The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 43, Issue 1

Article 5
“A betrayal of the cause of colonial people the world over”: The British Caribbean against Cheddi Jagan

Robert Anthony Waters, Jr


Most accounts of British Guiana’s troubled path to independence focus on US overreaction to Premier Cheddi Jagan’s Marxism and Great Britain’s reluctant acquiescence. Overlooked or mischaracterized is the role played by the leaders of the British Caribbean. From 1953–64, Alexander Bustamante, Norman Manley, Albert Gomes, Eric Williams, Grantley Adams and Errol Barrow opposed Jagan, at times vehemently, attacking him as a Communist or fellow traveller, an opponent of the West Indies Federation, a dangerous incompetent, and a racially divisive figure who could cause British Guiana’s violence to spread to Trinidad and Tobago. This article restores these actors to the narrative.