An attempt to exonerate National Hero Marcus Garvey for a crime committed in the United States is on the brink of failure.

An online petition on the White House’s ‘We the People’ website requires 100,000 signatures for United States President Barack Obama to consider exonerating Garvey from a conviction in 1923 that many believe was unjust. Fewer than 16,000 signatures were signed to the petition up to press time last night.

The Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which Garvey

founded, had up to six million members.

Youth advocate and Pan-Africanist Miquel ‘Steppa’ Williams told THE STAR that the method utilised to secure Garvey’s pardon may have posed an hindrance to the process.

“I don’t know who is doing this, but a lot of people who might want to participate probably don’t have access to the Internet,” Williams said. “I am in the Internet age, but I know a lot of people that aren’t,” said Williams, who last

year questioned Obama about the

legalisation of marijuana.

Williams also said that the online

petition wasn’t promoted properly.

“I don’t know who was behind the marketing of this, but, clearly, it wasn’t done well. I just hope that if this one doesn’t go through, it can be done another time,” Williams said.

Rastafarian Kenneth Mills, who works as a shoemaker on Church Street in downtown Kingston, said that he would have loved to sign the petition, but he does not know how to get online.

“I believe that dem fi clear him name, but I never tek part because ah don’t even know online much less fi deh pon it,” Mills said.

However, Anthony Stewart, who works in the same shoemaking shop, said that if Garvey broke laws in the

US, he shouldn’t be


“If him break dem laws, then him fi get lock up like anybody else,” Stewart said.

He also said that he didn’t know enough about the process to ignite his interest.

“I don’t know much about this thing either, so mi never put out much effort,” Stewart said.

The petition had 30 days to get the mentioned number of signatures for the White House to take up the issue, after which the White House would have 60 days to respond.

The petition was posted on August 29.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is among the many persons calling for Garvey’s name to be cleared.

“The time has come when he should be exonerated … and that time is now,” Holness said recently.


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