Director of Pan African and Regional Affairs at the Emancipation Support Committee Khafra Kambon has said there should be no space at all for “criminals” such as Christopher Columbus.
Some people say the statues should be put in a museum, he said, but, "To be quite honest, I don’t agree with that. There should be no dignified space to celebrate, to commemorate, to remember criminals.”
Speaking at the unveiling of a monument, African Triumph Over Enslavement, at the Treasury Building on Saturday, Kambon said TT cherished monuments of the colonial period, but there were few buildings and monuments in recognition of African and indigenous people.
For example, he said it was disrespectful that the homes of internationally recognised Trinidadians such as attorney Mzumbo Lazare, historian CLR James, and lawyer and writer Henry Sylvester Williams were all demolished
“That’s because even though we may be in charge of the country, we are not in charge of our history. We are not in charge of ensuring that we are well represented in our built environment...
“All of us have a duty to correct that. Not only by consigning the criminals to the dungheap where they belong."
He said while it was necessary to remember such individuals so that mistakes of the past were not repeated, they should not be respected.
In addition, Kambon said there was nothing in the education system to sustain the consciousness of black people, and asked the government to discuss the matter with the committee in the near future.
“We cannot have our children going to school and not learning anything to give a positive sense of self to them. We are putting them at a disadvantage in a multi-ethnic society.”
He said the committee was also working on placing a monument in the Yoruba Village, East Dry River, Port of Spain, and had submitted a proposal for a museum to celebrate local and global African society at the Co-operative Bank at the corners of Duke and Charlotte Streets, Port of Spain.