428. Airgram A–144 From the Embassy in Jamaica to the Department of State1 2

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  • Throne Speech Outlines New Government’s Policies: Better Must Come, But It Will Take Time


In the Throne Speech on June 6, Governor General Sir Clifford Campbell presented the policy guidelines of the new People’s National Party (PNP) led government, which will require a J$365 million 1972–73 budget, approximately 15% higher than the initial 1971–72 estimates. The hour-long speech focused on domestic social and economic issues, particularly unemployment, education and cost of living. The Governor General (GG) pointed out that many of the previous government’s ongoing programs placed constraints on the administration’s plans for 1972–73. The year will be one of studying resources and institutions and formulating plans for social change.

Changes in Jamaica’s foreign policy will center on the nation’s place in the Third World and her wish to improve relations with Africa. Efforts to improve Commonwealth ties will continue, as will support for United Nations activities and attempts to achieve closer economic and cultural cooperation with Caribbean nations. Trade missions to mainland China and Yugoslavia to seek cheaper sources of consumer items were announced.

Following the speech, Deputy Prime Minister David Coore [Page 2] submitted the government’s Expenditure Estimates as the first step in preparing the coming year’s budget. END SUMMARY.

On June 6, Sir Clifford Campbell presented the PNP government’s 1972–73 domestic and foreign policy guidelines in the traditional Throne Speech, highlight of opening of Parliament at Gordon House. Police barriers on Duke Street contained crowds from Gordon House during colorful ceremonies outside the building and the GG’s speech. PNP and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters behind barriers, though numerous, were fewer than at the swearing-in of members in March. There were no incidents.

Domestic Issues Have Priority

The Throne Speech, a major policy statement, concentrated on domestic issues, with foreign policy receiving little elaboration. Sir Clifford noted that there were budget constraints on the new government as a consequence of ongoing programs begun under the previous government. The Government’s aim in 1972–73 will be to evaluate resources and institutions and formulate social and economic programs which will be written into 1973–74 budget. The Government called for initiative and help from citizenry to overcome the nation’s problems.

Focus on Unemployment

Some indications of specific programs were given. The prime goal for the next year is to reduce unemployment. The GG announced that labor intensive road maintenance work in rural areas will be greatly increased within the Government Impact Employment Programs. The newly established Economic Planning Council and National Planning Agency are to integrate government and private sector planning through consultative mechanisms. Industrial development strategy will encourage export industries, promote agri-business, increase utilization of native resources and develop labor-intensive industries. Political favoritism in hiring for public works projects will be curtailed. The work permit program will be reviewed to ensure training of Jamaicans to replace foreigners.

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Illiteracy Will Be a Target

Education will be pushed hard. The GG called on the populace to help eliminate illiteracy. The Government plans a massive four-year campaign to reach a half million illiterates, a Volunteer National Youth Service to engage young people in literacy and skill training projects, and the use of Army facilities and instructors in vocational training. The primary school system is to be revitalized including the introduction of African studies into a new curriculum.


The Public Utility Commission is to be restructured to make it more effective. A program to accelerate rural electrification is in preparation. Expansion of telecommunications and transportation is to be encouraged with Government determined that services be reliable, secure, and reasonably priced. Road construction and improvement will continue, including the seventy miles to be upgraded under the US/AID program, and labor intensive road maintenance work in rural areas will be expanded.

Bauxite Arrangements Will Be Examined

A review of all legislation is planned covering exploitation, management and regulation of natural resources. In addition, “A National Bauxite Commission has been established with terms of reference which include examination of existing agreements with existing companies, assessment of benefits derived by the country in the form of public revenue, wages, etc., and evaluation of other operational aspects.”

Social Programs Outlined

The Government will build 2,450 building units this year. Plans for massive slum clearance and rehousing will be prepared. Cost of living: A trade mission later this year will seek lower cost consumer goods in mainland China and Yugoslavia. Measures include an assault on inefficiency and profiteering in protected industries, study of the channels of distribution of goods, and encouragement of consumerism.

A pot-pourri of other program areas were touched on, including review of tax legislation, intention to reduce corruption [Page 4] and fraud in government, improving civil service salaries, free distribution of milk products to school children, reorganization of the social security administration and possible expansion of benefits, and relaxation of restrictions on travel and importation of previously banned books. A proposed expansion of fishing and forest industries is aimed at improving the food and natural resource base.

Foreign Affairs Will Stress African and Third World Relations

In addition to commercial missions to China and Yugoslavia, a cultural mission is planned to Africa. Cultural ties with Africa are to be strengthened, leading to increased awareness in Jamaica of the African heritage. Contact with overseas Jamaicans will be improved and efforts made to repatriate savings and encourage Jamaicans to return home. Government plans an active role in Third World activities and it will “...seek from the experience of others new strategies and thrusts in the effort to achieve social and economic development.” Support for United Nations will continue, particularly in human rights, environmental control and “...protection of the just rights of the African peoples...” Ties with Commonwealth and Caribbean nations are to be improved. No mention was made of relations with United States.

Sir Clifford finished his speech with the now popular phrase borrowed from the PNP election slogan not included in text—“Better must come.”

Coore Presents Estimates

Following the GG’s speech, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance David Coore tabled Government’s Expenditure Estimates for 1972–73. Parliament began study on the Estimates June 13. Revenue Estimates are to be presented June 22. The expenditures level is proposed at J$365 million, up J$50.7 million, or about 15 percent above initial and about 11.5 percent above revised estimates for 1971–72. Gross expenditures of J$103 million are allocated to the capital account and the remainder to the gross recurrent expenses account.

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The Ministry of Agriculture replaces Finance as the largest recipient of capital funds. .

Embassy Comment

The Government will have a year to formulate specific programs along general policy guidelines set out in the speech before presenting the 1973–74 budget that is truly its own. The Government appears to realize it has much ground to cover to meet campaign promises and that changes cannot be made overnight. Whether it can get results quickly enough to meet pent up demands of the people will be important for continued widespread support for Manley. A crucial test will be the impact of the large employment programs in reducing unemployment now estimated at between 20 and 25 percent of the work force.

de Roulet
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15 JAM. Limited Official Use. Drafted on June 14 by Falkner; cleared by Slater and Rogers; approved by Roberts; and signed by de Roulet. Stamped notations on the Airgram indicate that it was received at the Department of State at 8:32 a.m. on June 26, the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs on June 29, and at the RS/AN Analysis Branch.
  2. The Embassy reported on a June 6 speech by Jamaican Governor General Sir Clifford Campbell, in which he spelled out the policy guidelines of the new PNP government, led by new Prime Minister Manley. Among the issues discussed, the Embassy noted that the new government planned to examine Jamaica’s bauxite arrangements and that the country’s foreign affairs would stress improved relations with Africa and the developing world.