December 10, 2014 forex facilitator 90 years since Michael Manley’s birth. Despite his passing 17 years ago, his lifework still remains extremely topical and forms part of our national discourse every so often, by friends and foes alike. Member of the National Workers’ Union, at various levels, for over 20 years.
During his over 40 years in public life, his contribution to local, regional and international politics was, without question, one of the most enlightened, profound and impactful. He constantly explored new ideas and implemented strategies to give every Jamaican a role in the process of national development. His political activism could not be contained or confined within the geographical space of Jamaica. His vision, his reach and his influence were global in dimension. When Manley died in 1997, approximately 67. 9 per cent of the Jamaican people believed he should be made a national hero. Up to three years after his death, the revered Carl Stone polls had him as the prime minister who, by far, had done the most to improve the socio-cultural, political and economic conditions for the majority, and to help muster national consciousness among the people.
His love by the people was further captured in a poll on March 16, 2006, nine years after his death, which showed that 49 per cent of the people said that of the six prime ministers up to that time, he was the best. The prime minister who came second got 34 per cent. It is not unusual to meet people inside and outside of Jamaica who unhesitatingly and unapologetically describe themselves as a product of the Michael Manley era. This is usually said as a way of validating levels of social consciousness. Michael Manley’s philosophy was embodied in the notion of equality and justice and by the time he became prime minister in March 1972, at the age of 47, his philosophy had taken full shape. His passionate commitment to equality and justice was reflected in every cause he pursued. Whether the immediate concern was education, industrial relations, racism, gender equity, national security, self-reliance, the deepening of democracy, foreign policy, sports, culture, the arts or any other issue in which he was absorbed, his outlook could always be traced to the wellspring of equality and justice.
Michael Manley’s legacy in Jamaica is legendary. He has left us a raft of accomplishments. On the regional and international scenes, Michael Manley was a force to be reckoned with. Michael Manley was a true internationalist who understood the complex interplay among national, regional and global processes. He was an articulate and persuasive spokesman in fora such as the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77.
Almost single-handedly, he challenged the forces of oppression both at home and abroad”. During his period in office,he deepened and strengthened, despite the opposition from certain political quarters, Jamaica’s relationship with, among others, Cuba, China, Venezuela, South Africa, Russia and China. Not only does Jamaica now enjoy warm fraternal relations with these countries, but the Jamaican economy has also benefited from large projects from some of these countries. Michael Manley faced many challenges during his period of leadership. First, his re-introduction of democratic socialism as the PNP’s ideological platform in 1974 was described by one writer as his ‘most controversial step’.