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Garvey was ahead of his time — Hanna

Wednesday, August 20, 2014    

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JAMAICA'S first National Hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey has been described as a man ahead of his time, who would have had greater impact on world events, had he been part of this generation.

Speaking at the civic ceremony commemorating the 127th anniversary of the birth of Garvey, and his 50th year as a national hero at Lawrence Park in St Ann's Bay, on Sunday, Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna, spoke of the relevance of Garvey's philosophy in current events and speculated on his impact, were he part of this generation.

"I believe he would have birthed a stern recognition to our youth about the importance and courage of having the acceptance of your own identity," she said.

Garvey, Minister Hanna added, was multi-faceted, being a black nationalist, Pan-Africanist, a father and husband who was "certainly a man of action, who was the quintessential pioneer with an unabashed commitment for black identity and self-reliance as the core ingredients for nation-building".

The ceremony also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA/ACL), the organisation that Garvey founded in the 1900s to galvanise the support of diasporic Africans around the world and for uplifting the black race.

In reference to local and international news of recent weeks, which included the death of Jamaica priosn inmate Mario Deane and the fight in the Middle East, Minister Hanna said they brought Garvey to mind. "I could not help but think about some of the things he spoke about and how appropriate they would be for this time," she said.

"I thought about one particular pronouncement because it is something that I live my life by -- 'chance has never satisfied the hope of a suffering people', and 'action, self-reliance, the vision of self and the future, have been the only means by which the oppressed have seen and realised the light of their own freedom'. I want us to reflect on those words," the minister urged.

Responding to the challenge given by Councillor Dallas Dickenson of the St Ann's Bay division that immediate steps be taken to preserve Garvey's birthplace in St Ann, and that the house be declared a national shrine, Minister Hanna gave the assurance that the matter will be addressed soon in Parliament.

The ceremony saw the participation of civic leaders, led by the Custos of St Ann Norma Walters and Mayor of St Ann's Bay, Councillor Desmond Gilmore.

HANNA... he would have birthed a stern recognition to our youth about acceptance of own identity

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