A bust, commemorating the life and work of late National Hero, the Right Excellent Norman Washington Manley, now adorns the departure lounge of the airport in Kingston named in his honour.
The bronze sculpture, which was acquired from the Estate of the National Hero’s late wife, Edna Manley, by the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), was unveiled on July 4. The unveiling also coincided with the 119th anniversary of his birth.
The sculpture is the work of late African-American sculptor, James Richmond Barthé, who produced the piece in 1956.
In delivering brief remarks at the ceremony, eldest grandchild of Norman Manley, Rachel Manley, expressed her family’s gratitude to the government and AAJ for its decision to honour her grandfather’s life and work, by mounting the bust inside what she described as an "amazing venue".
She noted that the National Hero travelled through the airport during his many journeys around the Caribbean and beyond, as he lobbied and advocated for improvements in the welfare of Jamaicans, prior to independence in 1962.
"He was a man, who saw Jamaica’s destiny and influence as wider and greater than the shores of this island, more far reaching than merely the embrace of the Caribbean Sea and so, it is right that he should gaze at us from a gateway to the wider world. I hope that when Jamaicans and tourists pass by, they will feel a moment of inspiration from a man, who loved his country more than anything,” Ms. Manley said.
Guest speaker, Transport, Works and Housing Minister, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, described Wednesday’s unveiling as an “historic” occasion. In noting that Norman Manley’s pioneering efforts were pivotal to Jamaica’s national development, Dr. Davies contended that the National Hero had “blazed a trail that has left an indelible mark for others to follow”.
The Transport Minister said it was not by accident that Kingston’s airport, Jamaica’s first such international facility, was chosen to bear Norman Manley’s namesome 20 years ago, as he was pivotal in developing Jamaica’s aviation policy.
"When the Federation of the West Indies was rejected by the Jamaican electorate (in 1961), then Premier Norman Manley, advocated (for) the creation of a national aviation service for Jamaica. Visionary that he was, he clearly saw the link with the emerging United States market for tourism (and trade). I know I echo the sentiments of many when I say that this man was a passionate visionary, who had the interest of his nation at the forefront of his mind, at all times,” Dr. Davies said.