|The Most Hon. P.J. Patterson|
Patterson has had vast experience as a negotiator on a national and international level, which helped in his role while he was the Chairman of Caricom. He’s a strong believer in regionalization for the Caribbean.
He was instrumental in the modernizing the country’s infrastructure, as well as the financial sector. Jamaica’s borrowing relationship (18 years) with the IMF ended during his stint as Prime Minister and the country experienced a decline in poverty levels. His strong belief in education led him to start a program to transform the island’s education system.
He has received an Order of the Nation Award and in 2006 was awarded the Order of Excellence of Guyana and is a member of the Global Leadership Foundation, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation whose mandate is to improve the quality of political leadership and governance through availing current national leaders of the expertise of former leaders.
Now fasten your seat belts for a trip to Port Royal.
Port Royal is located at the southeastern tip of Jamaica. It is positioned on a strip of land at the mouth of the Kingston Harbour. It was established in 1518 and during the second half of the 17th century was a centre of business within the shipping industry.
It was the headquarters for pirates from several European countries. When the English came in 1655, their intention was to conquer the Spanish in Hispaniola. They were unsuccessful and took Jamaica from the Spanish instead. The English used the help of the pirates to secure the island and because of the city’s proximity to crucial trade routes.
|Museum at Port Royal|
These pirates were legitimized under the name ‘privateers’. Their escapades—read that as raiding Spanish ships—made Port Royal one of the richest cities in North America. The income from privateering far surpassed the money made from the production of sugar.
Over time, Port Royal gained the reputation as ‘the wickedest city in the world’ based on its community of pirates, drunks, robbers and prostitutes. It also had the reputation of having one tavern for every ten residents. After Henry Morgan was appointed governor, the face of the city changed and in 1687, anti piracy laws came into effect. Port Royal now became famous for the execution of pirates.
On June 7, 1692, a massive earthquake rocked the city, which didn’t stand much of a chance, built as it was on the sand. Studies have shown that the sand turned liquid and flowed into the harbor, in a process called Liquefaction. This happens when earthquakes hit land which is sandy in nature, and water-saturated. The increased water pressure forces the particles to separate and form a sludge-like matter that resembles quicksand. Picture buildings sinking and others sliding into the sea.
Thousands died and many others succumbed to illnesses brought on by the lack of medicine, water, and proximity to dead bodies, or which there were many. Fort Charles survived while many others sank. The earthquake was thought to be God’s punishment for the sinfulness of the city’s inhabitants.
|Ruins at Port Royal|
The attempts to rebuild the city met with limited success. Fires, hurricanes and flooding hampered the reconstruction efforts. As time passed, Kingston grew in importance and in 1815 another disastrous fire put paid to the redevelopment attempts at Port Royal, along with an outbreak of cholera in 1850.
The last earthquake in 1907 again liquefied the sand on which Port Royal was built and flattened the city. Port Royal served as the capital until after the earthquakes, at which time the capital moved to Spanish Town.
|Giddy House at Port Royal|
Port Royal is a wonderful place to visit as it is rich in history. These days, Port Royal is a quiet fishing village where you can get the best fish meals served on the beach. Port Royal also houses a museum and the Caribbean Maritime Institute, as well as many relics from the past. The sites still below the sea are important archeological 'digs'. Teams of archeologists have been harvesting material from the ships that sank in the harbor in the 17th & 18th century. Go to this link if you're interested in further details on the excavations.
I give you a few more Jamaican terms:-
Pickney: child/kid. Plural is ‘pickney dem’. Origin is from the slave term pickaninny, which is a pidgin term meaning children of Negroes. Wikipedia has an interesting take on the word’s origins.
Passa Passa: Apart from being a popular weekly dancehall event on Spanish Town Road, a Passa Passa can be a disagreement and/or conflict that involves high drama.
Don't Get Mad...Get Even is still free on Amazon. Download your copy of this award-winning short story collection.