Dominicans honor Maroon ancestors

A play staged at the event
A play staged at the event

A large crowd of Dominicans gathered at the Old Market Place in Roseau on Sunday to join the celebration of honoring the Maroons who courageously fought to undermine and destroy the institution of the slavery on the island.

The activity, dubbed “A Tribute to Jacko” was organized by the 12th of July Movement, to commemorate the valiant Maroon Chief “Jacko” who was killed on July 12th, 1814 and who was considered the most important maroon chief in Dominica.

“These very stones that you see here is some way sanctified by the blood of the innocents, by the blood of those people who had the courage to stand up against wrong, to stand up against slavery, to stand for injustice, to stand for liberty, to stand for human dignity,” Founder of the 12th of July Movement, Attorney at- Law, Bernard Wiltshire said while addressing the opening ceremony. “And they paid the price, and they paid the price with their blood and their blood was spilled on this very stones, in this very place.”

He said therefore the ceremony has symbolic significance and “we” can give it meaning.

“We can give it a meaning that we want to give it, not a meaning that it was given by those who oppressed us, but the meaning that we want to give it,” he explained.

He explained that, “the meaning we will like to give it is to show that we haven’t just jumped up from nowhere, we have roots and our roots go back to a great struggle, to something that has always distinguished man from beasts, something that has always in fact motivated the highest qualities in the human minds. That struggle to be free, that struggle to be dignified, that struggle to realize our potential as human beings.”

He indicated that because of the struggle which took place in the Old Market, the area can now be transformed from a place of desolation, to a transcendent place.

“We can give it a meaning that in fact confirm, not the defeat of our people attempt to get freedom, but in fact its triumph,” he explained

Meantime, Wiltshire called for the Old Market Place to be transformed into a National Heroes’ Park.

“We want this square to be a National Heroes’ Park at the back there,” he noted. “Instead of having the statue of the Maroon there, those people we regard as our heroes, the people who fought for our freedom, we will have statues around the square, this very place where they suffered and were executed and were murdered. Their memory will stand in triumph, that will show the victory of good over evil, the victory of triumph over disaster.”

The event began with libation and drumming, followed by a moment of outrage, poetry power talks, chanting and the production of a short play called “Your Time Is Done Now” directed by Alwin Bully and written by Polly Pattullo which presented the original evidence from the Maroon trials of 1814.

Sponsors of the event include; Dominica News Online, Valley Engineering, Dr. Damien Dublin, Alliance Francaise, DBS, KairiFM, Q95, the Chronicle, Fort Young Hotel, The Old Market Trust, Papillote Press, Green Mountain Flowers and Garraway Hotel.

See photos below from the event.

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  1. The Real Facts - ON
    July 13, 2015

    Lest we forget.
    It is worth remembering those who fought for their freedom and died for it.
    All of us have ancestors who suffered the fate of this oppression.
    Today our society is a more civilized one.

  2. The Real Facts - ON
    July 13, 2015

    Imagine being happy in their home and forcefully taken from their homeland in chains and shackles and brought to a country they know nothing about.
    Imagine what they went through traveling by sea. Some died on the way.
    Imagine being free in their homeland and then sold and becoming a slave to earthly masters; their freedom taken away from them.
    Imagine not having the right to speak, to laugh, to move around in freedom.
    Imagine being treated as a lowly person, a nobody and in an undignified manner as if they were not human beings.
    Imagine not having the freedom to learn to read and write.
    Imagine never seeing their homeland and family ever again. What grief.
    All of this and more, they experienced horror from their masters who held them captive slaves.
    God bless their souls. May other generations especially in the western world never experience such atrocities.

    • UserName
      July 14, 2015

      Lovely contribution “Imagine” a splendid piece.. continue working on it.. loads of potential. get some copyright advice from ECCO

      • The Real Facts - ON
        July 14, 2015

        Thank you! Greatly appreciated and encouraging. When I commenced writing, I had no idea what I would have stated. I surprised myself. :lol:
        I love to state, being a Catholic, while I read the comments and respond, the US Catholic Radio – EWTN Global Catholic Radio, one of its affiliation which transmits via Buffalo 24/7 is on. The H. Mass was on, followed by, at this moment, the Holy Rosary. This will be followed by a Nun, Sister Shield’s program of godly advice. The programs are out of this world – godly.
        It is my feeling (I hope) that most of my thoughts are inspired by the Holy Spirit. This is why my writings project confidence and hope and are long; hereditary as well. :).
        They who passed through life and suffered in that manner, their spirits may still be with us to a certain extent (God allows it) to enlighten us, advise and prod us on. This could also be the reason why D/ca has this celebration in their memory.
        It is sad to think how they suffered.

  3. Music Producer
    July 13, 2015

    @ least Mr Wiltshire is doing something, what are you holes doing – sitting criticizing, running allu mouth and have absolutely no intentions of assisting, researching, mentoring, caring…shut the heck up and help the man on this mission. Bunch of backwards, good-for-nothing imbeciles !!!

  4. oj
    July 13, 2015

    our History …the free spirited slaves who made us who we are……proud unfazed by white domination . .seeking the hills and mountains for freedom of the spirit of the proud African from whence we came …the MAROONS .. who saw white massa control as an intrusion of our rights as owners of our destiny…
    Bala Congoree Jacko- HEROES.!..
    The KALINAGO..Warner . ..and the Chiefs which never yielded to SLAVE masters,,, masters of their destiny..appreciate …CELEBRATE


  5. derp
    July 13, 2015

    what about the Kalinagos? it’s their country first

    • A. George
      July 13, 2015

      they will have a festival in august. hope to see you there… mabrika :-D

  6. grell
    July 13, 2015

    Mr. WILTSHIRE we are stil being oppressed by a corrupt government,and also returning the country to a poor state of beggers.

    • The Real Facts - ON
      July 13, 2015

      When will you cease this imagining and exaggeration which is all in your mind?
      I am wondering if you should not see a psychiatrist. :lol: :lol: :lol:
      You compare life in Dominica to what those ancestors went through? Surely you should know there is no comparison.
      I do think you are too happy. :lol: :lol: :lol:
      Be careful this happiness will not be taken away from under you. Then, you will really have something to whine, gripe and criticize about.

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