A bust of National Hero, the Right Excellent Norman Washington Manley was unveiled at the Departure Lounge of the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday, July 4, his birthday.
The bust was unveiled on the 119th anniversary of Mr. Manley’s birth and the 43rd anniversary of his retirement from politics.
In detailing Manley’s exploits as the ‘Father of the nation’, Chief Curator at the National Gallery, Dr. David Boxer says that the commemoration of Manley with the sculpted bust was ‘just and appropriate’. He said that the bust that was done by Richmond Barthe’, a major figure in African-American art in the 20th century and who lived in Jamaica for some 20 years, had found its rightful place at the Norman Manley International Airport. He congratulated the National Gallery and the Norman Manley Foundation for the part they played in having the bust unveiled.
In chronicling the relationship with her grandfather, granddaughter, Rachel Manley said he represented in her life ‘evenness and balance’. She saw in his name a representation of ‘dependability and a beacon’ which she said were qualities of a good airport. She said that like her grandfather’s name, the airport represented ‘a place of homecoming’. She thanked the Government at the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ) for the placement of the bust at the airport.
Keynote speaker at the ceremony, Transport, Works and Housing Minister, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies spoke of Mr. Manley’s involvement in the aviation industry. The Minister said that it was not by accident that Jamaica’s first international airport was named after Norman Manley.“ Norman Manley was a pivotal figure in the development of Jamaica’s aviation policy. When the Federation of the West Indies failed to gain traction, especially by Jamaica, then Premier Norman Manley advocated the creation of a ‘national aviation services for Jamaica’. Visionary that he was, he clearly saw the important link with the emerging United States market.”
The Minister used the opportunity to outline some of Mr. Manley’s contributions to the nation. He noted that his (Manley’s) administration between 1955 and 1962 was deeply committed to nation building and accomplished a number of significant milestones. Some of these he listed as, the construction of a national stadium, infrastructural developments and re-development, expansion and upgrading of the terminal and passenger processing facilities at the then Palisadoes Airport. The Minister noted that on July 27, 1961, Premier Norman Manley officially opened a new terminal building at the airport.
Also participating in the ceremony were, Commander John McFarlane who sang the National Anthem, Mr. Dennis Morrison who was the MC and Mr. Earl Richards who gave the vote of thanks.