Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What would Garvey say?

  • Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jamaica's first
    named National Hero
    Jamaica Observer column published MON 17 October 2016

    by Jean Lowrie-Chin

    On this National Heroes’ Day, it is welcome news that the current records of three of our National Heroes who had been punished because of their freedom-fighting activities, will be expunged from Jamaica’s criminal records.

    In addressing our House of Parliament last Wednesday Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange said, “The legacy that we honour and celebrate during Heritage week is a direct result of the selfless acts of our country’s six named National Heroes."

    She shared that the Cabinet had approved “drafting instructions in respect of legislation which will cause the expungement of the criminal records of notable freedom fighters, national heroes, supporters, sympathizers and participants by association who were involved in the 1760 Chief Tacky’s St. Mary rebellion, the 1831/32 Christmas rebellion, the 1865 Morant Bay rebellion and the 1929 campaign of the People’s Political Party.”

    She noted that, “Our National Heroes Paul Bogle, Samuel Sharpe and Marcus Garvey, as well as, our ancestral hero Tacky, will be those directly affected by this legislation when it comes into being.”

    Marcus Mosiah Garvey, our first named National Hero had much to say about this struggle over centuries.  We have a treasury of his quotations in a compilation by the late Jamaican author Ken Jones, “Marcus Garvey Said … Up You Mighty Race! You Can Accomplish What You Will.”

    For this column, I will share appropriate Marcus Garvey’s quotes, and I hope readers will share them with others.  In response to this move for the expungement of his criminal record, I will quote what he said to the US Court when he was arrested unjustly for mail fraud:
    “I am still firm that I served my race, people, conscience and God …If you say I am guilty, I go to my God as I feel, a clear conscience and a clean soul.”

    March Pen Massacre

    On October 9, five persons of one family including three children were shot and burnt to death as a result of an alleged internal gang feud, in the March Pen Road community of St. Catherine.  The “person of interest” was brought in by a Pastor on Wednesday. As we learn about the records of this person and his alleged rival for leadership of a notorious gang, we must realise how urgent it is to make our security intelligence and justice system more efficient. 

    These gangs are vicious extortionists who have taxi drivers, market vendors and micro businesses in fear for their lives if they do not pay ‘protection money’.

    Garvey: “I pray to God that we shall never use our physical prowess to oppress the human race, but we will use our strength, physically, morally and otherwise to preserve humanity and civilization.”

    Philanthropy rewarded

    It was a special joy to learn that the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) whose Board comprises past and present esteemed US Ambassadors to Jamaica and other friends, have bestowed the AFJ Hummingbird Award for philanthropy and business on National Baking Chairman and Patron of the National Baking Foundation, Gary “Butch” Hendrickson.

    The AFJ’s Citation lists his titles, but only those of us who know him well, will understand the stratospheric generosity of this passionate Jamaican. Yes, he is Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Continental Baking Company Ltd. and Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa in St. Lucia. He also chairs the board of the EXIM Bank, is a Vice President of Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ), and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) and Rainforest Seafood’s.

    Remarkably, this in-demand leader has devoted much of his time to mentorship and has ploughed hundreds of millions into early childhood education projects. He was the major sponsor of Crayons Count, and recently launched his National Baking Foundation, and has again committed millions to the Little Leaders programme, including a well-equipped mobile classroom. Even as he is working at this, Butch is constantly upgrading his manufacturing and distribution facilities, training, promoting and affirming his team members.

    Butch Hendrickson is always deflecting praise, but, over the past six years, 27 new manufacturers have been bowled over by his ‘Bold Ones of Manufacturing’ programme, which has provided them with fully-paid marketing programmes, catapulting some to Jamaica Stock Market listing, and to overseas markets. Butch insists that without his faithful team members and customers, he would have been able to accomplish little.  This humility has been passed on by his legendary parents, Hon. Karl and Mrs. Nell Hendrickson, who are themselves icons of entrepreneurship and nation-building.

    Garvey: “There is a world of opportunities awaiting us, and it is for us through unity of will and of purpose, to say we shall and we will play our part upon the great human stage of activity.”

    Digicel Foundation’s great partnerships

    The Digicel Foundation in Jamaica presented its Annual Report last Thursday, noting that on behalf of Patron Denis O’Brien, they had invested J$460 million in education, special needs, community development and Respect Jamaica projects. Of note was that through partnership with the USAID and the Ministry of Education, they had rolled out an Education Enrichment Programme in 104 schools islandwide which had surpassed all targets, moving Jamaica closer to our millennium development goal (MDG) of 100 percent literacy. Since its launch 12 years ago, the Digicel Jamaica Foundation has invested J$3.35 billion (US$262.2M) in national development.  The dedicated Digicel Foundation team is led by senior executives Samantha Chantrelle, Dane Richardson and Patrice Smith-Sterling.
    Garvey: “You must now … cultivate among yourselves true love, true fellowship, self-ambition, self-pride, self-respect, and when you have done that the world around will respect you”

    Honour for Our Olympians

    We welcome the news that the Government of Jamaica will be giving substantial rewards to our shining athletes who lifted the psyche of Jamaicans here and abroad as they triumphed with six Gold, three Silver and two Bronze Medals at the Rio Olympics earlier this year. We applaud all athletes who qualified to make the team and deem them worthy of the prizes being offered by the Government.  The critics should know how Jamaicans live with their families, and that the J$82 million will be ploughed right back into our economy, improving the lives of the athletes and their families.

    Garvey: “Unite your hands and hearts … and let us reach out to the highest idealism that there is in living, thereby demonstrating to others … that we are ambitious, virtuous, noble and proud.”

    Congratulations – National Honours
    We join with all Jamaica in saluting the over 200 recipients of National Honours who will be celebrated at this morning’s ceremony at King’s House.  It is no coincidence that despite our challenges, there is still so much positivity and optimism in our country.  It is because we still have these persons of excellence who are not giving up on their country and continue to give us standards to which should all aspire.
    Garvey: “With sterling character you can destroy a world and rebuild it, you can go down to the depths and then rise to the heights.”


  • Garvey would distance himself from us. And rightfully so! We haven't learnt a ting!

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    Garvey would be surprised that Institute of Jamaica has not digitized and archived all the printed materials in it's possession and made them available on the internet for anyone who is interesting in accessing the same. I would like to read more about Jamaican history but only find the elementary stuff.

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