Holness blasts Maroons, rejects idea of sovereignty
HOLNESS...Jamaica is aunitary sovereignstate. There is no othersovereign authority inJamaica other than theGovernment of Jamaica.(Photo: GarfieldRobinson)
Currie tells PM to respect Maroon indigenous rights

PRIME Minister Andrew Holness on Sunday lashed the current leadership of the Accompong Maroon community, asserting that there is no other sovereign authority on the island than the Government of Jamaica.

“Jamaica is a unitary sovereign state. There is no other sovereign authority in Jamaica other than the Government of Jamaica. I want that to be absolutely clear: None. And under my leadership, not one inch of Jamaica will come under any other sovereign authority,” the prime minister told journalists covering a virtual press conference via Zoom from the Office of the Prime Minister at Jamaica House.

Holness was responding to questions about reports claiming that his Government had urged its ministries, departments and agencies not to engage with the Accompong Maroon community, which has been asserting sovereignty from the Jamaican State since electing a new leader, in Colonel Richard Currie, in February 2021.

The Cabinet recently instructed all government departments and agencies not to fund any projects in areas which claim to be sovereign of the Jamaican State.

In addition, the Observer reported on Saturday that a US$6.2-million ($958-million) project to conserve biodiversity and reduce land degradation in the Cockpit Country has been put on hold, and could be scrapped, based on demands from Currie.

The 44-year-old Currie — who claims to be the youngest person to become colonel of the community after defeating his predecessor Ferron Williams in last year's internal election and who has been using a new title of chief, instead of colonel of the Accompong Maroons — had promised infrastructural development and economic independence for the community.

However, his insistence that the community is autonomous has threatened the cultural and economic bond between the Accompong community and the Government, despite appeals from the other Maroon communities in Jamaica to maintain the good historical relationship.

Responding to the question raised at yesterday's press briefing about whether the Government sought legal advice on its decision to disengage with “sovereign maroons”, and if the Government would not be derelict in refusing to finance projects in such territories, Holness asked whether the expectation was that the Government would continue using “taxpayers' money and grant funds to fund another government”.

“This is not a government saying that they are local government, or a parish council government, which is under our constitution. Are you crazy? Really! Do you know what you are asking? This is the stuff of how guerilla wars come [about] and stage breakdown. Wake up, Jamaica! Don't court foolishness and problems. Wake up!” the prime minister reacted.

“People have died as a result and you expect me to stand here as prime minister and fund activities that could lead to the breakdown of our State? Never!” he added.

Holness also urged Jamaicans to heed what has been happening in Accompong, as there are threats which the average citizen might ignore and think is innocuous because the discussions — in places which should know better — do not highlight the threat to Jamaica.

Accompong Maroons leader Colonel Richard Currie takes a phonecall in the community on Friday. On Sunday, Prime Minister AndrewHolness rejected Currie's assertion of Accompong as a sovereignState, defending the Government's decision to withdraw projectfunding from the group. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)
BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter henryb@jamaicaobserver.com

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