Tue | Sep 29, 2020

Devon Dick | Move Bolt and Bob statutes

Published:Wednesday | December 13, 2017 | 12:00 AM

When the Honourable Usain Bolt was asked about the location for his statue he diplomatically declined to offer an opinion as to whether it should be in Trelawny, the parish of his birth.

Commendations to Minister Olivia Grange and her team for the statue being erected without controversy and for Bolt to make it clear that he liked the Basil Watson sculpture. There is also much to commend the present location at Independence Park because other statues of greats such as Merlene Ottey, Herb McKenley, and Arthur Wint are there. Furthermore, the National Stadium is where it all started when Bolt came to international attention with the 200-metre winning run in the World Junior Championships.

But Bolt is more than an outstanding athlete. As one foreigner speaking at the ceremony to unveil the statue, Bolt is unique among our galaxy of athletes. The world records in the 100m and 200m are one thing. Winning the double in the sprints in three consecutive Olympics is out of this world. But to the world he is the GOAT as a sprinter. He has performed well, and equally important was his personality. He was confident and calm before a race. He was classy in victory and rare defeats. In addition, his impact on the sport dogged by doping was huge. He brought fans back to the sport and brought belief that through hard work, dedication and proper attitude, world records can be established and broken. Bolt is a world celebrity and world-class act, who has been immortalised in a film.

Therefore, Bolt deserves his own space. He is in a different league. There is a storyboard on his life at Falmouth Pier so homage has been paid to his birthplace. Furthermore, the Trelawny Stadium can be named after him and Veronica Campbell Brown, both from Trelawny. Therefore, the ideal place should be in western Jamaica, where Bolt is from. Consideration should be given to locating the Bolt statue at the roundabout in Montego Bay near the airport. This is a popular roadway so that thousands of locals and visitors will see the statue every day. Most will want to take a picture from their vehicle. Many will disembark to take a picture beside the statue. Vendors could do business out there. It would be one of heck of an attraction. As those in real estate management would say, it is all about 'location, location, location'. The Montego Bay airport roundabout would allow for greater visibility and impact. So it makes eminent sense to relocate it to the Second City.




Similarly, the Honourable Robert 'Bob' Marley needs his statue to relocate. Being near Independence Park is not ideal. Since he grew up in Trench Town, the ideal spot would be the Harbour View Roundabout leading to the airport and St Thomas. This location means that each day thousands of Jamaicans and foreigners would see the statue. In addition, tourists would be delighted to get a glimpse of Bob as they enter Jamaica. Bob, as a Jamaican figure, is in a class by himself. In October, I was in Bahamas travelling on public transportation, and a Bob Marley song was playing and a Bahamian was singing along word for word to a song I did not know - and I thought I knew all of them. Bob even in death is larger than life and more well known than all our national heroes.

Let us move the statues of Bolt and Bob to the two corners of Jamaica where there will be greater visibility to Jamaicans and visitors and potential for economic benefits to Jamaica.

- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com