Yesterday, apart from attending the church service for the Caribbean Optimist International held at Coke Methodist. I was luckily to get a few minutes of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion led by Paul Bogle one of our National Heroes.
During the sermon, the Reverend Michael Graham gave a little history of the town where he highlighted that the great-grandson of Paul Bogle approached the church for assistance. With the help he received, it allowed him to build the first high school in the parish which is the Morant Bay High School. After church through my tour of the town, I found the old courthouse and was able to view the celebrations of such an important day. I was excited to be apart of the celebrations and began a conversation with one of the patrons who was of the Rastafarian faith. He said that he was happy and gave thanks for the rain and the ability to have the march from Stony Gut to the town.
While watching the proceedings of the dance done by the cultural group, I began talking with Dr. Michael Barnett, lecturer in the faculty of Social Sciences at the University of the West Indies about the day. When questioned about why Rastas decided to participate in the various activities. He answered that Rastas can relate to act of the rebellion and associate it with Rastafari. He went further to say that it is in St. Thomas that Rastafari began, and even the music that is used in the religion was derived from the traditional music of the parish.
In his article Morant Bay: Lessons for Today (2015), Dr. Orville Taylor stated that “Today is the 150th anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion, and I believe that both the British government and our local leaders need a reminder of our history. Morant Bay was about a detached and insensitive colonial government that did not care about the welfare of the slave descendants on the island, and a set of Englishmen who did not comprehend the dynamics of race, skin colour and class on the rock. It is amazing how little things have changed“.
Though many persons would agree with this statement, considering the current state of the country and what our leaders are doing to make it better for us to citizens. I believe that we can use the month which is considered heritage month, to use the events that took place in our nation’s history as lessons of the past and have ideas of making a better society for the future.
Taylor, O. Dr. (2015, October 11). Morant Bay: Lessons for Today. The Sunday Gleaner. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/focus/20151011/morant-bay-lessons-today