I write to you out of great concern for the now established trend of disregard for the protocols surrounding our national symbols, particularly the flag.
While there is general need for nationwide reinforcement of the civics surrounding our national symbols and emblems, there is absolutely no excuse for misrepresentation, misuse and defacing of such symbols and emblems by public offices and officials.
Against the background of the flag fiasco at the swearing-in ceremony of the Mayor of Montego Bay, we now have the case of the Ministry of Education printing a bookmarker to be distributed to school children in honour of Jamaica 50 with a picture of the Minister of Education superimposed on the Flag.
Aside from the wasted resources in recalling and disposing of the offensive bookmarkers and the additional cost to be incurred in reprinting them, the Ministry of Education, has a fundamental duty to reinforce civic protocol as it relates to the use of our national symbols.
I would also like to bring to your attention a billboard that was erected in the constituency of South St. Catherine in honour of Jamaica 50 where once again an unrelated colour was imposed on a national symbol.
As leaders of the country we have a duty to protect and preserve the symbols that define our nationhood. We must not allow our symbols to be defiled. We must not allow the protocols that surround the use and display of those symbols to be disregarded with impunity, we must not allow them to be varied and changed conveniently, we must not allow other symbols to be infused in them – no matter how subtle the infusion.
Perchance these aforementioned breaches are signals of political thinking, collectively or individually within the government, that there should be changes to the protocol and/or the physical state of our national symbols and colours.
If that be the case, your government must formally consult the people and hold public discussions on the proposed changes. If it is not so then we expect to hear the strongest condemnation from our Prime Minister. However, the silence, inaction and lack of condemnation of this now established trend of interfering with the national symbols and disregarding the protocol surrounding them, suggests acceptance, and even instrumentality by the government. With nothing to suggest otherwise, it is hard to perish the thought.
I urge you, Prime Minister to make a definitive statement on the protection and preservation of our national symbols, particularly our flag and its colours. I will be writing to the Governor General directly to advise him of my concerns.
Leader of the Opposition