People's National Party

Social democracy ISBN (identifier) Democratic socialism
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People's National Party
ChairpersonFitz Jackson
SecretaryJulian Robinson
FounderOsmond Theodore Fairclough
HeadquartersKingston, Jamaica
Youth wingPeople's National Party Youth Organization
IdeologySocial democracy
Democratic socialism
Political positionCentre-left[2][3]
Regional affiliationCOPPPAL
West Indies Federal Labour Party (1957–1962)
International affiliationSocialist International (observer)[4]
House of Representatives
14 / 63
8 / 21
Local Government
96 / 227
Parish Councils
4 / 13

The People's National Party (PNP) is a social-democratic[5][6][7] political party in Jamaica, founded in 1938 by activist Osmond Theodore Fairclough. It holds 14 of the 63 seats in the House of Representatives,[8] as 96 of the 227 local government divisions. The party is democratic socialist by constitution.[9]

The PNP uses the hatted head, the rising sun, the fist, the trumpet and the colours orange, red and yellow as electoral symbols.[citation needed]

The party is a member of COPPPAL and a Socialist International observer.[4] From 1957 to 1962, the party was a member of the West Indies Federal Labour Party in the Federal Parliament of the West Indies Federation.

The PNP in colonial Jamaica

The PNP was founded in 1938 by the Honourable Osmond Theodore Fairclough, and is the oldest political party in Jamaica. It is one of the country's main two political parties, and is considered more to the left than its main rival the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). Fairclough recruited the PNP's first leader Norman Manley. The party held a majority of seats in the parliament of colonial Jamaica from 1955 until 1962. Following independence in 1962, it held the majority of seats in the Jamaican Parliament from 1972 to 1980, from 1989 to 2007, and from 2011 to 2016.

The PNP was defeated in the first universal elections held in Jamaica in 1944, winning only four of the 32 seats (one elected independent joined the party afterwards). The 1949 Jamaican general election was much closer. The PNP received more votes (203,048) than the JLP (199,538), but the JLP secured more seats; 17 to the PNP's 13. Two seats were won by independents. The voter turnout was 65.2%.

In 1954, the PNP expelled Richard Hart (Jamaican politician), a Marxist, and three other PNP members for their (alleged) communist views.[10][11] The other three members were Frank Hill, Ken Hill and Arthur Henry, and they were collectively referred to as "the four Hs".[12][13][14]

Hart and the other members of "the four Hs" were very active in the trade union movement in Jamaica.[15] In the 1940s and 1950s. Hart worked as a member of the Executive Committee of the Trade Union Council from 1946 to 1948.[16][17] He served as Assistant Secretary of the Caribbean Labour Congress from 1945 to 1946 and Assistant Secretary from 1947 to 1953.[17]

The expulsion of the 'Four Hs' signalled a parting of ways between the PNP and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), which was aligned to the PNP. The National Workers Union (NWU) effectively filled the vacuum left by the TUC.[18]

The PNP came to office 1955, and held power until just before independence in 1962. In the 1955 Jamaican general election, the PNP won for the first time, securing 18 out of 32 seats. The JLP ended up with 14 seats, and there were no independents. The voter turnout with 65.1%. As a result, Norman Manley became the new chief minister.[19]

The 1959 Jamaican general election was held on 28 July 1959, and the number of seats was increased to 45. The PNP secured a wider margin of victory, taking 29 seats to the JLP's 16.

Manley was appointed Jamaica's first premier on 14 August 1959.[20]

During this period of government, it promoted actively reformist social democratic policies, including opening secondary education to many poorer Jamaicans through state funding of scholarships.

The PNP in independent Jamaica

In 1972, under the leadership of Norman Manley's son Michael Manley, the PNP returned to office committed to democratic socialism and a foreign policy focused on strengthening relations with the Global South. In 1980, after several years characterised by inflation and rising unemployment, the JLP led by Edward Seaga overwhelmingly defeated the PNP in a campaign noteworthy for its alarming level of violence. Manley led the party in a boycott of the snap election called in 1983. The party was absent from parliament for more than five years.

The PNP was returned to office under Manley's leadership in 1989. He retired from politics in 1992, and was replaced as party leader by P. J. Patterson. Patterson led the PNP to victory in 1993, 1997, and 2002, becoming the first political leader in Jamaican history to win three successive general elections. In the 2002 election, held on 16 October 2002, the party won 52.2% of the popular vote and 34 of the 60 seats in the House of Representatives.

On 26 February 2006, Portia Simpson-Miller was elected as Patterson's successor, becoming the first female president of the PNP, and became the Prime Minister of Jamaica. The PNP lost the August 2007 election to the JLP and its leader Bruce Golding.

In the 29 December 2011 general election, the PNP was returned to power with 42 of the 63 seats in Jamaica's parliament. At first, 41 seats were counted in favour of the PNP. A recount with official results cost the former agriculture minister, Christopher Tufton, his seat, putting the PNP at 42 and the JLP at 21.[21] On 5 January 2012, Portia Simpson-Miller was sworn in as Prime Minister for the second time in her political career. On the following day, she assigned 20 cabinet ministers to various ministries, and eight state ministers.

In the September 2020 general elections, the PNP returned to the opposition benches winning a meager 14 of the 63 seats in the Jamaican parliament in what was described as a political carnage toppling the hierarchy of the PNP. Many senior and well-established party members lost their seats, including Peter Bunting, Dr.Dayton Campbell, Dr.Fenton Ferguson, Horace Dalley, Ian Hayles, Luther Buchanan, Whykham McNeil, Dwayne Vaz and Richard Azan. On 4 September 2020 Peter Phillips announced that he would step down as Opposition Leader and retire from representational politics following the landslide victory to the Jamaica Labour Party.

Political positions

The party adheres to social democracy and republicanism, and is an observer member of the Socialist International.

Electoral performance

House of Representatives

Election Leader Votes Share of votes Seats Result
1944 Norman Manley 82,029 23.5%
5 / 32
1949 203,048 43.5%
13 / 32
1955 245,750 50.5%
18 / 32
1959 305,642 54.8%
29 / 45
1962 279,771 43.5%
19 / 45
1967 217,207 49.1%
20 / 53
1972 Michael Manley 266,927 56.4%
37 / 53
1976 417,768 56.8%
47 / 60
1980 350,064 41.1%
9 / 60
1983 Did not contest
1989 473,754 56.6%
45 / 60
1993 P. J. Patterson 401,131 60.0%
52 / 60
1997 429,805 56.2%
50 / 60
2002 396,590 52.1%
34 / 60
2007 Portia Simpson-Miller 405,293 49.6%
28 / 60
2011 463,232 53.3%
42 / 63
2016 433,735 49.2%
31 / 63
2020 Peter Phillips 304,372 42.8%
15 / 63

West Indies

Election Party Group Leader Votes Seats Position Government
No. Share No. Share
1958[22] WIFLP Norman Manley 382,525 44.2%
5 / 17
29.4% 2nd WIFLP

List of party presidents


  1. ^ "PNP Manifesto 2016". Issuu.
  2. ^ Jean Grugel (1 January 1995). Politics and Development in the Caribbean Basin: Central America and the Caribbean in the New World Order. Indiana University Press. p. 117. ISBN 0-253-20954-4.
  3. ^ Europa Publications (2 September 2003). Political Chronology of the Americas. Routledge. pp. 140–. ISBN 978-1-135-35653-8.
  4. ^ a b "Member Parties of the Socialist International". Archived from the original on 3 May 2013. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  5. ^ Freedom House (1 November 2011). Freedom in the World 2011: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 342–. ISBN 978-1-4422-0994-7.
  6. ^ M. Keith Booker (2005). Encyclopedia of Literature and Politics: A-G. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-0-313-32939-5.
  7. ^ John Girling (26 November 2010). America and the Third World: Revolution and Intervention. Routledge. pp. 196–. ISBN 978-1-136-85882-6.
  8. ^ Parliament of Jamaica
  9. ^ "Constitution of the People's National Party". Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  10. ^ Anon (12 June 2006). "No Hard Feelings – Richard Hart forgives Manley for throwing him out of the PNP". The Gleaner. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  11. ^ Taylor, Orville (20 May 2012), "Workers' 'Weak': 50 Years Of Betrayal", The Gleaner.
  12. ^ Campbell, Howard (6 June 2006). "CAMPUS BEAT – University of the West Indies (UWI) explores rich legacy of Richard Hart". The Gleaner. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  13. ^ Campbell, Howard (18 April 2010). "Works of the Radical Hart to be Published". The Gleaner. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  14. ^ "John BarnesThe footballer traces his grandfather's central role in the campaign for Jamaican independence", Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. Episode aired BBC One, 17 October 2012.
  15. ^ "13. History of the Jamaica Labour Movement", The Voice of Coloured Labour (George Padmore, editor), 1945.
  16. ^ Microform Academic Publishers (2000). Richard Hart Collection – Richard Hart's Collected Papers 1937–1966 on Microfilm: Finding List (PDF). Wakefield: Microform Academic Publishers.
  17. ^ a b Luquesi, Andrea (25 January 2011). "Honorary Graduate Profile: Richard Hart". University of Hull. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  18. ^ Garfield Higgins, "Plastic smiles and constipated glad-handing cannot smother reality, PNP", Jamaica Observer, 14 June 2020 Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  19. ^ C.V. Black, A History of Jamaica (London: Collins, 1975), p. 233.
  20. ^ Michael Burke, "Norman Manley as premier", Jamaica Observer, 13 August 2014 Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  21. ^ "New 2012 Cabinet Ministers". Archived from the original on 7 February 2012.
  22. ^ "Jamaica Observer Limited". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 25 June 2020.