When Nigel Clarke (Jamaica’s finance minister) addressed parliament yesterday and announced a raft of new bank notes I thought from the display it must be April Fools.
The names of the individuals on these notes are roughly the same from previous incarnations with the exceptions of former prime minister Edward Seaga being added and the “return” of Paul Bogle.
The late Seaga is an interesting figure given that since his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) returned to running the government in 2016, under current PM Andrew Holness, his name has been officially adorned on a number of landmarks from a school, a highway, a building, I’ve lost count.
But the political class of both the JLP and the current opposition People’s National Party have done the island a disservice with its constant naming of landmarks after their colleagues and ignoring those Jamaicans away from politics whose contribution was for more significant and positive.
Given that yesterday was International Women’s Day, both Clarke and Holness missed a golden chance of elevating certain Jamaica women’s name to this lofty lifetime position. Given that 10 of the 11 names on the notes are now men, it’s not a good look. Plus you got to have more more African-Jamaicans for obvious reasons.
My own suggestions would be cultural giants Louise Bennett-Coverley and Olive Lewin.
Maybe it is time for the naming of certain lifetime landmarks be taken out of the politicians’ hand and put to a public discussion and poll.
Read: Minister Clarke Announces Newly Designed Banknotes