On Monday, July 4, 2022, the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), an agency of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, held a Floral Tribute at the National Heroes Park in Kingston to commemorate the 129th anniversary of the birth of the national hero, the Right Excellent Norman Washington Manley. A civic ceremony was also held at Manley’s birthplace in Roxborough, Southern Manchester.
Several members of the political directorate, notable leaders and supporters converged at the venues to pay homage to the national hero. Honourable Olivia Grange, CD, MP, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, delivered the opening remarks at the function held in Kingston. She highlighted that “the country’s highest national honour was bestowed upon Mr Manley as a reward for his lifetime devotion to selfless activities on behalf of his fellow Jamaicans.” She described him as “[one] of the nation’s founding fathers, a war hero, advocate extraordinaire, labour leader, politician, patriot…”
Floral tributes were laid at Manley’s shrine, at the National Heroes Park by Honourable Steadman Fuller, CD, JP, Custos Rotulorum of Kingston representing His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen, ON, GCMG, CD, KSTJ, Governor-General; Honourable Delroy Chuck, QC, MP, Minister of Justice representing the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, ON, PC, MP, Prime Minister; Mr Mark Golding, MP, Leader of the Opposition; Councillor Duane Smith, JP representing His Worship the Mayor, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, CD, Mayor of Kingston; His Excellency Luis Del Solar Dorrego, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps; Dr Angela Brown-Burke, MP, Chairman of the People’s National Party; Mr Joseph Manley, Grandson of the Right Excellent Norman Washington Manley and Mr Granville Valentine, CD, JP, General Secretary of the National Workers Union.
The celebratory floral tribute also featured a dance performance by the Laud Dance Ministry entitled “Our Treasure”.
Norman Washington Manley was born in Roxborough, Manchester, on July 4, 1893. He was a brilliant scholar, athlete, lawyer and soldier in the First World War. He identified himself with the cause of the workers at the time of the 1938 Labour Riots and donated his time and advocacy to their plight. In September 1938, Manley founded the People’s National Party (PNP) and was elected its President annually until his retirement in 1969, 31 years later.