JIS News

Story Highlights

  • As the Scott’s Hall Maroons in St. Mary prepare for the annual August 1 celebration of their culture and heritage, they are also charting plans for the area to become a major attraction.
  • The plans, which were unveiled to Tourism Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, during a recent visit to the community, include the development of an ancestral burial ground and a small pool of water in the area, said to have healing properties.
  • The annual Emancipation Day festival, to celebrate the signing of the Maroon peace treaty with the British, is expected to attract thousands of persons, including Maroons from across the island, local and overseas visitors.

As the Scott’s Hall Maroons in St. Mary prepare for the annual August 1 celebration of their culture and heritage, they are also charting plans for the area to become a major attraction.

The plans, which were unveiled to Tourism Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, during a recent visit to the community, include the development of an ancestral burial ground and a small pool of water in the area, said to have healing properties.

Scott’s Hall Maroons youth leader, Rodene Rose, says the area, which has indigenous herbs and medicinal plants, would be ideal for the setting up of a day spa.

“We have a lot of medicinal herbs in Scott’s Hall, so we would like to use that to employ some of the persons in the community,” Miss Rose says.

Newly installed Colonel, Rudolph Pink, says with support from various agencies, the Maroon leaders will be embarking on an agricultural programme, which includes production of breadfruit, red peas, vegetables, bananas and yam.

He notes that the fertile lands in Scotts Hall are ideal for agricultural production. “Once you plant anything, it grows, so we shouldn’t have problems with food,” he says.

Minister McNeill hailed the Maroon community for carrying on a tradition and culture, which is a very important part of Jamaica’s history.

“These are people, who take pride in their heritage and culture; it is fascinating, and this is an important part of our history that we have got to maintain,” he points out.

 

Dr. McNeill says his visit to the community was to “see how best the Ministry could help to build on what is there.”

He notes that what the community is doing, in terms of traditional celebrations and practices, can become a major attraction for local and visitors, and “we will see what can be done to help them to further that process.”

Member of Parliament for South East St. Mary, Dr. Winston Green, who organised the visit by Minister McNeill, welcomes the support from the Ministry.

“This is a very rich heritage, and there are many aspects that could be developed, and I have seen in other areas where tourists have enjoyed themselves, and this is one opportunity to open it to the world,” Dr. Green says.

The annual Emancipation Day festival, to celebrate the signing of the Maroon peace treaty with the British, is expected to attract thousands of persons, including Maroons from across the island, local and overseas visitors.

The event will include singing, dancing, drum-playing, preparation of traditional foods and ceremonies passed down from the ancestors.

“Because it is a grand celebration, we start very early in the morning, where we go out and speak to our ancestors, and try to get our drums ready,”  Deputy Colonel of the Scott’s Hall Maroons, Joan Williams, tells JIS News.

Miss Williams informs that the event serves as a reunion for family members living overseas and educational opportunity for visitors to the community.

“When you come to visit us, one of the main things that you look at is how we go about doing our things differently – our dances, our language, and our songs that we sing; it is totally different, sounding of the Abeng, and what it mean,” she notes.

Scott’s Hall apart, other surviving, fully recognised Maroon communities are Trelawny Town; Accompong in St. Elizabeth; and Charles Town and Moore Town in Portland.