Ackee Festival fiery hot in Tranquility

BY EVERARD OWEN
Observer correspondent

Monday, September 16, 2019

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The community of Tranquility in Portland was anything but tranquil on Saturday, September 7, as the Social Development Commission (SDC) combined with Christopher Walker to stage a return of the long-suspended Ackee Festival and a back-to-school treat.

Ackee was done in many different styles with the national dish, ackee and salt fish, taking pride of place. But there was also ackee and pickled mackerel, ackee and red herring, plus ackee patties among other dishes with the versatile fruit.

Tanya Sinclair, SDC officer for the Buff Bay Valley area, told the Jamaica Observer North & East the day was a resounding success.

“We staged this festival some years ago and we decided to get it going again as there is a lot of ackee in the area,” said Sinclair as she praised Walker for partnering with the agency and treating the children returning to school.

“I think this was a very good combination. We received 10 computers and a multi-media projector for the Honey Bar, as we continue our push to develop ecotourism in the area”, added Sinclair.

For Carl Coke, SDC manager for Portland, the day was about more than ackee as craft vendors, small businesses, and the Tanquilty Bee Project were also given valuable exposure.

“This development is good for the community. What was added was that different agencies, HEART Trust/NTA, the Portland Credit Union, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and other agencies were here, so the residents of the community could interact with them and learn of the various opportunities available for development,” said Cook.

Walker was delighted to be a part of the Ackee Festival with the inclusion of his back-to-school treat.

“I always wanted to do this for the communities of Tranquility, Rose Hill and Cool Shade in the Buff Bay Valley. We need to have love, unity and honesty.

“I am happy to give back to my people, and thanks to the SDC for making me apart of this. I am humbled to see what is happening here with the bee project and I hope this becomes the 'Honey Valley',” said Walker.

Among those displaying their skills was “Miah” a resident of the community who makes bags, mats, shoes, sandals and other craft items.

“This is natural talent, and I used to volunteer at the Birnamwood Primary School where I exposed the children, and other youths in the area, to the process, but most of them are not serious. I get sale from time to time but I need some marketing for my products,” said Miah.

Spring Hill resident Eurica Thompson displayed a variety of wines made from ganja, guinea hen weed, tamarind, cherry, pineapple and other local plants at the festival.

“I have been doing this for years and sometimes I get special orders. This has been my interest, and I enjoy doing it,” said Thompson.


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