JIS News

Chairman of the Jamaica National Bicentenary Committee, Professor Verene Shepherd has urged the relevant stakeholders working with the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), to reopen discussions on a plan to declare the historic core of Kingston a protected national heritage.
Speaking at Tuesday’s (May 8) launch of Senator Anthony Johnson’s second edition of ‘City of Kingston Souvenir’ book at the Bank of Jamaica auditorium, Professor Shepherd invited stakeholders to “return to the negotiation table and restart the conversation”.
“The JNHT is currently working on the guidelines for the development of the historic core and we believe that will be beneficial to Kingston,” she noted.
She encouraged the public to “not lose sight of what the city represents in Jamaica’s history,” and hailed Senator Johnson’s book as timely in light of Jamaica’s Bicentennial commemoration of the end of the Transatlantic Slave Trade celebrations this year.
“I am struck by the fact, that despite updates and editions, the book was published initially to commemorate the Bicentennial of the city charter and now it is being re-launched during the Bicentenary of the abolition of the Transatlantic trade in Africans to the British Empire,” she observed.
Paying homage to the city’s evolution, Professor Shepherd painted a broad picture of Kingston’s longstanding significance. “What stands out is the way in which the city contributed to the development of global capital from the 17th century, and also to the evolution of our own domestic economy despite the dictates of mercantilism at that time; how the city has managed to inscribe our post-colonial history on the landscape while preserving the icons of the past; how it has engaged in symbolic decolonization over the past 200 years; how it has provided a space for the articulation of black consciousness and workers’ rights; how it has evolved from white colonial rule to a city run by our own black Jamaican people, how it has nurtured and showcased the commercial, architectural, artistic and sporting talents of our people,” she reflected.
She reiterated her call on the city’s stakeholders to focus on this historic significance of the city as they restart negotiations towards protecting its heritage.
“Let us not underestimate this march on our freedom journey, and certainly let us not squander the legacy of the ancestors who struggled so hard to bring us to this place,” she appealed.

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