SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland, June 7, 2021 - On Wednesday the third of June, former Prime Minister P. J. Patterson, was invited by the Manning’s School Restoration Committee to launch a fundraising drive, aimed at collecting one hundred million dollars to restore the historic Thomas Manning Building at the much-celebrated Manning’s School in Savanna-la-mar.
This iconic Georgian structure is one of seven listed by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), and appears to be the victim of a massive termite assault that threatens to demolish the historic monument if it is not immediately dealt with.
Today, the wooden structure rebuilt in 1911 on the original site of the school, is in need of repairs if it is to be saved as one of the few remaining historic structures of its kind, and a prime example of colonial architecture.
Thomas Manning a slave owner of Burnt Savannah in Westmoreland who by his Will of 1710 left certain real and personal property which were to be appropriated to the use and encouragement of a "tutor or tutors and the keeping of a free school, in the parish of Westmoreland... to instruct and educate the youth"
The school began in July 1738, some twenty eight years after Thomas Manning’s death, when the Jamaica Assembly passed an Act which allowed for the Free School for poor whites to be formally established
It was established under the supervision of a Board called the Trustees of Manning's Free School, and catered to white children alone. Coloureds were not considered equal enough to provide schools for them, while Black Slaves were not considered at all.
Now this is where the proverbial ‘tire meets the road’ and how we observe the moral arc of history. As Martin Luther King says: ‘the moral arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.
There is a constituency of Manning's past students who are vigorously advocating a change of name for the school, as they feel the school should no longer be named after Manning, a slave owner.
But why is there no one asking the same questions about the infamous Cecil Rhodes who marched into Africa with the bible in one hand and the gun in another and killed millions of Africans, as we are now asking about Thomas Manning?
Anyone who criticizes Thomas Manning but remains silent about the murderous Cecil Rhodes is clearly an HYPOCRITE. Rhodes Gift to Oxford University was nothing more than Blood Diamonds' resources. More Black people died in Cecil Rhodes" gold and diamond mines than those on Thomas Manning's estate in Burnt Savannah, Westmoreland.
It is through Cecil Rhodes’ “Blood Diamonds” that we have thrown up such erudite and deserving scholarship recipients such as the Rev. Mr. Ronnie Thwaites; Justice Minister Delroy Chuck; Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke; Retired professor Trevor Monroe, the Enfant Terrible of the tumultuous Michael “Joshua" Manley administration.
It is most sickening to see this ‘bete noire’ of our society in the 1970s using his Platform, the National Integrity Action, N.I.A, funded by the imperialist American Government for over eight years, to the tune of more than $US8 million, as he attempts to become a voice of moral conscience in our society.
Here is a Rhodes Scholar who, as the Leader of The Workers Party of Jamaica, forced thousands of hard-working Jamaicans to flee Jamaica as he and his collaborators tried to use Michael Manley' s regime to Cubanize Jamaica.
On the UWI 's Mona Campus, he is alleged to have used his senior rank in the Department of Government to block or deny any foreign educated Pan Africanist oriented scholar from being appointed to a job.
Let us ask him about his role in the Appointment of the British born Oxonian, John Rapley and the Jamaican Brian Meeks' appointments over people such as the Cornwallian Horace "Grabba Chief" Campbrll and this particular writer in the mid 1980s.
I left our Founding Father Norman Washington Manley for Last. He studied an entire year for the Rhodes Scholarship. His biographer, Arnold "Scree" Bertram in his most magisterial study, skipped over this supreme case of irony, but was withering in his attack on our other National Hero, the revolutionary warrior, Sir Alexander Bustamante, for allegedly cutting a deal with the Governor Sir Allan Richards to be released from his Up Park Camp prison, so that he could form the Jamaica Labour Party.
Both Arnold Bertram on Norman Norman Manley and professor emeritus Rupert Lewis in his magnum opus on the revolutionary Walter Walter Rodney, failed to highlight or make a comparison with Russia’s, Vladimir I. Lenin, the global revolutionary.
Lenin made a Deal with the German Kaiser Wilhelm 11 during WW1, for him to travel the entire German Territory from Exile in Zurich in a Sealed Train. This is so that he could return to Revolutionary Russia to take up the Leadership of the Bolsheviks' party and army, against the counterrevolutionary forces known as the Mensheviks.
One of the Conditions of this Sealed Train Agreement was that if the Bolsheviks became victorious,which they did, he would pull Russia out of WW1 on the side of the West so that Germany would be able to move its forces elsewhere.
This led to the Treaty of Brest Litovsk and led to Lenin being shot by an assassin who saw him as a German Spy. This attempted assassination sped up his early death. (More Anon). Most students of Marxism Leninism in Jamaica do not know this important piece of information.
If it were not Cecil Rhodes’ blood money, there might not have been the Oxonian Norman Washington Manley, Trevor Munroe, Ronnie Thwaites, Maurice Tenn, N.N. Netherdole and Nigel Clarke. et al.
It is difficult on my part to embrace Norman Manley as a Founding Father, much less a revolutionary, knowing that he knew that Cecil Rhodes took a country in the sub-continent of Southern Africa as his own and named it Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
My in depth study of the failed West Indian Federation provides more evidence that we cannot see N.W. Manley as a genuine Nationalist much less a Revolutionary. He was a Reluctant Nationalist, and as his political mentee Mr P.J.Patterson likes to say, "I am an Unrepentant Regionalist."
He and also P.J. Patterson and the rest of N.W.Manley's Inner Circle were more committed to a West Indies Federation rather than our autonomous Independence. The obsession with this British Colonial Office's Concept may have delayed our Indepence by at least 10 years.
Our former [Mannings High School] Head Girl, now attorney General, Marlene Malahoo Forte was so correct when in an Interview on Nationwide Radio, pointed out that out of Evil can come good.
We see this with our “Rhodes Scholarship'' recipients as well as the thousands of Mannings graduates whose erudition and public service have had a tremendous impact on Jamaica.
These include persons like the Gilroy McCullochs, Victor Lowes, Leroy Bookals, Marlene Malahoo Forts, Norma Greigs, Barbara Stewarts, Geta Wrights, Ruth Jean and Jimmy Hansons, Eddie Munro's, Lloyd Greigs, Kenrick, Hyacinth and Rovan Lockes, Trevor Pattersons, Pamela Taylors, Pamela Isaac's, Maxine Hylyons, Anton Tomlinsons, the elitist Class of 85, Victor, Copeland, Trevor and Dalton Brooks, Cosmo Parkinsons, Lloyd and Trevor Pike Locke, the Ramcharams, Earle(Gongs) Mullings, Alfred Buchannans, Dionne Pryces, Claudette Whyte, Howard (Micky) Tingling, Neil Hamaty, Bugs and Karl Wallace, Kingsley Chambers and Marjorie Streets, Conrad Daleys, Kingsley Kunters ,Yvonne Brissets, Kenneth Vanhornes, Larry Hastings, Roydel Brisco Brissett and his brother the Anglician Preacher, in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Robert Hendriks, Roydel Carrol , Justice James Kerr, Donald Forester, Norma and Joan Grants, Horace Levys; Dennis Ennis, Jeanne ,Pat, Peggy and Cosmond Vaughn, Kenty Little, Peter Chung and the rest of Lizett Chung children,Trevor Thelwell, Vinette Steer, Sheila Myrie, Monica and Lloyd McGregor, Chester Watson, Patrick Atkinson, Audrey Grant, The 1957 Headley Cup winners, Jeaine Chambers, and the rest of her Sixth Formers, Patrick Omess, Patrick Lowrie, and Andrew Collins et al.
It is through Thomas Manning's gift we have been able to get the best educational foundations which put us Heads and Shoulders over every other high school student, locally ,regionally , and globally.
We having the Matriculants at UWI over the past five years, is what is expected of our Brightest and Best.
Ah Westmoreland we come from and ah Manning's we go a school !