AS talks of Jamaica becoming a republic intensify, Alando Terrelonge — state minister within the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport — is suggesting it will be fitting to rename some roads in honour of the country’s cultural icons.
He was a guest on the Jamaica Creative Writing Competition Awards Ceremony and Exhibition held on the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston last Wednesday. The event was organised by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission.
“As we move towards becoming a republic on this our sixtieth 12 months (of Independence), I’ll proceed to advocate for literary cultural icons Louise Bennett and Bob Marley to be named [national] heroes of our new republic. As a republic, it will be a fitting tribute to our cultural heroes to rename a few of the roads in Kingston, and across Jamaica, of their honour. Roads that were named to revere the British Monarchy corresponding to King Street, East and West Queen Streets, Duke Street, Princess Street have to be renamed to pay homage to our cultural giants who’ve made Jamaica a world cultural powerhouse and Kingston a UNESCO Creative City of Music,” he said.
“Princess Street could possibly be renamed in honour of Millie Small, Duke street renamed in honour of The Skatalites, King Street in honour of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, and East and West Queen streets in honour of Rita Marley and Marcia Griffiths, respectively. Naming Bob and Louise heroes of the new republic, and renaming these roads to rejoice Jamaican cultural icons, could be transformational as we grow as a new republic, and definitely encourage the subsequent generation to greatness,” Terrelonge added.
In March, in the course of the visit of Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said Jamaica intends to chop ties with the British Monarchy and move towards becoming a republic.
“Jamaica is, as you’ll see, a rustic that could be very happy with our history and really happy with what we now have achieved. And we’re moving on and we intend to realize, in brief order, our development goals and fulfil our true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed, prosperous country,” said Holness, during a courtesy call paid to the Office of the Prime Minister by the royals.
In November 2021, Barbados parted ways with The Queen and have become a republic. Weeks after, Holness said there was “little doubt that Jamaica has to grow to be a republic.”
The Jamaica Creative Writing Competition Awards Ceremony and Exhibition saw greater than 100 writers from ages 12 to 74 receiving honours. They include: Denise Brown (Best Overall Author); Clyve Brown (Outstanding Author); David McAdam (Special Author); Collette Robinson (Alternative Author); and, Sean Harrison (Noteworthy Author).
The JCDC, since 1963, has used its annual Jamaica Creative Writing Competition and Exhibition as a platform for local writers to develop and showcase their talents by the use of their original literary works.
“As we rejoice our sixtieth 12 months of Independence, it is important that we rejoice and highlight our literary talents, who’ve brought, and who proceed to bring much global recognition to Jamaica,” said Terrelonge. Literary cultural giants like Louise Bennett, Claude McKay, Mervyn Morris, Olive Senior, and Bob Marley who transformed his literary masterpieces into the powerful sounds of reggae music. This 12 months’s literary festival is basically vital since it highlights the talent that exists in Jamaica, and most significantly, it celebrates the achievements in poetry of our next generation of young kings and queens,” he noted.