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The Classics

Same simple Michael

Published:Friday | June 2, 2023 | 7:23 AM
Mr Michael Manley was seen addressing an estimated crowd of 50,000 persons at a Civic Reception held for him on Great Georges Street, Savanna-la-Mar on last Thursday night, June 8, 1972.

Prime Minister Michael Manley was quick to remind citizens of the West that he was the same person who they had grown to know and trust over the years. He sought to assure them that his title of Prime Minister would now allow him to be better able to help them.

Published Sunday June 11, 1972

Mayoral status granted to Savanna-la-Mar

Gleaner Western Bureau

AN ESTIMATED 50,000 persons assembled on Great Georges Street in Savanna-la-Mar on Thursday night to hear of the granting by the Government of mayoral status to the city of Savana-la-Mar from the Local Government Minister, Hon. Rose Leon.

Leon was speaking at the civic reception for the Prime Minister, the Hon. Michael Manley. She told the vast throng that the prime minister had directed her to announce the decision to create a mayor for Savana-la-Mar.

She said the prime minister wished her to state that he and his Government felt that the people of Westmoreland were great people who deserved the best and who should enjoy the same rights and privileges as other cities with their mayors.

Following the minister of local government, the council’s secretary Mrs R. Buchanan, read an illuminated address to the prime minister from the parish council on behalf of the people of the parish in which an eight-point programme of requirements was set out.


At the outset, the parish council chairman, Councillor Stennett Young, who presided at the ceremony, said, among other things, that for the past ten years since Independence, the Westmoreland Parish Council had been inviting prime ministers of Jamaica in their official capacity to this parish without success.

“An invitation was issued to you, sir, our present prime minister, by a resolution from this council two months ago,” he said: “You accepted the invitation and decided that tonight should be your official visit, and here we are gathered to welcome you.

“We would like to assure, you, sir, that your visit to the parish, and in particular to the city of Savana-la-Mar, is received with great enthusiasm.

“We should like to inform you that we had been eating the crumbs which fall from the master’s table, but thank God, we now sit with the master.

“Knowing you as we do, we are sure that you are going to unlock the chest, thereby enabling us to get a fair share from the proverbial bread basket because for our shame, we should get double.

“When the honourable prime minister fixed his date to visit the parish, the honourable minister of local government was invited by a resolution from the council to be the host minister, and we are glad that she kindly consented.”


The prime minister expressed appreciation for the very warm reception that he had received and said that he was sure that the word was “love”.

He said that he was a plain and humble man. He remembered the days when he was plain Michael to them, and he wanted to remain the same Michael when he heard everyone shouting for prime minister. He wondered if he was the same Michael.

He said there was a special place in his heart for the past 19 years for the people of Westmoreland. He had watched the people suffer and he thanked God that he was now provided with a chance to work with them towards their betterment. He said that he had noted the many problems embodied in the civic address read by the secretary.

Mr Manley placed emphasis on the Negril Development. He said that that project represented a dream of his father, the late Rt. Hon. Norman Washington Manley, and he now planned to make that dream of 12 years ago come true.

He said that he had spent the greater portion of Thursday surveying Negril and its environs, and his survey included a trip by helicopter.

Manley said that he was in consultation with the new Negril Land Authority with a view to getting the development off the ground immediately. He said that it was agreed that there were certain things that needed to be done right away, and he had given instructions that they be done.

The prime minister said that Negril would have to be developed to the benefit of everyone.

In the past, he said it was noticed that when plans of development were prepared, the emphasis was to provide work for men while women were always left out of the scheme of things. That, he said, would not be the case at Negril.

Mr Manley said that a comprehensive plan was to be prepared involving tourism, the agriculture industry, skills training, and that all the relevant ministries should be involved.

The prime minister emphasised that the time had come to do away with party frictions and that every sector of the community should get together and work for the development of the country, remembering the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.

Other speakers included the Hon. O.H. Hudson, custos of Westmoreland; the Rev Mr Golding, who said prayers; and Mr Walter Cheddisingh, M.P., who proposed the vote of thanks.

Other persons on the platform with the prime minister and Mrs Leon were Resident Magistrate Mr A.F. Ingram; Mr Jim Thompson M.P. and Mrs Thompson; Mr Owen Sinclair and Mrs Sinclair; Mr Derrick Rochester, M.P.; Senator Ben Clare; Councillors Laing, Ottey, Crooks, Clarke, Stone; Mr S.L. Bravo; Mrs Leonie Lathan; Mr Neville Codner; Dr J.N. Grant-White and her husband; Mr and Mrs V. McDonald; Mr F. O’Mealey, whose little daughter presented Mrs Leon with a basket of flowers.

The Jamaica Regiment Band was in attendance.

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