Baptiste: ‘Slavery still exists today’
March 30, 2007
Baptiste: ‘Slavery still exists today’

Minister of Culture the Hon. Rene Baptiste is of the opinion that slavery still exists today.

In her contribution to the debate in parliament last Monday on the bill to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, Baptiste said that slavery existed on plantations because there was a “love of money” by the Massa who used the slaves to do work. Baptiste said that today the new Massas were drug pushers, pimps and those who traffic in humans.{{more}}

She said that the new plantations where the slaves work were the street corners, bars and factories where young people were offered car rentals, a weekend holiday to see a cricket test match and money to transport a package of cocaine. She pointed out that too many people want the latest expensive gadgets and in the process were selling their body, mind and soul into slavery.

The Culture Minister described slavery as the worst violation of human rights and said it was crucial to never forget.

She warned, “They are with us today! People make themselves mules. Do not prostitute yourselves for US$250 and a trip to America. We have this nation to build and we have the tools which have been provided with our intellect.”

Baptiste also pointed out the carnival came out of slavery when the slaves rejoiced after being freed. She adamantly called for repatriation and an apology from the imperialists and said that this country would continue to commemorate the event with several lectures, cultural items and competitions among other things.

Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Arnhim Eustace (right) who supported the call for an apology and repatriation believes that the “slavery mentality” still remains with descendents of slaves.

Eustace read from a speech entitled, “Making of a Slave” in 1712 by a slave owner named Willie Lynch who taught planters how to manipulate their slaves using differences among them such as their skin tone, size, age, sex and status on the plantation to divide them.

In the document read by Eustace, it was pointed out that after receiving the indoctrination to be envious and distrustful this concept would “carry on” for “hundreds or maybe thousands of years to come.”

In delivering his contribution to the motion to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the Opposition Leader said, “After 200 years there has been no apology and no repatriation. But life has to go on. We ourselves must take responsibility for moving our people forward, we must respect one another and give support to human rights.”

The bill passed unanimously with both sides of the house voting in favour of the motion