JIS News

Member of the Manchester Parish Development Committee (PDC), Clarence Miller, has urged residents of Maidstone to put measures in place to market their community as a historical attraction.
“Why can’t we put a positive spin on what slavery used to represent and ask people to come into the community? I would love to see us have visitors coming through here and paying some good money for you to tell them about Trial Hill and about the artefacts left over from slavery, and the church… and the list goes on,” he told residents at a recent community meeting, which was held at the Nazareth All Age School.
He noted that there is already a legal framework in place for the parish, which includes the establishment of the community as a historical tourist attraction.
Mr. Miller told residents that there are agencies that will donate funds to help with the development of historical sites there but, “you have to have an organisation with a track record as there are people who would believe in them enough to want to give you that money to tell that story.”
He said that the community has enough manpower to establish a tourist attraction in Maidstone but that “if we sit on it and never tell the story, it will never materialise.”
Meanwhile, Community Development Officer with the Social Development Commission (SDC), Alrick Miller told the residents that it is important for them to have a leadership core in place in order to capture the significance of the history of Maidstone.
“You all recognise the historical and cultural significance of this community, however, in captivating this significance it is very important to have a leadership core and the best vehicle to form that leadership core is your own community structure,” he said.
He added that the community members have a responsibility not only to themselves but also to the future generation.
“It is quite interesting if we draw a parallel between our own efforts at freedom and what would have become of us if our fore parents lay down and did not fight for our freedom. Although freedom is a right it comes with a lot of responsibility so each of us in the community has a responsibility not only to ourselves but to the future generation,” he said.
Maidstone was established by Moravian missionaries in 1840, when missionaries from the Methodist, Moravian, Baptist and Presbyterian denominations, contributed to the formation of free villages by buying land, which they sold in small lots to their respective congregations.
It was one of the townships that was established in Jamaica as a result of full freedom from slavery and apprenticeship in 1838.
Maidstone also called Nazareth, was one of two free villages established in the parish of Manchester. The other was Vale Lionel, which is now known as Porus.

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