Remarks by the Foundation Chairman
-Opening of the Michael Manley
The Most Hon. P.J. Patterson, Prime
Minister; the Most Hon. Mrs Michael Manley; Joseph Manley, Douglas
Manley, Rachel Manley and other members of the Manley family;
Ministers of Government; Members of the House of Representatives and
the Senate; members of the Diplomatic Corps; members of the Michael
Manley Foundation; representatives of the Norman Manley and Edna
Manley Foundations; colleagues and friends, good morning and special
Today, we not only celebrate the 80th
anniversary of the birth of our beloved leader, Michael Manley –
former Prime Minister, trade unionist, advocate of the poor and
devoted regionalist – but in his honour we will be officially
opening the Michael Manley Centre to preserve and process in
perpetuity the speeches, writings, audiovisual materials and
artefacts of the Manley years. It is a task to which the Foundation
is committed so as to ensure that present and future generations
will be able to learn first-hand about the legacy of the man that
has irrefutably lifted our collective conscience to a greater sense
of egalitarianism and social justice.
The Centre will allow Jamaicans and
visitors from overseas to participate in a glorious period of our
history, because it offers an analytical look at our past and provokes
emotions that stimulate learning, reflections and a sense of purpose.
The Centre will therefore set about to
complete Michael Manley’s unfinished work and promote his timeless
principles of self-reliance, equality, empowerment and human rights
as an enduring message of hope and opportunity.
This is just one of the many ways in
which the Foundation will be carrying through on its mandate to
preserve and promote the intellectual and philosophical ideas of
Michael Manley. At a time when some of the glaring inequities and
disparities are emerging in the new global economic arrangement, we
are driven by a restless urge to pit the political thoughts of
Michael Manley against the orthodoxies of the times in an effort to
find that balance which provides the logic to our own survival as a
The Centre is the first of its kind to
be established for a former Prime Minister and we hope that it will
not be the last. Visitors to the Centre will be able to follow a
young Michael Manley on his rise from a journalist to a trade union
advocate. His campaign to the Party leadership and his three terms
as Prime Minister are revealed in documents, speeches, letters,
Cabinet minutes and articles spanning four decades.
The Michael Manley Centre is a work in
progress, and those responsible for its remarkable success so far
have done justice to the memory of Michael. I must therefore pay
special tribute to Mrs Glynne Manley and Joseph Manley for the
volumes of documents, personal items and the many artefacts which
they have generously donated to the centre, to Louis Marriott for
overseeing the work of the Centre; and to Miss Beverly Lashley, the
Librarian Consultant, who provided unstinting service at no cost.
The Foundation will ensure that the
Michael Manley Centre serves the Jamaican people as a ‘classroom of
democracy’. It must share in a past by advancing an understanding of
our historical beginnings, masked in the balkanisation of regional
politics and government; and a future, challenged to bring about a
profound metamorphosis which defines a new Caribbean polity that
must function primarily in the interest of its citizens.
The Centre which bears Michael Manley’s
name must set about to fulfill his dreams and aspirations. We are
therefore committed to ensuring the preservation of the Centre, as
we are committed to maintaining the highest standards of excellence
for our annual projects, which include the Michael Manley Award for
Community Self Reliance; the Michael Manley Lecture; and the Essay
Competitions for secondary students in Jamaica and tertiary students
throughout the CARICOM region.
That is why we launched in March of this
year an Endowment Fund to raise $20 million here in Jamaica, and
U.S.$1.5m overseas to sustain the work of the Foundation, because,
in the search for solutions, Manley’s thoughts and ideas must inform
and inspire us as a people to climb up the down escalator to
achieve, what Rousseau calls, a new ‘civil religion’ which brings a
new sense of responsibility embodied in a new national spirit.
This afternoon, we further our work with
the holding of the third Annual Michael Manley Lecture to be
delivered by Rachel Manley at the LOJ Auditorium.
It was Franklin D. Roosevelt who once
said that a “nation must believe three things. It must believe in
the past. It must believe in the future. It must above all, believe
in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that
they can gain in judgement in creating their own future”.
It is in this spirit that I therefore
extend very special welcome to all of you, and hope that the Centre
will arouse a social re-awakening that impels us to carry on the
legacy of Michael Manley, which, in so many ways, is embodied in his
simple but profound peroration, indeed, "the word is love".