On Thursday, August 17, 2017, the St. Ann Municipal Corporation (SAMCO), in collaboration with the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) commemorated the life and legacy of the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, our nation’s first National Hero, and a man of St. Ann soil.
The civic ceremony was hosted under the theme “Take advantage of every opportunity; where there is none, make it for yourself.” The annual celebration was at the St. Ann’s Bay Library in Lawrence Park. The Honorable Olivia Grange, CD, MP, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport, was the guest speaker for the evening. His Worship the Mayor Counillor Michael Belnavis, Custos Rotolurum Norma Walters J.P. and Custos Emiritus Mr. Radcliffe O. Walters, Hon. Shahine Robinson, MP, Minister of Social Security, Mrs. Laleta Davis-Mattis, Director of JNHT were some of the dignitaries in attendance.
It was a very vibrant celebration with powerful cultural renditions from the likes of a Jessica M’bageni, praise poet and singer from South Africa, song and dance from JCDC medalists, excerpts from Garvey’s writings and other performances from local acts. However, the highpoint of the function was when Minister Grange engaged Minister Robinson, the Mayor and all Councillors to join her for the unveiling of the design concept for the Marcus Garvey’s boyhood home.
Minister Grange, in her main address highlighted that Marcus Garvey led by example in that he took advantage of every opportunity and where there was none, he created for himself. During her presentation she handed over Garvey’s transcript to the Ms. Merlene Walker, the Regional Librarian.
She also pointed out that Garvey was an inspiration for black people to set high goals for themselves and therefore she was calling for the expungement of his criminal record of imprisonment in Jamaica in 1929, when he was jailed for three months and fined 100 pounds for contempt of court.
In honour of Garvey, orchids were laid by Hon. Norma Walters, CD JP Custos Rotulorum, St. Ann; Mr. Dalas Dickenson JP, Councillor St. Ann’s Bay Division; and Mrs. Genevor Gordon-Bailey, Councillor, Lime Hall Division and Chairman of the Civic Affairs & Community Relations Committee.
The function was very significant in that it highlighted and paid tribute to Garvey’s fight, command, confidence, and relentless work, which helped to pull black men from degradation so that a mighty race could find its destiny.