Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, has commended the Accompong Town Maroons for being a beacon of hope and a shining example of peace and prosperity, for the rest of the nation.
The Minister said the fact that Accompong Town, in St. Elizabeth, had registered only two murders in 280 years, made it the most peaceful place in Jamaica, and a role model for other communities.
Mr. Shaw was addressing the 280th anniversary celebrations to mark the signing of the Peace Treaty between the Accompong Town Maroons and the British in 1738, in the community, on January 6.
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.
“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 recognise that freedom means that we have freedom to be responsible citizens,” Mr. 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 labour,” he added.
Mr. 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 Minister added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Shaw 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,” the Minister emphasised.