Jamaica at 60-Black River

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2022 2 Paul H. Williams/Gleaner Writer IN 1773, Black River replaced Lacovia as the capital of St Elizabeth, one of the oldest parishes in Jamaica. From there, logwood and other much-sought-after produce were exported. The Hendricks Wharf was a hive of economic activities in its heyday. The crocodile safari that sits on the Black River has also contributed significantly to the town’s economy in one way or the other. The river supported an important shrimp and freshwater fishery in the earlier 20th century. There were colourful balls and banquets, and an annual circus that attracted visitors from far and wide. And thought it was the first place in Jamaica to get electricity and motor cars, its development has never been rapid and solid. It’s a laid-back, easy-going place, away from the major road networks. Yet, it was once the biggest transport hub in the parish, with main roads leading to Westmoreland in the west and Manchester to the east. Now, 60 years after Jamaica gained Independence fromBritain, Black River is all but dead, and is oft-referred to as a ‘ghost town’. Its very location, the establishment of a bypass, the growth of other towns, such as Junction and Santa Cruz, labour migration, and the closure of Hendricks Wharf are the major reasons the research has found for the decline of this historic place. When The Gleaner visited recently, the team chanced upon Sylton Sibblies, manager for the market, which is operated by the St Elizabeth Municipal Corporation. He spoke candidly about the state of affairs in Black River in general, and the market in particular. Located on Jamaica’s southwest coast, Black River is not much visited by people from satellite communities for work, school, business, and shopping. It does not have many of these pull factors, and there are alternatives. In essence, people would not want to go to Black River unless it is absolutely necessary. “It is the people who do a little buying and selling who come into the town,” Sibblies stated, “There is no appetite for people to come here.” Junction, serving the south, and Santa Cruz, the hub for the north, central and east, are the alternatives to Black River. Even some government and non-government entities have relocated their branches to Santa Cruz, which is more centrally located. People from Black River itself are now going to Santa Cruz to do business. Also, it is not a dormitory community from which people leave in droves to return in the evenings after work. This has caused a scarcity of public passenger vehicles. In fact, those who still work and do business in Black River try to leave before nightfall, as there might not be any transport to take them out after a certain time. The bypass from Luana to Sandy Ground means that some vehicular traffic do not have to pass through it. Sibblies lamented, “Dem bypass the town now, so those people that used to come by [now] go straight ‘round the town now; so a just the small village people who still here.” When The Gleaner visited recently, life seemed to have stood still. Unflattering shacks A section of Black River on February 1. PHOTOS BY NICHOLAS NUNES/PHOTOGRAPHER jamaica at Black River needs AN INJECTION JAMAICA AT 60: ST ELIZABETH

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2022 3 Sylton Sibblies, manager of the Black River Market, St Elizabeth, said Black River is rich in history, but not enough to attract people to the town. and stalls are scattered all over. The brand-new market with brand-newmetal stalls were bereft of shoppers. Only a few vendors were holding the fort. The others are elsewhere selling on the streets, while they used the market stalls only to store their stuff. “We have a market that the Government invested so much money in and you can’t get the people of the streets,” Sibblies claimed. The underuse of the market means that income for the corporation is dwindling. And there is a market being operated on a private property nearby, which is the subject of a legal matter between the operators and the corporation, as that market is said to be operating illegally. What, then, is going to become of the town of Black River? Will the line on the monitor to which it is attached, fighting for its life, finally go flat? Sibblies is hoping not, for there are plans, he said, to keep it going like the river that bears its name. The establishment of a restaurant in the market to generate income for the corporation, as“there is no proper cookshop in the town,” is an idea. It has the boat rides on the river and history on its side. And, according to Sibblies, “Black River needs some injection of capital into the town, needs somebody to come in and put in some investment. That is key.” And until that key is turned, the town of Black River continues to be moribund, like the little fishes wriggling from the hooks of three youth whom The Gleaner team saw fishing for their supper in Jamaica’s longest navigable river. JAMAICA AT 60: ST ELIZABETH

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2022 5 jamaica at Paul H. Williams/Gleaner Writer ROY T. Anderson was born in Ridge Pen, St Elizabeth, in September 1962, the same year Jamaica attained political Independence. In 1974, he moved withhis family toToronto. Hemigrated to the United States in 1998, and is still living there. Yet, residing outside of Jamaica has not made him forget his roots andwhat it means to him. “It’sasourceofprideformeknowing I was born the same year as Jamaica’s Independence.Thatmeans I’m inextricably tied to the country of my birth, for which I’m extremely proud,” he told TheGleaner. And his story got even more interesting, as he is a descendant of the AccompongMaroons of St Elizabeth by way of his mother. When asked what it meant to him to be a descendant of a people who got their freedom long before 1962, he said, “That’s another source of pride for me, when I think about the heroismof myMaroon ancestors more than 300 years ago. The fierce resistance and independent streak theyexhibitedwas abeacon for others whowere engaged in the flight from bondage.” And, was it that fighting, fearless spirit that he inherited from his ancestors that made him evolve into a stuntman/stunt coordinator? NOT THE DREAM Anderson saidhedidnot set out to be a stuntman. Instead, he dreamed of being a sports broadcaster, having an extensive sports background. It helped him to segue into stunting in 1981, when heworkedon a filmwith apre-FamilyTies Michael J. Fox. Since then, he has played double for the likes ofWill Smith, Jamie Foxx, Denzel WashingtonandMorganFreeman. He saidhe is“still fallingand jumping, but notmaybe to the level of 10-20 years ago”. He’s now teaching people how to jump and fall. He has also taken himself from in front of the lenses to behind the camera. So far, he has produced, written and directed three fulllength documentaries viz Akwantu: The Journey (2012),QueenNanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess (2015), and African Redemption: The Life and Legacy of Marcus Garvey, whichhad itsworldpremiere inTrinidad last year andwas recently screened to a full house at the British Film Institute in London. Akwantu:TheJourney documents the story of the Jamaican Maroons, the first successful freedom fighters in theWesternHemisphere. It is about theorigin, evolution, journey, andselfredemption of a group of people on whose shoulders thebirthof Jamaica as an independent nation rested. They led the way, and wereundefeatedby the British with whom they signed two treaties of peaceand friendship, one in 1738 and the other in 1739. From the Maroons, Anderson pulled QueenNanny, and shone the spotlight on to her. Shot in Jamaica, Ghana and the United States over the course of two years, the film highlights the struggles for freedom by the Jamaican Maroons, led by the indomitable military genius that Nanny was. From her stronghold in the Blue Mountains, this spiritual leader used guerilla warfare tactics to wear down the resolve of their British antagonists. It was screened to a capacity audience at the United Nations. On a roll, Anderson selected another Jamaican historical giant, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jamaica’s first national hero, as the subject of his third film. Through it he tells the story of a precocious boy who was born in St Ann, and how he evolved into a man whose influence on the African diaspora is still unequalled today. Through the Universal Negro ImprovementAssociation, Garveywas unrelenting in his quest to change the negative mindset and attitude that black people the world had over towards themselves. He told them, “Up you mighty race, you can accomplish what you will.” Clearly, the trilogy focuses on subjects that are a major part of Jamaica’s history and heritage, as Anderson’s mission is to expose the untold stories “through a lens that does not glorify the hunter”. “It’s important forme todocument aspects of our history and culture because, for far too long, others havebeen tellingour history through lenseswhicharevery skewed. As long as I’m alive my ‘tale’will never glorify thehunter. I’msuper proud tobeone of the lions now telling our stories,” the award-winning film-maker said. Roy T. Anderson, who was born in St Elizabeth in 1962, has evolved into a respected, award-wining film-maker who is focusing on, but not limited to, Jamaican heritage and history. CONTRIBUTED Independence baby tells our stories through films JAMAICA AT 60: ST ELIZABETH

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2022 6 jamaica at Paul H.Williams/GleanerWriter IN1738, theTrelawnyTownMaroons of St James andSt Elizabeth signeda treaty of peace and friendshipwith the British, effectively putting an end to the protracted First MaroonWar. The third clause of the treaty says that the Maroons “shall enjoy and possess for themselves and posterity forever, all the lands situated and lying between Trelawny Town and theCockpits, in the amount of fifteen hundredacres, beingnorthwest from the saidTrelawnyTown”. The treatywas signed inNewTown, adistrict ofTrelawnyTown inSt James, and not in Accompong Town, which was named after Cudjoe’s brother, Accompong, who was placed in St Elizabethas adefence strategyagainst the British. In 1795, fifty-seven years after the treatywas signed, the secondMaroon War ended when the Maroons of TrelawnyTownwere trickedandexiled toHalifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Some died there. Otherswere repatriated to Sierra Leone in Africa. This depleted the Maroon population in Trelawny Town,making it lesswell-known than Accompong, where there is anannual celebration of Cudjoe’s victory over the British. Over the years, the Accompong Maroons and subsequent Jamaican governments have been at loggerheads over theMaroons’claims to political autonomy. They havedeclared the spacegiven to them as sovereign territory, a statewithin a state. This rhetoric has been gaining more attention since Richard Currie was elevated to the status of chief of the Accompong Maroons last year February. Things came to a head when the Accompong Town Maroons defied government orders to not have this year’s January 6 celebrations as to do so would be in contravention of the Government’s efforts to contain COVI9. The celebrations went on. The Government responded by establishing a policy to not give any funding to any group that declared itself autonomous. In a subsequent news conference, Prime Minister Andrew Holness shot down the Maroons’ claim to sovereignty, saying that it would not happen as long as he was in office. This did not go down well with Chief Currie and other stakeholders in the Maroon communities. The prime minister even snubbedCurrieby inviting the three other sitting Maroon colonels from the other Maroon communities to a high-level meeting. “I would say all those remarks are just playingpolitics,”was the succinct response from 80-year-old Dolphy Row when The Gleaner broached the subject recently when a team chanced upon him in Santa Cruz. “We fought for our rights and won the first Independence in Jamaica as you all know,” the elder, who was born, brought up, and still living in AccompongTown, said. Rowe, one of over 50 siblings, and a father of 10, himself, is from a long line of people who were leaders in Accompong Town. He said that his great-grandfather, Henry Rowe, was the first colonel in Accompong Town. Chief RichardCurrie is his aunt’s grandson, and the current deputy chief, Chase Rowe, is his son. When Jamaica gained political Independence in 1962, Rowe said he was in Accompong Town on August 6. Some people were “merry and glad”, others were “sad”. There was “no big celebration, more than the ordinary”, though there were ‘clappers’ and ‘starlights’. In essence, the 1962moment didn’tmeanmuch to the Maroons as they had got their “freedom”224 years before. “We the Maroons, we win our sovereignty, wewin our freedom, we are united, we have less crime and violence, we are a little different,” he explained. And in his days, children were not given a free rein in familial andcommunal spaces; they couldnot do or say as they pleased. There was much restriction by parents. “People talking about modern times and changes, and all that, but I wish I could find the living that we havewhen I was growingup, sharing, giving, loving,”Rowe saidwistfully. Andafter over 200 years ofMaroon “freedom” and 60 years of Jamaica being an Independent nation, social and infrastructural challenges abound in Accompong Town. Despite the claims, thepublic institutions thereare runby the JamaicanGovernment, and theMaroons vote in Jamaica’s general and parochial elections. So Accompong Town is at a fork in the road, mired in a political and constitutional conundrum it is. Which way does it really want to go? Full autonomy or assimilation into the wider Jamaican society?“With dialogue, everythingwill soonsortout. I think so,”Dolphy Rowe prophesied. TheGleaner reachedout toDeputy Chief ChaseRowe for an input butwas toldbyAlexMoore-Minott,‘secretary of state’, that he was not available. Accompong Town, St Elizabeth. File Accompong Maroon says 1738 was their 1962 BEEN THERE, DONE THAT! Dolphy Rowe, a Maroon said Independence was not a big deal for the them, as they gained independence before August 6, 1962. NICHOLAS NUNES/ PHOTOGRAPHER JAMAICA AT 60: ST ELIZABETH


NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2022 8 jamaica at Audley Boyd/News Editor WESTERN BUREAU: T REASURE BEACH residentHughlettDyght lastweek reflectedon thegoodol’days in his community. As he stands in front of his supermarket business overlooking the shoreline at Great Bay, the ‘50s generation stalwart reminds of a time when the scores of boats paraded the seas for Independence Day regatta celebrations. Commenting on the occasion, Dyght said: “Because of the pomp and pride it makes us draw together as a people, and down here is no exception. It’s something thatmakes us feel pride inside of us to say we’re independent.” In his well-defined, deeply toned voice, Dyght, a down-to-earth man with a known dedication to service, proudly reminisced on the pride of place held by his community and its people – including former Bank of Jamaica Governor G. Arthur Brown – in the grand scheme of celebrations marking the landmark signing and responsibility taken on by this nation in 1962. In that period, Dyght noted that hewas only 12 years old. “When Independence came, I was living in Kingston. I never knew much about Independencebecause I was 12andmymother and father had migrated to the motherland, England, and they shipped me off to Kingston togo livewithmy sister andmake life there,”he recalled, noting that as aboy, Independencewas more about“merrymaking”. “One year after Independence I went to Kingston…I learntmore about Independence while I was up there and I kept following it up every year since then. And, as a result of that I have gained a lot of experience out of it,” he remarked. “I duly enjoyed. I had some great times up there. I did 25 years in Kingston and came back to live in St Elizabeth,” said Dyght, a JP who was also a former Jamaica Football Federation executive, former Kingston and St Andrew Football Association treasurer, premier league referee, plus other things. His first trip fromTreasure Beach to Kingston was a trip tobehold, explaininghowpassengers had to literally carry the bus past a point on the trip because of a steep hill. “We used to have a bus service that run from here toKingston. I remember the first time I left here to go toKingston.Thebus left from one o’clock and all 11 o’clock it just a reach Kingston,” he laughed. “Whenyou’regoingupSpurTree Hill, thebus driverwould say“oonu have to come out enuh because the bus can’t go over the hill”. So we had to push it over a place called‘Man Bump’. When it clear‘ManBump’thewholeof us board thebus again and it gone. It was fun.” When he returned to Treasure Beach, a big man then, Dyght started getting deeper into his community roots andhadmore to say about Independence, noting that the country has not grown as it should. “I think Jamaica could have done better off not being independent. I thinkwe should have been under the British colonisers still because I think the leaders that we have in both political parties theyonly speak, noaction, andas a result of that toomany things have been happening. The whole of the money scandals and this ya scandal and them things deh. If it was under a different government plenty of them would be in jail. I’m being honest, I’m a man who talk straight and plain,”Dyght argued. “Oneof the things thatweneed to see, I think thepoliticians need tobemoreopen topeople. Them need to have dialogue with them, talk with themandhelp create the environment for people to live in, rather thanyouhavingall sorts of thingshappening in thecountryand they turn ablindeye, when in reality youknow it could’ve beenaverted. As longaswedon’t change these things, we’ll never go forward,”he remarked. Along with his deep sense of fairness, Dyght expressed pride with the fact that the roads inTreasureBeachwereborneout of“the first self-helpproject in thehistory of Jamaica, by Michael Manley”, noting that they also got water, light and telephone. Describing the place as one of the “most thriving communities”, he highlighted their fishing, market and baked produce among the nation’s finest. Boat building was another speciality and this fed into the area’s Independence celebrations. “People used to flockdownhere, full, because everybody wanted to watch the regattas. And there were no sponsors. Itwas just for the loveof it,”he remarkedof aperiod leading right back to the 1980s. “We’re a community that is friendly. When tourists come here plenty of time they don’t want to leave. Plenty of them ask ifwehave land to sell them.Youhardlyhear anything happening in this area. The bond is there between all of us, we have a great bond,” he said. “During that era in the Independenceperiod weused tohavemandownherewho, after four o’clock, if you’renot fromwithin the community you have to leave. Themman deh nah ask you if you have to leave, you have to leave. So no outsider couldn’t come down here and gwaan like this and that,”he informed. Dyght says they have had one-off shows every now and then and expressed the hope that “for the 60th anniversary, maybe a wise manmay come along and say‘let us move it forward’.” That, he said, would satisfy him personally. “I’mlooking forward to it, 60 means a lot toall of uswho have lived through that era and the youngsters who come up and are learning, becausewe’d have known about (things) from the Independence era coming up,” Dyght admitted. Hughlet Dyght, owner of Town supermarket in Great Bay, St Elizabeth.w ‘We would have been better off under British rule’ Great Bay Beach, Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth. PHOTOS BY ASHLEY ANGUIN/PHOTOGRAPHER JAMAICA AT 60: ST ELIZABETH

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2022 10 jamaica at Paul H. Williams/Gleaner Writer ST ELIZABETH is knownas the‘breadbasket of Jamaica’. The second largest parish is a place that produces a variety of food on a grand scale. A lot of it is sold in Kingston’s Coronation Market, from where it is further distributed tocentral and eastern parishes. The southern section, especially, of this western parish, is teeming with onion, scallion, tomato, thyme, carrot, potato, pineapple, mellow, cucumber, cantaloupe, etc. Historically, it is also Jamaica’s ‘Bammy Capital’, and still produces a great majority of the country’s bammy. Put MiddleQuarters, knownas‘ShrimpCountry’into the culinarymix, and then there is Scott’s Cove, a place that is known for its palate-tantalising seafood. Less than one minute from the border with Westmoreland, the area itself is calledBorder. It used to be an idyllic little cove, with a blinding sunset, but has evolved into a fishing village of sort straddlingbothparishes. It is anestingplace for a varietyof birds includingherons, andhome to attention-seeking crocodiles. When TheGleaner visited recently therewere no‘crocs’in sight, nor were theremany patrons. Itwas a slowearlyweekday, but the regular fried fish, festival, bammy, soup, boiled corn, etc, were ready and waiting to be chowed down. They were as scrumptious as they were sumptuous. To get a feel of what was going on in this south-western part of the island, The Gleaner spoke with a husband-and-wife team, Derron and Nekeisha Perrin, as the other vendors were more concerned about the slow sales for the day. The popular eating spot has survived the ravages of COVID-19, and is looking towards the daywhen thepandemicwill takea fast boat back to China. The major and perpetual challenge is that “everybody sell the same thing”, and according to Nekeisha Good customer service then will make a difference. “It very important. The way you treat your customers make dem wanna come back,” she explained. But, it is also about the food itself, the way it tastes, and how it is presented. Each vendor’s food has a distinct taste, but fundamental to it is the spices, the onion, the pepper and the vinegar. It is also prepared in a “special way that is not disclose,”Nekeisha said. The festival that she andher husband sell, she said, is very different from the others. “There is nowhere in the world where you can get this type of festival. It can be taken home and don’t get tough,” Nekeisha declared. The dough for such a ‘always-soft’ festival was developed by Derron, whom she joined in the business sometime ago. Then, there is the relationship that sellers havewith their customers.“A see a lot of people come here without any money, and they still eat, there is a bond with people to make sure nobody leaves hungry,” Derron explained. It does not matter how small themoney is; there is something for it. Credit is evenextended to somepeoplewho will return to pay eventually. “It’s a relationship betweenus and customers,”he shared. He then dashed across the road with a platter of food to take to a customer, leaving his wife to field questions about Jamaica 60. Nekeisha Perrin said everything in Jamaica was “going forward” until COVID-19 struck. At age 60,“I think Jamaica is still a great place, and I don’t want to live anywhere else. I travel, but it is just to go and come back,” she explained. Crime and violence are not a factor at Scott’s Cove.“It’s reallygood”being there, and she“find no fault”. She is making sure that when August 6 comes along there is enough seafood, etc, in the breadbasket that St Elizabeth is. Nekeshia Perrin, a food vendor at Scott Cove, Border, St Elizabeth, prepares festivals to serve with steam fish as she talks about the challenges she faces in the business. PHOTOS BY NICHOLAS NUNES/ PHOTOGRAPHER Customers waiting their turn to purchase food at Scott Cove, the border between Westmoreland and St Elizabeth. Davion Thompson, a chef and fisherman in Scott Cove, Border, St Elizabeth, finishes a fishpot to end his day’s work. Scott’s Cove keeps in the basket SEAFOOD JAMAICA AT 60: S ELIZABETH

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2022 11 jamaica at THE NUMBER of original English parishes in Jamaica was seven. That was in 1664. The research revealed that itwasThomasModyford, governor from 1664-73, who first divided the island into parishes, a series of church enclaves. Six years later, they grew to 12, which included St Elizabeth. The land west of St James and north and east of St Elizabeth was unnamed. Between1673and1692, therewere 15parishes. St Elizabethgot apieceof that unnamed territory mentioned above. The number grew to 17when in 1703, the unnamed land east of St James and parts of St Elizabeth became Westmoreland. Manchester was created fromVere, Clarendon, and St Elizabeth in 1814. St Elizabeth is now located to the west of Manchester, to the east of Westmoreland, and to the south of St James and Trelawny. It covers an areaof 1212.4km2,making it Jamaica’s second-largest parish, smaller only than Saint Ann’s 1212.6 km2. It has threemajormountain ranges: Nassau Mountains to the north-east, the LacoviaMountains to thewest of the Nassau Mountains, and the Santa Cruz Mountains. A large part of the lowlands is covered bymorass. It has evolved into a prosperous pa r i sh wi th agriculture, bauxite, and fishing being major income earners. It was the first parish to get domestic electricity in Jamaica. Because of its extensive farming activities, especially in the south, it is referred to as the‘breadbasket of Jamaica’. The main river in the parish is the Black River, and measuring 53.4 kilometres (33.2 miles), it is one of the longest rivers in Jamaica. It is navigable for about 40 kilometres (25 miles) and is supported by many tributaries, includingYS, Broad, Grass, and Horse Savannah. The town of Black River became an important seaport from which large quantities of sugar, molasses, and logwood were exported. It has been on the decline for several decades now and is partially propped up by the tours up the river. Other places of interest are the St Elizabeth Parish Church, the Black River Courthouse, Lovers’Leap, Lovers’ Leap Lighthouse, Bamboo Avenue, Appleton Railway Station, Appleton Estates, BalaclavaRailwayStation, and the LacoviaTombstones. But how much do you yourself knowabout theparishof St Elizabeth? Find out by answering the following questions: 1. How did St Elizabeth get its name? 2. Where did the name Lacovia come from? 3.Whosename is inscribedonone of the tombstones at Lacovia? 4.What is the original name of the town of Black River? 5.Whodesigned the townof Black River? 6. How long is the Black River? 7. Is theBlackRiver the longest river in Jamaica? 8. When did Black River become thepermanent capital of St Elizabeth? 9.What is called Invercauld? 10. In what year did Black River become the first town in Jamaica to be lit by electricity? 11. What was Waterloo House before it became a guest house? 12. Onwhichmountain range is the district of Malvern located? 13.Whowere the twomenwhose money funded the establishment of MunroCollegeandHamptonSchool? 14. When was Munro College founded? 15. When was Hampton School founded? 16. How did Holland Bamboo get its name? 17. Why was bamboo planted in the area? 18.Whenwas the parish church of St JohnThe Evangelist built? 19. What is the name of the monument erected in honour of Africanswhowere thrownoverboard for insurance purposes? 20. Which of the following is not a town in St Elizabeth? Newell, Maggotty, Porus, and Siloah. 21.What isMiddleQuarters famous for? 22. Who was the first owner of YS Estate? 23. Which Maroon community is situated in St Elizabeth? ANSWERS 1. Itwasnamedafter Elizabeth, Lady Modyford, wifeofThomasModyford, governor of Jamaica 1664-71. 2. FromtheSpanishword, la caoba, which is the original Taino word for mahogany. 3. Thomas Jordan Spencer. 4. Gravesend. 5. The Leyden brothers from England. 6. 53.4km 7. It is the longest navigable, but not the longest. 8. 1773. 9. Agreat house inBlack River built by Patrick Leyden. 10. 1893. 11. The residence of the Leyden brothers 12. Santa Cruz 13. Hugh Munro and Caleb Dickenson. 14. 1856. 15. 1858. 16. FromHolland Estate. 17. To break the force of strong winds. 18. 1837. 19.TheZongMassacreMonument. 20. Porus. 21. Shrimp and crayfish. 22. Thomas Scott. 23. AccompongTown. Holland Bamboo in St Elizabeth on June 28, 2017. File ST BESS TRIVIA: HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR PARISH? JAMAICA AT 60: ST ELIZABETH

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2022 12 Keisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer THE ST Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), known for its athletic prowess, innovative curriculum, and academic excellence, has in its 61 years produced an abundance of accomplished Jamaicans. Locatedon theoutskirts of SantaCruz, the late former Jamaica Football Federation President Captain Horace Burrell, former West Indies fast bowler-turned-politician Darren Powell, and leading academician Professor AlvinWint have all graced the halls of this noble institution. In 1958, the Santa Cruz Citizens’ Association initiated the idea to start the school. After various representations were made to the Ministry of Education and Kaiser Bauxite Company, these institutions soon realised the importance of a technical school, and so the latter donated 137 acresof landandagrant of ten thousandpounds fromthe educationministry to start theproject. In October 1961, the doors of St Elizabeth Technical High School were opened to approximately 110 students. “It was one of the three schools of higher learningat that level in theparish, withHampton School andMunroCollegebeing theother two. During that time, attending high school was consideredaprivilege, and therewere somany more students that wanted to learn,”said Keith Wellington, current principal at STETHS. Since its inception, the school hasbecomeone of themost outstanding secondary institutions in Jamaica. Its growth has been overseen by sevenprincipals, and the school populationhas grown to 1,750 students. “Our programmes have diversified over the years, and the school has grown and is now modernised, so that our students can continue tomake significant contributions to Jamaica. Our excellence has manifested itself in the number of outstanding students that have graced our campus. Our graduates include university professors, educators, entrepreneurs, medical doctors, sportsmen and women, entertainers, politicians, and many other nation-builders,” Wellington said. Wellington, who started his sojourn at the institution in 2008, said their curriculum has expanded to include the traditional grammar subjects, along with the technical areas. Some of the technical areas include welding, auto mechanic, foodpreparation, agriculture science, cosmetology, clothing and textiles, and more recently, animation and software “The school has gone through different phases, and has been consistent in terms of quality andperformance, especiallyover the last 10 years. Over that timeperiod, wehave seenan increaseof up to80per cent inour CSECpasses, andup to90percent inour CAPEperformance,” he said. With the facility being established by the community for the community, Wellington is envisioning that the school will continue to morph into an institution that offers education not just to its student body, but also to people in the wider community. “Wewant topositionourselvesasapolytechnic institution, wherewe canoffer courses fromThe University of the West Indies, for example. We are already an accredited training institution with the HEART/NSTATrust, andwewill ensure that we continue to provide opportunities for our students to learn. Wellington continues to see STETHS as belonging to thewider St Elizabethcommunity, who view the school as their own and are willingly buying into the various strategies beingemployed to keep the institutionvibrant, successful and appealing. Some of the achievements of the institution include having won the Headley Cup cricket trophy for 11 consecutive years, between 1979 and 1989, andwinning 27 other titles between 1979 to present. They arealso theonly school tohavebeen the national schoolboy champions in both cricket and football in the same year, that of 1999- 2000. They were also chosen as one of the top five schools to represent Jamaica for Junior Achievers inMexico for the 2017-2018 academic year. Additionally, they were placed first for block making and third for food preparation at the WorldSkills competition. keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com STETHS: A tradition of excellence Keisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer WOULDN’ T IT be a momentous occasion to celebrate your birthday, alongside that of the country of your birth? Well, for educator Joy Keane of Potsdam in St Elizabeth, for 75 years she has had the pleasure of celebrating thiswonderfulmilestone. Keane was 16 years old when Jamaica became an independent nation, and it was an absolute joy for her, as she also prepared to celebrate her birthdayonAugust 6. “Therewas abig celebration at the Rose Hall Primary School, and I was dressed differently. I wore a thimble heel shoes, what you call spike heel now, and a hobble dress with a four-inch band around thewaist. I was so excited,” she said. The last of 13 children, Keane, then Simpson, lived in Heathfield district in St Elizabeth. A very quiet farming community, most of the people were either farmers or teachers, whileothers left the community for abetterway of life. After her marriage, she relocated some six miles away to Potsdam, which she continues to call her home. “Itwas a veryhumble community, but most of thepersons have alreadypassed on or have gone. Most persons, at the time, inheritedslave lands for themselves, andmygrandfather’s propertyhas been passed on from generation to generation,” Keane said. An avid churchgoer herself, all her family she said attended the St Mary’s Anglican Church, which recently celebrated 175 years. In her early years, Keane attended the Rose Hall Primary School, then the BethlehemMoravian College inMalvern, home to some of Jamaica’s top faculty, students, alumni and staff. Her professional career started at Bethlehem All-Age School, and then shebecameprincipal of theMorningside PrimarySchool.Withover 50years in theeducation system in St Elizabeth, Keane is now a board member at Munro College, located in the Potsdam community. “From ever since, I have loved children dearly. I have done everythingpossible to assist children and students, especially with their education. I have done fundraisers, and have even taken some of these children into my home and gave them an opportunity to complete their education,”Keane said. “Many of these children have never forgottenme, and they are doing exceptionally well, somuch so that those that I have helped are now helping other students that are in need,”she added. Keane iswell known in and aroundher community for her philanthropic efforts, andeven though shehas retired from the classroom, she continues to give back. For her unwaveringsupport toeducationandher community, she has receivednumerous awards, including several national decorations, one being the nation’s highest honours, the Order of Distinction, Commander class. “We are a great nation, andwemust continue to uplift and educate our citizens. Our young people can achieve so much, if they would only learn that success does not comeovernight.Theymust understand that theyhave to work forwhat theywant, and this takes time,”Keane said. keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com jamaica at Joy Keane remembers Independence celebrations ‘WE ARE A GREAT NATION’ ‘We must continue to uplift and educate our citizens. Our young people can achieve so much, if they would only learn that success does not come overnight. They must understand that they have to work for what they want, and this takes time.’ JoyKeane, whowas bornonAugust 6, 1946, remembers the Independence celebrations in 1962. CONTRIBUTED JAMAICA AT 60: ST ELIZABETH


NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2022 14 Paul H.Williams/GleanerWriter ONTUESDAY, February 1, when a Gleaner team spoke with Pearleta Smith in Middle Quarters, St Elizabeth, about changes in that community since 1962, she said nothing had changed. “It still the same, I don’t see no real change. It is still the same,” was her quick response. She was one of a few vendors the team saw along the road leading to the square, which itself was bereft of any commercial activity. The shrimps and the humans seemed to have disappearedupstreamthe littlewater source running nearby. That was a far cry from yesteryear, when the district, known as the‘Shrimp Capital of Jamaica’, was overrun with sellers and buyers. Apart from the ‘swims’ (shrimps) therewerebammy, fish, fruits, cooked food, etc, in this must-go-to place in the‘breadbasket parish’. Its location, along the main road to Black River, makes it easily accessible. It cannot bemissed. It was also a popular place for tour operators to take tourists. The distinct tastes of the peppered shrimps and crayfish are the pulling factors, but things and times have changed. The shrimp-selling business in Middle Quarters has been shrinking gradually, barely afloat. Thus, Pearleta’s response was not entirely accurate. Things have taken a turn for the worse in a place that is well-known throughout the Jamaican diaspora. Apart from the struggling shrimp-selling industry, there is nothing significant to sustain the development of the community, which has a serious water shortage problem for years going. One reason for the slow sales is the infrequency of visits by tour buses, and the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic took away some of the flames from under the shrimp pots. Another challenge is the everescalating prices from the fishermen ,who get their catches from the various water sources in the region, all theway to Black River. The vendors have to absorb the increases, because buyers are not willing to pay more. This is a negative for those who might be considering selling shrimps for a living. For years, that endeavour has been the main source of income for people living within and outside of the community. Houses have been built from it, cars have been bought from it, education has been financed by it; great reasons to keep the industry alive. But, the younger folk are not interested in employment in the industry, thus breaking the generational involvement. “It nuh easy, enuh. Rain come wet yuh, sun come bun yuh, so yuh wouldn’t like yuh kids them to have the same rough life that yuh guh through. Yuh would want them to have a better life,”Smith explained. She had followed in her mother’s footsteps, literally, running from vehicle to vehicle for over 30 years, but has no blood relative to grab the baton from her. Also, she said she has lost two sisters, whowere fellow vendors, who died earlier this year as a result of COVID-19 complications. She is crying out for alternate employment opportunities in the community for the youths, including her son, who she said has five CXC subjects under his belt. “We really want a call centre to help the young people them ...more jobs ... . just come into the community and give them some form of encouragement ... keep a session for all the young men in the community ... to groom them, to show themhow to became aman, to achieve. give thema push to achieve independence,”Smith pleaded. Achieving independence is what Michael Samuels, the lone male vendor the team saw, is doing. He is not averse to his children joining him in the business if that is really what theywant to do. Yet, thementality of the young men towards the selling aspect of the industry, according to Samuels, is another factor why the industry is losing traction. They regard it a job for women. For them, it is not an option. “A whole heap a bash dem bash mi when mi out yah a sell, say mi a man, mi fi guh look adda work duh, awoman fi inna de business,”he said, “But, it shouldn’t be like that. Yuh need man fi come inna de business, come help the ladies, to show them how to prepare the shrimps ... dem need man fi guide them.” KeishaHill /Senior GleanerWriter PRESIDENT OF the St Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce, Howard Hendricks, says the parish is poised for major developments that could lift the standard for small businesses; however, greater participation is needed fromtheoriental business community that have seenan increase in their number in the last five years. Hendricks, who is also community relations officer at theNationalWorks Agency, said there has been a large influx of the oriental business class in the parish. “From then we have seen the diminishing of theblack entrepreneurial business class.Most of these businesses were in a retail or wholesale. So, when the Chinese came in, for example, we had12 supermarkets thatwereownedbyblack entrepreneurs. Of that number, about 10of them are now owned by the Chinese,”he said. The Chinese, he said, are buying in bulk and with the sourcingof cheaper rawmaterials, other entrepreneurs have soldout because they could not compete, especially thosewhowereexisting on lease agreements. “These entrepreneurs did not own the buildings. What the Chinese have done is to payextended rent, for example, onayearlybasis, that have frustrated theother business owners,” Hendricks said. This practice, he said, has inhibited the continued growth and development of the parish. “We are thankful that they are around to create employment, but there are cultural differences.When they comehere, they justwant labour, andmoreover, they arenot like the early Chinesemigrants,”he said. The new generation of Chinese migrants, he said, are not friendly. Most of the towns, he said, including Black River, Balaclava, Santa Cruz,Maggotty, and Junction, theChinesehave purchasedproperty or have leased it, andwhile they have good business ethics, they do not foster good community relations. “What we should be doing is learn from them, and learn how their business progress. They come together and they work together, whichwe arenot doing, and they arebecoming successful,”Hendricks said. “But they do not socialise, and they keep to themselves. They also do not participate in the development of the community or the towns. Whatever profits they make goes directly back to them, and this is not good for the continued growth of the parish,”he added. While indicating that it is good to save and manage business profits, having a good rapport with other businesses, and the wider community, can bode well for their safety, and the development of the towns in which they do business. keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com Howard Hendricks, president, St Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce. FILE St Bess poised for development, says Chamber boss Pearleta Smith (left) and Michael Samuel in Middle Quarters, St Elizabeth, said the price the fishermen charge for the crayfish causes the vendors to sell at a high price, which turns away customers. NICHOLAS NUNES/PHOTOGRAPHER jamaica at ‘SWIMS’ business fluttering in Middle Quarters JAMAICA AT 60: ST ELIZABETH