Aug. 6 marks 50 years of independence for the island of Jamaica — what better way to celebrate than with a game of Monopoly?
Laurelton resident Earnest Flowers, president of Crown Media Communications, partnered up with USAopoly to create a Jamaica-themed Monopoly game, scheduled to come out the week of the island’s independence day anniversary.
“I wanted to do something that would really celebrate the 50th independence anniversary of Jamaica,” Flowers said. “I wanted to think of something that would resonate with them for a long time — past the [independence] celebration.”
Flowers was not born in Jamaica, but his mother was. His father is from Alabama.
“I’ve always embraced both sides,” he said. “I’ve always known a lot about the island.”
Flowers said brainstorming ideas for the game came naturally, but he still had to do a lot of research. He said he wanted the game not only to be leisurely, but to also encourage tourism to Jamaica. Flowers said he is also excited that Ruder Finn, Inc., a Jamaica Tourist Board, will also be promoting the game.
The game features Jamaican properties you can buy, such as the Bob Marley Museum. Flowers said he got permission from the Bob Marley Estate to use the museum in the game.
Cedella Marley, Bob Marley’s eldest daughter, said in a statement to the Chronicle that the game pays homage to the island. Toward the end of making the decision to include the museum in the game, Marley said, “We thought how could an edition dedicated to Jamaica not include Bob Marley?”
She added that visiting the Bob Marley Museum is ranked second on the list of 152 things to do in Kingston by Lonely Planet, a travel guide company.
The tokens have also been customized to reflect the culture of Jamaica. The traditional tokens have been replaced with a soccer ball, mini bus, doctor bird (the national bird of Jamaica) and more. Arthur Wint, a famous track star in Jamaica, and Freddie McGregor, a Grammy-nominated reggae artist in Jamaica, are also featured as tokens for the game.
McGregor said he was surprised but excited to hear he was one of the possible people to be featured in the game.
“I knew it was something important, something that I should be involved in,” he said.
McGregor said it is an unusual way to celebrate the independence of a country, but he is excited nonetheless.
Oliver Samuels, a popular Jamaican comedian, was featured as the replacement for Mr. Monopoly. His caricatures are featured on the board and on the “treasure chest” as opposed to the “community chest” cards. Flowers described Samuels as the “Eddie Murphy of the West Indies.”
Clovis Brown, a famous cartoonist in Jamaica who works for the Jamaica Observer, drew all the caricatures for the game.
This is the first Monopoly game customized for any place in the Caribbean.
“I truly hope people will find the game interesting,” McGregor said. “In supporting the game, you will be supporting Jamaica and the people.”