January 26, 2007
Vincentians need to be more liberated

Member of the National Committee for Commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Trans- Atlantic Slave Trade, Renwick Rose is of the view that Vincentians are lacking a great sense of consciousness despite our rich history.

Speaking at the media launching of the committee on Tuesday at the Peace Memorial Hall, Rose said that he hopes the year of activities will be a contribution to the building of national consciousness, and also a continuation of the national liberation struggle.{{more}}

He reminded all present that this country had less than half a century of full blown slavery, from the crushing of the Callinago uprisings in 1795 to the emancipation of slaves in 1838.

Prior to that, St. Vincent and the Grenadines was a stronghold of resistance to colonialism, and escaped slaves from other islands found a safe haven on these shores where they were welcome. This made it difficult to entrench slavery here as it was in other territories.

“One would think that with a history like that, that there would be a greater sense of consciousness among our people,” Rose said. “I find it still sadly lacking in our society.”

He said that the work of the committee is part of a long drawn out process to try to rebuild that consciousness and forge an identity that Vincentians should be proud of.

Rose also touched on the issue of reparation, saying that it is nothing to be ashamed of.

“It is a pity that in the 21st century we still have black people backing away when we hear about reparation, all of a sudden we become apologetic saying that ‘slavery done long time why we raising that issue’.”

Rose noted that the Jews, Koreans and Chinese did not forget about what happened to them in the world wars.

“That was child’s play compared to what we had to endure as a people, and we must never be afraid to raise that claim as other people have done. Reparation is our justice and is due to us as a people,” said Rose.