Former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson, is calling on Jamaicans to unite for the development of the country, as it goes through a challenging economic period.
Mr. Patterson made the call while delivering the keynote address at a civic ceremony on Thursday, July 4, to commemorate and open a permanent exhibition on the life of National Hero, Rt. Excellent Norman Washington Manley.
The exhibit, which has been mounted at the National Hero’s birth home in Roxborough, Manchester, is in honour of the 120th anniversary of his birth.
Mr. Patterson noted that the National Hero always emphasised “a unity of purpose”, which transcends political partisan lines to embrace the entire nation, irrespective of the party, religion or group to which persons belong.
“I hope that here, today, those who are within reach and those to whom the message will be transmitted, will recognise that in whatever sphere we are, in politics, in business, our labour unions, our churches, our academic and other civic organisations and importantly, our young people, must work together for the development of our country and the upliftment of all our people at this critical time,” he said.
The former Prime Minister said he was privileged to have served his political apprenticeship under Norman Manley’s astute leadership. He recalled the late Hero’s towering intellect, his passion for selfless service, his boundless energy, his enduring stamina and attention to detail.
He hailed the establishment of the museum at Roxborough, noting that no one can dispute that the Hero’s role “in the design of our nationhood entitles him to be recognised in our history as the great architect of Jamaica land we love.”
“I want to say how privileged I am to be here and to take this step of establishing the monument to commemorate this great son of the soil. It is more than symbolism. Generations yet unbounded must be able to come and see where Norman Manley was born, even as they must be able to go to Blenheim in Hanover, and see where
Sir Alexander Bustamante was born,” Mr. Patterson stated.
The museum was constructed at a cost of approximately $11 million. Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, in her address at the opening, informed that the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) led the project with the financial support of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
The project was managed through the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) Secretariat of the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, with the Manchester Parish Council as the implementing agency. It also had assistance from the South Coast Resort Board.
Ms. Hanna informed that the opening of the exhibit is the first stage of a restoration project at the National Hero’s birth home.
“I want to urge all of us who were involved in this project, let us use this collaborative framework as the template for further development here at Roxborough as well as at other heritage sites across the country. We have perfected a model of co-operation and collaboration in getting things done and getting them done well,” she said.
The event saw floral tributes being laid by Mr. Patterson, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Wykeham McNeill, and Member of Parliament for North West Manchester, Mikael Phillips.
Contact: Andrea Braham