Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is calling on all citizens to unite for true equality.
In her Emancipation message, Persad-Bissessar stated that the 175th Anniversary of Emancipation is a real opportunity to “emancipate ourselves from mental slavery” and to design a new paradigm, new standards, and a visionary future of prosperity and goodwill for all people.
“All who truly understand the concept of liberty understand that free people not only serve themselves but also their communities and their country. When we internalise the concept of freedom we understand that we must work diligently together, to do right, to protect common interests and ensure peace and prosperity for all.
“Today as we commemorate Emancipation, as we awaken the spirit of liberty, let us with one voice, one heart and one mind determine to create in Trinidad and Tobago a nation where everyone finds acceptance and security; where no-one faces the stigma of alienation and where every creed and race truly finds an equal place, in an environment of mutual respect and goodwill,” she stated.
Persad-Bissessar said this country recognises and honours the strength and unconquerable spirit bequeathed to us by the ancestors of the Afro-Trinidadian population, who survived institutionalised inhumanity, humiliation and violence to emerge with hope, courage and the ability to persevere in the midst of unthinkable suffering, to contribute, as a united people, to the building of this nation.
“On this day almost two centuries ago we rose to the heights of our humanity, declaring that no longer would human beings be defined as property. As a turning point for the development of the nation, the impact of Emancipation cannot be overemphasised.
“Some among us may argue that Emancipation holds no meaning for them. I challenge those citizens to look with new eyes at Emancipation Day. The commemoration of Emancipation is a celebration of struggle and triumph over oppression. It is an opportunity to delve deeper into history. It is a re-affirmation of identity. It is the awakening of consciousness and the courage to look into the past without fear and trepidation. It presents a mechanism for the release from pain and a return to wholeness. It is an opportunity for all of us to pause and reflect,” she added.
Emancipation, she said bore witness to the triumph of the human spirit and the determination to purge from our society the negative legacy of oppression, domination and racism!
“Today in Trinidad and Tobago we can take pride in our multicultural society where each group may experience and share each another’s diverse cultural traditions.
“On this Emancipation Day we remember Toussaint, Nanny, Bussa, Garvey, Rienzi, Cipriani, Butler, Kwame Ture and Makandaal Daaga men and women who fought not for themselves, but to advance the rights and promote the achievements of all peoples of African descent, in the Region.
“On behalf of my government I extend to each and every citizen of Trinidad and Tobago best wishes for a Happy Emancipation Day. May God continue to bless each of you and your families and may God bless our great nation,” she added.