NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2022 5 Paul H. Williams/Gleaner Writer AT LATE dusk, on Tuesday, March 1, a Gleaner news team arrived in the eastern Westmoreland district of Seaford Town. The team wanted to speak with some elders before rushing out of the historic town before nightfall. While we were cruising to find a ‘chat spot’ we saw a brown-skinned, bleached-blonde woman on her veranda counting breeze. She turned out to be of pleasant disposition, admitted she was not the best person to talk with about Independence issues, and sent us to an elderly German couple, who refused to speak because the man was busy cooking. He, however, sent us to find a Roy Chambers, a retired policeman. We found his niece first. She alerted him of our presence, but refused to be interviewed formally. By the time Fritzroy Chambers arrived night had covered us with its black blanket, under which we sat on the steps of the piazza of a shop and patron-less bar. A few streetlights glowed from under the blanket which got much darker by the time the brief interview was over. It was mainly about the paucity of functioning streetlights in such a storied place. Chambers initially attributed it to the lack to the ineffectiveness of local government. He said, “Local government as it is now has no authority. Anywhere in Jamaica local government has no authority, is only the minister of local government has any talk. The local government of the parish councils (municipal corporations) have no talk. The mayors and the councillors and whosoever they want to be, they could talk until thy kingdom come, they have no authority.” There are councillors who want to improve their divisions, but they do not have the funds, he further stated, and “not all the blame the parish council should be getting, because sometimes the councillors try.” “And sometimes the very people who put up the streetlights come back to thief them, that is what Jamaica must talk about. The very people that parish council pay to put up the streetlight them, in a couple a day them would come back and thief them and sell them,”Chambers claimed, “So, Jamaica the land of wood and water is now the land of corruption.” The community historian has been living in ‘German/Jarman Town’ for over 60 years and still has vivid memories of Independence Day 1962. The first to come to mind were the“tinmugs” and the“chalk cups”that the “smaller children” and “bigger children”, respectively, got at the primary school. Jamaica Independence and coat of arms were emblazoned on them. They were also recipients of Jamaican flags. He also recalled a particular type of trees being planted on the school compound and in other places. So, how have things been since then? “The community gone back about a hundred and odd years. Because in 1962 you had more people living in Seaford Town,” Chambers recollected. At the time, banana was the number-one crop in Seaford Town to the extent that “you could hardly see a house in Seaford Town because of the banana cultivation”. Now, he said, “You hardly find a cooking banana in SeafordTown.” Jobs outside of the farming sector are also scarce. So is money to send children to school as far away as Savanna-la-mar and Montego Bay. There is a heavy dependence of remittances from aboard, and a constant migration from the community. Such is the lot of Seaford Town, not to mention the streetlight issues. While some people would love to see the diamond on the Jamaica 60 ring sparkle in the glare of the ‘moons on sticks’ (streetlights) in SeafordTown, while they celebrate on‘August Night’, Fritzroy Chambers, a devout Catholic, said he does not mind the darkness, he is used to it, and love when the place is well lit by the moon, which was nowhere to be seen on that night. “The darkness is not a problem to mi. Mi love the darkness, cause mi know when a moonshine a the prettiest thing you can see,” he said while beaming. And with that the team got ready to leave as there was no moonlight to guide us out of the place that was established in 1835 by Lord Seaford as a settlement for northern German immigrants, who were enticed by promises of land, houses and jobs. They were to encounter a hard-knock life in the dark“wilderness” into which they were deposited. Now, 187 years later, their descendants could still be without streetlights for the next 60 years. Community Historian and retire policeman, Fritzroy Chambers, says he does not mind the dark nights in Seaford Town, Westmoreland, especially when the moonshine is “pretty”. NICHOLAS NUNES/PHOTOGRAPHER HISTORIC SEAFORD TOWN TO CELEBRATE DIAMOND JUBILEE IN THE DARK jamaica at JAMAICA AT 60: WESTMORELAND
NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2022 6 Keisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer IN THE hustle and bustle of the mid-morning sun, walking along Beckford Street, in SavannaLa-Mar, we came across, Derrick Parchment, a 58-year-old labourer, who was busy talking with his friends before heading off to work. Leaning against a pole, at the steps of a bar, directly across from Sinclair’s Bargain Centre, also known as ‘Hurry Hurry’, one of the oldest stores in the area, Parchment, recalled the early days of an independent Jamaica, when the streets were less congested, and they would put partitions in the road with old kerosene pans and played cricket to their hearts’ content. “Everything has changed,”he said. “There are more businesses and pedestrians, and of course many, many more cars. In early independence days, we would walk everywhere, and when we had to go out of town, we would take the train or the early bus and go to our destinations,” he said. Now, with pedestrians literally tripping over each other to get to their destinations and the town turned into a one way street for traffic purposes, Parchment said everything is now fast paced and less peaceful during the early days. “Let me tell you something: now you can’t find anywhere to walk. When I was a boy, and at Christmas time, we used to come here and enjoy ourselves. We even received gifts from Mr Sinclair, and we definitely looked out for each other,” Parchment said. Parchment also bemoaned the high level of criminal activities not just in the capital city, but across the parish. “When we were growing up, if you heard of someone dying, it would be an older person that has passed on. Now, everybody is dying, and we are very afraid. After certain times, hardly anyone comes out on the street. Everybody lock up their shop and go home,” he lamented. With persons apparently losing respect for each other and themselves over the years, Parchment believes that values and attitudes should be taught in the home, and at school, so that younger people can break the current trend of violence in the communities. “We cannot continue like this. If we want Jamaica to move forward in the next five to 10 years, we have to start with our children and young people. They must have respect for themselves and others just like we did when we were growing up. We must love and help each other, and that will help our communities to grow and we will do better as a country,” he said. In recent years, Savanna-la-Mar has steadily lost its importance as a town to the tourismMecca of Negril. The town was established by the Spanish in 1730 and was named Savanna-la-Mar, meaning‘the plain by the sea’. Savanna-la-Mar currently sports several historic buildings, including the renowned Mannings School. The town’s economic activities centre around sugar, retail, and occasional benefits from the Negril tourism trade. Other places of interest include the courthouse, theWestmoreland Parish Church, The Fountain, and the Old Fort. firstname.lastname@example.org Paul H. Williams/Gleaner Writer MAROON CULTURE, Rastafari, Revivalism and Kumina are inextricably intertwined with Jamaica’s history and heritage. Their rituals and practices, songs, dance, and drumming are regarded a significant part of Jamaica’s intangible culture, and were some time ago officially recognised as such by the Jamaican Government. Their sensibilities, ethos and practices are separate, confined to their own spaces and time, and it is uncommon to see a confluence of such. One of the few who are straddling two of them at the same time is Robert ‘Sugar’ Farquharson, of Roaring River, Westmoreland. Farquharson was born and bred in Braes River, St Elizabeth, in a Revivalist family, headed by his late aunt, ‘Mother Pryce’, but has been living in Roaring River for over 30 years now. He said he will not differentiate between Revivalismand Rastafari because they are coming fromAfrican retentions, and that Rastafari has its genesis in Revivalism. Regarded a healer, he is also an expert acoustic drummer and drum-maker, who works with “all kinds of different resources”. Standing near to what is left of the foundation of his aunt’s revival church, he said he is a healer who does not announce himself, but attend to those who come to get his assistance. Farquharson said he works with the “spirit of the Almighty, talking to the most high”, and would reach for a Jeremiah leaf or cerasee, and if the ailment is something that he cannot better, PLEASE SEE SUGAR, 7 Robert Farquharson of Roaring River, Westmoreland. NICHOLASNUNES/PHOTOGRAPHER ‘Sugar’ maintaining independence with Rastafari and Revivalism A section of Great George Street, Savanna-la-Mar in the vicinity of the market. FILE Sav resident laments the crime situation in the parish We cannot continue to live like this jamaica at JAMAICA AT 60: WESTMORELAND
NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2022 7 SUGAR CONTINUED FROM 6 he would tell the afflicted to seek help elsewhere, whether medical or a “higher physician who can do more”. He prefers when the afflicted has visited a doctor before going to him. Herbal medicine, prayer, a connection to the Almighty and the ancestors are the secret to the healing. His grandfather was a healer himself. “It is in the bloodline, and it is not for a man to ignore something in the bloodline,” he stated. He said he has seen his grandfather heal people with “fasting, prayer and herb”, and even through “conversations with higher ancestors”. “Some people think that it is duppy, enuh, but I no see dat. I know that spirits can jus talk to yuh like how you and I talking right now, and you respond, if you understand.”This consciousness of the healing powers of Revivalismhe said began when he was in his 20s, but he has been following the concept of Rastafari from he was “a little youth growing up around Rasta”. “I listen how dem talk, and gradually I just get a vision from his majesty, and I see the majestic on a mission, and I just know is just Rasta. Whether you is a Christian, whether you is anything, but Rasta for me is just the foundation,” he said. So, Farquharson is a Rastaman healing people through Revivalism, which is mixture of African religiosity and European Christian beliefs and practices. This is incongruent to Rastafari, which is averse to much of the beliefs and practices of Christianity. It is about having an independence of thought and practices, and not about being concerned about what people might say and perceive of him. He cited the concept of ‘one aim, one destiny’, saying that there should be no conflict among themselves because of differences in thoughts. “Right now, in the concept of Rastafari, we just have to respect each other, no matter who the person is, we are connected to the same powers, is just one Almighty, and the one Almighty belongs to all nations,” he explained. The origin and evolution of Maroon culture, Kumina, Revivalism and Rastafari predated Jamaica’s political Independence in 1962. Arising from the experiences of our enslaved African ancestors who were brought here as chattels by Europeans to work on the plantations that dotted the country, they are rooted and grounded here, but have their own dynamics and world view. And in this the 60th year of Independence their roots are still deeply embedded in the psyche of many Jamaican people – Farquharson is one of them. Keisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer THE MUCHDESIRED, West End is the place to be while in Negril. It is renowned for its many sought-after attractions, including the Negril Lighthouse and Negril Scuba Centre, with lively surroundings, fine restaurants, shopping areas and stunning attractions. On these meandering roads in the West End, several craft vendors display exquisite pieces of jewellery and artefacts synonymouswithour Jamaican culture. Just opposite Ricks Café, an iconic landmark in Negril, we found a craft vendor, Kenneth Brown, who has been peddling his merchandise for over 15 years. His products, all hand-made, Craft vendor Kenneth Brown showcases one of his craft-work at his shop in Negril, Westmoreland. ASHLEY ANGUIN/PHOTOGRAPHER We are not reaping the benefits of tourism –Craft vendor PLEASE SEE TOURISM, 8 jamaica at JAMAICA AT 60: WESTMORELAND
NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2022 8 TOURISM CONTINUED FROM 7 are reasonably priced, but since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, business has been really slow. “We are not reaping the benefits of the tourist market. Althoughmost of my products are made by me, I still have overhead costs associated with my daily living expenses,” Brown said. With almost the entire stall decked out in Rastafari-inspired items, it is a great place to pick up a souvenir, including Rasta-coloured beads, pieces in many styles and paintings. A former hotel worker, Brown, who lost his job, began his trade as a craft vendor. “The tourists are coming,” he said. “But they are not buying anything. Crafts are now sold in the hotels’gift shops, where other craft vendors are allowed to operate. We have also lost our sales to many immigrant shopkeepers who sell similar craft items in shops set up in the town,” he said. An isolated and remote fishing village until the late 1960s, Negril has grown to become one of Jamaica’s largest and most rapidly expanding resort towns. According to the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), Negril represents 20 per cent of the island’s stop over visitors. Negril’s expansion came in the wake of efforts by the Jamaican Government in the period leading up to independence in 1962 to diversify its economy away from agriculture and its decision to pursue tourism as a major post-war development strategy. With the midday sun pelting down our backs, it was hard to imagine all these vendors, sitting in their stalls for the entire day, with few or no sales. “It is hard now. Business was good when I started, and we used to enjoy what we are doing. We are not even safe any more as crime is also a major issue. When we go out, we can’t say that we will go back in safe,”Brown said. At the onset of the pandemic, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett met with craft vendors, one of the key sub-sector groups in tourism. With the closure of borders tourism came to a halt, leaving many workers and businesses displaced. Unfortunately, Brown and his colleagues did not benefit from the fiscal actions to cushion the economic impact of COVID-19. According to Brown, these days he looks forward to the sunset as that is about the only time they are likely to make a sale. email@example.com Paul H. Williams/Gleaner Writer AT BELMONT, Westmoreland, there is a beautiful cream-sand beach that could rival any on the north coast. The folk in the area call it ‘Peter Beach’. Right in front of it is a gated property. On it, ‘Peter House’, better known as the Peter Tosh Mausoleum, is mounted. When The Gleaner visited recently the beach was bereft of any human being. It sizzled under the midday sun and was quenched by the ebb and flow of the turquoise Caribbean Sea. There was also no human activity on the property on which the late great reggae icon is resting. It was dead. The days when “bus upon bus, upon bus” would stop by are suspended, but Neville ‘King Black’ Powell wants them to come back. The Gleaner chanced upon him as he was walking along the main road. The team wanted to know where exactly the Mausoleumwas. He, who was wearing a T-shirt with ‘Peter Tosh’ emblazoned on it, said he was the ‘guard man’ for the private property, also known as ‘Morris Land’. Upon our request, he followed us back to the gate fromwhich the eternal home of one of the Wailers could be seen. There, Powell spoke about how COVID-19 has affected his fishing business, and has brought the trips to one of Westmoreland’s most popular destination to a screeching halt. When the topic of Jamaica 60 and Queen Elizabeth II still being Jamaica’s head of state was broached, the Rastafarian who was born August 8 said, among other things, “A we give the queen dem good food fi eat, right through the world … A we fi let har go, but Rastaman no really watch that. Rastaman Neville Powell, the gatekeeper of Peter Tosh Memorial in Belmont, Westmoreland, said he would like to see improvements on the compound of the memorial grounds for Independence. NICHOLAS NUNES/PHOTOGRAPHER NEVILLE POWELL WANTS FOR PETER TOSH BIG INDEPENDENCE SPLASH jamaica at PLEASE SEE SPLASH, 9 JAMAICA AT 60: WESTMORELAND
NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2022 11 Paul H. Williams/Gleaner Writer IT IS 60 years since the British government took down theUnion Jack, and hoisted the black, green and gold flag to signal that it was no longer in charge of the day-to-day affairs of Jamaica, which England invaded in 1655, and eventually wrestled fromthe bosomof the Spaniards who started to settle here in 1510. Fromsettlement to Independence the road was a bittersweet one, paved with slavery and sugar for the most part. Emancipation in 1838 did not do much to better the lot of the working class, and the Morant Bay Uprising in 1865 led to the establishment of the Jamaica Constabulary Force to contain the people who were crying out for social justice. The journey from 1655 to 1838, to 1865, to 1962, to 2022 was very long, but the narratives of the struggles, they seem, were the same, same script, different players. And, on a recent tour of the parish of Westmoreland The Gleaner conversed with people from six different communities to gauge their attitude towards Jamaica’s diamond milestone and what it meant to them. The general feeling is that they are not impressed, and jumping all over the place, clicking their heels. Dr Ajamu Nangwaya is one of those not celebrating, but he has taken off his doctoral gown, put on his ‘water boots’, and has turned to farming to feed himself, to be self-sufficient, truly independent, if you may. And come August 6, there shall be no fireworks to light up the very dark night where he lives in Spring Garden. He said, “Essentially, Jamaica is for sale. Jamaica cannot take hardline stance against big countries because they can squeeze us through economic control. What is there to celebrate? We do not have independence of speech and action on the international front, and domestically there are things we cannot do if the international community say you cannot do,” he stated. At Whitehouse, fisherman WoodrowMurray declared,“Nothing nah gwaan yah … It backward, right yah now the fishing industry backward. It lame out right now!” He was supported by fish vendors Jean McPherson and Donna Hill, who said that Jamaica 60 means nothing to them, especially withThe Queen being“in charge of all of us”. On part of a former slavery-day plantation there is the Abeokuta Paradise Nature Park, the definition of tranquillity, in Dean’s Valley, was where The Gleaner had a sit-down with the owner, Owen Banhan, and his son, Dorojaye, who is a great swimmer and champion half-marathon and 5K runner. Side by side, father and son talked about Independence and its significance. “We don’t independent, we are dependent,” the father asserted, “certain things we don’t have access to, we have to depend on other countries.” There is no reason to celebrate as there is a shortage of factories and other jobs, and young people are not interested in agriculture, but have turned to scamming and other crimes.” Owen also bemoaned the death of private sugar cane farming in the parish“since the Chinese took over”. “Everything pack up and throw away,”he said in reference to the closing-down of private farms that used to supply the sugar factory at Frome. Even some of the lands ownedby the factory are now lying idle. The same cannot be said about his son, who, on the cusp of adulthood, is busy making a name for himself. At age 60, he would become a successful entrepreneur who would have long established his tour company with the use of technology. Unlike his father, he has not totally given up on Independence. “I would say yes and no at the same,” he said, striking the balance at 50/50. “It is my country, so I’m happy, 60 years, but what makes me a bit sad is the crime going on in the country,” the Godfrey Stuart High student shared. He is hoping that it will eventually drop so that people can follow their dreams. When the team cruised into Roaring River we were given a brief tour of the river heads by a man called ‘First I’. Then, he brought us to ‘Sugar’, a Rastafarian/Revivalist healer, who did not hesitate when the subject was broached. “It no really mean much to me,” was the terse response. Born Robert Farquharson, the acoustic drummer of his Kutumba band, continued, “Not really saying yes. Not really independent because we depend on too many different sources to get things from. We should be more creative, make our own things, more farming, more factories, so that our own youths can be independent.” At Seaford Town, retired policeman Fritzroy Chambers does not mind the dark nights especially when the moonshine is“pretty”, but how does he feel about Jamaica’s Independence?“Technically, there is not one country on the face of this Earth that is independent. We all have to dependent on each other for something,”he answered. His niece, who requested that her name not be published, chimed in with,“Jamaicadon’t need to celebrate Independence for we are not independent.Weno independent no time at all. Demstill a borrowmoney from all bout, dem still a tek handouts, so we no need to celebrate that.” They both do not agree with the idea of The Queen still being head of state of Jamaica. JAMAICA AT 60: WESTMORELAND Dorojaye Banhan, along with his father, Owen. NICHOLAS NUNES/PHOTOGRAPHER jamaica at WHAT INDEPENDENCE?
NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2022 12 Keisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer BIKE TAXIS boldly go where taxicabs fear to travel and are often the preferred mode of public transportation in the rural parish of Westmoreland. Albeit the practice is illegal, transporting commuters on the back of motorcycles has been flourishing in the western end. WITH UNEMPLOYMENT at record-high levels in the parish, residents have been capitalising on the situation in order to make a living for themselves by offering this shuttle service. Michael Turner, who was running late for work, hoppedon to the back of Jarvis Smikle’s motor bike, which he said would take him into work withinminutes. Smikle, who has been operatinghisYengYengmotor bike as a taxi for over 10 years, described the venture as feasible.“I am self-employed, and this is how I take care of my family.Within five hours, I canmake up to $7,000 with this bike taxi. It is better than working in the sugar cane fields or even in the craft shops.Thosepeoplehardly make any money. I want to see my children do better than me, so I have to push out,” he said. Smikle lamented that with the lack of employment prospects, he was unable to purchase a motor vehicle to help him in his venture. “No matter how much partner you throw, and how much money you save, you can’t go to the bank to get a loan. They want a whole heap a things, and we don’t have any collateral to get these loans. We do what we have to do,”he said. Since Jamaica became independent, many people in rural parishes depended on the railway system for travel and to transport goods and services. It was possible to travel from Kingston to Montego Bay by train. This opened up previously inaccessible parts of the island and allowed for efficient and affordable travel between the country’s cities and towns. Trains also played a major role in the inland postal service and in getting produce from the country to the urban markets. However, lack of maintenance and investment, and the impact of severalmajor hurricanes, caused Jamaica’s railway infrastructure to deteriorate, and the Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC), which had been established as a government corporation in 1960, began to accrue major losses. Several trajectories stopped operating, and public railway transport ceased in 1992. POPULAR SERVICE Since then, motor bikes have been a popular fixture on Jamaican roads because of their low price tag, with some recent models selling for less than $170,000. This is much cheaper than the more established Japanese bike makers, and as such, has become the chosen bike for many carriers. Due to the demand of residents wanting to move their goods, many bike riders are now being employed for their services and given an incentive. “In the pandemic, many people never want to go out as such, so if they have some errands on the road, we do it for them, and we get a thing,” Smikle said. Despite the knowledge of the danger of travelling by bike taxis, commuters have no problem supporting the motorcyclists in their bid toprovide amuch-needed transportationoption, where car andbus operators fear to venture because of the bad road conditions. “We are aware of the risks, but to tell you the truth, this is howwe canmove around, and the fare can work with. Tell the Government to fix the roads then things will change,” quipped one resident who requested anonymity. firstname.lastname@example.org JAMAICA AT 60: WESTMORELAND jamaica at In this file photo, several bikers park their bike taxis at the terminus in Orange Bay, Hanover. Jarvis Smikle, a bike taxi operator says he prefer to transport his customers on his bike than working in the canefields. FILE BIKE TAXI IS BETTER THAN WORKING IN THE CANEFIELDS – Jarvis Smikle Paul H. Williams/Gleaner Writer THE NUMBER of original English parishes in Jamaica was seven, that was in 1664. Six years later, it grew to 12. The land west of St James and north of St Elizabeth was unnamed. In 1703, the unnamed land and parts of St Elizabeth became Westmoreland. In 1723, northern Westmoreland became Hanover. Westmoreland is Jamaica’s most westerly parish with Negril being the country’s most westerly point. It is home to George’s plain, one of three plains in Jamaica, and the second oldest high school, Manning’s School, in the island. Historically, it was a sugar belt, and still has a huge portion of flat lands under sugar cane cultivation. When sugar was still king, the much-needed product was shipped from the West Indies Sugar Company pier at Savanna-laMar Fort, constructed in the middle of the 18th century for £16,000. The parish is prone to natural disasters, and Savanna-la-Mar, the capital, has been destroyed several times. For instance, in the 1912 hurricane the sea rushed inland for half a mile. In 1748, the surge left many ships on dry land. The most memorable of the disasters was the one that occurred in October 1780, when a tsunami rushed inland for nearly a mile. It was followed by fire, and a massive hurricane. When it was over the town of Savanna-la-Mar was totally destroyed. Folklore has it that the disaster was a curse brought on by a sorcerer and runaway enslaved-come-bandit named Plato who terrorisedpeopleon thehighway betweenSt James andWestmoreland. Hewas deceivedwith rum, tried and hanged. Amongother things, he predicted the devastation of the parish as a parting shot. Some other places of interest include Frome; Negril Point Lighthouse rising 66 feet above the ground; Seaford Town, established on lands donated by Lord Seaford, owner of Montpelier estate; Chebuctoo Great House, located near the village of Cave on a pimento plantation; Peter Tosh’s Mausoleum; Whitehouse Fishing Village; Fish World; Hilton Plantation; Mayfield Falls; Roaring River and Blue Hole; and Royal Palm Reserve. Now, answer the following questions to see how much you know about Westmoreland. 1.What is the estimated size of Westmoreland? 2.When was Manning’s School established? 3.From which African country did the district of Abeokuta get its name? 4.What is the district of Frome mostly known after? 5.When was the Negril Point Lighthouse built? 6.When was Seaford Town first settledby German immigrants? 7.What is the longest river in Westmoreland? 8.Which is closest to Savannala-Mar, Petersfield, Sheffield or Bluefield? 9.Where is the Peter Tosh Mausoleum situated? 10.Name the two chambers of commerce inWestmoreland. 11.Which one is not in Westmoreland, Lambs River, Sevens River or Robins River? 12.Which three parishes surroundWestmoreland? 13.Where is the highest point in Westmoreland? 14.When was Savanna-la-Mar established? 15.What does Savanna-la-Mar mean? 16.Wherewas the original capital ofWestmoreland? 17.Whenwas theWestmoreland parish church originally established? 18.Whenwas the current parish churchbuilding constructed? 19.Whenwas the courthouse in Savanna-la-Mar built? 20. What is the name of the fort at Savanna-la-Mar? WESTMORELAND TRIVIA PLEASE SEE ANSWERS, 14
JAMAICA AT 60: WESTMORELAND | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2022 ADVERTISEMENT 13
NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2022 14 Paul H. Williams/Gleaner Writer IN JULY 2020, Dr Ajamu Nangwaya walked away from the ‘academic plantation’, left his job as lecturer in Rastafari and cultural studies, uprooted himself from his home-farm in Gordon Town, St Andrew, and replanted himself in Spring Garden, Westmoreland, in a space that is very far from the crowd. Where the air is salubrious, Dr Nangwaya is residing in a log house, which he helped to build with lumber from the trees on the 10-acre property called Mukasa Farms and Eco Retreat. There, he is preoccupied with growing his own food. Rain and spring water, and the energy from the sun are integral to his survival at a place where there are no immediate neighbours, and which is many miles from the nearest main towns of Little London in the east and Negril in the west. It is literally a coming-off-the grid endeavour. Born, and bred in Greenwich Farm in St Andrew, the Wolmer’s Boys’ School alumnus has been doing backyard farming since he was nine years old. He has lived and worked in the USA, where he taught organic agriculture to students in Alabama, and in Canada, where he earned a PhD in adult education and community development from the University of Toronto. The unapologetic believer in collective development was a well-known trade union leader and activist in the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), and served as vice president on the executive board of Ontario-CUPE, and six years as chairman of CUPE Local 3907. Dr Nangwaya is a staunch anticapitalist who regards capitalism as a“violent”and“oppressive” ideology ANSWERS CONTINUED FROM 12 JAMAICA AT 60: WESTMOR LAND jamaica at 1. 807km2 2. 1738 3. Nigeria 4. Sugar cane 5. 1894 6. 1835 7. Cabarita 8. Petersfield 9. Belmont 10. Negril and Savanna-la-Mar 11. Sevens River 12. Hanover, St James and St Elizabeth 13. Moreland 14. About 1730 15. Savanna by the sea 16.Queen’sTown,nowknownasCrossPath 17. 1797 18. 1904 19.1925 20. Fort George Dr Ajamu Nangwaya has left his job as an adult educator and has relocated to Spring Garden, Westmoreland in a space that is very far from the crowd. CONTRIBUTED It is a life of self-sufficiency that Dr Ajamu Nangwaya is striving to achieve at Spring Garden, Westmoreland. PHOTOS BY PAUL H. WILLIAMS Ajamu Nangwaya taking independence to ANOTHER LEVEL
NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2022 15 and practice. His Facebook posts are replete with anti-capitalist rhetoric such as, “we open our hearts and wallets to a single victim of the structural violence of capitalism”, “I am not moved by a single case of suffering because I am focused on the institutional and structural crimes of capitalism”, “we should simply refer to the bastards as bloodsucking capitalists” and “we need to create mass awareness of capitalism as a system of oppression”. To him, capitalism is about the aggrandisement of the individual, not the community. So, his moving to Spring Garden is not borne out of a flight of fancy, nor is it just an individual crusade against what capitalism contains. It is for the greater good of the community, and that is why he is not the only one on the bandwagon. He is one of four workers/members who are determined to make it work. “Oftentimes, we whine about what the system is doing to us, but we don’t embrace collective action to confront oppressive conditions. Let’s walk the talk or take the whip of oppression!” he said recently on Facebook. When The Gleaner visited him last month, Dr Nangwaya recalled the African philosophy of ubuntu, “I am because we are, we are because I am.” It is a concept in which people’s sense of self is shaped by their relationships with one another. In practice, it is about believing that common bonds within a group are more important than any individualistic philosophy and divisions within it. “Things cannot be better until the community is better. My freedom is conditioned on other people’s freedom, my prosperity is conditioned on generalised prosperity. I cannot be happy when others are not,” the man who regards himself a revolutionary petit bourgeois explained. “Now that we have revolutionised our consciousness, we must go among the people and share these bourgeois skills and knowledge that we have to raise their consciousness against oppressive conditioning,” he said. And when he was asked about the small number of people on board so far, he said the Cuban Revolution started with five people. Thus, at Makasa, the goal is to “create an alternative, an eco and tourism model to empower workers”, since it is a worker-owned business where everybody benefits from the “outcome of economic activities”. Therewill be probationary and full members who are part of the decision-making process. It is a social, economic, political and ecological developmental model that can be emulated in Jamaica, the Caribbean and the rest of the world. Not satisfied with mere political Independence, Dr Nangwaya has gone a step further. Mukasa Farms and Eco Retreat then is about self-sufficiency, charting his own course, rebelling against the individualism of mainstream Jamaica society, being true to his anti-capitalistic zeal, and of course, independence, not just for himself and his associates, but for those who wish to join them in a space where everything is intentional and for the betterment of all. Products • Pharmaceuticals • OTC Drugs • Herbal Products • Personal Care Items • Stationery & Office Supplies • Home Care Products • Novelties & Gift Items • Souvenirs • Pet Supplies We Offer • Blood Glucose monitoring • Blood Pressure monitoring • Patient counseling and follow up • Cholesterol test • Hemoglobin test • Compounding Royale Pharmacy HQ 44c Rose Street, Savanna-la-Mar Tel:876-918-1968/955-9010 Fax: 876-918-3751 Mon. – Sat. 8:00am- 8:30pm, Sundays & Holidays 9:00am- 7:00pm Royale Pharmacy # 1 10 Lewis Street, Savanna-la-Mar (Royale Medical Centre) Tel:876-918-1030/ 918-3221 Fax: 876-955-2373 Mon-Sat. 8:30am-9:00pm Email:email@example.com Website:www.royalepharmacy.com All major Health, Debit & Credit Cards Accepted Delivery Available conditions Apply Royale Pharmacy Royale_Pharmacy Royale Pharmacy Fairview, Icon Mall,12 Crane Boulevard, Montego Bay Tel: 876-727-3595/876-727-3596/876-822-7342 JAMAICA AT 60: WESTMORELAND Wood to make a cabin in the background and the remnants of a woodfire in the foreground in Dr Ajamu Nangwaya’s space at Spring Garden, Westmoreland. At Spring Garden in Westmoreland Dr Ajamu Nangwaya has been harnessing the energy of the sun.
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