Community Focus : Siloah - St Bess' sugar town
While most of the townships in St Elizabeth thrive on traditional farming, the town of Siloah is one notable exception.
It is a sugar town and its economy revolves around the popular Appleton Sugar Estate, which also produces rum and has a tourism component.
"With the upgrading that is taking place at the Appleton Sugar Estate, the factory will soon be in a position to employ about 70 per cent of the population of youth in the area," said Sophia Allen, a St Elizabeth-based bursar. "The youngsters have to educate themselves so that they can fill the vacancies when they become available."
Outside of its rich connection with sugar, Siloah is a town with a colourful history. Its existence dates back before the 1800s, alongside its famous neighbour, the Accompong maroon village, and jointly creates a scenic backdrop to the Cockpit Country.
The Appleton Sugar Estate, which is the hub of the township, was established in 1749. The facility produces approximately 30,000 tonnes of sugar and five million litres of alcohol annually. Its world-famous Appleton tours bring approximately 50,000 visitors to the community.
However, the Appleton Estate is not the only jewel in Siloah's crown. The community is also home to the Siloah Primary School, which was started in 1825; the St Barnabas Anglican Church, located next door to the primary school and dating back at least to the early 1820s; and the Black River, one of Jamaica's longest rivers at 53.4 kilometres, which runs through the Appleton Estate property.
While the town is not blessed with a long list of celebrities, it is home to West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman Chadwick Walton.