Basseterre, St. Kitts, Friday, 1st August, 2019, (MyVueNews.com) – Call it holocaust, call it genocide. But whatever designation you apply, the conclusion is the same. And that is, the enslavement and murder of millions of black Africans by white Europeans for hundreds of years in the Caribbean and Americas, was the worst tragedy on record in the history of man.
Some may even encourage black people to forget, while others would criticize their calls for reparation. But like the Jews and their response to Hitler’s Germany, we should never forget, and must all pledge, “Never again”.
Political leaders and the citizens they preside over in these Caribbean lands, must begin to take stock of the past, so that they may better navigate the social, political and economic realities that confront our regional communities today.
It remains a sad tale that while some countries in the Caribbean allocate a public holiday in remembrance of this great injustice, many others, like St. Kitts and Nevis, still have not found the wisdom to honour 1st August, as a National Holiday.
Instead, there is this prolonged madness of celebrating Emancipation Day on the first Monday in August. This has to stop. Emancipation is 1st August. It was the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 in the British Parliament that came into effect on 1st August, 1834, that finally caused the British Government to end the misery of black African enslavement in the Caribbean.
Today, National Holidays are being observed in Bermuda, Jamaica, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Guyana, St. Lucia and Turks & Caicos Islands. We hope that sometime soon St. Kitts and Nevis will join the ranks?
We pay a special tribute to the Government and people of Trinidad & Tobago. The first country in the entire world to declare a public holiday for Emancipation was that twin island Caribbean nation to the south. It was in 1985 when Trinidad replaced what was called Discovery Day with an Emancipation Day Holiday.
Even in Washington DC, USA, they celebrate Emancipation Day as a state holiday, but that is done in April, given the variance in time for the end of slavery.
For the English Speaking Caribbean, and also the French, one has to remember that it was St. Kitts that they first stumbled upon in 1624 and 1625. St. Kitts therefore was amongst the first set of islands where the kidnapped black people of Africa were placed in bondage.
This therefore is an island that should seek to do more to memorialize our freedom.
The slave trade existed from the 16th to the 19th century.
It is still a mystery as to how many lives in total were lost but experts are of the view that the number far exceeds the number of those who survived. There are those who argue that the figure runs from 100 to 200 million. Other estimates that are far more conservative, say only about 14 million.
Irrespective of which estimate is agreed on, the enslavement and killing of so many Africans forced across the Atlantic to a life of bondage, rape, murder and inhumane treatment, remains the greatest holocaust the world has ever seen.
Let us never forget!