by His Excellency, Ambassador Arley Gill
Chairperson, Grenada Preparatory Reparations Commission
As we commemorate another Emancipation Day here in Grenada — we must stop and acknowledge the significance of the day as a people — descendants of a rich and storied heritage and legacy.
We must always remember that our history and heritage did not begin with slavery and that our ongoing struggle for freedom from injustice and oppression is rooted in a past coloured in resistance and resilience. The many uprisings and rebellions that our enslaved ancestors led and, in many instances, won — are a testament to the legacy of strength, courage and determination willed to us by our forebearers.
This year in particular, the global movement for Black Liberation epitomised by the Black Lives Matter movement and energized by the murder of George Floyd in the United States, is a chilling reminder, I believe, that the blood of our enslaved ancestors is fuelling today’s global march toward justice and liberation.
Indeed, Emancipation Day is a day to celebrate our ancestors’ freedom from chattel slavery and it is also a day of remembrance and reflection.
As we look back at how far we have come as a people — from enslavement to emancipation; and, as we look confidently toward the future, those who committed heinous crimes against humanity — by kidnapping and enslaving millions of Africans and trafficking in people for profit — must be held accountable. They must be called upon to redistribute the unearned wealth accrued on the backs of our ancestors and to make just recompense to nations still at an economic disadvantage almost 200 years since slavery ended in Grenada and throughout the British Empire.
The time for Britain and other European nations to settle the debts owed to our nation and other countries in the region is long overdue. Emancipation Day is a reminder that our fight to earn what our ancestors were so unjustly denied is of utmost importance. We must approach reparations in the region with a sense of urgency and we cannot stop — and must not stop — until justice is served.
I encourage each and every Grenadian to continue honouring our ancestors’ legacy today and always through our culture, our history, our undying quest for true freedom — mental, economic and political — and by calling for reparations from those who devalued and disregarded the lives and humanity of our forefathers and foremothers.
HONOUR THE LEGACY OF OUR FOREBEARERS—REPARATORY JUSTICE IS A MUST!
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