Land Reform in Small Island Developing States: A Case Study on St. Vincent, West Indies 1890-2000

By Karl John

ISBN 1-58939-816-5 (softcover)

322 Pages



In recent times, the spotlight of international media attention has often focused on problems which have their roots in the inequitable distribution of agricultural land - still a characteristic of many developing countries. For example, media coverage of the social unrest that has beset Zimbabwe since the closing years of the twentieth century has been relentless. Large plantations still exist in the Caribbean - a legacy of the erstwhile economic importance of sugar to the region. However, on several islands, the traditionally highly skewed pattern of land distribution has been successfully reformed - in most cases without recourse to violence and confiscation in a revolutionary context. In St. Vincent, the demise of the plantation and the emergence of an independent peasantry are attributable, to a significant degree, to public policy formulated and implemented over a period of one hundred years. Karl John's study chronicles the historical course of these official interventions aimed at reforming the land tenure structure in this small island developing state. The work pays particular attention to the motives for the policies and strategies adopted for land reform, critically evaluates the planning and implementation of related programs and projects, and assesses the role of prevailing economic, social and political forces in both limiting and enabling their success.

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