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Section 1: Culture of Migration and Emigration Push Factors
Chamberlain, Mary. “Motive and Myth in Migration: Barbadians to Britain.” Department of History, U.W.I., Cave Hill (March 1993): Seminar Paper, No. 4.
· 1955-1965 over 27,000 Barbadians emigrated to Britain (p.1)
· Very similar to the Panama migration of Bajans to work on the Panama Canal in the early 20th century.
· Push factors for individual Bajans to leave: “promise of work and the alleviation of poverty.” (p.2)
o “Migration had been the means of upward social mobility” (p.11)
· Push factors for the government wanting Bajans to leave: “fear of social unrest…motivations of the government who encouraged and enabled such migration.” (p.2)
o Emigration a tool for the government to alleviate social discontent and strain on the Barbadian social fabric
o Push factors by the BIM government: due to overpopulation and lack of employment in 1950s (p.24):
§ Launched the Sponsored Workers Scheme
§ Barbados Immigrants Liaison Service in London
· A liaison officer appointed to “recruit labour to, and employers in, Britain”
· Feeding into the Bajan migrant myth, the Liaison Officer stated, “the old and never ceasing movement of people in search of greater opportunities” feeding the idea of the culture of migration
Ebanks, G., P.M. George, and C.E. Nobbe. “Emigration from Barbados, 1951-1970.” Social and Economic Studies 28 (1979): 431-449.
· Overpopulation: “Emigration has played a significant role in holding down the rate of population growth.” (p.431)
o “high population densities on an agricultural island provided the push to seek emigration outlets” (p.432)
o Migration kept population demographics low, not enough men for fertility (male dominated migrations), and helped Barbadian economy with remittances. More jobs available because people have left, so less unemployment. Emigration a positive feature locally for Barbadians and the Barbadian government
· 1951-1970: net migration loss of 32,600 people (p.432)
· Barbados population (p.432):
o 1921: 156,800
o 1946: 193,680
o 1960: 232,820
o 1970: 236,891
· Migration as social mobility:
· Migration a means of social mobility for those that return home after gaining education and wealth (p.432)
· Migration statistics (p.435):
o 1951: -306 net migration (more people left the island than stayed and/or returned)
o 1955: -3143 (Emigration to UK)
o 1961: -4963 (On the eve of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act implemented in 1962)
o 1962: -1345 (Commonwealth Immigrants Act, stopped UK migration)
o 1967: -952 (Points System in Canada)
o 1970: +165 (More people returning to Barbados)
· Class based migration and Canadian immigrant stats:
· Upper and Middle classes more likely for emigration, especially following CIA (Commonwealth Immigrants Act) in 1962 (p.438)
· 35.1 per cent of emigrants aged 20-24 (p.439)
· Median age in Canada: 29 (youngest age of Barbadian emigrants between UK, West Indies, US, and other places around the world) (p.440)
· 11.5% of all Bajan female emigrants in Canada (UK, 54%, US, 27%) (p.441)
· Canada (1968-1970) (p.442):
o 33,112 West Indians to Canada
o 8.8% Barbadians
o “Selectiveness of Canadian Immigration, resulting in a ‘brain drain’ from Barbados.” (p.442)
o Approx 68% of Barbadian emigrants destined for Canadian labour force
o 11.2% for professional and managerial
o 31% clerical
o 20.8% manufacturing and mechanical
o 21.2% service
o 15.8% other
o Canada getting the best and brightest of Barbadian emigrants
· UK (1966) (p.443-444):
o 1955-1961: 18,741 Barbadians emigrated to UK
o 8.1% of the entire Barbadian population in 1960
o UK “less selective nature” for Barbadian emigrants compared to Canada
o 1% professional and managerial
o 24.3% service and non-manual
o 71.2% manual workers/manual labour
o 3.5% unemployed
· US (p.445):
o 1963-1972: 11,530 Bajans admitted to US
o 1963: 373 Barbadian immigrants in US
o 1966: 506
o 1967: 986
o 1968: 2136
o 1970: 1658
o 1972: 1536
· “Barbadian official statistics provide the very minimum of information on the emigrants.” (p.446)
Davison, R.B. Commonwealth Immigrants. London: Oxford University Press, 1964.
· Barbados and British Immigration (p.13)
o Most Bajans have jobs waiting for them upon their arrival to Britain
o 67% of voucher types for jobs awaiting them vs 78% Cyprus and 10% Canada
o The Commonwealth average is 16%
· Most Barbadian immigrants “have come through a government –operated recruitment scheme which for some years has supplied labour for London Transport and other employers in Britain”. (p.14)
· Arguments against WI emigration to Britain and hence the opening up of avenues for Canadian immigration of West Indians and Barbadians. And the Commonwealth Immigrants Act:
o “The most powerful argument in favour of some kind of restriction of immigration from the Commonwealth undoubtedly rested on the shortage of housing in Britain today”. (p.16)
o “One of the most powerful arguments put forward in defence of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act turned on the question of unemployment among coloured people.” (p.16)
o Why let people immigrate only if they were to be unemployed and “receive the benefits of the Welfare State to which they have contributed nothing?”
Migration: A series of lectures and a Panel Discussion held at the Centre for Multi-Racial Studies in Barbados between October and December, 1968. Barbados Archives.
· Emigration solving Barbados problems and the roots and beginning of emigration in the 19th century. CIA (Commonwealth Immigrants Act – 1961/1962)
· Doctor Elsie Payne: The West Indies and Migration
o Beginning of sponsored emigration from Barbados in 1860 (p.9):
o “Barbadian planters began to see that the island had a ‘super-abundant’ population and they took the first steps toward encouraging movement out of the island.”
o Masters’ and Servants’ Acts failed (tenantry – former slaves having to live and work on the plantation) and now there was a surplus of Bajans – West Indian migration at first, then South American and Latin American
o Following the fall-out after the Drought in 1863, Barbadian governments refused to sponsor emigration until the 20th century (p.10)
§ 1875: population of 162,000 and approx. 3,600 on poor relief
o Emigration at the turn of the 20th Century (p.10):
o Barbados planters: “Only emigration could prevent the degratation (sic) of Barbados
o Founded the Victorian Emigration Society, sponsored the emigration of women. By 1901, 2000 Barbadian female emigrants
o Barbadian government owning foreign land to settle Barbadian nationals. Barbadian emigration and imperialism to solve unemployment in the island. And US government sponsored temporary worker initiatives for the Allied War Effort.
§ Eve of WWII, Barbadian government procured Vieux Fort Plantation in St. Lucia for Barbadian settlement (p.11)
§ West Indians and Bajans recruited for War movement by the US War and Food Administration (p.12)
· 17,000 WIs in US and many also in US bases in the Caribbean (Antigua and St. Thomas)
§ Post-War UK: about 60,000 Bajans living in the UK up to the CIA in 1961.
· Mr. T.F. King: Emigration from Barbados: Facts and Figures:
· Emigration Act of 1904 & Recruiting and Workers Act of 1938
o The United States:
o 1946, US Sugar Corporation. West Indians employed in harvesting crops in the US (p.15)
o Shortage of manpower in US and UK during WWII which then created emigration opportunities, most on a temporary basis, for Barbadians and West Indians throughout the region
o The United Kingdom:
o Barbadians selected and screened in Barbados for work in the UK (1955). (p.16)
§ London Transport main employer for Barbados sponsored emigrants
§ Labour Department in Barbados, on behalf of London Transport, administered tests for individuals in the Island and processed them there. Following a two-week course in the UK, the Barbadian candidates were ready to work.
§ Student nurses from Barbados in the UK got similar treatment
o Population of Barbados in 1961 showed a decrease of 619 over the previous year (p.17)
o Barbadians in Canada: “Small number” of domestics since 1955, lifted quota in 1967 (Points System) (p.17)
o Barbadian emigrant figures to the UK (p.17):
§ (1961 and 1962 there was an emigration push on the eve of implementing the CIA. The year 1966 was Barbadian independence from Britain)
· Mr. Lionel Clarke: Social Implications:
· Emigration as a solution to Barbadian overpopulation. Discussing the merits and idea of the Culture of Migration (CoM)
o Not a research paper by Clarke, but “perhaps the first public statement made by an officer of the Social Welfare Department in Barbados on some of the social implications of emigration from Barbados.” (p.19)
§ Emigration: “provided a useful safety valve for over-population” (p.19)
o Culture of Migration? (p.19) Or a nation’s double-edged sword?
· Brain drain of young people, fit for leadership:
· “The possibly adverse affect on the Barbadian personality of the tendency to escape to another country rather than take part in the building up of Barbados – the symbols of nationhood created with independence had not yet inspired much esteem for local life and heritage.” (p.19)
· Emigration seemingly a social and political detriment to the Barbadian national fabric
o **Emigration benefits for Barbados** (p.23):
§ Financial – large remittances from Barbadian foreign nationals abroad
§ Overpopulation – Easing high population
§ Employment – more job opportunities for those left behind and for those abroad
o **Emigration cons for Barbados** (p.23)
§ Lots of young and talented Barbadians overseas
§ “disintegration of family life”
§ “behavior problems in children”
§ “parental deprivation”
§ Government costs in “maintaining and servicing the families of migrants”
· Miss Mair Pinnell: The United Kingdom and Immigration:
o United States (p.25):
§ 1952 McCarran Act, stopped West Indian emigration to the US
§ Along with failing economic conditions in the West Indies, this increased UK immigration of West Indians
§ Emigration is not dictated by unilateral and binary movements of migrants from one country to the next. It works within the global context of receiving countries.
· In 1951: 1750 West Indian migrants to the UK
· In 1961: 66,000
· 1962, the CIA (Commonwealth Immigrants Act), “imposed limits on the number of immigrants allowed to work or settle”. (p.25)
· Mr. Garett Sweany: The U.S.A. and Immigration:
o American Embassy employed four (4) Americans and eleven (11) Barbadians to help the emigration of Barbadians in Barbados (p.35)
o 1968, 2000 Barbadians emigrated. In 1953, only 39. (p.35)
o No Federal Government programmes to help new immigrants in the US. Private groups helped. Ie Barbados ex-Police (p.36)
o Barbadian Immigrants in the United States (p.36):
§ Most Bajans moved to New York City
§ 80-90% of the immigrants were Black
§ Black American vs. Black West Indian antagonisms in the US due to immigration of a new Black ethnic group. West Indians seen as “better” in the eyes of White America vs “lazy” Black Americans
· **Mr. C.F. Rogers**: West Indian Immigration to Canada:
· Rogers an Immigration Officer. “Ethnic Dissatisfication” and Brain Drain from Barbados for the benefit of Canada’s immigration system
o 1960s – Immigration offices opened in Kingston, Jamaica and in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad (p.39)
o Canada needed workers and thus look towards the West Indies as a labour pool
o Stated by a Black Trinidadian in Toronto (p.40):
§ “…the idea of race riots in Toronto is out – there is nothing in expression of ethnic dissatisfication with Canada from Greeks, Portuguese, Italians, West Indians, Chinese…As is generally known, the worst group coming to Canada from the Caribbean is the unskilled or domestic types at this point (1968).”
o West Indian migration figures in Canada (p.41):
§ 1956 – 1962 = average 1300 immigrants
§ By 1967 = 8,600.
§ Number could grow to 10,000 if emigration from the United Kingdom of West Indians immigrants considered. Triangle Migration.
· Panel Discussion:
o Brain Drain of educated Barbadians – Teachers (p.43):
o Sociologist J. Hering:
§ “Various migrations had provided the large numbers of qualified people that the Canadian educational system had not been able to supply; she wondered whether the loss of teachers from Barbados – 54 in 1964 – represented a serious loss to Barbados.” Emigration is thus a double-edged sword but mutually beneficial to all involved; Barbadians needed jobs, Canadians needed qualified people, and Barbados had a surplus of labour. Still enough qualified people to run the Island, but Canada got the best of the best. Similar to Canada choosing in the first round of a sports draft, and selecting the best quality players. Barbados chose in the second round, but still received quality and professional players that would let them compete at the highest level – but not the best.
Roberts, G.W. Population Trends in the West Indies, 1946-1961. Barbados Archives, September 11th, 1950.
· Migration not a solution for Barbadian overpopulation
· Barbados gross reproduction rate “at or around 1946”:
o 1.90 (Jamaica, 1.81; Trinidad, 2.67; Windward Islands, 2.39; Leeward Islands, 2.15)
o “…As there are fewer avenues of free migration for West Indians than formerly, there is less chance of rising population pressure being relieved by migration; and the implications of high fertility and steadily declining mortality can be more effectively demonstrated on the assumption that no sizeable net outward movement takes place.”
By authority, revised and consolidated by C.V.H. Archer, B.A. (Cantab.), Barrister-at-Law and W.K. Ferguson, B.A., LL.B (Cantab.), Barrister-at-Law. Laws of Barbados: Vol.II: 1894-6 – 1906-5. Barbados. Printed by Advocate Company Limited (1944).
· 1904 Emigration Act
· Part 1: Emigration Agents (p.443-444):
o 2. (1) “Emigration agent to be licensed by Governor. Penalty on acting without license or inducing labourers &c. to emigrate by falsehood or fraud.”
o (4) “Every emigration agent who recruits any labourer or artisan for any work, labour, or service in any place out of His Majesty’s dominions, shall cause a contract be entered into with such labourer or artisan, and in default thereof shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding fifty pounds.”
o (5) Every contract made in this Island and binding any person to perform any work, labour, or service in any place not within His Majesty’s dominions shall be in writing and executed before and attested by a Police Magistrate.”
o Must have a binding contract to emigrate and work abroad.
· 3. Prohibited Emigration (p.446):
o “The Governor-in-Executive Committee with the approval of the Legislature may from time to time by order prohibit, either absolutely or conditionally, the recruiting of labourers or artificers for emigration to, or labour in, any place out of His Majesty’s dominions to be mentioned in such orders, and may from time to time revoke, rescind, or vary any such order.”
o Government had the power to stop recruiting of emigrants; emigration was at the discretion, implementation, and regulation of the Barbadian government and legal system.
· 4. Assisted emigration of natives (p.446):
o “Governor-in-Executive Committee may expend £300 per annum in assisting persons of the poorer class to emigrate.”
o “Who in the opinion of the Governor-in-Executive would be likely to better their condition by so doing, to emigrate from this Island to Canada, the United States of America, or to any of the neighbouring colonies, either British or foreign.”
o The previous excerpt from the Emigration Act is an explicit reference to the Barbadian government aiding in the emigration of the poorer classes of Barbadians. It is also an explicit mention that they, the Government, would pay for their emigration to Canada. This is notable due to the fact that at the turn of the twentieth century, Canada and Canadians were attempting to restrict Black immigration. However, the question is whether the Barbadian Government was promoting the emigration of White Barbadians. This assumption is doubtful because the previous initiative was directed towards the “poorer class”. The Government would also assist in one’s family reunification abroad.
· Part II (p.448):
o 11. (1) “A person desiring to leave this Island as a passenger (migrant other than a labourer or artisan, ‘recruited under a contract of service by an emigration agent’) for any proclaimed place shall make application to a permit officer.”
o Regulating and legislating the control of emigration.
By authority, revised and consolidated by C.V.H. Archer, B.A. (Cantab.), Barrister-at-Law and W.K. Ferguson, B.A., LL.B (Cantab.), Barrister-at-Law. Laws of Barbados: Vol. V: 1928-5 – 1942-8. Barbados. Printed by Advocate Company Limited (1944).
· Recruiting of Workers Act, 1938
· “An Act to carry out certain Conventions relating to recruiting of workers.” (p.415)
o 5. “Persons under the age of sixteen years shall not be recruited.” (p.417)
§ Those 14 years or older may be recruited after the consent of a parent or guardian “for employment upon light work”.
o 12. “Nothing in this Act contained shall affect the provisions of the Emigration Act, 1904.” (p.419)