Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
Seemingly perturbed by the persistence of the People's National Party (PNP) flock to refer to Norman Manley as the father of the nation, Opposition Senator Tom Tavares-Finson says the role of Alexander Bustamante in the shaping of the nation, should be rewarded with such accolades.
Tavares-Finson, in his contribution to the State of the Nation debate in the Senate on Friday, argues that "as a nation, we are entitled to write our own history and to create our own national myths on which to forge our own future".
"Too often I have heard younger members of both the House and the Senate (and not so younger ones who should know better), in their desire, perhaps to outdo the orthodoxy of the party line, refer to Norman Manley as 'Father of the nation, or 'father of Jamaican Independence', without reference to Sir Alexander Bustamante," Tavares-Finson said.
He added: "Norman Manley was a federalist who saw Jamaica's future as being intertwined within a West Indian federation. This position was not unpopular in those days, particularly among British Socialists, many of whom held posts within the colonial administration. The federal tool was, in fact, quite popular with them as part of the flight from the empire. Indeed many Jamaicans, including Sir Donald Sangster, shared Manley's view. So there is no disgrace in that position."
"However, the record is beyond discourse. It was Bustamante who proposed and fought for a referendum, the result of which took Jamaica out of the Federation and placed us on a road to Independence," Tavares-Finson said.
In the meantime, Tavares-Finson gave no credence to Opposi-tion Leader Andrew Holness' argument that Edward Seaga is the architect of Jamaica's independence.
Holness, who leads the JLP, which was formed by Bustamante, and of which Tavares-Finson is a member, claimed that Seaga "was the one who led the fight for the independence we now have.
"For a time, the independence we have now was not always the independence that was desired by all. For a time, the conventional wisdom was independence from colonial Britain and federated status under a federal union," Holness said.
Holness said that "Edward Seaga was the one who led the fight for the independence we now have.
"We must remind ourselves, when others who wanted a different version of sovereignty now seek to claim independence as their doing, that were it not for the agitating of Edward Seaga, today we would not be celebrating the nationhood that we now dearly cherish," Holness claimed.