“Fighting for the Rock at Home and Abroad”

“Fighting for the Rock at Home and Abroad”: Barbuda Voice Newspaper as a Transnational Space

Amy E. Potter
Department of History
Armstrong State University

ABSTRACT: One of the basic tenets of transnational-migration scholarship centers on therole of rapid communication in facilitating greater connections between migrants to their home communities. Utilizing the concept of transnational space, I will illustrate through a case study how islanders from Barbuda maintained complex connections to home, particularly in terms of their unique land tenure, through a monthly transnational newspaper edited by a New York Barbudan Russell John. Employing a careful analysis of the first five years of its publication, my study will provide alternative understandings of the ways in which Barbudans historically maintained quite intricate connections to home through slower forms of communication. This study sheds light on communication prior to the ready availability of the telephone on the island. Concentrating on a single newspaper published in the New York City, I show how it facilitated involvement from Barbuda’s transnational population to the island home, creating a powerful transnational space of connection.

Keywords: Caribbean, Transnational Migration, Newspapers, Common Property, and Communication

The people who first built a path between two places performed one of the greatest human achievements.…The bridge symbolizes the extension of our volitional sphere over space.1

The story of Barbuda Voice begins with a son who sought to fulfill the aspirations of his father.2 His father loved his homeland of Barbuda and held fast to a dream—a dream that one day his people would be united through the pages of a newspaper.3 The son, Russell John, born in America in 1927 on 145th Street in New York City, had the means to make his father’s dream a reality. In the fall of 1969, serving as editor-in-chief, John birthed a monthly newspaper that would finally run its course twenty years later in 1990.

Russell John and his newspaper Barbuda Voice served to bridge the people of Barbuda together in a way that was unprecedented in the island’s history. The Voice is both a story about one man’s labor of love on behalf of his father’s homeland and a powerful example of the ways immigrants’ maintained connections to home in very complex ways prior to the onset of rapid communication technologies.

Researchers in the early 1990s attribute the onsetof rapid transportation and communication as one of the basic tenets of transnational-migration scholarship in facilitating greater connections between migrants to their home communities.4 Building on this scholarship, this case study will provide a historical look at how one Caribbean island, Barbuda, maintained complex connections to its transnational communities through a monthly newspaper.5 Barbuda Voice newspaper is a powerful example of communication predating ICTs (information and communication technologies) that facilitated connection among Barbudans to their homeland through news stories, editorials, language pieces, fundraisers, conventions, and petitions. Through its monthly pages, The Voice (re)inscribed Barbudan identity and served as a central advocate and forum to preserve the communal land tenure on the island. The role overseas Barbudans played in preserving the communal land tenure—particularly lively discussions over land in the pages of The Voice—is an overlooked theme particularly in the discussion of Barbuda’s “triumph of the commons,” yet The Voice documents their involvement, initiative, and concern month after month.6

The analysis begins with a brief overview of literature on transnational migration, communication, and other diasporic newspapers; then includes a brief history of the island, its common property, transnational population, and the formation of the newspaper. The emphasis then shifts to the primary focus of the piece, a case study highlighting how the newspaper facilitated complex connections among Barbudans both on and off the island prior to the widespread adoption of the telephone to protect the island’s communal land tenure. The analysis concludes with a discussion of The Voice as a transnational newspaper space.

Paradigm shift: Transnational migration

The early 1990s witnessed a paradigm shift when scholars of migration began to notice something new as a result of the increased global penetration of capital and processes of globalization.7 Before then, the term immigrant had evoked images of permanent resettlement; an abandonment of the former way of life, often involving a long and grueling process of learning a new language in order to assimilate to a new country.8 The word migrant, on the other hand was usually used to describe someone who was engaged in short-term work where the stay was temporary.9 When scholars encountered a process that did not quite capture either of these categories—they called the process transnationalism and the people involved transnational migrants (or transmigrants). Transmigrants’ lives are often said to transcend the confines of the sovereign state, as they are able to maintain familial, economic, social, organizational, religious, and political relationships across international borders.10

In order to sustain these complex relationships across international borders, transnational migration scholars argued technological advances within transportation and communication facilitated greater transnational interaction. Alejandro Portes and others write, “Transnational enterprises did not proliferate among earlier immigrants because the technological conditions of the time did not make communications across national borders rapid or easy....Communications were slow and, thus, many of the transnational enterprises described in today’s literature could not have developed.”11 Emphasizing rapid communication, scholars have turned their attention toward these connections.

Scholarly work examining the intersection between transnational migration and communication focused primarily on the role of changing technologies in facilitating connections between transnational migrants and persons at home, particularly mobile phones, phone cards, and the Internet.12 These technologies “allow families to connect virtually in lieu of geographic proximity” and include video chat, international phone cards, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Skype.13 Scholars have noted especially how these technologies annihilate space by time.14

The theoretical underpinnings of transnational migration suggest innovative communication technologies have enabled the increased interaction between transnational migrants to their place of origin—particularly with a focus on the family unit. The rapid widespread adoption of the cellphone and other ICTs among migrants “has overcome access barriers to other technologies and media including radio, television, newspapers, and traditional phone landlines.”15

While certainly there is reason to celebrate the connecting capabilities of these new technologies, we must be careful not to overlook the intricate connections maintained in the past, as well as consider the uneven spread of these technologies. Sidney Mintz, for example, in the context of the Caribbean writes, “By examining the history of migration in the 19th century, the author finds grounds for contending that the view of transnationalism as a qualitatively different phenomenon is exaggerated.”16 Those conducting fieldwork in the Caribbean, particularly in Antigua and Barbuda, will most certainly observe the importance of the print newspaper. For example, The Daily Observer arrives in Barbuda via the morning flight from Antigua.

Discussion of newspapers in the transnational literature has often centered on the difficulties of homeland newspapers reaching the diasporic community. For example, Jean-Yves Hamel focused on the limited reach of newspapers in the homeland of Timor-Leste and how the Internet provided unparalleled access to the diaspora.17 Unlike Hamel’s attention to the island of Timor-Leste, this study joins a body of literature that centers on the role of newspapers originating in the diasporic community.

In the examination of Arabic publications in America that appeared at the turn of the twentieth century, Alixa Naff estimates that between 1892 and 1907, twenty-one Arabic dailies, weeklies, and monthlies were published in New York City, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Lawrence, Massachusetts.18 The editors generally had no prior journalistic experience; newspapers did not exceed eight pages, and they boasted significant advertising for Syrian businesses. According to Naff, “The editors reported events in the homeland, social news of Syrians in America, immigrant success stories, feature items and literary works.”19 Many of these newspapers had their start because of the political motivations of their editors and written contributions from immigrants were quite commonplace. For many Syrian immigrants, newspapers “kept the homeland alive in their minds and stirred their emotions.”20 Similar to Syrian newspapers, accounts of the Caribbean press in the United States note how newspapers like Carib News created role models, shaped identities, and identified common experiences of West Indians living in the United States, while also satisfying news concerning newly emerging independent nations.21

In a study of Chinese transnational newspapers in the San Gabriel Valley, Joe Chung Fong found that many of the Chinese community newspapers in Los Angeles were free of charge, challenging assertions of access. He writes, “One cannot cast away the significant role the regional Chinese papers have played in the Los Angeles County. American born-Chinese [sic] still subscribe to Asian Week by mail.…They have contributed to the diverse voices of the Chinese migrant community.”22 More recently, Alan Patrick Marcus briefly considered the cultural consumption of Brazilian immigrants in the United States in the form of Portuguese language Brazilian newspapers that focus mostly on immigration public policies.23

Building on these scholarly endeavors, this study seeks to explore rich themes of place- making, identity, and connectivity through a case study of the Barbuda Voice.24 This case study calls into question issues of access and contends that transnational migration scholarship, as some have already noted, give more credence to the agency and creativity—in essence the transnational spaces—that immigrants historically utilized to maintain connections to home.25


This article draws almost exclusively from the first five years of publication of the newspaper (1969-1974); however, when appropriate, I contextualize the discussion within a larger framework of the twenty-year tenure of the newspaper. The in-depth analysis of the first five years was done because the newspaper was in its infancy, developing its identity as well as covering important issues concerning land development and associated statehood status. Most importantly, however, the early years of the newspaper illustrate connectivity prior to a reliance on and ready availability of the telephone on the island.

To understand the broader themes that emerged from these early years, I coded the content, drawing out emergent themes, to further elucidate the intricate relationship between Barbudans living abroad and the island as revealed on the pages of Barbuda Voice.26 Examples provided within this piece are representative of the themes present within those early years. While the memories of Barbudans may have faded or even altered over the years, the archive of Barbuda Voice reveals how this newspaper connected Barbudans both on and off the island.27 While the majority of this article is based on the newspaper content itself, I also conducted semi- structured interviews in New York City with the newspaper’s editor Russell John and his wife Peggy, in addition to semi-structured interviews with Barbudans in the United States and on the island who recalled memories of reading the newspaper.28

Historical background

The island of Barbuda in the Lesser Antilles developed and retains a distinct communal land tenure that is largely different from the private property and family lands of other Caribbean islands. This tenure evolved over time in part because of a unique history of failed efforts in large-scale plantation-based agriculture during a nearly two-hundred-year history (1680-1870) as a leased entity of the Codrington family of England. This family instead directed the enslaved population to graze livestock, fish, and raise provisions for the Codrington sugar plantations on Antigua, developing a complex herding ecology that complemented agriculture and Barbuda’s environmental constraints during drought years.29 It was under the Codrington-lessee family that enslaved and eventually free people began to regard the island as their own. They insisted before and after slavery on the use of provision grounds scattered throughout the island. This sense of possession prompted one overseer to write to the Codrington family out of frustration in 1823, “They acknowledge no Master, and believe the Island belongs to themselves.”30 Livelihoods before and after emancipation in 1834 consisted of shifting cultivation, livestock grazing, fishing, hunting, and poaching, and in times of abundance, excess provisions were sold in Antigua.31

Several short-lived leases followed after the Codringtons surrendered their lease in the 1870s. Eventually, in 1898, the colonial office took control of the island. Six years later, a 1904 ordinance provided additional support for individual house sites and defined Barbudans status as tenants of the British Crown. From 1899 to 1967, Barbuda as a Crown Colony was largely a backwater in the empire, and the islanders were left largely to fend for themselves.

Historically, Barbudans maintained a communal land ownership that had until the last few decades included subsistence agriculture and open-range livestock as its primary use.32 However, bouts of difficulty obtaining wage-labor from the commons propelled a steady stream of migration. Much like other parts of the Caribbean, Barbuda has a complex migration history that mirrors thelarger British West Indies, a regional migration to other Caribbean islands beginning after emancipation in 1834 and then an expansion to the US, UK, and Canada after World War II.33

In the twentieth century, the Barbudan overseas diaspora resided largely within the North Atlantic world and Caribbean.34 World War II was the primary pull factor for migration as countries sought to replace their overseas workforce. Barbudans seeking education and skilled work in the UK settled in the Midlands, particularly Leicester. One Barbudan woman recalled in 2009:

It was a time after the Second World War ended…England started to talk about they need workers, they need people to help them develop their country because England was badly damaged during the 1939-45 war. And I thought, oh maybe this would be a good opportunity for me to go and do something else, if not do something else, develop just my education.35

Though my research came across at least one Barbudan whose family had resided in North America before World War I, it was not until the 1960s that the US and Canada really began to ease migration restrictions. Those that arrived on a more permanent basis settled in large cities such as New York and Toronto.

In addition to these cities, there were regional centers such as neighboring Antigua and the US and British Virgin Islands where Barbudans settled. Tourism created a boom in migration, particularly to the U.S.V.I where there was a proliferation of jobs in construction, domestic work, and taxi transportation. In St. Croix, for example, the Hess Oil Refinery served as a major employer.36

Traditionally, a Barbudan by definition included those born on island and abroad, with both having access to communal lands.37 When Barbuda joined Antigua in Associated Statehood in 1967 and Antigua sought to use this new relationship to develop Barbuda’s communal lands, Barbudans living abroad tooknotice.38 Barbuda Voice preserved their opposition and discussions during this time. Beginning in 1967 and accelerating with independence in 1981, the national government attempted to assert control over Barbuda, converting what it viewed as public lands into private property or long-term leases. Antigua insisted, especially after 1981, that the new central government now controlled these former Crown lands.

Another approach to controlling Barbudan land by Antiguan officials involved unilateral deals with foreign developers, such as the proposed 1969-70 sale by the Antiguan government of a quarter of Barbuda to a foreign resort developer, also opposed by Barbudans (to be discussed in greater detail later). Barbudans both on island and off generally resisted such attempts to end the communal land tenure even though the land uses that had once mutually supported it, mainly open-range herding but also shifting cultivation and charcoal burning, were in decline. 39

The tumultuous relationship between Antigua and Barbuda as well as the corruption of the Antiguan government at the time played out in other ways.40 The Antiguan government often tried to suppress dissenting opinion as evidenced by its treatment of Tim Hector, editor of Antiguan newspaper The Outlet founded in 1968 under the Afro-Caribbean Liberation Movement.41 Hector’s newspaper was often a thorn in the side of the longstanding V.C. Bird government, the first premier and prime minister of Antigua. In editorials, Hector would criticize the government and point out quirky-development schemes that could affect Barbuda. For example in an editorial written in 1981 entitled “A Solution” he writes,

Barbuda has a unique, and indeed admirable Land Tenure System in operation for 121 years at least….To say that Antiguans must have a Right to purchase land in Barbuda may sound reasonable on Lester Bird’s glib tongue. But in reality, two, just two Real Estate Sharks in Antigua would control thebest land in Barbuda by arrangement, above or beneath the table.42

Hector often spoke to the concern expressed by many Barbudans in the past that privatization would limit the affordability of living on island, as it has done with many other Caribbean islands whose economies were heavily dependent upon tourism.

Both the George Walter and the V.C.-Bird governments enacted a number of legal measures aimed at the press, particularly to silence Hector’s outspoken newspaper.43 The government arrested and jailed Hector a number of times due to his criticisms, seized copies of his newspaper, and raided his newspaper office.44 During this time, Barbudans sought out their own communication space that would express Barbudan points of view in orderto protecttheir land from the Antiguan government. They found this space through The Voice.

Communication technology can be quite empowering for minority groups often providing a “mediated space in which they can produce their own material and where they have been previously marginalized in mainstream media forms…where people can throw off structural constraints and create new configurations of community on the basis of chosen identities.”45 It is in the context of an oppressive political climate that Barbuda Voice, throwing off the constraints of the Antiguan government (censorship, exposing corruption), came into existence to create an outlet outside of Antiguan control in order to produce material written by the minority Barbudans on behalf of the islanders’ welfare.46 Notably, the newspaper was not based in Barbuda where it could have faced greater scrutiny from Antiguan leadership; rather it emerged out of the epicenter of US-Barbudan migration at the time—The Bronx.

The connection between migration and Barbuda’s commons has often narrowly focused on a relationship of “population resource balance.”47 Lowenthal and Clarke emphasize that young Barbudans migrating toNew York and Leicester keptpopulation growth in check, subsequently protecting the island’s resources, leading to a triumph rather than a tragedy of the Barbudan commons. This paper will build on this idea but ultimately use The Voice to illustrate that not only did Barbudan emigration protect the commons, moreover Barbudans abroad were actively engaged in discussions of the commons and ultimately its preservation. This case study will highlight Barbudan concern over the future of the communal tenure as well as Barbudan access to resources—particularly the land prior to formal independence in 1981. Barbudan descendant Russell John, alongside the Barbudans United Descendants (BUD Society) founded the newspaper during this tenuous time in the island’s communal land history.

Russell John and The Voice

Russell John’s parents migrated to New York from Barbuda in the early part of the twentieth century where his father, Newland R. John, worked as a carpenter and caulker of boats. John recalled as a child overhearing his parents recount stories of Barbuda with their friends in NewYork: “Barbuda was common talk among their friends because all their friends came from Barbuda and they sat around the table and talked. My big ears picked up everything they said.”48

John created the paper to honor a request from his father, who “wanted to see a newspaper to bring the people together.”49 The major purpose of the Barbuda Voice was to connect Barbudans living all over the world to the events and happenings both on and off the island. An interview with Russell John provided a historical perspective on the involvement of Barbudans prior to the publication of The Voice. He recalled in 2009 that before the newspaper Barbudans would write only letters to their relatives: “That’s one of the reasons the Barbuda Voice was there to bring it all together, to contact those people and put it all together into one paper.”50 John knew that Barbudans were spread everywhere: England, the West Indies, America, and Canada. He saw the newspaper as a “common thread among them,” a way to see if he “could tie all those loose ends together.”51 For two decades this monthly newspaper served to update Barbudans about island happenings. While this piece will focus primarily on the issue of land tenure, The Voice also facilitated and highlighted a number of political, philanthropic, social, and linguistic connections on its pages.

When the newspaper was first published in 1969, the telephone was not a viable communication option so the newspaper was one of the only ways to stay “abreast as to what was going on.”52 The first telephone call was placed from Barbuda to New York City on July 10, 1970, not quite a year after the first issue of the newspaper went to press. In 1970, there were only two telephones on the island and they were both in the station house, and only one was available for public use. This made placing or receiving a phone call an involved process. As one Barbudan recalled:

The police station you had to go in there.…And then the dreaded phone call at seven or six in the morning because you know that’s the only time someone has access. There were never too many of those calls that’s for sure. A lot of letters. We were much closer then.53

The production of a monthly newspaper was rather time consuming. Peggy John, who worked alongside her husband, said in 2007, “He [Russell John] did a lot of the work, all the typing we did right here at home in our kitchen. We sent out to the printers and mailed them to different people that subscribed at the time.”54 To gather news, John made frequent trips throughout the year to Barbuda. As a result of his dedication, the newspaper circulated the Atlantic including the greater Caribbean region, particularly Barbuda, Antigua, the Virgin Islands, as well as the United States, Canada, and England. The Johns never collected a salary but rather they “did it as a labor of love.”

Newspaper content

The monthly newspaper Barbuda Voice was short in length, averaging ten to twelve pages that would feature island news, various announcements (weddings, deaths, graduations) from the Barbudan diasporic community, advertisements particularly for Barbudan businesses in New York City, editorials, letters to the editor, opinion pieces, poetry, world news, interior-design pieces for the soul and the home, and writing by Barbudan religious leaders.55 Letters to the editor originated from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and various islands in the Caribbean including Barbuda. Subscribers paid four dollars for a yearly subscription. Scholars of ICTs often note disparities in access to established communications such as radio, television, newspapers, and landlines. For those who did not have a newspaper subscription, it circulated readily among family and friends.

Barbuda Voice 1969-1974: Excitement and challenges

Barbudans were quite vocal to express praise for the newspaper project and what they believed to be its purpose to raise awareness for Barbudans abroad so that they might understand the issues presently facing the island. Alvord Harris wrote from New York City, “We believe this paper will do more for Barbudans in the future than anything else that has been tried.”56 Some Barbudans viewed the paper as a powerful tool that could be used to influence decision makers: “I think we as Barbudans, if we have any Brains at all, we will keep this paper going with our grievances, because this paper, whether you know it or not, goes into the hands of some very important people and people that can help us with our problems.”57 Reverend Pat Thomas wrote from Cincinnati, “It does appear from the many articles written in the Barbuda Voice, that Barbudans on foreign soil and some at home are now realizing the plight of our beautiful country.”58 Toward the end of the first year of publication, the editorial staff wrote, “We hope that through our efforts we have gotten to know each other a little better.”59

Barbudans were not passive readers of the newspaper either. One New York Barbudan in August of 1971 called for a physical checkup of the newspaper lest it succumb to “editorial vacuum,” saying, “The Editor should not ignore it and perhaps he ought to take the paper in for a checkup. Perhaps he ought to find out what the readers think.”60 The Barbuda Brotherhood Social Club reprimanded The Voice in 1971 when it printed a report by Barbudan Senator Teague suggesting unemployment in Barbuda had decreased when conflicting reports from islanders indicated that it in fact had not.61 One response from the Barbuda Brotherhood Social Club stated, “As Barbudans living abroad, we are very concerned with what is going on at home—or may-be we should say with what is not going on at home. So we look forward with great anticipation for each issue of the Barbuda Voice, our only source of information.”62

In an interview in 2010, former Barbudan politician Francilla Francis echoed this sentiment stating Barbuda Voice served an important function in dispelling rumors circulating off the island: “It was really good and helpful for us, the Barbudan community abroad, giving us firsthand info on what happened at home. You had people here who would send firsthand information and not somebody printing something they heard somebody say.”63 The Barbuda Brotherhood Social Club also expressed similar sentiments stating it was their “only source of information.”64 Generally, Barbudans felt the newspaper provided accurate information allowing them to stay informed and take appropriate action based on the information in the newspaper.

Barbuda nation and home

Because of the encompassing definition of a Barbudan, The Voice not only connected fellow Barbudans living in different parts of the world, it also reminded them of their obligatory duty to their Caribbean home—the responsibility to care and write letters to the newspaper. One example out of many is the editorial entitled “A Message to Barbudans Everywhere.” Its author writes, “It should be obvious to all Barbudans by now that the fate of their home is in their hands. THIS GENERATION OF BARBUDANS DO NOT HAVE TO DISCOVER THEIR MISSION, IT IS OBVIOUS. IT IS NOW UP TO US TO FULFILL OR BETRAY IT.”65

Barbudans called upon their fellow islanders using a sharedpastto sacrifice on behalf of the island home. Interestingly, in at least twenty instances in the five years of coverage, Barbudans wrote of their island as a country despite the 1967 Associated Statehood Status with Antigua.66

Many Barbudans who lived abroad and some who were not even born on the island referred to Barbuda as home and called upon a common Barbudan heritage. Edna A. Crutchfield wrote, “America is ok, but Barbuda will always be ‘home’ for Barbudians at home and abroad.”67 Rev. Jerome John gave the reader a bit more insight about his feelings as a Barbudan despite being a first-generation American: “I was born in New York City and I showed my allegiance to the flag by serving in the armed forces in the time of war. But my roots, my heritage, my ancestry is solidly implanted in Barbuda. Why? Because that little island gave life and foundation to my mother and father, and I am proud of them and of the place.”68 One of the most powerful representations of this feeling and longing for home was a poem written by editor Russell John actually entitled “Home.” He wrote it on behalf of his parents and other Barbudans living abroad who still referred to Barbuda as “home.”69

Those who were born or lived in Barbuda, Know of a different day.

In the heat of the sun,

Their mornings [sic] work done, They bathe at River or Low Bay.

Those who were born or lived in Barbuda, Know of the “Village Well”,

From slaves toil and sweat, Serves the Villagers yet,

Could it speak, what a history to tell.


Those who were born or lived in Barbuda, And ever chanced to roam.

Where ere they may be, You can guarantee,

They speak of this Island as “HOME”.70

In this poem, John references a number of significant landmarks on the island: the Village Well, Low Bay, and River. He reaches out to all Barbudans, suggesting whether born on or off the island, Barbudans can relate to some of these common experiences and places. As in other entries, John is drawing upon a shared identity and experience in this poem.


Historically, Barbudan identity has inextricably been tied to the land. The land is a rallying cry—a critical component of self—for those at home and abroad (see previous discussion on the definition of a Barbudan) and is mentioned in some form in almost every issue of The Voice between 1969 and 1974. When the land tenure faced undoing, Barbuda Voice served as an active forum and engine of action to discuss potential development projects and the issue of deeding.

Barbudans attached important meaning to their relationship with the island’s land, and have a rich community discourse as to how they acquired their rights. An interview with long- time leader of Antigua V.C. Bird called attention to this deeply entrenched oral history: “You see, there’s a misunderstanding in the minds of the people of Barbuda, that Codrington gave them the island personally as their own possession. So when he left there, he left the land which belonged to the Crown, for Barbuda was always Crown property. So therefore, Codrington could not give them Barbuda.”71 As Bird points out, Codrington did not have the legal right to make such a relinquishment to Barbudans. Some Barbudans today still proclaim the island was in fact willed to them by the Codrington family.

A powerful discourse permeates the newspaper concerning the land, in which Barbudans often invoke the heritage of their enslaved ancestors under Codrington as a rallying cry for all Barbudans to protect and preserve the land. Table 1 is a collection of quotations within the time of analysis in which Barbudans called upon their birthright as an attempt to unite Barbudans around the world to take a stand against anyone seeking to rob them of their land. Diaspora case studies often discuss evoking community through symbolism, which helps maintain and foster a collective identity. In this example, Barbudan identity is often intertwined with the land.72

Hence we can apply Anderson’s (1991) notion of the “imagined community” where a particular idea of community is constructed around certain histories and symbols and practices. This notion is applicable to virtual communities in that they may exist solely on a macro level, hence they are imagined in that the participants many never meet but the narratives may also help maintain the collective identities of communities sharing a locality, a mosque web site for example.73

Thomas Faist writes that in order to maintain high degrees of social cohesion, communities often separated by great distances rely on a “symbolic and collective representation,” such as the representations and Barbudan symbolism highlighted here.74 Faist writes, “Symbolic ties function to bridge vast geographical distances that cross nation-states borders for members of kinship or ethnic migrant groups.”75 Barbudans will often say that the one thing that truly unites them is their land tenure. Another scholar, Charles Tilly, notes that this representation often involves a narrative. The Voice evoked a Barbudan narrative such as the one put forth by V.C. Bird, while calling forth heritage and birthright amongst its pages.76 These passionate sentiments argue Barbuda’s land tenure is a birthright, an important heritage, and legacy to be protected from development initiatives and deeding.

❖ “I always thought that Barbuda was ours, God gave that land to us.”1
❖ “We will be loosing [sic] our heritage and finally we will be slaves for him…”2
❖ “There are many of us who would sell our birthright for a little porridge and allow our children to suffer.”3
❖ “That Bradshaw bodes nothing but evil for Barbuda and is up to no good but to rob people of their Birthright.”4
❖ “Surely they do not wish to sell their birthright for work.”5
❖ “It is also our opinion that in order to best preserve the rights and privileges of the Inhabitants of the Island, any development project proposed for Barbuda should be under Leasehold terms for small areas and that development should be under the control of Barbudans.”6
❖ “The people and their heritage should never be destroyed.”7
❖ “Don’t sell your privileges for money, keep it for your children’s children.”8
❖ “Friends let me say if you are right, no matter if they kill you they can’t take your rights away from you.”9
❖ “You who put your sweat and blood into the land for a century. You who were the first real inhabitants of the Island, you gave the land life when no one else wanted or cared about it.”10
❖ “…Without sacrificing your age old rights of freedom on the island.”11
❖ “So anyone that comes to you with this story about giving deeds, he is planning to take away our privileges of having access to free land.”12
❖ “We don’t realize the privileges we have until it is gone and it will be too late then, so let us fight to keep our Island and don’t let these land grabbing people who call themselves Government, get our land.”13
❖ “My people as squatters on the God Given Rock of Barbuda, are awakening to their rightful place in the sun…we want the dignity of labor restored to our land, so that the joy, peace, liberty, self-respect and unity of living enjoyed by our fore-fathers, be a reality.”14
❖ “Our fore parents have toiled, sweated and thrashed, all they got from this is the right to this land, which is handed down to the future generations. Let us keep this land to all Barbudans by birth.”15
❖ “So Barbudans, let us continue to raise our voices with meaning, this is serious business, they are after our BIRTHRIGHT and this is the only loophole they can use to sell our land from under us.”16
❖ “I felt that this was a most important matter dealing as it does with the one and only asset of the people of the island.”17

Table 1. Barbudan Quotations from The Voice,CallingUpon Their Birthright (Land).

1 L. Frank, March 1970 p. 7
2 Letter to the Editor, February 1970, p. 3
3 Bud Grass, February 1970, p. 6
4 McChesney D.B. George, May 1970 p. 1
5 Raeburn Griffin, May 1970, p. 6
6 Editors, May 1970, p. 9
7 Rev. Jerome John, June 1970, p. 4
8 Bud Grass, July 1970, p. 3
9 Glascoe Punter, September 1970 p. 6
10 Rev. Jerome John, October 1970 p. 8
11 Rev. Jerome John, October 1970 p. 8
12 Glascoe Punter, October 1970, p. 11
13 Glascoe Punter, January 1971, p. 7
14 Irene Punter, April 1971, p. 2
15 Raeburn Griffin, June 1973, p. 8
16 Glascoe Punter, August 1973 p. 4
17 McChesney George, January 1974, p. 8

Barbuda’s history is replete with a number of development schemes (largely initiated by the Antiguan government) targeting the island’s commons and The Voice is careful to document them. Shortly after its inception in December of 1969, the newspaper drew attention to a proposal by Canadian Robert Bradshaw of Tradewinds Investment Limited. The May issue of 1970 further clarifies the intentions of this development initiative, which would take nearly a quarter of the island and sell sites to prospective hotel developers and home builders. The Antiguan government would receive 20 percent of the profits, while 5 percent would remain in a Barbudan trust.77 The BUD Society held a meeting with Bradshaw in New York City to discuss the project and its implications for Barbuda. Those attending the meeting in New York passed around a petition protesting the development project that eventually made its way to Antiguan Premier V.C. Bird. The Voice discussed the project in greater detail after the overseas meeting with Bradshaw and presented the petition by way of newspaper publication to Barbudan subscribers in May of 1970.

We the relatives and friends of the Natives of Barbuda hereby afix our signatures to this petition….Let it be known that Barbudans living outside of Barbuda are UNITED AND AWARE, and will take any and all legal measures to protest any injustices perpetrated or intended to be perpetrated on their loved ones living on Barbuda.78

The petition elucidates the involvement of Barbudans living outside the island and their desire toprotect the common propertyfrom outside developers, while also highlighting the role of The Voice as a facilitator of this act of protest. More importantly, it illustrates the attention politicians both in Antigua and Barbuda heeded to the newspaper publication and its editor Russell John.

In addition to development projects, Barbudans were active in writing to the newspaper in regards to the subject matter of land deeds. Glascoe Punter wrote from New York about the Antiguan government’s scheme to deed land in Barbuda.

I understand the new Government is planning to give deeds to the people for their land.…If Barbudan people accept deeds for their land the Government will sell Barbuda piece by piece and who don’t have land at the time would have to buy land from then on….So anyone that comes to you with this story about giving deeds, he is planning to take away our privileges of having access to free land and is going to sell out Barbuda to help build Antigua.79

In a column in the June 1973 issue entitled “Title Deeds: Trick or Treat?” the editor described a conversation with the then Premier of Antigua, George Walter over title deeds in Barbuda. He wrote, “It’s a very important project being pursued by the Government at this time is to give the people of Barbuda title deeds to their plots of land. [This was also the endeavor of the Bird Administration.] To date, he says, the people have opposed it. This, he feels, is very foolish as he sees it as an advantage to them.”80 The editor Russell John then told the Premier that the “nay movement toward title deed, should be given intense investigation before any decisions are made. That all the legal ramifications should be brought out for the information of the people.”81

Barbudans living abroad were often quite impassioned in their opinions over the titling of land based on their experience living off island. Interestingly, British Barbudan Hilbourne Frank applied the 1973 land crisis in England to the potential loss of his homeland in Barbuda, should the land be deeded.

Barbudans here in Britain wish to warn and advise our people at home and abroad of the dangers facing them with the land question and of the economic and social benefits which the proper cultivation of the land could secure in terms of general revenue.

Any student of history can easily recount how the European masses have been cheated of their land rights and today the people of Britain and elsewhere struggle to own a home. Inflation in land values has soared beyond the means of millions of families. It is the said rotten system of Land Titles which Barbudans at home are now queuing up to innovate within our legal framework.82

In the very same issue, Barbudans from England submitted nine letters expressing their desire that land should not be deeded. Raeburn Griffin wrote of this dissension in regards to title deed: “I heard people saying if they have title deeds they can borrow money from the bank. Yes, that’s true, but if this money is not paid back to the bank, your land has gone to the bank….DO NOT SELL LIKE THE ANTIGUANS, SELL, SELL, SELL.”83

Another perspective on the deeding of lands came from former representative McChesney George who called out Barbudans living abroad particularly in England, for their supposed hypocrisy in trying to dissuade Barbudans at home from deeding their lands. In this excerpt, readers get a feel for the tension that often existed between those at home and those abroad.

Can you and any or all of the writers inform me of any Western Civilised nation where the people of a country are prevented by Law from holding Legal Title to lands they have bought and own and on which they have spent a great deal of money to put houses and other amenities?84

Barbuda Voice was a conversation among Barbudans living all over the world, and George’s questions to Barbudans living abroad did not go unanswered. Rolston Drinkwater responded to George in a letter to the editor in October 1973 pointing out George’s own transnational connections: “We all know you McChesney George, you were born in Brooklyn, New York in America. You sold Barbuda once and still would like to do so because you are the one who would like Barbuda to have Title Deeds. No more selling.”85

The issue of deeds came to a head in 1974 with the convening of a Barbuda Convention in July of 1974. The convention is another extraordinary example of connectivity illustrated and facilitated by The Voice in relation to Barbuda’s land. The convention was held in Barbuda and it came about through the efforts of Barbudans living in Barbuda, England, and New York. Among the newspaper’s pages was a convention advertisement that called for Barbudans to not only attend the convention, but also to submit discussion topics:

For many decades now Barbudans everywhere have watched their island go from bad to worse in many respects….Many have written and many have spoken about the need for united action. But the call for unity has not been answered. To this end the suggestion of a convention has been made and this is an invitation open to all Barbudans everywhere to get together in the first week of July, 1974 to give vent to their feelings and desires in respect to our social, economic and political problems.86

The convention hoped to create a consensus on Barbuda’s land, particularly title deeds. Frank submitted a resolution after the convention in a later edition of The Voice. The resolution stated that no administrative body of any kind should enact the issuing of title deeds to Barbudans and that the majority of Barbudans should reject land deeds, instead preferring that the communal land tenure should continue.87 This resolution among other numerous write-ins by Frank, illustrates the involvement of Barbudan transnationals in the land affairs of Barbuda and their often-impassioned response to its potential undoing.

I call upon you all, fellow-brothers, to reject any form of land transactions. Money they will bring but don’t be fooled land is worth more than money. Nobody ever bought land in Barbuda, therefore nobody should sell. I command you as a friend, reject these land-stealers. Keep the ground God has given you to till.88

The lively discussion of deeds would continue in later editions of The Voice, outside the five-year focus of this study.

Larger significance

While this paper has focused on land, the newspaper facilitated regular, frequent, and meaningful interactions among Barbudans both on and off the island prior to the ready availability of telephone communication in Barbuda.89 Among the pages of Barbuda Voice are hundreds of documented examples of meaningful transnational-migrant engagement. Barbuda Voice allowed Barbudans to interact with one another and stay informed with their island homeland as never before, particularly in terms of the pressing issue of land security. While some scholars are quick to applaud the conjoining effects of new technologies like the Internet and cell phones for transnational migrants, I argue through this case study that we have underestimated the agency of migrants in using “slower” forms of communication, making Barbuda Voice and other newspapers like it important spaces that facilitated transnational involvement.90

In an effort to theorize both concepts of space and communication geographies, Paul C. Adams writes, “not only do communications mediate between space and place …space is where communication happens but is also one of the things created by communications.”91 The Voice served as a valuable space for the meeting ground of Barbudans living all over the world that incorporated the new experiences of Barbudans living both on and off island.92 The Voice reminded Barbudans of their identity and obligation to the island, while also reflecting the influences of British, American, and Canadian-Barbudan experiences living abroad. While firmly grounded in several states and the “nation of Barbuda,” the space of The Voice influenced land-tenure questions on the island. For example, Hilbourne Frank’s knowledge of land-tenure practices in England served as a catalyst to protect the communal lands on Barbuda. He sought to protect rather than privatize Barbudan land. In fact, his position as a transnational migrant afforded him the opportunity to maintain “two quite distinct ways of life” engaging with both a private and communal land tenure system in England and on the island.93

It is through Barbuda Voice that Barbudans were able to create their own space for discourse to combat the often-corrupt undertakings of the Antiguan government and “transform ‘traditional’ power relations.”94 Throughout the five-year period of analysis, the Antigua government went to extreme measures to quell any form of criticism from the press as illustrated by the harassment of Tim Hector and his Antigua newspaper. Outside the control of the Antigua government, The Voice empowered Barbudans because it was a Barbudan forum. Russell John revealed in 2009 that Antiguan police on the twin-island often harassed him.95 “We didn’t realize at the time that the paper was so powerful. We were just writing a paper….I think they were trying, it was done to impress me, stop doing what I was doing. It didn’t work. Cause they really couldn’t tell me anything.”96

Forming transnational social movements are not easy; “Sustaining collective action across borders on the part of people who seldom see each one another…is difficult.”97 Yet Russell John and his newspaper project managed to connect Barbudans around the Atlantic in creative ways to counter Antiguan hegemony in a time period before ICT onset.

Rather than transform power relations completely, transnationals often create new pathways topower, a pointthat is clearly illustrated by The Voice.98 What happens in The Voice is not at all different from Laura Kunreuther’s study of the Nepali diaspora’s use of radio and local press to oppose the government during a time when it tried to silence the opposition.99 Much like its ICT communication antecedents, The Voice was also “capable of bringing issues to the surface of public opinion and debate, despite attempts at silencing or censoring them.”100 As Poole and others have noted, perhaps the connecting power of modern technologies may be exaggerated as some case studies suggest.101 One Barbudan told me in 2009, “Now that we can just pick up the phone and call, we don’t.”102


Nearly thirteen years after its first publication in December 1982, The Voice was exhibiting signs of decline as editors announced that subscriptions had indeed fallen below the level of financial sustainability.103 Interestingly, during this time Russell John chose to highlight what he felt were the important accomplishments of the newspaper:

Through the last 13 years, some of which the island was virtually incommunicado, the Barbuda Voice kept Barbudans, The Antigua Government, Caribbean leaders, the British Government, U.S. Legislators, and the many influential friends of Barbuda aware of all the major developments in the island….In effect, the paper has been a medium for Governments, Corporations and private individuals to address the widest scope of Barbudans and other interested parties as possible.104

Notwithstanding these early obstacles, The Voice would hold on for eight more years and by 1990 (its last year of print) the newspaper was bi-monthly, its pages consisting primarily of obituaries and regional Caribbean news. The onset of ICTs, particularly greater access to telephones, quickly dated the newspaper’s content and after twenty years of service the editors were ready to move on to other projects. The demise of the newspaper is also emblematic of larger issues at play on the island. After independence with Antigua in 1981 (arguably one of the last subjects covered by the newspaper of great importance that also truly brought Barbudans together), the island has faced increasing social fragmentation and is deeply divided over politics centered on representation in the Barbuda Council, the island’s governing body.

Despite its ultimate demise, through The Voice, Barbudans were able to successfully rally members of the Barbudan population living in the Caribbean region, Leicester, the Bronx, Toronto, and elsewhere in a critical time in the island’s history. Important topics regarding Associated Statehood Status and the protection of common property remained a priority for the newspaper. Transmigrants were actively engaged in land-tenure preservation facilitated during this time by and through The Voice. The monthly newspaper during its tenure shared important information for both the diaspora and island, enabled political mobilization and action on behalf of the land, and most importantly (re)inscribed Barbudan identity calling on islanders to care for the happenings on Barbuda.105 Though dubbed a “slower” form of communication, much like its ICT successors, Russell John, alongside his wife Peggy, took on the seemingly impossible task of creating a space that would serve as a bridge of connection for Barbudans living around the world.


This piece is dedicated to Russell and Peggy John. I would also like to acknowledge the people of Barbuda, Andrew Sluyter, LSU Department of Geography and Anthropology equipment and travel funding, the National Archive of Antigua and Barbuda in St. Johns, and the National Anthropological Archive in Washington D.C. (Riva Berleant-Schiller Papers). In addition, thank you to Dydia DeLyser’s writing seminar participants, Phillip Schmutz, Chris Curtis, and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback.


1 George Simmel, “Bridge and Door,” Theory, Culture & Society 11 (1994): 5.

2 Throughout this article, I will interchange Barbuda Voice and The Voice when referring to the newspaper, just as the editors and subscribers often did.

3 Russell John, interview by author. Digital Recording. Bronx, New York, (2009) August.

4 Alejandro L. Portes, Luis E. Guarnizo, and Patricia Landolt, “The Study of Transnationalism: Pitfalls and Promise of an Emergent Research Field,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 22 (1999): 217-237; T. Faist, The Volume and Dynamics of International Migration and Transnational Social Spaces (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).

5 Arjun Appadurai, Modernity At Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996); D. Miller and D. Slater, The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach (New York: Berg, 2000); H. Horst, “The Blessings and Burdens of Communication: Cell Phones in Jamaican Transnational Social Fields,” Global Networks 6 (2006): 143-159.

6 David Lowenthal and Colin Clarke, “Triumph of the Commons: Barbuda Belongs to All Barbudans Together” in Caribbean Land and Development Revisited, eds. J. Besson and J. Momsen (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 147-158.

7 Linda Basch, Nina Glick Schiller, and Christine Szanton Blanc, eds., Nations Unbound: Transnational Projects, Postcolonial Predicaments, and Deterritorialized Nation-States (Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach Publishers, 1994).

8 Oscar Handlin, The Uprooted, 2nd ed. (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1973).

9 Basch et al. 1994.

10 Christine Blanc, Linda Basch, and Nina Glick Schiller, “Transnationalism, Nation-States, and Culture,” Current Anthropology 36 (1994): 683-686; Basch et al. 1994.

11 Portes et al. 1999, 223.

12 Appadurai 1996; Miller and Slater 2000; Marie Gillespie, “Transnational Communications and Diaspora Communities,” in Ethnic Minorities and the Media, ed. S. Cottle (Philadelphia: Open University Press, 2000), 164-179; Elizabeth Poole, “Networking Islam: The Democratizing Potential of New Technologies in Relation to Muslim Communities,” The Public 9 (2002): 51-64; Steven Vertovec, “Cheap Calls: The Social Glue of Migrant Transnationalism,” Global Networks 4 (2004): 219–24; Heather Horst, “The Blessings and Burdens of Communication: Cell Phones in Jamaican Transnational Social Fields,” Global Networks 6 (2006): 143-159.

13 Gonzalo Bacigalupe and Susan Lambe, “Virtualizing Intimacy: Information Communication Technologies and Transnational Families in Therapy,” Family Process 50 (2011): 12-26, 14; Hamel, Jean-Yves, Information and Communication Technologies and Migration (Geneva: United Nations Development Programme, 2009).

14 David Harvey, “Between Space and Time, Reflection on the Geographical Imagination,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 80 (1990): 418-34; Allison Mountz and Richard A. Wright, “Daily Life in the Transnational Migrant Community of San Agustín, Oaxaca, and Poughkeepsie, New York,” Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 5 (1996): 403-428.

15 Bacigalupe and Lambe 2011, 14; Hamel 2009.

16 Sidney Mintz,“The Localization of Anthropological Practice—From Area Studies to Transnationalism,” Critique of Anthropology 18 (1998): 117-133, 117.

17 Hamel 2009.

18 Alexis Naff, Becoming American: The Early Arab Immigrant Experience (Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press, 1985).

19 Ibid, 321.

20 Ibid, 321.

21 Basch et al. 1992; Paul Kasinitz, Caribbean New York, (London: Cornell University Press, 1992).

22 Joe Chung Fong, “Transnational Newspapers: The Making of the Post-1965 Globalized/ Localized San Gabriel Valley Chinese Community,” Amerasia Journal 22 (1996): 65-77, 74.

23 Alan Patrick Marcus, “(Re)creating Places and Spaces in Two Countries: Brazilian Transnational Migration Process,” Journal of Cultural Geography 26 (2009): 173-198.

24 Naff 1985; Kasinitz 1992; Fong 1996; Marcus 2009.

25 Alison Mountz and Richard A. Wright (1996) researched the origins of the term “trans- national” and found an early use in a piece by Randolph S. Borne written in 1916 for Atlantic Monthly. Borne writes, “America is coming to be, not a nationality but a trans-nationality, a weaving back and forth, with the other lands, of many threads of all sizes and colors.”

26 Anselm L. Strauss, Qualitative Analysis for Social Scientists (San Francisco: Cambridge University Press, 1987).

27 Karl Raitz, “Field Observation, Archives and Explanation,” The Geographical Review 91 (2001): 121-131; access to a partial Barbuda Voice archive, courtesy of the Riva Berleant- Schiller Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, accession no. 2005-1.

28 Janice Radway, “Reception Studies: Ethnography and the Problem of Dispersed Audiences and Nomadic Subjects,” Cultural Studies 2 (1988): 359-76; Mike Crang and Ian Cook, Doing Ethnographies (London: Sage Publications, 2007); U. Hannerz, “Being There…And There… And There! Reflections on Multi-Site Ethnography,” Ethnography 4 (2003)” 201-16; I. Hay, Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography, 2nd Ed (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005); fieldwork was part of a larger project seeking to understand the past and present relationship between Barbudan migrants and their communal land tenure.

29 David Lowenthal and Colin Clark, “Slave-breeding in Barbuda: The Past of a Negro Myth,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 292 (1977): 510-35; Riva Berleant-Schiller, “The Social and Economic Role of Cattle in Barbuda,” Geographical Review 67 (1977): 299-309; Andrew Sluyter, “The Role of Black Barbudans in the Establishment of Open-range Cattle Herding in the Colonial Caribbean and South Carolina,” Journal of Historical Geography 35 (2009): 330-349.

30 R. Jarritt quoted in Lowenthal and Clarke 1977, 524.

31 Riva Berleant-Schiller, “Statehood, Commons and Landscape in Barbuda,” Caribbean Geography3 (1991): 43-52.

32 Riva Berleant-Schiller 1977; Lowenthal and Clarke 2007.

33 George Gmelch, Double Passage: The Lives of Caribbean Migrants Abroad and Back Home, (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992).

34 Amy E. Potter, “Transnational Spaces and Communal Land Tenure in a Caribbean Place: ‘Barbuda is for Barbudans,’” (2011), Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University.

35 Interview by author 2009.

36 Bonham C. Richardson, Caribbean Migrants: Environment and Human Survival on St. Kitts and Nevis. (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press).

37 Potter 2011.

38 Several islands in the British Caribbean maintained a semi-independent status until they achieved full independence. During this time, Britain maintained defense and some foreign affairs.

39 Amy E. Potter and Andrew Sluyter, “Renegotiating Barbuda’s Commons: Recent Changes in Barbudan Open-range Cattle Herding,” Journal of Cultural Geography 27 (2010): 129–150; Amy E. Potter and Andrew Sluyter, “Barbuda: A Caribbean Island In Transition,” Focus on Geography55 (2012): 140–145.

40 For a more thorough exploration of this topic, see Robert Coram’s Caribbean Time Bomb.

41 John A. Lent, “Mass Media in the Leeward Islands,” in Mass Media and the Caribbean, eds. S.H. Surlin, W.C. Soderland (New York, Gordon and Breach, 1990), 103-11; Walter passed the Newspaper Surety Act, which required newspapers to deposit $60,000 XCD in the event of a libel case, in addition to a $600 XCD license fee, while Bird amended the Public Order Act of 1968, “that made almost any criticism of government a criminal act,” (John A. Lent, 110); The Newspaper Surety Act temporarily shut down both the Workers Voice and Times because of the exorbitant bond and license fees required.

42 Tim Hector, “A Solution,” The Outlet, 24 April 1981, 3.

43 George Walter defeated V.C. Bird in 1971 for the premiership of Antigua. He was then defeated in 1976 by V.C. Bird. Bird served as Chief Minister of Antigua from 1960 to February 1967. In 1967 he became the first premier of Antigua serving in that role from 1967 to 1971. After defeating George Walter in 1976, he assumed the role of Premier of Antigua serving from 1976 to 1981. With independence in November of 1981, he became the first prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, an office he held until 1994.

44 Lent 1990.

45 Elizabeth Poole, “Networking Islam: The Democratizing Potential of New Technologies in Relation to Muslim Communities,” The Public 9 (2002): 51-64, 52.

46 Poole 2002; For more information on the corrupt practices of the Antiguan government see Robert Coram’s Caribbean Time Bomb.

47 Lowenthal and Clarke, 155.

48 Russell John 2009.

49 Ibid.

50 Russell John 2009.

51 Ibid.

52 Interview by author in 2009.

53 Interview by author in 2009.

54 Peggy John, interview by author. Telephone (2007), October.

55 Often religious in nature, they were inspirational pieces for daily living and home decoration.

56 BV, December 1969, 6.

57 BV, October 1971, 3. 58 BV, July 1970, 8.

59 BV, November 1970, 8.

60 BV, August 1971, 5.

61 See for example BV, August 1971.

62 BV, October 1971, 6.

63 F. Francis, interview by author. Digital Recording. Codrington, Barbuda (2010) August.

64 BV, October 1971, 6

65 BV, February 1973, 6.

66 Fieldwork from 2007-2010 in Barbuda reveal that even after thirty years of independence with Antigua, Barbudans in conversation still refer to the island as their “country.”

67 BV, April 1970, 6.

68 BV, October 1970, 7. 69 R. John 2009.

70 BV, October 1970, 7.

71 BV, December 1982, 5.

72 Thomas Faist, “Transnationalization in International Migration: Implications for the Study of Citizenship and Culture,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 23 (2001): 189-222; Poole 2002.

73 Poole 2002, 55.

74 Thomas Faist, “Transnationalization in International Migration,” (2001), 208.

75 Faist, The Volume and Dynamics, (2000), 110.

76 Charles Tilly, “Citizenship, Identity and Social History,” International Review of Social History, Supplement 3 (1996): 1-17.

77 BV, May 1970.

78 BV, May 1970, 10.

79 BV, October 1970, 11, italics mine. 80 BV, June 1973, 8.

81 BV, June 1973, 8.

82 BV, June 1973, 8.

83 BV, June 1973, 8.

84 BV, September 1973, 5.

85 BV, October 1973, 6.

86 H. Frank, BV, January 1974, 3.

87 BV, November 1974.

88 BV, November 1974, 8.

89 Thomas Faist, “Transnationalization in International Migration,” (2001).

90 Naff 1985; Kasinitz 1992; Fong 1996; Marcus 2009; Mountz and Wright 1996; Roger Rouse, “Mexican Migration and the Social Space of Postmodernism,” in Transnational Spaces, eds. Peter Jackson, P. Crang, and Claire Dwyer (London: Routledge, 2004), 24-39; A.J. Bailey, Richard A.Wright, Allison Mountz, and Ines M. Miyares, “(Re)producing Salvadoran Transnational Geographies,”Annals of the Association of AmericanGeographers 92 (2002): 125–144; Peter Jackson, Philip Crang, and Claire Dwyer eds., Transnational Spaces (London: Routledge, 2002).

91 Paul C. Adams, “A Taxonomy for Communication Geography,” Progress in Human Geography35 (2010): 37-57, 39.

92 Shehina Fazal, and Roza Tsagarousianou, “Diasporic Communication: Transnational Cultural Practices and Communicative Spaces,” The Public 2 (2002): 5-18.

93 Ibid.

94 Sarah J. Mahler, “Theoretical and Empirical Contributions Toward a Research Agenda for Transnationalism,” in Transnationalism From Below, eds. Michael Peter Smith and Luis Eduardo Guarnizo (London: Transaction Publishers, 2002), 64-102.

95 Sidney Tarrow’s transnational activism framework is especially useful here. Sidney Tarrow, The New Transnational Activism (New York: Cambridge 2005).

96 Russell John 2009.

97 Tarrow 2005, 7.

98 Mahler 2002.

99 Laura Kunreuther, “Technologies of the Voice: FM Radio, Telephone, and the Nepal Diaspora in Kathmandu,” Cultural Anthropology 21 (2006): 323-353.

100 Hamel 2009, 31.

101 Poole 2002. See also Miller and Slater 2000.

102While outside the scope of this study, Barbudans do connect to family members and friends living off island through Facebook and other forms of social media. However, informal observations from several years of fieldwork suggest that the use of FB does not seem have the same impact as Barbuda Voice once did.

103 BV, December 1982.

104 BV, December 1982, 1.

105 See for example Paul C. Adams, Rina Ghose, “India.com: The Construction of a Space Between,” Progress in Human Geography 27 (2003): 414-437; C. Nagel and L. Staeheli, “ICT and Geographies of British Arab American Activism,” Global Networks 10 (2010): 262-281.

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