EYEWITNESS What is…

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…real emancipation?

Your Eyewitness is getting some not quite comfortable vibes about what “Emancipation” means to some people. Now, the word itself means “to free” or “to liberate”…and we all know Africans were enslaved for hundreds of years by Europeans to labour on plantations; and finally, they were “freed” on August 1, 1838 in the British Empire. Slavery continued elsewhere – like in the US, where they had to fight a civil war in 1863 to free their slaves. In Brazil, which took over 40% of the slaves brought into the New World, slavery wasn’t ended till 1888!!

In countries like Brazil and the US, where slaves were a minority, Emancipation might’ve given the ex-slaves formal freedom, but in so many ways, there were so many restrains on their rights as citizens, one would be hard-pressed to call them “free”. Imagine, it wasn’t until the 1960s that, in the US South, African Americans could even ENTER some restaurants. Dr Cheddi Jagan, who studied in the US between 1938 and 1943, observed these restrictions first hand, and was permanently scarred by the experience.

But the slave experience went far beyond the physical constraints on the slaves; there were the more insidious and damaging mental aspects. What Bob Marley was to call “mental slavery” – and which controls the minds of most, 180 years after “Emancipation” — began with the insistence of the Europeans that Africans, at the very best, were not equal to them in their mental and cultural facilities; and at worse, weren’t even quite “human”. The rest of “coloured” humanity was then placed on a scale where the upper end was European and the lower end African. And that’s something still deeply embedded in so many aspects of the Western Education, which is our standard.

However, we can rail all we want about what goes on in the US or Britain…but what about right here in our neck of the woods? Back when Walter Rodney was around, he shook up our just-independent British territories by showing that most of the leaders who’d inherited the “British mantle” took the description VERY literally. In Jamaica, where he was teaching by 1968 (just 50 years ago!), he showed how PM Shearer was actually “anti-African” in his orientation by suppressing the efforts of the Rastafarian community to create a lifestyle more consonant with their African Heritage.

Today, we see the remnants of this kind of mental slavery when our governments go along with the sale of alcohol and tobacco under regulated conditions, but dig their heels in against the controlled sale of ganja, a sacramental herb used by the Rastafarians!
Only when we free ourselves from mental slavery will we be free!!

…this duty-free giveaway?

Your Eyewitness is quite bemused by the episodic scandals involving “duty free” vehicles in this country. That NYTimes reporter being pilloried right, left and centre after writing about our “sh*thole” country somehow missed this distinguishing feature of “shitholeness”! Imagine cheating to bring in USED cars!! In your Eyewitness’s opinion, the entire scheme’s a recipe for encouraging corruption.

Imagine, you have a country where the average ANNUAL salary is charitably $1million. Now with the total “duty” on vehicles — even with the “reconditioned” euphemism used to cover the “used car” tag – amounting to an average of $3 to $10 million, can you imagine the inducement for corruption?

We’re talking about raking in 3-10 years of wages in one fell (corrupt) swoop!! But in this latest Nortonion caper, your Eyewitness thinks the corruption was made just a bit TOO OBVIOUS for even the jaded AFC Ministers Ramjattan and Gaskin.

To some folks, this might be a sign of some backbone developing in these invertebrates.
But, as Darwin said, that’ll take millions and millions of years!!

…this Speaker’s power?

In England, their Parliament retained sovereignty — unlike ours, where the PEOPLE are supposed to be sovereign. But a new principle’s being pushed by the PNC-Government – SOVEREIGNTY OF THE SPEAKER!!
The man certainly holds himself above the law!!

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