by Saboto Caesar
I woke up this blessed Saturday morning to CNN’s live broadcast in my living room of the “Coronation” of a King.
Immediately, I remembered the “Middle Passage” with men and women tied in the bottom of boats and the millions of Africans who were enslaved on plantations for hundreds of years thereafter.
I reflected on my visit to the Elmina Castle in Ghana, where I touched the “Door of No Return” – the same door through which millions of kidnapped men and women were dragged, having every ounce of their human rights removed. If we want to understand the roots of human trafficking in our world, I invite you to study the history of the British Monarchial system’s exploitation during the slave trade and indentureship.
I also remembered that part of history where this same Monarchy was a part of a design responsible for the greatest atrocity in human recorded history, without an open apology being offered to date.
How can we forget the wealth extracted from colonies which was used to build the economies of these Colonial powers? Celebration without a conscience indeed!
The fact remains that I am a descendant of both the indigenous people of St Vincent and the Grenadines who experienced genocide, and I cannot hide that my fore-parents were former enslaved Africans by the said Monarchial system which also abused indentured workers in the post-apprenticeship (1834-1838) period. I represent a constituency where there is a very strong Garifuna History, strong anti-slavery history, strong Christian principles of fairness and equality and strong Rastafarian roots. Let it be clear, that this article is not against a particular race but against a Monarchial system, which in 2023 with all that it has been associated with, their continuity is being celebrated in a gold carriage. We, the descendants of an enslaved people, have a duty to teach our children the source of these jewels.
I see the “coronation” as a timely reminder that we must rise up and demand reparative justice. We must not allow a selected few to own the process and turn it into a simplified discussion exercise. Neither must we sit with folded hands and suggest that only the handful of hard working anti-colonialists should continue the fight without our help. Instead, people of all races must join a global fight to demand reparations for the atrocities against the indigenous people of the Americas and African enslavement. Our fight today builds upon the efforts of British Humanitarians who fought in the British Parliament against Slavery with success in 1833. It also builds upon the platforms of the resistance established by Joseph Chatoyer, Cuffy, Sam Sharpe and Toussaint Louverture. Hence this is certainly not about race but about justice, for all races have shown at one time or the other our true colours that we are at one against the atrocities of slavery.
It is interesting to note that news reporters were very open in their discussion during the “coronation” on issues of both slavery and reparation. The World is indeed watching!
To the millions of souls who continue to rest in eternal peace, killed by colonial powers and monarchies, be reminded that some of your grandchildren are still ready, willing and able to fight for justice. We shall advance the cause for the true liberation of all Constitutions and Parliaments. We find it very offensive every single time we hear songs and see things which remind us of the oppression you experienced. Continue to rest in peace.
Saboto Caesar is an elected member of Parliament in St Vincent and the Grenadines and a lawyer by profession.