I’m quite sure that many Jamaicans think non-governmental organisations (NGOs) exist on thin air. They do not. In fact, they exist by stretching their dollars as far as they can go – and then stretching them some more. Quite often, NGO workers are volunteers or semi-volunteers. Quite often, the heads of NGOs dip into their own pockets, to keep things going. They make sacrifices. Many NGOs (not all, but many) live virtually hand to mouth. Their staff is remarkably small, and usually work long hours. They are dedicated.
Moreover, given the huge gaps in Jamaica’s government services, NGOs also often have to pick up the slack and fill those gaps, where they can. Somehow the needs are always growing, and the funds never stretch far enough to fill those needs.
This is perhaps especially true of environmental NGOs, which are often sidelined because people (and local companies) would prefer to support other “causes” that seem more pressing and emotionally appealing.
THEY are among the most majestic mountains in the Caribbean region — some say, the world — yet very few ordinary Jamaicans have made the trek to the Blue Mountain Peak.
For those who have had the privilege, and stamina, to make the seven-mile hike up from Whitfield Hall, it is one of the most amazing and inspiring experiences in their lives, and a memory to be treasured for all time. Up here, the air is cold and pure, the views staggeringly beautiful, and you enter a magical world of swirling mists, glistening ferns and elfin forests. With its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary on February 25 next year, is perfectly positioned to become the next big attraction in JA.
December 11 was International Mountain Day. I would like to write more about the importance of mountains (every day I look up at them from our city), and this year’s theme is quite interesting. Meanwhile, the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park – Jamaica’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site – will celebrate its 25th Anniversary on February 25, 2018. Between now and then, there is a special family friendly Christmas celebration at Holywell this coming Sunday, December 17. Enjoy!
The Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT), manager of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park (BJCMNP) launched the 25thAnniversary of the Park on Monday 11th December 2017, celebrated as International Mountain Day. The event was staged at the Altamont Court Hotel from 3:30pm. The 25th Anniversary of the National Park will take place on February 25th, 2018.
For many years, slaves of both Taino and African ancestry made new lives as free people amidst the rich biodiversity of the Blue and John Crow Mountains.
The Blue and John Crow Mountains cover a rough and expansively forested mountainous area in the southeastern part of Jamaica. It was this same area which gave refuge first for the indigenous Tainos who were escaping slavery and later for “Maroons”, former African slaves. These runaway and rebellious slaves were resisting the European colonial system in this rugged and isolated region by creating a network of hiding places, trails, and settlements, which made up the Nanny Town Heritage Route. The mountains and the forests gave the Maroons all they needed for their survival. For many years, slaves of both Tainos and African ancestry made new lives as free people amidst the mountain biodiversity.