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Marcus Garvey Day should be islandwide — Grange

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

OPPOSITION spokesperson on culture, Olivia 'Babsy' Grange' has expressed disappointment that Friday, August 17 was not observed nationally as Marcus Garvey Day.

According to Grange, prior to leaving office in December 2011, it was decided that, as part of the Jamaica 50 celebrations, August 17 would have been proclaimed Marcus Garvey Day by the governor general, after which it would become an annual event.

She said the proclamation would not make the day a public holiday, but a day for honouring Garvey's memory, similar to Bob Marley Day on February 6 and Jamaica Day in schools, both in February.

The Kingston & St Andrew Corporation recently passed a resolution that the day be observed as Marcus Garvey Day, as did the St Ann Parish Council. But Grange insists it's not enough.

The former culture minister also noted that during the sectoral debate in Parliament in July, she had urged that another attempt be made to clear Garvey's local conviction for contempt of court which, she explained, was still in the court records in Jamaica. That overturn of convistion, she said, would also form part of the Jamaica 50 celebrations.

"Although we were able to secure a Royal Pardon, under the aegis of former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, we must now go a step further. After all, a Royal Pardon merely forgives the offender but doesn't expunge or impact the record itself," the former minister said.

"In this the year of our golden jubilee, there is no more momentous or timely occasion to clear Garvey's name here in Jamaica. We should accept no less than a statutory expungement, which expunges and clears the record at the same time; ultimately vindicating and exonerating him of the contempt of court conviction against him decades ago," she said.

Grange also urged Jamaicans in the Diaspora to continue their efforts to clear Garvey's name and denounce his mail fraud conviction by the United States Government in 1922.

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