The Ambassador to CARICOM, His Excellency Robert “Bobby” Morris

Of Apologies and Compensation

An interesting and provocative editorial found in The BarbadosAdvocate 29.04.2016.

black-and-white“If you open that Pandora’s box, you never know what Trojan ‘orses will jump out…” –Ernest Bevin (1949)

While Barbados does not proclaim it as poetically as Trinidad & Tobago’s national anthem does, our constitutional ethos implies that here also “every creed and race finds an equal place”. However, there are many Barbadians who, for one reason or another, will justifiably question whether this tenet obtains in practice as opposed to subsisting merely in theory.

As witness recently when there were objections to the description of Barbados as the freest black nation on earth: where the voiced disagreement, surprisingly, was not over the comparative degree of freedom enjoyed locally, but rather over the shade ascribed to the nation. It has ever been thus. Local discussions pertaining to race and colour have always been fraught with tension; a reality owed as much to the sensitive nature of the issue as to the difficulty of determining, among our blackish and whitish citizens, who fits (or should fit) precisely where.

The Ambassador to CARICOM, His Excellency Robert “Bobby” Morris may therefore inadvertently have opened a hornet’s nest with his recent call for an apology by the “descendants of white Barbadian slave owners” to the local “descendants of slaves”’; a vicarious mea culpa that, he counsels, should be accepted by the offerees.

First, Mr Morris, who we have no doubt is well meaning and conciliatory in his call, may have miscalculated the degree of miscegenation that would have occurred in a small concentrated slave society, so that neither his categorization of blackish Barbadians as the descendants of slaves, nor, indeed that of whitish Barbadians as the descendants of white Barbadian slave owners is entirely accurate even at a superficial level.

And it would not be incorrect to assert that the blackish Barbadian, more so than his or her white counterpart, tends to regards this racial mixing as a badge of pride. One expects therefore that some of these individuals would take umbrage at being categorized simply as a member of one category merely by virtue of their current outward appearance. More over, there are many Barbadians, both blackish and whitish, who appear to be frankly bored with any discussion about slavery and who consider that it is high time that we move on with the current global arrangements.

This is not to say that the whitish individuals among us might not have benefited from being thus complected, although we also consider that this phenomenon might have been owed rather to overarching societal norms that place a higher value on the degree of absence of melanin and proceed to confer commercial and social benefits accordingly.

It may be for these reasons that Mr Morris’s call has failed to attract much popular support. Indeed, one prominent local blackish businessman in a letter to the Barbados Advocate earlier this week reminded, “nobody owes us a living. It’s a brave new world…”

They may also account for the similarly lukewarm reception that has greeted the call for reparations for slavery to be paid by European nations to regional countries and their inhabitants. It has always puzzled us how the individual beneficiaries of these reparations should be identified. Will there be a requirement to trace one’s lineage back to an identifiable slave? Or will entitlement be based simply on current phenotype, disregarding the happenstance of any historical irregularity in the bloodline?

The truth is that while there may be a substantial degree of moral justification for an apology and reparations, the years since the dark night of slavery have fundamentally altered the stark racial divisions that then prevailed. To base current events on this same division seems to us unjustified.

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570 Comments on “Of Apologies and Compensation”

  1. Vincent Haynes May 14, 2016 at 12:14 PM #

    millertheanunnaki May 14, 2016 at 9:26 AM #

    Chuckle….now yuh cooking wid gas…..but let us take the land of our African ancestors as our present day kith&kin do not know what to with it other than repeat the atrocities of 500 years ago rape,pillage and kidnap….Boko Haram is just another name for the slave traders of yore…….Land not money is the answer and unfortunately our European kith&kin do not have much to spare/seize ask the Syrians.

    Like

  2. Vincent Haynes May 14, 2016 at 12:19 PM #

    MoneyBrain May 14, 2016 at 8:39 AM #

    Chuckle…..must I remind you again of Julius Ceasars crack Nubian forces that raped and pillaged the isles af Anglesey…….forget the blue eyes loads of tarbrush.

    Like

  3. Colonel Buggy May 14, 2016 at 2:20 PM #

    You do not have to go all the way to England to experience the arrogance of the African, Some years ago at the YMCA in Pinfold Street , I saw these guys, obviously not Bajans and tried to engage then in conversation. It went like this :
    “Where are you from?” I asked.
    “The continent,” one hesitantly replied
    “Which Continent,” I asked
    “Africa”, another hesitantly replied.
    “Where abouts in Africa?” I asked
    “Namibia,” one replied
    “So do you speak German,” I asked.
    “Why do you ask that?,” replied one sharply.
    “Well”, I said,” Barbados was a British Colony, we speak english, so I assume, that Namibia being a former German colony, that you speak German.”
    And almost unison they replied, ” YOU ARE NOT PUTTING YOURSELF ON THE SAME LEVEL AS US?”
    END OF CONVERSATION.
    My friend, had the last word as we passed by the table as they were having dinner.
    ” AND THAT IS WHY YOU ARE SITTING IN THE YMCA IN BARBADOS EATING WHITE RICE.”

    Like

  4. John May 14, 2016 at 2:23 PM #

    TheGazer May 13, 2016 at 11:11 PM #

    I can see that John misses the “good old days of slavery”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I don’t miss them I just am thankful I passed thru an era where I belonged to a plantation where I got the upbringing that I got and had the accumulated wealth of wisdom and experience passed on to me.

    I thank God I was so blessed as I watch and sympathise with the misery of the various bloggers who never had access to that wealth.

    Like

  5. Colonel Buggy May 14, 2016 at 2:24 PM #

    Vincent Haynes May 14, 2016 at 12:19 PM #
    MoneyBrain May 14, 2016 at 8:39 AM #

    Chuckle…..must I remind you again of Julius Ceasars crack Nubian forces that raped and pillaged the isles af Anglesey…….forget the blue eyes loads of tarbrush.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………
    Or the British Royal Navy , once frequent visitors to our shores.

    Like

  6. John May 14, 2016 at 3:43 PM #

    The generation before me grew up with far more people on the plantation than I came and found.

    In that era, there were no tractors and animal power moved the cane from field to factory.

    Labour was needed not only to cut cane for the less than 6 months of crop but to tend the animals for the entire year.

    My uncle grew up in a factory yard attached to a plantation.

    My guess would be that during crop he would have had upwards of fifty, perhaps even close to 100 adults around him by whom he would have been supervised, disciplined and with whom he would have talked and enjoyed his boy days.

    Engineers would descend in crop and take up lodging in rooms provided by the factory which would work round the clock.

    There was competition among factories to see who would produce the most sugar from a ton of canes.

    He told me there was a cricket team and I remember the pitch above the house where he would have grown up.

    Sugar became less and less labour intensive and when I came along I found perhaps less than 20 adults on the plantation to which I belonged.

    I always heard that my grandfather and his sons eventually assisted in the founding of YMPC I guess as an outlet for excess energy in sporting activities but I never confirmed it.

    I get the impression that most plantations/factories had teams from a discussion I had with a former cane cutter (70 + years old) at a nearby plantation so it would make sense that the various sports clubs that arose did so through the efforts of the plantation in response to a reduction in concentration of labour and a need to provide an outlet.

    I think my uncle and his siblings played hockey there against the crews of the various Royal Navy warships that would visit from time to time.

    Guess they would have come ashore at the esplanade.

    Like

  7. John May 14, 2016 at 3:57 PM #

    When I was talking with my old cane cutter friend I was telling him about a guy who worked on the plantation to which I belonged who rejoiced under the nickname of Donkey.

    Donkey was known for his stubbornness which bordered on stupidity.

    The manager would take the abstract to the bank on a Thursday, Donkey would get paid the Friday and would then go to the Rumshop where he would remain the Friday night drinking with his friends.

    Saturday morning would find him sleeping on the ground outside the shop with every penny gone.

    The following week he would mooch of the other labourers and get something to eat for lunch. His sister ensured he never went hungry.

    My old friend told me he knew Donkey and there was also a man with the same identical characteristics on his plantation who rejoiced under the nickname of the Ass.

    He told me he would go drinking in Nelson Street, the Police would hold him and then release him when he was sober.

    He told me the Ass was exceptionally strong and the Police could not hold him when sober as he would just toss them oneside so I reckon they waited till he was drunk and passed out.

    I suspect there was atleast one such individual on every plantation so it wasn’t everybody you could go to for advice and a talk.

    Both have now moved on to the great beyond and no doubt added flavor to the life on their respective plantations.

    Like

  8. Vincent Haynes May 14, 2016 at 4:47 PM #

    Yes John more truth,keep on with memory lane,it brings back similar memories,these tales have to be retold.

    Like

  9. de pedantic Dribbler May 14, 2016 at 4:48 PM #

    @John. With respect, but you gotta to be absolutely out of your mind. You “sympathise with the MISERY of the various bloggers who never had access to that WEALTH”.

    OMG. You went HC and worked to achieve an island scholarship too right! That says a lot about being focused at 16 and 17 and being totally sociopathic at 60. What is it with you lot!!!!

    Ok so riddle me this based on quote below. How did people just like you, go from that awesome congenial environment of human empathy and love to the acts described.

    You got me speechless. No wonder Trevor Marshall didn’t want to go any vault with you!!!!

    Quote : (compliments of Dr. GP; from angelacole.caribusiness.com)

    “From 1st form to 3rd form some white boys at Lodge used young Sam [Headley] as a rope. Six grabbed one hand and more grabbed his other hand and pulled him – tug of war time! He was nine-years old and there were too many so he learnt to relax his body, let go of all tension and as a limp rope prevented serious shoulder injuries.”

    Definitely sounds like MISERY to me. But not the rose colored inane nonsense of which you speak.

    Like

  10. TheGazer May 14, 2016 at 5:32 PM #

    John is doing shtick. He is seeking attention with that lame routine.

    Like

  11. Colonel Buggy May 14, 2016 at 6:28 PM #

    I get the impression that most plantations/factories had teams from a discussion I had with a former cane cutter (70 + years old) at a nearby plantation so it would make sense that the various sports clubs that arose did so through the efforts of the plantation in response to a reduction in concentration of labour and a need to provide an outlet.
    …………………………………………………………..
    Does not even qualify for a response.

    Like

  12. Colonel Buggy May 14, 2016 at 6:34 PM #

    BU’s Uncle Remus.

    Like

  13. Colonel Buggy May 14, 2016 at 6:41 PM #

    Funny how many of us , remember the names of the plantation owners and sugar barons of Barbados of long ago. Reminded by street names and plantation names. But even to this day do not know the watchman of Highland Plantation name, whose discovery revolutionised the breeding of sugar canes and placed Barbados at the forefront of that technology, when he observed young canes growing from seedling. Forever he will remain , “the watchman of Highland Plantation.”

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  14. John May 14, 2016 at 7:22 PM #

    It wasn’t the watchman … it was the super-intendant!!

    http://www.forgottenbooks.com/readbook_text/Timehri_The_Journal_of_the_Royal_Agricultural_and_Commercial_Society_v7_1000591165/171

    Wealth vs Riches figure it out!!

    Like

  15. John May 14, 2016 at 7:24 PM #

    Colonel Buggy May 14, 2016 at 6:28 PM #

    I get the impression that most plantations/factories had teams from a discussion I had with a former cane cutter (70 + years old) at a nearby plantation so it would make sense that the various sports clubs that arose did so through the efforts of the plantation in response to a reduction in concentration of labour and a need to provide an outlet.
    …………………………………………………………..
    Does not even qualify for a response.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Just explaining where West Indies Cricket started!!

    …. long before the advent of the various sporting clubs.

    Like

  16. John May 14, 2016 at 8:10 PM #

    The Parris family was here from the year dot.

    No doubt the Parris in the letter describing the discovery of the growth of canes from seeds by the superintendant is linked.

    The earliest Parris will I see is 1660 but the one in 1673 demonstrates the Quaker burial customs of the day.

    In 1673, Thomas Paris asked to be buried in the plantation where he lived beside his wife and my bet is that spot wherever it is will also mark the location of the burials of his slaves and those people who belonged to the plantation after he died.

    For me it is a sobering thought because it means that I would probably have been buried wherever the burying ground was on the plantation to which I belong, with no fuss or palaver, no exorbitant cash outlay, just plain and simple.

    I know there are at least two burying grounds on the plantation I belong to but I don’t know exactly where because all the graves are unmarked.

    One burying ground which is unmarked I reckon is under a Plumtree in a canefield called Plumtree.

    I do know that there was one which was marked perhaps till the 1970’s but the manager’s wife stumbled on the marker and decided to bring it in the house and make it a talking piece in the bar where she and the manager entertained.

    The daughter who had recently become a Roman Catholic had a conniption and unfortunately I do not know what happened with it.

    She made the parents replace it with a statue of the Virgin Mary.

    I kept far enough away from that bar!!

    I can understand Trevor’s fear of duppies it is just that sometimes if you want to know the facts you have to go and look.

    Like

  17. Colonel Buggy May 14, 2016 at 10:32 PM #

    I do know that there was one which was marked perhaps till the 1970’s but the manager’s wife stumbled on the marker and decided to bring it in the house and make it a talking piece in the bar where she and the manager entertained.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………
    Were any of the field workers , who were so embraced and interacted with by the plantation yard folk, ever entertained at this bar?

    Like

  18. Bush Tea May 14, 2016 at 10:42 PM #

    It seems that John is looking to piss off the other local albinos by flippantly rehashing the ‘good’ old days ….that most of them want to forget – at least in public discussions, least they incur the wrath of the majority brass….

    But our Johnny seems to think that the propaganda that they tell to their little ones to explain their plantation heritage is indeed fact…. apparently HE has been brainwashed into the fantasy that slavery was one great big adventure for which we all should be thankful …and grateful to God and the quakers.

    Personally, Bushie thinks that John, like Froon, may simply have chosen to drink some shiite that they were intended to ‘rub wid’…..

    Two doses of bush tea, and a bush bath each, may work wonders for these two morons…

    Like

  19. Simple Simon May 14, 2016 at 10:45 PM #

    @millertheanunnaki May 14, 2016 at 9:26 AM “West Africans (not the few enlightened ones) still have the habit of referring to those of African-Caribbean backgrounds as “Slave Babies”.

    I’ve many many perfectly ordinary West Africans and I’ve never heard anybody sever to anybody else as a slave baby or any other such thing.

    Like

  20. Colonel Buggy May 14, 2016 at 10:51 PM #

    …………. and a bush bath each, may work wonders for these two morons…
    ………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Preferably a bush bath of Poison Ivy, Poison tree and manchoneil , and to a add a bit of colour, Balsam vines. .

    Like

  21. Simple Simon May 14, 2016 at 11:03 PM #

    @John May 13, 2016 at 11:58 AM “It comes down to broughtupsy!!…If you were a child at the time of slavery and well into the 1950’s, perhaps even 60’s chances are you were brought up by numerous adults of all colours …They moved to the heights and terraces. Plantation life was shorn of the natural interaction of children of all ages and colours playing together.”

    Dear John: Your reality is not mine. I’ve never played with a white kid in my life, even though I grew up in the 1950’s and 60’s surrounded by plantations to the north, south , east and west of me. In my experience the white children and the black children did not interact at all. The white plantation owners to the west of us deliberately and actively tried prevent (enforced by both dogs and watchmen) us from using a short cut/footbath, which would have made our journey home much easier.

    Please note that those of us who live in the heights and terraces love and provide practical emotional, spiritual and material assistance to our grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, spouses children and grandchildren.

    Like

  22. Simple Simon May 14, 2016 at 11:09 PM #

    Are you watching when we rise at 4:00 a.m to cook for our parents? And when we leave home at 5:30 a.m to bathe our parents? Are you there when we get back home at 6:30 and show up to our work places by 8:00 a.m.?

    Are you there when we do similar in the evenings?

    Are you there when we drop into our beds exhausted at 11 p. m.? Only to repeat the same things day after day, year after year, sometimes for a decade or more?

    If you haven’t done it don’t talk.

    Like

  23. Simple Simon May 14, 2016 at 11:20 PM #

    @Colonel Buggy May 14, 2016 at 2:20 PM “You do not have to go all the way to England to experience the arrogance of the African, Some years ago at the YMCA in Pinfold Street , I saw these guys, obviously not Bajans and tried to engage then in conversation. It went like this : “Where are you from?” I asked etc.”

    Were you in uniform? Were you in a position of authority over the men? I ask because it seems to me from what you have stated that you were trying to interrogate the men rather than have a conversation with them. Not surprisingly the men became hostile.

    Like

  24. Simple Simon May 14, 2016 at 11:46 PM #

    @John May 11, 2016 at 2:45 PM “You can read Hoad if you want to discover what it is you missed out on.”

    So how come Lowdown is always going on and on about his siblings (his mother’s children) but not his other siblings (not his mother’s children?)

    Stupseee!!!

    Like

  25. David May 15, 2016 at 2:02 AM #

    Is it accurate to say that even to this day Whites in Barbados operate as a clan and are very ‘clannish’in how they interact with the predominant Back population? It is only on those ‘special occasions’ there is a mixing.

    Like

  26. Vincent Haynes May 15, 2016 at 2:18 AM #

    David May 15, 2016 at 2:02 AM #

    Chuckle….it is not accurate because using your parlance,how could you have so many near whites in Bim hosting these gatherings.

    Like

  27. David May 15, 2016 at 2:28 AM #

    @Vincent

    What gatherings? Do you mean down Cattlewash?

    Like

  28. Vincent Haynes May 15, 2016 at 2:31 AM #

    Dear John: Your reality is not mine.

    This statement by Simple Simon says it all,we each have had a different socialisation and the same way that SS never played with any light people or light people never played with dark people it is a testament to human resilience that many did play together especially in the Scotland District and the complexion of many in the area speak of the interaction between indentured and enslaved.

    Like

  29. John May 15, 2016 at 10:03 AM #

    Dear John: Your reality is not mine. I’ve never played with a white kid in my life, even though I grew up in the 1950’s and 60’s surrounded by plantations to the north, south , east and west of me. In my experience the white children and the black children did not interact at all. The white plantation owners to the west of us deliberately and actively tried prevent (enforced by both dogs and watchmen) us from using a short cut/footbath, which would have made our journey home.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The reason is simple, even you could understand.

    The plantation was a work place, a dangerous place for children.

    When I was a boy, next door to the plantation to which I belong, a child (probably black) drowned in the tank.

    I think I sneaked up on that tank maybe once or twice in my life!

    We were banned from the tank on the one to which I belonged unless accompanied by an adult.

    Sometimes the groom would relent and take us up and spend hours regaling us with stories and “reading the BBC news”!!

    A child (white) went up on a roof on another plantation and went thru because it was rotten … she died, probably broke her neck.

    A plantation was not a place for children unless you belonged to it and understood the dangers.

    I knew in my walking about that I should not trespass on neighbouring plantations because my parents would get a phonecall and be very politely told not to let their children wander … no big fuss or confusion.

    We would then get our instructions …. don’t go over on the neighbouring plantation because it is dangerous.

    …… one of the favourite reasons for the adults in my family was because there was “a man in the canes” so don’t go walking about.

    I still did when I reckoned the coast was clear because that is what children do!!

    The”man in the canes” I only came to understand recently because an old labourer told my cousin what the “man in the canes” really meant …. I won’t go into that part of plantation lore because it might only offend ….. but if I get requests I will relent!!

    The result was that children (regardless of colour) on neighbouring plantations did not interact.

    I grew up next to three plantations with children and I can count the times on the fingers of my hand that we interacted.

    The closest we came is when children from two of the neighbouring were sent along with my sibling to confirmation classes.

    They kept to their plantation and we kept to ours.

    Yet, I went all over the plantation to which I belonged and never gave my safety a second thought …. there were always adults around who also belonged to the plantation who I trusted implicitly.

    The only way there would be constant interaction is if you happened to ride a horse ….. and I did not!!

    A horse needed exercise so it was accepted on a plantation that it could pass by …. with the operative words being “pass by”.

    From my observations there was a protocol ….. the rider presented himself at the owner/manager’s house and announced/his/her presence.

    It was a visit and manners dictated behavior.

    There was actually a small plantation called Passby just to the east of Mount Gay!!!

    Do you understand how much you missed of real Barbadian culture by not having the opportunity to grow up with a sense of belonging to a group of humans of all different colours by far larger than your family?

    Obviously not!!

    Like

  30. John May 15, 2016 at 10:07 AM #

    Colonel Buggy May 14, 2016 at 10:32 PM #

    I do know that there was one which was marked perhaps till the 1970’s but the manager’s wife stumbled on the marker and decided to bring it in the house and make it a talking piece in the bar where she and the manager entertained.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………
    Were any of the field workers , who were so embraced and interacted with by the plantation yard folk, ever entertained at this bar?
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yes, there would be times when there would be times for celebration ….. although I suspect that after the incident with the grave marker like me, nobody who knew what went down crossed in there or if they did stayed for any length of time

    Like

  31. John May 15, 2016 at 10:29 AM #

    John May 14, 2016 at 7:24 PM #

    Colonel Buggy May 14, 2016 at 6:28 PM #

    I get the impression that most plantations/factories had teams from a discussion I had with a former cane cutter (70 + years old) at a nearby plantation so it would make sense that the various sports clubs that arose did so through the efforts of the plantation in response to a reduction in concentration of labour and a need to provide an outlet.
    …………………………………………………………..
    Does not even qualify for a response.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Just explaining where West Indies Cricket started!!

    …. long before the advent of the various sporting clubs.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I was shown the “cricket pastures” at both Applewhaites and Wakefield sugar factories and regaled with stories from people who played on them.

    The one I most enjoyed was about a visiting team on the Applewhaites pasture.

    Seventeen runs to get in the second innings … so the visiting team figured, man, we could go home, so they did and left five men to knock off the runs.

    Only thing was they never counted on the Umpires!!

    Bowled out for under 17!!

    I believe that’s why cricket season and crop season align.

    Crop meant sugar factories went into production and skilled labour descended on them to make them run.

    My Uncle used to tell me that engineers and pan boilers came from Guyana for the grinding at the factory.

    I suspect that it happened because Guyana had two crop seasons and the skilled factory workers went from place to place to ensure year round work.

    Barbados and Guyana have close ties.

    Colonel, was there a “cricket pasture” at Mount Wilton Factory too?

    … and Vincent, where was the pasture at Haggatts Factory?

    Do you remember any of the games?

    I believe our cricket developed as the change from wind to steam occurred from the mid 1800’s and skilled labour congregated at the various steam factory.

    The factories were centres for human activity and each one had an identity which was expressed in various forms, cricketing excellence being just one.

    I suspect that it grew and developed into the various divisions we grew up knowing, Intermediate, second and first divisions.

    At the base however, was the identity that a sugar factory gave the men associated with it and their desire to express their skill at the game.

    Intercolonial rivalry in cricket developed because of the trade in skilled labour.

    … and then one day some bright sparks figured, you know what, maybe we should have a West Indies Team!!

    Sugar brought the West Indies together.

    No longer does a West Indies identity exist, there is nothing to create it.

    All we have is a set of loser politicians looking to make a fast buck for themselves … that is about the only thing we all have in common in the West Indies!!

    Like

  32. Vincent Haynes May 15, 2016 at 10:33 AM #

    David May 15, 2016 at 2:28 AM #

    Chuckle……Cattlewash is definitely tar brush country.

    The time to throw away this white/black myth has long gone,it is keeping this country back,in all fairness the average man and woman is moving ahead oblivious of the nonsense being spewed by academia.

    Like

  33. Colonel Buggy May 15, 2016 at 2:00 PM #

    Cricket as I knew was developed by the men in the villages,with meetings being kept at Rum Shops and Lodges, aka Friendly Societies. Many of the cricket grounds were located in gullies, or other rab lands. Many a village match was played in the public road, and not even in the precious plantation’s cart roads.

    Like

  34. John May 15, 2016 at 2:31 PM #

    Do you remember when Mount Wilton Factory closed?

    Like

  35. MoneyBrain May 15, 2016 at 2:32 PM #

    @Col
    U made me remember St Augustine where they used to ring a bell when the Pacers were starting their run up from down the hill!!! OR Bathsheba where a edge through gully could fly full to the road and a hook went in the sea!!!

    Like

  36. MoneyBrain May 15, 2016 at 2:33 PM #

    NOT a fish hook in this instance.

    Like

  37. John May 15, 2016 at 3:06 PM #

    Google seems to put Mount Wilton going out of production around 1950 …. long time ago, even before I was born.

    I would never try to insinuate that you are as old as that but I suspect you came and found men who wanted to carry on the cricket tradition which ended with the factory.

    Do you know any who might remember when Mount Wilton worked and the factory was a hive of activity?

    Usually, there was what I remember being referred to as the Engineers’ quarters where the skilled labour stayed, close to the factory to keep it running 24 hours a day.

    I know of two old sugar factories, one that the chimney blew down in Janet but had ceased working in 1946 and one where the chimney was dynamited c. 1960 and had been out of production for years.

    Both had sizeable quarters to house the skilled labour.

    Making up a cricket team would have been no problem.

    Getting a match however might have been more of a problem.

    … but if the ground was small, maybe not … and the one I remember my Uncle telling me about was small.

    Like

  38. Colonel Buggy May 15, 2016 at 3:19 PM #

    MoneyBrain May 15, 2016 at 2:32 PM #
    When ever I pass by St Augustine I remember those downhill days. How about the only woman, a feared fast bowler, in the BCL, Iris Walker playing for Bathsheba.

    Like

  39. Colonel Buggy May 15, 2016 at 3:45 PM #

    Mount Wilton went out of production in 1950, as I began to enter primary school. Mount Wilton produced some of the finest sugar in Barbados, a clear sugar, but as I was told , it attracted weevils in a relatively short time. One of the Pan Boilers at Mount Wilton, who lived not very far away was trained in the art , while working in Cuba. Much of the water fed to the factory came from near by wells and a stream which is in ravine, still to this day. The water from which was piped to the factory without the use of a pump.
    As far as I know the Engineers at the sugar factories, were all local men, who yeard later were prohibited from calling themselves Engineers. There was a profession Engineer, who looked after a number of factories, and when a problem arises, by the time he got to the factory, dressed in a lily white suit, the local “engineers”, had the problem well under control.
    One of the crop time activities at most factories , was the blowing of its boomingly loud steam operated horn at 3.45 am and 4.30 am, 11.45 am and 12.30 pm (midday) and at 7.45 pm and 8.30 pm.
    The first sound of the horn was to “wake” up workers,mostly “engineers”, who normally lived within a 3 or 4 mile radius from the factory. The second sound of the horn was the Start to work time.
    Because most of Mount Wilton’s “engineer’ and pan boiler lived nearby, I was told that a quantity of Mount Wilton canes were burnt during the month of November, and the factory was restarted to process those burnt canes.

    Like

  40. John May 15, 2016 at 4:58 PM #

    I know the Engineers quarters existed for sure at two former factories and many Engineers came from Guyana/Demerara for the crop.

    If Mount Wilton had local Engineers and a local pan boiler I am going to suggest that those quarters probably date from the conversion to steam when the Factory needed skills not available locally.

    Over time, the factory probably ensured the skills were available locally using an apprenticeship system.

    It would have been cheaper and more reliable than depending on outside contractors who could set their price or go to the highest bidder.

    I know from a friend that grew up in Three Houses Factory yard when it worked that there was serious competition among factories to see which one had the highest conversion rate each year.

    I remember he had a lot of pride when he said Three Houses usually came out top so I know the competition was serious.

    I think it is understandable for factories in St. Philip/ Christ Church/St. Lucy to produce higher conversion rates because of the lower rainfall.

    Mount Wilton would have received canes from the high rainfall area and had to remove far more water to get the same sugar output.

    That might have had something to do with the weevils … who knows!!

    I have a 1951 aerial photo of the area but suspect I won’t see the detail of a cricket pitch although I can pick some up at various grounds around the island.

    In any case, it stopped production in 1950.

    The availability of water determined the conversion to steam so if water under gravity feed was available at Mount Wilton it probably went from wind to steam soon after the mid 1800’s.

    I know it had no steam works in 1859 from my research.

    It was absentee owned in 1859 and was 525 acres.

    The windmill was a horizontal one.

    It had the gears to convert the rotating motion of the vertical shaft into the horizontal motion at the mill.

    Eighteen of the fifty six plantations listed in St. Thomas in 1859 had horizontal mills, none had steam.

    The rest were vertical mills.

    I think there was an output and probably safety advantage in the horizontal mill …. the small conversion I think suggests sugar was not as profitable as it is believed.

    It is possible that those Engineers and the pan boiler you knew were preceded by two or more generations from the conversion to steam if that conversion happened say in the 1880’s.

    I think that’s around the time the market was demanding dry sugar and so the power of steam was needed to drive the centrifugals for water extraction.

    Would be interesting to know that date, I’ll see if I can find out.

    Were you able as a boy to venture into the yard unescorted by an adult or was it off limits to children as was my experience as a boy with neighbouring plantations?

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  41. Colonel Buggy May 15, 2016 at 10:46 PM #

    The busy factory yard with trucks coming and going was no place for children. But I do remember a story told of a truck laden with canes parked up in Mount Wilton yard. The hand brake on the truck needed some adjustment, so the driver got hold on a big rock and pushed it under the back wheels.He came back later to find that the truck had ran away. The big rock he found was infact a land turtle, which walked away.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. John May 16, 2016 at 10:40 AM #

    I was trying to remember any examples of a dog biting someone when I was growing up and the only example I can give is of a little white boy who wondered into the yard of the plantation that I belong to and the manager’s dog bit him badly …. bare commotion with the neighbor but in the end nothing came of it because the boy should not really have been there.

    He was not coming from a nearby plantation and did not know the inherent dangers.

    The other example I heard of was a story given me by my uncle.

    When he managed a plantation he returned one night to find his two dogs, Brutus and Bismark, mauling a man who was stealing.

    It seems the man had passed through the yard in the day and remarked to someone that he had heard a lot about the dogs on that plantation but the mut he saw was nothing.

    He laughed.

    He was casing the joint.

    So he returned the night when the two bad dogs were loose and suffered the consequences.

    My uncle also told me that the man had recently been released from Glendairy.

    That was in the 1940’s.

    The man had managed to stab one of the dogs close to the heart but he kept coming.

    So my uncle and the superintendant loaded the man on a truck and took him to the doctor.

    Probably the same doctor or the pharmacist stitched up the dog and both survived.

    My uncle told me you could see bone and sinew in the man’s arm as a result of the mauling.

    Perhaps my uncle exaggerated but I heard the story from others too so I suspect it was true!!

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  43. Colonel Buggy May 16, 2016 at 1:01 PM #

    Castle Grant had two big ugly English Bull dogs. People used to normally short cut it through the plantation yard , passing in front of the great house. The two seeming lazy bull dogs lying in the verandah , would follow your every move with their eyes. But somewhere near the kitchen would be the plantation mongrel, this was the fellow you had to be scared of. He wasted no time in chasing you down the plantation yard, and the english bull dogs seeing this, reluctantly gave chase, and gave up at the bottom of the yard gap where it meets the public road. Not so the mongrel, the piece of meat he missed out on ,outside of the great house kitchen, he will exact from you.

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  44. John May 16, 2016 at 5:10 PM #

    It works like that with dogs, I have seen two big able lazy dogs get mobilized into action by a Jack Russell!!!

    It is amazing, I refer to the Jack Russell as the Colonel!!

    I always watch for the little guy!!

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