Thu | Jan 28, 2021

Letter of the Day | Annie Palmer hypocrisy

Published:Tuesday | December 10, 2019 | 12:00 AM


The Annie Palmer costume worn by Miss Jamaica Universe has caused widespread outrage, and I find it quite intriguing. Jamaicans have once again succeeded in placing the cart before the horse.

In primary school, we read about the White Witch of Rose Hall. There were many trips to the infamous great house in St James. There have been many television, radio, and print features on this place. It is a prime tourist attraction.

The description on reads as follows:

“Immerse yourself in the heritage of the island as your expert guide shares the story of this colonial ruin restored to its former majesty in the 1960s. Learn about the lifestyle of the European bourgeoisie in the isles of the Caribbean in the eighteenth century. The tale of Annie Palmer, the famed White Witch of Rose Hall, is sure to delight. Beautiful tropical gardens and personalities will colour your experience, with fun along the way!”

So I ask, when exactly did Jamaicans decide that this place was a painful reminder about the horrors of slavery? For, indeed, it is! But this is a conversation we should have been having long ago. We should have known that a slave master should not be celebrated. Instead, we went along with the story of this “legend” only to be embarrassed when she is presented on an international stage as a significant part of our heritage.

Had we done the right thing from the beginning and admonished this character, this would have never happened.


Will we now turn up at the gates with placards and demand the closure of this attraction? Will we put an end to the school trips? Will adults who missed the school trip remove it from their bucket list? Will the media stop airing the features, especially on national holidays when we celebrate our history? I submit that we will do no such thing.

Dear Jamaica, it is too late! Rose Hall will remain in place, and many of you will continue to visit. Your continued support of this ‘legend’ resulted in wires being crossed and a beauty queen presented as a slave master. Thank Miss Iana Olivia Tickle Garcia for representing Jamaica, albeit under controversial circumstances, and hope that she learns from this unfortunate experience.

There is an old Jamaican proverb that says, “Finger neber say, ‘look here’. Him say, ‘look yonder’.” Hypocrisy is paying to visit the Rose Hall Great House then lambasting a beauty queen for wearing the costume.