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Hampton and Christiana High Schools were winners in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Central Region’s Bob Marley Secondary Schools Debate and Song Arrangement competitions, respectively, which were held on February 5, at St. Mathew’s Anglican Church, in Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth.
Debating the moot: ‘Bob Marley’s Messages Are More Than Social Commentaries, But Revolutionary’, Hampton School which had opposed, emerged as winners against Glenmuir High School, which argued for the moot.
Singing songs from Bob Marley’s collection of songs, such as ‘I know Jah Never Let Us Down’, ‘Could You Be Loved’ and ‘Iron Lion Zion’, Christiana High School won the Song Arrangement competition, ahead of May Pen Primary, Denbigh High, Black River High and Bishop Gibson High Schools.
Guest speaker at the event, Communications Co-ordinator, National Works Agency (NWA), Mr. Howard Hendricks, pointed out that Bob Marley’s singing career began during a time when Jamaica was going through tremendous changes from colonialism to post-independence, as well as the black struggles of the 1970’s.

Members of the Hampton School, in St. Elizabeth, who won the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s Central Region Bob Marley Secondary Schools Debate Competition, which was held on February 5, at the St. Matthew’s Anglican Church Hall, in Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth, to commemorate the 65th anniversary celebrations of Bob Marley’s birth. From left are: Reagan Reid, Monique Spooner and Felicia Kerlew.

He said that Mr. Marley’s music was influenced by the teachings of Jamaica’s first National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
“As a man who came from abject poverty and knowing the teachings of another great one, Honourable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Bob Marley pushed forward these teachings and he also used excerpts from His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie’s speeches to create his music,” he added.
Mr. Hendricks remarked how reggae music, in the form of dancehall music, has taken on a new dimension and has become demoralising.
“Now in this new dimension in reggae music, dancehall has become demoralising and our youth have divided it into sex and violence,” he argued.
He pointed out that dancehall music has promoted materialism and is the anti-thesis to the teachings of Bob Marley and Marcus Garvey.
“Dancehall music promotes materialism and is the anti-thesis of the teachings of Bob Marley and Marcus Garvey and indeed today, Marley’s music is seen as revolutionary and is not reactionary as dancehall music,” he said.
The event was staged to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Bob Marley’s birth. Born on February 6, 1945, in Nine Miles, St. Ann, Bob Marley began his career in the late 1950’s when he moved to Trench Town, in Kingston, with his mother.
Forming a group known as the Wailers with Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh, whom Bob Marley met in Kingston, the trio went on to become Jamaica’s foremost reggae group.
In 1973, Bob Marley emerged as a solo artiste backed by the I-Threes, a group comprising his wife, Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt. Bob Marley died on May 11, 1981 at the age of 36.
Bob Marley was given the Order of Merit, Jamaica’s third highest honour, as well as other awards from various international entities, including the Medal of Peace from United Nations, Artist of the Century by Billboard Magazine, Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 from the National Academy of Recording Artistes, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2001, and induction in the National Black Sports and Entertainment Hall of Fame and Museum Class of 2003.