Attorney reiterates call for transformation of Old Market Square into Jacko monument

A current photo of the Old Market Square in Roseau. Photo credit: Cecil Clarke

Founder of the 12th of July Movement, Bernard Wiltshire, has again voiced an appeal for the Old Market Square to be transformed into a monument for Jacko, a Neg Mawon Chief who was killed on July 12th 1814.

The 12th of July Movement was created in 2014 to raise public awareness about the maroons of Dominica and to try and tackle some of the residual negative psychological effects of slavery. The first event was held at the Old Market Square in Roseau in 2014, marking the 200th anniversary of maroon chief Jacko’s death.

Sunday, July 12, 2020 – the 200th anniversary of Jacko’s death – the movement remembered the Maroons and paid tribute to their contribution to the country’s history.

The group chose the anniversary of the death in battle of Chief Jacko, most respected and long-lived leader of the Maroons of Dominica to symbolize the whole Maroon presence in our history.

“The Old Market Square, what we are saying is we should preserve it. In fact, we have a proposal from the 12th of July Movement that one, we should recognize the 12th of July as a National Day, two, we should transform the Old Market Square into a National Monument in memory of all those who fought against the evil of slavery in this island,” Wiltshire said.

According to him, this monument will see the transformation of the historic building that is presently there into a shrine with an internal flame burning in the midst of it, “to burn in perpetuity in memory of the many innocent victims of greatest crimes against humanity.”

The well, he said, should become a central symbol of their sacrifice.

Wiltshire suggested also that the cobbled square, just between the market and the museum, should become a national heroes park.

“The cobbled square will be pedestrianized and renamed ‘Maroon Square’,” he revealed.

The Maroons were the Africans who, since 1761 at least, refused to accept the system of slavery and took up arms against it. At their height, they were probably around 3000 men, women and children. They organized themselves in military camps that later developed into strong social communities. Some of the most developed camps resembled the kinds of villages that would emerge among the freed slaves after emancipation more than half a century later.

Wiltshire’s call for the transformation of the Old Market Square dates back to 2014 during a ceremony commemorating the 200th anniversary of the death of Maroon chief, Jacko.

At the time, he also called for one day of the year in Dominica to be instituted and established as Maroon Day.

The Old Market of Roseau, also known as Old Market Plaza and Dawbiney Market Square, was a thriving market during colonial times and the square was the place where all the major trading between Dominica and the surrounding islands took place, from commodities to slave trading. Public executions were held there.

In 1988, the square was renovated as a craft centre with shops, to display Dominica crafts. Prior to Hurricane Maria, it contained stalls selling handcrafted jewellery, T-shirts, spices etc. 

Old Roseau Market, in the 1870s about 40 years after the abolition of slavery. Photo: Dr. Lennox Honychurch


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  1. 72nations72elements
    July 16, 2020

    Them man will sooner put a chinese dragon

  2. Me
    July 15, 2020

    How will Mr Dawbiney the philanthropist be honoured? We must not forget others..

    • Parallels
      July 16, 2020

      Ya, and my sister Laurel who saved lives.

  3. En Ba LA
    July 15, 2020

    Love the photo of the old market. DNO how about protecting the photos on your site for thieves.

    ADMIN: ??

  4. out of south city
    July 15, 2020

    Why should he forget it? The moment has not occurred and you have already defeated the vision by your negative words. Don’t you realise that we are in a Black Struggle and we need the support for this vision to come to fruition? If that is your thought then you should not post it here. It is high time that we come together in unity to achieve change. It is brother Wiltshire’s vision and he needs supporters and not naysayers. Our future for change and accomplishment lie within us as no other race will do it for us. Dr. John Henrik Clarke said that the African has no friend. Why should we wait for others to do for us all the time?


    • Toto
      July 16, 2020

      Respect brother but I do not want to be in a black struggle because struggle have no colour. Brother Wiltshire got his education free from the British and they tell me he had a high power job with the London authorities and probably still getting a pension from them. He did well and I’m not saying he should be grateful but why have this hang up about black power. I want to honour our history and the maroons but not to exclude the rest of mankind. Is more important to me to get rid of Skerrit right now. Dictatorship have no colour either, know what I mean

      • Afflicted
        July 18, 2020

        It HAS to be one or the other, or if there’s such a thing as an all struggle lol
        If you find anyone else struggling in that way lend your support.
        WE HAVE TO DEVELOP AN UNDYING LOVE FOR OUR PEOPLE! like every other group. Period.

  5. Pipo
    July 15, 2020

    I must confess I have a bit of a problem naming that place after Jacko who was shot to death by one of our own slaves, a member of the Rangers for award. Every time I hear his name I remember that with great sadness. That leaves a bad taste in my mouth so if you don’t mind call it Maroon square instead in honour of all the Dominican maroons that were hunted and suffered and more often than not paid with their lives.

    • Next level
      July 17, 2020

      Only goes to show how barbaric the euro enslavers were. Their age old tactic of using people they enslaved to do their dirty work, even to whip another is still in place to this day. Their “historians” have also taught you that Africans enslaved themselves, sold each other while the European was standing idly by and reluctantly bought a few. I’ve read it repeated here but don’t buy that.

      You see, we have to unearth and tell our own story.

    • Geo farmer
      July 18, 2020

      Only goes to show how barbaric the euro enslavers were. Their age old tactic of using people they enslaved to do their dirty work is still in place to this day. Their “historians” have also taught you that Africans enslaved themselves, sold each other while the European was standing idly by. I’ve read it repeated here but don’t buy that.

      You see, we have to unearth and tell our own story. It is said that when the white man arrived in Kush (before he renamed oit Africa) the black man had the land and the white man had the bible, he said close your eyes, when the black man opened his eyes the white man had the land and the black man had the bible. Metaphor on the lighter side but don’t let their historians and planted historians fool you.

  6. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    July 15, 2020

    Bernard, when we believe something is imperative, and worth saving as in this case; people in general should not depend on government to restore modify, or change things.

    That old market site is historic; by all means should be preserved for as long as Dominica exists; it will serve to inform every generation not yet born when they arrive how our ancestors were brought out of Africa and enslaved.

    I would hope that the concrete blocks on which the slaves stood, to be scrutinized by the slave buyers are still there. 

    I suggest rather than depending on government ” the puppet of China Roosevelt Skerrit,” and China to finance the preservation, this is the time when all Dominicans in Dominica and the diaspora should contribute money, not sparingly to undertake such a worthy project.
    I am sure this is one project to which I would contribute a few pence!

    I mean some money. 

    We can talk all we want; but the dependency on government is wasting time!

    • out of south city
      July 15, 2020

      I do support your comment, my brother. There may be some naysayers but that’s quite expected.


    • Gone are the days
      July 16, 2020

      I concur, very sensible & knowledgeable comment. Besides your usual rumblings you are light years ahead of Elisabeth whose parents taught her to be ashamed of runaway slaves and would rather a statue of a white Euro jesus rubbing salt into that wound.

      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        July 16, 2020

        “white Euro jesus rubbing “Where it pertains to God, and the written word of God, Jesus Christ, the Trinity; we have to be careful with what we entertain in our thoughts; and what comes out of our mouth!
        I feel sorry for you; simply because you are of the opinion that Jesus is a white European.

        That is a very foolish belief, and anyone who supports you in that belief unless you both come to your senses; and read the Bible, the word of God; to find and discover the truth, I worry you are already lost to Satan.

        Where it pertains to God, the color of one skin makes no difference to him; Jesus Christ was born a Jew, and if you must know Jews are not “white;” and surely they are not European.

        I hope that help you somewhat.

        I encourage you to read the King James version of the Bible, where you shall find the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

        • out of south city
          July 17, 2020

          My brother, truth, is what has not been taught to us when it pertains to the bible. Actually, it is a book of Allegory,Metaphor and Myths. The original Spiritual writings were first written in the pyramids, and are called Heiroglyphs. Before the Europeans, Africa was the cradle of civilisation and so the Europeans had to go there to be taught. They had to be educated in Africa, my brother. They had nothing of their own. Do you know that one of the slave ships was called the Jesus of Lubeck?
          According to Larissa Rudeen, King Henry VIII first purchased the 700-ton vessel, then christened Jesus of Lubeck, from Lubeck in Germany. In 1562, Queen Elizabeth agreed to let John Hawkins use the mouldering ship for his excursion.
          A deeply religious gentleman, Hawkins insisted that his crew “serve God daily” and “love one another” as he sailed his ship for Africa. In a short time he had gathered up over 300 Africans “partly by sword and partly by other means.”
          Research, my brother.

          • Annon
            July 18, 2020

            Preach! This truth may hurt many, Black and white, who were taught otherwise and ashamed to identify with the Black struggle or not taught at all; but today more than ever it has to be taught.


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        • Gone are the days
          July 18, 2020

          Francisco, it is unbelievable that you are still at that stage in this day. You said “I encourage you to read the King James version of the Bible, where you shall find the truth….bla bla bla”.
          With the multitude of books out there that enlighten us on the likes of king James who was preoccupied with enslaving one-half of humanity by financing and sending ships to Kush/Africa guided and authorized by the Vatican, while at the same time sending parties of his men out there to find and destroy other bibles and rewriting their text into his version. Sounds like a death sentence. I know you mean well but misguided.
          Even the bishop of Canterbury (the next Christian boss after the Pope) is ahead of you and suggests taking down statues of white jesus. Research man research, make us proud.

          • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
            July 24, 2020

            The are many ways in which I can respond to you, nevertheless; I will not, God does not want me to defend him nor his words.

            I however, leave you in your belief, and simply say ” the fool said in his heart there is no God.”(King James Version of the Bible). Also found in the Roman Catholic Bible.

            In this day and age I know there is a God in heaven, I proved his existence, and I did not do that as an intellectual; all of my academic education did not bring me to the conclusion that Jehovah, God, Jesus Christ his Son, and the Holy Ghost (Spirit) exists, and without God you cannot exists!

            Well, Satan is God of this world, if you are of his flock, you will exists until he (Satan) drop you like a hot potato, and step on your head.

            Have a nice day, while I worship my God! 

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      • out of south city
        July 16, 2020

        I had to laugh when I read your comment. Yes, a lot of us hate ourselves because of the negativity that was fed to us by the enemies of African people. We need to appreciate what our ancestors fought for. Why, in 2020, do we still study European History? We have enough of our Stories that occurred here on the island and in the region in order to be included in every school’s curriculum. Statues of the oppressors are coming down and must continue so that we can erect those of our ancestors. There is a brother who said, “stand in front of the mirror and don’t move until you love what you see.” We have been taught to hate our hair (which defies gravity because our hair grows up while all other races hair grow down), our thick lips (while those who hate us inject theirs so they can be like ours), our behind (while others inject theirs with botox in order for theirs to protrude and also to reduce wrinkles because of a lack of skin melanin).
        We MUST learn to LOVE ourselves.

  7. Concerned Citizen
    July 15, 2020

    This is a very good proposition. The Old Market indeed needs some type of transformation especially as it’s so close to the DEC Cruise Ship Berth where the tourists get off the ships. Hopefully this will come to fruition.

    P.S, DNO, the article states “Sunday, July 12, 2020 – the 2007th anniversary of Jacko’s death….” However I believe it should be the 200th anniversary.

    ADMIN: Thank you for pointing that out it has been corrected.

  8. WeNiceMan
    July 15, 2020

    Forget it Mr. Wiltshire. If the name aint got China in it, it aint happening.

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