CARIBBEAN Court of Justice (CCJ) member Charles Winston Anderson said Marcus Garvey would want Jamaica to embrace regional unity. Garvey, Jamaica's first National Hero, was a strong proponent of pan-Africanism and Black Nationalism and he supported repatriation.
"In the same way that he did not confine his efforts to his native land of Jamaica but sought instead a wider Diaspora, it is right that we in contemporary Jamaica should also broaden our concept of a Jamaican identity to include the institutions and symbols of unity with our Caribbean brothers and sisters," said Anderson.
The judge is a former executive director of the Caribbean Law Institute Centre and was the first Jamaican to be named to the CCJ Bench.
His comments were made at Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort and Spa during the eighth annual banquet of the St Ann Homecoming and Heritage Foundation at which he was the guest speaker. His address spoke to the continuing relevance of Garvey and his life in the world.
Calls have escalated in recent months for Jamaica to delink from Caricom, the regional trade bloc, on the basis of a widening trade imbalance between its two largest members — Jamaica and Trinidad. But Justice Anderson thinks otherwise.
According to him, the common bonds need to be recognised and reinforced and one tangible way to do that is to declare Caricom Day on July 4 a public holiday. He said it was a step already taken in two other Caricom countries and is one the Government of Jamaica should consider.
Justice Anderson who, like the late National Hero is a son of St Ann, also commended efforts which have already been undertaken to exonerate Garvey's name for mail fraud in the United States.
"Just six weeks ago, three Caribbean groups in the US launched another petition to the US president urging exoneration. I hope such an endeavour, combined with official support from Jamaica, will eventually be successful," he said.
Added he: "Jamaica must do right by its first National Hero; an icon of truly historic proportions, lionised in so many countries of the world and who continues to inspire and to challenge us in his native land towards even greater respect for ourselves, and for human rights and dignity."
The function was dedicated to the memory of Garvey, whose work inspired the establishment of the heritage and homecoming foundation. It also served to honour members of the St Ann community who have made significant contributions to the development of the parish in various ways.