President Donald Ramotar on Monday evening unveiled the 1823 monument located opposite the Guyana Defence Force’s Headquarters on the Sea Wall road, in commemoration of the 190th anniversary of the 1823 slave revolt, and as he did so, he expressed the hope that it will be a symbol of partnership for Guyanese.
“May this monument inspire all Guyanese to join hands in partnership for peace, progress, and prosperity,” President said.
He said that in unveiling this monument, Guyanese are formalising the honour that they have kept, and as a united people, acknowledging the contribution of their ancestors’ quest for justice, dignity and liberty.
This historic slave revolt took place on Plantation Success, East Coast of Demerara on August 18, 1823 and quickly spread to other estates. It was led by freedom fighters such as Quamina, Parris, Hamilton, Achilles and many others, who struck a mighty blow against the system of plantation slavery.
It was the second of only two major slave revolts in Guyana’s history, occurring 60 years after that of 1763 in Berbice, then a Dutch colony.
President Ramotar in his address said that the monument is a dedication to Guyana’s historical past and the national recognition of the acts of valour by enslaved ancestors, who made the supreme sacrifice to secure freedom for themselves and their descendants.
“If 1763 put a doubt in the minds of the colonisers that slaves were willing to end slavery, then 1823 put the question beyond doubt. History suggests that this revolt hastened the decision for emancipation…it intensified and aggravated the anti-slavery pressures in England,” the Head of State recalled.
He said that after 190 years, Guyanese have to continue to struggle to make this position absolutely irreversible. He noted that Guyana is a poor, developing country, operating in an international environment that is generally not in the favour of such countries.
“There are still many invisible chains that try to exploit us and this is where we must use the experiences of our ancestors to work with others in similar circumstances, to try to improve conditions for development and end the inequality that exists so much in the world,” the President exhorted.
Meanwhile, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony said that said that history, if left forgotten, will rob citizens of a significant part of the legacy of the struggle that their ancestors left.