Demystifying Caribbean Civil Society

Guest Editor’s Note

by Kristina Hinds and Annita Montoute

Pages 1-8

Beyond The Hashtag: Can Digital Activism Impact On Governance in The Caribbean? (The Case of #Lifeinleggings)

by Sandra Ochieng’-Springer and Jason Francis

Pages 9-34


Cyberspace is seen as presenting a vast landscape of imagined potential for social and political transformation. It has allowed for the creation of platforms for individuals and groups to organise for different causes. In the Caribbean, new organisations such as #Lifeinleggings, which started in an online space, attest to this reality. They have been able to organise around shared goals and can be considered positive proponents of the helpful impact of Information and Communication Technologies on social activism. The degree to which they have highlighted their cause and the reach which social media has allowed them beyond national boundaries and into regional and international spaces cannot be denied. However, the extent to which this has translated into meaningful impact on policy is questionable. This is compounded by the lack of participatory channels of governance prevalent in the region. This paper seeks to analyse the impact of digital activism as a catalyst for change beyond the online space.

Key Words: civil society, ICTs, digital activism, participatory governance #Lifeinleggings

Exploring Caribbean CSOs Web Presences

by Louise Alison Armstrong and Kristina Hinds

Pages 35-53


The internet and related social media have altered the ways in which many social interactions occur. Caribbean Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have not been immune from these changes, yet little attention has been paid to how these tools have affected their work. This article probes the ways Caribbean CSOs have used the internet and social media to move elements of their work online. The paper provides what we call a “mapping” of the online presences of CSOs that we could find listed online from select Eastern Caribbean states (Barbados, Dominica, Grenada and Saint Lucia). The mapping illustrates the incompleteness of internet listings and of CSOs’ online presences in representing the CSO landscape across the region. The paper also contends that, even while online presences offer possibilities for CSOs, CSOs’ abilities to maintain web presences are fraught with contradictions.

Key Words: Caribbean, civil society organisations, information and communication technologies, internet, small island developing states, social media

Towards a Framework for Caribbean Reparations

by Chevy R. J. Eugene

Pages 54-77


In this paper, I examine the Caribbean reparations movement using an intersectional framework that is located within the Black radical tradition. In order to engage civil society in the discourse of reparations, I argue for the movement to have a strong youth-led component. In addition, I use Frantz Fanon’s notion of “new humanism,” Sylvia Wynter’s concept of the “Third Event” and Walter Rodney’s “groundings” pedagogy as entry points for the Black radical imagination to develop and implement its own ideologies of liberation through a collective struggle towards Caribbean reparations. As such, the paper explores philosophies of Rastafari livity and traces how the social movement influenced the “consciousness shift” in individuals across working and middle classes in Jamaica in the 1960s to 1970s. The paper argues that Rastafari philosophies embody Fanon and Wynter’s notions of the human in thinking through Caribbean reparations.

Key Words: Caribbean reparations; groundings; Rastafari; creative arts; youth mobilisation; New humanism

Civil Society Responses to Trade Liberalisation: The Case of the Banana Industry in St. Lucia

by Annita Montoute

Pages 78-114


St. Lucia’s small banana farmers’ livelihoods were destroyed when the United States (US) and Latin American countries challenged the European Union’s preferential arrangements for Windward Islands’ bananas in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in the 1990s. Despite the adverse impact on farmers’ livelihoods, there was no progressive action aimed at global actors and structures. Instead, resistance via farmer protest group, the Banana Salvation Committee (BSC), targeted local actors. The paper argues that this approach placed the responsibility on the state to adjust to the dictates of neo-liberal globalising forces and hindered the agency of both the state and civil society to contest the unjust nature of neo-liberal globalisation and pursue alternatives to the prevailing model. The paper concludes that the Caribbean academy needs to play a key role in this regard.

Key Words: Caribbean Civil Society; Banana Salvation Committee; trade liberalisation; St. Lucia; banana industry; World Trade Organisation