The house in which National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante was born at Blenheim in Hanover, is to be rebuilt. Work should begin next month. This was announced by Chairman of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), Professor Verene Shepherd, during her keynote address at a civic ceremony to mark the 122nd anniversary of the birth of Sir Alexander, at Blenheim, on Friday, February 24.
She also noted that the exhibition on the life of Sir Alexander would be re-established. The house was destroyed by a bush fire which got out of control in March 2004.
Professor Shepherd lamented that so much time had elapsed before an attempt was made to rebuild the house, adding that the JNHT has now settled with the insurance company, and the technical team was working to secure the necessary funding to cover the shortfall for the reconstruction, in collaboration with the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), which Sir Alexander led, and the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU).
“I wish to assure you that long before your 123rd birthday bashment, and this year’s Heroes Day, the house will be reconstructed and the exhibition re-established in as nice a condition as it was last year this time,” the Chairman told the audience. She said that every effort was being made to re-establish the location as a heritage education centre, where Jamaicans and foreigners from all walks of life could be informed about the life of Sir Alexander.
Leader of the Opposition, Bruce Golding, who paid tribute to Sir Alexander on behalf of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), expressed concern that it had taken so long for the house to be rebuilt. Mr. Golding said he has given a commitment to the JNHT that whatever the shortfall in rebuilding the house from the insurance proceeds, the BITU and the JLP would provide the necessary amount, so the rebuilding could start as soon as possible.
On another matter, he said he would be writing to Prime Minister P. J. Patterson requesting him to authorize the building of an appropriate monument to mark the grave site of the late Hugh Lawson Shearer, a former Prime Minister, who is buried in National Heroes Park in Kingston.