Shearer, Hugh Lawson

Shearer, Hugh Lawson, 1923–2004, Jamaican trade unionist and political leader, prime minister (1967–1972). At 17 he started at the Jamaican Worker newspaper, which was associated with the Bustamente Industrial Trade Union (BITU), the country's largest trade union, named for Alexander Bustamante. Bustamante became Shearer's mentor, and by 1947 he was BITU's assistant general secretary. A member of the Jamaican Labour Party (JLP), Shearer was in the colonial house of representatives from 1955 to 1959. In 1960 he was elected BITU's vice president. After independence (1962), Shearer was appointed to the senate, and in 1967 he was elected to parliament, where he served until 1993. He succeeded Sir Donald Sangster, who died in office in 1967, as prime minister; he also succeeded Bustamente as head of the JLP. Jamaica's economy grew and many schools were built during his term in office. He lost the 1972 elections to Michael Manley, but he remained active in politics, serving as foreign minister (1980–86) under Edward Seaga, who had succeeded (1974) Shearer as JLP leader. He also continued his association with BITU, serving as president from 1977 (except for the years when he was foreign minister), and served as president of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions from 1994.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: West Indian History, British: Biographies