Nation remembers work of George William Gordon
Floral tributes were paid to National Hero George William Gordon on Wednesday at the National Heroes Park, Kingston, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his birth.
Flowers were placed at the national hero's shrine by Custos of Kingston Steadman Fuller, representing Governor General Sir Patrick Allen; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Culture Sherrill O'Reggio Angus; Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites, and Executive Director of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition Dr Carolyn Gomes.
Principal director of culture and creative industries in the Policy Division of the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Dr Janice Lindsay, said celebrating the bicentennial of the hero's birth was important as he paved the way for many of the liberties Jamaicans currently experience.
"When we can take the time as a nation to reflect and pay homage to those who have charted the path to the liberties we now enjoy, it signals an important message about the value we place on our human capital," she said.
"The Right Excellent George William Gordon may have served an entirely different era two centuries ago, (but) still the worth of the man is measured in how he embraced his heritage and people," Dr Lindsay added.
Reflecting on the life and work of Gordon, genealogist and chairman of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust Board of Trustees, Ainsley Henriques, said the hero's interest in politics was aimed at righting the wrongs he perceived had prevailed against the majority in those days.
"We thank you for what you have helped us become - a free and independent people and nation," he said.
Born to a wealthy planter, Joseph Gordon, and his slave, Ann Rattray, in 1815, George William Gordon was elected to the House of Assembly in 1844 as the representative for St Thomas.
His advocacy of resistance against the oppressive government at the time led to his arrest as an alleged instigator of the Morant Bay Rebellion in 1865.
Gordon was illegally tried by a court martial, found guilty on what has been deemed insufficient evidence, and sentenced to death. He was subsequently executed in October 1865.
Jamaica's Parliament building (Gordon House) is named in his honour. He was made a national hero in 1969.