Following is the PPP’s Emancipation Day message:
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) salutes our Afro-Guyanese brothers and sisters on the occasion of Emancipation Day. This is indeed a fitting moment to reflect on the sacrifices made by our African ancestors who were brought to the shores of Guyana in chains in order to provide free labour to the sugar planters.
To say that our African ancestors suffered at the hands of the sugar planters would be an understatement. Indeed, they were stripped of their humanity and dignity and made to toil long hours to keep the wheels of the sugar mills turning and in the process churning out profits for the expatriate sugar barons. Many were tortured and brutally killed for standing up for their rights but the spirit of resistance finally won the day and freedom was eventually won in August 1838. Several epic battles and rebellion took place during the long march to freedom, the most notable of which was the Berbice Slave rebellion led by Cuffy.
Despite the hardships and cruelty of plantation life, the freed slaves were successful in forging a society after emancipation and by dint of hard work and thrift purchased a number of villages where they eked out an independent existence despite attempts by the sugar planters to sabotage their newly won independence. There can be no doubt that the foundations of a modern society and economy were firmly laid by our African ancestors who peacefully co-existed with the indentured labourers after slavery was abolished and in several instances lent mutual support to each other when their interests and livelihood came under threat by the planter class.
The strong bonds of solidarity between Africans and indentured labourers, the vast majority of whom came from India is testimony to the fact that race was never a barrier when it comes to the defense and protection of fundamental human rights including the right to work and to live in an environment of peace, prosperity and respect.
The PPP from its very inception as a political party has consistently embraced the principle of racial equality and a governance mechanism where each and every Guyanese regardless of race, colour or creed be given an equal opportunity to contribute to the good of society. The PPP wishes to reiterate this commitment to free, democratic and cohesive society, one in which their is no privileged race but where all races work and live in unison to build a strong and prosperous Guyana.
The PPP is proud of the fact that it remains the largest multi-ethnic political party and will continue to welcome all Guyanese into its ranks from all races and ethnicities who, like our fore parents share the vision of a society where the good life is enjoyed not by a privileged few but by the society as a whole.
The PPP is aware of attempts by the current Granger administration to sow the seeds of discord among the Guyanese people by re-invoking the bogey of race but like all previous attempts it will fail to sully the image of the PPP as the only genuine and true multi-racial party in Guyana.
Once again, happy emancipation greetings to all Guyanese, in particular our Afro-Guyanese brothers and sisters.