JIS News

Some 115 students from Bellefield Comprehensive High School in Manchester, paid a special cultural visit to the historic maroon town of Accompong in St. Elizabeth, yesterday (May 25).
The activity was organised by the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Mandeville Office, in collaboration with the school’s English Literature department and the Accompong Maroon Council.
In his address to the students, Maroon Colonel, Sydney Peddie stressed that it was important for all Jamaicans to remember the many struggles that “our ancestors” had to go through in order to gain their freedom.
“We here in this community made a decision over 260 years ago that we were tired of the nonsense in terms of living as slaves, and decided to take matters in our own hands and resist the slave owners who eventually had to sign a peace treaty with us after they realised that it was impossible to defeat us,” he said.
Colonel Peddie pointed out that since that time, members of the maroon community had set up a very “harmonious” system of government.
“Here in this community one does not have to worry about crime or violence. We are very closely knit and each person is well aware of what is going on in and around the community,” he said. Colonel Peddie pointed out that in conjunction with members of the local council, a new initiative would be implemented for the orderly long-term development of the area.
“In January of this year we launched our Foundation, a body charged with responsibility to develop and preserve a number of key elements of the maroon society, such as our historic buildings, roads, water system, educational institutions and museum,” he said.
The Maroon Colonel said that in addition, the Foundation would also be seeking different ways to document much of the local knowledge, particularly from the “older people” of the village.
“This we will do through the use of technology that can record both in audio and video format. We can ill afford not to do so, as each time we lose one of our older residents, we lose very important information,” he explained.
“Of course, anything we document is also for use by the members of the wider non-maroon community,” he added.
Colonel Peddy said he would be announcing the names of the Directors of the Accompong Maroon Foundation as well as their designated role or portfolio soon.
“We realise that the only way forward is through the building of medium and long-term partnerships with many outside agencies, such as the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), the American Peace Corps, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), CHASE Fund, the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), and any other entity that can provide green funds, as we intend to maintain and preserve our way of life in line with established sustainable practices,” he said.

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