THE CROSS Rhodes Freedom Project has restarted the campaign to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus in downtown Port of Spain.
Shabaka Kambon, head of the group told Newsday the campaign was restarted on Independence Day, after several weeks of major national and international political and social developments. The group has lobbied the city corporation for several years for the statue's removal –
"The CRFP suspended its campaigns in July to give the country an opportunity to focus on the elections and the protests against police brutality," he said.
Earlier this year, the CRFP started a petition which gathered thousands of signatures, and was presented to Port of Spain mayor Joel Martinez at City Hall.
However, after meeting with his council, Martinez announced the council had decided to recuse itself, as the matter required wider discussion.
Attention then shifted from Martinez to Parliament, where Kambon delivered another petition, before the cause was suspended. He also wrote directly to the prime minister.
On Tuesday, Kambon said, "We fully expect those efforts to begin to bear fruit sometime this month.
"We felt it was imperative to give the government some time to settle down after the election and to focus on mitigating the impact of the global pandemic."
The CRFP, the Warao Nation and other groups representing indigenous peoples have called for the statue's removal, saying it venerates a man responsible for the genocide of local indigenous people over 500 years ago.
Kambon said it was decided that the group will give the parliamentary process centred on Columbus some more time, while focusing also on the No Loyal Slaves campaign, centred at Lopinot.
The committee described the campaign as "an effort to re-establish Lopinot estate as an important point of memory for the descendants of the enslaved and all the citizens of TT and the Caribbean by removing the sign that describes the slave master and his wife ... and the Africans they trafficked and worked to death as loyal."
The campaign already has the support of a number of key stakeholders, he said, which makes them "optimistic about a just and positive outcome."