Sat | Oct 31, 2020

Miss Lou most fitting to be national hero, says Speid

Published:Wednesday | October 23, 2019 | 12:00 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer
Miss Lou

Western Bureau:

Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) President Owen Speid is joining the call for cultural icon Louise Bennett-Coverley, affectionately called Miss Lou, to be declared a national hero.

Delivering the main address at a Heroes Day celebration at the Orange Bay Preparatory and Kindergarten School in Hanover on Monday, Speid urged the Government to take a fresh look at the people whose contributions to nation-building warranted the nation’s highest honour. He said Bennett-Coverley’s body of work in the field of culture merited elevation.

“I want to bring into sharp focus Miss Lou, because I have seen where they have been naming places and naming this and that after other people who have contributed nothing or not significantly. I would like to charge the Government of Jamaica to make Louise Bennett-Coverley Jamaica’s next national hero,” Speid said.

According deserving stalwarts like Miss Lou the Order of National Hero, Speid said, would inspire other Jamaicans to take their contribution to nation-building more seriously.

Emphasising that heritage was important to the country, the JTA president said that Jamaicans should recognise the impact of local culture on the world.

“We need to look at our heritage and celebrate and salute the forefathers, the heroes of the past. They were controversial, they lit the fire, and it is out of that that we are able to celebrate our freedom,” he added.

Speaking with The Gleaner afterwards, Speid said he was aware of other names being suggested for similar national recognition, but maintained that none could stand up to the scrutiny and test of time like Bennett-Coverley.

“All the other names I have heard mentioned have some negative [thing] connected to them, but that is not the case with Miss Lou,” he said.