Make Michael Manley a national hero, says NY-based PNP affiliate

Make Michael Manley a national hero, says NY-based PNP affiliate

Observer writer

Monday, September 28, 2020

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New York, USA — A petition has been launched by the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) affiliate, the Jamaica Progressive League (JPL) to have former Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley named a national hero.

League President Sadie Campbell said in a release that the decision to have the status of the late prime minister elevated to that of a national hero had been unanimously taken at a meeting of the league back in April.

She said that the league had already written to the Office of the Prime Minister on the matter and “is now awaiting a reply”.

Previous calls for Manley, a towering figure in the 1970s, to join the pantheon of Jamaican heroes - seven in total - has set off blistering discussions about his qualification or non-qualification. The last hero, Nanny of the Maroons, was named by Manley.

The league listed a raft of achievements it said should make Manley eminently qualified to be elevated to a national hero. The achievements include establishment of the National Housing Trust, the Jamaica Movement for the Advancement of Literacy (JAMAL), the Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Tribunal Act, repeal of the bastardy law, and a minimum wage designed to assist those at the bottom of the economic ladder, including domestic helpers.

It also pointed to the National Youth Service for high school graduates as well as free education which Manley championed in the 1970s.

The league noted that Manley faced challenges as he promoted a national identity that sought to elevate ordinary citizens. It also credited the late prime minister for expanding Jamaica's standing on the global stage with a number of diplomatic initiatives.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, Campbell said that the league was yet to ascertain the number of signatures it will need or how long the petition will last. She said that those and other issues pertaining to its move to have the former prime minister named a national hero are to be decided in a few days.

Manley who was first elected prime minister in 1972, went on to serve more that two terms as prime minister - from 1972-76, 1976- 1980 and 1989-1992. He resigned due to ill health in 1992 and died in 1997.

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