According to CANA, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says slavery has left many black persons scarred.
In his Emancipation Day message to the nation, he said slavery has long been recognised as the sad, dark side of human existence, in that almost every people and race across the world has had this ‘wretched’ experience.
However, he noted that those from West Africa have suffered the most.
“Slavery has left many a black person scarred and denuded of basic values. In the eyes of some the perception remains that blacks have been placed at the bottom of every “good” list, and the “top” of every bad one. Despite, their strengths, resourcefulness and intelligence, they are forced still to cry out to the world that “Black is beautiful, too”, he said.
The Prime Minister added that recent studies in social psychology now suggest that the scars and oppression of slavery are lodged – generations after – in their Collective Unconscious i.e. in the minds of Africans in the Caribbean and the Americas.
“In short, theirs, as we say, is a double whammy: Institutionalised racism on one hand; and the mental chains of pain and suffering , held within their own psyches.”
Rowley also called on all African people in Trinidad and Tobago to acknowledge their past and said they must remember the struggles of their fore parents on and off the plantations.
Remember the struggles of the fore parents on and off the plantations to the birth and growth of this nation. Then let us find ways to unlock, and emancipate ourselves from the mental chains, and, finally, embrace the opportunities of the 21st century with an understanding that Trinidad and Tobago will only achieve the future which we all, as citizens, create for our generations to come,” Rowley.
Meanwhile, opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says Afro-Trinbagonians must be proud of who they are as their achievements inspire a nation to greatness.
Persad-Bissessar, in her Emancipation message noted that members of the African Diaspora have made invaluable contributions across the globe.
“Emancipation Day more than a mere holiday but it is a day of celebration that honours the determination and the courage of a people to overcome tribulation as well as capture the success which is thoroughly demonstrated by the invaluable contributions that have been made by members of the African Diaspora in all forms of life ranging from academia, sports, music, art, science and technology across the globe,” she said.
The Opposition Leader added that Emancipation Day also serves as a reminder of the strength, the resolve and bravery of African people to battle hardship and persecution which continued even after they left the plantation.
Persad-Bissessar added that the nation is richer for the many contributions of all who journeyed to Trinidad and Tobago through different circumstances.