Facts and Achievements 1938-2007

A History of Performance - The J.L.P. in Government

  • Bustamante leads workers march through Kingston.
  • Bustamante is arrested while addressing the workers; baring his chest he say's “shoot me but leave my people alone.” St. William Grant and other organizers are also arrested.
  • Waterfront workers refuse wage offer and declare they will accept nothing until Bustamante is released.
  • Bustamante and St. William Grant are released Workers accept new wage agreement.
  • May 24, 1938 Bustamante announces formation of the Bustamante Industrial Trades Union (BITU) heralding the most important advance of the Jamaican masses.
  • May 24th, 1938 - Bustamante makes final address before he heads the historic protest march.
  • Workers protest as they march down Tower Street.
  • Bustamante, the union leader is detained under war-time Regulations and agrees to have the PNP leadership to manage the B.I.T.U. in his absence.
  • Upon his release Bustamante learns of a plot to undermine him. He dismisses the PNP team as managers of the BITU and announces that he will not confine his future efforts to trade unionism.
  • 8 July, 1943—Alexander Bustamante launches Jamaica Labour Party at the Ward Theatre and is acclaimed as its first Leader. Harold Allan, a teacher from Portland, is elected the chairman and Lynden Newland, a journalist from St. Thomas, is elected secretary.

First JLP Government, 1944-1955

14 December 1944 JLP wins first elections under Universal Adult Suffrage; the JLP wins 22 seats the PNP wins 4 seats. Bustamante leads first local team in the Executive Council:

  • Starts fixing gullies to control floods which caused hundreds of deaths in poorer communities each year. The PNP criticized the programme calling the JLP “gully government.” even though it was for the benefit of the poor.
  • Rebuilds hundreds of elementary schools to allow teaching to take place indoors; Starts equal pay for women in public service.
  • Allows postmistresses to get married without having to resign their position.
  • Appoints first Jamaican police officer.
  • Creates revenue surplus in Budget every year.
  • First Jamaican nursing sister appointed.
  • Women gain significant status. Iris Collins , in 1944, is elected in NW St. James and becomes the first elected female member of the House of Representatives.
  • 1948— Sir Harold Allan, JLP MHR (Member of the House of Representatives) for East Portland, first black Jamaican to be knighted. His achievements included:
  • His outstanding performance international conferences such as the Geneva and London conferences.
  • Founding of the Association of Local Government Authorities (ALGA).
  • Initiated labour intensive projects to ease unemployment in several parishes.
  • Britain declares the Jamaican experience in Universal Adult Suffrage a success and extends similar status to Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean islands.


  • University College of the West Indies was established and the University College Hospital of the West Indies (UCHI) came into existence.
  • First political martyr: Benjamin Taylor, JLP supporter killed at political meeting during Gordon Town by-election. PNP officials charged.
  • Madam Rose Leon, JLP MHR West St. Andrew, elected Chairman of the JLP first woman chairman of a political party in Caribbean.
  • The first serious programme to asphalt rural roads undertaken.


  • The Jamaica Industrial Development Corporation (JIDC) and the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) were formed to encourage and develop industry and agriculture, two vital sectors of the economy.
  • Caribbean Cement Company opened — nation self-sufficient in cement until 2005.
  • Sir Alexander Bustamante launches the bauxite mining industry: The largest foreign investment in Jamaica. Three bauxite and alumina companies: Alcan, Reynolds and Kaiser agree to commence mining operations in Jamaica.


  • Jamaica's first Ministers under self-government appointed.
  • Bustamante is appointed Chief Minister. Is criticized for appointing a former truck sideman, Isaac Barrant, as first Minister of Agriculture. Barrant's performance and grasp of the portfolio confounds the critics and justifies Bustamante's appointment.
  • A Ministry of Housing was established for the first time to give clear direction to housing development; first housing policy for Jamaica was formulated. Madam Rose Leon appointed Minister of Housing and first female Minister of Government.
  • Government began building houses and helping people to own their own homes, on an easy-payment basis, for the first time. The Maverley Housing Scheme became the prototype for the provision of low-cost housing by the Government.
  • The Palisadoes Airport and the Montego Bay Airport were opened to civilian traffic, bringing Jamaica into the modern international passenger air transportation age.
  • Jamaica 's first industrial estate was established at Tinson Pen.
  • The Palisadoes Airport and the Montego Bay Airport were opened to civilian traffic, bringing Jamaica into the modern international passenger air transportation age.
  • The Jamaica Labour Party Initiated a massive primary school building programme for the education of the poor.
  • The Jamaica Tourist Board was established for the promotion of Tourism.
  • Commencement of the development of the North Coast as the focus of the tourist industry.
  • Tower Isle hotel opened in 1949, ushering the development of Ocho Rios as a premier tourist destination. The Tower Isle hotel was Jamaica's first modern hotel.

1955 -1962

  • 1955 The People's National Party gains power and steers Jamaica towards a West Indian Federation and away from Independence.
  • 1961 JLP opposes Federation of the West Indies and calls for a referendum to decide the future director of the country. The JLP promotes independence for Jamaica as an alternative.
  • October 1961 JLP wins Referendum and demands independence from Britain.

The Period of Nation Building

  • April 1962 JLP wins elections which makes Bustamante Jamaica's first Prime Minister.
  • August 1962 Jamaica becomes Independent Nation under JLP government.
  • 1963 Sir Clifford Campbell, a school teacher from Petersfield, Westmoreland is appointed Jamaica's first native Governor General.
  • 1963 JLP Cabinet approve Jamaica's Flag and National Anthem.
  • The order of national hero is established and Marcus Mosiah Garvey is named the first national hero. The mortal remains of Marcus Mosiah Garvey was then brought back to Jamaica.
  • 1963 Bustamante declares Jamaica's foreign policy;” Jamaica is with the West” as communism will fail. His prediction comes through when the USSR collapsed in 1989.
  • Manufacturing becomes largest economic sector. Jamaica rated as one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

1962 Independence

  • The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) was established to provide retirement benefits for individuals and families.
  • 59 Secondary Schools and 126 Primary Schools were built to widen educational opportunities for the children of the poor. No school fees charged. Increases secondary school attendance by over 100%.
  • Education Minister Edwin Allen declares 70% of Common Entrance places must be reserved for primary school children.
  • Tertiary educational institutions, including that for agriculture, were upgraded and technical education was made free of cost to all students.
  • Teachers Colleges were improved and expanded.
  • The 100 village programme was launched to upgrade communities and promote the use of community centres as bridgeheads for the literacy campaign, for training in the arts, crafts and dressmaking, and other similar activities to create employment opportunities.
  • February 1969 - The Jamaica Stock Exchange is opened and transactions begin.
  • 38 Years Later : Jamaica Stock Exchange is still a major component of Jamaica’s Economy.
  • 1968 - The Urban Development Corporation was founded, and given the task of rebuilding downtown Kingston, developing Ocho Rios and the Montego Bay waterfront, and creating a modern profile for Negril.
  • 1966 The Port of Kingston was moved to ultra-modern facilities at Newport West and named Port Bustamante, and is now the most modern port facility in the Caribbean.
  • 1960s — Completion of asphalt roads around the entire island
  • A programme of national volunteers was organized to get young people to help the aged and indigent.
  • Golden Age Homes were established to provide care, treatment and special attention to elderly citizens and the needy.
  • 1969 - Establishment of Jamaica Development Bank (JDB).
  • 1966 - Halie Selassie Visits Jamaica.
  • 1971 -Establishment of Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB).
  • Youth training was expanded, as Cobbla and Chestervale Youth Camps were improved. New Youth Camps for boys were opened in Kenilworth in Hanover and Lluidas Vale in St. Catherine, as well as one for girls in Cape Clear in St. Mary.
  • The Jamaica Labour Party administration built the May Pen Hospital , the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital, the Cornwall Regional Hospital, and the Bustamante Hospital for Children.
  • The Student's Loan Fund, operated by the Bank of Jamaica, was established to aid needy students at the University of the West Indies (UWI), College of Arts , Science and Technology (CAST) now University of Technology (UTECH), and the Teachers' Colleges.
  • The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) is established to encourage and develop various forms of cultural expression.
  • The Jamaicanization programme came into being, embracing all interests in the country. In this regard, Jamaican financial management, in the conduct of the country's business, made its first impressive marks with cooperation between public and private sectors. This was a period of impressive financial and economic advancement in our country's history. In the 1960's Jamaica experienced an annual average growth rate of 6% which was among the highest levels of economic growth recorded among developing countries during this period.
  • Television was introduced to Jamaica.
  • The “Jamaica Information Service”, formerly the government's public relations office, was reorganized and expanded to reflect the many and varied concerns of government and the face of Jamaica in general.
  • The National Craft Development Agency, was established and evolved into “Things Jamaican”.
  • Establishment of Devon House.
  • Jamaica House was built and became the first official residence of the Prime Minister.
  • Vale Royal was developed as the residence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
  • Jamaica became a member of the United Nations, Jamaican embassies were established in the major capitals of the world.
  • Air Jamaica came into being as the national airline, and showed a profit in its early years.
  • Redevelopment of Kingston Waterfront.
  • 1963 –– Establishment of the Jamaica Festival.
  • 1964–– Promotion to Launch Jamaican Music (SKA) Abroad, Jamaica’s first international music genre, followed by Rock Steady, Reggae and Dancehall.
  • 1964 –– Construction of National Heroes Park.
  • 1971 –– Design of the Cultural Training Centre (Arts, Drama, Music, Painting & Sculpture).
  • 1965/1969 –– Arawak and Port Royal Museums Established.
  • 1967 –– Establishment of Jamaica Journal Publication (Institute of Jamaica).
  • 1967 –– Reclamation and development of Ocho Rios Waterfront (Turtle Beach).
  • 1968 ––Creation of National Heritage Week.
  • 1963 –– Construction of National Arena.
  • 1971 –– National School Feeding Programme.

Period of Reconstruction and Reconciliation -1980 to 1989

  • 1983 –– Revival of Jamaica's Tourist Industry which later received 1 million visitors.
  • 1983 –– Dr. Mavis Gallimore, Minister of Education , begins compulsory education in St.Thomas and Trelawny . It succeeds and expands to five other parishes. Experiment stopped after Government changed in 1989.
  • 1983 –– Completion of the National Conference Center, built in record time ( 1 Year ) which allowed Jamaica to become second developing country to host the U.N.’s specialized agency, the International Seabed Authority.
  • 1983––After massacre of Cabinet in Greneda, Grenada's Governor General writes to Prime Minister , Edward Seaga, requesting military help. With Dame of Dominica and other Caribbean Heads of Government, they request US Government assistance and Greneda is Freed. The first and only revolutionary coup in the Commonwealth Caribbean is ended and democracy is returned to the region.
  • 1984–– Establishment of the Self Start Fund.
  • Through the development of the garment industry, primarily in the Kingston Freezone, Montego Bay Freezone, Lucea Freezone, Clarendon Freezone and Spanish Town Freezone, over 30,000 women found employment at good wage rates. In the decade of the 1980s, 179,500 new jobs were created establishing a new record in job-creation. GDP grew at over 5% per annum between 1985- 1989 and 30,000 jobs were created each year during the period. The period was characterized as Jamaica's Golden Years.
  • 1981 –– National Development Bank ( NDB ).
  • 1981–– Agricultural Credit Bank (ACB) to facilitate loans for Jamaican farmers.
  • 1982 –– Establishment of Agro 21 which introduced modern farming technology for export of winter vegetables to the United States and established commercial fresh water fish industry for export and local consumption.
  • 1982 – H.E.A.R.T -The establishment of the Human Employment and Resource Trust (H.E.A.R.T.) opened up important new areas of practical skill training and employment opportunities for young people by taking a new and dynamic approach by focusing on the growth areas of the economy.
  • 1984 –– Establishment of Food Stamp Programme for elderly poor and nursing mothers.
  • 1985 –– Comprehensive Tax Reforms.
  • 1985 –– The Solidarity Programme came into being. It addressed the need of the unemployed youth in a way that no previous administration ever had. It offered new hope through loans which encouraged citizens to go into business for themselves.
  • 1985 –– Establishment of Metropolitan Parks and Markets (MPM) an agency for National Beautification and Public cleansing which created parks across the city and made kingston one of the cleanest cities in the world.
  • 1985 –– A modern Golden Age home was established in Kingston for the elderly indigent, replacing the Eventide Home burnt out by fire in the 1970s.
  • 1985 –– Export – Import Bank (Exim Bank).
  • 1986 –– Establishment of the Office of the Contractor General , originally proposed in 1979 to ensure equity and reduce corruption in the awarding of government contracts.
  • 1986 –– Deregulation of the Economy; removal of import licensing and price controls on hundreds of items.
  • 1986 –– Privatization of the National Commercial Bank ( NCB ).
  • 1986 –– P.A.C.E. -The Programme for the Advancement of Early Childhood Education (PACE) was established to give preschool children a sound foundation on which to receive higher education.
  • 1986 – L.E.A.P. – ( Learning for Earning Activity Programme) for street children.
  • 1987 –– The JLP restored private sector confidence in the Jamaican economy by establishing the Jamaica National Investment Promotion Agency (JNIP) whose mission was to aggressively attract investment at home and abroad. Later its scope was widened by the JLP administration and it was renamed “JAMPRO” for Jamaica Promotions.
  • 1987 –– Tourism surged forward to bring in, for the first time (1987) one million visitors in a year. This industry was set on the high road of increasing growth and achieved a position of leadership as an earner of vital foreign exchange.
  • 1987––Establishment of Denham Town redevelopment Programme.
  • Factory workers sewing in a garment factory during the 1980s.
  • 1988 –– Establishment of the Digiport in Montego Bay to begin the process of the modernization of Jamaica's Communications Network.
  • 1988 ––One Million Trees Programme.
  • 1988 –– Reclamation of Montego Bay Waterfront.
  • 1988 –– Negril Development (Bloody Bay).
  • 1988 –– Construction of Portmore Town Centre , Torrington Park.
  • 1988 –– Establishment of Social Well – Being Plan.
  • 1988 –– A new thrust was given to the preservation of our cultural heritage. Restoration work was started on Fort Charles in Port Royal and on the Seville Great House in St. Ann's Bay. Excavation started on the site of the first Spanish settlement in Jamaica at Seville. Devon House was developed as a park and craft centre. St. Williams' Grant Park and Mandela Park (then Half Way Tree Park ) were upgraded and given new facilities.
  • 1984–– Establishment of Administrative Reform Programme (ARP) for fundamental Civil Service reforms.
  • 1988 – Introduced a Media Divestment Programme to establish several small private Radio Stations and church television. Broadcast licenses were granted for the first time in perpetuity subject only to compliance with broadcasting regulations. Broadcast licenses liberated the media by removing the former practice of awarding licenses of 5 year terms.
  • 1988 – Construction of residential halls for UWI, UTECH and Cultural Training Centre.
  • Massive Restructuring of the health system.
  • Restructuring of Agriculture.
  • Government in keeping with modern thinking and modern trends, encouraged high technology as a deliberate policy to meet foreign competition in the production of goods and services. Government also renewed growth and stability in the country's economy.
  • In the area of reconciliation, the revival of unity among all sectors and groups in Jamaica was established from the chaos of the 1970s, For example, political polarization was discouraged, and tolerance and goodwill promoted with growing success.
  • Massive expansion of the coffee industry.
  • An integrated approach was taken to the problems of primary education through an extensive school construction programme coupled with the provision of free school textbooks and a school feeding programme to provide learning texts and to release the children from the impediment of hunger.
  • The introduction of the Textbook Rental Scheme at the technical and secondary schools is also noteworthy.
  • The programme of land distribution was resumed along with a new land titling programme which provides titles to farmers who had been settled on land since the earliest days but had never been given such an important document.
  • The bauxite industry, which had fallen behind the economic progress of pre-1974, was given a new lease on life and began an inexorable return to its place of respected leadership in the economy.
  • The College of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST), an educational symbol of the official determination to promote national, industrial and economic growth and expansion, was encouraged to teach degree courses. In response, CAST offered several degree courses.
  • The School of Agriculture at Twickenham Park near Spanish Town was removed to an agricultural setting in Portland and upgraded to a College of Agriculture awarding associate degrees. The Twickenham Park premises was transformed into a police academy.
  • Creation of the Police Academy for the training of policemen and police-women, with special courses for the officer corps of Jamaica and the Caribbean.
  • Restoration of the island's infrastructure was actively undertaken and widely spread through improved electricity and telephone services, provision of water supplies, and road network.

Contact Us

Jamaica Labour Party Headquarters

20 Belmont Road
Kingston 5, Jamaica
Tel: (876)-929-1183