West India Committee
The West India Committee is a British-based organisation promoting ties and trade with the British Caribbean. It operates as a charity and NGO (non-governmental organisation). It evolved out of a lobbying group formed in 1780 to represent the interests of the plantocracy.
Historically, the principal commodities of the region were cane sugar, rum, mahogany, other softwood, spices and tropical produce, early on largely confined to types which would last a long transatlantic voyage such as coffee, nuts and desiccated coconut but later expanded to include tropical fruits in general.
London Society of West India Planters and Merchants
The London Society of West India Planters and Merchants was established to represent the views of the British West Indian plantocracy. The organisation played a major role in resisting the abolition of the slave trade and that of slavery itself.
The Society was formed in 1780, and brought together three different groups: British sugar merchants, absentee plantation owners and colonial agents. (See Sugar plantations in the Caribbean.) The society started with a predominantly Jamaican leadership, but as emancipation approached, by the 1830s the leadership came to include a broader ranger of planter interests from across the British Caribbean.
The society evolved into the West India Committee.
West India Committee
In 1904, the committee received a (royal) charter of incorporation at the initiative of the British government. It later acquired charitable status and established two subsidiary bodies:
Among its records are for example eight collections of Caribbean and English newspapers 1761–1846, reports of the Acting Committee to the Half-Yearly Meeting of the Standing Committee of West India Planters and Merchants, 1878–1883 and albums of photographs and press cuttings on the 1907 Kingston earthquake in Jamaica, a country that was a major subject of its promotion work.
The modern organisation
The West India Committee exists to promote and support agriculture, manufacturing, and trade in the West Indies, Guyana and Belize, "to increase the general welfare of the people of those territories and their global diaspora through education, training, acting as an advocate, adviser and where necessary, as an umbrella organisation". It seeks to bring Caribbean businesses to the attention of the world's major markets.
From at least 1915–1929 its Secretary was Sir Algernon Edward Aspinall, who, in the name of his committee, published geographical guides to Guyana and the British Caribbean, such as a 1907 Stanford's Guide: Pocket Guide to the West Indies and The Handbook of the British West Indies, British Guiana and British Honduras (1929).
- Butler, Kathleen Mary (1995). The Economics of Emancipation: Jamaica & Barbados, 1823-1843. Chapel Hill: UNC Press Books. p. 8.
- Ryden D. (2015) The Society of West India Planters and Merchants in the Age of Emancipation, c.1816-35, Economic History Society Annual Conference, University of Wolverhampton, accessed 5 January 2016
- Hall, Douglas (1971). A Brief History of the West India Committee. Caribbean University Press. ISBN 0854740007.
- West India Committee: Official Archives, 1899–1998
- "Charity number 258545". Charity Commission.
- "West India Committee renews focus on Jamaica". Jamaica Gleaner. 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
- "Welcome to". West India Committee. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
- "West India Committee: Acquired Papers, 1750–1988".
- "The West India Committee Mission". West India Committee. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
- "Cluff in Anguilla for opening of maternity ward at hospital". Daily Herald. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
- "Obituary: Sir Eliot De Pass – The West India Committee". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 12 July 1937. p. 14.