Campaign Started on Social Media to Rename Emancipation Park in Honor of Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt Park? Some supporters think that’s a good idea. There is a campaign on Facebook to change the name of Kingston’s Emancipation Park to Usain Bolt Park. So far, there is only lukewarm support for the idea. The more than 4,500 shares of the page show that many of the resulting comments have been negative. While most of those sharing their views are very proud of Usain Bolt’s talent, achievements and contributions to the world of sport – and the way he has raised Jamaica’s profile throughout the world – they do not favor changing the name of Emancipation Park. Some have suggested erecting a statue to commemorate Bolt in Trelawney where he is from or developing an entirely new park to honor him. Some commentators have noted the importance of the Emancipation Act for Jamaica. The law, which was enacted on August 1, 1834, was designed to abolish the institution of slavery that had been practiced by European colonists in Jamaica since 1807. According to the law, all slave children under the age of six and any born later were made free. All others enslaved at the time attained their freedom on August 1, 1838. One writer on the campaign’s Facebook page said that Emancipation was more important than Independence for Jamaica and believed the park’s name should remain as it is.

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Stephanie Korney