WATCH: Holness slaps Maroon self-government demands

In a rather angry and loud tone, Prime Minister Andrew Holness asserted that there is no other independent state in Jamaica other than the Jamaican government which was duly elected by the people to govern the country.

Responding to a question from a media representative at a Sunday morning press conference convened by his office to deal primarily with security issues, the Prime Minister practically touched on the issue of possible Maroon autonomy which has crept into the national debate over time. , especially since last year.

“Jamaica is a unitary sovereign state. There is no sovereign authority in Jamaica other than the Jamaican government. I want it to be absolutely clear! Any ! Holness thundered when asked if there is a conflict in a stated government position not to engage with or fund any initiative of a group that claims self-government status.

The question also cited that the Accompong Maroon had received permission from at least one Jamaican agency to hold a major event in the community recently, apparently at odds with the government’s position on the matter.

Holness’ response came after the leader of the maroons of Accompong, Chief Richard Currie, began and continues to peddle the argument that Accompong is sovereign territory and its inhabitants are collectively a sovereign people.

In addition, Currie argued that the lands of the wider Cockpit Country were also part of their “sovereign territory”.

But on Sunday, Holness made it clear that none of those talks about another sovereign homeland in Jamaica would be tolerated.

“…Under my direction, not an inch of Jamaica will be under any other sovereign authority,” he said with an even deeper voice.

A recent report indicated that Jamaican government ministries, departments and agencies have been urged not to engage with or fund secessionist maroons who claim Jamaican state sovereignty. The report cites a leaked Cabinet Office document.

“There shall be no endorsement or acquiescence to any language or suggestion regarding Indigenous sovereignty or rights, and no funds shall be made available to any person or entity claiming it,” the document said. , as it was broadcast in the media. report.

Responding to whether the government would reconsider its position, Holness became even more enraged by the speech, which he described as tantamount to the Jamaican state funding a group of people claiming to be part of another sovereign state in Jamaica.

“What you’re asking is that the Jamaican government fund (or) take taxpayers’ money and fund another government (inside Jamaica).

“It’s not another government that says it’s a local government, (formerly) a parish council, that falls under our constitution,” Holness explained.

” Are you crazy ? Truly ? Do you know what you are asking? asked an annoyed Holness in reference to the reporter who asked the question.

In an even more angry tone and language, Holness took what appeared to be a jab at the media house representative over the issue of funding another group of people who claim to be sovereigns.

“That’s how guerrilla wars happen and states fall apart! Wake up Jamaica! Don’t court madness and trouble! Wake up!

“People have died because of this, and you expect me to be here as Prime Minister and fund activities that could lead to the collapse of our state? Ever!” Holness said.

A celebratory event in the town of Accompong, St Elizabeth, organized by the Maroons, on Thursday night resulted in a shootout in which one man died and five other people, including two boys, were injured.

Reports suggested that police had issued a warning that Maroon celebrations should not take place as they violated the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA).

However, event organizers went ahead with Currie saying the event was a celebration of spiritual and traditional Maroon rituals.

Additionally, the media report mentioned above cited that the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) authorized the declaration of the event, at the request of the Minister of Culture, Olivia Grange. .

However, it is understood that ODPEN’s endorsement of the event may not have been communicated to the police.

Maroons and the government have been at odds of late over the so-called recognition of the former’s alleged sovereignty, particularly over Cockpit Country, where a bauxite company recently won permission to mine a defined section of these lands. .

Tags : local governmentprime minister
Teresa R. Cabrera

The author Teresa R. Cabrera