The last day of Kwanzaa was commemorated here on Monday with a symbolic presentation in celebration of African culture and principles, giving descendants a unique opportunity to reconnect with their roots and heritage.
In his address, President of the Caribbean Pan African Network (CPAN) David Comissiong said the event was also being held in recognition of the 59th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and the 214th anniversary of Haiti’s Independence. Comissiong spoke of the importance of applying the principles of Kwanzaa, which runs from December 26 to January 1 every year, to daily living.
He suggested that the seven pillars of unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith were incorporated by the revolutionaries during the Cuban and Haitian revolutions and had contributed to their success.
Therefore, he suggested that the current generation should adopt these same principles for their personal development.
“Don’t let these just be abstract principles that are there, . . . they must resonate within you and if they resonate within you they will activate you to have a consciousness that this country belongs to you, this community belongs to you, this Caribbean belongs to you and if it belongs to you, you must assert yourself to be the rightful owner of it,” the CPAN president told the gathering that also included Cuban Ambassador Francisco Fernandez Pena, Venezuelan Ambassador Francisco Perez Santana and Director for the Commission for Pan African Affairs Deryck Murray.
As he gave a detailed explanation of the 1804 Haitian constitution and the contributions made by people of African descent, Comissiong said it was apparent that the mobilization of the citizens was the force for change.
In the same vein, he suggested that if Barbadians and Caribbean people on the whole wanted change, then they had to be the enforcers of that change.
“If we want good things to happen, if we want this wonderful Caribbean civilization to be ours . . . it means that we the people have to make it happen,” he emphasized.
“Like the Cuban revolutionaries and the Haitian revolutionaries in order to make it happen we have to believe in ourselves that we are people of worth, we are people of talent, we are people deserving of respect,” Comissiong added.
Also speaking on the achievements of Cuba since its 1953 revolution, Ambassador Pena said the organization of the youth was the driving force for high literacy and a commendable public health system.
In this regard, he pointed out that Cuba boasts of an infant mortality rate of 4.1 which is much lower than that of developed countries such as the United States and Canada.
The average life expectancy in Cuba is 79.4 years, which is also higher than some developed countries, the Cuban envoy said.
He attributed his country’s success to its philosophy of collective responsibility.
“Our philosophy is that we have to share what we have and what we have in excess,” he added.
The event included performances by Barbadian poet Winston Farrell and the Haynesville Youth Group.