Governor Generals

Although Jamaica gained its independence in 1962, it still remained a member of the British Commonwealth headed by the reigning monarch in England  who was and still is Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II. Throughout these 50 years successive Jamaican governments decided to remain subservient to the Queen, and her representatives in Jamaica, who are designated as Governor Generals, the heads of state in Jamaica.

Both the Queen and the Governor-General hold much power, but this is rarely used, reserved usually for emergencies and, in some cases, war. The Governor-General represents the Queen on ceremonial occasions such as the opening of Parliament, the presentation of honors and military parades, and the swearing in of prime ministers, ministers of government, and members of the senate and members. Under the terms of the Jamaican Constitution, the Governor General  is authorized to act in some matters, for example in appointing and disciplining officers of the civil service, in proroguing Parliament, and accepting the resignation of a prime minister.

The Queen, on the advice of the Jamaican Prime Minister, appoints a Governor-General to be her representative in Jamaica.

Eight men has served as Jamaica’s Governor General (two in an acting capacity) since 1962: these are:

Sir Kenneth Blackburne

Sir Kenneth Blackburne

GCMG, CBE: (6 August–30 November 1962)

Sir Kenneth was the last British Governor of Jamaica (1957 to 1962), but became the new nation’s first Governor General. He served as GG for three months before replaced by the first Jamaican Governor General, Sir Clifford Campbell.

Sir Clifford Clarence Campbell

Sir Clifford Clarence Campbell

ON, GCMG, GCVO, K.St. J. (1 December 1962–2 March 1973)

Sir Clifford, has the distinction of being the first native Jamaican to be the Queen’s representative. A very proud, elegant, and disciplined man, he was born in Westmoreland on June 28, 1892 and was a teacher and a former headmaster. A member of the Jamaica Labor Party, he was a member of parliament, who served as Speaker of the House of Representative and as president of the Senate from August 31 to November 30, 1962, before being appointed as Governor General on the recommendation of Prime Minister Sir Alexander Bustamante.

He was greatly respected by Jamaicans as he performed his duties with great pomp, and impartiality, and was always outstanding in his official Governor General uniform.

Sir Clifford who was married to Alice Estephene (Lady Alice), died in September 1991, at age 99.

Sir Herbert George Duffus

Sir Herbert George Duffus

(2 March–27 June 1973) (acting)

Sir Herbert, was born in St. Ann’s Bay in 1908. He was Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1966, and was the nation’s Chief Justice, when he was appointed by Prime minister Manley to act as Governor General. According to the Jamaican Constitution, the Chief Justice will act as Governor General when that office is vacant.

Approximately four months later Manley recommended that Her Majesty appoint Florizel Glasspole as the nation’s third full-term Governor General.

Sir Herbert died in October 2002, at age 94.

Sir Florizel Augustus Glasspole

Sir Florizel Augustus Glasspole

ON, GCMG, GCVO, K. St. J. (27 June 1973–31 March 1991)

Sir Florizel Augustus Glasspole was the nation’s longest serving Governor General, who served while two PNP and a JLP administration controlled Jamaica’s government.

He was born in Kinston on September 25, 1909. Drawn to politics as a youth he was an early associate of Norman Manley, and with him co-founded the PNP. He contested the first election under adult suffrage in 1944, and was elected to parliament representing Eastern Kingston and Port Royal, a seat he held until Michael Manley recommended his appointment as Governor General.

Sir Florizel was selected to the Cabinets of Norman and Michael Manley, serving as Minister of Labor from 1955 to 1957, and Minister of Education, 1957-1962, and 1972 to 1973.

It was a tribute to the great respect Sir Florizel commanded across the nation’s political chasm, that when Edward Seaga became prime minister in 1980 he asked Sir Florizriel to remain in office as Governor General.

In 1981 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, receiving the Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St Micheal and St George (GCMG) at Buckingham Palace.

He retired from office in 1991, and died on November 25, 2000, at age 91.

Judge Edward Zacca

Judge Edward Zacca

OJ (31 March–1 August 1991) (acting)

Zacca was born on 26 July 1931. Having been educated in the legal profession he was admitted to practice in 1954. He became Acting Resident Magistrate for St. Catherine, RM for St. Mary and St. James (1960–65) and RM for St. Andrew (1965–1968) and subsequently appointed, High Court Judge, Justice of Appeal, and President Court of Appeal, Jamaica. On 2 January 1985, he was sworn in as Chief Justice of Jamaica by Sir Florizel Glasspole, and acted Governor General from March 31 to August 1, 1991.

Following his service as GG, he was accepted by the UK Privy Council on 1 September 1992, fourth Caribbean Chief Justice to be appointed to the Privy Council and the first from Jamaica. He was also President of the Court of Appeal of Turks & Caicos Islands and a past President of the Court of Appeal of the Cayman Islands and served as President of the Court of Appeal of the Bahamas from March 2000 to July 2001.

Sir Howard Felix Hanlan Cooke

Sir Howard Felix Hanlan Cooke

ON, GCMG, GCVO, CD, K.St.J (1 August 1991–15 February 2006)

Sir Howard was Jamaica’s fourth (full-time) Governor General. He was born in Goodwill, St. James, on November 13, 1915.

Like his predecessor, Sir Clifford Campbell he was a teacher who served as president of the Jamaica Union of Teachers, and like Sir Florizel Glasspole he served as a Minister of Education under the Michael Manley administration. He also served as president of the Jamaican Senate from 1989 to 1991.

He was also a founding member of the People’s National Party, and served as chairman and a member of the executive and national executive of the party. He entered the Jamaican Parliament in 1962 and served as Senator until 1967, and a member of the House of Representatives between 1967 and 1980. Besides the education portfolio he also served as Minister of Pension and Social Security and Labor and Public Service
In 1991 he was made Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG), by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

When he demitted office in February 2006, he became the first Governor General to invest his successor, Sir Kenneth Octavius Hall.

Sir Kenneth O. Hall

Sir Kenneth O. Hall

ON, GCMG, OJ (15 February 2006–26 February 2009)

Sir Kenneth Octavius Hall ON, GCMG, OJ was born 24 April, 1941 in Lucea, Hanover, and was recommended by Prime Minister PJ Patterson, and appointed by Queen Elizabeth II as Jamaica’s fifth Governor-General.

He also was an educator, who before appointed Governor-General was a Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. He also served as: Vice President of Academic Affairs and Faculty Dean - State University of New York at Old Westbury, 1989-1994; Assistant Provost for Academic Programs - State University of New York at Albany 1988-1989; Assistant Provost - State University of New York at Oswego 1982-1984; Faculty Research Associate - Syracuse University 1973-1984 and a lecturer in history at UWI from 1972 to 1973. He holds a PhD in History from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.
He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on November on May 30, 2008.

Citing health reason Sir Kenneth resigned as Governor General effective February 26, 2009, and was succeeded by Patrick Allen.

Sir Kenneth is currently a Honorary Distinguished Fellow of the Mona School of Business, at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies.

Sir Patrick  Linton Allen

Sir Patrick Linton Allen

ON, GCMG, CD (26 February 2009–present)

Patrick Linton Allen was appointed Governor-General on 26 February 2009, on the recommendation of Prime Minister Bruce Golding. He is the sixth person, and fifth Jamaican, to hold this position full-time. He was born on 7 February 1951 in Fruitful Vale, Portland.

He is also a trained teacher, and a former school principal.

He is Jamaica’s first Seventh-Day Adventist, and was the former president of the West Indies Union of Seventh-Day Adventists and Chairman of the Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica. He was formally ordained as a Seventh Day Adventist pastor in 1989. Following his ordination, Allen served as pastor of the Spanish Town Seventh Day Adventist Church.

In 1998 he was awarded the Ph.D in Education Administration and Supervision from St. Andrews University in Michigan, USA.

He oversees the network of Adventist-administered educational institutions in Jamaica which comprise 10 high schools, 22 primary schools and numerous basic schools. He also serves as a member of the Police Civilian Oversight Authority, the Strategic Review Implementation Oversight Committee for the Jamaica Constabulary Force and is a former Director of the Public Broadcasting Corporation.
He was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on June 12, 2009, and is also a member of the Order of the Nation (ON), Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG), and Commander of the Order of Distinction (CD).

He is married to the former Denise Patricia Brockford. The couple has three children.

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