Norman Manley Biography

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Biography Part 5 - The fight for Independence

Norman Manley was a great supporter of the West Indies Federation (a federation of 10 territories in the British West Indies which was established in 1958). However, there were objections to the Federation within Jamaica, mainly due to concerns that Jamaica would be required to support weaker nations within the federation. The strongest objection came from Alexander Bustamante who proclaimed that his JPL would remove Jamaica from the federation. In response, Manley held Jamaica's first ever public referendum in 1961. The public voted to leave the federation; shortly afterwards Trinidad and Tobago followed suit and the federation was dissolved in 1962.

Following withdrawal from the Federation, Manley took a lead role in negotiating the terms for Jamaica to gain independence from Britain, taking the island from being a colony to a self governing nation. An election was held on 10th April 1962, just four months before Jamaica was to become independent. Alexander Bustamante's JLP won this election by 26 seats to 29, making him the first Prime Minister of the newly independent country.

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Next: Retirement, Death and Legacy

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