Barbadian author Sharon Marshall launched her book chronicling the migration of Barbadians and other British West Indians to Cuba at St. George’s Anglican Church Hall in Cayman on Feb. 24.
The book, “Tell Mother I gone to Cuba,” describes how American investment in Cuban sugar plantations gave rise to work opportunities for the migrants, and the turbulent events that led to the West Indians being at the center 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.
“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,” Ms. Marshall said in her remarks. She also made reference to migration to Cuba from the Cayman Islands, and made some comparisons to migration from elsewhere in the British West Indies.
Ms. Marshall presented copies of her recently published book to Juliette Gooding-Michelin, Honorary Consul of Barbados, and Lucille Kong, director of the Learning Resource Centre at the University College of the Cayman Islands.
At the launch, Lemuel Hurlston, chairman of the UCCI Board of Governors and a trustee of St. George’s Church, described the book as being very well researched and well written, and commended it to the audience.
The launch in Cayman 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 program of the Havana International Book Fair on Feb. 10.
Ms. Marshall served for three and a half years as public relations executive with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, and was a member of the St. George’s congregation during that period. She brought the manuscript to publication while resident in the Cayman Islands. Several of her former CIMA colleagues, members of St. George’s, as well as the Barbadian community in the Cayman Islands attended the launch.
“Tell My Mother I Gone to Cuba” is published by the University of the West Indies Press, and is available online from UWI Press, Amazon.com and the distributor, Longleaf Services.