In this the year of our Centennial Celebration, on behalf of the Universal Negro Improvement-African Communities League (UNIA-ACL), it gives me great pleasure to greet you with our motto: ONE GOD! ONE AIM! ONE DESTINY! It is my belief that in the 100 years of Garveyism, our founder and first national hero, Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, could never have imagined that he would be valorized for being a Maroon but, times and attitudes do change, especially in this age of technology where information, from which to grow and expand our horizons, can be retrieved with just a “mouse-click” or the swipe of a finger.
The Maroons learnt how to slow-cook their meats as a result of their integration into the culture and company of the first Jamaicans, the Tainos. The Tainos used to cook their meats on a shelf made of sticks that was “He Created of One Blood, All Nations of Men to dwell on the face of the Earth.”
hoisted over a fire and this was called “barbacoa”. The Spanish colonizers corrupted this word and it became “barbecue”. This above-ground cooking method was not suitable for the Maroons who were are war with the British Army for all of 27 years. So they modified the Taino’s cooking method by digging a pit and placing the fire inside the pit. The meat, which was nicely marinated in hot spices (the names of these spices were once heavily guarded secrets) were then placed on sticks arranged over the pit and aromatic leaves, such as pimiento, were used to cover the meat which was left to steam for hours. One can only imagine how the British soldiers, in their bright scarlet red coats, would be squirming in their camps pitched in the dense jungle, as they tried to decide which direction such delectable aromas could be coming from, as no fires could be seen. It was this method of warfare that enabled the Maroons to be the only people to defeat the British Army and force them to throw away their bright scarlet red coats. This information ladies and gentlemen, is another legacy that the Maroons gave the world – guerilla warfare, which is fighting under the cover of camouflage. The camouflage-uniform worn by soldiers today, called army fatigues, is a gift or legacy from the Maroons “to the world”.
I do hope that these little tidbits of information will whet your appetite for more of our unrecorded History, which should be underpinned with greater respect for our national hero, the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, the History of the Tainos and the Maroons who, in their own ways, helped to give us “BRAND JAMAICA” and our unique place in the world. Let us now salute them at this the launch of the Montego Bay Jerk Festival. So once again, on behalf of the UNIA-ACL, I wish that the Montego Bay Jerk Festival will be a resounding success.
Fraternally, VALERIE DIXON (MRS.) Lady President