Regional

Keeping Manley's legacy alive at ROXBOROUGH

BY TONI MCLEAN
Observer writer

Monday, July 17, 2017

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Norman Manley's legacy of hard work and determination is certainly being carried on by the staff at Roxborough in Manchester — the birthplace of the National Hero.

While many make the trip to take in the scenery and view the museum, it is Alton Lawrence, caretaker, who ensures that the property looks its best at all times.

Down the years Roxborough has been a premier destination for groups from schools, churches and social organisations, with an interest in experiencing the tranquility of Manley's birthplace.

Lawrence, who has filled the role of caretaker at the heritage site for over 10 years, says he feels proud in ensuring that the place is well groomed and ready for visitors.

“It is an honour to know that I work at a heritage site, where one of our heroes was born,” Lawrence told Jamaica Observer Central.

His tasks include cutting the grass, raking the yard, and watering plants.

Lawrence lives in the caretaker's cottage on the grounds, just metres away from the remains of the original house — now converted into a museum — where “Daddy Manley” was born.

On July 4, visitors travelled from all over the island to mark the 124th anniversary of Manley's birth. But for Lawrence it was business as usual.

“It was the usual routine; I keep the place maintained right throughout, so it isn't much different preparing for events,” Lawrence said.

David Ricketts, site manager of Roxborough for over five years and Lawrence's supervisor, said Roxborough is always ready for visits and events.

“The site has a standard and it is important we maintain it,” he said.

“Events like this celebration will never catch us off guard because we are always prepared,” he added.

Ricketts praised Lawrence's dedication to the job in bad and good times.

“Based on the connection he has with the site, it makes it much easier for him to perform and keep it up to standard,” Ricketts said.

According to Ricketts, there is a spirit that flows from Manley's legacy which gives them the drive to do their part in their own way.

“We are encouraged by this legacy to go on and do much better,” Ricketts said.

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