JAMAICAN HISTORY 7
At midnight on August 5, 1962, Jamaica became a free independent nation within the British Commonwealth of Nations. A ceremony marking the event was held at the newly constructed National Stadium in Kingston, which was filled to its capacity of 35,000.
The chief persons taking part were Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret (representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II), her husband, the Earl of Snowdon, Sir Kenneth Blackburne, who had been nominated by the Queen on the recommendation of our then Premier to be Jamaica's first Governor-General, Sir Alexander Bustamante, Jamaica's first Prime Minister, and Mr. Norman Manley, Leader of the Opposition.
Prayers were offered by the Rt. Rev. Percival Gibson, Lord Bishop of Jamaica, His Lordship Bishop McEleney, Roman Catholic Bishop of Kingston, Bishop S. U. Hastings, Chairman of the Jamaica Christian Council,and Mr. Ernest H. DaSouza, Jr. as acting spiritual leader of the Jewish Community.
Hundreds of notable guests and visitors from many countries of the world attended, among them Mr. Lyndon Johnson, Vice-President of the United States of America, as the personal representative of President Kennedy. Precisely at midnight, the Union Jack- the British flag - was lowered and the Jamaican flag hoisted. The new National Anthem of Jamaica was sung by combined choirs. This was followed by a magnificent fireworks display at the Stadium.
In other parts of the Corporate Area, and in the country parishes, there were also displays of fireworks. There followed two Public Holidays which were given over to great rejoicing throughout the island. Kingston, the capital, and all other parish capitals were gaily decorated with flags and bunting, highly illuminated at nights. There were many civic and social events and there was public dancing in the streets. When the dust of the Independence celebrations had settled, Jamaica settled down to the business of establishing herself as one of the nations of the world.
The drive to expand industry was considerably widened as well. A new emphasis was placed on agricultural expansion. All this became more urgent in view of the slowing down of migration to the United Kingdom, which brought with it the necessity of providing gainful employment for Jamaica's increasing population. In the wake of this came the further obligation of spreading education wider so as to equip the people with skills and trades to enable them to keep pace with advancements in the outside world.
Although involved with the immediate problems of a new nation, Jamaica looked back into her past and sought to pay homage to men who had played a great part in the progression to independence. The George VI Memorial Park became the National Park. There the National Shrine was erected and three illustrious sons of Jamaica, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Paul Bogle and George William Gordon, were enshrined. A special site was provided as the final resting place of Jamaican Prime Ministers. Sir Donald Sangster was the first Prime Minister to be buried there.
In 1962 on August 7, the first meeting of Jamaica's new Parliament was held in Gordon House. HRH Princess Margaret, representing the Queen, opened the session and welcomed Jamaica into the Commonwealth of Nations.
On August 11, the Ninth Central, American and Caribbean Games opened at the National Stadium. The Games continued until August 25, during which time Jamaica was host to athletes from 14 countries. Jamaican athletes distinguished themselves, winning many Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.
Jamaica was admitted to membership of the United Nations on September 18, the island's first Representative being His Excellency, Mr. E. R. Richardson, CMG, a Jamaican who was formerly Financial Secretary of the island. Jamaica's Representatives at our overseas Missions were appointed as follows: Ambassador to the United States of America - His Excellency, Mr. N. N. Ashenheim, CBE (who was knighted on January 1, 1963); High Commissioner to Canada - His Excellency, Mr. E. A. Maynier, OBE; High Commissioner to the United Kingdom - His Excellency, Mr. H. L. Lint, CMG; and Consul-General in New York - Mr. Keith Johnson.
Sir Kenneth Blackburne, last of the British Governors, who had become Governor-General on August 6, left the island on November 30. His place was taken by Senator Clifford Campbell, who was nominated by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister to be Jamaica's first native Governor-General. Senator Campbell was immediately knighted by the Queen and became Sir Clifford Campbell, GCMG. He took up office on December 1 and moved into residence at King's House on the same day.
In 1963 on March 11, the Hon. Donald Sangster, Minister of Finance, was appointed Deputy Prime Minister.
In July, Mrs. Muriel Carnegie, the first women to hold the office was appointed by the Governor-General to serve as Custos Rotulorum for the parish of Westmoreland.
Between the 5th and 7th of October, Jamaica was ravaged by flood rains from hurricane Flora which passed to the north of the island and settled over Cuba for three to four days. The Corporate Area endured the heaviest rainfall of the century. Damage to the island was estimated at £2 million.
In November, from 39 contestants in London, Miss Carol Joan Crawford was chosen 'Miss World 1963'. This was the first time that a Jamaican was awarded this title.
In December, the United Nations Third Committee passed a Jamaican resolution that 1969, the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations, should be observed as the International Year of Human Rights.
On December 11, the House of Representatives passed a Bill amending the Representation of the People Law to make provision for the new Finger-Print and Photograph Voter Registration.
Late in December, a Bank of Jamaica survey showed that £12 million was in circulation in the island, more money than there had ever been in the history of Jamaica. Sir Alexander Bustamante was appointed a member of the Privy Council of England in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.
In 1964 in January, a United Kingdom Parliamentary delegation presented the House of Representatives with a Speaker's Chair, the Independence gift from the British House of Commons. This year marked the 300th anniversary of the introduction of Parliamentary forms of government into Jamaica.
The Kingston Oil Refinery of Esso West Indies Limited on Marcus Gravy Drive, went into operation on March 5.
On March 18, the Government dissolved the Portland Parish Council for a period of two years and appointed a Commissioner to exercise the powers and duties of the Council during that time.
Government dissolved the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation Council on June 23 and two Commissioners were appointed to administer the affairs of the Corporate Area.
The Hon. Kenneth Jones, Minister of Communications and Works, died in the Montego Bay Hospital on October 11 from injuries he received when he fell from a balcony at the Sunset Lodge Hotel, Montego Bay.
Jamaica's first National Hero, Marcus Garvey, was enshrined in State and Church ceremonies at King George Vl Memorial Park, on November 15. His body was brought home from England where it had been buried.
On November 16, the Tenth Conference of the Common-wealth Parliamentary Association was opened in the General Assembly Hall at the University of the West Indies by the Hon. Donald Sangster, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. Mr. Sangster, President of the Association for the year, presided over the Conference.
In 1965 in January, Jamaica became a member of the United Nations Human Rights Commission for the first time.
The National Volunteers Organization, an organization for voluntary social service, was established in June.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jnr., Nobel Peace Prize winner and United States Civil Rights Leader, delivered the valedictory sermon for graduating students of the University of the West Indies on June 20. On the following day, Dr. King was presented with the Keys to the City of Kingston at a civic reception at the National Stadium.
The 100th anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion was celebrated in this year. On October 11, at a ceremony in Morant Bay, the burial spot for hundreds of victims of the harshness of Governor John Eyre, was consecrated. The Acting Prime Minister, the Hon. Donald Sangster, unveiled a statue of Paul Bogle in front of the Court House. It was announced that in honor of Bogle, a son of St. Thomas, the town of Morant Bay would be raised to mayoral status.
The climax of the 1865 Centenary celebrations came at the National Shrine, George Vl Memorial Park, on October 24, when a monument honoring Paul Bogle and George William Gordon was dedicated. The ceremony at the National Shrine followed a State Memorial Service for Bogle and Gordon, held in the East Queen Street Baptist Church in Kingston.
On November 28, the first Canadian Prime Minister in office to visit Jamaica, the Rt. Hon. Lester B. Pearson, arrived in the island for discussions with the Acting Prime Minister, the Hon. Donald Sangster, on matters of common interest.
In 1966 in March, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11, accompanied by her husband, HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrived in Jamaica for a four-day visit. Thousands of people lined the streets to greet Queen Elizabeth, who was visiting the island for the first time in thirteen years.
On March 4, the Queen opened the 1966/67 Session of the Jamaican Parliament.
On April 21, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, King of Kings, Conquering Lion of Judah, arrived in Jamaica for a three-day state visit. H.l.M. Haile Selassie addressed Members of both Houses of the Jamaican Parliament and, at a special ceremony at the University of the West Indies, received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.
The Rt. Reverend Samuel Carter, SJ, was consecrated Auxiliary Roman Catholic Bishop of Kingston with the Titular See of Cenculliana, at the Holy Trinity Cathedral on April 25. Bishop Carter was the first Jamaican-born Roman Catholic Bishop.
A ceremony marking the inauguration of Air Jamaica was held at the Palisadoes Airport on May 1, coinciding with the departure of the first Air Jamaica flight to Miami.
In June the Government entered into an agreement with Messrs. Montague Freeport Limited by which the company would undertake a 5,000-acre land reclamation and develop-ment project in the Bogue Islands area of Montego Bay at the cost of £3 million.
The Portland Parish Council which was dissolved in 1963, came into existence again in July, when Councillors elected in the Island Parochial Elections, were sworn in.
On July 30, the 5,000-seat National Arena adjoining the National Stadium was opened by the Acting Prime Minister, the Hon. Donald Sangster. HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who arrived in Jamaica on August 3, with his two elder children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, officially opened the Eighth British Empire and Commonwealth Games on the night of August 4. The Duke read the Queen's Message to the Games at a colourful Opening Ceremony in the National Stadium. A total of 1,500 athletes from thirty-five Commonwealth countries competed in the Games which ended on August 13. On August 15, Prince Philip opened the 2nd Common- wealth Paraplegic Games at the University's playing fields, Mona. Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne left the island on August 16, ending their 13-day visit.
In September, the House of Representatives decided to increase the number of seats in the House from 45 to 53.
At midnight on Sunday, October 2, a State of Emergency was declared in Western Kingston. The Declaration of the State of Emergency was pronounced by the Minister of Home Affairs, the Hon. Roy McNeill, after discussions with the Prime Minister, Sir Alexander Bustamante, and advisers at Jamaica House. The Emergency was a direct result of a new outburst of the political gang violence in the area, which over the preceding three months had resulted in six deaths. Police and military cordoned off the troubled zone and a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. was imposed.
The State of Emergency was declared over on November 4.
On November 20, President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia arrived in Jamaica for a 3-day of official visit, part of a Caribbean and Western Hemisphere tour. He was presented with the Keys to the City of Kingston and a souvenir copy of the history of the city on his arrival at the Palisadoes Airport. Dr. Kaunda addressed a special joint sitting of the Jamaican Parliament on November 22.
The Government, on December 13, announced the start of an £8 million development programme for education over the following three years. £7 million was to be spent on junior secondary schools, expanding facilities for teacher-training and the College of Arts, Science and Technology as well as the Jamaica School of Agriculture, The other £1 million was to be used in the provision of primary schools and teachers' cottages. Half of the sum would be provided by the Jamaican Government and the other half by a loan from the Canadian Government.
In 1967 in January, the Acting Prime Minister, The Hon. Donald Sangster, announced the formation of a new bank, the Jamaica Citizens Bank Limited, with a capitalization of £2.000,000. The Bank would be owned 51% in Jamaica and 49% in Atlanta, Georgia, and would be the first local bank established since the ill-fated Sterling Bank of several decades before. Parliament was dissolved on January 24 and General Elections were held on February 21. The Jamaica Labour Party, which had been in power for the preceding five years, again emerged victorious, winning thirty-three seats to the People's National Party's twenty.
On February 23, the Hon. Donald Sangster, 1st Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, was sworn in by the Governor-General, Sir Clifford Campbell, as the then Prime Minister of Jamaica.
Sir Neville Ashenheim, Jamaica's first Ambassador to the United States, resigned his position in March.
Sir Donald Sangster, 55, Jamaica''x second Prime Minister, died on April 11 in the Montreal Neurological Institute, Canada, where his strong constitution had been fighting a losing battle against brain haemorrhage since March 21 when he was flown to Montreal for specialist treatment. On his death-bed, the Prime Minister was created a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by Her Majesty the Queen. Four hours after the sad news reached Jamaica, the Hon. Hugh Lawson Shearer was sworn in as the third Prime Minister of Jamaica by the Governor-General, Sir Clifford Campbell. Sir Donald's body was flown home to Jamaica and lay in State at Mountainside, Chapelton and Kingston. On April 17, after a State Funeral Service at the Kingston Parish Church, he was given a hero's burial in the George VI Memorial Park.
In June, the Prime Minister announced major changes in Departments controlled by some of the Ministries of Government. The Ministry of Finance became the Ministry of Finance and Planning. The Ministry of Development and Welfare became the Ministry of Youth and Development and a new Ministry was created, the Ministry of Legal Affairs.
In the January-June period of this year, the average rainfall in the catchment area of the Corporate Area of Kingston and St. Andrew was 66.93 inches, the lowest single figure for any year in the past 25 years. Figures since 1942 showed an average rainfall on 137.27 inches in the corresponding periods.
On July 1, the Financial Secretary, the Hon. G. Arthur Brown, became Governor of the Bank of Jamaica. Mr. Brown was also appointed Economic Adviser to the Government. On July 30, Jamaica signed the 'Kennedy Round' Agreement, providing for tariff cuts for industrial products.
The Rt. Rev. Percival W. Gibson, CBE, DD, the first Jamaican to be elevated to the office of Anglican Bishop of Jamaica, retired from that office in September, 1967.
Jamaica's steel mill, owned by the Caribbean Steel Company Ltd., Spanish Town, started full scale manufacture and sale of bars in October, 1967.
On November 21, 1967, Jamaica devalued her £1, following a UK devaluation, to a new parity of $2.40 (US).
On November 30, 1967, His Grace the Most Rev. John J. McEleney, SJ, DD, was installed as Archbishop of Kingston in the Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Cathedral, North Street, Kingston, followed by the Consecration of the Rev. Edgerton R. Clarke, DD, as Bishop of Montego Bay, which now became a Cathedral city. Bishop Clarke was enthroned at the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, Montego Bay, on December 8, 1967.
In 1968, following the inauguration of the downtown Kingston rebuilding plan, demolition began in mid-February, 1968, and the first phase of construction work started in March, 1968.
The Rt. Rev. John C. Swaby was enthroned as Anglican Bishop of Jamaica at the Cathedral of St. Jago de la Vega (St. James's Cathedral), Spanish Town, on February 19.
On April 1, the first series of National Development Bonds was issued, free of income tax on the interest. The opening of the Montego Freeport deep-water pier (Montego Bay's first deep-water pier) at Bogue took place on July 28.
On August 1, Jamaica officially became a member of the Caribbean Free Trade Agreement (CARIFTA).
In the last week of August, 1968, an island-wide epidemic of 'sickness' by members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, following a threat by policemen to take 'positive action', resulted in the Military being called out to maintain order and security. The crisis was due to a dispute over salaries. On October 15, An exclusion order effected against Dr. Walter Rodney, a Guyanese and Lecturer in African History at the University of the West Indies, led to a demonstration the following day by some students and faculty members of the University. Civil disorder ensued when hooligan elements took charge and did extensive damage in many parts of the city, estimated at over £1 million. One death was reported.
On December 7, a National Lottery was introduced when the first draw took place.
On December 10, the Marcus Garvey Prize for Human Rights (£5000), awarded posthumously to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jnr., was presented in Jamaica to his widow, Mrs. Coretta King.
The International Sugar Agreement, to which Jamaica was a party and which the Hon. Robert Lightbourne, Minister of Trade and Industry, was largely instrumental in bringing to a conclusion, was signed in Geneva on October 23, 1968, and ratified in New York between December 3 and 24. It came into effect on January 1, 1969.
In 1969, February, Norman Washington Manley, resigned as Leader of the Opposition and, later, from the House of Representatives. His son Michael, was elected PNP leader, and hence Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition, in his place.
On March 2, the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Michael Ramsay, began the first visit to Jamaica by a Primate of England.
On April 1. Air Jamaica (1968) Ltd. started operations. The company was formed between the Government of Jamaica and Air Canada to operate Jamaica's National Airline. Registered in October, 1968, it replaced Air Jamaica Ltd., which concluded operations on March 31.
On April 15, 1969, Jamaica became a signatory to the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty.
Jamaica's largest alumina plant, erected by a consortium called Alumina Partners of Jamaica (ALPART), at Nain in St. Elizabeth, went into operation on May 18. June 26.
The establishment of Jamaica's first merchant bank was announced by the Minister of Finance and Planning.
The Gleaner Company, Ltd. occupied its new plant and offices at 7 North Street, Kingston, in mid-July, 1969.
On June 25 Jamaica's application for membership of the Organization of American States (OAS) was accepted, the Charter being signed on June 27. It was approved by the House of Representatives on August 6.
On July 18 the Governor General assented to the National Honours and Awards Act which established the National Honours of Jamaica.
On September 2 the death of Norman Washington Manley occurred. He was buried in the National Shrine area of the King George Vl Park on September 7.
On September 8 the change to decimal currency took place.
National Heroes Day was established on October 20, to be celebrated on the third Monday in October each year thereafter. The first National Heroes to be designated were the Rt. Excellent Paul Bogle, George William Gordon, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Norman Washington Manley (all deceased), and Sir William Alexander Bustamante.
The Charter of the Caribbean Development Bank was signed by representatives of all 18 member-territories at the Sheraton-Kingston Hotel on October 18.
On October 21 the Jamaican Government and that of the United States of America concluded an Air Transport Agreement allowing for the expansion of commercial air services between the two countries.
Jamaica became a member of the Inter-American Development Bank in Decem ber.
In 1970, January 21, a symbolic opening of the cross-harbour causeway was performed when the Hon. Edward Seaga travelled across it on a tour of the area; however, traffic had started using it before that date.
The Rt. Rev. Percival W. Gibson, CBE, DD, retired Anglican Bishop of Jamaica, died at the Nuttall Memorial Hospital, Kingston, on April 3, at the age of 77 after a short illness.
The statue of the Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante, Jamaica's only surviving National Hero, was unveiled by Lady Bustamante, during a ceremony at the southern end of the Victoria Park on May 24.
In September, the Rt. Rev. Samuel E. Carter, Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Kingston, was named to succeed the Most Rev. John J. McEleney, who resigned as Archbishop of Kingston, as of November 13. Twenty-seven Jamaicans were honoured in the first list of Jamaican honours and awards (other than that of National Hero) issued on October 17. Heading the list was the Hon. Robert Lightbourne, Minister of Trade and Industry, who was given the Order of Jamaica, the third highest honour in the Jamaican list.
The National Unit Trust was established on October 26.
The first scheduled flight of a Pan-American Jumbo Jet to Jamaica took place on November 25.
The opening of the Third World Netball Tournament at the National Stadium on December 30.
In 1971, the second Archbishop of Kingston and the first Jamaican to head the Roman Catholic Church in Jamaica, the Most Rev. Samuel E. Carter, SJ, CD, DD, was installed at ,he Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston, on February 5.
The Prices Commission was officially launched on January 6.
The United States hospital ship 'Hope' arrived at No. 2 Pier in Kingston, Jamaica on June 13.
On February 18, Tom Cringle's famous cotton tree on Spanish Town Road, near Ferry Inn, collapsed. It was reputed to be more than two hundred years old.
Jamaica International Telecommunications Ltd. (JAMINTEL) went into operation on April 1. The agreement by which the Government of Jamaica became associated with Cable and Wireless in ownership and operation of this company had been signed by the Minister of Communications and Works, the Hon. Clove Lewis, and the Chairman of Cable and Wireless, Col. Donald MacMillan, on November 6, 1970.
Acquisition by the Government of Jamaica of over 60,000 acres of land from the West Indies Sugar Company Ltd. was ratified by the formal signing of the purchase agreement between the Government and the Company on May 21.
A contract aimed at developing a National Airport Plan to meet aviation needs for the next 20 years was signed beteen the Ministry of Communications and Works and a Canadian Consulting Group, comprising the Montreal Engineering Co. Ltd. and Kates, Peat, Marwick and Co on June 8.
A statue of the Rt. Excellent Norman W. Manley was unveiled by his widow, Mrs Edna Manley, at the northern end of Victoria Park on July 4.
President Jose Figueres of Costa Rica arrived in Jamaica on July 31.
All foreign currencies, including sterling, were placed under Exchange Control on September 6.
National Heroes Day was celebrated on October 18 with a military parade and the first investiture of Jamaican Awards at Up Park Camp, when the Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante received his Order of National Hero insignia from the Governor-General, Sir Clifford Campbell.
On December 28, the Jamaican dollar was revalued, thus keeping parity with the pound sterling (J$2=£1) following the devaluation of the United States dollar.