What Digicel should do
The Editor, Sir:
Although I agree with Jeff Cobham's letter of December 30 on the 'Digicel eye sore' in Half-Way Tree, I would like to give the management of that company the benefit of the doubt that they meant no harm, but was eager to provide an ill-advised solution to a menacing vending problem.
Although they have come to refer to Jamaica in what could be considered a bit of colonial hubris as 'Digicel country', it appears that they applied the red and white paint to Half-Way Tree in ignorance of the rich history and unique heritage of the St Andrew parish capital.
Now that they know, it would do well for them to restore Half-Way Tree, so that the favourable position in which they have found themselves with many Jamaicans, because of what was perceived as their sensitivity to Jamaican people and culture, is preserved.
Place of honour
If adopted, the suggestions for the "... increase in beauty" to the restoration and maintenance of Half-Way Tree will certainly be a 'bigger, better' demonstration of the esteem in which Digicel holds Jamaica's heritage. It would, undoubtedly, give them a place of honour in our history. I would also like to suggest that Jamaica desperately needs a slavery museum, such as South Africa has, which serves to bring tourists and revenue into the coffers of their heritage sites. There are a number of buildings in Half-Way Tree which could possibly serve this purpose if properly and usefully restored, for which Digicel could take credit while earning income from the tastefully done shops on site. Devon House is such an example.
Why not also restore the park as a place from which ideas can flow from the proverbial soap box, as was the case in Marcus Garvey's day or as is the case in Hyde Park, London, which could aid in gently resocialising our civilian discourses on matters of national interest.
As they would have learnt by this, if you win Jamaican people's hearts, they will willingly empty their pockets for you.
Good suggestion, Mr Cobham, only a very foolish or 'hard 'eaze' management would ignore this in the face of the kind of competition they are facing. This is a good time to remember that it was sensitivity to the needs of the people that got them where they are now, to the chagrin of others who took us for granted.
Indeed, Half-Way Tree is a good place to start!
Every blessing on this one, Digi.
I am, etc.,
YVONNE O. COKE