Minister Grange is signalling her regret to the church community, in particular and the wider St. Ann community. According to Minister Grange, “we understand how difficult this must be for the church leadership and members, as well as the wider St. Ann community because this institution has been more than a space of worship.
“It has been a symbol of the end result of the struggles of our forebears who would have toiled to build a sanctuary of togetherness, which was significantly opened on August 1, 1838. It is also noteworthy that this was the childhood church of Jamaica’s first National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey. This is history at our feet, so we truly feel and share the pain of the community at this time”.
Minister Grange says the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), an agency of the Ministry that has oversight responsibility for the preservation of national monuments and designated protected national heritage, has been at the site to gather preliminary report on the fire.
She notes that even as she awaits an official Report from the Trust, the Ministry will seek to do its part in aiding the church community in the long rebuilding process ahead. “I am aware that this is the second fire to impact the church and they were able to rebuild 60 years ago. Let us see what is possible. Now is the time that we all have to rally around the church community and I am making an appeal to everyone, including the business community in and outside St. Ann to assist however feasible.”
There are over 20 designated historic monuments and sites in St. Ann protected under the Jamaica National Heritage Trust Act. Two are within or in close proximity to the St. Ann’s Bay area to include 32 Market Street, the birthplace of Marcus Garvey which is to be restored and re-opened in August this year; the Seville Heritage Park and Liberty Hill Great House.
The St. Ann’s Bay Methodist Church was slated to be part of a Heritage Trail associated with the Marcus Garvey Boyhood home.