Jamaica’s third Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Hugh Lawson Shearer, was today (May 18) honoured with a monument at National Heroes Park.
The monument, titled ‘Tower of Stature’, designed by well known architect, Paul Thorbourne, and funded by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) at a cost of just over $6 million, was unveiled on what would have been Mr. Shearer’s 86th birthday.
Mr. Shearer became Prime Minister of Jamaica on April 11, 1967 and served until March 2, 1972. He served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1980-1989. He is the fourth Prime Minister to be honoured with a monument at National Heroes Park, following his predecessors, the Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante and the Most Hon. Sir Donald Sangster, and the Most Hon. Michael Manley who succeeded him in 1972.
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Dr. Patrick Allen, (third left), Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding (left) and widow of the late Most Hon. Hugh Lawson Shearer, the Most Hon. Denise Eldemire Shearer, unveil the monument, ‘Tower of Stature’, erected in honour of Mr. Shearer, at the National Heroes Park in Kingston Monday (May 18).
He also succeeded Sir Alexander as President of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) in 1977, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Joint Trade Union Research Development Centre (JTURDC), as well as the creation of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), which unites Jamaica’s major trade unions. He died on July 4, 2004.
Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding, one of his successors as both Prime Minister and Leader of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), who was the guest speaker at today’s function, said that the monument will inspire the young, and future generations to want to know who Hugh Shearer was.
Mr. Golding said that it was not enough simply to erect the monument, but that his place in history should be preserved and his work highlighted.
The monument, ‘Tower of Stature’ erected in honour of the Most Hon. Hugh Lawson Shearer, unveiled during the ceremony at National Heroes Park in Kingston on Monday (May 18).
“We owe it not just to Hugh Shearer, not just for his life and his works, we owe it to future generations to ensure that when they come upon this monument, they will not ask ‘who was that man?’ Rather, they will proclaim, ‘there was a man, his name was Hugh Shearer’,” the Prime Minister said.
Speaking on behalf of the Hugh Shearer Foundation, Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, said that the unveiling of the monument reinforced the fact that even though Mr. Shearer is dead, “his name will never die.”
The National Security Minister further expressed appreciation to the present and previous administrations, for recognising and accepting the need to erect the monument. He said that the unveiling of the monument was testimony to Mr. Shearer’s influence as a leader.
“As a leader of the trade union movement, he rose above petty partisan divisive considerations and, notwithstanding his political persuasion, he acted at all times in the interest of the nation,” Senator Nelson said.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Olivia Grange, in her remarks, recalled that Mr. Shearer led the country during some of its “most productive years” in the single term that he served as Prime Minister.
She quoted Vice Chancellor Emeritus at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Rex Nettleford, recalling Mr. Shearer as one of the “primary shapers of our history, a political leader of the highest calibre, and above all a patriot.”
Chairman of the People’s National Party (PNP) Robert Pickersgill, in his tribute, said that Mr. Shearer was resolute, gracious and earned the respect and admiration of all who served with him.
Mr. Pickersgill also pointed out that, no matter how strong his views were on any issue, Mr. Shearer had a gift for approaching discussions or negotiations, however contentious, with an admirable level of courtesy, respect, and camaraderie.
“It is indisputable that he recognised that whatever our political views, we are all united by a genuine wish to improve the quality of life of the Jamaican people,” he said. He added that Mr. Shearer was a “fitting recipient of all the honours, tributes, a grateful nation is able to bestow.”
Other speakers included President of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), Lloyd Goodleigh, and BITU President, Kavan Gayle. The function was chaired by the President of the Senate, Hon. Dr. Oswald Harding.
The unveiling of the monument was done by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Dr. Patrick Allen, Prime Minister, Bruce Golding and Mr. Shearer’s widow, Professor Denise Eldemire Shearer.
As part of the proceedings, Government officials and other dignitaries laid floral tributes at the monument.
The monument was designed with two intersecting wings, widening as they rise, signifying Mr. Shearer’s dual achievements as trade unionist and politician, while recalling his tall physical stature. The grooves at points along the monument identify his career landmarks.