Jamaica At 60 St James

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2022 3 infrastructure to meet the demand of the growing city,” Silvera said. The town centre also holds importance for the city as it hosts places such as Digicel’s corporate offices for western Jamaica as well as many audit, law, and insurance firms. Most stores in the town centre feature modern architecture and beautiful landscaping. The city is home to many health institutions such as the Cornwall Regional Hospital as well as the recently opened Hospiten, a Spanishowned, private hospital located in Rose Hall. As the town centre continues to expand at a rapid pace, it will be home to more businesses soon, some only found in Montego Bay. “In order to meet the demand of the number of vehicles that are now in, we need to ensure that we have a transportation centre. We have all these people that have moved into the city, but we have not expanded where that is concerned,” Silvera said. The US$274.5 million contract was signed late last year for the Montego Bay Perimeter Road Project, which will see construction of a 14.9-kilometre bypass of the city.This is expected to create a safe and reliable alternative route for motorists travelling along that corridor. It will also assist in reducing traffic congestion within the city. The scope of work includes the construction of the Montego Bay bypass road, rehabilitation of Barnett Street and West Green Avenue, as well as the construction of the Long Hill bypass (10.5 kilometres). A drainage study of the Montego Bay bypass area is also to be conducted under the project. The Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation entered into the contractual agreement with China Harbour Engineering Company Limited for the entity to carry out the works. It is expected that the project will open new areas to the south of Montego Bay for development and expansion, giving access to lands for housing development. “Montego Bay does need an urgent facelift. It cannot be that we are the tourism capital and we don’t see that reflected in downtown Montego Bay. What are we bringing tourism to if not to a city that stands out, that looks good, and is well, and is a little more orderly than what it is at this time,” Silvera said. JAMAICA AT 60: MONTEGO BAY A section of Orange Street in downtown Montego Bay. This is located near the famous North Gully community. jamaica AT keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com

KENRICK PICKNIGHT, SPORTSMAN BEING IN sports myself, having won many national schoolboy titles and senior national sporting titles, most notably winning the National Premier League with then Seba United, now Montego Bay United, I am appalled at the slow pace in which sporting infrastructure is being developed and maintained … The track at the Catherine Hall Stadium has been in disrepair for years causing even the Western Champs to be held in Spanish Town for the past three seasons. This is unacceptable. For Montego Bay tomaintain its city status, basic infrastructural development is not only needed, but highly required. I challenge those in authority to make Montego Bay a real city. Not just one for the expatriates and the tourists to enjoy, but for us locals who live our lives along these shores. NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2022 5 jamaica AT Is MoBay still deserving of city status? MARK KERR-JARRETT, MANAGING DIRECTOR, BARNETT LIMITED MOST DEFINITELY, Montego Bay is the regional centre for all of western Jamaica and it is the fastest developing and growing city in the Caribbean …What Montego Bay has contributed to Jamaica is really quite formidable …We have done a lot … Barnett Limited has forfeited hundreds of millions of dollars in potential income to the company to ensure that Montego Bay has the infrastructure and parameters that it needs to be a successful city. LLOYD B. SMITH, EDITOR, WESTERN MIRROR, FORMER MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT THE CITY not only deserves city status, but deserves more sustained and strategic attention from central and local governments. For starters, a comprehensive development plan is still eluding us. Instead, the city is being subject to a ‘chaka-chaka’ approach that is yet to deal with the numerous unplanned communities surrounding as well as in the city that remain fertile nurseries for crime and violence. To put it bluntly, the that city is being short-changed with respect to the extent that the tourism dollar has not been sufficiently used given its so-called status as the country’s tourism capital. ODETTE SOBERAM-DYER, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, JAMAICA, JAMAICA TOURIST BOARD MONTEGO BAY has proven to everyone that the city status bestowed 41 years ago is truly deserving. The city’s infrastructure has expanded immensely, adding to the value that it contributes to Jamaica. It is the fastest growing city in the Caribbean, and from a tourism perspective it is the fastest growing tourist destination during the COVID-19 recovery. The city boasts the leading airport and convention centre in the Caribbean, winning awards year after year. It is recognised as the tourist mecca of the Caribbean, attracting approximately 1 million stopover visitors annually pre-COVID-19. The city is poised for further growth and development and despite the challenges that the city faces there is much for Montegonians and non-Montegonian residents to be proud of and to call this city home. JAMAICA AT 60: MONTEGO BAY

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2022 7 KEISHA HILL Senior Gleaner Writer AS RUSSIA began its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine on February 24, the world watched and reacted. On top of the deeply devastating human elements of war have been the unavoidable global political and economic implications and potential impacts on global food security. In the Caribbean, economists and leaders are reflecting on howconflict in the breadbasket of Europe will affect an import-dependent region that is still reeling from the financial impacts of COVID-19, amid supplychain disruptions, hikes in oil and commodity prices, rising shipping costs and limited availability of vessels and containers. President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce, Janet Silvera, said since related supplychain issues and supply-side deficits have exerted inflationary pressures on the price of food in the Caribbean, it is now or never for Jamaicans, particularly those on the western end of the island who depend on tourism, to lay the foundation of a structured agricultural sector. “We have been speaking about it for years, and now is the time for real action. While our food import bill in 2018 was a whopping US$902.349 million for the corresponding period, Jamaica exported just over US$217 million of agricultural products. There is far more room for improvement, the same old, same old, cannot continue,” Silvera said. Silvera hailed the farmers in the parish for their commitment to safeguarding the nation’s food security, as registered farmers have been working hard to cultivate crops for both the local and export markets. Agricultural crops growing in the parish include vegetables, pineapples, bananas, plantains, ground provisions and Irish potato. There has also been diversification of ginger production, and the parish has positioned itself to become the leading producer of banana and plantain, with lands identified under the agro-parks programme for the growing of the crops. “The essential role of agriculture in the attainment of national and economic development necessitates the need for the modernisation of the sector, in a systematic and productive manner. This sector can be one of the major engines of growth for Jamaica and has a great capacity for food production. There are many exciting opportunities on the global market for the sector,” she said. AGRICULTURE The country’s prospects for developing agriculture and agribusiness lie in producing food in which it has a distinct and competitive advantage, pursuing product diversification through new value-added food products. There are many opportunities in agriculture, given the need to feed our population of approximately 2.8 million people and the over 3.8 million tourists who visit sour shore annually. To service these markets there is the need for the full range of vegetables, tuber s , da i r y products andmeat. Products such as coffee, cocoa and ginger readily come to mind and represent a few of the available opportunities. “No matter what happens to the people of Jamaica, agriculture has to go on. We must endeavour to build our agricultural sector in this country,” she said. With the current crisis in Ukraine, there is a general trend upwards in the price of oil which further compounds the current issue of logistics globally that has affected food security within the region. As this conflict has been brewing for some time and there has been no will towards stopping it, food security in the region is going to be rather contrived, particularly for the remainder of 2022 if there are no efforts to de-escalate rapidly. With an annual average of 19 per cent of all imports to the 15-member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), consisting of food and agricultural goods in the amount of more than $5 billion each year, which is typically covered by tourism-generated foreign reserves, Caribbean food security is deeply threatened by any major disruption that impacts the region. According to the results of the fourth Caribbean COVID-19 Food Security and Livelihoods Impact Survey administered by CARICOM, the World Food Programme, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency and the Food and Agriculture Organization in February 2022, 88 per cent of people in the region have reported changes in their shopping behaviour, while 93 per cent have reported an increase in observed food prices. Jamaica Flour Mills (JFM), for example, Jamaica’s largest producer of wheat-based flour, was forced to raise prices three times during 2021, amounting to an increase of nine to 10 per cent, and in January 2022, Derrick Nembhard, managing director of JFM, warned of further price increases in the short term. “There must be a fundamental shift in the sector’s priority, raising it on the national development agenda which is to be supported by an overarching national policy framework for sustainable agriculture and rural development,” Silvera said. keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com MoBay chamber boss says it’s time lay the foundation for food security jamaica AT Now or never! jamaica at Silvera JAMAICA AT 60: M NTEGO BAY

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2022 8 KEISHA HILL Senior Gleaner Writer ST JAMES is one of the most beautiful destinations in the Jamaica, with many tourists flocking the parish each year. However, since Independence, it has not all been coconuts and sunsets. If you look past the dreamy tourist resorts, you will find a major crime problem, that is closely related to a serious poverty problem and severe lack of education and opportunities. With next to no support, criminal activity is a slippery slope that many young people in the parish are falling down. In 2020, The United Nations Development Programme Report, and data from the Ministry of National Security indicate that, within the last 10 years, increasingly, the victims and perpetrators of category-one crimes, such as homicides, are from the 15 to 24 years age group. Research also confirms that an average of 40 per cent of all known murder offenders in Jamaica, especially the hotspots in St James are young men between the ages of 15 and 24 years. In other words, four of every 10 persons arrested for murder are young men between the ages of 15 and 24. Additionally, in 2020, 16 per cent of murder victims were between the ages of 15 and 24, while 21 and 22 per cent were youth victims, relative tomurder in the years 2019 and 2018, respectively. Youth within this age range are taking up leadership roles within violent gangs, having been groomed by dons and other violent producers to commit gun and other violent crimes. Research further confirms that the school dropout rate among inner-city boys can be as high as 70 per cent. These are the boys and youngmen anthropologists refer to as recruitable to gangs. This data is telling us that our youths are at risk, and according A youth in training at the Positive Youth Transformation project. CONTRIBUTED Positive Youth Transformation Project seeks to provide opportunities for young people JAMAICANYOUTH have a promising future, which can help the country to develop. To progress, as an independent nation, it is said, when young people are empowered, they understand the importance of education, and they will able to help people in the community, especially the ones who are from poor background. They will also encourage students to study hard so that they can be successful and help others. *Devon Williams, who hails from the Flanker community in Montego Bay, St James, can relate to themany horror stories of brazen gun battles on the streets, which have forced him to spendmost of his time hiding in his home out of fear. However, despite his dire circumstances, he believes youth empowerment can reduce crime, and civil society and the Government should do more to educate and provide opportunities for young people in Jamaica. “When the youths are educated there is no way they can go around stealing and committing crimes. If they have a skill, they can create jobs and put food on them table. If the country wants to reduce the high rate of unemployment and crime, then they must empower young people because they have the capacity to do that,” he said. Williams, a participant in the, Positive Youth Transformation Project, in Montego Bay, St James, said young people who strongly believe in their future, will stand their ground, and help the society and country as well. They will take charge of their lives, he said, and they can create things that will benefit themselves and society. The Flanker, St James community is often categorised as one of western Jamaica’s most volatile areas. Well over 10,000 persons reside in Flanker, which sits on the periphery of downtown Montego Bay and adjacent to the Sangster International Airport. Demographic data from the Social Development Commission indicate that approximately 60 per cent of the residents are under age 30, which places greater demand on social services. Williams agreed to participate in the programme because he saw its benefit to the community and, by extension, to the parish. “I think that for me for me, the main thing that I would want to say to young people out there is the best way for you to make your country a better place is to make yourself a better person. So, improve yourself, aim for your goals, your aspirations, and believe in yourself,” he said. *Shanay Davi s, another participant in the project, who hails from the Salt Spring Community, said she had lost all hope in achieving her goals in life. She was not motivated to work, and depended solely on her partner to care for her and their young child. However, after participating in programme, she was inspired to start her own business, and encouraged a number of her young family members and friends to change and alter their way of life. “When I started this programme, I was thinking it was not going to do anything for me. But it changed my whole life and I am a different person now. When I saw the effort that was put into helping us, I had to make a change. They called us every day and check up on us, and always encouraged us,”Davis said. Long considered volatile and prone to violence, the inner-city community of Salt Spring, in St. James, is her home. Davis believes that change begins with targeting the at-risk youth, showing them an alternative to violence and having their minds embedded in the knowledge that education is the key to a life of stability. “If you build yourself and the way you want to see your country, then the things that you do in your community, and within your family will help the country on a national level. Then you will make this country a better place to live. That is the way to go, and that is the way that young people need to start thinking,”Davis said. Youth empowerment can reduce crime jamaica AT jamaica at Children are not born criminals JAMAICA AT 60: MONTEGO BAY

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2022 9 jamaica AT to Adenike Stephenson, project manager, Positive Youth Transformation Project, in Montego Bay, St James, creating an environment in which young people can achieve their ambitions will help to decrease the dominance of criminal activity in their respective communities. Stephenson said young people are not born criminals so if they are provided with the opportunity to live an honest, decent, and productive life, they will, in fact, take that path. She was the hands and feet behind the successful programme that saw 80 at-risk youth benefiting from intensive interventions to reduce their risk of becoming involved in crime and violence, while affording them a livelihood. Stephenson’s in-depth expertise in youth engagement and crime prevention facilitated a robust and rounded intervention strategy, in which the youth can benefit from a suite of psychosocial interventions, balanced with vocational skills training, job placement and entrepreneurship development. “The programme was designed to target young people to keep them from getting involved in crime and violence. The more young people we keep away from that lifestyle, the more gangs will not be able to recruit them, and they will gravitate less towards that lifestyle,” Stephenson said. As with other communities in St James, Stephenson said there is a high level of scamming. With the communities of Flankers and Salt Spring continuously on the radar as hotspots, Stephenson said they targeted the youths that were most vulnerable when they looked at the high risk. More males were also targeted because as the data show, more males are victims and perpetrators. “Anytime there is a flare-up, there is a ripple effect on a lot of communities as well as the country on a whole. The situation that you find underground is the presence of gang defiance, shooting and murders. You find issues of neglect for children, truancy, and you find a number of children who are not performing well in school because of the effect that violence has on them,” Stephenson said. This project was implemented in collaboration with several stakeholders including the Social Development Commission, National Council on Drug Abuse, Victim Services Division, Peace Management Initiative Western, HEART/NSTA Trust and various private sector companies. A total of 181 potential clients were screened fromboth communities. One hundred of those screened were from Salt Spring and 66 from Flanker. One hundred and eleven applicants were found to be medium to high risk from which 80 were selected for development of case plans and treatment. The results were astounding, with 90 per cent of the beneficiaries remaining in the project at closing, and 75 per cent reflecting significantly reduced risk factors; 17 youth securing permanent employment; and 19 youth successfully completing business development training and starting their own businesses. The project was concluded in December 2021. However, Stephenson indicated that over the course of the project, they became a family, and since then they have continued to offer support where needed. keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com Young people engage in business development training. CONTRIBUTED JAMAICA AT 60: M NTEGO BAY

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2022 10 PAUL H. WILLIAM Gleaner Writer IN THE southern St James village of Kensington, part of an inscription on a roadside monument reads: “A FREEDOMTORCH WAS LIT HERE. On Tuesday night, December 27, 1831 the trash house on Kensington Estate was set on fire signalling the start of the last slave rebellion in Jamaica.” That uprising is now known as the Christmas Rebellion or the Baptist Rebellion, and should have catapulted Kensington into a special place in Jamaica’s history and heritage. In the area, there are remnants of the buildings that were razed. Some are visible, while others are shrouded by vegetation and earth. Shards of the trash house is said to be at a place called Tulloch Road. The monument is situated at the entrance to a property that was directly linked to Kensington Estate. Two two-storey buildings, one at the top of an incline and another at the foot, are visible from the road. Images depicting symbols, scenes and personalities of the 1831 bangarang are painted on the walls of the latter. When The Gleaner arrived, there was no one around. Then, a man appeared from around a corner of the road. He was walking briskly from the village square. Questions were asked of him, and names were called. A request was made for him to go fetch somebody. He returned presently to say someone was coming. He himself did not tarry. Soon, a slimman and a dog appeared from up the incline. He started to talk about his issues right away; this was a moment he was waiting for, it seemed. Then another came from around the opposite corner of the road. He greeted us all and waved. In his attempt to continue on his way, we stopped him; we wanted his voice. We did not stop until we got him to sit and join the discussion that was about to ensue. It turned out that the man with the dog, Zenon Kellier, is the brother of Derrick Kellier, the former seven-time member of parliament for the area. He said he owns the property on which we were, and that right behind us were slavery-day building remnants. The other is Allan Coote, who said he had helped to build the monument at Zenon’s gate. While they were both not happy with the state of affairs at Kensington/Point it was Kellier who was on fire. Born in nearby Springfield, the mechanical engineer/farmer said he was not into politics. He was riled up about the neglect of such a historic place, where people passing through the dark nights cannot see the monument because there are no street lights. When he was asked about what has been going on in Kensington since 1831, 1838, 1962, and 60 years after, he was emphatic when he shouted, “Believe you me, nutten no happen up yah, apart from that monument yuh see Mike Henry come put deh so. Dem forget about us, period! Fi wi ancestors dead… .We fire the first shot fi free up the slave movement, and not even water we have up here for 25 years now!”To get domestic water, he has to truck and pump river water into his home. “But your brother was MP for most of that time,”was the rejoinder. “Das why dem vote him out, a fi feem turf, him nah big up him turf, like him suppose to.” Yet, he was not letting the current member of parliament, Homer Davis, of the hook either. He is going around with a petition seeking 5,000 petitioners to unseat the first-time Southern St James representative should he, too, fail to bring potable water into one of the watersheds of Jamaica’s history. Up to January this year, Davis, with portfolio responsibilities for rural development, including rural water and electrification, was minister of state in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. “If him no give wi the water that him promise we, wi gaa vote him out just like dem do Kellier,” Kellier said militantly. “I am the new Sam Sharpe in town, and a come to fight this revolution for the water in Kensington … and if Homer Davis give us the water wi a vote fi Homer Davis as long as wi live.” Coote said he agreed with all that Kellier said, and they also were not sold the idea that Jamaica is an independent nation. “Wi no independent, wi still depending on people,”Coote looked straight into camera and said, “We are not independent, and I continue to say that.”Kellier chimed in with, “A bare foreign food a come, and dem kill out all a wi farm.” Lamenting the lack of knowledge that some residents and visitors have about the significance of Kensington, Kellier intends to use the building at the front of his property as a place to highlight the history of the region, and as an “international rest stop”. Xenon Kellier is hopping mad that there has been no piped water at Kensington, St James for 25 years, and the place where the 1831 Christmas Rebellion started is long forgotten. CONTRIBUTED The monument erected in memory of the 1831 Christmas Rebellion at Kensington in St James. CONTRIBUTED Xenon Kellier intends to use this building at Kensington, St James as in international heritage and rest stop. PHOTO BY PAUL H. WILLIAMS jamaica AT jamaica at JAMAICA AT 60: M NTEGO BAY Kensington long forgotten after the fire

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2022 11 PAUL H. WILLIAMS Gleaner Writer F OUNDED BETWEEN about 1664 and 1665, St James, one of the earliest parishes, was named after James, the Duke of York. The research revealed that it was Thomas Modyford, governor from 1664-73, who first divided the island into parishes, a series of church enclaves. In 1770 a new parish called Trelawny emerged from eastern St James, thus reducing its original size. This northwestern parish spent its initial years in abject poverty. And, so was the case with the other north coast parishes. Their distance from the administrative capitals of Spanish Town and Kingston did not help. Eventually, the economy of the parish began to boom from the export of sugar, and other produce, such as lard from the abundance of wild pigs in the region. Montego Bay, its capital, became an important shipping port, and its economy was second in importance only to Kingston’s. After sugar was no longer king, the economies of the parish and the region were driven by the cultivation and export of bananas. Until today eastern St James is full of districts where banana is the major cash crop. Yet, Banana too was to be toppled from the number-one spot. It gave that space to tourism, as we know it, when a local doctor, Alexander McCatty, bought the property now known as Doctor’s Cave Beach in the late 1800s. He believed the water had strong curative properties, and, as such, rich north Americans started to visit the area to heal themselves, and to build residences. At the beginning of the 1900s, Dr McCatty donated the property to the town of Montego Bay. Hotels, to which people fleeing the brutal North American winter were accommodated, were now being constructed. Casa Blanca is said to be the first of such hotels. Now, Montego Bay is the tourist Mecca of not only Jamaica, but the region. Over time, St James, one of the smallest parishes in country, has evolved into one of Jamaica’s most populous. The home of Cornwall Regional Hospital is an education, transport, commercial and employment hub for all of western Jamaica. Traffic into and out of the parish is massive, creating a variety of challenges, to the point where a highway to bypass downtown Montego Bay is under now construction. The history and heritage of St James are rich, and from east to west, north to south there is evidence of this richness. Some of the points of interest are Belvedere Estate, Blue Hole Plantation, Great River Rafting, Mountain Valley Rafting, Nature FarmVillage, Rocklands Bird Sanctuary, The Creek Dome, and the Sam Sharpe Monument, Doctor’s Cave Beach, Cornwall College, the Rastafari Indigenous Village, Barnett Bridge, Pyre River Cemetery, Charles Gordon Market, River Bay Fishing Village, among others. Historical spots include, but not limited to, The Cage in Sam Sharpe Square, Sign Great House, Greenwood Great House, Anchovy Railway Station, Barnett Street Police Station, Cambridge Railway Station, Catadupa Railway Station, Grove Hill House, Flagstaff Maroon village, MaroonTown, Fort Montego, Goodwill free village, Rose Hall Great House, Salter’s Hill Baptist Church, St James Parish Church, Montego Bay Railway Station, and the Town House. Now, how much do you know about the parish of St James? Answer the following questions to find out. 1. When is the estimated size of St James? 2. What was the original name of Montego Bay? 3. Which governor general was born in St James? 4. What is the name of the market in Montego Bay? 5. When was Cornwall College founded? 6. Name the two all-girls schools in St James? 7. When was the St James Parish Church originally built? 8. Where is the Sam Sharpe Monument located? 9. When was Montego Bay officially declare a city? 10. Which is the only technical school in St James? 11. Which parishes surround St James? 12. Which National Hero was born in St James? 13. What is the alias for Montego Bay? 14. What is the main style of architecture in Sam Sharpe Square? 15. When did the Christmas Rebellion start? 16. On which estate did the Christmas Rebellion Start? 17. Where in St James is a famous Taino/Arawak site located? 18. Which one of the following towns is not located in St James: Maroon Town, Catadupa, Lambs River and Garlands? 19. Name the sugar estate that was located in Montego Bay. 20. Name the river that borders St James with Hanover. ANSWERS 1. 594.9 km square 2. Bahia de Manteca 3. Howard Cooke 4. Charles Gordon 5. 1896 6. Mount Alvernia High and Montego Bay High. 7. Between 1775 and 1782 8. Sam Sharpe Square 9. May 1, 1981 10. Herbert Morrison 11. Westmoreland, Hanover, St Elizabeth and Trelawny 12. Sam Sharpe 13. The Friendly City or The Second City 14. Georgian 15. December 1831 16. Kensington 17. Fairfield 18. Lambs River 19. Barnett Estate 20. Great River jamaica AT St James trivia JAMAIC AT 60: MONTEGO BAY

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Watershed parish bleeding PAUL H. WILLIAMS Gleaner Writer ST JAMES is undoubtedly one of the most important parishes in Jamaica. It is the bedrock of tourism, Jamaica’s leading industry, not just locally, but in the entire English-speaking Caribbean. Hundreds of people from all over western Jamaica are employed in various aspect of tourism in St James. It has the highest number of accommodations per square mile, and its places of interest and attractions are dotted all over the parish. BEFORE THAT, it was a popular banana-producing region, and Montego Bay was at one time the busiest banana export port in the entire country. Though its development did not get off at a fast pace, this parish, more than any other, is the home of the watershed of Jamaica’s political and economical evolution. It is safe to say that St James is where we all started as an Independent nation. Two important events underpin this claim: the signing of the treaty of peace and friendship between the Trelawny Town Maroons and the British in 1738 (one hundred years before Emancipation), and the 1831-32 Sam Sharpe/Christmas Rebellion. The first Maroon War in Western Jamaica was protracted and frustrating. Neither side would back down. Egos were at stake, and the British were unrelenting in their efforts to keep the institution of chattel slavery alive for its economic value. Sugar was aggrandising Europe’s metropolises, and European planters were rich from the proceeds of one of the most inhuman and inhumane systems ever established on Earth. However, some of the enslaved Africans who were trafficked across the Atlantic to the Caribbean to work without pay on plantations and pens did not drown themselves in selfpity, nor did they resign to a life of servitude. Some even planned their escape long before they arrived on the island. They were tribal warriors and traders in human themselves, so they did not arrive to accept their lot in the Caribbean. In Jamaica, they ran away into the hills and mountains in a show of defiance that the British could not control. In western and central Jamaica, the Maroons as the runaways came to be called, established themselves in gangs that had no mercy on their preys. The preys had become predators and the British were now running scared. The Maroons pillaged, routed, burned, killed, captured in their zeal to chart their own freedom and space. The British resisted, but for how long? Several measures were put in place to contain the marauding Maroons,but to no avail. Led by Cudjoe and his brother, Accompong, who was sent from Trelawny Town in St James to hold fort in northern St Elizabeth, the Maroons wore down the resolve of the British, who decided that enough was enough. The white flag was raised, a controversial treaty was signed, and the indomitable Leeward Maroons were left alone to determine what goes on with their existence. The signing of this treaty was significant and unprecedented in theWestern Hemisphere. It predated the AmericanWar of Independence (1776), and the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804. Maroons Independence came long before these two other major insurrections, but there was to be another defining story in the history of St James, in particular, and, by extension, Jamaica. Fomented by rumours that the British had given them their freedom, and determined that they would not return to work after the Christmas break of 1831 enslaved people jolted local authorities and the British empire. On December 27, after the trash house was lit by the enslaved on Kensington Estate in the parish, all hell broke loose, with the fire eventually spreading to surrounding parishes. Many were killed and over 165 estates burned to the ground all over western Jamaica. The repercussions were swift andmerciless. Over 300 people, including Deacon Samuel Sharpe, the alleged leader of the insurrection, were hanged at the place now called Sam Sharpe Square. The rebellion and its brutal aftermath sped up the contentious process of Emancipation. Seven years later slavery ended abruptly, when the Apprenticeship System collapsed in 1838. On August 1, slavery was officially abolished in all of Jamaica. Political Independence came 124 years later, in 1962. It is now 2022, 60 years after Independence, and St James is still a standout patch in this mosaic called Jamaica. Yet, for sometime now, this watershed parish is beset by deep-seated social ills that have led to much bloodshed, sadly. It needs an urgent cleansing, lest we forget its pride of place in our chequered story. Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay, St James. IAN ALLEN/PHOTOGRAPHER jamaica at jamaica AT The first Maroon War in Western Jamaica was protracted and frustrating. Neither side would back down. Egos were at stake, and the British were unrelenting in their efforts to keep the institution of chattel slavery alive for its economic value. PRINTED BY THE GLEANER COMPANY (MEDIA) LIMITED • 7 NORTH STREET • KINGSTON • JAMAICA

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