Archive for the ‘Election history’ Category

Flashback … ‘Jamaica Election Boycott’

Friday, August 31st, 2007

From the New York Times archive, published November 29, 1983 …

“Jamaica’s opposition People’s National Party announced today that it would boycott an election Dec. 15 unless electoral changes, including the updating of voter lists, were made. Prime Minister Edward P. G. Seaga announced the special election this weekend.”

Past Prime Ministers of Jamaica

Friday, July 20th, 2007


Donald Sangster

Hugh Shearer 1967-72





Michael Manley (1972-1980 and 1989-1992) Edward SeagaPJ Patterson






Photos by Dayne Morrison: Murals of Jamaica’s six past Prime Minister outside Gordon House on Duke Street, Kingston. Click on first photograph to begin slideshow.

Alexander Bustamante (1962-1967)

During pre-independence social upheavals Alexander Bustamante established himself as an important labour leader. He formed the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), going on to win the country’s first election in 1944 when he was installed as Chief Minister. He then lost successive elections until Independence in 1962 when he was elected Prime Minister. Illness forced him to retire from politics in 1967 and he died ten years later.

Donald Sangster (February–April 1967)

Jamaica’s briefest Prime Minister, Sangster served for just two months before dying after falling into a coma in 1967. Ironically it had been the ill health of Bustamante that had opened up the post for him. Portia Simpson Miller will leave him as the only Prime Minister to have never contested a general election when she goes to the polls against Bruce Golding on Monday August 27.

Hugh Shearer (1967-1972)

Rising through the ranks of the BITU Shearer became one of the most prominent figures in the Jamaican labour movement. He assumed office after Donald Sangster died in 1967, before losing to Michael Manley in 1972. He had previously declared no ambition to become Prime Minister and beat D.C. Tavares by one vote in the ballot of JLP Members of Parliament. Venerated for his conciliatory style he has the unusual distinction of being shot in the head with a speargun during the 1980 election campaign. He died in 2004.

Michael Manley (1972-1980 and 1989-1992)

The charismatic Manley followed in the footsteps of his father Norman as national leader. He beat then Prime Minister Hugh Shearer in the election of 1972 promising, “Power to the People”. With Jamaica in economic distress in 1980 he lost to Edward Seaga of the JLP. Then in 1989, with his politics having become more centrist he returned to office with the Seaga administration having fallen out of favour with the electorate. Ill health forced him to step down three years later and he died of prostate cancer in 1997.

Edward Seaga (1980-1989)

Seaga became Jamaica’s longest serving Member of Parliament before retiring from politics in 2005, having represented West Kingston since 1959. He and Michael Manley contested the violent elections of 1976 and 1980. Bob Marley famously brought them onstage to join hands at the One Love Peace Concert at the National Stadium in 1978. Seaga is the distinguished fellow at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona.

P.J. Patterson (1994-2006)

Patterson is Jamaica’s longest-serving Prime Minister having beaten Seaga in the 1993, 1997 and 2002 elections after succeeding an ill Manley in 1992. His fourteen years as Prime Minister encompassed almost half of his 30 years in political office. He and Seaga are the only surviving past Prime Ministers of Jamaica. Patterson acts as a consultant for Goodworks International, a US based firm. He is also assisting the PNP with the 2007 election campaign.