From the PPP
The People’s Progressive Party extends congratulations and best wishes to all Guyanese and to our Afro-Guyanese compatriots in particular on the occasion of the one hundred and seventy third anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Guyana and the Caribbean.
This freedom came as a result of the great resistance of our ancestors to the brutal exploitation and inhuman conditions that they were subjected to.
The fight of slaves against slavery served as a great example and led to many other struggles and victories of our people which culminated in our independence in 1966.
However, almost immediately after Independence the Guyanese people had to wage another gigantic struggle for democracy. Inspired by the feats of our foreparents the Guyanese people were victorious in their efforts to win democracy in Guyana.
Today we are building our country economically, politically and socially strong. Guyana has advanced greatly since the victory in 1992. However, dangers still exist.
We have to constantly struggle against the unequal relations in international relations which often threatens to retard our progress and to keep us economically disadvantaged.
In the struggle to build a strong and prosperous society in our times we must continue to be inspired by the victories of our ancestors who, fighting an enemy who had superior weapons, succeeded in liberating themselves and destroying the hated system of slavery.
Once again the PPP extends best wishes to all on Freedom Day 2011.
From the PNCR
On the occasion of Emancipation Day 2011, the People’s National Congress Reform joins the rest of the nation in celebrating the 173rd anniversary of the freedom of slaves in Guyana and the rest of the English speaking Caribbean. An event as serious and as momentous as this must warrant sober reflection to determine whether the freedom gained at this critical point in our history has been effectively utilised to transform this country into a cohesive and prosperous nation.
There cannot be any doubt that our ancestors from Africa laid an excellent foundation for the development of Guyana.
They engaged in the building of the massive infrastructural works which facilitated the creation of the Drainage and Irrigation system, purchased villages which are at the heart of the local Government system, and pioneered a number of vital institutions which improved the lives of their communities.
Most important of all the descendants of African slaves would join hands with other ethnic groups to engage in the grand enterprise of building a strong self confident and prosperous nation.
In this enterprise it was clear that freedom was a precondition for the shaping of a successful nation. Oppressed and shackled peoples do not build free societies. Such an enterprise based on this understanding led to the accession to Independence and the graduation to Republican status.
The PNCR must declare, on this occasion, more than four decades after our independence that our nation faces a situation in which the essential freedoms of our citizens are threatened.
The right not to be tortured is repeatedly violated. The right to information remains elusive. The right to a peaceful and secure existence is clouded by the rise in criminality and the strengthening of the drug culture. Most of all the freedoms to which all Guyanese are heir, can be negated by the out of control violence in the society. Freedom cannot flourish under the reign of guns and the lack of law and order.
It is necessary on this occasion for this nation to take stock of where it stands and what must be done to restore the pride and freedom that our African ancestors bequeathed to us.
It is critical that if this nation wishes to overcome our formidable problems that we rekindle the spirit of these ancestors and rededicate ourselves to building a society that is truly free and one in which the talents of all our peoples are marshaled to ensure that the promise of prosperity and real freedom is not perennially deferred.
The PNCR, therefore, urges the Guyanese people to be resilient and not be overcome by challenges which beset us.
Let us take a leaf out of the book of our African ancestors and continue to struggle against the injustices and the tyranny of the present rulers so as to maintain our human dignity and freedom and the right to develop this nation in peace and harmony.
From the WPA
The WPA salutes the African Guyanese community on the occasion of the 173rd anniversary of the abolition of chattel slavery. Emancipation in 1838 brought a formal end to what is perhaps the most horrendous tragedy in the history of the human family.
But the very overcoming of three centuries of inhumanity is itself a lasting story about the resilience of the enslaved and their thirst for freedom. That they walked out of slavery with their dignity intact speaks volumes.
The immediate movement towards acquisition of lands and the construction of self-governing communities represent the highest form of self- emancipation. Emancipation of African Guyanese meant emancipation of all Guyanese as it ensured that slavery would not be visited on any other racial group.
But the effects of slavery still haunt Guyana and the rest of the African Diaspora as the descendants of the enslaved continue to face the myriad challenges of post-emancipation. While African Guyanese have made tremendous strides since 1838, there have also been some areas of concern.
The implications of systemic racism continue to negatively affect the community while socio-economic underdevelopment and cultural confusion seem to be more the rule than the exception. The process of healing and recovery of humanity has been a slow and sometimes complex one; a situation that is compounded by Guyana’s acute ethnic problems.
WPA, therefore, urges African Guyanese to embark on a period of internal reflection including a collective conversation aimed at evaluating where the community is and figuring out how to recapture lost ground. Such a reflection must be a constant exercise if the scars of bondage are to be fully healed.
WPA also wishes to draw attention to the attempts by the present government to exploit the vulnerabilities of the African Guyanese community by encouraging some of the more negative tendencies. We view this as a sinister form of racism.
Reducing a significant section of your community to a state of mendicancy is counterproductive to healthy race relations and national wholeness. WPA calls on African Guyanese to resist this new attempt at racial domination.
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