The first documentary on the history of Indians in Jamaica has been made by the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) and the High Commission of India (HCI).
Titled ‘Courage and Purpose – From the Mainland to the Diaspora and Back’, it begins with the arrival of Indians as indentured labourers over 176 years ago.
The event was premiered on Saturday, June 18 at the PBCJ’s studio in St Andrew.
Speaking at the ceremony, India’s High Commissioner to Jamaica, Rungsung Masakui, said the idea of a documentary came shortly after his appointment as High Commissioner, when he realised there was no visual documentation on the history of Indians in Jamaica.
He noted that it was important to chronicle the journey of Indian indentured labourers to Jamaica, while noting that the Indian community has become an integral part of the political, social and economic life of Jamaica.
“I reached out to various documentary makers and media houses for taking up the challenge of chronicling this journey. The PBCJ accepted the challenge and worked really hard to complete it in record time,” he said.
The high commissioner commended the PBCJ’s team, led by Carol Francis and Arlo Fiddler, for making the documentary. He said the team met with members of the Indian community from all walks of life, visited historical sites in Old Harbour, St Catherine, and travelled to India to garner information for the film.
“I think the final product which has come out met our expectations. I would say I am very impressed and thank you so much. It is fantastic work. I hope you all will agree after seeing the film,” he said.
The high commissioner said the film will give the Indian community a “sense of where they came from and what they have achieved as a community”.
He also thanked the Government and people of Jamaica for accepting the Indian community as their own and standing true to the motto of “Out of Many One People”.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the PBCJ, Rose Bennett-Cooper, said the documentary sends a clear message that the organisation is open “to partnerships, collaborations, creative exchanges and open for business”.
She reiterated that the documentary which was produced at the request of the Indian High Commission of Jamaica, chronicles the Indian experience in Jamaica.
“This documentary merges personal and national histories. It uncovered some of the hidden history of what happened when the first set of Indian indentured labourers arrived in Jamaica over 176 years ago through to today,” she said.
Bennett-Cooper said the documentary also showcases hardships and challenges endured by Indian indentured labourers.
“At the other end, we see how Jamaicans of Indian descent have risen above the challenges, making tremendous contributions to the development of our island home,” she added.