Golding commits to naming Bob Marley Jamaica’s 8th national hero Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Jamaica will have its eighth national hero in reggae legend Bob Marley, if the People’s National Party (PNP) forms the next Government.

That commitment was given on Tuesday by Opposition Leader Mark Golding as he made his contribution to the 2024/25 Budget Debate at Gordon House. He said the global icon, Jamaica’s most famous son, is deserving of such honour.

“One commitment that I have, which is in keeping with our seriousness about culture and the creative industries, when we form the next government, I commit to conferring the Order of National Hero on the Honourable Robert Nesta Marley for his service of a most distinguished nature in advancing Jamaican culture and his global impact as a liberating inspirational force for oppressed people across the world,” Golding said to rousing applause from the Opposition benches.

“I say time come to recognise the ‘Gong’ as a true national hero and confer the honour on him accordingly,” he added. 

While promising that a future PNP government would focus on the creative industries, including increasing funding, the Opposition leader commented on the Bob Marley ‘One Love’ biopic now in theatres worldwide.

He said: “Speaking of the ‘One Love’ phenomenon now blowing like a natural mystic across the globe shows us what cultural and creative practitioners have been telling us for years. Nurturing and growing the cultural and creative industries, sports and their diverse ecosystems are extremely important for the economic development and cultural identity of Jamaica.”

Golding said this required the funding and deliberate effort to drive these industries, which are two of the fastest-growing areas of economic activity in the world.

He pointed to the $234 million that is allocated in the Budget for the Jamaican Screen Development Initiative, which, he said, the PNP endorses, as well as the commitment to develop JamWorld and Fort Rocky as 24-hour entertainment zones. This, he said, was a start “after so many years of inaction”.

“We commit that when in government we will prioritise the participatory development of a master plan comprising a comprehensive policy and legislative framework to support and incentivise the cultural and creative industries and sports.

“This plan will address investment and financing, education and training, and infrastructure development for cultural and creative and sports practitioners,” said Golding.

He lamented that existing infrastructure for the cultural and creative industries and sports are falling apart islandwide.

“The Trelawny Sports Centre, Independence Park, Catherine Hall, and Sabina Park; The Little Theatre, Ward Theatre, Vale Royal and other existing and potential heritage sites are disintegrating from neglect. How come? Change is sorely needed,” he said.