Sam Sharpe and Nanny missing from Historic Falmouth Port
By Devon Dick
On Emancipation Day, I visited the wonderful, Historic Falmouth Port. It was a sight to behold. Jamaica needed such a port. The pier allows for the passengers to go on tours and for independent drivers to parade their services to prospective clients. This place will drive tourism earnings because it is a safe, attractive, and exciting place for tourists to visit. In addition, the pier allows for visits by schoolchildren.
There are storyboards recording our history which were funded and developed by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. There are storyboards and pictures of explorer Christopher Columbus; buccaneer Sir Henry Morgan, Englishman John Tharp, sporting legend Usain Bolt, and National Hero Norman Manley. There is also a storyboard and picture of William Knibb, English Baptist missionary. There are storyboards on the Maroons and also on slavery. However, there are serious omissions at this Historic Falmouth pier.
There is no storyboard on National Hero Sam Sharpe and no picture! Sharpe played a leading role in the struggle against slavery. He mobilised enslaved persons from Falmouth. Sharpe led the largest enslaved resistance in Jamaica's history and his protest is credited with being a catalyst for the passing of the Act of Emancipation in the British Parliament the year following his execution.
Perhaps the reason Columbus, Tharp and Morgan are there is that Europeans can identify with their heroes, warts and all. There are serious atrocities associated with Columbus and Morgan, but they can be justified since 'all have sinned and come short of the glory of God'. However, the story leaves out more significant persons. Since it is our port, then the role of Sharpe, who is an inspiration to the world community of oppressed peoples, needs to be there. It can enable tourists to be committed to the ideals of equality of all and justice for all.
NO FEMALE PRESENT
Furthermore, it is noticeably in this age of gender equality that there is no picture of a female. National Heroine Nanny of the Maroons deserves to be there because of her resistance to the might of the British military and her misgivings of signing a treaty with the British which included returning any further 'runaways' and also to fight on the side of the British oppressors. Nanny is also linked to the Maroons of Trelawny.
Additionally, Veronica Campbell-Brown is from Trelawny and is the most decorated Olympic female sprinter in Jamaica, and possibly the world, and one of the greatest sprinters of all time. In addition, her longevity as a world class sprinter is legendary. Her story and picture both are a candidate.
Another candidate would be folklorist and poet Louise Bennett, aka Miss Lou. Miss Lou more than anyone else showed that the mother tongue of most Jamaicans, Patois, was worthy of respect. There are American spellings on the storyboards so we have 'center' instead of 'centre' and 'harbor' instead of 'harbour'. It would be good to have Miss Lou and some Jamaican spelling to boot.
Similarly, Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica's first female prime minister and first female to lead a political party to victory in a general election is also a candidate. In any case, the storyboards should have a place for the current history and could mention who is the present prime minister, governor general, mayor, etc.
Royal Caribbean must be commended for erecting boards to provide a story of Jamaica from its establishment to the present-day Falmouth. Amending the storyboards to include Sharpe and Nanny is of utmost importance based on their contribution to freedom in Trelawny, Jamaica and the world.
Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.