Rio Nuevo Battle Site officially declared opened
July 30, 2009
The Jamaica National Heritage Trust and the Rio Nuevo Battle Site Citizens Association officially opened the Rio Nuevo Battle Site Museum in St. Mary on Saturday July 18, 2009. The site, which is approximately 10 kilometres from the tourism town of Ocho Rios, was the scene of a bloody battle between the English and the Spanish in 1658. It was the final big fight between the two colonial powers for control of the island.
The museum has on display artifacts found at the battle site and an attractive guidebook that was designed to go with the exhibition.
Among the dignitaries at the function were Hon. Robert Montaque, Member of Parliament and Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister who proudly spoke of the number of historic sites and importance of his parish in the nation’s development. Her Excellency, Rosuara Rueda-Guititerrez, Ambassador of the United Mexican States spoke, then laid a floral tribute on behalf of the hundreds of young Mexican boys who died in the battle while fighting on behalf of Spain. The event also paused for a moment of silence to recognize those who fell in battle after which members of the Jamaica Regiment Band played 'Reville'.
Speaking at the museum opening, Mr. Ian Neita, executive director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), one of the main sponsors of the museum, said the facility will seek to introduce visitors to another side of Jamaica.
Mr. Neita, who also spoke on behalf of Minister of Tourism Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said: "We are happy that in the Rio Nuevo Museum, visitors to Jamaica will have one new attraction to visit and leave with a rich history. We chose to invest in attractions such as this museum in order to protect Jamaica from competition".
"Islands like Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Barbados have a rich cultural heritage and so do we. They have capitalised on that heritage to build their tourism and so must we," Mr. Neita said.
The Tourism Enhancement Fund provided a grant of $6.8 million to establish the museum and was the main sponsor of the project. The JNHT also received sponsorship from the Culture Health, Sports and Education Fund whose chairman Mr. W. Billy Heaven was also on hand to witness the opening.
The function saw a successful turn out from the Rio Nuevo community and Battle Site Citizens Association, whose president Mrs. Enid Mitchell spoke of the association's plans to further develop the museum. There was much commendation for Mrs. Susan Shirley who actually started the project and donated some of the artifacts.
Also present at the event were Mr. Patrick Stanigar, Chairman of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust and Mrs. Laleta Davis-Mattis, Executive Director; Mr. Graham Glover, Deputy British High Commissioner; Councillor Murdel Mckenzie; Dr. Jonathan Greenland, Curator; Dr. Rebecca Tortello; Dr. Morais Guy, Mr. & Mrs. Lloyd Chito and Mr. Seragh Lakasingh among others.
SCENES FROM THE EVENT