Hanoverians back planned nat'l monument declarations
Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer
The notice of intention to declare the Hanover Parish Church and the Lucea Town Hall and Clock Tower as national monuments has found favour with several stakeholders in the rural town.
"This is ideal for us because these sites are steeped in history," said Hanover Custos Dr David Stair.
"This is an opportunity for us to get visitor to walk our town and learn of how we came about."
While he is fully supportive of the three sites being declared national monuments, Dr Stair was critical of how the nation treats its national heritage, especially in regard to highlighting importance aspects of our history.
"We have a major problem in Jamaica, as our anthems says, we will perish because we lack vision," the custos said.
"We have a wealth of heritage sites, which we are not maximising to the full benefit of the nation."
In regard to the clock, which has been in the town centre since the 18th century, Stair said it came to Jamaica mistakenly as its original destination was St Lucia in the eastern Caribbean.
"Since the clock was erected, it was refurbished only once," said Stair. "We have come to learn that it has never stopped working ... although it now needs maintenance work."
The Hanover Parish Church, which was constructed in 1725 and remains one of the oldest buildings in the western region, is no less of a historical gem.
Father Percival Lynch, the rector of the historic landmark, is in support of it being designated a national monument.
However, he too is lamenting the failure of Hanoverians to capitalise on the tourism potential of the church and other historical sites in the parish.
"It is not being used as how it ought to be," said Father Lynch.
"This is a place where we should be welcoming visitors daily ... there are a lot of important people buried here in the churchyard."
According to Lynch, studies have been done of the church by Eastern Connecticut State University on the tombs in the churchyard, which dates back beyond the 16th century.
Mashario Bisasor, the parish manager of the Hanover Social Development Commission, is pleased with the plans to affix additional national significance to the three landmarks.
"All three are deserving of this designation ... it will bring recognition to the parish and the role Hanover and Lucea in particular has played in the shaping of the history of Jamaica," said Bisasor.
He added: "The town hall by itself has seen many important personalities in the history of Jamaica treading its courts ... and this should not only be preserved, but should be utilised in the teaching of the nation's history."
A site can be designated as a national monument based on its historical, architectural, aesthetic, scientific or archaeological significance.