Jamaica Labour Party

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Jamaica Labour Party
Leader Andrew Holness
Founder Alexander Bustamante
President Robert Montague
General Secretary Horace Chang
Founded 8 July 1943
Headquarters Kingston, Jamaica
Trade union's wing Bustamante Industrial Trade Union
Ideology Conservatism,
Fiscal conservatism
Political position Centre-right
International affiliation International Democrat Union
Regional affiliation Caribbean Democrat Union
House of Representatives
21 / 63
7 / 20
Local Government
75 / 227
Parish Councils
0 / 13
Politics of Jamaica
Political parties

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is one of the two major political parties in Jamaica, the other being the People's National Party. Despite its name, the JLP is a centre-right, conservative party, albeit one with ties to the Jamaican labour movement.


The party was founded on 8 July 1943 by Alexander Bustamante as the political wing of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union. It won the 1944 general elections with 22 of the 32 seats.[1] It went on to win the 1949 elections with a reduced majority, before losing power to the PNP in the 1955 elections. It remained in opposition following the 1959 elections, but was victorious in 1962.

In 1964 Bustamante retired from politics, but he did not relinquish the title of party leader for several years until the party gave him the honorific title of "The Chief" following its defeat in the 1972 elections. In the interim, the party was led by Donald Sangster (until 1967) and Hugh Shearer (until 1974), having the title of "First Deputy Leader".

In 1974 Edward Seaga became the second leader of the party. The party lost the 1976 elections, but Seaga became Prime Minister after victory in 1980 when the party won 51 of the 60 seats. In an election boycotted by the opposition in 1983 the JLP won all sixty seats. They were defeated in the 1989 elections and went on to lose elections in 1993, 1997 and 2002.

In 2005 Bruce Golding succeeded Seaga as head of the party, and led it to victory in the 2007 elections. Golding resigned as head of the party in October 2011, and was succeeded by current leader Andrew Holness. The Jamaica Labour Party has since lost in the 2011 Jamaica General Elections.

The party held leadership elections on November 10, 2013, where incumbent party leader (and Leader of the Opposition), Andrew Holness, was challenged by party deputy leader and then Shadow Minister for Finance, Audley Shaw. Holness defeated Shaw.[citation needed]

The JLP uses the Liberty Bell, the victory sign, and the colour green as electoral symbols.

List of party leaders[edit]

1.^ Donald Sangster and Hugh Shearer were not actually leaders of the JLP but were de facto leaders during Bustamante's illness/withdrawal from active political life.


  1. ^ Nohlen, D (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume I, pp432-435 ISBN 978-0-19-928357-6

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