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Story by Paul Williams, Jamaica Gleaner
One of the biggest ironies of the annual Accompong Town Maroons’ celebrations over the last several years is the influx of vendors selling non-traditional and imported wares. This anomaly has been discussed and written about ad nauseam, but there seems to be no end in sight. This non-Maroon commercialisation of one of the biggest events on the heritage calendar has been putting dents into the efforts of those who are in the business of creating and selling traditional art and craft items and clothes.
Yet, the people who are into preserving the artistic heritage are not giving up and are holding their own at a time when the significance of the celebrations are greatly oversha-dowed by the need to earn a living. It is now being noised abroad and yard that, come next year, it will not be business as usual; that’s a familiar tune, so only time will tell.
But for now, one person who is making sure that Maroon heritage is always on display at Accompong Town is Tyshan Wright, president of the Full Maroon Council at this historic Maroon village, perched on hills high in the St Elizabeth section of the Cockpit Country.
Exquisite craft items
Since 2007, he has been producing and selling exquisite art and craft items and ornaments made purely of materials that are endemic to the region. He has been doing what his ancestors had done for centuries, albeit at a more sophisticated level. In an era which was considered backward, the Maroons used the natural environment to provide themselves with food, shelter and clothes. And to adorn themselves, they put together seeds and nuts that could be found in abundance in the area….