Politician turned author Buchanan wants more for Bob Marley
Clean up area around Culture Yard in Trench Town, he appealsSunday, April 02, 2017
BY SANDRICE WHITE Sunday Observer writer
Former Member of Parliament for West Rural St Andrew, Paul Buchanan has appealed for the restoration of the area surrounding the Bob Marley Culture Yard in the constituency of St Andrew South.
Buchanan, who released his second book, Jones Town Trench Town the Journey Back, last Tuesday evening at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge, The University of the West Indies, Mona, expressed that more focus needed to be placed on the rehabilitation of the Trench Town-housed project, based on its important connection to reggae legend Bob Marley.
"It cannot be an oasis surrounded by any instance of degradation. That’s an injustice to Bob. Despite the tremendous work that (Member of Parliament) Omar (Davies) has done, that still remains to be done… and giving justice to Bob Marley and all he has done for the community and the nation is important," said Buchanan.
Buchanan’s book focuses on a historical recollection of life in South St Andrew from the 1930s, as well as revealing those who have emerged from within that area.
Sections of the book deviates from the negatives of the communities and its prominent message is about how these communities once paved the way for intellectual and cultural pioneers including scholars, political representatives and musicians.
He explained during the launch that he was inspired to write the book when he reminisced on his childhood growing up in the area, as well as the hard work by his parents during those struggling times. However, his most significant motivation to write was the realisation of the drastic changes that had taken place over the years. He became aware of the significant erosion that had taken place in the communities such as the disappearance of towns such as New Town, Victoria Town along with potential scholars and musicians.
"The first book that I wrote was on the economy of the inner city. I realised that there was a gap, something was missing so I had to identify those roots of professional Rhodes scholars, so that those who came after in that community could understand the platform preconditioned for greatness. We had to take that journey back to go forward," said Buchanan.
Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia "Babsie" Grange, who addressed the event, gave her own recollections of one who grew up near the area and commended Buchanan on shedding light on the cultural aspect of the community that had existed.
"The book is a story with an amazing sense of pride, frolic and appreciation that could only have been told by one who not only lived the events of the time but more importantly was able to discover the gratitude we all felt for those remarkable experiences that was the reality of the cultural mecca in those days," Grange told the gathering.
President of the People’s National Party (PNP) Peter Philips, who was the keynote speaker at the event, said that the book provides its audience with a retrospective of memory and the reconstruction of a future without particular social issues.
"Buchanan, telling stories and vignettes of the critical figures, social landmarks and the individuals who have helped to define the Jones Town, Trench Town experience in the landscape of urban Jamaica in the immediate post-Independence period," said Dr Phillips.
Cultural historian Herbie Miller, who heads the Institute of Jamaica, Member of Parliament for St Andrew South Dr Omar Davies, and retired business executive Douglas Orane were among the other speakers in the packed main room.
Entertainer Half Pint also thrilled the audience with renditions of some of his hit songs.