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or so for the site. I say "persuaded" because a lot of our workers insist on living rent free in the ranges. But rehousing goes on. At the moment we've got 360 houses on our extra-nuclear site, and they're reasonably comfortable. Next year we'll have a good central hospital with an ambulance service for the whole area, instead of small hospitals on each estate. We've got a crêche and all children get half a pint of estate milk free every day. Up until 1947 the water situation was bad. All the workers drank water out of the trenches—it's muddy, unpalatable and liable to get polluted. Then we sank a Candy filter that cost us £8,333. The water was really good and unlimited, but we couldn't understand why nobody used it. Then we found they all thought it had been drugged to reduce fertility. But we got over that one. Well, I like my job-it's a full one, busy and satisfying. Satisfying because I can see the fruits of my work. I like the struggle for better yields per acre and trying to run the place economically and efficiently and humanely. And I love the sight of a well-kept, well-cared for estate-anyone must who's got any real feeling for the land.'

He gave me this revealing picture of his life as we went by jeep out to the backlands to visit an area of land which until recently had not been 'beneficially occupied'. Now the land is under jute, a pilot scheme designed to see whether jute can become an economic crop. The manager of the scheme told me that in his opinion the jute was good, but his first season's crop had just been shipped to a factory in Dundee for processing into the stiff material used in jacket-making. The season's crop would keep the factory busy for a few hours of one day, but if the price and quality were all right other jute farms would be started, and the Colony's economy would become a little more diversified.

A few miles from Rose Hall lies Port Mourant, less a village than a small town humming with activity. Scrawled over the walls were slogans supporting the P.P.P. and calling for the return of Cheddi Jagan. Bookers until recently owned 49 per cent of the shares of the plantation; a few weeks before my visit they had bought up the privately-owned holdings and had announced that, in the course of their two-million-pound plan for factory improvement and consolidation, the factory at Plantation Albion would take over the work of Port Mourant's

factory. It was this decision which, Sergeant Mackinnon had said, was expected to cause trouble. Five hundred men would be out of work; some of them, the reliable ones, would be transferred to other factories, some would be offered work in the fields and others would be unemployed. The men worst hit had come to the manager, weeping and beseeching him not to close the factory. When he told them that the decision had nothing to do with him they could not understand that he was powerless to help them. (I learned later that, with close co-operation between the management, the trade union and the Labour Commissioner's department, the transfer was effected without trouble and with a minimum of hardship, most of the workers being either absorbed elsewhere or compensated liberally for loss of employment.)

Walking along the main street late that afternoon I came to the Rock Diamond, the rum-parlour where the police post their informers. It was a ricketty building from which calypso music on gramophone records flooded out. I had been told that Cheddi Jagan's father could be found there every afternoon at this time, taking a few snaps of rum and talking. I recognized him immediately; a tall, handsome old man with a long, straggling moustache, dressed in white. He was now retired, but as a pensioner of the estate he turns up daily at the hospital for his shot of insulin, for he has been a diabetic for many years-and is still strong and healthy in spite of a regular intake of sugarladen rum. He had once been a 'driver' or foreman of the labour gangs in the field. The position of the driver is important in the running of the plantation, and drivers are always men of ability and character who stand out from the other workers. It is his job to give out the work and encourage the gangs to work harder, and without a good driver the overseer is powerless. He is the N.C.O. of the plantation labour force. In the old days it was an accepted thing that drivers should be given when work was short- -a cent or two by each man to whom they gave work, and all in all they could become quite rich men. They used their money well; their sons were given the best education that could be managed and their daughters provided with dowries so that they could marry well. I was told on good authority that almost all really rich East Indians, and a large proportion of the professional men in the Colony, are

the sons or grandsons of drivers. Mr. Jagan had four sons, the eldest being Cheddi, who, after school in Georgetown, went to Howard University before studying dentistry in Chicago.

I went over to Mr. Jagan's table, introduced myself and offered him a snap of rum, which he accepted gracefully and put back in one satisfied gulp.

'Ah,' he said, 'times is hard, times is hard. Me tell you, twenty years ago rum him half dorra1 a bottle, now him one dorra fifty. Times is hard.' He winked roguishly at me. We started to talk about the land shortage and he attacked the Government for not draining and irrigating an area of front-land near Port Mourant. I mentioned Blocks I and II and he said they didn't want the land there, they wanted it in the village. "They have money now in Georgetown,' he said. 'Why they no send money to we and us reclaim land? Us no need much.' He pulled out pencil and paper and began a calculation based on how much a canal-digger was paid each day. Eventually the sum got out of hand; he thrust it away and said, 'T'ree t'ousand dorras, me reclaim land for t'ree t'ousand dorras.' I said that this couldn't possibly include the sluice-gates and the pumps, and he agreed that it would mean using the estate's pump and ‘kokers'. It seems a natural suggestion and one which is constantly being made, but the estate managers had all told me that their pumps could not possibly take on more work or their kokers deal with a greater flow of water than at present. When I pointed this out to Mr. Jagan he gave me an irritated 'yes, yes, yes' and said he didn't believe a word of it.

I asked him what he thought of the political situation and he gulped another rum, drew in his breath and began a piece of virtuoso irony on the lines of Mark Antony's speech in Julius Caesar. 'Me has lived in British Guiana forty years,' he began, 'me has known five governors, and this governor him best of lot. This governor very nice man. Before him came us has no money in British Guiana, and him come and get forty-four million dorras for we. Him very nice man. But till this day us down here in Courantyne no see one cent. Him very nice man, me say—before him come us in British Guiana no see British sojer, no see kilts, now British sojer here pointing gun at we, and so I say this governor him very nice man. Him think of we

1 i.e. dollar.

when him take away Constitution, think to do good for we and my son Cheddi him oh so bad for Colony. Oh, yes, I say, this governor him very nice man.'

For the rest of my journey along the coast I had an intelligent and loquacious African driver who told me that, though he was forty, he had decided to educate himself. He went four nights a week to evening classes in Georgetown and was studying English literature. In between discussing Shakespeare and Tennyson with me he would ask me questions about England. He had read in the papers, he said, that landladies turned coloured people away from the door and that no one was kind to West Indian immigrants. 'It is something I find a considerable difficulty in understanding,' he said. ‘out here in B.G. all you white people I come across are quite different from that. It doesn't seem to make sense.' I tried to explain to him the complexity of the British attitude to colour, but I am not certain I succeeded. After a long silence he suddenly said, 'Is it true, sir, that since King Edward VIII abdicated all the young people in Britain have become morally loose?' I assured him it was not the case, and, the subject of morals having arisen, I asked him questions about the moral standards among the Africans. In talking with Africans I had noticed that both sexes would show no inhibition about their 'outside' children, as illegitimate children are called. My driver told me that no stigma whatever was attached to unmarried couples. You see, sir,' he said, "it's all according to the economic situation you happen to be in. Now no one wants a little hole-in-the-corner-marriage with just a few friends and half-a-dozen bottles of rum. Naturally they want nice clothes and everybody enjoy his-self. And sometimes you can't do that so you go to live with someone till you can and you become a reputed wife or a reputed husband and when you have an outside child you announce it in the papers like anyone else and say a son has been born to the reputed wife of so-and-so. Now, I believe, sir, that this state of faithful concubinage is no worse than any other. You're good to your woman and she's good to you. Why, I've known a sixtyyear-old couple who'd saved enough for a proper wedding going to be churched in white with their daughters as bridesmaids. And, sir, the outside children don't do so bad. They're not quite so good as the inside children but they get their share

of their father's land, and nobody minds that they're outside. Why, many of the most respected gentlemen in society are the honoured fruit of faithful concubinage.'

I had noticed, that morning, many people with pink stains on their shirts and dresses and I asked the driver if he could explain why, suddenly, everybody should be stained. Being a Georgetown man he was, however, as puzzled as I was. Then we saw two girls and three young men-all Indians—being chased by a group of men, who were sprinkling pink water over the pursued. All was done amid excited laughter. We saw similar scenes at other points on the road, and could think of no explanation for them. It was at Plantation Skeldon, where I learnt that this was the week of the feast of Pagwar, a Hindu festival in which the death of Homolcar is symbolized. On the first day the tradition is for people to spatter each other with scented water to symbolize Homolcar's purity in life, the next day with red-coloured water to symbolize his shed blood; on the third day everybody should touch each other with ashes. "The old people,' the pandit told me, 'they observe Pagwar as they should, with reverence and seriousness, but the spirit of true religion is leaving us. The young ones make joke of Pagwar, throw each other in ditches and squirt red water and laugh over it all as if they have forgotten it is a beautiful rite of our religion.' An overseer told me that, in the cane-fields, no week is feared more by the English staff than Pagwar. They are thrown into ditches, soaked with coloured water, rubbed in mud, and they must grin and bear it. If they go to the manager to complain they are told that this is Pagwar and anything goes in Pagwar.

Skeldon is the last sugar plantation in the Colony and perhaps the most beautiful. It abuts onto the Courantyne, and beyond the river lies Surinam, or Dutch Guiana. By some strange boundary agreement the Courantyne is Dutch territory up to high-water mark on the British side and the Dutch are insistent on their rights. Although they do not themselves fish in the river they will allow no Guianese to fish. There is, naturally, a lot of poaching, but whenever a poaching boat is seen by the Dutch a warning volley of bullets whistles above it.

Skeldon, like all the other sugar estates, was busily building. An area of fifty acres on the front-lands was being made into a

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