St Ann to get Bob Marley's One Love Square
It was December 1976, a period of intense political tribalism and violence in Jamaica. Things really got out of hand as the leaders of the two major political parties had lost control of the situation.
To bring back the love and unity, reggae icon Robert Nesta Marley decided to perform at a peace concert called Smile Jamaica at Heroes Circle in Kingston. The then prime minister, Michael Manley, and Opposition Leader Edward Seaga would be in attendance.
Hours before the show, Marley, his wife Rita, and producer Don Taylor were shot at the Marleys' home at 56 Hope Road in St Andrew. They were rushed to hospital, but Bob Marley, after being treated for gunshot wounds to his hand, and against the advice of family, friends and associates, turned up at the show to perform. He was not daunted by the attempt to kill him.
And on Saturday, December 3, Tuff Gong International hosted a Smile Jamaica concert at The Bob Marley Museum, housed in the building in which the Marleys and Taylor were shot, to mark the 40th anniversary of the original Smile Jamaica concert.
Despite the bumper crowd that turned out and some electrifying performance from Third World, Stephen, Kymani, Damian Marley, and others, the biggest news of the night was the announcement of the establishment of the Bob Marley's One Love Square at Grizzly's Plantation Cove in St Ann, Marley's birth parish.
The well-received announcement was made by Robert Bryan, executive chairman of Grizzly's Plantation Cove Limited, in the presence of Pratik Ruparell and Danny Wagstaff of PDP Entertainment, Grizzly's strategic partners, based in Canada. Among other things, Bryan told the audience that Grizzly's and the Marley Group of Companies are finalising the agreement to officially name the entertainment hub to be located in the park.
The Bob Marley's One Love Square will be the official home of the annual Smile Jamaica concert to be held on or about December 5, "to celebrate the peace, love and unity value that Marley used his entire life and worked to promote around the world", Bryan said.
Grizzly's will be working with Stephen Marley as co-executive producer of the show, which Bryan said "will showcase a variety of local talent and world-renowned artistes".
INTEGRATED THEME PARK
The vision of the collaborators is the establishment of an integrated theme park on 235 acres on which there will be an entertainment hub, with permanent entertainment facilities to promote live entertainment, and other events, a family amusement park with facilities for sports and camping.
Bob Marley's image and brand will be manifested throughout the square. They will include permanent art exhibitions inclusive of original art and large-format photos. A new statue of Marley will be mounted in the square.
"In this square, through the sharing of music, cuisine, and the visual arts, everyone will enjoy the love of earth and the gift of life and the essence of the Jamaican lifestyle," Bryan said.