The Gleaner: KINGSTON, Jamaica, By Sashana Small – Opposition Leader Mark Golding is imploring Maroon chiefs to band together and advocate for the rights of the Maroon people.
Speaking at the 285th anniversary celebration of the Accompong Maroons in St Elizabeth, on Friday, Golding cautioned the Maroon leaders against being used for “politricks”.
“Do not allow yourself to be set against each other by politricks, petty egoism or other personal consideration,” he said.
The Accompong Maroons, led by Chief Richard Currie, are currently seeking an order from the Supreme Court stating that the lands in the Cockpit Country, in which Accompong and other settlements are located, belong to the Maroons.
Golding, asserting that Maroons have been encountering threats to their environmental safety, said their defence is stronger if they collaborate. – File photo
This conflict has resulted in public sparring between the Maroon chief and Prime Minister Andrew Holness and saw Currie being left out of a meeting with government officials and other Maroon chiefs in January last year.
“I urge the leadership across all communities of Maroons to be united in solidarity with each other when it comes to engaging with the Jamaican state on matters of concern to Maroon communities,” Golding said.
And Golding, asserting that Maroons have been encountering threats to their environmental safety, said their defence is stronger if they collaborate.
“History will not be kind to those who fail to stand together in unity, especially at a time when there are clear and present dangers to your historic rights of autonomy and your way of life,” he said.
The Opposition leader also chastised the Government for failing to comply with the recent ruling of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) regarding the human rights complaints raised against bauxite mining on the periphery of the Cockpit Country in the parish of St Ann.
“To date, to the best of my knowledge the Government has not taken any significant action to remedy this situation and the threat to Maroon life in the Cockpit Country,” he said.