Topic: History

Last updated: April 7, 2019

Madam Master of Ceremony, my fellow class mates Good Evening.

This evening my presentation will feature the Jamaican coat of arms. The Jamaican coat of arms has a variety of symbols and each symbol represents its own meaning. Interestingly on Friday August 5, 2016 the Jamaican Gleaner published an article of a statement made by Bishop Rowan Edwards, who has taken issue with the Jamaican coat of arms saying the national emblem should be changed because it depicts an image of war which, due to the current crime rate ought not to be promoted. Bishop Rowan Edwards also told the gleaner that Jamaica should not have a coat of arms with a crocodile. Do you know the significance of the items on the Coat of Arms? The Jamaica coat of arms is very symbolic to Jamaicans. According to Bank of Jamaica the coat of arms was designed by Archbishop William Sandcroft and granted to Jamaica in 1661. It displays a female and male Taino positioned to the left and right of the shield respectively. The relevance of the Taino lies in the fact that they were the first inhabitants of Jamaica.

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The Jamaican coat of arms illustrates where we are coming from and what we are about. This is further illustrated in the Mantle and the Royal Helmet which according to onlyinnaJamaica, symbolizes Jamaica’s history as a British Colony. The crocodile which is the most popular indigenous reptile in Jamaica is located at the top of the Coat of Arms; this illustrates its popularity. The Pineapple represents the island’s native fruit again depicting our heritage.

On April 3, 1962, the nation’s motto was announced under the jurisdiction of Norman Washington Manley, and Leader of the Opposition, Sir Alexander Bustamante. Chairman of the independence Celebrations Committee, Theodore Sealy presented the nation with this new motto “Out of Many One People” replacing the latin motto “Indus Uterque Serviet Uni”. This signifies our future. Our nation is built on a creed in which we see each other as one indivisible nation, regardless of race or religion.

It symbolizes the unity promoted throughout Jamaica. This is what the Jamaican people are striving for. It is important, and contrary to the views of Bishop Edwards. To conclude, it is important to note that the Coat of Arms may be changed by Jamaicans if we believe it is no longer relevant or that it depicts war and promotes our warlike nature. This has been previously done on several occasions, in 1906, 1957 and 1962.

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