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|Migration Histories > Caribbean > Settling|
|An Established Community|
Since 1917, Indians have made an invaluable contribution to the economic, social and political and cultural life not only of Trinidad, Guyana, Jamaica, Grenada and St. Vincent, but also of the French, Dutch and the former Spanish Caribbean colonies. Yet even now far too few people outside the Caribbean know of the presence of Indo-Caribbean people either there or indeed in Britain. By the end of 1990, the British Indo-Caribbean population was estimated at between 22,800 to 30,400.
Young Indo-Caribbean women came to Britain to train and work as nurses in the National Health Service, while men found employment in factories, with London Transport, the Post Office, Inland Revenue, the Civil Service and after many years of study, as lawyers, doctors, dentists and university lecturers.
Read Esther Jones' account of arriving in England from Trinidad in 1960.
Many wives followed their husbands, as was the case with Shan Jagdeo who came to England in 1959 from Guyana. Within a few weeks of her arrival, she found a job in a factory and soon became involved in the Trade Union movement as a representative. The experience of life in the multi-racial Caribbean stood her in good stead in her dealings with workers from a wide variety of backgrounds.
Iris Sookdeo, another Guyanese woman, became a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Sussex, at the age of 29, and the Trinidad-born Lakshmi Persad achieved the distinction of being the first Indo-Caribbean woman novelist.
By the 1970s, as a way of making their distinctive identity in Britain known, the Indo-Caribbean Association, a sponsor of sports and cultural events, was formed. Read a press release about an Indo-Caribbean cultural festival in 1986 in London featuring musical performances combining calypso rhythms and Indian instruments.The main event in the Indo-Caribbean communities' social calendar is the Caribbean Times-sponsored Community Awards. The Caribbean Times was originally founded by Guyanese-born publisher, Arif Ali.
For many years now, the Indo-Caribbean Cultural Association has brought together members of this widely dispersed community, through its annual educational, social and cultural activities. Increasingly, the children of these migrants, born and bred in Britain, proclaim through their actions and life-styles a new vision of Britain's future. This outlook has been inspired by those who have preceded them and those still among them, who represent a range of excellence and achievement: in the field of cricket, Sonny Ramadhin and Rohan Kanhai; political activists like Roy Sawh; businessmen, lawyers (notably Rudy Narayan); doctors, academics, politicians and statesmen (Sir Sonny Ramphal, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth); and, of course, distinguished authors including Nobel Prize winner V.S. Naipaul and other pioneering novelists such as Sam Selvon and Shiva Naipaul.
Creators: Dr. Ron Ramdin
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