Fountain to be removed from Sam Sharpe Square
THE St James Parish Council plans to remove the fountain from Montego Bay’s historic Sam Sharpe Square, and replace it with a statue of the national hero after whom the square was named, a reliable source told the Observer.
A statue of Sam Sharpe is currently located to one side of the over 100-year-old fountain that sits in the middle of St James Street.
According to the sources, the council has engaged the services of several leading architects in the western city, to come up with a plan for the area.
The planned removal of the fountain is to coincide with the opening of the Montego Bay Cultural Centre. The centre is expected to be completed by next February, six months behind the original completion date of September 2000.
But the council might need the time to sell the idea to residents of the western city.
Deputy mayor of Montego Bay, Gerard Mitchell, said the planned removal of the fountain would not take place without consultations with the Montego Bay community.
“There is no timetable for that effort, the fact is that we have to do consultations with the citizens,” he told the Observer.
Mitchell said the decision to take the matter to the public came out of a recommendation, by the council’s Parish Development Committee, to involve Montegonians in the process.
And he stressed that any changes to the centre of the city, must be done with a view to complementing the cultural centre.
Meanwhile, president of the St James Heritage Foundation, Joan Sharpe, said while her organisation was yet to be informed of the proposal in writing, she thinks the planned changes are great.
“The idea is great because it is Sam Sharpe Square and he was a great man,” she told the Observer.
Sharpe said the planned consultation with the public over the removal of the fountain was the correct move, as the issue was very sensitive.
And the parish council is optimistic that the removal of the fountain will help to eliminate one of Montego Bay’s biggest problems, that of traffic congestion.
In addition, the usually unkempt state of the fountain has also been cited as a reason for the council’s wish to have it removed.
It was adopted, at one point, by a local hotel and they were responsible for keeping the fountain painted and clean. But that initiative was abandoned after a worker was attacked by one of the mentally ill persons who uses the fountain as a source of bathing and drinking water.