All must fight for reparations


THE Emancipation Support Committee (ESC) says everyone needs to join the fight for reparation for slavery.

In a press release, the organisation said this year’s Emancipation Day marked the 183rd anniversary of the emancipation of Africans in the British colonies from slavery. This is also the seventh year of the United Nations’ Decade for People of African Descent.

It said the process of reparation required self- repair, reparatory justice, and the decolonisation of the colonial legacy.

For self-repair, it said Africans need to know their “true” history, culture, the period before enslavement, and the re-establishment of their economic well-being.

“We must be made whole as a people once more, we must heal physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. The Kunta Kintes among us have fought and continue to fight on behalf of those who have not been as strong.

“We call on the leaders of our country to recognise that they too have a responsibility to aid and not inhibit the process of emancipation.

“The current schools’ curricula, the content of textbooks and the cultural sensitivity of our educators must be reviewed and reconstructed to eliminate the subtle and even sometimes overt discrimination and racism that has become acceptable and which do not assist but rather impede the full liberation and empowerment of our African children.”

Reparatory justice, it said, was due to all Africans, and relevant European governments have to be held accountable and made to pay for the hundreds of years of unpaid labour, cruelty and dehumanisation of Africans.

It added that Africans in TT could never be free in a society that resembles “our colonial masters” including legislation and governance systems. And any plans to revitalise Port of Spain should include a major decolonisation of the city.

“Our colonial masters built a society with the images, structures and legislation that they believed were required for their empowerment and sustainability. We must begin to build a society that enriches the spirit and minds of those who live here now!

“Columbus (statue in east Port of Spain) must go! Oxford Street must go and be renamed Kwame Ture Street. The authority required for both is the same as that facilitated the naming of Charlotte Street, China Town,” the release said.

The committee expressed appreciation for the installation of the Emancipation Monument, Arise and said it was working on a monument in tribute to the ancestors of the Yoruba Village to place at the Yoruba Village Square.

It invited citizens to “reflect on the strength, determination and resilience of the fore fathers and mothers of this nation and region, who brought the most pernicious system devised by mankind, chattel slavery, to an end for all peoples.”

Also, it encouraged people to re-energise, re-commit, re-focus, and re-build their strength, courage and determination for the continuing struggle of Africans on Emancipation Day.

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