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» BREAKING NEWS, Featured » ONE WEEK TO GO, AND THE PETITION TO MAKE LOUISE BENNETT A NATIONAL ICON STILL WOEFULLY LACKING IN SIGNATURES!

ONE WEEK TO GO, AND THE PETITION TO MAKE LOUISE BENNETT A NATIONAL ICON STILL WOEFULLY LACKING IN SIGNATURES!

By Richard Johnson
Observer senior reporter—

 

WITH a week to go before the petition expires urging the Government to make folklorist Louise Bennett Coverley an “official national icon”, the signatures are only six per cent of its target.

Launched by social commentator Kevin O’Brien Chang on Jamaica House’s website on May 12, the signatures to date are 980 of its 15,000 target. The petition closes on September 7.

Miss Lou

Miss Lou

According to the petition, given her contribution to Jamaican culture, Bennett Coverley, best known as Miss Lou, should be recognized as a Cultural Icon.

“…(She) had an unsurpassed impact on Jamaica culture. She championed our folk customs for over 50 years as broadcaster, actress, television personality, and stage performer, and is the country’s most popular poet. We are therefore proposing that a new category of national honors be created for Miss Lou, and that she should be made our first official national icon. (Conceivably, other widely acclaimed individuals like Bob Marley and Usain Bolt could be added in future years.) We are also proposing that a life-size statue of Miss Lou be erected at the Emancipation Park entrance,” states the blurb on the website.

Born in Kingston on September 7, 1919, Miss Lou grew up to become the leading proponent in preserving the practice of presenting poetry, folk songs and stories in patois — Jamaica’s native tongue.

Her work took on mass appeal through her presence in media — initially in print and later the electronic media to radio and then famously on television where she hosted Ring Ding, a weekly talent expose on the now- defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation.

The 86-year-old died on July 27, 2006 at the Scarborough Grace Hospital in Canada where she lived the last decade of her life. She is interred in the cultural icons section of the country’s National Heroes’ Park in Kingston.

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