Monday, July 17, 2017

Culture: Jamaica and Scotland, tied by a cross

Why is it that the iconic Jamaican flag is the only national flag apart from that of Scotland that includes the saltire or St Andrew’s Cross? The answer to that question is a fascinating story that has provided the inspiration for a new project called Flag Up Scotland Jamaica

As the time of independence in 1962 approached, an initial design for the flag with three horizontal stripes in green, black and gold was deemed unsatisfactory. Rev William McGhie, a Presbyterian missionary from Scotland had become a friend of the Prime Minister Alexander Bustamante and it was after a conversation with him about the flag that suggested that he drew his design based on the Scottish flag. This design was further developed and approved. The Jamaican flag has become one of the best known in the world

. Here is more detail about the circumstances of the design of the flag from William McGhie’s son John... “ I can vouch for the validity of the origin of the Jamaican Flag. My father Rev William R.F. McGhie, was a Church of Scotland minister who in 1957 went out to Jamaica to work as a missionary. As the date of independence was fast approaching there was an urgent need for a new design for the national flag as the current suggested design was too similar to that of Tanganyika (now Tanzania.) This prompted my father to draw out the Scottish saltire and replace the blue and white with the Jamaican colours of green, black and gold. He passed this design over to Sir Alexander Bustamante, explaining that as a Christian country he felt it was important there should be a cross in the design.

Sir Alexander took the design to the appropriate committee and won their approval to have this design adopted as the national flag of Jamaica. ” 2014 wasWilliam McGhie’s centenary. He was born at 539 Edinburgh Road Camlachie in Glasgow on November 23rd 1914. He was brought up in Shettleston and Tollcross and attended Eastbank Academy.

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