The 283rd Accompong Maroon Festival was held on Wednesday (January 6) at Accompong Town in St. Elizabeth.
The festival was staged without the usual large crowd, due to the necessary restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and was streamed live on the social media pages of the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) and the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) and Zoom.
This Accompong Town Maroon event takes place on January 6 annually to commemorate the signing of the Peace Treaty with the British 283 years ago and to celebrate the birthday of one of their most famous leaders, Cudjoe.
In her remarks via Zoom, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, noted that while the celebrations are different this year, “we are grateful that technology has allowed us to still participate in this very important commemoration and rituals of family and friendship”.
The Minister lauded the Colonel of the Accompong Town Maroons, Ferron Williams, and previous colonels for ensuring that the tradition of holding the annual festival continues.
“This year, as before, we [the Ministry] have partnered with the leadership of Accompong to ensure that this event is given the prominence it deserves. I commend Colonel Ferron Williams and his team, and the many colonels who governed before, for maintaining this tradition of celebration over these many years,” Ms. Grange said.
“This annual event has ensured that we do not forget the enduring contributions of Captain Cudjoe and his warriors to our freedom today. We see generations accepting this event and being gifted with knowledge, pride and appreciation of their glorious heritage and culture, beam with pride at the resilience [and] resistance, and commit to the sustainable prosperity of people of African descent,” Ms. Grange added.
For his part, Colonel Williams, during an interview with journalists, informed that the Accompong Town Maroons have been observing the COVID-19 protocols, and continued to do so during the festival.
“I want to see the community continue to prosper after this pandemic is over,” the Colonel said.
He lauded Ms. Grange and the Culture Ministry for their continued support of the community.
During the festival, the Accompong maroons did the ceremonial march to the Kindah tree, as well as other ceremonial activities. There was also a performance by the Immaculate Conception High School orchestra, conducted by Stephen Woodham.
This year’s event was held under the theme ‘Celebrating the Power of Our Heritage’.