Kingston, 17 August 2018 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has announced that the Government of Jamaica has executed compulsory acquisition of the boyhood home of National Hero, the Right Excellent Marcus Garvey in St Ann’s Bay.
In her address at the annual UNIA Marcus Garvey Awards this (Friday) evening — on the 131st anniversary of the National Hero’s birth — Minister Grange said the Commissioner of Lands has been given ministerial direction to take possession of the property.
Minister Grange said this development “clears the way for the establishment of the proposed living history museum in honour of the National Hero.”
The property, located at 32 Market Street in St Ann, has long been earmarked as the site for the Garvey Museum. The former Prime Minister, Mr Bruce Golding, broke ground for the construction of the museum in 2011. However, construction has been delayed as the Government negotiated with the occupants (now owners) of the property and has been assisting them to find alternative accommodations.
Minister Grange said it was time to get on with the project:
“For many years, we have been talking among each other, researching current ownership and announcing every year our intention to take over that home and convert it into a museum and centre for reflection on the works of our Hero. We have talked for a long time. We have negotiated for a long time. Now it’s time for action. We have acted through the governance process of compulsory acquisition to take over that location and start the work to convert it into the haven it must be in the Garden Parish of St. Ann.”
Minister Grange says that in keeping with the commitment given by the former Prime Minister to assist the occupants to find alternative accommodations, the Government will be taking action to relocate them to property that has been identified.
“I have been working closely with the Member of Parliament and the Housing Agency of Jamaica to finalise the relocation. We are showing goodwill and I anticipate full co-operation as we move ahead with establishing this important national monument,” said Minister Grange.
The technical designs have been completed and funding sourced for the construction of the museum. Minister Grange has instructed the Jamaica National Heritage Trust — which is leading the development of the museum — to “move swiftly to take possession of the property, acquire all outstanding approvals and to begin construction before the end of the year.”
Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness has expressed gratitude to the Government and people of Namibia for naming a street in the capital, Windhoek, in honour of Jamaica’s first national hero, the Right Excellent Marcus Garvey.
The street renaming ceremony took place this afternoon (July 23) during Prime Minister Holness’ official working visit to Namibia.
“Naming a street in this capital city of Windhoek in honour of Marcus Garvey represents a demonstration of posterity of the value of the contribution of one who has played a lead role in countering negative appellations forced on black people in Africa and the Diaspora,” said Prime Minister Holness.
The Prime Minister noted that the historic renaming of the street is a symbol of pride and honour.
“We in Jamaica are extremely proud yet deeply humbled that you have chosen to honour one of our own in this tangible way. This great gesture will undoubtably create curiosity among future generations, as they seek answers to the question, who was Marcus Garvey,” said the Prime Minister.
He said Jamaica continues to strengthening ties with its brothers and sisters on the African continent.
“It is a symbol of our geo cultural and spiritual unification. Further it is important for those of us African peoples dispersed far afield in places like the Caribbean and the Americas to have the opportunity to join in a gesture that re-establishes the original bonds of family and shared destinies. It is a truly good feeling that augurs well for ongoing and future collaboration.
The Right Excellent Marcus Garvey, Jamaica’s first national hero was a celebrated Pan Africanist, philosopher and leading exponent of black pride and consciousness. He was a self-declared citizen of a global Africa.
Prime Minister Holness said he is encouraged by the impact of the naming of the street in honour of Mr. Garvey on the youth. He expressed the hope that it will cause stories of strength of conviction to be told again and again.
The Prime Minister also highlighted that it was fitting that the renaming was being done during the celebration of the Nelson Mandela centenary.