Emancipation Day Messages

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Contributions of African descendants to Guyana simply immeasurable – PPP/C

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) wishes to extend greetings to our Afro-Guyanese brothers and sisters across the country and in the Diaspora on the occasion of Emancipation 2022, which marks the 188th anniversary of the formal abolition of slavery in British colonies.

Slavery remains the most cruel and inhumane system of subjugation and discrimination known to human history. The celebration of its abolition is the right and duty of every single human being.

This occasion once again provides another opportunity for all to reflect on the tremendous sacrifices made by our Afro-Guyanese ancestors who were brought inhumanely to this land in chains to provide free labour for the sugar plantations.

They were stripped of their humanity and dignity and forced to toil long hours. Many were tortured and brutally killed for simply standing up for their rights. In their long and unyielding march for freedom, many battles were fought, including the Berbice Slave rebellion led by our nation’s National Hero, Cuffy.

When freedom finally came, the freed slaves and their descendants, though uneducated, demonstrated an exceptional degree of industry, thrift, and financial acumen and hence, were able to acquire large portions of land, which today remains the foundation of our village movement and subsistence cash crop industry.

Indeed, the contributions of slaves and their descendants to every facet of life in this nation are simply immeasurable and it would be impossible to accurately capture in a mere statement of this nature.

As we celebrate this important historic and national occasion, we urge every Guyanese not only to reflect upon the herculean sacrifices of the slaves and their descendants, their incomparable struggles, and their remarkable achievements but also to use them as a source of inspiration and guide as we continue to work together to build a united country free from poverty.

Happy Emancipation Day to all.

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Afro-Guyanese must ensure sacrifices of freedom fighters serve to build a nation for all to live freely – APNU/AFC

HAPPY EMANCIPATION DAY to the Guyanese people.

Today marks the 184th anniversary of the abolition of chattel slavery, one of the world’s most dehumanizing systems of man by man. The Coalition salutes all Guyanese, especially those of African descent for whom Emancipation Day holds landmark significance.  We therefore join in the celebrations and commemorations across the county.

In observing this Emancipation Day, we must always recognize that emancipation was not granted to enslaved Africans as a gift for them to enjoy for the first time. Many Africans already lived freely in their homelands before they were captured, enslaved, and shipped across the seas. Freedom and self-determination were therefore already birth rights of many Africans in Africa. The formal abolition of slavery in 1838 therefore must be properly and justifiably recognized as ACKNOWLEDGING AND RESTORING THAT EARLIER FREEDOM.

As Afro-Guyanese reflect on Emancipation Day 2022, they must take pride in the fact that history has shown that they are a people who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifices to defend and restore their dignities, rights, and freedoms; who are resolute and resilient in the face of great adversities; who always eventually emerge victorious over their oppressors; who see their unity as a core strength; who see hard work as a source of their self-worth and self-identity; and who are willing to coexist and cooperate with other races and ethnic groups in Guyana based on the ideals of mutual respect, shared burdens and responsibilities, shared prosperity, and a shared destiny.

Emancipation in 1838, however, never meant the end of the struggle for the freed Africans. In Guyana, it only marked the beginning of a new war of liberation for economic opportunities and self-reliance; for full human rights; and for political self-determination. The earlier Afro-Guyanese fully understood this. Soon after emancipation, they collectively started the Village Movement. They purchased plantations to establish communities in which they sought to transform and better their reality.

While there have been many successes, that struggle continues.  Afro-Guyanese today must therefore re-commit themselves to the spirit of those who fought (such as Kofi, Quamina, and Damon) for the repossession of their freedom during enslavement. Afro-Guyanese must ensure that the struggles and sacrifices of these freedom fighters serve to build a nation in which all Guyanese can live a life free from want, inequality, discrimination, subjugation, and other indignities.

Once again, HAPPY EMANCIPATION DAY.

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Pay tribute to those who selflessly, valiantly advanced struggle for freedom – GAWU

It has now one hundred and eighty-four (184) years since the descendants enslaved Africans, who experienced successive generations of the brutality on the plantation, attained their full freedom as declared by the Emancipation proclamation. History recorded that the colonialists brought an end to slavery as a means of social and economic organization in its colonies on account of several issues. The abolitionist movement and a growing consciousness of the inhumanity of slavery, undoubtedly, would have played a part.

As we observe Emancipation Day, we give recognition to the role and efforts of the many who resisted and rebelled against the cruel system of slavery. In as much as the purveyors of the dehumanizing system of chattel slavery were dominant in maintaining complete control and power it did not quell the undying spirit of our forefathers to resist the oppressive plantation life. Our forefathers and mothers were not merely passive onlookers awaiting the gift of freedom. But they rejected being the possessions of others. Our history is filled with several battles, which at times had a heavy human toll, as the fight for freedom from the shackles of enslavement advanced.

Today as the GAWU extends to all Guyanese best wishes on the occasion of Emancipation Day 2022 we pay tribute to those who selflessly and valiantly advanced the struggle for freedom. Indeed, Emancipation provides us the opportunity to recall yet again to our wretched history and the heroism of those who brought us to the point of freedom. We have been bequeathed a proud legacy of struggle and fightback to bring an end to domination and exploitation and for a fair and just life.

As we observe Emancipation Day 2022, the GAWU cannot ignore concerns that our people are once again shackled. Though of a different nature our working-people, especially, continue to face disadvantaged conditions, harmful practices, and disturbing situations. Indeed, the message of Emancipation holds a powerful message to our present-day situation. As in the past we are confident our peoples will once again win-out against those may seek to oppress and exploit them for their own selfish gains.

Let the spirit and message of emancipation be our guide as we face up to the new challenges and advance our cause for fairness, equity, and social justice.

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We must ensure generations enjoy freedoms, benefits foreparents fought for pre-Emancipation – GPSU

Emancipation Day is celebrated annually on the first day of August. It is the day that the heroes of past slave rebellions that ushered in the end of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and brought freedom to the enslaved is celebrated. The celebrations follow the general concepts initiated by slaves freed on that memorable day August 1, 1838, one hundred and eighty-four years ago, where African menus and locally produced drinks, wine and spirits were enjoyed amongst singing of emancipation songs.

The annual observance of Emancipation Day is first and foremost a commemoration of the legislated end of slavery, but moreover a reminder of man’s brutality to fellow man, where large populations one racial group had had to suffer more than 400 years of injustice and abuse at the hand of another. The abuses included, but was not limited to the rape of the African continent’s natural and human resources, forcefully subjecting the human resources to bondage, dehumanization, forced labour and sexual exploitation, destruction and relocation of segments of family units to different parts of Europe and the Americas, while stripping them of identities, dignity, generational linkages, religious beliefs, cultural norms, customs and practices, among other things.

The culmination of the tireless struggles for freedom from oppression and the ushering in of emancipation eventually meant that the remnants of those enslaved and their descendants would have the challenge of eking out a living within the territories they served, because of inabilities to return to their places of birth or origin. This meant that the former slaves had to find creative ways to earn a living. So, armed with savings from forced apprenticeship programs allowed under the law between 1933 and 1938 the emancipated bought land and undertook skills in agriculture and various trades. Their high levels of education also made them suitable to serve within the Colonial Civil Service/Teaching Service and the Police Force.

Through this silent reminder that the blood, sweat and tears of our forefathers are on this land, Guyana, together we must ensure that generations of the present and future enjoy the freedoms and benefits so valiantly fought for during the years preceding emancipation and the blood spilled upon the land be not in vain. Let us not forget those lived upon this land before us and witnessed the anguish of our forefathers, some suffering like them, and those that came as indentured labour in the latter years to make a better life, but suffered under draconian laws, akin to bondage. Let’s not forget the Almighty that delivered our nation from the clutches of the evil to our current status. Believe that the Almighty would continue to bless this land and its peoples and destroy those, who seek to divide us.

GPSU therefore calls on the Government of Guyana to do its introspection on the Public Service, which culturally was largely populated by descendants of the abused…

Additionally, Government should have genuine commitment to enhance unity among the peoples of the Country and take concerted action to eradicate the scourge of inhumane and undesirable factors that results in inequity and suffering within the nation.

GPSU also takes the opportunity to wish its members and citizens of Guyana, peace-filled Emancipation Day 2022.