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I watched and listened to the prime minister declaring recently that the PNP government had no intention of trying to change or deface any of our national symbols. All this, following a number of irregularities and breaches which were found to have taken place, before and during the celebration of our 50th anniversary of Independence.
Whether these breaches and irregularities were intentional or accidental is one matter, or whether they were carried out with authority or by just some "party fanatics" working outside or within our government ministries or agencies, that would still be a very serious matter. If we are faced with the latter, then we should immediately identify the culprits for trying to use their office to further their particular political beliefs and have them removed from the public service and from being paid from taxpayers' funds.
I would like to point to one of those people, and it's the person who wrote the prime minister's Independence message for this our 50th year. In that message, the 18th paragraph states that "one who could truly say, 'Mission accomplished' with satisfaction, was the Chief Architect of our Independence, Norman Washington Manley".
Nothing could be further from the truth, and those of us who were around at that time, as well as those of us who did history in school know this. As far back as 1957, Norman Manley declared in Parliament that his PNP government would be entering into a federation with the other West Indian islands, which they did in 1958. This WI Federation was headquartered in Trinidad and had Sir Grantley Adams of Barbados as the prime minister.
Sir Alexander Bustamante, our first chief minister and the first prime minister of Independent Jamaica, and his JLP, opposed the federation and campaigned against it, resulting in Premier Norman Manley having to hold a referendum in October 1961 that led to Jamaica's withdrawal and the resultant break-up of the federation. The people voted for Bustamante and Independence in that referendum. Jamaica would be this year now celebrating 54 years of West Indian Federal Government if we had not listened to Bustamante.
I am amazed that none of our so-called historians noticed anything. Was no one concerned that the writer of that speech was trying to change the history of our country? Or is it that nobody cared enough to even listen to our prime minister's message?
Someone should make an effort to set the record straight, so that our young people will not be confused.
Mitchell Town PA
Sir Alexander Bustamante
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