On the occasion of the 176th Anniversary of the abolition of slavery, I extend best wishes to Guyanese in general and to Afro-Guyanese in particular.
This is without doubt one of the most important dates in our history. It is also one of the major blows struck for the Independence of our country.
As we salute our fore parents for the sacrifices and the struggle they made towards our freedom, let us today take inspiration from it to score greater successes in building a strong economy and in strengthening our country as a whole. Once again, best wishes for a brighter future for all.
Message of First Lady, Deolatchmee Ramotar
On this August 1, 2014, Emancipation Day, I extend heartfelt Emancipation greetings to all Guyanese but especially to Guyanese of African origin for whom this day resonates with so much significance.
The legal abolition of slavery, better known as Emancipation, is a day with special meaning for all colonized peoples but more so for persons of African descent whose ancestors were forcibly removed from their homelands and consigned to a life of servitude. Millions of innocent persons were sold into a life of unspeakable indignities, treated as the property of others and forced to work under arduous and demeaning conditions. Emancipation was a historic act that brought to an end the most abominable system created by humanity. Emancipation represented a victory for all humanity.
While Emancipation did not end the oppression existing under colonialism, it rendered non-existent its most disdainful feature: the treatment of human persons as chattel. In this way it marked a distinctive break with the past. In Guyana, it led to the development of a vibrant peasantry laid the foundation for the village movement and prompted the emergence of indentureship when labour shortages resulted on the sugar plantations. Emancipation represented a defining moment in our country’s history and an important landmark in the epic struggles to end colonial rule and foreign exploitation.
On this Emancipation Day, I salute the indomitable spirit of all those who resisted the cruel and inhumane system of slavery. Their sacrifices are permanently etched in Guyana’s struggle for national liberation.
On this Emancipation Day 2014, may we also be inspired by the timeless message of Emancipation: that no system of injustice lasts forever!
Message from the PNCR
The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) joins the Guyanese people in celebrating the 176th Anniversary of the Emancipation of enslaved Africans. The Party regards this event as the most significant in the foundation of our nation and the formation of our society. It was the first step in our country’s long march towards social equality, economic independence and political freedom.
Africans in the united Guiana colonies of Berbice, Demerara and Essequibo regained their freedom on the 1st August 1838 after two hundred years of enslavement. Emancipation on that day commemorates not only the bloody sacrifices of the Africans who struggled, suffered and were slaughtered for the sake of the freedom we all enjoy today but also the birth of the nation itself. The entire Guyanese nation should participate in this public celebration.
Emancipation is Guyana’s most important national celebration. It marks the start of the most significant demographic change through the coming of the Portuguese, East Indians, West Africans and Chinese and the transformation of the coastal landscape through the creation of free villages and the diversification of the economy into the production of food crops, gold-mining and logging. It led, also, to the liberation of society through the popular movements for educational development, labour organisation and political mobilisation.
Emancipation celebrations in 2014 also commemorate the 251st anniversary of the Berbice Revolt of 1763 led by Kofi and the 191st anniversary of the Demerara Revolt of 1823 inspired by Kwamina. Guyanese of all races are the beneficiaries and heirs of the sacrifices of our nation’s first freedom fighters.
Emancipation, after all, was not a finite event that occurred 176 years ago. It was the commencement of a continuing process which must aim at providing a “good life to all Guyanese.”
Message from the PPP
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) extends greetings to all Guyanese more particularly our Afro-Guyanese brothers and sisters on the occasion of the 176th anniversary since the abolition of slavery.
This is a good time to reflect on the pain and sacrifices made by our African ancestors who were brought to our shores against their will to provide cheap labour in the sugar plantations. They were treated in an inhumane manner at the hands of the planter class and were stripped of their humanity and dignity in the greed for profits.
What the planters failed to destroy however was their strong will and determination to free themselves from the yoke of slavery and bondage.
Despite their sufferings, our history is replete with stories of heroism and rebellion led by slave leaders such as Cuffy, Quamina, Damon and Accabre who are today immortalized in the annals of our history.
The PPP is proud of the contributions made by our African ancestors and the contribution they have made and continues to make to the development of our country.
Thanks to their contributions, the foundations for a modern and cohesive society have been firmly laid. Guyana today is a free and democratic multicultural society characterized by political and ideological pluralism and the rule of law.
The PPP takes this opportunity to once again salute our Afro-Guyanese brothers and sisters on this significant milestone and calls on all Guyanese to unite as we seek to further consolidate on the economic and social gains we have made over the years.
These gains have benefited all Guyanese regardless of ethnicity or political affiliation and are manifested in an enhanced quality of education delivery, improved health care, access to house lots and credit facilities, improved water supply-in short a vastly improved quality of life for all our citizens.
Blue CAPS’ Emancipation Day Message
As we commemorate the 176th Anniversary of freedom from slavery, Blue CAPS calls on all Guyanese to not only celebrate but also to contemplate the true meaning of emancipation.
Emancipation is the foundation of the freedoms and civil liberties we enjoy today as citizens of our nation. Our foreparents’ zeal and indomitable spirits ended a determined struggle against a vicious system that forced people into labour and denied them their basic human rights and dignity.
As we pay homage and exalt those who fought for our freedoms, we must remain resolute and guard our present day civil liberties from any attempt to curb and diminish them. Moreover, full liberation will only be achieved when there are changes in beliefs and attitudes from our people that lead to unity and equality across the dimensions of race and ethnicity, sex, socio-economic status and political lines.
As we reflect on the achievement of our foreparents today, let us be reminded that we are one people living in one nation tied to a single destiny.