Emancipation was driven by human desire for freedom – PNC

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See below for PNCR Emancipation Message – ‘Towards economic emancipation’: 

Emancipation celebrates the greatest enterprise in our nation’s history – the abolition of human enslavement and the transformation of plantations into a nation. Emancipation marked the termination of two hundred years of the greatest crime against humanity – the Trans-Atlantic Trade in Captive Africans – and their enslavement in the Guiana colonies of Demerara, Essequibo and Berbice. Emancipation was driven by the human desire for freedom and economic independence.

Emancipation in the Guiana colonies initiated the greatest movement of freed peoples in the western hemisphere. The Village Movement began on 7th November 1839 when 83 free men and women from five plantations – Ann’s Grove, Dochfour, Enmore, Hope and Paradise – agreed to pay 30,000 guilders (f 30.000) for Plantation Northbrook, which they renamed Victoria Village.

Africans, once free, were able to buy 6,000 hectares (about 15,000 acres) of land in cash, attesting to their visionary thinking and thrift in the decade after Emancipation. Historians wrote: “This was an economic miracle… In the whole western hemisphere there was no movement like the Village Movement of British Guiana at the time in which thousands of people were able to move off of the plantations.”

Emancipation, this year, reminds us of the resolutions of the General Assembly of the United Nations designating the decade – 1st January 2015 to 31st December 2024 – as the International Decade for the People of African Descent.

The ‘International Decade’ acknowledges that Africans were the victims of the greatest crime against humanity and continue to suffer from dispossession and discrimination. The Decade recognises that persons of African descent have not yet fully overcome the legacy of colonial under-development which continues to contribute to their present condition.

Guyanese today are the beneficiaries of the economic enterprise and efforts of the pioneers of the Village Movement. Our fore-parents bequeath the legacy of land to build a robust agrarian economy and an independent peasantry. Our generation must aim at establishing enduring economic emancipation on the solid foundation they laid.