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Historical Dates in Jamaica

In 1962 on April 10, a general election was held. The Jamaica Labour Party won 26 seats, while the People’s National Party won the remaining 19 seats. The Government therefore passed from the P.N.P. to the J.L.P. and Sir Alexander Bustamante became Prime Minister.

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 has 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, G.C.M.G. 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 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.

Sir Alexander Bustamante was appointed a member of the Privy Council of England in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Jamaica’s first national hero, Marcus Garvey, was enshrined in State and Church ceremonies at King George VI Memorial Park, on November 15. His body was brought home from England where it had been buried.

In 1965 in January, Jamaica became a member of the United Nations Human Rights Commission for the first time.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 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, June 21, Dr. King was presented with the Keys to the City of Kingston at a civil 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 unveiled a statue of Paul Bogle in front of the Court House. It was announced that in honour 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 VI Memorial Park, on October 24, when a monument honouring Paul Bogle and George William Gordon was dedicated. The ceremony at the National Shrine followed a State Service in memorial to Bogle and Gordon held in the East Queen Street Baptist Church in Kingston.

In 1966 on April 21, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie 1, Emperor of Ethiopia, King of Kings, Conquering Lion of Judah, arrived in Jamaica for a three-day state visit. H.I.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 Doctors of Laws.

The Rt. Rev. Percival W. Gibson, C.B.E., D.D., the first Jamaican to be elevated to the office of Anglican Bishop of Jamaica, retired from that office in September.

Jamaica officially became a member of CARIFTA on August 1, 1968.

The Marcus Garvey Prize for Human Rights (5000 pounds), awarded posthumously to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was presented in Jamaica to his widow, Mrs. Coretta King, on December 10, 1968.

Norman Washington Manley, Leader of the Opposition, resigned as such, and later from the House of Representatives, during February, 1969. His son, Michael, was elected as P.N.P. leader, and hence of the Parliamentary Opposition, in his place.

The death of Normal Washington Manley occurred on September 2, 1969. He was buried in the National Shrine area of the King George VI Park on September 7, 1969.

The change-over of the decimal currency took place on September 8,1969.

The holiday for the Queen’s Birthday was discontinued, and National Heroes Day was established on October 20, 1969, 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 Statue of the Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamente, 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, 1970.

In September the House of Representatives decided to increase the number of seats in the House from 45 to 53.

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 2nd Prime Minister of Jamaica.

Sir Donald Sangster, 55, Jamaica’s 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 hemorrhage 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.

The opening of the Third World Netball Tournament at the National Stadium took place on December 30, 1970.

National Heroes’ Day was celebrated on October 18, 1971, with a military parade and first investiture of purely Jamaican Awards at Up -Park Camp, when the Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante received his Order of National Hero insignia from the Governor-General, Sir Clifford Campbell, K.C.V.0., G.C.M.G.

The first Test Match of New Zealand’s first tour of the West Indies ended on February 22, 1972, in a draw at Sabina Park. The Jamaican, Lawerence Rowe, set a record as the first batsman to score centuries in both innings on his test debut 214 and 100 not out.

Mr. Michael Manley was sworn in on March 2, 1972, as Jamaica’s fourth Prime Minister by the Governor-General, Sir Clifford Campbell, at King’s House.

The Centenary celebrations of Kingston at the capital of Jamaica opened on April 9, 1972, with Divine Service at Kingston Parish Church.

The Hon. Michael Manley became Jamaica’s second Prime Minister in office to get married when on June 11, 1972, 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.

On June 27, 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 Govenor-General at a colorful ceremony at King’s House in the presence of a large and distinguished gathering comprised of his wife and relatives, the Prime Minister, Hon. Michael Manley and Mrs. Beverly Manley, Lady Duffus, Sir Clifford and Lady Campbell, high dignitaries of Church, Military and State, Ministers of Government and their wives, M.H.Rs. and their wives, the Mayor of Kingston, Members of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation, Foreign Diplomats and their wives and a wide cross-section of citizens.

The Cabinet having decided that no British Titles should be accepted by any future Governor-General, the new incumbent in office was invested with the Jamaican Title “Order of the Nation”(O.N.) which is second only to that of the Order of National Hero.

In 1973 (May) the Government announced “Free Education. No Tuition fees were to be paid for Secondary Schools and the school services such as games, home economics, 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.

In July, 1973 Mr. Florizel Glasspole was sworn in as Governor-General of 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 1977 on August 6, Sir Alexander Bustamante died at the age of 94 years. He was the last surviving National hero of Jamaica.

In that same year Personal Travel Allowance was reduced to $50 per year.

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

On June 24, 1980, a plot was discovered by the Jamaica Defence Force to overthrow the Government by force. 24 JDF personnel and three civilians were detained. All those tried were eventually freed.

In April, 1981 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 Nester Marley, the Reggae Superstar was invested with the Order of Merit (O.M.).

On May 1, Montego Bay was declared a city.

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

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Xavier Murphy