Jamaicans want a Bolt statue

A petition has been launched on social media platform, Facebook, by fans of track star Usain Bolt who want the popular Emancipation Park, located in New Kingston, to be renamed in the athlete’s honour.

The petition suggests that the park should be called Usain Bolt Park and petitioners argue that the naked statues there should be removed and replaced with Bolt’s image.

Bolt’s victories at the ongoing World Championships in Beijing are definitely the most talked about globally. However, many Jamaicans did not support the suggestion of the name change. What was intended to draw attention to Bolt’s accomplishments, quickly became an online tug of war between fans of Bolt and other Jamaicans who felt that Emancipation Park is a national landmark and should remain as such.

One Facebook user, Chellito, was of the view that renaming the park in Bolt’s honour would be a blatant act of disrespect.

“Who the f… is Usain Bolt to rename our beloved Emancipation Park in honour of him? The word emancipation exemplified our history, where we were to where we are now, a symbol of pride and struggle. Usain has done well and kudos to him, but I can bet my bottom dollar that Usain himself would find this renaming phenomenon quite disrespectful to national pride,” he posted.

However, he was swiftly corrected by Wayne Boothe, who believes Jamaica is not yet emancipated and Bolt should be bestowed with the honour.

Downward spiral

“What does Emancipation Park symbolise? To highlight the freedom of black people in Jamaica. We are still trapped in a perpetual downward spiral characterised by brutality by agents of the state (the police), highest murder rate in the Caribbean, the highest levels of poverty, second only to Haiti, deplorable health-care system, very high unemployment rate, lack of ambulance service for every single citizen, trillions of dollars in debt to the World Bank and IMF, never ending long lines at the US Embassy because people are trying to escape this land of emancipation,” he posted.

The debate continued with some persons even suggesting that if Bolt deserved such an honour, so did other local athletes.

“My take is them never build a park for Asafa and Veronica nor the others. So why for Usain? That would be a waste of money because the roads want fixing and water wanted. Yes, we salute them, but build a road or something that cost less,” Manning posted.

The petition was shared 1,517 times since Bolt defeated drug cheat Justin Gatlin in the 200 metres at the World Championships in Beijing, China, yesterday.

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