Government takes charge of Garvey's boyhood home

Government takes charge of Garvey's boyhood home

Grange: It's time to get on with the museum in honour of national hero

Sunday, August 19, 2018

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Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange has announced that the Government of Jamaica has executed compulsory acquisition of the boyhood home of national hero, the Right Excellent Marcus Garvey in St Ann's Bay.

In her address at the annual United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) Marcus Garvey Awards Friday evening — on the 131st anniversary of the national hero's birth — Grange said the commissioner of lands has been given ministerial direction to take possession of the property.

Grange said that the development “clears the way for the establishment of the proposed living history museum in honour of the national hero.”

The property, located at 32 Market Street in St Ann, has long been earmarked as the site for the Garvey Museum. Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding broke ground for the construction of the museum in 2011. However, construction has been delayed as the Government negotiated with the occupants (now owners) of the property, who have now been assisted them to find alternative accommodations.

Grange said it was time to get on with the project:

“For many years we have been talking among each other, researching current ownership, and announcing every year our intention to take over that home and convert it into a museum and centre for reflection on the works of our hero. We have talked for a long time, we have negotiated for a long time. Now it's time for action. We have acted through the governance process of compulsory acquisition to take over that location and start the work to convert it into the haven it must be in the “Garden Parish” of St Ann.”

Grange said that in keeping with the commitment given by the former prime minister to assist the occupants to find alternative accommodations, the Government will be taking action to relocate them to a property that has been identified.

“I have been working closely with the Member of Parliament and the Housing Agency of Jamaica to finalise the relocation. We are showing goodwill and I anticipate full co-operation as we move ahead with establishing this important national monument,” Grange said.

The technical designs have been completed and funding sourced for the construction of the museum.

Grange has instructed the Jamaica National Heritage Trust — which is leading the development of the museum — to “move swiftly to take possession of the property, acquire all outstanding approvals, and to begin construction before the end of the year”.

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