Tue | Nov 24, 2020

Hallowed ground

Published:Sunday | July 23, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Some time ago, for the first time in my life as far as I can remember, I entered and walked around the National Heroes Park and Heroes Circle and it was an amazing spiritual experience.

The spaciousness and greenery of the park, and the memorials to the persons whom I had heard about, read about, and/or listened to from my youth, had such an effect as to remind me of the greatness that Jamaica still has within its reach, but has so far not been able to grasp, keep in its grip, and actualise.

It was in that context that the proposal to relocate the Parliament building within the Circle impacted me with a new sense of understanding and appreciation.

It came home to me then, as a friend of mine had suggested, that it might have been a better proposal for the new Gordon House, if the name is retained, to have been constructed on the periphery of Heroes Circle, and in time to relocate all the government ministries in like manner around the perimeter.

If that were done, then Heroes Circle could retain its total park effect as a large green area, and the new 'Government Circle' would surround it.

To me, that still seems the best plan to pursue, with the Parliament building being the first to be built in recent times (as some ministries are already on the periphery), and with the remaining government buildings over time, to be installed around the Circle.

If, however, the political fraternity persists in constructing the Parliament building inside the Circle, the plan can still be implemented for the most part, for, in time, all the government ministries can be moved to the Circle's periphery, with the Parliament building being the only one located on the inside.

However, if and when the Parliament building is constructed on the inside, all parliamentarians should realise and appreciate that they are entering hallowed ground.

Their actions, speech, and proposals inside the new Parliament building will be carried out under the watchful eyes of the national heroes and they would be advised on entry to leave behind all the bullishness, disrespect, deceitfulness, one-upmanship, and party-above-country considerations.

The capabilities of people differ, and the level of accomplishment of our current parliamentarians in terms of contribution to country may not match those of our national heroes, but their integrity and loyalty to the nation should be no less than those whose memorials embellish the area.

Hence, given that the current plan continues as construction on the building commences and progresses, the entire political fraternity should also start and continue a process of reconstruction of thought and practice in their political actions that will prepare them for entry into the new location.

The Jamaican Parliament in this new setting needs to display the level of seriousness, national concern and integrity of both thought and action to which the founders and forefathers of our country will give their approval, and which will allow our national heroes to rest peacefully in their repose.

David Abrikian