Members of the Maroon community are mourning the passing of one of their former Colonel, Sydney Peddie. The former Accompong Town Maroon Colonel, Peddie left office in 2009 after serving two five-year terms as head of the historic Maroon community, whose residents are descendants of freed and runaway slaves. Groups of Maroons fought British colonisers from mountain hideouts along Jamaica's central spine — ranging from the Cockpit Country in the west to the Blue Mountains in the east -- for decades in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Peddie died on August 11 at his home in Accompong after a long illness. He was 81.
The funeral service will take place in Accompong on Saturday.
Current colonel of the Accompong Maroons, Ferron Williams hailed Peddie as the "type of person who looked out for the people of Accompong. I am certain he did what he could with whatever little resources were available to him."
Deputy Colonel Norma Rowe Edwards remembered Peddie as one "who was dedicated to the cause of the Maroons".
An affable man, Peddie will probably be most remembered by non- Maroons for his fierce objection to proposals for bauxite mining in the rugged Cockpit Country where Accompong is located, and which is seen by the Maroons of western Jamaica as their traditional territory.
"We the Maroons who are the leading stakeholders where the cockpits are concerned are totally against such a move (bauxite mining) and will fight it right 'till death. It would be war, not gunshot war, but war using non-violent means," Peddie said in 2007.