Work started at the break of dawn and they worked nine hours five days a week or six during crop time and on weekends they were off and men were paid two shillings and a day and the women earned. They usually worked in groups which consisted of family members and they had breaks in between and they were provided with food. Indian men did most of the strenuous work on the plantations and punishment was admitted once the Indians were not doing their work correctly. After a long day’s work many Indian men drank rum which was supplied to them in lieu of extra work and there were also rum shops opened next to each plantation which was owned by Chinese and Portuguese immigrants and the gave the labourers alcohol on credit.
In Trinidad, not many women came during indentureship and their roles on the plantations were to do light tasks. Women and children worked on sugar plantations in the ‘weeding gang’ and they earn much less than the men. Pregnant women worked on the plantations as well and the older women tended to the barracks and took care of the children. Being under contract, both men and women had to do what they were told and if not, they were punished by being put into jail. Prior to the Indians arriving to the Caribbean, the Caribbean exported 10,399 tons of sugar, however this export number increased drastically when the Indians arrived as by 1896 the Caribbean exported 53,847 tons of sugar per year
Copyright © 2014 Reshma Ganness