Maroons could lose gov’t funding over sovereignty claims

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Despite the threat that they could lose funding support from the Government, descendants of the Maroons across the island have said they are unwilling to give up their indigenous rights. However, their counterparts in Scotts Hall, St Mary, are preparing to lobby the Holness administration for assistance as their community is in dire need of attention.

Government ministries, departments, and agencies have been urged not to engage with, or fund, secessionist Maroons who are asserting sovereignty from the Jamaican State, a leaked Cabinet Office document has said.

The situation stems from a confrontation between the police and the militant chief of the Accompong Maroons in St Elizabeth, Richard Currie, who boldly challenged cops last year, saying they had no right to enter Maroon territory without permission.

Maroons
Accompong Maroons Chief, Richard Currie

There are five local Maroon communities, divided in two groups, the Leeward Maroons – Accompong, St Elizabeth, and Maroon Town, St James – and the Windward Maroons – Moore Town and Charles Town in Portland; and Scotts Hall, St Mary – who are adamant that a 1739 treaty with then British colonisers exempted them from property taxes and gave them full autonomy as a sovereign state.

This assertion was openly rejected by Prime Minister Andrew Holness during a media briefing last week.

“… Under my leadership, not one inch of Jamaica will come under any other sovereign authority,” he declared.

Scotts Hall Colonel Lloyd Lattibeaudiere, while maintaining that the Maroons should be allowed to preserve their traditions, does not see his community surviving without external help, and is hoping that the Government will see the need to support his plans to transform the historic village.

“Nothing is in Scotts Hall. We have been struggling, and we are in need of help to develop our community,” he told The Sunday Gleaner last week. “This is not how we want to be; we want to make a difference, but we are getting no help at all.”

The community has lost its postal agency as well as its health centre and residents claim that it is the only strong lobbying effort of the alumni which has allowed the school to keep operating.

‘We have been struggling’ | Lead Stories  Jamaica Gleaner


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Dean Nestor

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