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Minister of Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba has lauded the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) for fostering a cultural synergy that has fostered patriotic attitudes among Jamaicans, and is leveraging the island as a first class cultural super state.
She was speaking today (July 23), at the opening of the 22nd Congress of the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology (IACA), at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston.
“I want to specially commend JNHT’s Technical Director of Archaeology, Roderick Ebanks as well as Deputy Technical Director, Dorrick Gray for their interest in making Jamaica’s mark in archaeology, not only beneficial to the information of Jamaica’s rich heritage, but also renowned and lucrative,” she said.
She noted that the direction taken by the JNHT is guided by the National Cultural Policy, “towards leveraging Jamaica as a first class cultural super state.”
“The JNHT, in association with IACA, has proven that team work is the best way forward, where there are limited resources of time, manpower and money, and I applaud this link and how it has worked to manifest in an event such as this one,” the Minister said.
Mrs. Assamba highlighted the importance of archaeology in “informing the shaping of human history”.
“Truly, archaeology is as muddling as it is enchanting, which is why experts like you do the brainwork for laypeople like me and tell us the facts and how they affect us,” she told the participants.
Mrs. Assamba noted that over the last year, for which the Ministry has had museology in its portfolio, “we have worked assiduously to exploit the synergies and flows that can make it work,” she said.
She invited the conference delegates to enjoy, not only the heritage but the cultural entertainment the island had to offer through “its people and attractions.”
Over 150 archaeologists from the English, French and Dutch countries in the Caribbean region are meeting in Kingston this week from July 23 to 29. Various country representatives will present over 90 papers and engage in discussion on such topics as the pre-ceramic age, the ceramic age, historical archaeology, underwater archaeology, physical anthropology, interaction spheres migration and adaptation, new approaches to Caribbean archaeology, and cultural resource management.
Among the topics up for discussion are: ‘The Archaeology of Enslavement, Abolition and Emancipation’, and the ‘Preservation of the Archaeological resources of the Caribbean’, in recognition of the fact that the island is commemorating the 200th year of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.