Articles

The West Indies want to join us

Canada will get four million new citizens, frontiers on the equator, a three-hundred-million-dollar market, plus calypsos and cricket if the majority of the British West Indians succeed in their bid for union

ERIC HUTTON April 15 1953
Articles

The West Indies want to join us

Canada will get four million new citizens, frontiers on the equator, a three-hundred-million-dollar market, plus calypsos and cricket if the majority of the British West Indians succeed in their bid for union

ERIC HUTTON April 15 1953

The West Indies want to join us

Articles

Canada will get four million new citizens, frontiers on the equator, a three-hundred-million-dollar market, plus calypsos and cricket if the majority of the British West Indians succeed in their bid for union

ERIC HUTTON

A BONUS-LENGTH FEATURE

RESPONSIBLE men are now taking the first steps toward what might well lead to the most spectacular event in Canada’s history since Confederation. If it comes to pass Canada will extend from the north pole to the equator; will add four millions to her population and possess an eleventh province slightly larger than the Maritimes plus Newfoundland, and will become at the stroke of a pen one of the most cosmopolitan nations on earth.

This event is the incorporation of Britain’s Caribbean colonies as a Canadian province.

The proposition raises many pertinent questions: Who are the sponsors of union, what are they doing about it, and what chance is there of it becoming a reality? What are the arguments for and against it—on both sides? And, above all from the Canadian viewpoint, what manner of people are these potential new Canadians; what is their land really like behind the tourist façade of palm trees and rum swizzles?

The territory, loosely described as the British West Indies, consists of more than a thousand islands and two big chunks of mainland in or bordering the Caribbean Sea between North and South America. But there are exceptions: Bermuda is in the North Atlantic, opposite Charleston, S.C., and much closer to Halifax than to Trinidad, most southerly of the West Indies islands; the people of the Bahamas, too, consider themselves North

Americans, since most of their islands are north of the tip of Florida, the nearest a mere fifty miles east of Miami. At the other extreme, British Guiana pushes deep into Brazil and almost touches the equator. Most westerly of the colonies is British Honduras, which borders Guatemala in Central America, on the same longitude as northern Manitoba. Other than those named, the chief units of the West Indies are Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, Montserrat, St. Kitts, the Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent.

Racially, the West Indians could be nature’s experimental project to prove that people of all races, colors and creeds can live, work and play together in peace and prosperity —without consciously realizing that they are part of any such experiment. Many an Anglo-Saxon resident of Port of Spain, Trinidad, one of the largest cities in the West Indies, would be astonished if it was suggested there was anything unusual in a white family having a Negro dentist, a Hindu doctor, a Chinese lawyer, and a next-door neighbor in whom were mingled the strains of all three.

George Cabral, the Portuguese mayor of Port of Spain, told me recently: “Members of the city

council include English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Negro, Chinese and Indian. We have differences and arguments — which city council doesn’t?— but never on racial lines. The members don’t even think racially.”

The thousand islands plus mainland sections of the B.W.I. are dotted over an area larger than Canada

WHAT THE BRITISH WEST

A tropic resort area second to none

Today in the West Indies a new race is being born. Large numbers of the participating races remain unmixed, but the typical West Indian of 1953 is literally a man of many parts. His religion is legion, though Roman Catholics predominate. There is some racial prejudice, but less of it than elsewhere in the world. It is social and not occupational. Within the memory of living West Indians, color has not been a factor in business or professional success. And the social barriers are disintegrating year by year. In three visits to the West Indies in the last fifteen years I have found more and more color among members of the top social clubs and in the private homes of, white residents.

In his own homeland the West Indian is selfconfident, happy, fun-loving, clever, ingenious and reasonably ambitious. He knows, and resents, the fact that in some parts of the world he would be an underprivileged person, a second-class citizen. He is confident that he and the resources of his country can contribute enough to Canada’s future to justify a welcome from this country. And some eminent Canadians agree with him.

The two chief Canadian proponents of union at present are both Maritimers: Senator Neil McLean, head of one of Canada’s largest fish-processing firms and chairman of the Senate Committee on Canadian Trade Relations, and Colonel A. J. Brooks, federal MP for Royal, N.B. In recent speeches in the Commons and Senate, McLean and

Brooks have urged action and have made these points:

1. The West Indies should become, both politically and economically, a part of Canada “to round out our northern economy.”

2. Union would be a tremendous shot in the arm for both countries, since Canada needs millions of dollars’ worth of West Indies products such as aluminum ore, oil, asphalt, sugar, rum, molasses, copra, coffee, hardwood, citrus fruit and bananas; and the West Indies in turn need Canadian fish, lumber, manufactured goods and processed farm products.

3. The West Indies would give Canada a vast tropical winter-resort area, thus keeping in the country the millions of dollars Canadians now spend each year on foreign vacations.

4. The West Indies, dissatisfied with colonial status and the restrictions imposed by forced membership in the sterling bloc, will eventually join either the United States or Canada — and Canada should make sure that the choice is this country.

Gregory Power, executive assistant to Premier Joseph Smallwood of Newfoundland, and one of the men who worked hardest for union with Canada, recently visited the West Indies and gave first-hand testimony of the benefits of Canadianism. He recommended that the West Indies work toward becoming a Canadian province.

Although union is being discussed more seriously in Canada than ever before, the proposition still has no official status. Protocol in such an event calls for the “candidate” to make the first move, and the West Indies are now making the first move toward making themselves eligible for union with Canada. This month delegates are meeting in Lon-

don for what will probably be the final decision on federation of the government of the colonies into a unit with a central government, courts, and customs and immigration union.

Many West Indians look upon federation as a necessary preliminary to applying for provincial status. It was pointed out to me repeatedly in the islands that the colonies could not expect to saddle Canada with the job of taking a score of largely or wholly self-governing colonies and welding them into a province. F. Carlyle Noel, a member of the legislature of Grenada, put it this way: “We have been endeavoring for some time to federate with the other islands, with the thought of eventually becoming a province of Canada.”

If and when the West Indies apply for admittance there will probably be a plebiscite in Canada before any final decision is made. No Canadian vote was taken on Newfoundland, but Newfoundland’s people, interests, currency and geography were practically indistinguishable from Canada’s.

Canadian public opinion on the absorbing of the West Indies can scarcely be said to exist at present. But Colonel Brooks, who said he regarded his Commons speech as a sort of trial balloon, received letters from all parts of Canada. They were about evenly divided between “yes” and “no,” largely dependent on where the writer lived. The Maritimes and Quebec were preponderantly in favor; Ontario was about half and half; but farther west the writers were opposed in larger numbers. The two chief objections set forth were that, the move would open Canada to free entry of colored “new Canadians” attracted by tales of high wages, but not adapted to living and working in this country; and that Canadian taxpayers would be burdened by the addition of a “poorhouse population” entitled to all the welfare benefits evolved through Canada’s high standards of production and consumption.

INDIES WOULD OFFER IN RETURN FOR FULL PROVINCIAL STATUS IN CANADA

Some strange breeds of politics

world’s most cosmopolitan nations

Bustling cities; four million more people

A big market for Canadian flour, fish, lumber, manufactured goods

Important Exports to Canada

One irate businessman wrote: “If we accept the West Indies their population would rank equally with all other Canadians for old-age pensions, baby bonuses, unemployment insurance, mothers’ allowance and all other handouts of the ‘welfare state,’ including socialized medicine at some future date. To extend these services to a West Indies population which is rapidly increasing despite an abnormally high death rate would cost a colossal amount in relation to their contribution to the federal government.”

To get a look at the other side of the picture I revisited a dozen British West Indies islands and talked with people in all walks of life—and of even more widely varying color. As a result I estimate that if a vote on union with Canpda were taken tomorrow, something like eighty-five percent of the population would favor amalgamation with Canada.

Not all the islands favor being part of a single “province of Caribbea,” however. Bermuda, for example, feels she is too remote, geographically and economically, to be lumped with the Caribbean islands. And it is true that, with Bermuda included, the new province would span a distance two thousand miles from north to south and two thousand miles from east to west rather larger than the total

area of Canada. Jamaica, too, feels that with an area more than twice that of Prince Edward Island, and with a larger population (1,500,000) than any province except Ontario and Quebec, she deserves consideration as a separate province. Thus Canada may be faced with the formidable proposition of adopting not merely an eleventh province, but a twelfth and thirteenth as well.

The minority of uncompromising “no” votes in a West Indies plebiscite would likely come from two opposite groupssentimentalists and hardheaded businessmen.

The sentimentalists, to whom England is still “home” although they may never have been there, take the attitude that “we can’t let England down when she’s in trouble.” The other group, quite frankly, fears the Canadian standard of living for others. They are the planters and other producers who use low-paid labor to produce export goods for sale cn the high-priced world markets.

Ore of this group told me bluntly: “Rightly or

wrongly, the prosperity of these islands has been built on what Canadians may consider low wages— even though basic pay has trebled in the last fifteen years. If Canada can devise a way to convert our doUar-a-day economy into her own dollar-an-hour economy without bankrupting West Indian employers, then I’m all for it.”

But throughout the islands most legislators seem to be in favor of aligning the colonies with Canada. One of Trinidad’s most ardent supporters of union, Ralph Vignale, a lawyer and legislator, told me: “I have thought for a long time that our salvation

lies with Canada. If we can prove that we can get together among ourselves and I think federation of the colonies will soon take place —then we should approach Canada.”

Richard W. Youngman, a towering EnglishWest Indian who is head of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and a member of the legislature, declared that “the economy of Jamaica is so inevitably linked with that of Canada that I see little hope for the island unless it becomes an integral part of Canada.”

Even W. A. Bustamante, the fiery Jamaican leader whose position is the equivalent of prime minister, said: “Canada and Jamaica should unite. Both countries have everything to gain and nothing to lose.”

A member of the legislature of St. Vincent, F. H. Young, said: “We are considering union seriously, I can tell you. Because of devaluation of the pound we have lost our dollar markets and, as a colony under England, we have no bargaining power of our own.”

In British Honduras, British Guiana, Jamaica and the Bahamas, some spokesmen expressed greater interest in union with Canada than in federation for its own sake.

Assuming the West Indies do apply to Canada for political union, how valid are the objections so far raised in Canada,'concerning a potential wave of indigestible colored folk entering Canada, and a disproportionately large number of indigents becoming eligible for handouts?

In the first place, the West Indies are not exactly poor. In the last year for which full figures are available (1947) the West Indies, with a total population of four millions, had a larger government revenue than any Canadian province except Ontario and Quebec, approximately one hundred millions in Canadian currency. But

what contribution the West Indies would make to Canada's federal treasury is difficult to calculate. Many of the chief sources of federal revenue in Canada, like income tax, excise taxes on liquor and cigarettes and sales tax, are either not levied at all in the West Indies or are considerably lower than in Canada.

Incidentally, the shocked reaction of West Indians to Canadian liquor and cigarette prices due to taxes indicated that they would be extremely unwilling to accept this particular Canadian “way of life.” In Trinidad, to cite a

typical example, there are no excise taxes on cigarettes and an import duty of sixty-five cents a pound on tobacco. As a result, excellent locally manufactured cigarettes sell for one third the current Canadian price. The excise charge on rum is $1.75 per proof gallon, and identical brands which sell in Ontario for $4.50 per bottle, seventy proof, cost ninety cents per bottle, eighty proof, in Trinidad.

“We would,” a Trinidadian told me seriously, “have to receive some mighty big benefits from joining Canada to offset what those incredible liquor and cigarette prices would do to our standard of living. Rightly or wrongly, rum is part of the way of life of the West Indies. We believe we use it intelligently, but we certainly use it in considerable quantities. Frankly, 1 think the poorer classes would riot in protest.”

On the subject of the feared invasion of Canada by West Indians, I asked the owner of a large coconut plantation in Tobago if he thought his laborers would head for Canada if they had the right.

“Not a chance,” he said. “The la-

borer would have to raise about two hundred dollars for his passage, and there’s too much he could do with the money to go investing it in a trip to a cold climate in chase of higher wages. If higher wages were what he really wanted he could make them right here on my plantation.

“1 pay him the equivalent of a dollar a day, Canadian. But that’s for three hours work, what we call a ‘task.’ If he wanted to work a nine-hour day he could make three dollars. Lazy? Not at all. He works hard for me during that three hours, and he works hard in

his own piece of garden when he goes home, maybe for another couple of hours. Then he sleeps, or goes fishing or drops into the rum shop for a few drinks and a gossip.

“The point is that whatever he does with his spare time is something he would rather do than earn money.”

A competent economist or sociologist could probably knock wide holes in the West Indian employer’s appraisal of his workers. The man who is content with low earnings is possibly undernourished, or suffering from a mild chronic parasitical disease like hook-

worm or malaria, or he requires education to enlighten him on the joys of radio, packaged breakfast food, mortgages and other rewards of ambition. Those factors are undoubtedly present to a degree, but I consistently encountered other arguments against the probability of any large-scale exodus from the West Indies to Canada.

One was that the low income of the West Indian laborer is deceptive. By all standards it is lower than in Canada, but then less “capital” is required to live in the West Indies. The hundred dollars or more required to heat a Canadian house in winter must be added to the theoretical income of the West Indian. So must the outlay on cold-weather clothing and the higher rents for the stout houses required in a harsh climate. Food is considerably cheaper, except when imported. All in all, the attractions of Canada are more valid to Canadians than to West Indians.

On the other hand, free entry is considered an absolute must if political union takes place. An editor of one of the largest newspapers in the West Indies told me bluntly: “Any attempt to organize a union on any other lino would be indignantly turned down as an insult.”

There would be West Indians entering Canada, to do business, to go to school—even to work. But the West Indians themselves do not think the number would reach problem proportions, especially if, as expected, Canadian investments in the West Indies result in development of the islands. Given opportunities in their own land the West Indians, especially the colored population, will choose to remain in their accustomed surroundings.

Nor are the West Indies likely to outgrow Canada in population, as one Canadian feared, or to present a serious health problem. The rate of natural increase in the islands is twenty-five per thousand annually, compared with the Canadian figure of eighteen to twenty. The death rate is twelve per thousand, Canada’s nine to ten.

One of the most interesting developments in the early days of union would be the scramble of Canadian political parties to win allegiance of West Indies politicians and voters. The precedent set by Newfoundland was for the new province to elect a local government of the same party as that in power at Ottawa.

But in the West Indies, although there is a fair degree of political awareness, there are no major political parties as in Canada, Britain, or the United States. Usually independent or unattached candidates outnumber named parties. And the latter, in most cases, derive their name and policies from a single leader. The Bustamante Party in Jamaica, and the Butler Party in Trinidad are examples. The Butler Party is led by a lean, bearded, mystical Negro named Uriah Tubal Butler, who promises elimination of all taxes and institution of a pension for all citizens.

Canadian advocates of union are off the track in one important argument the supposition that there is a race in the offing between the United States and Canada for possession of the islands. Canadians become furious when some ignorant Congressman suggests the United States take over this country for Britain’s war debts, and so do West Indians, who have been subjected to proposals of that kind far more often. The truth is, of course, that Britain no more could even if she wanted to “give away” the West Indies than she could dispose of Canada.

It seems extremely unlikely that the West Indies will ever voluntarily join the United States. Before World War II the masses in the West Indies regarded the American way of life as the height of ambition, but the behavior of the large number of U. S. servicemen in the islands under the “bases-fordestroyers” barter deal with Britain modified West Indian thinking.

“We have the greatest respect and admiration for the American people,” says Ralph Vignale, of Trinidad, “but we are accustomed to our own mode of life under the Union Jack and it would be distasteful to the majority of us to be elsewhere.”

The Georgetown, British Guiana, Daily Argosy stated recently: “Since j

local people have had an opportunity ! of judging the United States’ conception of colonial administration, they have learned their lesson and, if anything, more than ever realize and appreciate the privileges which are theirs because of birth and residence under the British flag.”

A Trinidad historian related some of ; the reasons for the American fall from grace: “The U. S. made the mistake of sending down base troops who hailed from the South. Their attitude toward ! ‘colored folk’ was a great shock to people who were pretty high up in government and the professions, but who did not happen to be AngloSaxons.”

A West Indian doctor who attended McGill University adds: “If Canadians take color for granted and don’t make an issue of it they’re the right partners for West Indians.”

Jewels In Their Noses

If union did occur Canada would be brought into continued physical contact with a number of foreign nations for the first time. The new frontiers would touch Mexico and Guatemala, Brazil, Venezuela and Dutch Guiana. Canada would take over, with British j Honduras, a perennial “international incident” with the Central American republic of Guatemala, which has never admitted British ownership of the eighty - eight - hundred - square - mile mainland colony. As recently as 1950 two British cruisers landed marines in British Honduras to guard against a feared invasion. Britain has maintained good relations, however, with the other nations bordering her colonies.

Union would create three new Canadian cities with populations of more than one hundred thousand—Port of Spain, Trinidad; Kingston, Jamaica; and Georgetown, British Guiana.

Architecturally the buildings in the business sections of the three cities mostly belong to the English period in which they happened to be built. The early builders made little concession to tropical climate — what was good enough for the mother country was ! good enough for her loyal colonials, j small windows and all. There are some j modern buildings in the downtown areas, usually government buildings : or department stores. In general, however, merchants, businessmen and professional men prefer to earn their money in makeshift premises and spend it on fine homes. It is in the residential areas that tropical architecture really blossoms—terrazzo tile floors for coolness, glassless windows to admit every breeze, low-eaved roofs to keep out sun and rain, roofed patios for outdoorindoor living.

The most striking differences between the larger West Indian cities and communities of similar size in Canada are:

• The colorful crowds — colorful in complexion and costume. Many Indians wear armfuls of bracelets, and jewels in their pierced nostrils.

• 'File traffic. Imagine the downtown streets of any Canadian city with a few hundred carts drawn by donkeys, mules and horses thrown in among the cars, trucks, buses and streetcars. This primitive transport is still favored for short-haul deliveries from dock to warehouse and from warehouse to retailers.

• The vendors. Downtown Port of Spain, to take a specific example, is a dozen blocks of stores and shops of every description. But for every store there are five or six sidewalk vendors selling at the top of their voices sweepstakes tickets, fruit, ca'kes and soft

drinks, curios, cheap jewelry, taxi rides, haberdashery and green coconuts, to be decapitated by a slash from a murderous-looking cutlass and drained on the spot. Price, four cents.

The West Indies would contribute to partnership with Canada several bonus items which Canadian legislatore probably will not take into account when evaluating the proposition.

A West Indian province would put Canada into the big time in cricket. 1 he Caribbean Eleven is in the same league as England, Australia, India and South Africa, and periodically

engages in those long leisurely series known as Tests which cause so much excitement, in all parts of the commonwealth except Canada. As a matter of fact Canada’s indifference to cricket is one of this country’s few flaws in the eyes of many West Indians. “What,” growled one islander, “would be the point of joining Canada? You don’t play cricket worth a darn up there.” A West Indian province would give Canada a track-and-field team of top Olympic calibre. At the last Olympics Jamaica alone finished higher than Canada, on the strength—or rather the speed of a couple of their runners.

The West Indies possess a distinct music. It may sound a little primitive to northern ears, but is recognized by calypso devotees all over the world as a distinct art form, as genuine as American jazz or the German lieder. The typical calypsonian is both composer, lyricist and vocalist. He is almost always Negro or part Negro, and his theme is usually the major or minor news of the times which happens to catch his fancy or tickle his sense of the ridiculous. Otherwise, as a standard theme, lie boasts of his own love-life.

For sheer abandon, for pagan joy unconfined, for active participation by the entire population, Trinidad’s carnival on the Monday and «Tuesday before each Ash Wednesday probably stands alone. For those two days the island is overrun by masked, painted, grotesquely costumed, singing, drinking, clowning hordes of black, white, yellow and mixed Trinidadians. A Canadian airline official who saw the carnival for the first time last year declared: “ft simply has to be seen to be believed. After I’d looked on for an hour, who do you think I found,

masked and wearing a funny hat and streamers of pink paper, singing and prancing down the street with a band of raving mad total strangers? Why, ME!”

What would union do for Canada in terms of dollars and cents? The first effect, as Senator McLean and Colonel Brooks predict, would be the opening of a vast market for Canadian goods of all kinds. Canada must maintain a high rate of exports to remain prosperous. In the West Indies she has a threehundred-million-dollar market at her doorstep, a market eager for Canadian

food, manufactured goods and building materials. At present Canada gets a little more than eight percent of this market, because the West Indies, a member of the sterling area, is not free to buy from Canada.

This has broken a trading pattern which dates back to sailing-ship days, when rum northbound and salt cod southbound were the chief items of commerce. The influence of this trade persists at both ends: Maritimers to this day drink more rum than any other liquor, and salt cod from the Maritimes and Newfoundland is the favorite staple food of the Caribbean.

In 1949 the first shipment of flour from Australia reached the West Indies —and flour was once virtually a Canadian monopoly. Trinidad alone now buys more than six million dollars’ worth of goods from Australia each year in exchange for one tenth that amount of exports to Australia. On the other hand Canada, Trinidad’s natural supplier, has a six-million-dollar annual trading deficit with the island.

Trinidad is the industrial and mercantile heart of the West Indies. Port of Spain is the designated capital of the proposed West Indies federation, and would undoubtedly be the capital of the eleventh province.

Until Canada’s spectacular oil discoveries, Trinidad was the largest oilproducing country under the British flag. An annual production of twenty million barrels of oil has been maintained with remarkable consistency, and huge new deposits have recently been discovered in the shallow Gulf of Paria which separates the island from the mainland of Venezuela. Trinidad has the largest oil refinery in the empire, and one of the largest oil companies of eastern Canada is a subsidiary of Trinidad’s biggest oil enterprise: Trinidad Leaseholds (Canada) Ltd., which sells Regent gasoline and oil.

Trinidad also has the largest sugar refinery in the empire, and exports 150,000 tons of sugar, 3,000,000 gallons of molasses, and 1,500,000 proof gallons of rum a year.

The streets of the world’s cities are paved with asphalt from Trinidad’s unique pitch lake. This one-hundredand-fourteen-acre pool of solid asphalt is all but inexhaustible. Itistwohundred and eighty-five feet deep and, although more than five million tons of asphalt have been taken out, the surface has dropped only twenty feet.

Canada-West Indies interdependence is already very real in one of this country’s most important industries — aluminum. Canada’s aluminum industry is literally built on West Indian bauxite. The world’s largest bauxite operation, at Mackenzie, British Guiana, feeds the huge aluminum smelters at Arvida, Que., with nearly three million tons a year of the vital red dust. The even larger new plant of the Aluminum Company of Canada at Kitimat, B.C., will soon go into operation on ore from Jamaica, where Alcan has invested forty million dollars in property and plant.

This partnership has social as well as industrial implications. At Mackenzie, sixty-two miles up the Demerara River from the capital, Georgetown, Alcan has built British Guiana’s second largest city, with a population of fifteen thousand, in the heart of a tropical forest. Mackenzie may well be typical of West Indian small cities of the future —tropical, with Canadian features like public and high schools for the thousand children of Alcan employees and a big hospital staffed by Canadian and local doctors. This hospital charges four cents per clinic visit.

Alcan has taken the lead in banishing racial discrimination in company ranks. When it first started to work the nauiite deposits, Alcan, like all other foreign enterprises in the West Indies, built a “white compound” and a “colored section.” Then, from the company’s employee-training program for all the skilled trades, British Guiana workers of exceptional skill started to graduate. Alcan decided that staff status alone should be the residential qualification and assigned houses in the “white compound” to colored personnel. There has been no trouble of any kind.

Following the discovery of bauxite in Jamaica during the last war Alcan bought thirty thousand acres of land, including five thousand acres of bauxite pockets. But the Jamaican bauxite proved to be unsuitable for processing at the Arvida plant and, instead, Alcan launched an agricultural development program, hiring Canadian agricultural scientists to produce strains of beef and dairy cattle adapted to a hot climate.

By crossing purebred Aberdeen Angus and Red Poll cattle with native Jamaican strains, and with purebred Brahman cattle from India, Alcan i built up a herd of four thousand beef cattle with a greatly increased carcass weight. A dairy herd now supplies a large part of the requirements of the caphal, Kingston.

Gold in the Jungles

Alcan’s agriculturists next turned to citrus crops. The orchards were old and unprofitable, since they produced “old-fashioned” oranges and grapefruit containing seeds. Wholesale “top-working”—the grafting of improved stock onto old trees—has resulted in a rebirth of the Jamaica citrus industry in a fraction of the time it would have taken to plant new orchards.

Then, with the development of the huge Kitimat aluminum plant in British Columbia, Jamaican bauxite became important once more. Instead of shipping raw ore to Canada, however, Alcan has built an alumina refinery in Jamaica. This refines the ore, right at the deposit, to a point about halfway between bauxite and aluminum, and saves about half the shipping bulk and cost. In Jamaica, too, Alcan has set up training schools to develop skilled workers among the natives.

“When we took over the Jamaican land,” an Alcan official told me, “some people there protested that a lot of small landowners would be dispossessed and, even if the land was poor, the island could not afford to lose the produce of that land.

“Well, today there are four thousand people on that land, just double the number we found there. And they’re producing double the crops they did before, and are better housed. Oh, yes, (hey found a use for bauxite we had never thought of bauxite is an excellent cement for house-building.”

Canadian private enterprise is already pioneering in the groundwork of West Indian development. Canadian branch banks, for example, dominate the banking business of the West ! Indies, even though most of that business is conducted in sterling. If (he West Indies become Canada’s j eleventh province, Canadians will find many profitable fields for investment and development.

The new Canada would, in fact, be a country with a pioneer hinterland in ils far south as well as its far north. About eighty thousand square miles of British Guiana’s interior is largely unexplored. It is known to contain unestimated quantities of bauxite, hardwood, gold, diamonds, manganese and mica. How much, and where, is something Canadians might be interested in finding out. ic