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Historic Programme for 8th Maroon Conference

Published:Wednesday | June 15, 2016 | 10:33 AMPaul H. Williams

The eighth Charles Town International Maroon conference, to be held at the Asafu Yard in Charles Town, Portland, from Thursday, June 23 to Sunday June 26, will be the first conference since one of its founders, Colonel Frank Lumsden, passed away.

Lumsden's ashes will be interred in the Charles Town Maroon Cemetery in a traditional Maroon ritual on the 26th. He went to join the ancestral ranks last August after losing the battle against cancer. His interment, as part of the conference activities, is historic, fitting for the man who is credited for the revival of Maroonculture at Charles Town.

At the launch of the conference at Redbones The Blues Cafe last Thursday, sponsors and other stakeholders spoke of Lumsden's achievement, and influence.

importance of culture

Vivian Crawford, former executive director of the Institute of Jamaica, and a Maroon himself, spoke about the importance of Maroon culture, his relationship with and respect for Lumsden, while Chris Rose, CEO of iamVoluntourism, said the colonel inspired him with his work in community development and the development of Charles Town.

Dr Susan Otuokon of the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust reminded the audience of the role that Lumsden and the Charles Town Maroons played in the inscription process of the Blue and John Crow Mountains on the World Heritage Site List.

And Jason Hall of the Jamaica Tourist Board spoke about his work with, and the JTB's high regard for, Lumsden.

On the opening day of the conference, the work and achievements of one of Lumsden's ancestors, Captain Quao, will be remembered and celebrated with many activities. The Taino, the first Maroons, will also be celebrated. Patrons are urged to take gifts to set on the ancestral altar.