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6 - Modern Jamaica, 1945–2022

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 November 2023

Kenneth Morgan
Affiliation:
Brunel University
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Summary

The two main political parties formed in the early 1940s, the Jamaica Labour Party and the People’s National Party, soon dominated electoral politics. Norman Manley and Alexander Bustamante were founder-leaders of these parties, both serving as prime minister. A West Indian Federation movement in the late 1950s and 1960s collapsed on the eve of Jamaican independence in 1962. Jamaica’s political development since independence has been beset by the seemingly intractable problems of operating a successful economy and combating deprivation, poverty, violence and drugs. Polarised political, economic and social policies dominated the 1970s, under Prime Ministers Michael Manley and Edward Seaga. Relative political stability returned to Jamaica with Prime Minister P J. Patterson between 1992 and 2006.

Poverty, neglect and crime are still extensive, but Jamaica has achieved many positive objectives since the Second World War. Educational opportunities have increased rapidly. The creative arts have made their local and international imprint in music, art, dance and literature. Jamaica has become a notable contributor to different sports. Comparing 2021 with 1945, Jamaica has assumed a greater position globally with diasporic migration creating strong networks between Jamaicans in Anglophone countries, sustained pride in independent nationhood and as a magnet for large flows of tourists.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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