JIS News

First form students of Manchester High School got an opportunity last week to participate in a special visit to the historic maroon village of Accompong in St. Elizabeth.
The activity was organised by the Mandeville Regional Office of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), the Accompong Maroon Council and the English Department of the school.
Maroon Colonel, Sidney Peddie, who welcomed the students, stressed that as Jamaicans it was always important to remember the contribution made by our fore parents.
“It was in 1738 that the maroons of St. Elizabeth, led by Cudjo, signed a peace treaty with the then Governor of the day, which guaranteed them… significant land holdings as well as personal freedom,” he said.
Colonel Peddie pointed out that included in that document were the founding principles that, even today, govern the day-to-day activities of the people of Accompong.
He explained that Accompong had much to share with the wider Jamaican society. “For example, even the Commissioner of Police came here and spoke to us as he wanted to find out how it is that we live the way we do.our records indicate that to date, we have had only one case of reported murder in our community,” he said.
Colonel Peddie said that in recent times, several improvements had taken place in the maroon village as a result of the partnership that existed with the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo.) and the HEART Trust/NTA.
“At the moment we have a skills training centre which is open to persons from adjacent districts. Some of the modules taught include plumbing, welding and electrical installation,” he said.
Following the Colonel’s presentation and welcome, students were treated to a special video presentation on the 2004 Accompong celebrations, which was produced by the JIS. Tours were also conducted to various historic sites in and around the village.
English Literature Teacher at the school, Julianne Sharpe told JIS News that the visit was really enlightening.
“I was totally excited at coming here because we are studying the novel ‘The young warriors’, and my students and I were thrilled to come and experience Accompong for ourselves,” she said.
Miss Sharpe pointed out that the tour was very educational and informative. “For the future, I am going to recommend that similar study tours be conducted. What is also really astounding is that the village is virtually crime free and I think it leaves a lot for Jamaica to emulate. I suggest that everybody come and see and experience Accompong,” she said.
Another teacher, Kimberly Anderson told JIS news that the Accompong tour was a very good learning experience.
“One of the reasons we came here is to get our students to experience first hand what it is that they are studying and if you are teaching literature, it is best for you to take them back to where it started.what we are trying to do is to link what happens in the book to what happens here,” she explained.
A student from Manchester High, Matthew Blackwood said the visit was very informative. “I learnt that Accompong is a medium size village with a population of about 2,000 persons. Beside the members here, there are about 5,000 others outside. It is important for persons to study their history and the maroons,” he added.