Jamaica Information / Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang. (FILE) + – Photo: JIS Photographer Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang. (FILE) Story Highlights Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says National Hero, the Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante, will always be remembered as the father of Independent Jamaica, who was “way ahead of his time”. “What is striking on this day, 134 years to the date, is that Sir Alexander’s principles of national self-determination and the right of all citizens to a quality of life that sustains families and communities are even more critical today,” Dr. Chang said. Dr. Chang said honour, mutual respect and quality representation was the hallmark of Sir Alexander. “He was the voice of the people in their interactions with the colonial Government and was never one to cower in fear,” Dr. Chang said.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says National Hero, the Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante, will always be remembered as the father of Independent Jamaica, who was “way ahead of his time”.

Addressing a ceremony commemorating the 134th birthday of Sir Alexander in Blenheim, Hanover, on February 24, Dr. Chang said that while history is replete with many infamous utterances and escapades, “some true and some untrue”, the facts will show that “he was a voice and a champion” of the people.

“What is striking on this day, 134 years to the date, is that Sir Alexander’s principles of national self-determination and the right of all citizens to a quality of life that sustains families and communities are even more critical today,” Dr. Chang said.

“His views and his philosophies were ahead of his time. From his first manifesto in 1944, Sir Alexander was always the champion of the working class and is among the few that will never die. This remarkable Jamaican has left a legacy that we all can be proud of and that we should all try to emulate,” he added.

Dr. Chang said honour, mutual respect and quality representation was the hallmark of Sir Alexander. “He was the voice of the people in their interactions with the colonial Government and was never one to cower in fear,” Dr. Chang said.

He further noted that the protection of the fundamental human rights of every individual was never far off from the mind of Jamaica’s first Prime Minister, adding that “his was a life of public service” and the unwavering belief in liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

For his part, Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, said while it was very difficult to single out the late National Hero’s greatest achievement, he would be willing to wager on Sir Alexander’s unrelenting fight for the equality of women.

“Sir Alexander insisted that women should get equal pay to the men. He was the first to employ a female Postmistress and also a Matron. It was Sir Alexander who converted the old military hospital in Kingston and made it into the Caribbean’s first and still only children’s hospital, which also bears his name (Bustamante Hospital for Children),” he said.

Sir Alexander Bustamante was born William Alexander Clarke on February 24, 1884, and became the first Prime Minister of Independent Jamaica in 1962. He retired from active politics in 1967 and died on August 6, 1977 at the age of 93 years. He was made a National Hero on October 18, 1969.

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