Jamaica held its first general election Tuesday (Feb. 21) since obtaining independence from Britain in 1962. 500 thousand voters were eligible to cast ballots to fill 53 seats in Parliament.
MS Traffic cop directing traffic
MS "JLPA" campaign car - toases leaflets
MS Same - car move down street
CU Manley poster (PNP leader)
CU PNP poster
MS Police car past camera
MS Street scene
MS Military personnel in truck
CU "Devon House" gates and guard (police hq)
MS 3 soldiers on Devon House grounds
MS Dirt street and shacks in West Kingston
MS Soldier making call at Devon House
MS PNP poster
MS Pedestrians, track in to "Seaga Win" sign
MS Fruit stand in West Kingston
MS Men at slum bar in West Kingston
MS Pedestrian waves away camera in Kingston
MCU Writing on wall
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Background: Jamaica held its first general election Tuesday (Feb. 21) since obtaining independence from Britain in 1962. 500 thousand voters were eligible to cast ballots to fill 53 seats in Parliament.
Tight security was in effect in Kingston, Jamaica's capital, on Monday (Feb. 20) to guard against election violence. Police were being supplemented by army troops aided by helicopters and light plane. The campaign has been hotly contested, and there has already been some violence in West Kingston, a slum area. One person was reported shot dead, and 10 others wounded in gunfighting and dynamiting.
The two major parties are the ruling Jamaica Labor Party and the People's National Party (PNP). The Labor Party was rated a slight pre-election favorite to retain control of the government. Its campaign is based on the island's economic growth. Jamaica has experienced a slight boom from tourism and the inflow of United States and Canadian capital for light industry.
The P.N.P. has called for "freedom" from the present economic structure, which it said is dominated by large landowners. One of its major proposals is to set a maximum of 500 acres on individual ownership of land.
The election was called because of the retirement of the Labour Party's leader, Sir Alexander Bustamante, 84, the Prime Minister. If Labour wins, the acting Prime Minister, Donald Sangster, 55, is expected to succeed Bustamante. The opposition (PNP) leader is Norman Manley.
In West Kingston, a slum area, the opposing candidates were Edward Seaga, 36, of the Labour Party, present Minister of Development and Welfare, and Dudley Thompson, 50, a lawyer, running on the PNP ticket. Mr. Seaga has a strong organisation. West Kingston is lined with flimsy shacks in which live families that have migrated from rural areas in hope of finding work in Kingston. These hopes have been frustrated, and this is one of the big reasons why the area is so explosive.