Machel Montano to receive Key to the City of Kingston
TRINIDAD and Tobago soca star Machel Montano is to be honoured with a Key to the City of Kingston on Sunday evening at the National Stadium.
The event, which will be one of the pivotal moments at the 2023 annual Independence Grand Gala at stadiumy, eventually won the approval of nearly all Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) councillors at a special meeting on Friday at its downtown Kingston office.
The councillors gave full approval to the request from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and specifically current minister, Olivia “Babsy” Grange, that Montano be honoured, but also used the opportunity to address the issue of approving last-minute requests from government bodies for their approval.
The resolution noted: “Be it resolved that the Key to the City of Kingston be conferred on Mr Machel Jesus Montano, in recognition of his sterling, awesome and iconic career in music, which has positively influenced many adoring fans across the Caribbean and the world, including many Jamaicans who continue to enjoy his enduring legacy.”
It was tabled by Government councillor Susan Senior and seconded by councillor Kari Douglas, both of whom were convinced of its approval, especially those who have experienced Montano’s local performances.
“When you hear soca music, you just want to jump. Soca is sweet… together we join together in a special way for a special moment,” she said, as she hailed Montano’s courtesy and encouragement and love for music.
Head of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) caucus in the council Andrew Swaby (Vineyard Town), and fellow PNP councillor Audrey Smith-Facey (Payneland), both admitted that they saw nothing wrong with Montano being honoured for his achievements as a soca star, but were concerned about how approvals were untimely.
“I was a soca queen, and Montana was my favourite soca person, but it is saddening to know that while we try to operate in a professional manner, which I think that they should honour, they just chuck this on us at the last minute,” she complained.
Swaby said that the council should use the opportunity to bring to the attention of these bodies that there are regulations guiding the process. He noted a similar incident occurring recently, when the council was given a last-minute timetable to agree to giving the key to soprano lyricist Deniece Chandler Williams (Deniece Williams) in May.
However, it was evident that almost all the councillors were willing to support the motion, including the Opposition’s Patrick Roberts (Molynes Garden), himself a music producer, who felt that Montano had earned the right to be given the key to the city.
“I support the resolution to give the key to Montano is a timely one,” he said, noting that the Trinidadian artiste was educated “right here in Kingston, Jamaica, where he is widely regarded as a friend of Jamaica and has assisted in many fund-raising events to assist local charities and community organisations,” Roberts said.
Councillor Senior, noting that the motion included a number of reasons as to why Montano should be awarded, said the city of Kingston is the capital city of Jamaica and is regarded as the main centre for music, entertainment, culture and the arts.
The whereas clauses of the resolution included information that:
“Trinidad and Tobago-born Machel Jesus Montano is one of the Caribbean’s leading soca singers, who is a highly sought-after record producer and songwriter well-known for his fast-paced energy-inducing stage performances, and is loved by millions.
“Machel Jesus Montano’s early education was right here in Kingston, Jamaica, and where he undoubtedly developed his love for and appreciation of our music, culture and the arts.
“And whereas he is widely regarded as a friend of Jamaica and has assisted with many fund-raising events to assist local charities and community organisations”.
Government member Duane Smith, supporting the resolution, said that “without a doubt Mr Montano is deserving of this honour as, like soca, this man has been on top of his game for a very long time”.