emigration, British Guiana, workers


The piece had originally appeared in the Demerara Daily Argosy in neighboring British Guiana, and was contributed by a writer who signed himself simply as "Clarence" ("Immigration"9). Under the subheading "UNJUST TO IMMIGRANTS" Clarence argues that abolishing the system of indentured labor, which brought a recorded 141,615 immigrant workers from India to Trinidad between 1845 and 1917 (Weller 151-3), would be "an act of veiled cruelty to the immigrants themselves" ("Immigration 9). He credits the system with keeping immigrants under skilled care and supervision until they ha[ve] learned how to live under the new conditions" of life in the West Indies. To bolster this argument he refers to an unspecified former time when a freer system was tried, with the result that "large numbers of the immigrants wandered hither and thither at the dictates of sudden whims: and when the ordinary ailments of the country overtook them, they lay down to die by the roadside in the well known fatalistic spirit of their race." In all probability, Clarence is referring to the brief period preceding 1846, in which workers were not legally bound to their estates. In Trinidad, for instance, the first ship bringing Indian immigrants was the Fatel Rozack, which arrived from Calcutta with 225 immigrants in 1845.

Original Publication Citation

Eastley, Aaron. “Naipaul’s Children: Representations of Humor and Ruin in Miguel Street.” Journal of Caribbean Literatures 5.2 (2008): 47-59. Print.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Caribbean Literatures







University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor