Destination Jamaica

The Beautiful Island of Jamaica in Style…Once You Go, You Know!

Jamaica’s Independence Day August 6, 2011

Filed under: History,Information,Jamaica — carter8613 @ 6:30 am


Birth of Independence

From Savannla-La-Mar to Morant Bay, from Above Rocks to Port Maria, as the clock struck midnight on August 5, 1962, the strains of our national anthem were heard for the first time while Union Jacks were lowered and the Jamaican flag unveiled.

Ceremonies took place in parish capitals across the island. In many cases, fireworks lit up the skies punctuating the August 6 birth of the Dominion of Jamaica. At the National Stadium, then Prime Minister Sir Alexander Bustamante, decked out in formal wear, presided over what was described as a stirring event.

“The entire evening was just tremendous,” says statesman Hector Wynter, enthusiastically recounting the shared excitement and delight that reverberated through the packed Stadium where over 20,000 people proudly joined in the celebration of movement from colonialism to self-government.

Kingston and all other parish capitals were resplendent with flags and bunting, and many civic and social events took place, including dancing in the streets,

maypoles in town squares, jonkonnu, bonfires, float parades overflowing with beauty queens, as well as tree planting and religious ceremonies.

Lola Ramocan, recalls how as a teenager she, like many of the people in her home parish of Clarendon, dressed in the colours of the flag and crowded into the town centre to celebrate. There were treats for the children and the elderly, and commemorative cups and plates were distributed. “What wonderful souvenirs these made,” Ramocan said with a smile, “having one was like holding onto a piece of history.”

Theodore Sealy was appointed Chairman of the Independence Committee which was charged with choosing the island’s national symbols, flag, and anthem. Hector Wynter, who, like all sitting Senators at the time, had the opportunity to serve on this committee, remembers that experience as a smooth process in which all were united by enthusiasm. As it turned out, Wynter recalls, “the colour choice and design for the flag proceeded quite smoothly. The only hitch was that our initial design was apparently very similar to that chosen by Tanganyika. So we made our gold saltire cross broader.” Wynter adds, “it may remind you of the Union Jack in design as both have saltire crosses, but our vibrant colours ­ the gold set against black and green triangles ­ made it our own.”

Our anthem married the words of the Reverend Hugh Sherlock to the music of Hon. Robert Lightbourne, both of which were chosen out of many anonymous entries submitted in a public contest. The 300-year-old coat of arms was retained but a new motto ­ “Out of Many, One People” ­ a reminder that the nation is composed of people of many races who have long lived and worked in harmony, was added.


On August 7, 1962 – which had also been declared a holiday – the first session of Jamaica’s parliament took place. Princess Margaret, wished Jamaica well on behalf of her sister, the Queen, and handed over the constitutional documents to Sir Alexander. She said she was proud to be associated with this event and welcomed the new nation to the Commonwealth Family.


Bustamante, responding to Princess Margaret and addressing Jamaicans at home and abroad as the island’s first Prime Minister, cautioned on that same August 7 morning:
“Independence means the opportunity for us to frame our own destiny and the need for us to rely on ourselves in so doing. It does not mean a license to do as we would like. It means work and law and order-Let us resolve to build a Jamaica which will last and of which we and generations to come will be proud, remembering that especially at this time the eyes of the world are upon us.” Bustamante’s message was also carried in a special supplement in the New York Times commemorating Jamaica’s independence.

Norman Manley, then Leader of the Opposition, also reminded the nation: “We stand here today surrounded by an unseen host of witnesses-who through all our history strove to keep alight the torch of freedom-and what of the future? We have come to Independence prepared and ready to shoulder our new responsibilities and united I believe in one single hope that we may make our small country a safe and happy home for all our people.”

The themes of both of these addresses and those of many others given that day and on countless anniversaries can aptly be summed up in the words of our National Anthem ­ described by Sherlock and Bennett (1998) as “a prayer of a small, newly-independent nation for guidance and protection for themselves and for the island they love.” Today, that prayer is just as relevant as it was 39 years ago ­ an expression of fervent hope, respectful humility and strong commitment:

Eternal Father, bless our land.
Guide us with thy mighty hand
Keep us free from evil powers
Be our guide through countless hours
Through our leaders, great defender
Grant true wisdom from above
Justice, truth be ours forever
Jamaica land we love.
Teach us true respect for all
Stir response to duty’s call
Strengthen us, the weak to cherish
Give us wisdom lest we perish
Knowledege send us, Heavenly Father
Grant true wisdom from above
Justice, truth be ours forever
Jamaica, land we love

  — Rebecca Tort


Milk River Bath Resort & Spa, Kingston Jamaica April 7, 2011

Filed under: Accommodations,Attractions,Caribbean,History,Jamaica,Kingston,Spa — carter8613 @ 9:45 am

Milk River Bath Resort and Spa

The orgins of the bath is very interesting, rooted in Jamaica’s slave history.

The story begins with a slave owned by a man named Jonathan Ludford.

He was beaten by his master and ran away into the forest .

The slave came upon the Milk River Bath and washed his wounds. The bath soothed his wounds and they began to heal.

Upon returning to the slave village his slave master agreed not punish him if he told him the location of the spring.

The area was then fenced off and this slave was given the duty to guard it. The property that the springs were on, were later willed to the government.

The Milk River baths in Jamaica is said to have one of the highest radioactivity levels of any mineral bath in the world.

Analysis of the mineral spring shows it is more radioactive than the leading European spas, Baden in Switzerland and Karlsbad in Austria.

The bath is reknowned for curing many ailments including – Sciatia, Lumbago, Gout and Liver disorders. The Milk River Bath has 6 public baths and a small hotel of 20 rooms.

The standard time for a baths is 15 minutes in one of the beautifully tiled rooms.

On the compounds you will also find a cocktail bar and restaurant serving some of the island’s wonderful Jamaican specialties.

The Milk River Bath spa is one of nature’s gift to us which should be explored whenever possible.



Jamaica’s National Hero’s Day – Third Monday in October October 18, 2010

Jamaica's National Flag


In Kingston, Jamaica, National Heroes Park contains a series of statues devoted to key figures in the country’s history, including independence leader Alexander Bustamente and pan-African crusader Marcus Garvey. As a way to honor the figures commemorated in this park, the Jamaican government has established National Heroes Day. The holiday officially replaced the celebration for Queen Elizabeth’s birthday, although she still receives military honors during ceremonies.

Kingston National Herors Park

The first group of national heroes was designated in 1965, the year of the centenary celebration of the 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion, a pivotal moment in the quest for independence from Great Britain. The first commemoration took place in 1968. As more heroes were added to the official list over subsequent years, National Heroes Day expanded to become National Heritage Week .

Monument for the Nanny of the Maroons

A typical ceremony held on the Monday that concludes Heritage Week is the National Heroes Day salute. Local parishes all over the island hold award ceremonies to honor community figures, while at National Heroes Park a main ceremony takes place that features a speech by a national leader, typically the prime minister.

Monument in honour of Samuel Sharpe

Jamaica Cultural Development Commission
3 Phoenix Ave.
Kingston, 10 Jamaica


Some unknown facts about Jamaica… August 30, 2010

Filed under: History,Information,Jamaica — carter8613 @ 7:23 am

Below are some facts about Jamaica you may not have known or heard before…a little more information about the wonderful country of Jamaica…enjoy!

Jamaican Flag

  • Had electricity before the United States
  • Had running water before the United States
  • Had phone cards before the United States
  • Their phone system was so sophisticated it was copied by AT&T
  • Jamaica has the most “churches” per square mile of any country in the world. Source-Guinness Book of World Records. Over 1,600 “churches” all over Jamaica . That number is growing.
  • Jamaica was the first country in the Western world to construct a railway, even before the United States ! This was only 18 years after Britain !
  • Jamaica is the first Caribbean Country to gain Independence .
  • Jamaica is the first team from the English-speaking Caribbean to qualify for the Football (Soccer) World Cup. This was the 1998 championship.
  • Jamaica stands strong in 3rd place on the list of countries to win the Miss World titles the most! [Hmmm!] The only countries to have won it more than Jamaica is India , Venezuela and the UK , but considering the size of Jamaica , you have to say that this achievement is monumental!
  • On his second voyage to the New World in 1494, the tip of the Blue Mountains in Jamaica was the first land sighted by Christopher Columbus.
  • Jamaica was the first commercial producer of bananas in the Western Hemisphere .
  • Jamaica also was the first island in the Caribbean to produce rum on a commercial basis.
  • The Manchester Golf Club in Jamaica , established in 1868, is the oldest in the western hemisphere!.
  • Apart from the United States , Jamaica has won the most world and Olympic medals.
  • 2006-2007: World Fastest man and woman- you bet, are Jamaicans [Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson].
  • 2008/2009 – Olympic/World fastest man and woman – Usain Bolt and Shelley-Ann Fraser
  • Jamaica has more multiple (two or more) live births than anywhere else in the world.
  • Jamaica was the first country to impose economic sanctions against the apartheid regime of South Africa .
  • Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean .
  • Jamaica was the first Caribbean island to enact legislation, “The Motion Picture Industry (Encouragement) Act” to promote the making of films.
  • Jamaica is the first country to sign a Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria grant agreement.
  • Jamaica was the first tropical country to enter the IOC Winter Olympics. The bob sleigh team’s efforts inspired the film ‘Cool Runnings’.
  • Jamaica was the first colony England acquired by conquest. This was in the year 1655 when the Spanish were driven from the island.
  • We have the second largest butterfly in the world? (The Giant Swallowtail).
  • Another of the interesting facts on Jamaica is that it was the first British colonial territory to establish a postal service (in 1688).
  • Jamaica was the first Caricom country to liberalize the telecommunications sector. Since then, other Caricom countries have opened up to competition.
  • Another one I found to be one of the most interesting facts on Jamaica is that Jamaica was the first country in the Caribbean region to launch a web site, This was in 1994!
  • And if you know none of the above, (which is fine) I expect you at least know that Jamaica is the birth place of Robert (“Bob”) Marley [smile]
  • that the Jamaican Flag is the ONLY flag in the world, that doesn’t share any of the colors of the American flag?

Jamaica’s Unusual Place Names March 9, 2010

Island of Jamaica

Sometimes location names tell their own story. And Jamaica’s towns, districts, rivers and streets have some really interesting ones – some are misleading, some are derived from family names, and some don’t mean what you think they mean!

Often the names denotes a geographic feature or landmark (Above Rocks, Red Ground, Blue Mountains, Corner Shop), or were named after the original landowner or were named for the homelands of immigrants who settled there (Dublin Castle, Irish Town, Egypt). Some have Arawak names (Jamaica, Liguanea), or Spanish (Oracabessa, Ocho Rios, Rio Grande), or British (Somerset, High Gate).

But many of the names are purely Jamaican! Jamaicans enjoy naming things and they call it as they see it, so these locatin names might describe an incidient that happened there or a particular feeling or sentiment they wanted to convey (Rest-and-Be-Thankful, Me-No-Call-You-No-Call, Bad Times, Broke My Neck Gully, Half Way Tree, Putogether Corner, Dump, Shambles, Rat Trap, Poor Mans Corner, Sally’s Delight, Betty’s Hope, Thankful Hill, Boldness, Good Design, Excellent Town, Happy Retreat, Heart Ease, Friendship and Welcome). Yes those are all the names of places in Jamaica!

  • Accompong – (a Maroon settlement) is in Saint Elizabeth. This name is said to be derived from the Ashanti word, Nyamekopon, which means “the lone one, the warrior”. This name was also given to one of the brothers of Captain Cudjoe, the second Maroon leader. Accompong was established in 1739.
  • Alligator Pond – in Saint Elizabeth: The name is said by locals to derive from the shape of the mountain range, which when sen from the beach, has bumps which look like an alligator’s back.
  • Blackness – in Trelawny, refers to the rich color of the soil found in this area. The color is said to indicate the richness of the soil as is the case of the red earth in other parts of the island.
  • Bloody Bay – in Saint James is said to derive from the killing of whales there.
  • Catherine’s Peak – in Portland, is named for Catherine Long, the wife of famed pirate-turned-governor, Sir Henry Morgan. She is believed to have been the first woman to scale the 5,050-foot high peak.
  • Duppy Gate – is in Saint Andrew. (Duppy is a Jamaican ghost). Legend has it that the gate is haunted by the ghost of an officer from the days when the West India Regiments occupied the base. Soldiers have reported visits from a mysterious officer dressed in period uniform with a sword slapping against his leg, who would suddenly vanish as they were ready to report.
  • Shoe Myself Gate – in Saint Elizabeth, derives from the fact tha when someone in town who was not accustomed to wearing shoes got a new pair, they would carry the shoes over their shoulders until they reached their destination. At the gate, they would “shoe themselves”.
  • Try See – in Saint Ann, is a post-emancipation name inspired by the idea of having  former slaves who received land “try and see” what they could do with it.
  • Wait A Bit – in Trelawny, derives its name form the Wait-a-bit thorn, believed to have been brought to Jamaica by African slaves.
  • White Shop – in Clarendon, just across the Manchester border, may have been so named because the shop that dominates the village square had once been painted white.

These are just a few of the unquire and unusual names of locations in Jamaica. There are plenty more that I will share at later day.


Saturday Soups and Other Broths February 10, 2010

Filed under: History,Information,Jamaica — carter8613 @ 4:19 pm
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Three-legged iron stock pot


Old-time Jamaican kitchens had a three-legged iron stock pot that was always ready to boil precious scraps and left-over daily. Without refrigeration this ensured the making of “tomorrow soup”.

The stock pot was stored above the fireplace with iron hooks called “pot hook” and ‘hangers’ and children at school were taught to write by using these symbols.

Pot hooks and hangers were not the only things that rested on the two parallel iron bars over the fireplace but there were also the ‘Kreng Kreng’ basket used to smoke and preserve corned pork, smoked tripe, smoked tongue, and other parts of the ‘fifth quarter’.

Don’t dis’ soup, however, because of its humble origins. It has graduated with dignity into modern Jamaica and is enjoyed in precious china or sawn-off bamboo joints, served at banquets or feeds. As popular as Jamaican rum is, soup is its rival beside the glass at dominoes or poker games, lunch or dinner.

The Christmas ham bone can end up in any of Jamaican soups with the exception of fish tea. It is especially good in red peas (kidney beans), pumpkin, and pepperpot soup made with callaloo.

Although Jamaica is a hot island, Jamaicans do not like cold soups.

Remember also that a soup should smile, chuckle but never laugh in a full rollicking boil!


Seaford Town September 30, 2009

Filed under: History,Jamaica,North Coast — carter8613 @ 6:30 am
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Seafood Town Welcome Sign

Seaford Town Welcome Sign

Seaford Town– Westmoreland

Seaford Town, also know as “German Town” has the most unusual history of all communities in Jamaica.

Abolition of slavery

The history of Seaford Town begins with the abolition of slavery on 1 August 1834. Many landowners were concerned that the abolition would leave them with insufficient labour to tend their fields. There was also a concern that abolition of slavery would tip the balance of power towards the black majority and a rebellion may occur. As a result, immigration of indentured labourers from Europe was encouraged. Labourers were sought from European countries, most notably Germany and Ireland.


Historical building in Seafood Town

Historical building in Seaford Town

The establishment of Seaford Town

As part of this initiative, Lord Seaford donated 500 acres of land for the establishment of a German settlement in 1835. The settlers were promised cottages to occupy and an allowance to be paid to them until they were able to support themselves. However, when the Germans arrived there was insufficient accommodation and many had to build their own homes. The working conditions were also very harsh and long hours were demanded.


House in Seafood Town
House in Seaford Town

The early years

Many of the settlers died within weeks. Over the forthcoming years many more settlers died of tropical diseases and malnutrition, others emigrated to North America. Those that remained had to adapt to the harsh conditions of rural Jamaica, learning how to plant hardy crops such as yam, bananas and cocoa.


Development of the town

In the last half of the 19th century development began to happen in Seaford Town. Land titles were distributed, a priest was sent from Austria and a church was built. However, unlike other European settlements, the residents of Seaford Town did not integrate with the black community. As such, the community remained entirely Caucasian for many years.

Seaford Town today

Eventually, the German settlers began to integrate more with the black population. However, evidence of German heritage exists to this day. Many of today’s residents have noticeable Caucasian features such as light skin, blonde hair and blue eyes. There is also evidence of the German archaeological style with many traditional German cottages still existing. Nowadays around 160 residence of Seaford Town claim direct German lineage and several German words feature in the speech of older residents.

The story of Seaford Town is told in the Seaford Town Historical Museum.