Jamaicans protest ‘James Bond’ airport

Not all Jamaicans are pleased with the naming of the island’s third international airport.

One week after Prime Minister Bruce Golding spoke at a lavish ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the Ian Fleming International Airport in Boscobel, St. Mary, a signpost to the entrance was defaced with black oil-paint.

Maintenance workers were first to discover the protest painting when they arrived at the location which was named for British author Ian Fleming. It was reported that some of the residents of the parish were less than enthusiastic about the name selected for the island’s landmark airport. Some claimed the process to decide the name was flawed and did not include a diverse group of residents from the area.

“I am not in support of such action,” Mayor Richard Creary said. “I know persons are upset with the way the name (Ian Fleming) was chosen, but defacing the sign is not the answer. There are better ways of getting the message across.”

The mayor of Port Maria said the defacement was “an act of disrespect, not just to the Fleming family, but to the people of the community and parish.”

“Two wrongs don’t make a right — hence I do not support such action. Persons in St. Mary have a better way of expressing themselves,” Mayor Creary explained.

He added that while Fleming might not have played a direct role in the development of the area, his work had brought much attention due to his creation of the 007, James Bond character in his books and films. He said those contributions added to the prominence of the parish and should be appreciated.

Fleming reportedly lived in the Oracabessa region of St. Mary when he penned the British patriotic, spy series. Since that time an Ian Fleming Foundation has been established on the island with relatives lobbying for this project. Lucy Fleming, a niece of the famous author heads the foundation and was one of the principals to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new gateway.

Reportedly, some residents had proposed the names of reggae icon Bob Marley, Olympic, speed champion Usain Bolt and actor/comedian Oliver Samuels among others for the airstrip, which will accommodate private jets.

The blemished sign was to be taken down, refurbished and replaced to the same site.

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