LA Lewis threatens to sue Maroon leader
Contentious dancehall artiste LA Lewis is threatening to file a J$35-million lawsuit against Accompong Maroons head, Colonel Ferron Williams, if he does not apologise for tarnishing his character.
"That man needs to apologise to me and I am already in dialogue with my attorney. Him tell a lot of lies on me like him a try defame mi character. The talk that he is making about flogging is a threat as well. The colonel is saying that I am not a Maroon but that is far from the truth because every black person is a Maroon by skin and genes. I am a part of Accompong and every other Maroon place across the world," he said.
Last week, Williams told The Gleaner that Lewis could be flogged in keeping with local Maroon traditions should he show up in Accompong Town, St Elizabeth, ever again. Williams said the entertainer is not a Maroon by either familial ties or birth.
Lewis, however, remains adamant that he is the secretary of state and paramount chief of the Nyon-Ko-Pong Maroons. He said the Nyon-Ko-Pong have been in existence for centuries. But Williams said there is "no legitimate Maroon organisation with that name". Lewis said he is not intimidated by the colonel. "He is threatening to cat-o'-nine me but the only person who uses that is a slave master," he said.
Social historian Professor Verene Sheperd says she is hoping that both men will resolve their issues peacefully, as flogging is a "barbaric form of punishment, which was widely used under the colonial British".
"By the 1739 Treaty, Maroons claim autonomy in the administration of punishment; autonomy to adjudicate except for murder. But what is Lewis' crime and why would he be subjected to such punishment?" she said.
Shepherd stated that while the idea of every Jamaican being a Maroon is an attractive one, she is uncertain if it can be proven.
"Well, who knows how many of us have Maroon blood in us? However, it is more usual to claim Maroon ancestry by tracing a connection through a Maroon family member. The colonels can help Lewis to trace his Maroon ancestry. There was a time when no one wanted be identified as a Maroon. So wanting to claim Maroon heritage is a good thing, once the association is used to educate and empower," she said.