Floral tribute and webinar commemoration of Zong Massacre

Kingston, 21 December 2020 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, will be joined by Member of Parliament and Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Honourable Floyd Green, to pay floral tribute at the Zong Monument in Black River, St Elizabeth, on Tuesday, December 22, to commemorate the Zong Massacre which took place in 1781.

The Floral Tribute Ceremony starts at 9:00 a.m.

Later between 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., the Ministry along with the National Council on Reparation (NCR) will facilitate a webinar on The Zong Massacre entitled, Lessons in Racial Discrimination: The Journey Continues.

In asserting the significance of the webinar, Minister Grange declared it as a moment for us as a nation to “pause once more to reflect on the Zong Massacre of 22 December 1781…one of most horrific incidents suffered by our African ancestors at the hands of white mercenaries and oppressors as part of the Trans-Atlantic Trade in Africans.”

She will be the main speaker at the webinar which will also be addressed by Minister Green.

The chairman of the NCR, Mrs Laleta Davis-Mattis, along with Council members, Professor Verene Shepherd and Steven Golding will make presentations, as will two specially invited guests from overseas, Ms Ife Thompson, Barrister, United Nations Fellow and community activist and Ms Marissa Jackson Sow, Attorney, United Nations Fellow, artist, human rights expert and author.

On December 22 in 1781, the slave ship Zong docked in the Black River with half the 440 Africans it had taken from Ghana for slavery as the other Africans were thrown overboard by the ship’s captain.

The Africans who had perished did so from deliberate drowning, diseases and malnutrition.

Water shortage, illness and death on the ship along with poor navigational decisions resulted in confusion. With the captain and crew arguing that water and rations would not last for everyone before arrival in Jamaica, the decision was taken to throw some Africans overboard in order to avoid more deaths which would threaten the profitability of the journey.

Between 29 November 1781 and when the ship arrived in Jamaica, 122 African men, women and children had been drowned by the crew.

The commemoration of the Zong Massacre is within the context of Jamaica observing the United Nations declared International Decade for the People of African Descent.


(Link: Zoom Meeting ID: 934 3261 4127; Passcode: 804597)

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


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Jamaica, W.I.

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