Jamaica to honour Harry Belafonte by naming road after him Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness has announced that a section of the North Coast Highway in St Ann will be named in honour of Harry Belafonte who died Tuesday in New York at age 96.

Holness made the announcement on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, as the House of Representatives paid tribute to the late singer, actor and activist. He shared that the Cabinet had taken the decision before Belafonte died.

“The Government of Jamaica considered how we should recognise this icon and we concluded that we would name a highway in his honour.

“We approved the naming of a section of the North Coast Highway from Priory to Salem in St Ann in honour of Harry Belafonte…that segment will be renamed the Harry Belafonte Highway,” Holness said.

He noted that the particular section of the highway was chosen as it passes through St Ann in close proximity to the place where Belafonte spent some of his boyhood years.

Earlier, Minister of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange, who also paid tribute to Belafonte, noted that the singer, who was born in the United States in 1927, was brought to Jamaica along with his younger brother in 1936 by their Jamaica-born mother Melvine.

Grange noted that Melvine was born in the small rural district of Aboukir in St Ann. Belafonte and his brother rejoined her in New York in 1940.

Meanwhile, Holness told the House that the naming of the highway in Belafonte’s honour will be put on hold until a final decision is made on upgrading highway. He cited that the planned upgrade could result in a realignment of the road.

And the prime minister also announced that a state-of-the-art performing arts centre will be built in St James and named in honour of Belafonte. Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett confirmed that the lands have already been secured for the building.

Opposition Leader Mark Golding and Leader of Government Business in the House, Edmund Bartlett also paid tribute to Belafonte.