250 Young People for Flames of Freedom Torch Run

Story Highlights

  • More than 250 young people from churches and youth organisations in St. James are set to participate in the 100-kilometre Flames of Freedom Torch Run on December 27.
  • The annual event is part of activities to commemorate the anniversary of the 1831 Christmas Rebellion led by National Hero, the Right Excellent Samuel Sharpe.
  • Addressing a recent Think Tank at the JIS’ Montego Bay Regional Office, Chairman of the South St. James Social and Economic Development Trust, Calvin G. Brown, said that all is in place for the torch run, which is in its 15th year.

More than 250 young people from churches and youth organisations in St. James are set to participate in the 100-kilometre Flames of Freedom Torch Run on December 27.

The annual event is part of activities to commemorate the anniversary of the 1831 Christmas Rebellion led by National Hero, the Right Excellent Samuel Sharpe.

Addressing a recent Think Tank at the JIS’ Montego Bay Regional Office, Chairman of the South St. James Social and Economic Development Trust, Calvin G. Brown, said that all is in place for the torch run, which is in its 15th year.

He informed that the 10-hour run will start at 10:00 a.m. at the Croydon Estate in Catadupa, which is the birthplace of Sam Sharpe.

The torch will arrive at the historic Sam Sharpe Square at about 3:00 p.m., where it will be received by the Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris, then on to Tulloch Castle in Kensington, where a civic ceremony and concert will be held.

“The torch run takes us through a number of free villages, which were set up subsequent to the abolition of slavery in 1834,” Mr. Brown informed.

The ceremony, set to begin at 8:00 p.m., will feature talent unearthed from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) Big Stage earlier this year, and  performances of traditional folk forms including Gerreh. The evening will also feature the Fab 5 band in concert.

The function will be highlighted by the symbolic lighting of the trash house at midnight.

It is documented that the burning of a trash house of the Tulloch Castle Estate and the subsequent burning of Kensington Great House signalled the start of the rebellion.

The flames and smoke were visible for miles, and sparked responses from slaves across 40 plantations in St. James, Trelawny, Hanover, Westmoreland and St. Elizabeth.

The rebellion involved some 50,000 slaves throughout the island, and the inquisition that followed resulted in the execution of approximately 500 slaves, including Sam Sharpe.

The 1831 rebellion helped to influence the abolition of slavery and the push for full emancipation, which came on August 1, 1838.

Mr. Brown said the annual staging of Flames of Freedom aims to increase public awareness about the role of Sam Sharpe in orchestrating the events that led to the end of slavery.

The torch run involves collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister, the Social Development Commission (SDC) and the JCDC, with sponsorship from the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education Fund (CHASE).

 

JIS Social