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The Classics

Senator Clifford Campbell is the first Jamaican governor-general

Published:Thursday | October 21, 2021 | 8:14 PMA Digital Integration & Marketing production
Senator Clifford Campbell

December 1 marks the day when Senator Clifford Campbell becomes the first Jamaican head of state. The very brief announcement was made simultaneously in London and Kingston.

 

Published Friday, October 19, 1962

Announced from Buckingham Palace

Senator Campbell to be governor-general

First Jamaican to be made head of state

WILL TAKE OFFICE DECEMBER 1

 

SENATOR, the Hon. Clifford Clarence Campbell, president of the Senate, is to be the next governor-general of Jamaica. The announcement made simultaneously in London and Kingston, yesterday, marks the first time that a Jamaican has been appointed to the high office of head of State of his country.

The brief but historic announcement reads: "It is announced from Buckingham Palace that the Queen, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister of Jamaica, has been graciously pleased to approve the appointment of Senator the Honourable C. C. Campbell as Governor-General of Jamaica in succession to Sir Kenneth Blackburne."

The retiring governor-general, who assumed office when Jamaica became independent on August 6 after being governor for nearly five years, goes on pre-retirement leave on November 30.

Although Sir Kenneth's leave is scheduled to last three months and eight days, it was stated at King's House yesterday that Senator Campbell will assume office on December 1.

 

No surprise

News of Senator Campbell's appointment as the next governor-general did not come as a surprise. His name had led the list of persons about whom there was informed speculation when it was announced that Sir Kenneth Blackburne would become governor-general on independence and would carry on for only a few months after that.

Reports that Senator Campbell would succeed Sir Kenneth were intensified when the Prime Minister, the Hon Sir Alexander Bustamante, told Dr M. I. Okpara, visiting Premier of Eastern Nigeria, that "a coloured man" would be the next Governor-General.

The appointment follows the pattern set in the Federation of Nigeria where Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was appointed President of the Senate in 1959 and became the first native Governor-General the following year.

Senator Campbell is at present in Nigeria as a member of the Jamaica delegation to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference.

Mrs Campbell, formerly Alice Estephene Jolly, is a graduate of Bethlehem Teachers' Training College. Her hobbies are music, gardening and cooking, and in earlier years, horseback riding.

Sons, daughters

The Campbell’s have four children: Dr Winston Campbell, who practises medicine at Grange Hill; Mrs Myrtle Mason, barrister, who is attached to the Manpower branch of the Ministry of Labour; Mrs Clair Campbell, B.A. Hons. Economic History, now attached to the Ministry of Trade and Industry; and Mr Newton Campbell, of the Organisation and Methods Branch of the Ministry of Finance, who returns from the United Kingdom today after taking a course which included fellowship study in Canada.

Clifford Clarence Campbell was born in Petersfield, Westmoreland, on June 28, 1892. He is the son of the late James Camp, civil servant, and his wife Blanche, daughter of John Ruddock, agriculturist.

Mr Campbell was educated at Petersfield Elementary School, 1901-12; and Mico Training College 1913-15.

He was headmaster, Fullers-field Government School, 1916-18; Friendship Elementary School, 1919-28; and principal, Grange Hill Government School, 1928-44.

Mr Campbell was elected member for Westmoreland Western in the House of Representatives in the first general election of 1944, having fought the election as a member of the Jamaica Labour Party. He beat his opponent by 8,500 votes in a poll of 15,000. He was made chairman of the House Committee on Education, and in the following year, was elected first vice-president of the Elected Members Association. Mr Campbell sat, meanwhile, as an ex-officio member of the Westmoreland Parish Council.

In 1948, he was re-elected to the House with a majority of 6,800 votes in a poll of 18,000. The following year he was elected the fourth Speaker of the House of Representatives, in succession to Mr O. A. Malcolm, whose seat in the House was declared vacant following a court hearing. Shortly after being elected Speaker, Mr Campbell visited the United Kingdom on the invitation of the British Government to attend the opening of the new House of Commons, which had been built to replace the chamber destroyed during the war. Mrs Campbell accompanied him on the trip.

Mr Campbell's election fortunes changed in 1955 when he lost his seat in the general election that saw the first triumph of the People's National Party over the Jamaica Labour Party. He was beaten by 2,079 in a poll of 20,000, and he lost again in 1959, but by the narrow margin of 785 votes in a poll of 13,400.

Mr Campbell did not contest the 1962 general election, but came into the Upper House as a member of the Legislative Council appointed after the April voting, and then as a senator when the Senate replaced the Legislative Council after independence.

 

LegCo., Senate

 

Mr Campbell was the last President of the Legislative Council and the first President of the Senate, to which body he was nominated on the advice of the prime minister.

The governor-general-designate has been active in educational and agricultural fields while participating in politics. He was a member of the managing committee, Western Federation of Teachers, the Westmoreland Rice Growers' Association; first vice-president, Westmoreland Associated Branches, Jamaica Agricultural Society; member of the Board of Visitors, Savanna-la-Mar Public Hospital; member, Award Committee, Issa Scholarship, 1945-47; member Westmoreland School Board; member, advisory committee, Knockalva Practical Training Centre, 1945; member of the delegation to investigate conditions under which Jamaican workers lived in the United States, 1945; member of the Board of Education, 1944-45; member of the Committee on Training of Local Government Officers, 1945.

Mr Campbell was married in 1920. He is an Anglican.

His hobbies, as listed in Who's Who Jamaica, are agricultural pursuits, reading, music and painting.

 

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