Three 'easy' patriotic things

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

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Dear Editor,

When the Government announced the lifting of the ban on women wearing sleeveless garments into government offices there was not a single voice of demurral in Jamaica. This shows that there are things that are easy to do in our country, particularly when those things are a carry-over from the inglorious past.

It is not inappropriate for a woman to enter government building in a sleeveless garment. Moreover, which sane person could insist on banning women from wearing sleeveless garments in a country where the average temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit?

Buoyed by that success the Government might wish to consider doing three more easy things that are also a relic of that inglorious past. These measures, I suggest, would win the support of every Jamaican.

First, the nomenclature, “throne speech” should be replaced by “The Marcus Garvey Policy Statement”. Marcus Garvey is the greatest policy craftsman produced by our great country. By this change we honour Jamaica's first national hero.

Second, the designation, “Queen's Counsel” should be replaced by “Norman Manley Distinguished Counsel”. Norman Manley is indubitably the greatest lawyer produced by our great country. By this change we honour another national hero.

Third, Lady Musgrave Road should be renamed “George Stiebel Road”, if the popular story about the origin of the name is verified as an historical fact. It is said that Lady Musgrave, the wife of Governor Musgrave (1877-1883), resented the fact that in going to downtown Kingston from the Governor's House her carriage had to pass the splendid mansion now known as Devon House, but then owned by George Stiebel — the first black Jamaican millionaire. The road, now Lady Musgrave Road, was therefore built to bypass Stiebel's grand mansion.

If this story is true, the road should be renamed for George Stiebel — an industrious black Jamaican who had made his fortune in Venezuela. Why should Lady Musgrave's racism be celebrated in Jamaica with a road named after her? But there is another story to rival the popular one; it is of more recent origin. The story is that the governor, suspecting that his lady had taken a fancy to Stiebel, took the precautionary measure of having a new road built so that her carriage would not have to pass Stiebel's house. I do not credit this story, but I will not say why. In any event, we should ask our historians to provide us with the true origin of the name, Lady Musgrave Road.

Patrick Robinson

The Hague

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