‘Hart’ of the city

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Jamaica on Saturday honoured one of it’s famous sons by renaming Southern Cross Boulevard in Freeport, Montego Bay, Tony Hart Boulevard in recognition of the work done by the late politician and philanthropist to develop the mixed-use community.

Delivering the keynote address at the renaming ceremony in Freeport, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that it was Hart’s vision for the development of the second city that paved the way for Montego Freeport Limited (MFL), among other businesses in the area.

“To name a road after a person is a universally accepted method of publicly honouring that person’s actions and accomplishments. Tony was a visionary. He was a philanthropist, a humanitarian described as a serial entrepreneur, but I would say a successful entrepreneur and a patriotic Jamaican. Tony was born in Kingston but you would never know that… he was a true Montegonian,” Holness shared.

Hart had pursued the right to reclaim submerged and semi-submerged Government land to develop businesses in Montego Bay. His objective was to develop the 350 acres of land now known as Montego Freeport.

Holness praised the late philanthropist for his entrepreneurial spirit.

“The other thing that I admired about Tony is that he [was] an entrepreneur so he believed in business… he believed in putting capital to work, and he believed in progress. We were lucky to have someone like Tony,” the prime minister said, adding, “We now live in Tony’s vision.”

Hart’s love for the people of Montego Bay did not stop there, Holness noted. The late businessman entered the political arena on a Jamaica Labour Party ticket as he attempted to further his development efforts.

“Tony was also civic-minded; he ran as a candidate for the Jamaica Labour Party. So, he wasn’t just talking about he believed in, he stepped onto the pitch and put himself forward because he… wants to put it to action. I admire him greatly for that and I pay my respects and regards to him,” Holness said.

In his address at the function, Montego Bay Mayor Leeroy Williams noted that honouring Hart’s work is the St James Municipal Corporation’s way of showing appreciation to a man who has done a lot for the second city.

“Tony Hart’s name has been synonymous with the development and infrastructural business landscape on Montego Bay, St James, and Jamaica. He was instrumental in the development of Montego Freeport, which today stands proudly as the hub of Jamaica’s outsourcing sector,” said Mayor Williams.

“It is common knowledge that the municipal corporation has renamed several roads in the city in honour of persons who have made significant contributions to the development of the city. The municipal corporation will ensure that the city’s history and the men and women who made contributions in its development [are] honoured.”

Speaking on behalf of Hart’s family, son Mark Hart stated that his father was proud and humbled when he learned that he would be honoured in this respect by the city of Montego Bay.

“He was still with us when the renaming of the road was first announced. The honour, initiated by the St James Parish Council by our former Mayor Homer Davis, really touched him,” said Hart.

“Apart from his family, Tony Hart loved the city of Montego Bay more than anything. He proudly told us of his grandfather Edmund and his great-grandfather Samuel that, together, led the municipality for over 50 years straight — and he was determined to live up to their legacy.”

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