Barbados Honorary Consul in the Cayman Islands, Mrs. Juliette Gooding-Michelin, GCM, hosted a launch of the book Tell My Mother I Gone to Cuba: Stories of Early Twentieth-Century Migration from Barbados.

The author signs a copy of her book for Rector of St. George’s, Barbadian the Rev. Mary Graham

Written by Barbadian author, Dr. Sharon Marshall, it chronicles the migration of Barbadians and other British West Indians to Cuba. It describes how American investment in Cuban sugar plantations gave rise to the work opportunities for the migrants, and the turbulent events that led to the West Indians being at the centre of a diplomatic confrontation between Cuban and British authorities.

Part I of the publication presents the historical context of the migration, while Part II is comprised of oral histories from some of the migrants and their descendants, derived from interviews conducted in Barbados and Cuba.

Dr. Marshall said, “I am so grateful that I was able to conduct interviews with some of these brave, resilient ancestors, and to help them give voice to their stories, in their own words.”

Barbadian Ian Lavine, Detective Inspector with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, brought his daughters to the launch

In her remarks, Dr. Marshall also made reference to migration to Cuba from the Cayman Islands, and made some comparisons to migration from elsewhere in the British West Indies.

At the launch, Mr. Lemuel Hurlston, Chairman of the Board Governors of the University College of the Cayman Islands, described the book as being very well researched and well written, and commended it to the audience.

Dr. Marshall served for three and a half years as Public Relations Executive with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA). She brought the manuscript to publication while resident in the Cayman Islands.

Dr. Marshall presents a copy of her book to Barbados Honorary Consul, Mrs. Juliette Gooding-Michelin

The Cayman launch was part of a regional book tour, since the publication was presented in a panel discussion at Casa de las Américas as part of the programme of the Havana International Book Fair on 10 February.

Tell My Mother I Gone to Cuba is published by the University of the West Indies Press, and is available online from UWI Press, and the distributor, Longleaf Services. In Barbados, it is also available at the UWI bookshop.

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