𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘈𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘍𝘰𝘳 𝘊𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦 𝘫𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘎𝘶𝘺𝘢𝘯𝘢 𝘢𝘴 𝘸𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘴 𝘢𝘴 “𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦” 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘣𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘈𝘧𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘴𝘭𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘗𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘈𝘣𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘈𝘤𝘵 𝘪𝘯 1833 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘈𝘧𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘯𝘴 𝘴𝘭𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘪𝘯 1838 𝘮𝘢𝘳𝘬𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘱𝘪𝘴𝘰𝘥𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘱𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘥𝘰𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘭𝘰𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘣𝘺 𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘮𝘰𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘯 𝘩𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺.
This holocaust of enslavement saw the ruthless and forced extraction of Africans from their homeland, and subjection to the horrors and murder that was the Middle Passage.
On arrival in the so-called “New World” slavery persisted for four hundred years and cost the lives of millions of Africans.
It is important to note, as one of our foremost historians Dr. Winston McGowan chronicles, “The overwhelming majority of slaves never accepted the system of slavery with equanimity. They accommodated it or adjusted to it when they felt they had to and resisted it when they had the opportunities to do so.” In that same vein we must continue to resist the shackles and those who seek to bind us to a dark past.
We acknowledge their strength that catalysed a small colony to the world stage. According to the renowned historian, “By 1800 Berbice and Demerara-Essequibo, whose economic growth had long been stifled, had become the second largest producer of sugar in the British West Indies, the largest producer of cotton in the British Empire and the greatest producer of raw cotton in the entire world.” While those industries have waned, new frontiers beckon and all Guyanese will once more enjoy the good life.
We acknowledge their resilience as well and vast contributions of African slaves to our Guyanese history. From the days when they first built our major canals and sugar lands with their bare hands in the broiling sun and the rain to their descendants who stand tall today in every sphere of economic and educational endeavour.
As Guyana moves towards the promising economic times that lay ahead, we reflect on the efforts of our ancestors and their fight for freedom. Let us as a Nation resolve to never again tolerate inequality, inhumanity and racism rather let us build a unified Guyana – a future together.