Norman Washington Manley
Mr. Norman Washington Manley the man:
Mr. Norman Washington Manley was born July 4, 1893. He was the son of a former slave. He was born in Roxborough Jamaica in the parish of Manchester. Mr. Manley was a very smart young man and the recipient of the prestigious Rhode Scholarship to the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Mr. Manley was a soldier in the First World War for the Royal Field Artillery and an athlete. He made the most with the Rhodes Scholarships which is considered the “world most prestigious scholarship”, and became one of Jamaica’s leading attorneys in the 1920s. He was well respected by the people as a barrister/lawyer.
Mr. Norman Washington Manley for the people and how he directly relates to Robin & Maxie (AjamaicaExperience)
As the son of a former slave, Mr. Manley identified himself with the poor social and economic conditions the workers faced. He was determined to change the culture that would benefit people’s lives in a positive way. Mr. Norman Manley founded “Jamaica Welfare Limited” to help with the development of farming, land preparation and villagers helping themselves. Mr. Manley led the initiatives by appointing Thom Girvan to reach out to the people and find out their needs. The objectives were to see what services could be provided to help the people help themselves. Mr. Girvan met with some folks in the parish of St. Ann and organized the Walkerswood Pioneer Club. As a result of the Pioneer Club, Robin & I directly benefited through my grandfather Peter Hinds who was a member of the Pioneer Club. Our grandfather, Mr. Peter Hinds and another member of the club Mr. Alton Henry were beneficiaries of Mr. Manley’s vision and his willingness to help the people of Jamaica. Through Mr. Manley’s initiatives and Mr. Girvan’s work, the government lease 800 acres of land to members of the Pioneer Club in Lucky Hill, St. Mary. The Pioneer Club was given a 99-years lease. The land was setup as the “Lucky Hill Cooperative Farm”
Mr. Manley fighting for the people.
During the labor strikes in 1938, Mr. Manley donated time to help the people fight for their rights. Mr. Manley founded the People’s National Party in September of the same year and was elected president. There were ongoing labor strikes all across Jamaica. Mr. Manley was a supporter of the trade union workers movement. This movement was fighting for better working conditions for laborers led by his cousin Sir Alexander Bustamante. Sir Bustamante got locked up and sent to jail multiple times because of his roles with the unions. Mr. Manley represented Mr. Bustermante as his lawyer and as a mediator to the government and the people to help solve the problems with strikes happening around the island.
Norman Manley and Alexander Bustamante working together
Meanwhile, Mr. Manley, Sir. Bustamante & his party led the negotiation in universal adult suffrage which would give people the right to vote. They drafted documents for the Governor and representative under the British rule advocating the rights of the people. Mr. Manley was a well respected barrister by the government and the people. The universal adult suffrage was passed in 1944. This was a huge victory for the people of Jamaica, now they could vote for their leaders and improve their lives. The country was still ruled by the British but it was the first step towards independence.
After the passing of the universal adult suffrage, the first election was held and Sir. Bustamante won the election. He held office on successive wins which span ten years until 1955. This process of loosing in two terms of election was OK with Mr. Manley it was the people’s decision. This was the idea behind universal adult suffrage the people had a voice on who they wanted to lead the country. In 1955, the PNP won the election. Mr. Manley was elected as Jamaica’s second “Chief Minister”, from 1955 to 1962.
Norman Manley and the “Federation of the West Indies”
During Mr. Manley’s leadership, the Federation of the West Indies was formed. The Federation as it was called was a group of islands coming together to create a political unit to separate themselves from Britain. Mr. Manley was on the committee and working with the various islands. Sir Bustamante from the opposition Jamaica Labour Party did not like the idea that the head office of the federation was in Trinidad. He felt Trinidad was too far away and they would not have the best interest of Jamaica. Sir Bustamante vowed that when his party returned to power, he would pull Jamaica from the Federation.
Mr. Manley, being the ultimate ambassador, decided to take the decision to the people and let them vote on the direction of the country. He led the party in the universal adult suffrage and was committed to democracy. The vote was against Jamaica’s continued membership in the Federation. Mr. Normal Manley arranged to withdraw Jamaica from the union which was done successfully. The next step was to setup a joint committee to create a constitution to gain Jamaica’s independence separately from Britain as opposed to with the union. Mr. Manley was chairman of the committee and led the negotiation with Britain to gain Jamaica’s independence. Once Jamaica was independent of Britain, Jamaica held an election and the Jamaica Labour Party won the election. In his final years of service, Mr. Norman Manley helped to establish the role of parliament. Mr. Manley made his last public address telling the people he was satisfied with his accomplishments in helping Jamaica to gain independence. He said, “Mission accomplish”
Mr. Manley getting Jamaica highest honor.
Mr. Norman Manley, was given Jamaica’s most distinguished and highest honor, by the government in 1969. He was given the “Order of National Hero” and became one of Jamaica’s seven National Heroes. He and Sir Alexander Bustamante are recognized as the “Founding Fathers” of Jamaica and the Independence which occurred on August 6, 1962. Jamaica currently has seven National Heroes.
Mr. Norman Manley will always be remembered as a man of principle who is known for his integrity. He was a Rhodes Scholar, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. His works in Jamaica reflected the needs and advancement of his people. He was an advocate for the people. Throughout his political and private professional career since returning to Jamaica, he demonstrated the kind of courage and leadership you want in your leaders. His ideology was to improve the social and economic conditions for poor people.
Mr. Norman Washington Manley the voice of the People.
His focus was to ensure the people had a voice. The people stood by him in acknowledgement of his commitments and sacrifice and when they vote against him, he had the highest respect for their decisions. Mr. Norman Washington Manley was a visionary and had high hopes for Jamaica. He fought for universal adult suffrage and lived by the outcome during elections. The airport in Jamaica’s capital, Kingston was named in his honor: Norman Manley international Airport. The success of Robin & I (Maxie), is a direct result of Mr. Norman Manley recognizing that Jamaica needed to be self reliant in food production as a result of World War 11. To achieve his goals, he set “Out to build a new Jamaica”, and appointed Mr. Thom Girvan who along with others, founded the Pioneer Club. The Pioneer Club was the first of its kind on record in Jamaica.
Mr. Norman Washington Manley, the son of a former slave, born in Roxborough, Manchester on July 4, 1893 consistently demonstrated through his actions why he was selected and received Jamaica’s highest award the honor of “Order of National Hero.” As a confident leader, visionary, and problem solver, Mr. Manley’s goals were forthrightly to improve the social and economic conditions of the people. As a well respected barrister, he ensured the people of Jamaica had a voice through his fights for democracy. He represented Sir Alexander Bustamante, his cousin and fellow National Hero, on his legal matters and when there were differences of opinion he let the people decide through their votes. Mr. Norman Washington Manley died September 2, 1969. Jamaica, the island in the sun was the “Land, he Loved.”