastal Area Management
Foundation, respectively) with all the
implied disadvantages reviewed earlier.
The creation of a few large reserves,
however, will not represent a complete
solution. Organisms within the reserves
will benefit from the protection, of course,
and areas adjacent to the reserves will
also benefit, as fish and other organisms
will move out of the reserves into these
areas. Research has shown, however, that
recruitment (for fish in particular) can be
astn-shingly local, and it is often fairly
unidirectional, following the direction of
the prevailing currents." In other words,
even if the Montego Bay Marine Park, for
example, is well protected, most of the
fish spawned there will stay there. A few
may end up as far away as Negril to the
west, but virtually none will migrate east
(as currents along the Jamaican coastline
are primarily in a westerly direction).
There is still a need, therefore, to fill
the 'gaps' with small marine reserves in
order to spread the benefits of protection
more widely. This could be fairly readily
accomplished, as many of Jamaica's
tourist hotels have the motivation and
resources to establish and maintain small
marine reserves off their beaches. Some
of them would probably already have
done more in this regard, but have been
discouraged, in part, by various legal
impediments restricting the ownership
rights associated with beaches and land
below the high tide mark.
It would be possible, however, to
alter the legal status of the nearshore zone
in order to permit private ownership
and/or management of nearshore marine
property, including coral reefs. This
would give the hotels, for example, the

right to maintain the property for the
exclusive use of their guests and staff.
The advantage would be that the hotels
(unlike NGOs or even the government)
actually have the financial resources
and economic motivation to succeed.
The motivation is simple: to increase
the quality of the product and thereby
increase revenues. Many of the guests at
beachfront hotels want to look at the coral
reefs (by snorkelling, scuba-diving or
via glass-bottom boat), and it is therefore
important to maintain healthy reefs. A
second reason relates to the problem of
harassment: many hotels would like to
have more control over their immediate
environs so that they can protect their
guests from aggressive vendors.
The hotels would also have an
incentive to take a proactive role in
restoring 'their' reefs, and there are now a
number of techniques" that can accelerate
reef recovery towards the ideal or pristine
state. The exclusion of fishermen alone
would assist in regeneration, and the
increase in fish and coral numbers would
allow these private areas to seed others,
thereby generating a widening pattern of
The two largest chains of hotels
in Jamaica Sandals and Superclubs
- operate eleven and seven hotels
respectively. If these two chains were to
assume control of their proximate littoral,
this would immediately add eighteen
small, well-managed reserves to the
larger reserves already present a very
worthwhile addition.
Modification of the benthic
environment should still require official
permission, as it does now. It would be
justifiable, for example, for government
to sell or give management contracts for
sections of the coastline only to those
who are both willing and able to maintain
protected zones, and to disallow purchase
for any other purpose.

There are (potential) solutions to most
of the problems with Jamaica's marine
environment. However, the two main
anthropogenic factors negatively affecting
Jamaican reefs pollution and overfishing
- will only be solved if they are addressed
systematically, and solutions will only
be deployed if donors review their

current commitment to channelling
funding through NGOs and adopt a more
pragmatic approach to the management
and delivery of projects. Pollution is
primarily a local problem, and can
therefore be addressed by local NGOs
in cooperation with the government.
Overfishing, however, is a national
problem, and must therefore be addressed
at the national level, although there is still
a role for local NGOs as local experts who
can guide the detailed decision-making.
Although the issues addressed here
relate specifically to the mismanagement
of one environmental issue in one
transitional/ developing country, variants
of these problems can be found in other
developing countries and in advanced
economies with economically depressed
areas and disadvantaged communities.
Incorporating environmental
management in the development of local
communities, or entire countries, is a
complex process, and a preference for
just one mode of project delivery may
inhibit proper consideration of other
options. A search for real, workable
solutions will typically require case-by-
case consideration to determine the most
effective combination of people, funds,
NGOs, ministries and other agencies.
A more responsive, flexible, pragmatic,
evidence-based and results-oriented
approach would assist in this regard. 4

An earlier version of this paper was published
as M. Haley and A. Clayton, "The Role of
NGOs in Environmental Policy Failures in a
Developing Country: The Mismanagement of
Jamaica's Coral Reefs", Environmental Values 12,
no. 1 (February 2003).

All photos G.W. Warner

1. Reviewed in B.E. Brown, "Disturbances to
Reefs in Recent Times", in Life and Death
on Coral Reefs, ed. C. Birkeland (New York:
Chapman and Hall, r--'' '54-79.
2. Coral reef water adjacent to oceanic
islands is typically oligotrophic (that is,
very low nutrient levels; see C. Birkeland,
"Geographic Differences in Ecological
Processes on Coral Reefs", in Lift iand Death
on Coral Reefs, ed. C. Birkeland [N\ew York:
Chapman and Hall, 1997], 283-87), so
corals are typically stressed by nutrient
run-off and the associated algal bloom.
3. Bleaching describes the condition in which
corals expel their symbiotic algae, there\
becoming pale or white in appearance,
and is associated \\ ith an increase in coral
4. R.W. Buddemeier, "Is It Time to Give L p?"
Bul'ltin of Marine Science 69 (2001): 317-26.
5. See G.R. Russ, "Coral Reef Fisheries: Effects
and Yields", in The Ecoloig of Fishes on Corail
Retfs, ed. P. Sale (San Diego: Academic
Press, 1991), 601-35, and references therein.
6. J.D. Woodley et al., "Hurricane Allen's
Impact on Jamaican Coral Reefs", Science
214 (1981): 749-55.
7. N. Knowlton, J.C. Lang and B.D. Keller,
"Case Study of Natural Population
Collapse: Post-Hurricane Predation oln
Jamaican Staghorn Corals", Stiiithsonian
Contributions to Marne Science 31 (1990):
8. R.B. Aronson and W.F. Precht, "Stasis,
Biological Disturbance, and Community
Structure of a Holocene Coral Reef",
Si, 23 (1997): 326-46.
9. For example, D.R. Stoddart, "Post-
Hurricane Changes on the British
Honduras Reefs: Re-Survey of 1965", Atoll
Research Bulletin 131 (1969): 1-25, and
"Post-Hurricane Changes on the British
Honduras Reefs: Re-Survey of 1972",
P .. ..1if I -. Second International Coral
Reef Siymposium 2 (1974): 473-83.
10. B.E. Lapointe, "Nutrient Thresholds for
Bottom-Up Control of Macroalgal Blooms
on Coral Reefs in Jamaica and Southeast
Florida", Liimnologyi and Oceanography 42
(1997): 1119-31.
11. W.D. Liddell and S.L. Ohlhorst, "Changes
in Benthic Community Composition
Following the Mass Mortality of D.
antillarium", journal of Experimental Marine
Biology and .I. .. '*', (1986): 271-78; see
also Brown, "Disturbances to Reefs".
12. T.P. Hughes, "Catastrophes, Phase
Shifts and Large-Scale Degradation of a
Caribbean Coral Reef", Science 265 (1994):
13. Liddell and Ohlhorst, "Changes in Benthic
Community Composition"; D. Liddell,
personal communication.
14. Lapointe, "Nutrient Thresholds"; B.E.
Lapointe, M.M. Littler and D.S. Littler,
"Macroalgal Overgrowth of Fringing Coral
Reefs at Discovery Bay, Jamaica: Bottom

Up vs. Top-Down Control", A'. ... I f
the Eighth International Coral Reef Stmposiiumi
1 (1997): 927-32.
15. Hughes, "Catastrophes"; T.P. Hughes et al.,
"Algal Blooms on Coral Reefs: What Are
the Causes?" Litmnologiy and OceatMnOraphyl
44 (1999): 1583-86; R.B. Aronson and W.F.
Precht, "Herbivory and Algal Dynamics
on the Coral Reef at Discovery Bav,
lamaica", Llinnology and OtceauWographi 45
(2000): 251-55; and PJ. Edmunds and R.C.
Carpenter, "Recovery of Diadena antiililarn ti
Reduces Macroalgal Cover and Increases
Abundance of Juvenile Corals on a
Caribbean Reef", .. f the National
Acardetmy f Scienices 98 (2001): 5067-71.
16. Greenaway and Morrison, unpublished
17. Edmunds and Carpenter, "Recovery ot
Diadeina avtillarmll".
18. J.B.C. Jackson et al., "Historical Overfishing
and the Collapse of Coastal Ecosystems",
Science 293 (2001): 629-37.
19. D.F. Webber, "The Water Quality in
I .... .1i ..1 Harbour: Some Sources and
Solutions", PVrceed1inr f othe Seventh
Alu1al National Colnference on Science and
Technology (1997): 45-63; D.F. Webber
and M.K. Webber, "The Water Quality of
Kingston Harbour: E .,, ,Ia Ih, Use of
the Planktonic Community and Traditional
Water Indices", Chemiiisftry mid Ecology 14
(1998): 357-74.
20. Greenawav and Morrison, unpublished
21. J.D. Woodlev, "Sea Urchins Exert Top-
Down Control ot Macroalgae on Jamaican
Coral Reefs" (1), Coral Reefs 18 (1999):
192; J.D. Woodley, P.M.H. Gavle and
N. Judd, "Sea Urchins Exert Top-Down
Control of Macroalgae on Jamaican Coral
Reefs" (2), Coral Reefs 18 (1999): 193;
Edmunds and Carpenter, "Recovery of
Diadeila antillariun"; M. Haley and J.-L.
Solandt, "Population Fluctuations of
the Sea Urchins Diadenma antillaritn and
Tripneiusits ventricosus: A Case of Biological
Succession?" Caribbean ouriral of Science 37
(2001): 239-45.
22. Edmunds and Carpenter, "Recovery of
Diademna antillarini".
23. Haley and Solandt, "Population
24. M. Haley, unpublished data.
25. J.-L. Solandt, "Herbivore Interactions on an
Algal-Dominated Caribbean Coral Reef"
(PhD thesis, Queen Mary and Westfield
College, London, I- -* and references
26. J.-L. Solandt, personal communication.
27. Webber, "The Water Quality in Kingston
28. D.F. Webber, personal communication.
29. Examples of Jamaican marine
environmental policy papers include
the following: Anonymous, "Ocean and
Coastal Zone Management: National Policy
Development" (manuscript, n.d.); Coastal

Water Quality Improvement Project, "The
National Consultation on Ocean and
Coastal Zone Management: Technical
Discussion Paper" (paper prepared
for the Council of Ocean and Coastal
Zone Management, National Resource
Conservation Authority, and USAID,
1998); National Resources Conservation
Division, "Country Environmental Profile"
I I'-- Government of Jamaica, "Policy
for Jamaica's System of Protected Areas"
(n.d.); National Resources Conservation
Authority, "Draft NRCA Guidelines for
Construction, Maintenance and Monitoring
of Underwater Pipelines and Cables in the
Coastal Zone" (n.d.); National Resources
Conservation Authority, "Jamaica's Coastal
Resources: A Reconnaissance Report"
(USAID DEMO project, 1995); National
Resources Conservation Authority/
Ministry of Environment and Housing,
"Toward a Watershed Policy for Jamaica"
(Green Paper no. 2/99, 1999); Office of
the Prime Minister, "The Development of
an Ocean Resources Policy for Jamaica"
(prepared for the Science and i.. i. .....
Council, 1994).
30. J. Williams, current executive director,
Montego Bay Marine Park, personal
communication; see also Brian Byfield,
"Financing Conservation from Overseas:
An International Lesson from Jamaica"
(MSc thesis, University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill, 2000).
31. Beach Control Division, National
Environmental Protection Agency, 10
Caledonia Avenue, Kingston 5, Jamaica.
32. Bvfield, "Financing Conservatives From
Overseas". 2000.
33. L. Walling, manager, Montego Bay Marine
Park, 1990-94, personal communication.
34. www.aquasafari.com/ marinepk.html
35. \\iv\w.bmp.org
36. Based on World Bank (2002) classifications:
lowest income = GNP/capita below
US$365/year; low income = $760 or less;
lower-middle income $761 to $3,030;
upper-middle income = $3,031 to $9,360;
high-income = over $9,360.
37. The most recent green paper, "Towards
a National Policy on Ocean and Coastal
Zone Management in Jamaica", is currently
under review in the Jamaican Cabinet.
38. As of 1 June 2001, 40,107 civil servants
(Civil Service Association of Jamaica),
7,057 police (Jamaica Constabulary Force
Establishment Unit) and 3,500-4,000
military personnel (Jamaica Defence
Force were unwilling to release the exact
39. J.L. Munro, "Caribbean Coastal Reef
Fishery Resources", ICLARM Studies
Review 7 (1983): 1-276, and "Marine
Protected Areas and the Management of
Coral Reef Fisheries" (International Center
for Living Aquatic Resources Management
Technical Report, 1999).
40. M. Haley, unpublished data.

Jamaica's Central African



Relatively little cognisance has been
given to the presence, among those
brought to Jamaica either enslaved or
indentured, of persons from West Central
Africa comprising today's Gabon, Sao
Tome, Congo-Brazzaville, Zaire or the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, and
Angola. By overall estimate, between
1655 when the British took control of
the island and 1807, when the British
Parliament outlawed the slave trade,
Central Africans accounted for 17.5 per
cent of the workforce.' That percentage
would have increased between 1808
and 1865 when slave capture to supply
manual labour in the large economies
of the United States, Brazil and Cuba
predicated that ships continued to leave

African ports with their human cargo.
The captives who were liberated on the
open seas by British and other European
naval squadrons were then disposed
of among labour-deficient colonies as
'indentured labourers'. Already at the
turn of the nineteenth century, between
1790 and 1807, the "most striking feature"
of the immigration profile was "the rapid
increase in the number of slaves exported
by the British from Southwestern Africa,
especially in the region of the Congo
and Angola".2 So that between 1801 and
1867, the West Central Africans landed
in Jamaica amounted to 13.5 per cent
of the total.' In the post-emancipation
(1838) phase of the immigration, that is,
in the period 1841-67, the demographer

George Roberts estimated that the
incoming Africans totalled ten thousand,
or 2 per cent of the population, so from
a quantitative point of view, "their
contribution to population growth was of
no consequence".4
Subsequently, Mary Thomas's study
of precisely this post-emancipation
labour importation detailed the technical
and official niceties of the importation
scheme,' but it was Monica Schuler who
in her 1977 dissertation disaggregated the
African indentured labourers according
to ethnicity, and by combining official
documentation with field research,

The henti accompnies Ihe National Dance Theatre
Company Singeis, 1983

established the living connection between
those immigrants and late twentieth-
century persons and communities in
various parts of Jamaica: the settlement
of Central Africans, notably in St Thomas
parish in the east, and of Nago or Yoruba
in Westmoreland and Hanover parishes
in the west."
Yet before this renewed recognition of
African ethnic groups in the Caribbean,
'Congo' and 'Mongola' were terms of
ethnic identification which had been
used in nineteenth-century documents
such as boat shipments, church records,
plantation owners' diaries, and so on.7
Twentieth-century research which probed
beyond these nomenclatures and which
questioned the descendants of these
immigrants revealed their identification
not only as 'Congo' but 'ring Congo', as
well as Mabere or Mabiwi, Munchundi,
Muntwente, Muyanji, Yaka, Mumbaka
and Kimbundu."
In those terms beginning with nm-,
the Koongo prefix originally signalling
human creature and singularity fossilised
before an ethnic label, to create a term
which still conveyed 'human being', but
which could be singular as well as plural.
Thus'Mongola', a contracted form of
mu-angola, referred to an individual or
individuals from the Portuguese colony
of Angola; 'Munchundi' referred to a
person or persons from the Koongo
province of Nsundi; 'Muntwente' perhaps
indicated an inhabitant or inhabitants of
the Koongo province of Bwende; while
'Muyanji' referenced a person or persons
called the Yansi or Tio or Teke or Anzico
or Bobangi from the Niari River plateaux
and the Kwango River valley. 'Mumbaka'
was a member of the Mbaka sub-group
of the Mbundu who lived south of the
Koongo; while the Yaka were an Mbundu
sub-group from the Kwango River valley.
Mu- found a reflex in ma- in the
term 'Mabere', which indicated the Vili,
a sub-group of the Koongo living along
the Atlantic coast and along the banks of
the Nzadi or Congo River. 'Ring Congo'
seems to suggest 'real Congo', but may
instead, by reference to the bells which
epitomised Mbanza Koongo, capital of the
Koongo Kingdom, have served to identify
its inhabitants. While the Koongo used
hand-held metal bells to announce the
passage of the king or of trade caravans,

the Portuguese clergy in 1482 gained
permission from Nzinga a Nkuwu, the
first king they converted, to proselytise
and to build Catholic churches, which
meant installing fixed belfries. The
regular sounding of church bells to mark
the hours of the angelus, for Masses,
marriages, and funerals then gave the
town that early distinction which earned
it the attributive Koongo dyn/za ugunga
'Koongo of the bells'.
South of Mbanza Koongo lived the
Libolo, who were an Mbundu sub-group,
and their presence in Jamaica may be
deduced from the name of a seventeenth-
century Maroon whose followers
ensconced themselves in the mountains of
Clarendon. He was Juan Lubolo or Lubola
or Libolo, whose ethnic identification was
made comprehensible to the Spaniards by
rendering it 'de Bolas', that is, 'of Balls'."
Then the Kimbundu even further south
of the Libolo were in fact the Ovimbundu
of the Angola highlands, the Jamaican
term having been derived from the
singular referent Ochimnbundu, for which
Ovimibuindu was the true plural.
But if 'Congo' and 'Mongola' were
omnibus terms, 'Bongo' was even more
so, since it derived from the phrase muntiu
a inbongo 'person bought with money'
which in Jamaica was a label for any
African, indicating that the person had
been enslaved or was a slave descendant.
In opposition to this'Bongo' category, in
the parlance of the Kumina community
(see below), are Mudongo or Mundongo,
another omnibus term meaning
generally 'stranger'. It refers to
all those who do not consider
themselves 'Bongo'."' But
during the plantation era
the term 'Mundong' had
currency in the Caribbean,
as in Koongo, to designate
a wide array of non- WEST AFRICA
Koongo peoples.

and the exposition of Kumina dance and
drumming by Rex Nettleford's National
Dance Theatre Company, the presence

of this Central African religious complex
has become widely known. Kumina
is a song, dance and drumming event
held by Central African descendants to
mark birthdays, death anniversaries and
public holidays, or to make supplication.
During the ceremony, which takes place
in a covered enclosure adjoining a home
or at gravesides, some members of the
congregation may become media for
ancestral spirits who demonstrate their
presence by causing the dancers to
display behaviour which may be either
ecstatic or rigid. While some of the songs
are in the Jamaican Creole language
and are called 'bailo', others employ a
Koongo-based language'2 referred to as
'country', connoting 'ancestral land'.
The religious component of Kumina
ritual comprises belief in the intervention
of ancestral spirits in the lives of the
living. As such, the living need to placate
and communicate with the spirits of the
dead. The obligation felt by descendants
to invoke the presence of their biological
and community ancestors is well captured
in the term 'duty' which is used to
designate a Kumina ceremony, a word
which calques the southern Koongo
stative verb kamamna, 'to feel obliged to
keep one's promise or carry out a duty'.3
This involves the practice of vegetal
offerings and blood sacrifice of birds
and goats as a means of placation; an

Mediterranean Sea

Perhaps the main domain of Central OCEAN
African influence on Jamaican
culture has been religion. Since the
first documentation on Kumina in the
early 1950s by the American cleric and
anthropologist, Joseph Moore," the
subsequent showcasing of Kumina songs
by Olive Lewin's Jamaica Folk Singers,

animistic understanding of plant life as
an agent of healing and a manifestation
of spiritual presence; and the mapping
out of spiritual spaces by libations of
alcohol sprayed from the mouth toward
the four corners. While such Kumina
rituals are public, some of its healing
and consultative rituals are privately
conducted by religious leaders, whether
male or female.
Such ceremonies are not peculiar
to Kumina, being shared as well by the
Pukkumina (Pocomania)"4 religion, by
Maroon sacred or 'business dance', by
the Mayal religion when it existed, and
by Bongo or Convince or Flenky. Bongo
is a cult centred around an individual
who accesses spiritual energy through an
ancestral familiar in a private ceremony
during which music is performed at a
low-volume level, being sung a cappella
or to the accompaniment of rhythmic
stick percussion." All these African-
type religions share a conception that
the individual possesses more than one
spirit or soul. First of all there is the
personal spirit or personality which

at death returns either to the Creator
divinity or joins the collective spirit-force
of ancestors. As an ancestral spirit, the
individual can re-insert himself or herself
into the bodies of the living by possessing
them on occasion. Yet another aspect of
the individual's spirit is a shadow which
lives in the grave with the corpse and, if
unhappy, can wander in the land of the
living to cause disturbance and turmoil.'"
Mayal was a religious complex which
blended African concepts such as outlined
for Kumina together with some Christian
beliefs. This was a type of religion which
had first been reported in the 1760s, and
which surged to prominence repeatedly
in 1831-32, 1842, the 1860s and the turn
of the twentieth century. The periodic
nature of such religious enthusiasm
paralleled the waves of religious
commitment to powerful secret cults
in Koongo and Angola which occurred
at junctures of great public anxiety, on
account of either epidemics, drought, or
high infant mortality." Furthermore, in
Koongo, the introduction of Catholicism
by the Portuguese since the late fifteenth

Womc O

Kumina dancers

century had resulted in the marriage of
Koongo and Catholic religious concepts
and rituals. For instance, indigenous
vocabulary was ascribed to Christian
concepts and personages, crucifixes
were considered powerful charms,
Jesus was thought to have once lived in
Koongo, and some mystics of such hybrid
religious systems considered themselves
messengers or incarnations of the Virgin
Mary or Catholic saints.
Mayal (generally spelled 'Myal') most
probably derives from the Koongo term
inayaala, meaning a human or mystic
representation of power. That power
could be the power of a king or chief,
or the divine power underpinning his
office. Understanding this, we realise that
a Mayal man or woman was the agent
of the spiritual power of the Creator
God, and/or of powerful spirits or
ancestors. In general, Mayal came to be
considered 'good obeah' as opposed to
'bad obeah', probably a privileging of the
Christian-influenced elements of Mayal
as against their absence in non-Mayal
manipulations of spirit power, commonly
referred to in the Caribbean as obeah.
Mayal ceremonies involved congregations
dancing in an anti-clockwise direction
around a sacred tree, while offerings of
smashed eggs were made to the nature or
ancestral spirits which dwelt in the tree.
The egg offerings are very reminiscent of
Akan religious practice from the Gold and
Ivory Coasts, but the emphasis in Mayal,
Bongo and Kumina on individuals being
empowered as ancestor mediums rather
than by deities speaks to a Central African
slant to these religious practices.
Other Central African terms are for
objects used in Maroon and Mayal rituals.
One is the bunch of herbs slapped on the
body of an unwell person with the aim of

0 50 Km

driving out evil spirits and impurities. It
is called jege by both the Jamaican Koongo
and the Maroons, the word deriving
phonologically and semantically from
Koongo zieki. Another is a marble used
in divination, called the amba. This word
may exhibit the convergence of West
African and Central African sources:
inmba is Twi from the Gold Coast for
the rounded seed counter with which
the domino-like game of oware or warri
is played," while semantically Koongo
mbiya 'glass bead' is closer to the Jamaican
usage. The initial vowel of the Jamaican
word is a common complement to the
word-initial nasals in African words and,
in the case of the Koongo word, elision of
the word-internal vowel or glide would
have produced amba.
Yet another religious item, and one
which carries resonances of communal
distinctiveness and order, is the kinda
tree. This name has been retained in the
Maroon village of Accompong near the
Cockpit country of north St Elizabeth
parish, and it applies to a large tree which,
according to a past Accompong colonel,
means "we are a family"." Exactly so, as
the kinda is a protective power invested
in a tree on the occasion of a coronation
ceremony or at a burial site of a chief as
a "dynastic sign of dignity".2? Such a tree
may not be visited by members of the clan
in general, but only by the children and
grandchildren of the chieftain's families.
These traditions exist among the Koongo
and the Ovimbundu, and coincide in
some measure with the concept of a
specially planted tree as "the protector of
the village and the seat of the ancestors
of the village group" among the Lunda,
Lwena and Chokwe peoples to the east of
Koongo and among the Mbundu as well.21
An annual in-gathering of Accompong
residents and their relatives is held on
6 January when, to the singing of the
assembly, sacrificial offerings of boars,
rams, food and rum libations are made
at the foot of the tree. Yellow yams and
plantains are then boiled and roasted
there, and salt-free2 meat is stewed, the
pots being stirred by large pimento spice
sticks to give the food flavouring. Only
Accompong males and aged females are
charged with this duty.
Somewhat similarly, only Accompong
males are allowed to proceed beyond the

kinda to place offerings on the graves in
the grassy plain of Old Accompong. These
are the graves of past leaders including
Cudjo, the eighteenth-century Maroon
military hero. The selectivity as to who
goes past the kinda to Old Accompong
recalls the selectivity insisted upon with
regard to visitations to the kinda in the
Central African polities.

Yet another Maroon site which betrays a
Central African presence in the Maroon
population is Makunu Level, a plain just
below the virtually inaccessible Nanny
Town in the Blue Mountains of eastern
Jamaica. That Makunu, literally meaning
'ancestors', is the name given to an earlier
settlement of a community suggests that
Nanny and her group of Maroons may
have inhabited the area prior to their
removing to even higher ground. Other
sites in the eastern Jamaica mountains are
known as Makungo Hill and Makungo
River, a name probably indicating the
earlier presence there of ina-koongo
'Koongo people'. A bathing and baptismal
pool in the Wild Cane River at Moore
Town, the later site occupied by Nanny's
followers, has been known as Budu Was-
Was. This may be deciphered as inbudu
or mbundu 'buttocks, testicles, anus' in
the language of the Mbundu, followed by
the iteration of English 'wash'. In several
African languages, there is free variation
between s and sh, much as one observes
in the slurred s of some modern American
speech. The presence of Central Africans
among the Maroon populations is further
evidenced by the retention to the word
junga, meaning 'lance' in Koongo, and
described not only as a hunting and
fighting tool of the Maroons, but also
as "an object of pride and a symbol of
Maroon identity ... used in Kromanti
Another Koongo-Maroon connection
is shown in a report made in the 1770s
of a Maroon'Congo' settlement "deep
in the woods around Black River in
St Elizabeth".24 Then, in the 1790s, the
British found another settlement which
was thought to have existed for over
fifty years. It had been called Congo
Town, but was later renamed (no doubt
by the British, given its complex verbal
formulation) 'Highwindward'. Its

Jamaican Creole name-replacement was
more apt, as for its residents it summed
up the isolation and independence they
desired: 'Me No Sen Yu Nuh Come' (If I
don't [send to] call you, don't come).25 But
even today a Congo Town exists in the
mountains of Trelawny.
Another place-name of interest is
Mafuta in St James. Spelt 'Mafoota', the
name occurs on maps connected with the
1831-32 slave uprising and designates
an area toward the eastern boundary
of Montpelier Estate. The name likely
derives from the Koongo and Mbundu
plural prefix ma- followed by the Koongo
verbfuta 'to become overgrown with
bush', cognate too with Mbundufuta 'a
deep, abandoned site'.

In the 1960s, inhabitants of Wakefield
in Trelawny still considered themselves
Africans, more specifically "Congo
people" who danced the tamnbu." Tanbu,
from Koongo (n)tanbu 'drum', is also
danced in Lacovia, St Elizabeth parish, to
the south of Trelawny.27 It is performed
by quick shuffling steps, foot movements
akin to those used in the Kumina rituals
of the eastern Jamaican parishes. But
inherently the tambu is a social dance in
which the female attempts to attract her
male partner:

[F]rom time to time she does spinning
turns with arms extended at the side,
and then moves the feet very rapidly
on the spot, so that the movement
is transferred to the whole body,
causing a trembling vibration of every
limb to the very fingertips. The very
erotic effect is increased as her partner
comes nearer and nearer. The man
moves forward with one leg lifted,
the body inclined towards the woman
as if falling on her, then he recovers
himself quickly, spinning on one leg
and doing an almost balletic turn.2"

Baxter's account continues with the
description of another sudden movement
which involves a "sideways lunge,
and as the woman turns away quickly,
feet moving in the rapid shuffle, he
spins around, falls backwards, turns
a backward somersault and comes up
again facing his partner, still dancing".29
This choreography is reminiscent of male

S*o: Beele game. min .. Boom-pipes, laie in
today'n lamai(a, being played in Haiti.

dancing in the Puerto Rican bomba, as well
as in the Cuban rumba and its related yuka,
while the total body tremor of the female
recalls the quintessential movement of the
eighteenth-century chica, extolled from
Haiti to Curacao, and probably derived
from Koongo tiit 'to quiver'. That tremor
also marked the original b1le dance of the
Eastern Caribbean."3
And just as the ble' occasion in the
nineteenth century sometimes contained
an element of ancestor commemoration,
Olive Lewin detected such a combination
in the tambu of the late 1960s. In response
to her probing questions, it was revealed

a goat was sometimes killed to please
"them other one" (the spirits) and that
many of the songs were laments....
[T]hey were lamenting three types of

1. from friends and family through
slavery and the plantation system:
"They sen' mother one way and child
another. Maybe they never meet
2. from loved ones through death;
3. from "the homeland, Africa"."

The interchangeability of sacred and
secular, even their periodic overlapping,
is amply indicated by dances such as the
kuinan and tambu of Jamaica, and the bile
of the Eastern Caribbean.
A dance action associated with
mating dances is belly-to-belly contact,
recorded by both Ivy Baxter and Olive
Lewin as one of the features of the tainbu.
It is the climax of the tight quiver and is
made to synchronise with a sharp slap of
the drum. This is the ku-belela typical of
Angolan traditional dances, and called
the bumbnakana in Koongo. The latter term
yields the phonological derivation vacanao
or vacuno in Cuba. Another Koongo term
for the action is kumba 'navel', which
explains the Portuguese equivalent,
umbigada, in Brazilian sanmba. Although
the name for this movement may now
be lost in Jamaica, it is performed
in the tambit and other folk dances.
Furthermore, some residual recall of
Koongo choreographic labels surfaced
in the cry dingole heard on recordings of
songs in certain African-based religious
contexts.2 Dingole, a word resurrected
by the Trinidadian calypsonian Lord
Kitchener in recent decades, comes from
Koongo diengula 'to agitate the waist' and
'undulate the belly muscles'. In addition,
a dance remembered in the 1960s only

by an eighty-year-old at Accompong was
the limbo, more closely associated with
Trinidad, and which is certainly cognate
with the first element of lungo-iduniga, a
Koongo dance in which "the dancers may
crouch down and bend their shoulders
backwards until they are practically lying
on the ground"."
A number of dances and leisure
activities have retreated to entertainment
events associated with wakes and
various pre- and post-funerary 'set-ups'.
One of these is the beele game which
is now confined to wakes in the New
Galloway district of Westmoreland.
The game involves two lines of players
facing each other as one from each side
advances to fling an outstretched hand
in a move already decided on by the
referee. The two possible moves are
derived from Koongo words: panbulan,
from inphaamnbula 'difference', and
bulikisa, from mbudikisa 'meeting, joining'.
Paabula occurs when the players shoot
out their hands on the same side which,
given that they are opposite each other,
means the conjunction of a right hand
and the opposite number's left. Bulikisa
occurs when the opposing hands meet
diagonally. When a player makes a
mistake, she or he retires to the far end
of the line. The game is played to the
clapping of hands and singing, and there
is much fun to a game that was in Koongo
a preparation for hand-to-hand war
engagement, with the name beele itself
meaning 'knife'."
Another near-obsolescent activity is
the kalimbe," still practised in Jericho in
Hanover parish to the west, at Islington
in the north-central parish of St Mary,
and at Upper York near Seaforth in St
Thomas. This dance is more commonly
called the gerreh. The acrobatic kalimbe,
derived from the Koongo verb lumbe
'strike like a pendulum', involves the
male performer standing atop two lengths
of bamboo which are held above ground
by a man at either end. As these men
move the horizontal lathes backwards
and forwards, the dancer balances on one
or the other, skipping back and forth, and
straddling both moving supports in time
to the clatter of the poles and percussive
rhythms supplied either by drumming
or by handclaps from the surrounding

Another bamboo instrument, now
rare, is the boom-pipe,'" known also in
Venezuela, Trinidad and Haiti. In Haiti
it is regularly called vaksin, but in rural
locations it carries the name sganlbo or
tikanunbo, a variant of Vili dikamlbo, which
references the same instrument. These
pipes are made from stout lengths of
bamboo, with a hole for blowing into cut
out of the transverse seal at one end and
air-passages in other transverse joints.
An orchestra of such wind instruments
comprises tubes of varying lengths which
produces a battery with contrasting tones,
played hocketing fashion.
A quite possibly Central African
word is dinki-mini, the name given to a
dance-type and wake occasion peculiar
to the eastern parishes of St Mary and
Portland. The characteristic dinki-minii
dance-step is a 'cork-screw' leg posture,
so called because the knees are turned in
to each other as are also the feet. Does this
posture replicate the inverted feet thought
to be a property of the 'living dead'?''
In fact, the Jamaican term for the dance
may be a reinterpretation of the name for
a Koongo friction drum, the dingwinti,
played as a portent of executions and
more often for funeral rites.
Another drum used in southern
Koongo for funerals is the nduiguii

or ndindi, the latter term being itself
reminiscent of the first element of
ding-winti." The deep groan made by
friction drums is produced by pulling
on a rod attached to the inner side of
the parchment on one face of the drum.
The prolonged growl made as the wet
clenched hand is moved along the
rod resonates deeply within the drum
chamber. This sound is heard in several
types of funeral drumming in various
parts of the Caribbean, such as Cuba,
Guyana and Venezuela.
A gentler sonic effect is created by the
benta, an instrument which carries a Twi
name from the Gold and Ivory Coasts, but
which is more common in Central Africa.
Indeed, the music which accompanies the
dinki-mini is that of the benta, made from
a length of bamboo held horizontally
by two seated males, with one of them
leaning forward to push a resonator
- usually a calabash with a hole at one
end along a raised slither of the smooth
bamboo bark which is separated from the
main body of the trunk by intervening
wedges at either end. The gliding action
of the resonator produces a plaintive
glissando effect. A third instrumentalist
creates rhythm by knocking a kata stick
against the very bamboo which the two
men hold steady.

ihe kahnibe danced by the
National Dance Iheatre
Company oft amaica, 2000

The kata is the
Koongo name for
the short, sturdy
sticks used to make
percussion, as well as
the slit-sided wooden
barrel-type drums
which are beaten by
such sticks, also to
provide a loud, sharp
rhythm. Later called the
claie in Cuba, kata is the
earlier name used there
for these instruments.
The word has also been
used in Martinique,
and remains operative
today to refer to the
sticks and percussion
produced in Kumina
drumming when a
player crouches behind
the smaller of the two transverse drums
and hammers out a clattering rhythm on
Kumina, in common with several
other Caribbean drumming styles,
requires the drummers to squat astride
their drums, another Central African
trait (though not all drumming from this
region is done on transversely positioned
drums or by straddling drummers). The
larger of the cylindrical Kumina drums is
the band or kibandu or kimbanda, derived
from Koongo banda 'type of rhythm'
and/or band 'wood, forest'. The band
provides the throbbing heartbeat pulse,
alternating between high and low pitches
after every group of two beats. The
tonal differentiation is produced by the
drummer pressing and releasing one heel
on the drum parchment.
In their comparison between Kumina
drums and rhythms and those of the
kunminu played by the Kinkenge and
Manianga in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo, Bilby and Bunseki mention
the use of shallow square frame drums."
In Jamaica, a drum of this type is found
only among the Maroons and bears the
name gumbe (usually spelt 'gumbay' or
'goombay'). The source of this word is
most likely Koongo (n)gumba or (n)goma

ilo,: Kunina drummers, 1971
m iionm R umba-box

If the aetiology of the gumbay has
proved a riddle for researchers, the
absence of the Central African thumb-
piano is another crux. A variant called
the 'rumba-box' forms part of the staple
accompaniment of Jamaican popular folk
melodies known as mento. Reference
to rumba gives the impression that the
instrument was popularised in Jamaica
by returning emigrants to Cuba in the
early years of the twentieth century. But
given the presence in Jamaica of Central
Africans until the closing decades of the
nineteenth century, and the survival of
several of their instruments, dance styles,
and rhythms, it is extremely likely that
the hand-held thumb-piano is part of
Jamaica's Central African heritage, and
may eventually have been adapted into a

standing box shape. On the other hand, a
source indicates that in Africa "there are
much larger [thumb-pianos] that usually
provide the bass notes in instrumental
ensembles", a role which the Jamaican
instrument satisfies.4" So that this African
box-type metal-tongued piano may be
the antecedent of the Jamaican rumba-
box, similar in structure to the Haitian
marimba, and to the caroline played by
Haitian descendants in eastern Cuba.42
In fact, the word rumba is the syncopated
form of Koongo ,,nI, I..' a type of
xylophone, as the earliest form of this
Cuban dance was to xylophone music,
and madiiumba apparently served to
denote both the hand-held piano and the

O Ma'ma, Ah doh' want you cry' no more'
Lord Je'sus, we fine' another open door'

xylophone, perhaps because of the softly
rippling and tinkling sound they both
Apart from the musical heritage of
instruments, rhythms, and dances, there
is also the impact on singing style. For
instance, a striking synchrony exists
between Koongo and Jamaica with
respect to a particular singing style
which has been adopted by dancehall
singers since the 1990s. The style involves
tempo variation between two modes: the
dominant one features irregular flows of
long and short musical notes matched
with long and short syllables, and using
either pause or sustained notes to open
or close phrases. The alternate style is
used as a foil, and is characterized by
a staccato-like rapidity produced by a-
syllable-a-note delivery. Papa San and
Admiral Bailey are some of the early
exponents of this style which, as in
Koongo traditional and popular songs,
is used for aesthetic contrast in tempo
and emotional intensity. In Figure 1,
Papa San's religious song proceeds in
4/4 timing, with each phrase bearing
accentuation on four syllables, and
syllable quantity ranging between eight
and eleven. This means that the song
proceeds with steady andante pace. But
from "Look how many things you've got
to work" up to "cau inna we heart we na
corrup", syllable increases of between
twelve to fifteen per breath-group are
accommodated within the same four
strong beats. This requires a dizzying
acceleration of delivery.4
This selective use of rushed delivery
is apparent in Koongo songs remembered
both in Trinidad and Jamaica, as in the


Wipe' your tears; 'don't you ever have' no fears'
Father will' fine a way' from ou'ta nowhere'....
So' we' are' children of the light'
We walk' by fait' an we na walk' by sight'
We-re children of the day', we na children of the night'
Our step' are ordered by the Lord' Jesus Chris'
Me tell' dem say:' look how many tings' you-ve got to work,'
Dem prosecute we daily but we still' na give up'
Dem na wan we reach nowhere;' dem na bother to t'ink we bruk'
But we love dem same way' cau inna we heart' we na corrup '

Figure 1

song from Imogene Kennedy, popularly
known as 'Miss Queenie',45 shown in
Figure 2. Each verse of her melody
exhibits remarkable internal symmetry
of stresses per breath-phrase, with the
rapidly delivered line of eleven or twelve
syllables contrasting with the more
measured pace of the lines with four to
eight syllables.

There are yet other influences on Jamaican
orality. At the level of vocabulary, some
common Jamaican words derive from
Bantu, a major language family. Here,
for reasons of economy, only Koongo
sources are supplied: the Jamaican
yaya 'grandmother; elder woman' from
Koongo yaya 'mother, grandmother'; the
Jamaican tatan 'father, elder male' from
Koongo tata 'father, grandfather'; dundus
'albino' from duiindu 'albino'; boiinna
'leader of a work crew; song-leader of a
work-crew' from bamba 'work as an agent,
interpreter, commerical intermediary';
jinal 'trickster, deceiver' from dinziniga
'hypocritical action, duplicity'; mampala
'effeminate, indecisive' in respect of
males deriving from nmumpala 'young
man; childishness; beauty' and mnampala
'beauty'; butu 'crass unseemly behaviour;
person given to outlandishness' from
buutu 'crowd, rabble'; laba-laba 'a gossip,
to talk inadvisedly' from laba 'to talk
ceaselessly'; kombolo 'friend, fraternity'
from konbula 'to assemble, to group',
though the Jamaican word more often
than not tends to be used in dismissive,
distancing fashion, for example: "she an'
she kombolo dem" or "me and you nuh
As in the case of human character
types, negativity colours some words
which deal with human behaviour.
Among these are: bandulu 'crookery'
derived from Koongo bandluldu 'distorted,
dirtied'; and samfai 'to deceive; a
confidence trickster' from sa iamnpia 'to be
sly, cunning'. Another category of derisive
comments concerns disapproved aspects
of the human physique: kukumkum,
as in the idiom "maaga [skinny] like
kukumkum" based on kukuma 'to shake
as if about to fall'; mampi'fat, chubby'
from mapaala 'big, fat'; and bufu or bufutu
'fat and ungainly' from buufi4 'big in
size'. Pejoration also attends nouns like

kokomaka and nttu. Kokonaka or kokoinaka
'tik (stick) references a hardwood stave,
with similar names for similar weapons
in Colombia, Curacao and Haiti. It may
well originate in general Koongo kooko
'a bamboo branch or rod', but meaning
among the Vili, 'a travelling stick'. The
Caribbean term appears compounded
with Koongo mnakaaka 'cruelty, courage
to kill', or a related Mbundu term mnakoko
'iron rod'. For its part, tatu refers to a
hut little more than a lean-to, or it can be
a deprecating reference to a very small
room which constitutes someone's entire
habitation. Offensiveness then shades into
the tabooed realm of intimate body parts.
Among this category are bati 'posterior',
normally spelt 'batty', coming from
mbnnsi'cleft between the two buttocks';
bombo 'vagina' and bombo-klaat [cloth]
'menstrual cloth', bombo being cognate
with mbombo 'anus' and bombo 'wetness,
clotted matter'; puniani 'vagina', cognate
withfuinainnal 'folded together'.
Yet other terms refer to dismissive
amounts, such asfululups 'leftovers'
derived fromfululu 'leftovers'; or to
unwelcome noise, such as ning'i-ning'i,
which is onomatopoeic for the high-
pitched whine of mosquitoes. Ningi-ninmgi
is 'a little fly that inhabits humid places'.
But such little flies that swarm here and
there (called 'sour flies' in Trinidad)
are known in Jamaica as 'jinji flies' or
'junjo flies', the first part of which has as
antecedents Koongo nzi'fly', and Lingala
(Zaire's urban lingua
franca) jinji 'fly'. In any
case, the replication
of the Koongo stem Cha'geni mbala
suggests smallness of Ya'bala ndu'mbe
size and multiplicity. Ko'ya ko me'ka n
Pinda for 'peanut' has as Aya ko' meka ng
its provenance Koongo Ko'ya na nge'nga
mipinda for the same Ko'ya ko me'ka n

plant, while gungu is a
borrowing from the same
language for Angola
or pigeon peas (cajanus
Among the rare
terms are: bwa sa
mputu, with cognates
in Cuba and Trinidad.
Glossed in Cuba as
'haughty, arrogant', it
referred in Trinidad to



African descendants who disassociated
themselves from African culture, and it
carried the same meaning in Jamaica,
where it seemed to shade into'mulatto'.
The crux of the term's semantics lies in
its literal translation 'dog/mongrel of
the Portuguese/European', an injurious
reference to people, whether black
or brown, who opposed or betrayed
Africans." Also esoteric is dende, 'palm-
oil', in itself a scarce commodity on the
Caribbean islands though grown both in
Africa and on the continental Americas.
Yet another opaque term is kuku, the

ido'mbe 3
j'lo 2
.go'lo 3
1 .1 1 i 1



Figure 2

Ya ko meka Kwe'nca ya'Dala nao'mbe
Ma'la mala kwe'nda ya'nde

Ni'mba we'nda
Ko'ya ko mie'ka
Nzo'nge nzo'nge mba'la
Ya'bala ndu'mbe
Ko'ya ko me'ka nza'nge
Ya'ko meka ko'no yande ya wa ndo'mbe
Ko'no ko me'ka nkwe'nda

L It

i '0

Koo, Koo or Actor Boy by (Iaac Mende.s Belisario

word uttered by the'Koo-koo' or 'actor
boy' who was one of the masquerade
characters in the nineteenth-century
jonkunu band. One may speculate as to
the relatedness of Mbundu and Umbundu
kuku which means 'grandfather, elder'
but which in other contexts can mean 'I
beg' or 'I thank',4 since Actor Boy's role
was distinguished by his petitioning for
donations for the band.
Indeed, the puzzling word jonkunu/
jankunu itself may derive from Koongo
(n)za a nkunu 'universe of departed
spirits', given that the word-initial n
was dropped in some westerly Koongo
dialects, which substituted the word-
initial j for z at the start of the word
in other regions. What this signifies is
that the jonkunu characters were spirit
representations or manifestations of types
of human beings, a notion which is very
much in keeping with African treatment
of masquerade performances and the
spiritual dimension of masquerade

figures." Further to this, recent findings
by Kenneth Bilby in the Nassau hills of St
Elizabeth have eventually corroborated
the speculation by an early twentieth-
century American anthropologist, Martha
Beckwith, that jonkunu parades were
the public aspect of ancestor veneration
rites." A Koongo source as origin of a
pan-Caribbean term such as jonkuni~i
accords with Central African length of
residence and extent of dispersal in the
plantation Americas. This means that
their cultural authority would have been
stamped on this hemisphere ever since
their introduction here in significant
numbers as of the sixteenth century.
They had initially been traded out of the
Iberian peninsula by the Portuguese and
Spanish, and then brought directly from
West Central Africa itself, not only by the
Iberians but also by the Dutch, the Danes,
the English and the French.
The sixteenth-century involvement
of the Portuguese in sugarcane growing
and rum distilling on Sao Tom6, an island
off West Central Africa, and in their

north Brazil colony, may be responsible
for the term dunda; it might have been
imported into Iberian languages from
a language or languages of the Bantu
workforce. Borrowings such as this
would have answered the need for
European languages to incorporate
new terminologies to meet the non-
traditional cultural, economic and
industrial experiences launched by the
slave plantation system." Duiida has
limited use: in rum manufacture and in
the insult, "you smell/stink like dunda".
The word is defined by Cassidy and Le
Page as "the scum from the coppers in
which sugar-cane liquor was formerly
evaporated" and "the lees from the rum-
still, used to start fermentation in making
rum".2- The entry lists citations beginning
from the second half of the eighteenth
century. The lexicographers follow the
Oxford English Dictionary in ascribing its
source to Spanish redondar 'to overflow'.
But it is instructive to observe that
southern Koongo nzondo means 'latrine',
with its connotations of overpowering,
unpleasant odour, that the Yombe dialect
of Koongo uses nyondo and nylombo to
indicate musty/musky odour, and that
western Koongo has inyonda 'to be humid'.
In Koongo, ny is interchangeable with
nd. In addition, Mbundu zunza denotes
'scum/ slag left from the purification
of metal' and was a term used in the
Angolan hinterland where such processes
were performed. In this instance, one
can explain the occurrence of d in the
Jamaican word by the fact that in some
regional dialects of Central African
languages, z morphs into d."
Another opaque etymology,
clouded by its resemblance to a likely
English cognate, is to be found in the
Jamaican usage of 'yard' to mean 'home,
native village, native land'. In several
West Central African languages from
Cameroon to northern Angola, the word
yadi or yandi is used with precisely these
meanings. In fact, the Kumina community
retains use of the phrase kwenda kuna
yaanidi and its contracted form kwandi to
mean 'to go home'.'
Another site of Kumina-related
vocabulary which has passed into general
St Thomas parish usage and even further
into wider Jamaica is the raft of terms for
cannabis sativa. The most common name

for this plant is the Hindi word ganja,
no doubt reflecting the close association
between Leonard Howell, the founder of
Rastafari, and a Jamaican Indian known
only as Lalu. In fact, among Howell's
pseudonyms was "G.G. Maragh" which
stood for Gangunguru Maragh." But in
the Kumina community of St Thomas
other names for ganja are used.' Dyninba,
the most frequent of these, is widely
dispersed throughout Bantu-speaking
central and southern Africa, its South
African reflex being daaga. Another term,
chianga, seems a phonological variant
of dya mba, in which dya and chi are
phonologically conditioned segments
meaning 'of', either as association or
possession. Riamba is another variant
of dyamba, since d is pronounced r in
some dialects of African languages.
And because of another common sound
variation, this time between n and 1, kali,
one of the other terms, may be a form of
koni, the Koongo word for 'flower or seed
of the hop plant'. Among the Kumina
community, the plural of the latter
Koongo term is more regularly used than
the singular, that plural being makoni. It
is instructive to note that the smoking of
tobacco and hemp was common in West
Central Africa as far south as the Kalahari,
including the socially ritualistic practice
of passing the pipe from person to person
within a seated circle to be smoked in
turns, much as the Rastafari perform in
their nyabingi ceremonial.
The phrase kana na polkuna na po is a
Jamaican idiom for indicating that one
has heard enough, or conversely, that one
intends to have nothing further to say.
The idiom derives from Koongo kana 'to
judge, to resolve' and na po, meaning 'it's
finished', a phrase pronounced, among
other contexts, by a referee or judge
who wishes at that point to sum up the
various arguments. And there are other
idioms. Caribbean people, among them
Jamaicans, falter, looking in awe, when
they witness a small whirlwind of leaves
at ground level. When questioned, they
attribute the event, as do the Koongo,
to spirits of the dead moving, or in
christianised form, to angels spinning.
The sudden silence which breaks
the normal flow of noise is similarly
expressed as the advent of spirits or
angels, which the Koongo interpret as

marking the presence of the Creator God.
The name given to this deity is (N)zambi,
and his presence is mainly manifest in
the growl and stridency of thunder. It is
Zambi's name which Kumina adherents
utter when they hear the thunder roll, a
practice continued among the Rastafari
when they shout "Jah" in awe and fear of
the avenging tool of thunder wielded by
the Judaic God.
At least three Jamaican proverbs have
Central African antecedents, and there
are no doubt more. Yet because there are
many parallels among proverbs within
the African continent itself, it would
be simplistic to attribute them to one
culture zone exclusively. For example,
"Cockroach nuh business into fowl fight"
is said by both the Koongo and the Akan,
the latter belonging to West Africa. But
so far it seems that the following two
may be credited to the Koongo: "Learn
to dance a yard before you go a foreign"
and "One time a mistake, second time a
purpose, third time a habit". As for riddle
metaphors, the link between weaving
mats and the pumpkin vine, as expressed
in "I was tying mat ever since an' I never
lay down on one", has many cognates in
Bantu cultures."7

With regard to food culture, there seems
no exclusive influence discernible today.
'Turn-meal' or steamed cornmeal is a
staple throughout much of sub-Saharan
Africa and there is as yet no evidence
in Jamaica of the Koongo and Mbundu
names for this food such asfulrji and
fund, terms still in use in Puerto Rico,
the Virgin Islands, Antigua, and Curacao.
On the other hand, the methodology of
cooking 'rundown', that is, boiling pieces
of ground provision together
with pieces of meat in a vegetal
oil paste, coconut milk in the case
of the Caribbean, is consistent
with the Central African dish
done with palm-oil pulp, and
called nmwnaba or yuuma in
And in the arena of cottage
crafts, the cultural pattern of
male involvement in some forms
of straw weaving, particularly

Limbo dance

of mats, in basket selling and more
specifically in broom-making echoes the
male preserve of these occupations in
Koongo society.

The uncovering of these behavioral and
conceptual traits which have so far been
traced to West Central African sources,
while enlightening in itself, suggests that
they need to be probed more deeply or
more expansively. In addition there are,
no doubt, further areas of investigation
to pursue. For example, there may be
connections between melodic contours to
be found in Central African and Jamaican
folk and popular music. It will also be
useful to track with greater accuracy the
etymological origins of our Caribbean
words since there is likely to be more
than one Central African source for them,
given that Bantu languages share a great
number of cognates.
This exercise has also shown that
numerically small population cohorts
can nurture their cultural forms and then
diffuse them into the wider community
or otherwise carve out a niche within
the national identity and its allocation
of sectoral roles. We note this fact with
regard to the economic clout of ethnic
minorities in the Caribbean; just as we
observe in respect of the Kumina cultural
complex that the numerical insignificance
of the post-emancipation Africans masked
their religious, musical, and language
impact on populations beyond their
Hopefully, this exposition will expand
the reader's historical and cultural
horizons, and open up the possibilities of
understanding more about the richness of
our international connectedness. .*



1. Philip Curtin, The Atlantic Slave Trade: a
Census (Madison: University of Wisconsin
Press, 1969), 160.
2. Orlando Patterson, The' :.... ..i i. .
(London: Macgibbon and Kee, 1967),
3. David Eltis, David Richardson, Stephen
D. Behrendt and Herbert S. Klein, eds.,
The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on
CD-ROM Set and Guidebook (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1999).
4. George W. Roberts, The Population
of Jamaica (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1957), 111.
5. Mary Elizabeth Thomas, Jamaica and
Voluntary Laborers from Africa, 1840-1865
(Gainesville: University Presses of
Florida, 1974).
6. Monica Schuler, "Alas, Alas, Kongo":
A Social History of Indentured African
Immigration into Jamaica, 1841-1865
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Press, 1980). Laura Tanna, in her
examination of three songs from
Westmoreland in "African Retentions:
Yoruba and Kikongo Songs in Jamaica",
Jamaica Journal 16, no. 3 (1983): 47-52,
discovered that all were for the most
part in Yoruba, though one contained a
Koongo phrase which served as a refrain.
7. See, for example, Douglas Hall, ed., In
Miserable Slavery: Thomas Thistlewood in
Jamaica, 1750-86 (London: Macmillan
Publishers, 1989), 18, 20, 26, 28, among
other locations, where he mentions
several "Congo" slaves on his property,
and that one of their personal cultivation
plots was called "Congo ground". In the
Moravian Archives held at the Jamaica
Archives, records of the early baptisms
of adult slaves in the 1920s and 1930s
indicate their African ethnicity.
8. See Schuler, "Alas, Alas, Kongo", 70-71;
Kenneth Bilby, "The Kromanti Dance of
the Windward Maroons of Jamaica", New
West Indies Guide 55, nos. 1-2 (1981): 57;
Kenneth Bilby and Fu-Kiau kia Bunseki,
Kumina: A Kongo-based Tradition in the
New World (Brussels: Centre d'Etude et
de Documentation Africaines, 1983), 9,
9. See VS. Reid, The Jamaicans (Kingston:
Institute of Jamaica, 1976), 8. Bolas
10. The full form would be inu-Ndongo
'a person of the Ndongo or Mbundu
11. See Joseph Moore, "Religion of Jamaican
Negroes: A Study of Afro-Jamaican
Acculturation" (PhD diss., Northwestern
University, 1953).
12. See Hazel Carter, "The Language and
Music of Kumina: Report of Research
Visit to Jamaica, January-April
1985", African-Caribbean Institute of
Jamaica Newsletter 12 (1986): 3-12, and
"Annotated Kumina Lexicon", African-

Caribbean Institute of Jamaica Research
Review 3 (1996): 84-129.
13. In Frederic Cassidy and Robert Le
Page, eds., Dictionary of Jamaican Englishl
(Kingston: University of the West Indies
Press, 2002), 136, knmaina, spelt 'cumama',
is listed as a vocative expression by which
the dead are called. Kumina is entered
as 'kumuna' (267). By the etymological
explanation given in my text here, I no
longer credit the Twi source mentioned in
Maureen Warner-Lewis, "The Ancestral
Factor in Jamaica's African Religions",
in African Creative Expressions of the
Divine, ed. Kortright Davis and Elias
Farajaje-Jones (Washington, D.C.: Howard
University School of Divinity, 1991), 72.
The likely Twi source was advanced by
Cassidy and Le Page; and by Leonard
Barrett, "African Roots in Jamaican
Indigenous Religion" (paper delivered
to the African Studies Association of the
West Indies Conference on Black Religion,
University of the West Indies, Jamaica,
November 1976).
14. Word derivation by the rationalisation
of an inscrutable formulation is called
in linguistics 'folk etymology', by which
nonce phrases are given a plausible
explanation in the light of the languages
available to the speech community
trying to make sense of such phrases.
The interpretation of Pukkumina, of as
yet unknown etymology, as Spanish
'poco'-'little' prefixing 'mania'-'madness',
is not only ungrammatical as regards
gender in Spanish but requires a Spanish
phonology for the first element and an
English phonology for the second. The
hispanicisation of Juan Libolo's last name,
mentioned earlier, is another instance of
folk etymology.
15. See Donald Hogg, The Convince Cult in
Jamaica, Yale University Publications
in Anthropology 58 (New Haven:
Department of Anthropology, Yale
University, 1960).
16. See Moore, "Religion of Jamaican
Negroes", 33-34.
17. See Monica Schuler, "Myalism and the
African Religious Tradition in Jamaica",
in Africa and the Caribbean: Legacies of a
Link, ed. Margaret Crahan and Franklin
W. Knight (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1979), 65-79; Barry
Chevannes, "The 1842 Myal Outbreak
and Revival: Links of Continuity" (paper
presented to the Twenty-fifth Conference
of the Association of Caribbean
Historians, University of the West Indies,
Mona, Jamaica, 1993).
18. Thanks to Dr Kofi Agorsah of Portland
State University for this information.
19. Martin-Luther Wright, "The Heritage
of Accompong Maroons", in Maroon
Heritage: Archaeological, Ethnographic and
Historical Perspectives, ed. Kofi Agorsah

(Kingston: Canoe Press, 1994), 65.
20. Karl Laman, The Kongo, vol. 2 (Uppsala:
Studia Ethnographica Upsaliensia, 1957),
21. See Merran McCulloch, The Southern
Lunda and Related Peoples: Northern
Rhodesia, Belgian Congo, Angola (London:
International African Institute, 1951), 75.
22. In the Caribbean, African descendants
have continued the practice of omitting
salt from food offerings to spirits.
23. Bilby, "The Kromanti Dance", 72.
24. Mavis Campbell, The Maroons of Jamaica,
1655 1796: A History of Resistance,
Collaboration and Betrayal (Trenton, N.J.:
Africa World Press, 1990), 158.
25. Michael Mullin, Africa in America: Slave
Acculturation and Resistance in the American
South and the British Caribbean, 1736-1831
(Chicago: University of Illinois Press,
1994), 58, 59.
26. See Ivy Baxter, The Arts of an Island: The
Development of the Culture and of the Folk
and Creative Arts in Jamaica, 1494-1962
(Independence) (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow
Press 1970), 195.
27. Garth White, "Traditional Musical Practice
in Jamaica and Its Influence on the Birth
of Modern Jamaican Popular Music",
African-Caribbean Institute of Jamaica
Newsletter 7 (1982): 22.
28. Baxter, The Arts of an Island, 196.
29. Ibid.
30. See Beryl McBurnie, Outlines of the Dances
of Trinidad (Port of Spain: Extra-Mural
Department, University College of the
West Indies, 1958), 26. Also of interest is
the strong possibility that the name of the
dance, bri, may derive from Koongo velele
'a dance with undulating hips' rather than
from French bel air 'beautiful melody'.
My arguments for this interpretation are
contained in Maureen Warner-Lewis,
Central Africa in the Caribbean: Transcending
Time, Transforming Cultures (Kingston:
University of the West Indies Press, 2003),
31. See Olive Lewin, "Rock It Come Over": The
Folk Music of Jamaica (Kingston: University
of the West Indies Press, 2000), 172.
32. As in the Kumina, Zion and Pukkumina
segment of Jamaican Folk Music, comp.
Edward Seaga (New York: Folkways
Records FE 4453, 1956), as well as in the
song "Bembalay" within the Kumina and
Convince segment of Bongo, Backra and
Coolie Jamaican Roots, ed. Kenneth Bilby
(New York: Folkways Records FE4231,
33. Laman, The Kongo, vol. 4 (Uppsala: Studia
Ethnographica Upsaliensia, 1968), 71.
34. Carter, "The Language and Music of
Kumina", 10-11.
35. See Martha Beckwith, Black Roadways:
A Study of Jamaican Folk Life (New York:
Negro Universities Press, 1969), 85.
36. Olive Lewin, "Traditional Music in

Jamaica", Caribbean Quarterly 29, no. 1
(1983): 41-42.
37. See John Mbiti, African Religions and
Philosophy (New York: Anchor Books,
1970), 107-11.
38. It should be noted that the Black Caribs
or Garifuna of Belize hold a funeral
commemoration called dugu and dance in
a circle with similar steps to the kumina.
See Warner-Lewis, Central Africa in the
Caribbean, 151-52.
39. Bilby and Bunseki, Kumina, 49.
40. See Judith Bettelheim, "Gumbay: A Name
and a Drum", African-Caribbean Institute of
Jamaica Research Review 4 (1999): 3-15.
41. Francis Bebey, African Music: A People's
Art, trans. Josephine Bennett (Westport,
Conn.: Lawrence Hill, 1969), 80.
42. See Harold Courlander, The Drum and
the Hoe: Life and Lore of the Haitian People
(Berkeley: University of California Press,
1960), 201; and Argeliers Le6n, Del Canto
y El Tiempo (Havana: Editorial Pueblo y
Educaci6n, 1974), 72.
43. Phonologically speaking, because of the
possible interchange within a language
between d and r and between i and u,
these are basically the same word.
44. In the notation for songs in this essay,
stressed syllables carry a' sign after them,
while the number of syllables in the
breath-phrase is tallied to the right.
45. Sung during an interview of Miss Queenie
by Kamau Brathwaite, Maureen Warner
and Monica Schuler in Kingston (May
46. The implied insult helps us interpret the
strange and one may think misleading
-gloss for mundele, normally 'white
person', but explained by her informant as
'dog', given to Carter, "The Language and
Music of Kumina", 114. When the present
author questioned Imogene Kennedy
in the closing years of her life about
bwasamputu, her answers were defensive
and imprecise.
47. Wilfrid Hambly, The Ovimbundu of Angola,
Anthropological Series 21, no. 2 (Chicago:
Publications of Field Museum of Natural
History, 1968), 213.
48. Traditionally, the mask and the
masquerade costume are understood
as vestments of a reincarnated ancestral
spirit, "a super-human force that must
be dreaded", according to Onuora
Ossie Enekwe, Igbo Masks: the Oneness of
Ritual and Theatre (Lagos: Department of
Culture, Federal Ministry of Information
and Culture, 1987), 77. This concept is
widespread throughout sub-Saharan
Africa. The Mende of Upper Guinea, that
is, Sierra Leone and Liberia, recognizee
two types of sowo-wui [mask] heads: one
is the pure classical form, complete and
correct, whose origins are divine and
whose use is restricted to the highest...
level of the Sande Society; the other is an

ornamented mask.., made to the fancy of
an individual Sowo-dancer as her private
choice and property"(Sylvia Boone,
Radiance from the Waters: Ideals of Feminine
Beauty in Mende Art [New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1986], 163). Etiquette
demands that "an active, sacred mask
cannot be touched in any way outside of
the ... ritual area. Even to get to see one is
difficult; the request must be made to the
chief" (Ibid., 240, fn. 12).
49. See Kenneth Bilby, "Gumbay, Myal, and
the Great House: New Evidence on the
Religious Background of Jonkonnu in
Jamaica", African-Caribbean Institute of
Jamaica Research Review 4 (1999): 47-70.
50. The costume and the festival are observed
in Aruba, the Bahamas and Belize, and
as gombey in Bermuda, as 'masquerade'
in St Kitts and Nevis, and 'flounce mas"
in Guyana. Perhaps because of the initial
sourcing of slave labour from the West
Indies by the British North American
colonies, during the nineteenth century
jonkunu was played "along the coastal
region of eastern North Carolina:
specifically, the towns of Edenton, New
Bern Hillsboro,... Hilton, Fayetteville
and Southport", with Wilmington
being "the place where the festivity was
celebrated most vigorously" (Ira Reid,
"The John Canoe Festival: A New World
Africanism", Phylon 3, no. 4 1942]: 239-69).
Disassembling jonkunu into two
recognisable words, 'John' and 'Canoe',
is another instance of folk etymology.
See note 14 above. A similar process has
taken place with respect to the Jamaican
name for the turkey buzzard. Its Ewe
name dongro has been deconstructed into
'John Crow'. This process also seems
responsible for the Trinidad English
rationalisation of Koongo (m)badio,
pronounced [bajo], as 'Bad John',
especially given that the mid [d] is elided
in Trinidad speech. Cf. also Thistlewood's
"John Joes, a Species of Mushroom" in
Hall, In Miserable Slavery, 238, for junjo.
See fn. 53.
51. See Maureen Warner-Lewis, "Posited
Kikoongo Origins of Some Portuguese
and Spanish Words from the Slave Era",
Amfrica Negra 13 (1997): 83-97.
52. Cassidy and Le Page, Dictionary of
Jamaican English, 163.
53. Because, as noted early in this essay, z
is in free variation with i across regional
dialects of the Koongo language, no doubt
among several other Bantu languages,
the possibility is raised that there is some
lexical and semantic link between dunda
and junjo, the latter meaning 'fungus,
mushroom'. The semantic link would
lie in the yeast-like function played by
dunda in rum manufacture. But such a
link may be entirely fortuitous, given the
clear correspondence between zunza and

dunda. The striking corollary between
Bambara dyondyo 'parasol' (with dy very
likely pronounced as English j) and the
Eastern Caribbean nomenclature for
'mushroom' as 'jumbi [spirit] parasol'
on account of its shape seems the most
likely source ofjunjo. Richard Allsopp,
Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage
(Kingston: University of the West Indies
Press, 2002), 320, notes that jonjo, apart
from its Caribbean use, occurs as well in
Sierra Leone Krio. Bambara is one of the
Mande languages of West Africa, and
the word dzonya 'to affect with mildew'
(dz = j occurs as well in Mende, spoken
in Sierra Leone and Liberia. See Lorenzo
Turner, Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect
(Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press,
1974), 101.
54. Carter, "The Language and Music of
Kumina", 125. A similar correspondence
between an English and an African word
occurs with Twi doti 'ground' and English
55. See Kenneth Bilby and Elliott Leib,
"Kumina, the Howellite Church and
Rastafarian Music", Jamaica Journal 19,
no. 3 (1986): 22-28. Do we dare wonder
whether this word represents a compound
of (n)ganga and guru (Hindi) 'sage', with
word-initial n transferred to word-medial
position before another g? The fact that
the abbreviated form of this name was
'Gong', a pseudonym also used later
by Bob Marley, raises the possibility
that this nickname may have originally
derived from Koongo nganga 'priest',
meaning therefore 'one of extraordinary,
superlative abilities'.
56. See Kenneth Bilby, "The Holy Herb:
Notes on the Background of Cannabis in
Jamaica", Caribbean Quarterly, monograph
(1985): 86. Bilby and Leib, "Kumina, the
Howellite Church and Rastafarian Music",
illustrate the interaction and borrowing
between Kumina and Rastafari. A similar
process is repeated with regard to
Kumina and Revival in Moore, "Religion
of Jamaican Negroes", and in respect
of Mayal, Pukkumina and Revival in
Chevannes, "The 1842 Myal Outbreak and
Revival", and in Jean Besson and Barry
Chevannes, "The Continuity-Creativity
Debate: the Case of Revival", New West
Indian Guide 70, nos. 3-4 (1996): 209-28.
57. See Philip Baker, "Assessing the African
Contribution to French-based Creoles",
Africanisms in Afro-American Language
Varieties, ed. Salikoko Mufwene (Athens:
University of Georgia Press), 151. The
riddle quotation is from Martha Beckwith,
Jamaican Anansi Stories (New York: G.E.
Stechert, 1924).

1r11111L UT LAU I

i .i ". :i. "9.* *ll, I .*

Kingston's newest park, the Emancipation Palk in Nev. king ton
opened tothe public on 31 July 2002, on the et\ il lamaia .a
Emancipaton Day national holiday, as part .'tr tl,, trt:ttl a.nnl. er'r\
oi l.an-m.can independence celebrations. 1 he. park N aj. cn.tructid a,
.1 -pecIl public service projectof thie \Nair tnal Hou-lir Iruit %-, lich
i- ieiadi-uarterrd neirb\ E\.a tl\ ori, a.r later. on 31 l1l.. 211.1n3 a
im,n tLinll'i'- t to Fmian 'p itionri n LI;. ]IIIJ *i[ thte cLrI' ''rI j.O l enrtranrte

of the park, which is located on the corner
of Oxford Road and Knutsford Boulevard,
one of the busiest intersections in the
city of Kingston.' It was created by the
Jamaican artist Laura Facey, the winner of
the monument competition for the park
which had also been organised in Spring
2002 by the National Housing Trust, with
assistance from the National Gallery
of Jamaica and the National Heritage
Trust. Sixteen anonymous entries had
been received and evaluated by a panel
of judges appointed by the National
Housing Trust and consisting of the
vice-chancellor of the University of the
West Indies Rex Nettleford, the National
Gallery of Jamaica's chief curator
David Boxer, and the architects Marvin
Goodman and Guila Bernal.2 Of these
entries, three were shortlisted for prizes
and the first prize winner, Laura Facey's
design, was subsequently commissioned,
to be completed by the next Emancipation
Day in 2003.3
Laura Facey's Emancipation
monument is titled Redemption Song, after
Bob Marley's famous song. The artist's
statement, which was published in the
programme brochure of the opening
ceremony and in the local press, explains
the concept: "My piece is not about ropes,
chains or torture; I have gone beyond
that. I wanted to create a sculpture
that communicates transcendence,
reverence, strength and unity through
our procreators man and woman all
of which comes when the mind is free."
The monument consists of two bronze
nude figures male and female, both
obviously black and robustly built, and
a monumental eleven and ten feet tall,
respectively. The figures stand facing each
other at a slight angle in a round pool
of water, their arms by their sides and
gazing up to the sky.
The statues were cast locally the first
time such monumental bronze statuary
was cast in Jamaica; and its successful
completion, in the very limited time
available, is indeed a tribute to Jamaican
workmanship, as one of Laura Facey's
press releases argued.4 The part metal,
part gravel base was temporary, since
there was not enough time to complete
the artist's plans for a dome-shaped
iron base over which water would
continuously run. The permanent base

was completed nearly a year later, in July
2004. The significance of the waterworks
was emphasised in the artist's statement:
"The water is an important part of the
monument. It is refreshing, purifying
and symbolically washes away the pain
and suffering of the past." The temporary
base initially had the inscription "none
but ourselves can free our mind", words
that were made famous in Marley's
Redemption Song. This inscription was
removed, after a copyright challenge from
the Bob Marley Foundation (and also
because the artist was dissatisfied with
the appearance of the engraved letters
on the base); in fact, the words were first
used by Marcus Garvey, as the inscription
acknowledged, and have such local and
global resonance that they arguably
belong to the public domain.5
There had already been some amount
of controversy when the results of the
monument competition had first been
unveiled, but critics then seemed more
concerned with the nudity of the bronze
couple by the late Alvin Marriott that
had been installed as a placeholder
until the actual monument was ready
than with Laura Facey's winning
model. Trouble started in earnest at the
unveiling of Redemption Song which was
part of the opening ceremony of the
2003 Emancipation and Independence
festivities, and quickly escalated into a
full-fledged public controversy about
the appropriateness and relevance of the
statues as a monument to Emancipation.
The roots reggae singer Tony Rebel
publicly criticised the statues' nudity and
demanded that Prime Minister Patterson
should have them replaced by a statue of
Miss Lou (Louise Bennett-Coverley), the
celebrated poet of Jamaican Creole who
was the guest of honour at the festivities.
In the months that followed, the debate
played out mainly in the printed and
electronic media in a flood of newspaper
columns, letters to the editor, cartoons,
postings on Internet bulletin boards,
and in the many call-in and discussion
programmes on Jamaican radio and TV
- but during the first weeks it continued
in the park itself, where small crowds
gathered daily around the statues, not
only to see what the fuss was all about
but also to debate the monument's merits
and failings. The controversy, especially

the sensationalist question of the male
figure's generous penis size, also reached
the international media, including
most of the Caribbean press, the Miami
Herald, the Guardian (South Africa), Time
magazine, BBC World and Australian
national television. More recently, leaving
no doubt about what mainly attracted
the foreign press to the controversy, the
monument even featured in Playboy.
This article is, however, concerned
with the reception of the monument
in Jamaica, particularly as it has been
articulated in the local press.6 For
analytical purposes, the criticisms can be
grouped in six overlapping categories,
which are summarised and reviewed
below, illustrated with excerpts from
some of the most poignant letters and
commentaries on the subject.7 The
second part of the paper will elaborate
an analysis of key issues arising from this

The first and by far most common concern
was that the nudity of the generally well-
endowed male and female figures at the
centre of the monument constituted an
affront to public decency and a national
embarrassment. Most critics voicing this
concern equated the nudity with sexuality
and failed or refused to consider any
other symbolic significance. One early
letter writer stated plainly:

I must say I am appalled that a
sculpture of that type has been
installed at Emancipation Park. It
would be interesting to know what
the artist had in mind but I think it is
in poor taste to have a sculpture with
male and female genitals exposed,
so exaggerated and erected in a
public place. Many people find it
offensive and we need to consider the
numerous children who visit the park

Alfred Sangster, the retired president
of the University of Technology and a self-
avowed Fundamentalist Christian, took
this concern with respectability one step
further and his lengthy list of objections
to the monument included the following:
"Do we wish to give the foreigners who
visit the park the image that we are
promoting our nakedness? Remember the

perception that some people have of black
people's supposed sexual prowess."'
Several other letters and commentaries
reflected a similar preoccupation with
the monument's effect on Jamaica's
international image, which was probably
fuelled by the international publicity the
monument received and its proximity
to Kingston's main hotels. Sangster's
statement also illustrated how the
controversy was rooted in anxieties about
race and sexuality, which are particularly
pronounced in the tourism arena where
black sexuality has been caricatured
and commodified, among others in the
notorious 'big bamboo' carvings that are
displayed and sold in Fern Gully.
As the controversy unfolded, some
claimed that the statues also posed an
active threat to an already declining
public morality, an accusation which came
mainly from Fundamentalist Christian
spokespersons. The Reverend Earl Lewis

Like many others, the Association
of Independent Baptist Churches
regrets the erection of a pair of statues
exhibiting nudity as representative
of our emancipation. For the
overwhelming majority of people
in our culture, nakedness is private.
And while we live in a democratic
society, we must maintain proper
sensitivity to the moral cultural
norms to which generations have
been socialised.... We must remind
ourselves that Jamaica has been
exposed to and influenced by Judeo-
Christian teachings and philosophy.
This means that the Bible provides
the rule for faith and life for most
people confessing faith in God, in
our country.... Already, the negative
results of the Emancipation statues
are being seen: sensuous women are
playing with the male genitals, while
men can be seen fondling the breasts
of the woman.... Unbridled passion
and the expression of the baser nature
of many in our society fed through
the eye gate may lead to many in
the park being raped, abducted or
becoming the victims of other abuse.'

Such concerns were also fuelled
by the fact that the unveiling of the
monument coincided with a highly
publicised spate of rape and murder
cases and mounting public concerns
about the sexual exploitation of minors.
There was also an incident, seized
upon by commentators and cartoonists
alike, whereby a female caller to a talk
show who identified herself perhaps
spuriously as a twelve-year-old
schoolgirl claimed that the statues made
her think of sex rather than Emancipation.

THIS P'AF: Laura Facey and (eam at work on
Redemption Song.

The debate about the statues' nudity
shed revealing light on the diversity and
contradictoriness of Jamaican sexual
mores, a subject which deserves more
attention than this article can provide.
That the public outrage was focused on
the male figure's penis size rather than
on the ample breasts on the female figure,
perfectly illustrates the sexual double
standards and homophobia that prevail
in Jamaica. Proponents of the monument
eagerly pointed out these contradictions
and countered with calls for greater
tolerance and open-mindedness about
matters of sexuality and nudity and for
more attention to the symbolic and artistic
merits of the work. One wrote: "I think
the people need to focus on the art and
not on the nudity. The sculpture, I think,
is saying that we are all the same; nudity
expresses freedom, freedom for all.""
Another asked:

Are we so unexposed to art? Are
we so uncomfortable with our own
bodies, our own nakedness that we
cannot see it mirrored in a form of
a statue? The more fire we bring to
this issue of taking it down, the more
of a taboo stigma we will give to
nakedness, sexuality and the beauty
of the naked body interpreted in art
form. As an artist myself, [I have]
travelled and visited all major art
cities, New York, Florence, Paris and
London, especially Florence, with
its famous David. This huge statue
which is of a naked man, is almost

Such references to the (assumed)
prevalence of nude statuary in
metropolitan cities and the comparisons
some made between Laura Facey and
Michelangelo or Rodin, in turn, drew
further accusations of neo-colonial
mimicry and Eurocentrism from the
statues' opponents.'1 Commentator Narda
Graham stated: "We do not need 'our own
Michelangelo'. Why do we always need
to validate our own creations by pointing
out their resemblance to something
It is not that there is no other nude
public statuary in Jamaica. One is
located very nearby in New Kingston
but has not caused any documented
controversy: Basil Watson's Emerging

Nation (2000), to be found in the small
park along the corner of Holborn and
Trafalgar Roads, which also represents
ideals of nationhood in the form of a nude
couple.15 Unlike the visually commanding
i. l, I't. .,, Song, this academically realist
bronze sculpture is just under life-size and
sited more discreetly within the enclosure
of that park, and it may simply not have
caught the eye of the public. That it has
not received more public attention may,
however, also illustrate that it was not just
the nudity of Redemption c,,,.; l,.it caused
offence but its specific association with the
public memorialisation of Emancipation
and slavery. One letter stated:

When one considers the
understanding of Emancipation, one
thinks of coming out of a serious
situation/condition. How then can
two naked people represent the
situation of Emancipation? I don't
know. My opinion may not coincide
with yours or many others, but it
is my earnest view that this statue
should be removed and given to
Hedonism II.1

This letter also suggested that the statues
represent a debased, frivolous sexuality

that appeals to tourists who come to
Jamaica to participate in nude weddings
but is alien to the 'real' Jamaican culture.
A second concern was that the
identity of the artist, a member of a
wealthy and influential light-skinned
family with roots in the plantocracy,
is irreconcilable with the subject and
purpose of the monument. This was
implied by many of the monument's
critics but explicitly addressed by only a
few, although it was a persistent subtext
throughout the debate. One commentator
- whose name, while possibly a
pseudonym, suggested an East Indian
background made it the subject of her


LEFr: Laura Facey and one of the scale models for
Redemption Song in 2002. RiEOir: The maquette and
the sketch submitted by Facey as part of her entry in
the monument competition.

Part of the problem with the
Emancipation statues is that they
were not made by someone in the
same position as those they were
intended to represent. Laura Facey
is a very fine sculptor, but in the
complex race-colour-class network
that governs Jamaica, she is neither
the right race, nor the right colour,
nor the right class. Her ancestors, at
least 99 per cent of them, were not
subjected to slavery and thus not
subject to Emancipation. Do you
think that the Indian community
would allow a person from a
different ethno-racial group to
construct an Emancipation from
Indenture monument? ... At least
part of the implication here is that
after all these years Black people in
Jamaica are incapable of representing

This letter implies that Jamaica consists of
clear-cut ethno-racial and social groups,
of which only one rightfully 'owns'
the subject of Emancipation, a view of
Jamaican society that contrasts sharply
with the ideal of a transcendent, unified
Jamaican nationhood to which Laura
Facey's monument design appealed.
University of the West Indies professor
and media personality Carolyn Cooper,
one of the few commentators who openly

*/ "

.C T


brought race into the debate, suggested
that promoting the latter was part of a
deliberate hegemonic strategy:

Instead of rebellion, we've been
given 'redemption' as the most fitting
monument to Emancipation. What
a piece of wickedness! It's really
the same old story of how and why
Emancipation Day was taken off the
national calendar at Independence.
The white and brown elite and their
black collaborators wanted to erase
the memory of slavery because it
implicated them.8

The arguments about race and class
thus foregrounded what is arguably the
fundamental conflict in how nationhood
is understood and represented in
postcolonial Jamaica and, predictably,
received more stinging rebukes than
those about nudity. The journalist and
talk-show host Barbara Gloudon wrote,
in a column based on a conversation with
the head of the National Housing Trust,
Kingsley Thomas:

One feature of the 'statue argument'
which he and others find particularly
distasteful is the introduction of
race into the argument. It has been
propounded by some that the fact
that the artist (Laura Facey) is 'white'
is why she 'dissed' black people by
presenting them without clothes. 'If
it were not so painful it would be
laughable. Since when does a person's
race determine artistic sensibility?
Lawks man, we ah sink low,' said
someone in a 'statue argument' the
other evening.9

Such arguments also suggest that
art functions on a higher plane that
transcends 'mundane' preoccupations
such as race and class.
A third category of criticisms was that
the iconography of the monument does
not adequately represent the meaning
of Emancipation to the Afro-Jamaican
majority. Laura Facey opted for a
symbolic, conciliatory approach, in which
she aimed to represent Emancipation
as an open-ended spiritual concept that
transcends the actual historical event.
There has, however, been a persistent
tendency to read the monument literally
some have argued, for instance, that

the slaves wore clothes in
1838 or to demand that it
should more recognisably
represent slavery and
Emancipation. Veteran As
journalist Desmond Allen D1 MM
suggested: M

At the very least, and
even with no other
changes to the statue,
Ms Facey should be
sent back to add the
broken chains which
literally symbolise our freedom from
slavery. With that, we will not have to
have to try to explain to our visitors
that it is not nudity we are celebrating
but our freedom from chattel slavery
and oppression.20

In driving home the point that the
statues do not recognisably represent
Emancipation, Desmond Allen thus also
seemed more concerned with how the
monument represents Jamaica to foreign
visitors than with its effect on local
audiences. In contrast, Narda Graham
wrote: "The bottom line is, Redemption
Song does not speak a language we
understand readily. It does not employ
our symbolic vocabulary. Race is not the
issue.... The issue is the expression of
the Jamaican experience using symbols
that Jamaicans will find understandable,
approachable, ours."21 Unlike Desmond
Allen, however, she did not specify what
those collectively understood symbols
might be.
Carolyn Cooper again went further
and argued that the monument actually
misrepresented Emancipation:

This prize-winning sculpture says
absolutely nothing about the epic
grandeur of the battle of our ancestors
and us, their children, from the
brutality of European slavery. In fact,
the naked, blind, truncated figures
remind me of newly arrived Africans
on the auction block. A far cry from
what they're supposed to represent."

Defenders of the monument
countered that the onus was on the
viewer to read the monument correctly.
The Reverend Garnett Roper offered the
following interpretation:


Clovis cartoon, Observer, 10 August 2003, p. 17

The intention of the author is most
significant, because it sets some
boundaries for everything else in the
task of interpretation. This sculpture
sought to present two images of the
emancipated slaves emerging in the
process of mental liberation. The
images on the work are distinctly
African, uninhibited, unembellished
and uncovered. They are larger than
life, pervasive by their visual impact,
and impossible to miss. They are not
distracted by each other's nakedness,
and preoccupied with what is above
them and beyond them."

Fourthly, some argued that the work
was 'art', suitable for art galleries and
their specialised audiences but not as a
public monument and, furthermore, too
hermetic and personal as its meaning
was not accessible enough to a broader
audience. Desmond Allen's earlier cited
column was titled "The Nude Statue:
Private Art versus National Symbol",
and economist Earl Bartley wrote: "Art
is predominantly about self-expression.
But art for public spaces has to be far less
self-indulgent and be more cognisant
of public sensibilities."24 The inference
here is that personal meaning should not
enter a public memorial and that there
are crucial differences between 'art' and
'public art'. The references to the Jamaican
art world in some of these commentaries
were sometimes decidedly contemptuous,
which suggest that there is a perception
in Jamaica that artists and art-lovers are a
'different', inherently self-indulgent and
decadent kind. Very few of those critics,
however, questioned the aesthetic merits
of the monument.25

It is indeed for its merits as 'art'
that the monument has received most
praise from its supporters and even its
detractors. The entertainment journalist
Barbara Blake Hannah wrote: "I can
definitely say that Laura's statues of
a healthy African man and woman
deserve their place in a national cultural
gallery. However, I am numbered among
the majority of people of Afrocentric
minds who are not satisfied that the
statues are an appropriate monument
to Emancipation."2" This sentiment that
the statues had merit but belonged in
another, more specialised and restricted
environment was voiced repeatedly.
Newspaper columnist Balford Henry

Personally, I wouldn't have a problem
if the statues were at the entrance to
the Edna Manley College of the Visual
and Performing Arts, where they
would benefit from the type of expert
analysis they seem
to deserve.
But, when
they are

unloaded at the entrance to a park
dedicated to the issue of emancipation
from slavery, they become subjected
to clumsy appraisers like myself,
who wouldn't know the difference
between abstract art and graffiti.27

While several critics of the monument
admitted, be it often sarcastically, that
they were no 'art experts', some of its
supporters took great pains to distantiate
themselves from those 'philistines'
who did not recognize the monument's
artistic value, as the earlier cited letter
that compared the monument with
Michelangelo's David well illustrated.
Another wrote, after lavishly praising
the artistic merits of the monument: "I
appeal to the art lovers, commentators
and opinion makers to interpret [the
monument] for [the] people and educate
them in the appreciation of art."'2
Fifthly, there were criticisms that
there was insufficient transparency and
public consultation in the selection of
the artist and the design, which was
based on a short-notice competition
and adjudged by a group of local 'art
establishment' members that included
Rex Nettleford and David Boxer. This
argument was dominated by Carolyn
Cooper who wrote: "I blame the
distinguished panel of judges entirely
for failing to select an image that truly
honours the spirit of Emancipation and
acknowledges the accomplishments
of our ancestors. If none of the
entries met the bill, the competition
should have been reopened."2
It did not seem to matter to Dr
Cooper that these judges had
not appointed themselves or set the
terms of the competition. That the
blame was automatically placed on
their shoulders should, however, be
related to a broader polemic within
the cultural community about who
legitimately speaks and decides on
behalf of whom in cultural matters and
about how national culture is defined.
While this is, as such, a legitimate and
timely debate, it has been too personally
targeted at those who are most visibly
powerful in this arena, while others with

Alvin Marriotl, male and female figures lfom the
Independence monument (1960s), Harbour View
roundabout, Kingston.

comparable power have escaped such
scrutiny, often by being the first ones to
point fingers. There were nonetheless
columnists and letter-writers who
expressed their appreciation for the work
and expertise of the judges."
Sixthly and finally, there were a few
concerns that the monument's cost of
J$4.5 million (about US$75,000) was not
justifiable at a time of deepening social
and economic crisis. It did not help that
the National Housing Trust, which not
only financed the construction of the park
and the monument but also undertook
to maintain the facilities in perpetuity, is
supported by statutory deductions from
salaries at a time when many in Jamaica
believe they are excessively taxed and
do not get enough government services
and infrastructure in return. Some of
the monument's critics argued that this
amounted to the inappropriate use of
public revenue. One female observer,
who in spite of the raging controversy
insisted that the Jamaican public was not
interested in public monuments, wrote:

I also agree that most people don't
care whether the Emancipation Park
statue is naked or not, for there are
far more important things for us to
worry about at this time. Therefore,
I am unable to understand why the
government has spent $4.5 million
on another useless statue while
progressively reducing the budget for
many essential social services.I

Similar concerns had been voiced
earlier on about the cost of the park
itself, which had a price tag of J$100
million with an anticipated annual
maintenance bill of J$8 million, but
these had dissipated by the time of
the monument's unveiling. Obviously
there is some consensus that Kingston
desperately needs safe, pleasant and well
maintained public leisure spaces, and the
park immediately became popular with
Kingstonians and visitors alike.32 The
disproportionate focus on the cost of the
statuary (which is in fact a reasonable
figure for a bronze monument that size)
suggests that these complaints were
motivated by other concerns about the
monument or were, at least, amplified by
the monument's symbolic significance
and the publicity it received.

At the popular level, the controversy
was couched in a carnivalesque
atmosphere that unsparingly mocked the
'high culture' status of the monument.
People came specifically to have their
pictures taken in front of the monument,
as a curiosity, and the statues were
reportedly regularly fondled. Nearly two
months after the unveiling, a woman
stripped to her underwear and joined
the two figures in the pool she was
promptly taken to the local psychiatric
hospital, many felt unfairly. And,
demonstrating that the spirit of free
enterprise is alive and well in Jamaica,
street vendors almost immediately
started hawking unauthorised postcards
of the monument which prompted the
management of the park to publish
advertisements to assert its copyright.
The entire controversy had a strong
element of satire, which is of course one
of the most potent forms of criticism.
Talk show host Wilmot 'Mutty' Perkins
started calling the park "Penis Park" and,
not to be outdone, the dancehall-calypso
singer Lovindeer launched a new song
titled "Happiness in the Park", which is
pronounced in the song as "(h)a penis in
the park". Not all the jokes were about the
perceived display of sexuality, however:
some suggested that the figures are really
waiting for a UFO to land, and one letter-
writer even suggested that the naked
figures are looking up in despair because
Jamaicans have sold the clothes off of
their backs to pay their taxes." Even the
critics of the monument were fair game.
Some started calling the statues "Carolyn
and Mutty" after the two most strident
voices in the debate, Carolyn Cooper and
Mutty Perkins, and the Observer columnist
Mark Wignall suggested that Perkins
and other (male) critics of the monument
suffered from penis envy.
There were numerous formal and
informal calls (and threats) to have
the monument removed or altered,
primarily from church groups and
members of the local intelligentsia, but
the Jamaican government expressed its
continued support for the monument
and its intention to keep it in place.'"
Significantly, in a country where far less
controversial public monuments have

THIS iCLri: Alvin MadrioUl, Bob Marley, Kingston
(19'95L o 1(sni rliv;: Chnstopher Conzales, Bob
Marley (1983 i ), ,' .. Ocho Rik

been regularly vandalised, there have
been no incidents of vandalism so far
(although this could perhaps be attributed
to the presence of surveillance cameras
and round-the-clock security guards
throughout the park). Nearly two months
after the unveiling, islandwide opinion
polls were published that suggested that
the majority of Jamaicans wanted to keep
the monument. The 2003 Observer/Stone
Polls, for instance, disclosed that 56.8
per cent of those interviewed wanted
the monument to stay, while 27.9 per
cent wanted to have it removed and 15.3
per cent had no view on the matter.35
Unfortunately, the poll results did not tell
us what motivated these responses, which
deprived us of a unique opportunity to
obtain the views of those who had not
participated in the public debate. While
these poll results brought some closure
to the public controversy, the debate
continued unabated in some arenas, as
was illustrated by the 'no
holds barred'
public forum on

monument hosted by Carolyn Cooper and
the Reggae Studies Unit at the University
of the West Indies Mona campus on 24
October 2003. More recently, the Observer
headlined that two pastors had, in their
Easter sermons, once again, cited the
monument as "symbolic of a decadent
The Redemption Song debate has
been represented schematically, for the
sake of clarity, but there were in effect
two opposing camps detractors and
supporters who each sought to defend
their positions with any argument
available to them, ranging from the
sublime to the ridiculous. This left little
room for a middle ground where a more
nuanced and productive dialogue would
have been possible. Nonetheless, the
controversy cannot be dismissed as just
another 'nine-day wonder'. As Annie
Paul rightly argued in a letter to the
Observer, the reasons for the discontent
over the monument should be carefully
studied." Unless this is done, it represents
a missed opportunity to understand
how various Jamaican audiences really
respond to what has been consecrated
] as the national 'high culture'.

The memorialisation of traumatic or
controversial historical subjects in
contemporary public art has been at
the centre of the recent 'culture wars'
throughout the globe. The recent
prolonged debates about how to
memorialise apartheid in South Africa
and the destruction of the World Trade
Center in New York City, which have both
involved public consultations and panels
of experts, are but two well publicised
examples of how difficult it has become
to bring such projects to a satisfactory
In postcolonial Jamaica, almost
all public monuments have been
controversial" most notoriously in
1983 when Christopher Gonzales' Bob
Marley monument, which symbolically
represented Marley as a 'roots man', had
to be hastily removed because of the
hostile public response before it was even
unveiled. It was in 1985 replaced by a
safe but forgettable academic portrayal
of Marley by Alvin Marriott, Jamaica's
most popular monumental sculptor,
which now stands more or less forgotten

in the increasingly cluttered environs
of the National Stadium and is visited
only by the occasional tourist group.
The Gonzales statue was moved to the
National Gallery of Jamaica, where it
was on view for nearly twenty years as
one of the most popular art works in the
Nonetheless, displaying it at the
National Gallery did not allow that statue
to fulfil its proper function as a public
monument. It was recently temporarily
installed at Island Village, an upscale
shopping and entertainment complex
near the Ocho Rios cruise ship pier
that also features a multimedia reggae
museum, where the statue mainly serves
as an attraction and photo opportunity for
tourists. That this is seen as a satisfactory
solution by many, including the artist,
again illustrates how Jamaican cultural
production is increasingly equated
with the production of attractions and
commodities for the tourist sector and
international market, often at the expense
of its local audiences. The end result is
that there is still no satisfactory public
memorial for Bob Marley in Jamaica.
Another major controversy involved
the Independence monument that
was planned in 1963 for the Harbour
View roundabout, along the main road
to Kingston's international airport,
at the initiative of the art patron
A.D. Scott. It was designed by Alvin
Marriott who thus also encountered
controversy during his lifetime as
the embodiment of Jamaica's new
national motto, "Out of many, one
people." This more than sixty-foot-
tall Independence monument would
have consisted of a circular concrete
base with the coat of arms and niches to
house busts of Jamaica's national heroes,
while the sculpture itself would have
been a steep conical mound covered with
interlocking nudes, emerging from the
passive to the active, and surmounted by
a nude couple.
The controversy erupted when the
plans for the Independence monument
were publicised, and also revolved
mainly about the nudity of the
figures.'' The monument was
consequently never completed
although the base was
constructed and most parts of

the sculpture were cast in aluminium.
Recently, there have been several attempts
to revive this project. It is the nude couple
that was supposed to surmount this
monument that served as the place-holder
at Emancipation Park, and this couple
has now been temporarily installed, with
some financial help from the National
Housing Trust, on the Independence
monument's original, too-large base at
the Harbour View roundabout. There
the delicate, elegantly posed pair looks
rather forlorn in its increasingly desolate
What, then, makes the Emancipation
monument controversy different from
these previous ones? Firstly, all three
controversies involved questions of
symbolic representation and, in doing
so, pitched the 'artistic community'
against 'the public' although rather
different issues were at stake in each. The
about the
Bob Marley
was perhaps
the most

surprising, since Gonzales used imagery
that is common in Rastafarian visual
culture, as is well illustrated by Neville
Garrick's cover for Bob Marley and the
Wailers' Uprising album. This familiarity
of the symbolism probably explains why
this statue later became more popular
with local audiences; but at the time of
the unveiling Bob Marley was a local and
global celebrity and probably the most
frequently photographed Jamaican ever
who had died recently, in the prime
of his life and public career. The public
that rejected the Gonzales statue did not
want a 'symbolic Bob', they wanted Bob's
likeness, exactly as they remembered him.
The Independence and Emancipation
monuments, in contrast, do not represent
any individual but historical events that
have broader ideological significance,
and therefore call for a more symbolic
approach. The public demands for
more literalism in the iconography of
the Emancipation monument were,
however, significant. While there were
no precedents for representation of
independent Jamaican nationhood in the
1960s, which left some room for artists
to represent it in a novel symbolic form,
slavery and Emancipation have a long
representational history in Jamaica. In
fact, popular, usually Rastafarian or
Garveyite, imagery on those subjects
is quite common in Jamaican street art
and broken chains are a frequent
1 presence in such images. This
does not necessarily mean that
an official memorial has to
appropriate this popular imagery,
which is indeed often trite, but it suggests
that Emancipation is too heavily charged,
historically, morally and ideologically,
to be successfully represented as a 'new
beginning', without acknowledgement
of its actual historical circumstances and
The judges' report of the
Emancipation monument commission
stated about Laura Facey's design: "Its
iconography too was seen as admirable in
the manner that it deliberately resonated
with the nationalist iconography
of works like Edna Manley's
Negro Aroused which is its
clear sculptural ancestor. Most
of all the judges admired its
highly spiritual character." There

is an even more striking iconographical
continuity between Laura Facey's
design and those of Alvin Marriott's
Independence monument, Basil Watson's
earlier mentioned Emerging Nation and
other Edna Manley works such as the
relief sculpture He Cometh Forth (1962),
which was done on the occasion of
Independence. Each of these sculptures
features a couple as the'Adam and
Eve' of the 'New Jamaica', nude in all
but the latter example. One must ask
whether this lofty, hopeful iconography
is indeed a central part of the collective
Jamaican imaginary or whether the
repeated controversies indicate that
it is an iconographically naive way
of representing the heavily contested
subjects of Jamaican national identity and
The Emancipation monument
controversy thus raises urgent questions
about the growing dissonance between
the views of the cultural establishment
and public opinion in Jamaica. The
Jamaican cultural sphere has always been
contentious and torn between populism
and elitist notions of cultural distinction,
but recently this contentiousness has
been fuelled by the awareness of similar
'culture wars' elsewhere. In this context,
the unreflexive way in which certain
members of the intelligentsia
claim to represent public
opinion in these matters is
as problematic as the real
and perceived hegemonic
power of the conveniently
vilified and homogenised 'art
establishment'. However, a serious and
evenhanded critical evaluation of the
nature and public reception of nationalist
art is now long overdue and the cultural
sector can no longer put its head in
the sand, and blame it on the deficient
educational system or, worse, accuse 'the
people' of cultural insensitivity.
Furthermore, the duration and
unprecedented degree of public
participation in the debate about
the Emancipation monument can be
attributed to changes in the Jamaican
media landscape, which have facilitated
the development of a lively, intensely
critical public sphere. The number of
print and electronic media houses
has increased significantly

in recent years and Internet services
and improved telephone services have
made these media more democratically
accessible than ever before. Jamaican
audiences are therefore not only more
aware of what goes on locally and
internationally, but also empowered
to participate as active stakeholders in
public debates. The letters to the Editor
about the Independence monument in
the 1960s were written by well educated
middle- and upper-class persons not
just 'anybody' could write to the Gleaner
and get published at the time but those
about the Emancipation monument were
obviously written by persons from all
walks of life. Many letters to the Editor
were e-mailed in by Jamaicans abroad
or outside of Kingston who had never
even seen the actual monument but

were following the controversy on the
Internet or the other media. The media
actively encourage and thrive on such
interactivity, as is illustrated by the
proliferation of call-in programmes which
has furthermore made participation in
this new public sphere less dependent on
The psychologist and talk show host
Leachim Semaj argued at the earlier
mentioned Reggae Studies forum that
many extraneous issues
were projected onto
the Emancipation
monument. Among
other social factors,
the controversy certainly
needs to be related to the
growing disenchantment
of the population with
postcolonial governance,
especially the mounting concerns
about crime and violence and
a general social and economic
breakdown. In 2002, during the
fortieth anniversary of Independence
celebrations, a shocking 53.6 per cent
of Stone Poll respondents had claimed
that Jamaica would have been better off
if it had remained a colony." Critics of
these polls objected that all respondents
were under forty and had never known
colonialism. What they overlooked is
that these responses did not necessarily
reflect any real nostalgia for colonial
times but a growing perception that
independent Jamaica has not lived up
to its earlier promise. This discontent
has fermented in the new, media-driven
public sphere discussed above and is to
some extent also its product, since the
availability of this forum encourages the
population to be more critical yet in the
process sometimes facilitates political
The fortieth anniversary of
Independence celebrations took place in
the months that preceded the October
2002 general elections. In fact, it was
widely rumoured that the elections
were deliberately timed to follow the
fortieth anniversary celebrations.
S These celebrations and the park
S and monument commission

Basil Watson, Emerging Nation
(2000), bronze, Trafalgar
Roadl Irk, New '

should thus also be understood as
election projects. The park was conceived
and constructed in just a few months to
meet these deadlines and the monument
competition and subsequent construction
were equally rushed. Ironically, this
contributed greatly to the ensuing
controversy, especially the sense that
there was a lack of transparency in the
commissioning process and suspicions
that the park and monument were part
of a 'feel-good' campaign on the part of
government, designed to divert attention
from the country's escalating economic
and social problems.
National symbols and observances,
as the main tools of state nationalism,
have always been entangled in party
politics, in Jamaica and elsewhere in
the world. The question of whether and
how to commemorate Emancipation,
furthermore, has particular political
potency in any former plantation colony.
During the colonial period, Jamaica had
celebrated Emancipation Day as a holiday.
This changed after the island became
independent on 6 August 1962, when the
then Jamaica Labour Party government
decided to subsume the Emancipation
holiday into the Independence Day
holiday, to be held on the first Monday of
August. This decision certainly reflected
a lingering discomfort about whether and
how slavery and Emancipation should
be remembered. In the mid-1990s, the
People's National Party leader, Prime
Minister P.J. Patterson, appointed a
committee chaired bv Rex Nettleford
to evaluate Jamaice's national symbols
and observances. That committee
recommended, among other things, that
the Emancipation holiday be re-instituted
on 1 August and that the Independence
holiday be moved to the fixed date of
6 August, which was implemented
in 1997. The Emancipation park and
monument are part of this campaign to
move Emancipation back to the centre
of the official national identity politics,
as the enabling historical moment of
independent Jamaica.
The passion that informed the
Emancipation monument controversy
underscores that there is a widely shared,
if conflicted public desire in Jamaica to
memorialise slavery and Emancipation.
Two major sets of questions arise from

this, which require more thoughtful
answers than the rushed Emancipation
monument commission allowed. (It
speaks for itself that in addressing such
questions the needs of Jamaican audiences
should be given priority attention over
the creation of a tourist attraction if
a public memorial is successful it will
automatically attract tourists.)
One set of questions pertains to
what material and symbolic form such
representation of Emancipation should
take. Should the monument represent
the historical process or moment of
Emancipation, for instance, or should
it represent the broader political and
spiritual process that may as yet be
unfinished, as Bob Marley so eloquently
argued? Should it be literal or symbolic,
or a combination of both? Should the
monument represent struggle and
conflict or instead evoke national
unity and reconciliation? Should it
represent Emancipation as 'a freedom
given', as an act of colonial or divine
benevolence, or as'a freedom won'
in active struggle against slavery and
social oppression? Furthermore, should
such a memorial follow the stylised
'high art' conventions of mainstream
nationalist Jamaican art or instead be
based on popular representations of
slavery and Emancipation? Or should
it challenge the public with something
new and provocative? Should it follow
the conventional Western format of the
formal, bronze statue on a pedestal, as in
the current monument, or could another,
more culturally appropriate format be
On this last note, it is much
easier to point accusing fingers about
Eurocentricitv than to come up with
any viable alternatives: to date, there are
only very few credible attempts in the
Caribbean to use indigenous imagery and
forms in a public memorial to slavery and
Emancipation. Carolyn Cooper and other
commentators cited Albert Mangones's
Neg' Mawon in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as
an exemplary Caribbean monument to
the struggle against slavery. While the
dynamic design of this monument indeed
contrasts with the passivity of Redlinmptioni
Song, it is still an academically rendered
bronze figure sculpture on a pedestal
and its iconography is as indebted to

the Greco-Roman mythological figure of
the Triton as it is to the historical image
of the conch-blowing Haitian Maroon.
One possible exception is the Clffe
monument to the 1793 slave rebellion in
Georgetown, Guyana, which combined
the idiosyncratic Afro-Guyanese imagery
and style of the self-taught artist Philip
Moore with the cultural vision and
technical know-how of socialist Guyana's
'cultural commissar' Denis Williams.
Another is Jamaica's kinetic monument
to Nanny in National Heroes Park, which
was designed by the Compass Workshop,
a local architectural firm.
The second set of questions pertains
to /who should decide on the form and
content of such a monument. Should it be
decided on by a committee of prominent
'cultural specialists', as was done in
our case; should there be a process of
popular consultation; or should there be
some combination of the two? If popular
consultation is the way to go, what are
the mechanisms that could be used to
ensure that all views are considered,
and not just those of the most vocal
interest groups, and who would then be
accountable in case of dissent about the
final product? Conversely, if it should be
done by a specialist panel, how should
those specialists be selected and exactly
what kind of expertise should they bring
to the table?
Undeniably, the Jamaican public
should at least have known what had
been submitted and had a say in what
was selected, perhaps through a media
poll. However, if the current controversy
is anything to go by it may simply
not be possible to reach any popular
consensus about how to officially
represent Emancipation in Jamaica. Even
if successful, furthermore, such processes
have often led to the most predictable,
pedestrian results. For instance, if the
Vietnam Veterans association had been
asked to design the Vietnam Memorial in
Washington, D.C., it would probably have
looked like the forgettable supplementary
statue a group of three US soldiers
depicted in the requisite academic
realist style that was later added to
the complex to appease the critics of the
main monument. Fortunately, the main
monument was designed by an inventive
young artist, Maya Lin, who defied

conventions about public memorials and
used ritual space, minimalist geometric
form, text and interactivity to create
what has, once the initial controversy
subsided, become one of most moving
and effective public memorials around.42
The Bob Marley monument saga is a
local example of the same dilemmas.
There are successful, although usually
temporary memorials that have emerged
from collective popular action, as could
be seen near Ground Zero in Manhattan,
but artists with the right sensibilities for
the politics of public art and a willingness
to go against the grain when the subject
calls for it can productively collaborate
with 'cultural specialists' who have
specific expertise in such projects to
create effective permanent memorials. In
other words, there is no need to accept
the populist notion that successful
commemorative art should not also be
ambitious and sophisticated art.
Maya Lin's identity as a young
woman of Asian descent was a major
issue in the Vietnam Veterans memorial,
since this monument commemorated
a war against an Asian government.
As si"ch, Maya Lin's membership of
a relatively marginal minority in the
United States bears no meaningful
comparison to Laura Facey's privileged
minority status in Jamaica, but her
example raises the question of whether
the social identity of the artist should
have been considered in commissioning
the Emancipation monument. The
controversy suggested that race
mattered, but who are the legitimate
stakeholders in the public representation
of Emancipation in Jamaica, and exactly
how and by whom should the desired
racial identity of the artist have been
determined and measured, especially in
what was supposed to have been a blind
competition? Unfortunately, there are no
satisfactory answers to these questions.
Laura Facey invoked her partial African
ancestry in her statements about the
monument but there is no doubt that she
is seen as 'socially white' by a majority
of Jamaicans and functions as such in
Jamaican society.
It is noteworthy that almost all
established Jamaican monumental
sculptors are light-skinned, with the
exception of Basil and Raymond Watson,

and that all belong to the upper and
middle classes. Monumental sculpture is
not a lucrative field of practice in places
like Jamaica and requires significant
commitments of time, expense and
technical support, facilities that are
not readily available to poor artists.
The resources available to Laura Facey
certainly helped her to create a beautiful
maquette and professional presentation
in the mere three months available for
the competition.43 They also helped her to
execute the technically challenging bronze
sculptures in just one year and to publicly
respond to the criticisms with well written
and widely distributed press releases.
Laura and her family are certainly
entitled to use any resources available
to them and, furthermore, mainly did
so as a public service. The organizers
of socially sensitive public art projects
such as the Emancipation monument
should, however, look for ways to level
the playing field in such competitions,
for instance by offering small preparation
grants or technical assistance with the
production of presentations to suitably
qualified candidates who do not have
access to such resources and, most of
all, by allocating adequate time for
the commission and execution of such
The National Housing Trust put the
winning entries on display for a while
and the winning proposal was widely
publicised before the monument was
constructed, in press releases and as the
park's logo, but there was only limited
public response until the monument
was actually in place. As was discussed
earlier on, some had already expressed
concern about the nudity of the Alvin
Marriott placeholder and Carolyn Cooper,
the most vocal critic from the start, was
particularly consistent in her criticisms of
the passivity of the imagery. The lack of a
more substantial early response reflects an
unfortunate tendency in Jamaican public
life to criticise after the fact, but it remains
that the organizers did not create any
mechanisms to invite and act upon any
public responses, during the competition
or after.
The monument itself was a well-
meant but flawed effort as a work of
art. The monument is consistent with
recent developments in Laura Facey's

work but it is not as resolved as her work
usually is and suffered between design
and execution. The maquette was very
beautiful, as even Carolyn Cooper has
conceded, but the actual monument looks
disproportionate and out of place in its
current location. The figures became
much larger and bulkier, while the base
became steeper and rounder than was
suggested by the initial design, which
was in any case meant for the central
fountain. Among others, these changes
placed the male figure's penis close to
the viewers and at eye level, turning it
into an unnecessary provocation, as the
Gleaner columnist Dawn Ritch pointed
When the winner of the competition
was unveiled in August 2002, Carolyn
Cooper had objected to the 'Greco-
Roman' aesthetic of the temporary
Marriott statues and notoriously
expressed the hope that the permanent
monument would not have such a 'winji'
penis but represent 'real' Jamaican bodies
instead. As she has acknowledged, Laura
Facey attempted to address Carolyn
Cooper's criticisms. The result may be an
unresolved hybrid between the romantic
nationalist tradition of Edna Manley,
Marriott and Gonzales and the sexually
provocative 'healthy body' aesthetic of
local dancehall and fitness culture, which
certainly contributed to the controversy
about the nudity. Gleaner art critic Sana
Rose, in one of her most thoughtful pieces
to date, rightly lamented the fact that
Laura Facey had strayed from her original
artistic vision," a telling illustration that it
is not easy to successfully accommodate
public criticisms in the design of public art.

One year after the unveiling, it is clear
that the Redemption Song monument is
here to stay, and the massive sculptures
are too assertively present on their
street corner to ever be forgotten, as
has happened to most other public
monuments in Jamaica. Most Jamaicans,
at home and abroad, know what the
monument looks like, if only from
pictures, and even know the name of the
artist never before has a local public
art work so thoroughly entered public
consciousness in Jamaica. Its critics
can now only hope that alternative

Emancipation memorials will eventually
be created, in the park or elsewhere.
This is the crux of the matter: that no
conventional monument, no single public
work of art can or should satisfactorily
represent the meaning of Emancipation to
all Jamaicans. In Jamaica and elsewhere,
memorials that attempt to make the
definitive statement on their subject have
become obsolete: the success of Maya
Lin's monument lies in the fact that it
does not provide any final interpretation
of the Vietnam War and its casualties but
invites visitors to project their own. The
original plan was that the Emancipation
Park itself would be the memorial and
that the commissioned statuary would
provide a variety of perspectives. In
fact, the artist herself never intended
for her sculpture to become the national
monument to Emancipation. Hopefully
this idea will be revived and Jamaica will
eventually have a multi-vocal memorial
to Emancipation that can appeal to a
broader range of stakeholders and in
which the current statues can play a more
meaningful role.
Meanwhile, the current sculptures
can play a productive role in Jamaican
society as a public art work on the subject
of Emancipation, which by default serves
as the Emancipation monument. The
American cultural scholar W.J.T. Mitchell
wrote in an essay about contemporary
memorials to violent histories: "What
seems called for now, and what many of

our contemporary artists wish to provide,
is a critical public art that is frank about
the contradictions and violence encoded
in its own situation, one that dares to
awaken a public sphere of resistance,
struggle, and dialogue."4 In spite of its
flaws and unintentionally, Laura Facey's
Redemption Song has already fulfilled
such a function. The most positive
effect of the controversy has been that it
generated an unprecedented amount of
debate, at all levels of society, about the
significance of Emancipation to modern
Jamaicans. More generally, it has also
generated debate about how Jamaican
history should be publicly represented
and offered valuable lessons about how
Jamaican audiences respond to public
art, which will hopefully inform future
initiatives. Laura Facey, looking back
at the controversy in a recent interview
with this writer, offered a similar view
and stated that the monument "is stirring
hidden thoughts and feelings about men
and women, about the body, sexuality
and spirituality. It is educating Jamaicans
about art. The monument has been
good for Jamaica."47 Perhaps it is in the
emergence of this vibrant public sphere
that true emancipation may eventually
be found. However, it may be useful to
conclude with Mitchell who cautions
that "exactly how to negotiate the border
between struggle and dialogue, between

the argument of force and the force of
argument, is an open question".4" .

The first version of this paper was presented on
11 November 2003 at the annual congress of the
International Association of Art Critics (AICA),
which was hosted by the AlCA-Southern
Caribbean chapter and held in Barbados and
Martinique. The present, substantially revised
version was also presented at the Society for
Caribbean Studies conference at Lancaster
University, England, 2 July 2004.

1. The plans for the park and statuary were
changed repeatedly. The monument
competition had initially called for
designs for two locations in the park:
the central fountain and the ceremonial
entrance. Laura Facey's design was
initially conceived as the central fountain
but subsequently adapted for the
ceremonial entrance. Instead, a central
fountain without statuary was constructed
but with elaborate musical waterworks.
2. Hope Brooks, dean of Visual Arts at the
Edna Manley College, had also been
invited but was not present for the
3. The other short-listed designs were by
Fitz Harrack and by Repole Architects
and Planners, who received the second
and third prize, although the judges
recommended modifications to both, if
they were to be executed (David Boxer,
conversation with author). It is not clear
whether either of these will ever be

-T r-


commissioned. The design of the park
itself was based on an earlier competition,
won by the architect Kamau Kambui.
His design was, however, substantially
altered and simplified when the park was
4. Laura Facey, "An Act of Faith:
Redemption Song A Story of Jamaican
Workmanship" (press release, The Mill
Press, 13 October 2003).
5. In October 1937, Garvey made a speech
in Nova Scotia, Canada, where he said,
"We are going to emancipate ourselves
from mental slavery because whilst others
might free the body, none but ourselves
can free the mind" (Robert Hill, ed.,
The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro
Improvement Association Papers, 10 vols.
[Berkeley: University of California Press,
1983- ], 8: 791). This speech was reprinted
in Garvey's London magazine, Tlhe Black
Man, in July 1938, which was probably
Marley's source, as copies of The Black
Man continued to circulated in Jamaica
long after Garvey's death (Rupert Lewis,
e-mail to author, 26 May 2004). The title
of the Marley song Redemption Songs is,
furthermore, also the title of a popular
hymn book which has circulated widely
in Jamaica since the nineteenth century, in
numerous editions (David Boxer, personal
communication). It was Laura Facey's
decision to have the inscription removed,
although the exact Garvey words "none
out ourselves can free the mind", instead
of "our mind", may eventually be added
again, this time on the pavement around
the fountain base (Laura Facey, personal
interview, 8 June 2004, Jamaica).
6. I have followed and documented all
that was published on the monument
in the Gleaner, the Stnr, the Observer and
the Sunday Herald from the unveiling of
the competition results on 31 July 2002
to 11 June 2004, the day this essay was
7. Newspaper commentators and other
public figures who contributed to the
debate are cited by name but to protect the
identity of other letter-writers I have used
their initials only.
8. C.J., letter to the editor, Obsvever, 6 August
9. Alfred Sangster, "Responding to Roper on
the Statues", Sunday Herald,
28 September 4 October 2003, 7A.
10. Earl Lewis, letter to the editor Observer,; 28
August 2003.
11. T.S., letter to the editor, Gleaner, 6 August
12. K.G., letter to the editor, Gleaner, 15
August 2003.
13. 1 added 'assumed' because the use of full
nudity in national memorials and imagery
is in fact quite rare in the metropolitan
West. Nudity is more commonly found
in public statues that do not carry such
... ..i .. but function solely as'art'.

It should also be considered that the
position on this question of the Western
establishment and public has varied
considerably over time, space and
circumstance. When I was a child, my
family worshipped at the Cathedral of
Our Lady in Bruges, Belgium, which
houses Michelangelo's famous .
Madonna. I remember vividly that the
pubic area of the naked child Jesus was
discretely obscured from public view by
a beautifully embroidered little white flag
mounted on a gild standard, which of
course only stimulated more interest in
what it was meant to hide. This statue is
now in full public view.
14. Narda Graham, "Monumental Mistake",
Gleaner, 24 August 2003, F12.
15. This park was established and maintained
by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica,
who also commissioned the statuary.
16. S.M., letter to the editor, Observer, 15
October 2003.
17. K.K., letter to the editor, Sunday Herald,
10-16 August 2003.
18. Carolyn Cooper, "One Hell of a
Monument", Gleaner, 24 August 2004, F10.
19. Barbara Gloudon, "Can We Cool the
Statue-Mania?" Observer, 15 August 2003,
20. Desmond Allen, "The Nude Statue:
Private Art versus National Symbol",
Pure Class magazine, Sunday Herald,
10-16 August 2003, 4.
21. Graham, "Monumental Mistake".
22. Cooper, "One Hell of a Monument".
23. Garnett Roper, "Parable of
Self-Contradiction", Sunday Herald, 17-23
August 2003, 6A.
24. Earl Bartley, "Lacking Public
Responsibility", Gleane,; 10 A'...'.- 1I,
25. There were a few exceptions: Narda
Graham damned it with faint praise by
giving it a C+ for aesthetic value (Graham,
"Monumental Mistake") and one letter-
writer insisted that it was "technically
weak" (H.S., letter to the editor, Gleaner, 20
August 2003).
26. Barbara Blake-Hannah, "In the spotlight",
Purer Cl '.. .. '... ... 1.i..,i Herald, 17-23
August 2003,13.
27. Balford Henry, "Jamaicans Aroused",
Gleaner, 27 August 2003, www.jamaica-
28. R.A.Y., letter to the editor, Observer, 14
August 2003.
29. Cooper, "One Hell of a Monument".
3(1. Two even called for statues of Rex
Nettleford and David Boxer, although
these may not have been serious
.1..- i I.... IK F letter to the editor,
Gleaner, 13 August 2003; A.S., letter to the
editor, Gleaner, 15 August 2003).
31. J.E., letter to the editor, Gleaner, 18
September 2003.
32. Meanwhile, to this writer's knowledge,
nobody mentioned that the cost of the

central fountain significantly exceeded
that of the monument.
33. F.C., letter to the editor, Gleaner, 19
September 2003.
34. The National Housing Trust announced
on 18 August that it had no intention of
removing the monument, unless it was so
instructed by the prime minister (Observer,
18 August 2003) and he made no such
35. Stone Poll, Observer, 26 September 2003.
36. Observer, 11 April 2004.
37. Annie Paul, letter to the editor, Observer,
22 August 2003.
38. The National Gallery of Jamaica's
exhibition Monumental History, which
opened shortly after the unveiling of
the Emancipation monument, explored
this subject further and was curated by
Petrina Dacres, who is writing a doctoral
dissertation on the subject at Emory
39. The controversy is fully documented
in the scrapbook A.D. Scott compiled
of the controversy. It is part of a private
collection but advanced researchers
who wish to consult it can contact
the National Gallery of Jamaica for a
special arrangement to use this valuable
40. Some of the Fundamentalist Christian
critics of the Emancipation monument,
such as the earlier cited Alfred Sangster,
have also called for the current
incarnation of the monument's removal,
because of the nudity.
41. Stone Polls, Observcr, July-August 2002.
42. The monument, which is located on
the National Mall, consists of a large
V-shaped, sunken retaining wall from
black polished granite which simply
lists the names of all US war casualties.
Visitors descend and ascend along the
path that follows the retaining wall and
see themselves reflected in the wall as
they read the names.
43. The competition was first announced on
10 March 2002 and closed on 14 June 2002.
44. Dawn Ritch, "Resolving the Nude Statue
Debate", Gleaner, 17 August 2003, A9.
45. Sana Rose, "The Song Continues", Gleaner,
17 A .. ..-1 `II F6.
46. W.J. Thomas Mitchell, "The Violence of
Public Art: Do the Right Thing", in Art and
the Public Sphere, ed. W.J. Thomas Mitchell
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1992), 47.
47. Facey, personal interview.
48. Mitchell, "The Violence of Public Art", 47.

A Pre-Columbian Stone Artefact

Found in Jamaica


A number of smoothly ground, often very
highly polished, tear-shaped or axe-like,
chisel-edged stone implements, known
as petaloid celts, have been found at
numerous sites throughout Jamaica. They
are among the best-preserved artefacts
left behind by the original inhabitants
of the island called the Tainos (formerly
known as the Arawaks). The origin of
the Tainos has been traced by means of
the distinctive pottery they made to the
banks of the Orinoco River in Venezuela,
from whence they moved outwards to
the Guianas and Trinidad and thence
northwards to the Greater Antilles, which
they colonised around AD 600.
One of the earliest published
references to the existence of pre-
Columbian stone artefacts in Jamaica was
made in 1756 by P. Browne, who stated:

[There exists] the produce of
some other country; and has been
introduced here, very much in the
time of the native Indians, who
used to grind their maize with those
small figured masses, which we call
thunderbolts: It was manufactured
in some part of the neighboring
continent and worked into various
forms to supply those people with
tools for the different occasions of life,
while the nature and manufacture of
iron was yet unknown to them.'

In November 1895, the then curator of
the Institute of Jamaica, Dr J.E. Duerden,
assembled a large collection of these and
described them in a very informative
publication entitled Aboriginal Indian
Remains in Jamaica published in 1897.
He concluded that "the most abundant
material undoubtedly belongs to the

FIURE 1. Stone artefact found in
Harmon's Valley, Jamaica
LLrr: Near perfect external
symmetry and highly polished
outer surface (top) and sawn
section showing true colour,
lustre and texture.
Bruow: Close-up view in
reflected light of cut surface,
showing small disseminated
grains of brass-coloured pyrite.
(Scale in millimetres.)

I.C., I 21 2 3 41'

4 11111111 1 I

trappean series of rocks, including the
trachytes, felsites, rhyolites and basalts
so prominent in various parts of the
island".2 His rock identification was based
essentially on a visual examination of
many of the almost four hundred celts
in the collection. Today, his 'trappean
series' would be simply grouped under
the heading 'lava', which refers to certain
types of extrusive (volcanic) igneous
In the early 1970s, a largely non-
destructive examination of 458 such
objects was undertaken by Dr John
Roobol (a lecturer in the Department of
Geology at the University of the West
Indies) and Dr James Lee (president of the
Archaeological Society of Jamaica). The
results of their study showed that while
the three major classes of rocks igneous,
sedimentary and metamorphic were
represented, 78 per cent of these stone
artefacts were classified as 'greenstone'.
This is a term applied to extremely fine-
grained, massive, greenish-coloured
rocks lacking visible structure that
have been lightly metamorphosed. The
specimens for this study came chiefly
from two collections: the Bond Collection
comprising 66 celts housed at the Institute
of Jamaica, and James Lee's collection
comprising 359 celts, which he amassed
between the early 1950s and the early
The authors arrived at the following

All of the artefacts so far described
were manufactured from rocks and
minerals common to Jamaica. This
does not prove that they originated in
Jamaica, as the geology of this island
is similar to that of Hispaniola and
Puerto Rico. Only two artefacts were
found composed of rock which can be
proven to have originated outside of

These two are "composed of granular
quartzite". In summary, they state:
"Around 90% of the artefacts are
manufactured from low-grade
metamorphic rocks of which greenstone
predominates."5 They recognized eight
lithological types as summarised in Table 1.
The method they used to obtain their
results was described as follows:

In the first instance a collection of 22
broken petaloid tools was examined.
As these proved to be extremely
fine-grained, slices were cut from
them and prepared for microscopic
examination. Having identified the
main rock types with certainty it
was then possible to identify further

specimens without damage by hand
lenses or binocular microscope
examination of a wet surface. Many
specimens required scrubbing prior
to this examination to remove surface

Following the discovery of commercial
grade bauxite in Jamaica in the early
1940s, three North American companies,
namely Alcan, Kaiser and Reynolds,
commenced exploration activities in the
parishes of Manchester, St Ann and St
Elizabeth. At that time the composition
and depth of the ore was ascertained by
a combination of manually dug pits and

Summary of Lithological Celt Types Found in Jamaica

RokCls am ube ecetg






White Schist

Blue Schist


357 79.2

42 9.3

6 1.3

3 0.7

24 5.3

Sedimentary Rock 14 3.1

Conch Shell 3 0.7

Mineral 2 0.4

451 100.0

Source: Derived from M.J. Roobol and J.W. Lee, "Petrography and Source of Some Arawak
Rock Artefacts From Jamaica", VI Congres International pour I'etude des Cultures Pre-
Columbiennes des Petites Antilles (Guadeloupe: n.p., 1975), 304-13.

FicuRL 2. ... . .. .. ,.. jadeitite artefact
found in I i .,'.. 'i I .. , aica
ifLF: Thin section of the artefact viewed in plane
polarised light. ladeitic pyroxene is turbid due to
alteration. Opaque (black) mineral in the centre
is pyrite (1 millimetre in length) and the white is
RIcGT: Same section as above viewed in cross-
polarised light.

hand-augered drill holes. In the more
remote areas, such as St Toolies in the
Harmon's Valley area of Manchester
parish (Figure 3), field offices were set
up and many of the local residents were
hired. In an effort to secure employment
several of the applicants brought forth
petaloid celts and offered them as gift
items.7 These had been preserved over
the years by being placed at the bottom
of water storage jars, where it was felt
that they would keep the water cool.
This custom served the dual role of
safeguarding these objects and keeping
them in mint condition. Interestingly,
many appear never to have been used as
a cutting tool, a fact which has led many
archaeologists to believe that they were a
highly prized trade item, possibly used as
a gift or as a means of currency.
One of the great difficulties, however,
that one experiences in undertaking
studies of highly polished celts is that
the true texture is often not visible. As
a consequence, it is sometimes virtually
impossible to ascertain their true nature
and geological origin. The present
study of one particular specimen, found
in Harmon's Valley in the parish of
Manchester, in central Jamaica, illustrates
the point.
Externally the celt is reddish brown in
colour and cannot, therefore, be classified
as either a 'greenstone' or 'blackstone'.
However, when sawn in half it can be
seen that the interior is uniformly grey-
green in colour, and is composed of very
tightly interlocking, fine-grained crystals
with a vitreous lustre, embedded within
which are small disseminated grains of
another mineral with a brassy metallic
lustre (Figure 1). The true colour and
texture of the original rock, therefore, has
been masked by a thin highly polished
outer surface that consists in part of
iron oxide. As a consequence, other
investigative techniques were undertaken
in order to characterise the celt. These
included, firstly, making a thin section

Figure 3. Location of
Harmon's Valley in
Manchester parish, Jamaica

C3 Major Bauxite Ar

SHarmons Valley

S- Parish Boundary

10 5 0 10

(0.03 millimetres in thickness) from a
cut slice for further examination under
polarised light. Another piece, about
the size of a Jamaican twenty-dollar
coin and weighing almost ten grams,
was pulverised and divided into two
portions one to determine its chemical
composition by X-ray fluorescence
(XRF) and the other to ascertain its X-ray
diffraction (XRD) pattern.
With the aid of the microscope the
specimen can be seen to consist largely of
tightly interlocking granular crystals of
a pyroxene mineral altering to "uralite",
an amphibole mineral (see Figure 2).
Associated with this assemblage are
the faint remains of plagioclase crystals
(possibly albite), and small (about 1
millimetre in diameter) disseminated
grains of opaque pyrite, which in reflected
light has a brassy, metallic lustre. Further
studies by XRF show that the material is
soda-rich (as :lu j t ed in Table 2), and
the XRD pattern proves conclusively that
the pyroxene mineral is indeed jadeite

(Figure 6).8 Although its origin is still
somewhat obscure it appears to have
formed under metamorphic conditions
and is probably more correctly termed
jadeite rock or jadeitite.

To most people jade is synonymous with
the colour green. To the pre-Columbian
civilisations in Central America (or
ancient Mesoamerica), the colour green
was considered sacred and precious just
as the Spaniards and other civilisations
(even to this day) hold gold in high
esteem. In short, it was believed to
possess magical properties and as such
was considered by them to be the most
precious object on earth.
Technically speaking jade is a
generic term, which refers to two distinct
minerals: nephrite and jadeite. Although
superficially similar both are quite
different in terms of their mineralogical
properties. For example, jadeite is harder
(H = 6.5 to 7) and dil r I1-.G. = 3.2 to 3.5)

thon ir,-phrit.- 1H :; t-.>- a1iid tk = II.,
[t _1 I ;inl pt- e, ":, .1 rnichier .jid nll ore
brdillira ran.l e r ,t i: .Ilour,
B., il, ell' .hr ir t i., ,> d itin l io ,ir.-ral
l. ad aip- id l t. ni-rniK.r -,t -Ithe
1\ r, ,iei: L. _,r>.p 'Wid i: .-n, ipI-r. d ._t
oditr1i i alum ilnl i ni -ilic, t,! ite p'rt!L--t.d l.1,
thli:, 'rntil ji N a.\l'.'i I i. l r.]... ii phrit.
J- u.-Lijl!', .1 1L'ritir,_' ,it i r.ni, er.i!!
.-it thl .\rA pllib.- li kir,'.iup trtn-olil_
MlW a1 li r,-,Iitt. orn'ip,.',td tit L,'.31CIl lll"
rni.i,]ii.-'_ n ir, ilicLtc : L,:'%prc --_ 1 L", tlIt
tumula ko2k'VMg f". jO225IOl i)2). Nanim
wise jadeite is derived from the Spanish
term piedra de hijada ('stone of the loins' or
'colic stone'), while nephrite derives from
the term 'kidney stone' Latinised to lapis
nephriticus and eventually nephritee'.
Under a polarising microscope pure
jadeite can be seen to consist of tightly
interlocking fine-grained (< = 1.00
millimetres) granular crystals of an almost
mono-mineralic character and uniform
texture. However, the rocks in which it is
found are rarely pure and contain other
pyroxene minerals often in association
with albite (a plagioclase feldspar
mineral). Nephrite, on the other hand,
is composed of tightly interlocking fine-
grained crystals that are fibrous rather
than granular in character. Both, however,
are tough and compact.

The presence in Jamaica of material
referred to as 'jade' has been on record
since the time of Sir Hans Sloane who in
reference to "Spleen-Stone" noted:

20 30

This Stone is opaque of a green Colour, with some pale Veins running through it very
hard, and capable of a very fine Polish.... They are cut into thin square Pieces, and
String being ty'd to Holes made in their Corners, they are fastned about the Arm....
This is the Piedra Hijada of the Spaniards, and Pierr e ade d of the French Authors ....

9, I L
I1 ii II l 111 I

Composition of a Petaloid Celt Found in Jamaica

Oxde ('" aacaJdie

- *1




Rubidium (Rb) 9 nr
Strontium (Sr) 120 nr
Yttrium (Y) 37 nr
Zirconium (Z) 589 nr
Niobium (Nb) 175 nr
Barium (Ba) 125 nr

S\www.cigem.ca/431. "Motagua Light" (iron reported as FeO, while
Cr, K and Mn are present in trace amount only).
Tr = trace amounts
nr = not reported

The possible
presence of jade in
the island was also
noted by Duerden: "A
metamorphic siliceous
Green rock resembling
jade, and taking a high
polish, is met with,
sometimes with light
and dark bands." 1
Roobol and Lee, on the
other hand, did not
specifically describe
the existence of jadeite
in Jamaica, but stated:
"The term 'greenstone'
as used here would
include the hydrous
silicate mineral
nephrite which is the
most common variety
of jade."" On the
basis of this statement
it is clear that no
attempt was made to
subdivide greenstones
and it seems safe to
conclude that they did
not single out any celts
as being composed of
Jamaica has a type
of metamorphic
terrane (blueschist
faces) with which
jadeitite bodies are
typically associated,
no known source has
yet been found. In
addition, Cuba and the
Dominican Republic
also have exposures
of metamorphic
rocks (blueschist and
eclogites) that could
possibly contain
jadeite or jadeitite, but,
like Jamaica, none has
yet been discovered,
although this does not
mean that they do not

The story of jadeite in Mesoamerica,
which comprises central and southern
Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and western
Honduras (Figure 4), begins with one
of the earliest civilisations, namely the
Olmec. The rise in the use of greenstones
over darker stones, such as basalt,
appears to be closely linked to the
evolution of the Olmec serpent cult.1
The material worked by the Olmec
was long believed to have come from
somewhere in Central America, most
probably Mexico or Guatemala. But it
was ri1, i.ii iil the mid-1950s that jadeite,
similar to that worked by the Olmec, was
found in the Motagua River Valley in
On the basis of mineralogical and
chemical investigations several varieties
of jadeite from this region are now
recognized, such as Motagua Light, Maya
Green, Motagua Dark, Omphacite and so
on. It is also a matter of record that a black
variety of jadeite from Guatemala was
used by these early civilisations to make
celts and other artefacts. This is composed
largely of fine-grained chloromelanite
- a greenish black iron-bearing variety
of jadeite, which resembles basalt. It is
highly likely that celts composed of this
material are also present in Jamaica,
having been imported by the Tainos, but
having been merely, up to now, identified
as 'blackstone'.

At present, not much is known about
the possible interaction of the Tainos
and the indigenous peoples of Central
America, but the presence of certain finely
carved geometric (zoomorphic) shapes
(see Figure 5) on objects or fragments of
pottery found on Jamaica's south coast,
especially around Great Bay, St Elizabeth,
suggests that these particular pieces
might not have been made in Jamaica.
Unfortunately, it is not an easy task to
identify the exact source of clay that was
used in the manufacture of such objects.
Neither is it an easy task to determine
the source provenance of jadeitite objects,
with the possible exception of the very
distinctive 'Olmec Blue' material from
Guatemala. But, to quote an old cliche,

Fe, 20



"Nothing ventured, nothing gained." It
is the author's opinion, therefore, that
a more comprehensive investigation of
the 'greenstone' and 'blackstone' celts
found in Jamaica may yield valuable
information which could contribute
significantly to a better understanding of
possible trading and migration patterns,
which in all likelihood occurred between
the indigenous people of Jamaica and the
pre-Columbian civilisations of Central
The amount of information that
can be obtained by destructive testing
techniques (such as the study of thin
sections) far exceeds that which can be
obtained by non-destructive methods.
However, in the case of intact artefacts,
it is clearly more desirable not to deface
a valued object. One device that has
reportedly been used with some success
in differentiating true jadeite from
other jade-like artefacts is a portable
instantaneous display and analysing

spectrometer (PIDAS).'4 A more recent
development has been the attachment
of a Gobel Mirror on a D5000 Siemens
diffractometer, the results from which
seem to indicate that it may be possible to
obtain X-ray powder patterns of "green
stone axes" and, from the reflections
obtained, determine their mineralogical
composition."5 For practical purposes
the simplest and cheapest test is to place
the object in a fluid medium usually
methylene iodide of known specific
gravity (SG) and observe what happens.
If the SG of the fluid is 3.1, pure jadeite
will sink, nephrite (with an SG of 3.0
or 3.1) will be suspended, and jade-
like minerals, such as chrysoprase
and serpentine (with an SG of 2.8 or
less), will float. It should be stressed,
however, that while this is a rapid means
of determination, especially if one is
prospecting in a remote region of the
world, it is not conclusive and further test
work should be undertaken. +*

FicURE 6. Comparison of X-ray diffractogram for
a jadeitite artefact (A) found in Jamaica with the
international standard for a sample of pure jadeite
(re-drawn from PDF #22-1338)
Note: Atoms in crystals are arranged in planes.
The distance between each successive identical
plane is denoted by the letter 'd' and is measured
in angstrom units (1A = 10" centimetres). When a
narrow beam of X radiation of a certain wavelength
(0 is passed through a small sample of a powdered
crystal, a series of beams are diffracted, or spread
out, at certain angles (denoted by 0) in accordance
with Bragg's Law formulated in 1913 (nA= 2dSin9).
These angles and the d values may be measured
and recorded on a paper chart. The intensity (I) of
each diffraction is represented by peaks. Since each
crystalline material produces its own X-ray pattern,
a tabulation of 0 or d values with intensities
is characteristic for each mineral species. The
tabulated data and diffractogram may then be used
for identification purposes by comparing them with
data for other known substances published by the
International Center for Diffraction Data.

The author is indebted to Mr Ronald E.
Anderson (former chief raw materials engineer
and manager, Mineral Resources Department
of Alcan Jamaica Company) for many fruitful
discussions and for providing the stone artefact
used in this study. Sincere appreciation is
also extended to Dr Sorena Sorenson of the
Smithsonian Institute, Mr Roderick Ebanks
of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust, and
to the following members of the Department
of Geography and Geology at the University
of the West Indies, Mona campus: Mr Trevor
McCain for making thin sections, Professor
Trevor Jackson for examining one of the
sections and Professor Edward Robinson
for assistance provided in taking the
photomicrographs. X-ray diffraction and X-ray
fluorescence analyses were carried out at SGC
Services Limited in Toronto, Canada.
This paper is taken from work currently
in progress and was presented, in part, at a
symposium sponsored by the Archaeological
Society of Jamaica held in April 2003 at the
University of the West Indies, Mona. The
author extends his thanks to the organizers.

All illustrations @Anthony R.D. Porter

1. P. Browne, The Civil and Natural
History of Jamaica (London, 1756), 63.
2. J.E. Duerden, "Aboriginal Remains
in Jamaica", Journal of the Institute of
Jamaica 2, no. 4 (1897): 32.
3. M.J. Roobol and J.W. Lee,
"Petrography and Source of Some
Arawak Rock Artefacts From
Jamaica", VI Congres International pour
I'etude des Cultures Pre-Columbiennes
des Petites Antilles (Guadeloupe: n.p.,
1975), 304-13.
4. Ibid., 309.

5. Ibid., 312.
6. Ibid., 305.
7. Ronald E. Anderson, personal
8. JCPDF (now the International Center
for Diffraction Data), Jadeite PDF
#22-1338, 2001.
9. Sir Hans Sloane, A voyage to the
Islands ofMadera, Barbadoes, Nieves,
St Christophers and Jamaica: with the
Natural History, Herbs and Trees, Four-
footed Beasts, Fishes, Birds, Insects,
Reptiles, Etc. of the last of those Islands,

book 8, vol. 2. (London, 1725), 339.
10. Duerden, "Aboriginal Remains", 32.
11. Roobol and Lee, "Petography and
Source", 307.
12. www.cigem.ca/431
13. S. Voynick, "Guatemalan Jade", Rock
and Gem (October 2002): 64-69; B.
Jones, "Shades of Jade", Rock and Gem
(November 2002): 12-15.
14. F. Ward, "Jade-Stone from Heaven",
National Geographic (September 1987):
15. www.rupestre.net

Jamaica's Historic Landmarks

The Spanish Town Iron Bridge



After 202 years, the Spanish Town Iron
Bridge still arcs some 82 feet to span the
Rio Cobre River in St Catherine. That is
a fairly small span by global measures.
But its significance is bigger than its
span. Its successful erection in early 1802,
thousands of miles from its designer
and manufacturers, from hundreds of
parts cast and shipped in 1801, made it
the Western Hemisphere's first cast iron
structure and its first prefabricated iron
Time and a perennially raging river
have made their marks, however. In
consequence, preservation and eventual
restoration of the Spanish Town Iron
Bridge is the mission of the Spanish
Town Iron Bridge Foundation, which
was established in the late 1990s under
the guidance of the Jamaica National
Heritage Trust and is currently working

to repair a massive gap in the northern
vault of the bridge. The project director,
engineer Garth Lampart, says that the
immediate priority is to secure the
bridge structurally. Subsequently, plans
call for replacement of broken rails,
re-paving of the bridge deck, painting,
and beautification of the surroundings,
resources permitting.
Spearheaded by the Jamaica
Institution of Engineers, the foundation
has sought to raise funds to restore the
bridge through raising awareness of its
history. Listed as a national monument
by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust,
the bridge was also named by the World
Heritage Watch as one of the most
endangered sites for the year 1998-99. The
World Monument Fund pledged funding
to make substantial repairs and begin a
longer-term process of restoration. The

I VgJ m

first phase of the repairs, at the turn of the
century, reinforced the northern abutment
which had been undercut by the river. A
contract tendered in mid-2004 covers the
repair of the collapsed brick vault and
stonework of the northern abutment and
approach span.
Local engineers are considering how
to approach these repairs in a fashion
that is cost-effective yet also takes
account of the structural and architectural
integrity of the centuries-old bridge.
The approaches and abutments were
built of cut stone and lime mortar, with
the vaulted flood passages, set into the
approaches on either side of the cast iron

Bridge Over the Rio Cobre Spanish Town. From A
Picturesque Tour of the Island of Jamaica by lames
Hakewill, reproduced courtesy of the Facey/Boswell
Trust Collection.

span, lined with brick. The question of
whether current building materials and
techniques can effectively and safely be
used to effect the repairs, without posing
new stresses to the structure, is among
those which officials have to resolve.
The bridge comprises hundreds of
pre-cast, pre-drilled components which
were packaged and shipped to a site that
the designer had never seen, to be put
together by an untrained team, apparently
with the aid of one expert sent by the
manufacturer and a set of plans.
"The historic significance of this
bridge in the development of the use
of cast iron in early bridges and in the
development of global civil engineering
cannot be overstated," the Iron Bridge
Foundation has contended.' The United
States of America, then a quarter-century
old, was still using timber bridges, limited
to small spans, even though political
essayist Tom Paine best known for his
Rights of Man had designed, displayed,
and argued for the erection of cast iron
bridges on the American continent in
the late 1700s. The first iron bridge in
the United States was, in fact, the 80-foot
Dunlaps Creek Bridge in Brownville,
Pennsylvania, designed by army engineer
Captain Richard Dellafield and built in
At the turn of the eighteenth century,
a time when revolutionary wars and
commerce competed for limited column
inches, the English and Jamaican
newspapers found the bridge worth
reporting. Even before it left England, it
was the subject of a Hull Packet article of
2 December 1800, subsequently carried in
the London Chronicle and then reprinted in
both the Royal Gazette and the St Jago de la
Vega Gazette in Jamaica during the week
24-31 January 1801. The item notes:

A bridge of cast iron, the first seen
in Hull, was put on board the ship
Ellison, Capt. Gatecliff, on Friday last,
to be fixed across a wide ferry over
a river, near Kingston, in Jamaica.
This expensive work was entered
at the Custom-House for 1060, the
mere freight of it is 100 and the
expense of its erection will be great,
a manufacturer from West Yorkshire
will necessarily go over for the
purpose. Its weight is 87 tons.... The
span or rainbow sweep of the arch
is 80 feet. The cast iron rails to guard
the foot passengers will be placed

at six inches distance, and of course
amount to about 320 in number. The
pieces which cover the top of the
bridge are 41, and are two feet broad.
It is an imitation of the two bridges
over Colebrook Dale and Sunderland

The arrival of the Ellison, and of the
bridge on board, was briefly noted in the
St Jago de la Vega Gazette of 23-30 May
1801; and in the 30 May supplement to
the Royal Gazette.'
Subsequently, the 27 June-4 July
issue of the St Jago de la Vega Gazette
published a call to tradesmen willing to
contract for the erection of the bridge. The
notice, issued by James H. Byles, clerk
to the responsible committee, noted that
Island Engineer William Frazer, Esquire,
would show the "Plan, Instructions, and
Particulars" for the erection of the bridge,
at a meeting on 29 June.4 The work would
include the building of abutments and
walls for raising the road, including
masonry, blacksmithing and carpentry.
That plan may still exist. However,
it is apparently not in the holdings of the
Jamaica Government Archives at Spanish
Town;5 nor has it been located by officials
of the Ministry of Transport/Works.
In England, the Rotherham Central
Library Archives has noted that Walker
Rotherham Works closed in 1822-23,
leaving few company records, so that the
company's involvement with bridges is
mainly known from the records of the
organizations which ordered them."
Despite the lack of plans or official
records, contemporary newspaper
references fix the timing of the erection
of the bridge. Both Gazettes carried
regular notices of meetings of "the
Trustees or Commissioners of the Public
Road between this town (Spanish
Town) and Kingston", by order of
James H. Byles, clerk to the responsible
committee. Notices in 1802 sometimes
refer to meetings of the Trustees or
Commissioners of "Ferry Toll between
this town and Kingston".7
Byles also placed the following
notice dated 2 November 1801: "All
persons willing to contract for covering
the present Wooden BRIDGE across the
Rio Cobre with best Pitch-pine plank,
and putting the same otherwise into
temporary repair, are desired to give in
proposals, sealed up and directed to the
Clerk of the Commissioners, on or before

Tuesday the 17th Inst."I The outcome of
the invitation is unclear, but by the end
of January 1802, the following notice
appeared in a supplement to the Royal

As the Bridge over the Rio-Cobre is
taking down, all Carriages and Riders
will please cross the Ford opposite the
Church, after the 25th instant."

Church Ford, now reached via an
overgrown gully sloping to the Rio Cobre
from Barrett Street, diagonally across
from the Anglican cathedral, would have
required vehicles to cross the river on a
long slant, gaining the opposite bank on
a sandy outcrop near to the Old Road to
Kingston as marked on John Pitcairne's
1786 plan of Spanish Town. It seems like
a crossing which would only have been
feasible in dry weather, so travellers were
doubtless pleased when, just four months
after the closing, another supplement to
the Royal Gazette could notify readers:

The Iron Bridge over the Rio Cobre,
we are happy to say, is now passable
for carriages. From the strength and
nature of its construction, we cannot
doubt that it will fully answer every
expectation as to utility and duration.
Its beauty and elegance [have] a
very fine effect on approaching this
town, to which it forms a very great

Several paintings would capture
the unusual new structure, including
Englishman James Hakewill's Bridge Over
the Rio Cobre (1820-21), and Scotsman
Joseph Bartholomew Kidd's Spanish
Town from Beacon Hill one of some fifty
drawings and paintings of Jamaican
scenes done by Kidd between 1837 and
1841. (More recently, in the 1990s, a
painting was executed by Jamaican artist
Susan Shirley, which adorns the Iron
Bridge Foundation's brochure.)
In his notes, Hakewill would write
that the bridge was costly because the
road had to be raised "to insure a free
watercourse at those times when the
rainy season swelled the river to its
greatest height, and the vast body of
water rolled along with an impetuosity to
which nothing could afford an effectual
resistance"." Newspaper reports for the
period, while not always very specific

about the geographic areas affected,
seem to suggest that there had been a
drought during the early months of 1802
- fortuitously for the builders. Apparently
this was relieved in June, at least in
western Jamaica.2
The bridge has substantial cut-stone
approaches and abutments, which
geologist Anthony Porter identifies as
local stone from the area. Architect Peter
Francis notes that "the elegant precision
and pure geometric form of the arches
contrasts attractively with the robust,
sometimes even rough stonework which
frames and supports it".'1
This bridging of the Rio Cobre near
to the capital city, Spanish Town, had
been an issue before Jamaica's House of
Assembly for years. Several bills to this
effect were passed between the 1760s
and the end of the century, creating and
subsequently confirming the role of
trustees commissioned to raise money
for and to oversee the erection of a stone
bridge. The switch to cast iron may have
been at the suggestion of Lieutenant
Governor Alexander Lindsay, Sixth Earl
Balcarres, who in the 1780s had been
involved in the establishment of the
Haigh Iron Works near Wigan in England.
Balcarres served in Jamaica from 1794 to
1801. (The governor when the bridge was
opened to traffic was Sir George Nugent
- husband of Lady Maria Nugent whose
diary has become a well known source for
the period, but who does not mention the
new bridge.)
Cast iron bridges had only then
existed in England for a little over two
decades, though small iron bridges had
been built in China for centuries, and
wrought iron arches had been erected

in Europe, mostly in Russia, during the
eighteenth century. The first English
iron bridge, with a main span of about
100 feet and a total length of 198 feet,
was built in 1779 over the River Severn
at Coalbrookdale in the county of
Shropshire. Restored over the centuries
and still standing today, it is attributed to
joiner-turned-architect Thomas Prichard,
who adapted wood-working techniques
to the new material. Ironmaker Abraham
Darby III cast the ribs and beams. They
took early advantage of technology
pioneered by an earlier Abraham Darby
which produced low-cost cast iron
smelted with coke instead of charcoal a
process which overcame fuel restrictions
and made it feasible to undertake large
castings as well as inventions by Henry
Cort which enabled the efficient shaping
of bar iron and reduced the carbon
content in cast iron to make it malleable.
In fact, bridges were among the earliest
applications of this new technology.'4
Between 1793 and 1800, at least eight
other cast iron bridges were erected in
various parts of Britain, the best known
being the 236-foot span erected over the
River Wear at Sunderland in 1796 by far
the largest span to date and one which
exceeded that of any single arch stone
bridge. Other bridges were manufactured
for export to Europe; but the Spanish
Town bridge is the first on record to come
to the New World.
The designer of the Spanish Town
bridge was Thomas Wilson, an English
engineer who had worked with Rowland
Burdon, member of parliament for
Durham, on the bridge at Sunderland. A
newspaper reference, in the York Courant
of 27 October 1800, notes: "The engineer
of Sunderland Bridge
' ., has had cast, on an
improved plan, a
ITO.. -sO-j bridge for the Rio
Cobre in Jamaica, 83
S _- ft wide, which is now
set up at Rotherham
in this County."' The
.- bridge carries the mark
"Thos Wilson Engineer

.o Detail from "Map of the
S. County of Middlesex in
t he Island ofl Jamaica,
N,. constructed from Actual
Surveys under the Authorty
of the Honourable House
/a' \ of Assembly" by lames
,,,, Robertson, 1804. Source:
National Library of Jamaica

1800" stamped into the metal on each
side. Indeed, British structural engineer
Andrew Smith, who spearheaded the
1997 restoration of another Wilson bridge,
at Stratfield Saye in Hampshire, United
Kingdom, notes: "As far as 1 know, this
is the only Wilson bridge that carried his
name, so he could claim this one in a way
he couldn't claim the others."'"
In July 1802, around the same time
that the New World's first iron bridge was
successfully taking carts and carriages,
horses and people over the Rio Cobre
between Spanish Town and Kingston,
Wilson and Burdon took out a patent on
the voussoir design which Wilson had
used for the Spanish Town bridge. But
Spanish Town was probably Wilson's
high point. A bridge at Staines, over
the River Thames, designed by Wilson,
collapsed soon after opening in 1803; in
1804, the Sunderland Bridge warped and
had to be repaired. A bridge at Yarm,
over the River Tees, also collapsed in
1806. Burdon's speculations failed and
he went into bankruptcy that same year.
The Sunderland bridge was dismantled in
1928. The 40-foot bridge at Stratfield Saye,
cast in 1802, remains, as does a 1809-10
bridge at Tickford, near Newport Pagnell,
which is partially attributed to Wilson.'
Walker and Co. of Rotherham,
in the north of England a company
which had previous dealings with both
Burdon and Wilson was entrusted with
casting the many structural elements
for the Spanish Town bridge. Samuel,
Aaron and Jonathan Walker founded
their partnership in a small town north
of the city of Sheffield, moving, in 1746,
to the town of Rotherham, which was
located on the recently constructed Don
Navigational Canal. The canal ran north-
east to connect with the River Ouse,
facilitating the movement of heavy goods
to the port city of Kingston upon Hull.
The company was a large industrial
concern, which also produced cannon,
including pieces shipped to Jamaica. The
Walker Rotherham Works would close in
1822-23, leaving few company records."
The Spanish Town bridge is one of
at least three surviving bridges cast by
the Walkers to designs by Wilson, the
others being the 1810 Tickford Bridge
over the River Ouse in the English county
of Buckinghamshire and the 1802 bridge
over the River Loddon at Stratfield Saye
in Hampshire.

This was a dynamic period for
designers working with a new material,
new methods of construction including
prefabrication, and new structural
principles. In a 1980 article in Jamaica
Journal, historian David Buisseret outlined
different types of cast iron bridges of the
time. In the case of the Coalbrookdale
bridge, he noted, the ribs, cast in two
70-foot lengths, "rise almost vertically
from the abutment, and.., there is only
one circle in the spandrel". Buisseret
places the Spanish Town bridge in a
second category, where "the ribs are
anchored much more horizontally into
the abutment, and ... the spandrels
are filled with diminishing circles".
With the ribs cast in small lengths and
held apart by connectors, the bridge
becomes prefabricated and portable.
He adds that a third type of bridge
gained acceptance during the nineteenth
century: "Here the stone abutment is
carefully designed to take the ribs, which
are cast in long sections as they had
been at Coalbrookdale. The system of
diminishing circles has... been replaced
by a series of vertical struts."" Jamaican
archivist Clinton Black, in his book,
Spanish Town, The Old Capital, describes
the bridge as being "a hybrid type
and as such an interesting link in the
development of cast iron bridges...".2'
The Jamaica House of Assembly
ordered another cast iron bridge in
1806, this one to span the Yallahs River
in St Thomas in the East. It would be to
this bridge that the Rotherham Central
Library Archives refers in a 1996 research
report where it says that there is an item
in the accounts of the Coalbrookdale
Company referring to transport of a
bridge for Jamaica, down the River Severn
to Bristol, in 1807.21
Other early prefabricated, cast iron
structures erected in Jamaica in the early
nineteenth century include the Royal
Naval Hospital at Port Royal, dated 1819,
which was designed by professional
architect Edward Holl and cast by John
Sturges of the Bowling Ironworks in
Bradford. Jean and Oliver Cox in Naval
Hospitals of Port Royal, Jamaica describe
Holl as an innovator, aware of the
danger of termites and fire, who started
experimenting from 1808 with cast iron
as a substitute for timber in various
dockyard buildings. "This was early days
for the use of the material in buildings,

Plan and aerial view of the cast iron Royal Naval Hospital at Port Royal when first completed.
Source: lean and Oliver Cox, The Royal Hospitals of Port Royal, Jamaica (1999), p. 16.

a new material in itself, its pioneering
use having been in bridge construction,"
the Coxes note in their monograph.22
Later still, in the mid-1800s, the Illustrated
London News reported on a cast iron
bridge erected over the Martha Brae River
in Trelawny.21
After opening to the public, the
Spanish Town Iron Bridge would
have been a major route for Jamaica's
legislators, administrators and
businesspeople, as well as a wide variety
of 'ordinary' people travelling across the
Rio Cobre between Spanish Town, the
capital, and Kingston, already the island's
commercial hub. Kingston replaced
Spanish Town as capital in the 1870s.
In October 1931, the Stubbs Bridge,
just downriver, replaced the Iron
Bridge. Since then, the centuries-old
structure has been closed to motorised
traffic. In the absence of maintenance
it has deteriorated significantly, with
undercutting of the north face which was
repaired in 2000, and the partial collapse
of one of the vaulted floodways.
Other work identified as necessary
to protect the bridge and bring it back to
good condition, includes river training
along the north bank of the Rio Cobre,
both up- and downstream; the careful
removal of vegetation growing on the
bridge; stonework repair to the abutment
and approaches; sand blasting and
painting; replacement of missing handrail
pieces; and rehabilitation of the bridge
deck and surface.
Andrew Smith, the British engineer
responsible for the 1997 restoration of

another Thomas Wilson iron bridge, at
Stratfield Saye in the United Kingdom,
urges the recording of all details of the
original masonry and ironwork as a
basis for restoration. He adds: "In view
of the good condition and general lack
of corrosion of the iron, I would advise
dismantling as little as possible. Photos
suggest that the balustrade, finials, top
rail and balusters should be dismantled,
but probably not their stanchions, and
it might be advisable to remove the
surfacing if a trial pit suggests that the
deck plates are corroding otherwise
leave it alone as much as possible."24
While the structural security of the
bridge is the main focus, the Iron Bridge
Foundation has also developed a proposal
to create a heritage park on the site. Garth
Lampart notes that funding commitments
from the World Monument Fund will
only enable the foundation to complete
work underway on the abutments
- particularly the critical repair of the
vault in the northern approaches and
abutment. "After that," he says, "we have
to look elsewhere. But even when it's an
attraction again, it will be a low-budget
attraction; we can't take this project to
the bank. We're doing the work because
the structure is important." However, he
notes as hopeful signs the interest which
has been expressed by the mayor of
Spanish Town and the St Catherine Parish
Council, and amicable discussions with
the National Works Agency.
Mabey and Johnson, an English
firm which has been involved in recent
bridge-building programmes here,

has committed to painting the bridge
superstructure when it next undertakes
bridgework in Jamaica. Lampart notes
that the firm and directors of the Iron
Bridge Foundation inspected the bridge
and found little corrosion, so the painting
is not urgently needed. "In any case," he
says, "before painting we need to remove
the balustrades, replace missing rails, take
the asphalt off the deck and check the
deck plates, and resurface the bridge in a
way that's appropriate."
Lampart adds that the foundation,
which is still mainly a private-sector

initiative, is seeking additional funding
to complete the project and also pursuing
links with English organizations which
have an interest in the heritage of cast iron
As the foundation's chairman Keeble
Williams has suggested, the fact that the
202-year-old bridge is still standing is a
tribute to eighteenth-century engineering
skills. The foundation's commitment
to the Spanish Town Iron Bridge is a
recognition of its historical significance
as an early example of the use of cast iron
in bridgework, and a tribute to the global

The bridge today

growth and development of science and
technology across the centuries. o-

Note: The Spanish Town Iron Bridge is the
subject ofa ri,,....,Ii/;., monograph in the
Caribbean Architectural Monograph Series
of the Caribbean School of Architecture at the
University of Technology, Jamaica.

The Jamaica Journal invites submissions
to its two series on Kingston's and Jamaica's
historic landmarks.

1. "Proposed Development of Visitors
Facilities and Park at Spanish Town"
(report of the Spanish Town Iron Bridge
Foundation/Jamaica Institution of
Engineers, February 1998), introduction.
2. Supplement to the Royal Gazette (24-31
January 1801): 90-91 (hand-lettered
numbers on copies at the National Library
of Jamaica).
3. Supplement to the St Jago de la Vega
Gazette (23-30 May 1801): 143, cols. 2-3.
4. St Jago de la Vega Gazette (27 June-3 July
1801): 171, col. 1.
5. Advice by government archivist, 2000.
6. Research Report from the Rotherham
Central Library Archives and Local
Studies Section, in response to a query
from the Jamaican High Commission
about the provenance of the iron bridge at
Spanish Town Jamaica, 11 January 1996.
7. See, for example, notice in the Royal Gazette
24, no. 9 (20-27 February 1802): 164.
8. Supplement to the St Jago de la Vega
Gazette (31 October-2 November 1801):
301, col. 3.
9. Supplement to the Royal Gazette (January
1802): 83.

10. Supplement to the Royal Gazette 24, no. 27
(26 June-3 July 1802): 27, col. 2.
11. James Hakewill, A Picturesque Tour of the
Island of Jamaica (London, 1824).
12. Supplement to the Royal Gazette 24, no. 9
(10 April 1802): 303, and no. 26 (19 June
1802): 479.
13. Peter Francis, personal communication,
March 2004.
14. Information on the Coalbrookdale bridge
was drawn from Ironbridge: A World
Heritage Site (souvenir guide, Ironbridge
Gorge Museum, Coalbrookdale, UK).
Information on cast iron bridge technology
was also drawn from Eric DeLony,
"Context for World Heritage Bridges" on
the Web site of the International Council on
Monuments and Sites (www.icomos.org/
15. The York Courant article is quoted by
J.G. James, "The Cast Iron Bridges of
Thomas Wilson", Transactions 50 (1978-79)
(Newcomen Society for the Study of the
History of Engineering and Technology).
16. Andrew Smith, personal correspondence,
May 2004.
17. Information on Wilson's bridges is drawn

from James, "The Cast Iron Bridges".
18. Research Report from the Rotherham
Central Library Archives and Local Studies
Section, in response to a query from the
Jamaican High Commission about the
provenance of the Spanish Town Bridge.
19. David Buisseret, "Iron Bridge at Spanish
Town", Jamaica Journal 4 (1980): 106-8.
20. Clinton Black, Spanish Town: The Old
Capital (Spanish Town: Parish Council of St
Catherine, 1960), 75.
21. Research Report from the Rotherham
Central Library Archives.
22. Jean and Oliver Cox, Naval Hospitals of Port
Royal, Jamaica. Caribbean Architectural
Monograph Series no. 1 (Kingston:
Caribbean School of Architecture,
University of Technology, 1999), 15-17.
There is a brief discussion of the adoption
of the new technologies, in Jamaica, in
David Buisseret, Historic Jamaica from the
Air (Kingston: tan Randle Publishers,
23. Item in the Illustrated London News, 8
November 1851, 564.
24. Andrew Smith, personal correspondence,
May 2004.

Rebel Voices



The previous issue of Jamaica Journal
(vol. 27, nos. 2-3) featured the
eyewitness accounts of eight enslaved
men who were caught, imprisoned,
tried and found guilty by the colonial
government of participating in the
Emancipation War that would hasten
the passing of the British Abolition Act
in 1833. A total of 618 enslaved people
from nine parishes were tried in civil
[slave] courts and by courts martial. The
breakdown of trials by type and parish, as
indicated by the punishment records, is
shown in Table 1.
Not all the court trials and testimonies
are in a publishable state. For one thing,
the evidence provided by the Colonial
Office is not always in the form of a
detailed confession, interview of the so-
called rebel or court deposition. Often it
is in the form of "Abstracts of Trials by
Court Martial during the continuance of
Martial Law in Jamaica".' These abstracts
give the names of the person being tried,
the 'crime' with which he or she was

^^H^^^^^ TABLE I H

St James

St Thomas East



St Elizabeth



St Thomas-in-the-Vale


court martial
civil court

court martial
civil court

court martial
civil court

court martial
slave court

court martial

court martial
slave court

court martial

court martial

court martial
civil court

charged, a summary of the 'evidence' of
the proprietor who could corroborate the
accusation of the 'crime' and the sentence
meted out. The proprietor simply had to
establish that the enslaved had been in a
state of rebellion and that he or she had
damaged property or committed other
acts of rebellion. Furthermore, many
of the manuscripts are indecipherable
on account of their age. Nevertheless, a
representative sample will be presented in
this series.
In this issue, the largely unedited
depositions, testimonies and confessions
of fifteen additional enslaved men are
presented, continuing the project of
exposing the more unfamiliar 'voices'
of those who witnessed or participated
in the 1831-32 war. The fifteen are: John
McLachlan, Thomas Mitchell, William
Atkins Spence, William Binham, William
Evans (alias Alexander Benlos), James
Ricketts, John Bull, George Haughton,
Alexander Grunnell, John Davis, Robert
Morris, James Fray, John Morris, William
M'Kinley and Richard
Flemoe. The testimonies of
these men were recorded by
100 magistrates and missionaries
and later became a part
11 of the official records,
5 accessible to us through the
58 Jamaican and UK Archives.
82 Even though the official
records refer to many of the
52 statements taken from those
in prison as "confessions", it
73 should be obvious that some
23 of them were nothing more
5 than eyewitness accounts
noted by the missionaries
who made it their business
9 to visit the jail cells of
the condemned enslaved
15 men to hear and record
1 men to hear and record

their stories. In other words, there is no
confession, in the sense of an admission
of personal guilt, in most of these stories.
Indeed, some of the enslaved, like John
McLachlan, denied the accusations. In
some cases, one is not even always sure
what the condemned men were being
tried for. The authorities seemed more
intent on encouraging those in jail to be
whistleblowers. Some of those statements
called confessions, therefore, are at times
no more than the result of the condemned
men having been prompted to tell who
else was involved in the war in an effort
to round up all ringleaders; and in this
regard they are similar to the court
depositions such as Flemoe's.
Whatever the intention, or the term
used to categorise these testimonies,
depositions and interviews, they not
only provide an invaluable data source
for historians, but allow for a broader
interpretation of the events of 1831-32.
As with those published in the previous
article, the accounts in this issue raise a
number of points of historiographical
interest. First, there is the same strong
association between the plotting of the
revolt and the Baptist Church. Second,
it is clear that the leaders, who were
mostly Baptists and mostly part of estate
management, believed in the church's
liberation theology and had a clear
revolutionary 'cause'. Third, this was
no spontaneous 'uprising', devoid of
organisation and planning; for there were
organised gangs with clear leadership
and lines of command, with Sam Sharpe
and George Taylor emerging as powerful
leaders. Indeed, George Taylor's role as
leader competed with Sharpe's, according
to some of the testimonies. Fourth,
this was no mere skirmish; this was a
people's war and the fighters had access
to weapons and knowledge of military


Rev. William Knibb, Baptist missionary accused by
whites of influencing the enslaved to rebel.

strategy. Fifth, many of the enslaved,
who were abreast of the external anti-
slavery movement, believed that both
divine and state authorities had decreed
their freedom, that the plantocracy was
deliberately withholding such freedom
and that revolution was the only way to
secure this "freedom denied". William
Binham's and John Henry Morris's
confessions', featured in this issue,
illustrate this. Binham remarked: "The
Baptists all believe that they are to be
freed; they say the Lord and the King
have given them free, but the white
gentlemen in Jamaica keep it back; they
said if they did not fight for freedom
they would never get it. I heard them
all say this."2 John Henry Morris echoed
this reason when questioned after the
suppression: "My opinion of the cause
of the rebellion is, that it proceeded from
the mistaken idea of the slaves that they
are free, and from the proceedings of the
British government."3
These ventriloquised accounts also
indicate clearly that some of those called
rebel leaders were really reluctant rebels,
though they were punished anyway.
Missionaries state that despite what
were blatant acts of injustice, some, like
Binham, accepted the 'justice' of their

sentences, a report that may cause some
degree of scepticism among readers.
The accounts also reveal the centrality
of arson, of 'fire-bun', as a war strategy
and of the participation in one form or
another of free people. Finally, these
'confessions' reveal the difficulties faced
by the revolutionaries; for they tell a story
of weapons shortages and gunpowder
shortages, of reluctant rebels, and
ultimately of the brutality of the process
of the struggle for success on the part of
both revolutionaries and repressors.


1: Statement (Defence) of John McLachlan at
his Trial, 3 January 1832
[This enslaved man, from Spring Garden
Estate, was tried by court martial, with
questions posed by the 'president'. His
enslaver, William Kerr, accused him of
participating in open rebellion and arson, a
charge that he denied.]

President: Have you any question to ask
your master?
McLachlan: Yes, sir; please ask Master
have not I served him at anytime as a
servant ought to his master? [The master
agreed but said "I considered the whole good
until they proved themselves bad." Asked
to say ...i, thi1.m in his defence, McLachlan
at first said: "I have nothing to say for I am
innocent." But lie later changed his mind and
said: "I have ...1111 'li, i ,; I. i. to say."]
I was at home at Spring Garden. I
saw three of Mr Galloway's men come
over there, one was George Kew William
Richards. I don't know the others' names,
going along and telling the people that
they took charge of the overseer's house
at Unity Hall and they don't know
where he slept last night, and asked the
people upon Spring Garden what they
intended to do; I saw the bookkeeper Mr
Blackeney kept together in the overseer's
house that night and next morning early
the bookkeeper said to me I must go
over to the Bay John, and he locked up
every store belonging to the estate and
gave me the keys. I locked up the keys
in my little house and went away and
launched off Master's boat and shipt in
the marsh, seeing her all right for coming
to the Bay. By the time I returned back
to the estate they bursted every door

I had the key of, and Mr Galloway's
people, three more came back Richard
Bayley and Haughton flourishing their
machetes and said they are going over
to find estates now to put them on fire
and if Spring Garden did not put their
estate on fire, they would come over and
put it themselves; and immediately as I
heard them say so I took the bookkeeper's
boat directly and came to Master and by
the time I got down to the wharf where
Master was I saw Unity Hall on fire. I
went straight from the wharf to Meagre
Bay, took Master's things on board the
boat and took the boat back to the place;
and I told Master. I beg'd him for a pass to
get home and going along safely all along
the road. When I returned into Master's
estate's gates in the house, there was a
young man belonging to the estate called
Thomas Newton, had his gun cocked and
presented on his shoulder. I bawled out
to him, "Save me, save me, it is me." He
asked me where I was from, I told him I
am from a little ways out. He told me if he
knew I was from the Bay carrying stories
to Master he would shoot me. Then I told
him I was not from the Bay, and the little
boy belonging to the yard told me that
there was a saddle belonging to Master
left behind. I searched and asked among
them humbly until I got the saddle. I took
the saddle upon my back and took it to
Mrs McLachlan's place and then I stopt
until Sunday morning and I gave up to
the Bay.

2: Statement (Defence) of Thomas Mitchell, 3
January 1832
[Mitchell, also from Spring Garden, had the
same enslaver as McLachlan and, like the
latter, was asked by the president of the court
if lie had any questions to ask his master.]

President: Have you any questions to ask
your master?
Mitchell: Yes, I have. Please ask Master,
was I not brought up under him, if he
ever found any fault of me doing my
work, or guilty of any badness?
[The master answered similarly as with
McLachlan, stressing that he had never
known him to "do any harm before". In his
defence, Mitchell said:] The time when the
trash house was burnt, I went to call all
my fellow servants to go and kill it; none
would come with me. I went down and I
received a stone knocked me down on my

back. After that I ran away and never go
amongst them after.
President [after questioning Kerr some more
about statements given by both enslaved men]:
Do you have anything further to say in
your defence?
Mitchell: Yes; the night before the estate
was on fire I heard William Jarrett and
William Gale say if all the other estates
are on fire, Spring Garden must be on fire,
and I say I would go and tell it to Master,
and they laid a watch for me. If I should
go through the gate they would take off
my head. From that time I never let them
see me until now.

3: Confession of William Atkins Spence, 17
January 1832
[Spence, who did not seem to have been a
willing participant in the war, belonged to
Woodstock Estate and was imprisoned in the
Savanna-la-Mar Gaol. He reportedly gave
this account to Reverend Thomas Stewart and
Reverend Daniel Fidler.]

I was in my negro house when Woodstock
was set on fire. Colonel [Robert] Gardner
was there, and sent for me. He told me
that I was acting an underhand part; why
did I not join them at once. I said I had no
guns, no arms. He told me just the same
as he told James Fray. I, however, would
not go. A brown man, named William
M'Kinley, belonging to Mr Whittingham,
and who has been very active in all
the burnings about there, told Colonel
Gardner to shoot me at once. They took
me to the [coffee] barbecue, and two men
came out with guns, and they threatened
again to shoot me. William M'Kinley
burnt Mr Harvey's house, and said, in
my hearing, I wish you could show me
Mr Harvey himself, and I will shoot him.
Eliza Mason is a free woman, and lives
about Petherton. She came backwards
and forwards to them at Woodstock, to
see what they were about, and asked Dr
Spence's people why they did not at once
join the rebels. James, Miss Read's head
driver at the Hermitage, has been with
the rebels, and he is a head man in all the
business. He is a stout man with thick lips.

4: Confession of William Binham, 19 Januaryi
[Binlam was a prisoner in the same jail as
Spence and was also under sentence of deatl.
He also gave his account to the parish rector,

Reverend Thomas Stewart, and to Reverend
Daniel Fidler.]

The people with me were John Morris,
[belonging] to Clifton, who fired a
pistol at the militia; David Gibson, to
Clifton; David Atkinson, to Darliston;
William Atkinson, to Darliston; and some
others. There are several gangs of rebels.
Hazelymph has a gang under command
of John Tharp (not Daddy Ruler Tharp),
a doctor man, to the property. Greenwich
and Belvidere another gang, under
Colonel Gardner and Captain Dove.
Chester Castle [has] another [gang] under
a small full-faced man, who carries a
gun. Copse has one, too; but I do not
know the captain. When I left Colonel
Gardner's gang, he was just going to
settle for headquarters, and had already
built several huts in the woods back of
Greenwich I think it is on Greenwich
land. Charles Campbell, [belonging]
to York, a carpenter, is a captain and
leader. Morris [Morrice?], [belonging] to
Ducketts, a yellow [mixed-race] man, is
a captain and leader. Linton is a brown
man, [belonging] to Mr Galloway;
he is at Hermitage as a kind of busha
there. Father Robert, another leader
and captain, [belongs] to Mr Grignon.
McLachlan [belongs] to Grignon also, and
[is] a captain and leader. Robert Morris,
[belonging] to Struie, second in command
under M'Cail, killed [Mr] Bellchambers,
by cutting off his head. He was not killed
by a ball. He ran after the light infantry;
but Morris and Brooks overtook him, and
chopped off his head.
The rebels have
very little gunpowderr 0 2
left. They were
complaining of the 0
want of powder. John
Tharp, [of] Hazelymph,
rode up to Greenwich
with a pistol said "
he was going to see Hr
a white man in Lethe
negro houses. I heard
Colonel Gardner and
many others say that
the Westmoreland
people were spoilt,
because they were not
all Baptists. The reason E
why Westmoreland \ cbaritto
did not join the rebels )

was because the Church of England,
Moravian, and Wesleyans tell their people
not to shed blood; but that the Baptists tell
them (the rebels) they might shed blood
any day but Sunday. Colonel Gardner
said that the reason the six people got
killed at Knockalva by the militia was,
because they were Wesleyans; if they had
been Baptists they would not have been
They said to me that they did not
expect Mr Burchell until the country was
given up. He was on sea waiting to bring
the gift freedom. Meetings of M'Cail's
[were] held at Struie, and they were
always talking that gunpowderr would
not last.

5: Confession of William Evans, alias
Alexander Benlos, 23 January 1832
[Benlos was enslaved by one Mr Evans, of
Welchpool Estate. He was in the gaol under
sentence of death. His 'confession'was taken
down by Reverend Thomas Stewart.]

I saw with my own eyes William
Chambers, belonging to Miss Gray, and
William Hudson, a blower of stones, to
the late Mr M'Cail, set fire to and burn
Welchpool great-house. I saw also the
same William Hudson set fire to and
burn Dr Edward Spence's house. Colonel
Gardner himself commanded when the
light infantry was fired upon at Struie,

Western parishes involved in the 1831/32
emancipation War Source: Mary Turner, Slaves and
Missionaries: The Disintegration of Jamaican Slave
Society, 1787-1834, p \ii. Reproduced coiutesy of
the University of the West Indies 'Pess.


and Bellchambers was killed. The names
of some of the chief people who were
with Gardner on that same occasion
were: Archibald Wilson, who used to be
hired to the late Mr M'Cail before his
death; Morris [Morrice?], a blacksmith
of Duckett's estate; George Tharp, a
free man: he did belong to Hermitage;
William M'Kinley, [belonging] to Mr
Whittingham; Robert Morris, [belonging]
to Struie, one of the rulers.
The negroes who are out, have plenty
of guns; half of the negroes are encamped
behind M'Cail; half of them upon two
bamboo hills near Cow Park. The white
people never will be able to get at them
there, for they can kill them easy without
the white people seeing them. They all
say, and I say so too, that dogs only can
drive them out. "Master, you do not know
what a wood there is up there." All the
badness came upon me and others from
St James's; I never heard of anything from
Westmoreland side; I heard Robert Morris
say that Parson Burchell had bought
plenty of guns for the negroes to fight and
take the country.

6: 'Confession' of Innes Ricketts, 24 Jannuary
183 z
IRicketts's confession' was very sort and
was paraphrased by Reverend Daniel Fidler
iho took down the 'confession' while Ricketts,
Bull and Haughlton were imprisoned in the
Savanna-la-Mar Gaol.]

[Ricketts is reported to have told Fidler:]
The rebels took him with them when
they burnt Endeavour. A brown man
[belonging] to Sod Hall [Estate], named
Forbes; a fair man [belonging] to Argyle,
named Cumming, was joined with him.
John Bull burnt Endeavour [Estate].

7: The Corfession of Jolm Bull, 24 January
[As in tie case of Ricketts, Bull's 'confession'
is in the form of a paraphrased report by
Reverend Fidler:]

[He reportedly told Fidler that he] went
to Knockalva, Mackfield and Haddo, then
to Dryworks. Went first to Endeavour and
put fire to the house. George Campbell,
a tall man [belonging] to Knockalva, and
William Miles [belonging] to Haddo, fired
the trash house [at] Dean's Valley [Estate].

The leaders were Cowell and Forbes, and
they bargained beforehand that Campbell
and Miles should fire the trash-house at
Dryworks. They carried a tinder-box to
set fire.

8: 'Confession'of George Haughton, 24
January 1832
[As in the case of Ricketts and Bull, Reverend
Fidler paraphrased the following 'confession'.]

[According to Fidler, Haughton] belongs
to Haughton Grove [Estate] and received
the powder and slugs from Henry
Cumming, carpenter, at Argyle Pen.

9: 'Confession'of Alexander Grunnell, 24
January 1832
[Grunnell's 'confession' was taken down byi
Reverend Thomas Stewart in the Savanna-la-
Mar Gaol and stated the following:]

The prisoner states that he belongs to
Success Estate, and that Philip Morris
and Samuel Carr, belonging to the estate,
came to the overseer's house, took out
a gun, and a puncheon and a half of
rum. These two persons brought others,
some belonging to Mr Morris, and
Henry Malcolm, and Charles Cochrane,
belonging to a Mr Cochrane, to assist
in burning Success Estate. Alexander
Grunnell took out of the overseer's trunk,
25 in cheques, and a doubloon, and gave
it to his sister, Catharine Grunnell, to take
care of for the overseer. Great numbers
came to burn Success Estate, Mount Zion,
Rejoin and Rome. Philip Morris and
Stewart shot Mr Morris and Mr James;
they then burnt Brae. The same burnt
Golden Grove. The rebels wanted to shoot
Henry G. Gordon, [belonging] to Mr
Morris, because he would not join. George
Steppy brought in Henry Grey Gordon to
the rebels. The rebels had no regular place
to assemble at, but came together when
they heard a shell blowing.

10: 'Confession'of John Davis, 1 February 1832
IDavis was imprisoned in the Savanna-la-
Mar Gaol. The 'confession' was taken down
and signed by Samuel Spence, Magistrate and
Thomas Stewart, Rector.]

I know George Taylor. He lives at
Montego Bay. He is a head ruler.
Whatever he sees or hears at Montego

Bay he sends and tells Gardner directly.
Gardner then sends the orders to
M'Cail, M'Cail to Morrice, and Morrice
to Frederick Gray, and Faithluck, who
belongs to Retirement. There is another
leader under George Taylor. He belongs
to Burnt-Ground. George Taylor set on
Gardner and others to fight for freedom.
I heard George Taylor say to Gardner,
"I am the head man; I shall look to you
to see you begin in the mountains, and
then I shall begin at the Bay." I heard
George Taylor, who afterwards came to
Greenwich, say there to Angus M'Cail the
same thing. Angus M'Cail then came up
to our quarter to tell us. The people in our
quarter said they would not believe him
unless Gardner, who was the head man
under Taylor, came himself and told them.
Gardner then came and told us.
George Guthrie told me to go and ask
Gardner if he had received the canisters
of powder and a few arms which Daddy
Taylor had mustered at Montego Bay and
had sent up. When I asked Gardner, he
told me that the ammunition and arms
did not get further than Hazelymph to
Daddy Ruler Tharp, but that it was not
much. Daddy Ruler Sharpe is another
great man in this business, but not greater
than Daddy Ruler Taylor.
Daddy Ruler Sharpe and Taylor,
Gardner, Dove, and all the other head
people in the rebellion went to the Baptist
church, Montego Bay, in the Christmas.
At the church one of them said they
had better put off the war until after
Christmas. Daddy Sharpe and Taylor said
no, and very nearly knocked the man
down for so saying. They further said,
if we put it off until after Christmas the
white people will overcome us; let us do
it now before any guards are put on, and
then we will get the arms belonging to the
different houses and estates easily.

11: Confession of Robert Morris [confused
with Morrice in some accounts], 1 February
IMorris belonged to Struie Estate. His
confession was taken down by the rector,
Reverend Thomas Stewart, before Morris's

I never heard any one speak of rebellion
in our quarter until Robert Gardner came
up and put it into our heads. When he

came he brought George Guthrie with
him. George Guthrie is a captain, and
belongs to Mr Grignon. Afterwards
Gardner a James Gardner, [came] to tell
us (and who is a second lieutenant, and
belongs to Greenwich). When he came, he
asked us, meaning Struie people and Miss
Gray's, to join at once, and whether we
had powder and guns. I asked him how
do you mean to do this thing, meaning
fighting for freedom, rapidly, or wait for
orders from the king.... He said the king
gave orders for it, and that if we did not
get it we must fight for it. Guthrie told
me that arms and powder were sent from
Montego Bay, and that he had sent up
to Gardner to know if he had got it safe.
They would have got more from Montego
Bay, but they were afraid of the guard on
the road. They had sent some powder and
two mule-loads of arms to Hazelymph.
The following are lieutenants, viz.:
Frederick Gray and James Reed.
[Note: Inmediately after the sentence of
death had been passed on Robert Morris, lhe
made the following statement to the Reverend
Thomas Stewart and afterwards repeated the
same to Samuel Spence:]
As I am now certain that I am going
to die I am determined that those who led
me to this shall be known. If I die, George
Taylor must die also. He is a saddler at
Montego Bay, and belongs to Boyd, the
saddler there. The white people must
send to the governor, and immediately
lay hold of George Taylor. He is a greater
man than Gardner, Dove, and M'Cail. He
recommended "the thing", fighting for
freedom, and he saw about the arms at
Montego Bay. The head of the whole of
this bad business began from Montego
Bay, and Taylor is the head amongst them.
I know, and so do all the rest, that he set
on Gardner; Gardner is under him. The
white people must at once lay hold of
him. James Fray can, if he likes, tell about
Taylor after I am dead. I declare, as I am
going to give up my life this day, that
what I have just said is true.

12: 'Confession'of James Fray [n.d.]
[Fray was confined in the gaol at Woodstock

Angus M'Cail is the captain of the gang
who fired Woodstock. Robert Morris was
second in command on the occasion. I

r~' 'C--.y.- U ~ ~ U,~
*;L -.... .


went to him and said you are forcing us
to join your people, but I do not think
it is religious to do so; and, besides, we
have no arms. I said this to pacify Morris,
because he was forcing me. Morris then
said, come along with us, if it is only a
knife it will do; we have arms, for Parson
Burchell is bringing out arms for us, and
there are two mule-loads come for us
at Greenwich. I said no, it could not be,
for I have only been a little while ago
at the Bay, and Mr Burchell was not yet
come; that there were only three ships in
the harbour. William Atkins Spence was
present when he said this at Woodstock
and at Rose-Hill.
[Note: William Atkins Spence is said to
have corroborated this, and testified that ihe
would swear to it. Fray was eventually taken
to the Savanna-la-Mar Gaol.
On 1 February 1832, after hearing
what Robert Morris had said, lie declared the
following to Samuel Spence and Reverend
Thomas Stewart:]
I know George Taylor; he is a saddler
at Montego Bay; he belongs to William
Boyd, a saddler there; George Taylor
is a head leader; he leads the people
at Belvidere, Greenwich, Hermitage,
York, and M'Cail's, Retirement, Struie,
Welchpool, Rosehill, etc.; Colonel Gardner
is under him; Dove is under him. They are
all led under George Taylor in the Baptist
Church. What Morris says about Taylor
setting the people on in this rebellion may
be true; I dare say it is; but I cannot speak
from my own knowledge, because I do
not lead with them; the number I led by is

"A View of Montego Hay". Lithograph by Adolph
Duperly, 1833

number eighteen; Taylor's people number
At Christmas, John Davis, who is now
a prisoner in the courthouse here, came
to me, and said that Plummer, the leader
of the number that I belonged to, was at
Greenwich, and wanted me; I said no, it
could not be, because he never admitted
us there; perhaps Plummer came to
Greenwich about this very business, but
I do not know. I do not know even if
Plummer was there.

[Further 'confession'of James Fray:]

I have sent for you to tell you, that 1 heard
that Robert Morris, who I told you about
the other day, had given himself up to the
officer at Struie. White people must not
trust him; he is a very venomous man; he
is only come in to see what white people
are going to do, and then he will be off
again to Captain M'Cail and Colonel
Gardner; he is a great man among the
rebellious negroes; white people should
take him up at once.

13: Confession of John Morris [n.d.]
[Morris belonged to either Clifton or Ducketts
Estate and gave this account to Reverend
Thomas Stewart.]

David Clifton, belonging to Clifton, and
Daniel Barngum, belonging to Clifton, are
head men in this burning business. They
told me to fire upon the light infantry

at Clifton, and I did so. They are not yet
taken. David Gibson told me that the
reason they (the rebels) missed shooting
the light infantry was because they did
not pray daily to God Almighty for

14: Confession of William M'Kinley, March
[M'Kinley was a prisoner under sentence
of death in the Savanna-la-Mar Gaol and
gave this statement to the Reverend Thomas

I say just the same as Linton. Bad advice
has brought me to this. I wish those who
put the thing about were here instead of
me. But never mind. I shall say nothing
about them. Let it die with me. I say the
same as Linton that this business will
begin again in about three or four years'
time; for negroes say they are certain that
the king is on their side. They hear too
much talk of it in the newspapers. I went
to a free man's house in the mountains,
not far from Greenwich, during this war.
The man's name is McLachlan. 1 saw
Gardner there, and I heard McLachlan
sa J us, the thing has been given up to
you a long time, and if you don't fight
for it you will never get it, There was a
paper, or a newspaper, I can't positively
say but it was a newspaper, upon the
bench. McLachlan said, I will destroy this
at once; for if any white persons were

to come here and see it, they would say
directly that I had been setting on you
people in this war. I was always treated
like a friend by my master; and I have
done him now a bad turn. 1 saw him
just now, and tried to make up as far as I
could for injuring him. He is a poor man,
and trying hard to work up in the world,
and I have had a hand in burning him out
of house and home.

15: Evidence given by Richard Flemoe linonth
and date not given] 1832

[Flemoe was an illiterate enslaved male field
worker assigned to Williamsfield Estate in
St Thoinas-in-tle-East. He was called to
give evidence, under oath, to the committee
appointed to enquire into the cause of the
Emancipation War. He was described as
a Christian who, therefore, understood
the significance of an oath and of truth.
He provided several names of rebels and
i.ih,:,,.. . t to the committee.]

Q: Did you ever hear any talk about the
negroes being free?
A: Yes; I heard some negroes say so.
Q: Who did you hear say so?
A: I heard James Lewis, who has been
hanged, say that nobody was going to
work any more for gentlemen, as they
were free. Lewis said the minister at Bell
Castle (Mr Burton) said so.
Q: Do you know that there were a great
number of people went to Bell Castle the

week previous to Christmas?
A: I do not know; I never went to Bell
Castle myself; I always went to the
Q: Did you ever hear anyone besides
James Lewis say they were to be free?
A: Nobody except Adam Bailey, Jacob
Farmer, and George Affleck, all belonging
to Haining Estate.
Q: Do you know where they went to pray?
A: I saw them go to Bell Castle myself.

The 'confessions' are not all
accompanied by details of the
punishment meted out to the 'confessors'.
That information was traced in the
parish punishment lists compiled after
the various, hurriedly convened, courts
martial and civil [slave] courts. The
sentences some of these men received, as
far as can be ascertained from the records,
are shown in Table 2. o*

To be continued in the next issue.

All illustrations courtesy of the National Library
of lamaiica.

1. See, for example, CO 137/185, folios
2. CO 137/185, "Confession of William
Binham, a Prisoner under Sentence of
3. Jamaica House of Assembly Votes,
February-April 1832.

N A e fc / c p i S'e

Golden Spring, Westmoreland
Welchpool, Westmoreland
Edward J. Young, Westmoreland
Edward J. Young, Westmoreland
Haughton Grove, Westmoreland
Success, Hanover

Mary Spence, Struie, Westmoreland
Eldersley, St Elizabeth
smith Ducketts*
enter Ramble, Westmoreland
Williamsfield Estate in St Thomas-in-the-East
William Kerr, Spring Garden Estate, St James
William Kerr, Spring Garden Estate, St James

Rebellion and arson
Rebellion and arson
Rebellion and arson
Rebellion and arson


Rebellion, arson and murder
Rebellion and arson
Rebellion and arson
Not considered a rebel
Open rebellion, arson
Open rebellion, arson



Death (shot at YS Estate)
Death (executed)
Death (hanged)
Death (shot)
Death (shot)

' No information provided. Re. sentence: they may have been acquited/paidoned.
* We beheve he was wongl) given as belonging to ( lion, perhaps be( cause some of those persons giving statements ,iidl liei saw hin at (Chlion



Morris (Robert)
Morris (John)



Moore Town Maroon Music



The Moore Town Maroons have,
through their unique lifestyle, created
one of the most memorable musical
genres in Jamaica, one bestowed
with the international distinction
"Masterpiece of the Oral and
Intangible Heritage of Humanity".
Initiated by the United Nations
Educational Scientific and Cultural
Organisation (UNESCO) in 1998, this
distinction honours the most remarkable
examples of oral and intangible heritage
within humanity.
Stamping its indelible mark on our
Jamaican heritage, the celebrated musical
heritage of the Moore Town Maroons is
not only fundamental in transmitting
their deeply entrenched social and
religious beliefs, but also in conveying the
history and essence of their unique way
of life.
The musical heritage of the Moore
Town Maroons grew out of the cultural
history and traditions of their African
ancestors which were both consciously
and unconsciously retained. The
Maroons grasped an opportunity given
by the British conquest of Jamaica, and
by the hasty departure of their former
Spanish owners, to escape from slavery
in 1655. Their indubitable spirit of
resistance and defiance of the dominant
culture of the colonial authorities
subsequently enabled them to gain full
freedom from the British in 1739.
The Maroons, though
traditionally extremely protective
of their most precious cultural
practices, have begun to lean
towards more openness in
recent times. More information
about their culture is currently
available to the non-Maroon
population. While non-Maroons
are allowed to participate in and
sing certain types of their music
such as Jawbone, Commoner and
Mandingo, the Country category,
which is of a sacred nature and
significant in summoning spirits,

is sung only by people conversant with
the culture.
Work songs, play songs and those
sung at wakes for the dead are some
of the types that are shared with
non-Maroons. Such songs were created
to conform to the regular rhythms of
those activities. Their melodies too reflect
the Maroon tone production combined
with more Western melodic styles. Other
Moore Town songs recall major events in
Maroon history. One such song laments
the execution of Paul Bogle in 1865:

Bogle Song
Bogle mek him war oh
Him cyan tan to it ay [repeat]
Bogle oh, Paul Bogle, Bogle ay
Bogle oh, Bogle ay
Bogle mek him war oh
Him cyan tan to it ay

Maroon music, especially
drumming, has proven its value
as a unique testimony of a living
cultural tradition. The efficacy of
drumming in contacting ancestral
spirits for advice in naming a child,
and for healing, diagnosis and
recommendations for treatment, is
not understood by most people.
The Moore Town Drum,
otherwise known as the Prenting, the
name of which has only begun to be
shared freely with non-Maroons within
the last ten years, is fashioned solely from
materials found within that locale. The
Prenting drum is played mainly with the
fingers held together or splayed. Much
depends on the pulsating beat of these
drums, which are used to summon the
highly revered ancestral spirits of the
Moore Town Maroons.
The abeng, otherwise known for its
importance in signalling and sending
coded messages to Maroons, is also an
integral part of this musical heritage.
It is skilfully made from the horn of a
cow or bull; the sawn-off tip of the horn,
manipulated by the player's thumb,
produces elements of sounds with a range
of many miles.
The Moore Town Maroons have
on more than one occasion had the
opportunity to demonstrate their cultural
practices, including their unique musical
legacy, to an international audience. The
Smithsonian Institution in Washington,
D.C., in their celebrations of Folkways
rn the Western Hemisphere, have twice
invited the Moore Town Maroons to
participate in their celebrations.
The UNESCO award was
Conferred on the Moore Town
Maroons in November 2003, and the
presentation ceremony took place in
June 2004. The project was prepared
through the African Caribbean
Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica
Memory Bank. +

A Oi i: Abeng player. n iT. Maroon drummers

Dr Franklyn Prendergast


In October 2003, the Gold Musgrave Medal
was awarded by the Institute of Jamaica to
Professor Franklyn Prendergast. Initiated
in 1897, the Musgrave Awards are the
oldest awardsfor excellence in the Western
Hemisphere and are awarded annually by
the IOJ to individuals whose contributions
to Jamaica's heritage and science have
proven instrumental in the development of
the Jamaican legacy. The citation read at the
awards ceremony in May 2004 is reproduced

The Institute of Jamaica recognizes
Professor Franklyn Prendergast for
Distinguished Eminence in the field of
Dr Franklyn Prendergast, MD,
PhD, born in Linstead in 1945, is one of
Jamaica's most illustrious sons. From
his five years at the University of the
West Indies, it quickly became apparent
that he was on the path to a future of
honours and distinction. He graduated
from the University of the West Indies
in 1968, with prizes, first for the Best
Preclinical Student, then later for the
Best Clinical Student, with honours in
Surgery, Pathology, and Pharmacology
and Therapeutics, and with distinctions
in Medicine and Obstetrics and
Gynaecology, and subject prizes in
Pathology, Medicine and Psychiatry. He
entered Oxford University as a prestigious
Rhodes scholar in 1969, graduating from
that institution with a BA (First Class
Honours) and an MA in Physiology.
He completed a PhD in Biochemistry
at the University of Minnesota, during
which time he held a Minnesota Heart
Fellowship and served as an instructor in
physiology at the increasingly renowned
Mayo Medical School.
Once the Minnesota medical
fraternity discovered the quality of the
man that they had grabbed, they never
really let loose their grasp. Following
his PhD, in 1977 he was appointed
assistant professor in pharmacology at
the Mayo Medical School and associate

consultant in pharmacology to the Mayo
Foundation. In 1980 he was promoted to
associate professor at the Medical School,
and consultant in pharmacology to the
Mayo Foundation. A single department
however, could not contain the ample
intellect of Prendergast, and in 1985-87,
he was appointed simultaneously as
full professor of pharmacology and as
department chair and Guggenheim
professor of biochemistry and molecular
biology at the Mayo Medical School.
He received a Searle Foundation
fellowship in 1980-83, and was
appointed director of research at Mayo
in 1989, after being named Mayo
Distinguished Investigator in 1998. In
1994 he was granted a DSc honorss
causa) by Purdue University and was
named Mayo Distinguished Lecturer
in Medical Sciences, and in that
same year was accorded the status of
distinguished alumnus of the University
of the West Indies. In 1994 he was also
appointed director of the Mayo Clinic
Comprehensive Cancer Center, a position
which he still holds. Indeed, it was under
his directorship that the Cancer Center
became one of the top ten institutes
in terms of funding from the National
Cancer Institute and acquired recently,
the infrequently granted accolade of
"Comprehensive" by the National
Cancer Institute. He received the E.E. Just
Award from the American Society of Cell
Biologists' Minority Affairs Committee
and delivered the 1997 E.E. Just Lecture.

The Mayo Clinic today, no doubt due
in part to significant contributions from
Professor Prendergast, sits comfortably as
one of the top fifty earners of grants from
the National Institutes of Health, USA.
Having unequivocally established
himself as an outstanding teacher and
researcher, Dr Prendergast, during
the last fourteen years, has served on
the Board of Scientific Advisors for
the National Cancer Institute and on
the boards of directors of Eli Lily and
Company and of several hospitals
including St Mary's Hospital and the
Rochester Methodist Hospital. He has
had extensive involvement in numerous
professional organizations, societies and
extramural committees in the United
States, including the American Chemical
Society; the Infectious Diseases Research
Institute; the Board of Scientific Advisors
- National Institutes of General Medical
Sciences; the National Science Foundation
Molecular Biophysics Panel; the National
Academy of Sciences; and the National
Cancer Advisory Board. He has also held
advisory posts on several boards of the
National Institutes of Health.
The information listed above
represents a mere sampling of the
many outstanding accomplishments of
this son of the Linstead soil. Professor
Prendergast's research interests cover
a range of fields in which cutting-edge
changes are revolutionising biomedicine.
These include the structure, dynamics
and function of proteins; the biochemistry
and biophysics of bioluminescence;
bioimaging and computational biology.
He has been recognized as an outstanding
authority in the field of cancer research.
He has published over 150 research papers
in his various fields of special interest. He
has flown the flag of Jamaica high, and
has brought much credit to himself, to us
and to the Caribbean region as a whole.
For Distinguished Eminence in the
field of Medicine, the Council of the
Institute of Jamaica is pleased to award
the Gold Musgrave Medal to Dr Professor
Franklyn Prendergast. *

The Shopkeepers


The following excerpts are adapted
from t i,. ,,ti .....:. publication The
Shopkeepers: Commemorating 150 Years
of the Chinese in Jamaica, 1854-2004 A
Historical Record of Their Arrival and
Personal Stories of their Endeavours
and Experiences (Periwinkle Publishers,
f,,i,, i..... February 2005).

From "The Migration of the Hakka
People and Their Arrival in Jamaica"

Who are the Hakkas? We are Han
Chinese who speak a unique dialect
that has changed little since we settled
in the fertile plains of the Yellow River,
in the provinces of Shanxi, Honan and
Shandong. These three provinces are
recognized as the'homeland' of the
Hakkas. Today, we number about thirty
million worldwide, and there are five
major versions of our dialect. Meixien
- or Moiyen as our parents called it -is
now the major centre for Hakka culture,
followed closely by Taiwan.
The label of being 'gypsies', or
migrants, is on account of the five big
migrations of the Hakka People to the
south. They left their homeland because
of invasion from the north, or as a result
of famine which could have been caused
by severe drought, flooding or pillage by
the invading armies.

The first migration occurred during
the period of the Sixteen Kingdoms of
the Five Barbarians, AD 317-581. Due to
the invasion of non-Han Chinese from
the Siberian steppes, the Hakka People
crossed the Yangtze River and settled
in the provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui and

Jiangxi. There were feuds between the
emigrants and the native inhabitants,
mostly over the squatting of lands.
But, because the newcomers were now
powerful family groups, they established
control over their new homeland....

The second migration took place at the
end of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907).
Prior to this, there was a period of 250
years of peace brought about by Emperor
Xiao Wen (AD 471- 499) of the Xian Bei
people..... However, the following
century was another period of unrest,
involving famine and an uprising against
the administration. These conditions led to
the second mass migration of the people
from Honan and Shandong.... They
moved southward and settled around
the provinces of Jiangxi, Hunan and
Guangdong. They never intended to stay,
but with the collapse of the Tang Dynasty
in AD 907, things became worse and
they remained. However, they did not
integrate with the local inhabitants and so
preserved their ancient tongue (Hakka)
and customs.

The third migration started around AD
1274 during the Song Dynasty (AD 960-
1279). The Songs were fighting the Jins at
the time, and were losing .... The Hakka

People, who were strong supporters of
the Song Court, fled from the conquering
Mongolian armies. The provinces of
middle and south China were already
settled by the Cantonese, and the Hakka
had to settle farther south. They arrived
in the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian,
Taiwan and North Vietnam, and settled
in the coastal areas that are now Meizhou
(Meixian), Chaozhou, Xiushan (in
Dongguan district), Huizhou, Yashan,
Dabu, Haifeng and many other places.
For a period they were forced to live on
boats because they had no land of their
own, which is why they are sometimes
referred to as the "boat people".

Two events at the end of the Ming
Dynasty spurred the fourth migration,
which occurred after the Manchurians
created the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644-
1911). One was the involvement of the
Manchurians in suppressing some rebels.
The other was the sacking of Sichuan and
its capital, Chengdu....
[The rebel Zhang Xian-zhong
captured Sichuan.] When he took
Chengdu he killed all the citizens and
went on to kill millions in the province of
The Manchu could not allow this
to go unpunished, so they marched on
Sichuan and defeated Zhang. This time

~s~r~ -

'F c; L k~, ;;if W

List of Vessels Travelling to the British, French and Dutch West Indies from China between 1853 and 1884

Theresa Jane
Diamond/Prince Alexander*

Sea Witch/Gorgona

Hong Kong
Macao/Hong Kong




(109 +17)

Panama/Jamaica 30/03/1854

* Hong Kong-Port Said-Malta-Jamaica (Kingston)

it was the Manchu who razed Chengdu,
killing Zhang Xian-zhong's people and
millions of other Sichuanese. Sichuan was
almost depopulated....
In an attempt to regain the support of
the population and to repopulate Sichuan,
the Manchu Emperor, Kang Xi, offered
eight ounces of silver per man, and four
ounces per woman or child who were
willing to resettle in Sichuan. Thousands
of Hakkas living in the regions between
the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian,
accepted Emperor Kang Xi's offer in order
to escape the poverty and hardship of
these regions.
This mass migration of Hakkas to
Taiwan and Sichuan was their fourth

The fifth and last migration took place
at the end of the Taiping Rebellion (AD
1851-1864). This was by far the most
important event to affect the Hakka,
and had a bearing on why our fathers
and grandfathers emigrated to the
Americas, the Caribbean, India and other
parts of the globe. The Rebellion was
led by a Christian Hakka called Hung
Hiii-ch'fian. He had a vision that God

had chosen him to liberate China from
the oppression and idolatry, and that
he was the younger brother to Christ.
He believed that the overthrow of the
Manchus was the only way to bring the
Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
This great 'peace' rebellion lasted for
over twenty years, during which time
between twenty and thirty million people
were killed as a result of the conflicts. The
Manchus appointed a Hakka general,
Tsang Kuo-fan, to suppress the rebellion.
Tsang claimed that although he had no
admiration for the Manchus, he took this
job because he saw that if the rebellion
succeeded, it would erode the Confucian
values that were dear to him.
With the failure of the Taiping
Rebellion, reprisals against the Hakka
began. The Manchus ordered that all
known families participating in the
Rebellion should be killed, especially
all Hakkas with the surname of Hung.
Because of this, most of the Hungs
changed their names and many Hakkas
fled the country to other parts of the
world, for example, Nanyang (what
is now Malaysia), Brazil, Panama, the
United States, the Caribbean, India and
even Africa. Others would sell themselves

OCINA: Showing the origin and migration of the Hakka people


" .. **
nc*i re Wb U *p,,;0 -

off as'pigs' or indentured labour. This
was the start of the fifth and most recent

But there were other forces and world
events that helped to shape this
migration. There was the abolition of
slavery in the Caribbean in 1834, Hong
Kong became British in 1842, and in 1848
gold was discovered in California. Also
1850-56 saw the start of the building of
the Panama Railroad.
With the abolition of slavery, there
was a need for cheap labour to work the
sugar plantations in the Caribbean, and
to help build the Panama Railroad. Many
labourers were recruited from southern
On 21 April 1854, the SS Epsom
left Hong Kong with 310 indentured
labourers bound for Jamaica. It took over
108 days for the journey around India
(initially stopping in Java), around the
Cape of Good Hope, up the western
coast of Africa to St Helena (79 days),
before crossing the Atlantic to Jamaica (29
days). By the time they reached Kingston,

43 had died, so only 267 disembarked.
Later that year a few hundred Chinese,
who had originally been contracted to
work on the Panama Railroad, arrived in
Kingston aboard the SS Gorgona suffering
from opium withdrawal symptoms. They
continued to come from Panama that
epic year on the SS Vampire (195), and SS
Theresa Jane (10), but not many of them
Those who originally came to Jamaica
as indentured labourers, contracted
with the captain of the ship to work on a
specified plantation for a period of five
years, for the sum of three pounds per
month, at the end of which time they
would be given free passage home. Some
were not so fortunate. They were forcibly
taken off the streets, or from prisons, and
put on board ship without their consent.
A series of events between 1864 and
1870 brought an additional two hundred
Chinese from Trinidad and British
Guiana. Their contracts had expired,
and the canefields in which they had
worked were devastated by insects and a
hurricane. They took the opportunity of a
three-year contract to work on large-scale
planting of coconuts, bananas and sugar
cane in Jamaica. Others came on their
own to start small shops. These shops
usually had no more than ten to twenty
items of goods, and the total weekly sales
averaged three to six pounds.
Events such as the Second Opium
War (1856-60), with the resulting loss
of sovereignty to the Russian, French,
British, and Americans, and the war with
Japan (1875-85) continued to drive the
Hakkas away from China.
The next large-scale arrival of
indentured Chinese labourers was on 12
July 1884 aboard the SS Prince Alexander.
It boarded 681 labourers and 122 women
in Hong Kong, and took sixty-seven days
for the journey around India, through the
Suez Canal, stopping at Malta to replenish
supplies, and then on to Jamaica. By the
time it arrived in Kingston, one labourer
had died, and three children had been
born on board ship. They were dispersed
to various plantations throughout the

Kong Sook Yin's passport showing her age as 18
when in fact she was only 16.

The Boxer Rebellion (1895-1905)
was an uprising against the foreigners
occupying China. The citizens turned
against the missionaries and those who
embraced Christianity.... This rebellion
maintained the pressure to emigrate,
but immigration to the Caribbean was
curtailed because of the imposition of a
head tax. It eventually ceased in 1949 at
the end of the Civil War, with victory by
the Communists.

From "A Journey of 23,000 Kilometres"

It is dawn on 17 May 1932. Kong Sook Yin
sets out from Yu Gam Boo for the train
station, a three-mile walk down the dusty
roads. She is carrying two cloth bags and
she cries all the way to the train station.
Grandmother was crying too when
she left. She had been crying for days.
For seven years, Sook Yin had been her
constant companion. She had depended
on Sook Yin even more in the past two
years as blindness set in. Now sixteen
years old, her youngest granddaughter is
beginning her journey to start a new life
in Jamaica.
On the eight-hour train ride to
Canton, Sook Yin consoles herself with
her grandmother's advice. Go to Jamaica.
Life in China is too hard. You will have a
better life there. Grandma spoke about the
warring between the Nationalists and the

Communists, and four months earlier, just
before Sook Yin's sixteenth birthday, the
Japanese had attacked Shanghai.
On arrival in Hong Kong, she goes
straight to the shipping company to
present her documents. Her passport and
betrothal certificate are in order born 4
February 1914, authorised to emigrate to
join her fiance. She has rehearsed her birth
date should she be asked. She knows
that Grandmother had submitted a false
birth document showing 1914. That made
Sook Yin eighteen years old, eligible for a
passport and emigration to marry.
Sook Yin stays for two nights at a
hostel run by the shipping company. The
first day she is taken by a servant boy to
buy a few articles of clothing, a blanket
and a suitcase. The money she saved
from weaving baskets and embroidering
wedding slippers [has come] in handy.
She needs to be presentable to her new
The night before the ship sets sail,
Sook Yin reads her father's letter again.
Her brother had come to take her place
with Grandmother and had brought the
letter with him. Father tells her how to
behave and show respect for her new
family. He wants her to serve them well.
He says her mother has been crying all
day she will never see her youngest
daughter again. It will take too long and
cost too much to make the 2,400-kilometre
trip from Malaysia to Yu Gam Boo to see
her before she leaves.
Sook Yin thinks of her father and

mother whom she last saw four years ago
when they visited from Malaysia. It was
then that her father sent her to school for
the first time. She loved school. She will
miss going to school.
Ship No. 2 [there were four ships,
Nos. 1-4] sets sail the next morning for
the first leg of the trip 2,800 kilometres
to Japan. When the ship reaches Japan, it
does not go into port but stays out in the
harbour, and all passengers are taken in
boats to a building on the dock.
They are told to hand over their
clothes and take a shower. The passengers
are terrified of the yellow water. Sook Yin
takes the gown provided and wets it with
the yellow water. The guards think she
has taken a shower. After a few hours,
her clothes are returned with a funny
odour. She will learn later that the yellow
colour and the odour are due to sulphur.
A passenger has died on board and the
Japanese are disinfecting everyone before
Japanese passengers board.
The second leg of the trip is 6,200
kilometres to Hawaii. Sook Yin is
looking forward to seeing Hawaii. Her
grandfather died there. Grandmother told
he. .,e story of her grandfather going
there to work and sending money home
for her. She had been pregnant with Sook
Yin's father at the time. Then the money
stopped coming. A few months later, a
villager returning from Hawaii came to
see her to tell her that her husband had
died. She never remarried.
San Francisco is foggy when the
ship docks as she says goodbye to her
bunk mate of the past seventeen days at
sea. She thanks the old American couple
who had taken her to the upper decks
of the ship many times and shown her
around. It was so much nicer than the

dormitory in the lower deck
where she could hear the engine
throbbing all the time. Sometimes
it was better to hear that than
some of the passengers getting
seasick. The food was so strange,
especially the 'raw' eggs.
It isn't difficult to get to the
train just follow the crowd. A
number of other passengers are
on their way to Jamaica as well. It
is hard carrying the suitcase and
the bags of food. The shipping
company had advised her to buy
rice and dried and canned food
in Hong Kong for the train trip to
The very first day, two older
men in the same coach approach
her: "What do you have?" She
turns over her food to them and
they cook for her for the entire
trip. Meals are not regular the
whole coach shares one two-
burner stove and you have to
wait your turn. There seems to be cooking
going on twenty-four hours per day.
Sleeping is okay, once you figure out how
to deal with the thick seam in the middle
of the pullout bed.
The train stops only to let off and
take on passengers. At some stops, food
vendors are on the platform selling dried
goods and vegetables. There is no fresh
meat. But, it doesn't matter the two
older men are good cooks!
On day five, 5,000 kilometres later,
the train pulls into Montreal. Carrying
her suitcase is a little easier now since
there is no food to carry. She goes with
a group of others to a warehouse where
they will spend the night; it is cold, but
she has her blanket. The next morning,
they walk a distance to
the dock where the ship
is waiting to take her
to Jamaica. It is a much
smaller ship than the
S last one. It makes one
stop [probably Halifax]
Before many days at sea.
S The ship stops in
Cuba and Sook Yin sees

(~ i) The hetrothal
certificate ,and o(m i Annie
boung i wedding to Kenneth
hoang Sow (;n


l I i4 a
S^* 9 4 fAt M
8. $ em

X a
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H I ,'A 4? Ji?

a black person for the first time. She and
other passengers are puzzled by this, but
others laugh at them they will be seeing
many more!
The sea is calm in the early dawn
as the ship slips quietly into Kingston

she left Yu Gain Boo. The approach to
Jamaica was announced the night before
and Sook Yin slept fitfully, fearful of the
next day but weary from her travels. As

eyes down with anxious glances into the
waiting crowd.
She is approached by two men, one of
whom she recognizes as Kenneth Chong

brother drives her to the family she will
stay with until the wedding and explains
that her name will be Annie Young.
Without the distraction of travel, she
becomes terribly homesick. The wedding
was to have been in a few weeks but it is
postponed a few months because Kenneth
is sick.
On the morning of 18 September
1932, Kenneth's aunt arrives to help her
dress. Kenneth's brother takes her to Holy
Trinity Cathedral where Father Fox is
waiting at the altar with Kenneth. Annie
walks slowly down the aisle to start her
new life, completing the last 30 metres of
her 23,000-kilometre journey.

From "Memories of the Chinese Public

The Chinese Public School (called Tong
Ngin Huck Gow in our local Hakka
dialect), at North and Hanover Streets,
was a memorable milestone in my
education and Jamaican childhood. Like
many of my peers, I was sent there in the
1950s to be educated not only in Chinese
heritage but in subjects essential for our
future careers....
Central Kingston then was pleasantly
residential, with a Chinese grocery (Ham
Thwe Poo) at almost every corner. Our
farsighted and caring parents scrimped
and saved in these for long hours (selling
a one-hundred-pound bag of flour
yielded a profit of one shilling, or twelve
pence) in selfless sacrifice, to give us
a decent life and education. After pre-
schooling in some local private school,
we were usually sent to the Chinese
Public School, one of the amenities that
our farsighted elders such as Messrs
Albert Chang and C.C. Phang had made
available for us.
On a typical school morning, Hanover
Street was like a main artery, collecting
all my friends from adjoining streets and
lanes, and depositing us at the large front
gate of the school at its northern end.
At Harbour Street lived Buster; water
Lane, Eugene; Tower Street, Cynthia;
Barry Street, Roger; Law Street, Michael;
East Queen Street, Maxine; and so on to
Sutton, Beeston and Charles Streets (Joan).
Come to think of it, we never did pay
attention to those street or place names of
colonial legacy. They would roll off our
lips in ordinary conversation but later,
thanks to this parent-provided education,
we would learn that Hanover, for
example, was the name of royal Anglo-
Germanic lineage.
The school was dominated by a
large concrete courtyard flanked by long
buildings, comprising about six elevated
classrooms with red clay-tiled roofs on
each side. The office was at the south-
eastern corner of this quadrangle, and
had an external flight of stairs leading up
to a dormitory. At the northern end was

Class of 1940. Chinese Public School

the stage pavilion, with an upright piano,
curtains and other theatrical props, where
the buildings were interconnected by red
concrete walkways. A separate building
housed the Albert Chang Hall at the
south end, by North Street, named after
one of the founding philanthropists of
the school. In front of this was a concrete
fountain and fish pond.
The old haunted or 'duppy' house
was a wooden structure with sidings
on the eastern portion, and served as
accommodation for the boarders at
one time. It was beside the old Young
Women's Christian Association, before
this institution relocated to upper South
Camp Road. On the south-eastern side
was a second unused gate and driveway,
and a small playground with a slide and
Our playing fields were at the north
end, and had a swing and see-saw at the
north-eastern corner near to a basketball
court. Washrooms at the south-eastern
portion of the playing field completed the
layout. The northern boundary shared
a wooden fence with the Presbyterian
church on Lockett Avenue.
Spoiled child that I was, my dear
father (bless his soul) would take me to
school by mah cha, or horse-drawn buggy
(a feasible mode of transport then), for
the first few days. After a few tearful
partings, I gradually eased into the
routine of school life. The classrooms had
long, solid wooden benches and desks
with lids and inkwells. The blackboards
were of real quarried slate that flaked off
when damaged, and cleaning them, or the
dusters (by whacking them outside), was
a much-coveted assignment. The walls
were decorated with running coloured
alphabet scripts at the top.

na w.. a r.ye w ~A As

We baby boomers met each other
in those first days of school. The girls
were memorable in royal-blue skirts and
white, close-fitting, Chinese high-neck
blouses with blue piping, side closed with
cloth buttons and loops. We boys looked
fittingly drab beside them in khaki shirts
and, of course, short pants. Our breath
was taken away as we first beheld Lily,
Otlee, Eleanor and the other beauties. I
sat beside Olive, who liked Tyrone Power
and would chat away about movies like
Love Is a Many Splendored Thing. Somehow
my name was linked to my childhood
friend Cynthia, perhaps because I was also
close to her brothers... When she won
the buttered turkey in a much-publicised
school raffle, everyone congratulated me
as well....
School assembly was kept, variously,
in the open courtyard, on stage or in the
Albert Chang Hall. In preparation for
our going to Anglican or Roman Catholic
schools, we might sing hymns such as
"All Things Bright and Beautiful" or
"Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty".
The Chinese language, spoken and
written, was taught, as well as history,
music and folklore. I was already
speaking Hakka as a mother tongue, so,
for me, it was more a matter of learning
the Chinese characters and English. We
were admirably prepared for the world,
otherwise, with subjects like Latin and
maths (which wasn't easy, I can tell
you, in those days of pounds, shillings
and pence two shillings and sixpence
equalled one half crown and fractions
which we were expected to do mentally).
English language and grammar were
also drilled into us (remember First Aid
in English? "A pride of lions, a gaggle
of geese"; "Feathers are to birds as scales

t] rw WE r 40 do 099

.w g

II ti~ k? ~

Chinese Public School

are to fish"). We were even introduced
to agriculture by planting corn and
vegetables in a plot of land beside the
eastern block. Art and craft had us using
carved plant stems as printing blocks to
stamp various artistic patterns. We would
get shiny merit stars in blue, red or gold
in our books. Being a dunce I rarely got
When I was there, the school was run
by Miss Moo Young and then Mr Chong,
who was a strict disciplinarian, and I
ran afoul of his swishing cane on several
ocr .ons. He would read to us serialised
cliffhanging Chinese stories about ghosts
or heroes, such as Sam Mow (he had only
three hairs on his head) or the Monkey
At lunch time we would line
up for tickets at the cafeteria (which
was variously in the duppy house or
downstairs of the Albert Chang Hall)
to get deep-fried crabs in batter, show
bow, patties or rice pudding in the small
brown clay bowls, to be cut up with fudge
sticks. All these were usually supplied to
the school by a well-known gentleman
with a deformed hand.
Thankfully, it wasn't all school
work. Mango trees, three stories high,
developed our throwing arm and
sense of aim. "Fruity" would come at
the end of the day with her fruit-laden
cornucopia in a pram filled with 'stinking
toe', custard apples, starapples, otaheite
apples and so on. [June] plums (golden
apples in other islands) would be taken
with a lot of salt ...
The usual childhood games were
played, with boys going for the rowdier
ones. Both sexes played chevy chase or
softball, using the stage as a base. We

would use the fields on
weekends to play cricket or
We had seasonal
and random parties and
diversions to look forward
to. I remember a party at
the Albert Chang Hall after
school, when music was
provided by 16 RPM records
on a portable player, and
being treated to sandwiches
and punch. The Easter egg
hunt was also a much-
anticipated event, when large, brightly
coloured chocolate eggs would be hidden
all over the school compound. At the
appointed time, we would be released,
with much shouting and prancing, to
locate these hidden treasures in the crook
of a tree, under the office steps, even the
duppy house was searched!
The garden party was another
favourite event, with promise of
watermelons, train and ferris wheel rides,
Moo Kee Lyn unicorn dances and grab-
bag prizes. We would present a play, skit
or recital on stage. I am transported back
to those times and Jean Chang reciting
"Daffodils" in her clear, beautiful voice.
I remember, too, a Hakka boy-scout
leader in blue short pants, lanyarded-
whistle, and scarf with the nationalist
twelve-pointed star. His pack of cubs was
peering intently into the heavens as he
pointed out the constellations. A Crown
and Anchor table was usually present
near the rides and we would diligently
scour that gravel area of the field for lost
coins the next school day ...
Picnic outings were made to
Castleton, Boston Beach or Flemarie, at
Yallahs, where we were warned of a deep
submarine trench. I also remember paying
two shillings and sixpence and going in a
group to Carib Cinema to see Danny Kaye
in Hans Christian Anderson ("Thumbelina,
Thumbelina, tiny little thing") and The
Court Jester ("The vessel with the pestle
has the wine that is poisoned, but the
chalice from the palace has the brew that
is true").
On a more sombre note, there were
also sad memories. We were shocked,
one Monday morning, to learn of the
tragic death of David, one of our well-
liked classmates, in the infamous train

derailment at Kendal, Manchester, during
a church outing the weekend before. I
kept a clipping from the Daily Gleaner of
David's obituary with his photo in my
desk thereafter.
In later years, I went to Wolmer's
[Boys'] School just up the road, and above
what was then the race course. I used to
pass by the old alma mater after school
was over, but by then the school was
struggling and enrolment was down.
It was being run by Miss May, one of
my former teachers, who held on with
fortitude in those difficult years. Finally,
the school was closed but, in later years,
I would still visit and walk among the
empty, dilapidated classrooms and
reminisce about the good old days. The
stand-up piano that Humphrey's mother
used to play so beautifully was gutted,
levers and strings exposed. Just a few of
the caretaking staff were left over by the
old house. In recent years, it is heartening
to know that our Father Ho Lung is
making use of the place in a philanthropic
and benevolent way.
In later years, we still used the
playing fields for cricket and football,
as well as the Albert Chang Hall for the
occasional party. Some of us Chinese
schoolers ... went on to the same
secondary schools. We would also keep in
touch at parties and Joong Sang beach.
In later years, I remember cruising
with friends in Trevor's (from Belmont
Road) VW Beetle. As we were making the
corner at Deanery and Langston Roads,
near GlobeTheatre, I looked through the
rear window and glimpsed a bespectacled
Chinese gentleman behind the counter
of a shop. Others in the car told me that
it was Mr Chong. Later on I read in the
Star that he had collapsed and died over
the cash register in that shop. To him and
those no longer with us, I dedicate this
eternally grateful and heartfelt tribute,
also to Mrs Moo Young, Miss Daly, Miss
Lee, Mrs Robinson, Mrs Ivy Williams,
Miss May, Mr Chen, and all the other
teachers, staff and founders of that great
institution the Chinese Public School. 1
hope that this will keep their names and
spirit alive, and I thank them for the love,
care, direction and memories they gave us
during those early formative years. *o

All illustlaiioln couie.sy of Periwinkle Pubhlh', .

A Jamaican Fruitcake


Many years ago, Everton McQueen
migrated from Oracabessa in St Mary,
Jamaica, to Los Angeles, meaning to stay
only for a few years while earning a nest
egg. But he missed his chance to return
home, and now it was too late. His last
blood contact with his birthplace an
older brother was dead. The people
he had known as a child had either
died, migrated, or being old themselves,
were adrift on a sea of infirmity or
Cut off from his homeland by
circumstances, Everton lived like a
solitary castaway stranded on the
islet of a small stucco bungalow near
the LA airport. His life had dwindled
down to the stark simplicities of a
lonely pensioner, with one day nearly
indistinguishable from another. He had
never married, although for a long time
he had shared his life and bed with a
librarian from Trinidad who died years
ago while she was using the telephone,
leaving him a collection of rare, old West
Indian history books.
Nowadays, he spent most of his
waking hours at the Baptist church,
taking arts and craft courses in the
assembly hall. His closest friend was a
fellow Jamaican, Wayne Lancaster, whom
he met in a watercolour class and who,
at sixty-nine, was still strolling for the
flesh of younger women. But he was the
only friend Everton had left in the world,
and the two old men, with their Jamaican
background in common, often kept each
other company.
Early one morning, as the blanket of
night was fraying at the hem, Everton
woke up wondering what had been his
purpose in life.
He had created nothing lasting with
his own hands and skill. He had no
children, had never given money to the
poor, saved a life or changed a mind for
the better. He had never even given blood
and, as far as he knew, no one had learned
anything useful or inspiring from his

example. Yet he had faith that God would
not create a soul and then cast it away to
drift aimlessly over the years without a
As he lay abed musing in this vein,
from a distance in the dawn sky came a
shrill sound, unwinding and swelling into
the gravelly shriek of a low-flying jetliner.
Everton didn't even blink, he was so used
to burly aircraft bigger than his bungalow
constantly skimming his roof with a
rumble loud enough to make bone tingle.
After eating a muffin for breakfast,
Everton strolled to the church for a
pottery class. He exchanged words in the
doorway of the assembly hall with the
pastor, a big-bellied black Texan whose
sermons were loud and dogmatic, and
during the brief chitchat, mentioned the
strange thought about his life purpose
that he had had on awakening.
"You mustn't question the Lord,"
the pastor advised Everton sternly. "He
don't need no second guessers among his
righteous horde. What the Lord needs is
yesmen. He needs corporate types that'll
just bow their heads and say, 'Yes suh,
Lord, whatever you say, suh. You're the
boss.' "
"I'd just like to know," Everton said
apologetically, "why I was created."
"Ask the Lord when you see Him,"
the pastor advised. "You'll be surprised.
This is a subtle God we got here. His brain
don't work like yours and mine. He's
deep. He always got a plan."
This explanation left Everton
dissatisfied, but he listened respectfully
to his pastor, for he did not wish to seem
unhappy. In fact, he rather liked his life
and the sameness of its days, and but
for this one little point that had only just
cropped up in his thinking, his peace of
mind was usually untroubled.

That night around nine o'clock with
Everton in his pyjamas and getting ready
to go to bed, the phone rang, startling

"Everton, you sleeping?" Wayne's
voice boomed over the hubbub of loud
jukebox music and rum-bar babble. "I
want to bring over my new girlfriend to
meet you. She name Stacy, and she come
from yard."
"Wayne, it's late."
"Is just nine o'clock, man!" He added
in a whisper: "I think she's de one, man."
"Dat's what you said about de last
"Don't spoil de moment, man. We'll
be there in a sec." Then he hung up.
Everton looked around the compact,
neat drawing room, which was spotless
and sparkling from his daily routine of
cleaning and dusting. Nevertheless, he
fussed about, wiping invisible specks off
the furniture, adjusting the few pictures
on the wall and dusting the collection of
rare West Indian books in the bookcase.
When he was done, he went into the
kitchen to make sure he had something
to offer his guests. He kept no spirits in
his house because he never drank liquor,
but yesterday he had made a pot of sorrel
drink from his mother's old Jamaican
recipe. After watering down the mixture
a bit until he was satisfied that he had
enough, he went into his bedroom and
changed from his pyjamas back into his
daytime clothes.

They arrived nearly an hour later, Wayne
showing every minute of his sixty-nine
years, Stacy, his new girlfriend, struggling
to look twenty-three. She shook Everton's
hand shyly and murmured that she was
happy to meet him, trying her best to
smile as if she found it truly delightful
meet another old man.

They settled in the small drawing room, Everton thinking that the two of them
- an old lecher in the company of a chic brown woman young enough to be his
granddaughter made a ridiculous spectacle. Wayne was talkative and exuberant
like a salesman on the verge of closing a big deal. Everton served sorrel
and listened politely to his friend's bombast while the girl sat
quietly on the couch and scanned the room.
She was a pretty and well-dressed brown-skinned girl
and had the wide-eyed, gaping look of the newly arrived
immigrant dazzled by the overwhelming plentitude of
America. Exchanging chitchat with Everton, she would pause
and shudder visibly as the room shook to the thunder of
passing aircraft.
"What brought you all de way from quiet
Oracabessa to live in such a noisy house?" she
"Him used to it," Wayne chortled, giving
Everton a good-natured punch on the shoulder.
"Him don't even hear de noise anymore.
"What a lot of books you one have!" Stacy
cried, rising up from her chair slowly like a
snake that had spotted approaching prey. She
slid across the room and squatted to pore over
the old leatherbound tomes crammed in the
"Stacy's enrolled in college and writing a
paper on ancient history."
"West Indian history, Uncle Wayne," she
corrected over her shoulder.
"Dat's what she calls me," Wayne whispered
"Dis is it!" she suddenly screamed at Uncle Wayne
over the thunder of another jetliner, holding an old book
close to her face as if she intended to bite it. "It's de
book I need to finish my paper!"
Wayne scampered over to her side to have a look.
"It is!" he marvelled. "We been looking
everywhere for dat book in every library in town. And
here you got it!"
"Now it all makes sense!" she cried excitedly.
"Dat's why God bring you from Oracabessa to dis
place, because He knew dat one day I would need
dis book! Can I borrow it, please, Uncle Everton?
I'll take good care of it, I promise."
Everton said stiffly, "I didn't live my whole
life just to lend you a book."
"But I asked God to lead me to it, and He
did. It's part of His grand plan."
"Go along wid God's plan, Everton!"
Wayne urged tipsily. "I been wondering
about you myself. Only last week I asked
myself, why's my friend Everton living alone
in dat noisy house? But now I see de plan."

She departed with Uncle Everton's book,
leaving behind an old man haunted by her
stupid remark about God keeping him living
under airplanes for all these years just so that he

would be here to lend her a book. He
was so upset by her idiotic remark that
he could not sleep. Yet it was difficult
for him to say no to her because she was
obviously merely enthusiastic and meant
nothing malicious.
But she had left him brooding on a
bizarre thought: What if this silly young
twit was right? What if that had really
been the hidden purpose of his life to
remain in Los Angeles until he could
lend her the book she needed? Would
God use him for such a trivial, pointless
purpose? For such a microscopic speck
had God created him and kept him alive
for seventy-two years? Surely his life had
more meaning and purpose than that?
He got out of bed, turned on the
light, and prowled the empty rooms of
the small bungalow, glancing through the
It was three o'clock in the morning,
and the Los Angeles sky, soupy with the
glow from mercury-vapour streetlights,
looked fellow and thin like weak
chicken broth. At this odd hour, the jets
were quiet. Outside his window stalks
of lampposts bloomed with wavering,
distended pods of light.
He began to think back about the day
his housemate had died. She had been
using the telephone in the hallway when
she was struck down. Pacing frantically
with a feverish energy, he suddenly
remembered what she was doing: she
was on the phone with an auctioneer,
arranging to sell her collection of rare
West Indian books. She had meant to use
the money from this sale to take a long
trip with him to Australia.
By now he was nearly in a frenzy, and
anyone passing by in the street would
see the small house leaking light and his
silhouette fluttering erratically on the
closed window blinds of the drawing
room. He was a man who seldom
talked to himself because he found his
own company boring, but tonight was
different. So agitated had he become that
he roamed from one empty room to the
next, openly chatting to himself about the
dark plot he had uncovered behind his
In the empty bedroom once used by
Ouida as a sewing room, he said aloud,
"God wouldn't use a human life like dat,"
in a chiding voice. "Have more faith!"

Could God be so wasteful and
He drifted down the hallway and
poked his head into the third small
bedroom in which he had entombed
all the accumulated litter and luggage
of Ouida's life that he could not bear to
part with, and as he stood in the dark
room and scanned the rack of slacks and
dresses hanging in the closet, he was
nearly overcome by her smell lingering
among the lifeless clothes like the dander
of a long-gone animal.
"Look at Adam and Eve," he said
aloud, "what did God do after dey ate de
forbidden fruit? He banished billions to a
life of hardship and want. Don't dat is a
waste? You didn't eat no forbidden fruit,
yet you're living a life of banishment."
"And what did did He do to de
Egyptians when dey wouldn't obey
Moses?" he asked, backing carefully out
of the closet and closing the folding doors
behind him. "He killed every one of dere
first-born children at Passover, dat's what
He did. And it didn't matter whether de
child had been good or bad. If he was
Egyptian, he was done for. Don't dat is a
His shuffling had carried him into the
kitchen. He sat down at a wooden table
and looked around at the quiet room as if
he expected a visitor.
"And look at dat poor fellow dey
called Judas Iscariot in de Bible. Even
before he betrayed Jesus, Jesus knew he
was going to do it. Which means, since
Jesus is not wrong 'bout nothing, dat
Judas had no choice. It was a set-up from
the beginning. No wonder de poor chap
hung himself, 'cause he knew he was
created to be a stool pigeon."
Any God who would do such things
would not be above creating a man
and keeping him sitting around in Los
Angeles for fifty years just to make a book
delivery to one of his pet humans.
Everton was beside himself with
the insight, and as he paced about the
brightly lit empty room, he felt that he
had to share it or his heart would explode.
He raced to the telephone in the hallway
and frantically phoned the pastor.
"Are you drunk?" the pastor growled
over the phone after Everton breathlessly
told him what he had discovered. "Didn't
I tell you not to second-guess the Lord?"

"But to use me and my seventy-two
years for such a measly purpose," Everton
squawked, his outcry sounding in the
lonely house like a wild bird screeching
for its lost mate.
"God can use you to clean excrement
off toilets in a girls' school if He feels like
it," the pastor snapped. "That's the right
of the Creator."
In the background Everton heard
another voice raised sharply in a squeal
of anger.
The pastor growled, Now, look at
what you done you woke up my wife.
Go to sleep, Everton. Come and see me
in church tomorrow. We got some serious
praying to do for your soul."
The phone went dead. Everton stood
in the hallway, uncertain about what to do
next. It occurred to him that he had better
hide. The purpose of the life had been
accomplished. He was needed no longer.
He replaced the handset in its cradle
and shuffled off to a linen closet, closing
the door carefully behind him. Cocooned
in the darkness, he listened for footsteps,
his heart thumping violently at every
creak of the old bungalow.

The next morning when the police arrived
after a call from the worried pastor, they
found the old man in the closet babbling
wildly about dying now that he had
accomplished his purpose in life. He was
so incoherent that the police transported
him to the emergency room of a nearby
hospital, where he was admitted as a
mental patient.
The emergency room psychiatrist
prescribed anti-psychotic medication
and scribbled on his chart: "Diagnosis:
Paranoid schizophrenia."
"What's wrong with him?" a nurse
who had just come on duty asked
as Everton, strapped on a gurney,
disappeared down the throat of a busy
hallway awash in fluorescent light and
littered with a grubby collection of
patients awaiting treatment.
The doctor chuckled. "He thinks God
is out to get him."
"I wonder why he feels that way,"
the nurse murmured, glancing at the wall
clock to mark the beginning of her shift.
The doctor shrugged and slipped out
of his white coat, preparing to go home.
"He's a Jamaican fruitcake." oC


The following poes have been excerpted
from Delores Gauntlett's collection
Freeing Her Hands to Clap (Kingston:
Jamaica Observer, 2001), with the author's


In the photo you stand where the sun found you,
your eyes gleaming with unfinished thoughts
of another time, your scarf-waving hand
gloved like a silent goodbye to a world
in which you had your share of trials
and dreamt familiar dreams. In it
you're not by the zinc fence on Sunlight Street;
not in the corridor of shadows and doubts
across from the Balmyard, which you'd hurry by
with lowered gaze,
not carrying a bucket sloshing water on your head,
not telling tales of rolling calves
on moonlight nights.
I cannot hear
you speak in Tongues, nor the rattling tambourines
ringing heaven down
with hallelujah! Hallelujah, shaken to ecstasy,
to the edge of jerking a cancer from its root;
cannot hear the creaking floorboard stretched
like a child's imagination
under its weight of the silence;
in it is no leaking blue enamel mug,
no patty-pan in which to stoke
the furnace for a modest life.

Yet now, through the glint of a camera's lens
all that flashes, and I remember when.


The figure framed by the kitchen door
I would have struggled to recognize, had it not
been for her tent-shaped skyblue dress. The more
she moves the less I guess, as she scrubs the hurt
and pins it to a line of starched white things
the wind attempts to rob her of. A thin
brown cow browses the air by a patch of dirt
shooing its tail at the blackbird
picking on its back. The windy morning
forces its tender light. A dream
escapes me, as if tensioned from a sling,
and elides to a running stream. It glides
towards the vast sea-velvet-blue,
moon-deep-the rippled glass.

S 4 Her

h C



... and somehow every Sunday morning
between the kitchen and the eating table,
she redeemed her absence from the village church
with its two pulpits and pipe organ,
while her husband, my father, brought
the noon day how-di-dos on her behalf.
It was the year of the stick swords
and the hoolahoops, when, one day,
under the wide open blue
an eye-popping story wild-fired through
the village vines in overblown proportions
about the "streets of glory by and by ..."
Now, under the essen tree
surrounded by walls of wind
a propped-up streetlight leans
in reverence, as if to pull
power from the lines of heaven
over the valley brimmed with exhaustion.
Dew falls like a blessing
on the congregation, settling like spores,
seeping into her first decision
like the beginning of another end,
and bareheaded she goes
as if to leave all consequences behind, her handkerchief
tucked in her waist,
freeing her hands to clap. 4


Book Reviews

By Maureen Warner-Lewis
Kingston: University of the West Indies
Press, 2003
ISBN 976-640-118-7 (paper); xxxvi,
392 pp; J$1800

Reviewed by Barry Chevannes
Her painstaking research of finding and
piecing together dangling loose ends of
Caribbean memory and tying them to
their Central African source is finally over,
the triumph of a thirty-five year quest.
Central Africa in the Caribbean (2003), taken
together with her earlier Trinidad Yoruba:
From Mother Tongue to Memory (1996),
establishes Maureen Warner-Lewis as
the foremost among Caribbean scholars
who are not content merely to assert that
there are these links, but in the finest
tradition of Western scholarship are
prepared to go and find them. Whereas
the subtitle of that 1996 publication is
suggestive of a linguistic heritage soon to
disappear when those elderly informants
pass on and take with them the bits and
pieces of a once-functioning language
now relegated to memory, the subtitle of
this latest tour de force is prepared to go
further. Tin .... ... i Time, Transfonning
Cultures suggests the presence of life that

has withstood rupture, and of a vitality
that has given shape to living cultures
within the Caribbean space.
There is nothing new here. Melville
Herskovits long ago laid out many of
the cultural traits that had survived
the Atlantic crossing. However, while
this has brought relief to the African-
American minority in the United States
of America, in the Caribbean race and
colour, colonialism, "and the complacency
born of majority demographic status,
have made the issue of Africa more
subtly tortured for its peoples", so that
at academic and popular levels "there
remains resistance to the suggestion or
assertion of African-Caribbean linkages"
(p. xxiii).
So, backed by the authority of her
research, she takes on the literary giant
Derek Walcott, for whom the Middle
Passage had dealt the enslaved Africans
an "amnesiac blow" that now becomes
the starting point of "the true history
of the New World". She takes on the
"formidable team of Sidney Mintz and
Richard Price", for whom, despite their
acknowledgement that the slaves must
have brought "immense quantities of
knowledge, information and belief",
"cultural nakedness" was the condition
of the slaves, who evinced "a creativity
which arises in response to new social
conditions" (p. xxvi). In short, Maureen
Warner-Lewis enters an arena which we
know she would be out of her mind to
enter were she not certain of the strength
of her argument. And those of us without
the skills but reading from the sidelines
find ourselves cheering.
But why? What is there to cheer
about? After all, Central Africa in the
Caribbean is by no means a polemic.
What Maureen Warner-Lewis has done
is to track lexical items back to their
Kikoongo and other Central African
sources, convinced that "the use of
even one African lexical item in a West
Atlantic location is evidence of an integral
link, at some point in time, between the

particular ethno-linguistic group ... and
the practice and belief to which the term
relates" (p. xxii). There are two important
phrases here. "At some point in time" is
a reference to some event or process that
took place sometime during the course
of that long and traumatic history. There
is no claim here for the names of ships,
their logs and dates. All there is instead
is the trail of dust, the DNA evidence
of a presence, whose paternity cannot
be denied. But for me the second and
more important point is "the practice
and belief" behind the lexical item. If we
accept with Clifford Geertz that culture
is a system of meaning with which social
life is constructed, then those arbitrary
sounds we call words are the first and
most elemental parts of that system,
for they not only embody meaning in
themselves, but also function to convey
other meaning. And that is what Warner-
Lewis means. Behind the word is a
practice, and a belief. Every word? No,
not every word, for "[i]n the words of a
Caribbean novelist: 'Some words control
large spaces. They sit over large holes.
These holes might be dungeons with hairy
half humans living in them. Then again
they may be underground worlds..."'
(p. xxii). Erna Brodber is that novelist
and the novel is Louisiana, that complex
journey into self and ancestry. So Warner-
Lewis is very much aware that there are
pitfalls, dungeons and prisons, but she is
also aware that there is "a treasure trove of
facts and emotions and histories" (p. xxii)
waiting to be uncovered.
But why bother to uncover them?
Why spend thirty-five years, working in
the summer months and on weekends,
a fellowship here, a fellowship there,
learning a new language, just to be
able to uncover an underground world
which some say never even existed?
Warner-Lewis does not claim to be a
historian. Her training is in literary
criticism, which led her to the analysis of
"Yoruba language inventories of words,
phrases, prayers and songs" for her

dissertation. This is more than the quest
for knowledge for its own sake, the kind
of milk on which the academy nurtures
its suckling. Yes, there is obviously that,
too, the stuff academic careers are made
of original and creative. However,
the truth is that Africa has been and
remains a problem for us descendants
of the enslaved Africans, personal and
social, both at the same time, a matter
of psychology and politics, an issue of
intellectual query, but also of identity, a
source of much disquiet and angst. Africa.
To be correct, it is not Africa so much as
Europe that is the problem the rupture,
the commodification, the contempt and
humiliation, the lies, the love-hate, the
patronage, the racism, the colour-ism,
and now the denial, the ego me absolvo.1
But just as when, a grave crime having
been committed and justice having been
served, it is the victims who are still left
with the responsibility of reconstructing
and re-adjusting their lives which have
been irrevocably altered, so in this
sense our problem is Africa, that is, the
understanding of its place in our history
of origin and the definition of a relation to
it;, _. because of that history our problem
is also slavery, racism and colour-ism.2
So what is there to cheer about?
Every unearthing of a real, as against an
imagined, link with Africa that enables
Caribbean people to achieve a better
understanding and begin to define that
relation is worthy of celebration. The
link is cultural, but the understanding
and the definition encompass the
realisation of what it means to be black,
for, as Nettleford reminds us, Ebri Joihn
Crow t'ink im pickney white (Every John
Crow thinks its child is white).3 This is
the "subtly tortured" existence lived by
many Caribbean people, who, unlike
their United States counterparts, are not
black but everything else except white. It
is an amazing experience, coming from
a society in which social class is papered
over with the subtle variations of skin
colour so skilfully that the meaning
transmitted by the latter becomes an
index of one's location in the former, to be
confronted with the levelling brutality of
the tar brush.
Maureen Warner-Lewis tells how,
contrary to the dismissive conclusion of
Enlightenment scholarship, Central Africa

survived the crossing in very remarkable
ways, not as whole systemic transplants,
but as influences that shaped life in the
Americas lived by her informants and
their ancestors, some of which may be
evident up to the present. I would like to
highlight some of the ways her research
helps us to understand better the nature
of the Caribbean, at least the Africa part
of it. Beginning at the beginning, Warner-
Lewis digs up from the memories of
her informants' experiences of capture
and enslavement transmitted to them in
narrative and song by their ancestors.
One Trinidadian tells of his grandfather
arriving with other shipmates:

They all come together in one ship
and come alive. So they consider
themselves brothers. If they drown,
everybody drown together. They [are]
in the belly of one woman that's
how they consider it and they dying
[are going to die] in their mother's]
belly if the ship sink. The sea is a
mother, they say. (Interview with Ruth
Hope Nicholls, 1989, quoted p. 38)

As Warner-Lewis explains,

This vivid extended metaphor
appears to derive from the semantic
extension of 'mother' in some Bantu
languages. Ngudi (Ko[KiKoongo])
means not simply 'mother', but also
'womb', and not only the anatomical
womb, but concretely 'the innermost
space', the bedroom of a house, and
any recessed enclosed space. Thus
the underdeck where the slaves were
crowded contained, for its occupants,
these layers of meaning. Even so,
the 'house' or nzo, a sub-division of
the kanda or clan section inhabiting
a village or village cluster, was also
known as the vumu, or belly, which
acknowledged a common tradition
and was synonymous with ngudi in
the abstract sense of 'root' or 'source'.
(p. 38)

The idea of shipmate no longer has
the currency it once had in the Caribbean,
since slave narratives like Nicholls's
are not much part of story-telling, an
art form that has declined with the
rise of television and other means of
entertainment. What is most interesting

for me is the means by which this fictive
kinship, which Warner-Lewis shows was
widely practised across African societies,
was made possible through the "layers
of meaning". In contemporary Jamaican
drop pan, a numbers game introduced
by immigrants from Southern China and
'creolised' into the meaning-complex of
the population, the number eight may
mean a pregnant woman, a bag, a hole
or any empty space. Warner-Lewis's
finding substantiates an argument I have
advanced elsewhere that many of the
associations of meaning used in this game
of chance are based on the popular world
view. But what is beyond any doubt is
the association between the identification
of the yard with the female rather than
the male spouse, as Victoria Durrant-
Gonzales found in her field sites in rural
Jamaica, and an African world view that
identifies house with belly with womb
with source.
In a section relating the tales of some
informants that their ancestors had been
soldiers in Africa prior to coming to the
Caribbean, Warner-Lewis draws attention
to circumstances that caused war, one of
them being insults to one's mother, and
another "the turning of the rump towards
another, sometimes embellished by a
self-administered slap" (p. 46), known
among the BaKoongo and also practised
elsewhere in West Africa. She cites as an
example Maroon leader Nanny's famous
show of contempt for the British prior
to launching her attacks against them.
This well-known Caribbean gesture is
not confined to women. Children of both
sexes use it to trade insults. In a conflict
you know you can not win, you retreat
a safe distance, attract your opponent's
attention with a stone or a verbal insult,
and when you are sure you have caught
his eye you "tear out yu batty gi' him".
And run for your life, of course.
But this meaning of the anus raises
intriguing questions about contemporary
Jamaican, if not West Indian, culture. One
is whether the intensity of the injury done
to another by the use of the bad word
raas (for arse), and its combination with
hole and cloth, may not be explained by
how the anus is viewed. In most Western
cultures excrement is used to symbolise
contempt, and in a binary separation the
acts of ingestion and cleaning oneself

after excreting ingestion are assigned
to the right and left hand, respectively,
among African and Indian cultures. The
anus therefore could derive its negative
meaning from this association. But
what is striking at least in Jamaica is the
severity with which this battery of insults
derived from association with the anus is
regarded. A second question is whether
these associations might possibly help
to explain the hostility to homosexuality,
on which on the comparative scale the
Caribbean would rank high with Jamaica
highest of all.
It would have been surprising
if religion, cosmology and rituals of
empowerment did not form a major
focus of Warner-Lewis's book. Central
African religious outlook has been
responsible for the greater emphasis
on manipulative, destructive power in
a number of Caribbean religions and
witchcraft practices. This angle of inquiry
strengthens the case for a Central African
origin of Pukkumina in Jamaica, which
is very well known for being more
aggressively manipulative, and therefore
feared, than Revival Zion. Edward Seaga
was the first to make that case when he
rejected the name "Pocomania", and
identified its kinship with Kumina, which
he had also identified with Central Africa.
Another fascinating and very original
connection Warner-Lewis makes is the
ritual role of fire in accessing power.
Every historical or social account of
Trinidad carnival gives the derivation
of canboulay, the before-day procession
with torches on Shrove Monday, as
cannes brnlees, burnt canes. The slaves,
so goes the common explanation, simply
transformed the chore of putting out cane
fires into part of the carnival celebration.
Warner-Lewis disputes this:

No reasonable connection has
... been made between revelry
represented by masquerade and
work, unpleasant work at that. Why
should people about to celebrate
remind themselves of being awoken
after twelve or more hours' work
to put in further hours amidst the
heat of burning canes? Furthermore,
kambule involved the lighting of
open-flame torches, whereas cannrss
bruldes or cane fires involved the
extinguishing of flames. (pp. 221-22)

Then she solves the puzzle: based on the
motif of the fire, its corollaries in Brazil,
Haiti and the Ovimbundu of Central
Africa, and on the Kikoongo word for
procession or parade, kanbula, the origin
of camboulay is Central African. She
suggests that "the Trinidad masqueraders
may have been drawing mystic power
from the fires they set, accessing
superhuman strength from the flames,
rather than merely trying to extinguish
the flames they had set in the first place"
(p. 223).
Her discussion on the role of fire
in ritual immediately leads to thoughts
about the origin of this important icon
among the Rastafari, where there is no
linguistic connection. At the entrance
to every nyabinghi celebration there
burns a large bonfire that is fed for as
long as the ceremony lasts, as many as
fourteen days. A shout of Fire! or Fire
Bu'n! is used by Rastafari to condemn or
to signal disapproval of conduct, and is a
favourite expression of certain Rastafari
DJ artistes, who shout their disapproval
of Babylon or politicians or homosexuals.
I have been speculating a Bongo origin
of this Rastafari iconographic practice
ever since my first attendance at a Bongo
dance in Bog Walk, St Catherine. Bongo,
also known as Convince, is a religious
fraternity of obeah men. But although
Warner-Lewis does not treat it as a
Central Africa derivative in the manner
in which Kumina is, the possibility is
quite strong, when "[t]he tangential
relationship between the two religions"
(p. 147) is taken into account.
The linkages documented by
Maureen Warner-Lewis extend across
the range of activities and attitudes
practised in daily life, domestic affairs,
sociality, respect, economic activities,
rites of passage, religion, dance and
recreation, and language. Some are
receding into memory, while others like
culinary traditions, religious beliefs and
practices and the masquerade remain live
expressions of the cultures of a people
who look forward to the delight of funji
or of gungu peas at Christmas time, who
invent masks through which to access
spiritual power, know and make use of
the meaning of a stick, a rod or a staff,
know what it means "to suck salt" and
how, by tying a red ribbon on the wrist of

a newborn or hanging a rosary around its
neck, to give it protection from evil.
The proof that the shape of many of
the cultures of the region owes much to its
African heritage does not negate the fact
that Caribbean civilisation is the result of
the vigour of the people now calling that
space home. Continuity and creativity
should not be opposed to each other, for
no serious student of history and society
would deny the proof of the presence of
both. Warner-Lewis does not refute "the
process of acculturation"; indeed she is
critical of those who seem to do so. The
fact is all cultures undergo change, some
at faster rates than others. It would be
remarkable and a result of great isolation
if the cultural features which the Africans
practised in the eighteenth century, as
witnessed and mentioned by Thomas
Thistlewood, for example, remained
unchanged after two hundred and fifty
However, what Maureen Warner-
Lewis has done is, as she herself says, to

contribute to a reorientation of
Caribbean cultural history away from
an exclusively public Eurocentric
focus, which is the colonial heritage
of the West Atlantic, and which not
only imbues the thinking of the
ordinary citizen, but is reinforced
by the indifference, ignorance and
calculated prejudices of opinion-
leading elites, whether in business,
bureaucracies, the media or academia
... According to this myopic schema,
the beginnings of the modern West
Atlantic reside solely in the agency
of European conquistadores and
colonists; while the cosmological,
organizational and practical
contributions made by other peoples
in the ethnic amalgam of the region
are often neglected or treated in
disparaging fashion. (p. 330)

Strong words, but necessary words
if the compilation of the inventory of our
history is to mean anything at all to the
consciousness of who we are. *

This review is an excerpt from a larger essay
whicihforms part of a! t. i,'... ili collection
entitled Betwixt and Between: Essays in an
African-Caribbean Mindscape.

1. Following an appeal for reparations
made by the public prosecutor
representing a group of Rastafari on
the grounds that slavery constituted a
crime against humanity. Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth II, the self-styled
Defensor Fidei, wrote back to say that
slavery was perfectly legal according
to the laws in opere at the time. The
formula for absolution pronounced
by the priest at confession was
Ego te absolvo (I absolve you). If
the priest himself sinned, he had

to seek absolution from another
priest. Nobody pronounces his
own absolution. "But Prospero is
S.. dangerously poised between
his doing and his doubt. He is not
beyond Caliban's pardon; but he
dares not ask it. To ask a favour of
Caliban is to enter too fully into what
is not known" (George Lamming,
The Pleasuires of Exile [1960; Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan Press, 1992], 15).
2. Europeans developed a system of
privileges and social status based on
the nuances of racial colour, premised

on the assumption, natural of course,
of the purity of racial whiteness. It
still reigns in the Caribbean, but in
the United States it had the perverse
effect of valorising the strength of
the black gene pool since anything
touched by blacks became black.
There is no reason why the offspring
of a black and white couple should be
black instead of white.
3. The John Crow is a vulture,
completely black but for its bald neck
and head.

By Brian Meeks
Leeds: Peepal Tree Press, 2003
ISBN 1-900715-74-0 (paper); 120 pp;

By Galfield Ellis
Oxford: Macmiillan Caribbean Writers,
Macmillan Education, 2003
ISBN 1-4050-0391-X (paper); iv, 132 pp;

Reviewed by Norval Edwards
Brian Meeks's Paint the Town Red and
Garfield Ellis's Such As I Have are two
recent additions to the corpus of Jamaican
fiction, and they illustrate the variety
of thematic and stylistic approaches
available to contemporary Jamaican
writers. Paint the Town Red is an urban
saga that resonates with the social and

political zeitgeist of the turbulent decade
of the 1970s, whereas Suich As I Have is
set in rural Jamaica and is a tale of love
and loss, a moral fable of the emotional
and psychological transformation of a
narcissistic young sporting hero into a
responsible and caring man. Both novels
share similar concerns of questing,
questioning and growth; both detail the
necessary instability of change, and both
are anti-utopian in their unwavering
refusal to romanticise Jamaican social
realities, particularly the troubling aspects
of class, colour and gender. Tragedy
and loss are also common themes in
both works, hence the shared elegiac
sensibility, which in Paint the Town Red is
for an entire period and generation, an
epochal moment of change that collapsed
into political tribalism and nihilistic
fratricide, while Such As 1 Have evokes
a more personal sense of loss which is
however transcended by the triumph of
self-awakening and transformation.
Brian Meeks, himself a witness
and active participant in the cultural
and ideological battles of the 1970s, is
a political scientist who has authored
three studies of revolution and radical
politics and thought in the Caribbean. In
Paint the Town Red, he turns to the genre
of fiction in order to explore at a more
personal and intimate level the effects
of social and political transformation
on individuals and vice versa. In his
central character, the brown, middle-class
Mikey Johnson (graduate of Jamaica
College and student at the University

of the West Indies), Meeks limns the
trajectory of many middle-class activists
who committed class suicide, albeit
temporarily for some, by crossing the
social divide between uptown and
downtown, adopting lifestyles infused
with the ethos of Rastafari and Jamaican
popular culture. Mikey's activism
descends into armed tribalism after he
joins his lover, Rosie, and his best friend,
Carl, in taking vengeance against Jamaica
Labour Party (JLP) gunmen who had
massacred People's National Party (PNP)
supporters in Greenwich Village. Mikey's
group is eventually gunned down by the
police, but he is spared because of his
social connections, and sentenced instead
to eleven years in the St Catherine District
The novel opens with Mikey's
release from prison, and his return to
a society which has apparently moved
on but still bears the scars of the past. It
is this return from "hell" which defines
his apprehension of present events, and
triggers his memories of the past. As
the past returns in a series of flashbacks
and the auxiliary narratives of other
characters, Mikey Johnson reconstructs
his life from childhood to that fatal
moment when his girlfriend and best
friend were killed by the police. While the
story is primarily a reconstruction of past
events, the flashbacks are interspersed
with Mikey's present experience, and the
entire narrative is itself told by another
character, Rohan, Rosie's brother, to
whom Mikey tells his tale like Coleridge's

"ancient mariner". Paint the Town Red is
thus testimony and haunting requiem,
a tale which is ultimately driven by
the imperative of remembering and
recording the stories like Mikey's, the
stories of those Jamaicans caught up
in the maelstrom of idealism, radical
transformation, devastating political
violence and deep social divisions, who
dreamed, fought and died on the altars
of lost causes, failed political gods and
betrayed hopes.
Mikey Johnson, born Donovan St
Michael Johnson, to Clarice and Donovan
Johnson, is the scion of a middle-class
family, but heir to a legacy of paternal
radicalism, since his maverick father
had espoused leftwing radicalism and
anti-colonial politics. Somewhat Chinese
in appearance, due to his half-Chinese
mother, Mikey has the physical attributes
of the stereotypical brown Jamaican
middle-class subject, namely the light
skin and favoured hair texture that
should help to steer his way through the
byzantine colour and class conventions of
Jamaican society. However, his friendship
with Carl, the son of his mother's maid,
and his romantic attraction to Carl's
cousin, Rosie, ensure a crossing of class
lines and a movement into the world of
Jamaica's urban poor that simultaneously
widens his intellectual and cultural
horizons and limits his economic and
social opportunities.
In depicting the negotiations of
class and colour lines, Meeks subtly
sketches the complex societal codes
and expectations that are evinced in the
spontaneous reactions and comments
of characters. For example, there is the
surprise expressed by a young inner-
city woman waiting outside the prison
who, on seeing Mikey, tells her friends
that "Me neva know dem did keep dem
quality breed a man down ya so!" (p. 8).
The social snobbery of the fair-skinned
Immaculate Conception High School girls,
who denigrate Clarice's rural origins and
laugh at her linguistic faux pas, is also a
telling indicator of the ossified prejudices
of colonial Jamaican society. Similarly,
the adolescent camaraderie of Mikey and
Carl cannot conceal the differences in
their social origins. But differences, while
tangible, are counterpointed by forms of
solidarity that range from the ideological

and cultural affinity with Jamaican
popular cultural forms such as Rastafari
and reggae, to the emotional and erotic
ties that bind Mikey and Rosie.
The cultivation of inter-class fraternal
solidarity characterises Mikey and Carl's
relationship. Despite their different
social backgrounds they share common
pursuits and enter university together
where they quickly become caught up
in the cultural ferment of the times. As
neighbours on the same dormitory block,
"Dreadblock", on Chancellor Hall, they
are subject to the countervailing yet
complementary influences of Rastafarian
"livity" on the one hand, represented by
the "genuine Trench Town Rasta", Ital,
and the Marxism of the uptown radical,
Richard Garcia. In the character of Garcia,
Meeks compresses an entire gallery of
real-life portraits of middle-class Jamaican
youth who metamorphosed from bratty
snobs in high school to bearded Black
Power advocates as University of the
West Indies freshmen, then later "sighted
up" Rastafari, switched allegiance to
Marxist-Leninist ideologies and parties,
and finally reverted to the conventional
bourgeois world of their social formation.
Garcia appears at times like a caricature,
the stereotype of the opportunist whose
allegiance are based not on principle but
on expediency. And yet, Meeks paints
him in a way that goes beyond simplistic
stereotyping, for Richard Garcia is on
one level seeking certainties in an age of
radical change and incessant flux. It is his
doctrinaire conviction of the rightness
of whatever belief he is espousing that
makes him an unpalatable character,
akin to the figure of Lestrade in Derek
Walcott's Dream on Monkey Mountain, the
racial and cultural hybrid who serves
Roman and tribal law with the same
ferocity and blinkered partisanship.
The description of life on Dreadblock
with its avid and vigorous debates, the
tasty one-pot vegetarian meals ("boats")
cooked by Ital, the spliffs smoked while
listening to the music of Don Drummond
and various reggae artistes, and the
conversations between Mikey and Carl
about philosophy and politics provides
a series of succinctly drawn vignettes
that hint at the ethos of countercultural
experience and its diverse intellectual,
cultural and political tendencies. Rastas

and Marxists, Black Power nationalists,
and PNP and JLP partisans, are all
represented in their contradictory and
conflicting positions. Like the wider
society, the differences on Dreadblock
also generate conflict and division, as
poignantly seen in the marginalisation of
the only JLP partisan on the block, Junior
Richards from Tivoli.
Paint the Town Red is by no means
free of the problems that often beset
first novels. The structural organisation,
although tight and controlled, has some
awkward transitions, and a pattern of
contrived coincidence in propelling some
aspects of the story. The appearance of
Rohan at the end as the narrator of the
story has a gratuitous feel, as do some
of the monologues which are used to
express the thoughts and ideas of some of
the characters. Characterisation is often
limited to a few external characteristics
and Mikey's character could benefit
from more emotional and psychological
depth. The romantic/erotic episodes
are also a bit flat and hurried. Jamaican
Creole is competently handled as the
language of dialogue but there are certain
orthographic inconsistencies.
Despite the stylistic glitches, Meeks
is able to convey the political and
historical importance of the novel's
themes without bludgeoning the reader
with plodding and sententious prose,
or shrill polemic. Mikey Johnson's story
is rendered as a readable fast-paced
narrative with cinematic transitions
between the past and the present, and
reflection and action. The novel is on
the whole competently written, lucidly
realized with a commendable verbal
economy that evokes essential details
of character, setting and mood without
resorting to linguistic overkill. Meeks
is also able to shift imperceptibly from
external observation to internal reflection,
thus infusing crucial passages with
a necessary introspection as Mikey
Johnson seeks to make sense of the new,
unfamiliar post-prison world of 1990s
Jamaica by recuperating his formative
experiences during the latter part of the
1970s. The opening pages exemplify this
introspective quality, as Mikey's moment
of release from prison is juxtaposed
with the memory of his first day of
imprisonment: "Metal clanged against

metal. On any other day it would have
been a sickening sound, the finality of
heavy-duty riveted iron resonating as a
door is firmly shut. Eleven years ago it
had been like this, with the late afternoon
glare suddenly transformed into fetid
gloom" (p.7).
The introspection is heightened by the
impressionistic recall of his brutality at the
hands of a prison warder who introduces
him to the inferno of prison with a vicious
beating that is a sadistic parody of a
classroom lesson. This opening memory
of brutality also evokes Jamaica's colonial,
slave plantation history, and the whip as
the marker of an authority predicated on
violence and human suffering. Mikey's
imprisonment immerses him in the
gloom of this systemic violence, still
practised long after the demise of slavery
and formal colonialism. The shock and
awe of these initial images of brutal
authority underscore Meeks's ability to
artfully articulate social commentary and
foreshadow the even more destructive
violence that we will encounter later in
the novel.
Paint the Town Red has its moments
of stark searing violence which are
aptly evoked by the rapid-fire narrative
style. The trenchant description of the
shooting up of the dance in Greenwich
Town captures in its understated details
the sheer horror of the cold-blooded
political tribalism that turned 1980 into
a year of murderous infamy. Mikey is
eventually drawn into this maelstrom of
violence which shatters his life. Haunted
by the realisation that his life had been
spared whereas Carl and Rosie had been
summarily executed, Mikey, on his return
from prison, seeks answers that lie in his
relationship with the upper-middle-class
woman, Caroline, and her boyfriend,
Richard Garcia. The answers that he finds
reveal the power of social networking, the
implicit codes of class and colour which
protect members of privileged groups.
Paint the Town0 Red is a Jamaican
update on the Rip van Winkle tale, a
drum and bass version that evokes
the sounds and pressures of gritty
urban streets, the hardscrabble world
of Kingston's sufferers, as well as the
guarded order of the Upper St Andrew
suburbs. Mikey Johnson, peregrinating
between suburb and ghetto, starts out

with a kind of perpetual innocence
that seems at odds with the cynical
social codes that dominate both his past
and present. But this innocence that
is representative of the idealism of his
generation eventually comes face to face
with the harsh reality of violent partisan
politics that drowns ideals in blood.
Much of the idealism is articulated as a
cultural subtext, specifically the response
to Jamaican reggae music, and one of the
novel's successful features is its adroit
weaving of reggae lyrics and rhythms into
its discourse. Marley's songs dramatically
punctuate the narrative, amplifying
themes and underpinning action and
description with a potent backbeat of
resistance. The music in fact serves as an
echo of Mikey's deepest feelings about
himself and society. Various songs also
trigger flashbacks and articulate Mikey's
sensibility. It is the music, in fact, which
best evokes the complex sentiments and
experiences of the period, and Meeks
pays respect to Bob Marley and the
Wailers, Wailing Souls, Hopeton Lewis,
and others. The promise of resistance
and radical change resonates in Marley's
lyrics which constitute part of Mikey's
last words to Rohan: "Remember Rohan,
Marley say, 'Rise up fallen Fighters... He
who fights and runs away lives to fight
another day.' One day, the heathen back
shall be against the wall and I an I shall
return" (p. 114).
Mikey's last words summarise the
paradox of the 1970s, a decade with its
experience of defeat and hope, failure and
promise. Meeks draws on what Kwame
Dawes terms "a reggae aesthetics" to
explore a seminal moment in modern
Jamaican history, and his novel poses
questions that we certainly need to ask
about a complex and unsettling epoch
that has been often vilified but rarely
examined in a complex and nuanced
manner. In Paint the Town Red, Meeks
attempts to exhume and exorcise the
ghosts of our postcolonial present in a
manner that reveals the human actors
in the social and political dramas that
shape our current horizons, and he has
done it in an entertaining narrative that
focuses our attention on the dreams and
nightmares of a period that was, for many
of us, a formative intellectual, political
and cultural experience.

Unlike Brian Meeks, Garfield Ellis
is a prize-winning writer of fiction who
has steadily carved out a reputation as
one of Jamaica's most promising young
authors. His Novella, Such As I Have,
published in the Macmillan Caribbean
Writers Series, certainly lives up to
this reputation, and it is an exemplary
illustration of Ellis's assured handling of
the craft of fiction. From beginning to end,
Ellis hardly strikes a false or flawed note,
and the novella is an exercise in sustained
excellence, both in the surefooted telling
of the story and the moral significance
of its themes. In Such/ As I Have, Ellis
draws on certain timeless principles
of storytelling to elaborate seemingly
timeless themes, but narration and theme
are thoroughly infused with Jamaican
geographical, cultural, social and
linguistic specifics to produce a story that
radiates an assured sense of place.
Such As I Have is the story of the
relationship between Headly, the
champion batsman of Slygoville, and
Pam, the daughter of the village's warner
woman. Despite their initial antagonism
and mutual dislike, this relationship
eventually blossoms into a powerful
and overwhelming love that transforms
Headly from a narcissistic sporting hero,
with an oversized ego and a rather macho
view of women, into an emotionally
mature young man who learns the
meaning of love, empathy and sacrifice.
Pam's fatal illness forces Headly to come
to terms with loss and to gain a greater

appreciation of life. Such As I Have thus
blends elements of the love story, the
quest ordeal, and the narrative of spiritual
and psychological transformation, into a
crisply narrated and compelling tale that
is as delightful as it is instructive.
The opening chapter, "Teaser",
announces the story as a Slygoville story,
an oral narrative, one of many narratives
about Headly that cements his legendary
stature in the community, a narrative,
however, that, because it involves the
input of women, tells the story of Headly
and Pam. Immediately, one senses
Ellis's ability to indicate the nuances
of gender, an attribute which is clearly
displayed in the ensuing relationship
between Headly and Pam, because
the former epitomises an emotionally
and psychologically limiting mode of
masculinity as machismo. Headly's
machismo has crippled his emotional and
imaginative capacities. Pampered and
feted by Slygoville, adored and foted by
women, and admired by the men, Headlv
has grown into a selfish, inconsiderate,
irresponsible egotist who sees women
only as sexual objects to be conquered.
He boasts that he is not interested in any
relationship with women beyond the
physical: "Me not looking wife, is one
frien' me want and is the nusnie" (p.17).
Such is the state of Headly prior
to his fateful encounter with Pam, his
former schoolmate whom he used to
bully and tease because of her poverty,
her pariah status as the daughter of an
alleged obeahwoman, and her scruffy
appearance. Pam, now an attractive
young woman attending Mico Teachers'
College, returns to Slygoville for
summer vacation and attends a cricket
match between Slygoville and Central
Village with her friend Maizy, Headly's
current girlfriend. Her presence and
unsettling remarks to Headly disturb his
concentration and result in him being
dismissed for a duck. This shattering
of his stumps foreshadows Pam's
subsequent shattering of Headly's
complacent narcissism as she refuses to
genuflect before his self-conception as
Slygoville's king and champion. Instead,
she presents him with an unflattering
portrait of himself and challenges his
very ideas about self, relationships and

The novella is artfully structured
around the sustained metaphor of the
game of cricket, which is quite apt
since cricket is the basis of Headly's
reputation and his own sense of identity.
The narrative is framed by episodes
involving cricket matches, and Headly's
transformation can be measured in the
difference between his attitude to cricket
in the opening and closing chapters. The
evolving relationship between Headly
and Pam is crafted as an elaborate cricket
game in which arguments, attitudes,
intentions and actions are metaphorical
bats and balls. The "Puddin' Pan", site of
the Slygoville cricket pitch, is the place
where many of their meetings occur, and
it features prominently in the rumours
that turn these innocent meetings into
sexual trysts. Dezzy, Headly's friend,
relays the news that "Slygoville people
say you a brush the obeah thing ...
Slygoville people say you beat it every
night pon' the Puddin' Pan" (p. 30). The
difference between a pick up game, "a
ketchie shubbie", and a test match is also
used throughout the novel to symbolically
differentiate between a casual fling and a
serious committed relationship. Headly's
initial attraction to Pam is premised on
the assumption of a ketchie shubbie affair
but he soon finds, as Dezzy presciently
warns him, that the ketchie shubbie has
turned into a test match requiring levels
of emotional commitment and selflessness
that truly test him and initiate him into
a more positive mode of manhood. Pam
also relies on cricketing metaphors when
she chides Headly for his insensitivity
to her vulnerability when he attempts to
make love to her at Mico College, and
Headly, in his turn, uses cricket as a way
of thinking about Pam's impending death:

And sometimes he would wonder
about that. Wonder where she was
and how she felt way down there
at that place on the pitch where she
batted alone, where she stood, a
lonely batsman at the crease facing
the final ball, looking down the pitch
as death made its mark and began its
run-up toward her, knowing that this
was it, that the bat in her hand was
a token one, that this ball could not
be defended, that there was no run
to score, that this was the ball that
would destroy her wicket and send
her home. (p. 95)

Ellis's rhetorical skill is apparent in
the precise weighting of the language, the
naturalness of the fit between Headly's
cricket-oriented temperament and the
conceptual imagery that governs his
thinking about Pam's struggle with death.
His verbal dexterity is also apparent in
the novella's evocation of place, and the
way in which he weaves setting into the
story, teasing out its textures, significance
and implications without ever regressing
into facile pastoral or descriptive excess.
Place is central to the story's unfolding as
it plays a major role in the lives of Headly
and Pam, two people who have their own
particular relationship to various locales
such as the Puddin' Pan and the cave,
respectively. In subtle yet richly evocative
phrasing, Ellis renders the ethos of place
through layered descriptions, precise
elaboration of topography, mountain
paths, the Puddin' Pan, foliage, the hot
spring, "Bath", which is a climactic site
of cleansing and transcendence, the
cool mountain air in fact, the very
atmospherics of the hills of rural St
Catherine. Sucli As I Have radiates this
crafted sense of place in an accomplished
and totally unselfconscious manner
that speaks volumes to Garfield Ellis's
strengths as a writer.
Suclh As I Have is not only a fine
evocation of place, but also a searching
inquiry into human relationships. It
teaches fundamental lessons about
love, sacrifice and responsibility, but
it is not a pedantic work. Rather, Ellis
allows these truths to emerge through
a verbal and narrative integrity which
allows characters to learn from their
experiences as well as those of others.
Conversation and dialogue are Ellis's
philosophical school where insights are
expressed, debated and transmitted.
Even the searching silences of Pam's
mother, Miss Gem, are construed as
eloquent articulations of fundamental
precepts about the ethics of responsibility
and relationship. The novella is thus an
account of a sorely needed lesson, and
its two movements chart the progressive
stages of Headly's journey towards love
and enlightenment.
Like Brian Meeks, Ellis is alert to
the nuances of social mores, the subtle
distinctions of class and colour (even
in a rural community), and the effect of

place on the sensibility of individuals.
In his poignant description of Pam's
simple delight in watching the stadium
lights come on at night, we grasp her
wistful yearning to escape the limitations
of her rural mountain community, her
ambition to be more than what the social

and economic cards have dealt her. But,
as we see when "Slygoville people" visit
her during her illness, place is not only
limitation; it is also home in the truest
sense of the word, and Ellis conveys these
complex and conflicting notions of place
in an endearing prose that is supple,

pointed and redolent with the intensities
of human emotions. In conveying the
emotional truths of Such As I Have, Ellis
deploys a richly textured narrative,
meticulously detailed realism and
imaginative profundity that augur well
for his future as a talented novelist.-

By Suzanne Francis Brown
Mona: University of the West Indies
Press/Department of History and
Archaeology, University of the West
Indies, 2004
ISBN 976-640-158-6 (cloth), 976-640-
159-4 (paper); x, 62pp; J$1250 (cloth),
J$800 (paper)

Reviewed by Rex Nettleford
The first thing that struck me when
I opened this beautiful book was the
photograph of the University Chapel at
Mona arguably the finest edifice on
the Mona campus of the University of
the West Indies. It boasts great historical
pedigree with important data on it giving
the name of the eighteeenth-century
owner and the date of construction. Both
bits of valuable information are now
hidden by the palm trees which have
grown up lushly since the day I remember
when they were planted.
The second thing that struck me
is by no means unconnected. It is the
frontispiece quotation culled from a
broadcast in a BBC Overseas Service
programme introduced by the well
remembered Henry Swanzy; and it reads:
"There is a narrow valley in Jamaica

behind the mountain
nearly 2,000 feet high,
covered with bushes, light
acacias and dogwood....
In the centre of the valley
are the ruins of a great
sugar estate, the mill,
an aqueduct... besides
huts built in the war for
refugees from Gibraltar"
(p. v). The latter half of the
last sentence of the quotation brings us
right up to the eve of the establishment in
1948 of the University College of the West
Indies following the Second World War,
with which Jamaica was quite closely
But it is the earlier history in the first
half of the last sentence of the BBC quote
above which fascinates someone like
myself, as a guinea-pig history student
of yore at Mona. The author Suzanne
Francis Brown is herself a more recent
guinea-pig student in the relatively new
Heritage Studies programme offered
by the University of the West Indies
Department of History and Archaeology,
a flagship department in the Faculty of
Humanities and Education. That the
Mona campus presents itself as excellent
material for investigation, analysis and
authoritative transmission, as this book
demonstrates, was happily not missed by
the author and her supervisors. When I
read the text I was able to reflect yet again
on the paradox of the phenomenon which
is Mona.
Some persons whom I have taught
will recall my repeated reference to how
times have changed since the days of
what would have been called a Bible
class on the old Mona Estate the one
described in the records as a "great
sugar estate". I would have been the

local deacon and we would have all
been under a guango tree with no air-
conditioning though with much sunlight.
Each of us would be armed with a Bible
in one hand and maybe a machete for
canepiece labour in the other, and with
revolution in our hearts. We now study in
air-conditioned rooms under fluorescent
lights, though still with revolution in our
hearts, except it is the revolution that will
lead us out of that thing which Garvey
called "mental slavery".
The book should therefore mean a
lot to many of us for its scribal record
of Mona's metamorphosis from sugar
plantation through refugee camp to seat
of learning designed to prepare leaders to
break away from the lingering obscenities
perpetrated by former masters and to
constructively build a future on our own
terms. Then there are the pictorially
represented historical remnants scattered
all over the book starting with the
picturesque aqueduct running from the
present hospital grounds down to the
Mona Visitors' Lodge which is not far
from the old bookkeeper's house ("the
only sugar estate building ... to have
survived intact" [p. 50]), a distillery and a
boiling and curing house.
This brings me back to the University
Chapel which, as the book reminds us, is
an old boiler house from the Hampden
Estates in Trelawny, moved stone by
stone from a hundred miles away to the
Mona campus, courtesy of its donor Mrs
Kelly-Lawson who gave it as a gift to
Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, the
University's first chancellor, and with
the enthusiastic assistance of the late
A.D. Scott who endearingly supervised
the transportation of the stones and
reconstruction of the edifice. It fits
perfectly beside the eighteenth-century

aqueduct and serves as a spiritual centre
for a great many descendants of ex-slaves
and (during the Interfaith events) of the
ex-indentured, forcing from us all an
appreciation of the retributive justice
history sometimes ironically offers us.
For the Mona campus certainly brings
someone like myself, who is given to
paradox and serendipities, to a better
understanding, albeit perplexing, of those
in our society who still suggest that this
university should not waste valuable
time and scarce resources on the study

of slavery. Mona, Past and Present is not
exactly a study of slavery, but it stands
out as a study of a heritage with that
element which we ignore at our peril.
To the University of the West Indies
Press, the author, and the Department of
History and Archaeology at Mona, thanks
are due for keeping hope alive by the
continuing acknowledgement of ancestral
realities which make us who we are, what
we should never go back to become, and
certainly what we are likely to be. This
remains, in any case, an inescapable remit

of the University of the West Indies and
all seats of learning designed to furnish
a people with that sense of self, of place
and purpose so vital to growth and

This review is adapted from a speech given by
Professor Nettleford at the launch of the book
on 19 February 2004.

By Olive Senior
Red Hills, St Andrew: Twin Guinep
Publishers, 2003
ISBN 976-8007-14-1 (cloth); xx, 549 pp;

Reviewed by B.W. Higman
Twenty-one years ago, in 1983, Olive
Senior published the A-Z of Jamaican
Heritage. Physically, the A-Z was a
modest piece of work, with limp covers.
It was a co-publication of Heinemann
Educational Books (Caribbean) Limited
and the Gleaner Company Limited. The
map at the front of the book showed Avis
Rent A Car locations. As to its content,
the A-Z was revolutionary, with no rival
in the field. Emulation followed quickly.
Senior's work was the acknowledged
model for a parallel A-Z of Barbadian
Heritage, published by Heinemann in

1990 and written by Henry Fraser, Sean
Carrington, Addinton Forde and John
Senior's Encyclopedia of 2003 grows
out of the A-Z of 1983, representing a
natural growth in content and coverage,
as well as recording material that has
emerged with the passage of time. As
Senior explains, the process of compiling
the A-Z "helped enormously to clarify
and develop my understanding of
Jamaican culture in its various aspects
and in shaping my world view" (p. vii).
The research and writing revealed more
of what was left to be investigated and
understood, and this further work led to
the Encyclopedia. It is the kind of work that
is always expanding and transforming
itself, as new knowledge is gained and
enters the public arena. It depends on
the work of many other researchers and
writers, enthusiastically acknowledged
by Senior, and demonstrates in turn the
richness of the studies that have been
made of Jamaican cultural life over
many decades. What is more amazing
is that Senior is the sole author of the
Encyclopedia. The Barbadian version
of the A-Z took four hands and the
typical encyclopedia is the product of an
immense team rather than an individual.
Senior's energy and knowledge are truly
impressive. Equally wonderful is the
fact that the Encyclopedia remains the
product of a Jamaican 'cottage' publishing
industry, produced by Dennis and Jackie

How does this new version of
the work differ from that of twenty-
one years past? It is much bigger for
a start. The A-Z came to 176 pages,
less than three times the length of the
Encyclopedia. The number of individual
entries in the A-Z was roughly 500,
so that on average each entry got one-
third of a page. The Encyclopedia has
about 850 entries, almost two-thirds of
a page per entry. The work is illustrated
throughout with useful and attractive
black and white pictures and maps, and
in the middle of the book is an extensive
collection of colour plates. Whereas the
A-Z had only a scattering of references
to sources, the Encyclopedia is quite
systematic in acknowledging debts and
offering help. Readers wanting to know
more about any particular subject will
find a short list of sources at the end
of an entry. The sources are listed in a
consolidated bibliography, amounting to
more than 700 books and articles.
As well as this greater weight, the
emphasis has shifted. For example, Music
has almost five times as many entries in
the Encyclopedia compared to the A-Z,
while Food and Drink has four times
as many, and Animals and Birds twice
as many. On the other hand, topics like
Historic Persons (Historic Personages
in the A-Z), Historic Plantations and
Monuments have remained static.
These changes reflect some interesting
movements in cultural awareness, for
Jamaica generally not just Senior.

A more striking divergence from
the A-Z is that some new entries in the
Encyclopedia are substantially longer
than average, running as long as five or
six pages. These weighty new entries
represent a fresh approach to the material,
taking a broad area of life in a single bite
rather than distributing the information
between smaller topics. The major new
entries of this sort are: Art, Language,
Literature, Money, Music, Religion and
Theatre, while the brief general entries
offered for Agriculture and Education in
the A-Z are made much more substantial
in the Encyclopedia. The titles of these
entries are not specific to Jamaica. Thus
they allow the general reader to find a
way into unknown territory, by providing
links to more specifically Jamaican
entries, as well as providing a valuable
overview and assessment for the more
knowledgeable. Senior does not tell
us why she decided to introduce this
alternative approach but overall it works
very well.
What might readers reasonably
expect from an Encyclopedia? In the first
place, they should be able to hope for
comprehensive coverage, with a relatively
consistent style of presentation and
treatment. Exactly what this means in
practice is harder to measure, because
different kinds of readers will come to
the work with widely different levels of
prior knowledge and ignorance. For the
purposes of this review, 1 can assume
the typical reader, as a reader of Jamaica
Journal, knows Jamaica well and is looking
to the Encyclopedia as a means of filling
random lacunae. Senior, however, is
looking to a larger audience -Jamaicans
in the diaspora and other people who
have never even visited the island so she
is not able to assume this typical reader.
She must provide basic information for
the most poorly equipped, to build from
the very foundations in every area. An
encyclopedia should be capable of settling
competing claims by quickly providing the
needed information, no matter how basic.
How easy would it be for these
different kinds of readers to find what
they are looking for in the Encyclopedia?
A subject index is provided at the front
of the book, to help readers locate
appropriate entries. This has two levels
of headings. For example, The Natural

World is subdivided into the following
sections: Animals, Birds, Botanic Gardens,
Geographical and Geological Features,
Minerals, Mineral Springs, Parks and
Scenic Attractions, Plants and Rivers.
Each subdivision contains an alphabetical
list of relevant entries. This arrangement
is not always user-friendly. More useful
would be a general consolidated index,
at the back or the front of the volume,
directing readers to brief mentions as
well as identifying complete entries.
For example, the present index has no
mention of the vestry, because it does not
appear as an entry or a cross-reference,
and the reader would have to know to
look under Custos or Parish in order to
find information on the operation of the
vestries. People who knew that was the
place to look would probably know about
the vestries already.
Most readers will not look in the
Subject Index but simply flick to the
appropriate place in the Encyclopedia,
hoping for an entry or a cross-reference.
They will be right to do this, as generally
they will be rewarded. Another way to
use the Encyclopedia, unimpeded by any
system, is simply to browse through it at
random. Reading the alphabetical entries
consecutively produces unexpected
connections, and fragments, or even large
areas, of unknown territory. Serendipity
should be at the heart of any exploration
of the Encyclopedia and readers will be
well rewarded by fresh vistas and nooks
and niches. Imagine a random sample:
Rodney Memorial, Rolling Calf, Roman
Catholic, Rose Apple, Rose Hall Great
House, Rowe's Corner, Rum, Rumba
Box, Run Dung, Runaway, Runaway Bay,
Runaway Cave, Rusea's School.
What's missing? Every reader will
have a different list of topics in mind
when consulting the Encyclopedia. Senior
sets out clearly her own rules of inclusion
and exclusion within a broad definition
of 'heritage' that is interestingly different
from the criteria applied in the A-Z of
1983. The A-Z looked for the unique, the
superlative, the intrinsically interesting,
the ubiquitous, and/or the historically
significant or interesting, seeking these
features in people, places and/or events.
The Encyclopedia, on the other hand,
considers heritage in terms of place,
creative activity, history and/or ritual and

In terms of the new, extended
entries, there are several areas that
seem to demand treatment on this level
that are neglected. Architecture must
qualify, surely, but the Encyclopedia cross-
references Architecture to Great House,
which suggests a limited notion of the
scope of the topic. Under Great House
there is in fact a section on The Jamaican
Vernacular, but its range is largely
confined to the high end of the housing
market. Elsewhere entries on building
include Bamboo, Spanish Wall, Thatch,
and Wattle and Daub, but it would be
good have all of this collected into a
complete account.
Senior says she seeks to include
"the good and the bad, the serious and
the frivolous" (p. ix) but a few topics
seem to have proved too hard. Crime
and criminals are missing, or at least
hiding out in concealed places, and in
consequence there are no entries on such
interesting topics as burglar bars, the
don, garrison communities, the gun, the
deportee and the posse. The machete
appears under Cutlass as a former rather
than current weapon. Three-Finger Jack,
whose exploits found their way onto the
London stage as pantomime in the late
eighteenth century, gets a substantial and
fascinating entry in the Encyclopedia, as
does Plato the Courtly Bandit. Modern
criminals may be less courteous but they
are equally part of the lore, as exemplified
by Jimmy Cliff's performance in the film
The Harder They Come. All of these recent
models are missing. Other elements of
Jamaican culture that deserve inclusion
on the basis of their Jamaicanness and
heritage qualities, brutal people of the
past, with modern resonance of one sort
or another are: buckra, attorney, busha/
overseer, driver, massa/master.
Every reader will be able to make
a wish list, and hopefully some of the
missing items will appear in a new
edition. In fact Senior asks readers to
comment on "any inaccuracies and
omissions as well as suggestions for
future editions" (p. x). We look forward
to those further versions, but for the
moment there is so much to enjoy in
the Encyclopedia that we can only give
thanks to the author and the publishers
for giving us such a marvellous and
rewarding book. 4.


ANIHON) C.AY ION is currently the Alcan
Professor of Caribbean Sustainable
Development in the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute
of Social and Economic Studies at the
University of the West Indies, Mona.

ROGER C IFN is a retired structural engineer who
now builds bridges between generations. He is
the youngest son of Samuel and Violet Chen.
With his wife, Barbara Kong, they have three
sons and three grandchildren.

BARRY CHIFVANNES is Professor of Social
Anthropology in the Faculty of Social Sciences,
University of the West Indies, Mona. He is
Chairman of the Institute of Jamaica. His
publications include Rastafari: Roots and
Ideology (1995), Learning to Be a Man: Cultiure,
Socialization and Gender Identityi in Five Caribbean
Conmunuities (2001) and the forthcoming Betwixt
and Between: Essays in an African-Caribbean

CHARLES CiIO\;-YOL G is a St George's College
graduate who studied in the United States
and migrated to Canada in 1976. His business
is performance improvement, helping client
companies develop and implement employee
training, process improvement and technology

NORVAL EDWARDS teaches in the Department ot
Literatures in English at the University of the
West Indies, Mona. He has published articles
on Caribbean literature and popular culture.

SU/ANNF FRA\N(IS BROWN is an author, part-time
lecturer at the Caribbean Institute of Media and
Communications, and postgraduate student
in the Department of History at the University
of the West Indies, Mona. She also presents a
programme on books and publishing, Cover to
Cover, each Sunday afternoon on Radio Mona.

DI:lORis GALM I II1 i worked in the
manufacturing sector for a number of
years. Her poetry awards include the David
Hough Literary Prize, and awards from the
Jamaica Observer annual arts competition,
Writers Digest-USA and the National Book
Development Council. Her poems have
appeared in anthologies in the Caribbean,
the United States, the United Kingdom and
Germany. Her books are Freeing Her Hands
to Clap (2001) and The Watertank Revisited
(forthcoming, 2005).

MIcHA-EL HAI i- is currently Assistant Professor
in the Department of Biology at Long Island
University, New York.

NoR\IA\ Hri -SiiLt was born and raised in
Kingston. Married with two sons, he loves to
share his reminiscences of those good old days
in his well-known articles which frequently
appear on the Jamaica-Chinese web site.

B.W. HIGMAN is Professor of History in the
Research School of Social Sciences at the
Australian National University. He was from
1971 to 1995 a member of the Department of
History, University of the West Indies, Mona,
and has published a number of works on the
history of Jamaica.

RI.x M. NrETin LORi is former Vice Chancellor
of the University of the West Indies, and is
now Vice Chancellor Emeritus, overseeing the
university's Cultural Studies Initiative. He
is the founder of the National Dance Theatre
Company of Jamaica, and a noted Caribbean
and Rhodes scholar whose publications include
Mirror Mirror: Race and Protest in Jamaica (1970;
2001), Caribbean Cultural Identity (1978; 2003)
and, with Philip Sherlock, The LUniversiit of the
West Indies: A Caribbean Response to the Challenge
of Change (1990).

ANIIIONY R.D. PORIlR is a freelance geologist.
He previously worked with Alcan for twenty-
seven years as an exploration geologist, and
has travelled to all parts of the world on
assignments. He remains an avid explorer
and researcher. His published works include
two books and numerous articles on Jamaican
geology. He received the Gleaner Company's
Honour Award for Science and Technology in

VITlI I POUPEYF is a Belgium-born, Jamaica-
based art historian, critic and curator. She
holds a master's degree in art history from
the Universiteit Gent in Belgium and is a
doctoral candidate at the Graduate Institute
for the Liberal Arts, Emory University, Atlanta.
At present, she is Consultant Curator at the
National Gallery of Jamaica, where she recently
curated The Rainbow Valley: Everald Brown, A
Retrospective. She has published widely on
Caribbean art and visual culture, including
Caribbean Art (1998) and, with David Boxer,
Modern Jamaican Art (1998).

AI IMI ) REID is a graduate of the University
of the West Indies, Mona, and is currently
enrolled in the PhD programme at the
University of Hull, England.

EDi\ \iR SEAGA graduated from Harvard
University in 1952 after majoring in sociology
and cultural ..,II ....''. J. In 1953 he
commenced studies in Jamaican folklore.
His study of revival spirit cults led him to
record cult music. Eventually, this led to his
involvement in the emergence of a Jamaican
popular music with its own unique rhythms.
' 1 -. L was one of the pioneers in the
emergence of the Jamaican music industry.
He subsequently became involved in political
representation and has served as Prime
Minister and Leader of the Opposition, and is
the longest serving member in the history of
the Jamaican Parliament (forty-five years).

VFRFNF SI IEPHERD is Professor of Social History
in the Department of History at the University
of the West Indies, Mona. She is a vice-
president of the Jamaica Historical Society
and a board member of the Jamaica National
Heritage Trust.

M,AURI:N W \RNiR-LiFis is retired Professor
of African-Caribbean Language and Orature
in the Department of Literatures in English,
University of the West Indies, Mona, where
her teaching specialisations were West Indian,
African and Oral Literature. Her research on
African cultural and linguistic retentions in
the Caribbean has resulted in the publication
of Guinea's Other Sins (1991), Yoruba Songs of
Trinidad (1994), Trinidad Yoruba (1996; 1997), and
Central Africa in the Caribbean (2003).

ANTHONY C. WINKI:R is the author of The
Painted Canoe (1983), The Lunatic (1987), The
Great Yacht Race (1992), Going Home to Teach
(1995), The Duppy (1997) and The Annihilation
ofFish and Other Stories (2004). He is also the
author or co-author of fourteen textbooks for
America's college-level English composition

KIM ROBINSON-WALCOI'I is currently editor
of books and monographs at the Sir Arthur
Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies,
University of the West Indies, Mona. She is the
author and illustrator of the children's book
Dale's Mango Tree (Kingston Publishers, 1992)
and the co-author of Jamaican Art (Kingston
Publishers, 1990) and The How to Be Jamaican
Handbook (Jamrite Publications, 1987). Her
critical essays, poems and short stories have
appeared in a number of anthologies and

nu. U A are

From the foreword to
Jamaica Journal 1, no. 1
(December 1967)

The Jamaica Journal sets out to act as a
magnet as well as a directional device. It
sets out to provide a 'home' in its pages to
all Jamaicans (and some non-Jamaicans)
who create whether in literature, art,
literary criticism or historical and scientific
thought. Merit, in the areas where such
merit is relevant to our Jamaican scene, is
the basic criterion for inclusion.
The Journal will address itself primarily
to Jamaicans.... And we hope that while,
on the one hand, our readers] shall not
feel that [they] are being fed esoteric and
incomprehensible stuff, [they] should not,
on the other, feel able to dismiss us for not
having aimed high enough.
Yet we must make clear that this
journal will not set out to 'impose high
standards' borrowed from other peoples'
achievements. Instead, we hope to explore
new directions of our own, new lines of
thought, to help in the essential task of
groping towards the creation of 'standards'
valid to our own experience.
L but by no means least, the
JWIW sets out to publicise the work
of the Institute, and through articles,
reproductions and photographs to make
widely available to the Jamaican people
one of the few valuable legacies from our
past the wealth of historical and scientific
material collected and preserved at the
Institute of Jamaica.
In a lighter vein, the Journal promises
never to take itself too seriously. Human
values are important but not immovable.
We hope that all those who feel excluded
will realise that exclusion is part of the
editor's unfortunate task, that his [or her]
judgement is fallible but all that he [or she]
has to go by, that the rejected manuscript
or drawing forms as much a part of the
process of creation as the accepted one, and
that it is the process of creation as much as
the achieved result that this journal sets out
to encourage.
Finally, we set out to achieve
simplicity, vigour, clarity, relevance,
whether through words or pictures. No
one can give the absolute answer to these
demands, but we hope that all those who
contribute and all those who read will use
these criteria as a rough rule of thumb in
accepting or rejecting what we have to
-Alex Gradussov, editor, 1967

INSTITUTION was founded in 1879. Its
main function is to foster and encourage the
development of culture, science and history, in
the national interest.
It operates as a statutory body under the
Institute of Jamaica Act 1978 and falls under
the portfolio of the Ministry of Education,

Professor Alston "Barry" Chevannes

Executive Director
Vivian Crawford

Central Administration
10-16 East Street, Kingston
Tel: (876) 922-0620-6
Fax: (876)922-1147
Email: ioj.jam@mail.infochan.com
or info@instituteofjamaica.org.jm

Junior Centre
19 East St, Kingston
Tel: (876) 922-0620-6
Email: jcentre@instituteofjamaica.org.jm

Museums of History & Ethnography
Head Office: 10 East Street
Tel: (876) 922-0620-6
Email: mus.ioj@n5.com.jm or

* Fort Charles Museum, Port Royal
Tel: (876) 967-8438

* Forces Military Museum
(temporarily closed)
Tel: (876) 922-0620-6

* People's Museum of Craft &
Technology, Spanish Town
Tel: (876) 907-9322

* Museum of St James, Montego Bay
Tel: (876) 971-9417

Youth and Culture. The Institute's central
decision-making body is the Council which is
appointed by the Minister.
The Institute of Jamaica consists of a
central administration and a number of
divisions and associate bodies operating with
varying degrees of autonomy.

Natural History Museum
10-16 East Street
Field stations: Mason River Reserve &
Green Hills
Tel: (876) 922-0620-6
Email: nhd.ioj@cwjamaica.com
or nhd@instituteofjamaica.org.jm

Jamaica Clearing Mechanism
Biodiversity Website
Email: chm.nhd@cwjamaica.com

African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/
Jamaica Memory Bank
12 Ocean Boulevard, Kingston Mall
Tel: (876) 922-7415/4793
Fax: (876) 924-9361
Email: acij@angel.com.jm
or acij@institutcofjamaica.org.jm

National Gallery of Jamaica
Roy West Building
12 Ocean Boulevard
Tel: (876) 922-1561/8540
Fax: (876) 922-8544
Email: ngalleryja@cwjamaica.com

National Library of Jamaica
12 East Street
P.O. Box 823
Tel: (876) 967-1526/2516/2494
Fax: (876) 922-5567
Email: nlj@infochan.com
Website: www.nlj.org.jm

The Institute of Jamaica


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