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An important national emblem

Published:Thursday | April 19, 2012 | 12:00 AM


I was a member of the committee established by the House of Representatives for the design of the Jamaican flag and the National Anthem. The proposals submitted for the flag, in my view, were uninspiring. I objected to any design using red, white and blue. All ex-colonies of Britain had avoided flags which were similar to the Union Jack. I felt that the committee should move in a new direction.

Eventually, a design was submitted with gold, green and black horizontal stripes, black in the middle, gold on either side and green bands at the edge (MP 23/1962). This design was submitted to the House of Representatives to be approved, cleared and submitted to the Queen for assent.

Despite royal assent, however, there were notable similarities between the flags of Jamaica and recently independent Tanganyika which could cause confusion. This led to a change in design, but not of colours. The horizontal black bar would become diagonals and the four triangles created would be coloured two in green and two in gold (MP 28/1962).

The colours were interpreted as:

Black: hardships there are, but

Green: the land is green, and

Gold: the sun shineth.

Edward Seaga