THE EDITOR: I have listened to the many voices calling for the removal of the statue of Christopher Columbus from Trinidad’s iconography. In my opinion, I see nothing wrong with this statue being part of our country’s landscape, and therefore do no see the need for its removal.
History will always remain history regardless of the emotional sentiments attached to it. It is our duty to learn from the past and chart a direction forward, mindful of not repeating the errors. Attempting to rewrite history will not heal the scars on modern society nor will it change the fact that certain events happened.
I present the following facts for the consideration of the general public, devoid of emotion.
With our Amerindian ancestors being the exception, every single ethnic group within our country came here because Christopher Columbus dared to venture into the New World. TT was encountered on his third voyage, and it was he who gave us the identity we proudly proclaim today, “La Trinite.”
Columbus himself did not supervise the decline of the Amerindians in Trinidad, nor did he institute slavery or indentureship. Therefore, the attempt to wipe him off from our historical landscape is an emotional and not a historical one.
I recently visited Peru and Mexico, nations which have more reason historically to hate the colonial powers of years gone by. Heroes or villains, few men exist in history of the charisma of Hernan Cortez or Francisco Pizarro, who both single-handedly brought down the great Aztec and Inca empires with brute force in the name of Christianity and with the motive of material gain.
Yet the people of those nations do not ever try to hide the realities of their history. On the contrary, I found everywhere they have embraced both their Spanish colonial and indigenous history as part of who they are. For, indeed, what is more important is how we work in the present to establish ourselves as a great people, as opposed to squabbling about realities past that can never be changed.
VEDAVID MANICK, Sangre Grande