The Accompong Town Maroons in the southern parish of St. Elizabeth, have been commended for being a beacon of hope and a shining example of peace and prosperity for the rest of the nation.
Two murders in 280 years
Finance Minister Audley Shaw, in an address on Saturday, to mark the 280th anniversary celebrations to mark the signing of the Peace Treaty between the Accompong Town Maroons and the British in 1738, said the community is the most peaceful place in Jamaica, registering only two murders in 280 years.
“On this day when we are celebrating freedom and Jamaica is celebrating independence, we have a lot of work to do. We need now to ensure that we recognize that freedom means that we have freedom to be responsible citizens,” Shaw said.
“Freedom means that we must educate our children. We need to be free to promote peace, not war; and we need to be free to be productive in all that we do with honest labor.”
Hope for redemption and nation rebuilding
Shaw said the Maroon experience is a prime example that there is hope for redemption and rebuilding of the nation.
“After 280 years of your own story of courage and hard work we have had too much of the wrong things that have held us down as a people. But I believe in restoration,” he said.
“The Maroons tell us there can be restoration and the Bible tells us that too. We need to restore and repair the breach of love and respect for human life. We need to restore the breach of productivity and we need to restore the breach of protecting and caring and nurturing our children, understanding that they are our future.”
The treaty ended decades of hostilities, and made Accompong Town a sovereign state, with full freedom for its inhabitants, and complete jurisdiction over their territory, including judicial powers, with the exception of the death penalty.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister told the participants that the Government will be putting plans in place to ensure that all Jamaicans who have an interest in agriculture and other areas of the productive sector, have ease of access to idle lands across the island, so they can quickly put these into productive purposes.
“There is too much idle land in Jamaica and people want land to produce and create wealth,” he said.