Jamaica Magazine

Book Review – "Portland: The Other Jamaica"

About the Book

PORTLAND: THE OTHER JAMAICA by Ken Roueche offers a glimpse into the history of this most beautiful parish, stretching from Buff Bay to Hector’s River and up the many river valleys to the Blue Mountains. Portland has been home to some remarkable people, including more than a few dreamers, schemers and crusaders. Shaped by the heavy hand of Mother Nature Portland is blessed with outstanding beauty and challenged by remarkable geography, which provided a perfect homeland for the Windward Maroons as they fled the terror of colonial oppression under the spiritual leadership Nanny. The 1739 Maroon Treaty was followed by the invasion of British planters with their toxic mix of slavery, violence and sugar. The end of slavery opened up abandoned plantations and mountain villages to modest opportunities for liberated slaves. Within a generation their sons and daughters were enterprising banana farmers responding to the call from Captain Baker to grow banana for the world. Portland soon became the “Banana Capital of the World”. This was followed by the arrival of the railway which spurred even more banana production and helped launch the tourist industry and the building of the Titchfield Hotel.

Many of the world’s major events have shaped Portland’s history, including Port Antonio’s strategic location during the Spanish American War and the loss of so many young men during the Great War. The Parish has also been blessed with great leaders including Captain Quao, Ken Jones, Sir Harold Allan and many others. In recent years Portland has also attracted the attention of Hollywood stars, starting with Errol Flynn and followed by Queens, Princes, Princesses, Barons, Captains of Industry and more movie stars. And today the dreamers and schemers are still coming to Portland.


“Tackling a drastically different part of the world (from his home in Canada) Roueche’s second book, ‘Portland:The Other Jamaica’ tells the history of the Jamaican parish of Portland.  The succinct 120-page history spans from the 15th century Spanish occupation and ends in the current times…and contains forty-five images, many of wghich have never been published before.  Roueche, seeking to make Portland’s history accessible to anyone, especially those actually from the parish, writes in a way that is informative, concise and engaging.  Combining academic sources and local interviews, Roueche involves the people of Portland in the telling of their own history.” – Reviewed by Hailey Dale, Moss Rock Review, Victoria, Canada

“Ken’s book is well researched, packed with information and has just the right blend of sauce and excitement”Marguerite Gauron, RJR


About the Author:
Ken Roueche – This journey started when I met a beautiful young Jamaican lady in Toronto, from the Dry Harbour Mountains of St. Ann. Hyacinth (nee Deidrick) and I were married in Jamaica in 1975 and have visited friends and family in Jamaica countless times over the past 35 years. Over the years we have always tried to pay a visit to Portland, its allure is strong. Then, several years ago, I started to develop my casual interest in history into a serious hobby. In 2005 I wrote, published and marketed my first book, A FAIRFIELD HISTORY, the history of our neighbourhood in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. That project was an outstanding success. I then went on to work with other authors on their projects, including the folks at Sturge Town, in St. Ann, one of Jamaica’s first free villages. In 2008, on a visit to Port Antonio, it occurred to me that the history of Portland was begging to be told. After searching for collaborators and authors to partner with, it became clear that I was probably going to have to write this book myself, with a lot of help from the people of Portland.

Buy the Book:
Buy Portland: The Other Jamaica 

About the author

Staff Writer