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The Ministry of Labour and Social Security in Jamaica, 1938-2012: A Case Study

Nov 14, 2012, 12pm-1:30pm

This lunch talk will deal with the rise of a major institution in Jamaica, an island shaped by colonialism, 150 years of Spanish rule initially by Columbus' family, 300 years of British rule, and most recently 50 years of independence. Engage in discussions of public management and public policy shaped by major historical forces, such as the eradication of aboriginals, the Arawaks, the transplantation of races, which led Jamaica to adopt the slogan "Out of Many One People".

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security grew out of the setting in Jamaica in the 1930s. In the 1930s, the situation in the Caribbean in general and in Jamaica in particular, was one of major unrest, high unemployment, which led to riots and social chaos. It led the British government to establish the Moyne Commission, which reported on the dire state of affairs in the region. The commission recommended the establishment of departments of labor and related industrial relations institutions to address the interests of the workers rather than the owners of the estates. The economy in Jamaica was in transition from estates.

One institution established was the Employment Bureau in 1938. It later became the Ministry of Labour, and in 1966, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. The 1930s saw the formation of unions and political parties which demanded representation. Adult suffrage was granted in 1944. It is worth pointing out that the earlier constitution was suspended in 1865 following a rebellion. Constitutional developments occurred between 1944 and1962 and Jamaica was granted independence in 1962. The labour movement and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security were major players in political development between the 1930s and the first 50 years of independence from 1962 to 2012.


Location:McLaughlin Senior Common Room, 140 McLaughlin College
Sponsor:Office of the Master, McLaughlin College
Posted by:Lorraine Myrie
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