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It happened this week in politics 1989

Published:Tuesday | February 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Sir Florizel Glasspole
Portia Simpson
Edward Seaga
Portia Simpson Miiler
Bruce Golding
Michael Manley casting his ballot.
Edward Seada casting his ballot.
Bruce Golding
Michael Manley (left) and Edward Seaga.
Michael Manley greets supporters.



Sunday, February 5


An appeal for a peaceful election, a condemnation of political violence, and a declaration that no one who is entitled to vote should be prevented from voting on election day was made by Governor General Sir Florizel Glasspole. Broadcasting to the nation at the start of election week, Sir Florizel said it was a God-`given right for every Jamaican 18 years and over, who has the right to vote, if registered, to go out and vote. "No one must be intimidated before election day. The people who are intending to vote must be allowed to go freely to the polls."

"Violence could never suit a party that is heading for what it believes to be a huge victory, and so it has not been a part of the agenda of the People's National Party," said Michael Manley, president of the party. Manley, speaking at a press conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, said the PNP had come across what he termed "intelligence" and picked up one or two things which had given some cause for concern. The document contained information which the PNP said indicated a wish to conduct bogus voting.

The Jamaica Labour Party says it is concerned at the escalation of violence in the areas revealed to the JLP as part of a PNP plot to unleash violence in seats they consider marginal. A report issued by the party said that the latest incident of this political violence took place in South East Clarendon, the constituency of Deputy Prime Minister Hugh Shearer, when a bus carrying JLP supporters on the highway from Halse Hall to Hayes was attacked with missiles. Three supporters were injured and taken to the Lionel Town Hospital. "This latest incident of violence against JLP supporters brings to 58 the cases of political violence unleashed by PNP terrorists against JLP supporters," the party statement said.


Monday, February 6


Minister of National Security Errol Anderson appealed for public cooperation with the security forces to support their efforts to maintain peace during the election. He also called on members of the security forces to practise restraint and objectivity in dealing with the public. He said certain incidents of undue harassment and detention of persons by members of the security forces have come to his attention in recent times, and such behaviour could not be condoned.


Tuesday, February 7


Prime Minister Edward Seaga said last night that the JLP planned to further reduce unemployment to 15 per cent by creating some 200,000 jobs during the next five years. Seaga made the announcement in a broadcast to the nation, as the leaders of both political parties wound up their campaigning in the Corporate Area as a prelude to the general election. He said his government had already implemented economic policies which had created 120,000 jobs, putting the unemployment figure at 18.2 per cent, matching the record of the lowest rate in our history. He stated that every time the PNP government was in power the unemployment rate increased, the last time to a record high.

Michael Manley, president of the People's National Party, charged that the JLP plans to use money to bribe presiding officers assigned to work at polling stations on election day. Manley made this disclosure last night at a meeting in Harbour View, saying information reaching the party was that the JLP has $2 million to bribe election officers. But, he said, "officials within the ruling party catch them fraid" because two presiding officers who said they were given $400 each leaked the plan to the PNP. Manley warned that the party would work to prevent any attempt at bogus voting in the election.

Several clergymen and clergywomen from the Corporate Area and St Catherine offered to work as poll clerks, couriers, presiding officers and supervisors in the constituencies they serve as priests, or in troubled constituencies, to which they would be assigned by Noel Lee, director of elections. About 200 church leaders gathered at the Bethel Baptist Church hall in Halfway Tree to discuss with Lee ways in which the Church could become actively involved in the election process on election day.

The Electoral Office has confirmed that the car of a returning officer was broken into and 50 ballots stolen in Spanish Town. These will be replaced by supplementary ballots. Bruce Golding, chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party, charged that several men visited the office of the returning officer and boisterously demanded that they be given the ballot papers. He said he reported the matter to Prof Gladstone Mills, chairman of the Electoral Advisory Committee, and to Noel Lee, director of elections, and urged them to take every possible precaution to ensure that the stolen ballots were not stuffed into ballot boxes.

PNP confidence for winning the general election was further boosted with the large number of supporters who followed party leader Michael Manley and his team through the streets of urban communities. PNP supporters said they were ready "to divest Eddie" to vote out the JLP government. Prime Minister Edward Seaga, on the other hand, was urging his supporters "to spread out" and vote him in again. On the final day of campaigning, thousands of people in the urban areas turned out to greet PNP candidates, headed by Manley, during a tour of Corporate Area constituencies.


Wednesday, February 8


The Jamaica Labour Party called on Police Commissioner Herman Ricketts to probe immediately what it said was the unlawful behaviour of some security forces personnel and to take steps to control their behaviour. The JLP said the security personnel complained of were exceeding the legitimate authority with politically motivated shootings and other acts of violence. Also, it said its supporters continued to be the victims of political violence as once again violence flared in Kingston Central.


Thursday, February 9


Jamaicans voted to elect a government in the llth general election since Universal Adult Suffrage was granted in 1944, and the seventh since Jamaica gained Independence from Britain on August 6, 1962. There were 1,089,299 persons on the voters' list and voting took place at more than 6,000 polling stations in the 60 constituencies islandwide. The polls opened at 7 a.m. and closed at 5 p.m. Voters chose from 124 candidates 60 each for the Jamaica Labour Party and the People's National Party, and four independents who were nominated on January 23.

The People's National Party swept back to power with a count, at press time, of 44 seats won in the 60-seat House of Representatives. Former Prime Minister Michael Manley led the party to victory, winning his seat in East Kingston and Port Royal by a wide margin. Edward Seaga, the outgoing prime minister, won his seat in Kingston West by an equally wide margin, but his party, the Jamaica Labour Party, could only muster 16 seats, as the PNP made a wide sweep of the polls.

JLP leader, Prime Minister Edward Seaga, apologised to a CNN crew for pushing the cameraman and using abusive language to him, blaming it on frustration. Barbadian-born cameraman Rudy Marshall, who lives in the United States, was up close filming Seaga who was in earnest conversation with an election official in his problem-plagued Kingston West constituency. Seaga explained to journalists that he was in a sensitive position trying to quell an incident between two presiding officers when he turned around and saw a cameraman whom he did not recognise.

Portia Simpson, a vice-president of the PNP, and now MP for St Andrew South West, said she is ready to have a portfolio in the Government of the PNP. A beaming Simpson, after hearing the preliminary results of her election, dismissed the view being expressed in some quarters that she may not be Cabinet material. "I am capable of managing any position. If he (Michael Manley) gives me a position, I will put them (the doubtful) to shame. I can manage any area. Look at my constituency. I have not only kept it together for the party, but I was also working to keep the party together in the lean years," she said.


Friday, February 10


Prime Minister-designate Michael Manley said he would consider a bipartisan approach to problems of crime, security and drug trafficking. Asked whether he would consider an amnesty to bring in the illegal guns, Manley replied, "We have been thinking very carefully about it, but you don't do a thing like that unless you can have some success." He said the bringing in of guns was one of the main things he was going to speak about with Edward Seaga. He said that for such an amnesty to succeed, the two parties and the two political leaders would have to get involved and call in the guns.

The United States State Department congratulated Michael Manley on the victory of his party in national elections and expressed hope that his return to power will not mean a strain on relations. When Manley headed the government between 1972 and 1980, relations with Washington soured partly because of Jamaica's close ties to Cuba. But State Department spokesman Charles Redman noted that Manley had said that in contrast to his earlier period in office, he envisions no large Cuban presence or influence on the island.

The Jamaica Labour Party, in the wake of its defeat at the polls, made arrangements for legal representation at the recounting of ballots in a number of seats which were marginally lost in the preliminary count. The JLP identified these seats as: Southern Trelawny, East Rural St Andrew, West Rural St Andrew, Western Portland, South East St Mary, East Central St James, Eastern and Western Hanover, North East Manchester, North West Clarendon, and Southern St Catherine. The party noted that so far 16 seats were already declared in its favour.