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Letter of the Day: Even the Black River starts in Manchester

Published:Thursday | September 3, 2015 | 12:00 AM


The report in today's Gleaner of a denial in Parliament of knowledge of a river in Manchester took me back to my childhood when I moved from Manchester to a primary school in Hanover and had a teacher in geography class say, "There are no rivers in the parish of Manchester." This statement was shocking, because it denied some of the most vivid experiences of my early childhood beside the Hector's River.

In launching my Encyclopedia of Jamaican Heritage in 2003, I cited this experience as the motivation for me to learn as much as I could about my own country and this led to my producing the encyclopedia. The relevant passage in the encyclopedia is under the entry for the Black River, and I quote it below:

The Black River, "as the Hector's River, begins near to Coleyville, Manchester parish, and travels westerly for about 20km, forming the boundary between Manchester and Trelawny parish. Shortly after passing Troy, Trelawny, the river sinks in wild Cockpit Country to reappear at Oxford, Manchester. Here, it officially becomes known as the One Eye River, though local residents call it the Noisy River, from the sound of the cataracts where it emerges. After this, it sinks underground again, passing through a ridge to the north of Bogue Hill. When the river re-emerges at Siloah, St Elizabeth, it officially becomes the Black River ... ."

Since there still seems to be confusion, I would gladly have these facts corrected by any authority on the subject, as I am preparing a new edition of the encyclopedia. In the meantime, I will ask the publishers, Twin Guinep, to deliver a copy of the Encyclopedia of Jamaican Heritage to the Jamaican Parliament so that, in addition to the Bible, all who rule may also read about our beautiful Jamaica.