This year’s 280th Maroon Festival in Accompong Jamaica was an occasion of bold statements and agendas, signalling a new era of cooperation between Africa and the Diaspora.
The traditional Maroon festival turned into an African gala event as international dignitaries arrived by the numbers wearing traditional African garb.
Of particular note was the presence of the African Union Permanent Ambassador to the USA, Dr. Arikana Chihombori Quao, who re-affirmed a previous decision to have the African Union Diaspora Headquarters established in Accompong Jamaica. She applauded the Maroons for having maintained their traditional African cultural heritage, describing the Maroon state as “a piece of Africa in the heart of the Caribbean.”
The Nigerian High Commissioner, Ambassador Janet Olisa, was also present at the cultural event. Highlighting the close ties which have been established between Accompong and Nigeria, Accompong’s Minister of Finance, Hon. Timothy E. McPherson Jr. acknowledged that he was recently made a prince in the Nigerian oil-rich state of Badagry, and that his name and title had been changed to His Royal Highness Prince Chukwuemeka Kelechi.
The Finance Minister then announced that Accompong would be using its new currency, the LUMI, in issuing the African Diaspora Bond. Accompong’s LUMI is a bonded currency that is 100% backed by solar energy. The Minister said the African Diaspora Bond will be used to develop 100GW of solar power as part of the Diaspora’s contribution within the African Agenda 2063. The Bond is to be LUMI denominated and is expected to be issued in August 2018. Minister McPherson said, “what oil was able to achieve for the United Arab Emirates in the 20th century, solar energy shall be able to achieve for Africa in the 21st century.”
Jamaica’s Finance Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, was also in attendance at the Maroon festival, and commended his Maroon counterpart Minister McPherson for the pan-African alliances. Minister Shaw said he listened carefully to the plans being put forth by Minister McPherson and that he would “be coming very soon to borrow LUMIs”.
Accompong is one of four sovereign Maroon territories on the Island of Jamaica which were established in 1738 by Peace Treaty with the British.
In addition to being Minister of Finance, Timothy McPherson is also the Paramount Maroon Secretariat for all four territories in Jamaica. He said “we are consolidating the Maroon communities while at the same time building a powerful alliance between Africa and the Diaspora. I welcome the decision of the Ambassador to establish the AU Diaspora Headquarters in Accompong. The global African family has been waiting for this for 500 years.”
Accompong Minister of Finance, Hon. Timothy E. McPherson Jr. salutes Ambassador Quao as she confirms AU Diaspora Headquarters to be established in Accompong.
The AU Diaspora Headquarters is expected to become operative in February 2018.