United States Ambassador to Jamaica Pamela Bridgewater and Colonel of the Accompong Maroons, Fearon Williams enjoy the cultural presentations during celebrations of the 274th signing of the Peace Treaty between the Maroons and the British Government, held in Accompong Town, St Elizabeth in January of this year. (FP)
KINGSTON — Accompong maroons are angry with both the Ministry of Youth and Culture and the Jamaica 50 Secretariat over the treatment of their community in the programming of the current Independence anniversary celebrations.
“We were the first freedom fighters in this country, and we feel we should be a part of the celebration,” Colonel Fearon Williams said.
“We pride ourselves for being foremost in the vanguard of fighting for nationhood. We were before Paul Bogle and William Gordon. We fought for close to 80 years and we ended up with a peace treaty which has been in effect for over 275 years. We deserve to be treated much better than this,” Colonel Williams fumed.
According to Williams, instead of looking forward to sharing in the celebration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence, Accompong is currently grappling with a debt of over $1 million it incurred on sprucing up the community for this year’s celebrations, which should have included the January 6 anniversary of the 1738 signing of a peace treaty with the British.
“The previous government had invited us to participate and we agreed with them that our peace treaty anniversary this year would have been a Jamaica 50 event. They promised to assist us with the repairs to the roads leading into Accompong, through places like Whitehall and Harmony Hall,” he explained.
“Those are not our roads, but we felt that we should fix them so that people could drive into the community easily. So we got a loan and did the repairs, based on our discussions with the former minister and the commitment that we would have been reimbursed for the repairs. We spent approximately $1.1 million on the repairs and now we are being told that it’s not the ministry’s responsibility and there is no money to pay us back,” Williams pointed out.
He said, too, that there is an outstanding debt of $250,000 owed to the police for providing security for the January 6 event.
He said that the only contribution the community received towards the celebration of the peace treaty on January 6 “was some bottled water from Wisynco and nine sanitary conveniences; nothing else”. (Observer)