JM | Mar 1, 2023

J Wray & Nephew pays tribute to enslaved people with unveiling of monument at Appleton Estate

/ Our Today

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From left: Mayor of Santa Cruz, Derrick Sangster; Managing Director of J Wray and Nephew Limited, Jean-Phillipe Beyer; Jamaican artist Trishaunna Henry; Dr Carey Wallace, executive director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund; Culture Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange; Professor Verene Shepherd, director of the Centre for Reparation Research; Senator Janice Allen, Opposition Spokesperson for Tourism; and Joy Spence, master blender, Appleton Estate. The occasion was J. Wray and Nephew Limited’s unveiling of a monument in tribute to the enslaved people who worked on the Appleton Estate Plantation during slavery. (Photo: Contributed)

Rum producer and spirits distributor J Wray & Nephew Limited (JWN), a member of the Campari Group, have paid tribute to the enslaved people who worked on the Appleton Estate Plantation during slavery.  The company unveiled a monument at the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience (JSAERE)in St Elizabeth on February 27, 2023.

The monument titled “Lest We Forget” was designed and built by Jamaican artist Trishaunna Henry shows the relationship between sugar cane and the socio-cultural and economic development of Jamaica.

The names of slaves who worked on the plantation during the ownership of the then slave-owning Dickinson family, have been incorporated in the monument.

Managing Director of J Wray & Nephew Limited, Jean-Phillipe Beyer said following the research and the publication of the Appleton History Book, they knew they needed to go further in ensuring that they acknowledged the contribution of the enslaved people to the history of the brand.

Culture Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange cuts the ribbon at the unveiling of the ‘Lest We Forget’ monument at the Appleton Estate. (Photo: Contributed)

“We are incorporating this monument into the heart of the tour at the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience (JSAERE).  The monument will be placed on a pedestal bearing the name of the enslaved people identified and allow us to recognise and pay tribute to those who laid the foundation for the Appleton Estate Brand,” Beyer said.

The monument and the research into the history of Appleton Estate he said will add greater depth, more historical facts and increased cultural authenticity and sensitivity to the JSAERE.

“This is a key moment for the company and the brand.  Through this addition of a key heritage moment to the rum tour we are once again demonstrating our commitment to telling the Jamaican story as we promote the Appleton Estate Brand globally,” Beyer added.

The unveiling of the ‘Lest We Forget’ monument at the Appleton Estate. (Photo: Contributed)

Culture Minister, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange said the erection of the monument is intended to highlight the role our enslaved ancestors played by telling a story and putting into perspective a significant part of our history.

“The JWN/Campari Group is looking to show appreciation for the men and women who were really the ones who built the foundations of the popularity the brand now enjoys, many of them through enslavement,” Minister Grange said.

“Some might say it is long in coming but let us acknowledge this as a demonstration to the world that the company is aware of the contributions of our enslaved ancestors to its success and is commemorating the efforts of those enslaved ancestors,” she added.

(Photo: Contributed)

The project was made possible through research commissioned by JWN and conducted by a team from the Centre of Reparations Research of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona led by Professor Verene Shepherd and supported by Ahmed Reid, Gabrielle Hemmings, and John Shorter.

JWN also received support from Miriam Hinds and Susan Lee Quee of the Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts in the production of the monument.

The Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience named after Master Blender Dr Joy Spence is located in Siloah, St Elizabeth. The rum tour was opened in 1988 to showcase the Appleton Estate Brand to the world.

In 2022, over 36,000 people visited JSAERE to learn about the history and production processes of Appleton Estate rums. The tour is open to the public from Tuesdays – Saturdays, 9 am to 3 pm. JSAERE also impacts the community through local sourcing of materials, employment, and a craft area for local artisans.


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