NEW WORLD GROUP REPORTS

The four meetings held on the campus were, as I have suggested, limited in their value in this respect. The lecture series on Sugar brought to the public material which may have been new to non-University people, but little which was new to members of the Group. This was due to the way in which the Group chose to structure its activities for the year. The progress made towards “popularisation” however, has in many ways exposed our profound ignorance of the parish and the region, and the need for further self-education. We need for example, to understand much more about the various social groups in the society, their preoccupations, their perceptions, their capacity for initiating change. We need to define the nature of the problem and of possible solutions in such fields as language, popular education, mental health, and man-woman relationships.

During the year, the Group held a total of eleven business meetings with an average attendance of fourteen members. The experience, in my view, justifies the practice of having all decisions taken by full meetings of the Group, rather than by an executive. It is true that meetings were long, repetitive and to some, tedious. But this only reflected the extent to which we had to talk before establishing some communication and understanding between ourselves. On the whole, the Chair tended to be very permissive on the grounds that it was important not only to come to decisions, but also for every member to feel that he participated in them. I also felt that it is better for us to develop the habit of disciplining ourselves rather than to have discipline imposed from the Chair.     

During the year, too, the Jamaica Group continued to bear the burden of the production and distribution of New World Quarterly. That we were able to do so, in addition to carrying on other activities, is an achievement which was due in large part to the dedication of two members, George Beckford Managing Editor and Jo Parchment in Circulation. There remains, of course, the need- to put the Quarterly on a viable footing instead of limping from financial crisis to financial crisis with each issue. The advertising drive promised tor the New Year never got off the ground. The dance held on Easter Monday, however, which involved virtually all the members of the Group and realised over £100, is a good example of what is possible and would bear regular repetition. I also think that we should follow up the idea of developing a group of persons, both within and without the New World, who will support the quarterly by regular financial donation. I am convinced myself that this could go a long way towards financing the magazine.

The above represents my own assessment of the achievements and limitations of the Group’s activity over the past year. For the coming year, the tasks are substantial. We have to take decisions soon on the questions of establishment of a Publishing House and the acquisition of a printing press – both major operations which, if we go through them, will make major demands on our organizational and financial resources. We have to devise a programme which will give the members of the Group challenging work to do in the way of informing and educating ourselves about the parish, the region and the world. We have to set up machinery to institutionalise our response to issues and to create issues in the form of public meetings, “Teach-Ins” and pamphlets.

And we have to continue to play our part in the production of the New World Quarterly. To do these is the responsibility of this Annual General Meeting and succeeding business meetings.