New Spotlight to Be Placed on Awareness of Atlantic Slave Trade

This was established at a recent meeting of the UNESCO National Scientific Slave Route Committee which took place at the Ministry of Education Annex in Basseterre.

In response to the actions being considered by the committee, the Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO, Mr. Antonio Maynard, expressed his pleasure that the organization’s priority areas which include, that of building cultural links and using history as a tool for better understanding and world peace, was being pursued locally by means of the Slave Route Project.

Documents shared at the meeting, described the Committee’s activities as “raising some of the most burning issues in today’s world, namely human rights, the building of identities, citizenship, the sharing of resources and cultural pluralism.”

The committee which is headed by Dr. Ken Ballentyne has been given the mandate to create a Monument to the Slave Trade, in memory of the Ancestors, which would foster a greater sense of awareness and attract nationals and visitors alike, thus enhancing cultural tourism.

The Slave Route Project is a culmination of a previous initiative implemented by the local UNESCO agency which was designed to break the silence on the issue of the Slave Trade and Slavery in the twin-island Federation.

Minister responsible for UNESCO Affairs Mr. Nigel Carty, while introducing members of the Committee urged the body to hasten the process of bridging the gap between Slavery and the existing National and International experience.

Among the topics discussed at the meeting, included the Research and Documentation on Inventory of Slave Sites in St. Kitts and Nevis; Production of a Cultural Tourism Map and Local Black History Text Books; as well as the Launching of a Booklet and Training Workshop for Teachers.

The members of the National Committee will be appointed, in the first instance for a four (4) year period. Some of the key roles of the Committee are to ensure an objective and consensual approach to the Slave Route issues and serve in an advisory capacity to the UNESCO National Commission.

Other members of the committee include Deputy Chairman, Mr. Halstead Byron, who has had a long standing leadership role in cultural matters in Nevis. Ms. Marlene Phillips Lee was nominated as the Rapporteur and Head of the Public Relations Sub-Committee.

The committee is hoping to have a National Public Launch of the initiative in early June this year.

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