Thu | Sep 21, 2017

It happened this week in 1967

Published:Wednesday | February 24, 2016 | 2:02 AM
Clifford Campbell
Dudley Thompson
Hopeton Caven
Michael Manley
Donald Sangster
Donald Sangster
Alexander Bustamante
Alexander Bustamante
Norman Manley
Norman Manley
A. Gordon Langdon
David Smith
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Sunday, February 19

 

Two persons were admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds as a result of political violence. Combined military and police patrol stopped two disturbances, one between rival People's National Party (PNP) and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) factions on Regent Street.

Two persons were arrested in connection with another disturbance near the JLP constituency headquarters on Wellington Street. Roadblocks at strategic points to West Kingston were manned by soldiers and police who searched vehicles and persons caught in the blocks. The roadblocks were intended to haul in firearms and restrict the movement of gunmen in the area.

 

Monday, February 20

 

Chief of Staff of the Jamaican Defence Force, Brigadier David Smith; Police Commissioner Gordon Langdon; and senior members of their staffs worked late at the Devon House Control Centre, finalising plans for their operations for election day. A press release on military activities said: "Jamaica Defence Force patrols and joint military/police roadblocks have been maintained in West Kingston and South West St Andrew."

Up and down the island candidates from both political party were putting the finishing touches to their election campaigns, and police and military forces were getting into place to deal with any disorder that might happen; and at the Chief Electoral Office, the staff was dealing with last-minute complaints. In every constituency, but six, the election is a straight fight between candidates of the Jamaica Labour Party and of the People's National Party, but there are sufficient candidates of other parties, or standing as independents, to make them a factor to be reckoned with should the election be a close race between the two major parties.

 

Tuesday, February 21

 

Across Jamaica, hundreds of thousands of persons polled their votes to decide which political party should form the government of Jamaica for the next five years. If the Jamaica Labour Party - the ruling party - gets majority votes, it will continue in office but with a new prime minister, unofficially agreed to be Donald Sangster. If the People's National Party gets the majority vote, it will form a new government and the prime minister will be Norman Manley.

The Jamaica Labour Party won Jamaica's 6th general election with 33 seats, while the People's National Party won 20, and bells were rung all over the island. Yet, fewer than 5,000 votes separated the parties islandwide. This was Jamaica's first general election since it gained Independence in 1962, and it was the first time that the Jamaica Labour Party was led in the field by any person other than Sir Alexander Bustamante, the outgoing prime minister. The leader, this time, was acting Prime Minister Donald Sangster.

No minister of government or parliamentary secretary lost a seat in the election. Sangster won comfortably in North Central Clarendon and Opposition Leader Norman Manley won easily in East Central St Andrew. Michael Manley, the younger son of Norman, won his seat in Central Kingston by a mere handful of votes.

"I am very happy with the results of the election. I had promised Sir Alexander that I would give him a birthday present and a victory for the Jamaica Labour Party, and I have just been to Jamaica House and carried it to him," Sangster declared. "Secondly, I would like to thank all the voters who supported the Jamaica Labour Party, we thank all the people for their support of our party. I would like to congratulate all the candidates who won on both sides - and to sympathise with those who lost - on both sides and say to them 'well, there is always a next time'," Sangster continued.

Leader of the Opposition Norman Manley in a broadcast said: "This is a democratic country and one has to accept the decision of the voters, but I am bound to say that it is hard to accept the results as reflecting the meaning of the people when 250,000 people were not able to vote about a third of the total electorate and in the urban area, particularly in the Corporate Area, less than one half of the PNP were allowed to vote. As I say, it is democracy so I accept the results, but it is a result which is not, in my opinion, actually the wish of Jamaica at this time, not in accordance with what I have seen in every part of Jamaica where I travelled over the last six weeks, and that is what I wish to say at this time."

 

Wednesday, February 22

 

Donald Sangster, first deputy leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, was sworn in as the second prime minister of Jamaica at King's House.

Sangster, who led the Jamaica Labour Party to a 33 to 20-seat victory over the People's National Party in the general election, was summoned to King's House by Governor General Sir Clifford Campbell. He was handed his instruments of appointment and then took the oath of office as Jamaica's new prime minister. Sir Alexander was informed of the governor general's intention in an official communication from King's House.

Final count in the election began. The preliminary counts have confirmed the reports of election night that the Jamaica Labour Party had won 33 of the 53 constituencies, and the People's National Party 20. The final counts in the marginal seats, however, proved to be interesting. In Central Kingston, with 32 of 97 boxes counted, E.K. Powell of the JLP picked up 25 more votes against Michael Manley of the PNP, who was declared winner on the preliminary count with a majority of 68. JLP circles are hoping that the other 65 boxes will give Powell victory. In Eastern Portland, the JLP's Clement Afflick lost to the PNP's Ken Wright by 67 votes Afflick scored an increase of 13 votes with 90 boxes to count. Manley's lead is now down to 43 and Wright's to 54.

A marked decrease in political violence following the general election was reported by the Devon House Joint Military Police Control. Apart from a serious clash between rival PNP and JLP factions in South West St Andrew, which was quelled by soldiers and police, this area and West Kingston were said to be unusually quiet. In these two constituencies the seats of violence leading up to the election jubilant JLP supporters paraded at various times of the day with effigies of the two defeated PNP candidates, Dudley Thompson and Hopeton Caven, celebrating the JLP victory. In some cases the effigies were burnt. The general feeling indicated a relief that the election was over. Tension which had mounted steadily during the final days leading up to polling subsided dramatically.

 

Thursday, February 24

 

Five persons were arrested by the Denham Town police after supporters at the PNP West St Andrew constituency headquarters locked in three policemen who had entered the premises in search of a wanted man. The policemen were freed after a corporal escaped over a fence and summoned police and military reinforcement. Before the reinforcement arrived, the policemen were abused and assaulted, Denham Town police said. The five were released on bail.

 

Friday, February 25

 

Forty-three of the island's 53 constituencies had registered final counts, according to information reaching the Chief Electoral Office. In one of the two marginal seats on the preliminary count, the final count has registered a victory for Kenneth Wright of the People's National Party in East Portland. He won by 68 votes. In Central Kingston, where Michael Manley led the JLP's E.K. Powell by 68 votes, on the preliminary count, the position last night was not very clear with two boxes to go two controversial boxes, one without ballots and one with ballots without the presiding officer's signature the position was that Manley led Powell by nine votes, but had a preponderance of votes in the two controversial boxes. Evidence in accordance with the electoral law has been taken from the presiding officers and it appears that ignorance was the cause the errors. The chief electoral officer said that it proposed to accept the ballots.

 

Saturday, February 26

 

Michael Manley won the Central Kingston seat with a majority of 43 votes over his JLP rival E. K. Powell when the final votes were counted. Manley had led Powell by 68 votes on the preliminary count. The final tally reached at the Kingston Senior School counting centre are: Manley (PNP) 4,367; Powell (JLP) 4,324; rejected 110; total votes 8,801.