The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)
Founded in 1943

The Jamaica Labour Party, commonly just referred to as the JLP, was founded on July 8, 1943 by Sir Alexander Bustamante.

They use the Liberty Bell, the victory sign and the colour green as their electoral symbols.

Under the new Constitution in December 1944 the JLP contested in the general elections and came out victors as it won 24 seats in the House of Representatives.

As a result of the 1949 general elections, the Labour Party won 19 of the 32 seats in the House granting them another victory over the Peoples National Party (PNP).

Their lucked turned in the 1955 elections where they lost the majority and only obtained 14 of the 32 seats in the House.

The election of 1959, July 28 to be exact, saw the JLP once again being defeated by the PNP who obtained 29 of the available 45 seats in the House.

The JLP only won 16 seats.

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) successfully campaigned for Jamaica's withdrawal from the Federation of the West Indies, which was decided in a referendum held in September 1961.

Jamaica Labour Party JLP Logo

Upon gaining independence in 1962, the JLP emerged victorious in the general elections held that year obtaining 26 of the 45 available seats in the House to become the first official Government of an Independent Jamaica.

Sir Alexander Bustamante retired shortly before the JLP once again won the elections in 1967. Sir Donald Sangster was his successor. Mr. Sangster led a short term because of his death. He was succeeded by Hugh Shearer, who was a prominent trade unionist.

Again in the 1972 general elections the Jamaica Labour Party lost to the Peoples National Party. The JLP only won 16 seats in the House of Representatives.

In October 1980, the then Prime Minister, Michael Manley called an early election because he felt confident in his party retaining the leadership position. This move was however greeted with defeat from the JLP whose leader then was Edward Seaga. They (JLP) remained the ruling party under Mr. Seaga's leadership up until the year 1989 when they PNP defeated them in the general elections and was again the leaders of the  country.

The PNP is still the Governing Party today, (2011 to present).

List of the Jamaica Labour Party's Leaders Since Inception

NOTE: Donald Sangster and Hugh Shearer were not actually Leaders of the JLP but were defacto leaders during Bustamante's illness/withdrawal from active political life.

The JLP's Stats As at December 29, 2011

Leader - Andrew Holness

Chairperson - Robert Montague

House of Representative - 21 of 63 seats

Local Government - 75 of 227

General Secretary - Horace Chang

Sources:
    Handbook of Jamaica (1964) - Jamaica Information Service (JIS)
    History of Jamaica - Clinton V. Black F.S.A.
    Jamaica Journal - Vol 16 no. 3 1983
    Encyclopedia Britannica

Visit the J L P's Website for more information about the party!


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