Cayman history captured on film

| 01/12/2008

(CNS): The trial of Long Celia, a turtling dispute between local fishermen and the Nicaraguan Government and the court marshal of Captain John Lawford over the Wreck of the Ten Sail key events in local legal history are to be documented on film as part of an exhibit at the National Museum which will open this January.


Museum Education Officer Nasaria Chollette who wrote the scripts retelling the stories is directing the recreation and filming of the events which visitors will be able to watch at the museum in the exhibit on the Judicial History of the Cayman Islands. The current production surrounds the court marshal of Captain John Lawford, responsible for the convoy of ships, now famously know as the “Wreck of the Ten Sail”,  that ran aground off East End.  Another video production recently completed was the trial of Long Celia, an African slave who was found guilty back in 1820 of inciting rebellion and the third, to be filmed shortly, involves a turtling dispute between local fishermen and the Nicaraguan Government that culminated in Court action in Nicaragua.

In the Wreck of the Ten Sail production the story of the convoy of vessels captained by John Lawford which ran aground in the early hours of 8 February 1794, off Gun Bluff, East End is told.  Captain Lawford’s trial to determine his culpability was held on 1 April 1794 on board the HMS Success, anchored off Port Royal, Jamaica.  Captain Lawford was acquitted at the end of the trial.

The story of the African slave Long Celia is set in times of unrest, Britain having outlawed the slave trade in 1807 in the UK – but not in the colonies; in the Cayman Islands slavery was not abolished until 1835.   Understandably, rumours of freedom began to reach the ears of enslaved Africans, and slave owners in turn sought to maintain their domination. Even though it was dangerous to speak about this premature news, hope silently grew and voices were raised, leading to the 1820 trial of Long Celia, who was found guilty of sedition and stirring up rebellion.

Playing Long Celia is Shanek Connolly, a John Gray High School student taught by Chollette prior to her joining the Museum last month.  Shanek’s involvement in the shoot is part of new drama teacher Charlene Jarrett’s arts internship programme. 

Cynthia Arie Hew played the character, Sarah, who brought the charges against Long Celia.  Also featured in this piece are John Gray High School’s Tim Parker and Brynmor Martin.

In the Wreck of the Ten Sail production the role of captain is played by Bill Milligan, with Edward Todd, Brynmor Martin, and Tim Parker, playing the crew.

Apex Video Solutions is filming the productions, which will be edited by overseas museum production specialists Wilderness Graphics. Chollette wrote the scripts and is directing all video productions.


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