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Nothing for Norman? - JNHT promises quick fix of Manley's unsightly statue

Published:Friday | August 31, 2018 | 12:00 AMCorey Robinson
The freshly renovated statue of National Hero Sir William Alexander Bustamante outside the St William Grant Park.
The statue of National Hero Norman Washington Manley in need of a facelift outside the St William Grant Park.

Town clerk at the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), Robert Hill, has distanced the entity from allegations of political mischief, following concerns over contrasting upkeep of two statues outside the St William Grant Park in downtown Kingston.

Last week, visitors to the park noted that the statue of National Hero and the first president of the People's National Party, Norman Washington Manley, was in urgent need of a facelift, while a freshly cleaned statue of National Hero and the first leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, Sir Alexander Bustamante, stood in contrast at the opposite end.

"Those statues are regulated and registered under the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT). We can't touch them. It is their responsibility," Hill told The Sunday Gleaner.

He said the statues are usually cleaned once per year together, but admitted that one is now in need of work.




"We have written at least three letters to them (JNHT) and have called about 10 times to the chairman, and I don't know what the problem is," said Hill.

"The only things we deal with in the park are the grounds, and the maintenance of the walkways. When it comes to the statues from base to tip, it is their thing to do. Any little crack, we can't touch it," said Hill, as he said the latest letter to the JNHT was written within the last month.

Last week, two visitors to the park lambasted the Government for what they described as political bias.

"Media man, look at the statues, you can't have two national hero statues and one of them paint and the next one look dirty and disgusting. Look on it. We can't play politics with we history," argued the visitor, as the other offered support.

"As far as I see it, the two statues dem are close to each other. So how come you clean one and don't clean the other? Shouldn't you clean both of them same time?" he asked.

He said the last time he saw the statues being cleaned was about one year ago.

Last Friday, Macherie Grant, director of estate management at the JNHT, told The Sunday Gleaner that while the JNHT is responsible for conservation of both of the statues at the St William Grant Park and those at the nearby National Heroes Circle, it has to make do with limited resources.

Grant said the statues were both cleaned in preparation for the City of Kingston's 145th anniversary last April, and they are slated to be cleaned once per year.

She confirmed that her office had received a letter from the KSAMC requesting cleaning of the Norman Manley statue last month.

"It's not anything political. I can assure you that. We just have to try to do what we can with the resources that we have. And there is only one person who is responsible for doing the conservations all over," added Grant.

She said that since the letter from the KSAMC checks have been made at the site, and that conservation work is to be carried out on Tuesday.