One of her proudest accomplishments to date — that is how Davina Bennett describes Middle Street in Mitchell Town, Clarendon, being renamed in her honour. Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie made this announcement in 2017 — to the delight of others in the community and the country — after the 2017 Miss Universe Jamaica went on to become the second runner-up at the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas, United States, that year.
The model, who has become an Afrocentric icon, walk and etiquette coach, entrepreneur, fashion designer and painter following her success in the competition, expressed sincere gratitude for the tribute. She holds Michelle Town, in particular, Middle Street, dear to her heart because it is the road where her grandparents and mother grew up. “We have a family home on that very road, so it is definitely a part of my roots,” she shared.
Middle Street is home to some of Bennett’s fondest memories. The former beauty queen said she remembers riding up and down that street as one of the happiest times of her life. “There were simple pleasures, like catching water at the well with my cousins and family that lived at the family home, and showering outside,” she recounted. The Chambers’ family reunion is also something she still looks forward to. And with both her maternal grandparents buried in that yard, the house stands as a significant landmark in the family’s history.
Considering the importance and the close familial bond, Bennett dedicates this distinction to her mother. “I think this is more of a gift to my mom, her family and my grandparents, because they all grew up on that street. She definitely has more fond memories than I do.”
This name change, however, has been three years in the making, with no plans made for an official unveiling. “The unveiling hasn’t happened yet, unfortunately,” Bennett said. Steps were taken to make the transition. Currently, a Davina Bennett Drive sign is proudly perched behind the existing Mitchell Street sign. “They are supposed to remove the name in front and make it official,” she said.
When Flair contacted the office of Clarendon’s Mayor, Winston Maragh, we were told that the official unveiling has been put on pause due to the damage caused by the recent torrential rainfall. The road, it was revealed, would have to be rehabilitated first before any signage can be changed.
Despite no date being specified, Bennett remains excited and hopeful about this honour, noting that she is forever grateful for the continued recognition, respect and support she receives from her home town and the wider community.