Letter of the day: Rethink that Bolt statue
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The appropriateness of a statue in honour of sprinter Usain Bolt is impatient of debate. Apart from the design, the timing of its erection and where to put it is another matter.
Some time ago, I took issue with the naming of one of Jamaica's international airports after someone who is not representative of our country and its people. I argued that several Jamaicans from among us deserve such high profile national recognition. That is not to say that well-deserved tributes should not be paid to Mr Ian Fleming for his contributions to Jamaica, but this should be done in another way. Nothing came of my protest.
Now we hear that there have been efforts to erect a statue of Bolt within the confines of the Falmouth Pier. As I understand it, entry to the pier by Jamaicans is severely restricted. So for whom would the statue be erected? Why would we be putting the statue there? It would appear that visitors to the island, and not the people of Jamaica and Sherwood Content, are the ones to whom such a tribute is directed. (It is insulting and inappropriate enough that the parish is named after someone whose memory we ought not to revere).
Everybody readily acknowledges that tourism, properly conceived and developed, is of enormous benefit to all of us and to the future of Jamaica, but it is not to be seen to subvert what is the heart and soul of the nation to the detriment of the nature, culture, and history of this country and the interest of its people.
True, Bolt is internationally accepted as an icon - so let the world honour him in its own way - but he is our icon, and must be seen to be so by future generations in the manner in which we honour him today. This means that he is to be embedded in our history not as a visitor attraction, but in the warm embrace of the people and our culture.
We wish to be assured, therefore, that this misguided proposal has indeed been scrapped and is not just lying there to be resurrected behind our backs.
H. Dale Anderson