The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says the renaming of Gloucester Avenue in Montego Bay [to Jimmy Cliff Boulevard] will inspire generations of singers, musicians and cultural practitioners.
The Minister was speaking at the official renaming ceremony of the popular stretch commonly called the “Hip Strip” on Thursday, March 28.
Minister Grange said: “Reggae music was able to propel Jimmy Cliff from Somerton District to fame and name recognition from Brazil, to other parts of South America to Europe, Asia and the Home Continent of Africa. I know that the significance of this renaming exercise will have great impact on many of our aspiring talents and they too, in time, will be propelled to greater heights.
“As we in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport continue to strengthen our musical heritage through the re-telling of stories, the celebration of our pioneers and the establishments of circuits where our people and visitors to our shores may experience the power of the heritage, it is my pleasure to rename Gloucester Avenue in honour of this cultural icon,” she said.
“Tonight we hail the man Jimmy Cliff in a special way. Because of Jimmy Cliff we can all see clearly now the road ahead for a successful and highly prized culture and tourism product that is paved with powerful sounds and images pulsating with the sweet Reggae beat,” the Minister added.
Minister Grange was joined in the renaming ceremony by the Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Edmund Bartlett, the Mayor of Montego Bay, His Worship Councillor Homer Davis, Mr. Charles Sinclair who represented Minister of National Security and MP for North West St. James Dr. Horace Chang and the honouree, Dr. the Honourable James Chambers, “Jimmy Cliff”.
The renaming of the “Hip Strip” to Jimmy Cliff Boulevard signals the start of a greater thrust to improve the cultural landscape of western Jamaica through a partnership between the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and the Ministry of Tourism.
The Government of Jamaica is at an advanced stage of planning to build or refurbish facilities in the western city to create more spaces for cultural expressions and leisure activities. The projects include a series of entertainment centres to be named in honour of the country’s cultural legends as well as a first world concert hall..
Following the official unveiling of the sign that now stands at the entrance of the Jimmy Cliff Boulevard, there were performances by a number of acts including Karen Smith, Dean Fraser, Dwight Richards, Richie Spice and Tessanne Chin.