Friday, August 18, 2017
ST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) – Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, says the Government is moving to clear National Hero, Marcus Garvey, of all criminal charges that were laid against him in Jamaica.
Addressing a civic ceremony to commemorate the 130th birthday of Jamaica's first National Hero, held at Lawrence Park, St Ann, yesterday, the minister said a Bill is being finalized that is aimed at absolving a number of iconic Jamaicans, including Garvey, of what she described as “acts of liberation”.
“We continue to argue that Garvey's actions were not criminal, but were acts of liberation with moral justification. The Bill should be brought to the House in October to absolve National Heroes, including Garvey, and other freedom fighters of criminal liabilities arising from their acts of liberation and connected matters. By including Garvey in this Bill, we are moving to ensure that his record will be totally cleared,” the minister said.
Grange said despite several failed attempts to get Marcus Garvey's name cleared of criminal charges in the United States, the Government remains unrelenting in efforts to achieve that goal.
“As a country, we have done a number of things to honour this great son of Jamaica and to remove the blots against his name… . We cannot give up this fight to clear his name,” the minister emphasised.
Meanwhile, Grange said in bad and good times, Jamaicans can take courage from the work of the National Hero as well as the statue which stands tall in Lawrence Park, St Ann's Bay.
“Garvey's statue looms large, and is a reminder of his influence on the world stage, a reminder of his determination, not just to uplift black people but to help us understand our innate power. In true Jamaican style, Garvey showed that nothing is impossible, despite opposition,” the minister added.
She praised Garvey for the role he played in influencing world leaders and power brokers to “stop and take a look, not only at him and his work but at Jamaica, the country of his birth”.
The minister said that the government of Namibia has advised the Jamaican Government that the main street in that country's capital, Windhoek, will be renamed in honour of Garvey, with the ceremony set for later this year.