The Story Of The Jamaican Flag

Section of Gleaner contributor Lance Neita’s article on how the current design came about:

The months leading up to that first Independence Day, August 6, 1962, was an intense and hectic period of preparation and excitement.

The new Parliament was to be officially opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, so there was protocol to be studied, the royal curtsey to be practised, and numerous functions and celebrations all across Jamaica to be planned.

While a national anthem headed the list of priorities, there was also the matter of a flag and other national symbols to be chosen.

The search for a national flag ended on Wednesday night, June 20, when all the members of the House of Representatives stood by their seats and shouted “Aye” in an unprecedented manner of approval for the design.

But this was after a dramatic and emotional debate which ended a drawn-out period starting with a national design competition announced on September 30, 1961, and a new flag agreed to on June 6, 1962, but rejected shortly thereafter.

720px-Flag_of_Tanganyika.svg
Flag of the former Tanganyika

The competition drew 388 entries, from which a short list of 12 were chosen by a joint bipartisan committee of both houses. Out of the 12, the committee selected a design with horizontal stripes, arranged with a centre black band with gold stripes above and below, with outer stripes of green at the top and bottom (pictured above).

This design was presented to the House in a ministry paper dated June 6, which announced that a joint parliamentary committee had reached agreement on a new flag for Jamaica.

So we were off and running with what many thought would be the new flag.