The History Of The Jamaican Coat Of Arms ( C.O.A )

As an independent country, the time has come for Jamaica to discard our colonial masters’ vestiges. The captioned picture is an artistic expression of proposed changes to the existing Jamaican Coat of Arms (COA). The article below will compare and contrast both COAs.

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1) The Jamaican COA is a British legacy and was granted to Jamaica under Royal Warrant. It was designed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England. The same Church of England, who recently apologized for its role in and benefits gained from slavery. 

2) The predatory ‘American’ crocodile specie, is native to the southern United States, and not indigenous to Jamaica. I am not sure of its significance in the past but cannot see its relevance today. It is to be replaced by our indigenous Humming (Doctor) Bird). 
The bird, unlike the crocodile, is not a danger to the people. It doesn’t pitch in the picture. Its endless motion represents the hard work needed to ensure the continuity of our great nation. Its small size shouts out to the observer ‘We Little But We Talawah.’

3) The crocodile was shown mounted over the Royal Helmet and Mantlings of the British Monarchy. The hummingbird is shown hovering over a branch of our national tree, the Blue Mahoe, decorated by our national flower, the Lignum Vitae.

4) The two so-called Indians (Tainos) are extinct and no longer relevant to modern Jamaica’s centuries-old journey. They are to be replaced on the left by a female ex-slave with a baby on her bosom. This to proclaim the birth and continuity of generations to come. On the right is a male ex-slave—the cutlass in his hand signifying the work needed to build a new Jamaica.

5) The chains on their feet are a stark reminder of our journey through slavery. The links are broken to show that we are now free.

6) The cross on the shield is also a throwback of British colonial symbolism. The red cross of St. Patrick represents the United Kingdom, consisting of England and Ireland. It is to be replaced with the perpendicular flag of Jamaica. 
The black in the flag represents the strength and creativity of the predominantly African population. Green, the hope, verdant climate, and agricultural potential of the country, and gold depict sunlight’s natural wealth and beauty.

7) The pineapple in the COA is indigenous to South America and, as such, not relevant to modern Jamaica. Instead, the middle of the newly proposed Jamaican flag will have a leaf of the marijuana (ganja) plant. This is a product that should not be snubbed or discounted. It embodies many beneficial medicinal properties and unmeasurable potential economic value to the country. Also, it is embraced by our two major political parties.
The flag will also be adorned with Jamaica’s national fruit, the ackee. This fruit came to us from West Africa and is a testimony to our roots in the motherland.

8) The motto ‘Out Of Many, One People’ was foisted upon us by the British. It has the same meaning as that of the early United States; ‘E Pluribus Unum’ (Out Of Many, One). A new motto, ‘OUT OF ONE, MANY PEOPLE,’ is proposed. Meaning out of the ‘ONE’ African stock, we have produced ‘MANY PEOPLE.’ (see The Howlers ‘Out Of One, Many People‘.)

9) The red, green, and gold adorning the motto’s banner is a reflection of our African origins and a subtle reminder of the impact on our culture of Jamaica’s only indigenous religion, Rastafari.

Please note that all the above is simply ‘food for thought’ and meaningful discourse in these changing times. 

As such, appropriate feedback and discussion is welcomed.

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