They are the 180th anniversary of full freedom, emanating from the 1834 Abolition Act; and the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the labour riots of 1938, when the working class of Jamaica clamoured for better working conditions and wages.
Miss Grange made the announcement at the Accompong Town Maroons anniversary ceremony in St. Elizabeth on January 6.
She argued that the event, which marked the truce between the Accompong Town Maroons and the British in 1738, after decades of hostilities, was “the first of three major activities within the history of Jamaica, which have been responsible for the assertion of Jamaican cultural identity and image”.
“The second celebration that we are going to give all the support – technical and financial – is the 180th anniversary of full freedom,” the Minister said.
“Recall that 1834 saw the enactment of the Abolition Act, and the English provided the planters, as part of their compensation, with four additional years of African enslavement called apprenticeship. As such, it was in 1838 that full freedom was established by the resolute determination of the African population to abandon the plantations. So, we must celebrate the 180th anniversary of our enslaved ancestors getting full freedom,” Miss Grange said.
She noted that the third milestone to be celebrated (the labour riots of 1938), led to the formation of Jamaica’s first trade union.
The Minister said that those signature celebrations should ensure that the island’s “young people will recognise the struggles of our ancestors”.
Ms. Grange said the Accompong Town Maroons celebration was an appropriate start to the year, as “our forefathers fought unflinchingly for their human rights”.
“It is fitting that we start with the achievements of Captain Cudjoe and his warriors here in Accompong, where it all happened. As such, we move forward this year in the spirit of Captain Cudjoe, fiercely determined not to give in, but rather to achieve the ultimate goal of sustainable prosperity for our people,” she said.
The Minister pointed out that the year will end with the celebration on December 27 of the Sam Sharpe war. “That event of meticulous organisation and flaming passions led to the final decision by the English Parliament to end the horrible system of slavery in the British Empire,” she noted.
“Again in the spirit of Sam Sharpe and his band of followers, we must not retreat or surrender, but engage fully in the national project of reconciliation and peace, which was the ultimate dream of our ancestors,” the Minister said.
- Countries: Jamaica