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Hip Strip’ to become Jimmy Cliff Avenue?

Published:Thursday | June 16, 2016 | 1:06 PMAdrian Frater
Reggae icon Jimmy Cliff (right) having a discussion with Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness in this 2013 file photo.

While there was a time when Jimmy Cliff did not perform in Jamaica for close to two decades, there is absolutely no question that, based on his phenomenal global exploits as a reggae star and actor, he is easily one of the island's most revered sons.

However, despite his massive global appeal, the native of Somerton, St James, who played the lead role in the all-time classic, The Harder They Come, arguably the best movie produced in Jamaica, has never received the kind of resounding accolades he deserves, albeit he has been recognised by the government of Jamaica with the prestigious OM (Order of Merit).

In fact, while many of the nation's accomplished musicians and sports personalities have had monuments erected in their honour in their home parish, except for the Oneness Oval sporting facility, which he developed and donated to the people of Somerton, there are no landmarks in St. James to celebrate his success.

It should therefore warm the heart of Jimmy Cliff fans that, at the Thursday, June 9, 2016, sitting of the St. James Parish Council, Councillor Homer Davis gave notice of his intention to move a resolution to rename Gloucester Avenue (the Montego Bay Hip strip) the Jimmy Cliff Avenue, in recognition of the contribution of the two-time Grammy winner.


"Jimmy Cliff is a noted son of St James, who has risen to astronomical heights in the music industry worldwide, and it is fitting that we in this Parish give recognition to him in an appropriate way," stated Davis.

Davis, who contested and lost the South St. James seat against Derrick Kellier in the 2016 general election, plans to have his resolution debated on at the July sitting of the parish council.

"The resolution will be debated at next month's general meeting and it is my view that it will receive bipartisan and unanimous support not only for what it represents but also for the fact that the internationally recognised show Reggae Sumfest, will be staged around that time with a strong emphasis on culture, so the timing is perfect," said Davis.

The idea is seemingly resonating well with residents of east St. James, where Somerton is located.

"I support it 100 per cent, he is one of those persons who has helped to put Jamaica on the map in terms of his music, which has received international attention," said Dawn Gordon-Pinnock, the vice principal at the Hampden Primary School. "Based on what he has done for Jamaica, he deserves to be recognised in his home parish."

Recently, the St. James Parish Council rewarded the contribution of Jamaica's 1998 FIFA World Cup star, Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore, by naming two streets in Montego Bay in his honour.