Joseph "Joe" McPherson
Former Senator, Jamaica
Joseph McPherson was a former Senator in Jamaica.
Early life and education
Joseph "Joe" McPherson was born on 19 February 1930, son of a founding delegate of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) Theophilus McPherson and his wife Louise.
McPherson became a member of the BITU staff under the leadership of late National Hero Sir Alexander Bustamante. He later founded and published a weekly newspaper, The Voice, which was the official organ of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) until it folded in 1976 after its offices in Kingston were razed during the political upheavals of that time.
He ran unsuccessfully for the JLP against the People’s National Party’s (PNP) firebrand Wills O Isaacs in 1959 and 1962. He was one of the first 21 senators appointed after Independence in 1962 and served a full term to 1967.
However, he is best remembered as the candidate who eventually lost convincingly to Portia Simpson Miller in St Andrew South Western in the violent 1976 general election, when the seat swung from a safe one for the JLP to a safer one for the PNP.
During the campaign, the original JLP candidate, Pearnel Charles, was detained at Up Park Camp in the State of Emergency declared that year, and the JLP found McPherson as a last-minute replacement.
He went on to become an assistant island supervisor of the BITU, head of the Jamaica Institute of Political Education, and sat on a panel of the Industrial Disputes Tribunal.
Honours and awards
McPherson was awarded the Order of Distinction in 1997 for outstanding service to the trade union movement in Jamaica, as well as to journalism.
McPherson was married to wife Claire; an was the father of six daughters and three sons.
McPherson died on
14 March 2017 after a brief illness, aged 87. He was buried on 30 March 2017 at Dovecot Memorial Park in St Catherine, Jamaica.