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Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, says she will be engaging the Maroon communities in a cultural mission for the protection of Jamaica’s children.

“We want to engage Accompong and other Maroon communities to collaborate with the Government this year to initiate a cultural transformation in our country,” Minister Hanna said, as she addressed the 275th anniversary celebrations of the Accompong Treaty held recently in the St. Elizabeth community.

“A big part of my mission is to engage our Jamaican people in a revolution of the culture of how we treat our children. In this, we want the cooperation of all communities. Let us recapture the Ashanti approach that calls on communities to take responsibility for our children so that our children will be cared for, respected, loved, and blessed with a future of prosperity and hope,” she stated.

The Minister said that despite the many challenges that the nation faces, positive values must be adhered to.

“Let us engage the values of our past and seek to place them at the forefront of national development. The odds are never too great for a nation anchored in positive values, and armed with a heritage and culture that is as strong as ours. We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, who cleared the ground on which we should build,” she said.

The Minister pledged to push for greater support for the development of the Maroon communities and the annual Accompong Treaty celebrations, which attract a large overseas following.

“We promise to engage with the Ministry of Tourism for greater support to these communities as the core element of our expanding heritage tourism. The Maroons have much to teach the world. We are committed to engaging the Ministry of Transport and Works, the Parish Council, and the Tourism Ministry, to ensure greater access to communities like Accompong as part of the heritage and community tourism,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Opposition Spokesperson on Culture, Olivia Grange, lauded the Accompong Maroons as trailblazers of freedom and justice.

She said the Maroons “took up the struggle and fought not for only personal freedom from slavery, but also laid the foundation for the recognition of the human and civil rights of all oppressed people.”