OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar in her Emancipation Day message vowed that a future UNC government would fight human-trafficking as a priority.
On the 186th anniversary of the Emancipation of enslaved Africans in TT, she said this was not just a time to celebrate but also to reflect on the horror of human enslavement. She then lamented human-trafficking.
“Today as we reflect on the atrocities on the past, we recognize that the last shameful bastion of the enslavement of human beings still exists today in the form of human trafficking.
“That this practice occurs in our country is an affront to the memory of our African ancestors and all who value our shared humanity.”
Persad-Bissessar urged all be done to eradicate this vile practice and to fight for the freedom and dignity of every person.
“Many in the past stayed silent during slavery, but we must not repeat their failure.
“We speak with one, united voice and speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. The elimination of human trafficking has always been a priority for the UNC and would continue to be a primary focus for my administration.”
She hailed TT’s diversity and heritage and paid tribute to the perseverance and strength of those forefathers in the face of oppression and inhumanities.
“We must never lose sight of the fact that many of our African ancestors experienced the most inhumane conditions and were forced to endure cruelty in some of its most horrific forms.
“The pain of a people ripped from their homeland, shipped like cargo across thousands of miles of sea, sold as chattel, suffering further indignity, oppression, and abuse under slave-owners - these are experiences that none of us alive today can fathom.”
Persad-Bissessar said slavery was a heinous crime against humanity endured by Africans, the trauma of which was passed down generations. Their descendants now reflect on what their ancestors endured and celebrate the hard-won freedoms which were granted on August 1, 1834, she said.
“The courage, resilience and sheer will to survive, to hold on to their hopes and dreams of an end to the brutality of their reality are inspiring.” Persad-Bissessar hailed their descendants who had done great things in politics, business, medicine, military, science, sport, and other arenas, showing the dynamic strength of Africans.
Hailing Africans’ music, song, and dance within TT, she vowed a new UNC Government would promote this rich culture within a creative industries sector.
“To the sons and daughters of the descendants of the enslaved, we can truly never understand what our ancestors endured or what they felt, but let our accomplishments today be a tribute to our fore-parents and their struggle.”
Persad-Bissessar urged all to uphold TT’s peace and unity as a model to the world.
“Amid this general election campaign, let us remember the struggles fought and obstacles we have overcome in the pursuit of freedom.
“Let us remember that throughout it all we still have to live with each other as brothers and sisters. Let us not allow the politics to divide us, you can disagree with me politically, but we can still respect and love each other.
“As we commemorate Emancipation Day 2020, I renew my appeal for all of us to join hands in solidarity, and unity of purpose, to protect the freedom we inherited and defend it for the generations still to come.”