August 1 marked as Black world’s struggle for recognition, justice, freedom: PM Gaston Browne

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda- Gaston Browne, says August 1 is historically significant and contemporary inspiration in the Black world's struggle for recognition, justice and freedom. 

August 1 marked as Black world's struggle for recognition, justice, freedom: PM Gaston Browne
August 1 marked as Black world's struggle for recognition, justice, freedom: PM Gaston Browne

Antigua and Barbuda: Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda- Gaston Browne, says August 1 is historically significant and contemporary inspiration in the Black world’s struggle for recognition, justice and freedom. 

While extending wishes on Emancipation Day, PM, Browne said the day is  the one hundred and eighty-ninth since the abolition of the enslavement of Africans and their descendants in 1834. 

He asserted that this struggle continues in the international environment that is united against the interests of small island states – like them. 

Highlighting the significance of the day, PM Gaston Browne said that the nation is celebrating this day as they also celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of CARICOM – the regional movement of twenty Caribbean countries committed to cooperation and collaboration on actions that enhance economic integration, foreign policy coordination; human and social development; and national security.

“It is in the deeper understanding of Emancipation that we find the same values that have maintained CARICOM for fifty years. The understanding of our shared history as an oppressed and exploited people – and the recognition that it was – and still is – unity, a oneness of vision – that has catalyzed and impelled all progress we have ever made as a people. 

                                                                                                                                  -PM Gaston Browne. 

He said that they stand proudly as a united region in all global spaces protesting the unfair financial demands and inequities imposed on us with impunity by the Euro-American world. Today, they insist on reform of the world’s economic infrastructure – and most importantly – demanding human rights and justice – climate justice and reparatory justice.

The celebration and commemoration of Emancipation is also a call to Europe for reparations. Emancipation recognizes the centuries of enslavement, that crime against humanity that robbed us of basic human dignity, which reduced us to chattel – property, and extracted blood, sweat and tears to provide the wealth that developed Europe. 

In these celebrations, the Caribbean region pays respect and homage to their ancestors – those who bore the whips and chains – those who helped clear the path to their freedom through their resistance and sacrifices. 

It is in their honour – in their memory – that the nations of this Caribbean – among which Antigua and Barbuda stands tall – say to Europe, in a non-confrontational manner – “you owe us – for two hundred years of free labour, and you must pay reparations”.

PM Gaston Browne said that the celebration for Emancipation annually happens during Carnival celebrations. 

“The emancipation celebrations of today usually happen annually during our Carnival celebrations, and I use this opportunity to invoke the messages of Emancipation into our festival behaviour – and hope that we are mindful at all times – that we really are all brothers and sisters and should treat each other with the same regard that exists in our families – regardless of political affiliation.”

He said that there is no need for confrontation – there is no need for violence – that was the tool of the enslavers. The carnival gives them the opportunity to recognize, re-live and stimulate the cultural strengths of our people – in song and dance, pageantry and organization – that protected them through the journey of enslavement and colonialism.

PM Gaston Browne also acknowledged this year also as the tenth anniversary of the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission and recognized and applauded its unwavering promotion of freedom, dignity and human rights, of which reparations is critical. 

The response of the global community – both within civil society and sovereign states – to the renewed call for reparations as led by the CARICOM Reparations Commission on behalf of Caribbean governments – has been impressive and rewarding of its decade of struggle.

“I urge you, as I always have done, to recognize the significance of this day – August 1 – the day we remember and highlight the struggles of our ancestors, descendants of King Court/Prince Klaas and his collaborators who lost their lives because of their demand for dignity and freedom. May that spirit continue to inspire us in our efforts at nation-building.” 

                                                                                                                                            –PM Gaston Browne