Jamaican general election, 1989

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Jamaica general election, 1989
← 1983 9 February 1989 (1989-02-09) 1993 →

All 60 seats in the Jamaica House of Representatives
  First party Second party
  Michael Manley
Leader Michael Manley Edward Seaga
Leader's seat Kingston East & Port Royal Kingston West
Last election 0 seats (boycotted) 60 seats, 89.7%
Seats before 60
Seats won 45 15
Seat change Increase45 Decrease45
Popular vote 473,754 362,589
Percentage 56.6% 43.3%
Swing Increase56.6% Decrease46.4%

Prime Minister before election

Edward Seaga

Subsequent Prime Minister

Michael Manley

Coat of arms of Jamaica.svg
This article is part of a series on the
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General elections were held in Jamaica on 9 February 1989. The result was a victory for the People's National Party, which won 45 of the 60 seats. Voter turnout was 78.4%.[1]

This was the first election contested by the People's National Party since 1980, as they had boycotted the 1983 snap election. Prime Minister Edward Seaga announced the election date on January 15, 1989 at a rally in Kingston.[2] He cited emergency conditions caused by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 as the reason for extending the parliamentary term beyond its normal five-year mandate.[3]


The election date and tone of the election were shaped in part by Hurricane Gilbert, which made landfall in September 1988 and decimated the island. The hurricane caused almost $1 billion worth of damage to the island, with banana and coffee crops wiped out and thousands of homes destroyed. Both parties engaged in campaigning through the distribution of relief supplies, a hallmark of the Jamaican patronage system. Political commentators noted that prior to the hurricane, Edward Seaga and the JLP trailed Michael Manley and the PNP by twenty points in opinion polls. The ability to provide relief as the party in charge allowed Seaga to improve his standing among voters and erode the inevitability of Manley's victory. However, scandals related to the relief effort cost Seaga and the JLP some of the gains made immediately following the hurricane. Scandals that emerged included National Security Minister Errol Anderson personally controlling a warehouse full of disaster relief supplies and candidate Joan Gordon-Webley distributing American-donated flour in sacks with her picture on them.[4]

The election was characterized by a narrower ideological difference between the two parties on economic issues. Michael Manley facilitated his comeback campaign by moderating his leftist positions and admitting mistakes made as Prime Minister, saying he erred when he involved government in economic production and had abandoned all thoughts of nationalizing industry. He cited the PNP's desire to continue the market-oriented policies of the JLP government, but with a more participatory approach.[5] Prime Minister Edward Seaga ran on his record of economic growth and the reduction of unemployment in Jamaica, using the campaign slogan "Don't Let Them Wreck It Again" to refer to Manley's tenure as Prime Minister.[6] Seaga during his tenure as Prime Minister emphasized the need to tighten public sector spending and cut close to 27,000 public sector jobs in 1983 and 1984.[7] He shifted his plans as elections neared with a promise to spend J$1 billion on a five-year Social Well-Being Programme, which would build new hospitals and schools in Jamaica.[8]

Foreign policy also played a role in the 1989 election. Prime Minister Edward Seaga emphasized his relations with the United States, a relationship which saw Jamaica receiving considerable economic aid from the U.S and additional loans from international institutions.[9] Manley pledged better relations with the United States while at the same time pledging to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba that had been cut under Seaga.[6] With Manley as Prime Minister, Jamaican-American relations had significantly frayed as a result of Manley's economic policies and close relations with Cuba.[10]

The personalities of the two party leaders helped shape the 1989 campaign. While Seaga was portrayed as a good manager with a cold public demeanor, Manley was perceived as a person with suspect managerial skills but exceptional personal magnetism. Seaga summarized the two personalities by saying, "Some people prefer to have a husband who will provide for them and give them security. Others are looking for a lover to give them joy."[6]


Party Votes % Seats +/-
People's National Party 473,754 56.6 45 +45
Jamaica Labour Party 362,589 43.3 15 -45
Independents 628 0.1 0 0
Invalid/blank votes 8,514
Total 845,485 100 60 0
Source: Nohlen

By constituency[edit]

Constituency Jamaica Labour Party People's National Party Independents
Candidate Votes % Candidate Votes % Candidate Votes %
Kingston Western Edward Seaga 11,744 81.79 Clinton Davy 2,615 18.21
Kingston Central Olivia Grange 5,758 43.02 Ralph Brown 7,627 56.98
Kingston East & Port Royal Granclett Cadienhead 2,392 Michael Manley 10,084
St. Andrew West Rural Kenneth Baugh 8,074 Claude Clarke 8,170
St. Andrew Western Lee R. Clarke 7,223 Onel Williams 10,298 Don Jenkins 40
St. Andrew West Central Ferdinand Yap 10,458 Arnold Nicholson 13,102
St. Andrew East Central Merlene Heholt 4,088 Arthur Jones 11,276
St. Andrew South Western Royland Williams 396 Portia Simpson 18,577
St. Andrew Southern Earlston Spencer 5,092 Hartley E. Jones 14,798
St. Andrew South Eastern Ryan G. Peralto 5,371 Easton W.X. Douglas 6,444 Jasmin A. Brown 14
St. Andrew Eastern Edmund Bartlett 6,802 Oswald S. Seymour 5,599
St. Andrew North Central Karl Samuda 7,017 Shirley-Ann Eaton 5,144
St. Andrew North Western Derrick C. Smith 5,392 Jepthah V. Ford 5,159
St. Andrew East Rural Joan A. Gordon-Webley 6,686 E.G.G. Barrett 7,070
St. Thomas Western Errol Anderson 9,390 Ronald G. Lampart 7,822
St. Thomas Eastern Pearnel Charles 7,930 Franklyn Sephestine 7,462 Roosevelt S. Barrant 122
Portland Eastern Dennis M. Wright 6,426 H. Sam Lawrence 8,799
Portland Western St. Clair O. Shirley 5,977 Errol F. Ennis 6,848
St. Mary South Eastern Alva Ross 6,476 Harry G. Douglas 7,319
St. Mary Central Neville G. Murray 4,166 Horace A. Clarke 8,983
St. Mary Western Hyacinth M. Knight 6,520 Terrence D. Gillette 9,089
St. Ann South Eastern Kern Christian 3,290 Seymour Mullings 9,056
St. Ann North Eastern Patricia Pink 6,227 N.W. Manley Bowen 9,532
St. Ann North Western Ernest A. Smith 6,639 Burchell Whiteman 7,684
St. Ann South Western Neville Gallimore 6,916 Newton Richards 4,717
Trelawny Northern Keith E. Russell 6,874 Desmond Leakey 10,103
Trelawny Southern Brascoe L. Lee 5,662 Lyndel L. Frater 5,837
St. James East Central Godfrey G. Dyer 4,598 Violet A. Neilson 5,656
St. James North Western Charles E. Sinclair 6,108 Carl E. Miller 8,753
St. James West Central Winston Watt 5,165 Patrick Rose-Green 7,651
St. James Southern Ephraim A. Morgan 3,858 Derrick F.L. Kellier 7,980 Princess E. Vernon 452
Hanover Eastern Franklin D. Jackson 5,269 Aston S. King 6,700
Hanover Western Horace A. Chang 6,096 Benjamin A.L. Clare 8,578
Westmoreland Western Russell O. Hammond 4,335 Kenneth A. McNeil 8,755
Westmoreland Central Carlton C.C. Jones 4,324 Enock C.K. Blythe 8,021
Westmoreland North Eastern Astil Sangster 4,331 Headly Cunningham 7,229
Westmoreland South Eastern Percival LaTouche 3,999 P.J. Patterson 7,108
St. Elizabeth North Western Neville B. Lewis 6,656 Caswell Daley 6,111
St. Elizabeth North Eastern Hugh A. Dawes 5,433 Sydney R. Pagon 9,042
St. Elizabeth South Western Derrick Sangster 6,478 Donald B. Buchanan 7,479
St. Elizabeth South Eastern Jeremy A. Palmer 6,144 Derrick A. Rochester 8,162
Manchester Southern Lloyd G. Bent 5,604 Douglas R. Manley 8,615
Manchester Central Cecil Charlton 6,655 John A. Junior 7,384
Manchester North Western Stafford S. Haughton 4,420 Dean A. Peart 7,787
Clarendon North Western Audley Shaw 6,675 Calvin S. Lyn 7,339
Clarendon Northern J.A.G. Smith 6,135 Horace Daley 7,015
Clarendon North Central Errol A. Dunkley 6,429 N.C. Bachelor 4,895
Clarendon Central Lester Michael Henry 6,768 Donnal M. Scott-Bhoorasingh 6,286
Clarendon South Western Arthur H.W. Williams 4,788 O.D. Ramtallie 8,307
Clarendon South Eastern Hugh Shearer 7,299 50.01% Emanuel Cousins 7,295 49.99%
St. Catherine North Western John Franklyn 3,959 Robert D. Pickersgill 8,904
St. Catherine South Western Michael A. Williams 7,044 Rudyard E. Lawson 8,652
St. Catherine Southern Thomas Tavares-Finson 7,848 Hugh Small 8,325
St. Catherine Central Bruce Golding 12,062 Vincent L. Edwards 6,852
St. Catherine South Eastern Jeanette Grant-Woodham 5,651 R. Carl Rattray 8,189
St. Catherine East Central Ruby C. Walcott 5,070 Keith D. St. A. Knight 9,744
St. Catherine West Central Enid Bennett 6,340 Enoch L. Blake 5,250
St. Catherine North Eastern Anthony S.R. Johnson 5,740 Phyllis Mitchell 4,604
Source: Electoral Commission of Jamaica


  1. ^ Nohlen, D (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume I, p430 ISBN 978-0-19-928357-6
  2. ^ "JAMAICA ELECTION SET FOR FEBRUARY". The New York Times. 17 January 1989. Retrieved 19 September 2016. 
  3. ^ Lansford, Tom (2014). "Political Handbook of the World 2014", p. 717. ISBN 1483333272, 9781483333274.
  4. ^ "Showdown in Jamaica". The New York Times. 27 November 1988. Retrieved 19 September 2016. 
  5. ^ Garrity, Michele and Picard, Louis A. "Policy Reform for Sustainable Development in the Caribbean", p. 39. ISBN 4274900991, 9784274900990.
  6. ^ a b c "Personalities Of Candidates Key Issue In Jamaica Election". Retrieved 19 September 2016. 
  7. ^ "Jamaica Gleaner News - On development and losing elections - Sunday | March 14, 2010". Mobile.jamaica-gleaner.com. Retrieved 2016-09-24. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2015-05-07. 
  9. ^ Ronald T. Libby (1990). "The United States and Jamaica: Playing the American Card" (PDF). Latin American Perspectives. pp. 86–109. Caribbean Crisis and Global Restructuring 
  10. ^ "Jamaica - Relations with the United States, Britain, and Canada". Retrieved 19 September 2016.