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United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, His Excellency António Guterres, during his trip to Jamaica. (CMC photo)

Guterres: Jamaican culture positively ‘invaded’ world

May 25, 2023

CMC – Jamaica’s cultural heritage and the positive impact on the rest of the world were among the areas highlighted by United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, His Excellency António Guterres, during his recent working visit to the island.

Former Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture, Alando Terrelonge, who accompanied Guterres on visits to various cultural and heritage sites, said that much of the discussions surrounded the “resilience of our forefathers as champions of equality, and the ending of racism and the enslavement of our people”.

He said Guterres indicated to him that “Jamaica’s culture has invaded the world in a positive way”.

During his two-day working visit, The UN Secretary-General toured two important historical sites for which Jamaica is looking to secure world heritage status – Port Royal in Kingston and the Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann.

Terrelonge noted that discussions are “far advanced” for Port Royal to be on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) list of World Heritage Sites.

“We hope that by next year we will have a positive response. We know the history of Port Royal and what it means for our cultural prominence in the world,” he said.

A major shipping and trade centre in the 17th century, Port Royal was once the largest city in the Caribbean and the wealthiest in the Americas.

It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1692, with a large portion of the town sinking into the sea, while about two-fifths of the population died, either in the earthquake or in the plagues and pestilences that followed.

If Jamaica’s Port Royal’s World Heritage inscription is granted, the site would become one of only a few sunken cities to receive such status.

For the Seville Heritage Park, to which Terrelonge accompanied the Secretary-General, the former Culture State Minister said, “It was important to take him on this tour and to champion the position of its importance in human history.”

Seville is one of Jamaica’s most significant cultural heritage sites and the area is regarded as the genesis of modern Jamaica.

The site features some of the significant vestiges of the sugar plantation slavery history of Jamaica.

In addition to the great house, it features the ruins of the Spanish governor’s castle, the Spanish church, and a water wheel and the Spanish sugar mill can be found on the site.

Relics from the Taino, Spanish, British, and African communities in Jamaica have also been exhumed from the site and are on display at the museum.

The visit also included tours of the Kingston Creative District downtown, where murals depicting several of Jamaica’s greatest musical icons, including Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Millie Small, are mounted.

The UN Secretary-General also toured the Bob Marley Museum in St. Andrew and addressed resident Heads of UN agencies and staff at the International Seabed Authority in Kingston.

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