August 1, 2016 – guardian.co.tt
In the new pages of history currently being written in T&T, questions that arise include whether people are facilitating new prejudices and divisions in T&T’s society and also, if a mindset of entitlement is being perpetuated, says Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
In his Emancipation message, Rowley said, “The stories of our past should not condemn us to the turmoil of acrimony; but rather they should show us a path for achieving the positive and prosperous development of our country now and for the generations to come.”
“We’re currently writing new pages in our history. We need to ask ourselves, are we facilitating new prejudices and divisions in our society? Are we perpetuating a mindset of entitlement – claiming rights where instead we should accept personal responsibility? Are we committed to working together in the best interest of our country? Can we look past the ‘me’ and ‘my group’ to the bigger picture of nationhood?”
Saying Emancipation shattered an unjust status quo, he said, the formerly enslaved Africans, had, after Emancipation, to take responsibility for the direction of their own lives. “Amid prejudice and ingrained philosophical beliefs of one group’s inherent right to dominate and denigrate another, they created opportunities for their own advancement.”
“As Afro-Trinbagonians, at Emancipation we reflect on our history and proudly claim our ancestry. We celebrate freedom and recognise the immense sacrifices made by our ancestors.”
“While Emancipation Day may be a more intense emotional experience for persons of African descent, we must remember emancipation irrevocably changed the political, economic, and social reality not only for those who were freed but also for the population as a whole and all those who would follow. Today T&T benefits from the contributions of all our citizens, regardless of race, and it is unfortunate that some among us still seek to create chasms within the population.”
“Emancipation Day, along with our other national days of recognition, are welcome avenues for personal celebrations but I believe they are asking us to do something more. They invite us to better understand ourselves and each other, seeking commonalities while accepting differences. We have suffered pain, grief and intolerance. We need another narrative, one driven towards collective respect, appreciation and unity of purpose.”