The history of a nation is, naturally, the story of its people, “History” connotes past. And the past of a people – their arrivals, encounters, set-backs, challenges and achievements – must be recorded, remembered and studied much more, perhaps, than a country’s geography and environmental evolution. Simply because people make nations.
Guyana is not one of the homogenous societies of this world. It is comprised of groups of descendants of Europe, Africa and Asia. As varied as the groups were and can be their story is inter-woven into one tapestry titled “Guyana”.
Against those brief reflections, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) shares sentiments of observances and celebration with our Afro-Guyanese community on another anniversary of Emancipation from European slavery in 1838. May this segment of the Guyanese nation reflect, give thanks, celebrate achievements and plan constructively to pursue and achieve even a better future, within the context of the whole nation’s progress and development.
Every year, at this time, GAWU risks repetition by accepting the historical fact and principle that it was the 1834-1838 freedom of slaves and their preparation for their liberty from sugar plantation bondage, which ushered in the arrival of those original groups from Madeira (Portugal), China, India and elsewhere. Therefore, no emancipation, no arrival. Thus, the integration of our historic consequences – the reason we are all here today as Guyana’s citizens.
We as descendants of the freed men and indentured immigrants owe it to them to honour their sacrifices and victories by continuing to implement joint endeavours for national survival and progress. The GAWU now salutes the Bauxite, Gold, Construction, Fisheries, Art and Craft sectors of the economy, many manned by productive Afro-Guyanese in the professions – they were pioneers – the Arts, Entertainment and Sport.
Utilize those abilities to inform Marley’s challenge to divest yourselves from “mental slavery”. Use Emancipation 2012 to fashion attitudes and long-lasting independent enterprises whereby no government can deny contributions well-earned.
May the Pride of both old and younger Afro-Guyanese multiply itself into a national attitude of being both proud and productive enough to demand a better life.
Let the Past Plantations of Misery and exploitation be replaced by a Guyana National Estate of Love, Unity, Production and Progress.
A Happy, Reflective Emancipation Anniversary.