1958 West Indies federal elections

Federal elections were held in the West Indies Federation for the first and only time on 25 March 1958. The result was a victory for the West Indies Federal Labour Party, which won 25 of the 45 seats in the House of Representatives.

1958 West Indies federal election

25 March 1958

All 45 seats in the House of Representatives
23 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
 
Leader Grantley Herbert Adams Ashford Sinanan
Party WIFLP DLP
Leader's seat Barbados Trinidad and Tobago
Seats won 25 19

Colours denote the party with the largest number of seats by island/island group. Grey denotes islands not part of the Federation.

Position unfilled before election

None

Prime Minister

Grantley Herbert Adams
WIFLP

Electoral system

Candidates were nominated on 28 February in all unit territories except Trinidad and Tobago, where candidates were nominated on 3 March.

The elections were held in a mix of single- and multi-member constituencies. In all territories except Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, the constituency covered the entire territory; Antigua and Barbuda elected two, Barbados five, Dominica two, Grenada two, Montserrat one, St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla two, St Lucia two and St Vincent and the Grenadines two.

Jamaica had 17 constituencies based on the 14 parishes and three counties (which overlapped the parishes), meaning voters elected representatives from two levels. In Trinidad and Tobago, the ten seats were based on the counties, some of which were single-member (Tobago and Caroni) and some of which were multi-member (Saint George). In some cases counties were merged to form a single-member constituency (such as the Eastern Counties).

Campaign

In preparation for the elections, two Federation-wide parties were organised as confederations of local political parties. Both were organised by Jamaican politicians: the West Indies Federal Labour Party by Norman Manley, and the Democratic Labour Party, by Alexander Bustamante. In broad terms, the WIFLP consisted of the urban-based parties throughout the Federation, while the DLP consisted of the rural-based parties. A small third party, the Federal Democratic Party, was founded in November 1957 by a group of Trinidadians.

The platforms for the two major parties were similar in many respects. Both advocated maintaining and strengthening ties with the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada (countries with which the islands had strong cultural and economic links); encouraging and expanding tourism; working to bring British Guiana and British Honduras into the Federation and to obtain loans, financial aid, and technical assistance. Despite these similarities, there were differences. The WIFLP had advocated the encouragement of agriculture while the DLP had promised a climate favourable to both private industry and labour, development of human and economic resources. The WIFLP promised to encourage the Bahamas (in addition to British Guiana and British Honduras) to join the Federation, whereas the DLP did not. The WIFLP also campaigned to establish a central bank for the extension of credit resources and advocated a democratic socialist society and full internal self-government for all the unit territories, whilst avoiding the issues of freedom of movement and a customs union. The DLP said nothing about full internal self-government, attacked socialism, wished to avoid high taxation (via loans and technical aid) and emphasized West Indian unity, freedom of worship and speech and encouragement of trade unions.

Results

The WIFLP won the election with 25 seats and was supported by the Barbados National Party, which won 1 seat; the DLP won 19 seats. The bulk of the WIFLP seats came from the smaller islands, and the DLP won in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

WIFLP leader Grantley Adams of Barbados became Prime Minister.

Party Votes % Seats
West Indies Federal Labour Party25
Democratic Labour Party19
Barbados National Party1
Total45

By island

Island BNP DLP WIFLP Total
Antigua and Barbuda022
Barbados1045
Dominica022
Grenada022
Jamaica (incl. Cayman Islands & Turks & Caicos Islands)11617
Montserrat011
Saint Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla022
Saint Lucia022
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines202
Trinidad and Tobago6410
Total1192545

By constituency

Constituency Winner (Party)
Antigua (1st seat) Novelle Richards (WIFLP)[1]
Antigua (2nd seat) Bradley Carrott (WIFLP)[1]
Barbados (1st seat) Grantly Adams (WIFLP)[2]
Barbados (2nd seat) Harcourt Rocheford (WIFLP)[2]
Barbados (3rd seat) V. B. Vaughn (WIFLP)[2]
Barbados (4th seat) Deighton Ward (WIFLP)[2]
Barbados (5th seat) Florence Daysh (BNP)[2]
Caroni (Trinidad & Tobago) Pat Mathura (DLP)[1]
Clarendon (Jamaica) Frederick Duhaney (DLP)[1]
County of Cornwall (Jamaica) Ernest Wakeland (DLP)[2]
County of Middlesex (Jamaica) Stanley Augustus Lennon (DLP)[1]
County of Surrey (Jamaica) Kenneth Hill (DLP)[1]
Dominica (1st seat) Edward Oliver LeBlanc (WIFLP)[2]
Dominica (2nd seat) Phyllis Byam Shand Allfrey (WIFLP)[2]
Eastern Counties (Trinidad & Tobago) Victor Bryan (DLP)[1]
Grenada (1st seat) Thomas Gibbs (WIFLP)[1]
Grenada (2nd seat) Lincoln Radix (WIFLP)[1]
Hanover (Jamaica) Sydney Stone (DLP)[1]
Kingston (Jamaica) Ralph Brown (WIFLP)[1]
Manchester (Jamaica) Louis Patrick Delapenha (WIFLP)[1]
Montserrat William Bramble (WIFLP)[2]
Port of Spain, East (Trinidad & Tobago) Donald Pierre (WIFLP)[1]
Port of Spain, West (Trinidad & Tobago) Ronald Jay Williams (WIFLP)[1]
Portland (Jamaica) Clement Afflick (DLP)[1]
Saint Andrew (Jamaica) M. A. Hector (DLP)[1]
Saint Ann (Jamaica) F. B. Ricketts (WIFLP)[1]
Saint Anns (Trinidad & Tobago) W. Andrew Rose (WIFLP)[1]
Saint Catherine (Jamaica) Winston Williams (DLP)[1]
Saint Elizabeth (Jamaica) Lionel Densham (DLP)[1]
Saint George, East (Trinidad & Tobago) Albert Gomes (DLP)[1]
Saint James (Jamaica) Howard Cooke (WIFLP)[1]
Saint Kitts (1st seat) Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw (WIFLP)[1]
Saint Kitts (2nd seat) David S. Lloyd (WIFLP)[2]
Saint Lucia (1st seat) Carl La Corbiniere (WIFLP)[1]
Saint Lucia (2nd seat) Joseph Bosquet (WIFLP)[1]
Saint Mary (Jamaica) Morris Cargill (DLP)[1]
Saint Patrick (Trinidad & Tobago) Mohammed Shah (DLP)[1]
Saint Thomas (Jamaica) Robert Lightbourne (DLP)[1]
Saint Vincent (1st seat) Leroy Adams (DLP)[3]
Saint Vincent (2nd seat) Alphaeus Allen (DLP)[3]
San Fernando-Naparima (Trinidad & Tobago) Roy Josephs (DLP)[1]
Tobago (Trinidad & Tobago) A. N. R. Robinson (WIFLP)[1]
Trelawny (Jamaica) A. U. Belinfanti (WIFLP)[1]
Victoria (Trinidad & Tobago) Ashford Sinanan (DLP)[1]
Westmoreland (Jamaica) Constantine Swaby (DLP)[1]

Aftermath

Government Formation

Following the elections, Grantley Herbert Adams of the WIFLP became Prime Minister following a 23–21 vote in the House (the Grenada members, while allied with WIFLP, supported the DLP). However, his selection was indicative of the problems the Federation would face; The expected leader of the WIFLP was Norman Manley, Premier of Jamaica, and the next logical choice was Eric Williams, Premier of Trinidad and Tobago. However, neither had contested the federal elections, preferring to remain in control of their respective island power bases, and were not eligible. This suggested that the leaders of the two most important provinces did not see the federation as viable. Similarly, Alexander Bustamante, the Jamaican founder of the DLP, also declined to contest the federal election, leaving the party leadership to the Trinidadian Ashford Sinanan. The absence of the leading Jamaican politicians from any role at the federal level was to undermine the federation's unity.

The Council of State included:[4]

  • Prime Minister: Grantly Adams (Barbados)
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Industry: Carl La Corbiniere (St. Lucia)
  • Minister of Labour and Social Affairs: Phyllis Byam Shand Allfrey (Dominica)
  • Minister of Finance: Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw (St. Kitts)
  • Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture: F.B. Ricketts (Jamaica)
  • Minister of Communications and Works: W. Andrew Rose, (Trinidad)
  • Minister without Portfolio: Novelle Richards Richards, (Antigua)
  • Minister without Portfolio: V. B. Vaughn (Barbados)
  • Leader of the Opposition: Ashford Sinanan (Trinidad)
  • Marshall of the House: John R. Ashmeade

Senate selection

The Senate was appointed in April 1958, shortly before the opening of Parliament. In a controversial move, Governor-General Lord Hailes consulted the opposition DLP groups in Trinidad and Jamaica and appointed one DLP nominee senator from each of those territories, resulting in 15 WIFLP senators and 4 DLP senators overall. Lord Hailes did this having taken account of the fact that St. Vincent was the only unit territory with a DLP government and that as a result the federal senate was going to be overwhelmingly pro WIFLP.[5][6]

Islands DLP WIFLP Total Senators
Antigua and Barbuda022Henry Moore (WIFLP), Bertha Higgins (WIFLP)[5][6]
Barbados022Hampden Cuke (WIFLP), Arnott Cato (WIFLP)[5][6]
Dominica022John Charles (WIFLP), George Winston (WIFLP)[5][6]
Grenada022Theophilus Albert Marryshow (WIFLP), John Renwick (WIFLP)[5][6]
Jamaica (incl. Cayman Islands & Turks & Caicos Islands)112Allan G. R. Byfield (WIFLP), Douglas Judah (DLP)[5][6]
Montserrat011James Meade (WIFLP)[5][6]
Saint Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla022James Liburd (WIFLP), William Seaton(WIFLP)[5][6]
Saint Lucia022Allen Lewis (WIFLP), James Luc Charles (WIFLP)[5][6]
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines202Edward Hughes (DLP), Norbert Davis (DLP)[5][6]
Trinidad and Tobago112Marguerite Wyke (WIFLP), Deonarayan Maharajh (DLP)[5][6]
Total41519

From the Senate, the Council of State included:

  • Minister without Portfolio: A.G.R. Byfield (Jamaica)
  • Minister without Portfolio: J.W. Liburd (St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla)
  • Minister without Portfolio: J.L. Charles (St. Lucia)

References

  1. "Members of the Federal House of Representatives". The Gleaner. Kingston, Jamaica. 26 March 1958. p. 7. Retrieved 20 January 2018 via Newspaperarchive.com.
  2. "Members of the Federal House of Representatives". The Gleaner. Kingston, Jamaica. 27 March 1958. p. 20. Retrieved 20 January 2018 via Newspaperarchive.com.
  3. "Members of the Federal House of Representatives". Kingstown, Saint Vincent: Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 3 April 1958. p. 1. Retrieved 20 January 2018 via University of Florida.
  4. "Members of the Federal House of Representatives". The Gleaner. Kingston, Jamaica. 13 July 1958. p. 20. Retrieved 31 October 2017 via Newspaperarchive.com.
  5. "Caribbean Elections - West Indies Federation". Caribbeanelections.com. 20 January 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2018 via Caribbeanelections.com.
  6. "Members of the Federal House of Representatives". The Gleaner. Kingston, Jamaica. 12 April 1958. p. 1. Retrieved 20 January 2018 via Newspaperarchive.com.
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