The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 41, Issue 1 and 2

Article 4
Catholic Schools and the Education Department of the University College of the West Indies

J.M. Feheney


In the early years of the University College of the West Indies (UCWI) some Catholic leaders in the Caribbean received the impression that this institution was unsympathetic, if not hostile, to the Catholic faith. A conference that the UCWI organized in Jamaica in 1955 between itself and the Caribbean Association of Headmasters and Headmistresses provided a focus for the expression of these Catholic fears. A draft memorandum was prepared in Trinidad, with the active encouragement of Archbishop Finbar Ryan, for submission to the UCWI expressing Catholic unease. However, Catholic bishops in the Caribbean could not agree on this strategy and the draft memorandum was withdrawn in March 1955, a short time before the conference was due to begin. This article explores the background to the drafting and circulation of the memorandum, and its eventual withdrawal.