Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 1st 2014 Contents A12
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, August 1, 2014
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar promises to protect and
defend the right to liberty of the
citizens of T&T.
In her Emancipation Day address
to the nation, Persad-Bissessar said
she would do everything in her
power to fight against oppression,
discrimination and any behaviour
that threatened this freedom.
She said T&T stood as a model
to the world, "Because of our history
of peace and unity and it is a rep-
utation we all have a responsibility
Persad-Bissessar said T&T was
now dubbed the emancipation cap-
ital of the world and the celebrations
formed one of the world s foremost
"Emancipation must be held at
the forefront of our minds as a tri-
umph of the human spirit over evil
and atrocity. It is a time for us to
recognise the tremendous sacrifices
made in the name of freedom, and,
in so doing, honour the memory of
those who stood at the forefront of
the battle for liberty, many of them
giving their lives for the freedom
we enjoy today."
The PM on behalf of the Gov-
ernment wished everyone a happy
Today, citizens will commemorate
the 176th anniversary of Emanci-
pation in T&T. On August 1, 1985,
this country became the first coun-
try in the world to declare a national
holiday to commemorate the abo-
lition of slavery.
Since that day, Emancipation cel-
ebrations have grown into a major
national commemoration, where
tens of thousands of people par-
ticipate in various activities---pri-
marily hosted by the Emancipation
Support Committee in collaboration
with other stakeholders including
Within recent times, emancipa-
tion celebrations have attracted an
increasing number of foreigners.
"Emancipation is as much a time
of celebration, as it is a time of
remembrance of the terror that
swept across the new world by the
enslavement of human beings.
We must never lose sight of the
fact that many of our African ances-
tors experienced the most inhumane
conditions and were forced to
endure cruelty in some of its most
horrific forms," the release stated.
Acting President Timothy
Hamel Smith has urged citizens
to preserve the achievements made
and focus on attaining even greater
In his Emancipation Day message,
Hamel-Smith said citizens must
not allow themselves to be slaves
of the mind and body today, but to
hold fast and proclaim one s her-
He also paid recognition to the
richness of the country s culture,
which, he said, has been greatly
enhanced by the contributions of
T&T s people of African origin,
"which has so helped to blend with
the cultures of people from many
nations to create the cultural phe-
nomenon that is T&T.
"To them our nation owes a great
debt of gratitude for their contri-
butions. This was immediately noted
by currently visiting young educa-
tion activist Malala Yousafzai, who
also praised our availability of edu-
cation, another great success story."
"The door to success and
achievement is open to all in
Trinidad and Tobago. Let us con-
tinue to strive each day to create a
model nation an outstanding mer-
itocracy which will continue to daz-
zle the world and earn its acclaim,"
"While this nation can reflect
with awe on the journey from then
to now, and the courage needed to
endure such misfortunes and hard-
ships, we must remember that the
crossing over to freedom has not
"The journey to freedom of the
mind and spirit continues."
Recognise sacrifices in
the name of freedom
Hamel-Smith: Proclaim your heritage
Members of the Jeunes Agape choir dance during their repertoire on the opening night of the Lidj Yasu Omowale Village at the Queen's Park
Savannah, Port of Spain on Tuesday night. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Opposition leader Dr Keith Row-
ley has called on citizens to draw
lessons from the story of slavery
"Let us not turn a blind eye to
wrongdoing, regardless of who is
participating, facilitating and uphold-
ing it. Let us not allow modern day
evils to flourish at the expense of
the well being of others. We can
emulate the example of the aboli-
tionists by doing what is right," he
said in his emancipation message.
"It is widely accepted that the idea
of slavery, that one human being can
own and totally control another is
wrong. It has also become unlawful.
However, upon reflection on the time
when slavery was widely accepted,
we are faced with the realisation that
when the vast majority tolerate
wrong and actively or passively par-
ticipate in wrongdoing, a culture
emerges and is perpetuated until
there are people bold enough to chal-
lenge the norm, rock the boat and
agitate for what is right."
"The abolitionists did so in the
face of slavery and the slave trade.
They recognised the pervading evil
of what society had come to accept
as normal and they embarked on
fighting against the system of slavery.
It is safe to conclude therefore, that
the commemoration of Emancipa-
tion Day is rooted in the resolve of
those who recognised wrong and
took steps to end it."
Congress of the People (COP) polit-
ical leader Prakash Ramadhar in his
emancipation message says the occa-
sion "reminds us specifically of the
triumph of those who fought against
the cruel system of chattel slavery
which was based on the dehumanising
concept of the enslaved as articles of
"However, there is more to the sig-
nificance of this occasion which our
country holds the distinction to be first
in the world to officially commemorate.
Emancipation, the freedom from
oppression, is not an event. It is a
process, a struggle to end every form
of discrimination and alienation and
build the human family with equality
and unity to achieve our goals of sus-
tainable development and peace for all,"
the statement said.
"Isn t this the same desire that we,
the people of this country, share, regard-
less of our origin, our ethnicity or back-
ground...let us also re-dedicate ourselves
to achieve the bigger goals of freedom
for which the emancipation struggle
paved the way."
PM's emancipation message
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