Sir Alister McIntyre, “The Caribbean Man” – Winthrop R. Holder [3 of 3]

2017/01/28

Can Get Doctorate Without Dissertation Preparing UWI for the Challenges of the 21st Century: An Interview with Vice Chancellor Sir Alister McIntyre [**Reprint**]

Link to part 1

Link to part  2

“If we don’t know from where we comin’ / Then we cyah plan where we goin”.

– Black Stalin, Caribbean Unity (1979)

The Caribbean and the Wider World: Commentaries on My Life and Career

Born in St. Georges, Grenada, Sir Meredith Alister McIntyre is considered one of the Caribbean’s eminent thought shapers and academicians. This highly celebrated Caribbean integrationist and internationalist has served the Caribbean in various capacities, representing the region in a wide range of international forums.

The December 12, 2016 launch of Sir McIntyre’s book, The Caribbean And The Wider World: Commentaries on My Life and Career, has come with great anticipation because of the reservoir of experience he is expected to share. It is also a moment when the region is in dire need of self-reflection. The book chronicles the wide range of Mr. McIntyre’s celebrated career in academia, regionalism and multilateral cooperation. Sir McIntyre assumed the role of Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (Mona, Jamaica) in 1988 serving in this capacity for 10 years.

As a precursor to a review of this timely book, Big Drum Nation hereby publishes the final segment of the interview between Sir McIntyre and Winthrop Holder of the N.Y. Daily Challenge during Sir McIntyre’s stint as VC of the University of the West Indies. This final segment, which is even more relevant today, was published on August 14, 1995. – BDN

The Interview

‘Not sun, sand and calypso’

In this, the final segment of a three-part interview, Sir Alister McIntyre, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, outlines the 21st century vision for the university which includes cementing ties with the United Negro College Fund and increased collaboration with other universities. In addition to highlighting the success of the university’s Distance learning Facility, which reaches satellite campuses in 14 English-speaking Caribbean nations, Sir Alister also comments on the changing landscape of Caribbean society and call s for a new contract between citizens and their communities. Winthrop R. Holder conducted the interview for the [NY] Daily Challenge.

Holder: In order to facilitate cross-fertilization of ideas and the infusion of new approaches, to what extent does the university employ people who are non-UWI graduates and encourage student and faculty exchanges with foreign institutions?

McIntyre: About 80% of the university is West Indian. And more than half of that 80% did their graduate work outside because our graduate programs are quite small. But as a matter of policy, we want to send people for graduate work outside for at least part of their graduate work—it might be the post-work component. We are developing split PHDs whereby a graduate student can do some of his post-work at UWI and go somewhere else to complete their post work and the foreign institution co-supervise the work. We have quite a number of exchange arrangements in place already. In Canada we have a very good one with the University of Toronto. Here in the States, we had one with John Hopkins University in History, now it’s a bit dormant. But it very much depends on the individual department. So we want to systematize this and negotiate cooperating arrangements that will more or less apply across the board.

 

Holder: Have any relations been developed with historically Black Colleges?

McIntyre: We are developing arrangements with the United Negro College Fund–the historically Black Colleges. And we are working with a number of them, particularly with Selma College, where we have student and faculty exchanges in the area of women’s studies. We are also working with Medgar Evers College and Texas A&M. And we’ve always done work with Howard University.

Holder: In what other areas of study has this been done?

McIntyre: We have done it in engineering and social sciences and even education. I think that’s the way to go. We are joining a lot of networks.

Holder: Can you explain the University’s Distance learning Facility and its success or failure to date?

McIntyre: The Distance Learning facility essentially involves the transmission of teaching programs and a certain amount of professional activity via satellite. This is still one of the most successful programs in the university. On the teaching side, we are now teaching first-year programs and mid-level programs like certificates, diplomas—a wide variety of fields. The registration for these is very substantial. As a matter of fact, we are thinking now—once we have laid the technology—we would bring to video teleconferencing. We hope, within the next 10 – 18 months to take it to the second year. And we might eventually put an entire degree program on the system.

Holder: Are there any drawbacks to distance learning?

McIntyre: What happens, of course, is that students do the first year on the University of the West Indies Distance Teaching Enterprise ( Legalizing Prostitution Essay UWIDITE) facility and they come on campus for the other years. And we have watched the performance of those students who started on distance in a variety of fields […]  Of course, a number of the distance students are more mature, so we have to bear that in mind..  

Holder: Has the application of the new technology led to connections with other universities? And how will this impact on enrollment and cost?

McIntyre: We are studying the feasibility of operating a 24-hour educational channel with three other universities n Latin America. We can’t use up 20 hours of online time. But if everybody takes the equivalence of six hours, we would be able to use educational television right through the region and beam it into Latin America.

The new technologies offer us enormous opportunities for increasing access to higher education and, of course, cutting the cost of higher education, which is very substantial. The cost of a UWI place is 50 times that of a place in a primary school. So one has to realize what we are dealing with. It’s a very expensive form of education. It gets more expensive because higher education is being globalized and academic staff is very mobile.

Holder: What percentage of the cost of education do students pay?

Marry show House, UWI’s Open Campus in Grenada provides public service, outreach activities, research and continuing education programming

McIntyre: They pay 16%. What we are doing is backing that up with a student loan program. And certainly in Jamaica—I am not sure what happens elsewhere—students can borrow on their own surety [but] a student coming from the lower income sector doesn’t have that choice.  And if they opt to go into a career of higher social priority, the government will rebate the payments of their loans for the years of service. For example, if they go into teaching, for every year in that profession, the government picks up their annual repayment.

Holder: What allowances are made for students who have the academic ability but may lack the financial resources?

McIntyre: The process works like this: In all of the countries we advertise places-for law or whatever. Then we send a list of those students who have been accepted to individual governments who would take up 85% of tuition. Then we arrange for them to go to banks and negotiate a loan for the [remaining] 15%. Students have to find funds for clothes, food, books and so on. We are trying to do two things: First, we are trying to get companies to give bursaries and link it to vacation employment… And, secondly we are trying to do something that we haven’t done much of; campus employment—[although] the students themselves are very hesitant… In Jamaica, about 40% of our students are from households below the poverty line…  We have been doing a lot of detailed studies of that. So we need to address this in a more substantial way.

Student Assessment

Holder: What benefit are there to American students studying in the Caribbean?

McIntyre: I think they would be exposed to a much more different cultural setting than they would experience in the United States. We have tended in the past—although we are moving away from that—to follow the British system. Which means that every course you do you do a certain amount of lectures and a certain amount of tutorials… That is a very labor intensive way of teaching. So we might have to back away from it. We are doing that already. We don’t use the multiple choice system as heavily as American universities do. We have to mark a lot of scripts. On the other hand, it gives students a much better exposure to writing.

Holder: I hope your response spelling out the rigorous nature of the requirements doesn’t deter American students from considering UWI…

McIntyre: Well, I don’t want to portray a sun, sand, and calypso image and stuff like that. That’s there, of course. But we are a serious institution. So if you are a serious student, you are expected to work as everybody has to. It’s a good type of melting pot of people and it would be a new experience for foreign students.

Holder: What is the cost of tuition and board?

McIntyre: In the liberal arts, I would assume about $1,000 a semester.

Holder: What were the major recommendations of the West Indian Commission with respect to education?

McIntyre: I’ll tell you the one that really satisfied me. I am very satisfied with the Commission’s work. But the one that really satisfied me was at the last Heads of Government Conference; they agreed that with effect from January 1, 1996, all graduates would enjoy freedom of movement in the Caribbean. That’s a big plus for us.

Holder: Have governments become more tolerant of radical/activist faculty? Remember the expulsion of the late Walter Rodney from Jamaica…

McIntyre: In the 1970s we had a lot of problems. Today, there isn’t as much active political activity. When I left the university in 1972 during lunchtime there were political groups everywhere. When I came back—and I’m not terribly happy with this situation—and I saw all these lunchtime groups, I asked: “What parties are these? Political parties?” They were religious groups. The evangelists have taken over, particularly among women. I am worried about this because one of them tends to discourage [female] students from continuing their studies. That worries me a lot.

University of the West Indies’ (UWI) lecturer and historian Dr. Walter Rodney

Holder: What account for the seeming depoliticization of students and the populace at large?

McIntyre: The whole environment has changed. First of all, there is a widespread misbelieve and mistrust in government. The governments are really on the downside. Secondly, and I don’t particularly care for this either—students, like the rest of society are extremely materialistic. Their focus is on job, car, house, clothes…. Spare a thought for the community where you live!

I was telling some colleagues the other day who were talking about finding rich husbands: “Look for poor husbands who are rich in values; not rich husbands who are poor in values” Thai is the problem we face.

Holder: Any special message for the Caribbean community?

McIntyre: We are very much counting upon the Caribbean community in the U.S. to help us through this transition period.

Holder: In what concrete ways can the community help?

McIntyre: You are accumulating a lot of experience about what is going on in the United States, how the U.S. is changing. And you must have your own thoughts of how an area like the Caribbean must respond to changes. That is one thing. Secondly, take an interest in the university and its activities. Encourage your children and relatives to come down and take a few summer courses. And wherever you find it possible, send some financial support. It’s your university after all.

Research Paper Animal Rights CHANCELLORS
HRH Princess Alice 1950-71
Sir Hugh Wooden 1971-74
Sir Allen Lewis 1974-89
Sir Shridath Ramphal 1989-03
Sir George Alleyne 2003-16
Cornell Ilr Admission Essay VICE-CHANCELLORS
Sir Arthur Lewis 1960-63
Sir Philip Sherlock 1963-69
Sir Roy Marshall 1969-74
Ashton Preston 1974-86
Sir Alister McIntyre 1988-98
Hon Rex Nettleford 1998-04
E. Nigel Harris 2004-15
Sir Hilary Beckles 2015-Present

Winthrop R. Holder

A New York City educator, Holder has written extensively on Caribbean cultural pedagogy. He is the author of  Classroom Calypso: Giving Voice to the Voiceless (Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2007)


Sir Alister McIntyre, “The Caribbean Man” – Winthrop R. Holder [2 of 3]

2017-01-25

Preparing UWI for the Challenges of the 21st Century: An Interview with Vice Chancellor Sir Alister McIntyre [**Reprint**]

Phd Thesis Document Link to part 1

“If we don’t know from where we comin’ / Then we cyah plan where we goin”.

– Black Stalin, Caribbean Unity (1979)

The Caribbean and the Wider World: Commentaries on My Life and Career

Born in St. Georges, Grenada, Sir Meredith Alister McIntyre is considered one of the Caribbean’s eminent thought shapers and academicians. This highly celebrated Caribbean integrationist and internationalist has served the Caribbean in various capacities, representing the region in a wide range of international forums.

The December 12, 2016 launch of Sir McIntyre’s book, The Caribbean And The Wider World: Commentaries on My Life and Career,  has come with great anticipation because of the reservoir of experience he is expected to share. It is also a moment when the region is in dire need of self-reflection. The book chronicles the wide range of Mr. McIntyre’s celebrated career in academia, regionalism and multilateral cooperation. Sir McIntyre assumed the role of Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (Mona, Jamaica) in 1988 serving in this capacity for 10 years.

As a precursor to a review of this timely book, Big Drum Nation hereby publishes the second segment of the interview between Sir McIntyre and Winthrop Holder of the N.Y. Daily Challenge during Sir McIntyre’s stint as VC of the University of the West Indies. This segment, which is even more relevant today, was published on August 7, 1995. – BDN

“The Interview: Engaging the Wider World”

All too often, the innovative work done by the university is beyond the view of the public. Sometimes because of the parcelization of knowledge, even graduates are only familiar with their narrow field of interest. This needs to be corrected. In this the second part of the tree-part article, Sir Alister McIntyre, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, talks candidly with Winthrop R. Holder of the Daily Challenge about the regional impact of the University.

Holder: How has the university influenced the Caribbean? It has produced about six Prime Ministers….

Wie Wirkt Viagra Am Schnellsten McIntyre: Seven. Our latest count is seven. We just got two more: Edison James (of Dominica) and Denzil Douglas of St. Kits-Nevis. [PS. Today the count stands at 20 present or former prime ministers and presidents who were graduates of UWI].

Do Kids Get To Much Homework Holder: But beyond having educated prime ministers, how would you assess the impact and reach of the university?

Degree In Creative Writing McIntyre: The Cabinets of the Caribbean are full of graduates and, graduates, increasingly are leading the private sector. If you go into the financial sector in Jamaica, for instance, it is littered with graduates at the level of CEO’s, senior vice presidents and so on. We produce 97% of the regions teachers; we produce [most] of the doctors, practically 90% of the engineers, etc. So we are having a very substantial impact by way of producing the leadership of the region in a numbers of sectors. I do not think that any committee, council, or commission—irrespective of what the subject matter is—can be set up in the region today without at least one person from the university.

Successful College Essay Holder: Have the graduates been very successful in addressing the problems of the region? How would you rate your graduates?

Order Resume Online 50 Off Dominos McIntyre: I do not think there is any doubt about the quality of our graduates, if you judge them by the international accreditation that they receive. UWI is the only medical school outside of Britain whose graduates are fully registrable in the United Kingdom and in Europe—we are the only one. In the United States, our graduates have had no difficulty going into residency. None. I have never heard of any problems of a UWI graduate having difficulty getting into American graduate schools. So I don’t think we have a problem in that respect.

INNOVATIVENESS

Differential Equation Homework Help Holder: To what extent has, the university and its graduates developed innovative approaches and programs to address the needs of the region…

Essay Abortion McIntyre: Innovativeness always comes from a small number of individuals, or small groups. But look at what we have done in medical research: we have scored very highly in the whole business of mental development and nutrition. We have [developed] techniques to [address developmentally challenged] children and those are being used overseas. Right now, we are setting up a project in Bangladesh, financed by the Japanese government, to try to see if we can address that issue there. The Japanese are using it in the Korean community that was having this problem. We have scored very highly in sickle cell anemia. We were the first group to establish that it is not a disease peculiar to African people. We found it in the Mediterranean, Greece, Turkey, India, etc., and this has changed the whole perspective about the disease. We find institutions in Europe now having sickle cell anemia on their research agenda. We are now on the relationship between a particular type of virus and leukemia. We also found something, Jamaican neuropathy. It was a form of neuropathy, but couldn’t be explained. And from that work it led us into new areas of research. So in medicine we have done well.

Order Resume Online Gifts Holder:  Other areas….

McIntyre: We have done very well in the field of comparative literature. Afterall, look at the people we have produced—Derek Walcott being the outstanding example. We have done very well in the field of heritage studies and history. We are regarded as the center of Caribbean history.

We have done a lot of work in the field of engineering. We have produced some very innovative software—I think in practically every field you can think of—in the social sciences, education, whatever, there are people producing and creating new knowledge, or new applications of existing knowledge. I do not think we have any problems to worry about in that field.

Holder: Has the economics department been as successful as other departments? How would you assess the contributions of the New World Group of which you were a member?

McIntyre: Well, I do not think that their policy prescriptions were very useful. Most economists are not fully useful in that respect. I think that one thing we did was to create much greater awareness of the role of the Caribbean in the outside world, which had not been the case before. When I went to Mona (Jamaica) in 1960 to take up a lectureship, I was amazed at the myopia that existed in the [economics] department. People did not see themselves as part of a wider world. And when it became necessary for the Caribbean to negotiate the first Lome Convention—I am not beating my chest—but I was the only in the region at the time who knew what it was all about. I had to spend 17 months working with delegates (from other developing countries) because they had to start from scratch and we had to bring them along.

So, the economics department has done, I would say, reasonable well although I’ve been disconnected from its work for about 20 years. Let me correct something: I was never a part of the New World Group. I do not know where the idea came from. I only wrote one article for its journal.

Viagra Alternatives Uk Holder: Apart from the Lome Convention, what other international issues did you focus on?

McIntyre: In 1977, I was in Geneva thinking about global problems.

Holder: The New International Order dissipated into nothing…

Dissertation Consultation Services Typing McIntyre: Yes, in the 1970s I spent a lot of my time on the New International Economic Order. It collapsed like a pack of cards.

SOCIAL POLICY

Holder: What has the university done in the area of social sector research?

McIntyre: The social sector policy group is doing very well. We have just completed a series of studies on poverty for the World Bank, which has influenced their thinking about poverty. One of the things that many of the international agencies assumed was that poverty was uniquely correlated with employment and that poverty was concentrated among the unemployed. We have shown that the highest incidence of poverty is among the employed. The highest incidence of poverty is among the female low-income earners who are heads of households and earn particularly low wages, whether they are in domestic service or in apparel, or whatever it is. [A] large proportion of the unemployed receive remittances from people abroad and their disposable income sometimes is higher than the employed. This is a reason, perhaps, why they are not employed because the so-called reserve price of labor is rather high for males but not for females. Therefore, we have done an agenda analysis of the employment problem and have changed the whole attitude of anti-poverty programs. So in the field of social sector policy, we have—I think—had quite an impact.

I led a mission on socio-economic performance in Trinidad a couple of years ago, and we recommended large-scale improvements in the social sector. One of the things I suggested was a community development find, which would fund small-scale projects for neighborhoods improvement. And the World Bank and the InterAmerican Bank contribute (US) $20 million.

Winthrop R. Holder

A New York City educator, Holder has written extensively on Caribbean cultural pedagogy. He is the author of Classroom Calypso: Giving Voice to the Voiceless (Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2007)

 

 

Stay tuned for Part 3 of 3 (Saturday, January 28)

Sir Alister McIntyre, “The Caribbean Man” – Winthrop R. Holder [1 of 3]

2017-01-22

Preparing UWI for the Challenges of the 21st Century [**Reprint**]

The Caribbean and the Wider World: Commentaries on My Life and Career

“If we don’t know from where we comin’ / Then we cyah plan where we goin”.

– Black Stalin, Caribbean Unity (1979)

Born in St. Georges, Grenada, Sir Meredith Alister McIntyre is considered one of the Caribbean’s eminent thought shapers and academicians. This highly celebrated Caribbean integrationist and internationalist has served the Caribbean in various capacities, representing the region in a wide range of international forums.

The December 12, 2016 launch of Sir McIntyre’s book, The Caribbean And The Wider World: Commentaries on My Life and Career, has come with great anticipation because of the reservoir of experience he is expected to share. It is also a moment when the region is in dire need of self-reflection. The book chronicles the wide range of Mr. McIntyre’s celebrated career in academia, regionalism and multilateral cooperation. Sir McIntyre assumed the role of Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (Mona, Jamaica) in 1988 serving in this capacity for 10 years.

As a precursor to a review of this timely book, Big Drum Nation hereby publishes the first segment of a three part interview between Sir McIntyre and Winthrop Holder of the N.Y. Daily Challenge during Sir McIntyre’s stint as VC of the University of the West Indies. This segment, which is even more relevant today,  was published on July 31, 1995. – BDN

The Interview: Building a Nexus of Partnerships

Holder: What is the state of the Caribbean [economy] and how does this affect the university?

Sir Alister McIntyre: We are in a state of contraction because we are trying to prepare ourselves for the momentous period ahead–momentous both for the Caribbean and, of course, in a wider global setting. The Caribbean countries are going through some very profound changes both in their economies and in the international setting in which they have–because of international trading sectors, agriculture, sugar, banana; even petroleum and bauxite–very limited growth potential. They are not dead, but they do not promise a great deal for the future.  So, that the tasks facing the Caribbean countries now are to find new lines of activity and, to a certain degree, to modernize the activities that are already in existence.

Both tasks require a greater acquisition of knowledge in the production process than has been the case up to now.

Holder:  How does the university intend to facilitate this process?

McIntyre: Yes, the university has a role to play. We have to play it in two ways: First, we have to increase our output of graduates in the relevant fields and, secondly, we have to enlarge the knowledge base for economic development. That essentially involves a much greater level of activity in the field of research and development. At the moment, research and development are miniscule proportions.

In the last estimate for Jamaica, only 1/8 of 1% of the gross domestic products is devoted to research and development. When countries are spending less than 3% on research and development, they are doing very badly—the Asian tigers are up to 5%. Therefore, we have not simply to achieve a statistic, but to really develop a much greater stock of knowledge [about] economic development. In agriculture for instance, this involves much greater appreciation of biotechnology than we have done so far.

In tourism, we have to modernize the tourist sector, increase the range of attraction and make it more environmentally sustainable. All of these things require knowledge. Therefore, that is one part of it.

Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, in conversation with Sir Alister McIntyre, author of “The Caribbean and the Wider World”.

Holder: The question then becomes one of funding: Given the contraction of Caribbean economies where will the increased funding come from?

McIntyre: We did a simulation of what would be the likely proportion of funding that would accrue to the university in the period ahead. We made three assumptions: First, the economies would not grow on average by more than3% a year; Second, that we would get the share of education in the budget up to about 15%–it’s now and average of 13%; so we would get increases in the share of the public budget going to education. In addition, finally, we assume we have to double, in real terms, per capita expenditure on primary education. We do not need to get into that. However, the need there is so acute that we thought that a doubling in per capita was necessary. Then we keep the percentage of secondary education constant; and once those assumptions were inserted, it became evident that the share of public budget, in both relative and absolute terms for university education, would go down.

In other words, we are facing a situation where there is mounting demand for higher education and the work that higher education institutions can do, but decelerating possibilities of increasing the amount of public money that can go into education.

Holder: This raises the issue of private funding and relatedly, is not there perhaps a concomitant need for more innovative approaches of managing the existing allocations to the university…

McIntyre: Certainly, the university has to make itself more cost-recoverable in its work: Namely, we have to develop profit centers and self-financing activities. Moreover, we have to be extremely aggressive in mobilizing outside resources for our work. We are doing this in the Caribbean by, of course, focusing principally on the private sector and alumnus.

We have begun to make some progress, certainly in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. And, of course, we are mobilizing resources from outside the region. That means official donors–The International Development Bank and bilateral donors like the USA, Canada and Japan. These countries are cutting their budgets, so those prospects are not very good. There are also the Caribbean communities in the United Sates, alumni and foundations and corporations interested in the Caribbean.

Holder: Is this a new thrust? If not, how successful has any previous effort been?

McIntyre: In the past, we focused largely on official sources. When we developed our development plans in 1990, we ‘guesstimated’ that we needed U.S. $300 million over the nine-year period. So we decided to try to raise US $100m every three years. We raised $101m, of which $37m was in the form of grants, which we got from a number of sources like foundations and similar types of organizations and bilateral donors. In addition, we raised $65m in the form of loans: $56m from the Inter-American Development Bank—all loans at very good terms. A very significant blanket, but still it is debt, and one has to be careful that an institution as ours does not build up a very substantial overhang of indebtedness. So this time, with the second hundred million we are going for will be official assistance to the extent that we can get. We are relying much more on private support for the remainder.

Holder: So at present, the university is developing a strong footing, both economically and structurally in moving into the 21st century…

McIntyre: We have to. We have no choice. Moreover, we have to focus on our critical problems facing the region that additionally will have a greater impact. And related to that, we have to build up a whole nexus of partnerships and networks with outside institutions and outside companies and so on—both as a way of projecting our activities into the wider world, and also as a way of earning some financial support for the university—whether through consultancy income or whatever it is.  So, I think this is really the challenge we face in the world. This is much more difficult than negotiating with a multilateral institution. However, cumbersome it might be, it is an easier job to do, because we know that job. This one we are just learning.

Winthrop R. Holder

A New York City educator, Holder has written extensively on Caribbean cultural pedagogy. He is the author of Classroom Calypso: Giving Voice to the Voiceless (Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2007)

Stay tuned for Part 2 of 3 (Wednesday, January 25)

A TRIBUTE TO E.R., AND ALSO TO THE GREAT TEACHERS OF THE WORLD

Sidney, Mr Fox, and the Paid Servant, was the title of E.R. Braithwaite’s novel published in 1962.
In his The Measure of A Man , a spiritual autobiography, Sidney
[Poitier] writes:
“When I was a boy there was a schoolhouse, and it was one room. Sometimes we went and sometimes we didn’t, because we were in the fields most of the time .
“I got to Nassau at ten and a half, and I quit school at twelve, so what I picked up between Cat [Cat island] and Nassau was just  just enough to read the basics.

 

“The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography”, Sidney Pointer

“But I had a great teacher in Nassau. His name was Mr. Fox. William Fox. We call him Bill. Mr Bill Fox,  and he was magical. I learned more from him than virtually anyone I knew.  I drew heavily on him as a model for my character in To Sir with Love” .


19th October, 1983: As the crows fly above…

AL ROUGIER on OCTOBER 15, 2016

As the crows fly above, the sun re-emerges after the light drizzle that moistened the bodies of the protesting crowd. Their bodies glistening with the mixture of sweat and raindrops, and pure adrenalineIMG_20160924_054117.jpg.

At this point, Maurice is surrounded by his comrades, in the Operations Room where major decisions are being made. There is a mixture of adults and youths, young and old alike, male and female, supporters and new supporters. With this deadly cocktail of people where values and ethics differ, comes the deadly decision made by his populace who hijacked his leadership, to fight the powerful and ideological military regime. His political chairmanship has been hijacked and has taken a course that is not of his own choosing—though, a few minutes later, he will pay for their choices.

Before the volley of gunfire ruptures the chanting demonstrators on the fort, the correspondence between Fort Rupert and Fort Frederick is heating up. The desire for vengeance, power, and thirst for blood is manifesting. At this point, the intention is set and there is no turning back. He must die. It is now or never—and they chose now.

No one expected the events that followed—the lining up of Maurice and his cabinet ministers along the walls of Fort Rupert, this relic of a colonial past. Its stones hardened with blood and memory of years gone by, of lives deceased, and the effects of weather patterns and the salty air of the Caribbean Sea. It will soon be accessorized with the ricocheted bullets of highly powerful automatic rifles, blood, bone fragments, brain matter and, ruptured flesh. The volley of gunfire will now become the official soundtrack to the terror and fear of 19th October, 1983.

And just like that, the tiny tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique has become world news. This moment will forever leave ripples and shrapnel in the lives of Grenadians near and far. To this day, the metal fragments from that day are logged in the minds, bodies, and the soul of a nation.

 

wall againt which they were line up.JPGLong live these names: Andy Sebastian Alexander, Nelson Steele, Simon Alexander, Vince Noel and Avis Ferguson (two of the first to die), Alleyne Romain, Eric Dumont and Gemma Belmar–this list includes “students, laborers, union leaders, New Jewel Movement members” (Puri 2014: 90). The PRA members killed that day, including Dorset Peters, are: Raphael Mason, Conrad Mayers, Martin Simon, Franklyn James and Glen Nathan. The ministers lined up and killed: Jacqueline Creft, Evelyn Bullen, Fitzroy Bain, Norris Bain, Unison Whiteman, Keith Hayling, Evelyn Maitland and Maurice Bishop.
road they were led.JPG

For the past nine years I have been carrying the memory of Fort Rupert with me. I did not live through it, I was born a month later. I actively started doing research on the events of 19th October, 1983 earlier this year with the simple hope of finding answers and closure for myself and hopefully for the grieving family members.  It has been a challenge. It has been rewarding. It has been complicated. It has been frightening. It has been cathartic. As I pay homage to the lives loss on that fateful day, I bid them all farewell. I must leave them here.IMG_20161009_111338483.jpg

InSongs of Blood and Sword, Fatima Bhutto, in describing the political climate of Pakistan and the violence that has persisted since its birth, hauntingly writes, “It has been a trial writing this book about my family. Through letters and notebooks, photographs and interviews, it has opened them up to me and made them, all my ghosts, whole. But by virtue of what I now know about them, I must close them off. I must take my leave and remove myself from their shadows, their glories, their mistakes and their violent, extraordinary lives. There is just one member I cannot leave behind, Papa. I started this book with the intention of making my peace with my father, of finally honouring my last promise to him—to tell his story—and then, to finally say goodbye. But I can’t. He especially became whole to me, flawed and ordinarily human, unlike the immortal being I revered as a child growing up. His choices, remarkable and dangerous, honourable and foolish, are not mine but I lived them. I have also lived, since his death, with an incomplete picture of my father as a murdered man—holding vigil for him daily in my thoughts, in my steps and travels, in my public moments and in my eyes blinking him in every morning and closing him off to sleep every night. I had forgotten, in these fourteen years, that he was once alive and, for a brief while, only mine. He seems very alive to me now. It is too sweet a thought to push aside, so I delay the thought of farewells, if only for a little while longer” (437). Unlike Fatima, I bid the dead farewell.IMG_8060.JPG


We Move Tonight: The Making of the Grenada Revolution

We Move Tonight:
The Making of the Grenada Revolution

A Review

Fadhilika Atiba-Weza
Brunswick, New York

We Move Tonight: The Making of the Grenada Revolution
by Joseph Ewart Layne
St. George’s, Grenada: Grenada Revolution Memorial Foundation, 2014, 203 pages.

capturesnipDuring the colonial period, the British placed tremendous significance on Grenada and made it the administrative headquarters of the group of Caribbean islands which are collectively called the Windward Islands. Independence brought its benefits and challenges, and the Spice Isle, as Grenada is fondly called had its share — foremost among its challenges was the rule of Gairy, which was a blight on the island, and an embarrassment to Caribbean people.

Book cover of We Move Tonight by Joseph Ewart Layne

Book cover of We Move Tonight by Joseph Ewart Layne

The early morning of March 13th, 1979, ushered a new dawn as the Caribbean welcomed a rebirth as the people of Grenada, led by the New Jewel Movement (NJM) removed Gairy from office and began the process of a revolutionary transformation of the country. “We Move Tonight” is the story of the developments which led to the events of March 13th. Joseph Ewart Layne, a member of the Political Bureau of the NJM, and a leader of the People’s Revolutionary Army of Grenada was a participant/observer of the process which removed Gairy and created the “Revo” as the process of social transformation was popularly called.

Layne, who was one of the Grenada 17, spent 26 years in prison following the 1983, United States-led invasion of Grenada. During that period of time, he “reflected” on the events which led to the revolution, and those which resulted in its demise. He took the opportunity to earn an LLB and an LLM, and engaged in the kind of introspection which led him to renounce the kinds of activities which resulted in some of the rash decisions that were made during the four and one half years of the Revo.

According to the author, the primary purpose of this book is to present the story of the making of the revolution so that readers can gain an insider’s perspective on the activities which led to the creation of the People’s Revolutionary Government.

Maurice Bishop on Revolution Morning

Maurice Bishop on Revolution Morning

The book is organized in three sections. The first is a political autobiographical journey which begins with the author’s introduction to, and initiation into the National Liberation Army (NLA), and concludes with its triumph over Gairy’s police and paramilitary forces. Along the way we learn of the decisions which were made by the leadership of the NJM, the processes by which the decisions were made, the challenges and dangers which they faced. By identifying key players, the reader is treated to a narrative which contextualizes the decisions and activities of the NJM as the critical day arrives. We are provided with examples of the brilliance of the chief strategists of the revolution, along with some of the amateurish mistakes that could have been fatal.

It explodes the myth that the revolution was an act of desperation. We are provided with evidence of a deliberative and methodological planning process which at times frustrated the youthful and enthusiastic Layne and his peers.
The second section is a brief review of the political history of Grenada. After having read the first section, it appears that is section would have been better placed as a preceding section. Nevertheless, Layne places in a historical and political context the birth of the NJM and its predecessor organizations, the factors which influence some of the developments in the country, and the political climate in which the revolution triumphed.

The third section is most disappointing. The author briefly mentions that there was a problem in the party, but did not elaborate, nor did he address the issues which led to the problem. Given the detail with which he addresses the first section (activities leading to the attack on March 13th, 1979) one expected a similar treatment of the issues which led to the fatal day of October 19th 1983, but this a glaring omission. Given the delicate nature of this matter, and the emotions which it evokes, tremendous tact and diplomacy are required. One has to assume that there are political and legal reasons for the author’s decision to exclude this painful chapter in the history of Grenada.

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In addressing the issues of October 1983, Layne states that, “When faced with a challenge to his absolute leadership of the party, PM Bishop did not go to the people with the genuine issue. Instead he issued a rumour that a plan to kill him was uncovered. The other side reacted by putting PM Bishop under house arrest. From there things catapulted out of hand.”

The above raises more questions than it has answered. What happened to the Bishop Coard Whiteman team that Layne proudly mentions in earlier part of the book? When did Bishop assume absolute leadership? How did it occur? What exactly, is absolute leadership? What kind of challenge was issued? How could the “genius of Coard” not have foreseen the consequences of such a reckless act of placing the popular PM under house arrest? There are many other issues that can be raised in light of the weakness of this section, but overall this publication is a welcome contribution to the literature on a very important development in the history of the Caribbean.

Previously published in In Motion Magazine August 26, 2014.


IN CARRIACOU: THE LONG-AWAITED MOTHER AND CHILD RE-MEETING, SEPTEMBER 27-30, 2016

grenada-sierra-leone

 

 

 

 

(part 2 of 2)

Caldwell Taylor

 

Home is the place where , when you have to go there, they have to take you in.

-Robert Frost

Our drum is the shortest route to Africa, and the Big Drum ritual signifies the unity of

Carriacou’s nine African nations. In order of precedence the nations are: Arada (Rada), Cromati, Igbo, Manding, Temne, Kongo, Chamba, Moko, Banda.

The Temne, Number Five in the Big Drum circle,will celebrate a historic reunion in Carriacou, September 27 to 30. The occasion promises to overcome the pain of centuries of separation.; this sacred  re-meeting will grow our faith in our ancestors and also  in our nation.

carriacou

What is a Nation?

This is truly a macco question. It is so big it compelled the intellectual energies of Frenchman Ernest Renan . In his celebrated 1888 essay “What is a Nation?”, Renan writes: “The essence of a nation is that all individuals have many things in common, and also that they have forgotten many things”.

So the Nation is the site of a strategic loss of memory.

Renan’s important inquiry came fifteen years following France’s crushing defeat at the hands of the Prussian-Germans in the war of 1871 -1872. The Prussian victory hastened the birth of a German nation.

The story of nation-making begins in the seventeenth century; perhaps nation-making helped to incite the struggles that kindled the Thirty Years`War [1618-1648] which came to an end in the Treaty of Westphalia.

The Peace of Westphalia ushered in a rapid decline of the powers of the Church,  opening the way for a secular congregation – the nation state.

In the name of the nation-state the New World was plundered. The nation-state inaugurated `Negro slavery’, and the Church gave generous assistance to the colonizing missions.

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FRENCH DEFEAT AND THE COMMUNE

The French defeat at the hands of the Germans provided the conditions for the rise of the Paris Commune, a radical and revolutionary government that ruled Paris from 18 March to 28 May 1871.


“The Commune was the world’s first socialist working class uprising,” and it warmed Karl Marx’s revolution-seeking heart.

But the Commune did not go to Marx’s logical destination ; indeed Marx’s world -changing prophecy- international proletarian rule- remains unfulfilled. This failure has  caused political theorist of nationalism Tom Nairn to write: “The theory of nationalism represents Marxism’s great historical failure”.

Nairn’s  observation attains greater force in 1979 when two Marxist countries (China and Vietnam) went to war.

Nationhood  is fortress of emotions

“What is a nation? “

Winston Fleury, Carriacou’s Big Drum icon

“The nation exists before all, it is the origin of everything. Its will is always legal, it is the law itself”, wrote Abbe Sieyes, priest and French patriot.

Sieyes’ opinion seems a restatement of Spinoza’s views on the nation in the Tractatus. Arguably the leading thinker of the Enlightenment,  Spinoza wrote: “There is no doubt that devotion to country is the highest form of piety a man can show; for once the State [he means nation – ct] is destroyed nothing good can survive”. 

Hugh Seton Watson asserts that the Nation eludes definition, “yet the phenomenon has existed and exists.”

The Concept of Nation: Lorna McDaniel, The Big Drum Ritual of Carriacou,

Praisesongs in Rememory of Flight

“In written documents of the eighteenth century the evasive term nation appears frequently. The word essential to the ideal of the Big Drum, also appears in the oral literature and vernacular Carriacouns to this day. Operating within two systems, basically, a nation denotes not only a geographical region but a linguistic/ethic group as well.”

praisesongforthewidow

Benedict Anderson: “The nation “is an imagined political community – and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign.”

And let us also remember that there once a time in Grenada when the word nation was often heard. But my great-grand mother and her partisans used the word to describe a family, or sometimes a village.

Example: “Dem Chantimelle people is a warrior nation”.

This concept of nation was almost always used to say something negative. This negativity will hinder our work of nation-making.

 

WHO ARE YOUR PEOPLE?

Below, the view of Carriaouan Lebert Joseph, a shopkeeper in Paule Marshall`s Praise for the Widow:

“I’s a Chamba! From my father’s side of the family”, Lebert told Avey, an American visitor to the island. Assuming that all black people were aware of their specific ethnic identities, Lebert turned to Avey and asked: “What is your nation?” Is you Arada? Cromanti maybe?” Yarriba? Moko?” Is you a Manding like my mother, maybe?” (Paule Marshall, Praise for the Widow,1983:167)

Lebert’s interrogation and Avey’s puzzlement remind this writer of one of the more dramatic dialogues in George Lamming’s “In the Castle of My Skin“:

 

‘I like it’, I said. ‘That was really very beautiful’.

You know the voice?” Trumper asked. He was

very serious now. I tried to recall whether I might

have heard it. I couldn’t. ‘Paul Robeson’, he said.

One of the greats o’ my people.’What people?”

I asked. I was a bit puzzled. “My people’, said

Trumper. His tone was insistent. Then he softened

into a smile. I didn’t know whether he was smiling

at my ignorance, or whether he was smiling his

satisfaction with the box and the voice and above

all Paul Robeson.’Who are your people?’ I asked .

It seemed a kind of huge joke.’The Negro race’, said

Trumper. The smile had left his face, and his manner

had turned grave again… He knew I was puzzled…

 

castle-lammingAt first I thought he meant the village. This allegiance

was something bigger. I wanted to understand it….

(Lamming, 1953: 331)

 

 

To live is to belong . The individual is a page in the sacred Book of Belonging.

A nation is a  Bigdrum; it is the dance around the mythic navel of our world.    The Nation nurtures its roots; it remembers its routes.

 

September 23, 2016


BAI BUREH’S PEOPLE COME HOME TO CARRIACOU: “FOR TRUE, TIME IS REALLY LONGER THAN ROPE”

[Part 1 or 2]

By Caldwell Taylor

Bai Bureh (1840-1908) was the fearless Temne fighter who led the 1898 war against British colonialism in Northern Sierra Leone, and, no joke, in the course of his fight he offered a one thousand pound reward for the capture of the British Governor of the territory! The offer was proclaimed in response to the Governor’s call for Bureh’s capture; this call came with a one hundred pound sterling bounty to anyone who provided information that led to the capture of the rebel leader. Bureh was finally taken and was exiled. The hero returned to his country in 1903, and he died in 1908.

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Photograph of Bai Bureh, National Hero Of Sierra Leone

Death does not kill the hero: Indeed immortality is the hero’s rich recompense.

The hero makes history; and history has curious ways of doing the hero’s bidding.

The hero is a messenger. The hero is the emblem of what the mass makes inevitable.

Historical inevitability sails to a historic meeting in Carriacou– a sun-parched island that

has made more history than it could knead.

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World Renowned Carriacou Artist Canute Caliste

Carriacou made Canute Caliste (1914-2005); May Fortune (1909-1973); Ferguson “Sugar” Adams (1891-1983); and also “Mas’ Fred” F.B. Paterson, plantation owner (Belvedere), legislator, and according to historian Gordon K. Lewis (1919-1991), an “avowed socialist.”

Governor David Alexander Paterson has strong and deep roots in Carriacou. David was the first African-American Governor of New York State. David’s father, Basil (1926-2014), was a widely-known New York labor lawyer and politician. Basil was the first African-American Secretary of State of New York, and the first -African American Vice-Chair of the National Democratic Party. Basil’s father came from Carriacou, to New York back in 1917.

The name “Carriacou” cradles the memory of a martyred people, the so-called Caribs.

Carriacou is Kayryouacou, the Carib-named “island of many reefs.”carriacou_cmpsd_20

Over in Grenada, the Caribs fought to preserve their independence. This fight continued to a precipice where the Caribs were slaughtered at the hands of the French. This slaughter was celebrated high above a bloody sea of Gallic shouts:

Sauteurs!

Sauteurs!

Heroes never die!

The Sauteurs massacre completed the first stage of the French occupation of La Grenade. French rule in Grenada began in second half of the seventeenth century and continued until 1763 when the Treaty of Paris awarded the island to the British.

The treaty treated Carriacou as a ward of Grenada.

Politically and constitutionally a part of Grenada, Carriacou was a part of the electoral district of St Patrick’s until the 1930s.

Culturally speaking, however, Carriacou was very different from the “Mainland”.

TRIBAL ALLEGIANCES IN CARRIACOU

slave_trade_1650-1860_b-www-slaveryinamerica-org

Carriacou runs on ethnic lines and many Carriacouans self-identify as members of one of the following African “nations”:

Arada (Rada), Banda, Chamba, Congo, Cromanti, Manding, Moko (Ibibio), Temne, Ibo (igbo).

Caldwell Taylor is a writer, cultural commentator and member of the Bigdrumnation collective. Taylor lives in Ajax, Ontario. 


Grenadian Olympic Athletes Inspire National Pride & National Unity

A Big Drum Nation Editorial

Team Grenada Rio Olympics

Team Grenada Rio Olympics

Bigdrumnation wishes to congratulate the seven young men and women (Kanika Beckles, Oreoluwa Cherebin, Kurt Felix, Kirani James, Corey Ollivierre, and Bralon Taplin) who represented Grenada so proudly in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  These athletes (including the two swimmers) showed the world the highest ideals that Grenadians emulate and aspire to — inner strength, discipline, persistence, grace, humility, goal orientation, and resilience.  An appreciation of our athletes cannot be complete without recognizing the administrators, coaches, and other professionals that provided the necessary preparation and support for their success.

Sports have this rare ability to elevate individuals and whole communities. And furthermore, sports forge discipline, and such discipline is inescapably vital to nation-making and national cohesion.  Nations are forged and sustained in fields of unremitting effort. Our leaders may do well to take the cue from the accomplishments and the spirit of our Olympians.

Bralon Taplin and Kirani James Share Final Glory

Bralon Taplin and Kirani James Share Glory

Our tri-nation of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique shows the world once again the might and pride of smallness. In fact, according to the BBC and websites such as medalspercapita.com, Grenada tops the list of participating Olympic nations with our one medal – Kirani James’ silver medal run in the men’s 400 meters – coming from a population of just over 100,000. This is the second consecutive Olympic that Grenada has led in this capacity (following Kirani’s gold in Beijing). The appearance of two Grenadians in the 400 meters finals (Kirani James and Bralon Taplin) is yet another remarkable accomplishment of our athletes. All participants in that race were sub 45, making it the fastest Olympic 400 meters ever!

Yet another remarkable accomplishment was brothers Kurt Felix and Lindon Victor’s outstanding performance in the men’s Decathlon.  These decathlon athletes were represented among the most difficult and rigorous of the Olympic events.  Kurt Felix placed within the top 10 competitors while Lindon Victor finished within the top 20.

What do these feats say about the Grenadian youth, the Grenadian people?  In responding to the question one thing is crystal clear: Grenadians have a genius for defying great odds. Kirani James is a towering symbol of this Grenadian defiance!

Kirani and Gold Medalist Wayde van Niekerk

Kirani James & Gold Medalist/new World Record Holder Wayde van Niekerk

Kirani’s temperament is also instructive in helping us measure our expectations as a people. Never boastful and without pretensions of being supernatural, always recognizing his limitations, he is forever striving to improve and develop. Grenada, as a whole, can take a cue from our Olympians, attitudinally and practically.

Editors

Caldwell Taylor, Sue Patrice, Martin Felix


Our Carnival: Playing the Past, Playing the Present, Previewing the Future

Various interviews with Entertainment Agents, Promoters, Carnival Organizers, Calypsonians to support this theme.

Credit: Modern Day Gillian

Image Credit: Modern Day Gillian

We are starting out the interview series with Mr. Angus Steele, Entertainment Agent and Owner/Manager of Spice Concoction

http://www.spiceconcoction.com/

 

BIGDRUMNATION: What brought you to this often- maligned business of calypso, soca, and carnival?

Angus:  think it’s more about my love for music since I was growing up (learned to play drums with the Pitt brothers – Richard “Sabina” and Selwyn “Kung Fu”, looking on keenly at the years with Rodney “Doc” Rapier and Eddie Bullen and loving the Classical Guitar around the same time to today, played Steelpan early in GBSS, tried the piano and didn’t like it much, contracted artist under LIME in recent years in St. Vincent and thereafter in Grenada, setup my own Entertainment/Artist Management business in April 2014, worked on putting together formally The Carenage Rhythm Section – “Frontline Rhythm Section” early 2015), that saw me end up in my current situation and specifically those Genres since it’s the most common of skills locally. I may add that one of my Artist is into Urban Reggae music so I’m also diving deeper into that Genre as well despite little local talent as our “culture” mainly spins such music around Jamaicans.

Complete Interview attached: Download/ view full interview.

At this link are many of his artists’ releases for 2016 Spice Mass – Spice Concoction You Tube Channel

 


 

Interview with KennyC – Reggae/ soca recording artiste

kc1

KennyC Hails from Paradise St. Andrew, Grenada W.I. He is proud and happy to call Toronto, Ontario, Canada home but will always have a special place in his heart for his birth land Grenada.

This love of country has inspired him to compose SWEET GRENADA – the first single from his first album: Longtime Coming

BIGDRUMNATION: The music critics are showering you with high praises. Why do you think that they are so enamored of your performances?

KC: I’m grateful for the interest. I’ve been loving /singing and listening to music for most of my life but when I started singing professionally and seriously in the last several years, I wanted to bring to the people good lyrics that tell a story mixed with interesting beats and arrangements. I’m always asking my producers to give me something new and different, something people can feel. Sometime I would hum my rendition of where I would like to go with the tune to them. I also write all my songs – when I perform them the audience is getting and feeling a real piece of KennyC. I think its that mixture of melody, music, honesty and reality that’s connecting me to my fan base and music critics.

Complete Interview attached: Download/ view full interview.