Dominica: Pressure Groups Material

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Constitutions, pamphlets and appeals issued by the Desmond Trotter Defence Committee and the Dominica Peasant Proprietors' Union, 1938-1976.

Administrative / Biographical History

Dominica passed between French and British hands several times in its colonial history and this, coupled with the early emergence of land-owning ex-slaves meant the island developed along different political lines to the big sugar colonies such as Barbados and Jamaica. By 1961 a Democratic Labour Party government had been elected, and it was this party which led Dominica first to associated statehood in 1967 and then to full independence eleven years later. 1980 saw the election of the Caribbean's first female prime minister, Eugenia Charles (Dominica Freedom Party), and although she had to survive coup attempts during her fifteen-year premiership subsequent peaceful transfers of power appeared to indicate that Dominica's political system was still functioning. The two disparate groups whose materials are held here constitute on the one-hand an old-fashioned organisation representing producers' interests (the Dominica Peasant Proprietors' Union) and on the other a classic pressure group seeking to prevent a miscarraige of justice in the case of Desmond Trotter, a black political activist accused of the murder of an American tourist. This latter group produced materials both in Dominica and in London in their successful efforts to overturn the death sentence passed on Trotter.

Arrangement

Alphabetically by group, and then in rough chronological order.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to all for research purposes; access is free for anyone in higher education.

Acquisition Information

Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Other Finding Aids

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT)

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Daniel Millum, Political Archives Project Officer at the Institutes of Commonwealth and Latin American Studies.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Custodial History

The Commonwealth Political Parties Materials collection was begun in 1960-61, with special emphasis being placed then, as now, on "primary material such as party constitutions, policy statements, convention reports and election manifestos." (ICS, Twelfth Annual Report 1960-1961). Since then, the main method of gathering material has been to appeal directly to political parties throughout the Commonwealth, though contributions from Institute members and staff following visits to relevant countries have been significant.

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also Dominica: Trades Unions Material (TU.DQ), and Dominica: Political Parties Material (PP.DQ), as well as Political Party, Trades Unions and Pressure Group Materials for other Commonwealth countries and related material in the library's main classified sequence, all held at the ICS.