Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr. Seth George Ramocan will visit Bangor next Wednesday, 15th August, as part of a initiative called the Jamaica Wales Alliance.
Mr Ramocan who will be accompanied by his wife Dr Lola Ramocan, will visit Bangor University where they will meet the Vice Chancellor Prof John Hughes.
While at the University, Mr Ramocan will view the large collection of papers held in the University’s archive on the Pennant’s of Penrhyn Castle’s historical plantations in Jamaica. The documents include letters, maps, leases and sale receipts that passed between the Pennants and the agents who managed their Jamaican estates for them.
In the 18th century the Jamaican sugar fields owned by the Pennant family enabled them to amass a huge fortune through the production of sugar, however the plantations were worked by hundreds of slaves.
In 1765 Richard Pennant married Anne Susannah Warburton, the daughter of General Hugh Warburton, acquiring the Penrhyn estate and becoming the first baron of Penrhyn. Pennant invested substantially in the estate using money generated by the sugar and rum from his family’s Jamaican plantations.
Pennant developed the industrial Penrhyn Slate Quarry in Bethesda on a massive scale, building road and rail links to connect the quarry to Port Penrhyn in Bangor which had opened by 1790, allowing the slate to be shipped to London, Bristol, Liverpool and Ireland. Penrhyn slate quarry became the biggest in the world and was worked by over 3,000 quarrymen.
Despite his links to slavery, Richard Pennant was known as ‘Pennant the Improver‘ investing his wealth in farms, improving housing, agricultural buildings, animal and crop husbandry, and field management systems. In his wider estate, he built roads, houses, hotels, churches, and schools and planted over 600,000 trees in the area.
During his visit to Bangor, Mr Ramocan will visit Penrhyn Castle, built by the Pennant family as an ostentatious show of wealth, where he will meet Rhian Cahill, Visitor Experience Manager, who will show him around the castle, sharing all aspects of the castle’s history.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Bangor, Mr John Wynn Jones and Mrs Lis Wynn Jones will welcome the Jamaican High Commissioner and his wife for a Civic Reception starting at 6.00pm, where they discuss the civic links being developed between the City of Bangor in Gwynedd and May Pen in Clarendon, Jamaica.
The Jamaica Welsh Alliance was created in 2016, when a small delegation from Wales were invited to Jamaica to explore the creation of sustainable links between the two countries.