Golding gets Maroons blessings

February 21, 2024
Mark Golding is flanked by PNP councillor candidates Louise Newland (left) and Sarah Marshall in his constituency of St Andrew South.
Mark Golding is flanked by PNP councillor candidates Louise Newland (left) and Sarah Marshall in his constituency of St Andrew South.

President of the People's National Party (PNP) Mark Golding has been forced to defend his participation in a ritual in St Elizabeth on Monday.

Golding was presented with a necklace during a ritual in Accompong. Liquid, which was poured from a flask rum bottle was used to anoint his head and wash his hands. Videos of the ritual have been posted on social media, and several users have questioned whether the PNP leader is engaging in occult practices.

Contacted for comment on the issue yesterday, Golding said that there was nothing sinister about the ceremony.

"It was white rum that was used in the process of a Maroon ceremony. They were giving me that necklace, and part of the way they do it involves white rum. It has nothing to do with obeah," Golding said.

Golding toured the Accompong museum and explored relics of the community's rich history. Golding expressed admiration for the preservation efforts, stating, "This is a practice which shows where they're coming from in terms of history. I visited Accompong, and as you saw, I signed and wrote my message to them in their visitors book. Afterwards, they wanted to give me a beaded necklace, which is very beautiful."

"They were happy that I'd come to see them and acknowledge them in a very respectful way, and they chose to give me the necklace," he remarked.

Golding had taken his campaign to the Ipswich division in St Elizabeth North West, where Kilimanjaro is seeking to be returned as councillor after the February 26 local government elections.

Kilimanjaro expressed confidence that he will be able to stave off the challenge from the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Clinton Kenroy.

"We are satisfied with the work that we are doing and there are no issues that should cause us to be alarmed. In Accompong, traditionally the PNP has had more support than the JLP, and I think this time around it won't be any different," Kilimanjaro said.

"What I found while campaigning in Accompong is that the Maroon community was not particularly pleased with the aggressive interference in maroon domestic politics by the Jamaica Labour Party."

"When Mark Golding is elected prime minister, I am confident that the relationship between the Jamaican state and the Maroon communities will improve drastically. The Maroons and their leadership are of that view as well," Kilimanjaro assured.

He won the division by 28 votes in 2016.

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