July 12th 2016 will be the 203rd anniversary of the death in battle of illustrious Maroon leader, Chief Jacko and it is the third time that the anniversary will be observed under the auspices of the 12th of July Movement.
Since the 12th this year will fall on a week day (Tuesday), the commemoration will take place on Sunday 10th July at the Old Market in Roseau starting at 4.00 p.m.
Members of the public are invited to share with the Movement this act of remembrance and recognition of the unique contribution of the ancestors to the never ending struggle of humankind for liberty, dignity and autonomy of identity. The Maroons, along with their Kalinago predecessors, represented that struggle in this island.
“We want to ensure that the memory of their deeds will never perish from this land,” the Movement said in a release. “Our aim is to transform the Old Market in Roseau into a national monument of remembrance in their honour and in the honour of all those who suffered under and fought against slavery.”
This year, the programme will include power talks relating the deeds of the Maroons, as well as those of Kalinago heroes, the Libation at the Well, rendition of the newly composed “Song to the Heroes” and a treat of “wawa” (wild yam) and cocoa tea with cane juice and coconut milk, part of the diet that has contributed to the island having the most centenarians for its size anywhere in the world.
“We will also announce plans for an expedition to find the ‘Grand Camp’ of the Maroons, hidden in the forest somewhere we believe on Morne Neg Mawon. This will be the first of a series of such expeditions to discover and restore the 13 or so other Maroon camps in our forests,” the Movement said.
Guest of honour at the celebration will be Kalinago Chief, Charles Williams.
Maroon Chief Jacko was born in Africa but was transported to Dominica in the late 1760’s.
He escaped from the Beau Bois Estate in Castle Comfort and established a camp on a plateau near the present day village of Belles.
His camp was one of the main targets of a massive 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.