That is reaction of member of Parliament Trevor Prescod to the participation in today’s Emancipation Day ceremony.
In particular, the St Michael East MP is concerned that persons in authority appeared not to appreciate the importance of the celebration.
Prescod likened the official activity to a heritage tour, which identifies colonial architecture rather than the celebration of the emancipation of our enslaved ancestors.
“I must confess upfront that I am not disappointed at what we are seeing this morning in terms of numbers, I am
disappointed when we try to embrace people who, in my view, deliberately do everything that they can to undermine this most sacred and important historic celebration,” he said.
“I recall in the early days when this celebration was started we had people coming from the north, south, east and west descending on this statue. I further recall that in those early days Fidel Castro was here with us to share in the celebrations. I recall that Hugh Masekala and civil rights activist, Al Sharpton, were here to share in these celebrations.
“. . . Today we are facing the same struggles that we were facing for nearly 200 years. Every racial group can speak about themselves, their religion and their history, but whenever we raise these issues we are considered to be racists.”
From as early as 6 am, Pan-Africanists began to assemble at the statue of the Right Excellent General Bussa at Haggatt Hall, St Michael, to participate in the annual celebration.
In a brief address, president of the Clement Payne Movement David Comissiong made a passionate call for unity among the descendents of African slaves.
Arguing that emancipation is a process and not an event, Comissiong said: “Our people did not suddenly and eternally become free on August 1, 1834 or August 1838. Those were important landmarks, but the battle did not stop there. The dream had not been won then, it continues, emancipation is a process. When we come here on August 1, we reflect on all those men and women who have been part of that freedom march which helped to take us where we are today. We must reflect on the journey still to come. I believe that we are on the verge of achieving great things, but all that is needed is a little unity.”
Meanwhile, Pan-Africanist David Denny suggested that individuals such as the late Leroy Harewood, Ricky Parris and Martin Cadogan should be remembered for their outstanding contribution to the development of black awareness in Barbados.
He contended that the presence of the statue of Lord Nelson in Heroes Square remains an insult to descendants of the slaves who made the journey in the Middle Passage.