Government moving to retrieve Taíno artefacts

Kingston, 9 November 2020 (JIS) - The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport is moving to retrieve precolonial indigenous sculptures being housed at the British Museum in the United Kingdom (UK).

These are Taino wooden sculptures – the ‘Boinayel figures’ and ‘Birdman’.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, said that “as Minister, I am determined to ensure the repatriation of cultural objects taken from Jamaica, which constitute our rich cultural heritage.”

She was speaking at the recent virtual staging of the Institute of Jamaica Heritage Fest.

Minister Grange said the return of the artefacts “will fill the gaps in our history that are critical to the process of understanding ourselves and fostering greater cultural awareness”.

She informed that the Ministry Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, with the help of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, has initiated the process of “engaging our British partners” to get the artefacts.

She noted that in 1981, the British High Commission in Jamaica had identified approximately 137 objects from Jamaica that were housed at the British Museum.

Information obtained from the IOJ, states that the Taino sculptures were removed from a cave in Carpenter’s Mountain in the parish of Vere, now known as Manchester, during the 18th century. Those objects are also called Carpenter’s Mountain carvings.

“The objects are slated to have been acquired by the British Museum in the period between 1799 and 1803. They were formally entered into the Museum’s collection in 1977,” the document says further.

The IOJ’s Heritage Fest, under the theme ‘Treasures of the IOJ: Every Object Tells a Story’, was streamed on the Institute’s YouTube channel.


Minister's charge

I remain hopeful because of the giftedness of the Jamaican people; their warmth and creativity; their dynamism and indomitable spirit that have resulted in excellence in all sectors.

It is by tapping into the gifts and awakening the spirit of the Jamaican people that we will, by God’s grace, re-group, re-engineer and re-open to a brighter future with Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

Olivia Grange


  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  4-6 Trafalgar Road

Kingston 5

Jamaica, W.I.

Keep in Touch