Black Immigrant Daily News
Accompong Maroon Chief Richard Currie has expressed hope that the relationship between the maroon community he leads and the Andrew Holness Administration will be fixed quickly, this after simmering tensions over recent times.
“It is my intention and hope that we’re able to fix this relationship with the Government, and fix it very quickly,” he declared.
“Time is going, and the fact of the matter is the maroons are not going wait,” warned Currie during the annual Maroon Festival in Acccompong Town on Friday.
The Accompong Maroons and the Jamaican Government have been at odds over recent months, stemming mainly from disputes over the boundaries of the Cockpit Country, the Accompong Maroons’ ancestral lands, and the question of maroon sovereignty in relation to the Jamaican state, something which was raised by Currie last year.
After a number of hair-raising incidents, including sharp and direct verbal barbs between Currie and Prime Minister Andrew Holness, with the latter rejecting the notion that there is any sovereign state within Jamaica, tensions have somewhat cooled.
But when issues relative to the zones earmarked for mining near the Cockpit Country emerged, Currie filed a lawsuit against the Government of Jamaica and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) in May last year, to settle once and for all, who has rights to the lands and mining in the area.
The court proceedings have been hit by many delays so far.
Currie, in addressing the annual Maroon Festival on Friday, said it is time to address the longstanding issues between the Jamaican state and the maroons.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness
“We’re getting there, people… The journey of a million miles starts with a single step, and anything that was done to you in the last 285 (years) cannot be undone in two (years),” he stated.
“We were never given anything; we had to work for it. We have a lot of people who have contributed and contributed over and over again, to allow us to do what it is we’re here to do,” he added.
While advising that he has the intention to fix the somewhat strained relationship between the Government and the maroons, Currie said his people cannot be alienated from any dialogue on the matter.
“We (the maroons) know who we are. We know what we possess. It cannot be alienated. It cannot be taken away,” the resolute maroon chief declared.
“Only if you choose to give it away, then shall it go, and when you are ready, please tell me when you are,” he told members of the maroon community.
The Accompong chief did not specify what “it” was, though it appeared he was referring to supposed maroon lands in the Cockpit Country.
But despite suggesting that he is ready to speak with the Government, Currie did not mince words in declaring that his people are strong.
“… Maroon business a nuh soft-hearted thing. It is not nuh p$$%ycat business. Maroons are lions, and when we roar, we roar!” he thundered.
“We have venom, but we have love to, and a love a wi answer,” he declared.
To his people’s detractors, Currie said: “Nuh mek wi have to guh back to war; that’s not what we are here about”.
He also took a swipe at members of the media, urging them to “stop construing what we’re trying to do, and separating Jamaica.
“The dunce bat game done, we’re dealing with educated minds now. Let us talk about elevating our people,” Currie insisted.