The quiet rural district of Blenheim, in Hanover, the birthplace of National Hero, the Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante, came alive on February 24, with the staging of a Civic Ceremony to commemorate the 128th anniversary of his birth.
Residents from the district were joined by hundreds of visitors to the area, including civic, business, political and other community leaders in the celebration. The event, which has now become an annual affair, is staged by the Civic and Community Affairs Committee of the Hanover Parish Council, in collaboration with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).
Several tributes in dance, speech, drama and music were rendered, and two items reflecting on Sir Alexander’s life – ‘The Politician’, and the ‘The Trade Unionist’ – were also presented.
Custos of Hanover, Hon. Dr. David Stair, in bringing greeting at the ceremony, noted that as a leader, Sir Alexander demonstrated a willingness to die for a cause he truly believed in. He said that today’s Jamaica ought to vigilantly guard the legacy left behind by Sir Alexander and persons of his ilk.
Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Holness, reflecting on Sir Alexander, the Politician, cited a speech in which he called for all Jamaica to resolve to work together to build a Jamaica which will last, and of which present and future generations will be proud.
“Let this remain as relevant and important to us today, as it was when he said it in 1962,” the Opposition Leader said.
Guest Speaker at the ceremony, former United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Director, Dr. Simon Clarke, while highlighting the life and work of Sir Alexander, said there is a lot to be learnt from his legacy.
He cited a link between the 128th anniversary of Sir Alexander’s birth to the Nation’s 50th anniversary of Independence this year, noting that the year will be a special one.
Meanwhile, Dr. Clarke made an appeal for the renewal of respect for national symbols, with special emphasis on the national flag.
“The flag of a country is to provide a sense of pride and inspiration to its citizens.It also indicates not only the nationality of a people, but it also portrays certain characteristics of the country. Our own characteristics are contained in the symbolism of that flag,” he said.
By Bryan Miller, JIS Reporter