“Without a first class education, there can be no economic development.” These were the closing words of main discussant, Author, Historian and Former Minister of Government, Mr. Arnold Bertram at the JCDC 50th Anniversary Cultural Dialogue held in Mandeville on Thursday, July 4, culminating the celebrations of the 120th birthday anniversary of national hero the Rt. Excellent Norman Washington Manley. Held at the Golf View Hotel and organized by JCDC in partnership with the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, the dialogue explored the topic “Drumblair and the growth of the National Movement”.
Before discussing ‘Drumblair’ and its contribution to the nation’s growth, Mr. Bertram began his address by shedding light on the hero’s background and the struggles he faced before acquiring a first class education. According to Bertram, Manley attended several boarding schools including the now St. Jago High School and Jamaica College where he won the Rhode Island scholarship. He moved on to Oxford University and pursued higher education at an exceptional level. After years of study, the Rt. Excellent Norman Washington Manley returned to Jamaica in 1923 with his wife Edna, where Drumblair became apart of their lives. On the veranda of this two-storey house, new ideas and proposals were unearthed and some materialized as beneficial institutions to the life of Jamaica as we know it.
The work of Norman Manley and his colleagues from the veranda of Drumblair onwards, aided in the formation of Jamaica’s government, the development of a first rate educational system and the growth of the mining, manufacturing and agriculture industries.
Mr. Bertram noted the stark difference between the living conditions, economic stability and the education system in that era compared to present day and noted that the accomplishments unearthed from Drumblair will go in vain if measures are not put in place to improve the level and quality of education in Jamaica.
The Cultural Dialogue continues throughout the year, as JCDC celebrates its 50th Anniversary. The second of which is scheduled for Saturday, August 17, 2013, to celebrate the life and accomplishments of the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Gravey.