He­roes’ records tes­tify of their sac­ri­fice

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

THE EDI­TOR, Sir:

THE ILL-CON­CEIVED idea that the records of na­tional he­roes Sam Sharpe, Paul Bogle, Ge­orge Wil­liam Gor­don, and Mar­cus Gar­vey, as well as Chief Tacky, need to be expunged of any crim­i­nal wrong­do­ing is short-sighted and fraught with delu­sion.

Be­fore get­ting into other de­tails, let me first of all say that un­der the 1988 act to ex­punge any crim­i­nal record, none of them will legally qual­ify for such an ac­tion. It would take the pass­ing of an­other law to en­sure that this is a legally done prece­dent.

How­ever, my main rea­son for op­pos­ing any such move is that we have com­pre­hen­sively re­pu­di­ated the ac­tions of the colo­nial em­pire by el­e­vat­ing them to the sta­tus of na­tional hero or icon.

To seek to ex­punge their records would be to try to re­write his­tory. It is a fool’s er­rand to em­bark on such a quest. It is the study of the ac­tions and the price they paid at the hands of the colo­nial em­pire that leaves me in awe of their will­ing­ness to stand and be counted, even in the face of trial, con­vic­tion, even cer­tain death, know­ing that their ac­tions would bring change for those of us who would come af­ter them.

The ex­er­cise to ex­punge our he­roes’ records, or seek par­dons, would in­vari­ably have to in­clude all the he­roes and heroines that fell with them and fine-comb through the ju­di­cial records of colo­nial Ja­maica to do like­wise to all de­serv­ing of such treat­ment.

Our na­tional he­roes and icons took the fall so we could rise up as a na­tion! Leave their legacy in place. COLIN MCDON­ALD cromp­ton_tg@hot­mail.com

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