Over the last four decades, I have listened to many of Manley’s detractors and haters, repeating the same old lie, that, Manley ruined the Jamaican economy, during the 1970s. And because I know only too well, that, a lie, if not corrected, eventually becomes the “truth”, I have made it my duty, to debunk that lie.
What really did Manley do to ruin the economy? What should Manley not have done to prevent such “ruination”?
I recalled many great things that Manley did, therefore, I am left to ask the followings questions:
- Should Manley not have enacted by law, Universal Access to Education, across the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, to widen, and to deepen academic opportunities, for economic and social mobility among the poor?
- Should Manley not have enacted by law, Equal Pay for Women to promote gender equity in remuneration?
- Should Manley not have enacted by law, Maternity Leave With Pay Act, to protect the income and rights of female workers who became pregnant?
- Should Manley not have enacted by law, the National Minimum Wage Act, to protect low income and household workers?
- Should Manley not have established the Family Court Act, to hold deliquent fathers accountable?
- Should Manley not have set up JAMAL to address the high level of illiteracy among the adult population, back then?
- Should Manley not have eneacted by law, the Gun Court Act, to deal with the rising level of crime that was committed increasingly by the use of guns?
- Should Manley not have established the NHT, as a mechanism for the provision of housing solutions to the working class?
- Should Manley not have implemented “Project Land Lease” to bolster agriculture in Jamaica?
- Should Manley not have legitimized the status of children who were stigmatized and marginalized with the label of “bastard” that undermined their self worth?
- Should Manley not have introduced the Community Health Aids, who provided much value in assisting the sick and indigent within the community?
- Should Manley not have used Parliament to abolish the “Masters and Servants Act” inherited from Slavery and Colonialism?
- Should Manley not have widened and depended the democratic process, by lowering the age of voting from 21 years to 18 years?
- Should Manley not have passed the Labour Relations and Industrial Dispute Act, providing workers with unions, and enhancing their rights?
- Should Manley not have built 40,000 houses for woekers between 1974 and 1980?
- Should Manley not have implemented the Bauxite Levy, to plug the hole in the budget consequent upon the shortfall in foreign exchange occasioned by the global oil crisis of the 1970s, as also, to ensure that Jamaica got more for its mineral?
- Should Manley not have implemented programmes to subsidize meals, school uniforms and transportation for poor disadvantaged students, so that, they too, could realize their dreams and ambitions, and become productive citizens, in the building of their own lives, and that of their country?
- Should Manley not have tackled the status quo, in an attempt to redistribute wealth, and to empower the masses, that were largely disempowered by an economic system, rooted in Slavery and Colonialism, and that thrived on greed and selfishness?
What really did Manley do, that he should not have done? And just how did Manley set back Jamaica?
The truth, is, Jamaica was made the victim of propaganda, greed, selfishness and sabotage of every conceivable type, emanating from within and without. And the matter was compounded by the events occassioned by the 1970s global oil crisis.
For the factual record, Michael Manley did nothing to setback Jamaica; everything he did, was to right the wrongs of the past, by empowering the masses. For Manley, the mission was primarily about economic development rooted in social justice.
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