The period 1972-1983 may be characterized as the period of the first full-scale ideological battle the country has ever seen. In 1974, the Peoples National Party declared that "Democratic Socialism" was the new political philosophy for Jamaica. This was dubbed "Communism" by some, partly because of the leader's close friendship with Fidel Castro of Cuba and partly because the P.N.P. was covertly supported by the Workers' Party of Jamaica (a Communist Party). In 1979, the Jamaica Labour Party declared itself a "Social Democratic Party" in contradistinction to the P.N.P.

The P.N.P. Government decided that it should continue efforts to finalize a standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund in March of 1980 and was bitterly criticized for this. Extreme violence in which modern automatic weapons were used and hundreds of people slain marked the run-up to the General Elections of 1980.

The Jamaica Labour Party under its banner of Nationalism swept the polls of the 1980 Election, winning 51 seats to the PNP's 9 seats. The country settled down to a clear accommodation with the United States of America from which it received much financial aid. What follows is a yearly outline of this time period.

In 1972 Parliament was dissolved on February 5 and General Elections were called for February 29. The PNP government was returned to office with 37 seats as against 16 for the JLP in opposition.

    The first Test Match of New Zealand's first tour of the West Indies ended on February 22 in a draw at Sabina Park. The Jamaican Lawrence Rowe set a record as the first batsman to score centuries in both innings on his Test debut: 214 and 100 not out.

    The Governor-General, Sir Clifford Campbell swore in Mr. Michael Manley on March 2 as Jamaica's fourth Prime Minister, at King's House. The Hon. Robert Lightbourne, O.J., resigned from the Jamaica Labour Party on March 5, to sit as an independent member in the House of Representatives.

    Thirteen P.N.P. Senators were named to the Senate on March 17: eight Opposition Senators were named on March 18.

    The Opposition boycotted the Opening of Parliament at Gordon House on March 21.

    The Centenary celebrations of the City of Kingston as the capital of Jamaica opened on April 9, with Divine Service at Kingston Parish Church.

    In April there was a tree-planting ceremony. The Governor-General, the Prime Minister and the Mayor of Kingston planted trees.

    A National Bauxite Commission, under the chairmanship of Mr. Meyer Matalon, was set up on April 19 to review the conditions of Jamaica's bauxite/alumina industry.

    The Rt. Rev. Herbert DaCosta Edmondson, M.A., B.D., was consecrated Bishop Suffragan of Mandeville at St. James Cathedral, Spanish Town, on April 25.

    The newly established Revenue Court held its first session at Camp Road on May 18.

    The Hon. Michael Manley became Jamaica's second Prime Minister in office to get married when, on June 11, he took as his bride Miss Beverly Anderson, 27-year-old radio and television personality, in a private ceremony performed by the Rev. Ashley A. Smith at the residence of Mr. Manley's mother, Mrs. Edna Manley.

    A Jamaican Government Trade Mission, led by Mr. Carlton Alexander, left on June 18 on a visit to European and Asian states, including Russia and the People's Republic of China.

    On June 27, Jamaica floated her dollar to retain its existing parity with the pound sterling.

In 1973, on February 28, Sir Clifford Campbell, K.C.V.O., G.C.M.G., retired from the office of Governor-General. Sir Herbert Duffus, Chief Justice, was appointed to act as Governor-General, and he and Lady Duffus took up residence at King's House.

    In May, the Government announced Free Education. No tuition fees were to be paid in government Secondary Schools and school services such as games, home economics, and drama classes would be free of cost as from September 1974. There was to be free tuition for all Jamaicans admitted to the University of the West Indies.

    On June 1, the Hon. Florizel A. Glasspole, C.D., Minister of Education, resigned as Member of Parliament for East Kingston in preparation for being sworn in as Governor-General.

    In June, Jamaica received US$29 million in International Monetary Fund (IMF) aid.

    The Hon. Eli Matalon resigned on June 8 as Minister of State for Education to contest the by-election in East Kingston to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of the Hon. F. A. Glasspole.

    On June 27, the Hon. Florizel A. Glasspole, C.D., was sworn in as Governor-General of Jamaica (the third since Jamaica became independent in 1962) by Sir Herbert Duffus, acting Governor-General at a colourful ceremony at King's House in the presence of a large and distinguished gathering. Mr. Matalon won the by-election held on July 3 and was sworn in as Minister of Education, on July 5.

In 1974 the Hon. Chief Leabus Johnothan, Prime Minister of Lesotho paid a five-day state visit to Jamaica in May.

    In June a levy imposed a higher royalty for bauxite mined in Jamaica on the bauxite companies. The royalties were to increase in two stages to 8% by 1976/77.

    On June 27, the bauxite companies paid a million dollars to the government of Jamaica.

    On September 14, President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania paid a four-day official visit to Jamaica.

    In November, Democratic Socialism was formally declared to be the new political philosophy of Jamaica.

In 1975, on January 3, Miss Carmen Paris was appointed Ambassador to France. She was the first woman to be Appointed Ambassador by Jamaica.

    In October, Nanny of the Maroons and Samuel Sharpe were declared National Heroes, bringing the number of Jamaican National Heroes to seven. Charles Square in Montego Bay was named Sam Sharpe Square after the National Hero.

    In November an amendment to the Jamaica Constitution was passed to allow a maximum of four Cabinet Ministers to be appointed from the Senate.

In 1976 a State of Emergency (the second in post-Independence Jamaica, the first having been in 1966) was declared and 500 people were detained. The People's National Party won the General Elections with 47 seats as against 13 for the JLP.

In 1977, the Personal Travel Allowance was reduced to $50 per year.

    In February, the Government bought some of the mining assets in the local Kaiser Bauxite Company. In April, Government acquired some of the assets of Reynolds Jamaica Limited at a cost of US$7.5 million.

    In May the post of Ombudsman was established for the first time.

    On August 6, Sir Alexander Bustamante died at the age of 94. He was the last surviving National Hero of Jamaica.

    On October 18, Fidel Castro, President of Cuba paid a six day official visit to Jamaica.

In 1978 the franchise was extended to include eighteen year olds by the Law Reform (Age of Majority) Act. The Government accepted an Opposition Proposal to set up an Electoral Commission to be entrenched in due course in the Constitution. The Electoral Committee was established to deal with elections and constitutional boundaries. The Committee consists of an Independent Chairman, two Government representatives, two Opposition representatives and two other Independent members.

    Mr. Vivian Blake, Q.C., PNP M.P for NorthEastern St. Ann, resigned in August 1978.

    Percy Hayles who won the Commonwealth Lightweight Boxing Championship in 1968 by defeating Allotey of Ghana, in Ghana, was killed in a motor car accident on August 24.

    Air Jamaica increased its revenues by 54.5%. The Company's profit of $9.5 million was 9.8% of revenues.

In 1979, in December, the Jamaica Labour Party declared itself to be a Social Democratic Party.

In 1980, on March 24, the Government decided to discontinue efforts to finalize a standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

    On April 1, the Government sought to re-schedule a national debt of US$186 million.

    On May 21, a fire at the Eventide Home for the Aged claimed the lives of 153 old women.

    On June 24, a plot was discovered by the Jamaica Force to overthrow the Government by force. Twenty-four JDF personnel and three civilians were detained. All those tried were eventually freed.

    In July, it was estimated that there had been 223 violent deaths (at the hands of gunmen) in the first six months of 1980. Eleven members of the Security Forces were killed by gunmen and sixty-three civilians killed violently by other means.

    Hurricane Allen passed by the island and did damage estimated at J$155.5 million mainly in agriculture and the tourist industry on the north coast.

    In October the Jamaica Labour Party swept the polls in the General Elections, winning 51 seats as against 9 seats for the PNP.

In 1981, in March, the Jamaica Labour Party swept the local government elections.

    In April, the Governor General, Mr. Florizel Glasspole, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and was designated The Most Honourable Sir Florizel Glasspole G.C.M.G., O.N.

    On April 20, Robert Nesta Marley, the Reggae Superstar, was invested with the Order of Merit (O.M.).

    In April, the Government negotiated an IMF loan of $698 million with positive and flexible terms.

    Montego Bay was declared a city on May 1.

    On May 11, Robert Nesta Marley died in Miami after a long illness.

    On June 30, Queen Elizabeth appointed Prime Minister Edward Seaga to the British Privy Council. He is to be addressed as "The Right Honourable".

    On August 23, Jamaica was chosen as the Headquarters of the Seabed Authority.

    On October 23, Jamaica broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba.

In 1982, in February, Lady Bustamante was invested with the Order of Jamaica.

    On April 7, the President of the United States of America, Mr. Ronald Reagan, and his wife, came to Jamaica on a State Visit. They departed on April 8.

    On April 11, the President of Germany, Mr. Karl Carstens, visited Jamaica.

    The President of Venezuela, Mr. Louis Herrerra Campin, visited Jamaica on August 2.

In 1983, on February 13, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11, and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh came on a visit to Jamaica.

    On February 15, the Interim Headquarters of the International Seabed Authority was officially opened by Her Majesty.

    In November, the Government announced new elections following a devaluation of the dollar from $1.78 to $3.15 to US$1. In response to an Opposition criticism of its actions and a call for the resignation of the Minister of Finance, the JLP Government on November 26 announced new elections to be held on December 15. The Opposition PNP countered that the Government had broken its word not to hold elections until a new electoral list was ready, and decided not to participate. In the elections, 54 JLP candidates were returned unopposed and six others won seats contested by independents and minor parties. For the first time in Jamaica's history, all sixty seats in Parliament were held by members of the same party.