GHA | May 3, 2023

Motion tabled for Chief Takyi to be conferred National Hero in Jamaica

/ Our Today

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Jamaican parliament to debate motion brought by MP for West St. Mary, Robert Montague

Durrant Pate/ Contributor

Chief Tayki Photo Credit: Face2FaceAfrica

A motion has been tabled in the Jamaican parliament for Chief Takyi, who led one of the largest military revolts of the 18th-century British Empire to be conferred a National Hero in Jamaica.

The uprising, which took place on Easter Monday, April 7, 1760, and which has come to be called the ‘Tacky War’ or the 1760 Easter Rebellion, started out in St. Mary with the aim of freeing all enslaved persons in Jamaica and establishing a black-led government that would govern the country in their interest. The motion, which was tabled by Member of Parliament (MP) for Western St. Mary, Robert Montague, is to be debated in the coming weeks.

The motion is asking the Jamaican parliament to “mandate that a suitable broad-based commission be established to examine the records and facts against the established standards for awarding National Hero status and thus make a recommendation whether Chief Tayki should be awarded and declared a National Hero.” The motion also mandates that a suitable time frame be set in which the commission should do its work and report to the Parliament.

Chief Tayki (Photo Credit: Face2FaceAfrica)

Justification for the conferment

In his resolution, Montague, who is also Chairman of the governing Jamaica Labour Party sought to justify the conferment of National Hero on Chief Takyi, regarded as a legend and a folk hero, who people in many quarters believe should ascend to the status of national hero for his daring exploits against the British colonizers. He argued that the Takyi’s revolt influenced a series of uprisings in a number of parishes including Westmoreland, Hanover, St. James, St. Ann, St. Elizabeth, Portland, St. Catherine and Clarendon, ultimately leading to the involvement of over 1000 enslaved persons fighting for their freedom over the course of 18 months.

Montague further argued in his motion that “Chief Takyi war posed the greatest threat to British dominance in the region and inspired enslaved Africans to dream of a new day, when they again could be masters of their own destiny, thus laying the foundation of the abolishment of the trade in enslaved Africans and the ultimate abolishment of slavery, in Jamaica.”

He contended that Chief Takyi’s war influenced the Morant Bay Rebellion while the spirit of the ideals of Chief Takyi of freedom, equity, self-determination and development can be seen in the self-reliance movement of Marcus Garvey, and the self-government and independence movements of Sir Alexander Bustamante and Norman Manley.

Photo Credit: Face2FaceAfrica

According to Montague, “The fight for National recognition of the work and worth of Chief Takyi to national development has been led by Derrick “Black X” Robinson of St. Mary, in his many walks across Jamaica, forcing a greater examination of the contribution to nation building by this great enslaved African Chief, who mobilized a diverse band of enslaved Africans from across Jamaica to challenge the greatest army and navy of the time to ensure freedom, pride, self-determination and black governance of the resources of the richest colony that was built out of the blood, sweat, tears, cruelty and humiliation of the enslaved.”

Recognition of Chief Takyi

The Western St. Mary MP acknowledged that Black X walks have resulted in the St. Mary Parish Awards being renamed the Chief Takyi Awards, Rectory Street being renamed Chief Takyi Street, the Governor General proclaiming the 8th day of April as National Chief Takyi Day but most importantly, the ordinary citizens of St. Mary and Jamaica and our people in the Diaspora are now recognizing the value, impact and worth of Chief Takyi’s sacrifice, work, ideals and principles.

Chief Tayki (Photo Credit: Face2FaceAfrica)

He cited the historical research of Professor Verene A. Shepherd of the University of the West Indies, the book and research by Professor Vincent Brown of Harvard University, the book by Enoch Tackey, the oral body of knowledge in St. Mary and countless other publications, clearly set out Chief Takyi’s contribution and his work has withstood the falsehood of British writers.


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