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KINGSTON, Jamaica, February 9, 2015: As part of the activities to commemorate the 70th birthday of the Hon. Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, yesterday (February 8) unveiled a new life-size statue of the late reggae icon at the Trench Town Culture Yard, Marley’s former home.
The statue, sculpted by Scheed Cole, who hails from Trench Town, was commissioned by Minister McNeill as part of a multi-million dollar renovation of the culture yard that is being funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). This is in keeping with the Ministry’s drive to develop cultural heritage sites across Jamaica and further enhance and diversify the island’s tourism product.
Minister McNeill said Bob Marley’s “gift to Jamaica is incalculable. His achievements, and those of his fellow artistes who have followed in his footsteps, have put our country on the map as the mecca of popular music. Today the tourism sector continues to attract hundreds of visitors who come to see the country that produced Bob Marley.”
“As a part of our tourism development strategy we are focusing on cultural and heritage tourism and, over the past three years, the Tourism Enhancement Fund has expended some $500 million on upgrading our cultural and heritage sites across the island. The commissioning of this new statue of Bob in the yard where he grew up is a natural fit in this thrust,” Minister McNeill added.
Congratulating Scheed Cole and the many other persons involved in the Culture Yard project, Minister McNeill said, “This new statue will doubtless attract even more visitors to our shores and to Trench Town in particular. Of equal importance is the fact that its presence will serve to inspire the youths in his old neighbourhood. It will encourage them to believe in themselves and understand that they can achieve success despite perceived disadvantages.”
The unveiling of the statue preceded a community symposium, titled “Trench Town Culture Village: From Vision to Reality” that included presentations by Minister of Youth and Culture, the Hon. Lisa Hanna; Chairman of the Agency for Inner City Renewal (AIR), Dr. Henley Morgan; JaRIA’s Junior Lincoln; and Executive Director of Mediamix/Palm TV, Lennie Little-White.