Who will write our Caribbean history?
By David Jessop
As far as I can determine, few if any of the current group of Caribbean Prime Ministers, or opposition leaders keeps a diary recording events and conversations of importance. Moreover, on demitting office no longer does there appear to be any desire to produce an autobiography or even encourage a biography explaining the detail of their experience in government or in politics. The same holds true for the private sector.
Unlike their counterparts in other parts of the world senior Caribbean figures either do not have the time, or they lack the desire to explain to history what drove them, or the reasons why decisions, domestic, regional, or international were taken or avoided.
It was not always so. Many internationally respected figures in the region’s past, including Michael Manley, Errol Barrow, and Edward Seaga, and some who came before, either wrote about their experience, their philosophy, or to a lesser extent their exchanges with colleagues and regional counterparts; while a small number of others, with or without permission, have published books about regional figures.
Some like the late Tom Adams and a few of the region’s diplomats carefully recorded while in office the events and conversations that changed the region; but almost without exception, these private records have yet to see the light of day. Continue reading