Culture Minister presents 20 Jamaica 50 Legacy Projects

Date Published: 
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna has given a favourable assessment of the Jamaica 50 programme noting that the celebratory segment last year represented a major undertaking. Speaking at the presentation of 20 projects comprising the legacy component of Jamaica 50 at the National Gallery, downtown Kingston on Wednesday (February 20), the culture minister said Jamaica did well during the celebrations and the majority of Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora had an opportunity to renew their loyalty to their country.

Providing an update on the financial arrangements for last year’s celebrations, Minister Hanna said despite setbacks including unrealised revenue projections to deal quickly and efficiently with all attendant calls on the Jamaica 50 budget, the culture ministry managed in a responsible way to honour the vast majority of the obligations. “In fact only a very small percentage of financial matters remain outstanding and every step is being taken to deal with those as expeditiously as possible,” Minister Hanna said.

She said the 20 agreed legacy projects in the areas of education, heritage, infrastructure, culture, sports, academics, literature and the arts will serve as lasting reminders of the Jamaica’s achievement and celebration of the important milestone of 50 years of Independence. The projects were determined by a committee with representation from various sectors and organisations including the Opposition and the business community. The committee is chaired by the chief executive officer of the CHASE Fund, which is providing funding.

In keeping with the stated commitment of the Government to make early childhood education a major focus of the Jamaica 50 legacy, nine basic and schools have been selected for construction. They are Middlesex Basic in the Holland Bamboo are of St. Elizabeth; Church of Christ Basic in Gayle, St. Mary; Friendship Infant, Westmoreland which was opened in September last year; Bannister Basic in Old Harbour, St. Catherine; Marlie Hill Basic also in St. Catherine, which was attended by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller; Ebenezer Basic of Trinityville, St. Thomas; Rock River Basic in Clarendon; Little Einstein Learning Centre in Seaview Gardens, Kingston; and Straun Basic School in Christiana, Manchester.

“Of all the ideas considered as Jamaica legacy projects, none is more deserving and closer to my heart that those projects that build on Jamaica’s education infrastructure and aid in the delivery of quality education to our people, especially our children at the early childhood level,” Minister Hanna noted.
A major centrepiece of the Jamaica 50 legacy programme will be the redevelopment and preservation of National Heroes Park. The project involves the redevelopment of the park and its environs through a public private partnership. This includes beautification and maintenance of the park as well as the development of the entire Heroes Circle area. The partnership involves Government agencies taking the lead in renovating the park, upgrading the infrastructure, planting trees, flowers, establishing walking and cycling trails, food courts, an amphitheatre etc. The private sector is expected to take responsibility for the maintenance of the park and the development of properties around Heroes Circle.

“The restoration of the park will represent a renewal of the national spirit and psyche, and the creation of a proud environmental and cultural monument to the memories of the great Jamaicans who are resting there. National Heroes Park will once again become a focal point of Jamaica’s history, culture and governance,” Ms. Hanna pointed out.

Among the other legacy projects are several publications, audio-visual productions and symposia. The publications include Jamaican Heritage in Pictures, being undertaken by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust and the CHASE Fund. The Fund has also commissioned the publication, Historical Sites in Kingston.

A Jamaica 50 legacy documentary encapsulating the national and international celebration, and a film produced by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies at UWI, Mona in association with the Ministry of Youth and Culture and the CPTC commemorating Jamaica 50 will be produced.

The Jamaica Music Museum has secure funding to host the Jamaica Music Symposium to explore the nation music’s potential as an engine of social and economic development. Additionally, the Jamaica International Sculpture Symposium 2013 will see internationally renowned Jamaican artist Basil Watson spearheading the initiative with international artists, mainly sculptors, being invited to work within a specified timeframe to create a monumental piece which will be exhibited around the country before being permanently installed.

Other projects will include building a National Sports Museum in Kingston, a Jamaica 50 monument in Portmore, St. Catherine, the erection of 50 commemorative Sites of Memory Plaques at locations across the country, and the creation and preservation of the Jamaica 50 Time Capsule containing artifacts, materials, goods and information about the current time period. The Rocky Point Community Cultural Centre in Clarendon is also being rebuilt.

A major symbol of nationalistic support, the Jamaica 50 pin of pride, Minister Hanna reminded, is still available for purchase at locations throughout Jamaica including schools, Things Jamaican outlets, JCDC offices and participating commercial enterprises.