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Jamaica marks Maroon freedom of 1739 with promise to boost marijuana industry

January 10, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Events

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson | Staff Writer

January 10, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Events

Prime Minister Andrew Holness at the Accompong Maroon ceremony. Phot- Caribbean360

Jamaica marked the 281st celebration of the signing of the Accompong Maroon Peace Treaty with the British to commemorate the birthday of the legendary leader Cudjoe who fought for his people.

The celebration was marked in the Maroon village of St Elizabeth with attendance by Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness who took the opportunity to address current issues affecting the nation.

According to Caribbean360, Prime Minister Andrew Holness expressed that one of the areas that the government was working hard at enhancing was the agriculture sector and the marijuana farming industry.

Ganja Farm in St Elizabeth, Jamaica.

In a speech delivered by the president, he explained that 
an Alternative Development Programme (ADP), which will provide an avenue for small scale marijuana farmers to benefit from the marijuana industry, will start by March to prevent and eliminate the illicit cultivation of ganja and channel the process through legal streams.

As part of marking the peace treaty, the plan is set to start in 
in Accompong in the southwestern parish of St. Elizabeth and Orange Hill in Westmoreland in the south of the island.

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness  and Colonel of the Accompong Town Maroons, Ferron Williams.
Photo -Avair Nembhard, JIS News.

In his speech, the Prime Minister said: “It is a real fear that as that ganja industry emerges to become more corporatised, that the original ganja man, the original farmer, could very well be left out of the gains and the benefits”.

He went on to add to add that “this programme is of significant importance to ensure that small farmer, and, in fact, communities like Accompong, will benefit”.

Jamaican laws allow the cultivation of up to five marijuana plants per household and in June 2018, the Caribbean island set out on a mission to establish a thriving medical marijuana industry.

Artsist depiction of Cudjoe

The signing of the Accompong Maroon Peace Treaty with the British happened on March 1, 1739, however, the signing is marked as part of the Accompong Maroon Festival observed in January each year to celebrate the First Maroon War against the British in which they fought for their freedom, led by their late hero Cudjoe who was born a slave born in Accompong Town, Jamaica, in 1690.

Cudjoe’s father, Naquan was the frontrunner of a group of rebel slaves from Sutton’s Estate. An uprising at Sutton’s Estate led to the formulation of the Leeward Maroons.

The battle of the Maroons against British forces in 1730 was a result of the constant defeats faced by the British while attempting to conquer the slaves.

In 1739, Cudjoe was able to secure an agreement that established the Leeward Maroons as an independent state. They were also given land as part of the deal. Cudjoe was also required to return runaway slaves and discourage future slave uprisings.

Cudjoe died in 1744 at Nanny Town in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.

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