Renovations on in Morant Bay
The Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), through the efforts of its president, Ainsley Henriques, has begun renovation at the site of the 'Paul Bogle and the Martyrs' monument in Morant Bay, in preparation for events marking the 150th anniversary of the Morant Bay Uprising.
Control of the site was handed over to the JNHT by the St Thomas Parish Council, and work has begun to clean the area and install additional plants and seating in the gardens, as well as a wall of honour with 437 names of those killed by government forces during the revolt. The tombs are also expected to be upgraded, and the front of the old Morant Bay Courthouse, behind which the monument stands, is also slated for a facelift.
Franklyn Sephestine, chairman of the St Thomas Parish Development Committee and member of the 150th anniversary committee, indicated that the work was a fraction of what was expected to be done at the historic site.
"The funds are by no means sufficient, but the Trust is doing immediate work to make the site ready for the events that are to be held here in October," Sephestine said.
He also indicated that the JNHT would be setting up an interpretive centre on site, which would be showing various aspects of the parish's history, including the life and work of its heroes. Tours would also be available at the monument, with security in place to ensure the area is properly and respectfully maintained.
In the meantime, the JNHT is seeking other sources of funding to complete the renovation of the old courthouse, with the view that the site could become the parish capital's premier museum.
Several agencies across the parish have joined in a collaborative effort to hold events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Morant Bay Uprising, including concerts and cultural events. Renovations of historic sites and buildings have also been undertaken, with the St Thomas Parish Council recently completing work at the century-old Seaforth Methodist Church.