The current occupants of the boyhood home of National Hero Marcus Garvey say they will not leave the property until the government holds negotiations with them and an agreement for resettlement can be arrived at.
On Friday, at the 131st anniversary of Garvey's birth, Culture Minister Babsy Grange, announced that the Government will be taking possession of the property. However, one of the occupants, Colleen Johnson, says Miss Grange's announcement was premature as there has been no negotiation regarding compensation.
Ms Johnson notes that there are two houses on the property with seven occupants. She says during an informal conversation the family was offered a three-bedroom house for resettlement. Ms Johnson says that is unacceptable.
Miss Grange has said the Commissioner of Lands has been given ministerial direction to take possession of the property. She said this development clears the way for the establishment of the proposed living history museum in honour of the National Hero.
And the attorney for the occupants of Marcus Garvey's boyhood home, Linton Gordon, says he will be writing to the authorities today for clarification of the announcement by Miss Grange. He says he will make it clear that the occupants are prepared to accept two houses as settlement. Mr. Gordon notes that the land has been valued at 3.2 million dollars. However, he says that would not be enough to purchase a home. He says his clients would be homeless if the authorities go ahead with the acquisition without settling the relocation issue:
In the meantime, Research Officer at Liberty Hall, Dr. Shani Roper, has explained that the site is significant for teaching the values of Marcus Garvey and sharing his story with tourists.