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Tuesday 12 December 2017
Local

Kambon denounces Columbus statue defacing

Shabaka Kambon, coordinator and founder of the Cross Rhodes Freedom project stands with a picket sign near Columbus statue in downtown Port-of-Spain yesterday. Kambon is calling for a removal of the statue and an end to a 'whitewashing' of history in T&T. PHOTO BY SHANE SUPERVILLE

Days after the statue of Christopher Columbus in East Port of Spain was defaced, director and coordinator of the Cross Rhodes Freedom Project Shabaka Kambon has distanced the organisation and himself by denouncing the act and criticising the perpetrators.

Kambon delivered a letter requesting the removal of Columbus’ statue in Port of Spain to Deputy Mayor Hillan Morean at City Hall. He said that while the statue continues to serve as a reminder to TT’s colonial past, he was not pleased with its desecration.

Kambon who has long advocated a revisionist approach to Trinidad’s culture and history, says that the removal of the statue would mark a step forward for Port of Spain as it remains a monument to the genocide of TT’s first peoples and an insult to their ancestors. He called on leaders and academics to rally behind the call for revisionism and end the white-washing of history.

Coordinators of the Cross Rhodes project, from left Clive Nunez, Khafra Kambon and Shabaka Kambon stand in Columbus Square yesterday where they staged a spirited demonstration calling for the removal of Port-of-Spain's Columbus statue. PHOTO BY SHANE SUPERVILLE

“We are pushing for a complete overthrow of the convential imperial narrative that is being taught to our children all across the Caribbean. Every single indigenous leader we interviewed during a recent meeting at Santa Rosa agreed that Columbus had to go. Over the past few years statues have been removed so this is a part of a larger global movement.”

Kambon added that greater introspection was needed to restore Trinidad and Tobago’s pre-colonial history. Speaking in reference to a recent radio intereview with author Michael Anthony, in which Anthony said that colonisers had the right to name the streets and districts of Trinidad,

Morean spoke to reporters, after receiving the letter, that he welcomed calls from all groups who may seek to improve the state of Port of Spain and he intends to present the letter to the city council’s planning and development committee.

“We want to wish the First Peoples all the best as we celebrate on Friday (today), I would like to thank the Cross Rhodes Freedom Project, the Council is always appreciative of any proposals from the public. This will be taken before the council as soon as tomorrow during a meeting with our planning and development committee,” Morean said.

Morean also invited the project to bring forth ideas that would uplift Port of Spain and said that recent initiatives such as the renaming of Queen Street, have yielded positive results and looked forward to additional projects.

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