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Emancipation Day – liberate from poor work attitudes, laziness, corruption, disrespect…

August 4, 2017

Back in 2012, August 3, we published: “Every year for some years now Montserrat observes Emancipation Day, August 1. It does so like many other countries in the Caribbean, but barely, on an annual basis in observance of the abolition of slavery.

Montserrat’s author and poet, Professor Sir Howard Fergus seemed to lament the lack of celebration in a direct and organised way.

… “We need to celebrate this day as our folks did, ordinary folk sang first of August come again, Hoorah for Nincum Riley, they were celebrating the literate slaves who reportedly read the emancipation edict, and they were celebrating the measure of independence and freedom that emancipation brought. We must never rest on our laurels, indeed there are not many laurels, because although legally we were emancipated in 1834 or 1838, there continued to be signs of bondage from which some of our people worked hard to liberate us. There are signs that there are certain elements of authoritarianism creeping in and being exercised, which are contrary to the spirit of liberation and emancipation, which the 1st of August suggest.”

We raise this issue of Montserrat and Emancipation, the abolishing of Slavery. And we ask the question as the caption for the foregoing: “Was slavery ever abolished in Montserrat?

The first Monday of August is observed each year, called for some time now Cudjoe Head Day, (celebrating a slave Cudjoe) but we seldom, many of us anyhow, know or wonder why the day is a holiday. It is sometimes the day Emancipation Day is celebrated in Montserrat, while other Caribbean islands observe August 1, but not necessarily as a holiday.

This brings to mind the questions that continue to surface regarding the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. As we said before there needs to be a continuing conversation about how they will celebrate or observe 250 years from 1768; and now we also recommend how they can include the conversation of Emancipation Day observation. Events falling 70 years apart.

In the Caribbean this week, several CARICOM states observed Emancipation Day and the theme and sentiments all round were similar. The call for Britain and Europe to pay reparation, with a reminder: “At the time of emancipation of slaves in 1834, Britain £20 million to British planters in the Caribbean, the equivalent of some £200 billion ($315 billion) today…reparations must “bear a close relationship to what was illegally or wrongly extracted and exploited … from the Caribbean by the European colonialists, including the compensation paid to the slave owners at the time of the abolition of slavery.”

Jamaica’s PM – “We cannot cede one inch of emancipated Jamaica to any force that would impinge on our freedom. No community in Jamaica today, 179 years after Full Free of 1838, should be under the control of any criminals who dictate people’s movement,” he said in a message to mark the occasion…We are not a people who can be kept down forever. Freedom is in our DNA. Ours is a heritage of incredible self-sacrifice, courage, resilience and hope. Today we need to reaffirm these values.”

Trinidad President Anthony Carmona: “…Trinidad and Tobago should support the efforts of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) governments in seeking reparation for the Atlantic slave trade. Great Britain and Europe “were the beneficiaries of enrichment from the enslavement of African people, the genocide of the indigenous communities and the deceptive breach of contract and trust in respect of East Indians and other Asians brought to the plantations under indenture, have a case to answer in respect of reparatory justice.” “Emancipation Day must therefore, be a moment of regeneration, to renew in our lives a purposefulness to lead a life of quality, of sustainable ambition, independence, personal self-worth and vision.”

PM Rowley: “The stories of our past should not condemn us to the turmoil of acrimony; but rather they should show us a path for achieving the positive and prosperous development of our country now and for the generations to come…We’re currently writing new pages in our history. We need to ask ourselves, are we facilitating new prejudices and divisions in our society? Are we perpetuating a mind-set of entitlement – claiming rights where instead we should accept personal responsibility? Are we committed to working together in the best interest of our country? Can we look past the ‘me’ and ‘my group’ to the bigger picture of nationhood?”

Antigua PM Gaston Browne: “Our emancipation is therefore ongoing, as our people continue to explore new strategies and mechanisms designed to make life and living better for all our citizens. It is the task of each one of us to think big, aim high and strive for greater productivity in our blessed state of Antigua and Barbuda.”

He told citizens that over the past 182 years, “we have risen from the ‘ruin and rubble of colonialism and political subjugation’ to independence, economic and social transformation.

But here is a quote that grabbed us in the context of Montserrat for Emancipation Day: “Therefore the celebration of Emancipation must also be seen in the broader context of liberating our societies of poor work attitudes, laziness, corruption, disrespect and violent crime.”

 

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August 4, 2017

Back in 2012, August 3, we published: “Every year for some years now Montserrat observes Emancipation Day, August 1. It does so like many other countries in the Caribbean, but barely, on an annual basis in observance of the abolition of slavery.

Montserrat’s author and poet, Professor Sir Howard Fergus seemed to lament the lack of celebration in a direct and organised way.

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… “We need to celebrate this day as our folks did, ordinary folk sang first of August come again, Hoorah for Nincum Riley, they were celebrating the literate slaves who reportedly read the emancipation edict, and they were celebrating the measure of independence and freedom that emancipation brought. We must never rest on our laurels, indeed there are not many laurels, because although legally we were emancipated in 1834 or 1838, there continued to be signs of bondage from which some of our people worked hard to liberate us. There are signs that there are certain elements of authoritarianism creeping in and being exercised, which are contrary to the spirit of liberation and emancipation, which the 1st of August suggest.”

We raise this issue of Montserrat and Emancipation, the abolishing of Slavery. And we ask the question as the caption for the foregoing: “Was slavery ever abolished in Montserrat?

The first Monday of August is observed each year, called for some time now Cudjoe Head Day, (celebrating a slave Cudjoe) but we seldom, many of us anyhow, know or wonder why the day is a holiday. It is sometimes the day Emancipation Day is celebrated in Montserrat, while other Caribbean islands observe August 1, but not necessarily as a holiday.

This brings to mind the questions that continue to surface regarding the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. As we said before there needs to be a continuing conversation about how they will celebrate or observe 250 years from 1768; and now we also recommend how they can include the conversation of Emancipation Day observation. Events falling 70 years apart.

In the Caribbean this week, several CARICOM states observed Emancipation Day and the theme and sentiments all round were similar. The call for Britain and Europe to pay reparation, with a reminder: “At the time of emancipation of slaves in 1834, Britain £20 million to British planters in the Caribbean, the equivalent of some £200 billion ($315 billion) today…reparations must “bear a close relationship to what was illegally or wrongly extracted and exploited … from the Caribbean by the European colonialists, including the compensation paid to the slave owners at the time of the abolition of slavery.”

Jamaica’s PM – “We cannot cede one inch of emancipated Jamaica to any force that would impinge on our freedom. No community in Jamaica today, 179 years after Full Free of 1838, should be under the control of any criminals who dictate people’s movement,” he said in a message to mark the occasion…We are not a people who can be kept down forever. Freedom is in our DNA. Ours is a heritage of incredible self-sacrifice, courage, resilience and hope. Today we need to reaffirm these values.”

Trinidad President Anthony Carmona: “…Trinidad and Tobago should support the efforts of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) governments in seeking reparation for the Atlantic slave trade. Great Britain and Europe “were the beneficiaries of enrichment from the enslavement of African people, the genocide of the indigenous communities and the deceptive breach of contract and trust in respect of East Indians and other Asians brought to the plantations under indenture, have a case to answer in respect of reparatory justice.” “Emancipation Day must therefore, be a moment of regeneration, to renew in our lives a purposefulness to lead a life of quality, of sustainable ambition, independence, personal self-worth and vision.”

PM Rowley: “The stories of our past should not condemn us to the turmoil of acrimony; but rather they should show us a path for achieving the positive and prosperous development of our country now and for the generations to come…We’re currently writing new pages in our history. We need to ask ourselves, are we facilitating new prejudices and divisions in our society? Are we perpetuating a mind-set of entitlement – claiming rights where instead we should accept personal responsibility? Are we committed to working together in the best interest of our country? Can we look past the ‘me’ and ‘my group’ to the bigger picture of nationhood?”

Antigua PM Gaston Browne: “Our emancipation is therefore ongoing, as our people continue to explore new strategies and mechanisms designed to make life and living better for all our citizens. It is the task of each one of us to think big, aim high and strive for greater productivity in our blessed state of Antigua and Barbuda.”

He told citizens that over the past 182 years, “we have risen from the ‘ruin and rubble of colonialism and political subjugation’ to independence, economic and social transformation.

But here is a quote that grabbed us in the context of Montserrat for Emancipation Day: “Therefore the celebration of Emancipation must also be seen in the broader context of liberating our societies of poor work attitudes, laziness, corruption, disrespect and violent crime.”