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Mediating the model


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Mediating the model women's microenterprise and microcredit in Tobago, West Indies
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Levine, Cheryl A
University of South Florida
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economic anthropology
international development
Dissertations, Academic -- Applied Anthropology -- Doctoral -- USF   ( lcsh )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
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ABSTRACT: From the perspectives of economic anthropology, feminist anthropology, and feminist theory, this applied anthropological study is an evaluation of a popular international development model targeting poor women. Based on the celebrated Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, the so-called "microcredit" model is designed as a poverty alleviation strategy to provide small loans to poor women in rural settings and is designed to facilitate microenterprise development. Due to the popularity of the microcredit model with the international development community, it is being replicated in different settings. Through an analysis of microenterprise development among Afro-Caribbean women, this study presents the argument that successful application of international development strategies, such as the microcredit model, requires consideration of three critical factors if the objective is to facilitate economic empowerment.First, international development policy and practice has tended to homogenize women, enforce gender-typed work, and emphasize group structure regardless of recipients' needs or preferences. Second, attempts by local governments to replicate the microcredit model may fail due to lack of commitment or inadequate infrastructure. Third, application of international development interventions, such as the microcredit model, must be tailored to fit the cultural and historical context as well as account for the needs and expectations of intended recipients.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2003.
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Cheryl A. Levine.
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Document formatted into pages; contains 523 pages.

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Mediating the model
h [electronic resource] :
women's microenterprise and microcredit in Tobago, West Indies /
by Cheryl A. Levine.
[Tampa, Fla.] :
University of South Florida,
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2003.
Includes bibliographical references.
Includes vita.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 523 pages.
ABSTRACT: From the perspectives of economic anthropology, feminist anthropology, and feminist theory, this applied anthropological study is an evaluation of a popular international development model targeting poor women. Based on the celebrated Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, the so-called "microcredit" model is designed as a poverty alleviation strategy to provide small loans to poor women in rural settings and is designed to facilitate microenterprise development. Due to the popularity of the microcredit model with the international development community, it is being replicated in different settings. Through an analysis of microenterprise development among Afro-Caribbean women, this study presents the argument that successful application of international development strategies, such as the microcredit model, requires consideration of three critical factors if the objective is to facilitate economic empowerment.First, international development policy and practice has tended to homogenize women, enforce gender-typed work, and emphasize group structure regardless of recipients' needs or preferences. Second, attempts by local governments to replicate the microcredit model may fail due to lack of commitment or inadequate infrastructure. Third, application of international development interventions, such as the microcredit model, must be tailored to fit the cultural and historical context as well as account for the needs and expectations of intended recipients.
Adviser: Yelvington, Kevin A.
economic anthropology.
international development.
Dissertations, Academic
x Applied Anthropology
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
4 856


Mediating The Model: Wo men's Microenterprise And Microcredit In Tobago, West Indies by Cheryl A. Levine A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Anthorpology College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Kevin A. Yelvington, Ph.D. Trevor W. Purcell, Ph.D. Roberta D. Baer, Ph.D. Marilyn Myerson, Ph.D. Cheryl R. Rodriguez, Ph.D. Date of Approval: December 1, 2003 Keywords: Caribbean, feminist and economic anthropology, international development, self-employment Copyright 2003, Cheryl A. Levine


Dedication I dedicate this dissertation to my parents, Richard and Ma rlene Levine. Their love and support knows no boundaries, as my parents have always “been there for me” no matter how far I have traveled. I wish to thank them for the support and encouragement that they extended to me in every way imaginable. I was honored to briefly share my fieldwork experience with my parents who made the l ong journey from California to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to join me for two weeks. In appreciation for the spirit of education and independence they have instil led in me, I am proud to have successfully completed my goals of education, fieldw ork, and dissertation. Mom and Dad, thank you and I love you. Also I am deeply grateful to my surrogate mother and dear friend “Marie” who not only looked after me during fieldwor k, but also supported me emotionally and academically as my most important resource for interpreting Tobago culture. She openly shared with me both the joys and pains of Tobago womanhood. She gently sheltered my naivet and coached my developing appreciation of Tobago’s distinctive and often subtle cultural quirks. Both “Marie ” and her husband “Max” opened their home and heart to me, were always eager to lend a hand whether I needed assistance battling an invading centipede in my home, a ride to the market, or someone to pick me up when the ferry came in at Scarborough. To Marie and Max I extend a very loving “thank you.”


Acknowledgements Funding for my dissertation fieldwork wa s supported by a US Student Fulbright Award from the US Department of State, Bur eau of Education and Cultural Affairs to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 1998-1999. Al so, in 1998 the University of South Florida, Latin America and Caribbean Studies Program provided a Research Assistance Award to support my fieldwork. I am grateful to my dissertation committee for believing in me. The helpful advice and guidance of my committee was useful, but knowing that they had faith in my ability to successfully accomplish both fieldwork and the dissertation provided the necessary motivation to complete this accomplishment. Also, I thank my many friends who encouraged, supported, and kept after me to complete the dissertation. Special mention goes to Keith McNeal, Vincent Goldberg, and Maarit Laitnen Forde whose fieldwork experience ove rlapped with my own and provided a very supportive network. I extend my gratitude to my supervisor and coworkers at the U.S. Department of Housing, Office of Policy Development and Research who provided a supportive and understanding work environmen t while writing my dissertation. In Trinidad and Tobago, I am grateful for th e support and guidan ce provided by Rhoda Reddock and Bridget Brereton from the Universi ty of the West Indies, St. Augustine. In Tobago, special acknowledgement goes to st aff of the Small Business Development Company, FundAid, and Tobago House of Asse mbly, Divisions of Health, Community Development, and Marketing. These agencies graciously made available to me their knowledge and services, provided access to many of their programs for study, and granted access to their clie nt lists for interviews.


i TABLE OF CONTENTS List of Figures................................................................................................................ ...iv List of Tables................................................................................................................. .....v Abstract....................................................................................................................... Chapter One: Introduction a nd Objectives of the Study...............................................1 A. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY AND PRELIMINARY RESEARCH........................................1 B. FIELDWORK.................................................................................................................5 C. ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS OF APPLIED ANTHROPOLOGY..........................................8 D. DELINEATING THE STUDY.........................................................................................12 Chapter Two: Theoretical Perspective..........................................................................17 A. ECONOMIC ANTHROPOLOGY.....................................................................................17 Formalist/Substantivist Debate.................................................................................18 Formal/Informal Economy........................................................................................25 Formalization of the Informal Sector.......................................................................29 Women’s Participation in the Informal Sector.........................................................37 B. FEMINISMS................................................................................................................43 Survey of Critical Feminist Theory...........................................................................44 Feminist Anthropology..............................................................................................53 Praxis Informed by Critical Feminist Theory...........................................................59 Feminist Critique of International Development......................................................67 Chapter Three: Literature Review.................................................................................77 A. INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY AND PRACTICE..........................................78 Women in International Development (WID)...........................................................78 Grameen Bank Model...............................................................................................89 Generalizability of the Microcredit Model...............................................................99 Cultural Context......................................................................................................110 B. CARIBBEAN STUDIES...............................................................................................127 Cultural Diffusion/Historical..................................................................................129 Social Welfare or Social Pathology........................................................................133 Personal Choice and Adaptation............................................................................135 Afro-Caribbean Women’s Surviva l and Adaptive Strategies..................................139


ii C. A BRIEF HISTORY OF TOBAGO, W.I........................................................................149 The Most Fought Over Island in the Caribbean (1498-1800)................................152 Decline of Sugar and Ward of Trinidad (1800-1960)............................................163 Development Policy and Politic s in the 1950s and 1960s......................................177 Hurricane Flora and Central Government Policy (1963-1980).............................185 Tobago’s Tourism Development through the Twentieth Century...........................202 D. ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH ON WOMEN IN TOBAGO...............................................223 Cultural Context of Tobago, W.I.............................................................................223 Peasantry Remembered..........................................................................................225 Modernization and Secondary Education...............................................................257 Tertiary Education, Training Opport unities, and Female Leadership...................271 Interpersonal Dynamics..........................................................................................283 Summary of Women’s Working Roles.....................................................................304 Chapter Four: Methods.................................................................................................308 A. SAMPLING...............................................................................................................311 B. DEMOGRAPHIC DATA..............................................................................................321 C. ETHNOGRAPHIC DATA.............................................................................................322 Chapter Five: Ethnographic Research Findings........................................................338 A. APPLYING THE MICROCREDIT MODEL: COOPERATIVE FEMALE MICROENTERPRISE340 A.1 Case Study One: Local and Internati onal Sponsorship (Fairfield Industrial Cottage)...................................................................................................................341 A.2 Case Study Two: Local Sponsorship (Glendale Women’s Sewing Group)......354 A.3 Case Study Three: Applying for Local Funding (Golden Bay’s Women’s Handicraft Group)..................................................................................................359 A.4 Case Study Four: Loss of Intern ational Sponsorship (Creative Women’s Enterprises).............................................................................................................367 B. APPLYING THE MODEL: INDIVIDUAL FEMALE MICROENTREPRENEURS..................372 B.1 Local Implementation of the Mi crocredit Model (REACH Project)................376 B.2 Small Business Development Company............................................................391 B.3 FundAid............................................................................................................399 B.4 Conventional Banking System and Credit Unions...........................................407 B.5 Rotating Credit and Savings Association or Susu............................................410 B.6 Caribbean Microfinance Limited.....................................................................415 Chapter Six: Applied Implications...............................................................................434 A. SUMMARY OF THE DISSERTATION...........................................................................434 B. THEORETICAL IMPLICATIONS:.................................................................................439 C. LINKS TO THE LITERATURE.....................................................................................443 D. RECOMMENDED MICROCREDIT MODEL FOR TOBAGO.............................................450 E. GENERAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO ANTHROPOLOGY.....................................................455 F. CALL FOR FUTURE RESEARCH.................................................................................456


iii Appendices..................................................................................................................... .457 APPENDIX A: TOPICAL CHECKLIST FOR INTERVIEWS..................................................458 APPENDIX B: MAP OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO...........................................................459 APPENDIX C: MAP OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS’ THIRD VOYAGE.............................460 APPENDIX D: MAP OF TOBAGO, WEST INDIES.............................................................461 APPENDIX E: TRAINING ASSISTANCE RESOURCES.......................................................462 APPENDIX F: FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE RESOURCES.....................................................464 References Cited.............................................................................................................46 9 Endnotes....................................................................................................................... ...504 About the Author................................................................................................End Page


iv List of Figures Figure 1: Total Working Population Employme nt in Government Public Service........197 Figure 2: 1990 Race or Ethnicity for Trinidad and Tobago............................................199 Figure 3: Race or Ethnicity, Tobago Only......................................................................199 Figure 4: National Gross Domes tic Product for Guest Houses......................................212 Figure 5: Major Religions in Tobago..............................................................................241 Figure 6: Housing by Tenancy........................................................................................260 Figure 7: Total Employment Rate in Agricu lture, Forestry, Fishery or Hunting...........269 Figure 8: Total Number of Unions by Age and Type.....................................................272 Figure 9: Highest Education Level Achieved by Female Population.............................277 Figure 10: Professional Training Among Women..........................................................277


v List of Tables Table 1: Sample of Individual Female Micr oentrepreneurs by Source of Referral........316 Table 2: Total Sample of Female Micr oentrepreneurs by Region of Tobago................317 Table 3: Reported Education, Sample of All Female Microentrepreneurs by Region of Tobago....................................................................................................................318 Table 4: Demographic Averag es from Sample of All Female Microentrepreneurs.......318 Table 5: Percentile Demographic Info rmation from Sample of All Female Microentrepreneurs.................................................................................................318 Table 6: Type of Business, Sample of All Female Microentrepreneurs.........................319


vi Mediating the Model: Women's Microenterprise and Microcre dit in Tobago, West Indies Cheryl A. Levine ABSTRACT From the perspectives of economic anthropology, feminist anthropology, and feminist theory, this applied anthropologi cal study is an eval uation of a popular international development model targe ting poor women. Based on the celebrated Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, the so-called “mic rocredit” model is designed as a poverty alleviation strategy to provide small loans to poor women in rural settings and is designed to facilitate microenterprise development. Due to the popularity of the microcredit model with the international development community, it is being replicated in different settings. Through an analysis of microenterprise deve lopment among Afro-Caribbean women, this study presents the argument that successful application of international development strategies, such as the microcre dit model, requires considerati on of three critical factors if the objective is to facilitate economic empo werment. First, international development policy and practice has tended to homogeni ze women, enforce gender-typed work, and emphasize group structure regardless of r ecipients’ needs or preferences. Second, attempts by local governments to replicate the microcredit model may fail due to lack of


vii commitment or inadequate infrastructure. Th ird, application of inte rnational development interventions, such as the microcredit model, must be tailored to fit the cultural and historical context as well as account for the ne eds and expectations of intended recipients.


Chapter One: Introduction and Objectives of the Study A. Objectives of the Study and Preliminary Research In this dissertation I apply an ethnographi c approach to document the impacts of programs sponsored by both governmental and international development agencies to support self-employment among female microe ntrepreneurs in Tobago, West Indies. I evaluate several examples of funding programs designed to facilitate poverty alleviation through self-employment as wells the experien ces of both individuals and groups. In this dissertation, I use the term microcredit to refer to a poverty alle viation strategy that has diffused throughout the international developm ent industry, modeled after the celebrated Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. In practice, Grameen Bank emphasizes cooperative lending in the rural setting as a ubiquitous pa nacea for poverty in the so-called “Third World.” Through the microcredit approach, agen cies seeking to provide capital to poor women have targeted savings and credit progra ms at the local level using a participatory method. Under this model, small loans are offered to economically empower poor women without addressing concurrent needs for servic es including appropriate training in gainful occupations, access to resources and markets, as well as influencing policies pertaining to the sustainability of women’s economic activ ities. In some locations, the microcredit model has been replicated wit hout consideration of the local cultural or historical context including the position of women within the society or structure of the family. I evaluate the microcredit model as a new development ideology and explore w hy this intervention may or may not work in the context of the Caribbean. I provide a three-part argument of why attempts to replicate the famous Gram een Bank model may fail. First, unsuccessful


2 international development policy and pract ice tends to homogenize women, enforce gender-typed work, and emphasize group structur e regardless of recipients’ needs or preferences. Second, attempts by local governments to repl icate the microcredit model may fail due to lack of commitment of res ources or inadequate infrastructure. Third, application of international development inte rventions, such as the microcredit model, must be tailored to fit the cultural and histor ical context as well as account for the needs and expectations of intended recipients. This study is an assessment of the need s of self-employed, poor women in the globalizing economy of Tobago, West Indies. In this dissertation I argue that the microcredit model’s orientat ion toward the rural, agricultural context hinders its applicability to Tobago, whic h is increasingly encompa ssed by the global economy due to international tourism development. The history of Tobago i nvolves transitioning from plantrocacy to peasant society to growi ng international tourism economy, and my analysis from the perspective of applied anthropology indicates discrepancies between the wants and needs of women and the utility of the microcredit model within the context of the Caribbean. Although Afro-Caribbean women have worked since slavery, current political-economic, cu ltural influences, and historic pa tterns preclude women’s economic empowerment under the current concep tion of the microcredit model. This study focuses on the following resear ch question; “Does the microcredit model of female microenterprise development fit the cultural and historical context of Tobago?” In order to answer this research question, th is study tests the following hypothesis: through accounting for political-econo mic factors as well as historical and


3 cultural context, the current mi crocredit model, which concep tualizes microenterprise as a cooperative effort among women in a rural setting, may be augmented to better meet the needs of female microentrepreneurs in the context of Toba go’s globalizing economy by building on existing networks and resources. Specifically, this research addresses the following questions. First, how and why do po litical economic, hist orical, and cultural forces continue to constrain Caribbean wome n’s participation in the work force? Second, how might these constraining f actors best be ameliorated? Third, does microenterprise offer women a viable economic strategy towards economic empowerment? Finally, through augmentation of the microcred it development model endorsed by funding agencies, can this approach be tailored to bett er meet the needs of women in cultural and economic contexts other than rural agricultu ral settings? In answ ering these questions, this study is comprised of six chapters. Based on preliminary research, female micr oentrepreneurs in Tobago are eager to expand the scope of their businesses through access to funding and training opportunities. Under current conditions, poor women in Toba go experience confinement to low-wage, gender-typed work in a two-fold manner. First, they are cons trained “locally” by cultural attitudes that define women’s work as co mplimentary (and thus secondary to a man’s wages). Second, they are constrained “globa lly” by the dominant development paradigm that circumscribes women’s abilities to tradit ional enterprising sphe res (such as food and handicraft production and sales) and cooperativ e organization. Notwithstanding this dual confinement, the microenterprises of women in Tobago continue to provide independence and flexibility despite generating only marginal incomes. During


4 preliminary fieldwork, I found inconsistenc ies between the needs and objectives of microentrepreneurial women and the agendas of the local governmen t and international development agencies that were intended to provide support.


5 B. Fieldwork Preliminary Fieldwork : Pre-dissertation research was conducted during the summer months of 1996 and 1997. My pre-diss ertation research was designed as an impact assessment of tourism development that focused on the needs of female microentrepreneurs. Preliminary research included observation and interviews with female microentrepreneurs in Tobago’s touris m zones, interviews with tourism and small business development officials and a genera l assessment of tourism development policy in Tobago. This research indicated that a major shift was taking place towards the development of a large-scale, resort tourism industry. Over the course of two summers, I tracked the experiences of female micr oentrepreneurs who were impacted by redevelopment of a public beach facility. Wh at I found during preliminary research was that Tobago’s infrastructure was not sufficiently developed to support tourism development. More specifically, in order for tourism development to provide gainful employment opportunities to the local workfo rce, including the many self-employed that depended largely on tourism to earn a living, si gnificant change needed to take place. Preliminary research included interviews w ith international development practitioners and small business development representatives on the status of fe male microenterprise across the island of Tobago. I learned from thes e interviews that the prevailing model for economically empowering poor women was a re plication of the microcredit model of microenterprise development. My preliminar y assessment of self-employment options for poor women indicated there were two types: cooperatively organized microenterprises and individual female microent repreneurs. During summer fiel dwork, I was able to locate


6 only a limited number of women’s cooperatively organized microenter prises as compared to the preponderance of indi vidual female microentrepr eneurs. Furthermore, those cooperatively organized microent erprises that I did identify were either sponsored by the local government or had secured grant funding from international development agencies. In contrast to the structure and sponsorship of cooperatively organi zed microenterprises, individual female microentrepr eneurs tended to operate with little financial assistance and their businesses were frequently redunda nt (including a multitude of snack shop, agricultural stalls and handicraft vendors). Thus, based on preliminary research, the scope of my dissertation research on women’ s microenterprise was extended beyond the tourism sector to evaluate female microe ntrepreneurship in Tobago more broadly. In order to address the problem of poor wome n’s self-employment options within the globalizing economy of Tobago, I designed my follow-up, research as a comparison of cooperative and individual microe nterprise among women in Tobago. Dissertation Fieldwork : Preparation for this study included review and approval of my research methods and survey instru ments by the University of South Florida’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) in June 1999.1 In total, my dissertation fieldwork was conducted over a period of 13 consecutive m onths (March 1999 through April 2000), in addition to previous summer research. While collecting data for my dissertation, I lived in Tobago for 12 months and stayed in Trinid ad during my final month of fieldwork in order to complete archival research in the cap ital of Port-of-Spain and at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Data colle ction included a range of ethnographic methods and focused on evaluating microenterpris e development among women in Tobago2.


7 Interviews conducted for the dissertation in cluded obtaining participants’ consent through use of the IRB.


8 C. Ethical Considerations of Applied Anthropology As an applied anthropology study, my in tent was to conduct ethical and sound research with the goal of taking a practic al approach to solving human problems. Considerations for anthropologi cal research include both the ethical guidelines laid out by the discipline and the ethical principles and moral standards of the individual anthropologist. In conducti ng this study, my foremost obligation and the primary responsibility of my research was to the interests of indi viduals being studied. In the following, I briefly describe the ethical pr inciples I have attempted to uphold in practicing anthropology includi ng being reflexive about the discipline of anthropology, being candid about the purposes of my resear ch, working towards practical outcomes to ensure that my study is releva nt, and protecting my particip ants from harm by disclosing my intent and prot ecting their identity. One ethical consideration of conducting this applied anthropology study involved being reflexive about the di scipline itself. Unlike many pr ofessions, anthropologists are not “licensed to practice,” th erefore – awareness and develo pment of the anthropological code of ethics falls upon the individual. Th e history of discipline of anthropology has critical ethical implications. Anthropol ogy was born out of the British colonialist enterprise where ethnographic sk ills evolved in the context of collecting information on cultures for the purposes of administering a nd empire building. Amer ican anthropology also has a colorful history co mposed of ethical dilemmas at various times (Fluehr-Lobban 1991). There are examples of applied anthr opology being highly commended for and harshly criticized for impacts on public policy. In the 1930’s and 1940s, for example,


9 anthropologists including Gregory Bateson, Ma rgaret Mead, and Ruth Benedict applied their skills to conduct “nationa l character studies” in suppor t of the wartime efforts the context of World War II. At other times, th e applied activities of anthropologist were vilified. In 1960s and 1970s, for example, CIA-contract research conducted by anthropologists in Southeast Asia an d Latin America involved clandestine counterinsurgency during the Vietnam War era. These examples demonstrate that professional standards for the use of anthropological methodology are open to interpretation within the specific context. Thus, my ethical standards are tempered by awareness of the history of my discipline and framed by social consciousness, moral obligations, and personal responsibility. A second consideration of conducting this applied anthropology study involved honoring the discipline through being candid abou t the purposes of my research. Ethical practice involves conducting responsible research and being accountable for one’s actions, which helps to maintain the credibil ity of anthropology as a discipline and the good standing of its practitioners. Applied an thropology avoids clandestine research and assures no compromise of ethics. I worked to wards maintaining high ethical standards in my applied anthropological study by formul ating appropriate research questions, collecting accurate data, and conducting thought ful analysis with the goal of producing practical recommendations in the form of this dissertation. Also, my study entailed care and consideration in planning and carrying out my research in an appropriate manner and publicly disclosing the purpose of my st udy, which involved registering with host


10 government, identifying myself as an anthr opologist and disclosing the purpose of my research during interactions. A third ethical consideration for th is applied anthr opology study involved conducting relevant research in order that findings would have practical outcomes. “Applied anthropologists use the knowledge, skills, and perspectiv es of their discipline to help solve human problems and facilitate change” (Chambers 1985:8). Furthermore, applied anthropology teaches us to engage in social debate in order that we might positively influence development policy by providing solutions to practical problems. This study represents a critique of the popular microcredit model that was developed in one historical and cultural context and offers evidence that successful implement requires tailoring this international development approach to appropriately fit different settings. “Through ethical practice more effective acti on and policies can be developed” (van Willigen 1993:54). Thus, the goal of this study was to evaluate of the applicability of the microcredit model of microent erprise development as a stra tegy for alleviating poverty in the historic and cultural c ontext of the Caribbean and making recommendations for improving this model. Informed by the theoretical perspect ives of economic anthropology, feminist anthropology, as well as the critical perspective of feminist theory, this study evaluated th e success of intern ational development policy and practice in the historic and cultural context of Tobago, W.I. In working towards conducting ethical research with practical outcomes, I tried to develop a real istic understanding of how to affect positive change within the context of the existing social structure and


11 political-economic environment that involve d taking into account women’s multiple roles and responsibilities within the globalizing economy of Tobago. Finally, conducting ethical applied anthr opology in this study required disclosing information and avoiding situations that mi ght cause harm. Most importantly, practicing applied anthropology entails an ethical obligation to consider the implications of our research and protect our informants. Thus, my primary ethical consideration as an applied anthropologist was my relationship to th e people of Tobago. During my research, I maintained informed consent through disc losing the purposes of my study, asked for participation, and obtained informed cons ent. Although my requests for participation were seldom declined, I was consistent with this practice in order to honor the rights of my participants. Although I did not promise st rict anonymity (which was not realistic), I did assure participants that I would strive to protect their identity and the information they disclosed to me. In the tradition of anthropological research, I have not tried to conceal the location of my research; however, I have consistently used pseudonyms for people and places. Though several of the people I interviewed did not feel the need for anonymity, and though many of the events and public figures I de scribed are easily identifiable, for consistency and to honor th eir privacy, I have elected to use pseudonyms throughout my dissertation.


12 D. Delineating the Study This study builds on findings from pre liminary summer fieldwork in Trinidad and Tobago (1996 and 1997). During earlier fieldwork, I established a network of personal friends and professional acquaintan ces. These contacts were invaluable in planning my study. In March of 1999, I retu rned to Tobago eager to begin my dissertation fieldwork. Marie, who is my closest friend and surrogate mother in Tobago, helped to make housing arrangements for me. The topic I had come to evaluate, what I call the “microcredit model of microenterpris e development” was a very much en vogue. I was thrilled when I learned that a local microcredit project was being implemented in Tobago and that my return coincided with th e launch. I was eager to document the new program from its beginning. There were many surprises awaiting me, many ups and downs in my research experience. The loca l version of the inte rnational development model failed after only a few months. Also, I had planned to compar e “cooperative” to “individual” microentrepreneurs, but my a ttempts to locate women’s cooperative enterprises were nearly fruitless. Thr ough an ethnographic approach, I applied anthropological skills by wide ning the scope of my research and exploring other microenterprise related themes. I tracked dow n a variety projects, interviewed a multitude people, observed a range programs, and attend ed many meetings. In this dissertation I have tried to include the voi ces of the many women that I interviewed. As much as possible, I have tried to be true to th eir original thoughts a nd words while still maintaining their privacy. Much of what I present is taken fr om tape-recorded interviews that I did my best to transc ribe verbatim. With respect for the original words of the


13 women that I interviewed, I try as closely as possible to represent a Tobago dialect in my ethnographic account. When my time in the field came to a clos e and I was ready to go home, I reflected back on the many women who had given me thei r time and shared with me their stories. Much of the information I collected wa s obtained through participant-observation. A typical day of fieldwork invol ved traveling by bus or taxi and walking through a village to find a woman who was busy working, but wa s willing to spend several hours talking to an anthropologist about her ec onomic activities. Often, I spent an afternoon sitting with a woman in her little shop, observing village life and greeting the occasional customer, while she told me of her frustrations and accomplishment. I observed a hairdresser while she finished her client and later heard of her life beyond of Tobago and what propelled her to return. I visited a chic ken farmer who shared with me the success of her family business and desire to expand. I toured the carefully arranged gardens of a short crops farmer and observed the interconnectedness of her multigenerational, extended family composed of mother, daughters, grandchild ren, and grandmother. I listened to a handicraft producer describe the challenge of raising six children alone. Each had a different story, a unique perspec tive, and in her own way shared with me what it means to be a woman in Tobago. What follows are five dissertation ch apters. In chapter two, “Theoretical Perspectives,” I describe the theoretical foundations fo r this dissertation including economic anthropology, feminist anthropology, a nd feminist theory. In the section on economic anthropology, I describe importa nt theoretical debates including


14 formalist/substantivist that addresses how economy is located within culture. I discuss theories of formal/informal economy, desc ribe why women engage in the informal economic sector, and explain tre nds toward formalization. In the section on feminisms, I briefly discuss several theore tical trends includ ing second wave, contemporary feminist theory, and feminist anthropology. Also, I de scribe how my study moves beyond feminist and economic anthropology to a praxis that is informed by critical feminist theory. In chapter three, “Review of the Literature,” I provide a background on international development, Caribbean studies, a brief hist ory of Tobago, and a discussion of cultural context through ethnographic research on women in Tobago. In the section on international development, I describe th e emergence of the field of Women in International Development and account for a history of women’s work and microenterprise. I summarize the Grameen Bank which serves as an important model for this study, discuss the potential for replica ting the microcredit model, and explore the importance of accounting for cultural context in development practice. In my review of Caribbean studies, I briefly discuss different th eoretical perspectives that anthropologists have operationalized to explain the nature of the Caribbean family. I also illustrate Caribbean women’s multiple roles and responsib ilities as well as their survival and adaptive strategies. I provide a brief history of Tobago that elucidates the historic context for this ethnographic study. This history of the island of Tobago accounts for the time of Columbus up through the presen t, including the turbulent co lonial years of 1489 to 1889, through the independent years, and up the expansion of tourism development in the twentieth century. In my discussion of ethnographic research on women, I account for


15 cultural context by describing T obago as a post-emancipation peasant society, the impact of modernization through the 1960s and the pr ocess of so-called “ housewifization,” the shift towards women’s oppor tunities expanding through e ducation and employment beginning in the 1970s, and also account for how women’s interpersonal dynamics can function as an obstacle to upward mobility. In chapter four, “Methods,” I delineate my methodological approach for this applied an thropology study. In detail, I discuss my ethnographic research design, data collection methods, sampling strategy, and analysis approach. In chapter five, “E thnographic and Research Resu lts,” I apply anthropology as demonstrated through several case studies of cooperative microenterprise development, examples of individual female microentrepr eneurs, and application of the microcredit model. These case studies represent a range of organizational stru ctures and economic outcomes. Case studies include examples of projects funded through the local government, international development agenci es, or both. I provide a resource inventory to evaluate the range of funding, training, and business services available to support microentrepreneurship and examine resource utilization among individual female microentrepreneurs. Also, I discuss implicati ons for mediating inte rnational development strategies such as the microcredit model of microenterprise development in order to more appropriately correspond to the context of small, Caribbean societies like Tobago. In chapter six, “Conclusions,” I re late my findings back to literature on international development, Caribbean studies, as well as the history and cultural context of Tobago. I recapitulate general conclusions and reco mmendations for appropriate use of the microcredit model in Tobago. Finally, I expl ain how through my study, I have attempted


16 to contribute applied anthropological knowledge and provide suggestions for additional research.


17 Chapter Two: Theoret ical Perspective The combined perspectives of economic anthropology and feminist theory are fundamental to my evaluation of microcre dit model of microenterprise development among women in Tobago, West Indies. This ch apter provides the theoretical framework for my study and demonstrates the intersection between different theo retical perspectives. First, a discussion of economic anthropology he lps to locate the economy within culture. Also, through an assessment of perspectives on formal and informal economic practices, I examine the dynamics of the so-called “informal economy” where female microenterprise often occurs. Second, this study involves the critic al perspective of feminist theory that draws from the both feminist theory and feminist anthropology. Through a survey of different feminisms and a description of my feminist orientation, I incorporate various perspectives in order to account for a women’s point of view and provide a woman-centered evaluation of economic empowerment among female microentrepreneurs in Tobago. A. Economic Anthropology The following discussion of economic anthropology helps to locate the economy within culture and focuses on theories of form al verses informal economic practice. First, through a brief discussion on the formal verses substantive debate wi thin anthropology, I establish an anthropological framework for the analysis economic activity. Second, in contrast to formal economic activity that oc curs within the regulat ed capitalist, world


18 market, I describe the context of the so -called “informal economy” where female microentrepreneurship is often located. Th ird, from the perspective of international development, I describe the shift from atte mpts to regulate and control the so-called “informal economy” to manipulation of inform al institutions as a strategy for economic development. Formalist/Substantivist Debate A classic debate within anthropology c oncerned the definition of “economics” as it related to the study of the economy in human society. Within the cultural context, anthropology sought to identify economic reality, causes, and boundaries of economic structures.1 The debate involved the definition and scope of economic analysis as a tool for studying economic systems cross-cultura lly (Cancian 1966; Cook 1966; Dalton 1968; Godelier 1977; Polanyi 1968; Prattis 1987:21) In debating whether or not economics could be used to answer anthr opological questions, tw o distinct perspectiv es gave rise to a polemic debate on the formal verses substantive definitions of economics. In the following I elaborate on these two perspec tives of economic anthropology and the outcome of this theoretical debate. First, the formal or “formalist” econo mic approach involved the empirical study of human behavior through the principles of “economizing” (or the efficient use of material resources) and “maximizing” (or achieving the greatest quantity or value attainable). Through a scientific and synchr onic approach, formalis t economic analysis was empirically based and not limited by time or place. Formalist principles involved a neoclassical economic framework of wants to resources through pe ople making decisions


19 and choices in a rational manner between known alternat ives (Cancian 1966:464,469; Cook 1966; Godelier 1977:17-18; Polanyi 1968: 139-140; Prattis 1987:14-22). To clarify the formal economic approach, I provide gene ral definitions for some basic terms as follows: “Means” involves anything appropriate to serve the attainment of any ends. “Ends” indicates the goal or aim of an action taken by an economic actor, usually by achieving the ends there is relief from a felt uneasiness. “Rational” refers to choice and logi cal decision-making between different uses of the means in relation to the ends. “Scarcity” refers to insufficiency of means, which results in a rational choice in the use of means to an end. The formalist approach defined economics as a means-end relationship and rational decision-making involving the allocation of s carce means that have alternative ends. Under the formalist definition, economy in cluded all means-ends, rational, choicemaking behavior; thus, the formalist approach to economic analysis involved a universal way of looking at behavior that could be applied cross-culturally. Specifically, proponents of the formalist positi on considered the axioms of economizing maximizing and scarcity sufficiently abstract to apply to any society. Through operationalizing these universal axioms, formal economic theory could be applied to non-market or precapitalist societies. In the formalist approac h, the inherent plasticity and logical integrity of formal economic models provided a general scientific strategy to enable economists to predict human economic behavior univ ersally (Cook 1966:335-336). For example, through ethnographic descriptions of different value systems from different societies,


20 anthropological inquiry c ould identify how members of a culture choose between alternative ends. Second the substantive or “substantivist” approach defined economy as adaptation to the changing social and na tural environment. Proponents of the substantivist position (Karl Polyani and his followers) defined the eco nomy as embedded in cultural and social institutions. Economic activity involved in terchange with the natural and social environment for the provision of the material necessities of human existence (Cancian 1966:465,466; Dalton 1968; Polanyi 1968:139-14 1; Prattis 1987:16). Through an inductive and diachronic approach, subs tantivist economics studied societal idiosyncrasies in the context of time and pl ace. Substantivist economic analysis focused on embedded institutions in order to assess th e social forms and structures of production, distribution, and circulati on of material goods. Though th e substantivist approach accounted for both western and non-western socie ties, application of an empirical model was reserved for the study of market excha nge systems; while non-market societies were regarded as “laboratories” to study the history of the relati onship of the economy to other precapitalist systems (Dalton 1968:xi; Godelier 1977:21; Polanyi 1968). Polyani used economic anthropology and early economic history to jar us loose from ideas and generalizations about man and society implanted by the Industrial Revolution…He was particularly concerned to dislodge the notion – so widely and implicitly held – that markets are the ubiquitous and invariable form of economic organization; that any economy can be translated into market terms, and the further notions that economic organization determines social organization and culture in all societies (D alton 1968:xv).


21 Substantivists classified pr ecapitalist economic systems into three discrete types of societies – archaic, primitive, and modern – with separate rationalities. Also, Polanyi proposed an economic framework that c onsisted of three types – reciprocity, redistribution, and market exchange – as the institutional processes that integrated the economy in different social contexts (Cancian 1966:466; Cook 1966:328; Polanyi 1968:149,155). The three economic types may be summarized as follows: “Reciprocal” patterns invol ve symmetrical movement between groups (such as subsistence patterns of egalitar ian, hunter-gather societies). “Redistribution” involves movement in a centralized system (such as simple agricultural societies). “Market exchange” is an outcome of more antagonistic bargaining-type behavior or higgling-haggling (such as capitalist societies). Within the substantivist definition, economy in non-market societies was dominated by reciprocity that involved mutual cooperation and solidarity; maximization (of the material objects being exchanged within any economic framework) was a norm in some, but not present in all instances of market exch ange; meanwhile, scarcity was a culturally constructed condition not presen t in all economic systems. Under Polyani’s analytical framework, the concepts of reciprocity, redist ribution, and market exchange were at the same time social and economic categories and therefore useful for the study of nonwestern systems (Dalton 1968:xxix). Anthr opological study provi ded examples of societies that practiced a wide variety of in stitutions (other than markets systems) in which human livelihood was culturally and socially embedded.


22 The crux of the formalist/substantivist debate was the applicability of an economic model based on the market economy fo r the analysis of nonwestern societies. Set in opposition, the formalist position i nvolved law of the mind, rationality, and individual choice while the s ubstantivist position involved la ws of nature and societal institutions. Formalist economic anthropology studied the price-making, market system as rational, choice-making behavior in which all human livelihood was embedded and assumed that models of economizing, maximiza tion, and scarcity coul d be applied to any society (Polanyi 1968:141; Prattis 1987:15-18) In contrast, the substantivist position regarded economic organizing as universal regardless of whether it resembled the market-exchange system; however, laissez-fa ire capitalism was considered a unique and transitory event and therefor e, not appropriate as a gene ralizable, cross-cultural model (Dalton 1968:xxx,xxxii). A major critique of th e formalist position was the tendency to misunderstand cultures due to th e application of an ethnocentr ic framework based on the socioeconomic context of nineteenth-century industrial Britain (P rattis 1987:17). The substantivist position argued that through tr ansforming human subsistence into market “commodities,” formal economic theory te nded to homogenize economic motives and systems as variants of our own mark et system (Cook 1966:329; Dalton 1968:xxxiii; Polanyi 1968:164). Yet, the formalist pos ition rebutted that through subsequent refinement and modification of economic theo ry and application of empirical method, the formal economic approach provided a “neutral ” toolkit for the study of historic or nonwestern economic systems (Cook 1966:330; Prattis 1987:17-19). Also, by taking a narrow approach, the formalists tended to re duce economics to a single aim that excluded


23 characteristics of social and economic syst ems that are unintentionally “economic” and may reveal a society’s deeper logic. In cont rast, the substantivist defined economic sector as “submerged” and” embedded” within the cu ltural and social institutions, a model that the formalists criticized for lacking empirica l integrity due to a te ndency to “sociologize” through the use of qualitative, comparative, or ethnogr aphic analysis (Cook 1966:328; Dalton 1968:x). Formalist discounted the s ubstantivist approach for romanizing the human primitive “pre-market” condition as altruistic and naturally cooperative subsistence that was transformed and degrad ed by introduction of the market economy (Cancian 1966:465; Cook 1966:327-329). Reciprocity, as argued by the formalist position, was not inconsistent with aggressi ve behavior as “reci procal economy can create conflict as well as contribute to solid arity, and can also be manipulated to secure an advantage over one’s fellows” (Cook 1966:328). Another criticism of the substantivist stance was the inability to “prove that non-We stern man does not maximize, he clearly is subject to some kinds of scarc ity…therefore he must allocate scarce means to alternative ends” (Cancian 1966:466). As a result of their polemic positioning, a useful middle ground between the formalist-substantivist perspectives did not evolve out of their debate. Operating from two definitions of the economy, reconciliati on would have required synthesis of the two perspectives (Prattis 1987:22). Although the definitions became somewhat merged in practice, ultimately the substantivist position was subsumed by the formalist position on locating the economy within culture (Polanyi 1968:141). Clearly, economic anthropology required a model that does not translate th e economic institutions of other societies


24 simply as variants of the western mark et system (Dalton 1968:xxxii-xxxiii). Had a synthesis occurred, the role of anthropology in relation to economic theory might have resulted in economic models that explicitly account for embedded institutions. Rather than debating the question whether or not economy could be used to solve anthropological problems, in clusion of the anthropologica l perspective would have improved economic science by accounting for historic and cultural context (Prattis 1987:21-22). Yet, contemporary economic models have maintained a bias towards the capitalist market system. A further critique of formal economic an alysis concerns the limited scope that excludes the multidimensional role of small and micro-business sector. In addition to formal economic analysis, through accounting for historic and cu ltural context, the impact of small and micro-businesses within particular social structure can be more comprehensively evaluated. As argued by the su bstantivist, qualitative economic analysis that accounts for history and cu lture demonstrates that econo mic patterns are an extension of the social organization. In the Caribbean co ntext, historic and cultural forces resulted in “a skewed structure of participation in the business area [that] was reinforced by economic developments” (Crichlow 1991:194). In the case of Tr inidad and Tobago, where colonial legislation and the capitalist world system established and reinforced a stratified social st ructure, economic activities are linked to race, class, and gender. Within this context, the restricted employment, sm all size and profits that characterize the economic practices of large numbers of microe ntrepreneurs more closely resemble small holders in the agriculture sector or even f actory workers. “Here the small holder owns


25 land or has access to land which is insuffici ent to make a decent living. At the same time ownership of a small/micro business like ownership of a small plot of land ensure a certain amount of leverage to hustle and ve ry little else” (Crichlow 1991:202-203). In the microenterprise sector, analysis of capitalis t oriented outcomes (that is maximization and economizing) fails to acknowledge other t ypes of economic activ ity that may more closely reflect reciprocal and redistributive outcomes. Formal/Informal Economy In the section above, I described the fo rmalist/substantivis t debate within anthropology that questioned the applicability of the market economy as a universal model for economic analysis of non-western societies. Another discussion within economic anthropology concerned differing perspectives on the formal/informal economy. Participant in the so-c alled “informal economy” gene rally lack access to credit, training, or other formal services, and of ten have difficulty finding markets (Awori 1995:236; Crichlow 1998:66). Consequently, genera l characteristics of activities in the informal sector include small scale, family-r un, with minimal barriers to entry, avoidance of state regulations, a high degree of competition, flexible sites, use of labor-intensive technology, and reliance on local resources and unpaid labor (Berger 1995:190; Portes, et al. 1989:2). Furthermore, due to the inherent flexibility of the so-called “informal economy,” women frequently part icipate in this sector. As a model, the unregulated structure of informal economic activity is ty pically viewed in c ontrast with formal economic activity, however, the origins and rigi dity of this bifurcated model has been debated. In the section below, I briefly di scuss theories of th e so-called “informal


26 economy.” First, I describe the dualistic c oncept of the formal/informal economy as an outcome of advanced capitalis t expansion. Second, I describe informal activity as both a strategy and option along a c ontinuum of economic activit ies. Third, I indicate why women often engage in informal economic activity. Conventionally, the so-ca lled “informal economy” was considered a poverty response of people who unable to survive in the “f ormal economy,” must devise informal income-generating strategies. Generally, c onditions of the formal economic sector involve a clear separation between capital a nd labor, a contractual relationship between the two, a labor force that is paid wages, and legally regulated working conditions (Crichlow 1998:63; Portes and Sassen-Koob 1987). In contrast to the regulated, formal economy, the informal sector was initially regarded as “economic activities and transactions lying outside of official accounting, more by de fault than design” (Tabak 2000:2). This perspective situated the formal/in formal economy as a binary structure that could easily be translated as modern/trad itional or dynamic/backwards and is also reflected in synonyms for informal economic activity including underground submerged or secondary (Portes, et al. 1989:3; Tabak 2000:3). Within this dualistic model, the socalled “informal economy” was situated in the underdeveloped periphery of the worldeconomy as an outcome of multinational co rporations that required labor to be concentrated in the ‘modern’ sector, whic h inevitably produce poverty due to insufficient job creation in the formal sector, the displa cement of workers, low wages, and increased living expenses (Clammer 1987:189-190; Cr ichlow 1998:63; Tabak 2000:2-4; van der Wees 1995:45). The informal economic sector was considered the ur ban counterpart to


27 the process of “ruralization” that corres ponded with earlier episodes of world-economic transformation. Furthermore, early definitio ns considered informalization a recent phenomenon that resulted from forces of gl obalization that produced increased political control, the suppression of orga nized labor unions, “‘social engineering’ and especially the manipulation of the educational system” in order to maintain a marginalized labor force (Clammer 1987:190-191). Following Wo rld War II, the economies of Latin America and the so-called “Third World” ex perienced a period of rapid and sustained industrial development, but th e response of the labor mark et did not correspond to the predictions of formal economic models. Contra ry to the experience of advanced capitalist societies, self-employment (including inform al activity) did not decline in developing countries, but stayed constant with increas ed industrialization (Portes and Castells 1989:16). In the context of the developing wo rld, the fact that informal economic activities failed to be accounted for by governme nts was mainly attributed to the inability of states to compel complianc e with governing regulations or to reinforce rules (including taxation and licensing). Later definitions of the so-called “inf ormal economy” acknowledged the historic and geographic pervasiveness of multifarious informal economic activity as including certain social arrangements and economi c practices found across a variety of environments (Crichlow 2000:166; Portes, et al. 1989:3; Tabak 2000:34). Viewed within an institutional framew ork of economic activity, the informal sector was later understood as a process that is unregul ated by the institutions of society and cuts across social structure. The more a society regulates its economic activities through legal and social


28 institutions, the more divergent the two sectors. Yet, macrotheoretical explanations of the informal sector have been criticized for tr eating “firms and enterp rises as economic actors whose decisions are more or less based on the economic calculus of the market” thereby denying “the status of economic actors [who] … despite their limited quotient of power” are in fact able to exercise some degree of self-determination in using their labor power (1990:98-99,114). Critics of the hierarchical dualistic formal/informal economy model have suggested that the concept “informal economy” is often operationalized on a global scale when in fact they are referring to he terogeneous economic activity occurring in the local setting. Rather than a dualistic m odel composed of autonomous, demarcated structures – the economy may be describe d as a continuum of income generating activities wherein the “formal” and “informal” econo mies entail one another through backward and forward linkages between sector s. Furthermore, these systematic linkages result from social dynamics underlying the relationship to producti on where individuals can easily switch between the two sector s on the same workday (Feldman 1991:63; Portes and Castells 1989:11-13). Anthropology has contributed consider able discussion and expansion of formal/informal economic theory. In studying employment patterns in Africa, Keith Hart (1973) used the term informal to refer to relatively autonomous, income generating strategies existing outside the registered work force. In his discussion of rural Jamaica, Lambros Comitas (1973:157) built on this th eoretical model by describing the economic strategy of “occupational multiplicity or plurality, wherein the modal adult is systematically engaged in a number of gain ful activities … [to] form an integrated


29 economic complex.” Similarly, Carla Freeman ’s (1997:73) study of female assembly workers in Barbados demonstrated “juggling th e triple shift” of formal, informal, and domestic work. In addition to domestic du ties, 70 percent of women that Freedman surveyed were involved in informal econom ic activities (such as dressmaking) as a survival strategy to compensate for low wa ges. Scholars such as Katherine Browne (1995:23-24) have further refine d and explained this phenome non; she suggested that the anthropological contribution to the study of what are often “micro-scale” economic strategies have been insightful, but perhap s limited in scope. Alte rnatively, she proposed that the study of informal economic activity be broadened to include the income earning strategies of the upwardly mob ile as well as the poor through the analysis of “undeclared economic activities” (K. E. Brown 1995:24) Analysis of economic activity in the Caribbean context has called attention to the interconnected, fluid, intertwined reality of coexisting economic processes that shoul d only be arbitrarily separated into formal/informal constructs for purposes of analysis (Crichlow 1998; Portes and SassenKoob 1987:62-63). Formalization of the Informal Sector In evaluating the microcredit model of fe male microenterprise development, it is important to locate the economic activity of poor women who are the intended recipients of this strategy. Thus, in the section above, I described theories of the formal/informal economy that ranged from a rigid, dualistic model to a fluid, continuum of economic activity and identified informal economic ac tivity as an optional income-earning strategy. Next, I assess the tendency towards formaliza tion of the informal sector. Perception of


30 the informal sector has shifted. Earlier models regarded the informal sector as having marginal status, limited to peripheral zones, and predicted eventual disappearance. Later, the informalization was considered a ubiqu itous and leading component of the worldeconomy as well as the breeding ground fo r microenterprise development (Tabak 2000:1,14). As the model of the formal/informa l economy has become more flexible and appreciation for the world-encompassing pres ence of the informal economic sector has increased, an important question to consider is whether or not there is a tendency to formalize the informal sector? In the section below, I explain that the answer is both yes and no. First, I explore the paradigm shift from considering the so-called “informal economy” as a problem to be either remedied or co-opted by the formal economic sector. Second, I describe the tenacious quality of informal econom ic activity as a tool of resistance and manipulation. There are many examples of the tendency towards formalization of the informal sector and the following examples focus on Trinidad and Tobago. In the 1970s and 1980s, the dominant development paradigm vi ewed expansion of unregulated economic activity under the advanced capitalist system as a “seemingly aberrant…embarrassing nuisance” that needed to be brought unde r control and regulated by government policy. This perspective introduced th e so-called “informal economy” as a field of study where informal economic activity was considered an unintended consequence of development and a byproduct of the overly bureaucratic st ate that was either unable or unwilling to widely regulate economic activities of the informal sector (Cri chlow 1998:63-64; Tabak 2000:4). “Informal-economic analysts tend to view capitalist development as leading


31 inexorably to the formalization of institutions” (Crichlow 1998:76). This perspective suggests “capital develops and destroys non capitalistic forms of production, changing the social relations of the whole society a nd leading to regulati on” (Crichlow 1998:77). Using Trinidad and Tobago as a case study, Crichlow (1998:63) described a situation where social relations consiste d of an interconnected and di alectical relationship between the capitalist/formal sector and informal/unre gulated labor. In the case of Trinidad and Tobago (or anywhere else) “capital in conjunc tion with the state reorders, reshapes, and regulates the entire society” thus, the socalled informal economy is created by the state where both the formal and informal sector s proceed together as a result of the superimposition of modern capitalist fi rms on the economy (Crichlow 1998:65,77). This intertwined economic mix grew out of a “plantation legacy” that connected the Caribbean region to the capitalist world system. In the postcolonial era, Trinidad and Tobago developed into a bureaucratic state with pol icies designed to control capital accumulation and political conditions. An example of a state-sponsored program designed to bring informal economic activity under control was th e establishment of Trinidad and Tobago’s Small Business Programme.2 As lack of access to formal credit is considered to be a major obstacle to small entrepreneurs entering the formal economic sector, the purpose of the Small Business Programme was to make cr edit available. This program was designed to link and merge informal and formal econo mic activities and ultimately, to facilitate transitioning informal economic activity into regulated, formal economic practice. During the late 1960s and the 1970s, the small-busin ess sector grew rapidly in Trinidad and Tobago and into the 1990s, the sector (both ai ded and unaided by the state) continued to


32 be an integral feature of the economy (Crichlow 1998:67). Yet, state-sponsored development of Trinidad and Tobago’s small business sector did not preclude informal economic activity, rather both sectors grew. The example above demonstrated an effort of the bureaucratic state to “correct,” “regulate,” or “formalize” informal economic activity through the a pparatus of the Small Business Programme. Yet, the status of the informal economy has shifted from a provisional obstacle to viable asset for development (Tabak 2000:1). Thus, the next two examples examine the tendency towards fo rmalization through appropriating a popular informal economic practice. These exampl es involve the info rmal economic saving strategy known as Rotating Credit and Savings Associations (or ROSCAs). Jean Besson (1995:278) described ROSCAs as a traditional female-dominated institution that provides capital for poor people who may consid er banks too risky. ROSCAs, known as susu in Trinidad and Tobago, operates as the “b ackbone” of informal economic activity by providing the poor with access to mobilizing cred it. Susu typically involves an organized group of participants each contributing a fi xed amount for a set period of time (for example, five individuals each contribute $100 weekly for period of one year) and rotating in an established or der, participants take turn s receiving the pooled sum (or susu hand ). By providing access to funds to pay fo r school fees, purchase land, or various other economic activities, susu function as pe rsonalized, informal mutual aid resource. The first example of co-opting or forma lizing susu occurred in the 1980s when two low-cost housing schemes developed in To bago (that is, Milford Courts and Buccoo) proved insufficient to alleviate the housi ng shortage among the lower-income population.


33 Orchestrated as a political move by the Na tional Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) party, the “Susu Land Developers” offered an al ternative, cooperativ e approach to land acquisition and settlement. This approach involved the collec tive effort of Tobagonians investors who purchased the 100-acre former Gardenwoods Estate for $2 million TT that was subsequently subdivided into 450 lots designated for low-income housing. Buyers who purchased lots each contributed $1,000 TT towards their down payment and investors held the lots in trust, giving the purchaser one year to pay the remaining $6,000 TT. In the spirit of Tobago’s tradition of cooperative self-reliance, the new subdivision was named “Susu Lands” (Bynoe 1988:41).3 Historically, many residents of the nearby village of Bethel had worked on Gardenwoods Estate and subsequently, became buyers of Susu Land’s homes (personal communication Augus t 6, 1999). Although operationalized as a formal approach to land acquisition and settleme nt, this alternative means of housing development was modeled after the traditional, informal savings strategy of susu. The second example of formalizing in formal economic activity involves coopting and marketing susu as a formal banki ng strategy. As described above, susu is an informal institution that provides capital for poor people who may be reluctant to participate in the formal banking system. In order to capitalize on its popularity, financial institutions have incorporated the model into their repertoi re of services. In the late 1990s’, for example, First Citizens Bank of Trinidad and Tobago launched a program called “Escalator Savings.” The marketing appr oach advertised “the more you deposit the more interest you earn.” Participation requi red making a monthly deposit of $50 TT or


34 more for a minimum of one year, which resembles commitment to a traditional susu. In principle, an escalator sa ving account is intended for us e in conjunction with susu wherein the bank customer deposits “a lump sum in one month to cover subsequent months” or in effect, they transform their in formal economic investment (their susu hand) into a formal savings account. In return, the customer would earn six percent interest on accounts under $5,000 TT and 7.47 percent in terest on accounts over $5,000 TT. Likewise, appropriation of su su extends beyond the region to encompass “Caribbeantype” saving strategies of immigrants living abroad. As detailed in a Wall Street Journal article (Louis 2000), rather than or in addition to using th e formal baking system, West Indian immigrants in New York continue to use susu as a savings strategy. Likewise, many interview participants indicated that re latives living abroad often participate in susu. Some of the biggest corporate banks (including Chase Manhatt an and Fleet) have recognized the “creditworthiness” of susu, a nd in order to capita lize on the popularity of this practice, developed marketing strategies intended to tap into (and formalize) these investments (Louis 2000). Though the popularity of informal economic strategies may results in instances where traditional practices are appropriated by the formal economic sector, the tenacity of the so-called “informal economy” persists “One of the key contradictions of the developmental state has been its incapacity to guide all of the activ ities of civil society within its ambit in any particular direction; ” rather than functioning as a monolithic force that absorbs economic activity, the relationship of people to the state in the context of capitalistic development is framed by “the politics of resistance, accommodation, and


35 manipulation by members of ci vil society” (Crichlow 1998:62-63). Outside of the formal (state regulated, taxed, and measured) sect or, the spirit of self-reliance and the entrepreneurialism may transform informal economic activity into a “struggle and resistance against an obstructionist state” (Crichlow 1998:64). Crichlow (1998) demonstrated that in the case of Trinidad a nd Tobago, the formal and informal sectors of the economy proceed together. The Crown Lands Development Project (CLDP), for example, provides an example of formal/inform al economic activity in the rural context. Launched in 1965, the CLDP demonstration project was designed to transition of 12,000 acres of crown land into 1,800 farm units (Crichlow 1998:69-70). Farm products were intended for integration into the local mark et through a comprehensive development plan that supplied the basic infrastructure; a decen tralized, locally based administration; and linkages to other sectors including market ing. Despite being state-originated and “clamoring for land and government support, CLDP vegetable and food-crop farmers resisted government control” (Crichlow 1998: 71-72). Operating outside of CLDP rules, farmers’ informal activities included the following: Increasing their plot sizes by s quatting on additional properties. Selling crops to vendors of th eir own choice or at nearby markets (rather than at government outlets). Hiring laborers to work their farms while ta king jobs in the public sector (and in some instances, entirely abandoned their s ubcontracted farms for more attractive employment opportunities). These “part-proletarians, part-entrepreneurs part-farmers” bolster ed household earnings through simultaneously engaging in formal and informal occupational multiplicity (Comitas 1973; Crichlow 1998:71,73). This ex ample of maximizi ng household income


36 through “linking and creating multiple sources of income – public, private, own-account (self-employment), and hustling” illustrates that economic development efforts do not necessarily result in eliminat ion of the so-called “informa l economy” but paradoxically, provide parallel opportunities fo r both the formal and informal sectors to grow (Crichlow 1998:74). In moving beyond generalizations of the “informal economy” and recognizing that capital has always relied on and incor porated nonwage labor in multifarious forms, the addition of a more qualitative approach accounts for the dynamic nature of lived experience of people engaged in improving or ch anging their lot. In addition to analysis based on formal economic models, understa nding the variety of economic activity requires a comprehensive framework that also accounts for cultural a nd historical context (Crichlow 1998:78-79). A further critique of prior analysis of informalization concerns the inadequacy of small-scale case studies (such as the examples above), which due to their limited scope, do not fully explain the worldscale depth and breadth of in formalization as a structure (Tabak 2000:2). Rather, the sheer magnitude of the world-wide economic presence of informalization requires a holistic approach that account s for the “unmaking of once formalized relations, a process unleashed mostly during the capitalist world-economy’s cyclical downturns, when attempts to redu ce labor costs take pr ecedence over other costcutting measures” (Tabak 2000:5). The rea lity of labor downsizing, corporate tax exemption, and the streamlining of states “has opened up a new field of economic activity outside states ’ regulatory framework” (Tabak 2000:6). Production relocation (or “outsourcing”) that results in “virtual incorporation of the en tire globe,” the rate of world-


37 scale urbanization, and the inability of capita l to mobilize periphera l sources of labor have resulted in structural change (Tabak 2000:7-8). Ra ther than drawing on labor sources from without, informalization is a pr ocess “creating ‘flexible’ labor supplies from within” (Crichlow 2000:166; Tabak 2000:9, 15) Although my study of microenterprise development among women in Tobago also repr esents a limited case study approach to documenting self-employment within the formal/informal economic sectors, through accounting for the cultural and historical context of wome n’s work in Tobago, I have attempted to illustrate the historical and systemic nature of informalization as a vital component of capitalist development. Women’s Participation in the Informal Sector Why do people continue to engage in the informal sector? More broadly, an understanding of women’s multidimensional, socioeconomic roles within the world system requires accounting for historic change s that affect women’s work. Modernization and mechanization have bypassed the needs a nd interests of wome n, largely undervaluing the range and significance of their roles as economic actors (Carr 1984:117; van der Wees 1995:42). Marginalization of women under the sexual di vision of labor corresponds with changes in technology where women’s roles are transformed from visible work (such as agriculture) to invisible work (such as dome stic and service) (Osirim 1997). Since the eighteenth century, women’s work has b een deliberately classified as merely an extension of domestic duties requiring minima l skill and therefore, deserving of minimal remuneration (Enloe 1989:34; Safa 1995:46). Referred to as the “feminization of poverty,” this process involve s women’s long-established economic activities being


38 undercut, increasing female-headed househol ds, and integration of women into development strategies (Tinker 1995:29). Modernization is attributed with increasing the urban labor force (particularly working mothers), while creating greater un employment and underemployment in rural areas. Changes introduced by new technology have impacted “the organization and nature of work, … the structure of world labor markets, … the growth of the service and industrial sectors in some countries, … [a nd] the overall rise in the labor force participation of women” (van der Wees 1995:46). Even in countries with rapid industrialization, economic development in th e third world has failed to create enough employment opportunities to absorb the labor supply (Berger 1995:189). Frequently when technology is introduced, accompanyi ng changes have undercut women and men’s conventional economic activities; however, me n are often provided with alternative occupations whereas women’s customary skills become obsolete (Tinker 1995:37). Negative displacement, including failure to find stable, well-paying employment with flexible hours, is a significant antecedent to entering the informal sector (van der Wees 1995:46,54-55). Therefore, alterna tive income earning strategies outside the home, such as microenterprise, are essential to th e welfare (or survival) of many households. Recession and economic contraction lead to fe wer formal sector employment options and increasing entrants to the informal sector In Latin America and the Caribbean, for example, informal employment increase d “by 18 percent between 1981 and 1983” while the average informal workers’ income declined by 21 percent (Berger 1995:198). Furthermore, structural adjustment programs re inforced reliance on the informal sector as


39 resources were diverted to “private production, limit state subsidy programs, liberalize economic policy, and offer incentive for microenterprise development and selfemployment” (Feldman 1991:62-63). In Africa, for example, many women inde pendently own and operate businesses. Yet, women do not often qualify for loans from conventional institutions and must rely on family, friends, or informal moneyle nders (Reichmann 1989:135). Through savings strategies and responsib ilities, women have demonstrated flexibility, ingenuity, and the ability to withstand adversity (Tri pp 1992:169,173,178). As in many economically unstable countries, supplemental income gene rating strategies (such as the informal economic activity of women) serve as the backbone of the economy.4 The multifarious, flexible character of informal economic ac tivity permits salaried employees to launch “sideline” microenterprises that often prove highly profitable while maintaining formal employment to offsets the risk of microenter prise. Additionally, the job site may serve as a market for informal goods; and for profe ssionals, may provide access to perks (such as cars or telephones). In Tobago, for exampl e, I interviewed women employed in both private and government sectors who also enga ged in informal “suitcase trading” that entailed selling clothing or cosmetics at their workplaces. Nevertheless, structural adjustment, liberalization, and privatization pol icies discourage small-scale enterprise in preference for larger, more visible industr y. These policies encourage investment in technology thereby perpetuating microentrepreneurs’ dependency on donor agencies for subsidies, technological training and mainte nance, marketing, and management (Adams 1992: 1464; Creevey 1996:63,99,107). Such policies most adversely affect a society’s


40 most vulnerable members (particularly poor women). Furthermore, microentrepreneurs are constrained by formal barriers including excessive and distorted taxation, as well as direct governmental controls or regulations restricting access to credit or purchasing supplies at bulk discounts (McKay 1993: 279; Mead and Liedholm 1998:70; Reichmann 1989:158; Tripp 1992:177). Therefore, most mi croenterprises remain unregistered or “informal.” Despite being described as “smallscale” and “petty,” micr oenterprises (often run by women) “provide cheap goods using local inputs,” thus providing a critical alternative within a context of economic crisis (Tripp 1992:178). Informal, microentrepreneurial strategies are particular ly appealing to women in situations where formal sector employment is limited or insufficient. In many societies, women in particular emerge from the fo rmal education system equipped for only a narrow range of gender-typed jobs offering limited opportunities and marginalization through a lifetime of dependence on low wages (Green 1994:168). Women’s income earning activities in the formal sector are documented, whereas those in the informal sector (where microenterprise is ubiquit ous), are difficult to measure. Under the limitations of conventional definitions of work (that is, work for pay or profit usually for a specified period of time), an absence of accu rate labor force statistics accounting for the informal sector means that by definition – informal earnings continue to be underestimated (Massiah 1989:969; 1993: 2-3; Tabak 2000: 15; van der Wees 1995:47). Women who under conventional labor definitions may be classi fied as “housewives,” and thus are considered outside of the labor for ce, may be engaged in a range of supplemental income-earning activities. Particularly among female-headed households, women are


41 often “forced to rely on marg inal subsistence strategies in order to fulfill their obligations” (McClaurin 1996:123). Accounting fo r women’s labor is difficult because of the “masked” nature of informal work pe rformed concurrently with customary home duties. For women, informal economic activit ies result in a blurring of separation between household and market. Th ese roles are largely integrated and business activities cannot be divorced from domestic res ponsibilities. In the Caribbean, where “motherhood” is a cultural imperative, wome n do not tend to separate reproductive and productive roles therefore, restrictive defin itions of work do not coincide with women’s personal definition of work that may incl ude “any activity which takes time and energy, and which is functionally necessary for the maintenance of their households” (Massiah 1993:2-3). Proponents of microenterprise develo pment strategies within the so-called “informal sector” recognize that such ventures complement women’s needs for flexibility, reduction of rest rictions, and potential for building on domestic knowledge and skills, thus providing vi able options compensating for the lack of income from husbands or other family members (van der Wees 1995:45). Perhaps this is “why such a large proportion of women participate in inform al sector enterprise s throughout much of the developing world” (Berger 1995:192). Worldw ide, estimates indica te that 70 percent of informal microenterprises are operated by women generating income from one or more micro-businesses (Kraus-Harper and Harper 1991 :1). As I later demonstrate in Chapter Five, in-depth qualitative analysis of women’ s microenterprise, part icularly in the socalled “informal economy,” reveals signifi cant income generati ng activity in Tobago. Evaluation of women’s microent erprise requires an understandi ng of forces that prohibit


42 or reinforce the “diverse positions of wome n,” the “multidimensional nature” of women’s work, as well as taking into account the socioeconomic impacts of the development process (van der Wees 1995:46).


43 B. Feminisms Personally and professionall y, I find feminism powerful in the variety of ways it allows one to think “through” things. Sear ching for an external specialization to compliment my research interests in econom ic anthropology, international development, and Caribbean studies, I found myself returning to feminism after an absence of several years. I was raised by my mother to have a feminist consciousness and my sensibilities about the world are tempered by a critical aw areness of hierarchies that privilege and uphold culturally constructed be liefs about gender, race, ethn icity, sexuality, etc. In my return to feminism, I was delighted to disc over something new, the addition of other feminisms that compliment, critique, and even col lide with the feminism I had previously known (and grown disenchanted with). The fe minist critique within anthropology, for example, follows “a complex history of road s traveled and then abandoned, new starts, and alliances and fissures across disciplines and among anthropologi cal subfields” (di Leonardo 1991:1). For this st udy, I draw from relevant di alogues within contemporary feminist theory, thus allowing me to engage my research question through awareness of multiple perspectives. Furthermore, the ability to slide across a range of feminist perspectives provides a useful critique for rethinking an thropology generally and my research topic specifically. In addition to fe minist anthropology – contemporary and third world feminist theory compliment my traini ng as an applied anthropologist by providing a more holistic perspective with which I may situate the women I studied in the historic and cultural context of the Caribbean as well as critically assess my discipline and the implications of development policy and practice.


44 The following discussion of feminisms is composed of three sections. First, I briefly account for the history of feminist theory. I revisit second wave feminism, the perspective that was initia lly responsible analyses of gender and sexuality; thus empowering me to embrace a broader consciousn ess of what it means to be labeled a “woman.” I illustrate how contemporary feminist theory provides a relevant framework from which I draw my feminist critique. Al so, I discuss contributions of third world feminism. Second, I describe the awkward pa ring of feminism and anthropology. Third, I discuss a critical feminist approach to econom ic anthropology. Like bricolage, I hope to stitch together a range of perspectives expansive enough to criti cally investigate the implications of development related anthr opological research on women. Yet, I do not want to design an overly vast web of fe minisms with the potential for paralyzing entanglements. Rather, in describing what I find relevant in contemporary feminist discourses, I draw from a range of theoretica l frameworks to create praxis for addressing issues of economic empowerment of wome n from the perspectives of different feminisms. Survey of Critical Feminist Theory The following is a brief survey of feminist theory from the 1970s until today, which provides the critical pe rspective for evaluating inte rnational development policy and practices. In this section I briefly discuss second wave feminism, contemporary feminist theory, and third world feminism. Second Wave Feminist Theory : Feminism involves a political agenda whose message evolved and expanded over many years. The civil rights movement in the United


45 States gave rise to feminism’s “second wave” through a largely liberal humanist discourse calling for gender equity. The Dictionary of Feminist Theory (Humm 1995:251) defined the “second wave” as the fo rmation of women’s consciousness raising groups in America, Britain, and Europe in the late 1960s pertaining to problems of reproductive rights and the ubiquity of patriarchy. “The pers onal is political” was the mantra for the women’s liberation movement that involved a radical redefining of political-economic analyses to include sexuality, the body, emotions, and other social issues previously regarded as person al and private domains. Although personal reproductive rights were core issues for sec ond wave feminism, the debate extended to sexual and domestic violence as well as gende r identity. Through chal lenging traditional political thinking, personal expe riences with particular inte rest in social inequality, exploitation, and the oppressions of women became a forum for influencing political policy (Humm 1992:2; 1995:251-253). A major cr iticism of feminist work from the 1970s is that it narrowly reflected women’s problems due to its proponents being nearly exclusively white, middle class academics. Throughout the feminist movement, langua ge is problematic due to embedded assumptions of neutrality masking an e ngendered subtext of di scursive domination. Although seemingly natural on the surface, languages are culturally constructed, symbolic communication systems that are often are loaded with patriarchal ideological principles. The goal of deconstructing and destabilizing language is emancipation from political and ideological do mination. Strengths of second wave feminism included the variety of analytic tools and the ability to create dialogue by sliding along what


46 Rosemarie Tong (1989:8) described as “the spectrum of feminist thought.” Thinking through different feminisms challenged and destabilized the hegemony of a singular, white, middle class feminism. Contrary to a dogma of gynocentric or degendered notions of feminism, inquiry through multiple feminisms simultaneously questions the promise of gender justice through traditional notions of equality as well as metaphysical notions of being. The essence of second wave feminism, however, is a liberal humanist discourse that has been criticized as imperialistic in terms of its eurocentric tendency to inappropriately apply white, western, middle class concepts to wo men’s issues globally. Contemporary and Third World Feminist Theory : Through calling attention to the “other” or making the voices of margin alized groups explicit in public discourses, contemporary feminisms engage in the political process of challenging the status quo and deconstructing mechanisms of deconstruction. The following is a brief discussion of issues that have been the focus of critical feminist theory including problematizing the status quo, discursive domination, erasure, pl uralism, nationalism, and feminization of poverty. Contemporary feminists represent a range of differences due to their uniquely situated knowledges.5 Many share an agenda of accounti ng for interpretations of history and problematizing the status quo by decons tructing mechanisms of domination. Susan Bordo (1990), for example, grappled with th e contradictory tension within feminism between “individual differences” and a hom ogenizing categorization of the “female experience.” bell hooks (1992) deconstr ucts the homogenization of the black experience through accounting for individual and colle ctive encounters with white domination


47 thereby deconstructing white identity through accounts of “black folk.” Henrietta Moore (1994:131) acknowledged that Western hegemony had confined non-western anthropologists to a western, rhetorical style yet, questioned the coherence of that which is categorized as ‘the West’ (presumably wh ite, male, and connected to governance and ruling). Chandra Talpade Mohanty (1991:6-11) explained the shar ed experience of cultural imperialism while dispelling the hom ogeneity of third world women as a unitary group frozen in time. Although Bordo, hooks, M oore, and Mohanty address the politics of history and issues of marginality among ma rginalized groups differently, they share a similar agenda. In terms of history, Bordo (1990) problematizes history as (primarily) belonging to a feminist theoretical framework seeking to account for the particulars of individual differences. Whereas for hooks (1992) history provided th e collective identity of the black experience, which is currentl y under threat of erasure by white hegemony. Moore (1994), through invoking dependency theor y, illustrated the tenacity of hegemony where communities that were historically at the periphery are now at the center through subscription to western rhetor ical style. As such, a west ern point of view involves “discursive space, as set of positionalities, a network of economic and political power relations, a domain of mate rial and discursi ve effects” (Moore 1994:132). Mohanty (1991) critiqued accounts of third world wome n’s history as being situated objectively within the hegemonic history of western fe minists who tacitly a dhere to ethnocentric cannons. As an alternative, she calls for a c ounter hegemonic, rewriting of a history by specifically locating people of color and people who have struggled under postcolonial circumstances.


48 Similarly, in problematizing the preservati on of the status quo, feminist scholars have addressed mechanisms of domination. On e mechanism is discursive, where removal of problems and struggles of everyday life from current discussions renders marginalized groups inarticulate by subsuming their identity into the mainstream collectivity and thus, erasing differences. The second is the pr actical problem of overcoming hegemonic discourse whereby hierarchical and racist beliefs and pr actices are accounted for, analyzed, and efforts are directed towa rds repositioning power. Problematizing the preservation of the status quo involves calli ng attention to differe nces that signify marginalization (such as gender, race, etc. ) that are under threat of erasure. Where peripheral groups are unaccounted for or subsum ed into the mainstre am collectivity of a plural or multicultural society, the ability to articulate differences, including the injustices of racist and sexist hierarchical practices may be rendered silent by their discursive absence. Furthermore, where the underlyi ng premise of articulating differences has imperialistic motivations, we are behooved to recall Audre Lo urde’s (1984) warning that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” Tr inh Minh-ha (1989:83) described this hegemonic problem within fe minist theory where differences are made inclusive in order to mask “the refined sexi st and/or racist tone of their discourse, reinforcing thereby its pretensions to unive rsality.” To further illustrate erasure, categories used to mobilize politically must be continually problem atized to avoid the risk of their freezing “into something like … an essentialist position” (Marcus 1992:358). Marcus (1992:386), for example, deconstructe d language theory in relation to rape in order to problematizes subject ivity where women are positione d as “always either already


49 raped or already rapable.” Politically salient are “deci sions to exclude certain interpretations and perspectives and to privil ege others” thereby refusing to recognize the reality of rape. Women are rendered “subjec ts of fear” by maintaining “an imagined feminized powerlessness” because the existing social script “places all human agency on the male side” and furthermore, may translat e into biases that “implicitly condone the exploitation and rape of women of color” (Marcus 1992:387-388,392-394). Mohanty (1991:12) paralleled the emergen ce of white feminism and third world feminism in their relationship to context where both arise “ in relation to other struggles.” Yet, for third world feminism, the struggle ex tends beyond gender issues to intersect with race, class, nationality, sexuality, etc. with a goal of deconstructing these multiple axes “without naturalizing either individuals or structures … through the rewriting of all hegemonic history” (Mohanty 1991:12-13). Ra ther, “race, class, gender, etc.” are converging categories that “come into existence in and through relation to each other ” by merging, overdeterming, and often contra dicting (McClintock 1995:5,61). Similarly, Brewer (1993:13,16) and Reddock (1993:44) de scribed the articulation of multiple oppressions or polyvocality as a concept that cannot be thought of as additive categories (that is, race + class + gende r) wherein different oppression s compete for primacy. Rather, through conceptual understanding of the social reality wherein race, class, and gender are embedded (that is, race class gender), simultaneously oppressive forces are understood as interacting or compounding principles. Throug h a feminist analysis of the “the practices of ruling (or domination)” it is possible to m ove beyond “the binary, of ten ahistorical binds of gender, race, and class” (Mohanty 1991: 14). Yet, “no noncontra dictory or ‘pure’


50 feminism is possible” (Mohanty 1991a:20). Rather, feminism aris es historically in relation to domination and oppression. India’s women’s movement, for example, arose in relation to “colonialism, class, and gender” where wo men organized a struggle “against a racist, paternal imperial state (Britain) and a patern al, middle-class, national liberation movement” (Mohanty 1991:20-21). Unlike third world femi nist movements, however, white western feminism has “rarely engaged questions of immigration and nationalism” (Mohanty 1991:23). Akin to the patriarchal hegemony rende red by preservation of the status quo, discursive domination, and eras ure, pluralism is a strategy of hegemonic powers (white, male privilege) used to convey an illusion of societal cohesive ness. Paradoxically, pluralism appears to promote “diversity” through policies such as “equal opportunity” that seemingly account for marginal ized groups. Enloe (1989) described nationalism as a vehicle for subsuming differences and projecting pluralism Yet, pluralism may actually mask or erase differences through appropriati on, thereby perpetuating existing systems of domination. Nationalism may be defined as “a commitment to fostering those beliefs and promoting policies which permit the nation to control its own destiny” (Enloe 1989:45). Nationalism is fostered under colonialism, gi ving “otherwise divided people” a shared experience under foreign domination (Enloe 1989: 44), which today may translate into foreign corporations or multilateral developm ent institutions (including the World Bank). Inherent in the definition of nationalism is a bifurcating principle that emphasizes distinctions and furthermore, serves as a tool for explaining inequalities (Enloe 1989:6162). Liberation has not bridged the divide between white women and women of color,


51 particularly where male nationalists are already hostile to feminism (McClintock 1995:15). Specifically, nationalis t movements may silence gender differences where reestablishing national sovereignty involves perpetuating patriarchy through masculinist ideologies (Enloe 1989:13). “Nationalist movements have rarely taken women’s experiences as the starting point for an unders tanding of how a people become colonized” (Enloe 1989:44). Symbolicall y, nationalism tends to rally around the image of an emasculated memory of “masculinized humiliation and masculinized hope” (Enloe 1989:44). In the Caribbean, the “machete-swingi ng man transformed in to a tray-carrying waiter in a white resort” symbolized stolen pride where tourism development has creating “a nation of busboys,” whereas a “nation of chambermaids” does not carry the same mobilizing force (Enloe 1989:34). Where nationa list struggles have raised consciousness of gender differences (such as the issue of “citizenship” in post-revolutionary America or France), “changes in relations between women and men necessitated by the exigencies of nationalist warfare did not su rvive once the new nation-stat e was established” (Enloe 1989:54). In post-French revolu tionary Europe, women were incorporated into the nation-state not as citizens in the political sense rather, th eir role was mediated through marriage, making women’s citizenship dependent (McClintock 1995:358). Although women may become politically conscious a nd empowered due to nationalism, much contemporary nationalism reinforces the status quo of patriarchy. In terms of nationalist movements, the process of silencing and delegitimizing women’s problems occurs through giving preference to nationalist ag endas, which tend to be masculinized. Nationalism may dismiss feminist-oriented soci al changes where preference is given to


52 so-called “indigenous” as opposed to fore ign ideologies, under conditions where feminism is attributed to western hegemony. As such, femi nist-oriented social changes may be marginalized or worse, consider ed traitorous activity (Enloe 1989:60-12). In considering the many mechanisms employed by patriarchal domination, how do we account for issues of difference in politic al discourses and pract ices that subjugate marginalized groups such as the patriarchal tendency of public polic y to “institutionalize the feminization of poverty” (Fraser 1989:145)? Cynthia Enloe (1989:34) illustrated this process through the hegemonic international feminization of labor, where since the eighteenth century, employers have conspired to minimize costs by presuming that “women’s work” was unskilled or low-sk illed and therefore, deserving minimal remuneration due to women’s “natural proc livity” for domestic modes of production. Through the deliberate feminization of servi ce sector occupations, women’s work has seemingly been instituted as inherently deva lued through the world system that depends on women’s labor to keep their “bureaucrat ic machines and public agencies” running smoothly (Enloe 1989:9,160). Despite dependenc y on their labor, stru ctural processes anchor women at the bottom of the service sect or in jobs that are “largely incapable of providing a family wage” (Brewe r 1993:19). Moreover, McClinto ck (1995) suggested that the devaluation of women is rooted in the engendered nature of imperialism, which historically depended on the domesticity of women. Imperialism spread through the bifurcating ideology of the Victorian “cult of domesticity.” On the one hand, Victorian ideology ritualized and naturaliz ed the hierarchal order of white, male, domestic progress; while on the other hand, imperialism subor dinated “animals, women, and colonized


53 peoples” as savage primitives that could stri ve to become civilized through the purifying properties of Victorian domestic commod ities (McClintock 1995:31-35). Contemporary feminism provides a lens for reconsidering th e perpetuation of colonialism and dependency in the Caribbean through the analysis of culture, history, and international politicaleconomic forces. In this way, contemporary feminists draw from a range of paradigms towards reconstructing more dynamic frameworks of feminist theory.6 Feminist Anthropology One discipline that was particularly infl uenced by feminism, and also happens to be the discipline that I know best, is anthropology. An thropology and feminism share a relationship that is both reci procal and discordant. In th e 1970s, interest in gender influenced the anthropological perspective and the subdiscipline of feminist anthropology was established in its own right (Strathern 1987:278). In the follo wing, I briefly discuss the awkward paring of feminism and anthr opology, the origins of feminist anthropology, and contemporary feminist anthropology. What anthropology and feminism share in cludes the holistic perspective, focus on kinship and gender, and sensit ivity to differences. Yet, anthropological and feminist interests in “difference” are not parallel. Conflict between anthropological and feminist perspectives involves the history of anth ropology, a discipline th at originated in colonialism and was guided by ethnocentric Western biases. Thus, rather than transforming the discipline of anthropology, fe minism became part the anthropological “tool kit.” Conversely, what feminism borrowed from anthropology was the crosscultural perspective that is “good to think with” in order to understand social organization


54 and explain that gender char acteristics are not universa l (Humm 1995:12-13; Strathern 1987:278-279). Unlike anthropology, “feminist scholarship works across disciplines” which means it can borrow concepts and ideas but ultimately there is “awkwardness” between the two (Strathern 1987). While femini st anthropology is a discipline that operates from diverse theoretical positions to “challenge existing ideas of ‘natural’ human behavior by pointing to cultural patterns which disguise women’s inferior status” (Humm 1995:13), feminist analys is challenges such frameworks, calling into question theoretical constraints. In moving beyond a trad itional anthropological analysis of social organization, feminist anthropology addre sses the power dynamics of sexuality and gender. Within the politically radical atmosphe re of the 1970s, civil rights movements such as the women’s movement gained mome ntum in combating conservatism, racism, and sexism. At the academy, recognition of gender inequalities evoked a challenge to women’s subordination. A case in point from anthropology is Louise Lamphere’s 1974 class-action lawsuit filed against Brown Un iversity for discriminating against women faculty in its hiring and promotion decisions Brown had failed to award Lamphere tenure and the resulting settlement mandated the ac tive pursuance of females and minorities in tenure track positions. Through the writings of feminist anthropologists in the 1970 courageously challenged women’s subordinati on, their analyses were limited due to grounding in inherently male-biased models. Sh erry Ortner (1974), for example, focused on female subordination as scrutinized thr ough dichotomous models of gender in the semiotic or structuralist tradition of binary opposition in symbolic structures. Likewise,


55 Michelle Rosaldo’s (1974) Weberian analys is of public/domestic spheres demonstrated sexual asymmetries as evolving the dichotomi zed occupation of engendered spaces where women’s role as mother limits her access to public spheres. As a further illustration, Nancy Chodorow (1974) explored the universality of women’s subordination as rooted in differences between male and female pe rsonalities through Freudian analysis. In the 1970s-1980s, issues of production a nd reproduction received great attention in feminist anthropology. Within the framewor k of gendered spheres of influence, major debate between Marxist and feminists centered on the “relationship between production and reproduction” in terms of relationships with the family, household, and larger political and economic processes (Moore 1994:88 ). Feminist anthropologists including Karen Sacks (1974) and Eleanor Leacock ( 1978) combined the feminist and Marxist orientations as a “slightly undated version of Engles’ notion of ‘primitive communalism’” (Ortner 1996:142). Sacks (1974: 222), for example, argued against the universality of women’s inferi or social positioning and through ethnographic analysis, demonstrated that in societies where cla ss and capitalism dichotomize the family and society, women may be relegated to an infe rior social status through a system of differential worth that places women’s domes tic duties beneath that of men’s social responsibilities. Striving to breaking away from ethnocentric feminist models of gender and power, Leacock (1978) dismissed the public/private dichotomy as inadequate analysis of women’s status cross-cult urally. Leacock deconstructed myths of “egalitarian” societies as “m atriarchal” in terms of women’s roles (Ortner 1996:142). Although she accounted for historical proces ses which further erode women’s economic


56 autonomy in terms of production and repr oduction, these processes are limited to “capitalist penetration, observer bias, or both” in considering a male bias in simple societies (Ortner 1996:143). Additionally, Leacock (1978:257) calle d attention to the spread of capitalist development through “modernizati on” and promoted a critical analysis of pre-/colonial/postcolonial research as Third World women find themselves drawn further into domination. Others have cr iticized Marxist and neo-Marxist theorizing for hierarchically schematizing “gender/se x and race/ethnicity” in terms of class (Reddock 1993). Influenced by semiotic or stru ctural analysis of gender as symbolic, oppositional, hierarchical cate gories of domination, (that is “woman” as polluting and lower, “man” as pure and higher), (neo-) Marxis t feminist scholars argued that “cultural ideologies, far from reflecting social relations, actually serve to distort and mystify them, in order to maintain the status quo through a misrecognition of the sources of power and oppression” (Moore 1994:74). Later, Karen Brodkin Sacks (1989) again applied the Marxist perspective to a broa der spectrum of salient categories, offered a feminist critique of class, race, and ge nder as “part of a single, specif iable, and historically created system” to discount the concept of race, cla ss, or gender “neutrality.” In particular, by bringing race and class into the debate on th e meaning of women’s domestic labor, Sacks deconstructed the paradox wherein bo th women’s subordination and women’s achievement of equal status are theoretica lly realized through their role in production. Moreover, it is through the inclusion of non-wh ite, non-western feminist perspectives that Sacks (1989) demonstrated the potential for tr anscending cross-cultur al differences and


57 clarifying similarities regarding gender issues. Yet, her approach does not adequately demonstrate a place for understanding these differences. Poststructuralist and pos tmodernist movements in anthropology attempted to address issues of power such as the imp licit, engendered nature of sophisticated theoretical writing. Henrietta Moore (1994:77) discussed a co mmon criticism of Pierre Bourdieu’s conception of gende r where there is “little room for agency and/or social change” as a result of his “emphasis on the in tersection of social lo cation with sets of structuring principles that are embodied through repetition and enactment (habitus) implies that social reproduction and conform ity are paramount.” Additionally, the theme of “position and positionality” through which Bourdieu analyz ed power distinctions of gender and class, or what was termed “sta ndpoint theory,” was criticized by Moore (1994:78) for treating women as a class a nd “thus obscuring differences within the category.” Furthermore, once differences ar e identified within categories (that is, differences between women) little direction is provided for how to proceed (or praxis). According to Moore (1994:28), despite a grow ing philosophical inte rest in issues of “local and/or indigenous concep ts of person and self,” little attention has been given to this field of enquiry through the perspectiv e of anthropology and gender studies. Rather, indigenous concepts of person and self are mo st often presented as “gender neutral, but on closer examination it is clear that th e implicit model for the person in much ethnographic writing is, in fact an adu lt male” (Moore 1994:28). Essentially, where intrinsically androcentric pa radigms are applied to the study of culture and gender, models derived from such perspectives are inherently skewed towards disproportionate


58 power structures. In anthropological writing, fo r example, “theory has acquired a gender insofar as it is more frequently associated with male writing, with women’s writing more often seen as description, data, case, persona l, or, as in the case of feminism, ‘merely’ setting the record st raight” (Lutz 1995:251). According to Catherine Lutz (1995:259) the implications for this misconception are criti cally dangerous; “to th e extent that women are seen as less intelligent, their writing will be seen as less theoretical, no matter how they write. Evidence for the existence of this phenomenon in all areas of cultural life is overwhelming. Women’s discourse equals desc riptions (or complain t); male discourse equals theory, the covering law. The words of women do not have the same weight as the words of men, and theoretical works ar e especially heavy” (Lutz 1995:259). In the 1990s, post-modern theory and the “new ethnography” had a powerful influence on feminist anthropology. Accordi ng to Moore (1994:107) the post-modernist critique centers on two questions; “what is it that anthropologists represent or claim to represent in their text; and by what authority do anthropologists make these representations?” Underlying such questions ar e anxieties about anth ropology’s role in the construction and maintenance of Wester n hegemony and a desire to expose systems of power relations (Mascia-Lees, et al. 1989:9; Moore 1994 :107). Accordingly, examination of authorship as a role in the process of constructing meanings about culture accentuated conceptions and interpretations of “self and other” and the relationship between the two (Moore 1994). Traditionally, the ethnographi c authoritative discourse explored these relationships in terms of “sameness and differences” (Moore 1994:114). Methodologically, the “new ethnography” coped with anthropology’s anxiety of


59 representation through stylistic va riations included “the creati on of an authorial ‘I,’” the inclusion of multiple voices and multiple au thored texts, and assessment of anthropology to represent the “truth” (Moor e 1994:116-7). “Anthropologists do not just represent their experiences of an ‘other’ culture in the te xt, they also constitute and produce their experiences and themselves in the text” (M oore 1994:118). Yet, what seemed be new and exciting insights of postmodernist anthropology is “that culture is composed of seriously contested codes of meaning, that language and politics are inseparable, and that constructing the “other” entails relations of domination” are the same insights that feminist theory had been exploring for forty years (Mascia-Lees, et al. 1989:11). Couillard (1995:54) asked do we have the to ols “to appreciate the agendas other women set for themselves?” Caution should be paid to any set of constructions since it is really a device for framing and thus, “another way of exer ting power since they allow us to define reality for those we work with” (Couillard 1995:58). Gender, class, ethnicity, race, and age then are only concepts used “to account fo r relations of power and difference” but the question remains, “what is the link between these categor ies” (Couillard 1995:58)? In large part, the post-modernist critique centers on the issues of authority and representation and exposes underlying anxi eties about anthropol ogy’s role in the construction and maintenance of Western he gemony and a desire to expose systems of power relations (Mascia-Lees, et al. 1989:9; Moore 1994:107). Praxis Informed by Critical Feminist Theory How is this study feminist anthropology? And how do I combine the theoretical perspectives of feminist theory and ec onomic anthropology? The answer is through


60 praxis. Through praxis I appl y anthropology with a critical perspective informed by combining my theoretical framework of feminist theory and economic anthropology. Through a critical feminist approach, I can wo rk across the disciplines of feminist and economic anthropology to inform to my analys is of international development policy and practice. In order to deal with my feminist and economic anthropological research question; “does the microcredit model of female microenterprise development fit the cultural and historical contex t of Tobago?” my praxis involves applying some of the discursive tools devised by feminist theory for the purpose of deconstructing the patriarchal ideology guiding international de velopment policy and practice. Thus, my approach moves beyond feminist and economic an thropology to a praxis that is informed by critical feminist theory. So, what strategies does contemporary fe minist theory provide for deconstructing patriarchal hegemonic ideology? Fuss (1989:1) described the dialectic tension within feminism between essentialist and constructionist theories and proclaimed the debate “is responsible for some of feminist theory’s gr eatest insights.” Essentia lism tries to locate the “true” essence of “woman,” although “ repressed by the social,” this essence is characterized as “pure or original femi ninity” (Fuss 1989:2). Third world feminists described the transformative and political pow er in essentialist feminism where women “share the experience of being ‘others’ or ‘outsiders’ within the patriarchal society” (Antrobus 1989:200). Essentialism, as a th eoretical framework, is weakened by an attempt to account for a “universal fema le oppression [through] the assumption of a totalizing symbolic system which subjugates all women everywhere” (Fuss 1989:2).


61 Chowdhry (1995:38) and Mohanty (1991:53) cau tion that the essent ializing tendency for universalizing assumptions of power and priv ilege may lapse into a romantic vision of third world women. Such depict ions of third world women are no less than imperialist acts of appropriation thereby “producing/re-presenting a composite, monolithic, ‘third world woman’ – an image which appears arbi trarily constructed, but nevertheless carries with it the authorizing signature of we stern humanist discourse” (Mohanty 1991:53). Although essentialist feminists may argue fo r “the notion of a class of women” for political purposes, such a classificatory system relies on imprecise terms (including man or woman ) (Fuss 1989:4). Despite our attempts to codify “categories always leak” (Minhha 1989:94). What is important to understand about these categories, particularly those dualistic classifications system s that imply binary opposition (and therefore hierarchy), is historically, how they came into existence (McClintock 1995:16). Fraser (1989) problematized classificatory systems (such as welfare policy in the United States) where essentialism reinforced sexist and hierarchical ideology th at disempowered and denies marginalized groups access to resources. In contrast to essentialism, construc tionist theory is concerned with “the production and organization of differences,” and interroga tes “all seemingly ‘natural’ or ‘given’ objects” that ar e considered merely “ produced by the social” (Fuss 1989:2-3). Social construction risks shifti ng “from the singular to the pl ural in order to privilege heterogeneity and to highlight important cu ltural and social differences” (Fuss 1989:4). Attempts to pluralize do not adequately “safeguard against essentialism” (that is, the monolithic woman is displaced by totalizing women ) (Fuss 1989:4). Minh-ha (1989)


62 problematized this predicament within femini st theory in the context where third world women are cast in the native role. Emphasizing difference may essentialize division by providing “no more than a tool of self-d efense and conquest” for white, privileged feminists to speak for the “other” (Mi nh-ha 1989:82). Similar to the homogenizing representation of so-called “third world wome n’ found in internationa l policies targeting women, deconstructing the use of “different voi ces” lends itself to creating authenticity as an intervention from domination. “[Y]et, a di fference or an otherness that will not go so far as to question the foundations of th eir beings and makings” remains preoccupied with hegemonies image of the unspoiled, “r eal native” (Minh-ha 1989:88). Manipulated authenticity is the product of universal standardization where liberal humanism is compelled to persuade the noble “endange red species” to avoid an impending “inauthenticity” of their culture. This ethno centric, imperialist id eology of preserving a pristine and static presentati on of the “truth” functions to legitimize (and thereby censor) cultures of others Prescriptive authenticity includes differences that are asserted and remembered only to the extent that racism feminism, and social change fall within appropriate (that is, safe) boundaries, ther eby silencing oppression (Minh-ha 1989:8889). Authenticating third world women repres ents, what Fuss (1989:11) described as the risk of “transgressing the essentialist/constr uctionist divide,” where de-essentializing woman means “simultaneously re-essentializing her.” Herein lies the tension (or irony), whereby “uncovering the ways in which dec onstruction deploys essentialism against itself,” we rely heavily on essence under threat of falling back into th e discursive trap of subsuming differences into the mainstream collectivity and thus, erasing differences


63 (Fuss 1989:13). The danger of deconstructing m onolithic categories is that “if it succeeds only in fragmenting the subject into multiple identities, each with its own self-contained, self-referential essence” we may end up lost internally in micropolitics (Fuss 1989:20). Moreover, we may become rhetorically confoun ded in the Nietzschen sense of forgetting the original premise of our argument. So, how can we articulate differences su ch as race, class, and gender? How do we uphold the salience of such issues in politic al debates without to talizing women or overreducing issues into individualistic, situ ational specifics? How do we critique the patriarchal ideology guiding international development policy a nd practice without homogenizing or essentializing the intended recipients? In El len Rooney’s interview with Gayatri Spivak (1997), strategic essentialism is posed as a necessary, yet problematic tool for maintaining the significance of the “other” (in this case, of female microentrepreneurs although a similar argument could be made for race, class, sexual orientation, etc.) while ar ticulating differences in political discourse. Through essentializing women, we risk upholding a homogenizing or monolithic category that erases differences both among and between women. Similarly, bell hooks (1992:167-168) described the pervasive “myth of sameness” wh ich functions to perpet uate a “fantasy of the Other who is subjugated, who is subhuman ” but is threatened when difference is highlighted thereby undermining the liberal hum anist “belief in a universal subjectivity (we are all just people).” Likewise, Mohanty (1991:55) critiqued the analytic presupposition of classifying the third world woman as “an already constituted, coherent group with identical inte rests and desires, regardless of cl ass, ethnic or r acial location or


64 contradictions,” thereby implying a univers al, cross-cultural patriarchal category. Moreover, arbitrarily emphasizing differen ce in the form of the homogenized and powerless third world woman implicitly evokes c ontrast to the self-representations of western women as “educated, modern, and as having control” (Mohanty 1991:56). Such eliding symbolism allowed white western wo men to feel sanguine about their own condition as relatively powerful by comparison (Enloe 1989:53). For Spivak, the risk of categorizing for critical discursive purposes is necessary for mobilizing politically. Although strategic essentialism offers limited th eoretical implications, it offers practical political significance by deconstructing th e status quo through actively engaging with wider audiences. Essentializing is not a theo retical framework, but rather a strategy for the “acknowledgement of the dangerousness of something one cannot not use” thereby leaving no choice but to assume the pos ition of something “unavoidable [in its] usefulness” (Spivak in Rooney 1997:358-359) Strategic essentialism provides an interactive, collaborative forum for debate wherein categories remain under threat of erasure. Since one must “both assert the importance of positionality and refuse to essentialize it” the speakers’ identity is inev itably and unavoidably situated within history and language and therefore understands life through these essences (Spivak in Rooney 1997:360-361). Spivak cautioned that getting caught in the tension of the essentialist/antiessentialist feminist debate can obliterate ou r being counter-intuitive and “might keep us from infiltrating the knowledge venture of imperialism…which still holds institutional power” (Fuss 1989:361,365). Rather, by claiming, “tha t there is not feminine essence” we dismiss the essence itself as a good topic of investig ation (Fuss 1989:368) and may


65 mobilize feminist efforts towards repos itioning power. Marcus (1992:339) further suggested that by denaturali zing and demystifying engende red myths (including women as raped or rapable, women as naturally low-sk illed workers) that i rrelevant distinctions may be dismantled. Yet, hegemonic patriarcha l ideology is so culturally embedded that social engineering is easily disguised as normative within the structure of a maledominated, capitalist welfare state. A common theme among contemporary feminisms is not the danger of essentialism, but pluralism which threatens the erasure of difference and history through homogenization. Spivak (in R ooney 1997:371) described plural ism in American society as “repressive tolerance” whereby the status quo remains unchallenged. Multiplicity undermines the “collective enterprise” of cha llenging each individual’s authenticity “to know” by revealing the individual’ s limited power. In providi ng a strategy that does not fall into the circumscribing snare of theore tical bifurcation, Spivak offered a dynamic solution (yet -requiring an equally dynamic population). Rather than assuming “the transparency and therefore the unity of one’s audience” as pluralism would, through strategic essentialism we can engage th e audience as “responding, responsible” coinvestigators (Spivak in Rooney 1997:374). Therefore, restructuring of the world system’s patriarchal status quo requires both men and women at every level of production, consumption, and decision-maki ng to become visible and conscious participants in public orga nizing and debate (Enloe 1989: 61, 150). Spivak (in Rooney 1997:374) offered the strategy that the “audien ce is part of one. An audience shows one something” through a transaction of decons tructing the “the binary opposition between


66 investigator and audience” thereby expandi ng the critical assessment of knowledge production. Similarly, Mohanty (1991:37) described the promise of “plural or collective consciousness” where third world feminists speak “ from within rather than for their communities” through testimonials. This appr oach combines praxis with a forum for intersecting axes of race, ethnicity, class, gender, history, and multiple identities. Their primary purpose is to (a ) document and record the history of popular struggles, (b) foreground experiential and historical “truth” which has been erased or rewritten in hegemonic, elite, or imperialist history, and (c) bear witness in order to change oppressive state rule … [T]heir strategy is to speak from within a collective, as participants in revolutionary struggles, and to speak with the express purpose of bringing about social and political change (Mohanty 1991:37). Understanding differences is a shared responsibility requiring a commitment to understanding by sharing power (Minh-ha 1989) Through this type of critical dialogue differences (which may be multiple, c ontradictory, and/or compounding) can be articulated and accounted for towards prev enting the stagnation of essentializing categories, the neutralization of marginality, and the perpetuation of a patriarchal status quo. Through challenging the appropriation of differences and grounding feminist inquiry in experiential daily life, hegemony may be undermined through a repositioning of power. In summary, through the theoretical perspective of contemporary feminisms, issues previously raised by second wave fe minism and feminist anthropology may be critically reassessed towards shaping praxis that avoids the in herent hegemonic and


67 colonialist subtext of thes e earlier approaches. Through a bricolage of feminist perspectives issues including nationalism, im perialism, pluralism, and essentialism may deconstructed and investigated with a goa l of destabilizing patrimony and rearranging power structures. Feminist Critique of International Development For this study, the goal of a critical fe minist approach to economic and feminist anthropology is economic empowerment of women. Economic empowerment promotes autonomy and self-sufficiency through sust ainable employment, allowing women to contribute to their families by earning independently and maintaining control over their investments, thereby promoting solidarit y among women without detrimental domestic impacts (Buvinic 1989; Creevey 1996). Simila rly, Couillard (1995:68) described that feminist-oriented praxis invol ves “three ‘autonomies’ that mu st be developed in every woman: psychological, emotiona l and financial” in order to achieve a healthy life and avoid “falling prey to a system which ‘neu tralizes’ them.” She recommends that the “point of view of women … is to be found in their ‘agendas’” and ca nnot be “reduced to elements of gender, since class, ethnic ity and age” since these intersecting and compounding categories also inform their strate gies. Rather, the point of view of women accounts for their struggles as well as their ideals and vict ories – and the role of the anthropologist is to translate these and “make them intelligible to others … [to] create a space for more tolerance in a world of ever changing differences” (Couillard 1995:71). By taking into account the vital role of wo men’s microentrepreneurial activities as well as the specific needs and obligations of women, the question arises; does the


68 successful promotion of female microenterpr ise require a gender-s pecific approach and method (van der Wees 1995:42)? Women must know how to deal with men in a real world setting that a sheltered, “women only” training approach doe s not provide. A socalled “woman only” approach essentializes th ird world women as a monolithic class that fails to account for historic differences. Furt hermore, a so-called “w oman only” approach is not relevant for all cultur al contexts such as the Cari bbean where women are active in the public sphere. Although successful at delivering training, women-specific programs tend to be small scale, difficult to replicat e, and not appropriate for cultures where women customarily have public roles. Ther efore, development programs have shifted from a so-called “women only” focus to in tegrating women’s issues within a sector oriented focus (including microenterprise development) (Buvinic 1989:1050). Yet, the gender neutral or more sector oriented approach tends to homogenize women by assuming that entrepreneurs adopt masculine characteristics such as individualism and emancipation from domestic responsibiliti es (Ehlers 1998; Powe ll, et al. 1990:81-82). Additionally, a preference for quantitative, formal economic analysis of development policy has the tendency to overlook gender-s pecific aspects of microenterprise development including the qualitative natu re of women's participation. Gianotten (1994:32) noted that “a good gender policy at [t he] institutional level is not enough on its own” due to the many assumptions about wo men’s roles and the tendency to ignore specific gender relations. In the case of the North American non-governmental organization CARE, more quantit atively oriented policy and pr actice have reinforced the patriarchal misconception that women are only capable of domestic or economic


69 activities of marginal importance (Giano tten 1994:39). Despite the multitude and significance of women’s work recognized by CARE, their po licy of targeting women “as the best channel for food distribution” in appropriately focused on women’s reproductive roles as mothers and housewives, thereby erasing women’s agency (Gianotten 1994:25, 27). Development practitioners have assu med that women’s domestic roles and responsibilities prevent their mobility, there by eliminating them fr om participation in training or organizing activities. Paradoxi cally, despite their busy workload, this argument is never used against men’s participa tion. A critical feminist analysis of this example reveals domination of women by inte rnational development policy where gender differences are silenced and pa triarchy is reinforced. In f act, development studies have found that women desire education and trai ning opportunities, however, their multiple roles and responsibilities can present barrier to participation. To facilitate female participation, lessons should take place in a community setting where cooperative childcare promotes greater access to training (Creevey 1996:85; Gianotten 1994:37-38). Likewise, in my research (1999-2000), I observed that Tobagonian women eagerly participated in training within their local villages and frequently, they attended classes with young children in tow. Improving women’s economic activities requ ires understanding a range of issues including women’s roles in their society, wh at women want, their obligations, access to raw materials and markets, need for appr opriate technology, and choosing appropriate forms of organizational structure (Carr 1984: 11). This women-centered approach to development is described as gender analysis Women are often very serious about their


70 businesses. A female entrepreneur is someone “who is able to observe the environment, identify opportunities to improve it, marshal resources and implement action to maximize those opportunities – in other words, someone who is able to organize, manage and assume the risk of running an enterprise” (van der Wees and Romijn 1995). Research has demonstrated that due to their multiple ro les and responsibilities, women often have different needs than male entrepreneurs. Depending on the setting, women may be less inclined to attend courses th at are open to all. Among those who do, women are less likely to contribute to the discussion and rare ly assume a leadership role (Kraus-Harper and Harper 1991:44). Likewise, a developm ent project conducted among both men and women in Tobago found that, “women did not of ten speak out at the meetings and rarely took a leadership role” (Rajack, et al. 1997a:12). In evaluating international development policy and practice, praxis informed by critical feminist theory must also account for culture. In cultural contexts like rural Bangladesh or India, where women do not typi cally move outside the domestic sphere independently, so-called “women only” progr ams have been signi ficant in providing places for women to come together to discuss issues and exchanging ideas for overcoming problems. Despite the tenacity of traditional working roles, women do venture outside of conventiona l economic strategies. Engende red divisions of labor are not universal. “Traditional” and “nontraditional” work varies across cultures and across the lifecycle (Dhamija 1989; McLeod 1989; van der Wees 1995:49). Yet, when promoting income earning strategies that are not limited to typical “women’s work,” care must be give to account for cultural be liefs that may render such investments


71 counterproductive (Alsop 1992; Ca rr 1984). Operating within a cultural relativist perspective that views each society as unique, most donor agencies have avoided promoting nontraditional income generating interventions out of a concern for disrupting established power and gende r dynamics (Buvinic 1989:1053).7 Yet, promotion of nontraditional income generating activities can open new job areas for women, thereby reducing redundancy of familiar female work. Nontraditional work may provide considerably higher wages and therefore, is one of the few means available to significantly improve women’s economic circumstances (Berger 1995:210). Through strategically orienting multifaceted development programs to include training in new job activities, changes to the local sexual division of labor may be facili tated. For instance, a Jamaican women’s constructi on collective successf ully bypassed the problem of placing women trained as builders through devising “job auditions.” Despite being a maledominated field, these women filled a local need for construction workers and boosted productivity due to their male counterparts’ compulsion to “outdo the women” (McLeod 1989:180-183). As Caribbean women’s economic pa rticipation is not new, programs that train women in nontraditional microenterprise can be highly successful if they provide skills relevant to labor market demands and produce qualified participants. Therefore, such programs require greater investment in services such as onthe job training, access to tools or equipment, as well as financ ial services (Buvinic 1989:1052; Ehlers 1998). Whether organized independently, as a cooperative action group, or through collective membership, women’s microenterpr ise – when adequately supported – can provide a valuable strategy for poverty alle viation, economic growth, and enhancement


72 of women’s visibility. In their study, Mead and Liedholm (1998:66) found that microenterprises headed by women were less lik ely to survive their first year than those headed by men. Yet, when microenterprise failur es were assessed with other factors held constant, there was no gender difference. This distinction reflects women’s unique personal constraints rather than differences in business competence, although women’s microenterprises do tend to be “concentrat ed in more slowly growing sectors” and therefore, expand significantly slower th an those owned by men (Mead and Liedholm 1998:68). The fact that women’ s earnings are frequently less than men’s earnings is attributable to their confinement within customary “women’s wo rk” (including service sector or small-scale manufacturing); more over, where women are head of household with dependents, their earnings most likely account for the bulk of the family income (Abreu 1989:164; Reichmann 1989:148). These imp lications reflect the need to consider female microentrepreneurs from the br oadest possible context including “the discrimination, exclusion, and historic s ubordination to which women have been subjected,” their role within the society, and their role within the microenterprise (Placentia 1989:130). My study is critical of in ternational development policie s that tend classify third world women as a homogenized category and fo r practices that disr egard historic and cultural difference when arbitrarily applying universal development models that exploit women’s survival strategies. The microcred it model of microenterprise development has the potential to economically empower wo rking women by providing opportunities to organize income-earning strategies accordi ng to personal preferences. Thus, in evaluating


73 the merits of this model, I elected to d eal with feminist and economic anthropological problems through employing strategic essentialis m, which as discussed above, is a tool for maintaining the significance of the “o ther” using the framework of artificial categories in order to articulate differences for practical political purposes. Specifically, in order to evaluate the relevance of th e microcredit model among women in Tobago, I employed an artificial category to identify th e intended recipients of this development strategy. I acknowledge that classifying female microentrepreneurs in Tobago as a category risks erasing difference both among wo men in Tobago as well as between these women and female microentrepreneurs globally. My goal is political – through mobilizing this category, I hope to reposition the power of fe male microentrepreneurs in Tobago towards achieving economic empowerment through improving the programs intended to benefit them. While international development strategies have targeted third world women as though they we re a coherent group lacki ng in historic or cultural differences, through the strategic us e of a category that represents female microentrepreneurs in Tobago my purpose is to evaluate the applicability of the microcredit model by contrasting differences across third world women, which in this case, compares Bangladesh where the microcredit model originated to the Caribbean.8 Informed by feminist and economic anthr opology, I understand th e classification of female microentrepreneurs in Tobago is useful for the purposes of evaluating the application of the microcredi t model of microenterprise de velopment within a specific historic and cultural context thus, in the following chapte r I provide a background on the history and culture of Tobago.


74 Informed by critical feminist theory, I also acknowledge the limitations of this category (and its potential to leak) in my de scriptions of the expe riences and needs of female microentrepreneurs in Tobago. As opposed to a case study approach that emphasized differences and similarities am ong women in Tobago, I strategically use the category of female microentrepreneurs in Tobago to locate my study and to demystify the positionality of third world women’s labor w ithin the larger context of the patriarchal, world system. Yet, I must ask that the read er to keep in mind that the strategically essentialized category of female microentrepreneurs in Tobago represents many women whose lived experiences and differences are not fully articulated in th is dissertation. If the reader is aware of both the limitations and pur poses of this category as a framework used for the purpose of documenting a diverse comm unity, and if the read er understands that my attempt to include the voices and experi ences of female microentrepreneurs in Tobago represents what I have elected to in clude for the purposes of research, I hope to successfully apply critical feminist theory to challenge the stat us quo of patriarchal development policy and practice. While I ha ve tried to represent differences through including the words of the various women whom I interviewed and in describing their individual experiences as female microentrepren eurs, it is still my au thoritarian voice that has employed their voices for the purpose of my study. Furthermore, in highlighting differences and trying to account for the mu ltiple oppressions (including race, class, gender, etc.), I enter a discourse where my voice represents wester n, educated patriarchy. It is problematic that “I” (a white, middle class, anthropologist) take the authoritative role of speaking for the “other” (female microent repreneurs in Tobago) which signifies a


75 hierarchical relationship where my “subj ect” becomes dominated through discursive domination as well as representation as homogenized, monolithic category. Yet, in maintaining awareness of this role and in cal ling my readers attention to this problematic tool, I can still work towards articulating diffe rences and engage in a political discourse with the goal of applying an thropology to affect change in the form of economic empowerment. The feminist perspective presented he re does not represent what Tobagonian women would describe for themselves. Certai nly, if asked indivi dually, each of my participants would likely provide her own definition of her fe minist orientation (or what it means to be a woman) and likely, these defi nitions would shift over the course of their lifecycle. Women of Tobago share a proud a nd dignified identity as Caribbean women. Comparatively, they are situated in what is often regarded as a female-centered society where motherhood is an important cultural imperative.9 As a topic of political discourse, however, I observed that patr iarchy maintained a strong gr ip over gender politics in Tobago. At monthly Tobago House of Assembly meeting, for example, I observed a local government official present the issue of “gender equity,” citing the United Nation’s attention to the position of women since the 1970s and the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women. She described the need for gender sensi tivity training within the local leadership in order to promote a gender mainstreaming approach to address inequality within policies and programs that reflected Tobago's male bias. Sadly, her motion was dismissed and furthermore, she was admonished for “w asting the Assembly’s time on issues they would all obviously support wit hout taking the time to debate with other important issues


76 at hand” (THA Meeting August 20, 1999). Clear ly, during my fieldwork, gender equity was not yet a priority in Tobago. Also, I le arned that gender politics were both very public and very private. While the role and status of women was a hotly debated subject in popular culture (such as calypsos), the pers onal politics of domestic life were not disclosed to strangers (or anthropologist). Rather, what I learned about personal politics derived from my in-depth, ethnographic expe rience living among an extended family in Tobago. From what I observed, women’s status in Tobago involves an on-going struggle with intersecting, compounding oppressions including race, class, age, etc.


77 Chapter Three: Literature Review This study involves an evaluation of international development policy and practice within the historic and cultural context of the Caribbean. In order to frame this study, the following chapter is a survey of the literature on international development and Caribbean studies. Also, to illustrate the speci fic environment that is the focus of this study, I include a brief history and cultural an alysis of the island of Tobago, W.I. The following chapter includes four parts. First, a discussion of international development policy and practice identifies the ideo logy responsible for implementing poverty alleviation strategies such as the microcre dit model of microenterprise development. Specifically, this study focuses on internati onal development policy and practices where women play a pivotal role in poverty alleviation strategi es. The guiding ideology behind this international development model is base d on a western, market economy perspective of “economic development” while in practice, the microcredit mode l involves duplication of a strategy that was first implements in rural Southeast Asia. Second, through a review of Caribbean studies literature, I survey influential models that have shaped anthropological thought about th e Caribbean family. The anth ropological literature also accounts for women’s multiple roles and respons ibilities as a result of Caribbean family structure. Third, through a brie f history of Tobago, I demonstrated a pattern of cursory development and frequent neglect recurri ng throughout Tobago’s co lonial history and continuing into the post-colonial era. Fourth, I draw from a range of ethnographic data to illustrate the cultural context of Tobago and focus on women’s working roles.


78 A. International Development Policy and Practice In the following section, I discuss the assumptions and misguided ideology that contributes to misapplication of international development strategies in the context of the Caribbean. First, I describe th e history of international de velopment policy and practice with a focus on women. Also, I highlight th e role of microenterprise as a favorite international development strategy targeti ng women. Second, I take an excursion to Bangladesh to review the Grameen Bank that will serve as an important international development model for microenterprise deve lopment. Third, I describe how women’s work became incorporated into international development pr actice. Fourth, I explain the importance of cultural context in applying international deve lopment models in different settings. Women in International Development (WID) Throughout the developing world, wome n’s work has frequently been unaccounted for, underestimated, and seem ingly invisible (that is, domestic and unremunerated). The field of Women and In ternational Development (WID) emerge through a realization that th ird world women are not “‘ou tside’ the mainstream of development” (Antrobus 1989:199) but rather, ar e affected differently and usually more negatively than men (Gallin and Ferguson 1993: 1). In the following, I briefly discuss WID through a feminist critique of the ideology entailed in this process. Special attention is given to the concept “thi rd world women” in the c ontext of Caribbean tourism development as these issues directly pertain to my research topic.


79 Geeta Chowdhry (1995) problematizes WI D’s guiding ideology as deriving from modernist theory Modernist theory includes two “dis tinct yet overlapping strands … the colonial discourse and the liberal disc ourse on markets” (Chowdry 1995:26). First, colonial discourse involves th e ethnocentric tendency to co ntrast the political economic, sociocultural privilege of Europe against a homogenized and generalize notion of “third world women.” Second, the premise of liberal humanist discourse promotes western liberal values of the free market, indivi dualism, and voluntary c hoice thereby eliding third world women in the context of the international politica l economy. Paradoxically, although these discourses are th e underlying text for WID prax is (with a stated goal of helping women to “develop”), the combined effect “tends to disempower poor Third World women” (Chowdry 1995:26). As an ex ample of this paradox, Sidney Mintz (1983:11) noted that peasant societies in the Caribbean have historically provided significant opportunities for independent economic activity by women as compared to socalled “westernization,” which often result s in diminished female autonomy. Western development has been notoriously ethnocen tric, assuming that third world women’s priorities mirrored those of western women, as if either category could be generalized. WID policies were inherently flawed in a ssuming that women from developing countries “were outside the economic mainstream and needed only access to resources and services” in order to contri bute to their local economies (Braidotti 1994:118). Moreover, when structures are defined within the terms developed or developing and women are placed within these structures, it conveys “an implicit image of the ‘average third world woman’” as a universal, essentialized cat egory lacking differences (Mohanty 1991:72-


80 74). Implicit in this distinction is the et hnocentric tendency towards a binary opposition depicting the West as developed without e xploring contextual di stinctions (that is political, economic, historic, or philosophical). Specifically, development strategies have been insensitive to cultural diffe rences (Warren and Bourque 1991:292). In contrast to WID, Development with Women for a New Era (DAWN) is a feminist, global women’s networ k founded on empowering women through simultaneously identifying multiple s ubordinations and addressing multiple contradictions of race, class, and nati onality. Through challenging the hegemony of consumerism and addressing linkages between micro-level and macro-economic policies, DAWN’s programs involve consciousness-ra ising, training, techni cal assistance, and agency networking (Braidotti 1994; Yudelm an 1987:81). Peggy Antrobus, a prominent Caribbean scholar and DAWN’s coordinator, called for an alternative development paradigm through bottom-up analysis, grounded in theory (Braidotti 1994:119). A feminist analysis of structural adjustment illuminates “the linkages between the economic crisis and its social, cultural, and po litical consequences” (Antrobus 1989:191). Expanding the concept of “feminizati on of poverty,” Antrobus (in Duddy 2004) explained that Class interests create poverty but once you have a class of poor people gender takes over. The reality of what it means to be poor, lack of food, shelte r, healthcare, education, all of those basic needs, is a re flection of women’s practical gender interests. In that se nse there is feminization of poverty, I like to think of it as the engendering of poverty.


81 In many instances, development policy and pr actice has used poor women as a tool for preserving the status quo. Through poverty allevi ation strategies that rely on women in poverty to support and maintain their families with minimal investment, related issues such as housing, education, health, and violen ce have been controlled rather than erupting. WID policies are criticized for pr eserving the economic growth model and promoting the “super-exploitation of wome n’s time” through “capitalizing the gender roles of women in the reproductive sector to meet the basic needs of the poorest sectors of society” (Braidotti 1994:118). Women cope by intensifying their labor or acting as “a cushion against even more devastating c onsequences which might provoke action or reaction on the part of poor communities” (Antrobus 1989:191). Ad aptation strategies include a “variety of incomeearning and income-saving activities” as well as reciprocal kinship and friendship networks providing minimal resources for the survival of poor families (Antrobus 1989:190-191).1 Women’s survival strategi es react to governments imposed macroeconomic policies (such as International Monetary Fund austerity policies), which severely affect the most marginalized members of societies. Ultimately, women’s survival strategies may inadvertently subsidize capitalism, but this is not their fault. In addition to exacerba ting the problems that structural adjustment polices seek to resolve (including economic growth), by “fa iling to take account for women’s roles in socioeconomic development,” these policie s have minimized the value of social reproduction tasks and promoted production ba sed on patterns of exploitation due to a deeply engendered, patriarcha l ideology (Antrobus 1989:191).


82 Unfortunately, export diversifica tion (for example, through increasing industrialization) has been the focus of most development strategies. Yet, pursued as a unidimensional process, this type of deve lopment practice is unlikely to benefit the majority of the population. Indus trial development has been characterized as relieving women from their “drudgery” and providi ng “employment opportunities” such as assembly line work for multinational corporations where they typically “face the exploitative and marginally paying alternativ es of work as farm laborers, domestic servants, and market vendor” (Warren and Bourque 1991:292).2 The guiding ideology behind the sexual division of labor, wherein the feminization of labor establishes a seemingly natural devaluation of women’s work, has hi storical origins in colonialism. For example, as an alternative to the agricultural practice of mono-crop dependency inherited from colonialism, Caribbean nati ons became entrenched in mass tourism during the 1980s, as a strategy to alleviate debt th rough the influx of foreign currency (Enloe 1989:31; Pattullo 1996:11). As an industr y, tourism is dependent on local women occupying low-paying service sector jobs with little other alternatives due to their government’s policies of tourism devel opment. Despite seemingly undesirable conditions, hotel work is cons idered suitable employment for women due to its affiliation with traditional domes tic skills and taking place in “res pectable surroundings.” Women in services sector occupations fulfill a preference for a femininized and therefore, “naturally” low-skilled and low-paid labor fo rce. “In reality, tour ism may be creating a new kind of dependency for poor nations” (E nloe 1989:32-34). To develop tourism, poor nations often redirect their re sources towards providing the f acilities expected by foreign


83 guests while profits are absorbed by fore ign tour operators, airlines, and hotel management firms (Pattullo 1996:15-22). In exchange for improvements to the infrastructure (such as air ports and roads), tourism typi cally widens the economic gap and exacerbates racial tensions (Enl oe 1989:20-21; Pattullo 1996:28-31,85-86). For example, tourists’ conspicuous consumpti on, hedonistic dress, and behavior may be interpreted as suggestive of slaver y and contemptuous of local morals.3 For host countries, investment in tourism symbolizes entry into the world sy stem with specific political implications. To promote tourism, local governments must provide a politically stable, safe, and therefore compliant atmosphe re to attract international travelers. Not unlike international textile, appl iance, or agricultural conglo merates, the tourism industry is owned or financed by multinational corporat ions and operates essentially as modern (or post-modern) plantations that wield treme ndous “influence over their own as well as foreign governments” (Enloe 1989:148). Through the maintenance of indigen ous patriarchy and an avoidance of unionization, multinationals further segreg ate women’s work through a system of diminishing social support (Warren and B ourque 1991:295). The shift “from traditional primary commodities to more diversified manufacturing production” has significant implications concerning the internati onal division of labor (Deere 1990:12).4 Assembly industries and Export Processi ng Zones (EPZ’s) heightened demands for “docile” female workers “because they will work for lower wa ges and are less likely to organize against oppressive work conditions” (Deere 1990: 13). Economic development through the promotion of EPZ’s makes developing nations vulnerable to the whims of multinational


84 corporations that can easily relocate to locations with more favorable conditions. Likewise, foreign influences of structural adjustment policies have particularly affected marginalized groups and “it is women who are most deprived on account of these policies, as women bear the gr eatest responsibility for the car e of children, the sick, and the elderly and head a large proportion of households in th e Caribbean” (Deere 1990:11). In addition to dehumanizing millions of people and devastating the environment, core (industrialized) countries no tions of production and develo pment have manipulated the third world where their “systems of governme nt have increasingly subverted the concept of consent to one of coercion – in a form so subtle that most people still call it democracy, a democracy which they feel free to impose on other countries through systems of war which threaten our very survival” (Antrobus 1989:194). In seeking to understand the guiding ideo logies of development strategies in the third world, it is critical to delineate the role s of third world women as conceptualized by international aid agencies. Chowdhry (1995:28) explored representati ons of third world women that guide internati onal development thinking wher e women are portrayed as “traditional and non-liberated a nd need[ing] to be ‘civilized’ and ‘developed,’ i.e., more like Western women.” Reducing people to catego ries such as “third world women,” blurs distinctions, which are salient to the historical nature of oppressions (Mohanty 1991). By homogenizing the differences of women, femi nist scholars have claimed authority to intervene on behalf of third world women, t hus reflecting colonialist thinking where third world women are perceived as monolithic vict ims of “an undifferentia ted patriarchy … of male domination” (Chowdry 1995: 28). Despite the objective of bringing attention to the


85 multiple roles and responsibilities of wome n, international development has perpetuated ethnocentric, universalistic, and imperialistic representations of women. In addition, the patriarchal ideology inherited from colonia lism and imperialism is often strategically preserved within nationalist policy in or der to manipulate the international sexual division of labor. Patriarchy strategically avoids conflict through the appearance of gender-neutral programs while operating as a dual system with an “unmistakable gender subtext” (Fraser 1989:149). Like an updated vers ion of the “old-fashioned do uble standard,” patriarchy strategically maintain s and orchestrates hegemony through a range of subtle mechanisms including rationalizing, natura lizing, legitimizing, and authen ticating binary oppositions. One powerful example is the use of the family as a trope for legi timizing hierarchy and naturalizing women’s subordina tion. According to Anne McC lintock (1995), the paradox of the family provides a twofold mechanism fo r legitimizing hierarchy. First, the family serves as a trope “for sanctioning social hi erarchy within a putati ve organic unity of interests” (McClintock 1995:45) Second, by projecting the image of the organic family, national and imperial progress is legitimized and replicated hierarchically through the bureaucratic apparatus. Perpet uation of this process conti nues where the productive and reproductive roles of women are reconstituted th rough the international division of labor. Moreover, the global capitalist economy is dependent on women’s cheap labor “under conditions of economic reconstructing” to pr ovide an unskilled labor force in largely manual and clerical jobs, which support th eir economic empires (Brewer 1993:21-22).


86 Through the global reconstitution of the sexual division of labor, contemporary patriarchy (as opposed to the violent masculinity of colonial or military rule) legitimizes and rationalizes the devaluation of wome n’s work. Rationaliza tion takes place (1) through the naturalization and feminization of labor, which legitimizes lower pay through occupational segregation; (2) through the pr esumption of heterosexual politics, where women are considered “secondary wage earners ” to their husband or father who are the “primary family breadwinner”; and (3) through statistical social in dicators produced by national census bureaus and multilateral development agencies (Enloe 1989; Mohanty 1991:22; Prgl and Tinker 1997:1476). Internat ional organizations working within the WID paradigm actively promote and sust ain hegemony through reinforcing programs under the assumption of the normative male worker (Whitworth 1994:85). Breakdown of social customs through a “global femini zation of labor” often exacerbates gender polarization and further contributes to cultu ral and familial disruption (Brewer 1993:19; Standing in Safa and Crummett 1996). Specifica lly, the social transformation of women’s labor contributes to men’s displacement fr om the workforce and marginalization of men’s status as breadwinner.5 Female microenterprise is considered a “centerpiece” among development strategies aimed at improvi ng the lives of poor women th rough poverty alleviation and economic growth (McKee 1989:993; Mead and Liedholm 1998:70).6 Micro and small enterprise provides a major source of employme nt to as many as a quarter of all working people in the third world with the majo rity being owned and operated by women. Although the literature lacks a consensus definition of women’s microenterprise, it


87 generally functions as indivi dual, self-employment or with a small number of workers (typically less than ten) operating independe ntly or cooperatively (Mead and Liedholm 1998:62,67) with a common denominator of “major operational and management decisions” being made by one woman (van der Wees 1995:44). Another variable of microenterprise involves lega lity, as some may be licensed and registered by the government while others may operate in the so -called informal sect or (Baydas, et al. 1994:1081). Women’s microenterpris es are more frequently operated out of their home and thus seem “invisible.” Since location is critical to sustainability, the likelihood of home-based business being overlooked is a cons iderable disadvantage to profitability and sustainability. Women’s microenterprises are typically “concentrated in a relatively narrow range of activities: beer brewing, knitting, dressmaking, crocheting, cane work, and retail trade” (Mead and Liedholm 1998:64) Microenterprises involving commerce have the highest risk of closure. Investing in microenterprise can be difficult as poor women in the third world often “lack acce ss to land, loans, training facilities, technological improvements, agricultural inputs, and other services” (Wickrama 1994:356,367). Consequent reliance on local moneyl enders for credit en traps the poor in a vicious cycle of negative savings as daily living expenses often exceed ability to accumulate savings. Simply put the development of “new economic activities of the poor” such as female microenterprise “requi re human and financia l capital investment” (Wickrama 1994:367). Female microentrepreneurs tend to focus on “traditional knowledge and techniques” (such as craft pr oduction, food-processing, or ve nding) while continuing to


88 adapt their products to meet market dema nds (Kraus-Harper and Harper 1991:2; Prgl and Tinker 1997:1473). Likewise, female vendor s in Tobago described their strategy as “buying what sells” thereby, ta iloring their stock to meet consumers demands. Major problems associated with women’s “traditiona l” items include the following: a lack of technology necessary for producing the high-qua lity demanded by export markets; fickle foreign buyers; problems with government regul ations and transporta tion; and typically long working hours providing meager in comes (Carr 1984:9:9; 1995:221; Dhamija 1989:195,207). Across many cultures, “feminine” crafts tend to be those associated with domestic work, while more specialized, re munerative crafts “become the exclusive province of men” (Dhamija 1989:195-196). A st udy in Jamaica, for example, found that despite being considered a “f emale occupation,” an increase in male food vendors in the mid-1970s to mid-1980s corresponded with eco nomic recession (Powell, et al. 1990). Yet, engendered differences influencing food vendors’ returns include production and distribution of particular f oods and commitment to business. Although some development practitioners suggest building on traditional handicrafts as a means to assist producers in the so-called “third world” to receive more equitable returns for their labor, others recommend avoiding handicraft and export strategies in favor of producing goods and services for local consump tion (Carr 1984; Dhamija 1989:207).7 Furthermore, women are typically not steered towards microenterpr ises requiring minimized investments for equivalent returns (that is, nontraditional work ). Rather, they are en couraged to develop home based operations related to “feminine” work or hobbies, which in addition to being overly represented, are excessively time and resources consuming, therefore offer the


89 least profitable or sustainable incomes. Su ch inappropriate recommendations, which fail to account for women’s multiple roles and respon sibilities, inhibit th eir ability to fully exploit their productivity (Carr 1984: 131-132; Dhamija 1989:197; Ehlers 1998). Grameen Bank Model In the previous section, I described so me of the assumptions and misguided ideology behind international development policy and practice that has failed to economically empower women. In the next sect ion I illustrate a development model that targets poor women for small loans in order to facilitate microenterprise development. The success of this model has been recognized by international development practitioners such as the World Bank and is currently being replicated in different settings. The Grameen (meaning rural in Bengali) Bank was established in 1976 by University of Chittagong economics professor Muhammad Yunus. He originally conceived the program as a multipurpose organi zation to provide soci al support services (such as nutrition, hygiene, child care, and birth control) to the rural poor. The Grameen Bank began making small loans in 1983 when Y unus realized that the absence of cheap credit for the poor and their inability to ev ade repayment (ironically) made them a sound investment.8 Initially, Yunus was his own guarant or. Later, the Grameen Bank received funding from the United Nations Internati onal Fund for Agricultural Development and has received subsequent loans from severa l industrialized nations In the 1990s, the Grameen Bank was heralded as a model fore ign-aid program by the United States and other nations and has since been replicated in more than 30 countries Perhaps it is best know for its remarkably low default rate of two percent and for its focus on women

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90 (Kamaluddin 1993:38; Sigaud 1993:41).9 In considering expanding the Grameen Bank internationally, however, it is necessary to eval uate this model from a holistic perspective in terms of Bangladesh’s place in the worl d system and the specific cultural context within which it operates. Under International Monetary Fund and World Bank policies, Bangladesh underwent structural adjustment in the 1980s. Earlier, Bangladesh was considered “the basket case of the world” due to its lack of natural resources and an uneducated, unskilled workforce (Feldman 1992:111). Consequences of structural adjustment include parallel increases in demand for export production and in new opportuniti es for women. These policies directly affected women, as multilatera l agencies – representing the interests of private investors – demanded a cheap, reliable workforce. By the 1990s, 90 percent of the new workforce was composed of young, educated women. This dramatic change required a rethinking of women’s roles. Only a decad e before, women were essentially absent from professional occupations. Rather, they we re restricted to ho me-based industry or unremunerated domestic work. In response to investment in the industrialized sector, women were recruited from rural areas. Co rrespondingly, changes in the rural sector included: (1) a shift from small-scale, family-owned land holdings to large-scale agriculture, resulting in marg inalization of the remaining rural population; and (2) large landowners diversifying their incomes towa rds investment in rural employment. Investment in the rural sector included credit schemes like the Grameen Bank to support the development of microenterprise and cooperatives locally (Feldman 1992:105-130).

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91 Remarkable success of the Grameen Ba nk of Bangladesh must be understood within the specific cultural context where it originated and operates. The Grameen Bank targets poor women who are relatively isolat ed under cultural conditions of rural patrilocal residence, purdah (the ritual confinement of Muslim women), as well subordination through social a nd economic dependence. Subordination is reinforced by asymmetrical cultural norms including the beli ef that education is irrelevant for girls (Hashemi, et al. 1996:636,646). On average, poor rural women contribute less than onethird of the family income. Families where men are the exclusive breadwinners have higher average incomes. Poorest families, wh ere men and women both contribute to the family income, are more likely to stretch the cultural norms of purdah.10 The program operates as a three-tiered or ganization composed of local borrowers, field officers, and Grameen Bank headquarter s (Jain 1996:81). Borrowers are organized into groups of five people from different families. Each group selects a leader and decides who receives a loan. Two individuals receive the first loans (at a 16 percent interest rate) and others become eligible on ly after initial loans are repaid (Kamaluddin 1993:38; Sigaud 1993:41). Interest-bearing loans are made directly to individuals who determine their use (Hashemi, et al. 1996: 636). Loan amounts may increase over the years as individual confidence builds, although the Grameen Bank has a maximum lending ceiling (Jain 1996:82). Field officers monitor selec tion and evaluation for small loans locally. Financial collateral is not required, but (as an incentive) loans must be entirely paid back to re -qualify. Repayment is encour aged through peer pressure. Participation requires compulsory savings ( both individually and among the peer group).

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92 Wickrama and Keith (1994:367) noted that without compulsory savings, credit would otherwise be consumed under conditions of poverty, thereby increasing pressure on household resources for loan payments, whereas the availability of low-cost credit in case of emergencies would particularly help wo men (the family care takers) by providing an alternative to eroding family assets. Group savi ngs funds (or five pe rcent of each loan) are independent, but monitored and provide an emergency back up for failed activities (Jain 1996:82; Sigaud 1993:41). Eventually, su ccessful participants should “graduate” from the credit assistance programs into the conventional banking system (Adams 1992:1462; Microfin 2001:4). Due to the Grameen Bank’s success, th is model has been adopted by other organizations as a means for alleviating rural poverty. World Bank, for example, has recommended the “cost-effective” Grameen Bank model for promoting “economic growth, helping make headway in reducing poverty, improving family welfare, slowing down population growth, and saving the envi ronment” (Herz 1989:25). Whereas other development strategies fail due to lack of sustained performance for beneficiaries and inability to keep the program under control (tha t is, susceptibility to vested interests and corruption), the Grameen Bank model contribu tes to the primary concern for “promoting employment growth and economic diversif ication” through backward and forward linkages to industrial and commercial agri cultural sectors (McKee 1989:999). Notably, the Grameen Bank accounts for the vested in terests of the loca l elite by negotiating relative independence for part icipants (Jain 1996:79-89).

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93 Success of this model is attributed to the use of social collater al and high rates of recovery. A special advantage, which qualifie s as the hallmark of the Grameen Bank, is the use of social (rather than financial) collateral among the landl ess poor. Participants’ attendance at weekly meetings is critical Grameen Bank meetings promote localized control and discipline through the repetition of behaviors (including a salute). This setting encourages a sense of mutual obligation am ong the borrowers to reciprocate with the Grameen Bank for the reliable, error-free, honest services rendered. Thus, weekly meetings create solidarity and reinforce social collateral to promote loan repayment. In practice, social collateral is not enforced because individuals are responsible for their loans. Rather, it is symbolic, as the punishment for defaulting on a loan is the humiliation of public scorn (Hashemi, et al. 1996:4950; Jain 1996:83-84). The Grameen Bank encourages women’s control over loans, but husbands share in public humiliation if it is not repaid. Popularity of this model is related to a dramatic development policy shift during the late 1980s and early 1990s involving a near reversal in gender or ientation from male to female focus in lending. Reasons for targ eting low-income women’s credit include the desire to increase women’s microenterpris e, thereby encouraging “the adoption of improved technology to enhance the productiv ity of women’s homestead-based incomegenerating and expenditure-savings work” (G oetz and Gupta 1996: 46). “Credit is the center of the Grameen Bank’s program. Ever y aspect of the program is intended to facilitate the basic task of making loans to poor women and to ensure high rates of repayment” (Hashemi, et al. 1996:635,650). In adhering to these priorities, both the

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94 Grameen Bank and a similar program cal led the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) have modi fied and minimized the microcredit model through the reduction of ancillary benefits for women.11 Rather than promoting social welfare, these “minimalist programs” emphasize financial de velopment. Earlier, BRAC had operated as a more informal, egalitarian program facilitating a broad ranging approach including financial and social development directed at men and women separately. Multifaceted “credit-plus” programs are attributed with greater strength and fu rther impact through addressing interrelated components. More comprehensive approaches require long training programs that include consciousne ss-raising beyond purely financial concerns, access to individualized tec hnical and marketing assistance, and follow up training (Creevey 1996:198; Hashemi, et al. 1996:649; McKee 1989; Placentia 1989:127). BRAC, however, has come to resemble the Grameen Bank more closely in terms of a primary focus directed at small loans for poor women. While this approach doe s facilitate social change through drawing women out of isolati on, under a single goal of credit for profit, this tool is merely a mean to an ends that fails to fully address social, psychological, and economic impacts (Abreu 1989:169; Hashemi, et al. 1996: 636,650). Programs that provide a narrow range of services minimi ze the impact of investing in poor women (Berger 1995:195-196; Buvinic 1989:1049). Minimalist programs do “provide a costeffective means of transferring scarce resources to the poor through women” and overcome barriers by cleverly byp assing patriarchal power struct ures in order to engage women in the development process (Hashemi, et al. 1996:651). Yet, do “minimalist

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95 programs” have the potential to economica lly empower women through microenterprise development? On the other hand, might they worsen women’s situations? Economic empowerment promotes autonomy and self-sufficiency through sustainable employment, allowing women to contribute to their families by earning independently and maintaining control ove r their investments, thereby promoting solidarity among women without detrimental domestic impacts (Buvinic 1989; Creevey 1996). The Grameen Bank has proven “quite eff ective in fostering women’s control over microenterprises” (Hashemi, et al. 1996:647). Ye t, women’s ability to maintain control over their investment restricts them to e ngagement in customary, small-scale women’s activities (such as egg, milk, and vegetable production) that are marketed from home (Goetz and Gupta 1996:50-51; Hashemi, et al 1996:647). Initial impact of development projects promoting women’s roles as economic actors may be most profound in societies where women are usually offered the fewe st opportunities (Creevey 1996:106). Credit programs offering a “seedbed for industrializatio n … work best in the poorest countries” and experience the greatest success when social and behavioral cha nges are incorporated (Prgl and Tinker 1997:1474). In rural Bangladesh, engendere d rights to resources and the sexual division of labor give men power over the public sphere (including finances), thereby limiting women’s ability to expand th eir enterprises indepe ndently (Goetz and Gupta 1996:51). Gender typed limitations re strict women’s ear ning activities and consequently, loans tend to be routed to non-female activities where visible income is accredited to men (Hashemi, et al. 1996:646). An apparent limitation on the control over and expansion of women’s investments occurs after three-to-five years when male family

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96 members likely appropriate women’s loan s (Creevey 1996:122; Goetz and Gupta 1996:52; Hashemi, et al. 1996:643,647) Studies in India, for example, describe these appropriations of women’s microenterprise as two-part processes where (1) males are inclined to take over an activity (by asser ting their customarily dominant role) if the income generated is directly important to the household; and (2) women (unaccustomed to organizing themselves) are culturally conditioned to retrea t from and hand over responsibility of economic affairs outsi de the immediate household (Alsop 1992:371,373374; Creevey 1996:116). Likewise, an inverse correlation exists between increasing loan amounts and women’s decreasing ability to maintain control. Specifically, higher investments inevitably involve male particip ation due to engendered rights to resources (Goetz and Gupta 1996:51-52). Consequentially, these issues reflect problems with profitability and sustainability of women’s enterprise that continue to inhibit their capacity for mainstream investment. Thr ough participation, women experience greater access to resources and may enjoy increased authority within the family, but not all women succeed in controlling their loan. Yet, Hashemi, et al. (1996:648) seem to justify the economic outcome of women being used by their husbands to gain access to loans. Clearly, providing a financial resource to women’s families is a significant shift, but lending itself does not economi cally empower women toward s changing their future. Disregard for gender bias can affect gender relations where new practices contradict with cultural norms. Alsop (1992: 368-373) called for an analytical framework which, in addition to claiming a “gender a pproach” that addresses the relationships between men and women, work and society; ad ds a third dimension of gender relations.

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97 This type of gender analysis is critical in assessing the potential long-term affects of interventions on engendered relationships within the community. Without parallel interventions that challenge women’s perceptions of themselves, which are eliminated under the minimalist approach, women’s subor dination remains uncontested and perhaps reinforced. There is a danger that microc redit programs will promote manipulation of women for loans. Domestic violence may resu lt if women are unable to obtain a loan as quickly as the husband desires. In rural Bangladesh, Grameen Bank field workers have compared credit to dowry inflation where wo men represent a means to greater wealth (Goetz and Gupta 1996:54). Furthermore, reports indicate that the economic empowerment achieved through microcredit sche mes has resulted in a horrific backlash of retaliation against wome n who reject unwanted marri age proposals. Corresponding with the new trend towards women’s inde pendence, “a tragic byproduct of a gender revolution” involves rejected suitors hurling aci d in the faces of rural Bangladeshi women resulting in disfigurement and blindness (C hicago Tribune Staff 1999) A related problem involving male participation is the erosi on of institution-buildi ng potential where men simply take over the role of representing th eir wives at weekly meetings. Where women do attend, their desire for membership and lack of control of assets may translate into (1) a depletion of household resources as funds ar e diverted to loan payments and (2) new sources of tension (and potential domestic vi olence) as women demand cash from their husbands for weekly payments. Paradoxically, in combination with existing asymmetrical household and gender roles, microcredit pr ograms may reinforce repayment as women (who are more vulnerable, more easily threat ened, and less likely to flee) internalize

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98 pressures of lending that woul d otherwise fall upon men. In th ese situations, the Grameen Bank is tacitly using women “as conduits for credit to men” as illustrated by a field worker’s comment “we are much better at gett ing our loan money back now that we are using women as our middle-men ” (Goetz and Gupta 1996:55-56). This reinforces patriarchy (since women are cust omarily regarded as moral guardians) and reconstitutes male domination of women who are seen as resources. Yet, Hashemi, et al. (1996:636-637,651) argue that the Grameen Bank and BRAC do offer empowerment potential for women despite the concession that a minimalist approach does not constitute an appropriate strategy for mob ilizing social change at the grassroots level. Results of microcredit programs include women’s workloads typically increasing and leisure time decreasing due to new responsibilities, although women typically enjoy a sense of accomplishment fo r positively affecting their families. These experiences do enable women to better negot iate existing power st ructures, but fail to achieve economic empowerment (that is mobilizing women towards disrupting patriarchal hegemony and achieving greater self-reliance) (Creevey 1996:104-106). Notwithstanding the benefits of building self-confidence, acquiring greater mobility, providing an identity outside the immediate family, and “learning to talk” despite the maintenance (and perhaps exaggeration) of subordination under the existing patriarchal hierarchy (Hashemi, et al. 1996:648-649), the Grameen Bank model does not achieve economic empowerment of women. Likewise, women may experience relief from their domestic burdens and reduction of domestic violence in correlation with attendance of weekly loan meetings, but this constitu tes conditional changes in gender relations.12

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99 Additionally, household expend itures on women actually decrease when men control women’s loans (Goetz and Gupta 1996:53). Ra ther than empowerment, the minimalist microcredit model constitutes minor, contingent changes that fail to significantly affect patriarchal gender power dynamics in this cu ltural context. Moreove r, the assumption of empowerment may be misleadi ng as women with more autonomy are more likely to participate in such programs. Critics of the minimalist microcredit model question the relationship between access to credit and women’s empowerment. Quan tifiable financial co sts do not represent empowerment. Likewise, emphasizing the household and women’s domestic reproductive activities restrict s the scope of analysis (A lsop 1992:368; Goetz and Gupta 1996:47). These are “proxy indicators” which fa il to determine if women actually control their loans. In their analysis, Goetz and Gupta (1996:52) found that under pressure to lend, field workers were actually screening husbands. Furthermore, men explained that “they had taken a ‘woman’s loan’” and made no distinct ion between this method of accessing resources and other means (Goetz and Gupta 1996:52). Clearly, this does not qualify as women’s economic empowerment. U nder the cultural c onditions of rural Bangladesh, women’s loans will inevitably be used jointly due to the sexual division of labor. Both men and women rely on this system, yet men continue to monopolize economic resources. Generalizability of the Microcredit Model The primary role of the Grameen Bank is to facilitate loans and repayment. The secondary role is to promot e local social development (Jain 1996:82,88). Yet, ancillary

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100 services have been eliminated through the adoption of a minimalist approach to women’s microcredit. Additionally, eval uation of the minimalist microcredit model reveals that using women to provide economic resources is often an indirect means of accomplishing a primary goal of lending for profit. These problems dilute the potential for economic empowerment due to operationalizing micr ocredit through a minimalist approach to microcredit. Moreover, the promotion of any single economic development model as a generic “band-aid” is inappropriate as each si tuation demands careful consideration of the historic and cultural context as well as evalua tion of capacities and de sires of the intended recipients prior to implementation (Abr eu 1989:173; Creevey 1996:214). For example, development strategies in rural areas te nd to promote stereotypically homogenized, traditional “women’s work” while development strategies implemented in the urban setting tend to concentrate on providing credit for “women’s economic activities in the informal sector,” thus resulting in insi gnificant impacts and failure to reach large numbers of women (van der Wees 1995:42). Differences between development organizations’ strategies correlate with de sired outcomes or goals. On the one hand, charitable organizations are criticized for operating too broadly focused programs, patronizingly promoting the social and econom ic context of microentrepreneurship as a means to empowerment without regard fo r local power dynamics (Buvinic 1989:1051; Prgl and Tinker 1997:1779; Tinker 1995: 26). On the other hand, multilateral development agencies are criticized fo r operating too narrowly focused programs, emphasizing growth and maximum employ ment by providing a single “missing ingredient” (that is, access to credit) rather than confr onting poverty. Al though relatively

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101 simple and cost-effective in the short term, reductionist or minimalist strategies designed to operationalize women’s microentrepreneuri al needs may fail to account for women’s status or multiple roles and responsibili ties within the society. By comparison, multidimensional models that address broade r issues, including women’s social and economic roles in a given society, tend to promote long-term autonomy and reduce dependency through an integrated range of services (Buvinic 1989:1051; Dignard 1995:3). To achieve economic empowerment, promoters of female microenterprise development must account for global issues in cluding trends in demand and the cost of raw materials when considering technologica l and production strategies for women’s ventures (Carr 1984:137). “Women workers need services th at range from upgrading of skills to child care to health insurance. Educating them about their rights not only as workers but as women is essent ial to enhancing their bargai ning power within the family and community” (Prgl and Tinker 1997:1479). In short, economic empowerment of women requires a multidimensional approach to microcredit development. Revision of the inherent values upon wh ich development organizations’ desired outcomes are founded requires redefining “w omen’s work.” Mismanagement of economic development projects often reflects a western bias where “w ork” is defined as “remunerated, continuous, full-time activiti es occurring within the formal market structure,” thereby undervaluing or eliminati ng the majority of women’s microenterprise (Prgl and Tinker 1997:1476; van der Wees 1995:48). In accounting for local values, Tinker (1995) called for a paradigm shift from the implicit western bias within established economic theory, toward a more feminist-oriented model of human economy.

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102 Rather than “an unwarranted and uncritical application of ‘western’ experiences” (van der Wees 1995:43), which promotes profit maki ng and growth in diverse socioeconomic situations, human economy emphasizes “f amily subsistence needs” thereby distinguishing between “conventio nal liberal economic values” a nd “the basic values held by a majority of microentrepreneurs” (Tinke r 1995:25-26). In the Ca ribbean context, for example, human economy corresponds with the value placed on moth ering (Ellis 1986) and draws from a feminist analysis to reveal that women are inserted differently into the labor force as a result “of socially constructed roles which tie them to the home” therefore, limiting their opportunities (Prgl and Tinker 1997:1472,1476). Typically, women lack autonomy due to domestic obligations and thus, are unable “to pursue entrepreneurship to the fullest” (Prgl and Tinker 1997:1473,1476). Many microentrepreneurs peddle goods on the streets, using their home as a base, while others work out of residential areas.13 This is particularly true among those who prepare food or sell agricultural product s. Considering that more than one third of households worldwide (and up to 70 percent in the Caribbean) are headed by women, the al location of resources necessary to support children a nd earn an income is dictated more by human than liberal economy (Levy 1991; Safa 1995; Tinker 1995:27). This does not mean that women are not economic actors. According to main stream economic standards, women’s microenterprises are not considered economi cally viable because they fail to grow. Tinker (1995:36) noted “they do grow, but seldom in the hierarchal employer-employee pattern,” rather, they replicate in “an amoe ba-like fashion.” When microenterprises do well, they tend to expand to multiple sites or diversify into new activities with each

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103 additional business being relatively autonomous (although replicate businesses tend to be run by family members). Therefore, when surplus or working capital does become available, it will likely be invested in huma n economic values (such as children’s school fees) despite their success within th e liberal economic value system. Gender stereotyping in the international de velopment literature often depicts poor women in developing countries as economic actors within a locali zed economy ignoring their economic activities engaging them in the world system (Carr 1984:12). Additionally, “cultural definitions of the gender division of labor often result in women underestimating the value of th eir contribution to income and, by and large, to economic well-being” (van der Wees 1995:48). Devel opment programs promoting a “social and welfare orientation” with lit tle regard for marketing ofte n have disappointing results, particularly since women are characterized as re ceivers of aid rather than as active agents in the development process (Staudt 1997:130; van der Wees 1995:42). Through protecting and supporting the inte rests of women, agencies w ith a social welfare attitude foster a system of dependency by establishi ng projects that have difficulty tapping into external markets beyond thos e provided by the donor institution (Carr 1984:125,135; Creevey 1996). As women often cannot afford to invest their time and effort in what they perceive as risky “soft options ,” evaluations have mistakenly determined they are “not willing to participate” in proposed developm ent programs. Moreover, when development programs do provide improved technology (yie lding increased productivity and greater returns), men often appropriate women’s established industries. Therefore, to avoid underestimation, homogenization, or appropriati on of women’s endeavors, definitions of

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104 work must be reclassified and reassessed “t o more accurately capture the variation” of economic activities (van der Wees 1995:48) as well as the multiple power relationship in which women are embedded (Prgl and Ti nker 1997:147). Kraus-Harper and Harper (1991:2) made a distinction between enterprising women who are “generating any size of income through self-employment and micro-business” and successful businesswomen who “have successfully expande d their activities from self-employment to a small or bigger business employing other people.” Si milarly, Awori (1995:238-239) differentiated professional, full-time and part-time wome n entrepreneurs in terms of formal and informal characteristics. Policy and practi ce that can successfully promote economic empowerment requires thoughtful classifica tion to account for women’s multiple roles and responsibilities in combination gender anal ysis that accounts for microentrepreneurs’ needs and desires as well as business potenti al and sustainability. Conversely, imprecise language used to describe and label women’ s microenterprise impedes careful analysis and influences decisions about aid and training (Awori 1995:237). Typically, the poor face obstacles to the development and growth of microenterprise regarding access to credit, education, skills training, and marketing (Placentia 1989:124). Common characteristics of microenterprises include the following; small size, involvement in long-established activities, failure to keep records, limited investment in technology, and marginal acce ss to credit. Thus, qualifying for a credit through the conventional banki ng system may be impaired by a lack of adequate information required for funding assessment or due to the risk of such small investments (Isaac 1986:53; Placentia 1989:122). In response to the growth of the microand small-

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105 business sector, governments worldwide have instituted assistance programs designed to ease these constraints (Baydas, et al. 1994:1075). Microentrepr eneurs frequently need to borrow cash for daily maintenance, to expa nd or to compete with other businesses. Theoretically, they have three choices for borrowing funds; banks or credit unions, family or friends, and moneylenders (Bruce 1989:124). Isaac (1986:53) described the distinguishing entrepreneuria l pattern among the poor where; “on the whole they are engaged in conventional activities, they do not usually keep records of their transactions and they experience great difficulty in deali ng with and obtaining credit from the formal banking system.” Poor people often lack access to collateral and credit, making it difficult to obtain the capital to start a bus iness. Transaction costs typically make conventional credit unappealing to smallscale borrowers. Requirements including transportation, paperwork, travel time, collater al requirements, restri ctive regulations, and high lending rates make borrowing from formal financial institutions costly (Berger 1995:193-194; Lycette 1989:27). Likewise, requ iring husbands or male relatives as cosigners can dissuade women (particularly those who are heads of households) from seeking formal credit and perpetuates the myth that women are dependent on men for money (Berger 1995:194-197; Bruce 1989:124). Friends and families of poor microentrepreneurs typically have little m oney to lend. Therefore, moneylenders are frequently their only option (Bruce 1989:124). Previously, development practitioners have assumed that women’s limited participation in lending reflects discrimi nation against women in both “developing and developed” countries (Baydas, et al. 1994:1074). The internat ional development literature

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106 tends to concur with this pe rception of gender-based constr aints citing “limited education, inferior legal status and unpa id reproductive resp onsibilities” as deterring women’s full participation in the labor market (Baydas, et al. 1994:1073). An experimentally designed study in Ecuador evaluated the presence of credit discrimination between both men and women in a treatment group (of beneficiarie s of training and credit programs) and a control group (of individuals who qualified, but did not receive the treatment). The research (1994:1075, 1080) found no gender disc rimination – rather, women were more likely to experience “loan-size rationing” wh ere borrowers received smaller loan than originally requested. Asymmetrical loans resu lted from female applicants’ inability to provide proper information for lenders to determine creditworthiness. Moreover, these credit issues reflect a larger problem for women where “traditional, cultural and legal constraints [may]…deter women from joini ng the mainstream labor force or becoming active and growing entrepreneurs” (Ba ydas, et al. 1994:1081). Poor women find mainstream financial institutions inacce ssible (McKee 1989:1002). Accounts of women’s perspectives tend to reflect dissatisfaction with the conve ntional banking system due to the lengthy application proce ss, inconvenient hours, and co llateral requirements (Abreu 1989:168; Baydas, et al. 1994: 1074-1075; Reichmann 1989:152). Internal self-selection also inhibits women’s access to credit when individuals choose not to apply. They may perceive inevitable rejection due to lack of income or collateral, or may not know the procedures required to apply for a loan. Wher e available, credit assistance is typically channeled to the most “dynamic” enterprises, thereby ignoring the majority of women’s microenterprises (since they operate with very limited capital). Thus, such policies divert

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107 resources by obscuring those in need from th e attention of donor organizations. Despite problems of making credit available, it rema ins a critical component in stabilizing microenterprise, therefore requiring “the creat ion or strengthening of appropriate credit mechanisms that can reach the small borrowe r in a cost-effective manner” while ensuring convenient payback to the lender (Berge r 1995:200). One option is organizing an intermediary institution to “provide a link between the informal bus iness sector and the conventional banking system” (Berger 1995:200). Banks, however, may not be inclined towards making small loans, female lenders may not feel comfortable navigating the conventional banking system, and the relationship ultimately perpetuates dependency through continual reliance on donations. Ther efore, a culmination of familiarity, convenience, and overall costs results in a pr eference for informal or indigenous forms of amassing capital. Governments may facilitate this preference by or ganizing “cooperatives or micro-credit associations providing a ssistance for improved products” (Prgl and Tinker 1997:1473). Popular economic development strategies advocated for women are cooperative, collective, or solidarity activities. In disc ussing rewards for work, the Caribbean Nobel Laureate Sir Arthur Lewis (1955:64) defined desirable cooperative enterprise as “organizations where the workers own the prope rty, manage it themselves, and distribute the proceeds among themselves… [however,] cooperative units have two major problems, namely incentives and authority” (Lewis 1955:64). Partners rely on the good faith of each other although one partner may slacken off without experiencing diminished returns. Small cooperatives can work well, pa rticularly where kin or “mutual sympathy”

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108 links partners. Once cooperatives grow beyond six-to-twelve partners, however, mutual trust and sympathy are not sufficient. “I t becomes necessary to pay each member according to what he does in terms of hours and of skills. Surplus profit can still be divided on some “co-operative principle,” but emphasis must be on “c reating a system of wage incentives” (Lewis 1955:64-65). Coope ratively organized programs are often promoted by local governments and intern ational development agencies, and are considered beneficial due to the political potential for grassroots organizing (Abreu 1989:173; Wickrama 1994:367-368). Yet, if not car efully administered, the elite within a targeted population may monopolize access to be nefits. Likewise, development strategies are inclined to assist individuals with acce ss to resources, thereby favoring those with existing opportunities rather than assisting “the poores t of the poor” (Abreu 1989:173; Creevey 1996:128; Reichmann 1989:142). Globall y, microcredit programs have tended benefited the “nearly poor” w ho hover at upper fringe of poverty. While “the very poor are more likely to drop out of microcredi t programs…many of the 50 million people who take part in microcredit programs” are near the line of poverty, but “are more likely to get more and bigger loans and build successful microenterprises” (Dugger 2004). Similarly, Cohen (1998) describes a collect ive artisan’s society in Mexi co that was established to avoid established “middle men” by linking th e woolen textile producers directly with their market. Producers without the resources to maintain membership felt marginalized, were considered a higher risk and therefore, were ineligible for credit. Meanwhile a single group of related families with greater access to resources benefited as the collective was successful in pool ing resources of the partic ipating kin network towards

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109 attaining a larger market. Ultimately, the artisans’ society exacerbated existing tensions of class divisions. Through pooling resources, self-reliant, in formal grass-roots cooperatives can achieve many economic objectives includi ng collective marketing, savings, and purchasing. Gladden (1992) compares tw o Colombian women’s cooperatives with differences marked by class distinctions Through participation, the middle class women’s group experienced consciousness-rais ing regarding gender subordination. Their organization grew from a church-based se wing cooperative aimed at improving homes and increasing savings, into a highly organi zed ROSCA, which for 25 years successfully provided a range of ancillary services (such as healthcare and funeral benefits). By contrast, the poor women’s housing collective experienced a short-lived success through the purchasing a lot and building suitable hous ing. Yet, the collective disbanded after rumors of communism led to discriminati on against members and the government began charging some residents rent, claiming they lacked proper title to their homes (Gladden 1992:256). Such examples illustrate the si gnificance of class membership and of negotiating independence from local institutions whose vested interests can interfere with the success and sustainability of alternative economic activities. Women’s groups may not have explicitly political agendas yet, through formal organizational tactics, they are more likel y to challenge the status quo in terms of women’s access to power (McClaurin 1996:180). Po litical activism that openly questions cultural beliefs or practices may place women at a disadvantage. Women’s groups clearly engage in political activism where “consciousness raising” focuses on practical gender

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110 concerns such as economic activism. These organizations are vehi cles for empowering women through providing services to meet their needs (such as childcare, adequate health care, employment). Appropriate organizationa l structure is critical. In her comparative study of women’s voluntary associations in Belize, Irma McClaurin (1996:166,184) noted the variability of group structure. On e of the groups she observed maintained a persistent and relevant agenda of comm unity-minded organization, empowering women’s economic activism through nontraditional wor k, promoting self-reliance, and fiscal autonomy. A second group dissolved after foster ing individual growth and advancement. Although lacking the cohesive community and unified leadership of the first group, the second group’s social network may be reactivat ed at a later time if members decide to pursue grassroots organizing. These groups demonstrate a range of organizational variability from structured to highly flexible wherein each groups structure complements the circumstances and needs of women in pa rticular settings. Moreover, both groups’ success is attributable to empowering women to venture “outside the normal parameters of the domestic domain” (McClaurin 1996:186). Cultural Context Despite a growing body of literature discussing indigenous practices and accounting for particular cultural contexts why has microenterprise development consistently failed to incorporate women’s es tablished strategies a nd values as a vital component of women’s economic empowerme nt? Clearly, development practitioners have recognized the need and potential fo r helping women. According to Carr (1984:3), women-headed households are among the “ poorest of the poor” because they do not

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111 share equal access to land, employment, te chnology, or credit as do men. Women have proven to be good development “investmen ts” (Buvinic 1989:1048). The Grameen Bank, for example, is perhaps best know for its rema rkably low, small loan default rate (two percent) and for its focus on women is bei ng replicated in different settings, which demonstrates the impact of investing in poor women’s self-employment. Additionally, studies have indicated that income earned from microenterprise is a critical resource for the rural and urban poor (Carr 1995:217). Assu mptions that inappropriately homogenize cultural or geographical cont exts and inherently ethnocen tric paradigms, however, contribute to making developmen t strategies problematic. Cultural conditions cannot be generalized to match all settings. In rural Bangladesh, for example, repayment is more successful in newer villages offering greater economic opportunities. Yet, “new villages ” are not a universal phenomenon. The need to bypass patriarchal power structures such as male domination of the public sphere (including finances), as is the case in rura l Bangladesh, is not culturally universal. Additionally, Hashemi, et al., (1996:647) found that women are better able to maintain control over resources when engaged in cu stomary women’s activities such as petty trade, despite the fact that this constrains the capacity of women’s enterprises to expand. When Bangladeshi women engage in petty trad e, they are more likely to produce items at home while men are more likely to engage in selling. Yet, this pa ttern of production and distribution is not universal Goetz and Gupta (1996:50) found a correlation between women’s ability to maintain control over thei r loans in the following contexts: (1) during the later stages of th e life cycle and (2) where they are head of household. Yet, women in

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112 other cultures may have great er autonomy throughout their life cycle and may have greater potential to control or expand thei r businesses regardless of household headship. Despite women’s capacity for enterprise, de velopment and economic policies are often criticized for misconceiving gender roles and upholding the west ern bias of the preindustrial, European nuclear family househol d as a monolithic “ resource sharing unit” of analysis (Tripp 1992:160,168-169). Tripp (1992:160,168-169) noted that ethnocentric thinking by economists tends to overlook cultural strengths and often places an unequal burden on women by emphasizing formal wage earners. Gianotten (1994) described a case study of CARE, which in conjunction with the Bolivian government, launched a program focusing on the management of natural resources. Most Boliv ian peasant women are denied control of land, water, and public decision making unde r the sexual division of labor. Despite women’s economic roles in cottage industr y (including wool and potato production), informal trading, and use of informal money lending – the development agency restricted access to formal credit to men. Nonetheless, if families have problems repaying loans they usually draw from domestic resources to make payments (although women may not be consulted). Ironically, part of CARE ’s policy since 1992 includes strengthening women’s economic, political, and cultural ro les within their comm unities through direct participation. Despite these objectives, an assumption that the program would increase women’s access to power and benefits has in advertently reinforced their subordination since women’s workloads increase, but not their involvement in decision-making. By failing to recognize women as economic actors, these policies fall short of integrating

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113 women into the development process. “The development process encompasses not only growth, but capacity, equity, and empow erment as well” (Wickrama 1994:368). Microentrepreneurs are diverse, geographica lly dispersed, include a range of specific groups who contribute to differe nt sectors of a nation’s ec onomy, and therefore require support services tailored to meet different needs and di stinctive skills (Mead and Liedholm 1998:70). Within an environmen t of increasingly s carce developmental resources, cost-conscious progr am managers need to ask which groups they should target. Programs must be appropriate for the targ eted group (Jain 1996; Wickrama 1994:368), focused on providing services and benefits that “flow exclusively to the intended beneficiaries” (McKee 1989:998,1004), and ther eby reinforce women’s responsibilities and capacities for influencing their future (Creevey 1996:212). Thr ough targeting specific sectors for assistance and developing an ade quately trained staff, an organization can offer a range of specific interventions (suc h as credit, marketing, and training). Many female microentrepreneurs are eager to impr ove their skills and productivity, yet they lack information regarding assistance progr ams or fail to take advantage of these resources (Massiah 1989:972). My informal survey of female microentrepreneurs indicated that most people are vaguely awar e of the more established training, funding and business development services, yet most of the women in Tobago were not familiar of the range of opportunities lo cally available. This is particularly critical to the “invisible” female entrepreneurs who require aggressive outreach to address their needs, including the “particular stag es in the entrepreneur’s li fe cycle” (Mead and Liedholm 1998:71). Through building coalition among donor agencies, powerful public and private

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114 sector institutions, a shared vision of prom oting women’s economic self-reliance can be developed to implement appropriate projects and strengthen institutional linkages at the local, national, and international leve ls (Creevey 1996:119; Massiah 1989:973-974; McKee 1989:995-996; Mead and Liedholm 1998:71). In order to tailor a microcredit program to a particular cultural and historical context, the definitions of microenterprise a nd small business must also be attuned to the context of the local economy. In the Caribbean context, it is critical to consider the structure of women’s microe nterprise in addition to various political-economic and cultural issues when designing informed polic y for economic development. In the case of Trinidad and Tobago, the Ministry of Trade and Industry Task Force (Ministry of Trade and Industry Task Force 1999:6) defined one -to-five employees as constituting a microenterprise while a small business employs six-to-twenty-five individuals. A study conducted in Trinidad and Tobago by the In ternational Labour Or ganization (1997:42) found that out of 94 female microenterpr ises surveyed, 23 businesses employed one individual while the majority (57 businesses) employed two-to-f ive persons. Whereas, an economic study of Tobago defined small business more restrictively as “one which is owned and/or operated by one to two individu als who are responsible for the day to day operations and also for making the major strategic decisions” (McDonald 1999:4). Furthermore, in considering the applicability of the microcredit model to a particular location, it is critical to account for history. The entrepreneurial spirit of women in th e Caribbean extends over more than two centuries (Bell 1986:50). During slavery, wome n worked both on the plantations and in

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115 their own subsistence plots as marketers a nd higglers. Originati ng during slavery, the female role of higgler involves the independent, sma ll business of buying stock from rural farmers and transporti ng it for resale at the mark et (Katzin 1959; Mintz 1953; 1989(1974):120-122). Through a perspective that is framed by the continuity of women’s roles as economic actors, the reformulation of analytical categories of work may provide a model that more accurately depicts the broad spectrum of behaviors and diverse levels of contributions facilitated by Caribbean wo men’s microentrepreneu rial activities. In depth analysis of microenterpr ise in the Caribbean provides a particularly powerful case for assessing the “role, positi on, and status of women” alon g an economic continuum that encompasses historical, local, national, and international aspects (van der Wees 1995:46). Afro-Caribbean women have always worked. In West Africa, women were the mainstay of agriculture; as slaves, they were im ported primarily as ag ricultural laborers to cultivate; and after emancipation, having no re al occupational options, many continued to participate economically as higglers, shopkeep ers, and other similar activities out of necessity. Historically, Caribbean women’s wo rk, which required little formal training, was concentrated in activiti es involving production and co mmerce of agricultural and handicraft products (Massiah 1989:968; 1993: 8, 9). “Entrepreneurship provided an opportunity to gain economic independence at a time when educational and employment opportunities were limited for the majority of the population” (Bell 1986:47-48). The transition from plantation cash crop producti on to export oriented industrialization has eroded enterprises where women customarily played a significant role as “direct linkages between the plantation owners and the commer cial sector” (Bell 1986:49). More recently,

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116 trading has greatly expanded to include street foods, manufa ctured items, services, as well as export and import of basic comm odities. These occupations fall within conventional gender roles that mirror wome n’s domestic duties (McKay 1993:285). Yet, economic crises of the 1970s and 1980s and st ructural adjustment policies have forced many Caribbean women into factory work in free trade zones or small-scale and microenterprises. Changes in the economy duri ng this time reflect a shifting away from plantation agriculture towards investment in industries such as export manufacturing and tourism (Levy 1991:64; Massiah 1989:968-969). Women’s partic ipation in the informal sector has particularly increased in res ponse to economic conditions as well as being backed by local non-governmental organiza tions, donor financing, and governmental support (Massiah 1989:968).14 “An entrepreneur is essent ially a person who owns or controls a business through which income is gained” (Bell 1986:47). Today, Caribbean women’s microenterprises include “mic ro-retail and service activities” and predominantly exist in the so-called “informa l sector” where they serve as the “backbone of the local economy” (Isaac 1986:51). Additio nally, micro-level manufacturing (such as food and apparel) comprises a major component of microenterprise (Mead and Liedholm 1998:64). In spite of significant contributions structural adjustment policies and local restrictions marginalize informal microent erprises in favor or more technologically dependent, visible industries. Promotion of a minimalist approach to mi croenterprise development, such as the Grameen Bank or microcredit model, favors building on conventional skills and providing credit, the most convenient form of assistance (Mead and Liedholm 1998:70;

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117 Prgl and Tinker 1997:1474). In the context of poor Caribbean women’s microenterprise, this tendency results in redundancy of goods and services, reduction of quality, and increasing competition if not mediated with a dditional resources. In the case of Tobago, a surplus of handicraft and food vendors indi cates redundancy of women’s gender-typed microenterprises. Change in women’s ec onomic roles requires elimination of occupational segregation and encouraging women’s participation in nontraditional sectors. Despite the variety of opportunities, most women work ers in the informal sector are heads of household and thus “are less concerned with bu ilding an efficient business enterprise than with ensuring an immediate source of rea dy cash” (Massiah 1989:967). In a survey, Caribbean women spent 75 percent of their time engaged in activities they deemed necessary to maintain themselves and their households, much of which is unremunerated work and support of social networks (Massiah 1989:970-971). Survival type microenterprises are short-term solutions to lack of employment (such as street vending), whereas more steady microenterprises may be quite small, but provide secure income (including hair dressing and market vending). Furthermore, in cases where microenterprises grow into small businesses, they can generate sufficient income for the owner to expand and often create additional employment (Caribbean Centre for Monetary Studies 1998:77). The informal sector provide s a viable option as microenterprises may be established under conditions of minimal cap ital or stock as well as limited experience or training. Trinidad and Toba go’s Ministry of Trade and Industry Task Force (1999:7) reports “ninety-eight percent of all businesse s started in Trinidad and Tobago used their own personal savings.” Although personal income is valued, it is typically not sufficient

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118 for maintenance of the household, therefore requiring flexibility to tap additional sources of income. Self-employment offers self -determination, bypassing “discrimination in employment, promotions, and wages” (McKay 1993:278). Poor women are particularly excluded fr om access to formal credit. Banking in the Caribbean involves “exorbita nt collateral requirements, high interest rates and total absence of structure to respond to the need s of the small busine ss sector” (Isaac 1986:53). Microentrepreneurs are mistru stful of formal banking, preferring to borrow from a local moneylender or to rely on their kin netw ork for financial support. Macroeconomic policies are not gender neutral as they rela te to women’s reproductive roles, how women perceive these roles, and yet they are in sensitive to women’s responsibilities and preferences. Where developm ent practitioners fail to recognize women’s roles as economic actors, policies and programs will not account for the sexual division of labor in domestic and public spheres. “Since support from the male partner is often unavailable or inadequate, these factors have forced more and more women to seek alternative means of earning incomes” (Massiah 1989:966,971). In response, many Caribbean women adopt survival strategies in order to meet domes tic responsibilities. A lthough male partners may recognize the significance of female financia l contributions “few women report help from their partners with household and other dom estic duties” (Massiah 1989:972). In Tobago, for example, women or the female children tend to be responsible for domestic chores including cooking, cleaning, and washing laundry Partners and family members typically support women’s work; however, a man ma y elect to influence his partner’s microenterprise if he provides the initial cap ital or where he directly intervenes in

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119 running her business. Women are proud of th eir independence, and may hide their income from their partners in order to preserve their autonomy (McKay 1993:282). Unlike much of the third world, recent de mographic features of Caribbean women far surpass categorization as “underdeveloped” in terms of life expectancy (70+ years), education, and labor force participation. A ccording to Massiah, (1989:965) these visible advantages mask conditions that “restricts women’s participation in the economy, limit their mobility, and ignore the deleterious eff ect [of development strategies] on women.” In a context where 40-70 per cent of women are heads of household, and may be the sole income-earners for their family, access to income-generating activities that provide economic empowerment are vital (Be ll 1986:48,53; Levy 1991; Reichmann 1989:142,148). According to 1997 Central Statisti cal Organization ( 1997a:74) data for Tobago, 56.25% of working women surveyed reported living without a partner while 42.5% reported living with a husband or co mmon law partner. Also, 1990 census figures for Tobago reported 3,465 female-headed hous eholds, with a to tal population of 13,572 residing in female-headed households and 3.9 being the average size of female-headed households in Tobago (Central Statistical Office 1997c:8). Du e to significant responsibilities, women “may be more risk-averse,” preferri ng to diversify their funds into new activities or maintain their ex isting level of producti on. These survival-type microenterprises represent a majority of economically active poor women, providing a critical component among many strategies of household maintenance used by women within a continuum of activi ties that may be considered work (Massiah 1989:969-970; McKee 1989:1001; Mead and Liedholm 1998:70; Reichmann 1989:158).15 Access to

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120 credit provides women economic opport unities, although res ources may not be exclusively applied to microe ntrepreneurial activities due to domestic responsibilities (Placentia 1989:131). Programs that exclusivel y focus on credit and repayment of loans do not meet Caribbean women’s needs. In prom oting these businesses, it is important to recognize that expansion may not be a realizab le or relevant goal for multiple reasons. For example, production of greater scale re quires additional commitments that women may not be willing to make including t echnology, management, and time (Mead and Liedholm 1998:68; Reichmann 198 9:153). Likewise, very micro activities may be small “both in scale and earning . and often are used to supplement othe r income from parttime employment or remittances from abroad” (Isaac 1986:52). In addition to the dilemmas of growing a business or mobilizing credit, organizing the structure of microenterprise is problematic Characteristic of th e so-called “informal economy,” women’s microenterprises may exist along a spectrum that includes individual production, informal groups or cooperatives, small enterprises, and dispersed factories. “Associations of business women have been virtually unknown until recent times in the Caribbean” (Be ll 1986:49). During my research I was involved with an association of business women. Based out of Trinidad, the Caribbean Association of Women Entrepreneurs (CAWE) was a regional organization that provided networking and professional development opportunities fo r entrepreneurial women. Aside from one member located in Tobago, CAWE was e ssentially unsuccessf ul in recruiting membership from the smaller is land. Nonetheless, a survey of the literature reveals an emphasis on organizing women’s microenterprises as coopera tives. Despite the problem

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121 of running a business single-handedly, “women are not always immediately enthusiastic about co-operating” due to cultural or persona l issues and frequently prefer to operate their business independently (Carr 1984:128,133). Women I interviewed ubiquitously emphasized pride in being autonomous, self-s ufficient microentrepreneurs and a strong preference for independence. Both Africa and the Caribbean abound with stories of vulnerability and loss involving partnerships wi th friends or relative s. Likewise, several female microentrepreneurs in Tobago descri bed failed business partnerships with friends or family members. Although cooperative s may make sense economically or are preferred by donor agencies, when assessing mi croentrepreneurial structure, development policy and practice must take into account existing cultural traditions, time demands, legal constraints, and the nature of pe rsonal relationships within households or communities (Awori 1995:239; Buvinic 1989; Selwyn Ryan and Barclay 1992a). Women in the Caribbean voice a strong preference fo r operating businesses independently (or within a kin group) rather than taking bus iness partners. Additi onally, when women do devise a supplementary income earning strategy in the form of a microenterprise, they tend to be short-lived; ceasing to exist once short-term financial needs are met or once women find employment elsewhere (Isaac 1986:52-53; Powell, et al. 1990:81-82). Cooperatively oriented programs may prefer ence the elite or promote dependence on support from grants or loans from a funding agency. Where women desire sustainable mi croenterprise development, and organizational structure can be expand beyond sole proprietorship, traditional incomegenerating strategies may be adapted to meet women’s needs and promote economic

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122 empowerment. Through building on existing cultu ral traditions and personal relationships to reinforce and encourage training a nd funding, microentrepr eneurial economic organizing can include a grassroots appr oach (Bruce 1989:123,125). For example, the complexity and efficiency of established women’s self-help groups in Africa function similarly to those in the Caribbean. Thes e women’s groups have been incorporated successfully into development strategies by providing for both colle ctive and individual efforts. In Kenya, women may collectively pl ant trees or weave baskets, and continue working together as a unit to raise capital towards purchasing resources needed locally (including building a school). Rather than functioning as a true cooperative (where the means and efforts of production are equally shared as well as su rplus capital being redistributed among group members), the se lf-help strategy does not demand equal participation. Through grassroots, collectiv e action, funds are main tained within the groups, thereby providing protection from appropriation by husbands or other circumstances (Tinker 1995:37). Similarly, Af ro-Caribbean, female kin share resources and work collectively towards providing for local needs, yet maintain autonomous income earning strategies. Bell citation suggests a reassessment of conventional beli efs including the disinclination towards collec tive efforts. Considering donor agencies’ preference for funding women’s cooperative ente rprises, creative alternativ e strategies can integrate women’s preference for reliance on kindred within this model. Where sustainable cooperatives do exist in the Caribbean, they tend to be small-scale, community based, restricted to husbands or kin (Isaac 1986:51; McKay 1993:281). In addition to

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123 organizational flexibility and access to credit, Caribbean women’s microenterprise requires additional resources tailored to their needs. Building upon collective efforts, such as ROSCAs (or susu in Trinidad and Tobago), is a useful strategy for supporting female entrepreneurs. According to Be sson (1995:266, 271-273), participants prefer ROSCAs for mobilizing credit (over formal banking) due to the personalized context without the danger of government taxation. This system is a survival strategy, built on trust, and historically linked to people with limited means of support. ROSCAs provide a resource for meeting obligations and in em ergencies are viable options (whereas the conventional banking system would not be available). Additiona lly, preference for indigenous systems may relate to Caribbean women’s history of re sistance; a tradition that has persisted throug hout slavery, emancipation, through imperialism and neocolonialism. Furthermore, scholars have a dvocated building on colle ctive structure for practical purposes such as purchasing surplus stock rather than “individually trekking to the wholesale store,” which precludes sole pr oprietors from volume discounts (Powell, et al. 1990:82). Despite their long history in the Cari bbean, women’s self-help groups have occasionally been criticized for focusing on established female tasks that perpetuate stereotypical domestic roles. Likewise their potential for economic empowerment remains questionable. ROSCAs, for example, offer a useful means to credit for large purchases and emergencies. ROSCAs, however are limited and typically do not provide access to sufficient capital to facilitate economic empowerment. When meeting local needs is the primary focus, can harmonious and desirable compromises, which integrate

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124 economic development through participation in the world market system, offer a sustainable means towards achieving women’s self-sufficiency? Additionally, “does paid labor merely exploit women as cheap labor, or does it give women greater autonomy and raise their consciousness regarding ge nder subordination” (Safa and Crummett 1996:185,194-195)? Through a focus on survival and practical issues, third world women have developed their own agendas emphasizi ng solidarity and self-esteem. Building on local resources, many women’s groups have transformed themselves into formalized organizations, thereby gaining access to donor agency’s support of local, grassroots efforts. As mentioned earlier, development e fforts have largely concentrated on stereotypically “female activities” such as handicraft production and “traditional definitions of women’s legitimate roles in society” such as wife and mother (van der Wees 1995:49). This reflects a larger assu mption of a needy population consisting of primarily rural women who are underemployed, t hus having time to devote themselves to learning hobbies that “may” provide additional income. Am ong Afro-Caribbean women, work often involves combining “economic activities with household maintenance” reflecting a strong orientati on towards family relations (McKay 1993:285; Prgl and Tinker 1997:1476). Cultural feat ures that reinforce active engagement with domestic responsibilities are paradoxical to the western goals of au tonomous self-employment and individual maximization. Such ideological chasms result in the objectives of female microentrepreneurs and development prac titioners becoming polarized. Keer (1995) described the colonial history of Caribbean guesthouse keeping wherein gender and race

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125 served as mechanism to maintain a social ly stratified status quo. Similarly, McKay’s (McKay 1993) study of women’s work within Jamaica’s tourism industry demonstrated that independence is not nece ssarily achievable through tour ism-based microenterprise. Since women customarily dominate the se rvice industry, and guesthouse operation uses skills already developed in the domestic sp here, women may find their choice of work directly influenced by kin or a male part ner. Families may manipulate women into running such businesses, capitalizing on stereotypical maternal roles. McKay (1993:282,284) described a guesthouse operator who ran a successful business on behalf of her pastor son for over fifteen years. Ultimately, her reputation grew so prominent that the son decided to take over the business a nd continues operation using his mother’s name. In contrast to individual market wo men, who are proudly i ndependent and conceal their earnings, guesthouse keep ers are more dependent upon extended family for labor and access to land, and money earnings are more easily calculated. In short, there is no universal patter n for promoting development of women’s microenterprise. Positively affecting women’s economic empowerment is achievable through strategies that are specifi cally tailored to a cultural an d historic context, targeting a particular population’s needs, and facilitating locali zed linkages that are relevant to the world system. Through accounting for experience s of others, we may help “to overcome some of the pitfalls in implementation [howev er], there are no hard and fast rules which guarantee success” (Carr 1984:137). The cultural and historic context of each location must be considered and devel opment strategies must be appr opriately mediated. In some contexts, as in the Caribbean, family needs may supersede commitment to

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126 microenterprise. Yet, self-reliance, increasing productivity and income are feasible goals of female microenterprise particularly when emphasizing nontraditional occupations. Through understanding real-world experiences, viable economi c activity can be promoted by building on women’s, grassroots self-h elp groups. Critical components towards positively affecting women’s economic empowerment involve promoting solidarity and a multifaceted development approach providing services such as access to resources, training in improved technology as well as promoting diversif ication of women’s income generating activities. Women’s tiny enterprises directly benefit their families in the third world. In addition to recognizing the concen tration of women functioning as economic actors within this domain, strategies must be oriented towards specifically and appropriately meeting these needs.

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127 B. Caribbean Studies In the section above, I described the history and evoluti on of the field of international development with a focus on policy and practices targeting women for poverty alleviation strategies in the so-called “developing world.” Next, I illustrate theories of the Afro-Caribbean family thr ough a review of anthr opological literature emphasizing the role of women in the Caribbean First, I survey early theoretical trends on the nature of Caribbean family, house holds, and unions through the 1970s. Next, I summarize studies of Afro-Caribbean women’s’ survival and adaptive strategies in the 1980s and 1990s. Also, analysis of Afro-Car ibbean women’s survival and adaptive strategies provides the necessary cultural contex t for modifying international development interventions (such as the microcredit model of microenterprise development) in order to accommodate histor ic and cultural context as well as accounting for the needs and expectations of intended recipients. Current models of Caribbean family origin s derive from early anthropological and sociological studies that were fraught with ethnocentrism. In contrast to British and North American scholars’ personal conception of the “normative” family (that is, coresidential, nuclear, and stable), the fluid and diverse forms of the West Indian family were deemed “pathological.” In order to clarify my discus sion of the Caribbean st udies literature, the definitions below briefly outline terms used to describe the structure Afro-Caribbean family (Barrow 1996; Bolles 1996:42; Clar ke 1996(1957); Herskovits and Herskovits 1947; R. T. Smith 1996).

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128 1. “Visiting” unions are non-residential relationships that may range from intermittent, sexual liaison to permanent partnerships. They may constitute viable relationships, lacking a shared domestic domain. 2. “Coresidential,” “common law” or “keeper” unions also know as “compassionate” or “faithful” concubinage are defined as non-legal relationships, involving casual cohabitation that may be short or long term.16 Partners share equal responsibility of practical affairs. 3. “Marriage” unions adhere to the patr iarchal model and are intended to be monogamous, life long associations wherein th e husband is liable to support his wife and children. Marriage provides respect ability and legal sa nctioning (including provisions for divorce or separation), legi timates children, and involves co-residential nuclear families. 4. “Matrifocal,” “maternal,” “grandmother,” or “disintegrate” or “female-headed” families lack stable male-female nuclear families, but may include multiple generations of matrilateral kindred exte nding from the mother-child units. These structures include a female-heads-of-hous ehold at the center of decisions-making, domestic affairs. In seeking to determine the origins of thes e diverse family forms, scholars constructed concepts and typologies as well as investigating how and why these “non-normative” families were able to function. Early studies of the West Indian family may be loosely grouped into three categories: historical diffusionism, soci al pathology, and structuralfunctionalism, while later studies shifted the focus to personal c hoice and adaptability.

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129 Cultural Diffusion/Historical Within the anthropological tradition, interest in hist orical developments and origins of the West Indian family begins primarily with Melville Herskovits and E. Franklin Frazier. Herskovits viewed Caribbean social st ructure as the remnants of tenacious West African cultural heritage. Acco rding to this “historic derivation” model customs did not survive in tact, rather they passed through transitions from syncretism to reinterpretation. The family was perceived as transitional between African cultural traditions and acculturation under the oppre ssion of slavery. For Herskovits (1947:296), the mother and children comprised the “nucle us of the family,” where the maternal “yard” (consisting of th e African co-wife in her own hut) was retained and reinterpreted under slavery to include the maternal house hold (consisting of an elderly woman, her daughters, and their children). Changes in fam ily forms were related to the duration of slavery conditions and functioned as custom s of resilience and malleability in the Caribbean context. For Frazier, African-American instituti ons were not fully acculturated into American social structural standards (due to oppression unde r slavery) and therefore, were considered “culturally deprived” (Min tz and Price 1992(1976):63). According to Frazier (1966(1939):3), since African cultura l traditions were disr upted and destroyed under slavery, “irregular” mating patterns (such as common law unions) resulted as Africans attempted to adopt the planter’s cu lture. Frazier (1966(1939) :5-6) explained that the larger contingency of Afri cans in the Caribbean facilitate d cultural survival, such as the retention of polygamy. He assumed that the influences of social and economic

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130 conditions precluded the development of th e “normative” nuclear family (M. G. Smith 1966:viii). Michael G. Smith provided another perspe ctive on the nature of the Caribbean family. For M.G. Smith (1956a), the Caribb ean may not be represented as socially homogenized due the diversity of African cultu res, variety of ethnic mixing, absence of complete historic records, and “discontinui ties” produced by slavery that influenced the region. According to M.G. Smith, (1956a) slave mating patterns involved informal cohabitation of dissolvable unions. Children of these unions were property of their mother’s master and the family unit was hi ghly unstable because the husband/father was easily removed or sold. Therefore, under the plantation system, the family unit was reduced to the women and he r children (Barrow 1996:7).17 He characterized Caribbean mating patterns as highly dive rse and brittle and marriage as lacking finality (M. G. Smith 1966). M.G. Smith (1966: ii, xxiv, xxxv) noted that all forms of mating were simultaneously available without normativ e restrictions. While marriage was the normative requisite for mating among the middle and upper classes, it was usually reserved for later years among peasants.18 A common mating pattern among the lower classes was “extra-residential” wherein part ners lived apart with kin while the man visited his mate and contributed to her (and her children’s) support. Among “lower class Creole,” this practice was typically continued through a dulthood as serial mating and culminating in a terminal, legal marriage union in their middle or later years (after childbearing had ceased) (M. G. Smith 1966: iiiiv). He emphasized the instability of mating patterns among younger people in both peasant and proletariat communities

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131 where cohabitation involved “non-purposeful,” “compassionate,” and “keeper” unions (rather than “faithful concubinage”) and th erefore, unions were casual and promiscuous (rather than exclusive and durable). Rather than a comparison to the “normative nuclear family,” M.G. Smith described the West Indi an family forms and domestic relations as essentially substitutions for what he assu med was “marginal parenthood” resulting from mating patterns that originated with slav ery. M.G. Smith (1966: iii) described the “dispersal” of children as concomitant with alternative mating patterns, the diversity of family structures, the character of the pare ntal conjugal union, and the children’s birth status. The cultural-historical approach of Sidney Mintz and Richard Price (1992(1976):83-84) emphasized the uniqueness and complexity of Afro-Caribbean culture as a remodeled, syncre tic process rather than asym metric borrowing from African and European cultures. Cultures do not exist in a vacuum, making it difficult to speculate on the continuity of influences of West Af rican cultural heritage or experiences under slavery in contributing to the post-emancipation, Caribbean social structure. Slave communities did not evolve coherently as inst itutions and relationships were constantly and intentionally being br oken up through the introduction of new cargoes. Although the nuclear family was normative in the seventeen th century, it decreased proportionately in the eighteenth century with the increasing slave trade. Th e high proportion of African males “increased the size of the group l acking kin,” since slave masters preferred not to import ethnically homogenous slave in order to “inhibit communication and solidarity” (Higman 1975:287; 1979:55). Despite the difficu lties of creating st able unions, “tiny

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132 families” occurred as “the basic unit of ec onomic cooperation” consisting of a woman, her children, and her current spouse (Mintz and Price 1992(1976):72). Mintz and Price (1976) provi ded an important discussi on of the political economy of the plantation that is relevant fo r my study of Afro-Caribbean female microentrepreneurship. Under the plantation, sl aves were often required to grow their own food (as it reduced costs) under a system of provision-plot agri culture. Except during crop time, slaves were permitted to cultivate th eir plots and participated in the market on Sunday. This system relied on the cooperation of kin groups (who were able to accumulate money), “facilitated a wider division of labour within the slave group” due to surplus and specializat ion, and reinforced the sexual di vision of labor (Mintz 1953:96). Entrepreneurship and the internal marketing st ructure originated with this system that fostered “resilience and independence among the slaves which gave their otherwise depressing lives meaning and purpose” (Bus h 1990:47). The post-emancipation internal marketing structure developed si milarly to that in West Afri ca, with men as cultivators and women as marketers (Mintz 1953:9697). These compatible roles provided considerable female autonomy through the generation of separate and independent incomes. Originating during sl avery, the female role of higgler involved the independent, small business of buying a range of stock from rural farmers and transporting it for resale at the market (Katzin 1959; Mintz 1953; 1989(1974):120-122). From these cooperative units, the bilateral kinship system develope d where complex networks of exchange and mutual aid extended out from the conjugal pa ir. These family ties are “rooted in the customary system of land use, tenure a nd transmission that evolved in the slave

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133 communities and become firmly established in post-slavery villages with the purchasing of land” (Besson 1993:21). Social Welfare or Social Pathology After World War II, family studies conducted under so cial welfare projects involved social scientists in a shifting of focus from the origins of the Afro-Caribbean family to the (mal)functions of the family (Barrow 1996:9). Following the Moyne Commission of 1945, social scien tists such as Thomas Simey and Edith Clarke surveyed British colonies to collect evidence of so cial and economic conditions in which the “irregular Negro” family and mating patterns existed (B arrow 1996:9,23). Some empathetic scholars (for example, Clarke who was from Jamaica) suspected that the deficiencies of capitalist unde rdevelopment including educ ation, health care, and land ownership, reinforced instability and fluidity of the family. Moreover, these combined material and social inadequacies had a multiply ing effect on the society at large (Reddock 1994:6; M. G. Smith 1966:vi). Social welf are workers were assigned by the British Parliament to devise appropriate programs to deal with the social problems of Caribbean society including the “weakness” and “disorga nization” of family life (Barrow 1996:9; M. G. Smith 1966: iv; R. T. Smith 1996:81-83). The most notorious aspect of the social welfare studies was the Mass Marriage Movement of Jamaica under Lady Higgins. As priority was given to halti ng the prevalent “promiscuity ” found in association with common law marriage, programs such as the Ma ss Marriage Movement were instituted to combat these social ills. From 1944-55, Lady Huggins, the wife of the Governor of Jamaica, headed this largely unsucce ssful campaign, operating under the guiding

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134 misconception that the term “marriage” ha d a universal ethno-semantic meaning (Reddock 1994:6; M. G. Smith 1966:iv-v). Simey (1946:47-48,53), a Brit ish sociologist assumed th at West Indian society was a product of the plantation system, there by reifying the need for social reconstruction to build a “decent” society. He attributed perceived problems of West Indian social structure to “the disproportionate centrality of the mother and the relative absence of a dominant ‘instrumental male’” (Reddock 1994: 7). He described We st Indian kinship patterns as loose, unstable, casual, often prom iscuous and transitory, where paternal roles were unfulfilled, children (despite being illegitimate) were loved and subject to severe discipline, therefore resulting in juvenile delinquency. Men were marginalized by the family and by poverty, which contributed to high illegitimacy rates, unstable relationships, and an unsatisfactory child -rearing environment (Simey 1946:15-16, 8490). For Simey, the problem was how to pers uade people to adopt the “proper family” (that is, the co-residential, nuclear family producing legitimate children). Such an achievement would supposedly succeed in upl ifting the morals and well being of West Indian society (Barrow 1996:10). In devi sing policy, Simey developed a family classification system based on distorted cen sus data that failed to recognize the significance of extra-reside ntial unions (Barrow 1996:56: Smith, 1966 #161:ix). Despite his patronizing misconceptions, his “scientific ap proach to social engineering” illustrated the impoverished conditions within which We st Indian families existed, including how the exploitation of women by upper class men contributed to the maintenance of this social system (R. T. Smith 1996:81-85).

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135 Personal Choice and Adaptation In the 1970s the overly-deterministic, st ructural-functionalism perspective of the West Indian family was replaced by an em phasis on personal choice, adaptation, and a conception of alternative household and family structures as viable options (Barrow 1996:65). Despite this theoretical shift, some anthropologists maintained a preference for research within a small village, thereby perp etuating the perspective of the Caribbean as a marginalized, ahistorical, rural setting. Anot her criticism of the personal choice and adaptation focus involved the dismissal of cultura l traditions and local values in favor of a homogenizing perspective and overly deterministic emphasis on economic and environmental features (Barrow 1996:80-81). Despite these criticisms, these scholars contributed by broadening the unde rstanding of family structure. Important themes can be attributed to this approach include migrati on (historically, of men, and currently of any able-bodied individuals who mu st leave to find work); indi vidualism (rather than the nuclear family as the basic unit); and matrif ocality (women-centered by default as male roles were diluted and deleted). Karen Fog Olwig’s (1993) study of Nevis focused on the influence of migration on West Indian family life. Although histor ically migration was a male dominated activity, later trends in transnationalism in corporated women. Similarly, Bolles (1996) described a series of transitions in the divi sion of labor starting in nineteenth century when peasant men left Jamaica in search of work. Meanwhile, young women migrated from the countryside to the urban setting seeking employment as domestic servants. Unlike the relative household stability during slavery and among the early rural peasants,

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136 urban households became highly flexible. By the twentieth century, men further displaced women agricultural workers thus, reinforcing women’s internal migration towards the urbanizing commerci al sector. “Working class hous eholds were increasingly female-headed and composed of a variety of children and female kin” (Bolles 1996:3738,40). The mother-child unit became the central relationship wherein matrilineal obligations were honored through remittance. Yet, after many years and great distance, transnational relationships may breakdow n or be replaced by new networks. Judith Gussler’s (1980:191) research demonstrated “a profound effect upon the quality of interpersonal relationship in St Kitts” through linkages to slavery and the plantation system, where individuals were t hought of as “units of production.” This condition was perpetuated by the further br eakdown of kin both during and after emancipation where the individual’s labor was sold cheaply. Unlike many former colonies in the region, provision gardens in St. Kitts were extremely limited. Due to the lack of subsistence strategies, a cooperativ e peasant society never developed. As such, group obligations were consid ered economic burdens and reciprocal exchange was strategically avoided due to scarcity (Gussler 1980:186191). Similarly, Hyman Rodman (1971:159) noted that “the i ndividual remains unbounded by strong ties of kinship” or pragmatically ignores social values in order to maximize personal circumstances. Rodman cautioned against the ethnocentrism of applying “middle class” meaning to common terms (that is, marriage, family) – alte rnatively he suggested that the informal, flexible character of lower class families should not be understood as “problems” of deviancy, but as “solutions” of adaptability (M. G. Smith 1966:xxxv). In his research in

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137 Trinidad, Rodman (1971) found that male econom ic inadequacy significantly influences family and household functions. Through circ umstances of unand under-employment, men were marginalized due to their inabil ity to provide for their families (Rodman 1971:177-78). Male marginality contributed to the loose structure of conjugal relationships as they lacked formal author ity or alternatively, may prefer less-demanding, visiting unions. This mating pattern contribute d to the dissolution of familial institutions where marriage and child “shifting” beco me common strategies. Rodman (1971:159,183) distinguished between childcare (the physical job of child-rearing) and child minding (by providing resources) wherein flex ible patterns of family, kinship and mating structures allowed “stretching” of trad itional values to accommodate and maximize individual needs pragmatically. Wilson (1973:219-220) further expanded Rodman’s model of “stretching,” which implied a single value system based on a dominant model imposed through adherence to middle-class, Euro-Ame rican values, to an “alternative set of values” reflected by his gender-based m odel of reputation and respectability. While Rodman’s analysis focused on i ndividual, personal c hoices as adaptive responses, others have focused on the wide r society with the addition of an ethnohistorical perspective to eval uate the instability of conjugality and economic resources (Barrow 1996:69-70). Sally Gordon (1987:427) e xpanded on the concept of child shifting as a strategy of “adaptive opportunism” thr ough the “reallocation of dependent or minor children to a household not including a natural parent.” Under circumstances of negligible economic resources, children were situated in more stable households that were better able to provide for them while re sources from the social network were steered

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138 towards facilitating this process. Gordon’ s analysis included class comparison. Unlike middle-class women who were essentially secu re within and confined to the domestic domain, lower class women were dependent on widespread but less secure networks of support and therefore, were less socially restricted (Gordon 1987:208). Among the poor “mobility and a flexible network of kin and friends are adaptive social features of a changing society” (Gussler 1980:195). One highly debated concept involved defi ning the so-called “matrifocal” family. In clarifying the term “matrifocal,” Gon zalez (1970) described the interchangeable misapplication of terms such as “female-cen tered,” “matriarchal,” or “female-headed” family. Implicitly these generalizations inferred “that women are somehow more important than the observer had expected to find … [and] that the general status of women in the society is ‘rather good’” (Gon zalez 1970:231-232). Gonzal ez noted that the main definition of “matrifocality” involved the following criteria; (1) the mother/woman as the stable, central focus of the social unit and (2) her posi tion of dominance and authority within the family (Barrow 1996:73; Besson 1993:20; Gonzalez 1970:233-34). Gussler (1980:198) illustrated matrifocality in St. Kitts where girls are socialized to be independent, aggressive, competitive, and res ourceful in order to survive. Though women are not characterized as promis cuous, they may consciously es tablish sexual relationships with a series of men to “maximize their ch ances of receiving financial support,” although “there is some embarrassment in beari ng an illegitimate child” (Gussler 1980:191, 196, 199). Women’s adaptive strategies involved building networks of support “expressed in the bearing of children” although they do not consciously plan to have many children.

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139 Children were regarded as an investment that will pay off in the in the long run, they are “social security” for an elde rly woman (Gussler 1980:201-202). The majority of childcare duties fall onto females (both young and old) a situation upheld by a fatalistic ideology “that a woman’s life is supposed to be hard” (Gussler 1980:191,200). Due to the absence of “structures, institutions, or circumstances that have been thought to coincide with or induce matrifo cality cross-culturally,” Gonzalez discounted any direct correlation with African heritage, slavery, or historical familial characteristics in the Caribbean context (Gonzalez 1970:234). Thus, the tradition of female-headed households has been characterized as endemi c to the Caribbean since women’s economic roles predate modernization and male migr ation, extending back to slavery (Barrow 1996:77; Gussler 1980:122). More recently, Safa (1995:55-56) exte nded the definition of matrifocality as traceable to “African rete ntion, slavery, a high leve l of male migration, and male marginalization due to the man’s inability to carry out his role as male breadwinner.” Matrifocality is associated with “the development of modern society and bilateral kinship” (Barrow 1996:75) due to re structuring of gender roles in association with the division of public and private sphere s and the expansion of the domestic domain outside the home significan tly contributing to the expa nsion of women’s roles. Additionally, demographic feat ures contributed to the prevalence of female-headed households.19 Afro-Caribbean Women’s Survi val and Adaptive Strategies In the section above, I briefly described the history of Caribbean studies including the nature of Caribbean family, households, a nd unions. In the next section, I provide a

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140 more detailed account of Caribbean studies that focuses on the resourcefulness of AfroCaribbean women in attending to their mu ltiple roles and responsibilities. Through accounting for a range of survival and adaptive strategies, anal ysis of cultural context and gender implications provides the cultural context necessary to economically empower women through the application of internati onal development strategies such as the microcredit model of micr oenterprise development. Due to a shift in emphasis of persona l choice and adaptive strategies, a corresponding change in Caribbean studies di rected attention away from West Indian family forms and household structure and re focused attention towards women’s agency where actions are understood as motivated by mo re than “natural” in stincts and cultural values. Afro-Caribbean women consciously strategize to maximize their personal potential according to indivi dual circumstances. The study of Afro-Caribbean women has shifted to focus on lower class women wher e unand underemployment coincides with limited education in addition to the ab sence of the male breadwinner. Under circumstances of “constant instability and c onstant variability as the result of social change and underdevelopment” (Bolles 1996:41), scholars have suggested that survival strategies among poor women may include manipulation of mating partners, “modification of household composition through friendship and kinship network,” as well as work (Massiah 1982:78). Women’s reasons for consorting with me n may be highly practical where the hope is to find a stable relati onship that will provide financ ial support. As stated before, more stable unions require men to fulfill th eir “head-of-household” duties financially. As

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141 stable unions typically occur later in life, they may include older children in the household as wage earners. Aside from the fi nancial stability of these unions, women’s unremunerated domestic work is devalued and women find they are more isolated, having fewer kin in the household (Bolle s 1996:71,75,79). As conjugal ties tend to be weak (or delayed until later in life), there is a strong te ndency towards matrifocality wherein the female kin provide an important source “of emo tional and material support” (Safa 1995:56). Matrifocality serves as a viable adaptive mechanism to “unstable conditions of poverty and marginalization within which people live” (Barrow 1996:80). Although marriage ultimately offers higher status (Wilson 1973), women may express a preference for visiting relationship with a mate who will contribute “money, goods, and services of various kinds without moving in, since he is less li kely to try to dominate and control under these circumstances” (Gussler 1980:200). In co-residential unions, partners will share responsibility for basic necessities ; thereby giving the person sanctioning rights over the household (Bolles 1996:81). Women may strategically avoid co-residence in order to maintain their freedom from male authority, independen ce over their finances, and stability over their social networks (Bolles 1996:72; Gussler 1980; Roberts 1978). Massiah (1982) suggested that the adoption of visiting unions and the prevalence of female-headed households relate d to socioeconomic factors. “The absence of a partner does not necessarily reduce the cost of pr oviding basic services” (Massiah 1982:88), as costs tend to be higher when they cannot be shared and incomes tend to be lower where the breadwinner is female (Bolles 1996:79). The role of household head may include “a wide range of domestic arrang ements typified mainly by the absence of an adult male” in

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142 the role of spouse or partner to the domina nt female (Massiah 1982:64-65). “A female headed-household then develops with the wome n retaining control ov er such income and assets as she may have, and over her childre n” (Massiah 1982:67). It functions through dependence on an individual who manages the daily and economic affairs, but does not rule out the possibility of a lternative and external sources of income (Marshall 1978:72). It functions cooperatively through kin shari ng responsibility for chores. Some members of the household may be absolved from duties due to social values that place education and employment above domestic duties. Particular tasks may be assigned in accordance with age, experience, or pe rsonal status (Bolles 1996:62,73). The extended family may be described as a survival strategy, providing the stability and security for a woman to combine employment with domestic responsib ilities by allowing a lternative economic strategies to be used (Massiah 1982:98). Communal living may enable women to delegate some of their house hold duties (such as childcare) to a residential partner, thereby avoiding working a “double day.” While the marital relationshi p and the man’s role as head of the household may be present and the provision of support for wo men and children were important tasks, domestic organization in the form of the “ nuclear family unit” was not required for the accomplishment of childrearing (R. T. Smith 1996:54). Socialization of children was considered largely “women’s work,” and in cases where the father was present and associated himself with the childrearing, the mo ther-child relationship still constituted the core of Caribbean family structure. Where there is no additional female kin or friends available, it was not uncommon for older ch ildren to be kept at home to look after

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143 younger siblings or for young children to be left unsupervised (Massiah 1982:83,95). While child-shifting strategies enabled a working woman to provide care for her child (typically with maternal relatives), anothe r strategy was relian ce upon a so-called “back yard nursery” where a local woman provided da ycare facilities for ne arby kin and friends (Bolles 1996:68). Though the mother-child relationship is c onsidered the basic unit of all kinship systems, in the Caribbean context, the sa lience of mother-child relationship extends beyond childrearing purposes (R. T. Smith 1996:54) “The reason that domestic relations are mother-focused rather than simply fema le-focused is that ‘mothering,’ or childrearing, is the central activity of the domes tic domain and is productive of the intense affective relations that pervade it” (R T. Smith 1996:54). Clarke (1996(1957):158) described that in Jamaica, “the woman depe nds on even very young children to fetch and carry for her. Whatever she may be doing in the yard, the children are never far away.” At birth, the child became the center of attention and affe ction for the whole household and family, and for the first four or five years of life was easy. Upon reaching school age “discipline both at home and at school b ecomes severely enforced” (Barrow 1996:400). From age 5 to 6 years, children were inculcat ed into certain house hold duties; and by the time they reach 8 years old, gender distinctions were cl early defined. Badly-behaved children were a public disgrace and mothers were particularly vigilant over daughters “to keep them away from the temptations of se xual activity and the ravages of boys and older men, by curtailing free time outside the hom e” (Barrow 1996:399). In the past, children typically left school at ag e 14 or 15, which signaled the end of adolescence.

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144 For boys, the expectation was that they should find someth ing to do to contribute to the household. Males either entered an a pprenticeship or found work. Once he begins to earn, a boy was expected to contribute to his mother, and this mother-son cycle of dependency extended beyond adolescence. Though a young man might continue to contribute to his mother, his focus shifte d away from dependence on the household towards independence and socialization among a peer group (Clarke 1996(1957); Wilson 1973). For girls, growing up signified assumi ng more responsibility for the household. The reaction of a mother to her unwed da ughter’s first pregnancy was severe “and incidents of mothers who threw their daught ers out of the house are legend in the Caribbean…Pregnant girls would seek refuge with a relative and…after a period of cooling off, they were able to return to th eir parental homes as their mothers began to delight in the role of grandmother” (Ba rrow 1996:400). Birth of the first grandchild redefined the relationship between mother and daughter. It wa s still close, but transformed into far more symmetrical relationship (Wilson 1973:129). Relationships between adult children a nd mothers often involved close companionship and interdependence. As described above, this strong mother-child relation or “matrifocal” family structure extended to solidarity among groups of female kin (including mothers, daughters, and daughter’s children) that provided the basis for continuity and security (R. T. Smith 1996). Within the matrifocal family structure, a woman controlled the domestic sphere including economic and decision-making power in coalition w ith her children (R.

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145 T. Smith 1996:42). According to Wilson (1973:133-134), though a daughter may eventually move away from her mother’s household, She never spiritually or emo tionally loses touch…in other words, though the range of kinship interests among women is relatively narrow, it runs deep. Women keep in running order the ties of kinship a nd have their origin in the household of their childhood. As a result, women activate a network of kinship ties th at transcends communities… Women depend on kinship ties to preserve a constant and consistent set of persons with and from whom they derive emotional and physical satisfac tion and existential identity. Beyond the immediate household, which functio ned as the unit of child care and economic organization, the social network wa s composed of relationships that link households to each other (R. T. Smith 1996:27). Households related through kinship ties and in particular those that included so-cal led “near-family” (that is, parents, parent’s siblings, first cousins, children, siblings ch ildren, and grandchildre n) involved special relationships may be activated to bring pe ople together (R. T. Smith 1996:27). Perhaps the interdependence of the matrifocal fam ily structure can be generalized beyond childrearing to include income-gen erating practices. For exampl e, my research among women in Tobago indicated a predisposition towa rds reliance on immediate kin for economic support. The concept of family often extends beyond bilateral ties and may include networks of exchange and obligations that extend outside the kin group (Ellis 1986:7). These networks represent a flow of g oods and services between households and individuals. The creative exch ange of gifts and favors faci litates a strong support network

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146 and provides access to crucial items (Bolle s 1996:87,89). Women’s survival strategies involved building social networ ks in addition to recent tr ends in pursing educational opportunities aimed at benefiting women (1994: 171). In Jamaica for example, kinship and friendship networks play an important ro le in child care, the operation of cooperative enterprises, and in obtaining capital to start up a business (McKay 1993:281). Women’s solidarity has always played an important role in production and reproduction. There is a long history of women’ s involvement in voluntary associ ations, informal networks, and social groups (Ellis 1986:11; Green 1994: 164) whose primary function is emotional support through “close knit informal relati onships … which provide a means of adaptation to marginal resources and devel op a sense of solidari ty” (Massiah 1982:8586). Within the informal economy, social s upport networks provide a range of goods and services that otherwise may be inaccessi ble to the poor. Jean Besson (1995:278), for example, described the role of ROSCAs (rotati ng credit and savings associations), as a traditional female-dominated institution providing capital for poor people who may consider the banks risky. ROSCAs (or susu in Trinidad and Tobago) may operate as the “backbone” of the informal economy by pr oviding poor working people with access to mobilizing credit. By providing women with the funds to pay for school fees, purchase land, or various other economic activities, RO SCAS function as personalized, informal mutual aid resource. From the earliest days under slavery, the mo ther played the centra l role as head of family. Stable co-residence or marriage wa s largely unavailable (Massiah 1982:62), so women have depended on their own labor to provide for themselves and their children

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147 (Safa 1995:48). Work, for Afro-Caribbean women, has always been a natural part of life, providing them economic self-sufficiency, broadening their social networks, and increasing their self-esteem due to their power over their families and their communities (Ellis 1986:3-4). After Eman cipation, women’s roles shifted from “personal and economic autonomy” under slavery to “a weak ened minority force” through a process of redefining women as dependents and housew ives” (Green 1994:151-152). Colonialism and capitalism functioned to enforce patria rchal hegemony in the Caribbean, relegating women’s work to a low status and denying them access to productive resources. In the past, “wage labor was not the only way wo men acquired greater economic autonomy or gender consciousness. Women’s domestic pro duction … also comprises an important contribution to the household economy” (Saf a 1995:41). Within the context of wage labor, “bonds among women based on race, ethnicity, neighborhood, and kinship also offer women collective forms of resistance to capitalist exploita tion” (Safa 1995:41). The nature of the Afro-Caribbean fam ily must be understood in terms of the history of slavery and the plantation syst em as well as in terms of contemporary conditions and individual circumstances. De spite ethnocentric definitions and policies that threaten to erase African heritage by homogenizing the Afro-Caribbean family through the enforcement of the European/N orth American model of the “normative nuclear family,” the centrality of women in this culture cannot be overlooked. Moreover, in tracing the roles of women under slavery, during the post-emanci pation period, and in the contemporary context, the adaptive, fl exible and functional nature of the AfroCaribbean is largely facilitated by the inde pendent and resourcefulness of these women.

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148 Patterns of kinship and mating have preoccupi ed anthropologists fo r centuries and have resulted in a range of models to represent the nuances of cultural systems. In order to successfully replicate international development models, it is necessary to account for cultural patterns (such as household structur e and women’s roles). Particularly, in the case of the microcredit model that focuse s on alleviating poverty among women through self-employment, it is critical to consider cultu ral patterns that co rrespond to women’s roles and responsibilities.

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149 C. A Brief History of Tobago, W.I. As was discussed in the previous sec tion on Caribbean studies, anthropology has given considerable attention to the issues of Afro-Caribbean kinship and family structure and in particular, there has been a lengthy debate on the “matrifocal” or female-headed household. In debating topics such as the fema le-headed household, social scientists have scrutinized the nature of the Afro-Caribbean family through identifying issues such as “irregular” or “denuded” family patterns, high rates of illegitimacy and migration, “unstable” relationships, a dual marriage syst em, “marginalized” males, and grandparents raising children. As described previousl y, scholars applied different theoretical perspectives in attempting to understand the nature of the Caribbean family. In the following section, I go beyond Caribbean kinshi p studies to identify women’s multiple roles and responsibilities as a result of Caribbean family st ructure. Caribbean women’s’ multiple roles and responsibilities have evol ved under specific cultural and historical circumstances. In order to highlight this c ontext, the following section includes a brief history of the island of Tobago, W.I. In the following brief history I describe Tobago’s early colonial history (1498-1800) the decline of sugar and the amalgamation of Trinidad and Tobago (1800-1960), development policy and politics (1950s-1960s), hurricane devastation and the struggle for political autonomy (1963-1980), and development of Tobago’s tourism section th rough the twentieth century. Geographically, the small Caribbean isla nd of Tobago is 116 square miles (300 square kilometers) in area, si tuated just 20 miles (32 kilometers) off the northeast coast of Trinidad, and located at 11 degrees north of the equator (Appendix C). Tobago has a

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150 central hilly range with a flat lowland area in the southwest of the island where much of the tourism sector has developed. Part of the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the island is only one-sixteenth the si ze of its neighboring “sister isle.” This small island has been largely overlooked with in the wider body of Caribbean studies and for the most part, has been subsumed into the literature on Trinidad. Keith Laurence (1987) noted “modern professional historians have sometimes written about Tobago; but they have usually done so as a by-product of other concerns with wider geographical application and commonly focusing on very sp ecific topics.” Research on Tobago is constrained by the very disappointing absen ce of information (including historical, political-economic, or cultu ral) (Bynoe 1988). What data are available are largely aggregated into the national level statistics thus making the task of assessing Tobago quite challenging.20 A presumption that the so-calle d “Twin Islands,” comprising the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, share a common history and cu lture has virtually erased distinctive Tobagonian characteristics from contemporary soci al science research. Perhaps it is a result of its erratic devel opment that comprehensive accounts of Tobago are difficult to find. Yet, Tobago does possess a unique history including a complex colonial legacy and distinctive cultural pa tterns. Despite Tobago’ s dramatic history, which in “its heyday so exceeded Trinidad in prosperity and importance,” both colonial reports and scholarly papers note the surpri sing absence of literature (Frampton 1957:15; Sigurdsson 1974:18). Adding to the its mystique Tobago is reputed to be the legendary “Robinson Crusoe” island that provided the source material for Defoe’s classic novel (Bynoe 1988:18; 1998(1800); Frampton 1957:14; Ottley 1969; Pa ttullo 1996:141-142).

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151 Though often overlooked, Tobago does possess a unique history including a complex colonial legacy and distinctive cultural patt erns that are quite dissimilar from those of Trinidad. Considering its turbulent history, Tobago is perhaps appropriately designated the “Melancholy Isle;” th e sobriquet given by early settlers who upon first viewing the island while approaching from the north describe d “a mass of lofty, gloomy mountains with black precipices descending abruptly to the sea” (Archibald 1987; Martin 1967(1843):36). It is considered the “most f ought over island in the Caribbean,” having changed hands twenty-two times (Niddrie 1961:15,42; Ottley n.d.; R. A. Pemberton 1984:31). Tobago’s checkered history as a pawn of rival maritime powers resulted from being the only unclaimed island of notable size in the West Indies. None of the colonial powers wanted their rival to possess the island and so Tobago became a virtual wasteland. Since no nation could adequately spare the manpower to either develop or defend Tobago, what became common policy am ong all the European powers was that nobody should fully control the island for a period of 60 years (Williams 1964:52). Even today, Tobago suffers from the aftermath of political instability that retarded the economic development of her colonial youth (Craig 1988:8; Ottley 1969:53). Turbulence is a recurring theme for this small island that has fluctuated between development and destruction by both human and natural forces Eric Williams (1964:51) characterized the impact of colonialism on Tobago as produc ing “a state of betweenity…betwixt and between, betwixt changes of ownership and between national flags.”

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152 In the following, I will demonstrate a patter n of cursory development and frequent neglect recurring throughout T obago’s colonial history a nd continuing into the postcolonial era. Though much of the following r eads like a “one damn thing after another” account of colonial history, accounting for th is recurring pattern of instability is necessary for understanding Tobago’s underd evelopment today (White 1990). First, through a summary of the rival colonial pow ers that struggled to possess Tobago during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, I de scribe how the island ultimately becomes an independent English colony. Second, analysis of the decline of the sugar economy provides the context for Tobago’s shift to crown colony status and eventual amalgamation with Trinidad at the end of the nineteenth century. Third, I evaluate political and economic development policy (including tourism) during the 1950s and 1960s. Fourth, following on the heels of the birth of Trinidad and Tobago as an independent nation, I illustrate the devastating impact of a major hurricane and central government’s economic development policy for the smaller island. Fifth, I describe continued conflict with the central govern ment over tourism development as Tobago struggled for autonomy and self-deter mination through the twentieth century. The Most Fought Over Island in the Caribbean (1498-1800) Accounts of the discovery and naming of Tobago are varied. Close proximity to Grenada and Trinidad (75 miles northwest a nd 20 miles southwest respectively), provide a likely case that Christopher Columbus woul d have sited Tobago during his third voyage to the “New World” in 1498-1500 (Appendix D) According to Archibald (1987:6), after sighting Trinidad and sailing on a course that was east and north, Columbus sighted two

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153 islands that he named Assumption and C onception. Today we know these islands as Tobago and Grenada. Prior to European cont act, Amerindians inha bited the Caribbean. According to colonial reports, the population consisted of two rival nations – the Carib and the Arawak (Martin 1967 (1843):35). European accounts of Tobago’s early occupants describe a fierce people who c onstantly had to defend their island from invasion, particularly from their neig hbors in Trinidad (Ottley 1969:6). Yet, contemporary anthropological cr itique provides new insights into the nature of early European representations of the native Cari bbean inhabitants. Specifically, early Spanish and French depictions of "fierce Caribs" ve rses "peaceful Arawaks" established a false dichotomy that has remained largely uncha nged in modern thinking. The British in 1629, for example, noted the desirability of Toba go’s fertile land, yet cautioned that the island was “known to be the home of the fierce and intractable Carib” (Archibald 1987:14). Survival of historical assumptions conceals th e fact that political powers falsely imposed ethnic and geographic classifications that artificially sepa rated supposedly “good Indians” from “bad Indians.” When accounti ng for the subjectivity of historical text, caution must be used when drawing from early representations of Tobago’s early inhabitants. Early classifi cation systems failed to account for indigenous, ethnic, or cultural realities. Whereas anal ysis by current scholars has recast the colonial encounter and “exotic Caribbean other” re presentations of Amerindians as fabrications invented by Columbus and others for the purpose of justifying colonization (Badillo 1995:62,80; Whitehead 1995:9-10). What we do know about the early Tobago inhabitants comes from archaeological and linguistic records. Potter y, found as far south as Tobago, has been

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154 attributed to the Island Carib and linguistical ly; the early inhabitants were part of the Arawakan language family (Boomert 1995: 24; Hoff 1995:37; Whitehead 1995). Yet, debate continues on the subject of “confusi ng aliases” and over selection of a more appropriate replacement for the misnomer “I sland Carib.” When Europeans first arrived, they named the island “Tavaco” or “Tabaco ” meaning tobacco leaf; the substance smoked by the indigenous population in a l ong-stemmed Y-shaped pipe instrument (Archibald 1987; Hay 1899:3; Martin 1967(1843):36; Ottley 1969:8). Around 1498, it is estimated that 15,000 Amerindian inhabitants oc cupied villages mainly in Tobago’s west and lowland areas (Archibald 1987). Re-christened several tim es by rival colonial powers over the course of occupations, the is land’s name underwent many transitions culminating with the French resuming use of the name “Tavaco;” while the spelling was later transformed by the Spanish to “Tobago” (Ottley 1969:42). Early phases of Tobago’s colonial hist ory involved sporadic attempts at settlement and intermittent conflict. Records of Tobago’s status as a colonial dependency begin in 1580 when English sailors stopped to procure water and planted the Union Jack on the island (Anthony 1997:567; Ottley 1969:5; 1973). For the British, this opportunistic “discovery” was frequently cited in disputes over the island’s sovereignty. First attempts at settlement began with a small contingent of Englishmen who relocated from Barbados in 1625. Amerindians from nearby islands, who were accustomed to frequenting Tobago, attacked and killed most of the early col onists. Subsequently, Europeans abandoned the island for several years (Frampton 1957:16; Hay 1899:3; Martin 1967(1843):35). Next, Dutch navigators returning from Brazil no ted Tobago’s advantageous location along the

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155 trade route between “the continents” as well as its favorable climate and rich soil. In 1632, a party of 200 to 300 Dutch settlers arrived on Tobago, renaming it “New Walcheren” in honor of their homeland. Before the Dutch had time to fortify themselves, however, they came under attack by Span ish colonists from Trinidad (Martin 1967(1843):35). Supported by Amerindians from Trinidad, the Sp anish expelled the Dutch in 1634, taking the coloni sts’ prisoner and demolished th eir settlement. “The rising walls of the fortress of New Walcheren [were] razed, the cannon and stores carried off, and the plantations utterly dest royed” (Martin 1967(1843):35). In the early seventeenth century, the i ndigenous population who either lived on or frequented Tobago vigorously opposed the es tablishment of all Eu ropean settlement. Their final effort to protect Tobago took place against the Dutch, who were intent on seizing the island. Historical evidence doe s not suggest that the Amerindians were absorbed into the colonized population (Niddr ie 1961:42). Rather, the main migration of Amerindians from Tobago seemed to have taken place between 1600 and 1650 and historians presume they rowed across the sea to settle in St. Vincent. There is evidence of occupation through 1760 with three main settle ments and other smaller establishments; and once the Amerindians had migrated, th ey continued to visit Tobago (Ottley 1969; 1973:4-5). Europeans abandoned Tobago for the next twenty years until the Duke of Courland attempted colonization. The Courla nders acquired Tobago in 1641, when King Charles I of England granted Tobago to James, the Duke of Courland (Anthony 1997:567).21 One hundred families were sent to colonize Tobago. Courlanders arrived on

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156 the north coast in 1648 and he nceforth the spot has reta ined the name Courland Bay. Archibald (1987:26-27) commented that the colonization of Tobago by the Courlanders was unusual and speculates that being “preoccu pied elsewhere, it is possible that the major European countries accepted that tiny Courland amounted to nothing in the power struggle in Europe and so could harm no one, and that its claim to any portion of the New World could be brushed aside and obliterated whenever the need arose. Further, it must be remembered that the Duke of Courland was a godson of the King of England.” At its commercial height in 1654, Holland sent a se cond expedition to recolonize Tobago, which they (again) named New Walcheren (Hay 1899:3). Under Dutch occupation, it “soon became not merely an agricultural col ony, but one of the most thriving commercial emporiums in the West Indies” (Martin 1967(1843):35). Coexisting colonists came to blows in 1658 when the Courland settlement was attacked and overtaken by the Dutch (Frampton 1957:16; Hay 1899:4). By this time, Tobago was renowned for its fertile soil. Colonial reports describe that “almost every kind of plant that grows on the Antilles, or on Trinidad, flourishes at Tobago…[Furthermore,] all the culinary plants of Europe arrive at perfection” and Tobago grown cotton is of “excellent quality” (Martin 1967(1843):40). Tobago’s importance to maritime powers was the results of being strategically situated in the direct path of the trade route between Britain and the North American colonies and in addition, the island was known for its harbors as well as having been declared safe from hurricanes (Archibald 1987:68; Ottley 1969:47; 1973:8).22 During this time Tobago was plundered and pillaged by Barbadian buccaneers (Martin 1967(1843):36; Williams 1964:51).

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157 Towards the end of the seventeenth century and early eighteenth cen tury, Tobago became a “haunt and refuge” of pirates and priv ateers (Archibald 1987:70). The island’s numerous bays and rivers served as rend ezvous places and the many sandy beaches and caves are said to be the hiding places of th e rich spoils from Spanish treasure ships (Ottley 1969:23; 1973:6).23 The French claimed Tobago among their We st Indian territories (mainly as a strategic military outpost), until the Dutc h obtained a grant from Louis XIV in 1662 surrendering the island from th e French West India Company. At this time, Tobago flourished and new fortifications were er ected. In 1664, the Duke of Courland (having been released from prison by the King of Sweden), resumed demanding restitution of Tobago (Frampton 1957:16; Hay 1899:4-5). In 1666, a privately financed English expedition seized Tobago, taking the Dutch pris oners of war. In a few months, the French set fire to the houses and buildings, dr iving out the Englis h, and abandoned their conquest. The Dutch resumed settlement effo rts in 1673, but the English attacked and took the island. Again, the Dutch resumed settl ement and in 1677 and a battle with the French fleet left the Dutch victorious despite the loss of several ships. Later that year, a much larger French expediti on successfully seized Tobago. Again, the French abandoned the island and in 1679 (under the Treaty of Nijmegen), Tobago was restored to the Dutch who made no further attempts at coloni zation. In 1681, the Duke of Courland (who had maintained sovereign claim over Tobago all th e while), granted the island to a company of London merchants.

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158 Due to the island’s maritime importance and disputed title, the 1684 Treaty of Aix-la-Chappelle declared Tobago (along w ith Grenada, St. Vincent and Dominica) neutral territory. Archibald (1987:64) noted “on a map of the West Indies, dated 1761, there is inscribed beneath the place-name of Tobago a single word ‘desert.’” By this treaty, all European powers would equa lly share commercial access, but the establishment of garrisons wa s prohibited on these neutral is lands. Thus, the rivalry over Tobago was quelled for sixty years while it wa s declared a “no-man’s land” (Frampton 1957:16; Ottley 1969:23,47). In 1748, the Fren ch attempted to colonize Tobago. The English Governor of Barbados rebuffed the French settlers, who although ordered by the French government to evacuate, reestab lished their settlement (Hay 1899:5). War between England and France was declared in 1756 and control of Tobago was returned to the English who had captured the island in 1762. Officially, Tobago was abandoned by European occupation from 1679 until 1763, when by the Treaty of Paris, Louis the XV “ceded Tobago in perpetuity to England” (Archibald 1987:69; Hay 1899:5). Under the Treaty of Paris, Tobago was governed by the representative system. Tobago’s governing body, modeled after th e United Kingdom, functioned as an autocracy “in which some fifty or so planters elected sixteen of their members every three years to represent their interests, and to ba ttle with the Colonial Office when necessary” (Ottley 1973:82). Characteristic of the West Indies, political participation was restricted to “men of property, or what was considered an adequate stake in society” (Selwyn Ryan 1985:7; 1989a:271). Colonial repor ts indicate that this ma rks “the beginning of true development and settlement of the island” (Frampton 1957:16). Settlement activities

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159 included a survey of the island, subdivision in to lots, “and the creation of seven parishes brought into existence an ac tive plantation community with a slave population imported from the West African coast” (Niddrie 1961: 43). By Order in Council “the island was constituted an independent, self-governi ng territory, with a lieutenant-governor, a legislative council of nine members appoint ed by the Crown, and a House of Assembly comprised of fifteen members, two from each of the seven parishes into which the island had been divided” (Ottley 1969:16).24 In 1769, the town of S carborough, which is located in the more developed southwestern distri ct, became the capital of the independent colony (Hay 1899:6; Ottley 1973:28). At the height of sugar production, Toba go’s inhabitants consisted of a small plantocracy and much larger slave populati on that increased from 14,190 in 1790 to peak at 18,153 in 1807 during the expansion of sugar production (Laurence 1995:225; Williams 1964:59). Accounts of relations between slave and planter populations characterized Tobago as relatively harmonious as compared to other West Indian colonies. Colonial accounts depicted Tobago as a "system of reciprocal regard and mutual determination to resist particular wr ong or a general attack" wherein rebel slaves had limited success with recruiting fellow slaves most of whom rema ined loyal to their masters (Ottley 1973:31). Through his analysis of Tobago folklore, local anthropologist J.D. Elder (1984b:4) provides a different in terpretation of Tobago’s slave and planter relations. He found that old folksongs indicate d conflict between slav es and planters and common themes conveyed a preoccupation with escape from the plantation, disgust with white oppression, and an awareness of the fall of the plantocracy. Also, during the period

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160 of Tobago’s economic prosperity there were slave rebellions. In 1770, an insurrection of slaves erupted and continued for six weeks. Two more slave insurrections occurred in 1771, but were quickly suppressed by a well-organized militia. In 1774, seven slave rebel leaders were charged with murder and destro ying property before th ey were executed and brutally dismembered (Hay 1899:6-7; O ttley 1973:33-35). In 1801, a threatened insurrection of slaves was averted with the se izure of the thirty ri ngleaders (Hay 1899:9). Archival and ethnographic resources provide further insights into the ethnic origins of Tobago’s slave population. In an e ffort to identify African retentions, Melville and Frances Herskovits provided information that is pertinent to Tobago through their account of Toco, a remote northern village in Trinidad. In Trinidad Village (Herskovits and Herskovits 1947), they note that many of the villagers originated from Tobago. Direct access to Toco had long been via boa t from Tobago with the construction of a paved road in the early twentieth century fi nally making the village more accessible. The Herskovits (1947:27-28) found that many of the v illagers described thei r ethnic origins as primarily Congo, (but also Kromanti and I bo) and many village elders referred to themselves as “Yarriba” and remembered songs in the Yoruban language. Likewise, through his archival and folkloric researc h, Elder (1984b:5) found that “Tobago Black folk were mostly of the Ibo and Congo trib e with a sprinkling of Cromanti and Akan ethnics.” Elder found that the Yorba ancestor cult of Tobago was absent in neighboring Trinidad with the exception of Tobago migrant living in Toco and other North Coast communities. As noted in my earlier discussi on of the Afro-Caribbean family, however, since cultures do not exist in a vacuum, it is difficult to speculate on the continuity of

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161 influences of West African cu ltural heritage or ex periences under slav ery in contributing to post-emancipation Caribbean society.25 In contrast to the large slave populati on, Tobago’s plantocracy consisted of a small and rigidly class structured society of English, Scottish, Iris h, “and a spri nkling of Germans as traders and builders” (Elder 1984b :6). Below the small planter class “there was little social or ethnic differentia tion” in Tobago (Selwyn Ryan 1989a:274). According to Ottley (Ottley 1969:17), “the so cial problem of a dearth of European women was overcome by the planters without moral qualm. A coloured class came into existence.” Proprietors and their slave mist resses begat an illegitimate mixed population who carried their fathers’ sir names and in many cases, were freed and educated by their fathers (Ottley 1969:41; 1973:26,42). By the la te eighteenth Cent ury, Tobago’s free colored population consisted of substant ially more women than men (Laurence 1995:225). In 1770 the first shipment of sugar was exported from Tobago (Hay 1899:6; Niddrie 1961:17). Conditions in Tobago were idea l – there were adequate rivers to turn the watermills, trade winds to supply power to the windmills, and good shipping bays all around. Soon Tobago was producing more sugar per acre than any of its neighboring islands (Ottley 1973:27). During the height of cane produc tion there were 72 sugar estates worked by steam, water, and wind mill (Martin 1967(1843):40). So prosperous was Tobago that it was considered a promotion for a governor of Trinidad to be sent to Tobago (Selwyn Ryan 1989a:271). The expres sion “rich as a Tobago planter” used among wealthy Londoners in th e late eighteenth century bespeaks Tobago’s relative

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162 prosperity (Craig 1988:3; Niddrie 1961:17). Evidently, the notoriety of Tobago “high living” so enjoyed by planters during th eir prosperity incited envy among their counterparts in England (Robins on 1977:20). Enterprising Britis h colonists invested large capitals, which facilitated rapid agricultural and commercial progress; “but the miseries of war had not yet terminated ” for Tobago (Martin 1967(1843):36).26 Even the fledgling American States made an attempt to se ize Tobago; in 1778, an American fleet was defeated after a short engagement where th ey lost a ship. In 1781, Tobago was again captured and ceded to the French by the Tr eaty of Versailles in 1783. Under French possession, a few settlers established themselves, but in 1789 a mutiny erupted among the French soldiers and the capital of Scarbor ough was entirely burnt. Later that year, a tremendous hurricane devastated much of the island (Hay 1899:8; Ottley 1973:8). In 1793, Tobago again became an English colony when 2,000 men took possession of the island (Martin 1967(1843):36). In 1802, Tobago was surrend ered to France under the Treaty of Amiens.27 The island’s planter class remained content so long as the French left them alone to develop their estates (Ottley 1969:18; 1973:67).28 War between England and France again placed Tobago in conten tion. British invaded the island in 1803 and thus, having been officially ceded in 1814 by the Treaty of Paris, Tobago remained an undisturbed possession of England until, in association with Trinidad, becoming an independent territory in 1962 (Hay 1899:9-10; Ottley 1973:70). By the time of its final annexation to Great Britain, s ugar cane and cotton farming were past their prime in Tobago (Niddrie 1961:43).

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163 Decline of Sugar and Ward of Trinidad (1800-1960) “The steady decline of T obago throughout the nineteenth century from its position…as one of the richest West Indian s ugar islands is in part a reflection of the dangers of continuous cultivation of a single crop” (Niddrie 1961:17.) In addition to the limitations of monoculture, a combination of f actors including soil fertility loss, drought, economic change, and the abolition of slavery lead to a steady increase in the number of abandoned estates. By the mid-nineteenth centu ry, the island was cons iderably altered. A minor hurricane struck Tobago in 1831. This event seemingly foreshadowed turbulent times ahead. In 1833, Tobago’s independent administration was revoked. In a move towards greater administrative efficiency, Great Britain combined several of the Windward Island colonies under a common lieut enant-governor (or la ter, administrator) (Anthony 1997:567-568, Hay, 1899 #110:11). August 1, 1834 marked the Emancipation of slaves in the British West Indies. A lthough Tobago’s 11,589 slaves were officially freed, bondage was extended for another four -to-six years under the apprenticeship system (Craig 1988:6; Hay 1899:11). “Emancipa tion, apprenticeship, and finally the total abolition of slavery in Tobago betwee n 1834 and 1838 brought about those changes commonly experienced by all the British West Indian Colonies” (Niddrie 1961:43). Throughout the West Indies, the bankruptcy of sugar is attributed to “the abolition of slavery, the movement towards free trade, the subsidization of Eu ropean beet sugar, growing competition in the United Kingdom suga r market, as well as the imperial policy against diversification” (Robinson 1977:20). In the 1840s, England removed the protective tariffs on West Indian sugar due to competition from its other colonies, which

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164 had the devastating impact of cutting in half the price of West Indian sugar. This was particularly disastrous for is lands like Tobago where the abse nce of capital prohibited the introduction of more cost-effective means of production (Ottley 1973:75). Even before Emancipation, Tobago’s sugar production had ne ver been sufficiently supported, being for the most part undercapitalized and technolog ically inefficient. Re ports indicate that the number of estates under production dec lined dramatically; in 1810 there were 89 active estates (mainly producing sugar), but by 1832 the number had declined to 75, and within another 30 years only 65 estates rema ined under cultivation (Frampton 1957:20). “Production of sugar in Tobago had fa llen from 7,000 hogshead in 1840 to 2,000 in 1885” (Ottley 1973:88). The depres sed local economy, a labor shortage, and even natural disaster contributed to Tobago’s decline, After 1838, the problems of the sugar economy became more acute as the traditional props to the system – slavery, imperial monopoly and protecti on from competition – were systematically removed. In the 1840s, the Free Trade Act, the financial crisis occasione d by the failure of the West India Bank and the hurricane of 1847 combined to worsen and prolong the intractable cris is of the plantation economy in Tobago (Craig 1988:3). The economic stimulus upon which Tobago’s economy was founded, that is production of sugar under the capitalist world system with labor supplied by the slavetrade, involved the extraction of resources from the periphery a nd created a state of dependency among the periphery markets on the importation of crops from other colonies (Wallerstein 1986). In other words, tropical co mmodities such as sugar were sold for the

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165 profit of the plantation propr ietors thus creating a syst em where “nearly everything consumed in the West Indian colonies came from England. There were no direct exchanges between the motherland and the colo nies, but the patterns of exchange worked to the long-term benefit of the imperial enterprise” (Mintz 1986:43). The term globalization is typically applied to contemporary context to describe the increased mobility of goods, services, labor, te chnology, and capital throughout the world. Although globalization is not a new development, its pace has increased with the advent of new technologies, especially in the area of telecommunications. In expanding the concept of globalization to encompass the sc ope of Caribbean hist ory, Mintz (1998:120) asked if “the world has now become a macroc osm of what the Cari bbean region was, in the 16th century…Or is it rather that the Caribbe an experience was merely one chapter” of a much longer story about world cap italism? Through the transatlantic slavery experience, Europeans refashioned the internat ional division of labor into very much a globalized condition. Likewise, the history of Tobago demonstrates Mintz’s point that as a consequence of being the oldest colonialis t frontier, “Caribbean people have always been entangled with a wider world” since 1492 and therefore, has been engaged in the globalization world system for approximate ly 500 years (Mintz 1986). Essentially, the “plantation was itself a capitalist institution” du e to its internal structure, dependence, and development within the cont ext of the world system (T homas 1988:23). In the case of Tobago – the economy was never able to recover in the aftermath of changes in the world market that rendered the island completely bankrupt (Bynoe 1988:3). In a development report on Tobago, the authors note wistfully, “H ad the necessary capital, labour and skill

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166 been available in the nineteenth century, when things began to dec line, the island today might well have been one of the most prosper ous territories in the Caribbean instead of merely a name which conveys little to many inhabitants of the region” (Frampton 1957:20). Since no serious hurricane had vis ited Tobago since 1790, the devastating hurricane of October 11, 1847 caught the reside nts of Tobago off-guard. Inhabitants of Tobago had falsely believed they were secure from such events and thus, failed to prepare for potential danger, but the damage was considerable: 26 lives were lost and others died due to injuries; over 600 houses across the island were razed to the ground and nearly 300 were damaged; 26 sugar wo rks were destroyed and 33 were damaged; while the barracks at Fort King George we re left in disarray (Hay 1899:14). Damage from the hurricane was estimated at 1 50,000 pounds sterling, which was considerable money in 1847 (Selwyn Ryan 1989a:272). Great Britain did attempt to resuscitate its hurricane-ravaged colony by granting loans for losses incurred and sending 292 liberated Africans to supplement Tobago’s labor force in 1851. Meanwhile, it continued to retract administrative responsibility from Toba go (Hay 1899:14-15; Niddrie 1961:49). In response, most of the plantocracy fled afte r 1847 and were replaced by white indentured workers who were notably distinct from Tobago ’s former “high-class planter aristocrats” (Elder 1984b:6). And on the heels of the disa strous hurricane, the planters were hit by another blow – the bankruptcy of the We st India Bank in November 1847 (Ottley 1973:76).29 By 1854, British troops were withdr awn, leaving the colonists to defend themselves. An organized Volunteer Corps helped to reinforce the police. In 1855,

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167 however, the Comptroller of Customs and othe r imperial officers were withdrawn from both North America and the West Indies and th eir duties transferred to the local colonial officers (Carmichael 1961:312). In a struggle to manage their estates, T obago’s remaining planters sought loans or mortgages to cover their expenses. “Out of this arose a system of double dealing” where having reached the limit of advances from one source, “the planter turned to other sources which were ignorant of the heavy inde btedness of the estates, and raised a second mortgage” (Carmichael 1961:312-313). Between 1840 and 1854 many estates fell out of production or were abandoned. Yet, the financial burdens were typically too significant to tempt other buyers (Niddrie 1961:1 9). In contrast to the decline of the large plantations, there was a great demand for small plots fo r peasant cultivation (Carmichael 1961:313). Under the 1854 West Indian Encumbered Estates Act (accepted by Tobago in 1858), Commissioners were appointed for the sale of land and thus; “the estates passed into the hands of those who had the capital to exploit th em or who were prepared to sell in small lots to the peasants” (Carmichael 1961:313). In total, 50 estates passed into the hands of new owners, 17 of which were purchased by a single individual (Niddrie 1961:19). To augment the labor force, the British Government had previously “introduced a scheme of immigration in 1851, transporting the Africans rescued by British forces from Spanish and Portuguese slave-runners to th e West Indian colonies (Frampton 1957:21; Ottley 1973:79).30 As described above, Tobago receiv ed 292 liberated Africans in 1849 and in 1862 another 224 immigrants were received and subsequently indentured to estates for three years (Carmichael 1961:314; Frampton 1957:21; Niddrie 1961:49). These

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168 immigrants were obligated to various dist ricts with the majority going to windward estates – an area with relatively few sma llholdings, low wages and high levels of landlessness (Craig-James 1998:8). Towards th e end of the nineteenth century, growing impoverishment accompanied by political discont entment led to a series of revolts among the laboring population. This combination of unfortunate socioeconomic difficulties culminated in a violent disturbance in the wi ndward district when a riot erupted after the attempted arrest of five suspected arsonist s. In May 1876, the so-called “Belmanna Riots” were suppressed but not before a police o fficer was killed and others were wounded.31 Local police, lead by Corporal Belmanna, at tempted to quell a riot of laborers on the Roxborough Estate. Police killed one of the protesters. In response, angry workers besieged the police station a nd threatened to burn it down if Corporal Belmanna was not handed over. A compromise was reached; Corporal Belmanna was to be charged and imprisoned. On his was to be charged, however he was seized by the crowd and brutally murdered (Anthony 1997:51; Bynoe 1988). British authorities intervened and many of the rioters were tried, jaile d, or even banished from Tobago. Evidently, the recently arrived laborers (primarily from Barbados) pl ayed a leading role in the unrest, which was led by a woman known as ‘Ti Piggy’ (Ottley 1973:85). The Belmanna Riots instigated a structural shift for Tobago. First, the Poli ce Force was reorganized into a semi-military body of two companies; one in Scarborough and another to oversee the windward district. Second, frightened officials and owners of the larger plantations were uncertain of their capacity to protect themselves or to ma intain the peace and therefore, requested protection from Great Britain. In 1876, T obago’s self-governi ng constitution was

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169 changed, abolishing Tobago’s Legislative Asse mbly. Responsibility was transferred back to England and thus, Tobago was administ ered as a crown colony beginning in 1877 (Anthony 1997:52; Frampton 1957:18, 21; Hay 1899:18; Selwyn Ryan 1985:7). By this time, years of shifting sovere ignty as well as natural and economic disaster had rendered Tobago a backward de pendency. Furthermore, limited economic development had created a monocultural system dependent on sugar and cotton production (Robinson 1971:20). For Tobago, the sy stem was relativel y profitable during the eighteenth century while the British Navy reigned supreme and demand for West Indian sugar was strong. After 1834, the s ugar industry became troubled following the abolition of slavery.32 The loss of slavery meant the lo ss of a supply of cheap labor and “by the 1870s the sugar industry was bankrupt in Tobago” (Robinson 1971:21).33 The industrial revolution signaled rapid moderni zation for core nations, whereas large-scale Caribbean plantations that ha d been established in the se venteenth and eighteenth were are essentially “outposts of one mode of pr oduction in the midst of other modes” (Wolf 1982:315). And in the case of an “outpost” such as Tobago – poor, bankrupt colonies were often left behind. Unable to afford the telegraph or Roya l Mail Steam Packet Company, Tobago was stranded without access to modern communication. Unable to finance a central factory or maintain public facilities, Tobago’s economy further plummeted with the collapse of the island’ s lending merchants, Gillespie and Company in 1884 (Craig 1988:5). The collapse of th e sugar industry from about 1840 to 1886 (coinciding with emancipation) triggered a socioeconomic transformation (Frampton 1957:19). As a consequence of the economi c shift, many populati ons throughout the

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170 Antilles were “reconstituted into a new economic form during the decline and fall of the slave-based estate system” (Mintz 1989(1974):1 57). In the case of Tobago, laborers and metayers (sharecroppers) bought or rented five to ten acre plots at lo w prices across the island’s former estates, particularly in the windward and hillier areas.34 While the ex-slave population was transf orming into peasant proprietors, public officers who had gone for months without remuneration refused to work. There was simply not enough revenue to run the gove rnment (Frampton 1957:19). The island’s economy was forced to undergo a radical restru cturing – a process that affected the entire social fabric of Tobago. Britain was not plea sed to have responsibility for a distressed colony with a plummeting economy. It was not Tobago that was broke; rather it was the plantocracy or more specifically, the Col onial Office that was bankrupt throughout the West Indies (Mintz 1986). It was under thes e adverse socioeconomic conditions that the union of Trinidad and Tobago occurred (Bynoe 1988). Tobago became Britain’s economic experiment of convenience wherein the collapse of the colony was forestalled by welding together two se parate colonies into one (Bynoe 1988; Premdas 1992:117; Robinson 1977:19). A.N.R. Robinson (1977:2223,30) noted, “All that the Colonial Office did was, instead of having two G overnors you had one. Instead of having two Colonial Secretaries you had one .” Federation of the two isla nds was a novel strategy at the time, marking a trend towards Great Brit ain reducing its financ ial obligations and administrative burdens to the West Indies (Williams 1964). Clearly, this tactic was motivated by the need to demonstrate admi nistrative cost reducti on with the purpose of saving 3,775 pound sterling to the British Treasury and the hope that capital flow from

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171 Trinidad would restore Tobago’s pros perity (Robinson 1971:20; Selwyn Ryan 1989a:272). Geographic proximity also contributed to unification of the two colonies. Noting the short distance of 18 miles separating the two colonies, the Tobago’s Governor proposed linking the smaller island to its more profitable neighbor (Hay 1899:581,582; Ottley 1973: 90-91; Robinson 1971:21-22). Since Tobago’s trade and migration patterns had been routed through Barbados, there ha d previously been lit tle commerce between the two islands. Yet, colonial officials agreed to establish Trinidad and Tobago as a single administrative and political unit. “Neither is land wanted unitary statehood, but feelings ran much higher in Tobago. While Trinidad fear ed that the effect would be merely to transfer the burdens of Tobago from the United Kingdom to herself, Tobago feared subservience to Trinidad” (Robinson 1971:24). The Legislative Council of Tobago accepted unitary statehood in 1886. Nevertheless, minutes from the council meeting included the proviso that shoul d the annexation “prove disadv antageous to this Colony, or otherwise undesirable to the majority of its inhabitants,” Tobago could resume its former self-governing status (Craig-Jam es 1998:11; Ottley 1950:94; Robinson 1971:24; 1977:17-18). Yet, there was uncertain whether the Colonial Office later rejected or ignored Tobago’s plea for autonomy (Selwyn Ryan 1989b). To the great disenchantment of both islands, the British Government d ecided to amalgamate the two colonies, an arrangement that was debated and passed as the Trinidad and Toba go Ordinance of 1888. Though “the people of both islands were averse to tying what was virtually the nuptial knot…Tobagonians were indignant at the idea of forfeiting their 200-year independence”

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172 (Ottley 1950:92). Thus, as the residents of Tobago had feare d, the island became a subordinate to Trinidad on January 1, 1889. Fo r the next ten years, Tobago maintained a commissioner and a subordinate legislatur e until a further Order-in-Council declared Tobago a ward of the colony of Trinidad and Tobago and the seat of governance was shifted to Port of Spain, Trinidad. And so, on January 1, 1899, th e once self-governing, independent colony was reduced to the stat us of direct colony whereupon Tobago’s revenues, expenditures, and debts were invol untarily merged with those of the united colony (Craig 1988:6; Frampton 1957:22; Hay 1899:22; Robinson 1971:24; 1977:30; Selwyn Ryan 1989a:272; Weaver 1998:296). Robinson (1971:24) described that “what was to have been a union of equality degenerated into one of patent inequality, on e of the superior and the inferior, one of territory and dependency, and Trinidad’s feeli ngs seeped into both official and unofficial attitudes toward the smaller island.” Since it was govern ed from Port of Spain, it was assumed that Tobago could simply be managed like any other ward or county of Trinidad. “As a result Tobagonians develope d an acute inferiority complex and a resentment of Trinidad and Trinidadians which became entrenched in Tobagonians’ collective memory and soon found itself channe led into political discourse and action. That resentment became stronger over the year s as Trinidad chose to dismiss, ignore or ridicule it” (Selwyn Ryan 1985:7; 1989a :272-273). The Colonial psychology of dependency permeated the relationship of the newly united colony and henceforth, continues to affect the relati onship between the two islands. A ccording to the records, the colonial secretary did not establish Tobago as a “dependency” or “ward” of Trinidad.

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173 Rather, for the convenience of the Colonial Office, Tobago was made an “administrative district” of the united colony of Trinid ad and Tobago (Robinson 1977:28-29). Regardless of terminology, the economically motivated de cision made by coloni al administrators situated Tobago in a directly subordinate position in relation to the economic and political dominance of Trinid ad, and this internal core-p eriphery relationship has persisted hencefor th (Weaver 1998). Through the first half of the twenti eth century, Tobago had remained an agricultural society of occasi onal estate laborers and peasant farmers (Brereton 1989:210; Frucht 1968:296). Cocoa and coconut estates largely replaced sugar production. Many of the estates gave out allotments for peasant plot cultivation in exchange for tending young cocoa plants (Frampton 1957:23). Aside from export crops, Tobago was essentially impoverished and neglected. According to Ottl ey (n.d.), some residents left Tobago to establish homesteads on Trinidad’s north coast.35 Yet, for the majority of Tobago’s laboring class, the contract system provided miserably low wages, with estate workers earning less than a dollar a day, while planters continued to profit. Brereton (1989:178) states that, “existence on these starvati on wages was tolerable only because most Tobagonians had garden plots, and rural fam ilies were largely self-sufficient in food.”36 Similarly, Frucht (1968:295) indicated th at following emancipation and through the Second World War, Caribbean societies “could be characterized as exhibiting a peasantlike means of production along with a prolet arian-like relations of production.” He described that in Nevis, a “peasant-like means of production” included cultivation of small plots and the use of household labor, whereas the “relations of production are

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174 proletarian, that is based on the sale of labour for wages either paid in cash or in kind” including metayage, farming-out, or ma le labor migration (Frucht 1968:296). Health conditions were poor and medical serv ices were perfunctory. Yet, this time of tremendous economic decline among the plantocracy corresponded to Tobago’s former slaves developing “an extraordinary se nse of property [establi shed as] a sort of post-slavery reaction to a stat us of propertyless and landl essness conditio n[s]” (Elder 1984c:1). With cheap land now available, ex -slaves bought as many acres as they could afford. For the average Tobagonian, landownership became nearly ubiquitous and thousands became peasant proprietors. Yet, “T obago was an island of peasants; illiteracy, poverty and semi-feudal servitude had alwa ys been their fate” (Brereton 1989:178). Under slavery in the British Caribbean, plan ters generally had a liberal policy allowing for production of provision grounds (Mintz 1989(1974):180-213). Laurence (1995:117) states “in addition to Sunday it was the practice on large plantations to allow the slaves Thursday off so that the whole slave family could work in the gardens. The produce of these grounds was wholly at the slave’s dispos al, to eat or sell in the market as he wished.” Unlike their neighbors in Trinidad, self-sufficient Tobagonians were relatively complacent to these conditions as compared to “the more sophisticated workers of the larger, more developed is land” (Brereton 1989:178). As the sugar industry declined, Tobago’ s peasant sector expanded. According to Craig-James (1998:15) “sugar and its byproduc ts, which before 1875 constituted upward of 96% of the value of exports, declined to 76% in 1890 and 28.6% in 1897. Animals, vegetables, fruit and wood, which accounted fo r less than 1% of export value before

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175 1875, rose to 19.5% in 1890 and 55% in 1897.” Tobago’s laboring class enjoyed a monopoly over the production of foodstuff th at developed from the provision grounds and internal market established by their slave ancestors. This economic base was diversified and extended to include imported foodstuff. In addition to smallholders and metayers, Tobago’s mainly black populati on included laborers who became “a class of entrepreneurs” with an upwardly mobile stratum comprised of shopkeepers, hucksters, and skilled artisans (Craig-James 1998:3). Although the majority of the population consisted of black laborers, political and economic deci sions (as well as alliances between colonial officials) were largely the domain of th e non-colored population. In time, “the old planter class of sugar producer s was replaced by new groups of planters, investing primarily in cocoa, rubber, limes and coconuts” (Craig-James 1998:19). Although many still worked for wages on the es tates in order to earn cash, landownership increased substantially as the laboring class was transformed into skilled craftspeople, agricultural and livestock produ cers. Limes, for example, were a profitable crop in the late 1920s. In response, peasant farmers formed the cooperative Tobago Lime Growers Association with most of the lime crops co ming from “householders who owned a tree or two in their backyards” (Frampton 1957:24) Craig-James noted “by 1940, virtually every household owned land or had access to land.” So me estates were divided up and sold to small farmers and “many persons acquired Crow n lands on the north co ast of the island and started their own coco a plantations” (Frampton 1957: 24). The export of fresh vegetables to Trinidad, which were mo st likely supplied by peasant land holdings, steadily increased up th rough the 1940s (Sigurdsson 1974:17 ). Tobago’s rural, agrarian

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176 society was well positioned to take advantag e of a policy recommendation of the Moyne Commission (1945), which promoted the renewa l of West Indian agriculture (Premdas 1992:119).37 As trade links with neighboring Tr inidad increased, Tobago earned the reputation as the “bread basket” of Trinidad (Craig-James 1998:17). Expansion of the agriculture sector di d benefit Tobago for approximately ten years, but with the expansion of the oil industry in Trinidad at the beginning of the early twentieth century (Bre reton 1989:95); Tobago ultimately returned to general neglect.38 As Trinidad rapidly became the wealthiest island in the British Caribbean and was “gaining a reputation for its prosperity, T obago was becoming notorious for its poverty” (Robinson 1971:28). Despite the efforts of To bago’s own-account farmers, worsening economic conditions led to falling sales and incomes in agriculture to the extent that after [World War II] food cultivation was at an ebb. This was exacerbated by the post-War re-opening of the island’s economy to imported food. The number of people seeking employment outside of agriculture grew and the island’s rate of unemployment increased as the demand for jobs outstripped the supply…In this scenario, survival meant that food cultivation was a soci al necessity but agricultural prices were unattractive and ag riculture could not be relied on to support families. Land owners therefore had to stay in the job market and seek employment on the remaining estates or on Government projects (James 1993:17). A consequence of this economic disparity wa s migration, and in particular, many sources note a pattern of male out-migration from Tobago to Trinidad. Herwald Davies, for example, was assigned to Tobago in 1914 and after retiring as the Anglican Archdeacon,

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177 continued to live there until his death in 1946. Davies observed that “’for years the best boys have been going to the North coast of Trinidad which lies just opposite; and the absence of young men was noticeable in many villages” (R. A. Pemberton 1998:10). Furthermore, he described an unwillingness of males to return to Tobago. Similarly, a colonial report described “the process of migration from Tobago to Trinidad which has been going on for some years” and in partic ular “the tendency for young men to migrate to Trinidad in search of work” (Frampt on 1957:10,22). Census figures over the period 1901-1946 illustrate that despit e a declining infant mortality rate, Tobago’s population steadily declined. By 1946, Tobago was one of the most underpopulated islands in the British Caribbean, averaging less than one person per acre of arable land (Frampton 1957:30; Robinson 1971:29). Con tinuous neglect of the isla nd since colonial times resulted in Tobago having the lowest concentr ation of inhabitants per square mile in the Caribbean. As a consequence of the lack of agriculture, non-existe nce of light industry, and absence of infrastructure to support industr ial or farming production, Tobago failed to develop a “relatively indepe ndent capitalist class” or cadre of civil servants to fill administrative roles. The direct result of th is underdevelopment and main reason for the low rate of population increas e is a continued steady drift of people seeking educational and employment opportunities in Trinid ad (Bynoe 1988; C. A. Pemberton 1972:16). Development Policy and Polit ics in the 1950s and 1960s Notwithstanding Tobago’s internal ma rket, through the 1950s the island was almost entirely neglected by a patronizing admi nistration; where “whatever resources that were available for development were expended in Trinidad to the exclusion of Tobago”

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178 (Selwyn Ryan 1985:8). A.P.T. James, Toba go’s only elected member in the council between 1946 and 1961, was responsible for brin ging Tobago into th e twentieth century through his persistent advocacy (Brereton 1989:221). In 1952, James brought electricity to Tobago, replaced the quarter century old water supply at Hillsborough Dam, and in 1953 he promoted the construction of a deep -water harbor and wharf at Scarborough. Beyond these improvements, Tobago had become so dependent on externals sources and markets that the island’s primary need was economic stabilization (Frampton 1957:37). The cost of living in Tobago had been higher than in Trinidad since the beginning of the nineteenth century (Brereton 1989:162). T hus, when Tobago became an administrative ward, annexation was considered to have been inevitable due to “the acute state of depression into which Tobago’s economy ha d fallen” (Frampton 1957:40). Robinson later questioned the economic soundness of a nation where the agricultural commodities cost more in the rural sector than in the urban sector – a paradox he attributed to inattentive public policy and the eventual de struction of agricultu re in Tobago (Robinson 1977:40). Contrary to Arthur Lewis’ strategy of industrial development for the Caribbean region, islands such as Tobago were consider ed “too small to derive any benefit from industrialization” (Premdas 1992:119). After 1946, Trinidad concentrated on the development of its oil industry meanwhile tourism became increasingly important for Tobago (Brereton 1989:220). Earlie r, tourism was established on a very small scale with resident white planters inve sting in a few small inns a nd guesthouses beginning in the 1930s (Brereton 1989:220-221; Frampton 1957: 10; Weaver 1998:297-298). Located in

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179 Speyside, Tobago’s first guesthouse was hosted by the “Honorary Curato r of the Birds of Paradise Island,” a designation that likely attracted bird-w atching enthusiasts (Frampton 1957:24).39 In the early years of tourism, the isla nd would have appealed to a particular variety of traveler; touted for its natural beauty and unspoiled “rustic” charm, Tobago attracted adventurous visitor seeking a more rustic, “off the beaten track” experience (Frampton 1957:37). As an indus try, tourism was not fully es tablished until after World War II when transportation became more r eadily available (Frampton 1957:24). Census data indicated only one record of an “i nnkeeper,” but by 1946 “the number of persons employed in hotels, restaurants, and ca fes was 164” (Sigurdsson 1974:18). The Crown Point airfield, which provided access for foreign travelers via British West Indian Airways (B.W.I.A.), was built in the early 1940s as a grass airstrip. With the introduction of B.W.I.A. flights, and co rresponding hotel development, tourism began to assume a notable role in the local economy (Frampt on 1957:14, 24). What developed was a pattern of “fairly small hotels, dist ributed at intervals along the coast” (Frampton 1957:37). The post-war era inaugurated development of so -called “3S” (sun, sea, sand) tourism development for Tobago. In addition to agricu lture, tourism was considered one of the few major industries capable of being deve loped on the island. In the 1950s, “hotel construction began to accelerate, partly as a result of government aid, and tourism gradually began to replace agriculture as T obago’s major economic activity and source of employment” (Brereton 1989:221). Tobago was s till regarded as possessing the capacity for developing and sustaining a reasonable st andard of living and tourism was only one suggested means of boosting the local economy, but was not considered the cure-all of

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180 Tobago’s woes. Rather, it development offi cials recommended that once satisfactory progress could be made with rekindling Toba go’s economy, “it should be possible to shift the emphasis of planned development towa rds the social side” (Frampton 1957:41). After years of neglect, Trin idad and Tobago’s first polit ical party the People’s National Movement (PNM) took a special intere st in the development of Tobago in the late 1950s. In particular, Chief Minister Eric Williams assumed personal responsibility for better integration of the smaller is land (Brereton 1989:221; Selwyn Ryan 1985:8). Regional politics instigated Williams and the PNM to give special attention to Tobago, expressed as intentions to pr ovide greater integration and autonomy. At the time, Tobago was to serve as a “test case” that would dem onstrate Trinidad’s administrative ability to serve as principal partner in the (ill-fated) Federation of the West Indies (Selwyn Ryan 1989a:282; Yelvington 1987:10). In an of ten quoted council speech, Williams (1957:1939) remarked “Tobago has exchanged the neglect of United Kingdom Imperialism for the neglect of Trinidad Impe rialism” and furthermor e, boasted that the “this Government has done more for Toba go in six months than has been done for Tobago in the past sixty years.” From 1958 to 1960, the PNM government did spend $2.2 million TT on the development of Tobago a nd according to Williams (1981:193) “for every dollar collected in revenue, therefore, seven dollars were spent on Tobago, and the expenditure on the Development Program me exceeded the revenue collected.”40 Notably, the development and welfare team that eval uated Tobago in 1957 re ported that tourism “is clearly capable of making a very signifi cant contribution to th e total economy of the island, and the opportunities for gainful employme nt which it may be expected to offer

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181 will be of great importance” (Frampton 1957:37).41 A five-year plan that focused on the development of Tobago’s infrastructure was established in 1957 (Brereton 1989:221). During this time, Crown Point airstrip wa s improved and extended. In 1957, Williams established a separate Ministry of T obago Affairs as well as creating a Hotel Development Corporation “to loan money fo r the construction and expansion of small hotels” (Brereton 1989:220). It was not the policy of the PNM government to become a partner or source of capital for tourism devel opment, rather “incentives were offered to private investors, foreign and local, under th e same conditions as to pioneer industries” (Brereton 1989:220). The “Aid to Pioneer Industries Ordinance and the Income Tax Ordinances” were enacted in 1950 with the hope that pioneer industr y had the potential to bring further development to the nation. T hus, “tax-holidays” and duty-free importation of a wide range of materials were granted to mostly foreign-owned investors in order to foster new industries. According to Breret on (1989:218-220) “this marked the beginning, in Trinidad, of the policy of ‘industrialization by invitation;’ a systematic effort to attract foreign capital to establish manufacturing i ndustries through tax concessions and other privileges.” This policy was later continued and expanded by the PNM and contributed to the expansion of pioneer industr ies such as oil, manufacturi ng, construction, services, and tourism. Though control over accommodations had paralleled the plantocracy model of Tobagonian, Trinidadian, and foreign owners hip, in the 1950s there was a shift towards expatriate ownership of hotel s and development of a commer cially significant tourism sector (Weaver 1998:229).

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182 Additionally, Tobago began to attract lo cal tourism with “a small but steady stream of visitors” coming from Trinidad beginning in the 1950s. Since the economy in Trinidad was growing, particularly due to the flourishing oil industry from 1951 to 1958, domestic tourism was advocated as a mutually beneficial exchange and an appropriate means for redistributing some of Trinidad ’s wealth to Tobago (Brereton 1989:221; Frampton 1957:141). Expansion of domestic tourism corresponded w ith the oil boom of the late 1970s and the emergence of Trinidad’s relatively large and affluent middleclass. According to Weaver (1998:308) “the designatio n of Tobago as Trinidad’s own domestic holiday resort attested to its unfettered accessibility and superior endowment of beach resources.” More industrially developed island that than its sister island, Trinidad essentially lacks picturesque 3S amenities that were customarily prerequisite for tourism development (Frampton 1957:37; Pattullo 1996 ). Domestic tourists tended to use unmonitored private dwelling or rental uni ts and contributed minimally to local expenditures. Inter-island travel via ferry and air was subsidized by the government (Weaver 1998:298-299). As a prerequisite to establishing a proper tourism market, however, the development and welfare report indicated th at tremendous improvements were needed. “Since Tobago is essentially an agricultural territory, and other forms of industry are unlikely to develop for a considerable time,” it was recommended that immediate attention be focused on the basic infrast ructure including road s and water supplies (Frampton 1957:42). Additionally, to prepare for the influx of tourist traffic, the development and welfare report determined that zoning and proper use of beach areas

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183 should be established. In antic ipation of luxury hotels with patrons who expect private and exclusive beach access, it was also recommended to designate how much beach area should be reserved for private use, for public bathing and for fisherman (Frampton 1957:142). Overall, the comprehensive deve lopment plan envisioned tourism as a secondary focus with primary emphasis directed towards improved agricultural standards including experimenting with new methods of organized farming and land settlement programs (Frampton 1957:42). To create a linkage between economic and social development would require that Tobago’s agricultural practices and production be upgraded with special attention to fish eries and forestry (Frampton 1957:45,163). The plan was realistic, with emphasis placed on existing resources including agriculture, fisheries, and the tourism industry. The development of Tobago’s economy, including the tourism market, would demand greatly improved access to transpor tation. Tobago has long suffered due to inadequate transportation links by sea and inadequate storage facilities (Selwyn Ryan 1989a:293). The development and welfare report described the imperative “missing link” needed to develop tourism as a “cheap, fre quent and reliable method of communication between the two islands,” including an effici ent and inexpensive ferry service (Frampton 1957:141-142). Until the late twentieth century, for example, “all international tourists arriving in Tobago had to pass through Piarco airport in Trinidad, resulting in an inconvenient bottleneck which has long been cited by Tobago hotelie rs as one of the major impediments to the development of resort tourism on the island” (Weaver 1998:300).

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184 Due to the physical isolation of Toba go from Trinidad, an “internal coreperiphery relationship” devel oped resulting in inter-island disparity in population and power (Weaver 1998:293,296). Lack of employme nt opportunities and the location of a highly centralized government in Port of Spain required that residents of Tobago frequently travel to Trinidad for access to many essential services. In order to obtain government documents and services such as copi es of birth certificates or land and court records, Tobagonians had little choice but “t o travel to Trinidad at great expense” (Premdas 1992:120). According to Robinson “the whole system is designed to draw the people of Tobago away from Tobago into Trinidad. The simplest thing you want, you have to come to Trinidad” (Robinson 1977:31). The issue of migration became increasingly salient and Toba go’s political leaders characte rized this population shift as “’systematic genocide’ because Tobago’ s youngest and brightest people were appropriated by the metropole” (Premdas 1992:122) Rather than development of local industry, however, migration to Trinidad and remittance sent back to Tobago became the mainstay of smaller island’s econom y (Conway 2000:92-93; Selwyn Ryan 1989b). Furthermore, the development and welfare re port recommended the establishment of a permanent administrative structur e for the governance of Tobago; In our view, Tobago is sufficiently a separate entity to justify direct dealing between the Administrator and the Government at Ministerial level in Trinidad. We therefore suggest that there should be one Minister with an appropriate title responsible solely for Tobago affairs to whom the Administrator of Tobago should have direct access. This Minister would be responsible in the Central

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185 Government for initiating action on Tobago matters…as a member of the Executive Council (Frampton 1957:47) In 1958, on the advice of the development and welfare report, the government separated Tobago’s expenditure from Trinidad’s. Upon the arrival of full internal self-gove rning status for the Colony of Trinidad and Tobago in 1961, Tobago was still largel y underdeveloped. National independence was gained on August 31, 1962. The series of events that followed independence, including a particularly deva stating hurricane (which is discussed of the below), contributed to Tobago becoming increasingly di senchanted with its state of affairs. Hurricane Flora and Central Government Policy (1963-1980) Situated at latitude 11 degrees north and longitude 60 degrees west, Tobago is located at the southern edge of the Caribbean hurricane belt (Frampton 1957:14). As described earlier, the infrequency of hurri cane visitations to Tobago had rendered inhabitants relatively complacent about such hazards (Martin 1967(1843):37). Recent hurricane encounters were beyond resident s’ living memory, dating back to 1833, 1847, and 1871. Yet, just 24-hours after being rout inely reported, Hurricane Flora’s destructive forces ravaged Tobago on Monday, September 30, 1963 (Anthony 1974:97). Unsuspecting islanders, who had been listened to radio reports predicting the hurricane’s arrival at five o’clock, were suddenly blasted by 110 mile an hour winds at 2:30 PM. The devastation lasted for ten hour s and damage was considerable: 30 people lost their lives, hundreds were injured (31 serious ly), and 60 percent of inha bitants were left homeless (Harewood 1963c). A reporter who visited T obago’s inland villages (the worst hit

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186 region), provides a graphic account, “the rema ins of what used to be houses, wrecked like matchwood; as though some giant sledge hammer weilded by an extremely irate superhuman hand had been applied to the centr e of the roofs and sent them crashing with one great blow. [Elsewhere,] entire roofs were lifted off and blown many yards away” (Harewood 1963c).42 By all accounts, Tobago was a disaster area. Hurricane Flora was a watershed event for Tobago (Bridget Brereton, personal communication Nov. 29, 1999). Immediately follow ing the disaster, both foreign aid and government relief efforts were quickly organized, but distribution was highly problematic. Loads of food supplies were left to parish due to in effectual distribution procedures. Furthermore, the dispersal of food boxes created animosity as villagers perceived that favorites were allotted more than their fair share while others suffered. Likewise, money and materials made availa ble for rebuilding were poorly distributed; creating further tension due to unequal allo tments. Previously, when a disaster had occurred in Tobago, one need not ask for hel p. Akin to the mutual exchange of labor practiced by Tobago’s peasantry (or lend-hand ), neighbors simply came together, moving through the village to clear the mess.43 After Hurricane Flora, however, governmentsponsored disaster relief eliminated the rela tive homogeneity of peasant life and created economic disequilibrium. Among villagers, feelings of jealousy and dissent emerged as those with connections kept resources to th emselves, no longer sharing and helping one another, creating a sense of competition to rest ore order. In spite of Tobago’s reputation for community cooperation, a notable spirit of individualistic se lf-help emerged in response to the devastation. Rather than rebuilding their houses, newspaper accounts

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187 described that “able-bodied men prefer to wa it in relief lines for food and clothing and watch their womenfolk perform the tasks they should be doing” (Harewood 1963a). Although rations were limited and disorganize d, distribution eventu ally reached even remote districts via helicopter or boat. Yet, on-going complaints of social discrimination and dissatisfaction with allo tments of foodstuff, clot hing, and building materials demanded a more systematic coordination of ra tions. In an attempt to account for the “the security and equitable distribution” of disa ster assistance received from international donors, government sponsored employment was c oordinated to regulate the relief effort (Trinidad Guardian 1963a). Part of Williams’s large-scale restoration program included registering the island’s labor force to work on the relief effort. The “Development Plan” helped to rebuild Tobago and provided temporarily employment opportunities beyond normal labor force participation (Williams 1963:4) On the basis of a five-week fortnight, the government provided as many people as pos sible an opportunity to earn money while receiving rations (Trinidad Guardian 1963b). Later, employment through the “Special Works Programme” instituted minor construction projects throughout Tobago (Sigurdsson 1974:25). In sum, the rehabil itation of Tobago cost $815,927 TT with most funds earmarked for rebuilding materials (Trinidad Guardian 1965). Prior to the hurricane, “a premature e nd to the plantation system” had been predicted for Tobago (Harewood 1963b). Agri culture was already suffering; cocoa production had dropped from 20 to 12 percent of the total produc tion, but overall had remained essentially constant from 1958 to 1962. On the national level, capital investment in agriculture was already weight ed towards Trinidad with “gross imbalances

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188 in private sector and government inputs” di rected towards the larger island (Bynoe 1988:11,13). Due to the islands rugged topograph y, agriculture in Tobago was restricted prior to the hurricane – and was sorely in ne ed of modernization in order to replace the disorganized and inefficient agricultural pract ices that had persiste d for centuries. Yet, the long-term impact of Hurricane Flora on Tobago’s economy and housing stock was dramatic and particularly devastating on ag riculture (C. A. Pemberton 1972:10,20; Vieira 1963). Farmers received government grants to cl ear fallen trees and additional loans were provided to rehabilitate cocoa and coconut estates (Roach 1964). The PNM government’s agricultural Development Program failed to resuscitate agriculture as there were shortfalls in the rel ease of funds for severa l projects (Bynoe 1988:15). In response to the destruction of major cash crops (at the time, cocoa and coconut) as well as food crops, local reports anticipated govern ment seizure of much of the plantation lands. Out of 30,000 acres under cultivation prior to the hurri cane, 63 percent were dedicated to cocoa and coconut. Damage estimates indicated that 51 percent of coconut trees were knocked down and another 16 percent were damaged. Although cocoa trees were not uprooted, the overhead shade (necessary for the trees to bear fruit) was completely destroyed and would require considerable time to re place (Trinidad Guardian 1963b). Similarly, production of the remaining copra was inhibi ted by the loss of electricity upon which many estates depended for the drying process (Harewood 1963b). Furthermore, 90 percent of the banana crop was annihilate d; the entire 10,000 acre forest reserve was destroyed, which rendered the island vulne rable to flooding, while damage to the

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189 Hillsborough dam created a water supply shortage (Anthony 1974:102; Trinidad Guardian 1963b).44 In addition to the devastating impact on agriculture, the effect of Hurricane Flora on quality of life was profound. Destruction of cash crops further increased the cost of living and intensified Tobago’ s dependence on imported goods and services. Prior to the arrival of Hurricane Flora, agricult ure in Tobago was already undergoing a transformation. According to Williams, three d ecades of male migration to Trinidad had significantly decreased the labor force (Trinida d Guardian 1963a). Thus, the effect of the hurricane in 1963 only exasperated the already declining agricultural sector in Tobago. Previously, the major effect of the unification of Trinidad and Tobago in 1898 “was that it allowed free and unrestricted migration to the larger island,” yet ther e is debate whether falling production rates affected the high migration rate from Tobago to Trinidad or vice versa (Sigurdsson 1974:20-21). In particular, many of the migrants were thought to be skilled workers who left behind limited opportunities in Tobago to seek work in Trinidad’s factories (Sel wyn Ryan 1989a:293). Agricu ltural employment and manufacturing occupations (pri marily “craftsman”) that ha d developed during the postemancipation peasantry began to decline in the 1960s because they could not compete with the increase of imported factory goods coming from Trinidad. Furthermore, Tobago was deemed unsuitable for the development of light industry by the development and welfare team that evaluated Tobago in 1957. Rath er, in addition to agri culture “the tourist industry is the only other major industry cap able of development” (Frampton 1957). In effect, the relationship between the two is lands had reversed with Trinidad now

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190 becoming the supplier of foodstuff and goods, wh ich was imported at higher prices to Tobago. Prior to Hurricane Flora, a repor t indicated, “Tobago no longer produces enough to meet the demands of its own population” (Frampton 1957:32, 34). Food prices had risen rapidly, surplus food was no longer av ailable most of the year, and Tobago had essentially become a net importer of f ood. Also, among men in Tobago, interest had shifted away from agricu ltural production to fishing (Harewood 1963b). Though not readily apparent during the aftermath of Hurricane Flora, the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago increasingly came to re semble the world systems, core-periphery model on a domestic level. As demonstrated below, this peripheral status was an unanticipated outcome of th e development and social we lfare policy established to resuscitate hurricane-ravaged Tobago. Primary aspects of the Tobago’s developm ent plan involved land and agricultural reform. In his fourth “Broadcast to the Nation” on relief efforts in Tobago, Williams noted contemporary and histor ic rationalizations for instituting land reform. First, corresponding with international development policy advocated by U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Williams described the need to reme dy the issue of landle ssness in Tobago. He observed, “farms of 100 acres and over repres ented less than one pe r cent of the total number but constituted 50 per cent of the total farm acreage” likewise, “nearly 40 percent of the land was embraced in less than one half of one per cent of the farms” (Trinidad Guardian 1963a). Second, ci ting the aftermath of the 1847 hurricane as precedent for Tobago’s economic instability, Williams recommended the end of monocultural practices. Previously, when Tobago was devastated by a hurricane in 1847, the

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191 plantocracy responded by resurrecting the s ugar industry “at enormous cost, only to achieve total bankruptcy 50 years later” (T rinidad Guardian 1963a). Thus, Williams rejected the notion of repeating this s hortsighted pattern of economic dependency, preferring to implement agricultural diversifi cation and land distribution to small farmers. By revoking the world systems pattern of foreign land ownership and formally renegotiating access to Crown Lands, he establ ished a new pattern of land tenure. As a new nation, the time had come to expand the land rights of the people of Tobago. Initially, the outcome of Hurricane Fl ora was viewed optimistically. The devastating hurricane had n ecessitated a Tobago-specific Development Plan for the period 1964-1968 (C. A. Pemberton 1972:20). In addition to land and agricultural reform, the general public anticipat ed positive outcomes includ ing the redevelopment of Scarborough and increasing economic self-s ufficiency. Soon thereafter, central government’s system of “controlled developmen t” was viewed suspiciously. Government stated policy to maintain Tobago’s “unspoilt ” character was regarded by residents as a conspiracy intended to render the island “a b ackward, under-developed colony” devoid of economic or training opportunities (Baptiste 1968 ). Other sugar-based economies such as Barbados, Jamaica, and the Dominican Repub lic have undergone a “classic reversal of fortunes, from agriculturally dependent to tourist dependent…where tourists have become more ‘valuable than sugar” (Pattu llo 1996). This has been described as the “plantation tourism model” where tourism is introduced as “a new kind of sugar” in the post-industrial setting (Weaver 1998:293). In Tobago, the shift to tourism development happened more gradually. Tobago’s tourism sect or essentially consis ted of a small-scale

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192 construction of guesthouses and hotel rooms without the accompa nying infrastructure upgrades or hospitality traini ng needed to accommodate more visitors (Trinidad Guardian 1969). In the 1970s and 1980s, a few large-scal e resorts were developed (Weaver 1998: 293,297). Yet, small-scale tourism failed to boost the economy because too many commodities were required to be imported (Premdas 1992:119).45 Tourism development involved a cosmetic transformation orchestrat ed by Trinidad, which in effect, further reinforced Tobago’s peripheral status and s ubordination. Thus, a rivalry hinted at when the two islands were united as a single colony, was now firmly rooted. In response to perceived mistreatment by and subservience to Trinidad, the people of Tobago launched a pro-autonomy moveme nt (Weaver 1998:196-197). Frustrated with the pattern of “progressive pauperization and underdevelopment,” inherited from the colonial administrators a nd disappointed by the PNM’s fa ilure to deliver promised improvement, Tobago’s effort to reestablish self-determination began to gain momentum in the 1980s (Selwyn Ryan 1989b). “Tobago separa tists assert that decades of British and Trinidadian misrule and benign neglect had left the island in a backward state” (Premdas 1992:118). According to Ryan (1985:9), the post-1970 period was a time of “public reassessment of the economic, political and so cial relationships and arrangements which had been left over from the colonial era or which had been put into place in the period following the triumph of the PNM in 1956” and included a reassessment of the constitutional arrangement between the two islands. The PNM did attempt over the years to improve the administrative status of Tobago…however, these e fforts generated dissatisfaction.

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193 Neither the establishment of a commissioner, a permanent secretary with a nonresident minister responsible for Tobago affairs, nor the appointment of a re sident minister fully responsible for Tobago affairs appeased the na tionalists, since in both cases the officials had no effective pow er (Selwyn Ryan 1985:38). Suggestions for how to better integrate Tobago ranged from fu ll secession to retention of the status quo with only minor modifications to the politic al apparatus (Selwyn Ryan 1985:9). As a result of widespread dissatisf action, Tobago’s separatist movement resurfaces periodically. In 1961, it was suggested that Tobago should be made an independent state, but the idea gained little po litical favor at the time. Animosity between the two islands and the dismissive and contemptuous attitude expressed towards Tobago’s desire for greater autonomy was ch aracterized by disparaging comments that appeared in the Trinidad ian press in the 1960s describing Tobago Independence Movement as the “Tobago Idiot Movement” (Weaver 1998:296). To further deconstruct the rising antagonism between the two isla nds, it is important to note the changing relationship between the two islands promin ent political figures of the 1970s – Eric Williams from Trinidad and A.N.R. Robinson from Tobago. Robinson, who was Williams’s former protg, became disillus ioned with PNM politics in 1966 when a finance bill he had introduced was withdrawn by Williams. Their personal relationship continued to deteriorate until at height of the Black Power demonstrations in 1970, Robinson resigned from the PNM Cabinet posit ions of Deputy Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister. Influenced by the Black Power movement, radical Tobagonians resentfully complained that whites owned ove r 60 percent of the land in Tobago, much of

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194 this land was designated for tourism developm ent, and furthermore that inappropriate dress and behavior of white tourists was an affront to the black people of Tobago (Selwyn Ryan 1985:9; 1989a:285).46 According to Yelvington (1987:11), the influence of Black Power rhetoric from the United States had “far-reaching consequences” including introducing a more socialist-type, redistribut ion-oriented political stance, “which was facilitated by the oil revenue windfall resu lting from the OPEC-driven worldwide oil crisis of 1973. This windfall also made possible PNM political patronage projects, including nationalization of large companie s and the ever-expanding numbers in the government’s employ.” While the oil boom significantly advanced Trinidad’s economy, Tobago had virtually no self-generating invest ments, little access to non-governmental capital or new technology, what businesses di d exist in Tobago were small, and due to the reliance on imported goods, the cost of livi ng rose to 20-25 per cent higher than in Trinidad (Premdas 1992:120; Selwyn Ry an 1989a:293). Evidence of Tobago’s dependency included limited busin ess diversity, higher poverty levels, lower educational attainment levels, high out-migration rates, and concomitant unbalance of age and gender ratios (Weaver 1998:296). Further examples of Tobago’s underdevelopment included absence of post-secondary education in stitutions, a higher unemployment and underemployment, and as a consequence “some three-quarters of Tobago’s annual population growth of 850 departed the island in search of jobs and higher education, mainly in Trinidad” (Premdas 1992:120). Tobagoni ans were left with little choice but to migrate to maximize their human capital poten tial. While the PNM equated migration to Trinidad as a benefit, Tobagonians viewed migration as “evidence of planned genocide

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195 and exploitation. In their view, migration to Trinidad creams off the skilled and the young, leaving mainly older person s on the island. The vacuum created was then filled by persons who did not always have Tobago’s na tional interests at heart” (Selwyn Ryan 1989a:294). Neglect of Tobago was intern ationally acknowledged in 1975 when UNESCO selected the island for a pilot proj ect to educate women. Tobago was chosen because it was determined to be the most back ward and ignored place in the world due to being “deliberately left by government policy to retain its rural ch arm” (Balroop 1975). In a formal effort to address the persistent underdevelopment of Tobago, Robinson, along with other disgruntled former PNM members, formed the opposition Action Committee of Dedicated Citizens, wh ich later became the Democratic Action Congress (DAC) (Selwyn Ryan 1989a; Yelvington 1987). According to Ryan (1989a:287-288), the DAC was essentially a Toba go-based party and an important part of their political platform was the subordinate status of Tobago. Resentment of Trinidad boiled over when in the general electi ons, “the DAC shocked the PNM by winning Tobago’s two seats” (Premdas 1992:120). In 1976, Trinidad and Tobago became a republic and in the general elections the PN M returned to power – minus the support of Tobago’s pro-autonomy political party at the polls. In his post-election speech, Williams (vindictively) recognized Tobago’s lack of political support and secessionist declarations; he stated “if you want to go, go. We are not holding you” (Davidson 1979:4; Williams 1976). Next, the PNM failed to appoint a Tobago nian living in Tobago to the Senate and furthermore made the decision to close the Mi nistry of Tobago Affairs, leaving the island with no administrative oversigh t. “This action, more than a ny other, demonstrated to

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196 Tobagonians how dependent their island had be come on the whimsical authority of Port of Spain” (Premdas 1992:121). Around this sa me time, shipping service between Port of Spain and Scarborough had deteriorated and shortages ensued. I nvoking the Trinidadian Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul, Robinson argue d that if “‘The Caribbean is the Third Worlds’ Third World,’ Tobago is the Cari bbean’s Third World” (Robinson 1977:40). In 1976, Robinson headed the movement to attain self-government with a notice brought before the House of Representative s entitled the “Motion for Internal SelfGovernment for Tobago.” What followed wa s a lengthy and acrimonious parliamentary debate over Tobago’s proposed secession. Th is campaign marked the first serious consideration of Tobago’s move towards sece ssion and the ensuing debate is considered a watershed moment in the relationship betw een the two-island state (Davidson 1979:4-5). After having been ignored on his first a ttempt, in 1977 Robinson again reminded the House of Representatives “tha t the time has come when the people of Tobago must have a say in the development of their resources and in their own fu ture” (Robinson 1977:28). Furthermore, Robinson asserted that program s established by the central government in the aftermath of Hurricane Flora such as Sp ecial Works Department that was intended to put people to work rehabilitating the island, was in effect responsible for destroying Tobago’s village life: Tobago wants a chance to strengthen and develop its village life. Village life in Tobago is a beau tiful thing. It will do your heart good to see how villagers get together and co-operate with one another. The term ‘Gayap’ came from Tobago. ‘Lend hand’ came from Tobago.47 Co-operatives have done better in Tobago than anywhere else in the countr y. People in Tobago have the

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197 cooperative spirit. Do not break th at! Do not destroy it! Do not develop a rugged individualism in them! Do not destroy their villages! This is what is happe ning now with the Special Works programmes and all this sort of things. Special Works programmes are eating into the heart of the society. Government projects are only extending – not for the purpose of developing and putting the people on their feet, not for th e purpose of developing their independence – but are only extendin g the tentacles of control into the society with all the corruption that goes with it and all the high costs (Robinson 1977:38). A poverty study indicated that the extent of underdevel opment of the Tobago economy was vividly evident through an alysis of the labor force (Bynoe 1988:44). By the 1970s, a significant percentage of Tobago’s paid wo rkforce was employed by the public sector and this trend persisted thr ough the late twentieth century (Figure 1) (Premdas 1992:119). Figure 1: Total Working Population Empl oyment in Government Public Service 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 70.00% 1970*19801990 Both Sexes Male Female (Central Statistical Office 1990b:121, 268, 280; 1990g:191; Office 1980:112, 163; University of the West Indies 1970a:Table 1:68, 69). For the year 1970, no distinction was made between government public service and government public enterprise. For all other year, reflects only government public service. In 1977, 34.9 percent of Tobago’s household head s were reported as directly employed by the government, which was 11 percent higher than the national average (Selwyn Ryan 1985:38). Central government was accused of fostering dependency and undermining

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198 Tobago’s tradition of self-sufficiency thr ough government sponsored work projects. In response, the central government conceded and the resolution gran ting Tobago internal self-government was unanimously passed in 1977 (Selwyn Ryan 1989a:295). Thus, Tobago’s self-government was restored as the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) in 1980. Henceforth, responsibility for the impl ementation of the affairs of Tobago rests with the House of Assembly, which functions to formulate and implement policy on all matters referred to it by the Mi nister of Finance who consults the Assembly on matters of national importance. Since its inception, however, the THA “has been widely regarded as an ineffectual example of tokenism” by central government (Weaver 1998:297). In addition to economic and political disparity, Tobago’s nationalist movement and quest for autonomy has also been attribut ed to fundamental cultural distinctions between the two islands. In terms of demography, the to tal population of Tobago for 1980 was 40,745 and in 1990 was 50,828 (Central Statistical Office 1990c:44), which represents less than four percen t of the total national populati on (Central Statistical Office 1990a:8). Reported racial or ethnic orig in on Tobago was over 91 percent African descent, which is considerably higher as th e compared to the national level (Figure 2) (Central Statistical Office 1990a:56,100).

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199 Figure 2: 1990 Race or Ethnicity for Trinidad and Tobago 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 70.00% 80.00% 90.00% 100.00% TobagoTrinidad and Tobago African Mixed Indian White/Caucasian Chinese/Syrian/ Lebanese (Central Statistical Office 1970a:Table 6, 18; 1979:Table 9, 10; 1980a:Table 4, 26, 38) Unlike socially stratified, pl ural, and ethnically heterogene ous Trinidad, Tobago was an ethnically homogenous society with little social stratific ation (Figure 3). Figure 3: Race or Ethnicity, Tobago Only 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 70.00% 80.00% 90.00% 100.00% 197019801990 Negro White East Indian Mixed (Central Statistical Office 1970a:Table 6, 18; 1979:Table 9, 10; 1980a:Table 4, 26, 38)

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200 “Tobago in 1790 was essentially an African population with fundamentally a slave society. Out of every 100 people in the co mmunity 94 were African slaves” (Williams 1964:60). Academics, politicians, and even local residents sometimes described Tobagonian identity as a homogeneous “folk so ciety” with persistent African retentions characterized by a village-cente red, cooperative orientation th at focuses on family and kinship (that is, essentiall y “rural”) (Elder 1984c; Frampton 1957; Herskovits and Herskovits 1947; Robinson 1977; Selwyn Ryan 1985; 1989a; Weaver 1998:296). By contrast, most residents of Tobago regard Trinidad as a cosmopolitan, heterogeneous society that fosters a fast-paced lifestyle a nd capitalistic “rugged individualism” (that is, essentially “urban”). People living on eith er island, depending upon the impression they wish to convey, may invoke this rural/f olk/small verses urban/cosmopolitan/large contrast for derogatory or laudatory pur pose. Certainly, Tobago’s self-determination movement does involve overcoming cultural di stinctiveness for which Tobagonians have been “ridiculed and regarded as rustic sma ll islanders with no ‘class’” (Selwyn Ryan 1985:118; 1989a:280). Yet, othe rs have argued that alt hough Tobago does claim an “ethnic cleavage” (that is, underl ying factors that different iate Tobago from Trinidad including a separate history, particular geography, and distinct racial composition), these factors do not significantly di stinguish the two islands (Premdas 1992:117-118). Beyond claims of ethnic cleavage or cultural distin ctiveness, Tobago’s separatist movements and assertions of independent self-determination ma y be more accurately at tributed to factors including a legacy of neglect, dominance, econom ic and political inequity on the part of Trinidad (Premdas 1992:117; Weaver 1998:296). Ra ther than ethnic distinctiveness, the

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201 territorial rift experienced has been attributed to Toba go’s economic and administrative remoteness. Economic neglect, for example, ha s been demonstrated as a recurring pattern for Tobago since the island was first colonize d in the early sevent eenth century. Rather than being attributed to a particular even t, neglect and underdevelopment were nearly persistent themes for Tobago. One study of poverty in Tobago noted that the habit of dating the woes of Tobago from 1898 (that is, the unification of Trinidad and Tobago as a single colony) contradicts the available in formation, which indicates that Tobago’s economy, its population, and political superstructu re “were so lopsided, so tenuous, that it took a single hurricane, or the failure of a single supplier of goods and credit to create havoc with the local economy” (Bynoe 1988:4) Certainly, Tobago’s “small island pride” and nationalism can be traced back to its history as a former self-governing country. Regional separatism became a pronounced probl em when the two islands were merged together for administrative expediency. And, as is typically the case in underdeveloped countries – the state is the major initiator for development, which for Tobago meant that the seat of power was located in distant Trinidad (Sigurdsson 1974:25). As a result of being an inter-island federation with “dispari ties in size and power, the emergency of a centrifugal internal core-periphery relati onship” developed as perceived benefits gravitated to larger-island Trinidad at the expense of smaller-island Tobago (Weaver 1998:305). Separated by a distance of 18 miles, the development of Tobago secessionist movement can be largely attributed to an ongoing struggle to obtain a better deal from Trinidad (Selwyn Ryan 1989a:277,280). Wh at is pertinent for Tobago’s selfdetermination movement is a persistent sens e of neglect and underdevelopment in an

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202 environment where whatever resources were available were directed towards the development of Trinidad (Premdas 1992:117; Selwyn Ryan 1985:8; 1989a:280-281; Weaver 1998). Tobago’s Tourism Development through the Twentieth Century A survey of development from the 1970s i ndicated that investme nt in tourism did occur as a reaction to the devastation cause d by Hurricane Flora in 1963 (Abbulah, et al. 1974:11). Cheap land became available for develo pment and “these transfers were mostly made by small land owners following hurricane Flora” (Abbulah, et al. 1974:13). Most of the land transfer (72.51 percen t) occurred in the southe rn part of the island. Correspondingly, by the late twentieth century, 90 percent of the tourism sector was concentrated in the established “touris m zone” in southeastern Tobago (Weaver 1998:297).48 In the mid-1970s, four out the five of the largest hotels were foreign owned, whereas nationals of Trinidad and Tobago owne d most of the smalle r hotels (Abbulah, et al. 1974:11). With the arrival of commercially viable tourism development, expatriate ownership of Tobago hotels increased (Weav er 1998:299-200). This shift in land tenure resulted in “lop-sided development” in which Tobago’s tourism industry created an “economic enclave” of affluent foreign visito rs, thereby magnifying the inequalities of wealth and race that separate s locals from guests. In short, development of Tobago’s tourism industry did little to include the part icipation of the host society (Abbulah, et al. 1974:14). (See Appendix D for a map of Tobago). Ironically, many of the same charact eristics that signify Tobago’s underdevelopment also make it a marketable vacation destination fo r foreign visitors.

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203 Tourists are attracted to the island’s “qui etness,” “rustic charm,” and “unspoilt natural beauty” that result from being Tobago bei ng a largely bucolic setting with very low population density as well backwardness as the consequence of “enforced colonial economic bankruptcy and neglect,” which has never fully been reversed (Bynoe 1988). To illustrate this paradoxical marketability, Tobago was featured in the “Travel” section of two major U.S. newspapers that promoted the island as an inexpensive “nature lovers getaway” and further characterized Tobago’s “remote setting” (read : underdeveloped) as offering “relatively empty” (read: underpopulat ed) surrounds that “hel ped to preserve it’s pristine natural beauty ” (Lee 2003; Reeves 2003). Established in the 1970s, Tobago’s seasonal tourism market has remained largely unchanged. This dual market consists of 1) North American and Europeans who visit du ring the metropolitan winter season and 2) domestic visitors who vis it during the summer months (Abbulah, et al. 1974:12).49 Locals also distinguish between the two tourist market s. A survey of the impact of tourism on Tobago (Abbulah, et al. 1974) indica ted that “foreigners” tend to be white, stay in larger hotels, and predominantly visit Tobago on vacation (92 percent). Whereas, “local” visitors from Trinidad tended to be mixed race, stay in smaller guesthouses and about half visit Tobago on vacation (40 percent on business). As a strategy for generating local empl oyment, tourism is largely ineffective except for providing jobs at the lower end of th e pay scale. In general, Caribbean tourism generates limited formal employment opportuni ties. “For every new hotel room in the Caribbean, roughly one more ne w job is created. In a region beset by chronically high unemployment, any job, even though low paid, seasonal, unskilled and with few

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204 prospects, might be welcome” (Pattullo 1996:52). Tourism development has largely excluded Tobagonians from positions of pow er (Weaver 1998:300). Among the larger hotels, managers were almost entirely foreign white, although locals (mostly Trinidadians) were being brought in at a ssistant management level (Abbulah, et al. 1974:11). Tobago’s Tourism Division estimated that direct employ ment from tourism was 13 percent in 1995 (Weaver 1998:297). Su rprisingly, tourism workers reported relatively high levels of satisfaction in despit e of a perception of little or not opportunity for advancement. “Job satisfaction was s lightly higher among men than among women, probably associated with the tendency for me n to hold higher status jobs and to derive greater income from their em ployment” (Abbulah, et al. 197 4:21). Most indicated that employment in tourism was not a first choice – rather, it was the result of a scarcity of alternatives. Representatives of Trinidad and Tobago’s National Union of Domestic Employees (NUDE) indicated that hotels in Tobago pay employees below the minimum wage and were not providing required benefits including sick leave, overtime, and notice of dismissal or layoff (personal comm unication October 7, 1999). Bynoe (1988) described that trade unions in Tobago were organizationally linke d to the major trade unions in Trinidad, but “structu rally may have contributed to the present state of inertia and dormancy which characterizes unions in Tobago… [These] unions have done little to promote the welfare of members outside of the workplace” and officials are rarely seen as champions of employee welfare. Similarly, in Mexico, the structure of labor unions protects the interests of the hotel corporations in alliance with Mexico’s Ministry of Labor. Under this type of union representati on, non-unionized workers tend to fare better

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205 than unionized employees. These labor unions fail to protect of workers’ rights and ultimately disempower employees – who as i ndividuals cannot bring a grievance against their employer to the Ministry of Labor. Rath er, the individual must be represented by their Union. Therefore, through the alliance of the Unions, the hotel corporation, and the Ministry, they have eliminat ed or at least heavily influenced the mechanism for protecting employee rights (Camacho 1996). Marketing of resort tourism draws on st ereotypes of Caribbean identity. In the Caribbean region, identity is a creolization, a blending th at transforms distinctive influences acquired throughout the regions continual domination into a homogenized authenticity that in the late twentieth century was promoted as a romanticized marketing strategy for tourism (Pattullo 1996:180-181). Hist orically, travel has been “infused with masculine ideas about adventure, pleasure and the exotic” (Enloe 1989:20). In the Caribbean, these images represent racist my ths of sex, romance, and a stereotype of hedonistic blackness to which “eager hosts” are expected to conform (Pattullo 1996:5455,142-143).50 Although tourism is promoted and subsid ized by the state, the actions of foreign visitors on holiday are considered pr ivate, and therefore seemingly removed from international politics. Yet, tourism deep ly affects gender, race, and class. By the 1980s, mass tourism was entrench ed in many parts of the Caribbean, whereas in Trinidad and Tobago interest in tourism development was only being revived (Pattullo 1996:11). Robinson (in Delph 1986) noted “with the new and belated emphasis of the government on tourism, the potential of Tobago has come to be recognized by all the agencies involved in pla nning tourism development.” Yet, promised development did

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206 not come quickly for Tobago. Required infrastruc ture to support touris m is costly and in particular, Tobago had very limited transportati on facilities (such as an adequate airport, roads, or deep-water harbor). Accordi ng to Robinson (in Delph 1986), although Tobago was willing to co-finance the project, the pl an to build a deep-water harbor with the capacity to accommodate cruise liners at Scarborough was delayed by central government for over a decade and was finally inaugurated in 1991.51 Similarly, Tobago’s Crown Point airport (built in 1940) could not accommodate large je ts until the airport runway was extended in to accomm odate wide-body aircrafts in 1992. Officially, the Tobago resumed self -governance in 1980 including decisionmaking authority for local tourism devel opment policy, however, the administrative “authority” of the THA was limited to munici pality-type responsibil ities and otherwise restricted to making recommendations to th e central government (Hackett 2000; Weaver 1998:297, 300-302). Tobagonians had long compla ined that all critical decision concerning tourism development were made in Trinidad and frequently, the outcomes of these decisions further emphasized T obago’s subordination and dependency. For example, government subsidized transportation for domestic travel resulted in inter-island air connections being monopolized by Trinid ad. Likewise, as a response to rapidly declining oil revenues in the 1980s, central gove rnment prompted the shift from primarily domestic ownership to significant expatriate investment in Tobago’s tourism sector. Perhaps most illustrative of Trinidad’s pate rnalism that further exacerbated inter-island tensions was “the designation of Tobago as Trinidad’s own domestic holiday resort” (Weaver 1998:302, 308). The Tobago House of Assembly Act of 1996 shifted

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207 responsibility “for the fo rmulation and implementation of policy” of tourism development to the THA. Yet, central gove rnment maintained control over critical activities such as im migration, civil aviation, foreign affairs, and power over Tobago’s ability to seek foreign funds from abroad for the purposed of tourism development. Furthermore, THA decisions were subject to ministerial over-ride, which further complicates the development process. Tourism development in the 1990s include d establishing a local campus of the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute. Previously, there had only been a catering school in Tobago (Abbulah, et al. 1974), so the introduc tion of a dedicated institute provided the first opportunity for lo cally based, formal, hospitality training. At the time fieldwork was conducted (1999-2000), th e tourism institute was relatively new. The campus opened September 1997 on what was fo rmerly the site of the Youth Training Camp for boys (which was relocated). Renovations to the former camp were funded by the THA. Instruction included hotel front o ffice, travel agency, cultural expression, as well as opportunities for student internships. Regardless of the history of small-scale tourism, a government policy emphasizing th e development of Tobago’s hospitality sector for three decades, instructors at the tourism institute found that students were not particularly enthusiastic. One tourism institute official explained that, in contrast to her native Jamaica, young Tobagonians possessed an at titude that was c ontradictory to the hospitality industry. In her opinion, the student s expressed "no excitement. Rather, they are happy and content – they are not aggressive They have no drive and will have to be forced to change" (personal communicati on, April 12, 1999). On the positive side she

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208 went on to describe, "They have less stress. They do not want [for things] despite having little." This characterization of Tobagonians as “content” or “complacent” that has been noted by various social scientists (Bre reton 1989; Frampton 1957; James 1993), is paradoxical to the aggressive nature of th e tourism industry. According to a tourism institute official, Tobagonians are "still sleeping to a great extent – not waking up to opportunities." Another possible explanation fo r the seeming lack of motivation was the so-called “brain drain” eff ect of immigration since many skilled Tobagonians have left for other opportunities and never returned. Likewise, a tourism institute lecturer described what she observed as a disjuncture between Tobago's cultural attitude and the tourism industry as demonstrated by the reacti on of students in their "industrial training" (or internships). Though the tourism institute facilitated training opportunities, students did not respond with the anticipated enthusia sm. For example, a student interning at a local hotel refused to take on other duties beyond her desired speci alization (that is, culinary skills). Whereas, in the resort hospita lity industry, being sp ecialized or working within a distinct “silo” is contradictory to a business that demands hosts (regardless of training or job title) cater to guests every need. After five y ears of personal experience working in the tourism industry, I can conf irm that flexibility and multitasking is demanded of hotel staff. Tobago’s biggest holiday weekend takes pl ace over the Easter holiday when both local and foreign tourists conve rge. In addition to the big pa rties for which Trinidad and Tobago are famous, goat races are the f eature event over Easter weekend. During fieldwork (1999-2000), I observed the 74th Annual Goat Race in Buccoo. Though mainly

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209 a source of amusement contrived for tourists some degree of pla nning does go into the annual event that takes inspir ation from English horseraci ng. Trainers work with both goats and jockeys (who run al ong side tethered goats) and similar to conventional race tracks, participants are invited to place be ts. Following the more competitive goat racing, tourists are invited to partic ipate in crab racing. Another ex ample of a summertime events was the so-called “Great Race,” sponsore d by Trinidad’s Angostura Limited, which attracts Trinidadian and regional visitors to watch speedboats cr oss the finish line just off of Tobago.52 In contrast to the “party” type of hol iday described above, a study of attitudes towards tourism conducted in the 1990s found that Tobagonians expres s a preference for cultural preservation in contrast to a commerc ialized, tourist-oriented approach (Badillo 1995). Survey results indicated a desire among Tobagonians to maintain their culture undiluted and a belief that tourists themselves would be more satisfied with an authentic cultural experience. Cultural retention was preferred rather than opportunistically or synthetically adapting cust oms to meet the imagined needs of tourists.53 Fear of culture loss can be attributed to cultural pride a nd an appreciation for the uniqueness of local culture. Badillo (1995:40-41) speculated that the presence of this attitude may “have something to do with the cultural homogeneity of Tobago compared to the diversity of its sister isle, Trinidad, which is now be ing promoted as a land of festivals.”54 Historically, protection of authentic dance, folklore, or architecture has not been a priority for marketing tourism in the Caribbean region. Likewise, Pattullo ( 1996:181) stated, “the Caribbean’s cultural forms are not on display as they are in Venice or Prague, Delhi or

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210 Cairo.” Arrival of heritage tourism as a tool for developing the sector was quite late in the Caribbean and therefore, corre sponded with Tobago’s late en try into the development of mass tourism. To a limited extent, distinctive cultural identity was documented and preserved by Tobagonian folklorists. In particular, J.D. Elder (1984a:20-21), an anthropologist, introduced “Africa Week” as an opportunity for Tobagonians who were “descendants from African ancestors, [to] positively set about creating an African Cultural Revival.” His efforts to promote and preserve cultural herita ge evolved into the “Tobago Heritage Festival” that was first st aged in 1987. Today, this month-long, annual event takes place over July and August and provides an opportunity for individual villages throughout Tobago to showcase their cultural traditions including music, song, dance, oral tradition, and reenactments of historical events. Pers onal observation during 1997 and 1999 indicated that many expatriates pl an a trip home to correspond with the Tobago Heritage Festival. Increasingly, the marketing strategy for Tobago has incorporated cultural heritage tourism, a concept that emphasizes sustainable tourism development in conjunction with interpretation and protection of cultu ral, historical, and even natural resources. Thr ough attracting visitors to expe rience Tobago’s folklore, some of the advantages of cultural heritage tour ism include the following: attracting “specialinterest” tourists who are more educated (a nd therefore more affl uent); protection and preservation of cultural resources, which pr ovides visitors with a more unique and authentic experience; drawing on the knowledge and skills of local historians, artists, musicians, writers, calypsonians, etc. to help interpret cultural resources as well as to identify which traditions are sa cred and which are appropriate to be shared with visitors;

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211 and development of a sustainabl e tourism product that is a pr ofitable alternative from (or at least complementary) to the typical “3 S” marketing of Caribbean tourism (Coppin 1999). Gradually, the contribution of tourism on the national economy has increased. By the late 1980s, the tourism industry was second only to the petroleum industry in terms of Trinidad and Tobago’s intern ational importance and profita bility (Bynoe 1988:22). Yet, Trinidad and Tobago’s tourism industry was s till considered underdeveloped and in the 1990s, central government mandated increased interest in the sector with tourism identified as “the primary catalyst for th e development of Tobago” (Bynoe 1988:46). In 1995, estimated economic output for Tobago from tourism was 20 percent (Weaver 1998:297), yet the island was still largely a welf are state, dependent on Trinidad for most of its revenue. According to Weaver (1998:300), upgraded transportation facilities resulted in increased direct arrivals of flights to Tobago “from 9,277 in 1992 to 26,558 in 1995” and cruise ship arrivals increase d dramatically “from 5,487 in 1993 to 26,151 in 1996.” While visitor arrivals have been st eadily increasing, Trin idad and Tobago has continued to demonstrate moderate activity from tourism indicators (including tourist arrivals, number of rooms/accommodation, an d expenditures). Central government has attributed the underdevelopment of tourism as having limited impact on gross domestic product (GDP) and employment in Trinidad and Tobago. Yet, national level tourism indicators of GDP (such as number of ro oms/accommodations) do demonstrate a notable increase in the late 1990s (Figure 4).

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212 Figure 4: National Gross Domest ic Product for Guest Houses (Central Statistical Office 1997d) A Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) st udy estimated that the tourism sector accounted for approximately 1.4 percent of the national GDP and 1.9 percent of total employment (Tobago House of Assembly 1997).55 At the time fieldwork was conducted (1999-2000), projections made by the Tourism and Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) for Tobago included plans for th e addition of 1,600 new hotel rooms by 2004 (or 270 new rooms per year). Another factor effecting tourism deve lopment in Tobago was a change in legislation allowing non-nati onals to purchase up to fi ve acres of land. Following removal of the Alien Landholding Act and repl acement with the Foreign Investment Act in 1990, Tobago experienced a dramatic shift in foreign land tenure. Between 1990 and 1995, 145 foreigners purchased land with 126 such investments designated for residences 050 100 150 200 250 1981 1984 1987 1990 1993 1996 1999 $TT million

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213 in Tobago (Tobago News 2000e; Weaver 1998:300301). This policy change contributed to concern over foreign land purchases a nd the trend towards expatriate enclaves. Germans, in particular, purchased land and c onstructed houses that operate as rental guest homes. Absentee owners of these rental homes lived abroad and adve rtised to Europeans therefore, little or no revenue was genera ted for Tobago (Hackett 2000). In monthly THA meetings, members complained about the gr owing trend towards foreign landownership stating the “growing problem where privat e developers would buy lands bordering the beaches and coastline…put up properties whic h would subsequently block off members of the public from getting to the beac h” (Tobago News 1999g). Also, there was a perception of government coll usion. Legislated under a co alition government, consisting of United National Congress (UNC) and Nationa l Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), the Tourism Investment Act seemingly permitted developers to come to Tobago “with their approval documents already prepared a nd passed in Trinidad” (Tobago News 1999g; 2000e).56 Weaver (1998:301) noted “that many co mplaints associated with foreign involvement, such as the enclave issue, are directed not towards the purchasers themselves, but to the government itself for a llegedly facilitating the trend.” A critique of tourism policy reported that no real effort was made by central government to acquire prime property in Tobago and “instead, th e Government Ministers and their friends enjoyed the fat of the land and the perks of office while some smart businessmen from Trinidad and foreign lands grabbed the best lands they could get” (Ware 2000). Locations of Tobago’s tourism developmen t are undeniably beautiful. At select beaches, the THA provided public bathing facil ities and these beaches continued to be

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214 popular with Tobagonians.57 Yet, one of the growing pains of tourism development in the 1990s involved beach access. “In theory, there is no such thing as a private beach in most of the Caribbean since all land up to the hi gh-water mark is public in law…Yet in practice, access to the beach has been, and in some cases, remains restricted” (Pattullo 1996:82). For example, what was formerly a favorite spot for family outings – the beach at Pigeon Point – instituted an entrance fee for use of private facilities in the 1970s. A Trinidad based firm built the beach facility (including changing rooms, shower, snack bar, and more recently a gift shop and restaurant) to which the entrance fee was applied. Locally, the effect was to deter Tobagonian s from visiting the beach at Pigeon Point (Abbulah, et al. 1974:14). Regardless of effort s by the THA to ensure public access to all beaches and seacoasts in Tobago, additional lo cations have become privatized as hotels and resorts developed along Tobago’s coas tline (Tobago News 1999g). Privatization of Tobago’s beaches is eerily reminiscent of th e trend towards all-inclusive, mass tourism development during the 1980s on Caribbean islands such as Barbados and Jamaica. Yet, rather than taking example from these locati ons of what do differen tly, it appears that officials are essentially replic ating the same mass tourism development model in Tobago. Informal self-employment through vending is a typical response to tourism development and does provide some level of financial contribution to families. In Tobago, the “small man” vendor typically produc ed and/or sold various souvenirs (such as carved calabash, jewelry, and batik) or f ood in the tourism zones. Pattullo (1996:59) noted “vendors are typically more margina lized than formal-sector employees and are sometimes under threat from the tourist aut horities who want to ‘tidy them away’ or

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215 eliminate them altogether.” Likewise, th e THA implemented a policy to regulate and control beach vendors and took act ion to removed illegal wooden stalls that belonged to craft and food vendors across the isla nd (Tobago News 1999i). In 1999, during negotiations with the Secretar y for Tourism, vendors (who had been issued notice) were upset by the sudden destruction of the structur es that facilitated th eir self-employment. One determined vendor who was interviewed by the local newspaper commented, “This is my land and nobody could prevent me from ea rning an honest living here,” so he went home, built another table, and resumed selli ng his handicraft to t ourists on the beach (Tobago News 1999d). Even the fishing industr y that legitimately depends on access to beaches for their income became excluded from many locations (Hackett 2000). In 2000, conflict between the island’s tw o major industries – tourism a nd fishing– escalated into a heated public debate over beach access.58 During a disagreement between Tobagonian fishing boat owners and Trinidad-based, Pi geon Point Resort management over beach access, the conflict turned violent when a 41year old man who had been accustomed to frequenting Pigeon Point was shot and killed by a security guard. The victim’s mother other and beachgoers corroborated that he wa s a quite man who did not bothered others (Maharaj 2000; Tobago News 2000d). In a news paper interview, the bereaved mother described that her son “used to go to Pigeon Point to scrub boats, exercise and collect leaves of coconut branches to make hats for tourists” (Maharaj 2000). Michael Melville, the man who was shot by a guard at Pigeon Poin t, was an iconic figure that was featured on a souvenir postcard. In the image, Melville sits in the shade of a tree, stripping off leaves from fallen coconut branches (the mate rial he used to make hats and brooms for

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216 tourists), with the tranquil blue Caribbean a nd two tourists walking along the beach in the background (Naton 2000). In res ponse to the murder, locals angrily blamed authorities for failing to safeguard Tobago’s beaches fo r Tobagonians. Prior to the incident, the Trinidadian based owner/managers had hi red a security firm and the guard (a Trinidadian) was charged with the murd er (Tobago News 2000f). Reaction by the always-out-spoken and often incendiary Minist er from Tobago, Morgan Job, seemed to favor tourism. Job (Tobago News 2000a) noted that under the Three Chains Act (a law that dates back to 1865), locals do not have inalienable rights to Tobago beaches. Rather, the strip of land around the coast commonly calle d the “three chains” (the equivalent of 66 yards) provided certain rights where the land is privatel y owned (Dumas 2000). Furthermore, Job admonished that Tobago’s tourism industry “will collapse” if locals fail to promote peace and respect for private property. Deep concern for the social and environm ental impacts of tourism development in Tobago began taking shape in th e late 1990s. Local reports indi cated an upsurge in crime against tourists in 1999-2000.59 In 2000, a task force was established to deal with tourist related crimes (Brasnell 2000b). Previously, the Tobago Protection Committee served the same purpose, but in an effort to more proa ctively thwart criminal activity directed at tourists, the task force elected to begin mee ting on a daily basis. Following the trend of other Caribbean island, Trinidad and Tobago elected to inst itute new laws designed to protect tourists. For example, Trinidad and Tobago adopted a policy of “accelerated trials,” which had been a successful crime deterrent in other parts of the Caribbean (Brasnell 2000a; Tobago News 2000b; c; h). De velopment officials may tacitly perceived

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217 the correlation between increased security n eeds and adoption of grea ter punishment with socioeconomic change and crime, “yet the contrast between the conspicuous consumption of hotel life, economic stress a nd poverty beyond the security gate presents fundamental questions about the impact of the tourist business” (Pattullo 1996). Undeniably, locals have been affected by tourism development in Tobago. Surveys of the impact of tourism on Tobago i ndicated that locals easily identify visitors by their code of dress and often expressed disapproval of the “skimpy styles” worn by tourists (Balintulo 1991; B ynoe 1988:appendix 4). Despite lo cal concern about tourists’ immodest style of dress, they also express a reluctance to inte rfere with tourists’ personal rights and freedom to enjoy their holiday wit hout being harassed. Ye t, in a response to witnessing scantily clad women at the Cr own Point Airport, the Tobago Anglican Archdeacon formally requested that the T HA Secretary for Tourism establish a dress code for both locals and visito rs. Also, he asks that the people of Tobago convey selfrespect and “not be too quick to take up every fad that the fo reigner brings. Test every fad against our values, or norms” (Forrester 1999 ). Implicit in the expressed concerns of “older heads,: such as the Archdeacon, is th e so-called “’demonstra tion effect’ in which tourism is said to create a demand for Western styles and attitudes” (Pattullo 1996:84). In Tobago, locals perceived the impact of T ourism as not only creating an economic gap, but also creating a “generat ion gap” as more young people sought employment from the developing industry. Other social problems associated with tourism development included continued drift of young people away from rural parts of the island towards the tourism zones in search of work; changing employment patterns due to increased demand

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218 for women in low-wage, hotel domestic work ; and young men who offer their services to tourists as tour guides or as suppliers of causal sex, known as Congo Men in Tobago (Pattullo 1996:54-8). In addition to the social problems, factors that contri bute to negative environmental impacts of tourism developmen t include construction and use of resources. In particular, problems associated with th e construction of larger hotels in Tobago included inadequate fresh water supply, e xpanded beachfront development, sand mining, and lack of a proper sewage treatment (Hackett 2000; Weaver 1998:301). During my fieldwork, for example, Tobago experienced serious water shortage conditions in September 1999. During the “dry season,” a combination of low water level at the Hillsborough Reservoir and increased demand from hotels and guesthouses resulted in the Water and Sewage Authority (or WASA) strictly rationing the water schedule. Tourists are estimated to use six-times the amount of water as compared to residents (particularly for post-beach s howers). Also, the peak tourism season corresponds with the dry season in the Caribbean when water supp lies are limited (Pa ttullo 1996:32). Beyond what was supplied thorough the pipelines tw ice-weekly for four-hours during the 1999 shortage, the only other source of water av ailable to many locals was to request home delivery and wait for the WASA water truck to arrive. In response to the increasingly frequent water crisis, plans were being im plemented through a joint venture to increase the water supply and improve the reliability of service to households (Manmohan 1999). Also, in the 1980s, expansion of tourism coin cided with an upsurge in sand-mining as both the extension of Crown Point Airport and the deep-water harbor in Scarborough

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219 were constructed with sand from local beaches. Impacts of sand mining included narrowing of the beaches and decay of the local fauna as rotting trees and plants littered the beaches (Pattullo 1996:109). In 1999, the seawall constructed by a large hotel to cordon off a private beach was destroyed by a storm. In addition, “rampant waters also caused a huge landslide” that threatened to se nd exclusive hotel villas “toppling into the sea” (Tobago News 1999b). Hotels guests were temporarily shuttled to another private beach, but management was determined to re build the seawall since without it, “the natural action of the sea would remove the sand from the beach,” (Tobago News 1999b). Since the luxury hotel featured a private beach as part of its marketing strategy, it was assumed that guests would not tolerate the absence of such an amenity. THA’s Secretary for Tourism indicated that central government’s development policy reflects a perception that tourism was the “only hope” for Tobago and that the island will “not survive” wit hout hotels (personal intervie w with Stanley Beard, April 20,1999). Furthermore, in contrast the island’s proud history of self-s ufficiency, constant themes involved inter-island tension over di sproportionate allocations and Tobago’s resentment of Trinidad’s exploitive, do mineering treatment (Weaver 1998). They are offended by the characterization of Tobago as a dependent, “little si ster island” that willingly accepts handouts and therefore, s hould willingly concede to the demands of investors. Tobago’s biggest tourism projec t to date, the 750-acre, beachfront Hilton Tobago Plantations Estate was under cons truction during fieldwork (1999-2000). The $129 million Tobago Hilton project included 200 rooms, villas, two golf courses, and a marina. With no capital investment in upgrading Tobago’s existing water system,

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220 however, the Tobago Hilton proj ect created additional concer n for supply of fresh water in the wake of serious, recent shortages for lo cal residents. In addition to the issue of water, “concerns have also been raised by a consortium of environmental bodies about the environmental impact of the ongoing de velopment” including what measures were being taken to minimize damage to su rrounding mangrove and reef (Tobago News 1999h). While the Tobago Hilton was being cons tructed, another large resort project was proposed, but resulted in a dramatic st ruggle for control over tourism policy. Environmental impacts of tourism development in Tobago became a hotly contested national debate. Once again, the authenticity of THA’s fragile self-determination was threatened by the central government endorse ment of the proposed tourism development project. At issue was a $661.5 million proposed project to transform the 500-acre Golden Grove estate into a Four Seasons luxury re sort. When two NAR se nators from Tobago voted against a clause in the UNC proposed Tourism Development Bill that would have permitted construction of the Four Seasons pr oject in Tobago, political tempers erupted. Essentially, the THA blocked th e project, which caused the entire central government to shut down. By voting against the Prime Mini ster Basdeo Panday (UNC), and instead maintaining an opposition along with the President Robinson (NAR), what resulted was the dismissal of the two appoi nted senators from Tobago and the government entered a political standoff. Opposition in Tobago e xpressed concern that development of the Golden Grove estate would threaten the nearby Buccoo Reef Marine Park – one of Tobago’s main tourist attractions.60 By the late twentieth century, damage to the reef included oil and gas pollution in the lagoon; s norkels breaking the fragile coral while

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221 reef-walking in plastic sandals; yachts dragging their an chors over the coral and releasing effluents in certain harbors; and inadequate waste water treatment in addition to high levels of faecal coliform bact eria present in Tobago’s coastal waters (Browne 2000; Pattullo 1996:109-110; Weaver 1998:301). In some cases, pipelines have been installed to transport waste to nearby a wastewater treatment plants.61 Yet, as “the Caribbean Sea is also the dumping ground for hotel waste,” seepage of wastewater into the sea from hotels located on Tobago’s western sides has been particularly problematic (Manmohan 1999; Pattullo 1996:112). Although development of Tobago’s tourism has been on a steady upswing since the 1990s, development of Tobago’s infrastructu re has not adequately maintained pace. During his tenure as THA Chief Secretary, Ho choy Charles frequently complained about disproportionate allocations as a result of central government ’s “unwillingness to provide adequate funds for Tobago’s development (“sh ortchanging Tobago” is how he puts it), to arrange for taxes on incomes and earnings in Tobago to be paid in Tobago” (in Dumas 2000). Annually, the THA is allocated monies by Parliament under specific headings and spending patterns should reflect allocations under these headings. THA officials regularly complain of lack of equitable treatment in terms of financial expe nditures. Allocations provided by central government never matc h the requested THA budget; meanwhile the Chief Secretary (concurrently the Secretary fo r Finance) typically “reevaluates” spending patterns according to the actual budget. Also, Charles stated that the central government had blocked the THA from obtai ning direct international assi stance in the form of loans or grants (Tobago News 1999e). In fact, $18 million in European Community funding

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222 earmarked for road improvements in Tobago was redirected to Trinidad by central government (Weaver 1998:296). Although small-s cale, local development projects have successfully qualified for gr ant funding from CIDA and UNDP, the perception of a domestic core-periphery relationship with Tobago being a subordinated dependency, exploited by Trinidad has continued.62 In summary, the history of Tobago involves a pattern of cursory development and frequent neglect recurring thr oughout the island’s colonial hi story and continuing into the post-colonial era and independency, thus resul ting in a legacy of turbulence, instability, and underdevelopment. Lack of self-deter mination, loss of self-sufficiency, and dependence on Trinidad has furthermore creat ed a situation where Tobago’s needs and priorities are fre quently disregarded.

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223 D. Ethnographic Research on Women in Tobago “If the crab does not walk, he does not get fat, if he walks too much, he falls into the pot.” Creole Proverbs from Thomas’ Creo le Grammar (B. V. Pierre 2000:66) In the section above, I provided a brief hist ory of Tobago in order to establish the historical context necessary to evaluate the applicability of the microcredit model. In addition, the following section involves an account of the cultural context of Tobago through an ethnographic account. This chapter is subdivided into three sections. Drawing from a range of ethnographic data, I describe the cultural context of Tobago and focus on women’s working roles. I take a chronological approach to documenting the evolution of women’s roles Tobago including: the post-eman cipation peasant era; modernization and the influence of secondary education; a nd opportunities presente d through tertiary education, training opportunities and female leadership. Cultural Context of Tobago, W.I. Anthropology teaches us that the holistic perspective, which includes accounting for cultural context, is critical to planning for successful international development within a particular society. Therefore, in addition to the history of the Tobago as described in the previous chapter, I will attemp t to account for the cultural co ntext of Tobago in order to demonstrate both obstacles to and opportuni ties for change and development on this small Caribbean island. As the focus of this study was female microentrepreneurs, the following chapter provides background on cultural influences (in addition to historical, and political-economic factors) and accounts education and tr aining opportunities as they

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224 pertain to working women in Tobago. I ha ve taken a chronological approach to documenting the transformation of Tobagonian women’s roles across time and include the following domains: marriage, kinship a nd residency patterns; religion; access to education and training; income-generati ng practices; political influences since emancipation; and the influences of culture on women’s behavior. The earliest period being examined in th is chapter – the Great Depression and World War II era – marks a significantly tran sformative time in the British West Indies, “hovering in the half dawn of post-slave fe udalism, between the great gloom of slavery and entry into the modern world” (Roach 1975:150). In the following sections, I provide a cultural analysis of the context of women in Toba go since emancipation. The first section, “Peasantry Remembered,” incl udes accounts provided by oral history participants along with ethnogr aphic analysis of the isla nds’ geography and history in order to frame the context of Tobagonian womanhood and the formation of essentialized female roles that remain pertinent today. Fo r example, oral history participants were asked to reflect on their childhood and the perc eived quality of life experienced by their mothers and grandmothers during Tobago’ s post-emancipation peasantry. The second section, “Modernization and Secondary Educat ion” includes ethnogr aphic and historic documentation of political and socioeconomic transitions resulting from decolonization, political independence, and the economic boom of the 1970s. The third section, “Tertiary Education, Television, and Female Leadership ” assess the status of women in Tobago towards the end of the twentieth century including access to formal power through education, training and employ ment opportunities. The four th section, “Interpersonal

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225 Dynamics” describes the nature of interper sonal dynamics within the confines of the small society of Tobago. Peasantry Remembered To account for the multiple roles and re sponsibilities of contemporary female microentrepreneurs, I have included a hi storic perspective of Tobagonian womanhood. On the surface, analysis of the history of womanhood in Tobago reveals common themes that may be described as “essentialized and domestically oriented.” These characteristics parallel Mintz’s (1989(1974): 173) description of women’s roles within church-founded free villages including thriftiness, “upri ght” family-centered orientation, “humility” and “industry” in management of the home, as we ll as tireless strength originating during the struggle for survival and self-sufficien cy experienced by the post-emancipation peasantry. Yet, further analysis of T obagonian womanhood indi cates that various pressures including the demise of the peasant economy and la ter, the introduction of free secondary education, have contributed to cu lture changes that affect woman’s multiple roles and responsibilities. The following cultur al analysis includes da ta from oral history interviews conducted with fi ve distinguished women in contemporary Tobago society. Oral history data illustrates the evolution of women’s role s as perceived by the five participants who graciously sh ared with me their experien ces and memories of growing up in Tobago. The five oral history participants de scribed below are well known and highly regarded members of Tobago society. Each has granted me permission to relay their personal stories in this study. In order to protect the conf identiality of participants

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226 interviewed during fieldwork in Tobago, ps eudonyms are used for all discussants.63 The five oral history participants; Brenda, Eileen, Lauretta, Pearl, and Verene (as they will be referred to here), grew up in different regions of the island and therefore represent a range of perspectives on Tobago’s recent past. All of these women are educated and the perspective they present may reflect a more “upper class” bias and somewhat “romanticize” Tobago history. At the time oral histories were conducte d, two participants had served as national representatives of T obago in the central government while another was serving in the local Tobago Hous e of Assembly (THA). Other notable accomplishments of these oral history participants included a doctorial degree, professional educator, post-sec ondary lecturer, “Master of Ce remony” for local festivals, and radio host. The tendency to romanticize a by-gone era or to invoke a somewhat romanticized version of the past is noted as “narrator’s bias” in th e literature on oral history methodology (Yow 1994). As the following characterization of Tobago womanhood builds on oral history partic ipants’ recollections of th eir early childhood, the past represented here maybe somewhat idealized. Ye t, considering the sc arcity of accounts of Tobago culture, these descri ptions provide valuable documentation. Furthermore, by systematically compiling and synthesizing the data into common themes, I have attempted to consistently and accurately represent the meaning of Tobagonian womanhood through careful content analysis of oral history, ethnograp hic, and archival data.

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227 Transformation from a slave society to a peasant society intens ified Tobagonians’ intimate relationship with the land. Relia nce on agricultural s ubsistence endured throughout the transitions from chattel to es tate labor to self-sufficient cultivation. A cooperative work ethic and inte rdependent sexual division of labor were fundamental to Tobago’s peasant society. In characterizing the Caribbean post-emancipation peasantry, Mintz (1989(1974):112,216-17,223) described that although household duties were flexible, “the division of labor between me n and women…seems to parallel that between cultivation and marketing.” Men were largely responsible for cultivation, tending to larger animals, home repairs, and did most of the wage labor. Women were disproportionately higglers and marketers; th ey were responsible for the house, yard, kitchen, and children. Establis hment of the post-emancipation peasantry resulted from a culmination of nineteenth century events in cluding a dramatic shift in the West Indian economy due to intensified competition on the world sugar market and the emancipation of slaves enacted June 1838 following a pe riod of apprenticeship (Clement 1995:250; Frucht 1968; Mintz 1979:215; 1983:5). Additio nally, a succession of droughts (1834 and 1843), a hurricane (October 1847), and the coll apse of the West India Bank (November 1847) left desperate estate owners with fe w options. Settlement of Tobago’s foothills occurred as freed slaves fled from the esta tes and either squatted or purchased land at exorbitantly inflated pr ices (Niddrie 1961:18). After the failure of sugar with the financ ial collapse of the London firm Gillespie Brothers in 1884, the main cred itor (the primary beneficiar y of three-quarters of the island’s sugar estates), land values crashed and Tobago was virtually bankrupt (Brereton

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228 1989:154; Ottley 1973:89). Thereafter, both es tate and peasant cash crop cultivation consisted primarily of coconut groves (whi ch replaced sugar cane fields) and limited citrus in the southwest coral lowlands.64 Tobago’s agricultural patte rns are influenced by the climate, volcanic topography, and history. “T he south-west one-third of the country is a flat coral plain, with a dry climate, wh ile the remaining two-thirds is rugged mountainous country, with a high rain fall” (Frampton 1957:49). Cocoa, coconut, and to a lesser extent banana were cash crops in the north and windward slopes (Niddrie 1961:21-37). Just as the cultivation of cash crops va ried regionally, the cultivation of ground provisions for domestic consumption also di ffered. Peasant holdings typically consisted of root crops, corn, peas, plan tains, and bananas (Roach 1964) Not to be confused with smaller “house plots” or “kitchen gardens” located within the houseyard, the main cultivation of “provision grounds” or “substa nce plots” took place a distance from the home (Barrow 1993:185; Mintz 1989(1974); Puls ipher 1993). Since agricultural estates occupied the more favorable land, peasant agri cultural techniques were adapted to the marginal land that was available (Fruch t 1968:296; Mintz 1983:10; R. A. Pemberton 1984:89). Peasant cultivation did not take place on the most fertile soil; rather their marginal lands typically consisted of roc ky terrain, could be di spersed along a highland slope, or situated in arid lowlands. A ccording to Mintz (1989(1974):234-237), this “’proto-peasant’ adaptation de veloped within the confines of the plantation. There, the separation between house plot and provision gr ound was a clear function of the control wielded by the plantation system over the sl aves. The ‘garden,’ or provision ground, was

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229 always located in portions of the plantation that were not used for the major crops.” Likewise, Besson (1984:8) noted that the “yar d” and “ground” dichotomy was a response to the monopoly held by the plantation system over agricultural land, resulting in peasant production taking place on a scattering of ma rginal plots and providing a motley of insecure land tenures. Hereafter, I will refe r to them separately as “house plot” and “subsistence plot,” or simply “garden” mo re generally. Fruit trees such as mango and pawpaw (or papaya), bush crops, pigeon peas and ground provisions (root crops) dominated Tobago’s subsistence plots. Ground pr ovisions thrived in the elevated eastern district while the southwestern flatlands supp lied coconut oil. Fishing flourished in north coast villages. Deeper valleys had an abundan ce of breadfruit and fruit trees as well as ground provisions and pigeon peas. Mintz (1961; 1983) described the rise of the Caribbean peasantry as a “’reconstituted peasantry” because they started off as other than peasants. In the case of Tobago, the peasantry arose as a reaction to the plantation syst em with the end of slavery. After emancipation the planters struggled to “contain and to suppl ement the labor power of the ‘potential’ peasantry,” as the former slaves’ began to withdrawn their labor from the estates (Mintz 1979:215-216; 1983:6). In response, desp erate planters adopted a short-term, labor-inducing scheme intended to maintain cheap labor Introduced in 1843, the metayage system was permanently established in 1845 and became the standard practice for cane cultivation thr oughout Tobago until the late 1880s.65 Metayage functioned essentially as a shar ecropping system where a plan ter signed a contract with a black freedman specifying that the latter woul d cultivate roughly one-to-five acres of

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230 sugar, cocoa, or coconuts (Clement 1995:87-88; Frucht 1968; Ottley 1973:76: Richardson, 1992 #134). Typically, the plante r provided the capital inputs (land, transportation, and access to milling facilities) and retained half of the crop produced as payment while the metayer (or contractor) was compensate d with the remainder. If the crop planted was sugar cane, for example, the metayer received half of the molasses and sugar produced. In addition, the metayer was permitted to cultivate personal provisions on the estate owner’s fertile farmland. The inte ntion of the metayage system was to evade a post-emancipation trend throughout the Cari bbean where black laborers began to organize collectively in order to appeal for higher wages (Richa rdson 1992:74). By the mid-nineteenth century, metayage functioned as a sharecropping system that helped bolster the plantocracy by enabling planters to withstand low sugar prices and retain control over the land, meanwhile providing the freedman with a partia l stake in the local resources through the cultivation of food crops (Craig-James 1993:58; R. A. Pemberton 1998:9; Roach 1975:147; Williams 1964:124-125). Under Tobago’s metayage system, sugar production did persist in a few of the estates, but production mainly shifted to cocoa, coconut, rubber, and lime. Freedman continued to work as part-time laborers on the plantations for wages (Mintz 1983:4) (R. T. Smith 1988:161). Census data from th e post-emancipation era suggests that “employers actually preferred to employ wome n, whose work habits they considered more reliable than men” (Massiah 1993:15). At this time, Tobago’s “vigorous peasantry” was established as the widespread sale of sm all plots became available to former slaves (Brereton 1989:210). Craig-James (1998:19) not ed that, “land use multiplied from a

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231 maximum of 10,000 acres throughout the 19th century to 41,640 acr es under crops in 1928.” Across the island, small plots of former estate lands were bought or rented (Mintz 1979). Tobago’s contemporary land use and sett lement patterns were established during this post-emancipation period. According to a colonial report commi ssioned to evaluate Tobago’s economic, agrarian, and social problems (Niddrie 1961:20), during the period of time between abolition and 1900 “the freed slave and his descendants had acquired large numbers of smallholdings on marginal la nds,” which they continuously cultivated in the crude “slash and burn” method without fertilizing. Peasants’ primitive agricultural techniques included clearing by “fire-stick cul tivation” and turning the rocky soil with the hoe (Brereton 1989:210).66 Peasant agricultural practices were considerably limited due to “the need to cultivate on hilly slopes w ith sharp runoffs and shallow topsoil” (Mintz 1989(1974):235). By the 1900s, however, Tobago had develope d into a thrivin g, relatively selfsufficient agricultural society where “a new br eed of ‘peasant proprie tors’” functioned as small-scale landed gentry (Roach 1984:14-15). Eileen, an oral history participant, described her 95-year-old grandfather as ha ving pioneered settlement of a hamlet. She explained, “My grandfather is lik e the grandfather of the villag e. He existed the longest, and so I think most people are attached to him in some kind of way. Even if it’s not as close as we were by blood. At least by know ing he’s there and knowing he’s a kind of giver, [or] benefactor.”67 He served as the rural constable (or sheriff) to the remote villages. Furthermore, she credited her gra ndfather and a neighbor as having lobbied and eventually persuaded the Methodist Church to establish a school for the village children.

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232 Agriculture in Tobago demanded the stead fast labor of both men and women. On the cocoa estates, for example, men would pick the fruit with a gullette (blade) attached to a bamboo pole. Women, then, would samb (collect) the cocoa, sorting the fruit into different heaps, extracting pods from inside to prepare for the five-day sweating period in the cocoa house. Both men and women would “d ance cocoa” – that is hull the beans with their bare feet, then leave them to dry in the sun before they can “bag up” the crop and ship it away to market (Herskovits an d Herskovits 1947:46; Ottley 1969:56). Tedious manual labor was a deeply ingrained part of life and an essential adaptation for survival. Massiah (1993:10) noted that under slavery, the plantation bell summoned them to work at 5:30 AM, work began at 6:00 AM, a half hour break came at 9:00 AM, work ended 6:00 PM, and this “repressive” routine persisted six days a week. Eileen described, “We inherited the kind of rhythm that some people tend to use for every jobs they do from the days of slavery.” Under th e peasant economy, major farmi ng activities were expedited through informally organized cooperative e ffort. A man would ask his neighbors, “Are you digging today?” meaning plowing by hand with the cutlass. In response, friends or neighbors would provide voluntary assistance for the day, “lending him a hand” with plowing, planting, or reap ing on his homestead (Ro ach 1975:150). Typically, the len’ han’ (lend hand) system utilized the mutual exchange of labor from five to eight men for whom the host would provide food and drink in return for a day’s free labor (Niddrie 1961:38). A social event emerged from hor ticultural camaraderie. Women working together prepared food (including bakes salt fish and chocolate tea ) for the lend-hand gangs working the fields while children played and indulged in the surplus of tasty foods

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233 and Creole beverages. Alternately, labor wa s exchanged in succession and equally with each “partner” until the field of every work-g roup participant was cultivated (Elder 1984a:14; 1984c:4-5; R. A. Pemberton 1984:84).68 Pearl explained that for each member of the lend-hand gang “everybody would come a nd do the same thing for me as we did for you.” Furthermore, certain crops demanded women’s direct participation as well. If sweet potatoes were being planting, for inst ance, lend-hand conscripted women’s labor; following closely behind the men digging, wo men planted potato slips row by row. According to Craig (1988:9), Tobago’s “peasant economy was heavily buttressed by transactions based on exchange rather than on the cash ne xus.” The cooperative spirit reflected in all of Tobago’s major ins titutions, and exemplified by lend-hand, was the foundation of village society (Craig 1988:9; Robinson 1977:38). Whether working for wages on the estate or producing in their subsistence plots, agricultural production faci litated intimate partnerships. Wo rking in their peasant plots, typically located two to three miles from the family home, a man would dig, clean and place long sticks for growing yam vines to climb. A woman would follow behind her man to weed, plant, and harvest crops. Sh e would “tote” home provisions from the subsistence plot to prepare the evening meal The Tobagonian diet was dominated by the seasons. Verene recalled, for example, “if it’s peas time, everything had to do with peas.” This male-female partnership was an importa nt aspect of a Tobagonian life. Verene described, “my grandmother had to be side-b y-side with my gra ndfather going to the garden.” Processing was women’s work wh ether it was subsiste nce produce (such as shelling peas, husking or grinding corn) or estate work, transforming the value of

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234 agricultural products into commodities for consumption or exchange. The extended family enabled the mother and father to devote considerable time to agricultural production. Brenda explained that if the parents were workin g in the provision grounds, “the grandmother or an aunt or somebody w ould make sure the children got ready for school.” Male migration patterns in the Caribbean region have significantly affected labor and mating patterns (Massiah 1989:966). Colonial reports described a shift of “the whole fabric and pattern of life in Tobago” due to “the flow of youthful labour” to Trinidad in pursuit of employment opportunities (F rampton 1957:22, 28, 37, 40). According to Pemberton (1984:57-84), the composition of Tobago’s peasantry was notably affected by migration of able-bodied men during the tw entieth century. Attracted by higher wartime wages, increasing numbers of Tobago men depa rted for the American military base in Trinidad.69 Meanwhile, Tobago women maintained agricultural production at home. Performing beyond their normal capacity in Tobago’s cooperative peasant system, women’s contributions to agriculture escalated during World War II (WWII). Moreover, scarcity of food during wartim e created increased dependency on local food supplies. In 1942 the government launched a “Grow More Food” campaign that resulted in the expansion of peasant production efforts during WWII.70 Boats from Tobago arrived in Trinidad to meet excited vi olence as vendors scrambled to ensure their produce supply (R. A. Pemberton 1984:82). Heightened dema nd for agricultural products during WWII earned Tobago the reputation as Trinidad’s “breadbasket.” Ultimately, the “Grow More Food” campaign “encouraged laborers to concentrate more time and energy on their

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235 private plots rather than on estate pro duction” (Reddock 1994:192; Reddock and Huggins 1997:339-340). Yet, through the 1950s and 1960s, approximately half of Tobago’s arable land was devoted to export or subsistence fa rming and the export of agricultural products (including sweet potato, yam, banana, dash een, corn, grapefruit, mango, and avocado) continued to flow to Trinidad (Bynoe 1988:8). Typically, provision ground produce was cons umed domestically, exchanged with neighbors, taken to the market, or sold by the bag to higgler or huckster (known as traffickers in Tobago). Originating during slaver y, the predominantly female role of trafficker involved the small independent business of buying a range of stock from rural farmers and transporting it for resale at the market (Katzin 1959:421-440; Mintz 1953:95103). McD Beckles (1999) noted that huc kstering involved independent economic activity among female slaves through production and distribution of market commodities. Established under slavery, huckste ring activities of women coul d be classified as four distinct types: there were itiner ant traffickers, street vendors, and hucksters selling in the public markets, and hucksters working in st ores (Massiah 1993:12-13). Both male and female traffickers circulated between vill ages buying produce or animals. Lauretta recalled marveling at the tremendous weight traffickers could carry atop their heads on trays loaded with good. Those trading in produce, for exam ple, could purchase a “blue seam” bag full of sweet potatoes for $3TT. Wome n often dealt in fowl or fish. A “fisher ‘oman ” would blow the conch shell to aler t potential buyers. Contemporary fish sellers circulate through Tobago’s villages equipped with a modern pickup truck and insulated

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236 ice chest and yet, continue to announce their presence by blowing the conch shell. The predominantly female role of market ve ndors was also established under slavery. Retailing was black women’s pr incipal means of raising the cash necessary for their pu rchases, and many produced commodities specifically for sale. Sunday was their main market day (until 1826, when it became Saturday), although it was customary for ‘respectable overseers and managers’ to grant slaves time off during the week when ‘work was not pressing’ in order to market ‘valuable articles of property’ (McD Beckles 1999:143). Following emancipation, as women withdrew from wage work on the plantation, they became increasingly prominent as peasant producers and marketers to the extent that women had almost total control over the in ternal domestic food market (Massiah 1993:12-17). In the post-peasantry era, planters and traffickers delivered their goods via donkey or mule and “posted” their items aboard th e coastal steamers to Trinidad’s wholesale companies. A cocoa proprietor, for example, posted his crop to the local distributor Donald Wall Limited then awaited receipt of the annual cess (or profit) determined by the current market value.71 Analogous to male traffickers who transported cows and pigs, female traffickers would carry fowl to Trinidad’s wholesale market. Vendors often returned with items purchased from their pr ofits to peddle in Tobago. Similarly, a planter might invest his crop earnings or a man may have migrated to work and returned with savings to open a “little parlour” or sm all snack shop (Mendes 1986:113). Larger shops in Scarborough bought bulk supplies in Trin idad; and in turn, Tobago’s smaller

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237 merchants made their purchases in Scar borough or received supplies from local distributors. Women typi cally operated these parlours, se lling staples (including sugar, flour, salt fish, butter, and fresh baked br ead). Village shops were often multifunctional; housing the postal agency on the ground floor wh ile the proprietor’s family might reside upstairs. In this way, a single structure mi ght have concurrently provided versatile sources of income for a family. Established under the metayage system, laborers typically had multiple sources of income such as metayage, provision grounds, fishing, etc., (Craig-James 1993:57). In the Caribbean regi on, this practice of drawing from multiple sources of income is described as “occ upational multiplicity” (Comitas 1973). A postpeasantry example of this practice might include a man who, in addition to his agricultural lands and parlour, might invest in a small fish ing boat to further supplement the family income.72 Similarly, a man in twentieth century Tobago might practice occupational multiplicity by combining govern ment employment (cleaning drains or cuttlassing the side of the road), which occ upied his mornings; owni ng a car that he drove to work and as a taxi afterwards; and owi ng a fishing boat. Additionally, in the evening he may have driven the same taxi to hi s provision grounds or may have animals he attended, thus providing income from four or five different activities. Land transportation was not r eadily available in Tobago until oil the boom of the 1970s. Rather, exchange of goods in Tobago de pended on coastal steamers. According to Craig-James (1998:20), “by 1904, nine steamer depots were construc ted at outbays in Tobago to store goods in the co astal trade.” After 1906, direct international shipping was no longer available, which affectively disconne cted Tobago from world trade routes. For

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238 the next fifty years, the only medium th rough which cash crops could be shipped and exported was through commercial channels in Trinidad (Craig-James 1998:21; Frampton 1957:116; C. A. Pemberton 1972). The island’s on ly linkage to the outside world was via coastal steamer to Trinidad, however, steamer timetables were ofte n established without regard for Tobago’s needs. Two coastal st eamers regularly “made the rounds,” visiting Tobago’s tiny ports during the early twentieth century; the “Kennet” and “Spey” served as the only surface link between the islands until larger vessels replaced them in 1913. One steamer called the “Belize” served T obago from 1916 and was replaced in 1931 by two new coastal steamers named “Trinidad” and “Tobago.” Next, two ferries named the “Scarlet Ibis” and “Bird of Pa radise” provided shipment service between the islands for over 12 years. In 1952, improvements to the harbor allowed steamers to call at Scarborough (Craig-James 1998). Yet, absent adequate land transportation, the northern and eastern parts of the island remained dependant on steamers until 1966. Since the early 1970s, inadequate shipment service has resulting in frequent cargo pile-ups of merchandise destined for Tobago. On-going shipping issues with limited access to transportation issues has nega tively impacted Tobago’s econom y as well as survival as the island became increasingly dependent on imported foodstuff (H. E. Leighton-Mills 1972). By the late 1990s, transportation remain ed limited and contributed to the higher cost of living in Tobago (1998:20-21). Comparable to the independent, chur ch-founded free villages established in Jamaica by missionaries following eman cipation, the four conditions Mintz (1989(1974):159-162) described as necessary for new freedman to become an

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239 independent class of peasant farmers were al so present in Tobago by the early nineteenth century. The first condition to become a peas ant class was the ability to successfully grow subsistence crops. Tobago’s estate la borers were not only skilled at growing subsistence crops – they were encourag ed to do so. Colonial records from 1843 demonstrate that “labourers on plantations were allowed half an acre of land for their own use, and in addition were generally permitted to cultivate as much provision ground as they chose without hindrance” (Frampton 1957:20). Estates provided “allotments to peasants for the cultivation of ground provisi ons, on the agreement that the peasants would tend the young cocoa plants that had re placed the sugar cane” (Frampton 1957:23). The second condition to become a peasant class was the existence of an internal market to exchange surplus foodstuff. Clarke ( 1996(1957):33) noted that in Jamaica under the Consolidated Slave Acts, slaves had usufructua ry rights in gardens, the right to keep and sell their produce at market rates, and sometimes even owned land. Likewise, CraigJames (1998:3) noted that before emanci pation, Tobago’s slaves had “established a significant economic base in the provision gr ounds and internal market and had enjoyed a complete monopoly over the produ ction of local fruit, vege tables, pork and poultry, fish and other foodstuff.” Later, using their prof its, Tobago’s freedman entrepreneurs further diversified the economy by developing an expor t market. The third condition to become a peasant class involved having money with which to buy land. In Tobago, money was being accumulated by a “dynamic, aggressive relatively self-sufficient peasantry” including artisans, craftsman, petty shopkeep ers as well as traffickers (Craig 1988:8; Craig-James 1998:3). The fourth condition fo r a peasant class to develop was the

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240 availability of land itself. In Tobago, the availability of land became a reality when a "lack of wages and extreme shortage of cash on the island forced the government to put up abandoned estate lands for sale from 1885 onwards” (Craig 1988:8). As noted above, following emancipation, Tobago’s freedmen purchased smallholdings, typically on marginal lands, which established contem porary land use patterns Additionally, by the early nineteenth century, the government was ob ligated to make available Crown lands in addition to former estates, which were divi ded up and sold to encourage migration of small farmers from other islands (Framp ton 1957:24; Massiah 1989: 15; Ottley 1973:89). Likewise, following emancipation in Guiana, fa milies combined their savings to purchase abandoned estates or Crown lands that they s ubsequently subdivided into distinct lots (Frucht 1968:93,97-98). As demonstrated above, the “essential conditions for the growth of a peasant class” as described by Mintz in Jamaica, (1989(1974):159) were also present in Tobago. Characteristic of peasant so cieties, Tobago life corresponded to seasonal patterns. Along with subsistence activities, religious beli efs and practices contri buted to the social structure. Influenced by missionary activity, re ligious belief became deeply entrenched in Tobago. “Missionary activity preceded and accompanied emancipation, reinforced an exiting ideology of respectability, sharpeni ng the contrast between accepted colonial standards and abstract metropolitan ideal…[I] nfluence of the churches began to produce a literate, devout core elemen t from the ex-slave population, an element that constituted the ‘peasantry’” (R. T. Smith 1988:161). Mo ravians were the first missionaries to proselytize among Tobago’s sl aves beginning in 1789 follo wed by the Methodists and

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241 Anglicans. Other denominations, such as We sleyan, Seventh Day Adventist, and Roman Catholic were also represented with th e parochial primary school established by missionaries typically located next-door to the church (Bai ley 1997:144; R. A. Pemberton 1998:6; Roach 1984:15; Selwyn Ryan 1989a:275). “These groups, which were ridden with mutual jealousies, vied vigorously with each other to Christianize and educate the slaves as well as to eradicat e the many African rituals which were still prevalent among the population” (Selwyn Ryan 1989a:275). T hus, Tobago’s post-emancipation free villages typically had a single church that wa s intimately connected to their lives. Not only did the church set precedent for moral behavi or, but also arbitrated local conflicts. If strife erupted over a land dispute, for exam ple, the minister mitigated internal legal differences (R. A. Pemberton 1998:2). Toba go was and continues to be foremost a Protestant society with the combined Protes tant faiths accounting for some 90 percent of the population in the late twentieth century (Figure 5). Figure 5: Major Religions in Tobago 0.00% 5.00% 10.00% 15.00% 20.00% 25.00% 30.00% 35.00% 40.00% 45.00% 50.00%A nglic a n B apt ist Pentecostal H ind us M eth od ist Moravian Mu s lim P res by teri a n Roman Catholic Seventh Day Adv e ntist Je ho vah Witn es s Ot he rs/N o t St at ed 1970 1980 1990 (Central Statistical Office 1979: Table16, pg. 18, Table 15, pg. 17; 1980b: Table 1, pg. 4-5, Table 2, pg, 15, Table 4, pg. 24)

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242 After Emancipation, denominational school increased throughout Tobago and in 1860, a Government Inspector of Schools was a ppointed (1957:21). Ea rly influences of these fervent religious teach ings left its imprint on Tobagonians, who have been characterized as “very serious, demonstra tive and disciplined a bout their religion” (Selwyn Ryan 1989a:276). Families came togeth er to worship publicly at church and privately at home. Pearl reca lled that every Sunday, parish ioners assembled clean and beautifully dressed. Even among the poorest fa milies, Pearl noted that “you bathe and you file your foot and you walkin’ down to church – barefoot! Or [wearing] watchicong [sneakers], whatever you had because you had to be there.” Through the establishment of ritual kinship, akin to the folk prac tice that Mintz and Wolf (1950:353-345,360) described as compadrazgo found in more Catholic-dominated Caribbean societies, godparents guaranteed religious guidance and education following the child’s baptism. Godparents ensured that their godchildren attended church, knew the prayers, hymns and how to find the books of the Bible. What ma y be generally descri bed as a reverential relationship, godparents also f unctioned as a source of support to the biological parents. According to Lauretta, if children went astray, parents would call on compere (godfather) or nennen (godmother) “to give you a good set tling down.” Correspondingly, godparents took great pride in godchildren. Mo rals and values were strict ly reinforced by a religious upbringing. In particular, children were taught to honor and support their families and to respect their elders (Selwyn Ryan 1985: 8; 1989a:278). According to Roach (1975:147158), Tobago’s “barefoot respectability” instill ed a “proper mode of conduct” within the society. There is a saying in Tobago that “o ne does not let down one’s own blood,” and

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243 although there are cases of deviance from fa mily cohesiveness, “sanctions are often brought to bear on deviant individuals” (Sel wyn Ryan 1989a:278). Furthermore, vigilant reinforcement of “excessive deference to elders” could be “derived from the servile attitude forced on the slaves by the mast ers which a century of freedom could not remove” (Roach 1975:147-158). For example, a youth who neglected to respectfully greet an elder might incur condemnation or even a lashing. The polite exchange of pleasantries was still widely practice d during fieldwork (1999-2000). When moving about Tobago, passersby exchange the prope r greeting corresponding with the time of day including (good morning, good afternoon, or goodni ght), or wave at the very least. If traveling by car, passersby would honk and wa ve or stop to exchange pleasantries. Located adjacent to the church, the pa rochial primary school reinforced and strengthened children’s religious foundation. In this contex t, gender biases were imposed by the education system on two levels. First, prior to independence, the “imported” education system modeled afte r the British provided diffe rentiated curriculum based on gender and class. In addition to basic literacy and numerac y, the gender-specific curriculum for lower class (non-white) childr en was modified to include “domestic science” to prepare girls with feminized hom emaking skill (that is, cookery, housewifery, and laundry work) whereas, instruction was modi fied to include “handicraft” to prepare boys general manual work (such as w oodworking) (Bailey 1997:144-146; Reddock 1994:231). Parents themselves imposed the second level of gender bias. Typically, children left school at age 14 or 15. In 1925, Anglican Bishop Anstey founded the island’s first “mixed secondary school ” named Bishops High School (Craig-James

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244 1998:25; Frampton 1957:26). At firs t, secondary education was not economically feasible for most families. But for those who could afford it, educating a son was considered a better investment over a daughter. Although seco ndary school was coeducational, parents perpetuated a male bias in education w ith the expectation th at a daughter would eventually marry, have children, and become a homemaker. Rather than secondary school, for many young people the apprentices hip system provided a mechanism for instilling important skills after leaving school Lauretta described apprenticeship as “an attachment to somebody where you learn from scratch,” and this informal education system is still practiced in Tobago. Artisan skills encour aged entrepreneurship and provided opportunities for self-employment (Massiah 1989:8). In peasant era Tobago, occupations were stratified by gender. Apprenticeship for a boy involved “going to learn a trade” such as shoemaking, carpentry, or ta iloring; meanwhile a girl were excluded from artisan skill except “learn to sew” by th e local seamstress. Preceding “ready-made” clothing, the village seamstress was ubiqu itous – sewing everything from everyday clothes and school uniforms to bridesmaid’s dresses and bridal gow ns. After doing chores for the seamstress, a girl would gradually assu me part of the work. Advancing at her own pace, she learned to cut cloth and stitch on the hand-operated machine. Other skills were acquired at home. Ch ildren were assigned chores such as sweeping the yard with the bush broom, “carryin g tea and bread” to father working in the subsistence plot on the way to school, washi ng the wares (dishes), filling the water barrel from the river or stand pipe after school, or “tying out” the animals. Seasonal cultivation influenced children’s lives. Eileen recalled “ going to the bush with daddy” to plant for

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245 “as soon as Corpus Christi rains fall,” le nd-hand teams of men would be digging potato banks along the hillsides (Eld er 1984c:5). Children’s school attendance was not always regular. Absence from school might occur if ch ildren lacked suitable clothing, if they had chores at home or in the garden, or (in the case of the eldest daughter) if she stayed at home to mind younger siblings (Barrow 1996:398). Childhood was short-lived for the eldest daughter. Verene desc ribed, “If you are a woman of th e home, be it that you are a daughter, you have to now assume responsibil ity from your mother.” As young as eight years old, the eldest daughter might be inducted into domestic management while mother was busy “making other children.” Brenda re called being trained to do her own wash, One thing they always taught you, how to wash your panties from very early…that was very important. And they would also show you that whenever you are washing, say blouses or dresses, you turn them wrong sided, you scrub the collar, wash under the arm, those two places especially. And of course with the pan ties, give the crotch a good scrubbing. So those thing, you learned from since you were a little girl. So you grow up with that – you knew. By age 14-15, young girls were sent to the river to do the family wash. Lauretta depicted adolescent female responsibility as follows, “There were days when you had to take over the kitchen, you had to do the cooking and so on,” and she went on to explain that by age ten, her chores included ironing and washing for her immediate family. Beginning Friday evening, weekends were entirely engaged w ith preparing “the cl othes ready back for Monday.” Likewise, Wilson (1973:128) noted that as a young girl grew up, she

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246 increasingly assumed domestic responsibi lities including minding her younger siblings, housekeeping, cooking, laundry, and running errands. Describing an idealized sense of safety, Lauretta recalled “people didn’t have locks for their doors, people just walked ar ound any hour of the day or night.” Similarly, a man who migrated from Trinidad to Toba go in 1956 described his delight and surprise to find “householders here having little use fo r keys in their homes,” though the rise of crime later undermined this practice (H Leighton-Mills 1976). During the postemancipation peasantry, villages were relativ ely insular communities, particularly among families living in the countryside.73 Lauretta explained “it wasn’t strange for you to be born in a village, educated in the village, marry and lived in the village, and died in the village.” She also commented that isolate d, self-reliant families tended to keep to themselves being “public when they had to be and private when they had to be.” Similarly, Mintz (1989(1974):174) noted that Jamaica’s c hurch-founded free villages were typically established in geographically is olated locations and this distance tended to promote social cohesion and limit culture ch ange. Recalling her childhood, Eileen noted “in those days they didn’t allow you to go play with anybody else. Mommy’s brood was mommy’s brood.” Despite being surrounded by extended family, the distance between households kept children close to home. Tobago has remained consistently underpopulated throughout slavery, emancipation, and beyond (R. A. Pemberton 1984:34-38). Perhaps due to the availability of land beginning in the post-emancipation pe asantry and the continually low population density, Tobagonians may have developed a preference for space, self-sufficiency, and

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247 privacy that persisted through the twentieth century. Tenancy rates tended to be high in Tobago with 75 percent ho meownership, 48 percent landownership, and 27.7 percent dwelling on rent free land (Central St atistical Office 1990f:110, 121). Additionally, Tobagonians have a strong symbolic connecti on to the land that Craig-James (1993:3) described as a “linking continuity of the family line with high value placed on land.” Symbolic gestures by which Tobagonians dem onstrated their connection to land included burying a child’s umbilical cord or “ nable-string ” and planting a fruit tree as a marker. Herskovits and Herskovits (1947:113-114) and Elder (1984c:4) described these types of traditions as African retentions, yet as prev iously noted in my discussion of the AfroCaribbean family, Mintz and Price (1992(1976)) emphasized understanding the complexity and broader historical context of cultural practices rather than trying to explain the persistence of African elements. Noting the general characteristics of the peasant house, Mintz (1989(1974):234) described that “each homestead, whether c onsisting of one house or more, is usually surrounded by at least a small quantity of land, and set off from the outside by a fence, clumps of vegetation, or a hedge or living fe nce.” In Tobago, subdivision of family land facilitated a predilection for neolocal residence thereby in suring some level of privacy.74 Otherwise, a couple “scrimped and saved and th ey [that is, family members] would give them a piece of land and they would build a house.” Lauretta described preconditions for marriage where “a man before married always wanted to own a piece of land and a house. You must own a piece of land, you must own a house, else you were not ready to take responsibility for a family.”75 Likewise, an account of housing conditions in Tobago

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248 concurs that homeownership wa s a prerequisite for marriage, as expressed by the folk saying, “If you want my hen, you must first build a coop for her” (H. Leighton-Mills 1980). Herskovits and Herskovits (1947:84) noted the importance of family support in Tobago, where upon marriage “the families of both bride and groom…help to build a house for the new couple, and ‘establish’ th e household by providing them with a cow, and fowl, and other appurtenances.” Lauret ta explained, “We considered owning your own land as priority, top priority, and that you should have something to hand down to your children and you handed down land to th em.” Historically, Tobagonians were not renters. Rather, “Land is passed down from generation to generation, without a deed” (H. Leighton-Mills 1980). Similarly, Besson (1993:22 ) described the symbolic and economic value of family land holdings in post-eman cipation Jamaica. Land ownership signifies status, economic and political power, and until emancipation, slaves (as property themselves) were bared from landownership. So whenever they could, free slaves purchased land as an act of re sistance to the “plantation regime,” which also provided “the central mechanism through which fam ily lines are established and peasant communities are maintained” (Besson 1984:4). Likewise, in Tobago, landownership and property rights became a fundamental expr ession of personhood and political power (Selwyn Ryan 1989a:278). Besson (1984) explaine d that in Jamaica, because land rights were ensured to all cognatic (or blood) descendants of the ancestor who obtained the land, it could not be subdivided. Therefore, the institution of family land expressed identity by preserving the family roots in a pa rticular village in pe rpetuity even though later generations of a family may become dispersed. Similarly, people in Tobago never

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249 considered selling land; rather land was family inheritance and remained in the family for generations or until defaulting to the church. According to El der (1984c:3), an attempt to sell one’s ancestral la ndholdings in modern Tobago woul d be a considerable challenge and likely to end up in litigation among ki n groups. Similar to inheritance patterns described by Wilson (1973:123), property was typically transferred through men to their sons; otherwise a woman might inherit land from her father either by default or from her husband.76 Under the peasant economy, land and home ownership were realistic expectations as courtship, mating, and marriage were soci ally sanctioned. According Pearl, courtship was chaperoned so that when a boy fell in love with a girl and wanted to propose to her, he has to write a letter to the parents. And then, if accepted, they would allow you to visit. And when he visits that home, the young couple is not allowed to sit by themselves to talk. The parents have to be there, sitting there to list en what conversation. Everybody in the conversation! Not lik e now, not like now at all!77 According to Barrow, “in all matings, the im portance of ‘having the family behind you’ is to be looked on as the retention of a complex attitudes and relationships so deeply rooted in African culture that not even the experience of sl avery could cha nge it” (Barrow 1996:26-27). Families were highly self-sufficient; cult ivating their subsistence plots, rearing chickens, catching crabs, and fish ing. Women in particular would catch dasheen (edible leaves and root), bhaji (local spinach), coconut, a nd bananas. Dissimilar from the

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250 dependency, core-periphery relationship of most neighboring British West Indian societies, Tobago peasants essentially ate wh at they produced, theref ore developing little taste for imported foods (Beckford 1972; R. A. Pemberton 1984; Wallerstein 1991). They were thrifty, making use of everything, for ex ample, after grating cassava to make starch cakes, the remaining husk would be made into bread or dumplings. Mothers tended yardies (or yard fowl) using feed from grated co conut or dry corn and peas. Pearl stated, “You have to be goin’ all day” starting w ith cooking breakfast and cleaning. Small, minimally furnished houses were constructe d of crude wattle a nd daub “or clapboard cabins with thatched or tin roofs” consisti ng of a general living room/dining room area and one bedroom shared by the entire family (Roach 1975:148) (R. T. Smith 1988:164).78 Likewise, Pulsipher (1993:50) described sma ll, wooden, West Indian chattel houses that typically measured 6 by 12 feet or 10 by 20 f eet and generally consisted of two rooms, though additions were often built. Eileen char acterized the simple atmosphere of the Tobago home wherein “children slept on the floor [or sleeping platform] in the little corners;” home dcor consisted of very basic furniture; and in partic ular, “the little piece of ting [thing]” or ubiquitous printed curtain was found ha nging at the back door and window. Furthermore, “the windows were all wooden – so I don’t even know why they bother put the curtain. But, curtain was a must .” In Trinidad and Tobago, changing window treatments is a popular and widely practiced means of transforming home dcor. Particularly, at Christmas, c ontemporary fabric stores minimized their display of clothing textiles to make space for a large variety of window dre ssing fabrics and trimmings. From a woman’s point of view, perhaps the only activity more indicative of Christmas

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251 was the preparation of special ho liday foods and drinks (such as blackcake pastilles and sorrel ). Otherwise, cleaning the house (including polishing the furniture and floors) and changing the curtains epitomize Tobagonian Christmas traditions. Oral history participants indicated th at houses were expected to be im maculately clean and great effort was expended on domestic chores such as scr ubbing floors and sweeping the yard. Eileen reflected “a well swept yard was something ad mired by most people, still is.” Saturday was typically dedicated to cleaning the hous e “from inside out” using water, lemon, blue soap (also called family soap ), and coconut fiber to scrub the floors and tables. Despite being unpaid and often overlooked as “wor k,” women’s domestic duties were highly demanding and a source of pride. Long before modern utilities or appliances, outdoor toilets and fetching water were standard pr actice as was the salt barrel for preserving meat. Women of this generation were managers of the home, caretakers to husband and children, as well as working on the estate or subsistence plot. Working in the subsistence plot, the watch house, a small four-foot by four-f oot structures with a thatched roof made of tree bark, provided a place to boil potatoes fo r lunch and to retire (or rest) from the midday sun. In the late afte rnoon, a woman would leave the s ubsistence plot before her husband around 2-3 PM, toting home vegetables to prepare the evening meal. Verene explained, “It is important that the husband be fed. And when he leaves the garden and comes home in the evening, he wants to meet his meal” or she would have to contend with an angry husband. Consistent with this expectation, I noted that people in Tobago expressed a strong aversion to “sour” (or leftover) food, preferring a fresh cooked meal

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252 that should include blue food or ground provi sions. Cooking three da ily meals occurred outside on the fireside consisti ng of an iron pot situated upon three stones, with perhaps a lean-to for shelter from the rain. Likewise, ba king was done outside on the fireside or in the dirt oven. Coconut milk was perhaps the es sential ingredient in most Tobago recipes. Brenda recalled that “after you grate the coc onut you use the milk from it to make bread, to make bake, and also for your sauces, your gr avy.” Prior the introduction of East Indian seasoning from Trinidad, which became co mmon in twentieth century, Tobagonian cuisine used roukou (a dark re ddish pod) for coloring coconu t milk. The prevalence of coconut milk in the diet denoted Tobago’s early self-reliance befo re the introduction of imported foods became popular in the post-peasantry era. Laundering the family’s clothes and linen was a demanding task that encroached on most days of the week. Monday was typi cally washday, spent all day at the river.79 Reminiscing, Pearl described laundering as a communal activity, “while you’re in the river, you don’t feel the work because you’re making jokes, keep[ing] lively.” After washing in the river, they spread out the so apy clothes on the grassy riverbank “to make those white clothes sparkling wh ite.” Eileen described poetica lly that in lieu of bleach, “the sun and the moon and the stars and the rain was the bleaching.” On Tuesday they rinsed and for white items, the next step wa s bluing, a rinse process using a cake of blue soap “so that the white would look beautiful really brilliant white.” Wednesday they starched; preparing starch was a precision pr ocess. First, cassava was grated, squeezed and left to settle. After throwing off the first water, what remains is a thick, white cake of starch. Next, it was placed in a large containe r, soaked and stirred until liquefied, then

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253 pouring hot water steadily, one stirred fast to prevent the starch from turning lumpy. If the liquid coagulated, it would need to cool a nd be strained with a cloth, squeezing out bubbles of starch since “mother simply wouldn’ t allow you to starch with the lumps, of course,” Brenda recalled. Afte r starching, stiff clothes are “ put to dry.” Thursday they sprinkled; wrapping the laundry up tightly in a big basin or tray, it was then covered (to prevent drying out) and left overn ight to gift (moisten and so ften). Friday they ironed all the linen and clothing. Using the coal pot and three flat irons one at a time, the face of each iron was wiped after heating.80 According to Brenda “whe n the clothes were ironed, it was quite something.” Likewise, Lauretta noted, “Everybody went to school with your stiff ironed and starched cl othes, you know.” Maintaining children’s appearance was a source of pride. Cleanliness was adamantly reinforced. E xpectations inherited from Victorian England demanded dutiful mainte nance of that the “cult of domesticity” (McClintock 1995:32-36). Not only were houses immaculate a nd the wash sparkling clean, but also bodies were expected to be ti dy. In the absence of indoor plum ing, Brenda illustrated that to bathe, one would “put up a little thing that you could have some privacy, and you'd bathe outside.” The first thing the mother did when she woke in the morning was to bathe, “And when she came home in the ni ght, no matter how la te it was, she would never go to bed unless she cleaned herself. A nd that is something they instilled in us, never to go bed dirty.” Children were traine d to “always go to bed clean” in case of illness and wear good underwear, “’cause you neve r know if you’re going to collapse up the road.” Analogous to the Puritan values of cleanliness, people of this era were

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254 considered hardworking and healthy. Brenda described that “in the old days of course they worked harder because things were differe nt, things were harder. But as I said, they were stronger too. Long ago when we were children, people only died when they were old…in their 80s and 90s.” Though elders may te nd to reminisce somewhat idealistically about a simpler and healthier past, colonial reports from the 1950s do verify that Tobago was considered “an exceptionally healthy tropical island” where debilitating illnesses were relatively insignificant (Frampton 1957:23). According to Brenda, the only time a woman had a break from “the normal stream of life” was during la bor and after pregnancy “when she got a new baby.” She recalled “that was the one time a woman was really cherished and that was beautiful.” Prior to giving birth, she would buy a new hous ecoat, nightdress, and bedroom slippers. She was pampered with only the best foods including olive oil, which was considered precious and highly nourishing. The husband would assume household duties, taking care of children, and cooking. “The grandmother st ayed at the side of the person who is making the baby,” to assist and delegate task s to elder children. Post partum restrictions included nine days of confinement before l eaving the house and waiting nine days to take a bath, only “sponging off” instead (Ro ach 1975:155). Caribbean scholars (Barrow 1996:29; Herskovits and Herskovits 1947:113) de scribed the practice of mother and baby not emerging from the house until nine days af ter the birth as evidence of an African retention. The phrase “nine days” has special significant in Tobago, for example, parallel to the postpartum restriction, a wake is held for nine nights with the “Bongo” danced on the final night (Job-Caesar 1987:18) Also, saying such as “it’s a nine day talk” reflects a

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255 folk belief that after nine days, “everything goes back to normal.” On the tenth day, the mother was barked or given a bush medicine bath with special tree bark to help revive her (R. A. Pemberton 1998:8-9). Brenda reca lled that people “used to have plenty children, but each one was welcomed.” Pear l joked that “making children” was a “recreation” during this time when people typi cally worked hard and went to bed early. As noted in other Caribbean societies, child ren were regarded as long-term investments whereby large families strategically provide d social security (Gussler 1980:191,200). A woman hoped her elder children would lend a ssistance raising their younger siblings and eventually, support thei r elderly parents. The phrase “Tobago love” is defined as having “great difficulty in expressing feelings for a loved one” (Mendes 1986:150). Sim ilarly, Brenda reflecte d that in the past, people were not openly affectionate: “to sa y I want to hug you up and so on. As a baby yes, you get all the hugs and kisses. But as you grow, as you become older, you didn't have that outward show of affection. But you know it was th ere. Always that love for their children, for their families, you know. A nd that was a great thing, and it still is.” Likewise, Barrow (1996:389) noted “at birth, the child … beco mes the center of attention and an object of intense affection for the w hole household and fam ily.” Brenda went on to describe what might be an idealized nuc lear family with father gardening in the subsistence plot (or later, working at a job) and mother – always the pillar of the home – was the one who disciplined the children. Bren da recalled swift just ice being discharged “there and then, quick, sharp and finish with that, you know.” Lauretta recalled the maternal coercive threat of, “Wait until your father comes” as a means for postponing

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256 “getting licks” (corporal punishment) or delaying disciplinary decision-making. Likewise, Clarke (1996(1957): 156) reported that the mother typically administered discipline with the threat of more severe “beatings” reserved for the father. Children were supposed to be seen and not heard, basic courte sies were deeply instilled in children, and in particular, great respect for the mother. According to Brenda, th e underlying factor was that “women loved their families, loved their children. Even now you find Tobago women will sacrifice plenty things, many many things for their children.” Although a mother’s love went without question, gr andmothers provided special tenderness. Characteristically dressed in her white apron with the front pocket, Verene recalled that her grandmother “would come home with so mething for us, as the grandchildren…some bakes remaining from the morning tea, or some little ting, a mango or something.” Illustrative of this particularly intimate re lationship, grandmothers had special honorifics including Mama, Titi or Ti for short. Like wise, R.T. Smith (1956b:144) noted that the grandchild-grandparent relationship was one of affectionate indulgence and that the grandmother, in particular, often defended a grandchild during family quarrels.” Verene described her grandmother as “the one that you can run to for rescue when anything went haywire.” According to Elder (1984c:8), “a lthough the Tobago parent is very harsh, sometimes unreasonably so, on their children, th e society provides grandparents who act as a buffer against harshness and unreason in the socialization pro cess.” Older heads (or grandparents) provided encouragement, urgi ng “go and learn your book” or “go and learn your sums” as well as educati ng the young with folk beliefs, riddles, and proverbs (Elder 1984c:7).

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257 Modernization and Secondary Education In the 1950s, changes in domestic life included the eventual transition from outdoor cooking to indoor kitchens due to th e availability of elect ricity. Unlike outdoor baking on the fireside or in th e dirt oven, new amenities such as two-burner tin ovens and steel drum ovens centralized and simplified culinary duties.81 Corresponding with the transformed domestic sphere, social change included a shifting sexual division of labor. Women’s formal labor part icipation, which had been mandatory during slavery, necessary during indenture and the transf ormation to wage labor, became more concentrated in the domestic sphere. Analysis of Tobago’s census data indicates a decline in female participation in the formal labor force. As employment in agriculture decreased and urbanization increased in the 1930-1940s, a large segment of the population shifted to manufacturing, construction, and other urba n/industrial type em ployment. Sigurdsson (1974:18) suggested that declin e in female labor force part icipation included “personal service” occupations (such as female dome stics) indicating “a ge neral unwillingness to hold such low status jobs in the face of a risi ng standard of living.” By the early twentieth century, the combination of religion and e ducation had instituted colonial European middle-class gender ideals in Trinidad a nd Tobago. According to R.T. Smith (1988:163), West Indian family life was modeled after “’ Victorian’ patriarchalism” of the English clergy and colonial servant class “with a str ong capable father, a respectable, respectable, pious, and submissive mother, and clean, we ll-behaved, obedient children.” The early twentieth century intr oduced outside influences as “returning male emigrants brought back newly acquired attitudes towards the ro le of women which wa s now being seen as

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258 centering essentially on the home and the children” (Massiah 1993:20). Meanwhile, women had acquired a measure of independence as many had assumed the role of female head of household, responsible for managing their multiple roles and responsibilities single-handedly regardless if they received remittance or not. Therefore, confinement to the household was not necessarily appealing to Caribbean women. Rather, the declining importance of agriculture and the wideni ng gap between male and female wages instigated a shift. The Victor ian-influenced process of “‘hous ewifization” that redefined women’s roles as focused on the home and children “did not withdraw women from work, rather it facilitated great er exploitation as they were unpaid and being isolated had no recourse to collective struggle organi zation” (Green 1994:151-152; Massiah 1993:20; Reddock 1994:53-57). McClintock (1995:6,32-36) suggested that imperialism, which historically depended on the domesticity of women, spread through the bifurcating ideology of the Victorian “cult of domesticit y.” Victorian imperialism ritualized and naturalized the devaluation of women by in stituting an engendered process whereby colonized women were simultaneously barred from formal power and decision-making while their productive and reproductive role s were reconstituted to support the public roles of men. Increasingly, men alone worked in the fields (or later, in the job market) while women became full-time homemake rs. Male breadwinners either found government employment on road crews cutlassin g (clearing grass with machetes), or as tradesmen (such as vendors, tailors, and shoemakers). Meanwhile, women washed, cooked, ironed, and cleaned the house. Gender eq uity was not standard practice for most families. A rigid sexual division of labor demanded that domestic chores were the

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259 exclusive domain of the Toba go woman. Verene alleged that mothers’ instigated the perpetuation of the female homemaker stereoty pe by failing to give th eir sons training in domestic duties. Modernization and the formal separation of public and domestic spheres did not lighten women’s burden. Women strategically supplemented the family income through informal means. Stretchi ng their husbands’ income, wo men functioned as household treasurers. Eileen noted that “whatever income the husbands brought in, they would arrange and contrive and cut and twist and be the financiers to that same husband.” Domestic economic management was a valuab le skill. Lauretta e xplained, “If you had a good female money manager, even though the ma n was very deficient in that area, you had a very good home, a very stable progressi ve home. If it was vice versa, you didn’t do as well. In homes where you found strong wome n – financially, morally, and otherwise, you found a very good home.” As banks did not cater to the average Tobagonian, susu (or ROSCAs) provided an informal saving st rategy available to women (Besson 1995).82 Pearl noted, Women in Tobago are accustomed to working hard. They don’t believe in handouts. They believe in working hard towards what they want. Every family, first thing they would try to do is to build a shelter over their heads. They don’t believe in renting as pe ople do in Trinidad. You find the poorest of person in T obago would try to build themselves a home. They have their own lands, they build their own homes, and you know, you go from there. Historically, homeownership in Tobago was hi gher than the national average (Figure 6).

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260 Figure 6: Housing by Tenancy 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 70.00% 80.00%National Tobago National Tobago National Tobago 197019801990 Owned Rented Private Rented Government Leased Rent Free Squatted Other/ Not Stated (Central Statistical Office 1960:39-42);(University of the West Indies 1970a:Table 1, 118-119, 154-155) (Office 1980:21,45) (Central Statistical Office 1990b:14) Though Tobagonian homeownership was histori cally high, the myth that landlessness does not exist in Tobago has persisted. This myth, along w ith the persis tence of the extended family as a support networks, camouf laged the housings needs of lower-income Tobagonians. Despite limited budgets, Tobagonian housewives’ remarkable accomplishments included buying land, building the family home and clothing their large families (often eight to ten children). Although, Tobagonian women’s employment became less visible, their workload and responsibilities did not d ecrease. Pearl explained that “in years gone by, we didn’t have employment for women as such. Th e women stayed home and see about the children, go to the garden, you know, to plant and to reap whatever produce.” Lauretta described it differently, stati ng “Tobago women have always b een able to make their own money.” Furthermore, they “were always in business even though they probably didn’t

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261 consider themselves entrepreneurs or busin esswomen. They were in business, selling something, selling a service, selling a product for a price. And at the same time, taking care of their children, taking care of their family and so on.” Caribbean women’s informal business activities ha ve persisted since slavery.83 Yet, supplemental, occasional income-earning activities were not counted as formal workforce participation (Massiah 1993:3-4). In Tobago, women have been consis tently microentrepreneurial despite a tendency to downplay self-employment ac tivities. Perhaps the quintessential characteristic of the Tobagonian women is the ability “to make ends meet” through creatively stretching limited resources. A woman might trade (sell) her surplus garden provisions at the Saturday market. Likewise, garden produce could be processed and sold at the market as commodities including sweet potato pone souse pudding, farine and other Tobago foods. If coconuts were availabl e, a woman could grat e, strain, boil down the oil, and sell it at the market or excha nge it for ground provisions coming from the eastern side of the island. Likewise, small scale baking provided added income. A woman might take her tray of baked goods or surplus garden items to sell at the junction (crossroads) or villagers who knew her pr oducts might come to her home. Similarly, McD Beckles (1999) described that in Barba dos “female hucksters could be found ‘at the corner of almost every street…sitting on little stools’ with their goods neatly displayed on trays.” The forerunner of restaurants, boarding school children (serving hot lunches for a fee) provided both income and an important se rvice. Other microentrepreneurial activities included rearing animals to sell to trafficker s, having a parlour, hair straightening with hot irons (before chemical processing), crocheting or “knitting de ting ” such as chair

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262 backs, tablecloths, or the cap, shawl, a nd booties ordered for new babies. As their businesses expanded, many women established more formalized “little parlours” in front of their homes. Akin to the modern conveyan ce store, parlours supplied villagers with staples and treats. They might sell homema de baked goods and local drinks including mauby or seamoss Parlours still operate throughout Tobago. Typically, a parlour was a small, simply constructed, board shack locate d in front of the pr oprietor’s home, facing the street. During fieldwork, I observed that mo st parlour operators sell wholesale snacks and drinks that were made in Trinidad, shipped to Tobago, and distributed weekly by delivery trucks. Many Tobagonians prefer in digenous snacks and will support vendors’ offering local treats such as preserved mangos or cherries. If located near a school, business district, or tourism zone, parl ous might offer hot lunches as well. Gradually, formal employment became mo re readily available to the women of Tobago. Brenda, a graduate of Bishops High School in the early 1950s, described teaching as an early employment opportunit y. As they became better educated, passing their exams and proceeding to secondary school, female teachers became commonplace. The “monitoring system” formalized the mentoring of young teachers. Starting at age 14 or 15, the headmaster would supervise cap able students in teaching who would be rewarded with “a little something” at monthend. After passing their exams, they attended training college in Trinidad and returned to Tobago as qualified educators. Teaching, however, precluded other aspects of womanhood Brenda explained “from the time you got married and started to ha ve children, you had to give up your job [due to] really archaic laws in those days.” Facilitated by the church and education system, the colonial

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263 administration enforced strong moral sancti ons prohibiting pregnant or married women from teaching. Reddock (1994:61-63) noted th at “from the early 1920s women teachers and civil servants were encouraged or for ced to resign on marriage; unmarried mothers, of course, were not accepted in the teaching fraternity.” Br enda described ministers as “almost fanatical in trying to find out who was pregnant.” She recounted an instance of an unwed teacher, binding her belly to disgui se her pregnancy. Her absence from school one-day (after giving birth) instigated a visi t from the minister. Despite having sent word that she was ill, The next day the minister found himself at this house and he sat there talking with her all sorts of nonsense to hear if the baby would cry. But by the time she had the baby they whisk the baby away to another house, [to] another family. So when he didn’t hear any baby, she had to go back the next day. And it was like that. They would dig and dive and once it was discovered that you were pregnant and not married, you lost your job. The process of decolonization instigated many changes.84 In 1956, when an elected party replaced the colonial governor Eric William’s People’s National Movement (PNM) came to power. Known as the “Father of the Nation,” Williams infused the people of Trinidad and Tobago with an empowering vision that had a dramatic affect on gender roles. In his 1955 public addresses at wh at he dubbed the “University of Woodford Square,” Williams commanded, “Throw aw ay the hoe and cutlass and educate your children.”85 With the introduction of free government-sponsored education, Williams hoped that every child could attend seconda ry school. Though unrealized, he envisioned

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264 an entirely educated nation where every child would leave secondary school certified in either academic or vocational/technical skills (Bynoe 1988:37). Increasingly, women diverged from the mother-as-homemaker mold to pursue secondary education. Furthermore, Williams had declared, “Let the women have their children,” and married or not – the stigma of motherhood as a ba rrier to formal employment was removed. According to Brenda, it “opened up the way fo r women to more or less come into their own. He couldn’t have said anything better b ecause single women – now, some of them, wanted to get married in th e first place – start having ch ildren, you know? So there was an easing of the pressure on women.” Incr easingly, women atte nded secondary school and entered the professional workforce. New opportunities made available under Williams influenced parents’ philosophy towards secondary education and provided upward mobility facilitated through attainment of advanced education. Pearl expl ained, “every parent w ould try to get their children educated because, you know, after you ha ve left school, you would be able to demand a good job. Whereas long ago, it was not lik e that.” She went on to describe past racial barriers, You couldn’t see a black pers on in a bank or government departments and those places, all white people, or colored, yuh [you] know. There was certain families, you had dis [this] white complexion, love ly hair, yuh know, real mixed race. For example, my husband, his father is a Frenchman, his mother is very fair and she has nice soft hair.

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265 Confronted by the black consciousness move ment of the 1970s, public opinion openly challenged racial barriers.86 In Tobago, families from the countryside made tremendous sacrifices to educate their children. At age 12, children came to board with families in town in order to attend secondary school.87 Eileen, the first in her family to attend secondary school, recalled the painful separation; “I was the biggest – 12 y ears old when you have to go up to town. It’s a kind of breaking up. You down by somebody else’s house, there was no telephone contact anything like that now. Then all the others trickled out, it’s a sacrifice.” She went on to describe an episode of devastating homesickness, when due to a lack of transportation she was stranded in town at Christmas, I didn’t care what ham or lamb or jam they had to serve – what delicacies, what niceness they had to give me at Christmas Day – I was supposed to be home. And I didn’t stop crying Christmas Eve, yuh know. I will never forget, she said “I didn’t know we were that bad to you?” And I couldn’t, I mean you open your mouth to try to answer but you can’t answer because you want to go home. Later, as her siblings joined her at seconda ry school, she found that “Christmas came to town for us.” The immediate family eventua lly reassembled in town, but lost was the continuity of the extended family and attachment to the village. In a dramatic split from the past, landowners in the 1990s were selli ng their property in th e countryside. Unlike the protective stewardship of their forefather s, residential preferences shifted. By the twentieth century, many people preferred to live in proximity of Scarborough or beyond Tobago. Whereas, Tobago’s countryside is hi ghly desirable to foreigners for vacation

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266 homes and guesthouses, which has increased pr operty value beyond what most locals can afford to purchase. In late twentieth cent ury Tobago, land was rapi dly changing hands as reflected by the growing expatr iate population of European s, in particular. Eileen expressed a longing for the pa st, “In a way, you want to go back, but you can’t go back because there is no place of employment there for you. Even though you want to feel you’re connected, it’s not easy to remain connected there.” After graduating from secondary school and becoming employed, their connection to the countryside came to resemble a “visiting relationship.” The comb ined effects of education, employment, and internal migration away from the rural dist ricts towards the southwestern parishes in proximity to Scarborough dramatically im pacted Tobago (Frampton 1957:23; C. A. Pemberton 1972:17). In 1963, Hurricane Flora unexpectedly swept through Tobago.88 In the devastating aftermath the government put th e people of Tobago to work cleaning up the island. Rather than re habilitating an established agri cultural economy, however, emphasis was placed on education and tourism development. Furthermore, before any possibility of agricultural revival, Trinidad’s oil boom in the 1970s inflicted the fatal blow to Tobago’s former self-sufficiency. Depe ndency on Trinidad can be demonstrated by inequitable budgetary allocations. Allegedly, duri ng the period 1972-1983 when Trinidad experienced an oil boom, despite having 3.7 percent of the population, Tobago only received 1.4 percent of government expenditu res with a meager increase to 1.76 percent in 1994 (Weaver 1998:296). Verene postulated “we could have recuperated had the oil boom not come and let people now put the emphasis on buying things you know, on

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267 getting money quick.” As documented in the previous chapter, T obagonian subservience to and dependency on Trinidad is on-going and extensive. Trinidad’s apparent indifference to Tobago’s plight for self-sufficiency is documented in a speech before Parliament when Robinson brought forth a mo tion for Tobago’s internal self-government as a direct request for support with the revival of agriculture Williams, however, retorted with the now infamous quote, “Money is no problem,” which expressed the dismissive and paternalistic tone of th e central government towards the “small sister” island of Tobago (Robinson 1977:37). In the absence of agriculture, a grow ing cadre of women entered into the workforce as teachers and nurses or becam e self-employed. Reddock (1994) explained that although opportunities were limited to a few select occupations (that is, teaching, nursing, and lower clerical positions) women we re able “to strengthen their position and extend the possibilities within these occupations.” Supported by the extended family (and grandmothers in particular), mothers went to work. For a working mother, a “double day” might include domestic duties such as pr eparing her children, cleaning, and cooking before leaving for work (Massiah 1982). Among the working mothers I interviewed, it was not unusual for their day to being as early as 4 AM in order to have sufficient time to cook, do laundry or housekeeping, pr epare lunch kits, send childre n to school or daycare, and get to work on time. In what is like ly an idealized acc ount of the matrilineal relationship, Brenda e xplained that a woman would always give [her ch ild’s] grandmother something. She wouldn’t pay her in the real sense, but you know, she

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268 would give her something. The thing is, she might be living at home anyway because in those days, children did not move out from parents home at [an] early age, perhaps into their 20s or 30s, [but] yo ung people wouldn’t move out from home. So the grandparents would look after the [grand]children. Nonetheless, grandmothers retained their ow n domestic responsibili ties in addition to child minding duties.89 Concurrently, migration and new education opportun ities diverted men away from Tobago in search of higher wages. Brenda stated, The woman was never a lazy person because in order to survive, she had to work. They like to earn their own, they are very independent women. Y ou’ll find that hardly would the Tobago woman expect the man to be her sole support, well – to support her. Yes, if they are married of course, they expect him to play his part. If they have a common law relationship, naturally the man must play his part. But she is always looking for something to do to earn some additional money. Women’s economic independence began to er ode historic gender roles. Shifting employment practices provided groundbreak ing opportunities such as Tobago’s first female school principal. Lauretta noted th e deeply ingrained cultural and religious implications of gender stereotyping in T obago. Previously, leadership roles including “head of the home,” “head of the famil y,” or “principal of the school” were unequivocally male dominated. Women had never considered ascending to formal positions of power. Whereas expanding edu cation and employment opportunities began to transform the society.

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269 After Hurricane Flora, the decline in empl oyment participation in the agricultural sector (Figure 7) and increas ed availability of government sponsored employment (Figure 1) created a proletariat in Tobago. Figure 7: Total Employment Rate in Ag riculture, Forestry, Fishery or Hunting 0.00% 5.00% 10.00% 15.00% 20.00% 25.00% 30.00% 35.00% 40.00% 45.00% 50.00% 19461960197019801990 Both Sexes Male Female (Central Statistical Office 1960:39-42);(University of the West Indies 1970a:Table 1, 118-119, 154-155) (Office 1980:21,45) (Central Statistical Office 1990b:14) Like their male counterparts, lack of education no longer precluded women from government employment. Women who were not educated sought formal employment with THA as laborer on road crews where wome n served as water carrier or time checker. By the late twentieth century, over half of Tobago’s employed population worked in government public service (57.85 percent of male s and 45.09 percent of females) (Central Statistical Office 1990b:121,268,280; 1990g:191). Prevalence of government employment has further eroded what was fo rmerly a self-sufficient peasantry and transforming Tobago into what might be charact erized as a dependent welfare state. Pearl

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270 described, “People seem to think that the government is responsible for giving them employment and everybody should be em ployed by the government, which cannot happen! They want to work for the govern ment because they know where that money [will come from].” A growing preference for salaried employment and reliance on a regular paycheck has affected self-employmen t practices. In the past microentrepreneurs did not typically charge for services un til delivery of goods. According to Pearl, Tobagonians had “this sort of good relations hip and you take people to their word, right?” Whereas in the late twentieth century, self-employment was considered a less reliable source of revenu e as Pearl explained, You would have a trade and you would do things, as far as you was concerned, for people. And they would not pay you properly. They don’t like to pay debts. They would owe and would not want to pa y. So I believe is sort of discourage people. While even though some people have a trade, they would still wa nt to be employed by the government. Perhaps materialism infused by Trinidad’s oil boom and migration away from village life has undermined Tobagonians interdep endent social networ ks. Conceivably, as people have become more economically indepe ndent, a new pattern of protecting selfinterests may have taken precedent over older, interdependent practices that emphasized mutual cooperation. Aside from the presence of susu and fisher folks pulling the seine, the cooperative spirit that once characte rized Tobagonian peasant society, I found it challenging to find cooperative economic activit y. Originally, the research design of my dissertation involved a comparis on of cooperatively organized microenterprises (such as

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271 collectives or cottage industries) to those operated by individual female microentrepreneurs. During fieldwork, however I failed to find a sufficient number of cooperatively organized microenterprises i nvolving female partnerships to draw a comparison. Although small family owned and operated firms are present in Tobago, the earlier cooperative pattern of mutual labor exchange f ound under the lend-hand system was not evident in late twentieth century wo men-run businesses. My intention is not to portray a utopian past, as there certainly ha ve been positive gains for women in Tobago society. Rather, my research indicated that historic and cultural features, which would seemingly make Tobago an ideal setting for implementing an international development model emphasizing women’s work and mutual cooperation, have shifted and must be accounted for. Tertiary Education, Training Opportunities, and Female Leadership Opportunities presented in the 1950s a nd 1960s instigated a range of social changes. For women in the Caribbean, the role of “motherhood is an important cultural imperative” (Massiah 1993:2) wherein there is no real separation between women’s productive and reproductive roles. Yet, demogr aphic trends indicated a notable shift from the tendency of women to have children in the middle of their ch ildbearing years to a wider age range of women having children. Anal ysis of national level census data from 1980 and 1990 revealed a decrease in fertil ity and a trend towa rds women “delaying childbearing and possibly engaging in activit ies that would increase their status and mobility in society such as education a nd employment” (Central Statistical Office 1997d). Likewise, Massiah (1993:22) indicated that childbearing maybe delayed as

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272 women pursue upward mobility through educat ion or employment opportunities. As census data for Tobago fertility rates were unavail able for all years, union is illustrated as the best available proxy to demonstrate fewer occurrences of younger women entering into either marriage or common law relationships (Figure 8). Figure 8: Total Number of Unions by Age and Type 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700Married Common law Visiting Married Common law Visiting Married Common law Visiting Married Common law Visiting 1960197019801990 Age 14 Age 15-44 Age 45-64 (Central Statistical Office 1960:11C, 43-44; 1970b: Table1A & 1B, 6-11; 1980c:Table 2,47; 1990e:Table 4,171) Whereas in the past, child minding was le ss problematic as immediate kin were usually available, however, as employment pa tterns have shifted, th is is no longer the case. Women that I interviewed indicated that the attitude of c ontemporary grandparents (who may be middle-aged, working people them selves) might have sh ifted away from a willingness to provide child minding. As Brenda stated, grandparents today might feel that “I have already looked after my child ren. So if you have your children, you have to make provision to look after your children.” Grandparents, wanting to relax and enjoy their leisure time, may decline to provide fu lltime childcare. Therefore, working parents

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273 (and women in particular) must make altern ative arrangements. Be ginning in the 1980s, formal daycare nurseries became available in Tobago. Shuttling children to daycare (and parents to work) was eased by accessible transportation. The surplus of cash and petroleum during the oil boom instigated an expanding supply of private automobiles including a surplus of taxis.90 So, in addition to daycare fees, a working mother must organize a driver to trans port her child to and from sc hool. Equipped with their “lunch kit,” change of clothes, and attired in their pastel check ered uniforms, young Tobagonian children traveling to nursery school became a co mmon site in the late twentieth century. For those not pursuing formal educati on, many informal training opportunities were offered in Tobago. The Youth Traini ng and Employment Pa rtnership Programme (YTEPP) branch office in Tobago, for example, offered vocational training for people between the ages 15-25 who had no secondary education. Also, the THA, Division of Community Development sponsored adult education classes (focusing on handicraft production) in villages th roughout Tobago. Handicraft trai ning opportunities have flourished for all age levels. Most of th e handicraft training opportunities targeted women, offering everything from tie-dye and batik to dressmaking and tailoring. Brenda described, “Tobago women love to attend traini ng courses, all sorts of training courses.” Production of handicraft was quite popular as a hobby or vocation, a nd has a long history in Tobago. According to Elder (1984c:13), “While it is true that several of the crafts seen among the Tobago folk originated with White missionaries, many of the crafts are definitely of African style sufficient to iden tify them as being introduced by the African slaves.” Combined African and European infl uences included the use of various materials

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274 (beads, wood, grasses, bone, shells, and fi ber) in the production of various forms of handicraft (such as dressmaking, weaving, macram, as well as various forms of needlework, and woodwork) (Paul 1984:23). During fieldwork (1999-2000), the THA Division of Community Devel opment had undertaken a program to preserve these socalled “indigenous crafts.” According to a THA Community Development official, the program was a response to concern that the “t he craft will die” w ith the eight elderly women who still practiced these handicraft s (personal communication March 26, 1999). Gender-based restrictions on occupations were beginning to ease due to the prevalence and popularity of training opportunities. In the Caribbean, “occupational aspirations tend to reflect the persistence of cultural stereotypes which place women in welfare and service type occupa tions paralleling the roles th ey are expected to perform within the family” (Massiah 1993:22). Lauretta explained that in the past “it was as if there was a demarcation of roles according to gender, so men did the things men needed and you had the women with the seamstress, the hairdresser [etc.]. So it started in that way and [what] has happened now is that it has become more sophisticated and women have crossed over and men have crossed over.” This occupational intersection of formerly gender-typed work has manifested a broadening of skills. Garment design, for example, had replaced dressmaking or tailori ng, as a new sense of sophistication blurred gender barriers. Similarly, a woman may visit a barber (rather than the hairdresser) to have her hair “trimmed low” in a contem porary androgynous style. Likewise, a man who styles women’s hair was no longer chastised as “sissy.” Perhaps, in response to increased training opportunities, women have started to consider formerly gender typed male-

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275 dominated, technically oriented (and freque ntly more lucrative) fields such as construction work and driving taxis or buses Likewise, Massiah ( 1993:22) noted that women are increasingly making use of e ducational opportunities to improve their occupational status, including entering non-traditional occ upations. Yet, there is not sufficient evidence to indicate an affect on persistent cultu ral stereotypes that strongly influence occupations. During fieldwork (19992000), I did seek out women employed in formerly male-dominated occupations and f ound a few (including a ta xi driver and auto parts vendor). Also, I observed the g overnment-sponsored Youth Empowerment Programme, which targeted women for on-thejob training in cons truction. The program was designed to introduce women to a range of construction skills. Ju st as builders need varied capabilities, tutors (who were concurrently employed as builders), instructed teams of participants in at least two construction trades (such as masonr y, carpentry, welding, electrical, joinery, or plumbing). Women in the Youth Empowerment Program were not given special treatment; rather, they had a "reality" experience during which time participants worked as a gr oup to compensate for any perceived physical limitations (for instance, if lifting a heavy object was too di fficult for a single woma n). According to the program director, female trade workers were no different than female office workers, except that their job offered greater potent ial for remuneration. Upon completion of the training program, participants were on their own to pursue employment opportunities. Though the possibility of women entering higher-paying, non-tradi tional employment had become a reality in Tobago, this is not to suggest a trend. Rather, among international development workers and women that I inte rviewed, there was a perception that Tobago

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276 culture tends to resist change and many women would not consider non-traditional female occupations out of concern fo r preserving their public reputation. Perhaps the perception of gender typed o ccupations was less entrenched at the professional level. Certainly, achievement at the secondary school level has permitted women to erode gender barriers, including pursu ing tertiary educati on. Inherited from the British education system, children’s educat ional aptitude was determined through standardized testing and outst anding performance was rewarded with placement in more academically oriented schools. Upon the completion of primary school, Caribbean Commonwealth children were administered the Common Entrance Examination at age eleven, which determined placement for s econdary school. At age sixteen, secondary school children were administered the Ca ribbean Examination Council (known as the CXC exam), which determined access to tert iary education. Exceptional performance on the CXC earned students a place at univers ity. In the 1980s and 1990s, many secondary school graduates left Tobago to attend univers ity or technical school in Trinidad and beyond. Lauretta explained, “as long as you ha d the ability and you could be there, a female could do science as well as the male could do home economics. And I think that [created a] bridging educationa lly, that’s my personal feeli ng.” Opportunities created by access to advanced education (Figure 9) have facilitated an increasing numbers of women attending university and pursu ing formerly male dominated professions such as law and medicine (Figure 10).

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277 Figure 9: Highest Education Level Achieved by Female Population Age 15 and Older 0.00% 20.00% 40.00% 60.00% 80.00% 100.00% 1960197019801990 Primary Secondary University (Central Statistical Office 1960:8B, 44,46; 1980a:Table 6,75; 1990a:Table 8, 242; University of the West Indies 1970b:Table 3:213) Figure 10: Professional Training Among Women 0.00% 5.00% 10.00% 15.00% 20.00% 25.00% 30.00% 197019801990 Commercial and Business Teacher Training Health/Medical Transportation/ Communication Architecture/ Planning/Engineering All Training (Central Statistical Office 1990d:69) Some Tobagonians have speculated that the surplus of qualified women has disenfranchised men. Among women in the Ca ribbean, increasing independence has had

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278 a positive result of the expande d education, training and job opportunities, but also … a negati ve result in that they are no longer accessible or as cont rollable! These men see the “young women of today” as presenting a formidable challenge to conventional pe rceptions of … men as the dominant partner. This refl ects genuine and widely held fear of women taking over (Massiah 1993:26). In the Caribbean region in general, female students are well represen ted in the education system. During the 1993-1994 school year, for example, females in Trinidad and Tobago constituted 50 percent of enrollment for prim ary and secondary education and 41 percent of tertiary enrollment (ECLAC-CDCC 1999). Despite ability and interest, however, gender stereotyping of curriculum continue d to inhibit women’ s access to maledominated professions. According to Baile y (Bailey 1997), co-educational schools maintained segregated curriculum based on gender and class stereotyping through a biased process of ability streaming. For ex ample, teaching became a largely female dominated profession to the extent that some schools had no male teachers. Furthermore, some implicated the high percentile of female teachers (or lack of male role models in schools) as contributing to poor academic performance among boys. Another variable, however, was described by an interviewee as “the irresponsible behavior of males as fathers and as role models in society as a whole.” Teaching had become more arduous as classes and children became more difficult to manage. In response, many capable people have left the profession to pursue more lucr ative careers and the gr adual decline in the status of the teaching profession as a mode to social mobility has likely contributed to men shifting away from the profession (Bynoe 1988:37).91

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279 Clearly, social mobility has transformed Tobago’s socioeconomic and residential patterns. Free secondary education and em ployment opportunities engendered a pattern of migration. People have moved away from rural villages to relocate nearer their workplaces in town. By the late twentieth century, extended families seldom reside contiguously on parcels of family land as they did in the past. In lieu of free childcare services from unemployed kin, formal dayc are nurseries offer services for a fee. Advanced education and vocational training a ttracted talented people away from Tobago to pursue challenges not locally available. In 1990, for example, reported out-migration from Tobago totaled 9,098 whereas in migra tion totaled 4,485 for a total net loss of 4,613 people (Central Statistical Office 1990c:x). Among those that out-migrated from Tobago, 59 percent reported completing primary e ducation, just over 30 percent reported completing secondary education, and 4.45 pe rcent reported completing university (Central Statistical Office 1990c:49). Furtherm ore, one THA official decried the impact of out-migration as creating a so-called “barrel syndrome” wherein children of parents who “live away” in the United States, United Kingdom, or Canada grow up with the hope of joining their parent livi ng abroad. In the meantime, parents ship home barrels with material goods (such as sneakers, clothing, a nd televisions) to their family members. In my fieldwork, I was familiar with family s ituations where mothers had traveled to the United States under the pretense of taking a “ little vacation,” yet overs tayed their Visa to work (typically, as undocumented domestics) for months or years. Like the “barrel syndrome” scenario described above, thes e women sent remittance and used their earnings to purchase clothing for their families and appliances for their homes that they

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280 sent home in shipping barrels. I was also ac quainted with a family in which the youngest child had entertained the fantasy of being “sent for” by his mother while she “lived away,” although his hope of joining his mo ther was unrealistic. Absent permanent immigration status, undocumented workers ar e not able to sponsor additional family members. Furthermore, Tobago’s extended family filled the gap of parents who emigrated. Lauretta described the impact of educati on as creating “the brain drain and the skills drain;” where not only have many gift ed professionals out-migrated, but also talented trades people such as auto mechanic s, masons, and electricians have left Tobago to pursued better opportunities. In decrying the social costs of out-migration, Robinson (1977:39) noted “Tobago wants a chance to st op the drift of populati on and particularly the gifted young people from [leaving] Toba go. Every gifted young person in Tobago has to leave the island [to seek education or employment opportunities]. The whole system brings them out, so they cannot give of their talents to the village. They cannot give of their talents to develop thei r own people.” The perception th at out-migration was the only means to reasonable employment has long pe rsisted in Tobago. A newspaper report described the “tendency of the ambitious Tobagonian to migrate with the unambitious who, fortunately are in the minority, stay hom e to vegetate or to receive handouts from migrant relatives abroad” (H. Leighton-Mills 1975). Lacking a local cadre of educated profe ssionals and skilled workers, Tobago has struggled to find leadership. Lauretta de scribed the social impact of migration,

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281 Many of those people never went back up to live [in Tobago]. Many of those people who came down were potential leaders of their villag es; they were village leaders, they were community leaders, they were church leaders. So they left, their children left, so you left the villages devoid of that talent that came down, you know, with these succeeding generations. And so, th is is one of the problems that we have that leadership in the villages is lacking. And if you have it, it is limited. You know, you have the same people who are in everything. Because of the fact that you have a small clique of people to help out, to lead, to guide, and to advise and so on. And this has had a social impact, an adverse impact on us as a society. Tobago’s small pool of individuals in lead ership positions was overburdened and aging. But who would replace them? Moreover, pa rticipation in voluntary groups and ecumenical organizations has dramatically declined in the twen tieth century (Bynoe 1988:49). Tobago’s once vibrant and well-attend ed community organi zations could not compete with the convenience of home-bas ed entertainment delivered via modern technology. Lauretta explained “the y have so much to keep them at home then to go out to go to village council. Because of technol ogy, people feel comfortable to stay home and watch their television, watch their video, watch their cable, you know, whatever.” Trinidad and Tobago was the first West Indi an country to acquire television with the launch of Trinidad and Tobago Televi sion (TTT) in 1962. Since the early 1990s, additional programming, primarily from the United States, has inundated households. With limited local programming and with the in creasing availability of satellite and cable television, local scholars feared that Amer ican hegemony, transmitted via television had negatively influenced the population and th reatened local culture (Lashley 1995). Television, travel, and modern communicati on transported the hegemonic, “global

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282 perspective” directly into Tobagonian households. Alt hough satellite television was already available, during fieldwork (M arch 1999 to May 2000), subscription cable television and Internet service had recently been introduced and availability gradually expanded to Tobago’s different villages. In response to the decline in participat ion, overburdened village leadership, and lack of cooperation, Tobago’s community organizations were suffering. Aside from religious organizations where top positions were still dominated by men, leadership among the surviving community organizations was predominantly female. As one THA official described “women are taking the front of everything.” Likewise, Lauretta illustrated, I think the women are the one s who are keeping many of these organizations [functioni ng]. Because if you go [to] like the churches you will see that the majority making up the congregation would be wo men. You go to the Parent Teacher’s Organization – majo rity – 90 percent would be the women. You go to the village councils – women. You go to the Youth Group, you go to th e political parties, all of them women are in leadership. In recent decades, gender roles in Tobago ha ve altered as women pursued opportunities for upward mobility and more public leader ship roles. Yet, one might ponder the following questions; were women finding admittance into all domains of power? Were the leadership possibilities limitless, or was the so-called “glass ceiling” in position to loom over the collective head of female achievement in Tobago? Ultimately, were women able to access Tobago’s top positions? Lauretta responded,

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283 Well, I think this is one of the things we are looking at. That even when you look at the membership of the trade unions, so many of them are women and so on. But, when it comes to who is the chairman or the president or so, you don’t find that you have very many women. This is changing ‘cause we are looking at it politically and so on. And I think it is an embedde d cultural thing where women at a certain stage did not feel th at they should aspire to that role or challenge that role. Just as how we had the men being head of the family, the head of the home and so on. I think that, you know, cultural inhibition, if you want to call it that, women felt that, “Well, I must support, I must push, must build. But when it comes to leading, I mustn’t be the one to.” And I think that is changing. In Tobago, women have occupied many leader ship positions, particularly in local politics. To illustrate, I witnessed the la unch of a new political party, the People’s Empowerment Party (or PEP), during my fi eldwork in Tobago. What was unique about PEP was that three of the four organizing leaders were local female politicians; two were female attorneys; and ultimately one these female attorneys emerged as her party’s candidate to be the first woman in Tobago to run for the top office of Chief Secretary of the THA. Though PEP did not win the 2000 electi on, the party’s presence contributed to the overturn of the male dominated incumben t party as well as fu rther challenging old perceptions that women should not aspire to top leadership positions (Brasnell 1999; Express 1999a; Johnson 2000; Tobago News 1999f; Ware 1999). Interpersonal Dynamics In the previous section I demonstrated the shift away from women being limited to the role of homemaker and a trend toward s education attainment and civic involvement providing increasing public acceptance of wome n in positions of leadership. In what

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284 follows, I describe a pattern where despite in creasing availability to attainment of public roles, interpersonal dynamics may interfer e and inhibit women’s ambitions. First, I describe my interest in female friendships and illustrate the limited extent of these relationships among women in Tobago. Second, I describe the paucity of outside business partnerships among female microentrepreneu rs in Tobago. Third, I explore cultural patterns that may pred ispose women to reliance of imme diate kin for economic support. Influenced by my own cultural bias and fe minist theoretical orientation, I became particularly interested in the topic of fema le social networks and in particular, the presence and structure of friendships among women in Tobago. I had grown up in a society where “girlfriends” where a cons tant influence, where establishing and maintaining female friendship was an expected female behavior. Similarly, in discussions of empowerment, much of the feminist litera ture draws on the concepts of “sisterhood” and “coalition” whereby women collectively work towards fulfillment of gender equity. Extended fieldwork in Tobago provided an oppor tunity for me to observe that outward expressions of female friends hip are not a universal behavi or. Interviews with female microentrepreneurs in Tobago elicited a recurring theme of the seemingly limited occurrence of female friendships. When I asked if participants have friends that they are close to, which implies some level of intimac y, most women depicted either having only one close friend or none at all. Where female friendships had developed, most participants reported that conn ections were established either as children at school or as adults at work. Patsy, for example, descri bed how she came to know her friend, “She and I are very close right now. If she has problems she call me, if I have problems I call her. I

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285 know her through workin’…in de supermarket, I was de only person dat [that] she took to on de job and she don’t have friends.” Si milarly, Louise described how a friendship developed with a former coworker, When I was working at that guest house, yuh know, she needed somebody to talk to because she was having problems and she confide in me and we become frie nds from there, which is about three years now. We talk on the phone and sometimes we see each other…but we usually talk [on the phone]…this is one of my [activities] to relax a little bit – go and blab a little bit. As these examples illustrate, women occasionally establish friendships with coworkers, however, most women defined close friends as people with whom they went to school (even if they no longer live n earby). Irene explained “my clos est friend livin’ in Trinidad right now and I knew her because we were in de same class from school, from secondary school. Right – she is my closest friend.” Likewise, Wilson (19 73:130) observed that occurrences of female peer groups or “set s” of young women who “kept company” were comparable in terms of age, marital st atus, and usually were schoolmates. Other participants depicted growing up large fam ilies as facilitating connections to friends. Irene went on to describe “…some would be like friend[s] of my brothers who went to school and just by coming home by us…everybody will just lime [congregate to socialize] and talk until tings ge t, yuh know, better and better and den [then] you and de person will become very good friends, conf idential and tings like dat.” Many women differentiated between “friends” that is, people with whom one would be outwardly friendly (or, say hello to), in contrast to “cl ose” or “real” friends (or, intimate confidents)

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286 with whom one would talk to on a regular basis. Telephone calls provided a very important linkage between female friends. J ean described, “most of my close friends would call me on the phone, close friends,” whic h could be interpreted either as a means to connect people who do not otherwise live in proximity or have time to socialize in person or as a strategy to main tain a level of discretion, wh ich is challenging on a small island. Likewise, Marie (my closest friend) would telephone me in situations where discretion was advantageous. Marie and the nonkin neighbors did not have an amicable relationship and during fieldwor k, there were several unhappy interactions between them (including a loose cow grazing in her garden and the poisoning of the family dog). Therefore, in order to warn me of a “bus h fire” set by the neighbors and blowing in the direction of my house, Marie telephoned to share this info rmation. Furthermore, rather than risk retribution for advising me of wh at action to take (or being blamed for overreacting herself), she opted to discretely alert me of the information regarding a potentially inconvenient situation and encourag ed me to devise my own response (which was to report the fire to the authorities a nd flee the area with my laptop and passport! Several women described highly selectiv e criteria for friendships (that is, someone who will not commit betrayal or need lessly pry), while others avoided intimate friendships altogether. Pats y defined a friend as “some body when you in trouble, good or bad, they can help you. And I have three gi rlfriends, no more – I don’t want anymore.” Furthermore, she went on to explain why sh e is careful about frie nds, “People not nice, yeah, dey [they] just like to exploit you. We have a lot of dat here…it’s not nice, people dey just like to know your business, dat’s a simple way to put it.” In Tobago, a person

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287 who is “too fast” or a maco (or a person who minds othe r people’s business for the purpose of exchanging gossip) might “go by” someone else’s home or place of business to commess (that is, to cause confusion or scandal) (Mendes 1986:36,92). Many women described not having close friends. Suzanne re vealed, “Well, as far as I’m concerned, I socialize with anybody who come, [howev er,] I have no personal friends, none whatsoever.” Likewise, Tiffany expressed th at she might be friendly, “just [with] the church people, yuh say ‘hello’ or ‘hi’…but ot her than that, I don’t have friends…When I leave here I goes home, go on my bed and that is it. Nobody don’t come by me, I don’t go by nobody,” which implies that she does not maco or create commess. Many of the female microentrepreneurs I interviewed indi cated that they simply do not have time to socialize and may have drifted away from pe ople due to inability to maintain contact. Florence noted “I am the person [that] I don’ t get around now to calli ng people, but if you call me I am not too busy unless I’m on my wa y out…So, I’ve not lost friends as in any bad feeling. I think some people understand.” While interviewing women, I noted that strained and limited female friendships were a recurring of theme. Stories shared by participants and psychological li terature indicated that this pattern, an absence of female friendships, could be an im portant source of stress.92 In correlation with the absence of cooperative female microenterprises, this fi nding of marginal female friendship among women in Tobago was suggestive of a pattern th at would likewise limit the formation of partnerships among female microentrepreneurs. Similar to the pattern of limited and strained female friendships, among the female microentrepreneurs I interviewed, th e absence of outside business partnerships

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288 with other women was even more pronounced. Wh en asked if they had considered having a business partner, most women reply that they would not wa nt partnership and furthermore, many stated that they would re sist partnership out of fear of potential conflict, uncertainty, or dist rust of others. Suzanne just ified her objection as a strong preference for independence, “I don’t like pa rtnership. I don’t like to share with anyone and anyting. If anyting happen, it must be me. I just want to be de c ontrol, I want to be my own boss.” A few women described trying to establish a partnership but failing due to inability to obtain workspace or lack of commitment on the pa rt of the potential partner. Several women considered their family, s pouse, or boyfriend as business partners although they typically provided emotional a nd economic support rather than functioning as an outside business partner. Irene expl ained, “Well my boyfriend – I would call him my business partner because he is there for me financially and emotionally and otherwise, yuh know, in the business.” As an alternative to partnership, when Patsy takes on more orders for drapery than she can sew by herself, she subcontracted side work to others. She explained “I have two girlfriends dat I can say ‘ok, do dis for me’ [and] I would charge for de work and den pay dem. Yuh know, I wouldn’t have a problem because I know I can’t do all dat.” By maintaining sole pr oprietorship and occasionally subcontracting work, a female microentrepreneur can retain control of her busi ness and avoid conflict with others. A few female microentrepreneurs descri bed attempting partnerships. Wilma, who had previously operated a su itcase (or itineran t) trading business with a friend, encouraged her partner to establish a more formal shop (Freedman 1997; Massiah

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289 1993:24). After they obtained the retail space, hired an employee, invested their money to purchase stock for the store, and even took out loans, her business partner became reluctant, In order for us to save the friendship she wanted to come out of de business. She was havin’ a problem with the person who was workin’ for us, right. She don’t want to pay de gyul [girl] because sometime [if] we made de rent on time, she wouldn’t want to pay de gyul, [or] she wouldn’t want to assist with the rent payment and de tings and it start to really cause a problem. Similar to the pattern of limited female frie ndships, perhaps social pressures also limited the occurrence of outside female business partne rships in Tobago. In this example, as the one microenterprise partnership made e fforts to formalize the business through establishing a permanent location, the ot her partner withdrew from the added responsibility. In contrast to the seemingly tenuous nature of female friendships and paucity of business partnerships among female microe ntrepreneurs, accounts provided by female microentrepreneurs in Tobago indicated th at support networks (or the pattern of interpersonal relationships or linkages that may be mobilized for specific purposes) composed of immediate kin could be characte rized as rich and vita l resources. Distinct from outside partnership, I did find examples of female-headed sole proprietorships that function cooperatively as family owned a nd operated business. Olive, for example, described her daughters’ commitment to the family chicken farming business,

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290 Yes, dey does like it – because if dey didn’t like it, dey wouldn’t support so, but dey doe s put der hear t into it, yuh know. You will hear dem sayin’ like ‘you went and check dem chickens?’ or ‘check and see dat water?’ because dey know dat dey are getting something from it dat dey would be able to help themselves in some way…but I did not take on any partners. I left it as a family business. As described earlier in my discussion of Caribbean studie s literature, historic child minding patterns may predispose women towards reliance on immediate kin for support. Barrow (1986b:138) described “the more binding type of love is concentrated within the mother-child relationship.” Among women, th is strong mother-child relationship is reinforced by the pattern of female-headed hous eholds or, where the ma le is present, the existence of matrifocality where the woman is the central focus of the social unit and holds a position of dominance and authorit y (Barrow 1996:73; Besson 1993:20; Gonzalez 1970:233-34). In describing the preference for th e maternal grandmother as the source of childcare, Gussler (1980:196) ex plained “if a woman’s own mother can assume part of the burden, the anxiety is less, because women feel that the grandmother will provide the love and care young ones are thought to require No one else, the women told me, can really be trusted to adequately look afte r your children.” Within the context of the matrifocal family, women expand their social network through the bearing of children. For women, the focus of their social support network included “the only people you can trust to help you are your mother, your grandmother, and your children. They are your social security” (Gussl er 1980:202). Most of the women I interviewed described their social networks as comprised of imme diate family members, although some women did indicate a wider network of support that included friends their local village, or

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291 broader community. Gussler (1980:201, 206) noted that th e social networks of young women tended to be narrow with relatively fe w friends or social resources to exploit particularly “for young mothers, lacking a hus band or steady beau, friends with regular incomes, adult children earni ng a living, or steady employme nt, these years may, indeed, be hard.” Peers engaged in the same life st age face essentially the same problems and have few social resources to tap. Accord ing to Wilson (1973:134) women’s social networks tend to be narrow, but run deep, a nd are based on affinity where they depend “on kinship ties to preserve a constant and consistent set of persons with and from whom they derive emotional an physical satisfacti on and existential identity.” Social networks involved both support offered to an individual [t hat is, ego-centric] as well as the support they provided to others.93 Women described receiving assi stance from a range of family members including husbands, grown children, in-laws and godparents. Frequently, women indicated that the pe rson they relied on most for support was their husband (or common law partner), grown child ren or sister. Several of the women I interviewed had husbands who offered considerable support to their wives’ microent erprises. Annette’s husband, for example, provided assistance with preparations for her small lunchtime cafe. She described her husband’s contributions to food preparation, “You see, like I would make roti [a popular lunch item], ok -he res ponsible for all those m eat, to clean all of that.94 He would clean bottles for me [for dri nks]. [He would] clean the surroundings for me and them kinda tings. In the morning, he would go for fresh bread for me.” Although Annette operated her microenterprise indepe ndently, the contributions of her husband were significant. In addition to receiving assistance with business activities, women

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292 described receiving assistance wi th daily routines from thei r social support network. For example, Marcia’s sister provided assi stance by driving her young son to school. She stated, “Ok, transport, oh yeah, now I have my sister helping out with transport for him on a morning because she’s now living up on my side [of the island]. She has a car, so on a morning she takes him to school. She does it out of the kindness of her heart,” which translates into a reliable source of transpor tation and money saved for a single mom. Less frequently, women described fr iends as providing support, but when they do they are typically remunerated in some way. Olive, who operated a small chicken farm with her family, occasionally called on friends to he lp pluck chickens by hand. She explained, Like if I’m pluckin’ today a nd those children are at school, I’ll call one or two friends a nd dey would come and help me, so I does feed dem…When dey go in and you have to pay passage, you give dem a $20-$30 [TT] and say ‘well take dat to pay passage to go back home,’ and give dem a chicken. You wouldn’t just let dem come, you would know you have to give dem meals onc e they are here and these tings. For female microentrepreneurs in Tobago, social networks provide vital resources to support and sustain their bus inesses. Female microentrepr eneurs also provide support to others through their social network, whic h as described above, most often revolved around immediate family members (such as moth ers and children in particular, but may include sisters, nieces, and ne phews). Sharon, for instance, de scribed providing assistance to her elderly mother who lived nearby, “O h sometime like when I buy she little grocery, give her sometime. Little vegetable when I get and anything like dat.” She went on to

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293 explain that her mother was a pensioner who suffered from heart disease and high blood pressure, and in combination with her sib lings, Sharon helped pay for her mother’s medications. Women also desc ribed providing support to frie nds, employees, and their community. Eastlyn, who runs a small parl our, recounted how the young women of her village sought her out for advice. She desc ribed her impromptu counseling secessions, “usually on evening I put de bench out der a nd den we sit down and talk. Dey have a lot of young girls in de village here. I don’t know if it’s they see me out here and it’s easy [to] talk to [me], so dey just come and shar e der problems with me and I talk wit dem and encourage dem I tink.” Often women described the reciprocal natu re of social networks. For example, after having a falling out with her parents, Janet’s niece came to live with her. Her niece was employed and helped to pay some of the household expenses, but would also substitute in Janet’s absence when a potential customer came to the parlour near their home. Janet explained, “If she home, if somebody come and sh e der, she’ll sell, but she don’t like sellin’. But if she der and yuh come and yuh call, she go up and sell you. Or she up der, she sell you.” Like Janet whose home life and work life often overlap, the examples provided above demonstrate the in tricacies of women’s social networks. Just as the productive and reproductive roles of Caribbean women overlap (Massiah 1993:2), female microentrepr eneurs in Tobago are dynamic women who interact with many people on ma ny levels, often making it difficu lt (or even arbitrary) to separate personal from professional linkages in their multifaceted social networks. Similarly, Wilson (1973:7-8,58), descri bed small Caribbean society,

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294 Sociologically, life…is intensely personal. Everyone knows each other in many different ways. People must live with the burden of intimacy, and this results in a complex pattern of relations in which every right and duty is bound up with emotions in such a wa y that the whole presents a sense of ever-changing tensil e dialectic – which I have called, using the island term, ‘crab antics’…Crab antics is behavior that resembles that of a number of crabs who, having been placed in a barrel, all try to climb out. But as one nears the top, the other below pulls him down in his own effort to climb. Only a particularly strong crab ever climbs out – the rest, in the long run, remain in the same place. Though Wilson’s study of Providencia in th e 1950s focused on a smaller population (approximately 2,000) than Tobago in 1999-2000 (approximately 52,000), the interpersonal dynamic he labeled “crab anti cs” was a notable force in Tobago as well.95 Similar to Wilson, Frampton’s (1957:42) charac terization of Tobagonian social structure sounds strikingly like crab antics, The social standing of an individual appears to depend more on his worth as a human being rather than on his material success in life. Ind eed there are strong pressures towards conformity to existing patterns of life and an individual who sets himself higher goals of material achievement and advancement than his neighbours may lose his close links with the community. The informal social controls (or pressures) on behavior are not very noticeably exercised by individua l leaders in the villages, but are deep seated in the general attitudes towards life amongst a large number of people. There are leaders in the villages who are respected and followed but they work quietly within the framework of their society and cannot be considered as capable of introducing any major changes. It appears that a degree of stabi lity and contentment has been reached in most of the rura l communities and that the

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295 Tobagonian values his way of life and is not immediately anxious to have it disturbed. Likewise, Mintz (Mintz 1973:xxi) noted “crab antics functions as a means of social control, it is a leveling device that operates in the interest of equality in a system where socioeconomic equality for more than the very few is in fact unattainable.” Wilson’s (Wilson 1973:222-224) theory of crab antics i nvolved a balancing mechanism composed of two opposed principles, namely reputation and respectability: Reputation is an indigenous system of measuring personal worth as derived from conduct with other people by recogn izing “personal attainment and differentiation” and prizing “t alents and skills which bolst er a self-image.” Rooted in equality, however, reputation sanc tions personal competition through “undermining and ridiculing respectability.” Respectability is a system of stratif ying the society into classes based on “standards of moral worth and judgment” imposed from Euro-American values, while institutions such as legal marriage are “prerequisites” for respectability – but do not guarantee it. According to Wilson, men and women are di fferently orientated to these opposing principles. In his theory, women are more oriented towards respectability whereas men (until much later in life) are concerned with reputation. Yet, as demonstrated by my fieldwork in Tobago and the l iterature on women in the Caribbean, complexity of female roles extends beyond Wilson’s fo cus on respectability in th e domestic domain. Besson (1993:21,25), for example, critiqued Wilson’s male-oriented domain of reputation noting that “women also compete for status, in the sense of personal worth among themselves and with men” in dimensions such as landhol ding or titles. Anothe r example of female expressions of reputation, which is most relevant to this st udy, is the case of women who

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296 have established a reputation through their entrepreneurial activities and compete for customers with other men and women. Other studies of the Caribbean have likewise noted entrepreneurial crab an tics involving “difficulties and resentment [encountered] when a local person climbs up the career la dder” (Pattullo 1996:6768). In Tobago, crab antics may be expressed through the threat of obe ah (witchcraft of black magic) used as a repercussion against an indi vidual who tries to get ahead. Roslyn, for example, explained implications of obeah among market vendors, I have tried to get my childre n to be my partner in the market, which would have been good because dey would have been self-employed, which I tell dem is much better. But dey don’t like the market. The market carry an old, sour sore. Like you know long ago, if dey don’t like you, dey would give you a sore on your foot, or a big foot, or tings like dat, dey carry from years, years, years. So the kids and dey growin’ up and h earin’ about obeah sayin, “I am not comin’ in the market I don’t want anybody no give me no big foot.” Yuh know, but I tink it’s dying out now, it’s dying out. The older ones would be superstitious. Yuh know, like when dey leavin’ and dey sprinkle a set of salt on the stone. I see it all de time, all de time. I pay dem no mind. I believe in God. Although obeah may be a subtle form of social control in Tobago, gossip was often the mode by which crab antics were ope rationalized. Repeatedly during fieldwork I heard the phrase, “Tobago is a small place,” which I interpreted more explicitly as an indication of the prevalence of gossip within this small society, and more tacitly as warning to be mindful of whom I spoke to a nd what transpired duri ng fieldwork. Parallel to my experience, a female anthropologist from Finland who preceded my fieldwork in

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297 Tobago relayed her story of be ing the target of malicious gossip, which although painful, ultimately benefited her research. She explai ned, “I soon found out that most people in Tobago had to suffer from similar situations. In fact, the unpleasant experience actually made me more ‘Tobagonian’ so that many of my friends found it easier to relate to me after that” (Laitinen 1997). Though Wilson’s (1973:161) portrayal of the power of gossip should be expanded to include women, he per ceptively noted that bo th words and deeds “must be relied on to build up a reputation a nd sustain it. By the same token words are the principal weapon that threat ens the integrity of a reputatio n that can be used to erode and nibble it away.” In Tobago, I learned that maco (gossip) and commesse (confusion or scandal) were powerful means of reinforcing conformity through informal sanctions (Mendes 1986:36,93). Similarly, Besson explai ned that (1993:18) “other leveling mechanisms are ridicule and gossip, and both reputation and respectability may be destroyed by words.” Patsy, who taught drap ery making, provided an example of how crab antics/gossip affected her microenterpris e. She noted that “Tobago is very small, news get back to you, yuh understand what I’m sayin” and went on to recount a falling out with a colleague. “De same girl dat we nt [to] John D [John Donaldson Technical School in Trinidad] wit me, she didn’t unders tand everyting and she would teach class too. And she would call me and ask me how to do certain things, yuh know, and she want me to do dis for her because she want to te ach it in class. But I stop all dat because I realize she cuttin’ me throat.” Patsy learned fr om others that the “girl” in question had been slandering her reputation in an attemp t to steal away customers. Participants indicated that gossip traveled quickly in a small place, particularly if anything untoward

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298 occurred, or was believed to have been committed. Likewise, Wilson (1974:25-26) noted the prevalence and expediency of gossip being exchanged on a small and insular Caribbean island society. News traveling al ong the gossip “grapevin e” affected how the offending individual is perceived. The most common examples of crab antics that I encountered among female microentrepreneurs in Tobago were the result of competition over customers (as in the example a bove) or disputes over land use. Both Wilson (1974) and Besson (1993) indi cated that the symbolic value of land was linked to identity, equali ty, and reputation. As noted ear lier in this chapter, after emancipation, the family landholding became an institution that symbolically established the perpetuity of kinship and the ideal of e qual inheritance. Yet, land rights also connote economic significance and competition to limited resources. For female microentrepreneurs, even situations where direct competition did not exist, a rivalry could pose a threat to their business when the issue was access to land (regardless of ownership). Irene, who sells fresh vegetables and basic foodstuff in her village, provided an example of crab antics in terfering with a woman’s microe nterprise. She inherited use of a very modest produce stand from a cousi n, but being highly motivated, Irene decided to invest in a new stand, My cousin first come and use here and he was not getting any problems, right? And den when I first came out here, I was not getting any problems on dis [old] stall here. But de day I does tell [my family] to build dis [new] stall here, I began getting problems [with a neighbor]. He started to come and [sucks teeth to express annoyance], yuh know, sayin’ all kind of a tings. So I visited some people from de government agencies and ting and ask dem about it and dey

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299 told me dat I’m not really on der land because de government sees about all here. Because de man was threatening to fence in de [ public tele]phone and everyting because he say de phone and all on his land. Once Irene made a discernible effort to improve her business, she inadvertently provoked her neighbor. Evidently, the neighbor assumed that his landholding included the corner where Irene’s produce stand was lo cated and only made an issue of property rights once she made the investment of cons tructing a new stand. A similar land dispute example came from Tiffany who rented bicycles to tourists. In order for her business to succeed, Tiffany needed to be located in proximity to Tobago’s major tourism zone. She explained how her business location came under contention, “Everybody saying this spot is ‘there own’ or ‘this is my piece of land’ .” Tiffany researched the problem and learned that the land in question wa s government property, but stil l a neighbor protested. Tiffany tried to maintain her business location and was willing to pay rent to the self-proclaimed “owner,” but ultimately was out maneuvered. Ti ffany described, “She fight me – she give me lawyer letter and I had to move. Right now that same spot is just like I left it, yuh understand, that was 1995. Nobody is on the spot she don’t want any money for it, so I know that is how we are in Tobago.” In su m, Tiffany felt that the woman objected to having Tiffany (or perhaps anybody) making us e of the land to earn income. These examples demonstrate that conflict is not limited to competition among people engaged in the same enterprise and in fact; such riva lries are best explained as crab antics wherein efforts to “get ahead” economica lly are negatively sanctioned.

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300 Towards the end of my fieldwork, successf ul participant-obser vation provided an unexpected first-hand opportunity for me to encounter crab antics. I was taken by surprised when a relationship that I had prev iously regarded as a close friendship shifted and underlying tensions of jealousy and riva lry were revealed. One small example to illustrate the affect of crab antics involved my relationship with a young boy named Dexter. I had become close to his family and like the other unmarried women in his daily life, Dexter innocently to ok to calling me “Tantie.” According to Wilson(1973:146), “application of kinship terms to non-kin gives more indication of the idiom of kinship as an equalizer, as a device by which people who may be excluded from a social orbit can be drawn in.” Thus, the inclusion of me as “Tantie Cheryl” indicated my status had been elevated to include me as fictive kin. Yet, when my relationship with one of his authentic aunts shifted, Dexter was no longer allowed to address me as “Tantie,” a subtle message that indicated that my status had been demo ted. In coming to terms with this difficult and disappointing experience, Marie, my surrogate mother and closest friend in Tobago who had joked for months that “Cheryl is a Toba gonian,” helped to deepen my understanding of Tobago culture. Sympathizing with my situat ion, she recalled the first time she heard the phrase “Tobago people not nice.” The Trinid adian who made this remark followed up by asking if Marie was “not al so from Trinidad? [But] You so nice.” In effect, this exchange was a “backhanded compliment,” wherein the woman inferred that someone so “nice” could not possibly originate from a mean-spirited place like Tobago. Despite the crab antics of interpersonal life, the island of Tobago could otherwise be described as offering a relaxed pace of life. Tobago was often characterized as an

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301 archetypal Caribbean island; peaceful, quiet, serene. According to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago’s official tourism website “Tobago is really the last of the ‘unspoilt Caribbean’” and furthermore described “a peace seekers idyll, a quiet chunk of perfection, where the sun caresses and the gr een hills tumble to the turquoise seas” (TIDCO 2003). By contrast, Trinidad is highly cosmopolitan – full of fast moving cars and buses transporting busy people to office buildings, supermarkets, and social events. Parallel to the contrasting atmosphere of Trinidad and Tobago, the relationships between natives of either island was conflic t-ridden. Despite being a so-called “twin island” republic, the two locati ons had distinctive “identities” that affected interpersonal relationships. Roslyn, whose mother was from Tobago but was born and lived in Trinidad until the age of 13, found her fellow market vendor s particularly prickly. In the past, they would throw rotten produce on her market sta ll. She described, “You see, in Tobago is sort of – we from Tobago and you is not. Well, now dey get accustom to me, but I had it real hard at first.” Roslyn was treated as an unwelcome outsider whereas other emigrants from Trinidad described feel caught some where between two cultures. Wilma, for example, moved to Tobago from Trinidad at age 16. I asked if she felt more Tobagonian or Trinidadian, Sometimes, dependin’ on w ho you are hangin’ with, you will feel more like a Trinidadian because when I am speakin’ they will say “oh you is Trinidadian” and sometimes Tobago people have a way of excluding Trinidadians. And when you ’re in Trinidad now, well everybody in Trinidad will say “you’s a Tobago person now,” yuh know. And then sometimes depending on what dey say I will get upset because liv in’ here I will be able to

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302 understand and appreciate the Tobago way of things, different to Trinidad way of things. So I am caught in the middle. Though there are many reasons that resident s of Trinidad and Tobago might travel between the two islands, most tended to view Trinidad and Tobago as very discrete places. Interviews with microentrepreneurs indicated that among these women, the most common connection to Trinidad was the need to obtain supplies si nce nearly all goods were imported from Trinidad. Some travel more frequently than others. Both Merle and Suzanne went to Trinidad monthly to pur chase stock for their businesses (women’s undergarments and fishing tackle, respectively) Others traveled o ccasionally, such as Sharon and Tiffany who went biannually to purchase supplies in Trinidad. Sharon, a gardener who sold produce at the local market traveled to purchase seeds at wholesale prices; while Tiffany, who rented bicycles to tourists, traveled to purchase bicycles and spare parts. Most any type of equipmen t, from cosmetology supplies to commercial bakeware that are imported from abroad, mu st be obtained in Trinidad. Many female microentrepreneurs have supplies shippe d to them. Patsy, a part-time food vendor explained that Tobago does not have a dire ct supplier of foodst uff, “Yuh call and yuh order because dey don’t have a factory here. De y just have de trucks, so you call and you make your order from Trinidad and dey bri ng it up for you.” Similarly, Olive, who ran a small chicken farm with her family, ordered baby chicks from Trinidad. She explained that the chicks would not survive the long j ourney on the ferry so instead, “Dey bring on [the] plane because the boxes have to have air and all these tings.” Transportation between the two islands was often in lim ited supply and could be either a time-

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303 consuming or costly ordeal. In 1999-2000, the cost of domestic travel between the two islands by ferry on the “Panorama” was $60 TT or by plane on Air Caribbean was $125 TT. Travel between Trinidad and Tobago via the domestic ferry was approximately a sixhour journey plus an additional hour to board or by air, travel time from take-off to landing was only twenty minutes. Tiffany noted that in the past, transportation was more flexible, “Longtime, if you’re not traveling with the boat, yuh could just put your stuff on [the ferry,] but [now] yuh need to be traveling to put your stuff on it. We bring it up on the plane mostly.” In the past, a merchant co uld load their stock on the ferry to transport it back to Tobago unattended, but later were re quired to travel w ith their merchandise. Many people preferred the convenience of travel ing or shipping by air, despite the higher cost. Those who traveled to Trinidad typically developed a relationship with their supplier, but after business wa s transacted, most female microentrepreneurs returned directly to Tobago. Transpor tation via ferry could be a long ordeal, but many female microentrepreneurs had adapted to the situa tion. Roslyn, a market vendor who frequently traveled on the ferry to Trinidad’s wholesal e market (unless someone else brought back produce for her), received a gift of a sleeping bag from one of her regular customers to help make the overnight journey more comfortable. Patsy made weekly trips to Trinidad for ten weeks while she received training in drapery and soft furnishing production from John Donaldson Technical School. She described the social aspects of frequent travel, “Yes, there was another girl dat was wit me, sh e and I used to travel every week. And we made a lot of friends down der too because th e girls were nice because I end up showing

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304 some of dem some of de work becaus e dey were first-timers.” Some female microentrepreneurs had customers located in Trinidad, and while many had family members living on the big sister island, for the majority, excursions to Trinidad were limited to situations of necessity (such as em ergency medical care or short-term training). Many people in Tobago actually feared Trinidad and consid ered it too dangerous. During fieldwork, if a Tobagonian learned during a c onversation that I had a pending trip to Trinidad, they often took it upon themselves to lecture me about safety and crime. Unlike Tobago, where most reported criminal activit y targeted tourists, violent crime was the more prevalent in Trinidad (Tobago News 2002). Summary of Women’s Working Roles Since the post-emancipation period, wo men’s working roles have evolved in response to a range of political-economic a nd social pressures. Many changes benefited women, while other positive aspects have b een lost in transition. After emancipation, Tobago’s population grew into a thriving, self-sufficient agra rian society well into the 1940s. For women, partnership with their mate was of primary sign ificance. Together they worked the land and provided for their family, including buying land and building a home. Without modern conve niences, women’s work was arduous yet; many found time to supplement the family income through o ccasional microentrepreneurial activities. Later, colonial influences di ssuaded women’s visible economic activities. The process of “housewifization” transf ormed the domestic sphere as fo rmerly self-sufficient peasants were ostensibly remolded into the protot ypical, Euro-American gender roles of male breadwinner and female homemakers, mirroring with the idealized so ciety envisioned by

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305 the colonial administrators. Shifting wome n’s working roles di d not preclude their enterprising efforts (Massiah 1993:25; Safa 1995). Rather, through economic strategizing and self-employment, women functioned as domestic financial managers. Furthermore, economic circumstances did not allow male breadwinners to ad equately fulfill the presumed role as household provider. In the 1950s, decolonialization and the influences of Williams and the PNM loosened wome n’s bondage. Motivated by the decline of agriculture and availability of free secondary education, women were encouraged to explore their academic and professional pot ential. To attend secondary school, parents and children made great sacrif ices including fragmentation of the family and internal migration. Furthermore, employment opportuni ties lured talented Tobagonians further away from their natal villages. Through in ternal migration, Toba go’s population shifted towards Scarborough to be nearer secondary schools and work. Through out-migration, Tobago’s population shifted to Trinidad a nd beyond to access tertiary education and professional development. In particular, ec onomic growth in the 1970s stimulated access to government service. Facilitated by the availability of daycare services and public transportation, women took on the “double day” of family and formal employment. In the 1980s and 1990s, education and training created a “crossing over” or blurring of formerly gender-stereotyped work that expanded women’s opportunities. Facilitated by the availability of advanced education and tr aining, many of Tobago’s “best and brightest” have been lured further away. The afterm ath of burgeoning oppor tunities and population loss has eroded village leadership and weak ened voluntary organizations. In response,

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306 women have assumed visible positions of power and influence and have actively transformed leadership. Throughout the transformation of women’s working roles, certain Tobagonian characteristics persisted. Women remained devoted to their home and family in the twentieth century. Although th eir houses were larger and modern appliances were prevalent, they expended considerable e ffort maintaining their homes. Women made great sacrifices to promote their children’s welfare and considered education the primary means to upward social mobility. Perhaps the quintessential traits of Tobago womanhood were the ability to “make ends meet” with little resources and seemingly tireless commitment to their goals. As their res ources and opportunities expanded, the women of Tobago continued to forge new territory in cluding accessing formal positions of power and leadership. In the section above, I provided an ethnogr aphic account of the cultural context of Tobago with particular focus on the multiple roles and responsibilities of women. Although there are many employment opportu nities for women in Tobago, this study specifically focuses on poor women and the potential of the micr ocredit model of microenterprise development for providing economic empowerment. Again, I remind the reader that my approach in this disserta tion involves approach moves beyond feminist and economic anthropology to a praxis that is informed by critical feminist theory. Also, my approach employs the critical feminist st rategy of strategic essentialism where I use an artificial category for the purpose of evaluating internationa l development policy. Informed by feminist and economic anthr opology, I understand th e classification of

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307 female microentrepreneur in Tobago is useful for the purposes of evaluating the application of the microcredi t model of microenterprise de velopment within a specific cultural and historic context. Informed by cri tical feminist theory, I also acknowledge that the limitations of this cate gory (and its potential to leak ). Certainly, there are many different employment and economic opport unities for women in Tobago and women have many different experiences through their engagement in economic activities. In the next section, I applied anthr opological in order to evalua te the microcredit model of microenterprise development within this cu ltural and historical context. Through the strategic use of a category that erases diffe rences among women in Tobago, I evaluate the applicability of the microcredit model by contrasting differences across third world women.

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308 Chapter Four: Methods This dissertation examined a popular in ternational development model that originated in Southeast Asia and evaluated the relative success of replicating this model in the cultural and historical context of a small Afro-Car ibbean society. Through applying an anthropological perspective, I evaluate d the potential for adapting the Grameen Bankinspired microcredit model of microenter prise development through building on local resources in order to provide culturally relevant, economically viable and personally fulfilling opportunities for poor women to expand their microentrepreneurial potential. In evaluating the microcredit model of microenter prise development within the cultural and historic context of Tobago, I assessed f unding agency’s strategies for meeting poor women’s needs through self-employment as well as the perceived needs of female microentrepreneurs. Through in-depth ethnograp hic research, I addr essed the apparent contradictions between cultural and historical contex t, political-economic factors, as well as international development policies and pr actices aimed at empowering poor women to think and act globally and locally in terms of sustainable development. In the tradition of anthr opological research, the prim ary data collection and analysis methodology for this disserta tion was ethnography. Ethnography has been described as “the art or scie nce of describing a group or cult ure and fieldwork is at the heart of the ethnographic method. In the fiel d, basic anthropologi cal concepts, data collection methods and techniques, and analys is are the fundamental elements of ‘doing ethnography’” (Fetterman 1998:473-474). Findings presented in this dissertation are the

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309 products of ethnographic data collected using multiple methods (such as participant observation and semistructured interviewing) combined with analysis of detailed field notes, transcribed interviews and other sour ces of information (including reports and newspaper articles). In this dissertation I e ndeavored to create an ethnographic account of Tobago culture. More specifi cally, through the ethnographic a pproach, I have attempted to provide what Clifford Geertz (1973) calle d “thick description” of the multiple roles and obligations of female microentrepreneurs in Tobago. Through thick description of the ordinary lives and everyday activities of self-employed women in Tobago, I have provided data that reflects the “predictable patterns of human thought and behavior” (Fetterman 1998:473) and conducted analysis of these data in order to present research results that classify and evaluate meanings. Ethnography is unique in that data collec tion and analysis ar e often concurrent activities, which was the case during my fieldwork. Likewise, David Fetterman (1998:474) noted “whereas in most research analysis follows data collection, in ethnographic research analysis and data collection begin simultaneously.” In my fieldwork, analysis of what I encountered during data collection often influenced the direction of my inquiry. Thr ough the iterative process of et hnographic data collection and analysis, the concepts that guided my st udy evolved throughout my fieldwork. Although my fieldwork followed a structured research design, data collection and analysis plan, I did make an effort to appropriately modi fy my research strategy as I worked. My fieldwork was guided by a structured resear ch design and testable research hypothesis, yet concurrent analysis of my findings (suc h as coding and narrative analysis of focus

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310 group interviews) as well as obstacles encount ered during data collection influenced and reshaped my research design during fieldwork. In attempting to create a descriptive, ethnographic account of female microenterprise in Tobago, my data collec tion was guided by the following research question; “Does the microcredit model of female microenterprise development fit the cultural and historical contex t of Tobago?” Though I tried to keep an open mind while designing my study and conducting fieldwork, I was aware that I had certain biases that influenced my approach. For example, I did not think that a microcredit program modeled after the Grameen Bank of Banglades h was the optimal approach for developing microentrepreneurship among Afro-Caribbean women. One reason I did not believe this was the most effective approach was due to the microcredit model’s emphasis on cooperatively organized microenterprise, which I suspected was contrary to the prominent independence that has been doc umented by scholars of Afro-Caribbean women (Bell 1986; Bush 1990; McKay 1993) and that I had observed during preliminary research in Tobago. In making my assump tions explicit regarding microenterprise structure, I attempted to control for my bi as by designing a data collection strategy to include both independent and cooperatively orga nized female microentrepreneurs. Yet, in spite of tremendous effort to locate groups of self-employed women that I could categorize as “cooperatively or ganized” female microentrepr eneurs, I had great difficulty finding women’s microenterpr ises that were independe ntly owned and operated by groups of women (as opposed to family member s or individuals). I was surprised when it seemed as though I had answered my resear ch question after only a few months of

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311 fieldwork when I concluded that the structural pattern of c ooperatively organized female microentrepreneurship was idiosyncratic of Tobago (the results of this study will be discussed in Chapter Four). In accounting for how I desi gned my research project, conducted fieldwork, analyzed findings and determined the results of my study, the following discussion of my research methodol ogy includes a detailed description of my sampling strategy, demographic da ta collection and analysis. A. Sampling To a great extent, the early phase of fieldwork invol ves the ethnographer employing informal methods in order to begi n collecting information as well as a “big net” or “wide angle” approach to sampling. As fieldwork progresses, the initial phase of taking a broad perspective and employing info rmal methods is followed by a process of refining the study’s focus and narrowing the targeted samp le (Fetterman 1998:479-480). Likewise, in my study, I first identified my “population” meaning the “largest group (or unit) of research interest (Singer 1997:127). Next, although my target population was defined as a specific subpopulation of Tobago (that is female microentrepreneurs), I began my fieldwork with a larger sample that included a range of people who provided background information and helped to expand my understanding of self-employment in Tobago in order to more accurately refine and narrow my focus. Thus, populations included in this study consisted of the fo llowing subgroups: (1) local training and funding agencies representatives; (2) local governme nt officials; (3) international development practitioners; (4) academics including faculty from the University of the West Indies (UWI); and (5) female microentrepreneurs. To a great extent, the sample of local training

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312 and funding agencies representatives and international develo pment practitioners individuals with whom I had contact during preliminary cons ist of summer fieldwork. I also used this network of “local experts” to make contact with other training and funding programs and to identify female microentrepr eneurs to interview. In the following, I clearly define each of the five subgr oups that comprised my sample. First, I interviewed what I refer to as “resource people” incl uding local training and funding agency representatives w ho had working knowledge of female microentrepreneurship in Tobago. These reso urce people included staff from both the Trinidad and Tobago offices of the govern ment-sponsored Small Business Development Company (SBDC) and Venture Capital Incen tive Programme; the manager of the Tobago office of the government-sponsored Agricultur al Development Bank (ADB); staff from both the Trinidad and Tobago offices of F undAid, a local non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides microcred it loans for microenterprise de velopment; the head of the Tobago office of Youth Training and Employ ment Partnership Programme (YTEPP), a vocational training program; managers from credit unions in three Tobago villages; a representative of the Trinidad office of Caribbean Microfinance Limited (CML), a microcredit program; and the president of the Caribbean Association of Women Entrepreneurs (for more details on agenci es that provided tr aining and financial assistance, please see Appendices E and F) In addition to expanding my general understanding of self-employm ent among women, data collected during interviews with local resource people also contributed to my evaluation of tr aining and financial assistance resources that were available to female microentrepreneurs in Tobago.

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313 Through interviews with training and funding agencies, I compiled a resource inventory of funding, training and business development re sources that I later used to evaluate utilization and awareness of local res ources among female microentrepreneurs. Second, in addition to contact ing and interviewing local resource people to obtain information on funding, training and business development resources, I also conducted interviews with local government representa tives that contributed to my evaluation of local resources for the development of female microentrepreneurship in Tobago. Examples of local government resources s ponsored by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) included a business incubator progr am that provided training and support for microenterprise development and gender typed vocational training program that promotes sewing and handicraft production. Intervie ws were conducted with staff and administrators from the following branches of the THA: Division of Cooperatives and Labour, Department of Cooperatives; Divisi on of Marketing; Di vision of Community Development; Division of Health and Human Services, Depart ment of Social Services; Division of Tourism; Division of Planning, Business Development Unit; and the Office of the Chief Secretary, Policy, Research and Development Institute (PRDI). Third, international devel opment agencies working in Trinidad and Tobago provided funding assistance and organized tr aining for female microentrepreneurs. I found that international development agencies tended to sponsor cooperatively organized and community supported women’ s ventures (discussed in Chapter Four). Development practitioners from the Canadian Interna tional Development Agency (CIDA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP ) had been particularly active with

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314 supporting women’s microenterprise developmen t in Tobago while the European Union had provided financial suppor t through local NGOs and credit unions. I conducted several informal interviews with the CI DA and UNDP development practitioners who had working knowledge of women’s self-emp loyment projects in Tobago and observed several of the groups they had sponsored. Fourth, my sample of academics originat ed from contacts faci litated through my faculty at the University of South Florid a, was cultivate during preliminary summer fieldwork and was further expanded through contact with faculty at the UWI during dissertation fieldwork. Informal interviews conducted with UW I faculty (including Bridget Brereton, Rhoda Reddock and Patsy Russell) provide d opportunities to present preliminary findings, discuss alte rnative perspectives and be di rected to relevant studies that provided valuable information. The fifth subgroup in my sample was female microentrepreneurs. These sample subgroups were further subdivided into cooperative and individual female microentrepreneurs. Combined, the sample of 65 female microentrepreneurs was constructed from client lists and referrals fr om resource people, as well as referrals from local government contacts and friends. As th ere was no defined “popul ation” from which I could draw a representative sample, an al ternative was to construct a “purposive” or “targeted” sample based on the type of information I was seeking (Bernard 1995:95; Singer 1997). My purpose was to intervie w both cooperative and individual female microentrepreneurs in order to test my hypot hesis about the structur e of the microcredit model; thus, my sampling strategy was to targ et participants to fulfill this objective.

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315 Referrals were particularly important as identifying and recruiting participants among female microentrepreneurs was challenging. I found that without some sort of referral, female microentrepreneurs were difficult to id entify and generally reluctant to participate. Absent an introduction, attempts to explain my study or to request an interview tended to invoke skeptical-to-suspicious reactions. Sim ilar to my efforts to identify and recruit female microentrepreneurs, Merrill Singe r (Singer 1997:127-148) described conducting research among “hidden populations” or “gr oups whose existence is known but about whom we do not know a great deal. Moreover, they are groups that may be important to learn about because they have significant… social or other needs.” So-called “hidden populations” are typically groups that lack a priori membership due to the absence of defining records and therefore are not availabl e for enumeration. Likewise, I found that it was challenging to identify and recruit fema le microentrepreneurs in Tobago as they frequently operate in the so-called “informa l economy” and are typically not registered business owners. One method of locating so-c alled hidden populations involves referral through an institution. Singer (1997:139) has not ed that one approach to targeted sampling with so-called “hidden populations ” involves building ra pport with “relevant gatekeepers” and establishing working relati onships in order to make contact with participants. Without the input of “relevant gatekeepers” or resource people, I was limited to approaching those whose businesses were easily located (such as handicraft or food vendors in the tourism zones). This method al one would have excluded participants who operated businesses in “hidden sectors” that were not readily accessible (such as homebased microenterprises). Yet, samples recruite d from secondary institutional data can be

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316 limited to individuals that are easier to locate. In addition to institutional referrals, I also located participants through personal referr als and “snowball sampli ng,” in which case a female microentrepreneur whom I intervie wed would refer me to another female microentrepreneur (Bernard 1995:97). Theref ore, to recruit a wider distribution, my targeted sampling strategy included recruiting participants from multiple resource people’s client lists personal referrals and snowball sampling. My sample of cooperative female micr oentrepreneurs was comprised of groups that were affiliated with the THA or cont acted through personal referral. THA sponsors a number of training and comm unity groups that I was able to contact either through referral from THA officials or through pers onal introductions at va rious THA meetings and other events. My sample of 39 individua l female microentrepreneurs was comprised of referrals from a range of sources (Table 1). Table 1: Sample of Individual Female Microentrepreneurs by Source of Referral Personal 33.33%13 *SBDC Clients 25.64%10 *FundAid Clients 15.38%6 REACH Project Participants15.38%6 *THA 7.69% 3 *Credit Union Members 2.56% 1 N=39 (*Appendices E and F contain informa tion about the agencies listed above)

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317 Through various referrals I was able to c ontact and recruit par ticipants for focus groups or conduct in-depth interviews and participant observation. Also, using contact information that was provided as well as the phone book, I attempted to locate and interview every person to whom I was refe rred. Although it is di fficult to generalize about a population from a nonprobability sample in order to amplif y the credibility of my study, the findings presented in this di ssertation are based on analysis of both interview as well as other ethnogr aphic data (Bernard 1995:94). In an effort to be representative I also targeted my sample of female microentrepreneurs to include participants fr om villages across th e island of Tobago. As a result of this effort, my sample of fema le microentrepreneurs closely parallels the population distribution of Tobago. In coding my data, I modeled my geographic coding after the five region system used by the loca l branch of the Small Business Development Company. In the table below (Table 2) I illustra te that the distributi on of my sample of 65 female microentrepreneurs is similar to th e general population di stribution of Tobago. Like my sample, the majority of Tobago resi des live on the western side of the island, represented below as Scarborough Proximity, Tourism Zone and Central Region whereas the island is less densely populated on th e Northern Coast and Windward District. Table 2: Total Sample of Female Mi croentrepreneurs by Region of Tobago PopulationSample Total Scarborough Proximity (St. Andrews) 27.16% 23.81%15 Tourism Zone (St. Patrick) 22.36% 20.63%13 Central Region (St. George and St. David)27.06% 25.40%16 North Coast (St. John) 6.33% 4.76% 3 Windward District (St. Ma ry and St. Paul)17.09% 25.40%16 *Adjusted sample, 2 locations missing *N=63

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318 Other demographic data collected included level of education completed (Table 3). Table 3: Reported Education, Sample of All Female Microentrepreneurs by Region of Tobago Primary 46.88% 30 *Secondary I 35.94% 23 **Secondary II 12.50% 8 University 4.69% 3 *Fewer than 5 O-level exams passed **Minimum 5 O-level and 1 A-level exams passed or some University ***Adjusted sample, 1 education level missing ***N=64 The majority of my sample report having co mpleted either primary or some level of secondary school but few had attended university. Other demographic indicators collected for my sample include informati on on household composition (Table 4) as well as presence of male breadwinner and race or ethnicity (Table 5). Table 4: Demographic Averages from Samp le of All Female Microentrepreneurs Average Age 43.30 Average Household Size 4.90 Average Number of Children under 18 years of age2.20 N=65 Table 5: Percentile Demographic Inform ation from Sample of All Female Microentrepreneurs Percent with Male Partner Reported as “Other Earner” 58.46%38 Percent Race/Ethnicity Reported as “Negro” (Afro-Tobagonian) 93.85%61 N=65 Female microentrepreneurs in my sample re present a range of business types (Table 6). In my sample, businesses that involved f ood were the most prevalent including food

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319 preparation and operation of so-called “parlours” where snacks and provisions are typically sold. Table 6: Type of Business, Sample of All Female Microentrepreneurs Agriculture 7.69% 5 Agricultural Stall 7.69% 5 Auto Supply 3.08% 2 Bakery 4.62% 3 Beauty (Hairdressing, etc.) 6.15% 4 Bicycle Rental 1.54% 1 Clothing Retail 7.69% 5 Craft Manufacture and Sales 9.23% 6 Food Preparation and Sales 20% 13 Guest House 3.08% 2 Laundry 1.54% 1 Parlour (Mini Mart) 16.92% 11 Sweet Manufacture and Sales 7.69% 5 Taxi Driver 1.54% 1 Variety Shop 4.62% 3 *Two participants noted that they operate two businesses yet, the total number of subject remains 65. *N=67 Through a comparison of cooperatives and in dividual female microentrepreneurs, I evaluated obstacles, advantages and feas ibility of cooperative employment verses individual self-employment. Other factors fo r evaluation of microenterprise development include availability of resources; business lo cation; access to transportation; awareness and acquisition of funding, tr aining and business skills; ex istence of profitable and nontraditional occupational opportunities; and de mographic characteristics including the composition of participants’ households and social networks. This study was conducted qualitatively rather than quantitatively for a nu mber of reasons. First, as stated above, it was not possible to construct a statistically re liable sample of female microentrepreneurs. Also, had I administered a standardized surv ey to my nonprobability targeted sample of

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320 female microentrepreneurs, I would not be ab le to draw generalizable findings from the data with any degree of conf idence. Alternatively, using the limited resources that were available to me, I constructed a targeted sample and collected ethnographic data that included participant observation, focus groups an d open-ended surveys to construct an indepth study of female microentrepreneurship. As a result, analysis of my ethnographic study of female microentrepreneurship was not limited to characterizing successful selfemployment in terms that typically pertain to small business (such as profit margins and growth potential). These types of quantifiabl e business variables are difficult to document among people engaged in the so-called “informal economy,” provide a limited perspective and do not accurately reflect the nature of female microenterprise.1 Rather, analysis of my ethnographic study of female microentrepreneurship involved evaluating successful self-employment in terms of “economic empowerment.” Economic empowerment expands beyond simple quantitative indicators (such as capital, output, and employment figures). Achievement of ec onomic empowerment is a highly reflexive indicator that requires in-depth analysis to demonstrate where women’s quality of life is positively affected through sustainable employment that provides autonomy and selfsufficiency without detrimental domesti c impacts. Problems faced by female microentrepreneur include issues of quality, marketability, sustainability, and access to credit. Through the ethnographi c approach I evaluated the experiences of cooperative microentrepreneurs as compared to indivi dually employed microentrepreneurs along the following dimensions: advantages of, obstacles to and the feasibility of self-employment among poor women in Tobago.

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321 B. Demographic Data Demographic data presented in this dissertation consist la rgely of (1) Trinidad and Tobago Census data; (2) information from pub lished works and reports; or (3) anecdotal data collected during interviews (see tables above). Collection of census data took place at the Central Statistical Office in Trinida d, UWI, the Library of Congress, and at the Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad a nd Tobago in Washington, DC. In general, Tobago-specific statistical data are difficult to find as indicators are largely subsumed within the national data (Weaver 1998:297). I had difficulty locating demographic data with indicators that specifi cally reported on Tobago and Tobagonians and therefore, I present a limited number of demographic indi cators in this dissertation. Demographic data obtained from other published work s and reports are cited throughout the dissertation, which to a large extent are dr awn from internationa l development studies, government reports or academic research. Also, during semistructured interviews (described below), I collected original demogr aphic data that serve as social indicators for characterizing my sample including age, education, family structure, household expenditures, business expenses and average monthly income. Analysis of demographic data in conjunction with ethnographic data pr ovided the criteria used to construct a comparison of the relative success and s ubsequent consequences of women’s participation in cooperative and individual microenterprise. Specifically, analysis of demographic social indicators provided a mode l for constructing a composite of female microentrepreneurs that I used in designi ng and refining the ethnogr aphic data collection protocols. Also, secondary demographic in formation was used for comparison with

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322 ethnographic data collected for this disserta tion. For example, unlike the middle class, small business owners who had access to capital through the conventional banking system, I evaluated what resources were av ailable to poor, working women and how they were utilized. Likewise, data on funding, tr aining and business development resources was analyzed comparatively with data on pa rticipants’ personal experiences collected during ethnographic interviews. C. Ethnographic Data The following discussion includes six type s of methods that I used to collect ethnographic data for this disse rtation. These six methods in clude participant observation, formal interviews, focus groups, semistructured interviews, collecti on of archival data and oral histories. Ethnography is an iterative process; therefore, th e structured research design for this study included a sequence of procedures that contributed to a growing a body of knowledge. Each section below include s a brief definition of the each method, how each method was operationalized, how the data was analyzed and how the process of data collection evolved. (1) Participant Observation : The term “participant observation” is sometimes used synonymously with the term “ethnography” to descri be the foremost methodology of cultural anthropology (Bernard 1995: 136). “Participant observation combines participation in the lives of people unde r study and maintenan ce of a professional distance that allows adequate observation a nd recording of data” (Fetterman 1998:480). More specifically, participant observation can include a range of data collection methods such as observation, natural conversations, in terviews (structured, semistructured, and

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323 unstructured), checklists, ques tionnaires, and unobtrusive methods (Bernard 1995:137). Likewise, the major methodological approach used to collect ethnographic data for my dissertation was participant observation. As a methodological approach, ethnogr aphic fieldwork ideally involves immersion in a culture for a year or more dur ing which time the researcher is engaged in participant observation. For me, my living and working si tuation during my year of fieldwork in Tobago was ideal for conducting pa rticipant observation. I was situated in a location where transportation was readily a ccessible so I could easily travel around the island. I lived on “family land” among my a dopted Tobago family, which provided ample opportunity for cultural immersion. I lived in pr oximity of my surroga te parents “Marie” and “Max,” who provided access to support and occasional assistance.2 Also, because of the importance of landownership in Tobago (discussed in Chapter Four) I was able to establish a sense of local id entity through claiming residenc e in a particular village. I rented a small house, which provided the privacy I need ed to compose field notes, schedule and conduct interviews and to unw ind after long days of data collection. Likewise, Bernard (1995) noted “participant observation invo lves establishing rapport in a new community; learning to act so that pe ople go about their business as usual when you show up; and removing yourself every day from cultural immersion so you can intellectualize what you’ve learned, put it into persp ective, and write about it convincingly.” Through immersion, my living an d working situation over the course of one year helped me to internalize the cultu re of Tobago. I lived in the midst of an extended family and gradually became indoc trinated into the pa tterns of Tobago life

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324 through participating in a range of daily routines and social activities. Likewise, Fetterman (Fetterman 1998:480) stated “the si mple, ritualistic beha viors of going to the market or to the well for water teach how people use their time and space, how they determine which is precious, sacred, and pr ofane.” My field notes included accounts of awkwardness as I adapted to life in Toba go. Similarly, many anthropologists have experienced the almost childlike learni ng process during the initial phases of “enculturation” or adapting to living in a new culture (Crane and Angrosino 1992:20). Despite initial ineptness, for example, I eventually mastered new methods of doing household chores. I learned to do my wash in a “twin tub” machine, which has separate compartments for washing and spinning laundry. Also, in lieu of a dryer, I had to place my laundry on the line to dry and observe the sk y for sporadic tropical rainstorms (in case I needed to quickly retrieve my laundry). In order to be clearly understood, language difference also required that I adjusted my vocabulary to accommodate for Tobagonian idioms. Although Tobago is an Anglophone island, I learned to go to the “market” to buy fresh produce such a fish and vegetables (and was instructed by Marie that the freshest offerings were to be found early Saturday morning), I shopped at the “grocery” for dry goods such as canned tuna and peanut butter (and could usually travel with Marie and Max on their weekly Saturday evening trip to the grocery), whereas I went to the “store” to purchase household items such as clothes hangers or a can opener. Likewise, I was initially perplexed when villager inquired, “What is wrong with your foot?” when they noticed the blue neoprene knee brace I wore while running. In the Tobago dialect,

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325 villagers’ inquiries about my “foot” reflected curiosity generated by my unusual knee brace. “Participant observation sets the stage for more refined techniques – including projective techniques and ques tionnaires – and becomes more refined itself as the fieldworker understands more and more a bout the culture” (Fe tterman 1998:480). My fieldwork particularly benefite d from my relationship with Marie, my friend who served as my “key informant” or “key actor.” Bernard (1995:166) descri bed “good informants are people who you can talk to easily, w ho understand the information you need, and who are glad to give it to you or get it for you.” Successful ethnographers t ypically rely on one or two key informants. Key informants are often somewhat of a “marginal native” who may be cynical about their own culture. “The y may not be outcasts (in fact, they are always solid insiders), but they claim to feel somewhat marginal to their culture, by virtue of their intellectualizing of and disenchant ment with their culture. They are always observant, reflective, and arti culate—all the qualities that I’d like to have myself” (Bernard 1995”167-168). In addition to being hi ghly intelligent and articulate, Marie had lived for several years in the United States an experience that provided a global and reflexive perspective about her culture. As Bernard (1995) noted “we must select informants for their competence rather than just for their representativeness.” Likewise, Marie’s cross-cultural vantage point allowed her to serve in the role of my “culture broker” as she objectively explained differences betw een our respective cultures (Fetterman 1998:483-484). As our friendship and trust developed over the course of many months, Marie’s feedback was particular ly helpful with developing data collection

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326 strategies and interpreting fi ndings. For example, she reviewed data collection protocols and assisted with interpreting research findings that I found otherwise puzzling. Generally, she helping me to understand Tobago culture from a woman’s perspective and as my fieldwork progresses, I made efforts to learn to live like a proper “Tobago woman” through Marie’s coaching. For ex ample, I learned many domest ic skills including how to make “bake” (or bread) on a “baking stone.” I grew to appreciate the aesthetic importance of food in Tobago and incorporated many of local cooking techniques such as adding a little sugar to my “bake” in order to enhance the color. Similarly, while learning to chop dasheen from the garden and cook “callaloo” (a quintessential Trinidad and Tobago dish that resembles a dark green, sp icy stew), I experienced a painful burning sensation of my fingers after chopping hot pe ppers and later learne d a very useful tip from Marie – that one can simply cook with w hole hot pepper since th e flavor is released through the heat. In addition to Marie, as my fieldwork progresse d, I turned to other friends and acquaintances for explanations of everyday events, advice on tailoring data collection techniques to partic ular subpopulations as well as assistance with interpreting findings. Participant observation for this dissert ation was conducted at various locations over the duration of my fieldwork. For ex ample, I attended training classes and workshops targeted at self-employment. Al so, I conducted particip ant observation with female microentrepreneurs in their work settings, homes, during meetings and events. While I conducted interviews with individua l microentrepreneurs, for example, I often spent several hours alterna ting between conducting the in terview and observing while

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327 they attended to customers. I made regular visits to a cottage industry group where I observed the women preparing and bottling th eir agricultural products I spent many days observing the women of a handi craft training group working on their various projects. I attended training workshops and government meetings. Also, I volunteered my services as a consultant to evaluate microentrepren eurs’ business skills and to prepare grantfunding applications. (2) Archival Data : “Archival resources are part icularly useful for studying cultural processes thr ough time” (Bernard 1995:336). Archiv al data for this dissertation was largely collected at the following archiv al or library locations : UWI, West Indiana Collection; Centre for Gender and Devel opment Studies; Institute of Social and Economic Research; Caribbean Centre for Femi nist Research and Ac tion; Trinidad and Tobago National Archives; Trinidad and Toba go National Library; SBDC Headquarters; United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Ca ribbean, Trinidad; International Labor Organization Office, Tr inidad; and the United States Library of Congress. Depending on the amount of materi al and availability of access, collecting archival data took place over th e course of a few days or we eks at the locations indicated above. While I collected archival data spor adically during preliminary summer research and first 12 months of fieldwork, my final m onth of dissertation re search was dedicated to collecting archival and demographic data in Trinidad. Archival information included colonial reports, government records, news paper articles, international development reports and books. Through content analysis of collected archival material, I made inferences about events and noted patterns in order to supplement other ethnographic

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328 data. For example, the topic of Hurricane Fl ora and the massive devastation that befell Tobago in 1963 was a recurring theme during participant observat ion (discussed in Chapter Four). Through including archival da ta obtained from newspaper articles and government reports, I was able to reconstruct the events of this watershed event for the island in order to illustrate the impact of the hurricane and the tumultuous aftermath. (3) Oral Histories : Retrospective data collected through oral history interviews can help the ethnographer to reconstruct th e past. Although data collected through oral history is often not the most accurate as “pe ople tend to forget or filter past events” in some instances, it may provide the only means to collecting historic information (Fetterman 1998:481). Likewise, I conducted or al histories in order to present a perspective that is not otherw ise recorded in Tobago history: the evolution of women’s multiple roles and responsibilities. My small sa mple of oral history participants included five distinguished women in contemporary Tobago society who graciously shared with me their experiences and memories of grow ing up in Tobago. Each tape-recorded oral history interview was obtained during a scheduled interview. Interviews were conducted either at my home or at the oral history pa rticipants’ place of work and typically lasted two-to-three hours. During interviews, oral hist ory participants were asked to reflect on their childhood and the perceived quality of life experienced by their mothers and grandmothers during Tobago’s post-emanci pation peasantry. Nostalgia may have softened the harsh realities of life in post-peasant Tobago sin ce oral history participants were asked to reflect on their childhood a nd stories shared by their mothers and grandmothers. Due to the scarcity of accounts of Tobago culture, however, these

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329 interviews provide valuable information on the evolution of wome n’s position in society through recording the roles and responsibilities of women in recent generations. Perspectives provided by my fi ve oral history participants’ may not be factually accurate and may represent a somewhat idealized Toba go history. Analysis of oral history data involved comparing information provided by the five oral histories participants on the roles and responsibilities of Tobagonian wome n in order to verify common themes as well as triangulation with other ethnographic materi al (Fetterman 1998:484-485). Analysis of oral history data involved the following steps. Firs t, after transcribing my five oral history interviews, I conducted conten t analysis that involved making notes, discerning patterns and determining recurr ing themes (Yow 1994:223-225). Next, I organized and interpreted the recu rring themes in order to illustrate what participants had revealed about the history of women’s multiple roles and responsibilities in Tobago. Furthermore, systematic analysis included compiling and synthesizing oral history data and reporting findings that could be supporte d by similar evidence from demographic, archival data and other anthr opological literature on Afro-Caribbean women in order to present a thick descripti on of Tobago womanhood. (4) Formal and Informal Interviews: As indicated in the early discussion of sampling, interviews for this dissertation we re conducted with resource people, local government officials, international developm ent practitioner and f aculty from UWI. For some of these subgroups, unstructured intervie ws were conducted without the use of a formal interview guide. For other subgroups, su ch as resource peopl e, I designed a brief interview guide in order to collect systematic data.

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330 In total, I conducted struct ured interviews with repr esentatives from twelve agencies to obtain information on the avai lability of funding, training and business development services (for de tails on these agencies, please see Appendices E and F). Formal interviews took place at my participan t’s place of work and typically lasted twoto-three hours. Analysis of data collected dur ing formal interviews involved constructing a matrix of all available funding, training a nd business services. Resources identified during interviews with local agencies that provided training, funding and business development services were complied into a matrix of services. Using my matrix of funding, training and business deve lopment services, I construc ted a protocol that I call my “resource inventory.” Subsequently, I used the resource inve ntory protocol to evaluate female microentrepreneurs use and awareness of local resource.3 Additional interviews were conducted to gather general information about programs, policies, trends and other informati on pertaining to this research. Most of these data were gathered during informal interviews and pertinent information was subsequently added to my field notes. Info rmal interviews took many formats including conversations, telephone calls and e-mails. Inform al interviewing was part of the iterative process of building my basis of knowledge a bout female microenterprise. Throughout my fieldwork, I attempted to verify my findi ngs by obtaining information from as many relevant resources as possible. Therefore, my field notes include many entries pertaining to the same topics, often resulting from mu ltiple informal interviews with the same individual over time. Analysis of informal in terview data involved coding data in field notes and presenting verified data in the dissertation where relevant.

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331 (5) Focus Groups : A total of four focus groups were collected for this dissertation. A focus group is a group interv iew where the discussion is “focused” on a particular topic. Typically, a focus group involves no more than eight to twelve participants and the discussion is prof essionally moderated. “Focus groups…are particularly useful for explorat ory research…[and] tend to be used very early in research projects and are often followed by other types of research that provi de more quantifiable data from a larger group of respondents” (Stewart and Shamdasani 1998: 505-506). Plans for my focus group took place in my third month of fieldwork including designing a protocol, locating and reserving a public space to conduct the interviews, and recruiting participants. Three focus groups served as a prelimin ary data collection activity and were conducted during my fourth month of fieldwor k. Analysis of data collected during these focus groups was used to formulate the se mistructured intervie w instrument. Data collection included obtaining par ticipants’ consent through use of the IRB form and tape recording interviews. Through group discussions in which I served as the facilitator, these three focus groups explored the topic of se lf-employment through microenterprise as well as other work, training and funding options. In conducting ethnographic research, it is not only useful to know which questions to ask, but more importantly –to know how to ask the right questions. Therefore, focus groups provided an opportunity for me to test developing concepts of female microent repreneurship in Tobago and to clarify vocabulary. Through the three focus groups, I was able to explore my research topic and

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332 receive immediate feedback from participants which helped me to design an appropriate semistructured interviewing instrument. I also conducted a focus group with a c ooperative women’s micr oenterprise. The focus group with the cooperative women’s micr oenterprise was part of the comparative research design. Analysis of data from the cooperative women’s focus group involved comparison with responses from focus gr oups conducted with individual female microentrepreneurs. I had intended to c onduct more focus groups with cooperative women’s groups yet, it became apparent that this approach was not appropriate. Due to participants’ time constraints, it was very diffi cult to schedule a group of coworkers to sit down for a focus group interview. Thus, rather than the parallel data collection I had designed, I adapted my methods to include interviews and conduct participant observation with cooperative groups (described below). (6) Semistructured Interviews : I conducted 39 semistruct ured interviews with individual female microentre preneurs. Similar to structured interviews, conducting semistructured interviews involves following a protocol to ensure consistency of data collected, however, data is obtained in a more open-ended, conversational style that allows the ethnographer to take cues from th e participant and for new topics to emerge (Maxwell 1998:483). “It has much of the free-wheeling quality of unstructured interviewing, and requires all the same skills but semistructured interviewing is based on the use of an interview guide. This is a written list of questions and t opics that need to be covered” (Bernard 1995:208). My semistruct ured interviewing protocol was adapted from an instrument developed during prel iminary summer fieldwork and revised to

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333 account for findings from focus groups and unstructured interviews. The protocol included a brief questionnaire on demographic information and a list of 32 key themes to be covered during semistructured interviews I pilot tested my protocol with two participants, revised my instrument, and pro ceeded with data collection. Semistructured interviews are often used in situations where there will only be one opportunity to interview someone (Bernard 1995:209). In my case, semistructured interviews were collected towards the end of fieldwork and my goal was to interview as many individual female microentrepreneurs as I could recru it in order to repres ent a broad range of business types and to include participants fr om across Tobago. Therefore, I did not have an opportunity to re-interview participants In all, I completed 39 semistructured interviews with individual female microent repreneurs over a period of four months. After contacting and recruiting prospective participants, semistructured interviews took place according to participants’ pref erred setting and availability. To ensure confidentiality, privacy and convenience, par ticipants were given the option of being interviewed at their workplace or home or in my home. Participants who traveled to my home were provided remuneration for taxi fare. I started collect ing semistructured interviews during my ninth month of fi eldwork and collected from one-to-two semistructured interviews per day. Data collection included obtaining participant’s consent through use of the IRB form and tape recording interviews. Some interviews were brief and others were loquacious, but on average tape-recorded, semistructured interviews with individual female microent repreneurs were two hours in length. Many of the interviews were collected in termittently as participant tend ed to customers. Therefore,

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334 interviews collected at participants’ place of work also provided opportunities for participant observation. Semistructured interview participants we re identified through referral from local resource people or personal referrals. As ide from people working in the tourism zones who were accustomed to speaking with fore igners, I found that without referral it was difficult to recruit participants. Therefore, my sample of 39 semistructured interviews constitutes the maximum number of partic ipants I could succe ssfully contact and interview using my referral resources. It wa s not possible to construct a statistically representative sample of female microenterpr ise in Tobago as this targeted sample was dispersed and included an unknown number of elig ible subjects. Yet, my targeted sample is the most representative of subgroup hete rogeneity that I could construct under the existing constraints (Maxwell 1998:131). Therefor e, this small sample is as close as possible to as representative sample because pa rticipants were systematically selected to represent a homogeneous group. The advantage of a small representative sample is the additional confidence that conclusions I have drawn about their experiences “adequately represent the average me mbers of the population” of individual female microentrepreneurs in Tobago (Maxwell 1998: 87). In many ways, my sample also constitutes a purposeful sample that was “sel ected for the important information they can provide that cannot be gotten as well fr om other choices” (Maxwell 1998:87) because each of the 39 participants had first-hand e xperience, they were individual female microentrepreneurs and they had experience w ith at least one of the funding, training or business services that I was evaluating.

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335 The iterative process of ethnographic data collection involved designing and pilot testing my protocol before conducting semistru ctured interviews. As a result, I was able to conduct semistructured interviews as open-ended conversations. Typically, after describing the purpose of my research and completing the demographic information, the semistructured interview naturally progr essed through most of the 32 items on my protocol as a conversation with little prompting on my part I attribute the ease of my semistructured interviews to the fact that participants were proud of their economic independence and eager to describe their accomplishments. As noted above, the semistructured interviewing protocol evolved into a topical checklist that contained key items to be covered during each interview (Appendix A). This checklist served as a mechanism to guide interviews and maintain consistency, but allowed interviews to take place as an informal conversation rather than structured interviews. Thus, the checklist ensured that specific topics were consisten tly covered during each interview and provided a structure for organizing analysis yet, allo wed new topics to emerge due to the more open, conversational format (Maxwell 1998: 485). I collected information on the following categories: educati on and skills, access to capita l, experiences seeking or obtaining funding, expenditures, quality of lif e indicators, social networks, household structure, kinship obligations, gender issu es and business type. More generally, data collected during semistructured intervie ws addressed the following: (1) women’s working options; (2) what they like and dislike about their jobs and why; (3) relationships between working and obligations to fam ily, friends and community; (4) perceived impacts of public policies issues related to microenterprise; (5 ) perceived impacts of

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336 Tobago’s growing tourism econo my on women’s microenterpr ise; and (6) possibilities for change in relation to improving women’ s access to resources (such as training and funding). Analysis of semistructured intervie ws involved the following steps: (1) transcribing interviews, (2) coding data into th ematic categories, (3) thematic analysis of categories; and (4) narrative analysis (Max well 1998:89). First, I transcribed the taperecorded interviews verbatim, to the best of my ability. Second, I coded the data by applying both my own (emic) preexisti ng categories derive d from my background research and theoretical foundation; also I applied new, emergent categories that I derived from participants re sponses (etic). Third, using the coded data, I compared categories both between items in the same category and between categories. Categorical analysis is useful for understanding differen ces and similarities across individuals, such as comparing types of microenterprises. Four th, I compared the data collected from my sample of participants using what Maxwe ll (1998:90) described as “contextualizing analysis” that involved a ttempting to understand the relationships among various narrative elements within the context of the in terview. Contextualizing analysis is useful for understanding how events are connected, such as the process of establishing a microenterprise. In summary, ethnographic data collect ed for this dissertation involved a qualitative mixed-methods approach. A mixe d-methods approach to data collection assures greater reliability through “triangulati on” or testing one source of information against another in order test a hypothesis (Fetterman 1998:495). In this dissertation,

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337 ethnographic data collected to test my hypothesis on the structure of female microenterprise involved an examination of the range of Tobagonian women’s roles and responsibilities, evaluation of working op tions through comparing multiple sources of information. In addition to interview and obs ervation data, I conducte d analysis on report and various sources of narrative data. Ethnograp hy involves an iterative process of data collection that helps to build a body of knowledge in order to explain patterns of thoughts and behaviors. Therefore, ethnographic data pr esented in this dissertation was analyzed inductively through including a multiplicity of variables that are considered not in isolation, but in terms of th eir relationships (Yow 1994:5). In accomplishing this task, I constructed a model of what I thought was o ccurring using both emic and etic categories that pertained to female microenterprise development and as exceptions to the rules emerge, divergent categories helped to clarify meaning. In the next section, I apply anthropol ogical method and praxis informed by critical feminist theory in or der to evaluate the microcredi t model of microenterprise in the specific cultural and hist orical context of Tobago. Firs t, I analyze the microcredit model through an evaluation of cooperatively organized microenterprises. Second, I analyze the microcredit model through asse ssment of microenterprises operated by individual female microentre preneurs as well as an evaluation of available resources including training, funding, and bus iness development services.

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338 Chapter Five: Ethnographic Research Findings “An entrepreneur is essentia lly a person who owns or controls a business through which income is gained” (Bell 1986:47). In the previous chapter, I describe d my ethnographic research design, data collection methods, sampling strategy, and analysis approach. Through an anthropological perspective, I have accounted for historic and cu ltural context, which provide the necessary foundation for evaluating the applicability of the microcredit model of microenterprise development in different settings. Also, as discussed earlier, through the lens of critical feminist theory, I used the construct of “female microentrepreneurs in Tobago” as a category for the strategic purpose of evaluating of the microcredit development model within a specific context. Though this construct te nds to artificially homogenize women into a class, I remind th e reader that there are many differences among these women and to the extent possible, I have tried to highlig ht their individual experiences and opinions. Out of a population of approximately 52,000, ad justed statistical data available for 1996 indicated that ten percent of Tobago’ s labor force was engaged in small ownaccount economic activity (Policy Research and Development Institute 1998:7-9).1 Prevalence of the so-called “informal economy,” however, makes accounting for the microenterprise sector difficult. Another labor force study used own account workers as a proxy and estimated that nationally, 19 percent of the labor force could be identified as microentrepreneurs (Warwick Business School 1997). In particul ar, self-employment

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339 among women in Trinidad and Tobago has increased. In 1990, women accounted for 25.7 percent of the total number of self-employed persons and this figure had increased to 28.3 percent by 1995 (Central Sta tistical Office 1997b:2). The tre nd towards self-employment among women in developing economies ha s been noted by international funding agencies, local organizations and thus, ac knowledged through a variety of programs. Specifically, implementation of policies and programs modeled after the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh has emphasized the developm ent of cooperatively structured female microenterprise. In the following, I demonstrate policy and projects designed to facilitate the development of women’s microenterprise and evaluate the effect of economic development programs within the particular cultural and historical context of Tobago.2 First, I illustrate the ap plication of a cooperative a pproach to microenterprise development through analysis of four case st udies. These four case studies demonstrate application of a cooperativel y structured model of mi croenterprise development involving local and/or inte rnational sponsorship. Als o, case studies address the complexities of organizing, funding, group dynami cs, and leadership. Second, in contrast to the cooperative model, I assess implementation of the microcredit model with a focus on individual female microent repreneurs. In evaluating development of individual female microentrepreneurs, I include a resource in ventory to assess the range of training, funding, and business development services that target sole proprietors. Third, in order to define necessary variables for successful and appropriate female microenterprise

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340 development, I provide suggestions for mediating the microcredit model to appropriately fit the cultural and histor ical context of Tobago. A. Applying the Microcredit Model: Cooperative Female Microenterprise As stated previously, to better suit th e needs and capacity of women in Tobago, my hypothesis involved accounting for politicaleconomic factors as well as historical and cultural context in order to modify the current microcredit model that conceptualizes female microenterprise development as a cooperative effort among women in a rural setting. Stated simply, cooperatively orga nized microenterprise development is not appropriate for economically empowering poor women Tobago. In the Caribbean region, as in many places, the microcredit model has been embraced as a strategy for economically empowering poor women; yet, ec onomic development initiatives can foster dependency particularly when sustainability and accountability are compromised. In the following, I present four case st udies in order to evaluate the cooperative structure of female microenterprise development and six examples of microent erprise development opportunities targeting i ndividuals. Case studies include the following: (1) I document an experimental project, targeting rural, unemployed Tobagonian women for cottage industry sponsored by local and internationa l funding; (2) and (3 ) I illustrate the complexity of group dynamics in Tobago th rough analysis of a national program targeting community development projects. These two case studies document the process of applying for local microent erprise development funding; (3 ) I further explore coalition building including leadership issues sponsored by local and international funding.

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341 A.1 Case Study One: Local and Internatio nal Sponsorship (Fairfield Industrial Cottage) The first case study provides an exception to my claim that the microcredit model of cooperative organizing does not suit developm ent projects in Tobago. In contrast to the case studies discussed later in this chapter, the group desc ribed below was exceptional in its success and I credit th e exemplary tenacity, motivation, and commitment demonstrated by the five group members with their accomplishments. In the following, I document a creative and well-in tentioned project involving collaboration among various divisions of the THA, local and internati onal development practitioners. Ultimately, the project enjoyed limited success by facilitating cooperatively organized, women’s income generating groups. Here, I evaluate the project’s development including initial conceptualization, recruitment, trainin g, access to funding and resources, production setting, manufacturing obstacles, gro up structure, and dependency issues. Established in 1994, the Research and Impl ementation Unit pooled experts from various divisions of the THA to create a collaborative environment (akin to small business incubator) for developing new projects.3 Strategically, this research unit reported directly to the Chief Secr etary, thereby bypassing bureaucrat ic “red tape” and avoiding inefficient inter-divisional politics. One project, facilitated by the research unit, involved adding value to otherwise wasted tropical fruits rotting on stat e lands throughout the island. Designed as a three-year case study, the project established woman’s working groups. Collectively, the groups formed an agricultural-processi ng cottage industry. Thus, government-sponsored cottage industry provided an opportunity for women to

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342 generate income from otherwise unused ag ricultural resources. The THA Division of Marketing supported operations for the proj ect. Expert resources provided by the THA included support staff with knowledge of agronomy, post-harv est management training, quality assurance, new product development, research, as well as general technical advice. THA Division of Marketing’s capit al resources included state farmlands, processing facilities, frozen and refrigerated storage, a wholesale market, and three industrial cottage facilities located in the less deve loped windward district. Preparations for the launch of Tobago’s i ndustrial cottages bega n with contracting appropriate training. The Cari bbean Industrial Research In stitute (CARARI) (Appendix E) in Trinidad provided six months of on-site training comprising the following: food microbiology, manufacturing practices, quality management systems, packaging, nutritional labeling, and storage of finished product, and cost and marketing. In addition to training, CARARI helped launch fruit preserve production and supported the project through product testing and advising. Margaret, a tall, slim, shy woman recalled initial invol vement as a process of personal transformation, I was home doing nothing and some agriculture people came around saying that they had a course in preservatives. Then they call me for an interview, I got picked, that mean I passed [the] interview. I went to the training course at the Cottage, and we did so long training. I get used to the training, I didn’t really want to leave it to go anywhere. The

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343 course, it come like very important, it is something that can make money. Initially, the impartial screening and selection process was carefully orchestrated. To identify women with genuine in terest, participants were chosen from a pool of selfselected applicants who responded to an a dvertisement in the local newspaper that described an opportunity to learn the prin ciples of tropical fruit preservation and processing. The applicant pool was screen ed for the following competencies: 1. basic math and English skills, 2. ability to function well in a group, and 3. willingness to engage in a business venture upon completion of the course. A committee of experts interviewed applicants and selected the original candidates based on interviews and required competencies. At a later stage, however, political intervention compromised the project’s integrity. The rigor ous screening process implemented for the selection of trainees for the first two cottage s was later discarded. Ra ther than screening from a pool of motivated, self -selected applicants, later participants were purportedly “hand picked” based on party affiliati on. Breakdown of the selection process compromised the quality of participants as we ll as the ability to objectively evaluate and monitor the project. Administrators of the cottage industry program selected 12 women to form the core training group. Twelve is also the minimum membership required for registration as a cooperative unit in Trinidad and Tobago.4 Although the project wa s ultimately intended to include a total of ten indus trial cottages, only three were constructed. This case study

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344 describes two of the cottages: Avondale Industrial Cotta ge (the core or original training facility) and Fairfield Industrial Cottage (one of the satellite facilities). Specifically, this case study focuses on the five member s of Fairfield I ndustrial Cottage: Joy (31, single) group supervisor, Gracelyn (34, married, five children at home) public relations officer, Peggy (36, separated, 5 children at home), Margaret (39, common-law, 2 children at home), and Camille (42, married, 5 children at home) Prior to involvement in the industrial cottage four of the members were self-described “unemployed housewives” with family to care for, while the fifth member was single and unemployed. Members of the group reported that family members were supportive and encouraging, or as Camille described “if it was a problem, I would not be here.” The group appointed a supervisor because as Camille noted “everything needs a head.” Due to her attitude and business management capabili ties, Joy was chosen as the supervisor. Also, to promote their products, the group appoi nted a public relations officer. According to Camille “Gracelyn can talk, she is not afraid ” or shy, thus she was selected to represent the group. In the planning phase, it was proposed th at each cottage w ould specialize in production of three-to-four items. After six m onths of training, part icipants learned to process more than twenty different products (such as jams and seasoning). Additional training included personal se lf-development and self-esteem training sponsored by the THA while the Small Business Development Company (SBDC), a state agency that provided accounting, bookkeeping, and manage ment skills, and the THA Division of

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345 Cooperatives provided public relations and business opera tion training. After training was completed, the first cottage to launch pr oduction was the Fairfiel d Industrial Cottage with plans for two additional groups to follo w suit. The Fairfield group was permitted to occupy the industrial cottage f acility rent-free for five y ears (including electricity and water), yet the women struggled to launch their business. Joy, the group-appointed supervisor recalled, They were training us to send us out there to earn a livelihood for yourself. Then they fix up this building and bring us down here. Most of th e girls and them leave, just leave six of us, then another one leave, then just leave the five of us. We have a deal with this building, I guess that motivate us to be here. I real ly like working here even though it was hard. Despite dwindling numbers, the remaining five members of the Fairfield Cottage seized the opportunity to become self-employed. Recalling the sense of accomplishment in realizing her entrepreneurial potential, Camille stated “when I really saw what we put out, the quality of work we did, it was very wo nderful. So, I though to myself, if we start at that point, we could go forward in establishing our own business.” Before the industrial cottage could func tion as a business, however, capital was needed to acquire proper equipment and s upplies. THA Marketing lobbied for funding on behalf of the Fairfield Cottage and receiv ed grant monies for equipment from the Canadian International Development Ag ency (CIDA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Developmen t aid applicants were required to demonstrate commitment, which the women of the Fairfield Cottage established by

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346 pooling money for a bank account. Camille, the most spirited member of the group described this process, You know when you’re starting a business you need to have an asset to get along with your business. And these five ladies we add $1,000 into the bank – from our own pockets.5 So we had this as the capital. Starting a business, you have nothing, and [one cannot] just to go to the Canadian Embassy and say “we need a grant.” You have to know where we coming from by showing them that we intended on having a business; we went on this training program, this is what we have in the bank, and we want to start our own business. Members accepted that establishing the business was their first priority whereas receiving a salary was a delayed reward. After receiv ing a second grant, members began to pay themselves a meager salary of $20 TT a day. My first visit to the Fairfield Industria l Cottage, the pungent aroma of hot peppers overwhelmed my sense as I entered the f acility; they were bottling pepper sauce. Dissimilar from the typical Tobago work settings there was no blaring radio with calypso or soca tunes pounding, only women singing hymn s or harmoniously humming while they worked.6 Products were bottled on a long coun tertop in a spacious room surrounded by a large sink area, one industr ial oven, three burners connect ed to a tall propane tank, and considerable storage space. There were tw o smaller rooms to the back: one room was for sorting and cleaning produce with two large sinks, a table and scale; and the other was the storage room with neatly ordered pots, buc kets, and a pantry for ingredients (such as citric acid, coloring, and clean ing supplies). The five members of the Fairfield Industrial

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347 Cottage had elected to dress in similar attire in order to demonstrate their professionalism. Their “uniform” consists of black skirts, white aprons, and head coverings. Initial pepper pro cessing had commenced the prev ious day and involved the following steps: blanching in hot water for five minutes, rinsing in cold water, and placing the peppers in refrigerat ed storage. Bottles were washed with soap, rinsed with sanitized water and left to air dry in large colanders. Ingredients were carefully measured, combined in the aluminum industrial blende r, and cooked (until reaching 65-70C). Next, the hot liquid was poured to the bottle’s top (s ince air bubbles will cause it to “shrink”), wiped, and momentarily turned upside down to vacuum seal. Hot bottles were handled with a hot pad for protection. The bottling process completed, I observed Camille, the most petite member of the group, struggle to wash the huge pots with erratic water pressure violently spitting out of the tap. Fi nally, they cleaned th eir production space and were finished for the day – bottles were left for labeling another day. Like the pepper sauce, the members of Fairfield Industrial Cottage focused on producing “what sells fast” such as jam, marmalade, seasoning, mango relish, and preserved mango. During fieldwork, the front of the facility was being renovated to accommodate a small shop. Occasionally, passe rsby would stop in to buy their products. When preparing preserved mangos for example, they would sell small bags to the people who lived nearby. Thus, the group decided to ca pitalize on this trend of local sales and construct a storefront to se ll their products on site. De spite producing export quality condiments, production at Fairfield Cotta ge presented notable disadvantages.7 The bathroom facility, for example, had a tendenc y to flood and despite repeated requests, it

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348 remained in need of repair. An unreliabl e water supply interrupt ed other workdays. Throughout most of the Caribbean region, water is a scarce co mmodity that is carefully rationed.8 In Tobago, most residence and businesse s store surplus water in tanks. When the women were not working, however, passe rsby the Fairfield Cottage often helped themselves to water from the two large Tuff Tanks located on the compound. Gracelyn, the group-appointed public relati ons officer expressed that, “ it is not easy when you’re going to the toilet and you cannot get to flush the toilet prop erly or even wash your hands properly because we have no water.” Being motivated to produce, members expressed feeling “sick” upon arriving in the morning to find no water for operation. In addition to specific water shortage issues, most producti on problems involved a general shortage of raw materials. They depended on local governme nt for raw materials; for example, THA Division of Marketing delivered guava already pulped in white plastic buckets and ready for production. Yet, members often experienced frustration when raw materials were not readily available. Peggy, a tall, heavy-set wo men stated “I might say the only thing I don’t really like is when you ar e ready for raw materials to do your work, you can’t find. I think that is the only real thing that I don’t like, because it is kinda down-couraging when you don’t have the raw materials to do your work here.” Despite attempts to stockpile by purchasing from local suppliers their main supplier was THA Marketing. They complained that the lo cal government failed to mainta in adequate supplies. If alternative sources were readily available, purchasing directly from local farmers would create a significant saving in contrast to THA Marketing’s higher overhead costs, which was compounded by transportation, processing, and storage facilities. Other problems

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349 involved difficulty importing supplies from Tr inidad, for example, one of the cottages had received an order of glass jars for bottl ing jam, but the factory neglected to send the lids. Due to the inter-island ferry (which provided transp ortation of most goods and foodstuff to Tobago), being overbooked for an upcoming holiday, the group had to wait an additional week for delivery before they could complete an order. While observing the Fairfield group one day, the head of THA Marketing Division arrived to discuss the new lease proposal; I was impressed as the members assertively interjected comments. Lease te rms were quite generous. Commencing July 1999, provisions of the three-year lease co mmitment included $100 TT a month for rent and offered a renewal option for three additiona l years at the same terms. Furthermore, THA Marketing was named the exclusive dist ributor of Fairfield Industrial Cottage products in July 1999. By promising to purchase all stocks at wholes ale cost, “regardless of their ability to tu rn over the goods,” the local gove rnment had relieved the group of sales and marketing responsibilities. THA Ma rketing planed to increase production in order to “saturate the local Tobago market before expanding to Trinidad and export beyond.” Absent a genuine marketing specialis t on the staff of THA Marketing, Fairfield Industrial Cottage suffered from a significant bo ttleneck in distribu tion since the market was already saturated with identical condiments produced on a larger scale in neighboring Trinidad. On the surface, the motivations of THA Marketing could be described as altruistic; rather than profiti ng the government, the stated goal was building self-sustaining industry through government assi stance. Yet, the contractual arrangement

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350 striped Fairfield Cottage of their autonom y, and rendered them entirely dependent on an under funded and understaffed division of the local government. In accounting for the complicated proce ss of planning, launching, and operating the Fairfield Industrial Cottage, it is important to note the successful group dynamics that emerged from the project. In both structur e and function, the group was exceptional in their enduring commitment to bus iness, professionalism, and a bove all to each other. It is difficult to convey the close-knit feeling shared by the women of Fairfield Cottage. While describing her commitment to the group, Joy stat ed, “I love what I do, get so accustomed to the ladies, we become like one, like a famil y. It would take a long while before I would go somewhere else.” In addition to pride in their work, observation revealed that five years of struggling and working together ha s forged a bond of sisterhood. At times, they had worked for months without pay or profits Stagnation resulted from lack of materials (such as fruit or glass bottles imported from Tr inidad), and lack of transportation to pick up and deliver their products. To illustra te the feeling of closeness among the group, Gracelyn stated “if you stay at home, you mi ss everybody. You always want to be around the ladies, to be at work to spend time with each other. You get accustomed to one another.” One day, I arrived at the Cottage fo r a scheduled intervie w to find Joy alone – cleaning and organizing. The other members even tually called; they were down the street at the health clinic attending to one of their members who had taken ill. Gracelyn explained, “We come as a family. If one pers on feel sick, it affects everybody because all of us are sick if you are sick. We feel one another pain, we share one another…everything about one another.” Spirituality was a recurring theme during

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351 research among female microentrepreneurs in Tobago. Among the women of Fairfield Cottage, for example, “church” was a comm on bond and despite attending different denominations, “the joy of serving Christ” uni ted them in faith. In fact, the attitude towards business expressed by the women of Fa irfield Cottage resembled the Protestant work ethic or what German sociologist Max Weber described as a linkage between religious values and the spirit of entrepre neurship. Camille, the group’s most articulate member, provided a sermon-style presentation on the three things sh e liked most about their business (her themes included unity, cooperation, and operation). I will start first with unity because without unity, nothing can go on. A house built by itself it just cannot stand. When we come together we unite as one body, and when you unite as one body there is strength. And when I say cooperation we all come together and we cooperate as one whole body. In doing things, especially small business, we all have differences -right? A ll of us are different, and we really get to know one a nother and to know how to understand each other. In case one of us has to go somewhere, is not a problem that you could come to anyone of us and say “we going out.” Whatever work is being done will continue to be done without any fuss or bustle. And when I say operation when I look at our business, well we know how to operate in a business. We are not afraid to handle any situation. They considered themselves professionals and dreamed of their business reaching the international market in order to accomplish a larger goal as Gracel yn described “to show what we could do, our talents and our skills as women; I believe that we could reach far.” By expanding their business, they would accomplish a second goal, as Peggy noted “to see more ladies coming into the business because there is a lot of ladies out there who

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352 need the jobs just as our families really needed it awhile back.” Although I did not observe more than the five member of Fairfi eld Industrial cottage at work, they reported that additional workers are occasionally recr uited (typically members sisters) when the workload increased. Future plans for expansi on would build on other skills they learned during training including bottling essence (vanilla extract) and making soap. Also, members of Fairfield cottage envisioned thei r production increasing to a level that would require automation in the form of a mech anized bottling machine designed “to make, pour, cover, and box” their products. Establishment of the industrial cottages is an excellent example of collaboration among local government and international deve lopment agencies. Yet, continued reliance on the local government hindered further grow th. At the time I was observing the group, for example, their goal was to supply local ho tels with their jams and jellies. Without a direct linkage to tourism, which should have been facilitated by the THA Divisions of Marketing and Tourism, this business e xpansion idea had provided yet another frustration. The women of the Fairfield Industrial Cottage had reached the point where they would have preferred to operate inde pendently. They complained that government sponsorship was unsustainable and paternalistic, Anything government does -it doesn’t last, it gonna mash up. You mustn’t let government get too involved in the business. You must try to manage your business for yourself . Anything govern ment get involved in your business is like they is the owner, “today you must to this and you mustn’t do that” and kinda ting I don’t like government too much.

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353 Despite the many nurturing aspects of their re lationship with the THA, being controlled and dependent on the government had rende red the group resentful of paternalistic limitations. Sympathetic to the position of THA Marketing, th e supervisor explained, for example, that the lack of government vehi cles contributed to problems involving access to raw materials and distribution. Despite these difficulties they preferred selfemployment because as Margaret stated “ you have more knowledge and you feel proud about yourself, you just has to work hard at your business.” Wher eas, “with government, it takes such a long time to get what we want to achieve, it is better that we stay NGO (non-governmental organization), on our own, bei ng our own bosses. It is very nice being that way.” Despite the accomplishments achieved by the women of the Fa irfield Industrial Cottage, which included significant support from local government and international development agencies as well as their produc ts having been well received in the local Tobago market, the project had achieved ve ry limited success. Dependency on the local government prohibited adequate growth, ther eby undermining profitability, sustainability, and self-sufficiency. Lack of sufficient funding, adequate faci lities, or proper access to equipment, supplies, and markets was prohi bitive. Likewise, problems with business development could be attributed to insuffi cient government infrastructure. Fairfield Industrial Cottage was dependent on the T HA, an agency that operated on a limited budget, lacked linkages to establish support of microenterprise development, and was vulnerable to political caprice.

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354 A.2 Case Study Two: Local Sponsorship (Glendale Women’s Sewing Group) Case studies two and three demonstrate ap plication of the microcredit model of microenterprise development through emphasizi ng the challenges of collective or group organizing. Through Trinidad and Tobago’s Community Development Fund (CDF), the government provided funding to a range of social development programs. In 1999-2000, the overall CDF budget consisted of a loan fr om the Inter-American Development Bank ($40 million US) for distribution by the Cent ral Government of Trinidad and Tobago. One of the social development programs supported by this funding source was the promotion of group activities th rough making grants to variou s social service agencies. More specifically, The Community Development Fund is designed to support the efforts by groups, to provide basic social services and community infrastructure, which will benefit low-income communities and the disadvantaged. The aim is to assist in the establishment and management of programmes which are geared to alleviate conditions of poverty (Small Business Development Company 1999a:1). Eligibility for CDF sponsorship required that programs be in alignment with international development policy that promoted cooperative ly structured development practice. In particular, the CDF emphasized sustainable se lf-reliance and a partic ipatory approach and required that groups “would have to show the ability to manage a project, in order to receive assistance” (Small Business Deve lopment Company 1999a:1). Assistance provided by the CDF was target ed at alleviating underemployment in Trinidad and Tobago’s rural sectors. CDF sponsored seed money was intended to promote income-

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355 generating initiatives or “i nfrastructural projects” for upgrading and improving local facilities and utilit ies through community self-hel p (Small Business Development Company 1999a:1). Administrated by Trinidad and Tobago’s Minist ry of Planning and Development, Community Development Fund Secretariat, the 1999-2000 CDF budget was $14 million TT for distribution among approved community groups. Approved community groups were granted 70 percent of funds for their self-help projects and were responsible for the remaining 30 percent ma tch in cash or kind. In Tobago, CDF grant applications were administered through the THA. Successful completion of the CDF proposal process, however, did not necessarily result in delivery of promised funding. The following case study examines the later stages of the grant process including the struggle to implement a funded CDF project. The second case study focuses on Glendale, wh ich was locally regarded as one of Tobago’s most dynamic villages from whic h many leaders had originated. One such leader, a THA’s senior offi cial, had referred me to a women’s group from her natal village. I was particularly eager to m eet Cynthia, the group president who was characterized as “very outspoken and ent husiastic.” The Glendale Women’s Sewing Group was highly motivated to transform their skills into a vocation. After completing a three-month, THA Community Development s ponsored course in drapery construction (Appendix E), members remained committed to the goal of expanding the capacity of their sewing group into an income-earning vent ure. According to the THA official, in the interim, group membership had dwindled “from 25 to 12 to 10 serious, unemployed women.” Since the drapery course, members had attended additional training in “soft

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356 furnishings” production (that is sewing pothol ders, sheet and toilet sets, and other household items), and operated on an “each one teach one” basis of exchanging skills and ideas. Producing from home, members supplie d their own materials and machines and attended weekly meetings to assemble their soft-furnishing designs together. The previous Christmas, the women’s sewing gr oup had enjoyed successful sales of sewn items with profits going to individual produ cers; whereas, profits from occasional barbecue fundraisers were earmarked towa rds the purchase of an industrial sewing machine to be shared by the group. The first night I met the group, the THA of ficial also attended the meeting to bring good news. After waiting one year for f unding to launch their sewing venture, the group’s CDF proposal was a pproved, granting $6,900 TT for training and equipment. Yet, members were very surprised to learn that they had been awarded grant funding to launch a catering business, which forcibly alte red the group’s original intention to operate as a sewing cooperative. Despite genuine in terest in sewing, the catering detour was unexpected. Later, the Cynthia disclosed th at the original CDF proposal had been rejected; the evaluation committee determined that sewing equipment was too costly, but group members had not been informed of this problem. Rewriting the grant request on behalf of the group, the THA official propos ed a catering venture and disclosed the modified plan only after the grant was accep ted. Upon approval of the grant, the THA official noted the profitability of food sale s and thus, encouraged the group to pursue professional catering. Later, I attended a Chri stmas Concert intended to raise money for a sewing machine; a group member commented th at that concert was intended to publicly

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357 demonstrate their unwavering devotion to a se wing venture. Local support was provided by the Youth Training and Employment Part nership Program (YTEPP) (Appendix E), which in coordination with the THA offered a loan/gift of an oven and utensils to help launch the catering business. Furthermore, the THA promised to supplement funds by providing needed items until the CDF grant money could be released. The group was instructed to select a catering tutor an d make renovation plans for the Glendale Community Center’s forty-year-old kitchen fa cility. Also, arrangements would need to be made with the Glendale Village Council re garding use of the kitchen. Some members anticipated a potential conflict as “the V illage Council had some miserable people” who would assume ownership of what ever came into the kitchen. With the CDF award postponed until kitc hen "improvements" could be made (including installation of additional cabin ets and a locking door), stagnation and confusion plagued the group for months. Likewise, the oven donated by YTEPP was withheld pending kitchen renovations. "Who is paying for these renovations?" the group wondered. THA had promised assistance, but in the midst of a budget crisis, the group found themselves in an unantic ipated “Catch-22” situation, unable to launch their funded catering business that, simultaneously, had averted their intende d sewing venture. Meanwhile, skilled group members remained ga lvanized around their original intention of establishing a soft furnishings sewing f acility. Although determin ed too costly by CDF evaluation committee, members touted the a dvantage of their original idea as a sustainable business that they envisioned tr ansitioning through the seasons as demands change. In Tobago, typical seasonal demand fo r sewn items included the following: toilet

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358 sets and curtains for Christmas; jerseys and short pants for summer/Great Race; and school uniforms for fall. One year after CDF endorsement, no gran t money had been released. In response to the funding hiatus, Cynthia explained, "When they say April, it will probably be more like December before we see anything. It has now been three years we are waiting." Meanwhile, the group made the best of what wa s available. They responded positively to the catering training organized by the THA of ficial. Participants each donated $2 TT per class for supplies (such as flour and sugar). A lthough the tutor’s salary was a line item in the still unawarded CDF grant, they moved ahead with training. Privately, the Cynthia mentioned that the THA official had paid for catering tutoring “out of her own pocket.” I suspected the THA official’s motivation to c over the cost of the tu tor’s salary involved both a desire to encourage a receptive attitude among group members in addition to compensating for the disappoint of having thei r income-earning projec t both altered and delayed. The Community Center kitchen wa s renovated (that is, painted, locking cabinets, and stove installed). Yet, without a refrigerator, they lacked the necessary equipment to complete training and consider ed paying for a rental in the meantime. I observed village women of all ages actively pa rticipating in the cater ing training; dressed in appropriate food preparati on attire (aprons and head ties), they chopped, seasoning, greased pans for rolls, prepared pastry puffs, or attentively observed. It appeared that the cooperative spirit was operating among the wo men of Glendale. For example, I observed two of the youngest trainees being sent down th e hill, into the villag e to obtain additional supplies, while an elder called after them with further instru ctions to “check by Auntie if

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359 they don’t have.” According to the THA offi cial “all of the women can cook, they just want to add the fine touches and safety procedures, management, and organizational skills” through catering training. Upon comp letion of training, the THA official envisioned that group members would obtain cer tificates and become eligible to receive official food handler’s badges. Furthermore, she expected that cater ing classes could be open to the public (including me n and youth) for a fee. Shepherded by a determined and devoted THA official, the group was abrupt ly diverted from their intended goal. Thwarted by an incompetently administer ed funding program a nd the paternalistic patronage of the THA official who was de termined that the group would succeed, the members of the women’s sewing group continue to struggle to attain realization of their original objective. The plight of the Glendale women’ s sewing group provides an example of Tobagonians endless patience, particularly when government funding is anticipated. Although group membership dwindled and thei r original incomeearning venture was completely redirected, the group cont inued to wait for grant funding. A.3 Case Study Three: Applying for Local Funding (Golden Bay’s Women’s Handicraft Group) The third case study illustra tes misapplication of the microcredit model in the context of a voluntary group. Through rec ounting the failed attempt of a group responding to the call for CDF proposals, I illust rate the precarious nature of Tobagonian group dynamics. In an effort to improve the qua lity of applications submitted to the CDF,

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360 the Ministry of Planning and Development had contracted with the SBDC to facilitate proposal-writing workshops (Appendix E). F acilitated by an SBDC officer from Trinidad, the workshop provided excellent quali ty training that was conducted as three weekly sessions of two days each. Focus of the workshop included the following: 1) organizing group structure, 2) identifying projects and writing proposals, 3) managing projects once funded. During the workshops I became acquainted with a handicraft tutor who was employed by THA Community develop to work with vari ous woman’s group. Of the two groups she was currently tutoring, one consisted of la rgely uneducated and unemployed homemakers and the other consisted of largely educate d, working women. I elected to volunteer my consulting services to facilitate proposal wr iting for an income-generating venture for the women’s group that I per ceived as being more in need of assistance. The Golden Bay’s Women’s Handicraft Group was represented at the workshop by their handicraft tutor (appointed by THA Community Development) and two group members. The enthusiastic tutor hoped to bol ster her students’ efforts towards becoming a professional, income-generating group and gladly accepted my support. At the time fieldwork was conducted, Golden Bay was situ ated amidst a prime tourism zone with three of Tobago’s largest hotels. Also, cons truction was flourishing including time-share condominiums, restaurants, and bars. I collect ed a “skills bank” as recommended by the SBDC tutor, which revealed the human capital of group members by highlighting individual strengths and experiences. My in formal assessment of Golden Bay’s human

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361 capital indicated a prevalence of unemployed housewives among the membership; only two out of ten women interviewed describe d having formal employment experience. Most members had limited education and only one had basic business skills acquired at secondary school; whereas all were experi enced homemaker with handicraft skills attained through class participa tion. Shy at first, members were flattered and eager to give personal information for skill bank interviews. That is, all except the most senior member who the other women respectfully referred to as “Tantie.” Similar to the kin terms such as “aunt” or “auntie,” the honorific “tantie” conve ys respect and familiarity and is reserved for elder females regardless of lineage (Wilson 1973:146). With forty-one years of handicraft experience, Tantie was the voice of wisdom am ong the group. Disparagingly, Tantie demanded to know “ How this business was going to start?” and particularly “ Where they were going to sell?” before consen ting to the brief interview. Tantie, who had formerly operated her handicraft business from a small blue shack on the main road, noted the advantage of Golden Bay’s locati on amidst a prime tourism zone, however in her opinion, the preponderance of “all inclusiv e packages” attracted tourists who did not spend money on souvenirs. Pattullo (1996:74-76) described two problems with so-called “all inclusive” tourism. First, all-inclusive hotel packages genera ted the greatest amount of revenue in the Caribbean region, but th eir impact on the local economy was smaller per dollar than other types of accommodati ons. Second, compared to other types of accommodations, all-inclusive resorts importe d more goods and services and employed fewer people per dollar of revenue. Tantie expl ained the impact of all-inclusive tourism on Tobago’s handicraft vendors, “People will look at what we have, admire it, but carry

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362 little cash if any.” Similarly discouraging, Tantie had produced for hotel gift shops, but felt “they did not pay enough” or when orders had been placed for woven mats, the required quantity was unrealistic for her to produce in the allotted time. Despite my enthusiastic (albeit nave) e fforts to explain the potential opportunities afforded by the CDF, in the end attempts of the tutor and myself to formalize the group were tacitly dismissed. The idea of expanding their vocation into an income-generating cooperative microenterprise never devel oped. While attending weekly meetings, members were always happy to see me (gree ting me affectionately), but soon resumed conversations about children, husbands, or current handicraft projects. Although the original goal of the THA Community Deve lopment Division’s handicraft training program was to generating employment opportu nities (especially for women) through the production of handicraft, they were establis hed as informal voluntary groups (Paul 1984:4-5). Officially, the women of Golden Bay had established a group infrastructure including elected officers and a susu that provided financial assistance to members for purchasing needed materials for class (such as fabric, lace, and thread), however, they did not function as a formalized group.9 In practice, transitioning from voluntary social group into a formalized, hierarchical income-generating organization seemed beyond the capacity or desire of most members. The tutor expressed that she appreciated my help in order “to show that people from so far away are inte rested.” Her encouragement was flattering, however, the paternalistic connotation of my involvement with the group made me feel uncomfortable. Privately, she delivered a foreshadowing cavea t stating, “Black people don’t want to see

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363 you getting anything, they are jealous minded. They don’t take advice that is given in peace.” Evidently, “crab antics” were presen ting an obstacle to organizing among this women’s group (Wilson 1973).10 Golden Bay’s insularity created a barrier to coalition building as existing members were reluctan t to recruit new members and tended to squabble over issues of aut hority, responsibility, and sharing of benefits. Beyond the guidance offered by the tutor, a group leader had failed to emerge. Though they did have elected officers, they lacked a motivated member who might have directed the group’s income-earning activities. Perhaps members were reluctant to assume leadership because it would have impacted the group dynamic. Instead, reliance on the tutor (who was not from Golden Bay) allowed the group to ma intained equilibrium. During the CDF/SBDC workshops, we had drafted a proposal that s eemed in compliance with the requirements; the structural foundation for the project was in place including thirt een skilled members, elected officers, and access to a workroom in the newly built Golden Bay Multipurpose Complex. Moreover, proposing an income-gen erating project that targeted the many unemployed women of the village was undeniab ly worthwhile. By making use of local resources (such as vegetation used for weav ing) and members’ handicraft skills, the project demonstrated excellent backward linka ges (that is, the input s to start producing) (Hansen 1996:20). Start up capital was depe ndent on a successful CDF grant proposal, however, could the necessary fo rward linkages be achieved such as sales and marketing? Further business assistance and training was lo cally available, but would members take advantage of these opportunities?11

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364 Completion of CDF eligibili ty requirements included establishing a bank account, formalizing group registration, and adopting a constitution in order to qualify for funding. The application also required estimating community demographics, information for which the group had little insight. I suggested that the local political representative should know the statistical details for her district and furthermore should be supporting the group’s plan to launch an income-generati ng project by providing assistance with the CDF application process. The representative eagerly met with the group and, claiming to have been involved with othe r successful CDF grants, offered her assistance. She openly criticized the THA for having overspent the annual budget, which resulted in the absence of funds to pay the salaries of THA empl oyees. Tobago’s budget crises had become an annual event. I witnessed this in July 2000 when the THA experienced problems due to insufficient funds it its bank accounts. As a re sult, all THA staff went unpaid for several weeks. For the women of Golden Bay, this resu lted in the loss of their handicraft tutor. Furthermore, the political re presentative insinuated that rather than meritorious, community-based projects bei ng awarded grants, projects a ffiliated with a particular THA official’s church tended to receive gr ant funding. In a privat e meeting with the representative to draft the CDF required “Poverty Assessment of Community” demographic forms, I alluded to my growing disenchantment with the handicraft group’s lack of enthusiasm. I had attended the bi annual “Achievement,” an event resembling a graduation ceremony where friends and family were invited to celebrate members’ accomplishments. During the Achievement ceremony, several women described participation as a joyful expe rience and expressed desire to continue working together.

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365 Explicitly, I interprete d the comments of the group as conveying a desire to continue as a handicraft-training group. Implicitly, I inte rpreted the comments of the group as conveying contentment with the status quo. Seem ingly unsuccessful attempts to generate support and assistance with the CDF applica tion process had rendered me frustrated. I was relieved when the representative c onfirmed my perception of apathy among group members and was eager for her guidance. Bu t I continued to wonder what my efforts could accomplish since the group lacked bus iness development capacity. Rather, the Golden Bay women’s handicraft group was ma rginally cooperative, particularly since loosing their unpaid leader/tut or to the budget crisis, and w ithout her guidance, exhibited no entrepreneurial initiative. It appeared that an alte rnate approach was necessary to motivate the group. The representative proposed a “pep rally” of sorts, to generate enthusiasm and support for the group while working towards recruiting younger, unemployed women from the village. She cautioned that “insularity creates a problem with bringing in others” that can lead to disputes over tenure, sharing re sponsibilities, and fundamental beliefs or practices. In the opinion of the political representative, co alition building (or lack thereof) was the obstacle to organizing women’s working gr oups in Tobago. As an alternative to recruiting outside support, she recommended dr awing from internal community leaders, particularly those who continue d to support their natal village of Golden Bay, to establish a much needed management team. Reflec ting on the group’s skills bank, it was evident that this pool of unemployed housewives lack the experience and e ducation necessary to build or manage an income-generating group, pa rticularly in the cont ext of international

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366 tourism development. Whereas, supported by th e larger community, the representative hypothesized that a small foundation could f acilitate, advise, advocate, and create empowerment through positive role modeling. With mounting respect for the representa tive and enthusiasm for her proposed new strategy, I looked forward to further i nvolvement with the group. Yet, after loosing their tutor due to the THA budget shortf all, the handicraft group ceased meeting. Meanwhile, the representative became distract ed with launching a new political party. In the interim, the tutor’ s focus shifted to her other handi craft group. Located in a different village, the second group had overcome the budg et crisis and maintained their tutor by opting to pay her salary privately. Months late r, when I ran into the tutor, she declared jubilantly "we got the CDF money for the other group for sewing. Mr. McKee helped us with the application. Now it has been forwarde d to [a particular THA Secretary] who will help it through faster." Unlike Golden Bay’ s representative, the second group’s political ties to incumbent party leaders were a moment ous advantage. Much li ke myself, the tutor had grown frustrated with the women from Golden Bay and found their representative preoccupied by political ambition. I was surp rised by the tutor’s new focus and amazed by the project’s punctual acceptance. Though my interaction with the second group was limited, I offer that the success of the second group could be attributed to three major factors. First, with over half their member ship being educated and employed, the second group provided a broader skill base and in creased motivation towards upward mobility. Second, located in a village in proximity of Scarborough (the main town), group members were less insular and more experi enced in the “public sphere.” Third, and

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367 probably most important, their affiliation with political gatekeepers provided considerable leverage for having their CDF proposal successfully acknowledged. A.4 Case Study Four: Loss of Interna tional Sponsorship (Creative Women’s Enterprises) In addition to the curious organizationa l misadventures mentioned in the case study above, in the following I evaluate the applicability of cooperatively organized microenterprise development through a focus on leadership. Unlike previous examples of groups where bureaucratic restraints, paternal ism, and limited skills prohibited successful microenterprise development; the skilled women of Louisville village had befitted from considerable funding and training resources in the short-term, yet in the long-term failed to function cooperatively, Locally regarded as a successful coop erative, Creative Women’s Enterprises (CWE) was considered a model for self-hel p groups. Located in the less populated countryside along Tobago’s windward coast, CWE provided self-help opportunities to largely unemployed women of the area. The vi llage of Louisville ha d donated use of the community center to CWE for their producti on facility. Headed by Margaret, a dynamic and tenacious leader, proficient in a range of sewing and handi craft skills, this “go-getter” let no opportunity pass unchecked and even ta ught herself to “surf the internet” for international funding resources. Aggressi vely promoting her group, Margaret was successful in securing funding from intern ational development agencies (CIDA and UNDP) for equipment and training. Previous ly, I had observed the Louisville women’s

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368 group during preliminary summer fieldwork and was impressed by their accomplishments. Margaret had served as th e local handicraft tutor appointed by THA Community Development. Subsequently, ten of her students who had attended evening classes in sewing and soft furnishings becam e CWE group members. When I first visited CWE, they occupied half of the community center and we re producing items for local consumption (such as school uniforms and beddi ng) as well as for tourists (that is, hand painted tote bags). Through Margaret’s connections, the items the group produced for tourist were sold at a cooperative handicra ft markets sponsored by the THA. Between my first encounter with CWE in 1997 and my return to Tobago in 1999, the group had dissolved and beyond the group le ader, I did not have cont act with other members. Following the dissolution of the group, a ssessments conducted by funding agents questioned the absence of production or sales. In response, the leader offered a repertoire of new project ideas to justify continued funding. Further investigation revealed disputed leadership and divisive group dynamics as the root of CWE’s collapse. A rift formed with most villager s banding together in opposition to the leader. Supported by the T HA and retaining the CWE name, the new faction claimed entitlement to grant money. In the interim, however, funding agents had the group’s bank account frozen. Funding agents were under the impression that former group members regarded Margaret as a dom ineering leader. Furthermore, she was accused of slandering dissenting group members. To the dismay of funding agents, not only had the group fractured, but the new faction was cl aiming government support; meanwhile, the deposed leader accused the gove rnment of favoritism based on religious

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369 affiliation. According to the Margaret, prob lems were the result of “crab antics,” insularity, and insufficient commitment. Furt hermore, the leader described a lack of respect for her efforts stating, “If a fore igner was running the gr oup, or even someone from another village, they would receive mo re respect. Villagers are ‘swell headed’ if they get a great idea and find the money for it, they will change their plans because ‘the idea is too hard.’” According to the Margaret despite having facili tated successful grant funding, villagers rebuked her leadership. Sh e stated that the “people right around you don’t appreciate you -we don’t appreciate our own people.” Rather, she believed that regardless of her efforts, villagers w ould steadfastly withhold support and only acknowledge her contributi ons upon her absence. Fundamentally, the failure of CWE resu lted from a membership insurrection against their leader and corresponding loss of skilled group members. According to Margaret, lack of cohesion is endemic to T obago; women join groups to learn skills but prefer to work independently, or as she puts it “they lack group glue.” I viewed this response as a rationalization for the group’s di ssolution and since I did not have contact with the former membership, I cannot offer what I imagine might have been a contrasting point of view. The leader felt she failed to convince the original membership that despite securing grant money, they still needed pos tpone remuneration while establishing their business venture or in Margaret’s words, “the business must be built before there are any financial rewards.” Frustrated by the women’s lack of commitment, she noted, “It is better to participate, learn skills, and earn a small stipe nd than sit home doing nothing.” Correspondingly, other informants conveyed a sense that younger women, in particular,

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370 did not aspire to be self-sufficient. Acco rding to the CWE leader this lackadaisical attitude was pervasive among the younger genera tion; she claimed “they would rather sit home and wait for someone to bring them things. They are not active.” Accelerated by seemingly se lfish actions, Margaret’s leadership role became increasingly contentious. Citing potential vandalism as pretext, for example, she defended taking home equipment supplied by grant funding (includi ng a sewing serger and refrigerator). Similar to this example, international developm ent specialists have documented cases of “unscrupulous individu als” subverting cooperatively organized entrepreneurship projects in order “to achieve their own po litical or economic aims” in poor, rural settings (Hansen 1996:19). On ce the CWE group disbanded, the leader replaced the original membership (drawn fr om the local village) with new “students” from surrounding villages. Observation, however revealed that CWE “training classes” were on hiatus. From the perspective of the bilateral donors, the group’ s failures included abuse of equipment privileges and disorg anization. Furthermore, these “lack of transparency” issues resulted in unavoidable termination of fundi ng. Disappointed but undaunted, the leader continued her pursuit of grant money yet was growing frustrated by dwindling opportunities. Ironically, she blamed the fiscal blight on the “THA’s misuse of grant monies,” a verisimilar excuse that c onveniently corroborates with recent scandals perpetrated by the THA’s Chief Secretary.12 The four case studies above demonstrated issues related to the structure of cooperatively organized female microentrepreneurship. In the next section, the discussion shifts to issues related to individual female microentre preneurs, which is the most

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371 prevalent structure for female microentrepr eneurship in Tobago. In considering the historical and cultural contex t of Tobago, the next section evaluates application of the microcredit model of microe nterprise development focu sing on individual female microentrepreneurs.

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372 B. Applying the Model: Indivi dual Female Microentrepreneurs Contested leadership, at all levels, wa s a recurring theme during fieldwork. The lack of cohesion described in the case studies above presents a paradox in a society with a history of mutual cooperation and where econo mic self-reliance is virtually exalted. In the past, informal organizations and voluntar y societies were the mainstay of Tobago’s post-emancipation, peasant societ y (that is, lend-hand). In the late twentieth century, Tobagonians were still engaged in cooperative efforts; however, these tended to be voluntary groups rather than income-gener ating ventures. Following emancipation, independence became increasingly salient as intolerance of poor working conditions and low wages fostered a deep-seated commitm ent to self-reliant employment (James 1993:18-19). In his study of business practices in Tobago, local economist, Vanus James (1993:103) traced the significance of individual entrepreneurship and noted “commitment to self-reliant employment made any job at all a second best choice.” Historically, worker’s objectives involved avoiding wage labor and establishing own-account enterprise. These employment resistance techni ques included using la bor to gain access to money and “using the job as a place to rest in order to facilitate adequate own-account work after the job site,” which explains the frequent perception of Tobago’s workforce as lackadaisical (James 1993:52). An example this perceived lackadaisical attitude toward work noted during fieldwork (1999-2000) involved construction of a large resort by the Hilton Hotel Corporation. The majority of labor employed for the construction of the Hilton Plantation Property was imported from Trinidad (which, consequently resulted in a shortage of affordable housing). Accord ing to a Tourism and Hospitality Institute

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373 instructor, when attempts were made to em ploy Tobagonians to work on the project, they "cause a riot" complaining that the "work is too hard” (personal communication April 12, 1999). Therefore, the majority of the labor was temporarily imported from Trinidad. In addition to discontent with undesirabl e employment conditions, both leadership and organization were often contested, there by creating a barrier to cooperative economic organizing demonstrated in the case studies above. Generally, women in the Caribbean voiced a strong preference for operating microe nterprises independen tly (or within a kin group) rather than taking business pa rtners (Isaac 1986:51-53; McKay 1993:281). Likewise, I found this preference for indepe ndence strikingly prevalent among female microentrepreneurs in Tobago. Where assistan ce was enlisted, microe nterprises typically remain small-scale, community based and restricted to husbands or kin. Small and microenterprise ventures in Tobago were al most exclusively sole proprietorships or restricted to immediate family. Characteristic of female microentrepreneurs in Tobago, Suzanne was the owner of two fishing boa ts and a tackle business. She noted, I don’t like partnership wit my business. Something belongs to you, it must be your s. I just want to be de control, I want to be my own boss, right? It feel nice bein’ your own boss, dat is de great est ting on earth to be your own boss. And to know, well, you own dis, you own it, yuh understand? It is nice, it is very, very good. I am happy about it. Suzanne’s fishing boats also provided wo rk for her sons who rented use of the boats. Suzanne’s husband, a self-employed builder, supported her efforts by renovating the shop but essentially, she had complete autonomy over business decisions and

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374 finances. Similarly, Annette operated small lunchtime cafe. While describing her commitment to self-reliance, she explained “I have a husband, yes, but the little money they works for – I am not depending on a husba nd to bring in an income, no. I love my business. I can’t see myself right now going and work for nobody else, no. And my business so far is going good. I doesn’t really take time of f to go and have fun with friends – I always in my business.” Though her spouse was employed fulltime by the local government, Annette preferred to opera te her small business independently. Male partners may recognize the sign ificance of female financia l contributions yet, “few women report help from their partners with household and other domestic duties” (Massiah 1989:972). Partners and families t ypically supported women’s work; however, a man might elect to influence his partner’s microenterprise if he provided the initial capital or where he was dire ctly involved in daily operations. Women are proud of their independence and to preserve their autonomy, may hide their income from their partners (McKay 1993:282). According to local economist Colin Mc Donald (1999:154-159), enterprises in Tobago were represented as follows: three pe rcent cooperatives, twelve percent familyowned, five percent partnerships, seventeen percent companies, wh ile sole proprietors account for sixty-three percent of registered enterprises. Similarly, a survey of 94 female microenterprises in Trinidad and Toba go indicated a preponderancy of sole proprietorship (75.53 percent) (International Labour Organization 1997 :39). In his study of enterprise development in Tobago, McD onald (1999:3) focused on the manufacturing sector to the exclusion of service or retail activities. Yet, analysis of the Small Business

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375 Register indicated a disproporti onate number of entrepreneurs were concentrated in three main sectors: (1) personal services (2) assembly and related industries, and (3) construction, with the vast majority concen trated in retail and trade rather than manufacturing (Crichlow 1991:199-200). By fail ing to account for the most prevalent sector among sole proprietor s in Tobago, data generated by this type of study does not accurately reflect the economic st atus of a major category of entrepreneurship – that is female microentrepreneurs. According to 1997 national census figur es, 41.9 percent of women were engaged in the service sector while 27.9 percent of wo men were engaged in wholesale retail or trade as compared to only 7.7 percent of women engaged in manufacturing (Central Sta tistical Office 1997b:3,6). More specifically, census data reported that among women in Tobago, 3,000 were in engaged in wholesale retail trade, restaurant or hotel work, 3,200 were engaged in community, so cial and personal services, whereas only 100 worked in other manufactur ing (excluding sugar and oil) (Central Statistical Office 1997a:56). Moreover, these censes data do not include the informal sector, which if included would account for a much larger percentile of female microentrepreneurs. Gender analysis of self-re liant enterprise, theref ore, must reflect the reality that a significant propor tion of the female microent repreneurial population are engaged in the service or reta il sector with the understandi ng that many operate in the socalled informal sector. In contrast to the microcredit model that emphasizes collective of a group of women, which I argue is not appropriate for th e historic and cultural context of Tobago, I also examine six models of offering a range of training, funding, and business

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376 development services available to the indi vidual female microentrepreneur. These six examples include local, na tional, and regional microc redit programs as well as conventional banking, credit unions, and ROSCAs (or susu). In particular, one of the examples I evaluated was a locally orchestrated attempt to design and implement a microcredit approach. Overall, what I learned is that programs intended to benefit female microentrepreneurs in Tobago are being developed in a vacuum rather than benefiting from networking with existing agencies and resources. Similar to my findings, a survey of agencies catering to small business devel opment in Trinidad and Tobago revealed “a myriad of governmental and non-governmental organizations each apparently pursuing their own agendas, but all with the overt objective of suppor ting the sector” (Ministry of Trade and Industry Task Force 1999:43). My re search indicated that programs including SBDC, the REACH Project, and FundAid (d iscussed below) had overlapping target populations yet, fail to integrat e services. In the following, I survey existing resources to identify strengths, weaknesses, and redundanc ies for effective female microenterprise development. B.1 Local Implementation of the Mi crocredit Model (REACH Project) The following case study documents local application of the microcredit model with seemingly appropriate provisions for th e historical and cultu ral context of Tobago including emphasis on the development of indi vidual female microentrepreneurs (rather than cooperatives). Initially, I was thrilled at my auspicious timing; I had returned to Tobago to study women’s microenterprise deve lopment and to my de light, a microcredit

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377 program was being launched only one mont h after my return (or so I thought). Technically, the Realization of Economic Achievement or “REACH Project,” “came on stream” in 1998, however, the $100,000 TT budget went unused. In 1999, the program was allotted another $100,000 TT from the THA. The Project Development Officer and I were lead to believe the en tire $200,000 TT allotted to the program remained in the government coffers, available to the program. Pr eviously, I had established a relationship with the THA Division of Health and Social Services during preliminary fieldwork, thus the political official overseeing the REACH Project was familiar with my research objectives. I volunteered my consulting services in anticipation that I would evaluate the REACH Project during its initial year. Gr anted permission to document the program THA by the Secretary for Health and Social Se rvices, I anxiously waited fourteen weeks before it was inaugurated. Ignoring pessimis tic warnings of local friends, I did not anticipate what awaited me. At the opening day symposium for the REAC H Project, dignitaries at the head table tantalized the audience with promises of social rehabili tation through selfemployment. Though directed at community l eaders and stakeholders (Tobago House of Assembly 1999:4), when I scanned the crow ded meeting hall I noted predominantly middle-aged, lower-income women in attendance.13 Designed to counter the plight of Tobago’s “vulnerable, disadvantaged, and unemployed” population, the program offered two types of subsidies grants: $3,500 TT fo r microenterprise development or $2,500 TT for training, however, training gr ants were conceptualized as a consolation offered to under qualified applicants who were not r eady to launch a microenterprise) (Tobago

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378 House of Assembly 1999:3). The project targ eted the estimated 24.2 percent of Tobago’s population living below the poverty level.14 Characterized as “community based development,” the program pledged to reduce unemployment and underemployment through sustainable microenterprise devel opment. Services promised by the REACH Project included professional guidance and st rategic training in addition to grant money. Speakers at the symposium included represen tatives from tourism and agriculture who indicated ample microenterprise opport unities in their respective sectors. Adapted from orthodox microcredit models operating internati onally, this local version entailed similarities as well as notab le differences. The REAC H Project’s explicit gender focus did resemble the classic, Gr ameen Bank of Bangladesh-type microcredit model; recognizing that men in Tobago domina te formal employmen t, microenterprise development opportunities were targeted at poor women. Yet, rather than offering access to small loans, a practice that is intended to instill lending practices, recipients of the REACH Project would receive “handouts” in the form of government grants. Tobagonians are not averse to government handouts; in fact, they are virtually conditioned to wait for government assistance. Furthermore, when government assistance was anticipated, Tobagonians exhibit excep tional patience. Dependency on government subsidy can be traced back to the aftermath of the widespre ad social unrest of the 1970s when the PNM introduced a labor scheme that was intended to ameliorate the uneven income distribution from the oil boom windfall through a short-term, rotating employment program (Auty and Gelb 1986; Pollard 1985:830-831). The “Special Works” program instituted in 1971 by Eric Williams provided occasional work as manual

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379 labor (locally known as “ten day”), which included the Development and Environmental Works Division (DEWD) that later became the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP). Yet, the special works program gained a reputation as providing a reliable source of remuneration for relatively little effort in comparison to other types of labor such as agriculture. Though inco nsistent, employment through the special works program was a remained a practiced income-generating stra tegy and several interview participants mentioned awaiting their turn to work “ten day.” Despite being slow and unreliable, critics of the government-subsidized safety net describe the creation of a “work-shy” reluctance to invest greater effo rt and erosion of the work ethi c. Similarly structured as an opportunity to distribute government handouts, Tobago’s REACH Project offered grants rather than loans. Yet, how can “gradua tion” into the conventional banking system, which is the paramount goal of microcre dit schemes, be achieved when lending principles are not being ins tilled? Likewise, proponents of the microcredit model in Bangladesh have experimented with dropping th e use of loans. Under pressure to reach “the poorest of the poor,” BRAC has piloted a program that gives “ultrapoor” women “goats or cows to raise, coupl ed with training and health car e, rather than burdening them with debts they cannot repay” (Dugger 2004). Furthermore, under the REACH Project, none of the familiar Grameen Bank type coalition or social collateral was being cultivated. Reflective of Toba gonians’ preference for econo mic self-reliance, the REACH Project encouraged individuals to pursue sole ventures. In contrast, under the microcredit model instituted by the Grameen Bank, collatera l is substituted by forming mutual trust groups whose members alternate receiving a loan upon repayment (Kamaluddin 1993:38;

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380 Siguad 1993:41). Repayment is encouraged th rough peer pressure and participation requires compulsory savings ( both individually and among the peer group) (Jain 1996:82; Sigaud 1993:41). Ideally, successful particip ants should “graduate” from microcredit programs into the conventional banking system (Adams and Von Pischke 1992:1462). Elsewhere in the Latin America/Caribbean region, attempts to adopt the Grameen Bank format of solidarity group lending were abandon ed as a consequence of high default rates among borrowers and lack of understanding among community organizers. In Guyana, for example, a microcredit program failed because administrators did not carefully identify participants, organize or follow up with groups (Ministry of Trade and Industry Task Force 1999:16). Similarly, it appeared th at administrators of the REACH Project had neglected to provide ade quate programmatic structure or a clearly stated mission. A final comment by the Secretary for Health and Social Services (architect of the REACH Project) that “we do not wish to develop T obago and leave the people behind” reinforced the paternalistic government/insipid proletariat tone of THA politics as exemplified by the REACH project. In response to considerable interest generated by th e launch, the sponsoring THA Division of Health and Social Services noted “that the scope of the project would have to be somewhat modified” (Tobago House of Assembly 1999:5). Conceived as a rehabilitative strategy for the Office of Social Service’s sma ll clientele (including old age pensioners and those receiving public assist ance), the original REACH Project proposal was designed to provide social workers an al ternative self-sufficiency resource. Rather than starting with a small pilot project, however, it was quickly transformed into a

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381 “poverty eradication strategy for all vulnerable and disadvantaged persons in Tobago” before having adequate opportunity to in cubate (Tobago House of Assembly 1999:17). REACH Project organizers anti cipated giving out a total of 50 grants in the inaugural year. Conceptually, the proposed project wa s so well received by THA administrators that it was promoted island-wide prior to establishing an adeq uate administrative infrastructure to operate the program. After the initial launch, the second phas e of recruitment took place at three spirited workshops intended to “help inform, guide, and facilitate the development of the REACH Project” (Tobago House of Assembly 1999:7). Lecture dominated the first half of each day’s events followed by audience involvement through role-playing designed to promote group discussion. Keynote speakers were recruited from the THA’s elite Policy Research and Development Institute (PRDI). One speaker, focusing on small business, emphasized individualism and challenged fledgl ing entrepreneurs with the responsibility to “start, grow, and maintain” their busi nesses independently. Pe rsonal assessment was encouraged as a tool to evaluate enthusiasm for the following: commitment to business ideas, ra ther than profit motivation; lifestyle changes including commitment of time, money, and = learning to “schmooze;” personality restructuring to emphasize honest y, assertiveness, and aggressiveness. He warned “most businesses fail because people undercapitalize;” seemingly foreboding advice, considering the miniscule grants being offered. The second PRDI speaker demonstrated amazing use of local vernacula r in a presentation peppered with humor. Adroitly, he conveyed complex theoretical c oncepts (including capitalist accumulation,

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382 macroeconomics, grassroots social movements, and representative democracy) to his audience. He emphasized “institutions of support,” a pseudo-altruistic philosophy wherein support entailed creating value through self less effort and resulting in selfserving rewards. He included the REACH Project as an “institution of support,” which he described as a reflexive relati onship that would respond to cl ient needs, represent their interests, and promote fina ncial success. While observi ng the interaction among REACH Project advocates and potential clients, I b ecame aware of discordant attitudes towards business practice. A telling example of conflicting business philosophies was demonstrated in the following exchange be tween participants a nd REACH promoters. The practice of “occupational multiplicity” (Comitas 1973), considered a survival strategy persisting among the poor as a reacti on to circumstances of need, was widely practiced by Tobagonians as adaptive self -sufficiency. To the contrary, a REACH representative criticized juggling multiple vocations as “stressful,” whereas entrepreneurs should “prioritize” their interests and ultim ately develop professional networks of specialists. This example illu strates bifurcation of the fundamental “work” concept between the THA petit-bourgeoisie perspective and that of the Tobago “small man.” At the workshops, group involvement through role-playing demonstrated empowerment by giving participants the opportun ity to “tell institutions what you want.” Discussion groups (subdivided by interest area) produced lists of entrepreneurial skills and needs as well as Tobago’s economic stre ngths, weaknesses, and opportunities. Lists generated by participants we re later evaluated and summari zed in a report (Tobago House of Assembly 1999). Problems identified dur ing workshops included insufficiency of

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383 grants funds being offered, ambiguous eligibility criteria, and the need to secure adequate training and support to achiev e projected goals (Tobago House of Assembly 1999:17). Envisioned as a “multifaceted” program by f acilitators and future applicants during workshops, the REACH Project quickly withered into a so-called “minimalist approach” to economic empowerment thereafter. As stat ed earlier, this minimalist approach to microenterprise development focuses on fundi ng while neglecting inte rrelated issues of social and education needs (Creevey 1996; Goetz and Gupta 1996; Hashemi, et al. 1996; van der Wees 1995). REACH Project workshops completed and summary reports drafted, the Project Development Officer (PDO) and I went to work recruiting applications Cast as the lead in what could be characterized as an “ill -fated one man show,” the PDO was a bright, hardworking and well-intentioned young man. Our academic training and cultural backgrounds being contrary to one other ma de us a dynamic team. Despite our best efforts, the secretary, had systematically denied any budgetary requests, thereby rendering the program stagnant with no support staff, no training services, and furthermore, she had refused payment to workshop facilitators. Rather, funds were exclusively earmarked for grants. But, how could a government-sponsored project operate without a working budget? Aside from the screening committee, the secretary expected officers from other THA divisions to volunteer their time and services. The THA Business Planning Unit (Appendix F), for example, should furnish the necessary training for REACH Proj ect clients; yet realistically, such training was beyond the scope of the Business Planning Unit. Whereas, the SBDC (Appendix F) provided precisely the

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384 services needed, for a reasonable fee, which they would willingly negotiate if the secretary had consented. Theoretically, the REACH Project filled an important void by recruiting fledgling microentrepreneurs, providing seed money and establishing a client relationship for future training and development. Moreover, by targeting sole proprietors the project reflected the reality of Tobago’s microenterpr ise and small business sector. Enthusiastic about the potential linkages with the REACH Project, the SBDC Tobago manager was of the opinion that “any such program s hould dovetail into the SBDC” (personal communication, October 13, 1999). Furthermore, he envisioned that as participants’ microenterprises grew, REACH clients could graduate from one program to the next therefore, producing stronger candidates fo r the SBDC’s loan guarantee program. In addition to a loan guarantee program, the SBDC catered to small and medium sized business by providing a range of business in cubator and training serves. Similar to SBDC, Venture Capital facilitated capital i nvestment for more established small and medium sized businesses (Appendix F). Bo th SBDC and Venture Capital were government-sponsored entities, but operated i ndependently. From the perspective of the SBDC, successful REACH Project participants would advan ce from one program to the next as their business grew. Therefore, th e addition of the REACH Project provided a needed first step for developing small busin ess. Had the REACH Project employed this approach, it would have fac ilitated the transition of mi croentrepreneurs into the conventional banking system, which would have paralleled the trad itional microcredit model in this regard. The SBDC mana ger proposed utilizing the $2,500 TT REACH

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385 training grants for SBDC business-training wo rkshop as a prerequisite for receiving the $3,500 TT REACH microenterprise grant. Like wise, in an interview with a THA Division of Health and Social Services official (personal communication August 10, 1999), I was informed that applicants would be permitted to apply for both training and development grants ($2,500 TT and $3,500 TT respect ively), to be awarded in that order (business development upon completion of training). Moreover, the SBDC manager noted that the need for training far outweighe d the THA’s desire to provide microcredit grants for four reasons. First, the SBDC manager described that instilling fundamental business skills was necessary as an independe nt capitalist class (bourgeoisie) had never really developed among Tobago’s Afro-Caribbean population.15 Second, the SBDC manager reasoned that globalization posed an immediate threat to Tobago. He described that in conjunction with internationa l tourism development, Tobagonians were surrendering control of local resources to foreigner business ownership. These factors were considered by many to constitute a fina ncial and cultural cr isis. Third, the SBDC manager indicated that most people do not voluntarily partic ipate in training in where their immediate desire or need is to la unch a business venture. By making the REACH Project a two-fold process, wherein comp letion of SBDC busi ness training preceded disbursement of the second microenterpris e development grant installment, course completion would be more probable. Fourth, the SBDC manager indicated that through demonstrating to clients that REACH and SB DC had confidence in their entrepreneurial skills and were willing to make a long-term i nvestment in their potential, a joint program could provide a mechanism for a multifaceted ap proach to microenterprise development.

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386 Despite the existence of adequate suppor t services, the REACH Project suffered from problems of structural inadequacy and lack of a clearly stated mission. The program operated under the assumptions that applicants had entrepreneurial potential and valid business ideas. Yet, clients were self-selected; they had attended workshops or learned of the program through word-of-mouth. I accompanie d the PDO on site visits to interview potential clients. I observed that rather than enlis ting the initially targ eted “poorest of the poor,” or Tobago’s unemployed and undere mployed population, applicants that responded to REACH Project recruitment we re predominantly lower-income women with some business experience (such as a snack manufacturer and produce stand operator). By assuming that barriers to micr oentrepreneurship were simple and easy to identify (such as the market access or lack of capital), program administrators failed to consider critical and more complex ba rriers to economic empowerment. Among the applicants, those who were recommended fo r funding were not pursuing training. As a result of unanticipated budge t constraints, an implicit policy shift involved focusing exclusively on microenterprise development gr ants and elimination of training grants. Furthermore, revoking the commitment to trai ning rendered clients deficient of skills necessary to plan or manage successf ul and sustainable microenterprises. Upon completion of the application pro cess, a two-part assessment preceded recommendation to the scr eening committee for REACH fu nding. Although eligibility criteria were vague, the initial evalua tion included assessment of applicants’ socioeconomic status, personal background, and business skills. Though originally targeted at social services clientele, soci al workers were not referring the program. Yet,

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387 assessment required the involvement of both th e PDO and a social worker. To qualify for the REACH Project, applicants were require d to undergo both the social and financial assessment; however, a social worker was ne ver assigned to the pr oject to conduct the required assessments. Particularly, in small societies such as Tobago, social welfare services tend to be highly stigmatized. Had the promised social worker been assigned to the REACH Project, it would have been advant ageous to assign an alternative job title, though they would provide essent ially the same client assess ment and referral services. Under the pretext of the RE ACH Project, a “social worker ” could have discretely assessed and directed grantees towards anci llary services such as literacy training, domestic violence counseling, AIDS/HIV treat ment and counseling, et c. Like other THA staff, Tobago’s two eligible social workers we re expected to voluntee r their services to the program. Therefore, screening procedur es operated out of sequence and created excessive demands on the PDO. First, he prep ared applicants’ busin ess proposals prior to eligibility being established. Ne xt, he shepherded reluctant so cial workers to facilitate screening interviews. This hi ghly inefficient process create d a backlog of 65 applicants needing social worker screening. After eight months of operation a meager 16 applicants were approved for REAC H Project grant funding. REACH Project resources were allo cated from the THA Development Programme Fund, monies designated for infr astructure improvements (such as road repairs). Like most of the THA, the Divisi on of Health and Social Services had been drastically affected by the 1999 budget cris is, however, $200,000 TT combined from the 1998 and 1999 budgets remained earmarked for the REACH Project. No further funding

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388 was allocated to the program in the 2000 budget. Unannounced, the existing budget was diverted elsewhere, leaving the REACH Proj ect bankrupt before approved grants could be distributed. A financial scandal that tr anspired during fieldwork (1999-2000) provides a likely explanation for the disappearance of THA funding for the REACH Project. The THA held a 51 percent shareholding in an international investment called “ADDA.” There was speculation that the $12.6 million TT investment was diverted from the remaining balance of the 1997 THA budget.16 Whatever the reason, the THA appeared to have other priorities, but failed to inform the PDO. Unaware of the budget vacuum, files of 21 approved clients were submitted for dispersal of invoices. Dissimilar from th e Grameen Bank type microcredit model, REACH Project clients were not allowed to handle their own grant money. Rather, with the approval of the PDO, an invoice wa s issued to a THA-approved supplier who distributed the appropriate stoc k or supplies to the client.17 Since the THA had reached the banking overdraft limit due to the divert ed budget, requests for grant funds were unexpectedly denied. Officially, there was m oney for the program; yet, no one disclosed where the money was or who had diverted it. Unfortunately, such discrepancies were ubiquitous to the THA. Annually, the budget aw arded from central government failed to meet requests. Upon receipt of the budget, the chief secretar y (concurrently the secretary for finances) distributed funds as he deemed appropriate rather than adhering to original figures proposed by the Assembly (Tobago Ne ws 1999a:6). Central government annually awarded funding en block to the THA, thus accusing Trinidad of under funding was an excuse repeatedly i nvoked by THA Officials.18

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389 The timing of my dissertation fieldwor k serendipitously corresponded with the launch of a local microenterprise devel opment program. Although I did not document a success story, the overwhelming need fo r microenterprise development through microcredit was undeniable. Like the speaker s from the preliminary workshops who had motivated local attendees, I also prom oted the program among the female microentrepreneurs that I interviewed. I too wanted to believe that the government was responding to the needs of “the poorest of th e poor” by offering a microenterprise seed program targeted at women, so the failure wa s a great disappointme nt. When I left the field in 2000, the official status of the REACH Project was “on hold.” The distressing fallout left applicants plagued by a sens e of failure and abandonment. Though the REACH Project was able to fund a few appli cants in 2000 (nine out of twenty approved projects were provided grants), no additional support was provided. After being processed by social workers and receiving approval from the REACH Project Screening Committee, the remaining grant recipients were given no further attent ion. In the interim, two applicants changed their minds regardi ng proposed projects and another applicant could not be located. The remaining applicants continued to wait for their applications to be processed (Personal Communication Decem ber 10, 2000). Olive, a woman who raised chickens, described her initial contact with the program while working for the caterer who provided lunch during a REACH Project workshop; And dis program, the people in dis program was so friendly enough to you, give you cards and pamphlets and anyting dat is in the workshop if you ar e interested. But, I was der and I got interested so I deci ded to follow it up and I keep

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390 on askin’ and when dey had the last part of the workshop wit the forms to fill out and ting and I was given one, so I followed up and went to the PDO and did the form and ting. Yes, well he said after he finish the business form he send dem to the committee and we’ll hear from him. I haven’t heard anything about th e approval else yet. I don’t know how to reach him. After initial encouragement, a pplicants like Olive were left in limbo, uncertain of how to proceed. Similarly, Merle, a handicraft pr oducer, described her initial excitement, Yes, yes, I feel good to know that I went in the meeting and I have a form to fill out. And so long I was waitin’ and I wasn’t getting’ no assistance. Or I wonderin’ if they was really givin’ it out again. [Lat er, the PDO] explain and tell me “ Gyul we didn’t get through,” and I have to wait. So he tell me, well when I have time I could always visit him and tell him what goin’ on. I could find out from him what goin’ on. So I tell him I will check him. And since that I haven’t seen him. That was over two weeks now. Applicants were abruptly deserted by the REACH Project. The 21 clients approved for funding were left waiting inde finitely. Roslyn, for example, a market vendor and seamstress believed she was rece iving assistance from REACH “because [the PDO] said some loan was bein’ approved. And dey even sent me to [sewing machines] to go and get an estimate of what a machine co st, and what threads and cloths and tings cost. And den, it just went stands till. I visitin’ in de office and he say ‘nothin’ yet, nothin’ yet.’” No official effort was made to explain the status of the failed program to the 21 approved clients or the 115 applicants who we re waiting for a year for a decision on their

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391 proposals. Supposedly, the secretary sent an official note to th e THA Executive Council requesting access to funds. The PDO explai ned that both he and secretary found it difficult to write an apology le tter to clarify the funding problems; with no foreseeable resolution, program administrators were embarra ssed and uncertain of how to explain that the project had unexpectedly ended. The PDO no ted that he had tried to be optimistic, viewing the program as having offered useful insights. Clearly, people wanted to start microenterprises or needed help with expans ion yet, lacking access to funding, applicants found encouragement from the REACH Project promise. Despite being ill conceived and inappropriately executed, the program pr ovided an impromptu “needs assessment.” Though other resources existed, many fledgli ng microentrepreneurs found alternative funding agencies inappropriate because they could not satisfy the requirements (capital, collateral or guarantors). B.2 Small Business Development Company The preeminent entrepreneurial assistance agency in Trinidad and Tobago was the Small Business Development Company (SBD C). The SBDC delivered a range of services and was best known for its loan guarantee program (Appendix F). Suzanne, a woman who owned a small tackle shop and two pirogues (or small fishing boats) had enjoyed a positive relationship with the SBDC loan guarantee program. Her first experience with the SBDC loan guarantee program involved a loan financed by the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) to refurbish a boat (Appendix F). Suzanne’s second loan, also guaranteed by SBDC for the ADB, provided $19,000 TT toward the

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392 purchase of a boat engine. In the following, she described interact ion with an SBDC project officer, He came and talk to me. He is a very nice person. He give out very good informations and he take time wit you, he tell you what to do and what – yuh know. He handle his business very well. He will te ll you, well, you have to keep a book and you will have to do dis, you will have to do dat. Well, example, de last loan I take, he was de man to guarantee de loan and he came and he speak to me. Any little ting, any little pr oblem I have I could talk to [him], he help. Yet, in spite of a hard-working, devo ted, and well-intentioned staff, many microentrepreneurs found they did not quali fy under SBDC requirements or were unable to comply with the agency’s conditions. Pa tsy, a self-employed food vendor and producer of drapery and soft furnishings, explai ned why she found the SBDC inappropriate, I find their rates in borro wing and der conditions not suitable – yuh know, the rates to pay back very high and all dat. I would say it’s not for small business because if you goin’ into small business, it’s because you don’t have money and you’re goin’ to look for money. Now, sometimes when you go to dem, dey does tell you have to put out dis amount. If I have dat amount I wouldn’t go to dem, I would use it to start my business. “Small business” is a relative concept and in the case of Tobago, many female microentrepreneurs found themselves inelig ible under SBDC parame ters. The paramount obstacle faced by the loan guarantee program was collateral security; SBDC loan guarantee required adequate asse ts (or a cosigning guarantor) to qualify with the lending

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393 institution’s terms. Some microentrepren eurs found the terms of the SBDC very accommodating. Marcia, the owner of a hair-bra iding salon, obtained financing through the SBDC loan guarantee program without colla teral. In order to qualify SBDC, Marcia was required to Do a whole rundown on the type of business that you wanted, you had to show where you can make the money in order to, yuh know, pay. They have to fund it through the bank, you had to be able to show that you can pay. So I did that, I didn’t have any m oney to put up front. They guaranteed at least 75 percent of the loan and my equipment and stuff did the other 25 percent. They bought the equipment for me, but they kept it as security, like my chairs and shampoo sink and stuff, that was the other 25 percent. So, I didn’t have to put any money [down]. I was a bit scared, eh, because when I realize the amount of money I had to borrow, I was like “Lord, suppose this business ain’t work, I have this loan to pay off, how I’m going to pay it?” Encouraged by the SBDC officer and supporte d by her mother, Marcia took the risk and within four years, had completely paid off her debt. Unlike Marcia who had did not have collateral, Nancy was a hairdre sser who trained and worked in the United States prior to returning to Tobago and had sufficient resour ces to qualify with SBDC. Yet, she found the SBDC’s requirements were overly demanding; I tried to get finance at de Small Business [Development Company], it was such a round about dat I gave up on it. You had to have a certain amount of money, you had to have the balance at a financial institution and that financial institution, had to guarantee the money. You have to be with a financial institution for over three years. I have

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394 changed because I have some problems with the tax. The tax for business account was so much. Although Nancy’s hairdressing business was suc cessful, she found taxa tion levied against her bank account excessive for a microentrepren eur and elected to shift her assets from a business account to a personal account. So, despite possessing adequate capital, this banking discrepancy disqualif ied her from the SBDC loan guarantee program and discouraged her from pursuing funding with that agency in the future. For poor microentrepreneurs, however, the requirements of the SBDC loan guarantee program were out of reach. Janet, w ho raised pigs and kept a small parlour, described that she lacked collateral security, Yuh see, we de small business people we don’t have no money so dat dey would lend us. Yuh have to have money for dem to lend yuh, yuh understand? And we don’t have money in de bank say like, so we wouldn’t get de money. Dey just give me de run-ar ound, just say dey could give you de assurance like you will get it but you wouldn’t get it because you don’t have ting [collateral security]. I tries Small Business [Development Company] once already yuh know, to get money for de parl our. I didn’t even have a fridge, so yuh couldn’t ah get de money because yuh have to have worth [collateral security] to get de money. And if yuh don’t have de worth, dey wouldn’t give yuh de money. Like Janet, Wilma needed a loan to finance her baby stor e, but without collateral she could not qualify for the loan guarantee program. She explained, Well I have heard people went to Small Business [Development Company], but wit Small Business when I

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395 go dey tellin’ me I have to get collateral. I have no collateral or I have no body to stand security for me. Yeah dey say I have to have collateral, somebody to stand security for you if you don’t have it. And I may have a real good business idea and I need de funds to start, yuh know. I know maybe axen’ too much, but if dey could, it have people wit really good ideas a nd people who could really push der ideas. And if des people could really work wit dem, just give dem de chance. Without some form of collateral or some one to stand as security, poor female microentrepreneurs were uniform ly disqualified by the SBDC. Typically, low-income people with li mited finances who are launching a microenterprise are reluctant to take a fi nancial risk, preferring to invest existing resources up front. Furthermore, fledgling microentrepreneurs ar e often in need of fundamental business advice yet, which SBDC readily offered for free (Appendix F).Yet, what was perceived as daunting SBDC requirements created a barrier against microentrepreneurs approaching the agency for even basic business guidance. Patsy, the food vendor and draper y producer explained, Ok sometimes you need the advice right? Now dey tell yuh will have to make up a proposal, now sometimes really and truly you doesn’t know what you want, right? But you goin’ to dem for advice and sometimes you don’t get it. Dey would tell you have to make up a proposal. Oh gosh, I mean to say its advice I goin’ for… As SBDC’s target population was “small business” and services were designed to cater to larger or more established business, the agency had difficulty reaching microentrepreneurs. Furthermore, seeking advice implied an additional peril for the

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396 informal microentrepreneur. By approach ing a government-sponsored institution for assistance, the unregistered businesspers on becomes vulnerable by disclosing incomegenerating information. Patsy described this risk, “Yeah, but when you do dat, you have to register your business. I will still go for the advice, because dat is what I need. Yeah, cause once you go to dem and dey record it because dey would want to know what business [you are in], so you have to be car eful.” Overwhelming pro cedures for eliciting business advice (in addition to fear of govern ment scrutiny) averted microentrepreneurs who preferred to remain informal and unregis tered and could not afford to pay income taxes. Patsy was not opposed to appropriate ta xation rather she explained that her future business goals included entering the competitive export market, Because I really want to get into de drapery like exportin’, packing even sheets, pillowcases, fitted – yuh know. But I know if I reach to dat [level] I would have to pay tax, I don’t have a problem wit dat because once I have people to buy I don’t have a problem in payin’ tax. But den when you don’t have people, when it’ s once a year [seasonal], you can’t afford to pay the government any tax. Patsy’s growing drapery business catered to the seasonal Christmas rush, but was not profitable year-round.19 Therefore, registering her busi ness and paying taxes would have been prohibitive. As noted earlier, I often hear d the phrase “Tobago is a small place” alluding to the rapid exchange of news and gossip across Tobago. Therefore, pub lic opinion of the agency was easily influenced by criticism of staff and services. Microentrepreneurs I interviewed were familiar with the previous staff members whose mediocre reputation

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397 deterred potential clients. In the late 1990s, public knowledge of staffing changes and assertive public outreach had rekindled loca l interest in SBDC programs. One method of outreach included assigning a project officer to the “Community Adoption Programme” designed to “increase business awareness a nd foster enterprise development” (Small Business Development Company 2000). Additi onal outreach strategies employed by the SBDC included the following: holding office hours in local commun ity centers; field visits; networking with neighboring institutio ns (including credit unions and hotels); and providing free training. Patsy described her rein troduction to the SBDC while listening to a project officer speak at a local function, She was one of de speakers and some points she was makin’ which was very good – yuh know – how to ting a successful business and all di s kind of tings. And I had planned to go to her, but it is just dat I didn’t have de time to really go and sit down and chat wit her. I had planned to go to some of der seminars, but I went to one once and I wasn’t satisfied. Yuh know, dey tryin’ to feed from you what you would want but I wasn’t goin’ expectin’ dat. I was going expectin’ dat dey would tell us how to do our business and all dat. Apparently, the interactive atmosphere creat ed during SBDC’s free training seminars was unexpected by microentrepreneurs who anticipat ed a less interactive learning experience. While attending the annual Business Week, a free weeklong seminar covering fundamental business practices, I observed th at most participants were quietly and attentively taking copious notes rather th an responding to the trainer’s prompts or participating in discussions. Each day of the SBDC Business Week was devoted to a

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398 different topic; starting your own busine ss, business planning, marketing and market research, costing and pricing and record keepi ng. Perhaps the participants’ reluctance to actively interact with the instructor was a re flection of the didactic colonial educational style inherited from Great Britain. For SBDC project officer responsible fo r community outreach, including serving as the SBDC Business Week trainer, his priority was to instill marketing skills. He explained that histori cally, marketing skills and quality standards were not developed in Tobago. As a holdover from Tobago’s intern al market structure where farmers and higglers brought products to market, whole se llers purchased everything for a set price regardless “if there were blemishes on the banana s or if the fish had been kept on ice the whole time or not” (personal communicat ion April 9, 1999). Damaged and rotten products were simply discarded by whole seller s and this created waste, as there was no incentive for farmers or higglers to ensure that high quality products were delivered to market. Yet, “we can no longer afford this waste. The market is demanding quality and the people of Tobago do not have a tradition of ensuring quality sin ce then never had to argue for their price” (personal communicati on April 9, 1999). In his experience, SBDC clients set their personal goals too low. Th e SBDC project officer’s main objective was for microentrepreneurs to have a sense of power over their businesses, which he hoped to achieve by instilling much higher quality stan dards and marketing sk ills. Other problems noted by the SBDC included the “apparent leth argy among residents and limited financial resources to provide collat eral security” (Small Business Development Company 2000).

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399 B.3 FundAid An alternative to the SBDC was an NGO based in Trinidad called FundAid (Appendix F). Patsy, the food vendor and drapery producer, found FundAid met her needs, Somebody told me about FundAid and I went to dem. Well, I met [the Tobago project officer] and den she told me the whereabouts and whatever. Well I’m proud to say dat I have one more payment for dem after two years. It is since I got help, well I wasn’t sellin ’ hot dog [before], I was only sellin’ de souse. But is thr ough FundAid I was able to get my hot dog machine and for my draperies and ting I’ve got a [sewing] serger through FundA id. So dat is what de loan was really about. Yeah, is a gr eat relief. And [the project officer] is a nice person – yuh know, if you’re late in your payment she would call and remind you, she deal wit you like people supposed to deal w it people who in dis type of business. Through FundAid, Patsy acquired the equipmen t she needed to expand her food vending enterprise as well as the serger she needed to sew professional quality drapery. FundAid required that clients be self-employed. Irene a part-time student and agricultural stand owner described, “FundAid does help people w ho want to start a small business and ting. But de person must not be in a job. Must be der own business.” One female microentrepreneur revealed that although she did have a full-time job, she managed to conceal her employment status sufficiently to qualify for a small loan with FundAid. Unlike the more rigid SBDC collatera l requirements, FundAid operated on a social collateral system vaguely remini scent of the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh.

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400 Though a client may not possess the necessary co llateral, a substitute of three guarantors could satisfy FundAid’s criter ia. Patsy described the relatio nship with her guarantors, Well yuh see, wit FundAid you don’t have to put out anyting, like collateral and all dat. You didn’t have to do dat because de guarantors I used were people, my last daughter-father and his sister and den I had his godfather, which is his cousin. Right, so I didn’t have any problem. And den dey didn’t know me to be a bad person so getting guarantors wasn’t no problem at all. It was great. For an individuals like Patsy with friends a nd family who were willing to vouch for them financially, FundAid provided a desirable al ternative. Like Patsy, Irene had a strong social network willing to s upport her business venture, but she needed both collateral and guarantors to qualify for assistance through FundAid. She described how she qualified for the loan, Yes, three guarantors, food badge, what else? I had was to get three utility bills from de three guarantors. Um, and I was to get something to stand as security like a stove, fridge, and dos tings. Well I use my scale and my mother permitted me to use her washing machine, her deep freeze, and tings like dat. I got th ree guarantors. Two was a teacher, one is a pastor. Well, I ended up wit four because, she told me dat the pastor, s eein’ dat he is self employed, dey don’t really advise you to look for somebody self employed to be a guarantor because you could never tell what could happen to de business and de business flop and den you in de heat. Ok, but dey don’t mind, but dey would prefer dat even though you choose somebody who is self employed, you get somebody else to back up along wit de self employed person. So I ended up with four persons, two teachers, a pastor, and my mother.

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401 Support provided by guarantors, who were wil ling to vouch for a business potential, also bolstered a female microentrepreneurs’ self-confidence. Although not a loan-guarantee program lik e SBDC, FundAid required clients to establish a bank account to repay loans. Ev elyn, who owned a parl our near a primary school, described “we don’t re pay to FundAid but through the bank. Their system, they give you the money but the repayments go through the bank. So I’m payin’ back FundAid through First Citizens Bank at S carborough. That’s the bank they choose, because my bank is Scotia. So they choose Firs t Citizen so I have to pay at First Citizen to their account.” FundAid requ ired that all finances be handled through the conventional banking system, consequentially; Evelyn was able to track her profits, budget for additional expenses, established a savings account for her daughter and a life insurance policy for herself. She describes, What happened, I banked all the money, when the week comes, whatever profit I have I put into my account. I also opened an account for my daughter from the business. Now I open an insurance for myself from the business. Cause normally what happened, I told myself that when yuh workin’ for your own, when you reach [age] 60 and over, I don’t think that the government is going to pay you [a sufficient pension] for your own. So I decide to open an insurance for myself. So that is what I did with whatever profit I also have from the business. Like once a month I pay down the next $5 to National Insurance for Guardian Life, that is my insurance policy for myself. FundAid adhered to the microcredit mode l by ensuring that clients “graduated” into the conventional banking system through their required repayment system, however,

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402 disbursement of funds was not made directly to clients. Similar to the REACH Project, FundAid clients were not allowed to handle th eir own loan money; rather invoices were issued to approved suppliers who distributed the appropriate stock or supplies to the FundAid client. Evelyn described the process of obtaining stock for her parlour using her FundAid loan, But what happen for me, I like how they don’t give cash in hand. And I think that’s the best way because sometime you will tell yourself, ok I’m goi ng to FundAid for a loan, probably I might go for the loan and they give me the money, cash in hand. But then I don’t use it for what I really want. I use it otherwise and I think that’s unfair. If yuh set your mind to ok, I’m going to FundAid for a loan for a shop – you put the money to the shop. So they give the money in check. And for them to do this you have to go different business places, like for me with the shop I go to the one that supply milk, ora nge juices and so forth. And then I go to Sunshine [Company] that supply snacks, and then I go to Bermudez [Company] that supply biscuits. So I get and invoice and whatever it tallies to total, FundAid calculate and if Bermudez is $12,000 – they gonna do a check direct to Bermudez for $12,000. Unlike the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh model where female microentrepreneurs were trusted to follow through with their proposed business investment, Tobagonians female microentrepreneurs seemed content with th e lending agency controlling and monitoring their business expenditures. Considering the cost of launching or ev en operating a business, FundAid offered very limited financial assistance and exce ssive fees discouraged more experienced entrepreneurs. Nancy, the hairdresser, purch ased equipment for her shop with FundAid

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403 money. Although she needed a dditional funds to build a new shop and purchase a hydraulic chair, she stated that FundAi d would not meet her future needs; To start de business that I [p reviously] had down the road, I went to the FundAid company and did a loan to buy de basic equipment to start de bus iness outside of home. And I did not want to take a FundA id loan again because I find dat de premium was so high. And de charges, dey have so much charges – yuh know. Because look, on openin’ my business, I took a loan for $10,000 and in the end, when the loan went through, I only had access to like $7,000. The charges you had to pay, whether you wanted or not, you had to pay [a fee of] $1,000 for an accountant, you had to pay de lawyers, and den you had to pay another $1,000 something. So the charges came to about $3,000. And then, imagine for a loan of $10,000 I had to pay, what was the loan installment? $437 for the monthly premium and then I was in the shop so I had to pay my rent, had to pay the electricity bill, the water bills, and yuh know. Most FundAid fees were compulsory rega rdless of client use (including attorney services), with additional fees incurred fo r registering security collateral (Appendix F). Albeit reasonably convenient to borrow fr om FundAid, participants criticized the program as limiting due to the low maximum le nding ceiling. Wilma, who owned a retail shop specializing in baby items, accepted a lo an of $3,700 TT from FundAid that was too miniscule an amount to properly launch a ne w business. Previously, she had completing an in-depth business plan and projection w ith the assistance of the THA Development Planning Unit (Appendix F), which demonstrated capital requirements of approximately $10,000 TT (FundAid’s first time lending limit) in order to pay rent and purchase inventory. The FundAid project officer dism issed this document and instead, requested

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404 invoices from potential supplie rs and collateral information. Also, the project officer coerced Wilma to reduce the amount her loan request, What she told me is dat, “d ey is de maximum what we could give, try not to go ove r $5,000” or some kinda ting. But at de point in time I guess I was close, I really wanted to start de ting eh, yuh know. Is afterward I sit down I realize where it doesn’t make se nse to rush, is best yuh take your time. But if I didn’t rush it I would not have gotten de place, yuh understand? So, dey should really sit down and work wit people. In Wilma case, she needed immediate capital to secure a retail space that became available in town. In retrospect, she woul d have preferred more realistic business counseling, When de person come dey should put de person sit down and say “Ok listen to me, yuh want to go into your own bakery [for example] and you want to start with $3,000? No, dat ain’t goin’ to do yuh a nyting.” It have some people dey may not be able to pen tings down, but dey may be able to talk it out so whoever is w it dem should be able to pen it down for dem and show dem, yuh know, and dat kinda ting. So dey must sit down and don’t give to people [insufficient loans] because it does put dem in a worse position like wit me. At the time the loan was administered, Wilm a felt that the project officer was “doing her a favor” by lending the money and accepting her home appliances as collateral. Wilma struggled to make both loan payments a nd rent. Lacking surplu s capital, she found it impossible to properly stock the store. Also, she had no savings in case of an emergency.

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405 Had the FundAid officer not “rationed” Wilma’ s loan-size (that is, given a smaller loan that originally requested), she would not ha ve experienced such a risky and constrained financial situation. Albeit small, microent erprises in Tobago required two types of financing: (1) long-term fixed capital to establish productive capacity (as in Wilma’s case, for renting a retail space and initial stock); (2) shortterm working capital required to finance production and distribution cycles, such as maintaining supplies (D. R. Brown 1994:19). In particular, microentrepreneurs in T obago needed continuous support after start up (Ministry of Trade and Industry Task Force 1999:44). Although FundAid’s mission included intensive one-on-one support, trai ning opportunities in Tobago were more limited. Therefore, adequacy of FundAid trai ning depended on indivi dual capacity. For Irene, the agricultural sta nd owner, FundAid provided sufficient opportunities for business development training, Yes, and dey give us a little course in like how to run a business, how to take stock, to keep records, which was very good. And I tink I need to go and do a next course in dat yuh know. Because she had told us dat in case, along de line you could have a slip up, we are always free to come back and get a refresh course, yuh know, for free. So dey gave us dat for free, because we got through wit de finance [upon loan approval], dey gave us de course and little tips like dos. Evelyn, who operated a parlor n ear a primary school, had atte nded the required training with FundAid, but found that she needed addi tional business assist ance and relied on a friend for help with bookkeepi ng, “at first when I started I was having problems, but then

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406 I have a business teacher, I go to him for assistance, and I’m doing my own now. Whatever mistakes I made, I go to him for correction and assistance.” With minimal staff, training and follow-up assistance were extremely limited to FundAid clients in Tobago. Evelyn described her inter actions with FundAid staff, I got the money from FundAid – this one, this loan I get it from FundAid in Trinidad because the branch over here sends you to Trinidad to colle ct the loan, but you do the seminar over here, or you can do it in Trinidad. So, I did mine in Tobago and then I went to Trinidad just to collect the money. I did courses, I went seminars and so forth with FundAid. I went to Trinidad to a seminar once and the last time they had a workshop at Scarborough. And then last year I also did another seminar/workshop in Scarborough. So, that’s it. At the time of this study (1999-2000), the staff of FundAid in Tobago dropped from two to a single Project Development Officer. This small staff size was not sufficient to provide all of FundAid’s services to T obago clients. Though there was discussion of increasing the staff size in the future, T obago clients were required to attend the compulsory two-day training program in Trinidad. Thus, Tobago FundAid clients incurred the additional expens e traveling to attend mandato ry training or to complete required paperwork to collect a loan.

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407 B.4 Conventional Banking System and Credit Unions Although more established small busine sses did utilize the conventional banking system, very microentrepreneurs did not. Wher eas credit unions have a strong presence in Tobago, but seldom were appro ached for microcredit purposes. The conventional banking system was of ten inaccessible for the self-employed. Patsy, the food vendor and drapery producer explained that money came and went so quickly that maintaining a bank account was impossible; “I had a bankin’ account but I had was to go into it, because as I tell you wit de house and all dat too – yuh know. [I was supposed] put in a certain amount every week and – wit de bills I couldn’t…but I can see where it’s going. Yeah, dat is important.” Whereas, well-established microentrepreneurs did rely on the conventional banking system to a greater extent. Olive, the chicken farmer with a retail background explained; Yes I’m keeping a savings for something cause you have to, in order to mind chickens. Because if like, the lady I get credit on don’t have feed, I have to get the feed. So you have to have money, you always have to have a capital, to have ready cash in hand. I ha ve a separate account for business and for personal. It don’t mix doz money together. Olive was exceptional in that she maintained separate accounts for personal and business finances. Among the female microentrepreneurs I interviewed, most did not maintain a separate business account or even main tained basic bookkeeping records. Another problem faced by small and microentrepreneu rs was discrimination by the conventional banking system. Take Annette for example, a well-established food vendor who was

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408 frustrated in her attempt to borrow from a conventional bank. The bank would not lend her money to construct her home wit hout her husband vouching as guarantor; Because if you go to the bank to borrow a loan, you got to show book some kinda ting because I’m self-employed. I took a loan for the house. I took small loans already – you know – you finish pay, you start again. Sometime some loan officer would be hard on you. And [then] tink, you are self-employed, you mightn't able to pay the loan. So, who you have to stand collateral? So you find [her husband] is working with the government. So if I have to go take a loan, you find he would be on the side there, to say like, stand security. But normally, I would go through my loan [independently]. I will do my payments. Though the loan was paid entirely from Annette’s earnings, the bank required her husband, who was formally employed, to stand as security for her loan. In Tobago, half of microentrepreneurs who had difficulty obtaini ng credit attributed the problem to lack of access to the conventional banking system. Furthermore, when microentrepreneurs do use conventional banks, access to credit was usually indirect and was “made possible only by way of guarantees from persons not i nvolved with the business or by collateral not connected with the bu siness” (Microfin 2001:13). Credit unions had a long institutional history in Tobago. Credit unions also provided an alternative to the conventiona l banking system (Appendix F) and supplied financial services to approximately 20 percen t of Tobago’s microent repreneurs (Microfin 2001:13). Kay, a woman who operated a fish pr ocessing business, described her early introduction to the credit union, “Since I was small, since I was going to school, I was about 10 years old and yuh know, some time they go around in school and encouragin’

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409 kids to like join with a dollar and such a nd that’s how I end up joinin’. So I have [my account] there.” Like most women I interv iewed, she does not use the credit union for business. Credit union managers reported that many self-employed female members used it as a savings institution, while few took busine ss loans. The majority of consumer loans awarded by credit unions were for domes tic purposes (including home improvement, furniture, car, travel, and medical expenses ). Annette, who had a small lunchtime caf, saved with the credit union for seve n years in order to buy a car, And I save, save, save my money until the credit union can help me. Those days I was d ealing with the credit union. Credit union help me buy that car. [But] when I went for a small loan to got married, there was an individual, she give me an answer this kinda wa y and I took out all my money and went to the bank. You are dealing with them all these years, they are seeing your r ecords, they are seeing you are paying good, and I find she was over uptight that day. And I say, well forget it! This problem, where customers felt that fi nancial agents were prying their personal business (maco), was reported by customers of both conventional banks and credit unions. In Annette’s case, this event provoke d her shifting to the conventional banking system. As was the case in Tobago, credit unions often provided the only banking facilities outside the major urban area (W orld Bank and the Caribbean Centre for Monetary Studies 1998:26). Merle, a woman wh o produced and sold handicraft explained that after her husband left her with six ch ildren to raise, the credit union became her savings strategy,

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410 When I was with my husband I had a nice saving account. But since, I have those kids a nd I’m not working. I have to take all my saving, and yuh know – see if I could help them. Right now, I have money in the bank but not nothin’ of count, just a small thing. They have a credit union up where I live and I join it and I [make a deposit] every week, even if it’s $20 I does put it there. “Although only a small part of credit union le nding is categorized as business lending, a large part of their consumer and mortgage lending does in fact go to finance small enterprises” (World Bank and the Caribbean Centre for Monetary Studies 1998: 26). In Tobago, however, a manager indicated that he r credit union had linkages to the SBDC, yet lacks sufficient "liquidity" (or capital) to participate in the loan guarantee program (personal communication Februa ry 14, 2000). Lack of education and limited resources inhibited significant accumulation of savings among credit union customers. Understandably, people were apprehensive about starting busine sses and taking loans because they were uncertain about profits and their ability to make loan payments. Furthermore, by the time sufficient savings was accumulated to start a business, people frequently changed their minds (personal communication with credit union manager February 10, 2000). B.5 Rotating Credit and Savings Association or Susu In contrast to formal financial assist ance programs, Rotating Credit or Savings Associations (ROSCAs) or su su (as it is termed in Tr inidad and Tobago) was an

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411 indigenous approach to accessing surplus capital.20 Louise, who owned a parlor, described how susu works and why she pref ers it to the conventi onal banking system; Ok, susu works like this: if five of us together we have a susu going, each person pays let’s say $100 per week. [Let’s say] we’re going it at a w eek, so at the ending of this week they give one person [their hand of] $500. The other week we give [the susu hand] of $500 [to the next person] again until it comes round to here So if I have my hand, if I need something, right you might need a fridge or a stove or whatever, this is how I w ill take that money and get whatever I need. Never used th e bank, at least not yet. I don’t know if I could. Because at least I like the susu more than the bank. I don’t like to borrow, but I like the susu. Several of the microentrepreneurs were either unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the conventional banking system therefore, susu provided an alternative. Roslyn, a market vendor, explained why more conventional bank ing services were inappropriate for her situation; Well, if I don’t have dat am ount of money in the bank, dey wouldn’t give you a loan in the bank – right? And when dey tellin’ you, if you have $2,000, dey would give you a loan for dat. Some people, if you have $2,000 you’re lookin’ for a little loan for more because you need to get some money to put down in case like somebody pass [by] and you see tings to buy, [the n] you could buy. You need to have some money in waiting – right? And plus to buy tings. As opposed to holding collateral in a bank accoun t, struggling to qualify for a loan, or making loan payments – susu provided women in Tobago an informal and flexible means of accumulating surplus capital.

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412 For a microentrepreneur who regularly need ed to purchase stock, susu provided a useful option. Many female microentrepreneurs used susu to finance business expenses. Roslyn, a parlour owner, described being appr oached to join a susu and her personal requirements for participation; Well, a lady, I was tellin’ her about how hard it is for me – yuh know. And I still have to di p in buy tings [and to] help myself. And she said, “Well look, I’m startin’ a susu, do you want to come in?” I said yes, but the only way I’m gonna come in if I get an early hand. And I get a second hand, draw $900 and I invested every cent into the business. Well, I got my hand last week and dat is what I put into buying back goods. I invested it right back in. Similarly, Janet used susu to ensure that she did not spend her profit, but instead maintained the stock for her parlour. She desc ribed “Well, yuh see de money what I make in de parlour, the profit is al ready [in] susu so when I get it now, I put back into buy [stock for the parlour], yuh understand. Right, so because if yuh try to keep it sometimes, something pop up and yuh spend it, but once yuh give it de person [m anaging the susu], yuh know that they give you [your hand after a] fortnight.” Likewise, both Marcia and Nancy contributed $100 TT per week and used th eir susu hand to “invest back into the business” by purchasing stock for their shops. Even larger business owners who used the conventional banking system also made use of susu. Florence, who owned a catering business, had participated in multiple susu as a systematic means to save, I a member of a susu because I find them is a compulsive [or compulsory] way of savi ng, it is. You see, you may

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413 have some money to deposit in the bank and some problem may crop up and you does tell yourself, well ok, I will not deposit – you understand, you may use it. But you have to pay your susu hand on a weekly basis, you have to pay your hand. So I received this hand and it would have been about three hands come by cause this lady had been throwing susu for a couple of years, she has weekly hands and monthly hand. So she had called and asked me to take two hands in her monthly sus u, cause I guess she realized that I would pay her and business has improved. As her profits increased and she proved th at she was a reliable susu participant, Florence was offered more “hands.” While many female microentrepreneurs applied their susu hand to business expenses, others used susu for domestic purposes. When I asked Louise, the parlour owner, what she did with her susu hand she stated “Plenty! Whatever you see I have ; stove, fridge, television, whatev er I need – basic. ” Prior to branching out on her own, Kay had participated in susu while employed in a fish processing plant. She used susu for savings and domestic purposes, “Well, when I used to work at the factory, well we normally do susu like for the people that bone a lot of fish, we normally go like $500 a fortnight, right? What I did with that money? I think I bought a washing machine with that money, save some and bought a washing machine.” Likewise, Olive, a woman who operated a home-based chicken farm elaborated on the utility of th is local institution, Yes, I’m in susu. I’m in a lot of susu. Susu does help you a lot. Well, let me put it like this, you need money, let us say like your stove not workin’ and you need a new stove and your in a susu. You just get dat hand and you just go and buy yourself your stove. Yes, you don’t have to go to no hire-purchase [rent-to-own] or no creditin’. Susu is a great

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414 help. And a lot of people tell you susu gave dem most of the tings dat they have. Most of my beds and chair sets and doz tings came from susu hand. For those who did not use the conventional banking system, but occasionally needed surplus capital for larger purchases, susu provided a better investment than “hirepurchases” (or rent-to-own) that would entail a higher purchase rate or credit that would entail interest charges. Patsy, the food vendor and drapery producer explained that she used susu to balance her budget, So when I get it, whatever I need. Sometimes to pay bills according to how de bills come, if by de time I get my hand and I have bills in my hand, I pay my bills. Yeah, I don’t make joke wit bills, I try to pay out my bills and smooth. I hopin’ dis year dat everyting wi ll work out and den I will start to save as I’m supposed to. Although participation in susu involve d cooperatively structured organization, unlike cooperatively structured microenterpris e, susu was informal and did not require commitment to partnership. Rather, particip ation in susu was flexible and could be temporary. For susu to work, it did require a reliable organizer and committed participants. Wilma, a baby storeowner, had a bad experience when a susu lapsed and she was unable to obtain her susu hand. Similarly, be fore she had her agricultural stand, Irene had a bad experience with a susu at work, “Y es, I was in a susu and dat is one of de reasons why I’m not working der again because we were into a susu and tings got out of hand. Hear now, humph! Chaos. Once I know da t de people dem who are involved [in the

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415 susu], people who, yuh know, [you could] deal w it, talk wit and ting [she would consider it again]. So it have to be properly run.” Though both Wilma and Irene had bad experiences with susu, both considered it a worthwhile savings activity that they would consider in the future. Participation in susu requires accumu lation of a minimum amount of surplus capital. Many female microentrepreneurs w ho participated in susu contributed $100 TT per week. Yet, even minimal participation in susu could be challeng ing if a female micro entrepreneur’s finances were already stre tched too thin. After launching her baby store with too little start-up capital and loosing he r business partner, Wilm a found that she was unable to participate “Up to when – about some time last month, a lady called me and axe if I wanted to join one [susu]. But den t oo, I had no money. Because she’s a responsible person and if yuh don’t pay, I know dat she w ould pay in de money [for you], yuh know dat kinda way? But I had no money because ri ght now, all my money is tie up within de business.” B.6 Caribbean Microfinance Limited Another local microcredit institution, which provided an alternative to conventional banking system, was Caribbean Microfinance Limited (CML) (Appendix F). At the time fieldwork was conducted, CML had pilot tested their program in Trinidad with expansion plans that included Tobago. Dissimilar from REACH Project or SBDC, CML had the advantage of not being a government-subsidized program. As the new subsidiary of a successful, private finance company that targets larger businesses for

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416 development, CML operated from a strictly business-oriented paradigm focused on efficient lending practices (Appendix F). CM L recognized that cap ital was not equally available to everyone; moreover, it was the single greatest hurdle to small business development (D. R. Brown 1994:18). By focusing on finance, CML addressed a paramount need to offer capital to microent repreneurs. Furthermore, through elimination of government sponsorship, conforming to dili gent screening methods, systematic loan processing and distribution, and employing a skil led and efficient staff, this microcredit programs had the proven capacity to succeed in the cultural and historical context of the West Indies. CML conducted an assessment of Trinidad and Tobago’s microenterprise sector and identified three strata of potentia l microcredit customers ranging from the least stable microenterprises constrained by limite d access to capital to the most established microenterprises with the capacity to grow into small businesses. CML determined that repayment was more a function of dependen ce on self-employment and access to credit, and therefore focused on borrower’s who were dependent on the success of their business, rather than people who supplement income through occasional microenterprise. CML targeted the firms that were typical ly perceived as not “bankable” in the conventional sense, that were not served by current credit providers, and where significant unmet need could be demonstrat ed (Microfin 2001:11-15). Without training and advising services, however, the CML model by itself was another example of a minimalist approach to microenterprise development. In the sections above, I provided exam ples of both cooperative and individual female microentrepreneurship in Tobago. Ne xt, I analyze these examples and offer

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417 suggestions for appropriately mediating th e microcredit model of microenterprise development to appropriately fit the context of Tobago. C. Analysis of Research In the section above, my evaluation of the microcredi t model focused on four case studies involving group structur ed microenterprise developm ent and six examples of programs targeting individual female micr oentrepreneurs for funding, training, and business development services. As illustra ted by the four case studies, complexities involving the structure of coope ratively organized female micr oentrepreneurship, such as organizing, funding, interpersonal dynamics, and leadership can be prohibitive. In the following, I briefly analyze each of the four cas e studies and provide justification for my argument that cooperatively structured female microentrepreneurship is not the most appropriate framework for development of the microcredit model in Tobago. Also, I describe both the merits and barriers of cu rrent programs targeting individual female microentrepreneurs. Case study one involved agro-processing th rough cottage industry and focused on the five members of the Fairfield Industria l Cottage. After several months of observing production at the Fairfield Industrial Cottage I came to appreciate the astonishing accomplishments of these women. Income-gener ating groups, particularly composed of non-kin members, were an anathema in late twentieth century Tobago. Despite months of searching for self-employed groups that coul d even loosely be de fined as “cooperatively organized microenterprises,” I realized this structure simply did not suit the preferences

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418 of contemporary Tobagonian women for in come-generating purposes. The Fairfield Industrial Cottage was extraordinary in the commitment of its membership and exceptional to have received extensive suppor t from local government and international development agencies. Yet, it was their re lationship with the lo cal government that ultimately limited expansion. In addition to observation and interviews with group members, personal communication with offi cials from contributing international development agencies indicated dissatisfac tion with the THA’s ad ministration of the cottages. As noted by Hansen (1996:21) the disadvantage of depende ncy relationships is that they “may retard rather than promot e the economic emancipation” of the group in question. In this context, dependency was created through a paternalistic relationship with an overly bureaucratic sponsoring agency. Although the women of Fairfield Industrial Cottage were incredibly dedicated to their work and devoted to each other, the extensive training, coordinating, and funding re quired for launching th e group make this model prohibitive. Yet, without the coordina tion and intensive support of the THA, it is unlikely that the members of the agro-p rocessing industrial co ttages would have independently embarked on the enterprise Paradoxically, depe ndency on the local government also prohibited growth and sustainability. Case study two involved a women’s sewi ng group that rece ived a grant to establish a catering business. The Glenda le Women’s Sewing Group demonstrated commitment to launching their business, a well-conceived business plan that built upon members training and skills, and a willi ngness to embrace opportunities presented through government sponsorship. Furthermore, th e group appeared to me et the criteria to

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419 receive a government-sponsored grant incl uding being group struct ured, providing an income-generating opportunity to the unemp loyed, and access to the village community center as their in-kind cont ribution. Although a THA official who expedited review of their grant proposal supported the group, their original desi re to launch a sewing group was rejected and dismissed. Paternalistic trea tment by the THA official involved lack of communication regarding the faile d status of the original grant proposal and unexpected reorientation into a catering business. In the case of the Glendale Women’s group, timeliness, accountability, and commitment were compromised due to dependence on a patron who was determine to secure grant funding without regard for how the final outcome affected the group. Delays in receiv ing CDF grant funding resulted in loss of membership. Upon receiving the unexpected news that their sewing group was unexpectedly transformed into a catering bus iness, the commitment of the remaining members was compromised. Also, commenceme nt of the catering business could have been expedited if members had volunteered personal time and resources towards renovating the kitchen, yet they elected to remain stagnant until government funding became available. I suspect their latent antipathy was a response to the orientation of their group being usurped. As this ca se demonstrated, paternalisti c intervention might explain why I observed a reluctance to invest greater effort in cooperatively organized female microentrepreneurship. Case study three involved the unsuccessf ul attempt to transform a women’s handicraft group into an income-generating venture. Despite the stewardship of the group’s well-intentioned THA handicraft tuto r, the women of Golden Bay seemed

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420 content to maintain the stat us quo of their voluntary group. Under the tutor’s guidance, the group enjoyed the accomplis hments of learning new handi craft skills, organized a susu to provide financial assistance for pur chasing handicraft materials, and elected officers to represent the group’s interests. Despite successful cooperative efforts and shared eagerness to please their tutor, the group did not share her enthusiasm for establishing an income-generating venture. I volunteered to writ e a CDF grant proposal for this handicraft group and found that de monstrating need among a largely unemployed group of homemakers with limited education was not an obstacle. Like the Glendale sewing group, the Golden Bay handicraft group had access to the village community center as their in-kind cont ribution and their business ve nture would build on members training and skills. Also, under the guidance of the THA handicra ft tutor and support from the local political representative, there was sufficient political clout to leverage a government-sponsored grant to launch a c ooperative business. Yet, bureaucratic intervention (including a budget cr isis and pending election) di verted the attention of both the tutor and local representative. Left to their own devices, the marginally cooperative Golden Bay’s women’s handicraft group lacked the initiative to c ontinue meeting, let alone to carry out applying for a grant. De spite a faade of formal group structure, obstacles to organizing (or cr ab antics) and the absence of an internal group leader inhibited coalition building. In direct contrast to the Glendale Women’s Sewing Group, where an overly zealous champion misdirected a coherent group to establish an incomegenerating venture regardless of the outcome the Golden Bay group simply dissolved.

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421 The fourth case study involved a sewing group that despite having secured both local and international fu nding, later splintered due to contentious group dynamics. Creative Women’s Enterprises (CWE) was recognized as a mode l women’s group in Tobago. CWE’s group leader was so successful at obtaining funding, that her reputation was known throughout Trinidad and Tobago. In addition to local support, the group was sponsored by international development ag encies. Yet, a mutiny of group members and questionable leadership practices resulted in scrutiny by both local government officials and international developmen t practitioners. Allegedly, pr oblems included lack of commitment to the group, unrealistic e xpectation regardi ng remuneration, and inappropriate use of grant-funded equipment on the part of the leader. Originally, the group functioned as a THA-sponsored sewi ng course, however, after the original membership splintered, the leader attempted to replace them with new “students.” Due to the combination of contested leadership, loss of skilled members, and frozen grant funds, CWE essentially collapsed. In contrast to the member of the Fairfield Industrial Cottage who, like CWE received considerable funding fr om international development agencies, the original membership “lacked the group glue” to work under conditions of minimal remuneration while their fledgling business grew. Yet, the antagonistic “crab antics” directed at the leader seemed to be the major factor in their undoing. Although these case studies demonstrate diffi culty with the coope rative model of female microenterprise development, this does not mean that groups were non-existent in Tobago. Rather, groups were flourishing in th e form of sports clubs, church prayer groups, and other religious, vol untary, or recreational organi zations. Evidence a colleague

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422 who studied religious groups in Tobago (Laitinen 2002) and my observation with voluntary groups in Tobago suggests that leadership and organization were not problematic; the notable exception of issues with group leadership involved situations where the local government play ed a dominant role. Additi onally, as noted above, my research indicated that government-sponsor ed, common-interest groups that aspired beyond voluntary organization status toward s becoming income-earning ventures often met an unkind and debilitating fate. In in stances where neither organizational or leadership (interpersonal) i ssues nor reliance on the local government were the route of the problem, groups were compromised due to dependency on an unreliable source of external funding. Transcending beyond the purview of the in ternational developm ent practitioners and multilateral donors, the appeal of the Gr ameen Bank model has also attracted local governments. For example, motivated by the success of Grameen Bank spin-off programs like Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA), Mexican President Vicente Fox considered establishing a govern ment-backed version of the microcredit model for Mexico. Yunis, the founder of th e Grameen Bank dissuaded Fox, arguing that microcredit interventions ar e not effective when admini stered by governments. Yunis reasoned, “Politicians are interested in th e votes of the poor… [and] politicians are not interested in getting the m oney back” (Weiner 2003). Without a financial commitment to seeing a return from investing in the poor, th e microcredit model is likely to become a shortsighted political res ponse rather than a long-ter m poverty alleviation strategy. Likewise, in my evaluation of the REACH Project in Tobago demonstrated that a

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423 microcredit approach to poverty alleviati on through microenterprise development does appeal to female microentrepreneurs; however, without a fi rm commitment of government resources, promotion of microcred it becomes a “flavor of the day” political response rather than a sustainable deve lopment strategy. In the REACH Project, following the introductory phase, the government failed to provide sufficient staff to properly run the project and furt hermore, when the time came to distribute funds to the first round of recipients, the money was not there. As political priorities shifted, the REACH Project lost its budget without notice. In the contex t of a bureaucratic structure such as the THA, social development project s are likely to fall victim to political posturing. Due to the lack of transparency and shifting nature of the political environment, the public sector is an inappr opriate vehicle for admi nistering microcredit type programs. In contrast to cooperativ ely organized female microe nterprises, which was scarce in Tobago, individual female microentrepreneu rs were more prevalent and seemed to meet women’s’ preferences for achie ving economic empowerment. Although many individual female microentre preneurs indicated that they were proud of their economic independence and private about their finances (even with immediate family), there was a tendency towards reliance upon immediate ki n for social support. Likewise, Barrow (1986b) described that a matr ifocal pattern of household economics wherein “joint ownership of property and other items is rare, levels of earning and savings are secret and one’s contribution to household expenses is undisclosed and individually made, generally to the woman of the house rather than put into a common pool.” Aside from the THA-

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424 sponsored cooperative model advocating ec onomic empowerment and self-employment (exemplified by the Fairfield Cottage), whic h was marginally successful in providing income-generating activity, I found that succ essful and sustainable women’s economic cooperatives were essentially non-existent in Tobago with the exception of family-run businesses (including a restaurant, bakery, a nd fabric store). Family businesses were often owned and managed by women who provi ded employment to family members. With the exception of family businesses, the desire for independence, privacy, and flexibility propelled most women in Tobago to pursue individual microenterprise rather than conforming to the cooperative group stru cture advocated by the microcredit model of microenterprise development. Yet, consid ering that women in the Caribbean may be predisposed towards reliance on immediate kin fo r social support, it is worth considering “individual-plus family” as another viable ite ration of the microcredit model within the historic and cultura l context of Tobago. A study conducted among Tobago sheep farmers from 1994-1997 provides a useful example for evaluating strategies ta rgeting both groups and households in Tobago. This development project involved introducing small-scale sheep farmers to new technology and monitoring the social impacts of technology transfer in three locations (Barbados, Guyana, and Tobago). Design of the study included a strong focus on women’s roles, accounted for gender impli cations in the evaluation report, and emphasized organizing participants into groups. The study note both the history of informally organized cooperative effort among Tobago farmers (that is, lend hand) as well as the contemporary Tobago Farmer’s Asso ciation that functioned as an umbrella

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425 organization for agricultural producers. Like the case study of the agro-processing industrial cottage in which loca l government officials organize d participants into a core group with satellite facilities, developmen t officials for the sheep farming project instructed participants to organize into groups or associations and furthermore, encouraged formation of a core group from which information would be disseminated to other sheep farmers (Rajack, et al. 1997a).Co mparatively, the report considered Tobago participants successful in forming into gr oups, however, the sheep farming study also noted “interest in group formation in Tobago peaks when there is a special issue that affects farmers; such as th e introduction of government subs idies on feed, or guaranteed market arrangement. Yet, once the issue is so rted out, interest in group activities fades” (Rajack, et al. 1997a:11). Likewi se, in my evaluation of the microcredit model in Tobago, I found that women’s groups eagerly assemble d for training courses and the concept of business cooperatives was appealing particular ly if there was an economic incentive such as a government grant. Also as previously noted, Tobagonians are virtually conditioned to wait for government assistance and despit e being slow and unreliable, demonstrate exceptional patience. Yet, among women’s groups in Tobago, conflict from interpersonal dynamics and other responsibilities frequent ly inhibited the formation of cooperative income-generating ventures. In addition to the episodic nature of group organizing, the sheep farming study found little support was given to group members, meetings were often disrupted, members lost in terest, and groups eventually disintegrated. Similarly, in my evaluation of group organizing among wo men in Tobago, problems relating to intense social control and resistant to cha nge (or crab antics) presented a barrier to

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426 organizing. The sheep farming study noted that group dynamics were affected by differences among members including a range of education levels, work and social status, as well as skills and experiences. These differences intimidated some members. During fieldwork, a CIDA gender and development speci alist explained that in her experience working in Trinidad and Tobago, leadership within small groups was loosely organized and outcomes fell into two categories: (1) Groups with a busy, autocratic lead er. In these situations, the leader becomes a domineering force, inti midates other members, and the group splinters; or (2) Groups with a shy, quiet leader. In these situations, the leader becomes empowered by their role, recognizes new skills and potential, and eventually moves beyond the group, wh ich then disintegrates in their absence. Regardless of type, this typology provide d by the CIDA official reinforced my observation that where income-generating groups are concerned, leadership among nonkin group was problematic. When gender was considered, there were further negative implications for group organizing. Specifica lly, the sheep farmi ng study noted “women did not often speak out at the meetings and ra rely took a leadership role” (Rajack, et al. 1997a:12). One useful group-orientated recomm endation included in the study (that also pertains to female microentrepreneurs) is the potential for collectively purchasing supplies from Trinidad at reduced wholesal e prices (Rajack, et al. 1997a:14). Beyond the advantage of periodic bulk purchasing and de spite the barriers identified in the sheep farming study, to my surprise, the final recommendations emphasized group formation. Like many international development programs, the objective of the sheep farming study

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427 was to create economic self-sufficiency am ong the poor. Paradoxically, the preference for group formation seemed to conf lict with the study’s own findings that multiple barriers inhibit group formation. This developm ent project was guided by a desire for sustainability, which was intended to be fac ilitated by the formation of core groups that would disseminate knowledge among other farmer s (Rajack, et al. 1997a:1). In short, the underlying development paradigm was guided by the misperception that group structure would facilitate sustainable income-generating activity within this historic and cultural context. Or, approached from a feminist lens, the sheep farming study represents maintenance of dominance under a paternalisti c of international de velopment policy and practice where despite the obser ved and reported separate need s of women in the cultural and historic context of Tobago, the authors of this study essentialized the needs of all third world women as a monolithic class th at adhered to the existing model that furthermore, explicitly maintained the st atus quo of women positioned in an unequal status. In addition to promoting group formati on, a recommendation that I question, the sheep farming study also illustrated the applic ation of development interventions at the household level. Among Afro-Caribbean women, work often involves combining economic activities with household maintenan ce, which reflects a strong orientation towards family relations (McKay 1993; Prgl and Tinker 1997). Likewise, in documenting the cultural and gender impacts of adopting new tec hnologies, the sheep farming study found that women placed value on timesaving resources that could assist them in managing their multiple roles and respon sibilities more efficiently (Rajack, et al.

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428 1997d:10). The sexual division of labor in late twentieth century Tobago paralleled the pattern described by other Caribbean schol ars (such as Barrow 1996; Mintz 1989(1974)). Historically rooted in the Caribbean peas antry, this division of labor involved the “independent or quasi-independent role” or marketer or higg ler as providing “the wife with a large separate economic activity in which the husband does not exert a great deal of control” (Mintz 1989(1974) :224). Likewise, the study in dicated that beyond their participation in sheep farming, women tended to be engaged in other economic activities, both farming and non-farming, in order to ma intain their households at a comfortable level (Rajack, et al. 1997b:1). Comitas (1973) de scribed this pattern of engagement in a number of gainful activities as “occupational multiplicity.” In my research in Tobago, I found self-employment among female microent repreneurs provided a strong sense of pride and accomplishment as well as cont ributing vital economic resources to the household. To varying degrees, Tobago’s fe male microentrepreneurs do rely on immediate family, a husband or boyfriend to support their busi ness activities. In evaluating the economic success of househol ds, the sheep farming study provided three classifications of household level cooperation (Rajack, et al. 1997c:55-59). First, households that demonstrated “conflict w ith collaboration,” occur when there was a struggle for leadership between a man and wo man and where sharing of responsibilities can strain the relationship. Second, in househol ds that demonstrated “cooperation with collaboration,” although both parties shared in farming related res ponsibilities, decisionmaking authority was clearly divided with men having responsibility for the farm and women having responsibility for the home. Or in cases where males worked off the farm

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429 and females managed the farm, both farm and home decisions were made jointly. Finally, among households that demonstrated “coopera tion with limited colla boration,” decision making patterns followed the division of labor pattern that separate household and family responsibilities from farm a nd financial responsibilities. In these households, neither spouse contested leadership. Furthermore, in this third type of household where decision making followed the division of labor, in addition to uncontested and complete control over decision making, income earned from thei r respective activities was kept separate, yet cooperatively men and women contributed to the maintenance and functioning of the household unit. The two models of “coopera tion with collaboration” and “cooperation with limited collaboration” also conc ur with my findings among female microentrepreneurs in Tobago. In my study, even in households that demonstrated “cooperation with collaboration,” the majority of female microentrepreneurs stated a preference for maintaining control over thei r business decisions. Although the level of cooperation does vary, women in Tobago find great satisfaction a nd make important contributions to the maintenance of their households through microenterprise. Also, gender implications identified by the sheep farming study included a “distinct gender patterns in the division of tasks and res ponsibilities” where women were typically assigned to “nurturing” types of activities (that is, privat e or domestic) and men were typically assigned to more “technological” types of activities (that is, public or professional) (Rajack, et al. 1997d:9). Interest ingly, distinct from the barriers to group organizing identified by the sheep farming study, they found that collaboration was feasible among Tobago’s peasant households (Rajack, et al. 1997c). Specifically, the

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430 sheep farming study found that the most e fficient household units contain women and men who share the same interest s and goals, yet perform differe nt roles and have separate interests and concerns (Rajack, et al. 1997d:12). By taking into account the historic a nd cultural context of Tobago, it becomes evident that an important variable for su ccessful microenterpris e development involves gender analysis. Economic empowerment of women involves culture change. As demonstrated in the sheep farming study, c onsidering the impact of gender dynamics within the specific historic and cultural co ntext affects the outc omes of development practice. The THA-sponsored REACH Proj ect, which was adapted from the orthodox microcredit model yet offered grants to mi croentrepreneurs, involved a women-focused economic empowerment model without consid ering potential gender impacts. Though in reality, the REACH Project failed after on ly a few months. Had the REACH Project succeeded, through incorporating gender analysis into development practice, potentially negative impacts could be avoided. For exam ple, economic empowerment directed at women can affect gender relations including th e potential for a violent backlash against women.21 In Trinidad and Tobago, issues of violence against women and domestic violence received significant press cove rage during fieldwork (1999-2000). Content analysis of newspaper reports suggested th at men were increasingly threatened by the economic empowerment of women. One newspape r article described that women “taking over the role as head of the home or…mak ing significant financial contributions…was difficult for men to accept…Men have not been conditioned to change. There is a belief, taught by the church and various other religious organizations that he is supposed to be

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431 the head of the home” (D. Pierre 1999:1). Certainly, my intention is not to imply that economic empowerment of women should be avoided due to pot entially negative outcomes, rather there must be a strategy in pl ace to deal with the social ramification of gendered, culture change. A study of female entrepreneurship in Trinidad and Tobago described spousal jealous as a potential obstacle and noted the “balancing act” challenged women’s ability to maintain their multiple roles and responsibilities including business activities and maintena nce of the household (Internati onal Labour Organization 1997:51). Research on poverty in Tobago indicated increased incidents of criminal and antisocial behavior among youth and noted that “reports of the physical batte ring of spouses and children are a rarity, howev er, the psychological battering of family members is becoming quite frequent” (Bynoe 1988:48). In my fieldwork, I was acquainted with women who were abused by family members (most often their husband or common law partner) either physically or em otionally with threats of phys ical violence. Disregard of violence against women and the implicati ons of culture change instituted through development policy can negatively affect gender relations and result in an angry backlash where new practices contradict with cultu ral norms. Through a holistic approach, gender analysis should be incorporated into microc redit models to account for the multiple roles and responsibilities of women. Peggy Antrobus (Duddy 2004) for example, expanded the concept of violence against women to account for both physical and economic deprivation, It is important to use the br oader definition of violence and link it to the whole concep t of human security, which

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432 includes freedom from fear a nd freedom from want. There are two parts, one is violence of poverty and deprivation and the other is the physical violence. Clearly, women and children are most affected by th is if you are looking at both sides of violence. Development practice that inco rporates appropriate assessmen t of gender issues requires analytical frameworks that, in addition to addressing the relationships between men and women, work and society – adds a third di mension of gender re lations (Alsop 1992:368373). Beyond the misapplication of the microcredit model, what was not fully developed in Tobago was a network to connect female microentrepreneurs to the broad variety of training, funding, and business de velopment services that target sole proprietors. The problem was that these re sources were operating in a vacuum that resulted in duplication and inefficiency. Alternatively, building a network among existing resource programs could reduce redundanc y and increase effec tiveness. Without a comprehensive approach that takes into account historic and cultural context to promote appropriate structure, the continued misa pplication of the microcredit model of microenterprise development results in cl ients being poorly served by ineffective products. Furthermore, considering the vulnerability of government sponsored development efforts, such as the REACH Proj ect, shortsighted or “flavor of the day” approaches to economic empowerment ar e vulnerable to government caprice. Considering the history of financial discre pancies, diverted development funds, and inequitable budgetary allocations even well-established gover nment backed entities such as the SBDC should be considered vulner able to shifting prio rities. Perhaps the

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433 microcredit models offered by NGO’s such as FundAid or private finance companies such as CML provide greater commitme nt and increased sustainability.

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434 Chapter Six: Applied Implications In the summary below, I briefly descri be what was covered in each of the chapters. In discussing the implications of my study, I explain how the evidence presented here links theoretically to economic anthropology and feminist anthropology as well as describing how I included a critical feminist perspective in my study. Next, I relate my findings back to the literature on international development, Caribbean studies, as well as the history and cu lture of Tobago. Also, I explain how my research sheds new light on development practice through describi ng general recommendations for use of the microcredit model in Tobago. Finally, I expl ain how through my study, I have attempted to contribution to applied an thropology and provide suggestio ns for additional research. A. Summary of the Dissertation In the chapters above, I proposed to test the following hypothesis: through accounting for political-economic factors as we ll as historic and cultural context, the current microcredit model, which conceptualiz es microenterprise as a cooperative effort among women in a rural setting, may be augmente d to better meet the needs of poor, selfemployed women in the context of Toba go’s globalizing economy by building on existing networks and resources. Specificall y, the chapters above were intended to address the following research questions. Ho w and why do political economic, historic, and cultural forces continue to constrai n Caribbean women’s participation in the workforce? How might these constraining factors best be ameliorated? Does

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435 microenterprise offer women a viable economic strategy towards economic empowerment? Through augmentation of th e microcredit development model endorsed by funding agencies, can this approach be tailor ed to better meet the needs of women in cultural and political economic contexts ot her than rural agricultural settings? In attempting to answer these questions, I orga nized my response into the five chapters above. In chapter one, I discussed the objectives of my study, described preliminary fieldwork, and explained that my ethical considerations for this study involved conducting sound applied anthropolo gical research with the go al of taking a practical approach to solving human problems. My objective was to expand the scope of the microcredit model of microent erprise development to better fit the needs of women in Tobago where self-employment provides independence and flexibility. During preliminary fieldwork, I found inconsistenc ies between the needs and objectives of female microentrepreneurs and the agendas of the local government and international development agencies that were intended to provide support. Thus in conducting this study, my ethical consideration involved ma intaining high standards in my research, being accountable to the discipline of anthropol ogist, and primarily to be my respectful and protective of my relati onship to the people of Tobago. In chapter two, I described the theoreti cal foundations for this study including economic anthropology, feminist anthropology, and feminist theory. I explored important theoretical positions within economic anthr opology including the formalist/substantivist debate that addresses how economy is loca ted within culture, de scribed theories of

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436 formal/informal economy, addressed why wome n engage in economic activity within the informal economic sector, and discussed trends toward formalization. In my discussion of feminisms, I address several theoretical trends including, sec ond wave, contemporary feminist theory, and feminist anthropology. I described a pr actical approach for moving beyond critical feminist theoretical frameworks through employing strategic essentialism that employs still problematic, essentialized categories as a tool for deconstructing and investigating patriarchal ideology. Specifica lly, I describe how my study attempts to moves beyond feminist and economic anthropology to evaluate the microcredit model of microenterprise development within a speci fic historical and cu ltural context through praxis that is informed by critical feminist theory with the inte ntion of deconstructing patriarchal international development policy and practice guided by patriarchal ideology. In chapter three, I provided a backgro und for my study through a review of the literature on international development, Cari bbean studies, as well as the history and culture of Tobago. In my discussion of the guiding ideology behind international development policy and practi ce, I described a pattern of engendering poverty, erasing differences between third world women, and super-exploitation of women through relying on women’s survival strategies as a to ol for preserving the status quo. I examined the potential for empowering poor women to th ink and act globally and locally in terms of sustainable development. Also, I account for the Grameen Bankinspired microcredit model’s orientation toward th e rural, agricultural context and explain why the model must be significantly mediated in order to fit the historic and cu ltural context of Tobago. Like many “developing economies” that in creasingly are encompassed by the global

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437 economy, in the case of Tobago this process is occurring through in ternational tourism development; for this reason as well as the issue of historic and cultural context, the relevance of the orthodox Grameen Bank mode l has diminished. In my discussion of Caribbean studies literature, I described early ethnocentric models that classified the family patterns as “pathological,” as well as later a cultural-historic approach that emphasized the uniqueness and complexity of Afro-Caribbean culture, and studies that highlighted the adaptive survival strategies of Caribbean women in the context of their multiple roles and responsibilities. Through a brief history of Tobago, I demonstrated a pattern of cursory development and fre quent neglect recurr ing throughout Tobago’s colonial history and continuing into the pos t-colonial era. Thr ough accounting for this recurring pattern of instability, I illustrated the historical context that contributed to Tobago’s underdevelopment today. In my discu ssion of Tobago’s cultural context, I drew from a range of ethnographic data to documen t the evolution of women’s roles in Tobago including the post-emancipation peasant er a; modernization and the influence of secondary education; and oppor tunities presented through te rtiary education, training opportunities, and female leadership. Throughout the transformation of women’s working roles, constant themes included making ends meet and the cultural imperative of motherhood. In chapter four, I delineate the design of my ethnographic re search project and methodology. I described how I conducted fieldw ork, analyzed findings, and determined the results of my study. For each method, I included a detailed description of my sampling strategy, demographic data collection, and analysis approach.

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438 In chapter five, I evaluated the microcre dit model of microenterprise development within the cultural and historical context of Tobago through an a pplied anthropological perspective and praxis informed by critical feminist theory. First, I illustrated the application of a cooperative approach to micr oenterprise development through analysis of four case studies. Through these case st udies I demonstrated application of a cooperatively structured model of microent erprise development involving local and/or international sponsorship. Also, case studies addressed the complex ities of organizing, funding, group dynamics, and leadership. Second, I assessed the implementation of the microcredit model with a focus on individua l female microentrepreneurs. One of the applied anthropological tools I used to eval uate individual female microentrepreneurs included was a resource inventory to assess the range of training, funding, and business development services that ta rget sole proprietors. Third, I provided analysis of my research and implication for mediating the microcredit model to appropriately fit the historic and cultural context in order to promote successful and appropriate female microenterprise development in Tobago.

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439 B. Theoretical Implications: Economic Anthropology: Evidence from my study of female microentrepreneurship in Tobago has many li nkages to economic anthropological theory. First, I drew on the substantivist/forma list debate to demonstrate that economic anthropology requires a model that does not translate the economic institutions of other societies simply as variants of the western market system. Due to historic and cultural patterns, economic activity in Tobago resulted in large numbers of female microentrepreneurs who have little in co mmon with larger busi ness persons (or the capitalist market system) whose operations depend upon profit margins, technological developments, government subsidies, etc. Th rough a more qualitat ive approach that accounts for embedded institutions, the anthropological perspective compliments formal economic analysis by accounting for historic and cultural features such as women’s preferences for organizing their microenterprises as well as their multiple roles and responsibilities. I offer that this approach is particular ly useful for evaluation of international development policy and practices. In my ethnographic analysis of Tobago, I have tried to document direct linkages between historic and cultur al events, social structure, and economic activity to demonstrate that economic patterns are an extension of the social organization. In Tobago, the history of women’s pa tterns of work and the social networks in which they are embedded directly influence women’s ec onomic participation. Furthermore, among female entrepreneurs in Tobago, economic activ ity may be described as a continuum of income generating activities wherein the “f ormal” and “informal” economies entail one

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440 another through backward and forward linkage s between sectors. Some of the women I interviewed either episodically or continua lly bridge the two s ectors through practicing occupational multiplicity. Once characterized as something needing to be corrected, the status of the socalled “informal economy” has shifted from a provisional obstacle to viable asset for economic development. Similarly, the microcre dit model of microenterprise development promotes what are often informal microenter prises of women as a viable strategy for international development. The growing popularity of the microcredit model of microenterprise development provides eviden ce of a trend towards formalization through appropriating popular informal economic practices. In taking notice of the of ROSCAs or susu, for example, the formal banking system has recognized the “c reditworthiness” of informal economic practices in order to capitalize on its popularity and develop marketing strategies intended to tap into (and formalize) these investments. The continuum and flexibility of the qualitative m odels of the economic further demonstrates that rather than functioning as a monolithic force that controls economic activity, the relationship of people to the st ate in the context of capitalistic development is framed by “the politics of resistance, accommodati on, and manipulation by members of civil society” (Crichlow 1998:62-63). Feminist Anthropology : Evidence from my study can also be situated with feminist anthropology. In considering a framew ork of gendered spheres of influence, I draw on a debate between Marxist and femini sts centered on the “r elationship between production and reproduction” in terms of rela tionships with the family, household, and

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441 larger political and economic processe s. Likewise, in my study of female microentrepreneurs in Tobago, the lens can be shifted to focus on the individual, women’s multiple roles and responsibilities with in the household, or expand to the social support network, or the focus can be further sh ifted to the macro level in considering the historic role of female micr oentrepreneurship in the Caribbean or super-exploitation of third world women by the globalizing world system. My study also builds on feminist anthropology that has addressed the spread of capitalist development through “modernization” and promoted a critical analys is of pre-/colonial/pos t-colonial research as Third World women find themselves draw n further into domination. Another aspect developed by feminist anthropology that I make use of in my evaluation of the applicability of the microcredit model of micr oenterprise development is the potential for transcending cross-cultural differences and cl arifying similarities re garding gender issues. In evaluating international development policy and pract ice, feminist anthropology provides a useful critique of intrinsically an drocentric paradigms th at are applied to the study of culture and gender. Like the microcre dit model of microent erprise development, the guiding ideology behind international deve lopment is inherently skewed towards disproportionate power structures In being reflexive, feminist anthropologists have also addressed their role in th e construction and maintenan ce of Western hegemony and a desire to expose systems of power relations Likewise, I have tried to be forthcoming about my biases and the limitations of my representation of the experiences and perspectives of th e women I studied.

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442 Feminist Theory : Critical feminist theory provides the ability to slide across a range of feminist perspectives I have used this interdisci plinary perspective to rethink anthropology generally and my research topic sp ecifically. I have tried to use this critical perspective to demystify the positionality of third world women’s labor within the context of the patriarchal, world syst em. Specifically, through the approach of strategic essentialism I have attempted to take the useful (albeit essentialized) category of female microentrepreneurs and situate this category within the histor ic and cultural context of Tobago for the purposes of anthropological an alysis. Informed by feminist and economic anthropology, I offer the classification of female microentrepreneur in Tobago as a useful tool for the purposes of evaluating the a pplication of the microcredit model of microenterprise development. Informed by cr itical feminist theory, I have acknowledged that the limitation of the category (and its potential to leak) provides a problematic but useful construct for articulating the experien ces and needs of female microentrepreneurs in Tobago. Above, I discussed the implications of economic anthropology, feminist anthropology, and critical feminist theory fo r my study. Next, I relate my findings back to literature on international development, Cari bbean studies, as well as the history and culture of Tobago.

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443 C. Links to the Literature Important background information that I have drawn on for my study includes the literature on international development, Cari bbean studies, as well as the history and culture of Tobago. Below, I briefly hi ghlight these different perspectives. International Development : In many instances, devel opment policy and practice has used poor women as a tool for preser ving the status quo. Thr ough poverty alleviation strategies that rely on women in poverty to support and maintain their families with minimal external investment, related issues such as housing, education, health, and violence have been controlled rather than addressed. In the Caribbean, international development policies targeting women have be en criticized for preserving the economic growth model and promoting the super-exploitation of wo men through capitalizing on culture-bound gender roles and the history of women’s survival strategies. Women’s adaptative strategies include a variety of income-earning a nd income-saving activities as well as reliance on social support networks to provide the necessary resources for survival. Women’s survival strategies re act to governments imposed macroeconomic policies (such as International Monetary Fund austerity policies), wh ich severely affect the most marginalized members of societies. Ultimately, wome n’s survival strategies may inadvertently subsidize capitalism, but this is not their fault. A major criticism of international deve lopment is that by failing to account for women’s multiple roles and responsibilities, th ese policies and practices have minimized the value of social repro duction tasks and promoted pr oduction based on patterns of exploitation due to a deeply engendered, pa triarchal ideology. The famous Grameen

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444 Bank of Bangladesh is the best know example of this problem. The success of this model has been recognized by development agencies such as the World Bank and has been replicated in more than 30 countries. Perh aps it is best know for its remarkably low default rate of two percent and for its fo cus on women. Originally, the Grameen Bank was conceived as a multipurpose organization to provide social suppor t services (such as nutrition, hygiene, childcare, and birth contro l) to the rural poor. Today, the primary focus of the Grameen Bank is directed at providing small loans for poor women. While this approach does facilitate social change through drawing women out of isolation, under a single goal of credit for pr ofit, this tool is merely a m ean to an ends that fails to fully address social, psychological, and econom ic impacts. To understand the success of the Grameen Bank model, or what I have re ferred to as the microcredit model of microenterprise development, it must be ev aluated within the c ontext of Bangladesh’s place in the world system where it originated and compared to the historic and cultural context within which it may be applied. Pr omotion of any single economic development model as a generic “band-aid” is inappr opriate as each situation demands careful consideration of the historic and cultural context as well as evaluation of capacities and desires of the intended recipi ents prior to implementation. Proponents of microenterprise developm ent strategies within the so-called “informal sector” recognize that such ventures complement women’s needs for flexibility, reduction of rest rictions, and potential for building on domestic knowledge and skills, which in the context of the Cari bbean, compliments the social structure where female-headed households and matrifocality are common. Yet, there is a danger that

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445 microcredit programs will promote manipula tion of women for loans. Programs that provide a narrow range of services minimi ze the impact of investing in poor women. Multifaceted “credit-plus” programs are attributed with greater strength and further impact through addressing interrelated co mponents. More comprehensive approaches require long training programs that include consciousness-ra ising beyond purely financial concerns, access to individua lized technical and marketi ng assistance, and follow up training. In employing a femini st oriented strategy, whic h in addition to claiming a framework that addresses the relationships between men and women, work, and society; a more interactive approach includes the co mpounding principle of gender relations. This type of feminist praxis is critical in assessing the potential long-term affects of interventions on engendered relationships within the community. Without parallel interventions that challenge women’s perceptions of themselves, which are eliminated under the orthodox microcredit model of mi croenterprise development, women’s subordination remains uncontested and perhaps reinforced. Caribbean Studies : Understanding the political economy of the plantation provides useful background for my study of fe male microentrepreneurship. Originating during slavery, the female role of higgler involved the independent, small business of buying a range of stock from rural farmers a nd transporting it for resale at the market. Historically, women in the Caribbean had cons iderable autonomy due to their separate and independent incomes. In particular, my study draws on the literature on AfroCaribbean women’s survival and adaptive stra tegies. The matrifocality family involved (1) the mother/woman as the stable, central fo cus of the social unit and (2) her position of

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446 dominance and authority within the family. Matrifocality serves as a viable adaptive mechanism to conditions of poverty and margin alization. Thus, the tradition of femaleheaded households has been characterized as endemic to the Caribbean since women’s economic roles predate modernization and male migration, extending back to slavery. In the context of the Caribbean, where motherhood is an important cultural imperative, there is no real separation between women’s producti ve and reproductive roles. Historic child minding patterns may predispose women towards reliance on immediate kin for support. Thus, in order to juggling multiple roles and responsibilities, childcare duties often fell upon female relatives. History of Tobago : History, for Tobago, is intimate ly intertwined with the world system through the process of capitalist development. In 1889, the formerly selfgoverning colony of Tobago was merged togeth er with Trinidad for the administrative expediency of Great Britain. What was one of the most wealthy and fertile West Indian colonies in its heyday, Tobago now suffers from the aftermath of political instability, a lack economic development, and the absence of administrative aut onomy. Turbulence is a recurring theme for this small island that has fluctuated between development and destruction by both human and natural fo rces. Tobago’s underdevelopment is the cumulative result of factors including repe ated economic failures, under population due to migration, impoverishment due to lack of employment opportunities, and limited social or infrastructure development. In the 1950s, a comprehensive development plan was envisioned for Tobago that included provisions for both agricultural a nd tourism sectors. Yet, in the context of

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447 underdevelopment and in the aftermath of a hurricane that further destroyed the islands deteriorating agriculture in 1963, the governme nt of Trinidad and Tobago established a policy that focuses more narrowly on tour ism development for Tobago. Since that time resources have been channeled towards im proving to the infrastructure (including a deepwater harbor, expansion of the airport, and improved roads) in order to accommodate tourists as well as to encourage local and international investment in tourism development. More recently, negative impacts, both so cial and environmental, have been attributed to the development of tourism on Tobago. In addition to limited employment opportunities generated by tourism development, some of the social impacts that can be attributed to the influx of foreign visi tors include widening the economic gap and exacerbating racial tensions. In response, th e local government has taken measures to provide a politically stable safe, and compliant atmos phere in order to attract international travelers. Some of the envir onmental impacts that may be attributed to tourism development include restricted access to beaches and coast lines, destruction of the coral reef, pollution of coastal waters, as well as shortages of the fresh water supply. Cultural Context : Since the post-emancipation period, women’s working roles have evolved in response to a range of po litical-economic and social pressures. Many changes benefited women, while other positive as pects have been lost in transition. After emancipation, Tobago’s population grew into a thriving, self-sufficient agrarian society well into the 1940s. Without modern conveni ences, women’s work was arduous yet; many found time to supplement the fa mily income through occasional

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448 microentrepreneurial activities. Later, col onial influences dissuaded women’s visible economic activities. The proce ss of “housewifization” transf ormed the domestic sphere as formerly self-sufficient peasants were os tensibly remolded into the idealized gender roles of male breadwinner and female homem akers. Shifting women’s working roles did not preclude them from economic activity. Fu rthermore, economic circumstances did not allow male breadwinners to adequately fulfill the presumed role as household provider. In the 1950s, decolonialization and the in fluences of Eric Williams and the PNM loosened women’s bondage. Motivated by the de cline of agriculture and availability of free secondary education, women were encouraged to explore their academic and professional potential. In re sponse to secondary school a nd employment opportunities, internal migration shifted Tobagonian demogr aphic patterns towards the main town of Scarborough. Also, through out-migration, Toba go’s population shifted to Trinidad and beyond to access tertiary educat ion and professional devel opment. Economic growth in the 1970s stimulated access to government serv ice. Facilitated by th e availability of daycare services and public transportation, women took on the “double day” of family and formal employment. In the 1980s a nd 1990s, education and training created a “crossing over” or blurring of formerly gende r-stereotyped work that expanded women’s opportunities. Facilitated by the availability of advanced education and training, many of Tobago’s “best and brightest” have been lu red further away. The aftermath of burgeoning opportunities and population loss has eroded vi llage leadership and weakened voluntary organizations. In response, women have assumed visible positions of power and influence and have activel y transformed leadership.

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449 Throughout the transformation of women’ s working roles, Tobagonian women have remained devoted to their home and fa mily in the twentieth century. Perhaps the quintessential traits of Tobago womanhood were the ability to “make ends meet” with little resources and seemingly tireless commitme nt to their families and goals. As their resources and opportunities expanded, the wo men of Tobago continued to forge new territory including accessing formal positions of power and leadership.

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450 D. Recommended Microcredit Model for Tobago There are multiple factors that must be accounted for when implementing development strategies that are intended to alleviate poverty am ong women and in the following I illustrate three of these factors. Fi rst, to be effective, development policy and practice must evaluate the needs, interests, and capacity of th e intended recipients. Second, successful implementation of deve lopment strategies by local governments demands a firm commitment of resources and coordination of services. Third, replication of popular international development models requires tailoring programs to account for the local history and cultural context. In the following, I address these three critical factors for successful application of th e microcredit model of microenterprise development in Tobago. A comprehensive approach to services a nd resources would provide the following benefits: applicant referral to appropriat e resources; agencies strengthening their provision of services; and reduc tion of inappropriate resource distribution through better client selection. Development specialists ha ve noted that too often, the provisional structure of entrepreneurship development pr ograms is too small and incentives offered are too limited (Hansen 1996:1). Though a breadth of services were available, under the guidance of a comprehensive microcredit mode l of microenterprise development adapted to the particular historic and cultural context of Tobago, resources could be more appropriately administered. A major obstacle to microenterprise development is access to capital. In a survey conducted in Tobago, the av erage loan size needed for expansion of a microenterprise was estimated at $26,220 TT and 57 percent of respondents would

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451 require three years to pay off the loan (M icrofin 2001:13). Yet, in order to evaluate applicants’ needs and qualif y participants for funding, pr ograms must include client assessment procedures that qualitatively a nd quantitatively account s for women’s assets and earning potential Women in Tobago, like most people, were sensitive about disclosing income information. A prior study of poverty in Toba go noted that during data collection, survey administrators found that information about “income is not easily given, while some interviewees are very open with their allowances, others are a bit hesitant” about disclosing personal financial information (B ynoe 1988: appendix 4). Similarly, in their study of how single mothers surv ived welfare and low-wage work in the United States, Kathryn Edin and Laura Lein (1997) found that survey respondents were not typically forthcoming and often deliberately mislead collection of financial information. Also, traditional sources of income and expenditure information (such as census data) did not accurately reflect “off-the-books” or informal sources of supplemental income received from women’s social networks. In the case of female welfare recipients, Edin and Lein (Edin and Lein 1997) discovered that in orde r to account for expenditures that “exceed their entire incomes,” they would need to estimate irregular income that allowed poor women to balance their budgets Typically, unreported income was unrecorded or kept secret and determining financial information re quired three critical components. First, in order for poor women to reveal how they make ends meet, rather than relying on traditional survey methods, a level of trust mu st be established between participant and interviewer typically through a more ethnographic approach to data collection (Edin and

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452 Lein 1997:9). Second, since poor women often do not keep records, estimates of income were established using the average of mont hly expenditure on goods and services and how women paid their bills. Third, knowledge of the cost of living and average expenses of the local context was used in order to de termine the right questions about expenditures (including housing, food, medical care, utilities, etc.). Li kewise, my ethnographic study of microentrepreneurs in Toba go revealed that women typica lly did not know their profit margins, many did not practice basic accounti ng, and yet most could estimate monthly business and household expenditures and indica ted who in the household was responsible for paying various bills. Also, I noted that women tended to be risk adverse and fiscally conservative, which one THA official charact erized as aversion to dependency wherein Tobagonians tended to spend w ithin their limits (or saved for a larger purchase) and preferred to use cash (rather than credit) More important th an knowing the right questions, knowing how to appropriately frame the questions about household and business expenditures can provide sufficient in formation to roughly calculate income and expenditures of female microe ntrepreneurs. I collected income and expenditure data during semi-structured interviews with female microentrepreneurs, but the analysis of irregular income data exceeds the scope of th is study and will be published as a follow-up report. Estimated income is useful for measur ing a range of social indicators including level of poverty, business outcomes, as we ll as for establishing parameters for distinguishing between microentrepreneurs a nd small businesses in a particular cultural and economic context. This type of informa tion is critical to implementing informed policy and programs for the promotion of economic empowerment.

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453 Recommendations for appropriate micr oenterprise development include the following: user-friendly practi ces include assertive public ou treach, definitive eligibility criteria, thorough evaluation of fiscal needs, providing relevant incentives, affordable financing, and flexible collateral considera tions. Unlike the THA’s failed microenterprise development program (the REAC H Project), the maintenance of appropriate services fees is necessary for three reasons. First, overly philanthropic subsidies generate high loan default thereby creating a “dole mentality” of incompetence and complacence. Second, instilling fiscal accountability prepares entrepreneurs for accessing formal lending institutions (D. R. Brown 1994:26). Third, in order for a microcredit program that facilitates microenterprise development to be sustainable, there needs to be revenue generated to provide loans and to maintain an appropriate staff (like the FundAid or CML models). Additional components for female microentrepreneurial economic empowerment include gender informed policy, efficient administration and dispensing of loans, appropriate training integrated with work experience, supplemental resources for continued education, informal advice on es tablishing and managing small business, improved market access, and continued follo w-up assistance (Warwick Business School 1997:ii). Through establishing a network among existing agencies (such as SBDC, FundAid, various THA programs), refe rral services can provide qualified microentrepreneurs to access a variety of capital resources as well as appropriate training services. To maximize the utility of the pool of resources serving the small and microenterprise sector, it is necessary to im plement a strategic plan that including short

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454 and long-term goals. Clarification of sect or objectives include s designating intended recipients and tailoring services to enhance en trepreneurship. Issues particular to female microentrepreneurs, for example, could be addressed through informed gender analysis. Furthermore, clearly defined commitment accountability, and professionalism are required to realize goals. Th rough addressing linkages and ad justing apparent overlaps, streamlining services and providing appropria te referrals will enhance the system (Ministry of Trade and Industry Task Force 1999:43-44). Furthermore, by avoiding dependence on the government treasury (like the FundAid or CML models), microcredit development can avoid the shifting nature and lack of transparency of procuring government funding and therefore, ensure an impartial and sustainable approach to microenterprise development.

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455 E. General Contributions to Anthropology Through praxis I have applied anthropology with a critical pe rspective informed by combining my theoretical framework of fe minist theory and ec onomic anthropology. Through employing a critical feminist approac h, I have demonstrated the potential to work across the disciplines of feminist and economic anthropology to inform analysis of international development policy and practi ce. Combined with the perspective of anthropology, I have described a praxis that employs some of the discursive tools devised by critical feminist theory for the purpose of deconstructing the patr iarchal ideology that guides international development policy and practice. Thus, my approach moves beyond feminist and economic anthropology to a praxis that is informed by critical feminist theory. The history of the island of Tobago provided the context for this applied anthropological research. “Applied anthr opologists use the knowledge, skills, and perspectives of their discip line to help solve human probl ems and facilitate change” (Chambers 1985:8). Applied anthropology teaches us to engage in social debate in order that we might positively influence developm ent policy by providing solutions to practical problems. “Through ethical practice more effec tive action and policies can be developed” and in a place like Tobago, e ffective and ethical anthropolog ical practices are all the more relevant (van Willigen 1993:54). Most importantly, practicing applied anthropology includes an ethical obligation to consider the implications of our research and protect our informants. Hopefully, the observations I have made and the suggestions I have offered will be relevant and useful.

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456 F. Call for Future Research In closing, I offer some future resear ch questions that would provide further insights towards improving the microcredit model of microenterprise development. Taking into account the trai ning, funding, and business development services I have described in my resource i nventory, to what extent coul d a utilization study document where and how female microentrepreneurs are accessing assistance ? Could a utilization study also help to guide development practiti oners and inform administrators of where best to focus resources? What strategies might facilitate female microentrepreneurs gaining access to higher-pa ying, non-traditional occupations? In the context of the Caribbean, where education and training has created opportunities for “crossing over” or blurring of formerly gender-stereotyped wor k, to what extent are women exploring new income-earning opportunities?

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457 Appendices

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458 Appendix A: Topical Checklist for Interviews 1. Accounting 2. Children 3. Crab Antics 4. Credit 5. Competition 6. Customers 7. Double Shift 8. Education 9. Employee 10. Failure 11. Finance 12. Formal/Informal 13. Friends 14. Growth 15. History 16. Home 17. Husband 18. Independence 19. Intuitive 20. Location 21. Longevity 22. Obligation 23. Partnership 24. Products 25. Relaxation 26. Remuneration 27. Salary 28. Satisfaction 29. Schedule 30. Seasons 31. Supplies 32. Transportation

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459 Appendix B: Map of Trinidad and Tobago

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460 Appendix C: Map of Christo pher Columbus’ Third Voyage

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461 Appendix D: Map of Tobago, West Indies

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462 Appendix E: Training Assistance Resources Agency Name Training Services F unding Restrictions Emphasis Fees Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) Est. 1970 Laboratory Processing Quality Management Systems Central Government Technical and technological support to public and private sector enterprises Negotiated Small Business Development Company (SBDC) Est. 1990 Business Planning Workshops Annual Business Week State Enterprise (Central Government) $100 TT for Business Planning Workshop THA, Division of Community Development Community based handicraft training (adult education) Handicraft Market in Scarborough Leadership training for voluntary organization officers Community Multipurpose Center construction Central Government Anyone 15 and over Women Youth Unemployed, grassroots Trinidad and Tobago Industrial Company (TIDCO) Quality workshops to promote international export Marketing Assistance, including trade fairs, advertising and promotion Central Government Targeting full-time professional producers Handicraft Garment construction Agricultural Processing $300 TT for 6 day seminar

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463 Appendix E continued… Agency Name Training Services Funding Restrictions Emphasis Fees Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme (YTEPP). Vocational skills training (4 months) Career enhancement Entrepreneurial development support services (inconsistent) Civilian Conservation Corps. Previously funded by the World Bank Currently Central Government supported. Ages: 15-25 (15-30 for outreach program) Most courses are center based, located near Scarborough Community outreach mobile program for rural communities. Unemployed “School leavers,” no secondary school Willingness to learn a trade. $20 TT Registration.

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464 Appendix F: Financial Assistance Resources Agency Name Financial Services Fees Requirements Minimum/ Maximum Interest/ Restrictions Repayment Staff Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) Est. 1968 Loans Special “Youth Window,” funded by the European Union, targets youth and women for rural community development. Basic $250 Youth Window fee restricted to 2% to 10% of total loan plus $50 refundable application fee. Basic 100% collateral Youth Window requires 20% but flexible. Basic loans based on need Youth Window (ages 18-35) provides up to $70,000 TT with flexible repayment terms. Amortized (declining) interest rates. Youth Window up to 5 years. Branch Managers (1), Loan Officers (2), Clerical (3), Messenger (1). Caribbean Microfinance Limited (CML), Subsidiary of Development Finance, Limited. Financed by private investment. Est. 1999. Not yet available in Tobago. Loans Processed and distributed in 3to-5 working days Loan payments can be made using bank deposit slips Drop in visits Site visit Must be in business for minimum of 6 months Provide copies of ID, business receipts. Advised on loan size, typically recommend starting with a minimal size loan and graduating to a large loan depending on success Starting at 19%, amortized (declining) interest rate. N/A in Tobago

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465 Appendix F continued… Agency Name Financial Services Fees Requirements Minimum/ Maximum Interest and Restrictions Repayment Staff Credit Union (e.g., Runnemede) Community based, 45 years old. Twelve founding members were selfemployed gardeners. Savings Loans Salary deduction. May borrow 50% on savings Maximum business loans $3,000-$5,000 TT. 1.5% interest 1-4 years depending on loan. N/A. European Union Onlending Window, sponsored nationally by the SBDC, locally by the Mount Pleasant Credit Union. Loans Program targets women and youth. Lack of security requirements linked to frequent arrears. Requires 20% equity in cash or kind by borrower; friend or family member may serve as guarantor Evaluated on business plan, projections, and personal business knowledge Borrowers must submit monthly report. Loans from $12,000 TT to $15,000 TT. Interest starts at 12% and decreases by .5% to 1% depending on security offered by recipient. Maximum 4 years negotiated depending upon business. Manager (1) Credit Officer (1).

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466 Appendix F continued… Agency Name Financial Services Fees Requirements Minimum/ Maximum Interest and Restrictions Repayment Staff FundAid, the Trinidad and Tobago Development Foundation Ltd., nongovernmental organization (NGO). Supported by Central Government and Private Investors. Est. 1973. Loans Training Targets unemployed and selfemployed, emphasizing job creation, targeting those traditionally excluded from formal lending institutions Limited technical advice. Administrati on fee of 2% Collateral fees for bill of sale registration (such as $1,000 TT Mortgage bill of sale registration Optional accounting services Attorney $150 TT training Two-day training course in Trinidad Borrower and guarantors must verify residence with utility bill Three guarantors: must be steadily employed for 3 years, provide job letter and pay slip. If selfemployed, must verify income for 5 years, submit paperwork and requires site visit by Officer. Alternatively, household appliances (pain in full), stocks, bonds, fixed deposits or insurance policies may replace guarantors. Alternatively, or in addition to guarantors, household appliances (fully paid) qualify as security. First-time lender $500 TT to $10,000 TT Second loan up to $30,000 TT Reported: 8-to11% (if over age 30, automatically 11%) Adjusted 22.6% including administrative, training and legal fees. Six months to one year, depending on loan Project Develop ment Officer (1).

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467 Appendix F continued… Agency Name Financial Services Fees Requirem ents Minimum/ Maximum Interest and Restrictions Repayment Staff Small Business Development Company (SBDC) is a state enterprise, funded by Central Government. Additional grant programs supported by European Union and United Nations Development Programme. Est. 1990. Loan guarantee program secures collateral for small and microenterpris es Training (Appendix E). Business Advice Business Incubator Special Projects (annual “Best Business” competition). $5 TT Business Form fee $100 TT for Business Planning Workshop Onetime, upfront fee of 5% of the guarantee d amount. Business Plan Two-day Business Planning Workshop. Maximum $250,000 TT Maximum of 50% loan guarantee for business in operation <3 years Maximum of 85% loan guarantee for business in operation > 3 years. Interest negotiated with lender Assets cannot exceed $1,500,000 (excluding land and buildings). Up to 7 years repayment. Manager (1), Officers (2), Administ -rative (1).

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468 Appendix F continued… Agency Name Financial Services Fees RequirementsMinimum/ Maximum Interest and Restrictions RepaymentStaff THA Division of Planning, Business Development Unit, goal is to reduce unemployment and increase selfemployment. Business proposal assistance (feasibility study, business environment analysis, marketing strategies, pricing) Site visits Bookkeeping tutoring -Counseling Referral services (SBDC, FundAid, Banks). None. Over 18 years of age. Coordinator (1), Field Officers (2). (When fully staffed, 4 Field Officers). Venture Capital Incentive Programme (VCIP) Est. 1996. Attract equity financing for small and medium sized businesses Prepare business for investment status Facilitate clientinvestor relationships. Registered business No more than 75 employees Capital base not exceeding $3 million TT. Investors expect a return rate of 20-25%. Equity Specialist (1).

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501 Vieira, Phil 1963 Desbite the Grave Consequences ...Flora May Well be a Blessing in Disguise. In Trinidad Guardian. Port of Spain. Wallerstein, Immanuel 1986 Africa and the Modern World. Tren ton, New Jersey: Africa World Press. — 1991 Geopolitics and Geoculture: Essa ys on the Changing World-System. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ware, Opoku 1999 Insufficient Funds to Run THA. In Tobago News. Pp. 2. Scarborough. — 2000 Tension Leading Up to So-called Protest. In Tobago News. Pp. 2. Scarborough. Warren, Kay B. and Susan C. Bourque 1991 Women, Technology, and Interna tional Development Ideologies: Analyzing Feminist Voices. In Gender at the Crossroads of Knowledge: Feminist Anthropology in the Postmodern Era. M. di Leonardo, ed. Pp. 278-311. Berkeley: University of California Press. Warwick Business School 1997 The Sector Assessment Study fo r the Small Business Development Programme in Trinidad and Tobago. Warw ick: Warwick Research Institute. Weaver, D.B. 1998 Peripheries of the Periphery: Tour ism in Tobago and Barbuda. Annals of Tourism Research 25(2):292-313. Weiner, Tim 2003 With Little Loans, Mexican Women Overcome. In New York Times. Pp. A8. New York. White, Leslie Quoted by Eric R. Wolf 1990 Distinguished Lecture: Facing Po wer -Old Insights, New Questions. American Anthropologist 92:586-96. Whitehead, Neil L., ed. 1995 Wolves from the Sea: Readings in the Anthropology of the Native Caribbean. Leiden: KITLV Press.

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502 Whitworth, Sandra 1994 Feminist Theories: From Wome n to Gender and World Politics. In Women, Gender and World Politics: Perspe ctives, Policies, and Prospects. P. Beckman and F. D'Amico, eds. Pp. 77-88. Westport: Bergin & Garvey. Wickrama, K.A.S. and Pat M. Keith 1994 Savings and Credit: Women's Informal Groups as Models for Change in Developing Countries. Journal of Developing Areas 28(3):365-378. Williams, Eric 1957 Hansard Report: Legislative Council Debates Sessions 1956-1957. — 1963 Broadcast Report the Nation on Tobago by the Prime Minister on 6th October, 1963. Port of Spain: Office of the Prime Minister (compiled by the National Archives). — 1964 History of the People of Trinid ad and Tobago. London: Andre Deutsch. — 1976 Post-Election Speech. In Trinidad Guardian. Port of Spain. — 1981 Forged From the Love of Liberty: Selected Speeches of Dr. Eric Williams. P.K. Sutton, ed. Port of Spain: Longman Caribbean. Wilson, Peter J. 1973 Crab Antics: A Caribbean Case St udy of the Conflict Between Reputation and Respectability. Prospect Heights, Il: Waveland Press. — 1974 Oscar: An Inquiry into the Nature of Sanity? Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press. Wolf, Eric R. 1982 Europe and the People Without History. Berkeley: University of California Press. World Bank and the Caribbean Centre for Monetary Studies 1998 Wider Caribbean Financial Sector Review: Increasing Competitiveness and Financial Resource Management for Economic Growth. St. Augustine, Trinidad: Caribbean Centre for Monetary Studies.

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503 Yelvington, Kevin A. 1987 Vote Dem Out: The Demise of the PNM in Trinidad and Tobago. Caribbean Review 15(4):8-33. — 1995 Producing Power: Ethnicity, Ge nder, and Class in A Caribbean Workplace. Philadelphia: Temple University. Yow, Valerie Raleigh 1994 Recording Oral History: A Practical Guide for Social Scientists. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Yudelman, Sally W. 1987 Hopeful Openings: A Study of Five Women's Development Organizations in Latin American and the Caribbea n. West Hartford: Kumarian Press.

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504Endnotes Chapter One 1 Approval for my research was granted on June 9, 1 999 by the Office of Resear ch, Division of Compliance Services, Institutional Review Boards at the Univers ity of South Florida. The semistructured survey instrument used in this research was reviewed by this board as protocol (IRB-#98.465) and approved for use through May 2000. 2 See Chapter Four for a discussion of research methods used in this study. Chapter Two 1 Classic contributions to economi c anthropology include the early cultural anthropology studies of Bronislaw Malinowski and Paul Bohannan. In describing the kula ring exchange among the Trobriand Islanders of New Guinea, Malinowski (1922:86) noted “this simple action – this passing from hand to hand of two meaningless and quite useless objects – has somehow succeeded in becoming the foundation of a big inter-tribal institution, in being associated with ever so many other activities, Myth, magic and tradition have built up around it definite ritual and ceremonial forms, have given it a halo of romance and value in the minds of the natives, have indeed created a passion in their hearts for this simple exchange.” In describing exchange among the Tiv from the middle Benue Valley of northern Nigeria, Bohannan (1955:61) wrote “everything, including women, which is exchanged has an exchange value or equivalent ( ishe ), whereas no gift has an exchan ge value…In every market transaction, there is a man who sells ( ie ) and a man who buys ( yam ). These words must be carefully examined for they do not exactly parallel their English equivalents. Ie means to spread something out on the ground to the public view, as in a market place. By extension, it means ‘to sell’ – there is no othe r way to say ‘to sell,’ and no other verb to designate that half of an exchange in whic h one releases or gets rid of an article. Yam, on the other hand, means ‘trade’ in the widest sense, but refers primarily to that half of the exchange in which one takes or gains an article. It can, therefore, often be translated by the E nglish work ‘buy.’ Its differ ence, however, can be seen in sentences such as ‘I bought money with it” ( m yam inyaregh a mi – more accurately translated “I realized money on it,” and still more accurately but less literally, ‘In this exchange what I received was money’). Activities of traders are called yamen a yam ; exchange marriage is often called ‘woman trading’ ( kwase yamen ) or, more politely, ‘value trading’ ( ishe yamen ).” 2 The Small Business Programme is the predecessor of the Small Business Development Company that is evaluated as a funding, training and business development resources in Chapter Five. 3 The history Tobago’s cooperatively organized exchange of labor (know as “lend hand”) is described in Chapter Three. 4 Mead and Liedholm (1998:61-74) found in the five African countries they surveyed, that microentrepreneurial activities are twice as co mmon as registered, large-scale enterprise. 5 For Donna Haraway (1988:581) “feminist objectivity is about limited location and situated knowledge, not about transcendence and splitting of subject and object. It allows us to become answerable for what we learn how to see.” 6 Rose Brewer (1993:170) cautioned of “the trap of overdetermination” where theorists may to condense oppression to one paramount framework, such as locating race and gender within the context of the globalization of capitalism tends to reduce multiple oppressions to a class analysis. 7 Borrowed from anthropology, the term cultural relativism refers to the perspective that each culture possesses its own rationality and coherence in its cust oms and beliefs and therefore each culture can only be understood on its own merits. 8 The celebrated Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, or wh at I call the microcredit model of microenterprise development, is described in Chapter Three, Part A. 9 Matrifocality in Caribbean society is discussed in Chapter Three, Part B.

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505 Chapter Three 1 Carol Stack’s All Our Kin (1974) represents a domestic case study of survival strategies among poor African American women wherein kin ties provide a network of both support and obligation. 2 Yelvington’s Producing Power (1995) illustrated the interplay of social, ethnic, class, gender and macroeconomic factors that contri bute to perpetuation the oppression of women in these working conditions. 3 See Chapter Three, Part C for a discussion of social impacts of tourism development in Tobago. 4 Mohanty (1991:69-70) prescribed caution when referring to the “sexual division of labor” where the historical context is not taken into consideration, whereas what is being indicated is “the different value placed on ‘men’s work’ ve rses ‘women’s work’.” 5 Helen Safa (1995) provided an analysis of the circ umstances in the Caribbean and Latin American region where colonialism and neo-colonialism have rendered men marginal to the family structure, particularly among the poorer classes. 6 The World Bank’s two-fold gender and development policy focuses on (1) investment in human capital (such as education and health) and (2) investment in productivity through credit, etc. (Herz 1989:23). 7 Littrell and Dickson (1997) recommended Alternative Trading Organizations (ATOs) as a viable option for providing higher returns for traditionally produced items on the world market through committed relationships between producers and market distributors. 8 Likewise, in Mexico, microcredit programs modeled after Grameen Bank noted that at least 95 percent of lenders prefer to target single mo thers. Two reasons are given for th is preference. First is the common understanding that women homemakers have capacity (that is, some sort of skill that can be translated into income generation). Second is that the men are si mply not there (that is, women are more accountable) (Weiner 2003). 9 According to Wickrama (1994:369), a concentration of credit to women reflects an assumption that by providing women with access to greater resources, they are more likel y to invest in the welfare of their families. 10 Creevey (1996:94) noted th at strict adherence to purdah is possible only for the wealthy and thus, has acquired social status value. 11 McKee (1989:993) noted that distinctions between “ interventions which are primarily economic rather than social or political” can become somewhat “fuzzy” where strategies include strengthening microenterprise earning capacity. 12 In Creevey’s (1996) study of eight women’s microenter prise projects, as quality of life increased due to economic gains, easy of living decreased due to new responsibilities being added to women’s existing work. 13 Prgl and Tinker (1997) noted that develop practitioners, policy makers, and organizers usually distinguish between female microentrepreneurs and homeworkers Rather than debating theoretical distinctions, individual concerns, alternatives, and methods should be emphasized. 14 Berger (1995:190-191) noted that programs directed at microenterprise, including those by the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and Grameen Bank focus on credit schemes as the key to stability and expansion. 15 Massiah (1989:369) noted that “sources of livelihood” may include income earning, “kin and friendship networks, institutional mechanisms, organization and group membership, and mating partner relationships.” 16 According to R.T. Smith, under th e dual marriage system, a white man taking outside “inferior” black concubines was a natural phenomenon in contrast to the “civilized” institution of marriage. Under this hierarchal cultural system where marriage was reserved for equals, non-legal marriage became the norm for the lower classes that “cannot do better,” see (R. T. Smith 1996:62). 17 Marriage was forbidden in most of the British co lonies through the eight eenth century. Planters discouraged permanent male-female relationships because ‘it was cheaper to buy than to breed’ slaves.

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506 Consequentially, slave women “developed an antipathy to child-bearing … as an act of resistance,” see Reddock (1994: 14,22). 18 Wilson (1973) noted that respectability (unlike reputation) is a system of stratifying the society into classes based on standards of “moral worth and judgment” imposed from Euro-American values while institutions such as legal marriage are “prerequisites” for respectability – but do not guarantee it. 19 Women’s life expectancy is five years longer than men’s and women tend to marry younger than men, see Barrow (1996:77-78). 20 The absence of Tobago-specific indicators in the census data inhibits the task of assessing trends over time. Specifically, in my attempt to compile census da ta, I found that even where Tobago-specific census information was available, indicators were frequently no t consistent from census year to census year. Thus, trying to construct longitudinal tables that would illu strate trends over time was often not possible due to inconsistent census materials. 21 To situate the Corlanders geographically and histor ically, this Baltic country was reestablished as the Republic of Latvia after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. 22 Recreational boating and yachting in particular, has b een developing as a special or “niche” market in Trinidad and Tobago since the 1960s. Private yachts owners are drawn to the country’s favorable economy and location, being located just below from the hurricane zone of 12 degrees north, permits boat owners to maintain private insurance year-round. Also, the low cost of docking, spare parts, repairs and other services, such as hauling, and the availability of high quality teak contribute to making Trinidad and Tobago increasingly popular among so-called “yachties.” 23 Several Tobago place names reflect this era in hi story such as “Pirate’s Bay” and “Bloody Bay.” 24 Tobago remains subdivided into seven parishes: St. Patrick, St. Andrew, St. George, St. David, St. Mary, St. John, and St. Paul. 25 See Chapter Three, Part B for a summary of Mintz and Price’s (1989(1974)) cultural-historical approach to Caribbean heritage. 26 By 1775, however, sugar cultivation was abandoned for cotton, tobacco, indigo, and coffee when a plague of ants completely destroyed the canes (Craig 1988:2; Hay 1899:7). Later, monocultural practices were resumed in the late 1790s in response to the high price of sugar (Craig 1988:2). 27 Many place names reflect this period of French rule in Tobago such as Bon Accord, Charlotteville, and L’Anse Fourmi. 28 As a colony of France, Tobago’s largely non-Fr ench plantocracy was included in the decision to proclaim Napoleon Bonaparte Consul for life, with islanders voting unanimously in his favor (Hay 1899:9). 29 See Chapter Three, Part C for details about the bankruptcy of the West India Bank. 30 In sharp contrast to Trinidad, immigration to Tobago during the nineteenth century was small-scale and labor import schemes met with limited success (Niddrie 1961:50). 31 This event is also referred to as the “Belmanna War.” 32 British Parliament passed the Act of Emancipation in August 1833, and the ab olition of slavery became law on August 1, 1834. Following emancipation, a period of “apprenticeship” obligated field slaved to an additional six years and other slaves to an additional four years of labor. As the result of the campaign by abolitionists, however, the Apprenticeship came to an abrupt conclusion two year s earlier. On August 1, 1938 the Colonial Office sent an Order in Council ending the Apprenticeship (Brereton 1989:63,75-77). 33 West Indian sugar could not compete with subsidized European beet sugar (Robinson 1977:20). 34 Tobago peasant society and the metayage syst em are discussed in Chapter Three, Part D. 35 A large number of families originating from Tobago continue to reside on Trinidad’s more remote North Coast (Elder 1984b:5; Herskovits and Herskovits 1947:23-28; Selwyn Ryan 1985:8). 36 Peasant plot agriculture is discussed in Chapter Three, Part B. 37 Under the Moyen Commission, social scientists were sent to survey British colonies to collect evidence of social and economic conditions including labor unrest of the late 1930s and the “irregular Negro” family and mating patterns, see Barrow (1996:9,23).

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507 38 Oil was first discovered in 1857, Shell was the firs t company to produce oil in Trinidad beginning in 1913, and by the 1950s British Petrolium, Shell, and Texaco were refining crude in Trinidad (Auty and Gelb 1986). 39 Little Tobago Island (also known as “Birds of Paradise Island”) is located one and one-half mile off the southeastern coast of Tobago. In 1909, Sir William Ingram purchased the island and established a bird sanctuary with the introduction of Birds of Paradise from New Guinea, which were renowned for their plumage but nearly extinct at the tim e. In 1963, Hurricane Flora devastated the island and the Birds of Paradise that populated L ittle Tobago became extinct. 40 At the time fieldwork was conducted, the exchange rate for Trinidad and Tobago currency (or TT dollars) was approximately $6 US to $1 TT. 41 In the late 1950s, a survey of employment in Tobago determined that out of 20,300 working age people, only 11,900 were officially classified as participating in the labor force (Frampton 1957:142). 42 One example of the havoc reeked upon Tobago, de scribed by those who remember Hurricane Flora, involves reassembling homes and in particular, roofto ps. Corrugated tin is still the most common material used for rooftops and is often painted to match the home. Hurricane Flora scattered pieces of rooftops across the island, so when villagers began to reassemble their home s, whatever pieces of corrugated tin could be found near there home were recycled for their rooftops. Thus, peoples homes often had mismatched, colored pieces of corr ugated tin for their rooftops. 43 For the history of lend-hand, please see Chapter Three, Part D. 44 The rainforest of Tobago's Main Ridge is the oldest forest reserve in the western hemisphere, set aside for protection in 1776. 45 Prior to Hurricane Flora in 1963, the tourism industry had created a demand for locally produced meat, fresh fruit, and vegetables (C. A. Pemberton 1972:11). 46 Popular tourism destinations including Buccoo Reef and Pigeon Point have remained contentious locations in Tobago and a discussion of acce ss to land appears later in this chapter. 47 See Chapter Three, Part D for a full discussion of “lend hand.” 48 Tobago’s original tourism zone includes parishes of St. Andrew, St. Patrick, and St. David. 49 In 1999, visitors from the United Kingdom repres ented the largest share (4 6 percent) of Tobago’s tourism market (Express 1999b). 50 During fieldwork (1999-2000), on of Tobago’s luxury hotels began requiring staff to submit to annual HIV/AIDS testing in order to maintain employment and in addition to pre-employment screening. Hotel management indicated that the adoption of an annua l testing policy was a response to complaints from guests. Evidently, after returning home from their Tobago holiday, several hotel guests claimed to have contracted HIV during thei r stay at the hotel. Management descri bed the policy as a proactive measure “to ensure that we all work in a safe and healthy environment” (Tobago News 1999c). This highly invasive screening policy leaves one to ponder whether or not the management is merely overreacting to an epidemic or if it their motivations for maintaining a healthy staff have more untoward implications? 51 In 1999, “Tobago recorded 11,721 international cruise arrivals to the island, and increase of 28.4 per cent compared” to the previous year (Express 1999b). Duri ng fieldwork, the arrival of cruise ships seemed infrequent. I lived in proximity of Scarborough and could hear the exchange of horns honking between the port and boats. Also, the arrival of cruise ships was broadcast by the local radio station (Radio Tambrin), which announced opportunities for taxi drivers to collect tourists for tours of Tobago. 52 Based out of Trinidad, Angostura Limited supplies the world with its famous “secret blend” of aromatic bitters. 53 See Chapter Two for a discussion of mass tourism marketing. Also see Pattullo (1996) for a discussion of social and environmental impacts of tourism in the Caribbean. 54 Following the crowning of Wendy Fitzwilliams, of Trinidad, as Miss Universe in 1998, Trinidad and Tobago hosted the Miss Universe cont est in 1999. This event, which provided an opportunity to showcase Trinidad and Tobago’s culture and natural beauty, was an effort to promote international tourism. 55 In 1997, the oil and gas sector contributed to about 25 percent of Trinidad and Tobago’s Gross Domestic Product but generates less than five percent employment (Microfin 2001:5).

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508 56 In the 1995 national election, neither party had enough votes (UNC 17, NAR 2, and PNM 17), so Robinson who is a former Prime Minister and head of Tobago's NAR party offered his support (in the form of two Senate seats from NAR needed to swing the vote) to Panday’s UNC party in exchange for the Presidency (Joseph 2000). This was a historic election where the East Indian popu lation, represented by the UNC, ascended to control of the Republic for the first time. 57 In the 1970s, beach facilities were constructed at Bu ccoo Bay and Mount Irvine. In the late 1990s, these beach facilities were renovated and expanded. 58 A similar conflict took place in 1970 during the so -called Black Power Revolution when the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) held a massive demonstration throughout Tobago and “literally removed the gate leading to the Pigeon Point resort” (Tobago News 2000g; Ware 2000). 59 Reported crimes against tourists during 1999-2000 included robbery, one rape, and an increase in drug trafficking. Increased annual reported crimes against to urists were reported as follows: 113 in 1996, 147 in 1998, and 151 in 1999. Most offenders were reported between the ages of 20-25 (Tobago News 2002). 60 One of the Tobago’s main tourist attractions is th e “Nylon Pool,” a sandbar in the middle of the ocean which is only about three feet deep. According to local mythology, it was named named by Princess Margaret who visited on her honeymoon in the 1950s. Im pressed by the clear brilliant clarity of the water, she claimed it was as clear as her nylon stockings. 61 In addition to plans to improve the water supply, in response to the increased demand on Tobago’s infrastructure, local authorities were also planning for a modern wastewater collection and treatment system to provide required service to 37,000 customers. The proposed project would provide sewer connections and reduce health risks and pollution (Tobago News 1999j). 62 See Chapter Five for a description of two CIDA and UNDP-funded, women’s projects in Tobago. 63 Please see Chapter One for a description of approval granted by my university to conduct rearch. 64 Today, the majority of Tobago’s population is con centrated on the western on e-third of the island in proximity to the capital of Scarborough. Similarly, Tobago’s major tourism zones (including the airport, larger hotels, and most accessible beaches) ar e situated in the west ern leeward district. 65 After emancipation, metayage was developed in some of the smaller British island including Tobago, St. Lucia and Nevis (Richardson 1992:74). 66 Over the years, cultivatable lands have been depleted due to fragmentation and multiple ownership of holdings (family land) as well as depletion of fertility through bad farming practices and erosion (Frampton 1957:32), also see (Besson 1984). 67 Similarly, descent to ex-slaves can be traced to “old families” in Jamaican village, see (Besson 1998:138). 68 The lend-hand system “is a survival of the metayage when cooperation was essential in the cane harvest,” see (Niddrie 1961:1-58). Today, the cooperative practice of pulling the seine continues where friends come together on the beach to pull in the large nets used by Tobago’s fishing community. In neighboring Trinidad, lend-hand is called gayap (Robinson 1977:38). 69 The establishment of a US military base at Chag uaramas, Trinidad had a significant socio-economic impact on the Caribbean region. Drawn by higher wages offered for construction and services, men in particular, migrated to work on the base, see Brereton (1989:191) and Reddock (1994:191-192). 70 In the West Indies, the Second World War mark ed was an era of rapi d change. Agricultural reorganization, for example, affect ed land tenure patterns, increased economic opportunities and access to outside markets, see Pulsipher (1993:54). 71 Other examples of peasant cash crops from Tobago included coffee, tobacco and limes. 72 Under the metayage system, laborers typically ha d multiple sources of income (metayage, provision grounds, fishing, etc.), see (Craig-James 1993:57). Similarly, a man today may practice occupational multiplicity by combining government employment (cleaning drains or cuttlassing the side of the road), which occupies his mornings, owning a car he drives to work and as a taxi afterwards, and having a fishing boat. Additionally, in the evening he may drive the same taxi to his provision grounds or may have animals he attends, thus providing income from four or five different activities.

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509 73 In Tobago, the term “countryside” refers to the hilly, northeastern windward district of the island that is less accessible in contrast to southwest lo wlands where Scarborough is located. 74 Likewise, a predilection for neolocal residence was noted by Mintz (1989(1974):166). 75 Postponing marriage did not necessarily preclude childbearing. Though generally frowned upon in predominantly Anglican, Tobago peasant society, illegitimacy did occur; see (Wilson 1973:128-129) for a description of a mother initially shaming her unwed daughter until the birth of her first grandchild. Also, (Gussler 1980) indicates that illegitimacy did invoke some level of shame. Yet, pregnancy is not an uncommon outcome of visiting unions. 76 See Chapter Three, Part C for a discussion of tourism and foreign land ownership. 77 For an example of letters exchanged during courtship, see (Herskovits and Herskovits 1947:85-86). Also, as part of the annual Tobago Heritage Festival, one of the long time (or old days) traditions reenacted during at the Courtship Codes event is the exchange of a letter wherin a young suitor demonstrates his worthiness to the parents of his girlfriend. 78 Today, wattle (also known as adobe or tapia) homes are almost non-existent. Most residential buildings in Tobago are constructed of wood, brick or concrete (Central Statistical Office 1990f:52). 79 Alternatively, if water was available from the st andpipe, a woman washed with a scrub board and tub. The tub was an old meat barrel cut in half. 80 Folk conceptions of health (or humoral theory) restri ct many activities, particularly those involving heat and water. After ironing, for example, people would not go outside for the remainder of the day, fearing they might catch a cold from the dew. Therefore domestic duties must be planned in advance, scheduled to prevent exposure to illness inducing conditions. 81 Trinidad’s oil industry provided the material for inventive tinkering. Recycled oil drums acquired a range of useful forms including steel drum ovens and most notably, steel drum percussion instruments or “pan,” the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago. 82 See Chapter Two and Chapter Three, Part B. for a discussion of susu and see Besson (1995) for a discussion of ROSCAs. 83 For examples of the history of Caribbean wome n’s work, see Chapter Three, Parts C and D. 84 See Chapter Three, Part C for a discussion of de colonization. Also see Brereton (Brereton 1989) and Williams (Williams 1964:139-150). 85 Woodford Square is the major public square in down town Port of Spain, Trinidad’s capital (Brereton 1989:234; Reddock 1994:301; Yelvington 1987:9). 86 In 1970, existing racial and cultural tensions erupted in Trinidad as the Black Power Revolution protested against white political-economic hegemony, demanding that blacks have a more visible role in society (Selwyn Ryan 1972). 87 One of the government-sponsored projects in the aftermath of Hu rricane Flora in 1963 was the construction of Roxborough Composite School in the mid-1960s, which made free secondary education accessible to Tobago’s popul ation residing in the eas tern, windward district. 88 See Chapter Three, Part C for a description of Hurri cane Flora. See Chapter Three, Part B for a definition of “visiting relationships.” 89 See Chapter Three, Part B for a descriptio n of child-minding duties in the Caribbean. 90 Taxi service is flexible and informal in T obago. Although technically illegal, many drivers pull bull or offer unregulated taxi services in private cars. Inform al taxis compete with Tobago’s licensed taxi drivers. Designated by the first letter of their license plates, re gistered taxi drivers are in dicted by “H” for hire as opposed to “P” for private car. See Manning (1974) for a discussion of West Indian taxis and number plates. 91 Additionally, Bynoe (1988:38) notes the paradox of a society that places tremendous emphasis on attainment of certificates—and yet, the availability of high paying jo bs that require little academic skill and the rise in unemployment among graduates of secondary and tertiary levels as creating a sense of disillusionment among current students 92 In considering the seeming marginality of female frien dships in Tobago, it is interesting to note current psychological literature on women’s responses to stress, which hypothesizes that the social grouping

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510 pattern of female friendships is rooted in evolutionary biology. Previous studies of physiological responses to stress were disproportionately male-biased, ch aracterized by the “fight-or-flight” model of the sympathetic nervous system as the prototypic human response to stress (Taylor 2000:411,422). More recently, Taylor et al., (2000) introduced a “t end-and-befriend” model as an alternative biobehavorial theory based on human female responses to stress. Though they acknowledge some speculation in building a model that combines evidence from rat, primate, and human behavior – a strong case is made for the gender-based, biological, and behavioral selective response towards “befriending,” which they define as creating “networks of association th at provide resources and protection for the female and her offspring under conditions of stress” (Taylor 2000:412). This study draws from cross-cultural evidence of the importance of female social networks from anthr opological literature (for example see Anderson 1986; Barrow 1986b; Gussler 1980; Massiah 1989; Stack 1974) to suggests that the same neurochemical systems that mediates maternal urges (mother-infant attachment) can be extended to adult pair bonding and friendship, and therefore can influence social inte ractions. Certainly “biolo gy and social roles are inextricably interwoven” and can account for flexibility in human behavior – however, if one does apply the “tend-and-befriend” model to th e case of Tobago where female friendships are seemingly limited-tonon-existent, one might expect to find elevated levels of stress among women in Tobago. If, as the authors suggest (Taylor 2000:418,423), female friendship is an evolved mechanisms of female survival that provides protection against a broad array of threats, and there is “a strong tendency among females to affiliate under conditions of stress,” particular social pr essures must influence female behavior in Tobago in a way that has limited the presence of friendships among women. 93 Similarly, Carol Stack (1974) described the dynamic nature of female kinship networks where mutual aid, cooperation, and exchange are survival strategies among residents of an economically distressed African-American community. 94 Roti is an a dish of East Indian origin made of flat baked bread that is folded with a curry mixture and can contain either beef, chicken, or any other type of meat. 95 Both Providencia (located in th e Western Caribbean) and Tobago (lo cated in the Eastern Caribbean) are small, rural, predominantly Protestant, Anglophone, Afro-Car ibbean societies. Chaper Four 1 See Chapter Three for a discussion of the so-called “informal economy.” 2 Throughout my dissertation, pseudonyms are used for all participants. 3 I provided a copy of the resource inventory to all pa rticipants and after our interview and referred them to local services that I believed could enhance their business opportunities. Chapter Five 1 Long-run labor force data are adju sted to account for the cyclical variations of Tobago’s population and therefore, more accurately depict “w orkers having a usual place of residence in Tobago and nowhere else”. (Policy Research and Development Institute 1998:6). 2 The island of Tobago is often subsumed into the la rger body of literature on th e Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. As the “little sister” island, Tobago’s unique cultural, historical and economic issues are often overlooked. Likewise, politically, Toba go frequently accuses the national government of neglect. Tobago does function semi-autonomously, administered by the Tobago House of Assembly. See Chapter Three for a History of Tobago. 3 The Research and Implementation Unit was later renamed the Policy Research and Development Institute. Maintaining its exclusive relationship with the Chief S ecretary (the elected, political leader for the Tobago House of Assembly), this research team generates po licy analysis for attracting economic development to Tobago. (Policy Research and Development Institute 1998:15) 4 At the time fieldwork was conducted, national legislation was under consideration to reduce the required number of cooperative membership from twelve to se ven. During an interview, a Cooperative’s Officer

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511 explained that five members would be more appropriate for Tobago’s smaller business environment (personal communication April 14, 1999). 5 See Chapter Three, endnote 40 for information on the exchange rate. 6 Soca music is a style of rhythm originating in the 1970s that combines Trinidadian calypso and American soul music. 7 Products were tested and approved by the Federal Drug Administration for export to the United States. Exposition at an international Fancy Food shows resulted in an exporting opportunity that went unfulfilled due to lack of organization. 8 See Chapter Three for a discussion of water shortage issues. 9 The local term for a rotating credit and savings associ ation (ROSCA), also discussed in Chapter Two. At each meeting, Golden Bay handicraft members each c ontribute $5 TT to their susu. Each week, one member receives her “hand” or “turn, ” thus providing an informal savi ngs strategy for accessing surplus capital, see (Besson 1995) for a hi story ROSCAs in the Caribbean. 10 See Chapter Three, Part D for a discussion of “crab antics.” Also, see Wilson (1973). 11 Resources found in Tobago include leadership training through THA Community Development and professional development assistance (including marketing) through the national Tourism and Industrial Development Company (TIDCO) (Appendix E). 12 The leader’s inference to internal corruption refe rs to the Chief Secretar y’s Charles’ (1999) antidependency, “little sister island” rhetoric. In his opinion, the THA’s inability to independently qualify for international funding results from the island’s marginalized and ostracized status within the context of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago’s “over centralized g overnment.” In a later statement, the Chief Secretary described gaining the support of bilateral donor agencies; however, Central Government bureaucracy had blocked direct funding, leaving the THA in dire need of alternative routes to funding. (Tobago News 1999e) 13 The launch of the REACH Project was broadcast on Tobago’s only local radio station, Radio Tambrin 92.1 FM. 14 According the THA Department of Social Services and most recent Central Statistical Office (Central Statistical Office 1997a:117) data, Tobago’s poverty is slightly higher than current national unemployment figures of 22.1 percent. Additionally, national unemplo yment rates in 1995 for men and women were 15.1 percent and 20.6 percent respectively (Central Statistical Office 1997b:2). 15 See Chapter Three for an analysis of the historic, cultural and environmental f actors that affected black entrepreneurship in Trinidad and Tobago. Also see (James 1993; Sewlyn Ryan and Barclay 1992b). 16 This investment became a public scandal in 1999 and in response, Hochoy Charles, the THA Chief Secretary claimed the motivation for undertaking th e investment was as a reaction to “the Central Government not releasing sufficient funds to the THA” (Guardian, September 26, 1999). In order to investigate the legality of the investment, the Prime Minister, Robinson, commissioned an Auditor General’s Report. Forensic accounting revealed that th e Chief Secretary chose to ignore a bank official’s warning and withdrew money “from the THA coffers without the permission or knowledge of the Assembly” in conjunction with an Irish money manager wh o acted as the “director and sole partner” in the ADDA investment (Independent 1999: 19). This investment, however, failed to provide the anticipated $210,000 US monthly interest returns. During the investigation, the investment remained out of government control, and was being held in a Florida court-directed account until the dispute could be resolved through arbitration. Furthermore, on the h eels of the unresolved ADDA scandal, the Old Year’s Day Ringbang 2000 Concert was described by the THA political opposition leader as another example of “financial mismanagement at the THA” citing illegal action as THA members, once again, “received no official information” prior to committing to the show (Raphael 1999:11). In total, Ringbang 2000 cost taxpayers over $41 million TT (Duke-Westfield 2000). The Chief Secretary described Ringbang as an investment “development tool” for Tobago’s culture in anticipation of substantial future profits and likened the expenditure to the National Carnival Commission support of local artists (Express 2000:5). The fleeting three and a half minute BBC Millennium World Broadcast “from the Caribbean” failed to deliver

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512 the anticipated international promotion of the island (Manmohan 2000:5). Furthermore, organizers including “ the wily Guyanese ” recording star and producer Eddy Grant insulted Trinidad and Tobago by 1) taking credit for soca 2) by “bastardizing” the indigenous culture product by re-christening it “Ringbang” and 3) finally by succes sfully coercing $41 million TT to sponsor his participation in the BBC New Years Eve production (Raphael 1999:11; K. Smith 2000:17). In response to the ill-conceived financial investments during his tenure (ADDA and Ringbang), local newspapers accused the THA Chief Secretary of fleecing the Assembly out of millions and furthe rmore, compared his actions to a “banana republic” administration resembling dictators like Haiti’s Papa Doc Duvalier (Job 1999; Raphael 1999:11). 17 As a contrast, see Chapter Two for a description of interest-bearing loans made directly to Grameen Bank participants. 18 See Chapter Three for a discussion of THA budget allocations from the Central Government. 19 For a discussion of home dcor in Tobago and significant of drapery in particular during the Christmas season, see Chapter Four. 20 For a discussion of ROSCA or susu, see Chapter Two, Part A and Chapter Three, Part B. 21See Chapter Two for a discussion of the Grameen Bank minimalist approach and potentially negative impacts on women. Also see (Goetz and Gupta 1996:54). Also see Shrader (2001) for a discussion of typologies of violence against women (including political, economic, and social) and measurements of domestic violence.

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About the Author Cheryl A. Levine received a B.A. in Anthropology from San Diego State University in 1991 and a M.A. in Anthropology from California State University in 1994. While in the Ph.D. program at the University of South Florida and in recent years, Ms. Levine has presented papers on her dissertati on research at meetings of the American Anthropological Association and the So ciety for Applied Anthropology. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 1998-1999 to conduct her dissert ation fieldwork in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Ms. Levine has worked for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Office of Policy Deve lopment and Research in Washington, DC since 2001. Building on her skills and experiences as an app lied anthropologist, she has served as the qualitative methods expert at her job where she conducts program evaluation. She has also taught ethnographic me thods for a Skills Institute at American University, School of In ternational Services.