THE EDITOR: We have little to celebrate on this Emancipation Day in TT. Slavery did not end with abolition. It only mutated and continues to harm people.
Whether they are women forced into prostitution, men forced to work in agriculture or construction, girls of a certain religion forced to marry older men, their lives are controlled by their exploiters, they do not have a free choice and have to do as they are told, like married men.
They are still in slavery. In TT you are still in slavery if:
* Forced to work through coercion, or mental or physical threat.
* Owned or controlled by an employer through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse. Supermarkets are a great example.
* Dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as property.
* Physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom of movement.
Modern slavery in TT includes but is not limited to:
* Forced labour
* Debt bondage or bonded labour
* Human trafficking
* Descent-based slavery
* Child slavery
* Forced and early marriage
Modern slavery affects people of any age, gender or race.
This year let us focus on the following for emancipation-
* We need to stop killing each other and curtail crime.
* The fact that too many of our children live in single-parent homes.
* Initial slavery and indentureship were a long time ago.
* Work smart and educate all.
* We need to talk about education instead of racism and all forms of discrimination.
* Acknowledge the fact that others came after us and are more established than we are.
My grandmother’s maiden surname is Francis. I celebrate both arrival and emancipation days.
The mere fact that non-essential services still have to work on Emancipation Day is symbolic of stupidity.
All people have a right to live in freedom.
Until justice is blind to colour, education is unaware of race, opportunity is unconcerned with the colour of our skin, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact.