Donald Sangster

Known as the second Prime Minister of Jamaica, Sir Donald Sangster was born on the 26th of October 1911 and died on the 11th of April 1967, a man that was full of courage and passion for the people of Jamaica and the man after whom the airport in Montego Bay is named.


He was the second Prime Minister of Jamaica but only for forty-eight (48) days because he later died. Donald Sangster entered the world of politics at just 21 years old a graduate of Munro College and a trained solicitor.


He succeeded Bustamante as Prime Minister on 23rd February 1967 only to die in office on the 11th April, after suffering a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage while preparing his budget speech. In 1944, Sangster ran as an independent candidate for the South St. Elizabeth seat and lost, placing third.


But it was still a narrow loss, with less than 300 votes separating him from the winner, Burnett Birthright Coke, who had won for the JLP. In 1949 Donald Sangster ran as the JLP candidate while Coke was an independent. This time Sangster won, but by only 48 votes.


He was a member of the Joint Committee of Parliament, which framed the Constitution for independent Jamaica, and he was a member of the delegation that went to England in 1962 to discuss it with the British Government.


Sangster was an avid sportsman who was at one time captain of the St Elizabeth cricket team. His greatest contribution took place during his years as the deputy prime minister of Jamaica.


Bustamante was ill for almost three years before he finally left politics, during which time he was practically confined to bed. So it was Sangster who feint the country during those years.


The portrait of Donald Sangster can be found on the Jamaican one hundred dollar ($100.00) bank note, the late Hartley Neita wrote a biography of Sangster entitled The Forgotten Prime Minister, but Neita did not live to see the launch. In 1955 B B Coke had joined the People’s National Party (PNP) and defeated Sangster by a few thousand votes.


It was upon the disqualification of George Perrier the member of the House of Representatives for the old North Clarendon constituency on the grounds of defamation of character of another candidate that Sangster won a by-election in December 1995. At the same time as Jamaica was new to political independence, the agenda had to be set.


That lot fell on Donald Sangster, as finance minister; he introduced legislation for industrial development, with a stated emphasis on local production, in persistence of all the efforts done by previous governments. It is so ill-fated that in the 1990s Jamaica was forced by globalisation to take foreign goods, and that has killed so much of this proposal.


Although his time as Prime Minister was cut short, Donald Sangster has left a mark on Jamaica because of his will to make the country a better place, a place where individuals could succeed and make themselves better persons.


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