My fellow Barbadians, we must never lose sight of the importance of this Emancipation Day to people whose ancestors came to these shores, not as guests or tourists, but in bondage as chattel, to be used for the economic benefit of others.
Yet today, while we are no longer slaves destined to a life as economic tools for others, we have quite a distance to travel on the road to liberate ourselves mentally from the vestiges of that horror.
I have preached this message many times before; and, I will continue to do so as long as I have breath. That’s because change does not come overnight as we work to achieve mental emancipation any time soon.
It is a fight with which we will continue to struggle for generations because the scars of bondage run deep within us — as individuals, in our institutions and in our society.
For some there is a persistent self doubt and an ingrained distrust for our own. For some, there is a daily struggle to accept or identify with our culture.
Regrettably, some see mental emancipation as something passive or even academic, seeing it as the pursuit of others.
But it is not. We need to draw on the example of the resilience and courage of our ancestors. The fight today may require different tactics — but I say no less vigour or persistence.
Let us all reflect today as Barbadians and so fuel our minds that Emancipation Day must inspire us each at the personal level to claim our mental freedom, day in and day out. And, thereafter, to use that personal mental freedom as the platform, the building block to wrestle from our institutions and our society the stubborn remaining vestiges of that most horrific of times that scarred our collective humanity.
So as we close this second decade of the 21st century, let us go forth with pride and commitment to carry our leg of the baton!