Jamaica News, Kingston: Busts of the National Heroes were unveiled in Emancipation Park by the Rotary Club of Kingston on June 18.
The ceremony was held under the patronage of Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange.
The Heroes are Nanny of the Maroons, Samuel Sharpe, George William Gordon, Paul Bogle, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Norman Washington Manley and Sir William Alexander Bustamante.
Complementing the busts are plaques in tribute to the National Heroes and their contributions to nation building.
Minister Grange, who delivered the keynote address at the ceremony, commended the organisation for the initiative.
“The Rotary Club of Kingston has made a reality of its (vision) that Emancipation Park should have on show Jamaica’s National Heroes in the form of busts and plaques. Every visitor from now on will be able to walk through this corridor of our history,” the Minister said.
Miss Grange noted that the present generation continues to honour the sacrifices made by the country’s founders with the passage of the Bill entitled, ‘The National Heroes and Other Freedom Fighters (Absolution from Criminal Liability in Respect of Specified Events) Act, 2017’.
The Minister, who piloted the Bill in the House of Representatives, said it absolves National Heroes Samuel Sharpe, George William Gordon, Paul Bogle, and Marcus Garvey, as well as their supporters, sympathisers and participants by association, and other freedom fighters, from criminal liability arising from their participation in “acts of liberation with moral justification”.
Meanwhile, President of the Rotary Club of Kingston, Michael Buckle, said the project is part of the Rotary Club’s special Jamaica 55 Legacy Project for the 2017/18 Rotary Year, being observed under the theme ‘Nation Builders: Jamaica’s Journey to Freedom’.
“As Jamaica celebrated 55 years of Independence, the Rotary Club of Kingston had this opportunity to showcase in a permanent and meaningfully sustained way, the life and work of our nation builders, the true architects of Jamaica’s journey to freedom. We are delighted to present this as a gift to our community and our country,” he said.
Main sponsors for the initiative are Scotiabank Jamaica, National Commercial Bank (NCB), Advanced Integrated Systems (AIS), Mayberry Investments Limited, Downsound Records, Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Yello Media Group and Stewart’s Automotive Group.
The busts of the National Heroes were crafted by renowned Jamaican sculptor, Hon. Basil Watson.
Also attending the ceremony were Custos of Kingston, Hon. Steadman Fuller; His Worship the Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Delroy Williams; Member of Parliament, Mikhail Phillips; members of the Diplomatic Corps; representatives of the National Housing Trust (NHT) and past and present members of the Rotary Club.