Sat | Mar 24, 2018

Editorial | What of the Miss Lou statue?

Published:Tuesday | August 16, 2016 | 12:00 AM

A little over a week ago, Jamaica celebrated the 54th anniversary of its independence. A week before, it was the 178th year since the abolition of slavery in the island, as it was for the former British colonies in the West Indies.

On these occasions, as it was earlier this month, Jamaicans like to invoke Louise Bennett-Coverley, the cultural insurgent whose poetry and dialogue in the people's language not only made her a national icon, but contributed to what is often perceived as the outsize confidence of the Jamaican personality.

Last October, just after National Heroes Week, we highlighted the up-to-then unsuccessful effort of Anthony Gambrill, the former advertising executive and playwright/folklorist, to fulfil the dream of his late wife, Linda, of having a statue of Miss Lou erected at Emancipation Park in Kingston.

No one in Government, including the former minister with responsibility for culture, Lisa Hanna, appeared to be opposed to the idea, which is a good one. The Government wasn't being asked to pay for the work. The Gambrill family would. But as is too often the case in Jamaica with anything involving government, this project was encumbered by red tape and inertia.

We are not clear where it is now and whether Ms Hanna was able to settle on it before she left office when the government changed in February. We look forward to an update from her successor, Olivia 'Babsy' Grange.

Further, while we appreciate that time is short, we hope that the statue to Miss Lou can be commissioned and unveiled during the celebrations of this year's - if not next year's - National Heroes Week.