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Campbell, Clifford Clarence

Campbell, Clifford Clarence

June 28, 1892

Sir Clifford Clarence Campbell, the first native governor general of Jamaica, was born in Petersfield, in Westmoreland Parish, to James Campbell, a civil servant, and his wife Blance, née Ruddock. Clifford Campbell was educated at Petersfield Elementary School from 1901 to 1912 and at Mico Training College, a teachers college, in Kingston from 1913 to 1915. After graduating from Mico, he began his teaching career as headmaster at Fullersfield Government School in 1916, where he served until 1918, when he moved to Friendship Elementary School. He served as headmaster of this school for ten years, then as headmaster of the Grange Hill Government School from 1928 to 1944. On August 1, 1920, Campbell married Alice Estephene, with whom he had four children.

Apart from teaching and politics, Campbell took a keen interest in music, painting, community, and professional services. He was a member of the Manchester Committee of the Westend Federation of Teachers, the board of visitors to Savalamar Public Hospital, the Advisory Committee of the Knockalva Practical Training Center, the Board of Education from 1944 to 1945, the Westmoreland School Board, the Issa Scholarship Awards Committee in 1945, the Westmoreland Rice Growers Association, and the Committee on Training of Government Officers in 1945. Campbell became the first vice president of the Association of Westmoreland Branches of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, and he served in 1945 as a member of a delegation sent to investigate the conditions of Jamaican farmworkers in the United States.

The constitution of Jamaica provides that "There shall be a Parliament of Jamaica which shall consist of Her Majesty, the Senate, and a House of Representatives." The governor general is by the same constitution declared to be the representative of the queen in Jamaica. The Jamaican Parliament therefore consists of three branches: the House of Representatives; the Senate; and in the context of Jamaica, the governor general. Campbell had the great distinction of being not only the first native governor general of Jamaica, but also the first Jamaican to have served the country in all three branches of government.

Campbell inaugurated his career in politics in 1944 when, as a member of the Jamaica Labour Party, he won a seat (Westmoreland Western) to the House of Representatives in the first elections under universal adult suffrage. Campbell was chairman of the House Committee on Education from 1945 to 1949 and was first vice president of the Elected Members Association from 1945 to 1954. In 1950 he became speaker of the House of Representatives, and in 1962 he was appointed president of the Senate.

When Jamaica became independent in 1962, Campbell was appointed by Queen Elizabeth as governor general of Jamaica. He greeted the news of his appointment with these words: "I shall maintain that humility in which state I came into the world, in which state I have lived among the human element and in which state I hope to diewith a spirit of humility and respect for my fellow men." Over the intervening years he did not in any way deviate from his avowed intent.

In 1989 Campbell was awarded the Order of the Nation, the second highest honor in Jamaica after the Order of National Hero. Queen Elizabeth also awarded him with the honor of Knight Grand Cross of Saint Michael and Saint George and later with the Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.

Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley's tribute to Campbell emphasizes the role he played in nation building. According to Manley: "As the first Jamaican-born Governor, he had the very special constitutional responsibility of guiding the country through a new unchartered journey in which we were no longer dependent on outside authority to shape our destiny. He had to instill in us his own personal faith and conviction in our ability as a people to travel along this new road. He well understood that we would have to help each other move the obstacles in our path. He knew he had to inspire us to become architects and builders of our nation."

See also Jamaica Labour Party

leo gunter (2005)

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