1958 West Indies federal elections

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1958 West Indies federal election

25 March 1958

All 45 seats in the House of Representatives
23 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Grantley Herbert Adams (cropped).jpg
Leader Grantley Herbert Adams Ashford Sinanan Florence Daysh
Party Federalist Democrat Barbados National
Leader's seat Barbados Trinidad and Tobago Barbados
Seats won
25 / 45
19 / 45
1 / 45

West Indies Federal elections, 1958 (largest party by island).svg
Colours denote the party with the largest number of seats by island/island group. Grey denotes islands not part of the Federation.

Position unfilled before election


Prime Minister

Grantley Herbert Adams

Federal elections were held in the West Indies Federation for the first and only time on 25 March 1958. The result was a victory for the West Indies Federal Labour Party, which won 25 of the 45 seats in the House of Representatives.

Electoral system[edit]

Candidates were nominated on 28 February in all unit territories except Trinidad and Tobago, where candidates were nominated on 3 March.

The elections were held in a mix of single- and multi-member constituencies. In all territories except Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, the constituency covered the entire territory; Antigua and Barbuda elected two, Barbados five, Dominica two, Grenada two, Montserrat one, St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla two, St Lucia two and St Vincent and the Grenadines two.

Jamaica had 17 constituencies based on the 14 parishes and three counties (which overlapped the parishes), meaning voters elected representatives from two levels. In Trinidad and Tobago, the ten seats were based on the counties, some of which were single-member (Tobago and Caroni) and some of which were multi-member (Saint George). In some cases counties were merged to form a single-member constituency (such as the Eastern Counties).


In preparation for the elections, two Federation-wide parties were organised as confederations of local political parties. Both were organised by Jamaican politicians: the West Indies Federal Labour Party by Norman Manley, and the Democratic Labour Party, by Alexander Bustamante. In broad terms, the WIFLP consisted of the urban-based parties throughout the Federation, while the DLP consisted of the rural-based parties. A small third party, the Federal Democratic Party, was founded in November 1957 by a group of Trinidadians.

The platforms for the two major parties were similar in many respects. Both advocated maintaining and strengthening ties with the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada (countries with which the islands had strong cultural and economic links); encouraging and expanding tourism; working to bring British Guiana and British Honduras into the Federation and to obtain loans, financial aid, and technical assistance. Despite these similarities, there were differences. The WIFLP had advocated the encouragement of agriculture while the DLP had promised a climate favourable to both private industry and labour, development of human and economic resources. The WIFLP promised to encourage the Bahamas (in addition to British Guiana and British Honduras) to join the Federation, whereas the DLP did not. The WIFLP also campaigned to establish a central bank for the extension of credit resources and advocated a democratic socialist society and full internal self-government for all the unit territories, whilst avoiding the issues of freedom of movement and a customs union. The DLP said nothing about full internal self-government, attacked socialism, wished to avoid high taxation (via loans and technical aid) and emphasized West Indian unity, freedom of worship and speech and encouragement of trade unions.


The WIFLP won the election with 25 seats and was supported by the Barbados National Party, which won 1 seat; the DLP won 19 seats. The bulk of the WIFLP seats came from the smaller islands, and the DLP won in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

WIFLP leader Grantley Adams of Barbados became Prime Minister.

WI House of Representatives 1958.svg
West Indies Federal Labour Party25
West Indies Democratic Labour Party19
Barbados National Party1

By province[edit]

Province Party MPs
Flag of Antigua and Barbuda (1956–1962).svg Antigua and Barbuda 2 (ALP) 2
Flag of Barbados (1870–1966).svg Barbados 4 (BLP) 1 (BNP) 5
Flag of Dominica (1955–1965).svg Dominica 2 (DLP) 2
Flag of Grenada (1903–1967).svg Grenada 2 (GULP) 2
Flag of Jamaica (1962).svg Jamaica 6 (PNP) 11 (JLP) 17
Flag of Montserrat.svg Montserrat 1 (MTLU) 1
Flag of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla (1958-1967).svg Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla 2 (WL) 2
Flag of Saint Lucia (1939–1967).svg Saint Lucia 2 (SLP) 2
Flag of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1907-1979).svg Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2 (PPP) 2
Flag of Trinidad and Tobago (1889–1958).svg Trinidad and Tobago 4 (PNM) 6 (DLP) 10
Total MPs
25 (55.5%) 19 (42.2%) 1 (2.2%) 45

By constituency[edit]

Province Constituency Winner (Party)
Antigua 1st seat Novelle Richards[1] WIFLP
Antigua 2nd seat Bradley Carrott[1] WIFLP
Barbados 1st seat Grantly Adams[2] WIFLP
Barbados 2nd seat Harcourt Rocheford[2] WIFLP
Barbados 3rd seat V. B. Vaughn[2] WIFLP
Barbados 4th seat Deighton Lisle Ward[2] WIFLP
Barbados 5th seat Florence Daysh[2] BNP
Trinidad & Tobago Caroni Surujpat Mathura[1] DLP
Jamaica Clarendon Parish, Jamaica Frederick Duhaney[1] DLP
Jamaica Cornwall County, Jamaica Ernest Wakeland[2] DLP
Jamaica Middlesex County, Jamaica Stanley Augustus Lennon[1] DLP
Jamaica Surrey County, Jamaica Kenneth Hill[1] DLP
Dominica 1st seat Edward Oliver LeBlanc[2] WIFLP
Dominica 2nd seat Phyllis Shand Allfrey[2] WIFLP
Trinidad & Tobago Eastern Counties Victor Bryan[1] DLP
Grenada 1st seat Thomas Gibbs[1] WIFLP
Grenada 2nd seat Lincoln Radix[1] WIFLP
Jamaica Hanover Parish Sydney Stone[1] DLP
Jamaica Kingston Parish Ralph Brown[1] WIFLP
Jamaica Manchester Parish Louis Patrick Delapenha[1] WIFLP
Montserrat William Henry Bramble[2] WIFLP
Trinidad & Tobago Port of Spain, East Donald Pierre[1] WIFLP
Trinidad & Tobago Port of Spain, West Ronald Jay Williams[1] WIFLP
Jamaica Portland Parish Clement Afflick[1] DLP
Jamaica Saint Andrew Parish, Jamaica M. A. Hector[1] DLP
Jamaica Saint Ann Parish F. B. Ricketts[1] WIFLP
Trinidad & Tobago Saint Anns W. Andrew Rose[1] WIFLP
Jamaica Saint Catherine Parish Winston Williams[1] DLP
Jamaica Saint Elizabeth Parish Lionel Densham[1] DLP
Trinidad & Tobago Saint George, East Albert Gomes[1] DLP
Jamaica Saint James Parish, Jamaica Howard Cooke[1] WIFLP
Saint Kitts 1st seat Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw[1] WIFLP
Saint Kitts 2nd seat David S. Lloyd[2] WIFLP
Saint Lucia 1st seat Carl La Corbiniere[1] WIFLP
Saint Lucia 2nd seat Joseph Bosquet[1] WIFLP
Jamaica Saint Mary Parish, Jamaica Morris Cargill[1] DLP
Trinidad & Tobago Saint Patrick Mohammed Shah[1] DLP
Jamaica Saint Thomas Parish, Jamaica Robert Lightbourne[1] DLP
Saint Vincent 1st seat Leroy Adams[3] DLP
Saint Vincent 2nd seat Alphaeus Allen[3] DLP
Trinidad & Tobago San Fernando-Naparima Roy Josephs[1] DLP
Trinidad & Tobago Tobago A. N. R. Robinson[1] WIFLP
Jamaica Trelawny Parish A. U. Belinfanti[1] WIFLP
Trinidad & Tobago Victoria Ashford Sinanan[1] DLP
Jamaica Westmoreland Parish Constantine Swaby[1] DLP


Government formation[edit]

Following the elections, Grantley Herbert Adams of the WIFLP became Prime Minister following a 23–21 vote in the House (the Grenada members, while allied with WIFLP, supported the DLP). However, his selection was indicative of the problems the Federation would face; The expected leader of the WIFLP was Norman Manley, Premier of Jamaica, and the next logical choice was Eric Williams, Premier of Trinidad and Tobago. However, neither had contested the federal elections, preferring to remain in control of their respective island power bases, and were not eligible. This suggested that the leaders of the two most important provinces did not see the federation as viable. Similarly, Alexander Bustamante, the Jamaican founder of the DLP, also declined to contest the federal election, leaving the party leadership to the Trinidadian Ashford Sinanan. The absence of the leading Jamaican politicians from any role at the federal level was to undermine the federation's unity.[citation needed]

The Council of State included:[4]

  • Prime Minister: Grantly Adams (Barbados)
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Industry: Carl La Corbiniere (St. Lucia)
  • Minister of Labour and Social Affairs: Phyllis Shand Allfrey (Dominica)
  • Minister of Finance: Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw (St. Kitts)
  • Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture: F.B. Ricketts (Jamaica)
  • Minister of Communications and Works: W. Andrew Rose, (Trinidad)
  • Minister without Portfolio: Novelle Richards Richards, (Antigua)
  • Minister without Portfolio: V. B. Vaughn (Barbados)
  • Leader of the Opposition: Ashford Sinanan (Trinidad)
  • Marshall of the House: John R. Ashmeade

Senate selection[edit]

The Composition of the West Indies Senate after the 1958 federal elections.

The Senate was appointed in April 1958, shortly before the opening of Parliament. In a controversial move, Governor-General Lord Hailes consulted the opposition DLP groups in Trinidad and Jamaica and appointed one DLP nominee senator from each of those territories, resulting in 15 WIFLP senators and 4 DLP senators overall. Lord Hailes did this having taken account of the fact that St. Vincent was the only unit territory with a DLP government and that as a result the federal senate was going to be overwhelmingly pro WIFLP.[5][6]

Islands DLP WIFLP Total Senators
Antigua and Barbuda 0 2 2 Henry Moore (WIFLP), Bertha Higgins (WIFLP)[5][6]
Barbados 0 2 2 Hampden Cuke (WIFLP), Arnott Cato (WIFLP)[5][6]
Dominica 0 2 2 John Charles (WIFLP), George Winston (WIFLP)[5][6]
Grenada 0 2 2 Theophilus Albert Marryshow (WIFLP), John Renwick (WIFLP)[5][6]
Jamaica (incl. Cayman Islands & Turks & Caicos Islands) 1 1 2 Allan G. R. Byfield (WIFLP), Douglas Judah (DLP)[5][6]
Montserrat 0 1 1 James Meade (WIFLP)[5][6]
Saint Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla 0 2 2 James Liburd (WIFLP), William Seaton(WIFLP)[5][6]
Saint Lucia 0 2 2 Allen Lewis (WIFLP), James Luc Charles (WIFLP)[5][6]
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2 0 2 Edward Hughes (DLP), Norbert Davis (DLP)[5][6]
Trinidad and Tobago 1 1 2 Marguerite Wyke (WIFLP), Deonarayan Maharajh (DLP)[5][6]
Total 4 15 19

From the Senate, the Council of State included:

  • Minister without Portfolio: A.G.R. Byfield (Jamaica)
  • Minister without Portfolio: J.W. Liburd (St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla)
  • Minister without Portfolio: J.L. Charles (St. Lucia)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag "Members of the Federal House of Representatives". The Gleaner. Kingston, Jamaica. 26 March 1958. p. 7. Retrieved 20 January 2018 – via Newspaperarchive.com.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Members of the Federal House of Representatives". The Gleaner. Kingston, Jamaica. 27 March 1958. p. 20. Retrieved 20 January 2018 – via Newspaperarchive.com.
  3. ^ a b "Members of the Federal House of Representatives". Kingstown, Saint Vincent: Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 3 April 1958. p. 1. Retrieved 20 January 2018 – via University of Florida.
  4. ^ "Members of the Federal House of Representatives". The Gleaner. Kingston, Jamaica. 13 July 1958. p. 20. Retrieved 31 October 2017 – via Newspaperarchive.com. open access
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Caribbean Elections - West Indies Federation". Caribbeanelections.com. 20 January 2018. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2018 – via Caribbeanelections.com.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Members of the Federal House of Representatives". The Gleaner. Kingston, Jamaica. 12 April 1958. p. 1. Retrieved 20 January 2018 – via Newspaperarchive.com.