Vigil of sadness, triumph
Escorted by young civilians garbed in bright colours, flickers of candlelight bouncing from their faces, government leaders and other official representatives were led around the grounds of Seville Great House, St Ann, in a vigil simultaneously mourning the tragedy of slavery and celebrating Emancipation in Jamaica 180 years ago.
As the Port Morant Kumina group provided a fitting soundtrack, patrons cleared the path for the Hon. Norma Walters. Custos of St Ann.; Hon. Shahine Robinson, Minister of Labour and Social Security; Hon. Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Education and Sport; and Hon. Ruel Reid, Minister of Education (representing Prime Minister Holness). They were joined by Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte, Mayor Michael Belnavis, Professor Verene Shepherd, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Denzil Thorpe; Daleta Dennis-Mattis, shair, Jamaica National Heritage Trust) and Dr Dorrick Gray (executive director, Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT).
"In 1834 our ancestors fought a well organised war for the emancipation of our people," Grange said. The Minister, in her closing speech, declared that warrior slave Tacky was not a criminal, but merely someone rightly committing acts of liberation and moral justification.
NIGHT TO REFLECT
"Tonight is not about having fun; it's about celebrating. Tonight is a night to reflect. This moment is an important moment to think about Jamaica. The journey is not yet completed. We must continue to pursue reparations. Never give up the fight to set things right, to make Jamaica the land that we love," she said at the 2018 Emancipation Jubilee, which began on Tuesday night.