Call made for “Maroon Day”; Old Market Square monument

Wiltshire believes the Old Market Square should be turned into a national monument
Wiltshire believes the Old Market Square should be turned into a international monument

Former attorney general, Bernard Wiltshire, is of the opinion that a Maroon Day should be instituted in Dominica and the Old Market Square be made into a international monument in honor of those who died in slavery and those who fought against it.

He was speaking on the weekend at the square during a ceremony commemorating the 200th anniversary of the death of Maroon chief, Jacko.

“There should be instituted and established in Dominica one day of the year dedicated as Maroon Day,” he stated.

He is of the belief that Dominica should revise its understanding of its own history and how it has been taught.

“And therefore I believe we should institute a movement, a July 12 movement, to be a radical movement to look critically at our culture and to be able to pass on the things that we think are great for us, and to correct the deficiencies in our present cultural arrangements and consciousness which has been caused by the fact that our culture has largely been dominated by the needs of others rather than our own,” he said.

Wiltshire said the Old Market Square should be turned into a international monument with a perpetual flame burning “in remembrance of all those people who died suffering from slavery in this island.”

“And not just those who died, but those who fought against slavery as well,” he remarked. “So that we don’t make it just a narrow national institution but an international monument.”

He believes that the Old Market Building should be redeveloped and and improved “in its own historical truth and authenticity” and be made into a “central focal point in Dominica.”

“So that when visitor comes here they begin to imbued almost immediately with the sense of the narrative of the people who live on this island that will give a greater respect for us and make Dominica’s tourism product much more interesting,” Wiltshire said.

Maroon chief Jacko was killed on July 12, 1814. He was considered the most important Maroon chiefs on the island. He was born in Africa but was transported to Dominica in the late 1760’s. He escaped from the Beaubois Estate in Castle Comfort and established a camp on a plateau near the present day village of Belles.

Jacko’s camp was one of the main targets of a big offensive launched by the British during the Second Maroon War in 1812.

He was eventually surrounded and killed after living in the forest for over 40 years.

Several other Maroons were executed at the Old Market Square.

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17 Comments

  1. D Justice
    July 19, 2014

    I totally agree with this idea.
    This is a very important part of our history and our country┬┤s consciousness.

  2. Africo
    July 15, 2014

    12 July: Maroon Day; Anniversary of the death of Chief Jacko. Simple so.

  3. Mr. Deligent
    July 15, 2014

    Everybody is coming with ideas to run the country into debts.where is the money coming from to pay for this. these maroon’s pictures must be build in such a way that people must pay a fee to view them.Free for all is over .If each tourist pay $10. to view and locals pay $5. that I can understand so it must be a closed market

  4. remark
    July 15, 2014

    couple remarks:
    – introduction of another memorial wont change the perception of your history and culture. In order to change perception you need to deal with education rather than construction of another monument. Neg Mawon near Fort Young didnt change any perception and tourists are generally indefferent
    – tourist won’t respect another monument in the middle of dirty town with beggars and absence of tourist infrastructure: restaurants, normal shopping etc
    – memorial with internal flame won’t make Dominica tourism product much more interesting…and after all who is going to pay for that ‘perpetual flame’?

    You can talk a lot about culture, heritage and etc…but true changes start once Dominicans stop dropping litters on the streets, once you stop park your vehicles on the pavement, once you stop eat from plastic containers sitting on dirty door steps, once you stop drink and drive, once you realize that promiscuity is actually degradation….

    True memorial to the victims of slavery is developed nation with working institutes and normal society. Tourists start to adore island once they see that you transform your town into cozy, clean and friendly place which make tourist want to stay or come again and again. Thts the real respect for those who fought against slavery…

    • JoJo
      July 16, 2014

      I agree, that thing near Fort Young looks more like an advertisement for Dickies pants! The idea is good but that statue is in poor taste and in the wrong place. Put it where people can get close to it, read the inscription and take pictures. Instead it is “marooned” by traffic!

  5. A JOKE THAT MAN
    July 15, 2014

    Mr. Wiltshire you have a great and creative brain and I admire that in you. You have lots of ideas for this country and absolutely no one in the government wants to use it. Take for instance the “TRAIL” should have never been taken away from you. You are the one who created and formed it to where it is today and you should be the one who should be maintaining it and getting it better. Do not worry Mr. Wiltshire lots of foreigners know and are admiring the trail you have given to your country men. The Maroon Day is a very good idea and we Dominicans should come tete a tete with you. Becareful the government might take that from you to. lol

  6. The Facts
    July 14, 2014

    I endorse recognition of our African ancestors who were forcefully brought to Dominica and the Maroons who escaped the atrocities of being enslaved and were later executed for daring to escape to freedom.
    Lest we forget. It is a primary part of our history and is important that we are made aware of whatever transpired in those days. However, this recognition should not be one of hatred or reviving it towards any segment of our society. This observation should be devoid of it.
    I am certain those predecessors would endorse and appreciate that they be remembered and honored in an appropriate manner.
    If approved, please do not turn it into a political issue which will defeat the purpose of this special day and remembrance.

  7. observer
    July 14, 2014

    I think this is a brilliant idea! The government and minister of tourism and culture especially should push this . Let it be non political please!

  8. Too Tough
    July 14, 2014

    Most definitely

  9. Rasta
    July 14, 2014

    Many among us continue to betray the ideals of our forefathers, our freedom fighters. The enslaved fought and died for equality, justice, against colonial rule. They fought for the children to come. They struggled against those, who, because of their assets, land, money, power, influence, controlled the lives of the majority.

    Jacko, Balla, Congoree, Angelique, Pharcelle and the other courageous Freedom Fighters of our Land, must be turning in their graves. See how our blessed land has become!!!!! A few have suffocated their ideals. Massa day ain’t done.

    Mental slavery is eating us away. Many praise present-day Massa’s for all kinds of corrupt, illegal, immoral, unethical stands and actions.

    Would our Freedom fighters ever thought that our Black Leaders would in 2014 engage in secret deals with our passports, until those with plenty $$$$$$$$$$$ could buy immunity and try to escape justice for crimes committed?

    What about Land for foreigners to build hotel where our local Public Works operate? Dominicans do know about the deal. PWC not informed. Dominica Govt. signed huge loan, getting money for the Chinese to build their hotel. New kind of slavery? Jacko is cringing.

    Struggle, knowing our history, fighting against a new colonial establishment, speaking the truth about our struggles, about the deepening of poverty, about the dictatorship trend troubles many.

    The spirits of our freedom Fighters will live on forever. The struggle continues. The truth of our history must be told all the time. Fight injustice. Fight against that new kind of slavery.

    • The Facts
      July 14, 2014

      There are always many talkers as they view matters through their own lens. Can you inform us, as a national what plans do you have to make Dominica a better place to reside?

      • As I see it.
        July 15, 2014

        What said disturbed you that you did not understand?Dominica would surely be a better place to live and enjoy life, if we follow the legacy of my forefathers and fight against corruption, injustice, and dictatorship. Our history is filled with those struggles. Glad to view matters through the lens of our Freedom fighters.

  10. My View
    July 14, 2014

    We talk about history and culture all the time but Dominica in one of the countries with the fewest statues of great leaders. Jamaica in particular has several all over the country.
    We cannot know where we are going if we don’t know where we came from and it is obvious that our youth are misguided by the American TV influence. I agree with Mr. Wiltshire and would extend the idea by saying that the entire square should be developed as an attraction with cobblestone streets, and the ruins developed to accommodate the vendors while the Old Market is transformed into a park for all types of gatherings.

  11. Esther
    July 14, 2014

    I like the idea.

  12. Bull Crap
    July 14, 2014

    I second the move…

  13. Frank Talker
    July 14, 2014

    “Maroon Day?” That’s a brilliant idea, Dr. Wiltshire. I support the idea of Renaming May Day to Maroon Day!

    • WONG PING
      July 14, 2014

      may day cannot be touched.there is a historical aspect to it

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