Stay up-to-date with all that's new at My-Island-Jamaica, Click Here to subscribe for my updates and don't miss a thing!

Sir Alexander Bustamante
(1884 - 1977)
National Hero & First Prime Minister Of Jamaica

Sharing Is Caring! Share this awesome content with your friends now.


New! For Authentic Jamaican products, from my very own handsvisit my Etsy store here.

Custom Search

Sir Alexander Bustamante, National Hero of JamaicaSir Alexander Bustamante | Photo Credit: Jamaica Observer

Founder of the Jamaica Labour Party and the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, Bustamante is honoured here as a champion of the poor and oppressed, for his role in organizing labour, and for his part in furthering the nationalist movement by his challenge to colonial authority.

Watch!  See the real Jamaica in VIDEOS

Click Here to watch my latest videos on my fun YouTube channel - you'll love it!

‘Busta’ as he was affectionately referred to by everyone, was born at Blenheim, a community in the parish of Hanover on the 24th of February 1884, the son of a modest pen-keeping family and was christened William Alexander Clarke.

His Search For Opportunities

His education and opportunities were limited and in 1903, like tens of thousands of his compatriots, he left Jamaica in search of adventure overseas. He lived and worked in many countries, acquiring a dashing Latin style of dress and behaviour as well as the name Bustamante by which he was known thereafter, formally changing his name by deed poll in 1944.

Related: Marcus Garvey

Historians have however not yet managed to totally untangle the reality from the myths and legends of Bustamante’s foreign sojourn.

His Return To Jamaica

He returned to Jamaica for good in 1933 and tried his hand at several occupations, eventually becoming a money-lender and was well into his fifties when he entered public life.

He first attracted attention by a series of letters he wrote to the newspapers attacking the social and political conditions of colonial Jamaica. Soon he began speaking on public platforms, particularly at meetings at North Parade in Kingston (in association with St William Grant).

In 1937 Sir Alexander Bustamante got into the business of organizing the labour force and his charismatic personality soon won him a huge mass following.

As Sylvia Wynter has expressed it (in Jamaica’s National Heroes): ‘if the word "charisma" had not existed, the eruption of William Alexander Bustamante on the Jamaican scene in the 19305 would have caused some political scientist or other to have invented it . . . In the life and time of William Alexander Bustamante we see the word "charisma" made flesh.’

For his role as the spokesman and champion of labour, he was imprisoned during the island wide riots of 1938 in Frome, Westmoreland. He also spent 17 months (1940-42) in detention camp during the Second World War.

By the way, it was during the 1938 labour ferment that Bustamante formed the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU). In 1944, Jamaica’s first general election was held under Universal Adult Suffrage granted by a new constitution.

Sir Alexander Bustamante formed the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to contest the election and led it to victory, gaining 23 out of 32 seats.

He thus became Jamaica’s first chief minister. The JLP held power until 1955 in which year Bustamante was knighted by the Queen.

Sir Alexander Bustamante & The West Indies Federation

Jamaica became a part of the West Indies Federation that was established in 1958 and Bustamante was Jamaican leader of the Democratic Labour Party that came to power in the Federal elections.

However, he soon changed his policy and advocated the withdrawal of Jamaica from the Federation and a move towards National Independence From Colonial Rule.

Jamaicans voted to secede from the Federation in a special referendum and the island became Independent in 1962.

The JLP won the election held that year (1962)and Bustamante became the first prime minister. In that year, he married his private secretary of many years, Miss Gladys Longbridge.

'Busta' - The Only Living Hero

Bustamante retired from active politics in 1967, but until his death in 1977 continued to be an influential figure in both the party and the labour union.

Sir Alexander Bustamante was proclaimed a National Hero Of Jamaica during his lifetime, and the to date, the only living National Hero Jamaica has had.

Port Bustamante, Bustamante Children’s Hospital and Bustamante Bridge (St Thomas) are among the places named in his honour.  (See Places Names After National Heroes)

New! Watch Documentary Of Sir Alexander Bustamante

You have received :-)
Now share you new found knowledge with your friends!

You might like these as well

Other Pages Related To Sir Alexander Bustamante


  • Clinton Black, History Of Jamaica
  • Andrea Campbell, Jamaican Proverbs People and Places
  • Olive Senior, Encylopedia of Jamiacan Heritage
  • "Sir Alexander Bustamante", (link)

Return to Famous Places In Jamaica from Sir Alexander Bustamante
Return to My Island Jamaica from Sir Alexander Bustamante

Sharing IS Caring... Its now YOUR turn to...

If you found this page useful, please consider subscribing to my weekly newsletter, to get even more

It tells you each week about the new information that I have added, including new developments and great stories from lovers of Jamaica! 

Back To The Top Of This Page

New! Talk To Me
Was the information helpful? Something needs changing? I welcome
your feedback here.

Read More ...

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Recommended For You ...

Other Great Articles You Might Have Missed

Please help me get the message out by sharing this article with your friends on social media (links below). Thnx ;-)

And, one more way to share

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Also connect with on Social Media: 
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
Thank You!

P.S. Didn't find what you were looking for? Still need help?

Click Here to try our dependable and effective Site Search tool. It works!

Or, simply click here and here, to browse my library of over 500 questions and answers! Chances are someone already asked (and got an answer to) your question.

About The Author

wellesley gayle - booking link

A patriotic Jamaican who adore its culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' since April 2007.  

To date, he serves over 9,300 unique readers / viewers per day.

His efforts have earned this site featured positions in local publications, including the Jamaica Gleaner's Hospitality Jamaica, Carlong Publishers, as well as recognition from numerous prestigious international agencies and universities. Read more about him here.

He invites you to subscribe to this site to stay updated on all the latest and check out his unique Jamaican products on his Etsy store.  

If you are on social media, here are the links to follow his latest posts

You are also invited to join his exclusive JAMHearts community where like-minded Jamaican enthusiasts discuss all things Jamaican. 

Back To The Top Of This Page