Flag Up Scotland Jamaica Launches Petition to Scottish Parliament

This morning Flag Up Scotland Jamaica launched a petition calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to create a formal bilateral partnership with Jamaica, making it a Priority Country for trade and international development as a means of acknowledging that trade with Jamaica has contributed significantly to the foundations of economic growth and prosperity in Scotland and recognising that Scotland should now seek to advance the prosperity of Jamaica. The petition has the support of Anne McLaughlin, MP for Glasgow North East and Sir Geoff Palmer, Jamaican Professor Emeritus at Heriot Watt University. Scotland has many links with Jamaica and these begin with Scottish prisoners of war from the Battle of Dunbar and the Jacobite Rebellions being exiled to Jamaica.  Later many Scots came to make their fortunes in the slave economy.  The consequence is that there is a greater frequency of Scottish surnames in Jamaica than in countries like Canada or New Zealand.  A large number of place names in Jamaica are Scottish and include Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Elgin, Roxborough and Culloden.  More recently in 1962, a Scottish missionary in Jamaica, William McGhie was responsible for the inclusion of the saltire in the Jamaican flag. The petition highlights that between 1760 and 1830 the Scottish economy grew from one of the weakest in Europe to becoming one of the most powerful.  Profits were made from vast amounts of Jamaican sugar as the old sugar sheds that still exist in Greenock today testify.  Other industries in Scotland profited in unexpected ways.  The import of linen to clothe slaves in Jamaica increased tenfold between 1765 and 1795.  Recent...

Flag Up Scotland Jamaica Calls Press Conference

Flag Up Scotland Jamaica has called a press conference for tomorrow, 12th October, at 10.00 am at The Wild Olive Tree Cafe, 163 Buchanan Street, Glasgow, G1 2JX.  All are welcome to attend.  The press conference will be the official launch of our petition to the Scottish Parliament.  The petition calls upon the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to acknowledge that trade with Jamaica contributed significantly to the foundations of economic growth and prosperity in Scotland during the industrial revolution.  As a response to this, the petition also wants the Scottish Government to recognise a moral obligation to advance the prosperity of Jamaica and to declare Jamaica as a Priority Country for Scotland in terms of trade and development....

Jamaica – A Sweet Forgetting

Recently Flag Up Scotland Jamaica had the privilege of being invited to the National Portrait Gallery by photographer Stephen McLaren to the preview evening of his latest work, Jamaica – A Sweet Forgetting.  The work is part of a larger exhibition called The Ties That Bind by Document Scotland, a collective of Scottish documentary photographers, of which Stephen is a part. In Jamaica – A Sweet Forgetting Stephen visited and photographed many sites in Jamaica where Scottish men ran slave based sugar plantations.  Many of the properties now lie abandoned and the surrounding local communities are impoverished.  Stephen then returned to Scotland to photograph the country estates, mansions and investments which the Scottish plantation owners bought with the proceeds from their Jamaican estates. During the creation of this work Stephen met many people in Jamaica who claimed to be of Scottish descent and many had Scottish surnames which can be traced to the days of the sugar plantations.  The exhibition runs at the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh until the 24th April 2016.  Admission is...

Festival Of Politics Highlights Scotland’s Historical Links With Jamaica

The historical links between Scotland and Jamaica were highlighted during the launch of the recent Festival of Politics at the Scottish Parliament.  Flag Up Scotland Jamaica was represented as Sir Tom Devine delivered a lecture entitled Scotland And Slavery, based on his book – Recovering Scotland’s Slavery Past: The Caribbean Connection.  The debate was followed by a panel discussion chaired by the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.  The lecture and discussion can be viewed...

Jamaica Comes to Glasgow Mela

Jamaica was represented for the first time at Glasgow MELA Festival with dub poet Yasus Afari and reggae singer Claudius England performing before an appreciative audience at the bandstand stage. Between them they brought powerful messages about care for the earth and unity. Both artists were sponsored by Flag Up Scotland Jamaica who also had a stall at the festival where posters about the special connections between Scotland and Jamaica could beviewed. 200 people also signed a petition urging the Scottish Government to grant Jamaica prioritystatus for trade and development. Claudius England tours Scotland After the MELA Festival, Claudius was able to stay in Scotland for a number of engagements in schools, prisons and churches. We are grateful to Claudius for doing a great job promoting Flag Up Scotland Jamaica wherever he went. On the Isle of Arran, he paid a visit to Brodick Castle where he viewed items from the famous Beckford collection funded by profits from slave worked sugar plantations in Jamaica. An article in The Arran Banner here records his reactions.  On the next day Claudius’s first school visit was at the island’s high school in Lamlash. Other schools Claudius visited included Antonine Primary School in Bonnybridge and Torpichen Primary school. Head teacher Lynne Vint from Antonine Primary School describes the impact of his visit: “There are not enough superlatives to describe the experience – the children loved Claudius. My staff had prepared in the run up to his visit and many pupils had favourite songs. Needless to say Claudius obliged with a request (Daddy) and they were elated. We had a tricky situation regarding a...