120th Anniversary Of Sir Alexander’s Birth Observed With Fanfare


The life and work of National Hero, The Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante was remembered and highlighted on Tuesday, February 24, 2004, during a civic ceremony held in Blenheim, Hanover, the place of his birth.
The ceremony, which was held to commemorate the 120th anniversary of his birth, was filled with tributes to this hero, delivered through speech, dance, drama and music.
Hundreds of students, teachers, members of the business community, political leaders and other residents from within the parish were in attendance at the ceremony, to pay their respect to this great leader whose humble beginning was in the parish.
A tribute in speech, entitled ‘Sound the Abeng Fi Nanny’ was done by students of the Sandy Bay Primary and Junior High School; tributes in music entitled ‘Busta’ and ‘Chief Bustamante’ were presented by students of the Cacoon All-age School and Rusea’s High School respectively; a tribute in drama entitled ‘Busta Bus Out’ was presented by the Green Island High School; a tribute in dance was done by the Maryland All-age School while a musical tribute was done by the Jamaica Constabulary Force Band.
Mayor of Lucea, Lester Crooks, in his remarks, described the ceremony as one of the most exciting events in the history of the parish of Hanover. He said Sir Alexander was a statesman of humble beginnings, who had served this nation with determination, and had worked tirelessly as Labour Leader, Politician and Parliamentarian.
“The story of Bustamante is a saga of suffering and triumph, and it has made him a legend. He has laboured magnificently in this country and we are all greatly indebted to him,” he said.
Members of Parliament (MPs) for Eastern and Western Hanover, Barrington Gray and Ralston Hanson, respectively, both underscored the work of Sir Alexander, and the sacrifices he made with a view to creating freedom and equality in the Jamaican society.
“Freedom therefore was bought at a price from whatever viewpoint we want to argue, and today’s anniversary is as a result of that price which was paid,” Mr. Anson stated.
Guest Speaker at the ceremony, Managing Director of Hammond’s Pastry, Russell Hammond, in his presentation, said that the honours bestowed upon Sir Alexander were earned through many years of dedicated service to Jamaica. He argued that Jamaica’s achievements in many areas could be attributed to his (Sir Alexander’s) unselfish devotion and commitment to the building of the nation.
Exposing the vision and love for country that guided Sir Alexander, Mr. Hammond drew reference to the 1938 period in Jamaica’s history, when Sir Alexander came to prominence through his agitation for the poor and disenfranchised.
“It is at this crossroad that the man whose birthday we celebrate today answered the call for a leader. It was during this memorable era in Jamaica’s history that Sir Alexander Bustamante began to champion the cause and became the voice of the voiceless working class, a duty he attended to up to the time of his death,” he stated.
He said that the strength of the contemporary Trade Union movement had its foundation laid and its walls built by Sir Alexander during that era.

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