In a momentous, historic gathering at The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus recently, leaders from the maroon communities of Jamaica discussed and took steps towards reconciling differences at a meeting hosted by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of The UWI – enstooled Papa Osikol II. This reconciliation gathering which took place on 8 January, followed the success of the 286th Maroon Festival on January 6, themed “Return to Accompong: Return to Your Roots,” which attracted a mammoth crowd from Jamaica and beyond, to commemorate this significant historical event.

The leaders came together to address a number of challenges within maroon communities with the purpose of forging ahead in unity.

The AIDO African royal delegation led by His Highness Papa Paul J. Eganda I, President of AIDO Network International, which participated in the annual commemorative celebrations held in Cockpit Country, St. Elizabeth, also met with the maroon leaders. These included: Gaamang Gloria “Mama G” Simms of the Maroon Women Network and Charlestown with Gaama Akin; Colonel Lloyd Lattibeaudiere and Secretary Jacqueline Phillips of Scott’s Hall; Chief Richard Currie, Ambassador Anu El and Br. Roy Harris of Accompong.

Professor Beckles recognized the meeting between the African royals and the Maroons as a “historic moment” and paid tribute to the heroic struggle of the Maroons which he said represented the interests of Africans in Jamaica and the Caribbean for hundreds of years with dignity. “The Maroons and Tainos were the first to consolidate freedom, equality and justice in the hills of Jamaica, demonstrating a new way to live in resistance to slavery and put Jamaica on the road to freedom and democracy,” he said. 

The focus of the discussions was on strategies to provide practical support for the economic and social development of maroon communities in Jamaica and on advocacy for their active engagement and respect for the cultural and economic rights of Maroon and other indigenous communities, in the ongoing constitutional reform process in Jamaica.

Professor Beckles emphasized that “the freedom intrinsic to the Jamaican sovereignty resides historically, ancestrally among the Maroons of Jamaica and that is the fundamental principle on which we should depart.” He called for the “recognition of the Tainos and the Maroons as the first people of Jamaica – the first people in the context of slavery, the first people in the context of colonization; they are the ones who put Jamaica on the road to modernity, on the road to democracy, on the road to freedom,” and they should be celebrated for their tremendous contribution.

He concluded that “Jamaica has to find a creative legal strategy, an imaginative, constitutionally perceptive strategy to recognize these first principles and to craft a constitution that places at the centre, the sovereignty of the Maroon people of Jamaica, the true founders of modern-day Jamaica.”

“I hope Jamaican people will dig deep into their history, dig deep into their spirit and their consciousness and push the Maroons into the vanguard to continue their journey into the future of liberty and justice,” he said.

His Highness Paul Eganda explained that the AIDO Royal delegation was visiting Jamaica to show solidarity with the Maroons and join the celebration of the 286th anniversary of the 1738 Maroon treaty with the British. The delegation also sought to continue building a relationship with the Maroons, of cooperation based on Pan-African principles, which commenced during a visit of African kings and queens from Uganda, Cameroon and South Africa who are part of the AIDO royal community, to Accompong in March 2023.

“It is about unity and respect among each other and working together as Maroons for the greater purpose…We need to work together as Maroons because together we are stronger, and we can achieve more…Our work is really to listen and to see how to move forward in unity,” HH Paul Jones Eganda said.

Chief Richard Currie, enstooled Papa Odwe II, Paramount Chief of Accompong – in March 2023 by the AIDO Royal Community, contributed historical context and firm recommendations to the discussions specific to the Accompong Maroon community he leads, pointing out that Accompong was never colonized by the British or any other colonial power.

He highlighted the challenge that much of maroon history is not properly documented and is largely oral history. As a result, “we live in a Jamaica today that underplays the importance of that history and in doing so has allowed elements of society such as the media to perpetrate the misinformation, the misguided information that has further separated the people from one another – the people in the mountains from the people on the plains.”

In relation to constitutional reform and the transition to a republic, he emphasized the need for proper consultation with the Maroons to address concerns about their livelihoods as it relates to their land, their status and the posterity of future generations. “As a collective here, there’s a responsibility to ensure that everyone is represented in the conversation and clearly defined understandings can be arrived at as to what the new Jamaica looks like and the relative treatment or acceptability of the status of these indigenous people that includes the Maroons, the Tainos, the Rastafari, and everyone who identifies as a free man,” Paramount Chief Currie said. 

Gaamang Gloria “Mama G” Simms of the Maroon Women’s Network Suriname and representing Charlestown Maroons stated: “One thing Maroons have preserved is family…slavery and colonialism brought down family life and the Maroon families know what land and property rights mean to us.”

She further emphasized that “we need government of Jamaica to know that the gold mine is the minds of the people and we Maroons stand for that…what would’a happen if we didn’t fight…I give thanks for all of my ancestors from Africa who came here and stood up and said if we perish we perish but we gon’ fight. As Queen Nanny said: she knows to fight the enemy but she didn’ learn to fight her own.” 

Colonel Lloyd Lattibeaudiere of Scott’s Hall Maroons shared personal insights, expressing the urgent need for collective action. He highlighted the suffering within maroon communities and emphasized the importance of a unified approach to address challenges with long-term engagements to progress forward. “It is about what we need to accomplish together…We need to carry everyone along it is too many people getting leave behind and we need to say something about it…they have to talk to us but we need to come together.” He further highlighted the importance of having representation for maroon communities within the Jamaican Parliament with the former Maroon Secretariat or similar entity. He emphasized that “Maroons cannot be left out of the conversation and plans for the future of Jamaica.”

Dr. Hilary Brown, CARICOM Secretariat, enstooled Queen Asianut Acom II, highlighted the commitment made by the AIDO Royal Community in February and December 2023, to return in January 2024 for the Accompong annual January 6th Festival and respectfully support the collective reunification action among maroon communities of Jamaica beyond old and new challenges. “From the beginning, the AIDO Royal Community and His Highness (Papa Ateker) has had a very strong interest in the maroon communities, recognizing your central place in the history of Jamaica and the way in which you have facilitated the continuity of African traditions and the freedom that we all enjoy today. We encourage and wish to see how unity may be forged moving forward based on the importance of maroon age in the history of Jamaica.” 

The meeting agreed on follow up initiatives and next steps, including organizing a 3-day symposium during 2024 at The UWI to highlight and document maroon history; advocacy for recognition of the Maroon’s pivotal place in Jamaica’s history and adequate consultation with the Maroons in the process of constitutional reform; launching a campaign to correct historical injustices with accurate refocusing and rebranding of the maroon legacy and narrative within Jamaican history. Maroon Leaders in attendance proposed regular quarterly meetings, intervention strategies, and a calendar of existing ancestral sacred events hosted by respective communities to strengthen unity and address practical challenges faced by maroon communities. 

The Maroon Unity Reconciliation Gathering marked a significant step towards solidarity, historical justice, and a united front for Jamaica\’s indigenous voices. The diversity of opinions expressed showcased the intellectual strength, discipline, and ancestral harmony within the maroon community, signalling a new chapter in their shared history. 

Other members of the AIDO Royal African Delegation in attendance included: Her Majesty Queen Vickylextar Okang-Sowah and Lady Chrystal Bureau of the Omanye Kingdom, Ghana; Queen Mother Dr. ChenziRa Hajila Adeke Davis Kahina, Pokomo Royal Kingdom and the Caribbean Pan-African Network; HRH Queen Ikatekit Gamachana/ Jenny Abbensetts and Chief Baiba/Carlton Darby, both of the Pokomo Royal Nation, Kenya and QM. Laleta Davis Mattis, Chairperson, Jamaica National Council on Reparations, enstooled Queen Mother Atiang II.  


Iteso Cultural Union has put forward among its 2024 new year resolution a plan to raise revenue to help in availing scholarships for the students in the Iteso region of Eastern Uganda.

“In many cases, we have found many of our students in the region failing to advance to tertiary institutions because of lack of funds” reiterates Papa Sande Emolot, the Emorimor of Iteso.

He adds that even though they are building on the dream of the late Emorimor of Iteso, it is ICU’s dream to see that the beneficiaries of these intended scholarships will be able to invest back in their communities for the future generations to enjoy the same.

According to a recent Action Aid report,the Teso sub region has one of Uganda’s highest illiteracy rates, standing at 88%.

“We are also planning to raise revenue for the construction of the Teso royal palace,” added Papa Sande Emolot.

Since the year 2023, the Iteso Cultural Union has been facilitating the renovation of the Kingdom headquarters in Soroti and currently scouting for 10-15 acres of land where the Teso palace will be constructed.

“We hope to launch the renovated Kingdom offices in May 2024” says the Emorimor.

Papa Paul Sande Emolot, was installed as Iteso Paramount Chief in October 2022 after the death of former Emorimor Augustine Osuban Lemukol.

The Emorimor has since engaged in initiatives to uphold the late Emorimor\’s precedent. He has purposely used his international engagements with Ateker International Development Organization (AIDO Network) to lobby for investors/investments with the aim of building the Teso region.

HRH Papa Sande Emolot was one the first cultural leaders in Africa to embrace the reconnection agenda by AIDO Network International aimed at promoting brotherhood, investment opportunities, trade and tourism with the African Diaspora. His hard work is about to yield results as a number of Africans from the diaspora have heeded his call to return home with the aim of building the economy by facilitating investment opportunities especially in the Teso region of Eastern Uganda.

Written by:

Agnes Namale
AIDO Press Secretary.

As the World bids farewell to the yearly celebrations of the birth of the savior Jesus Christ characterized by pompous decorations and characterization of a mystical Santa in the western world, the black people communities in America and different parts of the Caribbean communities begin the celebration of a seven days long holiday fondly known as Kwanzaa!

For folks like Chief Rev. Wayne Onkphra Wells the chairperson of the Barbados Pan African Coalition of Organizations, Kwanzaa is one of the many ways Africans living in the diaspora can rejuvenate the spirit of Pan-Africanism
by embracing customs relevant to their roots!

“I was introduced to the principles of Kwanzaa before I even knew about Kwanzaa” Rev.Wells reiterates.

He recollects a time in the year 1970 when a revolution broke out on the Island of Trinidad leading to the awakening of the nation to black people consciousness.

The strife opened Trinidad and Tobago to the Principles of Kwanzaa based on which the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) was formed.

NJAC was formed to advocate for the abolition of the injustices against the black majority in Trinidad and Tobago at the time.

“Barbados is still struggling with the aftermath of the colonial era” adds Rev. Wayne as he talks about the scope at which Kwanzaa is embraced in Barbados.

“ Even though it involves elements of white supremacy, the majority of the people here still widely celebrate the Christmas holiday” he says.

However, Rev. Wayne adds that each year a considerable number of people continue to join the awakening towards advocating for reparations.

“We have been lucky to have support from the prime minister Mia Amor Mottley’s office through the special envoy for reparations and enfranchisement Trevor Prescod” the Rev. Says.

Government support of this kind has been instrumental in exerting reparations movements in Barbados leading to at least 95% of the schools joining in the celebration of the African awareness month annually in the month of February.

“Kwanzaa does not seek to replace Christmas, but provides an alternative for those who seek a more afro centered holiday celebration” Rev. Wayne reiterates as he adds that unlike white supremacists portraying the western world as the pioneers of Faith beliefs, Africans have always been spiritual.

The seven days long ceremony stands on Pan Africanist Dr. Maulana Karenga ’s shared creation of this collective celebration of Afrakan family, community, culture, heritage and sovereignty that existed in different harvest and village healing prosperity celebrations for millennia.

The celebration stands on the principles of Unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and Faith.

“Africans should embrace practices that rejuvenate the spirit of Pan-Africanism” Rev.Wells concludes.

Written by : Agnes Namale
AIDO Press Secretary.

Web :