Divergent Pathways of Development: Infant Mortality in British Guiana and Barbados, 1834-1966




Carolyn, Carper

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This thesis explores the development of health-related policy in British Guyana and Barbados, two of the first English-speaking colonies in the Caribbean to gain independence from Britain. Following emancipation in 1834, British Guyana seemed to have many developmental advantages over Barbados. However, by independence in 1966, health conditions in Barbados were better than in Guyana. Using infant mortality data as a measure of community health, this thesis examines how labor and economic factors, political structures, and stability directly influenced health in these developing countries. Ultimately, health development in Guyana was slowed by ethnic and class conflict, economic isolation, and ineffective governance. Meanwhile, as Barbados adopted democratic values and leaned on education, international partnerships, gender inclusivity, and economic diversification, its health went from “worst to first.” Overall, this thesis identifies factors that directly influenced the development of healthcare in Guyana and Barbados. By doing so, it argues that developing countries ought to utilize a holistic approach to sustainably improve health outcomes.



Political Science, Healthcare Development, Political Development, Economic Development, Caribbean Studies, British Colonialism, Infant Mortality