National Hero Norman Manley served his country very well, and a grateful nation has have immortalised his memory with the highest award that Jamaica can give to public figures. Therefore, it is unnecessary for scheming sycophants to be using spurious claims in an effort to add lustre to his name. The falsehood about him being the "father of the nation" is not the only one employed by the PNP in its attempt to gild the lily. Authorship of the referendum that led to our Independence is another.
To hear the fabulists tell it over and over again, Mr Manley graciously and generously provided the people with a referendum to decide between self-government and a continued relationship with the West Indies Federation. This is misleading, to say the least.
The call for a referendum was first made in the House of Representatives on November 4, 1959 by Mr DC Tavares. Mr Manley and the PNP rejected it. Later, in July 1960, when Mr Manley finally agreed to the referendum, he was clearly for Jamaica's continued participation in the federation. He pointed to three obstacles that an independent Jamaica would face: "... the heavy cost of establishing representation abroad; the heavy cost of becoming members of the various monetary clubs and the cost of defence". And he declared: "I am fighting for what is good. I have faith in the people of the West Indies as I have in the people of Jamaica and as long as there is breath in my body I will fight for the people in whom I have an abiding faith..."
Today history is repeating itself. Jamaicans are faced with the choice of sticking with its known jurisdictional system or flying to a Caribbean Court of Justice proposed by the same federalists whose case was rejected by the referendum; and as in 1959, they do not want a referendum on the matter.