Barbados (World Bibliographical Series) by Robert B. Potter

By Robert B. Potter

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Sample text

Whereas in former years the means of livelihood were traditionally restricted to agriculture and the female occupations of seamstress and hawker, now tourism and light manufacturing have overtaken the sugar-dominated economy to the extent that they jointly provide numerous private sector opportunities. When these are combined with the retail trade, construction, banking and insurance, together with openings in the civil service, Barbadians, in spite of sometimes disappointing levels of employment, can consider themselves fortunate when compared to their counterparts in the rest of the developing world.

The Contemporary Situation And Patterns Of Progress In other respects, however, Barbados has come a long way since the days of slavery. In education, for example, whereas schooling was reserved exclusively for whites until the opening of St. Mary's School for coloured boys in 1818, today, thanks to the reforms of men such as Mitchinson and Rawle, and with certain reservations as to the relevance of the curriculum and the quality of teaching, Barbadians now enjoy free education from the primary to tertiary level.

As a result, they could arguably gain no self-confidence, and their overriding attitude was one of instilled inferiority. Whatever their achievements, they were all subordinated to those of white 'massa'. Furthermore, this caste-like system of stratification, with one notable exception, was reinforced by the established Anglican Church, with its denial of membership through catechesis and baptism to those it considered to be without souls and beyond redemption. Not surprisingly, well after emancipation, and possibly right up to the present day, black aspirations and values have been so entrenched as third rate that they have become thus regarded by many black Barbadians themselves.

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