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'Pa's Pension': The Origins of Non-contributory Old-age Pensions in Late Colonial Barbados

Year: 2007
Author: Seekings, Jeremy
Unit: SSU
Journal: The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
Volume: 35
Issue: 4
Pages: 529-547
DOI: 10.1080/03086530701667476
Abstract:

In 1937–38 Barbados introduced old-age pensions for its poor, black population. This radical innovation – the first in a British colony – occurred in Barbados as part of a slow movement towards social (as well as political) reform, driven by a combination of reformist colonial officials and an emergent black political leadership against the opposition of the conservative white planter and merchant elite, in specific social and economic conditions. The proposed reforms predated not only the (Moyne) Royal Commission on the West Indies but also the riots that prompted its appointment. What the riots did was to strengthen the reformist coalition and weaken conservative opposition on Barbados. Old-age pensions were introduced in the face of reluctance in the Colonial Office. Imperial policy reform was not determined solely from London, but was sometimes driven from the colonial periphery.


Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03086530701667476
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