On the occasion of Emancipation Day 2023, the 185th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Guyana, President of the Cooperation Republic of Guyana, Dr. Irfaan Ali, delivered a powerful Emancipation Day message in which he called on former colonial powers to pay reparation to the descendants of African slaves.
President Ali’s Emancipation Day Message 2023
On the occasion of Emancipation Day, 2023, the 185th Anniversary of the formal abolition of slavery is an occasion to recall the (?) resistance and resilience of our African ancestors. They laid the foundation for our country’s freedom. It is that freedom, an African achievement, which we celebrate today, Emancipation Day. As we do so, let us never forget that this freedom was attained at a high price. Never again must the human heart become so cold and callous as to condone human enslavement. African enslavement was abhorrent, and represents one of the darkest chapters in human history, and a permanent stain on our civilization.
My government remains committed to the struggle for reparation…for the crime of African enslavement. We demand that those who were complicit in and who profited from the trade in captive Africans and African enslavement must pay reparations.President Irfaan Ali, August 1st, 2023.
The Caribbean Community has been at the forefront of demanding reparations for the descendants of enslaved Africans. Within the Region, there has been a concerted effort to seek both the acknowledgement of and redress for the injustices inflicted as a result of the slave trade and slavery. It is heartening to know that the recent EU Summit took significant step forward by acknowledging slavery as a a crime against humanity.
Such acknowledgement is crucial to further pressing our demands for reparations. Emancipation in 1838 did not end oppression. Freed Africans continued to face tremendous challenges which they confronted with admirable resolve and resourcefulness. As such, Emancipation Day also heralds the significant contributions of African Guyanese which includes the development of the peasantry, the emergence of the village movement, and the pioneer role of the Africans in government, education, and national life.
Today, as we celebrate Emancipation Day 2023, let us pay tribute to those who endured unimaginable hardships, yet resisted. Let us recall the sacrifices of our African ancestors who emerged strong and resolute in the face of such a barbarous system which gave no legal recognition to them. Let us celebrate the contributions to shaping the Guyana we know today.
The greatest tribute we can pay to the struggles and sacrifices of African Guyanese is to build a free, prosperous, and more inclusive nation. In this regard, I want to assure all Guyanese that my government is wholeheartedly committed to ensuring that everyone, every single Guyanese, will be part of the political, social, and economic transformation of our country. No one will be left behind. African Guyanese will share in the bounty that will flow from Guyana’s transformative development, and the bright and prosperous future ahead. They, along with all others, will have a significant role to play and will benefit significantly from national development, and in the governance of our country. The One Guyana Agenda is aimed at building a prosperous and inclusive future for all.
However, I am mindful that there are forces inside and outside of our country who, for selfish reasons, continue to stroke division, and engender fear, mistrust, and suspicion. As I have done in the past, I want to encourage Guyanese to continue to reject these attempts and expose the agitators of disunity and fearmongering who threaten our nation’s cohesive and progressive future.
Emancipation Day was a milestone for our country’s history. As we celebrate the anniversary of this historic day, let us recommit in working to create a better future where resilience and achievement resonate in every corner of Guyana, inspiring generations present and future to unite in building a nation that embodies the spirit of freedom, prosperity, and inclusivity.
Happy emancipation day 2023.