JAMAICAN HISTORY 9
The period 1983-1993 saw a change in the economic climate of Jamaica, as first a world recession depleted Jamaica's fortunes, especially in bauxite, and a blossoming economic stability was near- ruined by the worst hurricane in Jamaica's history on September 12, 1988. A change of government from the Jamaica Labour Party to the Peoples National Party on February 9, 1989, did not alter the economic philosophy at work, for Mr. Michael Manley declared that the PNP had embraced the free market economic system with the private sector as the engine of development.
Accordingly, determined efforts were made to 'free up' the economy with the acceleration of privatization of Government hotels begun by the previous JLP Government, and the expansion of privatization to Government properties, sugar estates, and so on.
The Exchange Control Act was abolished, and exchange rates were left to respond to the fluctuations of the market. In the period 1983-85, the economy was hard put to remain stable, and massive loans were sought and obtained to keep it alive. However, from 1986 to 1988 the economy strengthened with the dollar remaining stable at JA$5.50 to US$1. In 1986, the PNP had defeated the JLP in Local Government Elections winning 128 seats to the JLP's 59 and taking over control of all Councils except for St. Thomas. The PNP repeated its dominance in Local Government Elections in 1990 when it won 136 seats to the JLP's 51 and kept control of all Councils, again with the exception of St. Thomas. On February 9, 1989, the PNP defeated the JLP with its slogan 'We put people first.' The PNP won 45 seats to the JLP's 15, but with the defection of Mr. Karl Samuda from the JLP to the PNP, the House division became 46 PNP and 14 JLP members. The PNP called early General Elections in 1993. Once again, the PNP defeated the JLP, this time by 52 seats to 8.
Prime Minister P.J.Patterson was returned to office and retained his Leadership of the Peoples National Party. In March 1992, Mr. Michael Manley resigned as Prime Minister and Leader of the PNP. He was succeeded by Mr. P. J. Patterson who defeated Miss Portia Simpson in a party run-off. General Elections to Parliament 1980, 1983, 1989, 1993.
Jamaica received much aid from the USA, Canada, UK and Europe and Japan during the period 1983 to 1993. Sir Florizel Glasspole retired as Governor-General in 1991, after having served for eighteen years since May 1973 during both PNP and JLP Governments. Sir Howard Cooke, former PNP Minister of Education, succeeded him. Sir Howard and his wife, Lady Cooke, have been following in the tradition set by the late Sir Clifford Campbell and Sir Florizel Glasspole and their distinguished spouses.
The International Monetary Fund continued in the 80s and 90s to influence Jamaica's economic policy because, to get international assistance and loans, the IMF 'certificate' was obligatory. In 1993, the Government declared that the three-year loan agreement with the IMF, which demanded quarterly tests on the economy, would be Jamaica's last loan from the IMF.
In 1983 Lawrence Rowe led a rebel West Indies Cricket team to play in apartheid South Africa. A Carl Stone Poll showed that 68 percent of those tested supported the team's decision to play there.
The Jamaican dollar moved from J$1.78 to U$$1, and to J$3.15 to US$1 by the end of the year.
In October 1983, Jamaica and Barbados accepted the call made by Dame Eugenia Charles of Dominica to send troops to Grenada to act as police in charge of prisoners taken by the US troops. The US had invaded Grenada to seize power from Communists in the Maurice Bishop Government who had overthrown Prime Minister Bishop and then assassinated him and some of his Ministers. The rebels were keeping the Governor General, Sir Paul Scoon, hostage in the Governor General's residence. Cubans were assisting the Grenadian Communists, an some died in the fighting following the invasion. There were no Jamaican casualties. Grenada returned to elective Governments in 1994.
The PNP under Mr. Michael Manley did not contest the elections held on December 15, and the governing JLP, won all 60 seats under Prime Minister Edward Seaga. This was the shortest JLP term in Jamaica's history (1980-83).
In 1984 the Gleaner celebrated 150 years of publication and, with the co-operation of the Minister of Education, Dr. Mavis Gilmour, CIDA, USAID, UNESCO and thirty-three private sector companies, launched the Primary Textbook Scheme which assured all children attending primary schools of a number of textbooks free of cost. The books were printed on newsprint.
The Auditor General's Report again referred to irregularities in Government Departments.
The Hon. Edwin Allen, O.J., the Minister of Education responsible for the New Deal in Education in 1965, died at age 78 in February. In August, the Centenary of the birth of the National Hero Alexander Bustamante, was celebrated at several functions.
In 1985 Canasol, a new drug developed from cannabis (or ganja), was introduced by the Hon. Professor Manley West and the Hon. Dr.Albert Lockhart for the treatment of glaucoma, an eye disease. Both were awarded the Order of Merit in 1987.
A World Bank project was launched for a pilot group of All Age Schools to be upgraded and for a common curriculum for the 12 to 15 age groups.
In 1986 in June there was a high toll of death and damage from flood rains. In July the PNP won the local Government elections.
The Anti-Litter Act of 1985 was implemented for the first time.
First degrees, Bachelor of Education, granted by the College of Arts, Science and Technology. Others to be awarded in Home Economics and Engineering.
In 1987 in February the Hon. Edna Manley, O.M., widow of National Hero, the Right Excellent Norman Manley, and mother of former Prime Minister Michael Manley and of Dr. Douglas Manley. She was given a State funeral and was buried beside her husband in the Shrine area of National Heroes Park.
In April, flood rains caused havoc in Clarendon, St. Catherine and Portland.
The Rt. Hon. Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Britain, visited Jamaica in July.
In August, Jamaica celebrated 'Jamaica 25', the 25th Anniversary of Jamaican Independence.
President Miguel de la Madrid of Mexico visited in August and President Dr. Auelt Masire of Botswana, Africa, in October.
The Centenary of the birth of National Hero Marcus Garvey was celebrated at several functions. His son Dr. Julius Garvey and Coretta Scott King, widow of famed Nobel Prize winner Martin Luther King, visited and shared in the celebrations.
Flood rains in April, killed one person and wreaked havoc in Clarendon, St. Catherine and Portland.
Over 150 AIDS cases reported.
In 1988 The Year of the Worker was celebrated. The PNP marked the 50th anniversary of its founding on September 18, 1938. Dr. Julius Nyerere, former President of Tanzania, was guest Speaker at a Founders Day Banquet in June.
A heavy earthquake hit Jamaica on May 16, the strongest in 30 years.
The Jamaica Record, a new daily newspaper, appeared in July.
A $50 Bill with portrait of Sam Sharpe (National Hero) was issued in July.
An agreed political code of conduct was signed by the JLP and the PNP in August and Mr. Justice Kerr was appointed Ombudsman for Political Affairs.
On September 12, Hurricane Gilbert devastated Jamaica. Hundreds of houses were destroyed and agriculture was severely affected. Forty-five people died as a result of the storm. Gilbert was the first hurricane in 37 years to hit Jamaica directly. It travelled the full length of the island from Morant Point to Negril Point, with winds of up to 265 km (160 miles) per hour. Help came to Jamaica from many countries, mobilized by the government. A one-month State of Emergency from Sept 14 to Oct 14 was observed in St. Thomas, St. Catherine, and the corporate area.
A Secondary and High School Book Rental Scheme was launched, with loan assistance from British Government. The first phase of plan to upgrade Secondary to High Schools was introduced, and some new Technical High Schools were established.
On November 11, an earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter Scale rocked the island.
The University Council of Jamaica Secretariat introduced. The Council has the power to approve or to reject tertiary education programmes and degrees.
In 1989, in February, the Peoples National Party led by Mr. Michael Manley defeated the governing Jamaica Labour Party led by the Prime Minister Edward Seaga by 45 seats to 15. A new cabinet took office.
Sir Florizel Glasspole, now eighty years of age, declared that in 1990 he would step down from being Governor General.
Sir Philip Sherlock, former UWI Vice Chancellor, was awarded the Order of Merit. The Hon. Theodore Sealy, former Editor of the Gleaner, was awarded the Order of Jamaica.
The new radio stations, KLAS, Irie FM, and Radio Waves began broadcasting.
The distinguished Hon. Carlton Alexander died on Labour Day May 23. He was an outstanding businessman and philanthropist, and Managing Director of Grace, Kennedy Ltd.
The dollar moved from J$5.50 to US$1 to J$6.50 to US$1.
The National Association of the Teachers of English recommended that dialect be used to support English in schools.
In 1990 "Hardships there were, but stability too" said the Gleaner in Summarizing the year. 51% of a Carl Stone poll opposed big salary increases to Cabinet Ministers and MPs. JLP Opposition was split by the dismissal of five MPs from the Opposition Shadow Cabinet. A Carl Stone Poll showed that 49% of the respondents opposed the dismissal.
Mr. Alistair McIntyre assumed the Vice-Chancellorship of the University of the West Indies, and Professor Leslie Robinson became Principal of the Mona Campus of the UWI.
Shabba Ranks became an international Dance Hall Reggae star.
In 1991 Nelson Mandela, the Leader of the African National Congress in South Africa visited Jamaica in July with his wife, Winnie. The two days of their visit were "emotionally charged" as the welcome was tumultuous, perhaps the most tumultuous since the visit of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1966. Mr. Mandela was given an honorary degree by the University of the West Indies.
Sir Florizel Glasspole, Governor General since 1973, retired and was succeeded by Sir Howard Cooke who took office on August 1. Sir Clifford Campbell, the first native Governor General (appointed November 1962), and the second Governor General after Sir Kenneth Blackburne (who was Governor General from August 1962 to November1962) died in September at age 90.
A General Consumption Tax was introduced replacing several taxes and duties. The rate was 10 percent of most things bought or professional services rendered. There were some exemptions for example, petrol and basic foodstuffs.
In 1992 the Rt. Hon. Mr. Michael Manley, PNP Leader and Prime Minister, resigned in March for reasons of health. The Rt. Hon. P.J Patterson who had defeated the Hon. Portia Simpson for the succession to Mr. Manley as PNP Leader in an election conducted at the National Arena succeeded him.
The Jamaica Record ceased publication in July, and the Jamaica Herald began publication in July, thus becoming the country's third daily the others being the Daily Gleaner and the Star.
Power 106, a new independent radio station, began broadcasting.
In 1993 Merlene Ottey was crowned "Queen of Athletics" on winning The gold medal at Stuttgart, Germany, in August at the World Games. The Government named her Special Envoy.
Sugar factories were privatized in this year, following the earlier privatization of the Marcus Garvey Building, the Wyndham Hotel, the National Commercial Bank and several other Government properties.
Lisa Hanna won the Miss World Beauty crown in South Africa. She became the third Jamaican to win the Miss World Crown, the others being Joan Crawford in 1963 and Cindy Breakspeare in 1976.
Tourism became the top foreign exchange earner, bringing US $953 million into the economy.
Free education was replaced by cost-sharing education at the secondary level.
A new television station, CVM TV, began operating in 1993.
The Observer newspaper began as a weekly in late 1992.
Pope John Paul II visited Jamaica in August.
Reform of secondary education, R.O.S.E., began, funded by the World Bank.
LOVE FM, a religious radio station, began broadcasting.