Hugh Shearer by Hartley Neita PDFHugh Shearer: A Voice for the People chronicles the life and multifaceted career of Hugh Lawson Shearer – Journalist, Trade Unionist, Politician – and his rise to become one of the first leaders of post-independent Jamaica. Shearer was part of the family dynasty which dominated Jamaican politics from 1944 and through the first 25 years of independence, following in the footsteps of Alexander Bustamante, Norman Manley and later to be succeeded by his cousin Michael Manley. But Hugh Shearer was his own man; described by the foreign press as 'handsome and athletic-looking' and as carrying 'the air and properties of a ... successful business executive', Shearer was known for his charm and humility which belied his toughness and skill as a negotiator but which served him well as a trade unionist and later as politician and prime minister. Gains in the areas of salaries, pension rights, shorter single-time working hours, maternity leave and numerous fringe benefits covering health and education for workers are part of the Shearer legacy as a trade unionist. Though presiding over the country during one of its most prosperous periods, Shearer's tenure as Jamaica's third prime minister was not without its challenges locally and internationally. His leadership coincided with the period of worldwide student protest and the aggressive Black Power Movement which he had to confront at home and which he did decisively and with toughness. But it was the same Hugh Shearer who got the United Nations to declare 1968 an International Year of Human Rights and used that forum and others to speak out for Jamaica on behalf of the oppressed peoples of South Africa.
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