With the 1976 elections Manley remained in government but the worsening economic and social conditions caused him serious difficulties. He had to fight against the growing liabilities of the trade balance, the debt with foreign countries, the contrasts with foreign investors and international creditors. He then applied austerity measures which resulted in serious unrest with hundreds of victims.
For this reason, the JLP revived in the 1980 elections. Its leader, E. Seaga, as soon as he took office, restored relations with the United States by relaunching foreign investment, also to obtain a less hostile attitude on the part of international creditors.
In 1981 he broke off relations with Cuba, participated in the invasion of Grenada in 1983 and in December of the same year suddenly called so early elections that he gave absolutely no time for opponents to set up a list of candidates. For this reason the consequent Chamber was completely Labor.
According to Abbreviationfinder, Seaga immediately began a privatization policy with an increase in incoming foreign capital, a reduction in public spending and internal consumption. And yet the situation got worse and worse also in virtue of an international crisis that in the eighties touched many states in the world and which registered a notable fall in the demand for bauxite and aluminum. Furthermore, a violent hurricane in 1988 also struck agricultural production. The only industry that at that time provided secure income was tourism and, at the same time, drug trafficking and corruption of government elements began to take on ever more gigantic proportions.
Discontent grew and the late 1989 elections brought the PNP chaired by Manley back to the government, who, however, did not make the old mistakes. Then he maintained relations with the United States, met in 1989 and 1990 with the then President Bush and other Western partners. He made economic pacts with the Caribbean countries and there were peaceful relations also with the Labor party. Yet the situation at that point continued to be difficult.
In March 1992 for health reasons Manley was forced to resign and his replacement PJ Patterson continued his same policy.
The new government remained in office for a year; then we went to the early elections. These took place in March 1993 and both the party and Patterson were confirmed by a large majority.
Patterson’s economic policy was moderate but restrictive measures were also adopted as, moreover, imposed by the International Monetary Fund. In 1994 a commercial pact was signed with Cuba, with which diplomatic relations had been restored a few years earlier.
Despite some improvements achieved in the manufacturing and tourism fields, there was also a strong increase in inflation and consequently that of unemployment. Between 1994 and 1996 numerous strikes had to be registered in the public sector and in the industrial sector. Furthermore, protests in 1998 caused by growing organized crime and drug trafficking rose.
Despite the difficult situation, Patterson was also victorious in the December 1997 elections. During the election campaign, he had proposed to voters not to break up the political front into too many small parties and to firmly support the ruling party to improve the situation for the benefit of the whole population.