Wednesday 19 June, 2019

‘Disrespectful!’ UWI Guild president slams defacing of Garvey bust

Photo of defaced Marcus Garvey bust circulating on social media.

Photo of defaced Marcus Garvey bust circulating on social media.

Oshane Grant, the president of the Guild of Students at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, has slammed the vandalism of the Marcus Garvey bust at the university, declaring it as “rude” and “disrespectful”.  

On Tuesday night, images surfaced online of the bust splattered with yellow paint and bird feathers, with a sign on a cardboard stating “Take down this fake statue”.

Grant expressed outrage over the “disrespectful” act which he likened to the “applying of salt into the wound” of the student body, which he said worked very hard on getting the bust erected on campus.

“Like everybody else we find it to be very rude; it’s very disrespectful!” Grant told Loop Jamaica on Wednesday morning.

According to Grant, the UWI student guild under the previous president lobbied hard to have the bust of Garvey, Jamaica’s first National Hero, erected at the school because “there were no (statues of) black figures at the university.”

A bust of Garvey was erected in May of this year, but sculptor Raymond Watson's representation of Garvey received widespread negative feedback including from members of the Rastafarian community. The controversial bust was replaced with a new one in August.

Grant said, while the new bust was “not the best”, the UWI student population generally accepted it and showed no signs of resentment towards the representation.

Against that background, he said he had no idea why someone would deface the bust.

“I don’t know what message the (perpetrator) hoped to send. I am still trying to understand the message behind putting feathers on the bust," Grant said, adding "If it was a student, that person should be punished…if it was someone from outside the institution, that person should face the law.” 

Many social media users have expressed outrage over the vandalism especially in light of the fact that the country celebrated National Heroes Day on Monday.

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