Government to acquire Marcus Garvey’s birthplace

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica: Cabinet has approved the compulsory acquisition of the birthplace of the country’s first National Hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey.

Executive Director at the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) Laleta Davis-Mattis said her agency and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture are working assiduously to rehabilitate the birthplace of the National Hero, located at 32 Market Street in St. Ann’s Bay.

“One of the issues that have debilitated our activities in the last couple of years is the fact that the place is occupied and the ownership has always been an issue,” said Davis-Mattis. “But the government has taken the life of Marcus Garvey and the influence of Marcus Garvey on our lives so seriously, that it has approved the compulsory acquisition of 32 Market Street”.

She said the process of acquisition is in train and the office of the Commissioner of Lands has started its work.

“The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, through Minister Olivia Grange, in association with the Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government, Shahine Robinson, are now seeking to relocate the residents there, with a view to having the place ready for ground breaking in October, 2011,” said Davis-Mattis.

Other plans for Garvey’s birthplace, she said, should see to the landscaping of the property and the erection of a memorial wall.

Acting Permanent Secretary and Principal Director for Culture in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Sydney Bartley, said Marcus Garvey had influenced the lives of the Jamaican people and it was the country’s responsibility, if it wanted to pay tribute and homage to him, “to carry on his project in our daily lives and in our communities”.

“More than speaking the words to glorify Marcus Garvey, is to carry out actions that emulate and continue the very project he stood for, which is the advancement of the welfare of the people who are disadvantaged and vulnerable in our society,” said Bartley.

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