A statue project dedicated to the linchpin of the retired sprint, now Dancehall music producer Usain Bolt, set to be erected in the town of Miramar, Florida, is stirring in controversy.
According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the dissatisfaction stems from the cost of the monument, which is set at US $ 250,000 (J $ 38 million).
“The runner’s statue will end up costing a lot more than Olympic gold: Miramar’s taxpayer bill will be a quarter of a million dollars. While some residents are reluctant to spend $ 250,000, even calling the cost “ridiculous,” the city says it’s worth the price of a sculpture of the super-fast athlete, “Sentinel reported.
According to the Sentinel, the statue is seen as “a nod to diversity” in South Florida by some officials.
“Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans have made the tri-county area their home, and Miramar also has a growing number of families linked to Jamaica,” he noted.
He said the invoice for the statue will be paid in four installments to Jamaican-born artist Basil Watson who was commissioned to create it.
However, while Jamaican descendants like Alexandra Davis, a Commissioner for the City of Miramar praise the effort, her counterpart Winston Barnes has said that while Bolt is “a phenomenon,” he thinks paying $ 250,000 for the statue is ” ridiculous “and” a waste of taxpayer money, “according to the Sentinel.
“Miramar is not like Moscow, which has its own statue of Usain. Miramar does not attract international tourists, ”Barnes reportedly said.
“Getting attached to monuments or icons won’t make us a 24/7 city… We’re not a tourist city, come on. The money could be better spent on “the larger community” of residents of Miramar. I don’t think we have the luxury of trying to create iconic monuments just to the fancy of the elect, ”he continued.
However, Davis, batting for the monument, said she hoped the statue of the Trelawny native would help attract “more international and world-class sporting events to the region.”
“We wanted to make sure we had a world-class Olympian as part of the art in public places,” said Davis.
The statue of Watchmaking producer is to be erected at the Ansin Sports Complex at 10801 Miramar Blvd.
The Sentinel also quoted Doreen Lovell, Jamaican resident of Miramar, as saying that: “A statue of Bolt alone shows that ‘minorities can rise above … and shows that we can achieve and that the statue helps” to build the image of the city ”and would be to“ show that we are diversified ”.
Chris Koval, a disapproving former candidate for the city commission, also reportedly said city leaders “could have had a more comprehensive demonstration.”
Rather than all the money going to one person, Koval said he would rather see Native American and Black athletes who are both originally from the United States and served as an inspiration to Bolt, such as Jim Thorpe, Carl Lewis, Florence Griffith Joyner and Edwin Moses, as part of a Larger Laureates Garden, ”Koval said, according to The Sentinel report.
“For the money they spend [it could have been smaller statues of] the greatest Olympians of all time, who turned out to be Americans “while acknowledging that Bolt is” the cream of the crop, “he said.
“It would have been a more diverse display and no one would have said ‘boo’,” he said.
Bolt, who retired from athletics in 2017, still holds the world record in the 100m and 200m. Now a music producer, he recently released a debut album with his friend and manager NJ titled Yutes Country, and produced several Dancehall riddims including Watchmaking (2021), Immortal (2020), and Olympe Rose (2019).