“You are a true example of our capacity to overcome all odds and to reap success,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said, while delivering the keynote address at the Accompong Maroons 2012 Conference, at the Accompong Resource Centre, in St. Elizabeth, on October 27.
The Prime Minister said that the space of the Maroons is an intangible heritage site that cements their physical presence, “and that the spirit of this space ignites our inner-consciousness of what we can and must achieve in our lives today, and certainly in the future. ”
The two-day conference sought to provide an insight into the cultural heritage of the Maroons, with presentations from several past and current leaders, as well as historians and cultural experts.
Mrs. Simpson Miller pointed out that the slave trade was an affront to both masculinity and femininity, “and indeed an affront to humanity, as enslavers perpetuated the cruel acts on our ancestors. ”
“Our ancestors strategised and triumphed over the military power of the day and re-established their original glory and integrity. Let us live together as Jamaicans, with a past full of pain, but also one full with evidence of triumph,” the Prime Minister said.
The Accompong Maroons signed a treaty in 1738 with the British Government, after a war which lasted for over 50 years. The pact provided the Maroons with some amount of sovereignty.
“Sometimes when we destroy each other, fight each other, beat upon each other, rob each other, kill each other, is because we do not understand where we come from, and the journey that brought us here,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said, while encouraging unity among the different groupings of the Maroon communities, and Jamaicans in general.
“As we face the challenges of our modern life, we must be prepared to create economic solutions to fight crime and violence, and other anti-social behaviour among us, and to protect the most vulnerable, even as we seek to move them from welfare to wellbeing, and from wellbeing to wealth creation. We have what it takes to get back to basics, and to increase our productivity, because it is that which will save our lives, and that of future generations,” she added.
The Prime Minister called on Jamaicans to rediscover their own responsibility, wherever they are, “to exert ourselves for the greater benefit of our people.”
“It means greater productivity among those of us who work in the public and private sectors. It requires sincerity of purpose, and promotion of stronger family bonds. It resides in the understanding that our individual success is only assured in the collective prosperity of our people,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.