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House approves bill to absolve heroes from criminal charges

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The House of Representatives passed a Bill today to absolve Jamaica's national heroes and their supporters from criminal charges made against them by colonial governments.

The Bill, which is aimed at absolving certain National Heroes, their supporters, sympathisers and participants in their activities, was passed with full support from both sides of the House.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, Olivia Grange, who brought the measure to Gordon House, said that by supporting and passing the Bill, her colleagues had fulfilled one of their historical missions.

“We the children of the ancestors have by this act expressed complicity with them in their heroic stance against oppression and enslavement,” Grange closed the debate.

The Bill aims to absolve National Heroes Samuel Sharpe, George William Gordon, Paul Bogle, Marcus Mosiah Garvey and their supporters, sympathisers and participants by association, and other freedom fighters, from criminal liability arising from participation in the 1760 Tacky or St Mary Rebellion, the 1831- 1832 Christmas Rebellion, the 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion and the 1929 campaign of Garvey's People's Political Party.

However, Leader of Opposition Business, Phillip Paulwell, was not satisfied that the Bill went far enough.

He felt that it should have covered a wider area of colonial action against Jamaicans who actively opposed slavery and post-emancipation colonialism.

Balford Henry

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